On the sixth day of Christmas the hobby meant to me…

Learning sixth edition

I’ve been struggling a bit with learning all the new rules. It’s not because they’re hard, it’s just that I haven’t had much chance to practice them. I’ve been busy and the weeks where I haven’t been busy I haven’t been able to play for some reason or other (frequently laziness I’m afraid to say). So, for 2013 I want to have a good understanding of the new rules. I keep making plans for flowcharts and flashcards, but they require a lot of work. I’m tempted to pick up the Dark Vengeance book as it’s a more convenient size to read.

So, by this time next year I am determined to have learned and applied (repeatedly) the new rules! I just have to settle down with the book for a few hours (I hope).


On the fifth day of Christmas the hobby meant to me…

…Fifth Edition!

 I’m off sick again today. I appear to have Necron Flu as I thought that I had dealt with it yesterday, only for it to come back again today. Fortunately the ever reliable AlmostNormal, aka my boyfriend, has come to the rescue with a guest post!




5th edition was the one that brought me back into the hobby.  I’d originally played 2nd ed., and after many years away one of my friends pointed out that we were grown-ups now and could afford all the stuff we could only long for as kids.  His method for demonstrating this was to buy a whacking great IG force.  I have to admit it took me a while to cave and finally go ahead and start buying models.  I was worried about the cost, how much time the whole thing would take, and of course what other people would think.  In particular, L.o.F. and I hadn’t been going out that long and it was hard to figure out how to  explain I was thinking about spending large amounts of time and money on little plastic men (well, monsters really but I often find it’s best to skim over such details).  Of course, it turns out that I needn’t have worried about it at all, but I think I’ll save the story of turning our lovely hostess for another time 🙂

…Four more excuses…

…Three things to think of…

Two different opinions

And a gift under the Christmas Tree

On the fourth day of Christmas the hobby meant to me…

Four more excuses…

I seem to be ill a lot recently, or busy or travelling or just plain lazy. Today I’m ill, so my plan to blog once a day over Christmas has been somewhat thwarted. I’m very good at coming up with excuses not to do something, whether it’s to put up my scheduled post, finish a model or go out in search of a game. It gets quite ridiculous sometimes. I keep telling myself that I’ll do it tomorrow or next week. Next year I should have a slightly less crazy schedule so maybe I’ll get a few more games in or even finish off some of the backlog of models waiting for me. I really want to play a few games next year and the only way I can do that is to stop procrastinating. I guess that I’ll just have to make an effort, get off my backside and do something other than just complain!


…Three things to think of…

Two different opinions

And a gift under the Christmas Tree

On the third day of Christmas the hobby meant to me…

…Three things to think of

I’ve been off my usual browsing routine a little bit recently partly due to the awful internet at my parents’ house (they say it’s awful, I live in a city and I think it’s absolutely atrocious). This means that I haven’t been keeping up with all the blogs I follow. There’s better bandwidth late at night here so last night I decided to make the most of it and catch up with all the webcomics that I follow. Over on the Space Wolves blog they host a cartoon called Wolf and Sister, which, if you haven’t seen it yet, is well worth a read. Last night I noticed that I’d missed reading the article below the most recent comic which was about women and 40K. There seems to be quite a series of these right now, starting, I think, by one by Abuse Puppy over on 3++, which has now been responded to by Adam on the Space Wolves Blog and doubtless has been mentioned elsewhere too (the broadband speed here is too poor for much research, but feel free to add links to other articles in the comments). There are certain things in common with both articles, they are both written by men and they are equally passionate about what they think is the problem. The problem is that neither guy seems to have asked a female wargamer her opinion first.

Ok, it’s probably stretching it a bit to call me a gamer at the moment, as, although I’ve desperately wanted a game or two recently, either I haven’t had time, or I haven’t had anybody to play with, but I didn’t start this hobby just to paint little men a fetching shade of blue. I am also female, or at least I was last time I looked, so I guess I’m about as qualified as these guys to talk about women in wargaming. Of course, I bring my own bias, I’m not exactly normal, after all. I’m a physicist and I’ve never been a handbags and makeup kind of girl (in fact my shopping routine when I go to the next city is largely on the lines of bookshop, Games Workshop, English shop (I really miss crumpets) and then the train home). However, being qualified has never stopped anyone from blogging before, so here are my three things to think of regarding women and wargaming.

