Thursday, June 29, 2017

40K - Blood On The Streets

This afternoon I set up my Citifight table down in the Dunn-geon.

The board is comprised of tiles from Tablescapes' Urban Streets.

Buildings are all Games Workshop's, including a Forgeworld "Tank Factory" piece.

Road barriers are from Wargamma. I picked these up at Adepticon a couple of years ago.

I'm keen to pick up some scatter terrain - the Containers, maybe some old Rhinos to give some further cover.

Tonight I've got my first game on it versus Hagen's Sisters. It will be interesting to see how it plays.

The table is set up permanently so if any locals are keen for a game give me a shout.

It will be nice to get some use with it. Jack and I painted it about 2.5 years ago and it has sat waiting for the 40k re-launch!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

KOW - Competing With A Steamroller

First up, a caveat. This post is in no way a criticism of Mantic Games. Rather it is an observation of the reality they operate in.

The last fortnight has seen the release of the new edition of Warhammer 40k. As well as that it has been a vivid demonstration of the resources Mantic's main competitor, Games Workshop, can throw at the hobby.

Make no mistake, Games Workshop is a steam roller. The resources that they have been able to throw at this release have been staggering:

  • Daily news items through their community page for the past two months
  • Videos on how to paint your models
  • Multiple 24 hour Twitch streams on the game being played
  • Community engagement through their Facebook page
  • Wall to wall podcast support where known UK gamers are funded (through product) to promote the game by detailing their hobby.
  • Company events at Warhammer World
All this comes on the top of a top-notch product and the presence of their retail outlets.

Now I appreciate that a lot of this is relatively "new" for GW but the one thing you can't deny is that this time at least, they are doing it right.

This is what Mantic Games is currently facing with KOW in the battle for gamers' "hearts and minds". The scale of the operation they are facing is staggering.

So what can they do? Well pretty much more of the same. They need to continue to throw their resources into their two main markets - the USA and UK. TBH anything outside those two markets in terms of sales is likely a rounding error for them. 

They will need to increase promotional activities not just on the ground - local FLGS level - but also at the headline level. This means a significant presence at at least the six largest gaming events (read conventions) in the USA and ensure that they get buy-in on attendance from the US tournament community. 

Lonewolf GT is a great event but those that attend are already captured. If Mantic wants to grow it needs to showcase its tournament game at conventions where it can expose its product to new players, people who already are happy to throw down $$$$ on game purchases.

It probably needs to develop a starter set - like Dark Imperium - showcasing its best models in an easy to play out-of-the box format.

And it needs to upgrade its social media presence. If the cost of 1-2 extra dedicated social media resources is a 3-4 month delay in the release of a new KOW figure range than IMO that would be a solid investment. Build the hype around a range, release, campaign whatever. For instance, the upcoming Summer Campaign needs daily commentary to maximise its potential.

All this pre-supposes that KOW is viewed as a key long term revenue earner for Mantic. The success of The Walking Dead and the ease of launching a Kickstarter around an established storyline/franchise may convince them that long term that that is a better business model.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Weekly Hobby Update

My first bit of work was to finish multibasing my Varangur. That has all been completed now and it's ready to take the table. The last unit to be completed was a Horde of Bloodsworn using the old Games Workshop Marauders wielding Flails.

Once I had done that I started reading my new 8th Edition Chaos Index to decide what I would put together for my foray back into 40k. Ideally I would do either Death Guard or Emperor's Children but both had negatives. Firstly, along with Space Marines, Death Guard are going to be "Army of the Month" given their inclusion in Dark Imperium. I think I'll wait until all the Timmys have moved on to the next shiny thing before I put mine on the table. Some of us have been around since Garro was a scout afterall.

Emperor's Children have been given nothing in the Index. I'll wait until GW showers some love on Fulgrim's Finest. Let's just say there better be more than the single Noise Marine entry. I want the ability to mount noise weapons on Termies, Vehicles, Dreadnaughts, Bikes and Havoks.

