Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sternguard Update #1: The Squad Assembles...


Over the new year, various Sternguard bits and pieces arrived from eBay, and I finally got around to putting them together over the last week or so.

What a hassle!
Pretty fiddly to be honest, especially the hands and weapons...

After consulting the wisdom of the WH40K community on G+ about what loadout to take for these veteran warriors, I decided to do the following with the bits I had:

1.) Have x1 large squad of 10, armed mainly with special ammunition (rather than combi-weapons) and a heavy flamer or two.
2.) Have a smaller squad of x5, again with special ammunition.
3.) Keep the Grav weapons and other weapons for a later project to upgrade my Black Templars bikers.

Squad of 10 Black Templars Sternguard.

5 Sternguard veterans, most using regular SM lower bodies.

Unfortunately, although I had lots of weapon bits, I didn't have all the parts I needed...

...I didn't have enough special ammo bolters (even in my bits box), so I had to make some by taking some larger magazines from other weapons and add them to what normal bolters I had. I also took some scopes from some old bolt pistols...

Bolters with added special ammo magazines.
They didn't come out great, as you can see, but they shouldn't be too noticeable on the table.

I also didn't receive any heavy flamers, so I made my own by combining Heavy Bolter parts (I got lots of those!) with some flamer nozzles. They could do with a bit more care and TLC (fuel bottles added, some cutting of irrelevant parts like ejection ports etc.) but you can see them below:

(As you may have read in caption above, I was also short of Sternguard legs, so I broke up some junk Space Marines I had received in an earlier auction and added SG torsos, arms and parts.)

Tonight I added some texture to the bases, and over the weekend I will undercoat them!

Roll on the weekend...


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Resolutions for 2014...what I say and what I mean!

...back in Japan and having thought about it a bit, I'm now ready to type up my New Year's resolutions. 

Below are the promises that I shared with my family the other day. 

The difference is, I didn't tell them what I really meant by these things.

So let's look at some of my (and indeed the world's most common) New Year resolutions, but, (copying the recent trend for "What I say/ What I mean" memes) presented for your reading pleasure with their real meaning!

1. "I'm going to improve my diet..." 

" spending less money on food, I will have more to spend on models!"
  • No white sugar. 
  • No alcohol Monday - Thursday
  • Smaller lunch.
  • Drink more water, and less coffee from coffee shops.
2. "...go to bed earlier..."

 "...I'll be in bed at 1.30 am rather than 1.45!! I still have another set of Space Marine lenses to paint!"

Hopefully though, the more alert and awake I am the chances of my not making terrible tactical mistakes (or forgetting how to use my armies properly) will decrease."

3. "...get more exercise..."

" go ahead - I'm staying in to finish up this unit of 40 Skaven. Oh and pass me another beer from the fridge before you go. "

Although I should note that walking improves circulation to the brain, resulting in more creativity. In other words, walking 30 minutes every day, 5 days a week gives me 2.5 hours of calculating how I can avoid paying my kids their pocket money so I can spend it on more models.

4. " more decisive..."

"...Tonight I will paint that drop pod - wait, maybe it should be the Dreadnought?"

I really need to decide which models to paint. Also, rather than having a deep inner battle the night before a game about which units to field, I should make some early decisions about army composition that will help me win!

5. "...spend more time with you, my family..."

"...I'll be at my painting table painting lenses and freehand banners - which makes me extra sensitive to vibrations transmitted through the floor or air (so DON'T TALK TO ME!)"

Also, note that spending time with you doesn't equal thinking about you or wanting interaction. The full extent of my awesome brain power must be diverted only to gaming thoughts and actions.

6. " more religious..."

"...I will double my prayers (and my sacrifices) to the dice gods for victory."

If you are a small animal, an annoying child, or the politician who stands shouting outside my station at 7.00 am  - watch out! 
The dice Gods care not which of you will end up on the sacrificial altar...(portable, breaks down into x6 2'x2' sections for easy storage)

7. "...I shall be a gentlemen in defeat..."

...should 2, 3, 4, and 6 above actually prove ineffective. Which surely cannot be possible!

Hopefully, all of these things will lead to a successful 2014 by helping me win a damn game of 40K! (or WFB, or any other system!)


And what about you, reader? Any New Year's gaming resolutions?


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Secondhand, fakes and temptation. What is your position?

The awesomeness that is the "iPed".

New Year's day has come and gone.

Traditionally, this is a time for reflecting on the past, and thinking about the future...
...but for the moment, let's focus on the past, and one thing that has been bothering me (it will take us a bit of a preamble to get there, so bear with me.)

Over the past year, my collecting gene has really come to the fore, with a pretty much constant acquisition of models. However, there has been one ever-present aspect to this year's purchasing that is in stark contrast to the past. With very few exceptions (Tau Riptide, I'm looking at you) most of the  models I purchased in 2013 were bought on "the 'bay".

