Sunday, September 30, 2012

From The Mists Of History...

NIB goodness - a Capitol Imperialis from the Epic 40k game!
Grabbed this one off of Ebay a couple of weeks ago - a NIB Capitol Imperialis!  It arrived safe and sound, and is ready to be assembled and painted.  I haven't painted anything for Epic 40k for well over a year (and even then most of that work was related to a huge re-basing project).  I look forward to doing (to quote Dallas) the "unthinkable", opening this sucker up and getting it based and painted for a game of Epic 40k!  Stay tuned to the blog for details...

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Rick Taylor Painting Seminar and the Crimson Fists Project

Rick Taylor Seminar

A couple of weekends ago I attended a seminar on painting faces by Edmonton's Rick Taylor, sponsored by the Manitoba Model Soldier Society. Rick is a true artist. He has done his own sculpts, and his painting is very informed by classical painting techniques of the old masters. He has won gold medals at The Chicago Show and the World Model Soldier Exposition.

Rick primes his figures with sandable black automotive primer. He airbrushes in highlights in grey. Then, he hand brushes on an acrylic undercoat, or ground, over which he will layer oil paints or enamels.

For painting Caucasian faces, he uses mixes of the following oil colours:

  • Daniel Smiths: Quinacridone Burnt Orange
  • Daniel Smiths:  Quinacridone Scarlet
  • Titanium White
  • Sennelier: Peach Black
  • Rembrandt's Naples Yellow Light
  • Various blues (to alter skin tones)

After the acrylic layer, hebrushes on Winsor & Newton Liquin medium on the surface area to be worked on, mostly pulled off again with a clean brush. This gives a really thin layer of the medium, over which the oil paint can be worked (instead of being absorbed into the acrylic layer). The oil colours are used very sparingly, dotted or lined onto the figure, then pushed or patted around with a clean filbert brush. The result is a very subtle transition between high contrast ares of highlight and shadow. For example, he uses a mix of ~75% scarlett and 25% peach black to shade the temples of a face...

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Here are some examples of figures that he has completed. This is a 90mm scale figure:



The freehand detail work is off the hook.


Even the sword scabbard is highly detailed. I find that mixing oils with Liquin also allows one to make very thin lines. You need great brushes - Winsor & Newton Series 7 Kolinsky sable brushes are the detailer's tools of choice.


This is a 40mm scale conversion of a figure from Kabuki Models. Rick gave the figure a new head, hands, shoulders and added details. Rick also turned the sword hilt in brass on a lathe.

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Note the freehand portraits on the cloak:

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Each portrait is an individual work of art.

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Note the subtle weathering of the armour.

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The detail of the face, armour, and sword are visible. Rick sparingly uses Peach Black to paint in 5 o'clock shadow.Note the controlled use of pure white highlights on things like the edges of the armour plates. The sword has a solar system painted on it.

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Dark Eldar Reaver Jetbike from GW, painted in a wood grain pattern.

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Eldar Farseer from GW.

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The Farseer's cloak was painted freehand in greyscale, then tinted red-orange with a thin oil glaze.

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The Crimson Fists Project

In preparation for the seminar, I finished the assembly of the commander for my too-long-dormant Crimson Fists Crusade Company. The concept is to use the Deathwing rules to re-create the Crimson Fists First (Terminator) Company.

The Chapter Master is a conversion of GW's Lysander, Master of the Imperial Fists (in metal, thank you very much). The arms are from a couple of different plastic kits, the shoulder pads are from Forge World, and the cast resin base is from Dragon Forge.


I airbrushed in highlights using Testors ModelMaster Acryl acrylic Flat White. I undercoated the face with ModelMaster Acryl Skin Tone Shadow Tint, then started in on the face at the seminar, using Rick's paints.

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I really like the Quinacridone Burnt Orange; a slightly warmer tone than my usual Schminke's Burnt Sienna. I used almost pure Quinacridone Scarlet to shade the nose and cheeks. Also, Peach Black seems to work better as beard shadow than Winsor & Newton's Indigo that I normally use.

I have been working at home on a couple more squads of Terminators. There's a few conversions in there, mostly using plastic and resin arms/shoulders on metal bodies, with Dragon Forge bases.

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Below is the first squad's Apothecary.

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For 1000 points, I can field the following:

Kordova, Master of the Crusade Company (1#, 130 pts)
1 counts-as Belial, Master of the Deathwing , 130 pts (Infantry (Character); Terminator Armour; Storm Bolter; Sword of Silence; Fearless; Independent Character; Rites of Battle; Warlord)

Squad Ahat (5#, 275 pts)
4 counts-as Upgraded Deathwing Terminator Squad , 275 pts (Narthecium; Infantry; Narthecium/ Reductor; Terminator Armour; Power Fist x4; Storm Bolter x3; Assault Cannon; Apothecary; Deathwing Assault; Fearless)
1 Sergeant (Infantry (Character); Terminator Armour; Power Sword; Storm Bolter)

Squad Shtayim (5#, 235 pts)
4 counts-as Deathwing Terminator Squad , 235 pts (Infantry; Terminator Armour; Lightning Claws (pair) x2; Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield x2; Cyclone Missile Launcher; Deathwing Assault; Fearless)
1 Sergeant (Infantry (Character); Terminator Armour; Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield)

Squad Shalosh (5#, 235 pts)
4 counts-as Deathwing Terminator Squad , 235 pts (Infantry; Terminator Armour; Lightning Claws (pair) x2; Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield x2; Cyclone Missile Launcher; Deathwing Assault; Fearless)
1 Sergeant (Infantry (Character); Terminator Armour; Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield)

Golem (1#, 125 pts)
1 counts-as Mortis Dreadnought (IA) , 125 pts (Searchlight; Smoke Launchers; Twin Linked Autocannon (x2); Interceptor; Skyfire)

Some decent mid- and long-range firepower, good anti-aircraft capability, and a mix of different close combat loadouts that provide both low-AP resiliency (Storm Shields) and the ability to strike at Initiative 4 (Lightning Claws).

Monday, September 24, 2012

Some More Painted 28mm Sci-Fi Troops

As Monday Night Football grinds on (and the terrible replacement officials continue to bungle calls - will be interesting to see if the Packers can pull this one out) I have finished a few more of the 28mm sci-fi troops acquired via Frank Hammond.  These models are really, really nice sculpts and are quite fun to paint.  It has not gone as fast as I expected, but that is OK. There are a lot of nice little details on the figures that are slowing down my standard mass production approach.  And it's not like I need to get these things out on the table urgently.

NCO type figure at the front, two riflemen behind
You can still see the glue drying in some of the pics...the "tufts" of grass are making the ground work on the bases a lot easier. 

Officer checks for 4G LTE wireless coverage...he should have gone with Verizon... 
One of the SAW teams
I have finished 10 of the 24 models so far.  I will do one or two vehicles (they don't really need too many vehicles as they will match the pile of tanks and APCs I have already painted for my 40k Imperial Guardsmen) and then return to my 15mm Syrians and Israelis.  
Rear view of a pair of the troopers 
A second SAW team
I am hoping to get these guys stuck into a Tomorrow's War game sometime soon - one of the good things about that game is that you can play without too many figures!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Beer League: Game One

A week ago Friday, Christian came over for our first game of The Winnipeg Warhammer 40,000 Beer League. The basic idea of the league is to promote 40K, get in some games throughout the fall and winter against old and new folks, and drink some interesting beers. Each player gets to have two 1000-point lists, which they choose from before each game.

I hosted the game at my residence, so Christian brought several cans of  two different brands of refreshment:


I did not know which army Christian would bring; either his Space Wolves or his Imperial Guard. Neither of his lists had a plane, so I left my AAA-equipped list back on the Craftworld. I rolled out with a "pure" MechDar list, comprising of Aspect Warriors and 6 AV12 skimmer tanks.

We rolled randomly for scenario and deployment type.

Scenario: Purge the Alien
This would be a Kill Points scenario. My Eldar have several small squads of Aspect Warriors. which are relatively easy to gun down. Not my favourite scenario, but there it is.

Deployment: Hammer and Anvil
We get to play end to end down the long axis of the table. This is not too bad for my Swordwind. All the vehicles are fast skimmers, including a couple of fairly long range artillery tanks. Mobility won't be an issue (until my tanks start getting shot down!).

Christian deployed everything in the northern third of the table. He set up a big blob of infantry and supporting heavy weapons behind his Defense Line, with the Company Command Squad and their banner bringing up the rear. The three Chimeras set up to the northeast, ready to advance over clearer ground.

The blob was going to be a problem, since it might be difficult to kill enough men to force a morale test, let alone wipe them out.

Below, looking towards the east, Christian can be seen contemplating his setup.


Below, looking north, the Eldar refused the eastern flank. I was thinking to put all my effort into killing the Guard infantry, and merely demonstrate with a couple of tanks to slow down the Guard mechanized wing.


We rolled Night Fighting. The Guard had first turn, but the entire army firing only managed to score a single Hull Point on one of the Eldar tanks.


The skimmer tanks advanced north and laid into the Guard infantry, killing a couple of Lascannon Teams.


The Guard succeeded in shooting down the Fire Dragon's Wave Serpent, scoring First Blood. Rats! So far, whenever I fail to score First Blood, I lose. The surviving Dragons took fire and routed, eventually running off the southern table edge.


A lucky barrage from the Warp Hunter killed nine Guardsmen in the blob; they failed their morale, but the nearby banner bearer allowed a re-roll, which they passed!

The survivors of the Company Command Squad had moved into cover, but the CO didn't quite make it. An Eldar tank Focus Fired into the CO, killing him with a hail of shurikens and garnering  a VP for Warlord.


The Guard mechanized wing moved south, one with a turreted autocannon moving Flat Out, obviously trying for Linebreaker.

The Guardsmen inside the fortifications were much reduced, but the banner bearer still stood defiantly.


The Guard mechanized wing split up, with two vehicles continuing south.


One Serpent got immobilized on the fortifications, but another tank skimmed over it. No more cover from the fortifications!


The Fire Prism kept lobbing blasts at long range. The Serpent damaged back in the first turn moved in front of it Flat Out to obscure it from sight.


A close range firefight broke out inside the fortifications.


Two Chimera moved south. The nearby Serpent, containing some Dire Avengers and the Autarch, zipped past them Flat Out in a surprise move, looking to score Linebreaker in a future turn.


More Dire Avengers were fed into the meat grinder inside the fortifications. One squad hit the remains of the Guard infantry blob 8 times; with no cover to speak of, they would be wiped out...

...unless I manged to roll 8 successive "1's' or "2's". Guess what happened?

The Avengers ended up punching, kicking and scratching a couple of Guardsmen to death. The Guard failed their morale again, but with the help of the banner they held firm.


Several Guardsmen disembarked to the south, in anticipation of scoring Linebreaker. The Fire Prism, whose main gun was shot off, soon retreated into the southwest corner, invisible behind the dense foliage.


Back at the fortifications,  a lone Die Avenger routed away...


...but concentrated Eldar  tank fire reduced the defending Guard to just a handful of troops, holding on by the skin of their teeth - and the righteous zeal imparted by the banner!


The last squad of  Dire Avengers dismounted into the forest to the northeast. We were using the "Mysterious Forests" rule, which can be annoying or absolutely fatal. Against the odds, the forest was just that - a forest of harmless trees.

Despite taking fire from a couple of directions, below two Avengers can be seen left alive, bravely dug into the forest.


Eldar tanks moved in swiftly to mop up the last remnants of the Guard inside the Defense Line. The banner bearer finally went down to shuriken cannon fire. However, the Guard had Gone to Ground, so a combination of Christian rolling a lot of "6's" and me rolling a lot of "1's" to wound left a single lone Guardsman alive inside the fortifications!


The Imperial Guard and the Eldar had each destroyed 4 enemy units. The Guard also scored First Blood and Linebreaker, for a total of 6 VPs. The Eldar scored Warlord and Linebreaker, also for a total of 6VPs.

Below, the opposing commanders (the Guard 2IC and the Eldar Autarch) can be seen comparing notes. The real winner of the game? The brewing companies.


Result: Draw

That was a nail-biter of a game. At various times both Christian and I had rolled more Scottish numbers than we can ever remember. On the other hand, some crucial rolls were made at the right times.

The game MVP Award surely goes to the Imperial Guard banner bearer, without whom the Defense Line would have been cleared of defenders by the midpoint of the game. Best 15 points Christian ever spent.

Fun game, a canny opponent, and delicious beer. So far, my experience of the Winnipeg Warhammer 40K Beer League is a success!

40Kegger IV

Last month I played at 40Kegger IV, the latest 40Kegger tournament. I had a great time at the previous tournament. Who can say no to gaming and beer? Certainly not this writer. There were four games to be played this time around; two true to the event's theme  (Beer!), and two to be rolled up from the basic40K 6th ed. rules.

Army Showcase:
The following are several photos of a selection of the participants' forces:

Tyranids (notice the Roach Hotel in the background):

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The detail on the heavily converted Tervigon below is off the hook. It is truly disturbing.

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Fabio's Chaos Space Marines:

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Chad's Deathwing:

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Chaos Space Marines:

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Keith's Adeptus Arbites (using Codex: Imperial Guard):

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Blood Angels:

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Dark Eldar:

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Dave T's Necrons:

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Chris' Grey Knights:

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Steve's Space Marines...

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...including a very nice Contemptor Dreadnought:

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My mechanized Eldar Swordwind:

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1000 Pt. Eldar Roster - Asurmen's Academy - 40kegger IV

HQ: Autarch (1#, 80 pts)
1 Autarch , 80 pts (Fleet; Master Strategist; Forceshield; Shuriken Pistol; Fusion Gun; Haywire Grenades; Plasma Grenades; Independent Character; Warlord)

Troops: Dire Avengers (6#, 160 pts)
5 Dire Avengers , 160 pts (Fleet; Avenger S-Catapult)
1 Wave Serpent (Vehicle (Fast, Skimmer, Tank); 12 model capacity; Energy Field; TL Shuriken Catapults; TL Shuriken Cannons; Jink)

Troops: Dire Avengers (6#, 160 pts)
5 Dire Avengers , 160 pts (Fleet; Avenger S-Catapult)
1 Wave Serpent (Vehicle (Fast, Skimmer, Tank); 12 model capacity; Energy Field; TL Shuriken Catapults; TL Shuriken Cannons; Jink)

Troops: Dire Avengers (6#, 160 pts)
5 Dire Avengers , 160 pts (Fleet; Avenger S-Catapult)
1 Wave Serpent (Vehicle (Fast, Skimmer, Tank); 12 model capacity; Energy Field; TL Shuriken Catapults; TL Shuriken Cannons; Jink)

Elite: Fire Dragons (6#, 200 pts)
5 Fire Dragons , 200 pts (Fleet; Fusion Gun; Melta Bombs)
1 Wave Serpent (Vehicle (Fast, Skimmer, Tank); 12 model capacity; Energy Field; Spirit Stones; Shuriken Cannon; TL Shuriken Cannons; Jink)

Heavy Support: Night Spinner (1#, 115 pts)
1 Night Spinner , 115 pts (Vehicle (Fast, Skimmer, Tank); TL Shuriken Catapults; TL Doomweaver; Jink)

Heavy Support: Warp Hunter (IA) (1#, 125 pts)
1 Warp Hunter (IA) , 125 pts (Vehicle (Fast, Skimmer, Tank); TL Shuriken Catapults; D-Cannon (Warp Hunter); Jink)

Three scoring units and six AV12 skimmer tanks. 6th edition to me is about seizing objectives and keeping those scoring units alive long enough to do so. No room in 1,000 points for lightweight vehicles like Vypers, or even Hornets!

Game One: The Relic

vs. J.P.'s Chaos Marines:

  • Winged Greater Daemon
  • 2 squads of Chaos Marines riding in Rhino APCs
  • Unit of 2 Obliterators
  • Squad of Raptors 
  • Chaos Dreadnought
  • Vindicator siege tank

Primary Objective: Control of the Relic, worth 3 VPs
Secondary Objectives: First Blood, Linebreaker, Warlord

We rolled Vanguard Strike for deployment. I won the roll for setup, so chose to set up everything in the southeast corner, as it provided both cover and space to deploy my tanks.

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J.P. deployed behind the buildings to the northwest.

