Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Too Much Hot Air

The picture to the left was supposed to communicate one man's utter disdain at having to hold a damn hair dryer for so long. Instead it ended up looking like a weird myspace photo. Cest la vie, actor I ain't. I have a new found respect for practitioners of the Cosmetic arts.

The wasted and sand blasted expanse of the Belsbethian desert is mapped! At least for the sake of this campaign. When I add the next set of tiles I will do a few more for the desert, but the fourteen of twenty-eight I set out to do for this campaign are done. Here they be:
From Stuff I Have Painted
From Stuff I Have Painted

I didn't want all my water in the desert to be that chemical waste so for these tiles I used P3 Bastion Gray for the water, then went around the edges of with P3 Hammerfall Khaki. The brownish gray was really effective in making the water kind of look like a muddy, silty pool or river. Also these mountains are darker than the previous tiles because I used P3 Umbral Umber as a base, followed by P3 Bloodstone and then dry-brushed with P3 Sulfuric Yellow.

You may be asking, "What the shit is up with the P3 (Privateer Press Paints) all of the sudden?" The more canny eyed viewers may even be wondering if I used a filter or color or correction for this round of pics as the colors seem "off".

Yeah...funny story that. I am headed to Seattle in about an hour for the next couple days. Yesterday my wife said she needed to go to Home Depot and I had been in need of a toolbox to consolidate all my painting stuff down into. I figured, since I wouldn't have time over the next couple of days, I would just bring my paints with me to work, which is 45 mins away from my house. That way, I could get the toolbox, use a little "break" time to put my paints in it, and be ready to rock when I get back from my trip.

As I sat down to finish these seven tiles last night I realized that while the new tool box had made it home, the paints hadn't. I got so busy at work yesterday that I never moved them over. Moreover, in my mad dash to get home, I forgot to grab them entirely.

I would not be deterred. If you have looked through my Stuff I Have Painted Picassa gallery you have probably noticed a lot of WARMACHINE and Hordes models. I enjoy the Privateer games a great deal and can't wait for the next addition. A little while back I was a Press Ganger for them, and ran events almost monthly. They compensate their volunteers with points allotments that can be used on their products. I had points for days, so when their line of paints came out I figured, "What the hell, let's try it." I bought the whoe line with my points and continue to be glad I did. Especially last night. I ran to my hobby/wife's sewing room and broke out the P3's. I did my best to approximate colors, and for the most part we were ok.

The real bitch is, the P3 Trollblood Base that I painted the borders of the tiles with is noticably different than the VGC Steel Blue up close, not so much form a distance, and I like the Trollblood Base better. This means I will either redo the borders of the fifteen I had done prior and use the Trollblood Base base going forward, or (What is more likely.) I will just say, "Eff it." It pretty much looks like the same color from a distance anyway so I will just do the twenty-one I have left to do in the Trollblood Base and have a few that are off color up close.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Belsbeth's Desert

Belsbeth is the name of the planet wherein my fall Planetary Empires campaign will be taking place. I haven't come up with a whole lot about the planet as of yet, but the name hails back to the first nation my good friend Josh and I built in our seventh grade D&D game. We were really proud of it then, and it has always kind of hung around.

The campaign kicks off in just three short weeks. A business trip and jam packed weekends before then mean time is running out. I stepped up the number of tiles I was doing per night from two to seven. The impetus for this being that if I just gave five nights over the next three weeks I would be able to get everything done except the structures. I have more time for the structures as every player in the campaign is responsible for their initial four structures, and other structures will be added over the course of the campaign rounds.

I wanted a large portion of Belsbeth to be a desert, or at least arid, as that tends to be the way I see a lot of 40k bases done. Also, the nation's initial setting was Dark Sun, a desert world. There will be fourteen of forty-eight tiles on Belsbeth that will be done in this desert scheme and here are the two sides of the first seven.
From Stuff I Have Painted
From Stuff I Have Painted

For the sake of unity along the map I used the same colors for the majority of these tiles I have for my others. The basecoat is VGC Beast Brown, washed generously with CW Devlan Mud, dry-brushed up with VGC Desert Yellow and then again with VGC Bone White. The few patches of green I have are also done to match the other tiles, using CFC Knarloc Green, CW Thraka Green, then a dry-brush of VGC Goblin Green and another of VGC Dead Fleah. I co-opted the wife's hair dryer for a lot of this as the washes and thin paint I was using were not drying in a timely fashion.

I attempted to make the tiles look more "deserty" with easily identifiable elements. All of the water for these tiles is green to illustrate it being very shallow or chemicaly poisonous, as is the case in my campaign. I did all the mountains in red-orange browns to make them look more like the rocks I have seen in New Mexico and Utah, using VGC Dark Fleshtone, then dry-brushing VGC Terracotta, then VGC Bronze Fleshtone. For the next set of seven tiles I am working on tonight I will go a little slower on this step as there are few tiles that that were not quite dry yet when I started dry-brushing. The mountains got a little splotchy. Lastly, for the ruins, I used lighter colors, VGC Plague Brown basecoat, CW Gryphonne Sepia, then dry-brushed with VGC Bone White followed by VGC Off White. I wanted them to look like they were made of sandstone, or just that they had been sun faded and weathered. The city ruins here needed to look older than the city ruins on the rest of the map, since this desert is Belsbeth's cradle of civilization.

In all I am happy with the way they turned out and will be eager to get the other seven done tonight. After that I will just have to do the eight or so "scorched tiles" including Hive City Bloodholm, and fourteen more of my usual tiles, then the surface of Belsbeth is done, at least for this campaign.

Lastly, I said I would post my house rules for the Planetary Empire campaign today. I don't want to be lair so enjoy.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, September 28, 2009


There was not a lot cool about this last week. Most of my time was spent studying-putting in over 22 hours in five days. Then Saturday came and it was all the "suck" I had expected. I will not know how well I did on the test I took until October 19th, but I hope to God, Yahweh, Allah or whomever is gonna listen, that I score well enough to not have to take it again.

