Category Archives: Warhammer 40k

To Do: Get My Hobby Life Back on Track

Man oh man, life can get hella distracting sometimes. My abundance of free time before the wedding has vanished so well, not even Kazaam could bring it back.

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So what all’s been happening? Well, work has increased a fair amount. It happens from time to time when you work for a multi-billion dollar company. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to the powers that be for keeping me in a job, I’m just saying it gets in the way of goofing off is all. Life is full of problems like this.

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Along with my 9-5 job, my freelance work has picked up a bit, which takes even more time out of the geeky schedule.

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What little free time I’ve had has been spread to painting figures for an upcoming Armies on Parade competition at my local Games Workshop store, playing Borderlands 2, Halo 4, and Neverwinter, and attempting to impregnate my beautiful wife for family starting.

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Anyways, yes, life has been hectic. I finally found myself with a night not so dedicated to other stuff that I’m able to sit down and pour my little painters heart out. But first, why the hell didn’t anyone tell me how great Borderlands 2 is? Actually, lots of people did, but I don’t listen. Mind’s all jam-packed with comic books, Warhammer 40k, boobs, college football, and plans to merge all of these things together. So far my plan is to cram my wife’s noggin with geeky stuff, as her female body already comes equipped with breasts, but she’s fierce of mind. Little by little, it will happen.

So yes, Borderlands 2, what a damn good game! I’m currently playing with my best friend growing up, and loving every second of it. It’s a great blend of fast-paced FPS action and RPG elements. My obsession with swords forced me to play the ninja-like character, though the download pack with the chainaxe wielding guy looks redonk, as the kids say nowadays. I may have to hit that thang up, yo.

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The main thing I want to talk about this evening is model painting. I find myself more and more drawn to this aspect of the hobby. Buying stuff is always fun, and playing the game is a blast, but there’s such a sense of accomplishment that comes spending countless hours sweating beneath a burning light bulb, painting every insignificant corner of a 2.5-inch tall model that will just sit in a glass case for the rest of its days. Mmmm, so rewarding.

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But seriously. Well, not seriously. Nothing in this blog is serious. But seriously. Spending hours watching TV entertains, but at the end of the day, you have nothing to show for it. Video games reward you with accomplishments, but as soon as you sell of the title or the game server goes down, it all counts for naught. But putting a lot of effort into a model yields tangible results. I can pick it up, obsess over the small details I missed, compliment myself over trying something new, and most importantly, actually hold the fruits of my labors. It’s how I imagine Scrooge McDuck feels every time he dives into his money bin, all cock loose and fancy free.

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With this inspiration has come two things; fairly decent looking models, and lots of research. I thought to myself, “Boobs,” then, “Why not share it all with your readers?” Damn good question, voice in my head that sounds an awful lot like Paul Giamatti. Why don’t I?!?

First, I’d like to share my most recent accomplishment, my Forgeworld Abaddon vs. Loken diorama.

Loken Vs. Abaddon

This piece took me about 10 days total to complete, off and on, you know, with what little time I had thinking about stuff and working. What I’m most proud of with the final result is:
1) The bare skin. I’ve always considered myself poor at painting skin, and would avoid painting it like the plague. After spending a night researching, I developed a method which I’m a pretty big fan of, and (I hope) turned out pretty well. Now to learn paler flesh.
2) Loken’s armor. I couldn’t find a tutorial that I quite liked online (they all looked too sea green to me…sad that I know what sea green looks like), so just took a deep breath and made my own. I fell in love with the result, almost to the point of wanting to do a pre-heresy Sons of Horus army, if not for the huge expense and enjoyment I find in having my wife’s affections. The urge is still within me, but I’m strong…I’m strong…
3) Black highlights. I started playing around with them while working on my Disciples of Caliban ally force (which is now for sale btw, in case you’re interested *wink*), but I really put effort into Abaddon’s armor. Though I’m still not 100% happy with the result, it’s definitely an improvement over my original Black Templar models with their drastic highlights. Would that I had infinite amounts of time, I would repaint them all, and they would be glorious. Like, Kate Upton eating a Popsicle glorious.

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So now the question arises. “Where did you find all these tips, Mr. Brad?” Why Jimmy, I’ll tell you. For $20. I kid! I’ll just link them, since we’re such good friends.

First off is this treasure trove of information called From the Warp. I found an article from this site randomly one night while Googling painting ideas, and wound up spending four hours reading stuff in one sitting. It’s brimming with great painting tips that will elevate the look of any model. No diggity, no doubt. In particular, check out the Creating Metal Effects, How to Paint Rich Skin, and a Quick Look at Layering. While I’m nowhere near as good as the author of this blog, this reading is definitely helping me get there.

