My Day at Salute

Salute2013

So yesterday was Salute 2013, a day that I spend the previous 365 days looking forward too hugely. And why? Aside from it being a massive room full of toy soldiers, games, scenery and even more toy soldiers, it’s a gathering of wargamers from across the country enjoying their hobby. It’s always great fun to see all the different people who are drawn to wargaming and what kind of games tickles their fancy.

I had a rip-roaring day. I always make a point of visiting as many companies as I can that have supported The Shell Case in one way or another. So I stopped by Amera and may or may not have impulsively preordered their new Dreadball Arena. Also spent a huge lump of wonga with Ainsty Castings on a tremendous 4×4 sci-fi installation board so you can expect a review of that soon.

I also managed to catch up with Andy from Heresy Miniatures and Jed from Antenociti’s Workshop – who I must apologise to for not popping back to see him but time ran out. Mantic got some of my pounds as I picked up Dreadball Season 2 and the Judwan team. I also picked up those Troopers from Heresy like I planned.

Two big highlights for me: A couple of highlights for me was catching up with friend of The Shell Case, and all round nice guy, Chris Wraight at the Black Library stand and we talked Horus Heresy and what was coming next. Excited doesn’t cover it.

I also got the opportunity to talk to Mike McVey about what’s next for Sedition Wars which, again, is hugely exciting and I can already see my bank balance shrinking but it’s so cool I don’t care. The shitter was that I was so engrossed that I missed out on the last limited edition Vanguard model that was on sale. But you can’t have em all.

I also got to chat with the guys from Pulp City about their impending second edition. I may have also picked up a couple of their models just because they’re way cool…

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Steel Crown Productions, the dudes behind Exodus Wars, are up to some way cool stuff and are really gaining momentum with the new ranges. By the time I caught up with one of the creators – Tom – there were a lot of empty pegs on their stand. I also came across a company called Ammon Miniatures who do some awesome stuff so make sure you look em up and check out their Indiegogo campaign.

 

An unexpected gem was what KR Multicase are up to. They’re producing wargaming tables and furniture. All I need to do now is get my man cave built in the back garden and I’ll be all set. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to speak to Dayl so I don’t have prices or anything for you but as and when I do I shall put them up.

I did spontaneously buy myself this bad boy from Forge World so it does rather look like I’ll be doing a small ally contingent of Tau to go with my Ultramarines.

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Just to be clear, as it’s allies I don’t break my ‘no new army’ rule. So there.

Obviously one of the highlights of the day was catching up with various #warmongers and sitting down with a dozen or so of them for lunch. There was much showing off of toys and the usual banter one would expect from all lads together.

It was a chuffing brilliant day with lots of good people, piles of money spent and piles of plastic, metal and resin to show for it. All I can say is roll on next yet.

Governance of Technology – A Review Part 2

GoTBack in November I had an awful lot of fun reviewing a selection of models for the Governance of Technology game created by Jed, the man behind the awesome Antenociti’s Workshop, a fine up standing gentleman and top #warmonger.

Aside from producing the fantastic Governance of Technology range, AW also produces a raft of different scenery types to go with it, as well as items for generic sci-fi and fantasy games.

What makes Antenociti’s Workshop such a special company is that they understand what makes a fantastic looking board. It’s not just the buildings – be they plastic multipart, resin, laser etched wood or made from whatever you have knocking around the house. It’s the details that are the difference between a good-looking board and an awesome looking board. But more than that, it’s the stuff that makes the board like it really is a bustling sector of a future city or the bombed out remains of a warzone.

It’s for that reason that AW aside from producing consoles and weapons racks, they produce beds, bogs and fridges to0.

cimg6964I shit thee not fellow wargamers, you can outfit your bombed out buildings or besieged space station with beds. Or a row of toilets, or a kitchen complete with fridge. Rather intelligently AW has recognised that these features add so much to the board by being there at all that they themselves don’t need to set the world alight with their detail, which keeps the cost down for us. But the important thing is that they look the part, the casting quality is good and they’re good value for money. In fact the fridges, because of their design could be used as cogitators in 40k or as part of a construct. At £3 for 4 items like these are worth every penny. Granted, they’re not going to fit on every board or every game type as AW’s style of choice is much more fitting of Infinity than 40k.

