Friday, 26 December 2008

Steelhead Halberdiers

I've heard a lot of bad things about assembling these miniatures, but honestly I don't see what the problem is. Sure they're all 5-6 pieces each, but the only hard part is pinning the 'halberd hand' to the 'spare arm' piece. Once those two pieces (making up the halberd and both arms) are done, then the rest of the miniature is easy as pie.

Unfortunately my box of Steelheads has one extra left arm and is one right arm short, so it's time to start harassing the EU Frontdesk for some replacement parts...

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Gaming at Jim's House

I went to Jim Lawrence's house to play a couple of rounds of Warmachine today. The first day was a quick 500 point punch up between Magnus the Traitor and Siege. It was an intensely exciting game, with me chasing Siege around the board on his feeble single point of health, which I could just not knock off before he won by scenario.
The second game was a larger 1000 point brawl with two people on each team - Jim and Gordie playing Cryx, Thom and myself playing Khador with Mercenaries. It was also wildly exciting. There was a moment when I needed something stupid to hit the Deathjack (in melee, behind cover, with a strong lateral wind) with Disruptor from Magnus, so I closed my eyes, mumbled a prayer to the Dice Gods and proceeded to make the Deathjack my prison bitch. Unfortunately I also blew out its movement previously so the odds of it eating Mortenebra were low. I did hope I could lure Jim into bringing her in to repair it, but he popped a helldiver on Magnus so I didn't have enough focus to hit it with another Disruptor spell.
Unfortunately Thom lost eVlad in turn two to a ghostly Deathjack appearing on the other side of eVlad's cover. Thom has a weakness in his play style in that he exposes his warcaster. In my first game against him he left Irusk out in the open field so I dropped Obliterators on him. If he can get used to keeping his warcaster in cover for longer, then Thom's game should improve a lot. Don't mistake me thinking I'm better than Thom, I'm not (at least not yet) but his weakness is very easy to see since it's something of a game-ender.
Back to the game however, it was a game of a great many ups and downs. Despite losing eVlad (and thus Drago) we proceeded to stomp in the entire Cryx army (except for the Deathjack, some bonejacks and the respective warcasters). I managed to lure Gordie into leaving his bane knights clumped up together after they'd killed my Steelheads - a bit of tactical genius I'm particularly happy with. Then my Mangler with Frenzy charged in and ate the grouped up bane knights for breakfast.
In the end we lost however, I couldn't quite deal with the helldiver that appeared next to Magnus as well as killing the Leviathan Mortenebra brought back. It was just a little too much of a juggling act and Magnus finally bit the dust.
All in all, despite losing these games - I would have won the first one given more time or if I'd given a renegade one more focus - I feel I've learnt a great deal today. Jim said I was "scarily good" for someone who's played less than 20 games, which is a good sign for future improvement.

Things I've Learnt from this Game:
Stop giving my opponents good advice.
ALWAYS mumble prayers to the Dice Gods. Other people should not hear your prayers, they are for the Dice Gods only. Other people should be wondering what Higher Power you are tapping into for your stupendous rolls.
NEVER say the word "Average" in relation to the number you need to roll on the dice. This displeases the Dice Gods and you will forever wallow in the world of mediocre rolls. Or they will mock you and always make you roll a single point less than what is needed every time.
The Steelheads Holy Trinity - Halberdiers, Heavy Cavalry, and Stannis Brocker - are amazing. I finally have an expendable unit, a force that hits like a truck and a commander who appears to do damn near everything I need. Stannis Brocker was definitely the MVP of the 1000 point game. He even shot a bonejack to death. He's almost Chuck Norris!
Cast Blur on the Steelhead Halberdiers, you'll get another chance to cast Frenzy on the Mangler later... Forgetting to put Blur on the Halberdiers leads to dead Steelheads.
The opponent can be baited. Do not be afraid to sacrifice something to draw your opponent in. Once they're where you want them, destroy them utterly. If you fail to do so, you're more than likely screwed.
Play with a plan. Forming a plan on the fly is all well and good for some people, but having a rough idea of how to deal with specific problems helps greatly.
Watch the opponent. Find out if they are defensive or aggressive in their play style. Exploit weaknesses - defensive players may be out-maneuvered, aggressive players can be baited.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

News from Arcane Miniatures

Well my Steelheads were posted yesterday - much to my surprise, I wasn't expecting any news of delivery for ages. Russ at Arcane Miniatures has also told me that WarCogs will be available for ordering in January. I didn't ask about WarClaws, so I have no idea if he'll get those in.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Gaming Blog: No Game!

Alas Jim had to cancel tonight's game, but of course the reception on my mobile is non-existent in my flat so I didn't find out until I phoned Jim from the club.

