Sunday, February 28, 2010

Heavy Infantry Support for Khador and Cygnar

I finished my Khador Mortar Crew and Cygnar Chaingun Crew.   The Chaingun was ineffective in the first game I fielded it(see last Battle Report), but now the curse of the unpainted mini is cast off!  I have yet to use the Mortar Crew in battle but I am very much looking forward to it's 20" range!
These were my first Winterguard and Trencher pieces so I experimented a great deal with paints and washes- some of it good, some not so good.  I chose a darker metal(old Ral Partha "Copper") for the Trencher armor and I like the look.  I also went with a blue-grey overcoat for the Khador men.
These may not look like great paint jobs but I have to tell you, I've become a better mini painter since starting Warmachine.  The sculpts just ooze character- and they deserve my best!  I'll get better in time, but my main advice to beginners is SLOW DOWN.   It pays big dividends to allow yourself at least an entire day, or multiple days to spend on just one model. 

A final note about bases.  All of my Khadorians have a snowy motif to match my Winter Village terrain, while my Cygnarians have an old stone with grass growing over it to match my Ancient Ruins terrain.

The red/grey Khador color combo reminds me of the Wicked Witch of the East's guards' uniforms from the Wizard of Oz- ever see it?.  Sorry, can't resist...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Warmachine Terrain Project: Simple Fences

Small terrain elements can spice-up a battlefield and alter tactics. often gamers throw down some hills and trees but forget "the little stuff". I wanted to show how to make some simple wooden fences for a Warmachine game in this tutorial. You'll find that with relatively small investments of time and money, you can mass produce these for your battlefield.

Step 1: Foamcore Bases
First, cut some rectangles of foamcore board about 6 inches in length and 1 inch wide.  Note that these were not cut very neatly(foamcore is a pain to cut), but in the end you'll see that this really doesn't matter.

Step 2: Rounding and Beveling the Foamcore Bases

Next you need to round off the corners of the square bases with either scissors or a hobby knife(such as x-acto knife or utility knife).  You'll also want to bevel the edges at an angle. As shown in the second picture.  Make sure your hobby knife has a fresh blade- foamcore hates dull blades!  At this point peel off as much of the top layer of paper from the foamcore as you can(the top layer is the side with smaller surface area once the beveling is done).

Step 3:Placing the Wooden Posts
Now it's time to start building the fence!  Begin by pre-"digging" four(or three) post holes using your x-acto knife or a small dremel.  For posts I suggest "matchsticks" that are available at most craft stores.  No, they're not really matches, just wooden bits about the size and shape of wooden match(but a bit longer).  They are cheap alternatives to balsa wood- but that is your back up if you can't locate the sticks that I used.  You'll need to cut each matchstick in two.  Go ahead and place a drop of glue in each of the holes you created and then insert the sticks(half sticks).  I prefer Weldbond Glue(available at Michael's or on Amazon in the USA, plentifully available in Canada as I understand it), but any 'white glue' such as Elmer's will be fine.

Step Four: Gluing on the Wooden Slats
At this point you can complete the structure of the fence by gluing on the horizontal slats.  You could use any balsa wood but the cheap alternative I prefer are "coffee stirrers" or "Skinny Sticks" such as shown in the top picture.  They are almost 6" in length(that's why we cut our foamcore to about that length in Step 1).  I intentionally chose a picture of where one of the slats has 'dipped' and is not straight to point out that, when making multiples of a similar terrain item, variation is always good.  Perhaps the top slat has come lose, or some Iron Kingdoms farmer hastily erected it due to wandering livestock!

Step Five: Texturing the Bases

Now we must give the bases a "dirt" texture with a nice coat of sand(much like you might use to base a miniature).  Be careful that the sand you buy has an irregular and variable grain to it(like sand on the beach).  Hardware store bags of sand are usually best(but avoid white "Play Sand").  I coat the base with "Mod Podge", a transparent glue-like sealer from craft stores, and then dip the piece into my sand...shaking off the excess.    You could just easily water down some white glue and use that as your adhesive.  I also choose to glue some small pebbles around some of the fences for a little variation- it makes for a nice effect on the completed project.

