Posts Tagged Privateer Press

Screw this, I’m out of here!

So, the big buzz amongst my fellow Warmongers on Twitter today revolves around the latest GW news. First off, there are the leaked images of the forthcoming Space Marine, Ork and Necron aircraft for Warhammer 40,000. Most of the talk is about who does and does not like the new Storm Talon gunship for the Space Marines. I personally think it has some strengths, in this is clearly inspired more by helicopter gunships rather than fixed wing aircraft the way the Storm Raven is and it does look interestingly futuristic. That said, the weapons do look cumbersome and over sized and like they were bolted on as an after thought. I will wait until I can see a better image than a scan of a magazine page before I make final judgement.

The bigger news – in the eyes of many – is the news that price rises are imminent from GW. Details are sketchy at the moment, though some rumours suggest that some kits (like the aforementioned Storm Raven) could go up by as much as 25% – though the average price rise should be much less than that.

I’m not going to launch into a rant about Games Workshop and their pricing policy, for what would be the point? I know I’m not qualified to provide any kind of worthwhile analysis of the financial implications and I have no desire to throw my lot in with whiners and haters and the sort of people who seem to think it’s unreasonable for a business to act as such. But this still unwelcome news.

As mentioned in a relatively recent blog post, I have been becoming more well disposed to Games Workshop in recent months, after having been turned off them by last year’s price rises. I had started to paint up by Brazen Angels Space Marines again, and I even succumbed to temptation and splashed out on some of Forge World’s excellent MK IV Marines to use as a unit of Sternguard Veterans. I was even thinking of starting an additional army, to compliment my Brazen Angels, but that plan might now need a rethink.

This is a hard hobby sometimes, it requires us to balance our hobby against all our other commitments, work family and all our other interests, just to get our toys built and painted and read our rules, let alone to play any games. Paying over the odds is another thing to make the hobby just that bit more difficult.

My fellow Twitter Warmonger @TheBlueHeretic (aka Ryan) expressed it thusly:

I’m thinking this is the year GW prices itself out of my reach. Not Doom & Gloom, or rage quitting, just realization I’m not made of money. A price increase, plus a new edition of 40k (new rules, new models needed to counter new tactics), means unhappy wallet. Not going to decide on it right now, but it is a distinct possibility. Then again, its not like I play much anyways.

I had been drifting back to 40k. I had been won around by so many excellent Black Library books and some cool new model releases. I was even thinking of painting up another Space Marine army using some of the cool new Forgeworld Marines and Terminators and the new Storm Talon gunship. But Ryan’s words crystallized in my head all the reasons why this is not a good idea.

A new edition of 40k is imminent, it will probably be presented in a sumptuous rulebook that will have to be paid for in diamonds and platinum. Every player will then have to go through the traditional period of optimization when they have to tweak their army to gel with the new rules – maybe retiring some models in favour of other unit choices, maybe bringing a little-used troop type out of the depths of the cupboard. Then will come the march of the new codices, new troop types, new models, more changes. It’s a lot of work and potentially a lot of money.

And the thing is, I just don’t think it’s worth it.

Games Workshop are very good at making you want their stuff. Their models are arguably the best in the industry and their background is one of the most compelling – that’s how they were tempting me back. Spartan’s models are fantastic, but there’s something just a bit more visceral about toy soldiers compared to model ships. But the models cost, and so do the books, and more than any company, a GW army is never finished and as time goes on there will always be new models to be sandwiched in and rules changes that mean you have to recompose or enlarge your army. There’s little question that GW are aiming to have gamers playing ever larger battles so they can fit in the growing number of cool super-monsters, mega-tanks, aircraft and other super units. I have never felt the same pressure to buy toys for the other games I collect for that I have for GW games.

So, yeah, I think I’m done. And if this cause me any anguish it’s because GW will always be what got me into this hobby and will always be one of my favourite fictional universes and dabbling with their games if like a familiar comfy coat, or a security blanket to ward of the frighten unknowns of the gaming world. Plus, as the market leader they do dominate the gaming scene and Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars will have to pick up a bit if I want to get a game in the local clubs.  Part of me wants to finish painting up the 2000 points of Brazen Angels I still have cluttering up the study, though that might be a futile endeavour. That said, painting is fun in itself and I like painting Marines. Otherwise, I will start getting my Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars stuff sorted. I have two fleet for each and only a fraction of them is painted.