One good thing to come out of last week was the fleeting hours before bed or between sessions where I got to read Emperor's Mercy (Cover shown above)in an attempt to prevent total 40k deprivation. I read a lot, so light reading is like a break for me in much the same way that I assume reality television allows the average watcher to halt their senses, turn their minds off, and just have shit flashed at them for a time. Realizing that I would need such an endeavor for mental rest, and not a fan of TV reality or no, I hit up my local Hastings for the latest Warhammer 40k novel.

It is a rocky past, the one between myself and Warhammer 40k novels. While there is certainly some that are quality, most of them seem to be turgid attempts to make whatever army is selling at the time cool. Reminding me all too often of the world's longest magazine ad or something. Admittedly, because I read so much, I think I can be hyper-critical of books, but that also allows me to be very forgiving as well. Sometimes I am not looking for a literary master piece so much as I just want to read about people blowing shit up.

Emperor's Mercy delivers in the "blowing shit up" genre. There were times when the descriptions made me feel like I was listening in when a couple of my prior service friends were talking. A feeling of kinda knowing what they were talking about, but capable of missing easily drawn conclusions or being not quite "in" on the jokes. Over all though the book is really just a bad ass Inquisitor, and a whole bunch of bad ass guardsmen, fighting an even bigger "whole bunch" of Chaos.

There is not a lot within the scope of the book that calls you to question your beliefs, nor are their any stunning dissertations on the human condition. What the book does have is a guy beating ass with a power fist and shooting people with a plasma pistol. It has guardsmen embodying every exciting and invoking stereo type from every war documentary you have ever seen. The book provides crazy cultists guys with metal faces, and Chaos lords. And most importantly, a tactility rich and gritty description of planets under siege mixed with an almost palpable sense of dread. A reader's imagination does not have to work very hard to be immersed in the grim dark dark grimness of the 40k world with this book as a road map.

Check me out tomorrow as we had our fist Planetary Empires campaign meeting and I will rap about that as well as post my house rules.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

All Quiet on the Northwestern Front

I apologize to the folks that show up here regularly but sadly the MPB will be kind of quiet this week. I am prepping for my big test this Saturday and am looking to score in the 90th percentile, a goal that if my practice tests are any indication, is a pipe dream. Nonetheless I will still give it my most gallant efforts, and those efforts include studying four hours a night up to the main event. That four hours leaves very little time to do anything else.

I would rather let the MPB sit as ghost town for the next couple days instead of try and create filler. I have always ascribed to the notion that if you have nothing to say, you shouldn't say anything.

I also just wanted to give a quick thank you to those folks who extended me some kind words about the MPB at the tournament. I know I played it off as "nothing" but that is because I am often embarrassed by such things. It really did mean a lot.

Aight! Wish me luck and we will talk to ya next Monday. And please check out the other blogs and links I have listed here if you run out of stuff to do.

Thanks for understanding,

Monday, September 21, 2009

Old Friends and Old Hates

My order from Dick Blick arrived while I was playing in a tournament this Saturday (We'll get to this.) so come Sunday morning I was excited and surprised to see a package planted in the middle of my painting station. The package contained the my new brushes.

Before I go any further let me offer up a sincere and heartfelt apology to my buddy Greg Matthews. Greg gave me the Citadel Master's set that I had been using, and talking about, in previous posts. I thought to honor his gift by using the brushes included for my Tau, at least until they gave out, but enough was enough and can't takes no more.

Also it is important to keep in mind that the GW brushes that came in that set, while having different handles, were released before GW launched their new brush line. I cannot speak to the newest GW brushes, as I have never used them and they are not covered within the scope of my ramblings to follow.

The brushes I used in the past are really well known and often recommended by various painting tutorials and blogs. My friend Deke and I have been using these for quite a long time; discovering them from military miniatures painters way back when played 1st Edition Warzone. Windsor Newton was all I knew while learning to paint. Occasionally I would try something else, but I always came back.

I could not, and still can't, articulately elaborate on why the GW brushes weren't doing it for me. They were working for sure, though the didn't seem to hold near the point I liked. They have longer bristles, which I found a little unwieldy, but that might have been from lack of familiarity. Also the long brushes held a lot of paint, but it never seemed to flow right to the tip for my style. But yesterday, when I picked up the WN's and went to work on my Shas'ui I felt a difference. It was comfortable, and easy, and sure I felt a little guilty, but it was still worth it, kinda like when you hump an ex-girlfriend.

Worry not, the master's set will not sit ideally by. The GW brushes are still really great for the Planetary Empires stuff I am working on at the moment, they don't require as much precision. Using them for the tiles will save some of the wear and tear on the WN's, which no matter how nice they paint, are still fuggin' expensive, worth it, but expensive.

As stated earlier, in this post and others, I played in a tournament this weekend at the Hobbytown here in Spokane. The quick run down is that I went 1-1-1 and had a couple of good games. I met a super cool Necron player named Jace, who gave me a good fight, and I got to have a game with my buddy Magnus who I can't play enough with.

My last game was not so great. I played a guard list that had the tank that shoots 4 times for 1d3 shots, STR 10; another tank that was big blast STR 6 AP 3 no cover, a couple of Vendettas, and then a bunch of missile launchers and veterans with plasma. There was also a psychic squad there that could do nasty shit. The list itself wasn't over the top, but the kid came to play. I gave over first turn cause I had been psyched out about how nasty new Guard were. I wanted to see what he could do since I was unfamiliar with his stuff. Bad choice, in the future I will see what something "does" after I have rail-gunned the shit out of it and looking at it in a buddy's codex the next day.

