Sunday, 25 December 2011

Holiday shutdown

Good day all

Well, I have a lot of stuff happening over the next few weeks and I imagine many of you do as well. I will start posting again in the new year. (Probably around the 9th or so)

So until then, here are baby pictures of my Guinea pigs Troubadour (white/black) and Blasphantom (Black)

Parsley, its like crack cocaine for little pigs

And on xmas day waiting for a cage clean and fresh xmas morning snacks and treats. How much they have grown in two months is unreal.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Protectorate of Menoth - For Paul

So many years ago I played some Warmachine with a good friend of mine by the name of Paul. I offered to paint his Menoth guys that were lying around unpainted, I was being good natured and I was also poor and had no models to paint.

Five years later I found them in a box and finished off the paint jobs..... thankfully I still talk to Paul so he will pop around and pick them up at some point.

I tried a slightly different Menoth scheme, very much inspired by the Dark Angels traditional colours. I think it looks alright, I've always found the pinky colour on Menoth a little washed out and blah. Bases were done with sand and a little bit of tussock, also painted the Menoth runes on an orange/brown background.

Pretty stoked with the freehand menofex on the left warjack, although he is way darker than the others for some reason. 

Comments? How would this scheme look across a Menoth Force?

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Angry angry elves - how to lose at Warmachine

Well, this week I took on Che and his retribution force. The big thing to note is I’ve enrolled to play at valleycon, which will be my first gaming tournament of any kind. I am fully expecting to get my butt handed to me by a selection of highly skilled players.

I don’t expect to win this tournament….. and by win, I mean win a single game across two days. I firmly believe I will take home the wooden spoon and be crowned Valleycon swamp gobber (There is a prize for being the crappest person there)

The tournament has some special rules, all games will be 40 points and people need to play armies that are themed lists. This will limit my options a lot, as I really only have the forces for one themed list at the moment. I do need to buy some more dudes to fill out my army so I have the option of fielding a second list.

So, who is my opponent this week

Well it’s the Retribution of Scyrah. Yeah…. That doesn’t really tell you much unless you know the back story of this faction. Elves in this setting are xenophobic maniacs…. And I quite like that. Their gods are dying or dead and they have figured out that human magic started about the time their gods started dropping off. The last god alive in their homeland (although paralysed) is Scyrah. So the Retribution of Scyrah is a bunch of homicidal mage hunting elves….


These guys have the classic elven ennui and declining numbers, but they aren’t going on boats to the west. Hell no, they are planning on murdering mages and their children while they sleep.

This force was commanded by Che, who is a heck of a nice guy. Both of us were a little sketchy on some of the rules but luckily Chris the press ganger and Jimmy (Of Morghoul kicking my ass some months back fame) were playing at the next table.

Che also told me he came last in the tournament he went to, so I felt like this was a preliminary battle of the wooden spoon.

The List

Well, my options are limited due to having to use a tiered list. So I went for Siege – The Big Guns. Loads of trenchers and an entire army that can advance deploy. This army can pretty much all dig in or hide with stealth, its not going to get shot up much. Its melee punch is limited though

Two Defenders
Trencher Commandos with scatterguns
Trencher Infantry with Grenadier, Sniper and officer
Two Trencher chain guns
Trencher cannon
Trencher Master Gunner
Maxwell Finn

The Game

We got Chris to give us one of the new scenarios, and it boiled down to controlling two areas in the middle of the table.

I deployed first, by placing my caster and his two warjacks and then told Che to deploy his army. The cool thing about an army that almost all advance deploys is that you can normally see everything your opponent has set up first. Which was really handy. I ensured my commandos were on the same side as his toughest infantry as “anatomical precision” is great against hard targets.

Ches force was commanded by Adeptis Rahn who is a good spellcaster with lots of annoying tricks up his sleeve. First of all was polarity field, which would stop me charging a unit…. This damm thing popped up all through the game and was a real hassle. Ches force had some dawnguard heavy infantry, combat mages, some funky solos, Archers who launch grenades, a light warjack and a magical floating time displacing cannon the size of a building.

Yeah…. You read that right….. a magical floating time displacing cannon the size of a building. 

Thankfully, that cannon wasn’t as dangerous as it could have been due to my guys digging in to avoid the blast damage from its massive long ranged firepower.

