General 40k Shinanigans

Archive for January, 2014

Terrain and tables…are we doing it right?

So, we have all done table setup.  HOWEVER, how many of us do it right?  Not many. I know I  didn’t.  Not even close.  I set up a game with a friend a month or so ago and we rolled dead on even and had a TON of terrain.  We  RAN OUT of matching terrain.  Plus…I’ve seen lots of pics of tourneys.  We don’t set up terrain right.  Period.  You can argue all you want, but most of us are vets from 5th and we rock the 25%-ish theory when in reality it is a WHOLE LOT closer to 50%.  HOWEVER…You should have 6D3 pieces of major terrain.  Minor terrain should be 1-3 PER major piece of terrain.  But…is more terrain what we need?  No.  Terrain should not just hamper a linear assault across the board.  Wars wash over terrain like water, with hills, cities, and valleys shaping the movement of troops like it would water.  This is how it REALLY happens.  So…how can we build  a better table to lead to, what I believe, an even more awesome experience!

By the way…this is what a strong roll looks like- 15 pieces.  So THIS is possible and sort of plausible because we have seen 6 dice rolled before with three 5’s and 6’s and three 3’s and 4’s.

1) Elevation.  Elevation exists.  Find me a battlefield that is flat.  It doesn’t happen.  Things like raptors on flat ground aren’t that good… if you add some significant elevation changes and PRESTO! They are meaningful.  Check out this table:

OKAY, OKAY! This IS a games day table.  However, check it out.  Lots of elevation changes.  Does this mean that jump infantry is needed?  No.  BUT, it does mean that that Wave serpent army jumping around is gonna take a LOT of dangerous terrain checks JUST TO MOVE because a) it has lots of terrain and b) he can’t just be up high and see.  This brings me to my next point…

2) Line of sight.  With 2″ hills, ruins, and the occasional LOS blocking thing, fliers are brutal and skimmers are just disgusting.  When drawing LOS is as simple as getting on top of a hill and then you are SOL, guess what…that’s what people will do.  Check out the table.  NOW…draw a line across the table.  From one edge to another.  Can you find a straight shot?  I couldn’t.  This changes the dynamics of combat.  6th hit assault armies, but buffed them again with increased terrain AND mysterious forests and rivers.  Suddenly a) you gotta work to see the enemies entire army with your retardedly powerful gunline and b) I wouldn’t suggest hanging out in terrain JUST to get those estra hits cuz he doesn’t have assault grenades or try to deny an assault because of assaulting through difficult terrain.  By not setting up terrain, we are empowering those cheezy metas that we all hate.  The quad riptide gunline.  Guess what…he aint that powerful when he has to always try to get a shot so he is always moving.  When it is open terrain he can shoot then run away and never move TOWARDS the enemy.  You make it with lots of LOS blocking stuff, he may only be able to get a shot from a certain spot.

3) Terrain as a shaping force: Check this out ——————————————————————–>

Basically, it’s a few hills…not even that much terrain (yes, I know it’s being worked on right now…).  HOWEVER, this terrain shapes the battle.  Terrain such as this allows for creation of choke points (because wars are not fought on random terrain!).  Things that both sides can use for their advantage.  Yes, the IG artillery player can hide beyond the canyon walls and ruin the day of enemies, but what happens when they flank the army?  What happens when they DO clear that choke point and break the IG artillery!  Now they are screwed. 😛

So, that’s all I will rant about this subject.  I only brought this up after having played several games and realized that a) the terrain did little to nothing.  Cover was minimal.  I could START in cover, but there were HUGE chunks of area for infantry to die in.  In total, about 25-30% of the table.  About 1-2 small to medium pieces per 2×2 square.  That’s some pretty weak rolls. 😛  I do it.  Many of us are guilty of this.  Sometimes it’s a theme thing (we are out of lava terrain…screw it, that’s enough).  Many times, it’s a habit thing.  I placed all the lava pieces available and much of the table was covered.  Small pieces that did little, but I said “WOW, that’s too much terrain”…and I removed some.  Often, we try to make things symmetrical and leave big open gaps.

