Sunday, August 30, 2009

Shadow Sword: Part II. Magnetizing the Side Armour

Continuing on from the assembling the tracks, I've decided to start magnetizing my Shadowsword. The primary reason for this is to be able to configure my Shadowsword in multiple ways. I don't simply mean the primary weapon though, I also mean the side sponsons. Here, I want to be able to have a choice of selecting where the sponson gets physically located (front, middle or back) or to have extra armour around the sides of the tank.
The picture above is a bit of a progress update, but also to show what I'm doing with the side armour. Pictured here are two of the pieces of side armour magnetized to the side of the tank. A magnet (from k and j magnetics) can be seen in the centre of the left hand armour piece (it sits flush with the level of the armour rather than poking out). The middle armour piece used to have an imperial eagle on it, but I've scrubbed it off somewhat and then covered it over with a Horus eye taken from chaos tank sprues. Underneath, it conceals a rough job on the armour along with a second magnet.
Each of the armour pieces as well as the upper armour bits can be seen in the next picture with their magnets in place. For the larger armour pieces, I simply drilled a hold in the centre of each piece and glued one of the magnets in to the hole so that it sat flush with the front surface. The height of the magnet is approximately the same as that of the armour, so almost no further filing down of the magnet was required. For the upper pieces, I had to drill the depression in the underside a little bit deeper in order to fit the magnet in to a flush depth. The magnet sits comfortably inside this depression. Sponson weaponry are my next job on this tank.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Plaguebearer Musician

As part of my expanding Epidemius lists (and indeed, just lesser daemons in general!) here's a plaguebearer musician.

To be honest, I'm not highly keen on the sculpt of this miniature - the slimey bits just don't look quite right to me. The angles that they make, given the dynamics of the pose, just don't click for me -- especially the bit that connects the knee to the bell. That aside, the rest of the miniature looks good!

The painting of the miniature proceeded with a black undercoat and a green basecoat for the main parts of the flesh. I applied several layers of inking / washing in various tones and mixtures of greens, browns and blacks. Followed by a touch of green highlighting and drybrushing, the flesh was quickly completed.

I used metallic paints on the bells, but dulled them down with brown and black washes to give them an appropriate rusted feeling. I've got some of the slime in a blood colour (pink undercoat and solid red plus brown inking) to give it an unnatural luminous quality.

The plaguebearer's horn was tricky, but I think I pulled off blending the cream colours nearer the tip into more brown colours at the top of his head. Final details included the eye, teeth, nails, tongue, sores and pustules. Overall, I'm happy with this miniature and he'll certainly be included in my lists for reasons detailed here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Assembled Soul Grinder

After a long wait, my first (and only, to date) soul grinder is now assembled.
However, before I paint him up, I'm intending to do some magnetization work! Basically, I want to be able to transport the soul grinder in relative safety. That means that its going to be unlikely to snap during transit to games (etc). Perhaps the weakest link in the model (or rather, where it may be most likely to snap) is the connection between the lower torso and the spidery (defiler) lower part. I've bought a number of magnets from K and J magnets recently, so I'm intending to place a big one inside the torso and a second at the top of the definer part to ensure that they stay together when they're in play.

I'm also considering a secondary magnetization project with the soul grinder. But I think I should have thought of this much earlier... I'm considering placing magnets inside the tops of the legs (where they insert in to the bulk of the defiler part). The idea is that the soul grinder can stand upright more effectively and hold its pose more strongly than I've go with the current set up -- which is simply the legs slotted in to the holes, unglued. Has anyone else tried this? Is it worthwhile, or is the friction in the holes not much worse than this solution?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Daemon Name Generators

Realms of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness and the Lost and the Damned contain a superb amount of background material for daemons in both warhammer and warhammer 40,000. One aspect of the extensive background is a relatively large table for creating random names for your deamons -- both in English and in the gibberish "daemonic tongue". When published, these tables relied on the user rolling some die to determine the names.

These days, name determination has been very automated by computers! Indeed, there are a lot of name generators online out there if one is struggling to come up with suitable and inventive names for characters and squads. Below are a couple of links to these name generators as a little resource for myself and everyone else out there. There used to be a resource on Games Workshop's site as well (under Hordes of Chaos) but I can no longer locate it. (Apologies if you read this post years after I post it - the links may decay!)

