Monday, July 25, 2016

Tau Hospitality

While in Winnipeg, I had the chance to have a game of WH40K with Byron, at his place. Steve, a friend of his, came for a visit and provided some precious advice at various moments of the game. I don't play 40K very often, and last time I did was with the 5th Edition of the rules. So I had lots of reading to do before this game.

To give some more context, during the Sixth Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, I painted two 40K armies and since I have been waiting for an opportunity to field one of them. Well, I am happy to report that the Viet-Cron army just had its baptism of fire. Unfortunately, I don't think I will have a chance to play with Greg, who inspired the theme behind the Viet-Cron, before I leave Winnipeg, but I am sure we will have a chance to meet sooner or later for a friendly encounter.

Byron prepared a table with some awesome scenery. Many of the buildings visible in the picture are his creations and I really like how they are linked by small bridges.

I deployed my Destroyers on the right flank, ready to engage a squad of Fire Warriors.

 On the left flank, a group of Viet-Cron Warriors engaged a group of Tau Battlesuits and even managed to scare them away for a few turns. The posters, the billboards and the solar panels really make the city something special.

Right in the middle of the battlefield stood the "Temple of Metal", shooting all around. I thought the thing was invincible...

... so I moved it (it's on the right edge of the picture) closer to the heart of the city, ready to wipe out any target coming within range....

 ... then BOUM! some Battlesuit equipped with an array of fusion weapons blew up my big unit with one well aimed shot. The Spyder is positioned just behind where the "Temple of Metal" was standing a few seconds earlier.

On the right flank, things were going well. Two Battlesuits and the Tau Warriors were vaporized.
 
A final view of the battlefield. The Tau obviously have a strong foothold in the city while the few remaining Viet-Cron units control most of the forest.  Point wise, it was a Tau victory, but fun wise, it was a blast for both players!

I had a chance to take a look at some of Byron's outstanding miniatures and scenery before heading back to the downtown suite. A cool gaming evening like this is one of the reasons why I always look forward to my yearly trip to Winnipeg.

Cape St-Vincent - 1797

During my yearly sojourn in Winnipeg, I had the chance to share some wargaming time and a few beer with the Winnipeg Conscripts at Casa Violago.

I had prepared a scenario featuring some of my sailships: On the morning of 14 February 1797, a British squadron of 15 ships of the line met a Spanish fleet twice as numerous, with 27 ships of the Line, including the giant Santissima Trinidad. The HMS Victory was present, as well as Nelson, but on a different ship, and he was only Commodore at that time but was ready to break the rules of traditional sea warfare. The scenario was played with fewer ships: the British had 9 ships and the Spanish, 14.

The victory conditions for this scenario were as follow: If, after 10 turns,
- The Spanish have no ships striking colours and 1 or more British did strike colours, the Spanish win an outstanding victory.
- 1 to 5 Spanish ships stroke colours, the British win a marginal victory.
- 6 or more Spanish ships stroke colours, the British win an outstanding victory.
Historically, the British did capture 4 Spanish ships.

The rules I used are a modified version of "Trafalgar" that I called "Trafalgar Redux". The original rules are great, but things start to slow down drastically when more than 5 ships per side are used. In "Trafalgar Redux", many elements of the rules are heavily simplified to allow battle with more ships. For example, the saving throw is replaced by additional boxes on the ship. Firepower is integrated into the ship display sheet. Modifiers for firing are limited to 3 and ships can fire at any point of their movement without penalty. If ships are in column, then they all move as one unit, etc.




From left to right:  Sylvain, shaking dice for the sake of shaking dice, Byron and Brian, proud Admirals of the Spanish fleet. The orderly British column, at the bottom, starts its steady progresion towards the Spanish mass of ships, partly visible in the upper right corner of the table.

Kevin and Dave, the British Admirals, smiling confidently as they listen to all the special rules favouring the British side: Spanish roll for morale for each critical hit they receive, British reroll "1"s when firing, etc. etc. etc.

The HMS Britannia, a first rate, 100 gun ship, follows the HMS Victory towards the thick of the Spanish fleet.  The Spanish Admirals are ready to give the order to fire.

First smoke! Furious exchanges of cannonballs resulted in one Spanish ship already striking colours, as indicated by the red marker. Spanish ships can be identified by their yellow stickers at the back of the base while British ships feature white stickers.


