Lords of War II recap

Once again, we say farewell to both happy and tired participants with a warm smile and a firm handshake. Looking out across our eight themed battlefields I notice that a handful of trees have been knocked over, a spare dice is left without anyone claiming it’s ownership, and one of the plastic objective markers have snapped off from it’s clear green acrylic stand. The price of war is high. But the rewards? Epic moments and memories that will hopefully take long for our participants to forget and thus well worth the cost. Months of hard work has finally paid off and even if this event exceeded our expectations – war never seems to change! In this article I’m going to share some thoughts on the Lords of War II-event that took place on the release day of Warhammer 40.000 8th edition.

First of all I’d like to reach out to our sponsors Deep Cut Studio and Playoteket. Without your dedication and support this event would not even come close to being as successful as it was. Meeting and exchanging ideas with you have been a true joy and I think I speak for every participant when I say that your contribution to our gaming tables and/or player Goodie bags were beyond awesome! We look forward to working with you again in the future in order to create the most memorable gaming events in Southern Sweden!

So, where do one start when there is so much to say? One of the best things from an organizer’s perspective was the fact that some new faces had dared to come out to play this time around. It is always nice to get to know new players, and to see how new armies perform and impact the local meta. Speaking of the armies, the level of painting standards was impressive to say the least! As you have noticed we have a “painted only” criteria at our events, and the amount of time and work that people put into preparing their armies is truly inspiring. You are the true heroes of this hobby! Below you can see the final scoreboard together with some pictures from the event. Exciting times are ahead of us with a brand new edition to learn, and to find a new suitable tournament format. If you are a forum dweller and a player who would like to attend our future events, don’t hesitate to sign up once your spider senses starts flashing about Lords of War III!

 

Orphans of Mortarion – pt.1

Hey and welcome back reader!
I’m currently surfing on the waves of wellbeing after hosting the second Lords of War tournament with the Scattered Dice crew. The event also happened to take place on the same day as the release of the eight edition of 40k, which meant that we had a very good opportunity to kick out 7th with a bang! I’ll write up a recap of the event once I get the photos sorted, but in the meantime I wan’t to introduce you to this summer’s 40k project – the Deathguard!
I managed to come across half a box of the Dark Imperium starter set, which contains enough models to keep me busy while I figure out a suitable army list, and I hope that you’ll follow this journey into plague and disease together with me over the upcoming weeks.

You have probably watched several unboxing videos and product reviews on youtube and other dark corners of the web already so this article won’t bother doing any of that. Instead, I’ll take you through the assembly process of the Heretic Astartes and share some of my thoughts on the different models and parts of the kit. First of all, you get a complete shit ton of models if you split the starter with a friend. The Deathguard alone equals some twenty Poxwalkers (read zombies), seven (notice that sacred number!?) Plaguearines, and three different characters. In this first article I’ll assemble the regular Deathguard Marines.

The details are as crisp as we have gotten used to with the newer GW lines.
There are some comic-esque elements of the new Deathguard aesthetics that I’m not 100% sure I enjoy, however most spikes and tentacles can easily be removed with a sharp knife.

One of the things I appreciate the most with the new Deathguard line is the fact that several models are sculpted wearing MkIII Power armor, which in itself gives a very heavy feeling to the miniatures. It is also a cheeky flirt with the Horus Heresy line and lore of the fourteenth legion. The MkIII’s really gives the impression of a primitive and somewhat antique Power armor, wich suits the overall feeling of Nurgle’s corruption and decay.

the seven Deathguard marines assembled… I see what you did there GW.

Now to be honest some of the over-emphasized spikes and bells on these models are a bit too much for me to digest, so in order to mute the comics feeling I had to clip and shave off some of the details. My main problem is the all out horn bonanza that the design team went for – with large spikes bursting out of every part of these miniatures. The Plaguecaster even have bone horns poking out from his feet and knees!..
I think the slim look of helmets with shaved off horns gives a better ‘average Joe’ feeling and, since I don’t want every model to be a centerpiece in my army, I think it’s better if the regular troops don’t attract too much attention.

One of my favourite models is the guy throwing a Blight grenade!
Two of the marines that had their helmet horns shaved off!
The Plague Champion. I think the Plague fly is a nice detail to his backpack but still haven’t decided wether to clip off the horn bursting out of his hood or not.
These models are sculpted in a way that truly mediates the weight of a Plaguemarine.

Next up I’ll assemble the characters and Poxwalkers, as well as get on with priming and showing off some test models for my Deathguard color scheme.
Cheers!

F.