Monday, August 24, 2009

GenCon Oz

Gen Con Oz is taking place in a little over 24 days from now in Brisbane, Queensland.
Announced on the discussion forums is the tournament for 40k -- based on the old Grand Tournament system. Some interesting snippets that I garnered from reading through the rules:

40 per cent of the tournament result is on battle outcomes
20 per cent on sportsmanship
20 per cent on force composition
20 per cent on painting

There's also a handicap system that's going to be used as well! Sounds like it pays to not go in for an over the top force under those rules.

The missions have also been posted in advance as well. That's fore-planning!

Wow. I'm really tempted by this tournament! It could be a good deal of fun! Mixed Daemons, or Death Guard...?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weaponizing an Obliterator

Unlike my previous obliterator, this one doesn't have any conversion work applied. However, much like the fiddlesome flamers of Tzeentch that I'm working on, I have struggled with fashioning my obliterator with his requisite weapons. The fit between the nub of the weapons and the holes in the arms of the obliterator are not fantastic. Moreover, they can also be weak if the model gets knocked about a bit too much. So for this obliterator, I have pinned the weapons -- every single one of them(!)
On the left arm (above), I've got a plasma gun (bottom), followed by a random plastic missile that I had in my bits box, flamer and stubber(?). In addition to the pinning, I've applied a little milliput to sculpt over the joins. The tangential arm slot (intended for one of those blades), I've ignored and covered over with more greenstuff to disguise its existence. I wanted this fellow to be pure ranged weapons on his fists!
On the right arm (above), I've borrowed a heavy flamer from some terminators to slot in to the outer tangential slot and heavily greenstuffed over the joins.

The other weapons on this arm consist of an autocannon (obviously no longer applicable in the current rules!), lascannon and a very extended and repositioned melta. I needed to do something with the melta as it stuck out at a really odd angle from the arm without any work on it. Being pedantic, I wanted the obliterator to have his weapons pointing forward -- where he's looking! I therefore pinned it, but left a little of the pin showing to create the extension, and then went over it with greenstuff. I like the result and shall get around to painting him soon I hope.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Battle Summary: Death Guard vs. Tau (1500 points)

On an outing with my Death Guard, I had the (relatively rare) opportunity to play against a Tau army. Here's the battle report.

Mission: Capture and Control (i.e. 2 objectives).
Deployment: Pitched Battle (i.e. long table edges).
Board: rectangular 6' x 4'.
Terrain: A forested moon... basically lots of area terrain consisting of 4+ cover saves that is also considered as difficult terrain.

Usual Caveat: I might not have got the report 100% accurate and I've skipped over some bits. And yes, it lacks pictures.

Pre-emptive Confession and Caveats: Truthfully, I don't get to play against Tau all that often. As a result, I'm not very familiar at all with Tau army lists, or how they play. I do know I hate those marker lights and I do know the sheer amount of high strength shots they're capable of pumping out though. So, if you've any advice or criticisms about this battle report, then let me know! My opponent was really nice though and did spend a bit of time explaining to me / reminding me about a few of the mechanics. In return, I explained in detail about feel no pain, blight grenades and so forth (similarly he had had little experience against Death Guard marines).

Here's the army lists:

Death Guard Army List (me), as per my list from a while ago:
HQ: Daemon Prince with mark of Nurgle, aura of decay and wings
Elites: Dreadnought with plasma cannon
Troops 1: 7 plague marines: 1 flamer, 1 melta, 1 plague champion with power fist, rhino with havoc launcher
Troops 2: 7 plague marines: 1 flamer, 1 melta, 1 plague champion with power fist, rhino with havoc launcher
Troops 3: 7 plague marines: 2 plasma guns, 1 plague champion with power fist, rhino with havoc launcher
Heavy Support 1: Vindicator with daemonic possession
Heavy Support 2: Vindicator with daemonic possession
Heavy Support 3: Predator with autocannon, heavy bolters, dozer blade and havoc launcher