Maybe, in the future, something will come along to scratch my 28/30mm itch – maybe Privateer Press will finally release their long promised sci-fi game. Maybe my fellow Warmongers will convince me of the virtues of Warmahordes yet. Or maybe I will turn to the ways of the 10mm game and give Dropzone Commander a try (though I’m buying an Odin Attack craft just to paint whatever happens).

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And some more PP video love

Over on Miniature Musings of a Bear, Doc bungle has posted some interesting videos about the latest news from Privateer Press.

Colossals.

And some more PP video love.

I’ve thought for a while that PP do some good work, and although Warmachine and Hordes never quite grabbed me in the way GW or Spartan did I’ve always thought they did some very cool models. The Colossal models previewed in the video are truly awesome and some could well be a ‘buy it just to paint it’ case. I hope there’ll be a suitably awesome Rhulic Colossal before too long.

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Dwarfs Ready

My introduction to Warmachine has not been as smooth as I might have liked.

For one thing, I’ve come to the realisation that I’m not very keen on either of the factions represented in my starter box. This was a bit of a blow, though not a fatal one. I had always more or less planned to eBay the Menoth figures, now I will just do the same with the Khador ones. Hopefully I will recoup a fair share of my outlay and I will still have the rule book for future use.

The other problem though is that I’m not really sure what, if any, Warmachine faction I do want to try. At the moment the front runners are Cyngar and Mercenaries, but even then there are bits of each range I’m not that keen on. Not that I would cast aspersions on the quality of the ranges, but there is no one range that grabs me. With Khador, it was the warcasters that put me off. With Cygnar it’s the warjacks (except the Cyclone, which is awesome). I experienced similar difficulties with Warhammer Fantasy, as there was never any one army that made we want to do them in the way 40k armies did.

The fact is, with a baby due within a month and the short-to-medium term financial tightening that will ensue, this is not the time for embarking on any hobby project I’m not at least reasonably sure about. So for the time being, Warmachine might get shelved and will concentrate my much more limited resources on Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars.

This is not to say that I will never do anything with Warmachine. It’s a good game set in an interesting universe and it scores points with me for not needing too many models in order to play. What I’ve read of the rules so far (when not distracted by Twitter or my book club book) seem to be well written and I know that there is a huge player base out there to tap into when the time comes.

Almost any gamer will admit how easy it is to get distracted by the shiny and the new. There are all sorts of intriguing possibilities out there. Warmachine, Dust Tactics and MERCS are all things that have tempted me recently, and I am certainly intrigued what Privateer Press’ ‘Level 7’ sci fi game will be like. GW even managed to cause a few moments of temptation with their new Necron release. Executed with their usual combination of very high quality and very high expense. But I have plenty of stuff to paint already, and I have still barely learned the rules to Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars. Perhaps this is a time to try and do a few things well rather than lots of things poorly.

I still might come back to Warmachine. If I do, I think the most likely army I would do (based on current infomation) is the Searforge sub-list of the Mercenaries army. These dwarf mercenaries are amongst my favourite in the whole range and though it’s a very limited list it’s all of stuff I like. And It’s also all stuff I could use if I ever expanded my army into a Highborn Covenant army.

Here is a rough army list worked out using the iBodger app and not much knowledge save what I could glean from the Battle College wiki:

High Sheild Gun Corps

Searforge Commission
33+7 points, 26 models

Gorten Grundback

Gorten Grundback  +7 points
* Ghordson Avalancher  9 points
* Wroughthammer Rockram  8 points

Forge Guard

6 Hammerfall High Shield Gun Corps  5 points
* Hammerfall Officer & Standard  3 points
6 Hammerfall High Shield Gun Corps  5 points
* Hammerfall Officer & Standard  3 points
6 Horgenhold Forge Guard  5 points
Thor Steinhammer  2 points

Avalancher

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It’s a War Thing

It’s a War Thing.

