Monday, 31 July 2017

Comic Review 04 // 2000 AD Mega City Five-O

I'm continuing the Free 2000 AD theme (See Jaegir) with this next installment: Mega-City Five-0! Unlike the previous free comics, this one is themed purely Judge Dredd's own World. So let us jump straight in.

The cover is a pretty straight forward piece as we have come to expect from the free publications. The main focus is of course Judge Dredd and he can be seen striking a running and shooting pose on the cover. The stories in side are all written by three authors John Wagner, Alan Grant and Al Ewing so as far stories go we are in for a real treat.

Story: Ten Years On
Script: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Garry Leach

This is a nice classic tale to open with. Set 10 years after Dredd's opening case (I'm not sure but I think it's also 10 years of real life). Randolph Whitely has escaped Devil's Island and has taken Hostages at the Munce-Co plant and only Dredd can rescue them.

It's a nice short tale which plays homage to Dredd's early days before the epic story lines started to take over. The artwork is clean and neat and the story progresses in a great fluid way. I especially like how Dredd can't remember the guy either.

Story: 10,000,000 is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia.
Script: Alan Grant
Art: Colin MacNeil

This is a cute comedy tale based on a Mo-Pad (mobile house). The family in question are called the Willbur's and have been driving Cynthia non-stop for close to twelve years. As the KMPH clock ticks close to 10,000,000, a tv crew become interested in their story and offers them a free house when they pass the magical number. Only problem facing them and their goal is Dredd. Such a fun story and really shows off how crazy MC-1 use to be in the early days. Just imagining living in a mo-pad for twelve years almost drives me mad.

Story: The Mega-Rackets: The Numbers Racket
Script: John Wagner and Alan Grant
Art: Colin Wilson

For this tale we have a start to finish case. Numbers Racket is all about the illegal obtaining of a companies computer codes and using them for personal gain. We are introduced to a Racketeer by the name of Lumpty and his gang and how Dredd uses all the resources of the Justice Department to take them down. It's one of the more straight edged tales, without any real crazy stuff going on. It's also kind of weird how this sort of thing has become quite a common crime now a days.

Story: Flood's Thirteen
Script: John Wagner
Art: Chris Blythe

A more resent tale from the Judge Dredd Magazine, also the first strip to contain colour in this freebie meg. It seems to a play on Ocean 11 I think. We have seasoned robber recently released from the cubes called Johnny Flood. He decides he wants pay back on the justice the department and plans a heist on the 'Mirage' a tax collecting space vessel, full the brim with wealth. With his team picked, a well thought out plan and a teleporter what could possibly go wrong?

Story: Ten Years
Script: John Wagner
Art: Jock

A pretty sad tale about a boy who had to be kept hidden from the world because he is a mutant. Facing jail time and having her son deported to the Cursed Earth, we watch how far a mother will go to protect her son. And we even get to see a bit of Dredd's compassionate side too. Good tale and a nice filler.

Story: Six
Script: John Wagner
Art: Chris Weston

Again a more modern tale. This time staring one of Dredd's most reoccurring characters. The cheeky PJ Maybe. A psycho from a young age PJ killed his way to the top and made a lot of money doing it. PJ even managed to convince Dredd that he was dead. Now PJ is back in MC-1 looking for revenge against six people you wronged him as a child. Can this crazed nutter outwit Dredd or can Dredd foil his plans?


Story: Twenty Years to Midnight
Script: Al Ewing
Art: Henry Flint

The story revolves around a juve gang leader called Dunbar. As he sits alone watching his block gang dance the night away, he slowly plots his own escape. Fear building in him as the clock counts down to midnight. At midnight his life ends, as it will be his twentieth birthday and he will become a 'dult' sworn enemy to his old gang. But just as Dunbar is about to make his move Dredd walks in.

Story: Mega-City 5000
Script: John Wagner
Art: Bill Ward & Brian Bolland

Now for the final tale. The Mega-City 5000 is a competition held by the rival biker gangs of Mega-City One. Their objective is to travel across MC-1 and the first biker to reach the finish line beacon, proves their gang to be number one. Only problem for them is the Judges, the biggest and toughest gang of them all. This is a great tale as it reintroduces Judge Giant and we get to meet Spike Rotten, future savior of Mega-City Two.

Opinion

This is a great free magazine. 8 full stories are included inside and features some of the most amazing talent from over the years. It contains a bit of everything for newbies and veterans be it from the early years of Dredd, all the way up to modern stories. It also does a really good job of showcasing MC-1's weird and freaky future culture. This comic is a good introduction for newbies, so go download it and share with a friend.

Brews Review 11 // Atlantic Coal Porter


So today we are heading back to a beer I drank in Boston last year (not that long ago really). Having only been to the USA a handful of times, I always try to grab beers I haven't heard off of or recognize. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't . So whilst looking over a pizza menu I came across today's beer 'Atlantic Coal Porter', so I grabbed a bottle and quickly downed it, maybe too quickly...

So I had to order a second to actually get some tasting notes.
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Details

Name: Atlantic Coal Porter
Style: Porter
Brewery: Atlantic Brewing Company
Country: Bar Harbor, Maine, USA
Price: $3 US Bottle.
ABV: 5.8%

Commercial Fluff:

"A superb porter, hearty & dark. This one is a staff favorite, made with pale, crystal, Munich, chocolate, and black malts. The darker malts give Coal its color and rich flavor. We use Target and Willamette hops to yield a very subtle hop flavor in this porter. We cellar this beer for close to six months before releasing it on the thirsty throngs of fans."

Own Opinion

Label: A tad on the side of looking homemade. It's hard to make out but it is overlaid on a map of the region it is from. Just lacks a standout feature.
Sight: The pour is a dark brown with a red hue when the light hits it. The head is tan in colour and overall a pretty standard looking porter.
Aroma: Strong roasted malt aroma to this beer, leading to hints of coffee, chocolate and mocha smells. I really do enjoy traditional porters, I feel breweries spend to much time on stouts and should head back to the humble porter.
Taste: Quite a burnt taste in the mouth, a little ashy and a hint of sweetness too. Leaves the mouth with a slight bitter finish. Quite easy to drink but after the second the ashy taste is building.

Would I buy it again? No. Even though I bought two back to back I doubt I would buy again. It is a good representation of the style but coming from a strong category, I have so many other porters that I prefer more. So I seriously doubt I would spend money on it again. Also I think other breweries do this flavour profile better. It has put the brewery on my radar and I look forward to trying out more of their beers.

Thanks for reading and as always if you enjoyed please hit the +1 or drop me a comment. Cheers!

Book Review 03 // Sabbat Worlds Anthology by Multiple Authors

Title: Sabbat Worlds by Multiple Authors
Published by: Black Library
Genres: Sci-fi/war
Format: Hardback Book

Commercial Fluff:

"Across the Sabbat Worlds a bitter conflict is fought that can only end in victory or annihilation. Yet even amidst this the Astra Militarum and their allies stand stoic against their foes."

So this review is a bit different from the norm as it is Anthology of tales set within the time frame of Gaunt's Ghost and Sabbat Crusade. As we go through the tales I will write more about the stories I enjoyed and less about the ones I didn't. Simple.

Apostle's Creed by Graham McNeill

The opening story is a follow on from Dan Abnett's original novel "Double Eagle". Double Eagle followed the exploits of the Phantine XX Thunderbolt pilots and this story continues along this theme. We are introduced to the infamous thunderbolt fighter group of the Imperial Navy code named "Apostles". The "Apostles" are the aces of the aces. Basically think of a 40k version of Top Gun and you are not far off. Simply put they are the best of the best. Even though they are elite they come across proud and aloof from their peers. But as the story progresses we learn why these guys chose to act this way. As they strongly believe commandery to be a distraction and in these war torn skies one distraction will lead to death.

