Ghost of Christmas Future

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“The thing that all men fear.”

I only recently understood this line from Scrooged! It isn’t future Christmases that are scary, it’s our ultimate future: death. Thus the reaper-looking ghost. Duh.

This third of three blog posts, however, is not about our ultimate demise. It’s about my hopes, dreams, and (most importantly) plans for 2019.

One thing going forward that I would like to do (if I can scrape together the time) is get to this blog more regularly! Like, once a week, at least, aiming for Fridays and/or Mondays as posting days. I also would certainly like to talk about more than what book or story is coming out, or happens to be on sale this month, or whatever! No one wants to hear only about “Why don’t you buy this?” all the damn time!

Unfortunately, in the chaotic maelstrom that has been my during 2018, I haven’t had much time for the casual, “So how’s tricks?” blog posts. During a typical day, I’ll come up with lots of little tidbits, reflections, and opinions I could share, but having immediate access and/or time to blog about them just isn’t happening.

(And whatever is happening in the really-real world probably takes priority over blogging anyway, right?)

So anyway, one hope/plan for 2019 to blog three or four times a month, maybe every Friday or Monday if possible. And to talk about more than just my own damn books.

Some blog topics I do expect to do are the writing discussions from my book Top Secret Codewords for Indie Writers. The whole thing started as blog posts anyway, so it’s only fitting to bring it back to that too. I can do a chapter a week, or a fragment of, in the case of longer chapters. There are about 15 chapters to the book, so that’ll take a while. Can’t do it right now, because it’s currently enrolled in KDP Select, which is Amazon’s 90-day exclusivity deal. I’m generally against the exclusivity thing, but I do sometimes experiment with it to see what happens.

Another topic I’d like to be able to share more about would be games, more specifically Warhammer 40K and Dungeons and Dragons. I barely get to play either one anymore, but I’d like to! And I’d like to make more time for not just playing, but talking about them in general.

To that end, another of my would-be New Year’s resolutions is to manage to paint one unit a month of 40K miniatures. Over the decades I’ve collected quite a few—too many, in fact! I have enough to field armies of Eldar, Crimson Fist Marines, Space Wolves, various colors of Chaos, Daemons, and a few odds and ends. And I’d like to try out just about every force in the 40K universe, just for fun! I’ll never get them all painted, unless Games Workshop all of a sudden decides to hire me on full-time just to see if I can do it. (Purely as a challenge—they’d never hire me for my painting skills.) But if I can get to a single unit a month—be that one hulking monster or a 10-man infantry squad—that might be a realistic goal. (Semi-realistic, anyway.)

So that’s another possible, don’t-quite-hold-me-to-it resolution: Get one unit of 40K models painted per month.

On the D&D side, it’s mostly talking about what I like about 5th edition, maybe updating my optional rule companion on the Dungeon Master’s Guild, the Fifth Edition Creative Companion. Although, I’m kind of waiting to update that after I write a fantasy book that’s literally been brewing for years, so that I can then include what would be their 5th Ed stats, too.

I also hope to read more in 2019. I’m probably not alone in that one, eh? I’ve read more in the last few months here than I did all year, and probably all last year. I’ve started reading before I go to sleep at night. That helps alot! I was also reading during my lunch while I worked at the busy, busy hospital. Needed the relaxation there. Eventually I’ll blog about what I’ve been reading, too.

And, of course, there’s the usual New Year’s fare: lose weight, get into shape, make more time for friends, make some friends, go to Mars, discover the cure for cancer, and other equally lofty and unlikely things.

The biggest focus for me, though, is more writing and more business of writing. Expand my penned library and build more of an actual business from it so that, one day, it might actually serve as my full-time job. Even if it allowed me to work a day job only part-time, I’d be good with that, too. But if you want writing to be a business, you have to know something about business! So I need to carve out time for that, too. I’m writing and making book covers and all the fun stuff. That’s getting done. But the harder side of things, the marketing, the accounting, the taxes, etc. All that… Not so much.

