Saturday, June 30, 2012


Today was the local GW store's painting comp. After two or three weeks of sitting in the cabinet,  my Getty Knights got judged - and won! Yay for me and thanks to all that voted for me. There was actually some pretty good competition this month. I would have found it hard to choose between three or four of three other entries. Apparently I won comfortably though. Very gratifying to have put in all that work and have it recognised by others :)

While standing in the store, waiting for the judging, I had a bit of time to daydream about playing 6th edition 40k, specifically combinations odd armies forallies.

If I played my Eldar, I could use Corsairs as an ally. The funny thing about Corsairs is they can include Dark Eldar, as an elite or troops choice, I think. Might be fun to have three different types of space elves on the table.

Alternatively, Eldar can have Tau as the strongest of allies. This would mean they could be targeted for friendly psychic powers. Broadsides with Guided railguns maybe...

While not such strong allies, the idea of mixing my Wraithseer and Wraithguard with some fast moving Space Wolves or Blood Angels is also intriguing.

Then there's also the obvious conjunction of Wolves and Angels. I already have a pretty strong Space Wolves list, so I'm not sure yet what ace units from the Blood Angels codex I would want to swap in. But the effective nerfing of Stormravens as a fast transport might open up a few hundred points in that list. A las-predator could be a deadly addition. Another Land Raider, some Long Fangs, or cavalry could also be a great mix. But really, I'm most excited about the fact it appears Blood Angels priests could indeed give nearby Space Wolves FNP (albeit a nerfed version).

There's definitely a whole lot to think about in the new edition of 40k. Its a nerds paradise as we go over all the new rules, combos, tactics and strategies the game now presents. Looking forward to figuring it all out :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

First Thoughts on Warhammer 40k, 6th Edition

Lucky me, I ordered the Ultimate Bundle for GW's latest Edition and it was delivered this morning. Once I had the kids squared away and a few bits of business done, I was able to casually swan into my local GW, Signals Satchel over my shoulder, and ask if anyone else would like to have a look at the new rules. Small pleasures, and all that.

I have had a few hours to go over the book since then. Here are some quick first thoughts on what I have read so far:

1. Some of the changes seem to be essentially alternatives to previous systems, rather than improvements. Wound allocation, for example. In 5th, the way it was worked out was open to manipulation - I personally took full advantage with my Wolf Gaurd terminators, making sure everyone carried a distince load out. This new system - eliminating the closest models in both shooting and assaults first - is, at first glance, complicated. I expect it will become easy enough to do with practice but really, its still open to manipulation and is not really any closer to how a 'real' combatant would choose to do things or how 'real' combat works. 

2. Its not all bad though. Some systems are brand new - flyers are a real thing now with real rules. There are also some interesting enhancements - close combat weapons with an AP value for example. This should work great for making CC units even more deadly. I'm not sure how it works when an attacker has two CC weapons, but I'm sure that will be ironed out soon enough.

3. Psychic powers could be awesome or could just really suck. The new powers are generally pretty cool. There's essentially a psychic power for giving/taking away every enhancement you can think of,  (FNP, Counter-attack, and so on), as well as some flat-out destructive monsters and a bunch of gameplay/crowd-control effects too. It might be a tough decision to give up some of the Codex powers for a random one or two replacements, but there's definitely some good reasons to take a chance. BUT - any unit having the ability to resist psychic powers, with an even greater chance if there are friendly psykers nearby could just make the whole thing really frustrating. Yeah, Grey Knights are yet again going to be a real pain in the backside. The awesomeness of Space Wolf psychic poles and even vanilla psychic hoods is also somewhat reduced by this. And it stinks that Eldar, the most psychically advanced and attuned race in existence, can only choose from two disciplines. But Guard or Marines get to choose from any. Because humans are so sensitive to this stuff or something.

4. There's generally going to be lots more shooting in this edition. Overwatch and snap-shots mean that pretty much everything can fire everything all the time. MSU's and assault heavy emphasis of 5th could really be a thing of the past.

