Monday 22 December 2014

A Change of Scale: From 40k to Flames of War

As a lifelong adherent of all things Warhammer, I've probably been a little guilty of concentrating on the universes created by GW to the cost of the huge amount of other high quality content out there.  Part of the reason for this is that the content written by GW is the richest out there and allows for pretty immersive adventures in 40k and warhammer land, in fact the quality of the content, and to some extent the miniatures, make up for what I think are probably the weakest part of the Games Workshop package: the rules.

As someone who has been playing 40k since the late 1980's, where it was more of a large scale RPG rather than the thing we have nowadays, I've seen the game evolve and develop.  Many things have improved and simplified, we've seen the emergence of a 'tournament' culture with the fascination with winning at all costs over writing a narrative, and now formations, dataslates and the rest. Now I appreciate the need for a company to make money and by effectively monetising individual rules which, while I think is actually very clever from a business point of view, does not attract me in the slightest.   I see 40k starting to lose it's focus and frankly my interest is starting to wane.  Now I have something approaching 10000 points of allied Crimson Fists and Guard, and am in the middle of running a large campaign which is very fun,  so I'm far from abandoning GW, but a break is in order.

After eyeing up several systems over the last few months, including Dystopian Wars (looks incredible, not many people round here play it though), Dropzone Commander (not keen on another sci-fi thing as well as 40k), All Quiet on the Martian Front (again looks incredible but I won't get a game), Deadzone (hate the minis, sorry guys).... I settled on Flames of War, FOW is now an established rule set in it's third edition and it recreates battles in World war 2, the game is more 'beer and pretzels' rather than hardcore historical gaming, whatever that is.  The battles are at the company level, with you fielding several platoons of infantry,  armour, artillery and even strike aircraft.  Owing to the larger scale of the games, the miniatures are smaller at 15mm scale.  This means the rules are more granular, with hits and saves deciding the fates of bases which can contain several actual models, for example infantry bases tend to have 2-4 men per base.

Something that excites me about FOW is the way that suppressive fire, pinning, gone to ground and artillery seem to be represented in a way that might actually be.... realistic.  Now as someone who has never thankfully seen combat, that might seem a weird thing to say, but let's say that the removal of pinning from 7th edition 40k was something that I took quite badly, in fact I was holding out hope that GW were going to enhance this side of the game (gone to ground, pinning etc) to better represent infantry tactics, but I think i'm the only person who thinks like this, in fact I bring it up at my gaming club, and the common counter argument is that 'well 40k is sci fi, it isn't meant to be realistic'.  Well my counter to that is this: suppression was effectively modeled in none other than Epic Armageddon which is (was) an awesome game and one that I still mourn the loss of.  Secondly, while 40k requires a suspension of disbelief to fully enjoy, plausibility is another thing entirely.  Okay, so at this point people start drifting away, or tell me that I think too much... well  I want suppression, and if GW won't provide, I'll go and find it ;)

So the 'Open Fire' box set is on it's way, along with enough reinforcements to bring both axis and allies up to approximately 1000 points.  This isn't 'goodbye' 40k, more of a see you soon, i'll be hanging out with some very fine looking 15mm World war 2 miniatures for the time being.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

Holbronx campaign, Turn 7

A quick map update for turn 7, with only 4 turns left until sudden death everyone will be striving to seize those manufactorums and cities to maximise victory points.  All economies seem to have peaked now, so with lots of resources to spend there is sure to be a lot of 40k action coming up!

Sunday 2 November 2014

Apocalypse at Warhammer World!

An hours drive up the M1 took the three of us to Warhammer World in Nottingham.  It had been decided that we should have an apocalyptic mega battle to help decide the outcome of the Holbronx campaign, with Perhow and TJ teaming up against my Imperial forces at 8000 points a side.  At such a high points value we needed a huge table, and we were lucky enough to get a place on the excellent J'migan Bridge themed table that measures a whopping 12 x 6 feet!  Warhammer World is undergoing some works at the moment but the staff are no less welcoming and the themed gaming tables are totally awesome.  A visit is most recommended!

