Friday, October 30, 2009

Tinbots! Part 2


Here are my Ardboyz for my Orks list. Old RT era Orks in power armor and old tinboy/runtbot figs. Two squats in metallics, Panzee, Dark Panzee, Burny Skulls beakie (Word Bearer), Shiny Skulls beakie (Silver Skulls), and Blue Boyz beakie (Ultramarine). I did the Word Bearer and Silver Skulls knockoffs as I have those two armies, don't have a regular marine opponent to mock with the other guy so went with a generic Ultramarine.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I've been able to get a little progress in on my Orks lately, and today was a good weather day to seal the fellas I've gotten done. So here are some shootaboyz and a group of Kommandos.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dipping - Spray Stain?

I've recently done some "dipping" of figures, namely my in-progress Orks.

For those of you not familiar with the term, it refers to using a wood stain on figures as a shading medium, a quick way to get the effects normally obtained through washes, blending and highlighting. It's loads quicker, looks fine for tabletop, but isn't going to win you any prizes. If you want a Golden Demon, keep practicing those techniques. If you just want to crank an army out, especially if that army is in earthy tones like reds and browns, dipping may be an option.

The initial technique, as indicated by the name "dipping", is to dip the figure into the stain, then shake off the excess. This is obviously pretty messy, so do it outdoors! I've been brushing the stain on instead, and it works fine that way, with a lot less mess.

Yesterday though I heard a friend talk about using a spray stain on some wood. Spray stain? That could make everything even quicker? A quick search and I found this:

Will probably try it out on some figs soon, and will post up the results. Anyone tried it yet on figures?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

D'Ork da Explora!

After watching one too many children's shows, this came to me. Those of you with young kids will understand.

D’Ork da Explora

D-d-d-d-d-D’Ork! D-d-d-d-d-D’Ork! D-d-d-d-d-D’Ork!

D’Ork D’Ork D’Ork da Explora!

Hey dere! I D’Ork, and dis is my Gretchin, Grots. Say hi, Grots.

Hey dere. What we doin’ today D’Ork?

We’s got to figure out dis new rule, but not sure how to use it.

Oh no! What will we do?

Who do we yell for when we don’t know what to do?

The FAQ! The FAQ!

Dat’s right, the FAQ! It’s the FAQ, it’s the FAQ, it’s the FAQ, it’s the FAQ it’s the FAQ!

What does the FAQ say, D’Ork?

Hmm…FAQ not address dis rule.

Oh no, D’Ork! But the RAW is unclear!

I guess we should do it my way. Fluff supports.

But D’Ork, fluff isn’t a sufficient justification for rules! Dis game, not novel!

Of course fluff is justification! Rules just simulation of fluff! RAI clearly supports!


What was dat, D’Ork?

Dat sound like the Codex Creep!

Oh no! Da Codex Creep wants to steal our good rules for their next book!

Creeper no creeping! Creeper no creeping! Creeper noooooo creeping!

Whew, that was a close one D’Ork!

(Don’t know why he’d want to swipe rules we can’t make sense of anyways.)

What was that D’Ork?

Nothing! Let’s just roll a d6.

Monday, October 12, 2009

WYSIWYG vs. counts as vs. proxies

Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 are games played with miniatures. Little plastic, metal or resin men, monsters and vehicles represent the forces at the players’ disposal. We spend a lot of money on gathering up the ones we want to use, and a lot of time figuring out exactly how to present them – posing, converting, painting, and so on.

Several basic concepts of imaginative play and creativity have over time taken on terms in the Warhammer community. Sometimes these ideas come into conflict, and a lot of things I’ve read online seem to confuse the terms or hold one or the other up as dominant over the others. Here’s my take on them:

• WYSIWYG – “What you see is what you get”, shorthand for the idea that if it looks like a duck, it should fight like a duck, not a crocodile.
• Counts as – substitution usually done as part of the planning for the figure/force, often to create a particular theme or do something different modeling-wise.
• Proxies – substitution usually done on a temporary basis, such as to test out alternate units/load outs before committing to a purchase or modeling job.

At first glance it would seem that WYSIWYG would indeed conflict with the others. I don’t think that has to be the case. Let’s look at each of them individually, then at their interactions.

“What you see is what you get” seems like a good basic idea for a miniatures game. You’re using the miniatures as a kind of shorthand for the abilities of the units in question, so shouldn’t they be as accurate as possible? If the person represented has a lascannon or a bolter or a power fist, shouldn’t that be shown? And shouldn’t those things be easily distinguished from an autocannon or a lasgun or a thunder hammer? With normal WYSIWYG, a player familiar with the various rules and normal miniatures for the different armies should be able to quickly look over another army and have a pretty good idea about what everything is and what it does. It saves time and helps to avoid confusion.

