Thursday, September 19, 2013

Update: Lots of Hobby Painting

So I haven't really given an update of my hobby painting for awhile.  The last big project I had wrapped up was my Tau for Golden Throne.  Since then I've been working on a few different projects.

First I did quickly knock out a librarian that I used as Azekiel for my Imperial Fists as Dark Angels for Celesticon.  Yay for counts as armies!

Also on the 40k front I'm a bit fantically updating the bikes to be 2k ready for feast of blades.  I've totally given up on Tau not because they aren't great, but they aren't horribly fun and I'm sure there will be dozens of Tau armies there.  It will be interesting to see how many bike armies make an appearance with the book only being out 30+ days.

So I've knocked out the Command Squad.  I just need to do the basing which I'll probably work on in the next few days.

The apothecary came out ok I suppose.  I haven't dullcoated these yet so I'm wondering if that will help smooth out the white a bit.  The technique I have been using for white works great on things like helmets and I used it on Commander Farsight, but on the bigger bike surfaces it did not turn out quite as pleasing.

I also built up another Stormtalon and took it out for airbrushing.  It looks pretty close to the done one, and hopefully once it is fully painted they will look like a matching pair.  Clearly it will not be perfect (or as good as had I dont them together) but hopefully close enough.

I also build up a Khan model and did the airbrushing as well.  Again here I think he'll look good and close, but it just doesn't quite match the rest of the army unfortunately.  The rest of the army was done in two different sittings, and the combo of paint is just not going to be duplicated.  I have consdiered just painting him completely different (Black?) to make him stand out and not look silly, but I guess I'll paint him done first and see how much he stands out in the end.  Maybe I'll drag both the previous models out to the garage and try one more lighter green highlight to see if it comes more in line with the army.

Currently I'm working on the pair of Thunderfire cannons and the techmarines.  I'm hoping to wrap these guys up this weekend.

So in a perfect world I'll wrap those up, get some basing done next week, and wrap the Storm Talon up next week.  The following week I travel for a few days but I'm hoping I will still have enough time to finish up the Khan model.

The week before Feast of Blades I will finish up the loose ends.  I've ordered a bunch of the Ion Rifles from Anvil Industries which I plan to use as Grav guns and need to convert to Combis also.  So that will take a bit of work.  I'm hoping I can possibly knock out a quick display board that I can fit in my luggage as well.  Lastly I have been feeling the bikes need a little more color, so I've decided one more decal on the front will help add a bit to the bikes.  So hopefully one good night of decal work can get the army that extra pop.

So time is short but I've got a plan and hopefully I can stick to it!

But wait there's more!

I decided to take part in Frontline Gaming's Fantasy escalation league with my Lizardmen.  I've had this army for two years and I primered it and got no further.  So now with a new Codex and some motivation I got cracking (before the marine dex hit mind you).  The league starts at 500 points and you add 250 each two weeks.  I spent about two weeks and got about 1250 mostly knocked out, so I can basically pick this up again once Feast of Blades is over.

A little bit of paint and my plan had always been to dip these guys with the Army Painter stuff so it will look good but not great.   So away we go!

Sauri with a hero and full command!

A skink Priest curtesy of the Engine of The Gods stegadon kit.

Skirmishers with blowpipes, still need to finish basing.  Yes Javelins are better now but I'm not going to be changing the models.

Chameleon Skinks, these are conversions from normal Skinks.  I'm not paying GW prices for those models, it is insane!

Lastly a pair of Salamanders.  They aren't as great in the new book but they are still nice, and I never had really sold out and taken 6+ of them so two are still a nice addition.

I also started work on a Bastilladon but it has more work to be done.  Still I could put him together now and he'll meet the 3 color minimum needed for the league.

So my hope is to pick this up after Feast as my primary painting project.  It will be nice to build up to the 2500 point army and have a done fantasy army just for giggles.

