Warlord Games Open Day

Very busy at the moment, as about 47 different writing projects all landed on my desk at the same time! So, not much gaming or painting has been going on over the past week, but I did get to go to Warlord Games‘ Open Day in Nottingham at the weekend.

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This is a relatively small event, in terms of space (it is in one hall) but lots of people turn up as it is a fun event to go to!

The over-riding factor to begin with was the heat – heavy, oppressive, soul-sapping heat. However, the Warlord chaps wheeled in some huge fans and made the place habitable. I also had the foresight to bring lots of drink with me.

One stunning feature of this show is the catering facilities. Lots of shows have these, opening just before the show for breakfast but this is The North (I come from Swindon, everything above Birmingham is the North), and they know how to do portions up here. For £2 you usually get a sad little burger with a thin slice of bacon. Up here in Nottingham, you get a big double-handed butty filled with bacon and sauasges for the same price.

These things are important.

Anyway, on with the show.

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This is the Mongoose stand, running demo games of Judge Dredd all day – the scenario was Just a Cheap Punk from the main rulebook, with Judge Dredd taking on lots of ambushing gangers in an effort to nail Gestapo Bob Harris who is, well, just a cheap punk.

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Black Powder games featured heavily, covering Napoleonics and the American Civial War.

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And Bolt Action was popular too, in a variety of different guises.

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Mantic Games were there, with their new Mars Attacks game. Did not get a look at the game system, but the models look fun.IMG_0156

And, speaking of Martians, these guys popped up again, the same plastic kit I saw at Attack. Must find out who does this model…

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Here is something we don’t see enough of in wargames – verticality! From what I could see, this was WWII (Canadians?) mounting an attack on a cliff-top fort.

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And there was a preview of Warlord’s new Gates of Antares game, complete with flashing LEDs on the terrain!

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Finally, a piccie of the hosts, Warlord Games, whose stand was predictably busy all day!

Anyway, looks like there will be another Open Day next year and, if you can get there, I encourage you to attend!

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Battle Report: Dark Eldar vs. Orks

Had a battle last Friday, with a rather unusual force.

I had just finished off a couple of Deff Dreads for my Orks, and managed to figure out that the two of them, added to a Morkanaut, Stompa and three Killa Kanz, came to 1,500 points. Drop a Killa Kan, and I could have a Big Mek inside (and repairing) the Stompa, and a regular Mek inside the Morkanaut. A complete army of Ork Stompiness!

Now, this was an unbound army under the new rules, so I was also interested to see whether an army like this could be used in a ‘normal’ game and still be reasonable. So, as part of this experiment, I neglected to tell my opponent, the long-suffering Alan, what I was doing…

This is what my army looked like on the field;

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To say Alan wet himself when he saw what he was facing would not be a huge stretch. Still, he had a lot of Dark Lances (as per usual), so I thought he would give a good show, even if he was less than optimistic himself…

Alan gave me the first turn (which I thought might be a mistake on his part), and there was no night fighting (which I think he was kinda hoping for…). When my first turn was complete and Alan started to move, the table looked like this;

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If you look carefully, you can see a dead Raider behind the ruins (Alan is just getting his Wyches out from the wreckage) and, behind the jungle to the right, a dead Ravager. That, along with a scattering Supa-Rokkit that landed on his Warriors lurking within that ruin that also took out his Archon warlord, was the result of the Orks’ opening shots.

At this point, I felt a little guilty, I have to admit. Alan was already four Dark Lances down and it looked like the game was going to be a serious whitewash.

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This, unfortunately, started to affect my playing and I began taking silly risks. Here, for example, I am running the two Deff dreads and the Morkanaut (already one Hull Point down, as you can tell by the cotton wool – that is what I use as damage markers) towards a Raider and Venom that I know have Wyches in them armed with Haywire Grenades. No need to do that at all.

Still, the Deff Dread armed with two Skorchas (Pansyburna, who you may remember from a previous post) did a real number on the Raider, torching all but two Wyches and the Haemonculus on board…

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Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, the Stompa was lining up on the Reaper, a nightmare contraption from Forge World. It had been skulking round the large ruin and a vicious shot struck the Stompa for three Haywire hits, removing that many Hull Points. Clearly, it could not be allowed to live.

It survived the first round of firing, allowing a small unit of Wyches to fly up to the Stompa on their Venom (they got stomped into the ground, but managed to get another couple of Haywire hits in), but died under a hail of fire in the next turn.

