Thursday, November 19, 2009

Anniversary Minis

Well, this past Monday was my 4th anniversary with my girlfriend, so I had to find something suitable to mark the passage of time... and what better way than with Time Lords?

The minis came from Heresy Miniatures, and they are quite excellently crafted. There's even an Eccleston look alike available if you want to be complete in your collection.

The girl was very pleased. :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tactica: Stormtrooper (Part II)

For part 1, go here.


Before we get into builds, a word on deployment. As far as I'm concerned there are two optimal ways to deploy stormtroopers- as drop troops or as mechanized infantry. Drop troops allow you to get into any position very quickly and reliably thanks to the scatter die reroll, while mechanized troops grant more survivability and a ghetto Hellhound added into the mix. Infiltrating or outflanking on foot might work, but the chance of the team being slaughtered before they fulfill their mission is much too high, at least in my opinion.

I've recently come into favor of the mechanized option, as it opens up great degrees of flexibility. Thanks to the Reconnaisance special mission the STs can gain Scout, allowing them to drive the Chimera forward 12" before the game begins or outflanking it. If you get first turn set the squad up on the board inside the tank and drive it towards the enemy. You should hopefully be able to get into weapons range in the first turn or at least set up in a position where you can open fire later. Because opponents will probably deploy around this strategy I have found it useful to take two squads equipped in this manner to give the enemy fewer places to run.

If you get second turn, no big whoop- either deep strike and use the chimera to provide some extra transport/cover to the rest of your army or outflank with behind enemy lines or reconnaissance. You can even do this if you have first turn and don't feel right about the first turn rush.

I won't be talking much about using Valkyries with Stormtroopers for two reasons. First, I don't own any and would feel bad talking about a tactic that I haven't used. Second, I personally don't think that they are necessary. STs already have deep strike, so leave the Valkyrie antics to those wannabe-stormies the Veterans.

On to the killing!


When using Stormtroopers one can't be a generalist- the orphan sons and daughters of the Imperium are much to finicky to show up to any old dance. They must be purchased with a specific purpose in mind and then deployed in the best way to fulfill that purpose. With this in mind, here are some builds with various targets in mind:

Melta, melta, melta. If your primary concern is tanks and you have the ability to get close rapidly, melta is absolutely the way to go. Since stormtroopers can deep strike right next to vehicles with a very good chance of not scattering thanks to the reroll, two meltaguns allows the squad to take out its target on the turn it lands. I find that a min-sized squad with a plasma pistol given to the sergeant is a good build as it minimizes point expenditure, grants an additional high strength shot to hopefully penetrate the tank and minimizes the chance that one of your troopers won't be able to deploy.

Another option is to have the squad mounted in a chimera. This tactic is great as a general deployment strategy, but is taken to new heights in an anti-tank focused group.  Think of this- if you can get close enough and if you put a heavy flamer on the Chimera your meltagun team might be able to get 2 KPs on turn 1 by targeting transports!

Anti-Heavy Infantry
Plasma, plasma, plasma. While a squad could be made out of pure hotshots, plenty of high powered plasma shots are always welcome if the points are available. If marine players are a frequent site then a full squad with plasmaguns and pistols mounted in a Chimera will be hell on treads. We can still use the tactics mentioned earlier to great effect, but there is an additional caution about infiltrating here. Since hotshots have a maximum range of 18" you will not be able to get a shot off with your lasguns when infiltrating under most circumstances as you must deploy outside of 18". If you can sneak your squad closer, good, but otherwise beware.

Optimal build would either be 10 troopers deep striking or 5 in a chimera with two plasma and a plasma pistol (though feel free to add more troopers as points allow). The deep strikers allow you to have maximum impact on the turn they land as well as offering a very large headache that the enemy now has to deal with. The mechanized squad can take advantage of all of the scouting/outflanking trickiness and can use all of the squad members firing out of the fire points.

