Monday, 30 November 2009

Epic Win - my Grand Tournament Report

This weekend my housemate and I made the long trip from the deep south to Mansfield to attend the last Epic tournament of the 2009 season - the Epic UK Grand Tournament. I had my spangly new well-behaved Dark Angels and Ole had his Biel-Tann.

Dark Angels



I was quite nervous. I'd had only two games with Space Marines prior to this (one proxying with Si's Shadow Scorpions and one with my own figures) and had lost horribly both times. In fact, the second game was disastrous as by turn three I was left with only a single Thunderbolt, and that was only because it chose to stand down to avoid a completely humiliating defeat. And that was against Ole who was only on his second game of Epic ever. It seems that my air assault Space Marines were as fragile and underpowered as their most vocal critics would have me believe. Add to that my last Epic event (May's Club Challenge) had me finishing last and I was expecting to achieve a whole new low in gaming history. But hey ho, at least my army was nicely painted. Not that it would stay on the table long enough for anyone to spot the squad markings.

The list I eventually settled on was:

Tactical formation
   Supreme Commander
   Hunter
   Razorback - twin lascannon

Devastator formation

Devastator formation

Terminator formation
   Chaplain

Land Speeders

Thunderhawk

Thunderhawk

Strike Cruiser

Thunderbolts

Reaver Titan

So, I consulting Grand Master Jeridian (Si) for how to make my Marines work. Paraphrasing the exhaustive essay he provided from his years of experience pilotting Thunderhawks to their dooms the plan was:


  • Choose corners to cluster for the benefit of my Strike Cruiser's orbital bombardment


  • Keep the Tacticals on my Blitz to ensure the survivial of the Supreme Commander re-roll


  • Sneakily advance the Titan until turn 2-3 when it would stride forth into the middle of the enemy


  • Swoop in with the Thuuderhawks and land the Devesators for lots of mutually-supporting engagements and crossfires


  • Have the Terminators on hand to open up a second front or support as needed


  • Use the Land Speeders as zippy harassing units that could swoop in on objectives in the later turns



As Si says: "SR5 and the mobility does make the army great fun to use though, as YOU get to decide when, where and what happens in the game."

So, how did it go?

Game 1 - Mark Preston's Black Legion

Mark Preston! By way of cool coincidence we'd already played each other at the Club Challenge, where Mark had been using his Dark Angels pretending to be just regular Space Marines. Mark was borrowing some beautiful Black Legion that were surprisingly Daemon-free. However, that didn't stop my regular anti-Chaos strategy of exterminating the closest units to prevent Daemon-bombing. Turn three 0-2 defeat.


Game 2 - Matt Otter's Orks

Orks - the army I'm most familiar with their strengths and weaknesses. However, I made a fatal mistake of sending in a Dev Thudnerhawk to engage a large Boyz formation spread over two objectives - effectively committing suicide. I should have simply landed to contest objectives and drag out the inevitable another turn. I did however spectacularly set fire to his Gargant and destroy it - the one time I achieved Break Their Spirit. Some sort of loss for me, but it was technically a by so I got the points for a 2-0 turn three victory.


Game 3 - Matt Arnold's Space Marines

Aha! Some Blood Angels pretending to be just regular Space Marines. I just need to play some Black Templars and White Scars now...

Turn one went very well with Matt teleporting his Terminators immediately and pushing forward with his Warhound. I focussed everything on a counter assault and wiped out both, feeling very confident I'd eliminated his main threat units. However, I had over-committed and his counter-counter assault broke my Reaver, and not even the Deathwing teleporting into ruins straight on top of his Blitz could stop this being another turn three 0-2 defeat.


Game 4 - Kevin Bott's Biel Tann

Against received wisdom I avoided drop-podding anything in. Though it would protect the incoming units from the horrific Eldar AA I wanted some maneuverability to counter the Eldar's insanely fast marching jetbikes. I focussed on breaking Kev's Revenants to deny him their awesome firepower and also allow me to air assault without running the gauntlet of their AA.