Imperial Knight(s) showcase pt.2

I finally finished the remaining batch of Imperial Knights for a guy at the local club. He wanted these two titans painted up in the heraldry of the Ultramarines chapter, as they would be used alongside his army of Ultras in either 40k or 30k. Im really happy with his decision on going all out on the magnets for the project, since it allows for some cool posing and changing weapon loadouts between the (now three!) Knights. The armor plates were painted in a three color gradient: from imperial dark blue to a light ultramarine tone. Decals and other markins where then applied before adding weathering, chipping, and streaking effects to the Knights. All of the back weapons were kept subtle (Black w/ grey) in order for the owner to be able to use them on other models as well. After deliviering the Knights I told the client to take a closer look at them at home and get back in touch with me if he wanted anything changed, polished, or touched up,  as I want to make sure that he is 100% happy with the job – they are centerpieces after all!

 

Here’s a short spin of the models!

Brand Nubian(s)

Trigger warning: This post contains shitty references to 90s hiphop. 

Another wave of recruits for the Moors arrives to shake the funk in our Age of the Wolf campaign. Had a good time painting these fellows. Tried for a mix of clothing here, a couple of veterans “acquired” flaunty Moorish dress but the new recruits from Africa came with plain clothes. My only regret is giving them those long ass spears. It looks cool but they tend to impale scenery on the gaming table and are a bitch to pack. Models are from Gripping Beast and are on the bigger side of 28 mm.

IMG_0988               IMG_0990

IMG_0993

IMG_1000

Until next time, stay beautiful, black and bold.

Imperial Knight Showcase

This week I managed to finish the first out of three Imperial Knights that I’m currently working on as part of a commission bundle for a guy at the local club. This is the first time I’ve ever built and painted a knight and I must say it is a very nice kit despite it’s chunkyness and large surfaces. I magnetized all the weapons, auxiliary back weapons will be painted along with the other two knights, in order to maximize playability and options when the new edition hits. The owner specifically wanted an Imperial Fist themed knight which also gave me an opportunity to practice my yellows. After basecoating the armor plates with GW Averland Sunset I highlighted the yellow parts first using pure white and finally using Sun Yellow from Vallejo. I then blocked off some parts in black and applied decals, and finished it off with some simple streaking and chipping effects to give the knight a battle weathered look. All in all a wonderful kit to work with that resulted in a Tabletop+ standard for a happy owner. Want to share your thoughts on this model? Have any questions regarding the painting process? Please drop me a little comment below!
Cheers.

Moors versus Jomsvikings (SAGA Age of the Wolf)

Our SAGA campaign steams on and here’s a short battle report of Moorish volounteer warriors facing the illustrious Jomsviking brotherhood. This battle took place in the third campaign turn (out of six possible). Since we were both raiding this turn,  Battle at the Ford was rolled as the scenario.

The Jomsvikings were lead by the infamous King Fury who took over the reigns once the previous leader was killed. Driven into the fray by his lust for riches, the Jomsviking leader had many scars from previous battles represented by the Trollhide ability, requiring two wounds to be slain. The force consisted of:

Warlord
5 Hearthguard
4 Hearthguard
5 Warriors
6 Warriors

IMG_0906
The Jomsviking assembled for glorious battle.

My Moorish Warband is led by a tough Sub-Saharan former merchant calling himself al-Battal Ghazi, who sold as all his property and took up the Jihad of the Sword. While lacking serious religious credentials, few can doubt that he doesn’t receive what he asks from Allah. His sense for business and logistics has led to the employment of northerners with various faiths, despite grumblings from his more puritan warriors.

The Moorish warlord has the Son of Odin (heh), Eye of the God, Scout and the Great Special Rules. In game it means he is requires two unsaved hits to die, Levys generate SAGA dice, the post game progression table can be rerolled (very useful this one) and up to 7 SAGA dice can be rolled each turn. He’s a total beast in the game. The Moorish Warband had:

1 Warlord
1 Bard (Christian nobleman)
9 Levy Archers
11 Warriors
7 Warriors
8 Warriors (saxons)

IMG_0907
The Moors together with some Saxons. Because of our house rules, my Warband had a Bard in this game, represented by the Christian nobleman on the armored horse. To get some sweet post-battle effects, it was paramount he survived.
IMG_0909
The Jomsvikings deploy in a tight formation on the left flank. In this way, they would avoid the nasty abilities of the Moorish board. But this allowed my Saxons to advance unopposed over the bridge. I need to secure the left flank quickly though.

