Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Double Army Painting Update

Hey there, Internet. I've been plugging away again at some painting projects. For one reason or another, I've gotten the Eldar bug again. I played Eldar a while back, lost four games in a row terribly then put them back up on the shelf. This was about a year and half ago. The issue I think was that I wasn't playing to the Eldar strengths by having the army support each other. The Tau list that I played required a certain amount of synergy to be successful. If I can take those skills and tactics, I think I can apply them to Eldar with some modifications.

Anywho, painting. The models that really set the Eldar apart for me were the Wraithguard and Wraithlords. My starting army had three lords and a small 4 man guard unit. I'm now up to the full 10 man Wraithguard unit with Warlock to make them a troop choice.
I'm working on the original 5 man unit to start.

They start out with a solid black base coat (courtesy of Black Gesso), then coat the whole model with Astronomicon Grey. I do a really rough stipple/dry brush on all the top facing surfaces with White then wash the entire thing in Vallejo Smoke. Vallejo Smoke comes out super super thick so I add a lot of water to it. Why Smoke instead of Devlin Mud or even an oil wash of Sienna? Smoke has this really nice dirty quality to it that does some solid weathering without a lot of effort.

From there its got to dry for a while. Take some Desert Yellow (one of my new favorite colors) and put down some base colors on the top facing surfaces again. The Smoke layer is now your shadow colors. Allowing a little bit of that edge to be seen gives it a great chipped up effect. Heavy dry brush some Bone color, and follow up with White for the best contrast. Done. The gun was done up with some watered down Chardon Granite then washed black. The head is just straight black for now but it'll be getting some attention soon.

My other army, the Raptor Legion, has just received a nice shot in the arm for base colors. The Vallejo Surface primer painted on looks just like the olive green I'm aiming for. Pictured here, you got 5 Terminators, 10 Tacticals, 10 Assualts without jump packs, 5 Assault Termies, and a Baal Predator. All done within about an hour or so.

The Surface Primer brings the primer and base coat to the table so you save a lot of time overall.
Here's a close up of one the Assault Terminators with a resin sheild from MaxMini or Scibor, I can't recall.

Close shot of the Predator.


I apologize for the image quality. During the move, I found my camera but the battery died and the charger is still missing. As soon as I track it down, I'll try to do a tutorial or two so you can see my process.

Until next time, have a safe Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Getcha' Rats Here!

The bell tolls for my Skaven. Yes, after countless battles and many victories, it's time I said goodbye to the little ratmen. Since I moved recently, I've been weighing in on my collections of stuff and make decisions on what I actually use. The Skaven have been on the shelf for almost a year now and I have no desire to swing back to them. So, instead of giving away the army like I did with my Empire, I'm putting it up for sale. I want to make sure that its going to someone who is going to use it, because its a nice army.

I'll be breaking everything down here and if you are interested, you can contact me at impossibleblock (at) about pricing. If you want more photos of the units or characters, I can do that too. These guys are taking up space that can be used for my other interests. Priced to move here, people.

If you feel weird about money exchanges, I am looking for Eldar stuff and Space Marine stuff. If you got something I might be interested in for a trade, just shoot me an e-mail.

Everything is fully painted (including those yellow eyes) and based. I can also break up things, like the big units I can make smaller (instead of 50 rats, two units of 25, etc.). Without further ado, my Skaven:

Army wide shot (not pictured: two Doomwheels

A unit of about 20 to 25 Clanrats

30 rat block of Giant Rats of Many Colors, 4 packmaster including the Character Packmaster

Big block of 50 clanrats

Block of 24~25 Plague Monks

10 Plague Censer Bearers (these guys are awesome BTW)

My two commanders: one with an Ogre Mount, the other on a Warlitter

5 Plague Wind Globes (I think I have another 8 or so unpainted)

More character: the BSB, Rat-hound mount, and Warplock Engineer

10 Gutter Runners, converted from Plague Monks

And a Screaming Bell/Plague Furnance that's been magnetized fully

There are a few things that are not pictured: I also have two Doomwheels, a converted Warpfire Thrower, a Rattling Gun, and an pretty much a whole Island of Blood set that is un-built.

