Thursday, 22 December 2011

State of the Game - Infinity (Part One)

I've talked about Infinity a few times and you've seen posts about the models I'm very slowly painting for it.  You might also have gotten the feeling that I'm a little bit opposed to the game, which is not the case at all.  While I tend to react to the "BEST. GAME. EVAR." praise that gets thrown around, I do like the game a great deal.

So here's my attempt to give you a run down of how I see Infinity.  I'll probably put this out as a few short articles to try and give a balance of points, then move on to other gaming systems I play.  These will be fairly opinionated, but maybe they'll help someone looking at a new system make better decisions.  They'll also be very high-level, as I could write a complete article on each point but I'd not be finished until half way through next year.  Expect not in-depth reviews, but rather what I would bring up if a new club member asked me "What do you think of game X?"

We'll start with the best parts of Infinity.
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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Moderators WIP 2: Grey and Violet

More in progress shots of Grey and Violet, my first two painted Moderators for my Bakunin force.  I shall attempt to excuse myself by pointing out that I play Necrons and Space Marines - I don't have to paint flesh or faces, ever (no super-soldier would ever leave his helmet at home) so this was my first real painting experience with these things in a long, long time.  Excuses aside, let's see the shots.

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Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Deathmarks Vs Immortals

I love the look of the Deathmarks - when the pictures of the models were first leaked I'm on record as saying "No matter how bad they are, I'm getting them into a list".  Then I made my lists (and assembled my Immortal/Deathmark kits) and there was nary a Deathmark in sight.  Was I wrong?  Let's take a look with the help of some wonderful mathhammer!
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Monday, 28 November 2011

Necrons: Post Battle Analysis

I've played just over half a dozen games with the new Necrons now and am starting to get a feel for how they operate, at least for me.  They've surprised me in a few ways and an old friend and I have had our relationship come to a rocky end.
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Thursday, 24 November 2011

Charity, The Tomb World and the Necrons

Things have been very busy (personally, professionally and hobby-i-lly?) in the Geneseed world recently so as a quick update here's what's going on and what you can expect to see full articles on:
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Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Why I Buy Games Workshop Stuff From Games Workshop

This is going to seem like a bit of an odd one, especially given my recent article praising Maelstrom Games, but bear with me.  When I buy Games Workshop stuff I buy it from my local Games Workshop despite having to miss out on at least fifteen percent discount from the independent retailers.  Buying my haul of Necrons this last weekend means that this meant I missed out on about two "free" units I could have had.  Consumers act in their best interests, so why did I do this?
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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Necrons: First Thoughts

This is a very quick summary of what I think of each unit from a gaming perspective.  It's by no means in depth and will miss clever tricks.  I'm also not going into the Special Characters for now.

Overlord - Competent HQ choice.  Same as before but I2.  Phase shifter is way expensive.  Command Barge and Warscythe ("Overmissile") seems the obvious choice.

Destroyer Lord - No Invulnerable save is going to hurt him, but you're most likely taking him to keep a Ressurection Orb nearby fast moving units.  Does this well and is as close to a combat character as we get.

Royal Court - Lords are a bit meh (they won't save you in CC), but can carry Ressurection Orbs.  Crypteks are the stars of the show, with Destruction Crypteks looking like the obvious choice against most opponents.
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Thursday, 3 November 2011

WIP: Nomad Moderators (Gray and Violet)

I had set out to finish my first Moderator tonight, but after putting my little man to bed and a generally tough night my concentration wasn't quite up to the job.  I got quite a bit done, but he's still nowhere near finished.  Once it got too tough to focus on him, I switched to a female Moderator and did the basic colours.  My brush work really was all over the place (there's a significant part of her face missing!), but at least the colour scheme came out well.
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Wednesday, 2 November 2011

"Let's Paint! White Scars" Review

A while back I watched a lot of YouTube videos from AG Productions's channel (link).  I really like Christopher Davidson's frank videos, and his home-produced-but-polished style appeals to me.  After watching his thoughts on a painting DVD I'd seen advertised over on Maelstrom, I thought I'd purchase one of his (significantly cheaper) DVDs and take a look.

Let's Paint: White Scars
I've never painted white on a model.  Well, that's technically a lie - I had a High Elf army when I was twelve that was partly white but that was just the spray coat.  I was considering painting my Nomads with a white scheme and wanted some ideas on how to go about this, especially a blue-white rather than a grey-white colour.

