Tuesday, September 30, 2014

NWG 2014 - Post Mortem

Undead Legions at NWG

Once again I made the journey to Wicklow to attend this year's NWG. With one other member of my club, the League of Bastards, we headed down to the event. Friday night saw us take part in the traditional NWG pub quiz. This year Games Workshop had thrown in some prize support in the form of an Imperial Knight, so competition was sharp. A few wee drinkies, lots of talk about wee men and futile attempts to wrangle news out of the GW ambassador took up the remainder of the evening.

This year NWG had three tournaments running. As usual, Warhammer Fantasy Battle and Warhammer 40k were there, and this year for the first time Flames of War made an appearance. Fantasy was 2000 points, 20-0 system, no comp, with up to 60 points for painting, making the paint scores a significant part of the overall score. There were some rules modifications in the rulespack, mostly to do with magic. The Emerald Daemon was running again this year too, in which I had two models entered.

I don't really get to play as much as I'd like, and with a few pretty grizzled tournament veterans about, I was anticipating some tough games. Still, as long as folks were good sports and the games were fun I didn't really care all that much as long as I managed to avoid total poundings.

I won't go too deeply into my list, but here's the flavour of what was in the army. I brought along a daemon prince (meargh) with all the usual toys on lore of death, an exalted hero of Tzeentch (dirach) on a disc with the 1+ armour save and ultra-ward save, as well as burning body, and Festus, (Avagdu & Morfran) who accompanied the warriors. Festus turned the already hard as nails block of warriors into a total brick. The rest of the army consisted of  a block of 22 Nurgle warriors with full command (fimm), 3 skullcrushers with full command (Marlryrms), 5 warhounds and a Chimera (Crom Cruach). It was a pretty small army.

Game 1 - Dermot Maguire - Ogre Kingdoms
As last year, this year I faced ogres in game 1, which was Meeting Engagement. Dermot was a very pleasant and easygoing opponent, even when his gutstar and mournfang failed to appear on turn 1. His characters were initially vulnerable, if well hidden in cover. A lone sabretusk held up my crushers in the village however, preventing me from getting into the ogre's flank. Two ironblasters meant I didn't try anything too daring off the bat. Once the rest of the ogres turned up his firebelly gave the daemon prince a hosing which wounded it and ensured I had to keep her well out of the way of the blasters for the rest of the game. The firebally did miscast and go down a hole though, taking a couple of ogres with him. The mournfang, aided by the Flaming Sword of Rhun spell, charged the warriors. Even so they would have come to grief had they not passed all nine 4+ armour saves in one turn, winning the combat and running down the warriors. Despite a late charge on both blasters with the chimera and the bsb they refused to either die or bugger off. The game ended with a win to ogres. I can't recall exactly, but I think it was 18-2.

The ogres advance onto the battlefield.

Game 2 - Mark Moloney - High Elves
Mark had a large block of swordmasters with Teclis and the banner of the world dragon, two units of five dragon princes and two of units of five reavers. A large block of archers and two bolt throwers finished out the list. The scenario was Dawn Attack. I set up mostly facing the cavalry, leaving the swordmasters to slog across the woodland in the centre before they could bring their numbers to bear. I managed to tie up the cavalry and run down the dragon princes before they got close, by which time the chimera was able to get a decent charge in and as the game ended it was stuffing scores of screaming elves down it's gullet as it munched it's way toward Teclis. This one was s 10 - 10.

Dragon princes line up for the charge.

Game 3 - Fergus Finch - High Elves
The scenario for this round was Battle for the Pass. Fergus had a large unit of dragon princes with his level four wizard, noble and bsb. There was a unit of eighteen archers with a level one wizard, ten sisters of Avelorn, eight silver helms, five reavers, a great eagle and frostheart phoenix. The game got off to a disastrous start for Fergus as his level four wizard miscast and then cascaded, killing himself and some of the elven knights. From there on in I had magical dominance and managed to tie up the cavalry while my mobile units hunted down the rest of the army. In the end it was an 18 - 2 to the fimir. This one was the last game on Saturday, so I forgot to take any photos. Ah well.

