Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Something to wash the 40k taste out of my mouth...

As I posted last week, I got my 40k Tournament Tau list done to go to an ITC event.  I knew that it would be complete cheddar due to being ITC based, but had no idea how bad it could be.  I expected cheddar, but the mildest cheese there was Blue!  Wow....

Don't get me wrong, if that's your thing, go for it, but the game has devolved to rock paper scissors at the army design level, once you are in a game it is too late!  To be fair, everyone I played was great to play and super friendly, they pretty much all thought the game has gone too far, but like me love the models and fluff, so keep playing.  Also, the organizers did a great job, things ran smoothly, on time, and they had tons of space available, tons of terrain, and a great looking setup.  It's just really too bad that they chose to use the ITC format, but like I said, to each their own.

So... to come to the point of this rant...  For the last 20 years, coming home from a 40k tournament I get anxious for my next project.  Like a junkie, I need my next fix, I have seen something that is just too cool, and I have to start a new army.  This has happened every tournament for 20 years....

Not this time.  Looking around the tournament, there were lots of amazing models, amazing armies, and paint jobs, but none screamed to me to start them.  In fact, seeing the direction the game has gone, I came home with a strong desire to paint something that would actually be FUN to play!

So, here is what I have done in the last few nights....

First up is a fleet of Venetian Galleys from Skull n Crown that Greg twisted my arm into picking up recently.  I started 1 of the ships in between washes on some of my Tau figures before the tournament, but finished the others up Saturday, Sunday, and Monday night.

They are laser cut plywood and come with all the flags, awnings, and side graphics. They are super easy to put together, but work better painting them in 2 main assemblies so that you can rig them through the supplied holes and then glue the two sub assemblies together afterwards.

Greg had already chosen two fleets before I decided to get in on the action with him, but he hadn't picked the fleet I wanted so all was good.  I figure if you are going to play a game, you really should have your army fit your personality.  As you all know I have a very evil, cynical, twisted take on things, therefore what better fleet for me than the most corrupt and evil faction of the time, The Vatican!  That's right, I am playing the Papal Fleet.

So far I have 1 large Lanterna, 1 Galley, and 2 smaller Galiots fully painted and ready to go.  Greg, what's the hold up?  Get yours done already!  Being at the lake is not an excuse!

The painting I did was very simple and plain, almost no shading or highlighting, yet on a flat surface I feel it works.  Adding too much to such a simplified take on the Venetian galley just makes the shape look wrong in my opinion.  The simplified block style design works great with these ships, I just feel its better to keep the paint simple as well.

Next up I got in a pile of 6mm figures to do Flames of War: Team Yankee with and had to start on them. I liked playing Team Yankee with Greg and Curt, however like Flames of War, really dislike the size of the figures vs the ranges on board, so am doing the game in 6mm where I feel things balance out better.

The first unit here is a group of T-72's that I actually painted a few weeks back, but never posted. 

The second unit is a group of M1A1 tanks, my favourite tank.

Both squads are done with very simple desert colours, then washed, and weathered with powders to give some depth.

I then based them on some bases I printed up that have lips around the area where I put labels, so that you can tell units and vehicles apart at a glance.  Oh, and to go with tiny labels, tiny magnets.  No, not for the labels.... I magnetized all the turrets, so they can turn to face the enemy.

To show how tiny these things really are, here is one next to a 40k model (who has turned his back to us in shame over the state of the game).

There we go, I have gotten the bad taste out of my mouth now. Next up in the queue is a mix of more 6mm to finish up some armies to do a Team Yankee game and some figs for a GW game, but not 40k.  I have an alternate Necromundia Gang to paint up and would like to get them done sometime soon.

More Hasslefree Dwarves

First off, I have to say "thanks" to my fellow Conscripts Dave, Greg and Byron for keeping up the blog this summer. I can't actually remember my last post here off the top of my head but I know it's been a long time (since I've even picked up a paintbrush)... but anyway, "Winter is Coming" and it's time to get back to painting.