While Stormtroopers do not excel in this area they can fill this role if need be. Flamers are naturally the way to go, and I would even hazard adding a power sword to your sgt. Why is this? It turns out that STs have pistols and close combat weapons in addition to their other armament, granting them all 3 attacks on the charge. While the rest of their stats are nothing to write home about, that plus 4+ armor can at least try and do some damage.

Deployment for this squad would almost certainly be in a Chimera equipped with a heavy flamer and outflanking. I see this squad as charging on to an objective during one of the latter turns of the game and at least contesting if not outright slaughtering whatever troops are there. With ten Stormtroopers, a power sword and two flamers the squad can do quite a bit of damage. Finally, since the squad will probably be charging into cover using the reconnaissance mission is recommended, unless you feel that the pinning granted by behind enemy lines is preferable in your situation.

Final Thoughts
 Stormtroopers are excellent tactical assets to any Guard commander's arsenal as they have the ability to be exactly where they need to be to destroy whatever threat they have been tasked with. They can strike before the rest of your army or wait to destroy their target with surgical precision. Especially for armies with little in the way of mech STs are great boons, delivering your special weapons into the heart of the enemy's forces and ripping it out.

Please leave any comments, criticisms, anything you feel that I left out, etc. Ave Imperator!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tactica: Stormtrooper (Part I)

I'm a fan of some of the supposedly "inefficient" choices in the IGuard codex as you may be able to tell from my first tactica on Armored Sentinels. Stormtroopers are the "glory boys" of the Imperial Guard, entrusted with missions and equipment that are not given to lesser, less reliable soldiers. Years of punishing training have honed their minds and bodies to the peak of human perfection. They are ruthless, proficient killers whose skills within the Imperial Guard are second to none.

Of course most of that is just fluff. In the codex the Stormtroopers are having role identification problems with the formerly elite choice of veterans. Both can carry quite a few special weapons, both can wear heavy armor, and both shoot like space marines. And to top it all off the veterans are scoring, cost much less and can carry an additional special and heavy weapon over the "Big Toy Soldiers." So what's a poor stormtrooper to do?

Stormtrooper is sad because nobody understands him...

Fortunately for the humble ST he (or she, the Schola Progenium doesn't discriminate!) has three important advantages over the veteran: improved basic gear, better special-weapon to point ratio, and excellent deployment options.

The improved armament is probably the bulk of the reason that storm troopers cost so much. Carapace armor alone drives the cost of a vet squad up to 10 points a pop and the ap 3 lasguns are assumedly not cheap either. Plus STs have frag and krak grenades, hotshot laspistols AND close combat weapons.

The special weapon to point ratio is also very good and reflects the higher equipment standards that the Schola Progenium graduates get. Assuming that the vets have carapace armor a vet squad with 2 melta guns costs 120 points while a 5 man stormtrooper squad costs only 105 points. Even if we take the vets' armor away the comparison is still in the same ball park, 90 vs 105, and that's leaving out the awesomeness of the hotshots.

And then there's the deployment options... for those not in the know, Stormies come equipped with the Deep Strike USR and have a choice of three different special missions that they can undertake:

Airborne Assault grants the squad a re-roll on their scatter die when deep striking, Reconnaissance gives the squad Scout and Move Through Cover, while Behind Enemy Lines allows the squad to Infiltrate and allows the first shots that they fire to cause pinning.

But the great thing about these missions is that they don't cost any points, and you can choose them at deployment, allowing you to deploy your Troopers in the most effective way possible every game.

Well, this tactica is getting a bit long, so I'll end it here for now. Stay tuned for the second part where we learn all about Stormtroopers and strategy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Must Have Units: Stormtroopers

As many of the blogs around here have been doing, I'm participating in the FTW community post on "must have units," units that we just can't kick out of our lists. For me, it's my stormtroopers, the Black Jacks. While a lot of people have written them off as too expensive, for me they are one of the great multitools in the Guard armory.

Want to get rid of tanks? Give them meltas and Airborne Assault and go wild. Want to eliminate Marines? Max the squad out and load up on plasma. Troops in cover keep on getting you down? Flamer stormtroopers outflanking in a heavy flamer bedecked Chimera FTW! As long as you have a specific plan in mind for them, the Glory Boys can get the job done.