5. The Stormraven as a transport is now almost worthless. It used to be a fast skimmer that could move at high speed, shoot a high-powered weapon, and have a cover save. Now, unless it is nominated as a flyer, it moves at the same speed as a Land Raider but without the great armour or a cover save. If it moves fast enough for a cover save - no shooting. Not even with Machine Spirit.If it moves as a flyer it is still a viable gun platform but the benefit of Machine Spirit is pretty much negated. Other parts of the book lead me to believe GW wants more people playing on 6x4 tables, and possibly at 2000 points, so there is still the chance that having the ability to go flat-out most of the way across the table, then wait a turn before disembarking its passengers, then going to full-on flyer mode could still work. But on a 4x4 - might as well pony up the extra points for a Land Raider or save them with a Rhino and Predator.

6. Allies will be fun, buildings not so much. Well, maybe buildings, sorry, fortifications, aren't so stupid. I guess its just like having an extra vehicle or something with a big gun on top. My real objection is its a transparent attempt by GW to get us to hand over more cash for more plastic crap. And I swear, when some kid turns up with a f***ing ice cream tub he's not even bothered to spray black and tells me its a f***ing Fortress of Redemption, I'm going to ruin his life for him. Not his hobby. His life.

The inclusion of Allies, likewise, is a transparent attempt to get we poor fools to throw more money at Nottingham. 'Can't have Stormtalons in your Space Wolves/Blood Angels/Eldar army? No problemo - £27.50, thankyou very much! Codex balancing? F*** no! I work with Matt Ward!' Meh, well I have enough GW product to come up with dozens of interesting permutations before I need to fork out more cash.

So there are some very very early thoughts on the new game. I'm looking forward to limping my way through the first few games as we all get to grips with the new stuff and figure out what's broken from the old stuff.

On a side-note, the freebies that came with the Ultimate Bundle are awesome! The stachel from the Gamer's Edition is suprisiingly good - and it looks even better with my Purity Seal pin attached!  Plus, my coffee tastes great from my Aquila mug! I'm looking forward to framing and mounting the print of the cover art and may even find a way to display the postcard prints of every cover art from every edition of the game! I am really not sure, however, what I am going to do with the certificate, thanking me for buying tons of GW stuff, signed by - a GW Marketing Executive I have never heard of!

I'm also not sure the guys at my GW store really appreciated me bringing all this stuff into the shop to show them, carrying it all in a Mantic satchel...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

New(ish) Space Wolves and I'm in for Mantic

Another great sporting tournament (Euro 2012), another great opportunity to get lots of painting done. Normally I paint in my iffice, in front of the computer. The problem with that is of course there are so many distractions - FB, BBC News, Emails, etc., etc. But when there's sport on, I can stick that on the iplayer and have it running in the background, not distracting me so much I have to watch every minute, but entertaining me enough so I don't get bored. So, thank you Portugal and the Czech Republic for helping me get these guys done this evening:

Must Kill Ronaldo!

 I also took the opportunity to play a little with the camera on my new Galaxy Note, using the macro setting and a quickly set-up backdrop and strong light. Seems to work pretty well so I will think about building a more permanent one in the next few days.

These marines then are the first squad in my repainting of 15 Grey Hunters. Every squad has a melta, this one got the Forge World relic version. I love this gun, but the drum on top does look a lot like a magazine on some kind of WWII machine gun. They are from Logan Grimnar's Great Company but until I get a set of GW's decals they will just have a black left shoulder pad.

For Russ, and for Messi!
Their right pad has their pack marking though and I went for a simple black/red tooth design. Two of the marines have honour markings as well. I have left the banner blank for now, I will need to think of something suitably Fenrisian to scrawl on there at a later date.

In other news, I ordered my first 6th Edition accoutrements for 40k today. I will probably get a Gamer's Edition of the rules (it comes in a 40k satchel and probably contains dice or templates or some other optional merch), but I ordered the Psyker cards, servo-skull tape, objective dice, and, I think, munitorum dice from Wayland. Even with their discount, it still came to more than £20, so, if you've not already been sving up, expect to spend quite a bit of money just getting set up for 6th.

In other other news, I plonked down my pledge for the Mantic Kickstarter today too. Previously, fantasy wargaming has been of next to no interest to me. But Angelic Paladins...? Warrior Nuns...? I had to get behind that. I had planned to get the dwarf army and then ebay it, keeping the rules ready for when that angelic army gets released. But the dwarfs are going to be mounted on badgers! Badgers! Yeah, normally I would say, 'we don' need no steenkin' badgers!'. But these look so cool... So a difficult choice to make when the models get sent out to me next month.

