Sunday, October 24, 2021

40K - Court of the Archon

 The remaining unit I had unpainted in my Dark Eldar was the Court of the Archon. Added it now so that I can get the dark kin on the table and try out the new book. My army is all 3rd Edition figures bar this Finecast Sslyth, the proxy Medusa and these third party Ur-Ghul.

Sam the Sslyth

The Court with a Mandrake lurking in the background

Basing still to be done 

Medusa is a Necromunda ganger

No idea on where these models are from. However they seem to fit the Ur-Ghul role

Really happy with the bone armour on the sslyth. Photo is a bit washed out.

40K - NZ Rankings Update & 2021 NZ Masters News

The FOB NZ Warhammer 40k Rankings have been updated. This will probably be the final resting place for this tournament season as I am unaware of any events occuring this week or next.

The new tournament seasons begins on 1 November 2021.

Which brings us to the 2021 NZ Masters......

Based on the rankings, I believe that 9-10 of those in the Masters positions are subject to Level 3 lockdowns. Two live in the South Island and five enjoy the semi freedom of the lower North Island.

It would be manifestly unfair to have the 2021 NZ Masters with over half the eligible field unable to attend.

As I cannot forecast what Government policy will be on the first weekend of December (the date of the 2021 Masters), I am going to lay out a blueprint for what I am going to do.

IF the Northern Regions of New Zealand (including Auckland Metropolitan Area) have had Level 3 restrictions (or equivalent) lifted by Friday November 12 then the 2021 NZ Masters will proceed as planned on weekend of 4/5 December in Khandallah, Wellington. Critical to this is the freedom to travel from Auckland to Wellington.

HOWEVER, if the restrictions are still in place then the 2021 NZ Masters will be postponed to a more acceptable/achievable date in first half of 2022.

Now I am strongly of the opinion that the above criteria are unlikely to be met but I think it is unfair to the participants not to give them ample time to prepare and plan. It is also unfair on both the participants and myself as TO to delay the kill date on a December 2021 Masters much later than mid-November.

Hopefully, that gives all involved clarity and some certainty about the path forward. In giving this early notice, I am mindful that it hopefully removes an additional stressor from their current situation.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

40K - The Joy of Narrative (or Return of Plague Lord Colthrax)

 On the weekend I was asked to play in a six person 40k narrative game down at the Warlords. The forces of Chaos (with a slightly confused Ultramarine) were allied against the might of three Necron armies.

The scenario for the game can be found here

Here you can see the invading forces collecting on the outskirts of the town - Word Bearers, Death Guard and the Ultramarines.

Lined up against them are the three Necron armies - 6000 points of Binary Goodness!!

Early in the battle, the C'Tan is sent forward to engage the Chaos forces. Here we have the Shard of the Void Dragon laying into the Word Bearers who are bringing it down "3 wounds per Phase".

Up drive Dirty Mike and the Boys in the Death Guard Prius. Mike jumps out and lobs the Plague Skull of Glothila at the Shard Dragon and that's the end of that particular Star God.

Back in olden times - 3rd/4th Edition - you used to build your tournament army to theme. Now for some that theme was "winning" but to maximise tournament points you generally had to have a force that encapsulated 40k lore.

My current Death Guard army is my fourth iteration. One was used in 3rd and then GW released new DG models so I built a new one for 4th. I have a 30k DGL and my current army was built painted in 2021.

Through all those armies I have one recurring character, the Plague Lord Colthrax. In my Heresy army he is a Legion Praetor while over time I have build models for him from Plague Marine through Terminator Lord to fully fledged Daemon Prince.

In the current army I run him as a Lord of Contagion. That's 120 points backed up with a Warlord Trait and a Relic. Battlescribe describes him as thus:

Lord of Contagion - Rotten Constitution(Trait), Warp Insect Hive (Relic), Plaguereaper (Weapon Option)

So +1T, treats AP1 and 2 as AP0 and rerolls hits and wounds all on a weapon that is S8 AP3 and 3 Damage......juicy.

In this game he went on a bit of a ramage.....killing three Necron Lords and taking 6 of the last seven wounds off a Monolith.

