Friday, December 16, 2011

Storm Of Vengeance, Devastator Squad Heman

Hey all, this squad got done alot earlier than expected cause work has been a bit slow this week, so was able to squeeze in a bit more time than I normally could. I also felt as if my highlights are fairly decent on these guys as they were brand new right off the sprue where as my other Dark Angel figures have been recycled several times. I also used instamold again to make a shoulder icon (and save some $$$$)

This stuff is truly amazing and so fast!!! I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to do simple model upgrades.. it does get a bit harder the more complex molds you try to make, but trial and error i feel is a good thing.
So without further ado, here we go...

Here is Brother Sergeant Heman (not to be confused with He Man!) and a lowly unnamed Heavy Bolter squadmate...

more (unnamed) Heavy Weapon Specialists...

and finally, here is the rest of the Battle Brothers.

Next up, a LandSpeeder and just ordered another tactical squad and then I am calling it all good. That will bring my point level to 1165 exactly, which i am calling good and hope will be enough!
Any of you other Storm Of Vengeance attendies have blogs where you've showcased you DA's for this event? Would love to see em!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Preparing for Storm of Vengeance at Adepticon Assault Squad Zaltys

Personally, i would ask to get transferred out of Squad Zaltys, just cause i can't stand that name ;)
anyhow, next up, Assault Squad Zaltys

really really overcast today, so sorry bout the slightly bad pictures!
In the next week or so I plan to have Devastator Squad Heman complete. 2 Heavy Bolters and 2 Plasma Cannons, a complete 10 man squad.
Thats it for today!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Trudging My Way to Adepticon

The next 4 months are going to be a very busy time. I need to build something in the range of 8 gaming tables for my Battle for Piscina IV event at Adepticon and I signed up for several events to participate in as well. One of the events I'm preparing for is the "Its How You Use It" Warhammer Fantasy Battle tournament. I chose to bring 1000 points of Tomb Kings because in a pinch I already have that many points painted. However, ideally I'd like to replace most or all of the models I have already painted. Most of my Tomb Kings were painted in the days when the Undead were all in one book and their was no differentiation between Tomb Kings and Vampire Counts. Then, somewhere around 1998 the decision was made to split the two factions. I diligently repainted my bases a sandy tone and pledged allegiance to the court of Khemri. I still have all of my random vampires, zombies, and ghouls with their uniform Goblin Green bases packed away, shunned, and forgotten but the Tomb Kings still get some love from time to time. A year ago I decided to add/drybrush a few more models and repaint their hideous shields painted around 1995 when I was about as adept at free hand painting as a 5 year old. Personally, I'm not much for drybrushing models. The technique has its place and its my roots but like 8 years ago I tried my hand at painting a skeleton meticulously - not just drybrushing it. That model has sat unfinished in foam carrying cases for the better part of the last decade waiting to be fully risen into the world. Over the last week I experimented with shield painting, redid his spear shaft, and based him with a higher contrast landscape. I'm really happy with the end result.
Above is a Skeleton Warrior most likely painted around 1995. He was painted with Brown Wash over a Skull White Primer basecoat and then dry brushed Bubonic Brown, Bleached Bone, and highlighted around the eyes with Skull White mixed with Bleached Bone. His base was changed to a Bestial Brown top with dry brushing of Vomit Brown and Bleached Bone, and the edge was painted with several coats of Vomit Brown. That was my "desert look". The shield was repainted last year to try and emulate the how I envisioned the shields on the cover of the original Tomb Kings book if there wasn't the ever present orange haze.
This is the meticulously highlighted Skeleton Warrior I started painting like 8 years ago. Similar to the original skeleton he began with Brown Ink over a Skull White Primer base coat. The model was then painted Bleached Bone in successive thin layers to build up a solid coat while leaving the Brown Ink in the recesses. Highlights of Bleached Bone mixed with Skull White, and then pure Skull White were put on again in successive thin layers. The spear shaft is Red Gore with the texture highlighted with Blood Red. Its fairly subtle. The gold accents began as a base coat of Tin Bitz and then was highlighted with Shining Gold and then Shining Gold mixed with Mithril Silver. The shield face itself began as a solid coat of Bleached Bone. Then the edges of the metal, the bottom edge, and the gouges got thin washes of Devlan Mud. Thin watery streaks of Bleached Bone were used to blend the Devlan Mud into the base tone. Then Skull White was painted on in thin watery streaks building up a solid tone and blending the darker lower area of the shield into the brighter top half of the shield. It was a lot of work the first time out but now I think it'll go really fast in the future. Finally hieroglyphics were added using Chaos Black at the very end. The base is Scorched Brown with dry brushed highlights of Shadow Grey, Iyanden Dark Sun, and Bleached Bone. The edge is Scorched Brown.