However, the Stompa was covered in smoke (cotton wool) now as fires raged all through its hull, and neither the Big Mek nor Grot Riggers were doing anything.

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The Wyches on the other side of the table were now close enough to get into close combat. While the Morkanaut fought its Dark Eldar off, it was left with just one Hull Point remaining. The two Deff Dreads eventually went down after three turns of fighting, stuck with Haywire Grenades.

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This is the last stage of the game. The Morkanaut was finished off by the Razorwing that appeared on Turn Four, which then polished off the last Killa Kan (you can see the Mek from the Morkanaut next to it, trying to effect a repair).

As for the Stompa, covered in damage tokens, the Wyches that had been blown out of their Raider on Turn One led a suicidal charge from the ruins they had been sheltering behind to take out the Stompa by weight of numbers and Haywire weapons.

Victory to the Dark Eldar!

Now, I clearly did some silly things (absolutely no need to get that close to Wyches, at all), but I was quite pleased with this game as it demonstrated that a reasonable unbound army can work very well against a standard detachment army without any special considerations (like telling your opponent what you are going to be doing…). Yes, you can no doubt put together some vicious, cheese-laden unbound forces but I think you will know if you are doing that. If you can set yourself into ‘play nice’ mode, then unbound armies could be a key to a lot of fun and unusual forces.

As for Ork walkers? I like them a lot, but an army of them is not the way to go – just one or two big mobs of Boyz would have made all the difference in this battle. So, I like the idea of the Morkanaut and two Deff Dreads taking the centre point of my army, with perhaps a bunch of Killa Kanz strung out in front of them (and everyone taking advantage of the Morkanaut’s Kustom Force Field), but I want my wings filled with mobs of Boyz and Grots, with the whole lot steamrollering anythng in their path.

That will be the way to use them, I think…

Attack! in Devizes

This weekend was spent at Attack!, taking place in Devizes, a small town in rural Wiltshire. It is a two day event and I have been attending this show for a few years now, as it is just down the road from me in Swindon.

The weather on the Saturday started bad – a typical English summer’s day, as you can see here;

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And then the heavens opened, thunder, lightning… and the car park you see here turned into a lake by the middle of the afternoon…

Still, with the show taking place across four halls, there was plenty to see and do while staying dry.

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This is two sides of the same table, a 28mm World War I game. Easy to tell, as you can see the lines of soldiers marching calmly and slowly towards the enemy dug into trenches…

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I didn’t see the rules being used on this table, but they were inviting all-comers. Looked to be a World War II based bomber defence game.

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Wings of War, a permanent fixure at this show.

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A Saga game, but one using 54mm miniatures (I believe, was gauging them by eye).

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And speaking of over-sized miniatures, these ones were even larger. The Romans are marching against the barbarians in this game – didn’t get a tape measure out, but they are possibly 70mm plus.

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This one looked fun – the Martians have landed and are attacking a city. The red weed you can see on the right was a nice touch. Not sure about the models but, from what I could see, they are a commercially available plastic kit.

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The Flames of War tournament is another permanent fixture at Attack! and this year it seemed as popular as ever.

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And this was, I believe, an American Civil War game I passed by.

There were plenty of traders there too, large and small – these are just quick snaps of Mongoose and Warlord.

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Overall (and in spite of the weather and random fire alarm), this was a good show, as always. Would recommend anyone gives it a try at least once. Motorways make it easy to get to and, once on the country roads, nice scenery will be flashing past your window.

Da Deff Dreads

Just a quickie today, as we are really busy at work…

Put together last weekend, I finished these three brutes last night, and the Dread Mob is really beginning to take shape.

These are super quick to paint, now I have figured the best way to do them – spray black as an undercoat, drybrush the whole thing Bolt Gun Metal, Dark Flesh on the armour panels, and then do the details – glyphs, wires, etc. Then Magic Goop on the whole model. Finish off by touching up the black bits and ‘shiny’ areas (such as the ‘targeter’ eyes.

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This is the first Dread, which my Orks have called Pansyburna (on account of all the Dark Eldar they face). Fitted with twin Skorchas, this chap goes up front to intercept all the nasty Wyches who carry Haywire Grenades. Should be able to see a Venom’s worth off with its Wall of Death before they even get close.

