Thursday, August 17, 2017

As the wyrm turns

I've been very busy the past few weeks getting ready for this tiny, local gaming convention.  You may have heard of it - it is called Gencon.  Not really local, as it is about a two hour drive.  While badges are sold out, all of my events are not quite.

Before each of the major conventions I go through all my demo armies, making repairs as needed and making sure all the unit cards and army lists are there.

So you can imagine my surprise Monday night when I opened my undead box to find that it was missing the two balefire catapults.  I have no idea where they might be - I looked in all the logical places (i.e. other army bins, my big bin of no longer used Mantic models, my big bin of no longer used non-Mantic models.  I even checked with my son.  No joy.

I'm leaving for Indianapolis about 11:30 am on Wednesday, and it is now 7 pm on Monday night, and I'm 200 points short of models for my 1000 pt undead demo army.

Several ideas go through my head.  First is that I have a spare balefire (from my Empire of Dust mega army).  I could maybe paint that up but I'd still be 100 pts short.  I have another troop of ghouls and a regiment of skeleton warriors in my unused bin.  But that would be boring.

I then remember writing about the Runewars starter box I got at Adepticon, and specifically the Carrion Lancer model:

My absolute favorite miniature in the box is the Carrion Lancer.  When I first opened the box in the hotel room at Adepticon, I already liked this model before I even put it together.  Now it may be my prejudices showing, but if I were an Undead player in Kings of War, this feels like a PERFECT model for a Revenat Kin on Undead Wyrm.  Yes, I know a wyrm is a dragon, but this still fits, and fits on a 50mm base easily. 

Well time to pay the piper.   I need 200 more points, and a Revenant King on Undead Wyrm is 190. Add an undead dog/rat to the skeleton horde (using the nice undead dog handler that I've had painted up since the first Kings of War kickstarter) and it will be done.

Need dog handler picture here

So first - a bit of super glue remover and prying with a hobby knife removes the model from the original base, then glue it to a Shogun Miniatures 50mm magnetic base.
Since this is a single model, I went ahead and put sand on the base for texture.  I like doing this after the model is glued to the base, which, when multibasing, is best AFTER it is painted.  The other benefit here is that the primer will help to lock the sand to the base and make it easier to paint later. Then about an hour dry time for the glue.
Would this be a sand wyrm?
One of the nice things about this time of year is you can almost always head outside to spray prime your models.  The weather here in Ohio has been particularly beautiful lately, not getting the normal heat and humidity.  So black spray primer - again about an hour or so to dry.
Shiny because it is wet, as I just sprayed it
Then start the painting.  Since this will be a model in a demo army, it is only tabletop standard.  So base coats.  Lately I seem to really like the dead flesh (valejo game color 72.035) as the underbelly color to go with green scales (see my recent hydra and wyrm riders).  With the clock ticking, now was NOT the time to try anything new.  Bone white (vgc 72.034) for the horns / claws / bones.  Leather brown (vgc 72.040) for the reigns.  Beastly Brown (vgc 72.043) for the shield and the wood pieces sticking out of the saddle, as well as the spear haft.

I deliberately over painted the body, as I knew I would be doing the scales later and wanted to try to have a little of this peaking through between them.
First few colors.
Then gunmetal (vgc 72.054) for the armor, saddle and spear tip.  Red for the ribbon and cloak (Citadel base Khorne Red - I'd honestly like to be able to go 100% Valejo, but the extra opaque  heavy red (72.141) just doesn't cover well.  I really like all their other extraopaque colors, but the red just doesn't do it for me.).  Heavy green (Valejo Game Extraopaque 72.146) for the scales, scorpy green (vgc 72.032) for the pustules and mouth.

I let this sit for a while (went out and enjoyed our brand new deck and fire pit with the wife for a bit - have to keep the family happy!).  Then before I went to bed I applied a wash (Valejo model wash Dark Grey 76.517 - their black is WAY too dark) to the whole thing (but didn't take a picture then, so here is one of my view a few minutes before)
enjoying a pleasant summer evening while paint is drying
Before I headed to work the next morning, I hit the base with fasdark brown (Faskolor - this comes big (2 oz) bottles, which is great for when you use a lot (like for basing)).
Hmmm - may change some details still.
So now it could be called finished, but even tabletop it doesn't quite have what I want.  I think I have an idea.  Repaint the mouth and sores with khorne red to make them look more infected
Then add a scorpy green highlight on the sores, and pick out the teeth in the mouth with bone white.

The last two steps are to add some static grass to the base (using the same watered down white glue that I use to glue the sand to the base before I painted it), and then paint the edges of the base black (vgc 72.051).  This helps to 'frame' the model making it look better.

