Saturday, 27 December 2008

Christmas with a Land Raider

So then, its time for another 'Look what I got for Christmas' post! However, don't immediately stop reading as there is something interesting at the end of this message...

Anyway, I hope everybody had a great crimbo, and has a relaxing few days ahead of them. I had quite a successful day in GW terms, and to prove it here is my haul:

Besides the books (that I'm really looking forward to reading) there are some great goodies for my DA. Obviously there are the absolutely lovely Terminator Chaplin & Forge World Dread, some of my favourite models out there. These are going to be kept as a reward for finishing ToP, as I'm going to want to spend some time on both of them.

However, the star of today's post will be the combined contents of the two larger boxes.

Now then, how could any good Dark Angels player combine a Land Raider and a Vindicator. Hmmm......

Anybody who guessed a Land Raider Ares can award themselves a point!

Rules for the Land Raider Ares

Now its mostly held together with blue tack at this stage but I think I have the basic concept down. For the sponson flamers I'm planning on cutting down the Redeemers cannons.

This is going to be a slow burning project. I want to actually have a DA army painted before looking at this properly, but I couldn't resist putting it together. I'll probably finish the building soon and then shelve it for a while before painting.

Anyway, I would love to hear what you all think.

Finally, anybody who missed it, check out the post below on the Vogen Campaign - Battle Reports are coming soon...!

Thursday, 25 December 2008

The Vogen '09 Campaign

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse:'

Well. Except for me writing blog updates... 

First off, Merry Christmas everybody, I hope you all have great days, and thanks for taking the time out to read my humble blog! 

In my last post I promised you all some Dark Angels Battle Reports. Well, before I get to them I want to show you all something I have been organising over the last few weeks. 

I'm a student (a bit of background on the author there!) and I don't tend to play many games while at university. However, I have a good core of friends back home who have the GW bug and I take the opportunity to get as many games as possible done over the holidays. Well, having always wanted to run a campaign I decided to organise one, planning to run it from now till late summer '09. Because we can only meet up during our holidays its obviously going to be a slow burning affair, but it should help to link our games up over the next year. 

Vogen '09 is essentially the old cityfight campaign released by GW with a few adaptions made by myself to bring it up to date with 5th ed. I also devised a mechanism for random game sizes (including the chance to play apocalypse games), modified some of the scenarios and changed the rules on alliances. Check out my versions of the relevant rules here:

I held the first 'campaign day' at my house yesterday, and managed to squeeze 3 boards in two rooms. This is my house, not a well equipped gaming club so I apologise in advance for the quality of some the scenery and gaming surfaces!

We've got six campaign players:

Alex - Playing Tyranids
Conor - Playing Dark Angels (This is yours truly)
Mullen - Playing Black Templars 
Sam - Playing Imperial Guard
Vessey - Playing Necrons
Wookie - Playing Eldar

...and after the first days play the campaign looked like this:

On the first day there were 4 campaign games played (including two by me) as well as a further three non-campaign games (including one with my Dark Angels). All the games I played in are currently in the process of being written up for you all to see, along with a break down of what happened to everybody else on the campaign. 

I'm hoping that over the next few months this campaign should provide some interesting battle reports for you all. We already have another game day lined up for early next year, to resolve some of the contested territories we have on the map above. 

So, before I turn to my bed and await some GW related gifts (more on that later), here are a few sneak-peak pictures of the battle reports to come:

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Tale of Painters Deadline 2: Met

The army, it grows! 

Another quick painting update today, to let you know I managed to get my ToP entry in to Librarium Online on time (just). 

For this months 200pts I painted up the Landspeeder that I've shown off before and some new Deathwing

Although I was keen to get them finished (and thus rushed through them a little) I'm pleased with a number of things with these termis. I used similar blending from my Power Sword tutorial to good effect on the lightning claws, and I'm pleased with how my first attempt at feathers turned out. I also think the guy wielding the cyclone missile launcher and the thunderhammer just looks cool! 

