Sunday, July 29, 2018

Kill Team Launch Party

Kill Team Party!

Hello! This past Saturday my local gaming store, Hobbytown USA hosted a Kill Team launch party. It was a big launch for Hobbytown, probably the biggest I have seen at this location. They had plenty of Kill Team products in stock (which they sold a lot of!) And they had multiple tables set up for purposes of conducting demo games. And according to Matt, the man cordinating the event, they had quite a turn out for their first session. That session ran from late in the morning until 5pm, and the evening session ran from 6pm until 10pm.

The Kill Team event poster.

The event had some nifty give-aways: buttons (aka badges for my UK readers), a poster (for those who arrived early enough to snag one) and some really cool CP tracker dials. And pizza.

The Reaper's Mirth assembled before a dial.

I arrived at the 6pm session with 2 teams in tow, but I decided to run with the Harlequins since I never got to use them in the previous version of Kill Team. Matt gave me a super quick crash course on the rules, I threw together a team of 7 Troupers for 98 points, rolled up some quirks and background (fun but not game affecting), and I was ready to hit the table.

Racing towards the Skitarii.

Bob and Matt were already pretty familar with the rules at this point, so we decided to try the 4-way team battle. Bob had Dark Angels, Matt had Tyranid Genestealers, Jim and Chyanne had Skitarii and I had my Harlies.  One of the new (and refreshing!) changes to the game is the Iniative phase. All parties roll off each round to determine the turn order for that round. This added some variety to this game for sure and was especially refreshing in a 4 way match like this.

Genestealers pour into the Dark Angel wall of bullets.
I had a difficult time adjusting to how charging works now, but it was more an adjustment from decades of learned behavior than it was comprehension. This early mistakes caused some tactical blunders that surely cost some Harlequin lives, but my biggest foes were the dice were using. If I hit, I rarely wounded, but my armor save attempts were especially frustrating as I pretty much failed most of the ones I was asked to make. All well! LOL!

Look who  is charging who.
Multiple charges in the fight phase was an interesting thing to experience. In the pic above a Genestealer charged a Skitarii, the my Harlequin charged that Skitarii, then another Genestealer charged my Harlie. It was definitely a  crazy and swirling melee!

Slaughtered by Genestealers.
Once I got my Leader engaged with a foe, I finally got to expeience the joy of the Harlequins Kiss shredding a target to death. By the time this had occurred I was down to less than half of my force being alive. Most of the Harlequin had been shot to death by Bob's uncanny ability to roll 6s on Overwatch!

Harlequin Leader showing the clockwork guys how to dance! 

Ultimately this game shrank down to an area of a single building, the structure the Dark Angels were holding onto tightly! With a few marines left to defend the building from the invading xenos, the Dark Angels stood firmly in piles of dead clowns and shattered chitton.

This Harelquin and Dark Angel fought each other for 5 rounds! 
I had one Harelquin that charged one of the Dark Angels on the 2nd storey of the ruins way back on turn 2. That fight carried on until it finished on the ground level on turn 6. The Harelquin trouper finally surrendered to the beating it had been taking.

Finally it ended, with Bob hanging on steadfastly against my sole surviving Harelquin and Matt's remaining Genestealer.

The grand finale.

It was good, fast-paced fun and once we master the rules it should go even quicker for us. We hope to run a campaign at some point to as to experience the leveling system as well. I haven't gotten the book yet but I had really good look through it. I'm definitely looking forward to making some more Kill Teams as the diversity looks very appealing to me. Also, those numbered counters that come with the boxed game will be really handy in future 4 way games for keeping up with whose turn it is.

Alpha Legion vs. Dark Angels.

While we played our game there were other KT games taking place as well as a massive Chaos vs. Dark Angel 8th ed battle.  I think the Dark Angels won, but it appeared to have been an bloody good game!

This looks like a fun party, yes?

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Magnetic Flight Stands (Review)

Magnetized to terrorize.

In my last post regarding the Reavers of the Obsidian Rose (part 3), I talked about magnetizing these jetbikes for easier storage. I wanted something that wouldn't be a customizing nightmare or take an agonizing amount of time. At first I found some customizing tips using a screw, but with some of my models already painted I feel this would be a disaster to attempt. Warfrog has some amazing flight stands that he uses with his Eldar but apparently the company that makes those has stopped producing them.