Here PLC lines up his first Lord (think it was Sunburst) before he went on and survived the attacks of a large Skorpekh Destroyer unit. This left him on a single wound.

Demonstrating the bravery and resolve you'd expect from a Death Guard Lord, he goes on to kill Necron Lord Sparkle before fatally damaging the Monolith. In this battle he makes four out of four 4++ saves - cos he's well-hard!!!

Finally, he sees off Necron Lord Moonbeam before sitting himself on the sole remaining objective when the battle ends.

And so the legend grows!! And that is the beauty of narrative play.

The aftermath of the battle is that there is a Wolf Lord, Haarkon Ironwolf, sitting in Christchurch having flashbacks to the five years that he was plaything (read chewtoy) for PLC and his Chaos brother, Noiselord Challis Drant. Those wounds will not have even begun to heal! 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

DBMM - 15mm Egyptians Flocked & Tufted

 So while watching this morning's UCL Group B game, I finished the flocking and applied tufts for my 15mm Egyptians.

The full armies - New Kingdom & Libyan

The Chariot Wing

And the Infantry

Next up will be adding the extra elements that 20 years and a shift from DBM to DBMM require. This is mostly Sea Peoples, Shadarna and some NKE axemen. It will be interesting painting 15mm figures after a 15-20 year hiatus.

And no, Mr. Simone, it was never a penalty 😆

Friday, October 15, 2021

Hobby - Fighting the "Pile of Shame"

 A well-understood concept in the hobby is "Pile of Shame". 

That is the accumulation of unstarted/unfinished projects and the associated product.

Not my "PoS", but probably representative of most of our accumulations

My Pile of Shame causes me all sorts of anxiety. I have a negative physical reaction whenever I look at it as I contemplate the sheer amount of work and effort that I would have to invest to complete it to a standard that I would be happy with.

Scaringly, the pile now goes back over two decades to models and kits I purchased and have never painted or built. The adjunct to this pile is its sister pile "Stuff I've Built, Painted and Will Never Use Again".

Earlier this year, I decided that I was going to do stuff with both these piles. In the first instance, it was a case of actively not buying something that I wasn't going to immediately paint. This has seen me buy only a single 40k model in 2021 (Hello Mr. Sslyth) and actually cancel an order I had put in to buy a 28mm DBMM Ottoman Turk army.

There were one or two lapses....I bought "Cursed City" - the standalone Warhammer Quest game and also the Warcry Starter Box but after a 4.30am "Come to Jesus" moment both those are now on the way out the door. I conceded to myself that even if I did build and paint them, I was unlikely to actually play them in anything like the amount of time that the prep work justified. And the thought of painting them hung over me as they peeked out from under my painting desk.

To help me rationalise this pile of shame I had an enormous clean up mid-year and sorted things into different buckets. I sorted out bits/models by armies and put them in their own bins. From there I had a hard conversation with myself as to their future. This has seen some stuff exit the house and others kept for reappraisal. As a result of this things like my 40k Tau army was sold including all the partly built unpainted extras I had accumulated. 

It also let me determine what material was excess to requirements. If I was scaling back my running of events, did I need 25 neoprene mats? The answer is a resounding "No" and so 15 of those have been sold, hopefully for use in the community. These types of decisions have freed up space but I'm now disciplined enough not to replace with new stuff.

However, the biggest advance has been with unbuilt and unpainted stuff. Sometimes you just need to realise that project is not going to get done - and hanging over you it is not going to help your mental health. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by unstarted and unfinished projects and it is enormously cathartic to have that hard conversation with yourself.

There are still some hard decisions to make - in reality that Iron Warriors army with all its Legion upgrades and Iron Hands bionics will probably never see the light of day. However there is an increase chance that with a large part of the mountain gone, I might get to finish my Juan Diaz Daemonettes and the Sea Peoples for my 15mm DBMM Egyptians!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

DBMM - Ruined Roman Villa

 Managed to paint up the ruined Roman villa I bought from Warbases in the UK.

The building is mdf but I gave it my own stucco wall coverings using DAS clay.

It also has had a mosaic floor added courtesy of some files available on the Sarissa Precision website.

