Sunday Photo Page 29.01.2012

A fairly quick set of photos today. There were games of Mordheim and Malifaux yesterday so expect more to come on those in the next few days.

First up however, Puppet Wars bases fitted together




I was hosting the game so got to set up the Terraclips terrain. This is the first level, made using sewer kits. 

 And now with a second level added with the use of street and buildings



Two shots to give a model's eye view


And the table from another angle, just before we deployed.

The new White Dwarf turned up yesterday, and the image that'll be going across the spine looks gets a bit clearer. I'd say Dark Angel, by the robes and the colouring, and if I wanted to be really controversial I'd say it might be Cyper, but that's very much pure guesswork at this point.

Right, time to work out what my Mordheim gang is going to do after a less than successful showing.

Vampire Counts Army List

I've had quiet some time now to get a grip of the new Vampire Counts Army Book. Coming back to Warhammer after being fairly immersed in Malifaux for the last month or so has been a bit of a shock, reminding me how overwritten the rules are, and how many errors their are in the book. The current Errata and FAQ for the 8th Edition rule book runs to 11 pages. Link to the .pdf here. But I'll leave the GW bashing for another time (there is a post building up about various things).

So, armed with a new army book, a fair grasp of the rules, and the tactical experience of getting beaten lots across a number of tabletops I've set out to write my first list from the new book.

Previous experience has taught me two important things. One; characters never land the hits they are capable of most of the time. Two; magic is never as effective as I think/hope/need it to be.

At 2000pts I mainly want a strong core of troops and one or to nasty things to do some real damage. This may change over time, but taking this force to be the starting point for experimentation or expansion to a larger points value I want to get a fair amount out of my core selection. Also, harkening back to the days of the Undead Army Book I shall be going character heavy. This will leave little space for much in the special or rare sections, but hopefully just enough...


Ahh, the good old days...

Lords

Ghoul King 
Master Necromancer w. Master Of The Dead

The Ghoul King will serve as my general, hopefully surviving due to (un)natural talents alone, and putting a dent in the enemy. The Master Necromancer at lvl 3 will be the magical lynchpin of the force, and also the only model capable of expanding Skeleton units beyond their maximum size. He'll be casting Invocation to heal up and grow units, and using his two other spells to help the rest of the force. 

Heroes 
(Deep breath...)

Wight King w. Shield and Battle Standard
Wight King w. Shield
Cairn Wraith
Cairn Wraith
Necromancer
Necromancer

Coming in still 55pts shy of the 500pt (25%) maximum for the hero selection I shall be using the combat heroes to lead my core infantry units and lead combat punch to their weight of numbers. The necromancers will be wandering behind the main battle line and casting Invocation every turn until more fingers than they can spare fall off. This should keep the units up to strength and provide a meaty block of zombies. 

Core

19 Ghouls w. Ghast
12 Skeletons w. Standard and Musician
19 Skeletons w. Standard and Musician
19 Skeletons w. Standard and Musician 
20 Zombies w. Standard and Musician
20 Zombies w. Standard and Musician

Pushing nicely over the 500pts minimum for core troops these will be my main fighting units. The Ghouls will be at the forefront, lead by the Ghoul King, and hopefully putting a dent into the enemy lines. The two 19 strong skeleton units will be lead by the Wight Kings and should be capable of holding their own in combat, just. The two units of zombies will be joined by a Wraith each (now that characters can join zombie units) and provide an expanding tarpit (built up by Invocation, and possibly then using a horde frontage) that can hopefully weather the worst the enemy can throw at it, certainly adding 2d6+magic lvl of zombies every time I cast IoN should see me through an enemy combat phase better than with the previous book. The small Skeleton unit is a rearguard skulking behind the lines, protecting the Master Necromancer, and growing in size thanks to his Master of the Dead to become a real threat as the front line becomes depleted.
Special

Corpse Cart
5 Hexwraiths

The Corpse Cart should provide a little extra nastiness for the army in combat, granting my units within 6" Always Strikes First when it's caught by a friendly augment spell. The Hexwraith will serve the role of flankers and hopefully prove the pain of any warmachine crew before running amok in the enemy ranks with their ethereal movement.

