Monday, March 28, 2016

Star Wars Day (Good Friday) - 100pt X-wing Battle Reports

With Epic game out of the way we switched back to normal 100pt games of X-wing to finish off the day. I started off playing Matt whilst Scott played Sam. We'd stick to 75 minute games to simulate the tournament experience. Not that I can see Scott and Sam ever playing in a tournament. Frankly Sam will never buy any models as long as he can keep using ours. If we want to use Scum ever I'll have to get them myself!

Anyway, my list was the same I ran in the last session at the end of Jan. It seemed pretty fun and I wanted to get used to using the K-wing so figured why mess with it?

100pts of Rebels
Miranda Doni (K-wing) - Advanced SLAM, TLT, Bombardier, Conner Net, Ion Bombs, Extra Munitions
2x Dagger Squadron Pilots (B-wings) - Advanced Sensors

What's not to love about B-wings with AS? The only thing I don't like about them is they make the X-wing pretty much obsolete which is infuriating in a game called X-wing! They just don't compare when they're basically the same points. Anyway, Miranda Doni seems interesting to me with he ability to regenerate shields. It's even better with the TLT because you don't really sacrifice damage output to do it. I think an array of bombs is good too. Having the Conner which you can drop after SLAM is awesome but so is the Ion for shaking chasing ships.

Battle Report 1 vs. Matt
Matt was running a list he said he threw together pretty quickly but featuring the ever annoying Whisper:

99pts of Imperials
Whisper (TIE Phantom) - Advanced Cloaking Device, Veteran Instincts
Maarek Steele (TIE Advanced) - Adv. Targeting Computer, TIE/x1
Tempest Squadron Pilot (TIE Advanced) - Adv. Targeting Computer, TIE/x1
Academy Pilot (TIE Fighter)

Matt would get initiative thanks to the 99 but it made no odds as we had no matching PS. Matt deployed pretty spread out so I shoved everything over to one side with the B-wings paired up on the right flank and the K-wing to the right of centre.

After the usual first round of no-one shooting, I blasted the K-wing forward with a 3-speed SLAM and dropped a Conner Net right in front of the oncoming Imperial Ships. Meanwhile the B-wings locked up the Academy Pilot but left it limping along with 1 HP. In response attacks from the TIE Fighter stripped some shields from Miranda.  The Conner Net was easily avoided but it did force Matt to focus on evasive manoeuvres rather than lining up shots.

Whisper closed to range one on the K-wing and took it deep into hull. Miranda turned back to the backfield but not before using the ion bomb to great effect hitting both TIE Advanced and forcing Whisper to barrel away. The B-wings needed to help take the final hull from the TIE Fighter when Miranda failed with her turret (thanks to the Academy Pilot's focus). At least the K-wing got a shield back.

This next sequence was simply awesome from where I was sitting (less so for Matt). Miranda swerved to avoid an asteroid allowing her to drop a Conner Net right in front of Whisper. Since the decloak barrel roll would've either landed him on an asteroid or the other Net it forced him to stay cloaked and koiogran straight over the new Net for damage and ion tokens. The ion tokens from the previous ion bomb forced the Tempest Pilot to keep heading away from the fight and left Maarek Steele as a total sitting duck to a range 1 attacks from both B-wings which was enough to wipe him out completely. Matt was now down to two ships but one of them was still Whisper (even if he was ionned).

A koiogran for both B-wings now left them in range of Whisper who'd they'd target locked thanks to Advanced Sensors. The K-wing dropped another ion bomb (Extra Munitions is awesome) before blasting away but forcing Whisper to decloak to barrel roll out of the way. This put him right into range 1 of the B-wings who survived Whisper's onslaught and wiped him from space.

Matt now had just the Tempest TIE Advanced against my entire fleet including a quickly repairing K-wing. Still, the plucky pilot was able to finish off one of the B-wings before being backed into a corner and shot to pieces by the remaining one. 100-25 win for me!

Battle Report 2 vs. Scott
Scott had demolished Sam and was hoping to do the same to me. He had a veritable swarm of rebel ships:

100pts of Rebels
Dagger Squadron Pilot (B-wing)
Gold Squadron Pilot (Y-wing) - TLT
3x Bandit Squadron Pilot (Z-95s)
Tala Squadron Pilot (Z-95) - Hull Upgrade

Scott won the iniative roll off which meant he had to deploy everything before I did. I therefore positioned my B-wings opposite three of his Z-95s hoping to take a couple down before he could get the rest of his squadron into range. Sadly the K-wing in the centre diverted his attention and he dragged two of the Z-95s over to the middle leaving just one to be picked on by the B-wings. Somehow it survived on one hull but Scott misjudged and ended up flying it off the board.

