Thursday, 24 November 2011

How to lose at Warmachine - Being troll food

So, in my second game of Warmachine (not im not counting the few i played years ago and the two mangled metal warjack only games I played) I came up against Sean and his Trolls.

Now, I'll talk about Sean a bit. Hes a top guy, every week he sets up multiple games tables with scenery in his garage and lets a dozen or so beardy gamers in to play. He's doing a lot to support the game in our community and for that he has my respect. Hes also a nice guy which helps.

One thing he doesn't do is let the noobie win.

He was very helpful and explained what all his dudes did, and gave me a good post game debrief and some ideas on what I could do next time. It was a solid learning experience, but still one where I got thumped.

Army list

So, I took Siege again Not the easiest caster to use and I still need to get the hang of his tricks.But he was the only caster I owned so, yep, not many options.

Sean also len't me some models so I could experiment with some guys before making a purchase, which was handy.

Madrak - The troll caster
  • Siege
  • Centurion/Lancer
  • 6 Trenchers with officer and Grenadier
  • Journeyman with Defender
  • 6 Sword Knights
  • 10 Long gunners with officer
The game
It was a mission with three objectives in the middle of the table, with one becoming a non objective after the 1st turn. This required the splitting of forces to cover all three objectives.

I parked my long gunners and Defender in the middle of the table. Sent the Centurion up the middle, the trenchers to the left, and the sword knights and lancer to the right. 

Dire Trolls are well scary
The middle objective turned out to be the fake, which left my centurion with a long way to go to get engaged in combat. Needless to say he did sod all.

The game looked close for a while. My trenchers and grenadier held the left flank and had overpowered Seans guys on that side of the table.

That being said I had given the Defender to my Journey man caster who was murdered by a 13" charge.... didn't see that coming. Important feature of the battle that one. 

But the main battle was on the right flank. Madrak, his Dire Troll and a group of very tough trolls were claiming that objective and I moved to counter.

I used sieges once per game feat, which halves my opponents armour the next time they get hit. The lancer and Sword Knights did a good job of carving up Sean's super tough trolls and the long gunners did some heavy damage to the Dire troll.

Things were looking pretty well balanced until Madrak decided to get his hands dirty.... and by hands dirty I mean bury them into the entrails of my Warcaster.

First, Sean used a telekinesis style push power to line my guys up in a nice row.  He then used Madraks feat which allows him to attack and then move on if he kills something.... yep ... he turned into the tasmanian devil and bounded down my line of sword knights hacking them into bloody giblets until he got in contact with my caster. Who he then hit a few times.

My caster was still alive, but, as Sean had mentioned earlier his feat works for any dudes in his control area. So the dire troll turns into a tasmanian devil as well, hacks down the last defenders near Siege and then proceeds to eat him..... the game ended with the dire troll lazily chewing on sieges face and then using his rocket launcher as a tooth pick.

Lessons learned

  • Know your dudes. A couple of times I forgot to use special abilities that could have been handy
  • Threat ranges. Some opponents have amazing threat ranges. I couldn't believe how far those troll guys could charge with their mini feat.
  • A defender is too important a warjack to give Jnr. Also, jnr is very fragile
  • The centurion is very slow, decide where it needs to be early on. 
  • Madrak is the tazzy devil, don't get close unless you can killshot
  • Foxhole isn't just for defensive purposes.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Basing models for beginners (And munters like me)

Righto! Basing models for fun and profit..... well not for profit.... and its not really fun.... hmmm.... why do we do this again?

Oh yeah, because based models look 100 times better than unbased ones.

I'm not going to go into extreme detail in this post, just give you a run down of how to base your models in a very easy straight forward way that doesn't look that bad.

To start get the following things

  • PVA glue (Its really cheap)
  • Some modeling sand (available at hobby stores)
  • Something to put the pva on
  • A Brush you really really hate.... like if a brush stole your lunch money tell it that its payback time.
  • Some brown paint or ink (I use an ANCIENT citadel brown ink that's been out of production since Bush was president.... Bush Snr that is)
  • Green flock (available at all good model stores)

Start by applying the PVA glue to the base. You can mix it a little with water or just slop the stuff on. Cover the whole base and then immediately dunk the model in the modeling sand like so.  Ensure its completely covered.

