Archive for cousin andy

Holiday conversions

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2013 by krautscientist

Even though I have been phenomenally lazy for the last two weeks, I still managed to sit down after Christmas to finish a couple of models I had been working on for ages. I also managed to get some more work done on Lord Captain Lorimar, although that will warrant a post of its own.

Today, let’s look at some more chaos models in Terminator armour: I realise you might be getting tired of these, but they are just so much fun to build 😉

First up, a Chaos Lord in Terminator armour wielding a pair of lightning claws: This guy is the beginning of a small, dedicated LC unit:

LC Lord WIP (2)
LC Lord WIP (1)
LC Lord WIP (3)
As you can see, the Chaos Termie Lord kit once again formed the base for the conversion (although the torso front came from the regular Chaos Terminators). I added a pair of SW Lightning claws, since I liked the extra sharp look of the claws. The head and right shoulderpad came from the FW World Eaters Terminators, while the Khornate bunny ears were cut off a WFB Finecast champion of Khorne. It seems like a very easy kitbash, but it took me ages to get the pose on this guy right.

The second model I managed to complete has already appeared in some of my fluff: It’s Brother Hokar, Master of the Guard. Here’s a brief decription from a piece of background I wrote:

“(…)Khoron laughed. The sound recalled sheets of metal grinding against each other. A strange sound for a Dreadnought. Khoron took a step forward and Bardolf could see fresh damage on his armoured form. “Oh, I have been here for a while. As a matter of fact, I was quite honoured to accompany our brother Charun on his latest …sortie.”

“And quite a sortie it was”, came a new voice. Bardolf turned around to face the new arrival. It belonged to Hokar, Lorimar’s Master of the Guard. His Terminator armour was exquisitely crafted,  forming a cowl in the shape of a snarling skull that cast a shadow over his pale features. His expression was utterly inscrutable. Nothing new there.

“I salute you, hunter”, Bardolf addressed him, “I thought you were campaigning in the Diammar sector.”

Hokar’s eyes were like shards of volcanic glass. “Indeed I was. But your inability to keep our brother Charun in check managed to end my hunt somewhat…prematurely. Or did you think our Lord Lorimar brought the majority of the company here for a spot of hiking?”

To be fair, I had already begun building the model when I wrote this. But in case you wondered what Hokar looked like, here he is:

Hokar WIP (2)
Hokar WIP (4)
The idea of using the great Chaos Knight pauldrons as a sort of cowl was lifted from Lamby’s excellent “Legion of Thorns” thread over at Dakka. I think it really adds character to a Terminator! I  also had the idea of arming him in a rather unconventional way by giving him a spear and shield. I wanted this to reflect the World Eaters’ gladiatorial traditions: I imagine that gladiators in the grimdark of the far future would be trained to use different weapon configurations (pretty much like the gladiators in ancient Rome), so I thought it would be interesting to explore different loadouts for no other reason than to give some additional character to the individual models. I can imagine a bodyguard for Lorimar where every member is wielding a highly individual combination of weapons — wouldn’t that be cool?

Anyway, as you can see, the model’s legs came from a SW Terminator. I felt the trophy pelt was a nice callback to the 4th assault company’s role as a hunting party. I used some bits from the Skullcrusher kit to make the armour on the legs look slightly more chaotic.

Hokar WIP (1)
Hokar also uses a shield from the Skullcrusher kit. Many people are skeptical of shields on Khorne models, but I felt that, as Master of the Guard, Hokar should really be equipped for defense as well as offense. Plus everyone who has seen the fantastically corny Spartacus series knows shields can be used in fairly creative ways…

While I was building my umpteenth Chaos Terminator, Cousin Andy also joined in on the fun and built this model:

Ghostrider_expy02
Ghostrider_expy01
I have no idea what this guy will end up as, and neither does Andy, I think. But the model was still cool enough that I wanted to feature it in this post. It was built using different (Dark) Eldar bits and a flaming skull from the WFB Empire wizard kit.

So I did at least spent some of my holdiday for hobby related-activities. More new stuff soon!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

The campaign trail

Posted in Battle report, Chaos, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, Uncategorized, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 30, 2012 by krautscientist

Right in time for the release of the Crusade of Fire book, I noticed quite a few people mouthing off on the forums how campaigns and narrative gaming were basically a waste of time. Now while I may not have years and years of gaming experience under my belt, I feel I would still like to present the other side to that argument.

Instead of talking about GW’s new campaign book, though, let’s rather take a general look at what narrative gaming can do for you:

One of the criticisms leveled at narrative gaming in general and campaigns in particular tends to be that both can end up feeling rather gimmicky: After all, all the special rules and setpieces can make for a rather unbalanced gaming experience, right? But does it really take all those special rules in the first place in order to have a narrative experience? Case in point: The small campaign I have been running for quite a while now with cousin Andy and a couple of his buddies:

Haestia Primaris’ Mardias subcontinent – the stage for our campaign

The campaign is set on the world of Haestia Primaris, in the Segmentum Pacificus. The planet has been isolated from much of the rest of the Imperium of Man by the warp storm Maluriel for some fifty years, and it has taken all the power of the authorities to keep the planetary population in line in the face of adversity. Now the storm is over, but what should be a joyous occasion for the people of Haestia Primaris takes a turn for the worse as several sinister forces arrive to lay claim to the undefended world.

