Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Announcing Blog Wars X - Tickets On Sale Now!

Well as Dave Weston inadvertently guessed, Blog Wars 10 will in fact be:


BLOG WARS X - This Time It's Numeral!
Saturday November 7th 2015

Kindly sponsored by:
Discount Wargaming

I know I say this a lot but I'm still flabbergasted that the event is still going strong in it's 5th year of existence. I really appreciate the support that you guys have given this event. I'm planning to make the tenth Blog War something special. I can't reveal any more details yet (since I haven't decided what I'm going to do!) but suffice to say it will mean more prizes!

After the feedback from Blog Wars 9, I've spent some time reviewing and rewriting the rules pack to make things simpler and hopefully clearer. I've re-ordered the army selection details and trimmed some unnecessary bits. Even if you've read the pack from a previous Blog War you should read this updated pack as there are some important differences.

Here's a few highlights:

  • The voting is still going (see the polls on the right of the web version of this blog) but it seems that people are in favour of the 0-1 LoW restriction rather than a total ban. Also, people seem reasonably happy to keep allies as they are although that vote is a lot closer.
  • In order to avoid confusion I've renamed the "Commander" SC to "Hero". There are too many actual Commanders in 40K (e.g. Pask, Farsight, Dante) but Hero should be pretty unique I think. I may have missed a few instances of it here and there though.
  • The missions will remain unchanged from BW9. I was pretty happy with them on the whole. Obviously they aren't perfect but there isn't such a thing. I think there's a good enough mixture to flatter most factions though.
  • Round times will remain the same (sorry Dave - get those DA painted!).
  • Best Conversions prize will stay and there'll be separate tables. More on this later.
I hope everything makes sense but I encourage you to comment here or on the BWX page if there's anything that isn't clear. I'd also appreciate any rules queries you have sooner, rather than later.

Right then, grab yourself a ticket, get painting and I'll see you at Blog Wars X in November!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Magnetising the Imperial Knight Warden Kit for All Weapon Combos

Let's take a break from the Blog Wars feedback and look at some actual hobby I've managed to achieve over the last week. I don't get a lot of hobby time and this is my first big magnetisation project so it's taken me a while to get everything how I want it. If and when I buy more Knights I'm sure they'll go together A LOT quicker. Apologies for this guide being pretty long. You can get the basic idea from the pictures but I wanted a reference for myself as much as anything else.

Before I started I watched the GW assembly video, a couple of YouTube magnetisation videos and a few blog posts. Some of them don't have the level of magnetisation I want and I couldn't find any of them that cover the extra weapons so I thought I should post about them. I may have done things differently to others but I'm happy to hear suggestions for things I could've done better.

You'll need:

  • The Knight Warden kit (obviously)
  • 2 x 1 mm disc magnets
  • 3 x 1 mm disc magnets
  • 5 x 1 mm disc magnets
  • Super glue
  • Plastic glue
  • Green stuff
  • Spare sprue
  • Hobby drill (1 mm, 2 mm, 3 mm and 5 mm bits)
  • Hobby file
  • Hobby knife/clippers
  • Patience!

Here's a few notes before you get started. Apologies if they're patronising but they're things I've picked up in the process of doing this:

  • Leave the armour panels off everything (where possible). This will make it much easier to paint especially if you're going to use an airbrush, like I am, but even if you're not. I'll get to this more when I get to painting but you'll thank me later.
  • Assemble the legs and torso as per the instructions but obviously leave any weapons off.
  • Don't assemble the arms at all yet.
  • I'm not attaching mine to the base at the moment. Unfortunately it's very difficult to position the legs in any other way than a single pose, therefore I'll need to change my basing to make my Knights look unique (if I'm intending to have several).
  • I'm not magnetising the face masks since I'm going to have at least 3 Knights but if you want a guide on magnetising them head to Jamie's blog.
  • Get some plastic tweezers or at least some cocktail sticks for moving the magnets around as using your knife is obviously next to impossible and I assume you'd prefer to avoid having magnets permanently glued to your fingers!
  • When drilling holes start with a 1 mm drill bit and gradually increase the size. This not only makes it physically easier but also means you're more likely to hit the centre of the piece you're drilling.

Waist Joint
I've taken a cunning idea from LordHalfpenny over on Weemen and glued a piece of sprue to the top of the legs. I went a step further though as I wanted to be able to separate the legs from the torso for transport. Firstly, I filed down the peg on top of the legs to make the eventual joint tighter for better stability. I then glued on the sprue.


To make the legs removable I cut a piece out of each side of the hole to allow the piece of sprue to slot through and then turn 90 degrees to lock in place. Of course, you could use a large disk magnet but I thought this made for a pretty neat solution without the need for a magnet. If it proves not to be stable enough or easily broken then I may end up reverting to a magnet anyway.

Heavy Stubber/Meltagun
This is a new swap for the Warden kit but a useful one. You actually get nearly everything for both guns but the way the joint to the body is made you can't swap them without magnets.


I simply trimmed off the top of the weapon holder, attached a 3 x 1 mm disc magnet to the bottom of this off-cut and glued it in place (I originally tried this with a 2 mm magnet but it wasn't strong enough). I glued it onto the body as the magnet will allow for rotation.



I then glued the clip into place on each weapon as there's too much movement if you don't. I then added another 3 x 1 mm disc magnet on top of each weapon. Sadly the weapon didn't end up perfectly central when the top carapace is in place but it's not far off and when I make subsequent knights it'll be done better.


Carapace Weapons
The autocannons and missile launcher get separate mounts so they can be fully assembled (apart from the front panel of the missile launcher). This was a pretty good fit for me so I just added a 2 x 1 mm magnet to the top by carefully drilling out a 2 mm hole in both panels right at the top of the groove in the back. I then did the same in the solid bit at the top of the launcher itself. Incidentally, if anyone has bought a Warden kit that they're assembling as Imperial aligned would they be prepared to send me the Mechanicum cogs (part A61) so I can add one to both fronts of the missile launcher? I'll cover postage of course and I'm happy to send you the eagle heads (part #129) in return.



To attach the weapons I drilled out the hole in the top of the carapace (circled red) to 5 mm diameter, added a piece of sprue across the hole then glued a 5 x 1 mm disc magnet to it with a small amount of green stuff to try and neaten up the hole. It's worth noting that I (very carefully) used my power drill to make the 5 mm hole as that drillbit doesn't fit in my hobby drill.


I then cut the peg off the bottom of each weapon mount and drilled out the middle to get rid of the peg completely. I then added another 5 x 1 mm magnet to the bottom of each weapon. This makes the weapons sit just about flush to the model itself and allows them to fully rotate.

Arms
Since you only get two "shoulders" in the entire kit you need to magnetise the weapons at the "elbow". This allows for lateral movement too. To do this you need to trim off the bottom of the cylinder piece on each shoulder as shown. You can then insert this into the shoulder itself. I drilled 5 mm holes into the bottom of each cylinder and sank a 5 x 1 mm in to a depth of 1 mm. This will allow me to simply glue the magnets on top of the weapons and they'll end up recessed when joined together.




Incidentally, since you won't need to fully remove the shoulders from the model the shoulder guards can be glued into permanent position once painted. I initially thought I'd need to be able to remove the shoulder guards so I spent ages carefully magnetising them but I now know that time was wasted!

Reaper Chainsword/Thunderstrike Gauntlet
In order to make the Knight Gallant you need to be able to attach the sword to the right arm but to the left arm for all the other variants. The fist can only be left handed unfortunately. Magnetising at the elbow makes this easy. You get enough elbow pieces for both of the melee weapons so they can be fully assembled before packing the hole in the top of each mount with sprue off-cuts and then green stuff.


Once dry, file the top surface down and test fit it with BOTH shoulders to make sure it will sit flush, filing down as necessary. Then glue a magnet into the centre of the green stuff.

Avenger Gatling Cannon
The Gatling Cannon gets a separate mounting from the other two ranged weapons so it can be fully assembled and magnetised in a similar way to the melee weapons. I glued my pistons into place as I didn't want too many articulations and therefore a loss of stability. No one wants a floppy gun after all!


It's worth noting here that the part circled in red needs trimming back a bit so the gun can fit snugly onto the shoulder piece. It's the same for the thermal/battle cannon mount. Speaking of which...

Thermal Cannon/Rapid Fire Battle Cannon
This part is easily the most complicated part of the model to magnetise. The problem is that they both share the same mounting so you need to magnetise several different parts to give you the two guns. Fortunately there aren't any variants that require both of these two weapons to be fitted. Both Weemen and Jamie's blog offer guides for doing this and I've borrowed parts from both to make my version.

First thing to say is DON'T put the two halves of the weapon casing together until you've done the magnetisation work for the hoppers. Start by trimming the pipe from the battle cannon ammo case. I'm going to use the thermal cannon piece in the back of the gun and the pipe attached to that. I could magnetise the pipes but I'd end up losing them and I doubt anyone will ever notice that the pipe isn't quite right on the battle cannon. I then magnetised the ammo hoppers for the thermal and battle cannons with a magnet in the side of the main housing (sunk to a depth of 1 mm) and a magnet in each of the hoppers. The battle cannon hopper needed packing with sprue off-cuts before the magnet could be positioned with green stuff. The thermal cannon hopper gets the pipe glued into place.



The ammo hopper for the heavy stubber on the battle cannon needs to be magnetised as it gets in the way of the thermal cannon front. I drilled a 3 mm hole in the side of the main gun housing and then applied some greenstuff to the back and pushed in a magnet. I then did a similar thing to the inside of the hopper itself.


For the gun fronts I regretted cutting out the piece of sprue from the hole in each shield as this would've made a perfect place for a magnet. The battle cannon needed a piece of sprue putting back in and the thermal cannon got some green stuff. The main gun housing got a piece of sprue glued into each side before the two halves were put together (not forgetting the arm in the top and tank in the back).



Conclusion
I'm, generally speaking, pretty satisfied with my first proper magnetisation efforts. I've previously magnetised a predator and things but this is a much bigger undertaking! I've learned quite a lot of minor things from doing this that will make a big difference to how long it takes me to magnetise my next couple of knights. Here's a few shots showing off the combinations:


I'll post again once I start making the base and painting the kit up. Oh, and yes I can appreciate the irony of discussing how overpowered these are and limiting their use at Blog Wars, only to post up my plans for an army of them! However, I wanted an army with a low model count that I could really go to town on from a painting perspective and find easy to use on the tabletop. Imperial Knights seemed like the obvious choice since they're beautiful kits that lend themselves well to airbrush work and can also be allied into my other armies pretty easily. There's also the possibility of some AdMech stuff to go with them in the future.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Blog Wars 9 - Feedback Discussion

Right, with that unpleasantness out of the way I want to move onto talk about some of the more positive feedback that came out of the event and how it will be used to shape BW10. Firstly, let me say a massive thank you to everyone who has taken the time to give me feedback. I think this is some of the most constructive feedback I've received. I strive to make Blog Wars the best event possible and I can only do this if people tell me what needs improving. I thank you all for your kind words about the event and for your continued support.

Right, let's get to it.

Refereeing & My Participation
I already mentioned this in the previous post but to spell it out again. I won't be playing at BW10 unless I absolutely have to in the event of uneven numbers on the day. I'll do my best to arrange a local stand-in before the day though to try to avoid it. If I do end up playing it will be with a list that I deliberately tailor to play quickly i.e. minimal models and no complicated rules.

Anyway, I've already started on further streamlining measures and making the rules pack and scoring sheets as idiot proof as possible. Since I'm not playing I'll have plenty of time to answer rules queries but I'll also be volunteering Matt to help out here too. He should be able to answer general rules questions but I can still be called upon to make rulings where there's ambiguity.

I won't pretend I'm not gutted but if the kind of numbers we saw at BW9 are repeated for BW10 I just don't think it's fair on everyone else. It'll make for a more relaxing day for me anyway!

Scoring
I try to make the scoring as simple to understand as possible whilst also rewarding convincing victories more than narrow ones. I certainly need to better clarify a few things so I've updated the scoresheet for BW10 to really spell things out. Hopefully this will avoid any confusion and also help me get the results in quicker. Incidentally I've added a bonus points column to the scorecard to allow people to track the points they receive from stripping hull points from Lords of War (or any other source).

I'd like to tweak the scoring slightly to make wins more important. There's been a situation at the last few events where players who won all three games placed lower than others who hadn't. This was because most or all of their wins had been in close games but it should still be better to win than lose. I'm looking closely at the scoring system Matt has devised for Fluffageddon and I've run the BW9 numbers through to see how it affected things. Here's how it would've looked:


As you can see it hasn't affected things too dramatically but there's a better distribution of players based on their W/L percentage. The scores using the Fluffageddon system are on the far right and obviously the traditional BW scores are in the bright green column. Matt's system still rewards convincing victories but a win is still important. Obviously running the numbers after the event isn't a true representation of how it would've affected standings but I'll be watching Fluffageddon very closely to see how it works in practice.

Either way, you won't need to do anything differently when entering your results as I'll set up the spreadsheet to do it for you. It might just been you feel like the standings better represent your performance though.

Missions
Generally speaking the feedback on the use of Maelstrom in the final mission was good. This is a huge relief for me after printing, laminating and cutting out 900 objective cards! Seriously though, I like the inclusion of Maelstrom as I think it embraces that aspect of the game properly but does so in a sensible BW-style fashion. Incidentally if anyone wants a copy of the BW Tactical Objectives let me know and I'll email you the Word document. You can laminate them your bloody self though!

I had considered including Maelstrom in every game with just the deployment varying so I'd be keen to hear what people think of that. Otherwise I think I'll keep the missions the same for BW10 so that people can prepare for the event knowing what to expect.

I'd also thought about ditching the Emperor's Relic as it's been in use for a while I'd considered bringing Control Freak back in or perhaps coming up with something totally different. I'm loath to do this though as the current mission set is well tried and tested now.

Finally, the mission order was something that people felt might benefit from a change. They felt getting smashed in the first round (or vice-versa) had a negative affect on the rest of the tournament. I don't actually think changing the mission order would help here as it's mostly down to the random pairings in the first round and how limited Swiss pairs is over just three rounds. I deliberately run the kill mission before lunch as it's a nice straightforward start to the day and all that adding up doesn't delay the start of the next round. I like having Maelstrom last too as it's not so predictable and can still have a dramatic effect on standings.

Imperial Knights & Lords of War
I've written a separate post on this here but basically I plan on limiting Imperial Knights to two per army and all other super-heavy/gargantuan Lords of War to 0-1 per army. As I say though, take a look at that post for more info. Personally I like them being in there was it forces people to plan their lists and play their games diffferently. I've added a vote on the of the blog about this and the results are overwhelmingly supportive of my proposed limits (web version of the blog is necessary to see the vote).

New Detachments e.g. Necron Decurion
I'm keen to hear your thoughts here but basically I think the Necron Decurion and Eldar Warhost as probably worse than some of the other things that aren't permitted at Blog Wars. The Decurion in particular can make an already powerful army nearly unstoppable. As I say I want to hear people's thoughts but I'm inclined to say that the detachments themselves won't be allowed but the formations within them will be. It remains to be seen how bad the SM and DA versions will be.

There was a suggestion about a BW-specific FOC but I think that creates more problems than it solves and I do my best to limit the amount I change the rules by. You may not believe that to be the case but it's true.

Allies
There was talk of banning allies at Blog Wars. I'm a bit of a codex purist and not generally a fan of allies. I know that some people claim their army needs allies to make it competitive but is that just because other armies are using them so the standard is generally higher. Clearly armies like Eldar, Necrons, etc don't need allies anyway but will that just mean they rise to the top with ease? I'll add a vote to get to a consensus so please give me your opinion (again web version of the blog is necessary to see the vote).

List Vetting
I do my best to try and filter out the truly dirty lists but inevitably some slip through. There were comments about a couple of lists this time around. It's difficult to decide where the level is really as a lot depends on how the list is played. There's also a large element of who plays who. Some armies will find some lists to be unbeatable whilst others won't see the problem.

All I can say is that I'll make every effort to ensure the armies at Blog Wars 10 are in the spirit of the event but I also rely on you guys to do the same. The playerbase seems better good at self-regulating and I hope I can trust you to continue to do this.

Painting Competition
I'd like to try something different for BW10 and the painting competition. I introduced a Best Conversions prize at BW9 that I'd like to keep but I'd also like to have effectively three separate competitions. Everyone will be able to enter the Best Special Character but players will chose whether they enter their army for Best Painted or Best Conversions. There'd be three separate areas for displaying the entries into each category. I like the idea of all of the characters being displayed together and I think it'll help people who focus their energies into a single model that would otherwise be lost in their army that isn't to the same standard.

This may be a little controversial though so I'd like to know what you all think.

Food
Finally, it seems that Subway went down pretty well. The venue used to supply their own food but I simply wasn't happy with the standard and I was quite relieved when the owner said the in-house cafe had closed. I know Element Games (the shop in the venue) is looking to start something of their own but in the absence of that I will be going for Subway again.

I think it helps to have cold food as then it doesn't matter if we run over or if it's late arriving. Subway is also good because they can easily cater for specific dietary requirements. Incidentally I'll be asking everyone when they buy their ticket to let me know about dietary requirements from the out set.

Conclusion
Right, there's plenty there to be going on with. I want to hear people's thoughts on anything and everything in that list and any extra things you think I've missed that need addressing. Nothing is set in stone yet but BW10 tickets will be going on sale soon so I'd appreciate hearing from you ASAP.

Finally, I'm intending to get some more of the BW custom templates made up. Someone came to me on the day and said they had access to a laser cutter to make these cheaper than I'd paid this time. I think it was Nathaniel but whoever it was please get in touch so I can sort these sooner rather than later.

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