Wednesday, 11 December 2013

What a difference 5 years painting makes!

What a difference 5 years makes to your painting! The model on the left is from 2008 (I was 21, fresh from uni), the model on the right is one I've just painted - although I've yet to apply transfers.


If you need proof that practice makes perfect, here is is.

Blood Angels painting tutorial coming soon :-D

Darth Meer

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Getting Started With Marvel Hardcover Collections - A Buyers Guide

A little off-topic for this one, but most of us are like-minded guys so I'm pretty sure this article will be of interest to a few of you!

First, a preamble: I don't claim to be an expert in comics in any shape or form. I read comics when I was kid but they have only recently (last 5 years or so) regained my interest. It has taken me a good few years to get my head around it all, and this article is me sharing what I've found when I restarted my collection. Hopefully it will help someone else out there to understand where to begin their own!

Updated Shelf Picture June 2014!

My Marvel Hardcover Shelf... in progress (Nov 2013)



Getting Started

So, I decided to start a Marvel graphic novel collection. I found that there are many ways you can do this, the cheapest way would be to go the trade paperback route: these are perfect bound books of about 150 pages (about 5/6 issues). Oversized Hardcovers can vary from 150-500 pages and can collect entire runs of comics - plus they look awesome on the shelf (and can still be fairly cheap from Amazon). Finally, The fairly recent Omnibus range can hit 1500 pages and cost near £100, but are great for collecting single series - especially those of non-modern age.

As I wasn't going to go mad (to start with) I chose to focus on Oversized Hardcovers (OHCs) as these seemed to be the best way of collecting a good looking shelf collection.

Marvel Events

When I first started collected OHCs I focussed on contemporary X-men books. This seemed to be the easiest way to begin as there was a clear-cut reading order. However as I progressed I soon learned that Marvel comics do not have a clear reading order! Their yearly 'events' interweave with the rest of the series', and storylines in those series' become incomprehensible unless you read the event 'mini-series' first...

So in the end I gave up on X-men and read the most recent events in order. According to the web its best to start at around 2004 and work from there, as it was at that point where Marvel events really started to affect continuity. There have been loads of events (including lots of 'cosmic' ones that don't really affect the continuity of the 'earth-based' ones), so I tried to figure out the key ones before planning my purchases:

2004-05: Secret War - OHC Link TBP Link
This is a nice tidy event where Nick Fury rounds up a bunch of heroes and invades Latvaria (Dr Doom's kingdom). Although fairly simple, it actually has the beginnings of story threads that only come to fruition many years later. It also acts as a great introduction to the main Marvel characters (especially if you've just started collecting), as most are present in some way during this event.

2005-06: House of M - OHC Link TPB Link
No More Mutants. Pretty much mandatory if you're thinking of starting an X-men collection as its repercussions reverberate through a decades worth of storylines. It's also a must if you're following the Scarlet Witch storyline.

2006-07: Civil War - OHC Link TPB Link
Civil War is an epic event where the mighty heroes of earth are split down the middle, fighting each other over the Superhuman Registration Act, and ends in a surprising death. Although the main mini-series if quite short, this event plays out more in the Avengers comics, which is why I also recommend getting this book as a companion.

2008: Secret Invasion - OHC Link TPB Link
The Skrull alien race infiltrates earth and imposes as their most loved heroes. The beginnings of this event took place during the Secret War and through the (mostly) Avengers comics since then. Some cool twists and turns in this book. The Mighty Avengers: Secret Invasion book ties up loads of lose ends as well.

2009: Dark Reign
As a result of the Secret Invasion Norman Osborn (The Green Goblin) becomes director of SHIELD and replaces the Avengers with his own, less savoury, team. There isn't actually an 'event' book as such for this one, but the best compilation of Dark Reign is the Dark Avengers book which takes place neatly between Secret Invasion and Siege. Speaking of which...

2009-10: Siege - OHC Link TPB Link
Siege is the culmination of the Civil War/Secret Invasion/Dark Reign storyline in an epic finale! To get the most out of this you'll need to grab the Thor (Straczynski) omnibus, as it explains why Asgard is in Oklahoma. The end of Siege then follows straight into...

2010: The Heroic Age - OHC Link
After Siege the 'big three' Iron Man, Cap America and Thor become best buds (well not quite) again after years of fighting. I assume due to the success of The Avengers movie! :-P.

Interlude
There are quite a few 'mini-events' that take place here. Including Chaos War and Children Crusade. Honestly you don't really need them for continuity's sake. The Children Crusade is actually really good though, and explains Scarlet Witch's re-emergence and basically sets up Avengers vs. X-Men. Fear Itself also takes place here (a pretty big event) but isn't available in OHC and apparently wasn't that good.

2012: Avengers vs. X-Men - OHC Link TPB Link
This is actually best read AFTER you've read the X-men books to be honest (see below), as it focusses a lot on Hope's storyline as well as understanding what Utopia is.

And that's you up to date! You can of course also grab the 2013 event Age of Ultron, but it's a pretty standalone event.

Character Series OHC/Omnibus List (2004+)

Now you've got all the recent events out the way, you should be looking at collecting your favourite character series! Honestly it doesn't matter what order you read these in, especially if you've read all the events above.

I'm sticking to the OHC and Omnibus collections that take place during the 2004+ era with my collection (so they coincide with the events I've also collected), so I'll focus on them here and try and explain where each book fits in the Marvel timeline. There are lots more books that cover the earlier years but you'll have to look elsewhere for where to start with them!