Another great resource is The Art of Warhammer. This is a great place for tips for those who like to paint darker models, such as brooding Space Marine chapters to Twilight fan fiction dolls. In particular, check out the post concerning the Dark Angels Librarian.

Lastly, while I haven’t had a chance to apply this technique yet, the author of Warpforged Miniatures has a great article about painting Non-Metallic Colors for Minotaur Space Marines. Give it a look over and let your eyeballs dance in its beautiful e-flames.

Gosh golly willickers, look at the time! I better log off before I have to cut into my sleep. And you don’t want to see what happens if I miss an hour of sleep.

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To Do: Get My Hobby Life Back on Track

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To Do: Discuss Gaming Balance (with a Focus on 40k)

This evening, on my way home from work, a fellow gamer from my local shop linked me an article from a competitive 40k blog. It was an interesting read; the author was certainly, ahem, passionate about the material. And by passionate, I mean a multi-paragraphed swearfest that’d make Cartman seem angelic in comparison. In it, he discussed Games Workshop’s gruesome fall from grace, painting a picture of its apparent eventual demise that coincides with its lack of balance in the game. This was all through the lens of a competitive player, mind you. A player who looks at a game and formulates strategies specifically to win. While this isn’t my cup of tea, I certainly won’t bash this type of gaming. “Whatever floats your boat,” as my grandpappy would say.

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Beyond a few very common pitfalls that many blogs fall into (here’s a hint for all human beings; just because someone doesn’t agree with you, it doesn’t make them an idiot…unless they disagree with Tony Stark), the article seemed to miss a very big point. He laments about flyers being broken (a point I may not disagree with, actually), and the complete lack of balance 6th edition has wrought.

Thing is, balance is never obtainable. Feel free to gasp now.

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I should probably clarify that last statement. Balance is hardly obtainable while adding variety to a game. The more variables introduced into a game, the more imbalanced it becomes. The less flavor, the more easily balanced it can be. “Dude’s getting all philosophical on us and stuff, dawg.” Let’s examine what I mean, home skillets. Come with me to the land of video games!

Halo 4 is a fairly balanced game, as far as video games go. Players are separated into two teams and told to duel to the death. No player is given any sort of advantage that the others don’t have, from character abilities to weaponry. Everyone is the same. Thus, the only thing separating the two teams is actual player skill. That is the epitome of balance; anyone can win with what’s given to them, and win against any opponent, so far as their skill allows.

The issue with Halo 4, though, it it’s vanilla. Bland. Boring. Jessica Simpson. Non-Masters Golf. The thrills to be had are from striving to win, not from anything special about your character or team.

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Now let’s look at a game with flavor, meaning story elements, differentiating abilities, et cetera, et cetera. Hmmm. I know, let’s look at World of Warcraft. I know, really imbalanced right? But why? They have developers constantly tuning the game, looking over spreadsheets and adjusting numbers, considering environment issues, attempting to free baby dolphins from the clutches of evil scientists. They’re good guys. But balance forever eludes them. That, and recognition from their fans outside of the game. Poor blokes. Have you ever seen what happens when you try to perfectly balance things with flavor?

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Abominations straight from the pits of Hell. The reason balance is near impossible to nail in WoW is because no two characters are alike. A rogue uses quick attacks and stealth to kill opponents, a mage blasts them with magical spells, and a warrior bears the brunt of these attacks in hopes of getting into combat. Out of these three, there is bound to be some ability that the others don’t have. They’re unequal, and one has a better chance of killing the other two. Now, you could give the other two that ability, but you’ve just removed some of the flavor from the game. Why be a mage if they’re the exact same as a rogue? So the idea is to give the others abilities that the mage doesn’t have to counteract that. But egads! We’ve got another ability that a class doesn’t have. Like washing your hair, you lather, rinse, and repeat. Simply put, the more different characters are, the more imbalance that will exist.

With this idea, it’s fairly difficult, maybe even impossible to fully balance 40k. In 5th edition, Necrons, Space Wolves, and Grey Knights ruled all. Matt Ward, in his infinite, Emperor-like abilities, graced these armies with broken combos, making them wrecking ball forces that few could match. Coincidentally, these were the armies most competitive gamers played, because, well, it gave them the best chance to win, which gives them the best chance of getting cookies. Only winners get cookies.

