Friday, 14 November 2014

Kara "my gun is bigger than yours" Sloan - Conversion and Tactica

Kara Sloan Conversion

First off, let me say that the original pose this model has is terrible. A sniper holding her gun to the sky for no particular reason. 

I much preferred the art in the Forces of Cygnar book, so decided to repose her that way. 

Sadly, my sculpting skills are relatively substandard so it ended up not going as well as I had hoped.

The core of the re-sculpt is actually a space marine arm from a plastic sprue that i cut the hand off 

I then molded green stuff over the hinge to add strength to the model and to detract from the fact its a space marine arm. 

Unfortunately, it's just a little too blocky. It's passable on first glance, but when you look at the rear image you can see she has a bicep like Hulk Hogan. 

The base was done with all of the modelling clay I had left over. I think Warcasters should stand out on the battlefield where practicable, and mounting Sloan on a giant Boulder seemed natural to give her some elevation and presence. 
Kara Sloan Tactics

"General wisdom"

When I first said I was going to play Kara Sloan at events it was met with a pretty lukewarm response from the people I game with.

The consensus was that she is a boring caster that lends herself to boring play.

Being a bit confused about this I looked up the "general wisdom" around Kara sloan on the internet and was a little dumbfounded at the lists people put forward for Sloan. I found them quite dull and frankly, not very good. The "general wisdom" seemed to be that you run Sloan with a tarpit unit + loads of ranged troops. It was also advised to take a reasonable number of warjacks to take advantage of her feat.

Sometimes, I'm glad I don't spend too much time looking at other peoples lists and guides for armies.

My take on Kara- Take with a grain of salt

Kara Sloan, much like Caine2, is a bit of a glorfied solo caster. She has some army buffs and a feat that can buff a lot of shooting, but her real strength, the bread and butter or the character is her rifle.

Spitfire is a rate of fire 1, long range, moderate power WEAPON MASTER magical weapon. 

The weapon master bit is the real emphasis here. Boosting, it allows her to roll 4 damage dice from miles away and damage spikes from the gun can be devastating. Reinholdt is virtually mandatory with her as it allows her to shoot twice. 

Now that’s two shots a turn with potential damage rolls in the mid 30's.  A few lucky shots can take down most warcasters, even when camping, and even warlocks will not be wanting to transfer double digit damage frequently. In short, if you can get LOS, and your opponent is within 22" (16" if they have stealth) you have a good shot at an assassination. My normal target priority is casters I think I can kill/wound badly, stealth solos, solos, UA's, Cavalry, Heavy beast/jacks, Light beast/jacks, units.

I tend to boost to hit with spitfire 99% of the time, even if it is a 4 or 5 to hit. With that in mind, you will be spending 4 focus per turn making shots with spitfire.

Add in another point of focus per turn to upkeep refuge. Refuge is what allows Kara to hit and run. If she hits with a ranged attack (and with 2, she probably will) you can move her at the end of her activation. This effectively lets her move 12" in her turn and dramatically increases her surivability.

That leaves 2 focus a turn to buff units, use warjacks, camp, or cast spells. (if running squire)

Most of the time that's one "Dead eye" , or one double boosted jack cannon shot, or 2 camping.

The feat is a trap

This takes me to her feat, which as far as I am concerned reads as "faction models get boosted shots, oh, and Kara and a jack get an additional unboosted shot, but its not a big deal". 

The 1st part of the feat is very good, and the focus of my list building with her.

The 2nd part of the feat is a trap. Building a list around a couple of unboosted shots from warjacks you can't properly support is a terrible idea in my book.

Running 2,3 or more warjacks with guns to gain the benefit of her feat means that in most turns they will be under resourced with focus, or Kara won't be making enough awesome weapon master shots.

My advice, focus on the 1st part of the feat and treat the 2nd part as a nice little bonus, nothing more.

Cast a spell?

I cast very few spells with Kara Sloan. "Refuge" is used a lot to keep her mobile. I can see "return fire" having a use, but I've not really had a good situation to use it.

