Sunday 31 May 2009

121 More Mortar Progress

Here it is.

The first two are finished (bar transfers and varnish) and if the third one looks odd, it's because the wall is leaning over backwards toward them:
I might change the binoculars arm of the chap on the far right of the picture. The crewmen of that mortar aren't glued in place yet.

Interestingly, I've been using poly cement (plastic glue) on these, rather than my usual superglue. I don't quite know why, but I suspect it's (a) to keep them rigid, and (b) because I'm buggered if I'm going to start altering them once they're finished!


- Drax.

PS: Good news: I've been doing some doodling and it would seem I only have to paint up five models in order to have the first two of my new, improved (and 53-man) 'tactical' platoons finished (though I'll have to alter a few of the squad 'flashes' on the backs of the base). Hurrah!

Friday 29 May 2009

120 At Last! Mortars in Progress!


Well, they're everyone's new darlings, and I have to say in my last game they acquitted themselves extremely well, with some real hawk-eyed mortar sniping...and here at last is the first progress pic of my mortars:
  • YES - I've rebased them onto 60mm, though it makes painting and basing a pain in the backside;
  • YES - They're not quite finished (it's a WiP!) - I've more basing yet, and they'll still need transfers, too;
  • YES - One of them's wearing gloves. All my guys handling mortars will be wearing gloves (more-or-less);
  • YES - Drax has been playing a little more with drybrushing. Woo-hoo.
  • YES - There's built-in cover. Someone else has posted their mortars recently (can't remember who, sorry) with the note that if anyone really has issue with it, they can always turn the base around!
Hopefully it won't be too long before I have the whole squad done. I'm pleased to say that - given the recent clemency in the weather - Drax has moved back into The Shed. Huzzah.

Cheers - it's nice to actually post some progress for once!

- Drax.

Sunday 24 May 2009

119 Annual Review (and Highlights)

Hullo, all,

I just realised that I've been in the blogosphere for a little over a year. And what a year.

New job, new house and new baby on the way...but that's all incidental. My statement of intent when starting was as follows:

This is an experiment, and it has probably three parts:
1) I shall try to update this blog - as and when work pressures allow - to show progress I'm making with my WH40K and WFB armies. This is likely to be slow, but does at least give me the excuse to write up my army lists and take photos;
2) Hopefully, this will encourage me to finish more units more regularly and less piecemeal;
3) Finally, I've already found considerable inspiration from those bloggers already doing something similar and - while I don't pretend my armies are anything special - my ideas may just be of interest to others.

We'll see.

I'm very glad that I put in that caveat about "- as and when work pressures allow -" because there's the kicker. The new job has been taking up far more of my evening time than I was expecting: it's been like my first year of teaching all over again!

But even with the frustrations of quotidian life the blog's been a tremendous spur to get painting done, and I've enjoyed posting the pics. I've also been far less piecemeal, which enabled me for the first time to complete a fully painted, FOC-legal and competitive force. Great stuff!

For any of you wondering, I've started to document my Warhammer Fantasy stuff separately, though this is decidedly (and deliberately) piecemeal.

