Saturday 31 March 2012

Eldar Swooping Hawks or Diving Eagles?

Despite my Son's on/off passion for 40k he does have some very particular feelings about it. He's often coming up with new 'rules' and ideas for the game. Clearly ones that make any kind of balance laughable but then aren't we already at that point? One thing in particular he's opinionated about was how he wanted to paint his Swooping Hawks and his Striking Scorpions too. He wants his Swooping Hawks to be the same colours as Golden Eagles, or remeniscent of them. So I've gone about Red Oxide priming them and we've used Iyanden Darksun on the wings and 'beaks', he then decided the shoulder pads could do with a coat of yellow too, fair enuff!

Next step will be to pick out details and areas that will be metallic for painting initially black. Once that's all done we'll do a Gryphonne Sepia and Devlan Mud wash to try and make them a bit more brown and obviously bring out all the shadowed areas

Hopefully we'll then be able to add in some highlights on the armour plate bits, bring the level of finish up a bit from the Guardians hes done which are just basecoat and wash, it's the next step for him. Frutratingly I'd hoped he would have done more than this in the hour and a bit I was out visiting my Aunt one Sunday. Two of the Hawks had their wings and beak done already so he only had to do 4 including the Exarch.

Perhaps the issue is I'm now 'involved' again in his painting so he doesn't feel confident enough to continue on his own. It seems I can't win in this situation and pretty much every night he's clamped to the PC playing some 3D virtual world game where everyone looks like a Lego person.

Anyway, if he doesn't get them done it'll be 'nids in June!

Thursday 29 March 2012

Blood Bowl - Elves

As mentioned I've started my Elf Bloodbowl . Officially they're elves but I'm going to run them as a Wood Elf team though I still need a Treeman to round out the squad. The decision will be to play them as the Haffenheim Hornets or the Codillion Clarions as I've prepped both their endzone markers, though I understand these aren't used on the new card pitch - pah!

The fact is I know I've got a few more elves knocink around, I'm positive I have the 'Daniel-san' karate kid kicker with headband and the Blitzer [which will be wardancers] with the Ice Hockey mask. A lot of these were gifted to me by a school friend, one of those friends who spends your life alternating between between being spiteful and best buds. I spent a period of time being the butt of his taunts, I'm not entirely sure why him calling me "barnacle" was so bad but saying it in the middle of assemblies didn't go down well. Still, old wounds and not really how our friendship was left. He offloaded all his gear onto me and ironically was partly responsible for me meeting my future wife.

He knew her and she asked him at one of the rock nights we used to attend who was nice he could introduce her to so he introduced her to my brother! Which I din't get because he doesn't really know him. Anyway, she recognised my brother as a mate of her ex so she didn't want to go down that road, or so my brother told me. Of  course a few months later on New Years Eve when she came up to me, drunk as a Lord [or Lady] and said she fancied me and then at some point "do you know *insert ex'es name here*" I went "No, never heard of him!". The rest shall we say is history, so I'm kind of grateful for more than the elves off this guy ;)

Getting back to the elves, did you notice the elf thrower with the stumpy foot!

Tuesday 27 March 2012

Carry cases, my secret shame

With more than a few weeks under my belt now at my local friendly neighbourhood gaming club there is one aspect I'm still struggling with and one that even at this early stage is open to a little good natured banter from the guys. I've obviously put in a lot of work on my son's 'nids. Something that's not been lost on folk if the many admiring comments and praise are anything to go by.

What is problematic is that 'nids die, quickly and in droves and sometimes I think it's rude to spend time putting them back in the box when I should be paying attention to my opponents move etc. Anyway this is my largest gaming carry case. Originally from Trago Mills [if I recall correctly] this drill case was pretty cheap.

With some foam in place it's quite spacious and handy...

