Thursday, December 13, 2012

It's Warhammer Time in North Carolina!

It is time to bring this little blog out of its yearly hibernation.  As the leaves begin to turn on the trees and the tournament scene starts to dwindle away, I enter into hobby hibernation.   However, the first GT draws near, so it is time for me to get to work (and to start posting)!

This year stands to be the most exciting year yet for those who participate in the NC/SC tournament scene.  First, we will have four GT-style events this year:  Scarab-Con in January in Columbia, SC; Brawler Bash in April in Durham, NC; Southern Assault at some point in the summer; and GrailQuest at some point in the fall.  We also have GameOnGW's upcoming GamesDay event in High Point, which is always a blast. Furthermore, the scoring of these events will be used to crown the first Southern Overlord, a title which will go to the year's most successful Warhammer Fantasy Player.  In addition, we have a Bull City Gaming, a podcast which covers and promotes the local gaming scene (as well as other interesting gaming-related topics) and WarNC, a website seeking to promote the hobby.  Exciting times indeed!

Although I don't have any pictures for this post, I wanted to make a short post to get things moving again (although it's no coincidence that my posting hibernation corresponded with the taking of a new job).  Last year, I devoted a lot of time to my Tomb Kings army, and it is nearly tournament ready.  I'll share some shots in my next post.  I initially thought that I would use the TKs this year in the tournaments, but internet rumors have changed my mind.  It looks like this might be my last year with my current high elf book, so I am planning to use this year to say my fond farewell to a fun armybook (I will bring the TKs to non-GT events though). With this in mind, here is my pre-tournament hobby to-do list:

  1. Take a painting lesson.  I have a friend in NE Tennessee who has recently been bitten hard by the 40k bug.  He is an amazing painter (and a trained artist) and has agreed to meet with me a couple of times over my holiday visit to teach me some techniques.  I expect him to start his own painting blog soon enough.
  2. Get another horde of white lions painted.  After all, one horde is never enough.
  3. Get a full blown Caledor-themed army done in time for Brawler Bash.  To do this, I will need to paint a new unit of dragon princes (my old ones are so poorly painted that it makes me weep).  I have visions of a unit of 10 with two small reaper dragons flying over head.  However, I haven't exactly worked out how to support the metal dragons over the unit.  I will also need a new display board.
  4. Play Teclis one time at a tournament.  I haven't played him at all during eighth edition.  It would be a shame to get a new book without ever using the most powerful thing in the old book.  I',m just trying to figure out how to slip him in without getting punched.
  5. Play Alith Anar one time at a tournament.  I like the fluff of the Shadow Warriors, but no one ever uses them.  I'd like to roll up with a proper shadow warriors army and see what I could get done (my guess would be 0-5, but at least I could say I did it).  I'm guessing that I try this at the Southern Assault tournament since it has the most advantageous comp rules for weaker armies.
Last year, I was pretty successful in fulfilling my goals. I wanted to take a Dragon Mage to a tournament, and he ended up working out pretty well.  I wanted to win a painting award, and I (narrowly) managed to do so.  I also wanted a proper horde of white lions and another of swordmasters, and I managed to get them finished.  We'll see how I do this year.

Thanks for reading; I'll be posting some pictures of my recent painting accomplishments soon (2 screaming skull catapults, a big honking unit of chariots, a big honking unit of Necropolis Knights, and some TK archers).  (As an aside, how about some of you NE Tennessee players put the Brawler Bash on your vacation list.  This year, they are running a big 40k tournament alongside the Fantasy event.  If we get it organized quickly enough, I bet that I can arrange some cheap housing for the group).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Finished Dragon Conversion and Brawler Bash V Report

I just returned from Brawler Bash, and I'm happy to report I had an excellent time this weekend.  Brawler Bash was the first GT-style event that I ever attended, and it remains an outstanding event.  Eric and his crew do an excellent job of running things, and I encourage everyone reading this to make a trip to NC next year for the tournament (especially all of you folks from Tennessee -- come on over!).