So what have been the highlights for Drax over the past year?
  • The awesome (and rapidly expanding) community: you're all so so very, very supportive! And in a year (with the unfortunate exception of BoLS, despite the Flylords' wonderful efforts) I've not come across a single example of trollishness or wanton negativity! Not one! Kudos, by the way, to Ron over at FTW for being imaginative and innovative in his approach to fostering a community spirit.
  • My 'Wyvern' Chimera conversion(s). At least five people have been kind enough to let me know that they've been using or adapting the design (which I adapted from some work by The Ammo Bunker). Thanks for the comments on this, everyone, and I'm sorry if the new codex rules make it slightly less tenable.
  • Cadfael the dog being immortalised in the form of 'After The War'. Thanks to those of you who've laughed with me at my comical hound (and used his image). He's snoring right now after a long, sunny walk today through the beautiful Devonshire countryside.
  • Being sent free models and bitz by good people who read my stuff and want to help...not once but twice! Thank you, chaps, and I hope I get the opportunity to pay it forward some time.
  • Being asked for my thoughts, opinions and advice from time-to-time. I'm very much a 'closet' 40K player (being isolated in the countryside and generally shunning GW stores doesn't help) so it's surprising that some have asked, but I think about 40K a lot - almost every night to clear my head of work-stuff before sleep - so maybe that helps.
  • Discovering Vassal 40K: a simply perfect means by which I can get to play, and 73rd has been a frequent and sporting opponent. He beat me the other day, but his Deathwing Terminator Chaplain still caught the wrong end of bayonet practice!
  • Making my 'self build' and painting him by candlelight(?!) on New Year's Eve. Fun!
  • Anything else? Yes! I've discovered a very useful cure for varnish frosting, had the fun of trying to comment in French, German and Spanish on other blogs, penned lyrical ditties at the behest of The Inner Geek and even had a couple of photos used on BoLS. Now there's a blogger's dream come true.
Thanks for your support, Ladies and Gents - it's always appreciated. May the community continue to flourish.

- Drax.

Saturday 16 May 2009

118 Musings on the New World Order

Boy, am I having issues.

Fluff-wise, I'm keen to keep my light company as a light company (no vehicles) and from tinkering and playing around with ideas, lists and practice games I'm finding it hard to convince myself that an all-infantry force is as viable as it was under the old codex. I ought to point out that I'm still trying to work a basic list without special characters, just for comparison's sake (but see below).

My first reaction was to assume I was simply mourning the loss of the flexibility from the old Light Infantry doctrine, but I think it's something else: although my infantry are slightly more numerous these days points-wise, they're markedly more fragile...especially my poor ol' heavy weapons teams. Their specific weakness in the face of Str6+ weapons is compounded by the army's generally lower Ld.

Mind you, this seems to be somewhat balanced by the spectacularly fun (and reassuringly fluffy) special weapons squads! Asfter all, I've been having great fun with both flamer squads and melta gun/demo charge combos.

Please don't think Drax is being stubborn and not embracing the changes embodied by the new Codex - it's just that I'm trying to enjoy a successful and fluffy inf-only army and...well, I'm simply less convinced than I used to be.

The options I've been trying so far for my light company include:
(a) three platoons of two inf squads w. attached hvy and spec. squads (3 of 2+)
(b) two platoons of three inf squads w. attached hvy and spec. squads (2 of 3+)
and - the fluffiest (and costliest) -
(c) three platoons of three inf squads w. attached hvy and spec. squads (3 of 3+).

I used to use one inf company (3 of 3) and elements of a separate heavy weapons company for fire support: now the fire support must be organic to the company. I quite like that...although it does mean that my platoons can't easily be equipped in a uniform way. So, I guess for fluffy battles I'll probably go for 3 of 3+ weighing in at a little over 1400pts (or 1500 with a Commissar Lord)...

...But I think Drax is going to have to start playing mixed lists more often. With 55pt chimeras and some interesting new options, I'd be a fool not to. Multitudes of veterans and stormtroopers beckon too, and I reckon I'll soon be trying out more special characters.

Watch this space...

- Drax.

Wednesday 13 May 2009

117 Quick Question: Creed's Special Rule - help?

Hey, All,

I'd love your opinions on this one:

Creed's 'Tactical Genius' special rule says that he can give one "infantry or vehicle unit" the 'scout' rule (p57)...but what do you think a platoon counts as? The platoon rules (p96) suggest that it deploys as one unit (as it constitutes one FOC entry) but should Creed's rule apply to an entire platoon or a single part of it?

The whole platoon sounds more likely in my book, but then I'm not much of a rules lawyer. Can any tourney players shed any light, please? Anyone?


- Drax.