OMG [and you know I don't use that lightly] WTF [even less so]. If I were to say this was tidy you'd still be appalled, me too. I have some other small boxes that can take around 20-30 termagants at a time which are handy but it's all the Stealers and those sodding Gargoyles that just go all over the shop that really screw my 'filing' system up.

So I thought I'd look at some alternative solutions on ebay and came up with these ideas instead of a bespoke gaming storage system that may cost the earth and deliver pretty much the same result. I was quite surprised these two bargains I found.

£1.99 Delivered from Germany, with FREE Postage!

5 Boxes for £4.29 with FREE Postage and built in handles!

And to pad it out just one of the many eggbox sales on offer
10 Sheets, £4.39 with postage

However, when I was tidying out the loft so we could have some more insulation fitted I stumbled across an old 'portfolio' I had to keep all my magazine and software products I worked on over the years. I'm never going to use this for that purpose again so really I may as well find a way to repurpose this for my current gaming needs. Now I was sure these were quite expensive nowadays, I can't recall them being OTT back when I got it from Argos but a quick search on ebay reveals they're actually cheaper than I thought - £22.89 [with FREE Delivery]. Seems like a decent alternative if you're in the market and the other budget ideas above don't float your boat.

Sunday 25 March 2012

Flufftastic - Techno-Achaeologist Avro Vulcan

Techno-Achaeologist Avro Vulcan has been a prominent feature of Confessions of a 40k addict in no small part because of the many STC's he's uncovered on Ferron Proxima, but he is a figure not without controversy and despite the quality of his discoveries there are those that believe him a heretic, have sought to discredit him or even steal his discoveries. His very success may well be his very undoing which could explain his recent disappearance from 'public life'. His discoveries continue but quite often they are presented through his band of devout supporters via undisclosed secure 'dead drops'. His secretiveness is borne not just from the personal and professional attacks on his character but the very real possibility that his life may be at risk from Fundamental Adeptus Mechanicus hardliners or unscrupulous techno-barons intent on using his work for their own benefit.

But to understand the man we must first understand the child. Avro Vulcan was brought up in the Galactic Shipworks of Planetia Frome. His father 'Ro Vulcan was one of the foremost manufacturers of stellar craft in the system. Avro was surrounded by technology and his father's pioneering ways were to inform Avro's future in more ways than one. In a cruel foreshadowing of his own destiny Avro's father also made enemies. Envious of his success and the advanced technologies that outclassed his competitors they set about finding some way to bring him low. Industrial espionage was the first step, then seditious remarks to the Adeptus Mechanicus, finally it was the disappearance of Avro's mother that finally broke the man. Up until this point she had been the rock that 'Ro Vulcan had relied upon through the investigations.

Meneth Vulcan was never found or returned, in fact no demands were ever made, just an implicit warning that if 'Ro Vulcan was to continue to build ships the rest of the family would suffer. So Avro sold up and devoted all his efforts to his son. Instilling him with the thirst for knowledge that he could no longer persue. Avro adapted well to this tutellage, his mind quick and decisive.

It was only after his father's passing many years later that Avro decided to travel in search of lost technology and in time this brought him to Ferron Proxima. His research showed the potential finds on Ferron Proxima could be highly significant. The composition of the planets surface, the mysterious geological and geographical layouts present and the many 'folk tales' and legends that could be drawn from the aboriginal population, particularly some of the more fantastical stories from the Bear Claw Tribe about "silver, winged giants and their cloud chariots". Extensive interviews with the clan led him to the remote glacial mountain ranges of Vyzagapatnam in Ferron Proxima's Northern Hemisphere.

It is here that he found even more evidence that would lead him to spend his professional career exploring and excavating on Ferron Proxima. The exact evidence to justify this decision has never been revealed but in later years it would form the 'turning point' that Vulcan's enemies would pinpoint to suggest his motives were heretical. Just what did he find in those frozen caves and mountains that would justify a life-long exploration on one planet? The fact remains that shortly after returning from the mountains Vulcan immediately set about selling large amounts of stock and capital invested by his late father to help fund an excavation of massive proportions in the Ferron Proxima heartlands. Uniquely he also bought large swathes of the land from the Administratum. With the belief there was nothing of value in the area it is whispered that thanks to his fortune and low value of the land, Vulcan may well be the largest individual land owner on Ferron Proxima outside of the Administratum. Something some believe they now regret, as beneath the surface 'rust' of one of the largest hills in the region a perfectly preserved ziggurat was discovered...

