Sunday, August 30, 2015

Panel Lines! (Try to contain your excitement)

Not the most thrilling subject ever but it represents progress on my Tau update project. Let's remind everyone again that we're talking about models that I've had for a while that I (stupidly) painted before I owned an airbrush. They're not the neatest assembly jobs either. Nevertheless I'm making great progress in tidying them up and making them look at least passable.

The next stage in this drive for improvement was to paint in the panel lines. I'm doing this in black to really make the gaps stand out and also because black covers a multitude of sins. The first models to get this treatment were the Devilfish. I heavily thinned Abaddon Black with some acrylic flow improver and used a detail brush to hit the gaps. Inevitably there were some areas where things got slightly messy so I went back with the original colours (or close in the case of the dark grey) and tidied things up.

Let's be realistic it's not a monumental difference but I think when you compare it to the
Hammerheads, which have yet to receive this treatment, there's a noticeable improvement. The Hammerheads will get this treatment next, closely followed by the piranhas and the Sunshark. The Sunshark needs some more work in other areas too but I can get them at the same time. I think I'll just stick to doing this on the vehicles (and their drones) for now as the suits will take a lot of time for minimal difference.

Devilfish in foreground pre-panelgapping

The next stage once the panels are done is going to be transfers. I know this is skipping a few steps really but I want to get an idea of how they'll look when finished and give me an idea of where best to put the sept markings. As I've said I'm going to give the Devilfish sept markings matching their squads so that there's some coherency. Not only that but I think the transfers will make a more significant difference than the line highlights will. They'll also take significantly less time to achieve!

Whilst doing these lines I've noted a few little details that I'll need to come back to at some point e.g. the targeting lens on the burst cannon and the cockpit windscreen. Anyway, this is probably the best hobby stint I've put in for a long time so I'm hoping I can keep up the momentum.

Friday, August 28, 2015

40K Addict Hobby Season 2015/16 To-do List

I'm determined to make up for my poor hobby progress this year with a really solid final third of the year. To that end I've decided to take part in the 40K Addict Hobby Season that Dave Weston runs. There's no formal goals or score sheet or anything just a to-do list at the start and a progress report at the end. The season starts today (you'd have to ask Dave why today) so this post will cover my objectives for the season.

As regular readers will know I'm currently trying to get my Tau army up to scratch for our mini tournament at Warhammer World on Sept 5th. That's only a week away which clearly isn't much time. Here's a reminder of what I'd like to achieve in the next 7 days:

  • Sept/squad markings
  • Panel lines
  • Highlights
  • Transfers
  • Improved basing
I'd be pleased if I managed to get everything but the basing done. That'll take significantly more time than the rest. I'm tempted to get the panel lines and transfers done as a priority and then go back for the sept markings and highlights. Clearly the highlights will take longest of all and by applying the transfers first I can decide where the sept markings will look best. Might give it a trial run on a piranha and see what happens. I've got tons of transfers so I can afford some mistakes.

Well, that only takes me up to the end of the first week of the year so clearly I need some more goals. The next thing on the agenda for me is to get my scenery finished since both Siph from Weemen and NafNaf from Objective Secured are putting me to shame. You may recall that in my 2015 Hobby Resolutions I vowed to have no unpainted scenery left by January!
  • Base all of my current scenery
  • Paint all of my current scenery in my ice world theme
  • Create some new scenery pieces from my bits box
  • Begin work on my desert board

The final point there is a pretty long shot. I imagine I'll get burned out from doing the other scenery so it'll get pushed back but I'd still like to get it done in the next 12 months. I've got some ideas already and it'll fit in nicely with the desert theme to the basing of my Tau.

Once that's out of the way I'll be back to working on my Imperial Knights project. I'm still yet to finish the first one and I've got a pile of kits ready to build the next three too. Here's what I'd like to achieve:
  • Complete my first Imperial Knight
  • Assemble and magnetise the next three
  • Batch paint the other three together
  • Weather and base them all together to achieve a coherent effect
I still think the current colour scheme needs work. I think I'll be adding more white and black to break up the excessive amount of orange on the model at the moment. Either way it'll be great to get the first one finished and the others should be much quicker to finish thanks to the lessons I learned with the first.