Rather than list a price, if you're interested, shoot me an offer. I'm willing to haggle. I have a price in mind but it's geared to sell so I can make space. I can also break up the sets if you just need like 5 rats for whatever reason. Contact me at impossibleblock (at) for more details. Thanks everybody.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Priming in Winter

Primer. Love it or hate it, it's one of those essential evils of the hobby. When I first started, I learned the hard way multiple times about the difference between painting on primed and un-primed models. The first arguement is whether you even need to prime certain models, e.g. plastic and resin. My answer is a flat "yeah, you should be priming, bro." The issue that comes up time and time again is if you have good environmental factors to prime in. Here in Northern Virginia, we just got our first snow. A minor dusting but enough to trigger Christmas decor to spring out at local stores all over the area.

Having primed outside in snow, it doesn't give you good results. So with winter right around the corner, what is a hobbyist to do? Here's a quick run down to just regular spray paint that I have found useful:

black gold!

Gesso is a classic art tool to help painters prime canvas for paint. This stuff is great. I love it. I think I paid maybe 10 bucks for it a while back. It comes in Black and White. The only trick with Gesso is that it can be super thick. I usually shake it up, open the lid, and use the flipped over lid to get the material out. I always dip the brush in water a few times to transfer it over to the gesso to cut it a bit, but if you over do it, it'll be straight water on the model and won't grip. If you go straight on to the model with the gesso, there's a chance you'll obscure the details, which is no fun for anyone.

The best quality of gesso is that you get an amazing tooth to the surface. Tooth describes the ability of a surface to grab the paint. Typically you hear this term to describe canvas or paper.

If I use gesso to prime a model, right after I get the first coat of paint across the model, I seal the base in with a varnish. Matt and stain typically, but sometimes a glossy one is called for. It just ensures that you don't end up straching the coats off. Here is the major draw back: if you prime with gesso, unlike spray paint which binds to the plastic/metal/resin, you can strach it off with your finger nails.

Surface Primer by Vallejo
image from the internets

I picked this stuff up at a local hobby shop. It's recommended to use the surface primer through an airbrush, which you can use almost straight away. I like to cut it a little with water, just to give it a little give. Spray it on, looks like the model came out of the box that color. What I enjoy about it is you can get it in different colors. I have it in dark grey, white, and german drab green. The green color is almost spot on for Catachan Green, which is great for my Raptor Legion army. If you don't have an airbrush, you don't need one! Painting this stuff on with a brush works very well. But watch out. The brush you use will get a little gummy, but if you clean it out right after, you'll be set.

This stuff binds really well to the surfaces and doesn't block much detail from the model, unlike the gesso if it goes on real thick.

Those are my two recommendations if you can't prime outside due to weather conditions. Winter is a good time to paint and hobby because it's crappy out. So get some models, paint, and supplies (beer) and get tucked in for the snow. Until next time, folks and folkettes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gaming like it's going out of style

The month of September was absolutely nuts. There's been a lot of changes not only to my gaming but my life in general. To get the boring (real life) stuff out of the way, I've been in the process of moving. I have been slowly transporting my stuff to a new place. Its exciting times, gentlemen.

In gaming news: I've been playing with my Raptors Legion (Blood Angels). The paint job is coming together nicely. I'll post up some pictures later this week. It's a solid olive green with white accents and boltgun steel.

I am writing a bit of backstory for them as well. Taking place after the Badab War, the Raptor Legion is trying to regain some clout and respect. I got pulled into an ad hoc doubles tourney and pulled third place. I don't have a lot of experience playing a straight Imperial Army but the learning curve is pretty smooth. I'm working inside of a self-imposed escalation battles with a decent amount of success.

