The Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 2 – The Industry

Awards
Here we are back, with the second installment of the Eternal Hunt Awards. Last time, we took a look at the greatest hobbyists of 2012 and at their proud achievements. But what about those who provide us with our regular fix of plastic crack? Let’s take a look at the industry!

But first, a disclaimer of sorts: All of this is strictly my own opinion, of course. Your mileage may vary on any of this. Oh, and if my perspective seems slightly GW-centric, let me assure you that this is not due to some philosophical bias on my part, but more to the fact that I am mainly interested in 40k and a couple of GW specialist systems. I am quite aware that many other companies produced equally awesome stuff in 2012. Anyway, moving on:

 

I. Best release of 2012

 

1st place: Dark Vengeance starter box

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

 

From the stellar quality of the models to the choice of armies, Dark Vengeance was my favourite tabletop release of 2012, period. While far from cheap, the box gives you quite a bit of bang for the buck, and it even introduced highly anticipated models like the Chaos Cultists and the Helbrute. Personally speaking, I am still happily cutting and gluing my way through the contents of the box, and I am having quite a swell time so far. You can check out my progress so far here, here and here, in case you’re interested.

Anyway, Dark Vengeance is not only the best 40k starter box to date, but also an example of what GW can achieve if they manage to get their act together. Definitely my favourite release of the year!

 

2nd place: Warhammer 40k 6th edition rulebook

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

 

Take note that the award doesn’t go to 6th edition itself: I have far too little experience with the system yet to make that call. But the big rulebook is certainly a thing of beauty: full-coloured, lavishly illustrated and brimming with great production values. I also like the fact that GW chose to stress the narrative side of 40k as a game! And last but not least, there are lots and lots of tasty background bits and callbacks to the RT and 2nd edition eras, respectively (Squats, anyone?). So while I am usually not especially fond of rulebooks, this one is a tome I simply enjoy looking at.

 

3rd place: WFB plastic characters

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

I have been an outspoken supporter of plastic kits for a long time, and the single sprue characters released by GW for WFB (and 40k, of late) are an example of many things that are great about plastic kits: The staggering amount of detail achievable with a bit of planning. The ease of converting the material. And the rather stable quality when compared to Finecast. Granted, these models may sometimes seem a little limited in their poses. But they are easily transformed into something completely different. I have bought and converted several of these, and perhaps the best thing about them is the fact that, in a way, they are the best Inquisitor models GW has released in years (just take a look at all the INQ28 forums, and you’ll see what I mean). Anyway, I hope many more of these will be released for both WFB and 40k!

 

II. Worst release/biggest disappointment of 2012

 

1st place: Chaos Mutilators/Obliterators

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

 

Boy did those Obliterators need a facelift! And boy did GW drop the ball with them: Instead of a nice and flexible plastic kit, we get a FC rehash of the existing models. And to add insult to injury, they even threw in a new Obliterator variant that is based on the exact same sculpt. This could have been a combi-kit, you know? Anyway, those guys are really, really ugly, and even I have not yet come up with a way of converting those to look cool. Granted, GuitaRasmus came up with some pretty sweet Obliterators, but that is beside the point. Anyway, definitely the most disappointing (re-)release for me.

 

2nd place: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

 

I have to be honest with you: I felt a little underwhelmed by the new Hobbit starter kit even before I watched the film. Now, having watched it just yesterday, I feel even more apathetic: The models may be nicee nough, but why cough up more money for this than you would have to pay for the (far superior) Dark Vengeance? Granted, in the end it comes down to personal preference, but it seems absurd that the Hobbit license alone should warrant such a price hike. And while the good guys look great (and bear a striking resemblance to the respective actors in most cases), I feel the evil guys are a bit of a letdown: Neither the goblins, nor the trolls and orks are as cool-looking as they are in the film. And why release a model for Bolg – who has a screen time of about 30 seconds, don’t blink or you could miss him altogether – and not one for the uber-cool Azog? The film may have had some padding, but it was still a fun ride. I’ll happily pass on the game, though…