I'm sure I'll be looking at other projects (like what to do with my Templar) but I'll have bikes ant Tau done for any local 40k events that are competitive so there 'shouldn't' be a big rush to finish up any other projects!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Space Marine Drop Pod Options

So I've had the book a week now and have been mulling over things.  Obviously as the internet and I all concluded the SM Bikers is going to be a rocking army.  But there are lots of other builds in the book that I think can be good.  The Chapter Tactics and special characters in this book mean you can do builds of different flavors and go fluffy and competitive which is great.  Plus adding in things like allies and you can piece bits together to make a really great force.

One thing I've been wanting to do for awhile is revisit the drop pod army.  It was fun running templar drop pods back in the day, but it fell out of favor when I could do my DoA Blood Angels.  Of course that died with 6th edition too.

Now Drop Pod armies haven't been dead by any means.  I've seen some great Blood Angels and Space Wolf armies.  Blood Angels you get the benefit of FNP bubbles, double special weapons, and AV 13 Dreads.  Space Wolf armies can go cheap with great Grey Hunter units, and/or go with Logan and do crazy combi weapon Wolf Gaurd units.  Plus has anybody forgotten how great Rune Priests are?

The problem Space Wolf pod armies is really anti air.  If you go wolf gaurd armies your shooting is usually pretty minimal after you blow the combis (though I'm a fan of Logan making a squad of MM Long Fangs Relentless).  Blood Angels can do a bit better hear with the very trusty Storm Raven as a gun ship to support the pods.  Of course mixing the two armies together to get these things going is certainly a great option also!

Blood Angels
Librarian, Combi Plas
Honor Gaurd, 4 Combi Plas, Drop Pod
3x Furioso Dread, 1 Frag Cannon, PF/Melta, Drop Pod
4x 5 Assault Marines (no JP) Melta, Infernus Pistol, Drop Pod

Space Wolf Allies
Rune Priest
9 Grey Hunters, Flamer, Wolf Standard, Drop Pod
10 Grey Hunters, 2 Plasma Guns, Plasma Pistol, Wolf Standard, Drop Pod

2000 Points

It is an interesting mix of units that covers the bases with 10 Drop pods.  Flamers?  Check.  Melta?  Check.  Plasma?  2 units is pretty good.  Anti air?  Check.  Rune priest for anti psy, I just don't remember if he mucks about with the BA libby also as I seem to recall it being only enemy powers in the Faq.  But if not you could take a cheap Captain I suppose and change up a few points in the list.

Either way lets start with that as our benchmark for what I would say is a pretty good drop pod based army.  What can regular marines bring to the table.

Let's take a look at a few other 2000 point lists using just one Chapter.

Libby Lvl 2, Combi Flamer
3x Iron Clad in DP
4x 10 Man Tacticals Melta/MM/Combi in DP
8 Assault Marines, No JP, 2x Flamer, PF in DP
10 Assault Marines, No JP, 2x Flamer, PF in DP

So a solid 9 pods.  You've got the 3 Iron Clad for AV13 troubles, lots of twin linked flamers and meltas.  I've ditched the anti air here hoping that the twin linked meltas will be enough, but that could be problems facing Stormravens.  Of course Storm Ravens aren't probably your first problem over something like Helldrakes.

Command Squad, 4 Plasma, Apoth, DP
3x Iron Clad in DP
3x 10 Man Tacticals Melta/MM/Combi in DP
2x Storm Talon

So we only have 7 pods here but one is a doozey.  Calgar paired with Tigurius can just wreck entire armies.  With the Ultramarine Chapter Tactics you can land and use your shooting reroll trait and then turn 2 use the assault trait to get in the mix.  Taking down Calgar backed with FNP and Tigurius is no easy task.  Storm Talons serve as the anti air.

