Saturday, October 15, 2016

Drop Pod Hell

The past month I've been spending most of my time doing drop pods.

Man these things are rough. Not only are they hard to paint on the outside, but they're twice as much work on the inside as well!

They're so much work that I still didn't manage to complete my army in time for the game I had scheduled at Koen's place:

How things looked after my first turn: one plasma marine got hot and the rest of the army did nothing.

The game itself went really bad dice-wise for me and the first two turns resulted in a lot of dead marines on my side, starting me off with a big disadvantage. The turns afterwards only got worse and I only managed to take out the mortars in the end of the game. My only hope and plan to salvage the game was to destroy the two objectives in one fell strike of my deathstorm drop pod, but even that was not to be as my dice failed me again. I damaged one of the objectives with it, while my dark furies finished off another one in turn 5. In hindsight I should have used my newly assembled mor deythan to take out one of the objectives, but since I've never used snipers before I was stumbling around a lot with their deployment and usage.

At this halfway point it is evident that my army has been thoroughly chipped away. Hah!

Despite my low rolls the game was pretty fun and it was nice to play on Koen's well painted table with all the cool terrain. Koen's attic (where we played) was stuffed to the brim with 40k and 30k stuff and keeps, so far, the largest private collection of painted citadel miniatures I've ever seen in my life.

The weekend afterwards I didn't do much painting either as I spent my sunday at the Scale Model Challenge. This is an amazing event that's practically next door to me and definately worth checking out for any miniature fan. Here's a video (in dutch) from the event where you can see some of the highlights from the painting competition the event is best known for:

Then, for the last two weeks I finally got my inspiration for the title of this blog post. As I was trying to finish most of my raven guard for the Armies on Parade event I got overambitious and set my
goals way too high, hoping to finish all four drop pods that are going to be in the final army. Just painting 2 of those bastards (along with my display board) almost got the best of me.

I started out trying to paint the 'pods with a drybrush technique, but this turned out to be really ugly as you can probably see in this image. I'll try and get some better pictures tomorrow, but just going with the edge highlights proved to be the better option in the end.
So, once I'm done making this post I'm going to go to sleep and prepare myself for displaying what I've got so far for my ravens at the Armies on Parade event. I'll do a proper report on it next week when I've also had my next Horus Heresy campaign battle.

Wish me luck!

Victory or Death!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Summer Heresy

As I mentioned last week, Age of Sigmar wasn't the only wargame I spent time on this summer...

The Horus Heresy campaign is still going strong! Despite neglecting to report it I did indeed play a 1250 points battle and the group also celebrated reaching the halfway point with a megabattle where everyone got to bring their 1500 points armies.

The 1250 points battle was against the dreaded Sons of Horus! It was two infiltrating drop pod assault armies against eachother and my opponent decided to rob me of my advantage and give me the first turn while he himself put everything in reserve.

Perhaps the most important piece of dark age thech in the Raven Guard's arsenal are the ever elusive 'phantom stairs'.
At the start of turn 2 things were finally kicking off and not knowing where Lupercal's lackeys were coming from I decided to hug that ruin terrain for all it was worth. Turn 1 only saw my plasma guys drop as well as an enemy contemptor.

 This walking coffin of a battle brother needs a name for the heroics he pulled in this game. "Brother Aybek" I dub thee.
The Sons' contemptor took down my plasma dudes, but they got a few shots off first and killed the kharybdis. Luckily they were avenged later by my own contemptor. The contemptor then proceeded to kick traitor ass and hold up/murder the better part of a marine squad. My other units took the fight to a particularly nasty squad of volkite dudes. In the end everyone was getting into slapfights and cuddle-combats and the game ended in a draw.

So, having skipped two months with the 30k reports this time there is also the Megabattle to talk about. Megabattles to me are one of the main reasons I'm in this hobby. It's an excuse to immerse myself in exactly the type of battles that I keep reading about in the fiction for an entire day. Fielding and using your army in allied combinations and large scale battle situations is also a really cool change from the smaller engagements you usually play.

This time, although I had a great time playing the game, the strategic element didn't quite come together. The loyalist side had some troubles with army selection (we were one person short, so the rest had to conjure up some extra points) as well as having almost none of the potential bonus rules that we could have won for ourselves in the previous rounds.

Nevertheless, it was nice to see everyone's mostly painted armies out on display and we had a good time rolling dice and taking models off the table. Below are some of the few pics I shot. There wasn't a lot of time for photo sessions.

