Monday, November 30, 2009

Rat Ogre Bonebreaker WIP ... painting part 2

He's coming along nicely, with lots and lots of matte varnish on that standard pole to make a logical lift point for the model.  I'm still a little freaked out by his deformed feet, but a well placed giant rat, rock or static grass tuft will mitigate the crapitude of the sculpt.  Or maybe I can just say that his deformed left foot is a touching homage to the 6th edition clanrat's left foot. 

I've been challenged to a siege game, 3k of my Skaven vs. 2k of Empire.  Yeah.  Between Rat Ogres, the Screaming Bell(s), Warlock Engineers (Crack's Call!) and Warp Lightning Cannons I don't think a castle has a chance.  Maybe the guys in the mambo shirts will bring enough guns to take my rats down, but I highly doubt it.  I'm hoping to turn one of his units into clanrats and cause a great deal of havoc inside the walls.  Hope you brought some dispel scrolls, Karl Kastle!

Skaven Plague Priest

A weekend leisure-time project, this fellow was converted yesteday and painted yesterday and today.  I wanted something different than the usual "plastic plague monk with censer arm" that everyone seems to use.  That Horned Rat standard topper was the perfect size for a mask, so an old metal plague monk gets new life as a Plague Priest.

I should probably put some static grass or something on the base, but he needs a couple coats of Minwax polyurethane first to protect the paint job.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Rat Ogre Bonebreaker WIP ... painting

Conversion is done and I've started painting this guy.  He's pretty big.  Even with his poor posture he stands taller then classic Boneripper (not counting the Warlord, of course.)

The one thing I'm kind of torn about is using the Stormvermin champion as a Warlord.  On the one hand, this model makes a pretty good looking Lord.  On the other, everyone is going to be using it as such.  I suppose I shouldn't fret about it... everyone used the old Warlord model as a Warlord and I never once complained about the frequency of the model.  I suppose it's in the career track for Fangleader (Stormvermin champion) to become chieftain and then warlord anyway.

Bits-wise, the shield is a Night Runner shield with spiked from Skink spears (javelins?)  The pole is an old Skaven standard that came with plastic clanrats back in the day before the plastic command sprue came in that box.  It came with a standard, a drummer arm / drum, and a champion head / sword arm.

Update: Finished model here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Warlords Are So Lazy

Just riding around on his war-litter, carried by his loyal minions.... man, how lazy can you get?  It seems like everyone and their brother are making a war-litter so I thought I'd give it a go.  My big gaming day was cancelled due to a sick 5-year old, so I took some time over the weekend to work on this.  The paint job is yet another "good from far..." gaming special.  It does the job, and the clanrats actually have tails (unlike most of my army.)

One of the things I'm going to miss about the old monkey rats is the convertibility options.  The new three piece models (one of which is a shield) just don't have the sort of posing options that the eight part model had (of which two were shield parts.)  I haven't looked at the new Stormvermin for conversion.  Maybe they are just right for the task.

Modeling wise, the litter itself is balsa.  The Warlord's sword and the one carried by the rat in the right rear are spear tips from the new clanrat box.  They make wicked looking swords!  The rails that the clanrats are holding are spear shafts from the old clanrat box set.  The axe blades are from a Black Orc (right) and Dwarf (front).  I wanted to imply that some Skaven clans had been defeated by this fellow as well, hence the blue Skaven shield and the triangle shield with the clan Eshin symbol on it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Skaven Questions ... and Irresistible Force