The battle really started in my favour, and after 2-3 turns Che thought we may have time for a second game. My commando unit had messed up his dawnguard with scatterguns and their sharp stabby knives. My defenders had turned his light warjack with an arc node into a smoking crater and the turn after they did that to the magical floating time displacing cannon the size of a building.

Finn died after counter attacking the dawnguard and some commados were dead, but mostly I was looking good.

Che’s ranged firepower was having little effect on my dug in guys and with half his army broken I moved in for the kill and popped sieges feat.

I then promptly missed with just about every single attack and left siege uncovered and in the open.

It’s worth noting that the their was a direct correlation between the death of Maxwell Finn and the subsequent inability of my soldiers to shoot straight (+2 to hit for all trenchers who can see him is a great buff). It’s that and Che put his guys in cover. At one point I missed an 7 person combined range attack …. Defence 20 is just so damm hard to hit.

Che counter attacked pretty hard and a pair of solos managed to knock siege down to six health. He pulled back after one of the defenders decided to play hammer time with the solos, but on Ches next turn he rushed his caster forward to launch lightning bolts at Siege.

All the time this was going on in the centre of the battlefield, my trenchers and his mages/archers were involved in a struggle over a bridge. Two shooting forces with high defences, it was a real attrition battle.

Finally, Che was just out of range and had to damage siege with splash damage from his spells. He just couldn’t quite crack sieges armour and at the end of the game siege had 6 health left.

Che shook my hand and my defender rolled up to Rahn and smashed him in the face.

What had looked like it was going to be a quick game in my favour had quickly become a fight to the death and a close fought thing.

So I won for the second time, but really I should have won this safely a lot earlier. I gave Che an opening and he responded well, if I hadn’t of saved 2 focus on siege during that one turn siege would have been dead.
Lessons learned

  • You are never really out of the game until your caster is dead
  • Don’t get cocky, if your winning don’t do something “because it would be cool”
  • High defence infantry are hard to move once they are in cover.
  • Little +1 and +2 bonuses to hit add up.
  • It doesn’t matter that your defender is doing 15+3d6 damage and your opponents armour is halved if you miss them
  • Swamp gobber is a noble goal in life

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Fun with Magnets! - Creating OMNIJACKS!

What's an Omnijack?  Well, its a reference to Omni mechs from Battletech, mechs that could swap and change payloads and weapon very easily. What I wanted was some warjacks that I could swap and change parts on.

So I went to the local friendly gaming store and purchased some rare earth magnets to use with my new Warmachine Cygnar Heavy Jack box. The cool thing about this box is it gives you all the bits to make a Defender, a Cyclone and an Ironclad. the Magnets were about $12 for 24


I got my Warjack kit from  for $49 NZ dollars. Which is pretty damm cheap as far as NZ hobby stores go. Chris from Mark One also does free mail order anywhere within New Zealand.


I already had an Ironclad from the starter box, and i had already started painting the sucka. But, I thought I could lop off a hand and magnetise it.

The process!

Well, it was pretty simple. Get some magnets, and some green stuff and mold them in place. The key thing is to ensure that your magnets are pointing the right way. This sounds basic, but its amazing how many times I molded one on and then had to unpick it. The magnets are also fiddly and its easy to forget what side is what.

I also used a knife to flatten the shoulder sockets to the magnet sat as flat as possible. The real issue I had was with the Cyclone guns, there is no easy way I can see to make them "pop out" less

Its also really tricky to get the magnet socket smooth without it being colossal. They won't look as good as a purpose built warjack, as the joints will be just a little bit to big.

OMNI-jacks ready to accept weapons

Both in Ironclad configuration

Defender and Cyclone configurations

All the magnetized bits close up

Also. no post on magnets would be complete without this

Monday, 12 December 2011

Werewolves ate my baby - How to lose at warmachine

So it’s the forces of Cygnar are taking on Fangface the crime fighting werewolf and friends. (Those of you who understand the reference are officially old, those who don’t should go to you tube to learn just how bad kids cartoons can be)

Wait sorry, not Fangface this is the Circle of Orboros. Not the circle of Ouroboros because that would make them the Circle of the Circle…. which would be kind of daft.

