Monday, 27 July 2015

How do you 40K again? 1500 points vs Space Wolves

With reinforcements in the form of some veterans from the Pakeshi sector, I thought it was time to give my Guard army an outing. So, I asked one of my Guard officers to call some chap with a fur cloak called Nigel a bunch of rude names, and soon enough, the Space Wolves were attacking...

Nothing unusual in the army, really - 20 man combined squad, some conscripts, a couple of veteran squads and an assortment of tanks - I held the demolition team in reserve in a Valkyrie. Beyond that, I was facing Void Claws and Drop Pods, so spread the infantry out for area denial.

The Void Claws dropped conservatively and safely, well out of tight of the main line. One of the drop pods, however, decided that something would have to be done about the Hellhound.

Meanwhile a small squad of Grey Hunters went to try and get the Ratlings out of their firing position. Off camera, a whirlwind rocket landed directly on the conscript's commissar, and they wisely decided to high tail it off the field.

Short ranged bolter fire is horribly effective.

But a mix of flamers and a battle cannon at short range left the Grey Hunters a fraction of their previous strength.

But more Grey Hunters were coming in from reserve, both by drop pod...

.. and by flyer.

Unsurprisingly, the first target was the Hydra, before it could do something horrible to the flyer.

The Void Claws turned the corner and cut the combined squad down, with the exception of a stubborn priest, protected by his Rosarius (and refusing a challenge and hiding at the back).

With nowhere left to hide, the priest was finally cut down.

Leaving Njal, Arjac and the Void Claws to hunt down the few surviving Guard alive on the table.

Bravely, the CO faced down a horde of angry fur draped Terminators.

On reflection, perhaps calling them names had been a poor plan. In a panic from the death of his Astropath by flung hammer, he fled the field before they could catch him.

Finally, the air cavalry arrived, peppering the Whirlwind with multilaser fire.

The Bombard destroyed by the Space Wolf flyer, the Leman Russ soon faced the same fate.

The Veterans disembarked as the Valkyrie took out the Whirlwind. While the flamers cause the Long Fangs hiding in the building some casualities, the demolition charge sadly only weakens the building and doesn't destroy it.

The Valkyrie is shot from the sky, and while the Veterans grab another couple of objectives, they are quickly surrounded and taken out.

After action thoughts

Well, that went . . . poorly. The Guard were wiped out, and were down double digits of victory points to three... My army seems to lack both AP2 and the ability to deal with drop pods in any large numbers.

I'm already having a think about what to add to even the odds a bit.

Monday, 20 July 2015

WAMP Kickstarter arrives, and a quick speed paint

I spent most of the weekend doing an 'adult' impression - going clothes shopping, doing housework, all that sort of thing. But there were some hobby things.

My darling wife had backed the WAMP Kickstarter, and had graciously asked me if I wanted anything. I asked her for the Figopedia and Massive Voodoo books, plus a couple of brushes. I also asked for a brush case, but she since then got me an awesome pirate brush case, so that became a bit irrelevant.

The Massive Voodoo book has many nice pictures of miniatures. The Figopedia book is about how theories of light and colour affect painting, and the little I've seen of it has already blown my mind. If anyone is thinking about getting serious as a painter, I'd definitely recommend it.

So, I decided to paint up the "Little Kev" self portrait I got with the Goblin Aid pack from Foundry. I decided to do this one as a speed paint for a challenge over at the Oldhammer Forum. There was a small mould line I'd missed on the right hand side of the face, and I decided that given last week's miniature table flip at myself that I was just going to let it go and make do with the state he was in.

I had time for one "part way through" photo. I've got my "speed painting" technique down pretty well by now. Base coats go on first, alternating areas so I'm not doing an adjacent area straight after another. After that, I start washing - I could probably get more done if I dry-brushed first, then washed later, but given how fast things are drying in this heat, I thought I could get away with it.

As washes dry, dry-brushing and detail goes in.

Here's the finished Kev. I'm really pleased with how he's come out. The face is excellent, but much of that is the wash relying on the detail of the original sculpt. I also think these are about the best eyes I've ever done. I've realised that in order to have them not stand out so much, rather than do the eyeballs white, to paint with an off-white colour (I used Pallid Wych Flesh) and similarly, a dark blue or grey for the pupils (I went with Skavenblight Dinge). But really, just practicing a lot so you put the paint brush in the right place is key.

The mask turned out really well, which I'm happy with. It's a Jokaero Orange base coat, with two washes of Carroberg Crimson. I was really unhappy with how little contrast that gave, so I then went all out with a careful Nuln Oil wash above the eyebrows, in the eye sockets and mouth. Once that dried, a quick Jokaero Orange drybrush brought it up nicely.

Having painted a model and not wanting to redo it is a massive high compared to last week's low. Perhaps a few more time-boxed one hour speed paints will get some stuff done and keep my motivation high?

