Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Goblins Great and Not so Great

After watching Kevin's Tzeentch d(a)emon army thrash Jon's Dwarfs on Sunday evening, I had a chance to try the goblins in a small 1,000 point "Blood and Glory" scenario. My opponent was Kevin and his victorious demons, and luckily both Kevin and Jon brought along extra goblin models so I was able to try out some units I don't own.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

There's no wrong way to paint a goblin.

Remember when Peter Jackson made a bunch of movies about hobbits, and everything on screen was brown or green? I really like that aesthetic. Sure, it's still fantasy, but it somehow feels more viable than the technicolor illustrations from the Player's Handbook of yesteryear. That's why I decided to eschew the traditional jet-black night goblin wardrobe in favor of an earthier approach.

Gollum times infinity

Monday, March 21, 2011

Progress Report

I've been stealing a few spare moments over the last week to do a little modeling. In the past few days I've primed and laid down the initial wash on a bunch of goblins, and I've been getting some goblins on their bases.

I'm pretty happy with my basing scheme. Once I've got my basing material glued to the base, I prime with a very dark brown spray I picked up cheaply at the hardware store and the base gets a quick drybrush of snakebite leather. Then I pop on a goblin, which has been primed separately (the goblin needs to be sprayed white for the painting method I'm using - I'll detail that at a later date). After the miniature's been painted, I'll throw on some "Swamp Tuft." Because I'm panting the Night Goblins' robes brown instead of the customary black, I'm worried there's going to be alot of brown and green, but my intention is to try to achieve a more naturalistic appearance, so I'm not too worried.

Modeling supplies.

Before Sunday's game, I'd like to get the first two ranks of two units painted, which means I need to completely finish 34 models. I also need to get the rest of my army in a playable state, though, so first I need to prioritize.

As I type this, the glue is curing on the Battle Standard Bearer I threw together last night. When I get home I'll put some primer on him and most likely be so excited about the prospect of painting him that I'll forget about everything else.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Grond! Grond! Grond!

I don't really have anything significant to report, but I've been thinking about orcs a lot lately, so I thought I'd offer these gems.

Kind of makes you remember why we do what we do.

The Bakshi version was weird as hell and constantly disappointed me as a child (when I'd ask to watch Lord of the Rings, I'd get this about half of the time, when I really wanted to watch the Rankin-Bass version). But, this definitely captures the hellish cacophony that should accompany any marching greenskin horde. I love the trumpets.

I've been making progress cleaning, priming, and putting the first licks of ink on the goblin army. I'm on track to show up with a fully-primed army of 1,000 or 1,500 points the Sunday after next.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Greenskin Army Book, Quick Update

I picked up a copy of Warhammer Armies: Orcs & Goblins today. My initial feelings about the book could be generously described as 'cautious.' For one thing, it's only available in hardcover, which seems a strange choice on the publisher's part given their history of softcover rules supplements. For another thing, the customer is obliged to pay nearly another $10 USD for this dubious privilege. Luckily, I've been able to get almost all of my goblins at substantial discounts, so the few extra dollars doesn't scratch my greenskin budget too badly, but that's incidental. The real test of the hardcover's value is the following:
  1. Is the aesthetic appeal of the book worth a few extra bucks (about the cost of an issue of White Dwarf)?
  2. Is the book more durable than a softcover?
I'd answer no to the first question, but given the success of Games Workshop's various limited edition offerings throughout the years, I suspect many hobbyists will answer in the affirmative. Regarding the second, time will tell, but I feel optimistic.

There's no question that the book itself is beautifully illustrated and designed, and best of all, it exudes the "new game product smell," which evokes all of the wonder and possibilities I felt when I bought the Warhammer Fantasy 5th edition box as a kid. The creative copy is on the level of most other GW stuff: adequate. The rules seem a little clearer than the previous version of the army book (I always wondered whether a Night Goblin could take the Spider Banner, for example). As a pragmatic hobbyist, the book seems a bit bloated to me: of the book's 112 pages, under 60 pages are directly related to rules.

Regarding the rules themselves, it's hard for me to speak authoritatively, being new to the army. Overall, the book doesn't feel like a "codex creep"style overhaul, but a fine-tuning. For example, the magic item lists has been slimmed down considerably, now consisting of just eight items, many of which are only available to certain unit types. Among the casualties: the Staff of Sneaky Stealin'. Oh no! But wait. A modified version of the staff's power has been built into the spells of the Da Little Waaagh. That's especially cool, as goblins were previously out of luck when it came to taking advantage of the special rules for Waaagh! magic.

