Monday 26 December 2011

290 Brief thoughts on FoW Modelling

Hullo, and season's greetings to all and sundry on this, the Feast of Stephen.

My indulgence in 15mm goodness continues apace, despite Mrs. Drax asking me to not spend too much time on my toys this Christmas, and I have en route a set of British Late War paints and a Heavy Mortar Platoon. What joy!

The pic above is from last week - the bases of 1 Platoon have now been built up with filler (Spackle) and sand, and I've undercoated them with black, but I thought I'd use the image as I briefly share some of my thoughts about the construction - so far - of my new soldiers.

Essentially, I very much enjoyed putting these together. Minimal flash to dispose of, and the bases of each model have been easy to level off. I'm amazed by the variety of poses and the models look great together. Naturally the detail on the individuals is good if necessarily chunky, but I've noticed the BF tanks seem far less crisp than the troops. Hmmm. Still, those dirt cheap Shermans from the Plastic Soldier Company look as if they've got gorgeous detailing!

The bases themselves are beautiful! with a tiny, tiny nodule underneath each corner lifting it about 0.75mm to enable incredible ease of lifting. Battlefront, I am well impressed.

They're starting to look good now I've based them better, but after years of 'rubble' bases I've lost my static grass, so I'll need to get some more. do I go about painting 127 of these little buggers?

Enjoy the turkey leftovers,

- Drax.

Sunday 11 December 2011

289 Infantry Company...But Smaller? FoW

Well now.

After eighteen months of dallying, I've finally committed to my first proper Flames of War purchase:

Thus it begins.

- Drax.

Saturday 3 December 2011

288 Two Games. Two Great Games


Well, I've acually got back to the gaming club over the last month - in its FANTASTIC NEW PREMISES! It's huge and friendly and fantastic...and I've played two games there.

Firstly, a 2000pt clash against Chaos Space Marines. I took a fluffy mech list, for fun (always for fun!) and got absolutely tonked by a nice fellow called Mark. Seriously: it was probably my worst game ever - practically everything I did was almost comically poorly thought-through. It was really good fun and though I absolutely deserved the loss, Mark was gracious in victory.
[Image: GW]

This week the Cadian 24th had their first encounter with the Dark Eldar. Jay's 1750pt tournament force went up against my infantry company - 1750pts of basic guard infantry is a lot of infantry, although the only heavy weapons I had were 3 mortar squads, two autocannon squads and one missile squad. Essentially, it was my standard inf company plus legionnaires, Marbo and a dismounted psyker squad.
[Image: GW]

Again, it was a great game, but this time it went better for me. For the loss of not even a quarter of my force poor Jay's Spikey Death Elves were outnumbered and slaughtered to a man [elf]. One thing surprised me - how good DE shooting is! I thought they were all about the close assault. It was a huge eye-opener for me to play a new and utterly unknown foe, and Jay's always a superb opponent. His models died gloriously and it was a great learning curve.

Thanks for the games, chaps.

- Drax.

Monday 31 October 2011

287 Incoming!

Yeah, I'm still alive, and yeah, I've finally ordered one:
Hope you're all well; sorry for the work-induced radio silence of late.

- Drax.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

286 Drax Goes to the USA

Hullo, Faithful Readers,

Just a heads-up: I'm off to America in October (22nd-29th) to visit the in-laws, and on the offchance any of you are in the Greater Chicagoland Area, the lovley Mrs. Drax has given official spousal permission for me to meet up with you...if you so wish. It'd be lovely to meet you face-to-face!

We'll be around the South Side and the Western Suburbs, so if you're around and you fancy meeting up, do please drop me a line!

- Chris.

Saturday 17 September 2011

285 Penal Legion Squad 2

Hullo! I hope you're well, and cheers for swinging by.

Being a huge fan of penal legionnaires, I decided on a whim to make another squad of 'em. Here they are:

Their shoulder pads are shiny because I varnished them to keep the wretched transfers on; one day I hope to be able to afford some matte varnish.

