Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Hobby Resolutions for 2018

Arthur (my son) did almost as much hobby as I did!
This is essentially pointless at this stage but it at least gives me a vague idea of what I'd like to do in the first couple of months of the year before something new and shiny distracts me or I remember that I lack both the time and motivation to make any really hobby progress. Anyway, as ever let's assess just how badly I failed on last year's objectives:
  • Scenery - hahahahahahahaha! Last year I said it was getting to be a bit of a joke but I think we're past that now. I did actually make a little bit of progress made by painting two imperial statues and a bit of work on some ruins etc. Nowhere near what I wanted to get done. My winter scenery isn't done and I haven't even started on the desert/industrial board. I have bought some of the Sector Mechanicus scenery though so I'll be building that up in the new year and trying to get enough multi-level scenery put together to play some Necromunda.
  • Clear Out The Crap - last year I decided against selling my Dark Angels but they're currently up on eBay and I'm negotiating with a couple of potential buyers to try and get a decent price for them. Their sale will fund my Tyranid army and despite my reservations last year I really don't like the army so they have to go. I really want to get rid of more stuff though and have create some space.
  • Painting - I did stick to my resolution here but then that was just to paint what I fancied when I fancied. I managed to make good progress on my DE/Drukhari, painted my Ta'unar, finalised my Tyranid scheme and even did a little bit of work on my Orks. 
  • Blogging - as I mentioned in the review post. My blogging output is at an all time low so the only way is up I suppose
  • Tournaments - again, as I said, I really haven't been to many events at all but I'm pleased I joined the BB league. Met some great guys that I can hopefully get some more games in with in the future.
  • DT2 - definitely an improvement on the first DT, even if it was just because we played in the proper venue. 
I'd forgotten that I basically copped out last year and didn't set any real goals. This year I'm going to have a bit more courage and actually set some targets. Here goes:

  1. Scenery - May as well start with the least likely to happen! Anyway, I'd like to build up and paint the Sector Mechanicus kits. I'd ideally like to make them modular so we can build a variety of layouts but I'll have to see how easily the kit lends itself to that.
  2. Tyranids - I'm intending to take Tyranids to DT3 in June so I've written a little 750pt list (although I haven't necessarily decided on the point limit yet). This doesn't require many models but it'll be a nice starting point. By the end of the year I'd like to have at least 2,000 points built up and at least on their way to painted. The scheme I've chosen lets me paint them reasonably quickly. Well, in theory at least, we'll soon find out if it actually does.
  3. Bloodbowl - it'd be nice to finish one or two of my teams as a diversion from Tyranid painting. They might nice side projects and having fully painted teams would be great for the odd friendly game or introducing people to BB. I'd like an Elf team but that'll all depend on what happens with out league.
  4. Necromunda - I've no interest in the starter set but if they do a Cawdor gang I might need to partake. I originally had an Orlock gang too though so since they're next I might be tempted.
  5. Other stuff - I'll still stick to my plan for painting what I like, when I like. I'd love to get my 3rd and 4th Knights done. Particularly because the 4th is in a different scheme. It'd also be nice to get some more Orks done, my Stormsurge painted and the odd addition to my Wolves.
  1. Play some 40K events - I'd like to play at least one WHW tournament and maybe a couple elsewhere. Hopefully towards the end of the year I can use my Tyranids too.
  2. Armada campaign - I picked up the Corellian conflict set a couple of months ago and I'd like to play through it at least once with Matt. Last Jedi has made me desperate to do some SW gaming and X-wing isn't really appealing at the moment.
  3. Rebellion - speaking of SW I'd like to get plenty more Rebellion sessions in and make use of the expansion. Matt and I might even swap sides so I can see how it feels to play with the might of the Empire.
  4. Scythe - this has to be one of the best discoveries of 2017. It's helped get some of my friends interested in gaming and I'd love to get more sessions in 2018.
  5. Narrative 40K campaign - Dan and I have plans for a narrative campaign where we play through a branching story throughout the year. Hopefully it'll be a nice change of pace from competitive 40K. 
  6. Blood Bowl and Necromunda - it'd be nice to get either BB league or Necromunda campaign going or at least take part in one at the Outpost
  7. DT3 and TBC Singles Event - I come close to jacking in this TO lark but then I run one and remember why I do it. Look out for more info nearer to the time.
Everything Else
  1. Clear Out the Crap - same as last year really. I'd like to sell some of the kits I bought but never even opened and take a look at all my armies and potentially rationalise them a bit. There's quite a bit to sell I reckon and it can all fund my Tyranid project. As I've said before I'd like the army to be cost neutral and that means selling some crap first.
  2. Sort out the bits - I've got a huge amount of bits. Some of them are probably worth hanging on to but I think a lot of them could go. Again they could make me quite a bit on eBay.
Well, I'm not naive enough to think all of these things will happen but at least I'm in a bit more of an optimistic mood than I was at this point last year!

