Monday 29 October 2012

Starting to learn 6th edition (and teaching the wife)

So, I finally finished the housework which earned me my copy of the 6th edition rulebook!

I was then somewhat surprised to have my wife ask me to teach her how to play 40K, as she's going to be playing the Dark Eldar we picked up at one of the Eavy Metal painting Masterclasses at an Apocalypse game at Darksphere on 25 November.

So, a short bit of maths later, Sim had a list of 400 points of Dark Eldar. It consisted of two squads of Wyches with an assortment of upgrades, and that was the lot! She seemed happy with that, though.

I picked a quick 400 points of Guard to face her. I took an infantry platoon, with the PCS having all the melta guns, and a Chimera as a ride. The two squads got autocannons and melta guns. I threw in the recently painted conscripts because they were just finished, and rounded it off with three Ratlings.

So, this in mind, we set up the terrain!


OK, remind me to really move "terrain building" up the priority list. Yes, we're using a passing Doomwheel as wreckage. The mobile phone box is a building, the old Necromunda card barricades are . . . barricades, the pond is a pond, and the failed sample arm warmer some difficult ground that doesn't provide cover.

I suggested using the recon mission thing from the book, but Sim said she'd far rather just have us try and kill each other first game and she could move onto such complicated things as "objectives" later...

We rolled off and I deployed first.

My Conscripts are off to the left, the two infantry squads to the right, Chimera in the centre with the command squad in it.

Sim deploys her squads opposite, with the special weapons at the back with me having explained "casualties start at the front".

She then has the opportunity to seize the initiative.


I get my Ratlings set up on the roof of the building, and the Dark Eldar start running towards me as fast as they can...

Sim then remembered she'd taken the chaos star from the gamer's edition of the 40K rulebook, and went and grabbed her beret.

The conscripts then let off a spectacular volley of fire at the Wyches, which even with the failed "First Rank, Fire" order left Sim's numbers looking remarkably thin!

To the right, they faired better due to the amount of cover available, and my inability to roll anything useful whatsoever!

On my left, the surviving three Wyches ran into the Chimera, blew it to pieces with Haywire grenades, then ducked behind the barricade to the left. I charged in response, with a melta gun nearly taking out the squad leader, but they "accidentally" pushed one of their colleagues in the way instead.

Surely this looks bad for the Dark Eldar, you say...
I also bravely decided to take a chance at charging on the right, hoping that weight of numbers would see me through.

This was, I think, a terrible mistake.

Yup, I was right, terrible mistake.

On the left, they hacked down two of the Lieutenant's bodyguards, causing the conscripts to panic and flee.

Now realising that being outside was very dangerous with the Imperial Guard's weight of fire, the Wyches decided to run into the building before butchering the Ratlings the following turn.

The combat on the left remained pretty much equal for now, with only ridiculously jammy rolling of saving throws saving the day for me.

"Then I rolled three sixes and a five!"
On the right, my Ratlings decided jumping off the building was safer than staying in it. One of them proceeded to break his leg jumping off the roof and passed out with pain. The remaining infantry squad ran up to the building, and the melta gunner loosed off a shot . . . causing a massive explosion. All the Dark Eldar died, both surviving Ratlings died, and two of the remaining infantry squad near the building were killed in the explosion.

So, erm, building damage tables are much scarier than they used to be!

On the left, the two surviving Wyches killed off my command squad, then charged into the conscripts on their turn!

The Wyches neatly take them to pieces (I forgot to Overwatch) - they kill one and the conscripts flee a second time, but this time their officer is not holding the killer gladiators off, and they are cut down to a man!

There's not much more to report, beyond that they proceeded to run across the table to the few surviving infantrymen, and cut them all down with no further losses, even though I remembered Overwatch by then!

Imperial Guard to the right are the casualty pile spreading out onto the table.
Chimera is wrecked. They're all dead, Dave.
Well, wife is rightly pleased with her first game of Warhammer 40K ever, and my first (completed) game of 6th edition! I may post a few thoughts on this later, but for now I shall go and wallow in my extensive and terrible defeat!

Monday 22 October 2012

A simple experiment in basing

Historically, I suck at basing. Like, a ridiculous amount. I haven't really done any basing since the old "sand and goblin green" days, apart from just desperately gluing some sand onto my Tallarn for a tournament, and a disaster with some clan rats that I don't like to talk about.