Tau Army List:
(NB: this might not be 100 per cent accurate!)
HQ: Shas'el with plasma rifle, missile pod, & multi-tracker(?)
Elites 1: XV8-Crisis Team (2 suits with missle pods and flamer)
Elites 2: XV8-Crisis Team (2 suits with missle pods and flamer)
Elites 3: 3 stealth suits
Troops 1: Firewarriors - 11 firewarriors, 1 shas'ui
Troops 2: Firewarriors - 11 firewarriors, 1 shas'ui
Troops 3: 10 Kroot
Troops 4: 10 Kroot
Fast Attack 1: 5 Pathfinders plus devilfish and disruption pods
Fast Attack 2: 5 Pathfinders plus devilfish and disruption pods
Fast Attack 3: Gun drone squadron consisting of 6 gun drones
Haevy Support 1: Hammerhead with railgun, gun drones and disruption pods
Heavy Support 2: Skyray with smart missile system, targeters and disruption pods
Heavy Support 3: 1 Broadside

Gah, I've no idea what to do here! I figure my priority is probably to take down the fast moving things (devilfish, hammerhead, etc.) that could potentially swoop in at the last moment to contest my HQ. But, I also want to ensure my HQ objective is secure, with at least a rhino full of plague marines on top of it and a vindicator nearby. This is probably stupid of me, but I place my objective in the corner of the board!!! In turn, the Tau player locates his in the centre of some shrubbery near the diagonally opposite side of the board.

Next question: Do I reserve everything? I know those Kroot are going to be infiltrating at the very least. Hmmmm. Perhaps that's a bit of a plan! Okay - I'm going to reserve everything in the hopes that the Tau player will willingly spread out his forces across the board - thereby letting me concentrate my firepower on one small unit at a time. I'm also in luck - I force the Tau player to take the first turn. So far so good.

During the Tau player's actual setup, he does indeed spread the kroot far and wide. The rest of his army is deployed in his main deployment zone, but is also spread out along the long table edge. On top of his objective, he locates one of his firewarrior squads and the broadside. Given the density of the woodlands between him and me, there aren't going to be many table edge to table edge shots going off - the lines of sight will be clogged up if I deploy correctly.

Turn 1.
Nothing of much significance happens for the Tau player. He moves the Kroot closer to my home objective. The rest of the army either stay put, or take a few strides forward from his deployment zone.

I've got everything in reserve still!

Turn 2.
The Kroot come closer, as do a number of other Tau squads.

Finally its my turn to do something. I start rolling for reserves. I get a respectable number of squads coming in to the game: Troops number 2, and all of my Heavy Support choices.

As per the plan, I move Troops 2 and a vindicator on to the board near to my home objective in the corner. The second vindicator and the predator deploy a little way off from that location. I intend to slowly roll the vindicator forward (hopefully supported by another troops squad in later turns), but leave the predator pretty much stationary from now on as it has a reasonable line of sight. I move them all forward and am in range for a good number of shots on some Kroot.

In the shooting phase, I hit the left hand Kroot squad with a direct vindicator cannon shot and a some shots from my rhino mounted squad. The cover saves help the Kroot out immensely, but I manage to reduce them to 3 survivors. They subsequently fail a morale check and are running away!

The other vindicator misses. I roll 6 for the scatter, which means the template goes 3 inches away from the intended target (daemonic possession gives BS=3 instead of the usual BS=4 for marines). It is still hitting most of the squad. Four Kroot perish. Another two die from the predator's autocannon. That'll suffice for one turn!

Turn 3:
At this point, my opponent realizes that there's little his Kroot can do against my mechanized marine force. Moreover, there's few decent lines of sight. So, he moves most of his army to try to gain a better line of sight. The broadside and the firewarriors on his home objective stay still, but can't see much.

In the shooting phase, he has a good attempt at taking out my central vindicator (the one next to the predator). The incoming shots arrive from the Crisis suits and the hammerhead. One penetrates and one glances. Luckily for me, both result in crew stunned. Since the vindicator is possessed, it shrugs them both off! That was really lucky (considering the strength of the railgun!). Nothing of any further consequence occurs.