A Spanish ship on fire. But this is nothing compared to the HMS Britannia that will later be lit like a torch. Fire from the hull of HMS Britannia will eventually spread to all the masts and the crew had to work frantically for many turns to get everything back under control. Many good sailors were roasted during the event.

Brian assessing the situation from a standing position. The British are rigorously maintaining their line as directed.

Nelson, who was only Commodore at that time, was the only one allowed to break the British line in order to accomplish something awesome. Here HMS Conqueror (playing proxy to HMS Captain) blocks the line of incoming Spanish ships.

Exchanges of fire are getting more numerous as the the fleets are penetrating each other. I just love how the smoke puffs translate the intensity of  the battle at this point. It is also possible to visualize who is shooting who.
 
The last turn played. Five Spanish ships had striken colours at this point, meaning a marginal victory for the British. From the point of view of the umpire, the whole battle was very fun to watch, and I think that if the modified rules did not work perfectly, they worked satisfactorily.

In retrospect, I think that the Spanish fleet should have put the big heavy hitters at the front, and give the officers a more central position in the fleet, to help with the morale checks. With the special rules, the Spanish had to keep their ships very close to each others in order to recuperate from striking colours.

No real sailors or miniature ships were hurt during the game, but the same can't be said about the above bottles, only remain of some delicious beer brought by the participants.

Thanks to the Winnipeg Conscripts, Brian, Byron, Dave and Kevin, who were kind enough to push my little ships around the board for a whole evening!

Epic 30k - Achilles Land Raiders for VII Legion

Land Raiders for the VII Legion

A few more Epic 30k bits to share as we enjoy our summer here in Canada.  Just a pair of Land Raiders for the VII Legion, the Imperial Fists, in this posting.  I believe these are the "Achilles" variant of this vehicle - extra tough even by tough standards of the Land Raider vehicle.  Where the classic Land Raider has lascannons on the sponsons, this vehicle sports even more armour, a nose-mounted heavy cannon, and closer support weapons like multi-meltas or volkite weapons on the sponsons.
Front-mounted cannons to support assaults by Legion marines

The added armour and weapons come at the cost of troop-carrying space - each of these Land Raiders would hold only one infantry stand instead of the usual two. These vehicles will assist Rogal Dorn's chaps as they punch in against rebel Astrates positions - I see them being particularly useful in urban settings.
View on the back showing the not-so-carbon-neutral propulsion system

These vehicles meet the key requirements of service in the 30k era - huge treads, slabs of armour and silly guns - perfect!

I hope everyone out there is enjoying their summer and getting a break to relax (and paint more, of course!). I'll have a few more Epic 30k bits along shortly before moving back to the "regular" scale figures.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Epic 30k - Imperial Fist Artillery, Infantry and Command

VII Legion additions for my Epic 30k forces

Flipping back and forth once again on the Epic 30k painting - last entry had Sons of Horus, so for this entry I'm back to the VII Legion, Rogal Dorn's Imperial Fists.  As with the Sons of Horus, we have some artillery support, but there is also some additional infantry and a command base.

To help the officer (either a Centurion or a Praetor) stand out on the table I mounted the command group on a round base. 
Preator ready to fight the traitors!
 
My photo skills suck - apologies...

Really like the anachronistic standard bearers in Space Marin Legion command units...
Command figures can be very useful in Epic, helping to remove blast markers and even tipping the balance in an important firefight or close combat encounter.  But in Epic there are a large number of scary weapons about on the table - this guy won't last too long if he gets hit with, say, the mega-bolters from a Titan.  So important to be a little careful with these command stands.

Boring, but they get the job done - tactical stands and Rhino APCs

There are a couple of tactical squads and two rhinos to carry them around.  A basic element for the Epic Space Marine Legion forces is the tactical detachment of 8 stands plus Rhino APCs.  This group of four will now round out my VII Legion collection so they can field two basic tactical detachments - good building blocks for an Epic force.

This amounts to half of a basic detachment in an Epic game

Moving along, here is a solitary Whirlwind rocket launcher.  As with the Sons of Horus in the last entry, this lone vehicle was painted to provide a fourth launcher to complete a battery of vehicles to support the Imperial Fists.

