Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Battlefleet Gothic: Mars Class WIP

The Phoenix, Imperial Mars Class Battlecruiser WIP

The Imperial Fleet is about a week away from completion. I think the goal at this point is to get it table-worthy and then fuss about details like engine glow later. I know for a fact that Santa is bringing me Assault Boats, Chaos bombers and enough 2" bases to mount the lot. I aim to get the Assault Boats done next week as well.

Still left to do on the Mars Class pictured here is a wash of GW Ice Blue + Flow Enhancer, to make the GW Mithril Silver metals colder than they look now, giving them some pop. Also, I'm going to try to paint arcs onto the bases to clean up gameplay.

An interesting note about this ship: Somebody else had built it in a configuration that I don't see anywhere in any BFG resource. It was the last Imp ship I had in my big box of BFG after assembling the rest of this fleet. During my attempts to remove the errant weapon bays I had pretty much destroyed most of the ship, including breaking off the prow. I wanted a Mars class and that is a unique vessel, so I decided it was appropriate to embellish the reassembly of this ship with Imperial Guard icon bits, a battering ram assembly, WHFB Skeleton skull, putty, cutting and reattaching/trimming while getting it all back together again in its traditional shape, plus improvements.

So, the worst looking hulk in the fleet is now the flagship.

Now I just need a name...  EDIT: Got one! The Phoenix. Thanks stranger!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Battlefleet Gothic: New Imperial Fleet

At least the fighters and bombers are done...

Here's a WIP shot of my "new" Imperial Navy fleet for BFG. I say "new" because we all know how old these models are. I inherited them from my buddy Wil who gave up the BFG ghost and so passed a mighty box of models my way. I parsed out the box amongst friends, including some Space Marine ships to Joe over at Rocketship Games. Since then, I've been painting steadily, building up a very large fleet for Chaos, a starter fleet for Eldar and now a decent-sized one for the Imperials. The only thing I added on my own to this Imperial Fleet was the Emperor class battleship. I intend on painting hash marks onto the bases for arcs, something I've been doing with Warmachine from the start so here's hoping I can pull that off here.

I have a game of BFG in January against the local guru's Ork fleet, so I want to have this fully painted before the end of the holidays, just so it looks great when he cleaves my fleet into spinning, shredded debris fields.

When the fleet is done I'll post up a color list/process.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Straight Silver-ish: Machete Man-day

Sometimes a guy just has to go out and buy a machete.

Monday was that day for me. I noticed the Gerber Gator Pro at the local Dick’s Sporting Goods on Sunday while looking at shotguns and realized that of all the years I did pro landscaping and lived/played in the outdoors, I never tried one out.

Not sure what I waited for.

I went back on Monday and I brought it home, took the “lawyer edge” off of it with a bastard file and then honed it up to a real edge. I took it outside into my overgrown tree line and reduced the thickest knot of bracken down to a pile in about 20 minutes. Unreal. What a deft swipe couldn’t sever, a flip of the wrist brought the back edge saw blade to task… zip! Done.

It held its edge all afternoon, had fine balance, was solid and safe (remember to use the lanyard!)

All this and it was only $25.00 US.

Finally, it was completely therapeutic.

I highly recommend one if you have the work that warrants it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

BFG: Engines Lit?

So... I'm painting an Imperial fleet for BFG and I'm not totally sure about painting engine glow. Frankly, even on expertly painted minis, I'm undecided on the effect. I tried it on this Dauntless WIP. Thoughts?

It works as a detail on the fighter markers, which are about the size of the "the" in this sentence. Strange how I'm not feeling it on a larger model.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy ThanksbirthgivingDay!

Let’s all give thanks for family, friends, health and also for Sarcophagi, who is a precocious 1 year old today! Chewing solid food, playing with others nicely and almost being ready to make boom-boom on the potty that is the Internet are just a few of the things this plucky youngster is up to!

As a treat, let’s all sing along with the Hill sister’s 1930's classic “Happy Birthday to You”, Warner Chappell be damned…

Saturday, October 22, 2011

FW Proteus: Love

Photo via Forge World all rights reserved

I've looked into the eyes of Forge World's Land Raider Proteus and it's like the first time I heard The Beatles: See the Forge World Land Raider Proteus be sure to read the experimental rules.

I'm still toying with doing a Space Wolf force or, perhaps better, bring this relic to my aging Plague Marine force where it would look fantastic with the old Nurgle models. The high school junior in me just squeeed, recalling the days of plastic Land Raider kits and unstoppable rage (mine from high school, not the land raider's).