I think a good test is this.  If you can pick a spot in a deployment zone from 6″ up and see everything, even if it is in cover, then your terrain placement is not good.  There is a reason why both players set up terrain.  That is to ensure that the table IS balanced.  Because tables set up with nothing really taller than that 2” hill with maybe two of them stacked is grossly in favor of gunline armies.  It just is.  Why oh why would we walk across no-mans-land into gunfire?  It’s silly.  Same time, why would a gunline player want a trail of terrain and LOS blocking stuff all the way up to them.  It’s not my FLGS only, either!  For example, some other examples:

That enough?  Three different sites, similar results.  Limited LOS blocking stuff.  Almost zero terrain elevation, none of which could not be simply walked over or at an almost zero impact driven around.  Look at the themes on the table.  Necrons.  Eldar.  Fliers with 100% visibiltiy!  What IS NOT present?  Assault forces (yes, I know, it’s only 4 armies, not a good sampling…I get it!).  However, let’s take a good look at our OWN FLGS and say “Hey, the book says do it this way, let’s try it”.  Then, let’s not settle for the same old terrain.  Do hills on hills!  Ruins on hills.  Treat that river as impassible except for bridges and ford sites.  Use mysterious stuff.  Think about the question – Can I get online and walk across to his online army and then beat the crap out of each other?  If yes, then perhaps you could think about a different setup.  This is NO WAY an attack on players setting up stuff like this…I DO!  But, rather an idea to broaden our gaming experiences and make our terrain tables look like battlefields…not tables.
Thanks for reading,



Evolution of a better Obliterator

So… everyone has seen THIS conversion



But I didn’t like that (though I have three of them…).  So, to have a better Obliterator.  I COULD do minor head swaps and pose changes to generate a better model from the GW model which I dislike.


BUT, I like those models that make people really go, “WOW”.  SO…I decided to make defiler babies!

My first attempt:


I used a tutorial I found on Chest of Colors ( I was going to link it, but it doesn’t exist anymore seemingly).  It described how to make crap legs and claws.  It worked, but was rather crude and extremely time intensive.  So I opted to try to use tyranid scything talons.

My SECOND attempt:



Better claw (ork kustom power klaw).  I liked the 6 legs as it was more true to a defiler.  But, it was a static position and I didn’t like it enough to do more (though I still liked it).  So, the project lay fallow for many a months.  Then, the other day I was like “Screw it, I’ll build legs out of sprue!”.  After many hours of measuring, cutting, drilling, chipping, and shaving I ended up with a basic armature.  Slap a terminator body on it and VOILA! I have a defiler that has legs 40% the size of defiler legs (well, I TECHNICALLY measured a soulgrinder.  Whatever).  I used chaos shields on the front 4 legs to replace the leg shielding, added some spikes and some bits to get a sense of dimension to see where I needed to go.  THIS is the start.

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HOWEVER, it was falling prey to all of the same problems as the other ones.  Static pose (though he had 6 articulated legs FFS!), odd scale, generally off-puting.  SO, I swapped his head to the top like a defiler.  Then I added exhaust pipes and started adding cabling and details to him.  THIS is where he is now.

122 121 Oblitifiler!!! 123


So, the squad together looks impressive . Very non-uniform but all sort of the same.  Looking forward to painting these guys and fielding 6 oblits…ALL OF THEM DIFFERENT!

Defiler Squad

*As you can see, the detail improves as the size increases.  Ironically, he fits on a 40mm base best.  HOWEVER, I plan to use either 50 or 60 mm bases.  50 if I can get them, but if not, then 60’s and I will just put a bunch of crap on them.  The last one will likely be descending something or crawling across/over something to capitalize and display the articulation in his legs.


Thanks for reading.  More to follow!




Mustering the troops: A preparation to fight a superheavy.

Stop standing there and shoot back damnit!

