Saturday, December 15, 2012

Black Phoenix Warp Spider #2!!

I wasn't planning on blogging about these again until after I at least had the whole squad together, if not painted, but I just finished this one and was so excited I had to post it.  Spiderwoman, eat your heart out!

The rock I just picked up today while walking my boy around the neighborhood.  I could actually turn it on its other flat side and have her really doing a wall-crawl but then she'd be shooting the ground.  The body doesn't fit into the round waist all that great -- it fits but at this angle it looks odd.  Hopefully once painted no one will notice.  (Maybe I'm the only one noticing now?)

I'll probably pull her back off the rock to paint her so I don't get any on the rock itself.  The legs are Hellion legs and the blade arm actually came with the Scourge kit.  I have a handful of the the shredders and the head is Reaver.

I'm loving them so far but working again with these tiny parts makes me wonder if I'm going to be able to pull off the four-armed exarch...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Prototypic "Dark" Warp Spiders

The Black Phoenix hybridization continues!  My goal is to create a Craftworld culture merged with Dark Eldar: the Black Phoenix, a darker version of both Eldar cultures joined as primary and ally contingents to form one mutable battle force for 40K.  In doing so I'm using the amazing Dark Eldar sculpts as the basis for making my own sleek and creepy aspect warriors and other cool conversions.

I've been brainstorming different ideas for making my own Warp Spiders -- cuz let's face it, the current ones are still the old ones and they're still pretty static and lame.  So pouring over my new Scourge kit I found new inspiration.  (Which means I need another Scourge kit because I certainly I don't want to be without my DE Scourge/Dark (Swooping) Hawks either!)

So here is my first build, and I'm going with it!  It's almost entirely Scourge, with a Reaver rider dome head and trophy racks on his back.  The scourge model is dynamic and graceful, yet armored to reflect the 3+ save of the Spider aspect armor.  All of them will be armed with shredders, which are basically the DE version of the Spiders' monofilament Death Spinners.  But the true spider look comes in on their backs.  My Spiders have six warp-generating cylinders on their backs that combine with a pair of long arching warp vanes, which not only allow them to teleport through the warp but give them an arachnoid look!  I never really saw the great detailed cylinders on the Scourges' backs before due to the awesomely distracting wings,  but replace the wings with trophy racks and you're all set!  The warp vanes on this model are just put in place with putty for now -- once I get my hands on some Incubi I intend to use those racks for these models.

So four of the squad will be like this one, armed with shredder/spinners (I already have plenty of bits for it) and all with the mysterious domed helmets.  The exarch model i intend to be bare-headed using a scar-faced head from another DE kit and he'll have four arms!  The Shrine of the Spider Aspect on the Black Phoenix, you see, has been tampered with by the Haemonculi Puppet Masters.  I have some wicked knived hands from the wych kit in mind for two arms, the shardnet arm to go along with the spider's web imagery, and then another shredder, possibly modified to look more advanced.  It will take some tricky surgery to merge four arms on these thin bodies, but I'm going to give it my all.  I envision black and red for the color scheme with white, grey, or silver highlights.  We'll see what happens, but that's the plan and I'm excited to see how it works out!!!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


As an Eldar player for a long long time, I have my own ideas of how things should be.  And I will probably come up with more stuff later, but right now if Phil Kelly were to ask me what I think should be in the next Eldar codex, I'd say things like this:

* Phoenix Lords: Disciples: If you take a Phoenix Lord as a HQ choice, then his/her aspect counts as a troops choice in your army.  

* Phoenix Lords: Invuln: The Phoenix Lords are awesome individuals and you pay out the nose for them, averaging about 200 pts a piece.  Twice as much as a basic SM Captain or similar figure.  Why then, are they so damn squishy??  Basic HQ models in other armies have Invuln saves, and even some elite choices and a lot of Chaos army choices have them standard.  Why, then, does my 200pt HQ model NOT have one???  Asurmen is the only Phoenix Lord with an invuln save of 4+.  I suggest he maintain that to reflect his Battle Fate rule, while all other Lords get a 5+ invuln save.  I want a little more security for my investment! 

* Dark Reapers: the fluff talks about how the vanes on their helmets help their targeting, yet no rules reflect that.  Given that they are 35pt each, I figure we're due a little more bang for our buck.  I'd like to see them get Skyfire standard to reflect the fluff on their gear.  