That is all.

- Drax.

Monday 29 August 2011

284 Heavy Weapons Squads Re-Based

Evening, and I hope my readers on the US Eastern Seaboard are okay...

Well now - here's a post that 'does exactly what it says on the tin', just for completion's sake. I've spent a surprising mount of time this Summer re-basing my heavy wespons teams to bring them into line with the newer rules. Mostly these are on 60mm plywood bases I bought cheap on eBay, as I can't afford any more GW ones! It's a quick late-night snap just before Mrs. Drax asks me to tidy up, so excuse the lack of pic quality [the shinier models are the older, glossed ones]:

Along the back row are my three mortar squads, and in front of them are two autocannon squads and a missile squad. These comprise the heavy support for each of my platoons, and in front of these are my heavy bolter and lascannon squads which I hardly ever use).

Keep well, and if you like brilliant IG tank conversions, do please check out Oink's Overambitious Terrain Project(s) - 'coz his really are fantastic!

- Drax.

Monday 22 August 2011

283 Painting Chart August 2011

Hullo, All.

Just thought I'd post the latest Painting Chart, which has been reorganised. I know it doesn't look as if I've done a lot, but I've been busy rebasing all my old heavy weapons teams, and that's actually taken a surprising amount of time.

By the way, I'm delighted so many of you still seem to find this tracking system useful: I find it indispensible, it's nice to share, and thank you for letting me know!

- Drax.

Sunday 21 August 2011

282 2000pt Tournament Quarter Finals = Carnage


(Image from Wiki)

Well now. I'm pleased to note that after a win against some mechanised Eldar my Guardsmen have made it through to the quarter finals of my club tournament: quelle surprise!

And it promises to be a fun game. I'll be playing against a guy called Andy and his zombie traitor guard. In the past I had a fantastic game against him and as we both have large, sprawling Guard armies for this forthcoming annihilation game it's going to be complete carnage. Complete carnage.

Interestingly, the deployment is dawn of war so there's likely to be something of a crescendo to the action. Although I rather suspect that a lot could hang on who gets the first turn. Either way, we've agreed to be as gung-ho as reasonably possible, so it really ought to be fun!

Watch this space, eh?

- Drax.

Saturday 20 August 2011

281 Painting Across the Pond: Finished!

Hi All,

I'm delighted to announce that after only eight months I've finished this project: painting the Ogryn Bone'ead sent to me in exchange with The Inner Geek. Do please check out his site (linked) as he ought to be posting what he's painted up for me, and please enjoy these pics. The challenge for me was twofold: (1) to try painting large areas of flesh tones and highlighting, and (2) to paint something I wouldn't normally paint, so I'd really appreciate any comments and feedback. Close-up towards the end...

- Drax.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

280 Drax's Tactics: The Tactical Platoon

Hullo, All.
I'm writing today about platoons, and how I field them. Please note: this is how I field them; not how one should field them!

Almost two years ago now I revamped my platoon structure in the wake of the then 'new' codex. I even took some pics of them, here. Well, since then, I've played a surprising amount of games and tweaked it, and realising I really need to update the links to the units in my army on the right, I also figured I could explore their practical application too. I may retake the pics at a later date...

To give you some context, my three platoons operate within a flexible light infantry company (there's an outdated link top-left), which was the product of combinng a 'rifle' company and a heavy weapons (support) company from the old codex. Here are my thoughts...

Part I - Composition:

Each platoon comprises an HQ section (always armed with 3 grenade launchers, a flamer and no wargear), 3 infantry sections, each armed only with a different special weapon (1 sect = plasma gun; 2 sect = melta; 3 sect = grenade launcher), a special weapons squad (SWS), a direct-fire heavy weapons squad (HWS) and a mortar squad. That is it. No-one has any upgrades and there are no voxes (since I fell out of love with them).

