Sunday 30 January 2022

Back in the Black

I've finished my nine Ringwraiths.

Sort of.

A Christmas gift voucher was spent on the Ringwraiths of Angmar set. This features the two named Nazgul, the Dwimmerlaik and the Tainted, that look most like the generic Black Riders that feature in the movies.

I'm not massively fussed about using the named versions of the Ringwraiths, this one is the Tainted, but at least these two match up with the incidental Angmar force of Wights, Wolves, Spectres and Orcs that the Quest of the Ringbearer will force me to paint.

I also get a tiny bit of nerd-rage at some of these names. For example, Dwimmerlaik (above) is not a name, it's the word used by Eowyn to address the Witch King, possibly just meaning spirit or ghost.

As a word in Rohirric, it certainly makes no sense being used in Angmar and Arnor.

Disengage nerd-rant mode.

Both models come with dismounts which clearly look like the Riders, which will be helpful. Matt has had an increasingly hard time remembering which one is which as the numbers of Nazgul have increased in the games.

In terms of painting, nothing fancy again. Black contrast, drybrushed grey and washed with Nuln Oil (after metal and leather has been picked out) does the trick.

They're so fast to do that I've actually forgiven to do the eyes on the Tainted's horse in my haste.

Although I'd really like to cross off the 'finish an army you've already started' box on my Hobby Bingo card, technically I can't. I do have nine mounted Nazgul complete, but I only have eight dismounts.

This is almost certainly enough to play the Flight to the Ford scenario, but it's not complete. What's more, two of my Black Riders are not official models. Although they are fine, they're not right and the 'army' isn't complete.

I'll have to console myself with getting back in the black.

Acquired: 22
Painted: 23

Saturday 29 January 2022

Crate Expectations

I know that both of my loyal readers will have been waiting with baited breath for this...

It's the final, and main, part if the 40k crate sprue that I've taken a surprisingly long time to finish.

I think that's what happens when you don't spray or airbrush something this size, even the undercoat.

It's a pleasingly chunky piece of terrain and suitably 40k, where even a transport unit features gothic arches, an unecessary amount of weapons and more skulls than you can shake a stick at.

I'm not sure about the pintle mounted storm bolters, and I noticed that most people leave them off to allow for stacking. 

However, I don't think I'll be getting too many more of them, so that shouldn't be a problem.

I decided to paint it blue (The Fang drybrushed with Blue Horror) just to add a bit of colour to the grim darkness of the 41st millennium.

I can't see me using this for anything other than 40k. It is so VERY Warhammer in its style.

In other news, Matt and I have been playing through the opening campaign for the Arkham Horror Card Game, The Night of the Zealot.

After dealing with a ghoul infestation in my basement (which may have involved burning the house down) in part 1, The Gathering, we proceeded to hunt cultists through Arkham in part 2, The Midnight Masks.

We weren't entirely successful, as you might be able to determine from the amount of damage taken by my investigator, Roland Banks.

We now have to face the final part, the somewhat ominously titled The Devourer Below, with less than perfect preparation.

I'm sure it will be fine...

I mention all this because I'm using playing Arkham Horror to tick one of my Hobby Bingo holes off. It doesn't technically have a board, but it's boardgamey enough for me.

Amazingly, there wasn't a 'paint a crate' goal.

Having painted the crate, my number remain rather static, as I took delivery of another two custom miniatures I ordered last year.

That should be it for legacy purchases ruining my numbers, but I still have Christmas money left, so we're not out of the woods yet.

Acquired: 22
Painted: 19

Saturday 22 January 2022

There Will Be Blood

I've been wanting to get in some games of 40k but Pete and I have not been able to match up schedules.

We're both coming back to the game after some years away, so it was time for a training mission.

We decided to go for an Incursion game of 1000 points to keep things manageable, but opted to try out the Matched Play rules, to have a go with objectives.

I opted to use my Blood Angels rather than my Daemons, mainly because I've already bought two Codexes for them and wanted to get some use out of them.

My retro Firstborn Blood Angels army was a Patrol with the following line up:

Chaplain with Jump Pack
10 Tactical Marines
5 Death Company with Jump Packs
Fast Attack
5 Assault Marines with Jump Packs
Fast Attack
2 Attack Bikes

For secondary objectives I chose Relentless Assault, Raise the Banners High and Thin the Ranks. My intention was to hold the line and kill Pete's troops as the advanced, then have my Jump Pack units  attack from deep strike into his back lines to land a devastating blow.

That was the plan, anyway.

Pete's shiny and intimidatingly large Primaris Space Wolves were also a Patrol:

Primaris Master of Sanctity
Primaris Chief Rune Priest
6 Assault Intercessors
5 Intercessors
5 Intercessors
3 Aggressors
Redemptor Dreadnought
Heavy Support
3 Eradicators

Pete chose Raise the Banners High; Engage on All Fronts; and Warrior Born (I think) as his secondary objectives. His plan seemed to be to shoot the crap out of me and then run up and smash me in the face.