Rare

Mortis Engine

A ticking timebomb, that will be powering up my troops while taking a toll of the enemy the Mortis Engine will be likely holding down a flank and generally making a nuisance of itself. While I've not chosen the upgrade that would boost my magic it should none the less prove to be effective. 

And that's the lot. All in all weighting in at 1998pts (I think) and taking a different approach to the last Vampire Counts list I ran it should be interesting to play it. I can hopefully make the most of my magic phase and maybe even win a combat or two. I can see some Crypt Ghouls being added somewhere in there at a later date, and characters dropping in favour of Grave Guard, but for now I'm happy.

A Miniature Copyright War - Digital Printing

Well this happened sooner than I expected...

Games Workshop have accused Pirate Bay of infringing copyright on one of their products.

The full article is here at Tabletop Gaming News. For those not wanting to read the whole thing, someone had posted a plan for a Dreadnought knock off online, available for use with a 3D printer, so someone can make their own model.

A comment shows a link to what the model looks like, which is this:


A Games Workshop Dreadnought looks like this:

So fairly close really. Quite if it's close enough from a legal standpoint will no doubt be seen.

I'm going to be rambling on about things, and try to present a balanced view of things. This shouldn't be too big a problem as I'm not sure yet where I stand on the issue. I expect I'll go on too some length, but I'll try not to run too long.

Yes, there is another GW foul up to cover, but I'm going to leave that for another time.


Puppet Wars Basing Pt. 2

Part 1 can be found here.

At the end of the last post I said I had a plan to fill in the holes left in the colour rings. And that plan was buttons.


 The above gives some idea of what adding a button actually involved. While the button fits the centre nicely, it didn't fit level with the washer, and so much filing was needed, taking down the underside of each button. This took both sweat and blood to do (filed into the tip of my thumb - doesn't hurt till you notice...).

With the second hardest part over I glued each of my 45 buttons into place.


I then embarked on the harder part of the plan and added stitching. In Greenstuff....

 "A Lump Of Purest Green"

A few hours work, much swearing, and a new found respect for sculptors gave me this...



Fiddly work, that involved placing one crossing line on each button then going back and adding another bit either side. Not the easiest way to do things, but it has worked.

Finally these got painted up in their finished colours.


The yellow ones got an extra coat, and the Purity Seal is currently drying on them.

While doing these I was also working on the other bases.

After quiet a bit of clipping and some filing these were engraved heavily with a plank patten and holes were drilled to take all my Puppets.


The bases were then attacked with various washes. At this stage things looked quiet weird...


After two passes of Devlan Mud I was happy with them




They match the board quiet well, and should provide a nice frame for the puppets. Once everything is painted and assembled I may come back an add the occasional gear or bone to each base to give a bit more character, but they are perfect for now.

Hopefully all the work should pay off in a game this Saturday.

Movement Trays - Mind The Gap

Well, this hasn't gone as planned.

Every so often the perfectionist in me winds out against all the other voices and I get something stuck in my head. In this case it was, as the title gives away, movement trays, and more specifically the gap that gets left in the self assembly ones from GW.


While the above demonstrates the problem, and makes it look fairly minor, it should be noted how hideous it looks when painted up and moving around a nicely finished unit. It is jarring. Quiet why a right angle couldn't be put at either end boggles me, as does not having side pieces of two lengths to match standard base sizes. Anyway...

My initial thoughts to solve this was to use a jig and a razor saw to cut straight down and thereby make a straight edge. While I maintain this is a valid solution it didn't work for me, leaving me with pieces no better shaped than the original. The jig I used was a fairly ramshackle affair in terms of construction, and something better constructed would have done the job perfectly, but would require initial effort not suited to the amount of use and end goal. So, in the tradition of Top Gear, "Ambitious, but rubbish."

With that plan out of the window I moved to Liquid Green Stuff as a quick fix, which showed promise.


While not perfect I think another layer, combined with learning a bit more about how to use the filler (I need to be more precise in my application and leave it to cure a little before using water) should provide a quick and easy solution, as a preferable alternative to mixing up tiny amounts of proper Green Stuff or similar to fill the gap. And on that bombshell, good night. 

Verdigris Necrons

Sunday Monday Photo Post

Having mentioned yesterday that I wasn't happy with the verdigris on the Necrons I went for a fairly radical change.


