Menoth Reinforcements

| Monday, July 25, 2011 | 0 comments |
Quick update with no pic yet. Over the weekend my reinforcements arrived!

- Reckoner
- Full 10 man Knight Exemplar Errant unit + Unit Attachment (Officer & Standard Bearer)
- Vassal Mechanik
- Covenant of Menoth

And from Reaper I acquired proxies for
- Nicia (using Moraia the Warbride converted to have a cannon sword)
- Eiryss (using Grace Holy Assassin with a crossbow)
- Piper of Ord... I can't stand the fig because of the crappy thing on his back is most certainly not a bagpipe. (Dwarf Piper)

Should be able to go with 35 or so points now if need be.

Finished Commander Stryker

| Friday, July 22, 2011 | 4 comments |
I've finally finished Commander Stryker from my Cygnar Battlegroup.  Painted mainly with Reaper Master series paints as well as Games Workshop colors.  I did a simple block paint with no high lights or shadows at the time of painting.  I then used the Dark Tone Quick Shade by Army Painter to give it depth.

All in all I'm pleased with the dipping process the only thing I missed is a small pool of the dip solution on the back of his coat.  I saw the dipping solution pooling up on the front corner of his coat and the tip of his sword.  I managed to soak that up while it was still wet with a handy paper towel.  I missed it on the back. Now just a few more jacks to go.

Steampunk Friday - Vocabulary

Let there be amity twixt thee and I as you acquiesce to read my curtailed Electrocypherscript Aetherlog entry. Part of Steampunk pertains to having a prodigious lexicon.

My first disappointment.

| Wednesday, July 20, 2011 | 4 comments |
I have been pleasantly surprised by all of the WarMachine products I have purchased or come across.  Other then some snobbery on casting that comes from working around the folks who actually pour metal for a living, everything has been fantastic.  A full color faction book for less then the cost of the competitors book, great.  Nice models that come precut from the sprue, and often have widgets cut so you know how arms and legs are supposed to attach.

Until I received my Black 13 in the mail.  Granted they are a first gen sculpt that will hopefully be redone soon but WOW.  Weedy was the first word that came to mind.

What we have in this quick cell phone photo is a comparison between the new "Plastic" Stryker, one of the Black 13, a Trencher, and Reinholdt the gobber.  Stryker and the trencher look close in scale with the trencher bent over, and I'm unsure what the human to gobber scale is but he seems to fit with their builds, but my poor Black 13 look like some malnourished emo kid who will blow away in a strong wind.

I'll still put them on the table and let them run rampant around the board but I do hope they come out with replacement sculpts soon.

Steampunk Friday - Cowboy Action Clothes

| Friday, July 15, 2011 | 0 comments |
Something I hear a lot from guys that are interested in Steampunk is "I don't want to make my own clothes" (or don't know how, etc. etc.) but "I don't want to pay too much." Here in Texas you also hear, "I'm afraid it'll be too hot."

This post is for guys that want something that looks very Victorian (or accurately Victorian). There are many other posts out there for how to modify modern clothes to make them "work" for Steampunk.

Well Victorian gentlemen... I have one possible answer. Most folks outside the big cities already know about Cowboy Stores (those places you go to buy boots) but may not know that a couple of companies serve the CAS/SASS market and make historically based (if not accurate) Victorian clothing. I came to Steampunk from Cowboy Action Shooting (CAS) with the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS). It's a shooting sport where you dress up like somebody from before the 20th century and shoot old fashioned guns.

Three of the better known are Wah Maker, Scully and Frontier Classics (my favorite). Wah Maker and Scully can sometimes be found at those big chain cowboy stores... but Frontier Classics is the one I think Steampunks should know about.

When my friend from England came to Texas for ReaperCon we went driving around Denton to get him some real spurs. We discussed how much he was paying for Victorian men's clothing and I directed him to my favorite online retailer company: Wild West Mercantile.