Iron Man
Iron Man Extremis (before Civil War - a cool story that defines the modern Iron Man)
Invincible Iron Man vol 1 and vol 2 (during the Dark Reign, Siege and well into the Heroic Age)

Captain America
These take place directly after one another:
Captain America (Brubaker) Omnibus (before Civil War)
The Death Of Captain America Omnibus (spoiler much! after Civil War, during Secret Invasion)
Captain America Lives! Omnibus (during Dark Reign)

Thor
Thor (Straczynski) Omnibus (pretty much sets up the Siege event)

Fantastic Four
Fantastic Four (Hickman) Omnibus vol 1 (during the Dark Reign)

New Avengers
This is a tricky one, as the first 3 volumes of the OHC are now collected in an Omnibus but the others are yet to be! I would assume the last 4 OHCs will be in a vol 2 at some point...
New Avengers Omnibus vol 1 (starts before House of M, ends with Secret Invasion)
New Avengers Omnibus vol 2 (between Secret Invasion and Siege - yet to be released)

Mighty Avengers
A new Avengers team created by Iron Man after the events of Civil War, runs parallel and ends at the same point as the New Avengers above).
Mighty Avengers: Assemble
Mighty Avengers: Secret Invasion
Mighty Avengers: Dark Reign

Hulk
Hulk doesn't really feature that heavily in Marvel events for some reason, but he did have his own event in 2006 with the amazing Planet Hulk/World War Hulk storyline.
Planet Hulk
World War Hulk

Others
Secret Warriors Omnibus (takes place during Dark Reign, a great 'spy' book)
Dark Avengers (basically the Dark Reign event book)

X-men
The X-men arc between House of M and AvX is epic (with many, many books), so I've just included the important books in the storyline:
New X-Men (Morrison) Omnibus (although older than 2004, this is great starting point to modern X-men)
Astonishing X-Men (Joss Whedon) Omnibus
House of M (the event - see above)
Endangered Species
Messiah Complex
Manifest Destiny
Utopia (takes place during Dark Reign and features the Dark Avengers)
Nation X
Messiah War
Second Coming
Schism
If you grab Children Crusade this will lead you nicely into the Avengers vs. X-Men event.

The End

I know this article has been a bit waffly, but I hope it has helped at least one person out there to make sense of the minefield that is modern Marvel!

Note that there are always new books coming out, so this article will go out of date pretty quickly. The best place I can suggest to visit for your Marvel OHC/Omnibus news and help is this forum.

If I've missed anything or made an error leave a comment below!

Darth Meer

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Blood Angels Scouts with Sniper Rifles Painted

With the new marine dex hitting, my enthusiasm for marines has come around again. Originally I had planned to start a wholly new chapter (Iron Hands) and start an army from scratch. But then I remembered all those other, unfinished, armies I have and re-thought that plan... If you read my last post you'll see the Blood Angels supplement I've been using.

Blood Angels Scout Squad

So, I'm going to be painting a few new Blood Angels units to scratch that power armour itch. Using a new colour scheme with the new citadel paints. I'm working on a Tactical Squad painting tutorial (using Mephiston Red spray) as well, so keep an eye out for that. The new scheme is a bit darker, a bit more realistic than my old 'ARGH RED!' style.

Blood Angles Scouts - Back

These Scouts are the first unit I've painted of my Blood Angels: The Next Generation. I've tried to do a little conversion work on them as well. I fully admit I'm not the best at sculpting with green stuff but hopefully it's not too obvious...

Blood Angels Scout Sergeant - With green stuff trim!

I wanted to give the Scout Sergeant an armour trim to make him more spangly (I don't think that's a proper word) and gave him a hand and head swap to mark him out as more of a veteran than his squad.

The previous generation of my Blood Angels.

For those of you not following my blog, you can find posts of my previous generation of Blood Angels here (scroll down). They were painted using the old GW paints so expansion is impossible really. Also, I started to paint them a good 5 years ago now and my painting has improved somewhat since the heady days of yore (well... Uni). Hopefully Blood Angels Gen 2 will be an improvement!

Darth Meer

Friday, 18 October 2013

Homebrew Blood Angels Supplement - Warlord Traits, Chapter Relics

Learning that the soon to be released Blood Angels digital codex is literally just an errata update was very disappointing. So I had a quick brainstorm and gave the Blood Angels the 'Adepta Sororitas' treatment with warlord traits, relics, etc. I also wanted to update their points costs to 6th edition standard, the simplest way of doing this was to write a mini-supplement for the new Space Marine codex. The Blood Angels follow the Codex Astartes pretty well so it made sense. My usual gaming buddies are usually pretty happy with me trying these thing out so I'll report back once I've had a few games.

You can download a slightly prettier pdf version here.


BLOOD ANGELS
AN UNOFFICIAL CODEX: SPACE MARINES SUPPLEMENT

To use this unofficial supplement you will need both Codex: Space Marines and Codex: Blood Angels. A Blood Angels army is chosen using the army list presented in Codex: Space Marines. There are a number of supplemental rules found below, including rules that will dictate which units you may or may not take in a Blood Angels army.


CHAPTER TACTICS
When creating a Blood Angels army, all models with the Chapter Tactics special rule must use the Blood Angels Chapter Tactic with the following special rules:

Descent of Angels
A unit that entirely consists of models with Chapter Tactics (Blood Angels) with Jump Packs can re-roll failed reserve rolls if arriving by Deep Strike. Also, due to the precision of their descent, it scatters D6" less.

The Red Thirst
After forces have been deployed, but before any scout moves are taken, roll a D6 for each unit with Chapter Tactics (Blood Angels). On a 1 the unit gains the Furious Charge and Fearless special rules instead of the And They Shall Know No Fear special rule for the duration of the game.


WARLORD TRAITS
When generating his Warlord Traits, a Blood Angels Warlord may either roll on the Warlord Traits table in the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook or on the table below:

1. Blood of Sanguinius: The Warlord and his unit have the Fleet and Fear special rules whilst equipped with a Jump Pack. If your Warlord is not equipped with a Jump pack, re-roll this result.

2. Accuracy of Angels: The Warlord, and any unit he joins, does not scatter when arriving by Deep Strike. If your Warlord cannot Deep Strike, re-roll this result.