I really like the experimental rules. I'm not sure about the points cost but the features it brings are... interesting. I "play" guard so I'm aware of what the Master of the Fleet and Astropath do to enemy plans. Proteus does the same. Proteus also dislikes melta spam and just feels like the precious WOPR from ages past. It might not be a total detriment to putting down on the table just because it looks so damn cool.

So what do you marine players think?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Battlefleet Gothic Action Report: Chaos at the Gates

    The Slaughter becomes crippled with a deadly lance strike aft.

  • Orders: Cruiser Clash
  • Location: Flare Zone, Hammerfall IV Primary
    • The Nochsi (Knocks-EYE) Gas Giant (Gas cloud, 8cm x30cm)
    • Von Stryen's Belt (Asteroid belt, 15cm x 5cm)
    • 2x Solar Flare rolls
  • Fleet Composition: 700 points
    • Chaos: Slaughter class X2, Carnage class, Devastation class
    • Imperial: Mars class, Dominator class, Gothic class, 2x Cobras, 2x Swords + Cobra (via Unexpected Help)
  • Sub plots:
    • Blood Bond: Chaos
    • Unexpected Help: Imperials
Finn and I had a casual BFG game Friday night, acting out a chance detection of a Chaos reconnaissance fleet and a picket of  Imperial warships. The game was started late and so we called it on turn 5 (out of proscribed 8) around 1 AM. It was still a blast, literally.

The Nochsi Gas Giant

Von Stryen's Belt
There were 4 Celestial Phenomena in the Flare Zone of Hammerfall’s inner solar system and we had to roll for 2 solar flares in each of our turns as well. Phenomena played no role in this game, save for the Chaos Devastation cruiser prowling the shallows of The Nochsi gas giant, intending to descend into the immense gas cloud if cornered, where the loss of shields and disruption to reactor containment was preferable to standing up to Imperial broadsides.

The Chaos Fleet
The Imperials (minus Unexpected Help)

Forces deployed, note the Swords and Cobra LRRP in the foreground, AKA Imperial Unexpected Help)

Turn 1 and 2: The Imperial cruiser picket moved into a chevron formation  and closed on the intruders, firing Nova Cannons as Chaos shifted to allow the Carnage to skirt towards The Nochsi Giant with the Devastator behind. The 2 Slaughter cruisers drifted together on minimal power, undetected by the Imperial fleet, ready to crash-start and speed 30cm a turn towards the Imperials once the Carnage gains the Imperial left flank. 

From left to right: 2 Slaughters, Devastation and Carnage
The Imperial Nova barrage was long, but the Imperial gunners recomputed trajectories based on telemetry while hundreds of ratings hauled massive nova shells into cavernous cannons again. The Chaos Devastator launched 4 waves of fighters to patrol for Imperial torpedoes as auspex on both sides monitored the sun, watchful of dangerous solar flares. The surprise arrival of an Imperial LRRP asset hailed the fleet as it came around from the asteroid belt outlying the sector. The 2 swords and lone Cobra moved expertly amongst the outlying fields of rock and into formation with the Imperial fleet.

Turn 3 and 4: The Imperials split into a pincer formation, as the ordered Swords and Cobras broke station from the thrumming wakes of their convoy out into the void between the fleets. Nuclear lance projectors stitched back and forth, flaring shields and slicing hulls asunder. Weapon batteries miles long flared along ship hulls as savage ordinance streaked out and detonated against energy fields that could not withstand the megaton concussions. A Slaughter was detected by Imperial Fury interceptors that had been launched and reported directly back to the Imperial Gothic class. Coming about in sprays of attitude thrusters, power levels spiked as the veins of energy and ammunition coursed into batteries which bombarded the Chaos ship. The Captain of Slaughter 1 sacrificed crewmen to Father Nurgle, who gave him warp sight enough to know to order the helm to blast port thrusters and adjust their aspect to the Imperial shots and receive the Imperial barrage spread from stem-to-stern instead of concentrated into one already molten, gaping wound.

In textbook synchronization, building-sized missiles were launched towards the struggling Slaughter from the Imperial Dominator cruiser, which were met and destroyed by lurking squadrons of Swiftdeath torpedo-hunting fighters.

Chaos fighters run down the closing Imperial torpedoes.
Chaos lances illuminated streaking Imperial nova shells that plowed through molten metal that had ejected from impacts along the Slaughter’s hull and then cooled into tumbling, hill-sized parodies of coral. Below deck in the putrid bowels of the stricken Slaughter, hundreds of diseased crewmen perished as atmosphere ignited within compartments or sections of ship breathed them out into the frozen, crushing void when a Nova shell crumpled the port thruster stack of Slaughter 1.

Turn 5: The Chaos Carnage came amidships of the Imperial Line as their aft watch reported a massive Nova detonation against the trailing Devastator. Communication had been lost with Slaughter 1 while Slaughter 2 was ordered all ahead full to no avail. Starboard compensators flared as the Carnage’s port batteries and lances filled the void around the incoming Cobras with such incandescence that even their pierced and stabbed reactors breaking free from containment fields seemed but a spark amongst the bonfire of the disintegrating Cobra squadron. The Imperial Gothic shuddered as her shields flickered through the bands of explosive forces dealt long range by the Carnage cruiser.

 With launch bays still open and issuing fighter waves, a Nova cannon shot detonated with such close proximity to the Chaos Devastator that the Nova’s plasma wave carried just-launched craft back into the hangers like twigs carried on floodwater, to immolate in the estuary line between void and oxygen-filled holds, which burned from the inside out.

The Imperial commander called for reports as the Chaos fleet seemed to go dim and dissolve from his command lectern screens, indicating disengagement. Gunnery sections confirmed the Chaos contacts changing from hard to intermittent to silent. Damage reports streamed in from the fleet and the commander ordered the vanguard section into a Search turn towards the last position of the Carnage, leaving the bloodied Devastator for the mysteries of the enshrouding Nochsi gas giant which swallowed the cruiser whole. The limping Slaughter 1 was savored by the green gunnery crews of the Imperial Dominator to cut their teeth on instead of being taken as a prize.

Notes: Neither of us had used Nova cannons before so the what-fors and how-to’s took some time. Also, neither of us thought to take a true fleet commander with inherent Leadership and reroll. Given more time, I am sure my flanking Chaos fleet would have maneuvered around hard enough to cross the T of at least one Imperial cruiser but the Nova cannons had already found their range and it would be an attritional fight, perhaps helped by my now-triggered Blood Bond. I was disappointed that there were no solar flares all game... it would have been cool to see the havoc they would have caused and possibly the mess created between the tension of Imperial and Chaos fighter waves on the board. Finally, I had forgotten a major Special Order, Brace for Impact. I can only chalk my failure to use that up to the late (and great) night.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Terrain How-To or Talkin’ Trash: Defense Line on the Cheap, Part One

Goal: So I got a new office at work. With the new office came new furniture and with that, these plastic corner guards, protection for the furniture in transit. As soon as I saw them I grabbed as many as I could, eleven in fact. They seemed a good scale and possibly workable as far as material goes, so let’s learn together and see if I can make these things into a group of chevron bunkers. I only wanted to spend about 20 bucks and counted on the other materials I already owned to bring this thing home.

I'm rich, beyotch!!!

Style: Here you can see that each of these can hold almost a 10 man squad. With a 3"x3" piece of foamcore in it, the bunker holds about 8 or 9, 2" GW based models. Good enough. Without the foamcore "floor", the head of your average GW trooper won't see over the lip. With foamcore, it does. I wrangled with how to tackle this LOS issue and felt that the floor, which elevates the troopers, is better for LOS and more dramatic-looking. I like what these corner guards convey as bunkers, the rounded sides would be a good design for deflecting rounds and would look ok both in 40k and Warmachine, 2 games I play.
No  floor: This sucks!

With floor: Much better! Watch me scream!!!

Color: So the Carnifex in the room was the fact that painting plastic is a huge pain in the ass on almost any day of the week. I'm still not convinced these things are more plastic than they are rubber. But, sometimes you just have to be brave, go for it and see what happens. I wanted a sorta weathered iron look or maybe like a lava rock, picturing what the Ad Mech would churn out in droves and plop onto the battlefield. I stopped at the local DIY and picked up some Rust-oleum direct-to-plastic brown spray and a spray texture in a brown-earthen tone. I mistakenly thought I bought a plastic spray-primer and that was not ideal. 1 coat of brown spray undercoat and 2 of the texture went on well enough but probably won't wear very well from what I could see. My tests show that something like a brush-on plastic primer is best for plastics like those I'm using here. Something else I didn't do at first, but did later, is to wipe down the plastic with paint thinner first for best paint adhesion; that made a difference. Scuffing the plastic with fine grain sandpaper may have have helped as well and would be mitigated by the spray texture to an extent. I'm counting on the fact that these bunkers will be handled well (by me) and so I'm not sweating wear too much. So, learn from my first mistake, make sure you get a plastic primer when you need it and don't skimp. Here is a sample of the color on the test bunker...

While warm, I think the color still works in a "cold"climate
I thought I grabbed plastic primer on the left but it was just direct-to-plastic paint, not as good but it'll have to do.

Details: I intend on adding some frost, weathering and snow to the bunkers themselves and creating the bases using my Gorilla Glue technique. I'm planning on making two into "command" bunkers with searchlights and maybe an emplaced heavy stubber. Details can eat up the real estate normally occupied by models in play and nice touches like stubbers end up breaking off eventually so I'm weighing my options heavily.

Money spent so far: $9.00US for direct-to-plastic brown paint and spray-on Brown earthen texture.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

BFG: Terminus Est Completed

So here she is, the Terminus Est. I may touch up a few things here or there like making the sails more putrid looking but that's basically it, she's ready to get underway. I added some old raptor jump packs to the side and a good amount of greenstuff. To see the WIP, go here.

Here is the stock GW model for comparison (image from GW's website)

Monday, September 19, 2011

40K: Medusa Completed

It totally figures that I finished my Medusa kit-bash over the weekend and then see the Release Rumor on BOLS about Medusas.

Anyway, here are a few pics. The siege gun is a Earthshaker chopped up and mounted backwards. For the muzzle I used a highliter cap. The earlier version was maybe a tad cooler but I couldn’t get it to fit into a gunsheild so that was that.

The weapon platform slides into the bay, just like the Earthshaker platform does. I’ll get some detail on the bits I used at some point if anybody cares, otherwise, here she is.

Random Pic: Pete's painted Malifaux

My buddy Pete's Malifaux warband for our learning game a few months back. Pete LOVES games with poker-style decks (i.e. Warlord.) He owns all the factions and has all of them painted. He's the fastest high-quality painter I know. More Peteifaux soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hope for the Future: Pete

I was just informed via text by my buddy Pete that he got me a copy of Space Marine for Xbox 360. And you believed thoughtful giving and complete generosity was dead, huh? Well you are wrong, so screw you, he's my friend and you can't have him.

Thank you, Pete.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

40K: Tyranid Objective Marker and Lightning Fighter Rebase

Here is the complete 'Nid objective marker that I started below. I added a textured rim, snow and some polyurethane on the Niddy parts. Had I thought about it more, I maybe would have made the 'Nid Whatever That Is poking through a crack in the rocks, instead of a pool. At least it stands out.

Also, I redid the base for my finished Forge World Lightning fighter.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

WIP: Tyranid Objective Marker

I went as cheap as possible on this objective marker, one little Nid bit in the middle of a GW base and then a bunch of freehand to fill up the flat space. I may skim coat a clear epoxy layer on top of the 'Nid organism after the earthen rim is done, we’ll see.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

40K: Hellhound Deaths through the Years

After a recent game against my buddy John and his Nids I took a moment to reflect on the fact that the Hellhound (or cousins) explode real good almost every game.

So to the point, here is my Hellhound exploding 4 years ago to some Genestealers:

And here is my Hellhound blowing up again, last Tuesday night, to some Genestealers.

They blow up grow up so fast.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Random Pic: Memoir '44/Sword Beach

Hard to see in the pic, but I bought a large piece of plexi-glass for Memoir '44. This allows the board and tiles to be set up, then the plexi-glass put on top, protecting the tiles from being knocked out of position as units move around the board... critical during long Breakthrough missions and the customary switching of sides/resetting the field after the first game. I got a 30"x36" piece of plexi-glass for $20, which covers both the 28"x34" Breakthrough maps as well as the standard 28"x20" standard maps.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Random Pic: Spectre 6

A Valhallan Leman Russ, call sign Spectre 6, supresses heathen Dark Angel Terminators from the hilltop while an armor-hunting tactical squad of Valhallans flanks right.

For a more in depth but still brief description of my game against Jason Woolf's Deathwing termi army (damn it) please see his blog:

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I say again, Irene

Like many, my painting desk is in the basement. Like many here on the East Coast, I have built water channels outside, tried to hire an arborist to remove house-killing trees and generally pulled together with neighbors to create overlapping-fields-of-helpfulness. Among the flood watches, tornado watches, promised power outages and battery price gouging, I had to make sure the sump pump worked. I forgot about the sump pump, good ol' sucky.

Ol' Sucky who is right under my paint table and so had to be moved. Well, I went all-in on that and tried to scoot it out of the way without being careful figuring the earthquake this week didn't do anything. Yeah I sloshed projects right onto the floor.

And Ol' Sucky just stared. Friggen Irene. So the lesson here is to ignore the hurricane outside and just paint.

Good luck East Coast!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Space Marine Video Game Demo: Review

Alright folks, I think we have a winner. I downloaded and played through the Space Marine demo on Xbox 360 tonight. I’m more than a little happy with it.

They give you two levels with what seems like full features and options (sound/video/controls/skill/etc.)

I won’t ruin anything by getting into the levels, though I don’t think it spoils much. Still, skipping some give-away details, I’ll just say that I’ve never wanted to be a Space Marine more in my life.

The sheer power that the Ultramarines have comes right across as you romp straight into mobs of orks. There are practical mechanics to the melee, like restoring health, gaining better attacks/weapons and combos. Granted, I played it on easy to get the controls but I did die to the press even then. There is little detriment to going hand-to-hand, since it is actually necessary to maintain martial honor and stay alive.

The camera gets some getting used to, that is to say, knowing that the more you melee, the more combat slows down to a flow-like slo-mo, allowing you to pan the camera, sweep your zone and redirect attacks around you, including to your six, which always has a flanking greenskin in it. Also, evading pig iron choppas via 700 pound combat rolls works well too… deliver that charge, never take one. You will thrive on learning the combos.

Grenades aren’t overly powerful, they soften up mobs the way the math works in 40k, like a buff/debuff. Rapid firing your bolter into the closing throng then going to bolt pistol/chainsword/power axe is fluid and satisfying. I think this is one thing I really love about this game. So far, I haven’t seen anything that I’d say, “there’s no way that would happen on the table.” The moment is probably coming, but who am I to judge? You play a Space Marine hero and this is true to what we know already about them by years of buckets of dice (and the occasional train of 6’s.) Some incredible things are bound to happen. Departures will afford some surprise.

I played through the first level with bolt pistol and chainsword before I realized that he had a loadout of bolter, sniper-style bolter and some sort of time delay grenade launcher I’ve never seen before, useful for laying ambushes.

Players familiar with traditional shooters like COD and Halo will get the ranged aspect fast. Players of God of War and Gears of War will appreciate the CQB ability the marines have and the role cover plays… as well they should since the grim darkness of the far future has wet work across everybody’s resumes, the marines most of all. There is room for Devastators holding ground and Blood-for-the-blood god.

The environments are epic and illustrate so much of the atmosphere we’ve come to love on paper. The level design is solid; the voice work and sound effects pretty damn solid too. The story is about what you’d expect and it looks like most of the popular kids are at the dance in terms of races/usual suspects.

I think I have two gripes at the end here. One, ork blood is black, not red. Two, I don’t own this game yet. This will definitely be a rent and play-through if not a flat-out buy, (which it will be for me.)

We can now forget Firewarrior!

As a 40k fan and video game fan, I give the whole deal a provisional A, pending the quality of the rest of the game upon release.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chicken Pox and Chop Shop

Over the weekend I was slated to play 40K with John and Dave, two guys I know that had just jumped back into the game after a 2 year and 10 year hiatus. Both have large, earlier edition armies.

They both picked up their “new” Nid and Eldar dex's and we were gonna get our thing on as a learning game (which I need very badly.) But my kids had chicken pox and that nixed my participation. Zehr lame. Thanks Nurgle.

So lacking the Saturday game, I retreated back to my table and basically tore apart the Medusa gun I built before and finished it all over again. I really wanted a big ol' Basilisk gunshield on it, but the previous version wouldn't allow the gunshield to fit. I also finished the Punisher turret I started a bit ago, using leftovers from the gunshield I cut apart for the Medusa. I tried to finish my 3 melta hardened vets over the weekend but my jeweler's saw blade broke. It’s like that sometimes.

In other related news, I'm helping the Nid player John figure out a Mycetic spore on the cheap so I picked up a $7 foam gourd from the local craft store. I think it fits the bill in terms of cost and size as a start. I'll add some bitz and a base. Any reactions from the Nid players out there?