I've gotten back into it with a cracking bunch of figures from Hasslefree to round off the Dwarven warband I've been building for Otherworld fantasy skirmish.

I painted this female dwarf to be the interim leader of the warband, although I do have another Hasslefree character on the paint bench who might fill that role later. Anyway, "Adalheid" (for it is she) is a fantastic model and was "a joy to paint" as they say. Just enough detail to be interesting without overwhelming, and the face and anatomy are spot on.

The rest of the group are from the good old "Dwarf Multi-Pack" of four dwarves with hand weapons. I converted this one to be the standard-bearer for the warband. I'm not thrilled with the banner though, as I'd used a transfer for the Griffon device and painted it over, but some of the edges didn't adhere so well. Easy enough to rip off and redo later. The finial is from a Mordheim sprue I think.

Here are the three other lads in rather aggressive posture.

And here's the entire warband so far. We'll get at some skirmish gaming with these soon, I reckon. Anyway, here's hoping that this is the start of a fruitful winter painting season :-)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Ludus Gladiatorius - Back to the Arena!

A couple of Thursdays ago I brought out Ludus Gladiatorius (Eng. trans. "Gladiatorial School") for another evening simulating hand to hand combat in front of the Roman crowds. Dallas, on a recent rip to Imperial Hobbies in Vancouver, had kindly picked up for me a felt arena map from Hotz Mats, which we used to good effect.

I have both of the sets that were originally available from EM-4.  This is a quick-play gladiator combat game with pre-painted metal 28mm gladiators and special combat dice. Lots of cool play aids are available for download on the Yahoo Group.

They key feature of the game is that each character has a certain number of special actions that. once used, are no longer available. So, the tactics are based upon movement, and using your special actions wisely. Each gladiator has a rated movement, in hexes, but may get an extra hex of movement, determined randomly;y. So, you never quite know if  someone else can reach you or not!

The players chose their gladiators by die roll:

  • Bill = Vescen (hits pretty hard, and good at Feinting)
  • Dallas = Thrax (a real tank; hits hard and has lots of hit points, but slow)
  • Dave (me) = Leonius (good at Feinting, and with a decent amount of hit points)
  • Frederick = Marcus Attilus (very fast, and decent attack value)
  • Keegan = Caladus (slow, but good at Defense, and lots of hit points)

We had a battle royale with everyone starting just outside movement range of one another. Bill's Vescen was playing it cagey, so I ran Leonius across the arena at him.

Recently Added-16

Our gladiators tarted dueling, as Calladus watched.

Recently Added-17

In retrospect, that was not the greatest of ideas, since Leonius was the first to fall. However, the crowd must have liked what they saw, because he was spared! (There is a special purple die, with both "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" faces.)

Recently Added-18

[Note: Historically, a gladiator who acknowledged defeat could request the munerarius ("editor", or giver of the games) to stop the fight and send him alive (missus) from the arena. The editor took the crowd's response into consideration in deciding whether to let the loser live or order the victor to kill him.]

The fight devolved into a couple of paired combats:  Vescen vs. Marcus Attilius, and Caladus vs. the mighty Thrax.

Recently Added-19

Calladus was the next to fall, but also was granted missus.

Recently Added-20

By this point, Marcus Attilus had only one hit point left, so he was trying basically to stay alive, moving back out of reach when he could. However, seeing Thrax standing alone, he and Vescens ganged up on the heavily equipped gladiator. below, Dallas swings for the bleachers...

Recently Added-21 no avail, as Thrax went down. Yet again, he had performed well, as Thrax was granted missus. The time was called, and Marcus Attilus and Vescens shared accolades as co-winners of the contest.

Below, Frederick looks on in relief. Both Marcus and Vescens had only a couple of hit points left between them.

Recently Added-22

Ludus Gladiatorius is a fast-playing, beer & pretzels kind of game, well suited to our Thursday night style of play. For more detailed combat rules, there are other games like Avalon Hill's Gladiator, which better simulate the cut and thrust of personal combat, and attacking or defending different parts of the body.

