Part one of a short series showing the Contemptor Dreadnought from Betrayal at Calth being converted.
I’ve been collecting several of the of the Betrayal at Calth dreadnoughts to add to my Blood Angels force. The models in this set are fantastic, but the dreadnought’s pose is a little flat. I am going to reposition them to varying degrees, primarily the legs the head and the torso. This opens up a lot of dynamic options for the model.
The first dreadnought is going to receive some significant leg work. Others will likely have more simple repositioning. This one is going to have a remodeled middle leg.
Changing the position of the head on this kit is pretty easy. Once its been removed from the liner part of the torso and trimmed it can be pivoted slightly to bring a lot out of the torso’s upper body.
Even a little bit of repositioning of the dreadnought’s head will make the torso’s position a lot more interesting.
Next up its time to chop up the legs. I am discarding the knee and middle leg. The plan is to rebuild these out of plasticard and putty.
Using some greenstuff putty the cavity inside the trimmed lower legs are filled in. This will provide a solid foundation for the rest of the legs to built on.
The contemptor dreadnought’s arms are convenient in that they are symmetrical making it very easy to create a left and right arm from the close combat weapon arm from 2 separate kits. Other dreadnoughts will have different load-outs that I can assemble later.
Using a small amount of glue I did a test pose for the upper torso. This begins to capture the aggressive pose that I am going for with this model.
I’ve been bitten by the 30k bug since the release of the Betrayal at Calth box set. I’ve wanted to do a Horus Heresy army for years but found the FW prices & shipping to be a barrier to entry. The models provided in the set are excellent and are perfect for a conversion junky such as myself. GW did a nice job of keeping the models simple and well designed. They mesh perfectly with the FW resins as well as the GW 40k marines and have a refreshing lack of random adornment (Purity Seals… blech).
My first group of Astartes for this project is a 15 man block of Tactical marines in a mix of Mk 3 and Mk 4 armor, a similar 10 man block, and Plasma-gun and flamer wielding Tactical Support squads.
After I complete these guys I am going to hack up the Contemptor Dreadnought for some re-posing! Stay tuned.
This past weekend I attended the Dark Star GT in Minneapolis, had a fantastic time, and want to tell you all about it!
I’d been working towards being able to bring 1850 points of Eldar to the table for this event for the last several months. Part of my experience with this event was that accomplishment. So much time was put into modeling, sculpting, and painting that I had not had much time to practice with the build… or the army. To be frank, game one was the first game I had played with the Eldar since 2nd edition!
Another huge plus to the event is that it was hosted at the Fantasy Flight Games Game Center. This place is great, essentially a decent sized game store that has a great play space, awesome staff, food, and most importantly beer! The surroundings gave the event a great feel. It was a strength upon the event’s natural strengths… more on that in a sec.
I was a bit apprehensive about going to this event. I have a great opinion of the people organizing the event, and I had faith that they would put on a good show, but I wasn’t sure what the player base would be like. Turns out I had some fantastic opponents, all of whom I would gladly play again.
Game 1 – Knights of iron
My first opponent was Tim Flanders with his excellent ‘Knights Vigilant’ Space Marines base off of the Iron Hands chapter tactics. It took me a sec to get my head into the game, but Tim was very relaxed and happy to have a relatively chill game, which eventually escalated into an exciting and close matchup.
Much of the game was made up of isolated skirmishes on the flanks until the last several turns when a Terminator teleport assault forced my Guardian squads protecting objectives into the fight.
The right flank was a tarpit fight between the wraithknight and some Thunderhammer/Stormshield Terminators lead by the Warlord of the army, Abbot-Marshal Tancred (Terminator Chaplain). Eventually the Wraithknight crushed the knightly terminator hero, ‘Slay the Warlord’ point for Xenite! Unfortunately in the center of the table…
another giant mass of terminators teleports right in front of my line! These guys were great examples of a common theme with Tim’s dice rolling for our game: Roll several 1’s for saving throws when hit by a fusillade of Shuriken fire, only to nail the 6’s needed to make the Iron Warrior Feel No Pain save! Tim managed to do this a pile of times throughout the game. The real problem was that these terminators were lead by Magus-Incantor Herod, the Knight’s librarian.
Eventually he was able to charge my Farseer’s unit and call him out in a challenge. I am not sure why I didn’t have him slink back to the edge of the unit (the farseer and I both knew what was going to happen), I think I was hoping he would tank enough wounds to keep the guardians on the nearby objective. I guess this worked, but we each achieved the Slay The Warlord objective in this game.
My MVPs of this game, the Wraithguard managed to grab an objective in the enemy deployment zone which put me one point ahead at the end of the game!
Game 2 – Ryan Carlson’s award winning Necrons
We received a nice complement that our game was the best looking matchup of the weekend! It was very cool to see our armies facing each other. It was one of those great moments where I was pulled out of the ‘game’ aspect of things, and totally caught up in the story that our game was representing.
The game was set up lengthwise on the table. The necrons who weren’t embarked in their space stations, waiting to be beamed down to the planet’s surface via his flyers, crept across the table towards my line of guardians who were hidden amongst some rock spires.