Still lots more painting of Space Wolves to come though and hopefully 6th won't nerf them or do anything sily to break the game too much. Bound to be something to grumble about though :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mantic Gathering Pace, Warmachine Stalled

Todays plan had been to get my first game of Warmachine in this evening at a local club. It was all set up -until I remembered tonight is England's last group game at Euro 2012. So Warmachine is postponed for a week. Unless England have another game next Tuesday evening...

Another plan I had was to not back Mantic's Kickstarter campaign. Until they announced the next stretch goal - Angelic paladins.

Mantic has always been great value. They almost throw minis at you as they try to build momentum and support for their nascent systems and company. My problem had been they don't seen different enough from other established companies, well, from one company in particular, to be worth getting involved with. That and I don't play a fantasy battles game.

Angelic armies look pretty unique though. It also sends likely they are an elite army, i.e. small, making them quick to build and paint. Short attention span plus desire to get every model looking awesome over here.

There is only five days left to go on the Kickstarter at the time of writing and it has really picked up speed in the last week or so. At one point it seemed stalled at 60k forever. But, perhaps because of some fairly interesting looking new units (dwarf cavalry!), the funds us really picking up steam new. Even lurkers like me are nearly falling off our fence...

Monday, June 18, 2012

Why Overcomplicate Things?

Believe it or not, I am still a fan of Space Wolves. True, I have built several thousand points of Blood Angels, based around a love of the Stormraven, and a smaller force of Eldar, simply because they look cool. But I painted my first Space Wolf nearly three decades ago and they are the army I started with when I got back into the hobby a couple of years ago.

So, time then to write a new SW list.

I had a yearning to include Bjorn in my list (using the FW Venerable Dread - looks a bit cooler than the old Citadel model I think). He is like an uber-venerable dread. Wicked BS and WS and S. Can basically be a plasma cannon that never misses. He is an inspiring presence - but a possible millstone too. If he goes down and you don't have a model in base contact at the end of the game, big penalty in kill points games.

Lots of units then are needed to help avoid this potential kick in the nuts after the final whistle so I first went with using lots of units of Grey Hunters. I have run a nasty list with several small units of hunters before. The thing about that list is it has a dozen rockets, seven las-cannons, and a few meltas (just in case). The result of this has been I have never ever had to get my Grey Hunters out of their transports. All that long-range shooting has meant noone has gotten close enough or had the firepower to spare to schwack them. So, when I was going through my armies to pick a force for a recent Apocalypse game, I was actually pretty shocked to see how awful my Grey Hunters look.

I'm not a bad painter - now. I have spent the last couple of years learning techniques and practising and basically figuring out how to hold a brush straight. But two years ago -  not so much. Its not that they are really terribly painted. But they're not great and some aren't even really finished.

At first I figured I would simply ebay them ('reasonable paint quality, going cheap to a good home') and replace them with a new battleforce, also ebaying the surplus from that. A friend had passed on a couple of spare fantasy parts sprues with some cool looking hammers, pelts, and heads on them and I gifugred I could incorporate them into the new models.

Then, suddenly, it hit me - I have an airbrush. How much easier would it be to just spray my old wolves and repaint them? Derp...

So today I began the great repaint project. I have started with fifteen Hunters - three squads with a melta each. One has a Forge World melta that looks really cool. It has a little drum shape on the top and looks a bit like a WWII Bren gun or something. I figure I will paint them a squad at a time now the spraying is out of the way and hopefully get some painting done this evening.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Eldar D-cannons, the Dead Walk, and Fast Vehicles FTW

I actually had a really fun game of 40k using Eldar this evening! Since getting hold of a bargain bunch of wraithguard a few weeks ago on Ebay i have been fielding a list based around them, and a Wraithseer. This has made me able to largely get around the major drawbacks of playing the prettiest race in the game - S3 and T3.
Eldar look great. Even though the sculpts are generally several years old and the tanks are all identical chassis, they can still look great. But they really suffer, particularly on 4x4 boards from being physically weak.
Bark > Bite