This was all the background we needed for having all kinds of battles involving our different armies, although I decided to add some smaller narrative hooks, in case anyone wanted them: The Craftworld Eldar are trying to retrieve an ancient artifact of their race from Haestia Primaris (known to them as Y’lanth’Ine, a former jewel in the crown of their galaxy spanning empire). The Dark Eldar originally desired nothing more than to prey on the planetary population, but find themselves forced into an uneasy alliance with their Craftworld kin when the warriors of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt try to capture the artifact as a worthy prey and tribute to their god. And during all of this, dark things walk the jungles of Candolfus: Is a Daemon invasion inevitable?

We devised a fairly simple set of campaign rules, based on moves on a hex grid. Occupying certain grids bestows smaller buffs to the controlling army. Whenever two (or more) players try to occupy the same grid, there’s a battle. Pretty simple, really. We have also been using the experience system for campaigns from the 5th edition rulebook so far, to show how certain units tend to get stronger over time.

our campaign map halfway through turn three. The green arrows mark games that have yet to be played.

Indeed, the setup doesn’t seem all that sophisticated. But that actually works in our favour: Running a campaign with many players and maintaining a tightly paced narrative may be fantastic, but it is also an enormous challenge. As soon as more than two people are involved, things tend to get complicated rather quickly. And so many a campaign have been running for years and years, without any conclusion in sight. Frustrating, right?

Not necessarily: Our own campaign has been tottering on for more than a year now, with only half a dozen games played so far. But since we are taking a very laidback approach to the whole thing, it’s not that much of a problem. Indeed, we are trying to leave out all the stressful parts (micromanaging the participants’ schedules, writing angry e-mails back and forth,…) and just run the odd game every once in a while. Whenever we do play, however, the game can easily be slotted into the running campaign. After all, the campaign is there as a tool for making games more enjoyable, not as something that should stress us out more than a regular day job.

The games themselves can be as standard or elaborate as we want them to be. But due to the background, all kinds of narrative hooks start presenting themselves, even during the most pedestrian battles. For instance, when three of us were coincidentally vying for control of the same hex, we devised a battle where a coalition of Eldar and Dark Eldar would defend a priceless Eldar artifact against the World Eaters’ fourth assault company (the battle report can be found here).

The forces of Khorne’s Eternal Hunt and a mixed Eldar force, duking it out at the Y’lanth’Ine basin

When that game ended in a draw (due to a pretty stupid tactical oversight on my part), the next game was all about the angry Chaos Lord Charun trying to get his revenge on the Xenos filth. When I lost that game, it made me think about how this outcome would affect the officer in charge, and once again, the narrative continued

All of this not only provided more context for our games, but also transformed some of my models from mere playing pieces into veritable characters: I don’t think I would never have come up with such elaborate backstories for Huntmasters Bardolf and Charun and for their simmering rivalry, if not for the campaign.

Huntmaster Bardolf. He and his fellow officer Charun have really come into their own as characters.

Consequently, I have started to conceive my models with at least one eye firmly on their background at all times, creating a collection of characters worthy of a millennia-old Traitor legion. And using them in consecutive games has made me think what their interactions with one another may look like when they are off the battlefield. And you really start growing fond of your little guys, too: For example, I’ll never forget how Skull Champion Bruul lobbed a grenade at an Eldar tank, blowing the damned thing sky high in the process — truly a moment worth remembering!

And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg: Playing narratively will also give you all kinds of cool ideas along the way: At one point I decided to build a custom objective marker for each army I defeat during the campaign. While this makes for a fun hobby project, it’s also a great way of injecting more character into your army and of interacting with other players.

Custom objective markers: a fun way to honour (or ridicule) your opponent

Or you could start to convert your squads to reflect their triumphs, adding trophies or killmarks to the models. Or give some more character to your squad leaders and generals. Granted, you should probably do that anyway, but it feels more satisfying if those additions are actually the consequence of something that happened during a game (or a string of games, for that matter).

All of this is not exactly rocket science, of course: It is certainly possible to have far more involved, narrative campaigns than ours, or more spectacular setpieces for single games. But even a small, laidback campaign is far more rewarding than basically just rolling dice all day to see who ends up with more sixes.

All in all, narrative gaming gives your games a sense of context and consequence. It offers all kinds of cool hobby opportunities. And it can be as simple or as elaborate as you want it to be. So what are you waiting for?

Do you have any remarks on narrative gaming and campaigns you’d like to share? I’d be glad to hear them in the comments section!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Andy’s Antics: Chaos rising…

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 21, 2012 by krautscientist

I usually use this blog to brag about things I have built and painted myself, but today I want to take the opportunity to show you the work of somebody else:

I believe I have already mentioned my dear cousin Andy from time to time: Not only is he the owner of the biggest collection of bitz I know (which has proven to be quite the advantage for some of my more involved kitbashes), but also quite an accomplished converter, as I already demonstrated some time ago. His Dark Eldar army is full of great and unconventional conversions, and I imagine it will be a sight to behold one day, provided he ever manages to paint it 😉

But while he may be a backstabbing, pointy-eared  torture-freak at heart, Andy couldn’t help but feel a certain fascination with the new Codex: Chaos Space Marines. So all of a sudden, some CSM models cropped up on his desktop. And now he’s seriously looking at assembling a small chaos army. Today’s post will be about the first results of that plan.

It has to be said that building a chaos army will probably be rendered quite a bit easier for him due to the fact that he had already started collecting a small LNTD force at one point. While a full army never quite materialised, he’ll be able to use most of those models in his second attempt. He also told me he wanted to try to build this army mostly from leftover bitz, with very few new purchases involved. And since I know that Andy is usually at his best when he’s kitbashing leftovers, I am happily along for the ride 😉

Anyway, let’s take a look at what he has got so far. Most of these models are still PIP, but I think you’ll still be getting a pretty good idea of where this is going:

First up, one of the test models for his new paintjob: A Plague Marine of Nurgle.




