Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas means new battle reports

So one of the items I got for Christmas was a nice new video camera; because as my daughter put it, "I needed it to do more blogging."  That means I can start trying to do some video battle reports again.

Previously, I had been using the video feature on our digital camera, and had even tried using my tablet.  Both of those worked, but had limitations with battery life, and zoom functions respectively.  Hopefully the new camera will alleviate both of those problems.

With any luck, I may even get to record a game we have planned for tonight.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Apocalypse on the Apocalypse

Just a quick post giving a shout out for Kris and Dan from MiniWarGaming doing a major Apocalypse game live today.

If you are like me and looking for a way to help burn away work, go check out the live feed.

Apocalypse on the Apocalypse

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Crusade of Fire review

So I managed to get myself a copy of another one of Games Workshop's woefully limited release books.  The pre-orders seemed to have been completely sold out in the first 3 days on the Canadian and U.S. websites, so I ended up buying a copy from the U.K. website.  Overall, I have to say the book was a pleasant surprise.  It basically breaks down into the campaign rules with scenarios, and then three sets of special rules; Dog Fights, Gladiator battles, and Demon Worlds.

Unlike the Blood in the Badlands book, this one tried to push the idea, and benefits, of game mastered, or co-game mastered, campaigns.  The overall campaign was designed to have 3 "teams" fight over the re-emerging Corvus sub-sector.  I liked the idea that the map gradually reveals, so players who are behind can easily get to new virgin ground and not get overwhelmed and surrounded.  The only drawbacks that I see is that you can't just forge out and claim the sub-sector for yourself, and without a proper multiple of 3 teams could become unbalanced.  I'm looking forward to getting a campaign going with some friends.

I'm always into expansion books for the game rules, and luckily we are given some great additional rules.  First lets start with the Demon Worlds.  This was a great little special rule that can be added to any game, and will completely re-define the balance of power.  Have an extra person, they can be responsible for running any demons that popup.  Best of all, it gives you a reason to get some of the awesome new plastic demons that have been released, they really are all fantastic looking models.  There is a lot of extra accounting work, but it seems like it should be a blast.
Taken from Beckjann's Deviant page
The one thing that I saw drum up a lot of buzz on Dark Eldar forums were the gladiator battles that are supposed to take place in the heart of Commorragh.  This had the potential to be so great, but seems like it maybe needs a bit more refinement.  The basic Arena of Death rules are built to demonstrate two characters battling, which would be much more interesting without the addition of challenges to 6th edition.  They allude to using more than 2 players, but I have a feeling it will add a even further degree of complexity to these rules.  Reading this over a couple times, it begins to feel like a different game using 40k models.  You determine your speed based upon your Initiative value, the facing of your opponent that your are in(the opponent on a round base), and other modifiers.  Modifiers that are added through cards; cards you have to photocopy and print out.  I think this really missed on so many levels.  Facings are terrible on a circle based model, there are always going to be times when you can't tell which quarter they are in, go a front and back facing only, if you have to.  A chart that allowed us to use regular playing cards might have been a bit more accessible instead of separate cards that you need to play.

Finally, my favorite addition, the dogfight special rules.  They are effective and relatively simple, a stark contrast to the Arena of Death rules.  Basically, in the shooting phase a flyer may attempt to dog fight with another flyer.  Then it is basically a paper/rock/scissors setup, the attacker chooses 1 of 3 tactics by using a hidden D3, and the defender does the same and you compare the results to the chart, then repeat for 2 more phases.  There are a number of results across the tables ranging from firing all your weapons at a flyer, firing a shot at a ground unit, to nothing at all.  So potentially, you could shoot an enemy on the ground, then fire all his weapons at the enemy flyer at BS 1, and then fire all his weapons again at full BS.  On top of that, if you do destroy a flyer in a dogfight, it's worth an extra victory point.

Simple yet effective rules, but you want to take it one further? Well let's throw in some race specific maneuvers to add some extra spice.  This accounts for every race that can get a flyer, including races like Tau and Eldar that only get access to ForgeWorld flyers.  Still not enough? How about race specific fighter ace upgrades?  My only issue here, is somehow they missed the one important race with the fighter aces, Dark Eldar(if we don't see a correction, I'll probably cook up some of my own).  This is absolutely how additional rules should be done in my mind.

Hopefully I can get some reports in using some of these rules in the near future.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Like a Baron!

So I haven't gotten nearly the number of games in to keep going with my tactics articles, hopefully that will be remedied a bit this weekend.  So what have I been doing? Sitting on my butt? Ya, mostly . . . but I've also been doing some painting and conversion work.  One of the units I've been working on getting ready for play is my Hellions.  They aren't quite done, but expect some pics coming soon.

I've also been doing some minor conversion work.  While looking for some bits for another project (that got pushed to the back of the workbench) I came across an old partial conversion that I got from a friend in a trade.  It was meant to be a hellion skyboard for an Archon in the previous edition, simply a part of an Eldar Vyper with some small conversion work.  Problem was it got broken and never completed.

"Hey, I need a Baron Sarthonyx to go with my hellions, and joing my beasts.  He needs a cool skyboard!"  As the though went through my head the bits started flying.  A couple evenings worth of work I got what you see below.

Comin at you
So as you may be able to see, the central board is made from the rear half of a Eldar Vyper.  One of the wings was broken, so I trimmed it down to the body, did some slight re-gluing and then filed it flush.  The new wings are the bottom part of some left over Raider rudder blades.  The guns were just the barrels off a couple extra splinter rifles that come with the raider kits.  You can't see it in the vents, but the reason they are so centrally located is because of the location of the vents and corresponding jets on the front and back of the board.  Finally the board needed a bit of greenstuff to hide the center line (this was done previously by whoever started the board, but I wanted some slightly different details, so it was removed and redone).
Quite the "pigstikka"
So I had an awesome looking board, now I just neede a Baron to ride it.  Since I had been working on 10 out of the 15 total hellions that I had, I tried putting one of the half assembled hellions on.  He just didn't quite  have the look I wanted.  I started going through other bits, and came across the legs to one of the Venom passengers.  A quick pop off of a Hellion body from the legs, some dry fitting with Blue-Tac and I had something that looked like the start of something.