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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Taking the Sheen Off Infinity

Or "How to Make Yourself Unpopular".

I love Infinity.  It scratches an itch that has gone untreated since the days of playing Necromunda as a kid.  It plays out pretty well and can lead to some really interesting games.  It's well balanced, at least on the surface, though a lot of this is through the vulnerability of the units.  If you listened to some people though, you'd think it was the bestest thing ever.  It isn't, it has its flaws and you need to be aware of them if you're considering buying into it.  In the interest of education, here's my take...

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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Nomad Moderator Colour Test

Just a quick one this, to get opinions on the colour choice.  The painting isn't up to scratch, but enough to get a feel for the overall model.  Not all the colours are in, and there's no shading at all.

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Sunday, 23 October 2011

"Quick, Hide!": How to Deal with Alpha Strike Guard

So, on Friday I was at Warlords (as usual) and got absolutely crushed by an Alpha Strike Imperial Guard list.  I know what I did wrong, but I was rushing and wasn't thinking straight, so here's a run-down of what I did and what I should have done.

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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Airbrushing 101: Flow Regulator

This is more than a little embarrassing.  See, now I've been airbrushing the basecoat on something like four or five dozen models now.  I've done a pretty good job.  There's a couple of Chimeras I got the paint:water ratio wrong on, but we won't speak of that.  But it's always bothered me that I had to keep stopping to wait for the compressor to catch up.

The Flow Regulator
This, ladies and gentlemen, is a "flow regulator".  It's purpose is to reduce the pressure of the air from the tank to something you want to work with.  Pressure inside my tank is about 60 PSI and that comes out the airbrush pretty damn fast.  Causes a fair bit of over-spray but does the job.  Problem is that it empties the tank very quickly which causes the compressor to run a lot.  It also causes paint to 'bounce' off the model causing over-spray and flying models.

This is all because I had the regulator set wrong.  In my defence, I hadn't set it at all.  Turning the valve to the left (loosening it) causes the pressure on the gauge to drop.  You want about 20-25 PSI for airbrushing models without blowing them out your hands and you'll probably find that (like me) your compressor can keep up that pressure all day without a problem (until it overheats, of course).

So that's my first useful tip for airbrushing:  Set your flow regulator and set it right - you should find 20-25 PSI about perfect for basecoat work. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Friday, 14 October 2011

Leaked Necron Images

Over on  
Go now. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Thursday, 13 October 2011

Maelstrom Games

This one is a bit of a gush, but I've had amazing service from these guys and I just wanted to put this out there.

Maelstrom are a UK-based independent that stocks most any wargame I give a monkey's about.  Now, they aren't the biggest store around, but the service I have received from these guys has been absolutely top notch.  They carry a staggering range of products which is both a blessing and a curse (stop taking my money!) and are always my first stop for non-GW purchases (though if I'm buying a bulk load of GW stuff I also often use Maelstrom for it, I just like to support my local GW with little purchases).  Here's a little list of what they've done for me recently:

Model gone missing in the post - Sorry for that, here's a new one (didn't have to bug them at all).
Model out of stock - Split the order and dispatch stuff separately for free.
Need more information on a model or just a general question - Quick, friendly response within minutes.

Nothing helps make an impulse purchase easier than knowing these guys will handle any problem very quickly. Then there's the minimum 10% discount over the RRP and the frequent promotions that knock that discount even higher.  Oh, and free postage.  They've also got gaming halls in hallowed Nottingham (where you can play any game you want) along with their bricks and mortar store.  Oh, and they've got a little loyalty moneyback thing too.

When it comes to making me happy in my wargaming purchasing, friendly customer service goes a long way.

So here's to Maelstrom Games, keep it up guys! Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Wednesday, 12 October 2011

To The Docking Bay!

My Sorylian Collective fleet for Firestorm Armada arrived the other day, so here's a quick run down of the starter fleet.

You get six of these little guys...
Little ships that are used to harass in greater numbers or form defensive screens around your bigger ships.  You've seen a fleet-based sci-fi, you know the drill.  These are one piece resin with a metal engine cap, which needed some filing of the resin at the back to actually fit (on all the models).  Nothing strenuous and it glued very easily.  I must say, I'm really not fond of those huge engine caps jutting out from the body of the ship.