The paint isn't as translucent as the photo shows, and seems to have done a good job of recreating a life like colouring. It freaks me out that the Statue of Liberty used to be shiny shiny copper once upon a time...
 The paint was surprisingly easy to create mix of  GW Scorpion Green and Ice Blue, I think it hits the right tone.  Thinned down and pretty much washed on, I'll be darkening it down for a shading wash (to avoid the shine left by using GW's normal washes) and adding some highlights as well.

Back to the painting table.

Sunday Photo Page 22.01,2012

This page is going to be a bit light this week. Previous posts in the week have chronicled a fair portion of what I've been doing, but not quiet all of it.

Firstly I gave in to temptation, and picked up the Coven Throne/ Mortis Engine kit.


 After spending some time with the army list I'm going to be building it as the Mortis Engine as it fits in better with the theme of my force. I've got no plans for conversion, but will be adding magnets and pins so that it will break down for travelling.The thing that surprised me most about the kit has been how few sprues it comes as. See below...

Using the kit as a Mortis Engine will leave me with three female Vampires spare, who I may have plans for dependant on how easy they will be to put onto a 20mm square rather than reclining on the Throne's steps.


As mentioned on Twitter, but not on here directly, Terraclips is back in the UK, and my order arrived...


I'll be building some terrain for a Mordheim/Malifaux board at the end of the month so I'll be putting up a post then, rather than duplicate effort constructing some before it is needed. It'll also give me the chance to comment on how well it works in a proper game environment. For anyone who has a set I recommend following the link shown at the top of this thread to a very good pdf guide.

This blog has been very quiet about Necrons so far, mainly because lots of other things have been taking up my time. To prove that they've not been forgotten, here a WIP shot of my test Necron.

The below shot has better colour than those shown previously, but is still more turquoise than is showing. The colour test for the rust has gone both too regular and too orange, so I'll be knocking that back.


 And here we have him after some more work.

A better picture for starters, and I'm happier with the rust effect. I've used John Blanche's technique of a final white drybrush, which seems to have worked well. I also want to play around with the verdigris a bit more, as I'm not quite happy with the colour balance. I need to play around with the metal where the verdigris has been worn off by movement, but my paint seems to have separated to the point of being unusable.  As soon as I've replaced it expect more photos and maybe even the finished squad.

The final project that needs touching on is the Terrorgheist repairs/alterations, which began two nights ago with the filling in of the rocks with Milliput. this was my first experience of using it and it's different from greenstuff, being far more soluble in water, and creating a bit of a mess while of got to grips with this (turning most of my fingers white in the process), after this initial learning curve I'm quiet impressed with it. Cheaper than Green Stuff it has done a very good job of filling in huge hollows left in the rocks, apart from where I ran out  having underestimated the volume needed. I've got another few uses in mind for it, so we'll see how I get on with it. I'll also be drilling what I've filled here to add pins and magnets, which will be a further test of both the modelling clay and my abilities.


And that is it, sadly. Expect much more in the next week, as I plan to finish the Puppet Wars Bases, the Terrorgheist and the Necrons amongst other things.

Puppet Wars - Pt2 Battle Report

As sort of threatened yesterday, a Puppet Wars Report.

Not wanting to break the flow of the game I've not recorded everything in detail, so this ought to be fairly short compared to the last Malifaux report. I'm going to try and give an overview of the gameplay rather than the specifics of my game.Once again head to Wyrd's website to get a full version of the rules www.puppet-wars.com

Last time I had the opportunity to play I'd played through the first four tutorials. Due to time constraints the fifth tutorial got skipped in favour of a full game.

Through much of this I will be likening Puppet Wars to Malifaux. This is done more as an easy comparison rather than Puppet Wars being an easier version of the "bigger" game. It is certainly a beast onto itself, and has a depth all of its own.

The board was set up following the pattern book guidelines, so looking like this..


Which is pulled from the Puppet Wars website.

