Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chaos Terminator Conversion with Lightning Claws

To create a few unique models for a possible kill team, I had an idea about terminators. I think I'd like to field a small number of them in a kill team (or maybe even suicidal unit in a regular game?). This is the first of them. The miniature is a standard chaos space marine terminator, mounted on a scenic base sourced from the 40k basing kit. The arms are lightning claws from the chaos terminator lord kit. The head - the real bit of the conversion - is part of the chaos mutation sprue.

I've used the same bit from the mutation sprue a number of times before - but not as an arm as it was originally intended. Instead, I like to use this bit as a weird eyeless head. One example of this can be seen in my chaos raptor lord that I built many moons ago. The full article on the raptor lord that I've built can be found here. However, I've reproduced the image below just for reference as well. The conversion work was not very intense - for the terminator I simply filed the bit down so that it would adequately fit in to the terminator torso.

The raptor lord has a bit more dynamism than the chaos terminator, largely due to the wings and the flying pose. The terminator on the other hand looks like a cthulu like horror charging toward the next poor victim of its rage. But this is the sort of image that I like with this terminator - job done! Just some painting left to do now. I'm thinking Sons of Malice.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Imperial Ruins Project - IV. Painted Straight

The final step in creating the Imperial Ruins Straight section was to paint it up. In the previous part, I showed how I textured the surface of the ruins with some fine grit. This texturing makes it relatively easy to paint up.

All that was done was to basecoat the entire piece with a reasonably thick and even covering of black paint. Then I proceeded to drybrush the piece with a large and old paint brush in various tones of off white colours all over.
And the final result is illustrated above. You can see that I've toned the lower walkway with some brown dry-brushing -- largely an experiment to be suggestive of muddied boots running across the surface.

I think the final piece looks very much like a post-apocalyptic ruin - all that remains of a one glorious imperial structure. I'm tempted to purchase other bits of the imperial ruins range -- this one was very good! Thanks CNC for producing this range -- they're ideal for warhammer 40,000 games, and very cool looking.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Eyjafjallajokull

I thought I would take advantage of the good exchange rate between AUD and GBP and get my copy of the Horus Heresy Board Game delivered Down Under from the UK. Sadly, Eyjafjallajokull had other ideas. (Do I have any Icelandic speaking readers who can tell me how to correctly pronounce that awesome name?).

After reading a lot of the reviews online recently, I do have one quick comment about the Horus Heresy game: Where are the Sons of Horus?! Other than that, I hope the back log of flights from the UK clears soon so that I can have a go at the game!

In the mean time, here's a link to a picture from NASA.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Battle Summary: Daemons vs. Orks (1000 points)

I tend to enjoy lower points value games more than higher ones. They can be played faster, and concentration loss is not a significant factor. Plus it forces you to make very tough choice about what to include (or not) in the army.

This is a game that happened last year that I am only just getting around to writing up. The army lists are below, but I will point out that I do not know the precise make-up of my opponent's army list, so please treat it as a good approximation rather than the exact truth.

Daemons (my list):
HQ: Herald of Khorne on Juggernaut, blessings of the blood god (110)
Troops: 7 Bloodletters; deployed with the Herald (112)
Troops: 8 Bloodletters (128)
Troops: 7 Plaguebearers, icon, instrument (135)
Troops: 10 Horrors, icon, Changeling, instrument (205)
Fast Attack: 3 Screamers (48)
Heavy Support: Daemon Prince, daemonic gaze, iron hide (130)
Heavy Support: Daemon Prince, daemonic gaze, iron hide (130)

Orks (opponent):
HQ: Warboss with Power Klaw, Attack Squigs, Cybork, Boss Pole (115)
Elites: 8 Ork Nobz, 1 x Power Klaw, Cybork bodies, 1 x Painboy, Waaaaaaaagh Banner (270)
Troops: 20 Boyz with Choppas and Sluggas, 2 Big Shootas, Nob with Power Klaw and a Boss Pole (165)
Troops: 20 Boyz with Choppas and Sluggas, 2 Big Shootas, Nob with Power Klaw and a Boss Pole (165)
Troops: 20 Boyz with Choppas and Sluggas, 2 Big Shootas, Nob with Power Klaw and a Boss Pole (165)
Battlewagon: Reinforced ram, Stikkbomb chukka, Red paint, Kannon, Grot riggers (120)

