Sunday, September 30, 2012

Games Day UK 2012 - Armies on Parade

It's difficult to ignore that the main highlights of this year's Games Day were the CSM and Horus Heresy models on display and their respective books. However, there was plenty of other things to look at! Let's start with the Armies on Parade entries. There were some incredible dioramas on display here. Whilst some had just thrown a few models onto a board others had commited those models to stay there rather than just recessing them in. Anyway, here's a selection:

The harlequin entry above looks pretty nice but the main reason it was attracting attention was the razorwing on top of the building that was floating with the aid of magnets!

I really loved this Orky entry, in particular because one of the pilots had misjudged slightly and ended up like this:

The following Tau entry was probably my second favourite out of the lot. The army was themed as a Farsight breakaway faction and featured a flyer conversion, lots of flying suits and generally lots to look at.

The entry above was the eventual winner. This is the only shot I got of it however as to be honest I wasn't particularly blown away by it. Don't get me wrong it was brilliantly done but I felt there were better offerings out there. The next one shows that money can't buy taste. Whilst there's a disgusting amount of expensive Forgeworld models on there they aren't particularly stunningly painted and seem to have just been thrown onto the board. I'd have been disappointed if this one had won as it would belittle the tremendous amount of effort others had put in.

Finally, here's my favourite entry of the lot. I must say I'm surprised it didn't win as there was a huge crowd around it for the entire day. Perhaps everyone was too busy studying it to remember to vote! The thing I liked about this one was how it felt like an actual scene from a battle rather than just an army on a display board. The falcon emerging into realspace is beautifully done. There are also some lovely details like the wraithlord trampling a marine to death and the jetbikes zipping along.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Games Day UK 2012 - Horus Heresy from Forge World

Here's a selection of my pictures of the massive Istvaan III battle that FW had put together:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Painting the Dark Vengeance Models

As you should all know from looking at my attempts to paint various things over the years, I'm not an expert painter. Therefore I'm not going to write a guide. However, my good friend Jamie is a far better painter than I am and he's written a series of guides to painting the Dark Angels from the boxed set that I thought I'd share with you.

Part 1 - Painting the Tactical Marines
Here Jamie goes through the basics of painting the standard dark green DA power armour. He also gives some tips on painting the power cores of plasma weapons. I'm always a big fan of Jamie's models but I don't think the photography quite does them justice at the moment.

Part 2 - Painting the Ravenwing
This post covers the Ravenwing sergeant. Not only does this demonstrate the technique for painting the bikes but also the cream coloured cloaks and the sergeant's face. These techniques can be applied to the other models in the box such as the tactical marine sergeant.

Part 3 - Painting the Deathwing
Finally Jamie goes on to paint the Deathwing sergeant. Here he shows us how to paint the bone coloured armour of the terminators as well as the green cloaks that go with them. He also demonstrates how to paint the power weapon.

I've probably not sold these to you guys very well but it's definitely worth taking a look. At the moment I'm busy painting up Dark Eldar (more to come about that) so my DV models will have to take a back seat as I try to get the DE ready for Blog Wars 4.

We're off to Games Day on Sunday and I have to say I'm pretty excited having seen some of the images coming out of this month's white dwarf. I'll write a little about all that tomorrow and then next week there'll be a full report from the event with tons of pictures.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

40K Doubles Sept 2012 - Battle Reports - Day Two

Game 4 - Titanic Fenrisians vs. Cool Club: The Inebriati (SM/IG)
Simon and Jon were our opponents for game 4. These guys had brought a combination of Guard and Salamanders with the ubiquitous Aegis Defence Line. Their list consisted of two drop pods with a tactical squad in one and sternguard joined by Vulkan in another (both with plenty of melta/flamer - as you'd expect). They were joined by an infantry platoon, Leman Russ and pair of vendettas. 

The mission was four objectives and standard Dawn of War (Pitched Battle in my mind) deployment. The sternguard drop pod was the first to fall and with the pile of meltas we were sure they'd take out one of the dreadknights. Luckily for us Matt had some disgusting luck with his invulnerable saves and the monstrous creature came out with two wounds remaining. Thanks to nightfighting the rest of the army was relatively unscathed. 

