Archive for November, 2015

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Yesterday was certainly an exciting day for fans of the Specialist Games range as GW announced that some old favourites would be returning to our shelves as boxed games and stand-alone products. I had always hoped that GW might go down this route as it did with recent boxed versions of Space Hulk and Dreadfleet (a clear successor to Man ‘O War) and now we have official confirmation that it will happen although we are not sure when.

However, you don’t need to wait months, or even years, for some Specialist Games content; there is plenty of Specialist Games coverage here on Miniature Miscellany in the archive.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Here are a few of my favourite projects from the old Specialist Games range that I have worked on over the last few years.

My Epic scale orks. I have always loved the old-style orks and these models fit the bill perfectly. They are so characterful despite their tiny size plus the ork range is one of the largest in Epic. The great thing about orks is that they field a collection of rag-tag custom-built vehicles meaning you can easily combine models from different eras and this just adds to the eclectic look of the force. For these guys I went for nice bright colours which help such tiny models stand out on the tabletop.

Epic Bad Moon Orks

Epic Grots

Aeronautica Imperialis Flak Gunz

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I also have a sizable collection of Epic Eldar hailing from the Saim Hann Craftworld. I always intended to paint up an army of their 40K counterparts but the age of many of the Eldar kits put me off and I switched allegiance to their dark kin instead. The Eldar were my first Epic force and I learned a lot about painting such tiny models from these guys.

Epic Aspect Warriors

Epic Farseer and Guardians

DSCF1666 Phantom Titan

Epic Sain Hann Vyper

I also had a real soft-spot for Battlefleet Gothic and this was the one game that I was really disappointed they discontinued. Here is my Imperial Fleet. They represent the Battlefleet Maelstrom defending the Badab region prior to/during the Badab War. If GW ever release some Space Marine ships I intend to add some Astral Claws vessels to the fleet to tie them in more closely with my Space Marine army in 40k.

Imperial Fleet

Imperial Fleet

Firestorm Frigates

Cobra Destroyers

I also have a nascent ork fleet which I painted up this test model for. I went for dirty metallics and red for the orks with bright green as a spot colour on the lights/eyes. I also added a tiny check pattern to add interest and emphasise the size of the ship.

BFG Ork Test Ship

BFG Ork Ship

Finally, Mordheim was one of my favourite of the Specialist Games range and, unlike BFG and Epic which I came to later, I played it extensively when it was first released. Here are some Mordheim characters I painted up a few years ago. Interestingly, this isn’t one of the games mentioned in GW’s press release. Perhaps this is because it is now set in the ‘World-That-Was’ or simply because the models are not radically different the the regular Age of Sigmar range. Maybe it was simply on oversight (I get the impression GW are still undecided on how many or which games will see a come back).

Mordheim Vampire Count

Mordheim Vampire Top

Mordheim Necromancer

Mordheim Mercenary 1

This is just a selection of some of the Specialist Games content on this blog. If this has piqued your interest why not click on some of the tags below for more.

Battlefleet Gothic, Dreadfleet, Epic: Armageddon, Mordheim

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Welcome news indeed!

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The unusual way this news broke, along with some inconsistent-sounding elements such as the fact that this studio would be picking up the LotR/Hobbit franchise, led me to doubt its veracity. However, this seems to be confirmation from an official source that some of the Specialist Games will see the light of day once more (although no comments about LotR). I’m not sure why GW chose to release the information this way rather than making a grand announcement but the return of some classic games is certainly exciting news for the hobby. It seems that this may have been a blunder and GW did not intend the news to go public yet.

Caution does need to be exercised though. At the moment GW are not promising anything more than “new boxed games and stand-alone sets” rather than a fully relaunched product range with continued support. So, all-in-all not too far away from what I predicted earlier.

I don’t normally comment on rumours but this one caught my interest as the Specialist Games range was very close to my heart. In case you haven’t seen it, this is apparently an announcement from Games Workshop that has been doing the rounds on the internet.

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Although I would love to see Games Workshop revisit some of the Specialist Games, I do not believe that this announcement is genuine. Here’s why:

  • The apparent ‘source’ of this information is a store manager in Australia who was told that he could advertise this in his store. This is not the usual channel for GW to release information. Also, why haven’t we heard similar things from other store managers?
  • GW have just released Betrayal at Calth, a huge Heresy-era board game that they are pushing heavily at the moment. Why make an announcement of this magnitude so quietly in the background? Not only will this not receive much notice but, if it were true, it would detract from their current big release.
  • There have been no rumours at all about this up until now. If GW were working on something there would have been leaks. Just look at Betrayal at Calth, images from this ‘top secret’ project were leaked months before release.
  • Similarly, GW haven’t teased this as they did with all other new games.
  • This doesn’t fit GW’s current business model. They already scrapped the idea of a specialist studio to support a small range of games so why go back to it? I could see GW releasing a one-off board game based on a classic game (much like Space Hulk or Dreadfleet) but not them devoting a whole new studio to specialist games.
  • The poster contains a spelling mistake: ‘Armegeddon’. Now, I know there are occasional typos in GW publications (as there in any publications) but to spell the name of a game wrong in the press release? GW wouldn’t be this sloppy about its IP.
  • I don’t buy the idea that this supposed “Specialist Product Design Studio” will support the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. From what I’ve heard, the license to produce products for these franchises is coming to an end. Also, the Hobbit was a flop and received little support from GW when it was in the cinema so why revisit it?

