Special Ammunition

6 months ago I took a leave of absence. My life was getting very complicated and things were reaching a critical mass that would have seen, amongst other things, myself explode like a poodle in a microwave.

Things are much better. Still complicated but I am happier. It’s taken a lot of reflection and a lot of changes many of which are personal and those closest to me will know what those are and the rest of you…well tough shit.

This site and my hobby – and the future of both – hung in the balance for quite some time. This website, once a source of great joy for me, had become something negative with the resounding screwing over I and it got last year. Equally my fixation on making it a success and its ultimate downfall cost me a lot. It cost me my health, it strained relationships, it impacted on my work performance – particularly during the aforementioned screwing over – and my hobby suffered too. It took a lot to reconcile all that and decide if I wanted the site as part of my life. The fact that I’m here typing suggests I do but I’m yet to full decide in what form that will take.

As for my hobby…like a fat chick fresh out of an LA cosmetic surgeons office, it’s looking pretty unrecognisable. Most of it has gone including items with obligations attached. I apologise sincerely to all those concerned, but promised content won’t be forthcoming. They were assignments taken on at a pretty difficult time in my life and I needed a cleansing of all the negative shit that had built up around the site. Which is why, beyond esteemed guest writers like the immense Gav Thorpe, you won’t see contributors on this site whilst it exists in its current form. Again, certain contributors had made promises, none of which were kept and rather than continually setting myself up for disappointment, I’m putting a stop to it all together. This does mean various series will not be concluded and, again I apologise for that also.

But back to my hobby. As I say, it’s all pretty much gone. I’ve kept my Games Workshop stuff, my X-Wing fleet, and the Terran contents from the Firestorm Armada box and that’s it. The rest was sold or given away. The reason why isn’t because my hobby had become my job. I’d love my hobby to be my job. It was because I had too much content to produce and not enough time or willing hands to achieve it. Whether it was ambition or ego (or both) I overestimated a great many things last year and it cost me.

So where does it leave this site? Well, I was amazed to find that despite being untouched since Christmas people were still visiting the site. That’s a very humbling thing. As for content, it won’t be every day. Hell, it may not be every week but I’ll be writing again. I’m also going to be writing about what I’m up to in the hobby with a smattering of whatever takes my interest thrown in. Essentially I’m taking the site back to what I created it for. To talk about my hobby.

I hope to still do the odd product review because I really enjoy them. Firestorm Games being the amazing people they are, stuck by me when they had every right to cut me loose so I’m looking forward to renewing our friendship. Equally there are a great many companies I’ve gotten to know over the years that I hope I can still support in some small way.

I also owe an apology to fellow #warmongers who expected to see me at Salute 2015. I had a ticket but the reality was it was better for me to stay away. Granted I had the worst cold I’ve had in years over the weekend, but to represent this site wouldn’t have done me any favours. I wouldn’t have been there to network like previous years – Mr McVey I still owe you that beer! – and I’d done no hobby to speak of. Plus I’d just got back from Houston, Texas (big up to the guys at Fat Ogre) so it’s not like I could dropped a wad of notes at Forge World like I normally do.

But the fact that all the Horus Heresy armour variants I bought at Salute 2014 – intended to get me painting my Ultramarines again – remain distinctly resin grey means that buying more shit I don’t use is a great way of putting myself into a flat spin again.

So. I’ll conclude with this: I’m back, at least in part. Thank you to everyone for the outpouring of support when I went on hiatus and after.

I’m working on a couple of Mordheim warbands at the moment so I shall be kicking things off with some stuff about them.

Until next time…

#warmonger of the year 2014

Apologies for putting this up later than planned. Things in my world aren’t settled yet. Improving but not there yet. And beyond these very rare updates I’m still not sure when, if ever, this site will be back up to speed.

However, regardless of how daft things get with me I still get to do things like announce the #warmonger of the year 2014.

This year we probably had more nominees than ever before which is awesome. It’s so good to see (a) so many people active in the community helping each other out and (b) so many of you out there wanting them to get recognised for it.

There can only been one winner and overwhelmingly the #warmonger community felt that @docbungle should be that winner. And rightly so. The time and effort he put into WAAC alone would earn him the crown but the fact that it was after losing his Mum makes him remarkable. Throw in that he’s always been an active member of the community on top makes him my hero.

When I get my act together and get the reviews done I’ll be sending him a couple of boxes of Thon goodies. Because he bloody well deserves it.

#warmongers Miniswap 2014 – Update!

warmongers miniswap 2014

Time for an update on the #warmongers #miniswap for 2014!

Lots of activity going on and some have even completed their models! Others are in transit (sorry Darren, it is on its way!) and some are preparing to swap after a false start.

Anyway, here are some shots of the minis swapped thus far:

Jaynffc-by-patrick-complete1

Miniature for Jay (@souljacker1974) painted by Patrick

patrick-by-Jaynffc-complete1Miniature for Patrick, painted by Jay

And some unpainted swaps that have already taken place:

WP_20140508_003

My miniature to paint for Darren (@darrenbogus)

miniswap1

Wouter-for-richardWouter’s (@woutertje_l) miniature, being painted by Richard(@Tango_Taylor)

 So, as you can see, lots of fun things being swapped back and forth and plenty of progress going on. Keep the wip shots coming in miniswappers and I’ll do another update post soon – hopefully with some proper progress of my own to show off!

– Rob

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!

Salute 2014

Salute 2014So tomorrow the big day will have finally arrived. And it cannot have come soon enough. These last few years I’ve pre-ordered my ticket as soon as possible. Not because I’m worried about missing out but because when I wake up the day after Salute I’m already looking forward to the next one.

