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Archive for October, 2014

Straight Shooters…

10/31/2014 3 comments

As it’s both pay day and the last day of my current post before I move (on promotion, yay!) to a new role in government, I thought I’d treat myself.

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There’s a running joke between myself and this blog’s most frequent guest contributor Tim that his scout snipers can’t hit the side of a squiggoth at ten paces*. I’ve decided to see if I can do better.

These kids will join my Dark Angels army allied contingent and I’m hoping to paint their camo cloaks similarly to this example from the back of the box.

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I’m not sure if I’ll be able to manage this but I’ll give it a shot 🙂

*In fairness they usually manage to hit something. Eventually…

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Games & Gears Ichiban Studios Pro Line Brushes – Arrived!

10/24/2014 Leave a comment

Returning home from work yesterday I was met by the first part of my pledge from Games & Gears and Ichiban Studios’ Kickstarter.

Seriously look at them 🙂

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I’ve seldom seen anything as beautiful and I super pinky promise you Hugo that I’ll take great care of these bad boys.

Such artistry demands that they’re only used for the best projects, as such I’m going to have to think very carefully about on what to use these.  Watch this space, I can’t wait to get started 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Years Old!

10/24/2014 1 comment

Cake

Three years ago today (after some gentle prodding) I finally got this blog set up.  So much has happened to me personally, professionally and hobby wise, so much so it’s quite daunting attempting to stock, so I won’t 😉

 

Rather, I’ll leave you with the first ever article that appeared on this inglorious blog.

Categories: General

Moving On

10/22/2014 1 comment

Model?  Check!  Paint?  Check!  Extremely sugary drink?  Check!  Absolute Classic Rock on the main PC?  Check!

Yes, your eyes aren’t deceiving you but I’m actually painting again 🙂

It's not much, but it's a start

It’s not much, but it’s a start

I started this quite some time ago but, as regular readers will know, so many things go in the way.  Especially lately.

It’s now been just over a month since Dad died and I’m so glad that I’m now in a place healthy enough to start painting again.  Originally I wanted to finish my Heldrake as it’s so damned close to being finished but I really need to get my eye back in and what better practice than a project like this?

I probably won’t get this all the way finished that quickly as I really want to get stuck into more pressing half-finished projects however I reckon if I aim to do at least a couple of panels a day it’ll be done in no time.

That’s the theory, anyway…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trenchmates – The Dark Talon by Tim Chant

10/16/2014 Leave a comment

Can it really be ten months since we heard from Tim?  Not really, I’ve been ultra crap and lost this article in the Inbox From Hell for the better part of two months (sorry, Tim!) so without futher a do, here’s a review of the Dark Angels Dark Talon flyer, AKA Holy Fuck, Run!

Tim has done an amazing job on this model.

Tim has done an amazing job on this model.

If wargaming has an equivalent to a crazy cat lady, it would probably be me – the crazy Space Marine collector. Right from catching the bug in the very late ‘80s I’ve liked the power armoured fist of the Emperor, perhaps because my first introduction was playing as the Imperial side in ‘Space Marine’. Since then and across both 40K and Epic I’ve dallied variously with various styles – Codex, Space Wolves, Blood Angels and Dark Angels as well as a variety of other good(ish) guys. Yes, I even had the Army that shall not be named (but who were quite short and angry).

Right now I’ve only got three Marine forces on the go – my own Codex Chapter, the Reavers Redemptor, Space Wolves, and Dark Angels (plus I’m planning on painting some spare squads as other Chapters just to give myself some variety). I’ve always loved the followers of the Lion – the backstory and the style really appeal to me, and I think the latest Codex has done an excellent job in making them completely different from vanilla ‘Rines, when before they’d felt like a Codex Chapter with a few funky things thrown in. One of the best examples of this evolution is the Dark Talon. The addition of flyers to the 40K tabletop has really added to the dynamic of the game. I feel that both Dark Angel flyers add to the unique flavour of the Chapter, particularly the Gothic look and mysterious technology of the Dark Talon.

