Friday, December 18, 2015

Your game Score, no not the points.

As miniature gamers we enjoy a cinematic experience on the tabletop. Heroes and villains beautifully painted models and terrain can leave us with some pretty neat visuals as we play. Heck if your not making dakka dakka and boom noises, even if it's just in your head, then you are playing wrong. The one thing we don't often add to our games that every movie has is music. Picking music to play isn't as simple as loading up iTunes and hitting shuffle and getting your game on. Nothing breaks the narrative of the moment like lining up your Carnifex to charge some pitiful Guardsmen who will cower before this beast, and then having I'm a Barbie girl! Come blasting over the speakers. At that point the Guard will point and laugh and poor old Fexie is going to go back to his hive in shame. On the other hand if the Imperial March comes on right as you start to unload with your Star Destroyer in a game of Star Wars Armada then all is right with the world.

You may be asking, What is the biggest key to getting the right music? For a simple start you want to look at musical Scores to movies. No not its Rotten Tomatoes rating, it's Score. The music actually played during the movie not the credits soundtrack so often sold instead. Now I know most of us don't have a library of ready to go Score music. Fear not Reader, Amazon Prime has what you need. If like me you are a Prime member for that sweet sweet free two day shipping, you may have noticed it comes with a number of other freebies as well. The one I want to point you at is Amazon Prime music. It's like Pandora except you can download songs and albums that are part of the free prime music library. Yup free, and guess what. There are a ton of albums compiling a number of epic movie scores and full on movie score albums as well.

Yay free mood music for all. Not all of it fits 40k but a simple listen thru and arrangement of the songs into playlists based on mood and you have a veritable gaming library of soundtracks to play with your every game. One of the better groups that you should start with to get a nice smattering of score music to form your playlist is Epic Score. You will find a ton of the albums from this group free with Amazon's Prime Music. Just grab them and put them on shuffle play for your first outing. Very few of the songs are not really 40k appropriate, and you can trim them from your playlist as you hit them. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

On the Table: Skitarii Vanguard / Rangers

So On the Table will focus on my recent army I played at the Standish Standoff. Today will be the Ranger and Vanguard units. For the event we had list restriction cutting us down to two sources. This really limited some armies and others (*cough* Eldar *cough*) had very few restrictions. I opted to continue with the force I had brought to the Fratris event in the Spring and bump it up to the 1850 point range. Having played some more I realized a few things. A.) Infiltrators are awesome. The speed and versatile threat they represent really helps to keep the pressure on and lets you get around the board. B.) Vanguard and Rangers are really not great. The lack of transports or real mobility prevents them from contributing much across the board. Although the Plasma Fusillade looks great, without a drop pod you just can't get them in range very effectively with a 6" move on an 18" gun. I opted instead to go with three smaller units (5 man) and the Arc Rifle for the support weapons. with a 24" range and rapid fire they can reach out fairly well with an effective threat of 30". 

Haywire means that they can threaten large and small vehicles with equal ease allowing them to help soften or finish off targets above their weight class. The rest of the army being so fast and wanting to get into it means these guys tend to hold the back to mid field. I didn't have the models or the points to equip all three units with Arc rifles so the third unit is a counter charge unit with a beefed up Sargent. Hiding most the game then jumping on an aggressive assault unit to lower its toughness allowing the Infiltrators to be able to double out Marines or anything else toughness 4. 

As for painting these guys I opted to go with the Mars scheme, but a little modified. I already have Blood Angels and the GW Mars scheme is basically the same paint method I use for them. I have always felt the Mars red should be a deeper darker red, akin to my Techmarine. SO I started with a very deep red Minitaire paints Red Clay for the base. A mid tone of Regal Red and highlighting with Angel Red. This helped to give the cloaks a dark red hue but the highlights although not as stark as an extreme highlight gave them a depth of color. I used the classic gunmetal for the base to most the metallic with some brass/copper coloring for details. The gun stalks I used a burnt umber over the metallic base, the metallic showed thru a little giving the dark brown a kind of sheen that I really liked. Almost a brass effect but more brown. I used Vellejo's Game Air Electric Blue for the base on all my blue work. Highlighting up with a sky blue mixed in then straight and white highlights.

Yay hazard striping painted by hand
For the Arc Rifles I came back to the model and Airbrushed on the glow to get a nice OSL effect from these heavy weapons. The Radium carbines I simply painted by hand as they are much smaller in effect. The only other thing I used the airbrush for was to apply the base coat of red on the cloak outside and khaki on the inside of the cloak. I did the standard three layers of color, base and two highlights. The mid tone I applied through out the cloak on raised areas. The brightest highlight I simply edge highlighted with. I washed the whole model with Null Oil once I had the base colors on before highlighting to shade. All the copper/gold was done with my classic mid tone yellow brown base then the metallic over top to get a nice smooth copper/gold coloring.

