Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dark Elves Return!

After a long separation, me and my Dark Elves have finally been fully reunited, as the last box of my minis arrived from Chicago yesterday. Its been a painful separation for both us, and I'd almost forgotten how much I loved these little buggers.

So without further ado...

Not shown here are another 20 spearmen, 20 corsairs (old type), another repeater, two sorceresses, 8 shades, and a cold-one chariot. Not sure why I never did the bases on these, but something tells me come summertime when the new WFB edition comes out it may be time to revisit these guys once more.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Goodies to Come

With the break ahead I’ve finally got a nice chunk of time to experiment around and settle on a paint-scheme paint for my Noise Marines. I’ve been scouring the web for some ideas, and have narrowed it down to a few candidates. Anyway, I need to get these guys wrapped up because I have some daemonettes and a Christmas day Defiler that my loving (and gamer-friendly) wife got for me.

Hopefully, I have some painted minis to post up soon.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Eldar How to Guide

As I was working on getting my two Vypers ready this weekend, I thought I'd use the opportunity to do a quick, step-by-step guide on my I paint my Eldar.

Basically, with these guys I wanted a very simple scheme that didn't require extensive conversions and which could be reproduced relatively quickly. For other projects, like my Vampire Counts and Noise Marines, I spend more time with conversions and 'lavish' paint jobs; my goal with the Eldar from the start was always to have a fully-painted, battle ready force that wouldn't take 2 years to complete.

With that in mind, the color scheme is very basic: all models are painted with some variant of Shadow-Grey as their base, with highlights of white, black and scab red as 'pop' colors. Having a simplified pallet was important, as my opportunities to paint can be very hit-and-miss, so I didn't want to run risk of painting some of my troops in a custom-mixed color only to be unable to reproduce it at a later date (I'm also notorious for forgetting to write down the ratios in custom blends for latter usage...)

With this base color, 95% of the models in this army start with the same setup: a primer coat of skull white followed by a base coat of shadow grey.

From this point, a bit of variety can be inserted. For lighter models, two successively brighter highlights of Shadow Grey+Space Wolves Grey does just fine. In the case of the Vypers, I wanted to go a bit darker, so I mixed a batch of Shadow Grey plus small amounts of Liche Purple and Chaos Black and then watered this down heavily to use as an ink wash.

To keep my vehicles easy and consistent, I then trace over the model's seems with a watered down highlight mix. This part can be very tedious, but it really gives the finished models a sharp appearance. Finally, a lighter, thicker blend of the highlight s reapplied to the corners and sharp angles.

Here's an example of this technique on a 'lighter' model:

To finish, I like trying a bit of freehand designs. These can really go either way, giving the model a real stand-out appearance or spoiling a delicate blend job with a shoddy, hastily painted design. (Straight lines can be especially difficult to free-hand, so having some tape so a straightedge nearby can really help.) My only advice here is to wait to do this last bit until after the model has been completed and had time to sit for awhile. This should give adequate time to for you to consider the possibilities and to avoid rushing through the detail work at the end of an already long session.

Friday, December 18, 2009

New Eldar List -1750

My recent battle against the Orks drove home a point that I had already suspected for sometime: my foot units (guardians, wraithlord, and harlies) are badly out of place with my general strategy of avoid-and-strike-surgically. With that in mind, I’ve tweaked my list to the following:

Farseer w/ 3 warlocks, jetbikes, SS, Fortune, Witness, Ward, Singing Spear (1), Doom, Destructor x3 (353)

Vyper w/SL & SC + SS (80)

Vyper w/SL & SC + SS (80)

Falcon w/ ScatterL, Shrk C, SS, Holo, Vector (205)
(in Falcon) Banshees x 6 w/ Exarch, executioner, acrobatic (123)

Falcon w/Scatter, SS, Star (155)
(in Falcon) Fire Dragons x 6 w/Exarch, firepike (116)

Wave Serp w/ EML, Star Engine, SS (145)
(in WS) Dire Avengers x 10, w/ Exarch, BladeS, Diresword (158)

Guardians Jetbikes x 4 w/SC (98)

Guardian Jetbikes x 4 w/SC (98)

Fire Prism w/ SS, Star Engine (140)

