Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Minis News 29 Nov 05

More Hasslefree Greens

Here's a niche market. World War I hobbits. Appealing to alternative ratling market (although, having thought about it, anyone who read the book Tolkien and the Great War might see some irony in the choice:

Also December releases, including some of the previously seen greens/WIPs:

- HFA012 Amoy, young zombie hunter with skateboard and katana
- HFA013 Mad-dog, ill-prepared zombie hunter
- HFL006 Sci-fi human & halfling guns
- HFO003 Borak, Orc Champion with axe & shield, by Kev Adams
- HFO004 Mikal, goblin with scimitar and shield, also by Kev Adams
- HFZ210 Zombie Ray
- Xmas 2005 Figures - SW2005 & SL2005. Sally & Sarah

Celtos "sampler" pack

Tis the season of starter packs. Here's a Celtos one from Brigade. 9 elves, 9 gaels, a rulebook and some dice. £20. Sigh, and today I shelled out for the Confrontation Initiation set; I'm a sucker for these bargain packs. And this does look like a bargain - 18 excellent metal sculpts PLUS a rulebook ... for £20? Sign me up.

MSB Toys withdraws franchise from Apocalypse

French manufacturer MSB toys, has, according to a post on the Frothers forum, taken over/back exclusive distribution of its miniatures, previously held by Apocalypse miniatures.

Splintered Light Miniatures

A new company, Splintered Light, is supplying a range of 15mm fantasy miniatures - 6 races - Leonines (a race of felines), Hyenamen, Halfling Ranger types, Badgermen, Bearmen, and Wolfhounds.

Magnificent Egos Greens

New metals and painted models can be seen at the Magnificent Egos homepage. Trying to work out which mini is which is next to impossible on that page. As far as I can make out there are some new paints for Monte Cook's Iron Heroes and some new metals, danged if I know what the metals are meant to be. The web store is however, down for maintenance right now, so enlightenment may not be so far away. Don't take this as a warning against their models, which are generally of a high standard.

New Olley Scrunts

Ever wonder what happened to Squats? Look at Bob Olley's Scrunt models. 5 new models on the site, I think this makes 17 available in all.


Rebel Minis new models

From Rebel Minis World War 2 fantasy range (another niche market) - fantasy allied elf and fantasy allied dwarf by well known sculptor Bobby Jackson:

Eureka napoleonics

Australian manufacturer Eureka announced a new range of post-1812 18mm napoleonics.

Designed & sculpted by Alan Marsh
Figures in brackets denote the number of variants. Variants are supplied randomly.

300NFR01 Fusilier, marching, campaign dress (6)
300NFR02 Fusilier, marching, in knee gaiters (3)
300NFR03 Grenadier, marching, campaign dress (4)
300NFR04 Voltigeur, marching, campaign dress (4)
300NFR05 Grenadier, firing and loading, campaign dress (4)
300NFR06 Voltigeur, firing and loading, campaign dress (4)
300NFR07 Mounted Officer (1)
300NFR08 Dismounted Officer (2)
300NFR09 Drummer (2)
300NFR10 Eagle Bearer (1)
300NFR11 Deuxieme Portaigles, in helmet (1)
300NFR12 Deuxieme Portaigles, in bearskin (1)

Perry's Update

More Perry stuff, from the Miniatures Page (go there for the full story):

Alan writes:

"I've been beavering away at the 1815 Dutch/Belgians to rap them up. Next, there'll be cavalry casualties and cavalry high command, followed by a limber and maybe one or two other things. Then onto the Nassau Contingent (about 14-15 packs), which shouldn't take too long. Early next year, I'll be embarking on the French for 1815. Don't worry - I'll be dipping into my other ranges whilst working on these.

Michael's working on more British in Indian service dress, as well as the first of the Highlanders (which will be ready next month)."

AO 19 Pavesiers standing £6 GBP (these seen previously)
AO 20 Pavesiers advancing £6 GBP (ditto)

Napoleonic/Dutch Belgians 1815:

DB 38 Dutch 4th Light Dragoon command £7.50 GBP
DB 39 Dutch 4th Light Dragoons galloping, swords drawn £7.50 GBP
DB 40 Dutch Volunteer Light Dragoon command £7.50 GBP
DB 41 Dutch Volunteer Light Dragoons galloping, swords shouldered £7.50 GBP

British Sudanese:

SB 19 Gatling gun and Naval Brigade crew (gun + 4 crew) £8 GBP
SB 20 British dead and wounded (Infantry and Naval Brigade) £6 GBP
SB 21 Foot command in Indian service dress advancing £6 GBP
SB22 Infantry standing firing, Indian service dress £6 GBP
SB23 Infantry at the ready, Indian service dress £6 GBP

Really an excuse to show more Perry pictures:

Copplestone Xmas Model

Forgot to show this - Santa and assistant, £4.

GW Rumour update

I just posted this to the Frothers forum (hence the similarities) and I'll cut and paste here:

From DakkaDakka forum and Bolter and Chainsword, based on people speaking with Games Workshop at a recent event (Sabbat Crusade Weekend) at Warhammer World:


Next few codices after Tau:
- Eldar
- Cityfight replacement (City of Death)
- Dark Angels (2007)

- Autarch
- plastic Wraithlord and War walker kits
- new Dark Reaper exarch

- new IG regiment "Volostian guard" - cossacks in space - these are the "greatcoated" space marines previously mentioned, and they seem to be metals

Also on my previous post - the plastic catachan battleforce is no longer on the GW UK website but it is still in the printed 2006 catalogues.

- Lucius the Eternal
- Daemon Prince of Nurgle
- Plastic scouts with sniper rifles

There's also some mention of Orks - since we don't expect a codex these might be to go with City of Death also.