You have to plan on getting into a fist fight on a smaller board. Orks, Marines (all flavours), and 'nids are all very strong on the assault and won't have far to go to get at your skinny space elves. But wraithguard, while not having bags of killing power up close, are at the very least a formidable roadblock with their high toughness. And, when you field a full squad, particularly with a warlock giving Enhance, they have a good chance of just wearing you down. Over a couple of rounds of combat this evening my guard were able to take out Korsarro Khan and go on to hold up a squad of hammernators for another two rounds. This after obliterating that same squad's Land Raider.
I also have a Wraithseer in this list and, although he had been very useful in previous games, tonight he was only so-so. After destroying a Rhino and pinning the tactical marines inside he got such in combat with the hammernators. Taking a wound reduced his initiative to the same as theirs, while his invulnerable save was actually worse. It took then a couple of turns but eventually they were able to dispatch him for the loss of only two marines.
When we set upthe game I was really expecting to get tabled. My opponent had built a White Scars list, using one of the new Stormtalons, a squadron of Typhoons, a biker squad, and the aforementioned hammernators. Playing Capture and Control, with him going first, I figured he would use Outflank to quickly assault me at my 'base' while protecting his with a tactical squad. To combat this, I kept all my force in reserve, thus denying him a turn of shooting if he deployed stuff early. Despite my army coming on in a rather piecemeal fashion, this tactic worked out for me. When my Fire Prisms and Wraithguard cane on, for examples, they were both immediately presented with convenient targets to destroy (a Land Raider) or force to flee (bye bye, bike squadron).
In the end I was able to Forrest Gump my way to a win. I had planned to use a Wave Serpent, carrying Dire Avengers, to go flat-out at his objective, dismount, then assault him, forcing his troops to move off the objective as they piled in making the game a draw as my objective was unheld. But, at the last minute, it occurred to me that the Pathfinders I had had sitting across the table from my objective were troops! And that the Falcon right next to them was a transport! So a quick embarkation and flight across the board later, plus that assault at the other end, and hey presto - a win for the Eldar!
Funnily enough, my opponent had also forgotten Eldar scouts are troops, so he had not seriously tried to destroy them during the game. So my win was probably even more of a shock to him than it was to me. Full credit to him though, he took it like a champ.
A good time then, as they say, was had by all.
Its always nice to get a win, but its even better to have a fun game. We both had good fortune and bad, we both made mistakes as well as having some things go our way. I'm sure we will both learn from those mistakes too.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cryx: Complete

Wow, I can't believe how easy that was! I only started my Cryx Battlegroup at the weekend and now, just five days later, I'm done! With scenic bases and everything!

If I ever get round to building a white-room, I'll put some better quality images up
 I was helped by my paint scheme being really quick and simple and hindered by the fact I needed to remove most of the figures from their bases in Monday night in order to build proper swampy bases for them. Inspired by the bases at Terrainthralls, I used Citadel's textured paints to build up parts of some of the bases, leaving other parts clear for water effects. I have used some of GW's grass clumps as well as some home-made ones using modeller's synthetic grass.

I was actually a bit worried about using the water effects, what with it being a new thing and all. But it turns out it is really simple and easy to use. You just our on a blob - its got a similar consistency to PVA glue - then tease it out to fill the area you want to look wet with an old brush or toothpick or something. Leave it for around 8 hours in a dust-free area, then repeat. This is because it tends to shrink as it dries. So what looked like an awesome puddle when you poured it will just look like a wet layer after it cures. The PP bases don't have very high lips though so I was happy to just put two layers down.

Simple as all this was though, yet another aspect of my complete failure to plan was revealed when I went to replace my models on their new awesome bases - some of them had nowhere to stand >< I figured out ways to shoehorn them all back on though without it looking too bad. But, lesson learned: build bases before sticking models down but make sure models have somewhere to stand! (This actually night not have been so much of a problem where I using, say, terminators. But, as it happens, Cryx bonejacks have big footprints and large, low slung bodies so terrain features can get in the way somewhat)

The only thing about my Cryx I'm not really happy with is their furnaces. The original No Quarter article I got my inspiration for the colour scheme from laid out  basically a series of glazes as a way of getting the OSL-type look. It kind of works. But the fiery bits don't really have that necrotite-green look I was expecting. They look a bit messy, really, so I will have to keep an eye out for suggestions on how to paint a more authentic deathly glow.