3. Champion of Baal: The Warlord may re-roll any To Hit rolls while taking part in a challenge.

4. Visions of the Primarch: All units with Chapter Tactics (Blood Angels) in the Warlord's detachment will succumb to its effects on a roll of 3 or less, rather than a roll of 1.

5. Masters of the Sky: The Warlord, and any unit he joins, gains the Skyfire special rule

6. The Rage Consumes: One use only. Declare your Warlord is using this ability at the start of one of your Assault phases. For the duration of the phase, the Warlord and his unit have the Rage special rule.


BLOOD ANGELS ARMOURY
The Blood Angels use a number of Chapter-unique items, and have access to their own Chapter Relics.

Add the following to the Ranged Weapons list:
   - Hand Flamer 10 pts
   - Infernus Pistol 15 pts
Add the following to the Melee Weapons list:
   - Glaive Encarmine 15 pts
Replace the Chapter Relics list with the following:
   - Blood of Heroes 20 pts
   - Wings of Saronath 25 pts
   - Standard of Sanguinius' Bane 50 pts
   - Spear of Telesto 60 pts

Blood of Heroes
It was during the first battles of the Greyhell front against the Tau that the Blood of Heroes was created. The Chapter records that a single Blood Angel, outnumbered and alone, stood against an entire cadre of alien warriors, blessed by a single drop of blood from each of his fallen brothers gathered in a vial. The Battle-Brother claimed his brothers spoke to him through their blood and strengthened his will to survive against his foes. 

A model bearing the Blood of Heroes gains the Adamantium Will and Fearless special rules.

Wings of Saronath
The Wings of Saronath is the jump pack of the legendary Sanguinary Guard Saronath. Saronath was killed by unknown alien attackers on Baraspine, in the Adrantis Nebula. When he was found, his body was a dry husk, his golden armour shattered into thousands of fragments. Only his winged jump pack was salvageable. 

The Wings of Saronath is a Jump Pack (and therefore may not be taken with a Space Marine Bike or Terminator armour). In addition, its wearer gains the Fleet special rule and may use its Jump Pack in both Movement and Assault phases if it wishes.

Spear of Telesto
The Spear of Telesto is said to have been wielded by Sanguinius during the Great Crusade. Its blade is shaped like an elongated tear with a hollow in the centre to represent the single drop of blood Sanguinius shed when he swore fealty to the Emperor. The haft is sculpted to show the primarch as a hooded angel of blood and beneath that is a Purity Seal handwritten by the Emperor.

The Spear of Telesto is a weapon with two profiles:

                Range S AP Type
Melee           - +1 3 Melee, Two-handed, Master-crafted, Primarch's Wrath
Shooting Template 5 3 Assault 1, Blood Memory

Primarch's Wrath: The bearer of this weapon has the Rampage and Fear special rules.

Blood Memory: The Spear of Telesto will never cause Wounds against a model with the Chapter Tactics (Blood Angels) special rule, and the template may be placed over friendly models with this rule in contradiction to the normal template rules.

Standard of Sanguinius' Bane
This Standard of Sanguinius' Bane is an ancient banner that usually resides within the Fortress-monastery on Baal, it depicts the fateful duel between Sanguinius and Horus during the Horus Heresy. All Blood Angels that look upon it are driven to near blood lust with anger.

Friendly units within 12" of the bearer with Chapter Tactics (Blood Angels) gain the Fearless, Rage and Hatred special rules.


BLOOD ANGELS UNITS
A Blood Angels detachment may use the following units from Codex: Blood Angels in addition to those found in Codex: Space Marines:
  • Commander Dante
  • Chapter Master Gabriel Seth
  • Astorath the Grim
  • The Sanguinor
  • Mephiston
  • Captain Tycho
  • Sanguinary Guard
  • Furioso Dreadnought
  • Sanguinary Priest (and Brother Corbulo)
  • Death Company (and Lemartes)
  • Death Company Dreadnought
  • Baal Predator

A Blood Angels detachment may not use the following units from Codex: Space Marines:
  • Chapter Master (and therefore Honour Guard)
  • Master of the Forge
  • Ironclad Dreadnought
  • Legion of the Damned
  • Thunderfire Cannon


UNIT ADJUSTMENTS
A number of units in Codex: Space Marines are adjusted in the following ways:

Librarian
Librarians taken in a Blood Angels detachment must generate their powers from the Biomancy, Divination, Telepathy or Telekinesis disciplines instead of those stated in Codex Space Marines.

Chaplain
Chaplains are moved to the Elites section and gain the Blood Rage special rule. The Blood Rage special rule grants re-rolls to Wound in the first turn of combat for any Death Company unit the Chaplain/Reclusiarch joins. A Chaplain may be upgraded to a Reclusiarch for 40 points. A Reclusiarch is an HQ choice instead of Elite and gains +1 to his Wounds, Ballistic Skill, Initiative, and Attacks. A Reclusiarch may take an option a Chaplain can take.

Assault Squad
In a Blood Angels detachment, all Assault Squads are Troops choices instead of Fast Attack choices. Remove the 'Up to two Space Marines may replace their bolt pistols with one of the following:' option and replace with 'For every five models in the squad, one Space Marine may take one item from the Special Weapons list.'

Stormraven
A Stormraven replaces its Stormstrike Missiles with Bloodstrike Missiles.

Lucifer Engines
All models with the Tank unit type in a Blood Angels detachment, except for all variants of Land Raider, may purchase Lucifer Engines for 10 points. Lucifer Engines grant a vehicle the Fast unit type.