Warhammer Fantasy

"The set contains Dwarf hand gunners, dwarf warriors, dwarf miners, a dwarf cart, dwarf hero, goblin spearmen, goblin spider riders, troll, some more goblin stuff (which I can't recall). I also heard that plastic slayer/s would be in the box although this sounds outrageous!"

- Orcs and Goblins around Autumn/Xmas
- New plastic goblin spider rider miniatures
- New plastic stone trolls
- new Azhag (with Wyvern)
- new Skarsnik and Gobbler

So Dwarfs, not Empire.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Next Few Codices for 40k/GW Rumour Round Up

Someone wrote to me and asked, what are the next few codices for 40k and WFB?

The rumour going around the various fora is that the following are due for release next year, for 40k:

- Tau (obviously)
- Cityfight follow-on (City of the Dead)
- Eldar
- Dark Angels codex

Assume a quarterly roll out. DakkaDakka reports the Tau codex itself will be out March 1, so maybe those earlier reports of February model releases are correct. I'm guessing a new plastic Imperial Guard set, per previous rumours, around the Cityfight follow on. My bet's on Steel Legion, since they can then introduce and sell a bunch of tanks also, but we'll see. Notably, they've retained Steel Legion and Valhallans in metal, plus the black library stuff (Schaeffer/Gaunt/Tanith) but killed Death Korps, Mordians and Praetorians, and given Tallarns to Forge World. I also note the Catachan battleforce isn't on the online store any more, and the codex is a free downloadable (not a good sign, Rambo fans).

There are also longstanding rumours of an Eldar/Dark Eldar/Harlequin consolidation in a single codex.

What needs refreshing? Right now, for 40k, the only "race" without a plastic battleforce box is the Inquisition (Daemonhunters/Witchhunters - notably merged into a single category in both the US and UK catalogues). There were longstanding promises of a third Ordo book, for the Ordo Xenos (Alienhunters), but that seems to be deferred, long-term. For WFB, GW did take advantage of Lustria to consolidate some of the lines with plastic battalion boxes without a codex, per se, but I can't see them doing that in this case.

The Dark Eldar models, if you take a look round, are the ones probably in most need of a refresh, but I'm still not sure we'll see the comprehensive Eldar codex given the logistics involved (2 new battleforces, 1 army deal, various additional squad boxes and a new Harlequins line?), certainly if GW are still bringing out new LotR lines, as seems to be the plan. The Necron could certainly do with a couple of new units, to my mind. But ... the apparent reason behind the Tau next has more to do with the popularity of the Tau line than a requirement for more Tau.

On the WFB side, the general consensus seems to be Orcs and Goblins, after the Dwarfs. After that, it's still unclear. In this case, those races without their own battalion box include:

- beasts of chaos
- hordes of chaos
- dark elves
- dogs of war (unlikely, as a premium line)
- dwarfs (on its way, already on advance order)
- vampire counts

There's also chaos dwarfs, still to come (apparently the chaos dwarfs in the Storm of Chaos hellcannon set were there as a kind of placeholder, to tell us they hadn't gone the way of squats), but equally rumoured to be a long way off. And there's a new release of WFB due in the early Summer, which if it goes the 40k/Macragge route would be Empire vs Orcs and Goblins, so probably look for an Empire refresh around then also. So my betting is O&G followed by Empire, followed by, umm, some form of chaos undivided refresh. I also think if GW thought they could get away, production/logistics wise, with 5 new armies next year, they'd do it.

Anyhow - mostly conjecture at this point, or repackaged conjecture from the various forums.

Minis News 28 Nov 05 - Part deux

Whoops, a couple of things I missed earlier:

New Reaper Minis

They can be found as the featured items at the Reaper store.

02998: Dorian Starbrow, Elven Hero (pictured)
02999: Sister Kendra, Cleric (also pictured)
03001: Phoenix
03002: Gar Ironhorn, Dwarf Warrior
14224: Lady Jehanne, Mounted Crusader Warlord
14228: Isarah, Mounted Priestess,
14229: Hospitaliers (3)
14232: Templar Justicars (3)
14233: Ivy Crown Light Lancer
14234: Guardian Beast
14235: Nai-Khanon, Reptus Champion
75067: Talisman of Scrying Life Counter


Urban War November Releases

Now on the Urban Mammoth site. Most have already been previewed here.

- 23905-Urban War Issue 4 £6.00 €9.00
- 13601-Convict Auxilia (4 different designs) £8.00 €12.00
- 13602-Convict Legionaries (4 different designs) £8.00 €12.00
- 13603-Legionary Decurion £3.00 €4.50
- 13604-Legionary Sandrunner, Lance attention £8.00 €12.00
- 13605-Legionary Sandrunner, Lance poised £8.00 €12.00
- 13606-Praetorian with combat blade £3.00 €4.50
- 13607-Lictor £3.00 €4.50 (pictured)
- 13608-Exosuit with Cestus & Chaingun £6.00 €9.00
- 13609-Legionary Heavy Chain Gun Team £6.00 €9.00


Terrain - Windows from Freebooter

These are new, according to the Miniatures Page. Bullseye windows, nicely detailed, for your building projects.

White Dwarf (UK) 312 Highlights

This came out Saturday (actually if you go to an independent you can generally find it on the Friday).