Turn three held some appalling activation rolls for Kevin, and the normally hyper-maneuverable Eldar were unable to perform their regular objective-grabbing marches, letting me win turn four 2-0.


Game 5 - Andy Harris' Biel Tann

Apparently the worst Eldar list to have ever graced the planet. Buoyed up by the success of mounting the Devs in Thunderhawks rather than the Strike Cruiser I did it once more. Very dangerous as Andy had Nightwings and a Vampire. After two largely bloodless turns of maneuvering for an all-out air assault Andy masterfully broke my Reaver before I could use it as a fire base for air assault Devs. Instead I used the Devs instead to cause Andy a lot of difficult decisions in where to press me in order to get objectives.

No-one had won on objectives by turn four, so it went to victory points which Andy had easily more than the 150 difference with the annihilation of my prized Terminators.

So, five great games and not that shabby a performance - one win, one drawn, one bi and two losses. Yes! A win! And the points for painting catapulted me up to nine of fifteen. With the bonus points for attending the GT, and playing different armies that also starts to lift me away from the bottom spots on the 2009 Championship.

But best of all, my Dark Angels got the Judge's Choice painting trophy.


Cup of Titan



In the aftermath, the plan was fairly solid. It falls down if the opponent anticipates the all-out assault and dig in with overwatch.

The only let-down was the Strike Cruiser. Rather than lazily bombard the deployment zone turn I experimented with clustering my objectives and plotting a turn 3 bombardment to place Blast Markers before I began my air assault. It did work, but was quite a gamble. 200 points is a lot to pay for the one attack, and not once did I use it for drop-podding. I think I'll drop it at 3000 in favour of some Scouts or Speeders to give me an additional formation on the ground to get objectives and support the handful of ground formation that aren't flying or teleporting in.

So, all in all a great event. I particularly enjoyed attending the Epic UK Annual General Meeting which was almost drowned out by the David Bowie tribute act in a pirate hat we were sharing the venue with. The best way to judge whether an event's been enjoyable for me is whether I want to play another game that week, and start painting my next army as soon as I get home, and this was very definitely one of them. Many thanks to all the Epic UK organisation and efforts. And thanks to all five opponents for five brain-sweating games (and not defeating me in the humiliating fashion I was expecting).

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Posted by Curis at 7:25 pm

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Fledgling Horror Squad- Project Change X

And so, by accident I've assembled my first game-legal unit in Project Change - five Blue Horrors. That's a troop choice under the current Codex Chaos Daemons. (Well, technically not as they say Blue Horrors should be mounted two to a 25mm base but boo sucks. I'll probably get round this by insisting we all play second edition 40K where they had rules for splitting.)

Argh!  The Horror!



Yes, this is yet another Generation One Blue Horror. Rather than painting the arms from the elbow up as pink as I have with the other four I tried another shade of blue. Honestly, I'm not too keen but I can always change it later.

I've also started carving out the ends of the fingers on my Horrors, rather than painting them as holes. I need to go back and change the others eventually.

In other news, I've just come back from the Epic UK Grand Tournament where spookily I ranked ninth. More on this awesome event tomorrow.

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Posted by Curis at 9:09 pm

Friday, 20 November 2009

Classic Lord of Change - Project Change IX

The ninth update for Project Change. That means something a bit special. A classic first generation Lord of Change - the Greater Daemon of Tzeentch.

Lord of Ch-ch-changes



He's mounted on a 40mm round base, but I've also made him a special 50mm square base with a circle cut out which he slots snugly inside should I ever want to use him for games of Warhammer Fantasy.

All your base



Lord of Ch-ch-changes



Seeing this now brings home a little how plain my basing scheme is. I need something to jazz it up a little. And maybe rework the grass.

Working through Citadel 1991 Catalogue 2 it turns out there are a colossal 36 different combinations of the first Lords of Change - (6 heads x 3 bodies x 2 tails x 1 wings = 36). I am considering collecting and assembling them all. Though collecting just six to showcase each of the different heads may be enough. I shall enjoy agonising over it for a few months.

