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April 30, 2009

HOBBY: A Primer on Primer

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I am writing this for those Warhammer painters who have difficulty with spray primers, and/or are looking to get an understanding on how they work. In my experience bad spray primer results are much like auto accidents. 4% of the time is it the fault of the primer and 96% of the time is it operator error. This article is about fixing operator error.

Before I get into the meat of this subject there is one related subject I would like to touch on: Figure Prep. I am not going to get into the fine points of figure prep here, but a little bit of figure prep will go a long way to good primer coats. The most important of which is once you are done sanding, filing, and cleaning up the mold trash you should wash your figure with warm water, soap, and a soft tooth brush, and then allow the figure to dry thoroughly. This will allow your primer to get the best possible adhesion with your figure.

Spray primers come in all varieties and types. They can be found at an auto supply, home improvement store, hobby shop, and at your “big box” discount stores. Some primers are better than others, but your best bet will be to experiment with a few brands and find what works best for you and your climate.

Not all spray paints are primer. The can must say primer on it for it to be primer. I am sure I will get half a dozen replies that say, “I use such and such spray paint and it works fine.” Great! It is not primer. Primer contains chemicals that do two things: protect the surface you are painting, and allow paint to adhere to the surface better. The second effect is what we want. Primer will extend the lifetime of your paint jobs. The rule to drill in to your mind is: All primer is paint, but not all paint is primer.

When using your spray primer it is a good idea to let it sit inside for twenty four hours. This will allow the primer to come to an even temperature, which will help you when you start spraying. Next, check the weather. http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ is the US National Weather Service site I go to for the current conditions outside. Chances are pretty good you do not own a paint booth so you will be painting outside, and knowing the weather conditions is super important. I will explain why later. Finally, for new cans, shake the can for a good long while. I start at about five minutes worth of shaking.

The weather is super important to know when you plan on using spray primers. First there is a temperature sweet spot. I have found that 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit works best for me. I learned this through the instructions on the cans of paint and trial and error. When it is too warm the paint dries on its way to the surface of the figure which will produce a powdery finish. When it is too cold the paint seems to not dry well, and ends up not adhering to the surface as well.

Humidity is your next factor. Now this is only important if it is too high and not as important if it is too low. If the humidity is too high and you use a spray primer then you are looking at an effect that some call “orange peel.” It is called this because the surface of your figure will look like an orange peel. If you combine high heat with high humidity then you will get an effect on your figure that will look like a course grit sand paper. If the humidity is real low you will need to adjust the spray distance closer to the figure. This is because the paint is actually drying before it reaches the figure and it will produce a Christmas tree flock effect. I have found 65% relative humidity and lower is usually pretty safe.

Wind is another consideration, but can easily be mitigated by spraying inside a garage or a shed. However, do not spray in these places unless you have plenty of ventilation. Too much wind will destroy some of the control you need for priming. Wind is such a variable factor with variable effects

The distance that you are spraying from is important. My advice is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how far the spray nozzle is from your surface/ miniature. If you are too close then you will fill in details with the paint, and if you are too far away then you will get an ugly powder coat on the figure. My best advice on distance from your figure is start out at 6” and then adjust in or out as needed.

The way you move your hand and arm is also important while spray painting. This is only something that will be learned through practice. I would suggest the speed of waving at someone a good place to start. Along with hand and arm motion is coordinating when to press the spray nozzle. You should press the nozzle before your figure and stop when the spray is past your figure. A common error is holding the nozzle down and passing the spray back and forth across the figure. Spray in one direction. Once you have reached the end of the line, stop, reset, and start back at the same point. In the end you will find what works best for you through trial and error.

A question that commonly arises about primer is after an undesired effect is achieved. The question is, “What do I do now after the primer is dry and I have orange peel or (insert effect description here)?” There are three options. The first, and least desirable, option is to strip the figure and start over. The second option is to file the area down to bare metal and spot prime with a brush on primer. The last option is to use ultra fine grit sandpaper, or a stiff tooth brush, and lightly sand the rough areas smooth. All of these options take time, but chances are good that the reason for the problem in the first place was operator error. Enough of correcting these mistakes will cure anyone of making them too often.

If spray primer is not an option then I suggest that you look at paint-on primers. Since Games Workshop stopped making Smelly Primer, I started looking around for an alternative. Reaper makes a black and white paint-on primer that I really like, which also works well in an airbrush. I have heard that Gunze makes some high quality paint-on primers, but I have not had the opportunity to use them. The key to paint on primers is multiple thin coats.

Before you paint your figures lay down a good primer coat. This is one of the most essential steps in painting that is too often ignored, and least talked about.

Hey readers I know I have been writing a lot of “basics” articles. My goal has been to expand the Bell of Lost Souls hobby reference material. I would like to know if this is something you want more of, or are you interested in other topics. If you don’t tell me I’ll keep chipping away at this project. Don't worry tutorial and building stuff articles will be happening soon.

40K TACTICA: Necrons in 5th Edition

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As the most established Necron playing Fly Lord, it falls upon me to develop tactics and strategy for playing them. No easy task. With the coming of 5th edition, my Necron army has seen few sunny days and has spent most of it’s time in the far reaches of my gaming closet. However, nostalgia and my fondness for the little robots means I have to dig them out every once in a while for a few games.

Everyone knows that Necrons took the biggest hit with the release of the new rule book, but why…?

Assault
The new and far bloodier assault was definitely a nail in the coffin for the metal warriors. Their low initiative, low strength, low number of attacks trifecta of fail mean that in even an average assault squad will do serious damage and have a good chance of winning combat. An enemy unit tooled for assault will simply wade through them barely even stopping to admire the destruction.
The best to deal with assault is to simply try to avoid it. You can take 3 monoliths and try to block the main assault troops from getting to you. You can also try to take the assault troops head on with a C’Tan. The Necron units designed for assault are mediocre at best. Warrior squads will be wiped out pretty easily if any assault squads get to them. As anti-assault speed bumbs, 180 plus point warrior suicide squads really don’t make sense. There are other more exotic tactics for avoiding assault, but we will save themf or future in depth articles.

Vehicle Damage Table
With the new vehicle damage table, glancing hits can’t destroy vehicles without help. With the lack of high strength, ap 1 weaponry the Necrons have real trouble with heavy armor. As gauss was supposed to be the Necron answer to armor, the change is pretty devastating.

Discounting gauss, the other anti vehicle options are limited. The particle whip is really the best option. The ‘basilisk-like’ str 9, ap3 large blast ordinance shot means most light vehicles will fall pretty easy to it. It has a harder time with the heavier armor. C’Tan can easily take down any vehicle in close combat, but they are slower. Heavy destroyers are weak in comparison but at least combine punch, range, and most importantly jetbike mobility.

Running
This may fall somewhat under the ‘Assault’ category, but anything that will get units into assault faster is not good for the Necrons.

To defend against runners, the tactics are basically the same as avoiding assault. You can also avoid a flank run using the monolith or Veil of Darkness teleportation abilities. Super squads like Pariah’s will die far too easily to plasma, missiles, or any other low ap item. At 36 points and not having the Necron rule, it makes them a very dicey choice in most cases.


Missions
With 2/3 of the missions defined in the rule book dealing with objectives, a more mobile force, more resilient troops, or sheer numbers all have a better shot at holding a spot than warriors do.
In 5th edition, the best bet for grabbing objectives is all of the teleportation tricks that the Necrons can use. Pre-game objective placement becomes very important, close objectives that can be claimed with a slow push forward. Far objectives for stealing toward the end of the game, turbo-boosting destroyers or teleportation are the best bet. For Capture and Control, again the best bet is to simply try to wall yourself off so no one can get to you and steal your opponent’s objective with tricks if you can.

Cover
Now that cover saves are so prevalent, elite troops with lighter armor (Eldar, guard) can easily find cover giving them a save against any of the Necron weapons. The Necrons generally don’t benefit from the same cover saves as they have to be near the lord to take advantage of the res orb.

Unfortunately, there’s little that necrons can do about cover saves. Without the benefit of flamer template weapons or any ‘ignores cover’ choices, Necrons really just have to try and use their high amount of fire to force a large number of saves. So if you need to, dont shy away from planting your little robot feet in the dirt, and blazing away with all you have.

Scout/Outflanking
With the addition of outflanking to the scout USR, it means that nearly every army has an easy way to get around your forward defenses. A major problem when any hand to hand combat usually spells doom.

The best way to combat scout is to try and block with monoliths. If you can castle up with monoliths protecting your flank it can keep some of the outflankers from getting into the heart of your force. This can also give you an opportunity to teleport away from any danger. Also, filling an entire corner with models also protected by monoliths can at least give you a chance to take your shots at the outflanking squad before they get to you.

~Bushidoredpanda here. This is the start of an ongoing set of discussions and tactics working through the Necrons. What are you seeing out there on the tabletop my fellow Necrontyr? Whats working and whats not? Lets hear all about your 5th edition experiences.

April 29, 2009

40K BIG Game Models For Games Day: Part II, Stompas

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Following on my post a few days ago regarding some of the Shadowswords and fliers for this year's Games Day 40K Big Game, here are pictures of some of the Stompas you'll be seeing too. Like the Shadowsword pictures, these are just a small sampling of many models that will be used. I hope you enjoy these sneak peeks into this year's 40K Big Game.




40K RUMORS: Plastic Trygon "Confirmed"

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News brought to the community by: Warpshadow.com

Word on the tubes is that the Plastic Trygon seen in the Apocalypse book is real and headed our way, possibly timed for a release along with an updated Codex: Tyranids (next year).

~Apparently the series of "big models" will continue slowly into other xenos races. Hooray!

40K Poll: Mechanized Edition

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Alright folks. Everyone loves a Warhammer 40000 poll and today we have a juicy topic.

There are many schools of thought within the 40k community regarding the role of mechanized lists. Some say all infantry, while others say 100 mech is the way to go, while others advocate a hybrid. The pros and cons are many. Some advise mechanized lists for their protection and mobility, while others would rather have more offensive forces on the tabletop.

I want to hear what you think is the ideal ratio of mechanization you use in your own armies, and why you have built your army that way.

~For the purposes of this poll treat "mechanized" as not only APCs, but droppods, monoliths, Land Raiders, and the like. Lets hear WHY you use the ratios you do, as well as what army you play and why you think its the right choice for 5th Edition.

Poll, right hand column, ATTACK!

April 28, 2009

40K Hobby: Mono Wheel Space Marine

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This unique model was built by a friend of mine who also frequents the GW Battle Bunker in Maryland. In fact, being an avid converter myself it was the conversation piece that caused me to speak to him in the first place a few years ago. If it happens to be sitting out on the hobby table at the store, it almost never fails to draw questions about its origins and construction. Here are a few tidbits of information that will address the most asked questions about this unusual piece.

Although some people seem to think this conversion was influenced by a certain character and his monowheeled vehicle in recent Star Wars movies, in fact it was actually inspired by a real monowheeled motor vehicle built several years before that film. The film character's monowheel was probably influenced by real world vehicles of this type just like the conversion pictured here.

The other most frequently asked question about this conversion is about the construction of the large outer wheel. It's actually cut from three 60mm GW flat Titan bases glued together with their centers carefully cut out.

Note that I've featured the work of this hobbyist here before. The two-tone bone and red Dark Angels army featured here on BoLS several months ago was the work of the same person, as was one of the Shadowswords featured in the 40K Big Game article from a few days ago.

So, what other "far-out" conversions for 40K bikes are out there? Feel free to share your ideas or links to pictures in the comments area below.


40K RUMORS: Space Wolves Minis?

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Whispers on the wind tell us the following:

Space Wolves have two new main sets planned:
-Wolf Guard in Terminator armour.
-Plastic Long Fangs set.

Currently the Grey Hunters and Blood Claws aren't getting much of a makeover; however, there is the high probability of a BT/DA style upgrade box/sprue.

There will also be several new metal figures released.

Continued talk and chatter is gelling around a September release slot for the Sons of Russ.

~Standard caveats on these, but there has been a marked increase in the steady drumbeat of Wolves chatter. September would be just within the 6-month window, so I would expect to start to hear more as time progresses.

40k EDITORIAL: The End is Nigh (IG)

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Hi all, it’s Jwolf here to tell you that the End of the World is nigh. If you are one of the majority of Warhammer 40k players and theorists, you are playing Fifth Edition as if it were simply a modified version of Fourth Edition. I see so many terrible lists constructed and praised that do not address the realities of the Fifth Edition, but the time for playing such lists is soon to be over.

The new Guard Codex is the first Codex written under Fifth Edition rules that fully takes advantage of the Brave New World. Let’s look at five reasons the Guard so capable under Fifth Edition:

1) True Line of Sight makes guns more important. No one has more guns than the Guard, and the new order system means that more of those guns will hit their targets. Further, TLoS means less to the Guard, because cover saves have actually become easier to obtain, so Guardsmen are more durable.

2) Outflanking is one of the best ways to reach the enemy. The Guard have the Master of the Fleet to both slow incoming enemy Reserves and reduce the chances that outflanking troops come in where they want to. By the same token, Guard Reserves and Outflankers are almost certain to come in where they are wanted, thanks to the Astropath.

3) Life is cheap in Fifth Edition, and the Guard has the largest number of bodies to through into the grist mill.

4) Guardsmen have more Meltas. Melta weapons are the special weapons that matter now.

5) Vehicle LOS rules favor Ordnance Batteries. In order to have LOS to a vehicle facing, you specifically have to be able to see the hull or turret of the vehicle. Vehicles fire from their gun barrels. This means that Ordnance Batteries can be parked behind Chimeras and be fully obscured against shooting. Before you go crazy, I don’t mean they can’t be shot – I mean they gain the 3+ cover save for having the facing they are being shot on obscured. Yes, I know some of you are going to whine about this and accuse me of all sorts of heinous crimes against the Emperor and who knows what else, but the rules are not ambiguous.

~I’m interested in hearing your IG and 5th edition thoughts (except for the complaints about Ordnance Batteries), so let me know what you think.

April 27, 2009

EPIC: The Quintairn Conflict

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A guest post by Gr00v3r

Starting on the Epic Campaign Trail

If you play a lot of tournament-style Warhammer 40,000 or Epic:Armageddon games with your mates, you eventually start looking for ways to vary the gameplay a little. One way of mixing it up a little is scenario play, which is a lot of fun, but--to my way of thinking--an even better thing to try is a campaign.

There are many ways to campaign in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, regardless of the game system you employ, but my preference is for the map-based campaign game.

In a map-based campaign, the battle games are over-arched by a campaign macrogame--each battle is a game within a game.

The difficulty with map-based campaigns is that the macrogame can, if overly complicated, start to overshadow the battle games, which is the opposite of what you should be trying to achieve with a campaign--it should be all about the battles.

For this reason, I like my campaign macrogame's complexity level to sit somewhere just slightly above that of, say, Risk. To that end, I have developed my own set of campaign rules to enable all the Epic or Warhammer 40,000 games I and my gaming mates could ever want. This rulebook is currently set up as a two-player affair, and describes the Eldar campaign to cleanse the planet of Quintairn. It can easily expand into a multiplayer macrogame, however, and my intention is to start a wider Order vs Disorder campaign for our Sydney-based gaming group once my initial playtesting is complete.

First and foremost, my campaign rulebook provides a context for the Epic battles that will ensue. Second, it provides a framework for how the massive forces involved interact with the environment and each other. Third, it provides a set of rules that help the players define the magnitude and style of games that will result when the two forces eventually meet (such as battle-of-equals- or attacker-defender-style games).

My intention is to use these campaign rules for Epic-scale battles; nevertheless, I added a little thing to the campaign rules in order to allow the occasional Warhammer 40,000 skirmish battle because I really dig the interplay between the 6mm game and the 28mm game in the context of a campaign (the next step is of course to work Battle Fleet Gothic into the mix--yeah, baby!).

These very small-scale Warhammer 40,000 clashes (around 200 to 400 points) are intended to represent specific "strike opportunities" that might arise prior to the Epic battle. For example, prior to assaulting a fortified position (using the Epic rules), the attacker might gain an opportunity to take out the generators powering the defender's emplacement weaponry. This would be played out using the Warhammer 40,000 rules, where victory means a significant advantage on the Epic battlefield, while defeat brings some minor disadvantage. My campaign rulebook describes various strike opportunities, but there is nothing to stop us making up the scenario on the spot.

The above is just a few tidbits of the sort of thing you can and should build into your campaign bible--it's just my two cents worth, so feel free to take or leave what you will.

That's enough blather from me about the hows and whyfores, anyway...checking out an actual campaign is way more interesting. To that end, a description of the campaign I am currently running with my mate horse appears below (we are mid-way through Week 3 of the campaign). Welcome to the Quintairn Conflict.

Initial Setup
Quintairn is the site of various Imperium military storage and re-supply facilities in the realm of Ultramar. Its proximity to Macragge brings it under the auspices of the space marines of the Ultramarines chapter, who remain involved in the world’s administration and day-to-day business at a superficial level. It is defended by a Planetary Defense Force (PDF) that follows standard Imperial Guard organisation and doctrine.

Other than as a convenient re-supply point between Macragge and the rest of the of Segmentum Ultramar, the planet retains little strategic interest.

However, a craftworld full of Eldar, on an endless patrol of once-Eldar worlds, has now arrived at Quintairn, which, as it turns out, was once a jewel of their ancient empire. They are very displeased to find it now sullied by filthy humans.

The Ultramarines maintain a fortress in High Stand, at Melenkunon Skyweir; it is usually not garrisoned, however, guarded and maintained by servitors only. Unfortunately for the Eldar, though, two Ultramarines vessels, the strike cruiser Tyrade of Destruction and the battle barge Distribution of Pain, were already en route to Quintairn for re-supply at the outbreak of hostilities, and these ships have just arrived.

The Eldar forces know that the proximity of Quintairn to Macragge is not in their favour—as it means that, given enough time, the Ultramarines can throw an almost overwhelming fleet at them. It is estimated by the Eldar leadership that a Macragge fleet could arrive within two months at the earliest, however, and so the Eldar have given themselves that long for the campaign before retaking the planet will be all but impossible.

The Early Weeks



WEEK 1
The Eldar campaign to retake Quintairn began with a massive assault launched from space. The Eldar forces quickly took the north-eastern province of Tyran, Normere in the north, the central province of Andelain, and mountainous region of Southron.

Meanwhile, the stalwart Ultramarines decided upon a defensive strategy by digging in at Cavendown, High Stand (where their fortress is located) and Westron.

WEEK 2
The two sides adopted cautious stances, digging in and fortifying their territories, hoping to force their adversaries to dash themselves upon the hastily-constructed defensive structures.

The Ultramarines felt the pressure, however, as taking the time for these works left them with just six weeks to repel the invading Eldar.

WEEK 3
The time for waiting and posturing was over. The Eldar struck first, launching a ground attack of armour and infantry supported by Revenant titans upon the Ultramariens defending Westron.



Imperial analysts estimate an Eldar force valued at 4,800 points assailed an Ultramarines army of 4,000 points.



The ensuing battle was bloody. The Eldar probed the Ultramarines defenses up and down the line, and even broke through at one stage. The Ultramarines held their ground, however, and eventually forced the attackers back.



Historians make special reference to the courageous and heroic (yet ultimately doomed) counter-charge made by elements of the Ultramarines 3rd Company. A Landing Craft deployed two Tactical detachments supported by Predators and Vindicators behind enemy lines in an effort to destroy two Revenant titans--a move that would have served to effectively extinguish the fires of Eldar morale.

Not only was this effort largely ineffective, but the taskforce was wiped out in an ensuing Eldar assault that the Landing Craft alone managed to escape.



Despite this, the Ultramarines' valiant defense was eventually successful, and the Eldar were forced into retreat.

The Ultramarines victory earned them no respite, however, as another great battle over the province of Southron loomed. At Southron, Ultramarines forces with a battle value of 4,400 points assembled to assault the heavily fortified Eldar defenders at Southron, whose battle value is estimated by scholars to have been around 4,000 points…

And this battle will be fought over the coming weekend. If you do or don't want to read about it, please let me know--just sound off in the comments.

I hope this post has given you a taste for some Epic/Warhammer 40,000 campaigning, and that the creative juices are already flowing, causing a flood of ideas for gaming awesomeness. Also, my intention is to make my campaign rules available for download once we have playtested them sufficiently, should anyone be interested in trying them out.

Thanks to horse for providing the venue for our first campaign battle, for bearing with me while we playtest my campaign rules, for taking the pics, and--of course--for keeping it real. (You rule, man. Tell your friends.)

~Bigred here. How many of you guys have taken part in map-based campaigns, Epic or otherwise? Lets hear about them and what you most liked or disliked about them.

40k RUMORS: Planetary Empires

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Rumors brought to the community by Warseer's: Shadowphrakt

More word on the Warhammer 40000 version of Mighty Empires.

"With regard to Planetstrike being released in June, the Planetary Empires expansion pack, which was seen at Conflict Scotland: 08, is finally due for release in July of this year- a month after Planet Strike I believe.

The box contents are similar to that of Mighty Empires, but obviously with new designs. It contains the same size tiles, but with ones for cities, add ons for hive cities and the like.It is designed for being used to map out campaigns, and is just a very nice thing to have as a GW enthusiast.

The boxset, along with all new tiles and new things to put in tiles. The boxset contains the new Planetary Empires rulebook - what was seen at Conflict Scotland: 08. All the changes needed - such as taking out the Baneblade artwork in the workshop - have been made."

~Look out map-based campaigns. the nice thing about this type of set, is that the hex-tiles and icons give everyone a consistant set of playing pieces and you can invent campiagns and special rules to your heart's content. The Fly Lords will almost certainly make a future campaign book based around these tiles for all you crazy map-based campaigners.

Goatboy's 40k Thoughts: Deployment is key for Tiger Victory!

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Last week I briefly talked about deployment and how it can affect the game. I’ve decided to show some of the ways I like to set up, based on the mission rolled. I have found that set up is probably one of the most important parts of Warhammer 40k and that even with rolling badly, you can win the game just based on how your force is deployed.

First I want to go into the aspects of deployment and what you can gain by it. We all know that with the changes in 5th edition, we no longer take turns setting up our forces. Whoever decides to go first, sets up first. The “attacker” defines what part of the field the fighting is going to begin from and the “defender” gets to respond to it.

Going First

If you rolled and decided to go first, it is up to you to set up your entire army on the board for your opponent to respond to. This means that you have the initial terrain control, as well as the initial set up of firing lanes. This is important, as getting the most bang for your points cost is what will give you an advantage in the game. I made some pictures to showcase how I would set up when going first.

Pitched Battle



This picture shows the normal set up you would normally have. I deploy my army in the middle in order to not allow my opponent to pick a side and overwhelm me. I know this leaves me open to an envelopment strategy, but the bad guys will have a tough time getting any kind of flank charge, so if they come around my side, I am not too worried about it. Also most of my vehicles have the same side armor as the front, so I am not too worried if they get a shoot at my “vulnerable” side. You can also that my rhinos are still in front of my other more offensive units. This gives me cover, even when they “steal” the initiative. Most of my army moves and fires, so being behind other units won’t be a disadvantage as I can either move out of the way or around.

Spearhead



This is when you have a spearhead mission. I set up pretty aggressively. I want to get in their face, and this set up allows me the advantage of moving up quickly. A lot of armies will have issues with this set up, as they are packed in tightly. I am a very aggressive player and find that playing the game for the throat can force your opponent to make mistakes as they are worried about their own army from the get go.

Dawn of War

Dawn of war missions, can vary greatly. I normally start with everything off the table so I can either turbo boost in, or just move on and fire as needed. Most of the time, the first turn of night fighting will allow me to get 2 turns of 12 inch movements on my rhinos, thus setting up some nice turn 2 shoot outs that can be very handy.