Next I needed a Hellglaive.  My first though was modifying the powerspear from the Scourges set, but the pulled back nature didn't flow with the pose.  While I was digging for that bit though, I noticed the spear from the Raider passengers.  This was a wicked looking hook, and had some promise.  I built out the glaive blades by trimming down the top side of the spear head so it was flat and then adding a second spearhead .  I did this with another non-wielded spear, and then trimmed down the handle on both spears and glued them together.  A quick check of the Baron's wargear, a pistol arm, and some more Blue-Tac and the model concept was dryfit together.
Looking down at trouble.
I still want to add a flowing component to him.  I'm going to steer clear of the superman capes that seem so prevelant.  My goal will be one of the sleeveless trenchcoats similar to the old incubi that came with Vect's Raider.  It should be a good test of my sculpting skills, but I may take a few days to do some testing with tissue paper to see how I want it to flow.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hobby Plug: Slapdash Minis

It's been a bit a while since I've gotten to do any hobby stuff, lots of reschedules for games and stuff.  I've gotten some painting done up that needs some pics and posts.

Luckily though, work is such that it allows me the opportunity to play videos while I'm working.  So luckily, Monday morning I get to come into a nice juicy video from some former local guys who I like to keep track of on YouTube.  It's a lot of gamer ramblings, but it's always nice to hear some non-WAAC type of discussions on the hobby.

Remember to hit up SlapDask Minis on YouTube, follow him, like him, give him some support.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Find the FAQs . . .

So I surfed over to the Games Workshop page today looking to clarify something on one of the FAQs and noticed the complete lack of an Articles section under the 40k section.  At first I thought they had maybe removed it by accident.  But after some searching, in some of the more logical places like the 40,000 guide link on the front page, I found it in the Gaming section.

I don't frequent the GW site much, so maybe it was covered in the White Dwarf daily.  But really, I continue to be baffled at how GW doesn't put this in a more accessible location.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Tactical changes Pt. 2 - Assault, the new challengers

I was hoping to get a couple more games in with the new FAQ to add to this, but a small visit to our house by Papa Nurgle left everyone in the house a plague zombie for a week plus, so I missed our normal gaming time.

With the changes that 6th Edition brought, when I analyzed my play style and the new rules it quickly became apparent that  I would need to make some changes.  With my Dark Eldar I always tried to use speed and assault to overwhelm my opponents, while dropping some deadly cover fire.  The firepower is actually better with the changes to rapid fire, and vehicles being easier to counter, but obviously it would require a bit more resiliency to consistently make it into close combat.  So I went back through the codex, and re-evaluated some units.
Bash Brothers

One of the first units that was re-introduced to the list was the Talos.  In  the twilight of 5th the Talos had sort of fallen to the wayside in favor of the Ravager and Razorwing, but with the Ravager seeming less reliable, the Talos was re-inserted with some haywire blasters.  Luckily my first few games after this change were vs. Tau, so I really got a good feel for how the Talos did vs. shooting and overwatch.  T7 and a 3+ save let the Talos get in close to where it wanted and once he got that first pain token he laughed at the AP1 and AP2 that had previously been the  bane of his existance.  Being AP2 in close combat the Talos can handle all those 2+ Meganobz, terminators and broadsides that became so much tougher vs the AP3 power weapon.

Bringing the Pain . . . Tokens

Along with the Talos, the Cronos was also re-introduced.  The Talos was always a beast in close combat, the Cronos not quite as much, being only strength 5 with a limited number of attacks hurt him.  But thanks to the Smash special rule, the Cronos can now play like a big boy giving up 1 attack to swing at strength 10.  This really lets him reliably ID multi-wound models, and take apart vehicles.  I've found it harder to include the Cronos with how well the paired Taloi work and the sheer firepower the Razorwing brings, but I may work more to including him to distribute the pain tokens.
The Ultimate Archon standing in for now
Something else that I've been re-visiting is one of the units that I had previously found a waste compared to other choices, the all seeing Archon.  Since he is already running a really high initiative, the furious charge changes meant less wracks and less use for haemonculi, so an HQ slot opened up to play with this guy.  So far my standard loadout has been shadowfield, blaster, djinn blade, with combat drugs and phantasm grenade launcher when I can fit it in.  I know the Djinn is a gamble, but really I want him to be perceived as more of a threat than he actually is, and it's worked out well for me; although the huskblade is really looking appealing.  Telling someone he's WS 7, I7, with 8 attacks on the charge, a 2+ invuln and an 18" dark lance causes some concern.  The trick is he can do some real damage, but he's just there to draw the lambs to the slaughter of the anvil he's running with.

One of the units that I had been eyeing up towards the end of 5th edition has become a true anvil for me in 6th, the Grotesque.  T5 with 3 wounds and a pain token for Feel no Pain off the hop make these guys hard to deal with.  There are two draw backs to these guys.  First is that they are slow, usually travelling on foot because they take up 2 transport slots each.  Second, they require a babysitter or may 'explode' causing potential ruin.  The resilience means they can take the time to footslog across the board, so it's not that big a drawback.  As I alluded to above, dropping an archon in with these guys brings the big boys to them.  With the Aberration and 4 other Grotesques, they can be dropping up to 23 attacks themselves, usually wounding on 2's.  They have been a true shining star for me and will get a full tactics article in the near future.
A Future Purchase

Lastly, one of the units that has been important in my assault testing has been the reaver jetbikes.  My intial thought was that they can easily get in position to support other units in an assault, ideally charging first and soaking up the overwatch with their T4 and 4+ Jink save.  This did work a certain amount, but as I switched my other assault units, I found that the sheer harassment potential of these guys worked much more in my favor and could easily get in close enough to tanks to make a mess with the heat lances.  They brought another high priority target for the enemy to deal with while slower units like the Grotesques go into position to do some real damage.  I'm still tweaking numbers of guys in a unit and the number of units, the fast slot is full of high demand units now.  I have found a distinctly beardy advantage to 3, as long as even 1 bike is alive, he ALWAYS regroups on his normal leadership because he is more than 25% of the starting unit.

