Off the painting table - Shadows Over Camelot Expansion

Board Games - With King Arthur coming out I think this game might get a second look for people looking to do a theme night before going out to see Charlie Hunnam trade in his hog for a horse and suit of chainmail. ThisDays of Wonder title is one of the traitor mechanic games that seemed to be all the rage a few years ago.

This set of models is from the Merlin's company expansion that introduces Merlin as a character and gives Sir Bedivere his own figure with special coat of arms.

Off the painting table - More Triumvirates

Warhammer 40,000 - The Triumvirate of the Primarch seems tobe a pretty popular box as I've done two separate commissions for them over the past week. This time around the client wanted them to be closer to the studio schemes.

Cypher is a bit darker with Dark Angels Green as a accent color. I like how this ties into the current scheme for the Dark Angels as a throwback to the studio version of the old Cypher model that was painted with green armor. (Dark Angels armor was black pre-heresey which is where Cypher is supposed to come from as one of the Fallen.)

The Grand Master Voldus is done in the traditional metallic silver scheme. I really like how this looks and the metallic paint really pops.

Roboute Guilliman matches the other Ultramarines I've been painting for this client. The Maccrage Blue base with a Drakenhof Nightshade really pops against the gold trim. For the flaming sword I used fluorescent yellow, orange and red followed with a wash of Casandra Yellow. The result is pretty good for a Level Two Tabletop Finish.

Shadow War: Tyranids

Warhammer 40,000 - Shadow War: Armageddon seems to be a popular topic as of late. I was always a fan of Necromunda, the idea of a gang war in the Underhive was just so cool. The setting was such a different take on the epic scale conflicts that the rest of the 40K universe focuses on (if you can find them the novel series that came out with the last release of the game are really good).

That gang war idea was so appealing that I jumped into the now out of print Judge Dredd Miniature game as a replacement. It's a shame most of the models for that were so dated looking and focused on the early Dredd comics. The system was great to create whatever you wanted with the skill trees and seemed to do a decent job keeping a reign on one gang running away with it. Since this is now out of print I've been reading Rogue Stars which reminds me quite a bit of Rogue Trader with the focus more on a narrative play rather than a straight up beat down.

I'd love to have more of an opinion on the new Shadow War release but it sold out everywhere and I don't get a feel good feeling paying significantly more to get the terrain and rules separately. I'm hoping they reprint the box set with the updated book at some point. Honestly The only reason I pick up the GW box games is because they're such a value compared to buying the individual boxes. fingers crossed they listen to fans and bring it back like the "limited release" of Space Hulk that seems to come back around every Christmas. (I still need to get that one.)

This small squad of Tyranid Warriors is a team for Shadow War: Armageddon. I haven't read through the rules yet but my client is really psyched to get these on the table. His group is planning on running a campaign for the next few months and is using this as his force. At some point he's going to have me paint up some genestealers and a few more warriors which will turn into a full force once the next edition of 40K comes out. It seems that several of my clients are hovering on their next force until they are sure it will work in the next edition.

Paint on these is pretty straight forward. I followed the Hive Fleet Leviathan color scheme which constists of a Pallid Wych Flesh base with some Carroburgh Crimson in the recesses. The purple is Naggorath Night with a Xereus Purple and Genestaler Purple Highlight. The red is Khorne red highlighted up to Wild Rider Red.

The Primarch's Return

Warhammer 40,000 - The last set of the Gathering Storm models is probably my favorite. Although I can't stand the Ultramarines in general it's pretty cool to see Robute wake up and do the action hero thing. It's also cool to see Cypher doing the Clint Eastwood, Man with No Name pose for the new kit. The Grey Knight Grandmaster is the weakest of the models but he still looks pretty amazing.

Grand Master Voldus is a typical Grey Knight model. Lots of details all over the armor but other wise its a similar pose to other terminator characters. For this one I painted to match the clients other Grey Knight models which don't use metallic silver for the armor.