My personal favorite is the "Gunfighter" series. 100% cotton, historical patterns. Comfortable to wear all day for shooting in the Texas sun or just standing around looking good. Matching trousers (less than $40), vest (also less than $40), and optional coat (around $80). You'll need old style suspenders ($20 or less). Add a Derby/Top Hat an undershirt of your choice and you're ready to go. The picture above is actually me, in my Frontier Classics Gunfighter outfit ... I love my boots.

Intro Video to CAS/SASS

One down...

| Monday, July 11, 2011 | 1 comments |
sooo many more to go.  Commander Styker ready for dipping.  Mostly just block colored and some detail work here and there.  I'll dull coat him in the morning for use tomorrow night and then dip him some time over the weekend.

Steampunk Friday - Music

| Friday, July 8, 2011 | 9 comments |
This Electrocypherscript Aetherlog entry is about Steampunk Music... a bloody huge thing to try and codify in a single blog post... hopefully this will be the second and last "really long article" so here I go.

In general, there are three things that make up genre music. First, partly how the band identifies itself with costume choices. Second, partly the content of the lyrics. Songs about cogs, machines, airships, macabre carnivals, etc. tend to be giveaways. Third and last, partly a few musical concepts that seem to be common: industrial machinery or tools helping provide the backbeat - especially clockworks, steam equipment, hammers, etc., the use of 1 or more classic and common-to-the-Victorian-era instruments, or sampling or drawing inspiration from the composers that created music at the turn of the last century. Only three, but a pretty broad three... and to say that "the debate rages on" would be an understatement. As we all know, everyone's cup of tea is different, nevermind the biscuits.

So, rather than try to define what has yet to be defined... these are MY personal observations and opinions when it comes to "Steampunk Music." The bands I've listed below are generally regarded as part of the "Steampunk Music" movement. Depending on the band's musical roots, they're coming into the movement from different starting points (industrial, punk, goth, folk, etc. etc.)... so you'll notice they can sometimes have wildly differing styles.

Your mileage may vary depending on your own tastes in Steampunk. I make no attempt to coerce or convince, as mentioned last week ... there's plenty of room on the airship after all.

Last two notes. First, I am simply focusing on "Steampunk Bands" in this post, partially to help "get the word out" and I'm not listing any "steampunky songs" from non-Steampunk bands (which there are many of those). Second, most of these bands are "garage bands" at best... so if you're not the kind that likes stuff that hasn't been professionally recorded; please accept my apologies in advance.

  • Abney Park - They did a frontal assault on the Steampunk community with "Airship Pirate" (on their Lost Horizons album) and have not let up since (AEther Shanties follow-up album). Many lists show them as the #1 Steampunk band and for good reasons.

  • The Cog is Dead - Anyone who's been woken up by the bleating of their digital alarm clock should love "The Death of the Cog" ... and all the rest of their songs. I like to call these guys the tops of the "Wild West Steampunk Sound" (The Copper War will show what I mean).

  • Deadly Nightshade Botanical Society (DNBS) - I don't know why these guys don't make EVERY list of Steampunk bands... well yes I do, they're not really on YouTube and that's a drawback. Link provided to samples from their albums below. They also feature a talented female lead vocals which is often a big plus.

  • Doctor Steel - Ok so strictly speaking he's more "Dieselpunk" but this guy is just fun. He does songs (Audio Experimentation) when he feels like it and just talks at you on YouTube when he doesn't (He's trying to take over the world after all). I often I find myself spontaneously humming a Doctor Steel song (usually Back and Forth) more often than not.

  • The Extraordinary Contraptions - I'm pretty neutral towards most of this band's stuff, but I include them as an honorable mention due to "Prelude for the Nocturnis" which is just awesome. A sea shanty about a steampunk submarine!? Yes please.

  • Unextraordinary Gentlemen - Good music... crappy YouTube presence. The bass guitar and sledgehammer in "Black Iron Road" is worth the price of a Google search at the very least. Sometimes I think they're trying too hard to be Avant Garde (but they're by no means the only band guilty of that in this genre).

  • Vernian Process - Their "Behold the Machine" and "The Forgotten Age" albums have a lot to like. If you're looking for lots of great soundtrack/background/mood music albums light on lyrics... you could do worse than these guys, but there are probably very few better (if any).

