It’s all for the Greater Good

We are coming up to my anniversary. That’s right its been nearly a year since my re-insertion into the hobby. Which I imagine to be a bit like being reinserted into the Matrix but a lot less sinister and somewhat more enjoyable. 

A lot has happened in the last 12 months and a great deal of that has been in the last 3 – 4 months if I’m honest. You may recall I had played a couple of games of Mordheim which I’m sad to say didn’t reach any higher than a couple. But there have been other distractions and lately I have found myself less in love with my warband than I was before. I was never 100% taken with them. I suspect a combination of rushing to get something together on the cheap, which meant using models I didn’t like and being so rusty with my painting that I made a hash of a couple of them. This following on from a mishap with a can of basecoat (people it is really important to shake the can well and make sure it’s not cold). With no inspiration for a colour scheme or the background the other guys had behind themMonty’s Bastards have languished in one of my now numerous carry cases. Until last week when the poor perverted sociopath has found the dust being brushed off his unpainted shoulders and being put straight on eBay. He and his merry band of mentalists are being replaced with a warband I’ve wanted to do since before my departure from the hobby a decade ago. A heavily themed Beastmen force. I won’t go into too much detail now but I am genuinely excited at the prospect of fielding some hairy stinky Beastmen, with a slight humorous twist, and I get to have an Avatars of War Minotaur because frankly they are awesome. 

I am also now the proud owner of a small Sorylian fleet for Firestorm Armada all thanks to my wife being very generous, and not too judgemental, on my birthday. Although have you ever tried to explain to your other half why a Dreadnought (space shotgun) made from resin is so damned expensive? No? Well I have and she still doesn’t get it. Much like many of my other models: the fleet is currently sitting in a carry case in a very much unpainted and un-played with state, but I am slowly adding to it and I know my colour scheme so it’s just a matter of getting round to it and I look forward to seeing how the Sorylians do in a game. 

Now those other distractions I mentioned, are primarily the Star Wars X-Wing Miniature Game by Fantasy Flight Games. If you didn’t know already Phil and I have a massive hard on for this game, which does border on the slightly unsavoury side from time to time. I run the Imperials and Phil as you may be aware is fielding the Rebel scum. I have to say I didn’t take much convincing to pick this one up, I had been looking at it but didn’t know how to take the plunge. Phil, being the enabler that he is,saw to that. I am now the proud owner of a small but growing Imperial fleet which includes 5 TIE Fighters 1 Tie Advanced and recently Slave 1 (you may have seen my rather gushy review). We have yet to get down to pitting Slave 1 against the Falcon but I am very much hoping it’s soon as I have a bit of a score to settle and honestly it would be nice to maybe win a game. [Never! – Ed.] This new love affair has kicked off many thought processes that revolve around Star Wars but again these are things that will I’m hoping become more apparent in the not to distant future. 

Dreadball… okay so I have dabbled here a little bit and while I’m not as hot for it as Neil, I do still love it. I never really got on with Blood Bowl but Dreadball is everything Blood Bowl wasn’t which is good, fun and fast, (all opinions expressed in this article are purely my own and are just that only an opinion). Now I haven’t actually played a straight game of Dreadball just yet, but I have played Ultimate against 3 other opponents and it was brilliant, I was slightly concerned as I have a Judwan team (yes I field the pacifists in space). Despite the fact they only have strikers and can’t perform any physical attacks they performed really well. Except against the Maruader player who decided he wanted to squish everything on the board and Judwan are particularly squishy. But I enjoyed my game so much I have actually started to paint my team, and after a couple of pointers from the painting guru that is Lee, I have to say I’m rather happy with the results. I am yet to finish them but so far so good. 

Before I get onto the subject that this article was named for, I have a few other bits I want to mention. Firstly being I now own a copies of Dreadball & Sedition Wars, rule sets for Battlefleet Gothic, Necromunda, Adeptus Titanicus 2 and I’m now on the look out for Epic Armageddon rules… So a busy boy, I know. Having recently played a game of Battlefleet Gothic (battle report with spangly pictures coming soon) with my Necrons (God are they broken) I have once again got the bug to sail the warp and blow the shit out of Imperials, BUT not with my Necrons. And Phil gave me a copy GCT Studio’s game Bushido to read and review too! I’ve always been into Japanese culture, and this mixes plenty of that with some great looking models and so far decent looking rules.

I have also got ever so slightly further with scratch building my Chaos Titans but that’s a completely separate article. 

So onto the matter of the Greater Good. Some of you may recall last year I started talking about a Space Marine project using Codex Space Wolves, based on Celtic culture and mythology. They never really got named although Moon Dragons was an option, especially for Nate of ODAM fame. I built up a fair few blokes including some Horus Heresy stuff from Forge World. I wrote a background and devised a colour scheme. Now due to the fact they were Celtic themed, they were going to be rather up close and personal and through discussions with Lee & Phil I realised just how badly dicked on they were going to get in the process. And so my Tau allies were born. And this is where it all changed. 

