Thursday, February 25, 2010

More Epic 40k

I'm continuing along with my Epic 40k re-base/paint-the-stuff-I-find-along-the-way project. In my horde of unpainted Epic stuff, I found a few Space Marine sprues and vehicles (sounds good) and two Space Marine Landing Craft (!) as well as two packs of the Epic 40k scale defence lines from Forge World (must have been purchased back in the Epic Tau splurge several years ago).

Strangely, I have almost no painted Space Marines for Epic, and that did not make any sense, because the recent Epic rules (both "Epic 40,000" and "Epic: Armgageddon") do such a great job at representing how tough the Marines actually are, you don't need very many models painted to make a very tough force.

With this in mind, I am adding a contingent of both "loyal" and "traitor" Marines(not Chaos Marines, but actual traitors) so we can play some classic Horus Heresey games. For the loyalists, I went with the Dark Angels chapter.

Here are some of the models Dark Angels, together with the recently completely set of defence line bits:

The big sucker in the middle is one of the Space Marine Landers (the other will be painted for the Traitor Chapter). In the rules it is designed to fill a role above that of the Thunderhawks (although the GW/Forgeworld folks seemed to have moved beyond it by creating the Thunderhawk vehicle transporters), carrying quite a few troops while also provinding heavy support. Its rules are very tough - it can make flyer/bombing runs, land troops (many of them - right in their vehicles), or just land and serve as a very tough fire base for the Marines. Plus it has the damage capacity of a Baneblade.

The model - issued in the wake of the "Epic: Armageddon" version of Epic - is not the greatest model made by GW, but still looks OK. Fellow Conscript Curt C described it perfectly once - a sci-fi version of the Chinook helicopter. So even though it is a little odd, I find it sits well with the Marine stuff.

I used one of the extremely cool Ninja Magic magnetic couplers on the model, so I will be able to develop a couple of different bases for it - one flying high (bombing run), one hovering, and one landed.

I really like the defence line stuff - should add to the look and feel of an upcoming Epic game!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Space Ork "Army"

Rapid progress on the Rogue Trader project (OK "rapid" may be relative).

The Orks are finished for now. I have another half-dozen models in progress (they are the sculpts I'm not overly fond of) and two of the crazy half-tracked flamethrower vehicles, but they are really excess to the requirements of the scenario I have in mind.
I've decided that the army will be called the "Red Star Boyz" and their symbol will be, well, a red star.
Space Marines are next up!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Space Hulk!

This past Christmas I was fortunate enough to get a copy of the new edition of Space Hulk from Sarah. A few weeks ago things calmed down enough for me to open it up and give it a go with both Dan and J. What a blast! The gameplay is very tactical, super-fast and brutal. I think we played the first scenario about ten times (over two separate sittings) with each playthrough being very different from the last. The game is very tough for the Space Marines to achieve their goals, which I really like as it reinforces that gothic horror feel of the 40K oeuvre (if it can be called such a thing). One can just picture the storm bolters blazing away, the power fists smashing down and alien ichor splashing against the wall - then the bolters jam, the fists hit empty air and things start to go horribly, horribly wrong...

Anyway, as I'm going to host a game next week for the boys I thought I'd better get the minis painted so it looks all spiff (and to take a much needed break from assembling/painting stacks of French Napoleonics). I first thought I'd just paint the Space Marine Terminators in the 'standard' Blood Angel chapter colours from the game's background. I admit that they do look pretty cool all decked out in red but I wanted to try something different with them. I thought that with these 'space hulks' originating from the Warp they would have as much chance of being tainted with Chaos nastiness as they would be infested with Genestealers. So I reasoned that if one of these hulks came into Imperial space reeking of Chaos then they would call in the heavy hitters from the Ordo Malleus to deal with any daemonic infestation: the Grey Knights.

I started looking on the web to see the different colour schemes people were painting their Grey Knights and found some really spectacular uses of Non Metallic Metal techniques. I've never really tried this much as I have always thought that if its supposed to look like metal why not just use metallic paints instead of pulling your hair out with all the painstaking shading and blending. That being said I can appreciate the technique when its done to give a exaggerated, almost impressionistic, version of metal as opposed to trying to convey a photo-realistic rendition.

