Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Standish Standoff 2016

This past November 19th I attended our local annual hobby event. Unlike the monthly tournaments they host, this event is focused on the Hobby as a whole. "Soft" point make up more than half your scores for the day (90 was the max soft score and 60 battle points). Its a great day as most everyone spends several months building and painting up their armies for the day and try and get everything in tip top shape. Beyond having a 3 round tournament, they also have a pure painting competition with entries in 4 categories (25/32mm single figure, 40-50mm single figure, 60mm + single figure, squad). I brought my Tyranid list I term "Boy Band" to the Standoff. I had run a  practice tournament at my home to get in 3 solid games and try and time my play. I was a little slow at that event but on track to get games done. One of the locals has a computerized routing device that can cut into MDF and do all manner of cool stuff. He made me up a bunch of movement trays that let me mass deploy the gaunts in clusters of 5 all max spaced. It made all my games go much faster. I hit at least turn 5 in every game this time. I always feel like I'm cheating my opponent if we don't bring the game to a natural conclusion, and in the past I typically would run smaller elite armies to ensure getting games done. This time I had 76 models to run around the table, 60 of whom re-spawned on a 4+, making the army play more like I had over 100 models.

My first game was against a perennial opponent, Marchello. I seem to face him at nearly every event and this year was no different. Typically we end up trading wins back and forth. He played Chaos Space Marines with Chaos Daemons, all devoted to Slaanesh. He had a Keeper of Secrets and two squads of of Demonettes. He also had 4 squads of Noise marines a Lord and Sorcerer both of Slaanesh. A Maulerfiend and two laser destroyer tanks. I spent the early game shooting the laser destroyer tanks in the side armor to wreck them out. Then went after the noise marines. Marchello's Keeper and Maulerfiend coupled with the Demonettes ate through my left hand flank. I tossed a few gaunt squads that re-spawned along the left flank to help tie up the muscle in his list. By game end I had nearly killed all the Chaos marines, save part of one last squad, the Keeper and the Maulerfiend. With only three units left I was able to score a couple big turns of points and take out a small win.

Second round saw me facing up with my local buddy Warren. He laughed, as on the drive down we had been mulling new tips and techniques he could use with his drop pod army to try and score better through the missions. He played Ragnars great company with Murderfang. With nearly everything in a drop pod, aside from two Land Speeders and a Lone Wolf squad. I took first turn and moved out grabbing a pretty strong lead on maelstrom scoring 5 points turn 1. Warren dropped in like a hammer hemming in all around my Tyranids. I took a fair number of casualties and my warlord took a pair of wounds. I hid my warlord out past the drop pods keeping him out of range of the melta. I then made three assaults ganging up as many units into a single assault as I could and trying to keep Warren from using his Counter Assault rule to join in. Unfortunately I wasn't able to completely do so and saw an additional squad join in my assault on his long fangs board center. Fortunately they where strung out enough to minimize attacks from the Space Wolves. By the end of these combats although I had lost most of them, I had removed more points worth of Space Wolves than I lost and more importantly the combats ended on my opponents turn, giving me a chance to shoot them down. Game ended with my opponent having just a bare handful of infantry on the table, and a large monster mash scrum board center over king of the hill, I took a fairly decent win on this game.

Last up was Justin playing on table 3 of the last round, the host of our local meet up games. Also the fine man who made my movement trays. Now that I've said nice things about him I can besmirch his character for playing a Wraith Knight. Ok it wasn't that bad. 90% Dark Eldar with a small force of Scatterbikes, Farseer and Wraith Knight to back them up. This was a tough game and as we both pondered our deployment options I laughed as we both are terrified of each others army. All the flamer templates I could deliver on fast flyers would spell doom to his Venom/Warrior spam. All that Venom spam could put the hurt on my flyers, plus you know Wraith Knight. He took first turn and I failed to Seize on him. I think this cost me the game. He was able to make half my flyers Jink before they could hit the sky. Also Obsec Jet Bikes meant that on turn two he scored 10 Maelstrom points. Although I came back from that as best I could 25/20 Maelstrom points his win, and I nearly tabled him, he had a Wraith Knight left and nothing else. I just couldn't close that early gap. Still not bad for Tyranids on Dark Eldar/Eldar who should honestly mop the floor.