I've still not started to highlight the bone armour, so they aren't 100% done yet. I'm waiting till I have all the Deathwing done and them I'm going to go back and highlight the lot. If I want to keep up with ToP (which I'm finding amazing motivation to paint) then I've not got the time to highlight them right now. Still, they are tabletop worthy.

I leave you with two visions of the immediate future. One is a picture of the Rhino I've started working on. I'm really pleased with how its shaping up. Secondly is a promise that there will be a few battle reports (featuring the DA) on The Astronomican before this year is out, so look out for that soon.

As usual I would love to receive and comments or crit. Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Death By Dodo

This is something I've been meaning to post for a while, but before I get to the meat of it, let me start at the beginning. 

Rough Riders, I love 'em (and yes, this is an Imperial Guard post, I've not forgotten my long neglected footsloggers!). Although tactically less than perfect, they do have their uses as a harassment, counter-charge or tank hunting unit. And more importantly, the idea of the humble IG having to make do with horses on a battlefield of genetically modified super killers is just so appealing. 

However, Rough Riders have one major downfall - the models. On the one hand you could spend a not inconsiderable amount of cash to get some of the worst models GW have ever made. Alternatively you could spend A LOT of money to get some of the superb Forge World versions. 

So, neither of those options are particularly appealing. You could of course scratch build your Rough Riders, and there are some stunning conversion jobs out there. Pop over to Col. Gravis' Praetorian Blog to see his great Lancers, Hussars and Mounted Colonel. Another example is this old GW suggestion for rough riding bikers. However, I'm not really at the stage where I want to attempt to scratch build models like these, so I had put the possibility of getting rough riders out of my mind. 

However, earlier this year I stumbled across a member of Librarium Online (Doctor Thunder), who was gauging support for some custom casted Rough Riders. These would be made by the folks at the Phoniex Wargamers Club, who have also produced conversion kits to make female marines. 

I was immediately interested. Then, when I found out that there would be only one batch made, that they would have a unique design and that it would only cost me around £30 for ten shipped from the US, I jumped at the chance. 

So, for your consideration, I present the 'Death Dodo's':

Now, the concept of Imperial Guardsmen riding to war atop the back of what are effectively giant emu's is, I'll admit, a bit on the farcical side. However, considering that I play a regiment of Pith Helmeted Victorians transposed into the future, I figured I could get away with it!

Now what I got for my money was amazing, considering the fact they are home made and relatively cheap. The components came in a small bag, and require a good amount of clean up, in terms of flash and mold lines (something I've not really tackled in the pictures shown here). In addition most of the joints will require some green stuff. I have enough parts for ten birds, along with 10 sets of legs, lance arms and rein arms. The original idea is to use Cadian torsos for the rest of the model, but I am of course planning to use some Praetorian torsos - I'm hoping that with a bit of green stuff they should fit quite well. 

So below are some pictures of what you get and one to show the scale of these models, which are far from small! 

The level of detail is very impressive, for example the tread on the boots. Its just a shame about the flash. 

I'm not planning on assembling the rest/painting these guys for a long while. I may have a crack at them during the summer, after I've got more DA done. However, I just wanted to show them off and see what you all thought. 

A big thank you goes to the Phoniex guys who organised all this (and who apparently ended up making a loss on the project). Its an awesome way to give something new to the community, I'm glad that I'm able to share them all with you! 

Thanks for reading...

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Dark Angels Army 'Fluff' - The 1st Capture Group

I love the 40k background. It's the stories and novels that keeps me interested in this hobby. 

As an example, when I went to college I turned my back on the game itself and sold the vast majority of my models. However, I never even considered selling my novels, White Dwarfs or codices, indeed I continued to buy more. Unsurprisingly it was the fluff that eventually got me back into the game. 

So, presented below is some my fluff for my Dark Angels. 

It was also an excuse to mess around with photoshop...


Click on the photo for a full size version 


I'll let the fluff largely talk for itself, but below is some of my thought process. 

