Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

On the Road Again…

Posted: October 6, 2010 in Modeling, Uncategorized
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The Road Fire Warriors…er…

Tau of Cadre Marriott

So, as some may know (or not, really) my day job involves me traveling quite a bit, which has a lot of cool parts to it; I get to see lots of awesome places around the country and rack up more air miles than a company of Elyssians.  One drawback to this, is that while I don’t mind being on the road, I DO miss being at home with family and friends.

Including my little plastic guys…who desperately need a real paint job!  My solution? Bring em along (the plastic guys, my friends don’t fit in my carry on…we tried).  They don’t take up companion tickets and with my streamlined packing skills I can bring a bunch of minis and some paint along while on the road.

I can’t really travel with glue or files and knives (ya think?), so assembly it out, but with some careful planning and careful packing of my “liquids” bag, I can actually get a lot of painting done.

The reaper paints in small bottles travel well!

First thing, I try to pick out a bunch of models which are in similar stages of paint job, so I can kind of work on them assembly line style.  This can either be a dozen fire warriors, or one week, I brought three skimmers.  One thing; no airbrushing, so everything had to be primed and basecoated already…so, detail work only!

For the less travel inclined, airport travel rules say all your liquids and gels have to fit in a one quart ziplock, and be in containers less than three ounces.  While this is a challenge for many travel novices, for us veterans we can cram little containers in there like Boyz in a trukk.  I get about almost a dozen of my paints in there; while not enough for some serious graffiti in the restrooms in Pittsburgh (you would not believe), its plenty for painting minis in your hotel room.

A few pointers

  • IF security asks about your little bottles, tell them “They are water colors, I am an artist”  They might not know what the hell acrylics are.
  • You can use the disposable in room coasters for paint pallets
  • Make sure to set up near the lights or windows, so you an see.
  • Don’t use their towels for cleaning brushes…they get testy at that.
  • Try to keep your little bottles cleaned up when you are done…room service might freak out if they think you are running a meth lab.
  • Take along a good assortment of brushes; you don’t need to keep em in your bag, put them in you luggage.

So, the next time you might be on the road but need to paint some minis before an upcoming event which you spent all of your free time making terrain for (who dat?), bring your colors and plastic men (or bugs, etc.) along for the ride….



And then there were four…

This past weekend, I played in the HobbyTown 40k summer finals.  It was a lot of fun, and some intense competition; most of the players there had been playing for many years (Nick; 16 years, Me: 6 months) and I had a great time.

Of course, it would have been cool to actually win some of the games…but I digress.

Sad dice rolls

Six shots at BS3...

It was a “full Scoring” event, which meant you got points for more than just gameplay, but a lot of other cool factors as well.   I had already painted *most* of my guys, and made custom bases for my tanks (will make a post on that soon, no, really…) so I did ok in the army appearance category….

One neat factor, was extra points for NAMING your units, and coming up with a bit of backstory…I have to say this was actually a bit of fun…as I played around a bit with the names….

My List – Or “They won’t shoot your Etherals…”

I decided to run with an updated list, which is a mix of tanks suits and firewarriors for wrapping (yo!) units and piranha’s for blocking and melta support.  It was a 1500 point hybrid list.  Ok, sorry bout da Yo!  Anyways…

Recently on a few blogs I had read about throwing an tau Ethereral in there to help with leadership checks (he gives rerolls to any units in LOS).  Pretty cool stuff…as all Tau players hate it when a squad of broadsides runs off the board after losing a drone.  The really cool stuff, is that you can re-roll successful checks as well…for those times you WANT your guys in assault to run…heh.

The consensus on the net was that enemy players wont’ bother to shoot at your Ethereal, which is good because there are bad consequences if he gets killed.  Well, my opponents apparently never read those articles…yep, he got ganked in the first turn in two games.     Oh well…

On to the Games!

First game; Tau vs. Eldar.

Capture objectives in each starting zone.

For a dying race, I have to say the Eldar sure can put up a fight.  This was an intense game, with a VERY good player (Mike S, hey mike!) – I managed a draw on this one.

I had a good time however and learned a few key things…

  • Those are not tanks, they are transports!
  • Said transports have MELTA SQUADS IN THEM!!!  (ah, lost my rail head there).
  • War walkers have a bazillion shots (8 S6 shots each…ouch!)
  • Piranha’s can be used for blocking…sometimes.
  • Getting a “stun” with a railgun is painful….twice.

