High Elves and Handmaidens

You’ve possibly heard me moan about female models before, it’s something that I find vaguely curious, both from a personal point of view, I’d like to build an all or majority female army some time in the future, and a more general point of view, regarding the portrayal of the female figure versus that of the male one (and the whole big boobies thing). However, today I’m feeling all positive about female models, thanks to the new High Elves.

I have to admit that High Elves by themselves don’t really interest me and my first instinct upon opening White Dwarf was to giggle at the names of the two phoenix models, who sound as if they were named by teenage girls (there’s a strong teenage girl vein running through a lot of the new High Elf releases to be honest- it’s kind of sweet). However, upon looking again at some of the pictures I spied two units that really interested me model-wise: The Sisters of Avelorn and the Handmaiden of the Everqueen. I really, really like these models, not just because of what they are, but also because of what they represent. In these two kits Games Workshop have given us female warriors who are exactly that. They’re slender rather than dangerously buxom and they’re clad like, well, warriors. The Handmaiden of the Everqueen shows a bit more flesh, but wow, she looks like she means serious business.

This is what I like to see in female models, the same things that I look for in male, monstrous or robotic models, figures that represent what the character is. I think that these two kits really do that. I have to admit that I don’t know any of their rules, but they’re described as either archers or a bodyguard and they look like that! It’s a pity about the little hearts everywhere, but that seems to be the teenage girl influence again.

I’m not so keen on the Everqueen herself, but I think that might be the painting style. The eyeshadow and lipstick make her a look a little bit more of a tart than a fairy queen!

I’m tempted to buy the Handmaiden, but I really shouldn’t, I still haven’t painted Valkia yet and, unlike Warriors of Chaos I don’t like the whole army enough to consider picking them up (I’m still avoiding taking up Warhammer Fantasy- just). However, I like these models and I really wanted to highlight them with a blog post. I don’t give marks out of 10 but they’d be a solid 9 or 9.5 if I did (losing half a point for the twee little hearts).

Anyway, I should get back to my painting, so that I have models ready for my next kitbash post. If I haven’t managed to persuade you to at least take a look at these models by now, I never will!


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

White Dwarf November 2012

Last weekend I picked up the second of the new look White Dwarfs. It’s still on probation as far as I am concerned but I’m fairly happy so far.

There are a few reminders of the bad old days, namely while last month’s magazine was heavily 40K orientated while this month’s issue was largely based around Warhammer Fantasy. As someone who currently only pays 40k, it’s hard for me to really get into a largely fantasy based article. However, part of this problem is due to the magazine being based round the new releases, which take up a very large chunk of the magazine.

Oddly enough, I did spend some time on the new releases. I find that I like looking at the pictures, even of models that I’ll never buy. I get eye strain easily and as I work on a PC all day during the week, I don’t like spending all evening browsing the web (the weekend is another matter). Having  large high quality images in White Dwarf means that I can look at, drool over and criticise the pictures to my heart’s content. There are a few too many of them though and the Forgeworld pictures were very disappointing. The “normal” Games Workshop models have new pictures, different to those on the website, the Forgeworld pictures were the same mostly unpainted models seen on the Forgeworld site. In the case of the Magma Dragon, there are colour pictures on the Forgeworld page, yet all the magazine got was a picture of a rather boring looking lump of grey resin (and I like the Magma Dragon). What’s the point of putting Forgeworld stuff in the magazine if someone is not going to actually make an effort to sell it!

It is rather obvious that this is the White Dwarf for parents doing Christmas shopping as the gift guide gets a large spread. As a hobbyist this is frustrating, but thinking as someone who has bought Games Workshop related presents (without being able to openly ask the giftee what they want) and who every year has a mild panic over what to buy her brothers for Christmas, I can see the appeal of a pictorial list of stuff that can be taken into a shop and pointed at.

I was tempted by the ‘Eavy Metal Edge Paint Set… until I saw the price, which is far more than I’d consider paying, especially as I don’t really need special edge highlighting paints.

As a 40K player, the big splash this week was the Imperial Defence Network. It looks pretty nice but I don’t really have space for it at the moment, so I’m merely admiring it from afar. I’m more likely to pick up the Valkia the Bloody model which is almost right, and paint her just for kicks. Actually I have already done so, this post has taken me far too long to write, and she is absolutely gorgeous, but I’ll write about her another time.

