Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in review

While 2016 may have been a crappy year for many reasons here on earth, it was an awesome year for our hobby particularly witb GW releasing some very cool 40k products. Thankfully so, as we needed the escape!

As is my tradition on this blog I shall feature, or link, the projects I finished this year. I completed a lot of painting projects this year, I also started some that I haven't even blogged about yet, and I also made progress on few long running projects that have yet to be finished.

It seems that the first thing I completed were some of the Harlequins I have been clowning around on. Although my collection has expanded significantly, thanks to the release of Deathmasque, I haven't made progress beyond these 3 models. The Death Jester wasn't finished until the summer though.

The first half of the year was focused on my Black Legion. A unit was completed along with an Aspiring Champion. The Chaos Bikers are nearly done as well but other distractions pulled me away from them.

I did some work on my Imperial Assassins, only one of which did I finish, the Eversor Assassin. The others are still in line, but not enough progress was made to make a new post (yet).

In one of my proudest achievements this year I completed a Section of British Infantry for Bolt Action along with a PIAT Team. Also I almost finished a Bren Carrier as well and the remainder of my British BA force is more than half-way painted. I look forward to getting them completely finished.

The launch of Kill Team has inspired me to focus on some of my 40k armies that I rarely get to play with or model, and the stand out team so far has been my Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors. I am pleased with how my paint jobs turned out as well as how they have done in the game also. I have other Kill Teams planned as well and hopefully I can get them painted up and running in the New Year.

Pretty much out of no where I painted up an alternate model for my Space Wolf Warlord, Sven Axegrinder. It felt good to work in Space Wolf colors after setting them asside for so long. I am considering doing a few more one-off character models for the Wolves in the New Year as well. Here's one that I have already started:

See you in the New Year, hopefully I will have new projects completed as well as some previously chronicled ones that have yet to be finished.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Bolt Action: British Infantry squad 2 (Part One)

Work has slowly progressed on the rest of my Bolt Action models, with focus really being on the 4 unpainted models that I had to assemble quickly for the 1st Game with Bob a while back. These unpainted guys appear in the battle report and they were part of the division that survived that game.


Basecoat of English Uniform.

Anyway, I am not feeling terribly keen on rewriting out the step-by-step on how I paint these guys but if you do want to know the steps I use please follow this link to part four of the last series of BA troop posts.

However I will make an exception to that last statement. In the first issue of the new monthly White Dwarf  (the one that came with the free miniature. And yes I will post my thoughts on this new incarnation of WD in a separate post soon), there is a really good tutorial on painting flesh using their current colors. It was definitely different from how I had been painting Caucasian fleshtones over the years. The model is left with the appearance of having a redder skin tone as if he has been in the sun for many days. Also, it seems that the examples of painted soldiers throughout Warlord's products appear to have reddish hue to them also and I wanted to try painting a few models with that look.

I picked up some of these paints on my last trip to the local game store and tried the technique straight out of that WD.

Bugman's glow added as a basecoat for their skin.

Cadian fleshtone added as a mid-coat. 

Adding on a wash of Reikland Fleshtone.

Highlight of Kislev Flesh 

..and with the addition of Kislev Flesh, I have completed this experiment. Before I bought the Kislev Flesh I had been tempted to try it with the old Bronzed Flesh, but I really want to stick with the paint guide just to see how well it turned out. In the end, I think it works very well!

These models are now, more-or-less, caught up to the rest of their division, and I will be working on the them as one group here on out.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Anachronistic 40k: Madboyz

I could blog for years about the Orks from the early days of Warhammer 40,000. There was so much unique and rich material from that time that got left behind with the new editions. Slowly, elements from that era have crept back, especially in the background material. But one particular unit type from that era that never returned, at least on the table-top, are the Madboyz.

One of the Sacred Books of WAAARGH!