Space Wolf Turn 1

Pete got first turn (which is becoming a worrying trend) and then enacted the first phase of his plan, advancing his horrifically overloaded left flank up to unleash what appeared to be all the guns in the world on me.

Meanwhile, on the other flank, his Assault Intercessors rushed forwards to seize one of the centre objectives.

After the smoke cleared, the Razorback was on 4 wounds and the Tactical Marines on my objectives had been reduced to just two men.

Fortunately, I'd combat squadded the Tactical Marines, so I still have 5 more wildly out of position on my left (I need to work on deployment).

Now it was my turn to unleash he'll...

Blood Angels Turn 1

I whiffed. 

With everything.

Multi-Meltas from my Attack Bikes and Dreadnought, and the Razorback's Lascannons all failed to have any impact, inflicting a combined total of one wound on an Assault Intercessor. To add insult to injury, my Librarian also failed (twice) to cast Psychic Fortress to protect my beleaguered Tactical Marines.

Things looked grim.

Space Wolf Turn 2

Pete picked up 15 vps for primary objectives and advanced again. Another barrage of fire tumbled out of the Redemptor, Aggressors and Eradicators.

However, this time it was Pete's turn to whiff, as he only managed to take out a single Tactical Marine, leaving me control of my objective. He did damage my vehicles, but fluffed the damage rolls leaving the Dreadnought barely scratched and the Razorback on just a single wound.

He did, however, get points for Engage on All Fronts.

Blood Angels Turn 2

It was time for the hammer blow.

My Chaplain, Assault Marines and Death Company dropped into his deployment zone (guaranteeing Relentless Assault for the turn). 

The Chaplain took advantage of the Commanding Oratory strategem to reduce the charges they would have to do to hit the Eradicators and the Intercessors in Pete's back line.

This was going to be epic...

My shooting also found it's mark and combined Multi-Melta fire dropped the Aggressors to a single model with a single wound left. The Librarian also managed to successfully cast Psychic Fortress for some added protection.

I then proceeded to fail the charge rolls for everything except the Chaplain. The Death Company even rolled twice.

The Chaplain ploughed into the Intercessors alone, killing three but lacking the hitting power to take them off the objective.


Space Wolves Turn 3

With another 15 vps in the bag for primary objectives, Pete executed the least surprising move of the game when the Redemptor turned round and obliterated the exposed Assault Marines.

The Eradicators secured the objective and finished off the Razorback, whilst the lone Aggressor incinerated the last Tactical Narine holding my objective.

The Assault Intercessors made it. into my second Tactical Squad and ripped them to shreds before consolidating into the Attack Bikes.

Fortunately, the last Aggressor was cut down by overwatch from my hardy little Dreadnought.

The Space Wolf Chaplain ploughed into his Blood Angel counterpart, but found his blows turned aside by the Armour Indomitus. In return the Blood Angel continued to hack at the Intercessors, but again, one of them survived to hold onto to the objective.

Blood Angels Turn 4

It was getting late and so the photos start to dry up here, sorry.

The Attack Bikes used Hit and Run Warfare to disengage from the Assault Intercessors and cut two down.

Meanwhile the Eradicators were eradicated by the Dreadnought, which then charged the Rune Priest and narrowly missed destroying him.

The Death Company, which had been sheltered from incoming fire, charged the Space Wolf Chaplain and the last Intercessor. Concentrating their attacks on the Chaplain, they brought down the enemy Warlord but again, narrowly failed to kill the Intercessor.

Space Wolf Turn 4

With only a few units remaining, the Space Wolves were on mopping up duty.

The Redemptor ploughed into the Blood Angel Dreadnought and finally brought the plucky little stomper low, whilst the Assault Intercessors moved to take down the banner on the Blood Angel home objective.

In the Fight Phase the Death Company finally finished off the last Intercessor which had held up the counter strike.

The Assault Intercessors charged the Attack Bikes, managing to destroy one, but took damage in return.

Blood Angels Turn 4

The last Attack Bike used Hit and Run Warfare again to back off and blow away two more Assault Intercessors in combination with the Librarian's first successful Smite.

Meanwhile, the Death Company charged and obliterated the last unit of Intercessors (with the help of a failed morale test) holding the midfield objective. I had picked up 10vps at the start of the turn for the first time and wanted to ensure I could guarantee 15vps at the end of turn 5.

The Chaplain was still in the Space Wolves' deployment zone, so I needed to ckear the Assault Intercessors from mine to score Relentless Assault.