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He is joined by Pansycutta, a real monster with four close combat weapons, giving him a base 6 attacks in close combat with Strength 10 weapons – this guy could cave in the side of a Land Raider, never mind the paper-thin floaty things the Dark Eldar use.

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Finally added one more Killa Kan, this one armed with Rokkits – the perfect weapon for Grot-based machines, due to their higher Ballistic Skill. That makes for a total of two Kanz painted, but the three more from the Stormclaw box set will be arriving in the next week or two…

Not going to get much done this weekend, as I am at Attack in Devizes, but I’ll see if I can get a few snaps of the show!

Greeks with Shields

Slowly catching up on the ‘diary’ aspect of this blog – this is what I was doing last weekend…

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Finally got round to adding shield transfers to the Ancient Greeks. These are the Spartans with the traditional (though possibly not historical) Lambda device.

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For Athens, I am going with individual shield devices, based on either the bearer’s family or his accomplishments/skills. This way leaves me clear to do the Club of Herakles for Thebes hoplites, making all three city states easy to spot on the table.

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Finally, got these chaps, unarmoured hoplites. Either poorer guys who cannot afford armour (will work for any city state – even Sparta used the Perioikoi, hoplites who were not true Spartans) or mercenaries.

Over the weekend, I also put together two new Deff Dreads, a Killa Kan and 6 Meganobz for my Orks. The Meganobz will likely be waiting a week to be finished (my weekend is out as I am attending Attack in Devizes), but before leaving for work today, I did the sand on the bases of the Dreads and Kan, and they will hopefully be finished tonight. Photos will follow!

Stormclaw Box Set

I have just managed to ‘acquire’ the new 40k starter set, Sanctus Reach – Stormclaw, and thought there may be some people interested in its contents.

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Nice attractive box, showing an Ork (yay!) going at it with a Space Woof (boo!). This is the thinner format box like the older Black Reach one, rather than the deep, fat starter sets you got in the 3rd edition days. Still, it weighs in at £75 which is… quite a bit these days.

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Inside, it comes with a mini-version of the 40k rulebook and, I suspect, this one reason many people will get this set. The mini-rulebooks are just easier to use around the table and, unlike previous rulebooks, this is not a ‘cut down’ edition – as far as I can tell with a quick read through, it is exactly the same as the hardback, just smaller.

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Anyway, my hardback was immediately relegated to ‘home use only’ and the mini-book is now in my Box of Things I Need to Play.

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This is the campaign book you get with the box set. Normally, these are largely forgettable (looking at you, Island of Blood), but I find myself quite liking this one. It builds on the Sanctus Reach campaign that has recently been released, with the Space Woofs diving down to kick some Ork bottom. It has the background for this (which you will want, if you are after the full story of Sanctus Reach) plus some scenarios that use the models in the box to illustrate certain parts of the campaign – and, it has to be said, while you may only play them once, they look to be worthwhile. May come back to these for another post in the future as our Space Woof player is interested in taking part…

Also included in this book are all the wargear and stats you need for all the models in the set.

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What makes this book a little more interesting is that it has stats for the specific models in the set. So, you do not just get a Space Woof Commander, but Krom Dragongaze. Now, most of these you can build straight from the appropriate Codex (though I am still strugglinh to find out why Rustgob’s Runts cost 5 points more than the equivalent herd of Grots in Codex: Orks), but occasionally there is a light touch of fluff, such as the Boss Nob of Skrak’s Skull-Nobz getting Hammer of Wrath. One of the Killa Kanz counts as a Deff Dread for the Cowardly Grots test. Just little touches, but interesting for all that.

What might see more use  beyond the scenarios in this set are the Formations. For example, you can use all of the Ork models in the set to make up Grukk’s Rippin’ Krew and get a bunch of Leadership re-rolls, along with Tellport Attacks. The Space Woofs get an equivalent formation.

You will have the models, so why not use them, eh?

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The models themselves are showcased in the usual way by the instruction booklets, one for each force.

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As for the models themselves, you get a fair few sprues in the box, though it is not exactly bursting with them in the way that, say, Warhammer Quest used to. These are the Killa Kanz. There is no variation possible in the weaponry, so you get a Grotzooka, Big Shoota and Rokkit Launcha. As an Ork player, I have to say that selection is fair enough. Would be nice to cheese it will all Rokkits, but you cannot have everything. These weapons are good enough.