The Madboyz first appeared in 'Ere We Go, one of the three Rogue Trader-era stand-alone publications dedicated solely to Orks. It's a brilliant work, one I still recommend to all true fans of the Orks. It featured a lot of new units and the Madboyz was one of them. Essentially the Madboyz are the Orks that are so insane -for whatever reason- that the "normal" Orks would rather not be around them. Here's a quote from the book that sums them up rather nicely:

"Madboys are Orks whose behaviour marks them as obviously and unashamedly mad. Of course, even normal Orks do things which a human would think insane, but Madboyz are so reckless, manic, or downright strange that even other Orks consider them crazy."

It's stated that in the game, the player has very little control over the Madboyz. In fact the unit they form is called a Madmob and once you see their rules you'll find that to be a fit title. The only thing you can do is point the models in the direction that you want them to face at the start of their turn, and roll on the chart. The Mood Chart. The Mood Chart used a D10 and broke down as follows:

1. Frantik
2. Paranoid
3. Phobiak
4. Manik
5. Skitzo
6. Moronik
7. Delirik
8. Melankolik
9.-10. Bloodlust

You then referenced the corresponding page, as each of these conditions had a further D10 chart to roll on -which filled up an entire 8.5" x 11" page of the books! Malankolik was the exception and was only a half-page and used a D6. Rolling on these charts was insanely fun, and you NEVER knew what was going to happen next.

The Phobiak table, to give you a sense of the possibilities. 

Your Madboyz could do anything from being terrified of the battle noises, to shooting at random terrain features, to laying about contemplating the universe. Their actions were totally determined by the charts in the book and they ignored normal rules for psychology. In one battle I heard about, a friend of mine had his Madboyz roll a result that had them decide that the enemy wasn't so bad after all and they went up and tried to befriend the closest one, in this case a Deathjester who had just gibbed some boyz with a bio-shuriken. Nothing was all the enemy was allowed to do as he was too confused to understand what was happening. (Skitzo, 'Fraternizashun wiv da enemee'). The results are far to numerous to dictate or copy for this post, but I hope you get the gist: these rules were crazy-fun!

You could influence their behavior slightly by having a Weirdboy join the unit which allowed you to re-roll the Mood Chart results. Often in the lore for Weirdboyz there will be discussion regarding their association with the Madboyz. Other factors would trigger new mood swings as well: Having the unit-size drop to less than 25% of the starting force, other units routing too close to the Madmob, units close by charging, being charged by the enemy, etc. They even summarized this in a chart (a novel concept!).

Like I said, crazy-fun! And so were the models! Brilliantly sculpted by the legendary Bob Olly, who I think did some of his best work on these guys. Each model represented one of the nine moods from the rules and they were just full of energy. So much so that some of these are 28mm tributes to kinetic energy. Take a look at the catalog page below:

Madness for sale! 
And then 2nd edition came along with it's tidied up ruleset and ruined it all. Gone were the pages of charts and bizarre random actions. Instead you got one chart. This chart relied upon the existing core psychology rules, so your Madboyz could end up being Frenzied, Stupid, Fearful, Crazy or even immune to all Psychology. These rules were simply no fun at all and not nearly as random or as entertaining at the previous rules were. Yes, the previous rules were a lot to have to deal with, and it would've been a sizable chunk of the page count to directly port them into the tight book that was the Codex: Orks, that's understood. But it felt like a cop-out to simply resort to the existing psychology rules, which honestly, were more of a pain to deal then they ever were beneficial.

Having said that, at least we had rules for the Madboyz. When 40k 3rd ed came around, it was "back ta basiks" for the Orks, and some of their zanier aspects were simply gone. The Madboyz would only return as a sidebar mention in the 4th ed Codex (rules-wise, arguably the best post 3rd Ed book the Orks got*) and in a three paragraph write-up in the current book. In fact so prominent is their piece in the current book that I have to wonder if GW were hoping to make new models but just didn't get to them in time? I would love to know if that theory has any merit. Since they still exist in the background as being augmenting influences to the Weirdboyz, and with the return of psykers in 40k in 6th & 7th Ed, it would have been nice to have a bit more help for the for the Weirdboyz.

Mad Dok Grotsnik.
Also the background for Mad Dok Grotsnik mentions how he's "madder than a Madboy", so technically I suppose there is still one Madboy left in the game...