Where things get sexy is the wide range of peripherals that go towards making your board look every bit the futurescape it should be. Futuristic wheelie bins, advertising screens, medical scanners and intercoms are all up for the taking – and that’s to name but a few. There is plenty more to choose from and if you’re looking to build a complex or kit out something the Zone Mortalis board from Forge World then you really need look no further. It’s all high-sci-fi, gorgeous and beautifully cast.

However, the stuff that, strangely, got my mind buzzing is the some of the range of doors and windows available that you can use in your own constructions. By keeping the design simple but very cool looking AW has allowed gamers to use them for almost any game that isn’t pure fantasy.

mkii_blast_door_1These doors for example: again, very well cast – nice and crisp with lots of simple subtle details. Painted one way they’re ideal for Infinity. Another they’re be quite passable for 40k. But, grunge em up and slap them on the side of a piece of foam painted white and you’ve got an entrance into a Covenant of Antarctica port.

Equally the shuttered windows look brilliant – and you get bloody loads for the money.

302299_415473308490316_1313993075_nAside from serving their purpose and would be suitable for just about any sci-fi game, they can also serve very well as vents and other industrial style detailing. However, they could also, again, double has hanger bay doors for Dystopian Wars or – and this is where my mind went first – hanger bays in a space installation for frigate and corvette sized ships for the likes of Battlefleet Gothic and Firestorm Armada. And any other spaceship based game out there. And it could be the Jaffa cakes I’ve eaten this morning but it’s entirely possible you could get away with using some of the smaller ones for thrusters is you’re doing your own customer or converted space craft. For £7.50 you get all the bits shown in the pictures so it’s not bad value and again, the casting quality is very good. My pack didn’t have a wisp of flash in sight. But this doesn’t surprise me having met Jed; he takes quality control very seriously.

All these things not only go a long way to making a Governance of Technology board look as rich as the game will be – based on what I’ve been told – but any gaming board. It’s a needed return to DIY scenery. I think it’s too easy for gamers – and I’m more guilty of this than anyone – to just buy a kit, glue it together and play on, but with the bits available from people like Antenociti’s Workshop – and they sell all the other odds and sods you’ll need as well – with a little time and effort we can return to making our own limited by little more than our imagination and how brave we are with a mains powered hot wire cutter.

The lines I’ve talked about here are the tip of the iceberg both for the breadth of range offered by AW but also for us as gamers. Get stuck in.

Governance of Technology – A Review

This review is extra special as not only do I get to review shiny toys but shiny toys designed and cast by a member of the wargaming community. I refer to Jed, the man behind Antenociti’s Workshop. Governance of Technology is his brain child and his labour of love. Unfortunately because the game is still in development I’ve been asked to no go into too much detail because I’ll spoil the surprise. But suffice to say; in GOT technology isn’t only a way of life but what dictates life.

This will be the first of two reviews looking at the GOT range. The first will be a look at some of the models, the second will be the tremendous range of accessories and scenic kits that Jed has made available.

One of the things that I love about the GOT range is that all the factions look different yet there is a commonality to the range. A hint that actually, for all their differences, the technology no matter how advanced it is shares a common point of origin. And actually that gives the game a wonderful sense of coherency, despite the fantastic variations in the factions, which is very important when dealing with multiple human cultures.

One of the objectives that Jed and AW had was to create a believable and populated gaming experience and a big part of that is civilians and as such there is a raft of civilians available to populate your gaming board of a glossy super future.

The civilian models are cool for two very good reasons. The first is that they all come with arm options so you can either have civilians trying to go about their day…as the world falls around their ears, or armed to the tits and in the throes of violent revolt which is completely brilliant. It just adds another dimension to skirmish level gaming that is over looked almost entirely. The second reason is that although the models look good and the casting quality is superb the detail is basic. Not basic bad but basic as in they’re not the stars of the show which means you can smash them out of an evening so they’re ready to populate your gaming board.