Meanwhile the K-wing had tried to repeat the trick from the first game and swept forward with a 3-speed SLAM move to drop a Conner Net in from of the enemy fleet. Unfortunately Scott judged his moves perfectly and this left the K-wing in range of most of his squadron and down to a single hull point!

In a bid to stay alive I SLAM'd the K-wing again but forgot to drop an ion bomb before I did so. I'd managed to get out of range of most of the enemy squadron but the Y-wing was in range and its TLT had no trouble taking the last hull point. With the K-wing down the B-wings would have an uphill battle to pick off ships before being destroyed themselves. This was especially difficult when I'd split them up on the previous turn not knowing Scott would fly the damaged Z-95 off the board.

The B-wings never managed to get any sort of focussed fire in and damaged several enemy ships without taking any out. Scott positioned his ships well and got some range 1 shots in from the Z-95s which really hurt when you're agility 1 and when Scott was rolling so well. The first B-wing quickly fell and once that happened it wasn't long before the second followed suit. At least he took another Z-95 down with him! This gave Scott a 100-24 win leaving him undefeated as we ran out of time for more games.

Two completely different performances there. It's difficult to know if it was down to my play or if my list isn't really suited to swarms. The Z-95s don't seem tough to kill but it's easy for them to end up holding on to a single hull point and combining to deliver quite a lot of damage. Whilst I made a huge mistake placing my K-wing where I did for what proved to be a pointless Conner Net, I have to say that Scott played it well and always had shots on me.

In contrast the first game was probably the best game I've played from a tactical point of view. Of course there was some luck involved but I used the bombs brilliantly (if I do say so myself). It's easy to forget that Whisper is so flimsy when you're used to seeing 4-5 evade dice with focus! It certainly wasn't the best list Matt has ever put together but he basically wanted to try out the new TIE Advanced stuff which I think will be really effective. Still, it was one of the few times in memory that I've some completely beaten Matt at anything so I'm happy regardless!

Playing Scott was refreshing too as I hardly ever get to fly against Rebels. I really must get to more tournaments. Speaking of which, any thoughts on my list? I'm not keeping pace with the meta or anything, how would it fare? Do people even take Daggers with AS any more or is it Accuracy Correctors or something else?

Even if I didn't really enjoy the Epic game earlier in the day, these small games reminded me why I love this game so much. I can't wait to try out my Ghost which I got with my 40K tournament winnings the other weekend. I'm also reading about the T-70 X-wing at the moment and salivating at the prospect of some FA ships, maybe even a Falcon re-release? In the meantime I was getting sick of all the plastic bags so I've pinched one of my bits boxes for this:

I really need to come up with a better solution for ship storage too. More on that another day. Right, back to Dark Eldar!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Star Wars Day (Good Friday) - Epic X-wing Battle Report

This will be the first of two posts covering our latest X-wing day round at Scott's house. We try to get together reasonably regularly with our last session being the end of Jan. That time we started with some Zombicide while we waited for Sam, played some 100pt games and then tried to squeeze in an Epic 300pt game. Well, firstly, Zombicide is awesome but more on that another day. Secondly, sorry I never got around to writing that day up and I now can't remember much. Finally, we never got the 300pt game finished as Matt had to leave. We did however realise that the reasonably fluffy list we'd taken with squadrons of X-wings, A-wings and Y-wings wasn't going to cut it. Today we played the 300pt game first followed by two 100pt games (see the next post). This time around Scott and I came up with this:

299pts of Rebels
4x Dagger Squadron (B-wings) - Advanced Sensors, Extra Munitions, Plasma Torpedoes)
2x Gold Squadron (Y-wings) - Twin Laser Turret
4x Tala Squadron (Z-95s) - Ion Pulse Missiles, Munitions Failsafe
Han Solo (YT-1300) - Gunner, Millenium Falcon, C3-PO

We knew Matt and Sam were going to use both the Raider and the Gozanti. The list was deliberately 299pts in the hope of getting initiative since Matt's big ship last time was PS4 and it'd mean the Daggers and Talas would get to fire first. In the end Matt and Sam had 299 as well and they won the roll off so that backfired! Basically,
the Daggers and Talas would try to get their missiles and torpedoes off early to maximise the damage on the Raider and hopefully at least force it to use its energy for something other than guns! I'd never both with munitions in smaller games but I figured that a zero agility ship would be a good target. They'd also not give any bonus dice for range 3. Once they'd swept past the Raider they'd then get into rear arcs on the huge ships. The Talas are pretty much disposable missile boats. They won't take much punishment but could make a big difference with all that ion.

