The Ratling Project

Svirfneblin snipers

A little while ago I mentioned that I was dissatisfied with GW’s hobbit-inspired ratlings, and the only way I could see getting my hands on ratlings I liked was either to do a massive modelling project or commission a sculptor.

Well, last week you might remember I mentioned my brother Chris’s blog, which mainly chronicles his D&D adventures.  Chris is a trained printmedia artist with a long-term interest in sculpting miniatures, and I had a chat with him about making some tough, leathery little bastards inspired by the aesthetic of the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Svirfneblin (deep gnomes).

He agreed to give it a go and the above sketch is his first rough whack at the job.  I’m pretty excited, and will of course keep track of how this goes on my blog.  He has a cartoonish style that I think suits this idea well, given the exaggerated features I’m after. I particularly like the mandarin collars, the sneaky ninja boots and the felt helmets, which Chris tells me are based on World War One Romanian felt helmets.

For anyone who’s interested, here’s a link to some greens he has made and some of his future projects in miniature design.


Two Painters

One of Ben's "Helm" paintings.

One of Ben’s “Helm” paintings.

Hey everyone, hope you had a fine festive season etc.

I just thought I’d show you all a blog that belongs to a good friend of mine.  He lives in Melbourne now, which is an eight hour train ride from my place, but he visited me for a couple of beers recently and we talked about miniature painting and books and stuff.

Anyway, his name is Ben Guy and he’s a painter.  Not a miniature painter (or indeed, a house or sign painter) but a picture painter.  Specifically, he does a lot of comics, fantasy and sci-fi based art as well as landscapes.  I happen to think he’s really good, and I’m not the only one – he was recently showcased in a French book about Geek Art.  If you’re in the market for some original art then you could do a lot worse.  Just contact him via the blog I presume.

Also, for those of you who haven’t heard, Larry Elmore’s Kickstarter ended as the second highest funded Kickstarter ever in the publishing category.  This makes me really happy, as Elmore was always my favourite D&D artist as a kid.  I’m friends with him on facebook and it’s really warmed my heart to see the total gratitude and shock he’s expressed.

It just goes to show that if you just keep on doing what you do, you’ll most likely get there in the end.  Not that Elmore hadn’t made it already.  But now, as he says, he has money to fall back on when work is slow and it’s all because of the ordinary people who love his work.

I always wanted an Elmore original but I doubt I’ll be able to afford one after this!  Well done Larry.

And even though I couldn’t afford to contribute to the Kickstarter (the postage was huge outside the US), my brother Chris (also an artist, strangely enough, and with quite a funny blog about D&D) gave me this for Christmas:

Larry Elmore's iconic "Red Box" in T-shirt form!

Larry Elmore’s iconic “Red Box” in T-shirt form!

Outstanding.


Army Sharing: the Way of the Future?

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This somewhat sensational title refers to something I’ve been thinking about lately.  Frontline Gamer has been worried for a while about an up-coming crisis in the way our hobby grows, and I think I’ve come up with some food for thought on that score.  This is going to be a long one, I’ll warn you now – I decided against splitting it up into parts because who knows when I’d finish it, if ever?  Here is the gist, in case you aren’t in the mood for reading the whole thing:

The way we collect and play in the miniature wargames hobby is traditionally focused on individual army ownership.  I collect the miniatures I want, I build them, paint them, and meet you to play against your miniatures.  But there are a lot of problems with this way of doing things.  Some people only enjoy some parts of the hobby.  Others may have more time than money, or vice versa, and the ordinary way of doing things is very demanding in a lot of ways.

Imagine a club where no-one in particular owns the armies.  Each member pays a fee, and the grown-ups with more money than time buy the models they want to use or see.  They are then stored at the homes of whoever wants to store them, or at some central location.  The folks who love painting, the teenagers and the students with more time than money paint the models, and people simply arrange which armies they want to use on any particular game night.  No-one has to have a house full of stuff if they don’t want to, and there’s nothing stopping or forcing you from participating (or not) in any way you like (or don’t like).  If like many keen gamers you love to buy, convert, and paint armies, instead of sticking them in your shed or selling each one off to fund your next one you simply donate it to your local club.