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I’ll agree with competitive gamers that flyers are a bit of a pain right now. Until all codexes are released, many armies will have problems taking down a flyer. Hell, my Chaos army has a new codex, and they still struggle to take down flyers. But, realistically, that’s how jets are in real life. There’s no way I’m taking down an F22 with a handgun, or a hunting rifle…or a machine gun. Maybe a carnifex, but she’s still a pup. Flyers shouldn’t be easy to kill, and you should have to give careful thought on how to take them down, because real generals would have to do the same. Additionally, with the exception of the heldrake (much love, dragon boy *smooch*), most flyers will, at best, take out a couple of models and a tank or two before the end of the game. A couple of bad rolls and they’ll fail to even pay for their points. Make it too easy to take down a flyer, and you’ve ruined the reason to even take them, and an interesting unit choice has gone up in flames. Flames, I tell you!

So what’s to be done about balance? Well, from a competitive gamer’s standpoint…hell, search me. I’ve never competitively gamed. Only play armies that have a released codex? Ignore flyers, since they can’t hold objectives? From a fluff-player’s perspective, the idea is to simply not worry about them. Tailor a unit that can go hunting for flyers and give it a go. So what if you don’t kill it guaranteed in one turn or your money back. This upcoming week, I’m going to give a four autocannon Havoc squad a shot. Eight shots at Str 8 should may tag off a hull point per round, and if I get a real lucky roll, wreck one with little issue. Personally, I’ll take an imbalanced game with flavor over a vanilla balanced title any day. Just look at this gentleman enjoying his flavor!

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In fact, that’s one of the reasons why I love playing/modeling from a fluff, or as I call it, fun perspective. I don’t care if my opponent has an uber combo that tears face. My favorite opponent at my local shop, Eric, used to trash my old Chaos army with his Tyranids every game (coincidentally, he’s started to do the same with my Black Templars…I need to buy more units). I enjoy every game against him, because we have some pretty epic battles, and he’s a blast to game with. He’s also so damn cheerful. That helps. It’s not about winning, it’s about doing the best with what you have, and fielding a damn good looking force. Oh man do I love painting. Remove the stress, remove the fuss. Fluff is the super hero to my chaotic world.

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To quickly address a few other points I read:

1) Close combat is just as fun in 6th as it was in 5th, more so now, since it’s not as simple as equipping your squad with power weapons and wrecking face. It’s still my favorite way to win games.

2) If 40k feels too much like rock, paper, scissors, it’s because most games with variety tend to be. Poke’mon, a beloved video game, was literally rock, paper, scissors. With cute creatures. I choose you, Tyranitar!

3) Games Workshop isn’t losing money by any means. According to their last earning report, they’re actually up. Along with this, while prices for products may be up, they’re not much more expensive than they used to be, considering inflation and the amount of bits one gets. Heck, my original Black Legion army paid $66 for three Obliterators, and I bought a box of three finecast (admittedly, ugh) models for $55. That’s actually cheaper.

4) It’s not the size of your ship, but the motion of your ocean.

size-doesnt-matter(Where’s the beef?! Ha! Couldn’t resist)

5) If you have an issue with Death from the Skies being direct only, just get the rules from your friends or steal them off the internet. I don’t see the book as being a major enough thing to ship out in mass. And if I’m reading correctly, none of the armies represented in the book have a 6th edition codex out anyways, so they’ll most likely be wrapped up in there. DftS was simply a publication for extra money and easy-to-access rules for those who didn’t want to track down White Dwarf magazines, and didn’t want to wait for their army book.

6) Just because people disagree with you, it doesn’t make them idiots. I know I said it above, but I said it again. It’s true. I asked my mom, she agrees.

7) Contrary to less-than-optimistic discussions on some blog sites, 6th edition is well received by a majority of players. Many I have talked to, both in store and online, have said glowing things about it over 5th. Personally, I have been playing since 3rd, and think 6th is the best set of rules so far.

8) If you’re having issues customizing your army, the issue lies with you, not the rules. With allies, doubled force organization charts, and official “counts as” rules, one can build an army worth of Mordor, er, *cough*, their imaginations. Anything’s on the table, so long as you let your opponent know.

*puts on a monocle* So, in closing, I hope I was able to talk a few people from the edge of their painting tables. While there are issues that need to be addressed in 40k, it certainly is not the rubbish table top game that others make it out to be.

Sincerely,

CBMcGames

To Do: Discuss Gaming Balance (with a focus on 40k)

P.S. Also, please don’t mention that one can buy a new video game for the same price as a new GW model. A GW model is something you can craft yourself, take pride in finishing, and potentially sell to someone else when you’re done. Video games will distract you for a week at best, and typically get $5 from Gamestop. Can’t even sell PC games.