@docbungle has done a guest post at The Shell Case – a Warmachine Primer article.

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Heavy Metal Wars

As regular readers of my geeky musings will know, I recently got interested in Warmachine by Privateer Press. Following my intro game (written about here) I ordered the Two Player Starter Box via the nice chaps at Firestorm Games. Following a one week delay to the release date. I finally received my box early last week.

My Two Player Starter Box!

Although I’ve been looking at Warmachine stuff for a few months now, this is my first ever purchase. So this is very much a newcomer’s perspective.

The first thing I noticed was how small the box was. It was perhaps a third of the size of the similarly priced Games Workshop starter sets. But I had certainly not been short changed. The box contains two small forces, for Khador and the Protectorate of Menoth, as well as a ‘travel sized’ rulebook, introduction guide, quick start rules, unit stat cards, a card ruler, and a mini-issue of No Quarter magazine.

The Models

The Books

The only thing the box really lacks is a set of weapon effect templates. This is probably my biggest quibble about the contents as I know some of the models in the box have weapons that use the templates.

The Other Bits

The mini-issue of No Quarter is a nice touch offering a bit more insight into the world of the Iron Kingdoms and including a brief Khador vs Trollbloods battle report. The introduction guide give a brief but useful overview of the Warmachine factions (and an even briefer rundown of the factions from Hordes) as well as a more detailed look at the factions in the box, including a look at the specific models included.

In total the box contains two warcasters, four heavy warjacks, one light warjack and ten heavy infantry models. Not a bad haul, especially one you realise The models are actually resin rather than plastic as I initially thought.

Menoth Force

Part of the reason the box was so small was that the miniatures don’t come on sprues the way those in GW starter boxes do. All the parts are clipped out and bagged up nicely into the respective sets so nothing gets lost. That said, a lot of the parts – most especially weapons like axes, maces and polearms – in my set were slightly warped. I’m not sure if this happened during casting or this was the result of loose parts being crammed into a box. Still a bit annoying however it happened.

Vanquisher Warjack

The biggest challenge with this box was assembling the models. Initially I had problems because I tried to use poly cement as I had not realised the models were actually resin rather than plastic – though in my own defence this is not really made clear anywhere. Even when I switched to superglue though it was slow, frustrating going. The time involved in having to hold pieces together while the superglue set was a a bit frustrating. It wasn’t helped by a lot of the joints between parts not fitting as well as I would have liked. I recommend to anyone assembling the contents of this box to have some podcasts lined up or to stick the extended cut of your favourite film on the DVD.

Kreoss and Sorcha

Of course, the figures you get in this box are not specially designed for the starter box the way the miniatures in the Assault on Black Reach or Isle of Blood boxes are. So on one level it’s nice that you are getting the ‘real’ miniatures and will not have to worry about integrating starter models into an army. But the advantage of of the models in the GW sets is that you can clip them out and click them together in a relatively short amount of time and get on with playing your first game. There is going to be a significantly bigger lead in time needed to build these models.

Khador Force

On the other hand, the miniatures in the starter box set do represent legitimate, table-ready armies (20 points for Khador, 21 for Menoth). Given that 25 points is a very popular game size, players starting with the forces in this box only have to beg, steal or borrow four or five more points worth of models – for example a unit of six Khador Winter Guard Riflemen – to be playing games at a reasonable size. There certainly is not the same pressure to get out buying extra toys straight away.

Juggernaut Warjack

The fact that Warmachine requires a relatively small number of models somewhat mitigates the frustration involved in assembling them. Certainly I will never have to assemble that many multi-part resin models all at once ever again.

Khador Shocktrooper

Of the models in the box, my favourites are the Khador Man O War Shocktroopers. Nice chunky models with a decent amount of detail and relatively easy to assemble. The hardest to build was probably the Repenter light warjack, but by least favourite overall are probably the Menoth Cinerator heavy infantry. Though that is just a matter of personal taste rather than anything inherently wrong with the models, though they are the least poseable of the models included.

