Sunday, 30 December 2012

Looking Ahead

Its that time of year where we all take stock of the year past and look forward to a new year. Personally, I don't do the whole reflecting on the past thing too well, so instead I'll concentrate on 2013.

I think the motto for 2013 should be to do more.

As regular readers will note, I'm not the most frequent blogger, however I'm full of ideas and really should write more. So, as well as my painting blogs, I'm going to try and write more about books, films and other random stuff.

I really want to get more gaming in. While the Warmahordes weekends are highlights of my year, for the amount of models I have I don't get that much use out of them. Unfortunately the 2 local war gaming clubs to me meet on my only other day of gaming, so I'll need an alternative plan!

And perhaps, it should go without saying, but I need to do more painting! I think this year I have painted the most I have ever done, but I can and should do better. Not only do I have a load more Warmachine/Hordes stuff that needs painting, but I have 40K, Fantasy and Dropzone Commander armies that need finishing, as well as the boxes of random models I've collected over the years.

Well that's the plan, lets see how well it goes!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Iron Kingdoms RPG Review

It's been a while since I've had a new RPG to review since I've started becoming a lot more selective with my gaming purchases. That, and many of the lines I was buying have slowed down considerably! However, this one is well worth singing its praises.

I don't think it would shock anyone to say I'm a huge Iron Kingdoms fan. I bought the 2 of the original Warmachine battle boxes, despite not having anyone to play against at the time. With the exception of the Force Books for armies I don't play, I have all the rule books from Mk1 Prime. I even bought 2 of the original Hordes Battle Boxes when I still didn't have anyone to play against. (forever the optimist!)

The Iron Kingdoms though, didn't start off in the miniatures game. It originally existed as part of a adventure trilogy for 3rd Edition D&D published under the OGL. The Witchfire Trilogy was so popular that eventually a small RPG line was published alongside the emerging miniatures game. WHile the setting was good, unfortunatley the use of OGL D20 caused some issues meshing gameplay to player's expectations, especially once they saw what the equivilent unit in the miniatures game could do. While I did run the Witchfire Trilogy (its an awesome campaign BTW. Key moment in Iron Kingdoms history, great set peices and classic NPCs) the D20 rules held us back, and Gun Mages and anyone wanting to craft stuff was seriously disadvantaged.
When Privateer Press started work on Mark 2 Warmachine, they put a hold on the entire RPG line, promising to re-visit it with a new system once Mark 2 was up and running.

Roll on a couple of years, and we now have one of the best looking RPG books around.

With production values on par with the Warmachine/Hordes rule books (and light years beyond the original Iron Kingdoms Character Guide), the new Iron Kingdoms RPG is a full colour hardback book, weighing in at 340 pages.

Kicking off the book is an excellent section on the history of Western Immoren. Covering prehistory, all the way up to the "modern" day, this is a great introduction to the world. Much of this history has been covered in various of the miniature books, but it is well written and worth having in one place. Following swiftly afterwards is a section looking at aspects of Western Immoren as it stands, including magic, religion and Mechanika. These two sections total over 100 pages and gives even those completely new to the setting everything they need to know.

Character creation gives you the chance to get into the crunchy parts of the book. Building from a stat line that will look familiar to anyone who's played the miniature game, each character gets to pick a race, archetype and 2 careers to form the backbone of the character. The races feature all the options available in the original RPG, and cover just those living in Western Immoren, later books will open up options to play Skorne and some of the more exotic races. The careers are much like you would expect with classes key to the setting such as the Alchemist, Gunmage and Warcaster represented along with more generic, but equally important careers such as soldier and spy. With each character picking 2, it leads to much more variation and gives much more opportunities for creating interesting characters.
Each career seems balanced, with even the lowly Spy being able to bring something to the table when up against Warcasters and Gunmages.

The conflict resolution system is very similar to the miniatures game, with the combat and magic systems being a pretty straightforward port. While I don't find that a problem, some people may find the overly tactical combat system, which works better with miniatures, to be a problem. Certainly it would not take much to shift to a miniature-less combat, and there is a section in the back that covers this, but otherwise they expect models on the table.

One of the biggest flaws in the D20 version was always the crafting. In the setting, magical items are rare, with most "magical" items actually being Mechanika, a blend or magic and technology. However D20 could never handle this, and so you ended up with much of the fun classes (Alchemist and Arcane Mechanic) being hobbled and unable to be truly awesome. Thankfully the new book presents crafting in a manner that really fits with the setting, and allows crafting classes to be really useful.

My only real gripe is there is not enough in the book. Its a poor gripe, but a valid one, as there is so much crammed in, that some sections are much shorter than I'd have liked. The antagonists section feels especially small, but this is being supported via the No Quarter magazine (and excellent publication for Iron Kingdoms fans) and online. Given the scope of the setting, there is plenty of material and I look forward to an updated Monsternomicon.

Overall, the Iron Kingdoms RPG is an excellent successor to the D20 variant, and continues the tradition of excellent products that started all those years ago with the Witchfire Trilogy.

Monday, 15 October 2012

November Painting Challenge

This idea has a couple of sources of inspiration, so bear with me while I ramble for a bit before getting to the point.

You might remember that back at the start of the year, I decided I’d try and paint 4 15pt armies, one for each of my factions. You can find the original post here. I’m not giving up on that challenge, in fact I’m only 4 models away from completion. However I don’t like making things too easy for myself, so I’ve decided to take on a further, shorter term challenge.

In writing circles there exists an event called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where people who like to write set themselves the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. My wife has decided to take part this year in order to help encourage her to write more, and being the supportive husband that I am, I’m also getting involved.

Ok, so I’m not writing a novel, I know I can’t write, but I can paint! So, to take a leaf from such threads as RPG.net’s monthly painting threads, A Tale of Warmahordes and other such things, I’m going to set myself more of a challenge in November.

So, my challenge is, to paint a load of models in November!

Ok, perhaps not a huge challenge, but given my painting speed, it could be. I haven’t yet decided what to paint, mainly because I have a birthday coming up and have been told to expect a load of lead as presents Open-mouthed smile. Also, I hope to finish off what’s still on the table by the end of the month.