Total 1750

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More Green Stuff Practice

Although I like the idea of long hair and the demonic-looking speakers sculpted onto the minis, I thought the first few I did left quite a bit of room for improvement. With that in mind, I set to work on five more noise marines:

Two things I’ve learned thus far from working with green stuff thus far:

1) ALWAYS make sure that you’ve thoroughly gotten rid of that nasty piece which separates the two colors,
2) On sculpts which require smoother edges actually waiting awhile to let the putty start to set can help avoid the piece losing its overall shape.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Eldar vs. Orks: 1750

This weekend I had the opportunity to play a 1750 kills points match against Knightfall Games store owner, Chris. For those of you in the Portland area that don’t know, Knightfall Games is located near Highway 217 and Canyon road, and is, IMHO, one of the better local gaming stores around. I mean this guy gets it. For those you accustomed to thinking “rogue trader” is synonymous with things like “no product”, “crappy tables”, and “terrible customer service”, check this store out for a bit of fresh air. Seriously, this one of the better local stores I’ve seen: with over half a dozen boards with full terrain and a friendly staff/gamers to boot. Anyway, I’m a firm believer in showing local stores all the support we can, and this shop is definitely worthy of a visit.

The game was an absolute blast and I decided to use it as a test run for my video battle reports.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bits and Pieces

In an attempt to save some scratch, I broke out some of my old models to see if I could chop them up and make something useful out of them. I’ve been debating lately a to how to proceed with my Noise Marines. My current list calls for a two 10-strong units with sonic blasters, but the Emperor’s children box currently only gives you a measly one sonic blaster and one blast master. True, you can order them online for the rather salty price of $20 for four, but I’m of the mind that we can only reward so much of GW’s greed.

The blaster masters are pieced together with some old tank parts and WFB spear shafts. I got the idea for the green-stuff speakers from this thread:


Needless to say, my sculpting skills are still a ways behind that guy’s, but I was satisfied with the results thus far:

As far as the rhino goes, this used to be a Chaos Predator that I tore into with a knife and converted into a transport. Still not sure on the colour scheme for the tank; right now I’m leaning towards black body with purple trim.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Here's my 6 chosen for the new list (will try and post the full list soon). They are pretty heavily converted from a variety of CSM pieces, tank parts and other odds and ends. The wires and tabards were made entirely from green stuff. I forgot to take some before pictures.

The paint scheme went something like this: black undercoat, 50/50 black & codex grey for armour, homegaunt purple for tabards and skin. The skin was lightened with white and dheneb stone. The metal was painted with boltgun metal followed by successive washes of washed down black and a 50/50 wash of hormaguant purple & Liche Purple.

I green lighting effect took some practice on scrap minis before the real thing, though I'm pretty satisfied with how it came out.

Next up: a rhino for the Chosen

Some Conversions

Here's a couple of conversions for the new army. The one on the top was inspired by the one of the greatest Noise Marines of all time, Pete Steele. Wish the green stuff on the guitar would have came out a bit smoother though.

New Army!

A few weeks ago I got bit by the ‘second army bug’ and decided I needed to start a new project. After much careful deliberation and a few near false starts, I decided to go with a Noise Marines list (Necrons and Deathguard were the runners-up, both losing ultimately because their play styles were a bit rigid for my taste). I’ll post my tentative 1750 list in a bit.

Noise Marines won out for a couple of reasons:

1) I already had a large stock of chaos marine bits with which I could scratch build most of my troops.
2) Slaanesh is totally hot.
3) Necrons, though offering a challenge as the underdog in their current incarnation, lacked the potential for a solid assault which I so love.
4) Deathguard, though possessed of both awesome minis AND awesome rules were both too expensive and too uber. To do this army the way I wanted would have meant getting Forge World upgrades and my loving wife is only so patient with my excesses on miniatures. Plus, though T5 and FNP make the Deathguard arguably the most resilient list in the game, they also make them one of the most whined about by opposing generals. I’ve always preferred weaker lists as they allow you to claim 100% credit when you win and to fault your ‘broken codex’ when you don’t! ☺
5) After playing the Eldar for over a year, it was time to get play someone without T3 and a +5 base save.
6) The idea of corrupted space marines who traveled around the galaxy whilst exploding people with ultra-amplified guitars ad lighting fast assaults was too great to pass up.

