Tag Archive | Empire

Experimental Diorama – The Start

It has been quite a few months since I posted anything on here. Mostly because I haven’t achieved very much hobby related, apart from continuing to put together The Campaigner. But my backlog of other stuff is starting to clear up, and miniature related activities begin to appear near the top of the to-do list. Such as this little project, which I finally started today.

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I have had this offcut block from The Campaigner Creative Challenge for some time. So I decided to try out a couple of new (in the very least, new for me) modelling ideas as part of a diorama. Above is said diorama, in a state just before undercoating. I will take you through some of the main elements.

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The first main element, and my first experiment, is this dead tree. As I mentioned earlier, I had a backlog of things on my to-do list. Once of these I did a few weeks ago, which was giving the backyard trees and bushes a much-needed pruning. I know, the excitement of home ownership!

While engaged in this drudgery I kept a handful of interesting branches and twigs I found as I pruned, such as this one. Over the last few weeks this has been left to dry out. I then cut a wedge out of the bottom and glued it to the pine block with PVA glue. To make sure it was sturdy I also inserted a pin.

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On top of the tree is what appears to fast becoming my trademark flourish, a tiny rat watching on. Look at that totally inept greenstuff job on his front left leg and paw! Appalling.

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The second main element, and the second experiment, is the ground. Take a moment to look at that very light pink/orange/brown, bumpy thing that is on the top of the pine block. What do you think that is?

Another thing I had as part of my backlogged to-do list was finish off a number of canvas paintings I had started. One of them called for a flesh colour, which I mixed up. Some of the paint I used was a little old, and had these odd clumps in it. This was fine, as it all basically sunk to the bottom and I could dip my brush in the top layer and use that to paint with. After using this flesh colour I left it, and it dried onto my palette.

When it came time to clean the palettes (as I occasionally do) I found that the flesh colour had dried as this thin, bumpy film. Using a flat tip blade I was able to lift the whole dried paint patch as a single piece off of the palette. It was roughly circular, but I trimmed it down and glued it to the top of the pine block. Instant bumpy terrain, all with dried acrylic paint!

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I decided to finish the scenery off with a couple of small rocks that I had cleaned, as well as a ram skull from my bits box. I also filled any gaps between the tree and the pine block with wood filler.

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The third main element, and a different approach for me in that these two models have been used completely unchanged. They are straight ‘out of the box’, no conversion work at all.

My initial choice was the Beastman model. I won him at a tournament a few years ago, and have been looking for something special to do with him. Looking through what models I had opened and available, I chose the Greatsword to accompany the Beastman. The Greatsword has some nice movement to it, which balances the static pose of the Beastman quite well. It also helps to create a nice composition in the diorama, with the Beastman and tree together in one corner, and the lunging Greatsword in the other.

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I have kept the models and the base separate during painting, to make things a little easier. Since I was trying some new modelling techniques I decided to give a new painting technique a go. So I have basecoated the diorama in white, as opposed to my usual black.

Hopefully I can get some paint onto this tomorrow.

Soldiers, scenery and snipers

A day off work today, which is nice. I managed to slog my way through a couple of things that needed sorting out before I could continue with my regular projects.

As well as having a game against Brad the other day, I also picked up this from him. A selection of Empire and Dwarf models that he was getting rid of. Here we have quite a few Swordsmen, Helblaster Cannon, parts for the Grand Theogonist (of whatever he is called), some Huntsmen, some Hand Gunners, Greatswords, Knights, Miners, Gryocopter, a selection of characters, and a random clutch of Warhammer Quest bats. Oh, and a box of Pistoleers.

Not a bad little collection. Now all I have to do is figure out what I am doing with them.

The new Warhammer rules kind of dictate certain scenery being in your collection. Scenery that I do not currently possess.

This old Battle Masters tower that came in the box of odds and ends Brad gave me a couple of weeks ago is the first piece of new scenery on the list. Just gluing it together and sticking it to a base would be easy enough. But by now you should know I’m not into easy.

I actually want to add to it to make it fit in with my Skaven. At the moment I have a rough idea of what to do.

That being, using these bulkheads to build onto the tower somehow. The problem is, I don’t know exactly how. I’m tossing some options around, but any other thoughts are welcome.

Finally, I spent some more time on the Jezzails. They are inching their way to completion, with some flesh and wood highlights being the only major things left to do.

A comedy of errors

I had actual work to do today, so the Jezzail conversion will have to wait. So that means today you get a news and stuff day.

Here is an interesting article I came across dealing with Games Workshops new line of plastics. Being a professional print designer I was actually hoping the piece was about new GW packages, where as it is actually about the contents of new plastic kits. Sounds ludicrous, being interested in someones cardboard box, but it’s like any job. You do it for a while, and soon it’s all you can see. Architects look at how buildings are built and what they are made of, police officers always check people out, cooks always thinks about ingredients.