I've order my Steelhead Halberdiers from Arcane Miniatures, but I think they may have been on back order - I should really check whether stuff is in stock before I send off my order... If they're on back order I'm in for a long wait. If not, then huzzah Steelheads just after Christmas. Oh well, my own fault if I've ordered the stuff on back order.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Game Blog: Defeated Again

Meh, not doing so well with my Magnus melee list. Lost against Dermot today with his trolls - he used Grim Angus. I thought my Kayazy's defence of 16 in melee would keep them safe against the champions, but noooooo, they got minced. I've come to realise that my list is lacking in supporting infantry. When my main unit is dead, I'm totally screwed. The solution appears to be to get me some Steelheads. Lots of Steelheads. It also didn't help that Dermot made bucketloads of tough rolls for the champions. Bloody things refused to die. I've also discovered Dermot talks really fast.

I think I'll order a full unit of Steelhead Halberdiers, get them done up, then order Stannis and finally the cavalry once everything's painted. The Holy Trinity of Steelheads should serve my needs rather than using some very fancy units and hoping they don't die.

Friday, 12 December 2008

December Painting Challenge

Things to Paint:
Mangler Heavy Warjack - done!
Renegade Light Warjack B - done!
Talon Light Warjack - done!

Lady Aiyana - done!
Master Holt

Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist
Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile - done!
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor

As you can see I'm churning through my list of models to paint this month, I may even get started on an actual unit! I've just finished my second renegade, though pictures will have to wait until the varnish is dry. I am Pleased with how this one came out, though I tried some new blending techniques that weren't so hot. I'm going to stick with my two brush technique from now on.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Upcoming Games

Saturday: Dermot (PhoenixBlaze) - Trollbloods
I met Dermot at the mixed 500 point tournament and he seemed like a nice enough chap. Though he is a rabid fanboi of elves... He was playing Grim Angus at the tournament, but I've heard talk he's picked up Borka the Kegslayer recently. I wish I'd picked up some Steelheads for this, Stannis Brocker would let me charge through rough terrain with his Furious Charge order. Alas, I'm not making any money at the moment so the Steelheads will have to wait. Devilsquid would be disappointed in me.

Anyway, back to Dermot. He's arranged to play Johanna and myself on Saturday, to my and Johanna's surprise, but hopefully the first game will go quickly so the second person will be fine for time/food/whatever. Of course there may be other bodies there to play games with, we'll just see how it all works out.

My List:
Magnus the Traitor
Mangler Heavy Warjack
Renegade Light Warjack
Renegade Light Warjack
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist
Kayazy Assassins (9)
Kayazy Assassins Underboss
Lady Aiyana and Master Holt

Tuesday: Jim Lawrence (Blighted) - Probably Cryx
Yet again I'm playing Jim and my aim shall be to stomp him utterly. Of course I'm going to lose through some random quirk of my unit placement that he uses to assassinate Magnus. My plan is to ram Orin Midwinter down the middle of his army and spam Null Magic once I've blown up his machine wraith with lightning. Yes, Jim uses the machine wraith. He loves that bloody thing.

My List:
Magnus the Traitor
Mangler Heavy Warjack
Renegade Light Warjack
Renegade Light Warjack
Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios
Gorman di Wulfe, Rogue Alchemist
Orin Midwinter, Rogue Inquisitor
Kayazy Assassins (8)
Kayazy Assassins Underboss

New Look

After about two hours of fiddling about I've finally managed to create a viewable gallery on this blog. Go me! I totally stole it from Ghettokore Studios. I also changed my blog's layout just to spice things up (oh how sad my life is).

As I get more things painted the image gallery at the top there should start filling up nicely with pictars of my mercenaries. If you feel the burning need to see my work in progress stuff, then you'll just have to click the link provided in my sidebar.

Painting Blog: Lady Aiyana

Wow, this was a total pain. The bottom half of Aiyana was great to paint, as was the cloak, though I feel I should go back and do some freehand once I have a design I like. Everything from her breasts up was a nightmare, it's just too crowded with crap that gets in the way of everything else. I've seen Chris Walton's concept sketches for Aiyana and one of the poses there would have been AMAZING to paint, but no, they used the crap pose.

I'm not happy with how Lady Aiyana turned out, she's nowhere near Magnus the Traitor or Dougal MacNaile in terms of painting quality. I just don't have it in me to dunk her in the paint stripper and start again. Perhaps when I've finished my mercenaries I'll go back and do all the things I've missed or want to restart...

