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!

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.

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!

Revolting, sharp sticks and clan pride – SAGA Scots on the rise

A new saga begins!
After having painted and played a few games with my Norman/Crusader warband for SAGA, I’ve found myself gazing sideways for new ideas and playstyles to take on. The Crusaders are a lot of fun and can switch between both strong offensive and defensive (well, mostly offensive) abilities to tackle different situations. However, seeing how my mates push around their Anglo-Danes and Byzantines I’m really longing for an army heavily based around infantry, with abilities that require a sense for synergy and tactics to survive the grind of battle. Out of a handful of choices the Scots really stood out as a challenging yet rock hard force to master. Let me introduce you to my new force of choice: the revolting clan Meic Uilleim! In this article I will introduce you to my thoughts on starting a Scots warband for SAGA, and give a brief historical account on the setting in which my warband will carve out their adventures.

Between scots and scots
Before we kick off there are a couple of things that needs to be addressed. Lots of medieval Scots miniatures seems to be either early Pictish warriors stemming from the ancient kingdoms of Dál Riata or Pictland (now modern day Scotland), or warriors representative of the time of the first kings of Alba. Two of these, Cináed mac Ailpín (Kenneth MacAlpin) and Mac Bethad mac Findlaích (Macbeth MacFinley), are playable as Heroes of the Viking Age within the SAGA ruleset. Although I have no personal issues with either of these historical periods, my main interest has always been the high and late middle ages. I will therefore tweak the narrative a bit as an excuse for me to buy other miniatures of my taste. 

mathew-paris-map-of-scotland
An early map of Scotland, Matthew Paris, c. 1250.

Claymore Castings is currently making a wonderful range of 14th century (English, French,) Scots, as well as Islemen. I know what you’re saying: 14th century is waaay to late for SAGA, but stay with me on this it will be good! Advances in armor smithing, the development of new weapons such as blackpowder, together with the social impacts of the black plague changed the arts of war during the thirteen hundreds in ways that doesn’t translate to the battlefields of the SAGA setting very well. However medieval Scotland, much like the kingdom of Sweden, was not a very rich nation thanks to it’s demographic situation and geographical location. Being a somewhat old-fangled kingdom geographically remote from the rest of the European continent, many historians claim that medieval Sweden was lagging behind about 100 years in terms of both arms and armor culture. The most tragical evidence of this is perhaps the remains of some 25 coat-of-plates, about 100 maille coifs, and various parts of gauntles found in the mass graves outside Visby, where an army of peasants and lesser nobles were slaughtered by an army of veteran mercenaries in 1361 – who either didn’t care or saw any value in looting the bodies before burrying them. I’m no expert on Scottish history, but after digging into the litterature on medieval Scottish society I think it is at least somewhat plausible to make the same claim for parts of medieval Scotland. In conclusion, if I stick to the Claymore Castings miniatures that doesn’t scream late 14th century with full plate leg armor or visored bacinets, some models should fit the warriors of the early twelve hundreds, namely around the time of the Scottish kings William I “the Lion” and Alexander II. Plus, Claymore Castings’ Ribaulds (effectively meaning ‘scoundrels’ or highwaymen) will make awesome Scottish Warriors and Levy with their bare feet, hoods, and spears! Together with some minor headswaps and clever shield conversions this project is manageable…

Political context: cultural “Normanization” and the native discontent
Throughout the reign of king David I (1124-1153) the region of Scotia underwent several reforms that would reshape Scottish society and and bring it more in line with it’s neighbouring medieval states. This period is called the ‘Davidian revolution‘ which, aside from religous reforms, the founding of towns and castles, in practice meant a redistribution of land in favour of Anglo-Norman knights that had settled in the north after the Norman conquest. Feudalism and the notion that the king not only acted as lord and lawmaker, but also had divine claims to the ownership of the whole land through his Frankish kinship and a noble upbringing (in more regio – in royal manner), wasn’t always greeted with open arms by the native nobility. Revolts and armed conflicts within the nobility were recurrent as some of the native clans were very unhappy (to say the least) with the loss of (and redistribution of) land ownership, resulting in a series of uprisings that plagued the north. Since it it possible to field the Islamic caliph of Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn  (Saladdin) from the mid eleven hundreds in the Crescent & the Cross-Rulebook, I find it more that fitting to also field characters from the Scottish nobility around the year 1200 without contributing to too much of a push of anachronistic encounters. Enter the Meic Uilleim or MacWilliams. 