Tracked happiness awaits the interpid adventurer

We played end to end, focussing on the bridge as the main objective with each end of the table having a 'home' objective in their own territory, giving six objectives in all with standard secondary objectives.  It took over an hour just to set up over 16000 points of 40k troops, but by lunch time we were in full swing.

The belligerents are poised, ready to seize J'migan bridge
Turn 1

The loyalists rolled to take the first turn and the xenos/chaos pact failed to seize the initiative.  At this point I remember thinking that the first turn advantage might be weak with 48" of no mans land to cover, my misgivings would later turn out to be true as I lost control of many objectives on the last turn... the benefit of hindsight!  The Imperials opened up with a massive artillery bombardment, stunning the traitor tanks that were poised to roll on to the bridge, while on the left flank the Crimson Fist scouts infiltrated across the river bed supported by a drop podding dreadnought they quickly saw off a large mob of cultists.  A second dreadnought scattered off the table to go into ongoing reserves.

In my back lines I spottted a squad of eldar infiltrators, and a space marine assault squad moved forward to interdict them supported by a 'rifleman' dreadnought.  The assault marines ended up successfully holding off the striking scorpions for the entire game, but their exarch managed to kill off the dreadnought by the third turn.  The problems presented by the sheer size of the table started to present themselves, because infantry without transports are very slow!  This really started to hit home later on when my transports started to dwindle thanks to xenos energy beams :(

On the right flank a large contingent of tactical marines mounted in rhinos surged forward with the intention of crossing the river bed.  Supported by devastators, PDF heavy weapons squads and several Leman Russ battle tanks I had high hopes of this flanking force crossing the river bed and securing the enemy side of the bridge head.  However as we shall see the chaos/xenos pact had other ideas!

Elements of the Atrean Star Knights along with the Crimson Fists defend the PDF artillery
The pact appeared to be having trouble on the left after the early successes of the scouts, on the right a large contingent of bikers, both Nurgle plague marines lead by their warlord and Dark Eldar jetbikers rushed forward to try and refuse my massed attack on the right, it soon started looking like a blood bath would ensue on the river bed.  Unbeknownst to me an eldar grav tank that joined the force was carrying a squad of Wraith Knights.  I hadn't encountered these alien constructs before but I can attest to their combat prowess after seeing them in action, and I advise that you do not let them anywhere near your space marines!  The rest of the pact's first turn was uneventful, with their movement on the road blocked by the Landraider that had been stunned by my long range artillery fire I allowed myself to believe that things were going okay.

Turn 2

My first act of the second turn was to use my Officer of the Fleet to use his logistical nous to get me a 2+ reserve roll.  Thanks to his skills, two of my Valkyries, an assault squad, a 10 man terninator squad with a captain and two dreadnoughts all showed up on time.  At this point I decided to concentrate a large force on the enemy home objective, with 11 terminators and two dreads landing nearby I was aiming to silence the enemy macro cannon and butcher the cowardly xenos within.  By turn 4 I would realise the hubris of investing nearly a 1000 points of my elites in such a venture... as they are not actually 'objective secured' the objective was eventually snatched by an eldar skimmer on the last turn and all was for nothing.  Well at least they looked pretty while they were achieving nothing!  The assault squad was tasked with deep striking behind the nurgle bikers and flaming them, but they scattered widely onto the opponents river bank and lobbed a grenade at an enemy tank, which missed.  Aside from the artillery crippling more of the traitor space marine tanks and thinning out the nurgle bikers, it was a desultory turn for the loyalists.

The xenos started to deep strike their skimmers into my rear lines, supporting the eldar striking scorpions already present.  This attack was to shift my attention away from the assault on the bridge which aided the pact hugely.  My devastators and PDF weapons teams who were meant to be covering the advance across the river bed were quickly cut down by deep striking warp spiders accompanied by the xenos warlord, a rather cocky autarch who would meet his comeuppance on the end a my captain's relic blade.  This would be scant compensation however for a series of events that resulted in three squads of tactical marines perishing over the following turns and me losing control of the right flank.

Deep striking xenos and traitor units wreck the imperial ambitions on the right flank.
To make matters worse, three squads of terminators materialised on the dried up river bed, they would be the anvil against which my marines would be smashed by the xenos hammer.