  • Victor Sierra - French Steampunks. Seriously how cool. What I've seen so far I like (A Steampunk Symphony). I can't wait for more stuff to come over the Aetherweb.

Ok, so I have no idea how to classify these next two. I'll use the term that Mr. B "coined" (Well I think he coined it, I just put it in quotes to avoid having to don Fighting Trousers and deal with Professor Elemental). So...

In the "Chap Hop" category of music (white guys rapping with British accents) we've some tunes that are probably not for everyone. But... I find it nearly impossible to be in a bad mood after listening to Chap-Hop.

  • Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer - I'm pretty sure Mr. B was first with songs like "Straight Outta Surrey" and "All Hail the Chap." His "axe" of choice? ... a banjolele!

  • Professor Elemental - Fighting Trousers. Seriously. It says it all. Now, realize he's written that song as a "direct shot" at Mr. B. - kinda silly overall I think. The song is brilliant. "Cup of Brown Joy" I think was his first "big hit" ... a song about tea. What could be more English?

  • ... note that a LOT of Doctor Steel's stuff I'd put here in "Chap Hop" too in the sense that's it's a white guy ... basically rapping ... with Steampunk (mad scientist) themes. But he's not a chap (no British accent) so he gets a red card.

These last groups... I dunno how to classify them either. Maybe "minimalist" ... or maybe Steamfilk? Less punk, more folk. That's probably not entirely fair to them. They each have a song or two I really enjoy.

  • The Clockwork Dolls - I have to be an a particular mood to enjoy Steamfilk. I think "Impartial (The Battle)" .. one of their more easily found YouTube vids is really good. But I must admit I don't listen to much Steamfilk. Their cover of Lady Gaga's Poker Face is worth a chuckle.

  • The Clockwork Quartet - I like the quality of their lyrics and what they say. There's just a ... something ... missing that keeps me from really loving these guys. "The Watchmakers Apprentice" and "The Doctor's Wife" (both on YouTube and easily found) are pretty cool.

Thus concludes my primer of various available auditory stimulations considered by many to be within the genre; broadcast direct from my lab to your personal omnifunction visoscopic difference engine.

New local stockist - Texas Toy Soldier

| Thursday, July 7, 2011 | 0 comments |
Texas Toy Soldier now joins the fun, they've just gotten the first shipment of Warmachine box sets and are selling at 20% off MSRP.

Add this information to the fact that they are now open until 10pm with open gaming on Thursdays and Fridays... looks like we've got another great weekday night option for games.

If there's something you've been needing, I'm sure they'd be happy to put in an order for you.

4220 Spring Valley Road
Dallas, TX 75244
ph: 972-458-8501

Terrain: Barrels Simple Cover

| Tuesday, July 5, 2011 | 0 comments |
So I was at Michaels over the long weekend and remembered reading on Blitzbattles about some simple terrain he built.

So, over in the wood toys/crafts I found a package of the smallest barrels they had. They cost $1.50 (approx.) for a single package which included 9 barrels.

Then I stained them with my basic wood stain: 1 part Sepia India ink to 2 parts water. Looking back, if I do this again I won't skip the bands. I'll just ink the whole thing.

Once mostly dry I drew lines on the barrels with a micron pen.

Then I painted the bands black. Poof! Done. Simple. Looks great. I did the entire batch of 9 barrels in roughly 30 minutes (that includes drying time).

Now I can glue these barrels to any other piece of terrain, use them as objectives, or glue them in stacks/lines as cover. Dirt cheap and super easy to do.

Quick Update

| Sunday, July 3, 2011 | 0 comments |
Just a quick update for the forces of Cygnar.  My recently acquired heavy jack kit is mostly together and fully magnetized.  I only setup two of the three options due to the fact I already had a Ironside from the starter set.  I'm pretty happy with how the cyclones chain guns fit on the right arm, the left arm is fully magnetized at the shoulder the left at the wrist.

Steampunk Friday - What is Steampunk?

| Friday, July 1, 2011 | 0 comments |
What is Steampunk?