The main character for this story is Flight Lieutenant Larice Asche. She was chosen by the "Apostles" flight leader to join the elite wing, but in doing so she had to turn her back on and leave the Phantine XX (an already highly decorated unit of Imperial pilots). Throughout the story we sit in the cockpit with her and experience the war through her eyes in the skies. Thanks to this unique viewpoint we are treated to each g-force crushing dive and feel the adrenaline rush as she blows up an enemy plane.
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McNeill kicks the action off right from the get-go with this fast paced air combat. Highlight for me is that McNeill puts you right in the cockpit. He describes each adrenaline pumping high-g turns, stunning dives, and stomach-churning rolls with a skill only a master like him can achieve. Yet even with all of this air combat excitement, McNeill manages to produce excellent characters who you instantly want to succeed. Even though it was a short story McNeill achieved to round out the main characters really well. He shows us why the "Apostles" are a select few and makes you want to be one of the elite. And I hope in future he might return to add to this story arc.

Great author, great story, great start for the Sabbat world book.

The Headstone and the Hammerstone Kings by Matthew Farrer

First of this story confused the hell out of me. The Headstone and the Hammerstone Kings centers around the cogheads of the Adeptus Mechanicus and the way it stockpiles destroyed relics of war machines. In this case those of the arch-enemy. Sounds easy enough I hear you say, but then you start to read more and get completely lost by his use of point-of-view narration, as he jumps from character to character. One minute you are a rebel, then an Imperial, then a rebel again. It quickly lost me as I struggled to keep up with who I was seeing the world through. It just did not sit well with me. I even found myself backtracking to reread sections to try and set my head straight (which didn't help). I felt if the story had been given the space to fully explain itself, then it could have been a great tale. But due to a lack of any real info I was left confused and dishearten by a tale that had great promise.

Regicide by Dembski-Bowden

A bit of background context to help; Regicide is a game (similar to chess) that Dan Abnett invented for his characters to play in his book.

The intro to this story, had me in fits of joy. It's what I would call a pure fluff/fanboy story. Centering around the fallen (in the current Gaunt's Ghost arc) Warmaster Slaydo and his personal bodyguard regiment the Argentum (which I believe means silver or is a chemical name for silver?), "also known as the Silver Kindred, the Warmaster's Own, and on the Munitorum rosters - the Khulan 2nd Huscarls."
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So as stated this is all about the now fallen Warmaster Slaydo and his final moments on Balhaut before his famous death. The main character of the tale is Senior Sergeant Commodus Ryland. And he recounts Slaydo's final moments on the eighteenth hour of the tenth day, whilst being tortured. His story culminates in the EPIC scene where Warmaster Slaydo duels with Archon Nadzybar (the first Archon of Gaur's lieutenants), to the death on the rooftop of  a fallen palace. This story is absolutely amazing. Dembski-Bowden makes the characters come to life. And really brings forward Slaydo's mannerisms and jovial nature, as much as his tactical brilliance and martial skill. You can see why Slaydo, is clearly a person loved and idolize by his men. The pacing of the story is quick and actioned packed, I did not want to stop reading this at all. I seriously hope Dembski is allowed to write more for the Sabbat crusade lore.

The Iron Star by Dan Abnett

This story is a continuance of the Gaunt's Ghosts series by Abnett (I love this series everyone needs to read it!), and is set between the novels 'Only in Death' and 'Blood Pack'. The story takes us into Gaunt's own mind during the aftermath/fallout of the Hinzerhaus operation. Abnett reveals this detail slowly throughout the story. And that's all I can say without giving way too many spoilers. To find out more go buy the book! However, we do see the return of a few fan favourite characters in this story, including my personal favourite Try Again Bragg. What can I say it's Dan Abnett and is a classic piece as I've come to expect from him.

The Cell by Nik Vincent

Vincent's tale takes us too the chaos held world of Reredos. Where all the crops are being replaced by a chaos warp infused crop, that is slowly destroying the planet simply by growing (GM crops basically). The main story arc involves an Ayatani priest by the name of Perdu, who holds a religious mass for six workers who come to pray with him once a week. Through this group we see how a rebel cell works and communicate to one another and the story takes us into the mindset of a resistance fighter, show us how they don't trust anyone, especially their comrades. You spend the whole tale wondering if or when someone may betray them. I found the characters to be well developed and the story is quick and actioned filled. It was a great short read.



Blueblood by Nick Kyme

Known mostly for his work on Salamander stories I was interested to see how Kyme would handle the Bluebloods aka The Royal Volpone 50th. Yes the same "Bluebloods" who are always causing trouble for Gaunt and the Tanith First. I believe the story is set after siege of Vervunhive. Just after General Noches Sturm deserts his post and is court-martial-ed and nearly shot by Gaunt (that is a story far from done with).

Kyme writes a story about the Volpone 50th and what happens when a formation gets recycled into a reserve position. Stationed at Sagorrah Depot (an important fuelling station for the crusade), the Bluebloods find the condition of discipline and order to be out off control. The Blueblood's Major Regara, notes how the local Commissar for this garrison is lacking control over the stationed men and decides to take the matters of discipline in his own hands. His first port of call is a mission into the slums surrounding the depot. Major Regara and his three squads of men suffer from an ambush of Archenemy troopers. When all seems lost allies are found in a regiment called the "Longstriders".  A regiment who remind me and the main characters a little too much of the Tanith 1st. Due to this past memory, Regara is rude towards the Longstriders and refuses to thank them for saving the Bluebloods.

As the story progresses along we slowly see the camp falling apart. The garrison is going crazy. As each hour passes it just gets worst, fights are breaking out, troopers are killing each other and once allies are turning on one another. Major Regara notices that the only place where the camp is peaceful, is where the Longstriders live. After a friendly chat (it so isn't), the Longstriders tell Regara they've discovered the reason for the infighting. Major Regara and the Volpone's join up with the longstriders to go on a secret mission into the local caves. Where they soon realize that things are far worse than they ever feared.

This story was one of my favourites. It was nice to see some old enemies having an adventure, and for once wanting to see them succeed in what they are doing. All in all another strong story
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A Good Man by Sandy Mitchell

This little story is set once again after the Siege of Vervunhive. It's follows an Imperial scribe that arrives shortly after the fighting has ended (a year or two I believe), to aid with the reconstruction efforts. Whilst looking for a missing friend he is slowly drawn into a web of lies. The story is "narrated" by an Adeptus Arbites called Wil Feris, as he searches for another scribe that has "falsified documents". A crime equal to high treason in the scribe world law book. It's a great story and has elements of humour that Sandy expertly adds to the story and makes it all the more enjoyable.

Of Their Lives in the Ruins of Their City by Dan Abnett

As stated in his introduction for this story, there isn't much I can write without ruining it. So I plan on keeping spoilers to a minimum. It's a newly written Gaunt story just for this anthology, but it doesn't take place very recently, like The Iron Star does. In fact it takes place during the 'Ghostmaker' book. Of Their Lives in the Ruins of Their City is set between the actions of Voltis City, on Voltemond, and the action on Caligula. The clear theme of this story is the pressure upon Gaunt's shoulders at this time. It's a tough job, especially for a man who is hatred by the men who follow him. And that's all I can tell you! It's a great read, a must for Gaunt fans and is well worth the read.

Overall, this anthology was a pleasure to read and I hope you've enjoyed the mini reviews? Should you buy this book? YES!!

If you've made it this far then thanks for reading and please leave a comment. Cheers

Brews Review 10 // Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout


Here with another beer review. There was two very obvious reasons why I picked up this beer for a Brews Review:

  1. It has an owl on the label.
  2. It's a stout.

​​I am massive fan of stouts doesn't matter the season. I find them to be more complex and interesting to drink. Even as they warm up they unlock more flavours, unlike a lager or IPA that once hits room tempt become hard to drink at best or impossible to finish at worst. So let us get on with this review.

Details

Name: Espresso Stout
Style: Stout
Brewery: Kiuchi Brewery
Country: Ibaraki, Japan
Price: Long forgotten.
ABV: 7.5%

Commercial Fluff:

"Caramel, roasted, black and chocolate malts provide an explosion of coffee like flavors. The strong espresso character comes from the addition of espresso beans to the boil. Notes of vanilla, dark fruit , cocao and chocolate. The very unusual character of Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout stems from the fact that Kiuchi Brewery is using the recipe of a Russian Imperial Stout as base. Pitch black color, big brown head. Aromas of chocolate, roasted bitterness, black currants, dark fruits."