To begin with, I think it’s a lovely model. Obviously derived from the Storm Talon STC, it’s gone in a completely different direction in terms of style and effect. The fuselage is essentially the same design, but it’s a fixed wing and the designers have outdone themselves to layer on enough architecture and skulls to make it look like a flying reliquary (with some real teeth – more on that later). This detail was one of the things that made it a joy (and a bit of a fiddle) to paint. I’ve painted a lot of the skulls as being ‘real’ and think of them as either the skulls of slain enemies or the skull of dead serfs given a position of honour in the reliquary. I didn’t attach the side panels of the ornamental section until everything was paint, as they would have been a nightmare to paint. The hardest part, though, was doing the Aquila panels on the wings – I made the classic error of trying to emulate the professional painted style on the miniatures in the book and ended up with a bit of a mess and more layers of paint that the Forth Rail Bridge. The rest of the model was pretty straightforward after that…

I’ve now deployed the Talon twice, once against Chaos Daemons (in 6th ed) and once against John’s Heralds of Desolation Chaos Marines (in 7th). I used it in similar but slightly different ways.

First time out was against a force of mostly Tzeentch with some Khorne thrown in. I was fielding a force of Reavers Redemptor with some Dark Angel friends (mostly because the Reavers are currently undergoing some restructuring and I didn’t have a complete force painted). I played it reasonably cautiously, not having gone toe-to-toe/claw/hoof with Daemons before, and went for a gunline with a whack of air support (Storm Talon and of course the Storm Talon). Things got more than a bit hairy, particularly with a fairly large pack of Bloodletters closing in on my Librarian commander and the Tactical Squad he was leading. My airpower came on in turn 3 or 4 on the opposite flank to that little bundle of fun, and the Storm Talon in particular did some good harm to the Pink Horrors that formed the backbone of the army. The Dark Talon, though, really came into its own on the next turn. I was able to send the Talon hurtling across the battlefield and just had range to deploy the Stasis Bomb in a ‘danger close’ fashion on Khorne’s finest just as they had closed into charge range.

For anyone not familiar with it, the Stasis Bomb has an alright profile in terms of the numbers (Str 3 large blast with no AP one shot) which in its own right means it can cause casualties in low toughness horde armies, though in this case I don’t think I caused any casualties. It’s real strength is to knock 3 off both Weapon Skill and Toughness. This was decisive – I was able to follow up the bombing with a charge with the Librarian and his Tactical Marines which wiped out the Daemon pack, something I would never have considered if the Bloodletters were at full strength. It was still a tough fight, and I took casualties, but I don’t think I would have won it without that intervention. That and the judicious use of Chapter Tactics to deal with a Screamer infiltration stabilised my left flank and turned the battle (just) in my favour. As an interesting side note, the manoeuvring required for the bombing run meant the Dark Talon had no shooting targets that turn and would almost certain ended up going off the table the next turn if the game hadn’t ended there, but I still considered it a worthwhile move.

It’s second deployment was against John’s traitor scum. I’d gone for a more aggressive force this time, again mostly Reavers with some Dark Angel support. My plan was to anchor my right flank with Tacticals and Devastators and then hammer through John’s right with Captain Tann Hauser and his entourage on bikes accompanied by a six-strong Bike Squad. I put them through the city streets, a move expedited by the White Scar Chapter Tactic. I again deployed a Storm Talon and Dark Talon (they’re two of the paint jobs I’m most proud of so why not?) and this time used the Dark Talon to pave the way for an assault rather than stabilise a defence.