Turn 3

Recognising the threat from the deep striking xenos in the rear, Pedro Kantor signalled his honour guard forward along with 20 sternguard.  Low difficult terrain rolls for the sternguard left Kantor and his honour guard badly exposed, but I hoped to get Pedro into combat where he would be safer, only for him to take wounds from overwatch fire then fail his charge roll.  Things were getting a little frustrating now and I could feel victory slipping between my fingers.  I later found out that I had been making my difficult terrain rolls on 1 dice when it should be two and pick the highest! That's a real 'rules 101' mistake that may have helped my game quite a bit, oh well.

The terminators and dreadnoughts attacking the enemy macro cannon, a full 6 feet behind enemy lines, finally managed to silence the weapon and kill the eldar wracks hiding inside.  They moved onto the objective and took cover in the ruins.  Back in the imperial sector the valkyries strafed the dark eldar raiders with their twin linked lascannons but didn't manage to actually destroy anything.

The PDF armour, now somewhat beaten and battered, continued to advance onto the bridge.  The second remaining squad of Crimson Fist terminators teleported onto the mid section of the bridge, hoping to protect the PDF armour from assaults.  My only consolation from this turn was that I finally managed to kill the nurgle warlord on his bike with artillery fire, but the tide had already turned to a point where the traitor's combat prowess wasn't really needed.

The traitors, sensing victory, pushed forward onto the imperial river bank and the Heldrake washed the river bank with warp flame, killing more power armoured space marines.  Their xenos comrades continued to catch the space marines in a withering cross fire from behind, using their monofilament weapons, shurikens and d-weapons the river bank was reduced to a steaming abbatoir.  Pretty much the only warrior left standing was the enraged company captain, who accepted the challenge of the eldar autarch, the autarch flounced into combat muttering arrogant alien insults, while the captain remained taciturn and waited for his opening the eldar did some showboating with his blade.  When the captain had seen enough he hewed downward with a single brutal strike from his relic clade, a strike that even the agile eldar couldn't avoid.  Cut in two the alien flopped to the ground, the captain had avenged his murdered brothers, but he knew the battle was already lost.
Kantor is surrounded without the support of his brothers.

 A further two Leman Russ battle tanks went up in flames then to make matters worse an eldar Wraithknight appeared and efficiently vaporised the terminators on the bridge.  The spelled disaster for the imperial armour as they were unsupported by infantry and open to assault by the traitor terminators.

In the imperial sector the cackling xenos opened up on Pedro and his honour guard and they were cut down to a man, his sternguard moved forward to protect their chapter master's stricken form and teleport him to the medicae bays on the battle barge.

Things looked grimmer than ever for the Imperials!

Turn 4

We had just about enough time to play a 4th turn and from my point of view this turn would be about damage limitation.  I still had several thousand points worth of forces on the board but nothing that was within striking distance of the objectives.  I desperately shelled the enemy bridge head with everything I had, killing dozens of traitor space marines, but to no avail.  The survivors trudged on through the carnage to secure the bridge.  To add insult to injury a xenos fast skimmer moved back to secure the pact's home objective, making the efforts of the first company completely futile!  After some discussion we decided to end it there, a full 6 hours of gaming managed to get us four turns, but we had to stop there as warhammer world wanted to close.  A further turn may have seen me recover some of the bridge, but it would have required no small amount of luck on my part to prize those objectives back.  A solid win for the xenos and traitors.

Traitor/ xenos pact   18vp
PDF/Space marines   6vp

A win for the pact!  They get 3 vp's toward the campaign total, though how they are shared out remains to be seen, it was an uneasy alliance at best!  


Playing such a huge game was great fun and a memorable experience, though it made me realise that there is a limit to how much one can remember when responsible for moving and shooting 8000 points worth of miniatures.  I think next time at this amount of points I might recruit a leuitenant or two to get on with the minor stuff while I take the command throne and concentrate on the big picture.  It was really challenging coming up against two experienced 40k players in TJ and Howard and unlike in smaller games where you can feel unlucky over a dice roll or two, in a game this size everything averages out and I can say that I was definitely outplayed through the superior sneaky tactics of my opponents. Well done to Perhow and TJ, top game lads.

