Friday, July 31, 2015

Infinity Painting Challenge: July 2015

Welcome to the first round up of entries for our Infinity Painting Challenge!

After attending the Beast of War Infinity Boot-camp back in June 2015, a group of us "boot-campers" decided to start a monthly painting challenge to help us build and paint our Infinity armies (see previous post here kick-starting the challenge).

The idea is that by setting painting goals at the start of the month, the month end deadline will provide a good incentive to finish our Infinity armies. This will allow us to get gaming sooner rather than later! There is also the added benefit of painting as a community where we can share painting tips and techniques and also admire each others' handiwork.

Check out our July 2015 entries below:

Barry (aka Bazleebub)

Barry has not only met his challenge of completing his Haqqislam 5 man 2 bots unit but also went one up and painted a few JSAs.

There is a really nice contrast with the grittiness of the Haq units and the hi-tech space samurais of the JSA. Also note the exquisite free hand of the Yu Jing symbol on the shoulder pad of the Domaru.

You can check out more of Barry's work here.

Calum (aka Cazboab)

Calum was the first of us to finish. He managed to paint his entire Ariadna Starter Set and the new exclusive Joan of Arc mini in the fist week of the challenge! Seriously impressive work.

I really like how sharp his free hand is on the shoulder pads of Joan of Arc and the 3rd Highlander Grey.

Check out more photos from Calum's album here.

Carl (aka Dropship)

I can't believe how good this guy is. Carl's work on his Yu Jing starter set is nothing short of phenomenal. His blending work and eye for colours is second to none. Carl really knows how to make his models standout.

Not sure about you but I'm looking forward to seeing more of his work in the future!

You can check out more of Carl's work on his hobby blog here.

Chris (aka Seldon9)

For someone who only started painting Chris has been pretty prolific this month and managed to paint all the Pan-O models from the Icestorm box set.

I really like the armour highlights and the blending on the white cloaks/coats.

You can see more close up pictures of Chris' work here.

Damian (aka Mordimer)

I like the highlights Damian has done on the red and black bits on this model. It really makes it look shiny and high-tech.

I have seen some of Damian's other Nomads (they look gorgeous) and I'm looking forward for what he has in store for us in the future!

Marco (aka Donlou)

Marco's paint job and the snow base is very reminiscent of the cover of the Infinity Artbook One. I'm also getting a cool Predator-esq vibe from this Oznat. Primal but futuristic at the same time.

Paddy (aka Paddycorkman)

Paddy has gone for the Acontecimento killing machine that is the Dragao and the sneaky Bagh-Mari for this month's challenge. Two of my favourite models from the Acontecimento starter box!

Paddy's work is very clean and tidy which does a great job of showcasing all the details on the models.

Rasmus (aka Rasmus)

Rasmus has done some conversion work on his Acontecimento regulars. This has given the unit a very distinctive feel. I also like how Rasmus has done his bases. Goes really well with the model in the prone position in particular.

Sam (aka Fullmetalvoiddragon)

Your's truly handiwork for July. I always wanted an army of ninjas and now I have them! I love all the models in this unit and the whole reason I painted them together was that they all incorporate some element of green and black.

I'm not too happy with how the final matt varnish turned out so will be re-doing once I paint up the bases from Micro Arts studio in a future project.

You can see close up pictures of the minis here.

Smitty (aka Marine101)

Smitty dropped the photos of these guys in with only 1 day to go with a message telling us he's off to GenCon. Ah I'm so jealous!

Anyhow back on his painting: Smitty has done a very nice job of the glowing effect on the Shasvastii guns. I like how different each of his models look yet still tied together via the bases. The disparate nature of the Combined Army really gives people the chance to try their hand on a wide variety of units.

Tips and Tricks

As mentioned earlier, one of the benefits of painting as a group is the exchange of hobby ideas and knowledge.