Still, I now have a fully painted and based Cryx army - just need to learn the game now!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Finished Urban Base

I put the final later of paint on the room if my urban base this morning, then dropped it off in the shop. Yes, is still two weeks until the actual competition, but I figured I've rather have it our of the house and therefore at little risk of me accidentally breaking it in the next fortnight.

I forgot to take a picture before I packed it all up though, so here is one of it on one of my local store's gaming tables.

Apart from minimising risk, I also wanted to make space for my next project: Cryx.

I started painting then yesterday, well, the starter set, any way. I'm doing an alternate paint scheme to the traditional get one. I'm going for a rusty, weathered, swampy look, inspired by a scheme in the mini issue of No Quarter that came with the models. It goes on really quickly as I'm using a lot if washes and only two basic colours.

Right now I'm really wishing I had built the bases first though. I found some really inspiring looking swamp bases this morning. I figure I could do something almost as goods looking, but I'll be a little hampered now that I have glide the figures in place.

Whatever happens with the bases though, I'm happy about how the models are turning out. I will publish some pictures and a step by step of sorts later in the week.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Its Coming!

Ok, so here is the (subtle) teaser trailer for the upcoming 6th Edition of Warhammer 40,000:

 There still seems to be some uncertainty around the 'nets about what it is the teaser for. But it says it pretty clearly, 'VI'. Its not an accident they chose to put the month up in Roman numerals.

I'm a little ambivalent about this. Yes, its cool a new system is coming out. But I'm gearing up to play other games so maybe 40k won't be such a big deal in my life. Also, there have been a lot of disturbing rumours going around that the game is gearing up to be WFB in space. Nothing in particular against WFB. But I don't play it for a reason and I am rather hoping the designers at GW have done more over the last few years than just homogenise their two biggest games' rulesets.

All there is to do for now though is sit back and wait, and watch the internet implode with runours, scuttlebutt, accusations, and rebuttals.

But here's to a new edition of what was becoming a tired version of the game this summer!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

First Impressions - Cryx Army Deal

I mentioned recently about taking the plunge and buying a Cryx army from Privateer Press's Summer Sale store. It was a great deal - 25 points and a free rulebook. I'll admit that, having ordered the thing, I was a little anxious this week about the possibility of losing all my savings to a big customs bill. It seems HMRI may have been asleep when my box arrived in the UK though as it was delivered today and no extra charges :)

So, I've been totally free to enjoy the contents. And there is a lot in there too.

As well as the plastic Cryx Battlegroup, you get, in metal, a Skarlock thrall, a Warwitch Siren, and a Necrosurgeon and Stitch Thralls. I also got a boxed set of five Mechanithralls and two more blister packs, each with two more metal Mechanithralls. Although that and a really nicely put together softback copy of Warmachine Prime MKII.

As I really have no idea what use the metal mini's will actually be in a Cryx army yet, I have been able to indulge my phobia of metal mini's and dived straight into the plastic starter set.

In comparison to GW product, assembly is generally easier and faster with PP's plastics. Each model-type comes in its own plastic baggie, already clipped from the sprues. There is a little cleanup necessary before you can begin gluing though. Some of this is to file down some fairly obvious marks where pieces appear to have been yanked off their sprue, rather than carefully clipped. There is also more flash around some of the smaller details, teeth, claws and such, than I am used to seeing on comparable GW models. But this is easy to trim off and, considering the fact the parts come bagged and ready-clipped, the PP models are easier and quicker to put together than a GW model.

Apparently other miniatures games are available.

That said, I have had some problems this evening making glue, well, glue things together. The plastic PP uses is different to GW's. It feels more like a traditional toy manufacturer's plastic, its glossy, almost as if it needs to be washed before assembly. I used GW's thin plastic glue, Humbrol Poly Cement, and Loctite Powerflex superglue. The latter was used largely out of frustration when certain parts just didn't seem to want to stay stuck together using the other glues. The plastic glues do seem to work - eventually - but, for the jaws of the Bonejacks and the blades on Deneghra's back in particular, sometimes I just needed something guaranteed to stick hard and fast.