So, I decided to experiment with some Stuff to see what I could do.

After a bit of digging around my wife's painting stash, I 'liberated' a pot of Games Workshop Astrogranite and a pot of Model Colour Sandy Paste.

The Sandy Paste smells funny.

For the purposes of my experiment, I chose my recently finished conscripts, on the grounds that I don't care particularly strongly about the cannon fodder...

It also meant they'd stop looking like they came from a very flat iceworld where there'd been some paint spillages!

As a first step, I painted a smooth coat of Iyanden Darksun onto the bases. The wife advises that this was completely unnecessary, but it gave me something smooth and neat to work on.

I then put a few daubs of Astrogranite onto each base, one or two per miniature. The idea here was that the Astrogranite texture is much thicker than the Sandy Paste, so it would break up the base a tiny amount without being obvious.

I then painted around the Astrogranite with the Sandy Paste.

Once this was done, I repainted them all with another coat of Iyanden Darksun.

After a quick comparison between a coat of Nuln Oil and a coat of Devlan Mud, I decided I liked the Devlan Mud option more, so then washed in that - and was done!

I'm quite pleased with how they've turned out. They aren't works of art, but they are functional. I'm still undecided about the "using different textured paints" thing - I should have made some with just one or the other to compare to - but I'm certainly getting over my fear and hatred of basing in the meantime!

Thursday 18 October 2012

Painting event this Sunday: London, UK

As a reminder to my UK readers, there is a painting event at Darksphere in London on Sunday (21 October). Its running from 12pm to 5pm.

Some people from Platoon Britannica have said they will be there.

My wife says she's going.

I will also be there.

There is a map to the shop here.

It will either be at the shop itself, opposite the Eye and next to the Duck Tours, or it will be at the gaming space just up the road, between Chilli Chutney and Europcar (behind the bus stop).

I will be curious to see who arrives...

Monday 15 October 2012

Rules to live your (painting) life by

/begin topical wargaming reference
Anyone who says Nurgle is less powerful after the recent Codex release is completely and totally wrong if the plague going around my office and friends circle is anything to go by...
/end topical wargaming reference

I've mentioned before I have a bit of a system for keeping track of how my painting progress is going. Since I originally started the system, I've tried to come up with some rules to try and keep my painting mountain under control.

My wife had already instituted one;

This is a perfectly sensible solution in times of limited budget and space, but significant backlog. It means I have to save up for new cases and shelving in between saving up for miniatures, and means I actually attack the backlog.

Once I instituted my tracking spreadsheet, I realised that given I have months of work to complete, I really shouldn't be making the situation any worse, I instituted the next rule.
  • Don't finish the month with more work than you started with
This keeps my errant spending further in check, as otherwise I may buy two miniatures I intend on detailing up ridiculously and completely overshadow the ten odd gaming quality miniatures I finished that month...

I then started discovering that the spreadsheet I'd made didn't include lots of projects I'd forgotten about, or found while clearing up my study. As this is behaviour I want to encourage, I don't want to penalise to motivate me to paint more by limiting spending if I tidy old boxes...

So, now I have a reserve project list. Each single model, unit or thing counts as a project. I can add projects at the start of a month, but it must be replacing an existing closed project. There are, honestly, more projects than I will probably ever complete on the spreadsheet already, so coming up with cool new ideas for projects is not going to be very helpful. It also helps encourage me finishing off that last bit of basing or touching up to finish up a project or job.
  • Don't add projects to your work in progress - adding to the work in progress from stuff you've found or been given can only happen once you've completed a project, and only happens at the start of a month
If stuff sits around and is not on the spreadsheet, I will get nagged to ebay it. This is probably not unreasonable!

I am sure my rules will get added to over time, and probably to the point of over-complication to the point where they are of no use or interest to anyone else. But I must be careful not to turn into the Arnold Judas Rimmer of the gaming community and spend all my time writing spreadsheets for painting and modelling projects I never actually do...

Monday 8 October 2012

Slow progress, step by step...

Back in one of my blog posts in September, I set myself some goals, with the expectation of utter failure. How well did I do?