Game 4 - Neil Butler - Warriors of Chaos
I'd love to say bad luck lost me this one, but a leaner list and more experienced player was more the cause of my battering here. Neil had the tooled up daemon prince, bsb on a daemonic mount, chimera, hellcannon, 3 Nurgle chariots, three units of five hounds and a unit of three crushers. We were playing Battleline.

Penned in and harassed from all sides, the fimm battle on.

I did in fairness have some bad luck, with my bsb and chimera both failing their initiative rolls with two rolls of six to survive Purple Sun in turn one, my daemon prince cascading and going down a hole in my own turn one after casting her own Purple Sun, while the initiative two chimera I'd cast at gaily made it's own initiative two test to survive. There were a couple of other examples of fun dice, but you get the drift. Neil commiserated and gave me some great tactical tips while efficiently and amiably rolling me up. With a single hellcannon the only thing I managed to destroy it was a resounding 20 - 0.

Game 5 - Nikki Hanna _ Empire
Nikki started the game with a squeaky voice from what sounded like an impending sore throat, and it became less audible as the game went on, but she battered on regardless. A very fun game, using the Blood & Glory scenario. Nikki had two cannons, a light council, a huge block of halberdiers, a unit of five knights, two units of three and four demigryphs, a steam tank, two cannon and some archer detachments.

Dodging cannon fire, the fimir raced across the board to attack the Empire left flank. The steamtank clanked forward before mounting a hill to deliver a devastating flank shot on my crushers, annihilating the entire unit in one shot. My daemon prince got within one turn of reaching the juicy backline of the empire before succumbing to an irresistible banishment, for which she failed every 3+ save and every 5+ ward. Things looked very bad for the swamp dwellers, so the warriors charged the tank to stop it causing any more mischief. With poison attacks, and Festus' own unique rules, they destroyed the tank in three turns, then managed to wipe out a unit of knights and demi gryphs. My fimm warriors had been performing only so-so all tournament, but they rallied mightily in this game. As the halberdiers took to a building to avoid my advancing fimir, they managed, with some magical help, to kill the chimera outright after taking some horrendous casualties. After a fair old scrap the Empire came out on top, winning 15 - 5 due to the fortitude bonus.

My favourite moment from the game was the steam tank engineer attempting to detonate the badly stricken tank in order to destroy both it and the fimm warriors in one monumental explosion. Alas, the dice decided this was not to be. It would have been an epic end to the combat though.

The fimm perpare to charge the steam tank.

So, after five games I was looking at three losses, one draw and one win, earning me 34 battle points. No comp can be challenging, but my painting scores gave me a boost, with 56 points out of 60 shooting my up to 6th place out of 19 players. At the end I was pretty tired, but I enjoyed my games and the relaxed vibe evident throughout the tournament.

NWG in full swing.

As to the painting, which is really my main bag, I came away with 2nd place army for Warhammer Fantasy, one point behind the winner, Ugo Greevy, whose Undead Legions army is a sight to behold.

Ugo's legions.
My curs'd ettin managed to bag best single large model in the Emerald Daemon competition, which made me happy as I do rather dig that model. The organisers did a fantastic job of keeping things ticking along, and I heard of not a single unhappy incident all weekend. Nice one lads.

Big ugly brings home the goodies.

So, after NWG I'm actually really keen to get more games in, rather than being all warhammered out. I have a couple of units to finish for the fimir, then there are a lot of undead looking for some painting love, methinks.

