Sunday 30 November 2008

063 Wyvern: To Obscurity and Beyond!

Afternoon, All.

I'll keep this fairly brief: Three things this week. Firstly, a little more progress on the Wyvern variant (or 'MSTTD'). I've mostly finished the bulk of the main paint job - mostly the details to get done now, although I still have to finish the lasgun ports at the end. I've decided to block them off, but if I can find my magnets I may yet have a little fun with that:
You'll note the blue-white-blue flash to complement the other 2/24th light vehicles: IN OTHER NEWS: my old mucker and erstwhile opponent Mike has started his own blog - and admitted his healthy (if misplaced) fear of guardsmen with plasma guns. Check it out: I didn't realise he was so good a painter, so I'm excited to see more of the same! Here's his landspeeder:
AND FINALLY, this Thursday just gone was Thanksgiving - that most American of holidays that we get to celebrate here in the UK thanks to Kate's awesome cooking. We had some mates and colleagues round to our little cottage, and Kate made no fewer than 21 dishes! Wow! Highlights included: (American-style) apple pie, pecan pie, key lime pie, pumpkin pie, homemade stuffing, poor man's brulée*, sweet potato pone and some marvellous biscuits and gravy**. Kate even bought a turkey joint for us meat-eaters - the veggies had a autumnal lasagne. All homemade and simply delicious! Here we are about to tuck in (Drax is at the back, grinning; Kate took the photo):
Hope those of you Stateside had an enjoyable holiday with your nearest and dearest - sadly we don't get time off work over here!

Now go and look at From Obscurus With Love.

- Drax
* Sweetened, mashed sweet potatoes with a marshmallow crust baked on top. Sticky!
** This is an American thing. Their 'biscuits' are like savoury scones that you eat with a thick, rich gravy.

Saturday 22 November 2008

062 Basilisk/Griffon Combo 'Ubique'


Way back when, I asked what I ought to be doing next. The snipers were voted in as was my basilisk and my griffon. As I like to work on a few things at once (very low boredom threshold) I finished my snipers a while ago and have now finished repainting my basilisk.
I say re-painting because it was previously fully painted and finished in olive/black camoflage, in keeping with my as-yet-unposted tank company. Now, however, Ubique is Dark Angels Green, now a vehicle of the Cadian 144th Regiment of Artillery, and on attachment to the 1/24th Cadian Mechanised Bn. In other words, although it doesn't have the blue-white-blue insignia of the rest of my chimera-chassis vehicles, it has a complementary scheme.
I HAVE NOT YET FINISHED PAINTING MY GRIFFON. However, whilst painting-up the basilisk, I came across an old griffon mortar bed in pieces. Now it's an extra - interchangable with the earthshaker cannon so I can field Ubique either as S-P artillery proper or as S-P heavy mortar. Add to this my other Griffon, Victor, and that's two rather cheap and rather nasty indirect fire units!
Here it is then:
Hopefully, there'll be more on Victor and (of course) the MSTTD/Wyvern soon...

Oh, and check out our new buddy, Haggoroth: he's got some great ideas!

- Drax.

Saturday 15 November 2008

061 Wouldn't Leave Home Without...

FtW (qv)

Well - it appears this FtW group gives me a kick up the jacksie to write nuggety little posts like this one: I like it! If it gets to the point where I feel I'm writing for the sake of it...then I might ease off a little!

Here's the unit I won't cross the line of departure without: the humble IG command squad.
(Sadly this nice little photo can't be enlarged)

On the right you'll find links to posts of those I've finished. You'll note that all of my platoon command squads are equipped the same (that is, all six of the rifle / fire support / mortar platoons - I'm as yet undecided about the Armoured Fist platoon from the 1st Bn) but here's some of the rationale behind their attractiveness for me:

(1) The Junior Officer, with a vox-man, Iron Discipline and his 12" special rule is absolutely essential for holding the thin green line.

(2) The veteran medic keeps him (and the others) alive where possible, and has an extra attack.

(3) The two grenade launchers give him a good amount of firefower with which to support his platoon where needed. He can even fire them at full effectiveness whilst moving or assaulting - a tactical flexibility often overlooked.

(4) I field a few of them. When distributed in concert with the Coy HQ and a vox-net, this (a) gives me an even spread of Iron Discipline influence, (b) mostly negates the Guardsmen's notoriously low Ld score, and (c) provides a limited counter-attack capability.

(5) I often commit my command squads to close combat: more for form's sake than for effectiveness, but they can sometimes do a good job in a pinch. Each Junior Officer is equipped with a power weapon and a bolt pistol (again, mostly for form's sake: it's certainly never worth the 6 points!) but they rarely hit much!

So there you go. They keep the lads in check, lead from a 'tactical bound' behind, provide support where needed and beat the Toms with the flats of their blades if they start to retreat. What more could I ask of my officers?

