Wednesday, April 28, 2010

By Divine Providence

At the time I first thought of doing a Stonecutters themed army, Games Workshop was still several months away from releasing Codex: Space Wolves. I therefore had just assumed I would use Codex: Space Marines and my guys would be another bunch of DIY vanilla marines. This was fine with me as I think it's a great book with lots of cool things to play around with, especially since I had no interest in using Black Templars or Dark Angels. Captains and Librarians, Tactical Squads in Rhinos, Terminators and some tanks, and voila... every marine army I've ever played. I know this army. I have played both with and against this army countless times in the past. Do I really want to do it again?

And then at the very time I began in earnest my Stonecutters project, the clouds did part and descending upon golden beams of sunlight was Codex: Blood Angels. Though I heard the trumpeting fanfare, I resisted at first as I have ever been wary of jumping on a newly released army. I don't think I've ever started a new army within the first year or so after its rulebook has come out, and it's even been a very rare occasion for me to be actively working on an army at the time its Codex gets updated. Not for any principled reason but simply out of fear that some hypothetical person might think I was just a bandwagon jumping, flavor-of-the-month gamer. Quelle horreur, non? And so as the buildup to the Blood Angels gained steam, I dismissed out of hand any thoughts of using the new book and contented myself with scowling at every new rumor about them.

As the release of the book drew near and the 40k blogs filled up with discussions concerning the Sons of Sanguinius, I was able to learn a lot more about how the army functions and I started to see some potential there. In particular the rules for The Red Thirst and Black Rage caught my attention as they seemed to offer a possible way of representing my Stonecutters' alcohol-fueled fury. That was the hook for me to really begin considering C:BA as a serious contender for my army. I ordered a copy and quickly saw many other ways I could use the Blood Angels rules and army list to translate my vision for the Stonecutters into the 40k universe, including a couple of special conversions about which I am very excited. Codex: Blood Angels is an interesting book and looks like it can make for a fun army, and the idea of using the Blood Angel's rules without having to put up with their whole vampires-in-space thing has a lot of appeal for me.

So my plan for the initial build of my army is to base it off of the rules from Codex: Blood Angels. One of the benefits of doing a DIY Space Marine chapter, however, is that this decision does not necessarily have to be a permanent one. With the exception of a few units that are unique to the Blood Angels, the vast majority of what I collect and paint should be easily adapted into an army using any of the other Marine codices. The idea of making a Venerable Dreadnought based on Grandpa Simpson cracks me up, so with the built-in flexibility of DIY Marines this is still something I could do with a future vanilla marines Stonecutters variant if I wish. I don't plan on going too crazy with the BA exclusive units so hopefully I will be able to keep my Stonecutters as versatile as I can.

Plus, I could always make Grandpa into a Furioso dreadnought or even better, a Furioso Librarian!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Alternate Flavoring

I mentioned last night another color scheme I am considering using for the Stonecutters. I consider this one closer to the colors seen on the robes in Homer the Great. I wasn't working from the previous template so the actual shades are different, but they should be close enough to make it clear what I am going for. There are a few other differences but nothing significant.

Stonecutters Tactical Marine (alternate)

I'm fairly certain that I prefer the previous version with turquoise trim on the pauldrons over this one. I don't like the combination of red and purple, even if that is more similar to robes in the episode. This seems like a minor point on which to assert artistic license and I do not think it will detract from the overall theme. It's also possible that I could use this in a more limited capacity, perhaps for veterans or whatnot. I do not think either would be more difficult to paint than the other so it really is just a matter of aesthetic and preference. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stonecutters, Now in 2D!

I hope to start painting soon and so I've been thinking a lot about how I want the Stonecutters to look on the battlefield. I'm sticking with a lot of my earlier ideas but I have decided to change a few things to either help unify them visually or else to more closely match my source material. Below is the color scheme I'm currently thinking about using for the Chapter. The main area I'm debating are the edges on the shoulder pauldrons. I ditched the idea of doing the yellow because I decided I wanted to do all the helmets yellow, making the should edging too much. Besides, I think that is already being used as one of the Blood Angels successors. I think a purple or violet color would more closely match the colors of the Stonecutter's ceremonial robes in Homer the Great, but I find something about the combination of red, yellow, and purple unsettling. I don't know where the light turquoise color came from but I think it conveys that Simpsons palette feel.

Stonecutter Tactical Marine

The next one represents possibly the thing I'm most looking forward to with this army... painting a Homer marine. I'm not too sure how I'm going to use him in the force but I'm only going to paint one of them this way for now. The inspiration for this is the scene in Homer the Great when Homer crashes through the Stonecutter's skylight and is surrounded by the angry Guild members. I originally thought about having him be either just a random marine or else a squad sergeant, but I've since realized he deserves much better than that. I think he'll look best as Captain Homer, which should make the command squad I have planned even more fun.

