Sunday, 13 December 2015

Humans all look funny

Necron Phalanx complete.  I used all 40 of them in a game the other week.  Having completely forgotten to deploy my Scarabs at the start, the ensuing loss was well deserved and Brandt rolled over me with his Mechanicum forces.  Actually I'm not entirely sure what he was playing. He had Skitarii. And Cult Mechanicus. And Inquisition.  And a Knight, I remember that much. There might have been a 5th Codex in there somewhere. (edit: Assassinorum! that was the 5th)

I was handily beaten, but at the end of the game I still had 36 warriors left.  This was after they went toe to toe with the Imperial Knight too.  4+ reanimation, re-rolling 1's with a duo of regenerating Ghost Arks in support is hilarious.  But then a regenerating Imperial Knight is even more hysterical.  The irresistible force meets an immovable object and the result is a dice grind.  So they did nothing all game except glance a Knight to death and all my dedicated offense was short-circuited with AdMech cattle prods (or accidentally left in reserve).

I started to get the urge to play Tyranids again.  It must be the masochist in me.  I dunno, I just wanted to do something different I guess.  A colleague at work tried to get me interested in Beyond the Gates of Antares and I went as far as pushing the 'Proceed to to Checkout' button on Mighty Ape.  I managed to resist in the end. I'd want to use my 40k models as proxies at first and nothing really fits the armies I collect.  The factions in Gates of Antares are nearly all human.  Or at least humanoid with Star Trek makeovers applied.

I was also forcibly joined to a Horus Heresy facebook group for local players interested in a sci-fi Warhammer game with no Tyranids in it (where is the attraction in this!?).  It looks quite intruiging, but the legions I'm interested in are already taken.  I'd probably want to be Word Bearers to be honest and it would give me an excuse to buy those deadly Gal Vorbak  resin miniatures from Forge World.  But I'm not ready to pull the trigger on the money pit/time sink of 30k yet.  They're just marines at the end of the day.  You can't do nameless, extra-galactic horror with 'bucket heads'.

At least I'm not obsessively playing Fallout 4 any more.  At its heart, its just a dungeon crawler: Enter room.  Kill enemies.  Loot.  Repeat.  Whilst this is mesmerising and addictive for a while, it becomes tiresome eventually.  "Strong bored!  Strong want to kill something!" just about sums it up.  I chose the Railroad faction ending in my first play through (mainly because Tinker Tom, Deacon and P.A.M. aren't annoying.  Practically every other Faction member in the game is, apart from Mama Murphy who is a drug addled lunatic).  There were suitably impressive fireworks at the finale but it doesn't live up to the thrill of detonating your own home town with a nuclear device (Megaton in Fallout 3) and I think I need a break from my second play through.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Dealing with the Fallout

I had to be physically dragged away from the computer.  My wife pointed out that our teenage son had been waiting patiently for two weeks to play Fallout 4.  She wanted me to behave like an adult and let him have a turn.  I of course refused and threatened violence, whereupon she made good on my promise.  I was banished to the garage in shame and eventually became bored enough to do some work on the Necrons.  I'll probably have to wait a while before I can don my Grognak the Barbarian costume again and wreak havoc on the denizens of post-apocalyptic Boston.

To be honest, I was getting a bit bored with it (is 70 hours excessive?).  In order to advance the storyline, you have to side with one of the main factions and I don't really like any of them.  The Minutemen are bloody do-gooders who devolve the game into a grubby version of The Sims.  The Brotherhood of Steel are gung-ho military zealots. The Railroad are delusional synth-lovers and The Institute is just creepy, but not in a good way. I didn't want to pledge my allegiance to any Faction, so I joined them all and just kept switching faction quests.

It didn't help that my favourite companions are Strong (an Ork) and Nick Valentine (a Flayed One) who are generally disliked by everyone.  It started getting silly. I got to the Bunker Hill quest and walked into a pitched battle where none of the factions were hostile to me.  I had no idea who I was supposed to be shooting at.  Strong said he was hungry and suggested that we eat everyone but the combatants kept re-spawning and wouldn't shoot back.  So I just left them to it and buggered off into The Glowing Sea.  I'll start building up the Lead Belly perk and maybe I can become one of The Children of Atom without slowly melting into a puddle of radioactive goo.