Land Raiders
All variants of Land Raider gain the Deep Strike special rule for free and are moved to the Dedicated Transport section. You may not take Land Raider variants as Heavy Support.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

The X-Wing Collection Expands (plus a little Rebel tactics)

For those who have read my review on the X-Wing miniatures game you know I think it's pretty awesome. So It's no surprise I've been increasing my collection of ships since then, as well as improving my space board:

X-Wing Space Board

The new space board is a simple canvas frame with the stars/nebulae painted on. Easy peasy! We even have two to play bigger games (as well as BFG):

Playing Battlefleet Gothic on 2 boards

My absolute favourite thing to use ever has to be this beauty though:

X-Wing Millennium Falcon

It's such an awesome model, and the paint job is top notch for a pre-paint. Many, many compliments to Fantasy Flight! The Millennium Falcon is also a beast in game, my two favourite ways to outfit this ship are:

Chewbacca - Draw Their Fire, Shield Upgrade, Millennium Falcon = 48 pts
or simply
Han Solo - Gunner = 51 pts

Chewbacca is by far the toughest nut to crack in the game, with his special ability of simply ignoring all crits your opponent has to get through every. single. one. of those 5(6) shields and 8 hull with no loss of firepower during that time. The Draw Their Fire card makes Chewie the perfect tank, taking critical hits from your more vulnerable ships (Y-wings and B-wings with their 1 agility spring to mind) and the 360 turret on the Falcon means Chewie can manoeuvre close to friendly ships without worrying about his own firing arc. Shield Upgrade increases your Shields by 1, its pretty expensive at 4 points but it just ups his survivability even more, The Falcon title is also a must as you'll be wanting to spam those Evades with all that firepower coming your way!

If you want your Falcon to be more of a beatstick you can always grab Han Solo as HAN ALWAYS SHOOTS FIRST. Well that's not strictly true (Imperials getting Initiative and all that) but you get the idea. I usually just load him up with a Gunner to absolutely make sure he damages something.

Although I've been rambling on about how awesome the Falcon is, I've been trying not to use it in our friendly games (it is pretty EPIC). The current build I'm playing around with is:

My latest X-Wing fleet

Luke Skywalker (X-wing) - Swarm Tactics, R2-F2 = 33 pts
Rookie Pilot (X-wing) = 21 pts
Prototype Pilot (A-wing) - Assault Missiles = 22 pts
Blue Squadron Pilot (B-wing) - Fire Control System = 24 pts

I struggle against a lot of TIE fighter swarms, so I thought 'if you can't beat them, join them'! Rebel ships are expensive, so my fleet is pretty unskilled (most of them are skill 1/2...) to keep the points down but its actually worked pretty well so far. Luke is in the list purely for skill 8 swarm tactics - mainly so I get the A-wings missiles off before it blows up, secondly so I can use the B-wing for pot shots at wounded ships before they can strike. Otherwise Luke's job is to try and stay alive.

As stated before, the A-wing is in there for its assault missiles: assault missiles are great against TIE swarms flying in formation! B-wings are pretty durable with a lot of shields/hull and can pump out plenty of firepower while barrel rolling out the way of firing arcs (the FCS is in there so he can still target lock while rolling).

I've tried some of the list combos on the net and they all end up with tiny fleets. In my experience, the more ships the better! I suppose I should really play Imperials...

Darth Meer

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Quick Citadel Mephiston Red Spray Review

Thought I'd do a quick review of the new citadel sprays (in-between the rain, I live in Nottingham...). Specifically Mephiston Red. I used the Blood Red spray back-in-the-day and remember it not being very good, so I was very curious about this new attempt by GW.

Ease of Use
If you know how to use the Citadel undercoat sprays you should be right at home with these new colour sprays. Just remember to undercoat your model first! Very light coats is a must, otherwise you'll either get obscured detail or a powder-like coating. You can usually get away with heavy coats with the black, but this red spray is very unforgiving (like white) - I'm having to strip a few models from my first attempt...

Coverage
The true test of a sprays capabilities (in my opinion) is BFG ships - it just has so many nooks and crannies to get into!


Pretty good! A few bits I need to touch up but a fairly even coating overall. Here's another model sprayed with plenty of detail:


This one has come out a little thick. You really have to spray this stuff on lightly! Hey, its all good experience for when I use this stuff for proper models (don't worry, that model was a spare). Coverage isn't a problem though.

Colour Match
Maybe the most important question is does the spray match the paint colour? 


The model was sprayed, then the right hand-side painted with Mephiston Red. It's probably hard to see on this photo but there is only a slight difference in shade. Mostly, its the fact the paint is more glossy, which most people will wash over anyway.

Economy
A 400ml can of spray costs £10, a 12ml pot of paint costs £2.40. You would think the pure maths of the matter would sway heavily in the favour of the spray can, but remember most of that 400ml is probably propellant and the very act of using a spray can is very wasteful. I sprayed a battleship, 2 capital ships, 3 escorts and that marine with about 1/4 of a can I reckon. For saying that the battleship is the size of most tanks (and I put way too much spray on my models) it's not bad. Would I have used a pot of paint (the same cost at 1/4 can)? Probably not.

Conclusion
In my opinion the new sprays (or the red I've tested anyhow) are a very good basecoat (not undercoat). It's infinitely quicker to spray models than basecoat them by hand. But they should be used as a basecoat and washed or painted over. The finish looks a bit too matt, especially in comparison with the regular GW paints. I think I still need some practice with them as they also seem to go on too thick - maybe GW really wanted them to colour match the base paints and piled up the pigment. Advice to myself from this test: lighter dustings from further away.

Darth Meer

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Blog's Back Baby

That's right, it's back! The blog has been on hiatus for quite a few months as I sort my new house out, plan for weddings etc (I'm sure it wasn't missed too much) but I'm going to be hitting the painting table again with renewed enthusiasm.

Blog Changes
"There's going to be a few changes around here." The original plan was to get guest bloggers to write some articles but that idea seemed to die (although if any readers want to submit one, or even start a regular feature, email me here). So, as my painting isn't as prolific as it used to be I'm going to expand the blog's focus a little. Not only will I share my painting and gaming progress as normal, I may be doing reviews of non-GW gaming and even some graphic novel articles (well... one, maybe). We're finally getting a dining table soon so hopefully I'll be playing more board and card games - if you have any suggestions of games my mates and I should play let me know in the comments!