So some final pictures in the light box

So with just a few hours work over two days I've swapped out two missing Balefire Catapults for the Revenant King on Undead Wyrm.  This does mean my demo undead have no shooting other than the surge spells, but I can work with that.  This guy is just as strong as the catapults (CS(3)), gives some speed (SP 7 and NOT shambling), 9 attacks w/ ME 4+, doubles and triples on flanks and rears, and has surge to go with the necromancer (as well as providing a source of inspiring for the army).

And it looks cool.  I do like the red/green on the sores - makes them look sicker and more painful. This is probably another model that would really benefit from a better paint job, or at least some highlighting - but as I've stated before I want to have these armies all at a normally achievable level.

Because it is all fun and games . . .

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Stars in your eyes

Way back when, Mantic did a kickstarter for their sci-fi dungeon crawl game, Star Saga.  Well it appears it is on schedule for wave 1 to ship on time, and they have actually received test samples of the miniatures.  These will be on display at Gencon (and I'll try to get more pictures there).

lab assistant
Chovar boss
The Devil
Lots of Curby, plus Ogan and Erika
GCPS marines
Lots of Plague Minions
Kira and Hacker Halftail
Because it is all fun and games . . .

Monday, August 14, 2017

Big Wet Spot

When I proof read the new "Edge of the Abyss" campaign book for Kings of War, it gave me the idea to use the battles described in the book as the matchups for my How You Use It! tournament at Gencon.  I'd set up the matchups (and try to match the terrain), though I would not use the actual scenarios nor special rules (this being a tournament after all).

Battle 1 - On the precipice - Basileans v Abyssals. Since this is set around the abyss itself, I will use my volcanic mat and terrain for it.  Ok, it should be Salamanders v Abyssals, but I only have one unit of salamanders in my nature army, so we'll do the more classic matchup.  I actually wanted to do Brotherhood v Abyssals, but I just didn't have time to get the Brotherhood painted up.

Battle 2 - March to War! - Dwarfs v Abyssal Dwarfs.  A classic matchup

Battle 3 - The DeadFleet.  Trident Realms v Empire of Dust.  This was an excuse to force me to paint up my Empire of Dust and my Trident Realms

Battle 4 - Opening of the Ways.  Elves v Night Stalkers.  The biggest question here is which Night Stalker army do I use for this (since neither really fits the actual NS theme) - Ghostbusters or Mars Attacks!

Battle 5 - A Great Wall!  - Ogres v Orcs.  Cute Mantic, real cute.  The brits taking the piss on this one.

Battle 6 - Opportunity Knocks.  Nature v Goblins

Table 7 - Romans v Celts - because this is just fun

Table 8 - Kindoms of Men v Undead - one more extra table

The Final Battle - The Battle to End it All! - yep, this is the Mega-Battle on Thursday night.

As I mentioned, it gave me a deadline to paint up my Empire of Dust demo army that had been sitting there gathering dust for almost a year.  Of course they should be fighting the Trident Realms, so I'll need to paint up the mega-army for them.

Both my faithful readers will recall that I haven't done an unboxing of the Trident Realms army.  I showed the Naiad sprues from the nature box (which I built as heartpiercers in the nature demo army), and the wyrmrider unit and centurion as well.   But no thuuls, riverguard or gigas.  No Leviathan's Bane or Mythican or Rivergard Captain.  Because I don't have it.  I want it, and have asked for it as part of the Pathfinder program, but it still hasn't shown up.

One of my FLGS (Epic Loot in Centerville - a fantastic store) carries a small selection of Kings of War, and they happened to have the Trident Realms army starter, so I bought that a few weeks back. This has 8 sprues of naiads, 10 riverguard, 3 water elementals and a Naiad Centurion/Envoy.  They also had a Thuul Mythican, so I got him as well.

The water elementals went into the nature army, leaving me with a bunch of naiads and some riverguard and some characters.  So after quite some time on easy army, I came up with a list and started painting with only about two weeks to go before Gencon.

The easiest part was the heartpiercers, as they were already done.

Then all the rest of the naiads.  I had a difficult time with these simply because I just wasn't thrilled with painting them.  I should have used my airbrush with the blue for the skin - that would have saved me quite some time (especially with going back and filling in missing spots).  I did do only 8 to a troop - and they can be configured as 4 troops, 2 regiments, or 1 horde.  The centurion was also done in this set (though for now he is an envoy instead).

I painted the wyrm riders at the same time, and then did a base tabletop paint job on the wyrms.  Part of me really feels bad because these beautiful sculpts deserve so much more - but part of my goal with demo armies is to keep them at a tabletop level - so that people are not overly intimidated by them.  I also did not multi-base these because of the weight.  The steel movement tray can actually hold them, while the multi-base was 'flexing' due to the weight.  We'll see if they survive this way or not.