I'm not naive enough to think I'll be able to concentrate on these projects without getting distracted so to finish here's a list of a few things that I can do to break up the monotony of painting all that orange and looking at piles of snow.
  • Work on getting all of the Tau to the same standard as described above (the rumoured new models are sure to tempt me)
  • Get through the huge pile of things that I want to flog on eBay to fund the above Tau purchases
  • Bolster my Space Wolves army and start work on bringing their paintwork up to scratch
I've pretty much completely ruled out doing any work on my Dark Eldar but I may have to cave and paint the lovely grotesques Liam made for me. Frankly the army just isn't much fun to use in 7th as there are too many auto-includes for my taste. I'm still determined that I'm going to sell my Dark Angels for similar reasons in that I feel like it's Ravenwing or bust. Having said that I still haven't made any bold strides towards shifting them. Barring any freak turn of events I can't see my painting the Orks much more than I already have (well not this season anyway).

In summary then:
  1. Work hard to get my Tau to a decent standard for next Saturday
  2. Churn out as much snowy scenery as I can stand (including some new pieces)
  3. Complete my Imperial Knight army
  4. Get all of my Tau up to the same standard
  5. Flog stuff on eBay
  6. Start work on updating my Space Wolves
What do people think then? Reckon I'll actually achieve anything on that list? Knowing my usual apathy I'll be surprised if I manage even half of it but it's good to have goals to try and keep yourself motivated. I haven't got any particular tournaments coming up so this Hobby Season thingy provides a good replacement.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Killed by the Drones!

Points for anyone getting the reference there. Anyway, with my wife and son out for the day on Monday I decided to put in a hobby stint (well after I'd finished the list of jobs I was left with). I managed to get the drones done and decided to have a crack at some sept markings.

My first attempt, on a fire warrior pulse rifle, was far to thick and pale. I therefore decided to put some thin stripes of Mephiston Red down first on some drones. I then went over this with a couple of thin layers of Troll Slayer Orange.

I'd probably get away with a single coat of Jokaero Orange since it's a base colour. However, I don't own any so who knows. I think they add a little bit of pop but they'll be of more impact on the vehicles since I'll be able to bigger areas. I thought I might put some transfers on them and then use them as effectively stencils for going over in Orange.

I think you guys are right too, the black in the panel gaps and highlights will make things look a lot better. That'll take a very long time to accomplish though.

So, from my list of jobs I've only got the following left:

  • Sept markings
  • Squad markings (maybe done with varying sept markings on squads)
  • Panel lines
  • Highlights
  • Transfers
  • Improved basing
Still plenty to do then! One thing's for sure though. I'll find it even more fun to annoy Matt with drones now they're painted!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Progress Report: Tau Refresh

Well this post was meant to come in the middle of last week but I've been struggling to find the time to post. That's actually a good thing as I've been using what free time I do have to get some paint on my Tau. Here's a reminder of what I wanted to accomplish before our mini tournament on September 5th:

  • Magnetise the Piranha weapons (they currently have fusion blasters glued in but I want to use burst cannons in this list)
  • Paint the Piranhas (I already gave them a quick spray of basecoat)
  • Base the Piranhas
  • Paint all the drones (they're part painted at the minute but I'd like to finish them)
  • Tidy joins/mouldlines (I've had these models awhile and I wasn't that fastidious back then)
  • Sept markings
  • Squad markings (it can get difficult to tell the fire warrior squads apart)
  • Panel lines on the the vehicles
  • Highlights on everything
  • Transfers
  • Improved basing
So far I've managed to magnetise the Piranha weapons, paint the Piranhas and started work on the drones. To be honest this is the bare minimum I needed to get done. Once the drones are out of the way I'll have everything at least with the main base colours on (blue, light grey, dark grey and metal). I'd also like to get the sept and squad markings done. The rest would be a nice bonus but we'll see how I get on. I can already feel my inner hobby butterfly wanting to flit to another project!

