Sunday, July 7, 2019

Mojo Lost and Found

Well, June ended up with me hitting the brakes hard on Age of Sigmar.  Games Workshop released the 2019 "General's Handbook," and I realized that if I wanted to play AoS, I'd need to accept that Games Workshop is releasing a fundamentally unbalanced game and "course-correcting" every year with a new book, rebalancing everything, and that I'd need to pay $40 a year to keep playing, and that just took the wind right out of my sails.  It's one thing if a game gets a new edition released after a few years that tidies up issues discovered after the fact with the previous edition, and quite another entirely to buy a new book every year because GW can't playtest properly.

With that realization, I lost a lot of my will to paint, which I've been teasing back by selecting figures from the box of stuff I got from Reaper's most recent Bones Kickstarter and making myself sit down and work on them, starting with this Wyvern from the core boxed set.

Started off by base-coating the dorsal surface with Reaper's "Deep Ocean" and the underside with "Cloudy Gray," then gave both a wash of GW "Drakenhof Nightshade" When that was dry, the underbelly was drybrushed with "Misty Gray" and the back with "Marine Teal," followed by a much lighter drybrush of "Surf Aqua." I brought some of the Misty Gray over on to the back at the trailing edge of the wings.  The thick scales along the spine and tail were glazed with two coats of GW "Wayfarer Green" with some also brought down along the neck and underarms to tie the two sides of the figure together some.  Inside of the mouth was done in "Old West Rose" and the teeth and claws were picked out in Vallejo Leather Brown and Reaper "Stained Ivory." The eyes are Reaper "Fire Orange."

I added a piece of GW Azyrite Ruin and the Wyvern's designed base to a 50mm base, and painted them with Delta Ceramcoat brand craft paints - basecoat black, drybrush Espresso, Dark Grey, Light Grey.  Some basing grit and grass tufts later, and we can call it done.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Unleashing the Beast

I've spent a good amount of time this weekend working on additions to my Age of Sigmar army, almost all in the form of Tzaangors, the twisted bird-goat-men that comprise Tzeentch's rendition of the standard-issue beastmen. 

I started by assembling and painting a Tzaangor Shaman, one of the leaders of this abominable species, mounted atop a half-daemon, half-machine Disc of Tzeentch.  This was to fully test-drive the color scheme I was thinking about using to model a tribe of Tzaangors native to the Realm of Fire.  I think it came out very nicely, especially with the bases done up using the "Dark Runes" Green Stuff rolling pin.  I'll be doing as many bases as I can in this style going forward.

With that out of the way, I assembled a box of ten Tzaangors, deciding to equip them with paired blades instead of sword-and-shield, forgoing a little bit of defense in favor of a boost to attack rolls.  There's also a few equipped with "Great Blades" for some extra chopping power against heavily-armored foes.  I also assembled three "Tzaangor Enlightened," more advanced and favored members of the species, who have some delightfully nasty abilities, especially if a Wizard is nearby. 

Finally, something really fun.  Eventually I'm going to want to field a "Fatemaster" in my army, but refuse to work in resin, the only material the character is available in.  So I kitbashed my own, using Warhammer 40K's "Ahriman" Chaos Sorcerer, the glaive-wielding right arm and head of a Chaos Knight, and a shield arm off the Tzaangor sprue.  A little Green Stuff to cover an attachment point where a jetpack is supposed to go and he should be good to prime. 

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Return to the Age of Sigmar

I played in a really enjoyable game of Age of Sigmar 2nd edition this weekend, a three-way battle between by Tzeentch army, a Stormcast army and a Nighthaunt army of ghosts.  I've had bad experiences with Age of Sigmar in the past, but Alex, the manager of the local Warhammer store, managed to pull me back in by assuring me that the in-store campaign that was starting up was going to be very focused on playing scenarios, rather than just mindless brawls, and that people bringing web-sourced tournament-style lists would be discouraged. 

I liked the changes I saw in 2nd edition, and I like that the Disciples of Tzeentch have been nerfed a bit - because DoT was so overpowered when it first came out that even my army, put together by a guy who had no idea what he was doing list-wise, was being automatically viewed as overpowered. 

I enjoyed myself enough that I decided I wanted to keep playing, so long as I can keep playing more relaxed games; I wargame for leisure, not for tournament play.  And feeling dissatisfied with both the composition and the paint jobs on the forces I have at my disposal right now, I decided I'd start rebuilding my army, one unit at a time, to create a more cohesive and thematically-interesting army. 