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Painting Blog: Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile

A vital component in a shooting Magnus list, unfortunately Dougal appears to have an overload of random bits of crap on his chest. I have no idea what half the things are meant to be. Despite that, painting Dougal allowed me to experiment with bone and white colours, and I'm reasonably sure I can repeat the technique if I'm ever called to paint a Protectorate of Menoth model in the traditional colours. Some areas of colour are a little flat, so I may go back and correct those once I've done the remaining mercenaries.

Painting Blog: Talon Light Warjack

While I almost never use the talon, I thought I better paint it up since it's been sitting half done in a box since the dawn of time. It also means I've now finished the Magnus the Traitor battle box and if need be I could use it for battle box games to show beginners how to play. Not that I'd let any beginners touch Magnus at all, but still...

Painting Blog: Mangler Heavy Warjack

The mangler is now easily my favourite heavy warjack. I thought the mariner was great and all, but for smashing things in the face the mangler wins hands down. I really liked converting this miniature, though finding the fine chain was a bit of a problem. There's also some extra highlighting I think I could go back and do, but I'll finish the rest of my mercenaries first.

Clash of the Titans

Well, the tournament came and went. It was a very small affair. I managed to pull off my Affliction and renegade combo off once per game, and the highlight of my evening was killing Beast-09 and Drago in the same turn. I should have killed pVlad too but I rolled a double one to hit a knocked down Vlad with Affliction and didn't have enough focus left over on Fiona to recast it. That would have won me the game, but alas, it was not meant to be.

There were only six people at this tournament, compared to the 20 we had at the last one - I think the unusual format and amount of points seem to put people off. That and Christmas. Personally I prefer normal 500 points games, but I'm still a beginner, I haven't had a chance to test the waters of the 750 point game.

My first game was against Johanna, and it devolved into Magnus the Warlord and Magnus the Traitor using all their focus to drop each other down to about 3 health each in melee. Johanna managed to get Morghoul into the mix, but I'd activated Fiona's feat (opponent rolls 1 less dice on attack and damage rolls) so the Traitor survived. Next turn I totally had a brain fart with the Traitor - I was planning on killing the Warlord and then punching Morghoul - but instead tried to move to allow one of my light warjacks in so that it could kill Morghoul once I'd punched him. So that moved me out of melee range of the Warlord, who miraculously failed to kill the Traitor. I then hit Morghoul first try with the fist and that was the end of him. Next came the comedy of errors of me not realising Fiona has a reach weapon and when I did she couldn't hit the Warlord at all until the very last roll, where I had no focus to boost my attacks. I even said "Double six please." just before rolling for the damage. And lo, the Dice Gods did visit me and I was among the Blessed with a Double Six. Much rejoicing was to be had. I even remembered to thank my dice.

Game two was again Frazer, who pays Khador. He brought pVlad and pButcher, both character jacks, a pair of destroyers and a kodiak. In all fairness I should have won by scenario on turn two, Vlad was knocked down, a renegade was in charge range, all I needed to do was land Affliction on him. But alas, the Dice Gods giveth and the Dice Gods taketh away. So I got gubbed right after killing Drago and Beast-09. I also forgot to use Fiona's feat, and Frazer declined to let me activate it since I'd just said it was his turn. No sportsmanship award for j00!

Game three was against Andrew Paul. I simply lost by scenario because he had the first turn. The scenario we played puts whoever goes second at a massive disadvantage - it didn't help that Alan has modified the scenario to start points scoring on the second turn instead of the first - that meant Andrew scored two points of the needed 3 to win on his second turn (seeing as I have no advance deploy warjacks) and I had enemy warjacks in the zones I needed to score points from - so I gained nothing on my second turn. In all fairness we continued playing after Andrew had won and I got thoroughly ganked. Both Magnus and Fiona were on fire at one point before the Avatar of Menoth stepped in.

Johanna won the painting competition but gave half her prize to me (Anastasia DiBray and a GF9 smoke template - I got the template) which was very nice of her. While I do feel my Magnus is exceedingly well painted (cough cough, massage the ego) I'm not that bothered about prizes and stuff. If the judges feel that my colour scheme is weak, then it's weak, making a fuss about it does no one any good.

Overall I didn't really like the tournament. Unusual lists and small attendance made it disappointing. I did enjoy myself, but nowhere as much as I do a regular 500 point game. Johanna also ate my bourbons.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Gaming Blog: Jim Ganked Me

So... played Jim Lawrence at last. It only took a month for him to become available for a game. I brought my new mercenary list with a heavy melee influence - rather than the shooting one I was previously using. Jim brought Mortenebra, no Deathjack however. That didn't stop me dying to a caster kill on Turn 2 in the first game.

