Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Hochland Gazette [Issue 2]

Almost a year ago, I wrote issue 1 of the Hochland Gazette. Mainly because I fancied a bit of a giggle. I've now written issue 2 in the wake of a particularly stupid battle between Maisey and I. You see, I accidentally won a 3,500-point game after a regiment of flagellants failed their frenzy check. Yes, really.

If you want the 'authentic' medieval paper-reading experience, feel free to do so by clicking on the image above. If you're less of a masochist and/or gothic font fetishist, here is the legible version:

Published by Ernst Drucker & Sons of Tussenhof on 20th Vorhexen 2255 I.C.
Containing the surest news and firmest advice every Angestag & Aubentag
[ Price: 4 shillings ]

Fanatical cult slay zombie dragon!

Gruyden village safe; Hochland’s army “on top form,” says Ludenhof. The village of Gruyden, famed for having shrine to all the gods (old and new), has once again come under attack by the restless dead. Konrad the Bastard, infamous for destroying the beautiful town of Krudenwald, made his second attempt on Gruyden (the first attempt having been held off by the noble sacrifice of the town watch).

The Bastard’s minions were seen to be converging on Gruyden by a Kislevite scout, who sent word to Fort Schippel. General von Hess rode out in force, and it was just as well, for when the dead emerged from the forest, it became apparent that Konrad is but a minion of a greater evil: a queen of the night emerged, sat astride the rotting neck of an undead dragon!

Many among the army were said to be dismayed upon sighting the beast and its rider, but von Hess ordered the line to hold whilst the cannons did their work. Naturally, the soldiery had no difficulty in doing as they were told.

The same could not be said of the Real New Church of the Truth, a rabble of flagellants who had attached themselves to the army despite being ordered to return to their homes.

Shortly after the first cannon volley, observers say, the flagellants burst forward in great excitement, making for the zombies advancing before the dragon... thus putting themselves twixt gun and target. Most expected the cult to disappear into the enemy ranks, but to the shock (and delight) of all, they battled through twice their number, reached the dragon in short order and, calling upon Sigmar for guidance, threw themselves upon the beast, overwhelming it with flails and suicidal zealoutry.

The gazette humbly approached General von Hess for comment. “We are of course very grateful to this religious group for their sacrifice. Their self-appointed prophet has survived the battle, and is somewhat disorientated by the world’s failure to come to an end. He has informed me that he is to return to his previous occupation as a cabbage farmer, and frankly, I’m glad to hear it. Hochland needs all the food it can get.”

Some commentators have suggested that without the flagellants’ aid, the army would surely have been defeated. Count Ludenhof himself has publicly rejected this claim.

Writing to the Gazette, our Elector Count argued, “hardened by two long years of combat, the army’s troops are on top form. In the absence of this cult, the cannons would have got the job done. Much as I admire the group’s bravery, their self-sacrifice saddens me given that another two cannonballs would have had the task well in hand. I second General von Hess’ suggestion that the production of food should be the priority, rather than leaving one’s home to join one of these fringe cults roving the countryside.”
The Gazette holds this to be sound advice indeed.

Over the page: we sit down over a well-stocked cheese board to talk to Magister Thaddeus Krey of the Light College to discuss his part in the battle, and how he made Konrad the Bastard suffer.

Amelia von Lessing missing (again)
The amethyst wizard has once again been abducted, although the army are remaining tight-lipped as to the details. There are rumours that it has something to do with the beast-men of Hergig, but the court in Tussenhof has refused to comment. More on this story as we learn it.

Priesthood of Morr refuse to condone cremation
With the plague of undeath in its second year, many have argued that continuing our tradition of burying the dead is merely providing our enemy with new recruits, but the Priesthood of Morr have refused to preside over any funerary rites that involve cremation. The spirit needs a body if it is to travel safely to Morr’s realm, they tell us, and the unsupervised burning of loved ones may result in hauntings and other such phenomena. If you wish to avoid such horrors, make sure you are paid up with your local priest today!

Elsewhere in this edition...
+Removing the head, or destroying the brain, page 5: a guest author from the Order of Witch Hunters provides advice for defending your home against a zombie attack (the good news is that woodcutter’s axes are most effective against frozen heads).
+Growing winter vegetables? Turn to page 9 for new ways to cook turnips.