In my turn, my Deamon Prince and Troops 1 arrive from reserve.
I roll in troops 1 behind the shot-at vindicator and follow up closely behind. The daemon prince also deploys nearby. I move everything forward. It is now my intent that troops 3 (when they arrive on a subsequent turn) will claim my home objective. The dreadnought might be a problem in turn 5, though!

The stationary predator makes short work of the surviving Kroot. They're all dead. My opponent has now realized how good havoc launchers actually are.

Meanwhile, my vindicator completely misses the hammerhead, but scatters a long way on to some crisis suits! Splat. Two dead crisis suits. Ah well - happy accidents!

One the left hand side of the board, my rhino has gained a line of sight to the Shas'el. Havoc launchers away and its one wound on the HQ! Brilliant. The other vindicator misses everything. (I mean completely - the shot scattered off the board entirely!!!).

Turn 4.
Things start to get messy for me. With the lines of sight that I've exposed to my own vehicles, the Tau let rip. One vindicator explodes, the other gets immobilized. The rhino on the left hand edge also explodes. Bye bye. The plague marines weather a subsequent storm of incoming fire, taking only 1 casualty.

In my turn, the immobile vindicator manages to wreck the hammerhead. Finally! The plague marines from the dead rhino run in to cover. The predator takes out a number of tau fire warriors.

At this stage in the game, I know I need to get one of my units over to the opposing objective pretty soon. I'm probably going to need turn 6 if its available. Conversely, my opponent seems to be gunning for a draw. He doesn't seem to want to advance on my objective. I think that's a mistake.

Turn 5.
Blazing away, the Tau take down my immobile vindicator once and for all. They also blow up the autocannon on my predator. The rest of them seem obsessed with blazing away at the plague marines who are in cover. Fair enough, methinks! They're not doing much, so if they can take some of the heat off my other (intact) rhino and crew so much the better. Five die and I'm left with only the plague champion.

My last reserves come on to the board in my turn. I plonk troops 3 down over my objective and sit smugly. I then race rhino number 2 toward their lines and pop its smoke launchers. My predator also joins in with this merry race toward their lines, with my daemon prince following up behind them. I don't really kill anything much to be honest.

The game fails to end here -- if it had, it would have been a draw.

Turn 6.
One devilfish moves to corner my tanks (ram me if you dare!). Predator explodes. Rhino also explodes from the broadside. Plague marines who were on board get wiped out to the man. Daemon prince is reduced down to 1 wound. Did I mention I hate marker lights? The other devilfish swoops in on my home objective, contesting it.

But their failure to finish off my daemon prince (or concentrate on reaching my objective) will be their undoing at their side of the board. With his mighty wings, the daemon prince leaps toward their objective. Letting off his stinky aura of decay, he kills 2 fire warriors. He then charges the firewarrior squad, getting in to contesting range of the objective. The prince slaughters a good number of the fire warriors and survives. The rest of the fire warriors fail their morale check and race backward ... off the board in fact.

The game ends here. I'm contesting my opponents home objective with my single wound daemon prince. Almost everything else of mine has gone up in smoke at this stage. My opponent has many more troops (and both devilfish) still intact, and is contesting my objective. Game Drawn.

Concluding thoughts.
Death Guard struggle to pump out the firepower against Tau! I think I should have deep-striked my daemon prince in to his lines for a bit of distraction and thought about my moves more carefully (but time was a factor and I don't like to hold things up!). I'm starting to think I need Chosen!

The Tau player messed up with the Kroot somewhat, but tore most of my force apart in the later turns regardless! Ouch.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mighty Empires Painting: River Tile

Today, I'm continuing with my sporadic posts on painting mighty empire tiles (and hopefully planetary empires as well at some point). Although I've already done all of the mountain tiles, I'm nowhere near finishing off the other general "green" tiles that include the forests, plains and rivers.

This tile features a river in a prominent position on the tile, so I wanted to try to emphasize its presence by highlighting some rapids and breaking water on its surface.

I need to go find a river to look at in more detail (or take a flight somewhere!) as I think I could have done better here. Whilst I know not all rivers are beautifully blue and vibrant, what concerns me is that I think I haven't paid any attention to fluid dynamics here. In short - the question that bothers me is this: where should I be highlighting along the river to make it look dynamic? Certainly I could imagine that there are rocks (etc.) strewn just below the surface and near the banks of the river ... but where exactly and how do they "typically" break the surface of the water.

