Sunday, December 30, 2018

Stormhammer Reinforcements: Cougar Battlemechs

Reaper Bones Cougar CAV
Stormhammer Cougar-X spread out over the Sulfurous Fields, hunting for signs of the invading Clan.
The Cougar-X is not a descendant of the original clan Cougar, as it has been nearly seventy years after the destruction of the last known factory.  Though the design is passingly similar, the new machine has been designed and constructed during the Dark Age by local manufacturers.  The Stormhammers have managed to obtain several prior to arriving on Vindemiatrix, and have deployed them in scout capacity near suspected clan targets.

Reaper Bones Cougar CAV
I prefer to brush-prime Reaper Bones.  
Reaper Bones CAV models are fun.  As always, brush-primed with some color - in this case Vallejo Cold Grey.  I didn't glue these to the bases while I painted them, instead affixing them with Blu-tac.  The torsos and arms are not glued either, allowing for traversals on the table.

Reaper Bones Cougar CAV
Raise your guns up and paint under your arms, kid.
On the heavier end of the light scale, the Cougar-X sports a fairly impressive armament.  In addition, the mech is heavily armored for its' weight.  Manufacture of these frames has increased over the past few months, and they are seen as a fantastic alternative to older models going forward by the Inner Sphere bureaucrats.

Reaper Bones Cougar CAV
Stages of Grey Waste Deposits.
Following basically the same process as the Jade Falcon mechs, which you can check out here.  I textured the bases with cement finish and Vallejo Black Lava before applying Agrellan Earth and highlighting with Fortress Grey.  The only major difference otherwise is the use of Regal Blue on the colored plates.

Reaper Bones Cougar CAV
Moon Patrol, ca 3145 A.D.
As of now, no real variants have emerged for this chassis.  In the minds of some designers, that is a better sign of a mech's performance than diversified sales patterns.  These are still test patterns, however, and it is likely that sooner rather than later development will be continued on the Cougar-X program.

Reaper Bones Cougar CAV
In space, no one can hear you meme.
Yes I know they are not battlemechs, but are in fact CAVs.  If you look closely, the bases aren't hexes, either.  This is entirely deliberate.  Also, applied Ryza Rust to the feet and lower legs to mimic the effect on the Dark Age Stormhammer miniatures.

Reaper Bones Cougar CAV
Guns up for AA potshots.
 Stats for Horizon Wars!

Element Type F A M D P FC Special
CGR-X Cougar-X Mech 4 4 4 2 2 2 None

Reaper Bones Cougar CAV
Augmented Stormhammer Medium Fire Support Lance, ready to repel invaders.
The Cougar-X has become a favorite of mechwarriors in the Stormhammers since they have taken on a great many dispossessed.  These mechs are inexpensive comparatively, and give the company a flexible maneuver strategy at a critical time - a clan invasion.  The pilots themselves who have been gifted one from the company have been given a second chance at glory, and are eager to prove the guns of their new mechs.

Reaper Bones Cougar CAV
No guts, no galaxy!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

White Dwarf 166

White Dwarf 166
WD 166 is all about 40k.  So much so I didn't photo anything else.
I used to collect White Dwarf.

From about 1996 to somewhere around 2012, I had a subscription or I picked it up monthly from the comic shop.  Sometimes, I missed a month but would always pick up the back issues relatively quickly.

White Dwarf 166
In the grim farness of the dark future, there is only war.
From issue 226, the drop of 3rd Edition, I have a complete run until the end of the magazine.  I don't count the reboot of White Dwarf - 409 is where I stopped.  Never even opened that one.

White Dwarf 166
Like plasma cannons or multi-meltas?  Too bad.
I picked up a few older issues here and there and added them to my collection, but mainly focused on what was happening 'now'.  Now, in my old age and several years after having stopped collecting periodicals in general...I want more White Dwarf.  Luckily for me, there's still more than half of it out there.  So, I'm relaunching my White Dwarf collection with a new target number - WD166.

White Dwarf 166
Less than 100 orks led by a normal size warboss.
So that's about 80 issues or so to track down, but it's totally worth it.  Those old issues seem to be less expensive than what's current, so it's not really a financial problem to complete this.  2nd Edition is where I started playing 40k, so it was a good target point - I actually remember a lot of this.  Especially since we'll be playing 2e 40k for a bit coming up, it made sense to start collecting here.

White Dwarf 166
I only wish I was this fly.
What I will say is that it's very strange to see the old stuff after so long.  I remember what it was like when armies weren't very big, and mostly comprised of infantry.  I've seen 40k morph a lot over the years, and even despite my recalcitrance to join current editions I've kept my finger on the pulse.  The difference in every aspect of the hobby has more contrast than night and day, but I suppose that's just the evolution of design.

The art, the miniatures, the design, the language and the magazine layout itself are all products of it's is to be expected.  Maybe I'm just marveling at how long ago this stuff really is...but it really is the change in design that's most thrown me.  I really enjoy a simple design, and will be keeping that in mind as I go forward.

