New 8th Edition Warhammer 40K Books: Quest for the Tomes


Not too long ago, I received an email from Games Workshop (via the general mailing list) saying, “Get these codices while you can,” because a new edition was about to come out.  Get these expiring and about to be useless $50 books before we take them off the shelves because they won’t be valid anymore. 

I thought, “You sons-a-bitches.”

I wanted to fax them a picture of my middle finger.  Or my pale, hairy ass.

The cycle of new 40K editions over the last several years has come across to me (and others) as greedy ways to boost short-term sales.  Kind of like all those terribly pricy text books you had to buy in college.  “We changed 3 things and rearranged some tables, come buy all our books all over again.”

So when the new rumors went to flying, I was naturally skeptical.  Very skeptical.

I’ve been stationed in Japan for nearly 3 years now and in that time have only played once.  So I wasn’t too worried about a new edition.  Haven’t been playing, and now not planning on playing.  Screw those greedy corporate bastards.

But then I started actually reading the rumors and leaks.  That this edition wasn’t just bolting on a few new rules to the clunky old machine, haphazardly spraying on an uneven coat of paint, and charging $200 for a new go.

This was “the edition you asked for.”

No, really.

So between getting actual gamer feedback and simplifying the rules to look more like their well-received Age Of Sigmar redesign of WH Fantasy, the game was starting to sound pretty good.  (I was also skeptical of the Age of Sigmar reboot of WH Fantasy, btw, though I was never a huge fan of the Fantasy system anyway: even more complex than 40,000 Rules and seemed to require a calculator to even play the game!)

If they could thin 40,000 Rules down to 8 to 12 pages, that was an amazing revelation to me.  I was now interested.  And the more I saw, despite my own hardened pessimism, the more I liked the way it was looking.

Within a week, I was actually excited.


Getting the books themselves, then, proved to be a worthy quest.  (Relatively speaking.)

I had to find locales in Japan, and books in English.  There are 3 or 4 GW stores in Tokyo, but that’s a ways to go for me.  In my store search, I also got a few other pings for non-GW stores, one much closer to my base.  Long story short, I ended up journeying to a city I’d never been to before, in a foreign land, using a paper map as a guide (I’m not into the whole cellphone omniscience thing).  I’d called the day before and spoken to a woman who kind of spoke English and reserved me some books.  Namely, the Rule Book, the Marines Index, Eldar Index, and Chaos Index.  A hefty, blind purchase.  But I figured that I hadn’t spent any hobby money for a long time, so why not?

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the new datasheets were being combined into affordable softbacks with multiple related armies all in one book.  Given the easy of access, I figured I had to buy those books.  With three affordable tomes, I had all colors of Space Marines, Eldar, and Chaos Marines and demons all covered, plus Necrons for good measure.  Easy peasy.

But I ended up paying more than the listed market price for everything.  I don’t know if the markup was simply because we are in Japan or if my shop owners charged a little more, but I honestly didn’t mind.

This was a very small little hobby shop owned and operated by a very nice elderly couple.  The husband didn’t speak English and the wife just barely enough.  The shop was more about model airplanes and trains and modeling supplies than it was a gaming shop, though they did have a rather impressive selection of Warhammer stuff, as well as a rack full of Citadel paints.  There were a couple small displays of painted models too, most of which had been painted by the owner.  His wife bragged that he was a beginner, but, damn, did they look nice!  Way nicer than my meager, atrophied painting skills could manage, and I made sure he knew as much.

I spent about half an hour on the trains getting there, and a little more time walking the streets, so I took my time to check out all the nice toys on their shelves.  Saw some cool new stuff I wouldn’t mind having (like the 30K style termie models), but I’m not in a hurry to buy more.  Not using all the stuff I have now.  When it came time to pay, I found out they only took cash.  Darn it.  So then it was a quest to find an ATM that would take my American card.  The two bigger banks with whole lobbies full of ATM machines didn’t work.  It looked grim, my long quest cross country for naught.  Then I found a little booth with a single machine and that one worked out.

So my mighty quest was a success.  I might have paid a bit more, but it went to the mom and pop shop of a really nice elderly couple, so money well spent.   In fact, the venerable Papa-san rounded down the total price for me, threw in a couple of (no doubt expensive) Citadel-brand paint brushes (after I told him about my waning painting skills), and a few odd sprues to boot!  I didn’t even find out about the sprues until I got home and opened up the tiny plastic bonus bag.  Three marines and one of the cool Age of Sigmar space marine wannabe guys with a hammer and shield.  (Which I think could make cool special space marine units too—especially the winged guys for angelic vanguard vets.)

So there’s my long-winded story about how I fell back into love (obsession) with the new 40K and made the perilous journey of a lifetime to score the new books on opening day in a strange land.