To Do: P.S. some mofos.

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To Do: Post a 40K Battle Report

Welcome guys and gals (mostly guys…probably guys…do any girls read this) to the first ever Nerds To Do List battle report! One of my favorite things about Games Workshop’s White Dwarf magazine was the battle report in each issue. Before you say anything, I know, WD still does battle reports, but now they’re all cheeseball with studio-painted models. I’m talking the old school reports that had players using their own painted/converted armies, with blackjack, and hookers. Those were the days.

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Unable to let go of my youth in any way, shape, or form (I’ll never let you go, horribly old, smelly, and shrunken t-shirts), I decided to start posting battle reports in true WD fashion. While mine won’t have the cat daddy cool maps with movement and hooker/blackjack combos, they will have real pictures of real armies. Fear not, I’ll do my best to insert humor as I can. This post’s humor theme is *drum roll* “Terribly Photoshopped Images of Top Hats”.

This game, as all my games tend to, took place at the Games Workshop, errr, shop, in Oak Park, IL. It’s a quaint town, full of shoppers with their own comings and goings, who love fresh tilled Earth and all things that grow.

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The “crew”, as we call ourselves while rolling 16 deep in the club, mainly consists of myself, Chuck (who, much like the Mechanicum, is always building and made completely of recycled Gateway computers), Steve S., Dave R., Leo, Marlowe  and a few others. Most of them are under the age of 16, so I have to leave my exhaustive collection of pornography at home. It’s mostly teddy bears dry humping, but it’s good, it’s good.  The store owner, Brian, gave us a challenge; a building in the center of the board would serve as our objective, with whomever holding it by the end of turn 7 winning the game. Being as a majority of us only have about 750pts of models to run, we decided a 2v2 would be best. Marlowe, being the little maverick renegade that he is, decided to jump on one side of the board with 1,500pts to himself. We tried to stop him, but his powers of persuasion and real-life bolter convinced us it was fine. Thus, the dice were cast.

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(A shot of the board, right before the game started. Hopefully this gives you an idea of the game)

I think that’s all the important details. Let’s see, left teddy bear porn at home, 2v2, 750pts…oh yes, teams. We decided to put Steve and Leo on team one, and Dave and myself on team two. There, now it’s all covered. Onto the carange! Wait, let’s do some quick shots of all the armies

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My Alpha Legion force. Reality decided to screw my resolution…or the Dark Gods. I know not.

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Steve’s personal chapter of Space Marines, the Luna Knights (Steve, if I’m wrong, shoot me)

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Leo’s Necron force. Such straight firing lines. They must work out.

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Dave’s Grey Knight/Necron combo. Apparently the two captains are bros. They hit up bars tag-team style.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a shot of Marlowe’s army. I took one, but the picture came out as a giant middle finger made of lost souls. I deleted it, just in case.

Ok, now onto the carnage!

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Team one, forever known now as Team Alpha Wolf Squadron Prime (TAWSP), stole the initiative, thanks to Leo’s special character. He also rolled a six, so it wouldn’t have mattered. We cursed him name under our breath, I pushed him off a mental cliff. Luckily for us, the opening lightning special attack (same weird wonky stupid character) did nothing to our lines, except for poor Marlowe, who lost his scout squad. Four of the five fried, and the fifth decided he left his hab-stove on, and bailed like a stunt double in a Bruce Lee movie. TAWSP’s shooting round didn’t do much better. Steve decided that casting Infinity Gate was a good idea, and after some fairly successful rolling, came face to face with our front line. Sadly, only one Necron fell to the hail of bolts. They all did exchange Twitter handles, though. Make friends where you go, readers.

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Now it was time for some payback. Dave pulled his Immortal’s back, which allowed my 10-man CSM squad and Chaos Lord to get in their faces. Our shooting was much better, and combined with a wicked assault charge, as seen here…

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We wiped the squad out. My Chaos Lord (his name is Alpharius, also the name of my right pinky) rolled on the Chaos boon table and received an extra attack. Take that, girl in 11th grade who said I’d never accomplish anything when I asked her out!

The rest of this turn was fairly uneventful. More things died. Eulogies were spoken. The Circle of Life played in the background. Not the movie version, the Elton John version. He’s a boss.

Marlowe got in on the action and moved his guards forward to fire on my cultists. Due to being far more mature than anyone else, he managed to kill two with precise gun fire. That was the end of that.

