Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ork unit breakdown and probable army list Pt 1: HQ

So now that I'm rolling on my way towards a Greenskin army, I thought it might be fun to do a little run down of each unit so that those less familiar with the codex can get a feel for what is on offer to a budding Warboss. I will give my understanding of the ups and downsides of the unit, my personal feelings for/against them and would appreciate any feedback from followers. For those who like more tactica reading, there is a pretty comprehensive ork article series on DakkaDakka though I feel some of the info is a little dated when looking at the current metagame

I will state up front that I like to play tough games, but that I tend towards having more fun than tournament level play. To me though, you don't have to have a random collection of units for it to be fun. I think you should take the character of the force in question and then mould a list that you are happy with (and can afford) in order to play.

All pictures are being taken completely without permission, mostly from Games Workshop's website, though since I'm advertising for them and soliciting suggestions on what I should purchase from them, I hope no legal action will be forthcoming ;-)

So without further ado here is the ork codex....

PS: I'm excluding special characters for now.


The warboss is pretty much a face-beating whupass kind of ork (WS5, 4 attacks). He brings instant death immunity to most weapons through his T5 and with a power klaw he will hit at a nasty S10, charge or no charge. At 85pts with a Power Klaw he is very affordable too and can be customised with other weapons and tricks. The warboss also allows a unit of Nobz to be taken as troops.
I've seen three main types of warboss being taken.

- Foot warboss. Usually a Power Klaw, perhaps Eavy Armour, an attack Squig (+1A) and hidden in a mob of boyz/nobz to add punch. Cheap and solid.
- Mega Armoured Boss. Here we trade mobility for a 2+ save and Power Klaw. This boss really needs transporting, perhaps in a battlewagon with a retinue of MegaNobz. A more expensive choice but will hit hard and stay in the fight.
- Biker Boss. By adding a bike you give him T6 to non S10 weapons and add a lot of mobility to his assault options, making him a great tank hunter. Typically a power klaw will be added so he can deliver both dakkacannon shots to side armour at S5, then carve up the rear armour with a S10 power klaw. With 6 attacks on the charge (with an attack squig) he's got a good shot at landing a hit even on a cruising speed vehicle and strength 10 messes up the rear armour of most things.

From my perspective, the foot warboss is an easy and cheap deal because you get one in Black Reach and the model is badass. I've converted my single warboss to include an attack squig stolen from the Grot box set's runtherder. I will be getting another Warboss from Black Reach soon and plan to convert him to a biker boss so I can choose between them.

Big Mek

Now here is a star unit for the orks who comes in two main flavours. The first is a go-to unit for lots of players, for very good reason, and the second is fun, unpredictable but potentially lethal.

I am of course talking about the Kustom Force Field Mek and the Shock Attack Gun Mek.

The Kustom force field gives every ork unit within 6" of the model a 5+ cover save and vehicles count as being obscured. This is a great deal up front but when you lead a unit with the big mek, only a single model from each unit needs to be within 6" so you can cover 3 mobz easily. In a a vehicle the 6" is measured from the hull. This gives a classic footslogging formation with a big mek boyz in the middle, two more either side and perhaps a grot screen up front, all benefiting from the cover save field. Or the infamous battlewagon spam where you'll have 3-4 battlewagons next to each other, grinding across the table with AV14 up front and a 4+ cover save. You have 2 turns max to deal with them before they are in your face and disgorging nobz & boyz, often lead by Ghazghkull Thraka. The last nasty trick is the Kan wall where you get 9 Killa Kans in front of a wall of boyz. The Kans give cover to the boyz and the KFF mek gives cover to the Kanz.

When facing a KFF mek, you pretty much have to accept the cover save and deal with it through careful target priority and volume of fire. Against footsloggers, I would probably focus fire on the mek's unit to force wound allocation on him and wipe out those he is with. If you manage to bring the mek down, good, if not just keep working away at the boyz to cut down their assault power. Vs vehicles I would shoot at the KFF mek's trukk/wagon. If you manage to immobilise or stun it, the other vehicles will have to decide whether to huddle for the save or move out forwards and perhaps give you another turn of firing. Against Kan wall, I would just pick on Kan squadron and shoot until it goes down. Use blockers against the other squads if need be until you can do the same to them

The Shock Attack Gun is a relic of the older, quirkier editions of the Ork codex when it would add all sorts of zany battlefield antics while occasionally doing something deadly. I think this unit was really updated well to fit into the current editions of 40k. It is still random, a bit funny and can end up doing horribly powerful things.

To sum up the rules. It is a large blast, AP2 weapon which has a strength of 2D6. With an average roll of 7 on the dice that makes it dangerous enough, but when you roll a double (or 11) then crazy things start to happen. I can't recall each result but they range from:
Bad - placing the blast marker over the big mek (low roll), giving the opponent a choice of target
Medium/Funny - making the weapon hit the nearest unit to the target (friend or foe), teleporting the Mek into assault with his target (60" assault potentially)
Outright Nasty - On a double 6, everything under the blast template is removed from the game with no saves of any kind. Yes, that does mean you could lose two land raiders full of assault terminators if the dice go that way, or a titan if you're playing apoc.

In conclusion.....

I know I've missed out the weirdboy. I have no play experience with this unit and don't intend on getting one for now. The dakka articles make some comments on them.

In model and collection terms, I want 2 warbosses, a KFF big mek and a SAG mek. The first warboss will be the AOBR footslogger, the second will be a biker boss converted from AOBR. You can't knock the value of the boxed set when trying to make an army in the current economic climate.

The KFF mek model from GW doesn't set my excitement field buzzing so I will probably convert one from the Mek you get in the Loota/Burna boxed set. I think that with some guitar string wiring coming out of the Kustom Mega Blasta barrel hooked up to a techy backpack (finally, a use for my spare Tau gubbinz) I can have a nice KFF mek.

The SAG mek on the other hand is an awesome mode and I would love to field one in game for the fun. Just look at the snotling digging his nails in not to be fired through the warp. On the other hand the model is $30 and that puts it over the cost of the great new plastic sets (nobz, lootas/burnas, stormboyz) so the value is a little tougher to assign. I'd definitely like one but dropping $24 (after online 20% discount) is a bit steep for me. We'll see. I'd love the model but unless I can find someone selling it second hand for cheap I think I may pass or convert my own.

So that ends my first foray into orkdom. I will be back soon with Pt 2: Elites.

Thoughts, comments, criticism, insults and outpourings of adulation are all welcome

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm back into 40k and this time I'm green ;-)

After a long absence, I am back into the blogging scene and ready to go.

Lots of things have been going on with me recently that filled up my time but I have been gaming a reasonable amount. Two good friends of mine I met in the last few months both decided to get into 40k and are now a wargaming couple. Since Old Shatter Hands from The Tau of War loaned me his wargaming table and terrain to make way for his new baby I had a great setup to show them how to play on.

Playing and teaching the game to new people got me really excited to get back into things and when OSH decided to offload his small collection of ork sprues onto me, I took the plunge. I've always wanted to make a characterful greenskin mob and turn my AOBR set into something that can really be played at a decent game level.

However I have to do it on the cheap and so the challenge has been laid down. Can I make a fun, tough ork army list that I will enjoy playing without breaking the bank?

So, like any wallet-respecting ork general, my army is coming from the roots of Assault on Black Reach. This set (should you have been under a rock since 5th edition launched) gives you a power-klaw warboss, 5 Nobz, 20 Boyz, 3 deffkoptas and a bevy of marines.

Ignoring the power-armoured forces, you have a nice solid base for an ork force. I have one set of painted AOBR orks and got another set from OSH minus the warboss. To this I decided to add two boxes of the new plastic grots (cheap and fun) and a set of the plastic Nobz. I'm off to England for Christmas and I should be able to inherit another black reach set of orks when there so I will have a veritable horde of green bodies when I'm done.

So far everything has been assembled in a fairly stock way with the exception of the Nobz. For those who haven't read the ork codex, this unit brings a set of 2 wound combat machines who can be customised greatly to fit the task at hand. The problem with AOBR is that you only get the basic slugga & Choppa Nob who, while hitting with 5 S5 attacks on the charge, doesn't really take advantage of the power on offer with wargear.