Roubute Guilliman is an imposing Monsterous Creature. About the same size as a Daemon Prince he's an imposing figure. My client asked that I paint him a pale blue so that it looked better with his Salamanders and Grey Knights. I'm happy with how the blue looks next to the gold it feels a little more regal to me than the traditional blue and gold. For the sword and torches I used fluorescent paints with a yellow wash to get that bright flame effect.

Imperial Triumvirates

Warhammer 40,000 - The Gathering Storm Fall of Cadia introduces some pretty amazing models to the Imperial Soup. Any of these models can be used as an HQ Choice in any imperial detachment. It's pretty clever as it pushes the idea that imperial forces work together and should be considered a single force on the table top more often than not. With a new edition on the horizon it's likely that these models have some hints at what we may see, I'm not big into theorizing what the changes may come in a new edition I just hope that rules for the models I own remain current or are updated quickly to the new edition.

Enough rambling about what may come to pass. It's time to focus on the here and now. The first model in this batch is Bellsarius Cawl a Mechanicum priest who plays an important role in the story as it advances. This is a plastic kit that is fairly complicated toput together compared to the standard squad kits. You can really only assemble it one way so there's none of the possibility that you'd usually get in a GW kit. As a special character that's forgivable (especially considering the old metal and finecast sculpts).

Paint on this one is pretty straightforward I put down a gunmetal metallic, aged bronze and mephiston red before doing a wash of earthshade over the model. I then followed that up with a clean up layer that acts as the first highlight. I followed this up with a coat of wild rider red, sterling silver and pure gold. The end result is a pretty striking figure that looks nice on the table.

 

Saint Celestine and her two flying canonesses were fun to put together. It's surprising how strong the bond is between the scrolls and the plastic base is when you use plastic cement. These are also part of the ongoing Inquisition/Grey Knight force I've been working on over that last year or so.

The final model in the box is Inquisitor Greyfax. This is a pretty straightforward model that has similarities to the previous models that were part of the Witchunters range. The pilgrim hat and specialized power armor make this one of my favorite models in this set.

Beware the Riptide

Warhammer 40,000 - I never really got the maritime references on all the Tau units. I've heard they're fish people but it seems odd to me.

The next big addition to the Tau project I've been working on is wrapped up. The stark white, red and gray scheme is really working nice. It's fun doing something outside my normal style.

Heavy Lifting Black Legion Additions

Heavy Lifting Black Legion Additions

Warhammer 40,000 - The Terminator Annihilation Force is a nasty formation available to Chaos Marines in the two latest supplements. Initially I think the idea of small combi-melta units dropping in to take quick kills on juicy targets was a big lure. After seeing them in action having some heavy weapons as an option is important.

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Boys in Blue ... Ultramarines Vs Nightlords

Warhammer 40,000 - I finally put together a viable 2000 point list of Chaos Marines with an Daemon Allies. Although I have these painted as Night Lords I think I prefer the Traitor's Hate Black Crusade list better than the legion list in Traitor Legions. What I built will work with either style list but I think giving up the Feel No Pain and Initiative bonus for the Night Lord traits isn't something I want to do just yet.

Here's the list I'm trying to make work:
Black Crusade Detachment
Raptor Talon - (4) units of Raptors with melta guns (1) Raptor Lord
Lost and Damned - (4) units of Cultists (1) Dark Apostle
Sorcerer on Bike
Allied Daemons
Keeper of Secrets
(2) units of Daemonettes
(1) unit of Seekers

The Raptors all bear the Mark of Slaanesh carry the Icon of Excess and are led by a champion with a pair of lightning claws. Being able to assault out of deep strike; having the initiative bonus should see them going first against most targets. Having feel no pain should allow them to survive most return swings or a round of shooting after a bad scatter.

The Slaanesh Daemons are something I kept from the massive chaos forces I sold off during fourth edition. I kept them because even if they're not as good as they used to be, the models are amazing looking. Once I finish repainting and rebasing them I think they'll be an eye catching portion of the force.