All in all out of 12 games with this version of Tyranids I won 11 games, 9 being in tournaments. I would conclude my great Tyranid experiment was a success. I was able to make them competitive in my local scene. Although my finish in the overall event wasn't as strong as I would have liked, I did do a great job in the painting competition. Out of four categories, only 3 of whom I seriously entered I took home two first place ribbons and a second place ribbon. My pride and joy of the competition being the 60mm+ category. This was heavily contended for but my Alpha Legion Contemptor was able to bring home the gold. I also took gold in the Squad category with my Alpha Legion Tactical Squad. My second place was for my Ultramarine Chaplain. I'll be dropping a blog article up on him and the Captain at a future date. Until then happy gaming everyone.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Rockport Invitational 2016

Who needs prizes with these
A few weeks back I hosted my first ever tournament for 40k. I've moved out to the mid coast of Maine and as such I'm hours from game stores that host events, and a good two hours from the best store in the region that I've been going to for some time. We have an upcoming annual event coming up, The Standish Standoff, and my playgroup in the area wanted to get some practice in. I happen to have a pretty large basement, a number of catering banquet tables for work and had purchased a number of sheets of sanded plywood as table tops. We figured on rounding up 6 players, and maybe we would get 8 if we got lucky.

View from table 5 during round 1
Turns out a free tournament with BYOB and a BBQ lunch is a great way to draw people in. We hit 10 players, the most table surfaces I could get my hands on for the day. I also had the event scored as an ITC event even though we followed none of the ITC rules, FAQ, or missions. The goal being a warm up event we stuck to the event format for the Standoff. Missions where pre-selected and shared Maelstrom as primary (difference in points forming the basis for primary mission points earned, 0-14). Coupled with 3 secondaries worth 2 points each. Maximum score per mission is thus capped at 20. I spread out the secondaries such that each round had 1 both players could earn and two that only one player could earn. We ended up with a goodly diverse group of lists. Only one duplicate codex, Space Marines, and even then it was different chapters. One of the players brought with him 10 etched glass steins, one for each player with their faction logo on one side and the event name on the other. This really made the day feel like a 5 star event. We didn't have any kind of prizes as we didn't take any money, but the mugs made everyone, or at least myself, very pleased with the swag from the day.

During the day I set us up with a bit of tech. We used the Best Coast Pairings app to score and run the event. Once I figured out how to use it it worked like a dream. Sitting on a dedicated iPad for the day allowing everyone to self score and the program to run table pairings. I also set up an old iPhone in a camera clip screwed into an overhead joist. With this I Twitch steamed table 3 all day long. Everyone seemed to have had a great time with the day. My wife has already consented to make this an annual event. Hopefully I can make it twice a year instead.

I had three great games. I ran a slightly modified version of a Tyranid list I've been working on for a few months. I call it Boy Band, having 5 flying monstrous creatures and a horde of re-spawning gribblies. I had to retool to lower the model count from 103 to 74. I wanted to be able to get my games at least to turn 5 if not a natural completion in the time limit. So now I'm running 3 Flyrants, 2 Hive Crones, a pair of Malethropes and 3 of the bigger spore bombs, and an Endless Tide formation with 30 of both Gaunt types.

