Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tau Plains of War ITC Tournament Army Completed!

It's been a lot of work, but I have finally finished off my Warhammer 40k Tau army for this coming weekends Plains of War ITC event here in Winnipeg. For anyone not familiar with the ITC tournament scene, it is a hugely competitive tournament series that features obscene armies meant for one thing, flaying your opponent.  It is not for the faint of heart. You are allowed allies, detachments, formations, and more!  While ITC tries to limit the power level a bit, by fixing (or adjusting) the insanely broken rules that GW has been publishing for the last 10 years, the series is all about the win.

Honestly, not really my cup of tea any more, BUT the organizer of the local event is a great guy and a friend so I have to go, right?  It also doesn't hurt that because the event will be competitive it gave me a chance to paint a whole bunch of big Tau suits, which I normally wouldn't paint as they are too good to field in numbers in a friendly game (unless you don't want friends for long).  So, without further delay, here are some of the brand new units from what I call my Pacific Rim Tau List, since its a lot of giant robots.

Lets start with the big boys, three Riptides, in a Riptide wing formation.  You get to take 3 of them, at the same price as normal, but they all get better, for FREE!  Reroll overheating, hit enemies easier if another Riptide has already fired at them, shot everything twice in a turn (once per game), and don't take up any slots in your force organization chart.  Yes, all that for free!

Paint wise, I had Tau units before, done in a winter camo scheme, and wanted to use some of them as well, but they were painted years ago and were not great.  So, I updated the scheme a bit by painting all the new ones (and going back over the old small suits and infantry) with chipping and edge highlighting.  Both done to a very high stark contrast in an attempt to look very anime'ish.  There are gradiants in the base coat (done by airbrush) but what I really wanted to pop was all the rough areas, which I think I made work.

While I like the overall look, and they pop (in my eyes at least) at table top level, they do look rough close up.  There is no subtly here, they will not win any painting awards, but they are not meant to, they are fast rough and dirty, so no offense taken if you don't like the style, several people I know don't like it already!

Next up is another formation for the army, the Advanced Stealth Cadre.

Once again, units at the same price as normal, but better!  The Ghostkeel (the big suit in the middle) can fire at +1 ballistic every turn, ignore cover, and target the rear Armour of any vehicle it shoots at, plus either (or both) of the units of small stealth suits get that bonus as well if they are within 6" of the Ghostkeel. For FREE....  are you starting to see my issue with recent GW rules?

Oh, did I mention that with the drones that come with the Ghostkeel give it a 2+ cover save in the open due to doubling its stealth and shrouded saves?

Last of the new units painted for the tournament is my commander and her unit, although to be fair half of the unit is from 10 years ago just being retouched up with chips, edge highlighting, and new bases.
The unit is made up of Commander Shadowsun leading a unit of Crisis suits as part of a Farsight enclave, which makes them count as a troop choice instead of an elite choice.  By having Shadowsun lead the unit, she grants them stealth and shrouded (so a 4+ cover save in the open!) as well as a 3d6" jump after firing every turn (instead of the normal 2d6" jump).

Shadowsun herself comes with 2 shield drones that give 4+ inv saves and a drone that lets a single unit within 12" reroll all 1's that turn.  On top of that she has 2 melta guns that she can fire at different targets!

The unit is made up of 8 Crisis Suits, 3 with plasma guns and missile launchers, 2 with dual cyclic ion blasters (so 8 str7 shots each), 2 with dual melta guns, and a unit leader than lets the whole unit ignore cover, reroll misses, and chose to either reroll to wound or reroll armour penetration rolls.  Oh, and remember, they count as troops!

So there you have it, all the new units I painted up over the last few weeks for the army.  The army is 1850 points and really that makes up most of it!  The only other units in the army are a small 8 man unit of Firewarriors, a unit of Kroot (that Sean McWatt painted for me YEARS ago and that I just touched up a bit), and a few Broadside Missile suits.

As nasty as all the above looks, I expect to not break a 50/50 record....  Mainly due to my inability to focus on and remember 40k rules as they just piss me off, and due to many of the armies that I have seen that are going, making this one look about as tough as a Powder Puff Girl.  Sigh....