My poor tactical squad. All those alpha legion dudes coming at you and you're surrounded by iron hands in boxes.
Brother Aybek leading from the front again. Thankfully he shouldn't have to walk far to get at those Night Lords.
Wore my 'straight outta deliverance' shirt for the occasion. Don't know if I want to go full emo-style for the next outing, but you never know.

Now. For one of the first times ever I did more painting these months than blogging about it, so here are some army shots for the Dust Vultures so far. And also something I just finished yesterday.

This is everything that is completely finished so far.
Master of Signal in the house!
I changed the spear into a sword after some thought on the matter. Playing wysiwyg is something I really care about and it caught me completely off guard that there are no power spears in 30k. Oh well.
Dark Furies bitches. Damn proud of this unit.
Victory or Death!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Season of War

Long time no post yet again!

Fret not though my dear imaginary readership: the lack in blog updates the past few months has only been surpassed by the incredible progress that has been made on all my projects.

There's so much to show that I'm going to spread this stuff out over two posts. This one is going to cover all the AoS games I've been playing over the summer. 

Despite a lot of anti-AoS sentiments at the local store, I got asked by the owner to run GW's Season of War campaign for whomever was interested. I got the campaign box and the generals handbook and basically spent five consecutive fridays focussed on promoting Age of Sigmar at the store.

All things considered, the campaign was actually a really fun experience! I'm impressed with how GW handled things, seeing as I had a somewhat sour after taste with Storm of Chaos and the Nemesis Crown. AoS also seems a lot more suited to global campaigning than the old world ever was. The campaign was also fun because it unexpectedly got some new people excited for AoS again. A long time friend of mine got back into things with the Death alliance, another local guy went along with Seraphon, another Skaven player joined in a couple of times and me and Joyce with our Skaven and Sylvaneth were there as well.

Here are some of the best pics we shot during the course of the campaign:

First battle of the campaign was between two of my friends who had only recently decided to give AoS a try. Lizardmen VS Empire took some getting used to with the new system, but both players ended up having a great time.
The Empire player from the first shot wanted to try out AoS against something else than Lizards, so I obliged by fielding my budding Skaven force.
My custom-made Hell Pit Abomination got stuck in pretty quick.
The next week we did a 2 VS 2 battle with Skaven + Sylvaneth VS Seraphon + Dark Elves.
The Dark Elf + Seraphon side looked nicely ranked.
This was one of the first battles Joyce (Sylvaneth) had ever fought with a treelord and perhaps teleported towards the opposing armies a bit too soon. All in all it was a fun battle and mainly served to show how deadly a shooty force could be.
Another week another battle. This one was a 4 player free for all and shows my rats marching towards Death, Seraphon and another Skaven army.

The Empire guy from the first pictures is actually the one who started up this new Death Alliance army during the course of the campaign. I played against him a bunch of times to get him started with the game.
He got started with the Get Started set for the deathrattle faction. I will say this: Neferata is so far the nastiest thing I have faced in Age of Sigmar.
We closed off the campaign with a 3 player free for all, which ended once again in favor of our local Death player, who wisely kept back while the Sylvaneth threw themselves against my rats en masse.
So, that's about it for this post. Next post I'll post up some reports of the matches I did for our ongoing Horus Heresy campaign this summer.

Glory to the Horned Rat!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

In with the old, in with the new!

It's been almost two weeks since the last post and this is mostly because I accidentally my old laptop. I have a new one now so everything is a-ok again and that means it's time for a new post!

I took some time off from work as well these weeks, so besides relaxing, I managed to do quite a bit of work on both Clan Thikket and the Dust Vultures.

Clan Thikket has grown considerably from the lone clanrat I posted last time and is joined by 4 of his mates as well as a freshly painted Warlock Engineer and two Doom-flayer Weapon Teams. Next on the list for new paint things are the rest of the clanrats and a doomwheel.

It's been so long since I painted anything fantasy I almost forgot about command groups.

This model gets the award for 'most rewarding to paint' this week.
These two were really tough to paint. Too many random things I had trouble identifying and I had to glue and paint the giant wheels on seperately. I make it a point to always assemble something completely before I paint it, but this time there was really no way around it.
I also took the time to rebase two models I had left over from my old Skaven army: A Master Moulder and a Hell Pit Abomination. Both of these are heavily converted and were staples of my old Skaven force so it feels good to see them on new bases, ready for action again. It's also nice to have these two make up a small moulder theme to go along with my skryre and verminous guys.

Don't know if I ever posted these on this blog, but they're some golden oldies for sure.

