The Elder Thoughts

Book Review: Priests of Mars

Book cover

Priests of Mars is the first book in a recent trilogy about an Adeptus Mechanicus search of an old magos, Telok, who seems found some ancient marvel but was considered lost. A Rogue Trader has a device that can pinpoint the last known location of the magos, so an expedition of cog servants, Cadian imperial guard troops and Black Templars space marines sets sail to find it, with a small fleet of spaceships led by the Speranza, an ancient and valued Ark Mechanicus type vessel.

I had never read much about the Adeptus Mechanicus except some basic lore and some mentions other books do to them, so I'm quite pleased to find they are quite interesting indeed. I know understand the desire of people for Games Workshop (or should I say Forge World?) to bring them as a full Warhammer 40,000 army, they are a dark version of the classic sci-fi cyborg, mixed in the grim scenario of the 41st millennium.

The book is well written, showcases multiple character groups (humans, mechanicus, space marines, even xenos), the pacing is good and thrilling, and although of couse the story halts with a nice cliffhanger, it hook me enough to already have started reading the second book. Definetly recommended for WH40k fans.

Terminator T-800 1/5 Scale Model Kit

When Terminator 2 arrived in Spain, my father (who was specialized as a films journalist), wrote a big article about the movie, and at his newspaper wanted a "different photo" instead of the typical press materials, so they went and bought a T-800 1/5 scale plastic model kit. I was really fortunate because after the photo shooting my father was able to keep the model for himself and gift it to me. It was just assembled, fully unpainted, but even in grey it looked awesome. You know, the past times when instead of selling you plastic Alien models for up to 99$ you could buy a huge model kit (this one is at least 30 cm tall!) and build it yourself.

The model has an amazing level of detail (that's why they choose it for the article), it really looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and there are lots of small details like the guts going outside of the chest, skin pores around the beard, bullet holes all around the jacket...

But I started to paint it (imagine my "quality", with 10 or 11 years), and left it after painting almost only the head and chest. And it was waiting at my mother's house until a few weeks ago I decided to bring it home and finish the job. Some hours now and then later, here it is the resulting Terminator. It is far from awesome, as has not much light/shadows, but enough so at least it is not plain. Also being mostly black and so big was hard to paint lighter areas even with a dark grey without being too noticeable, but I did my best.

Painting such a big miniature is not easy, after a while gets tiring to hold it and the base layer didn't hold on perfectly so it peeled off once or twice when placing it on the table.

T-800 model photo

T-800 model photo

T-800 model photo

T-800 model photo

T-800 model photo

 

There are a few more photos at my Assorted Photo Gallery.

Next will come finishing my Warhammer Imperial Knight and a different phone stand for my girlfriend (who liked mine but wanted something "less spooky").

Simple Warhammer mobile phone stand

I've always been against spending money on phone accessories as sooner or later they get obsolete, so after finally changing my phone, the new one definetly requires one, and being ~4,5" didn't fit in the old stand. So I used an expired credit card and some Warhammer undead leftovers (skulls, a tomb and spikes), plus a metal piece underneath (unseen in the photo) to make it weight some and hold up to build a simple but effective stand.

This are the results:

Mobile phone stand

Not impressive but does the job.

I'm back at painting miniatures too but until I have something finished I won't post any photos.

Book Review: Ender's Game

Book cover

One book I had pending the review was Ender's Game. I had been postponing its read and how I regret it now...

In the future, nasty aliens have attacked the Earth, and while they were defeated, they will probably attack a third time, so humans are trying a new combat tactic: Training children to become soldiers, pilots and commanders and defeat the alien menace. Elder Wiggum is one of the chosen boys, sent to the training military school, where he will learn all sort of tactics, combat techniques, and also make friends and enemies alike, partially because he's even younger than the rest of the children.

The book not only tells how a futuristic military drill instruction would be, but also beautifully adds portable computers, an internet, virtual reality and combat simulations that any videogames lover (like I am) can easily imagine. It is also a hard and sometimes cruel book: Kids have to learn quickly and without remorse in a very competitive scenario, so sometimes the enemy looks also to be within and not only at the space.

A great reading that sadly was not repeated with the other books of the saga, it is a must for science-fiction lovers.

Mordheim: City of the Dammed

Mordheim is one of those Games Workshop products (like Gorkamorka or Man o' War) that I never had the chance to try in my youth. I've read articles about it at the White Dwarf, seen pictures but never actually played a single game.

When I saw that a computer version of it was being made, I definetry wanted to give it a try. And few days ago I was able to play the four tutorials of the early alpha build of Mordheim: City of the Dammed.

As I said, I don't know how loyal is to the original, although looks quite right, but I love turn-based tactical strategy games, and the game can't look better for these kind of public. The controls are smooth (I actually prefer playing with the gamepad as it is being designed with it as an option from the beggining), the menus and actions work fine, and the game already looks quite good.

The Alpha/Early access build right now only has two warbands (human mercenaries and skaven) but the tutorials allow you to test the other two future warbands, Sisters of Sigmar and Possesed (chaos), showing also some variety on the scenery, from a big cathedral to cities.

The full game will feature campaign modes, experience and inventory, special characters, both fixed and procedural maps and of course multiplayer (already available but I haven't tried it yet). After playing the tutorials I can say I really liked it and only found a bug (one human ogre got stuck in a small door), for the rest is quite playable although limited because there's still only predefined missions (tutorials) and skirmishes (no customization).

Here are a sample of how it looks and a gameplay video (quite good to get a feel of how the mechanics work):

Screenshot

Screenshot

Screenshot

Mordheim is in Early Access at Steam right now if you're interested. While not the cheapest game is at 20% discount now.

I'm trusting this one to become everything that has been promised (also Steam is becoming stricter regarding commitments), so I already "backed" it and will play as much as possible.