Vulcan and his team spent five years painstakingly removing the outer layer of oxidised iron rich ore to reveal the ziggurat beneath. When he finally made public his discovery he would name the monument the Ziggurat of J'on Kahta. Up to this point Vulcan had been meticulous about his excavation, like a man possessed in the knowledge this was only the tip of the iceberg and his belief was justified in that eventually he found a means of access into the Ziggurat of J'on Kahta.

Once within the carved stone steps he found numerous bored tunnels evident of ancient technology and skills lost for millenia. These finds were significant in themselves and allowed Vulcan hope that his drive and passion were not misplaced, but it was perhaps the most insignifcant of his finds that had the most profound effect on his future exploits.

It is told that within one of the cavernous rooms within the bowels of the Ziggurat of J'on Kahta, Vulcan came across numerous small multi-limbed metal spiders. Given his childhood expertise in mechanics he was able to reverse engineer the 'mechanids' and instill upon them a tiny machine spirit to aid him in his research. By employing hundreds of these tiny mites he was then able to increase his surveys of the area many-fold and in places no human hand could reach. But it was the very nature of these mechanids coupled with his sudden massive increase in success following their use that allowed his enemies a chance to attack.

Questions arose as to the nature of these mechanids. Were they in fact robotic and therefore heretical? Or, were they indeed of Xenos nature, berhaps a construct of a long dead race. So far very little concrete evidence has been found to support these claims, very few mechanids have been discovered beyond the boundaries of Vulcan's influence. One of the the wildest claims is that they were not found in the Ziggurat of J'on Kahta at all and in fact were discovered in the mountains of Vyzagapatnam and it is the mechanids that are controlling Avro Vulcan and not the other way round. By these flights of fancy his enemies seek to show his plethora of discoveries are not for the benefit of the Imperium but are in fact alien minds at work, seeking, searching for who knows what?

The result has been Vulcan's disappearance from public life. His enemies are persistent and his concerns even led him to theorise they may not just be his enemy but potentially the same enemies of his father. The coincidences in their rise in fortunes followed by the attacks and conspiracies brought against them have been too blatant to dismiss. Thus he continues to explore within the boundaries of his lands, only to share his revelations as and when he sees fit. Unfortunately this very attempt to secure his own safety is yet more fuel for his competition because for all his secrecy what secrets is he not sharing?
Last known picture of Techno-Achaeologist Avro Vulcan and mechanid

Friday 23 March 2012

Gaming nights alright for fighting

I got on down to my friendly neighbourhood gaming club a little earlier than usual to ensure I got a game but that didn't work out because I still arrived after everyone else so those that were playing 40k had already set up and started so I had to wait until someone finished before it freed up a player.

On the plus side I got to watch Roy and his Imperial Guard utterly demolish 1000pts of Necrons. His four Vendetta's filled me with an all consuming dread. Lookignn at the 1000pt 'nid list I have just what have I got that can get to those and punch a hole in them without them flitting off to pick them apart with combined twin-linked las-cannon fire? And that's not even considering the troops inside or the big blob of guards and heavy weapons teams shooting from cover!

Anyway, the game ended quick and I opted to face the Necrons to allow my opponent, who I'm ashamed to admit I don't recall catching his name, a chance to regain some pride. Dawn of War deployment with four objectives, one in each corner of the board. Now unfortunately I only took one photograph. The new bigger hall we use does not like pictures on my phone, just not enough light. So I took one pic and seeing the result didn't bother although some tweaking with the colours isn't so bad, here's a before and after.