Deadeye is solid, and with your 2 remaining focus after upkeeping refuge and blazing out with spitfire would be well spent on it. That said, except in unusual circumstances, it's overkill to cast during a feat turn. Although Cygnar Rat + 4 dice should hit anything, even high def infantry under Ashylnns feat wouldn't be safe.

The two attacks spells are filler and won't be used very often. Arcane blast can kill a model engaging you in melee to free up a shot, and dust to dust can remove models from play, which is extremely rarely a very good thing to have (imagine an archangel with Thagrosh1 on 1 box remaining).

Fire group however, is another trap. It encourages you to take more jacks than you need and it makes you lazy when measuring ranges. The only time I use it is when I've measured my control range and spitfire is just short.

My Kara Sloan armies

I field Kara Sloan as a gun support solo for an assault army.

Reinholdt is always there to carry her ammo bag, and squire is a frequent inclusion. The models I favour are those Cygnar troops who can make assault shots when they charge. Storm Knights & Storm Lances are my current favourite core units. I support them with either gun mages or tempest blazers, models with good engagement ranges who can benefit from deadeye. Murdoch and mercs are another option.

The idea is not to play Kara's army as "sit back and shoot" but one that takes advantage of devastating charges in her feat round.

In a perfect world, it goes a little something like this.

Blazers go up one flank and harass the enemy with light cavalry moves and electro leaps. Full unit of Stormblades, supported by piper, captain and arcane shield run the center while the storm lances trot along side and behind.  The stormblades with gunners upfront "assault charge" under dead eye throwing a pile of Rat 5+3d6 threat range 14"-20" aoe 3 blasts into the enemy infantry.  the turn after receiving the counter charge you feat, have blazers do more house cleaning and have the Lances drive over the Storm knights using the capatains tactician and pathfinder, to deliver Rat 5 +3d6 shots with electro leap, mount attacks and Mat 9 charge attacks. 

The other option is to bait your opponent into closing the gap while forcing them into a kill zone. 



The image above is from a game where this plan worked perfectly(note, the blazers and Kara have moved, the storms have not). I ceded control of the objective while keeping the cavalry units on the flanks ready for the counter charge. The front line of Storm Knights fired off their boosted lighting shots and then took the brunt of the counter charge.

This counter attack would have been very good..... if Borka had any transfers. As it was, i just shot him dead. (Elevation + Kara = Dead casters)



Conclusion

Sure you can build Kara to be a boring gun line caster, but why not try assault armies with her. Run her jack light, don't build around the unboosted free shots under the feat, and keep her firing constantly. 







Sunday, 9 November 2014

Tempest Blazers - Cool unit, ugly horses




Oh Privateer press, how can you do so many things right and then do some things so very very wrong.

Unlike a lot of fans of another certain games company, I won't defend my favorite model makers when they do something sub standard.

The horses this unit are riding are simply awful. I've done everything in my power to detract from the horses in the paint scheme. They are drab and black with shiny bases.

The idea is that your eyes won't be drawn to the dogs horses these guys are riding. 


I really didn't enjoy painting this unit, it took 6 months to do........

Yep, I started painting them and they entirely killed my painting muse. Nothing can make those horses look good. I ended up painting the entire Storm Lance unit in a few days before coming back to these guys.....


The thing that really sucks is that they are AMAZING in game. They have mobility, great firepower, versatility and don't need a lot of support. Just put them on a flank and let them harass your opponent. 

Seriously, these chaps and chapettes have become one of my favorite Cygnar units and are beating out regular Gun Mages in a fair few lists. The extra movement and the light cavalry move after shooting has more than made up for losing true sight and jack marshall rune shots (which i personally have thought were overrated for the most part). Oh, and brutal shot kicks critical brutals butt.

