Thursday, July 29, 2010

Painting Progress - 20100729

I've knocked out a couple of Skaven Rare choices over the past few days.  Both of them, strangely, repaints... something I've sworn I wouldn't do very often.  (Why repaint something you've already painted?)

I was pretty stoked about the wood effect I managed on the Warlord, and I'd had a 20% painted Doomwheel sitting in bits on my desk.  Last Sunday, I got the bug to put the wood and steel effect into use on it.  Shockingly, I was able to finish almost the whole thing in a day, wrapping it up the following afternoon.


It's not all the way done, I suppose.  I've still got the banner to do.. but I'm having a great deal of frustration with those at the moment.  So, I'm leaving those where they are.  I'll deal with them later.

This weekend, I got the notion that repainting the Warp Lightning Cannon I'd previously painted wouldn't be too hard.  I banged out most of it in the day.  The only thing that really kept it from being "done" until today was the crew.


I think it came out looking really good.

I did something a little different with the Warpstone.  I think it ultimately looks better, but it's not quite as striking at arm-length, which is unfortunate.

I did the usual Snot Green -> Goblin Green -> Golden Yellow.  Then I went a bit farther and threw in some Sunburst Yellow. before washing it with Thraka Green.  Then I washed it with a thin coat of Leviathan Purple on an impulse.  I think it made the green richer... but less vibrant.

I'd been half-considering what I was going to do for a Plagueclaw Catapult.  I'd run one last week (with an old Screaming Bell as a stand-in).  I haven't been particularly het up to convert one up because 1) I need to focus on painting and 2) I'm not sure I like the unit (it was particularly disappointing in this week's game), but the question of "how" had certainly been rattling around in my head.

Then, it occurred to me: Zvezda.  I'd ordered a Zvezda Siege Machines kit a long while back to use the ballista in my Harad army; it'd come with a catapult that I'd never bothered taking off the sprue.  So, I took it off the sprue.  Then I tarted it up a little bit with some Skaven bits.


Not going to win any awards or anything, but it'll do.  It's better than a proxy, at least.

Also, it was extremely cheap: ~$15 for a ballista and a catapult (plus some barricades).  That's a deal and a half, even if it's not perfect.

In case you couldn't tell, I'm very excited about painting Skaven, now.  I love the new basing scheme (rocky vs. swampy grass), and the colors of everything this side of the flesh are perfect (and I'm perversely stuck on the Bronzed Flesh).  Time to start plugging everything into a spreadsheet and planning on knocking this stuff out.  Also: grinding Clanrats.

Battlefoam! W00t!

Came home to a pretty large box: my Battlefoam came in the mail!


Originally, I'd been looking at shoving all of my Daemons into foam... but Casey was able to convince me that that was wasteful.  I've got a great transport solution for everything except for the Soul Grinders and Bloodthirsters... why spend several hundred dollars to fix what ain't broke when I could focus on what is?

So, I e-mailed Battle foam the shapes and asked them if they thought fitting everything into a single tray would be feasible.  After a bit (Origins happened shortly after my e-mail), they responded that three of the four shapes would definitely work... but that they wouldn't know if they could do all four without actually trying to do it.

I took the hint and decided it was my best chance, anyway.  After a bit of fiddling, they got back to me: success!  All four fit!

I might snag a PACK Plus to shove this thing in when they're released.  We'll see.

Monday, July 26, 2010

IFL 3rd Quarter RTT & AAR

Saturday, I ran the 3rd Quarter IFL RTT.

It was a 40K Tournament, using much of the NoVA Open structure, with the intent of giving our members an opportunity to get a feel for the format.  16 people made it out which, given the bracketing format, was perfect.  As we're about as local as it gets, Mike Brandt came by and helped make sure everything went smoothly.

Casey Campbell's Tyranids and Jeff Payne's Space Hogs (Space Wolves) went undefeated.  Doug McNaron's World Eaters won the Player's Choice award.

Scores and pairings can be found here.

A bit of a rambling AAR follows:

  • The format worked well.  I've run a bit hot and cold on it over the past several months, but it undeniably ran quite smoothly.

    In terms of matching and the hard side of things, the tournament practically ran itself.

  • Concerns about the bracketing approach frustrating some players with early losses weren't unfounded.  Several players were (vocally) upset about being matched up against known stronger players.  Before the tournament started, they "knew" that they didn't have a chance of winning the event.

    That can't really be helped.  And, fundamentally, it wouldn't be any different with a Swiss-style tournament save that the "you must be undefeated" expectation is explicit, rather than implicit.