* Dedicated Transports!  The elder have ONE and it costs 100 pts or more depending on weapon choice.  You can buy 3 rhinos for what one Wave Serpent costs.   That's killing us Space Elves.  And as the elves are more fragile in general than most, having a transport to move them is important, but at that price??  We need cheaper transports and more options for them (like venoms are for DE - give us a smaller, cheaper option too please).

* Similarly, there are some points comparisons which are depressing.  And some not, I admit.  Sixteen points for a power sword wielding Init 10 banshee is a pretty good deal, but 45 plus weapon for a fragile, open-topped vyper when a sturdier land speeder comes WITH its weapon for 50 is a bit off.  I suppose one could argue the rip-offs balance out with the bargains for the Eldar but, especially in comparison to the newer codices, I think Eldar tend to be over-priced.

* Shuriken Catapults - they suck!  Their stat line is fine, in keeping with bolters and other high-end standard issue shooty bits, but their range is terrible.  Twelve inches standard, 18 for the "advanced" Avenger 'pults.  So guardians, who suck anyway, cannot fire on anyone until they are close enough to get killed first.  That has to change!  I suggest 18" for standard and 24" for Avengers.  And it logically follows that shuriken cannons should be better than a meager 24" as well - make them 30" or even 36" please.

* And speaking of shuriken cannons, the Death Jester Shrieker Cannon: basically the "virulent toxins" that make folks explode are only worth a pinning test, which most will pass.  It sounds like a poisoned weapon to me.  I'd say Strength 6 in keeping with the shuriken cannon pattern, but never requires worse than a 4+ to wound no matter the targets toughness. And pinning.  Or, if they cause the target to swell and rupture, maybe it's an instant death weapon? 

* Bring back the Harlequin Solitaire.  Kind of like the SW lone wolf, a single dude who wanders alone but is bad ass.  Maybe with a Guardsman Marbo kind of infiltrate rule, neuro-disruptor that reduced enemy's Init or Attacks, some kind of psychic power...  I could actually come up with quite a bit on Harlequins, but think they are pretty good as is. 

* Psychic powers - this applies to the 6th edition 40K as a whole.  Currently to take random powers from the main rulebook you have first pay whatever the normal , varying prices are for your codex powers and then trade them for a random power.  So you might have to buy one at 20pts and the next at 30pt just to get a grab bag prize.  I suggest that ALL random rulebook-based psychic powers cost a flat rate of 20pts for all armies.  If you prefer your codex powers (and sometimes I do) then pay as per the codex.  

* Warlocks: I'd like to see warlocks become independent characters like Elite-choice Chaplains, Blood Angel medics, and IG priests.  Or we can follow the wolf guard and necron royal court examples and say you buy so many and then distribute them throughout the army.  So for the Eldar's codex let's say this:  0-5 Warlocks can be taken per HQ choice you take, no matter who that HQ is.  They count as an HQ choice but do not use up a slot.  They then operate as independent characters and can join other units, or can form a squad with a farseer.

* Jet Bikes - While I love the advantage of the 3+ armor save, it doesn't make much sense compared to the DE Reaver save of 5+.  Instead riding a jetbike improves Toughness and Armor Save both by +1.  So for Guardians it'd be 4+ armor save, shining spears 3+ and the exarch 2+ (standard aspect armor is 4+, exarch 3+).  Then for warlocks and farseers I'd say the wraithbone breast plate counts as both an armor and invuln save of 4+, so on a bike armor is 3+, invuln still 4+.  (And of course the improved catapult range of 18".)

Okay, that's all I got right now.  I don't think I'm asking for a freakin' Blood Angels codex here (every bleepity-bleep advantage you can imagine at no points cost, cheatin' bastards...), just a fair shake to keep up with all the rest of the Joneses in the galaxy.
What do YOU think???

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dark Eldar BeastMistress and Gladiator Slaves!

After getting an hour here and there for the last few weeks I finally got my gladiator slaves finished!  This is my Dark Eldar Beastmaster and one of two "flocks" -- they will count as Razorwing flocks.  I think it fits the stat line well.  Imagine them as slaves fought in the arenas of Commorragh where they no doubt won her some money, taken now by the beast mistress and pumped up on combat drugs (stats and beast mobility) and armed with especially deadly but brutal weapons (rending):


I intend to give her a second base full of warriors to steer into her enemies, but painting them might wait a while.  What I thought would be an easy paint job turned tedious, as they usually do.  I quickly decided on simplifying the task by using a lot of the same colors for things on all models, rather than a more realistic variety.  They all wear Jade's colors, showing their heraldry for their owner.  