Leave to dry for a while and then tap the base gently like so. 

This will remove excess sand that is playing possum and isn't really glue to the base. Leave to dry for a considerable amount of time before the next stage. Also, wash out your brush unless you really want it to punish it  (say if it stole your lunch money and kicked your dog)

Use watered down brown paint or ANCIENT INK. Just slap it on the base quite liberally. The sand will soak it up and it will end up looking like the pic above. Nice broken brown ground. No, i'm just doing dull and simple grassy bases, you can go crazy with colour if you choose.

Leave to dry for ages again. It's a simple process.... not a fast process.

Get the PVA again and put dab some clumps on the base as shown in the model above. This is where you want your shrubbery to be. 

Dump the model in the flock as you did with the sand. Don't be gentle, just bash it in there. As you can see from the picture below I ham fistedly bashed these guys into the flock leaving WAY to much on the base. That's good, when it drys most of it will simply fall off.

From this point you can also superglue some rocks and other bits to the model and paint them up as well. I tend to use green stuff to mold the rocks in place, but it doesn't look that good an I wouldn't really recommend it. I'm going to look at megapopes blog about rocks for more advice on doing rocks..... perhaps he could guest post here.... talking about rocks..... the dude loves rocks.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

How to lose at Warmachine - Part one - Cygnar vs Cygnar

I'm the red guy
Well, I thought about a tactical guide to Cygnar, or a post about how to play Warmachine in general but the simple fact is this.

I'm getting my ass kicked every time I play

So far it hasn't really been close even.

I've played three games  35-50 points and each one has involved me getting crushed in an amusing and horrid way.

Don't misunderstand me I am really enjoying the game and losing teaches you a lot more than winning. I'm enjoying playing against some very experienced players..... they've all be very nice to play against as well. No dick moves so far.

So while I played a small amount under MKI, I'm really starting from scratch.... if anything, my previous handful of games under MKI have taught me bad habits.  

Game One - Cygnar Vs Cygnar

Game one, 35 points vs Cygnar, my rough list was as follows. I had no idea who I would play so I chucked together 35 points of what I had painted. My plan was to sit and shoot a bit, use the trenchers as a screen and counter attack using the Centurion and Sword Knights

  • Siege (Looks like Mr T, fights like Charles Upham)
  • Centurion  (Very big warjack with a massive spear and shield)
  • Defender (A heavy gun jack)
  • Hunter (A light gun jack)
  • Sword Knights (6) (Cheap melee infantry, good when fighting by a jack with a spear)
  • Long Gunners (6) (Riflemen, stand and shoot)
  • Trenchers (6) (WWI soldiers, dig in, smoke and bayonet charges)
Little did I know that I would be playing Thomas C, that he also played Cygnar and that his army could shoot the stuffing out of me
This is how outgunned I felt

Yep, Thomas turned up with Kara, the sniper warcaster, 2 Defender Heavy gun jacks, 2 Hunter light gun jacks, Some gun mages and a special character called Arlan Strangeways (Who's a very handy technician sort who can powerup warjacks)

How the battle went

So, I slowly realized that I couldn't stand and shoot my way out of this. Sadly, half my army was stand and shoot and the rest was charge. His guys were faster than mine and he could out shoot me. So my tactics were as follows.

Fumble around aimlessly forgetting what my guys do and get crushed.

Seriously, I barely scratched his army and he blasted me back into the stone age. I couldn't match his firepower and was too hesitant to send my melee guys up the guts into his formation. A charge up the middle could have foced him to split his forces slightly and allowed me to capitalize. But I dug in, failed to inflict any real damage and siege ended up being gunned down by half his army.

Thomas put on a clinic and it was really good to learn from him. As a veteran Cygnar player he gave me plenty of feedback and explained a bunch of rules I misunderstood.