The Golds would help Han either deal with fighters or else get in behind the Raider/Gozanti and help add damage. The TLTs on the Golds would hopefully just keep chipping away with two damage per turn on whatever they fired at and generally be a nuisance whilst ignoring stress most of the time.

Sam and Matt were running:

299pts of Imperials
Instigator (Raider-class Corvette) - Single Turbolasers, Engineering Team, Ion Cannon Battery, Optimized Generators, Quad Laser Cannons, Shield Technician, Tactician, Tibanna Gas Supplies
Captain Oicunn (VT-49 Decimator) - Expose, Ysanne Isard
Vector (Gozanti-class Cruiser) - Broadcast Array, Docking Clamps, Dual Laser Turret, Gunnery Team, Emperor Palpatine
4x Academy Pilot (TIE Fighters)

So basically, 3 big agility 0 things that we didn't want to end up overlapping! We'd still want to focus on one thing at a time though. The Decimator could be chipped away whenever but the huge ships needed a concerted effort to do enough damage to prevent repairs cancelling it out.

Battle Report
Apologies for the poor quality photos by the way. The light reflecting off the mats really messed with my phone's camera and I forgot my proper one!

We popped the Y-wings right in the middle and they put their only normal deployment ship, the Decimator, off to the right. At this point we should've done one of two things, either deploy all of our ships opposite the Decimator or put them all on the other side. The former would've been the better choice. Worst case, we'd have just focussed everything on the Decimator and probably brought it down. Best case, we'd be opposite all three enemy ships. We went for a third option though which was to spread out fleet about across the whole width of the board. Mistake #1.

Sam and Matt responded by dropping their huge ships either side of the Decimator on the right. This meant two of the Bs and two Z-95s would have to slog across to get into range. Not ideal. Unsurprisingly the first turn resulted in no Rebel fire but the Raider was able to its turbolasers at one of the Y-wings taking it down to one shield with a double-tap. In the second turn we managed to get the Z-95s into target lock range and therefore managed to fire off all of their ion pulse missiles into the Gozanti. This meant no energy generation for it next turn and a couple of shields down. Decent start (we thought). I midjudged on the B-wings though leaving them out of target lock range forcing them to focus (not ideal on Bs). Mistake #2. With the fore section of the raider reinforced we decided to start shooting the Decimator with the Golds and Daggers. This took away all of its shields and a few hull too. Again, decent start (we thought). Meanwhile the Raider hammered the Y-wing down to 1 hull, ionned one of the Bs and everything else was still out of range. The Gozanti then helped take one of the Bs into hull.

The Decimator narrowly missed ramming the ionned B-wing which then ran into it anyway. The other Dagger sat perilously close to the front of the Gozanti. Meanwhile the Talas moved around the Gozanti to try and line up in its rear arc later on to chip away with primary weapons now their missiles were spent. The two left flank Daggers and Talas were still out of range and being slowly by avoiding asteroids and each other. Mistake #3. We were now in a position to put some hits on the Raider with Han and the other two Daggers though. In a desire to keep the game going pretty quickly I totally forgot to use the plasma torps on both the B-wings and ended up barely scratching the Raider. Mistake #4. Meanwhile the Y-wings were in a position where I thought they'd both be run over but had a lucky escape when Matt barely moved. The Gozanti now just repaired all of its shields and didn't really need to generate new energy this turn. We realised now that we should've held onto the ion pulse missiles until the ion tokens would have more effect. Mistake #5.

Now the Gozanti started to release some TIEs and thanks to Emperor Palpatine's intervention the academy pilot was able to take the final three hull from one of the B wings with a Direct Hit from a bonus critical! Ouch! The other B found itself ionned and about to be run over by the Gozanti. No great loss when it was on a single hull but even more annoying now that it had remembered its torps but fluffed the roll completely! The Raider finished off one of the Ys too and put some damage on Han.

More TIEs now to ruin the Z-95s day. Both Talas struggled to land hits too meaning both TIEs survived to put damage on them. The other ships were finally getting into range though and started to co-ordinate their firepower. The Daggers, Talas and Han combined to bring strip all of the shields away and start doing some minor hull damage. Sadly no criticals though. Unforunately, one of the B wings got stress which meant that there was no manoeuvre that wouldn't get it destroyed by a ramming Raider next turn. Mistake #6. With the TIEs dealing with one of the Talas thanks to destroying one thanks to another Emperor Palpatine Direct Hit (!) and another through combined damage things were starting to look bleak.

Still, in the next turn the remaining Rebel ships were able to bring the aft section of the Raider down to a single hull point. Irritatingly close to effectively taking it out of the game. In response the Raider took down a Gold and combined with the Decimator to take out another Dagger. We were now down to Han and a Dagger plus a Tala which was only in range of the Gozanti. This left us in a position where we'd never do enough damage to take the final hull point before it could generate new energy and repair its shields. Time to call the game I thought.