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"Ring Girl" Announcing Start of Round Two

This is where things got interesting. Leo gathered his special character and Immortals up, and took the building. Our armies were, like, totes jells and stuff, cause we could hear them throwing a house party, and we never received an invitation. Steve moved his marines up and fired on my CSM and CL, but didn’t manage a single hit. I blame the schools. Leo’s warriors fired on Dave’s Immortals, managing to kill two. The casualties were starting to come in now.

But then my Heldrake arrived. I get so excited when he hits the table. I run around the store, cawing like a madman. No, I’m not ashamed. He’s a dragon of death. I love him. He’ll be my daughter’s ring bearer one day.

In my lust for death and unending cawing, I forgot to take pictures, but here’s what happened. The heldrake hit the board, put his mouth in one of the windows, and blew fire all over Leo’s unit. The result was something like this.

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Not a single Necron survived, though one did stand up thanks to Reanimation Protocol. My CSM and CL moved up to attack Steve’s Tactical Squad. Many a loyalist lost their lives that round, and Alpharius gained +1 initiative, but they survived a harsh smack down. Dave, who biffed all his reserve rolls, did manage to wreck some warriors on the opposite side. It was looking good for us.

Marlowe continued to harass everyone on the board. He killed one more cultist, then deep struck (gosh, I have no idea if that’s right) his drop pod and assault squad into TAWSP’s deployment zone. He managed to engage Steve’s command squad, and horribly mangled three models, but also suffered the loss of his jetpackers. Not a word, but I’m using it.

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There was a rulebook questioning at some point. Not sure what. Still, I captured the moment.

 

Unfortunately for TAWSP, most of their army was in a pile of stinking corpses.

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So their shooting phase a bit lackluster. A few warriors took pot shots at my heldrake, but didn’t manage to hit anything. Leo’s special character did fry eight of my cultists (insert fire shot from above here) with a molotov cocktail something er rather. Quite a nasty flame template weapon. He also killed one more Immortal. Steve’s tactical squad bought the farm. Taps could be heard in the distance.

Our turn continued to be devastating to the team with too long a name. My CSMs and CL charged Leo’s remaining warriors and overlord, the helbrute vaporized a command squad member and charged the unit (Steve’s captain also missed his melta bomb attack…YOU HAD ONE JOB, ZAEL!), my cultists did nothing, as usual. The heldrake vector struck the building in the unit, who suffered more casualties, and then baleflammed Marlowe’s poor guardsmen (again, fire picture). Dave’s reserves came in, so he charged Marlowe’s deployment zone with a dreadknight and a squad of Grey Knights. Mucho more casualties were caused.

Marlowe managed to get a few shots off, but nothing of real note. Fried a cultist with a multi-melta, which just brings to mind all sorts of gross imagery. We’ll all need therapy. Also, his drop pod fell apart.

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Alas, time escaped too quickly from our tightly-clenched fists, and I was unable to continue for more rounds (had to go run errands with the wife). We decided to end our game here as, had we continued one more turn, our opponents would have been fully tabled, and poor Marlowe would have been fending off both of us without much backup. Technically speaking, no one won the game, as no one was holding the building, but with the amount of casualties we caused, the store decided our team had won.

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Go ahead, stand triumphantly on the field of battle, Alpharius.

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(You photobombing son of a…you’re no longer invited to my birthday party)

Ah, so thrilling. So refreshing. So…Raven. Some players at larger shops may complain about playing games against younger opponents, but I love it. Younger players have such a zeal for the game, loving every second they’re rolling dice, whether that’s in a win or not. Except Dave, he must always win. Anyways, many of these guys can be shrewd tacticians. And they’re also much luckier rollers than I. And can stay up past midnight without needing a nap beforehand. It’s great fun, and I like to think I give them lots of good advice, like how to avoid getting a teddy bear porn addiction.

Overall, the game was a lot of fun. It was pretty unfair that my team had Chaos, Grey Knights, and Necrons on the same side (let’s face it, one of these guys would have peaced out), so anything short of cursed dice rolling was probably going to result in a win. Still, everyone had fun.

We all celebrated the game at our local Potbelly’s. Good times were had by all.

To Do: Post a 40K Battle Report

P.S. I am behind on my painting now…

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To Do: Inquire About Airbrush Painting

One of the nice things about Twitter is that you can see hundreds of photos of players’ fantastically painted dudemens. I’m floored by the skill and, yes, I dare say it, artistry, every time I open my news feed. So shiny. So well painted. So, well, cooooooool. Take this image below…

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These models are at least three points cooler than this, and I didn’t even know that was possible. I mean, c’mon, lightsaber kittens. “May the Force conquer that laser pointer.” So, with passion that rivals even the steamiest man sex in a Spanish soap opera, I study painting techniques and color combinations, hoping to make my models one day reach a level of awesomeness.

