Monday, 29 December 2014

X-wing: We Got Deathstar

Hi folks,

Just before Christmas I sent off a file of the Deathstar trench, which I found on the net, to be printed on vinyl. I received it this morning and it looks pretty good for a game of X-wing:

Sometime during the year I will try and add to it with some turbolasers from ebay, assuming FFG doesn't bring out there own set. I'm assuming they will also bring out a dedicated playing mat as well, which will probably be 10 times better, but this one can act as a decent stop-gap.

Tonight I am playing a small introductory game, so we'll get some time to cook up some scenario specific rules we can use later. Wade is hanging out for his TIE Advanced, Millenium Falcon and Y-wing to arrive, which will really spice up any replay we do of the Star Wars: A New Hope final space battle.

When The FedEx guy arrived at the door I was reminded of this old chestnut. I'll leave you with it, enjoy:

See you across the table,


Sunday, 28 December 2014

Hive Fleet Numereji: Building a Better Flyrant Part 2

Hi folks,

With all of the arm sockets used up to mount the dual pairs of wings, I needed to come up with a creative way to represent the two twin-linked Devourers. I decided to try and torso-mount them, as opposed to trying to model them into the wing or the lower limbs. To facilitate this, I made an L-shaped cut to remove the fleshhook barrels and free up some space.
I kept the small pieces I had removed, just in case I messed everything up and needed to replace them. I then assembled the full torso and put together some twin-linked Devourers. Now, anyone who has worked with Devourers before knows they have a “droop” nose, which makes them hard to glue together “back-to-back” with flush surfaces. I filed them down considerably, cut them to fit the gap in the torso I had made, then filled any gaps in the weapons with green stuff.
Once that was complete and the greenstuff had cured, I pinned and glued the Devourers to the torso. I allowed this to dry overnight before modelling the rest of the torso. To fill the gaps I used more green stuff and a watch-repairing tool to sculpt organic shapes (piece of cake). During the planning stages of the project, I noticed that the extra armour on the head would make it difficult to hit into the neck socket. To overcome this problem I placed a ball of green stuff at the far rim of the socket and pressed the head in as far as it would go. I then removed the head and sculpted to more organic shapes in the “new” socket. I also filed down the protruding detail of the manubrium (the bit at the top of the sternum armour) giving the head a place for the chin to rest. The head now fits perfectly (imperiously…).
The next stage is to work on the wings themselves, as well as the lower limbs and base. I even have an idea for spicing up the base, which will require at least an hour of rummaging through my bitz boxes.
See you under the table with my head in a bitz box,


Friday, 26 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

Some troop choices from my "Christmas Tree" list...

Hi folks,

I hope you have all had a Merry Christmas and perhaps got something to add to your collection (whatever that may be...). I was planning on a 40K free year this year, as I try and get some ships together for X-wing; thanks for the E-wing KuriboGoomba! Of course my mates Wade and Sgt Waz had other plans, walking in with an ominously large box during our festive gaming session. Suffice to say, my Iron Snakes have found their Trojan Horse...

We had a krak at a new card game called Boss Monster. It is definitely aimed at my specific demographic, with retro gaming artwork, outside-the-box D&D gaming style and humorous context.

In this game you play the role of a Boss Monster, one of those end-of-level fiends that are the bane of heroes in every game. You spend your time constructing a dungeon using monster rooms and trap rooms that you pick up, then hope to attract heroes in that you are capable of killing. The artwork is all 8-bit retro gaming and the flavour text on the cards is very Munchkin. As always, it gives you a little extra kick to play the bad guys. The good guys can be very easy to beat or downright impossible, you definitely don't want to attract the hard ones as being eliminated from the game is pretty easy.

I randomly chose some Cleopatra/Mummy thing as my Boss Monster character and built a very nasty dungeon with multiple trap rooms that buffed each other and two monster rooms (Cavemen Cave and a Dracolich Lair). After Wade was eliminated by attracting way too many hard guys, my dungeon started pulling in the big bucks. It turns out Wade's dungeon had kept the heat off me long enough to put together a winning combination. With his ablative efforts removed, I swept through and won the game in one foul swoop. Hurray for beginners luck! 

