Monday, 24 November 2014

Astra Militarum (and a Helbrute Mayhem Pack) vs Space Wolves Battle Report

The other week my darling wife arranged a couple of games for me to play at Dark Sphere. The first of the two games was against a friend of mine who normally runs Chaos Space Marines with a Nurgle bent, but at the moment he's trying out some Space Wolves.

I had two unusual things in this list - the first was that I was using the Forge World rules for Manticore rockets, rather than "upgrading" them to Storm Eagle Rockets. This also, in theory, allows you to run in squadrons of 3, but I only own one model.

The other unusual item in the list was a Helbrute Mayhem pack - these were the three Nurgle Chaos Dreadnoughts I bought at the Overlords Bring and Buy.

My first pleasant surprise was a delivery of a Space Wolf dreadnought right into my lines. My veterans ran up and Demo-Charged it's drop pod for first blood, but it wiped them out in revenge.

Meanwhile, Bjorn the Fell-Handed, the Warlord, pottered his way up the field, with a Land Raider to keep him company.

The Land Raider does take a couple of hull points of damage from the Manticore and the Demolisher Cannon, but it certainly proves a tough nut to crack.

The flank objective turns out to be booby-trapped, so the Guard run away from it, having not drawn it as a tactical objective this turn!

The dropped Dreadnought slowly whittles its way through the guardsmen on the right flank.

Suddenly, surprise Helbrutes! My cunning plan of having put a homing device on the Demolisher failed, as it was blown up before I had the opportunity to use it. A third Helbrute came down behind the Land Raider with the intention of running up behind it and punching it with a Thunder Hammer, but then the Manticore rocket deviated onto it and blew it to smithereens.

I think I deserved that.

(I blew up Bjorn at some point around here, so the battle wasn't a total disaster.)

The priest holds it together for the Guard on the right flank, but lacking close combat anti-tank, it's only a matter of time.

Oh, Njal Stormcaller has decided to visit. How nice.

And a Wolf-Storm-Thingy-Bird. And Arjac Rockfist and pals.

Well, that's one Helbrute wrecked. The Chimera will soon follow.

Blown to pieces! Quick, run away and throw a Helbrute at them!

Oh dear, that didn't work. Maybe throw the Guardsman in their way? Will that work?

The priest tries to keep going, but eventually, he runs out of guardsmen to feed into the blender, and his Rosarius finally fails him.

Arjac cuts down the company commander for his dealings with Chaos, and the vengeful remnants of his squad bear down on the few guardsmen left (briefly) alive on the table. It was soon all over...


Operation: Surprise Helbrute did remarkably well. Sadly, I was up against a list for whom they were a diversion rather than a serious problem. I couldn't bring enough heavy firepower to deal with a list made up of Terminators, Land Raiders and Dreadnoughts. More anti-tank is definitely needed.

Also, the Forge World Manticore rules are just plain better than the ones in the Codex. When I take a Manticore from now on, I'll be using them provided they're allowed in the setting I'm in. But probably not one for a casual game without warning, I will say!

Monday, 17 November 2014

Nothing of note

It's all pretty quiet here. I've now undercoated the preacher with the club in the above picture, and he's now going to go away into a box until I've finished painting some of the stuff that's already underway, or I need a nice quick paint job in a day or so to cheer me up.

The other three; preacher, enginseer and Culexus are all getting their basing done ahead of undercoating. They will also then go into storage until other projects are done.

There's no other photos at the moment, as most of my modelling time is being taken up by a kitbash secret Santa being done by some guys at my local store. There are strict rules about not giving away what you're working on - not even hints allowed! Posting "work in progress" pictures on the blog are a lot more than "hinting", so you'll have to remain in the dark on that!

I've also drawn up my "project list" page. The plan is to make each item on the list a link to its own page cover what that project is about, or with some more obvious ones (like Dreadfleet, for example), I may just set it up to link to the labels showing my progress on the project in question.

Anything in that list people are particularly curious about?

Thursday, 13 November 2014

An opportunity to take stock

This is the 250th post on my blog! With a month and a half to go until the end of the year, I thought this would be an excellent time to have a bit of a look as to how my hobby is going, both in the general sense, and also taking into account the painting targets I set myself at the start of the year.

What were my targets?
  • Not include models I'm selling in my tracking systems next year
  • Take part in the Independent Characters Hobby Progress Challenge
    Started but abandoned at the halfway mark, having failed the 1,000 points challenge
  • Finish the blasted Collodi crew
    Not yet done - but three models to base left
  • 500 point Warriors of Chaos Army
    Not even started
  • All of Salute 2012's purchases painted
    Not started
  • No new systems (Infinity, this means you) until I've fully painted one of my other skirmish games up
    Abject and catastrophic failure due to Operation: Icestorm
I've also set myself some mid year targets around sorting out all the things I am supposed to be doing for other people. I've got that list down to three things now.

