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Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Dragon’s Blight begins to spread

With Trickster’s Blade behind me, this is usually a time of relaxation and reflection as I wind down after a stressful couple of weeks of desperately painting to a deadline.  During this wind-down period my hobby progress is usually restricted to small detail-orientated tasks that I didn’t have time to complete prior to the event such as bases, shields or perhaps multi-level highlighting on weapons or other surfaces.  This time has been no different, with the finishing touches of my first unit of Chaos Warriors being steadily applied to the last of the models and their movement tray.  This is an exciting time for me as I have never actually full completed a unit for any of my Chaos armies (which is a little sad now that I write it here).    I’m determined to ensure that this is just the first of many that will be completed by me as this army develops, particularly since I’ve been crazily building movement trays for all my current (and future) units since I received my second modular movement tray kit.  Unfortunately, there are not nearly enough angled components included in the pit and I find myself with a considerable surplus of edging and tray that I cannot rightly use for making movement trays.  Other prospective uses will need to be looked into in the future methinks.  For the moment, I shall continue learning how to prepare and base movement trays so that they match the imagery of my army which has turned out to be more difficult than I originally thought it would be (who’d have thunk it?). 

However, all of this effort will have been for nothing if I don’t get any models painted.  To that end, I’ve continued working on my Chosen in a bid to finish their shields in preparation for final assembly.  The best thing about the Chaos Knight boxed set is the fact that everything is so intricately detailed (and their shields are no exception).  Combined with the many different weapon and torso options, it is very unlikely that any of my Chosen models will ever look the same (a very exciting prospect).  Below are a couple progress shots of the unit, showing several of the painted shields that will be found in my unit of Chosen. 

Meanwhile, I’ve also made a time for a short trip to the Iron Kingdoms to do some work on my Legion of Everblight.  Over the past couple of months I haven’t had the time or the desire to give these models much more than a passing glance, however after playing a couple of games over the weekend my interest has been piqued once more.  I’ve spent a good deal of time assembling several Harriers and my Archer Unit Attachment in preparation for an upcoming 25 point game.  Up till now, I’ve been playing starter box games of around 14 points; however the increase in points means that I’m in need of reinforcements.  I’d like to field a couple more big Warbeasts however hobby cash is stretched a bit thin at the moment, so I guess they will just have to wait.  Instead I’ve decided to make do with some additional light warbeasts and an archer unit.  I’ve come to the conclusion that assembling Blighted Nyss Archers is possibly the most time consuming and frustrating task I’ve ever had to do in this hobby.  Not even assembling metal Daemonettes were as painful as these.  Thankfully I’ve finally decided on a paint scheme for my Legion and have begun the undercoating process (albeit a bit prematurely as the basing has not been completed).  I’ve started by undercoating my Warcaster, a Solo and all the light warbeasts I own (which is a decent number thanks to the starter box) and will be invigorating a painting scheme used for my old Daemonic Legion army (example of paint scheme found below) I had back in 6th Edition.  I’ll be doing up a test model in the very near future to see if this colour scheme is viable and if so, then I’m confident I’ll be able to bash out the Warbeasts in no time at all.  The infantry will be a little bit more involved with the presence of leathers and metal components, but once I have the colour scheme down, getting them all painted shouldn’t take too long at all. 

With the increased focus towards Hordes / Warmachine, I thought it would be good to include them in my Fortnightly Round-up of my hobby progress.  As can be seen below, I’ve included a tally of the number of Hordes units that have been completed, which will no doubt steadily rise as I dedicate more time towards getting models painted.  As I didn’t get much time to paint this week, the total number of models painted is woefully small.  On the upside however, another unit has been completed in my Fantasy army (Yay!) meaning that I’m another step closer to having a fully painted army.  By totalling the number of painted models in my 6 completed units thus far, I can happily say that my army totals just over 1000 points of painted models (meaning that I’m halfway to my goal of having a fully painted 2000 point Chaos Army), which is just pure awesome.

Number of Warhammer Fantasy Units Completed: 6
Number of Hordes Units Completed: 0
Number of Points painted this fortnight: 1 (1 Chosen Warrior Shield).

Catch you all later,


Friday, July 15, 2011

The more things change...

The more they stay the same.  Isn’t that the old saying?  It’s reassuring really, knowing that even with all these changes going on in the world, your mates will still be your mates, Games Workshop continues to rain shit upon loyal customers and I’m never able to get an army painted before a tournament.  As I write this article, the Tricksters Blade tournament has come to an end and as per usual, my army hadn’t been completely painted.  Unfortunately, due to the reduced amount of interest shown in this year’s event, it had been scaled back to a single day, 3-game Tournament.  This was disappointing, as last year’s effort was so spectacular with around 20 or so players attending, however ultimately it was for the best as the day was enjoyed by all who attended.  Even with these changes, preparation for the tournament continued unabated.  I’d taken a couple of days off work to get some extra painting time and although the army hasn’t yet been completed, it is still showing dramatic levels of improvement which has been the entire goal of this Blog.  It’s never been about getting almost an entire army painted in a stupidly short amount of time, nor has it been about putting enough pressure on myself to cause me to burn out and decide to quit the hobby entirely.  In the last 6 months of doing this blog, I’ve seen more progress on this army than I have in the entire year previously and that’s something to be proud of.