UPDATE: I have found out that Bolg doesn’t actually appear in the film at all! He is the son of Azog and will probably feature in one of the sequels. This makes this particular choice even more baffling. Then again, it seems like the studio pulled all kinds of shenanigans to keep Azog’s actual appearance a secret prior to the release of the film, so maybe it wasn’t even GW’s decision to begin with. I guess we have the Internet with its packs of rumour hounds to thank for this… 😉

 

3rd place: random charge distances in sixth edition

Again, my experiences with 6th edition aren’t that extensive. That being said, it’s really hard for someone playing an army focused on CC to feel excited about the prospect of random charge distances. Some say that this promotes tactical thinking. But I think there would have been a couple of more interesting options for achieving that. If anything, this game needs less, not more, randomness. Oh well, let’s see how this works out…

 

Oh, and a special mention must go to the WFB Chaos Warshrine kit:

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

Image appears courtesy of Games Workshop

All the parts are excellent: The big mutants, the priest, the god specific icons and doodads. But somehow the resulting model looks rather unwholesome — and not in a good way! How can a collection of such fantastic elements end up as something so much less than the sum of its part? The mind boggles…

 

III. Still on the fence about…

  • …GW’s Chaos Space Marines release: I like the book, some of the models are great, and I suppose that I am actually quite pleased with the release after all. But somehow I cannot help but feel it could have been even better: a release on par with the redesign of the Dark Eldar in 2010: new sculpts for the cult troops, new special characters, a new basic CSM kit, better Obliterators. And a *much* better flyer model. But then, I wonder if I am actually part of the unpleasable fanbase here? Oh well…
  • The FW Horus Heresy releases: Don’t get me wrong, that stuff is rather cool! But some of it is a) prohibitively expensive (par for the course with FW, really) and b) takes all the challenge out of kitbashing your own Pre-Heresy stuff. I’ll have you know I’ll carry on with my kitbashed Custodes army regardless, thank you very much!

 

IV. Also pretty cool:

  • Kickstarter! I love what Kickstarter as a platform has done for the tabletop and videogame communities respectively: Granted, these days it sometimes seems like everybody and their cousin is firing up a Kickstarter, but some of those projects are just so good that I simply cannot worry too much about the chaff. For instance, I chipped in on Mark Mondragon’s fantastic Kickstarter and can hardly wait for my brand new Eisenkern Stormtroopers to arrive…
  • Bold decisions: It seems like GW is finally prepared to make a couple of rather bold decisions: A thorougly revamped 6th edition of 40k, a redesigned WD and a couple of rather interesting design choices seem to be proof of that. Did I like all of it? Heck, no. But there’s a lot to like about taking more creative risks, so I applaud GW for the will to change things up a bit.
  • Plastic rules! I might have mentioned that I love plastic kits. So maybe the most momentuous development this year was the increase of fantastic and flexible plastic kits across the board (GW, Wyrd, Mantic, and various Kickstarter projects). I also love the fact that some of the competitors’ plastic models are starting to give GW a run for their money. If this continues, I imagine there might be a bright plastic future ahead of us 😉

 

All in all, I feel it has been a rather good year for us hobbyists! There were many different releases and developments to enjoy, and I spent more money than I should have, but then, what else is new? But what where my own favourite hobby achievements? What did I do with my hobby time? And which models am I most proud of? That’s what I’ll be looking at in the third installment of the Eternal Hunts Awards. We’ll be right back…

In any case, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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2 Responses to “The Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 2 – The Industry”

  1. Good choices. White Dwarf turned out a disappointment as well in my view, after nearly twenty years of reading I have finally thrown in the towel with the 2012 November issue. Utterly boring and redundant sales brochure. Today’s hobby is happening in the blogs.

    • Oh, I do actually like the direction WD is taking at the moment! Granted, the November issue was pretty heavy on the Hobbit, but overall I get the impression that the editorial staff understand what made WD great in the past. And on the bright side of things, we have much more features on conversions and kitbashes, designer’s notes concerning the new releases and a regular column by no other than John Blanche. There’s quite a bit if room for improvement, to be sure, and maybe it’s even a case of “too little too late”, but I think they’re really on to something.

      Now if only they would stop photographing models with this horrible mood lighting… 😉

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