1) Do as you would be done by!

It’s as simple as that! Treat any gamer, not just female ones, as you yourself would like to be treated, and genuinely so, don’t kid yourself that you’d like to be flirted with by an overly aggressive stranger. Just be polite(ish), friendly and use appropriate language. We don’t bite, but neither do we want to be bitten. There are words that should not be used, but they vary from place to place and country to country, so I’ll let you be the judge of that (please note that although rape used to mean something slightly different, its meaning now is very clear, so unless you’re talking about a horrible crime, don’t use the flipping word, it’s not clever and it’s not nice. There are all sorts of swearwords that can be quite happily used instead, honest!). Also, don’t be patronising. The female brain is wired to do more than cooking and shopping and thinking that things are “cute”. Think about how you would feel if somebody tried to patronise you and stop it before you start. However, don’t worry if you do make a mistake, we all do. Just don’t do it all the time.

My local Games Workshop store is very good and makes me feel welcome every time I visit. I’ve also never had any trouble with The Overlords. It’s obvious that there are a lot of awesome gamers like them out there, so don’t be That Guy, letting the side down!

2) Let people play on their own terms

By this I don’t mean changing the rules just because your opponent is about to throw a tantrum, but about how you set about either playing a game or introducing somebody to the hobby. Whatever you do don’t try to force somebody into giving it a go, even if you think that it’s all nice and friendly. That’s not a good way to introduce somebody to anything, be it broccoli, bungee jumping or 40K. Instead be prepared to compromise. Rather than drag somebody along to a tournament or a store that they don’t want to visit, why don’t you try a different approach. You could lend them “this really interesting novel” or show them a model that you think they’d like or find comical.

3) Have fun!

At the risk of being lynched I am going to remind you that, when all’s said and done, it’s only a game. You’re not going to cure cancer by rolling dice, neither are you going to start World War 3 because your Leman Russ kills your opponent’s Leman Russ. If everyone is enjoying themselves, even if they are being tabled, or their models are wobbling so much that they might be drunk, then they are more likely to try again another day! The 40K universe is rich and grim and dark, it makes it rather special, but there’s still room for a bit of fun.

Anyway, I think that’s it for today. I don’t know if this article will have much of an impact in the overall argument, but I’ve put down what I think and maybe it’ll help somebody else think some day.


Two different opinions

And a gift under the Christmas Tree

On the second day of Christmas the hobby meant to me…

…Two different opinions

So, yesterday was Christmas and like many families in the UK, mine sat down after lunch and opened presents. There were no models for me this year.  However, I got a copy of Munchkin from my boyfriend which was a very nice surprise. He’d seen it in a shop in the city where we live and commented on it and I’d asked what it was and expressed an interest in playing it one day. I was not expecting to get a set for Christmas though. Of course, being me, the first thing I did was remove the cellophane and read the rules and then the text on the cards. Cue comments from my family.

My family are so-so on my various obsessions, sometimes they are fine with them, sometimes, and both gaming and Doctor Who fit into this category, they don’t and consider it fair game to tease me or get grumpy about it. Last night was a bit of a bumper one as I had Munchkin and Doctor Who, which had an anachronism (Teddy Bears in Victorian England) and a gorgeous reference for fans of the classic series at the end (which I won’t reveal).