So out came my clippers, X-acto knife, files, saw, glue and bitz box. Old Shatter Hands recently took on an Ogre Kingdoms (OK) commission painting army and let me root through the remaining sprue pieces for things that could be used. Orky Know Wotz imagination let me get all excited at the chance of kitbashing some neat power claws out of punch daggers and the like. The Ogre hands are pretty much the exact same size as a Nob hand so you can just clip and swap with ease.

After a brief clipping, cutting, snapping, gluing and bodging session, I had my first ork with a power klaw converted from the Black Reach set.
For those who like details I used, one curved OK punch dagger, one small sprue cylinder offcut, two OK knives cut in a curve, a shaving of sprue (as a strap) and a couple of gubbinz to make it look more mechanical. 15 minutes work and we have a free power klaw, another 10 minutes for klaw no.2. Woot.

Soon after this my boxed sets arrived and I contemplated the great variety on offer from the Nobz kit. There is sooo much in this box and I've only used a portion of it so far despite using pieces of it on 11 Nob models.

Here is my Wrecking Krew all kitbashed to Orkish perfection. In this picture (not great, just a camera phone) I have 6 power klaws (3 boxed set klaws, one counts-as buzzsaw from the set, 2 homebrew), 3 big choppas, a twin-linked shoota (far right), 2 kombi weapons and a Waagh banner (from an OK banner).

I'm really happy with these guys. They have such character, are going to be a tough prospect on the battlefield dishing out S7 big choppa hits and S9 power claw hits on the charge while being able to play with wound allocation and survive a lot of fire. I still have leftover bits to use on the next AOBR set I will pick up from England. Plastic is a joy to convert and it simply wouldn't be orky without some 'Mek Adjustin' ;-)

So here's to a greenskin holiday season. I hope life is going great for everyone.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's been a while and lots of things have changed but I've got some mojo back

Well thankyou to any readers who actually read this piece as it's been a good 6-7 weeks since I updated anything on the site here. I apologise to everyone and I'm getting back on the horse as far as enjoying my hobbies go.

To sum up for those who haven't followed:

- I separated from my wife just over 2 months ago
- I've had to find a new friend network and try dating for the first time in quite a while(you think tournaments are scary lol)
- I've been spending a lot of time at my new martial arts gym
- I can't really get enthused for Warmachine as I was getting into it when the whole split happened (plus I've grown to dislike metal models)
- Old Shatter Hands has been a great friend and also gotten me having good fun with 40k again so I'm happy about that.
- I've gotten my mojo back for writing and have finally got the last chapter of my current novel on the way to completion after several months of lagging.
- I'm feeling good about life in general and excited to face the opportunities and challenges ahead of me.

Ahem, so with that quick summary out of the way, what's to talk about?

I've been having a great time playing some 40k recently on a smaller scale. Two of my new friends got totally suckered into the game through me and are splitting black reach (husband and wife) so I've played some demo games with them and recently I played a great 750 pt game with OSH.

To be honest I think I could get used to small games quite happily. While I find AOBR games to swing drastically one way or the other they are still quite fun and playing at 750 is a great way to get a good game without too much power on either side. The time investment is a lot lower too, which is important for a busy person like me and a father to a newborn (OSH). I like that we set up and played two full games on a small table in a short time on saturday, where our bigger games suck up a lot more hours than you have free sometimes.

In other news I'm writing at a slow but steady pace on my steampunk/fantasy novel. I'm about 30% through the final chapter and just need to make sure it rounds off appropriately dramatically. I'm excited to finish this one as I have so many more ideas running around in my head, especially now that I've picked up some good novels to get my juices flowing. For steampunk I have Boneshaker and Dreadnought by Cherie Priest along with The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder. For my future dystopian work I picked up the Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood for the princely sum of 81c from my local second hand bookstore.

To sum up my upcoming ideas (all working titles):

- Ghost Stars.
A lone ship sent on a desperate mission to end a war in humanity's favour runs into to trouble when the captain and special military weapon's officer die suspiciously. Alone in the lonely darkness of the Eagle Nebula, the newly promoted 2nd in command must lead his crew through the risky path ahead, all the while wondering if there is a traitor in their midst.

- Voice of God, Voice of the Universe
In the near future, civilisation has collasped in the wake of a global conflict whose exact origins have been kept secret. The Vocare Dei religious group has created the only known semblance of order left. Their domain is central east coast region of the former United States (centred around Washington DC) and they rule it with an iron fist. When Dana Swyler, a lowly cleaner, stumbles across a hidden relic of the war she is chased by the government and an underground resistance force, both looking to further their own ends.

- Most Ancient Deceit
Detectives in (LARGE CITY) are on the trail of a murderous vigilante. Somebody is killing off drug dealers, gang members, mafia and other criminals with gruesome and efficient methods. As the detectives work their case methodically and uncover more evidence, things point towards a killer who is more than human.
***Might do this one as a 2 parter, first half with the police, second half with the killer explaining the other side of things. If you like the C'Tan you might like this idea...... ;-)

Then when talking on a blog the other day about Dystopian steampunk I came up with a new idea. The post was discussing the apparent clash of dystopia and steampunk as the author considered the former to be futuristic and the latter to be historic in setting. To me, the dystopia describes the nature of the setting (decaying, oppressive, negative etc.) rather than anything specific about it's timeframe. I can see future dystopia (40k), fantasy (WFB) and steampunk (Malifaux) setting examples quite easily. In responding to the post I scribbled out an example story idea before realising that I really like it and might use it myself. Just came up with this this morning so it's the least fleshed out in my mind but I like it nonetheless.

- Fillis and his pretties.
The brilliant, but sociopathic, Doctor Fillis breeds a revolutionary strain of bacteria that will allow fusion of the human body with steam-powered machinery, allowing criminals and other undesireables to be remade to serve as a society's labour force. The bacteria spreads too widely though and much of the population is killed or crippled. Those with genetic immunity who survive rebuild society to ensure that they are never threatened by the mechanical-human hybrids the, now-escaped, Fillis created. Breeding is only allowed with other immune people and tight controls are placed on the hybrids. Protagonist comes in and messes with the way things are.

Well that's about all from me now. I'm planning to get some more 40k games in soon, will get my painting back up to speed. I've also got to finish up the Harbinger of Menoth painting and assembly guide I started work on so lots left to do.

Sadly the camera I used for other model pictures was my ex's and now I have to get a new one. To make up for the lack of eye candy in this post, please enjoy the following cosplay sororitas pic ;-)

Picture from Grimdark on DeviantArt.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

My first cast models have arrived! Woot!

Okay, so some good news for me right now :-)

Curtis at Ramshackle Games received shipment of three figures I sculpted for him a few weeks ago. You can see two of the figures below.

The third figure was another corpse marker. It's a curled up small person with a knife in their back. Curtis did point out I could have done it a little bigger as it's somewhat of a dead hobbit (his words) but they came out nicely in the sculpts.

In any case I now have 8 sculpts of each figure to distribute as I see fit, which is cool. I'll be painting a set up as soon as I get the time and energy so I can send pictures to Curtis for the webstore (he's been very busy with his Fantasy Orcs) but if anyone else nearby would like a set, let me know and I'll see how I can best get them to you.

The only caveat is that you must blog about Ramshackle games and how cool it is ;-)

All the best to everyone,

Pictures coming when I get home.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Getting very busy and sadly have lost the vibe for warmachine right now.

Hi everyone.

First of all, apologies for not being more on top of the old blog process. I've been working out a lot of things with my wife's decision that we need to separate and I've been on quite the emotional rollercoaster. Big thanks go out to Old Shatter Hands for being a great friend and keeping me involved in things (your baby shower was so fun!).

Emotionally I'm getting better with things and I think I've started to create the mental separation that I need to get on with my life and start moving on from the pain and hurt. Hopefully my wife will have all of her stuff moved out soon and I can stop seeing her clothes, our pictures etc. and feel so sad. Also the quicker she moves away, the sooner I can stop thinking about how she's managed to start dating someone already.

The bad news too is that I have really lost my interest in Warmachine right now. I think it's because I got into the game fairly recently and now it is associated with such a difficult time in my life that I just feel like I don't want any part of it for now. Thankfully I haven't spent much money on it yet and there is no need to get out of the game, but I do hope that in time I will rediscover the fun of playing it.

