A Miniature Odyssey

Miniature Gaming Reviews, Tutorials & Musings

Servo Skull Musings: When Obsession is Defeated by Reality — December 12, 2017

Servo Skull Musings: When Obsession is Defeated by Reality

As we stand less than a month away from a new year, I find myself reviewing my objective of completing the Infantry component of my Chaos-worshipping traitors.

I still have about seventy models remaining with about twenty nearing completion. This of course excludes Champions, Standard Bearers, Discipline Masters, Officers, Ogryns and Tanks.

That is not to say that there has not been progress on other previously sidelined projects. To avoid themed army burnout, I have switched gears periodically to work on terrain boards, returning to the Forge World Fortress Walls that have seen little progress until recently.

With that said, after spending a year working on a massive army, while balancing life, family and everything in between, I have been forced to revaluate the scope of my project.

Currently in bags and boxes, armies of Horus Heresy Word Bearers, Solar Auxilia, Death Korps of Krieg, Elysian Drop Troopers, Eldar War Host, Cult Mechanicus Skitarii and an Astra Militarum Armoured Battlegroup desperately seek attention. This is in addition to years of one-off kits and releases from Dreadfleet to Shadow War Armageddon that accumulate dust.

While these collections wait patiently for some twisted obsessive-compulsive collection to become complete, the reality and awareness of the scope of work ahead of me has finally become blatant. I surmise that even if I dedicated forty hours a week to this hobby, there would still be five to ten years of work before me.

This is certainly not an “I Quit” blog. Quite the contrary; it is in fact a recommitment by way of narrowing my focus.

I have decided in fact to redirect my focus on a much smaller (yet still Apocalypse-scaled collection). It will be based around a force of Solar Auxilia allied with an Imperialis Militia, thusly giving my Death Korps of Krieg a future aspiration to be built and painted. This will oppose a company of Word Bearers supported by a Warp Cult.

That means, quite simply, that I am converting to the Horus Heresy. That also means that I aspire to become more then a collector, but look to playing games in the Age of Darkness. I will likely keep a collection of other characterful models in hopes of one day using them for Rogue Trader or Dark Heresy or Inquisitor 28mm.

So, that leaves the Great Purge! Already I have begun parting ways with many armies having sold a Chaos Space Marine Army, and an Age of Sigmar Army. A Khorne-based Age of Sigmar Army is also on ebay with many more to follow.

It is a challenging thing to part ways with such collections and I know my variety of Forge World wares will be the most difficult to let go of. A decade of collecting Forge World 40K will be beginning to head to eBay over the next two months and I clear house to keep my sanity and redirect my focus.

As such the future will hold the completion of now-Warp Cults Army, then the Word Bearers, Krieg-based Militia and the Solar Auxilia. This will be done with regular deviations to the gaming display table that continues to take shape in the basement.

This is a time of mixed feelings. I have been quite attached to this ever-growing collection, yet I must admit that they are simply collecting dust. I think a reduction will help continue the progress towards completing an entire army.

I am not one to shamelessly self promote, but as I know what few readers I have are of like-mind when it comes to our hobby, I will keep people posted when some of the more unique and massive Forge World-related items begin to make their way to Ebay.

More to come…

Regards,

Mr. Kalidor

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Servo Skull Musings: Farewell to the Fantasy Flight/Games Workshop Alliance — February 4, 2017

Servo Skull Musings: Farewell to the Fantasy Flight/Games Workshop Alliance

This is not meant to announce or rehash old news. It is old news; months old. I have taken that time instead to reflect on that impact, and work towards completing a few collections before it is too late. I suppose it is never too late, but when Ebay prices soar, they tend to truly soar.

A few months ago Fantasy Flight Games announced on their website that as of this forthcoming February 28th, their licence agreement with Games Workshop comes to an end. This means that all products involving the Talisman, Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000 licences, will for all intents and purposes cease to exist with the exception of the libraries of collectors and the profiteering of Ebay and Amazon.

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Whether this licence expiry is mutual, or by one of the parties in particular may never be disclosed. What we can safely say is that Fantasy Flight still has some potent licences including Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and A Game of Thrones in addition to a plethora of other gaming options.

We also know that GW has been aggressively pursuing changes to the way they conduct their own business brands. Ignoring the sometimes questionable video game licences, they have put out more exciting projects in the past twelve months then they have in recent years. They have launched major expansions across their core Sigmar and 40K brands along with many system-compatible yet self contained boxed sets. In addition to this, the Horus Heresy is continuing to expand in their Forge World line-up and with the Calth and Prospero sets. The Horus Heresy is invading the more accessible sides of GW.

The legend of the once scuttled Specialist Games division of GW seems to be seeing a potential resurrection. Inquisitor, Necromunda, and Battlefleet Gothic are still played albeit without GW support. Warhammer Quest made its return. Other self-contained boxes have been regularly appearing. Is there potential hope for GW to bring back the RPG components of their offerings? Is this simply GW understanding that they have potentially been cannibalizing their product development options?

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A rare photograph of the often rumoured illegal Battlefleet Gothic tournaments. It is believed that this photo was taken behind an unidentified restaurant in Saigon.

Truth be told in this humble opinion, Fantasy Flight did a fantastic job with their access to the GW properties. I say this for a simple reason. Anyone who visits either Lexicanum and the 40K Wikia has probably noticed how much of the guts of those articles is from content created by Fantasy Flight; Dark Heresy, Deathwatch, Only War and Rogue Trader. So much of the interesting fluff has come from those product lines; lines produced under licence by Fantasy Flight Games.