Chapter Master, Termie, Shield Eternal, Thunder Hammer
5 Shooty Termies, Cyclone
2x Iron Clad in DP w Locater Beacon
4x 5 Tactical Heavy Bolter, Combi Flamer
2x Storm Talon
3x 5 Devastators, 4 Heavy Bolters

So I'm less sold on this list but it is interesting.  We're light on troops, but trying to max out the bolter reroll ability.  Plus those Devs have tank hunters so getting rear armor or glancing AV11 to death is not terrible.  I've added some shooty termies to come down turn 2 to boltster the force and give some more punch with the super Chapter Master.  The biggest problem here is 4x5 Tac squads are not resiliant, though I'm thinking those are your 'second wave' of pods.

Master of the Forge
6x Iron Clad in DP
2x 10 Man Tactical Melta/Combi in DP
8 Man Tactical Plas/Combi in DP
5 Assault Marines no JP, 2x Flamer in DP
2x Storm Talons

6 AV 13 walkers with It will Not Die, 5 Dropping down turn 1 (if you want) is a frightening thought.  I think the shock of all those Iron Clads might be worth it just to see peoples faces!

3x Iron Clad in DP
6x 5 Initiates, Melta, PW, Sword Brother, Combi in DP
2x 5Assault Marines no JP, 2x Flamer, Combi in DP
Storm Raven

So everything is minimum squads but 11 drop pods means lots of targets to shoot.  Each 5 man squad packs a punch.  I just don't know how well 5 man squads are going to survive to ever make it into assault...

Add lastly is poor Ravengaurd, who I think have maybe the most limited benefits of their Chapter Tactics.  I just don't see any great list that they can put together for Drop Pods that works out any better than another Chapter.

This isn't the end all be all of lists either.  I think Iron Clad dreads are great right now, but going with Sterngaurd are certainly a viable (if not more expensive) option as well.  Heck we could even talk about adding Pedro for a Crimson Fists lists!

So what do you think?  Do any of these look any better than the BA/SW list?  Do any of them look like they could be allied into something like SW to be any better?  I'm curious to see how some of these could play out on the table!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

So Bikes Are A Winner

So previously I had thought that maybe the bikes would be going to DA.  I was wrong.  Very wrong.

As it turns out bikes are now extremely upgraded with the new dex.  I got a game in over the weekend and they did really well.  Let me quickly go over the reasons.

Bikes got about 10% cheaper.  Granted this means you have a 1 attack LD 8 sergeant, but still this reduction is welcome.

White Scar chapter tactics is great.  +1 Jink.  Str 5 Hammer of wrath hits. Hit and Run.

Khan is good... getting scout is nice.  I think the Chapter Master with +1 wound and getting a 2+/3++ is better.  Did I mention orbital bombardment is Assault 1.

Command squad bikes got waaaaay cheaper with a respectable squad coming in at 200ish points.

Grav guns.  Being Salvo these are really not all that great.  But on bikes these seem like a winner.  I always ran plasma to deal with terminators and MCs, but Grav guns get me 3 shots at 18".  Plus I don't kill myself with Get's Hot.  Maybe not as great against vehicles but not terrible either.  Anything that really doesn't have a save I was shooting with Twin Linked bolters anyway.

So I think I'm committing to my bikes for the Feast of Blades Open GT.  Of course there are several challenges in acquiring all of this and getting it painted.

First of all without bits to buy online I have no idea how I'm going to get the grav gun bits.  I would need to buy 12 tactical squads!  Holly cow!  I'm hoping these start popping on ebay over the next few weeks for a few bucks each.

I have really fallen in love with the Tunderfire cannon.  I used one in a game with my Imperial Fists/Iron Hands and it was lovely.  These things are now barrage and the techmarine can increase any cover +1 to a max of 3+.  So I really am thinking about running 1 or 2 in a 2k list to deal with annoying units hiding behind walls and such.

I think I need to run a second Storm Talon.  I've now seen keeping them cheap is the way to go.

So what does that mean for lists?