One new technique i tried was water effects over terrain on the base. It's tricky to see by its made the mud all shiny and watery. As the unit has pathfinder i wanted to depict that (and take attention away from the stupid horses)




Coming soon, Kara and Kraye, along with the jack no one uses (but i will dammit)


Friday, 7 November 2014

Storm Lances

Righto

So, i'm back into painting seriously for the first time in ages. I have set myself a goal

Complete the entire available Cygnar range of models by the end of the Christmas holidays. (Note, this does not include all possible mercenary options) 

That's an awful lot of figures, but not as many as it sounds. Probably 30 odd models?

Once they are done, I will do a SUPER MEGA ARMY PHOTO SHOOT.

Because a full army should be something to brag about.

So, first update!



STORM LANCES!





Seriously, just look at these bad boys on horseback!

If you haven't seen much of my army before, I have two distinct schemes for Cygnar. A light blue and gold theme for most of the army, and a very dark blue with lightning crackle for the Storm Knights. 



The dark blue effect is achieved in a remarkably simple way. The models are sprayed blue with an airbrush, then i dry brush a bright blue (enchanted) over the model. I think follow up with the GW blue glaze, two coats of it.

It gives the blue a really shiny and different finish. 

Lightning marks are then done freehand using the same technique as my rune script. Lightning blue, following by white with a touch of lightning blue.


 I initially didn't think much of Storm Lances, which is why they were one of the last units i purchased. 11 points for 5 dudes? 

It seemed like a high point and dollar investment for what i felt was a bit of a corner case unit.

I have been proven wrong and I think these guys are seriously under rated.

With the right casters their damage output is nothing short of insane. I've run them with Kara using deadeye and her fear to maximize their shooting and charging and they have been devastating.

My initial thoughts was all about throwing them out there on the charge, but what they have excelled at is counter punching.

They sit with your gunline, potentially riding forward to shoot and then riding back. And when someone tries to jam your gun line, you run right over them.

The Stormguard Captain also grants them tactician, which allows them to charge over stormguards and stormblades.

Just a great unit, and the look great on the table.

PS. just noticed i forgot to paint the rock on the base of the captain..... DERP!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Nerd Alert - New free online magazine for geekstuff



Now I don't normally advertise things on this blog as it's not my style to make money off things or cram product down peoples throats. I'll leave that to other sites.

Any who, Juan, one of the guys in my regular netrunner group has launched a new magazine. It's very professionally done and you might find it interesting.

You can find it by clicking on the image above or following this link


As a debut edition, it's pretty impressive. Check it out if you get the time

Sunday, 26 October 2014

REJECTION! - I will not be the GW CEO


LAMENT!

WOE IS ME!

MY LIFE IS AN EMPTY SHELL!


Seriously though, I can't believe they dignified my application with a response. Even a form response. And I really really hope that the words in the email are true. I hope the board actually saw it, and nervously laughed at how stupid it was (while not making eye contact with Kirby)

Well, if GW falls down in a heap in the next few years, you can't blame me.


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Kapiti Tournament - Good times

Khador double handed throw resisted.

I must admit, I like short tournaments. A one day affair with 3-4 matches is prefect for me. Just long enough to have a lot of fun without suffering from "tournament fatigue"
Old man Sevvy is about to murder another old man in Doomie. It's geriatric wars!



Thanks to Pelarel for organizing the event and Mr C for hosting us at the Kapiti Club. 
Mr Tank has been trying out the new merc lists. Looking good so far. 



The Kapiti coast is one of the nicest places in New Zealand, and it is worth the nearly one hour drive from Wellington to visit. Granted, most of the time was spent in the hall, but outside it was glorious. 



Those are some damned bright Legion. One of the young guys being coached by his Dad. Always awesome to see a new generation of players and parenting DONE GOOD!




A small turnout of about 14 players, good enough though as i find the big events a bit taxing a time. Also, the SUPER SERIOUS WIN AT ALL COSTS crowd didn't turn up. So that's pretty good. Nice and laid back event. 


Some nice tables make all the difference in the game. 