At least I had a lot of fun painting them!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Necromunda - Hired Gun

Finally finished that Necromunda hired gun, a prize for our gaming group's league. Black and white zenithal highlighting. Vallejo Acrylics, then various oils for the flesh tones. GW washes for the clothing. Vallejo NMM set for metal parts (punching up with oils, including some pure titanium white catch-points). Dragon Forge concrete rubble 25mm resin base.

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The face has a lot of character. Not bad for a 20-year old figure!

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I already created the character sheet. He will be an actual hired gun, with the Gunslinger skill (fire both bolt pistols without penalty!), usable in the Necromunda league.


Edited to add: Here are some WIP shots of this and another figure, to show the multi-step flesh painting.

Below, after zenithal highlighting, with Vallejo acrylics for the face and hands painted on.

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Below, the oils are laid in. Not a LOT of change, but note that some of the shadows are deeper, some highlights more defined, some transitions are softer, and the pupils and whites of the eyes are painted.

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Below, Capt. Nee Sun, a 28mm character figure from Hasslefree, with Vallejo acrylics for the face. Note the photo of Natalie Dormer with her head shaved as Cressida from the Hunger Games, used as a photo reference.

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Below, oils laid in. Note that I cannot seem to paint eyes with acrylics. Contrast is a little less, since this is a female figure and I wanted to soften some of her features.

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The stubble effect on her shaved head was done with very thin dots of Winsor & Newton indigo oil paint mixed with Liquin, kinda patted and pushed around the flesh of her head with a clean brush.

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Check Your 6! meets Dawn of Aces

Awhile ago I hosted crews from both The Fawcett Avenue Conscripts and Dawn of Aces. I first met Sam and Wilton when they demo'd Sam's WWI air combat game, Dawn of Aces, at Jim-Con. IIRC, aircraft activation is randomized, and planes move according to templates. Damage degraded their maneuverability and speed. Also, there is limited fuel and ammunition. Sam also made some very neat paper model biplanes for the game.


We played a variation of the "Initial Encounter" scenario from the Battle of Britain book. We added some Me-110s (German twin-engined heavy fighters) to have some dogfighting.

Within their first couple of turns, Sam and Wilton got the hang of the fundamental dicta of CY6!: it's best to have both altitude and energy. One can trade altitude for energy, but maneuvering or climbing eats up energy tout de suite!

I got to try out my new Cigar Box ocean battle mat, with 3" hexes. Below, Sam maneuvers one of his Spitfires as Wilton looks on.

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Bill and Frederick  ran some Spitfires, and most of us quaffed beers.

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Spitfires cause some air-frame damage to a bomber!

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Splash one bomber! Another Ju-88 and a Spitfire have also taken damage.

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A sharp fight erupted as the fighters mixed it up. Several fighters ran out of ammo. Below, a Spitfire falls to the cannons of a Me-110 Destroyer.

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Below, Frederick, Bill and Wilbert look on as some of the the bombers manage to reach the Royal Navy at anchor.

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Below, the butcher's bill. Losing a whole flight of bombers cost the Germans the game.

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Thanks again to Sam and Wilton for participating in our Thursday night shenanigans.

Sam expressed an interest in Sedition Wars. I will have to run a scenario...

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Mobilization Continues - Sons of Horus Seeker Squad

Seeker Squad for the XVI Legion

The XVI Legion continues its ominous troop build-up, with a new, 10-man "Seeker Squad" joining the ranks of Hope and Change. These models are plastic figures from a "Betrayal at Calth" box set, bodged with bolters scavenged from Space Marine "Sternguard" troops and shoulder pauldrons from Forge World.

Sergeant on the right, with a handy power fist to follow up in the event any more, direct, "hope" needs to be adminstered...
The so-called "Seeker Squads" are supposedly sent to the battlefield by Legion commanders to take out specified enemy personalities or units. Thematically, it is strange to have a large group of heavily armoured genetically modified fellows in rather visible battle armour tasked with something like an assassination, but in a strange way it seems to suit the character of the 30k "period". There is a single personality out there that irritates a Legion commander? Well, send ten sharp-shooting guys to finish them/it off.  No need to sneak around...we're coming for you...