What does seem to be the case is that Games Workshop and Forge World have had some kind of internal restructuring and the resulting team is responsible for Betrayal at Calth. This team will be committed to developing further board games in the future. As far as any of the old Specialist Games returning goes, this is very much speculation at this stage. It could happen but this is far from certain.

With all this in mind, I’m going to call this hokum. However, I may be wrong…

Inq28 Bounty Hunter

Another common Inquisitorial agent is the bounty hunter, individuals skilled in hunting down criminals whose skills are of great use to Inquisitors. While building this model I had an image of Harlon Nayl from Dan Abnett’s Eisenhorn and Ravenor books in my head. He is described as wearing a long stormcoat over a black bodyglove and having a shaved scalp. While the model isn’t intended to be a direct representation of Harlon I have incorporated elements such as the long coat and shaved head (although I left the original Mohawk as it looked cool). I also gave him some body armour, always useful when your line of work involves being shot at a lot.

Inq28 Bounty Hunter

The main part of the model is made from a Cadian’s torso attached to the legs of one of the ever-useful Dark Vengeance cultists. I really like the design of the lasguns carried by the scions and converted a pair of arms from the scions kit to fit. I resculpted the left shoulder and hid my rough greenstuff work under a kroot shoulder pad adorned with an etched-brass symbol. A small holstered knife provided the finishing touch to the weapon and gives the impression that he is armed to the teeth. The rest of the model was decorated with purity seals, pouches and grenades.

Inq28 Bounty Hunter

I decided not to use the backpack from the scions kit as the hanging wires attached to the weapon hid the trenchcoat which is one of the defining features of the model. Instead I used a pouch from the ogryns set as a backpack and attached a space marine knife.

Overall I am very pleased with this model, especially as I didn’t have a clear idea of what parts I was going to use at the beginning, just an image of what kind of character I wanted him to be. The rest was a case of trial and error using blu-tak to try out the parts first before gluing them together.

The year was 1995. X-Files was on the telly, Braveheart topped the box office and kids traded Pogs in the playground. It was the year the charts resounded to the beat of ‘The Macarena’, the UK was gripped by Girl Power and Robbie Williams split from Take That. But more importantly for me, in November of that year, I walked into a newsagents and picked up my first copy of White Dwarf. Yes, dear reader, that means that this month marks my twentieth year in the hobby!

White Dwarf 190. My gateway into the hobby.

White Dwarf 190. My gateway into the hobby.

A Personal Journey

Twenty years is a big chunk of my lifetime (nearly two thirds) and, although a lot has changed in my life over those two decades, the hobby has always been an important part of it. From the age of 11, I avidly played Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 along with D&D and other assorted roleplaying games. This was an exciting time for Games Workshop, the fourth edition of Warhammer and second edition of 40k had just been released, codifying and developing the two universes and introducing the format of the ‘boxed game’ which is now the norm for new editions. This period marked a massive period of growth for the company which expanded into many overseas markets. It was also the time when everything was bright red. The grim darkness of the far future was surprisingly colourful back then.

Excitingly, when I started sixth form a few years later, GW acquired the license to produce models for New Line Cinema’s Lord of the Rings franchise. I had a part-time job at the local Co-op at the time and used the money to fund my avid collecting of these models. I still believe that these are some of the best models GW have produced to date and the game was one of the most elegant rule sets ever written.

I read Lord of the Rings in high school. I also painted tiny metal models of the characters.

Throughout my time at uni I, like many people, dropped out of the hobby for a while but would still buy the occasional copy of White Dwarf to see what was going on and picked up the odd set of models from time to time. I really got back into the hobby during my PhD. It was during this period that I really began to develop my skills as a painter (and, incidentally, when I started this blog) thanks in no small part to the Imperial Armour Masterclass books and the excellent ‘Eavy Metal guides that appeared in White Dwarf at this time.

Since then I have become a qualified teacher and helped to run a games club in the school where I worked, I have realised a long-held ambition to have a model featured in White Dwarf and I even spent a short time working for GW as a studio painter.

What’s Changed?