I really wanted my Space Marines to look the tits and I was looking at a mixture of Forge World and Scibor miniatures for the main force. Now this is a lovely idea but it’s just so expensive. I was also concerned that my painting skills would never really do them justice and so it would be a project that would limp on and on and never be finished. So I made the decision this week to sell my Marines and concentrate on the Tau force that had grown beyond a small allied force because, basically, I was psyched by them. 

All this was due to the following: 1. The Space Marine project was prohibitively expensive. 2. One army per system is enough for any man (well at the moment), 3. FOCUS. This is in capitals because that’s the text I get from Phil two or three times a week when I start talking about something cool I’ve seen and how it’s given me a great idea. And 4. It’s all for the greater good. That is to say: Tau are my jam.

So my Tau force grows, which is funny when I think about it, and has been a long time coming. When I first started to drift away from the hobby the Tau had only just been released. So a decade or so. And in my odd drifts back into the fold I have picked up various iterations of the codex but have never got around to acquiring any models. had a massive thing for Fire Warrior on my PS2: who remembers that? [No one because it was shit. – Ed.] And the bit where you come face to face with a Chaos Space Marine… shoot and run, shoot and ruuuuuun. But more recently since coming back to the warm loving folds of plastic crack addiction, Phil was giving away some of his goodies to The Chaps and the Tau Codex was amongst them. Clearly it was fate.

Now I’m not only pulling together a decent force with a colour scheme I’m happy with, and actually have some painted models, but I’m looking at creating a Pathfinder Kill Team and looking at cool conversions I can do too [FOCUS! – Ed.]. I’m currently liking the idea of sculpting cloaks for them and giving them some samurai swords to act as their Ta’lissera bonding knife. Kromlech do some nice Sci-fKatanas that would work really well for this.  

do have to admit I’m not a huge fan of the Kroot or Vespids so they will be left out of my Tau force. I know this may not be the best idea but, frankly, I just don’t care. I’m also not a big fan of the vehicles but that said I’ve never been a massive fan of vehicles in any army and always preferred to go down the infantry route. However after a few conversations with The Chaps I will likely end up with at least one Devil Fish and possibly a Hammerhead. Okay, three. As I realise the need for these and that vehicles have become a much bigger focus since my days of 40K. I also love the look of the Forge World Pathfinder Tetras but that’s going on the possible list as I like the idea of my Pathfinders being sneaky stealth bastards. 

So currently I’m sitting at 3 Fire Warrior Squads, 3 XV15’s, 6 XV25’s with Drones, 1 Small Pathfinder Team, 1 Commander in Crisis Battle Suit, another 2 Crisis Battle Suits as body guards and a hand full of Drones.

Tau have slightly taken over my life as I also currently find myself reading Fire Warrior by Simon Spurrier the book based on the aforementioned game, it’s a great if not wholly accurate look into Tau culture. 

So my addiction continues and is culminating/climaxing* in a trip to Salute in a couple of weeks, which I no doubt will have to write about my splurging of monumental amounts of cash. And hopefully I will get to meet some of you guys there. 

So until next time…

Oooh I nearly forgot Firefly: The Game is AWESOME. 

*delete as appropriate

Spartan Spectacular

Anyone who visits this blog, Paint and Biscuits or the Spartan Games website will know that the fine chaps at Spartan have been very busy lately, with a bevy of sneak peaks hitting the blog pages.

Amongst the plethora of toys was the Firestorm Armada Dreadnoughts. Slowly leaked over a number of weeks, players of this fine space combat romp have been scouring the interwebs to find out when they’ll be coming out. Well I can tell you it’ll be next month. Just in time for Christmas so reserve a portion of your present budget from the wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend – delete as appropriate – for you dreadnought of choice. Prices start at £17 and go up to £23 in the case of the Aquan ship, but if you’ve seen size compared to the battleships, that’s still excellent value.

And before anyone asks, yes I’ll be getting a couple for review. And in case anyone’s interested, the destroyers will be out the same time in packs of 2 for between £9 and £10.50.

In other Spartan news Phase 3 of Uncharted Seas is rolling out with yet more choice models some of which can be seen below…


Sorylians The New Batch

My second order of Sorylians finally arrived. Apparently there was some SNAFU with a supplier or some such. Whatever the reason I’m just glad they’ve arrived ahead of the 1,000 point game I have planned with @Chris_S_79 at the weekend. Our wives don’t know yet so shhhhh!

On the rocket docket was 1 gunship, 2 cruisers and 6 frigates. The gunship was a total indulgence because the model is awesome and massive. It’s also the only ship in the Sorylian fleet that has all forward facing weapons which makes it either a hunter killer or a spear tip. Either way I expect it to draw a lot of fire power. But that’s fine, if it’s being shot to shit then the rest of my fleet isn’t…

The gunship is already ‘built’ and on its stand. I put built in inverted commas because it’s a single piece model, it just needs a bit of tidying up. Sadly, however, one of the cruisers has been so poorly cast that I’m having to carefully cut away all the horrid blobs of resin with a small etching tool, not to mention what looks to be parts of the cast. Although entirely the fault of Spartan Games’ quality control manager it leaves a bitter taste having waited so long for them.  I’ll do what I can but I may well just have to have a slightly mauled, battle worn cruiser in the fleet.

