Sunday, 17 July 2016

X-wing: Game with the Wifey Part 2

Hi folks,

For my Birthday this year I got the Imperial Veterans expansion pack for X-wing from the wifey (SQUEEE!). She offered to let me test fly the new ships against her, but knowing how jammy the TIE Defender is, I suggested that she take the new Imperials instead.

Wifey took "Deathfire" (TIE Bomber, extra munitions and cluster mines), as well as Countess Ryad (TIE Defender, Expert Handling, Tractor Beam and TIE/D) for a 60 point list. Facing off against that, I chose Nera Dantels (B-wing, Dead Eye, Advanced Proton Torpedoes, Heavy Laser Cannon, B-wing/E2 and Recon Specialist), as well as a Prototype Pilot (A-wing), which came in at 61 points.

The TIEs maneuver towards a flanking position.

I got off to a cracking start, dealing 4 damage (including a critical hit) to the TIE Bomber with the B-wing's Heavy Laser Cannon. The next turn the Bomber dropped some Cluster Mines before being taken out by my A-wing.  The mines were in a great position to cause me trouble... after maneuvering to avoid them, the B-wing was hit with the Tractor Beam and pushed back into the mines! With reduced agility, the Defender had no troubles dealing even more damage to my floundering B-wing.

Tractor Beams are great for moving enemy ships into obstacles, such as mines...

 I maneuvered both ships to fire on the Defender during the next turn. I snuck the B-wing into range 1 for a shot with the Advanced Proton Torpedoes, but again the Tractor Beam hit, knocking my ship back to range 2. The Defender's primary weapon chewed through more hull points, leaving me with one remaining. Together, the B-wing and the A-wing were able to strip the TIE Defender's shields.

I imagine most people use the Tractor Beam to bring ships closer, but wifey did the opposite, keeping the Advanced Proton Torpedoes on the B-wing out of range.

Now that we were up close and personal, wifey started using Countess Ryad's outrageously good K-turns to keep me in her sights.  She used a Tractor Beam hit to nudge me out of range 1, preventing Nera from using her special ability to fire the Advanced Proton Torpedoes. She needn't have worried though, primary weapon fire destroyed the B-wing before it could get a shot off.

With no defense dice, the B-wing is a very expensive, well armed and crewed, duck.

The A-wing managed to remove a Hull Point off the Defender, before we engaged in a tense dogfight for about half an hour of playing time. The tractor beam had been the perfect foil for the B-wing, but the A-wing avoided that fire more easily. Eventually, though, the plucky A-wing ran out of luck:

Three eyeballs on a turn when wifey decided to focus... it was always going to end badly.

Another victory for the wifey! Damn...

Best 3 out of 5?


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Tyranids: Spawn of Cryptus TO-DONE!

Hi folks,

It was my Birthday yesterday (YAY!) and to celebrate I bought myself one of these critters. The Spawn of Cryptus is a fantastic model. I very nearly bought the Deathstorm set just to get hold of one, but I never got around to it. The pose manages to convey a lot of things all in one go: creepiness, alien intelligence, agility, strength and brutality. The budding capillary tower on the base is also nice touch.

I have painted the Spawn of Cryptus in the same metallic scheme as the rest of my Hive Fleet, with the help of some Leadbelchers spray I finally picked up at my local GW. The blood effects were all done with Tamiya Clear Red and Nuln Oil. Next time, I think I will use sepia instead of the black wash.


I had an idea that the Broodlord could be feeding the growing capillary tower with vital fluids, which he is psychically channeling into it. Of course to do that, he had to taste it first...

Where the Broodlord is attached to the Capillary Tower, I used a small pin to add a bit more support while the polystyrene glue dried. It is wonderfully balanced on its perch, though.

Hurray for quick paint jobs! This guy clocked in at just over three hours, mainly due to drying times between Clear Red and other washes. Thankfully, the sculptor spent far more time than this producing an exceptional model.

See you across the table,


Thursday, 7 July 2016

Restoring Battletech Miniatures

Hi folks,

Battletech was my first foray into the world of tabletop wargaming, back in my first year of highschool (1994). At that stage, the game was already 10 years old and having a lot of intellectual property issues. Basically, the founders of the game had used a bunch of Mech designs from different Japanese animes, that they thought they had rights to, but they didn't. As fans of both Battletech and Japanese anime, my gaming group utterly adored those designs. We ordered in a bunch of miniatures from mail order and waited. And waited.