Mostly importantly however, was probably the fact that not too many people play them. With most CSM players favoring a mix of berserkers and deathguard, Slaanesh gets little mention; unless it’s as the obligatory two Lash Princes leading the list. (yawn) Call me old fashioned, but the idea of a mixed chaos list doesn’t sit right with my OG “daemon animosity” sensibilities. Though not as optimized as their counterparts, noise marines offer (on paper at least) the ability to take a very flexible, competitive list that can potentially excel at BOTH shooting and combat.

Finally, from a modeling aspect, the Noise marines can rival Nurgle in the possibilities for conversions and eye-catching paint jobs. As my schedule sadly permits few actual games, this feature alone will hopefully ensure my interest over the unavoidable long dry-spells of no gaming.

So without further ado, I present to you the ...

Minstrels within, Minstrels without!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Eldar List - 1750 pts.

This list may be considered a bit of a ‘transitional fossil’ as it still incorporates some vestigial elements of my ill-fated foot-slogger Eldar list with elements more or less standard to a traditional mech Eldar builds. Future purchases at this point will replace the guardians with jetbikes and the wraithlord with vipers. Were I a true mech’er, the dire avengers in the serpent would likely be traded out for some cheaper (though still scoring) guardians, but the prospect of lighting up people with a bladestorm of razor-sharp shuriken remains too great for my adolescent mentality to resist.

Farseer w/ 3 warlocks, jetbikes, SS, Fortune, Witness, Singing Spear (1), Eldritch, Destructor x3 (333)

Harlequins x 8 w/Troupe master, shadowseer, 4 kisses and a fusion pistol (230)

Wraithlord w/ Bright, EML (155)

Falcon w/ ScatterL, Shrk C, SS, Holo, Vector (205)
(in Falcon) Banshees x 6 w/ Exarch, executioner, acrobatic (123)

Wave Serp w/ EML, Shrk, Star Engine, SS (155)
(in WS) Dire Avengers x 10, w/ Exarch, BladeS, Defend, Diresword (172)

Guardians x 10 w/ EML (100)

Fire Prism w/ SS, Star Engine (140)

Warp-spiders x 5, w/ Exarch, extra spinner, Power Blades (137)

Total 1750

More Cunningham, Less Conan

We all are aware of the warrior/king Conan’s advice on how to attain maximum gratification in life:

“Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, hear the lamentations of their women.”

Great words indeed, and certainly the mindset through which I approach all of my personal and professional dealings in life. Sadly, such thinking can lead one into trouble when fielding a mech Eldar army, a lesson driven home to me recently in a pair of battles which I recently fought against that other great warrior and king by his own hand, Da BenStar. My advice to other generals is simple: When running mech Eldar, one is far better served emulating the behavior of Rob Roy nemesis and arch-fop Archibald Cunningham, than the Mighty Cimmerian Himself.

A quick synopsis of the battles:

In the first battle, my 1750 mech Eldar list squared off against a well-balanced Tyranid build featuring two large packs of death-spitter-armed Tyranid warriors buttressed by a shooty hive tyrant, a battery of zoanthroapes, and a pair of ‘fexes. The mission was capture and control with a spearhead deployment. I played a very conservative game, reserving my entire army and then using a spread out, fast table entry from my tanks to draw my opponent’s forces across the table. By turn five and game end, I was firmly in control of my base and had three units available to contest my opponent’s base. All and all, I was quite pleased.

Then came the second match. Almost identical lists, and same spear head deployment; however, this time the mission was kill points. The game started auspiciously similar to our prior game, with my forces coming in slowly, whilst his army remained spread out across the length of his table half. By the end of turn two, we were in agreement that this appeared to be another Eldar victory in the making. Then I got stupid. Not satisfied with a ‘mere victory’, I began to park my tanks in position to maximize their firepower, meanwhile bringing in my assault troops to confront his lead units. I also brought my guardians in near (but not near enough) a unit of gaunts with the intention of laying down a barrage of shrunken fire and assaulting- with both my shots and charge falling just out of range. The result was worrisome: my guardians were predictably destroyed by the gleeful hormagaunts, whilst my spirited, but dispersed barrage of gunfire did little to slow my opponent’s advance. At that point, the game could have been salvaged had I packed up my bags and star-engined throughout the board. Instead, I doubled down on my bad bet and stood fast.