Saturday 9 May 2009

116 Plans are Afoot

Hmmm...I've been thinking...
I think I might convert my HQ Salamander, Opilio, back into being a griffon mortar. I can add it to my existing two in order to have a shiny new battery of three large, pinning, Str 5 ordnance barrage templates which re-roll the scatter dice.


I've always liked griffons:
Here's my Salamander as she currently is. I've never had a great deal of use for her - it was just an excuse for a conversion and a convenience for old Forge World armoured company lists:
For more pics of either, please just click on the links in the first paragraph.


- Drax.

Friday 8 May 2009

115 New Codex 'Evacuation' Mission


And huzzah for Fridays, eh?

Just thought I'd share: last week I played the gentlemanly Fallen 73rd online using the superb Vassal 40k and the wonderful first scenario from UK WD353: Evacuation.

Here's the scene of carnage at the end:
(You'll note that my commander had to escape using a stolen Eldar Falcon, as there isn't yet a valkyrie model available).

73rd crated a great 'table' to play on, representing the jungled ruins in the WD battle, and we used the floor plan on the right to locate the troops on different levels. All the buildings counted as 4+ ruins with line of sight bounded by reason and gentlemanly agreement (thanks, 73rd!) and we used the forces as outlined in the WD battle report (see below).

Despite a fairly disastrous start the brave boys of the Imperial Guard managed to fight through enough of the evil deathbots to allow the flyboys to land and begin the evacuation. The real champions of the match were the special weapons squad who - with two immaculately lobbed demo charges - destroyed 8 necrons from a squad of 10, thus clearing a landing space for the valks on the West face of the ruins (you can just make out the scrap metal the 'crons left behind). Hooray for demo charges, eh?

73rd was - of course - very sporting throughout and the game was great fun. It's worth noting that it was good fun to try different units out, and playing a scenario rather than a balanced scrap is just so much fun!

I was going to note the forces involved, but I'm knackered and I've a house guest downstairs whose birthday it is today I ought really to go and speak to him. Was this batrep in the latest US White Dwarf? If not, I can provide more details on request...

- Drax.

Tuesday 5 May 2009

114 Painting By Numbers Parts I & II


This is the second part of my guide to basic painting of a basic guardsman - Drax-style.

Immediately beneath it, you'll find a facsimile copy of Part I, but I'm sure you can work all that out.

I left off having done all the basic painting of my infantryman using only six paints and no subtle painting techniques: this is for block colours only! Here he is:
So! The next stage is to put on his insignia. Using the Cadian transfers, he gets an aquila on his right shoulder pad, and the number '24' on his left: all of them have this - they have their regimental number rather than their squad. This is awkward, as I have to cut out the '2' and the '4' separately.
I apply them together (in reverse, of course) then align them:
Here he is looking all smart with his new markings:
Next is the varnish. I use GW's 'Purity Seal' and although I've had comical issues with frosting before (in the Winter) I had no problems with matey-boy here. Note the slight shine. Yeah I know gloss varnish will do that, but I like to keep my minis protected:
Glue is next. I use straight PVA ('white') glue: I tried watering it down once but it just doesn't hold well enough for me. I've also tried dying it with Indian ink...with mixed results. Infantryman is glued (I don't usually apply quite this much, but it's the last of my glue and it was getting a bit ropey):
Then placed into my tub of gravel (pre-dyed with Indian ink: now that really long as you dry it thoroughly before replacing the lid):
And the gravel is pushed down firmly into place before I neaten the edges a little:
Painting the rubble. First, it's painted Chaos Black, just to ensure it's all black and to take the shine of the glue off it; then I drybrush Codex Grey onto it:
Finally, I neaten off the edge of the base with Chaos Black - I can also touch-up his boots if needs be.
Et voila - a finished Guardsman a la Drax:
Thanks for reading: what now follows is Part I.
- Drax.
COPY OF '103 Painting By Numbers Part I':

This is a post about really basic painting.