Set-up.
The mission is annihilate. The board is a 4'x4' one. The terrain consists of scattered craters on a red planet and there are two manufactorum ruins as well - one in both deployment zones. Naturally, I do not set anything up since I'm playing daemons. My opponent spreads his forces out along his deployment zone and places one of the boyz mob inside his manufactorum ruins.

The die is cast and it appears that I'm going to go first. In a competitive game, I would have tried to "seize the initiative" so that I can go second, but this is not a tournament game.

Early Turns.
I manage to get my preferred half of the army down on the board. This consists of the Herald (together with his "retinue" of 7 bloodletters), Horrors, Screamers, and one of the Daemon Princes. I deep-strike the horrors first. My intent is to place them infront of one of the ork boyz squad that is out in the open. They proceed to scatter to near to the edge of the board. The screamers scatter on top of the Battlewagon. We roll to see what has happened to them and they get placed on the board by my opponent. He places them on my manufactorum. They get hurt and two die. Ouch! The bloodletters and the daemon prince do not scatter though. They land near to my opponent's manufactorum. The prince shoots up some boyz. Three immediately die. My horrors of Tzeentch let rip on the boyz in front of them. Over half of them perish!

But then, my luck starts to run out. The boyz that were in front of the horrors shoot and charge them. All but one dies. I manage to retain the horror who has the icon. In exchange, only a few boyz die. The nobz get out of the building, and start at the daemon prince. After charging in to combat with him, he only has 1 wound left already!

The bloodletters get shot up pretty badly too. I lose several of them and a wound on the herald as well.

In my second turn, the plaguebearers arrive. The deepstrike next to the horrors.
The bloodletters then charge in to the nobz. With help from the daemon prince, they slaughter them all in a single turn! One kill point to me. The boyz terminate the last horror readily though. One kill point each. Although the plaguebearers get shot at, none of them die.

The warboss along with a mob of boyz then proceeds to shoot and charge my bloodletters. All of the bloodletters die, apart from the herald. Kill points are now 1-2 (against me).

Middle Turns.
Sneakily, my screamers move up the field of play. They're not in range of anything just yet though.
My second daemon prince joins the party, deep-striking off the plaguebearer's icon. I only have the second squad of bloodletters held in reserve at this point in time.

The daemon prince succumbs to the warboss, but the warboss' skull belongs to the blood god thanks to the herald. 2-3 in kill points (against me).

The boyz who killed the horrors now got locked, or should I say tar-pitted, with the charging plaguebearers. Along with the second daemon prince, the boyz succumb. 3-3.

The newly arrived daemon prince is made short work of by the wagon though. 3-4.

Late Turns.
The other squad of bloodletters arrive and survive the boyz shooting at them. In turn, they kill of the boyz. 4-4.

The rest of the game soon becomes a game of cat-and-mouse. I move forward with one unit. The boyz move backwards and shoot. I try to move out of range or behind some scenery and the waaaaagggh follows me.

There's only one way to settle this. I'm going to use my few surviving screamers to try to eliminate the wagon. They can move fast (like jet bikes) and the wagon is caught un-aware. Despite scoring some palpable hits, the wagon is only immobilised in the end. In retaliation, the screamers promptly die.

The game ends and I have lost 4-5.

Aftermath.
It was a fun game mostly due to the screamers. They started extremely badly and got hit from a hard landing on scenery. After spending most of the game dashing here and there, they finally made it to the wagon but were not effective enough! At least they tried.

Also of note were the plaguebearers: not a single one of them died. Well done Nurgle!
I also liked the warboss - my opponent really got in to his characterisation with a few vocalized "waaaaaah"s! How many other ork players do that? I think there's lots of you out there as I've heard many of you do this before! It brings the game alive more (as long as its not done too annoyingly and too frequently!).