At this point, its time to get some volunteers from the audience. I’m looking for people to join me in this endeavour, especially if you are a slow or unmotivated painter. Simply pick a number of models to paint over November that would be a challenge for YOU. You don’t even have to be that specific, you could say “I’ll paint 15pts of Menoth” rather than specific models. As long as its more than you’d normally paint, that’s fine. Then post your progress somewhere, either as comments to my progress reports, or on your own blog/forum.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

WarmaHordes Weekend–August

At the end of August, another WarmaHordes weekend was held, with the added bonus of a day’s extension due to everyone being accidently available on the Saturday as well!! Didn’t manage to get many more WarmaHordes games in, but did play some fun World of Warcraft CCG games, as well as a demo DropZone Commander. I’ll talk about DzC in a different post later.

As is typical of me, rather than stick with my regular list, I wanted to try out a new Epic Skarre list.

Skarre, Queen of the Broken Coast
* Deathjack
Satyxis Raiders (Leader and 5 Grunts)
* Satyxis Raider Sea Witch
Satyxis Raider Captain

I love the aggressive nature of this list, and is synergy-tastic! The raiders gain Fearless, immunity to knock down, increased def vs ranged and immune to blast damage AND have a 14” threat range. Along with their Advance Deployment, I can have them in your face from turn 1. The Deathjack is a beat stick that’ll put anything its matched against into the ground.

Unfortunately I only managed a 1-1 record with it, and neither battles I was amazingly happy with. I firstly went up against a Kreoss force (I was giggling like a loon as he deployed!) in a straight up caster kill fight. I was busy working on my positioning to slam the DJ into the side of his force when I stupidly placed Skarre a bit too openly, and had her die to a volley of rockets.

My other battle with this force was using the No Man’s Land scenario against Cygnar. Scenario play is new for us as a group, and unfortunately my opponent misjudged his turn leaving me controlling the zone at the start of my 3rd turn. Ignoring this technical victory, we went on to beat the crap out of each other. I was loosing Raiders to Stormblades, but unfortunately Caine made the mistake of standing within melee range of the DJ, and was promptly dispatched.

I don’t think either battle was a good example of the force’s potential. I’m still getting used to Skarre’s spell list, as its very different to Denny or Gaspy’s. As I found when I played my Skorne force, Admonition is an interesting spell, and Perdition should open me up some charge angles. I also need to work on when to use her feat, as both times my opponent simply backed away. While it did get me the technical scenario win, I’m sure there is a better time to use it. Back to the drawing board there I think.

Speaking of Skorne, I also broke my Skorne out for a Horde-off vs our Circle player.

Master Tormentor Morghoul
* Cyclops Brute
* Cyclops Savage
* Titan Gladiator
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts)
Bloodrunner Master Tormentor

Being my first outing with a Warlock, and Circles ridiculous movement manipulation, I failed to make a dent, and ended up loosing on scenario after my only assassination option fell very flat. However, I’ll be back!

Overall, another fun weekend, where I (hopefully) learned more.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Save City Of Heroes

Last week, NCSoft announced, to the shock of everyone including the games developers, that City of Heroes would be closed down this year.

I’ll admit, I haven’t played CoH for a while, real life and lack of time getting in the way, but I had always hoped I’d manage to get back on.

This is why I’m supporting the Save City of Heroes campaign and hope that you will to. To give you an idea about the game, I’ve re-posted below a post from last year where I do my best to tell you why I love City of Heroes.

Please help out by signing the petition.

Why I Love, City of Heroes

City of Heroes is a Super Hero MMO that's technically been around longer than World of Warcraft, but has never managed to gain such a massive following.

Later this year, City of Heroes goes Free to Play, and so I'm going to tell you why I love playing it, and why I think you should give it a go.

City of Heroes (CoH) was the first MMO I played, and therefore holds a special place in my heart. Not only that, but it still manages to maintain is uniqueness. Most of the later MMOs followed Blizzards formula for a fantasy game, while CoH has managed to avoid any copycats. Even Champion Online feels more like WoW than it does CoH.

An interesting aspect of CoH/V is that most of the missions you will run are instanced. Instead of running around and competing with the other players for the same mobs, you run to a door and enter your own personal mission instance. While this has the upside of meaning no interferance from other players in your leveling, it does mean that you don't run into as many players, and some servers do feel like a ghost town at points.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given its name, you play either a super hero or super villain and run around doing heroic/villainous things! Not only are the missions you are sent on well written with some nice storylines, but while doing so you feel like a super hero. One of the things I had to get used to quickly when switching to WoW was how squishy you were, even in full plate. On CoH, I wouldn't think twice about jumping into a group of mobs 2 levels higher than me, and coming out victorious. In WoW, you will just keep dying if you try that (and I did).

One of the best bits about CoH is that lack of gear. Yep, no need to run around farming mobs to get you that piece of tanking gear you need. Instead are things called Enhancements, which can be added to your powers to make them better. The beauty of this system is that there are many options to choose from and there is not a "Right Way". Enhancements can drop from any mob, be bought or created. If you really want you can never slot an Enhancement and still be a decent tank/dps/healer, although obviously not as good as someone who does.

An important (and fun) part of CoH, that comes from having no gear to worry about, is you can concentrate on your costume. The character creator is robust, with many, many options for you to choose from. Each character can earn extra costume slots and maintain a number of choices, with transformation animations as well. Your character will always look the way you want it to!

Unlike WoW, grouping is a breeze in CoH. You can group together and run content regardless of your level, as you can either downgrade your level to match friends, or pull them up to your level. This makes for running missions much more fun as everyone is challenged, and everyone gains something useful as drops are tailored to your actual level, not the one you are running at. You are also not limited to 5 players, as the missions scale depending on the number of players and your level.

There are also the equivalent of raids throughout the level range, meaning there is always something to do, its not all about the end game. The raids also can be done at later levels, and you simply get downleveled to match the content.

In fact, I can't really speak too much about the endgame as I've never managed to get a character that far. I keep wanting to try each class and powerset, and find that I've yet to get bored of the low level content.

Not only is the official content good, but there are options to make your own content, and run other player's content. 

All together, City of Heroes/Villains is a great MMO, that is going to be a bargain at Free to Play. Check it out!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

On The Painting Table

I'm going to try and get these posts going once a month, because if nothing else it pushes me to paint more. Id like to think that people find them interesting, but I'm not that deluded, my readership isn't all that big. Although I treasure each and every one of you.

IMG_0576My last project to come off the painting table was a full unit of Menoth Zealots, with Monolith Bearer. Coming off the back of finishing my Harbringer, I think the scheme on these guys works well, especially as they are effectively mooks. I went with a dirtier white, and replaced the gold in my normal scheme with brass. They hold together well, both as a unit and alongside my other Menoth. IMG_0577

Perhaps my biggest achievement has been to base all of my painted Warmachine models. To most this may not sound impressive, but I’m notoriously bad at getting bases done. However, after being shamed at the last gaming weekend, I forced myself into basing. I went for a very simple base, that is easy to do, but can be improved with simple additions. A simple base really does make a model, but an over complicated one can drown any model. I'm counting with the K.I.S.S approach and so far it’s going well.