Kill Team
The Kill Team ruleset is still going strong, and you can check out the growing community on Facebook. At the time of writing the group has over 150 members! The group is a great place to share photos of your team and gaming boards, as well as work out any rule contentions you may have. Campaigns v2 has just been uploaded, adding more in-depth rules for Walkers as well as a new optional 'HQ' mechanic for those who want to take their campaigns further (think base upgrades in the original Dawn of War).

Mutagenesis Skirmish Game
The 2nd edition of my home-grown game Mutagenesis is nearing completion. You can find the alpha version here. It's a lot different to the original book, and now has a 'you-go-I-go' system like chess which has allowed me to add in things like interrupt actions and just gives a whole new tactical depth to the game. The book is still in heavy alpha and needs a full proof-read and more playtesting before it goes beta but if you have any comments or ideas please contact me (either on the KT facebook page or email below).

Plans for the Future
In the coming months you'll hopefully see progress on my Lizardmen army, as well as bits a bobs from my on-going Storm Reavers (chaos). We've also started playing Battlefleet Gothic again so you'll probably see me finally paint some ships! I'm also putting together a guide on how to start reading Marvel graphic novels so we'll have our first non-gaming post soon. Also look out for more 'xenos' related posts on the horizon... maybe with a Tauish feel.

Again, if anyone wants to post an article or start a regular progress report email me here! It may take me a while to reply to your email as I don't check this one very often.

Until next time,
Darth Meer

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Hobby Update: Cultists, D&D, KR Cases, BFG, Kill Team

If you haven't noticed already, It's starting to become a long period between posts. I expect this to continue for the next few months while we move into our new house and plan wedding, but after all that hullabaloo service should be back to normal :-D. Until then I'll probably do a few Hobby Update posts like this one.

Cultists

I managed to grab a few hours last weekend to finish off one of my two squads of chaos cultists. Pics below:

Sect Momus - Chaos Cultists
Xenophon Momus - Chaos Cultist Champion

As you can see its not the usual quality of both painting and photography! After all, they're only cultists, and I have 30 of them to paint. Eventually I may go back over them and highlight but at the moment gaming standard will suffice. To be honest, I was still quite impressed what a simple layer and wash (well more like a dip really, as its all one shade) can accomplish in almost no time. It also means more time to paint more important models! Next on the desk will be one of the Chaos Space Marine squads I think.

Dungeons & Dragons

We've started a new D&D campaign using the playtest rules and I'm painting up a new model. My character is the mighty Thrulk the Barbarian.The model is from Avatars of War found here. I'm taking my time with him, especially the flesh (there is lots of it!)

We've had one D&D session so far and the new rules are pretty awesome. Much, much simpler than 4th edition, and focussed more on the 'what do you want to do?' aspect of RPGs rather than just a constricting narrative miniatures game that I found 4e to be. Although I don't think the difficulty is quite balanced yet, we struggled to survive a couple of Orcs but the Cleric managed to one-shot an Ogre...



KR Cases

I've decided to fully convert my old GW cases to new shiny KR ones. This, astonishingly, has been put forward by my fiancée who wants my armies out of the way in the new house! The card cases fit snuggly in an Ikea Billy bookcase if anyone wants to know.

I won't post a review (I did that previously), but I will say again that these cases are simply awesome. The custom cut ones are worth the extra few pounds, especially for vehicles. You can fit so much in! Check it out, 3000 points of vehicle heavy Blood Angels in 2 cases (plus an extra one for my Stormraven that I've had for a while):

KR Cases - Left has custom foam, right has core

Battlefleet Gothic

I won't lie, I'm disappointed in Games Workshop for suspending their Specialist Games line. I totally understand it from a business perspective, but they must still be making a little bit from the models - enough to keep the line selling and the fan boys happy perhaps. Of course this started a panic buy from the community and now hardly anything is available. Luckily I managed to place my order for a few bits before the rush! A few bits for BFG, mainly a Battle Barge and some Cobras to add to my fledgling Imperial Fleet that I still haven't got round to finishing. I'm going to have to try and have a few more games of BFG soon.


Kill Team

The new update for Kill Team (v1.7) was released a while ago, but I'll post the update log here for anyone doesn't check the forums or the Facebook group (which you can join here by the way, and is the easiest place to post your questions or comments - or just share your tactics and teams).

Kill Team v1.7 Update:
  • Added Blasts and Real Terrain rules
  • Added 'purchasing grenades' rules
  • Clarified mission VP/EXP with Squads
  • Clarified optional Injury rule with Squads
  • Replaced Hostage mission with Breakthrough
  • Replaced Grab & Run mission with Seize Ground
  • Adjusted bonus EXP rewards for missions
  • Only Special models may now become the banner bearer in Last Stand
  • A load of rewording for clarification
A few updates have been released for the Kill Team lists, so check them out and see if your army has been updated  Of special note is the update for Tau (new codex) and new Black Templars and Deathwatch lists.

You can find all of the unofficial Kill Team rules here.

Thanks for reading, and happy hobbying!

- Darth Meer


Sunday, 7 April 2013

Storm Reavers Chaos Bikers Unit Painted

Storm Reavers Chaos Biker Unit - Achlys' Marauders
Chaos Bikers are awesome both in-game and model wise. Unfortunately they are a bitch to paint! They have been the bane of my existence this last couple of months, I'm sure everyone has their 'painting dread' that they leave on the desk for an age in the hope it finishes painting itself. Anyway, they're finally done. That's it, no more bikes! Too... much... trim!