So next I'll review how these changes have built my current 1750 point list and what my expectations are of them.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Tactical changes Pt. 1 - Assault, the returning contenders

Tactics article all set to post, GW releases new FAQs, I've tried to edit this real quick.  If something doesn't make sense it may be because of edits, or FAQs.  It was going to be longer, but I decided to break this into a series of articles.

Tactically, the game has changed in extreme ways for my army.  Running a hybrid webway army in 5th edition, relying heavily on the alpha strike type of assaults that it allowed for made my glass cannon a thing to be feared, death by a thousand cuts as I liked to call it.  But 6th edition came, and karma thought it would be fitting to disassemble my list in the very same way, death by a thousand nerfs.  A lot of the changes aren't that big by themselves, add overwatch, random charge distance, no run and assault, no fast moving vehicle assault, nerfs to feel no pain, nerfs to furious charge . . plus others that don't come to mind right now.  None of them seemed overly big changes by themselves, I enjoyed most of them, but coming together, they were the perfect storm of destruction for my webway list.

So as many Dark Eldar players learned, assault is much harder, and more dangerous, to get into.  Wyches take this the hardest, arguably one of the best assault troops in the game in 5th, they were the perfect dichotomy; gods in assault, wet blankets when they were shot.  The bounce back though is their access to haywire grenades.  Wyches are no longer the tarpit unit that they were, now they are used to run up to a vehicle and hit it a few times with haywire and watch the hull points melt away.  It's an odd change for a unit that doesn't want to be shot, and preferred to hide in an assault last edition.

Run from the guns . . . But get the tank?

In a similar vein, the wracks were a powerful short range torrent type squad.  10 strong with a Haemonculus out of a webway portal usually saw 3 flamer templates, followed by an assault where they leveraged 30+ attacks at initiative 5, re-rolling to wound in most cases.  They were easily the workhorse to a beautifully themed Coven army.  Now, unfortunately, wracks often loose as many models as they kill between the loss of the initiative boost and nerf to feel no pain, they could do short range fire fighting with the liquifiers, but that turns the rest of the squad into a delivery system.  With wounds coming from the front and random charge distance, they are self defeating, leaving themselves out of range for a followup assault if the liquifiers do cause any damage.  For all the struggles I've had in getting a decent set of them together, there is a good chance they are going to be sitting on the shelf mostly.

But it is about balance, and other armies are having similar issues.  So some units came through perfectly fine, or in some cases even better.

The plus side is the beasts seem to be just as good as they were before, in fact I'd almost say they are slightly better.  You loose a little average charge distance, and the wound allocation shenanigans, but that's not a big deal.  Ideally, you want the Khymera out front now anyhow, the benefit here is the differing initiative values.  When you move into combat, Khymera and Beastmasters are out front and make it into base to base with the rank and file guys.  Once they kill a few at initiative 6, the Razorwings now get to pile in at initiative 5, hopefully into holes created at I6 that lets them into base to base with the important guys like special weapon troopers and character upgrades.  Since wounds have to be taken from base to base with the razorwings who go on initiative 5, there is a good chance we can burn off those characters/special weapons.  Tactially, I'm looking at adding the Baron as my second HQ, just to make these guys so much better.  They will get Stealth, Hit and Run, and someone with a shadowfield to soak up wounds; oh, and thanks to a FAQ clarification that indicates that they still go at I1 even though they ignore terrain, he also gives them grenades.  With the Beastmasters being characters, it will take quite a bit to have the Baron locked in a challenge, so it should be quite effective.

Come here Mr. Terminator, tell us about your 2+ save again?
Incubi are another squad that is still pretty effective.  Up until a few hours ago, I was going to comment on how these guys would be great for challenges, and continue to fulfill most of the roles they had before.  What a difference a few hours makes.  AP 2 Glaives according to the FAQ, this means that they should still peel through terminators the same as they did before, which is one thing we were maybe going to have to worry about.  Again because of the differing initiative between the Klaivex and the squad, we can use the Klaivex to pick out characters/upgrades.  Because of their 3+ save, these guys are much more likely to survive overwatch and make it into combat with full effectiveness.

I've already touched on the Talos in a previous post, but he had mostly been on the fringes of the list, so I'll review and start with him in part 2 of the series, Assault, the new challengers.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Rise of the Talos

With a change in edition, there needs to be a change in strategies, I've played the game through a little better than  four iterations of the rules and learned quickly that even though it looks like a small update, it's always a whole new game.  With that in mind, my first couple 6th edition games were ran with an old style list.  Webway portals, heavy on assault and short range units like wyches, wracks, and beasts; and of course Ravagers, and a Talos for theme.
The approach of death
Obviously, the list fell completely flat, but I needed to see how bad it was before I could re-build.  One of the things that has been echoed throughout the Dark Eldar community, is that our vehicles didn't get nerfed as badly as others with the addition of Hull Points.  To an extent I agreed with this, Raiders and Venoms were already fragile and once they got into those rapid fire and melta ranges they died, this remained the same.  The one thing I did notice was my Ravagers were getting destroyed much easier.  Sitting at a further range, I often took more heavy shots with the ravagers, resulting in stuns and weapon destroyed results  with the occasional destroyed result; often the Ravagers would still be alive at the end of a game.  6th edition though, the stun locks, or multiple stuns turned into Hull Point death, and the move and fire at full range of rapid fire weapons put more things in range sooner.  The Ravagers were still quite good at anti vehicle, but they just weren't lasting long enough to work as that anvil unit.
Bash Brothers chillin

My first instinct was to try and rely on Flyers, we have some very good ones.  But I quickly realized that two things, they weren't going to be available enough through out the game to bring to bear effectively enough(2/3rds or less of the game turns), and they were just a gimmick effectiveness for now; as more armies got flyers, or figured out how to torrent of fire them down they would be just as vulnerable.  So I was concerned for a bit, but then I noticed how well my Talos was performing, twin-linked haywire blasters had him tag teaming vehicles dead via hull points with a scourge unit with two more haywire blasters, and once he got that first pain token, he was much harder to kill.