This adds one more model to my total model count for the year. Also, this week I received a Necrosphynx/War Sphinx in the mail. I still haven't committed to which it will be. The points are roughly the same. Anyone have any feelings on one vs the other?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

If Ya Want Sumfin' Done... Part 1

The Purging of Kadillus by Gav Thorpe skips over the opening engagements between the forces of Ghazghkull Thraka and the combined resistance of the Piscina Free Militia and the 3rd Company of the Dark Angels. At the end of the Prologue, Tauno is on watch and sees a dust cloud approaching Kadillus Harbour and after readjusting his magnoculars multiple times discovers that there are endless columns of Orks approaching on foot. He then promptly drops his magnoculars like a chump. The book picks up with the 1st chapter being The Tale of Boreas: Dark Cathedral. This is a great snapshot of what is referred to as "Ghazghkull's War" in the original Storm of Vengeance campaign pack from 1997, but it skips over the whole opening engagement.

SoV (Storm of Vengeance) also ignores much of that initial onslaught but it does kick things off with If Ya Want Sumfin' Done, a scenario where Ghazghkull lays claim to a coveted objective that the Imperial forces do not understand the significance of at the time. A small elite force of Orks led by Ghazghkull himself breaks away from the main assault on the city to seize a small geothermal plant inside the northeastern end of Kadillus Harbour. Master Chaplain Uriel and Lexicanum Charon move in to intercept the Ork forces but fail to hold the power plant.

This is a really important battle because it helps to set the tone: we are being overwhelmed. One of the exciting things I'll be doing with the Battle for Kadillus event is to flesh out that initial invasion of Kadillus Harbour and the bloody city fight that is alluded to but remains largely undocumented in either SoV or PoK (The Purging of Kadillus). Ghazghkull's forces surged into Kadillus Harbour and then dug themselves in once they had been cut off from reinforcements. The 3rd Company of Dark Angels and the Piscina Free Militia were unable to root them out initially, and the Orks had laid claim to key objectives like the Dark Angels Basilica, the city's orbital defenses, and of course, the geothermal plant. Though we will see tables with all of these key objectives assembled between now and April 19th, 2012, this week I began work on the table for If Ya Want Sumfin' Done...
My starting point begins with this scenario map out of SoV. As you can see it is a 4'x4' gaming area with a couple of diagonal city blocks and a couple of horizontal city blocks with the geothermal plant centrally located on the western edge, if that makes sense. Now one of my pet peeves with GW's representation of cities is that you have a bunch of free standing buildings scattered all over the place and they don't form blocks. A couple of years ago I began work on my own city table that utilized giant movement trays for the buildings themselves so that I could swap buildings in and out and so that I could set up my table in blocks. I've elected to use the same construction ideas of this table.
One of my major concerns when laying everything out is ensuring that all of the city blocks are spaced far enough apart to allow for "real" traffic but to be tight enough to block lines of sight. I decided that the ideal width between most buildings would be 2 Rhinos wide - enough space for 2 normal sized vehicles to pass each other.
Now the idea of a square movement tray to set up blocks is fairly easy to understand. You cut a bunch of squares and rectangles and put your scenery on them. In my case every base is 12" wide no matter how long it is, and it has a 1" border of sidewalk all the way around. This means that if I build scenery pieces that are 10" wide I can drop them onto my movement trays at a whim. The problem I ran into was that when setting up a table with diagonal city blocks my squares and rectangles would be hanging off the table edges; which is both unsightly and prone to people getting caught on the scenery and knocking it around. To deal with the issue I cut a variety of city block sections that are half squares or half rectangles with a 45 degree diagonal edge.
The sidewalks, as mentioned, are 1" wide. I cut them from standard foamcore and glue them down with white glue.