Three of these middleweights...
Cruisers are your middle-weights.  Mostly they're poor stand-ins for the big fish, but the newer R&D Cruisers bring some very interesting support and combined arms strategies to the table.  The starter box ones are just the "medium" guys - big enough to take on the Battleships in groups, small enough to combat the frigates without wasting huge amounts of firepower.  These models are two-part resin (which was again really easy to pin and glue) and one part metal engine cap.  Again the engine cap overhangs the hull, but it doesn't look quite so bad on the Cruisers.

Oh yes, the big daddy.  Now this model I really like.  There's a lot of detail along even the smooth section of the hull, and the metal engine cap sits flush to the back of the hull.  A little metal bridge sits on top, but the hull itself is one big resin piece.  No clever assembly required here, folks!  After all those fiddly and sadistic Nomad models I found the ease of construction soothing.

I can't emphasise enough how much I like this model.  After my small complaints against the smaller ships, this ship really looks the part and suits its place as the centrepiece of the fleet.  I think I'll probably drill out the cannon holes / launch tubes to give a slightly better look to them (it's a shame to have them look flat with the detail around them).  Now, what colours to paint it?  Blue, obviously, possibly with an orange stripe?

I'm so predictable.

The Stands
Opps, knew it was a little too good to be true!  The plastic stands supplied with the models are (as always with these things) the downfall of the kit.  One of the shafts for my stands was missing completely, and another stand base snapped while getting the shaft into it.  When you're competing with the GW flying bases and you come off worse, you know you did something wrong.  Also, if you plan on transporting these anywhere you'll need to magnetise the stands - the smaller ships won't "sit" on the stand like the bigger ships will, so you'll either have to glue them and watch the stands snap in transit, drill deeper or magnetise.

And one big daddy.  Now that is a ship.
Not a deal breaker, but an annoying oversight that could have easily been fixed.  Still, awesome battleship. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Doubles Sept 2011, Part Three: Day Two

Day Two started out with a rush.  My fellow general and I had stayed up to watch the end of Van Helsing ("It can't be as bad as we remember?") and had overslept.  Overcaffeinated and under-rested we arrived on the battlefield to meet our opponents.

Oh, it's Steve and Al again.  What?  Come on, we drove all up here to play the guys we know?  Twice?  I think not...

Game Four: Eldar and Space Wolves
This was a fun little game.  I hope our opponents thought so!  The mission was to secure objectives and man-handle them back to the attacker's deployment zone.  Defenders just had to hold them, but only scored half as much for each objective.  We, once again, got to be the defenders as the scenario seemed to favour the attackers.  Except, only infantry can carry the objectives.  I don't have any infantry, and the 517th is an Imperial Guard army, so it would have been safe to say that we would have been in a lot of trouble as the attackers.

The early game consisted mostly of dancing around and trying to withstand the Eldar firepower.  Fairly easy, most of it fell off the bikes without much trouble and my Speeders were left to sow havoc amongst the lightly-armoured Eldar skimmers.  Then came the Harliquins.  I should've known not to engage them - if things had gone differently it would've been fair to say we'd have lost the battle.  Engage them, however, I did.  My Captain and his retinue prevailed after several turns of pointy-eared carnage quite a bit worse for wear, but still ticking and surrounded by stationary Eldar skimmers just asking for a good krak grenade.  I vaguely paid attention to the Space Wolves vs Imperial Guard fight going on at the other end of the table: taking care of MEQ problems is what the 517th does.

Shout-out for the cool wave lines on the Tanks.  Nice.
The late game started to worry us.  We had hoped to keep all the objectives out of the deployment zone, and that we'd done.  All would-be couriers of objectives ended up either bogged down in difficult terrain or were stranded and then set alight by Speeder fire.  This had left us overstretched in maintaining control of other objectives and the Space Wolves attempted to capitalise on this to force a draw.  With Space Wolves within charge range of our solitary objective I did a horrible thing - upon suffering a lost bike to melta fire from the Space Wolves I voluntarily (Combat Tactics, ho!) failed the moral test and fled off the table.  We no longer held the objective with that squad, but the Space Wolves could no longer get within contest range.  A second bike squad turbo-boosted up to a second objective in our final turn (defenders went last, again) and managed to win us the match.

A good game, and got the day off to the right start with some friendly opponents.  Two wins and two loses.  Maybe we can come out of this respectably after all.

Game Five: Blood Angels and Space Marines
Breakout.  They're all jump-pack equipped, they have fast vehicles, and we're playing breakout.  Oh, joy.  Turns out the same thing was going through their minds - "Look at all those bikes!  They'll be off the table before we can stop them.".  They won the roll and chose Attackers, attempting to break through our lines and off the board.  My poker face was slipping at this point, that's exactly what I'd realised we wanted.

