Thursday, 26 March 2015

Ad-Mech Airbrush WIP

It's been while between posts and I am yet to sit down and properly photograph the rest of my Blood Angels and finish the last battle report from Gottacon. Instead I've been doing my best to counteract the post tournment burnout by diving into a non-gaming related hobby projects. I picked up a new dual action airbrush recently and have had great success trying out different painting styles. I found that the compressed air heats up quickly and spits but I didn't want to buy a new compressor given the cost and space issues in our apartment. Instead I purchased an in-line filter, added a gauge and regulator, and picked up some piping from the hardware store for a quick mock up of how a "do-it-yourself" setup might look.

Taking this "pipe bomb" concept to the next level involved doubling the capacity and mounting it on a more convenient and space friendly stand (or toilet flange as my co-workers pointed out). With the automatic shut off in the compressor this setup works very well, though needed a little tidying due to the lengthy air line included with the moisture trap. I also made sure to test using only my older airbrush in case any fumes or particles from sawing the plastic were to get into the lines.

After a few days of staring at this monstrosity I realised I could save a lot of space by cutting down on the amount of air line as well as the compressor housing itself. Then a generous relative sent me a big birthday box of citadel scenery and a plan slowly began to form...

With the Adeptus Mechanicus just around the corner, what better way to celebrate than making my very own Manufactorum that doubles as an airbrush compressor and stand? I always dislike digging through the cupboard whenever I want to do some airbrushing, so maybe having it ready to go on my bench will encourage the creative spirit. I quickly mocked up the piping, wiring, and mounted the compressor on pins for easy removal while I worked out the rest of the scenery. I'm now at a stage where the last of the glue is drying, and I have a workable setup ready for the next airbrush project. I think the key will be to work on this one slowly, adding more details as I see fit rather than rushing to the finish line like other projects. I look forward to painting a few Skitarii to stand guard!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Gottacon 2015 Game 4: BA vs Iron Hands (Sons of Horus)

With bleary eyed gamers piling back into the convention on Sunday morning, The Relic seemed like a nice easy mission to kick things off with only one objective in the centre of the table to worry about. Unfortunately it is also one of my most hated and therefor least played missions, mostly due to the "seizing" occurring at the end of the Movement phase, allowing the opponent to blaze away with their whole army at the unfortunate soul holding the hot potato. In hindsight it perhaps wasn't best to rush headfirst and try to capture it every turn, but the blood of Sanguinius compelled me to charge forward into battle...

My opponent was running a Sons of Horus 30k army transposed to 40k using the certified Imperial Armour books. This meant there was a lot of explaining regarding things like open-topped Drop Pods, Dreadnoughts with Interceptor Lascannons and Invulnerable Saves, and of course the Sicarian Battle Tank. The rest of the army consisted of a mixture of familiar Tactical Squads with Las/Plas, in Rhinos and on foot accompanied by beautifully painted Garviel Loken as a Space Marine Captain.

Winning the roll off for first turn, the enemy Dreadnought Drop Pod arrived and landed in the far corner. The rest of the army opened up on my tanks...and promptly immobilised my Land Radier! This was becoming all too common, and a good indication of how little they are feared at an Escalation tournament. The rest of his army repositioned minimally, leaving the Relic wide open.

In my own turn I turbo-boosted my Assault Bike forward on top of the objective (and as mentioned did not actually 'seize' the Relic due to moving onto it in the Shooting Phase, but put a giant target on his head), while the waiting Tactial and Assault Marines in their transports positioned for second turn seizing. The Rhino popped smoke, while the rest of the shooting (including the Furioso who survived the Interceptor shots from the Contemptor) whittled the Tactical Marines on foot down to three members. My Inquisitor/Captain/Librarian inside the Land Raider abandoned ship and made for the Contemptor in the far corner (in hindsight not the wisest move...).

My opponent played it cool in Turn Two, positioning himself away from any immediate Assault threats, killing the Attack Bike on the Relic, and ensuring the Furioso was dealt with before turning his attention to the Imperial Knight. A few Hull Points more and it would be game over for the large walker...