So how did the match go? I won, at the 5th turn. I had two objectives to his one and one contested. The list itself is some usual stuff -  my standard Warrior unit with Deathspitters and Barbed Strangler and a prime with Deathspitter, lash whip and Bonesword. They sat on an objective and rained fire down on anything they could see. Not the most effective use of 210pts but the unit only lost 2 wounds for the game. I had a Trygon, instead of a Prime, who deep-struck which sucked because 6 St5 BioElectric Pulses aren't half as good as 12 Containment Spines [technically they are except for a 12" range versus 18" but that was irrelevant in this case]. The end result was that he had no less than three models with 'mind-shackle' scarabs so having a Monstrous Creature do D3 damages to itself on a 3D6 leadership roll [at least the Prime has Ld10] isn't pretty. He did tarpit a unit for three turns though but it's not what you hope for it to do.

The mind shackle scarabs were a royal pain in the a$$, causing not only tthe Trygon but a couple of Hormagaunts and the Tervigon to self harm. I was incredibly fearful of these things and having three characters wielding them it was a nightmare to try and whittle the unit in an attempt to get to the danger zones. As it was the relentless fire of the warriors and the devgaunts did the most damage but it wasn't totally successful as the warriors kept getting back up.

The Tervigon also deviated a load of cluster spines on top of the Hormies so it was the Tyranids pretty much eating themselves that night. The Tervigon only spawned 14 termagants in the first turn and pooped out. They captured an objective but were then slaughtered by scarabs. Outflanking Stealers came in on the left, which I didn't want but in actual fact given the loss of the Termagants the Stealers rampaged through the scarabs with the Broodlords adrenals insta-killing a base at a time. In the end the Stealers secured the objective and the objective in the building just out of shot top left was secured by some Immortals that never fired a single shot all game!

Ultimately I'd be happier with a Trygon Prime if it's going to deep strike but I don't know what 40pts to shave off to get it abd looking at the Guard army I'm really surprised and concerned as to what I could be facing in June. I don't expect 'nids to be competitive  and even though I like small battle points lists this 1000pt army feels barebones and weak even though a few of the gribblies have upgrades. Much to think about.

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Terrain is Everything - Tournament Terrain

One of the last suggestions I had for other people's Old Stuff on Old Stuff Day was synaps3 guide to Terrain at synaps3 I had though about doing a post about terrain and 'tournament terrain' but after reading his post I thought he'd pretty much said it all. However, I then entered into my first tournament and also read SandWyrms's review of the Indy Open and thought there may be a little bit to discuss.

My local friendly neighbourhood gaming club had the following tables set up [although I think one is missing] and for the most part I think the terrain is suitably diverse and sufficient. The first three tables are the actual tables I played on and as such I was quite happy. This one had plenty of terrain, not sufficient to hide a Monstrous Creature but I got plenty of saves off it so that wasn't too bad.

Equally I had some nice things to hide behind here and finally playing on one of the 'red planet' boards was a treat.

This Cityscape was deceptive in that the amount of cover anything in the middle a sitting duck but the variety by this stage was quite welcome and although I struggled to find a way around the board, especially with deep striking Trygons and Spores it was great fun to have so many buildings on display.

Not so sure how I would have got around this table, most of the terrain is hugging the edges but I suppose if you're fighting for objectives the board may end up playing very differently.

As a bog-standard tournament board I think this is probably a better set up. The terrain isn't all hugging the edges and the central bastion blocks enough line of sight to allow those with an assault foot list to actually cross the battlefield without being totally shredded, at least that's the impression I get from it.

As you can see without that central piece there's a killing zone in the centre of this board but the other terrain is sufficient enough to allow you to flank in cover. From my perspective that cover in the bottom right is wasted but I imagine a Devastator squad may find it useful to hang around there. Without any hills to worry about high ground isn't too necessary and although the building on the left would make a good vantage point you'd probably still have to move them first turn to get up to the roof edge. 