Step Six: Painting on the Basecoat and Highlights

There are a plethora of ways to go about painting but I'll give you a simple method.  My first rule of painting terrain items is: use inexpensive paint.  Terrain pieces are large, so you'd quickly use up your P3 or other miniature paints to paint them up.  I suggest cheap but reliable "craft paints" such as those of the (in the U.S) Folkart brand. If you've got a paint that you use for dirt landscapes for your terrain board, you'll want to use that.   I paint all of the fences(and their bases a basic brown). 
Now for some quick detail you can use a lighter brown and then a tan to highlight the base.  I use only the tan on the wood of the fence itself.  Also of note are the pebbles(now "rocks") that I paint up in various shades of grey.  For a little variation you might put some high grass sprigs on some of the bases(as shown above).  Yuo can use "Field Grass" scenic material, or, as I did, leftovers from my wife's old makeup brush(yes, I asked first!).

Step Seven: Flocking the Base

For a final detail now we flock the base using static grass.  There are many varieties you can choose from.  I water down some Elmer's(or other white glue) and paint it on with a brush in patches around the base.  In general, try to apply the grass on the lower elements of the base and only sparingly under the fence.  Once you've painted on your glue, dip the piece into a container of your static grass, invert the piece, tap on it briskly to eject lose fibers, and you are done!
You can see some of the finished pieces integrated onto a gameboard.  The great things about small terrain pieces such as fences, stone walls, crates, barriers and trench sections is your ability to reconfigure them to create different types of situations on your battlefield.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment or email me!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Video Battle Report: Cryx v Cygnar (small battle)

GDog and I had another small game as we work through the Mark II rules. We did a little Cryx v. Cygnar gaming using our Ancient Ruins terrain(and some other bits).  He really ruled me...and I discovered how much I hate(and underestimated) bonejacks!  Between their arc nodes and their high DEF they were pesky buggers!

Gareson's Cygnarian Force=Kara Sloan, Chaingun Crew, Ironclad, Charger, Dannon Blythe and Bull
GDog's Cryxian Force=Deneghra, Slayer, Deathripperx2, Defiler, Necrotech and Scrapthrall, Gorman de Wulfe
Anyways, I hope you enjoy the report...

(note: Bull cannot really shoot as part of Kara's Firing Squad feat as he is not part of her battlegroup- a small oversight which did, fortunately, did not impact the game's outcome)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Widowmakers" Episode 1: Likely Route of Passage

“Widowmakers” is set of “serial” installments of tales of a group of four Khadorian Widowmakers and their many exploits. Join Cera, Alexi and their comrades and face the innumerable dangers of sharpshooters at the front!

Likely Route of Passage
"Widowmakers": Episode 1
All she really could sense was her trigger finger against the cold firing mechanism of her hunting rifle, the brush of an occasional fallen leaf grazing her face in the slight autumn wind, and the sound of a scuttling squirrel that darted up and down a nearby tree. She wasn’t sure how long she and her three comrades had lied prone in this position…all that mattered is that the targets had not yet presented themselves. Her eye was glued to her scope which revealed little more than the endless sea of trees that was the southern Thornwood. Back at headquarters, three days earlier, when Cera Jovnik and her three men were briefed on the operation, they were excited to ‘get to it’ and go into the field. However, though they were patient professionals, missions like this became exercises in patience, even for the likes of the Widowmakers.

The briefing, given by none other than Kommandant Irusk himself, had revealed the critical nature of their latest assignment. Intelligence reports from the front spoke of missing frontier pickets and messengers well behind the lines, all having vanished without even a trace of struggle or bloodshed. It was likely that the Cygnarian devils were trying to intercept and interfere with communiqués at the front. Irusk presented two possibilities: this was either the work of a local insurgency supported by the Cygnarians across the border, or, more ominously, the handiwork of the Black 13th. In either event, headquarters had plotted a scatter chart of the disappearances and had pinpointed their current location as a likely route of passage for the enemy and their captives. So here they were.

Cera looked over to her second, Sergeant Alexi Novnin, who gestured by tracing a line across his mouth with a finger: a sign that he wanted to speak; she subtly nodded. “Perhaps they were wrong back at H.Q. and we should redeploy a little more to the east” Alexi whispered, his voice barely audible except to the well-disciplined ears of a sharpshooter. “Agreed” Cera responded with some reluctance, their investment of time in this spot having come to nothing. Yet, as the four began to rise and shed their sheathing of fallen leaves, they heard voices coming their way. “Back down!” she commanded to her comrades with a more brisk yet still muffled voice. She accentuated the urgency of her command by pointing firmly at the ground.