Captain Homer

The concept for the Chapter badge also handily comes from episode #2F09, the Stonecutter's dual-hammer symbol of course. I've got a couple of different ideas on how to translate it into the Chapter badge and may end up using several of them. I think I'll go with a yellow or gold design on the red Stonecutters, while Homer will get a blue one like that seen beneath the Header of this page. The other thing I'm trying to sort out is how to actually get these onto the shoulders. The symbol looks easy enough for a novice freehand painter like myself, I'm just worried about being able to keep them consistent over time. Ideally I would love to have custom decals for them but I am not artistically or technically savvy enough to do them myself. I really would like to track down someone who could do it for me on a commission basis. If anyone reading this knows who I can contact about that, please let me know.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tao of Painting Homer

With so many cool armies available to play in 40k, I've always felt much too spoiled for choice to be able to stick to a single army for very long. Even as I'm collecting one army, I'll simultaneously be making plans for another one. It's not that I haven't had a great time painting and playing each one, it's just that I'm drawn to so many different aspects of the 40k universe that I simply cannot be satisfied with just one. After more than twenty years playing this game, it now feels like I've played just about everything at some point in time.

I've done a few DIY armies in the past and have always enjoyed that extra degree of personalization that you get from making up your own background. It's also satisfying forging new ground, unlike using stock armies for which the narrative has already been written. I like knowing that THIS army is mine, which perhaps is the best reason to DIY. I've been dabbling in stock armies over the last few years but have not felt particularly attached to any of them and have drifted from one army to the next. Initially when I launch a new army project, I feel excited and motivated, but it is transient and fleeting.

Last year I was inspired to do a Simpsons themed DIY Space Marine chapter and instantly knew that this was what I had been waiting for. I've been a Simpsons fan for almost the same amount of time that I have been playing 40k, being with both since their beginnigs, and they have been probably my two most consistent interests since discovering them. Finding a way to combine the two was probably inevitable. But at the time I first thought of this project, I convinced myself that I needed to work on other projects and allowed things I was less enthusiastic about take priority. Is it any wonder then that my overall interest in the game had also been in decline?

During my time at AdeptiCon, I realized that in order for me to get back into the game I have to go with my inspiration. Regardless of whatever was holding me back, now is the time to start work on the Stonecutters. They very well could be my 40k raison d' etre, my way of leaving a mark on the Warhammer universe... an admittedly silly mark, but that's me. Even though I'm not satisfied with my current modeling and painting abilities, so as to not be able to pull off my vision of The Simpsons in the 41st millennium, it's at least enough to start. If I like the project enough, I should be able to stick with it and improve as time goes by.

Considering how many suits of power armour I've painted, it amazes me how genuinely excited I am about these marines. I'm sure I'll still collect other armies in the future, but now I can use the Stonecutters background that I establish as way of orienting them within my particular corner of the galaxy. For now though, and hopefully for a long time to come, the Stonecutters are to be my focus. I love The Simpsons, and I love Warhammer 40, 000. What could be better? It's very nice having found my own place amongst the stars.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Index Astartes Simpsonicus

This is the basic Index Astartes entry that I filled out for my chapter of Space Marines, originally written out more than half a year ago. Now that I have an online home dedicated to the Stonecutters, I thought it would be appropriate to start brining some of my older material over to this new blog. It's been a while since I looked at a lot of this so I may be tinkering with things as I get a better idea about what I want to do with this army project. But for now, this is really where it all began for me. It's my original Stonecutters fluff and reflects that first inspiration.

Name: Stonecutters (...Guild? Order of the...?? doubtful)

Founding Chapter: Silver Skulls

Founding: Twenty Sixth, 738.M41

Chapter Master: Patricus Calvus

Homeworld: Fonsager

Fortress-Monastery: Primary base located on Fonsager's moon, Hertagha.

Main Colors: Burgundy armour, yellow chapter badge and unit markings, yellow trim on the pauldrons, steel -colored chest eagle, turquoise or emerald helmet-lenses.

Specialty: Drunken assaults and Belligerent defense, some daycare experience

Battle Cry: "We Do!" (usually in song form, like this, "Who shoots Ork Boyz in the face? Who kills off the Eldar race? We do! We DO!!")

Estimated Strength: 10 Companies with approximately 1000 Battle Brothers and Initiates

Monday, March 29, 2010

Worst. Introduction. Ever.

Welcome to the 38,011th season of everyone's favorite show, The Simpsons! Sure things have gotten kind of crazy for humanity after all these years, but you can rest assured in the knowledge that The Simpsons are still going strong. While mankind may get wiped out of the galaxy, The Simpsons will never go off the air!

It is the 41st Millennium and the Secret Order of the Stonecutters has existed since the earliest days of human civilization, working covertly to safeguard mankind's most precious knowledge, the arts of brewing beer and distilling spirits. For thousands of years the Stonecutters were able to overcome all threats to blessed alcohol without having to make themselves known to outsiders. But with man's position in the universe becoming ever more precarious, in the past several centuries they have openly joined the fight against those who would bring about these most dire of threats. Having recognized the importance of their most Holy mission, the High Lords of Terra empowered the Stonecutters, making them a part of the next founding of Space Marines. And now as a Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, the Stonecutters continue to uphold the ancient vows of their ancestors to keep the galaxy safe both for humanity and for booze!

The Stonecutters fight to keep us safe and drunk... very drunk. So next time you take a drink, lift your glass once in gratitude for them. And if you think you have the stamina to endure the Crossing of the Desert, the courage to look into the Unblinking Eye, and the strength to overcome the Wreck of the Hesperus, then you too may be Stonecutter material. Grab a bolter and a beer and let's find out!