Sunday, August 10, 2014

Back in the Firestorm Armada mood

A very brief update: I finally settled on a working paint scheme for my RSN ships for Firestorm Armada.

The RSN are basically the state security/ waffen SS of the Dindrenzi Federation faction in FSA. Lethal, brutal, technologically advanced and highly effecient, their paint schemes tend towards very clean and ornate lines.

And no matter how many times I tried, I just couldn't make it look any good. So I went with a very Martian looking fleet, with that rusty red/orange base. I'm fairly satisfied with how it turned out, but as always, you never Really know how badly you need to touch up a model until you take and upload closeup pictures of them.

So here's a mini preview of what I've got so far:

Perhaps, fluffwise, I might call them a seccessionist Martian fleet, fighting for the Zenian League to escape the bloated bureaucracy of Terran oppression. Or I might just say fuckit, these ships look nice so who cares. But it's generally fun to have a story for your fleet/army/warband.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

At Long Last, an Update! Necrons and Krauts

Hello, loyal follower...s? I haven't updated in a couple of months, just haven't had much drive until recently. I don't have much word content at the moment, but enjoy some pictures!

The Necrons belong to my wife, some of them from my friend Derek. The ones that are originally Ria's are the ones with Purple stuff on 'em, while Derek's are from a wide time period, during which he experimented with different techniques and paint schemes, etc. etc. So it's a very eclectic look, at the moment.

Hell hath no fury like the vast robot armies of a woman scorned!

Legions (well, like 72) of Warriors! Observe their many different colour patterns etc.

Stalwart Immortals do their thing, etc. I don't know if you can see it, but it's a nice blend of new plastics and old metal models, with the old models upgraded with the new weapon arms. They blend pretty seamlessly.

Flaaaayed ones! 

The pinker, more uniform ones are Derek's, while Ria decided that her Flayed ones preferred a more varied diet. The one on the right is wearing an Ork, while two spaces to the left is a Flayed One that ate a Tau.

ehhh some Lords and a named character or other, with some scratch built Crypteks behind them.

A catacomb and or annihilation barge! I don't know the difference, tbh. Necrons aren't really my thing.

Ahhh yes, and a terrifying... Thing! Treeeemmmmble before it's wraaaath!

I wish I had an airbrush, you can do some really cool stuff with the glow effects.

"Face the enemy, Sergeant!"

"There's just too many of them!"
"They won't die!"
"Game over, man, game over!"

And now finally, my WWII Germans! I love Flames of War, and it's only recently that I found a paint scheme for the tanks that I really liked. Pictured below is my Panzerkompanie: Panzer IVs spearheaded by fearsome Panther tanks, backed up by StuGs and Wespe Self Propelled Artillery, and a mechanized Panzergrenadier company (in halftracks)

StuG Assault Guns, collected from all the various starter sets I've gotten from this and the previous edition. The Germans made a bunch of them on the Panzer III and Panzer IV chassis because it was far easier, mechanically, to build than a 'true' tank (what with the turret and all). I have a soft spot for them, historically, but it's easier to work with turreted AFVs.

My Scout/Recon elements. Infantry scout teams can be taken with most any german list, and these late war guys have been upgraded with Sturmgewehr Assault rifles for some added punch. The 8-wheeled vehicles there are nicknamed Pumas, and I really just got them to spice up an otherwise kind of monotonous Late War armored list.

Besides, they look cool. And their main guns are pretty solid for recce vehicles.

Company HQ. Not my best paint work, but they were among my first 15mm models ever done, wayyy back in... god, what like 2009? Geez...

A grenadier Mortar platoon. Intended for a straight-leg infantry company, but most of that company isn't painted, so they're just chilling here in the group shot. One of my favorite things about FoW is that you really need to use the various elements of your force together to achieve objectives/triumph. You can't just rely on one death star unit or named character to insta-win your way to victory *cough WFB* (and sometimes 40k, too)

MG-42 Machine Gun Platoon. Love these guys, almost any german infantry company can take two and mix them in with their other infantry platoons to really beef up their firepower.