Anyway. Basically the article tells us in the hobby nothing really new. It will be interesting to see how intensely focused this box integration is. For instance, will new plastic Skaven build Clanrats, Stormvermin and Plague Monks? Or is it more along the lines of Plague Monks and Censer Bearers from the same box? I’m just curious how this will work for Warhammer, as it is 40k that offers a vast array of options for each troop type.

I have also been trapsing around the internet gawking at other people armies again. Today I thought I would highlight another type of themed army, the ‘comedy army’. My two examples are thus. Aaron Chapman’s Holy Grail army and this odd Orc warband for Mordheim on a site I cannot read the language of.

These are both what I call ‘comedy armies’, armies themed around a subject that could be considered comical. These are odd beasts. On the one hand they often show a lot of passion and dedication from the creator in achieving their vision. On the other, the bulk of the time they aren’t really that funny and they detract overall from the Warhammer game.

Don’t get me wrong. If I went to a tournament and the Holy Grail army was plonked down in front of me, I would fight against it no problems. It’s just that, and to regular readers it will sounds like I’m flogging a dead horse, they aren’t that original or creative. The creator of a comedy army is essentially transplanting an existing unrelated idea into a tabletop army. I will even take the extra leap and say that they never even attempt to make it fit into the Warhammer background somehow. I agree, why would you want Hello Kitty written into your Warhammer time line, but that is part of my problem.

I like seeing armies that people have created from the background. They have read through the army book and thought about what characteristics they like in the army and built something to reflect that. Even those who build armies purely for power normally at least have an underlying thread that is pulled from their armies history or character that they apply to the models. Thus the army still retains a strong cohesive character.

It it noble to spend your time building an army that you think will amuse people, but most comedy armies just exist as parody. I have seen armies that have made me laugh, but by subtle distortion of Warhammer background through conversions, painting and general hard work.

Wind of Magic Tournament: player report

Back from the tournament. And man, what a weekend. A weekend that I need another weekend to just recover.

So the main details.

I came 4th overall, just getting pipped at the post by Bega and his Lizardmen for 3rd place. Still, it is a ‘top tier’ ranking, and I did have a lot of fun. Which is the main thing.

The tournament was using a modified magic system, where you could add power dice to a spell after casting it. It was an interesting idea, but I only ended up attempting to use it once the entire tournament. And it didn’t work. The spell was still dispelled. But I do like the idea of including small rules changes to make a tournament more interesting, rather than just playing a bunch of the same old games over and over again. All props go to Ash for running it!

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My first game was against Meg and her Vampire Counts. I am pretty sure this was her first tournament. She did pretty well, placing 5th, so definitely is one to watch out for.

The army consisted of 1 Vampire, 2 Necromancers, 2 packs of  five Dire Wolves, 2 units of three Spirit Hosts, 2 units of fourty Zombies, 2 units of five Blood Knights, 3 Fell Bats and 20 Skeletons. The Vampire was getting about in one of the units of Blood Knights.

Of all the army, the Spirit Host was the thing that worried me the most, as they could only be hit by magic weapons. Only one of my characters carried a magic weapon, and my Grail Knights count as having magical weapons, so I was a little worried about how to deal with them. Combat resolution may have destroyed the Spirit Host in a couple of turns against a mundane foe, but only if the Spirit Host didn’t luck out and kill enough enemies to either make the combat resolution loss negligible or win the round outright, causing the unit to flee.

However, it turned out I didn’t need to worry. The Spirit Hosts were placed quite far apart, and in relatively open areas, so they were easy for my faster knight units to get around.

My battle plan ran very smoothly. A unit of 10 Peasant Archers on the left flank kept the unit of 20 Skeletons busy the entire game, meaning the Vampire Counts were down one important unit. The bulk of my army hung back to beginning with, to see where the Vampire Counts were headed. Since the Vampire Counts are a slower army who depend on outlasting enemies in combat, they had to move towards me from the first turn. My higher movement meant I could hang back a little and wait and see what eventuated.

The main problem Meg had was that she gave me a clear and accelerated run straight at her Vampire count. In her first turn she raised a unit of 5 Zombies to screen her first unit of Blood Knights. They were raised, though, in the charge range of the Knight Errant, who made very short work of the feeble undead. If she had of raised the Zombies in the same spot, but placed them at an angle to the Blood Knights rather than parallel, the Knight Errant would have over run away from the Blood Knights and towards the Spirit Host. As it was, the Knight Errant over ran into the Blood Knights, gaining the first round of combat in the Vampire Counts second turn and wiping them out. After this, they over ran into the second Blood Knight unit, the one with the Vampire, and destroyed that unit as well. After this, the undead horde fell apart in a matter of turns.

