Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Something old, something new

Over the last couple of weeks I have continued to make gradual painting progress. The game a bit over a week ago highlighted to me that my Dwarfs really needed some additional characters to plug some gaps, so I've been working on that. Here we have to two latest additions: Belegar Ironhammer and Kragg the Grim.
Belegar is a modern model - part of the new era of multi-part plastic characters. Kragg is a bit older - he's a Runelord from back when metal models still contained lead.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Old Differences

A 6000 point battle between my Dwarfs and Ben Leopold's High Elves.

Thorgrim Grudgebearer, High King of Karaz-a-Karak, waited impatiently as his throne came to a halt and was lowered to the ground by his sweating, huffing thronebearers. He then heaved his considerable up out of the chair and stomped across to stand before the small gathering of elves waiting near a copse of trees. With one hand on his hip and his belligerent expression, the dwarf king made no attempt to hide his irritation. Cradled in his other arm was an enormous tome that all present knew to be the Great Book of Grudges.

"Where is he?" he demanded. "I haven't come all this way to argue with a bunch of effeminate flunkies."

The gathering of armoured elves stiffened at the insult. The finery of their war gear and their regal bearing surely made it clear to even a witless Dwarf that each one of them was an important noble in his own right. He was being deliberately rude. Hands strayed to the hilts of weapons, but none of them deigned to answer his demands. They too knew how to be impolite.

Their continued silence was not lost on Thorgrim. His grip on the book tightened and he glanced back to where he had left his axe leaning against the throne, clearly wondering whether he should not retrieve it and put it to use immediately. He was right on the verge of doing so when something shifted in the shadows under the trees, and another elf appeared seemingly out of nowhere. Thorgrim jumped slightly, then covered his surprise with an even deeper scowl. "Alith Anar. There you are. What do you want? Shouldn't you be off tormenting some of your own kind somewhere?"

The Shadow King stared at the dwarf without any apparent emotion. "Lord Thorgrim. I have come to retrieve something that belongs to me."

Thorgrim sniffed. "Have you now? I can't see why I would let you take anything else from me. You still haven't returned that bowl you borrowed." He fingered the book meaningfully, making it clear that the debt had been recorded in detail.

"The Vessel of Shadows was not borrowed. It is mine by right," sniffed the elf. "It bears my name upon it."

Thorgrim spluttered. "Yours? It was crafted in Karaz-a-Karak by dwarf hands. It has nothing to do with you! Give it back!"

"I will not," refused the elf quietly. "And now I have come to lay claim to the Blade of Sorrows. That too is mine."

"You're daft!" snorted Thorgrim. "Just because you're a miserable coot who has not respect for the property of others doesn't mean the thing is named after you. Take your pointy-eared army and shove off!"

"Very well," said Alith Anar calmly. "I shall retrieve the blade myself once you and your warriors have been dealt with."

With that, the elf swept his cape up across his face and dashed off into the trees, looking for all the world like a child playing at Vampires and Victims.

Thorgrim snorted and was stomping back toward his attendants when an arrow hissed out of the trees, over his shoulder and punched a hole straight through the Throne of Power's carved stone backrest. He bellowed in rage at Shadow King's insolence.

"You'll pay for that, elf!"

Note that this won't really be a battle report per se, given that I'm not going to bother putting together maps and the rest. But the game was between two fully-painted armies and I have a camera, so I took some photos.

The Armies
Neither of us was trying all that hard to pack real punch into our armies. 6,000 points is relatively close to the limit of what we could both field with these races, so it was as much an exercise in putting most of our models on the table as it was a contest. 