That said, I've got a reasonable amount painted. There's only been one month so far when I haven't finished a project, and often I've gotten two or three things done.

Part of this is just to try and get disordered thoughts in my head down into writing - I suspect this isn't the most interesting thing for other people to read. But it's useful for my brain, so I'm doing it.

What should I do for the rest of the year?

It's really become clear to me that over-planning or queuing up too much work just leads to me missing targets and getting disappointed with myself. I also have a massive tendency of over-estimating what I'll get done in a particular time scale. I need to remember this if I ever consider taking up commission painting - I'd be completely terrible at it.

Right now, my painting table is a mess of a whole ton of "in progress" projects. I'm not going to finish them all this year, but really, my first priority is just getting them each to a stage where I can leave them and pick them up later. In short, I get myself to a place where I am not constantly trying to catch up with my own ill conceived plans. Instead, I should pick up a thing, do a thing, and put it down again. Probably with a side project to distract me if it's a big thing. Fourteen "in progress" projects is a recipe for disaster.

Neil Gaiman's "Make Good Art" speech talks about moving towards the mountain. Rather than trying to plan out my entire route, I'm instead going to simply remind myself of where I'm going. As part of my blogging, I'll be putting up a project page, linking to the various projects I have ongoing, with a list of things that need doing - be that my Imperial Guard, the new Infinity stuff I have, or whatever.

This means that I won't end up committing to, say, spending three or four months blitzing my Imperial Guard only to be super enthused about Infinity and constantly day dreaming about assembling them (as I currently am).

The few remaining "other people" projects will get done, along with a rather time sensitive "secret Santa" kit bash at my local store. That one will get no coverage on the blog as I need to keep secret what I'm doing, although I may post a Christmas picture of what I receive...

Hopefully, this new way of thinking about what I'm doing will help me get more done. There should be less regretting what I'm currently working on and more employing bursts of enthusiasm on whatever my 'flavour of the month' is at that particular moment. How could this possibly go wrong?

Monday, 10 November 2014

The End Times, Nostalgia and Oldhammer

I've been thinking a little bit about The End Times, the recent series of releases from Games Workshop for Warhammer Fantasy. I was really quite impressed with the return of Nagash and the boldness of so fundamentally changing the nature of the Warhammer World. From an academic point, I'm very impressed.

However, despite that, I'm not suddenly wanting to drop anything and buy a Fantasy army. Well, no more than the usual background levels of wanting to collect multiple armies for every system that exists, and I mostly have that under control now.

Why is that? I'm usually the world's biggest sucker for big changes in a system, and there would be a certain elegance to grabbing Nagash, a bunch of Tomb Kings and a Coven Throne and having great fun being a megalomaniac super-villain, complete with expendable minions and untrustworthy lieutenants.

My Fantasy interest has been low for a while - here's the current progress on my entire Fantasy army - what will become the champion of my first unit in a Warriors of Chaos army. He's been like that all year.

He even does have a back story - a decadent actor finds this creepy "costume", and discovers its a genuine suit of Chaos Armour that brings its own servants with it (founding the first unit of the army) and causing him to flee north to the wastes.

The early Realm of Chaos books had a lot of Chaos Champions making the journey north, primarily because the random tables allowed so many different races to become Champions that way. It was a common theme - from the Ignorant Armies anthology, and it even carries through to the relatively recent "Sigvald".

The Chaos Marauder tribes, as they stand now, are a development from the old "Norse", as Games Workshop moved further from the original historic ranges and towards its own developed IP. Interestingly, Glottkin's background has done the most to endear me to the Marauders by mentioning the northern Chaos worshipping farming communities which the Glott brothers originally come from, grounding them back a little further into low fantasy rather than high with a bit more plausibility.

Forest Goblin at Warhammerfest
From a staff member's collection

I have a massive Nostalgia (it deserves a capital) for Warhammer Fantasy 3rd Edition - the edition I never really got to play. I'd been collecting the books and planning an army for about two years when 4th edition came out and I used that as my entry into my first army. But I had that two years of daydreaming and planning still in my head.

One of my big inspirations was the Dark Elf army in a White Dwarf of the time - a Google search tells me it's probably White Dwarf 144. It gave the background of the leader being a minor noble with his retinue and raised troops, looking to advance himself politically. I had Mighty Empires - I absolutely wanted to run a grand and massive campaign, tracking every detail of every army, and to not go mad doing it.

The key to these pre-adolescent unachievable dreams (which I fully intend to fulfil at some point during a scheduled mid life crisis) was that the Warhammer World itself would remain broadly unchanged by the campaign, thus keeping it believable for me. I didn't want to see the Emperor wounded to near death at every Saturday night game only to come back fine the following week - I wanted to tell my own stories.