Overall it was a good game, and worked out to a draw in the last turn.  Very intense, and I learned a lot.  Mike was a very good player and a good sport about a few of my questions.

One minor ironic element; I got advice on how I could have done better by two experienced players….one told me I needed to get closer to the enemy to control more of the board.  The other told me I should have stayed farther away and relied more on my superior range.  Go figure…

Game Two: Salamanders of DOOM!!!

Dawn of war; my favorite.  Night fighting – just neuter my best asset (range).

Ok, before you say that “hey, you are tau, you get rerolls on night fighting”, yes, I know I do.   My response…I have a 72″ range weapon, one of the balancing factors of my army.   There is no way I am going to roll 72 on three d6x2 even with re-rolls.

This was a very intense game, against Nick and his Vulkan lead Salamanders (Space Marines..oh joy!).   Salamanders are just nasty, they give up almost nothing for the ability to re-roll flamer and melta attacks.  yeah, thats nice.

Anyway, a drop pod right next to my objective filled with marines and their boss, it just did not look good.   I put a LOT of shots into them, and while I did manage to whittle them down, between cover saves and vulkans 3+ invul…it did not go well for the greater good.  Of course, the scout squads in the land speeder storms did not help either.

I made a few very bold moves in this game, and a few paid off…but the dice gods were not always kind (24 shots ; 3 dead marines…with plasma.  Yeah…).    I fought hard, but in the end could not pull it out.  I managed to contest one objective, but in the end barely missed the other…and I mean BARELY (by 1/8″ of an inch…literally).

I had planned to do the drone hop from a piranha, and my opponent had done an excellent job at blocking…so well in fact, that although I fired a ton into his blockers (dang termies), he had enough to stop me.    Fascinating note…I managed to get ONE drone in to contest…..but I did not have room for the second (drones are in a squad of two) and maintain coherency…by 1/8th”.  Yeah…oh well.

A few lessons learned;

  • Dawn of war happens, blacksun filters might be useful on railgun units…maybe.
  • If a drop pod full of marines lands on your objective, but has cover….abandon it, and go for theirs.
  • Markerlights are not just for BS….reducing cover saves is some times just as good or better.
  • Melta’s are brutal against crisis suits.  Rerolled ones are worse

Good game, had fun, learned a few lessons….*almost* tied.  Got a lot of good feedback from the other guys on my play.

Leaping Lizards! – Eldar Exodite army

Picture of Eldar Exodite Army

Very Cool Exodite Army

Annhilation, kill points, me vs. another VERY experienced Eldar player.   He had 9 kill points on the board.  I had 18.  Uh oh.    This was a fun game, but nasty as Tommy P. had a ton of Jet bike assault units with tough assault abilities.

The coolest thing about this army is that it is 100% conversions….all the eldar are mounted on giant lizard type creatures…its just visually stunning.  Very cool.  Too bad they ate me…

The basic tau philosophy is to shoot incoming assaulters before they can get to you.   Sadly, with jet bikes, this is only one turn of firing…and firing I did!  I killed a LOT of those guys….but not enough.   This was a good game, but to be honest a bit frustrating.   Not because I lost (numbers wise, it was a draw….kill points wise…..), but because I was not sure what I could have done better.  In the other games, I learned my mistakes, and how I could have adapter/been smarter etc.  Well, I did learn that I had “assaulting multiple units” rule wrong….but…I was talking more about how I could have been more successful in the game.

I got a bit of comfort from my opponent who even indicated that I was hosed from the get go…(fast mobile assaulters with good saves… and much less kill points to give up).   I love to play Tommy and his exodites again, as I need more experience in dealing with that nasty seer council (re-rolls on invulnerable saves?  say what?) and he was a great guy in in regards to playing a noob.

Regardless I had fun, learned a lot and made some new friends.

And that is a win in my book!