Of course with the unit of wyrm riders, I just had to to the centurion.  So much easier and lighter with the resin instead of the metal.

Then the riverguard.  Again I just wasn't feeling them.

Lastly the Thuul Mythican.  I really like this sculpt, and the pictures of the unit I have seen as well.  I don't much care for the studio paint job (these are such cool minis, but the colors they picked just seem to make them, I don't know, too friendly?)  Halfling/Squid hybrids, I went for more traditional red base instead.

Finally a Naiad envoy

When I do get my mega army - I'd like to at least add in the gigas and thuuls and probably up the riverguard to a regiment (dropping the envoy) to show off more of a variety of models

Because it is all fun and games . . .

Thursday, August 10, 2017

We've been reinforced

Sometimes I can't help myself, and other times it is necessary.  I already talked about replacing some models in some of my armies with new ones here.  Well I don't want it to be said that I don't accept criticism and that I don't listen to feedback.

When we had the first How You Use It! tournament at Origins 2017 my demo armies actually had to be competitive against each other.  When doing demos the balance doesn't matter if it is fairly close (i.e. you don't want one army that is either indestructible or wipes out everyone else in a few turns), however for this tournament they needed to be a bit better.

So I've updated the two lists that had comments about them, the Forces of Nature and the Kingdoms of Men.  It is kind of funny that these are also the ones that had been updated recently - go figure.

The biggest feedback on nature was the lack of anybody that can cast Surge.  Of course when I saw this, I couldn't help but want to respond with, "In my day back in first edition, only undead had surge and they were proud of it.  All the other shambling units just dealt with being slow.  And I had to walk uphill (both ways) to play a game you young whippersnappers!" I didn't, but wanted to.

So the druid went back in with surge(7).  I used to have him in the army in first edition (it is the Keris model from the first Kings of War kickstarter).
I do have the new druid model, but he was already finished.
I am also in the process of working on a Trident Realms demo army, and I don't really like having the same troops in multiple armies for demos.  So the Naiads needed to come out as well, both the heartpiercers and the serpent riders, as these were going in the Trident Realms army.

I had picked up a Trident Realms army box, so I took the water elementals from there and put them in the Nature army instead, as the elementals really fit that theme.
I like that they aren't humanoid, and really look like waves.  I did each in a different shade of blue
I love the fish (and octopus) in the water
I was still short on points though. One of the other main points in a Nature army is the monsters - greater elementals, beasts of nature, and hydras.  And a light bulb went off over my head (and no, not just because I had replaced the old fluorescent overhead light in the kitchen with a new LED version). I had bought an extra hydra with my Swords & Sorcery pledge just because I thought it was cool, but I didn't have a use for it - well until now.

I thought about using it as a beast of nature (having wings and all), but since it was a hydra it should be a hydra.  This of course meant cutting off the wings (and replacing the base).  Soaking it in hot water made cutting the wings quite easy, and a bit of green stuff filled in the gaps.  I also re-positioned the tail over the back, to both hide the green stuff a bit, and to make it fit better on a 50 x 100 base (no way this could fit on a 50 x 50 unfortunately).

against the 75 x 75 base - still overlaps to the front and back too much

The 50 x 100 (chariot) base works pretty well.  Still overlaps to the front a little.
Each head was painted a different shade of green.  Some of them ended up being a bit too subtle of a difference.  Since this is just for a demo army, I didn't do anything beyond base coat and wash on it, though it deserves more.
For what is essentially a board gaming piece, I really like it.
each of the heads has it's own personality
The tail whipping around the body, making room to actually get other miniatures in contact with it
so from not sure what I would use it for to being painted and part of an army in a week :-) 
So now I have my new nature army.

My Kingdoms of Men list needed some love however.  Too much chaff was the biggest issue.  I am fairly restricted however on what models I can get for this, as the Ex Ilis line is out of print and pretty much sold out.

First though I consolidated the two troops of militia mob into a single regiment to free up some points, as well as swapping out the wizards Fireball for Lightning Bolt (for free) instead of buying it. I then when on the bay of e to see if I could find any models - and was able to get 6 more billmen - then I checked on the ex illis facebook page and messaged them, and was able to get an english reinforcement box - which had 8 more - so enough to increase the Pole-Arms Block to a horde.  This then made an even 1000 pts.

My hope is less chaff (the one regiment instead of two troops), and the higher nerve and more attacks from the horde of pole-arms will better balance the list out (even with a De of 3+, the 20/22 nerve should keep them around a little while against most other armies).

The big test will be to see what kind of feedback I get from the How You Use It! tournament at Gencon next week.

Because it is all fun and games . . .