So, as the name suggests, I have decided to face this impending threat.  I got ahold of a copy of Stronghold Assault and it works as a very good counter to escalation.  I have always like the ideas of fortifications…guess it’s the Sapper in me that always looks at ways to fortify and build up.  I arranged a 2,000 point game against a local IG player with more super-heavies than most gaming clubs…actually, I think he has more than the store he plays in.  My only request was that he not bring S D weapons as I truly have no desire to run against that madness.  I will be playing a list, likely with elements from Stronghold Assault so I can review that.  This is as far as I have have gotten.  I can’t decide on a list.  I have built several, all brutal and nasty, but I am still looking at going toe to toe with about 1500 points of guard and I can’t only build to kill that super heavy.

First up:

Pure Assault.  This list hits hard…and hard.  Pretty much everything, on the charge, can crack an AV 10 armor easily and even AV 12 rears don’t stand much of a chance.  It’s a mixture of all the daemonic gods, so it’s pulling from a little bit of everything.  Against a superheavy, I need a little bit of extra time to close that gap…thus a void relay network to give all my units an AV 12 cushion.


Bloodthirster w/ Exalted and Greater Rewards.  This guy, with a void shield and his flying will close the gap and make short work of anything in his way.

2 daemonic heralds: Nurgle w/ ML 2, Greater reward, and FNP Loci and also Karanak to start a wee bit closer.


4 Bloodcrushers w/ Banner of blood.  These guys are too expensive for a T4 3 wounder against a super heavy and the inevitable number of lascannons he will have.  But being cavalry, they will close that gap fast and even 4 can cripple a flank.

4 Flamers.  Plain and simple.


2 x 15 bloodletters w/ banners of blood and 15 plaguebearers w/ generic icon.  The bloodletters can crack everything BUT a superheavy…and the plaguebearers will be useful to put down a superheavy with the blades.

Fast attacks: 8 hounds and 5 screamers.  Again…fast and nasty.

Heavy: Soulgrinder of Slaanesh w/ baleful torrent.  He is as much here for the close combat power as he is for the shooting.


Void Relay Network w/ 2 generators (3 shields each) and 1 Promethium pipeline (used here only to connect the generators as I have nothing that will benefit from siphon fuel…though they do provide 4+ cover)

Bottom line: Everything is fast, nasty, and with the void shields he is going to either get very lucky and glance or pen the first three hits of the first three shots, or I am going to get a little less of a beating running across the table.

List 2: Instead of going the lots of assaulty units, it is a smaller and more elite army of Black Legion and CSM


Black Legion (Primary) w/ CSM (Allied)


Huron (Warlord)

Jump Sorcerer w/ML 3 and  Last memory of Yuranthos

Be’Lakor (CSM HQ)


2 Mutilators w/ MoN


9 Chosen in rhino w/ Power Weapon, 2 Meltaguns, and 3 flamers

10 CSM w/ 2 Meltaguns

15 Cultists w/ 14 Autoguns and a flamer

Fast Attack:

8 Raptors of Khorne w/ Icon of Wrath and 2 meltaguns

Heavy Support:

2 Obliterators of Nurgle

Fortifications: Same as last time.  Void relay network w/ 2 generators and 1 promethium pipeline.  This time though, w/ flamers in the list and infiltrate, I can really put them to use.

This list is a little cheesier.  Rocking up to psychic powers cast every turn, and knowing I am starting with puppetmaster means that things are a little different.  However, I don’t think it’s cheese to a ridiculous level.  If I dropped Be’Lakor, I would simply pick up 2 squads of Havocs or Chosen to infiltrate in and up the oblits and Mutilators (which may also be infiltrated).

Well, those are my lists I am deciding between.  Maybe some tweaks left or right. It will certainly be a learning experience, but he doesn’t play me often so I hope to catch him as off guard with my play-style and armies as I learn how to contend with baneblades and storm hammers.  Either way, the key to winning will be several things- Prioritization, concentration, and pure and absolute aggression.  Those void shields will realistically net me a single turn, maybe 2 if I am lucky.  That means I need to be on him as soon as possible.


Well, thanks for reading.  Would love some comments on ideas for lists.



Communities and painting

…and a happy little stream right here, some happy clouds up here. Do whatever you want, it’s your world.

Just a short post today.