Own Opinion

Sight: Pours a nice almost black colour. When held to the light it has a mahogany edging. It's head is a creamy light brown head.
Aroma: Classic coffee stout aromas. So coffee, chocolate, roasted malts.
Taste: Chocolate straight off the bat. This merges with a bit of vanilla, before making way for the coffee. It's a pretty dry stout that finishes with a bitter coffee tang.
Would I buy it again? Yes. But I doubt I will find it in Ontario :(

So has any of my readers had this beer? Or maybe one of the others they produce. If you have I would love to hear from you so drop me a comment.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Comic Review 03 // Judge Dredd Complete Case Files 01


Today the post is all about Judge Dredd: Judge Dredd the Complete Case Files- 01 Digital Edition.
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It is a long post so hold on tight. Judge Dredd the Complete Case Files 01, is a complete collection of stories from 2000ad. Starting with Dredd's first appearance in Prog 2 and finishing with prog 60. It also includes as a bonus: Bank Raid from the 1981 Annual and the Walter the Wobot strips.  This review is longer than the rest, so you have been warned.

I will be breaking the book into the different stories and will give the title, a brief overview and the highlights for me. It will be brief because I do not wish to give out too much of each story, also this post would be as long as War and Peace. I will then finish off with a quick overall review.

Simple hey? So let's get going.

Commercial Fluff

"IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE LAW...

For almost thirty years, one man has dominated the British comic scene. He is judge, jury and executioner, a merciless far-future lawman delivering justice with an iron fist on the mean streets of Mega-City One. He is Judge Dredd!
Now you can re-discover the roots of this legendary character in this vast and Thrill-packed series of graphic novels collecting together all of Dredd's adventures in chronological order, complete and uncut!"

Judge Dredd: Complete Case Files 01

Story: Judge Whitey- Following a murder of a fellow Judge Dredd is called in to track down the killer.
Highlight: Devil's Island- A prison built in the center of a massive traffic island. The Island itself stands in the center of a vast multi lane intercity highway, with the only one way off by air. It's inhabiting inmates are all serving life sentences.

Story: The New You- A perp on the run from Dredd uses a face changing clinic (high advance version of Plastic Surgery), but is it enough to fool Dredd?
Highlight: The New You- Is a face changing clinic. The process only takes minutes to rewrite your DNA and give you a new face! A scary thought for most people, but could see the appeal.

Story: The Brotherhood of Darkness- A group of mutants infiltrate the city and carry off some captives. Unfortunately for them Dredd is on the case.
Highlight: Mutants- First time we hear about the Cursed Earth and that mutants exist outside the Mega-City borders. This Brotherhood of mutants seem to be a stable strain of mutation. As they all seem to be afflicted in the same way, a weakness to bright light or sunlight in general. Suggesting they maybe come from an underground colony.

Story: Krong- Dredd investigates a string of murders, that seem to all be linked to a b-movie monster studio.
Highlight: Maria- We are introduced to Dredd's Italian cleaner, who costs twice as much as a robot cleaner. In the future it is almost impossible to have a job, so is Dredd being nice?

Story: Frankenstein II- Dredd witnesses the theft of an ambulance and tracks down the culprits.
Highlight: Learning that transplant surgery is illegal due to it being too successful at prolonging life!

Story: The Statue of Judgement- The impressive Statue of Judgement is unveiled to the public, leading to protests, riots and arrests.
Highlight: The Statue of Justice- A mammoth statue of a Mega-City One Judge, used to prove their unyielding resolve and power. Beside it and now dwarfed by it's shadow stands the Statue of Liberty a slowly crumpling relic of a bygone era.

Story: Antique Car Heist- Dredd deals with some perps attempting to steal, 20th century gasoline cars.
Highlight: Dredd- Dredd removes his helmet for the first time ever. Tho sadly the imaged is censored due to his face being so horrific! What could be under that helmet?

Story: Robots- Dredd is tasked with protecting Robots, but who will protect whom?
Highlight: The Trans-Atlantic Tunnel- Joining North America and Europe. The tunnel spans the Black Atlantic sea, with one entrance in Mega-City One and the other in Brit-Cit (think a crazier version of the Euro Tunnel).

Story: Robot Wars- It's outright rebellion! The Robots of Mega-City One are rebelling and over throwing the oppressive meat bags. Only one man can save the city, any guesses who?
Highlight: Walter the Robot- A simple Robot who works in the Justice HQ canteen. He only wants to please the Judges, but it never seems to work out for him.

Story: Brainblooms- Dredd is on the trail of some bizarre illegal plants, that look like heads!
Highlight: Mrs Mahaffy- An one hundred year old bio-criminal a.k.a Green Fingers Ma Mahaffy. She's illegally selling Brainblooms on the black market and has even trained them to emit a hypnotic noise that renders people suggestible.

Story: Mugger's Moon- Dredd goes after muggers and bystanders alike, on this full-moon night.
Highlight: None really. A bit of a filler story, but we do see heat seeker rounds used for the first time.
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Story: The Comic Pusher- Dredd hunts down a gang of perps, who are illegally selling 2000 AD comics to kids.
Highlight: Max Normal- Max Normal is one of Dredd's informer, who describes him as a pinstriped freak. He is also the only man in Mega-City One who can call Dredd "baby". A shuggy champion and an all round groovy kid, we will learn a lot more about him.

Story: The Solar Sniper- The streets are heating up for Dredd, when he draws the attention of the Solar Sniper.
Highlight: The Solar gun- Powered by the sun's rays it can incinerate even a tank!

Story: Mr Buzzz- Dredd arrests a futuristic murder gang, before hunting down their insane leader Mr Buzzz.
Highlight: Mr Buzzz a mutant with no eyes, but can use a buzzing sound like sonar.

Story: Smoker's Crime- Some bad habits lead Dredd straight to the criminals.
Highlight: Smokatorium- As part of the pollution laws, smoking on the streets is a crime in Mega-City One. The city Smokatorium's are the only buildings where smoking is allowed and users are required to wear helmets to help them breathe within the toxic atmosphere.

Story: The Wreath Murders- A string of horrific murders are taking place in MC-1. The only clue being left behind is a wreath. Can Dredd uncover the villains?
Highlight: M.A.C- The Judges central computer M.A.C stands for Macro-Analysis Computer. This system keeps all Judges up to date on crimes and criminal activity.

Story: You Bet Your Life- In the future life is dull so here comes a new game show to light up your nights.
Highlight: Society- We get to see the dark side of MC-1 life. With no need to work and a lack of space, citizens will do and watch anything for entertainment. Almost seems like Big Brother.

Story: Dream Palace- Dredd must prevent a crime he witnessed in a Perps dream.
Highlight: Justice Day Parade- This yearly parade features floats: one displays the Covenant of Judges, the second marked In Memoriam, the third honours the Riot Judges and the fourth a huge statue of a Judge carrying the Book of Law and The Sword of Justice. Either side of the parade is a honor guard of Judges.

Story: The Academy of Law- Dredd is joined on the streets by a cadet.
Highlight: Rookie Judge Giant- His father was the Captain of the Harlem Heroes Aeroball team and having recently graduated as a cadet with full honors, is paired with Dredd to complete his Rookie training. Initially Dredd fails him, but in a moment of softness rarely shown by Dredd, he gets a second chance.

Story: The Neon Knights- Dredd takes on a Klan, who seek out robots for revenge killings following the robot wars.
Highlight: Walter the Wobot- Dredd's unrelenting servant gets into even more trouble.

Story: The Return of Rico- Dredd's clone brother leaves Titan with only one thought; revenge on the man who judged him.
Highlight: Rico- Cloned from the same genetic stock as Dredd. As a cadet, Rico was an excellent marksman even better than Dredd. But soon he became a bad apple, taking bribes, running protection rackets and killing people who couldn't pay up. Dredd ultimately arrests him and sends him to Titan penal colony for 20 years. There Rico is surgically altered to work in the vacuum of space and swears vengeance on Dredd.

Story: Devil's Island/Return of Whitey- Whitey escapes the inescapable Devil's Island.
Highlight: Einstein- A fellow inmate on Devil's Island. Einstein manages to build a mini-weather control system in the prisons workshop (seems like a bad idea giving them a workshop), with his invention he manages to call in a snow storm and stop all traffic in the area. Aiding in Whitey's escape.