Recently, my world was thrown for a loop. I don’t know if I’ll ever be the same. I just know that I’m confused, a little hungry, and not entirely feeling safe.

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I was talking color combos in my local hobby shop with the gang of players that frequent the establishment. I say gang because, like the ragamuffins from _Newsies_, they’re all young, enthusiastic, and prone to breaking into song at a moment’s notice.

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(Yep, that’s Christian Bale. Long before contracting lung cancer voice and battling villains)

So anyways, we’re talking about Games Workshop paints, when a stranger made what sounded like a snicker from the corner. I felt it rude, snickering like that around decent folk. Could have said, “Pardon me, but may I inject some word food into your conversation buffet?” But, no, just *snicker*. Almost as one, we looked up at him.

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“You guys haven’t moved onto airbrush painting yet?”

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“You should look into it. Games Workshop paints aren’t going to get you that look.”

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And with that, the mysterious snickering man was gone. We searched high and low for any sign that he truly existed, but all we could find were two strange objects.

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Full disclosure, I love “New Girl”. That show f#$ks my s@#t up, every time. When I learn to turn off my biological naughty language filter, I’ll make sure to translate those for you. Schmidt, I salute you.

Though full of snickers and potentially children standing atop one another, the stranger may have been also full of knowledge. Is airbrush painting the best way to go? Is it the only way to truly get fantastic minis? A part of my hobbyist heart sank when I started contemplating this change. There’s something satisfying to me about holding a paintbrush, dipping into paints, and having my hands splotched with blue and green at the end of my endeavors. I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I feel powerful.

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On the other hand, I really want my models to look as stellar as possible. I don’t want to hold myself back with “inferior paints” or practices. So, to gain more perspective, I went to Twitter to look over some of my favorite models by other painters. Then, as if inserted there by careful photoshopping or paid product endorsement that’d rival even Pepsi Co., I noticed airbrush paint bottles in the background. Not all, mind you, but in a couple.

So now, like a lost wretch in search of a memory, or me on Saturday afternoon after losing my parking garage voucher, I’m hanging my head in disbelief. I look to you, readers, to tell me how you paint. Do you paintbrush it up? Maybe use paints outside the Games Workshop range? Do you airbrush your hues onto your models to get the perfect effect? Throw them through a series of perfectly-timed sprinklers? I must know.

What I ask of you is this; either in the comments section on this article, or on Twitter (@cbmcgames), link me a picture of one of your favorite models, and tell me your methods/products. I’m dying to know what you all love to use in order to bring your models to life. If you do paintbrush painting, tell me your favorite paints to use, and a technique you particularly enjoy using (if you have a source lighting nugget, I’ll reply with cat pictures pulled from the internet as a reward…I’m very interested in toying with source lighting). If you are an expert wielder of air and paint, let me know the hardware and the paint range.

Until then, I shall wander the streets, seeking answers to questions without answers. Mystical, I know. I’m like a modern Kung Fu episode. No, I don’t enjoy asphyxiation. It’s a bit uncomfy.

To Do: Inquire About Airbrush Painting


To Do: Write an Article for Faeit 212

Hello, friends!

This is going to be short and sweet. One of my favorite Warhammer 40K websites is Natfka.blogspot.com. The guy who runs the site loves our hobby, and pulls extra duty (and impossibly long hours, from what I can tell) to inform his readers on rumors of all sorts. I literally check his site at least three times a day. Yep. Three. Minimum.

Recently, he put out a call for writers to contribute to the site. The subject matter could be anything, so long as it was about the game in some way. Being such a fan of the site, I jumped at the chance to write something for him. I didn’t expect it to be posted, but I hoped…

And it happened!

Here is my self-written article on Natfka! If you have a few minutes, give it a read and give it some thought. And by all means, check his site for all the Warhammer news you can handle. It’s worth multiple visits a day!

http://natfka.blogspot.com/2013/02/this-is-our-hobby-its-not-easy-being.html

Peace, love, and dice.

To Do: Write an Article for Faeit 212


To Do: Discuss Games Workshop’s Suit Over “Space Marine”

[Blog Update 2-8-2012: Thanks to a smart Twitter user pointing out a few flaws, we’ll call him “EdG”, I discovered a few things I should update to clarify my post. Thanks, EdG! I promise this time I did at least 20-minutes of research =)  Though, if I may be so bold, you could have been a bit more polite. Constructive criticism and discussion broadens everyone’s knowledge. Updates will be higlighted in red.]