To any readers coming here from IABN, don't worry this is still a Warmachine blog! We're just trying something new.

On our About page, we mention that a secondary focus of this blog is the Steampunk subculture in general. I thought it might be fun to make Fridays about Steampunk. After all, that's one of the areas where Warmachine and Iron Kingdoms really first stood apart from the crowd with its look/feel/fluff.

I had written a much longer blog post... but then realized that all I was doing was paraphrasing the most excellent work of Ben Hamby (Captain Samuel Taineous of the Delirium of Grandeur) of Austin from his "Steampunk 101" panel at A-Kon in Dallas this year. So... since I have the full text from him directly, I shall simply present his work as he intended rather than do a poorer job simply restating the same things.

Steampunk 101

What is Steampunk?
A. Wearing lots of brown with goggles on your head?
B. Wearing your old Goth gear with goggles on your head?
C. Wearing goggles on your head?
D. Victorian science fiction, based in an alternate reality where steam remained the main source of power.

I hope everyone brought their goggles.

This panel is to talk about what exactly IS this steampunk thing, the different types of steampunk out there, a bit about the fashion, the multimedia that's getting it right (YAY CASTLE!) and wrong (BOO CSI!). The movement both as an aesthetic, cosplay, and fashion choice as well as the people who are embracing it as a lifestyle. The panel will cover a catagorical list of different types of steampunks that I made up, so it's not like it's canon. Then again, people are starting to call me grandpa steampunk since the Delirium has been around since 2006, which makes us about 1000 years old in Steampunk years.

Ok, I figured I'd first talk about the different types of steampunks I've observed, and we'll play a little game of 'how many of these catagories do YOU fit into?'

Tinkerers & Mad Scientists - (Mad scientist laugh) How many of you are the type who took apart the remote control when you were a kid? Played with erector sets because legos didn't have enough moving parts? Welcome home. You probably got sucked into steampunk because of the toys. The aesthetic of brass and flashing lights are just icing on the cake. You are the type of people who, when handed an awesome piece of hardware IMMEDIATELY try to figure out how they did that and start working up a 2.0 version of it by the time you hand it back.

Cosplayers - people who have either written a character (and you won't be able to get them to shut up about them), or who are dressing up as a character they've read or seen. Noticing who they are dressed up as will make you their bestest friend in the whole wide world; noticing something wrong with their outfit will make you their mortal enemy.

Lifestylers - Living Steamy as a lifestyle. Either you can't help yourselves from tinkering 24-7 so you might as well live it, you're in love with the concept of living in a more romantic time period but still want your LCD 3d TV and your Droid so you covered them in brass, copper and leather, or you're independently wealthy and living in some Victorian manor, so why not tart yourself up appropriately. However it happens, these people wear something steampunk daily and are a lot more dedicated to it as a lifestyle rather than just fashion.

Dark Steam - Got a closet full of bondage gear, black clothing and goth gear but reaaaaaaaaaaally love that whole steampunk thing? Trot it all out, strap on some goggles and a few interestingly Victorian accessories and you've got Dark Steam. A lot of our goth brethren and sisters have fallen in love with us, and that's awesome! The Victorians wore a LOT of black after Albert died, and if they're gearing up and joining in, we love them for it. I don't think of them as a separate part of steampunk, but more its shadow.

Renn Steam - Seeing a lot more of it these days. A blurring of the timelines even further, with music, clothing and accessories from the Renaissance festival world creeping into the gear, and with good reason. Most of that costuming is EXPENSIVE and very well made, and let's be honest, the Victorians didn't exactly wear their corsetry on the outside of their clothing, did they? Doesn't keep that from being part of the most pervasive and repeated imagery in our weird little world, does it? A lot of times, the basic skirt can be bustled, the bodice altered and a few accessories added and bingo! Steampunk! But these two lead to me mentioning the next group...