In other news I've joined the rather hardcore and extremely fun Frederick Fight Club. I've done nearly 4 hours of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, pad work and Mixed Martial arts training the last two nights and my body is aching so much. I'm planning on doing 2 hours per weeknight and 4 hours on saturday to make the most of my monthly fees ($100 per month is not cheap on my salary) but that does cut into hobby time a bit. Still I figure that I will be pretty ripped, stacked, cut, chopped, diced, torn or whatever words you like in just a few weeks. Perhaps it will put off my 40k opponents if I become a cage fighter and give me a psychological edge :-)

I think I will be able to put some more energy back into the hobby as I get more time to hang out with friends and come to terms with the major changes I'm going through so thanks to everyone for reading and posting. I appreciate all messages of support and I have been following people's blogs with interest, even if I don't always post.

All the best


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Can the power of the blogosphere find me somewhere to live?

So I hope everyone is doing alright,

Due to the difficult situation mentioned a couple of posts ago, I'm thinking of moving into Washington DC proper. Currently I live in Frederick, Md, which is a great small city and really cheap but I think a change of scenery physically would help my mental scenery to change.

The issue is that I don't have a huge salary and I will be on a reasonably tight budget. So what I'm wondering is if anyone knows anybody (friends, family, whatever) who might like a roomate for a rent in the $700-800 region.

Ideally I'd like to be as downtown as possible in DC and close to a metro station. Perhaps this is a reach but you never know until you ask.

Thanks in advance to any offers.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Keeping Busy Part 1.

Hi everyone,

So the blog is going to shift a little bit for the near future as I'm going through a bunch of stuff in real life. This particular post could apply to gaming as well though so it can stay.

The merits of keeping busy.

So since I'm starting to deal with things I've stepped up what I'm doing a whole bunch and I have plans that need to be worked on.

- Make plans with OSH to hang out. Looking forward to seeing how his wife is looking now with the incoming baby.
- Planning to bike into DC tomorrow and enjoy the good weather. I'm going to do a museum or two and try to meet up with an old friend from college who moved here.
- Tomorrow night, going to grill and have a beer with my buddy Boxer (morning show host for 98.7 WMZQ-FM) from work.
- Emailed a writer's group in my town that I can join. I have novels (steampunk, space thriller, dystopian sci-fi, horror) and children's stories that I want to finish/start and having a group of people around will be good for me, both for this and for generally keeping busy.

- Join the Mixed Martial Arts Gym in my town and start really training again. I have done Tae Kwon Do, Karate, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and more in my life but I want to get that fighting spirit (and body) back again.
- Paint up more models when I have a bit of downtime; don't want to be sitting around feeling lonely or sad.
- Learn to draw so that I can add illustrations to my children's stories. That way even if they don't get published for real, I can make copies for friends and family.
- Get out and go hiking, biking, swimming or whatever while the summer weather is still so good.
- Finish my almost complete novel! Grr, been doing this for too long now.

Phew, it looks pretty good so far. I'm quite excited to get going with all of this and I think it will be good for me.

On a modelling front it will help as I will have limited downtime (hopefully) and so whenever I get a chance to paint I will really enjoy it. Doing for a short time can also be good as you get to do bits here and there on models that don't seem like too much until you realise you've finished a whole batch and never got bored or discouraged because it was only done in parts.

All the best to everyone and thanks for the good wishes.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Everything on hold. Real life problems :-(

Hey everyone.

Unfortunately my blog and hobby time are going to be completely on hold for the immediate forseeable future due to some pretty major things going on that will be dominating my life.

While I may get some time in to do painting or whatever, right now I can't even concentrate mentally on anything but what's happening to my life. Even that is hard and so any painting stuff will probably just be used as a way to unwind and try to gain some control over what's going on.

Unfortunately nothing is definite about how the situation will resolve and in some ways that is the hardest part.

Thanks for all of the support you have given and I promise to come back as soon as I can find the time and emotional energy.

All the best to you and I will keep checking in on your blogs.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Great humour piece from Privateer press.

***The following is completely the work of the Privateer press team and was taken from their website without permission. Please go there to read the original Privateer Insider article and to browse the others. They are a collection of really interesting pieces describing things from the perspective of the PP team. One week might be an editor, next a sculptor, studio painter, artist, playtester, photographer etc. They are like GW's daily updates except that they don't feel like an advert for whatever latest product is on offer. Highly reccomended. The following piece made me laugh so much that I nearly spat out my lunch at my desk - not advised if you want a promotion lol. Hopefully you enjoy***

Typos come with the territory for an editor. Most of them we fix without a second’s thought, but occasionally there are those that make us pause to appreciate the glory of an error-induced perspective.

I’m not talking about the use of “there” instead of “their”—that’s just the wrong word—but about the slip of the fingers on the keyboard that turns “the” into “teh,” “dragon” into “draggon,” or “glory” into “gory.” (Ha! “The gory of an error-induced perspective.” Yes, I can appreciate that. I’m a terrible typist myself.)

For example, before handing over the Trollbloods story for editing, Doug warned me he seemed to be having trouble typing Gunnbjorn’s name. “You’ll have to keep an eye out for any stray Bunnbjorns,” he noted. Whether your mind goes to buff Swedes or rabbit ears, the image isn’t exactly what we had in mind for our new trollkin warlock. Then again, perhaps a conversion is appropriate . . .

While I polish up some awesomeness for your Gen Con enjoyment, here are a few sentences showing the entertaining effect of some of my favorites among the typos I’ve seen—or made!—lately.

A small group of trollin crept through the brush.

Trollin are actually the members of a kriel who have to crawl home after a night of carousing, I think.

The leader scammed the stone construction in progress below.

He was such a good salesman he could sell stone to a wall in the middle of a quarry.

Doomshaper is no fresh-faced walrock.

No, that particular wall of rock has been around for a while . . . “Warlock” seems to give many of us particular trouble, and this is only one variation. Also common are warrocks, which I gather are a new weapon class; warcloaks, which besides being snazzy are actually pretty darn useful in the field; and warclocks, which I must admit have a certain Dr. Doom appeal. Plus it’s always handy to know when it’s teatime.

Guts and Gears podcats are great to listen to while painting.

Their album Stray Thoughts is a howl.

Such complexes were used by skorne breaders to develop their enormous warbeats.

Enormous breaded warbeets would be yummy! But, alas, we get only aspiring DJs out to spawn a skorne revolution in techno-bone-crunch-hypno-groove.

Perhaps if he had a hungred trollkin warriors with him he could take it.

Appropriately enough, it takes only a few trollkin to make up a hungred. Fewer if any are full-blood trolls or they haven’t had any breaded warbeets in a while.

The ink contains enough poison and noon-organic material to resist the trollkins’ regenerative powers.

Tattoos made with such ink become invisible for several hours in the middle of the day, making that the perfect time for job interviews and meeting the parents of potential mates.

Dragonspawn are a vicious funtion of draconic blight.

Because what’s more fun than blight? Making dragonspawn from it! Crunchy on the outside, oily on the inside . . .

The Lancer raised its sock shield to intercept the Revenger’s spear.

Spear-repellant textile production is a burgeoning industry in the Iron Kingdoms. Cygnar prefers athletic styles but has yet to master moisture wicking, while Khador is developing a proprietary wool blend from the coats of several indigenous ovine species.

Friday, July 9, 2010

40k is still fun.

Just a quick post to mention something that I came to think about after my game with Old Shatter Hands last weekend.

40k is still a lot of fun.

Recently I've been getting frustrated with the direction that GW is taking their business practices (and prices), codex releases (or lack thereof) and becoming more interested in alternative games. I'm not going to stop looking into new things as the freshness of Warmachine/Hordes is great, Nuclear Renaissance is so cool and cheap and other games still pull me (must resist flames of war) but the actual game of 40k is still fun.

I really had a blast challenging OSH and playing through each turn of firepower, movement and brutal assault. I like matching up distinctly opposed force styles and having a raging wargame to work with. The space marines are still awesome, even if BA are a tad powerful, and trying to play the Tau as a modern force is a great challenge.

If only GW was a bit cheaper I'd love to buy some more Tau and finish off my own army to 1500-2000 points. I think it's a testament to the fun still in the game that I can be pulled so strongly towards a company that has a number of practises I don't like.

That's all really. I just realised that my blog recently has been moving away from 40k a lot and I wanted to put in that I still enjoy it. Once I get my Tau army done I will happily play with them or my marines and not buy anything else.


PS: I'm on the last chapter of my novel...fina-fricking-lly. Now I just need to finish it off, go through and edit/rewrite the whole thing and then start sending it off to publishers.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Battle report vs Old Shatter Hands. Blood Angels against tau.