As I mentioned before, my primary objective was to score as high in painting as possible.  This, of course, is a bit of a challenge for me because I am not an outstanding painter, so I have adopted a "go big" strategy to army appearance:  I might not be the best painter, but I'm going to attract some attention by putting cool stuff in my army.  In the same way that an average looking woman becomes beautiful with the proper make-up, I try to work in some little touches that make the army stand out.  This year, that meant some spearman conversions, bowstrings for my archers, and this:

I posted the WIP process shots two posts ago.  I'm very excited by the way he turned out.  The only problem is that when I put the wings on, his balance was thrown off badly.  He spent most of the weekend tipping over, even after I added some weight to the base.  A friend has promised to make me a pewter base, and I'm hopeful that this will make him more stable.  I think people at the tournament really enjoyed the conversion, and a lot of people from the convention came over to talk about him.  As I've said before, I enjoy the hobby part of Warhammer as much as (if not more that) the gaming part, and it's a good feeling when something that I've worked hard on comes out right (heaven knows that I've had a lot of things that I've worked hard on fail).

Anyway, the dragon must have paid off because I was awarded the plaque for Bash Brush.  I've won a couple of player's choice awards but never best overall army, so I was really proud of that.  Here's a shot of the complete army:

As for the actual gaming, I ended up going 2-3, winning against an Ogre army and a Tomb Kings army and losing to Orcs, Skaven, and Chaos Warriors.  A couple of the losses were very close, and every game was interesting.  Most importantly all of my opponents were excellent generals and sportsmen, making the losses much easier to swallow.

Of course, I took a double dragon army, and there was a lot of discussion about my dragon mage.  A lot of people had never seen one on the table, and most lamented the fact that such a cool concept was marred by poor rules.  However, I'll note that in every game except for one, the dragon mage held his own.  A few of his highlights:

Game 1 vs. Ogres:  he killed some scouting ogres before chasing around a unit containing a firebelly.  He slowly fireballed them away until I had received all of their victory points.

Game 2 vs. Orcs:  a stone thrower ended his game early

Game 3 vs. Tomb Kings: Despite losing the mage early, the dragon went on a rampage, killing a unit of carrion, a unit of horseman, a casket of souls, and two catapults.  I won this game primarily due to his kills and the fact that you don't get points for killing ridden monsters unless everything dies (the lord survived after the star dragon died and the sun dragon survived after the mage died).

Game 4 vs. Skaven:  once again, ranged shooting took its tool on the poor dragon mage.  He managed to get a warp lightening cannon before succumbing to the poison of gutter runners.

Game 5 vs. Warriors: a fitting end to my dragons' tournament as the two of them teamed up to defeat a horde of marauders, a hellcanon, a unit of chaos warriors, and a chaos hero.  Once again, the game came down to whether my opponent could get the points out of the dragons.  The dragon mage died after the life wizard buffing him fell.  The star dragon lost his final wound in the bottom of the 6th round to a second hellcanon and the warshrine.  Despite their deaths, their stand against a thousand plus points of chaos warriors was pretty epic.

That's it for now.  As the next GT will likely be 2500 points, the dragons will go back into the display case.  I'll also begin working on a few more things to help the army stand out: a new display board, a hero for the maiden guard, and perhaps one other idea.  Hopefully, I can post the WIP of the display board in a couple of weeks.  The fine play of my Tomb King opponent has inspired me to break out those old bones, so I think I'll take a vacation from High Elves and see if I can't get the TKs tournament ready.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Blood in the Badlands and Some New Bowstrings

I decided to try and add bowstrings to my archers in hopes of jazzing them up a bit.  I took the advice from Ben over at "The Quiet Limit of the World" and used thread as the medium for the bows.  I expected it to be time consuming and annoying, but it was actually very easy.  My process was to drill a hole in each archer's hand using my smallest bit.  I then dabbed a bit of glue at the top of the bow and wrapped the string around.  After passing the string through the hole and pulling it tight, I dabbed the bottom in glue and cut off the loose ends.  One of them lost its tautness and will have to be restrung, but they have otherwise held up fairly well.  Here are some shots:

I have two units of these finished. Ultimately, I'll probably add an arrow to the models.  I have a bunch of loose arrows from TK sprue that I'm considering, but I'm a little worried about the scale.