I look forward to trying out the mat with Brian's model of The Collosseum.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tau Plains of War ITC Tournament Army Completed!

It's been a lot of work, but I have finally finished off my Warhammer 40k Tau army for this coming weekends Plains of War ITC event here in Winnipeg. For anyone not familiar with the ITC tournament scene, it is a hugely competitive tournament series that features obscene armies meant for one thing, flaying your opponent.  It is not for the faint of heart. You are allowed allies, detachments, formations, and more!  While ITC tries to limit the power level a bit, by fixing (or adjusting) the insanely broken rules that GW has been publishing for the last 10 years, the series is all about the win.

Honestly, not really my cup of tea any more, BUT the organizer of the local event is a great guy and a friend so I have to go, right?  It also doesn't hurt that because the event will be competitive it gave me a chance to paint a whole bunch of big Tau suits, which I normally wouldn't paint as they are too good to field in numbers in a friendly game (unless you don't want friends for long).  So, without further delay, here are some of the brand new units from what I call my Pacific Rim Tau List, since its a lot of giant robots.

Lets start with the big boys, three Riptides, in a Riptide wing formation.  You get to take 3 of them, at the same price as normal, but they all get better, for FREE!  Reroll overheating, hit enemies easier if another Riptide has already fired at them, shot everything twice in a turn (once per game), and don't take up any slots in your force organization chart.  Yes, all that for free!

Paint wise, I had Tau units before, done in a winter camo scheme, and wanted to use some of them as well, but they were painted years ago and were not great.  So, I updated the scheme a bit by painting all the new ones (and going back over the old small suits and infantry) with chipping and edge highlighting.  Both done to a very high stark contrast in an attempt to look very anime'ish.  There are gradiants in the base coat (done by airbrush) but what I really wanted to pop was all the rough areas, which I think I made work.

While I like the overall look, and they pop (in my eyes at least) at table top level, they do look rough close up.  There is no subtly here, they will not win any painting awards, but they are not meant to, they are fast rough and dirty, so no offense taken if you don't like the style, several people I know don't like it already!

Next up is another formation for the army, the Advanced Stealth Cadre.

Once again, units at the same price as normal, but better!  The Ghostkeel (the big suit in the middle) can fire at +1 ballistic every turn, ignore cover, and target the rear Armour of any vehicle it shoots at, plus either (or both) of the units of small stealth suits get that bonus as well if they are within 6" of the Ghostkeel. For FREE....  are you starting to see my issue with recent GW rules?

Oh, did I mention that with the drones that come with the Ghostkeel give it a 2+ cover save in the open due to doubling its stealth and shrouded saves?

Last of the new units painted for the tournament is my commander and her unit, although to be fair half of the unit is from 10 years ago just being retouched up with chips, edge highlighting, and new bases.
The unit is made up of Commander Shadowsun leading a unit of Crisis suits as part of a Farsight enclave, which makes them count as a troop choice instead of an elite choice.  By having Shadowsun lead the unit, she grants them stealth and shrouded (so a 4+ cover save in the open!) as well as a 3d6" jump after firing every turn (instead of the normal 2d6" jump).

Shadowsun herself comes with 2 shield drones that give 4+ inv saves and a drone that lets a single unit within 12" reroll all 1's that turn.  On top of that she has 2 melta guns that she can fire at different targets!

The unit is made up of 8 Crisis Suits, 3 with plasma guns and missile launchers, 2 with dual cyclic ion blasters (so 8 str7 shots each), 2 with dual melta guns, and a unit leader than lets the whole unit ignore cover, reroll misses, and chose to either reroll to wound or reroll armour penetration rolls.  Oh, and remember, they count as troops!

So there you have it, all the new units I painted up over the last few weeks for the army.  The army is 1850 points and really that makes up most of it!  The only other units in the army are a small 8 man unit of Firewarriors, a unit of Kroot (that Sean McWatt painted for me YEARS ago and that I just touched up a bit), and a few Broadside Missile suits.