While GW proper has produced an increased quantity of books, supplements and releases in the past year it has also seen an increased level of quality to boot. In my time with 40K, the best produced and executed sources for 40K canon has been a tie between the Imperial Armour and Horus Heresy Books of Forge World, and the RPG source books from Fantasy Flight. The reason for the tie is simply because they approach their offering of canon from different perspectives.

The Imperial Armour and Horus Heresy Books provide all manner of history and details and battle campaigns suitable to satisfy the big picture. The Fantasy Flight options provide a less seen picture; planets, sectors, cities and cultures delved into with incredible depth and fantastic illustrations. Ever wondered what life is like on countless worlds? The RPG books have you covered.

In that sense, the end of this era is a sad time. Perhaps the torch will simply pass back to GW and this will be their evolutionary renaissance; a necessary sacrifice serving as harbinger to great things yet to come. More disappointingly though, perhaps my collection of Rogue Trader books will never be complete.

Those books were and remain incredible sources of fluff. I purchased many volumes, and have never played a RPG in my life. What they contain however, is something that any 40K fan will appreciate and enjoy regardless of their intentions to play any of the RPGs. That alone speaks volumes to their quality.

As always, questions, concerns, comments and existential dilemmas are welcome.

Regards, Mr Kalidor

Servo Skull Musings: The Gateway Hobby — February 9, 2016

Servo Skull Musings: The Gateway Hobby

I have dabbled in the world of miniatures, on and off for some twenty years. Granted there have been gaps within that period that may have consisted of years themselves, miniature collecting and the surrounding fluff was always present to some extent. The time where I paused and returned, the return brought with it a pleasant nostalgia. For, there was no other but Games Workshop and specifically their 40K brand. Simply put, if there was no 40K, there was nothing else. No alternatives, and not even a glimmer of curiosity of what else may be out their as alternative options.

The past decade has seen my interest in 40K grow by leaps and bounds. My level of obsessive collecting, painting, and planning has expanded by such means of my creation of my dedicated modelling and painting studio, my expanding to Age of Sigmar, and even by way of this blog.

With that stated in the past few months my eyes have wandered to other options. This surprised me and forced a deep reflection on what that meant, and where it was going to head.

The internet is full of those deriding the direction, cost and even quality of the wares of GW. I do not share those concerns. I recognize them as mild annoyances, sometimes even necessary evils, but I counterbalance that with my enjoyment, in addition to the depth and beauty of their dark worlds.

Enter my favorite of the GW business units, Forge World. For anyone living under a hobby rock, it can be said that if Games Workshop and their brands Warhammer 40K and Age of Sigmar are Chevrolets, Forge World is their Cadillac. The quality of their models, books and supplemental material surpasses anything on the market. Which is why I order their product in spite of the pain it represents to order something from the UK for delivery in my home country.

The problem being… it never arrived. For three years Forge World has been contacted almost daily and four three years, the same response; “research is pending”. As this continues to slowly work its way up the corporate ladder to that level that represents someone capable of making a decision, my love for my little resin and plastic toys reaches an existential crisis. I wanted models. I waited, and waited, and waited. I still want models. I waited and waited and waited. Now, I simply want a refund. I expect I will be waiting and waiting and waiting. I will not give up, but my Cadillac is quickly proving to be a lemon.

That represents the first push towards expanding my horizons onto other alternatives. At first it was minor deviations from the Games Workshop realms, yet still involving Games Workshops. I discovered the beauty and wonder of the GW licensed products being developed by Fantasy Flight Games; Warhammer 40K board games and role playing games.

While I may never get the chance to play a RPG, the books were remarkable; the depth, the art, the details that pass by the militaristic and dogmatic Imperium proper towards the everyday life of Imperials and as yet unheard of worlds. I have mountains of Rogue Trader and Dark Heresy Second Edition books and that seems to be that first addicting hit.

Soon I found myself scouring Ebay for Battlefleet Gothic ships. I was still very much a GW collector, simply having expanded to other companies producing licenced products and tracking down old out-of-print models.

Then two things occurred that simply took me into new directions that have no connection to my history with GW. The first was the discovery of a Kickstarter I found information about on Faeit 212/Natfka. That was Dropfleet Commander. While I was aware of Dropzone Commander, it held little interest to me. This space/orbital based miniature game however was different, and I found myself excited for the game, and my first exposure to Kickstarter.

Next we have the Fantasy Flight Christmas sale. This saw me pick up numerous great deals including additional Rogue Trader books, but more importantly new games. The Merchant of Venus and the Battle of Westeros Miniature games were added. For the Battle of Westeros in fact, the core game and every single expansion was purchased for the same price one would have paid for just the core set prior to the sale.

Thus, the Warhammer world had officially been invaded by Dropfleet Commander and now the Game-of-Throne game that was Battle of Westeros.

It did not end there. Knowing first hand about the depth and quality everything I had purchased fro Fantasy Flight, I made the final leap.

That leap was towards their X-Wing game. A game with pre-painted miniatures that seems to be increasing in popularity fairly steadily since its release several years ago.

So what happens next? Does Forge World magically regain my trust and faith that they can serve this particular customer? Or will other options continue to pique my interest with GW scaling back in my hobby-life.

Time shall tell, the immediate fallout will however become apparent as my GW related posts are joined by non-GW related posts.

How about you? Are you purists? Do you dabble in alternatives? As always feedback, questions, concerns and conundrums are always welcome.

Regards,

Mr. Kalidor