With the Relic within my reach I charged forward, shielding my Assault Squad with the smoke covered Razorback, while my Knight and Baal Predator knocked out the closest Rhino and prepared to hold the flank while I moved away in the following turn. With one Hull Point remaining I was not counting on the Knight to survive, but merely take the majority of the firepower away from the rest of my army.

Alas, all it took was a single Lascannon shot from the now disembarked Tactical Marines, leaving the rest of the army to concentrate on the Assault Squad holding the Relic. The height of the new bases combined with some difficult terrain meant most of their bright yellow heads were sitting right in the sight lines of both the Contemptor and Sicarian. Another turn, another missed Relic opportunity.

With the sun shining bright across the table I charged forward with my Tactical Marines and used the Heavy Flamer to toast half their opposing namesake, screening the remaining Assault Marines once more on the Relic. Their Meltagun took care of the closest Contemptor, while the remaining foot slogging Blood Angels from inside the Land Raider made their appearance in the centre of the board, ready for the late game where I was moving second each turn.

The Sons of Horus now had three squads vying for control of the Relic, and the most mobile squad in the Rhino now moved forward within striking distance. The Sons of Horus Captain elected to run around my Razoback rather than charging it, and in a game of inches trying to seize the Relic it was going down to the wire.

When making my army I had initially planned for a more static Missile Launcher Tactical Squad, but was now very happy to have the new Heavy Flamer available to hose down Traitor Marines! Combined with the Storm Bolter this gave me the opportunity to thin down the enemy's numbers and charge in with extra Initiative and Strength thanks to the new Blood Angels codex. Alas my rolls to hit were atrocious, and we ended up locked in combat for the rest of the game. With bonus Attacks thank to the Librarian's Psychic Powers, my Captain sliced open the last Sons of Horus Rhino, and the two Assault Cannons cut down the enemy Warlord's Tactical Squad to one member. My Inquisitor Warlord hopped into my own Rhino and hid for a few turns mere inches from the objective.

Four turns, four different Blood Angel models on top of the Relic. This time it was the Scouts who finally rolled well enough to move through cover on top of the objective, having hidden there all game.

In turn five my Captain got a taste of his own medicine thanks to some amazing rolls from the enemy leader. With very few models left on the table I chose to try and 'game' a finish by dropping the Relic outside of combat when my Scout Sergeant moved into combat in his Initiative step. This would leave me free to seize the objective in my own turn with my un-engaged Inquisitor Warlord inside the Rhino.

I knew my Librarian was doomed in my own Assault phase but with a lucky roll to see if the game would end I would be left holding the objective surrounded by enemy models. Predictably poor rolling from the single Attack models in combat saw my Inquisitor holding the hot potato ready for the end of game roll...

...and luck was against me. The now infamous Garviel Loken proved my undoing, charging in during Turn 6 and slaughtering my Toughness 3, Carapace Armoured Warlord. All that was left was to pose for the victory shot. I look forward to seeing more of this army once it is finished painting! Well played by my patient opponent, and many things to consider for a revised version of my army in the future, not to mention a revised game-plan for the Relic!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Gottacon 2015 Game 3: Blood Angels vs Eldar/Imperial Guard

With at least one win under my belt for the first day I was hopeful my confidence could carry me through the next few games as I prepared to face an Eldar list with Imperial Guard Allies. This would be my first ever game against a Wraigthknight, and he was backed up by two Dire Avenger filled Wave Serpents, Outflanking War Walkers, Deep Striking Warp Spiders and cherry picked Astra Miltarum Manticore, Command Squad and Meltagun wielding Veterans in a Valkyrie. A Farseer in a Jetbike squad rounded out the more mobile section of my opponent's forces.

With six objectives to cover in the Maelstrom of War: Contact Lost mission on a very awkwardly arranged Hammer and Anvil Deployment (short table edges) I hoped to hug the pipeline in the centre while remaining mobile enough to cover the two or three central objectives. My Scouts started in the far corner behind the green tank, and with Tactical Objectives generated based on units holding objectives I hoped they would remain out of sight and mind for the duration of the battle.