Andy devised a very simple recipe for the basic armour colour: Overbrush a black undercoat with GW Gretchin Green, then drybrush that with GW Dheneb Stone. The resulting colour looks slightly green and instantly reads as Death Guard, if you ask me. The armour trim was blocked out in rusty metal, and some additional rust was painted into the deeper recesses, using thinned down GW Vermin Brown.

Then there’s Andy’s idea for using slightly converted WFB Knights of Chaos as CSM Bikes:




While some of the detail could still profit from a bit of additional attention, I think you’ll agree that the overall colour scheme is pretty effective already. And the very medieval look of the horses is a rather nice fit for a Nurglite army, if you ask me.

One of the first models Andy built for the new army was the Terminator below. I love this guy for the fact that he was built using nothing but leftover bitz. Take a look:




Andy used an AOBR Terminator as a base, adding all kinds of chaos and Ogre Kingdoms bitz on top. I also really like the subtle but powerful pose, one of Andy’s areas of expertise: You really get the feeling that this guy, with his crude weapons, is all kinds of bad news…

Cousin Andy is currently converting some Possessed from a heap of leftover bitz I donated to his cause. He also took a discarded Possessed model of mine and upped the “body horror factor” a couple of notches by making him eyeless:




Knowing his usual conversion work, I imagine the finished squad will end up looking rather disturbing — in a good way!

And finally, a preview of Andy’s next “Counts as” bike, after the basic colour has been laid down:


All in all, I feel cousin Andy is off to a promising start! Although I cannot help but feel like all of this will become much less enjoyable once I find myself on the wrong side of his Death Guard’s Bolters…

Anyway, building more followers of Nurgle should give him ample opportunity for spectacular and distusting conversions galore! And I suppose that the Plague Ogryns I originally converted and (in one case) painted for Andy’s LNTD army will eventually find their way into this army as well. Here’s a quick reminder for you:


I, for one, am pretty interested in seeing where this is going!  More on this as it develops.

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

A patient revisited

Posted in 40k, Chaos, Conversions, paintjob, Traitor Guard with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 4, 2012 by krautscientist

Back when I got back into the hobby in late 2010, my dear cousin Andy was in a bit of a fix: He really liked the Dark Eldar, but a new Codex had recently been released, along with spectacular new models. “How is that bad?”, I hear you asking. Well, along with the nice new rules and models came lots and lots of bandwagon players, enjoying the new “flavour of the month army”, and that wasn’t for Andy, who, generally speaking, enjoys making his hobby life harder for himself than it strictly needs to be. So he set aside his Dark Eldar and turned his attention to the only army list even less supported by GW than the old DE had been: The Lost and the Damned.

Soon Andy had begun collecting a small combined force of Deathguard Marines, traitors and mutants. He also bought a box of Ogres to serve as big mutants, and as with all things Nurgle, they would have to be converted to look suitably gross and disease-ridden. That’s where I came in. I had cooked up a couple of ideas for Plague Ogryns in the back of my head, and so I asked Andy if I could convert them for him. He agreed, netting me the opportunity of trying my hand at Greenstuff for the first time ever.

A short while later, my first Plague Ogryn was finished. Here it is:



Be gentle, people, it’s my first GS work 😉

As you can see, I tried to make this guy look a bit like a large Plague Bearer, giving him a single eye and horn. I also took a rather primitive stab at modelling entrails, as per SvartMetall’s fantastic tutorial. And before anyone brings this up: Yes, I am quite aware that a creature lacking virtually all of its abdominal muscles would have a pretty hard time moving at all, least of all walking upright. Chill out, Biology majors! We’re strictly talking Rule of Cool here. And the Ogre already had that gaping hole in his belly, so what was I to do?

Anyway, I was reasonably pleased with my first GS work and built two more Plague Ogryns, implementing most of the ideas I had wanted to try. And so cousin Andy ended up with a suitably Nurge-y set of models. All’s well that ends well, right?

Alas, it was not to be: Andy found out the LNTD army list didn’t do much for him, and so after the bandwagon players had moved on (to the Grey Knights, IIRC), he rejoined the ranks of the sinister and depraved Space Elves, amongst which he may still be found to this day. Meanwhile, the Plague Ogryns I had so lovingly crafted, went to his cupboard of shame, there to moulder in obscurity until the end of days — what a fitting fate for the servants of Nurgle!

Until I recently visited cousin Andy and got it into my head to paint up one of those guys for the sheer heck of it. Fortunately for me, Andy let me have my way once again, and so I got to work. I got the model in the state you saw above, with only a quick drybrush of green laid down as a basic skin colour. Working from there, I painted him up in one afternoon. Here he is, in all his pestilential glory:






As you can see, I kept the green skin, but added a couple of additional hues to the mix. I also tried to paint the metal parts of the model to look rusty and worn. And finally, this model marked not only my first attempts at GS work, but also my first use of the legendary Tamiya Clear Red: I used it to paint the Ogryn’s belly wound in a suitably wet and gory manner, then stippled it onto the various sores and boils I had modelled onto the skin as well to make them look like they were weeping some kind of bloody ichor. My overall goal was to have the model look as disgusting as I could possibly make it. I’ll let you decide whether I succeeded.


It is true that Nurgle models are always great fun to convert and paint! In addition, painting this model also proved to be a great test run for my own big mutants/Ogryn berserkers (who are also be based on WFB Ogres, but are looking pretty different, as you’ll see shortly). So thanks to cousin Andy for giving me this opportunity!

And, as always, thanks to you for looking! Stay tuned for more!

Power from pain

Posted in 40k, Conversions, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , on June 15, 2012 by krautscientist

I already showcased the Grotesques cousin Andy converted for his Dark Eldar army some time ago, although the photos were rather more grainy than I would have liked. So it was a nice coincidence that Andy recently took them along to the FLGS in order to paint the squad’s last model (instead of using them to utterly annihilate me for a change). I told you already that I love those models, so I jumped at the opportunity of taking a couple of new pictures to put on this blog. Let’s start off by taking a look at the newest member of Andy’s happy familiy of twisted monstrosities:




This one’s a pretty straight kitbash, basically taking nearly all of its parts from the WFB Minotaur kit. However, the addition of a Talos/Cronos faceplate instantly transforms the model into quite a convincing Grotesque, in my opinion. I also like the pose a lot.

Next up, the squad’s champion:


This guy is always the star of the show for me, using more parts from the Talos/Chronos kit to create a really disturbing monster. I think this model is a great example of why the Minotaurs make great Grotesques right along with the the Blood Island Rat Ogres and Crypt Fiends.

And finally, the squad’s third member.



I can’t keep from shivering when I look at those horrible, spiny tentacle things. Brrr…

I learned during our last game that these guys can be very bad news for armies focused on close quarters combat. So I think it’s great that now they also really look the part…

So, while we are on the topic of twisted abominations, let’s also take a look at one of my newest creations! Cousin Andy has been looking for a good recipe for building the Wracks to go along with his Grotesques and Haemonculi for quite some time now. Of course, he could just buy the official GW models, which are quite nice, but he doesn’t like Finecast all that much and would rather convert the models from something else. He’s funny like that, but then I like to imagine it’s me who got him infected with the whole conversion business, so I won’t judge him.

We spent some time bashing around a couple of ideas, and I tried to talk him into using my beloved WFB Crypt Ghoul kit in his conversion. He was not that easily convinced, however. Well, I couldn’t let it go, so I built him a Wrack model as a proof-of-concept:



This conversion is, once again, basically a simple kitbash. The legs are from the WFB Empire Flagellants (the upper body was clipped off at the waist). The torso and arms are from the Crypt Ghouls. The left hand and forearm are from the Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors — although you could ostensibly use any Dark Eldar arm and weapon you like. I added a couple of vicious looking Kroot knives. Again, there are many grisly trophies and suitably sharp and wicked implements across the whole GW range to use here.
And finally, the head came from an old Dark Eldar jetbike pilot — a part that almost every Dark Eldar player in the world will probably consider all but completely useless. I shaved off the eyes to make it look more like some kind of alien gimp mask. I took this idea from a blog somewhere, though I cannot recall where (if you are reading this and it was originally your idea, just drop me a comment and I’ll be glad to add a link to your blog!).

The conversion took some cutting to make sure everything was a nice fit. I shortened the Ghoul neck to make it look less like a vulture’s and added a bit of GS to smooth out the gap between legs and torso, but apart from that, it was a fairly easy affair.

When painting the Wrack, I tried to adhere to cousin Andy’s colour scheme as closely as possible, using a mixture of bronze and red that is the trademark of his Dark Eldar army. The skin was the only departure from this, as I defaulted back to my tried and tested recipe for pale skin. I think it’s more plausible for Wracks to look less like suntanned bodybuilders and more like pale, sickly creatures of the dark.

Painting the model was a quick job: Using a fair amount of washing, it took me about 30-45 minutes, and I imagine it would be quite easy to further streamline the process and work on several models at once. Here’s the result:



I am rather pleased with how the model turned out. Now I am definitely not saying that this guy looks as good as the official models released by GW – those are fantastic! But if you don’t like to use Finecast models or are looking for a bit more variety in your squad (or are a conversion nut like me), this is a nice and easy alternative recipe. It’s also pretty cost-effective: Buying a box of flagellants and ghouls each costs less than buying two boxes of Finecast Wracks (42,75 € versus 52 €) and will give you the same number of models with lots and lots of leftover bits that may be squirrelled away for other projects. Granted, you’ll need some additional Dark Eldar bits, but most DE players should have those lying around anyway. The one setback is that you’ll end up with ten clipped-off flagellant torsos and ten pairs of ghoul legs, respectively. If only there was a way of combining those for yet another conversion. Hmmm…definitely some food for thought!

Anyway, so much for converting suitably gross abominations for your Circle army! C&C always very welcome!
As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Charun’s Folly – another battle report of sorts

Posted in 40k, Battle report, Chaos, Fluff, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by krautscientist

The sky was iron grey. The coming storm painted the lush green plains in an evil green, its hue almost neon. Memnar and Bruul were standing at the front of the World Eaters’ force, looking down into the valley basin that would form the stage for today’s battle.

“Almost like an arena, eh brother?” Bruul asked.

“Aye, and we know well how to fight in those.” Memnar looked at the sky: “This weather is ill news, though. It’ll be a downpour before long”

“Don’t tell me a Huntsman of the 4th is afraid of a few drops?”

“Visibility will be poor. The ground will turn into mud. But the water is the least of our concerns, to be sure.” Memnar pointed at the advancing enemy force, visible to the south: “Something is different.”