Hey all,

So I've been lax in reporting on my game last saturday with OSH but I've finally got some energy to get typing. No pictures sadly because I forgot my camera. OSH got some on his phone so if he passes them over I will upload.

EDIT: A photo has come. This shows the critical moment before my Lib Dread got the charge.

So Blood Angels vs Tau. This was a chance for me to try assaulty marines and for OSH to get some field experience on the Multitrackers versus Targeting arrays debate seen here.

OSH took (roughly, this is from memory) the following, based on his 2k list brought down to 1500.

HQ - Shas'El: plasma rifle, missile pod, targeting array, target lock + 2 gun drones
HQ - Shas'El: plasma rifle, missile pod, targeting array, target lock + 2 gun drones

Elites - 3 Crisis suits, 2 fireknives (plas/missile), 1 fireforge (fusion/missile), all with targetting arrays.
Elites - 3 Crisis suits, 2 fireknives (plas/missile), 1 fireforge (fusion/missile), all with targetting arrays

Troops - 6 Fire warriors in devilfish
Troops - 6 Fire warriors
Troops - 10 kroot and 5 kroot hounds

Fast Attack - 8 pathfinders with devilfish
Fast Attack - 2 Fusion Piranhas

Heavy Support - Broadside + 2 shield drones
Heavy Support - Broadside + 2 shield drones

After dealing with the blood angel codex organisation issues discussed here I came up with a list to fight against the Tau.

HQ - Librarian with Blood Lance (4d6" S8 AP1 Lance) and Wings of Sanguinus (move like a jump pack).

Elites - 5 Sanguinary guard with banner, because they are very cool.
Elites - 3 Sanguinary priests to give my troops Feel No Pain and Furious Charge.
Elites - Librarian Dreadnough with the aforementioned Wings of Sanguinius and Might of Ancients (+D3 attacks).

Troops - 5 assault marines with meltagun and power weapon on the sergeant. No jump packs and in a rhino.
Troops - 5 assault marines with meltagun and power weapon on the sergeant. No jump packs and in a rhino.
Troops - 5 assault marines with meltagun and power weapon on the sergeant. No jump packs and in a rhino.

Fast Attack - Baal Predator with twin-linked assault cannons and heavy bolters.
Fast Attack - Baal Predator with twin-linked assault cannons and heavy bolters.
Fast Attack - 3 Land Speeders. Multi-melta and flamer, multi-melta, assault cannon and heavy bolter.

I was trying to play a nasty tournament-style list. It's a long way from what I would usually play but I went with it to give OSH practise for the NOVA open he's going to, where BA will undoubtedly be well represented. I did choose sanguinary guard because they are cool though, and I equipped the landspeeders WYSIWYG rather than just going melta/flamer. A bit more expensive but more characterful in my view.

I will go generally over the game as it's been a few days and I can't remember exactly what happened on what turn.

OSH goes first. My Sang Guard are deep striking, Baals outflanking. His firepower blows up one rhino and knocks the storm bolter from another. In my first turn everybody hustles forwards at high speed (woah, fast marines) with my speeders turbo boosting and my librarian dread jump pack running some 15"+. The foot librarian hits the piranhas with blood lance but no penetration (S8 vs AV11).
OSH proceeds to immobilise my damaged rhino, kill 2 speeders, blow the MM from the third, knock off the dreads DCCW and kill a marine who is on foot. In my turn I get the Sang Guard and pull off a critical move. Thinking like I'm playing warmachine, where clearing a charge lane to the caster can win the game, I jump my lib dread into a small gap between a devilfish, fire warriors and drones. My speeder then comes up and flames the troops, opening a charge gap to the crisis suits behind the drones. The sang guard blow up the devilfish with their inferno pistol and the dread charges into combat. Even with only a S6 force weapon, he wins combat. Doesn't catch the crisis team though, but sadly for OSH, they run from the board. One flank is now collapsed.
OSH retaliates next turn by killing the dread and shooting a couple of sang guard with the piranhas. His broadside also pastes my librarian who'd moved out to get a blood lance shot. Otherwise, he's pretty backed into a corner on the 4x4 board. My turn gets me both Baals, one on each flank. I basically grind forwards with my marines, one squad assaulting and beating the kroot over a couple of turns, the speeder flames out the pathfinders and I move forwards.
OSH keeps fighting and downing marines but he's too hemmed in and my pincer movement ends up having only his crisis team still alive by turn 5 and facing a lot of foes.

Victory for the Blood Angels.

So BA thoughts...

- Blood Angels are fast! Having up to 18" movement on all rhino chassis vehicles is a huge deal and let me clear the board with ease. I was restricted much more by terrain than by distance. Scouting/outflanking Baals are super nasty too.
- Jump pack librarians seem a little unfair, particularly against Tau where they can't damage them in assault.
- Blood Lance is nasty against big tanks but is still a single S8 hit and will roll low on a number of shots. It does better if you can line up multiple units to take a hit. I consider it a powerful but well balanced power.
- Getting furious charge and Feel No Pain is extremely good for assault troops.

Tau thoughts

- I think I'm with OSH on getting +1 BS for crisis suits rather than multitrackers, particularly against MEQ. At range his suits would be almost deathrains (66% hit rate vs 75%) and then when I got into plasma range I'd be hit by BS4 AP2 shots. It is particularly nasty against Blood Angels as I had no wound allocation games to play. If he'd fired missiles too I could have stacked the plasma shots onto particular models and gotten my FNP saves on others. As it was, I had no save at all (see next point) and my marines went down fast.
- Markerlights are great in terrain. OSH got some good hits (5-6) on certain turns and would strip my cover saves as well as boosting his hit rolls. I'm just glad he didn't have any seeker missiles.
- Facing a footslogging Tau army is quite tough as they can put out a lot more firepower than the usual mech force. On a bigger table, I think I would have been a lot more challenged to win. The smaller table and the librarian charge really made it work for me.
- Drones can be used very very effectively as movement and assault blockers. They also carry pinning guns which can be used to penetrate rhino armour. Don't ignore the little guys if they get behind you or you might end up HAVING YOUR BAAL DIE TO TWO LITTLE FLYING TOASTERS WHO GET A PENETRATING REAR ARMOUR SHOT AND ROLL A 6. Ahem, caps lock off. Me and OSH definitely laughed about this one and it was a great comeback moment that weakened my right flank.

We discussed what OSH could have done to change the game and I don't think there were any big failings. The dice and table were kind to me for sure. I suggested that in the tournament he should be willing to break the HQ suit off from the team to take a charge if need be. Had that happened, I would have probably killed the Shas'El but then lost my dread to a full team of Crisis suits with fusion and missiles. Not losing that flank would have let OSH hold me off a lot more effectively.

I look forward to reading about how his tournament goes as at 2k he will have a lot more railguns. We both agreed that heavy tanks should be ignored in favour of rhinos for railguns as a hit will always at least glance and slow the attack.

Thanks for reading and thanks OSH for the game and for loaning me the models.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Blood Angels Codex review.

Hey everyone.

So last night I managed to play a game against Old Shatter hands' new tau list, albeit pointed down to 1500. Since I'm dog sitting at a friend's house and forgot to bring my models OSH brought his Blood Angels so I could use them. We thought it would be a fun experience for me to play a more assault style and good practice for him as BA are undoubtedly going to be heavily represented in the tournament.

The battle report will come later when I get time and energy to write it up but I wanted to drop a few thoughts on the BA codex as I hadn't read it until last night.

So my first impression is to do with GW editing. The photos and fluff are really nice and well laid out (wish they had a model for the Stormraven) but the various rules? Gah, a total mess.

For starters, the order of the entries. Tactical, Assault (ok troops first, sounds good), then devastators (ok, switch to heavy support), then veterans (jump to elite), terminators (good still elite, maybe it was a printing error), nope dreadnoughts next (HS), bikes (FA?), scouts (troops), Drop pods (ded. trans.), Land Speeders (FA), Rhinos and variants (mixed FOC), Baal (FA), Land Raider (ded. trans.), Storm Raven, Techmarine, HQs (at least they are together, except for elite chaplains sneaking in there, oh and elite sanguinary priests, oh and elite sanguinary guard). Whew, what a mess.

Why is it so hard for GW to have things logically laid out. Go down the FOC, warmachine does it and it works fine. HQs, elites, troops, fast attack then heavy support. It's not that hard and it doesn't cause issues. The army list at least goes with this logical format, which is good or I might have given up before making a list.