Shopping around online I found a vender that I thought may do the trick: The Magnet Baron. His catch-phrase is: Your DIY Super Magnetic Home. Seems like a tall claim, but after perusing the site, I was impressed enough to try it out.
"Your DIY Super Magnetic Home."*

The magnets I chose were the Medium ones. It was easy to choose as the Baron, wisely, used GW models for scaling purposes. I ordered 3 sets, enough to do all of my Reavers and with a few left over. And I waited.
My chosen selection.* 
Shipping was fairly quick and the package even arrived sooner than promised, which is always a small victory, yes? And here is what each kit has.

4 ball bearings, rods, and indented magnet and 8 flat magnets.
However no base was provided which is understandable as it is assumed that you are buying this kit to replace the rod for your kit's provided flying stand. But it is something to be aware of. Also, beware that there is no instructions provided, or on his site, so unless you're great at puzzles or just highly intuitive, be ready to correspond with the Baron like I did. I asked his lordship** for instructions and this is what he relayed back to me:

"for every rod there should be 2 flat magnets a ball bearing and a indented magnet. One flat goes on the models base. one goes on the bottom of the rod. the indented magnet goes on the model. The ball bearing goes in the indention on the rod."

I decided that I did not want to glue the two flat magnets to the base as I will not need this for storage purposes. Although in hindsigbt this does give the base a bit more weight so there is an added bonus for doing this other than making the rod detachable from the base. So, let's get to it then: First I glued the rod to the base using plastic cement.

Rod glued to base.

Next I added the ball bearing to the rod. Note that one of the rod is concaved so that the ball bearing fits perfectly when super-glued in.

Ball bearing attached. 
Ran into a slight snag with the concaved magnets as one broke when I attempted to seperate it from it's family. I think I can fix it with superglue but we'll see.
The damaged concave magnet.
Next I glued a concave magnet to the bottom of my model.
Concave magnet attached.
And presto: the model is done!

Done! Stable and balanced.

The ball mount allows you to make model poseable if you choose, which is a really cool bonus. The bikes seem to be a bit higher that I had anticipated, but I am OK with this. Additional bikes may be lowered by just cutting a 1/2" or so off the stand's bottom.

Zooming upward!
I am trying to decide if I want to paint the magnet or not. Since the ball bearing can not be painted after it is mounted, the whole point may be moot.
Angled down to straff ground targets.
Over-all I am pleased. It beats customizing my own and is also faster. I like the added bonus of being able to swivel the models as this was not a goal when I set out on magnetizing these things.  Also I'm pleased with my first purchase from the Magnet Baron and I will likely use him again. My only criticism is the lack of included instructions or guidelines. For that I give him a 'B-' grade instead of an A- grade for this product and for quick communication.

*These images are from, used here for review purposes only.

**Just in case the Baron is truly a Royal (and not just a cool and catchy business name) I felt it safest to address him as such to avoid any disrespect. 

Sunday, July 08, 2018

Bad Moon Mega Armor Orks (Part 1)

This is a unit of orks in mega armor (armour) that I have been keen on finishing for a very long time now. The first model here was finished about 20 years ago in the late '90s. That model is below. I was pleased with how it turned out and had always hoped to replicate his paint job however some of the paints I used at the time are no longer available. I was pleased with it, and I feel it still holds up well.Although a few years ago I extended his base onto a terminator sized base. I still like these miniatures. Yeah, I agree, they aren't as bulked out and awesome as the later versions, but I figure the Bad Moons can afford the miniaturization of technology.

The first completed Bad Moon Mega Armor Ork. 
In fact the rest of this mob has been placed onto larger bases also. This happened circa 2009-2010-ish prior to start of this blog, and for one reason or another I have left them alone. But they were placed back into the queue when I started working on my Bad Moon ork dreadnought this past Dreadtober. I was very pleased with how that project turned out and I have been keen to finish these guys ever since.

The whole mob, in it's unassembled glory.
The leader of this mob is represented by the old Nazdreg Ug Urdgrub miniature. I will discuss this model more below, but for now here are some stage-by-stage pics.  In this first pic I had decided that there was too much black paint on it and added some more yellow areas. I base coated these areas in Fiery Orange.

