Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Man in Tights

Last Christmas (I think) Jen enhanced my festiveness by buying me this dude:

So dashing.

Ohmygod, pretty. He’s one of the Empire duellists. It’s an absolutely beautiful sculpt. I mean seriously.

Now technically, you can’t use this guy as an Empire captain, because captains can’t take a brace of pistols, but I loved the idea of a young, smug prettyboy as the obvious counterfoil to my general, Erhard von RĂ¼diger – a grizzled Templar Grand Master. Moreover, most Empire captains, like Captain Stefan Rainer, who I painted for my Nordlanders, are big, barrel-chested bastards. This guy would be a refreshing change.

So, what to do with the rules? Other members of the Beard Bunker probably would’ve been cool with me just paying more points for the extra pistol, but I thought, screw it, why not go one step further?

There was just one fly in the ointment. Apparently, Oskar wears tights:

So pert.

Ok, it’s not that I’d feel self-conscious spending time lavishly painting a dude’s posterior, but seriously, why tights? No-one else in the Empire seems to wear them. I very nearly ending up letting the tights stay, because nothing says angry Skavenslayer like a permanent wedgie, but in the end, I had to take action. Drastic action.

Green stuff: often used for gap filling.
Hur hur.

Yep, I’ll be freehand painting the seams onto the back of what are now his britches. Whilst I’m here, I may as well take the opportunity – for those of you who find Green Stuff tricky to work with – to share a couple of hints.

The most important thing is to lubricate the sculpting tool, and your fingertips. Green Stuff will merrily stick to anything that isn’t the model, given half a chance. People swear by different lubricants (yes, I’m childish enough that I can’t write this paragraph without smirking). Some like water, but personally I find it’s not all that effective, and requires large quantities. Personally, I prefer dabbing a drop of olive/sunflower oil onto some kitchen towel, and wiping the tool (and my fingertips) on said oily patch. It’s rather less messy, and seems to work better than water, for me at least.

One of the tricky parts when adding putty to a model is that it can be a bit obvious, even after priming, where the putty stops and the model’s original surface starts (unless the sculpted area is meant to have a clearly defined boundary). The best advice I can give you is to use the flat of the sculpting tool’s main blade and spread out the edges until the putty is so thin as to be transparent – see the above pic – using a sort of buffing or polishing motion. So long as you stick with the flat of the blade, you should be able to maintain a smooth surface to the putty whilst keeping any visible joins to a minimum.

Finally, a quick note on Oskar’s rules: I worked out the (un-playtested) points value by paying for the pistol twice, and ignored the two points for heavy armour (to counterbalance the chance that he might have a quiet freakout if a pony comes a-charging). Does this seem reasonable? Over-priced? Under-priced? Do leave your thoughts in the comments.

Equally, if you would like a more in-depth post on working with green stuff, say so! It may convince me to write one in the future.


Monday, 23 July 2012

Nick da Boss Bus!

Mark, Maisey and I have been getting to grips with the 6th edition of Warhammer 40,000 lately by playing small games of 750-1000 points. I feel like I’ve still got a lot to learn. Generally speaking, though, I’m really enjoying the new rules (which I started to read after I stopped dribbling all over the paintings of Holy Terra and the Space Marine Monastery, which NEED to be released as posters).

The last such game was between Mark’s Deathskulls and my Evil Sunz, and was a variation on The Relic (Mission 6, p.131). Rather than having a small relic that could be picked up, we took the mission as inspiration for a scenario in which my warboss (Grimtoof Boomshanka) had left his beloved Boss Bus in the mek’s garage so it could be, er, rebuilt after that git Tycho punched the snot out of it (thanks for that post-Nerd Thunder 3 revenge pasting, Jeff). What with Mark’s mek Tekkwotts being a filthy, swindling Deathskull, he turned up with a bunch of his mates to nick it whilst Grimtoof was out of town driving somewhere really, really fast.

Fortunately, Deathskull exhausts produce almost (but not quite) as much black smoke as those of the Evil Sunz, so Grimtoof and his boyz raced back to the garage when they saw someone was going for the bus. So, our variation on the Relic theme was that, just like with the rulebook, a model had to move into base contact with the Boss Bus to pick up the relic hotwire the motor. As all the tires were flat, and bits of it were still hanging off, we treated the Boss Buss as a piece of difficult terrain that the carrier filching gits/rightful owners could drive six inches a turn.

The two warbands arrived at the garage at pretty much the same time:

Le deployment phase.

They then proceeded to do what Orks do best. That is to say, both armies went straight forwards.

Yep. Saw that coming.

At this point, turns two and three descended into a horrific train wreck of flying green limbs and practically everyone in my army ‘doing da burny dance’ (as Mark’s burna boyz kept shouting whilst roasting entire squads). Apparently, red ones burn fasta.

Anyway, although six plucky Deathskulls started driving the Boss Bus away circa turn four, they had to run a gauntlet of extremely angry speed freaks, and all got shot off the battlewagon (along with bits of the battlewagon, I suspect; fortunately Grimtoof was by this point crispy and dismembered, awaiting a much-needed trip to the Dok, and was in no position to complain).