Anyway, here's some shots of the piranhas so far. The pilots aren't glued in at the moment as this will allow me to work on their control consoles sometime soon. 

I think they look pretty decent and as you can see from the army shot above they fit in beautifully with the rest of the army. Clearly I need to get their bases done but that's not a big job. I'd hope to have it done tonight in fact. 

I really like the Piranha model. It's a shame that it's taken this long for me to get them painted up and onto the table top for some games. They're actually a great unit for the points. For the minimal amount you pay for them you get 8 S5 shots per skimmer and of course the option to detach the drones to target two separate units. They're excellent as crowd control units and their speed is much needed for Tau who often struggle to cover ground in objective games. 

Anyway, the other little job I managed to knock off the list was to get the mouldlines on the tank engines cleaned off. They're still not perfect but they're a lot better than they were. Remember this is an army I've had since not long after I got back into 40K. They were assembled at a time when I didn't know how to trim them properly. For the most part they'd also been painted with Tau Sept Ochre as I intended them to be in the traditional T'au sept scheme.

My main concern at the moment is that they don't really "pop". I hate that term but I can't think of a better one. What I mean though is that, whilst they certainly have a military scheme they don't really stand out. I intend to make the sept markings in bright orange which will help and the addition of transfers will bring them up a bit but I think they need something more. I'm toying with the idea of swapping the blue for red or changing the light grey for white. Both of which would take quite a bit of time. Any suggestions?

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Updating my Tau

Being a self confessed hobby butterfly I obviously find it very difficult to stick to a single project for any great length of time. In theory I was meant to be putting all my effort towards getting my new Imperial Knight army onto the table. Well as this post will reveal I'm failing. I've made a little bit more progress but I've, as per usual, been distracted.

I'd put my Tau to one side for a little while because I found that not of my usual opponents wanted to play them that much. My DE get walked over, I'm not feeling the DA love and I don't like using my Orks because a) they aren't painted for the most part and b) games take too damn long! That means my go to army has been Space Wolves more often than not. I really want DE to work but they just feel so handicapped at the moment. You have to spam the same units to make them effective and I find that get's boring pretty quickly.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my previous post, for our mini-tournament I'll be taking Tau. Here's what I'm fielding:

Commander and bodyguard with fusion/plasma

Missile pod Crisis team with marker drones

3 Devilfish with 10 Fire Warriors each
10 Kroot

10 Pathfinders
3 Piranhas
Sun Shark Bomber

2 Hammerheads

Bear in mind this a deliberately underpowered list. I've chose not to take Riptides, Skyrays, etc and I'm not using a buff commander or a PENchip for my missile team. It's a very similar list to the one I fielded against Matt's BA in our recent game and it was still a lot of fun without being OP. It feels like a very traditional Tau list. Obviously the Sun Shark didn't exist in the old but but everything else was there. In the old days I'd have used Broadsides but the rail variant isn't much fun and I despise the HYMP loadout so I don't even own them.

Anyway, there are drones missing from the vehicles in the picture but otherwise you can see that with the exception of the Piranhas everything is painted to a reasonable tabletop standard. I've got just under four weeks until our mini tournament though so I'd like to use that time to update some pretty old paintwork and make a real push towards having them "finished".

Here's what I think needs doing to accomplish this:

  • Magnetise the Piranha weapons (they currently have fusion blasters glued in but I want to use burst cannons in this list)
  • Paint the Piranhas (I already gave them a quick spray of basecoat)
  • Base the Piranhas
  • Paint all the drones (they're part painted at the minute but I'd like to finish them)
  • Tidy joins/mouldlines (I've had these models awhile and I wasn't that fastidious back then)
  • Sept markings
  • Squad markings (it can get difficult to tell the fire warrior squads apart)
  • Panel lines on the the vehicles
  • Highlights on everything
  • Transfers
  • Improved basing
That looks like quite a lot but some of those things are quick jobs that I can knock off in an evening. I'm not naive enough to think I can get all of this done but it's in rough order of priority so I'd be happy if I could get most of it done. Of course this is only a small proportion of the Tau models I own. 