Story: Komputel- A self aware hotel causes havoc!
Highlight: Singing cars- The latest fad in MC-1

Story: Walter's Secret Job- Walter is up to something and Dredd plans on finding out what.
Highlight: Walter the Wobot- Once again this little guy adds some humour.

Story: Mutie the Pig- Dredd is dead and criminal Mutie the Pig is taking advantage of this golden opportunity.
Highlight: Dredd gets called Old-stoney-face for the first time.

Story: The Troggies- Whilst investigating a series of disappearances Dredd himself becomes a victim.
Highlight: Slick Willy- The leader of the Troggies and a Teddy Boy, judging by his style. Slick Willy is planning to destroy MC-1, from underneath and is kidnapping citizens to act as his slave workforce.

Story: Billy Jones- Dredd and the now fully trained Judge Giant go in search of kidnapped Billy Jones.
Highlight: Judge Giant- Another appearance of this fan favourite character, this time as a full Judge.

Story: Monkey Business- Apes have been given increased intelligence in the future. But sadly some choose to follow their human counter parts and become criminals and gangsters.
Highlight: The Ape Gang- Lead by Don Uggie Apelino, in this story we also meet Fast Eeek and Joe Bananas to Hench-apes. All in Gangster outfits and tommy guns.

Story: The Mega-City 5000- Can Dredd stop this reckless and dangerous sport.
Highlight: Spikes "Harvey" Rotten- Leader of the Muties bike gang. An excellent and skilled biker, Harvey even uses a riot shield as a ramp to jump a judge's barricade.

Luna One Adventures

Story: Luna 1- Dredd gets appointed Judge-Marshal of Luna-1 and makes himself a prime target for the local gangs.
Highlight: Judge Tex- Judge Tex is the permanent Deputy-Marshal of Luna-1. He is a Texan, also a coward who declines to assist Dredd in arresting criminals.

Story: Red Christmas- Dredd's spending Xmas on Luna-1 as Judge-Marshal, when Walter gets kidnapped!
Highlight: Geek Gorgon- A killer with an axe and his favourite method of killing is by beheading. His face was burned in a fire three years ago, which has led to his slight unhinged-ness. Dredd sentenced him to imprisonment on the Moon but he has escaped and kidnapped Walter. He sends Dredd an ultimatum and attempts to behead the Judge.

Story: 22nd Century Futsie- It's New Year's Eve on Luna-1, when an office party goes wild!
Highlight: What makes a Futsie flip (gives me loads of ideas for characters).

Story: Meet Mr Moonie- Following on from the Futsie case. Dredd decides to visit Mr. Moonie.
Highlight: C.W. Moonie-He first landed on the moon in the spring of 2014 and was looking for signs of lunar life. He climbed what is now called Moonie's Peak and discovered its neighboring river of mercury. Here he found signs of life and claimed a ten million credit prize, but it was a microscopic virus which he himself fell victim to. It became known as Moonie's Virus. Moonie had to hide himself away and hasn't been seen for over forty years. He used his prize money to buy, cheat and steal for himself a monopoly on the Moon. His ranch contains a Museum of the Moon, with which he attempts to kill Dredd in.

Story: Land Race- The race is on! Who will get the plot of land first?
Highlight: Rowena- Beatrice Spock's robot. She tries to alert Dredd to crimes against her mistress. Rowena appears to have feeling for Walter.

Story: The Oxygen Desert- Dredd recounts the events that left him dying of asphyxiation on the lunar surface.
Highlight: Apollo Territory- Outside the domed civilized area of Luna-1 and along a major road building site are the Hills of Ipsimus, home to an array Badlands gangs.

Story: The First Luna Olympics- The Olympic games come to Luna-1, causing Dredd way too many problems.
Highlight: Judge Cosmovich- A Sov Judge. He attends the athlete's inspections at the first Lunar Olympics on Luna-1 with Judge Kolb. When he catches Zilch's possible murderer, he intends to kill him. Dredd stops him, Kolb is killed and Cosmovich declares war on Luna-1.

Story: Walter the Wobot: Tap Dancer- Walter prepares for a fancy ball.
Highlight: Walter the Wobot- Taking an oil bath to relax and get ready for the party.

Story: Luna 1 War- The Sov-Cities declare war on Luna-1!
Highlight: The Sov-Judges (personally love the Sov Judges).

Story: Walter the Wobot: Shoot Pool- Walter takes up swimming. What could possibly go wrong?
Highlight: Robots are made of metal and are seemingly still prone to rusting.

Story: The Face Change Crimes- Dredd is on the search for some bank robbers.
Highlight: Judge Dredd uses a face changing machine, but then reverts back to his old face.

Story: Walter the Wobot: Walter's Brother- Walter gets into deep trouble and accused of a bank robbery.
Highlight: Walter the Wobot- The scene of him drinking Oilade!

Story: Elvis- A computer controlled car called Elvis goes on a killing spree.
Highlight: Elvis- "I've never strangled you before, how do you like it, Dave? I find it...quite pleasant..."

Story: The Oxygen Board- A gang swaps Luna-1's oxygen for Tranq gas to rob the colony.
Highlight: Learning about a future breakfast cereal called Plasti-Flakes. Yep made of recycled plastic.

Story: Walter the Wobot: Radio Walter- Walter appears on pirate radio.
Highlight: O.B. Noxious- He is a Radio Funk DJ. He is fined one million credits for broadcasting without a licence and declares himself bankrupt.

Story: Full Earth Crimes- Luna-1 experiences a full Earth, which can mean only one thing.....Lunatics everywhere.
Highlight: Judge Che- Using a whip whilst on duty. Whatever will Dredd think?

Story: Walter the Wobot: Master-Mind- Walter becomes a contestant on a TV quiz show. What could possibly go wrong?
Highlight: Herman Schicklegruber- an interior decorator and contestant on Masterbrain. He appears to be wearing a World War II German SS uniform and a toupee. He objects to Walter's involvement in the program and Magnus Magnanimus drops him into a pit of crocodiles.

Story: Return to Mega-City- Dredd returns to the big Meg, but is reluctant to arrest anyone.
Highlight: Maria- Dredd's chef showing affection towards the man of stone.

Story: Firebug- Dredd is back on the streets and hunting down an arsonist.
Highlight: Charles Q. McCracken- Known as Chuck, he is the owner of several buildings in Mega-City One. He has been in financial trouble recently and set fire to ten of his buildings to collect the insurance money. He is nicknamed the Firebug. Dredd submits his top layer of skin for chemical testing and when the results show traces of petrol based fire-raiser, he arrests him for ten counts of arson and 718 counts of homicide.

Review

Now as you can guess these stories are all written in the 70/80's and in all truth Dredd and his city lack any real depth at this stage. For the first few tales Dredd is just a violent cop in an even more violent city, this can be witnessed in the first 8 stories. Nothing over the top happens, other than Dredd cracking skulls and beating criminals (sometimes with a bad catchphrase ending). But as the book progresses, we start to to understand that to survive as a Judge you have to let go of some of your humanity (a problem some Judges suffer from). Let at the same time, we also see a softer side to Dredd. Meeting his long time suffering housekeeper Maria, as well as Dredd adopting Walter Wobot. This starts to show Dredd as a more rounded individual, struggling to uphold laws in a crazy time.

If you are completely new to Dredd, I would not recommend this book as a starting point. As the city lacks some depth along with Dredd. But if you are a long time fan this is great to see how the Lawman started out and how far he has come.

Brews Review 09 // Great Lakes Brewery Limp Puppet


Today I turn my attention to a brewery from the greater Toronto area. The brewery under the lens today is Great Lakes Brewery aka GLB. From personal experience they do high quality beers and I have failed to find one I would not drink again. They also seemingly specialise in awesome IPA's, so much so that they let their brewers run wild in the brewery and have produced a series of beers known as 'Tank Ten'. It is one beer from this series that I shall be reviewing today.