They had originally sounded like they were right upon them but it took two minutes for the enemy sortie to come into sight. “Not Black 13th.” was Cera’s first thought, and she lamented not having the opportunity to dispense with the troublesome, if not elusive, special operatives of the enemy. Instead, through her scope she looked upon four Cygnarian commandoes dressed in their bronze and leather panoply of armor and long grey overcoats. They were in standard dress except for their usual blue pauldrons which appeared to be painted over in brown. With these regulars was a non-descript man wearing the garb of a local huntsman and, most importantly, a soldier in Winterguard uniform who was gagged, bound, and tethered to one of the Cygnarians. Cera gestured the plan with the silent precision of crisp hand signals and Alexi relayed the exact same series of gestures to the two other men down the line. She pulled the butt of her rifle in a little closer to her shoulder and inhaled…

[to be continued]

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ancient Ruins Terrain for Warmachine

I have decided to post some video and pics of my Ancient Ruins terrain usable in Warmachine games. The design concept was to create a set of pieces that could be reconfigured in multiple ways to create original battlefields each time. The narrative is that these ruins date well before the Iron Kingdoms, even the Orgothian invasion, to a forgotten civilization. The main pieces, the "rune pillars", have inscribed runes atop each column in some long forgotten hieroglyphs.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Video Battle Report: Cygnar v. Khador 15pt Skirmish

GDog and I(Gareson) had a fun little 15 pt skirmish battle today on our Khadorian Winter Village terrain.

GDog's Cygnarian Force=Coleman Stryker, Ironclad, Charger, Lancer, Eiryss, Gorman de Wulfe
Gareson's Khadorian Force=Kommander Sorscha, Destroyer, Juggernaut, Dannon Blythe and Bull

Observations: In previous match-ups GDog noticed that I had usually split my force and attempted to flank him. Therefore, he decided to keep his army 'clumped' as a single strike force to overwhelm the divided elements of my army. However, I did not diffuse my forces and when I caught him with his models all close together, it created a great opportunity for Sorscha to catch him with her Icy Gaze feat.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dannon Blythe and Bull

These scuplts(which neither my painting or photos do justice) are the reason I LOVE Privateer Press! Warmachine figures ooze attitude- and the Mercenaries Dannon Blythe and her trollblood companion, Bull, are no exception. These two bounty hunters have a variety of great abilities including "Prey" where they can basically pick a particular enemy model to pick on throughout the game. Also, Bull's powerful gun "Demolisher" provides an excellent ranged attack. When teamed together in play, they basically buff each other and achieve some very intimidating bonus moves. For more details on their abilities, see their Battle College report.

As far as painting goes, I didn't stray too far from the schemes shown at the Privateer Press website. I did deviate with Dannon a little bit, giving her vibrant colors for her top and overcoat. I thought she should appear rustic enough to look the part of paid killer, but bright enough to still have a feminine allure. Bull is my first ever Trollblood painting attempt so I was a bit worried that his flesh wouldn't come out right- I'm fairly happy with the result.

Khadorian Winter Village(video)

I uploaded my completed Khadorian Winter Village terrain for Warmachine to Youtube. The project was a lot of fun and I plan on expanding the village in the future with a railroad and a small factory.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Khadorian Widowmakers Unit

I think what first drew me to Warmachine was the fantastic sculpts of their minis. The "half medieval, half industrial" look of the miniatures in a world where steam-powered machines meets middle ages' stlye knights are wonderful. Therefore, it was a pleasure to paint up these Widowmakers.

The Widowmakers are a Khador faction unit with "Hunting Rifles" which give them a nice ranged attack. They can get forward deployment on the board and can pathfind their way through difficult terrain with no movement penalty. They also have "camouflage" which gives them extra benefits from covering and concealing terrain. If you will, they are the 'rangers' of Khador.

I love the look of these minis and deciding how to paint them was difficult. I definitely wanted something muted for their overcoats so I went with an olive green color. That being said, I wanted them to show their Khador pride so the armor plates, scabbards and coat turnbacks are red. The female leader I have dubbed "Sarah" as my wife of the same name is tall, blond and a very tough lady! Although the photos aren't great I was very happy with how the faces came out- some new techniques worked for me. The bases have a snow motif- I used sand-textured bases, white paint and some baking soda for the snow effect.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Warmachine Batrep 1: Khador v Cygnar

Today was my first Warmachine game! My son and I have finally have filled out our ranks of starting Khador and Cygnar armies with enough minis to play. My son played Cygnar and took the following:
-Coleman Stryker(Warcaster)
-Lancer(Light Warjack)
-Charger(Light Warjack)
-Ironclad(Heavy Warjack)
-Gorman de Wulfe(Merc solo)
I played Khador and took this army:
-Kommander Sorscha(Warcaster)
-Juggernaut(Heavy Warjack)
(Heavy Warjack)
-Eiryss(Merc solo)

Below you can see our battlefield(Khadorian Winter Village) and deployment edges...