The decals really brought the units together. I opted to only do the gear pattern trim along the Sargent cloaks due to the lack of gear decals I had plus the amount of work required to do so. The squad numbering really just put a crisp detail to these guys though the stark white on the red robes really makes the red pop even more. Liberal application of Micro Sol and Micro set (think 5-6 coats) helped to completely dissolve the decal carrier and make them look painted on in the end. I was very happy with how these models came out for line troops. I cut a couple detail corners on them as eventually I will be doing 40+ of these guys. Yay future projects abound.

Next time we will go over the Infiltrators and Rustalkers. Also my two award winning entries in to the painting competition for the Standish Standoff this year.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Standish Standoff 2015

Sorry for the long delay in posting up about my experience at the Standoff. Nothing like a new baby to keep one busy. Like every year I have gone the event made for a great day out. I had three excellent games with 3 great opponents. At the end of it all can you really want more than that from an event? I think not. IF you want to see a good collection of pictures from all the armies brought for the day check out This Post by Defenders of Calth. He did a great job collecting pics from all the armies for the day. The games where all Maelstrom missions with various deployments and differing secondary missions. The secondaries really made the missions more fun because they tended toward sacrificing units or moving way out of position to score. Two of the rounds involved moving units of the table to score points. Thus weakening your offense at that point.

So lets go into my rounds for the day starting with a man I have played a number of times so far. Each game has been decisive for us and has gone back and forth every time. We've been trading wins like very good children. Unfortunately for me it was his turn to take home the W. I did however make him fight for every point and by end game we both had pretty ravaged forces. It all comes down to Eldar backed up by Dark eldar formation containing many Monstrous Creatures is just not something I was built to handle. I really am better able to take on tanks and MSU than bulked up MC units backed by Eldar psykers. His army was gorgeous on the table top and really nicely converted up. I really liked teh way he built his Warp Spiders. A mix of Dark Eldar bits with some Necron tomb spider limbs to create the back pack gave them a really neat appearance. Unfortunately I got to learn that a Wraith Knight with sword and board will just tattoo a Knight in hand to hand. Especially an invisible one. Fortunately I did get to smear a good chunk of his army even catching some Warp spiders who jumped away from my Stalkers right into range of the Knights battle cannon to get smoked early. Even taking a sound beating I only lost 10/8.  A nice close loss.

Second round I went up against another familiar opponent from the Standoff. I've not seen him in a few years so it was great to get in a game with him. He has an excellently painted up Battle company done up as Deathwatch. We had a very tight game ending in a draw. I won primary, just slightly and he took home enough secondaries to bring it up to a tie. It was a hard battle. I made one fairly large blunder around turn 4 and gave up about 3 mission points that round. Would have meant a couple more battle points and given me a minor win had I not messed up but well mistakes where made. Battle company was a hard fight. I got lucky and kept stunning both vehicles and the units inside them via failed morale checks early on. This kept my Knight in the fight a good round or two longer than he should have been given the quality of fire I was facing. My opponent also had a hard time with target priority as he'd never faced Skitarii before and thus had no real idea how the army played aside from being hopped up guardsmen. He had an Inquisitor with servo skulls and due to Hammer and Anvil deployment kept me all boxed up with no ability to really use my Infiltrators or Scout up. This actually worked to my advantage as he dropped into my lines and came at me with bikes, allowing me to fully respond to those threats as a unified castled up force rather than being taken apart piecemeal.

My outflanking "chicken walkers" did a great job ripping into his Rhino's and Razerbacks and kept a large part of his army occupied. Although in the end they didn't carry the day they did kill a lot and kept nearly half his army tied up in the back. Huge win that. I was able to catch most his bike star out with my Str 10 blasts and battle cannon effectively neutering the unit enough that a combined Infiltrator and Vanguard charge let me finish it off. In the end we mauled each other very badly and I was able to grab a few last points. To pull up into a 10/10 tie.