Oh dear!? The very though of this fills me with dread and I have to admit I'm glad I didn't play on it

However the club did take a picture of this table during a battle and perhaps the fact it is very short on terrain allows a certain type of army to benefit, where boards like the Cityscape reduce that effectiveness:

So what's my beef? None really, the tournament we held had a variety of terrain, some that was uniformly spaced, some that had adequate cover, some more or less so but ultimately there was diverse battlefields much like reality. How many historical battles have been won and lost thanks to mastery of the terrain and invariably that didn't amount to a large piece of LOS blocking in the middle and four or six pieces surrounding it. Of course if we go back to the Indy Open pictures you will see a lot tables with far less variety and imagination in the setup but there were 64 entrants so that terrain has to go a long way.

My big question is - why the importance of uniform terrain layout to create a 'balanced' playing field is a primary consideration? I think I'd much rather have variety and a challenge from using the available cover than rock up to the same pieces in the same positions table after table.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Gaming night 2nite

I'm only here because I'm smiling with having done some painting.
 Given it's my youngest's birthday next Tuesday and he's been harping on about it since the day after his last one I kind of have to go tonight or it'll be April before my next session. Thanks to the bumper crop of attendees last week the club is upgrading to a bigger room so again it's best I go to show support.

Although I don't fully equate my membership of the Lost Boys Gaming Club to being a member of my kendo club I think 'giri' still applies, in some small way. Giri 義理 is a Japanese value roughly corresponding to "duty", "obligation", or even "burden of obligation" in English.

Unlike kendo where my very attendance was sufficient to help others and support the club if I don't attend Lost Boys no one will suffer because of my absence. However, the club needs to pay for the facilities so that is important to have sufficient numbers to break even. Of course in this day and age we all have to economise so my two visits a month goal is, I think, a decent commitment to the club. Anyway, with more room I think I'm more likely to get a match tonight than last week so I'm looking forward to it.

Meanwhile, last night I got in some painting while watching some episodes of Modern Family on the Sky Go. I finished the first set of highlights on my elf Blood Bowl team [except for the Blitzers] and I haven't even introduced them to you yet! I also did a load of Tin Bitz on my AoBR Tac Squad weapons. Not a huge amount of progress but it's one more hurdle overcome, onto the next one and only time will tell if it's easier or not.

Monday 19 March 2012

'nids part 29 - More Rippers [WHY?!].

I honestly I don't know, we just have the figures for two more bases and with many of the battles I'm doing now being points intensive I've got to spend them somewhere if I'm going to fill out a large battle force. I've even got so far as to make them sky-slashers and add spinefists! Anyway, I've been painting up this base and my son has been doing the other four Rippers for the 5th base. Just before the turquoise goes on...

When I originally looked at Rippers I couldn't see the point and I'm not entirely sure if that opinion has changed. I've played them as sky-slashers and the increase in speed is useful but they didn't do anything first time and second time with Spinefists they deep struck, fired off 16 shots and did nothing. I think their only contribution was that amount of fire power makes people notice them and so they got assaulted which meant they tar-pit a unit for two or three turns thanks to their wealth of wounds. 

So I'm thinking they make a decent delaying unit. Just put them somewhere to distract the opponent to a slightly more immediate force. Perhaps they'd do better against Eldar or Guard? One other option is using the Parasite of Mortrex, although I think he's exorbitantly expensive but who's going to shell out for all those ripper bases it spawns? WELL, if you look at what's just been released by GW

REALLY? We've waited for years for a Tervigon and Tyrannofex but we never realised we were desperate for Finecast Rippers in the Old Style and all for a measily £8.50! There's only one base by the way, you'll need 3 for a Brood...

So they must be good right! Right?

For that price you may as well get the Forgeworld models, if you absolutely must have Rippers, they're much cooler looking even if the rules are rubbish

Saturday 17 March 2012

Gaming Night -Zombies!!!

