Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bring in the consultants

It's not exactly KPMG or IBM, but one new wrinkle in the Imperial Guard set-up is the introduction of "advisors", essentially figures that represent bonuses available to Imperial Guard players in 40k. As part of the new codex released last year, GW issued three new models to represent what are essentially bonus traits for an Imperial Command section. The figures are mail-order only, but I was able to acquire a pack of these from Dave V (thanks Dave!) a while ago and I finally got around to painting them on the weekend.

From left to right, the advisors represent an Imperial Fleet Officer, a Master of Ordnance, and an Astropath. The Fleet Officer puts a -1 on reserve rolls of your opponent (presumably they are too busy dodging orbital bombardment to arrive on time). The Astropath adds +1 to your reserve rolls ("Your platoon arrived just in time - like you read my mind"). The Ordnance chap has a more direct effect on the table, allowing the Guard player to drop a template every turn - it still deviates (double, I think) but hey - it's cheaper than a basilisk.

At first, I thought these were pretty trivial bonuses (with the possible exception of the Ordnance dude), but having played some 40k recently, I can see how they can impact a game. I hope to try these guys out this week against Hive Fleet Nostromo. If that Navy guy can keep the damn Trygon out of my lines for even one more turn, he will be worth it.

The models were a lot of fun to paint - I particularly like the fleet officer, holding his gloves in one hand like some kind of royal officer. The sculpt exudes an event horizon or aristocratic smugness that only navy officers can summon. One wonders what he screwed up back on the fleet to end up assigned as a liaison to ground-pounding Imperial Guard infantry...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Where do You Like to do Your Thang?

Being incurably snoopy I've always been fascinated to discover how others pursue their hobby, namely seeing what they do for their painting/modeling areas. Over the years I've worked in the whole gambit of locations: kitchen tables, coffee tables, a corner of the bedroom, my own games room (on Fawcett) and in a hulking Ikea armoire.

So, Conscripts, where do you do your hobby thang? Send in a photo. Describe your geek-lair. I remember going to Kev's place years ago and marveling at his setup. He had yards of wondrous figures/models spread all over the place in his rumpus room, and in amongst that he worked in what looked to be a 6 inch square 'clearing' on the rec room bar. That's where all the magic happened - very cool.

In our new 'old' house I have a room dedicated for my Napoleonic library, office, screening room and hobby space
(Hmm, I 'spose that's not too 'dedicated' is it? Whatever). The room has two decent-sized closets that both are wired so I thought I'd tuck my iMac and AV gear into one closet and use the other for my hobby space.

I purchased a suspended railing system from Rona that screws directly into the wall studs which can then accommodate heavy-duty shelving brackets. I then cut some fir-ply boards (thanks to Sylvain's circular saw), stained them, and added some trim to finish the shelves.

Its worked out pretty well. The small space forces me to be neater than usual and it has the added bonus of having doors to just close up when we need the room for other stuff. This way I get to leave my stuff 'out' yet still have use of the room if company comes or if Sarah wants to play a Halo deathmatch on the Xbox (as if).

I recently picked up a pair of OttLite's from Costco as I heard that they give a good light. They're actually pretty awesome and would highly recommend them if you see some on sale (they can be expensive). Of course none of this helps my glacial output but it does make it more comfortable!

Anyway, come on Conscrips, show us where you do your thang!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The "tru" believers...

We have been having several games of 40k lately, but that doesn't mean we are forgetting about our own, bizarre, parallel world of Spacekrieg, where in the unpleasant dimness of the distant future, there is only armed conflict...and Future Gordon Brown.

Dallas really set the bar for this "period" with his awesome FuturKom guys featuring infantry from Pig Iron Productions. Pig Iron basically has a huge hit (in my subjective opinion) with their "Kolony Militia" and related figure lines. The Militia models are outstanding, and Pig Iron has released some companion lines to go with them, including "Kolony Rebels". I thought these would make an excellent faction for SpaceKrieg...and so I would like to introduce "TruKom".

I figure on some world somewhere in the Interstellar Union of Kommulist Worker Planets, you might have a situation where things don't always go the way Future Kremlin wants them to. Some Motor Fuzileer regiments maybe get a little close to the population, and shared their concerns. Or maybe said regiments went into the desert, and got too close a Top Secret Unknown Arcane Thing (TSUAT), and maybe this thing influenced them to somehow hang all of the FuturKom leaders in the capital of Groovzny before the orbiting Kom fleet blasted them for treachery...

In the meantime, FuturKom has dispatched troops to quell the rebellion. And nobody needs to worry about anything in the desert. At all. Reports that something like a TSUAT might even exist, much less affect you psychologically and physically, are just GünScwharm propaganda....

I picked up a few packs of the various rebels - infantry and troops with special weapons. So far I have finished 14 models, and overall hope to have a force of between 20-30 figures. The Kolony Rebels are great figures. They are, of course, similar to the Militia, but the clothing is a bit ratty, there are some holes here and there, some of the armour bits are missing, surplus bits of rags etc. are starting to appear. They look just like guys who have been out of the sci-fi supply chain for a while.

Weapon-wise, they have a lot of weapons that the Militia have - missile launchers, SAWs and sniper rifles. At this point, no flame-throwers. They also have a little panzerfaust-looking AT weapon (which can be seen a little bit in the front row of the very top above).

One of the best features of this whole line is the interchangeable heads. The Kolony Rebel heads look...a little off. I think it's very cool. You get several to choose from as well. I am sticking with the "I still have my gas mask, but lost my helmet" head for nearly all of the guys for now, but will sprinkle a few other ones in later on. I may put a few standard Militia heads in as well to represent new "volunteers" who have seen the light and joined the armed pursuit of true Kommulism.

I don't see TruKom having a ton of vehicles - being seperated from the FuturKom supply chain, and being blasted from orbit have limited their options somewhat, driving them into mountains. But I will hopefully bodge a tank or two together for them so they can have some support when they ambush deluded FuturKommers who don't see "What's Really Happening".

Pig Iron has a still-developing line of models called the "Kolony Ferals" too. While the Kolony Rebel figures appear to be low on supplies and need some uniform repairs, the Kolony Ferals look like guys who have definitely been out somewhere way too long and are way messed-up looking, which is awesome. I intend to integrate some of these into the TruKom lineup, and use the "Feral Elders" as commanders. Of course, they will only look weird to people who don't see "What's Really Happening"...

Monday, October 18, 2010

One! One Figure! Mwahahahaa!

Well, we just got back from Portugal on the weekend and work now has me crawling back onto a plane heading east for the rest of the week. Jetlag whiplash here I come. Anyway, I wanted to get a start, however pathetic, on the Painting Challenge so I took advantage of my wacky sleep patterns and bashed out a command figure for my British Napoleonics. We'll call him Harry. Dallas, mark me down for 2 points, whoo hoo!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Brazen bells! What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!

The Grey Seer
Yesterday, I finished another addition to the chittering ratulent mass that is my Warhammer Skaven army.  Of course, it is the classic metal Screaming Bell.

"You got me ringin' Hell's bells..."
Such a fantastic, characterful model.  I have the new plastic kit on the way from Maelstrom, and it looks great too, but it will be built as the Plague Furnace variant.

Counts as 12 Skaven too - bonus!
Of course, the base for this one had to be scratch-built from plasticard as the original didn't come with one.  However the new rules count the Bell as part of the unit that "pushes" it, so it should really have a base.  The great thing is, not only does painting the Bell add a great war machine to the army, it also counts as 12 extra Skaven in a unit!  (Don't worry, I only counted it as 5 models for the purposes of the painting challenge ;-)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hive Fleet Nostromo "Best 1-1-1 Army Out There"

Hive Fleet Nostromo (1-1-1) tasted bitter defeat for the first time last night in a hard-fought contest against Head Coach Dave V.'s veteran Eldar squad (247-2-7).

The game involved placement of one objective by each player, in his table quarter deployment zone, with victory to the player who controlled more objectives at the end of the game.  Nostromo's coach, Hive Mind, conceded afterwards that defeat was virtually assured with a poor initial deployment of his objective at his extreme table corner, farthest from the Eldar zone.  "What the ^%^&* was I thinking??" Hive Mind was quoted as saying later.  "That was a minor league move.  I knew that we were playing an extremely mobile team - Eldar skimmers can move 24" per turn - and my guys just don't have that kind of speed.  I should've placed the objective as close to the Eldar quarter as possible and just got my guys stuck in."

"Hey, where's the other team?"
"Oh, there they are :-("

As it was, Nostromo faced a mostly empty playing field for the first quarter of the game as the Eldar stayed in the dressing room, declining to take the field.  "What the hell," said team captain Hive Tyrant later.  "I mean, here we are, ready to play, and there's no freakin' opponents on the field.  This is lame."  In sympathy with Nostromo, members of the crowd on hand were heard to chant "U-rin-al, U-rin-al", a not-so-subtle play on the name of the Eldar's team captain, Uriel.  Eldar Head Coach Dave V. was rightly unperturbed.  "Our team can come on the field whenever we want.  Besides, Hive Mind could've used that opportunity to reposition his team, absorb nutrients from the planet, or whatever." 

