Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Legion Project - Second World Eaters Tactical Squad

For the Emperor…for now...
I love the NHL playoffs, and I love the long weekend.  It's a good combination to get some serious painting done, and this past Easter weekend went very well.  I am finally getting a bit of momentum building up on my Legion Project, and a few other bits besides.  For this post here is a second 10-man tactical squad for my World Eaters Legion troops.

I'm hooked on these embossed shoulder pads from Forge World…
As with the other tactical marines, these models are wearing Mark IV power armour - the version of the Space Marine armour issued shortly before the Horus Heresy began (cautionary note - "shortly" in the Warhammer time frame could still mean like 100 years, but you get the idea).  They are carrying "Tigrus Pattern" bolt guns.  One marine is upgraded to carry some coms gear.  All of the models are from Forge World.

You can see some of the pigment powder used to muck up the armour at the feet
Painting the white armour has been slow going, but I'm finally getting in a bit of a groove with it. I also used decals here and there from Forge World's excellent World Eaters decal sheet, and used some weathering powders from various sources (I think they may have been Mig brand) as well as a sponge with some GW Stormvermin Fur to scuff up/rough up the armour.

As Byron mentioned in his post showing his excellent Death Guard (check them out - they look great), these Forge World models are far from cheap, but they are a lot of fun to work with.  Compared to the current plastics, they are a little more spartan (fewer skulls, eagles, badges etc) and look a little more uniform without being all exactly the same.

Marine with vox equipment is visible at the front
Some 40k players like to make all of their marines individual - the results are often beautiful, but I don't see the Space Marines as too individual.  In fact, the process of their creation - an entirely new set of genes, hard core mental conditioning, new organs, skin upgrades etc - seems specifically designed to eliminate individuality.  The individual Space Marines vary only in their specific approach to eliminating the Emperor's enemies as soon as possible (bolter? chain sword? heavy weapon?), their length of service, and the extent to which they brood about their job.
A couple of shoulder decals visible in this shot - roman numerals for the 12th Legion, the World Eaters
So I like the tactical Space Marines to look a little plain. Not identical, but a little plain, and Forge World sculptors delivered.  Markings? Sure. A fancy helmet for the officer? Sure.  Embossed chapter symbol on the shoulder? Well, yes - after all, there are standards to be maintained :)  But I like to save the ornate stuff, extra sculpts of eagles on the shoulder plates, artificer armour etc. for the senior officers and elite troops.  

A Legion tactical squad has only bolt guns for armament - I think you can give something a little fancier to the Sergeant, but otherwise these squads rely on other units for support weapon fire (like, entire squads of support weapons - a little like the Eldar).  You can increase the squad size to 20 marines if you like! With the "fury of the legion" special rule, they can put forth quite a lot of firepower even without the special weapons.  This relative inflexibility reflects the Legion period very well - when your overall force is 100,000 Space Marines, 20 of them would seem like a very, very small group after all.

Up next I'll have some more Legion progress, and some continued 15mm WW2 painting.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sedition Wars Project - Mini-update

I just finished a figure representing Tech Comm Kara Black for Sedition Wars, using a resin master of Hasslefree's Sci-fi Scout Prototype 1.

2014-04-19 10.01.16

Zenithal highlighting: primed with Black P3 spray, airbrushed white highlights. Multiple thin glazes of Games Workshop Thraka Green (now Biel-Tan Green), Asurmen Blue, and Gryphon Sepia washes for the armour, under-suit, and plasma carbine, respectively. Visor under-painted in GW Golden Yellow, Blood Red, and Red Gore, then detailed and blended with Cadmium-Barium Yellow Medium, Cadmium Scarlet, and Titanium White oils.

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The lighter armour works for a Vanguard officer figure, but is not too dissimilar from the rest of the Samaritans' armour, especially the helmet.

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Some nice little touches on the figure, like the overall stance, and right forefinger's knuckle underneath the glove. Kev White can surely sculpt.

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In the game, Tech Comm Kara Black provides several "Tactics Counters" to the Vanguard tac-net during each turn, providing a lot of support to the infantry under her command. This game mechanic represents both combat skills and the networked capabilities of the Vanguard command, control, communications, and computing systems. I think Tech Comm Kara is a more interesting character than her clone sister, Captain Kara Black, the latter of whom is more the Hero-Hammer type of leader.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game Tournament - April 13

There was some hot Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game tournament action at Imagine Games & Hobbies last Sunday. I had 4 fun games against great opponents.

I ran a 7-ship TIE swarm, led by Soontir Fel:
Soontir Fel — TIE Interceptor =  27
6 x Academy Pilots — 6 TIE Fighters (6x12) = 72
Total = 99 points

From my practice games, my general plan was to set up 6 TIE Fighters in formation in whichever corner granted me the most maneuvering room, and to deploy Soontir Fel in the opposite corner, facing in diagonally.

Game 1

My TIE swarm is seen below deployed across the table from Jer's elite Darth Vader flight.

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After a lot of maneuvering and dancing around, the swarm got Darth Vader in their sights and shot him down, garnering me a modified match win.