There are resources out there, indie writers more successful than myself who are lending a hand to (and making a big chunk of income from, btw) other writers.  I have been collecting lectures and videos and slideshows and tips and everything! (…pant, pant, breathe…) I just haven’t had the time to make use of them.

So next resolution: focus on business, as well as writing.

To which end, I also always reassess at the end of each year to see how I can streamline my operation. Remove clutter, reduce drag, you know. This year, I think that means cutting two sites that I’ve been publishing on. Neither of which produces jack for me anymore. (Or ever did.)

Now it could be argued that, since I’m already there, I should just leave everything up. The work that’s done there is done, just leave it be.

But they’re both still work. When I upgrade and update things, like with my whole superhero universe right now, I have to go back on and spend hours on those sites doing it too. And for what? No one ever buys anything there. No one even knows I’m there! It’s hours of work with no appreciable results. So…

Streamlining.

Okay, that brings me to the last section of Future, the best part: my writing plans for 2019.

Of course, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy and mine pretty much change monthly, if not weekly or even daily. But here’s the basic structure/idea I’ve got going forward right now:

In keeping with my “Donut Hole” codeword/philosophy, I have existing series started but not finished. Those need to keep running. But unless fans give me a reason to really dedicate my efforts to one series or another exclusively, I also have many more ideas that have been waiting years to finally reach the page.

So, going forward, my tentative plans are:

  • One Identity Crisis Universe (superhero) book. At least one. (Besides, Deus Ex Machina, which will land January 31st, technically a 2019 book.) I’m already about 10,000 words into Golden Age Heroes (Secret Origins: 3) and about 25,000 words into Twilight of the Gods (Identity Crisis: 3). TotG I literally started writing years ago. It’s going to be a long one, though. I once thought it might be two books instead of one, but I really want to keep it inside one cover right now.
  • One Cold Stars book. This is another long-view vision of a science fiction series. I envision six books, the first two of which have essentially been all short stories. Book 3, Ghosts of Chaucer, will include two novellas. Book 4, then, will be the first full-length novel. (Which I already wrote, back in 2003! Needs tweaking though.) The early books set up characters on their own paths across light-years of space, who, by Book 3, are drawn together into one big plotline. Books 5 and 6 will be way more focused on one galaxy-threatening story.
  • One or more miscellaneous, as time allows. As I said, I’ve got years’ worth of shit swirling around up in my noggin. 2019 will definitely see Green-Eyed Monster come out by spring, which is a collection of 9 or 10 short stories and novelettes. Those are all but ready right now. Beyond that, I could also write the first of my D&D-style fantasy books, start the long-awaited space pirate series, do my relatively new werewolf-space samurai trilogy (not as lame as it sounds, I promise!), or maybe my “strange noir” book. So many options, so little time!

Am I really going to write three or more books this year? With my crazy life?

It’s certainly possible. I generally aim for 10,000 words a month. (Unless I’m editing/revising a book at that time.)

And my doable, working stiff publishing goal is 80,000 words a year, which will already be covered when Deus Ex Machina lands in January. (Although a lot of indies might say, “That’s not enough,” they may not have as much on their plate as I do.)

So the pressure’s off, baby!

That gives me a year to have 80K ready for 2020. Easy breezy! (Though don’t worry—I have no intention of waiting until 2020.)

Okay, that’s it, folks. The end of my Christmas Ghosts. And the end of 2018!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, have a good Kwanzaa, celebrate the New Year, and I’ll see you on the other side of 2019!

(P.S. If you want to join up for the future, you can enlist on my Conspiracy Newsletter by clicking here… I’ll never spam you or abuse your info. I’m way too busy for that crap!)