The Librarian charged, but fluffed his attacks and only managed to kill one of them. Having taken wounds earlier, he was easily taken down by the remaining Sergeant.

Space Wolf & Blood Angel Turn 5

In the final Space Wolf turn, the Assault Intercessor Sergeant made another charge on the Attack Bike, but couldn't finish it off, whilst the Redemptor opened fire on the Death Company but suffered bad rolls on shots, hits, wounds and saves, leaving three of them still standing.

This meant that in the Blood Angel final turn, another Hit and Run Warfare from the Attack Bike allowed it to finish off the Assault Intercessor and also contest the objective held by the Redemptor, delivering 19vps at the end of the turn.

The final tally was Space Wolves 79, Blood Angels 56, and it could easily have gone the other way. We both had attacks that didn't finish off units when we should, so complaining about dice would be churlish. We both didn't maximise our choices of secondary objectives, Pete had a better spread of points, but I got a lot out of Relentless Assault.

I definitely deployed poorly, and the Razorback is a bit rubbish, but the Death Company, Dreadnought and Attack Bikes were great. I'm not sold on the Librarian, but the Chaplain did his job well.

Really, it was the failed charges from my deep strikers was what really sealed the game, as they would have severely disrupted Pete's scoring. However, I probably should take the relic that allows me to reroll charges, if I want this tactic to be more reliable, although as the Death Company proved, rerollable 7" charges can still fail.

I think we both learned a bit more about the game, and most importantly, we both enjoyed it.

Sunday 16 January 2022

Summoning Up A Bargain

I don't go on about the Cult of Cheaphammer as much as I used to. Partly this is because I have more disposable income that I used to, but mainly its because Cheaphammer was born to combat Games Workshop's pricing practices.

Therefore, dipping my toe into 40k again is stirring my inner bargain hunter, and the contents of this post reflect that.

I've talked before about the versatility and value of the Start Collecting: Daemons of Tzeentch box, specifically the Burning Chariot kit which officially allows you to build one of the two following combinations:
  • a Burning Chariot and a Changecaster;
  • a Fateskimmer and an Exalted Flamer.
However, combined with spare bits from the Screamers kit and couple of extra flying stands, with my first box I put together:
  • a Fluxmaster, an Exalted Flamer and two extra Screamers.
I felt rather proud of myself, but in my naivety I'd missed this...

Using the spare chariot flight stand, spare disc centrepiece, two of the three Blue Horrors and other assorted pieces, it's possible (and easy) to kitbash the Blue Scribes, a special character that retail for £25.

For nothing.

Needless to say, once I'd learned about this (it's not an original idea) I was somewhat frustrated as I'd already given the spare disc parts to a friend to use with his Thousand Sons.

Therefore, the purchase of second box saw me leaping into action to get these two into action, even though I've no idea how good they are.

When it came to painting, as ever, I kept things simple, sticking to my tried and tested combinations of drybrushing and washes. I kept things even simpler by using the Blue Horrors that I'd already painted from the first box.

However, I am fairly proud of the little bit of freehand I did on the pages of the books.

My favourite bit of the model is the cover of the largest book, which is covered in eyes and teeth and skin (done with my usual zombie formula). It does look a bit Nurgley, but I like it.

I realised afterwards that this bears a passing resemblance to a Screamer, and so I could have painted it like them...but I didn't.

The other bit of Cheaphammering came with the acquisition of a couple of back issues of Imperium and Mortal Realms, netting me a 40k crate sprue and two paints for the princely sum of just £12. I'm also very proud of myself for resisting the urge to start a Necron army with other back issues whilst in the same shop.

I've kept the smaller crates simple and gone with a generic military colour scheme suggesting this were left behind by local defence forces when they fled/died horribly/got possessed and tore their own eyes out before being sucked into the warp.

There's also a larger crate I'm still working on.

That's eight more models painted, but I actually find myself in the red for the first time in a while as I took delivery of a couple of gifts bought with vouchers in the days after Christmas.

Acquired: 20
Painted: 18

However, to counter this, I'm crossing off another box of the Hobby Bingo board as I'm counting kitbashing the Blue Scribes as converting a model from its original purpose.

I could also tick off playing a boardgame, as I played (and won) Seafarers of Catan last night, but I'm going to operate a pics or it didn't happen policy for filling the card.

Monday 10 January 2022

Played Against The Machines

Big stompy robots were never really part of my nerd roots. I was more He-Man than Transformers. I was more Warhammer Fantasy Battle than 40k. And I never played Battletech.

Until now.

Pete has bought into Battletech in a fairly big way over the last year and invited me over to give it a try.

Given that trying something I don't normally play is a hobby bingo challenge, and I was a little intrigued, I agreed.

Pete had given me a Griffin GRF-1N to pilot in our intro game and he had...a different one.

