Monday, September 29, 2008

Introducing Warhammer to children: Part 2

One more post about sharing the hobby with young children. In my previous post I mostly talked about teaching the game to my nine year old daughter, but I am also trying to involve my 5-year old girl. The game is beyond her, instead I painted up one of the Warhammer Fantasy houses for her playmobil. It works great. The building is a tower from the Fortified Manor Set

.....and was very easily converted with some balsa wood and a piece of the Fantasy Fences and walls set.

Before primer I worked on fixing the seams with green stuff, but I was running out of time, her birthday came up much faster then I wanted! Anyway, the sculpt does need a lot of green stuff on the stone work, but oh well, she won't care.
My wife insisted in painting it in happy colors, so the roof got a nice 3 layered red and I painted the doors yellow.

In the end I wanted to keep it usable for my own games and I think that worked out just fine.
And here are some of the new inhabitants...

Long story short: the GW houses for Fantasy make great gifts for kids and it provides hours of wonderful hobbying for us.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Introducing Warhammer to your own children..

Having an intense hobby like Warhammer is impossible to 'hide' from the family, and dealing with weaponry, killing and death is always a delicate issue in the family. I was not at all interested in having our kids be exposed to violence, even if it is in a fantasy surrounding, and so it has taken until now before I decided to teach the game to my oldest daughter, who is nine.
She has seen me modeling extensively for years but never really showed an interest. As part of a deal with my wife I promised not to model any gruesome models and so Chaos or Skaven was out of the question for me. My 40K Orks were about as 'nasty' as I could get away with, while modeling at the breakfast table.
I made my mind up after realizing that math in school is not much fun for a nine year old, and placing numbers and what they can do, in a fun setting would really help her enjoy them more. Warhammer seems perfect for this experiment of bringing math in a fun way into the house; there is lots of hidden math in the game, like counting, guessing measurements, making the measurements with rulers, rolling lots of dice and memorizing stats. It IS a real numbers game!.
When I asked her if she wanted to do it, she shrugged and said 'sure'.
So we borrowed the old Skirmish Rulebook from our oracle Christian (who owns most of these old Warhammer books) and started out 3 weeks ago with really simple scenarios. This book is hilarious and totally makes the game accessible to younger children that you DON'T want to expose to the tragedy of 40K, where you really can't make the leap from serious to frivolous and happy.

I have a Dwarf and a Wood Elf Army so that works out really well for my daughter; very much in line with the fantasy world that she dreams of.
In starting the games, I decided not to use magic and not to use the to hit modifiers, that would become too convoluted. The first one we did was 'Free the Dragon'. The dwarfs had captured a Wood Elves Dragon and the Elves wanted it back. It was a great success, my daughter won and she loved it. Last week we played Rob the Eggs from the Dragon Nest, which ended in a draw and today we played Shadows in the Forest, which was a real nail biter and also ended evenly. For terrain today we needed tons of trees and we used all the Playmobil trees we could find in their room. Of course her little sister (5) helped to set it up.

Look at the paint job on those Wood Elves...they were my first Fantasy Army and really didn't have clue how to I need to work on those a little. Of course my daughter doesn't care.

Our nine year-old absolutely loves the game now and looks forward to it every week. I will not introduce modeling and painting or using our toxic glues; it will be all about rolling dice and adding numbers! For me it is wonderful to share the hobby and get back into the fantasy swing of things. All in all I am a happy and proud dad! Next week this battle is coming up:

I mean, what's not to like?

PS. Later on they both helped me with some clipping of the sprues.
That is good stuff for young kids: sharp tools and a need for fine motor skills. And it saves me lots of time...
here's my 5 year old showing off her clippings:

and here they are both hard at work.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Painting fine details with India Ink Artist Pens

Some purists will say that it is cheating, but for the modestly talented painters this is a great tool: archival India Ink artist pens.

The pens have ink in them that covers very well on any painted model and it looks great. They come in all different tip sizes and are very useful for painting banners, scrolls, ornamentation and other intricate detail work. Eye liner, shading, the options are endless. I myself only use it when I feel my painting will not do the job.

John has been using these pens for a while now, I started using them on the Iron Snake Slaves
Using the white pen I drew the design and later touched it up with a bit of white. Same with the prayer scroll.

Try it out, it works really well!

You can find the White Pen Touch here
You can find the Faber-Castell Pens here


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Iron Snakes; one more scratch built slave for Space Marines

I wasn't completely satisfied with the 1st slave that I made as a lance bearer for Brother Priad (link to that post here)
I messed up his hands using too much glue and accelerator, so I had to give it one more try. I used another old Wood Elf Wardancer that I completely tore up and reshaped.

Then I made a large cape out of Green Stuff to hide some of the flaws of my conversion. I do like the cape and it does fit the timidness of the slaves.

Both his arms came from a Wood Elf Glade Guard. I definitely wanted him to have one hand outstretched ready to offer the lance, the other hand holds a prayer scroll that I made of of green stuff. I think that came out pretty nicely.

On the back I used another IG back pack, this time with a spare bolter attached.

On to the painted model. Using a similar color scheme as with his other one, I finished him up in a modest way, making sure to have the bright cape contrast with the muted colors of his garments.

On the prayer scroll I tried to give the illusion that the first letter of that prayer was richly ornamented , hence the colored letter. But it is really small and I am not a master painter.

Anyway, here he is offering a lance to Priad.

I know that on the battlefield these guys will probably wear a more sturdy outfit, but in the end this game is about drama, not about realism. It was really fun to do these two slaves. Just need to finish his base..

Now everyone read that book!

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Slave for Brother Sergeant Priad of the Iron Snakes

I have been working on an interesting project for the last couple of weeks. We know that the Iron Snakes in Dan Abnett's novel were based on ancient Greek Society. Part of that society was the extensive use of slaves and so in Brothers of the Snake the boy slaves do make their appearance. In a massive battle with Orks, the slaves stand behind their space marine master and hand them their Sea Lance or reload and clean their bolter. here's an excerpt:

"As the line of brothers milled the foe with their lances, the boy slaves and armourers rushed in at their heels, ducking to dodge stray missiles and wild shots that penetrated the line. Bolters, hot and smoking, were gathered up from the dust and reloaded and fresh sea lances were planted in the shadow or the human wall."

In modeling the Space Marines I had trouble incorporating the lance, so I made a slave to carry it for Priad, the sergeant. Here he is:

The basis of this model is an ancient Woodelf Wardancer that John gave me ages ago. It's a model from 1995.

Look beyond the elven look and you can see a clear Greek-themed body. The models from that time are a lot smaller, which is perfect, I wanted to have a big size difference. With lots of cutting and more controlled violence I bent hands, heads and legs and added a cloak of green stuff.

It was important to me to make the slave look very subservient, emulating this aura of a predestined life of service.

Here's is also a picture of Priad with his servant to show the perfect dimensions of the wardancer:

Here are some more details of the painted version. I added a very simple Greek design to the cape, to make the model look a little more vibrant.

I had problems with the hands, I used too much super glue with accelerator and the detail of the hands got lost. I had to paint the fingers, which didn't work very good.

The backpack is from the Imperial Guard (thanks Christian).

I have started on a different slave which will be posted next week. Also, you can easily add these guys to the game, like the bomb squigs that the Orks have. Each squad of 10 could have only 3, the cost would be 10 points and they would give 3 models an extra attack in close combat.
More Later!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Iron Snakes: Brother Andromak

Here is Andromak, the Standard Bearer and Plasma Gun wielder of Damocles Squad in the Iron Snakes. He is mentioned throughout Dan Abnett's novel Brothers of the Snake and in the end saves the day by destroying his ancient plasma gun right before thousands of Orks run at the squad.

Anyway, not much to the modeling, except the banner, which turned out OK. Can't do better at this point. John advised me to drill a hole in the backpack instead of magnetizing, and that's what I did.

This week I will post the boy slave of Brother Priad who hands him lance and bolter during battle..

Friday, September 5, 2008

Iron Snakes: Sergeant-Brother Priad of Damocles Squad

Here's is my first finished model of Damocles Squad, the unit that Dan Abnett describes in his novel The Iron Snakes.

Sergeant-Brother Priad is carrying a Lightning Claw that has been handed down for hundreds of years to the squad leader of Damocles.

I have painted the claw with lots of weathering and grime, as it is an old relic that has been used in countless battles.
In the other hand the one-handed bolter with the attack shield.

I didn't elaborate on the shield. The model already is pretty flashy and just wanted the gold and bronze contrasting with the red, white and blue.
Here's the back with the many scrolls. Iron Snakes are very superstituous (or religious) and I would think most models will receive some scrolls with prayers on them.

I didn't model the Sea Lance that he uses in battles against Orks, but I will model a slave that will carry that sacred weapon right behind him. That method has been described in the Iron Snakes novel and was really interesting to read. The slaves would reload bolters and clean lances, in the middle of battle!.
I liked the idea of writing the name on the base, saw that done on some Dave Taylor models in the Gaunts Ghosts model range.

Next up: Brother Andromak, the banner carrier who also shoots with an ancient plasma gun..
Hope it inspires!