Already posted these last time, but I changed the basing a little and they're officially Moulder now in AoS I found.
For the Dust Vultures I painted up a small support squad of plasma gunners. These are to arrive via a Drop Pod that I still hope to finish painting this month.

This pic was made with infinitely better lighting at GameForce.

I used them right away in a battle for the 30k campaign this friday against Michiel's Mechanicum army. The game was a total massacre. I didn't have a single thing left by the end of turn 4. Most of this has to do with the mission, which was a break through style thing where I had to run a table length in order to score objective points. Unfortunately, running all out all the time against an army that's perfectly capable of decimating your squads with a couple of standard troop volleys, is not such a great thing to be required to do in a game of 30k. It was interesting though to see the mechanicum in action and next time I hope I don't have to play a mission like this against them again.

This is how things were after my turn 1.
Close up shot of the new guys in action.
So, lots of pics this time, but that's ok. Hopefully next post will have a finished drop pod and some progress on some new raven guard stuff for the 1250 point mark of the campaign.

Victory or Death!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Raven Guard Wins and Clan Thikket!

Suddenly, out of nothing, I seem to be totally on the ball with the hobby again.

First thing I did this week was go out of my way to paint this experiential revelation:

"The other side."
Please, please, please people! Don't all pull down your pants at once! This is but the first of the gimongous Skaven army that is currently in the works and shall soon flood like a swarming tide the great gaming tables of the known world!

In all seriousness, I'm really glad I got this out of my system. I've been putting off painting a clanrat because I wasn't sure about it tying me down on a colour scheme, I wasn't sure how to do fur right and I didn't have a plan for the skin either, and all sorts of silly excuses. I finally did it and it was amazing fun. I'm happy with my choice to go for a dark green with blue accent and although the skin took me a couple of tries, I'm really happy with the end result. The base is not done yet obviously and I plan to add some high summer grass tufts to get a sort of 'forest' look for my rats. Asuming I'm going on with the dark green/forest rat theme I've also decided on a name for the clan: Clan Thikket. Maybe it sound dumb but somehow this is the stuff that get's me inspired for an army.

Then, on friday, I finally had the 750 points battle for the ongoing Horus Heresy campaign and boy was it a good one. I was playing against Michael who had a combination of Blood and Dark Angels but was using them as Iron Warriors (because there weren't enough traitor armies in the campaign). He had 6 special terminators with cyclone launchers, a unit of 20 marines and a unit of dakka predators. I had a land speeder with multi melta and grav gun, a close combat contemptor, 2 units of marines and a chaplain. We had to claim objectives and were under raging inferno rules which meant we each had a 40mm, 3d6 scattering, S5 within 6" inferno bomb to drop on eachother. These rules were insane and almost all casualties suffered were due to inferno hits.

Turn one had me infiltrating and advancing in an attempt to go for the throat. This plan immediately backfired when one of the inferno bombs landed right in front of my path.
Due to the nature and 40mm + 6" radius of the inferno templates (we used Naut's half-painted terminators), both our plans fell apart quite fast and by turn 5 we were reduced to simply trying to claim an objective and stay alive with the models we had left.

One of the last turns my second squad had arrived from outflank in turn 3 to claim an objective while the first squad was reduced to the chaplain and the sergeant. Contemtor was long gone and the land speeder arrived in turn 4.

In the end we both managed to hold on to two objectives and it came down to the special victory conditions. Due to my chaplain and sergeant surviving and managing to wreck his tanks, Michael only had First Blood, while I could claim Last Man Standing and Slay The Warlord. Basically pulling this victory right out of my ass on the last turn. It was a great game though and every dice roll we made felt like a make or break situation. Battles like these make me curious to see what's going to happen at the 1000 point level. Winning this battle was pretty critical as well because a loss for me would have meant that this round would have went to the traitor side. 750 is now the first time the loyalists came out ahead which was nice to see for a change.

So, that's about it for this week. Now on to the next batch of rats and ravens!

Victory or Death!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Age of Sigmar and Another Squad

Once again a long period in between blogs, but no matter. It's been a busy month mostly because I've spent a lot of time playing guitar. Now that my music school's yearly rock-night is over, I can afford to free up some warhammer time again. First off some updates from april that I forgot to mention: the arrival of my birthday goodies and a painted land speeder!