The only difference between the platoons is the arming of the SWSs and the direct-fire HWSs. They are as follows:
1 Pl has SWS with 2x melta and a demo charge; HWS with autocannon;
2 Pl has SWS with 2x grenade launcher and a flamer; HWS with missile launchers;
3 Pl has SWS with 2x grenade launcher and a flamer; HWS with autocannon.

Part 2 - Role:

In theory, each platoon is a jack-of-all-trades, hence me calling them 'tactical' platoons. Each is able to hold its own for a while, with a varied sprinkling of anti-tank, some effective anti-infantry and even indirect fire support from the mortars. They're not designed for close assault (they're Guardsmen, after all!) but 53 bodies for around 430pts buys you a lot of time in the Alamo.

In practice, I'm constantly amazed by how well they do just that. Even in games where they're gloriously slaughtered they take a respectable amount of time to die, and even then, sheer weight of numbers means that the butcher's bill isn't usually too bad once the dust settles. They sometimes follow orders, they often gun things down and occasionally, they do something cinematically heroic, like the meltagunner of 2 section, 2 platoon, whose kills include a wraithlord, a tank-shocking wave serpent and even (albeit with his section rapid-firing too) a bloodthirster of Khorne.

Part 3 - On-Table Application:

The basic concept behind my infantry is that they're all expendable. The only infantry units I ever field above 100pts is a lascannon HWS (which is a company-level asset I hardly ever use: giving Guardsmen lascannon is an absolute waste) and any veterans with Harker attached (which I haven't used in ages). All my cheap units do is pootle about, shoot ineffectually at stuff, get lucky, get killed, run away, hold up my opponent and loiter around objectives when asked to do so.

I scarcely ever combine squads. It confuses me and it doesn't suit my style of play.

Frequently I just walk them slowly across open ground, catching bullets.

I've found that spreading them out in the deep field of my lines can put-off deep-strikes, and they can also provide a useful infantry screen for my tanks.

The platoon HQ suads are great: 3 grenades and a flamer make for quite a hard punch, and I often use them for sneaking up on unwary foes or as a counter-attack unit.

The gren/flamer special weapon squads are very similar in use to the platoon HQs, but the melta/melta/demo one is almos always a surprise to the enemy. They look so small and unassuming that they're easily forgotten...until the demo charge blows apart someone's elite choice or tank!

The heavy weapons fire is usually unreliable, but the mortars are bloody brilliant! Even against marines, and they're especially vicious when you're fielding all three squads, making a battery of nine mortars firing from out of sight (and sitting on objectives if I'm lucky)!

Part 4 - Keeping it Fluffy:

I like the fact that my platooons can be put to most tasks (the only thing they don't do well is moving quickly), and I like their cohesiveness, so I always field them as entire platoons. They may sometimes take extra support (for example, an extra SWS or HWS), but I never field them below full strength.

This has led to some interesting tactical issues recently: in my current tourney list I have two platoons, but in the games where I put a platoon into reserve I'll suffer from the dearth of heavy weapons; not least as I know they won't be able to fire when they do eventually amble on.

And that's it, really. It's fun to play with a 'fixed' platoon roster, and so far they've done me proud.

Thanks for making it this far.

- Drax.

Now, if only I could find someone willing to let me field the entire company again...

Friday 12 August 2011

279 Transporting the Army for a Fiver


Bought this for five quid from a charity shop, spent two afternoons fixing it up in the woodwork workshop at school, and it's now my army transport case. It's 20 x 11 x 11":

When deployed, it stretches to 56" wide, and this is why I call it 'the Galleon':

Currently, it contains my 2000pt tournament army plus a bunch of other models (removed for the pics) and all my playing aids. Here's the left, with platoon infantry, HQ choices and some other bits on one level, and on the other a hellhound, a devil dog, a chimera and a griffon:

On the right, five heavy weapons teams, spare snipers (and other bits) on top of two chimeras, my objective marker and assorted turrets and bits. In the tub are all my veterans, and the multicoloured slottabases thereupon are some playing aides I'm currently working on (vehicle markers etc.). In another pic below you might also see the 5 orange objective markers I mocked up last night.