Things became interesting when my vypers came in from reserve mid game, triggering a teleport attack from a Necron lord and his Necron Wraith friends in the back-field of my line! This became a tarpit for some guardians who decided to lock them up in combat before they could do the same to them. The Farseer and the Necron lord tried to kill one another in challenges. I had hopes as I had gotten the lord down to 1 wound with a singing spear, but he caught up to me and doubled out the farseer’s t0ughness killing him outright.
I made a dumb mistake which took the game from a draw to a loss. I had it in my head to keep one of the guardian squads back to mind an objective, but with a lapse of judgement advanced them to put pressure on some recently arrived Necron reserves. This gave Ryan the opening he needed, dropping off small scoring Necron warrior squads onto the objectives on my side of the board. It ended up being a 1 point loss to me but again, a fantastic and very fun game.
Ryan’s army was gorgeous and he has a ton of talent, especially with an airbrush. I drew a lot of inspiration from his work.
Game 3 – Battle Wagon Rush! Chris Edstrom’s Orks
Chris had an Ork army with a ton of character. In deployment he dropped down 5 scratchbuilt battlewagons which were part of what gave his army so much character. These came storming across the table at my line.
As the mounted orks stormed forward in their claptrap vehicles the Eldar fell back in good order but displaying abysmal accuracy with their bright lance platforms, even with psychic support from the Farseer. I kept most of my army in reserve, this and the desperate defense of the Eldar in the face of advancing massed armor made this game feel very Flames of War. Once my reserves came in I was able to bring some hurt to the advancing Orks. A serpent strike of Wraithguard ended a mega-armored nob unit only to have them reappear at the opponents edge of the table! The scenario had a ‘endless swarm’ like rule for infantry and monstrous creatures. Later in the game the theme of the Wraithknight tying up expensive HQ units in combat and giving me Slay the Warlord points (WK gave me StW in my first 3 games!) continued as he dispatched the Ork Warboss.
I felt confident I had this game until disaster struck!
There was a 3 point objective on a landing pad in the middle of the board. After knocking one ork unit off this piece of terrain, my guardians in a wave serpent landed on the objective, popped off ‘conceal’ and hunkered down to wait out the end of the game. Unfortunately a battlewagon sitting next to the landing pad which I thought had a token group of meks in it barfed out a full Ork mob onto the objective, pushing the guardians off of it and destroying their sweet grav-tank whip!
By this point I had accumulated max bonus points from killing recycled units coming in from reserve which made the game a draw!
Game 4 – “I hear Hive Crones are good, what do they do?” Joe Krier’s Tyranids
Joe’s list was the hardest most competitively oriented of all of them that I faced over the weekend. He knew how to use it as well. Joe described his recent history with 40k as being somewhat flier-centric. His mass of tyranid horrors crept across the length of the table towards me while 2 Hive Crones and 2 flying Hive Tyrants swept out of the sky upon my poor space elves! This game’s scenario had a large amount of tournament points tied around killing a specific model, chosen by each opposing player after deployment. Joe and I both knew what to choose, and how to do the deed. I chose one of his Crones (tons of shurikens vs MCs looked good in my theory hammer sessions) while he chose my Wraithknight which made me suspicious.
As the nid flyers screamed towards me I formulated a battle plan: spray each MC in turn with volume of fire, and then let more potent units finish the job, in this case the Wraithknight and the Wraithguard. Joe obliged by parking both of his flyrants in front of the serpent with the wraithguard in it! I had a chance here. I could bag both of them with my distort template weapons if I could only ground one or both. I unleashed every possible shot available (with the exception of the vypers who were busy failing to ground the target Crone) at the flying beasts, scored a respectable amount of hits, did several wounds across the two tyrants, and then Joe passed each and every grounding check. Crap. What happened next was obvious. The nids landed and proceeded to eat each of my units in turn. One of the tyrants had some freaky close combat weapon with the ‘instant death’ rule which chopped the Wraithknight down, the only time I lost him all weekend. I was able to kill the target crone which made getting tabled by Joe a little more palatable.
We had a fantastic, very challenging game, and the two of us hung out to chat over lunch, talking hobby, tactics, and randomness. He was a very good player and I’d like to take him on again.
Game 6 – More nids! More Ryans! Ryan Blackcloud’s Tyranid horde!
This time the entire nid horde came at me en masse! Two Tervigons spawned large units of gants while a crone and a flyrant flew over to hassle my line. The flyers first as a distraction worked again as Ryan managed to nail every grounding check he made. The tyrant which was perched on top of a tall ruined building in my deployment zone was one of my primary targets as the most VPs was to come from eliminating all the enemy HQs while not losing all of your own. Eventually the flyrant assaulted guardians which were in the building. The unit’s Warlock put up a great fight doing several wounds to the beast in addition to one done by a guardian! Naturally the unit was wiped out in time, but revenge would be the Eldars as the flyrant was brought down by some scatterlaser fire.