Well if time and money were no concern I guess it would be something like:

Librarian, Lvl 2, Power Axe, Bike
Chapter Master, SS, Artificer Armor, Power Fist, Bike
Command Squad, Bikes, Apoth, Power Axe, 2x SS
4 Bikes, 2 Grav-Guns, CombiGrav, Attack Bike MM
4 Bikes, 2 Grav-Guns, CombiGrav, Attack Bike MM
4 Bikes, 2 Grav-Guns, CombiGrav, Attack Bike MM
4 Bikes, 2 Grav-Guns, CombiGrav, Attack Bike MM
4 Bikes, 2 Grav-Guns, CombiGrav, Attack Bike MM
4 Bikes, 2 Grav-Guns, CombiGrav, Attack Bike MM

I picked up the 2nd StormTalon, would need 2 Thunderfires and all those Grav guns.  Plus I would need to paint the whole command squad also!  I have 4 weeks and one of those weeks I've got some traveling.  So that might be a bit much to take on in time!

So I might fall back to just an increase on my Bay Area Open List.

Librarian, Lvl 2, Power Axe, Bike
Chapter Master, SS, Artificer Armor, Power Fist, Bike
10 Sterngaurd, Pod
4 Bikes, 2 Plasma, CombiPlas, Attack Bike MM
4 Bikes, 2 Plasma, CombiPlas, Attack Bike MM
4 Bikes, 2 Plasma, CombiPlas, Attack Bike MM
4 Bikes, 2 Plasma, CombiPlas, Attack Bike MM
4 Bikes, 2 Plasma, CombiPlas, Attack Bike MM
4 Bikes, 2 Plasma, CombiPlas, Attack Bike MM 

This would need just the one Tunderfire and a Storm Talon painted.  Hopefully I could at the least get this done.  If I can source the grav gun bits I would add those in for the Plasma.  The Sterngaurd are still good, but I think with white scars the command squad is now better.

So ya, I'm going to get cracking at least on the Storm Talon and hope to get a few more games in to see how it goes.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

40k Celesticon 2013

So there has been quite a bit of gaming things going on and of course not a lot of time to write about them.   There's the new marine dex coming, there's been a resurgence of fantasy, and of course this last weekend was Celesticon 1500 points of goodness.

I had wavered quite a bit over what to take to the event but I decided to take my Imperial Fists and run them as Dark Angels as that would be the most similar in point cost to what they would look like.  I wanted to see how the army held up at 1500, and if things like running them as Iron Fists (6+ FNP, It will not Die) would be a big upgrade over just running them as Imperial Fists (bolters reroll, devastator/centurions have tank hunters).  I think the bolter reroll is just for infantry, so all the heavy bolters on tanks and such probably don't count.

So the list was:

HQ: Ezekiel
Elite: 5 Deathwing Termies TH/SS
Elite: Dreadnought 2x TL Autocannons
Elite: Dreadnought 2x TL Autocannons
Troops: 10 Tacticals, Melta, Razorback Las/Plas
Troops: 5 Tacticals, Melta, Razorback Las/Plas
Fast: Typhoon
Fast: Typhoon
Heavy: Dakka Pred
Heavy: Dakka Pred
Heavy: Whirlwind
Fortification: Aegis, Icarus Lascannon

So a few notes about the list.  First is Ezekiel who is a pretty unique HQ.  I think for small point games he is a steal at sub 150 pts.  He's level 3 but has his own mind worm power.  I rolled Diviniation and all 3 games I had Precognition and Prescience.   He's got a 2+ save but no invul, is BS 5, has a slightly fancy force sword, and can give a unit nearby +1 WS.  My plan was to run him with the termies and/or stand on the icarus.

The list is light on troops.  My basic game plan was to combat squad and reserve 5 plain guys.  I knew two of the games would have Scouring and Big guns so that would help in that department.