I also decided that Jade's cool blue weapon is a "frost rifle", used for chilling the blood and preserving her trophies.  Of course the profile is equal to the splinter pods on beastmaster skyboards, so it's a poisoned (4+), AP 5, assault 2 rifle (the super-chill can cut and freeze anything no matter its Toughness score).    

With the gladiator slaves, as with most of my models, I try to find unique things about each to make them standout as individuals.  The lead model is dark-skinned and wears a head from the Space Wolves kit; in the arena he's known as "The Jackal".  (Kind of a Master-Blaster of Thunderdome masked style.)  Another gladiator carries a shield that matches his strangely Chaotic-looking belly plate, but that's just a coincidence, I'm sure.  Or maybe the slave have found religion in their imprisonment?

These models are taken from the Fantasy Warhammer Chaos Marauders box, and they fit the part wonderfully.  Unfortunately there aren't that many combos you can do with them so we'll see what I can come up with for the next batch.  I hate to repeat myself. I also plan to use them to replace the Ur-Ghuls in my Archon's Court (every Archon needs a handful of disposable gladiator slaves, after all).  

For Blondie I mixed yellow and flesh color, then washed him a few times, then added just yellow to his hair and beard.  I kind of wanted to paint his eyeballs but was afraid i'd just leave white blotches on his face, so I just let the brown wash pick out the details for me.  The last guy is sporting lots of red skull iconography, again following his mistress in her color scheme.  They actually all turned out better than I expected and look pretty good as a team.  There was some doubt in there about halfway through, but once I got all the base colors in place and smoothed out, I knew some washes and highlights was all I'd need.  

I may go ahead and build the next four, maybe using some more space wolf parts, like their hairy heads.  I would like to carve out a beaky marine helmet and have one wearing it like a hat but I don't think I have anymore beaky's in my bits box.  I count 5 Crimson Fists already painted with them and I don't really want to sacrifice any of them.  

This last pic I just threw in cuz the blur looks like they're charging across the field.  


Friday, November 30, 2012

PSEUDOPOD: the sound of horror

At long last my mobster-horror story "Unfeeling" as come to life -- as in live podcast audio life!  The FREE podcast horror magazine PSEUDOPOD.ORG has today published this story online for the world not to read, but LISTEN TO.  Every week Pseudopod publishes short horror fiction as read by some appropriately radio-voiced narrators.  This week my tale is told by W. Ralph Walters, whose dark voice is perfect for this creepy noir tale.  "Unfeeling" is one of three stories featured in my brief book A Long Walk Down a Dark Alley, which you can obviously find out more about on this very site.

But that's enough from me.  Turn off the lights and go to Pseudopod for some free, spooky, story time fun...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday Shopping: My models on Ebay

Thanksgiving has come and gone and we are left fat and happy and hopefully with a few days off of work to digest properly.  And while we digest, the Christmas shopping season comes into full swing.  I just posted a few items on Ebay, in case anyone is interested, and I figured I'd be cheating myself and future buyers if I didn't mention it on my gaming blog.  After my recent move I finally looked in the mirror and said to myself, "You're never going to use some of this stuff, stop carrying it around and sell it someone who really wants it."  So here's a quick blurb with a few sales you might be interested in checking out:

Happy shopping and may everyone get what they want for Christmas!  I've got my eye on some juicy Dark Eldar models and maybe some Eldar war walkers...  Maybe a new Wraith Lord too.  Oh, and a Dark Eldar battle force box would set me up for life...  What damn good does it do to sell stuff when I just buy more...?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Shoot: House Rules Shooting Modifers for 40K


Happy Thanksgiving! 
Now, in a totally unrelated topic, I wanted to share some 40K shooting mods I came up with that make some logical sense to me...

Back in the chaotic fugue that was "Rumor Kraze 2012, the Anticipation of 6th Edition," (okay, i made that up, but you know what i mean) there was a false leak or prototype or someone's personal pet project that predicted a new shooting system for 40K based on something called "evasion" -- basically a "to hit" chart that looked like the close combat chart with each unit having an "evasion" score that showed how hard it was to shoot at.  This was not a terrible idea, though I'm glad to wasn't carried through in its entirety because one thing i like about 40k over fantasy Warhammer is the streamlined simplicity of the game.  Personally, I think Fantasy is way too complex to be much fun, but I know some people like all that detail. 