With the force assembled I took them to the table to see what they can do. My first test is and Ultramarine Gladius force.  The mission is from Maelstrom of War, three cards per turn.

Unfortunately my notes on this are the best but here's a summary.

The Keeper of Secrets rolled Invisibility as a psychic power which elicited a groan from my opponent. Throughout the game the Keeper was able to stay invisible and tear through small units easily.  

The cultists leaders were super stars. During the course of the game I rolled the Dark Ascension three times creating Daemon Princes from cheap cult champions. It was pretty amazing, not having a wingless Daemon Prince I just grabbed a 60mm model from my cabinet to be a placeholder.

Less than impressive were the Raptors and Sorcerer on the Bike. I'm convinced that if I put melta on anything I'll roll "1's" more often than not. This annoying fact was extra evident in this game as I failed to pop a single vehicle with melta fire and instead had to charge in and beat them to glance out plethora of transports I had to face. Once the Raptors got into combat with regular marines they were amazing however they were decimated during shooting and once I lost the Icon Bearer they units quickly died to my horrid die rolls.

The Daemonettes did amazing when they got to combat but the shooting phase and overwatch took its toll and not many of the twelve models in the units made it to combat and those that did quickly dispatched the unit they assaulted only to be shot to death standing in the open.

Gladius is tough to face and I'm surprised I did as well as I did. If more of the die rolls went my way it seems that this would be a fairly strong force. The free roll on the Boon Table can be pretty amazing if you get lucky. Rolling for the cult champions is safe and if you get something good it's a freebie. If you roll a spawn it's also a free upgrade. If you roll a Daemon Prince ... well it's just plain amazing.

I want to run this a few more times before I make changes. On paper it seems solid in practice there's some pretty substantial weaknesses that may just boil down to luck. The biggest weakness I see if how much the list relies on the assault phase. It's hard to get into assault with numbers big enough to do something. Yes being able to assault out of deep strike is a huge fix to the weakness of Raptors. However the flaws with the assault phase in seventh edition put a damper on what should be an amazing ability..

I'm looking at swapping out the Daemons for a Renegade Knight as a secondary build using the same formations. I'm also going to see what happens if I drop the marks and run this as a true Night Lord list using the legion rules.

 

   

 

On the painting table ... Sniper Scouts

Warhammer 40,000 - Now that Gathering Storm has been out for a little while I'm seeing some forces adding a few units to maximize what they can do with the Castellan Formation. Having access to pretty much anything Imperial has people doing some interesting things.

One of the cheapest Troop units is the Space Marine Scout. For a minimal investment you get a fairly tough unit that can scout onto objectives and snipe off enemies from a good range. Not to mention with this formation they come back on a 4+ when they do finally get eliminated. I can see why this is a go to choice to fill out those four troop units.

This particular batch of Scouts goeswith a Tyrants Legion force I painted some time ago. They have a custom decal that is used on all the various forces that I've done for this client. As well as the same grey, white, red and black scheme that ties everything together. The camo cloaks are painted to match the base so that they at least appear to be functional.

There's also a unique Vindicare Assassin that you can see photos of in the painting gallery.

On the painting table ... Tau-riffic

Warhammer 40,000 - Over the course of my hobby I've painted just about every race in the 40K universe however somehow I managed to avoid painting Tau. The is until now.

The Tau are an army that never really appealed to me. I don't play against them regularly so I have mostly a general overview of what they can do. Which is pretty much wipe units off the board in the shooting and assault phase.

The force I've been painting currently has two crisis suits, six stealth suits, one riptide and fourteen marker light drones. The anime inspired look of this force does look really sharp. I believe I'll have a few more drones and bigger suits that will join this force at a later date.

The paint style on these is a total departure for me. I don't typically like to paint white or sharp clean lines so this was a new experience for me. I was asked to match the paint style that Duncan Rhodes showcased on the Warhammer TV channel. In that he painted a Ghost Keel. The tips in the video were very useful. For white I typically start with a celestial grey and work my way up to white from a gray primer.  Ulthuan Grey over a white base with White Scar edge highlight is pretty clever.