I think I could have won the second game we played (since the first one only lasted 30 mins, 15 of which was setting up the board) if I had parked my renegade in front of Jim's slayer so it couldn't trample all my kayazy assassins. I'd planned to do this but didn't leave a big enough gap between assassins for it to get through - I was fiddling with their placement before deciding that I'd let go of the miniatures and I'd have to live with my mistake. So they got trampled and it all went down hill from there. I'm sure Jim would have let me sort out their placement to my heart's content but I'm trying to learn to play quickly and to minimise my initial mistakes.

For those of you who don't know Jim, he wins just about every tournament known to man in Glasgow using his Khador, I think he's missing 2 gold cards from the ENTIRE Khador list. It's my long term goal to be able to beat Jim on a semi-regular basis with my mercenaries. It's somewhat unlikely that I'm going to succeed soon, he's been doing this for six years, I've played 8 games so far.

There's a special Rage and Rivets (Mangled Metal/Tooth and Claw mixed) 750 point tournament tomorrow at the QMU. We're allowed two warcasters/warlocks, I've chosen to bring Magnus the Traitor and Fiona the Black. Fiona's not the best warcaster to bring since she's very anti-infantry, but mix her spell Affliction with the shredder weapon on my renegades and there's going to be some very, very dead warjacks/warbeasts. Unfortunately I could only get hold of one spare renegade from a friend, so only 3 renegades of doom for me.

Lessons Learnt:
Advance as far into the table as possible as soon as possible. Use Magnus' feat if you have to.
Null Magic from Orin Midwinter is incredibly useful vs Mortenebra. Must remember to get him as far into the opponent's 'casting zone' as I can. Almost managed to pin down Mortenebra using Null Magic and the mangler.
Mortenebra can have a helljack in your deployment zone by turn 2. Leave no gaps in the defensive line where it can charge your warcaster.
Kill the bloody skarlock early. The less focus Mortenebra has the better.

Painting Blog: A Productive Day

While I don't have any nice pictures to post up of my latest progress, I've been chugging along with my mercenaries quite steadily in the last few days. I've finally finished up the talon from the battle box and Master Gunner Dougal MacNaile. Dougal appears to have a lot of crap around his chest area, most of which I can't identify. Are they fuses? Reloads for his quad-iron? Who knows? Dougal knows, but he's not telling. Master Holt appears to be suffering the same sort of cluttering effect.

I also can't stop taking Magnus and his battle box warjacks out of my travel box/bag and posing them together, they just look so damn cool now that everything's painted up.

Painting Blog: Renegade Light Warjack A

Just about everyone who's played against Magnus knows that he brings with him the maximum number of renegades he can squeeze into the army list, and my army is no exception. I actually did this renegade during the summer right after Madrak, so it hasn't benefited from all the neat new tricks I've learnt. Also the satin varnish I applied to it went cloudy (a sign it was too cold by the way) and ruins much of the paint job. Luckily I discovered that adding another layer of satin varnish and then leaving the miniature under a hot lamp removes 90% of the cloudiness, but it's still there in certain places, which irks me slightly.

A New Career

Now that I'm back in the swing of painting, I'm going to start taking painting commissions in the Glasgow area for Warmachine - though I haven't figured out if I'll do Hordes miniatures yet or not since I find most of them a nightmare to paint. Perhaps it's because I want to get the stuff I play painted as fast as possible and still looking good, but I find Hordes miniatures have too much exposed muscle-work. That means I take a bajillion times as long on a Hordes miniature as I do on a Warmachine one.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Painting Blog: Magnus the Traitor

So... some of you know I've been playing Warmachine lately and that I've been collecting a Mercenary army - specifically Magnus the Traitor and his buddies. Originally I was going to collect and play the Trollbloods, but after taking days and days and days of attempting to paint my impalers and then stripping them, repainting them, I gave up on the Trollbloods. They just take too long to paint the way I like. Luckily I found a Magnus the Traitor battle box in a packing crate during the Summer and tada, I'm a mercenary player now.

I had originally finished Magnus ages ago, but there were a few things I wanted to try out on other models and get my painting skills back up to scratch before I tried anything really advanced on him. I've gone back and done a little bit more highlighting on his cloak, gave him a 5 o'clock shadow on his face, touched up his gun (oooo ahhh) and put some battle damage on his sword. I've also gone back and removed the speckling on Foecleaver. Overall I'm quite pleased with how he came out, he's light years ahead of my Madrak.

So far I've done Magnus and one renegade warjack. My mangler and talon from the battle box were both half done and I've finally gotten off my arse to do them. Also, my mangler's wrecking ball chain broke so I had to go find some fine chain and repose the miniature. I've just finished doing the base coats for everything on the mangler, all it needs is some highlighting along the coloured armour plates and hey presto, it's done.

Without further ado however, here's Magnus.