Early game objectives were simple.  Take out the fast tanks, cripple the jumpers as best as possible and give the Death Company the run around with skimmers.  The foot-slogging Space Marines could wait.  They'd have to cross the open ground eventually and the battle cannons would soon make short work of them.  Surprisingly things went mostly to plan.  Meltas melted, flamers flamed and we managed to cripple most of the initial push early.  My Captain threw himself to his death on turn two to pull a Blood Angel squad further back into their half, and took more than a few Blood Angels with him.  The short range on the Vindicators really hindered the Space Marine army's firepower and other than a few lucky shots with small arms fire, were fairly unimpressive.

See that?  That's panic.
End game was a mop-up operation.  We were panicking with all the Blood Angels almost at the board edge, but it turned out we were in a far stronger position than it appeared.  Battle Cannons once again proved the bane of any MEQ in the open, while the Speeders continued to hassle armour and annoy characters.  The bikers kept out of assault range and pummelled squads with bolter/melta fire.  It went very well and even before the final turn it was obvious that our opponents could not push fast enough off the board.  I had spent my forces blunting the initial rush, but the ever-dependable Imperial Guard were there to hold the line, and hold it they did.

This was a great game, against very friendly opponents who even were really enjoyable to play with.  A perfect game to end the event on.


Game five also left us with this great photograph.  The die just stopped in the middle of the field like that. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Shadow In The Warp

More of an editorial this one, so my apologies in advance.

The Shadow In The Warp or The Great Rumour Blackout

Click for original
It's no secret that I am not as opposed to Games Workshop as most of the veterans.  I still love their product and can ignore their failings as long as the general spirit remains alive.  I enjoy collecting, painting and playing with their products and I don't see this changing any time soon.  However, they've recently been costing themselves some of my disposable income that was rightly theirs.  

First, some background:

Games Workshop, upon noticing that sales for given miniatures dropped off once the 'tubes had leaked that a model was being redone or changed, decided that such a situation was bad for business.  They needed to avoid this lull in sales whenever they were about to release a new kit.  So, they decided that the best way to combat this was to lockdown on those who were leaking this information - stem the flow and the consumer base would continue to buy the soon-obsolete kits in ignorance.

I think this was a poor decision.  I'll overlook the view of consumers as herds to be carefully shepherded into purchasing soon-to-be-useless kits and focus on the way it affects my purchasing decisions.  I want to build my Necron army.  I have for ages.  However, they are being redone (maybe) some time soon.  So whenever I had a spare £25 or £50 I would pop into Games Workshop, ponder over some metal men and then remember that the model could be useless very soon.  Games Workshop are hoping I will purchase something else, or be too blind to notice the independents reducing stock of Necrons and keep purchasing.

It doesn't work that way for me.  I want to buy Necrons.  I didn't walk in there for another Rhino, or a Space Marine Captain.  I wanted Necrons.  So, when my impulse purchase is blocked, I go elsewhere.  I've dropped most of my impulse money on Nomands for Infinity recently.  I wanted to buy Necrons, but I'm not disciplined enough to save, so I bought something that would instantly gratify.

What do I think Games Workshop should have done?  Let me know the Necrons are being redone, and drip-feed me information.  Give me a unit preview a month for 3/4 months before the release - they have a magazine they could use for exactly this purpose.  Show me that Immortals are now going to be a pretty solid army core, so I should save up £X for them.  Show me that there's new vehicle options, so I'm probably going to want to put aside a few quid to pick up one or two of those.  Build my anticipation, but give me a thing to lust after rather than just hoping I'll save money on the off chance Necrons come out.  Whip up some hype, and then reap it at the right moment, and watch me drop £100's on the new shiny plastic in one go.  Or don't, and watch that money go to other companies while I wait for a solid rumour to escape the blackout.

Right now, they're just costing themselves my impulse-purchase money.  Give me something to look at, give me something to save for, Games Workshop, and it's yours again.  Just don't expect me to wait on you for something you won't even announce.
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Friday, 23 September 2011

Doubles Sept 2011, Part Two: Day One

Day one kicked off with a hearty breakfast, and old tales of burning French breakfast materials and inquisitive waitresses.  We arrived without incident at the hallowed halls of GW and set about our grisly work.  Turns out that work would first be against a rather strange match-up:

Game One: Deathwing and... Tyranids?
Yep, Dark Angels 1st Company and some of the NomNom monsters.  Not sure what sparked that coupling, but one I've heard thrown around a few times.  Deployment was easy ("As far away as we can get") and we had mobility on our side.  Unfortunately it was an objective game, and the one thing they had in droves was objective-squatting power.

