Friday, April 29, 2011

Brawler Bash Game 3 and Some Giant Eagles

I have been working on painting up something big this week, but it's not quite finished.  So instead, I will show you one of the conversions (or kitbashes?) that I made for the Bash.  One problem with slamming big blocks of figures into each other is that said blocks often do not like to line up.  Flyers are the worst.  They typically have huge wings (or in the case of dragons, huge tongues) that stick out and prevent easy alignment.  I've been using Gamezone's eagles lately, and I like them a lot.  However, they practically spill out of a 50mm base.  To fix that problem, I tried this:

Through the magic of bits sellers, I was able to procure 4 of the rocks from the High Elf Dragon kit.  They give the model about six inches of height which puts them well above any infantry that they may have to line up with.  I also think it looks pretty nice.  The conversion was pretty easy.  The rock is designed for a chariot base, so getting it onto a 50x50 required some careful cutting.  This cutting created some holes in what was left, and there were also some indentions where the dragon's feet were supposed to go.  I used a little green stuff to fill those holes, trying my best to sculpt the greenstuff into rock form.  

The eagles then had to be attached.  Gamezone's eagles are metal and possess significant weight.  Balancing them on the rock was difficult.  The swooping one below was simple.  He had a little peg on his tail feathers, and I was able to use a Dremel to drill a perfect sized hole into the rock.  A little glue has held him up perfectly.  The soaring version above was a nightmare.  I tried gluing.  I tried pinning.  I tried praying.  Nothing would make him balance on that rock.  I ended up breaking one of his feet off.  Finally, in despair, I ended up just greenstuffing him to the rock.  Fortunately, the angle of the rock and his giant wings tend to hide the fact that he no longer has feet, but he looks a little rough upon close inspection.  Alas.  Here are some shots of his more cooperative comrade:

As I said, I purchased the rocks in bulk, so I have two rocks left.  I'm trying to figure out what else I can do with them, so if anyone has ideas...

It is appropriate that I am discussing eagles because they played a significant role in game three.  I was 0-2 coming into that game, and I really didn't want to end the first day with no wins.  However, I felt pretty good because I have played Bretonnians more than any other army, and my opponent confessed to knowing very little about High Elves.  As an aside, the hall we were in had gotten so loud that it was almost deafening.  My opponent and I were shouting at each other and were still not able to really understand each other.  That coupled with the fact that this was my third game of Warhammer in nine hours made for some very uncomfortable gaming to say the least.

Anyway, the army I was up against seemed very 7th edition in design.  What I am seeing a lot out of Bret armies is large blocks of peasants, lots of archers, and of course, dueling trebuchets. This army centered on knights.  It did have a trebuchet, but only one.  It also featured a lord on hippogriph, which is not something one sees every day.

For all intents and purposes, the game ended in turn 1.  I took the first turn and moved my horde of white lions into range of all his knights, hoping they would charge me.  They did, and I can say that I truly felt guilty when I explained what 30 strength 6, rerollable, always strikes first attacks meant.  He did a little damage to the white lions, but three units of knights were fleeing.  The eagles got the trebuchet the next turn, and my opponent was left with few options to hurt me.

I will hand it to my opponent though because he made a nifty move with his lord to give himself a chance to win.  We were playing Blood and Glory, which I think is the best of the core scenarios.  I love the way it punishes armies with few banners (and hence few units). I think every tournament should include some version of it to balance deathstar armies a bit. Anyway, I had my general, a banner, and my BSB in a bunker unit hidden behind my lines.  My swordmasters were positioned to protect it from said lord, but they failed their terror test and ran off, allowing his lord to redirect into my bunker's flank.  The only thing that saved that unit was poor rolling on his part.  He flubbed the charge, I stood, and in the next round I was able to finish off the last banner needed for victory.