I neglected to snap a picture of my opponent's deployment and instead took the opportunity of shaking things up by placing my Drop Pod dead centre of the far objective, denying any scoring opportunities for all but Objective Secured Wave Serpents. My Furioso promptly hopped out and scored First Blood on the Jetbikes with the assistance of the Scouts and Baal/Land Raider/Attack Bike Heavy Bolters. I believe Slay the Warlord was also secured in this turn with the loss of the Farseer, but I ended the first turn quite a few points ahead thanks to generous Tactical Objectives cards as per my previous game. Now I had to sit tight and wait for the retaliation!

After some judicious re-positioning the Furioso took very few shots to bring down, and the Drop Pod was ignored thanks to Objective-Secured as mentioned. The far Wave Serpent zoomed off across the battlefield hunting scouts, while the deployed War Walkers and Wrathknight did little against a jinking Attack Bike and distant heavier Blood Angels Armour. The Manticore missed most of its shots though knocked a few Hull Points from the Imperial Knight.

With most of my mobility unbelievably intact I raced forward to start my following turn on top of objectives, hoping my heavier armour would shield the worst of the incoming firepower. Forgetting entirely about Deep Striking Warp Spiders and Outflanking War Walkers with Lance weaponry I pointed my army at the depleted (but still strong) enemy and held my breath for the chance to charge the Wraightknight with my own Knight or embarked Inquisitor/Captain/Librarian. My Attack Bike turbo-boosted forward to claim an objective (which was unfortunately prevented by a menacingly close Wraithknight) and the victory points ticked over for the rest of my army as I drew even more lucky cards.

Cue the little violins as the rest of the pointy ears arrived, wrecking or immobilising all of my transports. Combined firepower from the War Walkers, Manticore, Warp Spiders and Wraithknight were enough to stop my Rhino and Land Raider in their tracks, while the Tactical Marines with only a Heavy Flamer bundled out of their smoking Razorback onto open ground with next to no backup. The Wraithknight held back as my opponent kept his cool and I generally fumbled around, forgetting to take a photo of my own turn as I attempted to out-shoot the Eldar army from the cover of a few packing crates and broken pipes!

The following movement phase he turned it up to eleven, with the Valkyrie and Meltagun-Vets catching my enthusiastic Knight off guard. I had removed the objective sitting Command Squad by this mid-game position, and he had taken care of my Scouts so we were both running out of 'easy' scoring and card generating options. It was at this stage (he later confessed) that he switched to trying to table me as he felt the Victory Points had gotten away from him. Either way it started to unravel quite cinematically!

The Manticore fired its last rocket into the mass of red in the middle of the table, killing off most of the Assault Squad but leaving the Captain alive, while the Warp Spiders removed the last Rhino from the board leaving a single Marine standing. With so many weapons aimed at the Imperial Knight he was down to only one Hull Point when the Wraithknight charged in. The ensuing combat was quick and decisive, and the Blood Angels and Imperial Guard Veterans fared just as poorly in the resulting explosion.

With only a few turns remaining I had hoped to hold on, and did just what my main squad was designed to do, charge in and kill Monstrous Creatures! With high Initiative and number of Attacks thanks to the bonuses from Psychic Powers, a reduction in Toughness due to Rad Grenades, Furious Charge increasing my Strength, and re-rolls form Hatred thanks to Liber Heresius it took only my Captain's attacks to send the Wraithknight back to the spirit world once more. What a suitably epic end to the game, and another example of why I am loving gaming in 7th Edition so much!

After a few group shots of the victors and general posturing in the centre of the table, one turn of enemy shooting was enough to remove all the Blood Angels from the battlefield and give the game to my opponent. It was my favourite game of the tournament (though the following day's games were equally close and epic) and one I will remember for a long time. This game is definitely an example of "forging the narrative" (even if my stomach turns a little typing that over-used phrase), and in a minimal-restriction tournament setting no less! I will definitely have to put a Manticore on my future must-have list...