Details

Name: Limp Puppet
Brewery: Great Lakes Brewery
Style: Session IPA
Price: $3.25 CAD
ABV: 3.8%

Commercial Fluff:
"Unfiltered, hazy and dull yellow with a snowy with head. Tropical and juicy hop profile dominates the aroma. White wine/grape must, citrus rind and a freshly bit tangerine. Passion fruit throughout. Light to medium body, more on the light side. Juicy and refreshing with a softer carbonation, which allows hop profile to emanate. Similar to aroma – passion fruit, soft touch of white wine notes and touches of lemon rind. Finishes dry with lingering tropical hop character. Good for hop heads and those looking for a lighter offering."
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Own Opinion

Sight: Hazy golden colour with a crisp white head.

Aroma: Tropical citrus all the way! Lemon citrus and Passion fruit smells smack you in the face as you open the can. These tropical flavours stay with you all the way to the end.

Taste: Amazing. A mouth watering, citrus hop taste along with a passion fruit, makes you want more and you can as it is only 3.8%. The tastes stays with you for a while, mouth still watering a good few minutes later.

Would I buy it again? Yes.

Since first trying it, it quickly became the first thing I looked for in the LCBO. Sadly it was only around for the summer. I'm a firm believer in that something is only worth highly rating if you are willing to spend money on it. Which I can safely say I would! I only hope they keep re-releasing this beer to help secure it as a firm favourite of mine. Fingers crossed.

So what do you think of the beer? Have you tried it, do you want to try it? Drop a comment below and let me know. Until next time cheers.

Brews Review 08 // Amsterdam Brewery Framboise


Framboise as a beer style scare me. I keep trying them out and have had a couple of great ones, though I have had more howlers. Fingers crossed this Amsterdam Brewery Framboise is a good one. Quick bit of background for you all about Framboise from lovely wiki:

"In English, framboise is used primarily in reference to a Belgian Lambic beer that is fermented using raspberries and in Dutch is referred to as a Frambozenbier (which sounds so much cooler!). It is one of many mordern types of fruit beer that have been inspired by the more traditional kriek beer, which is made using sour cherries.
Framboise is usually served in a small glass that resembles a champagne glass, only shorter (could also be a goblet). Most framboise beers are quite sweet, though the Cantillon brewery produces a tart version called Rosé de Gambrinus that is based on the traditional kriek style. The Liefmans brewery uses oud bruin beer instead of lambic to make its framboise beer, resulting in a very different taste. Recently, Framboise has become popular outside Belgium, and can now be found in pubs and supermarkets all over the world."

For my own personal taste, a Framboise needs to taste jammy and have the perfect mixture of sweetness and tartness. Get one element wrong and you can end up with a poor tasting lip balm infused undrinkable beer. So fingers crossed!

Details

Name: Framboise

Brewery: Amsterdam Brewery

Country: Canada, Toronto

Price: $10.95 CAD

ABV: 6.5%

Commercial Fluff:
"Brewed with un-malted wheat and aged on Canadian raspberries with an intense fruit flavor and brilliant ruby red colour"

Own Opinion

Sight: A deep red colour with a light foamy pink head, looks inviting.

Aroma: Raspberries (no surprise there), slight sourness tingle, which was I was hoping for.

Taste: Raspberries straight away hit the taste buds, with a tart, slight sour/sweet combo with a syrupy mouth feel. Very easy drinking and goes down way too easy!

Would I buy it again? Maybe. Though I have to be honest and say fruit beers aren't my preferred choice (Stout/Porters all the way). If I felt the need for fruit beer, this would be my first choice for a local brew. I enjoyed the tart raspberry of the beer, along with the fuller mouth-feel given by the wheat elements. Hasn't won me to over to the style let, also didn't make me do a drain pour so a win my books.

As always leave a comment of what you think. Or better let remember to follow by subscribing or hitting up facebook, twitter or instagram. Thanks for reading and commenting (if you do) and remember to always support local.

Sector 102 // Character Fact File Judge Dredd


Following on from the Introduction of Sector 102 and the Judge Dredd Miniature Game; I thought it best to start with a character segment. The idea behind these segments is to highlight either a Hero or a Villain of Mega City One (so many villains!). The way I will go about this is by using lore and artwork from the comics and also a showcasing a painted Mini from the game. Sometimes they will be official characters created by 2000AD and sometimes they be home brewed characters. Either way I hope you will enjoy!

So with whom do you start with? Well of course you pick Aaron A. Aardvark! (sorry bit of a 2000ad joke, you'll get use to them). There seriously is only one choice on were to start and that is with....

Judge Joseph Dredd​​

Background

Mega-City One in the 22nd century, a vast urban nightmare situated along the east coast of post-apocalyptic North America. The irradiated wasteland known as The Cursed Earth to the west covering most of America, and the polluted Black Atlantic to the east. Home to 400 million citizens, crammed into gigantic city-blocks, overcrowding is rife, unemployment endemic and boredom universal. Tensions run a constant knife-edge, and crime is rampant. Only the Judges can prevent total anarchy. Empowered to dispense instant justice, these lawmen are judge, jury and executioner. The toughest of them all is Judge Joseph Dredd and he is the Law!

Judge Dredd, one of a number of clones of Chief Judge Fargo, is the most famous of the elite corps of Judges that run Mega-City One with the power not only to enforce the law, but also to instantly sentence offenders - to death if necessary. Dredd and his twin brother Rico emerged from the cloning facility as five year old in 2066, which took only a matter of months. At this young age they are enrolled into the Academy of Law, and graduate 13 years later in 2079. While these details are featured throughout the years of comics, recently the Judge Dredd Origins story arc delves into the atomic wars and Dredd's time as a cadet. If the timeline is correct Dredd is now currently over seventy years old. During his years of service he has received numerous injuries, many serious and his body is a mess of scars. During the Proteus mission (in which he and Judge Anderson were sent forward in time to 2120) his eyes were gouged out by a demon and were replaced with bionic ones. Most recently he was diagnosed with a malign growth on his duodenum, although this was caught in time to be treated.

​​Equipment and Weapons

Judge Dredd has a large Lawmaster motorbike, which has powerful side-mounted cannons and a centrally-mounted laser (the 'Cyclops' laser), and has full Artificial Intelligence. It is also capable of responding to orders from the Judge, such as driving itself. It is connected to the Justice Department who can receive and transmit information from and to the bike and is equipped with a video communication system. Dredd also has a handgun which is known as a Lawgiver. It is DNA-coded so that no one else may use the weapon - it will explode if it reads an incorrect palm-print. These are standard issue for Judges, firing six types of ammo such as Standard bullets, Rubber Ricochet, Armour Piercing, Heat-Seeking, Incendiary and Hi-Ex. It can also fire tracking bullets, stun shots, and more, although it requires loading to do so. Other weapons Dredd carries as standard, include a Scattergun (pump-action shotgun), a "Daystick" (long two-handed cudgel), and a Boot Knife. His uniform consists of a blue/black bodysuit (depending on artist); green padded boots, knee pads, elbow pads and gloves; golden alloy shoulder pads (the right in the shape of an eagle - the symbol of the Justice Department), and a blue/black (depending on artist) helmet with a red side trim which almost entirely hides his face and has protective lenses, a respirator and communicator built in.

A mean man in a meaner time, Dredd is now pushing 70 can this lawman keep going forever?

Other Dredd's

Judge Dredd has also given birth to two movies. We won't go to into details here as I will do a future post on them. But I have included the following pics to show off the movie versions.
Stallone's 1995 versus Karl Urban's 2012
Also as mentioned above there is some talk, as to the colour of the body suit. Some believe it is a dark blue. Whilst other believe it is black. I have read a lot of different arguments on this topic and personally I think it all comes down to an artist/readers own preference. But for me it has to be Black. It's the way Carlos Ezquerra draws the man and paints him, so it must be that way for me. Think differently let me know below.

Miniature Dredd

Now to the final part, my painted version. I have gone with the classic black uniform and a more comical yellow than a brass gold effect. Click on the pictures to see a bigger version and drop me a comment to let me know what you think. I have fixed the shoulder pad and yes he is facing off against a Wraithknight in the background- you need big robots in Mega-City One!
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And that is it. Thank you for sticking to the end with me and hopefully you like the mini. If you have any questions, comments or just want to hi, then drop me a comment below. Next Sector 102 post will be a comic review.