I noted before that I take very a basic approach to painting the massed ranks of the (soon to be reorganised) 2/24th Cadian. This post constitutes the first part of a step-by-step to explain how I do this. This (below) is the first stage of two - painting the model:
Over the last year, some folks have been kind enough to note that my army looks okay. I reckon it does too, with 'okay' being the operative word. Someone pointed out that two feet away was the optimum distance for viewing, and my boys look fine from there: all based and uniform. If you're a new convert to Guard and a faster painter than me, this is a stonkingly simple paint scheme. Please excuse the photos: some were taken at night with a flash.

I use the following colours for the painting stage; more-or-less in this order:

Chaos Black spray primer
Catachan Green
Dark Angels Green
Bolt Gun Metal
Tallarn Flesh (foundation)
Skull White
Shining Gold.

First, the models are assembled and undercoated, using Chaos Black spray. I don't currently base them first although I know I should. That's in future plans.
Next, all cloth, webbing pouches and rifle furniture get painted Catachan Green. I'm not too particular:
Then all the armour, helmet, shoulder pads and greaves are painted Dark Angels Green - a little more neatly:
Bolt Gun Metal is next. I use it for rifle details, chest/helmet aquila, belt buckle and the buttons (etc.) on webbing pouches:
Then it's the marvellous Tallarn Flesh foundation paint: hands and face:
Now we go back to black and tidy up boots, webbing straps/belt/buckle, rifle stock, muzzle; sometimes an opened mouth:
Details now: Skull White for eyes and teeth:
And the final stage: small dots (blue/brown) for pupils; maybe a slightly darker flesh tone for the bottom lip (if I can be bothered); Shining Gold for the rifle aquila, and - importantly - I go back and tidy the Catachan and DA Green bits:
And there you have a basically painted Draxian infantryman. I know there are better/faster ways and means, but I've done half the army like this now, and I'm loathe to change (except maybe for earlier basing).

By the way - since taking the final photos of this process (eg: the first one in this post) I've noticed that the helmet aquila and the muzzle (not shown) needed tidying. They've been done now.

Thanks, all,

- Drax.

Monday 4 May 2009

113 Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fungus

This is a two-fold post about things that are missed.

On the one hand: has anyone clocked just what's notable by its absence from the New IG Codex?
- There are NO pics of GW's awesome Kasrkin models.

Now, I know that we oughtn't to be surprised, and we're anticipating new stormtrooper models, but it's odd that the only glimpses of stormies in the whole book are the old ones in respirators. The models aren't in there, but there are the old stormies in new pics on both pages 46 and 56.

Does this mean GW is planning to re-release the respirator stormtroopers? I thought no-one liked them!

Predictably, there are no pics of the old metal Command Squad (apart from the officer) now there's a new plastic version.

Also, two questions (as the HQ officer choice is now specified as a Coy Cmdr):

(1) Why do Company Commanders now get Regimental Advisors?
(2) Why can you buy the Lord Castellan of All Bloody Cadia to command a lowly Company? Doesn't he have better things to do?!

On the other hand, I've been finishing off my model guardsman from my Painting By Numbers: Part I post, so expect a Part II this week. This made me realise how long it is since I've done any painting - I posted that Part I up at the end of March! I've been very busy with work recently (GCSE and A-Level coursework folders, for those of you who understand what that means), so I've been working very very late and my desk's been obscured by senseless paperwork.
I must get try to get back to it...

- Drax.
[codex image from GW website]

Friday 1 May 2009

112 Warhammer 20000 - Change is All Around

Hullo All, and thanks for all the kind comments and wishes!

Well, I've just had my hit number 20,000: thanks, everyone - I appreciate your time and comments.

All this new jargon flying around with the new IG Codex is worrying me: I'm going to have to overhaul my glossary at some point soon - for now I'll just have to wait and see what patterns emerge. My academic background is linguistics (as the Inner Geek has found out, doubtless to the cost of his boredom threshold), so I get a kick out of this stuff. The frustration will also kick in when all my old filing of posts and cross-referencing with hyperlinks will still follow the outgoing terminology...


Thanks again, chaps,

- Drax.