In what our opponents described as a very gutsy move we dropped the grey hunters' pod in behind the Leman Russ. Unlikely before against the vindicator, this time the combined firepower of plasma and bolter was enough to wreck the mighty tank. One dreadknight went straight for the guardsmen and incinerated the command squad. Thanks to some clever Look Out Sir manipulation the astropath survived but the company commander wasn't so lucky. The other dreadknight helped the thunderwolves out by flaming the sternguard. They'd deployed them in two layers so that only one combat squad could be charged but we hoped that the dreadknight could make a hole big enough to charge through. When this failed we opted to try and multi-charge with the thunderwolves. Sadly overwatch fire from the sternguard was enough to kill off the front thunderwolf so only one squad could be engaged. The thunderwolves again struggled in combat and eventually fell to a counter-charge from Vulkan who'd split off from his combat squad. 

The vendettas arrived and ganged up on the dreadknights to save the guardsmen and sternguard. Before the vendettas opened up with the lascannons the guardsmen on the ground fired their lasguns. Much to our amazement they wounded 5 times and Matt managed to roll a triple 1 leaving a previously healthy dreadknight with a single wound. This allowed one vendetta to fire at each dreadknight and easily finish them off with their lascannons. With the loss of the thunderwolves this was a heavy blow. We'd now rely on the purifiers and grey hunters to finish off the remaining troops but the vendettas would definitely survive the game. 

The grey hunters parked up their rhino and lined up for a Jaws attack which would hopefully kill off the heavy weapons teams and astropath. Our opponents got lucky and passed their Deny the Witch roll though! The grey hunters who'd killed the Leman Russ marched down the hill bolters blazing and helped kill off more guardsmen. Elsewhere Vulkan had to footslog it back towards his lines to try and save the guardsmen. 

The remaining drop pod hurtled out of the sky and the ensconced tactical squad fired at the rune priest's grey hunters thinning their numbers significantly. With a dwindling supply of figures we'd need some luck to pull something out of this game. The rune priest decided to split off from the grey hunters and go for a jaws attack on one of the combat squads but could only kill one marine. The hunters on the hill killed an infantry squad with bolter fire. The remaining grey hunters hopped the defence line and wiped out the platoon command squad in combat. With a combination of Prescience and a malediction (who's name I forget), they purifiers were able to gun down an entire combat squad. The rune priest sadly failed his charge though. 

In a single turn we'd managed to turn our fortunes around. One of the vendettas went after the hunters on the hill and the other went to drop off an infantry squad on one of our objectives whilst killing off some acolytes. The tactical combat squad went after the rune priest for a Slay the Warlord point. Thanks to a secret mission they needed to kill him in combat though and he was able to cut two of them down before he died. He'd lost a wound to Perils early on and failed the only save he had to make from the tactical squad. 

The hunters had now come in from the flank and gunned down the rest of the guardsmen before heading towards an objective. This ended up being contested by Vulkan however. The two remaining tactical marines held the other objective and went to ground behind the defence line as the purifiers fired. Matt managed to score 10 wounds so we felt sure they'd perish. Even with a malediction forcing re-rolls of successful saves the tactical marines passed all 20 their 2+ saves! As it stood we had no chance of winning but with a turn 6 this time we had chance to turn things around. A second volley from the purifiers whizzed across the field and this time the marines weren't so lucky. 

With an objective each it would come down to secondary mission points. We'd both got Linebreaker and Slay the Warlord so it came down to that gutsy Leman Russ kill for First Blood to win the game! Bollocks! We'd ended up on table bloody 2 again! 

It has to be said that Jon and Simon gave us one of the best games of 40K we've ever had. The whole thing was so dramatic with grey hunters making a pincer attack on the guardsmen, drop pods slamming in across the field and vendettas zipping around. Had their prayers to the Emperor (literally!) been more successful the game could easily have gone their way.

Game 5 - Titanic Fenrisians vs. Disco Inferno (CSM/CD)
Sure enough, despite taking a less competitive, unbalanced list we'd managed to end up on table 2 again. We  were pleasantly surprised however to find Rob and Matt waiting for us. We've played Rob before in a previous doubles tournament with a different partner. The game was a straight match up between our Bloody Wolves and their similar BA/SW combo. It lives in infamy in our minds as the game where Mephiston was destroyed by a grey hunter pack in a single round of combat thanks to rending wulfen attacks and power fist. Knowing these were decent guys who would still give us a fun game meant we'd managed to avoid the problem of top table asshattery despite ending up there!