Well’ be back…

Posted: August 3, 2010 in 40k, Necrons, Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Ode to the Necrons

Recently I got to play my first (finally!) game with my Necrons. Yeah, Necrons. I got hooked on them after reading a friends Codex, and picked up some cast offs on ebay…and eventually got a game!
So, to give another friend of ours whom we recently sucked in (“here, take these marines….”) a good practice game, a few of us set up a casual game over the weekend. 2000 points a side. My two friends (the newer one, and an old vet in our group) each brought 1000 points of marines, and I had 2k worth of my T1000s. I had suspected the old rustbuckets would be a different game for me (I usually play my beloved tau) and I was not wrong.
The first thing one of my friends noticed was my lack of models…oh sure, I got plenty of Necrons (hey, you …wanna buy a wraith?), I just had no idea what 2000 points looks like…and it don’t look like a lot.
Of course the fact that I had smack daddy Nightbringer on the table (oh, you gotta play him, at least once) did not help the point total any. In fact, I built my list more focusing more on getting stuff out to play than I did any kind of real cohesive force…mostly.
We ended up with spearhead and capturing an objective in each other’s corner and had a grand ole time on the battlefield tonight. The game was a blast, with a lot of cool moments, and some great patience from my friend Pat (hi pat!) as I was learning Necrons and our other buddy was still learning (smart guy; just new to 40k).
I won’t bother with a complete batrep, but will detail out a few fascinating events, and my learning from playing with my robots of doom.
1 – No transports and where did they put their objective?
Well, the other guys stuck their objective on top of a tall tower….with a thunderfire cannon. On the other side (well, duh dave) of the board. Looking at my guys not being fleet of foot (literally) and me having about as many transports as a guy stuck in Boston trying to get a rental car (every 30 min? really?) I decided to not even bother to go for their objective. Ironically, neither did they. No troops on theirs…they made a bold move to come get mine…muhahahhaha.

2 – Reserves are not always your friend.
I started the game with a group of warriors and some scarabs in reserve. My theory (at the time…aren’t theories fun) was that I might need extra warriors in case mine died, and the scarabs could deep strike and mess with their back field. Well, the warriors had to come in via monolith (fascinating rule, dat) and my scarabs came in on the last turn…which means as you can’t assault on the turn you deep strike, I basically used them as a blocking unit. Of course, on the other side of the board…in what turned out to be a big “oops” the guys put their only las cannons in reserves…and never made the roll. Ouch! Once I managed to identify the other high strength weapons on the board (a multi melta and a power fist) my ctan had a field day….

3 – Um, there is a Mr. Death here…

Oh, you are gonna get it now...

Ah, the Nightbringer…all 360 lovely points of him. My first impression is that this guy is just nuts powerful…and I was not too far off there. His toughness of 8 makes him VERY hard to damage, but he has a fairly weak save, only 4+…sure, its an invul, but its ONLY a 4+. With 5 attacks and being a big baddy (bypassing all defenses like a determined paparazzi) he is a CC killing machine. I think if I ever face one in the future, you HAVE got to hit this guy with everything you got BEFORE he makes it into assault… Is he nasty? Yep. Is he too good…hmmm…personally, I think is for the most part balanced…I mean…360 points? Dang..thats a trygon prime and the horse he rode in on.

4 – Wraiths…oh yeah!
Ok, these necrons on a stick (well, a spine maybe) are just neat. Move like jet bikes and very durable thanks to their good toughness and 3+ invul. However…without power weapons, or disruption fields…they are not very powerful offensively. Don’t get me wrong, a great addon to any amy…but without the ability to even get more powerful assault upgrades, keep them running from dreds! Very specialized unit…so have to play them smart to get their cost back.

5 – We’ll be back…again, and again…
Ok, I got lucky and made a lot of my we’ll be back rolls…and that was the coolest thing ever. Also, the ability for the monolith to suck up a squad hoover style and give rerolls, yeah, that was quite the bomb as well. Very useful trait. I am thinking if I face these guys with my tau, the lords are going to be railgun bait…right after that pesky…

6 – The temple of DOOM!
Ah, the monolith…how I love thee. Sure, it’s a ton of points, not really a transport and got immobilized with a lucky shot from a krack missle…but dang, that’s things just cool. Splaying hot fields of green death and able to move (sort of) troops around…very useful. In fact, once I realized the las cannons were in perpetual reserve and I took out the melta, this baddy had a field day…until I got popped with a missile launcher and immobilized. But hey, Necrons happen…

7 – Calling Mr Heavy…
So, three heavy slots is not a lot for necrons. Why you may ask? (ok, its rhetorical). Because all of the choices (and there ain’t a whole lot of choices in a Necron army…) are very good. I already covered the big black box above, so that leaves me to the Heavy Destroyer and the Tomb Spider. One of the biggest changes that supposedly beat Necrons with the nerf bat in 5th edition, was that their main anti-vehicle trick (getting glances with Gauss weapons) no longer could destroy tanks. Was this a huge deal? Well, see how many folks still play Necrons. Go ahead, look it up, I’ll wait. Anyways, there are not a lot of las cannon quality weapons in their arsenal (as opposed to the swarm of las equipped razorbacks I saw the other day….dang!), which makes the Heavy Destroyer VERY valuable, and I ain’t just talking their massive 65 point cost either. So, you gotta have em, and keep em alive….which leads me to my next heavy unit…(no pun intedned).

