This week has been one of those ‘hobby affirming’, but ultimately frustrating weeks where there are so many things you are inspired and motivated to do, but can’t decide on which. It is great because the hobby has you firing on all cylinders, but you end up tired and grumpy having achieved nothing and end up sent to bed without supper (ok, maybe not the last part, but you get my drift). Around last week I reached that point with the Ultramarines where I decided I must finish the squad I was working on and call it a day for a while or risk losing interest in finishing them. I also began to seriously wonder if the blog was getting a reputation as “That Ultramarine blog”
So I decided change would be a good thing and to work on something else for a bit, particularly if that also led to getting a few games in. For a while now I have had an itch to play something fleet based and it isn’t like I am short of choices right now. I have a number of Battlefleet Gothic ships painted up, in particular a Death Guard fleet and an Imperial fleet, certainly enough to scare up a game or two with Kev. Then there is of course a reasonable lineup of Babylon 5 miniatures from Mongoose’s “A Call to Arms”, a game I particularly like. Finally there is the hugely popular Firestorm Armada or Dystopian Wars from Spartan Games. Neither of these I have but am sorely tempted to buy into having seen some sensationally painted examples on Spartan’s site, yet another distraction I could do without.
It doesn’t end there however, as there are a couple of other distractions from Eureka miniatures and Troll Forged, the latter having some quite nasty (in a good way) large scale ‘worms’ which I thought would go great with my Death Guard and Heresy’s Tunnel Dweller.
None of these things, including Firestorm Armada I would probably have even been aware existed if it was not for one site in particular; Tabletop Gaming News. I am probably not going to be far from the mark making the assumption that anyone reading this is probably more than familiar with TGN as I can think of no other site (to me at least) more useful for scratching my hobby itch. Checking it daily to see what’s new in the wargaming miniatures universe is one of my guilty pleasures and I can honestly say there are over a dozen companies worldwide that I have purchased from as a direct result of seeing their product on the TGN news feed. None of this is probably news to anyone reading this, but it occurred to me just what an amazing job Zac has done with that site over the years and what a huge impact it is making to the hobby every single day.
Thanks Zac, my bank account hate’s you (just kidding)
The other revelation I had this week was realising just how much I have neglected Epic scale gaming the past couple of years and how much it has declined since Specialist Games sad but predictable demise. Adeptus Titanicus was quite literally the game that inspired me to get into the hobby over two decades ago and it has firmly remained my favourite gaming scale ever since. I sort of always anticipated that Epic Armageddon was going to be the game’s “swan-song” and was pleased to have been given the chance to get involved throughout its development by Jervis. I make no apologies for the fact I still feel to this day it is the best version of Epic of them all and has managed to maintain a deceptively simple but tactically clever set of rule mechanics while regaining much of the ‘chrome’ and character of the original Titan on Titan game. But then I would say that wouldn’t I?
What is a shame however is just how much it’s popularity has waned the past few years. Games Workshop Direct Sales still maintain an availability (of sorts), albeit at a price that really would discourage all but the most ardent Epic gamer. Forgeworld appear to have all but given up supporting it altogether and that last bastion of Epic gamers worldwide; The Tactical Command Forum has been getting quieter and quieter as old faces move onto newer things.
It therefore pleased me immensely when I received an email from Andrew King who let me know there were still some collectors out there painting and gaming with Epic. Andrew’s blog “Miniature Miscellany” shows exactly why it is such a great scale to game with and paint, his Saim-Hann truly inspirational. It also served to remind me just how many talented painters there are about and Andrew is a great example. I highly recommend visiting his blog, not just for the aforementioned Epic Eldar but also one of the best Death Guard armies I have seen to date. Andrew was kind enough in his email to cite my old Dropship site partly as his influence to have another go at Epic and looking at what a superb job he has done with the Saim-Hann I want nothing more than to break out my Epic collection and go to work on them. One of the really great things about this hobby is how you can feed off another painters efforts to inspire you. For me, seeing somebody else’s work makes me want to try harder and inspires me to try new things. It is how I grow as a painter and I hope others find the same. The irony is, in over twenty years in what is quite a ‘competitive’ hobby, I have never once heard anyone put a fellow painter down. More often than not what you hear is “wow, look what they did there, that is awesome!” shortly before they head back home, head bursting with new ideas and a desire to paint. It is that which makes this truly a life-affirming hobby for me.
It did get me thinking about something though and that was all of my sadly neglected Epic armies I painted and posted on Dropship were completed almost a decade ago. Since then my whole style of painting has changed and evolved and it occurred to me how differently I would probably paint Epic scale today compared to how I did them back then. Something else I can add to my ever growing list of projects.
In the meantime however I am firmly sticking with the fleet action and I eventually settled on dusting off (quite literally in some cases!) a few Babylon 5 miniatures to do a few intro games and maybe a potential mini-campaign with Kev.
There is no getting around the fact that the casting quality of these was pretty atrocious and without some serious renovation and conversion work there was not an awful lot I could do other than give them a quick ‘gaming’ paint job. To be fair to Mongoose the moulds AoG sold on to them with the licence were pretty badly torn up and Mongoose replaced as many as they practically could during their time with the range. As you will have seen either on Dropship or this blog, I do have a couple of fleets ready to go with the Narn and Centauri. However I thought I may as well throw a few extra ships out there to give us a bit of flexibility to play with , hence the Brakiri Tashkat shown here with the Avioki cruiser and a trio of EA Hyperions which I am painting at the moment.
The casting of these really was in a bad way and needed a lot of work to correct deformations, miscast parts and bad flash. Mongoose actually replaced the moulds with ones taken from new digital sculpt versions, a few of which I have. Ironically however, despite the defects I think I actually prefer the shape of the originals which are much more organic and rounded. To try to give them a bit more interest I added more detail to the guns and the prow, hence why the two flanking ships look different to the original in the centre.
That little lot on the painting table should keep me fully occupied for the foreseeable future and give me a healthy fleet to pull a few scenarios together with. The ugly little spot in the bottom left is a Tethys Cutter I believe.
As for Epic, well, watch this space. I may have put it on the back burner for quite a while now, but I always return to the ‘true’ tactical scale sooner or later. At the very least I have some rather old miniatures to re-photograph and migrate to here if nothing else.
Have a great week.