Lessons learned

  1. Don't hesitate, if your plan A is blown come up with Plan B pretty damm quickly
  2. A mixed force can work really well at time, but standing still against superior fire power is really dumb
  3. A 2" range advantage makes a bigger difference than you would initially think. When comparing similiar units and one has a 2" advantage it can be huge.
  4. Units don't have to be 3" apart anymore, coherency works way differently in MKII to 40k or MKI
  5. Smoke isn't as good as it was in MKI, it doesn't block line of sight to the trencher using it, just gives them camouflage.
  6. Gun Mages have Defence 15, that makes them rather hard to hit at range
  7. Siege is still a baddass, but the "Tower of power" tactic I used in MKI is gone 

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Base Coats - Basic Advice

Notice the white spots?
Ok, so i've put my MASSIVE ORDER of Cygnar guys together, so what next.

Well, Step two of any good paint job is under coating.

The best way to think about under coating a model is as "laying a good foundation on which to paint"

Seriously though, if your undercoat is crappy and uneven, very little you do will make the model look any good.

Thankfully there are many nice and easy ways to undercoat a model effectively.

You can use spray coat, and I recommend the Citadel Black undercoat.... I don't use white undercoats very often. Mainly because my painting guru (A sagacious man known only as "The Colin") taught me that black is the way to go. Something about showing off the colours better, I trust him as he can paint a model to a far better finish than I can while still playing a guitar at the same time. (Anyone who has met "The Colin" will agree with this)
Black Jacks!

Another, hideously more expensive option is to use an Airbrush filled with black primer paint.

Airbrushes are like TOTALLY AWESOME. But in an incredibly hard and annoying to use way.

Airbrushing, as i've discovered, is a totally new skill and takes you back to square one with painting. Basecoating a model with the airbrush works well, if you can get an nice even finish. This might require some practice and sacrificing a few models to the altar of experimentation. Long term, it might be a more economical solution to expensive spray undercoats.

The key with undercoats are, a nice even covering of the model, so that the metal/plastic isn't showing but the detail isn't obscured. Practice, makes perfect, but I find it's best to spray until it looks covered, move the model , spray again, and leave to dry. Come back later and check what you missed. It's normally the underside of the model, so spray those bits once more.

For my Cygnar Warjack I decided to go one step further and load the airbrush up with the base colour of the model.

As you can see in these pics the blue base coat for this Lancer turned out pretty damm well. I used the airbrush with a 50/50 mix of thinner and Vallejo dark blue paint.
Ready to spray some blue.... CYGNAR BLUE

Look at this GQ Lancer

    I recommend the Vallejo paints for airbrushing over Citadel and P3 for one reason. The squeezey bottle make it SO MUCH easier to put in the mixing bowl for the airbrush. The same logic for undercoating applies to spraying base colours, keep it even, keep in thin, but cover the model with out killing the detail.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Space Hulk - Squad Lorenzo

Space Hulk

You evil expensive king sized monster you.

I occasionally say bad things about GW, usually about their pricing model and their release schedule. Mainly because those things are 100% true and get in the way of me actually enjoying their product and my hobby.

Space Hulk is above that, it's beyond it. Space Hulk is what happens when GW does something right. They took classic space hulk, touched up the rules, and made it exceedingly pretty. The Mini's are THE BEST looking models included in a stand alone boardgame..... ever.... no questions.

And for those of you who want to rave about deadboringfleet, please go over that side, the kids table is ready to serve your happy meal and novelty pirate hat. Pick a fate card to see who wins.

Space Hulk was, and remains and elegant asymmetric two player tactical game where nearly every decision is nail biting and tense. It borrowed heavily from the vibe of the Aliens movie, but married it well enough to the 40k setting that it wasn't jarring.

The mechanics are simple, in that brilliant "easy to learn, difficult to master" way of early GW boardgames. I do find the genestealers far more forgiving to play than the marines, but with experienced players it seems to balence out.


I wont do a shot by shot painting guide, as I pretty much followed the one on the GW website. What I will say is that I took my sweet time with these guys.

I've painted entire boardgames in less time than it took to do this squad. I'm not an expert painter by any measure, and I get good mileage out of painting short cuts and techniques.But I took no short cuts on these guys. I think they turned out pretty good.

This is not a boxed set you want to give to KEEF your 13 year old cousin who just started painting. These models are precious really, and I don't normally say that about hunks of plastic.

Take your time, pay a friend to paint them who's really good. AND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY DO NOT USE THE GODDAM DIP METHOD.