Friday, December 22, 2017

From The Fang Review of 2017

Well it's been nearly a month since I last posted and I've barely done anything hobby wise in that time. That's partly because the hobby I want to do is painting my Tyranids which means getting their basecoats done with the airbrush. Trouble is my airbrush set up isn't fixed i.e. I pack it away after each session. That means I've got to clear some space in the garage to get it set up and do a big batch of spraying. Once that's out of the way they're pretty straightforward to paint so I should be able to make some good progress. It's been a busy month at work though and with various evening activities taking up time I've just not had the motivation to get cracking.

Anyway, as ever, blogging provides a good means of procrastinating so I figured I'd get my yearly review out of the way.

The Year in Review
The most significant thing of the year happened right at the start. My Dad and I finished work on the garage conversion towards the end of February. Looking back now there are obviously a couple of things I might change but overall, nearly a year on, I'm still thrilled with the work we did and it's definitely had a positive impact on my hobby. It's also interesting that I fully intended to sort out all of my hobby gubbins and get organised but nearly a year on that hasn't happened yet. It'd be good to do this soon though to get some stuff on eBay and get some funds together for more nids. I'd like them to be a cost neutral army if possible.

The garage was christened before it was even finished with a big game of X-wing which was the first outing for my Tantive IV. Unfortunately it meant my gaming career in my new custom built gaming space started with a loss. However, it was a fantastic game that could've gone either way right to the end. I don't think I've played much X-wing since though as we've moved to Armada recently. We're hoping to start an Armada campaign in the new year too using the Corellian Conflict box.

Next up we had a big game of doubles 40K with 4.500 pts of Nurgle and Orks taking on the Imperium. The main thing I remember about the game was how bitterly cold the Sanctuary was as a venue in January and also how little my Stompa go to do before it blew up. I'd foolishly put it opposite their Knight and that quickly made the game quite one-sided.

In March I mostly focused on getting my Dark Eldar ready for the Warhammer World doubles. They'd been in need of some more love after my token effort to get them ready for Double Trouble the previous year. In between all that, we found time to start up a four man Bloodbowl league with my Dwarves starting off pretty well. We were supposed to be playing more Bloodbowl this week actually but it was cancelled last minute. We decided to have a rethink of the league anyway as the teams we'd chosen didn't make for a very fun league and the other two guys are new to the game and the teams they started with weren't great.  We might even scrap the league entirely and switch to Necromunda but I want to try out the new rules first to find out if it's as good as it was.

Anyway, the doubles proved to be a lot of fun again but despite winning 4 out of 5 games we only placed 67th! I still enjoy going to WHW events though just for the atmosphere so hopefully we'll get to at least one next year. May and June were mostly taken up with excitement about 8th edition and GW did an excellent job of building it up. If anything they perhaps set expectations too high and only now, six months or so in, are we actually starting to see something closer to what they hyped up. I also visited Warhammer Fest for the first time since the death of Games Day. It was a fun day but I'm not sure whether next year's event will be so enticing as the new edition was a big draw this time.
I closed out 7th edition with Double Trouble 2 which, to me at least, was a great success. It seemed that everyone had fun and the random nature of the event meant people weren't taking things too seriously. I'm bringing it back for DT3 in the new year so stay tuned for details of how you can get tickets. 

At the end of June I played my first games of 8th edition against Matt and Dan. I also revealed my plans to finally start the Tyranid army I'd been wanting for years. I've made very little progress on them in the meantime but they'll be the focus of my attention in the new year so hopefully I'll have some progress to report in the early new year. I'll talk more about this in my obligatory overly optimistic hobby resolutions post. My first 8th edition tournament saw me deploying the T'aunar for the first time but frustratingly it wasn't a well run event and I ended up with a bye for one of my games and didn't hugely enjoy the two I did get to play. The tournament soured me to competitive play in 8th edition and I haven't played in one since (NMTBW excluded).

I did, however, join a Bloodbowl league at the Outpost (my FLGS) and had a reasonable record with my Dwarves. The problem is, I really don't think I'm a dwarf player at heart. Don't get me wrong, I like smashing face as much as the next man but I enjoy the passing game too. I think if I ever play in a league again I'll probably try out an Elven Union team. The new models are lovely and having a diversion from painting Tyranids might be necessary at some point.