During this month's Painting Challenge Carl aka Dropship has done a great write up of the various techniques he uses for protecting his models. This is a must read. Check out the original forum post here (scroll down to the bottom of page 5).

August Painting Challenge

As we now enter into the month of August the Infinity Painting Challenge will start anew once more.

I'm really happy with the participation for our first month of the challenge. There has been some great models painted here. So if this has inspired you in anyway and you would like to join us feel free to sign up for the August Panting Challenge.

To sign up just enter your name and details on the google docs that can be found here.

The rules (more like guidelines) are simple and are as follows:

  • Miniature must be for the game of Infinity;
  • The miniature/s to be painted to be declared at the start of the month;
  • The miniature/s must be painted within that month (old unfinished projects welcome);
  • 2 pictures of the finished model/s to be submitted either to me or posted on the Beast of War Painting Challenge forum page before the end of the current month  (I will collate and share it on this blog).
Once you sign up you can get chatting with the guys on the BoW forum here.

Enjoy and get those Infinity models painted!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Age of Sigmar: A New Beginning

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 2/3 weeks then you may be aware of Games Workshop’s (GW) new boxed game: Warhammer Age of Sigmar (AoS).

AoS is a new gaming system that replaces Warhammer Fantasy Battles, the venerable gaming system that has been around for the last 3 decades. It represents a completely new system with new streamlined rules, a completely revamped game world, new fluff and new plastic models. From what I gather from the internets these changes has created a bit of a divide in the gaming community.

AoS introduces a game with just 4 pages of core rules. This is a huge departure from what came before and it has understandably upset many of the old guards. However on the other hand this was one of the reasons why I was so interested in AoS and why I am now fully committed to this new game.

Why I like AoS

The first photo of AoS I saw was a grainy picture of the new models on a friend’s phone a week prior to its announcement. At that stage my reaction was one of confusion. The new faction, the Stormcast Eternals, just looked …weird. Together with the new round bases they looked like Space Marines in a Fantasy setting. The Chaos models also looked ridiculously over the top with their huge Khorne banners and such.  Thankfully my first impression was completely wrong.

Once official GW photos were released to the public I got a proper look at all the new minis. I was surprised by how much I actually liked them! I also found the fluff really intriguing. GW have changed the game world from one of fairly generic fantasy with some historical elements to one of high fantasy with gods, daemons, multiple trans-dimensional realms and immortal celestial warriors that shoot lighting hammers….Cool!

After reading some of the new background I was uber excited. I love fantasy worlds full of epic heros, dark villians, mysticism and magic. The new fluff really reminds me of the best bits of some of my favourite fantasy series like Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson or the Riftwar Saga from Raymond E Feist.

I’m a big fan of the Fantasy genre but GW’s old fantasy game never really interested me. Some of the models are very nice but I found the ranked up blocks of infantry with their limited sets of poses a bit on the boring side. Plus the idea of painting that many models really did not appeal. This all changed with AoS.

As you may have gathered there are a number of reasons why AoS really appeals to me:

4 page core rules 

This has done the most in my mind to reduce the barrier to entry for me. I’m invested in so many systems that the thought of reading a huge rule book has put me off the game in the past. GW has significantly cut down on the rules and turned the game into a very simple system. However despite its inherent simplicity I do think there is still complexity there with rules included in each unit’s warscrolls (unit entries).

Every unit has at least one special ability in addition to rules for different weapon options. This looks very similar to some of my favourite games like X-Wing/Attack Wing. Simple core rules with complex unit rules which lend itself to deep and engaging gameplay.

The rules seems to be the most contentious issue among the community. Specifically due to the lack of a point system i.e. balance mechanism. There seems to be loads of people that detest the new rule set. However for me, I’m not looking for a new competitive game. What I want is a simple system that I can use to re-enact cool battles in a fantasy setting. AoS seems to cater for this just fine.

