Friday, 31 May 2013

Oh, beautiful Eldar

To say I'm excited about the new Eldar codex is an understatement. There are two things that attracted me (back) to 40K: Chaos and Eldar. Both have great imagery, although I've always thought that Chaos could be so much more - rather than spiky marines, let's have more like the possessed and Hellbrute models. I want something truly daemonic - not just really-annoyed-with-daddy-marines.

Where was I? Oh yes.

The new Eldar codex is out to buy tomorrow, although of course there has been the usual leaks of models and rules in the last couple of weeks. It seems GW is sticking to their recent policy on codex updates, less new models, more an overhaul to bring them up to 6th edition rules. I'm very happy with this as it should mean all armies are on an equal(ish) footing, not like the insanity with 3rd edition and 5th edition books together.

I think Eldar has perfect aesthetics - they look distinguished, fragile, egotistical, agile and deadly at the same time. Some of the models are a little old now such as Warp Spiders, but they still look good even if the scale is a little off.

I currently have a Biel-Tan inspired army, although I have repainted it in Alaitoc colours and it looks a lot better for it. I dug it out last weekend and although I think the models look good, they're not as good as I can do now. So I've decided to start up a new Eldar army, playing my existing one until it's done.

My existing army is aspect warriors, wave serpents with some wraithlords and rangers. I have no vypers, fire prisms, support weapons, guardians or jetbikes.

I'm thinking one of these might be fun:

1. Saim-hann themed - jetbikes/vypers/fire prisms/possibly a wave serpent or two/wraithfighters/crimson hunters.
2. Static/hammer and anvil - wraithlords/wraithknight/guardians with weapons platforms/support batteries/rangers/dark reapers. Maybe even an Avatar. I could then have a hammer of the new wraith guard backed up with scorpions, walkers and maybe even harlequins.

Whatever I decide to do I want to paint them pink. Not baby pink, more like a fuchsia. I'm thinking Emperor's Children Pink on a Screamer Pink base. Normally green complements pink, but I tried this before and it looked awful, so I reckon some sort of bone colour instead. If this doesn't work I might go more for a scarlet.

Oh, one final thing. The internet is alive with people complaining that the new codex looks uncompetitive or difficult to play. Eldar have ALWAYS been hard to play, it's what makes them such fun, every game feels like a dance - where everything comes together at the end.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Codex: Eldar Coming Soon - 8th June?

Just a quick post to tell you about sightings of leaked scans from the forthcoming White Dwarf, featuring your favourite pointy-eared race, the Eldar. A quick search on google images for the following should reward your curiosity:

- Wraithknight
- Eldar Codex cover
- Iyandon supplement

As I don't want our blog to go the same way as Faeit212/Nafka, I'm not posting the images here. But a quick search for yourself will reveal all.. and they are VERY cool!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Armageddon Campaign - Set-Up and Round One

Thursday night saw the start of our club campaign, based loosely around the First War of Armageddon. We are using a simple campaign mechanic of my own devising, similar to that of Planetary Empires. 

Basically, our campaign board is split into three main areas - an orbiting Space Hulk, the continent of Armageddon Prime itself, and Hive-City Anthrand, control of which is the ultimate goal of the campaign. Each area then features different environments, which dictate the terrain to be used; for example, games set on the Space Hulk will be played on a Zone Mortalis board, while games set in the Hive-City are played on boards packed with buildings and ruins. The main landmass features three environments , plus a number of feature-boards. The three environments are desert (minimal, low-level terrain), jungle (loads of trees & bushes) and scrub-land (normal terrain rules apply). 

The six feature-boards give the controlling player in-game bonuses, for example control of the space-port is allowed a single re-roll to one reserve roll, whilst the Manufactorum gives the owning player the chance to repair a single vehicle immobilised result once in the game. The bonuses are intended to get players fighting for the feature-boards on the land-mass as well as just aiming to control the Hive-City boards. 


We have six players competing for control of Armageddon: 

Andy - Tyranids
Daryl - Orks
Graeme White - Eldar / Dark Eldar
Graham S - Squat Guard (IG)
John Holland - IG / Space Marines
Keith Duncan - Necrons

Ad you can see, the armies are quite a varied mix, so the theme of the Battle of Armageddon is very much just for flavour - it was never our intention to faithfully recreate the original battle. 


On our first campaign night (yesterday) we met to kick things off. After running through the campaign rules, we agreed to make a few changes - things like how territories are won and lost. Chatting between players is absolutely essential when developing new rules and game mechanics - it's easy to become blinkered when writing in isolation, and it's very hard (for me, at least!) to think through every single consequence of the process. So, we amicably talked through the rules, agreed a few sensible changes, and then started the process of selecting territories. 

Each player first choose one feature-board; these were as follows: 

Space-Port: controlling player may reroll a single successful or failed reserve roll.

Ammo Dump: controlling player may select one unit and count their weapons as twin-linked during that phase only.

Manufactorum: controlling player may attempt to repair an immobilised vehicle result on a 4+ (once per game)

Gas Refinery: controlling player may decide whether night-fighting is in effect on turn one.

Comms Relay: controlling player may attempt to bring on a single unit from reserves on turn one on a roll of 5+.

Power-Plant: controlling player may select a single vehicle (or squadron if vehicles). Any vehicle in that unit counts as being ‘fast’ for the duration of that turn only.

