Sunday, September 25, 2016

Kill Team: Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors (part 1)


My first (and currently only) fully painted Dark Eldar model.
Regular readers may be wondering "Hey, wasn't that last Kill Team post about Genestealers???" And they would be correct.

Umm... bit of a hiccup in that plan, but I shall write about that in it's own post.

Meanwhile I have been pleasantly surprised to find myself working on some Dark Eldar for Kill Team. Believe it or not, it's a project I have been debating to myself about doing for many years and my clowning around was actually me toeing those proverbial waters before diving into the deep end of the pool. (Or rather, after the proverbial pool separated into two with the Harlequins becoming their own army). Kill Team now provides me with the chance to work on a few things without building the entire army, which is in the webway (storage) waiting for their day to escape into realspace...

If you have ever explored my blog you may have seen these guys on my Other Armies page in the Tertiary Armies section. I have not touched them since these photos were taken in 2013 and it had been close to three years prior to that since any work was done on them.

The Dark Eldar assembled on my old, and totally unfocused, painting station. 

In the 2010 Codex: Dark Eldar they had a color scheme in the gallery section for a Kabal called the Obsidian Rose. I was quite impressed with it and wanted to make that the Kabal I would paint and play. I had a few Dark Eldar warriors that I had put together for fun when I was first collecting them seriously around the year 2000, and decided to try the Obsidian Rose scheme on them. I was impressed with it and with how quickly the model was finished. However I was quite seriously into completely my Space Wolf projects and decided to but the whole Dark Eldar experiment onto the back burner for another time. I was also upset about the transition to Finecast and my inability to get some of the new range models in metal before it was too late.

Obsidian Rose paint scheme reference pic.

Back to the present, and I took this pic (above) to help me try to figure out just how I went about painting this scheme and what were the exact paints I had used to do it. Luckily, I had stopped this project in mid-stage so the incomplete models have acted like a road map in helping me figure that out. I will likely do one of my typical stage-by-stage posts on this scheme soon so I can view it for my own future reference.

For now though, let's get back to the unit construction for Kill Team. As I said above, all of my unassembled and unopened boxes of Dark Eldar are in storage, but I had a baggy full of old Dark Eldar models, bitz and scraps that Mike had given to me. There was enough to make nine fully assembled models. I rebuilt and primed the three mostly finished models and ordered some bitz from ebay to give the rest of these models some variety.

Not as much variety as a Rush concert, but close...

After an evening of kit-bashing I was fairly impressed with the initial results. The woman in the pic above is to be a Sybarite, However I decided that if I was going to use the new style arms that I would have to it in pairs otherwise one arm would look bigger than the other. So the arm with the double-blade knife was removed, and you can see below that I decided to switch it with a newer style arm holding a grenade.

Sybarite. -Is it me, or does she look really pissed off?

These next two pics are of the model I decided will be the Leader in Kill Team games. She is also a Sybarite.

Sybarite and Kill Team Leader

 I decided she needed a powersword but the only bitz I had handy were from an old Craftworld Eldar sprue (that's another army I haven't touched in ages by-the-way). I thought it needed something flashy so I stuck a plume of hair/fur hanging off of the sword pommel. This is a bit from the original plastic Dark Eldar models that is intended to be used as a sort of crest on the helmets of those models. I think it turned out cool.

The Blade of Ticklish Distraction?

Also while building this model the idea to put a bladed crest behind her head came to me and I had to try it out. Pretty simple idea and I think it works. It kind of mocks the vanes that some of their Craftworld brethren have. I like it so much that I went back and added one to the first Sybarite also.

Next up was the opportunity to add special weapons. The lack of special weapons was an annoying short-coming of the original Warrior frames. Back then GW rarely gave us special weapons on the sprues and instead sold those alternative options in metal blister packs. The current kits (not just the Dark Eldar ones, but all their newer releases) have addressed this to the point were now it seems that you end up with more leftover bitz than you have glued onto the finished models!

Special weapons.
These next pic are of two basic head swaps.

The current heads have ball joints to connect them to their bodies, whereas the older models had a flat connection. I had to cut the ball joint off of course but I was able to cut it in a way so I could angle the heads to be looking in different directions. .

This last model will likely be a Specialist in Kill Team simply because she has one of the newer helmet-less heads and is easier to distinguish from the rest of her companions.

Grit has been applied, primer sprayed and the painting has begun. I look forward to showing you the results.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bolt Action Ally combat drills (with live ammo!)