White Dwarf 166
Check out the tiger stripes on those guardians.  Fleek!
Not that I'm pining for days of yore.  The aesthetics HAVE changed, and that's not only ok it's necessary.  Things happen, things change, you get over it and move on.  I for one welcomed the change to a more realistic vibe...I guess that really started to happen 'twixt 2000-2004.  It's just interesting looking at how things have changed.

White Dwarf 166
Easily 1000pts of Dark Angels in 2nd Edition.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Space Hulk Genestealers: A Saga

Space Hulk 2009 Genestealers
Genestealers breed in iterations...and apparently get painted that way also.
So, when Space Hulk first came out I got it as a present.

For some reason, I decided I didn't want to play it with the club until it was fully painted.  As the club drifted away from GW products, Space Hulk got shelved again and again.  Now that I'm no longer affiliated with that club, I find it's one of the projects I'm most keen to finish.

Space Hulk 2009 Genestealers
Iteration 1 - or, how to NOT use ArmyPainter Quickshade.
Problem is, I've tried this a couple of times.  I've got a couple of different batches of genestealers, each of them look slightly different because they were done at different times with different paints.  However, they are all done with QuickShade.  I'm not totally done with the genestealers for Space Hulk, so that means the rest of them will have to be done with QuickShade as well.

Space Hulk 2009 Genestealers
Iteration 2, wherein the application of medium has been more explored.
Overall, I've never felt comfortable with how any of these turned out.  This was my very first project to use Quick Shade on, and I made a lot of mistakes.  Such was the way of 2009-2011.  I tried out a lot of new products during that time, but Quick Shade was honestly one of the hardest to wrap my head around.

Space Hulk 2009 Genestealers
Getting the Quick Shade to do what you want can take a little practice.
Eventually, several projects after these, I would be able to actually use Quick Shade.  I had just been so used to not using such...blanket measures.  Once I had done a few, it became easier as I understood how the material would behave and what paint would look like once it was applied.  All in all, I still like Quick Shade, though I don't use it much.  There are more than a few projects I mean to use Quick Shade on, including the rest of Space Hulk.

Space Hulk 2009 Genestealers
I mean, I already started it.
I'm going to leave these as they are, much as it pains me.  I still have several Genestealers to do for the Space Hulk set, so we'll see if I've improved any.  Probably not, as it's been a few years since I used it.  Hopefully, I'll remember the lessons learned these years back and they will turn out much better.

Mostly not to be as sloppy.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition [Part 8]

Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition
Prepare to Die!
WARNING:  Spoilers ahead for Storm King's Thunder.

View Campaign Page.

8.1 Doom of the Desert

The party releases King Hekaton by destroying the chains that bound him with the Zymorven Axe.  As the storm giant king rises to his feet, he is obviously displeased with the situation.  A quick-talking Starman mentions Serissa, and calm King Hekaton down as they fill him in on what has happened.

Incensed, King Hekaton uses the Conch to take the party to the Maelstrom.  Here they rest as King Hekaton confers with his court and tracks down the offender - Imryth, who is a dragon, as it turns out.  While they are here, Starman makes his love for Serissa known to the princess.

The party prepares to set out with King Hekaton with several of his retainers who have gathered at the court.  In a welcome and rare surprise, Harshnag appears at the court in the Maelstrom!  He explains he escaped the crumbling of the Eye of the All-Father by jumping into the divination chamber, where he had to wait for a passing wizard to help him escape.

The storm giants, the party and Harshnag set out on a fantastic journey.  They ride through the sea on orcas, through the skies on rocs, and finally arrive in the Anauroch near where King Hekaton divined the dragon's location.  The party approaches on foot.

As they approach the ruined amphitheater that is the dragon's lair, they accidentally discover a sinkhole, through which King Hekaton and one of the Storm Giants fall into.  The rest of the party take an alternate route through a nearby tunnel and enter the amphitheater's lower level.  After wandering a bit, they come upon a group of cultists in front of a giant pit.  They chant a lot, and then one jumps into the pit.

A strange, otherworldly voice utters forth from the pit.  Soon, the party is aware of the dragon as she appears from the shadows and sand, hissing at the cultists (who happen to be snake-men).  The exchange is unpleasant, and the dragon then attacks.

The fight is short.  The attack force makes short work of the dragon, and the snake men flee.  Satisfied, King Hekaton assures the party that he will now work with the small folk to make the world a better place.  It's what his wife would have wanted, and the party has convinced him small folk can make a difference.  Whether or not that means he will allow his daughter to marry one is another matter entirely, to be discussed at a later date.

The End


Return to Storm King's Thunder: Prepare to Die Edition.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Jade Falcon Reinforcements: Razor Battlemechs

Bones CAV Razor
Reconnaissance units steal forth across the sulfurous wastes.
In the Dark Age, the various actors will all have to make due with what they have.  In the Falcon's Reach, several mech-factories have been captured.  However, the raw materials and imported technology that allows the factories to produce their specialized battlemechs has been heavily curtailed.  In response, Clan leaders have repurposed to make due with what they have.  One of the first things the engineers came up with was the Razor.

I got the CAV Bones Kickstarter and split it with my buddy.  The Razor is one of the CAVs I deemed worthy to include in the Falcon attack force.  I don't have any problem mixing and matching models if the scale is correct! ...or if it looks good enough...