The tough list wasn't the trouble, it was more the scene. The tournament organizer did a good job, especially considering the constraints imposed upon him by the venue. This Hobbytown will not let TO's require painted armies, and is pretty twitchy about even including painting in a soft score. That's fine, hell I couldn't have played if they had. My issue with the players from the community was more in the conduct of the players who are "regulars" there. One kid, whom thankfully I did not have to play, showed up without a codex and was proxying orc archers for something. He was loud and swore a lot, no matter who was around. He even, at one point, picked up one of my friend Travis' minis and put it back further that it started, because he did not agree with the distance Travis had moved. Another kid, quite young and just getting into 40k, showed up with an illegal list. Another good friend of mine, Dan, spent the first 30 mins of their game getting the young guy's list in order, then the kid got pissed off because they didn't have time to finish their game. The highlight was a kid who was not even playing in the tournament asked to see my list between rounds, as he played Tau. I had printed off copies for all my opponents and I had a few spares because I didn't know exactly how many rounds were playing, so I gave him one. He looked it over, making noises which I could not recreate audibly, let alone in text, and then began to offer his criticism. It was never asked for, however I took his suggestions with a smile("Drop the Shaper!") respectfully informing him that I disagreed, but thanking him for his critique.

The natural reaction to this community would normally be for me to go play somewhere else. However, I think I am going to go another way with this crew. I think I am going to encourage the guys I know who show up prepared, painted (Not me yet.), and always class acts, to attend these. Maybe this community dwells in this state because it doesn't know any better? Or maybe, the three representatives from the community were a piss-poor cross section of the people who actually play there? Either way, leaving it be isn't going to make it any better. Instead it is better to put forth the effort to lead by example, or find the solid members and invite them into another community. Worse comes to worse, they remain asshats, but I still get to play some 40k.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, September 18, 2009

I Have Stood On the Edge of the Abyss

So this happened, and I went. Then this happened. It was a divine one, the kind that makes you religious ("Please god just let me die!"). There is some cruel universal joke around hangovers I am sure, but I have yet to see the humor in them. I was pretty bombed, thinking that since I was listening to the music I had listened to ten years ago, I could some how drink like I did ten years ago.

Anyway, I didn't get a lot done as I felt like I was experiencing the world through a think layer of Karo Syrup all day. I did force myself to crack away a little at the Planetary Empires buildings in an effort to not waste the day. That thing on the flight stand is my Tau space port tile. I wanted something that didn't look Imperial. I also really dug the whole ship thing floating over Johannesburg in District 9. I will go into it a little more when it is done and I can show it off.

This weekend I get to 40k my face off. I have my campaign game tonight and then a tournament tomorrow. I will try to get some cool pics from the tourney as well as a run down, but I don't think I will do like a full series of battle reports or anything. Talk to ya on Monday.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Only Good Lash Prince is a Dead Lash Prince

Last night I got to play Bob Kelley, a name that is known to quite a few folks who play in the Pacific Northwest and Southwestern Canada. Bob has been associated with many things in his illustrious and often outspoken hobbyist span, but the one thing that I always associate him with is quality. Quality play, painting, and armies. And then, to be able to play at his house, with his stuff, meant quality table and terrain as well. He didn't disappoint. I should offer fair warning that is a long entry, with a lot of pics.

From Mars Project Blog
From Mars Project Blog
From Mars Project Blog
From Mars Project Blog
From Mars Project Blog

The Armies
My army:
1500 Pts - Tau Empire Roster - Halcyon Week 7-8

HQ: Commander Shas'o (1#, 127 pts)
1 Commander Shas'o @ 127 pts (Airbursting Fragmentation Projector; Hard-wired Multi-tracker; Missile Pod; Positional Relay)

Troops: Fire Warrior (13#, 210 pts)
9 Fire Warrior @ 210 pts (Add Shas'ui; Pulse Rifle x9)
1 Devilfish (Burst Cannon; Gun Drones; Disruption Pod; Landing Gear; Multi-Tracker)
2 Gun Drones (Twin Linked Pulse Carbines)
1 Shas'ui (Bonding Knife; Pulse Rifle)

Troops: Kroot Carnivore Squad (18#, 139 pts)
9 Kroot Carnivore Squad @ 139 pts (Add Kroot Shaper; Add Kroot Hounds; Kroot Rifle x9)
1 Kroot Shaper (Kroot Rifle)
8 Kroot Hounds

Fast Attack: Pathfinder (8#, 155 pts)
4 Pathfinder @ 155 pts (Add Shas'ui; Markerlight x4; Pulse Carbine x4)
1 Shas'ui (Bonding Knife; Markerlight; Pulse Carbine)
1 Devilfish (Burst Cannon; Gun Drones; Marker Beacon; Landing Gear)
2 Gun Drones (Twin Linked Pulse Carbines)

Heavy Support: Hammerhead Gunship (1#, 175 pts)
1 Hammerhead Gunship @ 175 pts (Railgun; Smart Missile System; Targeting Array; Disruption Pod; Landing Gear; Multi-Tracker)

Fast Attack: Piranha Light Skimmer (4#, 155 pts)
2 Piranha Light Skimmer @ 155 pts (Fusion Blaster x2; Gun Drones x4; Disruption Pod x2; Target Lock x1; Targeting Array x2)
2 Gun Drones (Twin Linked Pulse Carbines)

Elite: Crisis Battlesuit (2#, 100 pts)
2 Crisis Battlesuit @ 100 pts (Burst Cannon; Missile Pod; Multi-Tracker)

Elite: Stealthsuits (5#, 160 pts)
2 Stealthsuits @ 160 pts (Add Team Leader; Burst Cannon x2)
1 Team Leader (Bonding Knife; Burst Cannon; Hard-wired Drone Controller; Marker Drone; Marker Drone)
1 Marker Drone (Networked Markerlight; Targeting Array)
1 Marker Drone (Networked Markerlight; Targeting Array)