The Nob, with additional basecoats. 
Here he is with Sunburst Yellow applied over the Fiery Orange. His flesh is done now too and I am about to start on highlights to the yellow and black areas.

Progressing along nicely...
All of the other boys have had their bases completed, including the original chap from the '90s, who is now done again. Note that this ork's flesh is more pale than the others. I have pretty much perfected my ork flesh paint scheme and don't want to deviate from it on the rest of this unit, so this one ork will just have to stand out a bit. To be truthful, I am not too sure exactly how I got this look on him so many years ago, but I suspect that I added white to Bilious Green instead of the Sunburst Yellow that I do now.
Done again!
As with the Nob, the other three boyz have their flesh done and it is time to start on highlights and detailing. We'll see how far this gets in part 2.

Progress continues...
Ok, now back to the old Nazdreg Ug Urdgrub miniature: Nazdreg is the Bad Moon Warlord and is simply a bad-ass. His entry in the 2nd Edition Ork Codex describes him as "rich, ostentatious, over indulgent, and overweight." and that Nazdreg "is easily the most cunning and intelligent battlefield commander the Bad Moons have ever had." It goes on further to describe his massive space hulk warship  as well. Truly he is something special and unique in the 40K universe. And the John Blanche art that accompanied this entry surely set the expectation that if a miniature were to be made of him, that he would be massive.

Nazdreg by John Blanche. 
 Seriously, really take a minute to go over that picture and take in all that detail. Study those weapons.  Count the moons! Try to find his head! Note also that he is kneeling in that illustration as well, further implying that this would be a massive model on the table top. But instead, released in the waning days of 3rd edition, we got this:

From the GW catalog. 

OK, It's an alright model of an Ork Nob in this style of armor, but a horrible and woefully underwhelming model of Nazdreg when compared to the Blanche illustration. I couldn't take it seriously at the time of release, and when the orks got a size boost in 3rd ed this model was just...wanting. So, a generic Nob he became to me then and will remain so now.

And still I dream of a proper Nazdreg...

Wednesday, July 04, 2018


My list of unfinished projects would make Tolkien jealous. One such project is my old Warhammer Fantasy Empire army. Recently Da Masta Cheef asked for some pics of my old Empire models for reference (uh-oh, it can't be good...) and I dug out some models and sent him the pics. While looking through this virtually abandoned army, I couldn't help but feel sad or even guilty for having never finished that army. I decided I should paint something from it, so I selected an old plastic wizard that I haven't touched in pretty much 10 years.

Around about that time I had posted a pic of it on a thread on Warhammer-Empire in which I proclaimed that I would share a pic of the model when I finished painting it. Haha, Gosh, I really hope no one was holding their breath! By the way, fun fact: the title of that thread (and this post) comes from an old Alltel commercial that was popular at the time.

Screen shot snippet from Warhammer-Empire. 

He stayed as he appeared in the pic above for about ten years. So I started off slow, painting the gem stones first. Then I added a highlight to the skin.
Gemstones painted. 
Next I painted the scrolls....and it was an avalanche from there. Before I knew it, he was finished!

Gray Wizard- Finished but the flocking.

Due to how much, or in this case how little, surface area I had to work with I opted to use static grass and leaves for the base. I think the leaves look great on fantasy bases, especially on terrain pieces.

Gray Wizard- now with flock!
 I left the feather white. I had orginally planned to make it a lot more colorful, but I decided that there was too much color on this already and that I needed to keep it simple.

And from the rear. 
And with that, he is done. And he turned out pretty close to how I first imagined he would. I sort of based his color scheme from my memory of the first Hobbit book that I read. That edition was oversized with color illustrations throughout it, and Gandalf was colored close to how this wizard turned out. It was fun to revisit the Empire again and I am pleased with how it turned out. I may look at some more fantasy pieces to distract myself with soon...

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Anachronistic 40k: Dark Eldar

The first Codex: Dark Eldar. 
Hello, and welcome to our retrospective on the Dark Eldar. In particular we are going to look at the original launch from 1998. Yes, this year will mark the 20th anniversary of the fiendish cousins to the Craftworld Eldar. Twenty years!