New Releases

As previously mentioned on the website advance order list, and no surprises:

- LotR Balrog with whip
- 40k Space marine scout squad
- 40k BT Marshal Helbrecht
- 40k BT Grimaldus and retinue
- 40k Terminator Chaplain
- 40k BT Rhino
- 40k BT Sword Brethren Squad
- Dwarfs army deal (the standard bearer is indeed a LE)
- Water effects (there's an article on this in the hobby supplies section at the end - apparently it's water rather than resin based)


- Vespid plus concept art - still can't work out whether I like these. The concept art "amateur comix" feel doesn't come over in the models, mainly the head area lacks character and the legs should be more bug like. This may be the colour schemes in the paint jobs we're seeing, but surely they saw the concept art as well?
- N-Gage Glory in Death game preview. Not much about it, which is a good job as I'm not interested (there was a stand devoted to it at UK Games Day, wasn't interested then either).
- WHFRP "Paths of Nuln" scenario (Feb 06) and "Knights of the Grail" Brettonian sourcebook (Spring 06)
- Macragge repackaging
- Forgeworld - Warhammer Giant (this is different, I think, to the one being previewed on the main site, which is slightly annoying for FW - 210mm high resin model), etched brass imperial eagle sets (they had these at GD)
- "Vlad the Impaler" historicals sourcebook slips to Spring 2006
- Books - Fell Cargo (novel, WFB, Dan Abnett, Feb 06), Alien Autopsy (background book), the Art of Warhammer 40k
- Sabertooth - "War of Attrition", new base set for WarCry CCG


Righteous Victories - Black Templar conversion article, building your own Black Templar crusade. Notably first in the list is a crusade against the Tau (expect the Tau to take stage front between now and their army release). Nice article with 6 different examples and associated background fluff. The nicest (in my opinion) is Mark Bedford's set of terminators, using Cadian/Catachan heads and using storm shields made from Forge World Rhino doors. Easier for Mark Bedford to do as a Forge World employee of course. But it highlights the fact that the shields on the new assault terminator set are too puny for the models.

Black Steel - building the land raider crusader, using the BT upgrade sprue. I have one of these; I don't like building or painting vehicles and I'm not really looking forward to it. Alternate paint schemes for the other "Codex" (in the sense of having one, as opposed to in the sense of orthodoxy - UM, BA, DA, SW) chapters are provided.

Accept any Challenge - Matt Hutson's BT collection. He's painted his latest ones with white "cross of malta" motifs on the fronts of their helmets, and the scouts get black warpaint in a similar pattern on their faces. Don't like it personally - it means less facial detail on the scouts (and the scout heads are, for GW, weakly detailed anyhow) and as a result they all look like eagle-eye action man.

Armageddon - background article with scenarios for 40k Armageddon

Target Acquired - modelling BT mission objectives. Taken from the US WD 310 ...

Index Astartes - Space Marine Scouts background article

Search and Destroy - Scouts modelling and painting article. Examples for Ultramarines, Blood Ravens, Iron Knights, Dark Angels, Black Templars (Matt Hutson's army again) and Space Wolves. The Space Wolves ones look pretty nice (possibly because Simon Grant uses the Space Wolves heads rather than the supplied Scouts ones. Hmm.

Behind Enemy Lines - tactica, but also a cry for help along the lines of "buy lots of scouts please". Four example army lists emphasising their use. The pictures, by the way, have them facing off against Tau.

Tournament Play - set of articles about GW Grand Tournaments

Grudge Bearers - WFB Dwarfs preview

Shrine of the Sorceress - WFB battle report. High elves versus Dark elves. I'm not sure I can remember the last time either of these appeared in a battle report. Also Jervis Johnson runs the dark elf side, so it really is a blast from the past. It also has the distinction of being about the worst board I've seen in one of these articles for a while. Having said which, we've been through a phase where the battle reports have been, for various reasons (mainly mucking about with the format), not particularly compelling, and this one is a little more back to the gold standard.

Conversun Klinic - written by the staff of WD US (just to bear out my theories) - Undead Wood Elves. The first of the two (spirit hosts - basically you can see the clothes but not the elves) are pretty good.

The Shape of Things to Come - LotR concept art and model previews for the "Shadow in the East" set and another one beyond that called "Fall of the Necromancer".

Victory for the Free Peoples - Campaign report for the War of the Ring. There's a clue as to the result in the title.

Misty Mountains - LotR multi-part campaign, part one.

Battle Companies Redux, part 2 - updated campaign rules for LotR Battle Companies.

Treacherous Terrain - the LotR Ruins of Middle Earth terrain pack. And a scenario - Valley of Shadows, to encourage you to buy it.

Descending into Darkness - collecting and modelling Moria Goblins. Painting articles for the goblins themselves and for the Cave Troll.

Painting Legolas - see the title. I think this is meant to be a speed painting article, since Adi Wood is a decent enough painter but the results here don't look too enticing.

Modelling Showcase - highlights of GD Baltimore and LA - first time I think I've seen the international GDs highlighted in the UK magazine, albeit the entire article is only one page.

Advance Orders Coming Up

All except the Bugman model are previewed in the Dwarfs article.

From 26/11:

- Dwarf Warriors
- Warhammer Armies: Dwarfs
- Dwarf Battalion
- Dwarf Grudge Thrower

From 3/12

- Dwarf Master Engineer
- Dwarf Runelord

From 21/1

- Dwarf Lord with Pistol and Axe
- Dwarf Josef Bugman

More Specialist Games Confusion

So that's all clear then. A further clarification on the specialist games site, additional to the Inquisitor clarification. The only part of the original post that was true (or rather, wasn't mostly a repackaging) was the Warmaster part"

"Necromunda: The Caller, Redeemer and Kal Jericho will remain available as Boxed and set and Blisters only. The other models listed in Tuesday’s blog are being retired as previously stated.

BFG: Good news for Gothic players, you actually gain a code! The Dauntless class will now be sold as separate torpedo and lance variants.

Blood Bowl: The Ogre team will remain available as a blister and team box only, no components.

Mordheim: The Freelancer, Ogre, Johann, Halfling Cook & Thief, Town Cryer, Elf Mage, Pit Fighter Ogre, Road Warden, Highway Man, will remain as blisters only. The Plague Cart and Stage Coach will remain as boxed sets only (you can’t purchase the components)."

Minis News 28 Nov 05

Ilyad WIP

A "complete resculpt" of Fratus Sinister, "one of the signature characters for Chronicles of the Black Moon". Up to their usual standards (meant to be praise by the way). Pictures with and without mask.