In fact, I like them so much, that I've been working on a tactica for the Big Toy Soldiers. Look for it to arrive over the next couple of days.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Just some pics of the tank that I am working on for one of the old ToEMP challenges. I just need to actually put the lascannon and side panels on him, then do a bit more weathering and he should be good to go. I also need to work on a stencil for playing card suits- the sides of the tank are too bumpy to paint on, so hopefully a spray template will work.



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Most Awesome/Geekiest Thing EVER

Normally I don't like to post anything non-40k related, but this was too awesome to pass up. Many of you probably read Penny Arcade and/or subscribe to Wired so you've probably heard of this before, but for those of you who don't:

Surfacescapes Demo Walkthrough from Surfacescapes on Vimeo.

Wow- and that's just with D&D. Can you imagine this tech being used with Warhammer? With a large enough table you could play remote games with ease, or simply use the board to know the rules and apply them to your game with sweet special effects! And if all of the terrain pieces are programmed into the board, applying cover saves/checking LoS would be automatic, which would definitely remove a lot of headaches around my neck of the woods.

More actual Warhammer stuff next time, but what do you guys think? Any other cool uses for this tech with our game of choice?


Apparently there has been a version of this made for 40k! Here it is:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Belated ToEMP Challenges 4,5 and 6

Long period of no updating was brought on by me getting the Death Plague, battling through the physics GREs and starting 3 new classes at work. But now that I'm back, I have some pics of the tanks that I have been working on. I recently discovered that if I finish them all I will have completed challenges 4, 5 and 6 of the Tale of Even More Painters, so I'm going to try and do them quickly to get on to challenge number 7.

Here we go:

I painted them using masking tape and two different spray paints that I got from the hardware store. The khaki is basically the correct shade, but I may have to go over the white with bleached bone to get it the right color. So far the treads are all painted except for some wash/brown highlights for mud, and of course weathering and insignia need to painted on all of them.

Leman Russ' of the 24th Fortunan have a distinctive paint scheme. On the left track are four stripes of colors for the four suits (I'll eventually paint the suit symbols on there), as well as the regimental designation.

On the right side will be the name of the tank, which is accompanied by a varied number and color of stripes. While the majority of my tanks will be named after various Euchre slang terms (including the tank on the right- I haven't decided between the Lay Down Loner, Ace-No-Face and Farmer's Hand for it yet), the tank on the left is going by the name that I gave it when it arrived at my doorstep- the Poorly Planned Purchase.

Hopefully I can get this lot finished soon so I can move on to my Sentinels; wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Thoughts on SW, part II: SW as a 5th Ed. Codex

Last time we developed and explained the four key areas for a 5th edition codex: mobility, flexibility, price fixing and special characters. Let's see how the Wolves stack up in these areas.

The Wolves are definitely built to take advantage of mech. Standard 5th ed costs for rhinos, drop pods etc. will make any army eager to mechanize, but the close combat nature of the wolves feeds into this need greatly. With few heavy weapons to worry about the Wolves need to close with the enemy, which means either huge squads or meching up. However, here the wolves have a bit of a disadvantage as in order to get a Wolf guard in the squad they need to forgo  the second special weapon, leaving them at almost the same combat effectiveness as a standard SM squad.

I'd say that GW has done a good job of pushing mech here but at the same time curbing some possible abuses of the system with restrictions on special weapons and squad leaders. Reducing the drop pod maximum to 10 is the real kicker, as with 12 the Wolves would have a very abusable advantage.

The Wolves get very high marks here as well. To be honest, I'm not sure if there is an ineffective unit in the whole codex. Certainly some are better than others, but all definitely seem useable. Even the Techmarine version has something going for him in his Saga, allowing his vehicle to launch towards the enemy with great speed, and we all know how the Adeptus Mechanicus gets no love on the table top normally. Heck, I'm not even thinking of playing Space Wolves and the Iron Priest is calling to me for some reason...