“Counts as” is used for when the normal official models and figures available don’t meet the needs you have for the army. Maybe there’s a particular theme you want to do, like a Harry Potter-themed Empire army, fantasy Skaven as a 40K force or Orks riding giant lobsters. Maybe there’s a particular conversion you want to do such as using wings instead of jump packs on your assault marines. Or perhaps there isn’t an official model so you need to come up with something to use for the unit, such as for a Deathstrike missile launcher. All of these are situations where “counts as” comes into play, using one visual representation to stand in for the normal Games Workshop version.

Proxies are similar to “counts as” in that they are both used to represent something else. Where counts as is a more premeditated decision trying to get a particular effect, proxies are usually temporary substitutions and may be wildly inaccurate from a WYSIWYG standpoint. Using some spare drink bottles to stand in for those drop pods you wanted to try out, using a carnifex to represent that dreadnought you forgot to pack or using that G.I. Joe tank as a Baneblade for an impromptu Apocalypse game are all examples of using proxies.

So how do these different ideas interact? Mostly it’s a matter of how counts-as and proxies interact with WYSIWYG. Some conform to a very strict interpretation of WYSIWYG, holding that if you’re going to use the rules for a particular unit, you should use the official model for that unit. Any deviation is considered confusing at best and at worst unfair.

I think that interpretation is overly strict. WYSIWYG should be about clarity, not conformity.

I’m a big fan of counts as. I think it’s a great way to see interesting conversions, “lost” armies like Squats or fun tributes to a favorite movie or video game. In my opinion counts as should be encouraged, not criticized. As long as things are consistently represented, it shouldn’t be a big problem. The flying carpets count as jump packs, the feather dusters are power weapons, the limos are Rhinos and the Cadillacs are Razorbacks? Cool, let’s play. Those guys riding lizards are assault marines, those other guys riding lizards are bikers and those other guys riding lizards are scouts? Confusing, not cool.

I’m also fine with proxies, as long as they’re reasonable. To me, using an Ork Nob with a powerklaw to stand in for a Space Marine with a power fist is an easy proxy. It’s clear that the figure with the Space Marine squad in a Space Marine army is using the stats for a marine, and not an Ork. Likewise the powerklaw and power fist have identical rules anyways so it’s easy not to confuse it with a chainsword or missile launcher. Using a dreadnought with a multimelta and saying it’s actually a twin-linked Lascannon? No problem. Using three dreadnoughts with multimeltas and saying one is a multimelta, one is a plasma cannon and one is an assault cannon? Confusing.

So the next time you see that gamer with the Star Wars, Sesame Street, or Spider-Man army ask for a game. You may even have fun. And the next time you’re planning out the conversions for your next force, take some time to look at it from a stranger’s point of view – is it easy to understand what everything is? If not, rethink some of the conversions and see if there’s another option that can still work with your theme but be more easily identified. Your opponents will thank you.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Battle Report: Word Bearers vs. 69th Vandalsreach Imperial Guard

Part of the local Carolinus Sector War campaign. I originally tried doing it here, but I quickly got frustrated with the formatting problems here.

So...linky instead!


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Review - Miniature-Giant

Earlier this week ran across Miniature Giant and decided to give them a go. Found some nifty looking minis from the HeroQuest line, placed the order on the evening of the 26th, and on the afternoon of the 29th they were in my mailbox. Not shabby at all!

So go check 'em out! They've got Reaper stuff, including discontinued figs, as well as some other lines and it sounds like they're going to be adding more as they go along. Good discounts (generally at least 26% off), and shipping and handling in the US can be as low as only paying a 50 cent handling fee. Plus as a special bonus with their Recruit Rewards program you can get extra discounts be being referred by a friend or referring one. And since you're all my friends, feel free to enter "jimebarr" as your Referring Member when you sign up and we can both get extra discounts as a result!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Miscellaneous Miniatures

Some pics of various minis I've done over the years, from a variety of manufacturers such as Reaper, Lance and Laser, Ral Partha and Fenryll.

A couple of handy "EHP" (Evil High Priest) types

Some player characters from D&D games

Some elementals and demon-types

Hyborian War!

"Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars - Nemedia, Ophir, Brythunia, Hyperborea, Zamora with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingara with its chivalry, Koth that bordered the pastoral lands of Shem, Stygia with its shadow-guarded tombs, Hyrkania whose riders wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom of the world was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west.

Hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the earth under his sandled feet."

- The Nemedian Chronicles (Robert E. Howard)

Such is the age of Conan the Barbarian, most famous of the characters created by Robert E. Howard. As great a characters as Conan is, he would not be nearly as memorable without the vibrant setting Howard created for him to inhabit, the world of the Hyborian age. A world full of wizards, raiders, mysterious kingdoms and the clash of armies and empires.

A world that thanks to a company called RSI you have the opportunity to play in, to take control of the destiny of one of those empires!

Hyborian War is a play-by-mail wargame that debuted in 1984, and has been going strong ever since. Each turn, you mail in your orders for one of the 36 playable kingdoms, the staff at RSI input everyone's orders and the computers generate the turn results, which you get in the mail shortly thereafter. Typical turnaround is 2-3 weeks, though they do have games at a slower pace available.

I played in one game back in 2001, as the sinister power Stygia. I enjoyed it, but at the time had to do a lot of overseas traveling for work and keeping up with mailed turns became impossible. With a heavy heart I backed out of the game, always meaning to get back to it but never did.

Recently re-reading a number of Conan stories I thought about the game again, and re-discovered the impressive community the players have created. While much of the nuts and bolts of the game is hidden, the amount of information the dedicated players have been able to accumulate and share over the last 25 years is amazing. For a prospective new player this community can be an invaluable resource - allowing you to get in-depth information about the various countries to help you choose which you may want to play, how the mechanics work, and providing a number of seasoned players who can answer just about any question you might have.

If you're a fan of Conan and Hyboria (and shame on you if you're not!) check the game out. In a world full of real time games that are over in a matter of hours, sometimes it can be nice to be involved in a longer-term endeavor, to feel the excitement of opening up your dispatches and seeing how your plans - and those of your enemies - unfolded.

Hope to see you there sometime!

Reality Simulations, Inc. - The company that runs the game. Check out this site for basic info and to actually get into the game.

The Road of Kings - Great forum full of information, insight, and aid from grizzled Hyborian War veterans.

John Holt's Hyborian War page - Good source for info on the various countries.

The Hyborian Tome - Fantastic page with all sorts of compiled data, maps, and full introductory reports on all the kingdoms.

Flames of Warhammer?

Epic (back in the "Space Marine/Titan Legions" era) is the game that got me back into the Warhammer 40K universe after the initial Rogue Trader surge died down. Space Marines, hordes of Orks, Titans, Gargants, massive Imperial Guard tanks - all in a relatively small space. Good stuff. Before there was Apocalypse, there was Epic, getting those massive war machines and crazy rules involved at a teeny scale.

I like the big stuff like Titans, but don't especially care for Apocalypse. The old Epic rules were fun, but definitely had a bunch of holes in them. The newer versions of Epic leave me pretty cold. So how to get back into the small-scale mayhem?

Flames of War seems to be a fairly popular game, fairly fast moving and has most of the elements for a 40K type game - infantry, tanks, artillery, firepower and close in action, air support...maybe there's potential for making a "Flames of Warhammer" ruleset that folks familiar with Flames of War could easily take to?

At some point I plan to buy/borrow some FoW books to see what would need to change and what kind of stats/costs to assign to things. In the meantime, what kind of ideas might you have?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Silver Skulls

Some pics of my first army after getting back into 40K: Silver Skulls Space Marines. I built them as an all-drop pod force back in 3rd Edition, back before you had actual pods to put on the table. I don't think I actually played them during 4th ed., but reworked them to fit with the 5th ed. codex. I have since painted the couple of extra guys I need to fill out the squads.

Friday, May 22, 2009


Thanks for stopping by! This blog will track my various modelling, painting and gaming projects, with an emphasis on Warhammer 40K.

Why "Sons of Taurus"?

When I first got back into 40K, I planned on making a renegade group of space marines called the "Sons of Taurus", a group from the Minotaurs chapter that turned traitor after the events of the Badab War. Sadly, nine years later and I still haven't actually built them. I've used the name as my handle on many 40K message boards, so it felt natural to continue to use it.

What should I expect to see here?

Army building projects, battle reports, and other Warhammer related musings. To start with I'm going to bring over logs of past projects and pics of some things I've already done as well as old battle reports. Then as I do more, I'll add newer content! Aside from Warhammer things expect to see the odd Reaper fig here or there as well.
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