However, this blog really is about gaming and hobbying so I should stick to Munchkin. I was hoping I could persuade my Mum to play when my boyfriend visits (you need at least three players) but, whereas Scrabble or Monopoly are perfectly fine, a gamers game is apparently not. I’m not an experienced gamer, as you probably know if you follow this blog at all, I’ve only got into these things properly fairly recently, although I am currently regretting not getting into role playing games at uni when I had the chance. However I’m wondering why there is this enormous gulf between non-gamers and gamers when it comes down to deciding what is or is not a gamers game. Admittedly Munchkin is full of gamer-specific references, but at its core is the same sort of back-stabbing fun and games seen in everything from Othello to Scrabble to Poker. Perhaps I’ve always been a gamer at heart, perhaps that’s why I find the idea of all these games that I really ought to get round to playing, so interesting. Perhaps there’s an invisible dividing line between those that do and those that don’t. I guess that I’ll still have to wait a few weeks to play Munchkin though, until I’m back home and have a large enough pool of people to play with!


…And a gift under the Christmas Tree

On the first day of Christmas the hobby meant to me…

… A gift under the Christmas Tree

Not a gift to me, but a gift for my boyfriend. I’m not revealing what this year’s gift is, partly because I don’t know what time I’m sending this and partly because I haven’t bought everything yet this year.

It’s strangely difficult to get gifts for other hobbyists. I’ve done it a few times now and I think that it comes down to two problems “what do they want” and “what do they have”. I have enough problems when somebody asks me the first question, it’s much more difficult to guess for somebody else. It can be incredibly good fun though. I do feel sorry for those people outside the hobby who are asked to get a “Doom Scythe” or a “Heldrake” or even a box of “Tactical Marines”. The internet probably helps a lot, but, if like me, you like to find surprises for people, trying to understand something that you’re not all that familiar with just enough for you to get the right gift is a little bit daunting. You can ask somebody else that you know who is involved in it all, but they may not be familiar with the army in question (and standing in a store trying to explain it all to somebody is not easy), or you can do your research online, but there’s only so far that you can go without any knowledge of what something is called.

Anyway, Merry Christmas and I hope that you got what you wanted this year (if you celebrate Christmas that is). I’ll be back tomorrow with another short post about something related vaguely to the hobby or the blog.


Home for the holidays

So, the last few weeks have been rather hectic for me, with all the chaos culminating in a trip home. All the fuss and the visitors (all of whom were very welcome) meant that I had no time to myself though, which meant no painting or modelling or even much reading. Actually, I had fifteen blissful minutes painting red onto my latest Swiftclaw, but it ended far too quickly.

I decided that I’d bring some painting home with me for the holidays as I’d really wanted to finish my latest project before Christmas and failed miserably. I’m always surprised just how many paints I need just to finish a project. I filled a litre ice cream tub with paints, and I still forgot one.

I’ve picked up a few of the Black Library Advent stories to read at home. I’ve just listened to Strike and Fade by Guy Haley, it’s only ten minutes long but it is excellent! I’m now listening to Warmaster by John French. I’m probably not going to buy all of the stories, but the ones that I have read/ listened to already have been top quality. I like the addition of audio stories to the flash fiction shorts. A thousand words/ ten minutes is very short, but it’s long enough to get a good atmosphere going and some character into the protagonists.

I still have a few to read and I guess that I’ll pick up some more once advent is over, so that I can read the ones that I’ve missed.

For now though I get to share the audiobooks with the dog, and I don’t think he’s a fan of Horus Lupercal!


No White Dwarf review this month (or the curse of the Hobbit)

I’ve read this month’s White Dwarf, or parts of it anyway, but I’ve not read it properly. This is not because it’s of lower quality than the previous two months, the regular articles are just fine. It’s just that I just can’t get excited by The Hobbit. I guess that it’s partly due to all of the hype. It’s a book that I read when I was eight. It’s a good book, I remember really enjoying it then, I still enjoy it now, and I’d probably enjoy a Hobbit film. It’s just that there are now three films and the first one is being advertised flipping everywhere! I can’t even escape by reading White Dwarf as a large chunk of the magazine is all about the film or at least the Game of the Film. It’s getting to the point where I’m not going to watch it because of all of the adverts. Unfortunately this is why I picked up this month’s White Dwarf, flicked through it on the train home, put it on the coffee table and forgot about it. It’s a pity, as it’s obvious that a lot of effort goes into all of the White Dwarf columns and I want to read them, it’s why I buy the magazine after all, but it’s hard to get excited about an issue that is so full of something that I’m not interested in. I’m just hoping that as time goes on, the domination of one product line an issue will calm down a bit. I have a feeling that, for now at least, we’ll be hearing more and more about The Hobbit.

