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.