In some ways, I suspect this is why I've drifted to Warhammer 40,000. The Emperor is going absolutely nowhere, and the massive scale of the game means that I can easily have entire armies and planets wiped out in my games and it still remains believable as not changing the overall background - billions die every day.

Photo courtesy of thenickeninja - used with permission
Obviously, I'm not going to jump into getting an Oldhammer army straight away. It's a big investment of time and money, almost certainly involves metal models, and by my reckoning, I'd probably get a game in once every other year. Don't get me wrong, it is definitely a Thing I Want to Do, but that is not a now thing.

In particular, if I was going Oldhammer and had irresponsible amounts of time and money, I'd be going for an old school Orc and Goblin force, going to people like Otherworld and Foundry for a massive, eclectic and all metal force. Each regiment would then be a different Orc tribe, with massive differences in physiology and appearance.

I also saw the amazing Chaos Dwarf conversions by thenickeninja on his blog. These are apparently super easy, using Hammerer bodies, Chaos Warrior arms and heads. That tempts me to pick up the Tamurkhan book to allow me a small Chaos Dwarf force with my Warriors of Chaos force.

These are massive projects which are running around my head, and I just don't have the time or money to do them at the moment. What I am likely to do is start up a little projects page on the blog, covering both my existing projects and potential future projects. This means I'd be able to get all my links and inspiration photos in an easy to find place for me later, and also let people see the sort of things I'm thinking about.

So really, what it comes down to is that my main interest isn't really in special characters in Warhammer Fantasy because I want to be telling my own stories with the army, and the special characters are often in too "serious" battles which decide the fates of countries, and that breaks the narrative of the game for me.

Longer term, the Orcs and Goblins are still tempting, but for now, Warriors of Chaos and perhaps some plastic kit-bashed Chaos Dwarves are the order of the day. The WoC are very much on a "one in, one out" policy, so there won't be any new purchases in the army until the models I already own are painted.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Updated Trade Page

I've updated my trade page with both stuff I'm looking for and stuff I have I'm willing to trade.

If you do see anything here you want, drop me a quick line and I'll be happy to sort something out. I'm not doing anything with any of them, so with a couple of exceptions, it won't be too hard to take them off my hands.

Monday, 3 November 2014

A bit of a quiet one - throwing some paint on a Goblin Aid Pirate

Most of my hobby time this week has been taken up with trying to clear several feet of detritus off the dining table before my wife does something unfortunate to either me or my model collection...

However, I have learnt that stopping painting entirely is bad for the skills, so I've cracked on with another quick and simple model I've had sitting about the desk for a while. He's still in progress, but here he is!

This is a Goblin Aid Pirate Goblin. It was sculpted by Stuart Powley of Slap Miniatures for Goblin Aid, and this one was produced by Ral Partha Europe as part of the Goblin Aid campaign. You can now get it through Slap Miniatures between now and Christmas as a freebie with other bits and pieces!

I've had a bit of a browse through the Slap Minis site, and there's a few things that interest me - the Skauweg would be awesome for some sort of baddie for Sci Fi or Fantasy skirmish games. I'm less convinced by a lot of the people in the range, but there's one or two that I might pick up if I was putting in an order. It's certainly worth a look, particular if you like the older styles.

Painting wise, I don't want to do anything too complicated with this chap - he's meant to be a nice quick and simple job to keep me entertained in between more complex projects. However, I have a few things I'm considering. The first is whether to highlight up to yellow on his skin, while the second is to make the end of his nose red and blend it back - I think that's a "one or the other" job, I don't think he'd take both. Finally, there's a serious temptation to make his trousers stripy, but that is really pushing my definition of a "quick and simple job". What do people think?

Monday, 27 October 2014

Breaking Painter's Block: Anvil Industry Werewolf

People may have noticed that recently I've not been posting much of my painting progress. Well, that's because there really hasn't been any! I've been suffering from a bad case of painter's block, and wasn't really sure how to fix it.

In the end, I realised that I've hardly ever bought a new thing and painted it straight away - I end up never really using my "new toy" enthusiasm with my painting - instead trying to slog through older purchases where the shine may have worn off.

So, during my Friday lunch break at work, I popped onto the Anvil Industry website and ordered their Halloween special Werewolf. Saturday morning, I woke up to find him on my door mat. The plan was to assemble and base him on Saturday, and paint him on Sunday. No fancy display jobs - just a quick tabletop quality job.

Here he is! The tail had come off the sprue, but wasn't damaged because of it. Anvil have this clever trick where they use the base slot as the main casting sprue, with basing items (usually ruins) to make other joins where necessary.