Karandras art by Mark Gibbons. 
The launch of the 3rd Edition of Warhammer 40,000 was an exciting time. It was the reveal of a faction that had been subtly hinted at for many years. Particularly in the 2nd Edition Codex: Eldar's entry for Karandras the Striking Scorpian Phoenix Lord. The entry speaks of how the founder and first Striking Scorpion was Arhra the father of the Scorpion Shrine, not Karandras (the guy GW actually produced a model of), and that Arhra had turned to chaos and was said to have gone into the webway. The Codex had a lot to say about individual Eldar who turn to Chaos, and how they are the ultimate outsiders and pariahs to their Craftworld dwelling kin, but nothing to indicate an actual faction.

 Since the very basic concept of Warhammer 40,000 was that it was a Sci-fi adaptation of Warhamer Fantasy (the Empire = Imperium, Dwarves = Squats, High Elves = Eldar, etc.) It made sense from a meta perspective that the Dark Eldar = Dark Elves.  But that was all we had. Unless you went back to the earliest releases for Rogue Trader where you could find that a Dark Elf Space Trooper had been released. But clearly whatever vision (assuming there was one beyond sculptor's whimsy) there was for that range was set aside.

The first Rogue Trader minis. Find out more at Rogue Heresy.

Almost ten years later, in the waning months of 40K 2nd edition, a few images appeared on the rumor site called Portent that claimed to be Dark Eldar miniatures under development. "The Dark Eldar?"* That sounded awesome! Who were these Dark Eldar?  They were weird, gangly, spikey things with a strong hint of menace. While those minis were ugly, and ultimately unreleased, they did give rise to a mountain of discussion, speculation and rumors. Going by the lore established in White Dwarf 127**, and later updated in Codex: Eldar, most people assumed that they were evil Eldar that were aligned with Slaanesh, Slaaneshi Eldar if you will, and there were many conversations posted online by fans of the idea as well as painting competitions, tournaments and even printed in White Dwarf.

White Dwarf #127; my copy looks just as well-worn!

 The speculation, rumors and theories continued until the ultimate rumor was unleashed on the world. And that was that the Dark Eldar would be featured in the 3rd Edition starter box! This rumor turned out to be very true.

The back if the 3rd ed starter box.

When the box arrived we dove into the lavish new rulebook (before if fell appart) and sought out the Dark Eldar info. And, even though there was some cool illustrations, there wasn't much info. Their weapons had surprisingly simple names like Blaster, Shredder, etc. and didn't feel very Eldar-like. The background text mostly focused on the idea that they were pirates who conducted slave raids and enjoyed gladitorial combat.
A lot.
And that they "got off" on pain.
Also a lot.
And they seemed to have a like for razors, spikes and gimp suits ...perhaps a bit too much.

But nothing to indicate that they were the "Slaaneshi Eldar" the community had speculated that they were. Well, maybe the gimp suits. Indeed, their models were also shockingly plain when compared to their Craftworld counterparts with not a Mark of Slaanesh (or any chaos icon) anywhere in sight.

The standard Dark Eldar trooper: Warriors.
As an aside: I don't think I was the only one that thought that the Warriors were, to some loose degree, designed to resemble The Shredder from TMNT comics and cartoons. The paint schemes the design studio chose didn't exactly dispel that notion. The Reaver and Raider pilots resembled the Foot Ninjas also. They even have a weapon THAT's  called a Shredder. It's weird, and I have nothing to back this theory up that there was any intent by the sculptors in anyway beyond a coincidental design gestalt. But I can't help but see it.

Much of the line was designed and sculpted by Chris Fitzpatrick and Gary Morely. And compared to the energetic spot illustrations in Codex: Dark Eldar, too many of these models have not aged well at all. Too many of them are static and stiff. The worst violators here are arguably the Scourges.

We can fly if we believe hard enough! 

At the time the Wyches seemed exciting and vibrant, but then there wasn't a lot of scantly clad gladitorial warrior women miniatures to really compare them against in those days. However, when compared to the current Jes Goodwin sculpts they are just awkward and stupid looking. The worst transgressions, in my opinion, being the metal riders that were sold as the Reaver Jetbike Squardron.

