Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Latest And Greatest In White Scars Mobility! Also... ouch!

Wait... Is this a bulldozer?

     It's a WWII Japanese bulldozer, to be exact. So I'm getting close to starting my IG vehicles. And before I plunge into the mass of armor, I wanted to get some techniques figured out first. I would like to have an idea of how I want to weather these vehicles, and I'd like to figure out how I'm going to do the camo.

     The best way to go about this, I figured, was to pick up some models I might not care about so much that aren't going to actually be a part of my army. My first selection was this bulldozer. I really liked the look of it. It looks like it would fit into 40K, what with all the crazy hoses. The scale actually looks like it might work too. Possibly a fun terrain piece. This is the first non-GW model I've ever assembled since getting into 40K. I really enjoyed it as it is a WAY more detailed model than I'm used to. But it wouldn't survive hard gaming for long, that much is obvious. Just look at the silly tiny control levers!

     They're wafer thin. Still it's a very cool model for something as silly as a bulldozer. But after I was finished assembling it, I realized that it didn't really offer amble surface area to try out my camo pattern. So I decided I would do my weathering trials with this and I'd have to find something else for the camo. I stopped by Toys R Us and found a box of three metal military vehicles for $8. Here's the one I'll likely try out my camo painting on first:

     Plenty of surface area, and some tricky bits to practice some of the harder bits. I'll have to get those terrible stickers off there though... pfft... Army? Really? Go Navy!

All of this is academic, I'm afraid...

     I might not be able to do much painting though. And this has nothing to do with motivation. It sadly has much more to do with this:

     Yup. Underneath that mound of bandaging is a nasty cut now sealed by four stitches. It is well known that I'm prone to the world's WORSE luck in life. Murphy's law is nothing to laugh at when I'm about. Fortune 500 companies will find the most creative ways to screw me over. If something on a vehicle can break, I'll find the way. If there is a way to cause maximum personal injury in a mostly benign situation, better have the EMTs standing by. What you see above is the result of me attempting to change the fourth flat tire I've had in the last six months.

     If you feel sympathy, bless you. If you want to give me some advice related to tires, forget it. I'm ordering an entire new set of four tires oh so very soon. Regardless, it's pretty damned difficult to do much sans index finger. I'm absolutely terrible at typing, but fortunately mouse clicking is still fairly easy.

     I'm hoping that I can at least do some airbrushing and some masking and whatnots. The final details that are needing to go on my Vox Caster (last model for my IG command squad) will just have to wait. It's aggravating.

     I leave you with a picture of the bulldozer box art. Hope to be back in the action soon, and if anyone out there happens to know of some interesting extra models like this one, let me know! Better yet, share in the comments!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Wait... WHO MADE THIS? Oh yeah and I played 40K.

This CAN'T be a coincidence!

     So this is the lamp for the display case that I featured in my last post. Look at the designer's name! MIKAEL WARNHAMMAR! ... WHAT? Totally meant to be. Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction.

Got Some Games In!

     A friend of mine was visiting from out of town. He was obliging enough to bring not one, but TWO armies. Since I had this Monday off, and he was on vacation, it seemed the perfect excuse to log some serious time on the table. We stopped by the local GW (which, as it turns out now isn't closing until the end of April, with promises to bring back the local Baltimore Battle Bunker somewhere not too far from my house... fingers crossed) and we took up shop on one of their two 6x4 tables.

     I need to put another plug in here for the Battle Missions book. I don't think nearly enough players out there know of or enjoy missions out of this little gem. I don't want to seem like I'm bashing everyone about the head about how much I like this book, but the three basic missions are incredibly boring to me. Two of them are practically the same game, and the other one is the most unimaginative mission you could possibly make. It's stone soup with just stones. Bleh!

     We got in two games, all told. One with his Grey Knights versus my Orks and the second with his Blood Angels versus my Orks (again). Though I won both games, they were interesting fare. The were a few interesting highlights. My Ork warboss, for example, has continued to be schooled by his Grand Master. Trick here is that he has purchased most of this army from a friend who STARTED this silly streak. So the same model! I think, at this point, we can call them arch rivals.

     OH IT'S SO ON!

