Monday, 16 July 2018

40k Death Guard

Recently I've been persuaded to sign up to a Warhammer 40,000 ("40K") tournament in early 2019.  Having very little experince or skill with the current (8th Edition) rules I've decided to start up a new army.  I reckon with about 8 months to go that'll be enough time to build the force and learn to play.  We'll see...

I've always wanted a Nurgle army and so I decided this is the time to get one.

Anyway, rummaging about around my lead (plastic?) mountain I discovered a Dark Imperium box set I'd forgotten that I'd bought some time ago, which includes some Nurgle troops.  

I've kicked off with three of these little fellows in a bit of a colour shceme test.  I'm happy with the results so this'll be the colour scheme of the army.

The first three.  I think the one in the middle is some sort of magic user.

Bells are a theme, as are what I think are censers. 

I may need to work on the fliying beastie's wings.  These fly-type wings are common int he army so i need to get them right.

Overall, I'm really looking forwards to building this force.  I like painting grubby, rusty stuff.

Here are the steps I take in painting the above miniatures.  Aside from the undercoat spray, all my paints are Games Workshop.  With all basecoats, I use thinned paints and several coats to build up the colour without obscuring the detail.

1. Undercoat
I always spray, and usually undercoat in matt brown.  Where a model has another dominant colour I’ll typically undercoat in that colour.  As these are mainly green I’ve used a green undercoat (matt green from Halfords).
So as not to obscure detail this goes on in a couple of fine coats.

2. The armour
I build this up from the base green in 4 layers.
Firstly I overbrush the armour in Death Guard Green.  This fills in most of the colour but leaves the deep recesses with the undercoat showing.
Secondly I give a heavy drybrush of Ogryn Camo Green.  This is actually somewhere between and overbrush and a drybrush.  I focus on the highlighting details and putting a lighter tone on “upper” surfaces.
Thirdly I give the armour a careful undiluted wash of Athonian Camoshade (dark green).
Once this is fully dry I finish with a drybrush with Ogryn Camo Green, picking out the edges, details and cracks.

3. The iron
For me these models have two main metals; “iron/steel” and “bronze”. 
For the iron I paint it fully rusted as befitting the whims of Papa Nurgle!  This is usually the weapons, chainmail, and mechanical pipework – anything that seems like it should be iron.
I built this up as follows:
Firstly a basecoat all the iron metal bits with Mournefang Brown.
Secondly I “blotch” and stipple on random patches of Skrag Brown.
Thirdly I “blotch” and stipple on random patches of Jokaero Orange.  These patches are generally smaller that the stippled brown patches.
Fourthly I give a drybrush over the whole metal area using Boltgun Metal.
Finally I wash the metal with undiluted Agrax Earthshade (brown) wash.
If this darkens it too much a final drybrush of Boltgun Metal perks it up.
I’ve recently acquired a pot of Typhus Corrosion technical paint, and will dab small spots of this on.  I think it’ll have a greater effect on larger surfaces like vehicles.

4. Bronze
I basecoat all the bronze parts with Sycorax Bronze.
Next I give them an undiluted wash of Agrax Earthshade.
Then I put small washes of Nihilakh Oxide in the deeper recesses and where water might naturally collect, giving a bronze virdigris effect.
Finally I drybrush with a mix of Boltgun Metal and Runefang Steel.

5. The flesh & “horns”
For these Nurgle models I’ve seen all sorts of colours n the internet, and green skin seems common.  However, for me, I intend to keep all the flesh, well...flesh coloured...albeit with sickly tones and bruised hues.  This may vary a bit on the Nurglings (which I adore – they’re so cute!).
Firstly I basecoat with Eldar Flesh.  This lays down a nice bright tone to contrast the dark armour (although it won’t stay that way).
Next I use an undiluted wash with Reikland Fleshshade.  This gives a reddish stain.
This is followed by a spot wash of Agrax Earthshade, and then another of Carroburg Crimson.  I use these more like glazes than washes, to give the skin a bloodied, and “dirtied up” appearance.  For spilled entrails, or wounds, I also use spot washes of Druchii Violet and Nuln Oil (black).  This can take a bit of time to blend it all up.
Its worth noting that these models are festooned with horns and other spiky mutations (gifts of the chaos god).  I’ve decided to paint these in the same manner as the flesh, but I add more Agrax Earthshade and Nuln Oil to the layers.  I also overbrush Abaddon Black towards the tips (as befitting diseased extremities).  This makes them subtly different in tone but not a completely different “horn” colour.