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Game 2

I faced off against Ian's TIE swarm led by Darth Vader in a shuttle. As the game opened, I pushed Fel too far ahead of his squadron. Below, Ian's ships  blast Soontir Fel out of the sky.

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The rest of my TIE swarm was a turn too late to help, but were in a good position to attack Vader's ship next turn.

Below, furious action as Darth Vader's shuttle finally goes down. That guy force-choked my pilots from his bridge!

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The destruction of Darth Vader and some opposing TIE fighters was enough to grant me a modified match win.

Game 3

Matt's elite team of Soontir Fel and Darth Vader (armed with Assault Missiles!) forced me to spread out the TIE formation.

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Matt's Soontir Fel (talk about Clone Wars!) was nailed by a lucky close range shot from one of my TIE Fighters.

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Darth Vader never got off a shot. I shot down Matt's Fel; since my force lost only a TIE Fighter in return, I managed to eek out another modified match win

Game 4

Ty's fielded a cool Rebel flight: Blue Sqdn. B-Wing w/ Ion Cannon, Blue Sqdn. B-Wing, Gold Y-Wing w/ Ion Turret, and Jan Ors in a Hwk-290 with yet ANOTHER Ion Turret.

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I made a fundamental error and moved towards the centre. I should have stayed on the left flank of the asteroid field and forced the Rebels to come to me.

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I made another error by moving a couple of TIEs too fast and running into an asteroid! Below, Soontir Fel goes down to a 5-dice (!) volley from a B-Wing. Jan Ors granted the B-Wing an extra attack dice; it's a very good backfield ship and pilot.

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I managed to nail the heavy-armed B-Wing, but it was too little, too late. Ian  ion-cannoned more of my TIE fighters into asteroids, granting him the match win!

2014-04-13 17.07.17

Overall Result: 3-0-1 Win/Tie/Loss record (for 9 Tournament points)

Many thanks to Perry and Imagine Games and Hobbies for organizing and hosting the event. Congrats to Conscript Byron (fielding 2 B-Wings and 2 X-Wings) and to Chris (ETA: Chewbacca in the Millennium Falcon w/ a Gunner, and 2 x Blue Sqdn.  B-Wings ea. w/ Fire Control Systems) for winning 1st and 2nd place!

Note: Chris posted his own report for the tournament, located here.


TIE Swarms and Firepower

I found running 7 ships mentally exhausting. However, the firepower of all those ships can be very effective. One objective seemed to be to keep them together as best as I could. Making the other guy move through the asteroid field is also key; in my last game the asteroids did as much damage to my ships as Ty's guns!

TheMetalBikini.com posted some very informative articles about moving in formation. It's a three-part series: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

BoLS recently published a great article on ship placement, located here.

A few days after the tournament, FFG changed the tournament rules. Version 1.5.2 of these rules are posted here: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/x-wing/support/faq/X-Wing-Tournament-Rules.pdf

Interestingly, the differential required for a full match win has been reduced from 33 points to only 12 points, the cost of a single Academy Pilot TIE Fighter. This could be both good and bad for the TIE swarm as a concept. Conscript Kevin has stated that firepower is important; he has been recently play-testing a swarm consisting of 6 named TIE Fighter pilots (Howlrunner, Mauler Mithel, Dark Curse, Backstabber, Winged Gundark, and Night Beast). At the tournament, IIRC I fielded the largest force, with 7 ships. The majority of the Galactic Empire players seemed to be running elite 4-ships lists.

I am jonesing to try out one of the following lists, since I am a big fan of both the Millennium Falcon (my all-time favourite sci-fi ship) and Chewbacca:

Chewbacca — YT-1300 (Determination, Gunner, Millennium Falcon) 49 pts. 
Rookie Pilot — X-Wing (R2 Astromech) 22 pts. 
Blue Squadron Pilot — B-Wing (Heavy Laser Cannon) 29 pts.
Total = 100 pts.

Chewbacca — YT-1300 (Determination, Cluster Missiles, Nien Nunb) 48 pts
Blue Squadron Pilot — B-Wing - 22 pts.
Jan Ors — HWK-290 (Ion Cannon Turret) 30 pts.
Total = 100 pts.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Legion Project - Sons of Horus Test Model

A Space Marine from the Sons of Horus Legion
Another small post with a bit more work on my Warhammer "30K" Legion Project - a test model for the Sons of Horus. This is a plain tactical marine, wearing Mark IV power armour and carrying a "Tigrus Pattern" bolter.

I am in love with the embossed shoulder pads...soooo much better than decals

While working on my World Eaters forces, I couldn't wait to work up a test paint job for the Sons of Horus.  As Horus' own legion, they are in many ways the ultimate "bad guys" in the Horus Heresy story and will fill the same role on the table top.

I found the colour of their armour to be a bit of a challenge - some sources speak of a rather plain forest-green, the paint jobs done in the Forge World studio and the pictures in the amazing Horus Heresy rulebooks show a near-seafoam green colour, almost a shade one would expect to see on a bridesmaid dress or something. I like the seafoam-ish green better, particularly mixed with gold highlights.