I don't care if you think dipped models look good, they don't. They look passable AT BEST.

Dipping these is akin to getting a bottle of $500 wine and mixing it with orange juice and lemonade.

Oh, heres the painting guide for those interested. The only change i made is i didn't like the Grey terminator emblems on the left shoulder. (Crux Terminatus, I think)


That's it for now.

I really should get this game out and play it more, stop treating it like an art exhibit.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Cygnar - Long Gunners


Long gunners are a pretty solid unit for Cygnar and one that i've never played without..... this is probably due to not having a lot of models until recently, but I can see their utility in most forces.

What do they do?

Well, long gunners don't do melee. They really really suck in melee, like so bad in kinda comedic.

What they do do is stay at long range and shoot things a lot. They can fire twice if they stay still and can combine fire on targets which allows you to double them up to kill high defence targets or fire as a total group to damage even heavy warjacks and beasts.

The officer and banner attachment allow you to place covering fire templates, fire through your own guys in "British empire style" firing drills, and reroll morale checks.

All in all a good solid long ranged infantry unit that can engage almost any target from range with good efficiency.


Long gunners are surprisingly fiddly models to paint. They have a bronze cuirass, lots of straps and pouches and a gun they tend to hold close to their chests. All in all, I did not find these guys a joy to paint.

The banner bearer however was fun. That pre molded banner with the Cygnus was so much fun and really easy to shade and highlight. Plus it will look pretty cool on the field.

I also topped the models off with my Cygnar runic bases. It's a good idea to show a models front arc, and decorating it isn't a bad idea. I really like how it turned out.

Assembly line - Cygnar

Wow, I had forgotten how putting together a bucket load of models is one sitting is a diabolical chore.

So lets talk about putting models together, especially metal ones. You see, i've been assembling Space marines for a while and really, plastics are 1000 times easier to put together. They really are. Metal models are a bit of a bastard in all honesty in that regard.

What do we need?

Well, if you see the photo above you'll see most of the tools I used, but i'll spell them out as that pic really is a mess.... it's taken after a weekend of assembly and gluing my fingers to everything (Models, themselves, my dinner)

Ill also mention some techniques and tricks I use for each tool 

File - To remove "flash" and mold lines (flash is those little strands of metal of the edges of models)

Drill, wire and cutters - Some models benefit from being pinned together. I can't be bothered doing it for all of them, but for some its essential. Just drill into both parts to be connected and snip a small amount of wire to glue in place. Be careful that you can pin it at the right angle, otherwise you in for some frustration.

Super Glue - Use a stick to apply. A good trick is to apply it to a fair few components at a time and leave to dry a bit. Once its getting tacky then press them together. Saves you having to sit and hold each model for 10 minutes. Don't be afraid to prop up a model against a book or another model while it glues to hold the piece in place for you. (In the pic you can see the banner bearer is leaning against another model while it drys, also, the banner s held on the ground by some green stuff)

Plastic glue -  For citadel plastics this is a must. The Warmachine plastics are a little different, so I used a mixture of super glue and green stuff (Not a literal mixture, its not some super compound for sticking things together)

Milliput - I don't like slotta bases when painting. So I fill them in with Miliput and snip of the slot at the bottom of the model. This is a personal thing, but i don't like the seam on the base. Milliput is the cheap way to close those gaps up.

Green Stuff - Metal models aren't the most flexible things out there. Sometimes you want to create a more dynamic stance for a figure, but the metal won't go that way. This is when I use green stuff to adjust how the model goes together. Its also really good for adding a little structural support to a weak join on a model.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Empire of the Rising Sun - Axis and Allies Anniversary edition

As our epic journey continues into my set of Axis and Allies anniversary edition its time to look at the pacific powerhouse, the axis power that shoots first and asks questions later, the big bad unstoppable HULK SMASH armada that is the nation of Imperial Japan.

Japan was a so-so power in the original Axis and Allies, but in anniversary edition it is seriously dangerous. Left to it's own devices Japan can become a rolling juggernaut that can conquer everyone. If the Allies concentrate 100% on Germany and the Germans can hold out, Japan can become a complete monster.

