2016: THE YEAR IN REVIEW PT. 2 – MYSELF.

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Following up on yesterday’s article on what we’ve experienced from Games Workshop this past year, it’s time to look back onto my own year as a hobbyist. While it’s been marked by large periods of inactivity (as should be apparent by the content update on this blog), due to a variety of real life factors, I’ve managed to actually get a decent amout of hobby time in, all things considered. Let’s jump right in.

The year started on a slump; having to throw in the towel and bow out of the Norwegian nationals tournament because of financial reasons wasn’t the greatest way to begin. Spending the first three months of the year primarily working long and hard days didn’t do much for my hobby discipline either, and little got done overall. My Festering Orchard project at this point in time still contained both Nurgle and Undead units, as there were no SCGT or General’s Handbook guidelines yet, merely inhouse balance in my gaming group, and one of the things I DID get done this period, was a unit of Plaguebearers and a horde of risen Talabheimer Zombies.

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I’m overall really pleased with how these models turned out – sadly, as the aformentioned balance systems hit, half of my models were invalidated for serious play, and I had to start from the bottom up again. Deciding that while I loved the Nurgle presence of my army primarily for the gameplay purposes, the Undead presence were far more what I really liked about it aesthetically and thematically. Thus, the Plaguebearers, Nurglings and Blightkings were retired to a box in the closet, and I started fully focussing my attention onto making a full Grand Alliance Death-army.

Over the summer, work slowed down and I managed to get a decent army of my first 1,000 points painted up, mostly to a tabletop standard I was mostly happy with. Adding a bunch of Dire Wolves and Ghouls, a Wight King and some more Zombies (all of whom I won’t show here since they are overall nothing spectacular), I got my battleline and chaff in order, and could focus fully on finishing a special someone that had spent well over a year on my desk – the Queen herself.

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Neferata was great fun to paint, if somewhat tedious with the amount of edge highlights this model requires. I also brought with me a few units of Spirit Hosts on holiday, making my missus roll her eyes, but allowing me to come home for the fall gaming season with a fully painted army.

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I got a fair few games in, won more than a decent amount of them, but I quickly realised that playing Death until they get some serious rules updates is similar to taking a leak against the wind while walking upwards – you’ll get there, but it’s going to be tedious and hard. The Rule of One and the lack of unit selection really hit Death harder than any other faction, and while the Flesh-Eater Courts provide a few battallions for utility and general power, I found that they’re unrewarding to play over a longer period of time.

So I found myself in a slump again, and didn’t really do much constructive for a while; dabbling a bit with my Slaanesh project, getting a few ideas and concepts that I’ll definitely explore fully once I pick them up proper again, but not really finishing anything. Like so many other ideas and projects in this hobby, they ended up a temporary timesink between actual armies.

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Finally, at the end of September, a breakthrough came. Myself and three others from my gaming group signed up for the Norwegian nationals tournament at the end of January, and this time, it’s actually happening. Hotels and planes are booked, fees are paid, all we have to to is show up with painted models and a plan of action. The problem is, what painted models?

After some discussion with the others, it became fairly apparent to me that I didn’t have the motivation at all to finish off and play my Death army. My options were pretty much limited to those, to rush my Slaanesh project (which simply wasn’t going to happen – an army I’ve spent so much money and time collecting the models and bits for just isn’t going to be rushed), or to build something entirely new. Taking some time to consider what could both be built within the 13 week timeframe I had, be strong enough to contend at a high level, and not just be “that list from the internet” but something I actually enjoyed, my options fell down to Sylvaneth, Beastclaw Raiders and Stormcast Eternals.

Sylvaneth were an automatic decline – one of the other guys play it, and it’s enough of a common army in Norway that I didn’t feel like playing mirror for most of my practice and potentially most of my games at the tournament. Beastclaws really appeal to me (as noted yesterday) on several levels, but I’m unsure if they have what it takes to compete at the highest level without using Bonesplitterz or Grots to fill out the ranks, and to me, that wasn’t an option. So in the end, it was time to break out the Age of Sigmar starter set and get to work on these wonderful ladies.

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The Sisters of Sigmar, a throwback to the brilliant game that is Mordheim, updated for a new era. I’ve kept a plog running on on the Grand Alliance forums, if you want to check them out further. They’re far from my best work, in terms of pure painting and modelling quality alone, but I’ve really come to enjoy them. With four weeks to go until my tournament, it’s crunch time on getting them done.

And that wraps it up for my own 2016 as a hobbyist – check back in a couple of days for the final installment in this series, where I take a look into the crystal ball of what 2017 might bring.

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