The Toybox (pool of puppets that the force is drawn from) ran as follows:


Puppet Army 1 Puppet Army 2
Seamus (Master) Lady Justice (Master)
Misaki Judge
Convict Gunslinger Death Marshal
Silurid Guild Austringer
Nurse Razorspine Rattler
Bete Noire Rusty Alyce
December Acolyte Executioner
Punk Zombie Malifaux Cherub
Rotten Belle Ronin

Again these were taken from the Pattern Book. Malifaux players will note the mix of alliances represented here, while others will note the lack of any mentioned points value. Instead choices are wide open, and if you have the model and statscard you can use the Puppet; within certain broad restrictions; no more than 1 master, no more than 3 of a normal puppet, and a limit on sidekick puppets.

In Puppet Wars players start with only their Master on the  board, occupying their home workbench (the red hammer and saw symbols on the map). Once the turn begins Puppets in the players Toybox can then come on through any friendly workbench, unless is occupied by an enemy or non-master friendly puppet.

The objective is to either capture all enemy and neutral workbenches
(the black hammer and saw symbols) or kill the opponent's Master.

The mountains on the map represent impassable terrain, breaking up the potential routes across the board. 

The War is Coming

The game is split into turns in which each player takes five activation turns alternating with their opponent before the turn ends, various effects are reset or removed, and the turn starts again. This means that even with nine puppets in a players force only five are going to be activating per turn.

Similar to Malifaux the game uses a fate deck with the four suits RTCM to decide upon the success or failure of actions. Unlike Malifaux the system is tightened down so that the value of a card is used alone, rather than adding to other cards or statistics. Players have a control hand, that can be used to cheat fate, but with certain cards slightly different in their qualities than in Malifaux (Aces and Jokers).

Talking of cards, it behoves me to mention how nice the Puppet Wars decks are. Released quite some time before the game itself they are plastic, and feel good to handle. The artwork is sublime, featuring charactertures of the puppets used.

The War Has Begun

Activations priorities are decided by card flips with the highest number going first. My dubious luck made its presence felt in the game when I lost this.

The activation card also dictates what puppets can be used by a player in a turn. Each puppet has an Animation Requirement of a value and suit that the animation card needs to beat and match respectively for the puppet to activate this turn. This adds an integral level of list control, as while a player can take Puppets with high activation costs and potential impressive abilities they are going to have to rely on good activation cards, or replace them from their hand, in order to use them.  Masters come with innate abilities meaning automatically meeting their faction suit, but straying outside of this, (as both the lists played did) is a gamble.

The first turn consisted mainly of bringing Puppets onto the board, and making beelines for the paths through the terrain to get at the opponent or nearest workbench.

Each puppet gets to use 2 moves and 1 action (in any combination) when activated, and after activation becomes exhausted and can't activate again that turn without taking a rip (damage).


So, after a little bit of opening manouvering turn 2 was soon upon us. Puppets began to gets to grips with each other and the board was soon covered it torn fabric and stuffing.

Opposing puppets that move into adjacent squares are considered Blocked and may move no further during their animation. Combined with positioning this made for some very bloody contested points, mainly on the left hand edge, and the centre of the board.

Combat is determined differently with each puppet having a Defence and Combat value. The combat value is the number of cards flipped when making an attack, one of which is then chosen,and possibly added to with a card from the control hand, hoping to beat the opponent's Defence value and suit. A puppet can dodge an attack by using a card from their control hand to replace the Defence stat, and avoid taking damage.

Turn 2 saw both sides take opposing workbenches on either side of the board, while the middle ground saw the worse of the fighting.


Subsequent turns saw Puppets bringing to fall and others getting dragged into combat. Fine tactical thinking got was abandoned to see degree as a push for the workbenches took precedence.

Neither side made much use of the specific abilities each Puppet has. Beyond the use of ranged attacks and one or two nasty autokill type attacks, everything was mainly resolved in straight up combat. There are possibilities for interaction that really make the Puppets chosen work together, and create a deeper game that we somehow skimmed over the top of (I'll mention more of this below).


I made the tactical mistake of trying to bring all my puppets on as soon as I could, which burnt through activations and left me with nothing in reserve in the closing turns. I failed to use my numerical advantage and pinned down on the left hand side, I was victim of some bad activation cards leaving puppets locked in place. Whittled down to fewer and fewer puppets my master was eventually cornered and destroyed. As I had a Resurrectionist crew there were some Puppets I should have brought back into the game, but lost track of that in the closing phases, as things became more desperate.