This week at my local friendly neighbourhood gaming club was it's busiest ever. Only one table was playing 40k with the majority Warmachine, a Warhammer Fantasy Battle and one of Malifaux. I hoped the 40k battle was going to end quickly as it was only 1000pts but it was an introductory match to someone who hadn't played in 10 years. It was really interesting to watch though as the experienced guy really helped him through the rules and it seemed one of the most comprehensive explanations of the rules I've come across. 

In the end time was ticking on and I didn't really fancy a game once it turned 21:00. Good old PeteB finished his Malfaux nonsense [only because it made no sense to me whatsoever and at one point I was going to shout "numberwang" it was so convoluted] and suggested a game of Zombies!!! [please note three exclamation marks, you never need more than three dammit!!!].

I'd never played but my neighbour and car sharing buddy Mark was convinced it might take a while but joined in with Nathan, PeteB's Malifaux opponent. It's a simple game, you have a stack of 3x3 grid town tiles, some have numbers of Zombies!!! lives and bullets on. You start the game in the town square with 3 lives and 3 bullets. You draw a tile and place it next to another tile and populate it with Zombies!!! etc. Roll D6 and move, if you enter a square with a Zombie!!! roll D6, 4+ kills it. If you get a 3 or a 2 you can spend 1 or 2 bullets to take it out or lose a life and get a re-roll. The winner is either the person who kills 25 Zombies!!! or gets to the helipad.

Throughout the game you also have cards that you can use. They're either situational - making Molotov Cocktails in the Gas Station or can be played any time - you get to move another player their D6 spaces. Of course this opened up wonderful opportunites to force Nathan, because lets face it he was the one on the receiving end of our naughtines ;) to plough through piles of Zombies!!! with only a couple of lives and bullets to save him. In the event of your death you go back to the town square, give up half your Zombies!!! but get your 3 lives+bullets back.

This was such a laugh, unfortunately the above picture misses off the helipad just to the right, with 9 Zombies!!! in residence after those 8 lining the road in front of it. We had so much fun and the banter was hilarious, even my carefully honed Zombie!!! impressions went down well and much amusement was had by my constant movement rolls of less than 3 spaces. I think my little yellow guy was actually pretending to be a Zombie!!! like in Shaun of the Dead to save his a$$!

A good laugh and a nice way to get more than two people round a table, I look forward to another game - "BRAINS!"

Thursday 15 March 2012

'nids part 28 - Ymgarls and a FREEBIE [free STUFF!]

With my local friendly neighborhood gaming clubs tournament I needed to maximise the figures I've got to make the 2,000 pts I was going to fight with, so out come the Ymgarl stealers to bulk out my force. Having that assault from 'dormancy' is really useful and their turn-by-turn mutation makes up for lack of adrenals or toxin sacs, not to mention everyone seems to think their SO much better than their standard bretheren.

But what to do to remind you which mutation they're experiencing this turn? How's about some handy Ymgarl genestealer mutation markers?
And if you need more than three here's six handy cut out and keep ones here. I just print them out [click for full size, they should be 2cm tall], add double sided tape on the back and Sellotape on the front. Attach to mounting card and cut up. If the mounting card has a white core then I use a black marker to make them look cool.

Here's what they look like when they're done

Having used them on the day I may make an amend to add the stat bonuses [somewhere] as it's more helpful to know slashing claws are S+1 than have to keep referring back to the book but please use them now if you can't wait.

Usual step-by-step:
  1. Print
  2. Apply double sided tape to back
  3. Stick to mounting card
  4. Carefully apply sellotape to top if you want them pseudo-laminated
  5. Cut out with craft knife/scalpel
  6. Amaze your friends and enemies with these cards
  7. Tell them to visit for their own free markers.

 And of course while you are at it you can do the same for my free Wound Markers

Due to popular demand [as well as my own playtesting] now with 'buff' notation: