Gun Fighters Ball - Legends of the Old West

Historical – Cowboys are such an American icon. While Westerns come in and out of popularity every few years, there always seems to be a new miniature game popping up set in the genre. One of my clients went whole hog with Knuckleduster’s Gun Fighter’s Ball. This is a skirmish game that works for 2-12 players, the game has cards that detail out the stats for each mini and they come sold in packs of gangs like the Earps and James Gang. The production quality of the cards is pretty basic, but the figure are amazingly detailed metal models. Gone are the days or blobby lead cowboys, these models are crisp and well defined.

Space Marines - Who's your Daddy?

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Warhammer 40,000 – With seven new books Space Marine players have more choices than ever. Way back in third edition I opted to paint my Marines in a unique color scheme, this was in part because I didn’t want another black army (I was playing them as Raven Guard from the old IA article, since Chaos was rampant) and partially because I wanted to future proof the army. Marines being fairly generic can be used like a multi-tool across so man different lists, by picking my own colors and building out options I found interesting I was able to amass a substantial Marine collection. Which means I have a ton of models to try to work into lists.

With the new “build-your-own” successor traits as well as the ancestor mechanic you can specialize your traits to max out the effectiveness of your force. Love the Assault Phase? Then claim White Scars as your ancestor for that sweet extra damage in the Assault Doctrine. Prefer heavy weapons pick the Iron Hands or imperial Fists and start the game with bonuses. Midrange more your speed roll with the Ultramarines or Raven Guard for turn two shenanigans. As a successor you not only get access to the cool Combat Doctrine bonuses but also the Stratagems, Warlord Traits, Relics and Tactical Objectives. Granted the “choose your own traits” are a little weaker on their own being able to mix and max gives you more ability to tailor to exactly how you want to play. The biggest drawback to choosing the successor route is loosing access to special characters (unless they’re from Forge World – more on that later) and having to pay CP to get access to the best relics.

So what’s this Forge World nonsense you speak of? Well in the best set of Imperial Armour Books (The Badab War), Forge World explored the chapters involved in that conflict and introduced characters for each of those chapters. Under the old codex those characters unlocked access to chapter tactics which changed up how your army worked. With the advent of eighth edition that model no longer worked and the Forge World chapters were tweaked in the imperial Armour Index to stand on their own, with the caveat that you could just pick whatever chapter tactics you thought best represented those characters. Cool, right? Well with the 2019 Space Marine book you just got a whole ton of new options, particularly for Chapters that have not been clarified as having a defined Progenitors like the Characadons, Red Scorpions, Exorcists, Angels Revenant, Red Hunters, Star Phantoms, Minotaurs, Fire Hawks, and Astral Claws as not only do you get cool rules from the characters but you can pick a Progenitor and Successor traits to maximize your list or fit your play-style.

Back when my gaming group was playing the Badab War I did a series of articles exploring lists based on each of the Chapters that took place. I’m considering putting together a group to play through a variation of that campaign again. Stay tuned as i’ll post more once I’ve put in some work.

With my Twilight Ravens I’ve gone through a variety or lists and options trying to find the sweet spot that I want to play for an extended period of time. I doubt a settle on anything anytime soon as there are just soooo many variations available. Currently for my groups weeknight gaming sessions we’re stickling with 750/1500 point lists. With a smaller point limit it’s easier to get a game done in a reasonable amount of time when you account for the lackadaisical nature of our game nights.

What I’m currently running for 1500 points is:

Twilight Ravens Third Company - Progenitor: White Scars?
Successor Traits: Long Range Marksmen, Whirlwind of Rage

BATTALION ONE:

HQ - Chaplain Dreadnought (2X Heavy Flamers + Dread Close Combat)
HQ - Lieutenant- Combi-flamer Powerfist
TROOP - Tactical Squad - Combi-flamer + Flamer
TROOP - Tactical Squad - Combi-flamer + Flamer
TROOP - Tactical Squad - Combi-flamer + Flamer
ELITE - Agressors - Flamestorm Gauntlets
FAST- LandSpeeder - 2X Heavy Flamers
Dedicated Transport - Drop Pod -Deathwind Launcher

BATTLION TWO:

HQ - Captain - 2x Chainsword (Teeth of Terra)
HQ - Chaplain - Master Crafted Plasma Pistol
HQ - Lieutenant - Dual Lightning Claws
TROOP - Intercessors - Bolt Rifle, Chainsword
TROOP - Intercessors - Bolt Rifle, Chainsword, Auxillary Grenade Launcher
TROOP - Intercessors - Bolt Rifle, Power Fist
ELITE - Vanguard Vets - 4x Storm Shield Chainsword, 6x Dual Chainsword
FAST - Attack Bike - Multi-melta

I really like this list so far. Being able to outflank with 11” range flamers or deepstrike a unit with flamers and be able to clear and area the turn they arrive has been fun. With Whirlwind of Rage + Exortation of Rage the Vanguard Vets can put a hurt on most units.