Going Second

When going second, you have the advantage of knowing where your opponent’s “heavy hitters” are going to be. This gives you an advantage as you can either have your army set up to ignore them, or create a multi turn buffer between this unit and your army. You don’t have to kill these uber units in order to win. You just have to ensure they don’t get their points back with careful set up and controlling the firing lanes.

Pitched Battle



For a pitched battle set up, I still concentrate my force; it is just this time I pick a side. I want half of my opponent’s army to be wasted for a few turns. This allows me to pick at bits of their army, with my superior numbers as they try to wheel around. This won’t always work, as some players will catch on to this set up strategy, but most of the time just sticking to one side will help you push the game into your direction. With commonly available cover saves everywhere, you seem to always have a 50% chance to ignore the first turn of fire as it is.

Spearhead

I didn’t make a picture of this set up, as most of the time I set up in the same way as the going first set up. If they are a super assault army, I might move a bit back so they don’t have a first turn assault, but most of the time I set up the same way. The best thing about this set up, is if you do steal the initiative you can hurt your opponent pretty heavily if they set up to aggressively.

Dawn of War

If I am going second on this mission, it all depends on the type of army I am playing. I usually hold everything back and try to move on to where I can hurt the opponent the most. Most of my army can fire pretty long range, mixed with being able to move and fire. So I can come out of one side and lay down a large amount of fire in order to try and create a big gaping hole in one side of their force. I would say that most of the time, going second in Dawn of War is probably the best choice. It allows you the ultimate control of where to concentrate your fire as well as give you the most options available to you.

The sample army list I am showing in these pictures is the newest Death Guard/Nurgle Chaos list I am playing. The list is below.

HQ: Daemon Prince, Wings, Warptime, MoN
HQ: Daemon Prince, Wings, Warptime, MoN
Elites: Dreadnought, Multi-Melta
Elites: Dreadnought, Multi-Melta
Troops: 10 Plague Marines, Melta (2), Asp Champ, Combi-Melta, Powerfist, Rhino
Troops: 10 Plague Marines, Melta (2), Asp Champ, Combi-Melta, Powerfist, Rhino
Troops: 9 Plague Marines, Plasma Gun (2), Asp Champ, Plasma Pistol, Powerfist, Rhino
Heavy: Deflier, Extra Close Combat Arms
Heavy: Deflier, Extra Close Combat Arms
Heavy: Deflier, Extra Close Combat Arms

Total points are under 2000.

This is a heavy list, as it can be a pain in the butt for most armies to deal with. It is all mech, so Lash is not nearly a problem. It also has a lot of melta weapons so it has a good shot of taking out any heavy vehicles you might see. Mixed this with some walkers and you have a really good shot at hurting any daemon player. Nothing is funnier then watching a bunch of bloodletters try to kill a defiler/dreadnought in hand to hand.

For those wondering about a 1750 or 1500 list, you could drop one defiler and make the troop squads a bit smaller. You could also take the aspiring champs out with their combi and powerfists and still fit in all the mech with some tweaks to the troop sizes.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. Lets hear about how you like like to deploy under the different missions.


April 26, 2009

Genesis Chapter Logo Sheet

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"First among the Primogenitors, the Genesis Chapter are dogmatically loyal to the memory of Roboute Guilliman, and can be counted on to fight at the Ultramarines' side without hesitation."

Its time to head back to the Marines for our latest successor chapter. Here we have one of the more distinctive of the Ultramarines 2nd Founding chapters, the Genesis chapter. Look in the Space Marine codex for a shot of the chapter's red color scheme.

We have been noting for a while that GW does a great job of covering the major 1st Founding and select 2nd Founding chapters with their decal sheets. However, there are a number of great looking 2nd and later founding chapters who get a good amount of back-story and have great alternative uniform colors that never have had decals produced for them. In the interest of promoting diversity in the Marine community and encouraging players to branch out beyond the "big 4", I continue our line of logo sheets for some of these other chapters who I think look great and have no GW decal support.

Here is the link to the PDF file for the logo sheet you can freely pull down and use:

Download Here

The sheet is designed for printout on decal printer paper which is easily available online. These decals are designed for the CLEAR or WHITE decal paper. The procedure is as follows:

CLEAR PAPER: If you use the clear decals, the decals need to be applied to a light colored surface to be visible at all. The procedure for applying the black and white "no background" decals is to apply them to a white surface, and wait till they are fully dried.

WHITE PAPER: This paper will allow you to use it directly over colored or dark surfaces. Cut out the red edged logos, and apply them directly over your red painted models. Once dry, you can go back and touch up any edge defects with your original red paint.

Click here for a detailed Custom Decal Tutorial

This sheet is sized for superheavy vehicles up towards the top and scales down to marine scout shoulderpad size at the very bottom. I have included the standard chapter logo against an oversized red background for ease of cutting out, as well a small amount of stand alone logos for folks who want some variants for something special. Please make sure you run off a test sheet first on your printer to make sure.

In any case, enjoy and I wish you the best in using this set for your forces.

~Please feel free to leave comments if there is a special Chapter, Craftworld, or something else you would love to collect, but have no GW decal options, and I will see what I can do.

LoTR SHOWCASE: Gentleben's Haradrim

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You know, a while ago, Gentleben said he was taking a long haitus from 40k and dissapeared into the Texas sunset. Like all good things, he just couldn't stay away from BoLS forever, and has been recently pulled back into the thick of things with War of the Ring.

He came into our FLGS aiming to impress and threw down with his fledgling Haradrim army. now some pointers here:

1) Note the use of a subdued palette based on real world middle-eastern natural dyes.

2) Note the odd lack of standard War of the Ring movement trays for his infantry and cavalry. Instead each company has its own desert themed custom base.

3) Note that #3 is only possible because EACH model has had magnets embedded in their feet and a metal plate embedded into the bases...madness!











~Like I said, Gentleben came to knock our socks off, and pretty much did it. We last saw him sauntering off into the parking lot with a pile of Easterlings, so you know the followup post will be even better.