So what are the 720 degrees mobile team about? Well, from my limited exposure to them they seem to be a Celtic druid fanboys wet dream. That or this is what PETA think they should really be like.

I think legendary rockers Spinal tap can sum up the Circle of Orboros way better than I can.

So, I was up against Matt and his force of Wolves, Barbarians, Druids and teleporting Stonehenge’s. (Yes, they have Stonehenge’s that teleport….. what’s wrong with that?). Matt’s a seasoned veteran and I had no idea what half his dudes did, he politely explained them to me. Sadly, my brain was in sleep mode and most of that went out one ear.

Before I get into it this is probably the worst game I’ve played. I forgot basic stuff like that Warlocks can transfer wounds. Not making too many excuses, but I think I was a bit out of it.

Anyway, the LIST

pStryker with Squire
Centurion, Ol Rowdy, Lancer
Journeyman with Grenadier
2 Trencher Chain guns
10 Long gunners with UA
6 Sword Knights
Trencher Master Gunner

Now it pays to note that I had 3 units that could place down AOE templates that could cause advancing infantry problems. Did I use a single one during them game? No I did not. Why you ask? Because I completely forgot about this.

The Game

I set up and them promptly lost…..

Oh wait did I spoil the surprise?

Yeah, not much to write about this one, I deployed badly, splitting my forces in a dumb way. I didn’t advance far enough towards the objectives and was genuinely outplayed at every turn.

Several things messed me up and I’ll sum those up here.

This is a warbeast..... apparently
  1. I had no defence against a Fast moving stealthed unit. I ended up moving Ol Rowdy out to deal with them, but all that did was break up my force.
  2. The teleport stones and placing units. It really doesn’t matter if your centurion can’t be charged when they can place a Warp wolf right on top of it.
  3. Shooting! I was quite surprised at just how good some of the shooters in the circle army were. Especially the warbeast that doesn’t look like a warbeast.
  4. Hit and run. I had nothing that I could easily counter the circles mobility with.
  5. Lots of clouds blocking me from shooting his dudes.

Did I learn many lessons from this game? Not really, I played pretty poorly and didn’t pay attention while I was playing. I don’t know if I was out of it or what, but the game was over and one with in about 60 minutes, and at no point did it look like anyone but Matt was going to win. 

This guy kicked my ass

I’ve read up a bit more on the circle since then, and hopefully next time I play them I pay a bit more attention to what’s going on. 
Focus, dammit Focus

Well, this brings us up to speed with where i'm at with Warmachine. This game was three weeks ago, and I've been a bit ill and missed some weeks of Warmachine. This week I should be back into it.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Sculpting a Cygnus

So, I really wanted to do some sculpting and the idea that came to me was to convert my Ironclad into Ol Rowdy. That shouldn't be too hard I thought, Ol Rowdy is just an Ironclad with a Cygnus and a shoulder guard right?

Wrong, dead wrong

Once I actually handled an Ol Rowdy and saw just how massive he was I abandoned the idea. But, I had already started sculpting so I've decided to make keep this guy as is so I can tell one heavy Warjack chassis from another.

I think the Cygnus came out pretty well, especially once it was painted up.

The lessons learned from doing this are

1.) Let the green stuff harden up for a while before starting to sculpt. Onc its mixed its really really "tacky" and fracking hard to work with
2.) Keep you clay sculptor moist.
3.) Draw the thing you want to sculpt to scale on a bit of paper you can reference easily.
4.) It doesn't have to be perfect. If it looks good from a foot away its probably perfect for the table.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Earthquake anyone? - How to lose at Warmachine

In our previous instalment of How to lose at Warmachine I told you the sordid tale of how Lord Assassin Morghoul ate Stryker’s face with a vicious assassination run. This time around it’s a rematch with the Skorne, but not with Jimmy. The local gaming group has multiple Skorne players and this time I was matched up with Chris F.

And I couldn’t have faced a more different Skorne force really. Jimmy had a fast moving army, primed for a vicious assassination run into the heart of my forces. Chris, Chris has designed not an army, but a giant brick made out of models.
Xerxis.... like a brick... with legs

His Warlock was Tyrant Xerxis, which I believe is Skorne for “giant outhouse made of brick and mortar”. He also appears to be armed with the legs cracked off a stone giants dining room table.