There were quite a number of elementary mistakes on our part. These were mostly because we don't play the game enough and have never properly played against a Huge ship, never mind two! The biggest deal was the spread deployment. We were reluctant to bunch up because neither of us is confident at squadron flying (I really need to practice) and therefore we could imagine we'd lose quite a lot of ships to being overrun by the big guys. That was a huge fear the whole time too, none of our ships are particularly speedy so it's difficult to get into rear arc quickly and you spend a lot of time in the danger zone either being shot or run over!

That lack of speed meant we never got our whole fleet to bear on a single target. I'm confident that Raider would've evaporated with enough ships shooting at once but it just never happened. We set out with a game plan of ignoring everything but the Raider but our deployment prevented us ever really doing it. It didn't help that Matt kept the Raider moving slowing to keep our ships out of range and keep the energy coming. It never really felt like he struggled for energy until the later stages though thanks to his upgrades. Ion is key here I think, the more ion you can get on in a single turn the better. Even more so if you then hit it hard in the following turn.

Reading around on the internet and people seem to find the Raider easy to deal with. Maybe that's because of the list but it felt like an uphill struggle the whole time with demoralising moments when it repaired back to full health before blasting away at us again. We definitely could've done with some more crits as we never got a single one!

All in all I can't say I enjoyed the Epic experience. Obviously losing (and doing so in a way where you never felt like it was close) doesn't help but it really changes the dynamic of the game. I feel like if I want to play something that takes hours, I'd rather play 40K. I see X-wing as a quick sub-hour game with intense battles which hinge on every decision. In this game it seemed like everything took too long and there were too many upgrades on the big ships to keep track of what was going off half the time. I can't say I really enjoyed it at all which is probably the first time that's been the case playing X-wing (except when we tried to play this game before). Matt and Sam seemed to enjoy themselves though so maybe we should replay it and try not to make as many mistakes. I'm still tempted by the Tantive but it seems like a big investment for a ship that I'll realistically use maybe 2-3 times before shelving it. Nice model though...

Regarding our list, for 17pts the Talas with ion pulse missiles are tempting in other lists. They might really disrupt an enemy plan even on big ships. I suspect I'm getting too excited though about something that probably won't even hit against anything with any agility at all! Twin Laser Turrets seem fun though but again that might be the agility zero thing. My K-wing in my 100 pt list has them too so we'll see. Han and the Y-wings were great for their turret ability but never really put in much damage. I feel like their points would've been better spent on more Talas or a fleet of A-wings with missiles. Food for thought anyway.

On Monday night I'll post up the reports from my 100pt games which were much more fun!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Dark Eldar for Double Trouble WIP - Part 1

In my last post I listed out some of the armies I'm thinking about for Double Trouble. I hope that I only need one of them! I'll therefore be aiming to get my Dark Eldar finished ready for the event. As with my Imperial Knights project, the need to get them ready for a tournament will be my motivation to get them done. Anyway, here's a shot of how the models looked before I started:

As you can see they're assembled but barely painted. There's some colour on one of the venoms and patches on the reavers and warriors but the other venoms, scourges and archon are just undercoated.

Before I can get any paint on them there's a few things I want to sort out though. You may remember I did some conversion work to give haywire blasters to 4 scourges in each squad. I'm looking back at that post now and wondering why I didn't just take the front bit off the gun and make my life easier!?! I took this opportunity to use some basing beads to make these guys more stable. The beads are basically just lead shot that I bought from eBay a little while ago. A liberal amount of super glue into the base is all it needs. Makes a massive difference to stability. I still use pennies for my non-slotta bases mind you because the costs are lower (1p per base funnily enough). Really wish I'd done this before gluing the models into the base but nevermind.

Anyway, the archon currently has the wrong weapons. I've therefore carefully (not easy with finecast) broken off both arms and replaced them with a splinter pistol and agoniser. I was tempted to try and magnetise him but I wasn't confident that finecast would cope with the necessary drilling. Here's how he looks now (there's paint on the agoniser because a hekatrix lent it to him):

Next up I wanted to add a bit of variety to the reavers. I'm keen on keeping all of the visored helmets but I've thrown in a couple of hand weapons to break them up a bit. I'll also differentiate more with the paintwork. The caltrop model is the one with the ponytail to help me identify him quickly.