10 – Da Roach of Death!
So, I was wondering just how useful a tomb spider might be; I mean, their basic role gives better chances for Necron self repair rolls (longer range, and can repair more nasty damage). I picked up one of these guys, and made sure I kind of shifted all my fronts around so he was in range of several units. Did it make a difference? Was it a good plan? No, yes. What? Well… Between my opponents not making the reserve rolls for THEIR ONLY LAS Cannon and my ruthlessly killing their only melta and power fist…it turned out I did not need any of the spiders uber pit stop prowess. So, a waste of points? Ask the termies who deep struck right behind them. Yes, papa roach is a monstrous creature. He managed to finish off a squad of deep striking termies so well it was awesome. Ah, my broadsided weep (see my write up of my BT game in the HTUD tournament).

So, overall we had a lot of fun, and I managed to get a good flavor for the Necrons as did my buddies; to their credit none of us never knew what he little rustbuckets were capable of before the game. Overall, I really like them…who doesn’t love a marine save with essentially feel no pain (about the equal of the Well’ be back effect) thrown in. I do want to try some of the tricks of the Necron lord next time (it’s a long list) and still have to see what is up with the Pariahs and Flayed ones (I had some of the ginsu guys in my game, but they did not get a ton of encounter time – the jury is still out). Until next time, keep them dice rollin…

This past weekend I attended my first large scale 40k gaming event (well, one my first ANY 40k gaming event) and what an event it was!
It was none other than Astronomi-Con!!!

This was a massive 40k two day event held here Dallas, at a very cool gaming store: The Gamers Realm.
The event was hosted by a cool duo of Canadian guys (hey guys!) who came all the way down from the great white north to hold this shindig of 40k goodness.

The Astro Event!

The Event

There were several cool things about astro, in no particular order:
Standings were based on many factors: play, painting, sportsmanship, creativity, etc.

This event was in many ways a super endurance test for me, and not just due to my work schedule (I was working near L.A. during the week before the tourney, and headed to Chicago the evening of that Sunday AND had a MPIII show Saturday night), but because I (yes, I am insane) committed to make TWO terrain tables for the event.   Also, to top things off, my army was not even painted yet!

When I heard about the event wanting local terrain makers, I thought “wow, thats cool…I wonder if I could make a coherent table..”  Sure, I had before made a few pieces of terrain, and thrown together tables which were just random buildings and hills together….but to make a themed table with a coherent narrative and structure…especially with my schedule…it was insanity!  So naturally, I decided to make TWO!

My Tables

Inspired by some ancient ruins and my recent reading of the Necron codex (yeah, like I need another freakin army), I had my mind set on making my “Alien Pyramid in the Jungle” table.

First game on the Pyramid Table

It was supposed to be an alien jungle pyramid complex, in a jungle clearing. Once I got about half way done with that monster of a project (to be detailed in another post), I started foolishly thinking “Hey…I have a few more weeks…I wonder if I can build my other table idea…”.  So naturally, I drew up plans for a second (and third, actually) table.

I had only stopped working (note, I did not say “finished”) on this table Friday afternoon, and had to deliver it to the event for setup that night!   Overall, I got a LOT of great feedback on the table and was pleased with its overall theme.   I learned a lot on this one; from working with large foam pieces to how to make decent looking yet functional area jungle terrain.

My second table, the “Industrial Refinery” was my other entry into the event, and I have to say it my goals were a bit overly ambitious for my skill and way too complex for my time.  However, overall I achieved the layout I wanted and got it painted up to a basic level; it was a HUGE hit!!!  In fact, I managed to win (23 votes) best terrain for it!

Two BA Armies go at it! (from

This table was a ton of work, and an quite a pain to make…I totally underestimated the work to complete it to the quality I wanted….I had to cut back on a lot of details (aesthetic and otherwise) but overall I was VERY happy how it turned out. I got a lot of help from a few friends with ideas and even TONS of cutting and gluing (thanks mike!!!- how much beer do I owe ya?).