'Come at me Bro'
So as part of my Apocalypticon build, I had gotten another Talos kit, mostly for some more bits, but also to throw together another Talos with these observations in mind.  The last few games, the Ravager has sat on the shelf, and the heavy slots have been filled with 2 Talos, and usually a Razorwing.  Surprisingly these guys have absolutely preyed on vehicles that take any damage(finishing them off quickly stripping two more hull points), laughed at overwatch as they crash into assault with hammer of wrath, and dominated the table.  In combination with a few other changes, that I'll detail in a later post, I think the foot bound Taloi are here to stay, and spark the Dark Footdar revolution, I definitely believe they give the Ravager a very viable run for that 'king of the heavy' crown that it once had.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dark Eldar Raven Mk II

Elegant but Deadly Silhouette

So one of my projects that I started as a learning process is coming a little closer to completion.  My Dark Eldar Flyer, which was aiming to be a Raven substitute, but that may change.  The IA Apocalypse 2nd Edition brought the Raven back to the  potential of usability for me.  They were 205 pts for one twin linked dark lance shot, and four Str 4 AP 5 shots, it came down to 125 and changed four bolter shots for ten poison 4+ shots.  It seemed right where it should be compared to the Eldar Nightwing.  As of the Aeronautica book however, it's back up to 205 pts, with the same lance shot, and poison shots and a rule that doesn't seem to exist.  Add the flicker field to it, and it costs as much as the Tantalus?

AV 10 2 Hull Points, 1 lance, 10 poison shot flyer = AV 12 4 HP 16 transport, 12 Str 5 AP 2 shots?

I may just mount another gun in the nose vanes, and run it as a 'counts as' Nightwing with Eldar Allies unless an Errata comes out.  Anyhow enough ranting.

The Sky Asssin itself
I had used it as a Raven from the IA Apocalypse 2nd Edition book during Apocalypticon.  I hadn't quite finished getting a mounting system done, so it was Blu-Tacked to a flying stand, and in a lot of the footage if you see it, it looks like it's crashing.  Surprisingly, for it's last minute priming, it received  quite a bit of attention at the event.  Because of how smooth and stable the wings were, many thought it was a resin product that they hadn't seen.

Side Profile
So since my last update on this project, I constructed and added the top slugh tail.  This is a combination of some plasticard to buffer the gun, and then a Splintercannon body run along the bottom of an inverted and trimmed shuriken cannon from a leftover Wraithlord kit.  The main fuselage was rounded out with Milliput, including building up around the cockpit, and housings were added for the Dark Lances, and further rounded with Milliput.  I found it was a much better medium than Green Stuff, as with a little water it became much more malleable and allowed you to smooth it much more organically.
Oncoming death
My actual canopy ended up getting broken, it is currently sporting a replacement made with the half canopy DE rear, but an Eldar canopy front.  That will be replaced for the DE canopy front with the half canopy reversed and connected to the back of the full canopy.  Then the goal is to try and get a cast of the canopy by itself, and then try the difficult task of getting a cast of the whole plane.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dark Eldar don't like to fly

So with the decision of a 10 hour drive to Apocalypticon, or a 80 minute flight for slightly more than what I'd have to pay in gas, it was a no brainer to fly.  Of course this was my first time flying with miniatures, and a lot of them, so I wasn't sure what to expect or how securely packed was well enough.

So I ended up packing as much as I could in my ArmyTransport bag, and then got 2 additional Rubbermaid bins that were 12x9x12-ish.  The first bin was primarily for the titan, but after seeing how well other things fit, I grabbed another.  After some indecision, a combination of soft foam and bubble wrap was used to pack the models into the bins.  The flight down was rather rough and very damp, upon arrival.  So I expected to have to do some repairs when I arrived, not nearly to the scale that I encountered though.  Many of the models took quite a beating, luckily it was mostly bad bonds letting go, or breaking at the bond, not many snapped or broken pieces.

Mostly the lower leg and back of the shoulder

One of the other things I noticed as I was pulling models out of the ArmyTransport was that some of my wyches looked like the paint had been removed.  On closer inspection of the faded red, I realized what my problem was.  The wyches seemed to be the only models affected, which I assume was because they were the only models that traveled with me that recieved a gloss coat, followed by a matte coat.  The way the Charadon Granite and grey highlighting looked under the clouding made them look bare.

So my first instinct was to take the heat gun to them, and fix up the finish.  The heat gun worked great, the finish came right back to where it was . . . . the problem was the 'melting' point of the sealer was basically the same as the plastic, so the model I tested it on became very malleable.  I knew I'd end up loosing details, and potentially whole models that way.

Not bad for a frozen wych
So off to the internets.  The clouding is usually caused by trapped moisture (makes sense with the wet arrival and high altitude), a couple places suggested either extreme heat or cold as a solution, or just re-seal them and that will often correct it.  I tried the extreme heat, so I gave a kick at extreme cold next.  I stuck a few of the wyches in the downstairs freezer for a couple days.  Most of them came out looking better, only 2 of them are noticeably gray still.  I'll try and re-seal them some time of the next few days, and hopefully that will bring them back.

* I apologize for the lack of pics, I thought I had some good before pics, but they too ended up being cloudy . . . maybe it's contagious.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tormentor Titan update 3

So I was hoping to get this posted before I left, but some last minute issues with the assembly, and airbrush problems left me with more to do than I had time.
"Wow, What is it?" - most common phrase to refer to the titan

Still, I managed to get it assembled, and at least a basic colour set put down.  The guns still need alot of colour, but it gives a general idea of the look of the model.  So my logistical problem came when I realized that he was going to be too big for carry on, and too big for any of the containers I had.

19" titan + 15"x12"x9" container = problems.
I get a "We'll be back" roll, right?