We had a '3 colours' painted rule for this game and everything looked spot on when set up on the table, I even got to dig out some of my old rogue trader beakies, (who incidentally showed Pedro's lads how it was done) it was really cool to see all that painted 40k stuff on the table together, it isn't often we get to use all our toys at once is it?

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Dante's last stand.

The servo skull, originating from deep within enemy territory took hours to reach Imperial Intelligence.  The data feed was immediately transmitted to Commander Pedro Kantor, it seemed to depict a desperate few Blood Angels being cut down by overwhelming Eldar forces.  Kantor only needed to watch the grainy video  clip once to be certain that it was indeed Dante.  It was with mixed feelings Pedro ruminated on the news, Dante, hero of the Imperium had fallen in battle, but only after besmirching the honour and dignity of his chapter, and plunging a whole system into bloody war.  The Inquisition had declared Dante 'Exocommunicate traitoris', along with his warriors on Holbronx.  The entire Baal system was locked down by Grey Knights kill ships while the Inquisitors looked to find the root of the heresy.  Already the Administratum was busily rewriting the Blood Angels out of the Imperial histories, a process that would take decades, if not centuries.  Stone masons would already be erasing the names of countless Blood Angels from the Tower of Heroes on Terra, such was the fate of heretics, even by association.

But Kantor could not help but feel compassion for his wayward comrade, whatever it was that had lead Dante and his Angels down this path he wagered that it came from a very human compulsion, of love and desperation.  Weaknesses turned to tragedy by the whispers of the primordial annihilator.

Servo skull pict feed of the tragic action

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Holbronx Turn 6: Armour on the Plains

In an attempt to break the stalemate on the River Schutze, the Imperials amassed companies of armour for a decisive thrust along the South coast of Pangea.  The Blood Angels were caught napping and despite throwing their own armour into the gap, it was too late to turn back the tide.  The Blood Angels suffered grievous losses and the Loyalist forces have successfully established a foothold to the West of the Schutze.

The Imperials mass their armour in the cover of some ancient ruins

The open plains give the advantage to the armoured column, where the loyalists punished the Blood Angels with ordnance and lascannon
It remains to be seen whether the Blood Angels can halt the armoured advance, they have a bitter struggle on their hands to stop the juggernaut before it gets to their back lines!

Monday 22 September 2014

Crimson Fists Dreadnought 2

 I've been looking to add some elite and heavy choices to my Crimson Fists and following a search on eBay I found an incomplete 'bjorn' dreadnought going for a very cheap price.  The claw part of Bjorn's left arm was missing so after a trip to the paint stripping bath I modelled a new power claw on using green stuff and plasticard.  The new dread now has a Crimson Fists paint job and he has been re-christened 'Sergio'.  The wolf pelt was awarded by the Space Wolves after Sergio rescued some wolf scouts from a tricky situation and he proudly wears it over his left arm.  Any similarities to the old Bjorn are therefore purely coincidental.  The photo shows him on the right, alongside his ancient comrade, brother Antal.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Holbronx Turn 6

Turn 5 saw a lot of action in the centre with all three armies trying to get a commanding position around Olympia Heights.  The Dark Eldar were stymied at F6 where they met the rogue Blood Angels and combined Imperial forces, while a mechanized force of Blood Angels saw off the Dark Eldar at E7.

Going into turn 6, there are only three unclaimed hexes left so I predict some meeting engagements between the BA and Eldar for D7 and C8, while the Imperials intend to push ahead and take the Aeronauticum.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Holbronx Turn 4

Trooper Stumpf surveyed the distant hills from his observation post on Olympia Heights. It had been a tough year, with the Reivers taking whomever they wanted, and slaying the rest. Everyone in his platoon had lost someone, everyone had a score to settle. Things had got better since the 'Fists had arrived, some big cheese called Kantor was helping them take it all back, things were certainly looking up. He'd even seen one of the power armoured guys from a distance. Massive, deep blue fella wielding a heavy bolter like it was a las pistol. Stumpf was glad they were on his side.
Sure, things were okay, just hold this observation post up here in the hills, smoking stogies all day and writing letters home wasn't so bad. No one wants some crummy hill, all the fighting was down in the cities and manufatories and Stumpf felt sorry for the poor figgers down there in the trenches.
The action has escalated in the Holbronx campaign, with each faction now having a defined front and lots of resources to spend on their military adventures.