As nasty as all the above looks, I expect to not break a 50/50 record....  Mainly due to my inability to focus on and remember 40k rules as they just piss me off, and due to many of the armies that I have seen that are going, making this one look about as tough as a Powder Puff Girl.  Sigh....

At least I had a lot of fun painting them!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Necromunda - Hired Gun

Finally finished that Necromunda hired gun, a prize for our gaming group's league. Black and white zenithal highlighting. Vallejo Acrylics, then various oils for the flesh tones. GW washes for the clothing. Vallejo NMM set for metal parts (punching up with oils, including some pure titanium white catch-points). Dragon Forge concrete rubble 25mm resin base.

Recently Added-24

Recently Added-25

Recently Added-26

The face has a lot of character. Not bad for a 20-year old figure!

Recently Added-27

I already created the character sheet. He will be an actual hired gun, with the Gunslinger skill (fire both bolt pistols without penalty!), usable in the Necromunda league.


Edited to add: Here are some WIP shots of this and another figure, to show the multi-step flesh painting.

Below, after zenithal highlighting, with Vallejo acrylics for the face and hands painted on.

Camera Roll-1037

Below, the oils are laid in. Not a LOT of change, but note that some of the shadows are deeper, some highlights more defined, some transitions are softer, and the pupils and whites of the eyes are painted.

Camera Roll-1045

Below, Capt. Nee Sun, a 28mm character figure from Hasslefree, with Vallejo acrylics for the face. Note the photo of Natalie Dormer with her head shaved as Cressida from the Hunger Games, used as a photo reference.

Camera Roll-1081

Below, oils laid in. Note that I cannot seem to paint eyes with acrylics. Contrast is a little less, since this is a female figure and I wanted to soften some of her features.

Camera Roll-1085

The stubble effect on her shaved head was done with very thin dots of Winsor & Newton indigo oil paint mixed with Liquin, kinda patted and pushed around the flesh of her head with a clean brush.

Camera Roll-1086

Check Your 6! meets Dawn of Aces

Awhile ago I hosted crews from both The Fawcett Avenue Conscripts and Dawn of Aces. I first met Sam and Wilton when they demo'd Sam's WWI air combat game, Dawn of Aces, at Jim-Con. IIRC, aircraft activation is randomized, and planes move according to templates. Damage degraded their maneuverability and speed. Also, there is limited fuel and ammunition. Sam also made some very neat paper model biplanes for the game.


We played a variation of the "Initial Encounter" scenario from the Battle of Britain book. We added some Me-110s (German twin-engined heavy fighters) to have some dogfighting.

Within their first couple of turns, Sam and Wilton got the hang of the fundamental dicta of CY6!: it's best to have both altitude and energy. One can trade altitude for energy, but maneuvering or climbing eats up energy tout de suite!

I got to try out my new Cigar Box ocean battle mat, with 3" hexes. Below, Sam maneuvers one of his Spitfires as Wilton looks on.

Camera Roll-1092

Bill and Frederick  ran some Spitfires, and most of us quaffed beers.

Camera Roll-1093

Spitfires cause some air-frame damage to a bomber!

Camera Roll-1094

Splash one bomber! Another Ju-88 and a Spitfire have also taken damage.

Camera Roll-1095

Camera Roll-1096

A sharp fight erupted as the fighters mixed it up. Several fighters ran out of ammo. Below, a Spitfire falls to the cannons of a Me-110 Destroyer.

Camera Roll-1097

Below, Frederick, Bill and Wilbert look on as some of the the bombers manage to reach the Royal Navy at anchor.

Camera Roll-1098

Camera Roll-1101

Below, the butcher's bill. Losing a whole flight of bombers cost the Germans the game.

Camera Roll-1100

Thanks again to Sam and Wilton for participating in our Thursday night shenanigans.

Sam expressed an interest in Sedition Wars. I will have to run a scenario...