Cheers!

Brews Review 07 // Big Rig Gold


Welcome back we are staying local today with one of Ottawa's most respected breweries Big Rig. The beer up for discussion is Gold their flagship Pale Ale available in LCBOs, grocery shops and their bars. The one I'm drinking today is a 473ml can, from the LCBO, it also comes in growlers, from their Iris Street location (though they have stopped doing this). The company has a lot to offer the local beer scene here in Ottawa and it is great to see them spreading throughout Ontario and offering out their services to contract breweries. They have a range of seasonal beers, high quality house beers and even the odd cask. If you get the chance do check these guys out.
​​
Details

Name: Gold

Brewery: Big Rig Brewery

Country: Canada, Ontario.

Price: $2.75 (LCBO)

ABV: 5%

Commercial Fluff:
"Our flagship beer is a refreshing Golden brew that uses a blend of the finest Canadian and German malts giving it a smooth mild body that balances the crisp, pleasant German hop finish. The hops used in this local brew are soon to be grown at our very own hop yard at the Phillips farm in Manotick"

Own Opinion

Sight: Pours a rich orange/amber golden colour. Crystal clear, bubbly and looking inviting.

Aroma: Strong malts backbone, biscuits, slight sweet honey aroma. Makes me think of good old Hob Nobs from the UK.

Taste: Sweet, biscuit flavours, hints of spice on the tongue from what I would assume is a German hop.

Would I buy it again? Yes and I have many times.

Final thoughts

The simple let bold can design, helps them to standout on the popular shelf in the LCBO. It's a refreshing pale ale and a very easy drinking brew. Over the summer nights in Ottawa, the evenings have been crazy hot and beers like this are perfect for keeping this Englishman sane.
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If you don't fancy it out of a can (because you are purist), Big Rig have a retail shop at their brewpub location in Iris. The Iris brew pub itself is an amazing venue especially for watching the local sports teams on and I hope to visit it again soon. Sadly as I am only bus mobile (don't drink and drive kids 👍), I have only been a few times to this location. It's definitely a place I want to go visit for a night out and review in the near future (offer me a tour Big Rig if you read this).

So have you tried it? Do you agree or better let disagree? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

Welcome to Sector 102 // Introduction to the Judge Dredd Miniature Game.


Welcome to Sector 102 Norm! The new home for all things 2000AD/Judge Dredd based, so expect comic reviews, books, games and films to all fall under this umbrella.

For my opening post I'm going to start with a quick look at the now out of print Judge Dredd Miniature Game Rulebook. Personally I have the hardback rulebook but there are still pdf versions which are free to download out there.

JDMG has been around now for a couple of years. It was written by the guys of Mongoose Publishing, who originally funded the project via Kickstarter, they mostly specialise in RPG's like Traveller so much to my excitement, Mongoose decided to make this game more accessible and  up with Warlord Games, to help out with production. This merger meant a new, better produced to order range of models and of course a high quality rule book. Since then Mongoose lost the rights completely to Warlord Games who are now currently redesigning the range and bringing out something different from the 2000ad verse.

The Hardbook Rulebook

First thing you'll notice is the quality of the book. It's a full colour, weighty, hardback book (unless your looking at the pdf) containing 240 pages, full of photographs, artwork and bright shiny colours (always impressed by bright colours). Included alongside the easy to pick up rules, are pages of gang details, scenarios and fluff to introduce new players to the world of Dredd. Unlike a lot of games where you need to buy faction books, this game comes with Eighteen ready to go gang forces. This great selection of starting forces allows for any play style. Here is a list of gangs available:

Justice Department - A small elite gang with access to some of the best equipment. Also the heroes/villains of the game.
Brit-Cit Justice Department - Similar to the above, but cheaper and slightly less elite.
Citi-Def - Average gang with great weapon options, but not the most competent.
Street Gang - Cheap, fun, low tech weapons and will always outnumber your enemy.
Ape Gang - Chimps, Gorillas and orangutans need I say more?
Mobsters - Very flexible force of specialists. Also can access some great weapons.
Fattie Stampede - One of the strangest forces, looks great but hard to master.
Cursed Earth Desperadoes - Character heavy gang, lacks high tech gear but loads of modelling options.
East Meg Invasion Force - Well equipped force, super elite force with droid options.
Apocalypse War Resistance Unit - Made from Judges and punks and low on ammo. Prefect force if your looking for a challenge and a mixture of models. Best used against the East Meggers.
Sky Surfer Gang - Small, low tech weapon gang. But super fast and exciting to play. Hit and run is your friend with these guys.
Lone Vigilante - Easy to collect (only model), but one wrong move and your hero is dead!
The Angel Gang - No customising at all, but you get to play as one of Dredd's most iconic family.
The Dark Judges - Can't upgrade or gain skills. You can rarely use all 4 in a single game. But what you do have is a super villain who can take down whole gangs on there own. Recommended for experienced gamers and one off battles that are story driven.
Chief Judge Cal's Personal Retinue - Think justice department with Alien Crocodiles. Brutal at close range combat and fun to paint.
Zombie Horde - Always outnumber your enemy. Highly resilient, cheap and lacking in tactics.
Demonic Cabal - An unpredictable gang, if the dice favour you, you can win in style. If not you will become your own worse enemy.
Renegade Robots - Expensive to recruit but can be tailored to suit any style of player. Very mod-able and a unique looking force.


Now to the important bit the game itself. First thing I personally noticed is that it plays fast. This is important for me as I would rather play 2/3 games in the space of 3 hours rather than just one large battle (looking at you 40k). The rules are pretty simple and are based around a D10 dice system. The core mechanics is roll a D10 and add the characteristic whilst your opponent also rolls a D10 and adds their opposing characteristic. The one who rolls highest wins.

Example:
A Judge is shooting at a perp. So the Judge rolls D10 and adds their Shoot Characteristic to the score. At the same time the perp rolls a D10 and adds their Agility. The highest roll made by both players are then compared. If the perp's roll is higher, then the Judge missed. If the Judge's roll was higher then he's scored a hit.
You then use the Damage stat and deduct the amount from the perp's hit points. If the the perp happened to be wearing armour, then an armour save is made on (...drum roll...) a D10 and add the Armour value to the result, the aim being to get a roll above 10 to save.

And that is the basic mechanics of the game. Movement like most games now is measured in inches and the usual line of sight rules are present. The rules for the basic game are simple and easy to learn, which is great for new players or causal gamers. With a lot of links easily drawn to GW's old Necromunda game or Shadow War. The game plays faster than these with a lot less charts and rules to remember. Each figure in your gang can take 2 actions a turn. Actions include moving, shooting, melee and special. These actions can be performed in any order and even twice if you want to run or just keep firing and there you have it, the game rules. Pretty simple, quick and fun.

The second half of the book is full of campaign rules, missions and most important of all the lore (nearly 40 pages of goodies and artwork). The lore is great, it goes over futuristic city blocks and of course Mega City-1 and even the far flung Hondo-Cit and Brit-Cit (my personal favourite).

This is a truly beautiful book, that is well made for the fans and so far I have enjoyed every game I've played. Just give it a chance and grab the free rules whilst you can. A lot of my Judge Dredd miniature will show stats for this game along with the RPG from the 80's so you have been warned. I don't see any harm in showing off of sharing rules on this game as it is no longer in print. If you do foresee there being issues let me know.

Please drop a comment below if you've got any thoughts on this great game. Or just say hi and thank you for reading this lengthy post.

Brew Review 06 // Goose Island IPA


Time for another Brew Review. Today's poison is one of the bigger more well known IPAs. Goose Island IPA (straight from bottle). Goose Island originally hailed from Chicago (still do for their more special beers) and are very popular in Canada. Easy to find in most bars, Beer Stores and LCBO's; they are even opening a brewpub in Toronto . This is a beer most Craft drinkers should have tried by now. It's even a beer most non-craft drinkers would of tried at least once before heading back to the lagers or ciders. Now largely owned by a parent company (Anheuser-BuschInBev) and being mass produced in a new location, Goose Island IPA is a beer to be enjoyed and experienced by the masses. It is readily available and should be an easy beer to review then.​​

Details

Name: Goose IPA

Country: America, Chicago.