If Fallout4 was 40k, I reckon The Minutemen would be the Tau with their ever expanding shanty towns built 'for the greater good'.  The Institute would try to bring about another Dark Age of Technology with their Abominable Intelligence machines. The Brotherhood of Steel would declare Elder Maxson as the Emperor and indulge in a spot of subjugation-of-the-masses.  The Railroad would try to turn everyone into Necron synths via the bio-transference machines in Madam Irma's Memory Den.  And the Commonwealth would burn.

The Tyranids are, of course, the feral ghouls. Had there been a Feral Ghoul faction in the game I'd have joined in an instant.  Hunting in packs with mindless savagery and insatiable hunger is more my style but probably doesn't make for a good storyline.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

oooh shiny

We interrupt this scheduled broadcast to inform you that the author is currently lost in The Wasteland and is unable to attend his paint station.

Normal service will resume...  shortly.  


Monday, 2 November 2015

God Shackle

"The God Shackle is a relic discovered by Anrakyr in the depths of the Star Hallows that allows him more exacting control of the C'tan shards in his possession. On Asphodex this would even allow the Overlord and his Crypteks to boost the power of the Burning One, rather than relying on its innate rage alone.  The only drawback of using such a device is that the tighter the leash placed around a C'tan's neck, the more likely the creature is to rebel against it."

- Shield of Baal: Exterminatus

"High above the battle, the C'tan Shard streaked across the void faster than any Imperial vessel. Then, with the fury of an orbital strike, the Burning One thundered down into Tartoros, hitting the ground and sending out a shockwave of fire and death.  Broods of bio-horrors caught in the Shard's arrival were either turned into super-heated mist or scattered in billowing clouds of ash."

- Shield of Baal: Exterminatus

They don't mention the part where it can be taken down by small arms fire.  Ah, but I shouldn't be salty.  I enjoyed the books (and the rules). The Nids win a more battles in Shield of Baal than they do in their own codex which is great.  They were of course exterminated at the end but then I expected nothing less from a book entitled, 'Exterminatus'.

"Finally the question he knew he must ask came to Dante's lips..

'Was it enough - can Baal still be saved?'

For long moments there was only silence, and Dante felt sure there could be no answer.  Then, for the first time in the annals of the Blood Angels, the Sanguinor spoke.

*'Bless my nipples, son! We're Team Edward!  Of course it can be saved'"

- Shield of Baal: Exterminatus
*- not an actual quote


Monday, 26 October 2015

Stealth Trygon

So, as usual when I have a ton of painting to do, I lose interest or get distracted.  This is one reason to enter competitions.  It focuses the mind and provides a deadline; you get shit done.  When you only have a vague urge to complete a project, the temporising starts.

Whilst staring indifferently at my uncompleted Necron army the other day, I suddenly realised that what I really needed to do was throw my Trygon into a digestion pool and see what would be birthed on the other side.  It seemed a much more interesting activity than say, painting a squillion Necrons.

So I dismantled my fully built and half painted Trygon prime.  Because, you know, I really need Trygons.  I haven't played Nids for 6 months and I haven't fielded a Trygon for 3 years.  Nevertheless, it was imperative that I customise him immediately.  The poor bugger was boiled, snapped, sawn, fused and melted in a frenzy of procrastination. This is what I ended up with.  Needs a lot of green stuffing, methinks.

One unexpected benefit of this butchery is that the new pose has a much lower profile.  Modelling for advantage never looked so good (tails are invisible in 40k.  See page 14 'line of sight'.  We should model all our Tyranids as just wings attached to a tail).  I can actually hide the creature behind scenery and sneak him up the board.  This could change the face of Tyranid list building as we know it.  Stealth Trygon FTW!

In other news, I robbed young Fraser McConnell of victory at Armies on Parade on Saturday.  If his aunt and uncle had come in half an hour earlier to vote, I think he might have gotten gold.  Aside from the fact that his army was beautifully painted and I know his father very well, he was the only entrant who turned up in character, wearing a cape and muttering occasional curses in Skaven.  I feel like a monster.