Finally, whilst I initially thought the ball-top flying bases were an amazing idea, I find that on some of the models they don't give a very tight fit. I was considering adding layers of paint to make the ball a more snug fit but in the end I've decided to file down the ball and add a 5 mm magnet to the top. This makes a really stable join. I lose some of the poseability but I wasn't really making use of this anyway. I've done the same to the venoms too:

That's all the preliminary work done now. I've really got to decide what colour to paint them! I was extremely tempted to go for orange again after the success of my Imperial Knights and also thanks to inspiration from Rovient's stunning collection over on Tale of Painters:

I was originally planning on making them purple though and I'd still like a purple army. I'd love to think they'd end up looking something like Stahly's (also on Tale of Painters):

You may remember I painted up a test model a while ago. Holy crap! That post was July 2012. That's a depressing thought. No excuses this time. I'm getting them done! Anyway, I like the scheme I painted four years (!) ago but I'm not convinced it stands out enough on the table top. I'm thinking I might merge Rovient's bold block colours with Stahly's clean line highlights. Perhaps some bold purple panels on the venoms?

Think I'll do a reaver as a new test model. Gives me chance to do the rider as a test for the infantry scheme and the bike as a small scale test of the vehicle scheme. Hopefully it'll take me less than four years!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Sample Armies for Double Trouble and Contingency Plans

Being a doubles event, Double Trouble obviously needs a total number of players that's divisible by 4. Currently we've got 16 which is obviously fine. There'll still be plenty of variety amongst the teams and games. Having said that I'm hoping to sell more tickets so we can have a bigger prize pot and hence better raffle prizes, etc.

What happens if we get a drop out on the day though? Well the key thing is to avoid having anyone miss a game. There's nothing worse than being told you've received a bye when you were hoping to play three games of 40K for your money. Here's what I propose:
  • If we end up with a total number of players which is one less than a multiple of 4 (e.g. 27), I'll field a full 1,500pt army myself. It'll still consist of two randomly determined halves though from my collection and my opponents will roll for it each round! 
  • If we end up with a total number of players which is two less than a multiple of 4 (e.g. 18) then both Matt and I will field 1,500pt armies again being formed of two randomly determined 750pt forces. 
  • If we end up with a total number of players which is three less than a multiple of 4 (e.g. 21), I'll simply drop out bringing the number back to a multiple of 4.
I think it's important to have this contingency in place so that people feel reassured that the system will work and everyone will get their three games.

Sample Armies
Well, just in case any of the above happens I'll need to have several 750pt armies at my disposal. Here's what I'm thinking at the moment:

Dark Eldar (CAD) - 750pts
Archon w/ Armour of Misery, agoniser, shadow field in a Venom (two cannons)
Kabalite Warriors (5) in a Venom (two cannons)
Kabalite Warriors (5) in a Venom (two cannons)
Reavers (5) w/ cluster caltrops
Scourges (5) w/ four haywire blasters
Scourges (5) w/ four haywire blasters

Space Wolves (CAD) - 748pts
Rune Priest (ML2)
Grey Hunters (7) w/ flamer plus Wolf Guard (TDA CM/PF) in Drop Pod
Grey Hunters (8) w/ flamer plus Wolf Guard (TDA CM/PF) in Drop Pod
Stormwolf w/ multi-meltas

Orks (CAD) - 749pts
Burna Boys (6) inc. 3 meks
Boyz (11) inc. PK nob in Trukk
Boyz (12) inc. PK nob in Trukk
Morkanaut w/ KFF

Tau (CAD) - 750pts
Riptide w/ ion accel., EWO and stim.
Strike Team (10) in Devilfish
Strike Team (10) in Devilfish
Pathfinder Team (5)

Dark Angels (Ravenwing Strike Force) - 750pts
Librarian (ML2) on bike
Ravenwing Command Squad (6) w/ RW banner, apothecary
Ravenwing Bike Squad (6) w/ two grav guns
Ravenwing Bike Squad (6) w/ two meltaguns

Hopefully this gives you some idea of the things you can do with the different factions. I've found it pretty fun to come up with small forces from each of my armies that try to convey the character of that faction and still bring something good to the table. I've avoided Formations because I'm really not a fan but still it wasn't hard to come up with these armies. Are they the most competitive armies I could create? No, definitely not but that's deliberate! I don't want to bring too many models and I want them to be simple to use.

If all is well and I end up playing with just a 750pt army and a random partner, I'd probably go for the Dark Eldar. For this reason I want to focus on trying to get them painted up for the event. That gives me about 11 weeks so should be doable. I'll post more about my plans in a separate post later in the week.