Early Turns

IMG_0911
The Jomsviking dreng, eager for battle, are the first unit to cross the bridge. My opponent also played the Northern Tempest the first turn. This time, I really wanted my levies to fire off 5 shots so I gave him the Wrath.
IMG_0910
Saelred the Saxon, preferring to fight for the Charred Men from the south over the ferocious viking pagans, leads his men dutifully across the bridge and secures the other side.  The rest of the Moorish Warband scrambles left to challenge the fearsome northern mercenaries.
IMG_0912
The Moorish volounteer warriors steel themselves before the coming storm. As my opponent usually has the activation blocking Punishment up, I can’t use Song of Drums to activate everything. However, the fact that I roll 7 dice and have a bard allow the Moors to move quickly.
IMG_0913
The Levy close in to fire at the bridge while the rest of the Moorish Warriors move in as a reserve.
IMG_0914
But even with 7 dice is not enough to move the Warband and stack up abilities to fight in combat. I decide to wait for my opponent to make the first assault.
IMG_0916
My opponent doesn’t engage yet but moves up his Warband further up. The Moorish Archers shower the Jomsvikings with arrows but fail to make a dent.
IMG_0918
Since the jomsvikings have some Wrath up, they get access to their powerful rightmost column. However, my Moorish phalanx is prepared with dice on all the combat abilities. My opponent plays Dance of Steel a lot this game,  granting the Jomsvikings extra armor. He then shouts praises to Odin and attacks.
IMG_0920
And it is a disaster for the Jomsviking drenge. The muslims fight with skill and faith, but also by rolling very good attack and defense dice gained by the Fury of Swords ability. A strong melee ability to play on large units of spear men.
IMG_0921
The Jomsviking hearthguard are a lot tougher and force the Moors back. With Dance of Spears played, I reduce our casualties. Being true to their Viking tradition, the Jomsvikings easily remove fatigue gained from combat. Any counter attack will be costly.
IMG_0922
I roll two 6s and decide to play the Betrayal ability first time ever. If I took over the Dreng, I could crash them into his hearthguard nearby. Of course my opponent opts to put 3 fatigues on King Fury, the Jomsviking Warlord. My other dice are spent on defensive abilities and resting.

Late Turns

IMG_0924
My Moorish spear men and the Jomsviking hearthguard fight again. I deny my opponent some activations, giving him more wrath. Hopefully, I would be able to destroy the Jomsviking vanguard before it is reinforced.
IMG_0927
My Moorish Spear men crash into his weakened warrior unit and cuts them down. Al Battal Ghazi unsheathes his sword and charges the fatigued Jomsviking hearthguard on his own. I even bought an extra attack dice. But this time he is an african’t and does little damage.
IMG_0928
The Moors are attacked again by the Jomsviking Hearthguard. My Levies dropped one of them before, but they still slay 5 of my men.
IMG_0929
The fearsome Jomsviking assault leaves my 11 man warrior unit with only 2 fighters left. However, my opponent suffers from some terrible luck here as my 2 fighters survive another round of combat. The Jomsviking Hearthguard are angry enough to sit on +1 armor in their turns, but my dice are rolling a lot of sweet 6s.
IMG_0931
The Moorish archers aim more carefully this time and bring one of the Hearthguard units down. The bard has fallen behind way down to be of any use.
IMG_0932
And a final charge from the righteous believers finishes the last Jomsviking Hearthguard. King Fury shouts insults on the bridge before he turns back. Unfazed, Al Battal Ghazi offers a silent prayer as his victorious forces control both bridges.

Some finishing thoughts

The Moors had a stronger Warband in this game, and together with some above average dice rolling, they were able to reel in a victory. With few losses too. I really shouldn’t have played Betrayal though. A weak ability to play on Jomsvikings who can easily remove 3 fatigues from their Warlord with a common dice and free rest.

My Jomsviking opponent didn’t blame his dice. He found his plan flawed as he expected to move my men out of the way with Jomsborg, but this ability could only be played in my turn. He told me he could have played more cool, there was no need to rush into battle.

Post battle, the Jomsvikings faced another revolt at home, as the inhabitants of Jomsborg expect victories. Al Battal Ghazi gained some additional warriors and levies were bulked up to full strength.

I am surprised to like Age of the Wolf as it has the faults of classical British game design. These are characterized by eccentric rules married with random charts, where rolling double ones can totally ruin your life. But unlike my experience Flames of War and Warhammer 40k, where the campaigns are basically marketing ploys requiring  huge amount of product to play, Age of the Wolf offers interesting games and characterful Warband development. Just don’t expect it to be fair.

I would recommend fans of SAGA to try it out but consider two things before hand. Firstly, roster management is a huge part of the campaign and there needs to be a way to update it easily and keep them accessible to other players. For gaming balance reasons, the roster management is quite complicated so prepare to dumb it down a bit.

Secondly, try to figure out some way players can get more games in regardless of their chosen campaign actions. Now, back to painting.