All in all, it was an enjoyable game against an opponent who definitely kept things fun.  A little drama at the end spiced things up.  This was also the only game in which my horde of white lions did anything.  I know a lot of people swear by them, but as I'll talk about next post, I'm not sold.  Hopefully, I'll also have some pictures of the model on which I have been working.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Brawler Bash Game 2 and a Damsel

While tournaments are great for inspiring progress in the painting of armies, I'm seriously burnt out on painting High Elves.  I thought about painting up some more Tomb Kings, but since I haven't really seen the book, I decided against it.  I'd hate to spend a bunch of time working on  a Bone Giant that was useless with the next book.  Fortunately, my friend Paul came up for a game on Saturday.  After getting trounced soundly, I started looking over his army and noticed that Bretonnians have some great figures, especially some of the older edition metals.  The damsels in particular are excellent, and I asked if I could paint one of his.  After spending a couple of days on it, this is what I came up with:

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I wanted to paint it green because I have a fear of red (and I think green would look good); however, Paul really wanted her to wear red.  I was a little apprehensive about that because I have always found red difficult to paint.  I initially tried to wet blend parts of her dress but gave up on that pretty quickly.  Still, it was a nice model to paint.  I'd be willing to bet that she was sculpted by the same person who sculpted the High Elf Maiden Guard, which are some of my all time favorite figures.  Both models have excellent hair,  which really stands out.  You'll notice the old school green base as well.  Normally, I hate the green base look, but after painting this one up, it's not as bad as I remember.  I'm going to stick with Graveyard Earth or Black for my own armies, but I guess green still works just fine.  Hopefully, Paul will like the way she turned out.  And if he doesn't, maybe he'll just let me keep her.

Anyway, my second game at the Bash was pretty interesting because I drew another High Elf list.  This one was banded hard (I was only medium), so I knew it was going to be an uphill fight.  He had a Book of Hoeth mage, a BSB, and another hero accompanied by 4 eagles, 2 blocks of 25 phoenix guard, and 2 blocks of sea guard.  I knew I was a little outgunned, but I still felt pretty good about my chances.

The problem was that the scenario was Watchtower, and I know that I'm not alone in saying that Watchtower is the worst balanced of the six basic scenarios.  There are some units that are just impossible to move, especially with the watchtower granting steadfast.  The tournament organizers tried to mitigate some of the problems with the scenario by making it King of the Hill instead of Watchtower.  However, the building isn't the problem.  It's the steadfast on the holding unit.  In the end, I couldn't get the Phoenix Guard off the hill. By the end of the game, I had won combat three straight times, but the BSB who was hanging out in a nearby unit with a LD 10 general made certain that no one was leaving the Hill.  At the end of that game, I was 0-2.  Things were looking grim, and I was worried that I might end up being the tournament whipping boy.  Fortunately, the Brets were next, and my luck was about to turn!

It was interesting to hear about other people's experiences at the tournament with this scenario.  Several of the top players lost this game (and it was their only loss).  I really believe that this scenario comes down to certain units getting on the hill.  I'd suggest changing it to take out the steadfast and to allow for full combat resolution (instead of just kills).  I think that would make the scenario more fair.  As it is, I just don't think it should be allowed in competitive play (truth be told, I always suggest rerolling it when it comes up in friendly games).

Monday, April 18, 2011

Brawler Bash Game 1 and a Big Ol' Owl

I like the GT tournament style because nearly every army ends up being fully painted.  As I mentioned in my last post, I wanted my army to look nice, so I spent the last week finishing up a unit of white lions and getting two new units finished: an archer unit and a Giant Owl (made by Cool Minis or Not).  Here's a shot of how the two models turned out:

I really liked the way that the owl turned out.  The miniature itself comes with a sorceress, but I was able to use her legs as a base for a white lion conversion.  CMON advertises the owl as 32mm, but I think that it fits in really nicely with the rest of the army.  It was my first experience with a resin model, and I really liked working with it (even if it did seem a little fragile).  The model is a little pricey, but in my opinion, it makes a great centerpiece.  I used it as a great eagle rider, and it seemed to be well appreciated by my opponents.

I liked the Bash because they actually used the book scenarios instead of just going Battleline for every game. My first game of the tournament was against Wood Elves.  His list consisted of a level 4, a treeman, a scouting hero, a hero on an eagle, a variety of bow armed troops, and a unit of treekin.  My problem in this game was not understanding what I was up against, which I think is a common problem for people who encounter a finite number of armies.  I really didn't respect what mass strength 3 bow shots could do.  We were also playing the scenario Dawn Attack which creates a random deployment.  My army was built around having a bunker for my archmage and BSB behind the rest of the army and when the bunker got shifted off to the side, I put them in the unit of archers.  50 some shots later, I had neither a BSB, an archmage, or the unit of archers.  That was pretty much game over.  We scuffled around for the full six rounds, but I never really recovered from the loss of my BSB.