One thing to crop up when doing the basing was how much of a pain it is to do when the model is finished. This won't come as a surprise to most people, me included, but it now means that all future models will be based as they are painted.

So, that's what I've done, what am I currently painting?

Well first up, I've made a start on the Dropzone Commander miniatures I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. While they are wonderful models, they need a different set of skills to paint. Things are made harder by the fact the undercoat didn't quick go on as well as it could. Sprayed them on a too humid day, and I've got a very grainy texture to them. It shouldn't hurt the final finish, but its not as nice a surface to work on. I’m going for a close to studio for the Shalatri, although this version is a bit dirtier than I was aiming for. For the PHR I’ve gone with a two tone blue and grey scheme as I’ve got enough stuff to paint white!

As well as the DzC models, I've got some Warmachine on the go and all of it Cryx. I've got the first layer of paint on the Withershard Combine as well making a start on the bulk of a new list. I'm hoping to field it at the end of the month, so to keep it a surprise I won't say what they are. However, I look forward to the reaction of my opponents when they see the force in action.

I should be in a position soon to display many more of my models, so I’m likely to soon go back and finish off some of the smaller projects that are unfinished. I have 2 Terminator units I’ve never managed to finish, as well as large chunks of my Tau army. So I’ll soon be adding bits and pieces of them to the workstation and try and get my painted model count even higher.

I’ve got to say, the last year has seen me paint many more models that I have previously. I’m not sure which is prompting this, the blog or actually getting some games in, but I’m really pleased and hope I can maintain (if not increase) my productivity.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Dropzone Commander Rules Review

My Dropzone Commander rules arrived a couple of weeks ago, and after reading the book through I'm ready to write up my thoughts.

Presentation

Rulebook_IMG1The book is 152 colour pages printed on a nice glossy paper. Throughout are more photos of the miniatures taken in scenery which look amazing. The cover itself is a photo with special effects added, that brings the miniatures to life. The rules sections have some nice clear diagrams and there are plenty of pictures highlighting the technology and units released in the first wave. My only complaint is that the text does go a little close to the spine meaning you have to open the book wider than you may like. Then again, not everyone is as precious about not breaking spines on books as me.

There is a nice write up of the background to the setting at the start, giving the rules a grounding in the background. Nothing ground breaking in the background, but it is solid and well thought out. Each faction gets a couple of pages of background before a complete list of the units in the initial release wave. As a bonus you also get some alternate schemes painted up for those that aren’t taken with the studio schemes.

Rules

This is my opinion based on a read through of the rules.  Obviously to get a full understanding of them, there is not substitute to playing, but I'm still putting together my starter armies.

The first thing that struck me as I read the rules was how simple it is, while still maintaining depth. It’s great to see a sci-fi game where the focus can be on shooting, with infantry combat being only a minor aspect. In fact infantry combat seems to be one of the more complicated areas of the game. I need to read that section again to get a decent grasp on what’s going on. G

I think the game meshes ground based and aerial combat well, with fighters mainly being called in for strafing runs and not having to hang around on board being shot at. Given the scale, battlefield manoeuvrability comes from the dropships which will make battles much more fluid. Having your units move around under their own power actually can result in very little movement depending on the unit.

Another excellent feature is the turn sequence, which sees each player activating small portions of their forces at a time, allowing for strategic reactions to your opponents actions. No longer will you find you forces annihilated in a single turn and being unable to react. Instead you have a chance to try and repair poor tactical decisions, or at least run away from what’s killing you.

Terrain plays a major role in the game, as does playing scenarios rather than straight up annihilate the enemy battles. The book comes with a selection of scenarios with options to improve them based on the points size of the battle you are playing. In the scenarios objectives are located within buildings meaning your infantry has to go in and get them. Without terrain, the game would very quickly go to the force with the longest range, which isn’t all that fun.

ShaltariCards2For added tactical fun, each faction has a command deck that they can draw from and gain important bonuses. This simulates the actions of the commander on the battlefield, and each deck has a number of staples across each faction, and faction specific cards. The faction specific cards go towards building the feel of each army, and could help you save that vital unit from destruction. The number of cards you draw is limited to the level of your commander, and many of the abilities only work within an area of them, meaning you’ll need your commander up near the action. The decks don’t come with the rules unfortunately, but each starter army comes with them, or they can be bought for an additional £5. Alternatively you could not use them in your games, although that would limit the usefulness of Commander units within the game.

Perhaps the area with the most complexity is the army construction rules, although this does seem to be partly due to future proofing than anything else. Also, with so few army options at the moment, you might find yourself falling quite short of the points limits.

Conclusion

Overall, I'm extremely happy with the Dropzone Commander rules. They have lived up to the promise of the miniatures and I eagerly await a chance to give these rules a try. The book is a bargain at £15 with a decent amount of fluff mixed in with the rules.

With luck I’ll be getting a game in at the end of the month, and I’ll write up thoughts on how the game plays then.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Dave's Look At Paints

I've been asked about the paints I use, so I thought I'd talk about what's available and what I use.

Games Workshop

GW are the most prevalent and easily accessible paint suppliers. Most people start with GW paints, primarily because most people start with GW models. However, this does not necessarily make them the best choice.

Since I've been painting, GW have changed their formula a twice, the most recent earlier this year. Previously the paints were a bit thick and had a tendency to dry out within a month of being open. The current range now has a number of different formulas that are supposed to be used together to easily create the classic GW look.
The key issue I have with the GW paints is the price. Per ml, most other paint ranges are better value. For novice painters wanting to paint the GW schemes, their paints are an adequate place to start, but for anything more advanced or for none GW models, I'd go for another range.

Formula P3

I have a lot of the P3 paints, primarily as I paint a lot of PP miniatures and for the most part I want the official colours. It certainly doesn’t hurt that they are a nice paint to work with. 

The range is varied, although it does lean towards the paints needed to create the studio schemes. Of the range, the metallic’s are perhaps the biggest let down, although I do have the first run of paints, the later run (black labels vs white for the first run) are supposed to be much better.
They are usable straight from the pot and give a decent coverage with little work. They perform well for advanced techniques, and don't separate when thinned. They are my go-to paint line these days.