+ + +

And now for some hideously incompetent photos of said battle:

Initial deployment
The Real New Church of the Truth are on the left.
They are about to fail a frenzy check.

The flagellants' unexpected charge meant that suddenly, I was committed. On turn two. I had to make them last as long as possible, and to that end, I threw in a long-range Wyssan's Wildform from Febe. She miscast, and wounded both herself, my wizard lord, and two warrior priests, but I can't complain, since it resulted in the flagellants killing 35 zombies on the charge for negligible losses. The remaining zombies crumbled, and the flagellants overran into the zombie dragon, meaning they got to fight the dragon during Maisey's turn two.

The dragon was killed before it even got to strike, and the undead army - once they lost their necromancer thanks to Thaddeus' Net of Amyntok - started to crumble. We called it at the end of game turn three, because we'd gotten to the point of mop-up combats like the one below, which shows a horde of greatswords about to charge twenty zombies.

To be fair, the vampires' left flank was still going strong, with a vampire, a varghulf and a regiment of black knights doing what they do best, and Maisey gets serious kudos for being incredibly gentlemanly about the whole thing (probably because both of us knew it to be a complete farce). Hopefully there'll be a rematch before long, and he'll have a stab at revenge. Lord knows I deserve it.


Thursday, 13 November 2014

Soopa speedy Imperial Guard paint scheme

As much as I’m not that keen on the current edition of 40K, our recent foray into Inquisitor means that my enthusiasm for the 40K mythos has crept back in, like a nervous and recently-evicted lover, scared that they’re only going to be inside the nice warm house for minutes rather than years.

Part of this enthusiasm is contingent upon not being subjected to endless numbers of Spehs Mahreens. As such, I found myself contemplating the Imperial Guard (or Astra Vauxhaulius, depending on which bit of the Imperium you're from). Those of you with an elephant's memory may remember the test model. Finally, I’ve had a go at some more.

Now, everyone who’s ever tried to make a Guard army will remember the slog. You need a lot of little plastic dudes. As usual, one must strike a balance between speed and quality... the speed in this case being less than two hours to paint a tank.

The tracks were weathered with a light brown drybrush followed by
Typhus Corrosion, because paint + texture = amazeballs.

If G-Dubz had never brought out Caliban Green spray, this army couldn’t exist. I’m just too lazy. But with said spray? It’s on. It’s on like 0.3 standard Imperial units of Donkey Kong.

The matte effect the spray provides is perfect for spray-painted metal plates, which means that my priming spray is also half the work done. Well, I say half... more like a tenth. But still, it’s a bloody quick tenth!

After spraying, the fatigues are painted Vallejo olive green and the webbing’s painted Vallejo Green Grey, after which Athonian Camoshade gets sloshed over both. The black parts of the gun are painted with black ink (so it’s a little shinier than paint would be) and then the guns and armour get weathered with silver. All that’s left is to paint the boots black, plus skin and bases. Another advantage of the green undercoat is that the black on the boots doesn’t look as dark and harsh as it would over a black undercoat.

Remaining challenges include finding a quick method of painting dark skin that doesn’t look lifeless. Further research required... this is, I’m sure, one of the reasons why dark skin is so uncommon in wargaming models – it’s hard to do as quickly and effectively as lighter skin tones. I’m willing to put up with this in most Warhammer armies because it’s meant to be like medieval Europe but with more skullzz, but when it comes to 40K there’s no excuse for the relentless whitewash. In the finished Guard project I hope to have a fairly even spread of skin tones... and a relatively even spread of gender. Some of you may be wondering how I’ll manage the gender. I do have a plan on that front; you’ll just have to wait and see!

When sliced up into individual pouches, it turns out those trios of pouches
you get on the space marine sprue work really well on Guardsmen.

So, what do you think? A bit too lazy, or serviceable? If you’d do anything differently, drop a comment down below. It’s not too late for me to take any solid suggestions on board.

And finally, a (very brief) update on how things are going for the Empire in our Hochland campaign:

My state troops needed 4+. Poor sods.