I am pleased with the foliage though. I think I've captured a few neat transitions from one type of shrub or grassland locally dominating in one area to another. The scattered different shades of green are particularly pleasing as I decided I'd try just some subtle drybrushing with sunburst yellow to create an extra accented highlight in some areas. In other areas, I've basecoated in a dark green and inked in an even darker green to suggest dense, shaded foliage or just generally darker leaf tones.

The roads - presumably mud and dirt roads - are simply inked in brown and had a triple zero paint brush loaded with black go over the top of them with a steady hand.

I also like the field - perhaps it is a rapeseed or canola plantation (or some exotic alien food staple)? Either way, this is one of those comparatively uncommon instances where I've been moderately pleased with the outcome of using yellow paint! The farmhouse adjacent to the field (the L-shape) was a bit plain, but I didn't want it to detract from the river and the variations in the green foliage that dominate the rest of the tile.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Chaos Vindicator Line Breaker Formation

Not too many words today since I want to let the picture do the talking :)

I'll write more on this formation in the future...

Friday, August 14, 2009


Today: a brief shout to Milliput.

What: It was (I think?) the only greenstuff available in the 1980s. It is still sold today and remains my greenstuff of choice.

Why: Long shelf life (I've still got a tube bought in 1991 that is going well!), several different "grades" of milliput available, and being an old-timer I'm used to using it (more than Games Workshop's greenstuff).

Uses: Anything greenstuff can do. And then there's the home DIY aspect: this stuff can be used for small leaks on water pipes, can set underwater, and works wonderfully well in conjunction with superglue on fiddly little arms.

Vendors: Most hobby places that sell model railways (etc.).
Online, there's plenty of places that sell this stuff, e.g.: terrascenic in the UK; and hobby tools Down Under.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fiddlesome Flamers of Tzeentch

Tzeentch daemons must rank up there in the all-time most fiddly miniatures to assemble. In particular, both horrors and flamers seem to annoy me the most (and I suspect a number of other folks!).

The principle problem are the arms. They just don't want to stay in place in the slightest. If gravity doesn't want to defy your chosen pose for these miniatures, then invariably, they end up welded to fingertips instead of the miniature's arm sockets.

Speaking of the arm sockets, some of them also seem to be chronically tiny, or ill-cast in comparison to the nubs of the arms that are supposed to fit in to them.

Well, enough complaining. Here's my solution. After ensuring that the arm holes are large enough (perhaps with a bit of work from a file), I then dab a small amount of superglue on to the arm and in to the socket. I then place a very small blob of milliput (greenstuff) in to the socket. Milliput interacts with superglue in a neat way - it creates an almost instant-cement effect with the glue, but is still malleable for a few minutes. I then press the arm into the superglue plue milliput socket. Hey presto, the arm stays in position and doesn't stick to my fingertips (in preference to the sockets). I then quickly sculpt away the excess milliput and leave to dry for a good 24 hours. Works wonderfully well and saves me having to pin every darn arm in to their sockets.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mutated Plague Champion

This plague champion sports an overgrown left arm and some naked brains. He has been in my collection for some time now, and I wanted to document his construction and purpose.

The model is primarily a metal plague marine miniature from the plague marine boxed set -- he is the champions body. The left arm is from the chaos mutations sprue that all plastic chaos space marine boxes used to come supplied with. They're still available from direct order though.

The shoulder pad with the skull transfer on it is simply a terminator should pad that has been a little defaced with a hobby knife to make it look older. I chose this shoulder pad since it covers up the protrusion of the mutated arm quite readily. The arm itself was pinned in to the metal body of the plague marine prior to the shoulder pad being applied. The melta bomb was more of an after thought along the lines of "I've got 5 spare points to spend on constructing this army list".

The left arm features a combi-plasma gun from a loyalist marine (a librarian terminator if my memory serves me correctly). A standard marine arm was used to hold the plasma gun, but I did spend some time removing the imperial eagle logo from the side of the bolter and generally defacing it a bit. I did leave the purity (impurity?) seal on the outside of the plasma gun as I'd already spent way to long removing the imperial eagle from the other side.