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Writing, Job Search, and Podcasting

Some news in no particular order:

  • I’m continuing to work on Golden Age Heroes and hope to finish the first draft before September 1st. From there it’ll be 2nd draft revisions for both GAH and Deus Ex Machina, so I can sequence them together for release late this year or early next year. (Hoping to have them out by Thanksgiving. We’ll see how everything goes.
  • I’m currently unemployed (oh no!!!) but do have some interviews lined up for this week. I thought I’d be like, “Oh that’s okay, more time for writing!” But I’m not. I’m more like, “I’m a grown up with a family, I need a freakin’ job!!!” I always tell other people that in today’s world, only suckers work. It seems every punk with a cell phone camera is a self-made millionaire these days. If only I knew how to do that!
  • Which leads me to this: Anyone know of a video blog or podcast looking for semi-regular guests? I’d like to start in the audio-visual biz, but lack the technical skills. I also don’t know how much I would have to say on my own talking to an unblinking camera. But I’d like to get in with other folks who do know and like to talk about writing, sci-fi/fantasy, gaming, reading, whatever. If you have any leads, do let me know!
  • I’ll also continue to try to get a blog post up once or twice a week. I have more Indie Writer Code Words to discuss, just a lot on my plate with higher priority right now.
  • There’s also the new release of Warhammer 40K Kill Teams, which I’d like to get into (and blog/podcast about). The fun part for me is making the team and painting up them up, so I hope to find time for that soon too.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading!

Warhammer Age of Sigmar: The Great Distractor!

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If you’re a Warhammer nerd like me, you probably know that the reboot of Warhammer Fantasy—Age of Sigmar—has been rebooted again. AOS 2nd edition is out now and is all the buzz among the swarming flies of Nurgle. I never played AOS 1st edition and don’t see any major changes into 2nd, but I have been assured by others that the changes are worthwhile.

Having never gotten into the game, though, now I am tempted. And my friend Josh is pushing the issue. He’s always happy to aid in any corruption, and trying to loop me into a new game and new models is not going to help get my list of novels-yet-to-be written!

Quit trying to shove that monkey on my back, Josh!

Although, I must say… It is a pleasant monkey…

I do like AOS’s approach, versus the latest edition of Warhammer 40K. This is the 8th and most dramatic change for 40K, which is my greater love of nerdly tabletop warfare. (While I’ve always been big in both fantasy and science fiction in general, sci-fi holds a slightly higher spot for me.) I must admit, though—and I think anyone who knows would agree—that 40K and Fantasy get more and more alike with each new edition. 8th-ed 40K took on a very AOS aspect from its former versions. I have now played exactly one game of 8th edition and it was still pretty clunky, since it was my first game. There are things I like and things I don’t.

And from what I can tell, Age of Sigmar does this new approach far better.

I like that nearly every unit in the game has some special rule that it can bring into play. This is especially important given that the stat lines of most units are pretty damn nearly the same. Almost all weapons are some variety of 3+ or 4+ rolls of the dice. If it weren’t for these other flavorful rules for each unit, they’d all be the same damn thing!

40K hasn’t done this quite as well. Maybe because there is already so much variety in the game? Each army has an awful lot of unit types. Maybe, too, because there’s a much bigger variety of shooty weapons in 40K? I suppose there isn’t as great a need for individual special rules with so many weapons and vehicles to choose from.

I also like the new command points rules in AOS, giving players more special stunts to pull per turn. Plus the blending of factions, special formation traits that aren’t overwhelming and are available depending on how “pure” your force is. As well as the free magic weapon and artefacts you can get.

I’m not delving into specifics here because if you’ve read this far, you probably already know more about it than I do. Let’s just say, I like the way this is going. And damn it, I don’t have time for another game and another army!