The other thing I did during my 40K drought was play several awesome board games. Star Wars Rebellion is a truly excellent two player game and Scythe is fantastic for larger groups. I'm hopefully getting the expansion for Rebellion for Christmas so I'm sure I'll be playing it plenty in the new year.

My year was essentially wrapped up in November when I hosted NMTBW. It was great to play some games again, particularly when I didn't have to worry too much about winning. I also enjoyed running a singles event again. It's been a couple of years now since BWX and I think it was the right time to start over. My next singles event won't feature anywhere near as much comp though as I think GW has actually done a pretty decent job of fixing some of the early Matched Play issues. The problem is that they've also added back in a lot of the complexity that plagued 7th edition. Obviously you're now paying command points for them but I can't help but feel like strategems add an extra level of depth that just wasn't necessary in such a huge system. Still, I need to play more games before I can make my mind up so hopefully 2018 will see me playing a lot more 40K.

Blog Stats
The peak in December last year was a momentary blip in a general downturn in my pageviews. I've had a paltry 160,000 views this year which is less than half of the 2015 total and about 90,000 less than last year. I've only posted about 45 times the year though which I think is probably the first time I've dropped below a one post per week average. Last month's views are only 7,000 which is the worst I've had since the same month in 2011!!

It's not really something I intend to do much about though really. My hobby time is limited and any time spent blogging is usually time I could spend painting. I have just bought myself a new laptop in the Black Friday sales though (which I'm typing on now) so maybe I'll still find some time when I'm watching crap TV.

Hobby Progress
I actually did a pretty good stint on my Dark Eldar (or Drukhari or whatever) early this year. A big chunk of the force now looks at least presentable. I'd still like to revisit them at some point but at the moment I think Tyranids will get most of my attention. There might be some BB Elves at some point and maybe a new Cawdor gang if they get models. The other thing I'm considering is giving the Orks some love. My T'au got some work in the form of the T'aunar but frankly it'll be rare for me to use him in games all that much. There's still a half painted Stormsurge that needs love.

The gaming garage didn't exactly inspire a huge upturn in hobby progress but it certainly made the meagre amount I did achieve a lot more enjoyable.

As I said above, I barely played any events this year aside from the BB league. If the Outpost run another league I'll probably join in. Other than that I'd like to play at WHW at least once in the new year and I'd consider other 40K events if the event pack appeals to me. I will, of course, be running both DT3 and another singles events (name TBC).

A bit of a strange year for the hobby. Despite my initial optimism about 8th edition, 40K has taken a back seat to Bloodbowl and board games. I haven't completely fallen out of love with 40K though and I'll obviously want to get some games in with my new Tyranids. Part of the issue is the problems at the Outpost at the moment. They simply don't have a good set up at the moment and events are few and far between. It's a shame they won't make the same kind of investment that Element did with their NWGC. I can't help but think that if Element were my FLGS I'd get a lot more gaming in. They've recognised that a good venue is essential to build a strong community and therefore a loyal customer base. The Outpost just like to do things on the cheap which I fear will ultimately lead to their demise.

Anyway, come back next week for my resolutions post. Who knows? Maybe next year I'll actually achieve some of them!

Monday, November 27, 2017

Hive Fleet Bakunawa Progress Report - Part 1 - Build, build, build!

Just a quick update tonight on my new Tyranid army. So far I've managed to pick up a Tyranid Swarm box, the old Start Collecting box and the new one. That's give me quite a pile of models to assemble:

  • Hive Tyrant
  • Broodlord
  • 3 Warriors
  • 8 Genestealers
  • 40 Termagants
  • 40 Hormagants
  • 20 Gargoyles
  • 5 Ripper Swarms (putting 4 models per base instead of 5)
  • Carnifex 
  • Trygon Prime
I'd like to run a burrowing force with a few Trygon Primes leading some genestealers into the fray. A combination of Behemoth adaptations and adrenal glands should mean that two thirds of the burrowing units make it into combat. To that end I'll probably grab another couple of the new SC box and flog the broodlords as I can't really see a benefit in having more than one. 

So far I've built up the termagants, rippers, trygon prime and broolord. The carnifex is basically done but I'm looking at magnetising it. Have to say I'm tempted just to make it into a standard build though as it's proving a pain to magnetise.