This guy is tough, lots of armour and abilities that make his guys tougher. This Skorne force relied on Heavy beasts, Heavy infantry and loads of armour buffs that made his front wall very very tough. Not a subtle force by any means. I felt like I was standing in front of a massive steamroller, and it was heading right for me.

So what did I have to oppose him with?

The List

Stryker - This man has big hair
pStryker with Squire
Ironclad, Centurion, Lancer, Charger
Journeyman with Hunter
10 Long gunners with UA
Mechanic with 5 gobbos
6 Sword Knights

Lots of jacks this time, and not really the focus to run them all. My initial idea was to run the lancer and charger ahead and spend a lot of focus on them in the first few rounds. Unfortunately, the Skorne moved on me pretty quickly.

The Game

It was an objective based game, with one objective on each side of the board. I placed my long gunners near my objective on the left supported by the Centurion and the Ironclad. The lancer, charger hunter and sword knights on my right flank, Stryker, his squire and the mechanics held the center.

The skorne came right up the middle charger straight into the guts of my force. Xerxis was supported by 2 titans, a basilisk and a rhinodon, which is a Scary pile of meat. His wall of metal and meat also contained some very tough infantry, including guys with harpoon guns. Chris was trying to smash right into my formation, and most of his guys had horribly high armour scores. 
The right flank was quite mobile during the game and my light jacks dealt with an incoming horde of beserkers. A brutal charge from these beserkers tore apart my charger leaving it with one damage point.

The long gunners kept firing on the advancing phalanx and my centurion took to the front and put his Polarity shield on. “No charges for you”, I said, “you are out of range”.

Never say never in Warmachine.

Not so tough
Chris pushed his own beast so it was close enough to advance into melee with my Centurion, you had to laugh. That was until the Titan destroyed the centurion in one round. This was is the toughest model in the Cygnar army, and I had put arcane shield on it. The titan made arm 24 look like tissue paper.

Holy poos, I thought, this looks bad.

On the right I moved my charger away and it was hacked to bits. But that was the plan. A stryker earthquake knocked down the beserkers who were subsequently murder on masse by my mechanics. Gobbos can’t do squat in combat, they have a melee score of 2. but knocked down opponents are auto hit. A flurry of wrenches and power tools later and the beserkers were looking thinned out. It didn’t help that the gobbos were so easy to kill in Chris’s turn that he had to hack up the remainder of his beserkers himself.
In the center it became a war of attrition. Stryker kept launching earthquakes which held back the Skorne and my guys kept charging and being eaten by his soldiers.

Meat grinder was the best way to describe it.

Then, after losing most of my force I started getting clear shots on Xerxis. Earthquake knocks people over, and knocked over people don’t block line of sight.

I fired EVERYTHING I had left at Xerxis, he transferred a lot of damage and amazingly survived on 1 health.

Surely, I thought, surely he cant take much more of this. In his turn he tore apart my Ironclad leaving me with only one jack left, the hunter who had run away in an attempt to get the other objective.

 I might also mention that his force had an agonizer preventing me using focus and someone else who prevented spell casting nearby.

Anyway, He had full fury (5) and I had my long gunners, the Hunter, Stryker, and the journeyman caster left…. And not much else.

Stryker knocked down the target and his cover with earthquake and then shot him for a killing blow, which he transferred. The long gunners shot him twice with killing blows….. Which he transferred the Hunter shot him with a killing blow….. which he transferred. Finally the journeyman warcaster got the final shot in which he couldn’t transfer away. Game over

I had nothing left, next turn I was toast.


Lessons learned

  • 24 Armour doesn’t make you invincible
  • Knocked down means your screwed
  • Even the cheapest unit is a killer when someone is on the floor.
  • Never, ever assume your 100% out of range
  • You can push your own dudes.

So, a running record of 1-3 at good sized games off Warmachine. That’s still a pretty bad record…

Join in next week when I recount the story about how I lost so quickly to the Circle of Orboros that my opponent played a 2nd game that night :)

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

For King and/or Country - Axis and Allies anniversary edition


BRITANNIA RULES THE WAVES!...... and so forth

First of all, this faction is not Britain, its not the United Kingdom, its the entire British Empire and Commonwealth of nations.  