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Do Chaos Space Marines Need Drop Pods?

The present chaos space marine codex does not have drop pods. Equally the previous space marine codex didn't either.

However, the current chaos space marine codex is a 4th edition codex. We have seen many developments in the rules of our game since then, such as the increased importance of characters who affect the whole army (e.g. Vulkan). So, do Chaos Space Marines need to be brought up to date with their imperial brothers? If so, what units and rules would a new codex need?

I think one of the first things that could be done is the introduction of a drop pod as a transport unit. I've never entirely understood why the traitors don't get them. They certainly had them at the battle for Terra when the traitor primarchs assaulted the Imperial palace. Did they use them all up in that one glorious but failed assault? And then never built, or perhaps forgot how to build, replacements? Doubtful given that a number of the traitor legions were not present (or under-represented) at that terminal battle and some tech-marines survived (in one form or another ... Iron Warriors and perhaps the Obliterator cults). And moreover, forge world has been producing the rather nice chaos dreadclaw assault pod for a little while now.

Okay, so that is only one thing in what I am sure will be a long list of things that a new chaos space marine codex may need to bring it bang up to date with its imperial cousins. I'm sure other people will have many more ideas. But I suspect that a new codex won't be making an appearance for a little while yet.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Result of the April 2010 Army List Challenge

Polling for the April 2010 Army List Challenge is now closed. Without further ado, the winners are:

Suneokun and SandWyrm

Both of them polled 26 per cent of the vote each, with Chris coming in a respectable third place after a strong finish in the past 48 hours. For a while, both SandWyrm and Suneokun were tussling for first place with the votes being tied and then one or the other over-taking by the slimmest of margins (i.e. a single vote!).

This is only the second time that we've had joint winners for an Army List Challenge here at Warpstone Flux, as can be seen from the hall of fame. Congratulations to both of the winners, and a big round of applause to the other entrants for their army lists! I was partial to quite a number of them! Hope that you all enjoyed this challenge.

Another Warpstone Flux Army List Challenge will be issued on the 1st of May.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Pillage Mission (Battle Missions)

With 1 point per objective secured per turn, the pillage mission published in battle missions make for an interesting scenario. I've played this mission a couple of times now (including before battle missions was even published!) and I wanted to share my thoughts with you about it.

The first thing to note is that this mission does not entirely see the end of the tactic of swooping in on objectives on turn 5 that many of us are used to employing. It can help here, as I discuss below, but other considerations apply. The inference of that thought is that we need to re-think the objective placement to begin with. Personally, I'm used to concentrating objectives in my opponents half of the board (following Fritz's advice posted on The Way of Saim-Hann) and that has succeeded for me a good number of time (see my daemons battle report). Now, this may still work if you're playing daemons, or another 100% deep-striking army such as Death Wing, but in general, I'm not sure it is going to be productive.

Whatever army is in use, I would urge you to think of this mission in the same way that you might a standard capture and control mission. That, I find, is the key to pillage.

All we have to do to win pillage (or capture and control for that matter) is score more points (have more objectives) than your opponent. This means that you must match (at minimum) the same points as your opponent up to the final turns. Or deny them the same number of points from strategic placement of your advanced (infiltrating? fast?) units.

Hence, if your opponent is using lots of scouting, infiltrating units, placement of your objective close to your board edge may not be terribly helpful if your opponent is simply going to contest it early. Conversely, it would pay us dividends to do this to your opponent. I personally like to use a unit of chaos chosen in a rhino for this - they come on the board and deny my opponent a few objective points every turn. With that in mind, placing a few objectives close to the opposing board edge (or corner) will help this stratagem.

Assuming we roughly keep up with the number of objective points, then turn 5 can be played in the usual manner of swooping in on all the objectives. By making sure we deny the opponent the extra points in the final turn (and having at least one objective of our own), the game's outcome should be in hand.