All things considered I give Boss Monster a solid 3/5. It is a short game that fits nicely at the beginning or end of a gaming session, when you have some time to kill as you wait for everyone to turn up for (or wind down from...) the main event.

The main event on this occasion was a large game of X-wing, which I will save for the next post.

See you across the table,


Monday, 22 December 2014

The Battle for Nurgle's Cookbook VII: Part 2

Hi folks,

We pick up the action where we left off: a force of Dark Angels and Blood Angels have discovered the location of Nurgle's Cookbook. Tempted by its promises of Grim Dark Black Forest Cake and Hoarfrosted Bloodcicles, they vow to wrest it from Nurgle's Bookshelf. To complicate matters, a force of Tyranids is also hunting for the book. Emperor knows what they will do with it, or how many worlds they will scour clean in the search for elusive ingredients...

The Death Company slam into the termagants holding the Cookbook and slaughter them. The Chaplain claims the book for the benefit of the Imperial force, as a Malanthrope and Genestealer Brood bare down upon them with malicious intent.

The Swarmlord and the Sanguinor trade blows in a brutal challenge, whilst the Sanguinary Guard watch in awe. The demigods of war go wound for wound for several turns, before the Swarmlord rains down five unanswered blows, hacking the angel apart. Howling in grief, the Guard finally join the melee, but the Swarmlord has already made a psychic distress call. Help is on the way... In the background, the Dark Angels repulse a wave of Termagants with massed boltgun fire under the Banner of Devastation.
Balaam and his Champion, Valefor, stand shoulder to shoulder against the remaining Termagants. Valefor slays four in close combat, but both Dark Angels are overwhelmed. Their Razorback transport is torn apart by Deathleaper and a Lictor.  
The Death Company is charged by a brood of Genestealers, a Malanthrope and Nurgle's Bookcase. Despite to odds being seriously stacked against them, they stand and deliver. Half of the Genestealers are wiped out and the Malanthrope takes 3 wounds. Unbelievably, they retain the Cookbook for several turns and deal a massive amount of wounds to the Tyranids. Eventually, though, the Bookcase got the better of them and grabbed the Cookbook back. Locked in combat with the few remaining Genestealers, the Deathcompany survivors could only watch in frustration as their prize randomly squidged away.
Deathleaper and an attending Lictor charge the Sanguine Guard and pile on a heap of high initiative rending wounds. Having pulled out the heart of the unit, the Swarmlord easily cleans up the remainder. The termagants move on towards the erratically moving Bookshelf. There are no pictures of the Mawloc, as it spent the whole game scattering out of view of the camera and any other useful targets there may have been.  
The Trygon Prime finally, FINALLY, emerges from reserves and immediately destroys the Rhino transporting the Dark Angels on the right flank. The Dark Angels shoot the Bookshelf to pieces and reclaim the Cookbook with the end of the game looming. In the background, the Malanthrope and Broodlord are locked in combat with the Death Company Chaplain and a lone surviving marine (who thinks he is Sanguinius Himself). He is finally killed in the very last turn of the game.
The Dark Angels make their last stand against a swarm of Kaiju. Many fall to the Tyranid shooting phase in the last turn, as the Termagants move around the wrecked Rhino and unleash a hail of Devourer shots.
The Trygon charges and kills every marine except for the Sergeant and the combat squad leader, who stand back-to-back against the encroaching horde. The Sergeant deals a wound to the beast with his Powerfist. During the last turn every other Tyranid failed its charge move. The Dark Angels Sergeant just has to survive one last round of combat with the Trygon, to secure a historic win....
Kaiju victory!
This was a highly enjoyable game, with many epic, heroic and tragic moments. The new Blood Angels performed admirably and, though under-gunned, the Dark Angels came very close to winning the game. Deathleaper and his Lictor friend punched way above their weight, whilst the Mawloc was useless. There just weren't any genuine targets for him and I couldn't roll under 9" for scatter. The Death Company reaped a bloody toll, which pleased Wade no end. I was a bit disappointed with my Genestealers, they just seamed to be missing something that they used to have. Maybe there is something in that Cookbook that will spice them up a little bit... 
See you across the table,