All that aside, I now have 1,000 points of Sorylians (including wings) so now I need to get down to the business of painting them. Hopefully you would have read my earlier post The Sorylians Have Landed and had a chance to look at the image below for possible colour scheme options.

After listening to the feedback both on the Blog and The Shell Case forums I’ve decided to opt for the reptile colour scheme. I really like the colours and the scale texture will add real depth and texture to the curving surfaces of the Sorylians’ upper hulls. So watch this space as I put paint to model for the first time in an embarrassingly long time…

The Sorylians Have Landed

My Sorylians finally arrived, courtesy of Firestorm Games this week. I ordered a starter fleet and a carrier (although I’ve ordered another 400 points worth already) and I have to say I’m very pleased with them and hugely excited. The models are lovely although I have to confess being a tad disappointed with metal engines for the frigates making them horribly back heavy, but also the poorly thought out position and depth of the holes for the flying stands to sit in. Fortunately I have that ‘new army feeling’ so was quite happy to sit and painstakingly bore out the holes, whilst watching Top Gear Challenges 4, so the ships would sit safely on their stands for a couple of hours.

To be fair, part of the determination was the knowledge that I was using them Friday night so needed to have a built fleet ready to go (I won by the way) but that doesn’t account for the fact that at 11.30pm I was outside undercoating them by the light coming through the kitchen window.

This fresh enthusiasm is quite something for me and goes beyond ‘new army syndrome’. I think it’s partly because it’s properly new rather than the variation on a theme, but also because it was a decision I agonized over – as you’ve read.I’m really looking forward to painting them. My dilemma and one I’ll need helping with, is the colour scheme. Now the Sorylians are reptiloids so I was thinking, aside from the obvious bits being metal in colour, something organic – something to reflect who and what they are. Below are four ideas; feel free to cast your votes. There’s no guarantee I’ll pay any attention but hey it’ll be interesting to see what you think.

This will be the first of a few posts chronicling the development of my Sorylian fleet so stay tuned…

Style over Substance

For my first ‘proper’ post for The Shell Case I wanted to write about something that’s been on my mind a lot lately.
New armies. Well, specifically new fleets. For those that don’t know me I’ve just started getting in to Spartan Games’ systems. I have a small but effective FSA fleet for Dystopian Wars which I have led to victory 5 out of 5 games. My recent purchase is Firestorm Armada.

Now, I’ve always been of the opinion that you should always go for the toys that you like the look of. Having played Games Workshop games for 22 years, the look of the model also gave you some idea of that particular race/army’s intentions. For example; gribby alien xenomorph types covered in spikey things – probably not that friendly.

So, I applied this reasonably sound logic to Firestorm Armada while I waited impatiently for the rulebook to arrive. I looked at all the models and got immediately hot and hard over the Directorate. I loved everything about the models especially the fact that the battleship & cruiser looked like the Starship Voyager on steroids.

So that should have been the end of it. Decision made. Then the rulebook arrived and I read the background and I was thrown into a bit of a tiz. Yes, it’s a word. See, the problem is that the Directorate are just a little but c**tish. The models are awesome but I’m just not sure if I would enjoy using them. Which brings me onto the point of the post – should the decision to collect a fleet/army rest entirely on the quality/awesomeness (also a word) of the models or should the background be equally important.

If so I can see myself really struggling to find a force in Firestorm Armada I want to collect. If I just make the decision based on the models I would have no problem. The Directorate, Aquans & Sorylians are great models, although my brother is collecting the Aquans and it’d only cause fights. I know I know, but there’s a difference between growing up and growing old. Perhaps the problem is the paper thin background in the book. Or, most likely, I’ve been spoilt by the Games Workshop and the staggering amount of detail they’ve always put into things. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having standards. The most successful IPs, like Warhammer 40,000 have the richest backgrounds. Look at Halo, Star Trek, Babylon 5 and Star Wars. All massively popular because of quality and depth of ideas behind them.

The answer, perhaps, is to not worry about it and just enjoy the game but I just can’t do it. Every time I’d put the Directorate on the board I’d feel guilty. I don’t like being the bad guy.
Which really just leaves the Sorylians. This is fine, I like the background well enough and the models are cool. But there was something about the paint job that Spartan did that wasn’t doing it for me. But then I saw photo below and I felt inspired.

The answer, perhaps, is a combination of background, models, how they play in the game and that all important dash of inspiration – showing me a cool new way of doing something that gets the creative part of my mind free wheeling.

Of course, I could just be thinking too much…