I love these Sternguard bolters
Seems to fit well with the character of the Sons of Horus (and the Alpha Legion too). To accomplish their more specified tasks the Seeker Squads receive some special issue ammunition to assist with their mission.  The ammo offers bonuses depending on what shells are used, and the controlling player will have a small menu of different bolter shells to choose from. The Sons of Horus and Alpha Legion can also make use of "Banestrike" ammunition, specifically designed to take out other Astrates.

So fancy ammo means fancy bolters for these fellows.

View showing the back packs, vents etc.
That is where the bolters from the Sterngaurd figures seemed to me to fit very well with these figures. I've seem a number of other folks use these plastic weapons in different 30k circumstances, and it is a good idea I have copied shamelessly.  The bolter with the drum-shaped magazine is a particular favourite so I went with that for the nine regular troops. Overall I like the effect of the large magazines, the optics and large straps. They look arrogant, elite and well-equipped.  In other words, it's "Horus for Hope" brand-compliant.

Smaller Eye of Horus on one pauldron...

And a larger, embossed one on the other...the Sergeant feels like the boss is always watching, no doubt...

The sergeant's bolter has the more regular-sized box magazine, but I also gave him a power fist in the event the target of the Seeker Squad in a given mission needs a good punch in the face on top of whatever else has been dished out.

Seeking hope and change...loyalist fools beware!

This posting will bring a brief respite to the parade of reinforcements for the Sons of Horus for now.  I'm hoping, however, to head back to the lake later this week, and I hope the painting gods will support another run of painting, drinking and sunset-enjoying. There is, after all, always something new to add, or some unit to "round out", for a 30k nut like me...

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Still More Reinforcements - Sons of Horus Assault Troops

Horus for hope? Jump this way, fellas...

The XVI Legion parade continues! I have added tactical marines, breacher marines and tactical support marines to the ranks of my XVI Legion forces.  Here are five more assault marines to extend the run of reinforcements!  The models are from Forge World, assault marines in Mark IV power armour, with jump packs, bolt pistols and chainswords, the all-purpose tool of the grim and dark far future.

Embossed shoulder pauldrons...once you do one unit with them, I find they are addictive...
Lots of extra rivets on a few of these fellows...

The "Cthonian Glyph" was handy for the blank shoulder pauldrons

30k Legion assault squads are 10 marines strong, but can be increased to be as large as 20 marines! I didn't have ten extra models around - just these five, but I thought that 15 is better than 10, so these fellows received Sons of Horus shoulder pauldrons and joined the forces of hope and change.  The extra-large squad will come in handy for those wearing battles against the clueless followers of the so-called "Emperor".

"Team photo" of the newly reinforced 15-man squad, looking forward to causing trouble on a gaming table in Winnipeg. The sergeant with the goofy two-handed "heavy" chainsword is still one of my 30k favourites...what a silly, and therefore perfect, weapon to deal with Horus-change denial
Like the other reinforcements seen recently, these were supposed to have been painted during Curt's winter Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.  Instead they became part of my summer painting retreat at the lake.  By the time I got to these fellows I was well into following my new approach to painting Sons of Horus marines, so these figures were completed in a relatively short time. 

The Warmaster has some big plans for the fall, so the reinforcements are not done yet...more to follow soon...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Even More Reinforcements - Sons of Horus Support Squad

We are here to support hope - will support hope too? Tactical support marines for the XVI Legion...

When it comes to 30k Legion Marines, ten is better than five, right? Well, the parade of reinforcements for the XVI Legion continues with five tactical support marines armed with plasma guns.  These will join an earlier batch of five models to make a 10-man squad. Ten plasma guns? Sounds like 30k fun! Even with the absurd "gets hot" rules...