In the event I need to jump up to 2000 points I can add in the following:

ELITE - Relic Sicaran Battle Tank - 2x lascannons sponsons
ELITE - Aggressors - Flamstorm Gauntlets
FAST - Attack Bike - Multimelta
Dedicated Transport - Drop Pod - Storm Bolter
Dedicated Transport - Drop Pod - Storm Bolter

This give me even more flexibilty and a few more threats to spilt my opponents attention.

Of course if I need to run as part of a team I can break the list down to this 750 point force.

BATTALION ONE:

HQ - Chaplain Dreadnought (2X Heavy Flamers + Dread Close Combat)
HQ - Captain - 2x Chainsword (Teeth of Terra)
TROOP - Tactical Squad - Combi-flamer + Flamer
TROOP - Tactical Squad - Combi-flamer + Flamer
TROOP - Tactical Squad - Combi-flamer + Flamer
ELITE - Vanguard Vets - 4x Storm Shield Chainsword, 6x Dual Chainsword
FAST- LandSpeeder - 2X Heavy Flamers

Not quite the same impact, but it gets the playstyle across and takes advantage of the traits I’ve chosen for this list. I figure if I call each of my iterations a company I can forge my own narrative as my Chapter is on a Crusade and the companies are spread out over several systems.


Arena Rex - Blood on the Sand

Arena Rex - Gladiators have always been cool. Arena Rex has beautiful miniatures for their game of death. Being a slightly fantastic take on the historical narrative of the Roman Empire this game features giant scorpions, plant people and other interesting creatures to duke it out in the arena.

More Deathwatch Marines

Warhammer 40,000 – Deathwatch didn’t get all the fancy toys the new marines got. With the steady flow of these guys across my table you’d never know it. Some of these guys were rescued from the bargain bin and recruited to the Deathwatch with a shoulder pad swap, while the rest make up weapon load-outs my client didn’t have in his existing force. I tried to make up a variety of chapters by mixing and matching the decals I have with various color schemes, just to avoid only representing a few chapters.

Twilight Ravens - Vanguard Vets

Twilight Ravens - Vanguard Vets

Warhammer 40,000 – I love Jump Pack Infantry, they’re not always the best choice but man I love moving fast and hitting something. Sadly Assault Marines are really better as a mobile firebase like Chaos Raptors, they’ve gotten a bit better with the advent of Angels of Death but jumping around with melta guns or flamers is still a better role for them. In previous editions I would occasionally run lightning claw equipped Vanguard Vets as a throwback to the unit Shrike used to bring with him back in Third Edition. They were ok but really expensive and rarely made back their points. At the end of Seventh Edition that unit got way better with the Raven Guard formations that allowed for first turn charges but once that went away my clawed maniacs went back to being shot off the table before they could connect.

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A Tale of Two Abaddons

A Tale of Two Abaddons

Warhammer 40,000 – For literal decades the metal Abaddon struck fear into the hearts of loyalist dogs on tables the world over. His tiny Napoleonic presence leading the masses of cultists and heretics in crusades leaving a trail of destruction. That all changed with the release of a new plastic kit, now the Lord of the Black Legion has a stature suitable to his station. An iconic release like this has players scrambling to tweak their lists to include the new hotness. Which leads me to my tale.

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Green Knight - House Cadmus Crusader

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Warhammer 40,000 - Big stompy robots with huge guns. Love ‘em or hate ‘em Imperial Knights are here to stay. Most of the Knight commissions I’ve done have be a unique color scheme that doesn’t line up with any of the Houses. Most of them have also been magnetized extensively. From a cost perspective this tends to make more sense to most players. The unique scheme allows them to play any house or freeblade combination they’d like without their opponent hassling them about the color scheme. While the magnets let them change up loadouts on a whim. When you pay $150 or so for a model you tend to want to get the most bang for your buck.

The flip side of that are players that pick a house and load-out and stick with it. These players tend to see the knight as its own character with a backstory and history. This latest project is probably a little of the later. My client got a great deal on a painted knight and wants me to match the scheme for this Crusader.