Finally, Deployment
I've been giving it some thought and I've decided that things will probably be complicated enough without adding anything extra. I therefore think it's sensible to just go with Dawn of War deployment in every round. What do people think?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Tournament Report - Desperate Allies II (The Outpost) - 1500pt Doubles

You may have been following my progress painting my knights up for Saturday's doubles event at the Outpost in Sheffield (my FLGS). Today I'll fill you in on how they got on as my half of my doubles team with Matt. First off, here's our list which we're calling Knights of the Rectangular Table:

750pts of Imperial Knights
Knight Paladin
Knight Warden

748pts of Eldar
Farseer w/ Spirit Stone of Anath'lan, Singing Spear
14 Guardian Defenders w/ Warlock
3 Windriders
6 Swooping Hawks inc. Exarch
Wraithknight w/ Wraithcannons and Scatter Laser

We'd talked at one point about taking 4 Imperial Knights but we decided against it because we didn't think it'll be dynamic enough and also because it'd be pretty miserable to play against. I'm not pretending this list isn't any less powerful (probably the opposite in fact) but at least there's some variety in there. Anyway, the IK are pretty obvious in role. The Wraithknight has a scatter laser so it can shoot something with its wraithcannons and still fire a weapon at its intended melee target. The Farseer is there to buff the Wraithknight but along with the warlock it can also make the guardians pretty nasty and tough to shift from an objective. Windriders are, of course, for late game objective thievery. The Swooping Hawks seem to catch people out (more on that in the batreps) but they offer quite a lot to the list and some much needed anti-air.

Bear in mind that we haven't been to the Outpost in over a year and normally the field is thick with filthy lists. We figured we'd need somet
hing powerful to be in with a chance.

Game One vs. GK/SM (Imp. Fists)
This was Jim and Owen's first tournament game since their recent return to the hobby so we felt pretty guilty that they'd be in for a rough ride. They were fielding a GK terminator librarian with GK terminators and two dreadknights along with an SM librarian, two tactical squads (one in a rhino), several bikes (2 grav) including an attack bike, a devastator team (3 missiles) and five scouts. We'd be playing Purge the Alien on Dawn of War deployment.

Our opponents elected to deep strike all of their GK force which was especially risky given that we got the Strategic trait that gives -1 to their rolls. They got the first turn and none of the GK arrived. Surprisingly they chose to drive the rhino forward and disembark despite being out of range. Other than coming closer to us the only thing they got from their first turn was two wounds from the Wraithknight. Our response was pretty brutal with the Knight Paladin taking out the recently disembarked tactical squad for First Strike and the Wraithknight adding the rhino to the pile. The Knight Warden then took out a handful of the bikers too.

One of the dreadknights now arrived but the other and the terminators stayed in reserve. The dreakdnight wiped out a swathe of guardians with its incinerator and psycannon though leaving the farseer more vulnerable. The swooping hawks arrived and their grenade pack made short work of the scouts. The wraithknight turned its attention to the newly arrived dreadknight and its wraithcannons made short work of it thanks to Guide when it failed both of its invulnerable saves. Meanwhile the Warden cleared up most of the remaining Imperial Fists who held on just long enough for the terminators to arrive. Sadly for the terminators they struggled to hit the guardians with their storm bolters and were whittled down with fire from pretty much our entire army before the Paladin charged in and put his reaper chainsword through the librarian.

The final dreadknight arrived and in some of the ballsiest play we've ever encountered our opponents dropped him right in between both Imperial Knights in order to try to take out our guardians for a VP. The dreadknight not only didn't scatter but rolled a double 1. That guy really meant it! He continued his badassery into the shooting phase where he annihilated the guardians, warlock and farseer for 2 VPs plus Slay the Warlord. Incredible play! The joy was short-lived though as the Imperial Knights and Wraithknight let rip with their firepower bringing him down to a single wound which was easily stripped with a double knight charge for the 14-3 tabling.

As an interesting side-note. Jim and Owen went on to play a double IK and Stormsurge list which they tabled thanks to deploying everything and some vicious use of a Vortex of Doom! They played off for third place on table two at the end, narrowly losing out 5-3 in a nailbiter.

Game Two vs. Ravenwing/White Scars
Jim and Adam had a pretty nasty combination of White Scars and Ravenwing. They'd got a Chaplain, 7-8 black knights, a darkshroud, 3 MM/AC landspeeders, librarian on bike (with some funky upgrades that gave him Ignores Cover amongst other things), three bike squads (1x 2 melta, 2x 2 grav) and a pair of lascannon toting stormtalons. They'd annihilated their first opponents who had no way of getting around their 2+ re-rollable cover and therefore succumbed to all that plasma talon goodness. It'd be Big Guns Never Tire and Vanguard Strike.