Hasslefree WIPs

Don't think I posted them before, they had been referenced I think on the Frothers boards, but now they're on Creafigs as well I probably ought to take note.

- Zombie Ray
- Young zombie hunter (pictured)
- Mad Dog, the ill prepared zombie hunter
- male American police officer with shotgun (I'm guessing this is very much in progress, just to set your expectations - it's interesting to see how the sculpt is built up though).
- Kat

There'll be some further updates tonight, apparently (per the Hasslefree forum)

New Bob Olley Greens

More greens, this time from the galleries at Olley's Armies.

- Minotaur
- Another minotaur
- Dwarf world set 1 (pictured)
- Dwarf world set 2
- Alien

The Dwarf World project, which looks like being an ongoing one, would seem to hark back to the late 80's when it was difficult to browse through blister packs for Citadel/Games Workshop (Bob's sometime employer) without having a rack of Dwarven Villagers fall on you. I like the first set, less so the second.

New Starship Troopers stuff

- Roughnecks (pictured) ... based on the cartoon (there was a cartoon?)
- Guard Bug (also pictured, since it looks like the movie)
- Infiltrator bug green

Wyrd casts now in

Following on from the greens, the models are now in at Wyrd. They have a 10% discount sale running through November 30.

Also, they have a scale comparison - GW, Freebooter, the Wyrd swordmistress and not sure on the fourth one, but excellent paint jobs all round.

Rezolution female marshall

New preview. Not keen.

New terrain announcements

- a new sci-fi fortress tower, additional to the fortress range at Tablescape (the website doesn't seem keen on letting me cut and paste a precise link ... click on the news section).
- "stalwart" bunker complex at Antenociti's Workshop (pictured). Price is £125, commission only. Not sure I'm keen on the inside, though the parts they sell (guns etc.) are far cheaper than Forge World (as for that matter is the complex, though the quality doesn't look as high).

Goodman's Dungeon Crawl Classics

Goodman have announced availability of their new range of miniatures, I would guess more aimed at the RPG market.

- Glyn Trollbane, Human Sorcerer
- Ynnen "Chitter-Chatter," Kobold Rogue/Ranger
- Loros Truebow, Human Ranger/Cleric (pictured)
- Oddwit Silverheel, Gnome Fighter/Bard
- Ubo Gutrot, Dwarf Barbarian (also pictured)
- Veriander Lyras, Half-Elven Cleric/Rogue

To my mind, they're not very good (the dwarf's probably the best one), and if you want this kind of thing you're probably better off browsing the Reaper catalogue.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

Minis News 24 Nov 05

Privateer Press Previews

Two new boxes, Stormguard for the Cygnar faction and Exemplars Errant for the Menoth Protectorate. I don't like either, frankly.

New Perry Announcements

These guys are good. I'm seriously tempted by the medieval stuff.

- from their Agincourt to Orleans range, pavisiers standing and charging ... both pictured.
- from their Sudan range, various painted Mahdists and English here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here
- from their Napoleonics range, Dutch Belgian Light Dragoons, here, here and here.

Runic Miniatures

Famed Golden Demon winner Jakob Rune Neilsen has started his own miniature line, Runic Miniatures. First examples are Seer, Anya and Lisa - all at 28mm scale. The first two are pictured below.


New from Essex Miniatures

A bunch of frankly not very good models from Essex Miniatures:

C EXR9a Heavy Cavalry Officer (H56)
D EXR9b Heavy Cavalry Standard Bearer with Vexillium standard
A EXR11 Numidian Javelin/Spear, assorted poses (pictured)
A EXR12 Numidian slingers (two poses)
A EXR13 Numidian archers, 2 poses
A EXR14 Legionary, early 1st C. AD, mail & shield, throwing pilum

Models EXR15-18 are ‘Legionaries, mid 1st century AD, segmenta armour, pilum & shield’, plus:

A EXR15 Plumed helmet, throwing
A EXR16 Plumed helmet, pilum upright
A EXR17 Plain helmet, throwing
A EXR18 Plain helmet, pilum upright
C EXR19 Officer, Mid 1st Century, breastplate
A EXR20 Legionary archer (western), firing

GW News 24 Nov 05

Specialist Games end of lines

From the Specialist Games site, the announcement of a large number of model withdrawals:

"The following models will be on sale until the 10th of December.

Blood Bowl: The Marauders (old human team), Blood Bowl Ogre Team.

Necromunda: old metal Orlocks, old metal Goliaths, old metal Scavvies, old metal Ratskins, The Caller, the Redeemer, Kal Jericho and Scabs, Rapier, Necromunda Farseer and Fire Dragons.

Warmaster: Kislev range, Alt Empire Knights, Storm of Chaos Characters, Teutogen Guard, Chaos Wizards, Chaos Spawn, Winged Daemon Prince, Old Slann Mage Priest, Undead Giant Scorpion, Alt High Elf units, Alt Dwarf units.

Inquisitor: Simeon 38X, Techpriest Tezla, Damian Bloodhound, Fabian, Yanvan Yastobaal, Bravus, Karshak, Servo Skulls, Chaos Henchman, Imperial Guards, Kroot Mercenary, Weapon Boosters, Talon, Toothpick Murke, Genestealer and Magus, Unbound Daemonhost, Sister Repentia, Tau Watercaste, Inquisitor Scarn, Crimelord, Citizens.

Mordheim: Freelancer, Ogre bodyguard, Johann the Knife, Halfling Cook, Merchant, Town Cryer, Stagecoach, Highway Man, Road Warden, Halfling Thief, Plague Cart, Averlanders, Ostlanders, Kisvelites, Elf Mage, Pit Fighter Ogre."