This game was another nail-biter which I felt I had until a tardy Mawlock was able to pop up in my deployment zone gaining ‘linebreaker’ point, and contesting a table quarter which gave Ryan points to offset my HQ assassination by 1!!!! Ryan was a super chill guy, and we had a super fun game.
I want to say thanks to Joe, Chris, Tim, and the Ryans for 5 great games that left me with the desire to play more! I also want to say thanks to the Dark Star staff who did an amazing job with that event! It was the tightest tournament I have ever experienced but also was relaxed and very inclusive! Random people who came by to chat between games, introduced to me by my various opponents who were locals, were very cool and friendly.
My last comment on The Dark Star 2014 is to thanks the painting judges who gave me a ‘bronze’ in army appearance! It was nice to get some props on the army which I have put so much time into. I am excited to refine the paint work some more, finish up some weathering, and to eventually add some new units!
I spent much of the weekend grinding away at Eldar vehicles. I made some very good progress on these, but was surprised how much more effort they took than I had expected. I suppose this is par for the course… things require more effort and time than planned for.
I am quite happy with what I was able to accomplish over the weekend. None of these vehicles are ‘done’, but they are at a point where I can move on. As time goes on I will revisit these to smooth paint transitions, pull up highlights, and fix wash blobs which occured in some of the shaded areas.
The vypers are the latest addition to my force. The design for these conversions was inspired by the fantastic Hornet models that Forgeworld put out. These are the models which will require the most attention when I have an opportunity to go into a polish phase. I think that some of the weapon mount points will need some additional sculpting work to cover up some ugliness which was a byproduct of my lack of a complete vision when I attacked this conversion.
I heard an interview with Dylan on The Overlords podcast where he discussed sculpting, miniatures, and the things that inspired him. I took a peek at his site after the show and found some good stuff. I am going to follow this guy for sure and so should you!!
There is a new Warriors of Chaos book out for Warhammer Fantasy Battle. They have dragged me back in! The good news is that this has motivated me to get back into some of the half-baked models that I created for previous incarnations of my WoC army. Several of the previous conversions and sculpts that I created are going to get some attention, some new details, and finally… painted! The two first items in the hopper will be the winged Tzeentch (sometimes Slannesh) Demonprince. I love this model. It’s one of my favorite creations and now with the new book actually has a great deal of utility in the game. The flying Tzeentch DP was my MVP in the one game that I have played in the new army book.
One new item added to the book is the Gorebeast Chariot. I have the perfect model for this unit! When I initially got into doing WoC I determined that having chariots pulled by evil looking monsters would be fantastic, so I made this guy;
Apparently GW agreed with me and gave the warriors a new type of chariot. This guy is going to get a bit of an overhaul. New base, new riders (who don’t look like they are about to fall off the chariot) are going to happen. I will probably add some more armor here and there to give the chariot some more meat.
It has been very satisfying to get back into the WoC, I am not going to lie. It is also good to get back into this army and try to get it completed after many years!
As someone who is an avid armchair historian on the 2nd world war, I’ve made the natural progression to a new game: Bolt Action! I had been avoiding this one like the plague since I viewed demos at Adepticon. Dear Lord I do not need to spend time with another game… sigh…
After hearing an outline of the rules for Bolt Action on Bolt Action Radio, I started to become intrigued. I am a fan of Hail Caesar, and while the rules aren’t related, I feel that there is a similar vibe, and style to the way that the two games (both from Warlord Games) were developed.
The heart of the rule system is a random dice activation system with a robust pinning/suppression mechanic. When a player fields a unit (represented by either a squad of troops, a single vehicle, a heavy weapon and it’s crew, or a singular specialist with their ‘retinue’ like a Medic, or senior officer) that player gets an order die for that unit. These dice are put in a bag/hat/box and drawn randomly to see which side gets to activate a unit. This alone was enough to get my attention. Once the die is drawn it is placed by the unit that the owning player wishes to activate. That activation is resolved (in most cases) by having that unit preform one of the actions available to it such as moving/shooting, running, setting an ambush, ect. Once that activation is complete, the next player draws a die… repeat. This allows for a situation where one side may get to activate several units in a row. This is an elegant way to represent initiative and fog of war.
The second mechanic that helps this game stand out from others is it’s pinning mechanics. Most ‘Wargames’ that have a historical bent tend to have some kind of pinning mechanic to represent suppressive fire, but few integrate it into the flow of the game as universally as Bolt Action has. Each time a unit is attacked by an enemy unit and at least one hit has been scored on that unit, it receives a pin counter. Each pin counter makes makes the unit less accurate at shooting and the like, but also potentially paralyzes the unit in the way that it integrates with the dice activation ‘orders’ mechanic mentioned above. Units which have pin markers need to pass a common leadership test (2d6 vs a leadership value) to be able to perform the order given to it when their dice were drawn. Naturally there are ways to shed these pin counters, but that requires energy that could have been spent attacking or maneuvering your unit.
Hopefully after the holidays I will have an opportunity to get some Bolt Action in and I will post a proper set of thoughts about the game!