For me Salute is the most important date in my wargaming calendar for the simple reason than it’s a room full of people, all passionate about ‘the hobby’ which has many facets to it that go far beyond genre, scale and metal vs resin vs plastic. For a day no one cares who plays what or how much crap we got painted from the year before. Or how much of the stuff we got from the year before we even still own. It’s a coming together of community behind the most inclusive and welcoming hobby there is. And then we walk, talk and breathe toys. And then we spend all of our money on all of the things.

It always tickles me that every year, and I include myself in this, there is a frantic burst of eBaying, Twitter bartering and the chucking of stuff on Amazon Marketplace in an effort to push the budget as far as possible. Because taking £100 isn’t enough. Oh no! £150, that’ll do. But if I sell this or that, or borrow from the savings and promise to put it back, I’ll have £200! And so on and so on. My budget this year is a little less than I’d have liked. The weight of home ownership has rested heavily these last few months. However, it has made me more focussed on what I want and what I need. The difference being that I don’t need the Praetors from Forge World but want them so I’m getting them anyway. But I do need a few bits to round off my X-Wing fleet until the next wave of stuff drops.

I also need to remember to take lunch money because walking around with a satchel or backpack all day is a pain in the arse.

Tomorrow is going to be a brilliant day. And not just because of the buying of all the things. Okay, a little bit that. But because it’s an opportunity to explore the parts of the hobby I haven’t seen, haven’t had the chance to look into or are totally new to me. It’s a chance to make new friends and get reacquainted with old ones and generally embrace this wonderful hobby of ours.

I’m really looking forward to the #warmongers Meet Up, as is the rest of the team. We’ll be meeting at 1pm outside the hall at which point we’ll find somewhere out-of-the-way and compare swag. The last couple of years it’s been a recessed section opposite the hall so we were nice and visible to any late comers.

Finally, we will have The Shell Case pin badges to give away to the first people who come and say hi to us on the day. We won’t be hard to miss, the entire team (apart from our beloved Ashley who is stuck on the other side of a very large bit of water) will be there in shirts. And just in case, they’ve got our names on them so you can tell us apart.

tscbadges

See you all tomorrow.

#warmongers #miniswap 2014 is GO for launch!

Well the deed is done #warmongers, I’ve just sent out the pairings emails for the 2014 round of the #warmongers #miniswap! 18 lucky people are now paired up and will be sending each other a lovely miniature (just the one mind, this isn’t a regiment painting service!), to apply some paint to.

There are plenty of pairings from around the world this year (twice as many as last time): Norway, The Netherlands, USA and UK are all represented and I’ve tried to maximise the far-flung pairings so that where possible people aren’t swapping with a next door neighbour. I’ll be reporting back on progress as the swaps take place and keeping the #warmongers community up to date on who’s swapped what and with whom. For now, the match-ups are:

  • Archaeolas
  • Jamie
  • Jaime Barron
  • Richard miller
  • Harry Brown
  • Oliver Maclean
  • Patrick Harms
  • Jay Richardson
  • wouter lute
  • Rich Taylor
  • Lee Parry
  • Aj
  • Art steventon
  • Sarah Gransee
  • Faron Adams
  • Darren Bogus
  • Nigel Bartlett
  • Tom van de Ven

Cheer them on when you see them talking about it on Twitter, prod them for progress if they aren’t!

I’m sad not to join in this time but the numbers didn’t quite work out (it would’ve been odd swapping with myself I suppose…), but this is a great little project that will hopefully continue to grow until finally, IT TAKES OVER THE WORLD!! Er, sorry, maniacal tendencies put back in their box, for now…

The Shell Case does Salute – Neil

Salute 2014

As the 12th April comes ever closer and the prospect of another day filled with nothing but the sights, sounds and smells of the UK’s best all-round gaming show (and with the recent trend with Games Day, arguably just the outright best) fills our every waking thought (especially Mat’s – it’s his first time and he’s really quite excited), the members of The Shell Case team attending Salute this year (sorry Ashley, next time maybe?) have taken time to reflect on their hopes and expectations for Salute 2014.

And now to Neil to wax lyrical:

Neil

So it’s that time of year once again and with just over a week to go, I couldn’t be more excited about Salute 2014… that is unless I was Mat, but first times are always more special. Last year was great and so this will be a tough act to follow, but as always Salute has attracted a lot of great companies and I’m sure it will be awesome.

That said, this time last year I had just fallen hard harder than is comfortable for Dreadball and as a result a lot of my day was spent looking at all the brand new and mega exciting stuff that Mantic had to offer me, nearly emptying my bank account in the process. This year however, unlike Rob, for the first time ever I am going to Salute with no real plan at all. For the first time in a long time I am really not in need of anything major for any of my armies, and although there are some great games out there, I am tight and I’m yet to come across a new game that is getting me hot and hard enough to part with my cash. However with all the great new stuff companies usually bring I’m pretty sure that will very quickly change.

There are however a few things that will definitely be on my to do list;

1. Just enjoy spending the day with the rest of The Shell Case guys and the chaps. It’s sickening I know but a day with them is always a laugh.

2. Hopefully meet some of you at the #warmongers gathering and checking out some of your best buys.

3. I always have room for a new Dreadball MVP or 3, and maybe a new team. One using season 3 rules would be very cool.

4. With all the shiny around, I’m sure it will be almost impossible to resist buying at least one new game. I have been toying with Malifaux and In Her Majesty’s Name from Osprey.

Once I am there, I will suddenly find a million extra awesome but unnecessary things to buy to add to my Orks, Prussians or Banebrood. So, you know, it’ll be Salute.