     The Blood Angels game was a very strange beast for me. He was toting two Storm Ravens with five assault terminators with lightning claws and a sanguinary priest in terminator armor in each one. That's a whole lot of hurt. My Lootas managed to immobilize one that came on the board with a turbo boost. CRASH BANG! The other one was immobilized by a squad of Deff Koptas. The strangest thing about this match though, was that Ork shooting featured prominently in it. Whoa! Weird! If it wasn't the Deff Koptas (who admittedly didn't survive too long with the exception of one lonely Kopta) it was the Lootas, and if it wasn't the Lootas, it was the Bikes.  Assault was a dangerous phase for both armies. Furious charge can a victor make.

     And, for the record, I caused 21 wounds (Choppas, Big Choppas, and 'Urty Syringe) from my foot Nobs on one of his assault terminators. After 2+ saves and 4+ feel-no-pain... he took one wound.

     I don't know if he'll be putting up a batrep (YOU BETTER! I know you read this!), but when he does I'll be sure to link it.

Oh! Deffy got to dispense some hugs too!

     In more materialistic news: I bought the Badab War books. I need to frame these posters! One is freaking HUGE! Any tips guys?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vanity... such a sin!

New Display case

     I just picked up this awesome glass display case from Ikea along with the little lamp at the top. Not a bad deal for what you get. Warning: If you're thinking about getting this, you should know the box weighs like 200 pounds! When I went to load the box for this thing onto the cart, I damned near threw my back out. My back has been touch-and-go lately, so this did me no favors.

     So yup, I came to the conclusion that I would like to see the fruits of my long hours painting more often than just when I'm playing. I don't know if that makes me vain, or what, but given the time, money, and effort I've put into these silly little toys, I might as well enjoy them.

     Yeah, that's a Rainbow Six 3 poster... framed... I'm a nerd. Yes I'm going to have to move it a little bit now that the display case is there. Totally worth it though. The light from the case is actually very nice and sort of ambient.

Cat on display.

Bionic eye? When she licks her nose, it fires the laser.

"Ok! Jokes over! LET ME OUT! DO NOT WANT!"

     Ah good fun! So I've put my Guard on the top shelf (what little I have), a sample of my Orks on the second, and an assortment of random other models on the third shelf. Tragic thing is that I don't really have anything for the very bottom. I think something substantial needs to go there, but I've no idea what. Ork Stompa?!?!?! OooOooOOOoOOoohhh! I think so! That might work. That could just go way up top though too.... Baneblade? Hmmm... Ideas.

Guard... looking a little thin. Need to fix that fast!

Orks I had too many of. I had to just choose a cross sample. 

An odd mix. My first ever 40K models in the back left, my Saguinary Priests front left, my Grey Knights front right, AoBR Dread kinda far right, and my strange Librarian and Honor Guard in the back... not fully painted.

     I have some interesting ideas for some further fun things to do with this case, but that's for another time. I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.

     I did get a game in (FINALLY!!!) last week at Area 51 in Dallas. My Orks had their faces melted by a Salamanders army. It was bad.... BAAAAAD! Heavy flamers DESTROYED my army. Not that I found that particularly surprising, but the speed at which it happened was a little startling. I did make it all the way through to the end of turn 6 before being tabled, but there wasn't much pleasure to be had from it.

     I did meet a lot of very cool gamers, with some excellent advice to give. I think I enjoyed the post-game conversation a lot more than the face melting. Regardless, it would be a pleasure to meet some of those excellent folks again sometime. Perhaps when I move back to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I'll do just that.

     I took some pics of the game, but I don't know if I want to bother putting up a battle report. It would just be a lot of Orks on fire, and though that might please some of you guys, writing up the batrep might be a little painful. Well we'll see.

     I am expecting to get at least one game in this coming weekend (possibly more) against a friend visiting from out-of-town. He has brought Storm Ravens! We shall see how they do against my Ork army. Perhaps I'll do a full batrep for that.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Let us all take a shiny silver chill pill...


     Well well well... Thanks to my friend Red, I didn't miss the most recent update to the "leaks" concerning the new Grey Knights codex. Three images were leaked, the one you see above, a back-of-the-box shot from the Dread Knight, and a very crappy cover of the codex shot. Here is the Dread Knight picture:

Hysterical Reactions

     So I came by these through If you want to see some insanely furious posters, go check it out. I'm not really one for the Sky-is-Falling approach. I much more prefer to take a deep breath and remember that we are talking about far-future space warriors with more internal organs than you can shake a stick at fighting strange aliens such as fungus men and space elves. It tends to put things in perspective.