Whether this set is a good investment is a bit of a subjective question. If you are interested in collecting Khador and/or Menoth it’s a steal. Even if you only really want one of the factions you do quite well even before you factor in the possibility of selling or swapping the stuff you don’t want. Plus you can delay selling off the unwanted stuff until you have had a few practice games that will help you get your brain round the rules. You might even convert a friend to the game and sell your spare stuff to them. If you’re not interested in Menoth or Khador you might be better off steering clear of this set. The small rulebook is handy, but the standard Warmachine Mk II rulebook isn’t exactly huge (It’s maybe a quarter of the size of the Warhammer rulebook) so if you buy the paperback version it should prove fairly portable. Players starting with the standard rulebook and a battle box might not get quite as good a deal. But there’s no point getting a good deal on something you don’t really want.

Overall, I’m fairly happy with the contents of the box, though I feel slightly disappointed by the number of warped models in my copy. I was also extremely frustrated by assembly of the models, which is galling in a starter box which is supposed to help people ease into a hobby. I look forward to being able to have a few practice games with the set. Maybe I can even convince @CaitoGalenus to give it a go in the name of game related blogging.

My feeling so far though, is that while Warmachine is a good game with a cool setting, I’ve not yet been impressed enough for it to be anywhere near overtaking Firestorm Armada or Dystopian Wars and becoming my ‘main’ game for now. We shall see how I feel after a few games.

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New Privateer Press goings on

New Privateer Press goings on.

@docbungle has dug up some cool Privateer Press previews.

I quite like the Rover warjack.

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The New Epic Warlocks

 

 

 

 

The New Epic Warlocks.

@Docbungle has posted about the new Epic level Warlocks for Hordes.

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Joining the Stompy Side

Last night I enjoyed a demo game of Warmachine at the Oxford Gaming Club, courtesy of their resident Pressganger, Chris C. The people at the club were really friendly and kindly waived the usual attendance fee as it was my first time there.

Chris took me through the basic concepts of Warmachine, focus, feats, control distance, how to roll for damage, and so on. He then umpired a demo game between myself and another novice player. I took command of a Protectorate of Menoth battle group led by Kreoss against a Mercenary force led by Magnus.

Kreoss

I really enjoyed the game. We ran out of time before we could finish but a goodly amount of stompage was dealt by either side. I’m not sure who was in the lead, but I had wounded Magnus quite a bit, though I had also left Kreoss dangerously exposed. Even a newbie like me knows the golden rule of Warmachine is Do Not Get Your Warcaster Killed.

Other highlights of the game included knocking down all my opponent’s jacks using my caster’s Feat, the nail biting resolution of a powerful missile attack, and the face off between Mangler and Crusader heavy warjacks.

Considering there were only four models per side on the table, it was quite an involved game that really required me to think about what I was doing. I found the rules fairly intuitive, helped no doubt by having an expert there to answer all my questions, and by the end of the game I was able to play pretty independently. Though Chris kindly pointed out one or two rookie mistakes I was making.

Magnus

Easy to learn though the basic rules seem, it’s already clear that mastering the intricacies of using warjacks and warcasters together for maximum effect, marshalling your precious focus points and knowing when to use your caster’s feat is another matter. There also seem to be quite an array of weapon special rules. Some people might frown at the amount of ‘book keeping’ involved in tracking warjack damage, but I doubt it would be too onerous given the limited number of jacks on the field at any one time.

Warmachine appeals to me for a number of reasons, I like the background and the fact it involves stompy robots, I like the fact that it’s primarily a skirmish game that allows small armies with the option of adding to your collection gradually over time (in contrast to the mass battle games produced by Mantic and GW). I’m intrigued by the way the game requires you to use your models I’m concert, most especially using the caster and jacks together. Also, some of the models are really, really cool.

Mangler

I have already pre-ordered the Warnachine two player starter box. It seems to be a really, really good value box and a good chance to get a real feel for the game without too much outlay. The box contains Menoth models, which I tried last night, and Khador, a faction I am quite interested in. The other faction I am most interested in, Cygnar, will probably find its way onto my Christmas list. I’m looking forward to building the new toys (and adding them to my very large backlog of unpainted models) and learning a bit more about the game and the Iron Kingdoms in my own time. Maybe I can even convince @CaitoGalenus to give it a try.