I’m sure I’ll be blogging further about my impressions as I get into the books.  I’m actually about to take 2 weeks of leave to relax with the family and supposedly to get some writing projects done.  So much for all that…  I’m sure this new distraction will impede those lines of progress.  But at least I’ll enjoy being delayed!

More to come…



Painting 40K Eldar, the Easy Way

da-4While I was swimming today–something I haven’t done in a while–I was daydreaming about something else I haven’t done in a while: painting Warhammer miniatures.

Years ago and three duty stations back, when I first got back in Warhammer (thanks to my friend Josh and my finally earning an adult paycheck), I used to think about painting strategies while I swam laps.  This kept my mind occupied.  If I thought too much about swimming, I’d get bored with it, or convince myself I was tired or out of breath.  The one time-space coordinate that is still stuck in my mind is swimming the very narrow pool at a particular gym in Carlsbad, CA, thinking about how I should paint my Eldar fire dragons.

And nine years later, I still haven’t painted those bastards!

Actually, I’ve made new dragons out of Dark Eldar warriors.  And I haven’t painted those bastards, either.

da-back2But I was thinking today, that if (when!) I ever get time to mess with them again, I want to keep them extremely simple.  My Eldar scheme would basically be to pick a body color and a head color, and keep the other details to a minimum.  Some washes, some dry brushing for highlights, and not much more.  Mostly in an effort to get some damn models painted!  In about 30 years of off-and-on obsession with the game and hobby, I really haven’t gotten jack squat done.  Not for having had 30 years to do it!

These Dire Avengers I painted about the same time I was swimming those laps (2008-2011).

(I know the labeling on the pic was totally unnecessary, but it made me feel good, okay?)

I was going for a Darth Vader badass feel, and I want to stick with that.  But future models, and future aspects, may be even more simplified.  For example, I might do those fire dragons orange with red helmets.  Banshees red with white helms, or bone-white with red helms (even better).  My scorpions I won’t mess with; they’re already on that scheme, basically.  scorp-lord-2

I know I’ll never be satisfied with any paint job I do, and that my talents have atrophied since about 5th grade on (I was really good then!), but I have to convince myself that many painted models is better than a handful of overly-stressed-over ones.  And someday I’ll get back there!  I even have some high-quality, hobby-grade spray colors that I inherited from someone else who couldn’t pack them when he moved.  And once the weather warms up, I need to use them up!  I left most of my shamefully large collection of models back in the States, but I do have lots of Eldar, Space Wolves, and Chaos stuff here still.  And throwing at least a base color on them will at least be a small step in the right direction.

(I know this blog post didn’t accomplish much, but it made me feel like I was doing something 40K related, ya know?)

Space Marine

spacemarineIn the last couple days I’ve started playing the old Xbox Space Marine game again.  (If you ask me something like “the first one or second one?” it’s probably the first, ‘cuz I’m not aware that there was more than one.)

This is a really cool game, though the game play isn’t the best.  The marine you control can’t jump or climb anything — your path is pretty much 2D, walking only where they want you to. The targeting isn’t the best as, even in sniper mode, nudging the stick generally makes a big jump and it’s hard to be precise.  So I’m not going to say it’s the bestest game ever.

But the visuals and very cool and the 40K-ness of it is fantastic.  It really captures the feel of the 41st millennium.   The marine armor is great, very detailed, looks like a model come to life.  But my favorite part is the bolters.  They aren’t spraying light machinegun fire; they’re launching mini-RPGs like a bolter should!  And at a high rate of speed!


The challenge level is kind of weird.  It seems like you walk through large areas with no resistance, and most of the time the killing is pretty open and low-threat, but then you’ll hit certain boss-type combats that are just murder to get through!  That’s when I quit playing years ago, when I hit that wall over and over again and couldn’t get past it.  Orks and gretchen and squigbombs in waves, and those damn squigs get right up on you and blow up.  And again, targeting isn’t that easy, so you shoot the hell out of a bunch of gretchen that couldn’t hurt you if they had plasma pistols in each hand, but you miss the squigs that blow your legs off.  And then when you finally make it past the squigbombs and take them all out before they get you, this big mutha of an ork comes in and beats the hell out of you!

sm3FINALLY this morning I got past that part, first try of the day.  Then, eventually, I came to a really cool ork dropship that reminds me very much of a Reaver boat in Firefly.  You have to plasma cannon the thing while it’s shooting you with some megashoota type double-barrelled machinegun and the best shot in all of orkdom is manning the thing!  And THEN, if that crackshot doesn’t gun you down, they drop orks to engage you while you’re trying your damnedest to shoot down the ship with an overheated plasma cannon.

It’s hard.  But it’s fun!

I know this is all old news to most anyone who will read this, but since I buy mostly old games on the cheap and never quite get around to playing them (got two on clearance last Xmas that I haven’t even opened yet), I’m pleasantly surprised right now to come back to the year 40,000!