So how do we improve our painting?  I for one have support communities.  Digital or real.  Clubs are great for this, but in this digital age, having a strong forum group is a great resource too.  I came across a painter online.  He has great motivation to paint, blog, and game.  However, what he lacks is a community to game with and generally chat with about the hobby.  I directed him towards a forums I knew of that was actually a gaming group in his area.  This made me realize how key it was to have a community.  I can’t explain the huge benefit to having a community to it’s fullest, but I will try:

1) Ideas.  This is as it seems.  You can think of only so much.  I can’t count the times that I have said “That’s cool…stealing it!” about models at my FLGS.  Or even have someone at my game store suggest an idea.  Blogs are great for this as it broadens the suggestion pool.

2) Help.  I am not strong at OSL, wet blending, use of a wet palette, and many other things.  Friends have explained and shown me how to get a handle on these techniques.  Few people learn everything alone through books and research.   To those I say kudos.  I can’t pull that kind of skill from a video or paragraph alone.  But being shown the technique helps immensely.

3) Motivation.  Painting can get boring.  Period.  But seeing other people’s awesome projects makes you want to paint as well as them or better.  This leads me to my 4th point.

4) Kudos.  People like to have people say “awesome job”.  If no one ever acknowledged our painting…well, there would be a lot less painted armies out there in my opinion.  People praise work.  The caveat to this is this: People praise your stuff, you need to look around and if something is nice, tell the artist.  Yes, artist.  Gaming is DnD, Heroclix, and X-Wing.  When it comes to 40k, I strongly believe that the caliber of many pushes it from hobby to art.

5) Gaming.  I love to paint my toy soldiers.  But seeing them stomp my enemy makes painting them even more fun.  It helps create a personal touch and character about them.  It makes it more enjoyable to field them, with them painted.  Fielding grey army against grey army, a titanic struggle of bare plastic is in no way impressive.  However, on a beautifully built terrain table where two fully painted and based armies face off is simply impressive.  If not visually stimulating, then at least the knowledge that hundreds of hours went into making that game happen.


So, to all you gamers out there that don’t think about your community as a boon to your hobby, I beseech you to think about your community as your best tool in your kit-bag.


Thanks for reading,


Snowy days mean painting…plus a wrap up!

So, lots of pictures of hobby progress for today.  Today, I have been working on the Dark Vengeance Chaos Lord.  He’s a cool model I have been figuring out exactly how to paint.  So I finally sat down and said “screw it” and put brush to paint and let it develop.  It ended up looking good and I am happy with it.  It’s not gonna win a painting competition, but it’s something that I think fits my style, I like, and will add to my army.  I am glad to get him painted because I have needed a regular power-armoured HQ model (though I guess I realistically COULD just use a regular old CSM and call him a power armor lord or sorcerer…or really even a Dark Apostle if he has a maul).  I have continued to work on my possessed and mutilators, as well as my CSMs.  I love the possessed…they are terrible in the game, but one of the coolest looking models and a BLAST to paint as they combine the curved smooth parts of cold ceramite armor on textured daemonic skin.  There are eyes and helmeted eye-slits.  Guns, swords, claws, and spikes they have pretty much every texture and surface you could hope for.  I feel vindicated as I hear of others painting models because they like them as a friend of mine, Thor over at Creative Twilight, just posted this article.


So, onto the pictures!

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I still have to do the tassles on the end of his sword.


My possessed have seen less progress.  The basic color scheme is done for them all with only a single completely finished.



My mutilators have seen a fair bit of progress.  They seem to be in a linear progression when laid out, with one finished, one about 70-80% and the last about 40-50%.

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However, I have made a few advancements on my chaos lord of Nurgle.  I like the way this guy is turning out.  Always would love more ideas.  Looking something to make his armor REALLY pop.

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Lastly, I have spent an abysmal amount of time pounding through power armored dudes.  Here they are, many very close to being done.  HOORAY!!!

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Oh, and my warpsmith, who has seen a little bit of washes and a few minutes here and there of work getting him ready for some high and low lights.



Well, thanks for reading.  My CSMs are going along at full speed and I like how they are looking right now.  At first I didn’t like the quartered color scheme en masse, but now I really do.  It sets them apart from many armies.  I continue to like the heat effects on the black portions of the armor.