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Mournful introspection at mortal frailties

Cameras once more prove to be the devil. Weeknights this week, I've been painting this delightful chap!

I started off with some brown and bone basecoats for the robe and hood. The brown is Steel Legion Drab.

Then we add sepia and orange washes over the top, painting other bits as we go.

Unfortunately, I was really happy with him on Thursday, and really not happy today. The first thing is that his face on the left, at the point of a basecoat and wash, just looks better than the one of the right, when all the extra layering has been done.

Why is that? Well, on the left, it's a Rakarth Flesh base with a Reikland Fleshshade wash. The contrast is significant. On the right, I've layered with Cadian Fleshtone, but that's actually reduced the contrast, leaving it flat and with less definition.

There are other things making me sad.

I've missed a section of the base under the robe.

There was a lump of something right on the face and while I tried to make it look like an angry sore, it just hasn't worked and looks wrong.

Rubbish overpaint from the hand onto the club.

And this bit is just sloppy and messy and needs a cleaner job.

And here's a horrible mould line. Doubly frustrating because I'm using a basecoat with lots of washes over the top which is really hard to repaint to match and blend in.

Back here, of course, he still looks pretty awesome. But the flaws are bugging me, and I want to fix them. It's particularly disheartening as I had mentally seen him as "done" and now there's a bunch more work to be done on him.

Part of it is probably that I had a really nice social weekend, which has left me rather tired and in a natural "down" after the up. That doesn't help, and I've had a bit of frustration at my failure to progress thing.

I think for my "week night" painting, I'm going to do something else that's more base coating and simple stuff, and leave details to the weekend when I'm less tired and can focus on them more.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Cancer Charity Raffle: Win a Salamanders Army

So, a while back, Rob "evilkipper" asked folk on twitter if they'd be interested in painting a few Space Marines to help fund raise for Macmillan Nurses under the "Wargamers All Against Cancer" banner.

A list of everything in the army is here, and you can buy tickets here - or in person at Dark Sphere.

So, on Saturday, I was thoroughly volunteered by my dearly beloved to head in to Dark Sphere to help base up all the infantry.

I contributed! I got to try out a basing technique I'd not tried before, as we were adding snow to all the bases. There's a wide mix of styles amid the donated models, with some of the centre-piece elite units and characters done by commission painters and the like looking absolutely stunning.

Here's one of the Assault Terminators, looking very awesome with the snow effects gently drying on his base.

So, sure, I didn't get any of my models painted this weekend - but I think I did something a bit more important, and helped get a lot of models finished for a really good cause.

Tickets aren't much, so please consider going and getting a few tickets - although I must remind folk who are abroad to not break their local national or state gambling laws!

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Age of Sigmar: First Impressions and Thoughts

Given the Internet is all excited about Age of Sigmar, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts and first impressions of the game. I had a look at the contents at my local game store, and I've had a flick through both the rules and the free war scrolls that Games Workshop has made available online.

I am not explaining what's in the box, or what the rules say - there's loads of people discussing that already, so I'm going to assume a basic level of understanding of the rules and box contents here.

The box

The miniatures are clearly Marmite - some people love them and some people hate them. The hate, however, seems to mostly be an aesthetic one - for some people, they "aren't Warhammer", or are "too 40K". That's fine - it's a subjective thing, people like different models.

I don't think there's any doubt that the quality of the models is spectacular. If you had shown people the miniatures, I don't think anyone would have guessed that they were the contents of a starter box! They are quite simply stunning and there is no loss in quality or appearance for what's there. The variety in sizes, availability of quality monsters and so on is a massive step above what the last starter box achieved.

The rules

So, we come on to the rules. I've talked this through with a few people, and it comes down to the fact that this is more Munchkin than Magic. Age of Sigmar is a casual, non competitive game for people who know each other. It's not competitive. It doesn't take itself seriously. It's quick to pick up and easy to play.

The most vocal supporters of Warhammer Fantasy as it stood appear to have been competitive tournament players - and this game is very specifically not for them. The game is focussing on attracting a new market at the expense of the remaining die-hard fans - but really, given declining sales, was there any other choice to really make? It is a pretty big gamble by Games Workshop, and only time will tell if that will pay off.

Importantly - this is not a bad game. It is not, however a game style that many people are used to playing. For me, Age of Sigmar removes a massive barrier to entry of the number of models I need to play. I've been meaning to paint up the bits and pieces of fantasy I own for ages - and now I can paint them up and play a few quick games with my wife, who is interested in Fantasy for the first time ever.

Will it expand to have points and lists in the future? Who knows. But it harkens back to the early historical war games which did not have a concept of "points". Balance it out between yourselves, have fun, winning no longer really matters.

This gamble has an eye on the long term - the re-branding, hints of "if you're fighting in the Realm of Fire, specific rules may apply" in the rule book. It typically takes Games Workshop two years to go from concept to market. Design to market and a new book is about a year to market. There is most definitely a Big Plan at head office, and plenty more stuff to come.

