Thursday, May 26, 2011

Indicium: Confessions of a Metal Junkie

With Games Workshop's announcement and launch of their Finecast line of miniatures, gaming blogs have been ablaze with pundits opining about the move to resin. The general opinion seems to be that metal models bad, resin models good, with sundry well-meaning rationales following in an orgy of TL;DR. Well I am here to say (write) that all those pundits and talking heads are wrong... so very, sadly, maddeningly, pathetically... well, uh, wrong (just kidding, you guys are totally rad - no, really, rad, I mean it).

Where are the posts espousing the virtues of metal models?! Their ineffable pointiness, bendiness coated in a fine film of mold release cracked fresh from a blister pack, slotta base just waiting to be... uh, well slotted. In the vein of a true metal junkie, I was driven to post in defense of our old friend!

A single pose, two (maybe three - madness!) piece metal model let me obscure the lack of talent required to clip out and assemble the multitude of tiny, plastic parts required to construct even the most basic mini. Look at our friendly, neighborhood space marine - requiring no fewer than eight separate parts to complete the simplest model, he is an exercise in sliced, sticky fingers resulting in the ultimately futile adhesion of manifold parts that never line up quite like the box cover depicts. Why would I ever want to subject myself to the misery of incessantly cleaning sprue cuts and mold lines when I could simply grip the heft of a metal model and scrape a Husky straight edge, razorblade across any raised points guaranteeing a reduction in overall detail and clarity of the model? Why would I ever not want to even consider not doing that?

And now I have to suffer with brittle, resin models, sold to me in bulletproof, clamshell, slice-your-fingers, plastic blister along with a collectible trading card! Clearly resin is infinitely inferior to metal when it comes to chucking a model across the room at the annoying, unchaperoned ten year old screaming his head off at the cashier for not letting him fondle the Golden Daemon quality models hidden so tantalizingly close behind fingerprint-stained glass.

I realize that resin allows simple conversions by dipping the model in boiling hot water then gently twisting it into whatever pretzel shaped customization that your little heart might desire. Straightening metal models was always so difficult given that you had to do it using room temperature air and your naked fingers. Recounting the number of times I strained my delicate digits in this process is both a shaming and unspeakable exercise in humbling, debilitating, humiliation! I mean... room temperature air - the horror, the horror!

Speaking of customization, why would I ever want to improve on the perfection of modeling that is the Games Workshop sculptors? What level of hubris and ego would dare to tarnish the amazing grace and perfectly poised dynamism of the original sculpts? Just look at how these new "fine"cast resin sculpts lend themselves to whatever conversion your little heart might desire. With single piece bodies and separate arms, you can point the arms up or down or even parallel to the ground! And don't get me started on the innumerable positions made possible by a separate head...

So don't meddle with my metal, don't aggravate my alloys, don't piddle on my pewter... these are my static, mono-pose, multi-stripped, toy soldiers and they will quite physically crush your finecasts into a highly toxic, finely granulated, resiny grit of... resin right before your horrified, tear sheened, gamer-doe eyes!

Oh yeah and the photo is of my friend's former band, Durga Temple, rocking the Fairfax, Virginia metal scene for a goodly chunk of the 00's.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Indicium: The Path to Infinity - Getting Started

Are you tired of supporting a game company that makes you pay a premium for an insanely protected, poorly supported, infrequently updated ruleset all the while claiming to just be interested in selling toy soldiers? Do you have fully painted models gathering dust because you can't "make them work" in a newly competitive environment? Are you tired of painting endless squads of the same miniature over and over again only to be forced to keep them protected in metal boxes until they are ready to pop out and die?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, have I got a miniature, table-top, war game for you!

I present for your reading pleasure a brief introduction and a set of links designed to get you and your gaming group up and running on Infinity. Infinity is a 28mm, skirmish level game set in the near-future where high-tech is the norm and humanity has only recently spread itself across the stars.

The appeal that Infinity has for me is the science fiction setting, the 28mm scale, and the ability to use miniatures from other companies almost seamlessly. Specifically, miniatures from the 40k universe work very nicely in Infinity and have allowed me to enjoy my painted soldiers in a different venue.