The Army of the Month is a nice feature. I’ll happily look over other people’s beautifully painted models for hours, despite the gnawing envy over the fact that they are so, so much nicer than mine. I’m looking forward to seeing what army will be showcased next month.

Of the regular editorial like opinion pieces, Jeremy Vetock, Jervis Johnson and Blanchitsu, I much prefer the first two. Blanchitsu was a four page spread with two pages of content and was, to be honest, fairly disappointing. Jervis Johnson’s column was fairly interesting. I’m not a tournament player, so I can’t give a critical view on it, but it was perfectly readable. Vetock’s article was quite fun too and made me smile, which is very nice. I really want to know what a “shrill but manly Wyvern shriek” sounds like now!

Although the Hall of Fame is not content heavy I quite like the idea of spotlighting a particular model and the Mangler Squigs are cute!

The hobby related content in this month’s White Dwarf is fairly good and the salt technique was new to me. I’m really liking the direction they’ve taken in the hobby section, it feels more useful and, even if the techniques are irrelevant sometimes, there’s plenty of inspiration and encouragement there.

However I still don’t get why the “This month in” section is after the store directory. It’s far too good to be hidden away.

In conclusion, this month’s White Dwarf is still riding on the same high as last month. It has the same good and less good parts (well, if nothing else they’re consistent). I’m planning at waiting until next month before I make up my mind on the new layout still though. I just hope that it isn’t all about Lord of the Rings as that would be rather boring for me!

Chaotic Thinking

Another short update with no pictures I’m afraid. On the upside though I only have one of my original Long Fangs to go. The only problem is whether I’ll get it finished for Thursday’s post or if I’ll be distracted by Helsreach, which I’ve finally got round to buying.

The rumour sites are busy talking about the upcoming Warriors of Chaos models. I guess that I’ll take a good look at the new White Dwarf when it comes out on Saturday. I don’t want to branch out into Warhammer Fantasy just yet but ever since I read Valkia the Bloody I’ve wanted to build my own Valkia, just for the fun of it. The trouble is that now there’s going to be an official one and so I feel that all my plotting and scheming and trying to figure out how to make a slimmer, more streamlined Daemon Prince/Princess may have been wasted.

I need to go to my local GW on Saturday as, not only do I want to get this month’s White Dwarf, I finally need to replace my Chaos Black which is pretty much empty. I’m not too bothered about swapping to the “new” black as it’s not exactly going to have any colour matching problems and so far the new paints that I have used have been perfectly fine.

I’m currently trying to consider whether I really want Angel Exterminatus now, or if I want to wait until it comes out in paperback. On one hand it’s a shiny new Horus Heresy book, on the other hand it won’t fit on the shelf with the others. I’m also wondering if this was the right book to start the new “special” versions with. If it had been Fear to Tread that had been released in hardback then I think we probably would have ordered it without thinking, as the episode is an important one in the Horus Heresy and for the Blood Angels. The trouble is that I know very little about Perturabo. He turned up as the bad guy in The Crimson Fist, but his portrayal there did nothing to warm him to me. It’s been relatively easy to feel some sympathy for most of the other fallen Primarchs and perhaps all that Perturabo needs is his own book in order to rank up there with Lorgar or Magnus or Fulgrim but I’m not gripped with curiosity about him at the moment.  Maybe the internal illustrations by Karl Richardson will sway me, I loved his work in Lone Wolves after all. However I’m still wondering if that and the mystery that is Perturabo is enough to make me pay out the extra euros in order to get the hardback, or whether I’d rather buy a couple of paperbacks instead.

The Return of White Dwarf

So my boyfriend and I went to our local Games Workshop store to pick up this month’s White Dwarf (and Shadows of Treachery, but that’s for another post). I was interested to see what the newly revamped White Dwarf was like. It definitely felt different picking it up. It’s thicker for one thing and I love the different textures on the cover. It feels like more of a modern publication.

This isn’t going to be a very detailed review, I’m saving that for a time when I’m not ill and I’d like a few more issues so that I can build up a better idea of what an issue is like before I compare old and new White Dwarf.

Over all I have to say that new White Dwarf is an improvement over the old one. The pages can still feel a little crowded but the new layout is not bad. The only thing that I really don’t get is that the “This Month in” section is behind the store finder. I really think that it should be the other way round as not only is it convenient to have to store finder at the back where you know exactly where to look (and yes, I know this is the age of the internet, but the White Dwarf store finder is more convenient than the Games Workshop webpage finder), the “This Month in” section is pretty good and doesn’t deserve to be buried away at the back.