Achlys’ Marauders Background
One of the original Storm Hawks that fled through the warp gate at Vardia, Achlys had resisted the extreme mutative effects of Chaos for many decades of service in the Storm Reavers. That was until the battle of Davkon V against the Iron Warriors, where Achlys squad was slaughtered by sustained Havoc fire. Achyls turned and ran from the battle, infuriating Lord Moros, and inciting the wrath of the gods. Achyls was sealed within his armour and to his bike for all eternity, cursed to feed only on the tainted fuel of his motor and to feel only the cold steel of the bike's chassis. Although Achyls has been given command of another unit of bikers, he has vowed to Lord Moros to never again run from the enemy - if he does so, Achyls may face the terror that is spawndom.

Forge World Chaos Havocs
And here's the next project for my Chaos army! The autocannons are from the Forge World legion set, and are really, really good. Only a little liquid green stuff (I like to call I liquid awesome) to tidy up small gaps and miss-casts.

Forge World Chaos Havocs

A Note On Kill Team Support
Most of the people who this matters to will have probably already read my note on the Kill Team page, but I just want to reinforce it here. Development for Kill Team will not stop, but will slow down. A lot. Life is taking me in new and wonderful places, but as everyone knows this can leave little room for hobby. The hobby time I do get will be spend mostly painting (my way to relax) or socialising/gaming with friends. The time I used to use for working on, and answering emails about, Kill Team has been replaced with work and other things. I would like people who have questions to post them on the forums, and hopefully the community will be able answer and work out house rules for things I overlooked. If this is popular, I will compile a list of community house rules and incorporate them into Kill Team. I have enjoyed the last year of Kill Team development, but it has reached a point where the rules are stable enough that I can take a back seat. But please, please, please do not let this mean the end of your Kill Team enjoyment!

Darth Meer

Monday, 11 March 2013

Playing 1000 Point Mini 40k Campaigns

Last week me and my gaming buddy decided we would try something different in our usual weekly game, a mini campaign! Three story-driven 1000 point games played on three different boards. Amazingly we managed to play it after work, taking about 3 and a half hours in total (including lots of chat with on-lookers).

We played on a Tuesday at Warhammer World and it was pretty empty so we got to use two of the 'special' boards as well as the Zone Mortalis table in the last game. Really sorry there's no photos but I just wanted to share the rules for our little campaign, and hope to inspire some other players to create there own!

The campaign story follows the Storm Hawks (the codex I wrote a long time ago can be found here, although I didn't use it) last stand on Vardia and their eventual fall to chaos (see here for background on my Storm Reavers). There is a lot of background taken from the Vardia campaign book my friend is writing, so it may seem a little off-cuff to some readers.

The rules below are built specifically for our mini campaign (Space Marines vs Chaos), but it may give you ideas about how to write up your own. I kept the mission objectives simple as I knew we would be playing after work, but you can spice them up if you have a day to play.


GENERAL CAMPAIGN RULES


  • Three different 1000pts armies. The third army may not have any Vehicles except for Walkers (and no Defilers!)
  • The Storm Hawks must take Chapter Master Falco in every army: A Chapter Master with Terminator Armour and Twin Lightning Claws. In addition he gains the Fearless special rule.
  • If Falco is killed during battle, at the end of the game roll a D6. On a 1 the model's Wound value is permanently reduced by 1. On a 6 the model permanently gains the Hatred special rule. If you roll a 6 again after future games, the model also gains Rage.
  • If any of the Chaos HQ units are the same (both type and build) they may keep all of their rolls on the Chaos Boon table for all games.


GAME 1: RAPID ASSAULT


The Storm Hawks have arrived at Vardia, only to find it already lost to Chaos. Heedless of the Blood Angel requests to hold, the Storm Hawks race towards the planet in a daring attempt to break the enemy's back before it can reform to meet the incoming reinforcements.

In this game the Storm Hawks use a lot of fast moving transports such as Stormravens, Drop Pods and Land Speeder Storms, supported by Stormtalons and regular Land Speeders. The Chaos forces have lots of troops on the ground but not many 'linebreaker' units such as Obliterators or tanks.

Objective
The Storm Hawks must rush in and destroy the Chaos forces.

Deployment
The Chaos army deploys first, anywhere in the table that is more than 12" from a table edge. In addition, Chaos units must be placed more than 6" away from each other. The Storm Hawks will enter play on their first turn from any one table edge (in exactly the same way as arriving from reserve). In this mission, all units fall back to their nearest table edge. No Chaos unit may be placed in reserve. Any Storm Hawks units that do not arrive first turn are assumed to be in reserve. Storm Hawks always get first turn.

Special Rules

  • Orbital Assault: Any Storm Hawks unit that can Deep Strike may arrive automatically on the first turn.
  • Already Dug-in: All Chaos forces receive the Move Through Cover and Stubborn special rules.

Victory Conditions
Kill Points and Secondary Objectives.


GAME 2: THE ENDLESS TIDE


The warp portal has been unleashed upon Vardia and caught the Storm Hawks unawares The Storm Hawks have been pushed back by the chaos tide against the entrance to the ancient Vardian catacombs. Luckily, the marine forces have come across an abandoned PDF strong point and plan to use it to try and whittle down the enemy before they retreat further in.

In this game the Storm Hawks forces have no fast support units, but have managed to deploy artillery tanks such as Whirlwinds and Vindicators in order to support their defence. Most of the Chaos forces are transported in Rhinos or are equipped with Jump Packs.

Objective
The Chaos side must cause as much damage to the dwindling Storm Hawks as they can!

Deployment
The Storm Hawks deploy first, up to 12" from the edge of the table. They also get an Aegis Defence Line to set up for free (note: we actually used a Fortress of Redemption instead). The Chaos forces deploy anyway up to 24" from the Storm Hawks forces. Chaos automatically gets the first turn.

Special Rules

  • Endless Tide: When a non-Vehicle Chaos unit is completely destroyed it automatically re-enters reserves. This counts as a new unit in all respects.
  • Last Stand: All Storm Hawks units gain the Stubborn and Preferred Enemy special rules.