Getting started with Infinity is as simple as grabbing their quick start rules and setting up a small table:

Of course, as an experienced war gamer, you are ready to dig into the main rules which can be found here:[en]Rules.pdf

Corvus Belli (CB - the maker of Infinity) has also released an expansion called the Human sphere:[en]RulesHS.pdf

CB provides some basic video tutorials that give you a good sense of how the basic game mechanics work:

Now that you have the essentials of the game down, it's time to choose an army. CB makes this incredibly simple by providing an online army generator here (be patient, it loads a little slowly):

Selecting one of the factions' icons launches the army generator for that specific faction. Each faction has its own units, with respective abilities and points values. Click a model from the list selection and it is automatically added to the army list. Infinity games are typically played between 200 - 300 points, but can be readily played at the 150 point left.

Another amazing facet of Infinity is the searchable wiki available with the complete set of rules. In fact, clicking one of the attributes at the header level of the unit entry in the army generator launches a new window with the wiki entry for the selected attribute.

The Infinity wiki is found here:

On a final note for getting started you will need terrain... and lots of it! Fortunately, there is another awesome resource out there for getting quality terrain set up very quickly. The IKUBE series from Topo Solitario offers beautifully crafted, printable, foldable terrain that doesn't even require glue - and it's all free! Of course Topo provides more complex terrain elements but for getting started with Infinity the IKUBE series is second to none.

I hope I have provided you some insight into getting started quickly with Infinity. Stay tuned as I will continue to post Infinity articles related to army selection, gameplay, and tactics within this very cool universe.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Annuntio: 23Lines - A Former 40k Blogging Site

Given the current confluence of trends and events in the world of Warhammer 40k, I have decided to retire the 40k moniker from my blog and come up with a more generic name related to miniature wargaming.

Games Workshop's recent price hikes combined with their OZ embargo started me strongly questioning my loyalty to the company. In addition to that the player community seems to be heading in an a diametrically opposed direction to a hobby focus (razorspam, wolf wannabes, etc.).All of that adds up to a shift in my focus away from 40k to other miniature wargames.

Don't get me wrong, I will keep playing 40k with the armies I have, but I am no longer buying Games Workshop  product. I have enough Vostroyans, Grey Knight, and Necromunda gangers to keep me painting for quite some time.

What would bring me back into the GW fold (even with the price increases) is if the company would a) release all army books and rules as PDFs, b) provide frequent, consistent, and effective FAQs and erratas and c) offer an online army builder similar to that which is available for Infinity. In fact, the army builder could be readily built by one or more hobby enthusiasts at no cost to GW, if GW would only loosen some of the IP around their rules.

On a final note, I am entertaining new names for my little hobby blog. Ideally, the new name would include 23lines but it doesn't have to. I will also be redesigning the main graphic as it has frankly gotten a bit dusted and dated in the three or so years that this blog has been kicking around.

So please, post comments with suggestions of the new name or just feel free to rail against or defend GW in specific or 40k gamers in general!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Indicium: Color Palate for Infinity's Military Orders

I snagged this off the Infinity website and figured I post as a reminder to myself. I am putting together a PanOceana Military Order list comprised of Knights from each order.

Any suggestions as to color choices (Vallejo for preference) would be most appreciated in the comments.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Exemplum: Journey to Infinity

After demoing Infinity at Adepticon, I knew I was hooked.  Shatter Hands and I started playing a couple of weeks ago and he is pimping the game over here. First off, you need terrain and a fair amount of it. So to start things off, here is a link to Toposolitario for some amazing printable terrain. Seen above is his Industrial Complex battlemat and his series of IKUBE containers. The latter require no glue and can be assembled in only a few minutes.
It looks like the Ash Waste nomads have invaded the universe of Infinity. I should be getting some of the Teutonic knights from Infinity soon, but until then some Necromunda minis will have to do.

Here is another shot of Topo's amazing terrain. A few more containers and I will be able to set up corridors and fire lanes cross the entire board.

For more information on Infinity click here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Commutatus: Knight Titan gets his Head Shrunk

This will likely be the last blog entry of the unpainted Knight titan conversion. I finally decided to seriously cut down the sentinel cockpit head and recess the head further back into the torso.

I carved out part of the torso using a dremel and removed the entire upper "eye" section of the sentinel cockpit. These pictures don't really do it justice, but the head is much further recessed and doesn't have nearly the same hulking stance that the original model did.

Likewise, I added a green-stuff banner/tabard. My hope is that after doing some free hand paint work it will look like a banner and not a loincloth!

As a comparison, here is the original full cockpit model: