Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tournament Report - Scorched Skies (Outpost) 1750pts - Tau/SW

In a complete departure from my usual army building I actually decided to run an allied army at a tournament! I've never really been a fan of allies but figured it was probably about time for me to get over it and dive in. I also rarely make use of psychic powers so thought I'd dabble with those too! Here's my list:

1,750pts of Tau/SW
Buff Commander
3x Missile Suits with target locks and 6 marker drones
Riptide (ion, fusion, EWO, VT)
2x 10 Kroot
2 Skyrays (Blacksun)

2 Rune Priests (ML2, axe).
2x 7 Grey Hunters (melta, chainswords), TDA WG (CM/PF) in a pod
5 Grey Hunters (melta) in a pod

Apologies for the blurry photos in these reports. I was taking them quickly so I wasn't pissing off my opponents too much.

Game One - vs. Tau
My first game of the day was against Tom Roberts' Tau (Farsight Enclaves). This being probably the first time I haven't run a pair of riptides it was frustrating to come up against them in my first game. Tom also had a couple of solo broadsides, a hammerhead, some fire warriors, two squads of pathfinders and two lots of crisis suits (one plasma, one fusion) with a stack of drones each. We'd be playing Big Guns on Hammer & Anvil.

My first turn was a damp squib, with the grey hunters dropping in but failing to kill a hammerhead and only killing a couple of fire warriors. The rune priest did kill a broadside with Jaws though which was fun. My opponent on the other hand was doing a decent job of thinning out my grey hunters and killing off my marker drones. His crisis teams scattered on arrival though which probably saved a Skyray from fusion death. The buff commander wasn't so lucky with the weight of plasma fire bringing him down quickly.

My second turn really turned things around though. One unit of Kroot arrived behind the hammerhead (which had sped off from the Grey Hunters). I declared the shooting but my opponent decided to risk it and not Jink (with disruption pods for 3+ too) thinking I was unlikely to get three 6s which, of course I immediately did. The Grey Hunters turned their attention to the pathfinders with the rune priest killing off three with Fury and causing them to flee before charging into the other unit and wiping them in combat. The other, much depleted, Grey Hunters charged the fire warriors and stayed locked.

I was struggling to bring down his Riptides though with their 3++ (from Nova) and FNP. The suits had FNP too but sheer weight of fire was enough to bring them down and Farsight suffered a seeker missile to the face. In the end my opponent made it pretty easy to ignore the Riptides though as he targetted my Kroot with their blasts and stayed away from the objectives. With all four objectives at the end of the game, Warlord, Linebreaker and two bonus points from heavies, I scored a whopping 16 VPs. Not a bad start to the day.

Game Two - vs. Necrons
I'd made the mistake of scoring too many points in my first game and found myself on the top table against Chris Scothorne (Scoffer)'s Necrons. I've played Scoffer a few times before and I think it was something like 2-1 to me so far. That being said I'd need some luck to beat his two command barges, two ghost arks, three annihilation barges and two night scythes (one warrior, one deathmark). We were playing a mission that used the old table quarters deployment with the central 12" circle of no man's land. There were two 8" circular control zones in the other quarters which scored points for control at the end of your turn (1 VP for the one in your half and 2 for the one in theirs).

Remember I said I needed some luck? Well I managed to get first turn but, as I feared, Scoffer stole the initiative. To make matters worse the deployment allowed one of his command barges to only need 6" to charge my crisis team and the other needing an 11" charge to my Kroot who'd infiltrated into the control zones. The 6" charge he made easily but fortunately I managed to lose the combat and run (to regroup next turn). The 11" charge he rolled a 6 and a 1 for but thanks to the chariot rules he was able to re-roll the 1 to a 6 and make it! Where's that luck I needed eh? The Kroot lost the combat and ran whilst the other unit was cut down by a ghost ark and two annihilation barges. Not particularly devastating losses in themselves but it gave Scoffer a 3-0 lead after his first turn. My drop pods came in but were underwhelming thanks to missed melta shots and Jink saves. The crisis team regrouped but Snap Shots weren't enough to help them with the command barges.

There's little else to say about this game really. Eventually the barges used their sweep attacks to take out the Skyrays. The Riptide charged one of them but kept missing his Smash. When he did hit the invulnerable save protected the barge and the Riptide died. The barges then moved onto the crisis team with the deathmarks and warriors dealing with the Grey Hunters. I allowed Scoffer to hold off tabling me so he could get as many points as possible. Might sound daft but it would mean someone else wouldn't have to face him on anything but table one.

Game Three - vs. CSM
I was smacked back down to table 7 where I found myself across from Rick Miller and his Khorne CSM. He'd got 4 units of berserkers (two in rhinos, one of which had Kharn), a maulerfiend, vindicator, heldrake (hades) and some warp talons. We were playing Purge on Dawn of War.

This was a mismatch on paper and Rick's dice certainly didn't even it up. I took first turn with my pods coming down to get weapon destroyed on the vindicator and kill and handful of berserkers with the other. The riptide and marker drones combined to vaporise some more berserkers and the missile team (with skyray assistance) killed the maulerfiend for First Blood. The berserkers took their revenge on one unit of grey hunters with two units charging at once to cut them down. This was just about the only bright point in Rick's game though as by the end of turn 3 I'd all but tabled him. He had some terrible luck with his saves and heldrake reserve roll. The warp talons were gunned down by Kroot and the riptide just kept killing swathes of berserkers with pinpoint accurate blasts with Ignores Cover. It was all over pretty quickly with me feeling immensely guilty for taking another 16 VP win.

Conclusion
My overall score was only good enough for 9th place but not bad for a list I'd never used before with allies and psychic as two mechanics that are new to me. You'd think it wasn't a big deal but I did try to markerlight a unit for my Grey Hunters at one point as I never normally have anything but Tau with my Tau! Generally speaking all three games were horrible mismatches. The first game was the most even on paper but Tom was pretty new to tournament play and I was able to score far more points than I perhaps should've done.

I enjoyed using psychic powers for a change and allies weren't as bad as I thought. I might start using both more often in my lists. We've booked in for our next Outpost tournament too but this time it'll be X-wing and the Store Championships!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Big Scenery Project (Part 2 of Many) - Snowy Test Piece

As you read in my last post I'm working on getting my scenery up to scratch. The aim is to have a good quantity of scatter terrain to work with my Alpine F.A.T mat and give me plenty of variety in my games. I think two tables' worth of scenery would probably be enough to create enough combinations and therefore prevent boredom. This project is motivated by my current boredom with the same scenery I've been using for years. I want to start by painting up the pieces I've already built but for some variety I'll probably make a few new pieces to break up the tedium of painting my old stuff.

Anyway, today's post is about my first test piece for a snowy look. Of course I'm trying to tie the colours in with the F.A.T mat but it doesn't matter too much. I've never made anything look snowy before so I'm just going with my gut. I'm intending to do a bit of YouTube research to see what others do but I want to find a technique that I'm happy with. That basically boils down to maximum results for minimum effort.

I decided to start with some of the 3rd edition corner ruins. Mainly because they're small pieces but also because I'm not too worried if I make a mess of them. The ruins themselves were already painted which took all of about half an hour (albeit a while ago). The bases had sand and rubble (gravel) but just Chaos Black primer in terms of paint. I started with a basecoat of Shadow Grey then an overbrush/heavy drybrush of Space Wolves Grey followed by a lighter drybrushing of  Ceramite White. Incidentally I went for Ceramite White over White Scar as it's a bit thicker and hence lends itself better to drybrush work. You can see the results below with one of the other ruins as a before and after comparison.




I intentionally let some of the Ceramite White hit the bottom third of the ruin to give a frosted look. I then caught the tops of the ruin too as a base for the snow flock. Here's a comparison to the mat:


It's a reasonable match but perhaps needs a different shade of blue/grey as a base to really hit the same colour as the mat itself. I ploughed straight on with some Citadel Snow though to see if that helped:



I think it does help actually as it makes the whole piece whiter. I'm not too happy with the snow as it is though as there are bits I didn't hit with glue that I perhaps should have such as around the front of the column and some bits at the back. I was conscious that I didn't want it to be completely covered though. Finally, I threw on some tufts which I probably should've applied with a pair of tweezers but I wanted this to be quick so couldn't be arsed to find any.



The tufts are Army Painter Winter Tuft but I think I might hit them with some white from the airbrush to help them blend in a bit. At the moment I think they stand out a bit too much and detract from the snowy feel.

That's it for tonight then. I'm very happy with this first piece. Obviously the ruin was already painted but the rest of it didn't even take half an hour I don't think. I'll probably finish the other two ruins that I've got first but then I might look at something a bit bigger. Maybe some of the Moonscape craters with icy water inside. Let me know what you think of my first effort though. It's progress if nothing else!

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Big Scenery Project (Part 1 of Many)

In an attempt to motivate myself to get cracking I thought I'd write this post outlining the current state of my scenery so that I can look back and see progress. I'm determined that, before the year is out, I'll have a stunning board full of fully painted scenery to make my games much more immersive. I was briefly inspire a while ago by the guys over on Weemen to join their campaign against unpainted grey plastic scenery. I was further motivated by picking up a F.A.T mat in the Kickstarter (again a while ago). Sadly my enthusiasm quickly dwindled and I found myself looking at the same grey scenery just now mounted on bits of hardboard.

Here's what I've currently got built up:


Here we've got some Sanctum Imperialis/Basilica Administratum and Shrine of the Aquila offerings with a Moonscape crater on the base of the Shrine. There's also a random crate that I think was Matt's that I'm going to incorporate into a new based piece. These pieces are all glued onto hardboard little else. They need sand on their bases and some bits of rubble for interest. Then they can be sprayed up black ready for some paint.


This little selection includes two Bastions, the rest of the Moonscape craters set and a Manufactorum building. These have all been build and sprayed ready for painting so need very little work. The craters I could probably get done quickest as I'll just be airbrushing them a suitable colour (probably not the Graveyard Earth/Steel Legion Drab that one currently is. They'll then just get a bit of a drybrushing to get them up to standard.


Finally, here are my "finished" pieces. I use the inverted commas there because they're in the wrong colour scheme for my Alpine mat. Nevertheless these will probably be the last pieces I paint as they're not looking too bad for now. The 3rd edition corner ruins aren't based yet so they're likely to be my first attempts at trying to make stuff look snowy/icy and fit in with the mat.

Speaking of which my theme is going to hopefully be that of an icy deathworld. All of the current pieces will need painting up in a matching scheme with some snow adding for effect. Depending on how well the project goes I'd like to add some more thematic pieces like rock formations, ice crystals and the like. I'd also like to borrow from the Weemen and make some industrial pieces like an abandoned polar outpost kind of thing. If I really get cracking my "stretch goals" would be to have a second set of scenery to match either a new F.A.T mat or alternatively my old home-made Realm of Battle board. This is probably pretty unlikely to happen as I'm good at setting unrealistic targets!

The thing with scenery is, once you get going you realise just how easy it is to paint to a good enough standard. I'm not going to spend hours and hours painting every little detail. I'm hoping it'll mostly be an airbrush/drybrush job i.e. quick and dirty. Of course it won't look as good as a detailed paint job but the idea is for it to be a backdrop for the miniatures rather than detracting from them by being painted better than they are! Since Jamie is quick to mock my lack of progress on this scenery I'm hopefully going to be able to rope him in to give me a hand with the drybrushing and creating some interesting new pieces from my hefty bits box of scenery pieces and general gubbins.

First step I think is to try out some winter effects on one or more of the 3rd edition ruins and see if I can find a method I'm happy with. I don't want to overdo the snow so it's just a white blob but at the same time it needs to tie in with the mat properly. Any suggestions/hints are gratefully received especially if you can link me to a good Youtube guide or something. Wish me luck!

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