Anyway, this game was certainly going to be a very different affair. Their list was a combination of Chaos Daemons and CSM supported by Daemon allies. This essentially meant a Bloodthirster, 3x3 flamers, 9 screamers, 10 CSM, a winged lash-prince, pink horrors, plaguebearers and fiends. There were simply tons of things for us to have to kill and despite having grey knights we didn't really have them in enough numbers to make the most of their anti-Daemon rules. The mission was the 6th equivalent of Capture and Control from 5th with a single objective each and diagonal deployment.

The drop pod grey hunters were our best hope of getting First Blood but with very little on the board we had to go for the winged Daemon Prince. Despite wounding plenty of times, including twice with the plasma gun, the prince emerged with a single remaining wound. The rest of our army stayed packed together to try and encourage our enemies to deep strike within range of the anti-reserve fire of Coteaz (I must learn the name of the rule). Unfortunately our opponents were too smart to take the bait and threw everything at the grey hunters. However, all that ended up being needed was the combination of lash and flamers which not only killed all the grey hunters but glanced the drop pod to death too!

This left us with a choice. Hold our ground on our objective or push out and try and clear their troops from theirs. We went with the second leaving the purifiers to guard our objective whilst the dreadknights, thunderwolves and rhino pushed forwards. We moved the thunderwolves into a nearby forest to try and get an unlikely but possible charge on the screamers. Sadly this meant triggering a mysterious terrain roll (at my suggestion) which gave us brainleaf fronds. Rather brilliantly this randomly determined that the S10 power first thunderwolf would be causing 4 automatic hits on his own squad!! You just knew it'd be him and not the other three. I was lucky enough to fail to wound with one of the hits but could only save one of them on the storm shield before the bearer and another thunderwolf died to friendly fire!! Hmmm great suggestion Alex, awesome.

The remaining thunderwolves and grey hunters (who lost their rhino to more flamers) were charged by the screamers and wiped out over a couple of turns. This left me with no further role in the game with my entire force destroyed. The dreadknights tried to thin out the fiends but both were eventually tarpitted by flamers/fiends/horrors. If they could kill them off in time they might be able to engage the CSM and contest their objective giving us a shred of hope. Sadly the screamers had other ideas and their S5 AP2 attacks were perfect for killing off the dreadknights.

Whilst all this was going on the purifiers were fighting their own battle against the two flying daemons. Two units of plaguebearers had failed to drop in on them with one being lost to the warp and the other being misplaced. Meanwhile managed to take the remaining wound off the daemon prince but the bloodthirster was closing fast. Coteaz passed his Prescience roll but failed the second power which allowed Overwatch at full BS and granted Counter Attack (both of which would've been useful). Still they managed to strip all but one wound from the bloodthirster. The inevitable charge saw the bloodthirster challenge Coteaz but the Knight of the Flame stepped up with his halberd. With his preferred enemy he should be able to at least hit the daemon but even with double Hammerhand he failed to wound meaning he was easily killed by the greater daemon. Coteaz then refused the second challenge. The final purifier also failed to wound the daemon and Coteaz was now alone and easily killed off. 

All that was left for our opponents to do was kill off a few acolytes with flamers. The acolytes put up a brave fight mananging to draw the first round of combat but the end was inevitable. We managed to pick up a single secret mission point though and a point each for killing the Daemon Prince and Herald. It was a shame to end on the loss we'd been searching for all weekend but we were happy to have lost to Rob and Matt. Their list was brilliantly thought out and devastatingly well played.

Daemons are pretty damn good right now. Flamers got a lot better and their reduced save doesn't really compensate. The combination with lash is still very effective. It's a shame our rune priest was narrowly out of range to attempt to cancel it but I doubt the grey hunters would've survived anyway. Screamers are ridiculously good for their points and put out a disgusting number of attacks. With two wounds their not exactly easy to deal with either. As I've said, the list was an excellent one and they deserved to win all of their games. It's a shame that with GW's scoring system they missed out on the top three though!

Scoring system problems aside (I've talked about them plenty before), this has to be the best tournament we've played in. We enjoyed every single game and with the exception of a somewhat mis-matched first game the rest were incredibly close run, dramatic affairs which really pushed our tactics to the limit. 

I think the main reason we enjoyed it soo much was because we decided to use something fun for a change! June's list was brutally effective but wasn't exciting to play. Essentially we did a bit of movement then rolled dice until things died. This is my idea of a fun 40K game. With three units in our list that are brilliantly hit and miss we knew there'd be dramatic results. Whilst the brainleaf fronds result was really unlucky it had a profound effect on the game and was entertaining. I think it shows that the 6th edition rules that some are quick to ignore can really help to bring a bit of variety to even competitive games.