One highlight of this turn was that everyone realised the importance of hex F6  (also known as Olympia Heights) and made a dash for it.  We played a three way game of 40k with modified core rules to keep things fair, and after a jolly slaughter on the heights the Imperial faction emerged victorious by several victory points.

Now in control of the heights, the imperials are poised to sweep down into Pilgrim's Sanctuary Spaceport but he must watch their flanks as the Dark Eldar control the high ground to the north.

A geographical map of Holbronx

Hex E7 is still contested between the Blood Angels and Dark Eldar, but as you can see the battle lines are firmly drawn as the campaign enters a new phase.

Sunday 29 June 2014

Holbronx- Turn 3

A quick update on the Holbronx campaign.  It's turn three and we have our first engagement!  The manufactorum at E9 is contested and we are awaiting the outcome... Howard's Dark Eldar have advanced in force while TJ's Blood Angels have used a 'Raid' action, giving him greater reach at the cost of less big guns to use in the coming game of 40k.

TJ has also grabbed the Aeronauticum, giving him the ability to strike deep into enemy territory from next turn.  Might he have overstretched his supply lines? Time will tell....

The imperials have so far concentrated on building a power base, all those resource tokens will come in useful!

Things have got to the stage where most of the hexes have been taken, expect to see a major escalation in violence, explosions, sneakiness and tough times from next turn!

Holbronx: prologue

While the campaign for Holbronx is hotting up we decided to play a final game in the prologue to the campaign.

After the initial occupation of the planet by the Dark Eldar, the beleaguered PDF were reduced to defending themselves from the night time terror tactics of the xenos who could at this point move around the surface of the planet pretty much unhindered, enabling them to harvest human slaves and spread misery at will.  After the desperate rescue of the astropaths by a courageous special forces group the imperials were able to send for help, and fortunately this arrived quickly in the form of a detachment from the Crimson Fists chapter.

The arrival of the Astartes provided a much needed boost to imperial morale as well as the required leadership to turn the tide.  Master Kantor however was confronted by the same problem: how to bring the highly mobile eldar into a pitched battle so he could destroy them.  Realising that the enemy would only attack where the imperials appeared weakest he assigned an Astartes detachment to wait in orbit ready to land at a few minutes notice, while keeping an apparently weak imperial patrol on the ground.

The eldar took the bait, advancing in force on a weakly held outpost they seemed poised to overwhelm the PDF defenders with their scattering of space marine allies, but the trap was sprung as drop pods came from the sky and unleashed their cargo.  The imperials inflicted grievous losses on the enemy, destroying dozens of eldar vehicles in several similar engagements the imperials had managed to break the back of the occupation.

The Dark Eldar are poised to dash forward into a deadly ambush, a taste of their own medicine!

The victory however rang hollow for some, the drop pod of Captain Jorge had scattered deep into enemy lines away from any chance of imperial fire support.  The vile leader of the Eldar, known colloquially as 'Vicious' killed the captain in single combat and was seen decamping from the battlefield, holding the severed head of the battle captain aloft while cackling in his incoherent alien tongue.

These events poised the imperials for a final victory, were it not for the arrival of the Blood Angels and their own selfish motivations.

Thursday 12 June 2014

The battle for Holbronx, preliminary map.

We're nearly ready to kick of this little campaign, and every campaign needs a map so I rustled this one up in Hexographer followed by some tweeks in GIMP.  My graphic design skills are a bit rough and ready but I think it gets the job done.  The triangular continent allows each of the three players to start in a corner and carve out some territory before the fighting begins.  I intend to back this map up with an actual planetary empires map, for which I've converted quite a few tiles, it hasn't escaped me that carting a 45 tile plastic map around isn't the easiest thing in the world so it might not happen and we stick to paper, we'll see.

