Sunday, December 30, 2007

Beards, Beer, and Cannons

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I almost just left this as a pic post entry, but I'm feeling too verbose for that. Why, oh why am I going down this road again? I'm not sure, but there are two very unlikely antagonists to push me down the dark GW road. The first is my mother-in-law, who happened to draw my name at Thanksgiving to exchange presents with for the holidays and she hooked me up with some serious gift card loot at the geek shop in the mall, Nord's Games. Normally I'd try to shop around online to get a discount, but hey, gift cards work just fine. The other involved is Jon, mild mannered rpg'er who has never touched a mini in his life. Something snapped with his sanity recently and he thought he'd like to try his hand at some miniature gaming. We all tried to get him started off slowly, like with a single Blood Bowl team, maybe just a Necromunda gang, but no, he had it in his head to do something bigger.

Warhammer Fantasy it is then. Sure, it's the "nefarious" GW, frankly people only ever complain about 40k, WHFB has been quietly and kicking arse for some time now. We used to play it back in the day, say mid-nineties, and it was so much fun. The battles would take a while, but I remember nothing but good times from the game itself. I suffered too much from buying multiple armies and never painting them fully, if at all. Hopefully now I'm a bit more focused, and maybe a little more driven. Plus, I simply don't have the cash to go hog wild buying up whole armies with wild abandon. We're going to start small, warband skirmishes and the like, then work up to larger games, the key being to buy a box of troops at a time, and make sure they're painted until the next box comes along.

Here's what I've got to start off with. A unit box of sixteen plastic Dwarf warriors, which I'll assemble with hand weapons and shields. I've also got the makings of a fifteen troop strong unit of Ironbreakers, including a full command compliment. These guys are metal, and the look of them, with that heavy Gromril armor and steel face masks is just freakin' great. Lastly I got a box with an army commander and a standard bearer. Frankly I could've done without this purchase (see below) but they just looked too good to pass up, especially the general, he's pretty rockin'.

I chose Dwarves for several reasons; primarily I love Dwarves in rpg settings, I like the feel and scope to them and the whole constructed race is to my liking. GW has been putting out some great looking multi-piece plastics lately, and their Dwarf stuff is no exception. There were a lot of choices out there for army selection, but in the end I had to follow my heart. Also, I wanted some guns, big ole cannons, and running the Empire just didn't appeal to me. I'm not going to get fancy with what kind, just a battery of plain ole Dwarf cannons will do me fine. I'll pick up an "official" Dwarf cannon box, I've already got an Empire cannon I just need to get a Dwarf crew for, and lastly is this beauty, a Bob Olley sculpt known as the Thunderwyrm! Another reason I wanted to play Dwarves is because I've always have wanted to do a Bugman's Rangers unit.

This brings me to another point though, I am not going to go 100% GW with my army, there's far too many good looking figs out there to ignore. I don't play the tourney scene, and rarely (if ever) play with strangers, so it doesn't matter that my army won't be "official". The Thunderwyrm rocks, period, so I'm gonna field it. Also, with unit boxes from GW only having sixteen troops I need to fill the gaps in ranks. I'll probably look to Reaper to fill those gaps. They've got good sculptors and the prices can't be beat. For my first unit of warriors I supplemented their ranks with three metal Reaper Dwarf grunts, and gave them Freja Fangbreaker to act as their unit champion. The grunts and the chick were all sculpted by Werner Klocke who makes some great looking Dwarves. I already have plans to use some more of his stuff to supplement future units and weapon crews.

I'm lucky I guess that I picked Dwarves and that I've chosen to go ad-hoc with the figs in my army. I've been sitting on this slew of Rackham Dwarves for some time. I got them on a SUPER 80% off clearance at Hobbytown and I just had to get them. People think GW is expensive, but Rackham figs are on par, if not more expensive than even GW. Their sculpts are amazing, and the one complaint is that they use a softer metal, which doesn't matter with beefy Dwarf figs anyway. There's still some figs I won't be able to incorporate in my army, they'll be ebay fodder, but above is what I can (and will!) use.

The box up on the top left is a War Staff of the Plains, but with their savage looks and bare chestedness, they'll make great Trollslayers, once those beards are orange they're good to go! I'll supplement them with a handful of "real" Trollslayers to round them out. Top right is kinda funny, because it's a Giant, a really kick butt looking Mountain Giant, here's a pic of the chap, he's huge and exquisitely detailed. Why is it funny? Well because Dwarf armies aren't allowed to have Giant allies, which makes some sense in the big Dwarf scheme of things, apparently Rackham Dwarves are a little more open-minded...darn French, haha. Well, I'll use him, he's a Dwarf Giant, and he looks great, plus eleven Warhammer armies can already use Giants, so what's one more? Next we have the blister packs. Top row, left to right we've got: a fig to be used as a medium level hero, a fig to be used as an Elder Runesmith, and finally another fig that will work great as a lesser hero. Bottom row, left to right; an awesome looking Dwarf wizard who'll make a great Runesmith, and finally, two Thermo-Priests who will rock as Master Engineers.

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