One thing that I noticed this month saddened/worried me a little. This month’s magazine came with a large poster of Citadel figures for Warhammer 40K, topped by a display of the Dark Vengeance figures. Not everything is shown on the list, for instance, only Ultramarines are shown for the Space Marines (no Lysander etc.), but, with one notable exception, every codex is represented. That codex is Sisters of Battle. I’ve checked, I’ve even double and triple checked the poster, they’re not even hiding among the Guard or the Grey Knights. I don’t know what it means, it’s possible that it’s because the models are all still largely metal and only available on the Games Workshop site rather than through stores, but it’s sad and a little bit worrying that they’re not on the list with everything else. I guess that all I can do is hope that they’re missing because they’re in the process of being redone and in a few months there’ll be shiny new figures, but I’m not sure, and considering what’s in this rumour/interview from Faeit 212, I’m not at all hopeful either.

I was going to give my final decision on whether I liked the new style White Dwarf this month but I’m torn. I feel that on one hand, three months has given us an example of all three gaming systems, on the other hand though, I’m desperately hoping that in future it will be more like last month than this month. I guess that I’ve got some thinking to do!


Look, no hands!

I mentioned a little while back that I’d been away on a trip. During the long flight back I had an idea for a conversion. I got back home and spent a good part of the rest of the day sitting in a pile of sprues looking for bits. However, it’s taken me until now (well, Saturday) to find and convert everything.

I wanted to build a Swiftclaw harpoonist, standing on his bike, and, as the harpoon is a marine weapon, I decided to give him watery rather than furry trophies.

Olaf Fafnirsbane unpainted left

The biker himself is built from parts from the Space Wolves Pack, Space Wolves upgrade and Space Marine Bike kits. I reposed him by carefully cutting along the joints using both a scalpel and a razor saw, drilling a hole through the pieces and threading steel wire through them to make them poseable. I then repaired the joints using greenstuff. The harpoon arm is actually a biker’s arm, as it was easier to deal with than anything with more detail. The harpoon itself is made from the pole of an icon from the Seekers of Slaanesh kit, topped with a speartip made from plasticard and green stuff. The serpent hide cloak is just made from green stuff. I decided to make a more dynamic head for this model, so I found one from the Space Wolves Pack box which had the right expression and removed the hair. Then, once I had positioned the head, I sculpted hair on.

Olaf Fafnirsbane unpainted right

I used green stuff on the bike too, in order to sculpt the sea serpent trophy on the front of the bike. I then magnetised the model so that it would be easier to transport.

Olaf Fafnirsbane unpainted back

So, the next job is to paint it. I have to defend my thesis, have a project meeting, find a flipping jacket and keep various relatives under control, all before Christmas (there’s also all the shopping stuff to do). However, I would like to get him done before I go home.


Pleading sickness

I have a cold. It’s not quite bad enough for me to take time off work (at the moment the dividing line between going in in and taking a sick day is whether I can physically drag myself out of bed) but it’s enough to make me uninterested in doing things like reviewing White Dwarfs or writing long blog posts.

I have managed a little hobbying and hopefully I will have done enough to post a picture of the unpainted conversion this weekend. I was supposed to be tidying up my partly painted pile but instead I’ve been converting like crazy. Fortunately green stuff work requires very short bursts of effort in order to avoid wayward thumbmarks and squashed details. I just have a few small details (and a great big spear) to go.

I’ve done some reading too. I bought Faith and Fire the other day and I’ve just finished it. I think that when I’ve finished Hammer and Anvil I will write a review of the duology as Faith and Fire was an interesting read.

Anyway, this is a poor excuse of a post but it will have to do!