It would seem I need to paint up some more war machines. I'll never be taken seriously as a Dwarf player when I'm only able to field one war machine for every 2000 points in the army. I mainly just wanted to use Thorgrim, in a game where he wasn't going to absorb most of my points and make things weirdly balanced.
  • Thorgrim Grudgebearer
  • Belegar Ironhammer
  • Runelord with Great Weapon, Master Rune of Balance, 2 Runes of Spellbreaking, Master Rune of Gromril
  • Thane with Battle Standard, Great Weapon, Strollaz's Rune, Master Rune of Grungni, Rune of Slowness
  • Grimm Burloksson
  • Josef Bugman
  • 50 Longbeards with Great Weapons, Shields, Full Command, 2 Runes of Slowness
  • 24 Quarrellers with Great Weapons, Shields, Full Command
  • 20 Thunderers with Shields, Full Command
  • 38 Ironbreakers with Full Command, Strollaz's Rune
  • 20 Hammerers with Shields, Full Command, Master Rune of Valaya
  • 30 Slayers with Full Command, 2 Giant Slayers
  • 12 Miners with Standard, Musician
  • Cannon with Rune of Forging
  • Grudge Thrower with Rune of Accuracy, Rune of Penetration
  • Gyrocopter
  • Gyrocopter
  • 16 Irondrakes with Full Command, Strollaz's Rune, Rune of Sanctuary, Trollhammer Torpedo
  • 11 Bugman's Rangers with Shields, Full Command
  • Organ Gun with Rune of Accuracy, Rune of Forging
High Elves
Apparently Ben's list originally had 8 bolt throwers in it, but I think he realised he'd probably shred through my units a bit brutally and pared them back. For some reason Ben doesn't seem to like Dragon Princes - half his cavalry models were these, but every single one of them was just riding around as a pimp Silver Helm. Such indignity for the noble sons of Caledor.
  • Alith Anar (Army General)
  • Loremaster with Armour of Caledor, Sword of Might, Power Stone
  • Archmage (Level 4 High Magic) with Book of Ashur, Talisman of Endurance
  • Prince on Griffon (Swiftsense, Swooping Strike) with Heavy Armour, Enchanted Shield, Ogre Blade, Talisman of Preservation, Lion Cloak
  • Prince on Star Dragon with Star Lance, Other Trickster’s Shard, Armour of Destiny, Shield
  • Caradryan
  • Korhil
  • Noble with Battle Standard, Armour of Silvered Steel, Halberd, Luckstone
  • 11 Archers with Standard, Musician
  • 5 Reavers with Bows, Musician
  • 9 Silver Helms with Full Command, Shields
  • 12 Silver Helms with Full Command, Shields
  • 10 Silver Helms with Full Command, Shields
  • 40 Spearmen with Full Command
  • 21 Spearmen with Full Command, Banner of Discipline
  • 8 Shadow Warriors
  • 20 Swordmasters with Full Command, Razor Standard
  • 21 White Lions with Full Command, Banner of Swiftness
  • Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower
  • Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower
  • Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower
  • Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower
  • Great Eagle with Swiftsense
  • Great Eagle with Swiftsense
  • 6 Sisters of Avalon
  • Frostheart Phoenix

We used a slightly larger board than normal at 8'x4', and then I did a good job of ignoring a quarter of it anyway. Apparently 6,000 points of Dwarfs is still not really all that much.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Thorgrim finished and a little RafRage

OK, I can finally call this model finished. As I suspected when I set out to paint the banners on the back of the throne, the process was not exactly fast. It probably wasn't helped by the amount of fumbling with incorrect techniques and correcting clumsy mistakes, but I got there in the end.
He does look more completed with the banner flapping behind him.
One of the banners deviates wildly from the original because I didn't like it at all. In the end I've gone for a representation of Karaz-a-Karak, based on the rune the Dwarfs use to present it. It makes more sense to me than the random Dwarf waving 2 axes about. I don't get why that would be the High King's banner. On second thought, maybe that's meant to be Grimnir. Whatever, he didn't make the cut.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

I'm still here... somewhere

I can't believe it's been almost a month since my last post. That's pretty bad.

Much of my absence has been spent trying to absorb all that's been happening to the Warhammer world. I read my way through End Times: Archaon, and then through the final two Gotrek and Felix novels, Kinslayer and Slayer. I think I more or less knew what I was going to find, but I wanted to go through it all for myself rather than getting it all second-hand. It's all a bit depressing, but I'm still waiting for 9th edition to land before I commit to any long-term plans.

I was also working on Thorgrim, as I said I was going to in my last post. I thought I had basically finished him about a week ago, but then realised I hadn't dealt with the back banners on the throne. This has stalled me an annoying amount. I never had the banner poles so I decided to make some from brass rod, empire banners and a couple of cannon balls for pole caps (I couldn't find any suitable Dwarf-themed caps that fit the fat rods I used).
He's not so much WIP as almost finished. 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Going retro

No, this is not a suggestion that I have decided to become an Oldhammerer or something like that.

There may be an element of spoiler in this post, so if you're trying to avoid finding out what has been happening in the End Times, don't read on. I think by now most people that care are across things, though.

The destruction of the background that I have known and loved as a Warhammer player has left me more than a little bit nostalgic. I have not yet read the final End Times book, but I will do so when it arrives on my doorstep (I have ordered a copy). I've read the other ones though, and it's pretty clear where things are heading. And by the end of the Thanquol book, there's really not much left of the world. In fact, I am somewhat curious to see how the remaining events can fill a whole book. Apart from Nagash's undead forces, the only major settlements left standing against the Chaos and Skaven in the old world seem to be Karaz-a-Karak, Averheim and Athel Loren. Perhaps the Forces of Order are done, and all that remains is the Forces of Destruction bickering over the ruins.