So, technical issues and such. Here are the signature paints used in this set

CT Blazing Orange (Japan national colour and ship sides)
CT Chainmail (Fighters)
VJ Yellow Oche 913 (tanks)
VJ Middle Stone 882 (uniform)
VJ Khaki Grey 880 (helmets)
VJ German dark green 979 (bombers tank camo)

The aircraft bases are something I haven't mentioned before and they really add a little bit to the presentation of the game (And they look awesome on the carrier planes).

The process for making them isn't too complicated either.

1.) Get a drill bit and some thin wire (And clippers). You also need some washers and some modeling clay like Milliput. All of this can be obtained at a friendly local gaming store or hardware store.
2.) Make a very small drill hole in the bottom of the planes.... very shallow, you don't want to drill through.
3.) Use the clippers to cut the wire into roughly inch long lengths. I'd suggest making the bombers wire a little bit longer so they look more impressive (Like they are flying at a higher altitude)
4.) Glue the wire into the planes with superglue and wait to dry

5.) Grab a washer and the milliput, ball the milliput onto the washer and mould it into a ball shape. Leave it for a short while to harden slightly then drive the wire into the ball so that it almost comes out the bottom through the washer.
6.) Wait for AGES AND AGES for the milliput to harden. Use a knife and trim the excess miliput off the bottom of the washer so that it sits flat on the ground
7.) Paint in faction colours
8.) Attack Pearl Harbour

Also, to close out here are the capital ships of the all powerful Imperial navy. I'll talk about flags on ships next time, but DON'T THEY JUST LOOK BOTH COOL AND CUTE!


Saturday, 5 November 2011


So i finally, after many many moons got around to finishing off all the hero characters in Descent, with all the expansions. 38 heroes and about 74 bazillion monsters in total.

The key to these guys was not painting to prefection, in all honesty the sculpts are a bit crap and trying to master paint a game as rough and tumble as descent is a collosal waste of time. In most cases its

1.) Spray
2.) Base coat
3.) Ink wash
4.) The old small detail here and there

The good thing about these characters is the colour palate is nice and varied, its also painting by numbers as you have the nice artwork to follow.

So here it is, all 18 heroes from the 3 expansions.





Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Keeping on gaming

Well, for one who has as many games and models as I do I've done a surprisingly small amount of gaming in the last few years.

I don't really know why it has been this way, my friends like gaming, I like gaming...... perhaps its been transitioning from university to work? Or the lack of a decent gaming area? Perhaps its been the fact that until 3 months ago we lived in a house like the one below that required Sherpa's to get to.

Seriously, this is a smaller hill and easier to get to than where we lived

Yeah, well that forsaken hell hole is a thing of the past. Now I have my own place..... with a gaming table.... but still no gaming


Me when i found out my friends wanted to play Descent
It looks like, after months of home buying fears, general apathy, a major injury to one of my friends, and a redundancy or two we might start gaming again. Oh and life, and career and savings and other random rubbish that gets in the way of a good play time. I've found a group to play warmachine with and my old friends are getting together to play some Descent next week.

I am really looking forward to this, as shown by this webcam capture of me here.

So why is it, that I really really enjoy doing something, but don't seem to get around to enjoying my hobby enough? In our late teens and early 20's we gamed until the cows came home... (Or sheep, or parents). We had not a lot else to do I must admit but we seemed always to be doing something. I have no idea how many one off roleplaying games people wrote and played in back then, but it was a lot.

So now, when we have less spare time to we seem to spend a higher proportion of it doing stuff all? This year I've spent 10 times more time reading about gaming and painting than doing it.

Do we all become boring and old, inflexible and lazy? Organizing something as simple as a game requires a lot more effort these days..... and none of our close group have kids yet?

I for one want to keep on gaming. I want to find the energy to keep doing what I love, with people who's company I enjoy. (Even the new Warmachine group who I'm really just getting to know)

So, anyone else ever feel like its all to much bloody effort some days? What strategies have people used to keep gaming groups together? Will Games Workshop ever realize that placing teasers on the internet after a product launch has been leaked and then stifling comments and saying that its all baseless rumors is stupid?

Who knows, but one thing i do know is that I still like gaming.
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