These grays (I know grey/gray gets confusing the joys of writing about a British Company right?) are warmer which works well with the earth shade wash rather than the standard black. By applying the wash only to the recessed areas and corner with the lines of the suit converge these are much cleaner looking that my standard over wash that I do on marines. Which takes a bit longer to do correctly but the end result is really nice.

The majority of the drones are converted from guns drones with a mold of the existing sensor portion of the drones that came with the stealth suits. While not a perfect match I think they get the job done and in a pinch could be called out as gun drones.

I'm looking forward to painting more Tau units in the future and hopefully seeing more success when facing them across the table.

Fell Blade Folly

Warhammer 40,000 - After playing the Genestealer Cult for a good while I decided to go back to my marines. I'm all for trying to learn a new army but at some point I want to win or at least have a chance that isn't dependent of rolling good results on a random chart. (I'm not abandoning them just taking a break, I'm sure there's a way to win but I think it might involve changing my list and I'm not looking to add to that force at the moment.)

Idon't often get a chance to field my Fellblade and at 2000 points I feel like it's reasonable to bring it. My grav centurions haven't seen the table in some time so I wanted to field them as well. After session of what if I ran this on Battlescribe I came up with the following list:
HQ- Chapter Master on Bike with Thunder Hammer Storm Shield
Troop - (3) Bikes with (2) Grav Guns
Troop - (4) Bikes with (2) Grav Guns
Heavy - (3) Grav Centurions in a Landraider Redeemer
Heavy - (3) Grav Centurions in a Landraider Crusader
Lord of War - Fellblade

I faced off against a mixed Castellan force consisting of Space Marine Scouts, Astra Militarum Vets, a Vindicare Assassin, Sentinels and Leman Russ battle tanks. The Mission we played was out of the Altar of War book and put the Space Marines in the center of the board protecting a single objective with the Castellans surrounding them.

My notes on this game are a little sketchy so I'll summarize to the best of my ability.

The Fellblade in the middle of the table held the Castellans from the primary objective and while it's offensive output was less than stellar the amount of fire it soaked up during the course of the game made it well worth taking.

Maneuvering the large tanks around the densely packed city proved to be difficult but the limited amount of fire power that could damage AV 14 made it a safer choice to keep the Centurions safe until they had a good shot at taking something out. When they did pop out it was devastating to the Castellan force but did leave them open to return fire were I rolled an unnatural amount of "1's."

The bikes came in popped a Chimera and then failed to do much. The limited area in the city really limited what they could do with blocked streets and few clear lines of sight. On a board with more room to move they probably would be a bigger threat.

The Catellan list didn't really seem to be that impressive. I think it's one of those formations that people will use just to get random models from their collection onto the table top. Coming back on a 4+ is cool but in a Kill Point game that's really not a benefit.

 

Mad in the Mansion

Board Games - Mansions of Madness looks like a pretty amazing game, that is if the game is anywhere near the same level of quality as the miniatures. I'm going to have to check this on out if I can ever get to a board game night and demo the game. I've heard there may be some type of deck builder that feels similar to the board game but I haven't done my research to confirm. (currently my game nights don't have room for another game of this type, however after painting these up I might need to see if I can squeeze it in.)

These are painted to a tabletop level. Some basic shading, highlighting and variety of colors across the full range. I kept the bases black as my understanding is the game carries across several different types of terrain and as such it makes more sense for a simple black base to frame the models.  

Black Legion Converted Drop Pod and More

Warhammer 40,000 - The Black Legion continues to invade my painting table. Lately most of the army scale projects I've been asked to work on come in chunks. (I think the primary reason for this is that most of the army scale projects I've had the pleasure of working on lately seem to be new acquisitions rather than salvage jobs from the bargain bins.)