I'm also not a fan of how GW scatters rules around the book like crazy. I was constantly flipping from army list to wargear, then being told the rules were on a model's page and then finding that in the messed up order from before. Why don't all the wargear rules stay in the wargear section? Except those in the main rulebook (power fists, grenades etc.) just keep the rules in one place. Or, better yet, have the rules on the model pages and the wargear section.

Anyhoo, formatting aside, the army is really good.

You get the strengths of the regular marine codex but with so many more options as well. Having fast Rhino chassis vehicles is extremely powerful and this helps step the codex up in the mechanised race of 5th edition. Assault marines as troops is nice, but really brought up to deadly by having the discounted rhinos (dropping jump packs lets yuu get a 50pt rhino at a 35pt discount...and it's fast) and getting FNP and Furious Charge-causing Sanguinary priests. If you need to sit on a home objective you can always take tac marines or scouts, but assault marines in rhinos will really hit your opponent in the face quickly.

Fast, scouting Baal Predators are nasty. I outflanked them, which was a nice way to keep them from the Tau firepower early on but even if going second, go 18" in the scout move and pop smoke (that's allowed now). With a 12" deployment you are now 30" across the table before the game has even begun. You could easily get side/rear armour shots on your opponent on your first turn. Very nasty and it forces them to be dealt with early on.

I like the psychic powers, though they aren't the be all and end all. Blood Lance (4D6" range, S8 AP1 lance attack) sounds nasty but remember that it's only a S8 hit and so your librarian could, like mine, fail to roll high enough to damage even a Piranha's AV11 before getting hit with a railgun and dying badly. The Wings of Sanguinius (move like a jump pack) is a pretty neat power, made horribly powerful by putting it on a Librarian dreadnought. It's fair to say that being able to jump my dread into a small gap in front of Old Shatter Hands crisis team, clear the charge lane and assault a total of 18" from my starting point was a game-changing move.

The special characters seem pretty cool but they are a bit more toned down than some of the regular marine SCs, so I'm good with that. Sure Mephiston eats anything for breakfast but he's only one guy and costs as much as a land raider. I think that the melta/flamer/Thunder hammmering Vulkan armies can be a bit nastier overall.

So final thoughts. The good:
- Fast Vehicles
- Good troops
- Really versatile army build that can be as shooty as regular marines and hits harder in CC.
- Fun special characters who rock, but don't offer such OTT no brainer choices that the regular marine codex does (25pts extra for MC combi weapon, T6 and FNP on my chaplain...I'll take Cassius thankyou).

The bad.
- Formatting. The book is just horribly disorganised in my view and it doesn't make for good reading about the units. The fluff and army list are solidly set out though, but units and wargear are messy.
- Deep striking land raiders. While tactically I have no issue against it (it's risky), the fluff is just silly. They drop the tanks from Thunderhawk transporters and trust in its armour to hold up. For starters, the enemy should be able to see these big aircraft coming in and shoot at them but mainly it's a silly way to make the land raider seem tough. Dropping 60+ tons of armour will break stuff inside it, no matter how it's made. If it was tough enough to deal with a drop of several hundred feet, then anti armour weapons basically wouldn't work against it, it would be so tough. If it's dropped from, say 30 feet, then why aren't these massive hovering TH transporters at risk from being blown out of the sky? As a more plausible descripion, why not drop it from high up but with with retro rockets that slow it down and then drop off when it lands (see dawn of war IG building deployment)?

Anyway I will aim to write up a batrep soon.

Thanks for reading.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Chess is a WARGAME!

Hey everyone,

So this weekend included a great deal of outdoor time in the sun, which was great but I did manage to get a little bit of hobby vibe going on. I originally started wargaming with a WFB dwarf army that I played when I was in my early teens. I tried to build it up but lack of money (even back then it was too expensive) and lack of players near me (I lived in a village of maybe 300 people in Cornwall, England) meant that I dropped it.

Still, having no new models meant I had painted everything up and so I put it up for trade recently. In a great jackpot moment, I found a guy who was getting out of Privateer Press games to focus his money/energy on WFB. We set up to trade and I managed to get a new Skorne Warpack for Hordes...

...and another Trollbloods starter pack plus some rulebooks

The rulebooks are from Mki and so not compatible with the current game, but they have some great background, artwork and modelling tips in them. I am feeling particularly inspired by the Pirates of the Broken Coast book that has all sorts of fun nautical-themed stuff going on. Can't wait to see that one redone for the new edition.

After congratulating me on my shiny new acquisitions, my wife asked if we could get a chess set. We played a bunch before and had a good time doing it but it was late on a sunday and neither of us had the energy to make a trip out to find an open store. Then my eyes fell upon the Skorne Titan Gladiator (the big tusked guy above) and I that looks like a queen that could take any other piece.

5 minutes with pen and paper plus a few miniatures later, we had a chessboard.

Admittedly it's a bit crowded but I tried to go for things that made sense.

Clicking in will show that Kroot and Fire warriors are pawns, the dreadnoughts and troll impalers are castles (dreads look like castles, impalers throw in straight lines), crisis suits and troll axers are knights (the knight funny movement is apt for a crisis suit I thought), Chief Madrak Ironhide x2 and Cyclops Savages (big sword chaps) are bishops, the queens are the aformentioned Skorne Titan and Gilgamesh from Ramshackle Games, and kings are reprented by the Skorne warcaster and Matilda Grey from Ramshackle.

The game was a complete blast though quite confusing as some of the pieces were bigger than the squares and so it was tough to see where the lines of attack etc. were. Still we had a lot of fun and Emily was great at making relevant sound effects as pieces were taken (it makes the game so much more fun).

So there's a lesson for you. You don't need a $15 chess set, you just need $200 of finely detailed miniatures and a great wife who will play along.

PS: She also said that the painted ones looked a lot nicer and she could see how it would be more fun to play against them in 40k/WM....perhaps I can talk her into helping with painting.

In other news, I finally finished my first Marneus Calgar figure painted in a white scheme rather than as an Ultramarine. (By the way, he is sitting on a copy of the Vegetarian Times cookbook, which has many tasty recipes. It also points out that veggies typically have a slower rate of age-related issues, including decline in sex drive and fuction so I'll be eating my veggie food so I can keep up the good times lol)
Front view

Rear view

And here he is facing off against the Titan Gladiator. You can see the big gaps on the titan model here. I can't decide whether to gap fill it or pull everything apart (it's superglued) and rebuild it with epoxy resin, pinning and putty to gap fill as I go along. Anybody have any thoughts? I'm leaning towards a rebuild because it would be more hassle if it fell apart after being all painted up.

Hope everyone's weekend was also good.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Played my first game of Warmachine this weekend.

So after months of moving apartments, managing life, getting used to a new city and being the proud parent to two dogs, I finally got a game in. It was warmachine and so this post will be a little lengthy to help those who've never played get a feel for the game flow compared to 40k/WFB.

The store where the Fail Gamers club plays in Frederick is called Hobby Town USA and it is quite frankly massive. The front part of the store must be 150x150 feet easily. It's about 10 times the size of most GW stores I've been in. It's not just wargames though as there are every kind of hobby option in there. In the back of the huge store is a seperate area with workbenches for radio controlled car fiddling (based on how many people were workign on it) then there is a huge (100x50) track for racing those cars on. Next to that is a long room where they have half a dozen tables set up for wargaming. There is a goodly stack of terrain that the club owns and it was cool to see it looming over us from the shelves.

I found two Warmachine players who were good enough to not only give me a starter game, but one of them sat out so I could use his models. He basically gave me free reign over his collection so I could play a small game with the other guy. What a nice gesture.

Our game was at 15pts, which is the starting level for most WM games and represents a small skirmish (units generally go in cost from 4 to 10 points, warjacks are 4-12, solos 1-5, just to give an idea of the game level). The only model that is free is your warcaster, who represents your general and is critical not only for their power, but because you lose the game if they die.

I was given control of the Protectorate of Menoth, a group of religious folks who would be very happy if everybody worshipped Menoth. If everybody won't worship him, the protectorate would be happy to set everybody on fire. There is a strong theme of faith and fire in this army. My opponent had Cyngar, who specialise in ranged combat and lightning.