Victory Conditions
Kill Points and Secondary Objectives.


GAME 3: FALL BACK!


Chaos have overrun the Storm Hawks and Chapter Master Falco has ordered their retreat into the warp portal, through the underground catacombs. The trouble is some of the Storm Hawks are too stubborn to run! What the Storm Hawks do not know however, is that their Chapter Master has already succumbed to the will of chaos and is in the progress of being possessed!

Objective
The Storms Hawks must get as many units through the warp portal as possible before they are destroyed!

Army Restrictions
No vehicles may be used in this game except for Walkers.

Deployment
Played on a 4x4 board. A lot of terrain must be placed as the game is played within the Vardian catacombs (preferably on a Zone Mortalis board!). Both sides deploy within 12" of their board edge. Randomly determine who sets up and goes first. You may seize the Initiative. Only units which are described as being able to teleport or materialise from the Warp may use the Deep Strike special rules.

Special Rules

  • Filled with Doubt: At the start of the Storm Hawks movement phase, any unit not within 24" of the Chapter Master must take a leadership test. If it fails, the unit may not move at all this turn (except to charge).
  • Falling Back: The Storm Hawks are proper legging it! They may run 2d6 and choose the highest.
  • Chosen of Chaos: Chapter Master Falco gains the Champion of Chaos special rule.

Victory Conditions
For every Storm Hawks unit that leaves the board via the Chaos board edge, they gain 1 VP. For every Storm Hawks unit that is completely killed, the Chaos player gains 1 VP.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game Review

Introduction

I finally managed to get my hands on the Star Wars X-Wing miniatures game by Fantasy Flight Games. It's been pre-ordered for a long time, and OG Games have now managed to get stock from across the pond. For those who have been living in an exogorth, here's the official blurb:

Control the most advanced starfighters and outstanding pilots in the galaxy! In X-Wing Miniatures Game, you take the role of squad leader and command a group of merciless Imperial or daring Rebel pilots in furious ship-to-ship space combat. Featuring stunningly detailed and painted miniatures, X-Wing recreates exciting Star Wars space battles from small engagements of only a couple of crafts, to large conflicts where multiple squadrons clash. Select and equip your ships, pick your crew, plan your attack, and complete your mission. Taken from the FFG Site.

The first thing I'll say is that I love Star Wars, as if you didn't already guess from my internet handle. I was the kind of kid that ran around the woods with his mates and bashed the crap out of each other with plastic glow rods screaming the star wars theme. So as you might imagine, I had steep expectations.

In this review I'll talk mostly about the Core Set and its out-of-box gameplay, with only a small section on expanded play (as I only have two expansions currently).


Opening The Core Set

As with any other FFG game, you get an overwhelming number of components! The box provides all the movement templates, action and status tokens, range rulers, asteroids, mission counters, dice, cards and miniatures (two TIE Fighters and a single X-wing) you need to start playing. The only thing you have to provide yourself is a 3' x 3' gaming surface - I just used a square of black fabric from Hobbycraft, but it would have been nice if they included a play sheet or fold away board. Anyway, all of the included bits and bobs are printed on high quality card stock and feel as though they could handle some serious use. I was particularly impressed with the artwork on the cards and templates as they really give off a Star Wars 'feel'.

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game - My Ships

The ships themselves look like they came directly from the ILM archives, and are highly detailed. The models are adequately painted to gaming standard, and to be honest I probably won't even touch them up - although I may add Rogue or Wraith squadron markings at some point... but that's purely to satisfy my nerd cravings. The scale is just right, not too big to interfere with gaming and not too small that you can't see the details.

With all these components X-Wing initially seems to come across as a bit of hybrid game. Part miniatures, part board game. You can buy the Core Set and set up a game in minutes (once you've read the rules) using the pre-generated pilots and missions, just as you would a board game. No assembling and painting models beforehand. Of course you only get 3 missions in the rulebook so this approach may get tired fast. On the other hand, if you want to go deeper and craft your own squadrons (like a traditional miniatures game) you can - which I will cover later.

X-Wing Miniatures Game - Core Set

Another thing I wanted to say was the box itself is actually sturdy enough to hold your bits. I have two expansions and their plastic 'cradle' (for want of a better word) sits nicely inside with enough room for everything else. I've used resealable bags to store all the components and the rulebook sits nicely on top. This is a nice touch as the game can sit on a shelf with the rest of my board games, I don't have to buy any additional storage like I do with my other miniatures games and find a place for it.


Playing the Game

As a space miniatures game I was expecting pages and pages of rules (like Battlefleet Gothic), but was surprised when the rulebook turned out to be just under 30 pages, and only about half of that is actual rules. You can read the pdf, or watch the tutorial video on the FFG site so I won't go deep into the rules, rather give my overall impressions.


X-Wing is simple and easy to learn. The book is very well laid out and takes you through the game step by step. The game uses templates in order to determine movement and range, and custom dice for combat. Something I actually rather like and makes movement and combat a lot quicker with less contention. You don't have to look at any charts to see what effect your roll had on the game - it's already right there on the die face.


I also really like the 'hidden manoeuvre' aspect of the game, where you have to try and out-guess your opponent in where they will be moving next - with different ships having different manoeuvring capabilities. The combat phase is totally reliant on your movement (through firing arcs) so it adds a heavy dose of tactics to quite a simple game mechanic. With most ship stats being similar, manoeuvring well and outguessing your opponent is what will win you games. Another thing to add is that the rounds fly past, this game is so quick! With most of the decision making done simultaneously, both players have something to do at all times - none of this twiddling your thumbs for half an hour while your opponent moves and picks off your army.

X-Wing Miniatures Game - Game In Progress

I've played a number of games with my fiancée now (a non-gamer) and she picked up the rules after only two games. She even said she had fun, something she has yet to do for any other miniatures game I force her to play! I personally would have liked a little more detailed rules (being a seasoned miniature gamer), but the game is very quick to play and there isn't anywhere that says I can't make up some extra rules myself! You never know, they may being out an Advanced version some day.