New Fluff

As previously mentioned I love what they have done with the new setting. In particular Sigmar’s immortal army, the Stormcast Eternals are awesome! My opinion of them has done a complete 180 since I first saw a photo of them. Yes they are basically Space Marines but maybe that’s why I like them so much. An immortal superhuman warrior capable of kicking ass and taking name is cool, but an army of them armed and armoured like Blood Angels Sanguinary Guard is even better.

Also with everything being so new I’m really looking forward to finding out about the new background. There is a sense of discovery there that we don’t really get with the likes of 40K due to its fixed timeline.

New Models

Once again, early grainy leaked photos of these minis have not done them any justice. These models look gorgeous in person. Both factions look fantastic in my opinion.

The Chaos Bloodreavers all look menacing and barbaric with huge slabs of muscle and massive weapons. The new Chaos warlord is super dynamic with his cloak billowing and the pouncing Flesh Hound really gives the model a sense of aggression and motion. The Stormcast Eternals are ginormous! These guys are Terminator sized. Very much fitting their background as something not of this world. The bigger round bases really add to the sense of bulk for the miniatures in this set.

I’m a collector of miniatures. So even if the rules and the fluff are pants I would still pick this up this set based on the minis alone.

Age of Sigmar: GW Release Event

GW have done really a good job of drumming up my interest in this game leading up to the release. The week before I narrowly missed getting myself a copy of the White Dwarf with the free Stormcast Eternal Liberator and I was gutted!

I made sure to turn up on time on the day of release to pick up my copy of AoS. It turns out I was the first person in Dublin to pick up a retail copy from the GW store. I think I may have gotten myself fanboy status with that!

As I was picking up my boxed game I was told of a fantasy painting competition that same day at 5pm which forms part of the release event for AoS. Given I don’t have any fantasy models my only choice would be to run home, assemble one of the minis from the AoS and paint it up. This sounded like a serious challenge and I told myself ahh why the hell not!

AoS (Speed) Painting Competition

Taking account of travelling time to and from the GW store. I had around 5 hours of actual assemble/painting time.

Delicious plastic crack
So once I got home I started working like a man possessed. I decided on the Chaos Lord of Khorne given that this is one of my favourite model in the set.

Assembling took way longer than I expected. Together with a bit of liquid green stuffing at the end assembly took around an hour.

To speed things up I did all of the base coating using my air brush. With any painting project, a lot of time is actually lost waiting for paint to dry. Given that I was only painting 2 models i.e. the Chaos Lord and the Flesh Hound I was literally watching paint dry!

I went for the studio paint scheme as I’m a big fan of red armour. Red and gold has always been a striking combination.

Given the time constraints I didn’t really try to do anything fancy. I painted his axe as if it was glowing with power as the fluff says the weapon can rend reality apart. So I wanted something to reflect that. I also painted the Flesh Hound's eyes as if it was glowing by using a combination of yellow washes and glazes.

As it turns out I just about finished it when my time was up. I left it at 4.45pm as it would take me at least 15mins to make my way to the GW store in town. I’m pretty sure the paint was still drying when I threw it into my bag! I made it to the GW store with around 2 mins to spare. Phew!

The final result wasn’t my best work. It was done as a speed painting project after all. As expected I didn’t win the painting competition! However I did get an honourable mention from GW staff as they were impressed that I managed the feat! They must have felt sorry for me as they threw in a few exclusive AoS release goodies. Nice!

My model is currently on display in GW Dublin
Juicy AoS goodies I got from the whole event
That was a really enjoying experience! I was under constant pressure from start to finish but I was able to timed things pretty well to get it done on time. I’m of course not entirely happy with the result so when I get the model back I will repaint it to a higher standard.

Hope you enjoyed my write up.  As you may be able to tell I’m really excited for this game and cannot wait for all the inevitable new releases!

Monday, July 13, 2015

X-Wing: Conclave 2015 X-Wing Tournament Report - Part 2

This is the second and final part of the Conclave 2015 X-Wing Tournament Report.

Part 1 can be found here.