But on to the stuff with guns. And we’ll start with a bird with, I shit you not, a hyperrifle. Which is an immensely cool name for a gun.

Said bird is a security officer. A security officer with a hyperrifle. Hmm. Bitch mean business. One of the things I like about the model is that it’s the natural graduation from the normal plebs. The model is minimal and utilitarian. An armoured body glove, a utility belt and a fooking big gun. Again, the advantage is that it’s a quick turn around time on a model that will make up part of a larger team. However she is by no means a dull Deardry as the model has lots of lovely and very crisp detail like the utility belt and the radio receiver on the side of the helmet. I also love how Jed managed to retain the femininity of the model’s features (no not her ample bosom) without making her look too girly. The detail on the gun feels a little improvised in places but it’s not a big issue and it’s something easily solved with a good paint job or, if you really care enough, a little bit of converting.

Next up is the model that started the Governance of Technology ball rolling. I refer to, of course, the T-PEA with coilgun.

I absolutely love this model. Not because it’s the cleanest sculpt or because it drips with detail, but because it’s just plain epic. There’s nothing not to love about this model. For a start it has a fooking huge gun. It’s also a very nicely designed gun with some nice hefty energy coils at the back which build the charge and the rail actually looks like it could guide a shell at mach 7 out the end. I also absolutely love the massive targeting scope that the user is looking into which suggests that it has a truly biblical range. Which can only be a good thing. The other thing that’s awesome about the model is the immediately noticeable leap up the technology ladder (massive finger of God gun aside) the T-PEA represents compared to the security officer. It has full, segmented, body armour with more sophisticated accessories and signs that the armour is powered. I also love the meaty combat blade sheathed on his arm. It’s also got influences that you can trace back to Manga but also, I feel, Ulysses 31 which is hugely cool.

The Guardian Robot Squad is quite possibly my favourite of all models and accessories that Jed kindly heaped upon me.

They are awesome for the following reasons: 1. There is a perfect balance between the robotic and the organic in their design. 2. The heads are superb. Both functional and visually appealing. 3. The overly human look coupled with the the multi-jointed legs and three fingered hands give them an unnerving look, which I love. It also gives you the sense that they have the potential for sudden and violent bursts of speed. Whilst carrying… 4. Massive massive guns which are just capable of sudden bursts of violence. I love the simplicity of these models. They are, matter of factly, security droids. They are designed to tie in with human elements. Their joints are armoured for protection but primarily so they blend in. And I love the styling of the guns. They’re the crisper designed of the models I’ve looked at with a distinctive theme that runs across the 4 models further strengthening their united look. The icing on the cake is, like the other models, the casting quality is embarrassingly good which means you’ll be spending very little time trying to poke needle files between what are quite dainty limbs.

So we have robots, sexy security officers and rampaging civilians but future’verse would be complete without a range of cool and sexy vehicles? I got my hands on two kits. The first is the Police Interceptor.

All but a single cast model it just looks ace and pretty much epitomizes my idea of the future of wheel based transport. I mean it’s impracticle as a Police car as there’s nowhere to put the crims, unless you strap them to the roof, but it speaks volumes of the world Jed and Antenociti’s Workshop are creating. An Interceptor is to stop the bad guys hard and leave the clean up for someone else. An older cast from AW it is, compared to the new kits, basic, but I love the look of the model. I love that you can just about get away with using it in most science fiction games as a cool piece of scenery or in a special scenario. But more than anything I love that it looks like you can take Police Interceptors as a rapid response transport for the security forces in Governance of Technology. It’s an obvious idea that’s never been done. And for that reason alone it’s fantastic.

The final part to this review is a look at the big and burly Warthog ADV. A relatively new kit reflected in the fact that it’s multipart. And chunky. And Manly. And has a big gun.