Troops: Fire Warrior (10#, 115 pts)
9 Fire Warrior @ 115 pts (Add Shas'ui; Pulse Rifle x9)
1 Shas'ui (Bonding Knife; Pulse Rifle)

Heavy Support: Broadside Battlesuit (2#, 105 pts)
1 Broadside Battlesuit @ 105 pts (Team Leader; Twin linked Railgun; Smart Missile System; Bonding Knife; Hard-wired Drone Controller; Shield Drone; Advanced Stabilisation System)
1 Shield Drone (Shield Generator)

Elite: Crisis Battlesuit (1#, 53 pts)
1 Crisis Battlesuit @ 53 pts (Twin Linked Fusion Blaster; Targeting Array)

Total Roster Cost: 1494

Bob was playing Chaos Space Marines which, if you know him, should come as no shock. Bob has a had a few armies before CSM but he fell to Chaos sometime ago and has not since come back. Chaos is lucky to have him too, as he does their miniatures a great deal of justice. As to his exact list, I gave it a cursory glance, so I can not speak to it exactly.

HQ: Lash Prince with wings (The guy that is dead up top there, and the MVP of the match.)
Elites: 10 man Chosen squad in a rhino with a couple of melta guns, Infiltrators.
Troops: 10 man Khorne Berserkers, aspiring champ had a fist. 10 man Plague Marines with a couple of plasma guns and a Rhino. 16 man Chaos Space Marine squad with the mark of undivided. They had a lascannon and maybe some other stuff, though I am not sure as these guys didn't really come into play in this game. And lastly, a 10 man squad of summoned demons.
Fast Attack: I don't think any.
Heavy Support: I don't think any of that either.

The Deck
From Mars Project Blog

This thing is really awesome, and when bestowed upon Bob there where apparently only two in existence. The guys who are responsible for, or very active in (Not quite sure) Astronomicon, made this deck for determining games. Basically you can draw deployment, scenario, set-up cards, all kinds of crazy shit. Each player starts with two objectives and then you draw to see what happens from there. I was all over this.

The deployment drawn was this crazy kind I have never played before. Basically you draw an "X" through the middle of the table (A line from the top left short edge corner to the bottom right short edge corner, another from the bottom left short edge corner to the top right short edge corner.) and then mark the center of the board. Your deployment zone is the triangle formed along the long board edge, however you can not be within 12" of the center of the board, and you have to be more than 18" away from an enemy unit.

Once we had our deployment zones we set up our objectives, the only rule being one had to be in your deployment zone and one had to be outside of either deployment zone.
From Mars Project Blog
From Mars Project Blog
From Mars Project Blog
From Mars Project Blog

We drew out setup next, which was some crazy thing called "Fully Committed" or something like that. It broke down to being that all special rules were over ridden when it came to reserve. All your shit had to be down, in your deployment zone, at the start of the game. Infiltrators couldn't infiltrate, but you could set them up last.

Obviously, with my dropping kamikaze melta suit, out flanking kroot, etc this was a little bit of a bummer. Bob felt the sting too as his Chosen squad, for this game, was just expensive Chaos Marines. I should note that, reading the card in retrospect, Bob's demons probably should have started on the board as well. At the time we didn't even think about it, so if you are wondering why/how he summons in his demons in Turn 2, that's why.

Either before, or after the setup we drew another card to see what was happening on the table during the fight. The card we drew had warp energy running rampant through our battlefield, so any psychic check made that was doubles caused the psyker to suffer Perils of the Warp. If the check was less than or equal to their leadership the power went off still, so like rolling double "1's" normally. Bob had a lash prince, I had Tau. So I caught a break on this one.

So then, and this was the part that I really dug, we each drew an objective. I really liked the idea of us not having the same objective in the game. Bob drew a card that made it so that his primary victory condition was to kill my highest point valued unit, in this case my Hammerhead. His secondary victory condition was to hold two of the objectives we placed earlier.

My objective was a rescue mission. You have to select 1d3+2 models and have them be wounded ( I had 3.). You and your opponent take turns placing the models, they can't be within 6" of a board edge or 12" of my deployment zone. A wounded model can be captured if there is a non-vehicle model within base to base (friend or foe) at the end of the movement phase. If you have a wounded guy you always move as if in difficult terrain and the guy holding him cannot shoot, run assault, or be pinned without releasing the wounded model. If the wounded models were not held in base to base they could move d6" during your movement phase. My primary victory condition was to rescue more guys than my opponent did. My secondary victory condition was to hold one of the objectives placed earlier. I picked a fire warrior, a kroot, and a stealth suit to be wounded. This is one of those examples of how I handicap myself with the idea of something being cool, as I should have just had three wounded kroot hounds.

I placed my first wounded guy on the other side of the cathedral shown earlier. We were playing that as intact building and I had doors in my deployment zone. The other side of the cathedral was far enough off that I could place the wounded kroot about 5" off the door and still meet the criteria for him being more than 12" from my deployment zone.
From Mars Project Blog

Bob stuck my fire warrior in the building in his deployment zone.
From Mars Project Blog

I placed my wounded stealth suit about about 6" off his deployment zone, near the where the kroot was, in a ruin. My thinking was that I would force him to commit at least something to the far side in order to capture one of my guys, and if he didn't I would just run a squad of drones or something up there and start pulling him back. With something committed to the far right of the board, I would come in on the left and try to eliminate one of his units from most of the fight.
From Mars Project Blog

The last cards we drew were just quirky stuff we had or could do during the game. Bob drew a card that said that he had whatever I got from drawing. My card allowed for myself and Bob to select one of our HQ's who gained USR Eternal Warrior. I only had the Shas'o so he got it. Bob's only HQ was his lash prince, who already had it, so he got it again, and then one more time because his card that said he copied my card. So, in all, his lash prince was Eternal Warrior x3! That should have been an indication there as to the havoc he would wreak.