X-Wing Miniatures Game - Game In Progress

Squad Building and Expansions

Where X-Wing diverges from its board game roots is the ability to build and upgrade your squad. Like all good miniatures games it uses a points system for ships and upgrades, with 100 points being typical. You can load up on ships with elite pilot skills, missiles and modifications, or go with lots of ships with fewer upgrades, or you can find a nice balance. As I only have two expansions (about 50/60 points a side) I can't say how playing a 'full' 100 points game would effect the rapidity of play, but as the rules are so simple I doubt it would have too much effect.

An example Rebel squadron from the FFG site.

One bad note I have with this is that instead of giving you all the upgrade and pilot options from the start (such as a Codex), the upgrade and pilot cards come packaged with different expansions. This means that the only way to get all the options is to buy everything (as most upgrades can be used by both Rebels and Imperials). This annoyed me a little with one of my favourite SW characters Wedge, as instead of being able to buy two starter sets (and thus grabbing 2 X-wings and 4 TIEs) I'm forced to buy the X-wing expansion if I want to use him. But I suppose that's business.

Of course the main reason for buying expansions is the miniatures, and FFG are bringing new ones out all the time. The larger ship expansions also come with new rules and missions. I can't wait to get an Interceptor, piloted by the famous Soontir Fel of course! May have to paint the rest of my Imperial squadron with red stripes then.


Cost

I bought the core set for £25 from OG Games and expansions are around a tenner (of which you'll need about 2-3 per side). So a 100 point squadron will cost you around £45-55 if you're only collecting one of either Rebel or Imperial. Which of course no-one will! So it ends up being more like £75. That's a lot of money, but a new army from GW costs over £300 for each player not including things likes books, paint and other paraphernalia  When you take into account that £75 gives you everything you need for 2 players to play a decent sized game, its a bloody bargain!

X-Wing Miniatures Game - Game In Progress

Conclusion

If you love the movies, love the books, there is no way you won't like this game. The miniatures, the art, the characters, awesome. To be honest, even if you're not a Star Wars fan I would recommend it. I wouldn't replace my regular more-in-depth miniatures game with it, bit X-Wing is great for light evening entertainment. The models are of high quality, rules are tight and quick to learn, and if you can resist making 'pew pew pew' and 'froooom' noises while playing then you're a better man than I.

Darth Meer

P.S. You know you want to play it with A New Hope playing in the background.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Chaos Sorcerer Conversion - Plastic Kitbash

Chaos Sorcerer Conversion with Wings!

I've been wanted to convert a plastic Chaos Sorcerer for a while now but didn't seem to have the inspiration until recently. This beast is actually very simple to kitbash! The legs, arms and gun are from the new Raptor kit, the torso and wings are from the Possessed box, and the head, torso, staff, and miscellaneous gubbins are from the Terminator Lord sprues. Bung them all together with magic glue (Humbrol Liquid Poly actually) and viola!

I will be Jump Pack-ing him around the table in future games, but if this turns out to be folly the wings can simply count as 'excessive decoration'.

Some more shot below. Only minor green stuffing was required - mostly due to the MASSIVE Sorcerer head preventing the shoulder pads from sitting correctly. I've also repositioned his left foot slightly so he's pushing off the rock.




A simple, but effective alternative to the Finecast model I say. I'll be painting him up soon and writing up some more of my oh-so-popular background! Oh, and I'll just leave you with this parting shot or something I may be talking about a little but in the future...

Pew pew pew!
Darth Meer

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Storm Reavers Chaos Helbrute Painted

Storm Reavers Chaos Helbrute
Meet Varea Metalla, the newest painted member of the Storm Reavers warband (see here for the army background). I've only been taking him in bigger games lately as he tends to die quickly unless the opponent has other threats to focus on, but I wanted to paint him up as I love the Dark Vegeance model - so much detail!

Paint wise, I wanted to go for quite a 'choppy' look when highlighting so the metal looks as though its chipped and scratched. The flesh red is simply Mephiston base, Carroburg Crimson shade, layer on the Mephiston, then an organic highlight of Evil Sunz.

Chaos Helbrute - Close Up
"Varea Metalla was once Brother Nisus, a well-respected veteran of the Storm Reavers Chapter. Nisus met his fate during the Vardia campaign against Chaos and was entombed in a mighty dreadnought. However, it was on his début battle in his metal sarcophagi that the Storm Hawks were overrun by daemons and fled into the warp with Chapter Master Falco. Nisus battled his way through the daemon hordes and followed his brothers into the warp rift. But when he re-appeared in material space, like his Storm Hawks brethren, Nisus was not the same being. Twisted by the warp and driven mad, Nisus became Varea Metalla, his metal body chained until his crazed fury can be unleashed on the eve of battle once more."

Darth Meer

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

40k Kill Team Rules v1.6 Update - New look, DA team list


The next update to Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team is here, and with a shiny new look. This look isn't restricted to the main rules either, I'll be rolling it out to all the team lists soon. For now, you can check out the new Dark Angels team lists to get a feel for it. The DA team lists also features a new format of unit entry that I'm trying out. More tabulated (and harder to edit) but should be easier to read!


Rules wise, v1.6 is mostly tweaks with the only 'new' rule being for psychic powers (they actually work now...). Take a quick read through though, as the whole document has had a going over with rules tweaked, missions adjusted slightly and you can now Deep Strike (only if you teleport though - yey for deathwing!).

If you have any comments or ideas for Kill Team, please visit our Facebook group!

I was hoping to get my Helbrute finished for today (for some non KT content), but alas he's taking longer than expected. Damn all that trim! I've not been totally idle this last few weeks however, and have finished 10 more saurus! A mighty achievement in my books. Only 30 more to go for that unit of 50...

Darth Meer