My last game I unfortunately did not get any pictures from. I was just getting worn out from the day as unlike most the people attending I had a 2 hour drive to get to the event rather than 30-45 minutes like most the locals. He had an nice 30k Horus Heresy modeled Word bearers army running as Cimson Fists. He had a super heavy tank (Typhon a think). With a very scary Apoc Blast Str 10 AP 1, Ignore cover cannon. I did however get a VERY lucky table draw that made all the difference for this game. It was the city fight board with lost of LOS terrain done with a modified Vanguard deployment. (The old table quarters deployment with a 12" radius no mans bumble table center.) I was able to put only my very resilient Dunecrawler unit with its 4++ and its very good anti tank fire. Everything else was able to hide out of LOS even when infiltrating and outflanking. For an army as glass cannon as the Skittarii the ability to fully get the jump on someone without them being able to effectively hit back means you can surgically strike and remove threats a few at a time free of retaliation due to my movements and the terrain I was able to maneuver around. This meant I ended up tabling my opponent and score a 20/0 win for doing so. He was a great guy and we both spend the extra round time talking Horus Heresy, about painting models and general great hobby chat. He was also someone I had never played before or met, so always good to see a new face. He also inspired me to finally paint my Horus Heresy force that I've had for over a year and fully intended to paint before ad-mech fever hit me.

So overall I ended up in 5th place for the day. Not bad for a fairly middling tier army like Skittarii. I did however bring home some prizes. I took first place in the single 40-50mm based model category and second in painted squad. I've never won anything in the painting competition as was thrilled. The only other prize I have ever won at a Standoff was best General in Year 1. So now if I could just bring the two together at the same time I might have a shot at best overall one year. I'll be going over each of the painted units in future articles and will also mark out what ones won awards for the day.

Have a great holiday season everyone.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Ready for the Standish Standoff

No real article this week. Finished up my prep for the Standoff 2015. First time I have every fully painted my army before the event. I'm usually doing half and army or haven't yet finished all the models. I will be putting up some battle reports and  going over each painted unit in the weeks to come. 

Until the. Wish me luck! It should be a heck of a fun day.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Getting ready for the Standish Standoff 2015

Whose Imperium this is I think I know.   
His corpse sits on Terra though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his Empire falter and slow.   

My navigator must think it queer   
To stop without a planet near
Between the warp and frozen void
The darkest ending and growing fear.   

He queries via comlink employed
To ask if we shall be destroyed.
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of Auger array and sensors deployed.

The stars are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And models to paint before I sleep,   
And models to paint before I sleep.

Working hard to get ready for this years Standoff. 2 weeks to go.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Campaign Updated First Mission

After some playtest feedback from my group the Campaign has had the first mission updated. Hopefully the play group will start moving forward with the campaign soon. They are looking to maybe do these once a month. Should be a lot of fun if we can get it off the ground.

Choose Armies as described in the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook. One
player will take on the role of Attacker, the other as Defender. You may
play any size game but recommended is in the 1700-2000 point range.

Use the deployment map included with this missions. Set up terrain as
described in the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook.

After setting up terrain, the players place four Objective Markers in the
corners of the Defenders Deployment zone as shown in the deployment
map above.

Before any models are deployed, both players should roll to determine
their Warlord Trait as described in the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook.
Firstly, the Defender deploys his units anywhere within his deployment
zone (see map). The Defender may reserve as normal.

Attacker deploys no units and may not Scout, Infiltrate or Outflank any
units. Instead he will deploy using the mission special rule Orbital

The Attacker has the first turn. A modified No Seize the Initiative roll is
made (see Orbital Deployment) but the Attacker will always go first.

The mission uses Variable Game Length as described in the Warhammer
40,000 rulebook.

At the end of the game, the player who has scored the most Victory
Points wins the game. If players have the same number of Victory Points,
the game is a draw.
Primary Objectives
+2 points per objective marker held at the end of the game.

Slay the Warlord

Attacker gains +1 point per Kill Point in defenders deployment zone at
end of game, (a squad with an Independent Character attached in the
zone is worth two points.)

Defender gains +1 point per kill point earned by game end. Attackers
units that have not been deployed are counted as destroyed.

Night Fight turn 1. Modified Reserves (see deployment)

Dug In: The Defender receives an additional Fortification Slot to his
primary detachment. This slot may be filled with any valid selection at
no cost (including upgrades). If the total cost would have been more than
150 points, any weapons on the Fortification do not work. If it has no
weapons and would be over 150 points, then any buildings have their
AV value reduced by 1 (a 15 would become 14 for example).

Anti-Air Defenses: During turn 1 the Defenders Deployment zone is
considered impassible terrain for the purposes of Deep Striking units.
Any units that scatter such that any model would be in the Defenders
Deployment zone automatically Mishap and go into ongoing reserves
(per the Orbital Deployment rule).

Orbital Deployment: All of the Attackers units will deploy via Deep
Strike even if they don’t have the rule or are required to deploy by
some other method. The Attacker first assigns independent characters
and decide any combat squads or other kill point altering unit
formations. Then without breaking up combined kill points make two
forces as even on kill points as possible. (A Rhino with a combat squad
of Tactical marines is 3 kill points but is not broken up for this division
of forces into two halves).

