Friday, March 18, 2016

On the Table: Alpha Legion Contemptor Dreadnaught

Well to help add some punch to my list I finished up the first Contemptor Dreadnought. I ended up using a lot of stencil marks on this Contemptor due to it being the plain one in the Betrayal of Calth boxed set. I also have the Forgeworld one (see next post), and on that one I used the scales stencil very sparingly. Here though with so many plain flat surfaces I felt like going hog wild and getting it all over the place. I also ended up laying out a ton of decals. The left shoulder shot is extra whited out due to these decals. They are silver metallic and reflected back the light at the camera when shot head on like that. I was kicking myself because unlike the rest of this project I basically built the entire Dreadnought before painting, that arms are magnetized to do weapon swaps at least. With the new cheaper version of the Contemptor Dreadnought in Horus Heresy book 6, Retribution it won't be so bad to squeeze him into my Victory is Vengeance force. Coming in at about 150 points. I enjoyed doing the free hand on the scroll-work on his chest. I used some great inking pens that where recommended by a modeler who used them to ink the recessed edges on his Eldar vehicles. I opted to mount him further back on the base do to the pervasiveness of the lava in the base. Looking at the finished product it really worked for allowing the OSL on the legs to work out great. Rather than being semi pervasive and everywhere on the legs, being front only means I got to focus on just the front being OSL and drawing the eye to the effect. 

I have to say this was a great kit to build and work with. Modding the arms to take magnets in the same location as the Forgeworld arms/weapons so I could interchange them between my Contemptors was some work. Still way worth the effort. With the upcoming narrative day, Fratris Salutem coming soon I've got my eye on how to continue painting out the army for use on that day. Something I should be able to do easily. At a minimum I need another Contemptor and 13 Legion marines. Until next time. 

 As a parting shot here is my Alpha Legion force completed thus far.

Friday, March 11, 2016

On The Table: Alpha Legion Vigilator

To lead my Alpha Legion force against the hated Raven Guard Alpharius tasked Centurian Draeyos to hunt down the survivors on Istavaan V. Cold and methodical this Vigilator attempts to trap the Raven Guard using stealth and beguilement. Unfortunatly for Draeyos his attempts are foiled by the superior stealth and hit and run tactics of the Raven Guard he hunts. Even as his own traps are being sprung he finds his men caught in a trap of Raven Guard design. Maimed in his encounter with the Raven Guard commanders Terminator bodyguard Draeyos nevertheless continues to strive to find a way to clip the wings of the Raven, even as his own men begin to see weakness in his failure.

So we played our first two games of the campaign. A screaming baby prevented me from getting any good photos' of the games unfortunately as my hands where occupied trying to keep her calm. We opted to change one rule before we played using a modified save rule from some more modern killteam games. Essentially allowing models to take all available saves. We did not anticipate the use of the action points and what they meant to unit survival already. Essentially these changes effectively nerfed shooting, models getting two or even three saves, while booting close combat. Couple this with the much shorter deployment gap of 6-12" and a smaller overall table and you have a recipe for vastly different game. Essentially close combat happened pretty reliably within 2 turns. Shooting doing little to no damage int eh 1 or two rounds you got. I was simply outclassed in hand to hand having built a shooty force. I have very little low AP weapons for hand to hand, and no Terminators finished from the paint table. My opponents Terminators just wrecked face. With multiple saves and re-rolls due to action points I just couldn't put a wound on them and then they would powerfist me right into the dirt. We both decided to roll back the multi saves rule. Action points granting a powerful tool to aid in survival to the heroes already. Well I go back to the drawing board behind two games in the campaign but he Hydra will rise again. You may cut off a head but two more will rise in its place. 

Group Shot of the completed ALpha Legion units so far.

Friday, March 4, 2016

On the Table: Alpha Legion Veteran Tactical Squad 1

Finished up my next batch of Alpha Legion marines. This time I finished up some Legion Tactical Veterans. I opted to do the special weapon bearers and the sergeants for all three squads first. As we are planning to start a Victory is Vengeance campaign I need options more than entire units. Completing this group gives me the modes I need to be able to start the campaign. Now that I have had some experience in building and playing 40k, I brought all the lessons learned to building out these units. I built the squads to accommodate all options. In this case two magnetized Veterans to hold special weapons. Given the nature of the missile launchers for 30k, I even magnetized the waist of 3 of the 6 to accommodate an entire torso holding the missile launcher. For this round of painting I opted to only paint bolters/meltas/plasmas & flamers. Leaving the Heavy bolters and missile launchers aside to be completed at a later date. Similarly the sergeants are only equipped with what they will have initially in the campaign but are magnetized to take all weapon options. This includes a wrist magnet on the gun arm to swap from bolters to various pistols and combi-weapons. The left arm is doubly magnetized both coming off at the wrist for power weapons/chain swords and thunder hammers. The left arm also comes off at the shoulder to allow power fists and lightning claws to be used.