So I guess the question is: is having too many viable units a bad thing? I personally don't think so. If you want to use that sweet mini you should be able to with pride and no incoherent apologies about fluffiness. It will also hopefully get rid of what we call in the Magic world 'netdecking', which can only be a good thing.

Price fixing
Here is the part that people are all getting in a fuss about. People seem fine with most of the units in the codex, pretty much everything except for Grey Hunters and Rune Priests. Since these make up Troops and HQ, something that every army needs to have, they're pretty big. There have been many comparisons of GHs with normal and chaos marines so I won't go into that, but my current stance is that only time will tell. The same goes for JotWW- it's a crazy psychic power, but I'll have to see it in more than one game to be sure. Plus it's ruined by mech, which is the name of the game in 5th. I'll get in a few games with the Wolves and see how they feel.

The real question, however, is how does the Wolf codex stack up to the other 5th ed codices? I think IGuard definitely has a shot against it, and Space Marines still have the tactical flexibility to outthink and outmaneuver the wolves. It's a tough codex, but definitely beatable.

Special Characters
This is the part that I think the SW codex really knocked out of the park for four reasons:
1) the SCs are special. They do things not because you want your army to have an additional USR (well, at least for the most part), but because you want a bipedal tank in power armor on your side. Each does things that no other unit can do and they do it well.
2) they have a lot of character. All of their abilities are exceedingly flavorful and give you a reason as to why they can do what they can do. They are big, boisterous and have crazy powers that match their land raider cost.
3) Since the Wolves are a Great Company you won't have people bitching you out for using Logan and Ragnar in the same list- they're battle brothers! They ALL fight together!
4) You can saga up HQ choices to gain the same kinds of abilities normally only limited to special characters. This is the option that I wish was available to all the armies- instead of buying a special character just buy a "stealth commander" or a "tactical genius" and have the SC be a super powered version of that.

Conclusion and Codex Creep Final Word

I think the Wolf codex is an excellent example of what 5th ed codexes can be. It is exceedingly characterful and embraces all of the strengths of the new codex system without going overboard. And it fixes the problem with special characters by taking their ridiculousness and price to the extreme while offering "budget" characters in the form of exceedingly customizable HQ and "sarge" options.

As for codex creep... all of the 5th ed codices have that over the older books. Reduced price in transports alone results in that thanks to the improved durability of vehicles in 5th. It doesn't mean, however, that an older codex can't outfight a newer one- I've seen it happen many times. It just means that the spectrum of competitive lists and the room for mistakes is smaller.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Thoughts on SW, part I: The 5th Edition Codex

Theme of the month/season seems to be Space Wolves, either calling pepper jack (extra spicy!), bashing people who want to switch over, cursing GW for wanting money or (very rarely) not running around with your head cut off. So I thought that I'd like to jump on this particular bandwagon and share my own thoughts and experiences.

Let's start this thought exercize with a discussion of what GW has been doing with 5th ed codices. There are four basic themes: mobility, flexibility, price fixing and special characters. All of these play into standard wants and needs of gamers, but some are more warranted than others.

Mobility is the GW push for more mech. Now there is of course the economic angle for this, as it doesn't take a genius to see that a couple hundred $35 tanks will help any company look towards the black, but that isn't the only angle as far as I'm concerned. Mech plays into the basic gamer desire to not have your precious army obliterated before they get to do their 'thing'. This theme is compounded in the 5th edition push for ubiquitous 4+ cover saves, yet another nod toward the basic survival instinct that most players (and especially new players) appreciate. Tanks offer a solid barrier between your soldiers and enemy firepower, as well as offering them a quick way to get to the front lines.

Flexibility is the tendency of the new codices to allow many different viable strategies. I'm not 100% certain on this, but from looking at the various army books it seems like more units in 5th edition codices are viable than in older books. By viable I mean that they aren't relegated instantly to the role of the 'fluffy' unit that you only took to give your army character- they can hold their own and you won't be laughed off the table when you field them. Once again, this plays into popular gamer mindsets. If I see a cool unit in the army book, I want to be able to play it and for it to be useful, or at least not a hindrance. Increasing viability across the board also (hopefully) leads to a greater variety of army lists, as the number of working combinations increases dramatically.