Anyway, even with the nice and easy two-lined Ballistic Skill chart we have, I still think there should be a few modifiers.  The best example I can think of is when I'm shooting at a 20-ft tall immobilized Drop Pod and having as hard a time hitting it as a single hero ducking and rolling across the battlefield. 

Special Cover Saves do make up for shooting variety to a degree.  Stealth, Shrouded, Snap Shot rules, and Jink saves all give extra protection to fast or difficult to see targets, but what if their armor save is better?  Then the cover save never applies and they were still just as easy to hit.  I believe these Cover Saves should still be there, certainly, but I also think the base "to hit" roll should be modified under special circumstances.
So in the spirit of being realistic and still maintaining simplicity, I recommend the following shooting modification chart: 


   - Monstrous Creature unit type
Big and bulky by nature
   - Vehicles, including Walkers
Big and bulky by design
   - “Crowd” : 10+ Infantry/Beast models per unit

Firing into a unit of numerous targets, more likely to hit them
   - “Crowd” : 5+ Bike/Jetbike/Cavalry models per unit
Gathering of bigger targets
   - “Crowd” : 5+ *Bulky* models per unit (includes Jump Infantry)
Gathering of bigger targets
   - “Crowd” : Vehicle Squadrons  
A collection of big bulky targets, additional +1.


   - Any building, ruin, bunker, structure, or board feature
Broad side of a barn
   - *Immobilized* vehicle
Has the *Immobilized* trait.  Note this is not just a vehicle that didn’t move last turn.


   - Any model/unit that moved a total of 12” or more in its last Movement and Shooting Phases
Fast moving targets. Note an infantry unit that rolls a 6 to Run qualifies. Also note that this does not include charging distances.
   - Any model that has *Fleet* (including beasts and cavalry)
Agile and dodgy by nature
   - Vehicle classified as *Fast*
Maneuverability effectively cancels out the +1 for being a Vehicle, thus +0 modification on Fast Vehicles

* These are stackable up to a +2 or -2, and positives and negatives can cancel out (so a Fast Vehicle is +0)
** A Snap Shot can never be improved beyond +1, so modified Snap Shots are 5 or 6 to hit, or still a 6 vs Fast targets. 
Of course, a roll of 1 is always a failure and 6 always a hit. 

Let me know what you think.  Especially if you decide to try them out!

Now go eat some turkey!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


The final installment of the Hyperion Campaign, an original chain of battles for Warhammer 40K.  To view the previous intro and episodes, visit and the earlier related entry here at Brink’s Chaos Theory.

Part III:  The Catacombs

Beneath the surface of Hyperion lies a slumbering Necron tomb world.  This is what the Imperial archeologists had found, and had awaken.  Thus a once populous planet now lies silent but for the battle cries of Astartes and depraved Eldar (or whomever you have fighting for control).

The Victors of Episode II have entered the Catacombs through the primary entrance, the great temple that they had captured on the surface.  The Defeated of Episode II have been forced to find alternative ways into the underworld.  Both now seek what the dead Imperials had sought, the key to survival and dominance on Hyperion: the Rod of Power.  

This is a complex scenario with lots of additional rules and non-player models causing havoc.  Some additional rules are based on the results of the last game.  The winners of Part II are the Victor, while the losers are referred to as the Defeated.  If Part II was a tie, those specific rules won’t apply.

Points:  2000

Veteran’s Rewards:  Don’t forget to grant a Universal Special Rule to a new veteran unit to mark their experience (this cannot be the same unit who earned one in Episode I).
The Board:  This site within the underworld may consist of ruins and scattered archeological equipment, but must have SIX primary features that serve as objectives, ideally nercon-esque obelisks spaced at regular intervals.  These six objectives should be numbered 1 through 6 so that dice rolls (see below) yield easy results.  Objectives may be set up no closer than 12” from any board edge and should be evenly spaced. 

Deployment:  Deployment zones are 18” from the short board edge, making the battle field long and narrow.  Armies may deploy as many units as they like and may keep whatever they like in reserve.  

Units:  The catacombs are huge and both armies, in their exploration, have found large access points.  Any unit types except Flyers may be played—there’s just no room in a sealed underground environment for them.  This is the exception to the continuing forces in the campaign rules outlined in Part One.  Deepstriking and Outflanking units are permitted, however. 