You will notice that I left a square gap. Scattered throughout my city blocks are 1"x1" gaps. I have left those behind so that I can put in street signs, overhead lights, or whatever other details I want that can be swapped in and out.
Just like other miniatures I put every building on a pink or blue foam insulation base. These vary in thicknesses based upon what I am doing. This allows me to incorporate basements or craters into the buildings I build and it allows me to swap scenery pieces in and out of a base as often as I like.
Here the pink foam base is cut and set inside one of my diagonal trays. You'll notice that I've cut card into 1"x1" squares and glued them down on my foamcore sidewalks to create the effect of sidewalk squares. You'll also notice that some of them have cracks or that there is an incomplete section. This is because I try to waste nothing if I can, so off cuts will eventually just become battle damaged sidewalk/curb.
Here I had an already assembled GW city building that Matt Weeks donated to my table construction efforts. Like the sidewalk there are cardstock tiles cut and glued inside and outside the scenery piece to add to the level of detail. These sorts of details will only be added to and accentuated as the process of building the table continues.
Finally here is the culmination of several hours work. All of my diagonal hard board bases are cut. I've started test fitting various pieces of scenery that have already been assembled and painted for previous projects and at least half of the table's bases for its city blocks are accounted for. Now begins the hard work of constructing and painting the buildings. These will be largely intact as its made very clear throughout SoV that damage to the geothermal plants could cause catastrophic mass destruction.

More next week.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Preparing for Storm of Vengeance at Adepticon

Hey all, been a while since i've done any real modeling lately and its time to change that!!!! I signed up for Nicks 'Storm of Vengeance' campaign at adepticon this coming year and choose Chaplain Boreas as my commander. Decided to re-read the Purging of Kadillus to make my army list as close to the 'fluff' as possible. Starting with the chapter 'The tale o Boreas' I now submit my progress so far.
Here is Chaplain Boreas...

Here is tactical squad Peliel, lead by brother sergeant Peliel.

In the next couple weeks, will have devastator squad Herman and Assault squad.. xxx... haven't read about any assault squads yet.. but had 10 DA assault from adpeticon a few years ago.
Thats it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

What Are You Doing At Adepticon 2012?

My first Adepticon was in 2005. I was living in Washington, DC and my friend Anton from Chicago who had just gotten into 40K found out about this 40K convention and wanted me to fly out for it. I looked over the event schedule and ended up signing up for all 3 of the big 40K events – the Gladiator Tournament, the Team Tournament, and the 40K Championships. I remember the stress of trying to prepare for the Team Tournament and having two of my teammates flake on me last minute and the frustration of having to find 2 substitutes to fill in for us the weekend of. It was a whirlwind weekend of gaming… Way too much gaming! In the years that followed I dropped the Gladiator Tournament, then I eventually dropped Team Tournament, and last year I didn’t even do the 40K Championships. I came to Adepticon exclusively to shop.

This year I am taking a whole new approach to Adepticon and eschewing 40K overkill for a mix of seminars and events. This is my game plan for this year:

Thursday night I will be attending the Introduction to Mold Making and Casting seminar. Over the years I’ve made countless pieces of scenery and a few of them I would have loved to have reproduced. Additionally, the idea of making molds of custom pieces I build to make even cooler pieces seems way too cool to pass up. This could turn out to be a whole separate hobby I have within the hobby or I could hate it, but it’s something I’d like to know how to do so I’m really excited for this seminar.

Friday evening I will be joining in one the Warhammer Fantasy ‘It’s How You Use It Tournament’. At this exact moment this is the event I’m most excited for. I haven’t played the 8th Edition of WFB nor did I play the 7th Edition. It feels almost like I’m starting over fresh. I bought the Tomb Kings book this week and as I’m looking at some of universal special rules I realized I have never heard of some of them and have absolutely no idea what they do. You would think this would be frustrating but I’m not a hardened WFB player so it’s actually kind of fun and exciting. It feels fresh and fun. Hopefully people participating in this event are as relaxed about it as I am. Another nice thing about this event is that I already have 1500-2000 points of Tomb Kings painted from 5th/6th Edition when they first split the Undead into “wet” and “dry” armies as they were termed at the time. If at any point I find I don’t have time to complete my 1000 point army list I’ve just written up, I can always fall back on what I have.