April 25, 2009

40K RUMORS: Planetstrike Setup

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Some additional Planetstrike rumors brought to us by Warseer's tireless: The Dude.

Hre we have a basic rundown of the game setup procedure for Planetstrike missions, along with some sample Strategems.

PLANETSTRIKE LAUNCH PROCEDURE
1. Determine attacker and defender
2. Choose forces
3. Select a Planetstrike mission
4. Prepare the battlefield
5. Determine objectives
6. Attacker prepares invasion
7. Determine stratagems
8. Defender deploys forces
9. Attacker launches firestorm
10. Launch the Planetstrike!

SAMPLE STRATAGEMS (Apparently a bit more powerful than the Cities of Death ones)
-IG: a mass deep-strike ability; a single reserve dice is rolled for the whole army, but each squad that deep strikes must make a dangerous terrain test when it lands.

-Dark Eldar: a penalty to enemy leadership equal to the number of turns passed since the beginning of the game (an interesting bit of background: it mentions Khaine-worshipping Dark Eldar).

-Imperium: Power of the Machine Spirit. BS 3, unshakable turrets.

-Adeptus Mechanicus: a teleporter beam that kills any model in a building on a successful armour save, as its flesh melts with the walls.

-Space Marines: when a Drop Pod deep strikes, all enemy units surrounding the landing zone must make a morale test.

-Tau: a massive EMP blast that disables all targeting systems on the battlefield; all vehicles are now BS 1, but all infantry units gain +1 BS,

-(possibly Ork) basically throwing an asteroid at the enemy

~This book is going to be awesome for narrative gamers. It would seem that a lot of these structures and strategems could be usable withinthe context of Apocalypse games, opening up the possibilities of great scripted games with all kinds of special events. That little Dark Eldar blurb is also a heart-warming sign that some type of movement is taking place.

HOBBY: Working with Resin

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A guest article by RedScorpionsGirl

Forgeworld produces some of the best resin pieces for Warhammer, and if you are investing in these pieces, you will want these to be the focal point of your army. If you don’t take the time to prep them correctly, that focal point could end up a disaster. Your model coult be warped, or not fit together well. Paint and primer could go on splotchy, acting as water does on a car surface. Sometimes by not washing your pieces,you can be fooled. The primer and paintjob goes on great, but the first time you touch the finished model the paint rubs right off down to the bare resin leaving you wondering how to repair that damage.

Resin is a tricky medium to work with. If you don’t take the time to prep it properly, all your hard hours of painting work could go to waste. The larger the item is, the longer the prep time to prepare it will be. Resin pieces are usually coated in residual mold release agent which needs to be removed (the brilliant sheen when you look at a piece in the light). Excess resin gates (the large squarish plugs the resin was poured into the mold from) and flash need to be carefully removed, sometimes in multiple steps; trimming with an x-acto knife, filing, ensuring the resin dust is removed (a second washing after filing is recommended) and more, depending on the complexity of the pieces you are working on.

The first thing that should be mentioned is the obvious warning that is on anything that you buy from ForgeWorld at least: Resin dust can be harmful if inhaled. Always wear a dust mask or respirator when sanding or sawing resin parts. This being said, use the appropriate safety equipment if you are sanding/filing resin parts. Resin dust has an oddly sweet smell and can easily be overlooked when working. It is best to throw out excess resin pieces, as unlike removing metal tabs and flash, resin has no weight so it isn’t really useful for anything else like weighting bases and such.

Inventory and Washing
To start off, take what resin pieces you are working with and lay them out. If you are working with a number of different items, I would suggest taking a digital picture of each. That way if you are working with a number of different items that have small components you can separate them after cleaning.

Finding a good spot to do this is always best. A sink that has a drain cover, preferably one that is perforated with holes smaller than the smallest piece of resin you are working with (the last thing you want are your expensive pieces disappearing down the drain). If you don’t have easy access to a sink, use a small bucket or pail.



Warm to hot water is best for soaking your pieces. If you have pieces that need to be straightened, it is best to wash them first, and then use the hot water to reshape them. Let the pieces soak for 10-15 minutes in the warm water. Have a separate container with clean warm water to rinse the pieces after they have been washed and scrubbed.





Go through each of the components and wash them thoroughly. I prefer to use a Sonic Scrubber for this (but any type of a scrubber will work as long as it can get into the detailed areas of whatever you are washing), and standard bar soap, or a very mild liquid detergent. I don’t use anything harsh or abrasive by any means, as that would ruin the details in the resin. The Sonic Scrubber is a really interesting item; Wal-Mart carries them for $9.99. Best investment in my opinion if you are stripping models, or needing to wash a lot of resin parts, as it is battery powered and seems to last forever, and there’s a lot of different brush head options as well. It shouldn’t take too long to clean them all and you will end up with something like this as your reward:



At this point you are almost done. Take all of the pieces out and spread them out on a towel to dry, preferably one that is lint free. Let the pieces dry for several hours, and turn them over several times to speed the drying process.

Trimming and Cleanup
At this point, you can go through and determine if you have any seams that need sanding, and the excess resin gates or flash you missed that need to be removed. A good deal of the gates you will find can easily be removed with clippers, however, anything that the clippers can’t easily fit around should be removed with a fine tooth hobby saw. These can be found at most hobby stores.



Both Excel and Exacto produce a hobby saw, with interchangeable handles and blades. They have several different styles, with the best one being the aluminum Exacto in my opinion, as it is extremely light, and durable. While the handles come in anywhere from $6-$12 approximately (the Aluminum handle being $12.00 when I recently purchased it and a fine blade coming in at $4) and the blades being anywhere from $4 and up, it is a bit of an investment, but in the long run a solid investment. The handles can also be used for regular blades, and there are several grades of saw blades available. As with any type of saw blade, the closer the teeth the finer the blade, and the smoother the cut will be.

When the excess gates are sawed off, remember to leave approximately 1/8” of the gate on the model piece you are working on. This allows you to trim it down appropriately, rather than trim it too tightly and possibly ruin the part you are working on. Better too remove too little of the gate than too much. Remember that resin dust is dangerous, and it is best to do this outside if at all possible, or if inside, wearing a mask and try to limit where you are doing this.

