Sunday, 10 July 2016

Thoughts from my desk: Age of Sigmar, Purple Worms and batch painting

Having just gotten back into the blog I have quite a few thoughts and things swirling abut in my head that I felt like writing down. Since the end of my academic year I have hung around my university doing research for my dissertation and in my spare time doing bits of hobbying. While my desk is usually covered in odd bits of paper, books and post-it notes; it is currently swamped beneath paint pots and miniatures.

This is where we are at the moment with quite a few different things going on that provoked my train of thought...

Firstly I would like to address the miniature which I used for the title image and thumbnail of this post. While ordering some weathering powders from Forge World for my brother I decided to pick myself up a Mournghoul; a miniature I have always liked and thought would make a great test piece for my upcoming Age of Sigmar project. 

The Duc d'Castlefells
Yes, you read that correctly. I have finally decided to cease my mourning for the Old World and delve into the Age of Sigmar. A year ago when the new game was first released I wrote this editorial: Thoughts on Age of Sigmar - Rage, Optimism and the Uncertain Future... . In which I was cautiously optimistic but ended on the note that the game as it stood would not receive my custom. A year later a few things have changed which have made me reevaluate my opinions. Foremost is the fact that an enormous amount of new material has been released which has helped to flesh out the setting and those inhabiting it. 

As someone who really enjoys fluff this has done much to pique my interest. Age of Sigmar is certainly a massive tonal shift from the Old World and took quite a bit of wrapping my head around. Of great help was an article Gav Thorpe wrote about writing his novel 'Warbeast' (which I hope to read soon) where he talks about what encountering the new setting was like and he responds to quite a few of the commenters about the way things are moving forward. Link here: Gav Thorpe Author Notes. Most importantly for me he says that:

"If Warhammer was about anything (and if 40K has a central theme), it was about the struggle against Chaos representing our own fears and least desirable aspects destroying us from within. If Age of Sigmar represents anything, it is of our best traits straining to rise above our worst, the indomitable spirit to overcome (rather than stubborn refusal of the inevitable). Hope, not hopelessness."

And it was this change in the dynamic of man's relationship to Chaos: a setting of pessimistic futility changed to one of optimistic hope, that helped me understand what GW are trying to achieve and why Age of Sigmar has garnered the reactions it has. Such a massive tonal shift, particularly from one which has defined both WFB and 40k for decades, is obviously going to upset many and for me it was this now lost sense of dark fantasy that pervaded the Old World that drew me into Warhammer in the first place.

This ideological shift however also brings with it lots of new and exciting possibilities. In fact more than anything it has been the enthusiasm and drive of the online Age of Sigmar communities that has gotten me interested in starting my own hobby journey in the mortal realms. Foremost it has been listening to Dan and Wayne on the Heelanhammer Podcast and the work of intrepid bloggers who have breathed life into the game that have provoked me into giving the game another chance. 

The evolving storyline has caught my interest, the models just seem to be getting better and better and most importantly GW seem to be listening to what people want from the rules with the release of the Generals Handbook. With all the excitement being stirred up by the Summer Campaign I have had a proper look at Age of Sigmar and decided to jump in. This is of course not to say that I won't miss the Old World, and of course AoS is not without it's faults, but I have decided I would quite like to get in on this game and explore a new setting full of hope and wonder. 

Unfortunately as I am still woefully behind on everything and lacking a suitable army I won't be participating in the Summer Campaign. However, I have decided that I am going to spend the next month or so reading some books and planning my forces so that when my new academic year starts at the end of September I can begin building a new army. While I was briefly tempted by the Ironjaws and the Fyreslayers, I eventually settled upon the ravenous hordes of the Flesh-Eater Courts and their allies amongst the Grand Alliance of Death. While there haven't been any new models for this Grand Alliance yet I thought it would give me the opportunity to bring my Nagash miniature into the game for use on the tabletop and by the time I have a small force of Flesh-Eaters finished there is a chance new stuff for Death will be released I can buy to ally with them. 

Anyway that is my little wall of text about Age of Sigmar over. I will probably write more about the game and my thoughts on it come October when I start putting models together. I did write a bit more about my thoughts on the General's Handbook and rules in general but I chose to cut it and will post it when I have the book in my hands. 

Elsewhere on my desk are a few miniatures for Frostgrave. Above being a giant worm, an apothecary and a bird-man ranger being prepped for basing and finishing touches. My younger brother and I have had a lot of fun with Frostgrave this past year: he quite enjoys beating me on the tabletop with his jammy rolls while I enjoy painting and modelling all kinds of miniatures and scenery pieces with which to occupy the frozen city. Since seeing that there were rules for giant worms and even a scenario based around one in the main book; I knew I had to have one and as a Dungeon Master who primarily runs D&D 3.5 I knew I had to paint it purple. The other day I finally managed to get one of the Reaper Bones Great Wurms off of eBay and I have thoroughly enjoyed painting the beast thus far. My brother and I are planning on playing quite a bit of Frostgrave when I get home for the summer and should I get the chance I may post one or two of our adventures on here. 

Also on my desk at the moment is this horde of hobgoblins, the last thing to paint other than my Daemon Prince in my re-painted Chaos army. Painting these models has reminded about one of the things I really disliked about gaming in the Old World near the end: the requirement of massive units. This became a real problem in 8th edition with the introduction of the horde rule when you suddenly needed to fork out huge amounts of cash to get your units up to 30 men and beyond. While I personally could never be bothered (read: didn't have the money) to field hordes it was simply put the pinnacle of the high-cost massive army problem that the game developed. Ordinarily I don't mind batch painting, but doing these converted hobgoblins just reminds me of a very expensive era of Warhammer fantasy. Hopefully I am now only a few dry brushes and rust effects away from finishing this unit before treating myself to a centrepiece to finish off this army. 

Anyway congratulations to anyone who managed to wade through all these ramblings and I hope you found something interesting in there. Now I really ought to get back to those hobgoblins...

1 comment:

  1. I wonder how you manage to remember the things on your desk or track if something is lost because there is too many which is going on your desk and mind. Happy working.


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