So as we move onto painting steps we must first talk about the staged assembly of the models. I opted to heavily stage assemble the models. Shoulder pads where blue tacked to sprues, arms where glued to torsos and to legs. heads are also not attached but left on the sprue. the rest being magnetized where left off as they would always be removable. To paint up these models I started with a base coat of Ultramarine Blue using an airbrush. After that I applied a zenithal highlight of 50/50 Ultramarine and Minitaire Troll Hide. I finished by applying a stencil of dragon scales to the legs and shoulder guards using Troll Hide. After this we move onto the brush work. I applied a Null Oil wash directly to the seems and joints in the armor. Base coated the weapons with black on the plating edge highlighting them with Storm Grey. I also base coated the metallic areas with Gunmetal, also washing them in Null Oil. I then bring up the metal areas with Chainmail and edge highlight with Plate Silver. Hitting the exposed studs with the Plate Silver. I then edge highlight all the armor areas in Troll Hide then again with a fine Scorpion Green. I then airbrushed some OSL lava lighting onto the legs as I painted up the bases. I do this then so I know the position of the model on the base. Last I finish assembling the model and attach it to the base. Almost the opposite of the normal assemble paint method.

Friday, February 26, 2016

On the Table: Alpha Legion Tactical Squad 1

This marks the beginning of my new army project for the upcoming year. I've signed myself up for two different hobby progress challenges to give myself smaller rolling deadlines. My January project is to finish up the squad of Tactical Marines from Forgeworld that have been on my project to do list for over a year. I opted for a different paint style than what has become the wildly popular Alpha Legion paint scheme. The metallic washed/airbrushed with a  Blue and Green glaze. I wanted something to expand my painting skills with. My last project featured the use of decals for the first time. The project before that was using edge highlights for the first time. I've brought both those elements into this one, to expand my practice with them. Really the key new element is OSL lighting from the base onto the models. Going with a Blue/Green color scheme on the models themselves I wanted a base to really pop with them. Being a Horus Heresy 30k army built from Forgeworld kits I opted to do a different style base that would match the army rather than the same base system I use with everything else.

Today I'm going to spend go over the technique of the base. The next On The Table will go over the painting of the army itself. It took me a couple tries to get the lava base to come out right. The first time I used the red/orange/yellows from Badger's Minitaire line. When I was all done, the base just looked dusty and dull. It wasn't vibrant nor, bright. I ordered up some airbrush paints from Vellejo and I was able to get a much brighter color. The base red of Nebula red from Minitaire is awesome. It is a vibrant bright red and layers down over black nice with a couple coats. The over-spray is subtle enough that it provides the beginning of OSL to the base itself. I give the lave area a giid coating. Applying 2-3 coats to get a solid and rich red coloring down. I pre-prep the base by dry brushing in a mix of 50/50 black and Reaper Storm grey over the black primed base. Then a last drybrush of Storm grey. Over the Nebula Red I put down a coat of Vellejo Hot Orange. at this stage I try and ovoid over-spray. In some narrow sections it happens and I let it. We are going for a natural look so soft edges are important. I thin mix in some Gold Yellow (also Vellejo), letting the last bits of Hot orange mix with it. This gives a good yellow/orange tone. Over this I come back with a narrow band of White in the center of each lava mass and across bubbles. Lastly I hit the white areas with Moon Yellow. Yellow being so transparent typically (especially for a bright yellow). This gives a good vibrant lava but its still missing something.

The secret sauce to bright lava is to remember it is liquid. So we need a nice wet look for it, and nothing makes a model look wet like a good gloss coat. Once I finished painting the whole model, assembled it (more on that next time) and sealed everything with Testor's dull coat, I go back and brush on some gloss coat over the lava. It gives it that vibrant wet look. That is everything for today. Until next time. 