Collected from various parts of the interwebs.  These are the questions that I think will generate the most heated debate between Skaven players and their opponents.
  • The Dreaded 13th Spell: Can the spell be cast on infantry units that house larger models (such as Slann with guard or the clanrat unit pushing a Screaming Bell)?  If so, what happens to the differing model if there enough transformations to cover the entire unit?
  • Banner of Verminous Scurrying: When does the triple paced movement conferred by the banner take place?
  • Warlord War-Litter: What size base should the war-litter use?  Can the war-litter join units?  If so, does it count as two models wide for purposes of rank width?  What is its unit strength?
  • Are Warpstone Tokens really not "one use only"?  If they are, why give characters multiple tokens to start?
  • Can plague priests use warpstone tokens?
  • Is the Storm Banner really not "one use only"?
  • Are Master Moulders required to be in the front rank of a Rat Ogre unit, since they are in all respects a unit champion?  If so, how does the mix of 20mm and 40mm bases affect ranks?
  • When adding packmasters to a unit of  giant rats / rat ogres, can an additional packmaster be added to a unit 5 rats / 2 rat ogres or does that unit have to be 10 rats / 4 rat ogres before a second packmaster can be added?
On another note, I learned something new as a result of the 13th spell.  To successfully cast a spell you need to roll either greater than or equal to the casting cost or cast with irresistible force.  As much as we've tried we cannot find a rule that states you need to throw enough dice to make the casting cost even feasible, so it would be perfectly legal to cast the dreaded 13th every turn with two or three dice, just on the chance that you'd get IF.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Marauder Minis: Separated at Birth

I've managed to collect a strange variety of Skaven over time by buying eBay lots.  One of the things that has given me a chuckle for a while is that the old Marauder Miniatures line has some pretty obvious re-sculpts.  The Poison Wind Globadier (third one over, primed black) is the most obvious example, since his slot at the bottom says "MUSICIAN."  He is clearly just the musician to his right with some change in detail.  Only recently did I realize that the old Skaven Warlock at far left was the same sculpt as one of the current Poison Wind Globadiers, although not as blatant as the musician one.

EDIT: Apparently not all of these are Marauder minis.  The Globadier/Musician were Citadel minis.  If I'm not mistaken, the sculptors went on to form Marauder.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Even Easier Image Formatting / Text Wrapping in Blogger

Blogger has improved their composition form quite a bit.  The esoteric method I posted previously of matching text with images can be done with a much easier process now.

First, the intent:  You have multiple photos you want to write about, and you want the text for each photo to show up next to the photo in question.  Here is an example of where I have done this.

Here's how to do it.  Start with a new post, and add an image.  Click the "left" link on the image control bar to move it to the left of the screen.  Now enter some text to go with that image.  Okay, here's the scary part... I know you can do it.  Be brave.  Click the "Edit HTML" tab above the compose window.  What you will see are two blocks of text, both surrounded by DIV tags.  One is the image and the other is the text you entered.  "Cut" the text you entered from within the second div (leave the <div> and </div> tags there) and paste the text just before the </div> tag surrounding the image.  That's it.  Go back to "Compose" and that text should be locked to the image now.  Repeat for as many photos as you would like.

One final note.  Don't be surprised when Blogger rewrites your HTML to its own purposes.  The intent of the formatting seems to stick even if the gubbins move around.

Rat Ogre Bonebreaker WIP 2

The Bonebreaker gains mass.  The gray fur is P3 epoxy putty and the green is, well, green stuff.  I need to put a smoothing later of putty over the rough spots and sculpt fur.

The final pose will be tilted a bit more forward so the head points at a man-sized model.  That should also bring the arms more to a position horizontal to the ground.

Dan Abnett to write "Ultramarines"

The news: Info

and... Dan Abnett


2 Skaven casters and OSL

I'm really loving the fact that Skaven has new magic options in the form of lvl 1 and 2 casters. The Warlock Engineer as he was before was a strange bird... pretty much good for overpowered warp lightning or as a brass orb suicide launcher. The plague priest, on the other hand, was definitely a melee character who could be given the Liber Bubonicus to make him a lvl 1 wizard. I tried it a couple times and could never really get much use out of the spell it gave him.