The campaign kicks off with some background we came up with to tie up a few interesting games of 40k that lead to the campaign idea.  The overall aim is to keep it narrative, the Blood Angels are desperately trying to find a cure for the flaw, but it remains to be seen if they are being lead astray by a scheme of chaos.  The Dark Eldar seek to plunder and pillage as much as possible  before abandoning the planet, while the Crimson Fists and her Imperial Guard allies must secure the planet from all comers.

Campaign Introduction

The planet of Holbronx Prime is an Imperial agri/industrial world of minor note, faithfully supplying a tithe of food, machinery and soldiers to neighbouring imperial planets.  It has a population of 4.2 billion with 95% of production and habitation occurring on the principal continent of Pangea.  The Holbronx system was made compliant in the Great Crusade and has remained a relative backwater since.  Imperial Archaeologists have recorded evidence of ancient xenos activity on the planet.

Date M41.999.  In recent decades the planet has succumbed to the unwelcome attentions of xenos (species: Eldar) raids. At first these started as minor incidents, but escalated as the raiders gained confidence and started annexing larger population centres effectively using the towns and cities as labour camps.  This culminated in large swathes of territory falling into the xenos’ hands as they established a permanent presence on Holbronx and continued using human populace to their own ends (forced exportation, slave labour, sadistic entertainments, gladitorial combat, biological feedstock etc). It is estimated by the present time that 30 million imperial citizens are missing as a result of Eldar action. The local Planetary Defence Force suffered many reversals at first, losing control of their command and communication structure and having to resort to guerilla tactics on their own soil to wrest control of the communications network long enough to request aid from the wider Imperium.

Help arrived in the form of the Crimson Fists chapter, with Pedro Kantor himself marshalling the PDF to prosecute a successful campaign against the Dark Eldar.  The Imperial forces managed to push the invaders back to the coastal fringes of the continent and liberate several cities. They were poised to make the final decisive attack when matters were complicated by the arrival of the Blood Angels chapter.

The Blood Angels arrive

What truly motivates the Blood Angels is a mystery, and the arrival of a battle barge above Holbronx Prime was at first a cause for celebration for the Crimson Fists, whose Primarchs stood together against the tyrant on the walls of the Imperial Palace all those millenia ago.   That the battle barge manoeuvred into an assault stance over the capital while ignoring imperial communications struck the Crimson Fists as arrogance, what happened after was an outrage.  These most humane but aloof of Space Marines harbour the secret doom of the flaw.  One can only speculate how such a genetic flaw influences the decisions and responsibilities of the chapter, and the temptations and pressures that can arise.  It is rumoured that Dante has been forced to relent and allow a faction within the chapter to pursue every possible rumour of a cure, no matter how slim or unlikely.  If this is true then it is plausible that a faction of Blood Angels may be responsible for the massacre of loyal troops that occured in the capital city of Holbronx.  There is no doubt that the attack on the Basilica of the Martyred Angel is outside even the broad mandate of the Astartes, where brother opened fire on brother.  The imperial forces have been left reeling by this act.

This incident is unfortunate, as such desperate behaviour is indicative of the lies and hubris of chaos.  It is possible that the Angels have already taken a step down this path.  It is up to the Blood Angel commander to decide the path of his angels.

Monday 12 May 2014

Planetary Empires hive tile

Just a quick mini project this evening. I'm currently preparing a 40k for a few of us that go to the local gaming group and i decided on using the hex tiles from the Planetary Empires box.  For that i need a few hive tiles so i set about building the first one using various bits and off cuts.  Old weapons are ideal for this and this hive contains a few, see if you can spot them.

Sunday 4 May 2014

Raid on comms post upsilon theta

A couple of weeks ago I played a cool scenario from against some Dark Eldar where my Imperial Guard/ Astra Militarum were to defend a communications outpost against the raiders.  After a bloody struggle the evil xenos flew away with my astropath.  Who knows what foul tortures will befall the unfortunate psychic at the hands of the despicable aliens?  Sector command has decreed that the astropath must not be allowed to remain in the hands of the Dark Eldar.  We've agreed to play a follow up mission using kill team rules, and hopefully the astropath will be retreived and be able to send a call for help to the Astartes, although there is no guarantee that the psyker will be fit to work after being a guest of the Eldar.