Imperial Guard/Astra Militarum Chimera conversion

I got a few hours in between all the travelling and work this week, and managed to finish a Stormchimera for the (shamefully dormant) Assault Brigade list that I work on from time to time. Being intoxicated by all the mojo, I did however forget to paint the two Krieg turrets (with autocannons) that I had lined up ready to paint as well – but I guess there’s more airbrushing ahead so getting them done won’t take long. In this article I’ll talk about how I converted a regular Chimera into a Stomchimera using some simple tricks, as well as sharing some thoughts on using pigments as part of the weathering process when painting tanks.

Not all things old are bad
When assembling the tank I decided I wanted a commander leaning out of the top hatch shouting orders to his disembarked fire team. I love the old metal tank commanders that used to come in different flavors depending on what regiment you were playing. They’re full of character and look a whole lot more dynamic than the new ones that come on the plastic sprues. However, I had already used the old crypto-soviet style commander for my Valdor tank hunter and I didn’t want to repeat myself with this vehicle. Digging through my dungeon treasure I came across one of the old dismounted tank crew, and I knew in an instant that he had to be incorporated in this build. The models are at least 15 years old by now but the (trio of) crewmen pretty much followed the same look of the tank commanders of the good old days: military style overalls, thick leather caps, and some sort of personal defense weapon. I used a cutter to get rid of his legs and fitted him into the turret. I angled him slightly forward to use the motion of the running pose, his arm was perfect to create the look of a commander that is leaning on the edge of the hatch while looking around.  A perfect match!

The Stormchimera is a more armored variant of the regular transport used by the Imperial Guard. The Storm is most notably used by the assault brigades of the Death Korps of Krieg, but other regiments are also known to have been issued Storm type Chimeras to fit specific campaigns or tasks. Forgeworld used to sell a conversion kit that included both the autocannon turret, improved track guards, and a modified environment filter, but as they’re no longer in production I had to do some plastic surgery to make my own Storm. First of all I used the track guards from a Leman Russ battle tank. They needed a bit of carving to get the right angles above the front of the much thinner tracks but other then that they went on pretty easy. Next up was the turret that had to be beefed up a bit. I used to pieces of spare track links to give the impression of improvised armor pieces that had been welded to the sides of the turret. On the back I glued some camo or tarp to give the turret a wider (and visually lower) profile. Last but not least the huge search light was placed on the side to enhance the feeling of a specialist vehicle.

Other trademarks of the Stormchimera are the enclosed lasgun arrays at the back of the tank. The glue-on lasguns tend to get flimsy over time, and I wanted to emulate the hazardous environment module from the old Forgeworld kit. So, by simply glueing the lasguns backwards I used the knobs to create cupolas for the gun holes. I think this makes the Chimera look a whole lot more like an actual armored fighting vehicle instead of a metal porcupine on tracks.

Mustard stripes and mud
One of the camo patterns presented in the artwork of the Siege of Vraaks-book shows a Macharius tank painted in dark German grey with mustard colored tiger stripes slung across the chassis. I instantly fell in love with this camo as it’s very striking and also provides some nice variation from painting green and olive drab. Just as with the Valdor, and the Hellhound, I basecoated the vehicle in Vallejo Model Color Yellow Ochre (70.913). After sealing the tank with a light coat of varnish I then ripped out stripes of paper tape in different sizes and applied them to the model. The idea here is to break up the shapes of the actual tank and make the pattern organic as opposed to the more manufactured shape of the armor lines. After covering the entire tank in stripes of tape I then airbrushed Vallejo Panzer Aces Dark Rubber (70.306) across the uncovered parts of the model. I let the final coat dry thoroughly and then removed the tape using an exacto blade – making sure not to rip any paint off.

By stippling around the edges with a sponge I chipped the paintjob with the same grey color and light metallics. I then applied the decals and began painting some streaking grime around rivets and down along the sides of the armor. For the final weathering of the tank I used raw pigments of different earth tones. I tend to first apply a thick (sort of) wash, where I mix the pigments with a bit of water and varnish/medium, around the tracks and the bottom edge of the tank. After the initial wash I then went back over all tracks, on top of the track guards, the dozer blade, and around all the side plates with just the raw pigments. Use an old brush here unless you want to ruin your best Kolinsky’s, and work the pigments into the surface to build up layers of dried mud. I went from the darkest brown to lighter khaki and mixed in some rust tones around some areas. In the final stage i sprinkled pure pigment powder on areas where mud and dust would gather using uing the tip of the brush. Finally, I sealed the pigments by first spraying matte varnish through my airbrush (on low PSI!), and then by applying a final coat using a rattle can. You can see the result below!