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Below, the two Eldar artillery tanks can be seen placed in the southeast corner to fire their barrages. One of the skimmer tanks, in the midst of the ruins, is in position to advance on the Relic in the middle of the table. The easternmost Wave Serpent contains the Fire Dragons, ready to rush north to mix it up with the Chaos reserves when they showed up.

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I moved a couple of tanks forward Flat Out, to make a skimmer wall as some Avengers advanced behind them to grab the Relic.

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The Chaos Vindicator came on from reserve to the north, right beside my Fire Dragons. The Daemon Prince leaped forward to nail one of the Eldar Tanks. First Blood!

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The Fire Dragons ensconced themselves into a building after destroying the Vindicator. The Warp Hunter advanced as a distraction to the Daemon. The Avengers with the Relic mounted up, and with the other tanks started to pull away to the periphery of the table.

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Despite shooting most of my forces at it, the winged Prince still had a wound left, and munched the Warp Hunter. The Dread came out of cover to lay down supporting fire.

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Mass Eldar fire finally killed the Prince and some of the Raptors, who can be seen in the distance, having use Deep Strike to enter to the south.

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By games' end the Eldar still had the potato (the Relic), had killed the Oblits and the Dread, plus had scored VPs for Warlord and Linebreaker; the Chaos Daemon had scored First Blood.

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Result: Eldar Victory

Game Two: Keys to the VIP

vs. Chad's Deathwing:
  • Belial
  • Upgraded Deathwing Terminator Squad with Storm Bolters and Banner
  • Deathwing Terminator Squad with Lightning Claws, Thunder Hammers and a Heavy Flamer
  • Deathwing Terminator Squad with Lightning Claws, Thunder Hammers and a Cyclone Missile Launcher
  • Dreadnought with Multimelta and DCCW

Primary Objective: Keep your Warlord alive (3 VPs)
Secondary Objectives: First Blood, Linebreaker, Warlord

For setup, only each player's Warlord and a single squad (either retinue or a Troops squad) could be deployed. I set up the Autarch and some Avengers in the ruins to the southwest. Chad set up Belial and the upgraded squad to the north.

Below, Chad can be seen reading the scenario.

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Using Deathwing Assault, the Heavy Flamer Deathwing squad managed to Deep Strike first turn and killed 4 Dire Avengers; cover is no obstacle to cleansing flame! The Autarch and his unit had to make a Leadership test to see if they would rout. The Eldar could have lost the game in the first turn!

I rolled the dice and scored a "10", matching the Autarch's Ld, and thus staying in the game.

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Most of the Eldar forces arrived in the second turn, but only killed a couple of Terminators; Chad was rolling hot with his saves.

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The Heavy Flamer squad pummeled the Warp Hunter into ruin with Thunder Hammers, scoring First Blood.

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The Autarch and lone Avenger embarked into an empty Serpent and headed north. Massed fire finally killed off the Heavy Flamer squad, but the third Terminator squad Deep Struck into the southeast table quarter.

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The Eldar forces withdrew west and north, to keep out of assault distance from the third Terminator squad. Some Avengers and an immobilized Serpent in the middle offered a buffer between the Imperial forces and the Autarch's ride. Meanwhile, Belial hunkered down under cover to the north. A couple more Terminators died, but no other serious damage was inflicted by either party

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I have written in past articles that First Blood is a very important secondary objective since, once claimed, the other player cannot score it, too. Both sides had their Warlords alive, but Chad's First Blood put the Deathwing over the top.

Result: Deathwing Victory

Game Three: Beer Run

vs.Keith's Adeptus Arbites (Imperial Guard):
  • Lord Commissar
  • Ministorum Priest
  • Patrol Team (Veteran Squad) w/ Shotguns, Meltagun, Heavy Flamer, Grenade Luncher and Power Fist, riding in a Chimera APC
  • Patrol Team (Veteran Squad) w/ Shotguns, Meltagun, Heavy Flamer, Grenade Luncher and Power Fist
  • Hellhound flame tank
  • Valkyrie flyer
  • Leman Russ Demolisher tank

Primary Objective: 1 VP for each turn a unit was possession of a Beer Keg (scoring calculated at the Start of your turn)
Secondary Objectives: First Blood, Linebreaker, Warlord

Six Beer Kegs were scattered randomly about the table. Setup was in opposite corners. The Eldar seized first turn, and disembarked two squads of Dire Avengers to seize a couple of kegs. They would not receive VPs for them until the start of the next Eldar turn, giving the Imperial cops a turn to do something about it. A couple of Serpents whipped forward Flat Out to get deep in the Imperial zone, threatening the Leman Russ and giving cover to the Eldar behind them.