I'm hoping that GW continue to run at least some kind of doubles tournament as it's definitely the best way to play 40K if only for the fact that there's 4 of you round the table instead of 2. Thanks to all of our opponents this weekend for making it one to remember.

Now, I need to get painting my Dark Eldar for the small matter of Blog Wars 4!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

40K Doubles Sept 2012 - Battle Reports - Day One

In case you missed it I posted our list up on here yesterday. As I said in my previous post our aim was to have a more enjoyable experience than last time around where we ended up winning our final game on table 2 in a horrible environment. Here's how we got on:

Game 1 - Titanic Fenrisians vs. Brains & Brawn (DE/Orks)
We stood waiting at our table for our opponents to show up but when they didn't we headed over to play Jim & Robyn on a table right under the aircon! Despite freezing conditions we had an enjoyable game. Their list was a warboss with meganobz in a battlewagon, a beautiful ork bastion conversion with lootas on top, 28 boyz, 3 venoms with wyches, bloodbrides and lady malys with court in them, 3 reavers and 5 scourges.

Bit of a mixture but we were quite pleased to see a minimum amount of darklight weaponry that would upset our dreadknights. We were playing kill points (Purge the Alien) on Vanguard deployment. Our opponents decided to reserve the scourges and large mob of boyz. We took the first turn and slammed the dreadknights forward. They easily wiped out the reavers. The drop pod hunters took down a venom. The wyches charged but thanks to the new FAQ the wolf standard allowed re-rolls of 1s on the overwatch so they didn't have much chance once they got into combat.

Over the next few turns we cut down the venoms and their occupants. Our dreadknights passed a sickening number of saves but one eventually succumbed to poisoned firepower. The scourges came on and killed some acolytes before being rapid fired down by grey hunters (the sole survivor ran). The thunderwolves had no choice but to charge the meganobz and were wiped out despite killing all of the nobz but the warboss. He was quickly dealt with by the purifiers though. The ork mob showed up a bit late (turn 4) and with little else on the table, the combined fire from our army killed 3/4 of them and the rest ran. With the clock ticking down the only thing left standing was the bastion and despite the dreadknight penetrating it in combat the result was poor. The game ended at the end of turn 5. We'd lost a dreadknight, some thunderwolves and 3 acolytes and they had just an unmanned bastion remaining.

They were great sports about the whole thing though and seemed to enjoy it despite the heavy losses.

Game 2 - Titanic Fenrisians vs. Twilight (BA/SW)
Based on the team name we could imagine what we'd be facing when we reached table 8. Things didn't look good for us as they had a heavily mechanised force featuring two vindicators, 3 razorbacks, 2 large footslogging grey hunter packs, 6 long fangs with attached rune priest, furioso dread in a drop pod and a librarian joining one of two BA assault squads in the razorbacks.

We'd be playing the Hammer & Anvil deployment (lengthways) and Scouring mission (6 random value objectives, FA scoring). The game got off to a good start with us Seizing (thanks to Coteaz). The higher point objectives were in our deployment zone too. The drop pod slammed down and tried to wreck one of the vindicators with bolters and plasma into it's rear armour but sadly I could only manage 2 hull points as the plasma failed to penetrate. The dreadknights double incinerated one of the grey hunter packs leaving only 2 remaining.

The damaged vindicator span round and planted a pie plate on the drop pod squad killing something like 6 grey hunters. The dwindled enemy grey hunter pack charged in and both were reduced to a single remaining figure. Despite ours being a wulfen I fluffed a lot of my rolls and they ended up winning the combat after a few rounds of stalemate. One dreadknight incinerated more grey hunters whilst the other charged the full strength vindicator wrecking it. Living lightning from the rune priest finished off the other vindicator.

The dreadnought came in just out of the 12" Coteaz reserves range (I don't know the name of that special rule) but still frag cannoned a squad of acolytes. The purifiers fired their psycannons on heavy but failed to penetrate and eventually paid the price when the dreadnought charged in next turn. The thunderwolves charged both BA razorbacks, exploding both. The squads inside then charged in and, thanks to my appauling saving throws, managed to kill off the TWC. Things were starting to look bad. They only got worse when the rune priest's rhino headed over to one of the objectives and the meltagunner missed the dreadnought. The space wolves razorback popped open the rhino and then the frag cannon and long fangs killed the occupants.