Anyway, I thought I'd give it a go and try to do a blue-grey, almost cell-shaded armour contrasted with gold details. Well, it was a bit of a learning curve to be sure, but on the whole I'm pretty satisfied with how the test model turned out. I had to keep a log of everything I was doing so I could replicate/tweek it in the future. Next I'm going to replace the Genestealer models with Chaos daemons (probably Bloodletters) and spice up the rules slightly to reflect all these badasses mixing it up in an abandoned spaceship.

"Brothers, I've got multiple pings on my scanner, coming in fast... Watch your sectors... Switch weapon safeties off, begin the Litany of Hate and prepare to cleanse... " Rock on, baby.


This past Thursday we fired up a game that we haven't played in, well... a long time. Mordheim! the crazy skirmish game where what happens after the game is half the fun, right Greg?

Seriously, though, I had been on a recent kick of painting figures I've owned for over 25 years and it's been kinda fun. I posted some pics of the Citadel two-headed troll a couple weeks ago. A set of Grenadier's Orcs of the Severed Hand arrived last week, an eBay purchase to replace the originals I had when I was a young teenager playing D&D (and which might have been bought at Sullivan's Hobbies? Hobby Hunter? or maybe even Keystone Hobbies in Winnipeg?)

Anyway, I digest... so once these oddball figures are painted, what to do with them? The answer, obviously, is a Mordheim warband, especially since an Orc warband can bring a Troll buddy along...

So I built a warband and challenged Greg to build a 600gc Empire warband for a challenge smackdown. It's easy - the rules are even all online for free at

So Greg put together a gang (thankfully leaving the Hochland long rifle at home) and we set up for a game of "Find the Wyrdstone":

(That's my orcs at the centre, and Greg's Empire dudes at upper centre - my orcs have just grabbed one shard and the Troll is standing stupidly around).

Fighting in the ruined house -- I think this was the Greatswordsman you threatened to melt down, wasn't it, Greg??

Reinforcements approach, to no avail as the Orcs were unstoppable! Two-handed weapons hit hard but with their low I the Orcs were sloooowwww... it's a good thing for me that Greg's Empire troops had... "special needs".

And speaking of special needs... "Troll-tard" was a bit of a disappointment, taking only one Empire trooper out of action all game. He stood up to three of them at a time, though, so that was good. The Orc boss left him on his own, thinking that even a developmentally-delayed Troll would know enough to defend himself if charged in close combat, but noooooo... he failed his Stupidity test and just stood there in his turn, getting beat on by Greg's guys.

The end result was an overwhelming victory for the non-GW figures ;-) After that game, we threw down with a Sisters of Sigmar warband (run by Greg) against my Undead. The scenario was "Treasure Hunt" where you have to search buildings for a treasure chest. Stupid thing is always in the last place you look ;-)

Anyway this gives a deceptive picture of the game. A few zombies and Dire Wolves got put out of action but two Sisters out of 10 were down also. My Vampire leader had just made it into CC and some zombies were carting off the treasure chest, all seemed to be well in hand when... Rout test at the start of the turn for me, and the warband bottled out :-( Win for Greg.

Conclusion: Mordheim is fun. We'll do it again soon, perhaps I can convince some of the others to bring out warbands.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Eldar Additions

(Click on the photos for larger images.)

Finished the Vyper Jetbike squadron and another Fire Dragon. Now I can field the army whose list I previously posted.

The basic Vyper conversion makes a sleeker looking single-seat bike.

I chopped the two other bike bodies down to make the pair of unmanned drones. The final shading was done with GW's glazes.

Below, I tried to match the new Fire Dragon in green armour to the other 9 Dragon Aspect Warrior models already in the army. It mostly matches - the highlight and shadow has a little more contrast in the new figure.

To the right in the photo above is the RT-era Fire Dragon Exarch I painted a long time ago. The banner is by Brian. The Exarch in black armour has 88 red gems on it, all highlighted, shadowed, and with white catch points. I'm never doing that again.

Below, here's a better shot of my Autarch on a jetbike. Mostly, I field this HQ for their Master Strategist skill, and to die heroically.

