Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An unfocused gamer is dangerous

Now that I'm back on the miniatures painting kick, as I noted in my last post one of the things I wanted to do was start focusing my miniatures collection on identified projects and start trimming off the excess. This tied in neatly with re-organizing my desk, which had become cluttered with stalled projects and half-finished miniatures. I'm a "pile and sort" kind of organizer, so the kitchen table quickly began to feel the stress of pounds of lead and pewter piled onto it as I began compiling figs from random miniatures cases, boxes, and other places I had left them "temporarily." Within about an hour I had to stop, as I had simply run out of room. What I was left with, was this:

Sadly, this pile doesn't include any of my marines for 40K, a High Elf army, Cogs and Red Blok for AT-43, a Confrontation goblin army, a box of Heroclix and one of Mechwarrior destined for repaints, my Malifaux figures, a random assortment of blistered Reaper figs, and a smattering of Epic and Heavy Gear stuff. As none of these listed items are painted any more than the stuff in the picture, none of this includes my painted figures either. And I haven't even broken out the terrain, a box of Armorcast stuff pristine in its stinky resin.

To say I was a bit shocked to see all of this before me would be an understatement. But the situation is obvious upon reflection. Without a regular gaming group and a dedicated system to play, the last decade of my hobby experience has been typified by a "Oooh, that's cool looking, I want one," and "Wow, at that price I better buy 5 Starship Trooper walkers." No, I don't play Starship Troopers, but I figured I could use them as something. They'd be great proxy armored sentinels, for instance, for that Imperial Guard army I don't own.

So, now that I can more clearly see what I own, I'll be assigning figures to projects, even those that are only vaguely formed in my mind, but the rest will be hitting the auction block in the near future.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Planning for the future

As I've reiterated a few times, my miniatures gaming interests are pretty varied, so spending too much time, effort, or resources on any one project penalizes the others. This is especially true with 40K, where a paucity of regular opponents and a lack of great interest in the current incarnation of the rules means I'm planning an army mostly out of sentiment for times past and my love of the setting. This being the case, I'm going to plan out the entirety of my 40K marine collection. This will provide some framework for the project, ensure that I'm not distracted by a new unit or vehicle that doesn't fit within this list, and allow me to start selling off extra figures that don't have a home in the list.

You'll notice that this list includes far more options for certain troop categories than the basic game allows. This is because this is a list of all the figures I'm interested in building and painting, and from this list I'll choose my game time armies. As the marine codex, as with most codices, has most of its really neat troop types in the elites section, the list will be particularly top heavy. You might also note that the list doesn't allow for any of the typical competitive marine force builds. That's also on purpose, as I've come to realize I'm just not all that interested in competitive gaming anymore and I can't justify the time spent painting to produce an army that caters to tabletop effectiveness more than aesthetic appeal - spamming tactical squads and rhinos would get boring pretty quickly, in my opinion.

So, for now, my planned Poseidon Legion marine collection is the following:
  • HQ
    • counts as Lysander
    • counts as Shrike
    • Power Armored Chapter Master/Captain
    • Terminator Armored Chapter Master/Captain
    • Power Armored Chaplain
    • Power Armored Librarian
    • Master of the Forge
    • 3 man Honor Guard
    • 5 man Command Squad
    • Convertable Command Rhino/Razorback
    • Sternguard Squad
      • 5-10 models w. full range of wargear options
      • Convertable Rhino/Razorback
    • Dreadnoughts
      • Venerable Dreadnought
      • 2 Dreadnoughts
      • Full complement of dreadnought weapon options for swapping
    • Ironclad Dreadnought
  • Troops
    • Tactical Squad 1
      • 10 marines
      • Sgt. w. Power Fist, Meltagun, Missile Launcher
      • Convertable Rhino/Razorback
    • Tactical Squad 2
      • 10 marines
      • Sgt. w. Power Weapon, Flamer, Heavy Bolter
      • Convertable Rhino/Razorback
    • Scout Squad
      • 10 scouts w. Sniper Rifles lead by Telion
    • Full set of Razorback weapon options
  • Fast Attack
    • 2 Landspeeders
      • Scratchbuilds based on RT-era landspeeder
      • Full set of magnetized weapon options
    • Possible 5-10 man Assault or Vanguard Squad
  • Heavy Support
    • 3 Predator Tanks
      • 2 Destructors w. Heavy Bolter Sponsons
      • 1 Destructor w. Lascannon Sponsons
      • All sponsons will be magnetized to allow future customization