I practised with some different combinations of the GW colours when painting up the Knight Titan "El Booze", and then applied them to this figure. I thought the greens turned out well, but weathering a darker armour colour is a bit more challenging, so I still have to figure that out a bit. Once again the excellent GW washes - in this case, Nuln Oil and Biel-Tan Green - really came in handy.

One down...many, many more still to go...

I still have at least another 25 World Eater marines to finish painting, so this Son of Horus will be lonely for a while yet, but it will serve as inspiration to stay focused and keep painting on this project.  We have a long weekend ahead, and the NHL playoffs are on - can't wait to settle in for some hockey and some painting.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Legion Project - World Eaters Officer

A loyal servant of the emperor...for now...
 It's taking forever, but I am continuing to make some small progress on my Legion Project (aka "Legional Lunacy").  Here is a Legion officer and a couple more plain old tactical Marines.

At least he didn't forget his helmet at the office

Space Marine Legions are really huge forces - many, many times larger than a Space Marine Chapter of 40k.  This command figure is a "Centurion", although the titles used would vary throughout the different formations depending on their tradition etc.  He is essentially the same as a Captain in game terms, and will represent the overall commander for my World Eaters. He is wearing Mark IV power armour and carrying some manner of big frigging sword.  Some sort of spooky pistol is likely concealed under the cloak.

Who wears a cloak to a shooting war? But I still love it...

As with all of these Legion models from Forge World, the officer is a really, really nice casting. I have a pet peeve with Marine models not wearing their helmets. The Emperor spent a lot of money giving you fancy armour! You're in an intergalactic war zone! Wear your helmet! And who wears a cloak to a battle anyway?
But in this case, I think the sculptor did a great job, and I'm glad to see he is at least carrying his helmet.

The Forge World guys did a great job on this sculpt

I quite like the all-confident, almost overconfident air this figure exudes..."I'm a Space Marine Legion commander, and I have a big scary sword - what, me worry?" He will probably end up taking a direct hit from a battle cannon during one of our games...

"I have a sword - out of my way!"

This officer will be joined by a small command group, including a standard bearer that comes in the set with this officer - they are still in the painting queue, so stay tuned for more on those guys.

12th Legion grunts in Mark IV armour

I have also finished another pair of plain tactical Marines, as I slowly work towards getting the second 10-man tactical squad completed.

The embossed shoulder pads are pricey, but worth it...

So far I have only painted about 18 models out of a force of about 40 models...slow going.  But a long weekend is coming up, and it will still be f*cking snowing here as we continue with the winter-to-end-all-winters (incidentally, f*ck winter in the face with a hammer wrapped in barbed wire).  I won't be outside doing any yard work, so I'm hoping I can jump ahead with some painting progress.

You can see a bit of the weathering powder on the feet & armour joints
Byron's Death Guard are looking awesome, and Dallas has put together some amazing terrain.  Curt and Steve B have also caught the heresy bug - good to see the heresy spreading! I'm hoping we can play our first game before the end of May...we'll see - painting this white armour takes forever...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Terrain Project and GW Roughcoat

In these strange days of multi-hundred dollar plastic building kits, I always find it refreshing (and economical) to make something out of found objects. In this case, some very nice packing material from the LED TV set I bought my wife for Christmas this year.

One of the daunting things about these large terrain projects is how to paint them. Every hobbyist learns early in their career that regular spray pain dissolves foam, but brush painting these huge pieces is time consuming and takes a ton of paint.

In the past I've used "stone-effect" water-based spray paint to reasonable effect, but when I was in the GW store a couple weeks ago I spotted a can of something called "Roughcoat" in the paint lockup. When I asked Redshirt Mark about it he explained that it was textured spray paint and was supposedly safe for foam. After some Internet investigation ("trust... but verify") I decided to use it for this project.

It worked reasonably well. While the texturing effect was pretty minimal (I'd hoped for a rougher concrete effect) the spray didn't melt the foam, and was easy to use. I count that as a win, but at $20 a can, next time I'll hit Canadian Tire and pick up some stone effect stuff.

I drybrushed the piece with lighter grey using a large brush, and detailed the rather flat walls with some florist's wire sprayed black, painted GW Leadbelcher (dull silver) and treated with Rust Effects, which was also used on the walls. The roll-up door was made from corrugated plasticard with a spare handle from a Forgeworld kit. The large numeral "4" was freehanded and the small one is a decal from the decal folder.

More plasticard was used as floor sections in the upper levels.

Ladders conveniently came from Conscript Byron's shipping container kits.

Here's the other side of the piece, with a 28mm Citadel Spacefarer for scale.

Rhino shows the scale of the piece.

But wait, there's more! The other end of the TV had its own foam piece too. Identical to the first one, but with shallower indents on top. Again, perfect for 28mm figures.

More plasticard flooring and GW comms array. It's not glued down but is there merely for effect.

Both pieces pushed together cover about 4 feet - impressive eh? And just the thing for a massive game on an 8x5 table.

Imperial Bastion to show the scale.

...or an Imperial Knight?