Well, we made short work of that with the first shot of the game being a double wraithcannon hit on the darkshroud and that all important 6 on the destroyer table (giving us First Strike too). We achieved little else though as the black knights still have 3+ re-rollable! With the White Scars in reserve we'd tried to keep out of range of plasma talon fire. Not 100% sure why but our opponents had elected not to use their Scout moves for the black knights. Nevertheless they were able to strip two wounds from the Wraithknight with the speeders' weaponry. The black knights elected not to shoot the knight at all and instead turbo-boosted into the corner to benefit from their formation rules allowing Jink and normal BS in turn 2.

The Wraithknight hopped out of cover and set up for a 3" charge on the speeders electing not to shoot them in case they ended up too far away. It didn't help mind you as Matt double 1'd it and couldn't re-roll having used the jump move to get out of cover. The IK started to whittle down the black knights too taking a couple more down. We knew the reprisal would be fierce and were pretty confident the Wraithknight was a goner. The White Scars were arriving too! The Ravenwing advanced allowing the white scars to pile down the flank towards the Wraithknight. Their entire army let rip but when the dust settled the Wraithknight survived on a single wound!! This was definitely the turning point in the game.

The Wraithknight didn't make the same mistake twice and walked through the speeders in short order. The Warden did the same for the black knights too. Meanwhile the white scars had left themselves bunched together so with help from the Warden's gatling cannon they were whittle down considerably killing both the librarian and chaplain in the process. The stormtalon had also arrived into the mix but fortunately within range of the Swooping Hawks who leapt over it sticking haywire grenades to its hull in the process and bringing it down. The Imperial Knight Warden then finished off the White Scar bikers.

We'd brought the Windriders onto the far side of the board without much consideration hiding them since everything was happening in the opposite corner. Their plan was to hop onto one of the objectives in the last turn (standard really!). The plan was scuppered when the remaining WS stormtalon and bikers came onto that flank and easily cut all three down. This left at least one of the 5 objectives in jeopardy with the potential for another to be contested since they were going second. Had the game ended on turn 5 we'd have lost two objectives. Fortunately for us we got right through to turn 7 which gave us enough time to get the Imperial Knights over with the last biker falling to a heavy stubber for the 18-0 tabling but not before the Swooping Hawks had done a number on another stormtalon!

Game Three vs. Skitarii/Blood Angels
We fully expected to be playing the winner from the second table which was a pretty scary combo of thunderwolves and cataphron destroyers but thanks to a big score from table 3 we found ourselves up against Tom and Anthony who were fielding a librarian, tactical squad, assault squad, 3 bikes (2 grav) plus a stormraven. The Skitarii half consisted of rangers, vanguard, 2 ironstriders, 2 dragoons and 2 onagers.

Sadly this proved to be another one-sided affair. We took down very little in the first turn apart from all three bikes for First Strike. In return they could only strip a wound or two from the Wraithknight. Since range and cover were an
issue the next turn didn't prove particularly destructive which meant the dragoons were able to charge the Wraithknight. Sadly for them they failed to harm him. Matt took one out in response but we forgot about Stomp so one survived to keep him locked in combat. The Swooping Hawks arrived and used their grenade pack to wipe out the vanguard. The ironstriders fell to the Imperial Knights who also mopped up the rangers and tactical squad with charges and two lots of single stomps rolling 6s! The Swooping Hawks then swept (pun intended) in and took out the onagers with haywire whilst the Guardians finished off the assault marines with the help of Guide.

That left the Stormraven to arrive on turn 4 and stripped another couple of wounds from the Wraithknight. Since it stayed up in the air we were unable to damage it but when we got a turn 6 they elected to hover to assault the guardians off the relic. That led to wraithcannons at the raven before the Warden charged in, finished off the tactical squad and librarian with its reaper chainsword. Game over, 12-0.

We finished with a maximum 44 VPs (although more would've been available had there been Heavy Support in Game 2) having only given up 3. The team in second place scored 26 VPs. Suffice to say I was pretty embarrassed but Matt being Matt, wasn't. As I said earlier, we were surprised by the relatively tame armies in attendance. Granted 750pts a-piece limits things but we still expected more FW stuff and other Wraithknights.

There's no question we were lucky with our first round opponents. I'm not sure we'd have faired well against 2-3 of the other lists in the mix that we fortunately avoided. In the end we played our first game on table 1 by chance and never moved. This suited me fine because a) I'm lazy and b) my Knights are based on snowy terrain and this was a snow table!

The Eldar took some hammer with the guardians taking heavy casualties in games 1 & 3. The wraithknight nearly bought it in 2 & 3 and the Hawks were heavily depleted in 2 as well. Ultimately the Eldar force was squishier meaning they got targeted far more. My Knights on the other hand only took 2 HP all day which goes to show how dominant they can be when they meet the right opponents. I don't think they're invulnerable by any stretch though but it was a nice way to christen them! They never felt particularly devastating although on reflection they did rack up a pretty decent death toll.