 There was a rather tasty Ad Mech army there too.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Pimp My Ride

44 magnets, 20 nail heads, 3 steel plates and just a smidgen of aluminium putty.  My fully magnetised Necron Pimpmobile is built.  If I ever tried to take this to another country and went through airport security they would probably blow it up in a controlled explosion. "Whats in the bag, sir?  Never mind, we're going to detonate it, just to be sure."

Now witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battlestation

Drilling all the magnet holes had to be done by hand because I broke my Dremel.  This was fun.  My hand is still aching.  I used this YouTube tutorial (sans Dremel) as a guideline if you are foolhardy enough to want to repeat this experiment.

Oh, I'm afraid the Quantum shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive

I doubt that my opponents would allow such a travesty to make it to the tabletop but I'm sure the argument over points cost would be interesting.  So, I will reluctantly have to use it as either a Ghost Ark or a Doomsday Ark.  This is good because I can now run an Annihilation Nexus formation.

Drive me closer, I want to stop pointing at things

Do Necron players ever run anything except formations in a Decurion?  Seems inefficient to me but it does dissuade you from using some of the funky named characters (unless you want to take multiple HQs in a Royal Court).  I'd quite like to use Illuminor Szeras instead of an overlord as he potters around on spider legs and pokes around inside the brains of Eldar.  I think his rules are quite good too.  But then I would lose the army wide 4+ reanimation protocols which is a huuuge debuff. It occurs to me that everything is cheese unless you are running it in your own army.  Having said that, I've only won 1 game so far with a Decurion.

Been spending most our lives, livin' in the gangsta's paradise

Oh well, after all that faffing around, I'll probably only ever use it as a Ghost Ark.  The futuristic take on a human spine and rib cage is very clever I reckon.  Death motifs, gotta love 'em.  We should be thankful. At least they aren't skull faced warriors sculling about in a giant skull boat.

The ability to remove and/or fold the guns from/into the carriage makes transporting the model massively less frustrating.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Losing your bits

The Decurion Auto-Take

This week, I ha' been mostly painting Tomb Blades.  They are remarkably sturdy given their delicate construction and long flight stands.  Flight stands are rubbish most of the time.  They might be transparent but they don't exactly fade into the background and start to look really grubby and scratched almost immediately.  They are also very brittle and not designed for clumsy, ham fisted gamers to knock around the tabletop.  And what is that stupid bubble that always seems to form inside the stem?

Comes with a variety of options and plush, leather interior

I have managed to snap the flight stand off my second Ghost Ark now and I haven't even played a game with it.  Fortunately I have learned the hard way how to replace them.  First off, keep all the stems that you get in kits with flight stands.  You always get too many, usually of differing lengths allowing you to adjust the height of the model.  Also, don't glue them to the bases.  If you put too much glue on then they look awful and you'll never get the stems back out if they break.

Rust effect $99 extra

Having said that, if the stem is too narrow to fit snugly into the base or model, then you might have to use a bit of glue to widen it, but never glue it to the base imho.  Use the spares as replacements when you inevitably snap the damn vehicle off it's stand during a game.  Or you could just not bother with flight stands at all I guess.  I've seen a few gamers do this.  In fact, you know what?  Do what you want.  Its your hobby.

Oculus VR headset comes as standard

I also finished my first squad of converted(?) warriors.  I wanted to repose them in silent, uniform ranks as if in stasis or awaiting command.  So I chopped all their legs up and some of their arms.  I literally chopped up every joint in the leg, actually removing the kneecaps and reversing them to make the legs straight.

I wanna be a skybourne ranger..

This got really boring after a while.  I mean life threateningly boring.  Right up until the point where my scalpel clipped through a tiny piece of Necron leg and sent it spinning across the room into a murky, little used corner.  So I'm reposing the remaining 10 warriors in a kneeling position which requires much less dismemberment.

Knobbly Knees competition.  Pontins, Blackpool 1958

I don't recommend reposing Necron legs like this. Of course, if you enjoy crawling around on your hands and knees for half an hour searching amongst the fluff and detritus for a Necron kneecap (about 1.5mm in diameter) which pinged 15ft across the garage then by all means go for it.  If, on the other hand, you find this sort of activity distasteful then you could try Tripwire's relatively sane way to reposition necron warriors. I only read his blogpost after chopping up my warriors, so more fool me.