Saturday morning I’ve given myself the opportunity to sleep in a little. I probably won’t but the option is there. At noon I will be taking a class on Painting Weathering Techniques. I think I do fairly well at weathering but my techniques are pretty rudimentary and some of the things people do now are really evocative and dynamic so I’d like to see what I can glean from this class.

Saturday evening will be fun. I was considering signing up for the Combat Patrol Tournament and though I was still on the fence while I was picking events I discovered via Facebook that some of my friends were also signing up for Combat Patrol on Saturday night. That sealed the deal for me. All 5 previous Adepticons that I’ve played in 40K events I always brought my Angels of Absolution and my Redemptors of Gholinar Imperial Guard force. Never have I brought my Orks because they are my smallest army. Well this year, the Orks are coming with and getting some game time. I’m worried that I’ll regret that choice when things come down to the wire and I don’t have a good selection of models painted but I can’t worry too much about that. It’ll be fun to throw down with something different and maybe get some games in against my friends.

Sunday though is the big day for me and will be the subject of a column in and of itself. This will be my first time running an event at Adepticon. The Battle for Piscina IV is my adaption of the Storm of Vengeance campaign pack fused with the Purging of Kadillus novel by Gav Thorpe. Over half of the slots have already sold out and we haven’t even put up the rules yet which is both exciting and terrifying. I’ll talk more about that later though.

What are you doing at this year’s Adepticon?

PS. Sorry for all of the recycled photos.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Catering to More Relaxed and Narrative-based Players

There has been a lot of talk about narrative vs tournament gaming recently in blog-land and though nothing has or even can be "resolved", I've been trying to come up with ways to make tournaments more fun for casual players and for narrative events in a convention type setting to be more involving and that really push the limits of our hobby skills. These are some of the ideas I've had over the last year.

Handicapping Codexes

This is an idea I haven't put much thought into the nuts and bolts mechanics of it, but since so many people are collating data these days on the major tournaments it seems like it would be feasible to rank the codexes themselves and implement a handicap system similar to in bowling. The idea being that if we perceived each codex as our team mate, and some team mates perform better than others, we can rate the quality of our team mate (i.e codex) and give a marginal benefit to those who willingly bring a weaker codex to the tournament. By giving good players a bonus for going into a tournament with an inferior codex it might increase diversity. Sure, it might just expand the pool of net lists as people scramble to exploit every advantage, but you might see some of those top rung competitive players taking a chance on a weaker codex rather than selecting the power codex of the week. It'd have to be fleshed out and it wouldn't take into account the nuances of different builds but I think the idea has merit. If in 2009 I hadn't born witness to 5 tables in a row at Adepticon where every player was playing leaf blowers except me I might have actually played in one of the tournaments at Adepticon 2010.
Variant Tournaments

I've mentioned before in a previous article that the most fun I've ever had at a tournament was playing in a Cities of Death tournament several years back in Kenosha, WI (KWars: The Consuming Darkness run by Equinox). I liked how using a variant rule set turned things upside down. Suddenly the 3rd Edition Ork Codex was viable again and no one had all of their tricks and strategies all worked out. This tournament also sticks out in my mind because it had a narrative that linked each battle to the last and the scenarios were all really unique with random elements - the sort of thing the hardened tournament player often dislikes unfortunately.
All the way back in 2nd Edition I ran a tournament at a gaming store in Buffalo, NY that used the Arid Terrain Rules written by J. Michael Tisdel (Citadel Journal 16). Some people were irritated that they weren't well versed in the unique rules and had a hard time with how little cover was used, but the games I played in 2nd Edition using those rules were some of the most memorable games I played. I actually revamped these rules for the current edition but have yet to give them a whirl. Variations like these can really refresh a stale gaming environment in my opinion.