Contents of this pile are: Master of Signal/Legion Champion, Darkwing Pattern Storm Eagle, Deathstorm Drop Pod, Dark Furies, Mor Deythan and Corvus Corax.
This was a quick foto at the time. I stayed at home on King's Day purely to paint this one up.
This month I spent a friday night playing my first proper Age of Sigmar battle. Finally found someone from the local club who was also eager to try out the game and we decided to just take some random stuff and use a scenario from the Quest for Ghal Maraz book. I forget what the mission was called, but it involved me being the invader and having to rescue a hero model from my opponents army.

This was the set up, I think, because I can't even look at this picture due to the woefully unpainted state of my skaven warband.
The game was good fun and though we still had to look up a whole lot the gameplay still felt fast. I liked the doomflayer and doomwheel warscrolls. They're still random and fit the all or nothing Skaven style of gameplay that I enjoy. The clanrats and rat swarms made great tar pits although the clanrats would've been better in a larger unit. AoS has, so far, been winning me over more and more. The only thing I still don't really like is the way they dispense the story. The big books are too expensive for me to buy them all and I don't like that they're basically the only way to keep up with what's happening in the storyline. I mean, nice and everything that we have an advancing narrative now, but why keep it locked behind a 60 euro per 3 month paywall? Anyhow, the game itself is great and building armies in the mortal realms is fun as hell.

Here you can see my unpainted clanrats falling apart after a saurus charge and my rat swarms holding up a bunch of kroxigors and skinks.
Aside from my AoS adventures I haven't played much else and spent the rest of the month painting up a new unit of Raven Guard marines instead. It's the same unit as the other one with the exception of a power spear instead of a power sword for the squad sergeant.

The spear is actually a chaos sorcerer staff that has been heavilly modified.
Starting to look like a proper army, right?
That's about it. The new squad took a long time to paint and I'm going to have to paint up even more marines if I want to be ready for the next round in the campaign. The next guys will be in a drop pod though.

Victory or Death!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Legends of the Age of Sigmar: Skaven Pestilens by Josh Reynolds [Book Review]

Bit of a lazy cover art to be honest (it's the same as the Pestilens battletome).
So, I just read "Legends of the Age of Sigmar: Skaven Pestilens" and I wanted to do a review. I have tried to hide the worst of the spoilers, but if you're really passionate about reading this book unspoiled it would probably be better to just go ahead and read it before reading the rest of this post.


On the Amber Steppes of Ghur, the Crawling City is dying. The rabid devotees of the Clans Pestilens have infested this colossal worm and the structures upon its back, bringing poison and corruption with them. They seek to glorify their foul deity by unleashing one of the prophesied Great Plagues, and the Crawling City holds the key. In their way stand Sigmar’s Stormhosts, and stranger enemies still – the skaven must overcome not only these foes but their natural disunity and suspicion, if they are to lay their claws upon the baleful prize at the Crawling City’s heart.

Written by Josh Reynolds

I'll do this one in three parts:

The Skaven Storyline 


Skuralanx - The Scurrying Dark, the Cunning Shadow, etcetera. This guy is the main reason that the skaven have come to the Crawling City. Reading internal monologue and dialog from a Verminlord is a first for me. I had no frame of reference on how these things are usually handled and had no set expectations. Especially in the case of these epic daemons and how alien and mysterious their inner workings are supposed to be, I was surprised that this one got as much 'screen time' as he did and we got to see so much of his true plans and intentions. All in all, Skuralanx turned out to be a pretty relatable guy and it was fun to watch him start out the story as the grand manipulator, seeing himself as a puppeteer behind the scenes, yet gradually becoming more and more involved and forced to get physical (literally) as his underlings inevitably screwed up.

***SPOILER***Though I didn't mind having the Verminlord die at the end of the book, the way he did was pretty brutal and humiliating. Smashed by the hammer of the same Sigmar statue he was mocking in the beginning. There was a point even before that in the book where his incompetence was emphasized a little bit too much for my tastes. It also seems a strange move to me to have a book that is obviously intended for a skaven-playing audience where the skaven champion is so thoroughly defeated. With Mantius being the only casualty on the stormcast side to show for. Thank the Horned One we still had Kruk.***SPOILER***

Kruk and Vretch - Kruk is the main plague priest of the Congregation of Fumes and Vretch is a plague priest of the Red Bubo. Kruk is a dumb (but occasionally cunning) brute who has probably taken a few too many whiffs of his own censer, while Vretch is a more traditional Skaven who'd rather scheme his way out of a situation than actually confront a foe. Both of them serve as pawns in Skuralanx's plan to get the Great Plague, but, throughout the book, Vretch seems to be the only one making any actual progress. Kruk, in turn, does almost all of the fighting against the stormcast and the seraphon. I think both characters are well written and Reynolds did a good job making them distinctive from eachother despite the both of them technically being regular skaven plague priests.