Crusader

My Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars collections are nicely rounded out now (though I will get the Aquan Dreadnought when it is released) so now is the perfect to branch out into one more game. Between Warmachine, FA, DW and finishing my Brazen Angels I will be nicely served with hobby projects for the foreseeable future.

I’m hoping to write a brief review post when the starter box arrives and hopefully will be able to post some pictures of painted models on a #miniaturemonday soon.

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Big and Stompy

I like big stompy robots, so it was perhaps inevitable that once I started looking at the full sweep of wargaming options available to us today, that Warmachine should catch my eye.

I first heard of Warmachine due to it being talked about a lot online as the game a lot of disgruntled GW customers were trying instead. Through Twitter I have discovered this is a game with a sizeable player community so it that al made it one a I made a point of checking out when I started to look around for something not dominated by Space Marines.

On the scale of ‘mildly interested’ to ‘have to be physically restrained from spending my child’s future university fund on the shiny’, Warmachine ranks at ‘I definitely want to try this’. Indeed, I have already arranged to be given a demo game at the local gaming club in a couple of weeks.

I quite like the look and feel of Warmachine, I like the inclusion of warjacks as the centrepiece of the game, making it a bit different to other wargames. I also like that it is playable using relatively small armies and operates more at a skirmish level. Having recently blogged about my frustration with having to buy quite so many toys in order to play GW games, something that you can play with a handful of models, but then have the option of collecting more at your own pace seems like a good deal.

I quite like the world of the Iron Kingdoms in which Warmachine (and it’s sister game, Hordes) is set. It’s dark and violent without being over the top – and without being as unrelentingly grimdark as either Warhammer universe. Also they blend fantasy and steampunk elements into something quite interesting. And it seems to have a bit of a sense of humour to it, which always helps.

I’ve also had the opportunity to read the quickstart rules available to download from the Privateer Press website, and watched a few video battle reports on You Tube. From what I’ve seen the rule seem fairly straightforward and robust and I’m interested in how the game requires using your warcaster and warjacks in concert to maximise their effectiveness.

Perhaps most importantly, the models are excellent. It took me a while to appreciate some of them, being used to Games Workshop’s aesthetics, but they have grown on me and there are at least a few that really appeal to me.

Khador Juggernaut

Initially I was attracted to the Khador faction with their heavy warjacks and the powerful ‘Man O War’ units with their steam powered armour and exotic weaponry.

Cygnar Cyclone

Now though, I’m moving towards the heavy firepower and eclectic units of the Cygnar army. Possibly with a few Mercenaries thrown in for flavour in the longer term.

Mercenary Forge Guard

So, I think I’ve found something I could enjoy collecting and playing in addition to my fleets for Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars. I like the idea of a game with fun models and background but which I can do without having to go mad buying loads of toys.

Plus as a bonus, starting Warmachine always allows the options of expanding to do Hordes as well, maybe with the Circle factions with their cool golem-like warbeasts.

Circle Wold Guardian

I will report back on my impressions after my intro game in a couple of weeks.

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Time for something new.

This post was partially inspired by a blog post my brother made a few weeks ago. Like him I wanted to articulate some thought’s I’d been having about something that has been a big part of my life (off and on) and has been one of those things that helped shape who I am.

For twenty-something years, on and off, I’ve been interested in tabletop wargaming. I’m not sure how many games I’ve played or how many armies I’ve collected (or tried to collect, or just talked about collecting) but it’s been a big part of my life and has furnished me with at least one life-long friend and a means of building a stronger relationship with my brother than I might otherwise of had.

Like a lot of gamers, I got interested as a result of playing Hero Quest and Space Crusade with my school friends (long ago when I was young and pretty). These gave me a taster of Games Workshop’s Warhammer World and Warhammer 40,000 Universe and in the end led to over two decades of buying Games Workshop’s products and playing its games. The first ‘proper’ Games Workshop game I bought and played was ‘Epic’, their 6mm scale battle game set in the far future of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. I got into this game first after being fascinated by the concept of the enormous Titan war machines that you could field in this game. I still have fond memories of the plastic Warlord Titan kits that were my first purchase for the game.