There is not a lot of maneuverability.  Sure there are lots of vehicles that can get up and go, but usually they are all taking the 4+ cover and the troops can make some last minute objective grabs.  The only real question is whether to deepstrike the Termies turn 1 or walk them.

Game 1: Dawn of War; Primary Crusade (3 Obj); Secondary Relic; Tertiary Warlord, Linebreaker, First blood
Peter's Crimson Fists
HQ: Pedro!
Elite: Assault Termies 3 TH/SS, 2 Lighting Claws
Elite: 5 Sterngaurd, CombiMelta, Lightning Claw, Razorback Las/Plas
Troops: 10 Tacticals, Melta/MM, Razorback Las/Plas
Troops: 5 Scouts, Camo Cloaks, 4 Snipers, Heavy Bolter w/ Hellfire
Troops: 5 Scouts Caom Cloaks, Missile Launcher
Fast: Storm Talon
Fast: Storm Talon w/ Typhoon Missile Launcher
Heavy: Vindicator
Heavy: Whirlwind

Peter is a great guy I have had the pleasure of playing several times, usually on game 1 just like this!  This was also a funny match up because not only were we marines on marines but old school models as well!

I got to go first and had a pretty good first turn.  I killed a few scouts in shooting and think I poped a razroback as well.  Then his turn he unleashed Orbital Bombardment and I was 'oh ya NOOB Pedro is a chapter master!'  So my bad there as I had all my tanks clustered together.  He got a solid hit and exploded one pred, one Dread, one speeder, and one Razroback.  That took a significant amount of firepower out of action early.  Later I was never able to properly deal with his fliers as he kept jinking and making saves.  Still Ezekial managed to defend sterngaurd off the relic.   He had one marine on one objective, two scouts on another, I had first blood and he had warlord.  On my turn 7 I had a Dread shoot at the marine and the whirlwind shoot the scouts.  If they had been sucessful it would be a tie, but he made every save.  So drat, a fun close game gets away from me!

Game 2:  Vangaurd; Primary Big Guns (3 Obj); Secondary Purge the Alien; Tertiary Warlord, Linebreaker, First blood
Christophe's Necrons with GK allies
HQ: Coteaz
Troops: Henchmen; 3 Servitors w HBs, 5 Warriors
Troops: Henchmen; 6 Psychers, 3 Warriors
Heavy: Dreadkinght, Gatling Psilencer, Heavy Incinerator, Teleporter
Heavy: Dakka Dread
Heavy: Dakka Dread
HQ: Overlord, Res Orb
Royal Court: Harbinger of Despair, Veil of Darkness
Troops: 9 Immortals
Troops: 9 Warriors
Fast: 4 Destroyers, 2 heavy Gauss Cannons
Fortification: Aegis, Icarus

I'd not met Chris before but I'm worried about his army.  I know necrons are resilient and he's got better dreads than I do.  It looks like it is going to be a shoot off and I don't know how it is going to trun out at all.  I'm not convinced to Deep strike the termies so I keep them with Ezekiel.

He gets to go first and manages to pop my dread for first blood.  I had good cover but alas sometimes you just fail those saves.  Remarkably that would be my last failed cover save for tanks (or just about it would seem).  We traded shots for the first two rounds, with me being unable to pop his dreads (I wanted the heavy points) and him shunting up his Dreadkinght to fry 4 of 5 marines.  That marine ran and hid and then I unloaded on the Dreadknight killing it.  The Destroyers were flanking me a bit but could not manage to kill my Typhoons and eventually they were killed off as well.  His immortals also teleported up but they shot terribly and then were shot to bits over the next few turns.

By turn 3 I realized I needed to be sending my termies to at least defend the central objective which his warriors were now defending.  I eventually made it there and killed them off, and finally popped his dread.   Then night fight kicked in and there was not much left to be done.  My termies started to head off to his main 'camp' but the game ended.  In the end the central objective was unclaimed and we had both the big guns objective in our zone, but I had killed two heavies to get the primary.  While he had killed some marines and termies, his only killpoint I think was the first Dread, and I had killed several of his units.  I ended up with line breaker as well while he had first blood.  A interesting and challenging game that went my way the back half of the game.