The first few turns went pretty well.  Fast-moving bikers and speeders put wounds on the monstrous creatures and the 517th's tanks put holes in a lot of the Tyranid ground cover.  It quickly became obvious that we couldn't shift the Terminators though.  Even putting myself in Rapid Fire range was asking for a hammering, and I lost at least two bike units to this.  With the Tervigon out of the picture we were starting to have a chance.

The endgame consisted of us pulling tricks, trying to use our extra mobility to scoot around the slow Terminators and claim objectives.  We would've pulled it off too, if it wasn't for that pesky Trygon.  No, seriously.  The SpikyWormThing was way too fast to out manoeuvre, and I couldn't get my bikers around him to the objective.  A last-minute balls-of-steel tank shock by the 517th claimed us a draw on objectives, but we lost on Kill Points.

Marbo Vs Belial.  You bet your ass.
It was a close game, and left us with much heart to continue onto game two.  Our opponents for game one were sporting and friendly, setting up a really positive atmosphere for the rest of the day.

Game Two: Eldar and Dark Eldar
Oh, who is this?  Our game two opponents were actually two of our usual gaming companions.  We'd played this particular pair of pointy-ears during practise, using exactly the same scenario and with them being aggressors.  It didn't go well for us in practise.

The Emperor was protecting us this game though - nearly all the pointy-ear transports were wrecked or immobilised before turn three.  Lots of very nasty close-range units left to slog over open ground with the 517th's battle cannon shells falling all around.  We had a few upsets, including a wayward demolisher shell that cost us a scoring unit, but managed to keep the advantage from our early game luck.

The endgame saw a desperate run by the evil pointy-ears towards the centre objective, bravely held by one of the 517th's Chimeras.  By this point the Sanguine Swords had been reduced to an immobilised Land Speeder with only its Heavy Flamer to bring to bare.  A lone Eldar ranger had previously made a brave run over open ground, but the last of the Swords had put him out of the picture before being obliterated.  A few more volleys from the Leman Russ put the Dark Eldar down and we were able to claim victory on the central objective alone.

Game Three: Space Wolves and Blood Angels
Oh man this hurt.

Convoy, and we're defending.  Against three Vindicators, Space Wolves galore and Mephiston.  MEPHISTON.  By the Emprah he did a lot of damage.  We were in a bad way even before the end of turn one.  Side shots had put the hurt onto the 517th's armoured column, and several of my bikers had ended up in combat with the Blood Angel's psychic monster.  He promptly wiped my squad and my Captain off the board like they weren't even there.

Last turns saw us constantly on the defensive, we managed to eke out a few wounds here and there but mostly we were so broken from the initial wave that we couldn't recover.  We made the most of our mobility to stay away from the scary Blood Angels units while what was left of the 517th engaged the Space Wolves.  Given our early game pounding though we lacked the fire power to put too much of a dent in them, though we picked up some easy kill points from transports.

Mephiston was king of the field though.  Where he went death followed and there was little we could do to stop him.  If we'd been able to bring all of the 517th's Veterans to bare in the same turn, or focused all our bike firepower on him we might've stopped him, but with the wreckage of our tattered convoy it was beyond us to position all of our units in such a way as to put him down.

Damn Mephiston!

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Thursday, 15 September 2011

He Should Be Dead!

How often do you hear that in a game?  I don't think I can go a whole club session without hearing it, often with a dissatisfied tone.  Of course, they are wrong.  They are saying "I threw enough fire-power at that unit to ensure its destruction", when what they mean is "I threw enough fire-power at that unit to kill it, on average".  These two events are not the same.

Example:  How many bolter shots to kill a Marine, on average?

We hit two thirds of the time, so that's 1x0.66 = 0.66
We wound him half of the times we hit him, so 0.66x0.5 = 0.33
He saves two thirds of the time, so 0.33x0.33 = 0.11

1 Marine / 0.11 chance of a shot wounding him = ~9 shots, on average to kill him.

What most players don't grasp is that this is on average.  It does not mean nine shots kills a marine.  In fact, we can work out how likely he is to still be alive:

One shot has a 0.89 chance to be survived.
Two shots has a 0.79 chance to be survived.
Three shots has a 0.7 chance to be survived.
Nine shots has a 0.35 chance to be survived.