Then with a fine file, finish cleaning up the spots that have been sawed off, making sure that they are flush with the surface. Once you have finished this, it is best to give the parts a once over again before continuing any farther. After the final check it is time for assembly if need be, or basing and priming.

Dry Fitting
With resin kits, it is extremely important to do a dry fit, and make sure all the parts are the proper shape and not warped. If anything is warped, take some hot water and carefully submerge the part(s) in it. Remember though, you need to get these parts out of hot water as well, so take care to have something that can grab them, or submerge them in a shallow pan for ease of removal. Larger parts can also be reheated and reshaped as well, however it is a bit more time consuming, as the thicker the piece the hotter it needs to get to press it back into shape.

Only literal trial and error will tell what is needed, and in this case it’s best to start out at lower temperatures and not have it work than it is to go too much heat and ruin the pieces. Make sure when reshaping the pieces you also have a bowl of cold water ready to submerse the piece into. It is best to hold it with your hands to make sure it ends up the way you want it to. Just dropping it in the cold water will not fix warped pieces, as they often bend back the same way they were if not held in thier desired final position. Just a quick dip into the cold water while holding it will set the piece. You should also be aware there is a chance if you accidently leave your model in a hot locations like a car on a hot day even after it is painted it could warp again and ruin the model.

Assembly
Super glue works wonderfully on the resin, as it bonds resin parts together faster than plastic pieces. Be wary of this before assembly, as once you touch the pieces together, they are solidly bonded together and there isn’t a chance to reposition in most cases. If you have extremely large parts you are gluing together it is best to leave the edges you are gluing together a bit roughed up. (An example: the wings of a Tau Manta are approximately 2” thick at their widest point. It is best to leave the inside seam rough so that when you attach these to the main fuselage they have better contact, as if both sides are roughed up just before glue, there is more area for the glue to seep into and make a stronger bond) This assists in the bonding process with large pieces, which will result in a stronger finished model.

Priming
Once you have finished your assembly you are ready for priming. Most primers honestly will work well on resin. The only thing to remember is that like any other model, choose your day wisely to prime it. Too hot of a day and you will could end up with a fuzzy model, too cold of a day and the primer may go on caked, or spotted, or worse. Each type of primer has it’s own personality and can have various reactions to weather conditions. It is best to save a couple of the excess resin gates and test your primer on them if at all possible. Resin can be stripped if your priming goes awry with Simple Green, California Awesome, and few other cleaners, but remember you are working on resin, or possibly a combination of resin and plastic when choosing a stripper.

Now you are ready for paint!

~I hope you liked RedScorpionsGirl's resin primer. Word on the street says that she is the proud owner of a Manta and may be sending us some future articles as she assembles and paints the Tau monster. Who's up for that?

40K RUMORS: Games Day France

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Rumors brought to the community by: Lone Pilgrim

So 40k blogger Lone Pilgrim reported some juicy nuggets a few days ago, but they kind of got lost in the wind. Highlights are:

-The massive Dark Angel Citadel shown in Planetstrike will be available in plastic!

-Phil Kelly is writing Codex: Dark Eldar.

-Necrons are being worked on, but are further out than Dark Eldar.

-The much anticipated Forgeworld Lord of Change is due out near Christmas.

-The next Forgeworld Book AFTER Siege of Vraks: 3 will focus on Orks vs Elysians.

~Standard caveats on these guys. Go read all the rest of the goodies over at Lone Pilgrim. Of course no official work on a Dark Eldar release schedule, but we hear they are not that far after Space Wolves. There are also apparently some little tidbits regarding their background in Planetstrike, such as their worship of Khaine. Hmm...

April 24, 2009

40K Open Thread: Cult Troops Throwdown

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A quiet Friday night means its Open Thread time. Tonight's topic is Chaos Cult Troops:

-Plague marines
-Noise marines
-Berzerkers
-Thousand Sons

~Let's hear your thoughts readers. Who's the best and who sucks, why? What tips and tricks do you have on using them? Hobby stuff and even great tabletop stories are welcome. Ask a question, or answer some. Dive in guys.

FANTASY NEWS: Steam Tanks, Greatswords and More

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Hi guys,

Look what just went up on the Advanced Orders page you Empire Generals.

Empire Steam Tank (plastic)
Empire Great Swords (plastic)
Empire Archers
Empire Elector Count Marius Leitdorf
Empire Captain with Hammer and Pistol
Empire Captain with Sword and Shield
Uniforms & Heraldry Of The Empire

~You guys should expecially check out that last one. Scuttlebutt says this new fluff and painting guide book is a Warhammer lover's dream and an invaluable guide for painters. It could be the start of a ongoing series covering all the armies of the Warhammer world.

40K ARMY LIST: The Steel Speculum

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JWolf and I had similar thoughts when we decided to build a couple of "competitive, but fun" lists using the new Imperial Guard codex. He chose the Howling Spider Monkeys (an awesome list that can give just about anyone a bloody nose), while I went in a little direction I like to call the "Steel Speculum".

The focus of this army, like JWolf's Howling Spider Monkeys, is outflanking. Everything outflanks. But I liked the concept of a mechanized army with some really tough, mobile guns supporting those Chimeras. I really like the image of a mechanized army throwing up dust on an alien planet, with a trio of skimmers bursting through the dust cloud...