Squatting at higb speed.

Another prime example of the illustration being vastly superior to the finished model has got to be Kruellagh the Vile.

Kruellagh the Vile illustration.
The model of Kruellagh. 

 As if the punny name wasn't a harbinger of disappointment already, imagine setting that miniature up to take on Abaddon the Despoiler, or Commander Dante or whomever. At least this miniature's bent leg is raised! Too many of the metal miniatures in this range had bent legs that were supposed to either imply a battle stance or a run but instead appear as if they are about to fall or break a leg. Also, too many people have painted this model to appear to be nearly naked as opposed to being in a bodysuit, which for some baffling reason really works against this one.

I know it seems as if I'm picking on these models, (because I am!) however not all of these Dark Eldar models were bad. Indeed, there are some clear winners that I feel do stand the test of time and some of these I will be keeping in my incorporated Dark Eldar force.

The Talos Pain Engine, in my opinion, is still freak'n awesome and I will happily use it today.

Talos, still can bring the pain.
The original Incubi, despite some models having the weird bent legs, still look impressive over all. However the two Incubi bodyguards from Asdrubael Vect's Raider are the best in the range. I almost considered bitz ordering them from GW Mail Order back in the day, but somehow  resisted it (OK, I was poor) and I was bummed that I did.

Original Incubi
The crowning achievement of the entire range was Asdrubael Vect and his Raider. It was a very impressive model, and concept, in it's day. So much so that current Dark Eldar players can not help but wonder and dream as to what an updated version of this would be like.

The one and only, Asrubael Vect

The original Lelith Hesperax is definitely the best Wyche from the old line, and the only thing keeping this model from being used today is that the current Juan Diez scuplt is indisputably superior.
The original Lelith...does grass grow on Commorragh?

But the winner from the original range has got to go to Drazhar. The bad-ass of the demi-knives and leader of the Incubi is the only miniature from the original range that survived the 2010 revamp and is still in production to this day.


The original Codex: Dark Eldar really didn't expand too much on their background hardly at all. Were they the Pirate Outcasts as defined by the 2nd edition Codex: Eldar? It sure did seem so. Were they in any way associated witb Chaos? There was no evidence to support that. There was a lot of description about the city of Commorragh and it's arenas but only hints about it's origins and why the Dark Eldar were the way they were. We know they lived in the webway, a place Arhra was said to have hidden in, but no mention of Arhra depite the Incubi clearly having design similarities to the Striking Scorpions.

The Dr TSG and I interviewed Rick Priestly at the Baltimore Games Day in '99, for a fanzine we were working on, and we had asked him "Who are the Slaaneshi Eldar?" To which he responded: "The Dark Eldar are the Slaaneshi Eldar." We looked at each other in a baffled confusion and asked him to explain this to us as we saw no connection to this in the Dark Eldar Codex. He almost seemed disappointed that this didn't seem obvious. He blamed this on the abridged format they were using for 3rd edition as they wanted a fairly low cost buy-in for those existing players upset that their 2nd ed books were now invalidated (gee, where was that attitude for 6th and 7th ed?). As a result, the overly explained essay-like prose of the 2nd ed books were replaced by sidebars and innuendo. He went on to explain the Dark Eldar's relationship with Slaanesh and their Eldar kin to us. Had we published that interview at that time we may have had a heck of a scoop on our hands but regrettably the fanzine never came to fruition. Maybe one day, if we can find a micro-cassette player, we'll finally transcribe that interview.

It would be 12 long years before the Dark Eldar would get a new Codex and an updated model range. The new range would be headed up by Jess Goodwin who oversaw the project. And the back ground would be updated by Phil Kelly who, thankfully, would answer some of the nagging mysteries of the Dark Eldar and actually establish, codified if you will, a real working background for them. Thank goodness!

Codex Dark Eldar (5th Edition).

* After speaking to a few of my friends we tend to think that the Dark Eldar were mentioned in passing in another Codex during the 2nd ed Codex run. If this is so, does anyone recall what and where this was? Leave a comment if you know!

**Edit: I originally cited this as White Dwarf #126! Guess I was ahead of myself!

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