That's most of the (not particularly well populated) Inquisitor line then. But then, later the same day, it turns out that the Inquisitor stuff is really just a rationalisation of the line:

"Simeon 38X, Damien Bloodhound, Mutant Emissary Fabian, and Lucrezia Bravus have all been added into the original boxes that they are made from giving the customer the option of doing Damian 1472 or Simeon 38X for example. The Chaos henchmen have just been renamed as Chaos Henchman Conversion Pack. The Kroot mercenary has had the contents changed to contain a complete normal kroot. Not the merc with the funny hands and helmet. The weapons booster and servo skulls will be only available loose."

Still some withdrawals though, in fact a fair old number. It turns out that the UK has released its Specialist Games guide this week, while the US one (the one to buy, folks, if you can) is now on advance order for December. So this seems to be associated with the catalogue sort-out. Presumably the Mordheim withdrawals are mostly the groups and the Ostlander youngbloods (for example) are still available separately.

GW advance orders now available

From the UK site;

- WFB Dwarf Battalion, £50, 28/12
- WFB Dwarf Army Book, £12, 28/12
- 40k Space Marine Terminator Chaplain (choice of 4), £7, 3/12
- 40k BT Marshall Helbrecht, £9, 26/11
- 40k scout squad (got one), £10, 3/12
- 40k BT Rhino, £18, 10/12
- 40k BT Grimaldus and Retinue (got one of these too, beautiful models), £15, 10/12
- 40k BT Sword Brethren, £6 (blister of 2), 17/12
- 40k Limited Edition Codex Space Marines (hardback, in case), £20, 26/11
- LotR Balrog with Whip, £35, 3/12

You can also now see, with the aid of zoom, a Tau Army on GW's Sneak Peeks pages.

Black Gobbo 53

The latest issue of GW US's online mag is now available:

- Painting and converting the Black Templars' Emperor's Champion - usual very good conversion stuff from GW US
- Retrieve the Champion - Black Templars scenario
- How to fight against Wood Elves - tactica
- Watcher in the Water and Balin's Tomb - more linked scenarios for Lord of the Rings, continuing to trace the plot of the first book.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

US stores, White Dwarf (US) 310 and The GW US Catalog

On my recent trip to the US west coast I went into a couple of stores while in Palo Alto - DJ Hobbies in Campbell and Games Kastle in Santa Clara (both near San Jose).

Both stores had a respectable range of miniatures. DJ Hobbies is a kind of hobby superstore, with far more on, say, model railways and dolls houses than on minis. As a result of the layout many of the models were behind glass, including the blisters, which made browsing problematic. They had good ranges of Reaper (a lot of Reaper), Foundry, Copplestone, Rackham, WarMachine, WarGods, Iron Wind, Rezolution and Magnificent Egos. For GW they had boxes but as far as I could see no blisters. They had some smaller historical brands such as Old Glory on special offer. I probably missed some stuff but in general if they stock the range you're looking for and you have a good idea of what you want, it's a good store (and parking is easy).

Parking was a bit more difficult at Games Kastle, a far smaller store hidden behind a gas station. I've still no idea if I parked in the right place. It's a more traditional RPG and minis store, with a similar set of manufacturers to DJ (no Foundry or Copplestone or obscure historicals, but add I-Kore and FOW). Anyhow, I'd recommend both, but with the caution that a decent minis store in the UK would probably have a similar range (excepting Reaper, which has awful distribution in the UK - try Orc's Nest in London is my best suggestion).

One difference is the availability of slightly different GW product. I picked up White Dwarf 310 as a comparison, since it has similar material to UK 311. The main cultural difference between the UK and US teams (more on this in a second) is that the US guys seem more conversion-happy. There's an excellent article about using the Black Templar models and sprues for other (mainly custom) chapters, which you won't find in the UK edition (and, since we now have the UK 312 table of contents, we know won't appear. Also, the Direct Services section in the back includes some suggested alternate models (ie conversions), with bitz order numbers; a good idea and substantially more than the half-hearted UK Convershun Clinic. As of US311, they are offering this section as a downloadable PDF.

Less good is the idea of going through a bunch of the battalion boxes and suggesting army lists around them, with bigger lists to show you how to expand. Great idea. But it feels like a catalog view and the points scores for the less efficient packages (WFB empire and 40k imperial guard) are entirely absent.

Other differences - the greater geographic distribution means more (and more local) Games Days, and more Golden Demons. So instead of charging you for the GD highlights as a separate volume, they get regular coverage in WD. Missing from US310 compared to UK311 - Index Xenos/Dark Eldar, Spirits of Athel Loren (painting WE tree spirits, but I think this came from the US in the first place). On the other hand, the US WD doesn't seem to use GW's fantastic art for covers, preferring instead model shots.

To my mind the US edition wins by a very slight nose.

Finally, a discovery - it's not often that something from GW can be counted as good value (actually I don't recall using this combination of words together before), but I do recommend getting hold of the Complete Catalog and Hobby Reference for 2005-2006 for $30. This 670 page hardback has a list of every orderable item for mainstream GW lines, by catalog number. Strangely, it doesn't have the US prices (these are downloadable as a separate item), which leads me to believe it was produced as an international deliverable.

In addition to the models (painted and unpainted), it includes brief tactica on each army and showcase sections, as well as the "alternate models" suggestions as per White Dwarf.

The main downside - it isn't complete. In two respects - firstly it stops after the Wood Elves, so no Black Templars and no previews of the Dwarves, the Tau or anything else likely to be delivered in 2006 (for WFB, I understand it's Orcs and Goblins next). Secondly, it doesn't include the classic/collectors/archive or (except for a passing mention) specialist lines (now all merged into one, as far as the SKU numbers are concerned). They're covered in a separate catalog, available shortly (and referenced in 310US, which describes this catalog as "complete" in inverted commas - same old GW then, just as we were warming to them). But, it's far more complete than the laughable UK catalog, which not only doesn't list the various part numbers but actually doesn't show the alternate sculpts for particular blister models. Anybody remotely serious should get this guide instead, and treat the non-purchase of the UK catalog as an effective $8 discount on the real one. Additionally, if you get the forthcoming specialist catalog as well, you can avoid the cost of all the "Collectors Guides".