The massed ranks of Panzer IVs, the German workhorse of the latter half of the war. Slightly better than the M4 Sherman and definitely better than the (basic) T-34, the German armored superiority is mostly thanks to special rules and higher levels of training/motivation than their allied counterparts. Until of course, you take into consideration...

The PANTHER TANK! What would have been considered a Heavy tank to the Americans was merely the superior medium tank for the Third Reich. Though they didn't produce nearly as many Panthers as they did Panzer IVs or StuGs, the Panthers were used to equip the very best Wehrmacht and SS armored formations.

Back when we played a lot, we didn't have too much in the way of air power in play. Still, there's no harm in coming prepared, and these quad 8cm guns have a prodigious rate of fire that can make a mockery of light vehicles and infantry formations alike.

"Mit donnernden Motoren, so schnell wie der Blitz,
Dem Feinde entgegen, im Panzer geschützt
Voraus den Kameraden, Im Kampfe ganz allein, (Ja ganz allein)
 So stoßen wir tief in die feindlichen Reih'n!

I had a fully painted Grenadier company at one point that I sold once I got my hands on the new starter set. The new plastic infantry models are MILES ahead of the old pewter ones. I'm no professional painter, but I think they turned out okay. Besides, the 3-foot rule is, as ever, in effect.

A slight footnote, all German infantry were granted the honorific title "Grenadier," which had been used in almost all European armies for centuries to denote Elite formations. Grenadiers were infantry, Panzergrenadiers were mounted in trucks and military cars to keep pace with the Panzers, and in FoW, Gepanzertepanzergrenadiers are Panzergrenadiers mounted in armored Halftracks.

That's all for now, folks. Next time: Imperial Guard, terrain and maybe something else, too!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Imperial Guard through the ages

With the dawning of a new era for the Hammer of the Emperor, I thought I'd take a look back at the Imperial Guard from their conception, because why not. I'll go ahead and confess right now to not being a big fan of the new name, 'Astra Militarum.' Re-naming the next Space Marine codex Adeptus Astartes is no great leap at all. They have been the Adeptus Astartes all along, Space Marines was widely acknowledged to be the low gothic or common name for them. Astra Militarum, on the other hand, is something somebody in Nottingham pulled out of his ass.

Anyways, here we go, Imperial Guard through the ages! We'll also look at how much the cost of special weapons changed throughout the editions:

Rogue Trader era!

I literally have zero experience using/playing them, or with 40k at all, in the RT era, back before the Dawn of Time, so we'll just skip right over it.

2nd Edition! The Dawn of the Modern IG

 2nd Edition was the era of some Truly horrific models. There's a reason nobody fields 2nd edition Ork, Tyranid or Space Marine models anymore. IG is the glorious, beautiful exception to the rule. Tallarn Desert Raiders, Ice Warriors of Valhalla, Mordian Iron Guard, Praetorian Guard and Cadian Shock Troops were all sculpted for 2nd edition, and in my opinion have held up phenomenally well for all that time. Catachans too, buuuuut.... they've never been my favorite. Though I guess the metal models looked about as good as their mediocre plastic counterparts. Truth be told, I still prefer these old school Cadians to the new plastics.

The army wouldn't look too terribly different from a modern IG, other than it being FAR far smaller (a 1500 point list included in the codex has like, two or three vehicles, and less than 50 infantry, which strikes me as absurd.)

One of the biggest differences, and most interesting to note, is the role of the Imperial Commissar. In this edition, Commissars lead by example, inspiring their men and overseeing morale... Without executing a single one of them. The Grim Darkness of the Far Future was still rather shiny in this era.

A bare-bones Imperial Guard infantry squad cost 100 pts, and a Heavy Weapon squad (3 teams) cost 60 pts, with the cheapest option being Heavy Bolters, at 10 extra points EACH.

