If you are a Brit, you are no doubt weather obsessed right now and probably either watching, or dodging the prolific summer games coverage (which is actually rather awesome I must admit). Traditionally this isn’t a good time of the year for me for painting as let’s be honest, it’s either a time for gaming, or being outside, or doing pretty much anything other than sit in a stuffy workshop watching paint dry. Normally, that would be the case. This year however I have unusually managed to carry over a degree of momentum into the summer. In part due to all the ongoing projects I am enjoying right now, but also the plethora of new games and miniature ranges that are springing up left and right.
For years it seems, the market has been dominated by the big two; Games Workshop and Privateer Press. Sure, there have been plenty of other manufacturers of miniatures and games in the mix which I dabbled with such as Mongoose and Battlefront. But never so much as now. It seems like the global economic meltdown has unleashed a pent-up wave of opportunity and creativity in the wargaming hobby like never before. Miniature board games are back and in fashion, small studio’s churning out stunning designs and quality that belies the diminutive size of their operation. A few of these, such as Zenit Miniatures and Studio McVey I have already talked about either here or on the Facebook page, but there are so many it is getting hard to decide just how to allocate the hobby budget these days.
Consequently, a somewhat eclectic mix of miniatures and scales has been migrating on and off my workbench the past couple of weeks, covering everything from Lord of the Rings characters, Sedition Wars Engineers, ancient Epic War Engines and print-it-yourself buildings.
Looking at the latter first, Dropzone Commander, a completely new 10mm Sci-Fi system from Hawk Wargames started shipping a couple of weeks back. Although still waiting for elements of my own pre-order to still arrive (Looking meaningfully at you Mr Lewis), I have been trying my hand at printing out and assembling a few buildings from the designs the company put onto the website, for free.
This is a really shrewd move in my opinion and was quite unexpected. There are any number of online businesses that make a living from selling print-your-own terrain design and templates. For David to not only design and put them up for free is generous, but more impressive is the quality and number of them. Ultimately resin versions will be released in the future, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is another thing that is already setting Hawk Wargames apart from some of its competitors in the short period it has been around.
The miniatures themselves I will get onto in a few weeks time, fear not. But I will say this for now, they are without a doubt some of the best casting I have seen pretty much ever. I know that is a bit of a bold statement, but they are a great example of the kinds of high production values that can be hit by even modestly sized studios. Gone are the days when only the big two or three could realistically bring a high quality plastic/resin range to market. 3D design and prototyping are starting to have a real impact on the wargaming landscape (pardon the pun) and Hawk Wargames are far from alone.
Faux buildings aside, I have been sticking with the ‘tiny’ scale theme for a week or so and re-visting one of my favourite ranges of all; Epic. All of the anticipation around Dropzone Commander has rekindled my Epic interests again, so I had a root through the more ancient bits boxes and pulled out enough parts to throw together another hybrid Warlord mash-up and some metal Knights. Although I like the currently MkIII metal Warlord that has stood firm in the range since the days of Epic 40,000, I have a soft spot for the original plastic “Beetle Back” and continuously look for ways to blend them into my existing armies. A bit of mixing and matching across the variants is no bad thing in my opinion. In fact I think it not only gives them more character but suits them, helping to reinforce the impression of each being a unique and ancient war engine in its own right.
I have several more planned for the future yet. I just wish Forgeworld would make some of the ‘Mars’ pattern Warhounds and Reavers to round the range off.
Pressing on, an even bigger and only slightly less ancient relic was dug out while searching for some errant plastic Knights (as opposed to Knights Errant). The Imperator is a bit of a ridiculous miniature if I am being honest and was always a step too far in my opinion. Over the years however it has obtained something of a cult status due to its gargantuan proportions and no Titan Legio would really be complete without at least one of the behemoths. Before you ask, yes its even more gunned-up cousin the “War Monger” has also been located and is undergoing some preparation.
More of the Imperator once I finish painting it, which won’t be too long at the rate I am going this week. In the meantime however I am finishing off a base for a more reasonably proportioned Warhound to add to the Legio Astorum “Warp Runners” above.
Painting up the Warlord and Knights has given me a bit of an appetite for doing some more Epic, so I may stick with these for a bit and look to throw a few more War Engines into the mix. A Mk III with Corvus Assault arms and a Fire Wasps Reaver battlegroup are currently top of the list, so watch this space.
That’s it for now. Another half hour or so painting the Imperator and I shall call it a night. Until next time, have a great week.