I wanted to link my DA in with my Praetorian Guard which, given that Praetoria is in Segmentum Tempestus, placed them directly in the path of Hive Fleet Leviathan. However, I also wanted my Dark Angels to keep to their main purpose, hunting the shadowy forces of Chaos. So I followed the old GW trick, and used a confused (Inquisition) outsider to describe my army as a sinister and suspicious force. The '1st Capture Force' is nowhere near the Eye of Terror or the Maelstrom (where you might assume the DA to be) and the Inquisition wants to work out why. 

So who are they hunting? Are they going to undermine efforts against the Hive Fleet? Does there presence signal a previously unknown Chaos presences in Segmentum Tempestus?

Well, don't you just love a bit of GW style intrique!

It's also convenient because my main enemies at home play Chaos and Tyranids, giving me a fluffy excuse to fight both of them!

I would love to hear anybodies comments on what I have come up with. Some of this is far from cannon (the 'Capture Groups' are entirely my own invention), so I would love to know if people think it does 'fit' within the wider 40k story.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I used a lot of images found on the Internet to make this picture. I would like to stress that all are used in good faith, and should any of the owners object, they will be taken down immediately. Please contact me by commenting on this post. I hope to improve the background of the 40K universe, I'm not trying to offend any other hobbyist out there. Many thanks. 

Sunday, 30 November 2008

RAW or RAI? Or perhaps just Inquisitor?

The most recent Blogger Group round table discussed following the Rules As Written or the Rules As Interpreted, and it got me thinking about the whole topic. You can read what I said (that I favoured RAW in most circumstances) on FtW, but I just wanted to briefly talk about why, and to highlight some circumstances where RAI is the only way to go. 

I think that at the moment, the general trend is to push for RAW. The recent discussions about the GW errata documents shows how important the exact wording of the rules seems to be and I can understand why. It would seem that RAW is currently king of the debate. 

However, it was not always this way in the GW universe. I joined the hobby during 40k's 2nd Edition, and at this point the rules were becoming very much formalized and codified. Indeed as the game was so much more complex than all the incarnations since, using RAW was key to getting anywhere. But, I'm sure some of you will have been around for that much loved game Rouge Trader!

I recently picked up a copy of the 'Trader rulebook from EBay, mostly just to see what I'd missed out on. I was struck by the recurring insistence by the author that the rules, as presented in the book, were simply a guide line. You, as the player were encouraged to make rules up, adapt ones you didn't like, hell, ignore them if you want too. Anything that you thought improved you game was permitted.

So, supporters of RAI in 5th Ed. might ask, what has changed? 

Rouge Trader is clearly a more narrative game than current 5th Ed. is designed to be. The idea of pick-up or tournament play is not even considered in this rulebook, because it simply didn't happen. Rouge Trader was a game you played with people you knew, using models you mostly had to find yourself, playing scenarios you had to make up yourself. 5th Ed. is of course story based (and so it should, otherwise for me there is no point to it), but it also is designed to be a highly competitive game. 

Another key difference between the two systems is the presence of a Games Master (GM). For those without much experience outside 40K, the GM is a common sight in other model and role playing games. Effectively an impartial 3rd player of the game, the GM's jobs are to mediate between the two players actually controlling the main forces, to drive the narrative on and crucially, to judge where and when it is fair for the rules to be changed. For me, a good GM is the main reason why you can afford RAI in Rouge Trader. There is nothing comparable for the current version of 40K. 

In the end pick-up and tournament games of 5th Ed. are competitive first, and story driven second, as thus need the RAW. Rouge Trader and friendly games of 5th are hopefully the opposite, giving you much more wiggle room on the rules. 

SO, what if you do fancy a game that focuses on RAI and is story driven? Well, I can highly recommend picking up a copy of Inquisitor. For anybody who missed it, this game is great and I simply love it. Its highly story driven, to the extent that winning or loosing a game is largely immaterial. You are encouraged to change rules and to think of the whole experience like a film (i.e. making you characters preform the heroic, as opposed to the tactical). 