My army was (all pics from Privateer Press):
High Exemplar Kreoss is quite well rounded as warcasters go. His combat ability is strong, but not excessive, he has good spells but can't win solely through them and his feat (a once-per-game spell each warcaster has) knocks down everyone in his control area, making them easy for your other troops to hit and forcing them to waste their turn standing up.

Crusader Heavy Warjack. This is a pretty basic heavy jack that hits people with a flaming mace, or can smack them with its open hand (or throw them, headlock, armlock etc.). It's a basic, but well regarded beatstick.

The Castigator brings two open fists (now we can two-handed throw models) that also sport flame throwers. As a special ability it can set everything around it on fire, then wade in with fists swinging.

Holy Zealots bring the power of the massed faithful to Menoth's cause. They are armed with maces, but mostly go into battle to throw their hand grenades. They are a cheap unit that can bring a lot of pain if you let them get too close. Definitely a tough one to face as you either spend precious time/firepower/attacks dealing with them (leaving the other foes alone) or you risk getting grenaded to pieces.

The Paladins of the Order of the Wall are holy warriors who believe in redeeming the populace and can be at odds to the rest of the priesthood who favour inquisitors and cleansing fire. In battle though they bring magical weapons that hit very hard as they are weapon masters (meaning +1D6 damage on each attack).

This army pointed up as:
Kreoss: -5 pts
Crusader: 6 pts
Castigator: 8 pts
6 Zealots: 4 pts
Paladin: 2 pts

Now there was a big change when Warmachine Mk2 came out to make warjacks more useful. In the first edition they became overshadowed by infantry for effectiveness and the game was often called Infantrymachine. No longer though. The revamp to the entire game let the developers up the abilities of warjacks and make them more important. One method was by making warcasters cost nothing and giving them a number of warjack points. These essentially are free points that can only be spent on warjacks. So my 20 point army above is actually 15, as I can use Kreoss to save me 5 points on one of the warjacks. A good idea and it can make playing different casters intersting as they have different points (generally 5-7 jack points though).

My opponent's army was much less melee oriented and his plan was to bring me down at range.

Lt Allistair Caine - think a warcaster who stars in a John Woo Wild West movie. Two pistols, lots of speed and a feat that murders infantry (he gets one free shot at everything within 12", regardless of other models in the way)

Defender Heavy Warjack - A heavy jack with a nasty hammer (burns out jack cortex controls) and the biggest cannon in the game.

Arcane Tempest Gun Mages - Tricksy pistol wielding folks who have access to special ammunition. Like a squishier version of Sternguard veterans.

Arcane Tempest Officer - Leader for the gun mages who also can be a jack marshal, giving him control over a warjack.

Hunter Light Warjack - A very Tau-like jack that isn't so tough but wields a nasty armour piercing cannon designed to take on big jacks and do damage to them. This jack was marshalled by the AT officer, meaning he could fire the same special shots as the mages. Imagine a dread who can fire special sternguard-type ammo....yep, nasty.

The Game

I won the roll to go first. Kreoss gets seven focus points per turn and I gave one to each warjack as they need them to do anything other than move and attack. This means running, charging, special attacks, boosted attacks (more likely to hit/more powerful) and extra attacks all need focus. I knew I would have to close to stop getting shot to pieces so basically everyone ran forward this turn. Running doubles their speed at the cost of any other action. Kreoss didn't run until after he'd cast a defensive spell on the Crusader warjack. He and the Paladin also tucked in behind the warjacks so they couldn't be shot easily. I wasn't too worried at this stage as Kreoss had 3 focus left and each point added 1 to his armour. In my opponent's turn, he used the hunter's armour piercing gun (boosted by the jack marshal's special ammo) to cripple one arm from the Castigator (ouch) then used the gun mages special ammo to push it backwards. The defender killed a zealot and not much else happened.

My second turn I charged in again, getting as close as I could while still being protected. Nobody could reach anything at this point sadly though. In return, the gun mages pushed the castigator back, opening up the Paladin to be shot and he was duly taken to pieces. My zealots also lost two more of their number to Caine's deadly pistols. The defender managed a sniped (extended range) shot into the Castigator and cripplied its legs, meaning no running or charging, drat!

It was crunch time on turn 3 as I couldn't keep taking all this fire without doing anything. I moved Kreoss forwards so that all of my opponent's models were in my control area (a cirlce 2x the size of your focus stat, so 14" in my case) and popped my feat, knocking everyone down. My crippled Castigator waddled forwards, the zealots moved up to bomb the downed defender, crippling the gun arm and my crusader came out menacingly, ready to charge next turn. Kreoss was the star though as he dropped a flaming template spell that killed off four of the gun mages, including their officer. The marshalled Hunter warjack became inert and could only be recovered by Caine getting all the way over to it and spending a turn in B2B...not going to happen. My opponent had to spend his turn standing up but he moved the Defender into B2B with the Crusader, hoping to block off a charge against Caine. The warcaster used his focus and deadly gun skills to wipe out the zealots.

In my turn, I pumped focus into the crusader to give it multiple attacks and it happily smashed the defender into pieces. Knowing I had no way to get Caine this turn, I ducked Kreoss into cover behind the jack. My opponent then used his gun mages to push the crusader back, just far enough for Caine to get a shot. Caine went all out, popping his feat so he got a free shot at my three models, then buying as many shots as possible to try and gun down Kreoss. I took a lot of damage but hung on with 5 points left.

In my turn, the crusader and Kreoss both charged Caine and by using all of the focus we had, managed to land a hit on the tricksy warcaster (he's evasive but not tough) and defeat him. I also move the Castigator into combat with two of the remaining 3 AT gun mages, just in case we don't get Caine down this turn. Phew, close game!

Thoughts on a new game system

Well I really enjoyed my first foray into Warmachine. I can definitely see this being a game I keep up with. Unlike 40k, where I like to stay at range for the most part, I found myself itching to get in close to hit things and make a mess in melee. The models are really fun and the way they play together is very interesting.

The Good
- Sequential models, not phases. Each model does its own thing before the next goes. This is a huge change from 40k where everybody moves, then shoots etc. It adds a whole different layer with the combinations that come up with it. This was a simple game but I figured out to activate Kreoss first when I did his feat so that everyone else could take advantage of the easy-to-hit knocked down foes. My opponent used his AT gun mages to open up lines of fire to my paladin and warcaster for other models to take advantage of. I think this will take a while to get used to as it is quite ingrained for me to consider my own models as cover that can't be removed unless they are totally destroyed.
- Damage grids. I love how the warjacks and warcasters have damage boxes that need to be filled out before they are destroyed. It gives a good challenge to hit them hard enough to bring them down, while still letting units contribute until they are completely destroyed. I don't like how a penetrating railgun round has the same chance to blow up a rhino as a Land Raider once it gets past the armour. Here you can tell the difference between a Cryx Bonejack with maybe 18-20 damage boxes and a Khador heavy jack with 34.
- Spells and funky abilities. Nearly every unit has some cool thing it can do that can work really well with other units. Combinations are a big part of the game and finding the best ways to use your units together is the difference between winning and losing.
- Feats. I love the way each warcaster gets a great big dollop of kick*ss once per game. It really gives you a way to turn things around and make the opponent pay but also adds a layer in that you need to be careful not to pop it too early, or too late.

The Bad
Nothing much so far ;-)
- In the future though, I can see the frustration at playing against somebody who knows the models inside and out and pulls out a combination that I haven't even considered. I'll reflect on this after more games though.
- The expense. I know that I'm tempted by so many models and they can be relatively pricey ($20-45 per warjack). The good thing is that the game can be played from the lowest points levels upwards so there is no feeling of having to buy another $200 of models just to play (like I feel about my Tau).

So hopefully you enjoyed reading this far and I look forward to hearing any thoughts or questions.


Friday, June 11, 2010

Painted Ramshackle Figures

Hey all,

A brief update on my painting. I've not had much time to do it what with commuting a lot more now (1hr trainride each way - nice views though) and having two dogs who need a lot of attention. I try to get some done each weekend at the least as my wife (plus dogs) like to sleep in and get extra shut-eye. I take the opportunity to brew up some nice coffee and start painting or writing, depending on my mood.

In any case, the attention to detail needed for the Harbinger of Menoth, the layering needed for my SM honour guard and Marneus Calgar figures plus the sheer quantity of unpainted, large surface area vehicles I have yet to do meant that I was feeling uninspired.