I'm looking forward to fielding this latest incarnation of the Swordwind.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A piece of terrain for Epic/Aeronautica Imperialis

Not a very productive weekend on the painting front, I'm afraid (fortunately it was extremely productive on the wedding-planning front). Mostly only managed to make progress on my ongoing, not-very-interesting-in-terms-of-blogging-but-now-that-I-have-started-I-should-keep-going-till-I-finsh project of rebasing my entire Epic 40k collection. So far I have rebased 100% of my Epic Orks, 90% of my Epic Tau, 75% of the Squats (yes - I have some Squats - WTF?), 60% of my Imperial Guard, and a lame 0% of my Space Marines, Eldar and other Epic odds and ends (like traitor Marines, a detachment of Inquisitorial storm troopers and Grey Knights etc).

Even so, having so much of my Epic collection actually look like part of the same collection is great. I might even finish the re-basing this year.

But I did put the finishing touches on one thing - a piece of terrain! It will make a great objective for a game of Epic 40k or Aeronautica Imperialis.

It's a big hunk of (well-sculpted) resin. I can't even remember where I got it - JR miniatures I think? The guns are removable, so there can be different piece of artillery in there, or even just supplies, troops, whatever. I look forward to using it in a game sometime.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Napoleonic Challenge - French Artillery & British Line

Well, I've been slowly building steam on the assembly/painting of the plastic Victrix stuff I picked up last autumn. I hope to have enough done-up to show a few pics in a couple weeks as I am waiting for a schwack of custom cut metal bases from the U.S. (the plastics are so light that I thought I'd base them on metal stands to give them a little bit of heft). I've been splitting my time with working on those and doing some stuff in good ole metal. Above is a French medium artillery piece and its crew reading to give the Austrians a good pounding. Figures from Foundry. Uniform-wise I prefer the early Napoleonic period as the lads often wore the high gaiters, longer tailed coats and dressier waistcoats. I was thinking of putting these guys on a single base but thought I'd get more use out of them for skirmish games (i.e. 'Sharpe Practice') if I based them singly.

Next is an almost-complete battalion of British infantry (again Foundry castings). They are out of the scope for our 'Challenge' but they were very close to being done so I cracked on and got them based-up. These boys are wearing the early 'stovepipe' shako which was worn in the Peninsula (which I've always preferred to the later, somewhat lumpish 'Belgic' shako). I've painted their trousers in a variety of shades to reflect them sourcing whatever local fabrics from being on campaign. I still need to get two more bases done for the colour party and a few for the Flank companies and then they'll be ready to dust it up with the French. I've chosen to base all my stuff in a compressed frontage (15mm per figure for the infantry) which I think gives a more realistic impression of how the lads would be crammed together in the firing line. Of course it means more figures are required for a comparable 20mm frontage but I quite like the look of it.

Ok, back to the priming booth!

Friday, February 5, 2010

"It's a Trap!"

This has got to be the fastest Christmas-present project ever... last Christmas my wife bought me about a hundred tiny Star Wars snub fighters from Studio Bergstrom ( to go with a project I had been working on for some time... a Star Wars fleet-scale game.

A few furious evenings of painting in January and the snub fighters were done - X-, A-, B- and Y-Wings, TIE Fighters, Bombers and Interceptors, and a tiny YT-300 freighter too. Combine this with Titanium Avenger-class Star Destroyers, converted Micro Machines Victory-class SDs and Interdictor Cruiser and Micro Machine Mon Cal MC80s, and you have the makings of a Thursday night game...

I basically threw out most of the stuff I had painted: seven Mon Cal capital ships versus four Avenger-class ISDs, two Victory-class SDs, and an Interdictor cruiser, both sides with full complements of fighters. The putative scenario was the Battle of Endor, this being the fleet action outside the deflector shield protecting the second Death Star. For rules we used the Star Wars Starship Battles set, with additions downloaded from

Bill, Dave O., and Dave V. commanded the Rebel fleet while Frederick, Mike F. and Brian ran the Imperials. The Imperial fleet deployed first in a dispersed formation while the Rebels aimed a tight wedge of capital ships at one flank.

The Rebel strategy proved a winner (well, that and the hot die rolling) as the Rebels never lost the initiative. They threw their fighters aggressively at the Imperial ships, bleeding off shields with snub fighter attacks and Ion Cannon shots, then lit up what remained with their capital ships.