Arkham Horror - Expansion

Board Games – I’ve painted up quite a few models for this Fantasy Flight game. The latest batch adds some new heroes and a few monsters. The sculpts are all pretty decent and take paint well. My only honest complaint about the minis is the dumb clunky base. I know in game it serves a functional purpose that makes it easy to see what the monster is, how big it is and it’s basic stats, but in my opinion the base detracts from the model as a whole.

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Trun Hunters - Shadows of Brimstone (In Space?)

Board Games – Shadows of Brimstone is quite the mishmash of things, initially it seemed like a Cowboy game with monsters but with each expansion it delves further into the weird. This latest set I painted reminds me a bit of Bosk from Star Wars or the Badoon from the Guardians of the Galaxy books. Space-faring lizardmen bounty hunters, kinda speaks for itself.

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Assaulting Devestastion - Ultramarine Centurions

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Warhammer 40,000 – Units come in and out of favor every time there is a new release for 40k. I’ve been painting a variety of Ultramarine units for this client. He’s working on rounding out his collections and getting all the units he might want to filed painted up. With the new space marine codex I feel like he’s going to be adding quite a few more units to the collection since almost everything got cheaper and/or better.

When they first came out Centurions were ridiculed as something silly and dumb, why would a marine in armor don a second armor suit, and why did look like the Power Loader from aliens with power fists and guns strapped below them. But being as their initial release was during the “Reign of Grav” they saw significant play. The assault variants were pretty universally dismissed as not good.

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In 8th edition Centurions don’t tend to see much play. Some tweaks and new rules will probably change that however. If your list is a straight-up gun line these guys fill a solid roll.

Paint on these matches the previous Ultramarine schemes I’ve done which you can read about here.

Black Plague - Zombicide in the Dark Ages

Black Plague - Zombicide in the Dark Ages

Board Games – I remember when the first Zombicide game was up on Kickstarter, zombies were all the rage and Walking Dead was fresh and different, survivors based on pop icons drove the stretch goals to create an annual cash cow for CMON. As with most “sequels” the franchise eventually lost steam and rebooted in an Evil Dead 3-ish realm of mid-evil zombies and necromancers. Of course this also gave the game access to a variety of fantasy tropes that breathed new life into the franchise and wrangled in fantasy players with a refined version of the game that uses a nifty dashboard instead of the awkward “paperclip” for tracking your character.

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7th Continent - Flying Roots

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Board Games – I love the variety of painting clients I currently have. It’s really hard to get burnt out when you have a variety of things to paint. (I swear if I have to paint one more Hive Fleet Leviathan model I’ll lose it) It’s especially nice to get something on a totally off-the-wall scale like 7th Continent. These models are tiny.

The goal with these was to match the card art/box art so that it’s easier for players to identify their paws on the board easier. At this scale it’s not so much about an amazing paint job as it is being functional.

Down with the Sickness - Plaguebearers

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Warhammer 40,000 – Nurgle seems to be really popular in 8th Edition. Which makes sense when you consider how important screening and board control are to most of the missions. That paired with a pretty amazing product line means many of these disease ridden daemons have traversed my tabletop.

This latest batch is a little different as the client requested some variety in skin tone. So I started with two colors or green and a flesh tone as my base. A quick wash of Athonian Camoshade got them to a nice dirty look and some gore effects finished them off.

The OTHERS: Seven Sins - Gamma Team

Board Games - It’s amazing the amount of content CMON produces for their board games. I’ve painted up several batches of these models for my client and I think she still has a few more sets to go. When this game was up on Kickstarter originally I picked up the “core” set but still haven’t had a chance to put it on the table, from what I’ve heard it’s an amazing game with a rich backstory. I love the models and hopefully I’ll be able to find some free space on my painting table to get my own set done soon.

Wolves on the Prowl - More Space Wolves

Wolves on the Prowl - More Space Wolves

Warhammer 40,000 – Quite often I have clients come back to add additional units to their armies. With a living system like 40k has become points fluctuate with the Chapter Approved releases, rules change with new supplements or FAQs and as such a 2,000 point army may find itself in need of some reinforcements. Such is the case with these Space Wolves I painted a few years ago.

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Tau Tanks Terrorize Town

Warhammer 40,000 – Tau are by far my least favorite army to paint or play against. I love reading about them and the role they play in the game, especially in the campaign supplements from late seventh edition. They’re more alien feeling than the Eldar and have a really cohesive look and feel. My issue is that cohesive look and feel means painting any model in the range feels very much like painting every other model in the range, particularly with this scheme.