I've made three 1,000 point lists centered around their commanders. So far, a Jump Captain (the Brave), a Reclusiarch (the Imposter), and a Librarian (the Soul) have all taken their armies to the test. The Jump Captain got wiped out, the Reclusiarch has been solid, and the Librarian is pretty good too. The Brave will not be advancing to the 1500 point level, but the Imposter and Soul will make it through.

I'll be providing more background as to the names of the commanders soon. I'm playing it at a deep game here.

In addition to all this, I've acquired the Warmachine bug again. My Khadorian forces are going to be seeing a nice revival with some paint and a few games.

In even more addition to this, my D&D group has finally began regular games again! I've been DM-ing the last couple times. My old roommate will be taking over soon once we finish our current campaign. That's going to be awesome because I haven't played the game as a PC in almost year. We have about two sessions left to cure one of the members from becoming a werewolf. It's a long story, but it's becoming problematic when a fighter starts to turn on his party.

It's been a gaming haven as of late. Tons of fun for everyone. Now all I need to increase some of the storage capacity of my new place. Until next time folks.

Monday, September 19, 2011

NoVA Day 2 - Late to Update

I've been meaning to get this up so I can start talking about my new project. NoVA seems like a fond memory, but according to the Internets, there was lots of drama. At the end of the day, I'd like to think that if you personally had fun for two days playing games, you walk away feeling good.

Anyway, on to the meat:

Day 2, Game 1: Spaaaaaaaaaace Wolves. Long Fangs, as far as the eye could draw line of sight. Thunderwolf Cav. One unit of scouts. And some Grey Hunters for flavor. I decided to try "First to the Fray" with Mordrak's Lads. Originally, I had first turn but he stole it. I drop the Lads into the scatter terrain near one of his Fang squads and just try to force Panic Checks where I can. This brings the Thunderwolf Cav back around the horn to focus down on the Lads. I could not get a single goddamn psychic power off. The Rune Priests he had were turned up to '11' and denied every single power. In addition to that, any time he needed an insane roll, like a 2 to save or lose the HQ, he'd make it. It was a tough uphill battle without powers available to me but such is life. Game Highlight: Incinerator Squad rolling in from Outflank and killing a healthy Long Fang squad by itself. Seriously, these guys are amazing. Result: Loss.

Day 2, Game 2: Deathwing! I've never played against Deathwing! Sweet! This guy was a great opponent. We were both of the mindset that we weren't hitting top tables so why make the game so serious. Terminators everywhere, One landraider, two vindicators, and one tactical squad in a rhino. Having to kill every terminator squad down to the man is a pain. Cyclone missile launchers are no joke either. I might just have to plug a few shooty terminators in my new army. Game Highlight: Mordrak's Lads fighting up against two squads of terminators and clearing them out. I also managed to get the jump on Belial's unit. Result: Loss, but actually Win! We screwed up the scoring for Kill Points (you had to win by three or more, and he only had two over me). The tie breaker should have gone to the Quarters, which I had. Unfortunately, even though we corrected it with the judges, the published results still show me as losing that game. Its probably why I was near the lower tables later on, but it didn't really matter to me. The game was an absolute blast and probably the most fun I had the entire weekend. It just bugs me a little, but hey, there was nothing really on the line except pride at this point, so I'll just keep rolling dice.

Day 2, Game 3: Chaos Marines! Double Land Raider! Khorne guys in both, with Kharn in one. Two sets of Plague Marines to sit on objectives and a unit of three bikes. Oh, and a Chaos Wizard-dude. One thing my opponent taught me is that anything that Marines have that makes them useful, Chaos doesn't have it. No Power of the Machine Spirit on the Raiders. So he tried to castle up on one side while charging in on the other. He went after the assassin quickly but ended up putting his Khorne unit into great position for the Incinerators to fly in. Game Highlight: One Justicar by himself killing the three man bike squad. I also managed to chase the second Landraider into a corner with a Dread. It survived but kept it out of the fight for a long time. Result: Win. Just couldn't keep up with an old codex. The guy was nice but he was definitely giving off a bad, bitter vibe the whole game.