You can shoot him nine times, and over a third of the time he will walk away.

So, let's change our definition.  How much fire-power do we need to ensure his destruction?  We will assume that any event with a probability greater than 90% is a certainty for our purposes, after all you can't remove the dice from the game.

Example:  How many bolter shots to kill a marine, with better than 90% certainty?

We can work this out by continuing the maths from above.

Nine shots has a 0.35 chance to be survived.
... (0.89*0.89*0.89......*0.89)...
Twenty shots has a 0.097 chance to be survived.

Twenty shots!  Over twice as many as our "on average" set of shots.  See why nine shots isn't a "He should be dead" situation now?

What's the lesson here?  If you need a unit to die, assign at least twice as much fire power as necessary to kill it on average, and always be prepared for it to walk away.  Always anticipate failure and always have a plan B.

The dice can, and will, betray you. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Doubles Sept 2011, Part One: The Army

So, this is part one of my series on the Games Workshop Doubles Event in September 2011.  I teamed up with my Imperial Guard ally to take the Sanguine Swords 3rd Company and the 517th Cadian to war.  We did well, though you'll have to wait for the later parts to see how well.  For now, you just get a breakdown of the army.

Cadian 517th

The Cadian 517th consisted of:

  • Two Leman Russ Battle Tanks.
  • One Leman Russ Demolisher.
  • One Chimera with Command Squad, armed with four plasma guns.
  • One Chimera with Veteran Squad, armed with three melta guns.
  • Sly Marbo!
The Cadians provided our army's "anvil".  The high armour of the Imperial Guard vehicles let us take a pounding that Space Marine tanks cannot rival, and the ability to drop Str 8+ pie plates on the field would prove to be a massive boon.  The Cadians outlasted my Space Marines in pretty much every battle, but this was always their purpose, and they accounted for their fair share of damage.  Marbo provided much hilarity, and often caused the opponents to panic for a turn over a lone guardsman.

Sanguine Swords, 3rd Company

The Sanguine Swords 3rd Company consisted of:
  • Captain Cursus, riding a Bike and armed with a Relic Blade.
  • Two bike squads, armed with 2 melta guns and accompanied by a multi-melta attack bike.
  • Two Land Speeders, armed with multi meltas and heavy flamers.
The Swords provided our army's "hammer".  Able to re-deploy very quickly and deliver melta strikes into high-value targets, they were often engaged with the enemy from turn one.  They lacked the durability of the Cadians, but allowed me to funnel enemies into range or to destroy targets that would prove tough for our ranged attacks.  Cursus often sold his life dearly, but usually managed to cause enough trouble to allow our other units to perform without being tied up in close combat (except when he got Mephiston'd).

Tune in for part two, where I'll be going over our battles from day one, as well as potential fixes and outcomes for those battles.

In the mean time, I leave you with this photograph of the Commander of the 517th, deep in thought while crushing his enemies.

Or about to demo cannon some of my bikes.  Who can tell?

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Sunday, 4 September 2011

Preparing For Doubles 2011

ARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH! Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Friday, 15 July 2011


Over the past few months I've picked up a lot of new tools and tricks for painting.  The only thing I'm really missing at the moment is a relativistic paint room so that I can squeeze more time into the day.  So I thought for this quick post I'd go over a few things I've bought that have helped me improve.

Privateer Press' "Core Techniques" DVD
Now, this DVD isn't going to teach you established painters anything, but for me it was a really good purchase.  I knew most of the techniques covered, or at least I knew of them, but being able to watch the techniques put into practise on models I own was really useful.  It turned out more like a corrective DVD than a teaching one for me, confirming where I thought I was going wrong and demonstrating better ways to achieve the same effects.

If they get around to making a second DVD, I'll be one of the first in line.

Link to the DVD on Maelstrom here.

Ott-Lite's Portable LED Lamp
Purchased this off eBay for £20 when my previous lamp died.  Oh how I hated that old halogen lamp - it was hot, horrifically coloured and a complete pain to paint under.  My new Ott-Lite, however, is portable (it runs on 3xAAA batteries), omits a naturally-coloured light and produces almost no heat at all.  The Emperor be praised!

I know it might seem strange to celebrate a lamp in such a manner, but when you can't start painting until 8pm you soon learn to value a good light source.