In the end I settled on Nurgle Daemons. I have a large Warhammer Fantasy Daemons of Chaos army with over 2500 points for each of the gods. There is no straight port of the Nurgle part over to Kings of War so it makes sense to get some use out of it with 40k. This required me having to rebase the models on rounds. The mountain of square resin bases gets larger and larger in the Dunn-geon. Mounting them on round bases means I have the added ability to NOT use them for Age of Sigmar.

So Drones, Plaguebearers etc were rebased on rounds; Nurgling were painted and based. Somewhere in this house there is a box of metal Plaguebearers that I can't find.....but I will, oh yes I will. I am currently detailing the whole army so that it will look its Nurgly best on the table.

And finally, I got my first game of 8th in against Ryan's T'au. We had a great time working through the rules. As I noted in a previous post, I found the rules both clean and well structured. On a wet Sunday afternoon I made my own reference sheets for my Nurgle Daemons which captures the required info.

This week I'll continue tidying up the Daemons and have my second game on Thursday versus Hagen.

40K - More New Plague Marines

The Warhammer Community page announced more new Plague Marines overnight.

Those of you who know me, know that Death Guard has always been my go-to army. I have built two 40k Death Guard armies and a 30k Death Guard Legion. My first Death Guard army won Best Painted at the 2002 New Zealand Grand Tournament and the second, Best Painted at 2004 New Zealand Grand Tournament. This elicited the immortal quote from Alan Borthwick "I can't tell if they are well painted or just messy". My 30k Death Guard won a Bronze Medal in Armies on Parade.

So fair to say, I like my Death Guard.

I am keen to build a fourth army but I'm going to put it on the slow cooker until Death Guard lose some of their current "Army of the Month" status. Eventually people will get distracted by the new hotness and us true aficionados of the XIVth Legion can continue our love.

However GW are not making it easy. This morning they released pictures of three new Death Guard marines. These are billed as "Easy to Build" so I am guessing snap together with limited reposability. The one on the left has a blight launcher reminiscent of the weapons used by the 30k Death Guard Grave Warden Terminators. I like the Power Fist on the Sergeant (who has removed his helmet).

I'll definitely be picking them up.

They have also released additional Poxwalkers.

 Again these are "Easy to Build". I'm personally not a big fan of the Poxwalker aesthetic. The goofy rictus grin just doesn't do it for me. Hopefully, these two releases will be separate so I can give them a miss.

Great to see Death Guard getting more love. I'm looking forward to further releases.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

40K - Toes in the Water

Yesterday morning I had my first game of the new edition of 40K. I tried to play 7th Ed earlier in the year but gave up after two games. The rules were bloated, overcomplicated and added levels of detail for no discernible purpose.

So how did I find the new rules? In a word "Great".

Having played KoW for the past two years, I have been spoilt by having clear, logical and concise rules. The rules flow naturally and there is little need to go to the rulebook during the game - usually it is to check scenario specifics. Well the "new" 40k was very much the same.

I was able to play the game straight off using the 8 page leaflet from Dark Imperium backed up with my tagged datasheets from the Index book. With no prior experience - apart from those two games earlier this year - of the previous nine years, I was able to play "40K".

What I particularly liked was the new turn sequence. It was easy to pick up and importantly streamlined the game. Moving the Morale phase to the end of the turn allows a lot of "muddle" to be stripped out of the game.

And this concept was all pervading in the game. The removal of templates, the Advance move etc were all designed to speed up the game and shift the focus to tactics rather than mechanics.

The Psychic Phase has been cleaned up and is logical and most of all simple. Again a 30 second consideration in our game but impactful all the same. The Shooting mechanics work well. The ability to shoot all weapons and split fire is great and makes multi weapon platforms much more logical.

I enjoy the new treatment of vehicles as having no arcs and Wounds instead of armour. Again, logical and allows so much extraneous detail to be stripped out.

Combat was straightforward and I enjoy the Activation mechanic. I also think the Fall Back rule works well and makes logical sense.

Command Points are a great inclusion. You have an ability to make tactical choices but they don't overwhelm the game, though judicious use can be crucial.

And finally, the Datasheet presentation makes everything so much easier, Having all the pertinent rules in one place is a far, far superior method of presentation as is the use of keywords.

Overall, I am very impressed with what Games Workshop have achieved. Compared to the corpulent mess I experienced earlier in the year, the complete reset has removed the barriers to entry. It has also revalidated/reinvigorated the armies that have sat unused on my shelf for 10 years.

I'm excited.

Thanks to Ryan for his patience in playing through the rules step by step with me.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

40K - Nurgle Daemon List

Ok, a caveat here......I have no idea.

I've read the rules and I have purchased the Chaos Index and I'm keen to have a few games. My go-to armies are Death Guard and Emperor's Children but the EC in the Index is underwhelming and rumours exist of an early DG codex.

So why not try Nurgle Daemons?

The Dunn-geon Shelf Has Not Been Kind To Billy Slugtongue

So here's what I've come up with for 1500 points

Battalion Detachment +3 Command Points
Daemon Prince of Nurgle - Wings, HF Sword -212
GUO - 248
Epidemius -100
30 Plaguebearers - Icon & Instrument - 275
4 Nurglings - 80
4 Nurglings - 80
3 Plague Drones - 132
3 Plague Drones - 132
Soulgrinder of Nurgle - Warpsword - 235

Total 1494 Points - 6 Command Points

How does it look? Will it be fun to try? Is it ok to play against?

Any thoughts, feedback etc. appreciated.

Monday, June 19, 2017

KOW - Varangur: Nurgle's Gift

About 15 years ago GW released their "Hordes of Chaos" army book. I've been painting up and basing up some units for a Nurgle-themed HoC Varangur list.

The Weekend's Work: Based & Detailed Units

Mounted Sons of Korgan - Chaos Knights plus Converted Archaon

Horse Raiders - Mix of Metal & Plastic Marauders on Horse

More of the Same

Cavern Dweller/Devourer - Mierce Blood-Maw

I just need to put some tufts and water effects on the base. 

From here I have one more unit to do. I have 25 GW Marauders with Flails that I will base as a Bloodsworn Horde. That will give me 3000+ points of Varangur to play around with.

8th Ed 40k FAQ

Didn't take long. Here is the first FAQ for the new edition.

Weekend Hobby Update

Well it has been a busy week indeed.

GW released the new edition of 40k and Mighty Ape made sure my "Dark Imperium" and "Chaos Index" was delivered on Saturday. Great service! Forgeworld also sent an email indicating that my copy of the Chaos Imperial Armour update is en route. The figures look very nice - I've swapped my Primus Marines for a second set of Death Guard. I think I'll wait a couple of weeks as I understand that a fuller DG codex is due for release.

I finished basing my Varangur last night - now have 3000 points ready to go. It is drawn from the old "Hordes of Chaos" army book and featured units of Pestigors, Chaos Warriors and Plaguebearers. I managed to get in a couple of games on Saturday - a draw and a loss - which proved very frustrating as I forgot the various attributes that the units had (for Nurgle's sake Pete - they had Fury and Headstrong - you can countercharge!).

I also finished painting the Blood-Maw from Mierce. He is now based as a ubiquitous non-flying Monster for the Varangur - likely Devourer or Cavern Dweller.

Gaming room got cleaned up yesterday and this week I'm looking to set up a second table - in garage - for learning the 40k rules.

Friday, June 16, 2017

KOW - Vore, Blood-Maw

I've had a Mierce Miniatures Blood-Maw sitting partly assembled on my desk for 6-9 months. Yesterday I finished assembling it and set about painting it.