Bruul nodded. This was not what they had expected. The Xenos were advancing, seemingly to meet the World Eaters head on. This was uncommon. And their lines seemed different too. Instead of fast skimmers and the lithe forms of the Eldar warriors, they could make out huge, misshapen creatures, like nightmares become flesh.

Suddenly thunder growled in the distance and jagged lightning danced across the sky. The first drops of rain were quick to follow.

“It begins.”     

Suddenly, there was some unrest among the legionnaires at their back. Bruul and Memnar turned around to see Lord Charun marching through the ranks and appearing at the front line. There was murder in his eyes.

“Hunters of the 4th assault company”, he roared, “we march into battle today to reclaim our pride.”

“He must mean his own pride”, Bruul muttered under his breath. “I don’t recall losing mine.”

“It seems the enemy wants to meet us head on”, Charun continued. “By all means, let us grant their wish! No one can hope to defeat the World Eaters at close quarters!”

A cheer went up around them, but  Bruul and Memnar just looked at each other knowingly. It was happening again.

The rain had intensified, battering down in huge sheets of water now. Memnar cleared his throat and spoke up:

“My lord, these Xenos are devious. It seems strange that they would move to meet us in the open. Something is amiss here. Maybe we should…”

His voice faltered when Charun turned to face him. In three short steps, he had reached Memnar. Charun’s teeth were bared, and there was something horrifyingly feral in the Huntmaster’s eyes.

“Stand down, Hunter!”, he hissed, “Stand down or stand back! Either way, I will have my hunt. I will have my revenge. Be careful, lest you end up as the first kill this day.”

Memnar stared back for a moment, then bowed his head. “I did not mean to presume, my lord. Lead the way.”

Charun’s eyes were slits now. “I shall, hunter. Khorne knows I shall.” He marched past Memnar to the front of the lines.

Charun drew his nightmare weapon. Its azure glow bathing him in a ghostly glare. The rain was falling heavily now, but it instantly evaporated where it hit the daemonsword’s blade.

“Looks like there are two daemons on the battlefield this day.” Bruul muttered.

“Aye, and it’s the unbound one that scares me.” Memnar gazed at Charun for a moment longer. Then he put on his helmet. “Take care brother, lest you become the prey.”

“And you.” Bruul answered. Their respective squads fell into formation behind them.

“Harriers, with me!”, Charun roared, “Hunters, show the enemy no mercy. Give no quarter. TEAR. THEM. APART!”

***

If only it had been that easy… But I am getting ahead of myself! So first things first: Let me start with a warning, perhaps: This post will be rather wordy, so if you like your blogging brief and succinct, you might be better served elsewhere.

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the next game in our ongoing campaign for the fate of the Haestia system. This time, it was cousin Andy’s Dark Eldar against my World Eaters again. We played at 1.000 points per side and, very true to the piece of background above, decided on annihilation as the mission type.

1000 points were admittedly a bit of a tight fit for me, but I managed to take along two squads of eight Berzerkers in Rhinos, one fully kitted out squad of eight Raptors, one Chaos Dreadnought for heavy fire support and, of course, Lord Charun who would join the Raptors.

Cousin Andy’s army was a combination of fast and deadly (the usual fast skimmers with a dash of firepower) and slow and deadly (two Chronoi and a squad of Grotestques, the latter one accompanied by Urien Rakarth). His troop choices were a rather small unit of Kabalite warriors and a bigger unit of Wracks. Also, we once again had the opportunity of using the FLGS’s amazing terrain:

The table at the beginning of the game. It all went downhill from here…

After deploying our troops, we rolled for first turn and cousin Andy came out on top. Things didn’t get too ugly for me (yet), though: His attempts to destroy my Rhinos failed, and he spent most time maneuvring his models through the narrow space between two ruins.
When my turn came up, I was still a little unsure about how to proceed: My Rhinos moved towards the enemy at full speed, of course, but my Raptors were in a bit of a fix: Everything they could have hurt was hidden away in transports, while everything that wasn’t in transport looked like bad news. In true World Eaters fashion, I didn’t think things through and advanced on the Grotesques, hoping to rough them up a bit during the shooting phase. On the right flank, my Dread missed to hurt anything with his Autocannon, but at least he didn’t flip out and shoot at my own people.

I should have known in advance that these guys were trouble. Just look at them!

When cousin Andy’s turn came up, things started to get rather unpleasant for me: Following the law of nature that the most recently painted model will always be taken out of the game first, Khoron the Undying was instantly destroyed when cousin Andy’s Ravager took a pot shot at him. “The Undying” indeed…

One of my Rhinos was immobilised, leaving the Berzerkers riding in it stranded pretty far away from where they actually needed to be. On the right flank, my other squad of Berzerkers was approached by the skimmer carrying the Wracks: this looked like a nice occasion for combat, so I decided to disembark the squad and prepare for battle.

My Raptors and Andy’s Grotesques soon found themselves locked in combat. At last, the workface of battle! But even though my brave World Eaters dished out quite a lot of damage, the Grotesques just rolled with the punches: not really a surprise at three wounds per model. Cousin Andy also had all kinds of evil gadgets in place to neutralise my attacks. At least the Grotesques didn’t do that much damage, but the overall result was still a little underwhelming, to say the least.

Charun and his Harriers rushing into the thick of it…

Things did pick up a bit in my next turn, when the Berzerkers on the left flank managed to immobilise and stun Andy’s venom. And while the combat between Charun’s Raptors and the Grotesques continued to be a rather grueling affair, the World Eaters actually managed to cause enough damage for the monsters to run away. Keep in mind, though, that none of them had yet been killed by my valiant legionnaires…

On the right flank, things also didn’t look all that promising, because the Wracks turned out to be quite a damage sponge as well.