6. Cloth (white)
I intend the predominant colour of these miniatures to be the green armour, rusted metals, and sickly flesh.  In most cases I don’t like painting more than three main colours on a model but these also have various layers of cloth on them.  I’d considered maybe just going black with them, or other dark tones to take them out of the colour mix, however I don’t think it would work.  Mainly, such dark colours would overload with miniature with dull tones.
Looking on the GW “source” models (which are disconcertingly “clean” for rotting and pestilent troops) it appears these cloth parts are a mix of bright white and red.
So I decided to use these colours, but darken them down significantly.
How do you darken white?!  Here’s how I do it.
Firstly I put a basecoat of Celestus Grey.
Over this I layer a few thin coats of Ceramite White.  I’m not looking for a smooth finish here but something a bit more patchy.
Then I use various spot washes of Agrax Earthshade, Nuln Oil, and Carroburg Crimson to give a filthy blood-stained appearance.  This keeps the white accent colour but dirties it down to fit in with the overall tone.

7. Cloth (red)
Next I tackle the red cloth, which i want to be just a hint of red rather than bright.
I give this a basecoat of Khorne Red.
Over this I give two heavy layers of undiluted Nuln Oil black wash.
Finally I give a light drybrush of Khorne Red to re-establish some of the tone on the edges and upper surfaces.  This gives a very dark red/black cloth that, like the white doesn’t detract from the main colour trio.

8. Sickly smoke
Some of these models have sickly, pestilent smoke modelled onto them so I needed to come up with a way of painting it.  I felt that it wouldn’t look good in dark colours (I was intending to do a sort of dirty mustard brown/black) as again it would dull the overall effect.  I also considered going orange, but felt this would be too far from the established palette and tone (although orange is a good contrast for green).
Turning to the GW sources again, it seems a bright yellow/green is commonly used so I settled on this.  I’m still not sure about it an may amend to the dirty mustard gas effect if I really don’t like it.
However, the effect was created as follows:
Firstly I basecoated the smoke in Celestus Grey.
Then I simply glazed the smoke with Lamenters Yellow and Waywatcher Green glazes.  Several coats of both built up a nice strong tone, although the yellow may have been better over a pure white.

9. Details
Now comes the part that takes the most time, the details.  It’s difficult to say anything definite other than this is the stage when “it all comes together”.  Here I’ll add in the fine details, like pus spots, soot stains, and other bits and bobs to make the model “pop”. 

10. Basing
I use a granular sand mix which I actually collected from “the wild” (in that its real sandy/stony earth).
I spray the base brown, and then mark where the model’s feet will be. 
I spread PVA glue over the base (leaving space clear for the feet), dunk in the sand mix, and then seal with heavily diluted PVA.  Because I use “real” sand, I don’t need to paint the basing as it looks natural enough.
I then file away the pain from the bottom of the model’s feet, scrape clear where they’ll fix to the base and glue.  Job done!

Saturday, 28 April 2018


Recently Games Workshop have released a rather good little game called Shadespire.

Unusually for the modern GW this isn't really a miniatures game but a combination of a boardgame, card game and miniatures skirmish game.  In actualy play I feels to me to be primarily a card game with the other elements interacting around that core card-based system.

Also unusually for GW, its an "everything you need in one box" deal.  Sort of.  The miniatures need clipping from the sprue and assembly, although they are push-fit once you get them off the sprue.  They can be then used unpainted, but of course I'll be painting mine.

With a step back, this game feels like Games Workshp parking their tanks on Fantasy Flight Games's lawn in an attempt to grab a bit of the X-Wing style gaming action.  The fact that the miniatures don't come assembled and pre-painted means that FFG will retain the edge for the casual gamer market, but hey ho...

Anyway, having bought the base game and run a few solo games to get the rules sorted in my head, I dived in and bought four more "gangs" (?) to add to the two you get in the core box.

I decided to paint them in the "standard" colour shcemes as set out in the Games Workshop artwork and example miniatures.

Steelheart's Champions
I was planning to paint these in a more grimy and used sort of scheme but I'm glad I comitted to going "standard".  I think they turned out pretty well.  As a note, the shieldmaiden mini was incredibly prblematic to fit together.  Not sure if i did it wrong or had a miscast, but i had to carve out quite a bit of the interior plastic to get the parts to fit.

Garreck's Reavers
Khorne berserkers.  Go nuts lads...