Link to the eBay seller's page here.

Airbrush and Compressor Kit
I love this thing.  It is easily the most expensive item on this list, but even in a few uses I've fallen in love with it.  The kit comes with two dual-action airbrushes (one gravity-fed / syphon feed, the other syphon feed), a quieter-than-I-was-expecting air compressor with 3 litre tank, and the hose/regulator to put it all together.  It makes base-coating  a breeze and destroys the time needed to paint large models such as tanks.  Even on Space Marines it can strip an hour out of the job of painting each marine (big batches of base-coating are the way forward with the airbrush).

I'm really looking forward to trying out using the airbrush to blend the talons of my Trygon, but I must finish those 'gaunts first.  Really, really must before the Necrons arrive.

Link to the eBay seller's page here. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Full of Air

On your trip to the local GW, have you seen their Spray Gun?  Looks like a plastic hand-flamer and needs a can of propellant.  Don't buy it.  It's crap.  Seriously, you can have mine if you want it.

It eats propellant, has a hard time picking up the paint and when it does pick up the paint it throws it literally everywhere.  I managed to chew through about 2/3rds of a can of propellant and half a pot of Mordian Blue on one Rhino.  One!

It did, however, convince me that some form of airbrush / spray gun would be perfect for basecoating models.  So, I bought the bullet and eBay'd an airbrush kit complete with tank.  This didn't come cheap (just under £100), but considering the price of the GW propellant it'll quickly make itself back.  Tonight I gave it my first attempt.

Please note, the recommended method is not to hold the model in your fingertips while spraying, or at least to wear gloves.  That said, with the dual-action airbrush I was surprised how close you can get to the model while keeping the coat thin.

I managed to basecoat seven models in less than forty minutes, which is pretty damn fast for me, and the overall effect I'm very happy with.  This will make painting tanks and my new game board a lot easier, and will save me a lot of time painting my armies.

Oh, and it used less than 1/8th of a pot of paint on those seven models, and that's with a fair bit of test spraying into cardboard to get the hang of the dual-action trigger.

The results are below.

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Monday, 11 July 2011

The Obligatory Finecast Post

 Let's get this out of the way:  There's nothing wrong with it.  It's better than metal, but not as good as pure plastic.  Some detail is crisper, but as we're still using the old moulds it's hard to tell for sure.  It's more resilient and so lightweight that it's almost not there.

So, what's the advantage?  Assembly!  I've put together two Hive Tyrants in my time, one metal and one finecast.  The metal one took me two days of drilling, cleaning, pinning, gluing and praying.  In contrast I had the finecast one together in less than an hour, and it doesn't need pinning at all.  The arms on the photo are blu-tac'd onto the model.  Blu-tac!  I will happily pay a five percent premium to not have to use that blasted metal again.

In contrast, it's not as good as the material Privateer Press use for their "plastics".  It's much more bendy, which can be an advantage in some cases but on a supposedly straight sword it's a right pain.  That said it seems as durable as the PP stuff, which is good as I've bounced those 'Jacks all over the living room with no ill effects (so far).

I still handle the material with kid gloves, as a bad scrape or cut can go straight through the model, but I'll get used to it soon enough.  I'd much rather be cautious but not have to carry super-glue everywhere.
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Monday, 4 July 2011

"The Trygon" or "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Game"

My local club has been host to an evangelist for wargaming produced by a company other than Games Workshop, and he ran across a strange situation.  Otherwise rational people were paying money, spending hours painting and modelling miniatures and then showing up at a club week in, week out, to play a game.  A game they didn't like.  A game they weren't enjoying.  

A game they hated.

I'm going to let that sink in while I find an appropriate image.

Ah, there we go.  Now I can understand to some degree that these players didn't realise that there were wargames out there not made by Games Workshop, but why would you invest so much money and energy into something you don't enjoy?  (Tongue-in-cheek explanation here).

So that got me thinking, do I enjoy 40k?  I mean, do I really enjoy it, or am I just playing it because it's what I've played for so long?  This line of thinking revealed two things to me.  One, that yes, while I complain far too much about the game (and will really have to stamp on that), I really do enjoy it.  From the modelling, to the painting, to the actual game itself, I find it fun.  Two, that a lot of players suffer from groupthink.  Massive groupthink.