I would love to play in tournament that used alternate FOC's, used Attacker/Defender scenarios, or that used other restrictions, sidebars, or unique special rules. Some would argue that these types of alterations tamper with 40K, the tournament dynamic, and army balance making things too unpredictable. I think they make them more interesting and force you to adapt to a host of environments and tactical challenges. To each their own I guess but its these sorts of changes that really keep you on your toes.
The Narrative "Play"/Historical Re-enactment

After Adepticon 2010 I realized that since I wasn't happy with the tournament events taking place and the environment they created, I needed to step up and start running events that correspond with what I would like to play in. Originally I was going to just run a tournament akin to what I described above. I had worked out a lot of the ideas in my head and thought I had a winner of an idea, but it was still just another tournament to have its restrictions exploited for the sole purpose of victory. I decided to look into what types of narrative events other conventions like WargamesCon were doing, but it seemed like they were basically just huge Apocalypse games that featured any hodge podge of armies. I wanted something with more depth and attention to detail.

There are close to 1000 40K players who will converge in Chicagoland for Adepticon, maybe with an event of that size its possible to re-enact an entire campaign in a day and do it in the most lavish way possible? No proxy armies, no counts as stand ins, and no competition - at least not in the traditional sense. What if we ran a campaign and treated it much like a play where each person has a named character and their forces to control; where each person tries to emulate the story in the most spectacular way possible with their best painting and conversion work to most accurately capture the most minute details? Would that appeal to others the same way that it appeals to me? This is often too difficult to pull off in a game store or at a small convention in grand scale, but the sheer size of Adepticon could make it possible and with enough interest could really put a spotlight on a different aspect of our hobby that stays in our houses or appears on Dave Taylor's blog. (He has done fantastic work capturing the forces of the Gaunt's Ghosts books if you've never looked there.)

I pitched this idea to Matt Weeks, one of the Adepticon organizers and I'm going to try and pull it off this year with a well known and recently resurrected tale. I've spent the last month dissecting the 2nd Edition Storm of Vengeance campaign pack and The Purging of Kadillus by Gav Thorpe to find the best way to break up the scenarios and characters so that participants can select a role and spend the next 5 months painting and converting 750 points of models to represent the Dark Angels, Piscina Free Militia, Goffs, or Bad Moon Orks that took part in this classic conflict. The details still need to be worked out but rewards will be given for painting, accurate detail, and spirit. Each person would play 4 games of various sizes and pairings utilizing adaptions of the original scenarios as well as others developed from other areas of the novel and color text from the original campaign. This is all assuming people respond to this sort of uncharacteristic event. Hopefully there are enough people interested in re-enacting this conflict, because if it goes well I'd love to try and flesh out other novels and classic conflicts to really challenge people's hobby abilities (as well as my own!) and really promote narrative play.

I think all of these ideas have merit but its really up to everyone who wants to see something different let your organizers of your regional events know what sorts of things you'd like to see or volunteer to run something yourself that embodies the kind of gaming experiences you crave.

On a final note: This post breaks our personal record for the most posts in a single year of blogging. Way back in January I set the goal for 50 this year t0 clearly crush our previous 46. This is post number 47. Congrats to us!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Upgrading My Angels

It would be hard to tell from the blog, but I've been putting a lot of time into my Angels of Absolution the last month. I've been painting on an almost daily basis but not all of it has been about completing models. I've been in the process of upgrading the models I have to be more visually interesting and to better represent how they are organized. One of the things I have felt in recent years is that my models are too clean and pristine. They needed some mud, scratches, and battle damage. Additionally, bases have come a long way since I started this army in 1994 when all bases were Goblin Green with either Green Flock or a layer of sand painted Goblin Green and drybrushed with either Rotting Flesh or Sunburst Yellow. Oof. What a mundane look that was? Over time we've branched out into new colors, textures, flocking materials, water effects, and now even elaborate resin cast bases. Needless to say, though newly painted models can be granted these luxuries, they just won't match the old bases unless everyone gets some upgrading to link them together.