But if I did…

I bought the huge Chaos grand alliance book the other day. I can envision a Chaos force built from many factions…

  • The core warband would be composed of Slaves to Darkness and/or Hosts of Slaanesh forces. The general would have to be a cool centerpiece model. A Slaaneshi lord on a daemonic mount, for example, or a sorcerer on a manticore. (That model kicks ass!) The Lord of Chaos on foot has the potential to become both a daemon prince and a spawn! Bonus either way. He’d likely not be my commander, but I like the idea of driving him forward, knowing he’s got reincarnation in his pocket whether he succeeds or not. Then I’d have some chaos warriors on foot and some marauders on horseback throwing javelins. (I like to have some ranged weapons in my forces—a variety of tools in the toolbox makes it strategically more versatile.) A badass chariot would just look cool. And I have a box of Empire flagellants still waiting to be put together. I could paint them all chaotic and call them “chaos fanatics” and count them as marauders on foot with flails. J
  • Most of the minions of the warband—the bulk of throw-away bodies sent in to kill or die, or both—would be beastmen. I want a Bray Shaman to lead them. He gives me magic plus the potential for more monsters with his summoning powers. Then two units of beastman infantry with blue war paint striped on them would just look cool as hell.
  • Of course, the overlords of Chaos, the puppeteers pulling strings behind the veil of reality, are daemons! I tend toward Slaanesh these days, so I’d want either units on the table or some on the side for summoning—or both! A Keeper of Secrets or daemon prince, daemonettes, seekers, some mortal hellstriders with big hooked whips. That’s fun shit. Plus, I like the Tzeenchy stuff too. Their characters have the potential to make spawns of the enemy, which is awesome. And having a nice big unit of pink horrors gives me more ranged firepower, and an extra spell to boot!
  • The final aspect of my motley crew: Monsters! Chaos ogres, trolls, chimera, cockatrice, dragons, spawn, warhounds, whatever! The bigger and uglier the better!

Of course, I probably won’t be able to squeeze all that in one army, but you get the idea.

But, like I try to tell Josh, I can’t be starting over with a new game and new models! But it is fun to keep in mind. And maybe slowly, overtime, I might get to doing that. (Even though I already have more 40K shit than I know what to do with…)

Aaaand, everytime time I tell myself I can’t get into it, I come up with more ways that I can… Maybe I’ll just inventory what models I have and see where it goes from there…

 

Warhammer 40K, neXt edition: Overwatch

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I’ve decided to throw all my radical 40K ideas under “neXt edition” with an emphasis on the “X”. Sounds good for now, right? Might change again by the time I brainstorm more rules; you know, when I’m waiting in line at the grocery store or sitting on the throne or something like that.

Today I was waiting at the VA medical clinic and thinking about my previous idea on overwatch revamping. My latest development, then, is this:

OVERWATCH

When a unit declares a charge on yours, you can elect to fire overwatch. You don’t have to, as you only get one overwatch attempt/shot per turn. If you don’t think those guys are going to make it, you might want to save it for another potential charger. You might also decide you’d rather prepare for combat than take pot shots (see below).

In order to muster your troops for a last second volley of shots against a unit charging your position, your squad/models must make a successful Leadership roll. If the unit is influenced by a squad leader or sergeant, HQ model aura, whatever, use that Leadership/modifier, as well as any negative buffs that might reduce their Ld.

If they succeed on their Ld roll, they may fire on the chargers at their normal BS and at the same range as they are when the charge is declared. Weapons out of this range may not fire. Rapid fire, assault, and pistols may fire. Heavy weapons, artillery, and vehicle weapons may not. Once shots are fired, the chargers make their charge roll and move forward to engage. They may or may not fail this charge due to a bad roll or possibly being out of range now due to now-dead models.

If the Ld roll is failed, the overwatch squad attempts to get it together but fails. They’ve spent their overwatch attempt this turn and still are “unready for combat.”

Units that attempt and/or succeed at Overwatch shots are considered “Unready for Combat” when they receive the chargers. This means that for the remainder of this combat round, they count as Initiative 1 no matter their normal Init value. Even if this charge fails and someone else charges them, they still have Init 1 because of their firing actions.

Basically, you need discipline to muster your troops to fire in time. And whether they quite make it or not, they are trying to shoot rather than preparing to fight, so they’ll fight last if any of the chargers make it.