Here's the finished paint-job:

I laid down the skin with my airbrush and then went to the brush. The blood is done with a mix of Secret Weapon "Drying Blood" and GW "Blood for the Blood God". 

The model stands 4" high but is 5" wide. I will look to mount him on a 50mm though that is going to be a tight fit.

At present my plan is to use him either in a Night Stalkers army or as a Cavern Dweller/Devourer for the Varangur

Thursday, June 15, 2017

KOW - Campaign Guide: Edge of the Abyss

So this just went out for local pre-order with a delivery date of the last week of July.

Kings of War: Edge of the Abyss Campaign Guide
Edge of the Abyss is a global campaign that will see the map of Mantica change, depending upon whether good or evil triumphs on the battlefield. Throughout the summer of 2017 (winter for the southern hemisphere) we will be collecting the results from battles around the world, which means that you can decide the fate of Mantica. You’ll also find brand new heroes, new units, extra spells and more to bring your games of Kings of War to life.
New Heroes
Rules and background for 14 new Living Legends from factions all over Mantica, from Artakl the Gekkotah Clutch Warden to Dravek, the Abyssal Dwarf Iron Caster, these heroes can be included in your forces during the campaign.
New Formations
Combine certain units in battle for a bonus on the tabletop. These formations were created by the Kings of War Rules Committee and are built upon the existing background for each race.
New Scenarios
Fight in different battlefields across Mantica, from the Elven Twilight Glades to the Edge of the the Abyss itself! These specialised scenarios set the stage for the most pivotal battles of the campaign.
New World
You can record your results during the campaign through Beasts of War . Based on those results, the world of Mantica will change!

A lot of people, including myself, have been asking for more fluff and background for Mantica. Well this book is the start. It will be followed up later in the year by a new sourcebook that will incorporate the results of the campaign.
I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on the book - pre-order has been made - so that I can plan games around its contents.
It is also an opportunity to reward Mantic for all the work they do with Kings of War. I don't own a lot of Mantic figures but I go out of my way to purchase all their supporting materials.
For locals, it is up on Mighty Ape's site.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

KOW - My Gaming Toolkit

Today I thought I'd go through my gaming toolkit, those items I back in my bag before I head off to a game - particularly a tournament.

And yes I do have a gaming bag. It is one of those retro 70s vinyl travel bags into which I can pack my list, rulebooks and storage container in which my gaming accessories are stored.

A Bag So Hip I Need Neither A Cardy Or Manbun

The container is one of those airtight food containers with plastic clips you can pick up in any supermarket.

So what's in the box?


I have some Race specific dice for each of my armies. These are my Rat dice which have served me faithfully for 8 years.

Generally I will have a set number I take out onto the table to ensure faster play. Importantly the symbols replace the "6". Never use dice where they replace "1"s. There is a special place in Hell for those people.

The dice bag was made for me by "The Dice Lady".

Tape Measures

I take two as there is always that opponent that forgets theirs - and sharing tape measures slows down the game.

I have some old GW ones. They are overpriced but have lasted well. Easy to pick up cheap from DIY or discount store.

Chess Clock

Practice as you play. I prefer to use the clock even in just a pickup game. It reinforces timely decision making. Easy to source from eBay. Doesn't need to be's not rocket surgery.

Generally we play 55 minutes including deployment at 2000 points. Works out at 6 minutes deployment and 7 minutes per turn. Pause if rules discussion.

Wound Tokens

I prefer wound tokens to dial counters and especially dice. Tend to find dice can get knocked.

My counters are from Ironheart Artisians. You get three of 1-10, two of 11-20 and one each of 21-25. Work well for me.

Other Counters

Ironheart do another set of eight Objective markers, Wavered Tokens and Disordered Tokens. I've also thrown in some old GF9 "Morale Check" tokens to remind me if I have particularly large shooting phase.

I'm keen to add in some new objective markers with 1,2 or 3 on them for games where there are variable value objectives.

Arc of Sight Templates

Vital. I have my original GF9 one they produced for Fields of Blood GT plus one Ironheart Artisians sent me.

Great preventative.

The T.A.C. Template

Another GF9 product. These were produced for the FOB Warhammer 40k NZGT. The template measures 6", 4", 2" and 1". Great for ensuring Inspiring distance is correct.

Unit Marker

It is always good play to mark where a unit is before you move it, particularly if it Flies or is Nimble or has large move.

This little marker is 2" high and 1" wide. However the inside corner is great for marking the starting point of your unit's rear corner. You can place it and then move the unit to your heart's content knowing where it started - no argument.

Laser Pointer

Great for projecting the Arc of Sight over a distance to determine front, rear or flank. It can also be used to determine if your Leader Point can see a unit.

Given 90% of questions at an event are generally related to this then it is a great tool for an umpire. Watch out taking it in carry on luggage though. Some airlines are very unaccommodating.

Turn Marker

I use a big dice and move it towards whichever side of the table the active player is on. In this case the dice is a 30mm die our 2014 ETC team had made.

Magic Artefact Cards

I use these to mark my units so my opponent knows what artefact it is carrying. Not necessary, but I regard it as good sportsmanship and it avoids any chance that specific units and items get muddled.

Purchased them off this group and could have sold a half dozen my sets they are so useful.


So you can fill in scoresheets with your name and results.

So that's my toolkit. As I said it packs into my small carry bag with the rules, Uncharted Empires, Clash of Kings and my list. Usually I'll have my iPad for photos, calculator, latest FAQ, PDF of my list and Players Pack.

Any problems you have won't be due to lack of kit!


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

KOW - Foldio Lightbox Photography Studio

A couple of years ago I supported a Kickstarter by Orangemonkie for their Foldio Studio. This is a lightbox for photographing things with your smartphone. Aimed at the internet auction market it is also ideal for miniatures.

The box is made of light plastic and folds down to A4 and about 1cm thick. It is held together by rare earth magnets and comes with strips of LED lights that are powered by batteries that clip on the side. Also supplied are background sheets in white, black and grey rubber. They have subsequently upgraded it at least twice. You can check them out here

The Plague Angel in the Studio

I lent mine to a mate over six months ago and never got round to getting it back. I've been unhappy with the recent pictures I've been taking of my minis so got it back this weekend. 

It now sits on a shelf in my painting area ready to be used when necessary. What I like about it is that it takes up little room so I can happily leave it up without worry. The black lamp has a daylight bulb and it can swing around if I want to shine extra light on a model.

I'm surprised I haven't left it up fulltime in the past.

KOW - Reviving Paints

For Xmas in 2012 I got a full set of the Citadel Paints from Games Workshop.

I've used these as my main paint set over the past 4.5 years, replacing them as I go through them. I'd suggest that about 75% of colours are the original pot while I've probably gone through 10+ pots of Abaddon Black.

I like the set as it is organised - saves racks - has the full colour range (though new technical paints have been added) and I can source replacements easy. I know some people don't like the Citadel range but I find them more than sufficient for my technical ability.

On the weekend I was listening to a few podcasts including the Lake Swatt one by Kris Kapsner. He had a guest who while he was talking was transferring his GW paints to dropper bottles. Now I have no interest in doing that but what piqued my interest was the process he went through.

All paint dries out - especially if in the pots Citadel use. Also after four and a half years you are going to get some separation. As the painter was transferring his paints he was remixing them and adding new medium if necessary.

On my hobby desk I had the two tools that he was using - Matte Medium and a mixer. I use the mixer for my Badger Minitairre paints to ensure a good airbrush consistency. A few years ago I bought the medium but never used it.

So on Sunday evening I spent a couple of hours going through all my paints and remixing them and adding extra medium (generally necessary) so that by the end they were the correct consistency straight from the pot.

For the cost of NZ$30 and some elbow grease I freshened up all 100 paints so they were like new. Given the cost of a GW paint is $7 here it was good economy.