I'd be interested to hear how you handled this mission if you've had a go at it.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Chariot of Tzeentch Options

I enjoyed creating my scratch built Chariot of Tzeentch model and I tend to want to use it in the majority of games that I play using a chaos daemons army. In fact, I like it so much, I'm intending on building another at some point. But one gaming question remains for me: what combination of upgrades should I be giving to the chariot?Heralds of Tzeentch certainly have plenty of options to choose from. So ultimately, this question (for me) is one about what battlefield role that I want my chariot of Tzeentch to play. At the basic cost, the chariot already has daemonic gaze, and is therefore reasonably good at downing space marines. But the problem is that space marines are rarely out in the open. More often, they're holed up inside transports (i.e. rhinos), as are most other troop choices in 5th edition. And the one thing that the daemons army is short on are tank-busters. So, my usual battlefield role for the chariot of Tzeentch is a dual tank busting and marine killer.

To do this, I equip the chariot with the bolt of Tzeentch. Although I could use breath of chaos instead, I prefer bolt of Tzeentch as I can then keep a distance from the tank (and other pesky troops) and shoot at things from a distance. Combined with the fast movement, this makes the chariot a very mobile tank killer. The only problem is the herald may not always hit. But then again, the breath of chaos might not always hurt a tank either, so I might as well have the range. The total cost for the chariot with the bolt is a very reasonable 95 points. (And therein is the reason why I'm considering making a second chariot).

The only downside to this build is that it really, really needs to avoid combat badly. It simply is not equipped for it. Even if the soul devourer upgrade is purchased (taking the total cost to 115 points), the chariot probably won't last long. But at least the soul devourer upgrade makes opponents think twice before assaulting the chariot. The other upgrade that I sometimes toy with is the chaos icon. Given the fast movement of the chariot, this makes some sense. Incoming troops could also supply a much needed cover save for the chariot. But then again, with a 4+ invulnerable save, the chariot is one unit that I'm often happy leaving out in the open (or on the top of the tallest building) taking pot shots at any and all tanks and power armoured troops.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Poll Open for the April 2010 Army List Challenge

There is a whopping total of 11 entries for the Warpstone Flux April 2010 Army List Challenge. The entrants and their chosen codex are summarised below:

TheGraveMind (Tyranids)
Suneokun (Imperial Guard)
Ricardogarciapajuelo (Eldar)
Chris (Daemons)
Big D (Space Marines)
Dverning (Eldar)
Xzandrate (Dark Eldar)
Random Guy (Space Wolves)
Anton (Chaos Marines)
SandWyrm (Tau)
FarmPunk (Blood Angels)

Note that only a single army list is from the same codex -- I'm already very impressed!

Rather than make this posting too large and highly un-wieldy by writing all of the entrant's army lists here, I will simply refer readers to the original posting for the entrant's army lists in order for you to make up your minds about which one of them is the most effective army list that also best articulates the theme.

This month, the theme was the Linebreaker challenge: how are the entrants going to stop 3 baneblades from reaching the other side of the board? Check out their army lists, and then vote in the poll on the right hand side. The vote will be tallied and the winner announced on April 21st. There are no prizes beyond honour, kudos and bragging rights. Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Novelty Impact of Daemon Armies

One aspect of daemon armies that is easily over-looked is their novelty value. A number of times over this past 12 months, I have been asked by a number of opponents how daemon armies work. Most of the time the question comes from new players (old and young), but some of the veterans out there also need reminded about a number of items in the daemon armies. This doesn't surprise me as daemon armies are not the most common on the tabletops out there by any means, but they do have a loyal following by those that play with them (like myself). The novelty impact of the daemon army can be a valuable weapon in the daemon player's arsenal (and any other player who doesn't play standard lists and armies for that matter).

Not knowing exactly how to counter the various components of the armies, or where to concentrate and dedicate firepower can be to the daemon player's advantage. Even after explaining what every unit does ("those screamers are like flying melta bombs"), the choice of where to concentrate firepower can be a complex choice that is sometimes made incorrectly. Additionally, setting up incorrectly to counter a daemon army can also be something that can be taken advantage of. However, this is sometimes offset by the sheer randomness of daemon armies as they come in to deep-strike.