This table concept came about as a mixture of a few thematic elements.  I had recently been thinking about a few things, and they coalesced into an idea…

  • I love the Mustafar scenes from Star Wars Episode III
  • All the lava in World of Warcraft’s Molten Core dungeon
  • Cool industrial images after looking up information off shore oil rigs
  • The concept of a table with “height”.

After experimenting with a bunch of different layouts, I came up with the final product.  While I tried to make it somewhat vehicle friendly (all those extra wide catwalks with no railings…), I wanted to make the table to make players think.

I wanted it to be about tactical choices…and with all the feedback I got, I feel I was successful in that regard.

My Games…

I played six games that weekend, and what games they were!

Game one: Sink the Baneblade!

This was one of games where I had the most fun.  My oponnent was Christopher Allen, a great guy I had met the week before in the astro prelim event.  Well, our main challenge was the massive Baneblade rolling down the table!!!  In what it turned out would later be a trend, I managed to completely miss with everything for quite some time in this game. Chris on the other hand took out the  Baneblade….on the first turn.  Overall, a really fun game against a very fun player!

Game two: The Tyranid Hive Ship!

This game was ….a pain.  Literally!!! Ian and I squared off INSIDE of a Tyranid hive ship.  While the layout was simple, the game was not.  The entire board was dangerous terrain.  Yeah, think about that.  We lost more units to the ship than to each other!!!  Just moving units created tension!!! It was an awesome game and I had a ton of fun.  Ian was a great competitor, and he managed a win after taking out the min organ in the middle (oh, what a quote) as we had to “kill” the alien brain of the ship.   Despite the perils (I lost several models and disabled three vehicles just deploying on turn one!) I had a great time with Ian in this one.

Game Three: Cargo Convoy Round up!

Another game, another great guy!  I played against Jeff in this fun round where we had to steal crates (fragile crates…more on this in a min) from an IG convoy moving down the center of the map.  There were only three crates, each one in an IG transport…the crates had a chance of being destroyed by just a penatrating hit on the unit!!! That meant I could not use my Railguns!!!!   However, it turned out that Jeff and I (well, jeff mainly  😉 ) managed to destroy all three of the objectives so we just had a great time and the game ended in a draw!!!

Later that night, after an awesome comedy show and some VERY well needed sleep….


Game Four: City Melee Battle!

Well, you know how every table and scenario might not be the best for your army?  That is what I got for my first game on day two; a city fight where my troops had a chance to rage and get preferred enemy.  Did I mention I play tau?  Oh boy!   Of course, my bizarre dice luck returned on this day with a vengeance.  So much in fact it was just laughable.   The upside?  I was tabled by a totally cool guy: Billy P.  A great guy with a comedic game (yeah, it really was that bad) and I had fun, and that my friends was what mattered!   (Billy later went on to win Best Army for the event!!! His traitor guard army was totally cool!!!!).

Game Five: Inquisitor Nightmare and the Temple of Doom!

In this game Christopher Y and I just had bizzare luck in a bizzare scenario. The game was very cool, with lots of  really neat looking temples (hmmm…I need to make a few of these), a tough Inquisitor force in the middle and secret random objectives!!!!

We had a draw on this one, as while I think we both played a good game (well, I learned the hard way what happens when your opponent ‘steals the initiative’) the circumstances just did not play out. Chris’s mission was to take out my HQ…who did not get on the map until the end of the game. My mission was to take out the Inquisitor…and I had no available weapons to do so until the end of the game. Regardless it was a fascinating scenario and good game!

Game Six: Frozen Crystal Table
For this last game of the day, I met John and we had it out on a cool game table filled with awesome looking alien crystals. This was a fun game with interesting victory conditions where you had to have scoring units in base contact with the neat looking crystal formations on the table. I have to say, my dice finally turned around and I got a bit of luck back right in turn one. In fact so much so, I honestly felt bad for John when I took out his land raider on TURN ONE! Of course, after he vaporized a few of my guys, I did not feel as bad! 🙂 Overall a game with a lot of tactical choices and John was a great guy to play against as well. This one turned out to be my only clear win of the event.

Overall, I had a blast of a weekend and made a lot of new friends.  I still have to finish my tables and paint my army to much better standard (got a lot of great tips this weekend!), but that my friends is the subject of another post….

More Info…

If you want really great pics and even better commentary, check out these two great blog sites:

For more info on the Astro series, check out their website!

Dave Pak