Day 2, Game 4: Grey Knights! Massive Paladin unit, Lib, GM, 3 Strike Squads, a Vinnie, and a Land Raider. This was very similar to my last game on Day 1 but I knew what to expect. Instead of daring him to charge me, I made him choose between confronting me head-on or defending his other units. The Hammer unit kept having to help out the smaller squads throughout the whole battle. Highlight: It finally came down to the last turn, Table Quarters, I had two to his one. He didn't realize what I was doing until after the game. He had let his units die, I would have floated to another Quarter. Deploying too much in one side without respect to the mission is where the fault was. He was a good player too. Our Vinnie stayed out of range from each other, which was funny to measure them just outside of range. Result: Win.

So the whole weekend, I went 4 wins with 4 losses. I hit my target. I wanted to stay for the whole award ceremony but it was crazy late during the drawings. The big thing to pull away is a crazy amount of experience and now I have a fully painted 2000 point army. Feels good, man. The major corrections to the list are as follows:

Dropping Mordrak, plug in a normal GM with Grenades. He's a neat trick or two, but you can get more out of normal GM's with Paladins or Terminator (namely Psycannons). The Librarian can be switched up to be the Swiss Army Knife and I think I get a few points left over too.

Stormravens are insane firemagnets. If I can just figure out a better delivery system for the terminators, like Outflanking them, I can save TONS of points and either spread out the targets or make the units better.

Other than that, I feel really comfortable at this level. I played a game after this with a buddy of mine, Thomas. I changed out the Terminators for Paladins, dropped Librarian and made him Crowe, and swapped all the Strikes for Purifiers kitted out with Halberds. I also tossed in two Techmarines with grenade belts. It was pretty gross, so I might have to practice with that for next time.

As for now, I'm painting up a Raptors Legion from the Badab War. I'm loving it so far. I'm pulling out all the stops for this one too. White is a major color for some of the accents. Lots of practice with that now. I find it incredibly rewarding and looks pretty banging when

Friday, September 2, 2011

NoVA Day 1

NoVA comes and NoVA goes. Its been hard recovering after not really having a weekend. Thank god for Labor Day.

As you probably heard, we had Irene roll through here, but luckly with minimal damage to the area. I came into the Open with the goal of breaking even. My list definitely wasn't set for tourney level competition but set for a fun game with (what I think is) a cool character. Let me break down some the Pros and Cons of the weekend:

Pros: Terrain was important but not exactly game breaking. Each table had a good set up and you knew what to expect with each game. The different piece allowed for some creative line of sight options. Everything was considered flat but being in an elevated position gave you better line of sight overall.

Bracketing levels. I've been to a few tourneys but never a two-day one. Day one (which I'll get to in a bit) was very random how you got paired up. Day two, you played people around your same level. Pretty much all of my games on day two were very close or at least a blast to play. I think it makes it a better experience for everyone overall. No one likes getting stomped out for two days straight, though I'm pretty sure that happened to a few people.

Cons: The venue was nice and all, but no cell phone reception at the tables. Nit picky, I know, but it sucks having to go up top to get reception. I heard from multiple people that it was wicked hard to find something to eat. Since I'm from the area, I either brought things to eat or waited until I got home.

There were a few issues with getting some of the table assignments correct. Plus whenever they were posted, everyone would create this mass of humanity around the list. Then someone would need to put their hand on the page to read an individual line, blocking half the page. Really now? Still need a hand to read in a straight line? Come on, guys. Not really an issue with the tourney, just an observation. Maybe next year, a big projection of the table placement or a TV, I don't know. The list on the wall is low-tech and cheap. We're a hobby of creative folks: let's find something better.