But in the second quarter the Eldar team appeared and they did so with a vengeance.  Most were mounted in skimming vehicles and the storm of heavy weapons fire brought to bear against Nostromo was formidable.  "The genestealers really had a chance to come out and perform for us but unfortunately that didn't happen," Hive Mind said.  Genestealer player R'blraarrgh agreed.  "We infiltrated like motherf*ckers, but like Coach said, we didn't execute.  Something like 20 attacks against Fire Dragons - FIRE DRAGONS! - and we didn't hit once, not once.  Pathetic."

"Princess Urinal" about to clothesline the last of the Genestealers.
Coach Hive Mind said there was plenty of blame to go around in the loss.  "We plain got outplayed tonight," he said.  "We made some serious tactical errors, like leaving Carnifexes to guard our objective.  How stupid was that?? They're not even scoring units.  We ended up having to bring back some Warriors but even that wasn't enough as an Eldar skimmer got there to contest it.  We got no production whatsoever from Trygon, and the balloon-heads [Zoanthropes] just ended up being bounced around by a Warp Spider champion."

Still, Hive Mind looks forward to a future rematch against the Eldar and the next game in a couple weeks, scheduled against an Imperial Guard team.  "Now that we've played together a few times I think we'll be a much more powerful force to reckon with.  We're gonna be playing harder, and smarter.  Plus, we're more used to all these blinking LEDs on the field now.  Some of my guys nearly had seizures tonight, this was nuts."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Elysian progress

Fresh from my late-summer Napoleonic's outburst, I have recently veered back toward completing some more figures from my ongoing Elysian project. Now that their Valkyries can land on an LED-lit platform, I just have to keep going.

I finished a squad of 10 "hardened veterans" - essentially Elysian guardsmen with shotguns instead of lasguns. In keeping with the flavour of the current edition of 40k, I have two melta guns in the squad. These models were certainly fiddly to assemble - each has about 11 pieces - and all adhered to Forgeworld's ongoing quality level, which is middling at best and appalling when you consider the price. On the other hand, Forgeworld's quality-is-job-seven reputation was well known to me and I still ordered these figures, so I can't really be surprised about that.

I do find the shotguns look cool, but I did not enjoy soaking half of them in hot water to straighten them out. I was mostly successful, but one guy still has a bit of a bendy gun. Another barrel was knocked thanks to a poor cast, but I kept it anyway (still looked kind of sawed-off). My hope is that by keeping them in a group, the wonky ones won't stand out on the table.

I also painted an "Elysian Senior Officer". I like the figure, and I like the Elysian take on a power fist...seems less comical, but still strong without looking silly or cartoonish. In fact, I can see the guy building a projector into it so he can give power point presentations to other Imperial Commanders ("As you can see Colonel, the synergies we could obtain by overwhelming this flank align well with our core values for this mission...").

Being the Imperial Guard, we needed a commissar too. The Elysian sculpts are lean figures, not as bulky as the current standard GW line. A lot of the current commissars look way too heavy next to the Elysians, so I went retro and dug a model (seen above on the right) out of my RT-era figure pile. I liked that he had a power fist too. That way there is some parity in case he has a serious "disagreement" with the officer. He also fits well with the RT-era officer I have painted for this collection.

For the Elysians I have two heavy-weapon squads left to assemble and paint - one of three two-man missile launcher teams, and one of three two-man heavy bolter teams. I will try and get to those sometime soon.

I also need to figure out the army list. I can use them as actual Elysians, but that would require squeezing out another 40+ quid for a terrible Forgeworld book chock full of BS about Orks just to get the current Elysian army list. Or I can try and use them as regular guardsmen from the current Guard codex.

I'm not sure what the advantages are either way. I suspect the Elysian list will give them some benefits. For example, the Valkyries may be available as a basic transport choice instead of a fast-attack choice, sparing the need to organize the Valkyries into squadrons and avoiding the appalling squadron rules for vehicles from the current edition of 40k. On the other hand, I already have the guard codex, could just call all of the guys veterans, and see what happens.

And of course it's all academic until I can get the stuff painted...one thing at a time....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Blood Pudding in Montréal

Mmmmh... Blood pudding... Such a refined delicacy that my mom took her expensive china out of the cabinet for the occasion. I went to Montréal for the long week-end and in addition to attending a wedding and visiting family, I found some time for wargaming.