Sound strange?  Maybe even crazy?  Allow me to explain a bit more. Continue reading


It’s an Anomaly

Huh.

I logged in to check my stats for the first time in a while and was pretty surprised to see that on the 5th of December (last week, that is), Yahoo Image Search was used to find Warp Signal 776 times, bringing my hits for that day up to 874.  This is by far the most hits I’ve ever got in one day, and now it’s really hard to interpret my traffic graph.  The 5th of December 2012 is now a towering skyscraper of popularity and every other day is roughly the same tiny height in comparison.

Stay tuned for a real post some time in the next couple of days.  I’ve been working on something…


Talking About Ratlings

The current iteration of Ratlings in Warhammer 40,000. Nice models I guess, but way too Sam Gamgee for my liking.

Today I’m going to return to Warhammer 40,00 and talk a little about a subject near-ish to my heart (maybe somewhere in the vicinity of the pancreas) – Ratlings.  That’s right, Games Workshop’s throwback space hobbit snipers.

I’m genuinely surprised whenever they manage to sneak into a new Imperial Guard book, so someone in the studio must like them.  You can tell how the community really feels about something though by looking at Black Library novels.  I can’t remember the last time a Ratling was even a character in one, but Ogryns for example pop up quite regularly.

Online you see almost universal disdain for the little buggers.  I think there are a few reasons for this.  Continue reading


Liebster Blog Awards – better late than never I suppose…

Frontline Gamer has very kindly nominated me for a Liebster Award, which appears to be a feel-good pass-it-on chain thingy for blogs which I am supposed to continue by nominating five blogs I particularly enjoy.  I’m going to do it, because it’s always a nice feeling to be recognized for the work you put in.

I’m truly honoured to be given this recognition by Frontline, given his super-blogger status.  I’m also grateful to Headologist at Do You Have A Flag?, who gave me an honourable mention.  I’m afraid though that if I honourably mention every blog I like that’s already been nominated we’ll be here all day.  So if you have a nomination already then I’m not giving you one, sorry.  Tough luck Porky!

Right, so here are five blogs on my roll that I check regularly, and enjoy reading/ogling.  I think you’ll probably like them too if you like my blog. Continue reading


Total Eclipse and the death of Maelstrom

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Festival people watching the early stages of the eclipse.

For those of you who may have noticed, it’s been a bit quiet around here, for various reasons.  One was that I made a promise to myself not to post unless it’s to show actual hobby progress.  If you’re a fan of my opinionated meanderings don’t worry, I’ll break that resolution soon enough I’m sure…

I’ve also been away for the last fortnight, traveling with my family to far north Queensland to see the total solar eclipse.  It was an epic journey involving planes, rainforests, beaches, dangerous heat, nomadically roaming from one campsite to the next, and then planes again.

Among other things we went to Eclipse 2012, which was basically a week-long psytrance festival hastily but very effectively built around the total eclipse last Wednesday morning.  David Stillberg at Tentakel once distinguished me from other Australians he’d met by saying that I wasn’t a dreadlocked neo-hippie.  Yeah, sorry mate.  I might not have the dreadies but I’ve just spent a week eating oily vegetarian wraps and watching people who do have dreadlocks swim naked in a crocodile infested river while an incessant beat thumped in the background.  Oh so incessant.  I was glad when it finally cessed.

Hey and I got to see Beats Antique too, which was cool.

The eclipse itself was pretty spectacular.  I’ve never seen anything like it before, it just went dark at 6:30 in the morning, about as dark as dusk but with none of the usual colours.  Everything just went grey and silent for a few minutes and then the sun came back again.  Eerie.

Oh and when I got back I heard from Capn Stoogey that Maelstrom games had folded.  I knew it, I knew this would happen.  I ordered some models (thankfully only about 20 AUD worth) way back in June, and when they just kept crazily lowering their prices and delaying filling their orders I had a bad feeling they were kaput.

Does anyone know if I get my money back from liquidators or something?  Or am I just out 20 bucks?


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