Instead, I went into my massive collection of Ramshackle figures (I have all but about 4 figures that they produce) and pulled out a simple, easy one. It was a chance to work through a model from start to finish without too many worries of complex details or thinking up a fancy colour scheme. Instead I went with the muted look and had fun with it.

This led to a burst of inspiration and before you know it, I've finished off the entire Society Against Mischief (4 figures) as well as doing a mostly finished Oliver Sprockett (from the Society of Intrepid Explorers). Now I have 8 well-to-do Victoriana figures just raring to bring some good manners to those ruffians in the radioactive wastes of the future.

Here we have (L-R) Fidelia St-John Smythe the sniper, Spanny (technically not Victoriana, but she was another cool resin figure to work with), Thaddeus Borlase-Arlington, Archibald Trumpton on Buzzby his vehicle, Oliver Sprockett and his calculating machine, and Matilda Grey the medic.

Here they are swapped around so you can see the parrot Thaddeus has, the cool letterig on Sprockett's printout, and Spanny's rather high-cut hot pants ;-)

Last up is the Society with their vehicle, The Brass Coffin. Sadly the shield broke during our move here but a bit of resin fixed that up. I've also added an assault marine for scale. What's interesting is that he looks pretty bulky compared to the Ramshackle figures, giving you a good idea of what a true-scale figure would look like relative to a marine. Some of the GW human figures are really bulked up when looked at this way. You can see now why Fidelia comes with a dinky small base, since she's supposed to ride in the tank and take down enemies that way.

Also in the photo, note my 3 new Privateer Press P3 paint pots. I have Menoth White Base, Menoth White Highlight and Morrow White. I really like the trend PP have of making base coats for their major schemes (i.e. Cygnar Blue, Khador Red) and then providing a complimentary highlight colour. It really helps keep the tones even and highlighting consistent when you know the pigments are in the same shade. They are really easy to blend as well and water down excellently without getting thin or failing to cover.
The paint pots are like the old-school GW ones with the airtight lid that pops closed afterwards. They come sealed from the factory too, which is nice as I always wondered how I would know if my GW paints had been used by somebody else since they lack any kind of seal. They have about 18ml of paint in them I believe, giving them a price advantage over GW at their similar basic cost. To be honest, I can see me replacing all of my GW paints with these as I run out/dry out of the paints I already have invested in. They really do cover nicely, thin out well and are better value for money. I'm sure there will be a few colours that are challenging to match but I'm happy to work around that. The only downside is that the paints are too tall for my little set of drawers I keep the GW paints in.

I hope everyone is doing well and I will continue to update my progress on things as and when I get time.

All the best,


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sorry for the quiet - I have two dogs! Also a new Ramshackle Release

Hey all,

My posting has not been what it should have been recently and mostly I blame the sheer exhuberant nutcase joy of getting not one, but two great dogs.

So here are my two engines of great cuteness and destruction. They have no rules so far (we're trying) but many strength D+ attacks can result from their behaviours.

And just for a funny face moment. This guy makes me smile all the time with his crazy face antics. He's a complete nutcase but also very loving and adventurous. He's happily tried bread, cottage cheese, spinach, sugarsnap peas, icecubes and frozen blueberries without complaint or digestive issues. The little guy must be buzzing with vitamins and antioxidants by now ;-)

In other news, Ramshackle's Curtis got my corpse markers so hopefully we'll see some resin casts of those up for sale on the website sometime. Also he is releasing some new stuff and venturing into Fantasy. I don't play those game systems but I could see the giant making a great venture in a NR battlefield as a result of radation leaking.

The Hill Giant is part of an upcoming range of fantasy models. The range will launch with the Hill Giant and orc archers shown, plus a bolt thrower with goblin crew, a goblin war giant and two mounted goblin mages. Trolls will also be available.

The fantasy models are to compliment Ramshackle Games range of post apocalyptic figures and vehicles. The next Nuclear Renaissance release will be a set of metal bikers and new resin bikes.

Looking good to me. I can't wait.

Monday, May 17, 2010

In focus pictures of my sculpts (yes plural)!

Hi folks,

Just a quick update since I found a good spot to get in-focus pictures of my models. The new apartment doesn't have the best lighting but with a combination of the wall lights and a lamp, these pictures came out in good focus.

In the meantime, I also sculpted a corpse marker. This was brought up on the Lead Adventure forums as an idea for Ramshackle Games to start making. Since Curtis is busy sculpting many other things, I thought I'd give him a hand and try my skills at making a good corpse.

Here are the two models in all their glory.

Another view

The corpse has a few empty bullet cases on the right of the base, though they aren't so easy to see at this angle.

Here is a better view of the Harbinger of Menoth Base I sculpted and painted. There is a little bit of red bleed from one of the symbols that I need to deal with but otherwise i'm happy.

And here is the base along with the Harbinger herself. I've stopped after the first layers of paint because my white and bleached bone are getting old and gunky. I just bought some P3 paints to replace them so we'll see how they shape up. If nothing else, they are a bit cheaper than GW paints (18ml vs 12ml) and have the nice old flip-top lids that you used to get on Citadel paints.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Harbinger part 2 - the base plus my first completed figure sculpt.

Hey everyone,

So I've been working on my Harbinger of Menoth for a few hours on and off now. I've primed and started painting her but that isn't really worth showing in my view. I took the radical move to simplify things massively by not using the three acolytes. It's not necessarily a final decision but it really has made it easier to just get started and not worry about the difficulty of assembling 4 models, 2 robe swirls and 3 tiny chains on a 50mm base.

To make up for this, I decided to liven up the base. Using procreate putty, I sculpted out flagstones as though it was a temple floor and painted them up. The two symbols are sculpted and painted to represent the Menoth holy symbol (a kind of cross/ankh) and I added a golden plate with some squiggles to look like carving/writing. I'm pretty happy with the way it has turned out and I may do this with future bases as it wasn't too hard and really looks neat.

In other news, I finished sculpting my first complete miniature. This one was made from the ground up (literally, I started at the base) and is made around a paperclip wire attached to a regular 25mm base. Basically he's a knife and pistol wielding, gas mask wearing chap who I think would fit in well with the Nuclear Renaissance setting. The photo isn't very good but I sent to it Curtis at Ramshackle Games to see if he's interested. If all goes well, this chap might end up being available in resin someday.

Monday, May 10, 2010

At a crossroads with 40k - incoming price rises

So I logged onto Bell of Lost Souls today to see the latest news and BOOM!

Now price hikes from GW are no great surprise and it shouldn't be a big deal but this one is getting to me. I've got a completed marine army (~2500-3000 points) and a half done (~1000 points) Tau army.

My issue is that I need a goodly investment into my Tau to make it to a standard 1850 point army and I'm getting less and less interested in GW in many ways. The fluff is rich and thick, but stagnant in that nothing changes. Being on the back end of the cool models and rules is annoying as a Tau player and I just don't get the same excitement that I used to. Instead I'm finding myself excited by warmachine and it's dynamic pacing, great models and moving fluff line.

So my question is whether I should take the time and effort to invest in my Tau army. My current list is:

- 2 Helios (plasma/Fusion) crisis suits
- 3 Stealth suits + Marker Drone
- 12 Fire Warriors
- 12 Kroot
- 2 Piranhas
- Hammerhead
- Skyray

And to this I'd like to add:
- 3 Deathrains
- 3 Stealth suits
- 12 Fire warriors (6 converted into Pathfinders)
- 12 Kroot
- 2 Piranhas
- Hammerhead.

This neatly corresponds to 1 battleforce, 2 Crisis suits, 2 piranhas and 1 hammerhead boxed sets. Using prices from The Warstore which are pretty solidly at 20% less than retail I will be spending: $72 on a battleforce, $48 (3x$16) on crisis suits, $40 (2x$20) on Piranhas and $33 on a skyray kit (for the hammerhead) for a total of $193 plus $6 postage, so we'll call it $200 even. Please note that this already $40 odd under retail so it's a good deal right there.

Adding 10-15% (the general tone of the price hike from GW) pushes it up so that I would have to buy one fewer crisis suit to hit the same price level. It's not a huge increase but it's got me thinking about my 40k gaming and what I'm willing to spend.

Also my wife and I are talking about getting dogs, a house and kids in the not too distant future so I really have to think about what I can afford to spend. I think that my enthusiasm for 40k has really waned in the last few months so I'll see where I go from here. Thankfully I have Warmachine and Nuclear Renaissance to keep me excited for new models, and I can still play 40k with my existing armies.