I'm most excited about the trygon prime though as I've wanted one ever since I saw Scott's (on the right obviously) which was not long after the kit was released:

Anyway, as you can see from the picture above, I've got quite a lot of painting ahead of me. Hopefully the paint scheme I've chosen should make for a quick but eye catching effect. I can't decide what I want to paint first but I'm thinking it's best to paint a batch of gaunts then reward myself with a bigger monster to break things up.

Friday, November 24, 2017

NMTBW - My Battle Reports

Before I get stuck into the reports, it's worth mentioning that I wrote my army list with the full intention of having quick games that I was unlikely to win. As you'll read below I nearly misjudged it and took away the spoon but spared myself that ignominy at the last. Anyway, here's my list:

2,000pts of Space Wolves & IK

Battalion Detachment
Ragnar Blackmane
Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf (WC/SS)

10 Grey Hunters (2 meltas), WG Pack Leader (combi-melta, fist)
6 Grey Hunters (meltagun)
14 Blood Claws (flamer) plus Terminator WG Pack Leader (CF/SS)

Thunderwolf Cavalry (3x TH/SS, 1x vanilla)

Predator (twin lascannon, lascannon sponsons)

Razorback (twin lascannon, storm bolter)

Super Heavy Auxiliary Detachment
Knight Warden

Nothing particularly special. I deliberately didn't include any psykers to speed up the game and avoided anything that I could keep in reserve. Still, a good mix of units I like even if they're not the most competitive. I'll keep these reports as brief as I can. Bear in mind all missions use the same combined mission of Maelstrom and Blood Points.

Game One vs. Drukhari (Mark Crombleholme)
Mark's DE force consisted of 2 bombers, 2 fighters, 2 ravagers, 2 venoms, 2 raiders and a handful of troops to go inside. The main threat came from the flyers which proved to be more devastating than I expected.

In my first turn I managed to drop one of the venoms but quickly realised that I should've focussed on the flyers as one of the bombers decimated Ragnar's unit with his void mine and left Ragnar as the closest model for one of the other flyers to pick off. The rest of the unit was quickly mopped up and I'd already lost nearly a quarter of my points.

My Knight was unsurprisingly the star of the show managing to shoot down one of the Ravagers before wading into combat with the other and coming close to finishing it off. Sadly the silly terrain rules prevented me charging behind a building to finish it off. The thunderwolves weren't so effective as they loped around midfield never really managing to pin anything down long enough to get it into combat. They were eventually whittled down and finished off.

My lascannons proved frustratingly ineffective and Mark's flyers swept round the board doing as they pleased. I eventually finished off one of the fighters but by this point the game was pretty much over. I'd had some terrible Maelstrom cards but Mark still managed to table me pretty comfortably in what I think was four battle rounds. Final score: 2-8 on VPs and 555-2000 on Blood Points.

Game Two vs. Primaris Marines (Iron Hands)
Well this game proved to be the story of 6+ FNP. John Purves' marines castled up in the middle of the field to make the most of the bubble bonuses from his characters. His force featured a couple of venerable dreads, a redemptor dread, two intercessor squads, two hellblaster squads, two inceptor squads, a techmarine, captain and lieutenant.

The game started off fairly well for me with a decent chunk of the marines falling. The problem was the venerable dreadnoughts who didn't make a single venerable save all game but made enough chapter tactics 6+ saves to be irritating. At one point I'd scored 8 wounds on one of them which had 3 wounds left and he made 6 out of 8 saves to keep it in the fight!

My Knight made the mistake of getting too close to the Redemptor after it charged in to kill off some intercessors with the dreadnought avenging it's brethren with a power fist to the guts of the larger machine. Still, I was feeling pretty confident with the Blood Points totals despite again drawing awful Maelstrom cards. The big letdown were the thunderwolves with the lord failing to kill a single inceptor in combat allowing it to jump away and clear a rhino off an objective to cost me some VPs.

My infantry fared better with Ragnar getting stuck in and making a mess of the primaris marines with his blood claws and the grey hunters adding more casualties. Still, I can't help but feel grey hunters are a shadow of their former might and I can only hope the codex addresses that. It wasn't long though before the tables turned on them and the primaris' extra wound made them tough to shift. The Redemptor was a huge threat in the middle of the field too with it's guns cutting swathes through my forces. It took a while but John eventually managed to table me for a 3-13 VP and 945-2000 BP loss. 

Game Three vs. Chaos Space Marines (Cal Goodger)
Cal Goodger's CSM force was like nothing I'd ever faced before. Literally a hundred (and one) Iron Warriors marines with some missile launchers dotted around, two squads of raptors and a Daemon Prince bang in the middle. The sheer number of bodies made my lascannons next to useless and it'd be nearly impossible to make the DP the nearest model so I could target him.