Once each player had selected a feature-board, we then took turns in selecting the other boards. I went for desert boards as I play Guard and clear line-of-sight and little cover for my enemies to skulk behind is a dream! Andy preferred jungle boards, as his Tyranids would benefit greatly from all the dense cover. The other players also took a mix of terrain types, suiting their particular army characteristics. 


Finally it was time for some action! Normally the player with the highest number of territories would have first choice of who to challenge for control of a board, but of course everyone starts with an equal number of territories at the start of the campaign, so we randomly decided who would challenge first. 

The first round of games was decided as follows: 

Graham S (Squat Guard) challenged Andy (Tyranids)

Daryl (Orks) challenged Graeme W (Eldar)

John (IG / Marines) challenged Duncs (Necrons)

I'm hoping the players will post individual match reports here over the next few days, so I shan't publish the results just yet... so watch this space for match reports very soon! 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Photographing your minis

When I'm not working for a living or playing 40k I take photographs, a lot of photographs! Mostly portraits, weddings, families and business, but, thanks to this game, I also dabble in a little product photography. So I thought I'd share my set up with you and give you some ideas on what you can do to get great looking photographs with a point-and-shoot and a couple of desk lamps.

Firstly, here's how I set up the lighting for the shots of the Helldrake featured in last week's post and my update on 40K Global's site:

It's a two light set up with my main light firing through a white umbrella at 45 degrees to the lens. My second light is set up roughly head-on to the main light, through the built in diffuser, at half the power of the main light. To fill in the shadows, I've got a reflector set-up to catch some of the second light and throw it back on to the front of the model. I'm using an 80-200mm zoom lens so I can get nice and close, and the camera is set up at f11 and 1/200th shutter, everything is synced via radio triggers. At that speed I could have gotten away with hand-holding but a Tripod is always a good idea to ensure the final image is as sharp as possible.

That's a lot of fairly expensive kit just to get a photograph of a £40 model but you can get pretty much identical results with a point-and-shoot camera and a couple of desk lamps. The only thing you'd really need is a tripod or some way to stabilise the camera as you'll need a longer shutter speed to compensate for the fact that the table lamps are going to be far less powerful than photographic lights.

To set this up you'll want to set the lamps up in the same way as the flashes are set in the photograph above but they'll need to be much closer to the model. You may want to diffuse the light from the lamps otherwise you'll get shadows on the model which will hide details. A simple way to do this is to hang a thin white cloth in front of the lamps, however the lights are hot and cloth can be flammable so be careful! An alternative to this could be to rough up a piece of clear plastic with some sandpaper, slightly more work but far less flammable and it'll give you the same result. Lastly for the light set-up you can substitute the reflector with a piece of tin foil.

As for the camera set-up you'll need to make sure the on camera flash is turned off. If you have manual controls on the camera you want as small an aperture as you can, f11-16 will be fine. You'll have to experiment with shutter speed to get the right exposure, depending on the amount of light your lamps are throwing onto the model. However shutter speed shouldn't matter as you'll be stabilising you camera to take the photograph so an exposure of a second or more shouldn't be an issue. If your camera doesn't have manual controls I suggest you put it into landscape mode that should get you roughly the right settings.

I hope that's at least a little helpful, if there's anything on this subject you'd like more info on, let me know.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Age of Armies - Month 1: Helldrake - DONE!

Khorne Helldrake - DONE!

It's the end of the first month of 40K Global's Age of Armies Campaign and I'm pleased to say that I completed my commitment to paint a Helldrake and I got my first experience with an airbrush. I've already posted about the technique I used to paint the Helldrake (here) so I thought that I'd give you my first impressions on using the airbrush to accompany the pictures of the finished product.

Quick Tips

There are a couple of tricks which you're not going to be able to get from any research you do before buying an airbrush. Firstly, correctly thinning your paint is not easy and takes a little while to get right ... and then you need to change colours and you have to thin the next one! I will say that I've found the Vallejo Air paints are about the right consistency straight out of the bottle but they do tend to dry fairly quickly in the brush. This causes clogs and will have you cleaning the brush a bit more often than you probably want. Thinning the paint with a drop of water mixed with "Flow Release" 9/1 seems to solve the problem nicely.

Secondly before you blow trigger air through the brush you absolutely must spary onto scrap paper otherwise you'll blow whatever residue is left in the nozzle or on the needle all over your model. I've done this in a few places on the Helldrake and it's bugs the hell out of me!

Give it a Blow

On the whole I really like using the airbrush, it's far more precise a tool than I thought it would be but it also takes exactly as much practice to use well as I thought it would. As such I'm expecting that my next attempt at a Helldrake (a few months down the line) will look noticeably better than this one.

If you're on the fence about getting one I would say that if you do a reasonable amount of painting, and can afford to, it's worth giving it a go. Once you see the results you can get you'll want to use it on as much as you can. I know I do. I'll be painting up two Khorne Bezerker units and a lord on a Juggernaught next month and I'll be using my airbrush at least for base colouring and applying some basic shadows and highlights.

On with the Show

Anyway, enough of that, here are the pictures of the Helldrake, please let me know what you think in the comments below.

Baleflamer detail.

Baby got back!

Flame pattern detail.

Top down.

Parting shot.


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