I'm happy with the burnt-out roof and exposed masonry and do think adding your own stucco helps to "disguise" its MDF skeleton.

The intention is to use the building in an upcoming multiplayer DBMM game between the East and Western halves of the 5th Century Roman Empire. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

40k - Behold the Sslyth!!

 A large part of the GW back catalogue of "miniatures of limited popularity" still exists in their resin product Finecast. For you young'ins, GW had until about 10 years ago produced its non-plastic models in pewter. They then decided - likely due to rise in commodity prices - to transfer all those models to a resin-like material, they called Finecast. Over time they have retired a lot of these Finecast models as they transitioned to plastic multipart sprues e.g. Incubi, Imperial Assassins etc.

Finecast has a very poor reputation in the Warhammer community. Particularly early on, the models were plagued by miscast. mold shifts and bubbles. Things got better with time but most people tried to avoid the product if at all possible, putting a premium on earlier metal castings of the same model.

I recently needed a Sslyth model for my Court of the Archon and the only avenue was to buy direct from GW - which meant Finecast. Last night I broke open the blister and put he/him together.

At the outset, I'll say that I love the model - both from a concept and the sculpt. What Archon doesn't own a 4-armed pet snake? 

How was the Finecast? Well I didn't have any problems. It clipped easy off the sprue and fitted together with minimal tidy up (certainly no more than a plastic figure). The casting seems sharp (I'll know more once I give it an undercoat and zenithal highlight.

Looking forward to getting him painted over the coming week.

Monday, October 11, 2021

DBMM - 15mm New Kingdom Egyptian and Libyan Egyptian Army

 While fossicking about the storeroom downstairs last month I found a 15mm New Kingdom Egyptian and Libyan Egyptian army that was painted twenty years ago but never based.

So yesterday afternoon I based it all on MDF ready for the sand and tuft phase. 

The only downside was that with the change from DBM to DBMM army lists I need to paint 8-10 elements of Sea Peoples, 8-10 elements of Sherden and 4-6 elements of Egyptian Spearmen.

Unfortunately I found those unpainted models too!

Sunday, October 10, 2021

DBMM - Mongol Artillery Park

While I have been waiting for the stucco on my Roman villa to dry, I have taken the opportunity to fix up my four Mongol Conquest artillery elements.

The Mongol Conquest list lets you take four elements, two Art(S) and two Art(O). While they don't fit into the list I am looking to play I thought I would build and paint them for completeness.....and who knows? I may just want a change from that 30th LH(S) 😀 

Most of my army is Steve Barber Models but sprinkled in the cavalry and train, I have some of the Curteys Miniatures range. These artillery pieces are Curteys.

That pretty much completes my Mongol Conquest army. The only figure I have left to paint is the Wargames Illustrated "Genghis Khan" model. However given he is on foot and a slightly bigger scale than the rest of the army, he may just be a painting project.

Friday, October 8, 2021

DBMM - WIP Ruined Roman Villa

 Later this year I am keen to organise a multiplayer game pitting the 5th Century Eastern Roman army against its Western equivalent.

In anticipation for the game, I'm building some themed terrain for the game. I have finished a vineyard and recently purchased a "Ruined" Roman villa from Warbases.
The villa is a four sheet mdf structure.

To give it a bit of flavour, I have installed a mosiac tile floor while the external walls have been covered with a thin veneer of modelling clay.

Walls with DAS modelling clay "stucco"

The mosiac tile floor giving nice indoor/outdoor flow

Villa ready for painting

Check back in a couple of days and I'll have the completed building.

40K - Court of the Archon

One unit in the Dark Eldar book that I have never built or used id the "Court of the Archon". This appears to be a bunch of reprobates that the Archon keeps on hand for his amusement and comprises a variety of races you don't otherwise see in 40k.