So with a little help, I managed to split him right where the torso meets the leg plates, then recessed a 1/2" rare earth magnet in each side.  Double win, he travels a big safer and now he pivots nicely at the waist for improved effect.
Preying Mantis Style
The guns we mounted on pins, that slide down through the tubing of the arm that slides into the torso, so they hold the blades up in place.  The head has a nail with a 1/4" nail recessed into it, with another 1/2" magnet on the neck area of the torso to hold it on.  A couple of the leg blades came off on transport home, but you can still get the idea.

Standing Tall
A very last minute addition, as in throw the bits in and finishing upon arrival, were the eye gems.  I had originally cast these to be glued to the body, but realized they'd look better in the eyes.  They may have to be pulled and re-slotted after a bit of work, but the concept is wonderful.

Here's looking at you.
So that is how the build finally shaped up.  When I got down to Welland, I stopped and had a quick visit with Kris from Riders of the Cosmic Serpent & MiniWarGaming.  After a quick inspection and ensuing titan battle, he convinced me that an Eldar Phantom Titan would be a better choice, and more aesthetically fitting, than being a Chaos Reaver.  Since the model was quite a bit bigger than I expected, equal at the head/shoulder, and not quite as high on the back fins, it wasn't a hard stretch.

So off I went to Apocalypticon with an extra 1000 points because of that decision, bringing me to just over 9500 points, and it was a decision that I would not be displeased with.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Apocalypticon 2012

So my plan was to get a couple updates done last week, but I ran into some building and equipment issues trying to get my army ready for Apocalypticon.  I hope to get some pics up of the mostly complete titan, it got quite a bit of "what is that" attention.  I'll also get a pic of the the scratch built Raven, it was much harder to spot, but got equally as much attention.  Because it was one of the last things to be completed, it was only primed black, and didn't get the mounting done.  But the priming made it look very much like an unprimed resin model, so alot of people thought it may be a Forgeworld piece.

The game was a blast, and should be the content of posts for a little while to come.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

MiniWarGaming Down

So it seems MiniWarGaming had a bit of a computer issue, and they are likely to be down for the next couple days (as well as any associated site, such as the store, forums, and Apocalypticon site).  Obviously, they realize that they should have had a backup plan, but really MiniWarGaming started pretty small and has become a steamroller in the miniature gaming community, as evidenced by the highly successful Dark Potential fundraiser.

So I hope they get some luck and are only down for a day, it's rough for a business to loose a very large part of the revenue stream for multiple days.  It's even harder for us gamers to loose a large portion of entertainment streamm, LOL.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tormentor Titan update 2

Just a quick update on the titan.

I added the jump jets, and protective plating, I built the guns that were supposed to be Splinter Cannons on my home brew datasheet.  The arms are to the point of complete, I'm contemplating how/if I want to make them removable.  It has sort of taken a back burner the past week because of my newest delivery. . .

So at this point, the plan is to hit Apocalypticon in Hamilton in just under a month with approx. 7500-8000 points in tow.  Hopefully I have more soon.

Friday, July 6, 2012

6th Edition planning and insights

So FINALLY, I'll get to try some 6th edition and I'm really looking forward to it.

Currently I've read the book a few times, and picked out insightful ideas to try.  First thing I'm going to do is try and modify my webway list.  This shouldn't be a huge deal for me because most of what I had coming out of the portal was shoot then assault type units, like the Talos and Cronos, and Wracks.  I'll maybe put the scourges in the webway instead of deep striking for a little more control.

One thing that I usually ran was two 10 man squads of wyches one from the webway and one from a raider.  These are getting a couple slight changes, one unit will become warriors coming out of the webway.  That second unit in the Raider though, they are going to take a single upgrade and be run in the exact same 'take on anything' role as before.  Now most people have given up on assault because of snapfire, especially for light armoured units like wyches, but I found a gotcha.
Better than a Holy Hand Grenade

That brings us to our single piece of wargear, the Phantasm Grenade Launcher.  In case you don't know what it does, it is an upgrade for the squad character, the Hekatrix in this case, and it makes the unit count as having both offensive and defensive grenades.  5th Edition = meh, who cares, 6th ed though? Portable cover save vs snapfire.  One of the new quirks to 6th is a change to Defensive Grenades.

ShootingA unit equipped with defensive grenades has the Stealth special rule against all attacks targeting them. so long as:
  • They are within 8" of the unit firing at them.
  • They have not gone to ground

So what does this mean? With your average assault range being about 7" with the fleet reroll, you are going to want to be within 8" anyhow, so when you declare a charge you get a 'who can get the most 6s' roll off.  So this means you could get a 6+/5+FNP for your wyches.  

I'll give it a try this weekend and report back.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

My 6th Edition rant for the pile

So I got to go over the 6th edition rules and FAQ quickly, I'll give it a couple more intensive reads later.  Overall, I'm disappointed with the rules changes, but have a hard time being surprised at such bad design.

I think the thing that frustrates me the most is how every new or interesting change that seemed to add balance, was followed by a line like "except for models with and they shall know no fear", or "except for drop pods".  Just put a giant disclaimer at the front that says BUY SPACE MARINES OR DON'T PLAY!

Anyhow, I'll have to do some playtests, but I'm absolutely certain that my lists will be changing dramatically.  So I'm just going to go over a few observations that I've made for my Dark Eldar army, mixed with a few general observations and opinions I've read/heard else where.