There are also a few new unit types (Mangler Squigs seem neat; the Arachnarok is fun if a bit impractical) as well as a few "unit upgrade" characters, both of which are goblins. Beyond the price and unnecessary (to my mind) amounts of background material, I do have one minor complaint:the army list in the back of the book doesn't include page references for the units, so you need to go hunting. That slows things down a bit. There's plenty more little bonuses, though. The Animosity rules seem a bit more forgiving, and the Warboss' Waaagh! ability (still orcs only, of course) is characterful and potentially devastating. The new edition seems a little more flexible and streamlined than the previous and it's a good time to start a goblin army.

Regarding the actual construction of said army, I've been out of town most of the week and I didn't have a moment alone all weekend, so I haven't made much progress, but I now have the following assembled, cleaned of mold lines, and primed:
  • Night Goblin Warboss on Great Cave Squig
  • 3 unmounted Night Goblin Shamans (Shamen?)
  • 2 Night Goblin Big bosses
  • a Night Goblin Battle Standard Bearer
  • 2 Cave Squigs, 3 Herders
  • 50 Night Goblins with spears, shields, and full command
  • 10 Night Goblins with short bows
  • 18 giant spiders (sans riders)
  • 2 Night Goblin Fanatics
I'm expecting loads more Night Goblins, Fanatics, and a Spear Chukka in the mail any day now. It's going to be tight, but my current goal is to have a legal 1,000 point army primed and on the table by March 27.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Before I forget - and because he asked me about this ages ago - you should check out some of the fantastic work my friend Matt is doing over at his blog, Sarcophagi. Matt is a true hobbyist and his Imperial Guard are phenomenal (just ignore the Warmachine stuff).

Down, Down to Goblin Town

I've been knee-deep in green over the past few days, so I thought I'd report on some of my progress and talk a little about my plans for the goblin project. Last night was a rare no-plans-at-all night so I had blocked it off as hobby time, but about an hour into it a friend stopped by and wanted to go on a bike ride, so, priorities.

A few months ago I picked up two packages of Games Workshop's modular movement trays, and last night I assembled a few of them. I know that I want to start the army with at least two units of 50 goblins each in horde formation, so I cut the ten by ten (20mm spaces, not inches) sheet that comes with the package in half. It's very easy to score and snap with an xacto and a straightedge. Then it's just a matter of removing the plastic "lips" and gluing them to the sides. This part requires a razor saw, but on the whole it was still incredibly easy. I was surprised by the value of this kit and would certainly recommend it. Of course, it's easy to construct your own movement trays out of cardboard and popsicle sticks, but for the ease of construction, sturdiness, and most importantly, time saved, I'll stick with the modular trays.

Here's a few blurry cell phone pictures of some of my progress:

Some likely lads.

This is part of a unit.

King Under the Mountain

Games Workshop has always treated Orcs and Goblins as the comic relief of their setting, but I'm inspired to put some of the fear back into them. Really, what's so funny about hordes of deformed subterranean creatures who know only malice and hatred, whose chanting fills the ancient halls, and who periodically spill forth in vast waves, wreaking vengeance against the hated surface-dwellers? Sounds terrifying to me.

To that end, the power behind this barely-contained force of devastation is the Underking, a self-styled abyssal regent (counts-as Skarsnik). Having subjugated dozens of night goblin tribes, he holds court in an ancient dwarven throne room among a rabble of sycophants, advisors, and slaves. The army will contain only night goblins and count-as night goblins (spider riders, for example) as well as the various beasts that populate the unlit halls: spiders, swarms of bats (counts as snotlings!), cave trolls, and, of course, lots of squigs. I have a few more ideas, as well, but I'll save those for future updates. In the meantime, I'm pretty excited about goblins. As I learned in my youth, goblins who live in caves are badass.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

O. G.

Ok, first things first. I didn't finish my pledge. I didn't even come close. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Having said that, I've been surprised about the number of folks who have been asking about this over the past month or so, and I've been fiddling with some plastic offhandedly over the past few weeks, so I thought I might start posting here again, albeit sporadically.

In terms of hobby developments, I've been selling off some kits that I'll never realistically paint and assemble. I also dug out the unfathomable legion of night goblins I picked up a few years ago when everyone was selling off their Skull Pass stuff, and have been slowly cleaning mold lines off of goblins. Upon some reflection, I really enjoy Warhammer Fantasy, but I just don't have the painting skill to do the High Elves the way I want right now. And that bothers me. But it turns out I can paint goblins to a level that I find acceptable. Some of you may have seen this test mini from a while back:

So there it is. The Original Gangstas, Orcs & Goblins. I went down to the local game store yesterday, where I was lucky enough to thumb through their advance copy of the new army book. It doesn't look like there's anything too mind-bendingly crazy in there (especially since I'm planning a Night Goblin-exclusive force), but overall, it definitely looks solid and I'm psyched.

I'll post updates as they occur. I also need to figure out what I'm doing about 40k, because I owe Matt a fully-painted game, and that is something that needs to be rectified.