This is the only thing I could fault Meg on. Her use of her Spirit Host could have been better, and she could have protected her Necromancers with a unit of wolves or something (as Pegasus Knight hunted both casters down), but overall she has a good understanding of her army and what it can do. I think she just needs some more practise in predicting the implications of the placement and effectiveness of units. But that can be learnt in time.

My second battle was against Bega and his Lizardmen, who whipped me so bad that even photos of the battle came out smeared with blood. Actually, I forgot to take any pictures, but I’ll see if I can track one down.

His army was pretty solid, Old Blood on Carnosaur, Skink Priest on Engine of the Gods, 9 Saurus’ on Cold Ones, 2 lots of fifteen or so Skinks, 3 Salamanders, around 20 Sauras Warriors, 3 Jungle Swarms and 3 Terradons. I haven’t even read the new Lizardman book, let alone played against it, so I was slightly worried.

Overall, my army performed pretty much as I had hoped it would. I was Massacred, but it performed as I expected!

The core troops of the army I pretty much tore through. Knights Errant chewed up the Cold One cavalry, Skinks and Saurus warriors were no match for charges that yielded heavy loses and lost combats. Where I fell apart was against the Carnosaur and the Engine of the Gods. In a matter of two turns the Engine had reduced my Questing Knights to a fine dust, though they did manage to wound the Skink Priest. Meanwhile the Carnosaur made three or four units run in Terror. While I had managed to destroy the bulk of Bega’s blocked infantry, the Engine and the Carnosaur were just too great of opponents and managed to squish all my expensive troops. My only real consolation was that the Salamanders ate all their handlers bar one.

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Third battle was against Corey and his greenskins.I found this army slightly odd, as it only contained 6 units. My army had that many on one side of the battlefield! He was running Grimgor, 1 Goblin Shaman, 2 Orc Hero’s, 20 Black Orcs, 20 Big Uns, 20 Boyz and 10 Boar Boyz.

I feel slightly bad for Corey, I steamrolled him pretty harshly. As you can see, I weighted my left flank pretty badly when I realised he had only 6 units, and Goblins were the only thing on his right flank. The first turn my left flank swung around, while the centre and right held fast. I think he used Waaaagh! prematurely, as the extra movement forward didn’t bring him into charge range of anything.

All it did was bring the Goblins in close enough for the Yeomen to gallop out in front of them and release their Fanatics onto a completely throw away unit. The Fanatics kept the main section of the Orc and Goblin battle line from moving forward, which gave my left flank time to come around and charge the Goblins with three Lance formations of varying knights at one time.

The Goblins pretty much disintegrated, bringing all three lances into contact with the unit of Black Orcs. Grimgor was in this unit, but I hadn’t realised that Grimgor was actually in the army! I issued a challenge with my Lord, only to have Grimgor answer. He always strikes first, and it a pretty heavy hitter, but only managed to bring my Lord down to 1 wound. In return my Lord took 1 wound from Grimgor. The knights mad a mess of the Black Orcs, but they didn’t flee. The next round of combat saw Grimgor finish off my Lord, but the knights continued to cut swathes through the Black Orcs, causing them to flee and be destroyed.

In the meantime the Boar Boyz had charged the Battle Pilgrims, who beat the mounted orcs in combat and subsequently they fled off of the board. The Battle Pilgrims continued to stand fast, 300 Spartans style, in their little rocky canyon.

I think Corey had a solid list, he just didn’t react to the changing events of the game very quickly. He could see the left flank of three lances coming around, but not one of his units was employed to stop them. Letting me get off the flank charges pretty much guaranteed my success in combat. Personally I would not have placed the Goblins on the end of the right flank by themselves. It might have been beneficial to deploy the Boyz with them. As it was, the Battle Pilgrims tied up the Boar Boyz and the Boyz simply by standing in some terrain and looking imposing. The Boar Boyz could easily have been used elsewhere, like against the Mounted Yeomen or the Grail Knights.

Again, with some practise of predictive tactics Corey could come to be quite good a general.

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My fourth battle was against Stanley and his Dwarfs. Dwarfs! Raargh! I’ve always had trouble against Dwarfs with my Bretonnians. Their freakishly high leadership means they just hardly ever run away.

While being hard as a goddamn rock, Stanley’s army was interesting in that it contained no ranked shooting units. His army consisted of a Dwarf Lord, Battle Standard Bearer, 2 Slayers of some description, 1 unit of (I want to say) Ironbreakers(?), 2 units of Longbeards, 2 units of Warriors, a unit of Giant Slayers, 2 Flame Cannons and a Cannon.

My overall plan was to avoid his this unit of Ironbreakers with the Lord and BSB in it, as well as his Giant Slayers containing the two Slayer characters. Some dastardly (and illegal) unit reforming on Stanley’s part meant that I ended up smacking right into the Slayers with my generals unit. This, coupled with a disastrous combat from my Questing Knights, the early annihilation of my Pegasus Knights and my Knights Errant’s inability to either kill three cannon crewmen or make them run meant that any plan I devised fell flat. Small mercies like askew dice and pedantic clipping behaviour were little help in my totally annihilation.