Saturday, 20 December 2014

The Battle for Nurgle's Cookbook VII: Part 1

Hi folks,

The Battle for Nurgle's Cookbook is a scenario that I have played with my mates six times since 3rd Edition. Goodness knows why anyone would want to fight for such a thing, but so far I have captured it once with my Nids (led by Old One Eye) and once with my Dark Angels. Orks have claimed victory on two occasions (Jimmy and Wes), whilst Black Templars, Nurgle Chaos Marines (Sgt Waz) and Blood Angels (Wade) have also shared in the glory, however brief and deleterious.

The scenario accommodates multiple players; the largest game had six armies all on the same small table, as they attempt to wrestle a mangy book off a deadly bookshelf, which then proceeds to hunt them down and vomit "Nurgle's Special Sauce" all over them. As you can imagine, it is not a very serious scenario ;-)

The Cookbook can be picked up by any infantry model and carried away, making for some fun bike/jump pack chases. To get it, though, you have to beat Nurgle's Bookshelf in close combat, which can prove difficult. It has a variable number of attacks (1-7), variable strength (1-10) and AP (1-6), regenerates, has eternal warrior and a decent invulnerable save (4+). It also has a template attack that can melt the toughest infantry or tank. It usually moves around randomly terrorising units, until it loses its book... then it gets vindictive. Finally, if/when it dies, it just turns up next turn again and hunts you down. Excellent!

Nurgle's Bookshelf and Cookbook (some may recognise it...)

Last night we had another krak at it, as I think we all needed a bit of a laugh. I brought 800 points worth of Dark Angels and 800 points of Tyranids. Wade had his shiny new Blood Angels Codex and Sgt Waz brought along some of his Armies on Parade winning Purplenids. We decided to combine the two Nid forces, as well as the Dark Angels and Blood Angels (Angels of Death right there), to create two 1600 point forces to vie for the dubious honour of possessing the abhorrent tome. Wade hadn't even read his Codex yet, pausing only to confirm that Dante now hits on his initiative, a sore point for all Blood Angels players for a long time I imagine. Content with his shiny new Initiative 6 axe, Wade set up some terrain...

So, Wade has some interesting culturally specific terrain, including some "Mexican cantina" looking Ork buildings and Japanese village huts for playing the Ronin miniatures game. Looking at the forces we had lined up, the Angels of Death soon became "Team Mexicana" (well, the colours were right) and the Tyranids became "Team Kaiju".


The victory conditions for the scenario were simple: the army with possession of the Cookbook at the end of the game wins. What followed was... epic.

The Angels of Death ("Team Mexicana") : a Landraider full of Death Company marines, backed up by the Sanguinor and his Guard, flanked by Dark Angel Tactical marines and a Command Squad that includes Master Balaam and Champion Valefor with the Monster Slayer of Caliban.

The Tyranids ("Team Kaiju"): the Swarmlord and his Tyrant Guard with a Malanthrope, three large Termagant broods and a brood of Genestealers. Deathleaper, a Lictor, a Trygon Prime and a Mawloc are held in reserve.

The two forces converge on Nurgle's Bookshelf. The Angels of Death unleash a torrent of fire, but the Nids benefit greatly from Feel No Pain "Kaiju Saves".
Nurgle's Bookshelf sprays Nurgle's Special Sauce all over the Termagants, killing eight of the little blighters.