Flamer (7) Grenade Launcher (10) Plasma Gun (6) Melta Gun (6) Sniper Rifle (n/a) Power Sword (6) Power Fist (10) 

3rd Edition
Personally my favorite IG cover artwork. Very understated and dignified, compared to some other factions. This era saw the introduction of one of my favorite Imperial Guard regiments:

The Armageddon Steel Legion:

This gave us the great fluff for the 3rd War for Armageddon and Commissar Yarrick, and Colonel Schaeffer's Last Chancers. Good stuff. This was also the point at which I started playing 40k. Commissar's gain the Summary Execution rule, everything gets a little cheaper, but Guard truly suffers from the ability to leap straight from one victorious combat into the other. That's right, those damned Khorne Berzerkers can eat your sacrificial squad of guardsmen, and then immediately assault right into another one. Never mind that I can only fire at most 2 shots from each lasgun per turn, IF I STAND STILL (3rd edition was NOT kind to shooty armies), those khorne berzerkers could get to roll 3, 4, 5, hell maybe 10 or 12 attack rolls in a turn, maybe even more if they just keep slaughtering things. That's fair, that's REAL FAIR.

*cough* moving right along...

A  bare-bones IG infantry squad cost 60 pts, a heavy weapons squad (3 teams) cost 35 pts before weapons, and the cheapest is the Heavy Bolter at 15 pts each, for a total of 80 points.

Flamer (3) Grenade Launcher (8) Plasma Gun (8) Melta Gun (8) Sniper Rifle (n/a) Power Sword (10) Power Fist (15)

Late 3rd/kinda 4th Edition: The Modernization/Focus on Cadia begins

At long last, the Imperial Guard gets some phenomenal new models in the plastic Cadian sets! Finally, cheap plastics that aren't those horrendously over-muscled Catachans. I don't mind the muscles, it's the poor sculpting. And the fluff expands a bit to give us Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade!

Even if the Imperium more or less lost outright, through a combination of poor coordination, Chaos Trickery, and maybe some actual cheating but the jury's still out, the world wide summer campaign was a blast, and I wish that they'd do another one. Plus we got these fanastic models:

 This was also one of my favorite guard codexes due to the inclusion of Doctrines. You could super-customize your regiment with special rules, give them close combat bonuses or shooting bonuses, make them all drop troops (an entire IG army deep striking, just picture it), or chem fueled penal legions, storm troopers as troops, the list goes on and on. This was one of the IG high points, especially since it includes rules for Ibram Gaunt, expands on Schaeffer's Last Chancers, introduces Creed and Kell, the two great Cadian Heroes, and special weapons get a bit cheaper.

 A bare-bones IG squad cost 60 points, and a Heavy Weapons squad cost 35 pts + weapons (the cheapest being the Heavy Bolter at 15 pts each again, for 80 pts)

Flamer (6) Grenade Launcher (8) Plasma Gun (10) Melta Gun (10) Sniper Rifle (5, but you have to buy Light Infantry doctrine) Power Sword (5) Power Fist (20) 

5th Edition:

I won't go into it, since everybody knows the 5th edition Imperial Guard, with cheaper special weapons, vehicle squadrons, wider access to transports, new special characters and special rules. Without a doubt the strongest IG codex of all, helped somewhat by the new blast rules (models that are even Touched by the template are hit, not just those entirely covered, and those partially covered on a 4+), etc. etc.

A bare-bones IG squad cost 50 pts, while a heavy weapon squad of three teams cost 60 pts with a mortar (the default armament) with upgrading to heavy bolter (which was cheapest for all the other editions, and therefore the benchmark) being 5 pts each, for a grand total of 75 pts.

Flamer (5) Grenade Launcher (5) Plasma Gun (15) Melta Gun (10) Sniper Rifle (5) Power Sword (10) Power Fist (15)

The Valkyrie/Vendetta is scary/powerful, and possibly one of the first OP IG units. Personally, I really missed the wider array of options given us by the Regimental Doctrines, and I've really hoped they'd put them back in for 6th edition. Only time will tell, and we all look forward with bated breath to the new codex, no matter how much we might despise the name change:


IG regiments range greatly in size depending on author, home world, and edition of the game. In the 2nd edition, a regiment was made up of Every soldier that home world drafted to the IG at that moment in time. Not multiple regiments, but one single huge one. So in Eisenhorn, the 50th Gudrunite Rifles is literally 750,000 men, while the Tanith regiments (from the era of 3rd/4th edition) were 2,000-2,500 men each upon founding, oy. Granted, they were designed to function as a unified fighting force, operating closely together.