Ok, so as fair warning. I’m not a lawyer, nor have I ever studied law in length. All I am is a person who likes to look at things from different angles. For this post, I’m going to play devil’s advocate. Consider me Keanu, or Pacino. Whichever was the advocate to the other’s devil.

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(Please don’t sue me. I’m just illustrating a point. I love you, Pacino.)

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts slamming Games Workshop over their recent actions taken against a small author over a book. While it’s hard to find a story from a news source, here’s a link to one of the more subdued takes on the matter.

To smash this thing into little “Martha, the dog is eating that crap, it’s going to get stuck in its throat” pieces, here’s the jist: Games Workshop claims it has a trademark over the word Space Marine in regard to titles for e-books, video games, and digital products, and requested that Amazon have the author’s e-book, “Spots the Space Marine”, taken down. The author claims that this is a generic term used by science fiction writers for many years, and isn’t covered under trademark laws, nor does Games Workshop’s trademark influence this medium. In many ways, she has a point. It’s a pretty basic descriptor; marine personnel who fight in space. Side note: why didn’t Amazon investigate this claim before taking the book down? GW didn’t send a Cease and Desist letter, so far as I know.

First, let’s examine how Games Workshop believes they own a trademark. According to their facebook post, the company believes they own the words when used in such places as titles, such as, “Edward the Space Marine”, not in common speech or a “body of prose”, such as, “Edwards is a space marine, dude.” Wait, say whaaat?

Let’s take a step back. How does titles and common speech relate to this case? Like a lot of things involving smart-making, it requires a bit of thought to get to the root. Sounds like a great time to take a quick writing lesson. There is a difference between being “the” something versus “a” something. When “the” is placed in a name, title, or simply a body of text,  it singles that out as being singular. When an “a”  is used, it denotes that thing as belonging to a group. For example, “Landry the Dog” is a full name of something called Landry the Dog, whereas “Landry, a dog” is a name followed by a classification, something named Landry is a dog. This has, literally, nothing to do with trademark law. I just thought you might like a refresher. Please stop throwing tomatoes. 

Back to the subject at hand, the author’s book title, “Spots the Space Marine”, isn’t using space marine as a general term in regards to describing her character, it’s using the words in the title, which then singles it out, and which may veer it into potential trademark areas. Had her book been named “Spots, Intergalactic Warrior”, and inside it she referred to her character in numerous points of the text as a space marine, there would be no room for discussion. Just raised wine glasses and discussion on railroad expansion.

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Now you may be thinking, “Well it’s silly that Games Workshop can trademark a common term.” Silly, maybe, but it is possible, because they do own the trademark to it. They have much more control over the term in the UK, and not so much in the US, so this may be something to be factored into the argument, but they do own it. In fact, they have owned the trademark since 1995. As a note, the book in question was written in 2009.  Why should they be allowed to do so?

**Warning! Warning! Complete speculation on my part!** Potentially because their version of space marines popularized the term. Yes, the term existed for many years before GW, but with their stories, games, and work, the term became synonymous with their product. As an experiment, go to Images.Google.com and search the term “wolverine” (removing the quotation marks). Your first few results should be the marvel Character. Now, do the same thing with the search “space marine”. You’ll come up with nothing but Games Workshop imagery. Now try “space ranger”. Was your first thought Buzz Lightyear? What was the first image that came up? Here’s mine:

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While Pixar’s movie created a popular character self identified as a space ranger, it did not popularize the term space ranger. Nor did Pixar tried to. Space Rangers weren’t a staple of the lore. If 500 books were to be written about space rangers, it wouldn’t have any bearing on Pixar’s product. Back to space marine. If I write a book series, “Space Marines Go to War”, those may produce sales just by using the GW popularized term, even with having nothing to do with the game or books. I believe this is the root of the issue for GW. 

Now, let’s take a different type of title and see if applying this same logic works. I’m a writer (at least that’s what I tell myself), and I am writing a book about a woman who is known to have an ill temper. I decide to name my book, “Lana the Wolverine”. Makes sense. Wolverines are real animals, and are known to have bad tempers. Perfect! Pat on the back for being a genius. If this book were to hit the shelves, I could easily foresee a scenario where Marvel would sue me over it. They have a character called “The Wolverine”. Egads! I didn’t think about that. But my book has nothing to do with mutants or fellas with claws, I’m just using the comparison to the animal. Innocent enough. Doesn’t really matter. Marvel has legitimate claim to the title, so now Lana will need to become the Pot of Boiling Water, or something equally as hot and ouch-inducing. Thanks alot, mushy smart maker!