With the cards drawn it was "game on". I should say quickly that it took three times as long to explain the set-up here as to actually do it. The drawing is super fast, the instructions on the cards are easy to read, clear, and concise. All in all, it is a great way to play 40k casually, especially if you are burned out on the standard missions. Should these decks ever go into mass production I am friggin' on it! I would recommend folks do the same.

Bob is going first, and the first thing he asked is why I put the wounded stealth suit where he could get it first turn? I knew my plan had worked, too bad it was a crap plan.

Bob deploys the Deathgaurd in their rhino near the wounded suit. His giant CSM squad holds down the right side to middle. Lash prince and Berserkers in rhino are at the fore, and then his Chosen rhino was on the left side of his deployment zone, close to the wounded fire warrior.
From Mars Project Blog

I figured I had the wounded kroot with my kroot so there was 1 wounded model. The wounded stealth suit was written off immediately, for the greater good. My plan was to send all the guns blazing at the anything around the my wounded fire warrior in Bob's deployment zone, scoop in and pick him up with some fire warriors and a fish, and evac. I put my kroot in the cathedral, as planned, so that they would be able to grab the wounded kroot first turn. I also put my two piranhas behind the kroot occupied cathedral in case I need to drop the Deathguard rhino. I couldn't really let him get his foot sloggers too close. Conveniently the objective in my deployment zone was behind the cathedral as well. So one squad of kroot could grab the wounded kroot and then fall back to the objective helping to complete the primary and secondary victory conditions. The cathedral was on the far right side of the board.
From Mars Project Blog

Everything else I stacked on the left side, as close to the wounded fire warrior as I could get. I would need all the fire power I could get to pull of my gambit.
From Mars Project Blog

Turn 1
Bob goes to roll out with his Deathguard rhino from the ruin it is in and rolls a "1" immobilizing it. The Deatguard are forced to pile out. They then rolled a difficult terrain test and came up short of capturing the wounded stealth suit. Lucky day for me. Though in retrospect I don't think they should have been able to, as even though the vehicle immobilized itself before it was able to go anywhere, it still counted as moving, so the guys inside could only disembark. If I am right, oh well, hind sight is 20/20. If I am wrong, we did it right! Chosen pile out of their rhino and go grab the wounded fire warrior. The Berserker rhino and lash prince move forward. The big CSM squad had to move to give the lascannon a shot on my Hammerhead next turn. The Lascannon was really the only thing in his army that could drop my Hammerhead (Bob's primary victory condition.) from any kind of range. After Bob's movement was over he had captured my wounded fire warrior. In his shooting phase he lashed my Shas'o towards him.
From Mars Project Blog

My turn 1 rolls around. the wounded kroot rolls a "4" so helps me out. I pop the kroot squad out of the cathedral and grab him. The wounded stealth suit rolls a "1". Bob had wisely surrounded him which meant the only way he could go was off the ledge he was on, which we had stated took 2" off movement to go up or down before the game had started. He is stuck, unable to capitalize on Bob's misfortune. My tanks and APC's swing right, making a beeline for the wounded fire warrior. He bring everything to bear, immobilizing the Chosen rhino to prevent them from loading up and melta gunning my Hammerhead. At the end of turn 1, he has one of my wounded, I have one of my wounded, and one is looking like he is about to hang with the stinky kids.
From Mars Project Blog

Turn 2
The Deathgaurd move up and claim my wounded stealth suit. Berserkers get out of their rhino that I stunned the turn before with missiles, after summoning in the daemons. The lash prince knows that is the place to be so he hangs out with them. The Chosen start to make off with my wounded fire warrior.

In the shooting phase my Shas'o gets lashed to prince and summoned daemon assault range...yay. Lascannon takes a shot at the Hammerhead by my Disruption Pod lets me jink it. Plague marines drop a piranha and stun another with plasma.
From Mars Project Blog

My turn 2 I start pulling the wounded kroot around the the cathedral to the objective and roll horribly, it will take four turns for me to get the wounded kroot to safety, not that it mattered because even this early on Bob had already written that kroot off. I zip closer to where my wounded fire warrior is being held captive and unleash hell on the squad of Chosen holding him. I get them all but 1.
From Mars Project Blog

Turn 2 ends and Bob has two of my wounded. I still have my Hammerhead alive though.

Turn 3
Bob backs up slowly with the Deathgurd and opens my other piranha. His lash prince flies up near my stealth suits and you can guess what happens next. The Berserkers hop back into their rhino and head towards where the inevitable through down is gonna be for the wounded fire warrior. A lash happens, some stealth suits die and the remaining Chosen takes my wounded guy around the side of a building.

I tell myself the lash prince has to die. I set up enough fire power to drop him. Move a Devilfish up and drop off a squad of fire warriors to kill the one Chosen holding my wounded fire warrior. They accomplish the task put before them. Now here is what is weird, I suddenly decide that the Khorne Berserkers need to die because they can assault my fire warriors who are trying to capture the wounded fire warrior.

I open up the Berserkers Rhino and then dump all my shots that were supposed to be into the lash prince into the Berserker squad accomplishing very little. Me losing sight of my goal gave Bob a great opportunity.
From Mars Project Blog

Turn 4
This happens:
From Mars Project Blog

With a flap of his daemonic wings, lash prince gets into assault range with the Hammerhead. Turns out, he rips it up. Bob has just achieved his primary victory condition. The Berserkers that I just liberated from the confines of their rhino tear through my fire warriors forcing the remaining two to fall back.