Good day! Last week  The Bob and I got together for another session of Bolt Action. This is likely our (well mine anyway) last game before we all start playing BA 2nd edition (as I write this pre-orders of the new rule book have arrived and there is much excited rules discussion). So we gathered at our local Hobbytown USA, where we were joined by Mike and Screech, serving with the usual bombast as our merry band of hecklers.

Bob showed up with the U.S. Army and I used the same list of Brits from the last game. Whether it was these armies doing war game drills or the War of 1812 rekindled, it didn't mater to us. We chose a mission where we just tried to rack up the most VPs but we start out in reserves. Bob rolled some of his things onto the table and when my Firefly arrived it had a juicy tank to shoot at. And it did so very well and the tank was blown up almost immediately. A drastic improvement on the penetration results from the previous game and an impressive way to begin the game.

The troops continued to roll on but nothing else dramatic occurred on Turn One.

End Turn One
Turn 2 and the pin markers begin to accumulate. Bob's artillery piece was my next item of focus for my Firefly only it was too well protect by the cover that stood between it. This was also when I discovered how awesome Veteran level troops are vs my Medium level troops as Bob's Yanks proved quite stout compared to my seemingly soft Brits. It appeared that attrition would be a winning factor in this game after all...

Turn 2, the Pins begin to grow...
Both sides employed their Forward Observers to call in Air and Artillery strikes. In the next pic you'll see a scatter die, which is the incomong target point, in Bob's side of the field that his troops were quick to move away from.

End of Turn 2
Everything went nuts on turn 3, it seemed that by the end of it almost everything had a pin marker on it.

Under fire!
My right flank was starting to crumble quickly as my Infantry Division was taking far more damage than they were able to dish out.
End of Turn 3
Turn 4, as pin markers accumulated faster than they could be rallied off, my artillery barrage came screaming in and blew away the artillery piece that had been hounding me thus far.

End of Turn 4.
Needing VPs Bob's forces upped their aggression and wipped out the Infantry Division leaving just the Command Section in the Bren Carrier and the mortar team in the back woods. The remaining airstrikes and Artillery came in and I got to issue some payback from the last game by diverting his airstrike onto one of his own units. It wasn't as devastating as I had hoped, but both armies were starting to show a lot of wear.

End of Turn 5.
Last turn of the game and we were in a tie. Feeling bold, the command section raced up with the Bren Carrier and disembarked to attack the rival command section. Although a few soldiers were picked off, it wasn't enough to stop the yanks from charging the limey's for some good 'ol fashioned close quarter action. .

"Bayonets ready lads, 'ere they come!"
And by the time the dust had settled the U.S. was victorious.

"That was for burning the down the White House!"
The last actions of the game, at least for me, were a series of futile gestures intended to eek out another VP to secure lead, but they backfired. Most of my units were trying to wipe out his bazooka team that had gotten a bit too close but they just wouldn't go down! One of my Forward Observers got too exposed as a result of this foolish plan and was himself cut down, securing Bob and the Americans a slight edge in our tied game.

"Damn it man, they're RIGHT THERE!!!"
So it ends at officially a tie, but with the advantage to Bob. Had we kept going I am certain total victory would ultimately have been Bob's, as those vets are just very tough to kill. You can see in the pic below that his force was prepping for a final sweep.  It was a fun game, with Screech, who was our neutral dice puller and keeper of the bag, and Mike cutting up and helping us with the rules it was just a jolly good time. Thanks guys!

End of the game.
Comparing these rules to the changes we knew about for the 2nd edition, I am sure we would be in for a far more explosive game with the introduction of the template rules. As it was, the Firefly only really mattered against armored targets. I got my book yesterday and shall begin a proper read through in the coming week.

'Til next time, remember:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Killteam: Genestealers (part 1)

With the release of the new Kill Team rules the local gaming group is buzzing with the excitement of playing Kill Team. Actually, it was going through a revival prior to this, but now it seems even more gamers are keen to get in on it. I am excited about it as it will allow me to model and paint a variety of different miniatures in lieu of what I have been focusing on in recent years (chaos marines, orks, and Bolt Action Brits).

Models and paintjobs that are older than 3/4 of my readers!

I whipped up a few 200pt lists of armies that I haven't done anything with in a while and started to access where I wanted to begin. There are a lot of possibilities here. These lists were Chaos, Space Wolves, Celestial Lions/Ultra Marines (i.e. Codex: Space Marines), Harlequin, Dark Eldar and I decided I wanted to definitely do something with Genestealers. The Genestealers quickly became the lead contender in the Kill Team race. It took me a few days to locate the miniatures, but after much frustration and seeking, I figured out where they were at. And now the plotting truly begins.