In honor of our new casters I painted up a couple of models.  The first is a Plague Priest based on an old metal Plague Monk.  I was inspired by Big D's first OSL attempts over at The Hogs of War, so I tried a little myself.  Of course I pick a model with a ton of irregular surfaces in the lit area.  It really needs to be brighter on his face to match the sleeve.  I was really happy with the freehand work until I saw the photo.  Photography is so unforgiving.

I also painted up this old Skaven warlock. I had filed off his clan Skryre tags ages ago and was using him (primed white) as a Plague Priest.  It occurred to me that the skull would make a cool brass orb. Voila!  A warlock engineer that I could have played in the previous edition!  I like the effect on the sword, and I took ages to highlight and shade the robes but this model just seems to fall flat for me. Something doesn't 'pop' and I can't put my finger on it. Any thoughts?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Rats! Foiled Again!

It's been a productive weekend.  Even nursing my sore neck I still managed to assemble and base 20 plague monks, 20 clanrats, 2 rat ogres and glue 20 giant rats (old metal ones) to bases in such a way that they can rank up properly.

I love the new options for the Skaven warlord to have a mount, and at left you'll see the beginnings of my Rat Ogre Bonebreaker mount.  Like normal I'm using aluminum foil for the basic shape and I'll putty over that for detail.  He stands a little taller than a normal rat ogre right now and after putty he'll be much beefier, which fits the book description well.

So I've had a solid week with the Skaven book and I suppose I should make a few observations, as a Skaven player of 5 years or so.
  • Mainstay rule is gone, and good riddance.
  • Plague Censer Bearers are now special, making Clan Pestilens themed armies a little more doable.
  • Cool new Clan Pestilens toys (Plague Furnace, Plague Claw Catalpult)
  • Having two lores of Skaven magic and a lvl 1 and lvl 2 wizard to choose from for each gives Skaven far more options than the last book (which limited you to Super Wizard or Super Cannon)
  • The new weapon teams sound fun to convert and play.
  • The ratling gun got a much needed nerfing, as it now rolls to hit (among other changes.)
  • 0-1 limit on Stormvermin removed
  • Giant Rats attack in two ranks now
  • 8(!) special characters.  I don't know if I'll ever see them all in battle, but it's fun to see them all in the book.
  • new Packmaster rules are strange.  So even if there are 50 giant rats in the unit and one packmaster, an arrow that hits the unit has a 1/3 change of hitting that single packmaster?  
  • Wording for "strength in numbers" is practically word for word the same as in the last edition.  This was one of the rules that generated the most questions.  When does a unit have a rank bonus?  If rank bonus is calculated at the beginning of the close combat phase does the Skaven unit use one rank bonus to determine if they won the combat and another to break test (assuming it lost enough models to lose a rank)?  Just a dozen or so more words would have done so much.
  • Half points?  really?  I suppose I'm glad a unit of Clanrats with shield cost less now and I don't know how I would have done things differently, but it's just so awkward.
  • Warp Lightning Cannon is a little more boring now.  I miss the unpredictable nature of the previous version with it's random range.  The new one is more survivable (I've had one survive a six turn battle... something no WLC of mine has ever done) but seems to fail a lot more.  About 30% of all shots fired will either misfire or fizzle.  Maybe some interesting anecdotes about the WLC will come up but in the games I've played it's been an uneventful item so far.
  • Lots of inconsistent/omitted wording in the book.  Can all Night Runners be upgraded to Night Leaders?  Does a Master Moulder (as a unit champion) have to stay in the front rank?  Are Warp Tokens and the Storm Banner really not "one use only"?  Can a Warlord on War Litter join a unit?
By the way, the new Clanrat weapons are sharp little suckers.  I drew blood implaing myself while trying to scrape mold lines off those pointy things.  And oh is it nice to just have clanrats rank up so nicely.  Old monkey rats are so out of here.  But, of course, Night Runners are no longer skirmishers, so after we get rid of the nightmare of ranking one type of monkey rat, the other one is now ranked.  Any everyone will have assembled Night Runners with no regard to tail placement because they never had to think about ranks before.  Nice! (not really)

It may sound like I'm griping but I'm really happy with the new Skaven, and once a FAQ/Errata comes out clarifiying all the strange points I'll be all the happier.  So in the immortal words of General Vorg:  Squeeks!