* 2018 addendum: Morko Vayrynen commented that the Madboyz did reappear during 3rd edition! It was in the Ferral Ork Codex that appeared in White Dwarf and reprinted and updated in the Chapter Approved books that supported the game during that edition. They had a simplified 'Disturbed' list with only results, but considering 3rd edition's aversion to charts of any kind, this was something of an achievement.

Madboyz entry in the 3rd Ed Ferral Ork list.

All of the images in the post are Copyright Games Workshop and are used here for the purposes of review and not as a challenge to their individual copyrights. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Leisure Suit Sven

Sven Axegrinder in Power Armor.
Just over 2 years ago I got a few models from Da Masta Cheef that originally belonged to Necronbob. One of them was the Vindicator tank that I repurposed into a World Eater aligned vehicle for my Chaos force. One of the other models was a very old (1991 I think) Space Marine Captain. He was rare even in those days as he was the limited edition Games Day model that year. Clearly he is based off of the classic Terminator Captain from the first metal Terminator boxed set. And with that model being the basis for Sven Axegrinder, the continuity between the two models is too obvious to not make a second Sven Axegrinder model.

The original Sven.
Although this model doesn't have the rebreather mask, and the terminator model doesn't have a bionic eye, a lot of the other details are fairly close.

After rebasing the model, applyng the grit to the base, the model was primed and ready!


Base coated.
I used my old, '90s era, Shadow Grey for the base-coat. It's not as dark as the millennial version though but I like the rich tone it has.

Base coats of Shadow Gray, Fiery Orange and a dark brown.
I decided to match the Terminator model's non-metallic gold scheme on this model even though it's a pain in the ass to paint, I usually like the final results enough to feel that the effort is justified.

      Bugman's Glow as the flesh basecoat.
I decided to try something different with the skin on this models and used Bugman's Glow for the basecoat instead of my traditional choice of Dwarf Flesh. I then put Dwarf Flesh over this. I think the colors work very well together.

Horizon Blue and Dwarf Flesh.

The mid-coat which I use for my Space Wolf color is called Horizon Blue and it's from the old Epic Battle paint set. I cherish this paint and I hope to find a good analog for it once I eventually exhaust my supply.

Next, I dabbed on watered-down Space Wolf Grey. Then I put the Space Wolf Gray on the edges of the armor but I kept it thick and straight from the bottle.

Bronzed Flesh and Space Wolf Gray.
Bronzed Flesh was put on top of the Dwarf Flesh before adding a final highlight of Cadian Flesh. This is my first time using these colors in this sequence for caucasian skin tones and I like the results.

Skull White.
So far this model has come along quickly. after adding a few conservative Skull White highlights to the armor, it was done!

I next painted the bone colored icons and added Averland Sunset followed by Sunburst Yellow to the shoulder plates and the winged icons.

I decided not to use the cloak/backpack that came with this model as I felt I needed to make the model a bit more "wolfy". I ordered a few Wulfen Backpacks from a bitz store online, which arrived super fast. It fits great and the bone totems on top of it give the model a greater sense of menace. I painted it using the exact same steps above with one notable exception: I didn't prime it. It was simply far too cold outside and since it's plastic anyway the likelihood of the paint chipping is minimal.

Backpack basecoated, no primer.

Here it is finished and ready to be mounted.

Backpack finished.

But not before applying the decals. Afterwards the backpack was added and Power Armored Sven Axegrinder was completed. After I flocked the base of course.

Finished model! 
As followers of my Space Wolf projects know, I use the origional Space Wolf icon, from the Rogue Trader days, as Sven's Great Company badge. I was bummed that it didn't return with the pseudo-retro iconography that GW/FW have been doing with 30K, but then again, it does make my army feel a bit more unique for it.

Original Space Wolf icon.
On both leg greaves I added some more iconography. The right leg in particular has the 2nd edition-era campaign badge. This was added as a bit of an afterthought really, but enough of my finished models have this badge that it makes sense to me to continue to uae it.
Campaign Badge on right leg.