Coat d'Arms

When I moved from GW paints, these were the ones I went to, mainly because the site I was buying some models from sold them. However, I've not been disappointed by them, and certainly can recommend them. I still use many of these paints in conjunction with the P3 range.

As it turns out, Coat d'Arms used to be the paint supplier for GW, so they are now one of the few places you can get the old school GW colours. Coverage is good, but not quite up to the same standard as the P3 coverage. I also find that they tend to separate more when thinned, but that can be worked with.

Vallejo

I haven't personally used any Vallejo paints, but they are highly rated by painters online. They have a massive range, with different formulas depending on what you are wanting to use them for. Unlike P3 and Coat d'Arms, they also come in a dropper bottle format, which you either love or hate. While they are not my go-to paint range, I don't know of any reason not to use them.

Army Painter

I mention Army Painter here purely for their undercoats and Quickshade products. They have a wide selection of spray undercoats, in more than just white and black! When painting a lot of models, combining under coat and base coat can be a huge time saver. Their small paint line also matches their under coats for ease of touching up mistakes.
The Army Painter Quickshade is great for mass producing gaming table standard models quickly. I'm letting go of my snobbery regarding it after seeing what it can produce. Not only do they do the large tins that combine a gloss varnish, but they have also introduced smaller bottles without the varnish component. These make for easy shading, and I'm enjoying experimenting with the effects they can produce.

I don't use any range in isolation, instead using whatever will give me the effect I'm looking for. If I was to be pushed to suggest a range to buy into, I'd say go with P3. Vallejo is a great line, but for me there are just too many colours and ranges. P3 keeps it simple, and has some of the specific colours I need.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

DropZone Commander Miniature Review




Since being premièred at Salute 2012, Hawk Wargames DropZone Commander has been an eagerly awaited release. We have been teased with gorgeous images of the units but now we have them in our hands!!

The pre-orders for DzC came during a self imposed spending freeze on gaming, however I justified a small purchase of some mini’s for “review purposes”. So, I suppose I’d better do a review.

I purchased 3 models, a Jaguar Warstrider from the Shaltari faction, and a pair of Hyperion Heavy Walkers and a Neptune Medium Dropship from the PHR. Given I'm likely to go either with Shaltari or PHR when I invest in an army, I picked things that the starter sets didn't include, but seemed useful in the long run. Without a look at the army building rules, I was shooting in the dark, but I think I've succeded.

Here they are in their blister packs. Packaging is decent, with enough foam packaging to avoid the parts rattling around too much, while the blister pack itself is a pretty standard clamshell design. Down side of these packs were the lack of identifying markings on the outside of the pack. I would expect that retail packages will come with a sticker somewhere on the outside to inform the customer what they are picking up, otherwise I can see new players picking up the wrong blisters.
Lets take a look at what you get in each blister.

Jaguar Warstrider
Hyperion Heavy Walkers
Neptune Dropship
The first thing you notice when you've got the parts in hand is the detail. It is amazingly detailed, exactly as the preview pictures on the website show. Companies sell us on resin minatures because of the detail it offers, but they rarely produce models that take advantage of it. Hawk Wargames, however, have show what can be achieved with resin minatures! They are so detailed I'm almost scared to undercoat them in case I loose some of it.
The new widget that comes with the Neptune Dropship is a great idea, making transport of the air models so much easier.

Taking a closer look, there are some obvious flashing that needed to be removed, but very few mould lines. Having worked with other companies resin/plastic resin models, I'm very impressed with how this formula handles. The flashing was easily removed with either a side cutter or knife, with no cracking, and it was all located in flat areas so no detail was lost. Mould lines were easily filed away, as were the odd blemish. The underside of the Jaguar's "head" hadn't quite come out as crisp as the rest of it, but nothing a small drill didn't rectify. Across the 3 models I found only 3 air bubbles, that will easily be cleaned up with some liquid green stuff.
Games Workshop take note, this is how you ship resin models. Perhaps you should ask Hawk Wargames for some tips?

The miniatures went together beautifully, with only super glue needed to bond the pieces together securely. If anything, it was a little too quick to bond as you get next to no time to tweak the positioning of legs. However, we shouldn't complain, then these models shouldn't need any pinning at all.

Jaguar Warstrider

Neptune Medium Dropship

Hyperion Heavy Walkers
I've been waiting eagerly for these miniatures, and I have not been disappointed. If the rest of the range is this good, then we are in for a real treat. I cannot wait to get painting these, although first I need to decide on a paint scheme.

My only regret, I didn't pre-order the rule book at the same time. However, I know a few people with one, so I'm hoping to nab a look at one in the near future. When I have, expect a review of the rules.

Friday, 22 June 2012

15pt Army Challenge - Another Army Down

Hot on the heals of my completed Harbringer, I've finally put the finishing touches on the Skorne, graduating them to a finished 15pt force.
I'll be honest and say there are elements on the models I'm still not happy with. I have real problems painting flesh tones, and the Skorne flesh colours have given me twice the issues. Hopefully I'll master it and go back to improve them, but for now they are table-top quality. Also, I'm wanting to do some free hand on the banners, but have yet to decide what.
Of course, they all aren't based yet either, that's another job to do.

However, I'm going to call the complete and move on.

Next up to complete really has to be the Menoth, building on my recent success with the Harbringer. To complete that army, I'm looking at painting a minimum unit of Zealots, Unit Attachment, a Crusader and Repenter. This should be fun!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Harbringer of Menoth

Its been nearly a month since I posted I had made a start on my Harbringer of Menoth. Well, I'm happy to announce I've finally finished her!!

 Appologies for the poor background, I need to get a better photographing setup for this sort of thing.

I've been working on her to the exclusion of everything else, but its still taken me a while to get it finished to a level I'm happy with. I've previously had problems painting my Menoth as I've not been able to get the hang of painting the white on armour plates. Cloth I don't find as bad, but I've never quite known how to apply the shades to armour plates. I'm very pleased how the armour on her has come out, and hope I can apply that to the warjacks I've got waiting.

Next step for the Menoth army is the horde of Zealots and the Warjacks. Of those, I think the Warjacks are going to cause me the most problems. I've painted and stripped my Crusader about 4 times now, but I'm hoping a new take on painting white will help now.





Sunday, 3 June 2012

Warmahordes Info from Lock and Load



In Britain we are celebrating our monarch's diamond jubilee with a 4 day weekend and rain!

