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.