In the bottom there's stacks of room. Currently, the blue washing powder box on the left holds a griffon and my salamander, and the lilac one on the right has two Leman Russes:

Please find a selection of details below:

This thing weighs a ton...but it's characterful, different and definitely Draxian!

More coming up soon...

- Drax.

Tuesday 9 August 2011

278 Chimera Freehand Aquilas

Hi, All.

At last I've finished up my spare chimera, Bulwark, and she's all ready for whoever needs her; be it the company commander, my veterans or the psykers. In a moment of bloodymindedness I took the uncharacteristic step of painting her differently to all my others and really making her stand out. Essentially, I had an idea for how cool a large aquila could look , so after a LOT of sketching and trial-and-error, I managed what you see before you. And I'm quite chuffed with it, to be honest!
The orange and black design ought to draw enemy fire nicely, eh?

The aquila on the turret is a decal/transfer, but I also took quite a lot of time on the orange band on the port side of the turret and the freehand circle on the rear door.

Also, the photo doesn't do it justice, but for the first time I tried my hand at painting a 'lightning' effect across the sphere above the searchlight:

I'd love any comments on this one, please...

- Drax.

Monday 8 August 2011

277 2000pt Tournament; List and Update

Despite the fact that I've forsaken tourneys, the excellent Jay at my club was after people to participate in a 2000pt contest, and as I knew things wouldn't get too competitive there, I figured 'What the hell - I'm on holiday, right?I've deliberately not documented the process, as (a) it might've been unfair to members of the club who read my blog and (b) I knew I wouldn't have time to take photos, but here is an overview, in case you're interested...

My List:

Coy Cmdr w. 4 snipers and chimera
1 Platoon (HQ w 3 gren+1 flamer in chimera; 3 squads w. plas, melta+gren; SWS w. demo+2 melta; HWS w. a/cannon; HWS w. mortars)
2 Platoon (HQ w 3 gren+1 flamer in chimera; 3 squads w. plas, melta+gren; SWS w. flamer+2 gren; HWS w. m/launcher; HWS w. mortars)
Penal Legion
Hellhound w. h/bolter
Devil Dog w. h/bolter
Leman Russ MBT w. lascannon
Leman Russ Demolisher w. lascannon
Griffon Mortar Battery (2 vehicles).

Now, the astute amongst you will have noticed that this is not a 'competitive' list. In fact, some of the choices are just bloody stupid, like putting sinpers in a chimera, putting my mortars in separate platoons or fielding griffons, but here's why: Rather than starting with 'What will play well?' I started with my normal HQ and 2 of my platoons, and thought 'How might these troops be supported?'.

First, I gave all the command units a runaround. I know snipers can't move-and-fire, but if their boss is given a chimera what else are they going to do? Then I added the griffons, as they're cheap, fun, and no-one expects them. Next the Hellhound (always) and the Devil Dog...which you'd see everywhere if GW hadn't rubber-stamped vendettas and melta-weilding monted veterans, which I refused to field on principle. A couple of Russes to help my anti-tank capability and that just left a few points for the Penal Legion and Marbo, both of whom are always great fun to field.

Progress so far:

Well now. We've finished the first round (20 players in 5 groups) and the three games of round 1 were all the same: Pitched Battle with 5 objectives; tracking secondary scores for victory points (hooray!) and kill points (boo!). I played James's Blood Angels first, and after a great game I just pipped a win. Next was Josh and his generic (gold?!) marines - the game dragged a little and ended up an anticlimactic draw. Finally, last week I played Lee's superb Eldar: a really fun game which ended in a win for me, but only after he assaulted and destroyed pretty much half my army!

Result? I won our group, with Lee second, and as such we're both through to this week's 'Knockout' round 2. This will be hard for me as round 2 is 5 objectives with a spearhead deployment, and trying to usefully deploy a gunline guard army with 120+ infantry in the corner of a board is tricky. Ho-hum, we'll see.