However, over in America, Privateer Press is hosting their gaming convention Lock and Load, where they are letting out a lot of cool information regarding their up coming releases for Warmachine and Hordes.

Can you guess where I'd rather be?

Anyway, I've been searching the internet for all the little titbits of information I can that is getting onto the net, and more importantly pictures of the pretties to buy. I won't be posting any specific rules, as I'm not interested in the specifics until I get my rule book, but I might make some comments based on some things I've read.

Obviously, I'm not at LnL myself, so none of these photo's or video's are my own. I'll try and credit the source where possible, but please accept my apologies if I make a mistake or leave a credit out.

Anyway, onwards!!

Colossals - The Book
LnL attendees were lucky to get access to a swath of pre-releases, including the Colossals book. We now have a decent idea of the contents of the book, and I'm quite happy with what's on offer. Each faction gets a new warcaster (Epic3 Nemo, Asphyxious, Vlad, Kreoss; Epic2 Vyros and a new Mercenary Dwarf), their faction Colossal and we get a write up for Epic Alexia. As well as the write ups, we also get a comprehensive painting guide for large models, the full and updated rules for Unbound, as well as a truck load of fluff!

While this release sees a significant reduction in the number of models, this is a decision PP took to help with the play test of Colossals, as well as allow Hordes to catch up with the options available. I applaud their decision, as does my wallet! I've got a massive list of things I want as it is, this way I might actually make a dent in it.

Cryx
Asphyxious and Vociferon
With the Kraken already spoiled, its is Gaspy3 who I was particularly looking forward to seeing, and he doesn't disappoint.
20120601-114537.jpg
Kreoss Banner

Not only does he get an upgrade, he gets a minion to go around with him!

As a future release we've been promised Bane Cavalry. I've not been a fan of the Soul Hunter miniatures, but I've a big fan of Bane's so am hoping for some nice cavalry soon.

Menoth
Unfortunately it seems like Menoth once again gets the short end of the stick when it comes to previews. It seems that their Colossal or Warcaster models wasn't for show at the show, and I'm not sure if they appear in the book. However, I have found this picture of Kreoss3. There are implications that Menoth will get some light cavelry in the future, however no concept art to be found.

Cygnar
Not many previews for Cygnar, mainly because both of their models were on sale! However in the staff panel they talked about light cavalry for Warmachine factions, and Cygnar's are going to be Gun Mages.

Khador
Epic 3 Vlad
Similarly to Cygnar, most of Khador's releases for Colossals were on sale at LnL. I did find this nice photo of Vlad3 though (from Lost Hemisphere).

Staff panel talked about Greylord Outriders the Khadoran light cavalry unit, as well as an Iron Fang Kovnik solo.



Retribution
The Hyperion, in a half painted state. I like the look of it, and am looking forward to seeing the fully painted version. In the staff panel were some concept art for a new unit that Eiryss3 will be the unit attachment for. Sounds intriguing.

Gargantuans

The next Hordes book will be a full release book, including a load of new shiney stuff! Predicted release date in 2013, but I imagine we'll have model releases before then.

To the right, you can see the concept art for the Legion's Archangel!!
There are also photo's of the model being worked on, and it looks amazing. Thankfully I have a Legion force so I don't have to come up with a poor excuse to buy one.
Legion also have to look forward to the first 120mm based warlock as Llyth3 will be mounted on a sleigh.

The staff panel talked about a new idea, Warlock units. Both Skorne and Trollbloods get an Epic3 Warlock with a couple of friends along to help. Circle look to get Morvahna on a goat.

Concept art for the Skorne and Circle warlocks were shown in the staff panel. It looks like the Skorne Mamoth is more like a massive Titan with a couple of cannons on its back. I like the sound of that.

There is lots more stuff out there, but rather than copy other people's work, I'll post some links.

http://losthemisphere.com/blog/21781 - The guy's at Lost Hemisphere have recorded the staff panel and put it online. Well worth a look, as it includes the slideshow as well as info on Level 7.
http://losthemisphere.com/blog/21690 - Lost Hemisphere again, but they've got a nice selection of photo's from the 'con.
http://nqmagazine.wordpress.com/ - The official No Quarter Blog. Some more great pictures, as well as info on the tournaments that occurred.





Tuesday, 22 May 2012

What's on the Painting Table

Post Warmahordes weekend, I've not got anything that must be painted quickly, so I'm back to my hap-hazard style of painting. However, I thought that if I tried to keep track of it, I might get stuff finished rather than end up with masses of stuff nearly finished.

  • Skorne Beast Handlers and Cyclops Brute - These guys were almost finished when I decide to take Cryx for the weekend. They just need finishing touches and they are good to go.
  • Harbringer - With some effort I have put together my Harbringer of Menoth. A wonderful model, that has some really evil joints on it. So far I've put down the first layer of paint, but need to invest in some new detail brushes before I continue.
  • Bases - If you might have noticed in my pictures, I'm not at all good at basing my models. Its always something I've intended to do, but kept forgetting. Given I have a bucket load of basing materials that I've accumulated over the years, I really have no excuse. So, I'm going to go back and base all my models. At the moment I have a few test ones, which hopefully will lead to a fully based army.
  • Captain Rengrave - He was started back when I was painting the rest of the Revenant Crew, but as I wasn't expecting to field them he took a back seat. 
  • Lylyth - Again, finishing touches more than anything. 

That's what I can remember!

Hopefully I can also try and avoid buying much before the next Warmahordes weekend in August. I'm going to allow myself the next Warmachine expansion book, and painting supplies, but otherwise see how I go.

I'll edit this with some pictures later, posting at work so no camera or miniatures to hand !

 
And here they are. Harby has a base coat of paint on, and more importantly she's together. Pinned all over the place, and hopefully won't come apart while I'm painting it.





My attempts at basing. They look good, but I have a couple of issues in that a) I didn't use enough PVA and b) I need to adjust the positioning. Overall thought, I'm satisfied, and so will work on the rest at some point.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Post May Warmahordes Review

Last weekend was a bank holiday, and more importantly it was a Warmahordes Weekend.

In the end I took this list:

Iron Lich Asphyxious
* Cankerworm
* Nightwretch
* Skarlock Thrall
Bane Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Mechanithralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls














This was my first games with Asphyxious, and I came away from the day having won 2, lost 1. However many mistakes were made by all, including many misjudged distances and once or twice even forgetting to allocate focus.