I say this as a New Zealander, on behalf of  all the nations around the world that fought under the banner of the British Empire. This is also why I played around with the skin tones on the British infantry pieces. I also picked the 8th army desert colours for the infantry and tanks. This was mainly to make the faction distinct on the board. 

The British fleet flags are really easy to do. All you need is the wire and drill you use to base planes , some white paper and pva glue. Just cut out some paper, glue one side and bend it around the wire. Leave it to dry and then paint one side at a time. Once painted just drill a small hole in the ship and glue the flag in place with superglue.

Not the best pic of the RAF here, but I used the classic colours on the Spitfires and Lancasters. 

The paints used in this set are

VJ Dark Sand 819 (National colour, ship sides and infantry uniform)
VJ Iraqi sand 847 (tanks and helmets)
VJ London grey 836 (tank camo)
VJ Flat eath 983 (ship decks)
Ct Scorched brown (aircraft)
VJ german dark green (aircraft camo)
CT regal blue (flag)
Ct blood red (flag)

Monday, 5 December 2011

The price ain't right - International comparative pricing and Games Workshop

I came to a realization today and have made a decision on something, I'm not going back into my local Games Workshop store. Not unless something dramatic happens that fundamentally changes Games Workshops attitude and business model.

I like games workshops models, and they have a good hobby supply range. I’m not saying I won't buy their products or play their games, but I’m not going to the local store again.

Why? I hear you ask...... you're asking right? Is anyone there.... is this thing on?

Well it comes down to price

Games Workshops pricing model for New Zealand is insane and makes purchasing their product from their stores insanely expensive. I know you international readers will say “Oh yes, its is expensive”

I tell you this now

“Shut up, you have it easy, its fracking cheap compared to what we pay at our local store” (Unless you are in Australia, in which case you are equally fracked)

Behold my awesome math skills with some items I would like to buy to finish off my Sons of Medusa Army

Rhino – 64 NZ , Ironclad – 87 NZ  Thunderfire Cannon– 100 NZ

Ok, lets compare those with the Games Workshop UK prices

Rhino – 20.5 UK, Ironclad – 28 UK, Thunderfire Cannon – 30.75 UK

But Sir, I hear you say. The NZ dollar ain’t worth squat compared to the pound. Well, that’s not exactly true and hasn’t been for quite some time now. The NZ dollar is about half the value of the pound and has been increasing in value for a decade

See this graph here, which shows comparative exchange rates for between the UK and NZ for the last 10 years.

So, if prices were based on what the currencies are worth currently then models in New Zealand are being sold at approximately 152% of the comparative retail price in the United Kingdom. These prices make sense only if the regional pricing model was developed a decade ago and carved in stone. Sadly I wouldn't be surprised if a ratio was developed sometime ago and hasn't been adjusted, agile business practice is not GW's forte.

I understand some shipping costs and effort is required to get product to NZ, and I wouldn’t mind 10-20% premium for this. But 50% extra is over the top.

This is of course if I’m buying direct from Games Workshop UK, which you can’t really do due to the massive shipping charge they have in place. Go to GW’s site, change country and try to ship from the UK to NZ. The shipping costs should make you laugh. Someone please explain why it costs 83 pounds to ship Assault on Black reach to New Zealand.

This is before I try to look at alternative sites to buy from. One, which has to email you an excel sheet with their prices

Rhino – 26.40 US, Ironclad – 35.60 US, Thunderfire Cannon – 39.60 US

The NZ dollar has been about 70-80 US Cents for the last few years, but as I’m paying online I know exactly what the exchange rate is when I purchase. Lets take these costs at 75 cents to the dollar, which is lower than they are currently (around 77.8)

Roughly we are looking at prices 55% of what you would pay retail at our local Games Workshop (or 182% of the online stores cost to buy local)

Shipping is an additional cost, but you can get deals and when you buy in bulk it works out creatively cheap. You can also buy from people on Trade Me (NZ's local eBay) who do large bulk orders and then on sell.

The ultimate truth

And here’s the kicker, no one is stealing from GW here. They get their money for the product whether you buy from the local store, direct from online, or via a 3rd party supplier. This isn’t piracy, it’s understanding that in an international global economy we have choices about how we procure items. GW could prevent anyone other than their stores from selling product, but that will ultimately harm them more than help them.