Steel Legion regiments canonically are about  2,100 men (12 companies of 175 soldiers), while Cadian regiments are 8,000 pairs of boots on the ground. It seems to me that strength wise, it's better to think of an Imperial Guard Regiment as having the fighting power of a modern Division, even if they tend to be far more specialized.

Combat operations involving huge numbers of troops, upward of 20 regiments or whatever, are never addressed as being organized into larger fighting formations than 'regiments,' but logic would dictate that, to coordinate these forces, the regiments are brigaded together under a higher commanding officer of the Departmento Munitorum. Like in the American Civil War, these brigades would be known by their commander's name, Hook's Brigade or whatever. Alternatively, the would be called after their Battle Honors (The Iron Brigade) or if they were all/largely drawn from the same place, they could take the appropriate name, re: the Irish Brigade. So for larger operations, several regiments would be grouped together like that. It's not a big deal, and it's never addressed in the fluff, but my way seems logical, and I feel like the fluff ought to mention something along those lines.

Friday, March 28, 2014

40K Summer Campaign

"The Night of a Thousand Rebellions" swept through the Segmentum Obscurus in a tidal wave of blood. Through chaos meddling and the aid of the traitor legions, hundreds of imperial worlds found themselves besieged or overthrown in the space of a few days as hidden cults and recidivist elements came boiling to the surface, overthrowing their rightful lords and turning from the light of the Emperor.

Even on worlds where Chaos failed to take root, secessionist elements took advantage of the widespread disorder to throw off the yoke of imperial tyranny and become their own masters.

The Imperial response was swift, but not swift enough to prevent the Legions of Chaos from establishing a foothold in the region. Both sides must now fight tooth and nail to gain control of systems writhing in the throes of rebellion and anarchy. And all the while, alien intelligences gaze hungrily through the void, eager to feast on human worlds ripe for the picking, or else slake their bloodlust at the altar of battle..."


Monday, February 3, 2014

Risk: Legacy!

 I got Risk: Legacy for Christmas. I'll be straightfoward, this is a whole new ball game. The game is designed to be played 15 times before the board is 'completed.' Each game changes the world. Cities are placed on the board, continents are named by the victors, territories are changed, for better or worse.

At first, I was really reticent to actually place stickers on the board, tear up cards, etc. It goes against every instinct I have as a gamer. But this game is so exciting, I decided to go with it. Besides, who actually ever Gets 15 games of enjoyment out of Risk? If you do, you've definitely got your money's worth out of it.
 Right when you open the box, you're greeted with the sight of these mysterious card sleeves. I can't wait to open them, who KNOWS what's inside?!?

And the back of the board itself? You're Literally signing on for an entirely different boardgame experience. With trembling hand, each player took up the pen to affix their name to this grand undertaking...
 Each faction, at the very beginning, chooses between two different special rules, affixing the sticker to their faction card and throwing the other away. I chose the Khan Industries faction, whose special rules are "At the start of each turn, place one army in any territory you control that holds a HQ" or something about "If you capture a territory and draw the card for that territory, you may place an army there." Something like that, I chose the first one. The Saharan Republic lets you make an number of troop-consolidation moves at the end of your turn, or make one as usual, with the exception that the territories don't have to be linked for you to move troops from/into it.
 Look at those huge, caution-taped sections there! What's inside? Why so much larger than the card-packets? Do they contain more troops, of different sizes? It could be Anything!

 The continent names are all blank, as a winner of a game, you can choose to name a continent, or place and name a Major City. As winner of the first game, I placed and named the city of New Carthage!
 And hidden on the inside of the box, underneath the tray?