I cautiously move into town, waiting to see what Gareth has in mind as far as movement...

Gareth keeps his forces tucked in tight behind cover as he enters the town(sorry, haven't painted Cygnar yet)....

...but then he splits his forces. He moves Stryker and his Lancer to his left, holds backs his Ironclad in the center and goes right-flanking with Gorman and his Charger. I think he has made a critical error, moving his Charger out of his warcaster's control area.

The Destroyer, with his long range bombard, covers the central area of town(this should keep Gorman and the Charger away from the beating I plan to give Stryker!) while Eiryss takes the left(off screen) to further pin down his right. My Juggernaut heads down the right behind the tavern towards his Lancer and Warcaster. . I keep Sorscha's command zone near my two 'jacks.

Gareth moves his Lancer out with Stryker in support. Stryker's ranged attack fails to penetrate my armor. Here is where I make a critical error. Over-zealous to beat up on his Lancer with my heavier Juggernaut, I run in to attack him. At first everything is initial swing of my Ice Axe cleaves off his left arm and cuts into his cortex- no more shield or focus for him! But wait, the old adage "Out of sight, out of mind" betrays me. What's right behind that tavern? Yeah, his heavy- his Ironclad! Silly me!

In the meantime on my left flank Gareth tries to run Gorman in to throw an Acid Flask at Eiryss, but he misses pitifully. Apparently endeavoring to match his poor aim, I run with Eiryss for a double melee attack and miss with both my crossbow bayonet and my sabre. Pathetic!

Gareth's Ironclad has now engaged me behind the tavern but I survive the first blow. Sorscha uses her feat to freeze the Cygnarians in this area, and I use this respite to finish off the Lancer. Unfortunately, a turn later when the Ironclad gets his second swing in I lose my axe arm and my cortex due to a devastating blow.

In the turn while his left flank units are frozen by my Icy Gaze(feat), Gareth freely moves his Charger through the middle of town and lays a couple of shots into my Destroyer- both shots hit but fail to penetrate my heavy warjack armor-plating. In the meantime, Gorman successfully disengages, circles around Eiryss, and this time hits her with a second Acid Flask attack- she does not survive. There goes my flank!

After another round of my doing decent damage against his Ironclad, Gareth responds with a surprise move. His Ironclad disengages from my Juggernaut and scoots over to Sorscha. With a devastating melee assault boosted by his warcaster, I lose my leader in a single melee attack. Warcaster over.

Visual Recap....S=Stryker,L=Lancer,I=Ironclad,C=Charger,G=Gorman,J=Juggernaut,S=Sorscha,D=Destroyer,E=Eiryss:

Well, once again Gareth has bested me in a wargame! I learned a valuable lesson- be sure to protect your warcaster! Looking back, I realize I could have tried the same thing against his very aggressive caster, but I focused on his 'jacks instead. He was the first to seize the moment though and deliver the critical strike! I also learned that though the brawn of my heavy warjacks was worth the cost, he presented too many targets which gave him more tactical options. I will have to look out for this when we are field much larger armies some day. Bottom line- I LOVE Warmachine. Great rules, great minis....great fun!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Khadorian Tavern Completed

Finally the good folks of my Khadorian winter village have a place to swap stories and enjoy warm spirits. The same basic construction technique from my hovels was used on this building.

And here is a shot of my village(so far)(...sorry no winter terrain boards yet as a more appropriate setting....)

Monday, February 01, 2010

Khadorian Tavern(In Progress)

As part of my Khadorian Village I am building a tavern so the good folks can have a place to socialize and stay warm by consuming quality Khadorian spirits. Here you see just the shell of the building in its initial stages...

I wanted the village structures to carry a similar architecture so I have again used foamcore, stryene brick sheets and cardboard reinforcement strips.

The pins you see are holding things in place while my glue dries.

Of course the whole thing still needs windows, details(rivets etc.) and basing. When the structure is finished I'll post a pic or two.