Speaking of things to be proud of, I was treated to an incredibly gratifying surprise last week.  It turns out my Blog was mentioned in Sweetman Mike’s (@FBroundup)  latest “Mid-Week Inspiration” blog article along with the impressive work of Brian Leonard (@LennyExperiment).  To have a hobbyist such as Mike show appreciation for my work is incredibly gratifying and humbling all at the same time.  Mike’s Blog is chock-full of helpful hobby and gaming goodness and I heartily encourage you all to check it out here and his new site here.  Brian's 'Tales from the Lennycave' can be found on the links bar on your right and also here.  I promise you will not be disappointed. 

So then, the question remains, what hobby progress have I been able to achieve in the last two weeks or so?  For the most part, my unit of Chosen have been receiving the lion’s share of my attention, a welcome distraction from painting horses, hounds and bare flesh.  The gold accents I’ve been applying to the armour also allows’ me to use colours that are not normally seen in my army, creating a myriad of different effects.  As they say, change is as good as a holiday and it’s no different when it comes to painting. For the most part, I was able to get the majority of work completed on no less than half the unit.  Shield arms were left off of the miniature to allow access to the entire torso area, allowing me to complete the smaller details that would normally be inaccessible if the shield arms were attached.  This has meant that I was able to indulge my perfectionist nature a little. Spending time on getting all the smaller details just right that are normally overlooked when getting an army painted to the three-colour minimum standard required for many serious tournaments.  I’m very happy with the way these miniatures came out and will be proud to field them on the table when they are fully completed.  The use of Gold as a highlight for the Bronze provides a wonderful contrast of colours making the unit stand out as an elite force in this army.  I’ve also attempted to blend the Daemonic faces present on the weapons into the blades; giving the impression that the weapons themselves are daemonically possessed.  The resulting effect while effective has been a little limited by the colour pallet I’ve been using.  This is something I intend to change with the next batch of miniatures in an attempt to inject more colour into the unit to draw the eye.  

Chaos Chosen Group Shot

Chosen Halberd 1

Chosen Halberd 2

Also as part of the preparation for the Tournament, I finally got around to assembling the Marauder Horsemen needed to ride upon the steeds I’ve been painting recently.  This is something I’ve been putting off for a while now, though why that is, I’m not quite sure.  It’s been sitting close to the top of my hobby ‘to-do’ list for a while now, and now that it is complete, I can move onto base coating and painting the riders as each of the horses are completed.  The paint job I’ve settled on is a modification of the one currently used on my other Marauder unit, consisting of a mix of browns and blacks for leathers, with blue being used as a spot colour.  In time I hope to increase the number of horsemen units I have in my army, but I must first learn how to properly use them before getting too ahead of myself.  That being said, the Marauder Horsemen kit provides a multitude of heads, weapons and other accessories that can be used to customise each of my units.  Something I intend to capitalise on in the near future. 

Marauder Horsemen Assembly 1

Marauder Horsemen Assembly 2

Before I bring this article to a close however, I thought I’d provide a quick run-down of the Trickster’s Blade Tournament held last weekend.  For those of who who have read any of my most recent articles, this was the main driving force behind my hobby progress over the last few months and while my army wasn’t finished in time, it was a great way to add a level of urgency to my painting.  A small one-day tournament, all the players that attended were members of our local gaming community.  Master Goodchild was kind enough to run the tournament on the day, enforcing a strong comp-system to encourage players to take softer options in the attempt to make the games more enjoyable.  For the majority of the 6 players, this was a challenge they took-up with gusto, army choices were as follows:

·         Dan S: Daemons of Chaos
·         Mark B: Wood Elves
·         Mitch T: Lizardmen
·         Geordie H: Ogres
·         Tyson N: Skaven
·         Myself: Warriors of Chaos