Game 3: Dawn of War; Primary The Scouring; Secondary Emperors Will; Tertiary Warlord, Linebreaker, First blood
Keith's Necrons
HQ: Imotekh
Royal Court: Harbinger of Destruction w/ Solar Pulse, Harbinger of Destruction, Harbinger of Despair w/ Veil of Darkness
Elite: Triarch Stalker
Troops: 9 Warriors
Troops: 10 Warriors
Troops: 10 Warriors
Fast: 3 Destroyers
Fast: 3 Destroyers
Heavy: Doomsday Ark
Heavy: Doomsday Ark

Sadly I didn't snap a picture until well after we had packed up so... ya this is terrible.
I've met Kieth from around the numerous tournaments we've both been to and chatted before, but we've never got to play each other.  As we were in the beer bracket we were in good spirits to have a fun game and take some risks for shits and giggles.

He ended up on the side with more objectives, but as they popped I ended up with the 4 point and a 3 point on my side.  I got to go first and decided I would try to deepstrike my termies turn one, why not!  Then he stole turn 1!  Oh no!  After playing against the Stormlord at Golden Throne I knew how terrible that storm could be, and would probably give him first blood.

But as it turns out Keith's dice decided two games were enough for the day and just did not show up all game.  The storm did nothing (a hull point here or there).  He deepstruck a unit of warriros up with Imotek and unloaded on my killing almost nobody.  The rest of his shooting was also just terrible.

I deepstruck my termies right next to his Doomsday arks in the corner and ran toward them spreading out.  In shooting I wiped out his whole squad of warriors, but Immotek stood back up.  I think I shot a few destroyers this turn.  I decided to charge Ezekeil and the 3 marines he was with at Immotek.  That combat lasted the rest of the game, as we both could not get through our AP2, and I had Precog up the whole time.

His turn 2 and again his shooting was dismal.  I think he killed two of my termies and again a few hull points from the Storm.  On my turn the termies charged the Arks and killed one only.  They finished the other up turn 3, after he had another dismal turn where the storm went out.

Essentially the whole back half of the game was a bit of a downer in that he had no real options.  He hid his two warrior squads the best he could as I moved a bit to pick them off.  I had killed his Destroyers and his stalker at some point, and I had just left my solo termie that had survived shooting off in the corner.

In the end I had Scouring and I think we were both tied on Emperors will (I might be wrong on that now) and I had first blood and line breaker and he had linebreaker as well.  It was a landside on the table, but we did laugh a whole bunch about how terrible his dice were treating him.

So in the end a 2-1 showing which was great but 3 fun games which was even better.  It was hard to rate the opponents for sportsman as you have to give 3 different scores (so a 3, a 2, a 1, or a 0 I guess if it was terrible).  So that is always tricky to figure out how to differentiate 3 fun games!

Conversely and somewhat amazingly all 3 of my opponents gave me a 3!  Wow!  So I ended up with the sportsman prize which is certainly nice, plus a cool old school dread I can add to my orks.

So Captain Soft Score strikes again!  The DA were definitely fun, but what about as marines?  Well It will not die would really not have come up much in my three games.  The tanks usually died straight out, or lost hull points but never died.  I guess getting those back would be nice but not entirely necessary.  6++ FNP could have been nice, but likely doesn't amount to much.  For the Imperial Fist side of things the reroll bolters would probably have been pretty useless as well.

So I think at this point level really any of the armies is about the same, with maybe Iron Hands taking the lead.  However as it scales up I think Dark Angels might be the best, as taking Belial with 10 Th/SS termies is just nasty in the troop department.

But we'll have to see what the Marine dex brings soon enough!