  • So lets start with the obvious, WWP Assaults are dead, FAQ double slaps us, no assault out of a WWP(no surprise), but also no allies out of a WWP.
  • Assault is going to be harder to get into with random charges and overwatch
  • Wyches are much less viable, slightly less threat range on average, subject to shooting if they come from WWP/reserve, and then subject to overwatch with a very real chance that they fail the charge and get shot again.  Wyches + shooting = dead wyches.
  • Beasts threat range greatly reduced, and will be more vulnerable moving across the table.
  • Flyers are slightly less effective shooting, no more single turn alpha strikes with all the guns and missles.
  • Warlord rules don't do much for our army, most of these abilities we can get from upgrades/combat drugs/pain tokens
  • FNP nerf hits us hard, with 5+ and 6+ nerf armour saves, the 4+ FNP was what most units survived on.
  • Jetbikes got better, with a 4+ cover save all the time thanks to jink + skilled rider they may be viable shooting units again.
  • Gunboats are back, splinter racks will become valuable now
  • Raiders didn't really get as nerfed as other vehicles with Hull Points.
  • DE Archons/HQ should excel at character hunting/challenges, huskblade/soul trap was made for this.
  • Drazhar became very powerful with how difficult 2+ saves are
  • Incubi will excel at what I'm going to dub the "Aspect Trick"
  • Opinion seems to agree wound allocation slows the game down drastically, so points levels will likely fall back to 1500pts
There are a few others that I'm going to test a bit first, but I want to explain one thing I mentioned near the end, the "Aspect Trick".  Incubi, and all Eldar Aspect warriors for that matter, have a "character" that fights at a different initiative value than the rest of the squad, this allows your character upgrade to be the ultimate CC sniper.  This takes advantage of the new close combat wound allocation, and some sneaky charge movement, as I said, I've only read the rules once so feel free to correct me.

Aspect Trick: Move the Klaivex into B2B with high threat target, making sure not to touch any other models.  Klaivex strikes at I6, while remainder of Incubi strike at I5.  Thus when Klaivex makes attacks at I6, he should be the only one attacking at that Initiative on your side.  Wounds don at I6 can only be taken from models in base to base with models striking at I6, thus the high threat target the Klaivex maneuvered into B2B must die.  Bonus: If the Klaivex rolls a 6 to hit, he may use the Precision Strikes to allocate to another model in the combat, and still snipe his B2B target.

I expect this to be a HUGE advantage if the squad makes it into CC with anything with limited power weapons.  The problem I see arising, is a lot of units, the power weapons go to the characters, and they will get a "look out sir" roll.  But something like the grey hunter squad with a couple meltas and a power weapon, this will be gold  And don't we all expect to see more of those grey hunter squads in 6th?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tormentor Titan update

With 2 updates in a week I've obviously gotten more done on the titan.  Legs are greenstuffed and connected to the torso, upper torso is done except weapons, back fins are on and arms are in the production phase, you can see the mock-up put on with blue tac in the pics below.  I figure it's also a nice change from the current uproar of 6th washing across the interwebs.

Tormentor head on
After I got everything together I thought the legs were a little large at first, but after it's all together they've grown on me.  One of the problems I ran into is balance and that the legs are just connected with styrene tubing and seem a little flimsy.  I believe the model could hold its weight just standing on the shelf, but I expect it would seem breakage during table play.  So I've currently put him on a small plywood base, with a 1/2" tube propping up the model(about a 1/2" off the ground currently); the plan is to replace the tube with a clear acrylic rod.

Side profile
I'm going to go back and add some additional tubing to represent hydraulics where the lower legs meet the upper legs, and possibly where the upper leg meets the torso.  The lower part of the torso still needs to be detailed with protective plates and jump jets in between the legs. I'm probably putting some sort of belt piece as well to divide the torso.

The plan for the should mounts are to make them look slightly like the new heat lances, I found some nice mechanical pencils that have a similar shape so it should make it easy to convert up.  The CCW currently is a foam board mock up.  The plan for this is probably going to be a single piece of styrene sheet for the whole shape, and then build up with smaller shapes of styrene sandwiching the main blade.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Titan update

So the I've finished the 4 legs, gotten them cleaned up and prepped to remold the tips of the legs after putting some solid pins in there.  I found the leg tips were pretty flimsy, and sparse, so I cut them back far enough to pin in the pins.  Most of the spiked fins were also pretty deformed or flimsy, so I removed most of them, I'm thinking I may just remove them all and either put individual bits on all the legs, or cast the fins by themselves.

Four legs, pinned and ready for Green stuff
While resin was curing and in between leg cleanup, I moved on to the torso piece, and upper legs.  I had originally decided that I was going to use a ball type joint on the upper leg to connect to the torso as well.  I expected to cast and mold that as well, but as I was looking a little closer at the Forgeworld Eldar titans I noticed they usually used a flat connection.  So I picked up some 7/16" Evergreen tubing and I'm just going to connect using the tubes cut to size.  The torso had holes pre-drilled to fit the ball joints, so I just expanded them slightly so the tubing will fit.

Torso with a small mistake
I had used a series of PVC pike connectors to build the torso, it is a larger 1" piece, with a smaller connector fit inside, and half of a third smaller connector within the second one.  You can see the second connector with the leg holes, and you can see the third connector through the holes, and the small stop piece at the bottom.  This gave a nice little tapering effect towards the bottom, I just needed to expand the top a bit so I could make it resemble the Kabalite Warrior torso.  So as I was cleaning up, I found an old Tylenol bottle that was the right size, I had to expand the opening, and then slipped it on the top of the PVC connector.  This gave me a nice thickness for the torso, as well as a flat top with a slight indent to attach the head at a later point.  A short set of 1/2" tubing was added to either side of the medicine bottle to give the torso the width I wanted from shoulder to shoulder.  Now it was ready to be built up and get some definition going.

The first though was going to be heat and mold styrene around the frame until I got the shape I wanted, and then add detail to it until it was passable.  But since the gaming table doubles as the work area and is shared by my girlfriend and her daughter there are often lots of odds and ends kicking around for inspiration.  So the kid was working on trying to build items with the intent of going larger and larger to an eventual cosplay outfit.  One of the materials that she was using extensively was the sheets of flexible craft foam.  I was moving it out of the way and noticed how it flexed nicely, was of a decent thickness, and was easy to work with, so I asked to borrow a couple sheets.

Torso back with spinal plates
The torso plates were laid down from bottom up using the foam, because of the natural stepping nature of the frame I didn't have to do all the way to the top each time.  The one problem I had, is I got a little too anxious with foam and started forming the torso before I remembered that each band was supposed to taper up in the center where the hole was.  Still, the foam has worked great, it's given me a nice light frame that has been easy to work with.  The only real problem I've had is some shaping problems with edges, and stray bits and bobs can leave impressions in the foam.  After the torso was built, I cut away a section down the middle of the back and inserted the layered spinal plates, and guards on either side of that.  I think it came out quite nicely.