But they never came.

Overnight, the Mechs we loved disappeared from all of the books and the miniatures were no longer available. They were now referred to as "The Unseen". KuriboGoomba was lucky enough to get four miniatures (a "Lance") of heavy Mechs from his older brother. They were... precious... to us. By then we were playing around with 40K models, so Goomba had a go assembling them and had a shocking time of it. The polystyrene cement seemed to bounce off this stuff, so he ended up using some horribly thick superglue; I think it was the type of glue you use to build houses. Years of being thrown around in a school bag wrecked those figures and we didn't have the skills to put them back together. Then they went missing.

Until now...

O. M. G. (whimpers just a little)

After moving back from Japan, Goomba found this box in storage and brought it over to me. When I opened it, they were like the fricken Shards of Narsil. There were lots of broken or miscast parts, bent pieces and poorly assembled horribleness coated in... I don't know... house paint or something. Still, my heart melted instantly. Here was a little piece of our childhood, in a battered black box covered in pictures of Mechs that had disappeared, overnight, 20 years ago.

I couldn't make any promises; I had no idea what they were made of and all I could remember was the horrible time we had putting them together in the first place. But, dammit, I was going to try. Prayers were said to Crom and I went about using every trick I have learned in the intervening 20 years to put things right.

First step, I gave the four Mechs a long bath in Simple Green. After a careful rinse in clean water, the paint layers flaked off with the help of a sharp sculpting tool (I call it the "Spear of Destiny").

Underneath, I found that the models were in fact cast in resin, which explains how useless the polystyrene cement was all those years ago. I was happy with this, because I knew I could heat up and bend resin, as well as drill it and pin it easily. So, armed with a pin vice, pins and green stuff, I started re-assembling the hell out of them.

This should give you an idea of the size of the green-stuff balls I stuff down the pin holes. I don't always bother pinning resin, but these figures don't go together well and could do with the support.

A little pin in the right shoulder for the SRM 6.

I used water at just under boiling point to heat some parts and bend them. After many (many) hours of some of the most precise pinning I have ever done, I was finally able to give them a white undercoat. For all their faults, I have never been so proud about a modelling project.

Two Warhammers. The searchlights and SRM 6 launchers were impossible to assemble without well placed pins. The PPC's required the most bending of all the pieces.

Battlemaster. All one piece: the easiest of the four.

Marauder.  By far the most difficult; I received it in a few too many pieces!

During the next stage I will need to do some sculpting work on the bases. After that, I can start painting these guys up as ComStar Mechs, as a late Birthday present for Goomba (20 years late!).

See you across the table,


Saturday, 2 July 2016

Tyranids: Swarmlord TO-DONE!

Hi folks,

I celebrated the start of the winter holidays last night with a couple of burritos and some painting. My Swarmlord was very close to completion last week, but work kept me very busy, right until the death! As I have mentioned before, the paint scheme for these guys is pretty easy, but I tend to pour a lot of time into the details, particularly of character figures. As a result, the finishing touches on this guy took me all night.

Most of that time was spent loading as much depth into the true metallics as I could, particularly on the swords and the shoulder armour. I originally experimented with all kinds of glowing green and purple blends for the swords, but it just didn't work for me.

I also added a splash of Tamiya Clear Red and Nuln Oil on the pincer tail. Some poor guy obviously wasn't important enough to use the swords on...

I added two laser cut purple flowers to the base, one of which you can just see near the second loop of the Swarm Lord's tail. They are less conspicuous than the ferns that I usually use, and the colour ties in nicely with the purple I use on my Nids gums and other fleshy parts.

I used to use the Swarmlord in a scary list packed full of Genestealers (or as I liked to call them, the Broodlord delivery service), Mawlocs and Deathleaper. He would slither up the board with his guard while critters were popping up all in your grill; so much fun! The list doesn't work so well these days, but I am keen to give him a go now that I have finished the paint job.

Before those days, the pieces that make up this Swarmlord used to be a flying Hive Tyrant, with large dragonfly wings and twin scything talons. To fill the winged Tyrant shaped hole in my collection, I'll be painting a very special conversion over the next week (month?). To speed up an already fast process, I managed to pick up a can of Leadbelchers spray at my local GW. I should be able to knock over the last two Tyranid projects of my 2015/16 To-Do list sometime during these holidays. For now, though, I am content to give myself a Big Green Stamp and place this guy on the shelf behind his snakey Tyrant Guard meatshields.

See you across the table,