I picked up a box of Tzaangors, the Tzeentch-themed Beastmen, as well as a Tzaangor Shaman, because I loved the sculpts and wanted to use them as a solid core of my army.  Looking through the Disciples of Tzeentch book, a bright pink Tzaangor among the various blues caught my eye:

That got me looking at the Pyrofane Cult battalion, and thinking about the theme of fire.  A lot of Tzeentchian magic manifests in the form of varicolored flame, and one of the Mortal Realms in which Age of Sigmar games can take place is the Realm of Fire, equivalent to D&D's Elemental Plane of Fire.  A splinter-sect of the Pyrofane Cult from the Realm of Fire would be cool, and that's what I decided I'm going to pursue. 

Now I just need to resupply on plastic cement!

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Chaos Rampant: Planning an Army

So there's two ways I could go about building my "Old School Chaos" army for Dragon Rampant.  I could buy figures willy-nilly, assemble units as I go, and hope for the best or I could plan ahead and go in with an idea of what I have ahead of me.  I've gone with the second.  

First things first, I decided to randomly determine which of Games Workshop's Ruinous Powers my army would follow.  I rolled a D10, with 1-2 meaning Khorne the Blood God, 3-4 meaning Slaanesh the demon of hedonism and excess, 5-6 Nurgle the plague God, 7-8 Tzeentch, the god of magic and trickery, and 9-10 being unaligned.  

A 4 means my army is dedicated to the sensual and depraved Slaanesh.  Iiiiiinteresting.  Not the Power I necessarily would have chosen for myself, but that's why we're doing things this way, to mix it up.  

The next step then was to pull up a PDF of the old "Realms of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness" book, and use the warband rules there to determine the composition of my Dragon Rampant army.  I won't end up with a nice, balanced force but I should end up with something fun.  

First up, my general.  A D100 roll determines that my general will be human, and a second D100 roll determines that, in Warhammer terms, they're a Level 10 Warrior.  So a fighter-type, not a wizard or spellcaster.  Easy enough.  A few more dice rolls determines that my general has a Bestial Face, which causes fear in those who face them and a bonus to Willpower.  

So I'm thinking my general is going to be a Single Model Unit of Elite Foot with the Fear special ability tacked on, and "Charmed" as his Leader trait.  Resistant to magic, he wades into the midst of combat, hacking down enemies and sending the survivors fleeing in terror.  I have a model in mind but we'll get there later.  For now, that's 8 of my 30 points taken care of.  

Next, I make three rolls on the Retinue chart and come up with Chaos Thugs, Beastmen, and a special! We'll come back around to that last one.  

Chaos Thugs/Marauders/Raiders are (in my head at least) a disorderly, bloodthirsty rabble barely kept in check by the general's force of will.  Well that's Dragon Rampant's "Bellicose Foot" right there! I don't think I want to add anything on, so we'll leave that at the basic 4 points.  

Beastmen I imagine as being much the same as Thugs/Marauders, but tougher and harder to kill.  I decided to treat them as Bellicose Foot with the "Extra Shiny Armor" upgrade, for 6 points.  

Finally, the special.  The "Other," the 100 on the D100 roll.  A few more dice rolls determine exactly what it is that joins my warband, and it is...a cockatrice.  Ooh! Now there's something different! What do we do with that? A cockatrice isn't as big and nasty as a hydra, chimera or dragon, so I don't think the Greater Warbeast profile is quite right, but let's call it a Single Model Unit Lesser Warbeast.  Both historically and in the Warhammer lore, a cockatrice has a petrifying gaze ability that turns foes to stone at a distance.  The Flame Attack upgrade, granting the Lesser Warbeast a ranged attack, would model this nicely.  And the wide, batlike wings on the 1990 GW Cockatrice model also call for the "Fly" fantastical ability to be added on, so let's call that another 8 points.  

So let's see, that puts us at 26 out of our planned 30 points.  Hmmm.  I could throw in another unit of Thugs/Marauders for 4 points, or I could pull 2 points off an existing unit and add in a unit of Chaos Warriors as Elite Foot.  I don't really have any ranged capacity at present and I don't have a spellcaster present either, which could hamper me in future games, but on the other hand, I knew going in that this would not be a balanced force.  I'll think about it and get something squared away.  

Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Lost and the Damned: Starting my Chaos Rampant Project

My big project for this summer/year is going to be building myself a fresh warband for Osprey's Dragon Rampant, and I've set myself some limitations to keep things extra interesting:
  • All figures must be metal, and either be pre-2000 Games Workshop or by new manufacturers working in the "Oldhammer" aesthetic.  
  • No two copies of the same sculpt can be used unless I do significant conversion work on one of them.  
  • All shields must have freehand designs painted on them, with an emphasis on John Blanche-inspired monstrous faces.  Realm of Chaos 80s' shield tutorial is my guide here.  
  • Every unit must have a standard bearer, which will be outfitted with a banner I've hand-painted.  Every unit can optionally have a Champion attached, which counts for two Strength Points instead of the usual one.  Champions will be mounted on a 40mm base instead of a 25mm one to show their status.  
  • I have to be able to field a viable 30-point warband before I can call the project complete.  

The army will be one of traditional WHFB Chaos; big angry guys in heavy plate armor, vicious thugs, raiders and marauders in a motley of lighter armor and miscellaneous weaponry, mutant beastmen and horrifying demons.  Because I'm selecting figures based on the "Oldhammer" vibe, color schemes will be likewise based on the examples Games Workshop's 'Eavy Metal team painted for the pages of White Dwarf back in the 1980s and early 1990s.  

Last night I got a start on two classic figures I managed to score of the Oldhammer Trading Group on Facebook, who will be part of a unit of various Thugs and Marauders; these guys are technically both.  Originally released in 1985 as part of the F5 Chaos Marauders line (or at least, intended for it), these two later showed up again in 1988 rebranded as Chaos Thugs, though their slotta tabs both still say "Marauder" on them.  

The axe-wielding Marauder with the big exposed beard was base-coated in Reaper's "Viper Green," and given a wash of GW "Biel-Tan Greenshade." Highlighting was done back up to Viper Green, and then the armor plates given an edge highlight of Vallejo "Escorpena Green." The raised portion of his left pauldron and his poleyns were then picked out in Reaper "Marigold Yellow," washed with GW "Casandora Yellow" and highlighted with Reaper "Sun Yellow." His beard was basecoated in "Ultramarine Shadow," and highlighted with drybrushings of "Ultramarine Blue" and "Ultramarine Highlight."

His shield used mostly the same greens as his armor, though I took the highlighting a step further with a little bit of Vallejo "Livery Green" over the "Escorpena Green." The face was also glazed with GW "Wayfarer Green" before the eyes and teeth were detailed.  

His buddy with the odd chain weapon had his armor basecoated with Vallejo "Squid Pink," and given a light wash of GW "Druchii Violet" before being built back up to Squid Pink.  The final highlight was Squid Pink with a few drops of Pure White mixed in.  Helmet, poleyns and elbow pieces were painted using the same Ultramarine triad I used on the first guy's beard.  Weapons were basecoated with Reaper "Tarnished Steel" and highlighted with "Pure Silver."

Bases were given a coating of Vallejo Sandy Paste prior to priming, and painted with Vallejo "Goblin Green." I'll probably go back and give them tops of them a drybrush of "Escorpena Green" to pick out the texture a little bit.  

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Troll Repairs

A couple months back I scored a trio of 6th edition Warhammer Stone Trolls on eBay.  These figures were some of the ones that first got me interested in wargaming and fantasy miniatures back around 2001-2002.  They came already affixed to 40mm square MDF bases with a couple pebbles glued down and magnets inserted into the bases.  I set them aside for the time being as I have a project in mind for them.

Today, I decided I might as well get them primed and ready while the weather's nice, and I noticed one of them had a gouge taken out of their chest.  Fortunately, I had just the tools to take care of that.  Using some "Blue Stuff" thermoplastic, I made a mold of another troll's chest who was in an almost identical pose.  I then packed the mold with Green Stuff epoxy putty, producing a replacement troll chest once the putty cured.  I trimmed it down and affixed it to the gouged-out troll, and while a little bit of the detail got warped (I pulled the putty from the mold too early), I think once it's painted you're barely going to be able to tell anything's been done.  Overall, I'm very pleased.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

More Frostgrave Terrain

I finally got around to digging out and painting a couple pieces of inexpensive 3D printed terrain that Gina bought me a while back for Frostgrave.  They aren't the best prints, with prominent printing lines across most surfaces (is this something that could have been sanded down?) but at arm's length or on a table surrounded by other terrain pieces they look just fine.