One dreadknight died to weight of fire from the lascannon razorback and long fangs but the other made it's way to intercept the remaining blood angels who were trying to claim objectives. In the closing stages the game looked all but lost. We were actually quite happy with this as it would mean a trip down to the middle tables but we still wanted to win for pride's sake. We managed to kill off the remaining blood angels and with no troops left we held the only objective for 3 points. Combined with a point for Slay the Warlord we had a total of 4. They scored First Blood and two Slay the Warlords so we thought we'd narrowly won it. However, we remembered that TWC are Fast Attack and hence give up a VP when they die meaning the game ended in a draw.

This was a pretty reasonable result for the game as despite going wrong late on we definitely had the upper hand in the earlier turns.

Game 3 - Titanic Fenrisians vs Con Air (BA/GK)
Our draw sent us down the rankings a bit and we were hoping to stay there. When we saw our opponent's list featured 4 stormravens we were confident that's what would happen! As I've said our list simply can't deal with fliers as our only high strength ranged shooting is either Living Lightning or 2 psycannons. We realised pretty quickly that 4 stormravens didn't leave many points for anything else, especially when they had Mephiston and Coteaz inside 2 of them. This meant that if we could get the first turn and kill off anything that wasn't in reserve we'd win by default.

They only had a few inquisitorial henchmen in three seperate squads so were felt pretty sure it would be the shortest game we'd ever played. The drop pod grey hunters rapid fired one squad, one dreadknight incinerated another and the second dreadknight went for the final unit. Sadly this one had a couple of invulnerable saves in there so they survived the crucial first turn. In turn two we advanced the rest of our army and the dreadknights jumped on top of the ruin to kill off the remaining ground troops. After some debate the judges ruled that they could still roll for reserves at the start of their second turn but would lose if nothing arrived. They managed to get both Mephiston's and Coteaz's stormravens. These came on and stripped a couple of wounds off each of the dreadknights. In the subsequent turn they got the remaining empty GK stormraven. Meanwhile Mephiston hopped out and charged the thunderwolves. After some lucky storm shield saves the TWC didn't take much damage. The normal thunderwolves took 2 of Mephiston's wounds and when the power fist hit 5 times I was sure we'd kill him. Sadly I rolled two 1s and Mephiston passed an FNP save (from Biomancy powers) and stayed alive with 2 wounds.

The GK stormraven dropped off Coteaz who challenged our equivalent with both inquisitors killing each other. We didn't really understand why they'd done this until they showed us their secret missions! The stormravens had been forced to hover to drop off their cargo and engage targets. This left them vulnerable. The pair of dreadknights each only had a single wound left but charged into the hovering stormravens easily destroying both. The drop pod grey hunters made their way towards the objectives in the middle of the enemy deployment zone and those in the rhino headed for the objective on the enemy flank. In our deployment zone our acolytes held on to one of the home objectives.

The thunderwolves had recently killed off Mephiston and carried on their success by taking out the remaining GK stormraven which had hovered to engage and kill the dreadknights. The blood angels hopped out of their stormraven but were killed off by the grey hunters in combat. Their stormraven was then a target for the thunderwolves and was easily destroyed. The game was over and somehow our combat focused army had managed to deal with four flyers.

Day One Conclusion
We'd managed to win two games and draw the other. This would undoubtedly send us back up the rankings and towards the top tables which we were so desperate to avoid. Our final game of the day really proved that flyers aren't as difficult to deal with as people think. What we lacked in ranged fire we more than made up for in S10 combat! Now, had our opponents managed to avoid hovering their aircraft it would've been nearly impossible to take them all out. The problem is that any flyer will inevitably be forced to either hover or spend the rest of the game either flying off the table or pointlessly circling it. With little ground based support, flying off the table wasn't an option.

The thunderwolves clearly demonstrated why they're so much fun to use. They were devastating in the third game taking out 2 stormravens and Mephiston which equated to half of our opponents' army! They were actually unlucky not to have dealt with Mephiston sooner in fact! However, in game two they showed why they're often overlooked by SW players. Losing a combat to a few poxy marines means they didn't even make their points back. This is always going to be the case with these guys but at least they're faster in 6th edition.

At the end of day one we'd spectacularly failed in our plan to be firmly mid-table before the final games on Sunday. If we didn't lose our fourth game we'd be certain to end up on the top tables and quite likely to play a tense and argumentative game again. Come back tomorrow to find out what happened.


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