Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Painted jotunn Hailstorm cannon - Forgefathers Big Gun

Finally finished painting up the Frogefathers' mobile cannon today. I'm so-so pleased with the paint job. I'm trying to master speed-painting, that is, getting things to a good tabletop standard quickly rather than spending days over every little effect and technique. Simply because I want some Mantic armies painted quickly to start challenging people to learn the game with me :)

So here's my cannon:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Tabletop Nation 'Eastern Edge II' Tournament

Thanks to deciding to skip Black Library's Weekender (more on how money-grabbing and unfriendly BL have been in a later post) I was able to instead go to the Eastern Edge II tournament at Tabletop Nation today.

This was a one day, 1200 points, 40k tourney. The aim was for four games to be played, hence the low points limit. It turns out however that there is some kind of hard limit of points in 40k, whereby any points cost over said limit does not really reduce playing time. Thus, even with small armies, we still only managed three games each in the time allotted.

Lets get the good news out of the way first - I came second :) I got a nice little voucher to spend in the store and a certificate to add to the trophy shelf (there isn't really a trophy shelf, I just put it on a bookshelf for now). I was actually genuinely surprised to do so well. I had thought I was in with a good chance at best painted army, to be honest. But still, a prize is a prize :)

There was a fairly good selection of armies at play. Alongside three Blood Angels armies were Orks, Daemons, Space Wolves, and Necrons. Daemons placed first with three wins out of three while the Orks came in just behind me.

A brief summary of my list and three games then.

I took a Librarian with psychic powers from the BRB, going with Prescience every time and a random TK power too that never got used. I had a Furioso with Frag Cannon and two Sanguinary Priests as Elites. Two tactical squads for troops, one with a las-cannon, one with a plasma cannon, and, finally, two Stormravens, each with plasma cannons and Typhoons, one with sponsons.

Top: difficult to budge Tactical Squad and Bottom: fleeing Grey Hunters!

First game was against Space Wolves. It was Kill Points. My opponent had Grey Hunters in Rhinos and Long Fangs with rockets and Long Fangs with plasma, which might have been problematic had we not got a) deployment at the short edges, and b) night-fighting on the first turn. So his Long Fangs were neutered on turn one, and unable to hit my flyers on turn two ( a combo of templates-can't-hit-flyers and poor dice rolling there ). My flyers and long range shooters, by contrast, were able to take out two Rhinos and suppress the third. We did end up with a couple of combats but, surprisingly, his GH packs, even when, on one occasion, being backed up by charging Thunderwolf cavalry, could not shift my tactical squads. I even got one squad to run away! Cut to Turn 5 then, and my Furioso dismounts and frags a Long Fang squad to death. The two Stormravens nuke another couple of Rhinos for more easy kill points and its a win for the boys in red.

Second game was the saddest of all things - red on red violence. My opponent this time also had Blood Angels but in a list I wish I had had. For one thing he took and Aegis. At 1200 points I didn't think anyone would want to fit that into a list, but then he also had five man assault squads taking las-preds with 35-point discounts so it all fit. Two Librarians too, one on a bike, also spelled doom for my boys, with both of them taking Divination powers to make their shooting infallible. We were playing the Relic and I combat-squadded my troops to have a better chance of grabbing the relic. But it was not to be - giving his quad-gun Ignores Cover and his assault bikes rerolls to hit made short work of my army. A Stormraven was predicatably cut to pieces by the quad on arrival and it all went downhill from there really.

Third game was a bit more fun. Fun for me, that is, because it generally went all my way. I had chosen to take BA's over my usual favourite for competitive play, Space Wolves, because the last tournament winner at TTN had taken 'Cron Air. Five flyers had apparently made easy work out all comers so I wanted some built-in Skyfire. Today's 'cron player only had one flyer though, and no other competent anti-air. Playing Big Guns Never Tire, with five objectives on the table, I started claiming two, one of which, in ruins already, improved my cover save by one. One of his was sabotaged so he had to shift off it pretty sharpish. My Stormravens were able to polish off one of his Heavy Support tank-things (sorry, I really can't remember all the silly names GW gives their toys) for First Blood and a bonus victory point. And, for me at least, it was all uphill from there. The 'crons just couldn't stand up to marine shooting or the Stormravens - Power of the Machine Spirit is the only thing GW failed to nerf on these machines. I even hit the 'cron flyer with my las-cannon in the last turn causing it to fly off the board and onto the post-game kill points column. A good win.

Salamanders vs. Space Wolves. Not everyone brought Space Marines though, honest.