For some the element of role-play in the game is too much, but, if you love your 40K background and can find someone willing to put the effort into being a good GM (which can be a load of fun), then please give it a go. Inquisitor is firmly RAI and you wont regret playing it, I miss being able to do it myself. 

Anyway, that's a few hours work firmly avoided for another Sunday. Hope this was an interesting read, I would love to hear anybodies experience of either game!

Friday, 28 November 2008

Dark Angels: Ravenwing Landspeeder Done

Hello all, just a quick update to day to show you all my finished Ravenwing Landspeeder. I took a bit more time on this model than I did with the bikes and I'm much happier with it. Using Codex Grey as the main highlight worked better than Shadow Grey (used on the bikes). I think it gives a more 'metallic' feel. There are a few more pics below, do let us know what you think. 

Next up on the painting table, more Terminators. I'm getting ever closer to having the first 1500pts done, I really can't wait. The Tale of Painters timescale should have me finished by February. Then, finally, I can get some proper games in...

And finally, a bit of fun I had in photoshop, it had to be done really...

Thanks for looking!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Product Review: GW Spray Gun


As I'm sure you all know, one of Games Workshop's most recent releases is its Spray Gun. Designed to allow you to spray your models with GW Foundation Paint, the spray gun is supposed to give you greater flexibility in your undercoating, and cut down on painting time (something that everybody can get behind!). After an initial release and recall in mid summer, the product has been fixed and has been on sale for a while. Yours truly picked one up last week. What follows is a fairly simple review/tutorial, designed to give you all some basic impressions of this piece of kit.

Now some of you may remember many years back when GW had a wide range of colour primers, not just today's Black and White. This cut down on painting time dramatically, but also led to a number of armies that were just primed in the relevant colour and left. I can remember doing this myself with an IG armoured company (the shame of it!). Indeed I was told by one GW Red Shirt that this was part of the reason why the other colours were discontinued. Whatever the reason, I was annoyed to find the cans were gone when I got back into 40k. Is the new spray gun the solution? 

I've never used any form of spray gun before, which is part of the reason I paid the £23 for the GW version (£18 for the Gun & £5 for a can of propellant).  I've read that there are better & more cost effective models out there, but I figured that the GW version would be more 'noobie' friendly. I realise its far from rocket science, but I find that if I can get something wrong, I often do! 


So what do you actually get for you money?

Well, its all fairly straightforwardly packaged and comes with the following:

1. Spray Gun. Yes its shaped like a flamer. Do I really care? No I don't. 
2. Propellant Valve Pin (as well as an adaptor for the Propellant Can).
3. Paint Container.
4. Air Hose.
5. Propellant Can. Just to stress that this comes separately from the rest of the kit.

As I had hoped there is also a fairly in depth instruction manual that breaks the process down nicely. You should also check out GW's own 'How To' for the spray gun. Well worth a look. 

GW's Instruction Booklet


One of the main quires I had with the GW Spray Gun was over using normal paints. All the promotion material talks about using the new Foundation Paints and Washes, but mentions nothing about using normal paint. Almost to stress the point, the paint container has a set of guides to show what mixtures of foundation paint and water are required for good results. There is no info on normal paint. 

Guide for foundation paint:  Fill the container with foundation paint up to one of the marks on the left. Then top up with water until the next highest mark on the right. 

After some internet research I read that it would be fine to use normal paint in the spray gun, and that only a few drops of water were needed to top it up. So I duly whipped out my Dark Angels green and gave it a go. Be sure to give the paint a good mixing with a matchstick or similar. 

Below we see the spray kit mostly put together. It is as simple as it looks. Screw the adapter on to the can (leaving the valve out, unless you want propellant everywhere) and then attach the air hose. Attach the other end to the 'gun' itself and your almost ready to go!

When in your spraying area you can pop in the valve, by simply screwing it into its hole atop the adaptor. Make sure the hose is securely attached at both ends first. 