While my gaming time has been largely consumed getting my army ready for Brawler Bash, we've started a Blood in the Badlands campaign, and I got my first game in on Saturday.  There are eight players in the campaign, and we have the following armies represented:  my high elves, vampire counts, dark elves, empire, wood elves, warriors of chaos, skaven, and orcs.  This is my first map-based campaign, and it seems to be pretty well done.  However, as the campaign progresses it looks like there will be a lot of power escalation, and I'm interested to see how that will work out.  For example, my elf lord has already picked up +1 strength and 60 bonus points in magic items.  He's going to be a beast, but I shudder to think what will happen when the vampire lord starts to get buffed.

The rules call for each player to have three armies, and we've decided to have set lists to avoid tailoring.  In addition, no magic item can be used more than once by any player; this should remove some of those items that you see in every list (an elf army with no banner of sorcery?).  My goal in building these lists is to 1) play with some units and builds that don't get much use and 2) to theme each list differently.  Here's my first army:

Prince (helm of fortune, bow of seafarer, great eagle)
Alith Anar
Mage (reaver bow, death)
Mage (seerstaff, shadow)
BSB (mounted, battle banner)

30 Archers (banner of flames)
30 Archers

29 White Lions (amulet of light)
11 Silver Helms
14 Swordmasters
5 shadow warriors
5 shadow warriors

It is becoming apparent that one of my chief foes will be the dark elves (as it should be); therefore, Alith Anar has arrived to settle a few scores and hunt down as many of the druchii as he can.  The book "Shadow King" (which I think is actually pretty good for game fiction) suggests that Alith is often supported by Chrace, so I figured he'd haul some white lions along with his shadow warrior followers.  The silver helms are here to represent the Knights of Anlec (surely the group still exists in some form), which were in the past an important part of Alith Anar's army.  As Alith is not trusted by most elves, the swordmasters are there to keep an eye on him (as well as to hunt down any pleasure cults those foul dark elves might try to establish in my kingdom).

 Obviously, this isn't a power list, but I think it should be fun to play.  It has enough tricks to be competitive I think.  If any elf players see this and can think of any way to make it more "shadowy," post away! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

High Elf Dragon Conversion, part 1

In preparation for Brawler Bash V, I have been trying to work on a new centerpiece for my army.  I've seen several fire breathing dragon conversions around the net, so I've decided to try and build one for myself.  Here's one of the examples that I was following (Heresy-Online) and here's another one (Zimbio).  I think I linked the fire tutorial from that also had a fire breathing dragon in it in my last post.

Anyway, this is what I have so far:

My process was a bit different than the three other examples.  The only supplies that you'll need are a 6" nail (twenty five cents at Lowe's) and some green stuff.  You'll also need some largish magnets if you are considering magnetizing the wings like Ron Saikowski did; I can certainly see the advantage of being able to lay it on its side to transport.

The first step is to get the nail inside the rock.  When the high elf rock is in two pieces, there is a grove down the middle of the inside that fits the head of the nail perfectly.  I wedged the head inside of the grove and filled the whole inside of the rock with green stuff. The only drawback is that this angles the dragon off to the left.  I think it looks fine that way though.

The hardest part of the operation thus far has been the dragon's hind legs.  They are constructed so that they will wedge into the rock.  It takes a bit of cutting to remove the rock pieces from the legs.  I couldn't get them perfect, but they are turned so that the misshapened bits are on the inside, so you can't see it.  You also have to green stuff the foot hole on the rock, but that's pretty easy.

Once the dragon is assembled, it's time to attach him to the other end of the nail.  He has a hole inside his mouth for the tongue, and I was hoping it would be sufficiently deep to hold him in place.  It's not. I did some burrowing with a drill and my hobby knife in order to create a big enough hole.  Two applications of super glue seems to have him pretty solidly affixed.

The only real problem that I have had is the model's lack of stability.  I initially had hoped he would be light enough not to pull the base over.  He wasn't.  When I took it off the vice after gluing him, it fell straight over.  I took two sizable pieces of granite out of our driveway and put on the end of the base.  This seems to have fixed the problem.  However, I feel like I need something to stand on those two rocks.  I just have no idea what to put there.  Maybe a tree?  If you have ideas, post them; I could use the help.