Ok, now for some meat. For each I'll just give a brief overview and a highlight, good, bad or otherwise:

Day one, Game one: Nids
Lots of bugs. 2 sets Hormagaunts with 24 bugs each, Two terrvagons with their 10 each gaunts, three sets of Zoans, Flying Tyrant. I felt good that I had somethings that could take that much but my hopes were dashed quickly when my Stormraven crashed the second turn. I played too conservatively and let him come to me instead of meeting him half way. I ended up getting tabled, badly. Game Highlight: Watching my Terminators get charged by 22 hormagaunts that were boosted by two of the other big bugs. 66 attacks with re-rolls. I ended up taking 10 wounds on each of my four remaining Terminators. Result: Loss. Horrifyingly apparent, I still can't squish bugs.

Day one, Game two: Mech Blood Angels
Predators maxed out, 3 small assault squads in Razors, and two assault jump packs full, one with a chaplain/priest, and the other with a librarian. The terrain was all pretty flat but tall enough to create these valleys. Those created choke points that let me set firelanes and take out tanks as I felt it required. I did have a really good bum rush turn early (turn 1 or 2) and popped four tanks in one turn. What would have helped my opponent is if he included more melta into his army. A lot of his normal squads had either flamers or nothing. Once the troops hit the ground, my Dreads could walk up and bash them up. EXCEPT MY GODDAMN VENERABLE DREAD WHO IMMOBILIZED HIMSELF STEPPING OVER A RHINO. He has flame throwers. File under "Not Helpping". Game Highlight: After his deep striking librarian nailed the landing with his unit, I dropped a few templates on the unit to try to get it wiped. Didn't wipe it but caused just enough to cause a panic check the unit. I was more than happy to escort them off the board. It was a rough game and we both got bloodied, but really it was the terrain setup that made the difference here. Result: Win. At least I know how to handle BA's now. I wanted to play more BA's throughout the weekend so I got a better feeling how they played (since I'm doing them next), but he was the only one I got to play against.

Day one, Game three: Mech IG
Chimeras for as far as the eye can see, three gunships, a PBS, two heavy blasting tanks (the ones with rockets and, I think, a colossus). An Inquisitor lord and a Callidus from the Witchhunters Book as a last hurrah from the Codex. Lots of shooting and me taking covers saves trying to outflank where I could. This was probably my worst match-up and game. I see where everyone was getting their gripe on competitive IG. The PBS targeted down my Terminator squad to reduce their leadership to a "2", the Callidus pops up and templates them with the better shredder. I lose only two but now a check on a "2", and I'm the one getting escorted off. My incinerator squad outflanked in and managed to kill off a tank and the Inquistor with one turn of creative template placement. Highlight: Had to be the Callidus coming in like a hot rocket of anger that her codex is now in a magazine. I'm kinda glad she's not raged out now in the GK codex. Result: Loss. Felt like I was on a steady diet of my own teeth at this point.

Day one, Game four: Grey Knights
After hearing about how many GK's were there, I finally played against one!
Grand Master, Librarian, Paladins and a Stormraven. MSU Strike Squads in Psybacks. Purifiers and a Vinnie.
I thought I had the upper hand after he reserved a ton of his stuff and I killed the Assassin and a whole unit of Strikes before his other stuff got there. I still have much to learn. They came in and rocked my silver plated world. Psyk-Out grenades, rad grenades, and tropes all on the grand master. My Terminators never stood a chance. They all hit themselves at I1 but it didn't matter since he charged with the Psyk-outs, I'm going last :(.  Highlight: I found the proper way to utilize the Brotherhood Banner. In that unit, Mordrak can't be singled out but through wound allocation, and I failed a save on him. Banner activates. Bye-Bye Ghost Knights. His list felt stronger than mine and he gave me some good advice on not overreaching myself. Result: Loss. Tied for objectives. Tied on table quarters. Tied on Kill Points. He won by victory points by a 27 point margin. That's 27 out of 2000 points. Ugh. A fantastic game to end day one, but still, 27 points.