This time around I painted up a unit of ten cultist/guardsmen to fill the obligatory troop slot for a CAD detachment. The eagles were shaved off most of the models and where bits of them were still visible I paint a red "X" to show the troopers change of allegiance. These followed my standard three color minimum method of blocking in the various shades of gray and metallic followed by a quick wash. Quick and dirty to look decent on the table and match the rest of the force.

With specialty units like chaos marine bikers it's important to have some ablative wounds in the units so you don't loose those pricey special weapons before they do some damage to your opponent. Hence two basic bolter/chainsword bikers found their way onto my table. these follow the same process as the other marines in the force a dark pavement base with a nuln oil wash give the impression of a painted and shaded black. A quick edge highlight with mechanicus gray makes them look good on the table. I did a basic OSL glow from the screens onto their faces using a fluorescent yellow paint. I'm really liking how this effect turns out and it isn't to difficult to pull off.

The last portion of this round is a Kharybdis/Dreadclaw conversion. I think this is significantly smaller than the Forgeworld Kharybdis model but is probably passable for the Dreadclaw. The icons for each of the gods is a nice touch and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Again this is just a basic three color + job meant to get the models looking decent on the table. 

I want to paint it black ... Black Legion Progress

Warhammer 40,000 – The hits keep on coming for this Black Legion commission. This round has me working on a squad of bikes, Terminator Sorcerer, Hell Brute and a Hell Drake. Painting follows the same recipe I've used on the rest of the models I've done for this force so you can read more here or see more here.

The Hell Drake is probably one of my least favorite models to paint. Assembly isn't to terrible but painting it is just a chore. The amount of trim on this model is just insane. ( I blame 3D sculpting for making it too easy to add this level of detail) I considered painting the whole think gold to start and them going back in to fill out the panels but because of the way it's set up there's just as many panels as there is trim. As with any difficult task it's best to just suck it up and keep forward momentum. 

The bikers are pretty straight forward. I used a flesh with reikland flesh shade on the seats to get a fresh flayed flesh look. I think this helps to make them pop out against the dark color of the bike and armor. I did a basic OSL technique coming off the monitors on the bikes. My client for this project really liked what I did with the Kingdom Death Survivors and wanted to have that same effect in his force if I could find a place it made sense. 

On the painting table ... Havocs

Warhammer 40,000 – When I'm painting my own models often what motivates me to get something done is an upcoming event. It gives you a solid goal to work toward and keeps the focus on only the models you need for the list you're using in the event. A couple of marathon paint sessions and it's easy to get an army at least table top ready in a short period of time. 

As a commission painter I often get clients who need to have models painted in time for an event. As a player I completely understand making last minute changes to your list. These can be because of changes to the meta you expect to face or often because the list requirements are some confusing local preference rather than the standard game. Either way you wind up with a unit that you need to get some paint on quick.

Earlier this week my Black Legion client dropped off some autocannon havocs that he needed painted up for an event next week. I do have a full plate at the moment but I always do what I can to accommodate rush needs. Usually for a small rush fee. 

We're all Mad Here ... Mansions of Madness WIP

Board Games – Fantasy Flight certainly knows how to fill a box with cool little extras that add a ton to a game. Case in point Mansions of Madness could function just fine with paper cut outs, or wooden meeples but going the extra mile and doing 3D sculpts of every monster and character really takes it to the next level.

My regular board game client recently dropped of the core game and what looks to be all the expansions. There's something like 75 pieces to this batch that need to painted to a tabletop quality. 

With a big batch of models like this I start by separating them into models that will share similar colors. For example Cthulu and most of the deep ones are green, the cultists are red etc. This lets me assembly line the base coats and shading quickly so I can get to the detail stage which takes a little while with board game minis as they don't have the level of detail that pops out after a wash that traditional tabletop models do. Which means I need to work a little harder to bring out what's there.

 

Battle Report: Genstealer Cult vs. Tau and Deathwatch

Warhammer 40,000 – Weeknights i try to keep games to 1500 points a side. it makes it possible to finish a game within the few hours, This week three of us got together to play 1500 points of Genestealer Cult vs 750 points each of Deathwatch/Inquisition and Tau. 