So the next step is going to be building the back fins, and deciding on what I want to do with the torso piece.  I had originally thought of casting the torso as well, but I realize that it may be too heavy to sit properly on the legs once everything is assembled.  So I've been throwing around a couple of ideas.  The other problem is how to prepare the foam for detail and paint.  I should be able to use a glue/water mixture to seal it like a foam terrain piece, or maybe even a sealer, but one of the things I've noticed when I get some resin spill over onto any newspaper is it soaks in and hardens almost like a fibreglass (which it should since it is basically the same product); so I may mix up some resin, and paint it onto the foam to harden it.  This may also be revisited for the flyer build as well.

On a seperate note, I may be moving soon, and I've heard there is a decent sized Apocalypse game being planned for the middle of this month, so I may try and hurry this to a standing frame with temporary weapons to try out.  As far as the MiniWarGaming Apocalypticon event, as I expected, they don't want to sent a precedent of having to manage house built rules, so if I get it built and am able to attend it will likely proxy as a Chaos Reaver.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A little more success, and some hope.

So I did some work to put together a slightly better rig to hold my leg molds, a pair of leftover pressboard shelves cut to size with a series of clamps along the out edges.  With that done, I mixed up another batch of resin, and set to work trying again.

This time the leg came out much better, and overall the part came out looking more like I expected.  The sharp edge of the leg was a little dull and jagged, this is in part because this is where the split for the mold was made.Also, the blades along the outer side of the leg didn't get as much definition.  The blades were very much expected, I didn't put in the proper venting for them when I made the mold.  I figured I could always just add those pieces on later if I needed, with the number of extra bits in the Raider and Ravager kit I should have enough to finish one titan at the very least.

Titan Leg V2
The bottom tip of the leg saw a little air get captured, so it resulted in a bit of deformity; no big loss though, because one of the things I had wanted to try was putting a metal rod into the leg when I was pouring the resin so there was a little more rigid structure for the titan to stand on, I can insert the rod where the deformity is and the green stuff over top.

The next leg is in the block curing now, I had did a little more research and it was suggested that putting talc powder on the inside of the mold helped the resin reach all the nooks and crannies, so that is the experiment this time, hopefully it will help show an improved result.

If I can get 3 more legs of the above quality, then I'll play with adding the rod for the next 4.  But first, time to get the body finished and get some more silicone rubber to cast the part.  I'd say to expect more updates, but I'm sure we all know I'm lazy and they may be not come soon.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Work has begun.

I'm still working on the flyer, mostly trying to figure out how to get the nice rounded organic feel to a lot of it without leaving it to the symmetry of my sculpting skills(since they don't much exist).  So I started doing some more scratch work on another project I've wanted to try.

The Tormentor Titan
The one thing that bothers about playing Dark Eldar, is as you scale up, there isn't really anything to use.  Apocalypse formations are limited, specialty units are virtually non-existent, and the few Forgeworld offerings are more 40K bolt-ons than Apocalypse vehicles.

So I did some digging into the dark corners of the internet to find out about where the army stands in Epic.  There isn't really anything in the official Epic rules for Dark Eldar, but there is a community who put together rules to expand the game and include Dark Eldar, along with other "lesser races" in the form of the Epic Raiders fandex.  So obviously the cover is as far as I needed to look to know I wanted the Dark Eldar Tormentor Titan.

I've played around with some rules ideas to guide what I want to build, but I'm going to keep those to myself until the project is done and I can fit them to the model.  I've finished the leg model, and have an idea on how it's attaching to the body assembly, so I picked up some Mold Max 30 silicon rubber to cast the part.  I hadn't used the product before, but I liked it being a mix by weight product which made it more exact with the use of a kitchen scale.  I built a mold box, and set the leg into clay, along with some bolts for alignment keys, and cast the first half of the mold, planning on doing a 2 part mold.  There wasn't any real problems, everything went smoothly.  I hit the local Michael's and got some mold release, removed the clay, and hit the part and mold with some mold release.  I then poured the second half of the mold.

Problems occurred!  The mold release either didn't properly cover, or reacted with the silicon mold compound, there was no release between the mold halves, I had a part encased in a block of silicon rubber.  So I went about splitting the block and getting to the part.  I managed to extract it and was basically left with a split mold.  From reading I knew this wasn't going to be as durable or reusable as a 2 part mold, but I figured I'd give it a try.  Now usually I'm using much smaller molds, and often they are placed snuggly into boxes of some sort, but this mold was a bit larger, so I tried using some boards held tight with some elastics and straps.  Once I started pouring the resin, it was obvious these weren't tight enough, because resin seeped out the sides and bottom.  I tightened things as much as I could and finished pouring the mold.

It didn't turn out terribly, I got a lot of flashing and bubbled edges because of the seepage, but it could be salvageable.  I noticed that the mold itself has a couple of major bubbles on the one side, likely the second half, but they should be fixable, the biggest issue with this cast is that the top ball joint and edge of the leg only had the resin harden on the mold while some of the resin seeped out, making them hollow.
Bubbles in the mold
Rough edges because of seepage
I'm going to build up a proper box that I can place the mold in and tight more uniformly and try again.  The goal is to get 4 good legs out of the mold, and then see if I can manage 4 more.  As was pointed out to me, if I'm going to spend the time and money to cast and mold one, I may as well do 2.  So hopefully over the next little while I can refine my process and get the 4-8 legs I need and move onto finishing the body assembly.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Zone Mortalis some more

So the Zone Mortalis walls are basically done, I have a small 4' length of lumber left that I could make a couple more walls out of, but we took what we had and ran a large game this past Sunday at the club.  Three person teams, each person running 1000 points each.

Everyone loved the quick pace and bloody close quarters feel of the game, it's a nice escape from the mechanized world of 5th Edition.  People got to bring things that wouldn't normally hit the table, notice the Avatar?  He's quite spiffy for this, ignoring melta and flamers.  The addition of the doors made a big difference, with AV13 it was entirely possible to get yourself locked into a room.  Worse still is if you were locked in a room with an entry point, you were a rat trapped in the maze waiting to be eaten (my girlfriend took that literally and decided to add some mouse toys for the pictures).