Flexibility also ties into new units. Since they are new these are the units that garner the most attention and are the 'shiniest' GW also often prices them into the viable range and/or gives them ridiculously splashy abilities. Here's where flexibility runs into the BoLS idea of spectacle, which I personally am all for. If you want to play a serious wargame, picking the one with the gothic space knights and undead robots was probably the wrong call.

Price fixing is the changing of different units' prices, most often in the downwards direction. This is the area that most people call codex creep on, and in some sense they are right. It is completely logical that if a unit retains the same functionality or receives increased abilities at a lower price the new version of the unit will be more powerful than the old unit. While it is unfortunate for older codices that still retain archaic pricing it has become necessary to grant all new codices the same pricing schema. In some cases this fixing goes too far, especially when extra functionality has been added to a unit- the new and improved Chimera being a sterling example. This plays into the gamer mindset again with the theory that more cool stuff = better.

And finally there are the special characters- each book has plenty of them, and they help play into the flexibility element as well, allowing you to switch you army's theme by spending a few points. The characters are uniformly ridiculous in nature (as befits the setting) and offer either unit or army-wide changes in composition. The part of the gamer mindset that this plays into is the hero- here is the big badass who is going to ruin your opponents day. Why does he have an instant death power sword? Who cares? He's awesome!1!!!1!

This is probably the part of the 5th ed codices that I like the least as it takes away from the 'ownership' of armies. You make up your own chapter/regiment/hive fleet but in order to have it operate other than a bog standard army you need to take a special character who belongs to another force. For instance, for my (mostly) light infantry Guard force there are three special characters that add the requisite sneakiness necessary for them to be light infantry: Al'Rahem, Harker and Marbo. These are legitimate choices in my codex that add a fun little bit of tactical flexibility, yet every time I take them outside of their specific regiments I feel like I am committing a grevious sin. And even if I greenstuff up a character I will still refer to him/her by the codex name just to have people understand what I am using.

These four things- mobility, flexibility, price fixing and special characters- are the reality of the 5th edition codex, so judging a new codex must be based on these principles. Next time I'll take a look at the Wolf codex and see how it stacks up to this (exceedingly unofficial) rubric.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Non-Sketchy Photo Time part III

We continue with even more photos!
The King and his Court
I really like how this has a Canterbury Tales vibe to it, which is probably why I plan on going into Inquisition at some point.

The Astropath, with symbols of the Four Holy Suits in place to ward off the predations of Chaos. (The spade fell off during my last game, but it should be there as well)

The Diamond, heavily altered fanatic of the Adeptus Mechanicus

The Spade, elite warrior-in-training of the Schola Progenium

The Heart, the unyielding soldier blessed with tactical flexibility

The Club, the stalwart rock keeping the Court strong

Some pics of the tanks next time.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Non-Sketchy Photo Time part II

We continue with non-sketchy photos! Today we are going to take a look at my Company Commander, Heinrich. Here he is in all of his green stuff glory:

All of the parts are from the Cadian Command sprue. And here he is after getting all painted up:

 I must say that I based him maybe slightly off myself... at least when my beard is at the height of its power.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Non-Sketchy Photo Time!

So my computer is finally repaired. Which means...

Non-sketchy photo time! And regular updates!

So, for the next few days to get me back on track, I'll be posting pics of my entries into TOEMP, and then get started again on the WIP for the last challenge and the next one. So for today, enjoy the first quality pics of the Black Jacks stormtrooper unit!

The Sarge in Charge

Backpack detail shot

Special Weapons Troopers

The "Inquisitorial Js" that are the symbol of the Black Jacks, who are on loan from the Ordos Malleus

And the spades to show what suit they are

Next up for me is a pair of Leman Russ Battle Tanks. These are the first vehicles that I have ever painted, and currently I am paralyzed as to what I should do for a color scheme. I know that the majority of the tank should be tan and bleached bone, which I can easily do with spray paints, but what exactly that scheme should be is eluding me. Details will be made out with black and red, but once again not sure what to do there.