    Ultimately, we had three players drop out of the tournament. One left due to frustration over two rough games, another having to leave in the name of spousal appeasement.  These two players coordinated their departure, to ensure it wouldn't impact the tournament.

  • The third departure had nothing (and everything) to do with frustration. Chris Shriner: at the top table in the third round, playing for one of the two "Undefeated Player" slots was called into work two-thirds of the way through the game.

  •  The soft score side of things was a disaster, in my opinion.  That's entirely my fault.

    For me, it's essential to have a soft score component to a tournament.  I think they're an important part of the hobby and, therefore, they need to be an important part of tournament.

    Unfortunately, because I'd been waiting for an indication of how the NoVA Open was going to handle Appearance and Sportsmanship awards, I put off announcing any system until it was too late.  (If you're going to use an objective Appearance checklist, you need to advertise what it is with sufficient time to let participants try to adhere to it.)  That meant I had to fall back on the "Player's Choice" approach we used at the last 40K IFL RTT: rank every other player.  Weight those ranks.  Whoever's ranked highest wins an award.

    I can't complain too much about this approach: I've won that award, but the approach is, overall, slapdash and doesn't value enough what I consider to be important.

    Furthermore, I 1) didn't allow for enough time for people to look at the other armies and 2) wasn't successfully able to get people to leave them out on display.

    Because Game Parlor keeps poor hours (11AM to 9PM), and the NoVA Open format allows for two hour, fifteen minute rounds, time was tight, so I only scheduled a 30 minute lunch break.  When all was said and done, I should and could have stretched that out to an hour.  We were packed up and done before 8:30 (closer to 8), so an extra 30 minutes wouldn't have hurt us.

    Yelling, "Don't put your armies away before lunch" wouldn't have hurt, either.

    I'm dissatisfied enough with how the soft stuff came out that I feel like I need to apologize to everyone for it.

  • Interesting thing: Mike Gatewood made an unhappy comment about how Doug always wins Best Appearance / Player's Choice / etc.  Suggesting that it was a bad thing that one person consistently wins the same award time and time again with the same army.  In some ways, that's fair.

    But really, I'm completely okay with that.  If you're tired of seeing someone win "Prettiest Army" again and again: step up.  Make an army that looks better than his, and bring it out.  If one player has an auto-win for that, it's certainly not their fault: it's the community's.

  • It looks like most everyone who made it out had a good time.  That's very important to me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

WHFB 8th FAQ

GW's FAQ'd  the Warhammer 8th core rulebook.

This is magnificent.  This is precisely how I want a gaming company to handle things.  Nothing's going to be perfect, but when you find something wrong: fix it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Further Skaven thoughts


Won my game on Tuesday. We rolled Dawn Attack, which helped me out a lot: most of his units were cramped into one flank while I got spread much units pretty evenly, with a number of units to place wherever I wanted.

My list was basically the one I've been running, but with the third clanrat unit dropped in favor of a Warp-Lightning Cannon and a Plagueclaw Catapult; I've really not spending enough of my Rare allowance and I wanted to give them a try.  Unfortunately, neither really got the chance to do much.  So, I'll have to experiment with them some more.

Here's the list I'll be running next week:
20100727
Skaven - 2,500 points

Lords
Warlord (General) - Enchanted Shield, Talisman of Protection, Warlock-Augmented Weapon

Heroes
Chieftain (BSB) -  Shield, Storm Banner
Warlock Engineer - Lvl 2, Doomrocket, Warp-Energy Condenser
Warlock Engineer - Lvl 2, Dispel Scroll

Core
Clanrats x29 - Full Command, Shields
- Poisoned Wind Mortar
Clanrats x29 - Full Command, Shields
- Doom Flayer
Skavenslaves x30 - Champion, Musician, Shields
Skavenslaves x29 - Champion, Musician, Shields
Stormvermin x30 - Full Command, Banner of the Under-Empire
- Poisoned Wind Mortar

Special
Gutter Runners x6 - Slings, Poisoned Attacks
Rat Ogres x6 - Master-Bred, Packmaster x3
Rat Ogres x6 - Master-Bred, Packmaster x3

Rare
Doomwheel
Plagueclaw Catapult
Warp Lightning Cannon
So, with a few games under my belt:

Dumping the sixth big block of troops worked really well for me: I've had problems getting in my own way with so many blocks.  I'm continuing to spend those points on war machines, in the name of science.