The early exchanges proved pretty fruitless on my part but Cal managed to take the Knight right down to 6 wounds and it's weakest profile. I think this gave him confidence and he advanced his force which proved to be his undoing. The Knight and TWC were able to wade into combat along with the larger grey hunter pack and Ragnar's blood claws. The started to chew into the pile of renegade astartes and soon things were looking a lot more manageable.

Cal brought in both of his Raptor squads on my right flank but failed charges left them vulnerable and the grey hunters were able to drastically deplete the squads before charging in to finish off the rest. Still in the middle of the field things looked much better for him as the Daemon Prince destroyed the Knight in combat and the nearby squad picked off the TWC. We ran out of time at the end of what I think was the 5th turn but by then Cal and I had little left on the field. Still, I'd emerged with a 10-6 VP (mostly because I got good cards) and 1509-1041 BP win to prevent me from finishing bottom, although at 26th out of 30 I was hardly much better.

It was great to be able to play some games and for the most part I enjoyed what is only my second experience of competitive 40K in 8th edition. Having said that the randomness of the game bothers me with a lot riding on the damage rolls. I know luck has always been a big part but it somehow feels like the dice beat you more than they did before.

Space Wolves are pretty uninspiring at the moment too. What used to be the strong core of the force, the Grey Hunters feel pretty mediocre and aren't the combat superpower they once were. The same can be said for TWC. I think they were a bit OTT in 6th/7th but that was mostly down to the supplement. They're not awful but with a lot of their attacks coming from the wolves not the riders it feels like you're better not to give them special weapons. Storm shields are probably still a good idea but hammers feel like a waste.

The Knight was, unsurprisingly the MVP for my force but mainly because it soaked up a lot of firepower. I wasn't making many invulnerable saves but T8 alone is pretty effective. Anyway, I'm keen to bring Tyranids to DT3 so expect some updates on my progress soon.

I think, like several people have said, I'll try to mix the missions up a bit for my next singles event. It'd probably be best to have a single BP game, single Maelstrom game and something else.

Anyway, thanks to my three opponents for putting up with me trying to play my games and run the event at the same time. I hope you still enjoyed the games, I certainly did.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

NMTBW Painting Competition - Single Miniature Categories (pic heavy)

Following on from Monday's post which featured the Best Army and Best Conversions awards, today we'll take a look at the entries in the single miniatures categories namely Best Character and Best Vehicle or Monster.

Best Character Runners Up
First up Ian Plumpton's Cadre Fireblade. It's a shame Ian didn't have his Stormsurge ready for the monster category since he won it at one of my previous events but nonetheless there's clearly a lot of time put into a comparatively small model:

In second place with a single vote more than Ian was Cal Goodger's Iron Warriors Daemon Prince. I had the pleasure of playing Cal in my final game of the day so come back and check out the battle report for more pictures of his force:

Best Character - Winner
Liam could've ligitimately entered his Mortarion into the best Monster Category or even Best Conversions but it's models like this that make me glad I limit players to a single category. He'd certainly have swept the board otherwise and, whilst well deserved, I think it's better to encourage more people to enter. Anyway, I'm sure you'll agree that Liam has created something stunning with his Morty. At some point I'll have to get on and paint my Grotesques that I commissioned Liam to build. Anyway, here's the big guy:

Best Vehicle or Monster Runners Up
First up, Tom Capper's Blood Angels Cerberus. Note that as this is a Forge World model it wasn't legal at the event but I saw no reason not to allow him to enter into the painting competition:

My personal favourite was Jonathan Lyness' Traitor Knight which closer followed the artwork from the Renegade boxed set from GW:

Particularly interesting for me was Keith Duncan's Ryza Onager Dunecrawler as if I ever create an Ad Mech force it'd also be in the Ryza scheme to match my Knights:

Finally, Jeremy Morris' Daemon Prince:

Best Vehicle or Monster Winner
In what was almost a three way tie with Jonathan Lyness and Keith Duncan, Ben Houghton managed to win the category by a single vote when I figured out that someone had written the number down wrong and voted for Matt Calow who hadn't even entered! Anyway, Ben's Vanquisher was a worthy winner although again my photos don't do it justice:

Right, that's it for the painting competition. Inspiring as ever and it makes me determined to finally paint a force that I'd feel proud to display. Obviously I'll have to find another event to do so though....


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