I asked a UK GW employee why this wasn't available here. Difficult, as he wasn't aware of it and when I started to describe it he immediately assumed the only explanation for the size was the inclusion of the specialist stuff - "the US players are far more interested in the specialist games than in the mainstream stuff" he bluffed, gamely. So, an additional point, if this is true. In that case, why has GW all but killed their specialist line, and allowed the emergence of numerous competitors in the US and Europe for skirmish tabletop gaming? Maybe they're as badly run as I thought. A while back another (different) GW employee told me the reason for the death of the specialist line was "they take the best sculptors away from the more profitable lines". I could kind of buy that, from a business point of view, if it wasn't for the case that a) GW recently announced a profit warning (worried about the decline in the LotR franchise now all the films have been and gone), b) their employees are basically telling me that they aren't investing in the main game in the largest economy where they sell goods and c) Mark Bedford, to take a random example of a specialist games sculptor, is now at Forge World.

Whatever, I don't run their business. And I suspect if they want to raise profits back to where they previously set an expectation what they really need to do is find a new franchise to ride, not roll the Mordheim rock up a hill. But ... gah. Anyhow, if you want a GW catalog, buy this one.

Ravage Magazine 32

Ravage is a French-language games and miniatures magazine published by Histoire & Collections, who also publish the historical wargames magazine Vae Victis, the collectibles magazine Dixième Planète, and a new CCG magazine called Mana Rouge.

The magazine's tagline is "the magazine for fantasy strategy games". As such they choose, unlike Harbinger, to include collectible miniature games like Mage Knight, Star Wars and D&D miniatures, in which I have merely a passing interest (Mage Knight and HeroClix I bought in job lots from eBay; Star Wars I haven't tried; D&D I had a fair few but gave up when they went to the uncollectible and ugly "huge" sets). They also have a little coverage of computer games and books (too much to my view but the extent of the other content is sufficient to forgive them slightly). They also have a little coverage of boardgames, which doesn't quite fit their remit but is generally OK with me.

The page count is similar to Harbinger but, since the advertising page count is far lower, the magazine runs at a larger page size, the text is significantly smaller and the pages are better organised, Ravage containts significantly more actual content. Albeit it's in French. Another difference from Harbinger is that they quite rightly treat GW as just another miniatures/games company.

Articles and Content:

News covers Mongoose, Aberrant/Rezolution, Urban Mammoth, Dark Age (it points out that the new minis previously previewed here are the only ones in 4 months), Privateer, Wizkids (Heroclix, Mechwarrior, Pirates and High Stakes Drifter), Fenryll, Ilyad's Dungeon Twister boardgame, White Wolf's hybrid Car Wars/Pirates constructible game Racer Knights, Ilyad's miniatures line, GW, and Rackham. Previews of a couple of boardgames: Fantasy Pub (a new edition from Tilsit) and Mission Planète Rouge from Asmodèe, a new game by Bruno Faidutti.

Preview of Corvus Belli's Infinity. Every time I see this it looks more interesting. A combination of an interesting sci-fi background, excellent miniatures and manga overtones. It remains to be seen whether the introductory game provides as smooth a learning and collecting curve as, say, Confrontation but I'm beginning to look forward to it.

Preview of Wizkids' Rocketmen game, aka Pirates in Space. Although the article says the new game isn't just a future version of Pirates and for that matter is positive on the game.

Preview of GW's Black Templar Codex for 40k. I now have one of these, so I'll come to a review separately. Points out that the BT force has a weak command score (absence of veteran sergeants) combined with interesting element of vows. Anyhow, more on this in a different article.

Preview of Rackham's Dogs of War expansion for Confrontation 3. I hadn't seen this before. It replaces the old Incarnation system for C2, which allows for an adventure mode (effectively a campaign system) which saw characters evolve and change from skirmish to skirmish (yes, just like Mordheim and Necromunda), a kind of halfway house between Confrontation and the forthcoming Cadwallon RPG.

Preview of the Star Wars Universe booster packs. As I said, I've not been attracted by this. Presumably WotC have managed to sort out the quality issues that made their previous huge sets (those sets containing "huge" models) so dire (and for that matter uncollectable). Anyhow, until I see otherwise I'll leave this well alone.

Preview/review of Robogear. Saw it in a store in the US. Miniature quality seems poor. Not interested. The reviewer recognises that people are going to be agin it, but likes it nonetheless. If I have a criticism of Ravage, it's that they never give anything a bad review (OK, maybe occasionally the odd model gets faint criticism. Actually my other criticism is that the page size is so big that the staples don't support it). Anyhow, I suspect in this case he's reviewing the gameplay rather than the miniatures, which look like a cheap Airfix kit (actually this is because it is precisely that). The included terrain, by the way, is the same as that being sold by Urban Mammoth for Urban War.

Article on Urban War group tactics. There is, by the way, a French Urban War site with its own new releases page, which I ought to include in the template for this site.

Article on Warmachine mercenaries, with French translations of the cards, rules and backgrounds (from PP's No Quarter 1).

Suggested army lists for Confrontation - Griffons and Scorpions. Two army lists each of about 400 points strength, with notes on theme, strategy and painting.

Cloaks and Shadows, a campaign for Lord of the Rings battle game. Designed as a series of "commando style" missions for Gondorians operating behind enemy lines. Yes, there's even a reference to Tom Clancy.

Fall of the Temple Cities, a scenario for Warhammer Fantasy Battles, set in Lustria, designed for Lizardmen versus demonic Chaos armies.