As with the other recent posts of reinforcements, these were painted during my recent vacation. The painting was quick and easy, following this handy tutorial from GW. The relatively simple paint scheme and the lovely weather at the lake came together nicely, and while the breachers were a slog under the paint brush, these fellows were a real breeze and seemed to finish in no time at all. The paint jobs are not an exact match for the first group, but it is close enough - and at the end of the day they are green, with spooky eyes of Horus on their pauldrons.  All together for "hope" now...

I love the combs on the officers - this was a spare bit from the "Betrayal at Calth" box set

The models are all from Forge World, although the Sergeant's head is a handy spare from the "Betrayal At Calth" plastic set. There are also decals from the newer Sons of Horus sheet that GW has issued, decals which, thankfully, have far fewer issues of silvering than the first sheet they released.
All together now!

Ten is better than five...

These tactical support squads are great fun on the table top, laying waste to large segments of loyalist fools every turn they open fire.  And of course with plasma guns, a number of them will go down as casualties too...the plasma gun lacks the arcane look and feel of the volkite weapons, but you can't argue with the results, and is a very classic 40k weapon itself.

The complete squad, mixing the new and older paint jobs...not a perfect match, but ready for action on the table

The reinforcements will continue, as the XVI Legion prepares to make a big push for hope and change on the gaming tables this fall.  Stay tuned for more...

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sons Of Horus Reinforcements - Breacher Marine Squad

Into the breach for the Warmaster! XVI Legion reinforcements

The reinforcements continue for the Warmaster's own XVI Legion.  This is a squad of ten breacher marines in Mark III armour.  Two are carrying las-cutter special weapons and the rest are equipped with bolt guns.  All carry the signature boarding protection shields which are the trademark of these troops.

Breacher Sergeant in Mk III armour - he gets a special spooky-looking Eye of Horus decal for his shield

In the fluff these Marines are intended to fight in boarding actions on warships, space stations etc. I enjoyed the look of the models but avoided them at first, as boarding-action-type scenarios were not a particular interest of mine.  Byron, however, painted up a squad of breachers for his Death Guard troops, and I do love how the models look - they are fantastic (as is all of his Death Guard stuff).  When I saw them up close, I knew I would want to add some for the Sons of Horus.

The breacher figures are excellent sculpts from Forge World - the helmets have a medieval look to them, and combined with the heavily segmented, plated and riveted Mk III armour, they have a very ominous look that I find to be very impressive, among the many sculpts that, to my mind, set the 30k stuff apart from the more standard 40k stuff.

Standard breacher tooper on the left, while the fellow on the right is carrying a "las-cutter", useful for slicing up doors, barricades, obstructions and silly types who follow an alleged "Emperor"...
This particular batch of models came my way from the collection of another gamer here in Winnipeg who had started out to do some Heresy forces, but then changed his mind. I picked them up second-hand about a year ago, and I meant to paint them for Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge last winter, but kept procrastinating until finally I started a couple of test models in early July and finished them out at the lake.

As with the Tactical Marines, this squad includes a mix of approaches to painting the green.  I had started out a few models with a more complicated glazing effect before switching over to the more basic approach I discovered on a GW YouTube tutorial.  So there is a slightly mixed look on the figures. 

Rear view of the Mk III armoured breacher marines - lots of segments and rivets, love the look of the models
I love painting 30k stuff, but these breacher models are pretty challenging.  The shield looks cool, but is kind of awkward to paint around. There was also a minor Dullcote disaster, with a pair of models "frosting up" from flawed spray and requiring some substantial re-painting. Some units seem to paint so quickly, and others are a real slog - these were the latter. I'm pleased to have these guys finished and out of the way, and I hope to get them involved in a game soon.

A pair of breacher marines - while my photo skills are weak, there is a lot of detail on the boarding shields, including a little computer screen - great models, but not easy to paint...

I know these Marines are meant for space ship fighting, but I like to imagine them moving in some heavy urban fighting, working closely behind the Fellblade, Land Raider and other fun community outreach tools to banish the dupes of the so-called "Emperor" from the galaxy. Horus for hope!

Stay tuned for even more reinforcements for the XVI Legion!