There are a couple of problems though. Firstly that Mechanicus Standard Grey is not quite the same as Adeptus Battlegrey. It's very close but there's a noticeable difference (compare the painted Piranha to the basecoated ones). You can't really tell too much when the models are done (the two hammerheads are actually different colours) but touching up any mistakes in the highlighting or sept markings may be an issue on the older models. I've got some Adeptus Battlegrey left but not sure it'll be enough.

On another note, I really wish I'd bought an airbrush sooner as the paintwork on my old vehicles is far too thick and has some brush marks in it. I'll try to distract from this as much as possible!

Right I'd better get cracking! I'll post some updates on my progress. Bear in mind I wrote this post on Sunday so I'm already into this little lot. Hopefully by the weekend I'll have another update but I'm away so it will probably appear on Monday evening.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Bringing Back the Fun

Matt and I have managed to get a couple of games in over Summer since he's on his six week holidays from teaching (git). We played a game with his Necrons against my DE in a Fluffageddon test game and basically called it on Turn 2. It was totally miserable. I know no-one enjoys losing but seriously it just felt impossible. Obviously the Fluffageddon rules don't exactly help DE but still, it was probably a low point in our 40K gaming. We decided that for our next session we'd do something we hadn't before and actually discuss our armies with each other in advance. Normally we're practicing for a tournament or testing things out for Blog Wars but since I've not changed much for BWX and we aren't booked into any tournaments we could actually have some friendly games.

We decided to play a classic matchup of Tau versus Blood Angels (we played this a lot when we got back into 40K in 2009) and then a game of CSM vs Space Wolves. We were deliberately toning our lists down from the usual tournament standard and taking units we wouldn't normally use and conversely dropping some we normally would. That resulted in some classic looking lists. My Tau were pretty mech heavy with a few suits and the SW army consisted of Grey Hunters in Rhinos and Terminators in a Land Raider!

Well, you know what? Those were two of the best games of 40K we've had in a long time! The BA vs. Tau game swung dramatically as ever with Tau cutting down swathes of marines early on and the BA hitting back hard in combat. I was screwed a bit by the tactical objectives I pulled out (we used the BW ones) but basically I had all my luck early on and Matt's came in towards the end when it mattered. Dante was a beast and he got lucky staying locked in combat with my Fire Warriors who pulled out some Insane Heroism (double ones). I tried to kill the BA off quicker than they could get to the Tau in combat but it wasn't to be. You forget how fast jump infantry can move!

The SW vs. CSM game was almost 5th edition in appearance with both of us having three rhinos and a land raider. I had thunderlord and Matt had some obliterators to prevent them being identical. Early on it was a case of brinkmanship with neither of us wanting to dismount from the rhinos too soon. I actually popped smoke on a vehicle for the first time in ages! Anyway, eventually the rhinos started exploding (they're pretty tough these days) and we had men on the ground. There were some brutal combats and equally brutal psychic attacks from Ahriman and Typhus. It came down to just a handful of models. My land raider limped through on a single hull point to try and incinerate some thousand sons only to succumb to weapon virus and lose the final hullpoint! Typhus eventually won the combat against my Thunderlord (he needed help from the Chaos terminators!). When the dust settled we had a damaged rhino each but the only other survivors were Ulrik and a couple of Grey Hunters! Since we were playing Cleanse the Xenos (from Blog Wars) that gave me a narrow victory!

With the postponement of Fluffageddon we've decided to book a couple of tables at WHW and have our own mini-tournament on the same day. Matt will be bringing Chaos (I think, he keeps changing his mind), Jamie is thinking Dark Angels (or some shade of Space Marine), Scott is taking Tyranids and I'm going to take Tau. Since it worked so well for Matt and I we've decided to show each other our lists. I'll talk you through my Tau in the next post.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Blog Wars X - Only 90 days to go! (and Ravenwing ruling)

It doesn't seem like five minutes ago that I was wrapping up Blog Wars 9 and yet BWX is rapidly approaching. I know three months sounds like a long time but I'm sure to those of you trying to paint up your models it doesn't! Especially when the list submission deadline is fast approaching.