Purists - You'll find some in every genre of fandom, and steampunk is no exception. These are the people who have a very specific view of what steampunk is and what it is not. Generally, purists want only real brass, leather and wood gear. Clothing period to the time-frame that they are portraying. Wouldn't carry a Nerf weapon if their lives depended upon it. I have no problem with purists, as I can get awfully persnickety myself about a lot of things, but it is a dangerously slippery slope. After my next category I will come back to this to talk about a very important point for me personally.

Oooo Shiny! - Our fledglings, noobs, chitlins, whatever. It's where we all started, and where we'll all start again if we move on to something new. Bright eyed and bushy tailed and extremely excited about everything, Oooo Shiny! You'll see Oooo Shinys walking around in street clothes and a newly painted Maverick, or wearing a pair of goggles. And, this is the very important part... that's AWESOME! We are rightfully proud of our costumes, our accuracy, our gear or whatever, but guess what? We all started out as Ooo Shinys, and they love the same things we love. Sometimes our persnickitynessnessness... it can get in the way of that. People can get a little sneery and snarky. Don't let it. Talk to the Ooo shinys, let them ask questions, go out of your way to bring them into the fold.

This moves us onto another thing. Accuracy? With what, exactly? Our world is wide open! There are very important images and accepted tenets to our Steampunk universe, but nothing is set in stone. Most of the clothing basics come from the Victorian era, with most of those tending towards Victorian England and Europe, but there were other countries, ya know. We happen to be sitting in one right now. The old West? Exact same time frame, with steam trains chugging across this nation of ours... why not dress up as Cowboys and Engines? The Orient was certainly different and amazing and chock full of clothing and accessory ideas. Great Britain was still colonizing India at the time, which allows for another amazing culture for us to steal!

I am not saying to absorb all of this into your own personal characters, concepts or ideas. But I am saying to respect it. We have friends who are amazing tinkerers and mad scientists AND lifestylers AND Dark Steam AND Cosplayers AND OOOO Shinys, and they have incorporated time travel into their Steampunk world. H.G. Wells, anyone? Our own group all have characters and back stories to explain how we got where we are, with a fully realized version of Victorian England and the Americas behind it. Babbage created his difference engine in the early 1800s but never built it... in our world he did, starting the Information Age in the 1850s instead of the 1950s. Very different versions of our alternate histories, resulting in different character concepts, clothing and gadgets. But they're both completely valid, and in my humble opinion, completely awesome.

SO, there you have it in a nutshell... a very, very large nutshell. But a nutshell nonetheless. I suppose the entire Delirium is a nutshell really, ah, right... you may all let the tangent dragons go free. I hope that was entertaining, or educational, or, at the very least, helped you get to sleep.

Cheers, Tally Ho, Toodle Pip, etc. etc. etc.

With love,
Captains Samuel Taineous and Helena Gaskit

Finally, in closing I wanted to touch on the terms "Renn Steam" (above) and "Dieselpunk" real quick.

Based on the artwork I've seen, many of the miniatures, the terrain used in publications, and the general feel of the fluff - I believe "Renn Steam" to be the "default" mode for Warmachine (obviously, much like any other Steampunk... it blends several).

I like to paraphrase Renn Steam this way... it draws more heavily from the Era of Queen Elizabeth than the Era of Queen Victoria.

"Dieselpunk" tends to draw from a literary and artistic source in a dystopian future. Rather than bringing the steam era forward, it's as if the world has decayed back to steam (apocalypse, disease, etc.).

I like to paraphrase the style difference this way. If Steampunk is brass, wood, patina, and brown leather... Dieselpunk is steel, rubber, rust, and black leather.

"Dieselpunk" and "Dark Steam" go together really well which is why I believe Captain Taineous only mentions "Dark Steam." Because they go together so well, Dieselpunks often come out to play with Steampunks! So, though it is its own own distinct beast, it warrants at minimum a brief mention of what it's about.

Thus concludes my first Electrocypherscriptoaetherlog broadcast upon the aetherweb about Steampunk. I make no attempt to convince nor coerce your own views on Steampunk, there's plenty of room on the airship after all. These are simply my thoughts on the matter, direct from my lab to your personal omnifunction visoscopic difference engine.

Next week, we shall direct our spectroscopes towards Steampunk MUSIC!