The Warthog lives up to its name. It’s a pig. A big, ugly pig. A big ugly pig with big ugly wheels and a big ugly gun. And it’s just ace. A resin and pewter kit it presents the inevitable headaches that come with trying to glue resin to anything in so much as if you don’t get it bang on it’ll be wonky and then you run the risk of breaking the resin whilst you try to prize it off. The design however is very clever, the pewter parts form both the chassis and the bull-bars allowing you to attach the wheels away from the main body making it look and feel like it could actually work. Design wise it just looks ace. A nod, I feel, to the direction the US and, to a lesser extent, the UK’s defence contractors are taking the design of the next-gen of vehicles, weapons and armour. The Warthog is actually a bit of a visual treat as you notice more and more the longer you look at it, like the detailing on the wheels and the very well thought out arm mount of the weapon. It’s also a descent size for something that would be comparable to a Humvee of Land Rover Defender. It just looks the part. It looks like it could go tearing through a warzone with small arms fire spanking off its armour plating. It’s just immensely cool.

I think AW are on to a really good thing with Governance of Technology. The ranges of models are distinct both in style and in game play (eventually) and in a market where more and more games effectively just the same army with a different skin that’s very important. Trust me when I say GOT will be ace. Trust me when I say it’ll be worth the wait. And in the mean time there’s an awful lot of awesome models to keep you amused until it hits.

Colours in Review

 

Yesterday I ventured up to the wilds of Newbury for the second day of Colours with Jezza and Ian of The Chaps. For those not of this green and verdant land you can find out more here. But, in a nutshell it’s the largest wargaming event in the South of England.

I thought I’d just focus on the things that piqued my interest rather than give a blow-by-blow account of everything that was there because it’ll be boring and I didn’t look at everything. Partly because it’s a far bigger event that I expected. Spread out over 3 floors at Newbury Race Course, it had something for everyone.

Shrewdly positioned by the entrance was none other than fellow #warmonger Jed Norton and Antenociti’s Workshop (@Antenociti). It was great to finally meet Jed and have a proper natter about his game Governance of Technology. Everything he’s got planned for the game sounds absolutely fantastic and is a very fresh take on a futuristic world at war. Plus his models look ace. I’ll be doing a review of some of his models very soon.

I also got to have a chat with the guys at Steel Crown Productions and all the exciting stuff going on with their 6mm version of Exodus Wars. The models are looking ace and we’re now mere weeks away from the release. They very kindly let me take a couple of snaps of some of the models including their ‘titan’ construct which is utterly massive and awesome. The model they had there didn’t have its arm weapons attached but it’s a beast and weighs an absolute tonne.

They kindly let me shoot it next to the infantry so you can see the scale.

I also got to meet Ed & Harry from Warmill. They produce a wide range of multipart, laser cut, MDF scenery. I got the opportunity to speak to them at some length about how it all came about. I was also lucky enough to get a couple of samples for review in the very near future but for now, here’s a snap of what they do…

As I wandered around I was struck by the effort some people went to for just display boards. Below is a photo of a zombie apocalypse game. I had no idea what the game system was but it looked fantastic.

There was also a fantastic board for A Very English Civil War but unfortunately the photo didn’t come out.

The star of the show, for me, however, was the Studio Sparta stand where they were showing off Firestorm Invasion and specifically the Planetfall 10mm ruleset.

As if that wasn’t enough they also had models of the 15mm & 28mm games including all three versions of the Terran Alliance main battle tank. Which was awesome.

And the cherry on that particularly awesome cake was they also had some models for Dystopian Legions including the FSA trackbike, some Prussian and Britannian infantry (again the pictures didn’t come out for those – sorry) a couple of tanks and the fecking massive Prussian robot.

I had the opportunity to chat with the guys at Studio Sparta at length and both projects sound very exciting. Indications are that the Sorylians and Directorate will be out next for Invasion with the Auqans and Relthoza following shortly after. They also confirmed that the FSA would be getting their own massive robot and the dude in front of the robot above is a 3(?) up of a Britannian explorer sort complete with robotic hook for a hand and pith-helmet wearing monkey.