Before flying to Montréal, I rushed to finish assembling 2000pts of Wood Elves. Despite my best efforts, some Dryads were still headless when I left. I met some friends for a game of Warhammer on Saturday with 4000pts per side. I was allied with Marc (High Elves) against Christian (Skavens) and William (Chaos). Most of the units in the picture were glued in the last week. The Wood Elves had a good start: after the shooting phase of turn 1, the Skavens had lost most of their nasty shooters. I cheered for my Lord on turn 3 who singlehandedly destroyed a Doom Wheel with 4 arrow shots and one sword strike. But on turn 4, my left wing was beaten into blood pudding: I lost 20 Glade Guards, 5 Glade Riders, 1 level two wizard and 1 lord to... 2 rat ogres and 1 packmaster. I've discovered that the packmaster's whip is a pretty nasty weapon. Money to buy the codex of my opponents would be well spent.
On Sunday, I visited with Robert, the guy who introduced me to miniature wargaming in the mid eighties. We used the Mein Panzer ruleset for a game of 6mm WW2. The objective for both the British and the German was to be the sole occupant of the castle on the hill, an ideal artillery spotting location.

My company of Sherman and my company of armoured infantry in Universal carriers were hard pressured by a German motorised infantry company supported by some Panzer IVs. Eventually, the objective building collapsed under intensive shelling from the Shermans. The British then decided to call it a day, satisfied that nobody could use the building for observation.

Monday, October 11, 2010

"Did you have a f#$%& stroke?!?"

This was Conscript Greg B.'s reaction when I mentioned that I was working on a Warhammer 40K Skyshield landing pad with LED lighting... not exactly what I was going for, but fair play.  In the realm of Insane Projects, I think LED-lit terrain is right up there.  However it's something I've always thought might be pretty cool to actually do.

The kit is a standard Skyshield from GW, lit with four LEDs powered by an onboard 9V battery.  The lighting itself was very easy to build,  I purchased it in components from http://www.modeltrainsoftware.com/ for about $15 total.  The slickest part was the pre-wired switch with 9V battery terminal - the individual LEDs just wire straight into it.  I may post more detailed photos with a write-up if there's interest.

In the meantime, "Valkyrie Eagle Seven, you are cleared for vector to pad 123675." ;-)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Swing and a miss...

They exist only to inflict pain, misery and....latex....new GW Dark Eldar. Swing and a miss, in this one person's completely subjective view. Particularly disappointing Incubi, which inspire a Sauron-goes-to-the-red-light-district-and-then-to-bat sense...

But hey - sometimes the universe needs to be pointier. I remember back when I went to 40k events the Dark Eldar were a popular choice, and not just because they came with the box, so regardless of my subjective views, chances are these are going to inspire someone. Perhaps the new models will drive a comeback for this faction.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Croation Sensations ready for the table

Well, I have been off for a couple of weeks on a wonderful trip to France. We got back on Saturday night (although it felt like Sunday afternoon) and thanks to the fog of jet lag, I was able to finish off the ground work and complete my Grenzer unit, part of the Napoleonic Challenge.

This unit is another big sucker - 38 foot troops and one mounted officer. The models are all Foundry castings. Foundry does not make command for Grenzer units beyond the chap in the bicorne hat, so I bodged by painting up some later period Hungarians in Shakos with Grenzer type colours. That provided a musician, standard carrier, an additional foot officer and a mounted officer. The Shakos of the Hungarian impostors look a little different, and I was guessing when painting some of the officers, but overall the uniforms are not that different and in the end I'm pleased with the effect.

The "advance" pose, with the musket held to the front and the bayonets sticking off to the side, made basing this unit a little trickier than that stolid "march attack" poses of the Austrian line units I have painted. The Grenzers ended up a little more ragged, but not too much, and I think it still suits their character well.

Up next is some artillery. I'm going to paint two six-pounder guns with some crew. The challenge only calls for a single gun, but two guns will make it closer to a half-battery needed for some other rules, and I am thinking doing two guns can't be much more of a burden than one gun.

It will be a challenge as I see the f***ing clowns at Foundry did not include key components in the cannon pack - specifically the axles to hold the wheels on the gun carriages. So I'll have to improvise a bit there. But watch for more progress over the coming month.

It's too bad the painting challenge kicked in for October - since I started this project in July, I have painted 114 25mm foot castings as well as three mounted officers. Not too bad a rate of progress.

I will also be diverting a bit toward finishing off the infantry component for my 40k Elysians - there is a squad of guys with shotguns waiting to be painted, and I need to add a few more odds and ends like troops, advisors, a commissar etc. to round out command squads needed for an Imperial Guard force. I am also going to add some punch by painting up missile launcher teams. I don't know if I will add them to the squads, or keep them as a separate heavy weapon section of three teams, but I'll figure that out later. I will try and get these done for October, as well as the Austrian artillery. Should be fun.