Poste 627, a scenario for Rezolution. Note there's also a French website for Rezolution but it's as bad as the English one.

Blood and Sand, a scenario for Confrontation, designed for Griffons and Scorpions (there's an advisory as to how to use alternative armies though).

The ruins of Utgar, a scenario for Heroscape. I've heard decent things about the game, as a game, but generally regard it in the same vein as Robogear.

A guide to choosing colour schemes for miniatures, written by Starplayer, a Paris retail store (and therefore an advertiser), but the editorial origin/sponsorship is at least clearly marked. A decent article on colour theory. My recommendation though is to start with the one in the Darksons Design Painting Guide, as this one's a bit abstract for an introduction.

Then 4 pages of collectible price guide stuff, which I just ignore.

The gallery includes the manufacturer studio pictures of new models, not the publisher's studio or other contributors. So it's not really comparable to, say, the Harbinger showcase. You'll have seen most of the pictures on this site already (or else they preceded its existence).

Finally, 2 pages of book reviews and 3 of computer/console games (one news page and then reviews of Fable for the PC and Dungeon Siege 2). As I said, I'm not keen. My general view on these things is that they grow until someone has the bright idea of movie reviews, which means that they've lost interest in the core subject.

Anyhow, hopefully this gives you a flavour of the magazine. If you can read anything from high school French to better (and reading is easier than speaking), I'd recommend it whole-heartedly. The French retail price is E6.35 per issue; a subscription in France is E33 for 6 issues and outside France is E40 for 6 issues, so not bad.

Harbinger Magazine 23

This is the latest issue of Harbinger, a magazine published by Griffin Miniatures, a sometime miniatures company (their current focus is mainly the magazine, although they do provide promotional miniatures for subscribers and collectors).

Before going on , I think the magazine is generally pretty good, though slightly expensive for what it is, and to back that up I do have a subscription. The main negatives are that, for the price, it's light on material, much of the content is written by the advertisers and the production values are, at best, semi-professional.

The front cover advertises Harbinger as "the only independent miniatures gaming magazine". Maybe the only English one, if you agree with the independence comment ... it's not a house magazine as such but much of the article content is actually supplied by the advertisers. It also claims to be "certified - evil empire free". Setting aside this somewhat immature characterisation of Games Workshop, more than half the miniatures in the gallery section are actually GW. Typically the news and reviews sections have also covered GW material (and rightly so, speaking as the consumer). The cover also advertises an article on painting "Rouge Trooper" (sic) and you can find further basic sub-editing failures in the inside content (as you can on this site, before anyone starts ...).


News section includes new releases from Dark Sword (Elmore masterpieces, whoever did the paint jobs needs to work on faces), Crocodile (the Tethru, mentioned elsewhere), Urban Mammoth, Aberrant (Rezolution Wave 4), Eastern Front Studios, Wizkids, Mongoose, Rackham, Privateer and Magnificent Egos. Almost all of these entries are written by the companies in question, to the extent that they use "We" to refer to themselves, and the UM one includes a reference to "insert picture", presumably as an instruction to the editorial team.

Savage Worlds skirmish rules. I can't really comment on this article; I don't particularly have an interest in the game. The article is written by Shane Hensley, SW's creator.

Battleground scenario. Battleground isn't a miniatures game, it's a card game (it claims to be a "miniatures game without the miniatures" - as I write this article I'm drinking a gin and tonic without either gin or tonic but with some additional tea). The cards, judging from the full page advertisement on page 4, use weakly rendered Poser art. More than half the scenario is White Dwarf style fluff. The article is written by Chad Ellis, designer of the game. Awful.

Confrontation - introduction to the new Confrontation box sets. Written by Graham Clarke, of Simple Miniatures, the game's UK distributor (and if you're in any doubt, an advertisement for them immediately follows the article). Despite this, Graham is a regular contributor and the introductory articles he writes on the game are consistently very good, as is this one. The starter and initiator boxes include elements for the Wolfen and Dirz factions, the starter being at 150 points and the initiator set being at 200 points. After half a page on what good value these sets represent (a subject occasionally returned to) it's actually also a good article about army building. There's then a scenario, written by Mark Lankham and Jamie Roberts (who are actually on the Harbinger staff) for Sessair vs Drune.

Wargods - an article by Marike Reiner (a Crocodile employee) on painting a Basti Heroine (WGE-133) in the style of a Siamese cat. Great article, by someone who knows what they're doing. Followed immediately by a Crocodile advertisement.

Full Thrust - again a scenario for a game I don't know (in this case a starship miniature game. Again, half the two page scenario is fluff. They really need to crack down on this.

Masterclass Painting - excellent article on basing. I believe this is a Harbinger commissioned article - Tammy Haye, a well known painter and the article's author, freelances for them occasionally. This is followed by another masterclass, on painting a Foundry Rogue Trooper model, written by Kevin Dallimore (Foundry's house painter). Unsurprisingly he uses Foundry paints. You can find an advertisement for his new painting book at the end of the news section. A decent article, about a model I'm extremely unlikely to buy.

Spotlight - a regular feature on manufacturers is in this case an article written by Darkson Designs' Crystal Kingery. Pretty much a puff piece for their AE-WWII line. On one hand, I didn't know this line particularly well, so I now know a little about why it exists. On the other hand, I'm still not that interested. A pity, since Darkson's painting guide is actually the best on the market (I haven't read the Foundry one to compare, having said that).

The Showcase section has painted images from Rackham (3 miniatures), GW (6 - referred to as Games WQorkshop at one point, probably to cover up the evil empire link), Reaper (1) and Trifon Miniatures (1). Trifon is an Argentinian miniatures company that I hadn't previously heard about - the Goblin Quixote model shown is pretty interesting. As throughout, the production values get in the way, but in this section it's probably worse. Harbinger really needs to think about how it presents images and text for readability, and less about keeping their production staff interested. White backgrounds, simpler headlines, consistent look and feel and more content, please.