That was a very very brief overview of my first game.

Thoughts

 As a system there is a lot of depth to the game, with the construction of a Toybox, the interaction between models, the use of the control hand, and the limit of at most 5 models moving during your turn, each adding another layer. The changing layout of the board, and the wider strategic play available means there is a lot to be had out of the game. 

Certainly what I've played so far has been good, but I can see a divide opening between those players that are really honing their model choice and play style and the more casual player who is interested in a quick game rather than layered strategy and making the best avaliable move every turn. I supose this is where sportsmanship comes into its own with the invested player taking a more relaxed approach or a more challenging crew.

I really do like the models, and can see my collection expanding beyond my initial purchases, to both expand the scope and depth of the game and to try running an all puppet Malifaux crew. Painting will likely not begin till March as I really want to nail some techniques before I touch brush to metal, but expect to here more between now and then.





The legal stuff, once again...
The map is  © 2005-2011 Wyrd Miniatures, LLC
Wyrd Miniatures, Malifaux, and Catacomb Prowlers, all character names, their distinctive likenesses, and faction symbols are property of Wyrd Miniatures, LLC and © 2005-2009 Wyrd Miniatures.

Puppet Wars Basing.

I've mentioned very little about Puppet Wars so far here, and I want to rectify that.

I've played a full game, which was a fun experience, and I can see it being a game that continues to give as the range expands, and new combinations of puppets arise. I'm not sure how things will balance when a "casual" player takes on someone who gone into depth with the game and is working with a set of puppets they know inside out. Time will tell I suppose. I'll go into more depth on ym first game in a later post, but it has pushed me into starting on my basing project.

Because puppets can be controlled my either player and are not immediately recognisable as such I wanted a set of bases that could be used to mark ownership during a game, and basically allow the "hotswapping" (horrible word- as denoted by the bunny ears) of puppets between games.

Holding my hands up I stole the basic idea from the Wyrd forums. See here just under the disgustingly well painted Hooded Rider.

I was trying to achieve this on a budget, so the solution was to make my own. First thing was to plan.
Next job was to source things, and I ended up using Hasslefree miniatures, as well as using some parts I already has.

As always things didn't go entirely smoothly, but here is how things worked out.

I used Hasslefree's 25mm "no lip" base, for the colour ring, turning it upside down and removing the section where a metal model would glue to. This was done with craft knife and chisel and was fairly easy once I'd got the knack. Here's a picture taken near the start of the first batch.
Much work later I'd got the centres removed and could fit a washer into the bottom of each base. This would allow a magnet under the normal base to attach, and leave the base nicely framed by the colour ring.


This left the bottom of the base untidy, but I have plans for that. At the moment it's more pressing to get other things finished.


This done is was time to get painted up. A white spray and some foundation paints later...


I realised I was a colour short, so after repeating the process on a further nine bases I'd got to here. The bases on the right hand side are painted in what I think will be their finished colours, which are less of a pastel tone than the foundation paints, and match Wyrd's faction colours quiet nicely.


I stuck with the Puppet Wars bases for my models, and this required some more work, using a Rotary tool to remove the puppet icon on the underside of each base, and then trimming down som think 20mm cicular magnets from Hasslefree to fit.

Fitted together I ended up with the below...


Which works quiet well I think. Sadly the bases have slightly bevelled sides, which go inwards towards the bottom, so there's isn't an obvious colour from the side, but it looks good.

I've also knocked up this, in order to use puppet in a proper Malifaux game.


The only really thing left to do is sort out the bases themselves. While I've been sorely tempted by the fabric bases some people have been using, I don't think it works on the board. It's very nice for display though. I also think sourcing material will be a bind. Instead I'm going for planking to match the design on the board. This means mucking about with plywood, which is pretty much shown stage by stage below. The concept and process are largely appropriated from here.


Super glue seems to work fine for affixing the wood to the base, which I've then cut off the sheet in the crudest way possible with a craft knife (I did a strip of these and it seemed the easiest way at the time). I've then attacked the ply with a pair of clippers to get it fairly close to the base. The final rounding work has been done with a Stanley knife and sandpaper to get the wood flush to the base. (Be warned that the knife tends to cause the wood to lift off the layer below if it is blunt). I then inscribed a pattern and washed the base with Devlin Mud, for one of the most effective finishes I've seen. For the others I'll be making larger planks and deeper marks to really get some nice definition.