And here are both incarnations of Sven together:
A pair o' Svens.
I'm pleased with the results, and now I have two alternatives/options for using Sven Axegrinder in the game.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Against the Stumbling Hordes.

In a rare occurrence I was able to make it to the game night at Hobbytown where my Dark Eldar Kill Team faced off against the menace of Hivefleet Screech. I haven't played with Screech in what seems like ages, so I was very much looking forward to it. However, it was a strange game, as you'll see, so I will try not to get too in depth with this report and stick to the highlights. die. 
The mission we selected was Head Hunt. Primary VPs are earned for slaying your opponent's Leader and Specialists.
We rolled for Leader Traits. I rolled and got Unsakeable Dedication to Duty which gives my Leader the Zealot special rule. Screech's Termagaunt Leader got Cunning Ruse.

Warzone: Hobbytown Hallway.
This mission's set-up quarters the table with a restriction that we couldn't place models within  9" of the center point.  Below was my deployment. As you can see I kept everything in the high ground.

Dark Eldar deployment.
Tyranids deployment concentrated on getting as many critters on the forward line as possible, with a few that were placed in Reserves for outflanking later in the game.

Tyranids deploy. i guess they're eager to die?
So with 20 Termagaunts and 15 Hormagaunts, I was out numbered 35 to 15.
>ulp! <
The Dark Eldar leaders, braced for the worst...
Turn one begins and....Screech immediately starts rolling for Instinctive Behavior due to his Hive Mind not having any presence. The Dark Eldar watched in stupified awe as most of the Termagaunts broke and ran for the table edge, or dove into cover. Only the Hormagaunts showed any interest in trying to eliminate my Kill Team. They leapt, fleeted and ran towards my line...

"Here they come..."
...and the Dark Eldar opened up, eliminating about 5 of the Hormagaunts. I finally got to utilize Reaping Volley on that Splinter Cannon and I must say I was impressed with it. If not for the cover, a lot more of the bugs would have been shredded...

Thinning their numbers.
Turn 2 and Screech was trying to get his troops back into line. A few Termigaunts ran off the table while others got their desire to kill back. The outflanking Specialists areived and hid themselves in the lower level of the ruins that my Leader was on top of. in the shooting phase the two Termagaunts with this group shot and killed 2 warriors in the ruins opposite of this position.

Outflanked and on the hunt.
A few Hormagaunts declared charges, and some died to the Overwatch shots but only one made it into combat but it ended up being a stand-off.

Dark Eldar Turn 2, more stuff gets shot to hell, but the tally of stuff that has ran off the table has surpassed the Dark Eldar kill tally.
My Specialist, Sybarite 2, went to the lower level with her blast pistol and and atomized a Hormagaunt Specialist while the warrior shot the other one, leaving just the termagaunt snipers.

"DIE ALIEN SCUM! ...oh, wait..."
The next pic showes the dead pile by the end of turn 2, although the DE can only take credit for maybe a 1/3 of the nid losses at this point.

And let I still felt  out-numbered.
Turn 3, more nids fled the field, but some were still sticking to their mission. One particularly determined Termagaunt scaled the tower and shot my Team Leader to death!

"Crikey! Not in the gut again!"
The Hormagaunts swarmed, ok, more like... ganged up on, The Dark Eldar in the other ruins, however my Power Through Pain was now granting me Feel No Pain (5+) which was keeping the Warriors from being wiped out, but the 'gaunts on the other hand were not so lucky.

Add caption
Things fell apart quickly, and before I knew it Tyranids were simply disappearing. Their force was now broken and failing break tests. Those that remained were botching Instinctive Behavior rolls and either hiding or running.

This is the  cluster that ran off the table on Turn 5.
Soon, the bugs were tabled. We didn't bother to try to calculate VPs, but I commend the bugs for doing what they could to get them!

The final dead piles.
Screech's experiment to sacrifice synapse creatures for weight of numbers went horribly wrong. In doing so he proved to us the value of synapse creatures. I suspect his next Tyranid Kill Team will be a completely different composition.