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These are the two big sprues you get in the box, along with…

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Two smaller ones. Together, these make up the majority of models in the box.

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You also get these, a sprue for the Grots, and one each for the two leaders.

My Space Woof player has had a quick look at the Wolf Guard and Grey Hunters, and she says she cannot tell any difference between them and Space Woofs that have been produced before in plastic. Looking at the Grots, I cannot tell any difference between them and the ones you get seperately, and the Ammo Runt is certainly the same. The leaders are both original, though the poses may be very familiar to some of you.

In all, you get the following models;

 

Space Wolves

Krom Dragongaze (Space Wolf Commander)
5 x Wolf Guard (all Terminators, one Heavy Flamer, one Thunder Hammer)
5 x Grey Hunters (one Plasma Pistol, one Plasma Gun, one Power Axe)
5 x Blood Claws (one Plasma Pistol, one Power Fist)

 

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Grukk Face-Rippa (Ork Warboss with Power Klaw and Combi-Rokkit Weapon)
5 x Nobz (‘Eavy Armour, Kombi-Skorcha, two Power Klaws)
10 x Gretchin (plus Runt Herd)3 x Killa Kanz (weapons as detailed above)

And that is your lot – some few models compared to other box sets in the past, where you had 20 Boyz, 5 Nobz, Deffcoptas and a Warboss. At this price point, it is worth taking note.

So, should you buy it?

If you want the mini-rulebook, it is probably a yes, though you might hawk one on eBay in a week or two. If you want the continuation of Sanctus Reach, it is a definite yes. If you want to start building up decent armies, maybe not.

For my part, I wanted the mini-rulebook and the Killa-Kanz. The Sanctus Reach material was a nice surprise, and I am glad I have it. The Grots I can always use in my ever-growing Ork force, and the Nobz mean I can now have silly numbers of them (and perhaps qualify for the odd Apocalypse formation here and there). The Warboss is actually a problem, as I already have the models I need for the two Warbosses my army(ies) needs. I may just paint him up in the suggestd Goff colours for a possible Goff addition to my army at a later date (which would be silly, as that would be the third clan, and just who needs three clans of Orks..?).

So, for me, it was worth it – but then, I did not pay the full price for the set, far from it. Plus, I plan to claw back some of that by selling the Space Woofs seperately (I am a Dark Angel player, I was never going to paint them!). If you are interested in some Space Woofs, drop me a line…

As for you… well, you have to make your own choice. What is here is very well produced and presented. But £75 is also quite a bit of money.

Your call.

Praetorian Guard Hack

Just a quickie today, on another slow-burner project.

Lately, I have been working on a British Colonial Army, Zulu-War era. I managed to score a bunch of models from Warlord Games, along with the Rorke’s Drift set – I have a few spare boards and (one day) plan to do a proper Rorke’s Drift set up.

Anyway, working away at these models, I recalled the Praetorian Imperial Guard GW released a long while back as a limited edition run. Basically, they were Mordian Iron Guard with head swaps, but painted to look like British Colonial soldiers. I sidelined four models, grabbed some spare Imperial Guard lasguns, and came up with this;

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Being the Lazy Gamer that I am, I wanted to keep everything as simple as possible. So, these are standard Warlord Games’ plastics with the original rifle hacked away (takes a bit of work on the right arm where the stock is part of the arm itself), with the lasgun simply slotted in afterwards. Generous amounts of glue and paint hide the hacking.

Overall, the lasguns are a bit large, but that works for 40k models where they are never shy about a big gun. If I continue building these guys up into a proper army (already got some great Napoleonic era banners that will work well as platoon standards and vehicle flags), there will be some issues with making officers and gun crews. However, it will also make for a very cheap Imperial Guard army (Warlord do the plastic set for £20 for 24 models), so a platoon is going to be an easy job if there is a good supply of lasguns and other weapons.

For the paint job, I went with a simple Blood Red jacket, Regal Blue trousers and Bleached Bone helmet (as I mentioned in the last post, Bleached Bone is no longer available, but I think the Coat D’Arms Linen may be a good replacement – will be trying it this week).

Will I do more of these guys? I think I will certainly finish off the squad and then see how I feel about them. Could be a fun and characterful army but, as may have become apparent, I don’t like to do small armies and I am not sure I want to do that many conversions.

Time will tell!