Friday, November 13, 2009


I learned a new word today.  Subrogation.

It comes up when you back into somebody from your driveway and then your insurance company informs you that your policy was cancelled two days ago due to your payment being rejected by your bank.

In this context, it is definitely a word of which I wish I was still ignorant.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Q: What Constitutes a Friendly Game?

I played a 1500 pt WHFB game this weekend that raised some questions for me.  My Ogre Kingdoms opponent asked me, "Is this a friendly game?"  I answered that it was, and that it was my first game against Ogres.  He responded by telling me that I would definitely want to use my power dice to dispell his toothcracker (or some other unpleasant sounding) remains-in-play spell.  I did so.

As the game progressed someone on the sidelines did a bit of kibitzing, reminding me of rules or things I had forgotten to do, like re-roll for hatred, etc.  As things started to go south for the Ogres I could hear my opponent muttering "I thought this was supposed to be a friendly game" or similar under his breath multiple times.  Clearly he thought someone helping me remember things was beyond that scope, even though I am a very occasional player (1-2 times a year.)

So this raised the question:  What constitutes a friendly/casual game?

Thinking it over a little, I think these are the sorts of things I would do in a casual game:
  • Allow my opponent to do something he had forgotten in a prior phase as long as it wouldn't rewrite history too much.  A good example is allowing him to rally a fleeing unit after charges are declared.
  • Let any charges / range checks of my opponent that are so close as to be questionable go in favor of my opponent.
  • I would not require explicitly visible actions (for people who roll so fast that you can't see anything and all they say is "okay, 4 wounds" during combat.)
  • Be congenial over any rules that are  broken, but try and point out any obvious errors and give him the opportunity to correct them.
  • Allow him to look up any rule that gets questioned without making disparaging comments about knowing the rules or the time rule lookups take.
Little things like this keep the narrative of the battle alive with a minimum of the sort arguing that takes the focus off the models and puts it on the cantankerous gamers.

So what are your thoughts?

Paint Queek Cwossing

Skaven day!  Yay!  Saturday was the first major Skaven release since I started this crazy hobby, so I was somewhat thrilled.  I bought pretty much one of everything new that came out (a spearhead box would have been nice for this, but I heard through the grapevine that the spearhead boxes never sold all that well.)

I participated in the painting competition as well, and won first place with the Queek you see here.  I got a print of the Skaven book cover as my prize.  I was under the impression that I was competing for a Screaming Bell, but I suppose I will find out on 11/21 when they come out.  Either way I have a pretty snazzy Queek to field.  My local store is "GW Paint Creek Crossing" so hopefully the title of this entry makes more sense now.

I met up on Saturday for some gaming and ran into fellow UnderEmpire member Kariko83, whose Moulder horde is something to behold.  I am inspired to hire a few units of Giant Rats for my army, or at least assemble the GR's and Rat Ogres I already own.  We set up a 6000 point game (3 Skaven players @ 2000 each plus a Vampire Counts, Ogre Kingdoms and Lizardmen army of 2000 points each.)  Unfortunately VC guy started to feel sick at the top of turn 2 and we called the game.  I played 1500 against the Ogre Kingdoms guy later and suprised him with Clan Pestilens fun (and I quote, "Nobody has even done that to me before!  Not even Blood Knights!  Those things are so broken!")  Hooray!  I finally got accused of cheese!  He ended up winning with table quarters and standards, and the game was great fun.  I play about once or twice a year normally, so to get almost 8 turns in was a rare treat.

Deathmaster Snikch was nowhere to be found on Skaven day.  Pfft.  Isn't that just like clan Eshin?