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Gottacon 2015 Game 2: Blood Angels vs Chaos Space Marines

After a resoundingly poor result in a lopsided battle against a Tyranid Harridan in my first game I was pleased to see a fairly normal looking Chaos Space Marine force deploying for my second match up, Maelstrom of War Mission: Cleanse and Control. The objectives were laid out prior to deployment and I gambled a little by placing most of them up one end of the table. Unfortunately I lost the roll off for table halves, and my opponent seized the opportunity to deploy the majority of his forces on the table end with the most objectives: two large squads of Noise Marines (one in a Rhino), a Lord with Cultists, some Havocs with Lascannons, a Soul Grinder, Daemonettes, Deep Striking Obliterators, and an Imperial Knight.

I had fared poorly against Noise Marines in the past so I made them my number one target, and deployed defensively against the Knight and Lascannon wielding Havocs. Keeping my Meltagun equipped Assault Marines in reserve gave me some flexibility once the Knight came closer and Tactical Objectives started to shape the flow of the game. I deployed the Scouts aggressively front and centre on an objective, which drew the cultists and Noise Marines forward on their first turn. The empty Chaos Rhino immobilised itself moving toward an objective, and half the Scouts perished under general shooting from the Chaos Army.

Keen to keep the Scouts alive as long as possible against the cover ignoring Noise Marines, the Furioso arrived and cut down two thirds of their number in the Aegis Defence Line. Combined shooting from the rest of the Blood Angels wrecked the only mobile Rhino for First Blood, and the Sonic weaponed Marines disembarked into the waiting arms of my Imperial Knight. I largely ignore the opponent's Knight and Soul Grinder at this point, instead focusing on the very fortunate Tactical Objective cards I drew and putting some points on the board thanks to the Scouts sitting tight right on top of an objective. My Warlord Inquisitor, Captain, Librarian and associated Assault Marines hopped out of the Land Raider to support the Scouts against the incoming threats.

The Chaos Marines shrugged off the loss of the Noise Marines, happy to have tied up the Knight for a couple of turns, and charged forward with their heavier armour. The Daemonettes arrived, scattering very far from their intended objective, while the Chaos Cultists and Lord charged forward, making a mess of the Scouts hiding on the central objective. The Havocs knocked a Hull Point off the Furioso but failed to stop it marauding through their back lines, while the Chaos Knight immoblised the Razorback while in turn being slowed by tank traps in the centre of the board.

The Assault Marines arrived in their Rhino to claim a Tactical Objective on the crowded side of the board, popping smoke and holding their position across from the Havocs. The Knight, having finished off the last Noise Marine, attempted to scramble across the wrecked Rhino but failed miserably despite Move Through Cover. The Blood Angels Captain with Valour's Edge (AP2 Power Sword) made short work of the Chaos Lord, while the rest of his squad finished off the already weakened cultists. The rest of the Blood Angels held their ground, knocked a Hull Point or two off the Chaos Knight and killed the lone Obliterator on their side of the battlefield.

The Chaos force, frustrated with poor draws on their Tactical Objectives (not a fortification or flyer in sight...), wiped the Razorback and Baal Predator off the board and their Knight charged in, stomping the Tactical Marines who bravely stood their ground as their own Knight Titan prepared to do battle with the Soul Grinder. Being a "regular" walker, the Soul Grinder failed to make headway amongst the difficult terrain of the ruins, failed its charge, and was stranded right in front of the Blood Angels forces. A few Assault Marines fell to its ranged weapons, and the Havocs managed to immobilise the newly arrived Blood Angels Rhino.

It was a literal clash of the Titans in the centre of the table, with both Knights tearing Hull Points from one another for a good number of turns, while the Obliterator looked on and the Daemonettes scuttled toward their far objective. The Blood Angels were once more blessed with the luck of the draw, hopping out of their immobilised Rhino and securing a nearby objective while the Furioso flamed the Havocs in the corner and secured Linebreaker in the process. The heavily armed and armoured Land Raider was reduced to taking pot shots at the distant Daemonettes in the hope of claiming a character killing victory point in the death of the attached Herald of Slaneesh.