Unit of the tourney so far?

Definitely the Penal Legion. In 3 games they've destroyed 3 units: Blood Angels lightning claw terminators, a whirlwind and 10 Dire Avengers. Nice. The heavy weapons teams have done an admirable job for once, and have even survived fairly well, and the mortars and heavy mortars have caused no end of casualties and pinning.

The main failures have been the HQ snipers (no surprise, really - they're really just there for anti-MC work) and my demo charges which have been uncharacteristically lame...although one did sail comically over the enemy landraider to blow up a bunch of Guardsmen!

The biggest thorn in my side has been a unit of Striking Scorpions. Gits.

More posts coming up!

- Drax.
PS: Sorry about the weird spacing. Does anyone know how to stop Blogger doing this?

Sunday 31 July 2011

276 Why I Absolutely Love the Penal Legion

I don't know if any of you lovely readers ever glance at the section of the left sidebar titled 'Cool things my Penal Legionnaires have done...', but this post is about the our felonious little friends and why I love them so very much.
I've fielded them in at least ten games of note, and of those games, the Legion have been absolutely brilliant in all but one of them. Seriosly, check out their record on the left.

All this for 80pts. That for a stubborn objective-claiming troops unit which can scout and has a fun set of randomised special rules!

One of the things I love most about being a Guard player is when things go wrong. I love it when my mortars drop short, and it was fun last week to watch as an over-keen Guardsman lobbed his demo charge in a beautiful arc which propelled it straight over the targeted landraider to obliterate three of his mates from the other platoon. Fielding the Legionnaires is simply an extension of the same thing: will the come on the right table edge? Will they roll the ability that'll really help me against my foe? That (and BS3) is what being a Guard player is all about.

Of course, like all the infantry units in my army, they are utterly expendable: like Marbo, once they've done their thing I expect them to die; it's a pleasant surprise if they don't! Worth it though: compare the bare points values of some of what they've destroyed to their paltry 80pts, and then think about the tactical edge this will so often have afforded me... I'd say they've been game-winners or game-changers about 90% of the time. Most importantly though, they're fun*.

Any thoughts on the little chappies?

- Drax.

* And they're the only unti in my entire sodding army not painted green!

PS: Astute, long-time readers of this blog may have noticed that the pic I've included is in fact their work-in-progress pic (follow the label, below, to see the finished squad) - this is beacuse the composition in this image is far better than the other one, but what;s missing is the barcodes on their left shoulder pads. As it happens, quite a few of these have come off in transit, so I may be painting up some alternatives, to commemorate some of the squad's 'battle honours'. I think I may just have persuaded myself to paint up another squad of them, too! Hmmm...

PPS: If you're bored, sad, or musically-inclined, check out this link for fun with an 80s US interpretation of G&S's classic comedy British Bobby. Crimefighting at its best form 3'00". If you're really bored, I'd like to think this next scene is essentially a theatrical manifestation of my Legionnaires sneaking up on the foe. Look out for a young Kevin Kline as the athletic, comic and verbally dextrous Pirate King. Even better here and especially here.

Monday 18 July 2011

275 Paris, je t'aime

Hullo All,
I'm off to (a very wet and rainy) Paris for the week, but when I get back I'm on Summer Holiday (vacation), so look out for me catching up on some hobby time and some blog posts, eh?

Au revoir...

- Drax.

Sunday 3 July 2011

274 Assault Craft Finished! [pics]

And here it is!
Actually, the pics have reminded me that I need to give it a wash down, to take the sheen off it. As usual, the transfers were disappointing (I may yet replace the numbers beneath the aquilas with handwritten ones), but please check out the pics and let me know what you think. I think my favourite bits are the stretcher and the stubber's ammo box, but the ladder and exhausts turned out alright on the back...

All thanks go to the Guardsmen of 1 Section, 3 Platoon for 'modelling' throughout this process. Plans and maybe even rules to follow...

- Drax.