Had I any brain I'd have done this before adding the magnets to the bases, as the holes for the puppets will now need to be drilled blind rather than going from the back and using the originals as a guide. Hopefully drilling from the front will prevent the top splintering as it would if a hole was drilled from the back however.

Vampire Counts Army Building

I'm wary of doing a full review of an army book, purely because of the huge range of stuff to cover, so instead I'm going talk about how I think my Vampire Counts army will go.

We will start talking about the book though. I've not read the fluff section so can't comment, but I've had a good look through the rest of the book. First thing to note is that all the models are out, the only hole I can see in the range is for a Strigoi you don't have to buy a Terrogheist to get. Apart from that the range is looking very nicely filled out. The physical book itself is very nice. While I'm still unsure about the move to hardback, the full colour interior art is lovely, and adds a certain feel to the books that have been released so far. Certainly the double page spreads and the bestiary artwork looks fantastic.

The army itself has changes quite a bit, with modifications to magic and most notably to unit costs. The Lore of Vampire loses much of what made it unique in terms of operating outside the former magic rules, and instead works within them to produce an army that can heal its losses and increase the size of it's units (Zombies, and potentially Skeletons). The biggest single shift to cover is Invocation of Nehek becoming an area of effect augment, meaning far more of the army can be effected should the spell be cast. The fact that Vampire Counts must remain within the main rules for spells does mean spamming spells and duplicates (beyond the signature IoN) is out.

Other major changes include the limiting of marching to within 12" of the general. This, combined with the area of effect spells and abilities possessed by the wizards and units makes for a compact centre with faster units hanging to the edge to use their speed to keep pace, rather than ranging ahead. Further alterations means that instead of crumbling wholesale an army that has another Lore of Vampires casting wizard to take control of the force will only suffer one round of damaging Ld tests. Master Necromancers make a return to the Lords section of the book, and may lead the Undead Horde.

The cheap cost of core troops (Zombies and Skeletons have come down in cost) means a shambling horde is possible. Ghouls still remain pricey though, and unable to gain extra models become an interesting fix point in an army list.

The alteration made to how an army is constructed, and the return of Cairn Wraith and addition of the Tomb Banshee to the Heroes section in a truly official capacity means that an army in the style of the Undead forces of old can be fielded, with combat characters backed up by large troop blocks, with necromancers doing the magical legwork.

While I need to give it some though but for my current army I am keen to return to the days of yore with a Wraith leading a Zombie horde somewhere in the mix. How tactically wise that is though remains to be seen. The problem I foresee is balancing the characters with the Special and Rare units, particularly as all the wizards are likely to miscast and possibly die horribly, so they'll need to be some redundancy in there. Given the results I've seen with supposed combat monsters over the years I doubt I'll be overly tooling up a Vampire to lead the force (You could easily top 500pts with a Vampire Lord without even buying him anything to ride.) . I'm staying away from the expensive special characters, but I can see Kemmler and Krell at the head of my force one day. I suspect my current collection pushes me over the 3,000pts mark already (it has been growing for many many years in fairness), so further to deciding what to do about old skeletons vs new (I have an idea but it will depend on my army list) I just need to get painting.

Twisted Men - Mordheim Dreg Conversions

A quick diversion form the Malifaux Battle Report, as it is taking quite some time to produce.

Scouring my bits box has left me with a number of options for my Dregs. I've knocked up two quick conversions, that give me models for the Dreg I gained, and to replace the one lost when he went to a new home.


The model to the left is a Bretonnian Man at Arms that's had a Skeleton's sword added in place of his halberd, and a coffin lid shield and left arm (from an unfortunate Empire Soldier) added. The right hand model is an Orc with one of the musicians huge drum sticks acting as a club, and a headswap with a ghoul after I trimmed down the thickness of the Orc's neck.


And here are all three Dregs together a la Abbey Road. I'm not sure about the Orcish Dreg. He's a little too freakish, and the size difference is too great (he barely fits on the 20mm base). He'd be far better suited to a Possessed crew. It's possible he'll be replaced once I've had another dig through the bits box, or at least modified in some way.