Let me give you an example:  I've said "Oh, I don't play Fantasy, I'm not fond of it and it has huge issues with over-powered magic in 8th Edition".  Let's break that one down, shall we?  "I don't play Fantasy".  Ok, fine, then why are you expressing an opinion on it's flaws?  Do you know that, or are you just repeating what some grizzled Fantasy self-hater told you?  Turns out I wasn't immune to this groupthink.  It doesn't even have to be a traditional group, you can suffer from Warseerthink, 3++think, anything that involves mass opinion being the overwhelming hammer of reality rather than your own experience.

What does all this have to do with the Trygon?  Well, that's my other revelation.  I've been complaining that while I've got a Trygon in my Tyranid army, I'd much rather have a Carnifex.  I had said that this was a reaction to the "flavour of the month" nature of the Trygon.  It wasn't.  It was a reaction to me wanting to play 4th Edition Tyranids.  Once I got past that block, I actually quite like my "SpikeyWormThing", and am very much looking forward to painting it (it's my reward for my next batch of Hormagaunts).  Play the game for what it is, not what you want it to be, and it's much more fun for all involved.

At the end of the day I love my hobby.  I should be evangelising that the way the "Other ways than Games Workshop" visitor was.  I have no real problems with 5th Edition of 40k and actually I think most problems with balance can be overcome through clever thinking and list building.  I should stop muttering and get on with the whole point: to enjoy myself and facilitate the enjoyment of other players.

You don't help anyone enjoy their hobby by complaining about it.
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Sunday, 26 June 2011

Magnetism is Witchcraft, Part I - Predator

So, after learning my lesson with the 5th Edition Space Marine codex, I've decided to leave as many of my models "convertible" as possible for when the rules change again and I'd rather not buy models I already have all over again.  The logical conclusion of this convertibility is to start magnetising models.  For this first part, I've decided to magnetise both my new Predator and its older sibling.

Step one is easy, simply a bit of sprue with one of the 6mm magnets stuck to it.  This allows the turret to sit in place and rotate.

Step two was the same on the inside of the turret.

  This was the only difficult bit.  Gluing the 3mm magnets inside the turret casing needed a little bit of patience, but you get there in the end.  Ironically this was easier on the fully constructed turret of my old Predator than it was on the one I was assembling.  The good news is that the hole is almost exactly 3mm, so the magnet slots in fairly easily.

On the gun assembly itself, I used a 3mm drill bit to drill out the rods and replace them with a pair of 3mm magnets.  Be very careful here to match up the polarity on the magnets between the gun assembly and the turret.  Most other parts of the model are easy to rip the magnets off if you find you've glued them on wrong, this part not so much.

With the turret done, it's time for the sponsons.  Behind the exposed door here I've glued a 6mm magnet.  I would have taken a photograph, but I forgot until the hull had been glued down, whoops!
Another 6mm magnet on the inside of the sponson mount itself allows the sponson to hold itself in place.
 Just in case I ever field it without the sponsons, I also magnetised the hull doors.  The magnets for these have to be mounted on a little bit of sprue, otherwise the distance between them gets a little too high and the doors start to fall out.
The sponson guns themselves have a pair of 6mm magnets glued on, one to the targeting rod assembly and one to the gun itself.  When magnetising the other set of guns (in my case, the Lascannons), remember to check the polarity with the existing mounts!
 Here we have the finished product, one "Dakka" predator ready for battle.  Currently due to the low points cost and the prevalence of light vehicles in 5th edition this is the favoured configuration.  I expect this to change with the 6th edition Space Marine codex, which is why I'm going to the effort of magnetising it.
Additional Bonus: Oh yeah, I also mounted a pair of 6mm magnets under the smoke launcher points on the hull.  This allows me to mount Hunter-Killer Missiles / Storm Bolters / etc without any real hassle. I think if I do this again I'll also put a second "upgrade point" about halfway down the hull, as the Storm Bolter has a hard time fitting in that location once the exhausts are glued on.

All in all, quite a lot of work, but it should be useful next time I want to swap up the load-out of my predators.  It was fairly easy to pop the gun out of my assembled Predator with a modelling knife, but if you've glued the gun assembly into the turret you're going to have a significantly harder time of it.  Still, worth it to have my two Predators in "Dakka" configuration without having to remind my opponent that the Lascannon is actually an Autocannon.  I'm a strong believer in WYSIWYG in 40k - it helps my opponent make easy target choices, which in turn helps keep the game smooth and friendly. Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Shadows In The Warp

From The Warp Blog Group

Echoes in the Signal

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