At this point, I need to paint the dragon, magnetize and paint the wings, and greenstuff and paint the fire.  I'm hoping I can get that finished by next weekend because I still have twenty spearmen to paint.  The tournament is on April 21 (in Raleigh if anyone is in the area -- here's a link), so I need to get moving.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Gaming with Kids and a High Elf Dragon Mage Conversion

I haven't done much "real" gaming lately, but the games with my five year-olds have become weekly things.  In the process of playing these games, we've developed our own warhammer-ish system.  Basically, the kids go up and pick a warband of five models that they think are cool (usually either Necrons, Space Marines, or Tomb Kings).  Then, I grab ten to fifteen models of a third force.  The kids have a deployment zone at either end of the table, and I take the middle.  We then create three objectives, all of which are in my zone.

Once play begins, the kids are competing to see who can get the most objectives from me. Every model moves seven inches.  Our battles are adjudicated using a system that states that basic troops get to roll 1 dice, monsters get to roll 2 dice, and heroes get to roll 3 dice to attack.  Then, it takes a roll of "4" to hit and the same to wound.  Everyone wounded gets a five up armor save.  However, no one dies.  Instead, the model is laid on its back. Players get to roll a dice each round for each casualty.  On a "6," the model wakes up (but cannot act that round).

As we play, some models are picking up special rules.  For example, the chaplain with the jet pack gets to move twenty inches, and the Necron tomb spyder is so strong that he only needs to roll a 2 to wound.

The kids are enjoying the game (and so am I).  This last week, they made up the objectives themselves, and they have a good time narrating the story of what is happening.  They have even claimed a few older models for themselves so that they can paint up their own force.  I'll probably regret this in a few years when they start asking for miniatures for Christmas, but for now, it sure beats another round of "Go Fish."  I think the discussion of when kids are ready for games and gaming is a good one.  Mine are five.  I'm sure every child is different, but this age seems like a really great time to start in some small way.

As far as painting goes, I finished my first dragon.  This is my new dragon mage (well the rider is new, I already had the dragon). I got the inspiration from The Warhammer Forum. I'd link to the post, but I can't find it anymore.  Basically, I kitbashed a flaming sword on the mage model, drilled a hole in the staff, straightened a paper clip out, and green-stuffed some flames over it.  It's not perfect, but I'm pleased with the results:

What do you think? This was a warm-up for the fire-breathing star dragon conversion that I'm planning on building, so if you have any advice, it's very welcome.  I have a few archers to paint up this week, and then I'll start the dragon.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Grail Quest V -- Lethal Flagon

The tournament season is upon us, so this blog is once again resurrected from the dead.  Last weekend, I attended my first tournament of the year: Grail Quest.  This annual tournament normally features a 1980s movie theme (last year it was Highlander theme; this year it was Lethal Weapon) is the first hobby (meaning the first to score paint and other hobby aspects) tournament of the year in NC.  This years event proved to be extremely popular with 35 folks in attendance.

The organizer (whose blog you can find here) does a good job of thinking outside the box in regards to rules.  This year was no different. Instead of using the traditional win/loss/draw system, Grail Quest was all about victory points.  The goal was to amass as many victory points as possible across three games. This changed the game in several ways, especially for me.  I normally play an avoidance game in which I try to pick off easy to kill supporting units while avoiding the enemy's large, dangerous blocks.  As a high elf player, I think this is necessary because we don't have the force to win a war of attrition.  In this tournament, I had to go straight ahead in order to gain as many points as possible.  In the end, I did well enough to finish middle of the pack as I gained 1200, 2200, and 1100 (or something close to that).  The other Manglers did even better as Billy was on table three and Paul was on table four in the last round.

In addition to getting to play some very fun games, I was also able to catch some expertly painted armies.  Several people had broken out new armies for the new year, and it looks to me like the painting and modeling aspect of the game  is getting much more competitive.  While several armies stood out, I was most impressed by the Spartan-themed High Elf force.  Although it did not ultimately win best painted, the modeling work and creativity was quite impressive.  The impressiveness of the armies inspired me to get back on the painting wagon, so I spent most of Sunday afternoon working on two pieces.  First, I have the prototype for my phoenix guard turned spears conversion:

There are a couple of things I need to clean up, but he's more or less finished.

The next major tournament is the Brawler Bash held in Raleigh in April.  It's an excellent GT, and since it is held in the North Raleigh Hilton, play takes place in a very nice facility.  Here's a link to the tournament website: (the message board and the blog).  My plan is to perfect a double dragon high elf list before the tournament takes place.  It's not a very good army, but I think it will look nice.  Hopefully, I can post again next week and let you know how the painting and the practice games have gone.