My turn, my hope is to get the wounded fire warrior far away from the Berserkers and around the back of the building so I can pick him up with my other fire warrior squad. I roll for the wounded fire warrior's movement and..."1" FML! My Devilfish moves behind the building that the wounded fire warrior, Bob, and myself are now dancing around. After that I unload into the Berserkers with everything I can, and amazingly enough get them all. The lash prince shrugs off a fusion blaster shot and a couple of smart missiles. He can't die yet, he still has to 'eff me harder. I get so excited that the Berserkers get obliterated that I completely forget to jet pack anything. This wasn't really a factor, but it could have been.

Turn 5
The fuggin' lash prince, still alive and kicking, hops to the back side of the building and pulls my remaining fire warrior squad to him. Wiping them in an assault. My wounded fire warrior is now no where near anything that can capture him, mine or Bob's. Bob moves his remaining stuff into good firing position on anything that could maybe make it the wounded fire warrior, including his huge CSM squad.

I kill the lash prince out of spite, and cause there is crap else better to do. Moral victory!
From Mars Project Blog

I rush a couple of drones as close to the wounded fire warrior as possible. They are about the only thing that has a chance of claiming him. It doesn't matter, as the turn concludes we roll, it is a "2", game over.

From Mars Project Blog

Behold the victor's crotch! Bob wins the day having accomplished both his primary victory condition (Killing of my Hammerhead) and his secondary (Holding two objectives). I had one of my wounded, Bob had the other, and one was unclaimed. I failed my primary victory condition, though I did manage to obtain my secondary by holding an objective.

This game was a lot of fun. I made a mistake, but I was pretty soundly out played the whole time. The deck added an insanely fun dimension to the night only made better by a quality experience. A quality made possible by Bob's talent, smarts, determination, and a love for his hobby.

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Little Love

In various Tau discussions I have read many people are quick to tout the merit of Kroot and Kroot Hounds, but they got no love for the Shaper or Krootox. I cannot speak to the Krootox because of the way I use my Kroot (Which is needing them to outflank.) I can't bring one. However I run with my Shaper, and am glad to have him.

What this is is a brief discussion of the merits I have found running a Shaper. What this is not is me saying that people who don't run Shapers are wrong/fail/suck/are stupid. I do not possess the hubris to assume that it is the "right way" simply because I am doing it. All I speaking from here is my own experience. Take it for what you will.

The quick and dirty is that I often hear, "A Shaper is 4x as much as a normal Kroot."

I feel like that is cause he is 4x the Kroot.

I need my Kroot to stay in the game. Be it as late turn, out flanking, objective thieves; or just going to ground on the objective in cover. I run my squads with 9 Kroot, 8 Kroot hounds, and a Shaper. Total squad size is 18. That means that in order to break I have to lose 5 guys (The first turn in which they are shot at). If my squad were 21 strong (Shaper changed out for the 3 normal kroot) I would need to lose 6 before I checked.

Let's say I do take five wounds in the shooting phase, we can safely assume that they are AP'ing me as I don't buy armor for my Kroot. Time for the Shaper to shine. I can allocate one wound to the Shaper (1 of 3 down), and four wounds to the Kroot (Muerta). Four casualties doesn't equal a check. If I did not have the Shaper I would not have to make a check either, having had 5 casualties. However, the next phase I am only 16, so losing 4 causes a check at Ld 7, where as with the Shaper I am at 14, where 4 wounds would be 1 on the Shaper (2/3) and three on the Kroot so three casualties and no check required. I know that math says that I will pass that 58.3% of the time, but my scoring units are kind of at a premium, so those are not odds I like. Long and the short, in the first two shooting phases, your opponent has to kill 25% +1 before you have to check.

Where a Shaper falters at 4x the Kroot is close combat. He only has 5 attacks on the charge, 7 less than four Kroot would have. That is a bummer because against MEQ opponents that is two wounds, not taking into account their armor save. Where the Shaper kind of makes up for this is with the Ld 8. As long as he is alive, you can lose by 1 and still have a good chance of sticking. As a bonus, even though 6+ armor saves are silly, you can take a wound on the Shaper (Assuming failing it doesn't kill it.) and have chance. It is one of those "what the hell" scenarios that pays off 1/6 of the time.

Lastly, and not to be over looked. Shapers look friggin cool, though I guess you could just bring Shaper models as normal Kroot.

If you need your Kroot squads to stick in shooting (Important distinction as pointed out in John's comment.), the Shaper can be a valuable asset. He can take as many wounds as three Kroot. And in certain instances he can prevent checks, all the while offering one better leadership for the times you do have to check.

Sound off a little if you like. Let me here why you hate/love those Shapers.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Work" Weekend

All right, first off let's just get this out of the way right up front. This happened. I strode into the bar filled with purple and gold shirts knowing the environment would be hostile. Nonetheless, armored in my alumnist pride, I felt like the standard bearer in a Space Marine command squad. Sadly, as the game progressed it felt more and more like maybe I was the standard bearer in a guard command squad that had just been charged by Khorne Berserkers.

Second, it was NFL kick off weekend. If you are into it, you get it, if you aren't, you won't and no explanation on my part would help. It's cool, I never really got into Star Trek but a lot of my friends love it. In a deft maneuver designed to net me large amounts of "married cred" I agreed to a morning canoeing trip set up by the city parks and rec. My wife knows how much I enjoy football so she knew that what I was doing was "big". Only on the surface though. The Seahawks weren't playing until 1 PM and I was pretty sure that even if we got back a little late I could still catch the second half.

And despite all this football and leisure sporting, I managed to get some work done on my hobby as well.

My first priority was to get up to the next point value for the escalation league I am playing in. I also wanted to be able to play a game tomorrow without any proxies. It wasn't too hard to do, I just had to build a couple suits.
From Mars Project Blog

The shield drone actually belongs to the broadside, not sure how he got next to the suicide suit for the class photo. I have heard of, and know, a lot of Tau players who swear by crisis suits. Sadly, I just find myself swearing at them. I run very light and very cheap, using two elite choices for single suits that have a Targeting Array and Twin-linked Ion Blasters. These guys drop in and try and kill a tank. After that whatever they do is gravy. Works well for me, may not work so well for other folks.