800px-david_seal_rev
The seal of king David I as a warrior knight in Norman fashioned armor.

The MacWilliams first revolted in 1181 during the rule of William I “the Lion” as a certain Domnall Meic Uilleim claimed his right to the ancient northern region of Mormaerdom (or Kingdom of Moray). It took the Scottish king some 21 years and a series of costly campaigns to fully quell the MacWilliam rebellions as both the son Adam, and the grandson Goffraid Meic Uilleim continued their family quest. Furthermore, as William I’s son Alexander II inherrited the throne in 1214 the MacWilliam bloodline once again gathered strength to take up arms and start what is known as “the great northern rising” in Scottish history. We get a first hand glimpse of these events through the Chronicle of Melrose (c. 1270) whose authors describe how Domnall Bán MacUilleim (Donald MacWilliam) together with his allies Kenneth MacHeth and “a certain king of Ireland” as well as a “band of malignants” had invaded the region of Moray. The chronicle is however short on the matter, and who this mysterious Irish king was is a mystery still not known to historians. Nevertheless it seems that the MacWilliams had a network of powerful men that either supported their claim to the righteous ownership of the Moray region, or at least had personal interests in the rebellion. The invasion was quickly disrupted as the revolteurs were defeated in battle and executed for treason. It is said that the heads of the MacWilliam clansmen were sent to king Alexander II as a token of the rebellion’s defeat. The last heir of the MacWilliam bloodline, an infant daughter, was also executed in public at the Burgh of Forfar in 1229 or 1230.

In the next article, I will do a product review of the Claymore Castings miniatures that I intend to use for my Scots warband as well as talk about the equipment that would (or would not) have been used by the rebels around the end of the 12th century.

If you have any comments or questions regarding this article please don’t hesitate to leave a little comment below! Cheers!
F.

The following litterature have been used as references to this article:

Barrow, G.W.S, Scotland and its Neighbours in the Middle Ages, The Hambledon Press, 1992.

Broun, Dauvit, Scottish Independence and the Idea of Britain, EU Press, 2007.

Oram, Richard, Alexander II: King of Scots 1214-1249, Birlinn Limited, 2012.

War never changes – Lords of War 40k recap

What a weekend people! I’ve just recovered from an overwhelming feeling of wellbeing after the Lords of War 40k-tournament, and thought I’d share some of the experiences with you. We worked so hard for this event: with everything from planning, building and painting terrain, to prepping player goodie bags, and the actual execution or work ‘on the ground’. Thanks to my fellow organizers and the participants I think it’s safe to say that the event went beyond our expectations. Out of the twenty-ish applications that we received, twelve players took to the battlefields (featuring a Catachan Deathworld, a Prometheum refinery, and a Suburban wasteland to name a few) with their beautifully painted armies to fight for four different Lords of War trophies. Below is the final scoreboard from the tournament.

scoreboard

In addition to the 1st and 2nd place trophies, we also had a player vote and prize for ‘Best Army in Show’ and tournament ‘Sportsman’. Both of these were claimed by Bartosz from Southern Painting who showed up with his Tau army after visiting the hospital on the eve of battle. Keep your eyes open for future events as we will more than likely host another Lords of War 40k-tournament, with additional spots, come summer.

I’ll leave you with some awesome pictures (all photos by Johannes B.Wolf unless otherwise stated) and a short film from the event.