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Posted by Curis at 9:09 am

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Dark Angels Strike Cruiser

Carrying on the prepation for this month's Epic UK Grand Tournament, I've dug out my converted Strike Cruiser. Annoyingly this is one of my favourite models but one of the few that's not made the cut in the cut-down tournament list. (It was in for Britcon which was 4000, but this event is only 3000). In fact, most my favourite detachments in terms of painted models have been cut - Landing Craft, Scouts and Land Raiders.

Out of the sky, rockets ignite, jets into battle flying faster than light



This Strike Cruiser is not the standard BFG one, but a Forge World Grey Knight Strike Cruiser. I've got a retro vibe going in my Dark Angels, and the smooth angular plain surfaces of the Grey Knight version evokes this really nicely.

I filled in the High Gothic inscriptions, removed the huge =I= icon from the bridge and added a few accessories from the Dark Angels veteran sprue. Quite simple. I would like to weather this up with the Forge World weathering powders in future. One day.

And, in other news Epic UK have re-released their Space Marine army list - which clears up a lot of the schoolboy typographical mistakes. So I can no longer mock them with this.

Oh yes, I'm a written English nazi

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Posted by Curis at 3:04 pm

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Gaunt's Ghosts novel that never was

Dan Abnett's my favourite Black Library author, but until recently I've never actually read any of his Gaunt's Ghosts books. Then this birthday I got all the paperbacks second-hand.

Giant Commissar and the Tiny



Damn, there's some bad cover art/ Since I finished Ghostmaker I've been dying to much about with Martin Handford's art. At least it's a step up from the awful Clint Langley pieces where it's a painting with a Photoshopped head.

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Posted by Curis at 10:38 pm

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Project Change VIII

It's the eighth Tzeentchian model in Project Change - a Generation 2 Pink Horror. This is one of the models I stripped a while back. I've not painted a second generation Horror since the first model way back when, so it's nice to return to more modern models. I say modern - they're dated 1997. Eep. time to get some Generation 3 Daemons.

Stoner eyes Horror



A straightforward pink scheme made from GW's foundation Mechrite Red highlighted with VGC's Pale Flesh and glazed with reds and purples. I particularly enjoyed doing the scary eyes. The big bloaty hands are difficult to do as there's very little shape and definition to them. Unlike the sharp features of the rest of the model there's nowhere obvious to highlight.

It's been a while since the last group shot, and now there are eight models I have enough to fill up a whole WotR movement tray.

Let's go kick Gandalf's butt



Lovely!

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Posted by Curis at 9:09 am

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Legio Ignatum on Ice?

I've just bought my ticket to the Epic UK Grand Tournament. I'll be taking my 'Dark Angels' (fuller explanation on the inverted commas later) with the support of a Legio Igantum Reaver Titan.

Legio Ignatum on Ice



Legio Ignatum - also known as the Fire Wasps - have a very distinct colour scheme. I based mine around the Reaver Titan shown in the Epic Armageddon rulebook in fact as I sound it so striking. But I painted it before I decided the Dark Angels army it supports will be based with a snow theme. So I have a big fiery Titan ridiculously contrasting ridiculously with its own base. Oh dear.

I'm very tempted to switch it for another Titan painted in an arctic camo scheme.

Oh, and that thing on the base is a snow-covered tree. It just looks weird in the photo.

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Posted by Curis at 2:37 am

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Ork/Genestealer Hybridz - An Introduction

Back in the early 1990s, when instead a single slim paperback the Orks had two huge hardback reference volumes (Waaagh the Orks and Freebooterz there was a weird Ork Freebooter model - the Ork Genestealer Hybrid (below left). It was one of several weird and wonderful Ork models Citadel produced that included a Chaos Champion, Stormboy of Khorne and the Pirate Ork Kaptin Robobeard was converted from.