The painting scheme follows my usual approach to plague marines - going for a greenish but rusted appearance. However, I knew I wanted the mutated arm to stand out a little. So I used a purple basecoat followed by a deep purple inking to create the effect. This was followed up by some careful drybrushing to lighter shades of purple. The final detail on the arm was to pick out some random lumps and bumps and paint them yellow with black dots on top. Not quite certain what disease that is supposed to represent, but I'm sure Nurgle would be proud.

The nails on the mutated arm were painted in a combination of wet blending browns and creams together to suggest the appearance of a marine who doesn't really go in for many manicures. Nobody would want to be scratched by those talons!

In Game.
The configuration of this miniature is by no means cheap in the points department. He is kitted out with a combi-plasma and a melta bomb which adds up to some 53 points straight away. I sometimes remove the melta bomb to free up a few points, but otherwise, he stays as he is. His primary role is in support of two other plague marine plasma gunners in a small squad. This makes for 3 plasma gun shots (preferably rapid firing) early on in a game. My typical use for such a squad is to sit them in a crater (or other terrain feature) near to an objective, for the entirety of a game. They then shoot at anything that passes by in range. I think the best result I've had with them is destroying an entire posse of loyalist marine bikers that swerved to close to them. But, I usually play him simply for the looks. In more serious games, I'd be tempted to ditch him for a power fist armed plague champion.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Completed Plaguebearer Squad

A new squad of plaguebearers, freshly finished! This squad of plaguebearers deviates entirely from my usual sickly green colour scheme for plaguebearers. They feature predominately darker, muted and broodier colours (earlier examples and close ups of which can be found here and here). I've retained the unifying feature of blue plagueswords however -- its always good to have such a theme running through diversely painted miniatures.The miniatures are mostly of the modern variety, but there is one Rogue Trader era miniature in there as well (third from the left hand side) that I stripped down and re-painted. As usual, the bases haven't had much attention yet. I think this squad also needs a name -- suggestions welcome!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Test Model: Chaos Warrior on a Round Base

Whilst having a browse through my collection, I came across some chaos warriors from the Warhammer Fantasy range. I wound up thinking: "I wonder if they would look okay on a round base?"

So, I assembled one together and glued it on to a plain Warhammer 40,000 base, just as a test model to see what it looked like. My thinking here is that I could use the model in a Chaos Space Marine army as a "generic" lesser daemon. Perhaps summoned by radical Alpha Legionaries, this model could represent a cultist - part of a local populace waiting to lay siege to "invading" imperial rulers?

This miniature is not that high up on my painting list, but I'll get around to it before the year is out, I hope! I think the miniature suits a round base and is a reasonable size match for it. Certainly it is on a similar scale to power armoured marines and doesn't look dwarfed on the base, or too large for it. Not a bad fit really in my opinion.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Living Objectives

Today, I wanted to summarize my experiences with an (old) idea for an alternative to the usual objective based missions: Living Objectives.

There are several variants on this theme, but they usually come under one of several flavours.

(1) Random moves.
At the start of each player's movement phase, roll the scatter die for each objective. The objective then moves accordingly. Perhaps malign warp entities move the objectives on a planet within the Eye of Terror?

(2) Attraction.
At the start of each player's movement phase, each player moves the objective to the nearest friendly unit / enemy unit / random terrain feature / other objective(!) / board edge.

Variant on the theme: if the objectives are attracted toward one another and they meet up, then a huge explosion results (use something suitably apocalyptic in radius).

(3) Non-random moves.
The objectives start off at one board edge and move 6 / 12 (whatever) inches to the opposite board edge unless within 6 inches of a unit. In that case, they don't move at all. The narrative here might be they're pre-programmed drones that are delivering messages.

(4) Kill-able objectives.
(in conjunction with one of the above) The objectives can be killed with a single shot of any weapon. When dead, they stop moving! Perhaps the objectives represent small game that has swallowed a valuable data-crystal?

Variant on the theme: shooting the objectives might totally destroy them (5+ on a d6?).

Anybody got, or played, any further ideas with the living objectives idea?
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