A Space Marine classic - the Whirlwind rocket launcher

This one vehicle will join three others already painted to make a complete battery of four launchers

And more long range artillery, a battery of Legion Basilisks.  These long range guns will provide some heavy firepower to back up the VII Legion on either defence or attack.

Basilisk battery for VII Legion

These models really make me think of the German "Hummel" from WW2

This group will bring some pain to those to who turn from the light of the Emperor!
Well, that's a fair bit of yellow stuff...still more Epic 30k stuff to paint, just not sure where to go next with it...but stay tuned for more! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Epic 30k - Sons of Horus Artillery Support

Artillery for "hope and change" in the galaxy...

In the Epic 30k setting, Horus the Warmaster brings a powerful and uplifting message of hope and change for humanity and the galaxy.  Sadly there are many who yet cling to the existence of an alleged "Emperor" such that armed resistance is an issue, meaning the brave members of the Sons of Horus Legion sometimes require artillery to get that hope and change message to truly "sink in" to a given target zone audience.

So just a few Epic 30k fire support bits for the XVI Legion here.  Up first is a lone Whirlwind - this will join the three I have already finished to form a complete battery of four vehicles (I am following the standards and listings in this awesome wiki, which has four launchers per battery for the Legiones Astrates).

The Whirlwind, a "classic" Space Marine support vehicle - rocket launcher on a rhino APC chassis
Next - three rapier gun carriers to provide some close heavy support for the noble foot-slogging elements of the Sons of Horus.  They add a nice little boost in firepower for infantry detachments - I need to finish up a few more in order to have a stand-alone detachment of six platforms, so they will serve as detachment upgrades for now.

A small battery of Rapier weapon carriers

Another "classic" support weapon for Space Marines
Then there is a battery of Legion Basilisks.  I love the look of these things - they remind me a lot of the WW2-era self-propelled guns such as the German "Hummel"or the British "Archer" (which was a tank destroyer, I think, not artillery - but still). 

Serious "hope" here - a battery of four Legion Basilisk guns for the XVI Legion

These are more "new age", so-to-speak, for Marines - this weapon is more typically thought of as an Imperial Army thing, but the Space Marine Legions like to have it all...
While the Whirlwind is a more "classic" Space Marine support vehicle, these Basilisks give the Legion fire support at a much longer range (up to 120cm out compared to 45cms for the Whirlwind). They can fire indirectly to offer a steady dose of barrage points upon loyalist fools or engage over open sights in a more direct-fire, tank-destroyer-type role (for when one of these isn't available).

Horus for hope - with a range of 120cms on the table, the love of the Warmaster will find you!
For the past little while I have been trying to keep my Epic forces consistent - when I add some stuff for the Sons of Horus, I try to add the same for the Imperial Fists, and vice-versa.  So watch for some more Epic artillery to appear soon, but in the bright yellow of Rogal Dorn's chosen...in the meantime, happy painting!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Otherworld Miniatures Pig-Faced Orcs

Back in 2009, I picked up a blister pack of the superb Otherworld Pig-Faced Orcs sculpted by Kev Adams. I enjoyed them so much that I subsequently bought a bunch more when they went on sale from a US vendor. The recent Otherworld game I staged at PrairieCon gave me some impetus to finish off painting the group.

The two character models in the foreground are from Command Set #2. The Orc holding the banner has been converted extensively - he started out holding a halberd and shield. His right arm was cut off and replaced by a hand and banner from the GW Chaos Marauders sprue. In his left he holds a sword liberated from a plastic Skaven plague monk.
 
Crossbow-orcs come three to a pack and I bought one pack of those for some long-range firepower.



Two more crossbow-orcs here along with some energetic weapon-wavers.



Their boss - "El Porco". I love the pig-faced helm and heavy armour on this chap.







These guys with the two-handed weapons are great, if seeming somewhat awkward. Maybe it's just me, as I would swing a two-handed weapon "left-handed" and these guys are all righties.



Converted banner-bearer.



Shaman of the tribe. Another great model, and I'm cool with how the "characters" are actually noticeably physically larger than the grunt-orcs. Shows how they ended up being bosses I guess.

Anyway, that's the Pig-Faced Orcs. I really enjoyed painting them and I think they look great on the table. There's no school like the old school!