Two more pics. The nice one above is of 1Pl HQ (note the grenadier's pose!); below we have (most of) 2Pl HQ, and (all of) 1 F/Sup Pl HQ, front and rear. Some pics are better than others, I'm afraid:

- Drax.

Wednesday 12 November 2008

060 Force Organisation

Drax has been fiddling about with MS PowerPoint.

I'm too old to have been taught this stuff whilst at school, so I use the hobby to experiment and work things out - ditto Excel: if memory serves, the few spreadsheet lessons I had on archaic A3000s at school basically comprised moving the beads about on 16-bit representations of an abacus.

So please find below a few of the command structures of the 2nd Battalion, Cadian 24th. They're clickable for enlargement purposes:

These aren't necessarily set in stone, and they're (very) loosely based on British Army structures and my sketchy knowledge of 40K fluff. I'd welcome any comments or suggestions fluff-wise...or on how to use PowerPoint better!


- Drax.

Monday 10 November 2008

059 Arbitrary Good Ideas

Wow - I just had a shufti at the new BoLS Arbites Codex - what a corker! What's more, they've created their very own MSTTD - the 'Black Maria'!

This, on the one hand, is awesome, and on the other, is illustrative of what I was trying to avoid with my Wyvern - though I don't really think I achieved it. I deliberately wanted to steer clear of any whirlwind variants, as they just looked a little too neat and a little too powerful. Also, I wanted to locate the missiles further back. FInally, I deliberately kept the aesthetic link to FW's support sentinel, so I had those rules ready-made.

In retrospect, though I want double missiles, Grey_Death might be right to suggest that one port-mounted set could have sufficed. The wyvern is looking maybe slightly more powerful than I wanted.

Then again, not only does the Black Maria look "sweet as" - it also has a nifty thing going on with the rear lasgun ports. It's not too late to change mine: could I do something similar and imaginative with magnets, perchance? Hmmm...

- Drax.

Saturday 8 November 2008

058 The Wyvern (or 'Missile-Shooting Tank-Thingy of Doom') Progresses

Greetings, Fellow Humans.

Firstly, glad tidings of great joy I bring: one of our readers, Koloth has not only very kindly donated the rounded hatch I was after (THANK YOU, MATE!); he has also been building a wyvern variant of his own (a version likely to be lined up as a fast attack model) and has allowed me to post
to his pictures. Have a look, and whilst you're there, check out his other great vehicles - especially the Owen Rees-style armoured scout car!

I'm tired and I've been feeling as rough as a badger's backside all week, but the last couple of evenings I have actually made some progress with tweaking and basecoating. The first two pics are interesting because in the first one you see the MSTTD as I see it, but with the flash in the second (it's night time) the colours look ludicrously bright - and rather thinly applied! It's not even fully basecoated yet (Dark Angels Green), so please don't bother telling me I "Missed a bit!":
Tweaks to note include:
-- replacing the long antenna with a 'ball' array;
-- adding detail to the back of the turret;
-- the new top hatch, courtesy of Koloth;
-- installing two grenade launchers in the lasgun ports (see below):

Here's the deal with theose grenade launchers: I didn't like the naked ball sockets and (as discussed before) I couldn't really envisage anything else in there. Rooting through the bits box, I found the two grenade launchers together, and that reminded me that all my HQ sections have two grenade launchers - my weapon of choice!. I figured, 'As the guys in there have already got the ammo [one of them could legitimately fire from the hatch anyway] why not have the option of them firing through mounted grenade launchers?'

I think I'll keep it as an option (for +8 pts - only one can effectively fire at a time), but it ought to be remembered that although the turret looks big and powerful, it really isn't particularly powerful, and part of the reason it's an HQ transport is because all the weaponry and targetry's on the outside of the turret, the missiles being one-shot weapons and the 'main gun' being a poxy stubber. This keeps the (reduced) inside space relatively free for six pax and platoon-level comms gear. A breech-loading grenade launcher really is a pretty simple weapon to stow, too!

In other news, I'm also working on my griffon and my basilisk, both of which are being repainted to fit in with the other light vehicles. Even better: I discovered a spare griffon mortar platform, so that's now also being painted up as an alternative weapon for my basilisk, Ubique. Two griffons: cheap and nasty.


- Drax

Wednesday 5 November 2008

057 FtW Challenge: 40K Scenario


Well now. I've signed up for Ron's ++From the Warp++ Blogger Group, and he's setting us monthly challenges - just for fun. The first was to create a 40K scenario, which he's going to collate and publish as a pdf file on his site. My attempt follows.