This time around my client decided to add a Spearhead Detachment to his existing force. There are quite a few things I love about 8th edition 40K and the detachment style of building army list ranks at the top. If you work out points costs for your detachments that can fit into a larger army build it becomes very easy to mix and match completely changing how the force functions by swapping in a Spearhead instead of a Vanguard for example.

The paint is pretty standard Vior’la Tau, you can read more about the scheme in these posts.

Death Watch - Heavy Support

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Warhammer 40,000 – Some armies you’ll always be adding small elements to. With Space Marines of any type minor adjustments in wargear load-outs can drastically affect your costs, which means tweaking units by a model or two. When working with a super-specialized force like Death Watch those tweaks can have a bigger impact. For players that don’t like to proxy or use counts as models in their force this means constantly adding to your collection until you have ever combination covered.

This latest batch of Death Watch marines goes along with the force I’ve been painting for a client, this time around he’s adding some special and heavy weapons.

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More Old Hammer

Warhammer 40,000 – Recently I watched a show on Netflix called Slobby’s World. It’s about a “vintage” clothing store in Arizona that makes mint tracking down clothes and accessories from the 1980’s-1990’s, the whole premise is pretty interesting and although the people in the show are obnoxious, annoying and just down-right weird it’s a train wreck I just couldn’t turn off. Part of what I found so interesting was how much people were willing to pay for stuff that I owned as a kid and donated to Good Will when it went out of style. Where is this rambling going you ask? Well the show reminded me of how strong nostalgia is and how in some circles having “vintage” things is a status symbol, which leads to my latest project. Yeah you guessed it … more Old hammer stuff.

WIP – Genestealer Cult (Hybrid Metamorphs)

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Warhammer 40,000 - I judge a book by it’s cover, at least when it comes to miniatures. If something looks weird or slightly off with a new release I’ll typically pass. Which means I don’t necessarily look at the codex entry for such models because I pass them off as fugly or overcosted. When the seventh edition GSC book finally dropped I built almost my entire force from two boxes of Death Watch: Overkill that I picked up on discount. When I finally did pick up the five man box of Acolyte/Metamorphs all I built were the special and heavy weapons from the box because Overkill didn’t include any of them.

With the Eighth Edition book I’ve been trying to expand my collection with building block units. Having built a solid core that I’m happy with it’s now time to look at adding some units that might be able to fill a different role or be less CP dependent to pull off the tricks I need them too.

Having some extra bodies left after building all the Rock Saws I needed I decided to take a look at the other options the Acolyte kit could build. Not being familiar with the Tyranid Biomorphs I thought some of them were very odd and didn’t fit the look I was going for. After reading through the entry I settled on giving the unit double talons and a hand flamer on each model. Since the unit is limited to 10, I could easily put them in a truck and drive around dumping 10D6 auto hits on units. Not that strength 3 will wound much but the potential is there. The more impressive stat that these guys have is more Attacks, they start with 3 attacks per dude and 4 on the leader, 31 attacks hitting on 3’s wounding most things on 4’s. Swapping the rending claw for another talon takes the attacks to 5 per dude 6 on the leader bringing us up to 51 attacks and these 51 attacks now hit on 2’s thanks to the talons. That is some serious potential damage output.

If toughness 3 hordes are raining on your parade. This unit can tear things up. Cast Might From Beyond on them and pick the Twisted Helix trait you’re now looking at 61 attacks, hitting on 2’s wounding on 2’s that should mulch through those bodies fairly reliably.

Right now these guys are in a “playable paint stage” my goal with my own stuff it to quickly paint it to a minimal tabletop standard so everything looks cohesive, once I have a lull in commissions I’ll go in and paint these guys to my personal standard and really get the colors to pop on the table.

Dark Crystal - Board Game Minis

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Board Games – As a kid Dark Crystal freaked me out a bit. I remember watching it at my grandmothers house who picked it up because at the time anything Jim Henson was gold. Little did she know that this was almost as scary to a little kid as his storyteller series was. The story of the guy who caught death in bag still sticks with me.

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Anyway the four miniatures used as game pawns in this board game have a decent level of detail. The base on them makes it feel a bit like a chess set. Which would be cool if they expanded the line to have a few more figures. With the Netflix series on the horizon I imagine the Board Game will see a spike in sales.