Before the start of Turn 1, the Defender makes a Seize the Initiative roll
using any modifiers or re-rolls they are allowed. If they succeed then the
Defender chooses what half of the Attackers force deploys turn 1, if
failed the Attacker chooses what half is deployed turn 1. The other half
goes into ongoing reserves and automatically arrives turn 2.

During turn 1 deployment all Deep Striking units scatter 3d6 rather than
2d6 (or 2d6 if they have the Deep Strike special rule). Furthermore
during turn 1any unit that Deep Strike Mishaps goes into ongoing
reserves rather than rolling on the mishap table. During turn 2 and
onward units scatter 2d6 (or 1d6 if they have the Deep Strike special
rule), and mishap normally per the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook.
Printable Image

Please provide player names and factions played, along with scores and role as Attacker/Defender. Also note about any heroic moments or awesome moments during the game.

Friday, October 16, 2015

4 years of 40k painting in review, Part 14

This last winter I worked up a centerpiece model for this years Standish Standoff. After the success of airbrushing my Blood Angel Land Raider I opted to finally work on my Knight Titan kit I picked up back when they got released. I worked on this model once more in a partial assembly. Most the armor plates where left off, and the arms and torso where also left off for painting. I once more used pre-shading to add color depth to the large flat armor plating sections. I do this by adding thin lines of black down first over the primer along joint lines and edges of the armor. As cited in previous posts I like to prime my models grey then airbrush on my first colors. As I tend to pre-shade this allows me to darken or lighten areas before putting my first coat down. 

For the green I use a trio of colors starting with a darker green base that I then progressively lighten up by adding the lighter color centrally to each plate avoiding more and more of the perimeter as I layer on the colors. AS seen best int he kneecaps this allows for a wonderful transition from nearly black edges up to a much lighter green center. For those sections that have flames I actually started by blending in an red to yellow over the whole of the plate section before even doing pre shading. I do this over a white base coat to help brighten the colors. Once this transition piece is down I lay in some airbrush flame templates I got from Kick Starter (Anarchy Models) some months back. These are made from a window cling like material so they model and stick to the model while still being easy to pull up and not leaving any residue behind. Once the template is firmly in place I proceeded to pre-shade and paint on the green armor layers as described above. Then I simply peel and remove the templates. If they are not pushed on firm enough you can get some leaking of paint under them and will need to hand brush little fixes. So be diligent and really get them affixed the first go around. 

Once all the green was done I proceeded to paint on all the metallic trim and base coat the metallic coloring for the limbs. As always I first drop on a ocher style yellow down everywhere I am painting gold. This allows me to get the gold on in 1 thin coat rather than several thin coats the inevitably end up being to thick. I then washed all the metallic in null oil being careful not to get any on the painted green armor that is already nicely blended. This left me with a hand full of details across the model to pick out and paint up including eye lenses banners and mechanicum logo's. I also add some heat scoring to the end of the cannon barrel using a trio of colored GW washes. Helps to break up the simple metallic tube that is a gun barrel. I use a purple, blue and flesh shade to achieve this effect applying them in rings along the barrel length and blend them together where they meet. 

Lastly I added some decals to the banner. I used micro-sol and micro-set to apply them and they went on great. This is one of my first uses of decals on a model and the extra time I took to learn how to use these two decal aids really paid off. I will likely be using more decals on models in the future as my freehand skills are lacking. I can't draw diddly and even my stick figures look bad after all. So this ends my running series 4 years of 40k painting. We are all caught up with what I painted over my first 4 years in this game. Moving forward model painting posts will be more sporadic as I get them done but hopefully will continue to show improvement in the painting quality. 
So with all that I leave you with this parting shot of encouragement, 10 years ago I started to paint miniatures. These are those first few models. I thought I was the man with these. I have come a long way through no special classes or learning. I just kept doing the hobby I loved and kept striving to improve upon it. So when you show up to a big event and see some outrageously great looking armies around you, just remember they all started somewhere like you and once had models that looked no better. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

4 years of 40k painting in review, Part 13

This project was conceived of after the 2013 Standish Standoff but was not completed until Dec of 2014. I wanted to really spend some time and sub assemble and paint this in parts so I could paint the inside as well as the outside of the vehicle. I also wanted to do some LED light effects and this required painting and sealing the model before putting in the lights. I think just the build time to figure out wiring placement as well as how to house the battery switch and circuit board took me months real time. In the end I was able to fit everything in the hollow of the engine block in the rear of the model as well as the voids between the inner and outer hull along the sides. Dremeling out holes for the switch and battery into the frame of the model took some time and ended with me getting hot melted plastic frag in the face. 