First though, back to those hybrids.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Genestealer Cult - Parts for Hybrids

I've been back in the hybrid toy box lately. I need a couple of specialists for the squad. My plan was to have the special weapons carried by larger 2nd generation hybrids, so that they would be easy to pick out. This guy here is almost ready for green stuff, but his weapon seems a little off. After some conferring, it became plain that the melta needed either some support to add weight, or a change of pose for the arm was needed. That's where I am with him right now. There are a few cults springing up lately, so outlining some of the more useful parts might help other followers of the Allfather. This guy uses a Deadzone plague model as the base model. The plague are really useful for hybrids. The are quite bestial already with the large spinal ridges and boney spikes, as well as the deformed proportions. I added some dark eldar talos bits to his back. I imagine these are some kind of stimulant injectors. I'm a little short on weapons, so this melta will need to be chopped up and re-built a little. I may add a chain strap, or alter the angle of the forearm. I want his ripped shirt to form the upper half of a tabard so he fits in better with the mechanicus theme, so he needs a dose of greenstuffing for that and to build up the shoulder where the genestealer arm meets the body.

This guy uses the brand new plague zombies sprue. There are two torsos with cowls, which are about as genestealer hybrid as you can get. Lots of useful parts on this sprue. The arm with the hand splayed out to compensate for the weight of the flamer is from this sprue too. The legs are from a Games Workshop grave guard, though at the moment this hybrid has no ass. The head is from Victoria miniatures, though truth be told, after yet more conferring I'll probably pop in a bald human head instead to bring it closer to Jes Goodwin's hybrids.

Lack of appropriate arms for the hybrids is a biggie, though the modern Cadian arms are about the right size for human size hybrids. More on these lads once the green stuff is on.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fimir - Swampy Pools

I decided to take a little tiny break from the cult in order to paint up some fimir themed scenery. Partially for my army display board, and partially for the fimir terrain set. I had ordered a pile of these from Wargamma, where they are listed as lava pools. Like a lot of gamers, I have a dearth of water scenery. Pools, rivers etc. These were quick to paint up, and filled a hole in the terrain set. I have another two sets, and with nine of these and some dead trees and the odd menhir I reckon that'll do nicely to represent the bleakmoors of Albion.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Scaling Lead Mountain - Eight Tips For Reaching the Peak

I thought about an appropriate title for this post for a bit. It's hard to encapsulate the topic, and right now the title field is empty, but I'm sure I'll come up with something.

So. All those projects. There's nothing new about folks bemoaning the lack of time/willpower/skill/extra arms required to complete all the projects they have in their head to satisfaction. Tons of hobbyists tell you about the list of incredible projects they have coming up that just never materialize. There's even the cheery notion that a hobbyist can't die until he's painted all his miniatures. This is not true. Unpainted lead does not bestow immortality. In fact, it may even cause a health hazard as it teeters on the point of collapse, threatening the pulverize those below into marmalade.

I've been doing this a while now, almost 30 years, and I've had some conversations over the years on how the lead pile might be tackled. There are many suggestions. Good suggestions that I often ignore completely, but I'll list them here for ye to take on or ignore at your pleasure. If even one child is saved from a wardrobe full of unassembled, unpainted models, I'll go to my grave happy. Well, not happy as such, more trying to suck in one more bitter, ragged breath while railing against the unfairness of it all while I soil myself all over the nurses, but let's go with happy.

Before I get into the tips on salving this situation, let me put things in context on a personal level. I have a TON of projects I really, really want to work on. (Deep beath) Theeeerree's: the rest of my undead (I have at least two thousand undead models, most of them metal) the chaos dwarf army, the rest of the fimir army, the Genestealer Cult, The Martian and human factions for All Quiet on the Martian Front, the Realm of Chaos army, the Chaos Renegade warband, undead BlooBowl team, Scavvy gang, and that's just the ones I really want to do and can remember. I'd also like to work on my Chinese and Japanese undead, Orc army, 2000ad Torquemada and his terminators Pulp Alley league, etc, etc etc.

As you can see, it's enough to keep me going for some years without ever buying another model. Will I then not buy any more models? I think the clip below delivers the response to that question perfectly.