Incidentally, I think that one of the strengths of 8th edition is in its scenario design.  The various scenarios will punish different sorts of builds.  A lot of lists depend on certain units to be in certain places, and the scenarios definitely force some outside of the box thinking.  By the end of 7th edition, I had really grown tired of Pitched Battle over and over again, so much so that I had purchased the old General's Compendium to add some spice to the game (that's a great book for campaigns and custom scenarios by the way).  Having six very different scenarios certainly added some necessary spice to the game (even if Watchtower is broken -- as I'll talk about during my next post).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Brawler Bash (4/8-4/9)

Brawler Bash is the largest tournament I will play in this year, and it will undoubtedly be the most competitive.  I went into the tournament with a few goals this year:

1)  Don't get too serious or too concerned about winning.  There are a lot of good players using well-honed lists.  The tourney did an interesting thing to set its composition scores.  Instead of having some sort of checklist, they just used a panel of private judges.  I thought this was a good idea, although I didn't necessarily agree with all of the decisions.  Based on this, there were 19 hard lists, 17 medium lists, and 4 soft lists. I made my own list based primarily on maximizing my painting score, so I wasn't using a well tuned list.  Still, I can be competitive, so I wanted to be sure that I took a thrashing without getting too down (and the first game put that to the test).  In the end, I accomplished this mission; something that was made easier by having 5 awesome opponents.  In the end, I went 2-3, which is about the same as the last time I went (when I went 2-2-1). 

2)  Finish in the top 25% of painting scores.  I'm not a great painter, but I worked really hard on my list and my board.  Here's what I ended up with as an army:

I built the board by taking a picture frame down from the attic and popping the glass and picture out of it.  Then, I stapled a piece of plywood to the back of it.  Using patching plaster, I created a surface over the board.  I painted part of it blue and then covered the rest with flock and sand.  The final step was to use Woodland Scenic's Realistic Water to create the water effect.  This was my first time using Realistic Water, and it was very easy.  Just pour and wait. I had a hard time deciding how much I needed. I ended up getting two coats out of my 16oz bottle, and I still have a little left.  For reference, the board is a little bigger than 2 x 2.

As you can see I added a ship model to (hopefully) make it stand out a little.  I still have a few things I want to do with the ship, namely add some painted shields up the side and put some giant banner on top.  For reference, the ship is made by a Russian company named Zvezda (I got the idea from Ender on Warseer:  It's a seriously nice model.

In the end, I finished 4th in painting, which was a lot better than I expected to.  There's some work that I am going to do to try to improve my score next year.  First, I want to improve the board.  The grassy side looks lame.  I'm thinking I may try to make that look more like paved stone -- as if they are marching towards the dock of a city.  I'm also going to get some Woodland Scenic Water Effects to create some waves in my water.  Second, I will improve my boat as I discussed above.  Finally, I want to try to convert some of the new Phoenix Guard into Spearmen.  My spears are the first models I painted, and they look it.  They are pretty rough looking.

Hopefully, I can post some of my progress on this blog.

3)  My final goal was to meet some new players and play some armies that I never get to play.  I was only partially successful here.  I did meet some new players, including some that live close to one of our gaming spots (if either of you check the blog, I tried to get into your yahoo group but didn't have any luck).  However, I didn't get to play many new armies.  Our group consists of my High Elves and Tomb Kings, and my friends' Warriors of Chaos, Orcs and Goblins, Bretonnians, and Vampire Counts.  In this tournament, I played High Elves twice, Bretonnians (an army I've played against 1,000 times), Orcs and Goblins, and Wood Elves.  Wood Elves are the only army that I rarely see.  Still, the games were really good, so I can live without seeing some new stuff.

I'll close this post by saying that it is a great tournament.  I thought the staff did a great job of organizing things and making themselves available for questions.  All of the players that I came into contact with were very courteous, and every army look fantastic.  I'm hoping next year that I can get a few more of my group (and who knows, maybe my old Tennessee group) to come down.  It's definitely a fun weekend.

That's enough of this for now.  I'll post some pictures of my opponents' armies and some mini-reports from the games next time.