Daylight is your friend for photography!
I have to say the Swooping Hawks were the stars of the show for me. They annihilated the Scouts in game one. Took down two Stormtalons in game two (which the rest of our army would've struggled to do). They also cleared out a whole squad of skitarii and two onagers in three. For their points they were insane. I think they're an oft overlooked unit purely on the basis of their past. In their current form they're almost a must-have I reckon and not too expensive to justify inclusion.

Well, I can't complain with the £25 store credit and hence £9 Ghost expansion for X-wing (£42.99 RRP). What was disappointing though was that the organiser chose to abandon best painted awards because of the nature of doubles. Our team for example had a horrific clash of green and orange! It's a shame they didn't have a per player competition though. I'm not saying I'd have won but it'd be nice to be judged for my painting for a change. I've won Best Painted there before but that was in a field of barely painted models!

I have to say that playing doubles (and generally tournament play) has got me very excited for Double Trouble which is now under 3 months away. There are still tickets available of course and there aren't any superheavies allowed!! With that in mind, check back later in the week for a rundown of my list for DT and the mammoth hobby task ahead of me in the coming months!

Friday, March 11, 2016

House Tangryx Imperial Knight Painting - Part Six - Finished (sort of)

Well folks I may not have completely finished them but I knew that would be a long shot at best with the time available. Bear in mind that I've only been working on these "after hours" i.e. when my wife and son are in bed. I'm looking forward to some full nights' sleep in the coming week! Anyway, I decided at the end of last week that I'd be happy if I got them to a point where all they needed was highlights and weathering. Obviously they're still pretty big chunks of painting but the time cost versus reward is low in my opinion. Enough rambling. Here's the pair of knights that I'll be taking to a doubles tournament at the Outpost in Sheffield tomorrow:

Since the last post I've painted in the areas around the shoulder pad transfers with Ceramite White to complete them before applying a coat of Lahmian Medium over all of the areas which received a transfer. This is to help dull down the shininess of the transfers and hopefully make them look a bit more painted on. When (and if) I get around to highlighting and weathering these fellas, I'll give the whole model a coat of matt varnish through the airbrush but for now I just wanted to sort the transfers out.

There were a couple of other little details to attend to as well such as the lenses on all of the stubbers. These got the same treatment as the eyes from Caliban Green up to White Scar. They aren't perfect but I can always come back to them at some point or at least give them some 'Ard Coat.

I also put the banners in place. Sadly I only remembered to do this half way through the basing which meant I'd unfortunately shoved some scenery in the middle of the bases that would interfere so I had to do some adjustments! Rookie error eh?

Hopefully the Baron's banner looks suitably different from the Princeps. I took the 1 = 3 to mean 1 of 3 since there's still the half finished original knight to attend to at some point. The bases themselves feature a few bits from the Manufactorum kit plus some rubble. You can't quite make it out but there's also a body of an Eldar windrider on there too! He's roughly painted as Biel Tan as my allies for this doubles will be Matt's Eldar. Question is, has the knight killed the guardian or is he striding over his corpse to avenge his death?

Anyway, the bases got a generous coat of The Fang followed by a heavy drybrush of Fenrisian Grey and a lighter drybrush of Ceramite White. It's the same recipe I use for my winter scenery and hopefully that means they look good with the rest of the pieces I've done so far. Personally I like the contrast of the orange and snow but I certainly need to frost up the legs and banner a bit to make them blend in a bit.

You know what, I'm thrilled with how these guys have turned out. I'm in disbelief that I managed to motivate my self enough to keep painting as regularly as I did. I'm also happy that I went with the orange. It's certainly different to anything else in my collection but I will say that I wouldn't have even attempted it without an airbrush and I certainly wouldn't have been finished on time.

However, these guys are actually far from finished. I need to highlight the metal, black and orange and then apply some weathering both in the form of battle damage and the aforementioned frost. I really worry about weathering after putting so much time into the original paintwork! I've also got the full pile of other weapons to get up to the same standard so I can swap them out for whatever list I want. Not to mention the third Tangryx knight. Oh and I need to come up with that backstory I promised. I'm thinking something a long of the lines of a breakaway trio of knights from Raven going against the vow sworn to Metalica and throwing their lot in with Ryza. Needs work.

Right I'll leave you with a pile of pictures of these guys. Apologies for the poor quality photos but again time was at a premium and I lack a decent lighting set up. They're also pretty hard to get well lit as they're top heavy with the big panels blocking light to the chest and legs. I will of course post a tournament report so you can find out how we got on. Been a very long time since I went to an event that I wasn't running! According to my blog posts it was January 2015!! Wish us luck!

Tango tango tango tango.......


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