Net result? Practically everyone in both armies was either killed or maimed, but it doesn’t matter, because I STILL HAVE A BATTLEWAGON. In your face, Tekkwotts.

The moral of this story is that 6th edition seems much more likely to inspire the kind of narrative gaming everyone at the Beard Bunker loves. Genius.

I’m curious as to what everyone else makes of the new book. What do you think? Leave a comment!


Monday, 16 July 2012

In the Garage of the Mountain Mek

All due credit and respect for the background stock goes to Humblebeez.

Many years ago, as a spotty teenage gamer, I felt blessed to be able to play games on my parents’ ping pong table in the garage. Ping pong was fun, but what was even more fun was fighting my friend Ali’s Orks for dominance over a battlefield of empty food tins, stacks of CDs, and rubbish bunkers made out of the polystyrene packing in which Citadel Miniatures used to come. I didn’t even paint the polystyrene; I just stuck cocktail sticks into it because I thought that sharp wooden sticks would look EXACTLY like the exposed bars in broken reinforced concrete. Particularly when they weren’t painted. Man, I could’ve entered that bunker into Golden Damon, which is like Golden Daemon, but for people who can’t be bothered to paint.*

I used to look in the pages of White Dwarf and practically dribble over the GW studio's scenery. The very concept of having a decent board, never mind stuff to go on it, was very much a pipe dream. I could’ve done something about it, of course, and actually applied myself to making some decent scenery, but like a lot of other gamers, I just focussed on my army instead.

It took the onset of adulthood for me to realise how much good scenery improves the experience of gaming. In a way, I’m almost glad I spent all those years gaming on lame scenery, because it means that I really, really, really, REALLY appreciate what I have now, which is a metric butt-ton of reasonably well-painted scenery. That, and the ability to buy scenery kits even the GW studio hadn’t dared to dream of in the 90s.

Of all the scenery we’ve got at the Beard Bunker, I think our Ork shanties are my favourite, not least of which because I have happy memories of building it.

Take five geeks, one stompa, several Manufactorum sets, plasticard, an epic bitz box, about a pint of poly cement, a long weekend full of inane conversation in a room that was in no way full of solvent fumes and emphatically required ventilation, and you have this:

The whole settlement (minus the watchtower).

So structurally sound.

Aaaaand that's where half the Stompa went.

Pre-assembled Ork Barricades? Yeah, that was a done deal.

All the buildings were designed so that you could put stuff
on them. To that end, we made sure one wall of the garage
was removable to ensure easy access. Also: the roof is from
the Shrine of the Aquila kit, whilst the lil' toolbox is from the
Space Marine Whirlwind.

I built the workshop, but Mark deserves mad props for scratch-
building its crane. It makes me happy. Also, note the oil stain on
the workshop floor from an ill-maintained Ork vehicle.

Part of Mark's shirt was sacrificed to make the door flap to the
Dok's Klinik.

Proof that a piece of scenery doesn't have to have any
practical in-game use to make your board more awesome:
Mark built this watchtower like a baws.
[Warning: link NSFW]

Yep. That's how small a Battlewagon looks in the garage.

It has to be said: if you want to build Ork scenery, the Stompa kit is delicious.

We wanted all the buildings to be giant piles of rust, but didn’t want to spend three years painting them. As such, we tankbrushed the whole lot with Calthan Brown (but seriously, use an airbrush if you’ve got one). After that, a drybrush of Boltgun Metal was followed by a wash made from watered down Chaos Black (sorry, not familiar with the names of the current paint range yet – give me time!). We watered down paint because using pre-diluted wash over such a large area would’ve required us to purchase a prohibitive amount of Nuln Oil/Badab Black.

Once the wash was dry, we went over the edges with chainmail, and also gave some of the plates of metal an all-over chainmail drybrush to give the impression of the building materials being of varying age.

The finishing touches were to apply some of the Forgeworld weathering powders to intensify some of the rust, and to drybrush the same sandy colours around the bottom of the buildings to blend them into the board, said board having been painted with emulsion paints mixed to resemble Khemri Brown (basecoat), Desert Yellow (1st drybrush), and Bleached Bone (2nd drybrush).

Anyway, I hope my cack-handed photography hasn’t rendered this post useless. Should ye have any questions, thoughts, or feedback, leave a comment!


*Sorry. One day I’ll stop finding the whole Team America: World Police and Matt Damon thing so funny.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Between a Rok and an 'Ard Place

In the wake of the positive reactions to my first battle report, and as promised in my last post, I have here the tale of Nerd Thunder III. To the wild and reckless joy of my inner nerd,* photos of this game have already been featured on Games Workshop’s official blog, for which I must thank Mr Dan Harden, who dropped by our table armed only with a camera and an excellent sense of humour. 

[All due credit and respect for the original background stock in this
image goes to Humblebeez. Many thanks!]

A quick recap: our 8.5k-a-side game was set in the opening weeks of the Third War for Armageddon, on the outskirts of Helsreach Hive. The pugilists? Maisey and Jeff as the Imperial forces, with Mark and myself as little green space fungi.

To find out just how messy it got, hit the jump.