Interesting the brown and greys seem to have dried out most and required more mixing while the greens were most prone for separation.

The end result was a set of Citadel Paints as good as new and ready or another 5 years!


Monday, June 12, 2017

KOW - Ratkin Communard: Brutes

When I started playing KoW I used Ratkin with a Brute Horde. Unfortunately I never seemed to get the best out of them and over time they were shifted out for a second Horde of Shock Troops.

I tried them with Brew of Haste but they generally lacked survivability with De 4+, middling Nerve and Regen 5+.

That doesn't mean I don't "want" them to work and so I definitely included a Horde in my newly multibased army.

My unit has a real mix of models in it. First, there is the Rat Ogre from the GW Screaming Bell. Next to him is a current plastic GW Rat Ogre model. In the front is a converted Rat Ogre from the Island of Blood set - he has warpstone instead of hands. Finally there is the mechanical Skype robot that was created for Mordheim.

I did have a metal Boneripper slated for the unit but he is now in my Skaven Bloodbowl Team.


Weekly Hobby Update

With Lynne away for the weekend I had a few wintry hobby days - well that and watching the mighty Mark Hunt.

I continued multibasing models for KoW to the point whereby I just about exhausted my supply of magnetic sheeting. There certainly is something satisfying about seeing an army transferred from Individual to multibases.

In the evenings I worked on finishing the Plague Angel I posted yesterday. I now have the Maggot Daemon to do as well as the CC Vulture Daemon. My plan is to work on them around other projects.

Saturday saw me strip down my two airbrushes and put them in the ultrasonic cleaner to get any paint residue that has dried in them. I use Simple Green in the cleaner. Both have now been thoroughly cleaned and been resembled with all threads lubricated using sewing machine oil. Just dry-testing the trigger mechanisms I can tell that they are both smoother.

Unfortunately as I finished cleaning the airbrushes my ultrasonic cleaner gave up the ghost. By my reckoning it is 4-5 years old so it has cost about $10/year. I purchased a new one delivered for $50 and this has a longer cleaning cycle.

This week I'm going to look to refresh some of my GW paints with flow improver and a paint mixer. The GW paints have a tendency to dry so hopefully I can extend the life of some by improving their consistency.

KOW - Well That Escalated Quickly

Just over a year ago I purchased a roll of magnetic sheeting. It had an area just over a metre square (10 square feet to my American audience).

I use it to put on the bottom of my mdf bases so that they stick securely to the metal baking trays I store them on.

Here is what remains - Ork on 25mm round for scale.

That is an awful lot of multibasing!

Looking down in the Dunn-geon cupboards, there is at least that much again of painted figures still to be multibased!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

KOW - Plague Angel

My wife has been away with friends so over the last few evenings I have taken the opportunity to paint up the Plague Angel.

This model has a tortured history as it was part of the Creature Caster Kickstarter by Jeremy Glen. This guy is a liar and a crook and I am loathe to give any entities associated with him coverage.

IMO the promised quality and detail was not delivered however I was still happy enough with the concept to paint the model up.

It stands over 9" tall and comes with a sculpted base. What is good about this is that it fits snugly on a 50mm square base.

The detail is soft in places - which works for Corrupted themed models. There is a mould line on the scythe handle which is impossible to remove but thankfully is large facing internally.

I'm really happy with how the model painted up though I had to do numerous washes and highlights to get definition in the feathered wings that I was content with.

The espoused spine is a really nice feature which provides the rear of the model with some interest. I have tried to make the skin bruised and distressed.

The scythe has a bone blade which is very nicely sculpted. Again I used a variety of washes to capture detail.

For the horns on the head I tried to paint a reversed blackened bone. Quite happy with how that came out.

One thing that is nice is that for such a tall model it is very well balanced - despite the small base - and doesn't topple.

I intend to use it as a ubiquitous fast nasty in KOW depending on what other models are in the army.