What I would like to know from non-daemon players out there is this: what do you instinctively decide is the biggest threat (generally) when you face off against daemons? The greater daemons, the large mobs of lesser daemons, the elite bloodcrushers and fiends of Slaanesh, or the soul grinders and daemon princes? Just curious!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Planetary Empires: Spaceport Tile

The spaceport tile from Planetary Empires is a well sculpted piece with neat levels of depth. Surrounded by an otherwise normal looking tile scene, the spaceport appears to have been built from a levelled mountain range. Atop that levelled mountain sits a gloriously large structure with smooth surfaces and important looking buildings: the spaceport itself.

When I set about painting this tile, I wanted to attempt to communicate this feeling of depth. Hence after I'd basecoated the greenery in a blend of a number of greens and the spaceport building and runway with boltgun metal, I decided that use a light off-white colour to basecoat the surroundings of the spaceport. After letting the paint dry, I then applied two layers of mud wash to the mountain range before drybrushing it to a lighter colour using some dheneb stone foundation paint, slightly mixed in with a minute drop of more wash. The effect gives a strong suggestion of depth to the base of the spaceport: this building has taken some serious construction work for the engineers to accomplish.

For the spaceport itself, a black wash was applied across the surface which was then gone over again with boltgun metal along the runways. I painted one edge of a runway in skull white to suggest sunlight gleaming off a near-pristine surface and added some lighting detail with sunburst yellow. Then, the imperial crest was picked out in skull white.

In the surrounding fields, I applied some green and brown washes to give the foliage a bit of depth, before lightly drybrushing in a number of greens (goblin green, woodland green, etc.) to mix the flora together. Overall, I'm very pleased with the outcome here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Ruins of Osgiliath

An exciting pre-order release of the Ruins of Osgiliath is now available from Games Workshop. Although I do not collect Lord of the Rings too much, this is one of the LotR releases that I've been most excited about in a while (at least since the unique ring wraiths and the plastic winged Nazgul).

The ruins of Osgiliath scenery set is not too dissimilar to what can be made from Hirst Arts molds, but it is in plastic form. Much like the Imperial Sector ruin buildings, these can clearly be arranged in a number of ways to create unique scenery pieces for miniatures to run around in, and on. Unlike the 40k counterparts, these are clearly high fantasy ruins. Along with the two statues, this release should make for excellent use on any fantasy table top and would be applicable to 40k games played on a ruined world or a medieval world.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Reminder: April 2010 Army List Challenge

This month's challenge is the Linebreaker challenge -- how are you going to stop three super heavies from reaching the other side of the board? Entries are still open. Good luck!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bloodletter of Khorne with Shield

This fellow was a small project that I undertook a while ago with the idea being to enter him for a painting competition in the WFB category. I figured that I had already got plenty of possible entries for a W40k entry, but could do with something in the fantasy department. Happily, daemons can fulfil both categories very well with a change of base (indeed, daemons are supplied with both square and round bases for just this intention).The conversion work here was minimal: just the additional of a chaos warrior shield to the out-stretched hand of a standard bloodletter, based on a square base with a pile of skulls near the front from the citadel basing set.

The actual painting followed my established bloodletter scheme, along with the flaming hellblade. I did take my time on this one, carefully picking out each and every single bump along the back with my triple zero paint brush. Other than taking my time, nothing out of the ordinary was done here.

Overall I was pleased with the result; but sadly he didn't pick up any prizes.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Imperial Ruins Project - III. PVA glue texturing

The next step in getting my CNC Imperial Ruins to a table-top standard was to texture it. Barring some fancy painting scheme, most average painters will need to do this step to make it look good as the MDF kit is pretty featureless on every surface. Hence, I feel this is a 100% necessary step in the process.

To texture my ruins, I used only three ingredients:
(a) PVA Glue;
(b) Water;
(c) Grit.

For the latter, any small or fine type of sand will suffice. I don't think that you'd want to have coarser texturing, but that might also be an option if you wanted a unique looking building. Mix the PVA glue with water to create a diluted glue (about 3 parts glue to 1 part water). To the above mixture, add a generous helping of the fine grit. Depending on the type of finish you're going for, you might like to add more or less grit to the mixture.