     I'll freely admit that I've been guilty of overreactions concerning newer rules and models, namely Blood Angels and the Storm Raven. In both cases, I was proven wrong. The craziness of the Blood Angels is tempered by the points costs. The awkward initial "leaked" pic of the Storm Raven was pretty much the worst shot you could have taken of the model, except maybe if it were on fire. People are going crazy on the forums at, and one could rightfully argue that this is par for the course. I try not to steep my opinions in that heady atmosphere, as I long since have learned that forums can be a fickle, and frightful place.

My Reactions

     I'm totally down with what I see here. Let us be honest with ourselves here; This game is about epic badassness on a scale we had not yet previously experienced. This is a good chunk of why I'm in the hobby in the first place. If I wanted Space Marines with properly proportioned  bodies and no silly extra organs, I'd just play Halo. I want Ork silliness, Eldar snootiness, Guard Armorness, and these Grey Knights pics seem to add a new spicy mix to that recipe.

     The Dread Knight looks like it will be fun to covert and pose. The GK models in general (though hard to distinguish in the pics, I admit) look pretty well maintained, as far as their original look.

GK Rules

     If you haven't seen all the rules rumors, please check out my good friend's post over at Bolter and Chainsword: You won't be disappointed.

On the subject of "Leaks"

     You might have noticed that I've been placing quotes around the word "Leaks." This is quite deliberate. I'm now firmly of the opinion that these are deliberate actions of GW. I'm not normally one for conspiracy theories (quite the opposite), but all of these pictures (not just the GK ones, but going back through the last few Codices) have a uniform look to them. The fuzziness is always the same. The time frame from the actual product release date is near-enough-it-makes-no-difference the same.

     Let us now face facts: GW likes to strip tease us. Also... I'm kinda okay with that. I would rather them just come out with the nice large clean pics, but oh well. Gotta build the excitement, right? Also I'm reminded of this:

I'm Looking for a Fight!

     I will be at Area 51 Gaming in Dallas this evening, if anyone is interested in meeting up. I was out this way, thought I might take my Orks on the road, get an away game in. At the very least, meet some other 40K addicts like myself and swap some war stories. If you are in the area, but don't know the location, here's a link:

     I've never been there myself, but I ran into a few fellows that are regulars there at the last GW event I attended in Dallas. They seemed pretty cool, so I thought I'd check the place out.

Monday, February 7, 2011

40K Battle Sizes, or "Exponential Suckage"

     So this is going to be a bit on the editorial side, and if you're in to that sort of thing, read on. I have had a few recent conversations concerning what the optimal game size is for a traditional one-on-one game of 40K. Now I'm going to come right out and say that I'm of the mindset that the game tends to play best anywhere from 1500 to 1850. I have a few reasons why I believe that to be true, allow me to plead my case.

The Case for 1500-1850

Difficult Choices

     A large part of 40K is list building. Well, it's a large part of nearly every war game, and indeed collectible card games (CCG) as well. Much of one's time during their 40K lifespan will be dedicated to list building. Obviously these lists can take some pretty diverse forms from power gaming to fluffy theme affairs. The list is an art in and of itself. Some people see it as a magic recipe, that a good list will carry any player to victory. Even a relatively new player to 40K can typically see flaws in that logic, so I won't carry water for that insane notion here.

     A very basic element of putting together a list is choosing what to put in that list, but even more importantly; what NOT to put it. The 1500 point list usually exemplifies this best. You have to make some very real and very difficult choices. Typically at 1500 you can do a little bit of spamming, stretching the strengths of an army, but you'll generally have to counter that by making large concessions elsewhere in your force organization.

     I see these difficult choices, and this period of list building as a crucial step in the overall battle. In real life, pre-battle planning usually weighs pretty heavily towards determining the victor, and I believe 40K should be no different.

An Answer for Everything

      To quote on oft-maligned political figure "You go to war with the army you have." The higher the point values of a game, the more likely you will be able to field a counter to a particular strategy or unit. I don't believe that friendly games should be played where I build a list specifically to defeat your army. That way madness lies. It will be a short path from friendship to complete douche-baggery.