There are two things that strike me about this month’s White Dwarf, first is the rise of the opinion piece, even the adverty “New Releases” section has opinions and description in the text, the second is the increase in “outsiders” in the articles. “The Army of the Month” and “The Rivals” sections are actually dedicated to ordinary readers rather than those who work in Games Workshop HQ. This is all to the good. I don’t think I spent more than half an hour on the previous issue of White Dwarf and I’ve been dipping in and out of this one all weekend. Some of that is admittedly down to my drooling over the new Daemon Engines, which, if they weren’t so incredibly expensive would be on my “to buy” list, even though I really need to paint more Space Wolves before I think of starting another project, but a lot of it is down to the increased content.

The aforementioned “This Month in” section is really good. There is an article with Phil Kelly and Jes Goodwin on the new Chaos Space Marines codex explaining how and why they have evolved the codex and the models complete with concept drawings. You get the impression that both men really enjoy what they are doing and its nice to get reasons for what has been done. I wasn’t so impressed with the Forgeworld pages but the Black Library interviews were quite good.

The modelling side of the hobby is fairly well represented. The new conversions section is interesting and I always like to see pictures of other people’s models. The Urdek Refinery board in “Battlegrounds” is rather impractical for people without lots of space, time and money but it’s there more as an inspiration than an instruction sheet.

“Paint Splatter” is the new painting section. Again, there are no actual instructions, just paint colour guides. While painting instructions are probably very useful, I can see why they haven’t included one, as while it’s good to show it once, you’d really have to include it for every issue and that would take up a lot of space. The paint guides may even be useful. I like the Daemonfire techniques. It is aimed at the beginner, but to be honest, beginners are the ones that need the leg up, not the semi-pro painter.

The “New Releases” section is still far too long, but it’s less of just a catalogue now. Another worry is that this issue is very heavily Warhammer 40K oriented. I am a 40K rather than a Fantasy player, but I imagine anybody who is purely a Warhammer Fantasy player may be a little bit disappointed. At least they get something though, unlike Lord of the Rings (I only spotted one photo of Rangers and a picture of Gandalf).

In conclusion I have to say that the new White Dwarf is an improvement over the old one. It’s still far from perfect but I’m going to give it a few issues to settle in before I make my final judgement.

Drill bits, White Dwarf, Glue and Fantasy

Well there was no post last night because I’ve been making very little progress. For some reason on Saturday I decided to drill out the barrels on the guns on all of my models. I ruined two bolt pistols before I decided that I need a finer drill bit. Of course the shop in town doesn’t have any, so I’m going to have to trek to the out of town DIY store.

I finally managed to pick up September’s White Dwarf (the Dark Vengeance one). I haven’t been to my local GW for a while- things keep getting in my way, either life in general or the Formula 1 or Moto GP on the telly. However I broke so many bits off my metal models that I needed new super glue and, as there is a dearth of model shops in my area I gave in and decided to buy a tube of the  Citadel stuff. I’ve been using normal super glue but I’ve not been happy with it as it’s either too liquid or not liquid enough for what I want. That meant that if I wanted to make progress this week I’d have to catch a train and go to my local GW.

I wasn’t overly impressed with this month’s White Dwarf, I bought it in order to look at the pictures but I reckon that I’m getting picky these days as I wasn’t overly impressed. I’m looking forward to the new improved White Dwarf- I always tend to try and keep optimistic about books and magazines but White Dwarf is currently missing something (possibly content). Hopefully the reboot will revitalize it a bit. I’m not too bothered about the price, compared to the other magazines that I read it’s not so bad, what I am worried about is that there’ll somehow be even less content. I guess that I’ll find out on Saturday.

A much better read was Valkia the Bloody by Sarah Cawkwell. I know that it’s Warhammer Fantasy rather than 40K but it’s a book that I’ve been thinking about getting since it came out. I was hoping to get a copy when I was back in the UK but I couldn’t find one. I have to say that it was well worth the wait. It’s a great read- I got through it in an afternoon, I couldn’t put it down, and while I know very little about Warhammer Fantasy (the cross over with Daemons is very helpful) it was perfectly understandable as a stand alone novel. It was strange just how compelling Valkia was. I knew as I read the book that she was Not a Very Nice Person but I couldn’t stop cheering for her even during her most skull snatching, blood spilling scenes. It’s not a long book, so if you haven’t read it yet, go and pick up a copy, you won’t regret it!