The Amsterdam Files

Hey everyone,

it’s my birthday today, and what better way to celebrate than to share with you the tale of what may be my favourite birthday present his year, even though it wasn’t even planned as one. Let me give fair warning in advance, though: This is going to be one hell of a wordy, rambling post, even though there should be lots of shiny things to look at. So anyway, what is this about?

Ever since I got back into this hobby and started blogging about my little plastic men, crazy awesome things have started to happen: People started sending me stuff ranging from bitz to entire models. I’ve been a part of some seriously awesome joint hobby projects with fellow hobbyists. And I’ve had lots and lots of contact with people from many corners of Holy Terra. Even against this background, however, my recent trip to Amsterdam, to meet up with fellow hobbyist Augustus b’Raass, turned out to be an absolute high point!

Now Augustus and me originally “met” over at The Bolter & Chainsword where we both belong to the regulars. The first longer conversation we actually had occured when Augustus had put a dismembered female corpse on one of hisΒ  Night Lords Contemptors, and I was the person to argue that this was actually pretty poor taste. Doesn’t exactly sound like the most promising setup for an inter-personal relationship, right? And yet, it did kick off a fairly continuous stream of mutual comments, posts and PMs that ended with us both realising that we actually had a lot of things in common, even beyond the shared infatuation with little plastic people. Which is actually kind of a big deal, if you think about is: Hobby forums are excellent places, and I love them dearly for the communication opportunities they provide, but you only really get to see a very thin slice of every fellow hobbyist, as it were: There’s no telling whether the guy you keep sharing conversion advice with is actually someone you’d get along with in everyday life.

And it’s actually great that way, because it allows a shared space where people can just come together and talk about a topic they feel passionate about, without having to defend their cultural or political views or their dubious choices in clothing. Even so, to find somebody who seemed like they would be legitimately interesting beyond the hobby was an excellent turn of events, and so when Augustus was kind enough to purchase a copy of Index Apocrypha: Chaos for me when the book had gone OOP, I joked that I would pay him back by coming to Amsterdam and buying him a couple of beers. So yeah, I did go to Amsterdam, and I did indeed buy him a couple of beers, but that’s not nearly all that happened last weekend. So, allow me to share a recap of an amazing trip:

I. Talking Shop

Now as some of you may already know, Augustus is an incredibly talented painter and converter in his own right, so it was always clear we would be talking about lots of hobby related stuff. We actually spend about two hours alone in front of his shelves and shelves of gorgeous miniatures, with me picking up model after model and feeling like a kid at the candy store. What’s more, I even slept in the same room for the weekend, so whenever I woke up, my gaze would fall on those fantastic models — I actually tried to figure out a way to sneak at least some of those gorgeous World Eaters into my overnight bag…

Models built and painted by Augustus b’Raass

…but that would obviously have been extremely rude. In addition to those models looking absolutely lovely, however, they are also magnetised, pinned, drilled and what have you to the umpteenth degree — and those are all things I never really do with my models, as I am just happy to get them finished and be done with it πŸ˜‰ But seeing the craftsmanship that had gone into assembling the models made me realise that Augustus was the perfect person to talk to about a couple of projects and concerns.

For instance, you probably remember this guy from the previous post, right?


Now Augustus and I talked about him and about how the pose was not yet quite there, and so I made some additional tweaks to the pose based on that conversation. This also provided the perfect opportunity for Augustus to teach me how to use a proper hobby saw instead of just wedging a cheap-o knife in there and wiggling it around. Anyway, here’s what the model looks like now:



I actually think the pose is quite a bit more natural now in how his legs and arms interact — as an added bonus, he even seems to be dragging his right leg, which is definitely fitting for a Plague Marine. The one small setback is that sawing through the torso to get the arms and shoulder pads off damaged some detail, so I might have to do a bit of cleanup there, but oh well.