Ironskull's Boyz
Orcs.  Although apparently, Games Workshop are now calling them Orruks.  I presume this is for IP and copyright reasons.

I couldn't bring myself to paint this in the GW standard colour scheme because, well...yellow.  Ugh.  Not only is yellow a difficult colour to paint, usually because of the quality of the paint itself, but it doesn't exactly scream "brutal killer" to me.  So I went with a bare metal approach, and mixed up the metal types to try to giv a ramshakle, yet uniform look.  I guess these Orruks grabed their armour before the goblin artists got hold of them and dunked them in yellow!

The Chosen Axes
Another GW rebrand, these dwarves are now called duardin apparently.

GW haven't really done dwarves right since the very early Citadel days (in my view), but these little fellows are excellent!  I also like their play style at the moment and they might become my default team.  Still to be decided of course as I'm not yet experienced with the game.

Spiteclaw's Swarm
The Skaven (rat men) have long been one of my favourite Warhammer races, although I've never collected an army - mostly as the sheer mass of miniatures needed was too daunting to contemplate.  

Not painted yet...images coming

Sepulchral Guard
Cool undead.  

Not painted yet...images coming

There are two other gangs available but I haven't bought these yet as they are variants on the ones that come int he base game.  As Shadespire appears to be a card game and you need these boxes to get all the cards, I suspect I'll be purchasing them at some point.

I'm looking forwards to playing more of this neat little game.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

L'Art de la Guerre - Armenians vs. Classical Indians

L'Art de la Guerre is now our default game on the table and tonight I took the Armenians into the fray in a friendly game against Mal (not a club tournament game).  Mal brought Classical Indians  to the fight - pretty much an army designed to kill the Armenians, with a wall of mixed bow/sword infantry and elephants.  Hmm...this'll be a tough fight.

Terrain dropped all on my side of the board which was actually not that bad as it meant where I'd intended to fight was free of any obstructing terrain.

The deployment saw a very small but powerful Classical Indian force occupy the centre of the battlefield.  My Armenians put what "formed" strength they had (pikes and cataphracts) in opposition and spread out the flanking cavalry and horse archers to try a double envelopment.

On my right flank I moved from the get-go to try and sweep roung the flank and I'd intended this flank to take the Indian unguarded camp.  A good start was met by expert moves from Mal to close off the flank.  I withdrew the horse archers and abandoned my plans here.  As it turns out they'd come in handy later...

Off the blocks, an aggressive flank move...

Damn, they blocked it...RUN AWAY!!!
My left flank attamet was successful however, and would cause trouble of the Indians throughout the game.

As with most battles the decisive point would be in the centre of the battlefield and our lines closed quickly.  Indian archers did some damage on the way in, which was disconcerting.

The Indian archers tried to kill off the Armenian javelinment before they could get into the elephants.  Javelinmen are the best melee troops to take on Nellies in ADLG.

The uncontrollable Indian heavy chariots saw their chance against the unsupported Armenian Seleucid pikemen and charged in.

Shortly after the two lines were fully engaged.  Casualties were taken everywhere and losses mounted on both sides.  At this stage we were neck-and-neck in the gallop towards army break.

The mediocre pikes were inconsistent with one making a breakthrough and the other taking a beating.

And over on the left flank, as mentioned earlier, things aren't going well for the Indians.  Armenian archery kills off the elephants, and the horse archers envelopment causes a lot of problems and the Indian line is chewed up.

The Armenian cavalry archers, unwilling to engage, fall back and open a route for the elephants to rumble into.

But it does the elephants no good and they're shot to pieces.

All along the line the battle rages with losses on both sides.  The general trend is that the Armenian right flank takes a pounding, while its left flank pounds the Indians...

Finally the Armenian horse archers are given the order to sack the Indian baggage...

Not many Indians alive on the left; not looking good for the Armenians on the right.

And then, in the final turn both armies broke simultaneously!

An excellent, tense game ended in a just draw.  Another highly enjoyable bash against Mal in our current game of choice.

Durham Wargames Group's regular gaming is done on a Thursday night, and tonight I thought I'd take a few snaps of some of the other games going on.

Setting up for A Very British Civil War.  Here the battle will take place over the Durham Market Square. 

You can read all about it on this blog.

Preparations for what looks like a Russian or Eastern European battle in the making.

And a couple of boardgames on the go.

The excellent Smallworld.

You can see it played here:

And Powergrid.

Oh, and as well as our game of ADLG, Phil took his Visigoths into a friendly against Bob's Samurai.

Apparently it was a close fight that was decided by the Visigothic "furiuos charge" resulting in a win for the hairy Goths.

All told another wonderful evening of recreation and gaming at the club.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Firefly - Harken's Folly

And so to another game of Firefly.

"The Big Damn 'Verse"

We decided firstly to "go light" and play the base game with most of the stuff from the expansions removed.

We set up and randomly chose the scenario to play; in this case Harken's Folly.  

Commander Harken: "You and you crew are bound by law. Formal charges will be transmitted to the central authority."

So we had three victory goals to do in sequence:

1. Get "solid" with the four other contacts
2. Lead Harken on a wild (juggled) goose chase
3. Get into the VIP party and gather the intel to become a big player in the information trade.

We also randomised the captains we'd be playing and my wife got the powerful Nandi...

Everyone likes Nandi, they'll work for her for nothing!

"I appreciate your coming."

I got the gun runner Marco (who made the mistake of only paying Jayne 7%)...
He's a solid character, able to buy weapons at half price but also counts as "Transport".

"7% is standard"

Kicking off and needing to get solid with all the contacts (except the Alliance's Harken), Nandi began on Persephone working a job for Badger.  Marko began at the Space Bazaar on a milk-run for Amon Duul.

Early game saw us both working the Red Sun lanes, harrassed by Reavers.

"Reavers? Ain't logical. Cuttin' on his own face, rapin' and murdering - Hell, I'll kill a man in a fair fight... or if I think he's gonna start a fair fight, or if he bothers me, or if there's a woman, or if I'm gettin' paid - mostly only when I'm gettin' paid. But these Reavers... last ten years they show up like the bogeyman from stories. Eating people alive? Where's that get fun?"

And as we worked our jobs, Nandi headed across Alliance Space to Georgia - still pursued by the dreaded Reavers.

Meanwhile Marko worked Alliance Space itself, a dangerous situation as he'd picked up a Warrant for his arrest early on.  This would become a feature for both crews as throughout the game we struggled with the "Aim to Misbehave" tasks.

The inevitable happened (more than once) and Marko got boarded by the Alliance.  Paying the fines seriously dented his funds, but at least the jobs were getting done.

"Is there any reason you don't wish to discuss your activities?"
"Don't see as its any of your business is all; we're very private people".
Mid-game saw us both risking life and limb in the outer territories around Georgia, working Dung Runs for Patience and struggling with the "Aim to Misbehave" tasks.

Marko continued to accrue Warrants and get hit by the Alliance, while Nandi suffered terribly from the Reavers.  Twice she picked up figitives from the Space Bazarre, transported them all the way to Georgia, only to be hit by Reavers and having the fugitives eaten by these space devils.

We'd both accrued shiny crews, although Nandi's were disgruntled at working for Niska!

"This is how it is. Anybody doesn't wanna fly with me any more, this is your port of harbor. There's a lot of fine ways to die. I ain't waiting for the Alliance to choose mine."

Niska, "When you die, I can't hurt you any more. And I want two days at least, minimum."

Marko's crew is better behaved, probably because Emma was "keeping everyone happy".  Ass ever though, he's carrying a Warrant, a stash full of fugitives, and he's running low on fuel and spare parts.

"Come a day there won't be room for naughty men like us to slip about at all. This job goes south, there well may not be another. So here is us, on the raggedy edge. Don't push me, and I won't push you. Dong le ma?"
 Marko carried on the risk of meeting the Alliance in central space while Nandi got locked in some tough times trying to complete some jobs around Silverhold, heavily harassed by Reavers again.

And then Inara joined Marko's crew!  Because nothing says "respectable" like a Companion.

"And what exactly was our net profit on the famous wobbly-headed doll caper?"

Shortly after Marko slipped ahead by gaining the first Goal - becoming solid with the four contacts.  It cost him a lot though and he was now carrying three Warrants!  If the Alliance caught him now, it'd wipe out his funds.

Shortly after, Nandi caught up and the chase was now on to complete the two remaining goals...

As with every game of Firefly we've played, just as the mid-game seems to be dragging, the end game comes on quickly and someone wins, almost unexpectedly.  Marko was able to keep his lead (but only just) and finished the last two Goals to take the win.

Another excellent game of Firefly, which is a good solid boardgame made all the better for us as we're huge Firefly/Serenity fans.

Great fun was had as always with this fun game.