First Turn: The Victors have entered through the primary entrance site while the Defeated have been forced to find other ways in, thus the Victors get the first turn (unless the Defeated can Steal the Initiative).  If Episode II was a tie, roll off.

Victory:  Each Obelisk is an objective worth one Victory Point and the player who holds the most uncontested objectives at the end of Turn Six is the winner.  The game length is set at six turns (coinciding with six objectives and The Awakening special rule below).  The trick will be to control objectives while hostile Necrons are appearing from the obelisks themselves!  The Rod of Power will count for two Victory Points at the end of the game.  The secondary objectives outlined in the 40K rulebook do not apply here.

Special Rules:
            The Awakening:  This is a dormant Necron tomb world, but won’t stay that way for long.  At the beginning of each turn roll a D6.  If the result is equal to or less than the current turn (1 on turn one, 1 or 2 on turn two, etc, and automatically on turn six) a unit of D6+2 Necron warriors emerges in a flash of green light from one of the six objectives: roll a second D6 to determine which objective the Necrons appear from and they move onto the board as described below.  If this objective is currently “held” by a player it has now become “contested” and those holding it are now under attack.
            The Necron Turn -- The first time a necron unit Awakens, a third non-player turn is created.  Since the roll occurs at the beginning of each Turn before either player has taken their turn, the necron turn happens first, followed by Player One and then Player Two, thus the necrons who have just emerged, as well as any other necron units on the board, act before either player.  If a player controls the Rod of Power (see below), whichever unit he controls will also act during the Necron Turn.  This is a normal turn with movement, shooting, and assault phases.
            Necron Behavior -- In order to facilitate fair and simple play--and because necrons are such fair and simple homicidal automatons--all necrons units will behave according to strict guidelines. 
               * Emerging necron warriors will come from the rolled obelisk as if coming from reserve, moving 6” toward the closest player unit and up to 1” from their target.  If the obelisk they come from is currently held they’ll just cluster as a squad around the objective staying 1” from the target.
               * They will always move 6” in the movement phase (less if it would bring them within 1”) and will always do so to get within their 12” double-tap range of the nearest target, and fire in the shooting phase.  Necron units not in the 12” firing range will run instead.
               * Necrons will not initiate assaults.
               * Necrons Falling Back always move toward the nearest board edge.
               * Necrons can never take possession of the Rod.
               * Note that a necron unit controlled by the Rod of Power will ignore these rules and do as commanded by their controlling player.
            The Rod of Power:  The treasure everyone seeks is the Rod of Power, an ancient Necron artifact that allows the controlling player to take command of one necron warrior unit during the necron turn. 
            Hidden Relic – The Rod is concealed within one of the six obelisks.  One Character Model in base contact with an obelisk can search it during the shooting phase – he may not shoot but his comrades can following the normal rules; simply leave him out and roll separately for a search instead.  Models in close combat cannot search for or pick up the Rod--they are too busy.  On a piece of scrap paper, write the numbers 1 through 6 in a descending column.  To search, roll a D6.  The first time an obelisk is searched the Rod will be found on the roll of 6 only.  If not successful, scratch off the 6 on the paper.  That obelisk is not the hiding spot and may not be searched again.  On the second attempt by either player (searching a new obelisk), a 5 or 6 is needed.  If not found, scratch off the 5.  This pattern will increase the probability each time a new obelisk is searched.  Search rolls must be of the highest number left on the paper or more.  Use this system to keep track of the probability of finding it with no objective searchable more than once.  Essentially, as you narrow down the possible hiding places, discovering which obelisks do not house the item, newly searched obelisks are more likely to turn out the item.  If five obelisks are searched with no result, the sixth one automatically houses the Rod.  Note that   
            Command – If a Character model possesses the Rod of Power at the beginning of the Necron Turn (after the roll to see if more deploy this turn is made), that player designates one necron unit anywhere on the board and controls it during this necron turn.  That unit does as commanded and does not adhere to the necron behavior outlined above.
            Finders Keepers – Use a marker to show which Character model has the Rod.  Only Character models (Independent, sergeants, leaders, Monstrous Creatures, etc) can wield its power.  If a unit leader held it but the unit is joined by an Independent Character, that IC must take possession (you don’t trust such a relic to a lesser officer, after all).  The Rod may be passed to friendly Characters that come within 2” but not during close combat.  It cannot be held or searched for by a vehicle (including walkers) nor by an embarked unit (though a model with it may embark on a transport after taking possession).  If the possessing model is killed by shooting attacks leave the marker on the table top where they died.  Non-Characters cannot take possession of it.  The first Character to come into contact then takes possession.  If necron models happen to end up standing on it, you may have to fight through them to get it.  If the possessing model is killed in close combat a Character in the opposing unit takes possession of it (if there isn’t one, leave it on the table. 
            True Power – At the end of Turn Six, if either player has a model in possession of the Rod of Power he gets two Victory Points.       