For 200 points on the dot, I can take 9 models. That is 8 Genestealer Purestrains and a Broodlord. I upgraded them with Toxin Sacs because poison rocks. Pretty simple on paper, and they look like they can close wicked quick on their prey, I just need to watch out for the Overwatch and open fields...

Looking back on my few Previous genestealer posts I somehow avoided discussing the paint jobs on these models, an oversight I'll fix now.

The first Genestealer I ever painted.
My Genestealer Purestrains were mostly painted in England, so somewhere in '91-'92. They were purchased as part of a boxed set called Terminators & Tyranids. It was a great set for it's time. And at that time my paint palette was limited to the Space Marine paint set, a few choice bottles of loose Citadel and Humbrol paints and the Citadel Inks boxed set.

I did not undercoat the models back then, and the blue color of the plastic may have worked to my favor. The light blue areas are based with a dark blue, then a middle layer of Shadow Grey and highlighted with Space Wolves Grey. The purple areas were based with terracotta, then Worm Purple before being washed with purple ink. Worm Purple would then be added back as a highlight. Their tongues were painted using a Humbrol Red.

It will be fun to revisit this scheme. Being a lot more experienced with painting then I was back then hopefully I can improve upon it. The first model I will paint will be this guy:

Unlike the old days I will likely prime the model with Chaos Black.

My two specialists will probably be these next two models. I say "probably" because these models are different enough in design that I might use some of the (even older) metal ones that I have. Still deciding on this idea... anyway:

The team leader will likely be this chap below:

I say "likely" because, again, design-wise the older ones look OK with these Space Hulk 3rd ed models but clash when scrutinized. I am tempted to locate my old running Patriarch model who fits in very well with the older 'stealers and use him instead.

That's all for now, hopefully I'll have something newly painted to show you soon!

Monday, September 05, 2016

Clowning Around (Part 3)

After painting all those earth-toned Brits for Bolt Action I needed the color fix that only painting a few Harlequin minis can give you. So I decided to clown around a bit more. Picking up exactly where I left off in December, I began with some dark gray mid-coats on the black area of this Death Jester

Mid-coat on armor and hair.
Next I applied even more red ink to the hair until I was satisfied with it. Then I used an even lighter gray for the highlights on the black areas of his suit.

With light gray highlights. 
You can see that the other Harley in the background is getting some color added to her mohawk as well.

While thumbing through the Harlequin painting guide, Warriors of the Laughing God, looking for inspiration I came across an alternate painting technique for the rock and ruins that most of the modern eldar figures are often modeled on. Basically you paint the rock/ruin a dark gray then wash it with Druchi Violet and highlight with Russ Gray. It's looked cool different in the book, and since I really am just clowning around with these models, I decided to give it a try...

Rocks washed with Druchi Violet.
So far so good, kind of a neat effect so far...

Russ Grey added to the rocks.
...and I'm not sure, but I think I hate it. They look OK in the photos, but in person it looks like I stuck cheap aquarium rocks on their bases. They don't appear right to me. So I am going to apply gray drybrushing to them to see if I like the result better. It's that or repaint them entirely to look like the traditional wraithbone look. I did like the look of the rocks with the purple wash, so we'll see what I can do to salvage this look...

The Reaper with the golden gun.
I decided my gray highlights on the black suit were just too intense and toned them down a bit with a wash of Nuln Oil. Then I painted gold onto the gun.

The rocks are corrected.
I decided to dry brush those funky rocks with Apple Barrel Pewter Grey and it seems to have done the trick. I can tolerate them now as they are no longer as distracting .

Next I decided to try another technique from Warriors of the Laughing God. This idea was to wash the weapon with Druchi Violet then highlight it with whatever they call Mitheril Silver these days.

Druchii Violet wash on rhe gun.

Mitheril Silver highlight on the gun.

I was very pleased with this effect and I will probably try this on some more Harlequins and maybe my Dark Eldar (whom I am considering for Kill Team).

Next up I finished off the mask and the gemstones that are all over this (and damned near every Goodwin Eldar) model. I changed his main soulgem from a red one to a green one just to break up the monotony.

More details done.
While working on the Death Jester I also completed this trouper by highlighting the red on her mask and adding some Mitheril Silver highlights to her gun and Harlequin Kiss.
Finished, front view.

On her back I finished off her gems and she was done.
Finished, rear view.
The rainbow hued mohawk came out fairly well. This was an experiment as well. I used inks on white to achieve the look of intense hair coloring. Also it's a bit of a call-back to the original paint schemes for these models from so many years ago...