The Swarmlord and Tyrant Guard charge the Landraider and tear it apart, spilling forth a wave of Death Company Marines
Battle is well and truly joined, with the Sanguinor engaging the Swarmlord, the Dark Angels Command holding the left flank whilst the Death Company and Dark Angels Tactical marines thunder towards the termagants, which have been successful in wrestling the Cookbook free.
With charge and counter-charges in place, we could all see that the next couple of turns were going to be intense. Will the Sanguinor be able to cut down the Swarmlord? Can the Dark Angels holdout against a purple tide of Termagants? Will the Death Company survive the inevitable counter attack of the Genestealers? Will my Mawloc hit anything? Will Deathleaper kill a marine? Join in next time for Part 2, the epic cinematic climax to what turned out to be the best game of 40K I have played in the past two years.
See you across the table,

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Hive Fleet Numereji: Building a Better Flyrant

Hi folks,

The past couple of days have been pretty horrid here in Sydney. I guess we have all been expecting something to happen for a while now, but there is no way to emotionally prepare for such insanity. After making sure that the wifey and my friends were ok (two work in the immediate vicinity of the siege), I picked up the kids early and had some family time. This involved me watching my daughter playing How to Train Your Dragon 2 on the Xbox. It was much better than watching the news.


As far as children's movies go, How to Train Your Dragon isn't too bad. Goodness knows, I have had to watch them a million times already and probably not for the last time either. That night I hatched a plan to pay homage to my favourite dragon from the franchise: Cloudjumper. Looking deeply into my bitz box I could see how a Flying Tyrant could be converted, with great difficulty, to look like Cloudjumper. Here's the challenge:

I have decided to start with the head, because if I can't get that right there is no point! Additionally, the Hive Tyrant kit comes with two heads, so I have nothing to lose. To start off the project I identified the features of Cloudjumper's face that are the most important to replicate.

Obviously, I am never going to get it to look exactly the same (...and I wouldn't want to). I needed a challenge, however, and this seemed like something I could pour my creative energy into. Here is a picture of the bits I used and some stages of the construction process:

The metal piece is the lower jaw of an old school Ravener


After the greenstuff has cured I'll finish it off a bit neater with some filing, but overall I'm happy with the way the head has turned out. I'll leave it up to you to decide how close I got to the real thing.
...four wings...
See you across the table,

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Breaking into X-wing

A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I was starting to collect some miniatures for the X-wing game. They are pretty hard to find in Sydney, so most of mine have been purchased online. Well, a few days ago I walked into a random computer gaming store that had some stock but no customers! My jaw literally dropped. After composing myself I had a flick through the blisters and box-sets and settled on a TIE Defender (PC gaming nostalgia right there), a TIE Phantom and a Rebel Aces box because I love B-wings and A-wings are so damn fast. It will be very happy days when the supply of these figures starts to meet demand (well... at least my demand). Availability has been the greatest stumbling block for me breaking into the game, as the concept, artwork, miniature detail, rule-set and costs are all attractive.  
Wade picked some pieces up at PAX Australia this year (he was an "enforcer" or whatever you call them: dude who tells you where to find cool stuff and keeps the peace), as well as a cheap starfield mat. Last night we cracked open my new packs and had a training session. In my first game as the Rebel player, I tactically lost the battle in the second turn, by performing a manoeuvre that was poorly judged and left me in a stressed X-wing with two TIE fighters in my rear arc. I never shook them and they tag teamed over the next couple of turns to keep me perpetually under fire. Scratch one X-wing. The next game was a lot tighter, as we both started to predict each other's moves and understood the consequences of manoeuvres better. I picked another X-wing with Biggs Darklighter and R2-D2 as well as an A-wing with Jake Farrell and Marksmanship. I was hoping to use Biggs to draw fire away from the A-wing whilst it manoeuvred in close for some quick kills. Wade took my TIE defender with the best pilot available and a TIE fighter with some guy who is ridiculously hard to hit. 
I started the game by manoeuvring aggressively onto the right flank. Wade misjudged a move with his TIE fighter and hit some asteroids, which I was able to take advantage of and cause some damage with my A-wing. Already its speed and manoeuvrability were making an impact, though I could already see that it was going to take a lot of wasted shots to take down that TIE fighter pilot.