As a quick recap from the last article: I won my first 2 games. Both were nail-bitingly close. This meant I was in the upper-middle of the pack in terms of Margin of Victory. Not a bad place to be in all honesty. So I was going into my 3rd game with cautious confidence. The last 2 games were a bit too close for my liking so couldn't get too cocky!

Conclave X-Wing Tournament 2015 (continued)

Game 3

My 3rd game was against Jay and his Imperial Squadron.

This is a very similar list I played against in the Irish Regionals……and lost. However I was confident going in because if you remember at the start of my last article I mentioned that I made changes to my Regionals list. This is the reason why. My list was tweaked to be able to specifically handle Chiraneau and friends.

Asteroids were placed quite symmetrically with a big open corridor in the middle. This was fine with me given that I needed room to get to grips with him while he didn’t care as much with his 360 fire from the Decimator.

Turn 1 I moved straight up with a 4 forward. His Decimator creeped up slowly while Soontir flew the other way to loop back around.

We started to bank towards each other on turn 2.

Here I was able to take advantage of my Engine Upgrade and boosted Boba up. This resulted in both of my Firesprays being able to shoot at Chiraneau. I think I surprised him here as he was probably hoping to engage me the turn after this one.

I unloaded hot laser death at the Decimator and took out his shields. In return he shot at Kath and took out a couple of shields.

This turn was pivotal and I considered my moves carefully. Given that Kath had to move first I moved her up 4 forward with the aim of 1. blocking Soontir if possible and 2. presenting her rear arc to the Decimator. As expected Soontir turned into my formation and pushed the limit to get his cocktail of tokens i.e. 2 focus and 1 evade tokens. The Decimator then looped around right into the firing arc of Kath.

Boba in turn bumped into the back of Kath right in front of the stressed Soontir. Things turned out exactly as I had planned!

In the combat phase Boba shot at Soontir at range 2 giving him another stress token. I think I may have managed to take out his single shield. The important thing was that I gave him another stress token which effectively neutered him for the next turn.

Kath unloaded on the Decimator with her extra dice taking out a few more hull points. In return Jay concentrated fire on Kath taking out her shields and putting a critical on her for good measure.

In the next round I moved Kath up to get as far away as possible given she was damaged but still in range to shoot from her rear arc. The Decimator gave chase.

Soontir used a green hard left 2 to get rid of one stress token. I then did a hard right 2 with Boba and made it with around a millimetre to spare.

This was a checkmate on Soontir.

Without his usual set of tokens due to the double stress there was nothing he could do when I threw 8 attack dice at him from my Firesprays. Soontir promptly vanished in a cloud of debris.

The game was effectively over. Jay gave a good chase with his Decimator on Kath to try to finish her off. However with Kath always getting an extra dice shooting backwards and Boba being able to quickly catch up with his Engine Upgrade it didn’t take long for me to send Chiraneau back to meet his maker.

Another win! This win was pretty conclusive simply because I built my list specifically to kill this type of elite 2 ship builds. Jay had a mountain to climb even before we set up and thankfully I avoided making stupid mistakes.

Game 4

With 3 straight wins this put me in the position to play against my evil nemesis from Galway, Sean, who was also coming in with 3 wins.

Sean and I have played each other numerous times at other X-Wing events. I believe I was racking more wins than losses from our previous encounters so I think he was determined to take me out!

Sean was running a version of Biggs walk the dogs.

This was bad. Really bad. I played against the exact same list twice previously and lost both times. B-wings were just hard counters against big ships like Firesprays. Their ample attack dice just gobble up big ships like there is no tomorrow.

Of course I didn’t enter this competition without having a plan to deal with these types of lists. It was just going to be very very difficult!

Asteroids were clumped in the middle. This didn’t matter much as I set up opposite him to joust.
Jousting against a block of B-Wings is usually suicide but my only chance at winning is if I was able to bump his ships and force his ships to forgo his attacks at best or split fire at worst.