By turn six, the disaster was complete: my seer council had been chased off by a fex and gaunts, whilst the rest of my units not bunkered up in a vehicle met a swift, gooey death via death-spitter. What began as a sure thing became a lesson in humility.

How did I manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? First and foremost, I succumbed to my own battle lust and forgot I was playing mech Eldar. This was especially important in a kill points mission, as an Eldar player can tempted to use their shooty guns and hand-picked assault troops to go toe-to-toe with their opponents. Of course, it’s okay to love assaults, just as it’s also okay to love shooting things. But if high enemy body counts are your thing, then mech Eldar are not for you.

While the MEs are a certainly competitive build, they are not ‘kill-hammer’ in any sense of the term. Lacking of toughness, numerically inferior, and generally poorly armored, Eldar will be outfought by Space Marines, Tyranids, Orcs, grannies with brooms, etc., on a regular basis. Though it is true that concentrated fire-power or a well-placed assault from Eldar will most certainly wipe a single enemy unit off the board, good Warhammer players need to think beyond the current turn and look at the cost-benefit in the long run. What happens after the Banshees slaughter the marines they are facing and are then left in the open? Is the extra Eldar missile shot from your wave serpent really worth not having that +3 save from boosting this turn? These are questions that MUST be addressed before committing your forces. If removing the enemy unit by fire or fight is the only way to ensure victory, than the sacrifice may be justified. But make no mistake, Eldar will always lose battles of attrition, and if you try and trade your opponent piece for piece like young kids playing checkers, you are going to lose, and lose badly.

The more effective way to play is to use your maneuverability to draw your opponent out and then engage (again ONLY when necessary) piecemeal. Cover saves from star-engines and turbo-boosting turn your already formidable skimmers into virtually unstoppable (ordinance excepted) units. Missions like capture and control and seize ground certainly lend themselves well to this type of foppish dancing, but even kill points can be won this way when restraint is applied. Here target priority should always be allocated to ‘easy’ enemy units rather than those with the highest annoyance factor. Remember: in kill points a unit of 5 scouts is just as much as a maxed-out unit of assault terminators. Again, reflect upon Cunningham and Rob Roy’s final fight scene and remember that the dainty Cunningham was handily defeating his opponent one slice at a time, being undone only after he got greedy, moved in too close and was nearly cut in twain by his brutish adversary.

Such victories may at first seem ungratifying as they lack a certain visceral quality appreciated by Khorne players and lovers of Chuck Norris films alike. Even so, there can be great satisfaction gained from watching your enemy’s souped up terminators huff and puff around the board for five turns whilst your nimble cone-headed (and pastel-painted hopefully) lightweights dance around them, hurling insults and seizing objectives.

So my parting words to other ME players? Learn to savor the delights of the open steppe, your falcons running amok, and the wind generated by your freshly turbo-boosted jet-bikes flowing through your hair. Do this and you too may enjoy the fruits of victory, if not the respect of an odd Mongol general or two.


The Varghulf

This one took a bit longer than my normal conversion projects, but I'm very happy with how it turned out. The GW mini for the varghulf is okay, but its metal and the whole 'bat' theme doesn't mesh well with the rest of my army. I used one of the bodies from the chaos spawn bowed set and glued a dire wolf head on top. Green stuff helped close the gaps and make a smooth fur line, as well as adding some necrotic sores (and who doesn't like those?) to the body.

Vampire Counts

Here's a bit of my old/new Vampire Counts army. The skeletons where scratch built prior to the new box-set because I wanted them to have ragged clothes and didn't like the look of the old, naked skeles. Who knew GW was thinking the same thing? The zombies I've converted by combining flagellants with zombie parts, and taking away their weapons in order to make them appear extra stumbly. And let's face it: their stat line doesn't really suggest heavily armed warriors. As for the wraith and banshees, not really sure if they are going to make it into my final list or not; I just painted them because I thought they looked cool.

Mausoleum and Graves

Here is some scratch-built terrain I made one afternoon (my daughter helped paint the roof) out of some foam board, popsicle sticks, and leftover pieces from my bits boxes. I'm actually pretty pleased with how they came out, and have plans to built a macabre fountain and a larger 'cathedral' someday when time permits.

Banshees, Harleys & HQ

Eldar Fast Attack

Eldar Heavy Support