Several of us decided to play "random" casters and lists and try out different things. There wasn't a lot of "eHaley double Stormwall" type lists which is great to see. After all, the core of this event was providing extra experience to people from a journeyman league. 
Well.... nearly everyone played odd lists :)

One of the great moments of the day for me was the last game going in the 2nd round. Everyone crowded around the table to watch one of the youngsters taking on someone 3 times his age. It was a close nail biting game ended by Thunderbolts from gun mages...... dirty dirty cygnar :)



Thunderbolts and crit devastation = I CAN HAVE ZONES NOW!



As for me, I came 2nd based on strength of schedule, which is fine. I would have come 2nd on control points (0) anyway. And the last game of Warmachine I played 6 months ago or more was against the guy who won, and he beat me then (and I was using Kraye in that game as well)




Out numbered and cornered by  Lintmans Trolls. 



Game one was my Kraye "ALL THE JACKS" list and it was a load of fun. I kept forgetting to move my light jacks as light cav and forgot the impact attacks from heavy jacks as well. Kraye is a complicated caster with loads of special rules and tricks. I'm barely beginning to scratch the surface of what he can do. 

Yes, that is light arty you see



I messed up by picking walls in my deployment zone which slowed me down, Kraye has pathfinder for his battlegroup, but you just don't have enough focus to do everything. Fortunately my opponent left an opening that Hammersmith and some shooting could clear and Ol'Rowdy delivered Hammer to Grims face. 



15" charges are a thing. 

My 2nd game was against pFeora using Kara. Lessons learned were that light cav is really annoying to medium infantry who cannot catch them.

Also, it doesn't matter what focus Feora camps as Kara and Storm knights on a charge do horrific amounts of damage. 






The final game was against our host Mr C. 

He was driving a Borka brick, and while my Kara list has an amazing amount of punch, I was seriously worried about dealing with it. 

My plan was to let him take the objective with his force and then counter charge with my storm units. I was more than willing to sacrifice some VP's in order to pull him into the kill box. 


That's the objective. This is how the board looked at game end.

Fortunately for me though he moved Borka up and dumped all his fury, and I mean all of it in the Kriel stone.

Now Borka is tough, but not that tough. And with elevation and feat, and no one protecting Borka he died under a hail of bullets. Still took 4 blazers, the hunter and Kara to do it though.

Good times though, would play again




Monday, 20 October 2014

Zombicide - The Heroes round 1



Well, i'm taking some time off painting Zombicide to get ready for this Warmachine tournament, but I thought I would share where I was up to.

For the heroes I wanted to put in a lot more detail and colour. They really need to stand out against the monochrome hordes of the undead.

I also wanted to make the Zombivor version of each hero especially bloody but more muted than the original. You may notice the skin is muddied up and there is liberally applications of GW's bloodletter paint.



Doug has become a bit of a fan favourite at our household. Not because he's amazingly powerful, but because hes' Doug. It's hard to explain, but somehow Doug has developed a reputation of being a one-man wrecking crew that ultimately none of us are worried to see die. If Doug goes down in a horde of undead and we still win, that's a victory and Doug did his job.

Doug was straight-forward to paint. One little trick is using blue to highlight the black pants with dark blue. 




Amy is my partners favourite character. I don't know if I have ever got the chance to play her yet as when she picks, she picks Amy.

And that's because +1 move is handy, and she likes how badass she is in melee.

The neato thing with this figure was painting the fishnet stockings. 









Wanda, on the other hand, is one of my favourite characters. She's my "solo" who runs off to random places on the map and draws the zombies away. Frequently, she has also been the sole survivor (or the last one eaten)

He 2 squares per move is more situational than Amy's +1 move action, but a lot more hilarious when it comes off. Also, at orange level she can move 8 squares and move through zombies. She's awesome. 

I like both these figs a lot. 



Boring boring Phil. A dude so dull we made house rules to make him better (his special is he starts with a pistol, about the worst ranged weapon in the game)

I love how he turned out though. His face is one of the best i've done. 

I still have a dozen more heroes to paint, but they will have to wait until after Warmachine is done. 

Until then. 


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