With my project scoped out, the next step will be to organize the pieces from my collection necessary to build these units. With any luck, other than the landspeeders I should have everything I need to put this force together without spending a dime.

The final tally

With the voting finished (and thanks to all of you that voted, either here, on B&C, or via e-mail), it looks like the Poseidon Legion held out. Like I noted before, I couldn't always be sure if someone that e-mailed or posted to B&C also voted in the poll, so this wasn't an exact science. But, considering that the glut of chapters that each received 5 votes wouldn't have made my decision any easier, I'm happy that it appears that one of the options seemed to stand out. Here are the final results:

Poseidon Legion: 7 votes
Mithril Drakes: 5 votes
Mentor Legion: 5 votes
Crimson Fists: 5 votes
Purple Marines: 2 votes
Silver Skulls: 1 vote

A few people over at B&C had mentioned an interest in seeing a marine painted in the Poseidon Legion colors. To the right is such an example, though one painted years ago and thus no longer representative of my exact style or current skill with the brush. Still, it should give a pretty good idea of the general appearance I'll be going for.

As mentioned in the last post, I'm thinking of still tying in some navy blue elements to reference the Crimson Fist and Mithril Drake color schemes that I liked. This is still a WIP idea, but as I don't want to overwhelm the basic Poseidon blue that many people noted that they liked, I'm thinking of adding a simple navy colored helmet, likely to the veteran marines of the Poseidon Legion. I had toyed with the idea of using this color variation for sergeants within the chapter, but decided that I ultimately didn't want my marines running around with a "shoot me, I'm important" target painted on their helmet, like the Ultramarines do with their bright red sergeant helmets. To that end, this is the simple modification I am thinking of making (white knee pad will likely be throughout as a field to paint company or squad markings on):

Saturday, May 22, 2010

With one day remaining . . .

Since there's been a slowdown in votes over the last few days, I think I'm going to end the poll early, tomorrow night, so I can actually get down to work on the project. The current voting tally, again including both the poll to the left and responses I received via e-mail and over at the B&C forum, is:

Poseidon Legion: 7 votes
Crimson Fists: 4 votes
Mentor Legion: 4 votes
Mithril Drakes: 3 votes
Silver Skulls: 1 vote
Purple Marines: 1 vote

At this point, unless there's a rush of support for one of the other chapters, it looks like the clear winner will be the Poseidon Legion. As I still like the Mithril Drakes scheme, and a few others made similar comments, I may incorporate some navy blue elements into the Poseidon Legion scheme - helmets on veterans for instance.

So as to give me the opportunity to paint up a Mentor Legion figure or two, I may leverage their background story as testers of new technology and military liaisons to other chapters to include a few such marines, either as veteran sergeants or perhaps the entirety of my Sternguard squad. In retrospect, 2-5 Mentors might even be more than I want to paint, given all of their white armor. ;)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Tally So Far

With about 24 hours into the voting, we're beginning to see some clear separation amongst the marine color scheme options. As the poll is not necessarily inclusive of comments e-mailed to me or forum responses to the thread I opened at Bolter and Chainsword, here, I'll keep a running tally the manual way. So far, the breakdown looks like this:

Poseidon Legion: 5 votes
Mentor Legion: 4 votes
Crimson Fists: 4 votes
Mithril Drakes: 2 votes
Silver Skulls: 1 vote
Purple Marines: 1 vote

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ruminating on Color Schemes

With the upcoming tournament mentioned in my last post prompting me to sit back down at the painting table, I find myself once again confronting the decision that has paralyzed every other attempt to start a marine army - what color scheme/chapter to use. Because space marines are the 40K army perhaps most singularly uniform in appearance (compare the myriad chaos marine cults in a single force, or the range of aspect warrior types in an Eldar host), you really have to make sure you pick a scheme you want to paint. Since I'm very much a narrative-oriented gamer, a good background story is important as well. As I have enough other projects that I want to work on, this is going to be my only space marine force as well.