In any case, here's the 2,000 point Imperial Guard list:

HQ

Lord Castellan Creed
Company Command Squad (Medic, 3x Plasma Guns, Astropath)
//deployed in Valkyrie, held in reserve to outflank

Company Commander
Company Command Squad (Medic, 3x Plasma Guns, Astropath)
//deployed in Valkyrie, held in reserve to outflank

TROOPS

Captain Al'Rahem
Platoon Command Squad* (Heavy Flamer, Melta Gun), Chimera
//deployed in Chimera, held in reserve to outflank

Infantry Squad* (Melta Gun), Chimera
//deployed in Chimera, held in reserve to outflank

Infantry Squad* (Melta Gun), Chimera
//deployed in Chimera, held in reserve to outflank

Infantry Squad* (Melta Gun), Chimera
//deployed in Chimera, held in reserve to outflank

Infantry Squad* (Melta Gun), Chimera
//deployed in Chimera, held in reserve to outflank

Infantry Squad* (Melta Gun), Chimera
//deployed in Chimera, held in reserve to outflank

*Part of Captain Al'Rahem's Infantry Platoon

Veteran Squad (3 x Plasma Guns, Demolitions)
//deployed in Valkyrie, held in reserve to outflank

FAST ATTACK

Valkyrie (HB Sponsons)

Valkyrie (HB Sponsons)

Valkyrie

HEAVY SUPPORT

Ordnance Battery (3 x Medusas)
//held in reserve to outflank, uses Creed's Tactical Genius rule

TACTICS

This gives you outflanking 6 Chimeras, 3 Medusa Siege guns, 3 Valkyries with +2 on the Reserve rolls and a re-roll when choosing sides. This means you are going to get almost all of them and they are coming in on the side you want. That's going to be brutal.

Outflanking Medusa Siege Guns (that can roll on and shoot) are going to be devastating. Combined with the initial volley of Hellstrike Missiles and meltagun shots, you should be able to clear your opponent's backfield of vehicles. That leaves up to 9 Multi-lasers and 13 Heavy Bolters to thin out the ranks. You've also got 24 Lasguns and 6 Meltaguns shooting from the top hatches of Chimeras each turn.

If there's a nasty knot of bad guys you need to deal with, drop off the Command Squads and Veterans for 18 BS4 Plasma Guns shots and a Demo Charge. Don't forget to give those units orders so they become twin-linked (or those pesky successful cover saves are re-rolled). Ouch!

~ The only real drawback to the army is the hefty number of kill points. So plan on tabling your enemy in Annihilation games! As always, I'd love to hear your feedback and any ideas on improving the Steel Speculum.

April 23, 2009

HOBBY: Painting Handles

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You are probably looking at that Ork in bottle, and are wondering what strange and weird Warhammer project I am concocting. Well the only 40k project going on is a painting project. What I discovered a couple of years ago was that my fingers were rubbing off the dried paint on my figures as I was painting them. Well I started to think about how to fix the problem, and while I was hanging up a poster with Plasti-Tak I came up with my solution.

Every so often I would get a prescription medication and I would have this bottle left. Therefore I took the Plasti-Tak and put a ball of it on the lid of the bottle, and put my figure on top of the ball of tack. I then had a handle for my figure while I painted it. Then I recently discovered certain figures when mounted just right would fit inside of the bottle, which keeps the dust off of long term projects. To make this work you will need pill bottles that can be child proof on one side of the lid, and non child proof on the other.


As a note some metal figure are too heavy for plastic tack so you will need to use some CA glue instead of Plasti-Tak . If you go this route use the CA glue sparingly so it will pop off with some ease.


Hope you find this tool useful. What are some of your homemade tools? Take some photos and post up the links so we can see what you are doing.

40K BIG Game Models For Games Day

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The Games Day 2009 Warhammer 40,000 "Big Game" is based around the new Shadowsword and Stompa kits. This event will be run at North American Games Days as well as UK Games Day. Some of the models you'll be seeing at this event were actually built and painted by Games Workshop customers at the GW Battle Bunker-HQ in Maryland. The theme for the Imperial Forces is Lucky 13's, hence the Charadon Granite, Scorched Brown and various shades of grey color scheme. To make it easier to distinguish one model from another during the Big Game, painters were allowed to individualize the models with a flare of personal creativity. The pictures below show just a small sampling of some of the models you'll see at the 40K Big Game this year if you're lucky enough to attend the aforementioned Games Day 2009 events. While some of the models that will be used in the 40K Big Game have been built and painted by GW staff, all of the models featured in this article were painted by customers.

This hobbyist used Mechrite Red and Kommando Khaki for his distinguishing marks. Notice how the stripes on the barrel echo the pattern on both sides of hull. The Lucky 13's badges were painted on small plastic card rectangles and glued to the hull. The rivets on the Lucky 13's plates are made from steel ball bearings!



This hobbyist used a "D-Day stripe" type pattern near the root of the main gun to add a unique touch to his vehicle. Note how the existing shape of the two small panels on top of the tank were utilized for a distinguishing blue and red marking and how the large-blue-with-small-red stripes painted there are mimicked in the side stripes with the addition of a third grey stripe, grey being a standard color in the Lucky 13's color scheme. The Lucky 13's badges painted on the top and sides of the vehicle were hand painted directly over top of the base colors.




Along with free-hand painting of stripes and Lucky 13's markings, this hobbyist used decals from the Baneblade transfer sheet to personalize his tank.



This model has a large Lucky 13's marking painted right on the front armor near the root of the main gun. Notice how the eagles on this tank and the three models shown above are painted two different types of gold and two different types of grey, yet in each case the chosen color accents the base colors behind it.


Imperial forces will also have air support in the 40K Big Game. These Lightning models were individualized with different color stripes and unique kill markings.








As well as getting a few of you excited about the 40K Big Game at the Games Day 2009 events listed above, hopefully this article provided some of you out there with ideas for painting and customizing your models. If anyone would like to know more about the Lucky 13's color scheme, everything you need to know about getting started with it can be found on the Games Workshop US website events pages. If you have questions beyond that about the models featured in this article, please leave them here in the comments area for this hobby topic page and I'll try to answer them if possible.



The models featured in this article will be used in Games Day North America and UK events. Games Day Baltimore is now less than three weeks away. For more information on all the 40K Big Game and other great activities, product previews, Golden Demon painting competition and more at Games Day, please visit the GW website.

And on another topic, thanks to everyone who came out to the brand new GW Hobby Center in Fair Oaks, Virginia over the past few days. At the time of this writing, the store has only been open for four days, but already it looks like it's up and running with a great hobby community of its own. Also, thanks to those of you who came by for my vehicle assembly clinic there on Sunday. I hope it was helpful to you. Good luck with all your hobby projects.
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