I'm really happy with the Warlord's kit.  He's hard to kill, with a 3+/4+ and kills hard enough with 5 S5 Attacks.  Ditto with the BSB.  Stormbanner's far too key to Skaven survivability, and I can't think of a better banner for him to take.  The Engineers have done well by me, though I need to learn to hold  on to the Doomrocket a little longer: if I wait a turn or two, I won't have to shoot as far, won't have to roll as many dice, and will be more accurate.

The Mortars have done okay by me so far.  The Doom Flayer hasn't really had the chance to shine, though.  It should get a respectable number of wounds, though, which will offset the lack of killiness of the clanrats.

I've been incredibly pleased with the blocks of 30 Slaves.  At 20 Slaves, I felt that the unit wasn't worth taking at any cost.  At 30, things are very different.  They will be Steadfast.  When they blow up, they will cause a respectable number of wounds.  I hated them at 20.  I like them, a lot, at 30.  Now I'm going to try them out with a Champion: he won't make a difference in terms of CR, but he'll keep more bodies in the unit, which will help with the Steadfast/Cornered Rats.  I might even drop the Musician; it's not like I flee with these guys any more: they're better at controlling enemy units holding them in place than drawing them into hard-to-fail charges.

Clanrats are clanrats.  They don't really kill much of anything.  The Parry save has made them a little more survivable, I've found.  They don't win combat any more... Static 5 CR is now Static 4 CR and that's worth precious little now, but they don't go anywhere.  Steadfast + Strength In Numbers means they just grind away at the enemy (which is effective, though not especially dramatic) or they hold them long enough to get the Stormvermin or Rat Ogres into the flank.

One them I have learned, though, is that if Slaves are in the front, I do not want to flank.  They give up so many wounds that it just means whatever I'm flanking with is going to lose combat, too.

I've replaced them with Gutter Runners, which will be more dangerous (even at half the model count) with with a higher WS/BS/I, and Poison.  Plus they should be more effective at countering war machines with the improved Scout rules and Sneaky Infiltrators.

I've dropped the Night Runners.  They really haven't impressed me at all.  The only time they've really shone is when 10 of them held a building against a bunch of Ogres: the Building rules had them throwing out 20 attacks, which looked kind of nasty.  Every other time, they've done little more than ineffectually plink some slings against models.

I love the Rat Ogre units more and more every time I run them.  The Master-Bred goes before most things, and the Rat Ogres go before a lot of things.  21 S5 attacks by Initiative 4 really adds a lot of punch that the Skaven need help with.  The Packmasters and Stomp attacks don't hurt, either.  Easily my favorite unit, post-8th.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Web Presence Meta-blogging


Swank!  My Warlord made the FTW Tuesday Top Ten this week.  This is the second time I've made the list; the first time was with my Warlock Engineer last October.

Playing around with Google Analytics is interesting.

It's neat to see the bump that a new post (or a shout out on another's blog, or the TTT) provides.  What's even more interesting is to see how people are getting to your blog, and what they're looking at when they get there.

For example, about of the third of the people who visit this blog come to it straight from Google.  About as many come here from the IFL Forum, which is interesting; the link is in my signature there, but I wouldn't expect to get all that much traffic from people clicking the link in my signature.

Less than that, I get a number of hits from From the Warp, though not nearly as many as I used to.  I attribute that to FTW's pretty massive growth over the past year: I might still be listed under Group I, but it's hard to be noticed with so many other posts.  (I probably should do some brainstorming to see if I can come up with another way for Ron to display recent posts: tucked away in a sidebar isn't the best way to scan FTW activity.)  I also get a surprising amount of activity from Jay's blog; enough that it's my #8 entrance source.

What's really interesting is what people are looking for.  Some newer posts are seeing a bit of activity (the Dawn Power Dissolver post, the aforementioned Warlord post), sure, but the stuff that brings all the boys to the yard (as it were) are a bunch of Skaven conversions I posted back in December, my various Hellpit Abomination WIP posts, and my Bloodletter painting "tutorial".  It's fascinating to see what has legs and actually goes on to contribute to other people's hobby.  Quite satisfying and flattering.

Wholly unrelated to my electronic ego: I turned up a link to WIP Warhammer 8th Army Builder file (the link to the current version is down at the bottom of the thread).

It appears to update army construction to use percentages and include the most of the new magic items (all the ones I'm using in my list, at least), so that means it's good enough for me for now.