Mike had terrible luck with his squadron of VSDs and Interdictor, while Frederick accounted for an MC80 and Brian swept in from a flank, but in the end it was a stirring Rebel victory. So much for "faith in your friends" being the Rebel weakness ;-)

All in all a fun evening's entertainment. Drew Bergstrom's snub fighters are fantastic models and suit the "fleet scale" to a T. Add in the fact that they're so easy to paint and they are a must for any Star Wars fan. The rules are simple but provide a fast-paced and, with the additions from the Web, semi-tactical game. Let's face it, the whole point is seeing the fleets face off. The only problem is now I need more variety of ships -- perhaps an order from Odyssey Slipways is in the near future...



Wednesday, February 3, 2010

(More) Rogue Tradin'

Finished an RT Ork Dreadnought (thanks Sean) and an old RT "Inquisitor" figure so I thought I'd pitch out some inspirational pics. Plus a mostly-finished Howling Griffons Space Marine, this time in "heraldic" livery.

Yes, the Rogue Trader project progresses. Certainly sometime in Spring we will be delving back into the goodness of Warhammer 40K "first edition" - of course back then nobody called it "first edition" because it was the ONLY edition!!

(That is, if I can resist taking time to paint the new arrivals yesterday courtesy of eBay... Grenadier's "Orcs of the Severed Hand" from 1982... soon to become a Mordheim warband!!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Napoleonic Challenge

Where's my parking space! I'm glad you guys brought scrapers. F&%#ing Regina winters...

For Greg and myself Napoleonic wargaming is the absolute bees knees of the hobby and unless you have been living under a rock this past year you will have noticed that there have been a plethora of rules and minis released for the period. A veritable orgy of plastic figures are now available from the Perry twins and Victrix, along with more rulebooks than you can wave a marshal's baton at (Shako II, Black Powder, Lasalle, Rank & File, etc.). Yes, Virginia, its a wonderful time to be a Napoleonic geek. So, while Lasalle looks to be a great set of rules (and I will probably be a complete whore and do it in 6mm) Greg and I are both smitten with the 'Grande Manner' style of wargaming proposed in Warlord's Black Powder. Its completely unapologetic about its loony mega-sized units (30-60 28mm figures per battalion/regiment!) and has relatively straightforward rules. So as Lord Flashheart would say, "LETS DOOO-OOO IT! WOOF-WOOF!" We thought we'd pick a battle and use it as a target to build/paint towards. Lasalle has a nice little affair at Venzone in northern Italy depicting the early moves of the 1809 campaign. Greg is going to get the Austrians up and running and I will come up with the French. Six or so battalions each plus a few regiments of cavalry and some guns to bang away with - pure bliss. We've set a tentative date of April 'something' to do this by (come to think of it, as the battle occurred on the 11th of April maybe this is as good a date as any to aim for). The gauntlet has been thrown so now its time to get busy!

Last autumn I had picked up three boxes of Victrix French when they were promoting the Black Powder rules (it was a wee deal that was too good to pass up, what with the free shipping) and so I eagerly cracked them open the other day to start the race. Holy crap! I was completely gobsmacked when I discovered that there are around a zillion separate pieces to these guys! Each figure is composed of around 6-8 separate parts, with options galore - its completely mental. Anyway, I girded my loins, got out my sprue clippers, sniffed some plastic cement and started in. Well, to be sure they are a bit of a pain in the ass to assemble, but the variations in poses help to make up for it. I found that it will not be too difficult to create units where the soldiers look like they are interacting with each other which is pretty darn cool. This project will be a much harder slog than I first thought but the results could be well worth it.

Here is a pic of some preliminary layout options I'm working on for one of the command stands... I really like that the Victrix figures are quite slim and that you can easily trim the bases around their feet. This will allow me to pack them in shoulder-to-shoulder for a nice massed look (I plan to pack another three figures on this base). Anyway, Greg and I will try to keep you up to date on how we are progressing with the challenge and hopefully we'll have a game to show for it in the spring! Cheers! Curt

More Warmaster Progress

I'm still plugging away on my Warmaster reclamation project - an Empire army that I found in the basement. I've just finished a unit of Knights, the artillery and the characters. The pace is slower than I thought, as the "touching up" has turned into "re-painting" but it is still a lot of fun.
Knights - before...

and after...

Some artillery for the Empire battle line - a detachment of two cannons, and the always-fun Hellblaster volley gun.

The important bits for running any Warmaster army - the characters to boss the units around. Sorry - this picture is a bit lame because of the lighting, but hopefully the models show up OK. There is a the Count on his Griffon, a general (with his feet kicked up - I love that model), two hero bases and a wizard.