Awaiting orders

I now have a high beam camping penlight in my possession which I use to systematically quarter and search the floor area for lost model kit components.  I'm getting quite good at it.  Apart from that time when a Broodlord claw was actually stuck to my sleeve rather than on the ground.  Dave Weston's method of hoovering the carpet over the dropzone and inspecting the bag afterwards may also be quite effective (see the comments section of that post).

The old guard

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Where have all the magnets gone?

The slow trickle of Necrons continues.  This week I've only managed to finish the Overlord and the Canoptek Moth.  I made a start on other stuff including the Necron Battleforce.  Chopping all the legs up on 20 Necron Warriors and reposing them was fun but still taking it real easy.  I decided to magnetise the Ghost Ark to double up as a Doomsday Ark.

This will require a phenomenal amount of magnets which I had to beg, borrow and steal because all the local retailers in Wellington no longer sell them.  I couldn't find any of the Vallejo Air colours I wanted, decent paintbrushes were in short supply and Grey Stuff has been out of stock for so long that it has become a myth.   I can't blame the local shops because they have limited space, need to sell products in volume and all of these things are easily ordered on the internet.  I suppose I shouldn't complain that all manner of esoteric hobby supplies are readily available at the click of a button and delivered direct to your door but I'm old fashioned when it comes to shopping.  I enjoy chatting to the shop owners and other customers.  It gives me ideas.  I like to pick things up in my grubby little hands.  This is a tactile hobby dammit.  I savour the exquisite tension of a limited budget surrounded by an Aladdin's cave of plastic crack.

 Is it just me or are local retailers going the way of the dodo? In Wellington which is admittedly not a very big city, Gordon Harris art supplies has moved to smaller premises.  Modelcrafts and Hobbies has moved to a larger site but only uses half of the available floor space.  The other half of the shop is an empty wasteland cordoned off using the old awnings pulled down from the previous building.  Weird, and not very welcoming.

Games Workshop is still hanging in there but is surrounded by empty ghosts of coffee shops and dvd/cd outlets in Courtenay mall.  I'm willing to bet that they will relocate once their lease comes up and they have the choice of not remaining open 7 days a week and maintaining a 2 man shop.

Don't get me started on Hobby Stop.  If you aren't going to stock AK products, what is the point of leaving an empty display stand in plain view, highlighting all the weathering accessories that you don't sell?

Large Man: Who's that then?
Dead Collector: I dunno. Must be a king.
Large Man: Why?
Dead Collector: He hasn't got shit all over him.

The French Art shop is still ok but, on enquiring about magnets, the shop assistant actually showed me how to search for every conceivable neodymium magnet size that I could ever want really cheaply on TradeMe.  Its just odd I tell you.  I dunno, maybe I'm getting old.  I feel old and grumpy most of the time.  Thank the Star Gods its spring already and that yellow orb in the sky has started appearing occasionally.  What was it called again?  I was beginning to think the C'tan had eaten it.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Rusticrons revisited

Slowly getting back into it.  The failed colour scheme has been completely replaced.


Rather than cleaning the models, I applied a solid coat of "White Knight Squirts" quick dry enamel silver over the top.  I think it cost about $9.  Preparation is everything, so I masked out the guns and the ammo pipes first with blu-tac.  That way I didn't have to repaint them.


Very happy with the results.  It was only a few hours work in total so I don't know why I didn't do it as part of the original speed painting Necrons project.

I've also nearly finished painting my Canoptek Moth conversion and was feeling very pleased with myself because I haven't bought any new Necrons since 2013 but, miraculously, had all the models to field a Decurion with 2 Canoptek harvests.

I was so pleased in fact, that I bought a Necron Battleforce to go with it.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.  My Night Scythes are a bit shite now and the C'tan Shard is laughable for the points so more core troops might help. I might put a little more care and attention into the new models though.  It will have to involve magnets, surely.  Maybe some Flayed One kit bashes?