Secondly, Augustus was kind enough to magnetise my World Eaters Contemptor’s right arm for me, as you can see in the picture below:


So now, in addition to looking like this,…



…he can also rock a sweet multimelta. Like this:



I am not a big fan of the 30k multimelta design, but having the whole thing as a magnetised alternative now really provided me with the incentive of making it look a bit more vicious and spiky, and I think I have suceeded with that.

And finally, while I basically managed to get most of the models I had brought over there without a hitch, my Forgeworld Angron was snapped off his base. Augustus suggested pinning him, and I asked him whether he could slightly tweak the angle of the model on the base, because I felt that Angron was facing downwards a bit too much. So here’s the tweaked angle, and I am much happier with the model now — and he’s far easier to take pictures of now as well:





I’ll have to build up some debris around the right foot, where the pin is visible right now, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

And it goes without saying that we also sat down and traded a lot of bitz: I had brought a bunch of stuff I thought Augustus might like, and in return, I came home with this crazy pile of awesomness:


The star of the show is obviously the Forgeworld World Eaters Dreadnought, as that is one of those models I have always wanted to own, but I didn’t pick him up before he went OOP — and now I have one! Woohoo! πŸ™‚

All it all, it was brilliant to talk shop with someone who not only has such a fantastic collection (in order to erm…borrow ideas by the boatload), but whose techniques and approaches also differ in certain areas: Augustus is super-structured and super-efficient, whereas I can be a huge fan of sloppy, messy Leeroy Jenkins-style tactics when it comes to painting and converting. Seeing someone else’s process was really quite eye-opening in many ways!

II. The Pretty Pictures

It wasn’t all theoretical, though, as I had also brought a pile of my miniatures for a joint photo opportunity, so we took my models, Augustus’ wonderful Imperial Fists and his equally lovely terrain and tried to achieve a look as close as possible to something you might see in an official GW publication, pitching the warriors of the World Eaters’ 4th assault company against the defenders of Terra during the siege of the Throneworld:



Hmm, with the Eighth Captain in the picture like that, I doubt that Librarian has too much of a career ahead of him… πŸ˜‰





One of the coolest setups we did was to pitch Augustus’ Imperial Fists commander, Franz Landa, against one of the 4th assault company’s Praetors: Secutor Hamund, the Mournful, very much a deathseeker, and seen here during what may have been his final battle:





Creating setups like that was really a ton of fun, and I love how the pictures have turned out! My World Eaters, on the other hand, had to take a bit of a rest after the demanding photo shoot (next to one of Augustus’ wonderful Contemptors):


While we still had that sweet setup out, however, I snatched the opportunity to take some pictures that showcased my models, selfish git that I am πŸ˜‰

Here are my 30k World Eaters, led by their Primarch:



Next up, my squad of Traitor Elites from my Traitor Guard force, “Urash’s Marauders”:


And, since I had also brought some models from the wonderful world of INQ28, Inquisitor Erasmus Gotthardt, of the Ordo Hereticus Velsen and his retinue…


…and the “Road Crew”, my current project of creating a merry band of Pitslaves, mutants and ne’er do-wells from the Hiveworld of St. Sabasto’s Reach:



And here’s one really sweet shot to top off this part of the post: My true scale Astartes, Praetor Janus Auriga of the Golden Legion, going toe to toe with Augustus’ absolutely lovely retro Bloodthirster — seriously, pictures don’t do that guy justice!

III. The All-important Rest

As fun as the whole hobby part of my trip was – and believe me, it was TONS of fun – what really turned the whole event into such a fantastic experience was being fed, pampered and taken around town by Augustus, who was just about the best host you could probably imagine: He had bought a wonderful collection of local and Belgian beers (And we drank. Them. All) and just made sure all around that I was as comfortable as I could be. We also ended up talking about a thousand different subjects – including, but certainly not limited to, the hobby – and I had a blast. Augustus also took me on a trip around town, and we invariably ended up the the local GW store. A huge shout out to the extremely friendly crowd over at GW Amsterdam South, by the way, from Dennis (the store manager who surprised my by being perfectly fluent in German and was an all around nice guy) to Rowdy (who actually came up to me to tell me he was following my work and was a bit of a fan — you made me feel like a freaking rock star, mate!): The hours just seemed to fly, and I loved every second of it.