Essentially the mechs were roughly the same but I had quite powerful long range guns, whilst he had more firepower when at shorter ranges.

At first glance the stats cards are a bit intimidating, but that might be the fact that this is a game that hasn't been 'streamlined' over the past 30 years (although this is a beginner sheet) and it's actually much less complicated than it looks. It also has a fun colouring-in mechanic for damage.

After about a turn or two, the only bit I was needing to refer to were the movement and weapon ranges on the left.

The game play is very straightforward: determine initiative, move, shoot. 

The game is played on a hex grid, which rally makes movement and line of sight easy to deal with, although it does slightly break the immersion for me and gives a bit of a boardgame feel to proceedings.

Each time you fire, your accuracy is affected by the movement of your own mech and that of your opponent, terrain and the specific weapon you are using.

Damage locations are determined randomly and filling up the damage points in a location can have an impact on your abilities in the game.

Getting initiative seemed to be massively important to potentially success, and rolling higher than Pete on 2D6 over several turns allowed me to use my range advantage to outmanoevre him.

He needed to get close, which meant that having initiative and moving second allowed me to get round his flanks and use my bigger guns to inflict significant damage and ultimately destroy his mech.

We then had a second game with two mechs each and it was interesting that the game actually sped up. Not only was one of your mechs always going to be a bit exposed, but with more firepower on display the damage racked up quickly.

The two lighter mecgs we added had much closer ranges, meaning that this game became more of a knife fight and meant that the range advantage of my Griffin was less significant.

Even though I probably inflicted more damage on Pete's mechs and destroyed his light mech first, my light mech got immobilised and my Griffin was ultimately felled with series of annoyingly accurate headshots.

Overall I found Battletech to be an enjoyable game. It's interesting that it has a range of different ways to play: beginner mode; the full game with more complexity; and Alpha Strike, that has simpler rules, but mire mechs and 3d terrain.

There's also a massive backstory and universe to dive into that I know nothing about.

I'm not sure whether this is something I'll buy into, simply because of game overload. However, I'd happily play it again.

Friday 7 January 2022

The Horror...The Horror...

I'm having a bit of a deja vu experience. 

Around this time last year I finished painting some Pink Horrors and it snowed. As I take my photos outside, I braved the weather in inappropriate footwear and ended up dumping said Pink Horrors in the snow.

Guess what happened today...

Admittedly, there isn't as much snow, and the models were caught by the wind rather than me falling on my arse, and it was actually in February, but still... story.

So, I'm starting the new year by returning to some models I began back in November, before getting sidetracked into Heroquest shenanigans.

If I'm honest, I allowed myself to get sidetracked because I was annoyed that I'd not gone to the effort of ensuring that I undercoated in white like last time. I used Grey Seer before base coating the Horrors in Flesh Tearer's Red contrast paint.

As Grey Seer is the proper undercoat for contrast paint, this had the totally predictable outcome of me ending up with a dark red base coat rather than dark pink, meaning that after drybrushing, this set of Pink Horrors were a totally different colour to the others.

This meant going back over every model and highlighting the raised areas of each model. This meant each and every leg, arm, tail, tentacle finger and eyebrow - of which there are far too many.

And this was before I had to do the far too many bits of jewellery, far too many claws and far too many teeth on each model. I'm not keen on batch painting at the best of times, but the amount of times I had to go back to fix things I'd missed on the first pass was just embarrassing.

Having said all that, I am happy with how they've turned out. They are still a slightly different colour than the other Pink Horrors, but that will help with unit recognition on the tabletop (I've done the tongues a different colour too).

I'm also happy to have got them done. I deliberately did them first from amongst the Start Collecting box as I knew they'd be the biggest chore to get done.

And so the progress for 2022 has begun in earnest, but so have the acquisitions. I found myself in a store with back issues of Imperium magazine this week, and although I am proud that I resisted the urge to inexpensively start a Necron army, I did come away with a GW crate sprue containing barrels and boxes, which somewhat lessens the head start.

Acquired: 8
Painted: 10

However, in other exciting news, I've decided to take part in the Benji's Hobbies 2022 Hobby Bingo which, like other endeavours of this type, sets a range of tasks to achieve during the year.

However, unlike others, this one isn't limited to a single company or game system and includes a few things massively outside of my comfort zone. There's also a Facebook community group to join, which is a nice touch.

The only slight glitch in the matrix is that I personally think that 'bought' is a bit too narrow, so I'll be sticking with my 'acquired' tally as it allows me to benefit from selling stuff and 'generously' giving my crap to people, whether they want it or not, whilst not allowing gifts to slip through this legal loophole.

And so I've ended up with a new set of challenges to aim at, and able to cross off one box already as the Pink Horrors were left half done in November.

It will be fun to see how well I do on this.