After that, I got into Warhammer 40,000 and also flirted with Warhammer Fantasy Battle and other GW games like Blood Bowl and Battlefleet Gothic. It was an off-and-on thing sometimes, as my financial status or the level of stress in my life waxed and waned. Over the years, I’ve collected Space Marines, Eldar, Tau, Imperial Guard, High Elves, Dwarfs and probably a few others, leading up to the most recent army I’ve been collecting, the Brazen Angels, a chapter of my own creation based on the Blood Angels rules.

Ultimately, I am a bit of a nerd and a geek, and I enjoy my geeky pursuits. When I’ve been able to, I’ve enjoyed being a wargamer. I’ve enjoyed painting my figures, although goodness knows I’ve never come close to having a whole army painted. I’ve enjoyed the social aspect of the game, whether playing a pick-up game at a hobby centre or enjoying a chat with older friends at home over the gaming table. These games have also been a chance to enjoy stories set in very rich fictional worlds.

But now, I think the time has come for me and GW to part ways. It was an unexpected decision, but one that was surprisingly easy to make.

The main catalyst for this decision was price. Anyone who has ever bought a GW product knows that they are a pricey hobby. To be fair, a lot of hobbies are expensive, but everyone has their limits, and everyone reaches a point where they have to wonder if they are getting value for money. Having just been through the second significant price rise in eighteen months my limit has been reached.

I know GW product have never been of better quality, and that they have pushed the envelope of what is possible in terms of plastic resin and metal models, they have made sure the customer bankrolls their innovation at every step. And lately a side effect of quality is that kits are increasingly full of optional decorative ‘kibble’ that I’m sure many players never use, just clip out of the sprue and consign to the ‘bitz box’, never to see the light of day.

All this might not have made me jump ship GW’s ship if not for the other big catalyst which was discovering a whole world of other gaming options through Twitter. The big change came when I discovered Spartan Games, and their games Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars. These games caught my imagination in a way that nothing from GW has for a while, especially after seeing both the quality and the reasonable prices of the models.

But it’s not just the fact that the models were cheaper it’s the fact that these other companies like Spartan, Mantic and Privateer Press don’t seem to be out to take the customer for every penny like GW seem to be these days. It’s not just that the stuff is cheaper, it’s that there doesn’t seem to be the same compulsion to buy so much of it to have a ‘good’ or even game legal army.

I have never been one of the people who begrudged GW their desire to make a profit, or for actually behaving like a business. Nor, up to now have I never set much store in the myth that GW was once so very much better but one day decided to metamorphosis into a heartless corporation. That said, these days they do increasing act like a company that is just after my money, making the jocular, matey public persona the company tries to project seem more and more like condescension. In contrast the other companies I’ve discovered seem so much more engaged with their customers, with proper customer web forums where game designers, such as Spartan Games’ ‘Spartan Neil’, actually post answers to questions and respond to comments. Mantic Games is even holding a public beta for their new rule set that anyone can download for free. These are companies that seem to be making the effort.

For many years, GW has ‘been’ the wargaming hobby, so much so that many people like me were barely aware that other games existed. But like a lot of people who pioneer industries, they might yet be supplanted by people who came in later but do it better.

I haven’t suddenly turned against GW. I’m not going to throw my stuff out the window. I will sell a few things on eBay now I know I will never use them, but I will keep my Brazen Angels and have even worked out how to round them out to a nice, even 2000 points.  I have no desire to slam them or declare that they are the enemy of all that is good and pure (because that of course, is News International). But they are not for me anymore. I don’t plan on buying anything from them on a regular basis ever again (unless they release something absolutely extraordinary). For now, I’m just going to enjoy painting my Spartan Games ships and then maybe I’ll try a few of Privateer Press’ ‘warjack’ models. The urge to collect every different variation of Space Marine is broken for ever.

It feels rather like a clean slate to explore the things that appeal to me now. It means learning new rules and finding new opponents but it’s nice to be able to try new things and escape some of the emotional baggage of twenty plus years in the same hobby.

Plus I get to paint some absolutely awesome steampunk battleship models. This pleases me.

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