Finishe Death Jester, rear view.
It's always fun to find a use for my old colored metallic paints, especially the Purple one. Here you can see I used it on the lightning bolt effect on the side of his cannon. Also I hand-painted the prism icon onto his right leg.

Finished Death Jester,  front view.

With exception to flock, these first few Harlequin models are done. I was having a lot of fun working on these and decided to prime up some more for the paint queue... coming eventually I guess... ;)

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Battle! Action! -Bolt Action!

For the first time, I finally got to play Bolt Action. My fellow hobbyist and blogger The Bob, agreed to show me the ropes on Bolt Action. Get my lads 'stuck in' as it were. And a jolly-good show he made of it too.

Brits deployment, left flank.

British deployment, centre. 
Brits deployment, right flank.
Loaded Halftrack deployed with Forward Observer deployed in cover.

The rest of the German deployment.
This report is pretty much going to be a summary with my thoughts on the game.
The next pic below is only relevant in that it documents the first ever action I have ever performed in a real Warlord game. It was exciting stuff (for me anyway).

"Take the ruins!"

End Turn One

Turn One wrapped up with little pain for either side. Both of my observers had called in their strikes. My Forward Artillery Observer called in a strike on the German squad in the German center and marked it in such a way so as to hopefully tag the Panzer as well. The airstrike was called in on the Halftack. My Firefly sent a warning shot (yeah, a warning, that's it, yeah) over the panzer and it returned the salute in kind. The German unit on my left flank took on it's first pin marker.

The lads trade fire with Jerry! 
Turn 2 was a far more brutal affair. My airstrike achieved the game's first unit kill by wreaking the halftrack. Then my artillery barrage killed a few guys in the center and threw pin markers on the panzer as well. My Firefly hit the Panzer keeping it from performing any actions this round. Bob's Germans were not taking it without a fight and pinned down my Infantry in the ruins while his unit in the trees on my left flank eliminated 6 of my Infantry Division in a sick round of shooting. Probably the most effective smallarms combat of the game I think.

End Turn 2, start of Turn 3
Oddly I didn't do much documentation between the last pic and this next one, but I can say that the battle was in full on rage-mode. My left flank was crumbling, despite support from my CO directing the BREN Carrier to dump it's fire into German unit on my left flank, as well as some sniping (so it seemed) from my Forward Artillery Observer . The unit was losing men but still dishing out pain and ultimately my Infantry Division on the left flank were cut down by them. The biggest upset occurred in this period with the German airstrike strafing the German unit in the center and doing so with such efficiency as to utterly destroy them! (Someone is going to have sone explaining to do when he lands...)

The right flank was getting scary as well, as I only started off with the Forward Air Observer and a PIAT team. After trading shots the Forward Air Observer unit was wiped out.

Start of Turn 5

The Firefly kept pounding on the Panzer, almost smothering it in pin markers.


The PIAT Team never had anything come close enough to use the actual PIAT against, but their rifle shots were effective at slowing down the Germans advance on the right flank.

"Take that you gits!"
With the German squad in the center having been torn appart by the Luftwafe, I moved out of the ruins to support the PIAT Team. They did a fine job reducing their numbers but the German resolve was too tough to be break.

Top of Turn 6
Going into Turn 6 we were tied with 3 VPs each (or whatever the BA equivalent is called). My Bren Carrier blasted away his HQ unit over on the left flank pushing my tally up to 4 VPs.

Advancing from cover.

We traded more small arms fire and although there were a few casualties on bith sides no more units were eliminated. His Panzer did hit my Firefly for the first time in the game but it inflicted no damage.

End of the game, full table view.

With that the game ended 3 VPs to 4 VPs.

End of the game, close up of the remaining action.

What did I think of Bolt Action now that I have played it? Well, I loved it! The randomly determined turn based system definitely eliminates alpha strike, table-you in-a-turn shenanigans that has made a few particular games a bit distasteful. Although, yes it's possible to pull one side's dice one after another (this occurred in our game on one of the turns), it didn't have a much of an impact on our game.

I like the simplicity of the combat system. And the Leadership system, and found the game to be easy to grasp. I like that there are some aspects of the game where a roll on a table is required to determine the outcome of the action (i.e. airstrikes). Some people hate tables, but I am old school enough to totally love them.  The only thing we didn't do was a close combat assault so I still need to experience that, but otherwise I am pleased with the game and I am glad I got in a game prior to 2nd edition launching.

Looking forward to the next game!