…and coming face to face with cousin Andy’s Grotesques

When it was cousin Andy’s turn again, things really began to go south for me: On the left flank, a Chronos attacked my Berzerker squad, showering them with all kinds of corrosive liquids. Let me tell you this: Template weapons can be very bad news…

In the center, the Grotesques had managed to pull themselves together once more, so the battle continued. And my once proud Raptor squad started to melt away like a snowball on a particularly warm day in hell. Things didn’t look any better on my right, with the Wracks slowly chewing through my second Berzerker squad.

All of this wasn’t helped by the fact that I played with the strategic farsight of a chimpanzee on fire, making all kinds of tactical blunders and stupid decisions. This game was coming to an end, and it was not going to be a happy one…

A couple of minutes after this picture was taken, I started removing my models from the table by the boatload.

The top of turn three saw my army completely annihilated — not a single model was left. One of my Rhinos and a lone Skull Champion had been the last to go, vapourised by shots from Andy’s Ravager and a bazillion of shots from the Kabalite Warriors, respectively.

The day was lost. And probably in the worst possible way. To add insult to injury, let me just show you the models I actually did manage to take out. Take a look:

I managed to take out TWO models all in all. I had also done all kinds of damage to cousin Andy’s vehicles and dealt a ton of damage to his grotesques, but in the end, those two up there were actually all I actually managed to kill. Quite an achievement for an army that’s supposedly great in close quarters combat…

I have to give it to cousin Andy though: He managed to be quite a gentleman about it. Mabe he was a little too gleeful for my taste when rolling about 25 dice to shoot at my last man standing, but I won’t hold it against him.

The day’s work done, cousin Andy’s abomination takes a moment to catch some rays.

Without a doubt, I had been pounded into the ground. The World Eaters had lost a hex on the campaign map. Unfortunately, this also meant that I would have 50 points less to buy equipment during the next phase of our campaign. But for the time being, this was far outweighed by the feeling of utter defeat…

Dark Eldar troops securing ruins in the Y’lanth’Ine basin after driving back the 4th assault company

Well, that was a bit of a disaster, wasn’t it? Looks like Charun has a lot to answer for. Speaking of which…

***

The spaceport’s tactical control center had been converted to serve as the 4th assault company’s command post for the Haestia campaign. A projection of the Mardias subcontinent was hanging in the middle of the room, casting a sickly green light on the attendees. The Huntmasters and their commanding officers were standing around in loose groups, conversing in hushed voices as they waited for Lord Lorimar.

Bardolf looked around. The amount of officers was astonishing. It seemed that much of the company had been assembled by now. The campaign was proving to be a challenge, but the World Eaters would rise to it.

“It has been some time, Bardolf.”

The voice was impossibly deep and metallic. Like it came from an iron grave. In a way, it did. Bardolf turned around to face Khoron the Undying. The Dreadnought’s huge frame was imposing, even for a warrior of the fourth. Bardolf had to look up to direct his gaze at the face Khoron had been wearing for the last millennia: a brass mask, wrought in the shape of a skull. Bardolf bowed his head respectfully.

“Well met, older brother. Indeed, it has been too long.” He looked up again. “I did not realise that you had made planetfall already.”

Khoron laughed. The sound recalled sheets of metal grinding against each other. A strange sound for a Dreadnought. Khoron took a step forward and Bardolf could see fresh damage on his armoured form. “Oh, I have been here for a while. As a matter of fact, I was quite honoured to accompany our brother Charun on his latest …sortie.”

“And quite a sortie it was”, came a new voice. Bardolf turned around to face the new arrival. It belonged to Hokar, Lorimar’s Master of the Guard. His Terminator armour was exquisitely crafted,  forming a cowl in the shape of a snarling skull that cast a shadow over his pale features. His expression was utterly inscrutable. Nothing new there.

“I salute you, hunter”, Bardolf addressed him, “I thought you were campaigning in the Diammar sector.”

Hokar’s eyes were like shards of volcanic glass. “Indeed I was. But your inability to keep our brother Charun in check managed to end my hunt somewhat…prematurely. Or did you think our Lord Lorimar brought the majority of the company here for a spot of hiking?”

Bardolf let the slight pass without comment. “What of the first hunter?”

Hokar let out a sigh: “Skarn is hunting to the south. He has set his sights on the secondary Hive.”

Bardolf shook his head: “There is nothing there. The Hive has become a necropolis.”

“Then he shall find enough skulls at least.”, came a booming voice. Deracin joined them, the bionic implants that covered his scarred head glinting in the green half-light.

Bardolf looked at the Keeper of the Forge: “I am glad to see you are well, brother.”

Deracin guffawed: “I was a lot better when you didn’t get my Daemon Engines all shot up, Bardolf. See if I grant you any heavy fire support again.” But there was a glint of humour in his eyes.

Bardolf indulged him: “Grant it to Skarn, then. Maybe he has need of firepower, conquering that boneyard.”

“First hunter Skarn is scouting out the enemies’ defense at my behest.” The voice was not loud, but commanded instant attention.
Nobody knelt when Lorimar entered. To kneel was to be a slave, and no member of the World Eaters legion would ever be a slave again. At least, not to any mortal. But the Huntmasters bowed their heads in unison as their lord marched to the center of the cavernous chamber. His personal guard spread out around him in a wide circle, their only sound the soft scraping of their heavy armour.

“I salute you, hunters.”

Hokar addressed him: “We welcome you, Master of the Hunt. The council is assembled.”

Lorimar looked at each of them in turn. “I have called you here to discuss our strategy. This hunt has proven to be more challenging than we expected.”

“Aye, the hunters in charge do seem rather …challenged to me”, Deracin smirked. Bardolf noticed Charun in the distance, his face twisting into a sneer. He shot a sideways glance at Deracin and stepped forward.

“The Eldar have been a resourceful opponent thus far. We have begun to suspect that they are guarding something very important to their race. Some kind of artifact. This is the fulcrum on which their morale is turning. Take the artifact, and you break their resistance.” He glanced at Charun: “Unfortunately, a number of dubious tactical decisions have seen us defeated time and again, and the artifact has eluded us. We were rash where we should have been more cautious.”

Charun stepped forward as well, staring at Bardolf: “Your overcautious ways ill befit an officer of the XIIth Astartes legion, brother”

“As does your stupidity”, Bardolf replied.

“Since when is it stupid to do battle? It is what we live for!”

Bardolf felt his anger rising. “It is always foolish to pick battles you cannot hope to win. If you continue, your rope will have more black twists than red ‘ere long. Can you not feel it, Charun? The dirt of Mardias in your wounds, chafing against the inside of your armour?”

“The loss of the artifact was not my fault. The Eldar used vile sorcery.”

“Indeed”, Deracin growled, “whoever could have suspected that the Eldar would stoop so low as to use witchraft?” That earned him a number of low chuckles. Before Charun could turn to face him, Huntmaster Bafram spoke up:

“It seems that we should be sorry for actually doing battle instead of only sitting within our walls now. If so, I may have to go around making excuses to my prey before long, eh Bardolf?” There was a murmur of consenting voices, and Bardolf felt himself growing tense. Charun may have been a madman, but he was not without support within the company. Bardolf spoke again:

“We are hunters, not beasts. What we hunt, we take down. That is our way. It has always been our way. What of a hunter who forgets that, I ask? Can he be called a hunter at all? Or has he become something different?”

There was something dangerous in Charun’s voice when he answered, something barely restrained: “You want to lecture me on hunting, Bardolf? Don’t make a fool of yourself! I have been hunting, while you were safe behind the walls of Antilia.

“All that you have been hunting are ghosts! Instead, you should have exercised some caution”

“Your caution could be considered cowardice.”

“And your recklessness could be considered insanity”. Bardolf left the word hanging in the air, the accusation plain to understand. Indeed, the mood in the room had changed. The assembled Huntmasters understood what was at stake here.

As did Charun: His face was a mask of hatred, he almost spat his next words into Bardolf’s face. “Would you like to continue this argument under more …fitting circumstances, my brother? Should we perhaps conduct this discussion on the Hot Dust, do you think? Let us see who is right then!”

“Enough!” The word was no more than a low growl, but it was enough to stop everyone in their tracks. Lorimar gazed at each of them in turn, his expression unreadable.

“I have need of a war council, yet all I hear is an assembly of old crones endlessly bickering. I am growing tired of this.” He turned to Charun:

“You will deploy to the southern plains with your retinue to form a reinforcement for Skarn’s hunting party. The Harriers still at the Y’lanth’Ine basin will remain where they are. Syrax, I trust you will command them wisely until such time as Huntmaster Charun rejoins you.”

Charun’s second in command seemed to have discovered something entirely mesmerizing on the floor in front of him. “Yes, m’lord”, he muttered in a low voice.

“My lord,” Charun seemed incredulous. “I beg you reconsider. There is little strategic value to the southern plains. I could serve the company better if I…”

Lorimar’s voice was icy: “The decision in what capacity you might benefit the company most is mine. Not yours. You may take your leave.”, he adressed the room in general: ““This meeting is adjourned. We shall speak more soon. May your prey be a worthy one. Bardolf and Khoron, you are staying with me. I would speak with you some more.”

The Huntmasters and their lieutenants left. Charun continued glowering for a moment, then he abruptly turned around and marched from the room as well. Bardolf could see that he was seething with ill-contained rage. He turned to Lord Lorimar:

“Charun is no longer sane. He cannot be trusted!”

“Charun is our brother. He has earned our trust. And our respect” Lorimar’s eyes were like cold fire.
Bardolf could not hold his gaze. Then Lorimar turned to Khoron: “What say you, old friend? I would hear your counsel.”

“This fighting amongst ourselves is unwise”, the Dreadnought growled. “A house divided cannot stand. Still, Bardolf has a point.”

Lorimar sighed: “The Butcher’s Nails have transformed Charun. They have transformed us all. Made us more than men. And less.” He was staring into space, at something only he could see.

“My lord, I am only concerned for the company’s survival.”

Lorimar turned to face Bardolf. “As am I. Charun is my concern. The plains of Mardias are yours.” Bardolf inclined his head. The discussion was over. “What of the other factions?”, Lorimar asked.

“It seems the Necrontyr have been sleeping for so long that they might have forgotten how to wake up altogether. We have only had superficial contact and some isolated sightings. For some reason, they are holding back.”

“And the Daemonkin at Candolfus?”

Khoron answered in his abyssal growl: “We cannot know who is in ascendance, so we had best be careful. The whole affair has the stench of Tzeentch upon it.”

“Aye.” Lorimar seemed lost in thought for a few moments, then he gazed at Bardolf:

“Gather a hunting party. I would look upon this prey with my own eyes. We march at first light.”