If I run this force again, I think I'll switch casters and take Denny again. It will mean switching the Cankerworm for another Nightwretch, but more Arc Nodes are never a bad thing. While a fully focused Cankerworm did make mincemeat of the heavy jacks it came into contact with, I found myself missing Denny's debuff's, and her feat is so much more awesome.

However, I thoroughly enjoyed the games played, and hope to get a few practise ones in before the next Warmahordes weekend at the end of August.

Battle Overview
This is all coming from my memory as I didn't take any notes. If I make any mistakes, those that were there can correct me.

The playing area was 4'x4', with a modest amount of terrain added in the form of a couple of small hills, tree areas and a couple of walls. The placement of the 2 areas on trees on the mid line basically created 3 corridors of clear terrain for units to pass through, unless they wanted to deal with the rough terrain penalties.

Game 1 vs Retribution
First game was against my brother's Retribution force, made up of Mage Hunters and a light and heavy jack. I ended up splitting my forces, sending my Bane Thralls down the middle with the Skarlock, and the remainder of my force going to the left. The Cankerworm advanced deployed and using its Affinity with Gaspy managed to get itself in the woods in the middle by the end of my first turn.
Alan ended up sending his caster, Ghost Sniper and light jack to deal with the Bane Thralls, and while the Bane's never made it into combat, they did tie up those 3 units for quite a while. While that was going on, my Cankerworm made very short work of his heavy jack, and my Mechanithralls pummelled the Mage Hunter squad with steam powered fists.
The game almost slipped away from me when a number of mistakes came back to haunt me. Due to a missunderstanding of the charge rules, I ended up never putting my Cankerworm in base-to-base contact with its targets. That meant that I never used its salvage ability, to steal the shiny Retribution weapons. By the closing stages of the game, my only ranged abilities were Gaspy's spells, and with no cover available from either terrain or hiding behind his own units (damn being a medium base) I went into the last turn of the game on 1 health point. Thankfully I managed to unleash a volley of Hellfires, popped my feat and repeated until I won.

Game 2 vs Cygnar
A highly melee focused force vs a jack heavy ranged force. This one didn't at all go to plan, and I'll be working on some counters for future engagements.
Again I went with a split deployment, but this time put my Mechthralls down the middle and took the Banes to the right. The Cankerworm moved up fast, but after seeing what it could do, my opponent decided to try and take it out with some AoE effects. The only thing threatening me to the right was a Hunter, with the 2 heavy jacks and Warcaster facing off against the Mechthralls. While I dispatched the Hunter and stole its gun, poor positioning on my part put Gaspy in LoS to a Charger and Brisbane with no camped focus. He didn't last very long.
I'm going to need to look at ways of dealing with ranged heavy forces. I think I was a little too cautious to start with, Cryx is quite fast and needs its speed to get into combat fast.

Game 3 vs Circle
My first game against a Hordes force, and in a previous battle he'd made mincemeat of the Cgynar force, so I wasn't keen to go head to head with the entire force. Packing a heavy warbeast, light warbeast and a 5 man medium based infantry unit and a bucket load of movement tricks, this one was interesting.
In what turned out to be a theme of the weekend, I deployed in a split fashion again with my mechthralls in the centre, and everything else to the right. After seeing his speed the last few battles, I didn't push the Cankerworm too far ahead. I managed to get a hit on his heavy warbeast with Hellfire and sent it running, leaving only the light and infantry really as a threat. I left the Mechanithralls to die at the hands of the infantry and concentrated on working my way around the forest to deal with the light and warcaster. While the light warbeast died to a combined assault to the Bane Thralls and Cankerworm, I almost lost the whole thing when I forgot the caster had Pathfinder and what I thought was a safe position turned out not to be. The dice gods smiled on me though as I weathered a hail of magic attacks on low health, and importantly with a speed reduction. Unable to charge, I had to resort to Hellfire + feat in an attempt to get the kill. However the dice gods withdrew their favour and I left my opponent on 1 health! Surprisingly they didn't push for the kill, instead decided to withdraw, at which point I gained the upper hand and finished things with an arc'd Hellfire.

I had 3 very different battles, in each both myself and my opponent made mistakes that would come back to haunt us later in the game. We all were having problems judging ranges, leaving a couple of warjacks/beasts stranded after a failed charge, or a critical spell being just out of range.

I'm looking forward to our next wargaming weekend. Hopefully before then I can get some practise in against my brother using a few variations of my list. I'd also like to break out the Skorne, as I like how they play and Titans are awesome!!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Count Down to May Warmahordes

Its now only a week and a bit to May Day Warmahordes!!

I've been painting like a mad man to get a silly number of models finished. I'll admit, its only silly to me, given my previous painting speed. But much to my own surprise, I'm not doing a bad job.

However, I'm running out of painting days due to other commitments between now and the Bank Holiday, so time to nail down what I'm taking and make sure that's all painted. With War Room now not coming out until mid-May, I'm forced to take Cryx as I don't have the Mk2 cards for my Skorne.

So far we've just been playing straight forward caster kill games, which I expect we'll continue with. I'm up against a jack heavy Menoth, Mage Hunter Retribution force, Starterbox+ Circle and a ranged heavy Cygnar (I know, most Cygnar are ranged heavy).

Last time I fielded the following:

Warwitch Deneghra
* Deathripper
* Deathripper
* Skarlock Thrall
Mechanithralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls
Pistol Wraith
Warwitch Siren

While I did ok, I'm not sure I made much use of the Warwitch and the Mechanithralls. Also, with it being 15pts, and a lack of infantry, I wasn't able to regenerate the Mechanithralls as well as I intended. I'm expecting to face at least 1 heavy 'jack or 'beast in each list, and I don't feel I have much to deal with them.

I have been toying with the idea of fielding the following instead:

Iron Lich Asphyxious
* Cankerworm
* Nightwretch
* Nightwretch
Bane Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Pistol Wraith

I've always loved Bane Thralls, they are a solid unit that can take apart infantry or warjacks/beasts. I think the Cankerworm could be fun, but I'm not sure I need 2 arc nodes. I think I'm going to shelve this list and look at another Gaspy list.

New Asphyxious list:

Iron Lich Asphyxious
* Cankerworm
* Nightwretch
* Skarlock Thrall
Bane Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Mechanithralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls

Only 1 arc node, but a Skarlock Thrall who acts in a similar manner anyway. Mechanithralls are in there to act as a tar pit against anything I don't like the look of, Banes and Cankerworm can eat any 'jacks, while I line up Gaspy for a run at the caster.