The heretics were coming against my left flank with a twenty-strong squad of Marines led by a Sorcerer, while their vile Cultists camped on an objective. First turn out the Sorcerer in particular handed out some punishment, but the Dark Talon’s arrival was perfectly timed. The Talon was able to go straight over this slightly terrifying behemoth squad (I like to visualise it tearing down the street below telephone wire level like a 2nd World War Mosquito) and plant the Stasis Bomb square on the Traitors before going on to give a light (but less than impressive) peppering to the dug in Cultists with its forward firing weapons. Again, the bomb run was danger close – I have a bad history with scatter rolls and my bikes were close enough that they might have been caught, but this time the dice were on my side. I hit the Chaos Marines with both bike squads and it was, to be frank, a bit of a massacre. Captain Hauser and battle brothers are unsurprisingly close combat oriented. Hauser challenged the Sorcerer and took him apart while the rest of the Blacktoppers (the Reaver’s name for their Third Company bikers) savaged the enemy footsloggers, breaking and overrunning them in a turn.

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There was a twenty man squad of Chaos Marines here a second ago, stupid Dark Angels!

Now that was a fight my bikers would probably have won anyway. Standard Chaos Marines are better in close combat than Tacticals by dint of their two hand weapons and the Sorcerer, while not the tastiest in a fight, is still pretty flavoursome. Assault-optimised bike Veterans (with T5) and a Bike Squad to beef up the numbers would still have done the business. A straight pile in, though, would probably have lasted at least another turn and degraded both squads (as it was I don’t think I took any casualties). What the Dark Talon did was make it a walkover (sorry John) which meant on the next turn my Command Squad was able to burn, blast and hack the Cultists off the Objective they were holding before continuing on to roll up the Traitor’s right flank. That allowed my infantry, Vindicator and Storm Talon to focus on the slightly scary combination of Kharn and friends, a Chaos Terminator Squad and a second Chaos Marine squad that had become bogged down after I immobilised both the enemy Rhinos. (Kharn was the last foul follower of the Dark Gods on the field and fell in a hail of gunfire having wiped out my flanking Scouts and ripped up a Vindicator).

My initial assessment of the Dark Talon, then? Standing on its own merits it’s handy – the forward firepower of the Rift Canon (Str 5, Ap-, blast, Blind) and two sets of Hurricane Bolters will be pretty good against low toughness, low armour but numerous enemies (the humble bolter is not to be sniffed at) though in both times I’ve fielded it I’ve not used the guns a lot. For a longer battle or if you manage to bring it on early I imagine they’ll be good for harassing fire after you’ve used the Stasis Bomb.

The bomb is a force multiplier for your units on the ground and needs careful timing and placement. I think the temptation, as the Dark Talon may not be made of tissue paper but is not super tough either, is to drop the bomb as soon as you have a target and hope it causes some casualties. I think it’s well worth holding on to until you have the right target, even if that means risking a blue-on-blue strike. It can make a next to impossible assault proposition something worth attempting (like tactical Marines taking on a screaming mass of assault daemons). It can make a nut that would be tough but not impossible to crack an easy proposition, allowing your own assault units to clean the gore off their chainswords and charge on after a quick round of combat. While I’ve not tested it yet, I’m guessing it will make the really scary stuff something you can at least think about charging. I don’t think I’d bother with it against Guard (though they can stand their ground in an assault, that’s more to do with Commissars than any combat capability), but I reckon against an assault optimised Eldar force (either flavour) or against Nids it will be more than useful.

Marines, for me, are all about synergies (people who say Marines are the boring army have completely missed the point imo) and the Dark Talon expresses this very well. I’m certainly looking forward to getting a squad of Ravenwing Knights on the table to see how the combination of rad shells and stasis anomalies works out.

I also need to bear in mind that I can’t rely on the same things over and over again – in our next battle in the Eternal War, John demonstrated that he’s really hitting his stride with his Chaos Marines and future battles are going to require different stratagems.

I’ve toyed with what to name the Dark Talon and have now settled on Tacet Ultionis – not that I’m going to be able to paint that on, of course.

Flattery will get you everywhere sir 🙂  Thanks again to Tim for a fantastic article, if you’d like to contrtibute you can find all the information you need here.

Sorting Things Out

10/13/2014 3 comments

Wow, two posts in one day!

Anyway, without wanting to create a negative atmosphere I haven’t painted since Dad died last month.  While it’s my intention/hope to pick up a brush by the end of the week right now I’ve been easing myself back into the hobby swing by first getting the blog back up and staggering and secondly by gritting my teeth and finally sorting out my paints.

As with all hobbyists, I have amassed quite a collection of paints in the past twenty three years, and I’ve never bothered to properly go through them.  Until no.

First of all, I decided to limit my ‘active’ paints to those bought since I returned to the hobby in 2009.  This meant that paints like these have been relegated to the bottom drawer.

Memories, memories :-)

Memories, memories 🙂

I’ve toyed with the idea of breaking out these old paints and attempting to replicate older styles of miniature painting on appropriately venerable models.  Not now though, far too many half-finished and planned projects, one day though.

Right, back to the cataloging.  After a happy hour or so, I’d arranged my paints by rough type and alphabetically therein.  I ended up with this.

Paints!

There is a significant amount of organisation at play here, really!

Finally I came to the part I was really looking forward to, building my database!  I love spreadsheets, I work with them all day and genuinely enjoy applying what I do for a living to my hobbies where possible.  Therefore, it did not take me long at all to knock this up.

Paint Database

As you can see, I’ve not only listed the paints I have but I’ve also made a start at recording which colours are used for which army.  I didn’t have time to get this part fully logged but give me time.

And the numbers, you ask?  After everything was logged I was able to ascertain that I have 93 different colours (including technical paints) and of these 93, I have 32 duplicates of which most of those are a result of stocking up on Devlan Mud and Catachan Green before they were discontinued.

Miniature painting and spreadsheets, what’s not to love? 🙂

 

Games Workshop’s Great Rebranding Experiment

10/13/2014 Leave a comment

By now, most of you will be aware that GW have launched a trial rebranding of their shops in Bath, Chiswick and Edinburgh. Gone is the venerable Games Workshop logo and in its place we have this.

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As I live in Edinburgh and work five minutes’ walk away I decided to pop in and have a wee chat with the staff about the change and some of the reactions they’ve had thus far.

They explained that there were two main reasons as to the change. The first is down, unsurprisingly, to brand recognition. Many people have heard of Warhammer via mediums such as PC/console games, novels as well as other media (don’t mention Ultramarines, don’t mention Ultramarines) but don’t necessarily link this to Games Workshop. It makes sense to capitalise on this, much in the way that the majority of car showrooms place a greater emphasis on the main make they sell rather than the name of the showroom itself.

Secondly there is a reason why these particular three stores were chosen. All three receive a comparatively high number of people through the door and, particularly Bath and Edinburgh, have a high number of tourists popping in, although in Edinburgh’s case it’s probably for directions to “the Harry Potter café” (bad luck, it’s now a Chinese buffet restaurant), the Castle or “The Fringe” (sigh). Anyway, in theory this means that these stores will be best placed to judge the success or failure of this experiment.

When asked how long until a decision is made as to the project’s success it appears that they don’t have a set end date and are happy to see how it goes. While I understand the need to be flexible my inner Project Manager nearly had a heart attack!

According to the chaps on duty today, the feedback thus far has been for the most part encouraging. I can see why, it’s always nice to see some experimentation and quite frankly, I love seeing people encounter and take up the hobby so anything that may be able to do this is to be applauded. There have been a few negative comments, almost exclusively on their Facebook page, but that’s the internet for you.

As for my feelings, I like it. From a design point of view I think it’s has a far more contemporary feel and I do think it has the potential to accomplish its objective. Time of course will tell.

Also, one final thought. If GW does go ahead and rebrand its stores, where does this leave the LOTR/Hobbit game? Could this be the start of a phasing out process? Personally, I would not be surprised.