The most iconic of these is the snake-like Ssylth. I purchased one from GW Mail Order and picked it up from Warhammer Lower Hutt yesterday. It is the first 40k model that I have purchased new this year....not bad making it through 9 months 😏

As can be seen from the packaging it is Finecast - yes, that shite still exists in 2021. I'm not looking forward to building it. Mr. Ssylth comes on a 40mm base while the rest of the Court are on 25mm.

for the other models, I found two metal Ur-Ghul like creatures in Jack's bits they will do nicely. Unfortunately, it is not possible to order the Medusae so I thought I would use a proxy. I grabbed a Delaque ganger off local Al and feel I can make him/he sufficiently medusa-esque to fit in my troop.

Finally, I have a Gimp suit Mandrake to expand my Mandrakes to 10 (giving me two units). I'll paint him at the same time as the others so I can tick that box.

Time for the spray booth!


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

DBMM - Mongol Conquest Baggage - Victory Feast

 When I was a teenager I read a book called "The Devil's Horsemen" by John Chambers. It was a history of the Mongol Conquests and it inspired me to build a 15mm Mike's Models Mongol army (still have it).

In the book, there is a chapter called "Reconnaissance in Force" dealing with the campaign by Subedai and Jebe Noyan in 1219-1223AD. This was the first incursion by the Mongols into European Russia. Subedai led a force of 20,000 horsemen including two Mongol princes which culminated with the battle of Kalka River. 

Osprey produced a Campaign book on the battle which included a number of plates of the aftermath of the battle. The premise was that Mongol custom says that they may not shed the blood of royal personages. At Kalka they captured between 6-9 Russian/Kievan princes. To solve their "dilema', Subedai and Jebe had constructed a wooden platform which they placed over their prisoners and then sat upon while they had their victory feast.

Gripping Beast have produced a vignette that captures this event and I recently picked one up to include in my set of baggage. 

This was the first piece where I have used Pro Acryl paints and happy with the end result.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Review - Monument Hobbies Paints

Recently I purchased the "Base Set" of the Pro Acryl Paints from Monument Hobbies. This set includes all 24 of their original non-metallic paints.

The paints come in 22ml plastic bottles and contain glass agitators. The bottles are very well designed having a non-clog twist top design so you can easily add single drops to your palette.

They are advertised as "premium high-density pigment in superior acrylic mediums. They provide great coverage right out of the bottle, thin evenly to achieve any level of transparency, and dry to a beautiful matte finish".

My experience over the past couple of years has led to increasing dissatisfaction with Citadel Paints. I've found that the saturation generally is quite patchy meaning that even for base colours you require 2-3 coats. The pots they come are not conducive to longevity, leading me to transfer mine into dropper bottles and adding an agitator. They do have the advantage of breadth of range meaning you can typically find the shade you want. However, even with the range advantage, I made the decision to not replace my existing Citadel Paints as I use them up.

So on that basis I was keen to see how the Pro Acryl were. 

I tried them out over the weekend and can confirm that they are highly saturated. The colours give great coverage straight from the bottle but can be thinned to provide glazes. If you like saturated paints then these really are as good as I have used....similar to Scale 75 and Khymera but more vibrant.

The 22ml bottle with no-clog twist tops

The set represents very good value for money. In the USA it retails for $85 (but is currently out of stock). I purchased mine for GBP 77 from Element Games which landed here in NZ equates to NZ$165. That works out at just under $7 per bottle (by comparison: GW's Citadel Base Paints are NZ$7.50 per 12ml pot - and their paint posts are shite). So good value for money, relative.

Paints included -

  • Bold Titanium White
  • Coal Black
  • Bold Pyrrole Red
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Golden Yellow
  • Orange
  • Burnt Red
  • Mahogany
  • Purple
  • Magenta
  • Sky Blue
  • Faded Ultramarine
  • Dark Grey Blue
  • Bright Warm Grey
  • Dark Warm Grey
  • Golden Brown
  • Light Umber
  • Dark Umber
  • Camo Green
  • Jade
  • Bright Ivory
  • Ivory
  • Tan Flesh

Here is the set all snug in my HobbyZone rack

This base set has sufficient breadth to become my mainstay paint range. In part this is because you can easily dispense the paint one drop art a time - meaning you can mix and record any specific paint recipes you require.

I see the set as complementing the two sets of metallics I use - Scale 75 Metal Alchemy for Golds/Copper and Vallejo Metal Colour for Steel/Silver.