Victor Special Rules:
            Entrenched:  The Victors have had time to prepare for their enemy’s arrival.  Roll D3.  This is the number of units that may be set up in defensive positions.  They count as having Stealth (or simply +1 cover save stacked even if they already have Stealth) and as being in difficult terrain if assaulted.  Once a unit moves it breaks from the entrenched position and loses these benefits. 

Defeated Special Rules:
            Exploratory Assault:  The Defeated have had to find alternate ways into this main tomb chamber and thus may Outflank with up to D3 units that may not normally do so.

Necrons:  Below are the stats and rules (as I understand them) from the last codex:


            Gause Flayer: R24”  S4  AP5  Rapid Fire, Gauss (any armor pen roll of a 6 causes a Glancing hit, unless it would normally Penetrate)
            Reanimation Protocols:  The short version is they get back up on a 5 or 6 at the end of the phase, if the unit isn’t falling back or destroyed.  For the complex, more detailed version see the new Necron Codex.  

* * *

Did you follow all that?  Kind of complicated but I think it’d be great fun.  Now I just need a handful of necron warriors and someone to run the campaign with....

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Black Phoenix: Dark Eldar BeastMaster (Mistress)

I have completed the first model of my new pilgrimage!  Sick of power armor, I have decided to take on a new quest: to create a new xenos army free from Space Marines of all kinds!  Don't get me wrong, I still love my marines, mostly, but I need something new.  So I'm going back to my roots, which is with Eldar.  But I also love the new Dark Eldar line of models--to me, the best GW has ever produced, and pouring over the Wych sprues trying to decide which combos of pieces will go with which has convinced me that, Yes indeed, these are the best models ever.  And so the Black Phoenix is born!  (Or re-born, as phoenixes tend to do.)

The Black Phoenix is my prototypic fluff: a craftworld lost in the warp and/or webway for millennia, at some point joined by Dark Eldar and then having a fused, evolving culture from there.  So the aspects are largely known as Aspect Cults now, a fusion of traditional Eldar and Dark Eldar influence, etc.  In game terms, I'll run an Eldar army with Dark Eldar allies (usually--sometimes straight one of the other or greater DE with lesser E allies).  My models, however, will reflect the merged culture of the two.  I love doing conversions and coming up with "counts as" stuff, so this combined with the anti-power armor quest will all culminate into the Black Phoenix, a project that will take me years, if I ever finish at all.

All that being said, the first model is finished: one of three DE Beast Mistresses!  She's born of bits from the wych and warrior sprues with the legs of a hellion.  I really wanted the bare feet for her, though the hellion legs were made for crouching on a goblin glider, not riding an animal, so it isn't a perfect fit.  I also figured that since her "type" is beast, not jump infantry, she might as well ride one instead of the glider.  To represent the glider's built-in splinter pod I gave her a rifle, which has come out looking like something Mr. Freeze shoots at Batman with the swirling, soft blue glow, but I like it!  The whip, too, has a blue wash over white, giving it an irregular azure color.  I'm not sure how likely I am to actually pay the 20 points for an agonizer for her, since she has only one attack (two on the charge), but certainly an animal tamer should have a whip.  And just wait and see what kind of beasts she's taming...  That is the next surprise.

Obviously she's riding a Slaaneshi steed, which seems inappropriate fluff-wise, but I wanted a mount as sleek as she is.  I considered Cold Ones but they're just too bulky and ugly; I wanted something fast and graceful. And to tie the two models together thematically I gave the Mistress a green whip of hair, matching the mount's hide and the tongue and whip curves of the overall model (getting artsy-fartsy here).