You should hear the gas as its released from the can. Do make sure the adaptor is screwed on tight, or you will spend ten minutes wondering why the spray gun wasn't working, like I did!

Below you can see the paint pot in its position on the spray gun. It is a good idea to test out your paint mixture first. If its comes on too thick, go back and add some water. If its too thin then add more paint. Simple! You can also adjust the flow of paint by turning the spray gun's Paint Cap.

My spray gun's first victim was to be my Dark Angels Rhino, hence the need to use DA Green as opposed to foundation paint. When using normal paint, it is important that you still prime the model first, either with a normal spray or foundation paints. This helps the following paints to stick to the model's surface. 

So, following GW's advice and using short sweeping motions, I sprayed away. And uttered some pretty horrible words straight after. It would my appear my mixture was all wrong, and the paint came on a bit thick...

This mistake can however be put down to my inexperience, as opposed to any fault with the Spray Gun. And, as it turns out, once I left the model to dry properly the result was not that bad. 

The coat is patchy in a few places but on the whole it is smooth and will give me a good basis to work from, which was the aim! 

We have also proved that you can happily use normal paints in the GW spray gun. With some trial and error...


The only major advice I can offer is to ensure that the paint is of the right consistency before you commit it to a model. This means testing, testing and testing! Don't allow your self to rush it like I did! I was lucky with the Rhino, but I easily could have ended up making the eventual paint job harder or even ruining the model.

I would also draw your attention to the Propellant can. Try to keep this as warm as possible, within reason (Remember its a compressed can and will react explosively to extreme heat!). As the can is used it will loose pressure and draw in the cold from its surroundings. This will eventually stop the flow of propellant. If this happens, place it somewhere warm and try again later.


On reflection I do like the GW spray gun. 

Admittedly its not cheap, but it is cheerful and straightforward to use, especially if like me you have no prior experience. The kit seems robust and is easy enough to clean. The paint pot with its markings for foundation paint is also a neat idea. The less guess work involved the better! I will be testing these markings out soon, and will report back to you if they are no good.

My only real criticism is the propellant. I can already hear mine running out after just the Rhino which, at £5 a pop, is not great. I am unsure if the adaptor would be suitable for other makes of propellant but its something I intend to look into. If I can find a cheaper alternative then that would be a major plus for the spray gun.

At the end of the day if you want a simple way to quickly base coat your troops or tanks then I can recommend the spray gun. Its robust, simple and does exactly what it says on the tin.

Rating: 4/5

As usual I hope some of you out there found this a useful/interesting read! Does anybody have their own experience to add?

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Tale of Painters Deadline 1: Met

Well, I managed to finish enough Ravenwing for the first ToP deadline today.

As I've said over on my Work in Progress thread at Librarium Online, I really didn't enjoy painting these Ravenwing very much. I guess for some reason I'm just not as happy with the finished result as I was with my previous stuff. This in itself is quite amusing, because I know full well I would have been chuffed to churn these models out only a year ago. I guess its a nice indication of progress! 

Perhaps I need to leave them for a while and come back to them. I always find that helps when evaluating your work. 

But, before I tell you what I think did and didn't work on these models, here are some pictures so you can tell me yourself:

I had some issues with the lights on the front of the bikes, they all came out looking dirty and of a mixed shade. I'm also not 100% on the highlighting, I can't decide if it looks too bold. Finally the white caused me no end of anguish, and is quite blotchy in parts.

However, I've learned a good technique for leather, and I do love the pose on the Attack Bike. Ultimately they are playable, which is what I'm going for. I'm also lucky I only have 3 more bikers and the Landspeeder to do - thank god the Deathwing element of the DA appealed to me more!

Its been a real push to get these models finished within the time limit and this blog has been a bit neglected because of it. Look forward to a few new posts before this month is through, including a product review and a showcase of some custom made models.

As always I would love to know what you think! Thanks for stopping by...


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