Pics from the aborted 6k game.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Random Find: Tina + Wolf

Just a quick heads-up for an artist I stumbled across quite randomly.  She works with vector art, and I find her work intriguing.

Check it out:

She's barely started posting, so this might be a fun one for you to follow.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

From Jaunty to Karmic

I've upgraded my work desktop from Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) to 9.1 (Karmic Koala.)  Here are a few observations.

  • The Nvidia bug that caused the pointer bitmap to fragment at certain screen locations has been fixed.
  • Audio is back to both the headphones and speakers working simultaneously (true in Intrepid, mutually exclusive in Jaunty.)  I'm not sure if this is a design feature or a bug.
  • Desktop panels jumped from primary (left) monitor to secondary (right) monitor.  I was able to move them back by deselecting "Expand" in the panel preferences, dragging the panel back to the left monitor and then re-selecting "Expand."
  • I was having some issues with Sun Virtualbox (not OSE) where the app would grab the keyboard and not let go.  This let ctrl-alt-del work in the XP environment, but made everything else useless.  I did a full cold boot of Ubuntu and for no discernible reason it works fine now.
For anyone who does any development work for Unix servers, I am beyond praise for Ubuntu/Eclipse.  I have a better development system than I've ever had before with hardly a difference between my desktop and the production server in term of code workings.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Inquisitor Lord Grussom and Retinue

I decided to put a little work in on my Inquisitor Lord's retinue tonight.  I had pretty much abandoned the standard Witch Hunter Inquisitor model after reading Dan Abnett's amazing Eisenhorn trilogy.  He gives so much depth and character to the Inquisition that I wanted a more unique representation.

Inquisitor Lord Grussom is a zealot of the most confrontational variety.  Not one for intrigue, he rushes in to deliver the Emperor's justice with a fearlessness that his colleagues both admire and ridicule.  Since suffering a grievous injury at the hands of a chaos cultist to whom he was in the process of meting out judgement with a hammer, Grussom has donned the Sacred Armor of Hokiprus Goll for battle.  Goll's armor, an ancient suit of golden power armor, was recovered from a ruined shrine world by Grussom after a long search for protection befitting one bringing Terra's light.  No helmet was recovered for Goll's armor, and Grussom's battered visage is a direct result of his face bearing the brunt of his headlong assault against the followers of chaos.

While Grussom's rise through the ranks of the Inquisition has been less than meteoric, many count his chief confidant, Interrogator Atwa Rove, as the guiding hand behind the unswerving force of Grussom and his ascent.  Rove hails from a background where a well placed word and a bullet have equally weighty ends, and guiding the somewhat guile-less Grussom has been a challenge he has enjoyed to no end.  While surely steering Grussom, Rove would balk at the word manipulation.  They are long friends and only Rove's machinations have gotten Grussom the influence that has allowed him to prosecute his mandate with such fervor.

Crusaders Hyrem and Lorem are brothers from a world cut off for six millenia from the Astronomicon by a warp storm.  During that time the world fell on backwards times technologically and adopted heretical practices in their worship of the Emperor.  Upon emergence from the warp storm and repatriation into the Imperium, Hyrem and Lorem were part of a knightly order that assisted in rooting out and destroying the rogue priesthood so that the Emperor's true Ecclesiarchy could take its place again.  Grussom took them on as retinue bodyguards after they achieved a bit of notoriety for these actions, and parades them around endlessly explaining that their home world is an example of what happens when humanity is left to its own devices with no Ordo to guide it.  They wear the armor of their order and weapons retrofitted to be a bit more technologically advanced.

Bound Psyker 2280-12 was assigned to Grussom after Rove kept complaining that he could never get the stink of the warp off his jacket.  No one remembers the poor soul's name, and he keeps surviving encounters with the ruinous powers no matter how often or cavalierly Grussom and Rove throw him between themselves and rogue psykers.  It has become something of a game to see how long he'll live, and they do their best to protect him from the more mundane dangers of bullets and las-shots.