Using an old, large paint brush, I then applied my mixture to the surfaces of the Imperial Ruins. Some parts of the ruins got some more grit than other parts in the process as the grit has a tendency to sink to the bottom of whatever container you're mixing them together in. But this isn't a bad thing as most buildings don't have exactly even textures across their length.

It is worth mentioning at this point that my model was not glued together before I did this "painting". Although the parts hold together reasonably well without gluing, the application of the texturing layer will firm up the shape and sturdiness of the scenery.

Various problems may occur at this point, including sticking to the newspaper surface that you're gluing on (the glue can be a little runny!) and figuring out how to paint the underside of the ceilings. You may need a paint brush with a short handle for the latter!

The picture (above) shows the ruins once they've had time to dry off. The grit can be seen scattered across the surface. Perhaps it is not quite as even as I would have liked, but I think it is a good finish. In the next part of this series, I will look at the painting stage of the scenery.

Friday, April 2, 2010

On the Daemons FAQ and Errata

If you're a daemons player, you've likely already noticed that Games Workshop has issued a daemons FAQ recently.

In the FAQ, there are two errata and four FAQs.

The first erratum concerns Ku'Gath's necrotic missiles. They go from being ordnance 1 to heavy 1. Hence they won't penetrate vehicles as often ... or so it would seem on the surface. The problem here is that the strength of the missile attack was listed as "n/a", hence they never would have done that anyway. The second bit of the erratum on the necrotic missiles changes their strength from "n/a" to 1. This makes sense in the context of the above. But it doesn't make any odds really (when was the last time we saw a vehicle that had an armour rating below 8? Only in home brew games). It does makes the rules slick, so a good move in my opinion.

The second erratum words transfixing gaze better to make it clear that opponents fight with one less attack. This is more of an English language adjustment than a true erratum I think (unless I'm missing something here?).

For me, the four FAQ questions are straight forward and how I've been playing all along. (Although I didn't previously see the loop-hole in the Changeling that might have allowed it to target multiple opponents). Regardless, I am very glad to see them in there as they reduce the number of arguments about these things and make the typical questions very obvious.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Army List Challenge, April 2010: Linebreaker

Welcome to the April 2010 Army List Challenge: The Linebreaker Challenge.

Overview of the Challenge.
One of the unique missions in Battle Missions is the Linebreaker. The broad idea is that 3 baneblades are trying to get from one side of the board to the other side (short edge to short edge). The defending player has to stop this from happening.

For this month's army list challenge, you will take on the role of the defender and create a 1500 pt army list to stop the (apocalyptic) baneblade advance. The only catch is that you must reserve at least 1000 points of your army to begin with. The scenery will do little to impede the progress of the baneblades, but you can at least get a cover save. Chances are that they will reach the other side of the table in 6 turns. How will you go about stopping them?

For those of you without Apocalypse, the stats for the Baneblade can be found on GW's website: they have 3 structure points each (i.e. at least 3 penetrating or glancing hits each) to get through before you can get a result of vehicle wrecked or destroyed! Even a penetrating or glancing hit may not get rid of a structure point: you might just blow off the heavy bolters instead. In my experience, it takes over 8 penetrating shots to down these things (but hey, in this mission immobilization would be a good result as well). But there's three of these beasts to stop in this challenge! Please refer to the Battle Missions and Apocalypse rule book for full details.

Rules.
(1) Design a 1500 points army list from any codex to take on this mission and stop the three baneblades.
(2) Post your army lists as a comment to this posting and suggest why they're well suited to this mission.
(3) Entries close at 01:00 GMT on April 14th.
(4) On that same day, I'll open a poll for Warpstone Flux readers to judge which army list they consider to be the "most effective army list that also best articulates the theme" (whatever readers interpret that to mean) out of all entrants.
(5) Winner will be tallied and announced on April 21st (and entered in to the hall of fame!).
(6) One entry per person please.

Remember that there are no prizes for these contests, beyond kudos, honour and entry in to the hall of fame.
Good Luck!!!
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