Hmm, now this is an interesting one:

Warwitch Deneghra
* Defiler
* Slayer
* Skarlock Thrall
Bane Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts)
Warwitch Siren

Half of the army has Stealth, and the Slayer can be given Ghostly to help it get where it needs to go. I'll actually have a heavy 'jack who can go up against any other 'jacks, all be it with support from the Warwitch.

I have many options to ponder. Anyone fancy offering me some gems of advice?

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Painting Update

I have this tendency to only post updates when I've got new finished models to show. However, given how I paint (many things, a little at a time) this results in large gaps between posts. So, I'm going to try and post more often, even if they don't have pretty pictures.

This weekend I hope to get much painting done, so I won't post anything yet. Instead, I'll take a look how far I've got with each of my planned armies.

Cryx
This started as the most complete, so in principle should be the closest to completion!

 Iron Lich Asphyxious - Done
* Cankerworm - Ran into a small problem, I'm missing the jaw for some reason. Still 50% done though.
* Nightwretch - Done
* Nightwretch - Done
Bane Thralls (Leader and 5 Grunts) - I'm about 33% of the way through a full unit.
Pistol Wraith - Done

Menoth
I've put much of this force on the back burner until I can get the Harbinger put together. I did sort the Choir out though, as it may need to be loaned out to my Menoth opponent.
Harbinger of Menoth - To be constructed
* Repenter - To be Undercoated
* Crusader - To be undercoated
Choir of Menoth (Leader and 3 Grunts) - Full Unit Done
Holy Zealots (Leader and 5 Grunts) - Undercoated
* Holy Zealot Monolith Bearer - To be undercoated
Paladin of the Order of the Wall - Done

Skorne
As with my Cryx, these guys were well on their way to being complete at the start. I have swapped a Savage for a Brute, so technically putting me a step back.
Master Tormentor Morghoul - Done
* Cyclops Savage - Done
* Cyclops Brute - 50% Done
* Titan Gladiator - Done
Paingiver Beast Handlers (Leader and 3 Grunts) - 50% Done
Bloodrunner Master Tormentor - 75% Done

Legion
I think I've got a paint scheme I can replicate accross the warbeasts, but have yet to do anything bigger than a Shredder. I've also realised I don't have the horns for Thagrosh, something I need to look for before I order anything from the parts department.

 Thagrosh, Prophet of Everblight - To be undercoated
 * Shredder - Done
* Shredder - Done
* Carnivean  - To be undercoated
Blighted Ogrun Warmongers (Leader and 2 Grunts) - 90% Done (final touches on 1)

Some people might not view this as a huge amount of progress, but given the amount of time I get to paint, I think I'm doing pretty good!
Only downside is, none of these include being based. Basing is something I've never quite gotten the hang of, and as a result 99% of my miniatures have unpainted bases. Perhaps its time I knuckled down and got basing.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Painting Update

The clocks going forward has brought lighter evenings, and greatly expanded my painting window. I can now spend an hour winding down from work painting, rather than sitting in front of the computer!

Recent completions have been my Menoth Choir, and my test Shredders.

The Choir is looking good, despite 2 of the models being finished a while ago and the others half painted up till now. Unlike some of my other miniatures I’ve half started, I actually managed to maintain a similar process. They look good together, and I imagine I would be to only one to tell which ones where which. 

 

Shredders are done; I talked about them in a previous post so instead of repeating myself I’ll just post pictures.

Thanks to the wonders of Simple Green, I have my Beast Handlers stripped of their old paint, ready to start again. I’ve also got my Master Tormentor on the table, and about 60% done. I’ve managed to reproduce the look of the existing miniatures quite well, so hopefully the new ones won’t stand out too bad. Let this be a lesson for me; don’t leave things half way done! 

Last weekend, Games Workshop unveiled their new line of paints with much fanfare and propaganda. Hailing them as the next thing in paints, that will revolutionise the way we paint miniatures, GW once again misses the mark with their advertising. While a couple of the new lines introduced look interesting, the advertising feels like Finecast all over again. 

Looking just at what the product is, there may be something good in amongst all the propaganda. The line of paints has nearly doubled as they have introduced an increased number of shades into the line. They’ve also split the paints into a number of different categories, Base, Layer, Shade, Glaze and Dry. The idea is, and supported by a painting guide on their website, you simply buy a set of paints, apply them one at a time, and you have your miniature painted. 
While the idea of not mixing your own paints might not appeal to experienced painters, for those just getting started it’s a simplification that may see them produce better results, and have them gain more confidence.

Without testing the paints, I can’t really comment on how this system works. I haven’t bought GW paint in years, but I’ve been told that their Foundation paints and inks were quite good. I may pick up a few and give it a try, but I can’t see myself switching over. For a start, they are still more expensive than the likes of P3, and their bottle design hasn’t improved. They’ve also created all new colours, getting rid of the previous colours. While there is a conversion chart, GW doesn’t guarantee they will match, so people (like me) may find themselves with mismatched armies. However the Dry paint idea, specially formulated to dry brush well, looks interesting so I’ll give one of them a try.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Warmachine/Hordes Armies - Update

Over a month since I started my 15pt army challenge, and I'm well under way.

I don't get a lot of time to paint, especially due to the dark evenings, so some people may be surprised how much is still to do. However, I'm happy to be making progress!

I've also got a date for another Warmahordes Weekend, being the May Day Bank Holiday, so I have a deadline to at least get one force finished!

So, what have I done. Well I have 2 Shredder's almost finished in their new colour scheme. Its come out ok, but the challenge will be to get it onto the Carnivean. I've gone for quite dark armour plates, with the flesh tone very similar to the Warmonger's I did a while ago. I've also nearly finished the last Warmonger from my minimum unit, and have Llyth in the final stages of completion. Actually, if I can get Thragosh and the Carnivean painted, then that's a force complete.


On the Skorne front, my Beast Handlers are currently being stripped of their old paint to get a brand new one. I'm hoping I can match the one remaining that I felt worth saving. I've also ordered a Cyclops Brute as I've heard they are worth it, rather than field 2 Savages. Hopefully it'll arrive soon, but I'm not adversed to the twin Savage list. I've also got my Master Tormenter ready for undercoating.

I haven't gotten much further with the Menoth force. Harbinger is currently still defeating me, so has been boxed in frustration. I have, however, started finishing off my Choir. These are another unit I started a while back but had only finished 2 of the 6. Unlike other units, these I feel I can actually finish off in a similar way, so no need to strip them. They are now about 80% complete, with some highlights and shading to finish off.