Therefore:

  1. Unit A (assault) declares a charge again Unit S (shooters).
  2. S weighs their options. They decide to attempt Overwatch and are now dedicated to the results. (Just as A is now dedicated to the charge, whether it works or not.) 
  3. S makes a Leadership check. If successful, models with appropriate weapons fire at A where they stand, using normal BS and shooting rules. If they fail the Leadership check, they cannot fire. Either way, they only get one Overwatch attempt per turn.
  4. After resolving Overwatch shots, any remaining A models roll their 2D6 charge range and resolve the charge.
  5. For the remaining Combat phase, all models in S have Initiative 1, against A and any other combatants (even if they couldn’t fire their weapon).  

How’s that sound?!

I like it!

Warhammer 40K: 5th Edition

Guess what I found?!

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It’s been about two weeks now that we finally got all our stuff that was stored in California (coming from Japan) and Texas (left there in 2014). Holy poop do I have a lot of boxes! And books! And Warhammer guys! Finally see it all accumulated in one place honestly makes me feel a little ashamed of myself…

But I’ve learned that if you ever get rid of any of your Warhammer models, you later wish you hadn’t, and maybe even go so far as to buy more to replace the ones you sold! So I won’t get rid of any. But the books, I can do without some of those.

But back to the topic at hand: 5thEdition Warhammer 40K.

I miss this edition! This was the game I came back to in 2008 when I also came back to the Navy and, as a single ensign finally making a decent income, I could actually afford to buy the toys I always wanted. And, boy, did I! Way too many. I can now easily field forces of chaos marines, daemons, eldar, loyalist marines (mostly crimson fists), and space wolves, plus some allied orks, dark angels, whatever!

Flipping through this book makes me really want to go back to it. (No shit, I intend to find someone who wants to play. I probably still have all the codices too!) Some of the things I miss:

  • The Universal Special Rules only take up 3 pages of this mini-sized book, and one-half a page is a picture!
  • Vehicles don’t have hull points. Tanks and dreadnoughts take a beating like they should!
  • A power weapon cuts armor, period. No APs, just make your save or don’t.
  • Only three turns: Move, Shoot, Fight.
  • There’s offensive and defensive grenades, just general classifications. I like that. Offensive grenades allowed you to charge through cover without losing your Initiative (do they still have Initiative at all anymore?!). Defensive grenades denied assaulters the +1 attack for charging. (Okay, maybe the grenade rules weren’t the best ever… What fun are they if you can’t throw them at people and blow them up?)
  • I always liked that there were model types, like infantry, bikes, etc, that all functioned the same way for the most part. So you know the move rate, special rules, etc.
  • You can charge out of reserve and assault vehicles! 6thed, I believe, took away the main function of units like striking scorpions and genestealers by having them walk onto the board and then pause to be shot at. 5thed knew better!

Today we kind of praise 8thedition (which I still haven’t played, but would like to try it) for it being “simplified.” But 5thedition was much more simplified than anything after it. It was easy to play, uncomplicated, and a hell of a lot of fun!

Don’t get me wrong, I like some aspects of the further incarnations, but it sure seems like the adage of “If a little is good, a lot must be great!” was applied over and over again.

Now that I have my toys, I’ll (eventually) try to get me some 8thed games to try it out. But I’d go back to 5thedition in a heartbeat!

A few more of my unsolicited opinions:

FORCE ORG

I do like the new puzzle-piece 8thforce org system. You can basically take whatever you want, but there’s a logic to it, a way to fit pieces together that make it more legit. I always enjoyed that aspect of list-building: that there is some structure you must follow, minimums to meet that keep everyone on an even keel.

But those formations or whatever they were… Basically, the more money you spend the more special powers you get. That crap was unfair. Too much.

For a hybrid version of 40K, maybe you start with the original FO chart, but can purchase extra slots for points. So you can have that 4thHeavy or 3rdHQ choice, but it costs a little extra. (Personally, I think there should be a 3rdHQ slot anyway—those guys are the superheroes of the war, after all!)