The character models and artillery were the "easy pickings" on this project - now I have to get back to the meat and potatoes core units, the Halberdiers and Crossbowmen (you need two of each as a minimum in the Empire contingent). I'm hoping this army can be ready for a fight by the end of February.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Battle Report - Orks take it in the Teef'

Last week Mike F and Brian popped over and we played a game of "Epic 40,000" - the predecessor to the current "Epic: Armgageddon" rules. It has been quite a while since I have played a game of "Epic: 40,000", which at the time it came out represented a real jump in a new direction for GW and their rules, featuring highly abstracted and much more balanced game play than the previous Epic/Space Marine rules.

Tau Hunter Cadre with Fire Warriors, drones, Devilfish APCs and a unit of Pathfinders

An Ork Warband moves to attack

Hammerheads look for enemy targets from a hill

Note that Epic/Space Marine rules were awesome too - I just think the different vehicles/capabilities/special abilities had got way, way out of hand and it became pretty slow and hard to play because of the multitudes of exceptions and special rules (sound like any other system? I digress...). Whatever the reason, the GW guys purged the Augean stables of Space Marine and came out with a game system that used blast markers, flexible detachments, abstracted firing and army morale to create something pretty cool. The endless special rules were replaced with more abstract and subtle abilities that required careful play in order to exploit. And the icing on the cake - it was sold in a box, complete with ALL the army lists, and TWO armies to start! Now THAT takes me back...

Anyway, to the game: the scenario was a meeting engagement, between an Ork army with two warbands, one Kult of Speed and a pair of Ork Battlefortresses. The Tau for their part featured four different Cadres - two of infantry in Devilfish with assorted drones and Pathfinders for support, one made up of Hammerheads with railguns (oh yeah!) and a rather lethal and mobile cadre of Crisis suits, backed by Broadside suits and Stealth Suits. Brian and I played the Tau, and Mike F took the Orks.

The Ork Kult of Speed prepares to go out with a bang...

The key to most "Epic 40,000" games is army morale - as your detachments break, the morale of the army decreases, and if you hit "0", you're done. All of sorts of things add to this - the blast markers on your army in each morale phase, a war engine going out in spectacular fashion, different objectives being taken, lost, etc. In other words, the rate at which your army morale decreases is not necessarily exactly aligned to the rate at which you take casualties - in fact, it can materially exceed it.

Ork boyz contemplate the flaming death of their Kult of Speed...

Mike F learned about this the hard way, when he advanced his Kult of Speed out in front (which of course they would do) and into a close assault! I gulped a bit, as the Tau generally do poorly in close assault, but I was saved by lucky (for me)/ unlucky (for Mike F) dice rolling! We tied the first roll, and on the second, Mike rolled the "Scottish Number" and I came up with a "6". The Tau slaughtered the Orks, placing a pile of blast markers on the enemy detachment AND breaking them...the horrific combined effect of this (lots and lots of blast markers plus breaking) took Mike's army morale from 21 down to 5 or so, reflecting the impact that the complete destruction of the Kult had on the other Ork Boyz!

Tau Hunter Cadre moves on to a hill

Fire from the Ork Kans and Stompas broke one of the Tau Hunter Cadres

Thanks to drones, the Tau are able to hold their position under Ork fire

Betrayal by the dice was a common theme for Mike for the rest of the game. He tried to pull the Tau into position where he could make a stronger attack, and fire from his dreads, boyz and Stompas did break one of the hunter Cadres. But as his morale clicked down (and he had bad luck with rally rolls), he had to make a final charge, and Brian moved in with the Crisis suit detachment at just the right time to lay a horrible licking on one of the last Ork warbands.

Brian's crisis suits eliminate the enemy, delivering a coup de grace to the Orks - note the blast markers in the backround...

In the end, it was a Tau win - the Ork army morale dipped to "0", while the Tau still had 7 points left. I have to give credit to Brian for playing the suits very well, and to character - letting the Fire Warriors soak up the abuse, and then dropping in for the kill. And clearly I don't think the Tau would be so lucky again now that Mike has a better feel for the "Epic 40:000" rules! It could have gone either way with the assault by the Kult of Speed for sure.

Thanks to Mike and Brian for coming by, and providing me with another opportunity to further "amortize" my Epic Tau.