Salute in Review: All The Things

Salute 2014What a day. Going into Salute this year my mind-set was completely different from the year before. Last year I took with me a wad of cash and bought so very many things. Including the scenery set from Ainsty Casting below.

Img_4155-1Yes it was lots of pennies and no it’s not painted.

This year as part of my efforts to grow this website and present a better offering to you, dear reader, I was all about business. Apart from the stop at Forge World to pick up my pre-order of the Astartes Praetors and some MkIII Legionairres which, to my surprise this week when I got them out to build them, turned out to by MkII. Bravo Forge World. I popped back later in the day to get some MkVs as well. Basically my plan is to sow the older armour variants throughout my 5th company in order to give them some sense of history and character. And I’d also been lusting after the Praetors since they came out so they’ll be replacing my 1st and 5th Company Captains that have served with varying amounts of distinction for the last 10 years.

preatorspagrey1I’d also intended on picking up an A-Wing or two and a B-Wing for the X-Wing Miniatures Game. But no bugger had any. So, determined to get something for X-Wing I bought some dice. Shut up. And whilst in the line to pay I spotted Codex Imperial Knights (the last one I might add) so snapped that up to. So I can now use my Knight. Tremble before me mortals and despair!

That’s kinda where my spending stopped and as mentioned by others, the business began.

This year’s Salute was an important one for me and for The Shell Case. The site has a great team of writers behind it and I wanted this year to be the year we really started to broaden our horizons and produce more content for a broader range of games long-term rather than the odd review here and there and that’s it. We did ourselves proud and you’ll be seeing much more content from Warlord Games and Mantic. But to kick things off Lee and I will be looking at and playing the starter set very soon. Lee is cursing my name for waving a cool looking World War II game at him because, like me, he’s a bit of a nerd for the history.

wgb-start-01-assault-on-normandy-a_grande

We also met with the man behind The World of Twilight, the game Gav Thorpe mentioned in his guest article. All being well we’ll be covering this game in a lot more depth in the coming weeks and months. The models are awesome and I spent a good few minutes chatting with Mike playing the ‘spot the influence game’ which was good fun.

I also got to catch up with some old friends and contacts including Mike McVey – again some very exciting stuff coming out of Studio McVey – WarmAcre, West Wind Games. We hope to be bringing you more on their fantastic games along the road.

There was a long list of companies we wanted to speak and did, others we discovered like White Dragon Miniatures who are working on the gorgeous looking Shattered Void which is a space based game with some swanky, Eve Online-esque RPG elements thrown in. According to the game’s creator the rules will always be free and be a living rule book that fans of the game can contribute to. Which is pretty sweet. And the models are so very very gorgeous.

We’re hoping to bring you some more on Shattered Void as the Kickstarter approaches launch.

For every person we caught up with there was a stand we didn’t make it to. We weren’t able to catch up with Spartan, Prodos or Knights Models to name but three.

At least we got to catch up with our good friends at Amera Plastic Mouldings & KR Multicase and, of course, the #warmongers – for whom we labour into the night. I’ll be honest, I was a bit disorganised with the meet up and so not as many #warmongers attended as I think would have but there was still around 20. But then again I had planned on live Tweeting throughout the day but I got so engrossed talking to the likes of Mierce Miniatures and others.

And to round the day off I got to gather the team together and have a beer and a chat and compare swag. Which was one of my favourite bits of the day.

photo1It was a brilliant day. Lots of good conversations, lots of cool toys and I got to share it with my mates. Couldn’t really ask for more…apart from an A-Wing or two. Whilst a part of me wishes I had a second day but really I just needed to be a bit more focussed. Next year I’ll spend a lot less time cocking about, a lot less time queuing at Forge World (because pre-ordering means it isn’t going anywhere) and a lot more time working my way around the room.

Salute is the thing I look forward to most, all year (excluding the mandatory wedding anniversary and daughter’s birthday) and I’m already counting down the days to Salute 2015.

Big Damn Painting Competition: Announcement.

In the last few days we have received a few messages from concerned entrants with regards to the voting on our site. We have been investigating this and can now substantiate that unfortunately there has been an indeterminate amount of manipulation/cheating happening. We at The Shell Case are extremely disappointed and saddened with this realisation.

We cannot prove that any particular entrants were actually involved in this, so all entries still stand, but the public vote has been closed and will be discounted. The voting will now fall to The Shell Case team and we will be looking to make a unanimous decision and the winners will be announced tomorrow.

I do find it sad that some people found it necessary to manipulate the vote in a community such as ours, and hope they feel ashamed of themselves for ruining what was our first – and now our last – public vote painting competition.

- Mat

New Wood Elves White Dwarf Leaks

The internets are aglow with many wonderful pictures of the new Wood Elf releases due out in May.

First up we have the teaser video from Games Workshop themselves:

And then there are the lovely, lovely White Dwarf leaks from Saturday’s forthcoming issue, enjoy:

wood-elf-leak1

wood-elf-leak2

wood-elf-leak3

wood-elf-leak4

wood-elf-leak5

I don’t think it’s too early to say that Games Workshop have absolutely nailed this one on. The Treemen alone are enough to make me consider picking some Wood Elves up!

 

Salute in Review: Dreadball Fest!

Salute 2014

Salute, salute, salute salute salute. (sung to the tune of Black Adder) I’m sure no one minded me singing Rob’s Salute theme tune on the way home one little bit. In fact it probably made the trip back from London go even quicker [Especially as it took four hours thanks to Mat's atrocious SatNav - Ed.]. So I am sorry to say that it is over for another year and with 365(ish) days to go until the next Salute, I am going to have to go back to buying models in shops or online like the rest of the world. Oh the horror! The whole event was great and there was some awesome stuff to see: so much variety (which is a great sign for the hobby in general), so many great people to meet and I know even though I spent the whole day trying to see everything I probably only got to see half of what Salute had to offer.

The day went pretty much to plan, with no help from Forge World. They had everything a Warhammer 40k player could want…as long as you wanted something from the Horus Heresy. However as an Ork player I was disappointed to find out that they had brought none of their awesome Ork range so I had to order the heavy weapons I needed for my Battle wagon conversion. I hope they turn up soon. Needless to say I have learnt my lesson and next year I will be ordering in advance, still at least I didn’t have to pay the postage and packaging.

Zzappa

But then I wondered over to the Mantic stand…Not only did I got a great look at their Battlezones range (watch this space), but I also got some really exciting information about Dreadball Xtreme and Deadzone and how new rules will work and I am now more excited about both games than ever. I’ll be covering that in more detail soon. Then I bought a lot of stuff for Dreadball including the new supplement Azure Forest. Review to follow. [Damn Neil, you're gonna be busy. -Ed.] We’ve also made it on to Mantic’s reviewer list so we should be able to cover their products much more thoroughly in the future.

I also confirmed that I have definitely fallen in love with Malifaux and saw some amazing figures from Twisted, Black Scorpion, Taban and Mierce miniatures. I checked out some of the great scenery from Amera Plastic Mouldings, where I picked up a great amphitheatre piece and still regret not picking up another Dreadball Stadium, especially as by the end of the show they had them for £25! I was also really interested by a range I had not come across before – Z Clipz by Studio Miniatures.

Amphitheatre

So onto the spoils, and like I said I did buy a lot of Dreadball. I picked up booster squads for both my human and robot teams, as well as two hard-hitting MVPs Buzzcut and DRB7 Firewall and the Azure Forest supplement. Away from Dreadball I got some red dice (because red ones roll higher – it’s science), and a the aforementioned Ork Big Zzappa.

Firewall Buzzcut

Human booster

dice

It wasn’t the biggest haul I know but it was what I wanted and regrettably all I had time to get the rest of my day was meeting some of the #warmongers at the meet up, watching the mild-mannered Mat turn into a model buying machine and the rest of the day was business, meeting some great companies and talking about their new projects and The Shell Case. It should make for some great articles over the next few months.

Mordheim: City of the Damned – factions and more details

Mordheim_Intro_Logo

Since our last post about the Mordheim: City of the Damned PC game, Rogue Factor have been busy working away on the game, but luckily not so busy that their lead developer couldn’t spend some time to talk to the strategy informer website about the progress they’ve been making.

The interview covers a nice amount of ground, but without masses of detail, but the key highlights are:

Core factions

The main playable factions announced so far are:

    • The Empire
    • Skaven
    • Sisters of Sigmar
    • Cult of the Possessed

It sounds as though the campaign will involve plenty of the other ‘usual suspects’ (how you keep the constituent races of the Warhammer world a secret is a little beyond me, but hey ho) possibly as fully playable factions, possibly as cameo or mission-driven elements. It’s also not yet decided whether the single player campaign will allow you to play heroes and villains, so far it’s just The Empire, apparently.

Proper warbands

It looks like the full range of on-going conditions are likely to be present in the game, with the ability to hire in new members for your warband, permanent injuries (like losing an arm) and even death.

We’ll be able to customise equipment, gain experience for warband members and even hand-pick which team to use for each particular mission or match up. It sounds as though some factions may have built-in restrictions in terms of equipment use (Sisters of Sigmar can’t used ranged weapons) so each warband should have its own particular flavour that matches the Warhammer fluff.

Wyrdstone weirdness and magical chaos

One interesting addition is the role of wyrdstone as both the major ‘currency’ but also as an element with an in-game effect. Picking up wyrdstone may trigger something suitably chaotic and it sounds as though you might even be able to try to actively ‘use’ it to swing things your way. We also get spell casters in the game, but the designers decided to use the chaotic origins of magic to perhaps make it less game-changing than it otherwise might have been, again through the use of random consequences from its use.

Campaign and dynamic maps

Players in multiplayer games will be able to switch between procedurally generated (i.e. pseudo-random) maps and the campaign maps, so things should be kept interesting.

Games Workshop enthusiasts

One of the key things with Rogue Factor is that they appear to be tabletop gamers through and through. As you’ll see if you go and read the interview for yourself they have a real desire to get things right for the Warhammer fans, not simply in terms of making the 3D renders match up with expectations but also in terms of creating a game that reflects that original sense that Mordheim the tabletop game gives you of a grimy city crawling with critters, with everyone struggling for survival and influence. If they get the ongoing warband elements right and get you to really care about one-armed Jim in the same way that I’m sure we all mourned when our best bowman lost an eye, then it should be a cracking game – it’d certainly get me to dust off my PC again!

 

Salute in Review: Aftermath

Salute 2014

This was my first time at Salute and I didn’t really know what to expect. Especially as my last experience of an event at London ExCel had been a pretty average Star Trek related event. So when I rolled up and saw the crowds it was kind of amazing.

Salute 2015 pic shellcase

That wasn’t even half of it!

I’m glad to say though that Salute didn’t disappoint. Though a bit overwhelming at times (not helped much by the map, which seemed to be a bit off on some of the stands locations) it nevertheless managed to combine the feel of a big event with the friendliness of a much smaller one.

Marking themselves out as I walked in were Hawk Games, whose Dropzone Commander large-scale model drew the crowds in with its elegance.

After that I had a bit of a ramble around to get myself acquainted with the layout of the place. What caught my eye was the diversity. Though admittedly the mainstay was futuristic military sci-fi games and the fantasy hack and slashers that every wargamer loves, dotted around were some more unusual fares.

From the Dark Age skirmish game Valhalla, to a strategy game about building a bee hive and making more honey than anyone else, there was plenty of variety if you were willing to look.

In typical wargamer fashion, more people were interested in the foam dice than the board with colours beyond red brown and metal.

In typical wargamer fashion, more people were interested in the foam dice than the board with colours beyond red, brown and metal.

Then it was time to meet up with the rest of The Shell Case team, who had bravely risked their lives trying to collect orders from the Forge World table during the peak time of the day. Plunder in tow we stopped to chat, grab a bite to eat and stare at all the pretty miniatures.

The standard was so high this year with an appearance by Mierce Minatures, though it seemed everywhere you looked there was something new and wonderful. Black Scorpion being nestled away in the corner with some fabulous models were another highlight, along with West Wind’s Secrets of the Third Reich line.

Then it was off to look at the KR Multicase stand. They were great guys and more than that, they had chairs available to the public – “And there was much rejoicing amongst The Shell Case Crew”. [Dogs were starting to bark by then. -Ed.]

What did surprise me was how inventive the folks running the stand were, constructing all manner of things out of the blue foam, including their banner, which could be clearly see from the other side of the hall.

DSC00149

I managed to grab myself some deals too, topping up the gangers I already have with some reinforcements from Heresy Miniatures, some very solid resin terrain from Simple Box Miniatures and a couple of rule sets that caught my eye (you’ll hear more on those in the future).

My thanks go out to all the #warmongers who met up with us on the day, the traders who were happy to chat and the many, many people running intro games, especially Christina, who graciously overlooked me calling her Selvig by accident after looking at the name on her t-shirt. You made Salute 2014 a great day and I’ll be glad to see you next year.

Now, where did I put that pen and paper? I have armies to plan!