So, what has changed in my twenty years in the hobby? Here are my five biggest changes in no particular order:

  1. The Rise of Plastic – What is undoubtedly the biggest change for me is the rise in plastic. Back in 1995 most models were lead and plastic was mainly used for weapons, shields and steeds. The majority of the plastic models from the time were cheap mono-pose models which could be used to bulk out regiments. Nowadays, most of GW’s kits are high-quality, multi-part plastic which is not only easier to work with but also allows a far greater degree of versatility.
  2. Things are Less ‘Epic’ – Back in 1995 Epic was the third core game and really was the driving force behind the development of the 40k universe. Leman Russ tanks, Waveserpents and Imperial Knights are just three models to be introduced by Epic that have since become staples of the 40k battlefield. Sadly, as the ability to produce these models in 28mm scale was developed, the game was scaled back and eventually dropped in 2013.
  3. The End of the World – Yep, this is a biggie. Earlier this year, Games Workshop took the bold step of blowing up the Warhammer World and ushering in the Age of Sigmar. You can read my thoughts on the subject here and here.
  4. The Horus Heresy – Back in 1995 the Horus Heresy was a myth and the only Primarch models were the Epic-scale Daemon Primarchs (see, I told you Epic always got there first). We were told that 10,000 years ago there was a civil war but the details were deliberately sketchy and vague and it was presented as a mythical age shrouded in mystery. Now the Black Library are chronicling the events of the Heresy in meticulous detail and Forge World have released a fantastic range of models including some of the Primarchs themselves.
  5. The Decline of the Specialist Games – What would come to be known as the ‘Specialist Games’ range was really kicked-off in 1995 with Necromunda, which detailed the political rivalries and inter-gang warfare of one individual hive city in the 40k universe. This was followed by other fan-favourites such as Gorkamorka (1997), Battlefleet Gothic (1999) and Inquisitor (2001) which all explored different facets of the 40k universe. GW also launched the millennial Mordheim (1999) which ‘celebrated’ the year 2000 with its darkly comic play on Y2K fears. It is safe to say that without these games the Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 universes would not be quite so rich and detailed as they are today.

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I put the following question to Twitter:

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Have Your say

So, do you have a personal story to tell about your time in the hobby? What are your thoughts on the biggest changes to the hobby in the last twenty years? Leave your comment below.

Inq28

Here are my assorted characters for Inq28. Initially the models were created to be a part of my Inquisitor’s retinues but as I worked on them they have developed their own characters and I am planning on splitting them into two warbands, one for my Inquisitor and one for my Rogue Trader. I imagine the Rogue Trader to be an ally of my Inquisitor who provides him with transport when needed which means the warbands will fight together on occasion, allowing me to mix and match models for different scenarios.

Rogue Trader

The first character is a Rogue Trader inspired by an old illustration by John Blanche. The model is the chaos cultist wearing a commissar’s from the Dark Vengeance set. His head was swapped for one from the Empire Greatswords and the arms come from the Scions kit. A bit of greenstuff work filled in the rest.

Rogue Trader

Initially he was intended to be used in my Inquisitor’s warband but I decided that Rogue Traders are too important to just be henchmen and decided to give him his own warband. Plus I liked the idea of playing with a Rogue Trader and his retinue as the swashbuckling fortune-seekers would play very differently to the more austere Inquisitors and their agents. I would like to add some abhumans or aliens to his warband at some point in the future.

Heavy Stubber

The next guy is a heavy stubber-wielding muscle man who will form part of the Rogue Trader’s retinue. Again, a Dark Vengeance cultist with a simple head swap and some added details. For this guy I wanted to stay clear of the usual archetypes of him being a hive ganger or former guardsman as these character types usually are. Instead I see him as a rating or other crewman from the Rogue Trader’s vessel who labours on the ship and is strong enough to carry a heavy stubber.

Adeptus Arbite

Adeptus Arbite

Here is an Adeptus Arbite enforcer who is one of my Inquisitor’s retinue. The conversion is closely based on one I saw on The Convertorum and is a combination of Scion and Mechanicum parts with a shield taken from the Ogryn set.

Techpriest

I was always very fond of Magos Delphan Gruss from the Inquisitor game and knew I wanted to include a techpriest in one of my warbands. I have seen loads of conversions based on the Vampire Counts wraith model but I wanted a more traditional, human-looking magos. the model itself is a data-smith from the Kastellan Robots kit with a simple head swap. He will probably join the Rogue Trader’s crew, helping to maintain the ship and using his position to explore the galaxy for STCs and other archeotech.

Combat Servitor

The techpriest will be joined by a combat servitor kitbashed from Mechanicum and Scion bits.

Because a number of models intended for my Inquisitor’s retinue have been co-opted into the Rogue Trader’s warband I will need to create some more models to accompany my Inquisitor into battle. I have already started work on the next conversion and hope to share him with you soon.