As for my Cryx, well the bulk of the army is the 6 man strong Bane Thrall unit, which is currently pieced together and waiting for the last clean up before undercoating. I've got to get round to ordering the missing parts to my Cankerwurm, but otherwise I'm sitting pretty good.

Retribution Test Mini
On top of all this, I'm also helping my brother sort out his Retribution force. Despite being keen to paint, he's let down by health problems, so I've been experimenting with Quick Shade to try and create an effect, but simple colour scheme. His force is mainly made up of Mage Hunter's, so mainly greens and leather which work well with the Quick Shade. Rather than white armour, I tried out a bone colour, which I think worked quite well.

The mini I used to test on is an old Confrontation miniature I had in my box. However it had a nice amount of cloth and armour to experiment on. All I did was apply the base colour, use a brush to apply the Quick Shade and then once dried used the base colour to effectively add highlights.

I think it came out well, and I'm much more impressed with Quick Shade than I was before. I bought it originally to do my Skaven army with, but after seeing the effect a friend managed on his Celestine, I thought I'd give it a bash. While I'm not going to be doing everything with it, it certainly has its uses and can great a great effect easily.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Colossals are Coming

This is a little later than I wanted to post, I'm recovering from a rather annoying cold type bug.

Anyway, last weekend was Templecon, a massive Steampunk convention over in the US. Typically, Privateer Press was there, and previewed what we can expect from them over the coming year.

Coming July 2012
Yes, the almighty Colossals are coming!

*Disclaimer: I was not at Templecon, all the following information has been gathered from forum posts and blogs of those that did.  All thoughts and opinions however are my own.

For those that don't know the Iron Kingdoms setting well, Colossal Warjacks were the original warjack creations and were used to drive off the Orgoth from Immorean. They were massive weapons platforms that required a team of Warcasters to control, and could lay waste to whole armies on their own. From these the modern, smaller, warmachines were developed, and now, taking things full circle, Colossals have been redesigned. These new type Colossals, while smaller than their predecessors, are less resource intensive to make/run, are more mobile, as well as only needing one Warcaster to control them.


Each of the Warmachine factions (including Mercenaries) will get a new type Colossal, and in a video released at the weekend PP previewed the Khador and Cygnar ones.
Cygnar: Stormwall
Khador: Conquest




Both are in resin, and tower above the heavy warjacks they are posed with. Check out the video for some great shots so you can see the size of them for yourself.




From information provided both at Templecon, and later on the Privateer Press forums, these models will cost between 18 and 20 points each, are part of your warcaster's battlegroup and have 2 new special power attacks they can make. That means they will benefit from battlegroup spells and effects and able to be allocated and use focus. In short, makes them awesome.
Menoth: Judicator


I've read both on PP's forums and on private blogs some people questioning the "need" to release Colossals. Some have even, disingenuously implied that this is an under the table attempt to push the size of battles up in order to sell more miniatures, a move compared to another games companies tactics.



Cryx: Kraken
I do wonder if these people are paying attention to PPs previous release history. Each new unit type introduced from Ranking Officers to Battle Engines, has worked to broaden the game, not push it to higher power levels. I'm not saying there aren't some powerful units out there, but there are no "I win" units with some of the weakest units finding a place in some army lists.


Colossals are going to be powerful units, otherwise they wouldn't be worth that many points. But surely creating armies to face off against them is what makes this game fun. 


If nothing else, these are going to be awesome centrepiece models for your armies. If you are playing Warmachine then you must love giant stompy steam powered robots, and these are going to be GIANT steam powered stompy robots. Its all win!


Retribution: Hyperion
Personally, I'm looking forward to at minimum getting hold of the army book! I've still not been able to justify purchasing one of the Battle Engines as I don't play large enough games, but I hope the Colossals inspires my gaming group to up the power level a bit.

 Of course, not only will we be getting Colossals in the next book, but also the third incarnation of some of the Warcasters. I can't wait to see what over the top models Privateer creates for them.

Is this a teaser for Hordes Colossals, I think so!






Saturday, 28 January 2012

Looking Forward to the Comic Book Movies This Year

A quick and dirty look at the comic book movie releases for this year.


Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance - February 17th
http://www.thespiritofvengeance.com/

Its a shame that a year full of outstanding comic book film properties that we have to start with Ghost Rider.


I'm sure I was not the only one who left the cinema after the first Ghost Rider film rather disappointed with what we'd just seen. I certainly wasn't thinking "Hmm, what I really want is a sequel".


Instead we're getting a "requal" (not my word I'd like to add), where the first film may or may not have happened. Unfortunately we've also still got Nic Cage back as the titular character.


In some ways, I want to like this film. The special effects look darker and the action in the trailer is over the top. Reading a preview with the directors in SFX made me slightly more interested, as they seem to want to make a fun action packed movie. Given my general lack of knowledge about Ghost Rider, I'm even going to not worry about continuity issues! However, I just can't forget the hash Nic Cage made in the last outing.



Avengers - May 4th
http://marvel.com/avengers_movie


If this was the only comic book movie out this year, I'd still be a happy fan. It has been 4 movies in the making, and will see teaming up some of the biggest guns in the Marvel Universe.


This is the end result of Marvel Studios taking a bigger part in the production of their films, 4 franchises combined in one film! They were able to control the shape of the plots, as well as build up an over arcing world for the film to take place in. Its a shame they can't do similar with X-Men, Spiderman and Fantastic Four properties.


So the trailer hasn't given much away about the plot, Skrulls are presumed but no big bad has been seen. What we have seen is some great snippets of inter team dialogue, as well as some amazing special effects.


I'm really looking forward to seeing more of the SHIELD team on screen, including how the Helicarriers look.


If you only see one comic book film this year, Avengers is my suggestion.


Amazing Spiderman - July 3rd
http://www.theamazingspiderman.com/

Its been 5 years since Spiderman 3, long enough for the pain of seeing emo Peter Parker dancing. Now we get a re-boot of the series with a decidedly angsty looking Peter Parker!


While the film poster may want to make out that this is an "untold story", the Spiderman origin is one of the most know comic book origins there is. So what can we expect from the reboot?


Well, for a start we have Gwen Stacey as his girlfriend, and taking on the role of misunderstood bad guy is Dr Curt Conners aka The Lizard. Peter himself looks less clean cut, more of a scruffy outsider than Maguire's clean cut smart arse.


Its nice we see something of Peter's parents in the trailer, and I'm hoping for plenty of screen time for President Bartlett Martin Sheen as Ben Parker.