While at the GW store, I was also able to take a couple of pictures of Augustus‘ spectacular rendition of Aaron Demsbki-Bowden’s First Claw:

First Claw by Augustus b’Raass (1)

Seriously, those guys are something else: It’s perfectly justified that they still draw lots of comments from the crowd at the store: You wouldn’t believe how amazing those guys are when seen firsthand. Let me just throw in additional pictures of my favourite three…

models built and converted by Augustus b’Raass

From left to right, Uzas (easily my favourite character from the Night Lords Trilogy), Talos and Mercutian (the model is just perfect in every way, wouldn’t you agree?).

And their three brethren that are just as awesome — I just happen to be in love with the three up top even more πŸ˜‰

models built and converted by Augustus b’Raass

From left to right, Xarl (I’ve never seen a more intimidating glare in my life!), Variel the Flayer and Cyrion.

While at the GW store, I also met a super-nice fellow named Tom who may just be the best painter I have ever spoken to. While he was all shy about it and kept insisting that he had basically tried to merely follow the work of David Soper, his Orruk Warlord was really a bit of a relevation to me:

Orruk Warlord by Tom

You see, high level painting has never done much for me, because it just seemed so abstract and far removed from where I was standing. Seeing a model painted at that standard from up close, however, made me realise that there were layers and layers of detail there that I couldn’t even take in all at once. Like, I’ve never even liked that Orruk warlord all that much, especially that idiotic skull on his shoulder pad, right? And then Tom goes and does something like this:

Orruk Warlord by Tom

I mean, just look at that bone! JUST LOOK AT IT!

Tom was also nice enough to send me some really good pictures of the model for you to enjoy, so here you go:

Orruk Warlord by Tom

 

Orruk Warlord by Tom

So yeah, lots and lots of super-friendly people — but then, that’s the Netherlands for you. It’s a fascinating country for me, as a German, because in so many ways, it’s like Germany, only not: There are tons of things that are so incredibly familiar, but are just slightly “off” — and I mean off in an entirely good way: You feel at home enough to be at ease, but it’s also different enough to be utterly refreshing. Which is basically the ideal mix for someone who is as much of a scaredy cat as me πŸ˜‰ Almost being able to get what people are saying is also quite a thing, I can tell you πŸ˜‰

So Augustus also took me around town, including the famous Red Light District, so I could take a look at Amsterdam’s seedy underbelly, except it’s really not all that seedy, and it certainly has the added benefit of having a rather lovely canal running through the middle of it:


We ended up at a super cool retro-arcade bar where we kept drinking yet more local beer – Zatte, which actually translates to “drunk” I believe — there’s actually a lot to be said for a country that names its beers for the intended effect – and playing a bazillion games of Jenga, friendly banter with the folks from the adjoining table and crazy, made-up rules included. Let me tell you, it seems like people who know how to convert tiny plastic soldiers can be real Jenga fiends:


And then it was back home, with the crazy guy on the ferry playing songs like “Last Christmas” or “My Heart Will Go On” at full volume on his phone actually being a fellow countryman of mine — leave it to a German to set the mood, eh?

Anyway, if all of this may sound kind of over-enthused, that’s simply because I had such a blast! And I would like to imagine that Augustus felt the same way, in spite of having a compulsively talkative German to take care of. Just look at us eggheads:


I mean he does seem a bit…ambiguous about the whole situation πŸ˜‰

Disclaimer: Which reminds me: Let me just state in no unclear terms that, in contrast to what you may or may not hear from other sources, I was, like, super-handy with the lock on the rented bike, and Augustus didn’t need to help me with it at all. Not even once. And that, as far as I am concerned, is the end of the matter.