Round 1 against Kyle
Game 1 had me paired up with Kyle, and his Iron hands in a Sons of the Gorgon decurian. He was running a small Librarian conclave as well as an Armored company and Skyhammer formation. Hello Whirlwinds! We played Cloak and Dagger with Slay the Warlord, King of the Hill and Last Blood. I decided the whirlwinds had to go first thing, they would be able to put to many wounds on the gaunts and prevent them from being able to be effective. So I used the swarm to bog down my table left (top of the picture) and ran the Boy Band on table right to first turn kill a whirlwind and put me in position to kill the second one the following turn. He dropped in a tough Sternguard unit complete with Librarian and Techmarine onto the center of the board (between the two grey buildings in the picture). This would see him earn King of the Hill as I never had the time to dig them out. His Skyhammer pinned in a fair number of my Gaunt units within my deployment zone, leaving me very few options to dig out the center with. We ended up 14/6 my win,

Stomp stomp stomp
Game 2 I paired up with a player I've yet to had the pleasure of matching up with yet. William brought some of the best painted Orks I've seen in some time. Of course he also had Buzzgob's Custom stompa with him. This would prove to be a surprisingly fast game. Both of us being primary a mob force that gets stuck in he drove his trucks right at me, jumped out and then chaos ensued. I've rarely faced Orks, its just not been an army anyone in my playgroups have played before. I was completely surprised with how devastating in assault they proved to be. I ended up loosing several units in a single round of combat while inflicting minimal damage back. Fortunately I got lucky on the re-spawn rolls and almost all of them came back. I immediately pushed them right up in front of the boys again in layers to allow him only a single unit to charge on his turn. The Boy band procedded to wipe a couple units and soften some of the remaining boy units up with shooting and psycic powers. I basically ignored the Stompa except during the psycic phase throwing most my dice at Paraxism to lower the BS of the Stompa to zero. This worked about half the rounds and between that and him having a lifta droppa (useless on non vehicles). I was able to keep the Stompa from being overly effective. Here I scored a fair bit better. Having gotten first blood off a truck, hold the line after wiping his units from my deployment zone and being mostly stuck in it myself, and due to the trucks actually scoring more kill points we ended 16/4 my win.

This brings us to my last game against Oliver and his KDK. Dogs bikes and a Bloodthirster to boot. It was epic music battles of history as the Boy Band takes on Khorne Death Metal. Again facing an almost exclusively melee army we got right into fighting it out. I've faced Olivers list before. Deploying Hammer and Anvil is always an issue with this list. The re-spawn units coming in from ongoing reserves then have a long hike back out onto the board. Knowing how fast dogs can be and not wanting my softer Synapse providing units to get smashed to early, I ran all my Gaunts out as far as I could to create a charge screen for Olivers dogs. My fliers similarly moved up the table fairly spread out. His Bloodthirster was able to get the first hit in but only managed to get 1 wound on a Hive Tyrant. The Boy band spent turn two finishing him off and softening up a couple of the front most dog units. I then charged or screened the entire front line. Again running if I wasn't in position to make a possible charge. I wanted to push the first batch of combats as far into the middle of the table as I could. The game was mostly about a slowly moving scrum that started in the middle of the table and worked its way slowly back into my lines. My re-spawning waves would rush forward to take additional charges and begin the fight anew. The Boy Band would focus down whatever unit of dogs was both closest to my deployment zone and not locked in combat. It was a brutal affair and many Gaunts lost their skulls to the Brass Throne. In the end I scratched out a win 10/8.

This put me tied for Battle points with Justin and his Dark Eldar/Eldar list, (mostly Dark Eldar). All in all I had three great games. One of my favorite points of this army is how in all the games I've played it has never been a blow out. My opponents always are hanging right in with me all game long. I'm loosing models left and right and although I've continued a winning streak with Tyranids (9 out of 9 games), I think my opponents have all had good matches as well. I wanted to end this by thanking everyone who came out to play, assuming your reading this. If I can host a similar event in the future I'd be happy to have any of you back.

Bird Dogs on the hunt
Posting will resume again after the 19th. I've been behind on painting for the Standoff and have not had time to blog. Although I have painted a fair amount since my last post went up and will have a good amount of content to share once I finish painting this list.

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.