I'll hit up Day Two later, but here's a photo of my army with Mordrak's Fancy Lads up front against Belial on the Second Day.
"Come on, lads!"

Thursday, August 18, 2011

NoVA List Finally! (I think...)

We are down to a little over a week to the NoVA Open and I think I've finally nailed my list down. I kept waviering towards a few Inquistion options but I have a feeling that Coteaz and his many clones will be all over the Open. Draigo was tempting but I don't feel comfortable running that few models. I'm pretty good 40K but not to the point where I can keep 20 models alive to see turn 6.

The hardest part about putting together this list was the last 140 points. Originally, I plugged in a small Interceptor Squad with a hammer to be a harassing unit. Everytime I run it, it ends up get blasted before its any use. I do have another list that uses a similar unit but with an Incinerator instead. I don't really think it compliments the list as a whole.

My heavy slots were taken up with Dreads, all of which have performed famously well (I'm a sucker for walkers, what can I say). Both HQ's were also gone, but I still had Fast Attack which was a no-go and Elites open. So my options are:

Slap in another Assassin - gives another dramatic threat if used properly but also has the fault of being able to get punked with one shot, giving up a killpoint quickly..

Get the Vindicarie Assassin a Techmarine sidekick to bolster his ruins and an Orbital Strike Relay - the Techmarine I still see as an un-sung hero in the Codex. It might do this just prove a point. With the relay, he comes in at exactly 140 points. As an Independent Character, join him to Vinnie, Vinnie gives him stealth (mentioned in the new FAQ a while back), Bolster gives the two of them a 2+ cover save. Plus if I need to, I can attach him to a different unit to give them that extra punch in shooting or with the Servo-harness, a powerfist attack or two.

Drop the Purgation Dread and throw in a Purgation Squad with all Incinerators riding a rhino - a really underused combo. Since the Purgation guys get the Incinerators for free, that's a flat 100 points, rhino for 40. The problem with this option is a really, REALLY like the way the Dread works with the Terminators. I could try to find a way to save another 40 points or so to make him Venerable so I can get the best of both worlds. That may involve taking a full Strike Squad > make a five-man with a Psyback to save points. It dramatically lowers the amount of scoring bodies I'll have, but the Grand Master ability can balance that back out.

Internet, sometimes choice is difficult.

I can make each option work in some way or another with the same core but I don't want to short change myself in the process. The third option I think gives me what I want out of the Dreads (plus making one more durable) and more boots on the ground that can burn things like a mean, mean man. Plus, if needed, I can make them a scoring unit.

So my new list looks like this:
Grand Master Mordrak, 4 x Ghost Knights with Halberds
Librarian, 2 powers (Might of Titan, Sanctuary)

Vindicare Assassin
Venerable Dread, TL Heavy Flamer //DCCW with Heavy Flamer, Psyflame Ammo

8 x Strike Squad, 1 Halberd, 1 Psycannon, Rhino
5 x Strike Squad, 1 Psycannon, Psyback
5 x Strike Squad, 1 Psycannon, Psyback

Fast Attack
Stormraven Gunship, Multimelta//Assault Cannons

Psyfleman Dread
Psyfleman Dread
5 x Purgation Squad, 4 x Incinerators, Rhino

That's about 38 models total, 18 scoring bodies with potential to expand that by a squad or two.

I had a chance last night to paint up every single stormbolter in the regular guys. It went a lot faster than I expected. Up next is re-tooling the terminators weapons to the black power weapons, build a new Rhino, and finish up the bigger weapons on the squads.

The last big project is the Stormraven's base. That's a Sunday afternoon. Its coming down to the wire but I think I'll be able to get everything done in time! This weekend though, going to Baltimore Comic-Con with my roomie. There's going to be one more post before the Open with the class photo, so until then, keep painting!