     If I'm building an all-comers list, which I typically sort of do, then at a higher point value, I'll have an answer for most any tactical problem I might face during a game. Where is the skill in that? I'm not testing my strategy or tactics nearly as much if I have to make do with less resources. I'm sure someone would argue "Well your opponent can do the same thing, so therefore you would cancel each other out and there IS some skill in overcoming that." Sure sure, but I like the idea that I might have to utilize a unit in a creative way that doesn't play to the particular strengths of that unit. If I build a huge army, I'll likely have plenty of anti-tank, so why would I bother to take melta bombs on a tactical sergeant? Well, if I was playing lower points values, and I didn't have just loads of anti-tank, I might be willing to spend a few points to allow my tactical squad to pick up a little slack. Could be fun.

The MOST Important Point: Imbalanced Scaling

     This is REALLY where I want to make a point. Not all armies scale well. This isn't an opinion, it's fact. If you don't agree, then you're wrong and you'll just have to be satisfied with being wrong. That's a harsh thing to say, but there you have it.

     I had a very difficult discussion with a friend concerning my unwillingness to play 2000 points. I explained the above reasons, but then this last point was apparently difficult for me to get across to him. I have a few examples of armies that fail to scale well, so let us begin with a major culprit:


     Note that I didn't say "Daemon Hunters" because that would me Inquisition units, I have met multiple people that are interested in fielding Grey Knight only armies. These armies SUCK at scaling. One could argue that they suck pretty much completely, and I wouldn't totally disagree with you. For the time being, they suffer very badly at the hands of their outdated rules. There are other armies that suffer from some of the same problems that I'm going to mention here (*cough* Tau *cough* Necrons) so keep those in mind as well. Here are some issues:

 1. Special Rules that no longer work.

     This is a critical one. Many of the GK rules related to Demons, don't work as Demons have changed since the Daemon Hunter codex come out. These special rules are still accounted for in the points for the units, so you pay a premium for rules you can't use. That sticks.

 2. Force Organization choices.

     Many of the 5th edition codices out there have some ROCKING good choices in all of the force organization slots. Look at Imperial Guard! You can find good choices up and down the FO chart, and thus, regardless of the points value of a game, you'll be able to find something useful to put on the table.

     Returning to our example of the GKs. They have HORRIBLE choices. They have one (1) fast attack choice. It's basically a slightly more expensive, non-scoring version of their one (1) troops choice that can deepstrike and have broken beacons. Hurray! The most popular list for the GK's these days include three Land Raiders, as they're needed to be used as transports for the army. So BANG goes your Heavy Support Choices... NO DREADS FOR YOU, naughty GK player! You're basically stuck with troops and elites. And you'd be hard pressed to find GK players that think their troops and termies are totally properly valued.

     Remember, I don't just mean this happens to the GKs, because you don't have to look to hard to see this elsewhere.

My Metaphor for scaling issues

     So let me put this into some silly terms. You and I are going to have a race. In this race we must select from some relatively similar cars. After selecting the car, we're each given a limited amount of money that we can spend on gas. You, however, are charged more per gallon than I am. In addition, my car is roughly 2 seconds a lap faster than yours. But your car comes with a kiddie seat.

     If we were going to race, you had better hope it's a short one.

     I'm paying a more real point-per-unit price, and I have special rules that make sense and work with the current core rules. You are paying more per unit, and you have outdated rules that may not, or flat-out do not help you.

     This gives us the exponential problem of 40K. If you are paying more for less, than paying a lot more will still get you less, if not a lot less. There's no amount of water that you can pour into the bucket that will plug the hole in the bottom of the bucket.

     I'm not saying that these scenarios are hopeless for those put at a disadvantage, I'm just saying that Lady Averages isn't really lifting her skirt for you. Sure, play 10 games of Grey Knights versus Space Wolves, and the GKs might just win one. I just wouldn't want to be the GK player for those ten games, is all I'm saying.

Wrapping it Up

     I'm not completely opposed to larger games, but I think we need to stop this escalation trend I've spotted in the last two years. The norm should be 1500-1850, and the odd occasional game should be 2000+. And the only good reason to play below 1500 is for teaching someone to play, crazy scenario games, or alternate rules (Kill Teams, Killzone, etc). What do you think is a reasonable game size for just normal games?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Featured on GW's site!

     File this under "Totally unexpected and yet pretty cool", My Deff Dread was featured on the What's New Today page on Game Workshop's web site.

Here's the link

     It's really quite cool to get some recognition there. Didn't see it until really late, so I'm glad I didn't miss it. Good times. Guess I'll have to raise my price on my commissions... I'm now published. Just kidding! Still, it's pretty neat. Sort of surprised they didn't mention the "Free Hugz" sign.