On reflection, there are several reasons for this:

1. Time.
I wanted to try a new army (Black Templars) but didn't want to put the hundreds of hours into collecting, assembling and painting them all. Whenever possible on eBay I try to purchase painted or undercoated Black Templar models, and then bring them up a notch with some washes or highlights etc.

2. Money.
I am gainfully employed (hopefully to remain the case) but buying a whole new army from Games Workshop (especially in Tokyo) is a major investment, especially when there are other things tugging at my wallet (before you ask,I mean family paying for the kids education.)

As an example, here in Tokyo, a pack of 5 Stern guard costs 6,500 yen (37.20 GBP) if you pick it up at the store (you need to buy more than 10,000 yen before shipping is free).
Let's see how that compares to other countries:
Japan: 37.2 GBP (JP RRP: 6,500JPY)
UK: 30.00 GBP
USA:  30.15 GBP (US RRP: 50 USD)
Australia: 37.64 GBP (AUD RRP: 70 AUD)
(exchange rates correct at time of writing.)

Let's be clear, this is not a complaint about GW's global pricing structure or their markup. This is about my disposable income! GW are totally within their rights to charge whatever they can for their product. Do I agree with their pricing? That is a different matter, but many industries do this, including of course the one I work in. Bottom line? Let's not forget that GW exists to make money for their shareholders, and they will (and arguably should) charge what they can. 

As you can see though, the prices that they CAN charge in Tokyo make starting a new army from scratch an expensive proposition, especially if aiming to play in the 2,000 point range...

3. Thrills.
Yes, thrills. eBay is actually a lot of fun. It has that "Car Boot Sale" underlying excitement ("Let's have a look over there, who knows what bargain we might find?") as well as the thrill of the chase ("Arggh, I have been outbid! How much more can I afford?") and the kill ("Yesssssss, it is mine - and I saved 30%!")
By the way, if you are ever on the Tokyo subway in the morning and you hear someone say that in English, it is likely to be me. Almost nobody speaks on the Tokyo subway (blessed silence!) and I have never seen anyone else managing a bidding frenzy on eBay on the way in to work...

4. Convenience.
Since GW closed my local store (tiny, passionately-staffed hobby dungeon, how I miss thee!) it just isn't that convenient to shop from the main store in Tokyo, and with my schedule being quite busy, waiting a week or two for an order to arrive from eBay isn't a big deal.

I've blogged about how eBay works well for me before, so I mention these things now because they are connected to what has been bothering me. Which is:
"Should I be contributing more to Games Workshop?" and (more controversially) "Should we all?"

At the back of my mind as I look back on 2013 is a nagging guilt that by not buying more from GW, I am not contributing to the future success of the game and the company producing it. This is exacerbated by the fact that I really like GW models, and I don't want the company to go out of business. Should I feel guilty?

Probably not. 

After all, secondhand sales are a totally legal way to purchase most items (unless they are stolen) and I have plenty of good reasons above for using eBay. In addition, it is not like I don't contribute to the bottom line at all. I purchase paints, hobby supplies and rulebooks throughout the year (a not insignificant amount) and like most customers, have contributed thousands (and thousands?) of dollars over time.

This year there is a new wrinkle though, and that is that I have become aware of the market for "fake" GW items (Yeah I know, where have I been?!)
I personally wasn't really aware of the market for these models until a number of posts where an avid collector lauded the overall quality of the model, and where you can see that a fully painted item is indistinguishable from the original (to amateurs like me at least).

I must admit that I was tempted...
...but only for a second.

GW receives nothing at all at any stage from these sales (although I guess the pirate bought a model on which they make the copy?). Why is this important? When an original model is created there must be a number of people involved - sculptors, designers, technicians etc. and all these people need to be paid before a single model comes off the production line. I'm not the creative sort myself, but through my work I have come to have an enormous respect for people who do create (or are involved in the process of bringing a creation to life and then to the customer), and I am strongly of the opinion that their right to profit from their work should be protected.

I wonder what the scale of the business is? A couple of small knockoff shops (in which case it is probably more trouble than it is worth to worry about them) or a much larger industry? I rarely get a game in here so I am not well connected enough to the larger gaming community to get a sense from other local players. In either case, I have decided not to buy these items. I think it is important to make an informed decision about purchasing and that is mine in this case...
...but is that really different from buying from eBay?

I think so, because at some point, each of the models I have bought on eBay were purchased from GW (again, if they are not fakes).

Let's be very clear, I don't blame or look down on people who DO buy these models, and I don't wish this to be seen to be an attack or a high-handed stance. It is only a step away from secondhand and I understand the desire to find alternative ways to own something when the original is so expensive. 

What do you think about this?
  • Is this a complex question, or is it simple?
  • How big do you think the GW fake industry is?
  • Would you buy fakes? If so why or why not?
  • If you have bought these items, how did you find the quality and service? What is your opinion?
  • Are you a sculptor or artist in the industry? (or any industry?) What do you think?
If you want to contribute in the comments, please do so, but please note that I am seeking opinion, experience and insight, not personal attacks!

Welcome to 2014...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...