After building up to 1,500 points I focused what little time I had remaining on getting more of my Planetary Empire tiles knocked out. First meeting is in two weeks and I will know exactly how many I need to do, but getting a head start is the idea. I ended up finishing four (Pics that follow are either side.) and now am going to move on to a couple of the buildings before doing anymore hexes.
From Mars Project Blog
From Mars Project Blog
From Mars Project Blog
From Mars Project Blog

This week is shaping up to be a good one. Should be able to bring a battle report on Wednesday. It will be similar to my other one in that I will be thoroughly out classed and shamed by my opponent's stunningly painted army. Looking to finish that fire warrior squad for a local forum painting challenge, some buildings for Planetary Empires, and top it all off with a tournament on Saturday. Hopefully have some cool stuff to show here over the next week or so.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, September 11, 2009

Word Problems

Apparently all of my spouting of resolution, my efforts to remain on task, even my digging deeply into the reserves of my self control, have all been for not.


Dear god in heaven did he start another army?

No I am afraid it is far worse. The internet tells me that Space Wolves have broken 40k, so why bother?

The maxim “You can’t be heard if you don’t speak out” was one that I used to strongly adhere to. So much so that (In those youthful days where everything was black and white.) I would mercilessly chalk-up any misfortune that had befallen someone as their own fault if I deemed that they had not “spoken out” enough. However, the internet gives me cause to rethink this adherence, as those that are “speaking out" seem to be complete ass-hats when it comes to talking about the Space Wolf Codex.

Everyone speaking on the internet about how broken the Space Wolf codex (W) is is an ass-hat (A). W->A. So every ass-hat must be speaking about how broken the Space Wolf codex is on the internet. A->W. Anyone who knows a little something about logic will see that this is a false statement. There could be an ass-hat, or many ass-hats who are not speaking on the internet. But I am not convinced. I think in this one instance, all the ass-hats of the world unified, somehow received funding to enable non-computer/internet equipped ass-hats to acquire the necessary means (Probably through some exploitation of some Stimulus Package.) to be able to speak on the world wide web, and launched a campaign to dumb up the internet with their Space Wolf talk.

It is hard, even for me, to remember the times before the internet. I have vague recollections of hungrily sifting through the pages of the newest White Dwarf in hopes of catching a glimpse of a forth coming model. I felt elation, or disappointment, when that same publication announced the next codex. And I remember scanning trade order form pre-orders to see when the books would be in. These were simpler times, not necessarily better, where on shipment day the racks would be crowded with people devouring the latest content. “Oh my gods” and “Holy Shits” echoed off the walls in a cacophonous roar.

But these days are gone. Insatiable rumor mongering demands that every tidbit discovered, true or false, be broadcasted and discussed in length before the books have been shipped. Armies are declared broken, and units are declared “the suck” before the book is even in stores. And ass-hats are empowered to type line after line of utter bullshit discrediting the people who have worked hard to realize a product, before said product has even hit the shelves.

I know right, I need to be on my porch with a blanket over my knees and a shotgun in my lap. But I can’t help but miss the merit of those old thyme 40k ways. The days of tweets and social networking broadcasts do not allow for patience, review, or understanding. It is ok to be knee-jerk in these venues because it is accepted that nothing on the internet can be taken seriously. So then why the paradox? In an arena where I am supposed to surrender to the fact that nothing is serious, why does everyone take everything so damn seriously?

I think, as I grow longer in the tooth (See what I did there?) the romance between myself and maxims grows colder. Hard and fast is more successful as a method of “doing it” than thinking.

In honor of my shifting of ways I would ask anyone who reads this, and possesses far more talent than myself, to assist me. I don’t necessarily want people to be heard anymore, I just want them to play. And so I abandon my maxim for a mantra, “Shut up and play.”

In the spirit of knowing the enemy, one cannot say what one thinks, nor can they start a revolution (Not necessarily what I am going for, but imagine…) without a catchy banner to put on your blog, signature, etc. Thus I appeal to like minded and software gifted readers to devise a banner. The only caveat being, it must read, “Shut up and play!” Email it to me and I will post it, or on the off chance that there is more than one, than all of them, here. If there is more than one I think I can make a poll or something, I’ll look into it, and we can all pick.

In the mean time, I am think I am just gonna skip any thread that reads “X RUMORS!ZOMG!” or similar. There is nothing that I would be worse off knowing a few months down the road.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Keep On Keepin' On

Finishing the fire warrior tutorial means it is back to the grind. There are a couple of 40k things I have committed to over the next few weeks and they seem to be barreling in on me.

My decision to not commit to any tournaments whose point values are equal to or less than the points value being used our escalation campaign has kind of come back to bite me. Had I done the math I would have realized that even with that caveat I was obligating myself to play sooner than I thought. Now I need to assemble 250 points in the next couple of days. Not a gargantuan task by any stretch, but as always time is a premium.

I am really looking forward to kicking off the Planetary Empires campaign we are getting going. The rules are awesome, the product has been awesome, and my players are all guys I know pretty well, which is also-yep you guessed it- awesome. We are having our first campaign meeting a week from Sunday, at a sports bar. I have a lot of tiles yet to finish, and I haven't even started on the buildings. The tiles paint up quickly, the buildings I am sure will go even quicker, I just need time.

Last night I set out to finish the fire warrior squad that I started for my painting series from yesterday. I am running in squads of eight, more for points to bring the stuff I want than for any kind of tactical leetness. I had the realization that my fire warriors and my map tiles share a lot of the same colors so I figured I may as well make up for the two guys I am not painting by getting some tiles done at the same time.