Greenstealer tease



Well, I updated the concept and built an entire army of these hybrid monstrosities. And I've only just got around to photographing it.

So above there's the original Freebooter Hybrid, a Nob (converted from the Games Day 1998 Gorkamorka Nob) and a regular Boy. Front row are two old Genestealer familiars representing the young purestrain offspring.

More photos in the next few days.

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Posted by Curis at 12:42 am

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Big Yellow Gargant

I've blogged previously about how my Bad Moon Ork army would be finished by Christmas 2008. Well, it almost was. And it was very much finished and tweaked for the WPS Club Challenge 2009 - its inaugural event.

The Yellow Peril



This is my Gargant. It's based on the classic 80s Slasha Gargant. Only I refitted all the weapons. The Cluster Buster and Death Cannon were puny in size, and the Belly Cannon had no detail. In came a load of 40K Ork Dreadnought Rokkit Launchas (justifying the 6 Barrage Points it churns out) and the Epic 40K era Great Gargant arm weapons. Then, to make it far more imposing it went on a big bit of bark and had a big (detachable) banner stuck on the back.

Yes, the paint scheme is garish, but I love stupid bright primary colours on my models. It screams 80s Epic.

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Posted by Curis at 3:49 pm

Monday, 2 November 2009

Project Change VII

And this morning, it's something that isn't a Tzeentch demon to add to the project file. I present, Bowie Inconstatine - Champion of Tzeentch.

Am I freaking you out Bret?



Champion of Tzeentch! Yes, he has been blessed with the Hand of Tzeentch and Bird's Feet. They're blatantly on the miniature, and some others like Withering Gaze are difficult to model, and I'm a stickler for wysiwyg. I did his armour (which may or may not be Chaos Armour at this point) in the classic Tzeentchian blue and gold scheme, that's really come to the fore as the Thousand Sons developed their Egyptian vibe.

And because I'm super awesome cool, I've also transliterated his name into the Dark Tongue's phonetic Runes with the help of the language section in The Lost and the Damned.

Inconstantine Bowie in Dark Tongue phonetic runes



Not too sure about the runes for e and i, so I may change that. And I might kern some of the letters too. There wasn't a typographical notes about kerning in the book. I don't think you can kern runes. I think more research is in order.

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Posted by Curis at 9:09 am

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Fake Persians from Italy

On a complete whim I bought a Chaos Dwarf Blood Bowl team from an indie manufacturer that had caught my eye - Gaspez Arts. I did want to get them finish for Golden Hat X over at Chaos Dwarfs Online, but life got in the way.

Our arrows will blot out the Sun!



There's my finalised scheme in the middle. I did originally do a more caucasian skin, but it looked a bit bland. I remembered the fourth edition Chaos Dwarfs were heavily influenced by the Persian Empire, so I experimented with darker tones (a la 300). And then, rather than classic Red Era red, I settled on a pinkish hue that makes them look evil and dedicated to Hashut, while also retaining an air of foreign decadence. (Oh dear, it sounds like I'm reviewing a wine or something.)

I bought the starter team as I'm largely oblivious to how to build an actual team. It seemed balance. You get four Chaos Dwarf blockers, and two of them had sillily small helmets that are actually smaller than the heads they enclose (compared to the unhelmeted models). It seems one of the tropes of miniatures. Here's the official Gaspez Arts studio photograph of what it looks like uncoverted

Our arrows will blot out the Sun!



I clipped off the horns and bulked out the helmets with Brown Stuff. I'm just experimenting with horns at the moment from plastic Chaos Warriors. I want little forward-facing horns but I can't find any in my bits box.

And instead of finishing off the team we went to a Halloween house party last night. My housemates made quasi-pumpkins out of some spare black gem squashes we had around. They're little black mini-pumpkins we bought but had no idea how to actually eat.

Black Gem Squash from Robinsons



And one of the other attendees had carved this awesome geek pumpkin.

Nah nah nah nah nah.  Nah!

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Posted by Curis at 8:10 pm


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