OVERWATCH

I don’t think there was Overwatch in 5thed. I both like it and don’t. I think in 8thyou can fire it at EVERY unit that charges you, can’t you? That’s way too much.

I’d almost like to make Overwatch kind of like this:

You get one use per turn of it. If you don’t think the first unit charging is going to make it, hold your fire, save it for that other, closer unit that you think it coming.

Also, you need to make an Initiative test in order to pull it off. If you’re not quick enough, you don’t get your weapons up in time. The trade-off to that could be that you get to fire at your regular BS rather than only hitting on 6s.

And I can already hear Tau players hating this idea! Especially since they generally have Inits of 2. Tau could then have an army special rule like “Disciplined Firing Line” or something to that effect, that gives them a +1 to Init for Overwatch checks.

PSYKERS:

I believe in 5thpsykers can only use one power per turn too. (I don’t have the rule book in front of me right now.) I’d say that can be expanded by the psyker’s level.

I did kind of like the Warhammer Fantasy “Winds of Magic” rules that came over to 40K (was that 6thed?). A random number of dice where you have to use some resource management.

But no, I’d say psyker tests are back to Leadership tests and that they can use a number of powers equal to their level: elite or unit-based models would be level 1, HQ psykers level 2, special characters level 3. They can use that many powers per turn, once each (no repeating powers in the same turn). And they would know that number of powers as well, unless otherwise stated in their special rules (like superhero characters who know all in their discipline.)

“Deny the Witch” I think was a newer development…  We could keep that, but maybe like this: Only a psyker can attempt a Deny the Witch. The “spell” would have to either originate or target a model within 18” of the Denier for them to be in range. They would make their own Leadership test. If it beats (is lower than) the caster’s roll, they deny it. A power that went off on double 1s can’t be denied.

Psychic Hoods extend that range to 24” and give them a +1 (well, -1 really) to their Deny roll.

Okay, that’s enough nostalgia and day dreaming for me for now. Just know that discovering that little lost rule book deep inside a box stored away for 4 years really brought me back.

And speaking of bringing back, BRING BACK 5THEDITION!

Or, as I tell my friend Josh all the time, you can play any damn version you want if you and your buds agree on doing so. So, who wants to play some 5th…?

Warhammer 40K 7.5 Edition??

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For some reason, last weekend, I woke up thinking about this.

I haven’t played 8th edition yet, but I can see some pluses and minuses to it all. I’ll reserve judgement for when I actually get to play. And now that I’m back in the States, that may be possible… someday soon.

All my stuff is still in storage awaiting our arrival to our final destination, which we haven’t reached yet. My family got here in January, I officially got “out” at the end of February, but we haven’t yet settled to where we ultimately will be going. Still living in a crappy, overpriced apartment on a card table and rented couch. (No wonder I’m stressed, eh?!)

But once we do, I’ll have my vast armies of tiny men delivered, and THEN maybe I can play! (Damn, it’ll be four years since I have played!)

But anyway, what I was basically thinking of as 40K 7.5 would be mostly 7th edition rules, but pretty much using 5th edition vehicle rules.

That would take digging out your older tomes for those stats and tables, but most of us probably have them. (Is anyone else tired of buying all new $50+ books every other year??!!)

My biggest issue with 6th and 7th editions was the “glance to death” aspect for vehicles. Never should have come about. A tank should act like a tank: take a helluva beating and keep on fighting! Same for a dreadnought (walking tank) and everything else. Pistol fire should not bring down the armored vehicles of the distant future!

I would also scrap the whole thing where the more money you spend, the more special rules you get. What were those called? “Detachments” or “formations” or something? Whoever gives GW the most money gets the best rules? What a load of crap!

And I think apocalypse games belong to apocalypse games. If you don’t plan to play with giant machines that cannot be stopped, you shouldn’t have to fight them. But that’s a minor thing.