PS Don't expect to see a sudden splurge from me on Fantasy figures. I already own a bunch, but I have other things higher up the painting queue. I am practicing Being An Adult and being more responsible with money. We shall see how that turns out.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

A victory for June, however small

I managed to knock out a second project last night, which means I hit my June target of two projects completed! Once more, purchasing mistakes were made, and a couple of small Kickstarters showed up, but I now feel like there's some traction!

Here's the finished "rescue job" Crusader pushing me over the line. The armour got left as is, and the cloak got over-painted to add contrast, but pretty much everything else you see here got at least a few more details added.

The shield was what made me decide to keep his paint job and that it was salvageable. The only thing added to that is painting the braids / ropes in rather than leaving them back.

He's only a tabletop quality job, but he's something I bought recently who's had a nice quick turnaround to get him table ready. Now I just need to get some buddies for him together so I can have a nice little Inquisitorial warband.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Astra Militarum Veteran Re-Deployment Approved!

The redeployment of a squad of veterans from the 3rd Pakeshi Regiment to the Tallarn XVI has been approved, following Inquisitorial review.

Inquisitor Steve from The Overlords was having a bit of a clear out, and I arranged a trade for his excellent "Governor of the Pakeshi Sector" models, which he didn't need any more on the grounds of the Governor of the Pakeshi Sector being very dead. I have separate plans for those.

However, because Steve is a gentleman and a scholar, he included a squad he'd been using as Inquisitorial Henchmen that he'd made up out of spare parts. I quickly decided I was going to tinker with them a little to make them suit as an Imperial Guard squad.

Four of them had been converted to use Grenade Launcher parts, which were intended to be "counts as" Storm Bolters. I was happy to use them as Grenade Launchers in a Veteran Squad, which meant I could only use three - so one got swapped out for a lasgun, using the same conversion technique Steve had originally used.

I also used some Vallejo Coarse Pumice and Sandy Paste to rebase the models, as I wanted them to match my existing Guardsmen, now based on a hot desert planet rather than the city rubble of Pakeshi.

There were also a few mould lines which were were vexing, me, so they quickly got seen to with a sharp scalpel blade. They were then re-undercoated using Imperial Primer and painted back up to match the original scheme.

As you can see from the top of the page, the squad is now at full strength and ready to be deployed to smite the enemies of the Emperor!

Next up is an Inquisitorial Crusader. He was picked up from Bits and Kits, who are now doing "pre-loved' models. The motley crew he came with had paint jobs beyond saving, so into the Fairy Power Spray they went. But this chap had quite a nice bit of work on his shield, so I decided it was worth trying to save him rather than throw what had been done so far away...

Monday, 15 June 2015

Space Marine Back Banners: A Learning Experience

"Hey, Responsible One, that photo is pretty terrible, even by your standards! What's going on with that?"

"Well, noble reader, it turns out that while assembling the Stormclaw set, I varied too far from the instructions and made a stupid rookie mistake. Also, I was being slack on taking my photos and just using overhead light, but given that emphasises the problem, I'm going to pretend that's a deliberate choice rather than laziness."

So, here's the photo that shows what the problem is. By choosing to give the guy a wolf cloak, I've forced him to lean forwards. By giving him the back banner as well, this then shades his banner and his face to most natural light.

This does lead to some thoughts...

Firstly, back banners are actually an absolute pain in the what's-name to lug around. Just ask a LARPer or cos-player. While they can be useful as devotionals and look kind of cool on small miniatures, I'm not sure if they have much historic precedent because I'm reasonably sure in the real world, they're just too much of a pain to move around with!

Secondly, if you are putting one on a model, you need to make sure the miniature is standing up pretty straight, otherwise it will cut out most of your overhead light and obscure the areas you want to put detail into.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

A little slip in self control (new miniatures)

Obviously, as a wargamer, I never have a problem with irresponsible purchasing sprees when I should be trying to paint more than I'm buying, right? No, wait. It's that other thing.

So, it turns out Bits and Kits have a new pre-owned section, with pretty reasonable prices. They had some Inquisitorial Retinue models. Had. Now I have them. The Crusader has a pretty solid paint job and just needs some light rescue. The cherub sadly needs stripping. The other three only came undercoated anyway.

A guy on a Facebook group I'm in had sculpted up a cool looking robot figure. I decided to get one. My wife thinks it's ugly and hideous. I think he's amazing. Should be a nice and simple paint job, too.

I know, I know, I haven't painted my existing Arcworlde stuff. Why on earth am I buying more of it?

Well, it turns out when someone asked on the Facebook group about when the hobgoblins from the Kickstarter were coming out, and the answer was "those ones are limited edition, they'll be redone in the next supplement", I had to own them immediately.

This weekend is now planned to be a busy weekend of painting and assembly - some new stuff, some existing, but I'm pretty stoked about getting some stuff done!