One of the 1st orders of business this month has been the abolishment of the 7th Squad Tactical Squad of the 5th company. You see, when I created the 7th Squad over 10 years ago I didn't understand the organization of the Dark Angels well enough to pick up on the fact that the 7th Squad of the 5th company wouldn't be a Tactical squad, they would be an Assault squad. This
has been a huge black mark on my army for the last 10 years that I had been meaning to erase. Today I'm going to go explain briefly how I erased that stain.
The above model details the offensive 7th Tactical squad marking.
Here I have taken Bleached Bone and thinned it down to a watery consistency so that I can cover the black in multiple successive layers without globbing up my model.
After 2 coats.

And here it is completely erased on the 4th coat. I didn't bother to stage by stage it, but I did the exact same process with Mechrite Red until I had a pristine Tactical symbol to work with. Then I went in with watered down Chaos Black and painted new numbers onto a handful of these 7th squad rejects. Here is the end result.
You might also notice that he has mud splatter and chips in his armor added. His base got upgraded with broom bristle, gravel, and taller static grass tufts.

All of my Angels of Absolution are named. This Meltagunner is Trojin.
Gravis was another 7th squad member. I still love the rivet mohawk I gave him years ago.
Folin was also a 7th squad member. He has a black knee pad with script to indicate that he is a Chaplain Apprenta.
Many campaigns ago Holgin was actually Veteran Sergeant Midas of the 5th Squad. One of his original arms was removed and attached to a different model and his name was changed and his rank lost. If you look closely you can tell he's an older model because his Bleached Bone is not as opaque as later models.
Crace was pictured last post. Unlike the others he wasn't reassigned to 2nd Squad, he was painted specifically to complete the Combat Squad.
One final note. On Saturday night I sat down to paint and discovered my Fine Detail Brush was past its days. It couldn't hold enough paint to reasonably coat an elbow pad on a marine. Completely bummed because my girlfriend had the laptop we've been sharing with her at work and unable to make an emergency order, I sat down to spend a full evening of cutting Space Marine bitz off of sprues. Sunday morning I ordered my new brush and some other supplies including the new Liquid Green Stuff. Hopefully my package will arrive tomorrow afternoon. Today was all basing and photography because I was crippled without that damned brush. Its funny how important our hobbies can be to our daily lives, but they are. Thanks for reading.


Fine Cast Death Guard...

Hey all, bought some Fine Cast Death Guard a while ago from GW and when I opened my box I noticed that alot of the miniatures had defects.. arms completely fragged up, faces with large bubbles on em, etc...
Wasn't completely upset as they are Papa Nurgles little boys, but still called GW and had them send replacements, in the past they've always just sent a new box/model when there were defects, this time though, they specifically asked which ones on the sprue were messed up and only sent those. I was totally fine with that... Going through my box of Chaos bit though and was able to make an almost complete new squad... and here they are

Thats it for today...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

AdMech Rough Rider test model

Hey all,
Just recently picked up 5 of these little fella's from MicroArt Studios and thought they might look pretty good as a AdMech Rough Rider conversion. So here is a couple picts of my first attempt..

when i first started painting this guy up, i was like... wait a second, this model is bit different than the pictures posted on their website... sure enough i sent em an email pointing out the differences and they said.. yes, they had problems with the cast had to change it and apologized for not updating the picture, i noticed today that their picture is still the same... hmmmm... ps.. a added the chainsword and bolt pistol...
The other thing i tried to add was the Mechanicus symbol. I used the instant mold stuff to grab the icon from a landraider.. gotta say, that i will have to do try that one again, was hard to tell how bad looking it was til i started painting it up... Next one!

any how, here are some more...

Over all i would give this model a 8 out of 10 for creativeness, i think maybe a 6.5 out of 10 for the actual model it self, there are casting anomalies in quite a few spots.. missing pipes and cables with chunks missing out of them and the biggest was the fenders missing compared to the photo's online, really liked the hazard line painting online... oh well, its all good i think. Really have put this out there too, been posting on forums asking how people use their Rough Riders and so far, no one has said they actually use them anymore, as they only get to use the lance on the charge and only 1 attack base... kinda weak, but i will still paint up the rest and maybe try em out at some point, figure they could be a good last minute objective contest'r. The other thing i've been trying to find, is a good sort of Mechanicus type hunting lance i could use for the count as... any suggestion folks?