***

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Reasons why you should build your own terrain, pt.3

Posted in 40k, DIY, Pointless ramblings, Terrain with tags , , , , on May 16, 2012 by krautscientist

In this series, I outline the five main reasons why building your own wargaming terrain is great. According to…well, me actually. I already stated that building your own terrain is 1.) fun and 2.) cheap. But there’s more. For instance…

3.) Terrain you built yourself is truly your own

I can almost hear you: Yeah, Captain Obvious, terrain I built myself is my own. DUH! Granted, this one seems like a no-brainer, but hear me out on this! There’s more:

First of all, building your own terrain will give you a profound sense of achievement: It’s something that YOU came up with, YOU built, YOU painted – you get the picture. I had been wary of trying my hand at terrain for years, since I am not a very crafty person. But when I built my first set of cityfight ruins from foamcore, using a simple template I had drawn on an A4 sheet, I felt like the king of the world! Granted, depending on your personality, it might take more than some rickety foamcore buildings to make you feel awesome about yourself, but my point still stands: It’s great if you’re building some terrain out of the box and it checks out alright. To build something completely from scratch (or even better: from things found around the house and in your waste paper bin) just feels that much more gratifying! The sense of achievement also gets stronger once your projects start scaling up. In the beginning, small buildings and structures will feel like huge projects, but before long you will try your hands at cathedrals, spaceports or large fortresses. And you’ll succeed! The feeling of creating something from nothing is one of the greatest rewards for building your own terrain, and it’s something that is truly your own!

The second reason DIY terrain is truly your own is that your creativity is really the only limit here. Let’s face it, even the most fantastic readymade terrain is restricted in some way, either because the parts only allow for so much freedom or because you’ll have to buy lots and lots of kits in order to truly build what you have envisioned. Not so with DIY terrain: It’s your project, so you’re calling the shots! Of course it helps that most of the materials are readily available, but here’s the important thing: Instead of saying “Wow, that’s a great kit! Let’s see how I can put it together!” you can say “I have a fantastic idea. Let’s see how I can make it work!”

And finally, terrain you built yourself can be perfectly adapted to your gaming needs or to that of your group. Need an awesome setpiece for your next narrative battle? You can build it! Need a huge cathedral as a stage for your campaign finale? Go for it! Just need a couple of buildings and smaller barricades to block the line of sight and make battles more interesting? You can do that too! So it’s really easy to sit down with a couple of buddies, think about what you want your table to be like and then get going. And all of it will fit your needs and conform to your ideas.

All of it will truly be yours.

Now that was an awful lot of theory, wasn’t it? So let’s apply all of it to a real project, shall we? Our case study will be a small piece of terrain cousin Andy and I recently built . There’s a bit of terrain-building frenzy going on that the FLGS right now, and one of the projects is a set of Ork terrain. So we decided to build a small Ork outpost to teach ourselves how to built suitably orky terrain as well as to have a proof of concept for what we wanted the terrain for the table to look like. The look of Ork terrain has been suitably defined by many, many people, so to mockup a couple of ideas is really no rocket science at this point.

Here’s an initial sketch I did:

Sice we really couldn’t be sure whether anyone would actually like our piece, we decided to build it with materials as readily (and cheaply) available as possible to keep the cost low. So I gathered together lots and lots of leftovers and junk I had carefully collected and we got going. Here’s what we came up with:





The part making up the center of the piece is a package that came with a stack of CDRs. It makes for a nice basic structure. It could be some kind of Imperial fuel tank taken over and modified by the Orks. We put it on a base cut from foamcore. Then we added all kinds of orky “modifications”: Armour plates shaped like teeth (cut from plasticard), sheets of corrugated metal (cut from, well, corrugated cardboard), a rickety watch tower (constructed from leftover sprue and balsa) and a couple of sharpened stakes (again made from leftover sprue). In the end, we added a generous helping of cork to the base in order to make it look like sand and rubble.

All of this stuff was readily available from my persoanl terrain-building hoard as well as from everyday household items. The only slightly exclusive part was a small brass pipe we glued to the side of the tank, and I found that one in our tool shed — like I said, building terrain is cheap!

Deciding on our gameplan, cutting out all the pieces and glueing everything together took about three hours all in all. That seems like a relatively long time for such a small project, however you should keep in mind that we basically had to start from zero. In addition to that, once we got going, we could probably have done five of those pieces at the same time with just a little more work , had we wanted to.

Then I went and basecoated everything with spray paint from the craft store. As was to be expected, the basecoat really helped to tie all the different pieces together. Here’s what it looked like after basecoating:



I think it really reads as a piece of Ork terrain alright! And with four or five people, a box of leftover junk and a couple of small modifications, you could probably churn out a whole table full of interesting pieces like this in just one afternoon.

While this certainly wasn’t a groundbreaking project, we were filled with a sense of pride at our achievement. We had managed to come up with a plan, see it through to its completion and really nail the required look in the process. Now it only remains to be seen what the people at the FLGS think. Oh, and the thing still has to be painted, of course. But we’ll put that off until a paint scheme for the Ork table has been decided upon.

For the sake of completeness, here’s a scale shot with one of my ancient Ork boyz:

And that concludes my little discourse on why terrain you built yourself is truly your own. Let me say in closing that building this little piece was so much fun that I feel slightly tempted to start an Ork army. Before I can go through with that, that let’s quickly change the subject: A new INQ28 model is coming this Friday. Yay!

Until then, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!