I dry fit everything a lot to make sure all the parts fit before I even started to prime pieces. The hardest part was hand drilling out the back of the headlights to set the LEDS in while still leaving the molded plastic grill from the lights. I also had to cut into the frame for the side doors to create a hinge for the doors so they could open and close. I ended up using a dremel blade and cutting into them downwards to make a groove, then green stuffed back in to create the top of the hinge. The paper clip was simple drilled through the hing parts at the base of the door. 

This is the first time I really got a solid use of my Airbrush to paint this model, rather than just putting down a base coat. I used a technique I had started to use with some Rhino's I was practicing on as well as some terrain. I pre-shaded the model before laying down the red. Essentially I primed the model Grey. Then played down black first into the recesses and other areas I wanted to be darker. Then I went back and added white into the center of the flat areas that I wanted to brighten. After doing this I then laid in some light thin red coats being careful to allow the transparency of the red to show thru and not cover up the black entirely. It gave the model some great highlights and vibrancy. Having the model broken up into larger but separate pics really helped in doing this painting style. I had the top, sides, back and bottom as distinct separate sections. Along with the gun mounts and hatches as separate parts. This prevented over-spray from being an issue to cloud sections I had already painted.

Once I finished the base coat to the armor plating I did some edge highlighting all along the model and picked out details and painted in the treads and other elements of the model with a more traditional brush and wash method. This model really represents a HUGE step up in the quality of my painting. To see just how much go back and look at part 4 of the series with my Grey Knight Rhinos. This model also represented a huge change in time commitment. Although I only spent two weeks real time painting it, that represented 20+ hours of actual painting time. I ended up out of state on a business training trip and had plenty of alone time without my wife or other distractions to help me focus and do nothing else but paint this model.

I've tried to provide enough pictures to show every aspect of this model, and those elements that move, and change. Most the shots are with the LED lights off to photograph better. I plan to possibly enter this model in the Painting competition for the Standish Standoff this year. The only reason this is a maybe is as you will see next post I may have topped myself.

Friday, October 2, 2015

4 years of 40k painting in review, Part 12

Here we are a year latter once more preparing for the next Standish Standoff for 2014. Once more I changed up half my list going for an all Tau list this time. My play time had been hampered a lot this year and I wanted to run something I was very familiar with as I wasn't going to get any practice games in before the event. Also Space Marines and Tau are no longer battle bros in 7th ed. (A good change honestly). So I picked up my first Forgeworld model for this army. A new Crisis Suit commander type. I wanted this one to be my "Farsight" commander so I modeled the amulet on him as well. Points prevented it from being taken but the modeling came out well all the same. I kept to the same paint scheme as last time around but having a.) practiced with it before and b.) gotten better with my airbrush. I was able to knock out these models in a much shorter time frame. I nearly doubled up the models for my Tau army. 

I did some reposing of the Riptide to create a good mirror stance of the standard Riptide positions. Along with that I also used the airbrush to get a good blending on the twin-linked plasma gun and Ion Cannon to create a nice effect still in line of the pumpkin orange accent color. The inking and edge highlighting effect really makes these models stand out and I very much enjoy the brightness of these models. Re posing the model was really fun and I wish I had done something even more drastic akin to all the crazy stuff over wrecked vehicles or terrain I've seen with other modelers. Honestly I'm to cheap to burn a second model just to use as a base. 

I also knocked out an additional team of Broadsides, to help mark the two units as different I applied an orange glow effect to the power pack on the backs rather than blue as in the last squad. I also opted to just glue on the arms and not magnetize this time around. I have yet to even want to use a rail gun broadside and I have two of the old edition models that are rail guns already. So I potentially have 5 rail gun versions if needed. 

The event itself was a lot of fun. I had three good games. I wasn't expecting a lot out of my performance as I'd not played a game of 40k for months before hand. I just wanted a chance to get in three games that day. On that I was successful. First round I got skunked. I faced another elite army, only unlike me rather than volume of fire they opted for quality of fire shooting with Wraith knights (yes two) and wraith guard. So lots of low AP shots that just peeled thru my suits very quickly. Round two I faced Tyranids. I think I am cursed to face Tyranids as round two. I think it has happened at about half the tournaments I've gone to. And it never ends well for the Nids. I just know the army and typically they are not higher end players but getting back into the game. Last game I got to play against an old school marine guard army all done up in the early style paint job. I had heard an interview with this player on the Independent Characters just weeks before so it was kinda fun to see that. All in all a fun day with some great armies to look at.