Finished Manticore and Leman Russ tanks

I've gradually been working my way through the pile of tanks I acquired recently, and with the release of the new Astra Militarum Codex I've been feeling motivated to get some more stuff off my painting table.  I'm now at the half way point with some more Leman Russ, several Chimera and a Hellhound remaining to do, not to mention the trio of Valkyries that need detailing.  So without further ado, here are some pics of the finished tanks.

The basic camouflage pattern is Castellan green airbrushed over a black primer, the model is then masked with normal masking tape taking care to ensure the paint underneath has cured completely (otherwise the tape can lift the paint, although sometimes this can make for a neat paint peeling effect).  The camo pattern is then completed with P3 Hammerfall Khaki.  Once the masking tape is removed I weather the vehicle with Agrax Earthshade and also an oil paint wash made from Burnt Umber and white spirit, although I am tending toward the GW wash as it is less smelly and alsmost as good in this application.  Paint chips are sponged on where damage might occur, then edge highlights are applied using Gretchin green and Kommando Khaki to help the model pop on the gaming table.  Transfers are applied over a gloss varnish, and when they are dry I distress them with the end of a needle file or scalpel, if i didn't do this the transfers would look far too fresh compared to the rest of the vehicle.  Details are then added- lenses, skulls etcetera.  If the vehicle has a name plate I write this in using a 0.25mm Rotring Isograph technical pen with indian ink, my hand isn't all that steasy but the results look okay.  My two Manticores are named 'Inductor' and 'Perditrix' which translate loosely as 'Persuader' and 'Destroyer'

To finish the model is given a coat of Vallejo Matt Polyurethane Varnish, which is probably the best varnish I've used so far.  All of the vehicles are fully magentised with swappable weapons, it's also nice to remove to remove the manticore Missiles as there are used in a game, it beats counting!

Friday 28 March 2014

Hydra Flak Tank

It's been a busy few months with work but I've managed to shoe-horn in a few games of X-Wing and spend some hours getting a bunch of Imperial Guard tanks up to tabletop standard.  I was going to leave them at that but the acquisition of the Forgeworld Model Masterclass books got me doing crazy experiments with white spirit, bandagaes, artists pastels and florists wire.... don't ask!  I do highly recommend these books, they've helped me raise my game and even won me a GW voucher for a 'best painted' army at a local tournament, so this hobby can pay, well kind of.
The Model Masterclass books are full of inspiring projects and lots of solid advice on techniques, materials and equipment so they are money well spent, in fact they are a bargain when you consider the cost of wargaming models and the ease with which one can wreck them with poorly executed  model making and painting, I've definitely been there.
The Hydra is 95% finished, just a few details to do and a coat of matt varnish and she's good to go, although I'm already thing I need another two thanks to the preponderance of Necron flyers at my local gaming club.  The camo paint scheme was airbrushed over a black base coat letting the black show through in the recesses, I then applied a wash of burnt umber oil paint diluted in white spirit.  This gave me the tabletop scheme as originally intended, but then I weathered further with sponged on paint chips, powdered pastels and selective line highlights to bring the model up and help it 'pop' a bit.  That said I always seem to be a bit conservative when it comes to highlights so i might apply another level.
The transfers came off Games Workshop transfer sheets, when dry I distressed them with the end of a needle file so they look worn just like the rest of the tank.

Monday 13 January 2014

Something not 40k for a change

Even the most ardently frothing of 40k fanbeards needs to take a break from the Grimdark occasionally. So after a dig in the box of orphaned pewter bits i found this i-kore Void mini. I've heard rumours of other gaming systems, and whispers that some of them are even well balanced and reward tactical play. Huh! Heresy!
Steve at the local gaming club is running a Supersystem campaign and i painted this chap up to be my hero. The last game i witnessed looked a lot of fun with the hero players ganging up on the gm's nasties and having a good old fight, so i'm looking forward to being involved. Now i just need a back story....