Just time for a couple of quick observations and thoughts on the armies I saw and played today then.

As I suspected, the Stormraven does now largely suck as a transport for anything without jump packs. In 5th you could roll halfway across the table and then charge out of its belly to assault your enemy. In 6th you can only do this if it moves 6" or less. It excels as a gunship though. The rules for flyers work really well for the Stormraven - it has so many guns, plus PotMS, and can put out massive amounts of firepower, lots of which can be twin-linked. Lots of talk has been made of melta being redundant as noone takes Armour 14 any more. the necrons have great access to Arm 13 though and, sometimes, I wish I had had las-cannons on the flyers. But even without them, the SR has loads of rockets built in, the option for more, is hard to hit when flying and can Evade, is easier to hit when hovering but can Jink. Its got everything you want from something with 'Gunship' in its name.

The Aegis line with quad-gun is just great. I highly expect to be buying one soon for use at 1750 and above. There is no reason not to take one and, particularly if you twin-link it with a psyker, has the power to ruin an enemy's day and list.

Assault marines and more Predators are pretty nifty too. They make a staple of 5th, one which is still very valid in 6th, very cost-effective. Thinking about the great value they are and how deadly my las-Pred Space Wolves are makes me drool a little.

Finally 'crons. I was not super-impressed by these guys. The units that came into range of my tactical marines were really easy to kill. Even the big hard ones with shields went down to plasma bursts and a Frag Cannon  quite quickly. The Deathmarks were probably the scariest, hitting marines very reliably and with some silly rule that allowed them to wound me on twos. But ten marines in cover, with a Priest, turn out to be very hard to shoot to death. In return they obliterated the 'marks in two turns of shooting. The flyer was a bit more worrying, largely because it is very manouverable. It also has that silly beam-down ability which could be a problem if it is filled with the right unit. I think it managed, over three turns, to take out a Stormraven, and nearly did some major damage to a tactical squad before being las-cannoned off the board. Again, Aegis line....

Overall then, a good day out. For what was billed as a 'casual' tourney, some players played remarkably aggressively and not everyone took losing in, shall we say, and 'admirable' fashion. Some were out the door as soon as the last dice settled when they had lost a game, i.e. they didn't think they could 'win' the tournament so there was no point in sticking around. But most people had a fun few games, drank a lot of coffee and rolled a lot of dice. Many many plastic men gave up their lives, often repeatedly, for our pleasure and enjoyment, and that, after all, is what its all about.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Build Guide: Mantic Forge Fathers Hailstorm Cannon

 Mantic's Forge Father range is shaping up rather nicely, with some visually and stylistically distinct models and units. One of these is their optionally-mobile artillery piece, the Hailstorm cannon. Its a tracked quad-gun, with a pilot who looks half like he's aiming the barrels, and half like he's riding the thing. It also perhaps owes a little to Alien's space jockey in its styling.

I recently got one as part of the Fate of the Forge Star bundle and found, in common with other mantic products, it does not come with a build guide. Its not overly complicated to put together, but, just in case you're having trouble figuring yours out, here's my guide. This is going to be largely pictorial.  As I said, the model isn't complicated, but sometimes it can be useful to see which way up things are supposed to go or which order its best to glue some parts together in.

The two halves of the barrels go together as seen above. Don't glue them together yet though - they need to be mounted on the main body of the gun first.

This side-view shows you the arrangement of the two shield pieces on the gun. I found it was best to glue the bottom shield to the body first, then stick the barrels on, then stick the top shield onto that piece. There's a hole in the top of the barrel section for the top shield to fit in to.

The gun barrel tips can be stuck on to the ends of the barrels once they are glued to the main body. There is only one correct alignment for them so, if they don't seem to fit right when you dry fit them, rotate them and try again.

Those ammo drums can be fitted on after the shields, but it might be easier to do it beforehand. Its not a model-breaker if you leave them till last though.

The pilot went on last on my gun. In retrospect it might have been better to glue his gun and holster on before putting him on the machine. Finally I stuck on the rear ammo drums and the tracks. The tracks also only go on one way.

From the Mantic forums, I hear some of these models turn up at people's houses pretty warped. I'm not sure which parts in particular tend to get bent, but if you get one like that its pretty easy to fix with hot water. You'll often see boiling water recommended. This might be necessary for thicker pieces, but I have used hot water straight from the tap to reshape restic in the past. The point is, a little bendage is really not that big a deal and very simple to rectify.

Feel free to ask any questions if you are building a Hailstorm cannon or indeed any Forge Father models. Later on I will be putting up some pictures of my Steel Warriors.