It was clear that the fickle Chaos Gods had abandoned the field of battle as the game was called with very few easily claimable objectives left for the forces of Slaneesh. The final rolls were made to see which of the Knights would emerge triumphant, and with equal Initiative and Strength D weaponry the result was devastatingly predictable! Another great game of 7th Edition with a new opponent, though it was clear that the Tactical Objective cards drawn were quite lopsided in favour of the Blood Angels. With the next battle using the same set of cards it remained to be seen whether the same luck could be carried through...

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Gottacon 2015 Game 1: Blood Angels vs Tyranids

I was fresh off the boat (ferry) from Vancouver and itching for a truly competitive game as the first day of Gottacon got underway on Saturday. My competitive request was answered in the form of double flying Hive Tyrants, triple Tyrannocytes filled with gaunts, and a huuuuuge Harridan. I'm used to not judging Warhammer models on size and instead looking at stats, but with Toughness 8 and 8 Wounds in a Super Heavy Flying format I didn't think there was much of a threat from my few Assault Cannons. Putting out twelve Strength 10 shots per turn made things difficult to say the least!

The Mission was Eternal War: Crusade, with four objectives. I have less experience with "end of game" scoring missions as my list is designed around the new Tactical Objectives, so I did my best to stay out of sight near the heavier terrain while keeping my Attack Bike in reserve for later game.

The Harridan kicked things off and soared over the battlefield, pumping all it could into the Land Raider. Not even Night Fighting could save the big metal box, and my carefully crafted Captain/Inquisitor/Librarian trio bundled out amid the loss of a four Hull Point Armour 14 for First Blood! The rest of the Tyranids re-positioned, including a Venomthrope lurking around their Deployment Zone, and the Flyrants knocked out the Razorback containing the Tactical Marines.

In return the Blood Angels shambled forward doing minimal damage, though the Furioso smoked the Venomthrope using it's Frag Cannon, whilst the Drop Pod scattered just outside Linebreaker range. Damn...

Things turned for the worse as the rest of the gaunts arrived, trapping the Assault Marines in the Rhino and prevented them from disembarking. A few more shots from the un-challenged Flyrants stripped Hull Points from the Ball Predator and Imperial Knight, though the Blood Angels on foot largely survived any further damage from the gaunts and newly arrived Tyrannocyte spores.

The Furioso made it to cover by mid-game directly under an objective, while the Captain and Veteran Sergeant with a Power First made a mess of the gaunts and a Tyrannocyte thanks to various bonuses confered by the Inquisitor's Liber Heresius, Rad Grenades, and the Blood Angels Strike Force's Furios Charge. The Tactical Marines elected to fire into the other gaunts, whittling them down, while the Imperial Knight positioned itself between the three remaining objectives in support of the Scouts.

It was at this point the Warlord Flyrant's Fighter Ace rules came into their own, allowing it to re-deploy as part of ongoing reserves right on top of an objective. Forcing the Imperial Knight to place it's Ion Shield to defend against the Harridan's S10 shots, a few glances from the Flyrant's S6 weaponry was enough to send the Mechanicum's finest tumbling to the ground. The last Tyrranocyte deployed near the Scouts, sealing their fate and securing another objective.

The red-armoured warriors were buoyed by the arrival of the Attack Bike who turbo-boosted across the left flank in the hope of securing Linebreaker, while the rest of the army stayed out of sight. The Scouts charged out of their cover to prevent the gaunts reaching the objective, but were cut down thanks to some lethal rolling in the Overwatch phase of combat! The Harridan switched to a more maneuverable flying mode and made short work of the Attack Bike in an almost comical match up.

The Furioso was gripped by battle rage and charged out to shield the Warlord from the Harridan, with predictable results. With the Tyranids holding three of the four objectives and only three models remaining for the Blood Angels the game was called, and the first tournament outing for 7th Edition a brutal reminder of how drastically the game has changed in the past few editions. Here's hoping the next few games would be less heavy on the Super Heavies...