I do think 8th edition got the detachments and army building bit right. I always enjoyed puzzle-piecing my forces together based on a set of force org rules. And I like what they’ve done. And I do like that the “40,000 rules” have been pruned down to some really easy, basic stuff.

Like I said, have to play it yet to make a judgement call. But I came back in the days of 5th edition (before that, my last game had been first edition), and really enjoyed that. A mechanized monster like a dreadnought should be able to take missile after missile! I like that you can now charge out of reserve, everyone is a little more killy. But 7th got a lot of stuff right too, like the objective cards and such…  A lot of the random stuff got taken out of the game, like deep striking and barrage weapons, and those gambles made the game fun. Maybe someday I’ll get with a group and we’ll cobble together our own edition. Take these rules from here, those rules from there… It would be difficult to find a balance that way, as each edition has recalculated for their own stuff, but it’d be doable.

Meantime, once my little men arrive from a distant galaxy, I’ll have to try out 8th edition and see how it plays. Until then, I’ll keep planning out my 7.5 edition rules…

An Aeldari New Year: 40K After Y2K

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I’ve had the Warhammer 40K monkey off my back for the most part of the last three years, being stationed here in Japan where I had no one to play with. And no time to mess with it.

But now that I’m counting down the days left here (about 17 right now, if you’re keeping track), I decided to bust some nerd kits back out. Actually, I just want to use some expensive Citadel-brand spray paints before I move, ‘cuz you can’t take them with you. Literally, you can’t ship potentially explosive cans of spray paint. I inherited some from another guy who couldn’t take them either, and now I face the same situation. Use ’em or lose ’em.

So I’m using them, trying to put together some models I’ve literally had for YEARS and get a nice base coat of paint on them. The only army I brought with me was my Eldar, thinking that in three years I’d get the whole bunch of them painted. That didn’t happen. Too many higher priorities. But I’m getting some done now. And here’s what I got so far.

Above is another of my custom made Dark Reapers. I used mostly Dark Eldar kits with a fantasy Dark Elf head wearing a skull-faced mask. This young lady fills out a squad of five.

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Continuing my use of Dark Eldar as Craftworld badasses, these are three of what will be six “Shining Spear” aspect bikers. My fluff is that they are Samm Hain Wild Riders with an array of vicious, super-charged weaponry.  The faster they fly, the more kinetic energy their whips, flails, and swords charge up.

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Here are some more of the staple of any good Eldar force, my Dire Avengers. I love me some aspect warriors, and these guys are the noble warriors incarnate. (I don’t bother with Guardians anymore.)

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I don’t mix Dark Eldar parts with these guys. Well, okay, I did throw a head in there. Once painted, I plan to lay his helmet at his feet. I do try to make some unique characters out of some among the squad, even though they’re all alike on the stats.

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I had extra parts for one more model, so I made this guy. He could be another avenger exarch (which I have plenty of), or even an autarch. Though with so many, far cooler HQ choices, why on earth would I take one of those?!  (Unless it’s to get a biker character. I have done that in the past and enjoyed using him.) For this model, I was also experimenting with a ninja kung-fu pose. Turned out okay.

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And finally, one of my favorite Phoenix Lords, though I don’t use him very often: Asurmen, first of the Dire Avengers. This is a classic DA exarch model I’ve had since the 90s. I just add a the catapult bracer to his sword arm and replaced his pointy arm with a new plastic one.

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Asurmen deserves a cooler model, but this will do just fine. He’s bigger and more intimidating than the rest. I’ve never seen one of the official Asurmen models up close, but the pictures just look too bulky and clumsy.

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And, by the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone!

Personally, I’ll be working night shifts on the 31st, 1st, and 2nd. Sucks,eh?

But those are MY LAST SHIFTS. EVER. I start checking out of here next week, then back to the States mid-month. So I’ll take the holiday hit with a smile. 🙂

Okay, 5am here, gotta get to bed! Nighty-night, 2017!