Please note that all my entries for FtW challenges will be given the label "FtW Challenges", so they can be viewed en masse if required. Also, although it looks lengthy, it's actually fairly straightforward if you use the sketch map:

Scenario: Armoured Bridgehead

After weeks of fierce fighting, the city was in ruins and its defenders stretched almost to breaking point just to defend its blasted perimeters…but still it was safe in their control. The commander of the besieging force had other ideas though, and in the smoky half-light he paused before issuing the order to move out – he had to get a foothold into the town, had to drive in the wedge, and his fastest troops were on standby to sell their lives dearly that he might finally get to call the city his own.

Victory Conditions:

In order to win, the Attacker must secure buildings/ruins as a bridgehead in the Defender’s deployment zone (DZ). For every complete 800pts played, one ruin must be secured (eg: 1 building at 1000pts; 2 at 2000pts; 3 at 2500pts). ruins are secured as objectives are captured in Capture and Control (p.91) except that in order to contest it, a scoring unit must have been within 3” for at least one game turn (this is to negate beardy final-turn charges from either player). If the Attacker manages to secure his ruin(s), he wins. If he is at least contesting his ruin(s), it’s a draw. Any other result is a victory for the Defender. The Attacker does not need to nominate his ruin(s).

On a 6’x4’ table, place or mark out a road from one short edge to the other. Next, set up the edge of a ruined urban environment (leaving 6” between ruins) reaching roughly 24” in from one short edge. For every three ruins in this urban zone, one piece of scenery of a similar size should be placed in the other two-thirds of the board – preferably spread out. The urban end (up to 24” in) is the Defender’s DZ; the Attacker’s DZ extends 18” in from the opposite short edge, and the space in between is no-man’s land. Craters may be placed in no-man’s land (not on the road!) and before deployment the Defender may place d6 stretches of tank traps or razor wire within his DZ.


-- The Defender randomly chooses ‘troops’ choices totalling no more than one quarter of his army’s points cost. These comprise those units unlucky enough to be guarding the road into the urban zone chosen as the Attacker’s axis of advance: they are deployed anywhere within the Defender’s DZ (If you still have 4th Edition, you might like to use hidden set-up!) – the rest of the Defender’s units are placed in reserve, and he may not deploy infiltrators forward in the deployment phase. Units with the ‘scout’ rule may use it, and all his reserves enter normally (with any special rules) to assist in the defence.
-- The Attacker then deploys his army in his DZ. He may deploy and use infiltrators and scout moves as normal, but none of his forces arriving from reserve may arrive from the flanks.
-- The Attacker has first turn.
Roll a d6
-- On a roll of 1 the raid takes place at dawn – the ‘nightfighting’ rule is in play in turn 1.
-- On a roll of 5-6 it takes place at dusk – the ‘nightfighting’ rule is in play from turn 5 onwards.

NB: I ought to note that this has not been play-tested by me, nor will it as I've no prospect of a real game for a long, long time. If anyone tries it, let me know.
- Drax

Saturday 1 November 2008

056 Wyvern: Maybe "The End of the Beginning..."


I know not all of you will like it, but I've mostly finished the main conversion bits of the Wyvern. I've lowered the launch tubes, given them more solidity and (using spade shafts!) included rods* to control their elevation. The tubes are still removable, which will make painting and storage easier.

Here are some views - notes to follow in no particular order:
Apologies for the colour scheme: the light grey bits are the FW resin pieces; the black bits are from other vehicle kits (I often undercoat everything on the sprue: I didn't for this model so it'd photograph better).
I did shorten the heavy stubber barrel, and I rather like it. Thanks to those of you who encouraged me on this one!
The track guards are the FW variants. I was really unimpressed with the quality of these components, but they're pretty vintage now, and I don't think they're being continued. On close inspection they have that "last-chicken-in-the-shop look" (points for getting the reference). Still, they're more interesting than the standard versions! I'll add the rest of the tracks in soon...
You'll note that I've rounded off the chimera's dorsal lasgun ports after all. I played with loads of ideas for these, including comms gear, searchlights, targetry optics, radar dishes, stowage boxes and missiles, but three bottom lines remain: (a) I envisage a backblast from the launch tubes - this would negate putting any sensitive equipment there; (b) I'm keen to keep my options open for the salamander variant (pictured below, as is) and magnetic mounts there just aren't a practical option for me at the moment, and (c) it's a fairly odd place to mount anything that isn't comms.
I really wanted to use the old rounded hatch variant (like on my old converted salamander), but I don't have any more. If anyone has one spare, I'll happily buy it from you with a newly devalued currency of your choosing!
The way the tubes are balanced means they rest nicely on the elevation rods* - the rods themselves are anchored in holes drilled into the tube mounts. Paint details will help me to give more of an impression of the rods' articulation.
There'll be more details added to the rear and starboard armour of the turret - some need more thought and the side I'll decide on after painting. And yes, that is a searchlight/targeting optic on the turret's port side. I think it'll work better once it's more blended with greenstuff and paint.
The Salamadner variant, WiP:
- Drax
* I'm no mechanic, so I've really no idea what these ought to be called.