***SPOILER***Something I really liked from this book is the great twists of their stories at the end of the book. Despite all his cunning, Vretch only manages to become a victim of the very plague he hoped to find and eventually goes through all this trouble only to end up with the wrong relic. The ending in the epilogue where Kruk survives his fall down the gut of the worm and makes an almost destined landing amid the ancient lab where the Great Plague was created was greatly satisfying as well. Both Vermalanx and Vretch were constantly in it for the personal glory. Perhaps we're meant to conclude that Kruk was the only one acting as a true servant of the Great Corrupter. I don't know if that was the intended message, but after all that failure and catastrophe on the skaven front, it was nice to see Kruk rewarded for all of his unthinking devotion.***SPOILER***

The Stormcast/Seraphon Storyline

Zephacleas, Mantius, Seker, Tethacleas - To be perfectly honest, I didn't pick up this book to read about Stormcast. I get the fact that they're the new thing that needs to be marketed and require somewhat of an open mind to accept that they are not by definition uninteresting, but damn I find it hard to like these guys. It didn't help that the Astral Templars (the name of the warrior chamber) are apparently supposed to be a more 'feral' or 'wild' themed chamber. Especially their Lord Celestant: Zephacleas comes across basically as a sort of barbarian king who enjoys fighting more than thinking and is in a constant state of straight forwardness while bellowing manly things to his fellow warriors, except not in a particularly funny way. It felt a bit simple to watch him develop a brotherly bond with the seraphon sunblood Sutok mainly because they both enjoy bashing in the heads of other things with blunt objects. I don't remember the exact page number, but there might even have been a moment where they actually bro-fisted. Yuck.

The other stormcast characters were a bit more fun to read. Mantius was maybe the only one I really liked. The fact that he had a magical falcon from the realm of azyr was pretty cool, his nickname "Far-killer" is pretty bad ass and his fight against the Skuralanx was also quite good. In the end though I probably would have preferred to read more from the viewpoint of the original inhabitants of the city who were enslaved by the skaven. There has been a general complaint about the background of Age of Sigmar that the regular humans are not featured nearly enough in the story. Perhaps it's because the GA: Order book wasn't out yet, so the details of the human civilizations weren't really known, but the book could've done more with that in my opinion. Having all that focus on the stormcast instead was, I think, a missed opportunity to win back the hearts of some of the old fantasy vets.

Kurkori, Takatakk, Sutok, etc. - The arrival of the seraphon was a nice surprise and a nice shift of focus from all of the stormcast exposition. The whole 'star-dream-magic-heaven-energy' thing the lizardmen have got going on now is still a little strange to me and takes a bit of getting used to (especially considering how incredibly vague the lore on it still is). Nevertheless, I guess it all helps make them seem mysterious and alien again. Their introduction creates an interesting comparison between the stormcast, who are also made from some sort of star-energy and they serve as a great enemy for the skaven as well. While the stormcast are kind of the new kid on the block as far as beings like Skuralanx are concerned, the skaven are positively sh***ing themselves when they find out the 'star-devils' are getting involved.

Honorable Mention: Shu'gohl - She's a pretty big gall and served as a fun and interesting setting for the story. The various locations that were on her back (the Sahg'gohl, the Dorsal Barbicans, the Setaen Palisades, the Libraria Vurmis, etc) got confusing to me pretty quickly. Maybe because english isn't my first language, maybe because I'm not an expert on worm biology, who knows. In any case, the skaven vs stormcast/seraphon and infection vs immune system metaphor was not lost on me and quite a cool analogy to see.

The Verdict (a solid 10 out of 13)

I think the book is great. Yeah, it might have been better if there had been less stormcast and more humans.

***SPOILER***And yeah, it would have been nice if the skaven could have achieved a better victory instead of the highly speculative ending/humiliating defeat that we got.***SPOILER***

But honestly, this book is 183 pages of great action, cool plot twists, fantastic places and interesting characters. Although the book seemed a bit short to me for the price that it's sold at, the 183 pages do keep the book from becoming boring or too demanding on your time. I've never read an age of sigmar novel before, yet I feel like I've had a good idea of what to expect from now on and the potential for great adventures that the new setting has within. If you've got 20 euro's to spare and have an interest in Pestilens, Astral Templars and/or Seraphon, do yourself a favor and add this tome to your collection.

For the glory of the Horned Rat!