Below, Keith contemplates his counter to the Eldar opening gambit.

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The Imperial's Chimera disembarked some troops to seize a keg.

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The Eldar seized another keg, and shot at the Imperial squad with enough firepower to make them drop their keg. In the distance the Fire Dragons can be seen dismounted. The two Avenger squads with kegs mounted up and moved back to the southwest. A flank shot from an Eldar tank destroyed the Chimera.

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The Fire Dragons disembarked. Five (!) meltaguns only managed to Stun the Imperial heavy tank, but at least it could not fire for a turn.

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The Valkyrie showed up and disembarked a second infantry squad. An Imperial assault with Krak grenades blew up a skimmer tank.

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Eldar fire destroyed the Leman Russ and reduced one Patrol squad down to the Priest and one trooper.

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The Warp Hunter was blown up by the Priest with a big chainsaw. There's an Imperial medal with his name on it stuffed away in a nameless Imperial Administrator's desk somewhere. A keg was again seized by the other Imperial squad. The Dragons were reduced to a single Aspect Warrior, whose morale bravely held.

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The Commissar and the Priest each seized a keg...

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...but they were both gunned down by Eldar tank fire. That medal will have to be awarded posthumously.

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Seizing two kegs early on was a lucky break for the Eldar, who racked up several VPs for the kegs, plus scoring First Blood and Warlord. The Imperials only managed to hold onto one keg.

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Result: Eldar Victory

Game Four: The Scouring

vs. Dave's Necrons:
  • Varguard Obyron
  • 10 Immortals
  • 10 Immortals
  • 10 Warriors
  • 2 Destroyers
  • Annihilation Barge
  • Monolith

Primary Objective: 6 fixed objectives, worth (respectively) 4, 3 ,3, 2, 2, and 1 VP; Fast Attack are scoring and their destruction also give up a VP
Secondary Objectives: First Blood, Linebreaker, Warlord

Dave rolled Dawn of War for deployment. I won the roll for setup, so I set up a line of tanks 12" in from the southern table edge. I knew Dave's Necrons had Gauss weapons, but reasoned that he only had a 1/6 chance to seize. To be more careful, I should have set up less than 6" on, to be out of range of all of the Necron Gauss guns (including their infantry move).

The Necrons were set up in a rough line from west to east, with the two Immortal squads anchoring each end, and the Warlord attached to the one to the east. The Warriors were in reserve.

After random placement. there were objectives worth 4, 3 and 1 VP in the northern half of the table, and 3, 2, and 2 in the southern table edge. The Eldar were suddenly at a potential  1VP disadvantage.

Below, Dave can be seen deciding to try and seize the initiative...

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...which he proceeded to win with a "6". The Necrons swiftly shot down my westernmost tank, also garnering the Necrons First Blood. Doh!

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The Annihilation Barge was, in this game, the most important enemy threat. I moved the Fire Dragon's skimmer Flat Out to jam in the Barge to the north. With luck, the Dragons would live for a turn.

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Necron fire merely took off two Hull Points from the Dragon's tank.Hooray for Flat Out cover saves!

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The Fire Dragons disembarked and blew away the Barge, also gaining a VP for having killed a Fast Attack choice.

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The Dragons and their transport went down to massed Necron fire.

After lots of maneuver and almost no more casualties inflicted on either side, the Necrons and Eldar each controlled the objectives in their respective table halves. Gaining First Blood was again crucial, since the Necrons scored 9VPs to the Eldar's 8VPs.

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Result: Necron Victory


Man, I love tournaments where an attentive woman approaches you and offers to top up your beer!

With a record of 2-2-0 I was unable to repeat my tournament championship win in 40Kegger III. No worries, since I had a great time playing four fun games against four great opponents. Kudos to Greg and J.P. for putting on a fun event. Thanks also to all those individuals and organizations supporting the event. I am already looking forward to next year's tournament, and the Beer League (more anon) being played this winter...