Sean set up in the classic Biggs formation that allows him to pull Biggs in at the back of the formation to disrupt enemy fire.

I moved up cautiously. I had to make contact at the right moment. If my timing is off I may end up in front of his formation and get shot to pieces.

Sean moved up slowly and as I feared he started to re-position his formation using barrel rolls. Dang I hate these things!

My original plan is obviously not going to work now. So I went to plan B. Kill Biggs as fast as possible.

I shot Boba up to within range 1 of Biggs while Kath hung back making sure she has arc on Biggs. This put Boba right in the middle of his formation. Pretty dire position but it also means he will effectively be able to re-roll all of his dice thanks to his special pilot ability.

In the combat phase I unloaded 4 attack dice from Boba with re-rolls and 3 Mangler Cannon shots from Kath at Biggs. I managed to take out 2 shields. Uh oh.

In return his formation took a good chunk of shields from Kath and completely stripped all the shields from Boba. Ouch!

In subsequent turns I went back to the blocking game. Boba was near death so I had to make sure I force him to split fire as often as possible.

Biggs was still alive and kicking and regenerating shields every turn thanks to the R5-P9 droid. I was also forced to split fire with Biggs still hovering in my sight.

By putting multiple stresses on Biggs I was able to take him out of the game for a few crucial turns.
We exchange fire and he slowly started taking hull points from both my Firesprays thanks to his Fire Control Systems.

I continued to move up and down in that corridor and tried as much as possible to concentrate fire. I took 2 B-Wings to near death. One was on 1 hull point with a Consol Fire critical i.e. he rolls 1 attack die at the start of each combat phase and blows up if it’s a hit result. The other was on 3 hull points. I may yet pull this off.

However he was beginning to put crits on both Firesprays and in a pivotal turn he caused Blinded Pilot on Boba i.e. the next time I attack I don’t roll any attack dice. I could have taken out 1 B-Wing if Boba was able to fire that turn. In addition, that pesky B-Wing was able to survive 2 turns of Consol Fire without blowing up. The dice gods were not smiling on me this day!

I was eventually able to take out those 2 annoying B-Wings. However by that stage Boba was blown to bits and he still had 2 healthy B-Wings and a fully regenerated Biggs. It was only a matter of time before Kath met her end which came with just under 10 mins left on the clock.

Final game lost!

Pretty disappointing but not entirely surprised! Sean played a perfect game. He flew really smartly forcing me to shoot at Biggs when he was around and bumping me to split fire when he was not. I went back over the game in my head and there was nothing that I could have done to change the outcome of the game. If my dice was better I may have scraped a minor win but nothing more. I was out-flown and out-gunned. Great performance from Sean to win and take 1st place.

Congrats to Sean for coming 1st! 4 wins out of 4. He came, he saw and he conquered! P.S I wouldn't be so easy next time though!

Sean with his 1st place prize and smug grin
Me and Bruce sharing 2nd place position. Handshake was strong and crushingly firm.

In Closing

Similar to last year, this tournament was really fun! Everyone I played with was a gentlemen and each game went smoothly with no difficulties whatsoever. This is the main reason why X-Wing is my Number 1 game for competitively plays. Each tourney I go to seems to go off without a hitch.

The games I played were really fun and very close. I could have easily come out of that with 3 losses instead of 1! However I did pretty decent and came join second. So not all bad!

The event was run really well with minimal down time. However if I had one critique it would be that the format was changed from 5 games to 4. I personally preferred playing more games as a general rule. More bang for my Euro. I’m sure they had their reasons to move to 4 games but I found myself sitting around for an hour after my last game waiting for the results. I could have been playing another game! But that’s just my personal preference.

I like to thank Kevin and the rest of the Gathering team for hosting the event. I hope it will continue for many years to come!

I hope you enjoy the report. If I made any mistakes please feel free to drop me a line and I will make the necessary corrections.

Alright lads stay on target and keep the flying casual!