Bones CAV Razor
I...belieb...dem bones...are me.
Mostly made up of legs, the Razor is swift and small.  It mounts several small to medium weapons, most commonly lasers and machine guns.  It is easily produced, as the most expensive section is the leg gyros.

Hand-primed the Razors with Mechanicus Grey for a dark base.  I wanted to try to get it close to the WizKids versions, but maybe not exact.  So the palette would probably be a lot of Gunmetal, Tin Bitz and Knarloc Green.  Secret Weapon Heavy-Body Black ink would tie it together, and we'd highlight the metal up through whatever looks correct.

Bones CAV Razor and Cement Finish
Bones CAV Razor and Vallejo Black Lava
Agrax Earthshade over the entire base, though - not just that one part.
Frequently deployed in groups of 2-4, these sections can make for fine flank harassment units.  More commonly, a star will have a Razor attached to perform scout and spotting maneuvers.  When properly equipped, they also excel at anti-infantry functions.

For the bases, I used scrap pieces from Warhammer Fantasy Battle modular movement trays cut to 40mm.  I used Hand Made Modern Cement Finish Dark all over the base and let it fully dry.  Over that, I applied Vallejo Black Lava, which was then inked and drybrushed Fortress Grey to match the Sulphur Fields.  I could have used the CAV hex bases, but honestly I don't like them for this project.

Bones CAV Razor
I feel like these guns aren't as big as I'd like, but that's the trade-off when you've got legs this long.
The cockpit and weapons sections are comparatively simple.  The cockpit is not heavily armored, but grants a wide field of view.  Some models have been equipped with jump-jets, though this variant is not widely distributed yet.

Bones CAV Razor Dark Age Jade Falcon
Clan Star on a suppression mission to a small enemy base. The RZR's will chase down any small craft attempting to escape.
Stats for Horizon Wars:

Element Type F A M D P FC Special
RZR-1A Razor Mech 1 2 4 1 1 1 None
RZR-3N Razor Mech 1 2 4 1 1 2 Jump Jets

Bones CAV Razor
Robot Affliction, Part the First - The Striding
In all, these CAV's are inexpensive to build and maintain even during the Dark Age.  As the Jade Falcon makes headway on Vindemiatrix, they are sure to be at the forefront of the battle.  The RZR-series excels at vanguard, scout, outrider or escort duties.  For the Great Khan!

Bones CAV Razor
Welcome to Planet Vindemiatrix, home of smelly holes.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Local Mods

Imagine.  Or don't.
Inspirobot can help with most of your deficiencies.
If you play more than one wargame, you'll be familiar with how fast rules are changed.  It seems like as the Information Age took over and the rise of social media in the last few years, publishers kick out rules at an unprecedented rate.  I have mixed feelings about online "living" rule sets, and so do many others.  It is for this reason you can often find multiple editions of various games played by disparate groups in a community.  For example, 3rd Ed. 40k came out and half the guys I played with stuck with 2nd Ed. until the day they died...which was like 4th or 5th edition.

That was obviously more than a long time ago.  Many editions have came and went, but why?  Why do these games continually reinvent themselves, if not to propagate the business model of their parent company?  The real answer for the force of change may surprise you if you've never thought about it.

The real culprit is the tournament scene.

We've all heard the story.  It's a tale as old as wargaming time.  Certain units from a powercreeper rulebook run the games, and certain builds rise like slag to the top to be skimmed off and used by every power gamer that read that forum.  In order to change the meta, rules are altered, faqs are published, Q&A's clarify bungled collations and new editions change the landscape of your dice rolls (numbered 1 through 6) on a constant basis to stay ahead of the power gamers.

Really, you're going to see that no matter what.  No matter the game.  No matter the edition.

So how does a group cope if they are no longer supported by the publisher?  Or for that matter, if the majority of players have a grievance with a current ruleset that they could easily solve with a few words of text in the House Rules?  Well, then it's up to the club to enact some sort of change to the meta of their game.  This is especially important when the game is old and the metas are all known.

House Rules should be expected...local modifications to the ruleset that allow their meta to be cultivated.

Yet, what works for one group in one area may not work for any other group anywhere else.  For most of these games, the meta will be limited by the group's player base.  This means there will only be so many factions in a particular meta.  There will be a limited number of units, and the POTENTIAL for new units only extends to more models in a player's faction.  This naturally limits the interactions of special rules, and in each case a new meta emerges.

For instance, if your group contains 2 Lizardmen armies, 1 Bretonnian army, 1 Empire army and 3 chaos're not going to have to worry about High Elves until the day you go to a tournament or have a casual game against a player you don't normally play.  When you go to the tourney, obviously you have to play by their rules, THEIR local mods...but at home among the familiar armies, players and shenanigans you are used to, you may find it necessary to enact house rules to keep the games from becoming utterly ridiculous and NOT_FUN.

Expect this.  Embrace it.  Use unfamiliar house-ruled metas as a new challenge - but most of all, don't whine when you find out there is a 0-1 restriction on Obliterator and Mutilator units.