Expecting a midfield rush, the TIE's are flanked and weather the enfilade

Using the TIE defender as a deterrent, the TIE fighter manoeuvred to safety. After the X-wing took a pounding from the TIE defender, I managed to sucker the TIE fighter into another compromising position using the damaged X-wing as bait. The X-wing was taken out before it could fire but the A-wing's accurate response destroyed the TIE fighter. Thus began a deadly game of cat and mouse with the TIE Defender.

We traded tight manoeuvres and cannon fire for about half an hour all across the star field. We both had several chances to finish each other off but our lack of experiences in judging distances was telling. We both benefitted from each other's mistakes, only to emulate them later on.

Wade tries to take advantage of an ion cannon strike, but miscalculates the distance and overshoots; a temporary reprieve 

Wade scored a vital hit with his ion cannon, which ultimately ruined my chances of victory. He judged his last move well and unleashed a torrent of fire into the side of my disabled A-wing, destroying it utterly.

What a great game! X-wing is easy to pick up but can be intensely tactical, with plenty of scope for scenario and campaign play. The double-blind style of play is fun, adding a nice dose of random to the game. You really need to bend your brain and think about multiple contingencies if you want to play this well. I can't wait to have another crack at it with larger forces.

See you across the table,


Monday, 8 December 2014

Hive Fleet Numereji: Scythed Hierodule

Hi folks,

I hope you are all going well as we cruise towards the end of the year. It seems like a lot of the people I hang with, both physically and digitally, are feeling thin and stretched at the moment. I have one more day to go before I officially hit holiday mode, and I am just about ready to drop my bundle.

I have been scratching around the garage, cleaning up and getting projects ready for completion. Wifey acquired me some new shelves specifically for my To-Do list projects (thanks wifey!), which I am busy populating with undercoated and half-converted figures. In doing so I came across this fella that I am particularly proud of:

Assembling the miniature was a real challenge, requiring a lot of heating and bending of the legs and scything talons. I also spent a ridiculous amount of time shading his backside, which you can't really see unless you pick him up and turn him upside down!

I have used him in one game and he demolished everything. I know that is not indicative of how a Scythed Hierodule performs usually; there were very few things that could take him down in the opposition force, but it was a lot of fun at the time.

That's it for now. I have some gaming and painting lined up this week, so I should be back to normal blogging soon. I just need to get through tomorrow...

See you across the table,


Saturday, 29 November 2014

Hive Fleet Numereji: Deathleaper Completed

Deathleaper orchestrates a deadly ambush against Dark Angels of the 3rd Company.

Hi folks,

I managed to finish off Deathleaper last night during a quick burst of painting and modelling activity. I spent a little bit of time prepping my Swarmlord for painting, then posed Deathleaper's arms and painted them from undercoat to gloss varnish in less than an hour. I now have a HQ unit to lead my Hive Fleet in small battles, with half-a-dozen on the way (3 Hive Tyrants, Malanthrope, Old "Six" Eyes and a Tyranid Prime). When it rains it pours, huh!

"Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy; he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? Your gambols? Your songs? Your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar?"

I also managed to pick up some more terrain at a Reject Shop, whilst buying some decorations I needed to finish off the Christmas tree this year. The sandstone pillars in the photos cost me $7 each and have perfect little caves in them for heavy weapon teams and Biovores. Sadly, some poor gold fish is going to miss out this Christmas.

I am under no illusions that this guy is going to be anything but rubbish as a Warlord of my Hive Fleet. I have played enough games of the new edition to know how powerful a Flying Tyrant with Brainleech Devourers is, so one of those is in the works too. I also know how much of a glass cannon (slingshot?) a Lictor is; I can remember the days when they were rightly feared and that was a long time ago. Still... I love their little squid faces and the thought of having one lead my army makes me giggle on the inside. I plan on hiding him behind stuff and using him to guide my Mawloc and Trygon. Every now and then he may even kill a Space Marine...

See you across the table,