Right now, I'm getting excited over the new undead releases from Games Workshop and the new dark eldar plastic wracks, so let's assume an ongoing amount of new models are adding the pile on a regular basis. There's probably an equation somewhere for this. New stuff over old stuff divided by time plus inclination equals painted models or something. Anyway.With that in mind, here we go.

1. Accept you'll never get it all done.
Let go. Take a deep, cleansing breath and exhale. Repeat after me: 'I will NEVER get everything painted. Were I to live for a thousand years, there would still be a box of stuff in the cabinet I meant to get to someday.' Now, with that acceptance of inevitable failure, the piles of blisters and boxes will seem less oppressive. After all, this isn't a job, it's a bleedin' hobby.

Just own it.

2. Decide what kind of painter you are.
Are you an individual model painter? An army painter? What kind of army? Big hordes of gobbos? A small skirmish force? A bit of each? Approach each project with that consideration in mind. If you want to win the golden demon, crystal brush and so on, great. Pouring hours into one model leads to often beautiful results, but don't paint a skaven horde like that. You often see folks on the internets that can crack out amazing armies of individually astounding miniatures in jig time. IGNORE THAT. These are often from studios where folks have learned all the tricks for painting models fast and to a high standard, and they do it all day, every day. It's the painters version of looking at pictures of photoshopped supermodels and comparing their ass to yours. Admire yes, but find your own pace and standard.

3. Stop Being Precious
This is really more of 2, but fmeh. Don't endlessly tinker with already painted models. It is the road to madness. Paint a model. If there's something you don't like, tinker away, but don't expect to get loads painted. It's super frustrating, as lack of progression is a killer for painting mojo. Paint the model. Paint the next model. Especially if you're doing an army. Stick that dude with the chalky layering in the middle rank. I say this, but I have 4 fianna fimm awaiting stripping so I can redo them. Sigh.

Don't do what I do kids.
4. Cheat
Not in the games. That is the realm of the douche. For painting, yes? Find techniques that speed things up. Shaded basecoat, drybrushing, zenithal highlighting, glazing, dip, precision washes, the list goes on. There's so much more out there than layering. Don't ignore any technique, try stuff. I keep looking at getting an airbrush. Those things are time saving magical paint shooting wands, so they are.

Also, it's not cheating. If your miniature looks good when you're done, it doesn't matter what awful things you did to it to get it there. One great question I read on Massive Voodoo, I believe it was, went: 'What do you use to get the great earth effect on your model's bases?' The answer was actual earth. Dried out and so on, but just real dirt. If it works, it works.

5. Keep Moving
The way to keep the hobby exciting is similar to the reason a shark keeps swimming. To stop is to die. Keep at it. Even if it's ten minutes every day, paint for ten minutes. They all add up, those ten minutes. There will always be demands on your time. It's amazing how you can get a regiment painted in those little snatches of hobby time. If you can, keep a place where you can leave models, paints and such, out. Unpacking everything every time you want to paint is another barrier to your finished miniature. I have a nice permanent paint station in the man cave, but I bought the Games Workshop painting tray thing a few years ago. It's one of the best items I ever bought for the hobby. I can leave models and paints on it, bring them up the living room, paint in front of the fire, chat and half watch tv. I can pop it back down to the cave when I get too dru...I mean tired, and not have to pack stuff away. I can just pick up where I left off. One recommends it.

Turns out this is as handy as a small pot.

6. Follow Your Muse
This is a tricky one. Especially when it comes to army painting. To keep the motivation levels up, don't paint 40 skeletons in one go. Batch painting is another trick one can use, but even so, keep each batch to between five and ten models. But as you paint that new army, slowly, every other model you're not painting seems like way more fun than the one you are painting. This gets to crisis levels if you don't deal with it. The so called hobby butterfly kicks in and voila, another half finished project. A way to deal with this is to give in early. Say you're painting 50 skeletons. Paint ten. Then do the movement tray. Paint another 10. Then paint a necromancer. Paint another 10. Then paint something totally different. That Bloodbowl referee, that Necromunda special character etc. The break gives you a bit of a palette cleanser and keeps your painting stamina high for getting those 50 skeletons done. We're doing this for fun, after all, so if you really want to paint something different while you're slogging through a large group of models, do it, and use the change to reinvigorate your determination to go back to the bigger project.