Image via the always-brilliant Married to the Sea, w/o permission.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Skaven Warlord

I finished a Warlord (not the Rat Ogre one) last night and I'm extremely pleased with him.  If I could get all of my models looking this good: I'd probably be insufferable. :)



Because I love the way some of these colors look, I thought I'd break down how I painted them... starting with the colors I think are really, really great:

Iron Armor / Weapons
GW Boltgun Metal
GW Mithril Silver highlights
3:3:2 GW Badab Black, GW Asurmen Blue, water wash

Wood
GW Khemri Brown
P3 Hammerfall Khaki drybrush
GW Devlan Mud wash

Warpstone Blade
GW Snot Green
GW Golden Yellow heavy drybrush
GW Thraka Green wash

Stone
P3 Cryx Bane Base
P3 Cryx Bane Highlight heavy drybrush
P3 Hammerfall Khaki drybrush

(it gets boring from this part down)

Black Fur
P3 Thamar Black
P3 Coal Black heavy drybrush
GW Shadow Grey drybrush
GW Badab Black wash

Gold 
GW Bestial Brown
GW Shining Gold (over the Bestial Brown)
GW Burnished Gold highlights
GW Devlan Mud wash

Red Cloth
GW Scab Red
GW Red Gore layered
P3 Skorne Red highlights
GW Baal Red wash

Grey Cloth
GW Adeptus Battlegrey
GW Codex Grey layered
GW Fortress Grey highlights
GW Badab Black wash

Leather Straps
GW Bestial Brown
GW Snakebite Leather highlights
GW Devlan Mud wash

Skin
GW Darkened Flesh
GW Bronzed Flesh layered
GW Elf Flesh highlights
5:3:2:2 GW Devlan Mud, GW OgrynFlesh, water, matte medium wash
(just as easily GW Devlan Mud wash)

Eyes
GW Goblin Green
GW Scorpion Green dot
GW Thraka Green wash

Teeth, Claws, Bone
P3 Menoth White Base
P3 Morrow White highlight
GW Devlan Mud wash

So, you can pretty much tell that most everything is a base, maybe a mid-tone layered in, a highlight, and a wash.  Those GW washes are really nothing short of magnificent.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Warhammer 8th Updated FAQs


In case nobody noticed (since they don't seem to have advertised it), GW has updated the Warhammer 8th FAQs.

This is magnificent news. Not that I've looked to closely at the updated FAQs, mind you, but it indicates an approach to FAQs that's pretty revolutionary for Games Workshop. I don't think anyone wants to see the FAQs change weekly, mind, but I can't think of anyone* who doesn't want to see them be updated when they need updating.

(Because I'm primarily concerned with Skaven), one thing the update did, however, was remove an FAQ: the "Q: Does Strength in Numbers apply to Steadfast rolls? A: Yes."  (I'm paraphrasing, here, because my print out of 1.0 is at home and 1.1 removed it.)

This will cause a little heartburn because it doesn't exactly mean "No."  The second item in the errata is:
Page 33 – Strength in Numbers
Change the second sentence of the first paragraph to “Units with the Strength in Numbers special rule add their current rank bonus to their Leadership value for any Leadership test.”
That Steadfast test is a Leadership test.  The rulebook says, "Take the Leadership test on your unmodified Leadership."  The army book says, "Sure, but always add your rank bonus to your Leadership."  Armybook > rulebook, and all that.

I'm also pretty sure that, when the rulebook says, "unmodified," it's specifically in the context of modifying your Leadership by the combat resolution value.  Otherwise, things like the Standard of Discipline aren't applicable, either:  "We've got a magical standard that makes us braver but, because there are more of us than you, we don't get to use it."

It certainly doesn't feel right: the entire point of Strength in Numbers is to represent individual Skaven being extremely cowardly... but quite brave when there are heaps of them.  It also makes Slaves, a unit the army's supposed to rely on, that I'm already fairly frustrated with, wholly useless: Steadfast on a 2.

Anyway, I don't think it's crazy to think SiN doesn't apply.  The FAQ was there: now it's not.  One must assume that was intentional.  In earlier editions of the game, it kinda-sorta didn't apply.

Fortunately, it looks like most of the other guys who play Fantasy agree with me that it probably does apply.

I did want to take a moment to mention all the goofy accessories that came out with the new edition.  I'm a complete sucker for stuff like this; I really am.

I kind of wish I weren't, though: I'm pretty unimpressed with the Warhammer 8th tchotchkes.

The Engineer's ranging set is unneccessary.  Why use a not-particularly-rigid folding ruler when you could use a measuring tape that's just as flexible, measures farther and takes up less space?  This thing would be less of a disappointment if it didn't bend so much.  The calipers are neat... but equally unnecessary.