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I’m such a clever guy. You see, now that I’ve introduced Marvel, I can easily use them for my next point. In her argument, the author claims that “space marine” is an extremely common term in science fiction, being used in dozens of books, movies, games, and franchises for many years. The marines in Aliens were space marines…

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…Master Chief is a space marine…

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Mother of God, they’re all over the place! But lo, there’s another science fiction word that’s insanely common; “superhero”.

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(See what I did there?)

Superheroes are all over the place in sci-fi. Hell, I have them on my underwear. In full rhinestones. Tres sexy. And yes, my underwear classifies as sci-fi; it’s filled with marvelous tales that are completely untrue. It would make sense, using the idea that words can be common in a genre, that there’s no way to trademark this word. Ha, I dare say! It’d be cray cray, as the kids say nowadays, to entertain the ide…

Q: What does it mean that Marvel and DC have a trademark on the word “Superhero”?

A: It means that companies cannot enter certain areas of commerce with the word/phrase “superhero” as part of their product name.

(source: CBR)

*cough* Ok, so common terms can be trademarked. But, hehehe, I mean, they just own the word. They’d never sue someo…

Marvel and DC sue small publisher over using the word superhero – (source: Blastr)

Well sh*t. It would seem that extremely common words can be trademarked…

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I do want to question one common theme in this debate. What would Games Workshop have to gain by enforcing this trademark? If you read forums, it’d be because they’re, “RAWR GW SMASH! HATE PUNEE RITERS WHO MAEK MOWNEE. I EAT THEM.” Pretty doubtful. The book made only a fraction of what GW makes a year, so it’s not money. They also didn’t do it to stifle creativity, as, if used in the body of the book, the term can’t be trademarked (remember, it’s just titles). I say it’s because they want to keep the term synonymous with their brand. If I google search space marine books with the idea of finding GW products, I might get Spots in that search. If my non-existent but terribly bratty child asked his aunt for a space marine book, and she bought Spots, he’d be upset, she’d be confused, and I’d be ignoring them both with a glass whiskey. It comes down to the title, not the money.

Now, I’m not saying that Games Workshop does indeed own the words space marine in the context they say they do, or that they’re right to sue a small author over the word when the material is not at all influenced by their lore. I’m simply saying, “Hey, pull up a chair. Have some cocoa. Listen, I know you kids have all these strong ideas nowadays. It’s natural. I just want you to think about the entire story. Maybe Games Workshop isn’t a soulless abomination trying to destroy the little guy. Maybe they’re just a company who feel the have a legitimate claim over it, and are attempting to protect it. Attaboy. Now, stop touching it, or you’ll grow hair on your palms.” Really, it’s up to the courts to decide what legitimate claim, if any, Games Workshop has over the words.

I enjoy a lively debate! Polite and respectful, of course. I ain’t havin’ none of that there name callin’ or whatchamacallits. Holy balls, apparently that’s a real word. Anyways, please feel free to comment below on your thoughts, or tweet me @cbmcgames.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go hide in a bunker to hide from a fleet of Marvel lawyer-loaded Quinjets. I’m allergic to lawsuits.

To Do: Discuss Games Workshop’s Claim Over “Space Marine”


To Do: Post More Pictures

Howdy go, good surfers of the web! It’s been a while since I last posted anything. Life’s been pretty busy. Why? Ballsy of you to ask. I like balls. Well, I got married to my wonderful wife on 12-21-12. Poor dear had no idea what she was getting herself into. Now it’s a life of models, geek cons, fantasy movies, and unsubtle hints about wearing elf ears to bed.

So getting hitched and subsequently going on a honeymoon takes mucho time out of one’s painting, modeling, and gaming schedule. I enjoyed by time getting sunburned on a beach and catching fish way too small to claim any sort of bravado for, but the vacation had to end eventually. While being back civilization meant getting back to my desk, it also meant getting back to my work table (which, conveniently, is my dining room table). Since coming back, I’ve finished my Heldrake and three Chaos marines, as well as prepared about 10 other models.

Pictures? Why yes, I do have pictures. Check the shots before for what I’ve accomplished.

Alpha Legion Marine 3

(This is the third member of my troop squad. I love those custom Alpha Legion shoulder pads)

Alpha Legion Heldrake

(My Heldrake. This damn thing took 36 hours to finish, and I’m still working on his base. Currently he’s sitting in my local shop’s display case.)

That’s it. All I’ve got for now. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch some Lost with that poor soul who was silly enough to say “I do”.

To Do: Post More Pictures