My decision

It’s simple, I can enjoy the hobby and modeling without having to pay an 80% surcharge to go into the store. I can buy online, own the product legitimately and support their business without being made a victim of geography.

Sure, there are some small items I won't bother to get shipped from the US, like paints and brushes. Fortunately for me the entire GW range is stocked by another hobby store. GW still get their cut, but the local GW store doesn't. There's also another friendly gaming store that isn't local anymore that I will order from as well, mainly as it's owner has good online service, free delivery within NZ, an understanding of his customers and knows what the exchange rate is. (It's Mark One in my old home town of Hamilton)

If actions like mine cause the local stores to suffer, well that’s too bad. A business that operates this kind of pricing model is doomed to failure in the long term. Especially as more shopping goes online, people become more savvy about comparative pricing. And it's only the money I spend, I'm sure they won't even notice it. All I can do is educate people about their options so they can choose. They may see value in having a local GW that over charges them, it may be a difference in perception between "Pricing" and "Value". All i know is I have X dollars to spend on toys and I want best value for that expenditure.

GW has good product, but I’d rather order it from a warehouse in the United States and have it flown 12,000 kms than walk 500 meters from my office building to the store.

Why? Because the price ain’t right

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Hell hath no fury like a Warlock Skorned - How to lose at Warmachine

Scorn is a feeling of contempt or disdain for something or somebody; to despise.

Skorne is a Warmachine faction made of flesh mortifying psychopaths with a taste for pain magic and penchant for cannon wielding six limbed elephant monsters (I'm not making this up)

Seriously, Skorne are pretty cool in a "Oh my gosh don't they look all exotic and foreign and martial like the japanese/turks" kind of way

Exoticism aside they are a pretty solid force in Warmachine. Not as tricksy
and false as some factions but with a few sneaky things of their own. Skorne are the heavy hitter faction of Warmachine and their Titans are almost as tough as a Khador Warjack. They also, as I found out have a nasty nasty assassin lord for a warcaster.

The List

Ok, so i'm trying out pStryker for the first time. Why, because hes there and I figure I should learn more than one warcaster. pStryker gets a bum rap from some people because hes dull. He is kinda dull, but hes solid. Its good old boring dependable pStryker.

  • pStryker
  • Ol Rowdy, Centurion, Lancer
  • 10 Long Gunners with UA
  • 6 Sword Knights
  • 6 Trenchers
  • Journeyman with Grenadier
The Game

This was a great game and I enjoyed it a lot. I was playing against Jimmy for the first time, who was extremely polite and helpful to me. We decided to play an assassination game.... my first clue I was in for a rough time was when i found out his caster was called Lord Assassin Morghoul..... Damm..... he sounds good at this assassination lark.

Wait a second? Isn't that Voldo from Soulcalibur I hear you ask.

Well for all intents and purposes Morghoul, the assassin warlock of skorne is Voldo.

Gimp mask? Check!
Scissor hands? Check!
Thing about torture? Check!
Ninja acrobatics? Check!

Anyway, the game was very good. Several rounds of maneuver and counter maneuver as I attempted to stay out of assassination range while whittling down Jimmys support systems.

The problem with Morghoul was stealth and the fact his body guards were tougher in melee than my guys. I had to keep my distance and wear them down, use attrition to open a hole I could exploit.

A few fast moving stealthed units on my flanks helped limit my manuevering. And an agonizer was causing me a great deal of annoyance with its ability to block me placing focus.

Sadly for me, dodging and weaving didn’t help when Morghoul popped his feat, and a titan threw Ol’ Rowdy away from Stryker and Morghoul ninja leaped over my guys and cut Stryker down.

You see Morghoul and his guys could avoid free strikes. This basically means blocking out models by creating a screen of bodies just didn't work very well. I almost needed to keep Morghould out of Strykers control range.

Lessons learned

  • Looking good for 5 rounds means squat when your caster gets killed
  • Agonizers are horrid and must die
  • Strykers feat can be used to withdraw from melee in your own turn
  • Some forces can just get past your defences, deal with it. 
  • Long gunners shouldn't be moving each turn, and really shouldn't be in melee. 
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