So, below are snapshots of the various schemes that I currently fancy, or have repeatedly resurfaced each time I consider the project over the years. I'm presenting them here as I'm hoping the community will help me decide which scheme/chapter to settle on. So, in no particular order:

I've loved these guys since they graced the cover of the Rogue Trader rulebook. Since I generally prefer "old school" chapters, and will want to do my marines in a throwback scheme if I choose to go the route of an official GW marine chapter, the Fists make perfect sense. As the title of my last post suggests, I was all set to start painting my marines in blue and red. However, it seems like there's been an explosion of Crimson Fist armies on the 'net. I realize this shouldn't have much impact on me, but it does make the project feel less unique.

Another throwback chapter, I've always though the clean white and dark green scheme of the Mentor Legion looked really sharp. They've got a great background as well. To maintain that old school feel, I'd be sure to use their old chapter badge, an owl's head, rather than the hawk's head now used by GW.

My final throwback scheme, the colors of the Silver Skulls could be used, unmodified, for a few other chapters as well, should I decide I wanted to build my own background. Because the painter program I used doesn't represent metallic colors well, let me point out that this isn't a gray scheme, but metallic silver, which is the biggest perk of this scheme. It will be dead easy to do, letting me quickly churn out an army to tabletop standard.

The first of my DIY marine chapters, the Poseidon Legion have jumped to the front of the line whenever I've considered painting some marines. I think the scheme looks great, and would work well both on the infantry (I've done one test marine in these colors) and bikes/land speeders. However, I'm a big fan of the marine armored vehicles and am not convinced that this scheme would translate well across such large canvases. Plus, as the background I've knocked together for these guys has them originating from an aquatic work, regular use of ground-based vehicles doesn't make a ton of sense.

My next DIY chapter, the Mithril Drakes, introduced in a post a year ago, have a scheme I like enough that I had basecoated a combat squad of marines in their colors. I still think it's a sharp scheme and the silver elements, as with the Silver Skulls, will make for fairly quick painting. The sea serpent motif that I planned to use for the chapter iconography would be fun as well. Please don't let the fact that this guy is more finished than the others (squad and chapter markings, boltgun in hand) sway any considerations. I figured it made more sense to reuse the picture posted before rather than rebuilding the scheme.

My final DIY chapter. There's no particular story or thought behind these guys, but I've always though marines in a deep purple would look good. Add in some tasteful gold bling and the parchment colored pauldrons to give some focal points, and I think this scheme works.

So, thoughts? Comments explaining why you like a particular scheme would be great, but I've also set up a poll to the left that you could use to quickly note your thoughts.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

1000 Pts of Crimson Fists

My bi-weekly gaming group (well bi-weekly for me, as they meet every week) will be running a friendly 1000 Pt. 40K tournament in July. I figure this will be a great opportunity to not only get in a day of gaming, but also prompt me to sit down at the painting table again. Considering that I don't want more than 2000 Pts. or so of marines when all is said and done (I've simply got too many miniature gaming interests to heavily invest time and space to one game/army), this will also give me a solid foundation on which to build the final army.

No doubt this list will be revised as time goes on, but here's what I'm thinking of for the tourney:

-Librarian - 100 pts

-Sternguard Veterans - 230
w. Power Fist, 1 Combi-Melta, Assault Cannon Razorback

-Tactical Squad - 235
w. 5 Additional Marines, Power Fist, Meltagun, Multimelta, Rhino

-Tactical Squad - 145
w. Power Weapon, Razorback

-Predator Tank - 120
w. Lascannon Sponsons

-Predator Tank - 85
w. Heavy Bolter Sponsons

-Predator Tank - 85
w. Heavy Bolter Sponsons