Perhaps I'll come back to 40k in a collecting mindset in the future but I'm not sure right now. It's a shame but at least I have a solid army core to work from for now.

I think the new players coming into the hobby will be hit hardest though. I can't imagine how difficult it will be for an excited young player (like I was) to get an army going when it will involve dropping $200-300 or more. The basic boxed set games are fun but they run out of variety pretty fast in my experience.

Any thoughts or grumbles from other 40k players?

EDIT: I've found a local gaming club in Frederick, Md and somebody there is selling a whole bunch of Tau models so I might be able to get my army finished on the cheap. Perhaps that will be the way to do it and then I can set 40k collecting aside for now.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Harbinger of Menoth assembly and painting part 1. Pinning and putty.

Hey everyone,

So I spent my first free weekend in about 5 months (two jobs kept me working 7 days a week) in part at the gym, in part doing fun stuff with my wife and in part assembling my new Harbinger of Menoth Model.

The Harbinger is a teenage girl who has been filled with the power of menoth and now is a warcaster (central leader figure) for the Protectorate of Menoth faction in Warmachine. Thanks to this power she doesn't touch the 'unclean' ground and floats about under tether from loyal acolytes.

What this means in model terms is that she is a really intricate and challenging model to assemble.

Here you can see the parts of the model. The only assembly in this picture is that her upper torso and lower torso/robes have been glued together. Essentially the model will have to be made in four stages once painted. Torso and robe swirls glued to base, Acolytes glued to base, chains glued between acolytes and Harbinger, spear/flag glued to Harbinger.
For the base, I'm planning on using Procreate putty to model on some flagstones or the like. This will give it a good look but also let me add an extra binding agent to the small glue points that hold this tall, narrow model down. This will be my first time making a scenic base.
The model is also my first time in pinning a model that really needs it. I've done one set of pinning for a Ramshackle resin model but that was mostly so I didn't have to hold it while the epoxy set. This model will really need it to stay stable and not break on the tabletop.

So this picture shows the pinning I've done so far. The torso pieces have a pin, glue and some procreate in them to cover up the bond. I have drilled two holes in the Harbinger's robe base but only one has a pin in so far. She also has a pin in each hip to hold the small pieces at the top of her swirling robes and each robe has a pin at the bottom to attach to the base. The spear has a length of rod added but more on that later.

This is what she looks like propped up now. I'll have to hold her here while I mark out the position of the acolytes so I can drill the holes for them in the base and plan out where the putty work will go. You can see already that the base is pretty crowded. I kinda wish Warmachine used 60mm bases for models like this.

So here is the flag/spear. This will join to the model by her wrist and by a small nubbin the back of the shaft that pressed into a dip on the back of her hood. In itself it is a very inventive way to secure the piece but the thin, flat shaft is far too flimsy in my view to hold up the weight. I drilled a hole in the base of the flag and glued brass rod from there down the shaft. Near her hand, I bent the rod so that it went up and over, like a handguard, and glued it down. To clean it all up, I used some procreate putty to smooth things out. Hopefully with some filing if need be and good painting it won't be noticeable. I would strongly reccomend doing this or reinforcing some other way because of the weight and small contact points for this part.

Well that's as far as I've got for now. Next on the list is to mock up the acolytes so I can drill out the base ready for their pins. I'll also mark out everything on the base so that I can start puttying up things to look a bit more exciting. Once I glue them in with their pins going through, I'm planning to block off the entire underside of the base with procreate so that the pins are well and truly locked in place and won't break off.

Painting will have to be done in parts so after a wash and some priming we'll be on the way.

Stay tuned...


Monday, April 26, 2010

Getting your money's worth - using miniatures for multiple game systems. Pt1: Privateer Press

Hey everybody,

This post is something of a placeholder. I have just started a more detailed project than any of my previous ones since buying the Harbinger of Menoth model seen in my last post (and the end of this one). I will be doing a thorough discussion of that as it involves my first forays into model pinning, painting before assembly and trying to fit really detailed models into a tiny amount of base space ;-) I'll also be doing a review of the Warmachine Prime Mk2rulebook that I got at the same time.

So in coversation about cool warmachine models with Asmo at Boisterous Exhuberance we discussed how a number of the models there could be used for 40k models with little or no change. This got me to thinking about how to save money on the hobby that can rapidly become expensive for most of us. It struck me that simply by using models for two games, you can essentially save yourself half of what you might otherwise spend (some caveats of course).

So this is part 1 and will be looking at Privateer press. I figured that I may as well start with the next biggest fantasy-type manufacturer.

Lich Lord Terminus
Well if you're going to start off with a model, why not make it something that looks truly badass in all the best ways. I have a secret desire to play Cryx in Warmachine and to start a Nurgle Chaos Marine army with lots of goopy, rotten, scary figures. This model with just a little procreate/greenstuff additions would work so well as a winged Daemon prince in addition to being a winged Lich Lord.

So, Terminus retail = $49.99, GW Nurgle Daemon price retail = $35, wings for GW prince = $7-20 depending on the parts from GW bitz. We'll say $10 for the wings.
Our saving is now $45 from retail by using Terminus for both games. But The Warstore has Terminus on sale for $38.99 so now we're down by $56 from retail. Not bad!


Iron Lich Asphyxious
Next up is the Iron Lich 'Gaspy' (think about it). He is a pretty sweet model and is a dead ringer for a necron lord methinks. I'd love to get some necrons but I don't have the time or money. Still, one day.

So taking a retail of $15 for a necron lord and $14 (Warstore discount) for gaspy, we just saved another $15 by combining these models.

NB: There are two different versions of Asphyxious and there is a few dollars between them. In some ways I like the older (cheaper) model better but the one shown here is a little more 'Necrony'

Karchev the Terrible
Stay away from this one if you don't like complex assembly! I've seen the diagram and it's a challenging set of parts to fit together. using this one for 40k is a little more involved. I think that with some nifty magnetising you could have the head and face armour magnetised so you could replace Karchev's head with Kartoof the ork warboss' head. Maybe a magnetised shoota and you have a much much more badass Mega armoured warboss than anything GW makes. Ghazghkull move aside!

So Karchev retails at $49.99 ($38.99 at the warstore), a Mega armoured Nob is $16 and Ghazghkull is $35. I think we have to use the latter GW model as a Nob is too weedy compared to Ghazzy and Karchev. $35 back in our pocket.

Major Markus 'Siege' Brisbane
I think 'Siege' will stand in nicely for a thunder hammer equipped Inquisitor. Now I know that not many people play Daemonhunters but he would be a neat model to use if you did.

$9.99 from the warstore and a GW inquisitor is $15. Quick and easy saving.

Kommandant Irusk
Used with a Russian-themed Imperial Guard force and you have yourself a bad*ss commissar model.

$7.99 at the warstore. A GW commissar is $13-15 depending on the model.

Testament of Menoth
Now this is a model that probably fits into Fantasy a little more than 40k. Still I'd love to run him as a radical inquisitor in 40k.

$14.99 from the warstore saving $15 for a GW inquisitor


The Harbinger of Menoth
Ah, my sweet, sexy new model that will probably make me pull my hair out when it comes to final assembly. This young lady is filled with the power of the god Menoth and floats around generally kicking ass. More detail is coming on the model later today. I have to say that I would definitely choose to field her instead of GW's relatively boring model of the Living saint with its little winged cherubs. She just screams badass divine power to me :-)

So she weighs in at $37.99 retail ($28.99 at the warstore) and saves you $20 from buying the GW living saint model.


Whew, all finished. Totalling up my maths gives me a saving of $158 dollars if you bought all of the above models compared to all of their GW equivalents. Now, it would be unlikely that most of us play Khador, Cygnar, Cryx, Menoth, Nurgle Chaos Marines, Necrons, Orks, Daemonhunters, Imperial Guard, Daemonhunters again and Witch-hunters all combined but still.

Being able to find alternative uses for models can really add character to your forces even if only played for fun. I would probably never take Saint Celestine in a regular battle but for a fun game, I'd love to use the Harbinger of Menoth and kick some butt with divine power. Since I bought the model for warmachine I feel like I'm getting a bonus to play it in 40k at all.

Please drop some comments on this and tell me what you think? Have you tried using models in multiple game systems with success? Any other good Privateer Press models that I've missed out on?

All the best,