We played with basically all the optional rules, the Enemy Unknown was too much work, and the Cold Void was only used if added through the catastrophic damage table.  The way we see it, the game is meant to be played with everything, and flavoured by the choice of the Catastrophic Damage table you use, Buried Alive for ground bases, and Void Ships & Stations for space hulk type battles.  The one house rule we added was to modify the 10 man unit limit.  It seemed to hamper those swarm armies that we'd want to see in the halls, like Orks and Tyranids.  So we allowed squads of any size allowable by the codex, however any squad of 12 or more models in the movement phase counted as moving through difficult terrain to represent the close quarters shuffling of so many bodies moving through hallways.  It seemed to work perfectly, allowing someone unfamiliar with the house rule to play with little issues, 10 man squad + 2 HQ ICs.  Only some small issues for armies that can get multiple ICs per HQ slot, or ICs from non-HQ slots.

As you can see there are quite a few more walls, some blast doors, and a few pieces of terrain on square bases to fit into the system nicely.  To begin with I simply made 3 sets of 3 doors in a 2", 3" and 4" width.  The blast doors were just some more particle board consisting of a 1" thick base for a 3" tall door to sit on with just some carpenters glue to hold them on.  They are the most likely thing to break, but they are also pretty quick and easy to fix. 

The only thing I may add is some sort of edge marker, because as you can see some of the edges didn't have walls along the whole edge.  This is partly because of lack of extra straight length walls, and part because the ones that did get placed would get knocked off.  So something in  a similar size to the blast doors, just a simple flat marker representation.

So the overall decree is everyone loves the Zone Mortalis games and we'll probably finish off the club dates playing it.  If you get a chance definitely setup something as walls, even if it's just masking tape on the table, you'll enjoy it I'm sure.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Dark Eldar Flyer Project

So with school winding down, and extra time while I'm job hunting I thought I'd spend some extra time on various projects that I've been wanting to do for a while.  The bigger ones will be posted later, but the first thing I wanted to start with was a flyer.

I've always looked at the Forgeworld Raven and though I could probably make that out of a Raider body, just change the wings because I didn't like the look of them.  The problem was it would cost a Raider body, which I didn't have any extras of.  I had always kept a look out for spares on the cheap, but never saw any.  But with the new codex and new models the old ones, which were pretty beat up, went into a closet.  I pulled a couple out recently, and took the most battered one to be re-built, better, faster, more in line with the new styles.  Early on I decided to make the wings resemble the swept back Skyboard wings.  Then design the body to have a Jetbike look.

With some leftover 1/8" plastic sheeting from a recent bathroom reno I started by cutting them out with the jigsaw, then smoothing them down and shaping them with the sander.  The Raider got the platforms and driver wings clipped off and the front was chopped about where the scoop underneath began.  From there the wings were added, and a front nose piece added.  At this point I need to add some thin cardstock or plasticard to add some flow to the tops and bottom of the model and fill out the front cowl, but it's definitely taking the shape I want.

The plan is to use it as a Raven in the end, with the splintercannon underslung.  But  I may hold off adding that and use it as a Voidraven bomber until an actual model is released.

Once it's a little further along with some better contrast pictures I'll post more shots.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Zone Mortalis Project Underway

So with the mechanised and shooting heavy bias of 5th I was really excited when Forgeworld eleased the Zone Mortalis rules.  I loved the idea of close quarters Space Hulk type games.  I wasn't quite as excited about the price of the set and how much a decent size play space would be; although I have heard good reviews about the set.  So, like manyothers I began a plan to replicate the idea, why re-invent the wheel right?  But as I was planning things and trying to determine the best material to use as a base, my girlfriend asked one of those questions that makes me take pause, 'Where are you going to store it?  Couldn't you just make the walls?'  So simple it seemed stupid to do what I was.

So back to the drawing board.  I focused on making walls that were durable and space saving.  So I started with a trip to the local DIY store for some supplies.  Here is the current materials list:
  • 1x3x8 strapping
  • Wood glue
  • Foamcore board
  • Screwnails

So the design is to go with no base and make 9 wall sections (1 12" wall, 10x10 L-shape wall, 1 8x8 U-shaped wall, and 6 4x4 L-shaped walls) that should come close to replicating the Forgeworld setup but with more flexibility.  The best part is that once I determined the dimensions, I was able to make all of the wall pieces to make just about the equivalent of the Forgeworld set with one 8 foot length.

So I began by cutting the strapping to length, it is important to remember to account for the thickness of your foamcore, as well as any joins in the strapping.  For example, an L-shaped wall that you want to be 10 inches will require 1 9" length( -1/4" for foamcore, -3/4" for strapping), and 1 9 3/4" length.

Once the pieces were cut to length, they put into place, then glued and clamped.  Once the pieces were clamped together pilot holes were drilled long enough for the screws, and then the boards were also screwed together.  You could easily nail them instead of screwing them, but it's generally a tigher fit with screws and I had some extra laying around.  Keep in mind, because you are working with thin boards, pilot holes are important to keep the wood from splitting.

Once everything was together, the next step was to put foamcore on to the wood.  This was done for a number of reasons, to bulk up the walls to give a more bunker like or bulkhead feel, to give us a clean and flat surface to do detail work on, and especially in the case of the single 12" section, to help it sit flatter and without tipping.

So the first set of 9 pieces is almost complete, just a couple foamcore applications for the small L shape pieces.  When I picked up the lumber I grabbed 2 lengths, assuming I'd be just short with 1, and have started a second set of walls.  I haven't added any new shapes, although I am going to look at it, I did however change the number of pieces.  I changed some of the small L shapes into another large L shape, it left a little extra leftover but the benefit was worth it.  As I was placing the shapes for testing and pictures I realized that the combination of the two L shapes gave me a great corner corridor that I didn't see in the Forgeworld setup as much. 

So I'm going to try and get the second set assembled, and hopefully the foamcore walls on tommorow before the club to give it a try at one of our last few dates.