Brewery: Goose Island Brewery

Price: $13.75 (Six Pack) CAD

ABV: 5.9%

Commercial Fluff:
"Our India Pale Ale recalls a time when ales shipped from England to India were highly hopped to preserve their distinct taste during the long journey. The result is a hop lover’s dream with a fruity aroma, set off by a dry malt middle, and long hop finish."



Own Opinion

Sight: A clear golden yellow with a slight orange tint.

Aroma: Citrus, grapefruit aromas manage to escape the bottle. Nothing strong about it.

Taste: Overall an easy drinking, floral beer. Has a grapefruit bitterness which ends with a dry finish.

Would I buy it again? Yes. It's a safe choice when you go to some of the main stream bars. It's also an easy find when visiting family or friends who want to stock their fridges with something for you. If I'm searching through a real bar (lol) or a bottleshop this would be at the bottom of the list.

As we all know Goose Island has been around for a long time. 25ish years I believe. And they are properly, one of the most well known brewers out there and truly helped the "craft" movement. This is good news for us drinkers, as it means we get to enjoy this beer at a reasonable price and can find it quiet easily in most LCBO's and bars in Ontario and now around the world. With it's smooth taste and bitter finish it is a great gateway beer for those new to IPAs or as a safe choice for those unsure of the other offerings.

If you haven't had it, I recommend trying it to see how 25 years of brewing knowledge can create a great beer. It is also proof that when breweries get bought out by bigger companies, it's not the end of world. The quality can be kept and a wider public can be brought over to a more flavoursome world.

So have you tried it? Do you agree or better let disagree? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Craftworld Iyanden 01 // Heart of a Craftworld


Welcome to my Games Workshop fully focused Craftworld Eldar section. So far on the blog we have touched on my love of Eldar with the Dictionary and Path of the Warrior. So now it is time to show off some modelling. First up I have to say my photographs are pretty crap at the moment but this will improve in time, just have a bit of faith (all tips are welcomed) .

But where to start? I've been collecting Eldar on and off for a few years now and have amassed a good size collection. My Craftworld of choice is Iyanden, there is so much to love about them. From their bright colours to it morbid lore background. So much to love in fact that I plan on doing a blog posts purely about Iyanden life and tactics so watch this space.

With these future plans in mind I have chosen to start with a project I completed about this time last year The Avatar!
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Straight away I recommend looking at Games Workshop's version, it is one of the oldest models they still produce, hailing from the amazing 2nd Edition (now on 8th). To put it into context the model hasn't been updated for over 26 years (I was eight when they released it). In the lore the Avatar is described as the molten heart of a Craftworld, brought to life through the rage and anger of the Eldar race. The Avatar is a living embodiment of a War God! In stories and lore he can survive bolter fire, melta weapons and in one book almost beat Fulgrim (a Space Marine Primarch) in a fist fight. This is a creature of unimaginable strength and should be a monster that strikes fear in the enemy, so why make a model no bigger than the current Forgeworld Primarch's (to be honest most are actually bigger than the Avatar), he is so small! I personally can't get past his size, it's almost comical. Forgeworld did fix this problem and released a model more fitting it's true stature, but I'm cheap so I decided to make my own (Forgeworld model comes in at $98 cad at the current exchange rate plus postage plus tax!).
So where to begin? Like many people I turned to good out google for answers and noticed many players had used the Sylvaneth Treelord especially the Spirit of Durthu (he has a sword). Though cheaper at only a mere $73 cad plus tax, it was still a bit too pricey for my taste. Then whilst checking out a local selling site, I got lucky when a gamer was also selling his Durthu (timing/fate who knows), so for only $20 I was a proud owner of Durthu. The pose and the imposing sword was perfect for what I wanted, so the hardest part of a conversion was already done for me already. All I needed to do was make it seem more Aeldari than Elf. The biggest fault or issue I could see was the twigs the bigger ones really had to go, then all I needed was some parts that looked like armour and somehow create that Iconic helm shape.
​​

The process of cleanup and modeling followed in these easy steps:

Step 1. Trim off all the twigs, unless they can look like flames.
Step 2. Add some armour plates.
Step 3. Form a helmet crest of some sort.
Step 4. Continue to convert until I finally paint paint it.

Can't lie about step 1, it was annoying and time consuming. But soon I was down to the models roots (sorry bad pun) and ready to start Step 2. For the armour I wanted to keep it clean and simple knowing that the model already had a lot of details that I didn't want to cover up. So I just went with a pair of clean looking Shoulder Pads, made from an old Jetbike canopy. Now all I need is something for the chest piece, something that I am still searching for annoyingly. If you have a suggestion (beyond green stuff let me know).

Fully stuck on the chest piece armour, I decided moved on to Step 3, the iconic head piece. I thought I had some plastic card laying around, that I could carve and glue on. After a hour of searching and destroying my modelling area, it became clear I didn't. I then tried to make do and used an old plastic container that was laying around. I cut it up hoping I had found a fix but it didn't work (no surprise there). It looked clumsy and ultimately fell apart with ease, just looking at it made me angry. So once more I dived into the bits box for ideas and found the Eldar support platform shield and 5 minutes later with a craft knife and the head piece was formed.

This is were the story ends for this for mighty War God. Since this stage he has sat collecting dust, staring at me begging to be finished. But the search is still on for the armoured chest piece and a way to make a flowing hair piece (without green stuff). So maybe you guys can help? If you spot something please send me a link and let me know about it, the Ghost Halls would truly be indebted to you.

Please help finish me!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Comic Review 02 // Jaegir

​Following on from the Batman Year One review come Jaegir.

Jaegir is apart of the 2000ad franchise and over on the 2000ad website you can download for free. I recommend doing this because who doesn't like free comics? Once you have read it, come here and see if your thoughts and critiques match mine, if they do drop me a comment, if they don't drop me a comment too. So let us jump in:

Jaegir

Story by: Gordon Rennie.
Art by: Simon Coleby.
Page Count: 32
Commercial Statement:

"A female war-crimes investigator in future fascist state, Kapitan-Inspector Atalia Jaegir must bring a monster down before he can murder his own family.In the universe of 2000 AD’s classic series Rogue Trooper, the endless war between the Southers and the Norts rages on countless planets. Scarred war veteran Atalia Jaegir, of the Nordland State Security Police, hunts down escaped war criminals and roots out corruption in the ranks. But her fearsome reputation will not protect her from the inhuman quarry that she is tasked with finding... An entirely new heroine leads this action-packed adventure illustrated by Simon Coleby (The Royals, Judge Dredd Year One), written by Gordon Rennie (Judge Dredd, Department of Monsterology)."


My Thoughts:

The cover is bold and striking with a limited colour palette being used. It actually reminds me a lot of World War propaganda posters, especially from the Eastern block. It screams recruitment poster and I can't help but wonder if this is the source of the design idea? Beyond the single page of credits the story starts. I find it weird that there is no introduction to the setting or background, so you are left in the dark. Considering it's a freebie to get you into the series, I expected to see more back story, If you hadn't read the above commercial fluff, you might not even realise it has links to Rogue Trooper. But I'm glad to see Simon Coleby's art work as it is stunning. Offering a gritty, muted palette, which complements the setting perfectly.
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Following a short chase scene and brutal fight we are introduced to Kapiten-Inspector Atalia Jaegir. The Heroine of the tale and an officer of the Nordland State Security Police. She seems to have an unusual past, which I can only imagine is explored in other comics. Her Dad is or was a high ranking military officer, known for his bloody handed methods. Though in this comic it is hard to tell if he is dead or still alive which is slightly annoying. Whilst her birth mother was a prisoner, after being declared a traitor over a crime we never find out about and was killed like a lab rat by a Bio-Chem team as punishment. How these two characters ever met and had a child is beyond me and leaves me with more questions than answers.

The story is quick paced and very confusing in parts. For example Jaegir is hunting for traitors and deserters, but soon becomes involved with a Colonel Inspector Nerria, an Officer of Genetic purity. After a short back and forth between the characters that lacked any real depth. Jaegir redeploys her entire team to investigate the Strigoi Gene curse (a different departments problem) just because an old flame of hers is involved (seems like an unrealistic thing to do). Then the story quickly speeds and progresses. Then through the use of flashbacks and a once again anti-climactic short fight scene we finish the story.