It is a nice way to paint actually, the one in which you are allowed to deviate a little. I know a guy in the area named Bennet Hobson (Prolly effed the spelling of his last name up so on the rare occasion that he actually reads this, first off sorry, secondly, send me a chastising email in which you correctly spell your name so that I can fix it.) who always was painting like eight miniatures at a time, often from different games. He would do a little here, then a little there, but he was always working. I am channeling him to a less talented extent, when I work on the tiles. I am always going to keep a couple going, until they are done. That way I can be doing something else while I am waiting for washes to dry or whatever. Also there is something very appealing to me currently about working on "something else". The curse of my flitiness. I will satiate the curse and my need to finish by tackling some pathfinders once this fire warrior squad is done, going X, fire warriors, X, fire warriors until they are done. We are not going to talk about the large squad of Kroot that stare at me in all their unpainted ire.

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fire Warriors Start to Finish Part 5

Let's finish these bad boys, shall we?

The Glow

There a lot of incredible tutorials on source lighting techniques. Sadly, what follows would be denied admittance into their hallowed halls. Instead I went for something fast and identifiable, since it was going to have be duplicated so many times, on so many models. For every step to follow put this in your brain-wet paint, wet paint, wet paint!
From Stuff I Have Painted
From Stuff I Have Painted

Starting with some super wet VGC Ultramarine Blue and my Standard brush I painted the areas that I wanted to be lit, or glowing. After that I painted the areas nearest the glowing parts to create the light pollution effect. As long as the paint is wet there is little need to be super careful in this step, the more mess, the brighter the light.

Once I had the coat I liked, I covered all the Ultramarine Blue and surrounding areas in a wash of CW Asurman Blue, straight out of the pot. I made sure I covered all the blue I painted, but wasn't really careful with where else the wash got to further create the effect of the light source.
From Stuff I Have Painted

*Sorry about the crap focus on this pic, it didn't look that bad last night :(

Once the wash was dry I used my Standard brush and VGC Magic Blue(You guessed it, very watery!) and painted the interior of the lights, as well as the edges of the areas around the glowy things. This is the exact same principal as I used for every other part of the model, however instead of my light coming from the top, it came from the things I wanted to have appear as glowing. Then I went in again and did the same thing with VGC Electric Blue, only filling in less area on the "light" parts.
From Stuff I Have Painted

I switched up to my WN S7(Windsor Newton Series 7) 0 for the next step. I created a heavily thinned (water/matte medium) mix of 1:1 VGC Electric Blue and VGC White. Just like on the other parts of the model, I painted the corners and the highest areas surrounding the "lights". I also painted the center of the "lights" with just dots, making it look like the brightest point. Once that step was completed I used a watered down (3:1 ish) mix of water and CW Asurman Blue over everything I had painted with any kind of blue. This glaze helped to smooth out the colors between steps.
From Stuff I Have Painted

When the models was finished, like after being coated, I went back with VGC Gloss Varnish and hit the areas emitting the light (Not the surrounding areas.) to make the look more like like an LED-thing.

Squad Insignias

Before diving right in, let me share something I wish I would have learned a lot sooner. I used to spend far too much time on freehand. I would obsess over every little detail until it was near perfect, which normally resulted in me messing something up. I was talking to someone once and I was saying how much I really admired their freehand. They said they spent almost no time on it. Looking closely I could see that it wasn't as exact as a Golden Demon model (No Jesus on a cloak eating a corn dog or anything.) but it looked good. Fact is, I am not trying to win a Golden Demon, so I am good with getting something down that looks cool from four feet. That being said, when free-handing squad insignias I prioritize thusly: identification, replication, and then exact.
From Stuff I Have Painted

Using VGC Bone White and a Standard Brush I drew four-ish lines where I wanted the squad insignias to be located (Shoulder, right side of the pulse rifle, and left side of the helmet.) with thick lines. After that I just used the original base color, CGC Knarloc Green (Didn't add water but I wish I had.) and cleaned up the lines. Once the bars were to my liking I added the dot over the first two with the Bone White.
From Stuff I Have Painted

You see that glob of paint on the final bar in the picture? That is why I wished I had thinned the Knarloc Green. I went back and smoothed it out after the pics. I also realize that the picture being in that tight is not doing me any favors for pointing out that from further off, those bars look straight, but they do. For the last step in the insignias, to add some depth, I used some thinned VGC Off White to paint over the bars and the dots in the higher areas. The picture doesn't really show the difference, because it is subtle, but it does make the insignias look a lot less flat.
From Stuff I Have Painted

I will also use this step to clean up my lines a touch, though I will not let myself dwell on them.

Back to the Base

From Stuff I Have Painted

I am not sure what to call my whole theme with basing, other than "Shit I like to glue on bases". I used Woodland Scenics tree flock and honey colored static grass. Not all of my fire warriors will get the tree flock. They don't all get to be standing in or around shrubs. I just attach both products with a dab of super glue. I should note not to press down on the flock when adhering it the base. That stuff is flaky and porous, so you just end up with your finger covered in glue.

For the sake of my brush I made sure my glue was dry before dry brushing the tree flock with VGC Dead Flesh and the static grass with VGC Off White. Once the flora was taken care of I painted the black ring around the bases with a couple coats of VGC Earth.
From Stuff I Have Painted

It was getting late so I really rushed the painting of the outer ring of the bases. Next time I will go a little slower and use more coats so the paint doesn't look as chunky. Even still, it is the bottom of the god damn mini, and no one is gonna notice.

Finish Line

Once everything was done, I loaded the fire warriors up on a box lid and took them outside for a coat of Citadel Purity Seal and let them dry over night.

This morning they looked good to me so let's call them done.

From Stuff I Have Painted

That concludes my fire warrior series. If you have any questions don't hesitate to shoot me an email.

Thanks for reading,