Also in rebellion against painting marines, I decided to make her colorful: these are punk rockin' Eldar, after all.  So I went with purple and red for her, which the DE Warriors will likely resemble too, being careful not to use Aspect colors on non-aspect models (so the Aspect Warriors will stand out in their deserved glory). Her flesh is space wolf grey and white mixed, then washed with shadow grey and hit again with white.  In the end, it's basically white, which I think looks good on her.  She technically has rents and tears in her pant legs which should show the flesh too but I had to give up on those: the details on these tiny little models proved too much for me.  I tried painting it and went back and forth trying to get those nice crisp boundaries between purple pants and white flesh, but eventually I just said, "Screw it, the sculptors beat me on this one."  And I'm okay with that.  My new philosophy also includes a more stress-free approach to hobbying in general.

So there she is.  Next I'll be adding her "beasts", and then probably do up the next mistress of her unit, "The White Queen".  Stay tuned...    

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Where is Part 1, you ask??  This four-part campaign is being posted over two blogs, mine here at and over at where blogger Thor has graciously invited me to guest-blog a bit over there. 

In the first blog entry I described my idea for running a multi-battle campaign.  Now we get into the Hyperion Campaign itself.  Please keep in mind that I wrote this more than a year before 6th edition came out.  I’ve done my best to adapt it but am not all that familiar with 6th ed yet.

Episode I:  The Icarus Platform

He who controls this orbital facility will dominate planetfall and the surface.

Points:  1500

The Board:  This is the interior of a space station in disrepair, which is difficult to portray.  It should be somewhat of a cityscape, though may also have large high-ceilinged chambers and distribution bays.

Deployment:  One HQ and two Troops within 12” of your board edge.  If any of them can infiltrate, scout, or outflank, feel free.  All other units (save the Advanced Party) are in Reserve, even other infiltrator units.

Units:  As this is a quick insertion on a relatively small orbital facility, the only vehicles allowed are Walkers and no units classified as Flyers or Flying Monstrous Creatures, as there isn’t enough room inside the station for them to maneuver without hitting a bulkhead.  Nor can there be any Artillery units deployed on this mission.  (“You want to blast us out of orbit?”)  All other unit types are acceptable.

First Turn: Roll off to see who deploys and plays first.  After deployment but before the first turn, the opposing player may try to Steal the Initiative, succeeding on a 6.

Objectives:  Roll D3+2 objectives and take turns placing them on the board with at least 12” between each.  These represent control nodes and each are worth 3 Victory Points.  Mysterious Objectives apply but treat Skyfire Nexus as Nothing of Note, since there are no Flyers inside the station.  Secondary Objectives Slay the Warlord, First Blood, and Linebreaker also apply for 1 Victory Point each.

Victory:  The player with the most Victory Points at the end of the game wins.  At the end of turn 5 roll for a turn 6, and then for a turn 7 (variable game length rules).

Special Rules:
            Advanced Party: A fourth unit (in addition to the HQ and two Troops) may Infiltrate at deployment, having been sent ahead of all others to secure a beach head onboard.  They need not have the Infiltrate ability, but do now. 
            Boarding Parties:  Due to the lightning-fast nature of such an operation, Fast Attack choices count as scoring units for this battle.
            The Dark Side:  The platform begins play on the dark side of the planet Hyperion.  Turn One uses the Night Fighting rules.  At the beginning of each game turn thereafter, roll a die.  If the current turn number or lower is rolled (1 or 2 on turn 2; 1, 2, or 3 on turn 3; etc.) the platform has rolled onto the bright side of the planet and Night Fighting ends.   

* * *
Episode I was the only piece of this campaign puzzle that Ben and I got to play before I was ordered to move to hot-ass Texas.  As described in the blog entry at Creative Twilight, we played my Crimson Fists against his Dark Eldar.  In a very quick narrative, it went something like this:

After Action Report, Icarus Station:
            The Fists were lead by Captains Diomedes and Maverick, the assault master and pistolier, respectively; superheroes extraordinaire.  They were not privy to the Dark Eldar’s presence on the station, and so deployed slowly.  The biker squad they brought along, thinking the station was empty, especially took their damn time (didn’t arrive from reserve until turn 5); they, along with their shuttle pilot, decided to get drunk instead and so showed up late to the party.  Too late to be much help, as it turned out.  Captain Dio must have been drunk too because he never managed to hit with more than one of his four attacks at a time...  Anyway, as the marines deployed into the dark orbital platform (night fighting in effect) they heard a terrible bellow: The DE’s unit of grotesques went berserk in the first turn, killing a few of their own warriors before imploding on themselves.  At least the dice gods were scorning both of us equally all game, though the marines had a terrible time of it all...
            I deployed Captain Maverick’s command squad, sniper scouts with Chiron (Sgt Telion), and my tactical squad, which split into combat squads: the plasma cannon taking up a rear firing position while the sarge and flamer went mobile.  My sternguard were my advanced party, deploying behind an impassable wall which they would spend 3 turns dancing around until finally half of them would squeeze off a few rounds just before the whole squad would get liquidated by a haemonc just as they’re about to get some action.  The 5-man tac team would get jumped and butchered by summersaulting Incubi, who charged, beheaded them, and then jumped back behind some warriors before the marines could even swing back.  Never in the game did I get a charge off – the DEs were always on top of me first, robbing me of my charge.  I did win combat a couple times and routed them, but they rallied and came back before I could follow-up.  The only unit I could have charged was some warriors who I instead accidentally wiped out with pistol fire on the way in, so no charge.  In fact, Maverick’s famous two-pistol bravado never once fired (see this blog entry to get the skinny on this character), and Dio’s jump squad moved their 12” from reserve and later made a 3” consolidation move, but that was it for movement on my jump squad.  You see, I had failed to prepare myself for DE warp portals – in the first turn they were set and opened and from there any chance at thinning them out at range went out the window.  The night fighting did disappear after the first turn, but it didn’t matter much.
            Chiron, the super-sniper-scout, did make use of his special ability to allocate his own shots, taking bits out of an opera singer heamoculus (great converted model, wish i had a picture).  My devastator squad fired their heavy weapons plenty once they came in but their fire wasn’t that helpful in the end.  Two reaver jetbike squads twice bladevaned the plasma cannon detachment, who were then killed by wyches.  And that damn biker squad...  You see, they were all enjoying a beer in the boarding craft on the way over (remember we thought the station empty), including their pilot.  They docked at the wrong port and only one marine bike at a time would fit through the airlock.  So 6 half-drunk bikers pushed 5 big-ass bikes one at a time onto the station, thus they didn’t show up until turn 5.  They did, at least, take part in the vengeance rounds (5 and 6) at the end of the game, during which they, the Devs, and the scouts all fired what they had at the Haemonc and 3 grotesques that liquidated the sternguard squad.  The bikers in turn 6 charged toward the Grotes, did a quick spin-out and eliminated one of the reaver squads.  But at that point there was no saving the game—Dark Eldar controlled 3 of the 4 objectives, all along the mid axis and I couldn’t contest enough to prevent their victory.  So I just killed as much as I could (the “vengeance rounds”). 
            But I skipped over the best part.  The real battle was on the other side of the board, where I felt like I was being slaughtered, but I guess Ben did too.  It was my two HQs and their mean close combat marines versus a hell of a lot of dark eldar.  The dice favored no one, else it might have ended sooner.  Two captains, a fancy command squad, and 7 assault marines fought incubi, warriors, wyches, a haemonc, and a huge hellion squad led by the hellion super-HQ.  (Wow, I guess my boys did do pretty well after all!)  The marines all died in the end but they took quite a few xenos with them and lasted till turn 6.  As usual with our games, there was a huge dog pile on one spot of the board where the blood got ankle deep.
            So in the end I had only the devastators, bikers, and scouts left, and no objectives.  Had we been playing killpoints it would have been a very close game, i might have even taken it, but the eldar had firm control of the station’s command nodes.  The Icarus Platform went to the Rancid Blade.  

* * *

I wrote that right afterward, and must have been both tired and disappointed – the tone was kinda harsh, doncha think? 

So after the Platform is taken by one player, the fight goes down to the surface of planet Hyperion.  Tune in this weekend at Creative Twilight for the next episode of the campaign...

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Veterans Day Sale

November 11th is Veterans Day, a single day of recognition for the sacrifice that the men and women of the armed forces make EVERYDAY.  All active duty and veteran service members, no matter how long they served or continue to serve, have offered up their lives for this country.  In some tragic cases they have indeed lost their lives, and while their families and nation mourn their loss, they do so with pride.  Other warriors have returned home wounded in body, mind and spirit.  Even those who are fortunate enough to fight for their country without being wounded have given more than they expected, as have their families, and have done so willingly and without regret. 

Thank you for your service.