Friday, February 19, 2016

Victory is Vengeance, teaser

I've created a nice teaser trailer for an upcoming campaign between myself and a buddy. The Alpha Legion vs Raven Guard. We will be gaming out the book Deliverance Lost, starting with a Victory is Vengeance campaign on Istavaan V.

Friday, February 12, 2016

On the Table: Skitarii Dunecrawlers

And here we are at the last model from my Skitarii force for the 2015 Standish Standoff. This is actually one of the few times I've painted up an entirely new force for this event. Usually I use half the previous years models and add a mix to it. The overly large bases on the Ongar prompted me to change up my usual basing style. It would have just been to barren. I also added the elements to the Ironstriders as well. I used some Woodland Scenic's  molds to cast some rocks. I attached them to the base before priming then layered the snow up onto the edges and to one side. I wanted to get the effect of windswept snow against a rock. During the build out i fell for the same trap I often do. The first three where full assembled prior to painting. This made getting at the undercarriage, and legs difficult. Fortunately when I changed up the list and added a fourth to the list I blue-tacked the top down to the legs during play testing but could pull it apart for painting. I used some good masking tools to help get a nice white stripe down for the lead walker of each unit. I opted to not put the stripe on all the models. This also means that if I wanted two units of two, I could use the striping to mark them distinctly from each other. I also magnetized the weapons allowing me to change up load outs for the future.  The decals once more really shone on these models allowing me to get some great details making the model pop once all completed. 

In game the Ongar performed awesomely, well specifically the trio with Neutron cannon's did. The 4+ invulnerable save grants so much toughness to the unit. They survived a great deal of hurt. Most notable during game three when I used them to bait a Chaos Space marine Typhon heavy siege tank. I was able to tank the shots from it for several rounds. The large spread and footprint meant the template would hit not more than 1 model from the unit and I kept rolling a 4+ to ignore the hit. All the rest of the army was able to avoid LOS with the tank, and by leaving it one target, the other player opted out of moving it and giving up shooting for a turn. The solo Ongar with the anti-air load out does great with flyers but as it snap fires at everything else was no help all day. I hit no flyers in any of my three games. I think that Ongar killed maybe two marines all day. I really am enjoying the aesthetic design of the Mechanicum models released so far. They have a nice 1950's sci-fi style that I just dig. I look forward to working on some more of them in the future but my next project is calling to me already. Hydra Dominatus!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

On the Table: Skitrarii Ironstrider Cavaliers

The surprise hits of my Skitarii force. When I first saw these guys all I could think was how poor an AV 11 walker would have to be. But at 45 points a piece with a 5+ cover save all the time they are more survivable than you would think. They are easy kill points if the enemy wants to kill one. But with some much scarier and much tougher units on the table (read Imperial Knight and Ongar walkers) these guys actually tend to hang around and get some work done. The formation also helps as they don't start on the table but do get to roll for coming on turn 1. The rest of the formations benefits are meh at best. Re-rolling wounds against a single unit is decent but doesn't come up often. The army has few units so I ran two of the formation with minimum squad sizes. We played maelstrom missions so being able to get all over the place was best. As you can see I used the second style of painting up taser goads, using my airbrush, on all these models. It came out really well. A little heat weathering on the laser cannons and exhausts on the walkers also worked well. 

These second unit is pretty much the same but I changed up the decals on the hull plating to help distinguish the two formations from each other so I could play them correctly. Being able to shoot thru the formation at no penalty (no cover save to the target) for example would not work from formation to formation. I was able to do some magnetization but only with every other model due to the parts. So with that in mind I opted to magnetize only the ballistic ones as I felt they are the worse of the two options. As such all the hooded drivers are able to field the melee weapons, lascannons, or autocannons. In all my games these units did a lot of work. Against my round two opponent who fielded a Space Marine battle company complete with many free transports they performed magic. Not typically able to smash targets on their own they made nearly half his army have to turn around and face these models rather than come down my throat. Better yet, they mauled the half that came to deal with them, killing almost everything but a couple of the unit and holding them off for most the game and leaving the survivors way out of position. This let me overwhelm targets on the other end of the table (we played hammer and anvil and these guys came in on my opponents deployment area). For 290 points these 6 units did a great job harassing the opponent. In other games they helped to shore up assaults in progress or harass backfield units. Really if they where not so expensive $$ wise I would definitely field 12 or more of these guys. They just work to well for the points.