I wasn't sure if Anvil Resin needed washing, but I washed it anyway like a good paranoid person. It was around this point I realised that the basing piece for this wasn't rubble, but a severed arm! I'm also looking to try and up my game with basing, so added a few rocks from one of the various GW basing kits I have kicking around for the resin bits (most expensive grit you'll ever own).

Then I used a mix of Vallejo Coarse Pumice (the see through stuff) and Sandy Paste. It hadn't occurred to me to mix them both, but then I saw that Legion of Plastic was using both on the same base, and given he's a certified modelling genius, I decided to blindly and badly copy him to see if I thought it looked cool.

Here you can see how I patched rock, the larger grain "Coarse Pumice" and the finer "Sandy Paste".

And then I painted him. I could show you a few of the work in progress painting pictures, but they're ultimately not very interesting. I ended up doing the basing sand first thing on Sunday morning, but otherwise kept to the planned schedule. For a bit of fun, I had some blood running down the side of the base from the severed arm.

I definitely like how the base turned out, and I'll be doing a few more of my bases this way. It also made me realise quite how much my painting skills have slipped in a month and a bit of not painting!

I can already see four or five areas where there's over-painting or things I could touch up, but I'm not going to go back to him now. He's served his purpose - I'm excited and motivated to paint some other things. I've also learnt to try and get a little done every day to keep my skills up / improving. Although, while I say that, I have a lot of preparation and assembly to do at the moment...

Monday, 20 October 2014

Battle Report: Astra Militarum vs. Grey Knights, 1500 pts

Shortly after the release of the new Grey Knight Codex, my regular opponent and part time nemesis ClauseIV1918 and I arranged to get in a 1,500 point game so he could get the hang of the new Codex.

I wasn't running anything hugely unusual in my list, as I try to only change a few small things at a time rather than making huge changes all at once.

The big change was the Colossus Bombard, but it ended up not being a massive deal on the grounds of the Grey Knights mostly rocking Terminator armour, and thus not minding it all that much! Still, I got the "new unit failure" out of the way, so hopefully it will now be awesome from now on!

The two teleporting Dreadknights decided to hang out behind the bastion until they were ready to go. Meanwhile the allied Inquisitor and plasma-cannon wielding Servitors parked up their Chimera.

The obligatory Servo skulls littered the landscape to help the massive pile of reserved Terminators to come in by deep strike.

I rushed forward with the Hellhound - I knew it was probably toast either way, but thought it worth risking to remove as many Servo Skulls as I could. The right flank, realising that everyone was over on the left, started running over to try and be some use in the fight, keeping the command Chimera neatly wrapped up to protect from those pesky Deep Strikers.

Mr Draigo and his buddies then rocked up to blow stuff up.

I think my Astropath had been lucky enough to roll Invisibility, but I forget.

Some Terminators had planned to land here, but the newly lacking servo skull and my opponent proving that his dice are cursed again resulted in them missing by quite a distance.

I was inordinately happy for my Demolisher to see a "target rich environment"...

Not very surprising Surprise Dreadknight No. 1...

And not very surprising Surprise Dreadknight No. 2...

The Hellhound was badly beaten up, but not dead!. The Terminators all elected to run to spread out rather than shoot things themselves and tempt the Demolisher...

The Hellhound didn't last, though - and with it wrecked, the Dreadknight went on to find other victims.

Spread out - but not spread out enough! One of the Terminator squads evaporated as they were caught in a direct hit by the Demolisher.

The survivors were keen to do something about the Command Squad, however.

The conscripts advanced to tie up Draigo and keep him out of my hair...

The obvious place to deep strike resulted in a bit of a mishap... The remainder of the Librarian's squad was brought down by weight of fire.

While Draigo discovered that Conscripts in numbers (especially with Divination and Orders) can be really dangerous. Doubly so if your player has a bad tendency of rolling 1s for armour saves...

The Dreadknight, meanwhile, punched the Colossus to death to make sure it's "first game bad luck" was properly expunged...

All it had managed to do was knock a couple of hull points off a Chimera. Meanwhile, the mishapped squad of Terminators had a long walk ahead of them...

Slowly but surely, one of the Dreadknights was getting its wounds run down...

But the left flank hadn't simply collapsed - it wasn't even there any more!

Kaldor Draigo stared defiantly at the conscripts before being gunned down by massed lasgun fire. If anyone was curious about the historical animosity between the Grey Knights and my Imperial Guard, it's this sort of thing that adds fuel to the fire!

The (air) cavalry arrive.

The Veterans inconveniently fail to kill the Dreadknight...

He seems really keen to avoid getting into close combat with a squad which is all armed with melta bombs...

With the game nearly over, the command squad gun the engines and run off to the enemy deployment zone for Linebreaker, but I've just lost too many units (we'd rolled kill points), and the game goes to the Grey Knights!