So it has to be said, Stanley had a killer list. I can’t fault him for that. I have a sneaky suspicion he wasn’t playing the army quite to the letter of the rules, but I don’t know the dwarfs well enough to call him on it. Not that I should have too. But there was some stuff that I realised later I should have called, like the unit reform, but this is just stuff you take in and learn from.

Stanley would be a really, really good general if he dialed it down three notches. I hadn’t even managed to get a unit deployed onto the board before he started throwing the trash talk. Actually, now I think about it, he was trash talking me while I was setting up the scenery. The scenery! I don’t mind a bit of rhetoric during play, but dude, I just woke up and carried suitcases all around a fucking hotel. At least let me deploy terrain in a civil manner!

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After my rib cracking beating at the hands of Stanley I was fully shifted into rules lawyering mode. I wasn’t going into this battle, by fifth and last one, half cocked.

I was up against Scott B with an Empire army. Elector Count, Master Engineer in Steamtank, 2 wizards, Helblaster, 3 units of ten knights, 10 Crossbowmen and 10 Hunters.

Not having faced a Steam Tank before I enquired as to it’s general playing rules. After Scott had come back from a smoke, he ran me through the rules, which seemed to make sense enough. It generates steam points that it then uses to move and attack. Ok, simple enough.

I deployed in a slight variation to how I did against Corey, waiting the left and middle while leaving the right in the hand of the Battle Pilgrims and skirmishing Bowmen. The battle basically ran in three ‘zones’. On the left my Knight Errant and Questing Knights faced off against 10 Knights and the Elector Count. They fought it out the whole battle to a standstill between the Empire Knights who were flank charged by the Knight Errant, but refused to break. Combat drew on and on for a couple of turns, but largely all that was traded was angry glares and phone numbers.

The centre faked out the Steam Tank, getting the macine into combat with a unit of 6 Knights of the Realm and thus freeing up the General and BSB with the other 7 Knights of the Realm, and the Grail Knights, to attack the second unit of Empire Knights. A couple of turns of wheeling and feinting around a hill resulted in the Empire Knights charging the Knights of the Realm, but subsequently being charged in the flank by the Grail Knights. This flank charge cleaned up 6 Empire Knights, and pushed the unit into fleeing and destruction.

In the meantime the skirmishing Bowmen lured the third unit of Empire Knights into charging them, thereby exposing their flank to the Battle Pilgrims. I made sure Scott was desperate to get his knights into combat by holding them up with Beast Cowers for a coupe of turns. Their flank charge left them ready for a subsequent charge from my Generals unit, which was coming in from destroying the second Empire Knights unit.

His wizards largely did nothing, spending most of their time either out of line of sight, or running for their lives from Pegasus Knights.

Scott is not a bad player. He needs to read his rules a little bit thoroughly, as the Steam Tank wasn’t exactly operating to the letter of the law, but he has a good grasp on what is happening in general game terms. The major problem I faced, though, was the ponderous way in which he played the game. I did contribute to the length of the game by insisting we adhere to the correct rules, but while everyone had finished their battles we were still on turn three! I ended up speeding this along by basically agreeing to Scotts false applications of a vast slew of rules. By this stage I knew I had him, so I was just trying to get the game to come to some kind of a conclusion.

Much like Corey, Scott fell into the trap of exposing his flanks to charges from my knights. He was either under estimating the staying power of my knights when charged, or over estimating his knights. Either way, his units were held in combats they couldn’t win long enough for my units to lend assistance. At one point he had my Knights Errant on the ropes, after destroying the remainder of my Questing Knights in the same combat. But he subsequently charged his Huntsmen into the combat. It seems like a good idea, lending more troops to a battle, but the Huntsmen were absolutely no match for a knight. Rather than helping him win the combat, their inability to kill any of my troops only hindered him as my knights killed half a dozen of them, thus bolstering my combat resolution and giving me the combat. This meant that his unit couldn’t reform, and he was left with only two knight able to battle my three. His 4 attacks against my 7. Again, a little more practise, and learning to predict how combats will eventuate, will help him become a better player.

So overall it was a good tournament. I got to fight the new Lizarmen, as well as face quite a few armies I haven’t in quite a while. I learnt that I am going to have to look into some harder hitters in my army, especially for against things like Steam Tanks, Stegadons and Carnosaurs. The Steam Tank I understand that I have to just get it down a few wounds to make the likely hood of Steam Points generation causing damage, but I just have to figure out how to get through it’s Toughness of 6. I guess getting a charge off on it would help, but what about subsequent combats?

And Dwarfs… the Lady flood the Holds they came from!