For those of you who haven't got a ticket yet, I've sold 36 of the 50 tickets so you don't have long to secure your place. Check out the BWX page for more details and to find out how you can get your ticket.

Now is an excellent time to send me any questions you have about the tournament. That goes for anything that you aren't sure about, be it proxy models, general rules queries, directions, accommodation, scoring, scenarios, food, whatever! Don't leave it to the last minute and hopefully we can avoid any issues on the day.

Ravenwing Strike Force
Whilst we're on the subject of rule queries I think I need to address Ravenwing. Unfortunately I think the Deathwing rules are as intended by GW (which sucks) but the Ravenwing formation is clearly wrong. For those of you who aren't familiar with the DA codex, the Ravenwing Strike Force requires one compulsory HQ and a further 2 optional HQ choices. That would be fine but it also requires that all models in the Detachment have the Ravenwing special rule. That means there's only Sammael who can be fielded. Makes no sense to have the two optional HQs then!

Here's what I propose as a solution: Sammael is a compulsory choice for this detachment. You can then take any other HQ but they must take a Space Marine bike (for the stated points cost). That means you could take an combination of Librarian, Interrogator Chaplain or Techmarine. The Librarian and Chaplain lose the Deathwing rule and all three gain the Ravenwing rule. In practice this makes little difference to them.  The Chaplain is still Fearless and has Hatred thanks to Zealot. The librarian loses Hatred and Fearless but getting Ravenwing more than compensates for this.

What do people think? I thought it only fair to make Sammael compulsory since he's the Master of the Ravenwing and strictly speaking the only legal choice. I didn't think it was fair to get Deathwing AND Ravenwing rules. I'm open to suggestions on this though and I'll be guided by the general consensus. Of course, there's nothing stopping you taking a second detachment of Deathwing or whatever.

Anyway, get back to painting and I'll see you all in November!

Monday, August 03, 2015

Guest Post: Fluffageddon Cancelled (well postponed for a year)

Hi everyone. I'm really sorry to say that I'm going to have to cancel the Fluffageddon tournament, that was due to take place on September 5th, until next year. This is due to lack of sufficient ticket sales to cover costs.

I've had quite a few interested in the tournament (emailing questions to me, verbally stating interest at Blog Wars and registering interest on NWGC Facebook page). However, this has only translated into a few ticket sales. Therefore I have made the decision to postpone the tournament and run it next year instead. I've made the decision to cancel now so that people don't waste time getting an army ready or making any other plans related to the tournament (e.g. booking trains).

The plan is to run Fluffageddon on November 12th 2016. This would have been the date for Blog Wars 12, but Alex has decided to only run one Blog Wars next year (on June 11th) and so I will take the other slot, he'd already booked for Blog Wars 12, for Fluffageddon.

This is well over a year away but the idea is that it won't be running close to a Blog Wars event and people will have plenty of time during the year to plan and create a suitable army. I realise that 40K may change considerably over this period of time but I plan to write a new rules pack that will be released at the start of the year and updated as the year goes on. The format will be similar but I will make sure it is much clearer with a section on duplications for every army in 40K.

I'm not really sure why I didn't sell enough tickets this time. It could be that people weren't willing to try something different or they felt that they couldn't create an army that was competitive enough with the given restrictions. It could have been that people simply didn't have a large enough variety of units in their collection to run an 1850 point army using the restricted rules. It could simply be that not enough people knew about the tournament. I would appreciate any comments on why people didn't decide to buy a ticket and also any comments on the tournament rules and restrictions as this may help when I write the new and improved rules pack for the tournament next year.

Finally I'm really sorry to the people who were intending to come and I hope that you will attend the event next year. To everyone else reading this, put November 12th 2016 in your calendar and get a ticket bought early. Details will be on here early 2016.



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