We played the football field deployment, maelstrom mission with the reducing objectives. The city set-up had plenty of blocked lines of site so it wouldn't be a shooting gallery.

I stuck with the same list I've been playing. I don't think it's optimized but it was the most cost effective choice with the two Deathwatch: Overkill boxes I acquired. Each game I get a little better and have an easier time remembering all the special rules and interactions. Repetition is the best way to learn right?

My opponents had a Deathwatch squad in a drop pod, two inquisitors in chimeras with henchmen squads. The Tau had a few suits, fire warriors and pathfinders. No 100% of the complete list breakdown but that should be pretty accurate.

They won the roll to set up and go first, I got some really good rolls on the Cult Ambush chart, including a "6" with my first curse massive formation. Throwing caution to the wind I place them very aggressively and hope to seize the initiative. Sadly that roll doesn't go my way so my super aggressive deployment meant heavy casualties. The few that did survive made it into combat and tore through everything unfortunately leaving them open for another round of shooting.

On the opposite side of the table the Deathwatch very thematically faced off against a horde of Neophytes and Acolytes. The chimeras were the star of the show on that end of the table and I really need to start them on the table every time I play. Outflanking never seems to pay off for me as well as trucking across the board drawing fire.

At the end of the game I had 9 points to their 6, but lost my last model on the top of turn five. It was by far the closest game I've had so far. Part of it was lucky rolls on the Score D3 cards that put me ahead on points. If I could have managed keeping something alive I would have got my first win.

Genestealer Cult is a tricky army to play, on paper it feels like it wants to get up in your face and win in the assault phase. In practice there's only a few units that you really want to get into combat: Genestealers and Mutants are amazing when they can get into an assault. The small units of neophytes and acolytes are better used to grab and hold objectives, I think. In practice when I get aggressive with them, five man units die to easily in the shooting phase. Being able to Return to Shadow and bring back friends should be really good, but I've yet to master the art of using it effectively. 

Lord of the Night ... Chaos Marine Test Model

Warhammer 40,000 – I started work on my Night Lords. I went through my bins of models and was able to find almost all the parts I need to build a 1500 point list.  The chaos portion of the Dark Vengeance box has most of the cultists I need with my Necromunda gangs making up the balance. 

First I'm going to focus on the Lost and Damned Formation before moving on to the Raptors which I'm more excited to start work on. I figure this will help to motivate me to get the Cultists done quicker.

The test model is one of the Chosen from the Dark Vengeance box. I started with this one as it has most of the elements that are going to show up across the range of models. 

The base is a blue spray from Montana Gold, with an over brush of Calador Blue followed by a wash of Drakenhof Blue wash. I then went in an picked out the bone elements, silver cables and copper trim, these all received a wash of Agrax Earthshade. For the power weapons I'm using a purple to contrast the blue armor and will work on the detail to make it look like the claws are crackling with lighting. For the flesh I used an elf flesh base with a wash of Reikland Fleshshade. I'm not sure I'm happy with that look for flayed skin so I might come back to it and give it either a bruised or leathery look.

The list I'm working toward at the moment is:
The Lost and the Damned: 4 units of ten Cultists, 1 Dark Apostle
Lord of the Black Crusade: Sorcerer on Bike
Raptor Talon: Lord, 4 units of six Raptors

I also had a chance to put some paint on the chosen, cultists and few of the Necromunda models I'm using to fill in the ranks of cultists for some variety. I really hope they rerelease the gangs in plastic when Necromunda gets its own box set. I mean with how well Bloodbowl seems to be doing that has to be in the works to bring it back right? I hope the mix of models makes my army feel a bit different than the typical force I've seen on the table. 

This won't be a Night Lords proper list at the moment because I think it like Mark of Slaanesh and the Feel No Pain banner on these units to hit harder. I also want to be able to thematically add a 500 point Slaanesh Daemon list to make use of other models that have been shelved since I sold off my other chaos forces.