Anybody knocks this guys jaw off, I knock your jaw off
One other slight anomaly I found when putting the models together was that the smaller jacks all come with slotted bases - slots they just don't need. I have greenstuffed those gaps up now, but, let me tell you, it is not easy getting that thin strip in there, underneath the jack and between its legs, when you're worried about the thing falling because it was so hard to glue them down. My pro-tip here - fill the gaps before you stick the model down :)

It kinda looks like they're taking a leak down there...

All in all, a nice evening's work to put together the beginnings of my Cryx force. Now I just have to decide whether I should have sprung for the P3 paint set to go with them when I was at the Wayland warehouse yesterday....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Urban Base Part 4: Nearly Done

So, having, washed and drybrushed everything, then painted up the gold bits, it was time to add some weathering powders.

Now, you can get a lot of the effects I have gone for using normal brushes and paints. But I really like using powders as they seems to give a richness to the effect very quickly. Because these things don't dry as such, it is easy to blend tones together, get streaks, and piles of the stuff in cracks and crevices.

As someone who has actually started a fair few fires, I can certify it looks fairly authentic
 I do have a couple of tips for anyone else planning to use powders though, mostly related to the fact these are very light, very strongly pigmented powders that will stain anything on contact and are designed to spread.

So, firstly, take care opening them. I use the Forge World powders and the lids can take a little 'persuading' to get off. So it can be tempting to just jam your thumb in there - DON'T. You run the risk of spilling them all over your self/home/pets if you take the cap off carelessly. On a similar note, make sure you are apply them to your model or whatever while it is on something disposable, like the large piece of cardboard in my pictures, not your regular painting area. Again, these are very easily spread, highly pigmented products and will stain anything they touch - take care clearing up any spills (I tend to mop up any dropped particles very quickly with a damp piece of kitchen roll). Finally, use a spray varnish to fix the powders to your model when you have the look you want. I use Army Painter's Matt Varnish for most things. Forge World sometimes use Citadel's Purity Seal (usually when they want to fix a detail in place but then paint over it with something else) and I'm sure there are many many others out there. I have even used an enamel matte varnish in an airbrush but I stick with the spraycan for convenience nowadays.

I also recommend getting a special brush for using powders. Not special like, it costs lots of money and you keep it in  velvet box. Just special, like you only use it for weathering powders. I got a nice stiff-bristled, fairly wide, artificial fibres one from the bargain bucket at my local art store and have been using it for a couple of years now. The stiff fibres help my pick up powder from its bottles and are  great for crushing it down or dragging it out on models. I don't even bother washing it really - pretty much all the powders come off the artificial bristles so I treat it something like a good wok - let a nice patina slowly build up that will add a characteristic 'flavour' to your work.

So, just by sprinkling, squashing, and dragging two powders - Grey Ash and Black Soot - I have a base that really is starting to look like its been in a fire. All part of the urban ruin look I am going for.

I started painting the rim of the piece with Graveyard Earth too. When I did, I started to find the places where my earlier layers of PVA sealant had gotten broken and cracked - there are quite a few pits and divots in what was a nice smooth surface before I started spraying. I guess the lesson I learn here is to take extra care handling stuff like this and USE MORE PVA!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Building an Urban Display Base Part 3

Pretty much all the easy stuff is now done. I have built the base, basecoated it, washed some parts, and drybrushed everything.

I am going for a dirty grey colour, a scheme that was once labeled 'urban' or 'hive world' or something like that by GW - until they decided to remove all pages that mentioned their 'old' colour range. First I went with a very dark grey - a mix of Chaos Black and a little Codex Grey. I then washed the ground with black wash. Everything has then been drybrushed with Codex Grey, then Fortress Grey, then, for the stone parts only, an extreme highlight of Skull White. Its a challenge to make the different textures stand out from each other while using the same colours. But that's one of the nice things about drybrushing - by varying the intensity or even just the direction with which you do it, you can create different effects that look quite convincing, quite quickly.

At the moment then, the base looks nice, but monochromatic. The next step is to bring out some of the details, particularly the gold on the collapsed balustrades and fallen Imperial icon, and get a bit of colour in there.

Its also important to remember that a lot of the base will end up covered by the figures I am going to display on it though, but hopefully there will still be enough of it visible to add character and a sense of belonging to my miniatures.