Verdict:

Pros: Quick read, great artwork and free.
Cons: I found the story confusing and at times hard to follow. It just felt rushed for most it, especially the final fight scene and with no background story it was hard to believe in the characters and their motives. I feel maybe if I had read the earlier releases in the series, this may have made more sense.
Final Thoughts: Strange story to make free as a way to tempt in readers. Maybe not the best tale to give away and would have loved characters that had depth.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Personal Fluff for my Iyanden Warhost 01 // The Fall of Taspia

Welcome to my Eldar Army fluff. So as part of my Eldar project, I love to write fluff and background stories for my forces. So expect plenty of tales like these, some are fully made up whilst some are based of moments from games I've decided to immortalise. To get the ball rolling will start with the Fall of Taspia and my Anti-Hero 'Umr. 

Here follows the Tale of 'Umr At-Tawail and the Fall of Taspia. Taspia was once an ancient Maiden world seeded by the Eldar. A jewel of a long lost empire, now after centuries of Imperial abuse, it has become a polluted husk of it’s former glory. Once beautiful, the green world now hangs in space like a brown rotting apple. Only the Southern Pole has managed to hang onto life. But even those ancient trees are losing the will to fight. The Imperium of man had brought this upon Taspia. The filthy Mon-Keigh had found this beautiful orb and filled it’s air with toxins and polluted it's rivers. They stripped it of all its natural wealth and resources. Trampling and flattening the ancient Eldar structures as they went, caring not for the history of the world.

Only the Southern Forests had held off the Imperial's pillaging. Rumors were spoken by the Taspian garrison's militia in whispered voices, of the Ghosts that haunted those old forests. That the trees themselves were fighting back and that any attempts to enter the region was met only with death. Little did they know it was actually the surviving Eldar Exodites along with a contingent of Rangers from Craftworld Iyanden. Hopelessly trying to hang on to their homelands.

The Rangers had been sent to protect an ancient entrance to the Webway. Farseer Hastur of House Haladesh, had declared the reclaiming of this Maiden world a priority for his kin. That the Mon-keigh would be shown no mercy for the destruction, that they had brought upon this world. 'Umr At-Twail was assigned High Autarch for the Taspia cleansing. The attack would fall on the third cycle of the moon and the polluted capital city of Taspia would burn in it's light.

The night before the main attack, the Iyanden Warhost code named "Carcosa" appeared through the Webway portal. Using the old forests for cover the Warhost gathered South of the capital. Autarch Umr’s face was lit by the pale interior lights of the Falcon transport, his fusion gun hung heavy at waist. Even in such a confined space Umr's anger could be witnessed as easily as the light shimmering off his golden yellow armour. His eyes burning with hatred at what he was seeing via the sensors read-outs. Mere minutes after passing through the Webwey portal, the Command Falcon's rear ramp lowered gently to the polluted ground. Slowly decaying tree roots crunched under Umr's foot, as he disembarked with his Fire Dragon bodyguard. His eyes still full of hatred he bent down, placing his forehead upon the poisoned ground and whispered "You shall be avenged. Soon a storm shall descend on the capital of Taspia and rivers shall form from the blood of the Mon-Keigh"

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The southern walls of the capital loomed like a cliff. Their colour was a dark rotten brown, due to the industrial smoke pluming from it's vast factories. The city was ninety kilometers across and rose like a weed. Climbing high into Taspia’s now smog filled polluted atmosphere. The fortified section that was destined to be attacked, was covered with gun ports, battle towers, trenches and bunkers. Even though the Imperials had faced no threat they still fortified their positions like paranoid tyrants thought Umr. Turning his eyes to the map of the defenses, he spotted what was a command bunker with the ability of long range warning sensors. The hive's meager garrison militia were easy to spot, hailing orginally from Mordian they wore their parade uniforms of bright red and white, which made them stand out among the browns and grays of the dying planet. "Stupid Mon-keigh, might as well paint targets on themselves" thought Umr, as he turned his attention to watch the live feed from the infiltrated Rangers gun slights. "This won't take long" Umr declared as he turned to meet his advisers and work out the best strategy for the sacking of the Hive.

As he faced his cohort of advisers it was hard not to notice the Ancient Wraithseer Phantom of Truth. Woken to aid in the destruction of Taspia, the Wraith construct stood like a statue, the D-Cannon she carried lay dormant by her side. The Wraithseer had been much loved in the House of Haladesh and her thoughts carried much weight, when she spoke all stopped to listen. After a short while a strategy was chosen. The Rangers were to sneak in and set up for a twilight ambush on the Command post. Then as the moon reached it's zenith, the Scorpion tanks would move forward and begin firing at the southern wall. During this opening phase, the Rangers would be tasked with assassinating the superior officers of this section. Without their head the body would be weak and the defenders would be crushed with ease. Allowing the main force to storm the city.


Twilight came and with it the opening shots were fired. Huge chunks of the city walls collapsed and imploded from the fire of the twelve deadly scorpion tanks. Beams of destructive fire, teared holes in a wall that was never meant for combat. Soon whole sections started to crumble inwards from the fierce barrage. From within his Command Falcon Umr watched the carnage unfold. The Mon-Keigh comm-links were full of screams of dying officers as his Rangers located and killed each one, with precise head shots. Following this success soon came the order to Exarch Uoht and his Shadow Weave, Warp Spiders to strike. The blip on screen which represented them, disappeared only for a second. Reappearing in the heart of the Imperial lines. A small grin formed on Umr's face, as he thought of the carnage being brought down upon the Mon-Keigh. Everything was going to plan and soon the city will fall. 
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For one hour and twenty three minutes the battle for the outer wall was waged. Both sides fighting desperately. It had soon become clear that the Imperials were losing fast. Without a senior officer's password, the order for reinforcements hadn’t been accepted by the city's main garrison. Even as the sounds of war where waking a large amount of the populous, the main garrison stood idle. Then at the stroke 2:23am a huge section of the southern wall final gave way and collapsed. The Aspect Warriors and Guardians swarmed into the city, lead by the imposing form of The Phantom of Truth who lead a honour guard of ghost warriors. Now the killing had truly begun. All traces of Imperial life was about to be extinguished.

Soaring over the blasted trench works and into the city. The command Falcon of Umr now headed an Aspect host mounted in Wave Serpents. As they flew deep into the doomed Imperial city, Umr saw soldiers and civilians fleeing before the onslaught at the wall. At least they had enough sense to try and run. Though it was a wasted effort as they were cut down by Pathfinders and Warp Spiders of Uoht’s host. Lost in the moment, Umr nearly missed the looming Imperial Palace as it came into view. It’s walls built from the rare white marble of the planets crust, it shone bright in a World cast in smoke and shadows. Here is where the battle would end thought Umr. Here and now! 

The host of Wave Serpents came to a halt on the far side of a square. Just outside the Palace's main gate. Standing defiantly on the step in front of the gate, was the Governor and his household guards. How stupid they look in their brightly coloured uniforms. To Umr and his warriors they looked more like children playing pretend, rather than soldiers of  a long dead corpse God.

But then from out of the ranks strode a portly, ill looking Governor and over a primitive loud speaker he spoke:

"I am Governor Fernando Handoff of Taspia, the Emperor's voice on this world. I demand to know why you have attacked us!"

With a mocking laugh Umr descended from his Falcon along side his Fire Dragon escort. Calmly and with an air of arrogance he crossed the square.

"You!.... The voice of the corpse Emperor! Dare to demand of ME!"

Coming within shuriken range of the Governor, Umr could see the overweight man shift awkwardly at the full slight of him. Umr so enjoyed these moments, never knowing if the enemy would shoot or not.

"You are Mon-Keigh! How dare you even speak, Let alone make demands of me." and with this Umr fired his fusion pistol and set the fat governor a blaze. His household guard stood frozen in place, as the fat body of their leader started to bubble and pop from the heat of the flames.

"Kill them all! Wipe them from this world and cleanse it for the glory of the Eldar"      

End.
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