Here's what I got so far:

I think I'll have the lighter color go all the way down to the treads on both sides in this current scheme. The other that I've thought about is more of a chamo style, but I'm not sure of which I should go for.

Thoughts, comments and criticisms are always welcome.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Tale of Even More Painters 2.0: More Sketchy Phone Photos!

As you can tell, it's sketchy phone camera shot time! Above and below iare my Company Commander, Trump-King Heinrich (he looks a bit like Henry 8th) and his favorite Astropath. I greenstuffed his crown, beard and mustache, as well as for making his arm stick out to the side in a more action-oriented pose. The symbols on the Astropath's staff are also, of course, greenstuffed.
And below is the full command squad, with elements from all four suits: 1 clubs medic, and plasmagunners from the diamonds, spades and hearts suits.

The other part of the challenge was to create a data sheet for our commander, so here we go:

"Heinrich wasn't always the glorious commander of Fortuna's 24th Regiment. Born in lowly circumstances, Henry was the 8th child of his family and would have been doomed to a life of labor had he not fallen into the machinations of the House of Card. He saved the life of one of the lesser nobles and was, as a token of gratitude, allowed to join the illustrious ranks of the Fortunan PDF as a member of the Clubs suit."

"Henry performed very well, earning commendations for valor in his daring defenses against the periodic Daemon infestations as well as against the enemies of the House of Card, the Lords of Dice and Derbishire Overlords. In particular he seemed to be a great adept of the ancient art of Tarot reading, always using the cards to predict the enemy's movements and react accordingly. His minor psychic talent was determined to be a blessed gift by the omnipresent Inquisitorial authorities and, with many steps taken to make sure that such a man would remain ever loyal to the Inquisition, was allowed to continue operating in his command capacity."

"When a 24th regiment of Fortunan soldiers was called into creation, Heinrich was determined to be the most able man to lead the 1st infantry company, as it relied on careful planning and efficient management of reserves and method of engagement to maintain peak effectiveness. Ever since Heinrich has served the House of Card and the Emperor faithfully, leading the 24th regiment with guile and honor."

Trump-King Henrich     40 pts

WS  BS  S  T  I  Ld  A Sv
  4      4   3  3  3   9    3  5+

Psyker, Tactical Directive: Euchre

Wargear: Plasma Pistol, Power Sword, Fortunan Tarot

Fortunan Tarot: Seeing as Fortuna is a world governed by games of chance, and that the House of Card has bound itself heart and soul to the myriad games of cards, the Fortunan Tarot is in many ways even more powerful than the Emperor's. Still guided by His ineffable will, the Fortunan Tarot is able to pick up even more nuanced aspects of His divine will and guidance, allowing a shrewd commander to never be unprepared.

Before rolling for mission, both you and your opponent(s) must roll a die each. If the results are different, you may add or subtract 1 from any or all of the following rolls: roll for Mission, roll for Deployment, and the roll to see who goes first. If the results are the same, your opponent may add or subtract 1 to each of the aforementioned rolls.

Tactical Directive: Euchre
Each Fortunan regiment is bound to a particular game of chance, as in this way their souls may be further safeguarded from the predations of Chaos and be guided by the Emperor's will, as well as reminding them of their pride in their homeland.

If objectives are used in the mission, any objectives that are placed in the opponent's deployment zone are worth double their normal points. If kill points or victory points are being used, choose an enemy HQ choice. That unit is now worth double the normal amount of kill points or victory points.

This directive extends to the opposing player(s) as well, as the Fortunan 24th are deeply ashamed if they themselves are "Euchred."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tale of Even More Painters 1.4: Sketchy Phone Photos!

As stated above, here are sketchy photos of my painting for the competition taken on my camera phone as I can't interface with my digital camera until my laptop is fixed:

The Inquisitorial J is the company symbol for the Black Jacks, and will make it easier for me to use them as STs for my planned future Daemon/Witch Hunter expansions. Plus I like saying Inquisitorial J...