Finally, the Reviews section, written in house and generally to a high standard, covers Darksword's Elmore Masterworks set 7, Elmore Mountain Giant, Tactical's Narcotics team, and a number of Urban Mammoth's miniatures, all in good depth. Same comments on production values as the showcase though.

All this may read as negative. It's not meant to be (or not overly so). We do need an independent gaming magazine, or at least one which isn't beholden to a particular manufacturer. And it needs to be economically viable. On the other hand we also need the content therein to be as useful to the reader as it is to the advertiser. Which means better content, better design, better production, and a little more genuinely independent editorial.

Minis News 20 Nov 05

November Urban Mammoth stuff

From the i-kore fora, out later this month, all for the Junkers faction.

Convict Auxiliaries (pictured)
Sand Runner and painted version (pictured)
Exo-suit (pictured - quick someone call Games Workshop).


Still waiting for my UM stuff to arrive, though apparently it's shipping.

New Ilyad Models

Spectacular "Virago Crete Hurlante" (a reference to the mohican, I guess), more pictures here. Plus a painted version of the earlier WIP.


Privateer Catch-Up

Forgot to mention the other new Hordes faction, Legion of Everblight.

New Fenryll Dragon

What is says in the header (OK a dragon mummy). Some disdainful comments on the frothers fora, I suspect the issue is the paint job and the photo rather than the sculpt. In fact, the image has been on the Fenryll sites for a while, I just don't know their line well enough to know what's new:

New Olley Minotaur

Keeping up his burst of new releases, a new minotaur at Olley's Armies. Seen here as a cast and painted.


Wargods December Releases

Crocodile have a new French site. I'm not sure whether this reflects the changing balance of power in the minis world but the December previews are available there but not, as far as I can see, on the "proper" US site. The Tethru are the new Ibis faction, associated with the god Thoth.

WGE-153 Tethru Hero (with baboon servant, no less)
WGE-218 Harbinger of Thoth
WGE-155 Tethru Master of Words (with rack of scrolls)
WGE 154 Priest of Thoth (with sacred ibis)
Limited Edition Tethru Scribe - they're all nice but this one's the nicest - see picture.

I've upated the list with the numbers I got from Harbinger 23 (see separate review). There's also a WGE-018 (Tethru Warriors Booster), a WGE-318 (Tethru Warriors Unit) and a WGE-908 (Warband Starter Set, which includes 153, 154, 155, 218, 318 and the LE scribe).


Never heard of them before, but this company seems to publish minis based on French comic books (worth a blog in their own right). They have some new sculpts based on a comic strip ("BD" = bande desinee) called Donjon (pictured). There's another set here based on another strip, Lincoln. Nice, but one step away from action figures, and I probably won't speak of them again.

Brigade Games - German Asia Korps

From the US company Brigade Games.

BG-WIEG30 German Asia Korps Infantry I
BG-WIEG33 German Asia Korps Maxim Team

That's it for now. Coming attractions - I have a pile of the latest magazines to review (US WD310, No Quarter 3, latest French Ravage and UK Harbinger), a bunch of recent acquisitions (Black Templars and Wood Elves), the Lizardmen collectors' guide and the US GW catalog, something of a discovery. Will try to get to them today or tomorrow.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Minis News 17 Nov 05 - Part 2

So, a couple of coffees later, on to part 2:

Rackham - new for December

Drune riders (pictured), behemoth orcs and the previously mentioned valkyrie (but here's the card. And the starter paint set (if the differentiator for Vallejo/Reaper over GW is the droplet mechanism, these aren't worth the switch - they're fliptop, like GW).


After the preview of the thief etc., a painted version, also one of a troll joker and a war troll (pictured). Too cartoony for me, by half.

and Goblin Forge

Speaking of which, an ogress and prey from Goblin Forge (better known for their bloodbowl type stuff)


Minis News 17 Nov 05 - Part 1

Blimey. Travelling again the last few days (got back this afternoon) and another big backlog to go through. Let's go - no particular order.

Magnificent Egos Greens

From the ME fora, greens for their limited edition Bull and Dungeon Denizens. Not that keen on any of them, to be honest (ask your browser to view the images, to see them at full size).


Privateer Press previews new Hordes Faction

The Skorne. That address should also show the breaking news on Hordes as they add further stuff.

Delays to Starship Troopers Mobile Infantry

Mongoose's Light MI figures have slipped to January. There'll be three army books in January - Light MI, Roughnecks and Arachnids. The Pathfinders are still set for December. Here's a picture of their Arachnid Mantis Assassin model:

Newbold World Antiquity Guard greens

Some works in progress for the Newbold World setting - Antiquity Guard cavalry. I'm not a fan, frankly:


Wyrd Miniatures greens

An excellent market entry by new company Wyrd Games. Four models - Bishop, Baby Kade, Killjoy and Victoria.



You can see some painted versions here and here.

Olley's Girls with Guns

Five new models available from the website at £2.50 each or £9.99 the lot. You can see them here, here, here, here and here.


Gripping Beast Hannibal and Punic Wars

More release for the Warhammer Ancients rules, this time from Gripping Beast.

Spanish Advancing
Spanish Attacking
Spanish Command
Spanish Cavalry
Spanish Cavalry Command
Carthaginian Elephant casualty
Celt-Iberian Warriors (2)
Celt Fanatic Command
Standing Italian Allies
Painted kneeling Triarii
Allied Italian Cavalry Command
Allied Italian Cavalry Troopers

Games Workshop Giant preview and Forge World news

Another preview of the Games Workshop giant, this time painted. You can also now see it at the website, under their sneak peeks. Note the different use of the sprue.

ForgeWorld has a Tau broadside figure, some tyranid warrior wings, and a 145mm space marine model.