The dice are interesting looking, but have a weird weight to them.  Of all of the accessories, these are the least bad.  I'm going to use them as casting/dispelling pool dice, since I'm unlikely to accidentally pick them up and roll them for something else.  I think

The templates are... very cool looking, but impractical.  I'm not talking about some asshat arguing that the flames touching bases count, but rather that you can't see through all that detail.  That makes it harder to count bases.  The flame template isn't too bad, the large blast template isn't great, and the small blast template is nearly unusable.

Kind of disappointing.

* I did come across a blog post (that I can't seem to dig up again or I'd link to it) last week about how that GW had to release the FAQs along with 8th was a terrible thing (as opposed to simply updating all 15 armies with new books at the same time).  Such a position is, in my opinion, preposterous.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Painting Progress - 20100714



It's been dead quiet 'round here, mostly on account of work being a bastard.  I expect that will pass when July does.

That said, I have gotten a few things done:

I've been plugging away at finishing the Bloodcrushers that have taken me, what, two months to paint?  God, I've really grown to hate these things.  Fortunately, I'm done with them.  (Just in time for plastic Bloodcrushers to be confirmed.  Bah.)


Nothing new here, really.  Painted up about the same as the other batch of Bloodcrushers, except they've been squad-marked with blood on their hands.  I suppose a strong argument could be made that, in general, they don't look as good as the other batch: that wouldn't surprise me.  I've hated these guys for a couple of weeks now.

Next on the docket for the Daemons is a few Bloodletters.  I need to assemble and paint the models to give each octet the full range of non-musician icons (so, four regular bloodletters to replace Fury and Icon 'Letters and an Icon 'Letter), bumping the octets to ten models each.  (Shut up.)  After that, I need to build my second Chariot of Khorne.

Before I do any of that, though, I'm going to paint some Skaven.

I've started plugging away at a few characters, looking for some easy wins (after the interminable Bloodcrushers) and to build up a little momentum.    That means the Warlord on Bonebreaker Rat Ogre, the BSB and a random other Warlord/Chieftain built primarily out of Stormvermin bits.

Some WIPs:


I am wholly displeased with how the flesh turned out.  It took me so freaking long to get coverage out of the Bronzed Flesh, I don't know that I'm up to stripping it down and starting it over.  Mike's been pushing me to put the mini in the Golden Daemon, as it's a neat conversion... but not like this.


The BSB is coming along much better, however.  I'm quite pleased that I was able to replicate the armor on my Stormvermin.  The banner itself is going to be a separate undertaking.


Not much on the Warlord yet.

I've have spent some time over the past few weeks stripping some Skaven minis I'd gotten in some lots a couple of years ago.  The Power Dissolver is king.  That said, I do have to revise previous statements re: Power Dissolver and gloves.  For a few minis, gloves aren't really necessary.  When stripping a pile, however, it really will dry out your fingertips... so I've started to use gloves.  Thought I'd mention that.

Finally, my buddy Mike's started up his own hobby blog: The Black Ark Apathy.  He's out near Cupertino now, and is looking for folks to square base it up with.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Skaven List


I've fiddled a bit with the list I ran on Tuesday, and I think I've got it in a state ready for Tuesday.
8th Test Army
Skaven - 2,500 points

Lords
Warlord (General) - Bonebreaker, Shield, Warlock-Augmented Weapon, (Heavy Armor w/ 4+ Ward save)*

Heroes
Chieftain (BSB) -  Shield, Storm Banner
Warlock Engineer - Lvl 2, Dispel Scroll, Warp-Energy Condenser
Warlock Engineer - Lvl 2, Doomrocket

Core
Clanrats x29 - Full Command, Shields
- Poisoned Wind Mortar
Clanrats x29 - Full Command, Shields
- Poisoned Wind Mortar
Clanrats x29 - Full Command, Shields
- Poisoned Wind Mortar
Night Runners x10 - Sling
Night Runners x10 - Sling
Stormvermin x30 - Full Command
Skavenslaves x20
Skavenslaves x20

Special
Rat Ogres x6 - Master-Bred, Packmaster x3
Rat Ogres x6 - Master-Bred, Packmaster x3

Rare
Doomwheel

* Whatever it's called.
Some thoughts:

- If what I've heard about having to use non-hand weapons if you have them is true, shields are worthless on Stormvermin, as they must always use their halberds.  I think I'm at peace with that: their save w/o shield is the same as that of the clanrats with them.

- Part of me wants to take more Slaves, but I don't see the points.  I'd have to cash in a block of Clanrats for them, which I don't think would do me much good.

- Doomrocket's back in.

- The Warlord's kind of juiced up now: he'll have a 3+/4+ save and will spit out ten S 5 attacks.  A bit pricey, though.  I could see dropping the WAW for something cheaper + Slaves, maybe.

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