7. Stay Focused & Have a Plan
'But you just said paint whatever you want!' I hear you cry. Yes. I did. But. Also, when you're not taking a break from the squad of orcs to paint that fairy, paint the orcs. If you're painting a squad, decide the make-up of the squad before you start. How many troopers, special weapons, etc. If it's an army, make a list. Each regiment, squad or even individual will add to your total, and as you see units complete, it'll spur you on to paint more.

8. Play Games
I don't play anywhere near as much as I'd like, but few things get the creative juices flowing like playing some actual games with your minis. Every time I come back from a good game I want to expand the army I just played, or add some new terrain or whatever. If you're lucky enough to have a good, regular group or club, all the better. Whittering on about how your 30k space marines are made from eighteen different kits to someone who is listening AND interested does wonders for your painting enthusiasm. it's a social hobby too, after all.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some things, but for now, there you go. I hope this helps anybody out there who's scaling the lead (also plastic, resin restic, playdoh...) mountain. Aha! I think I just found my title.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Review - Blight Wheel Miniatures

I've been amassing a lot of bits and pieces for my adeptus mechanicus genestealer cult of late, and with the huge amount of small companies providing a cornucopia of choice for miniatures and conversion parts, I thought a post or two on my experiences with them might be of use. The first of these is Blight Wheel Miniatures.

Blight Wheel do a pretty huge amount of sci-fi models and conversion parts, and for someone interested in anything cyborg or adeptus mechanicus related, they have a lot of choice. The war bot in particular is a great  model. I have noticed though, that there can be an issue with stock. I've been waiting on the bionic arms and servo arms to become available for a couple of months now, to no avail. Maybe it's a low restock and I've been missing them.

I did however order some bionic arms with weapons, Sino russia Torsos 01 and Torso kit 04 Composite armour for the Contagii. Delivery time was pretty reasonable.

Composite Armour Torsos
Sino Russian Torsos
The torsos were both good quality, with plenty of detail. They fit well with other 28mm ranges. A couple of the Sino Russian torsos were miscast, bit once I contacted Blight Wheel and sent on some photos of the affected components they sent me some replacements right away. The Sino Russian in particular are very useful for adeptus mechanicus conversions. I can recommend these pretty heartily.

bionic arms with weapons
The same can't really be said for these. The resin is pretty brittle on the set I received, and there was a lot of flash and a fair few bubbles. I soldiered on with one arm, and after a lot of clean-up and a little green stuff it turned out okay. The larger flamer type weapon was so warped as to be pretty much unusable though. However, I may have gotten a bad casting. As I mentioned Blight Wheel are good at sending replacements, so I wouldn't let this put you off completely. Caveat emptor for certain though.

Right now it seems the company is closed for holidays, so a lot of the items are unavailable. Once they open up again do take a look at the range if you're looking for that certain arm/head/torso, there's a lot to choose from.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Genestealer Cult - Altered Hybrid

After what seems like an eternity, I've finally gotten a model of the painting desk. This unfortunate fellow has been lounging about half finished for weeks. My stumbling block, apart from a general lack of painting mojo, was what kind of right arm to give him. I must have tried five or six different options. In the end though, I went back to the gun arm. I guess he must have a hand attachment for when he's not hosing unbelievers with high velocity rounds.

He joins the hybrid squad, leaving me with another six hybrids to assemble and paint. Next up will be a larger 2nd generation toting a meltagun. Before that though, the fimir are about to get a pool to paddle in.

Wayland Games

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