Erm, anyways, here’s the big man himself again, albeit in model form: Meet Augustus b’Raass, warlord of Augustus’ World Eaters army:



So, Auggs, buddy: Ja, wie sage ich das jetzt, I really cannot thank you enough! For being an awesome host and a brilliant tour guide! For going through the risk of just having some guy from the internet over for an entire weekend. For the conversations and the laughs and, of course, the beer! And for starting out as a cool hobby buddy that has now become an actual friend! Cheers, mate!

And to all of the beautiful readers of this blog, if you have managed to hang on until now, thanks for reading! And, as always, stay tuned for more!

In hindsight, we should have set them up as though they were shaking hands — that would have been such a sweet capstone for the post…

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19 Responses to “The Amsterdam Files”

  1. What fun. Happy Birthday mate.

  2. Augustus b'Raass Says:

    HURRAY! Happy Birthday to you, buddy! It was a blast to have you over πŸ™‚

  3. BubblesMcBub Says:

    Disclaimer: Which reminds me: Let me just state in no unclear terms that, in contrast to what you may or may not hear from other sources, I was, like, super-handy with the lock on the rented bike, and Augustus didn’t need to help me with it at all. Not even once. And that, as far as I am concerned, is the end of the matter.

    So that why you where standing around the bikes so long xD
    Also Happy Birthday!

    • What? No! We were, like, having a discussion about…errr….the local architecture, because all of the houses in Amsterdam were so…housy…uhhh

      Dammit, I didn’t know there was still another eyewitness πŸ˜‰

  4. Happy Birthday! No wonder you were so jazzed! It looked like a fun
    trip

  5. A belated Happy Birthday to you mate! Sounds like you had an excellent weekend and those photographs are just magnificent. Good move on the Plague Marine – I did like the old 2nd edition style pose but the new look is a bit more aggressive and natural.

    • Thanks, mate! Yeah, maybe the first pose was a bit too awkward — it actually became stranger and stranger the longer you looked at it, so the new version is an improvement — and I know how to use a hobby saw now πŸ˜‰

  6. Hey, happy birthday!

    Sounds and looks like you had a lovely weekend. When is Augustus coming to your neck of the woods, so we can have another long post packed with pictures?

    • Cheers, man! That is certainly something we’ll be talking about in the future, and I believe Augustus actually came up with about a million ideas for photos we *could* have taken after I left, so there’ll have to be a rematch πŸ˜‰

  7. Dexter Says:

    You know, as your post go, that really wasn’t all that wordy.

    Sounds like an awesome weekend! Those pictures are really breathtaking. I especially love that battle you set up between your World Eaters and his Imperial Fists! Looking forward to seeing what this inspires you to crank out next. I can only imagine that your conversion game will be a step higher now that you know how to use a hobby saw.

    And of course, Happy Birthday!

    • Haha, cheers, Dexter: I’ve actually already used the saw multiple times, as it’s really great for sawing through huge chunks of resin, for instance. For everyday business, however, I am just as likely to stick to my cheap-o knives — somewhat to Augustus’ chagrin, I imagine πŸ˜‰

      Seriously, though: It’s an extremely helpful tool, but it also requires a more deliberate approach.

  8. Happy belated birthday The trip sounds wonderful Nice to finally put a face to the ledgend too.

  9. Happy super belated birthday wishes πŸ˜€
    It’s always a great thing to have a local host who can show you the real neat places.
    Also I can relate to your enthusiams pretty much. Due to the founding of our hobby group I visited lots of weddings and often had a great time thanks to those weird little plastic men.

  10. Inquisitor Mikhailovich Says:

    That is amazing. Happy birthday! I cannot believe that I didn’t see this post sooner. Apparently summer is tougher than I thought haha

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