"- Finish off Imperial Guard Conscript Squad"
They are now, surprisingly, completely painted. I'm working on the basing now. Once that's done, I may post some more pictures, but there's not enough yet to justify that since the last ones where they were unbased.

"- Finish preparation of a wizard for Sim"
Done and handed over. He's now on her painting desk!

"- Assemble Malifaux Crew"
Collodi still needs some work. Pinning his hands is slow, time consuming work I need to be awake for. All four Marionettes and all three Wicked Dolls are now assembled and undercoated. I plan to take them to Darksphere on Tuesday to start painting them.

"- Find some better backdrops for photographing models"
Nope, I got nothing. Its probably something to talk over with Sim.

I'm also progressing pretty well with sorting out my study. Its down to the last few pieces to go before its clear. I'm thinking of moving my computer around the corner, at Sim's suggestion. This should leave a bunch more space.

In my defence, the two cardboard boxes in the corner belong to my wife
So, what am I trying to get done this month?

Well, I set myself down the goal of progress in each of the "categories" I use on my tracking spreadsheet, which are; "Imperial Guard", "Malifaux", "Grey Knights", "Ad hoc projects" and "Scenery".

I'm also aiming to get the Malifaux Collodi crew painted, if not based, and my friend's Herald of Tzeentch at least undercoated and ready for paint.

So far, the Imperial Guard progress is looking good, with me hoping to have the conscripts basing finished soon. Malifaux is also going well. I've not done anything for the Grey Knights yet, but I will probably pick up the assembly of my Vindicare once I'm done assembling Collodi. I've not started on the Herald yet, but I have dug out the Sarissa Precision boxes so I can work out what to do with them.

I'm also looking really thoughtfully at the two kit bashing projects I have lined up as I would love to get them done and documented for the blog.

I aim to be down at Darksphere on Tuesday for the regular painting night. I also intend to go to the painting day they are holding on 21 October. Some of Platoon Britannica have also said they will be there, so between them and my darling wife there will be plenty of folk about who you can ask about techniques or other painting related questions.

Thursday 4 October 2012

A blogger looking for followers

There seems to be an individual on the internet who wishes their blog to have more followers, to the point of offering tokens which might be exchanged for miniatures.

His post making this offer is here:

I offer no recommendation beyond their excellent taste in bribes, but I'm sure you'll find something interesting there!

Monday 1 October 2012

Some actual progress

I'm pleased to say that I have some actual progress to report for once, rather than another set of flimsy excuses as to why nothing is done!

I have completed assembling an empire battle wizard for Sim to paint. He's now undercoated and passed over to her.

I've also got all of the painting done on my conscripts! For proof, see here:

I'm holding off on doing their bases until I've finished sorting out the preparation for my next painting, as I don't like taking basing stuff with me to Darksphere - I think it's too messy.

My next project is the Collodi boxed set for Malifaux, so I can start playing that. The Marionettes are prepped and undercoated. I plan on starting on the Wicked Dolls shortly...

Here are the Marionettes. You may notice I've done a black undercoat with some oddness with a white spray. I'm trying something called "Xenithal" painting, specifically with the undercoat - which meant doing a white spray from directly above the miniature. You may notice the second miniature from the left is still mostly black - that's because he was blu-tacked on at a slight angle leaning forwards - so his back is a lot whiter than the front. I'm going to leave that be and see how that affects the paint job - I can always fix it later.

I am being reminded how much I've been spoiled by Games Workshop in terms of miniature assembly and prep. Collodi's arms / hands are a screaming nightmare of awful, which isn't helped by the fact that this is the first time I've pinned anything ever (and boy, does he need it). Two of the Marionettes are dancing at odd angles on one leg and the flimsy leg they are standing on bends incredibly easily!

I'm also having a huge amount of indecision around the crew basing. I mean, they can stay on their 30mm round bases they came on for a while, but I wanted to experiment with something a little special, and I'm having some indecision between two contenders. I'm going to think on it, but here's the challengers;

Black Cat Bases

Secret Weapon Miniatures
The Black Cat bases are inserts for the existing bases, and made out of metal. I really like the planks of wood thing they have going on.

Secret Weapon miniatures' bases are all resin, and have a base lip to allow you to fill them up with swampy water effect once you've added your miniatures.

The price is comparable for the two, but I'm really stuck as to which ones to go for...