My first game was a Grudge Match against young Geordie and his Ogres.  Apart from Dan’s Daemons, this army was the only other one to score below a 3 for composition.  This came to something of a surprise to me as I saw the act of taking Ogre Kingdoms as a whole was a concession.  However, once I saw the large unit of Maneaters replete with BSB and Tyrant and massive unit of Ironguts being accompanied by a Slaughtermaster (these two units accounting for approximately 2000-odd points of his 2400pt army), my opinion quickly changed.  The scenario was Watchtower, though nobody was permitted to start inside the tower, nor did holding the tower ensure an instant win.  Rather, the tower awarded a bonus 500 VP’s to the owning player, which is sufficient enough to swing the end result by 2 Battle points.  My large number of deployments allowed me out manoeuvre his main block units, forcing him to split up his large blocks of infantry while allowing my Ogres and Marauder Horsemen to take out his two flanking units of Leadbelchers.  Meanwhile, I utilised a bottleneck created by a hillock and the Watchtower to funnel his unit of Maneaters with Tyrant and BSB into both of my Warrior units, blasting them apart with Magic whenever possible.  Multiple high-strength Gateways allowed me to effectively chip away at the unit until it was at a point that I felt the Warriors could handle.  Turns out however, that the Ogre’s +1 Toughness and Stubborn spell comes into a league of its own when using large units as the ensuing combat, which started on Turn 2, lasted until the end of Turn 6.  A T7 Tyrant that forces you to Re-roll successful wounds is a horrific foe for even a Chaos Lord to face in a challenge, particularly when I was only managing to take off a single wound each combat phase.  It was only after the Maneaters had been totally destroyed and I’d remembered to dispel the Toughness and Stubborn spell that the Tyrant and BSB finally fell, netting me over 1400 VP’s for the unit (including bonus points for killing BSB and General).  While this slugfest was going on, my Marauder unit was forced to deal with the Irongut unit accompanied by the Slaughtermaster and hiding in the Watchtower.  While a good deal of them died to magic and a bit of combat, ultimately it wasn’t enough to destroy the unit, though during Turn 6, the Slaughtermaster miscast and died, giving me enough VP’s to pull out a 20-0 win. 

Second game was against Dan’s Daemons, a mixed bag of Gods lead by a Great Unclean One.  I’ve always had problems dealing with Deamons, especially when it comes to multiple units of Bloodletters.  The scenario was Battle for the Pass, though the end result resembled more of a slaughter than an actual battle.  The Bloodletters and Great Unclean One smashed through my Ogres, Marauders and both Warrior units while my chaff units were gunned down by Flamers and my Knights run down by Daemonettes.  By the end of the game, my Warshrine was the only thing left standing.  Dan outplayed me like a pro, seeing where my defenses were the weakest and smashing through them like a Semi-Trailer through a Caravan Park.  Despite losing 20-0, the game was definitely enjoyable, with a fruitful post-game discussion focusing on unit placement and multi-charges.

My third and final game was against Mark and his Wood Elves on table 3.  As one of my more regular opponents, I always enjoy playing against Mark because we always seem to have a good-natured garage game.  The final scenario was Battle Line, so both Mark and myself lined up and prepared to grind each other into the dust.  There’s something to be said about having two players with balanced armies facing off against each other on a kitted-out gaming table; something wonderfully cinematic about watching the armoured might of Chaos resolutely marching into a forest filled with sociopathic tree-hugging elves with a fetish for magical tattoos and a love for magical standing wood that can move of its own accord.  With this being the final game of the day and neither of us concerned about placing, it was a narrative-fueled game, with tactical choices on my part being based on what looked cool, and not what was necessarily tactically sound.  Once again, Infernal Gateway was a pretty big advantage, managing to kill the Treeman by inflicting 6 wounds and deleting a unit of archers and the BSB hiding inside.  My other flank was not so lucky however.  After expertly vanguarding into position, the Marauder Horsemen charged into his unit of Wild Riders, thinking they were merely a distraction unit.  Turns out however, they’re angry, angry elves that just get better when charged as opposed to charging.  At I6 with 2 Str4 attacks each, my unit of Horsemen were killed to a man.  Meanwhile my Ogres with Great Weapons were making themselves useful smashing a Great Eagle into the ground before they were accosted by a unit of Treekin and Lord on Great Stag that magically teleported into position from the other side of the table (such a cool manoeuvre).  With the combined might of my Chaos Knights and the Ogres, I was able to kill the Lord off the back of the Stag, however the stag refused to die, no matter how many attacks I threw at it. My Knights and Ogres were eventually destroyed once both the Wild Riders and the Wardancers got involved in the combat, forcing me to once again use Gateway in an attempt to kill the damned beast.  The most unexpected event in the whole game for me however was my Chaos Lord with Book of Secrets successfully casting a Fireball at the Wood Elf Sorceress, resulting in 6 hits of which 5 wounded, causing her to bust into multi-coloured flames melting the flesh from her bones as her screams of agony echoed reverberated throughout the forest.  That however was his only achievement throughout the entire battle as he wiffed with all his attacks when my Warriors with Shields engaged a Dryad unit.  Thankfully combat resolution was in my favour, forcing the Dryads to break and flee off the board.  The game was called at this point in light of time restrictions and the fact that the game had reached a natural end.  All in all it was a tight game, consisting of strong tactical manoeuvres and average dice for both sides.  My 14-6 win against the denizens of the forest was well earned and once combined with my soft scores, elevated me to 2nd place overall which was a most pleasant surprise. 

As is customary, I’ve reserved the end of this article to record the painting progress of my army as it slowly grows into a power-house that will cause the Races of the Old World to quake in fear.  While I’m not counting down to Trickster’s Blade anymore, tracking the amount of points painted still acts as a means of encouragement. helping me keep in mind my desired 75 points worth of painted figs per fortnight.  My progress then, is as follows:

Number of Completed Units in the Army: 5

Number of Points painted this fortnight: 77 (4 Chosen with Halberds including 1 with Shield)