I have always been an Elf player at heart. My first armies were High Elves and Wood Elves, and despite sometimes spending years without touching those models (I've been avoiding them recently because they're just too popular), I've always considered them to be the true heart of my collection. It is somewhat strange then, that the thing I find most depressing about the events of the End Times is not the destruction of Ulthuan. Nor is it the smoking ruin that remains of the Empire, which I focused almost exclusively on for the last few years. Instead, it's the obliteration of the Dwarfs.

They may not have always made for the most enjoyable games, but the Dwarfs have always felt like an important part of the Warhammer background. Their glorious history, sad decline and grim determination to hold on to what was left gave them a strong identity and depth of character that I always found appealing. And they had great models back when I started playing in 4th edition (Marauder Dwarfs 4eva!) The ruined holds made some of the best background for things like Warhammer Quest, and glorious campaigns to retake them were probably the most appealing in terms of potential campaign material.

The End Times is basically the end of all that. The Skaven have given the Dwarfs such a pasting that nothing really remains. And if I fail to let go and move with the times, the Dwarfs will be a large part of the reason why.

Anyway, it's with these thoughts in mind that I am finally breaking out of my hobby malaise and painting something. Now that he is dead, it seems the perfect time to paint up Thorgrim Grudgebearer. The same could be said of Belegar, Kazador and Kragg (all of whom I have kicking about), but Thorgrim feels too iconic to ignore, and I feel the need to work on him before he fades into irrelevance. I want to paint him (and maybe some of his contemporaries) up and take him for a bit of a spin on the battlefield.

Now, I have never really liked the more recent "viking boat" model of Thorgrim. I'm a traditionalist, and I like the original model. I've had a second-hand one for about 10 years, which means it's probably his turn for some love and attention (although he is by no means my longest-suffering model). I've re-based him to be consistent with the more recent model (which can actually rank up properly in a unit), and he's just about good to go.
Back in black. And really not fitting on his new 40x60mm base. Barge-ass.
In keeping with the retro-ness of it all, I think I'll basically be painting him like GW did. That's not my habit at all, but I am feeling very nostalgic at the moment.
Yep, that's the biggest pic I could find on the net. Behold his tininess. I'll do something about the flags. Mine lacks banner poles at the moment - I'll have to make some. 

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

On a road to nowhere?

My hobby efforts have stagnated of late. After a frenzy of activity preparing for and reporting on Heffengen and then Cancon, I am a little burned out. However, that is not the true source of my recent lack of motivation. What has really been killing my hobby mojo is the End Times and the threat of 9th edition coming close behind. 

The End Times books have been coming thick and fast since End Times: Nagash first appeared in August last year. The fifth and final book in the series is due to be released on Saturday. That's 5 supplements in 7-8 months. The level of uncertainty caused by this steady stream of change has made it incredibly hard to focus. In fact, it's been hard to even really absorb everything that has happened. I've managed to read each part of the story before the next one arrived (sometimes barely), but that's about the limit of it. I really have not had a chance to make use of any of it at all.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Cancon 2015 Report - Part 7

This is the final part of my Cancon report. You can find the previous game here.

Game 8 - Battle Line
Sarah Mathews, Wood Elves

  • Glade Lord on Forest Dragon with Armour of Silvered Steel, Talisman of Preservation, Ironcurse Icon, Starfire Shafts, Asrai Spear, Asrai Longbow
  • The Sisters of Twilight on Ceithin-Har (Forest Dragon)
  • 6 Glade Riders with Musician, Standard Bearer, Spears, Longbows, Starfire Shafts
  • 6 Glade Riders with Musician, Standard Bearer, Spears, Longbows, Hagbane Tips
  • 6 Glade Riders with Musician, Standard Bearer, Spears, Longbows, Hagbane Tips
  • 6 Glade Riders with Musician, Standard Bearer, Spears, Longbows, Trueflight Arrows
  • 6 Wild Riders with Standard, Banner of Swiftness
  • 6 Wild Riders with Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame
  • 6 Wild Riders with Standard
  • 3 Warhawk Riders
  • Great Eagle

Swedish Score: 14.7

Wood Elves. Wood Elves with no glade guard and no magic. Oh, and 2 dragons! How awesome is that? Of course, this meant another list with no BSB and (in this case) no magic at all. I guess when you’re spending all your character allowance on a couple of big monsters, sacrifices have to be made…
No dragons for the first 2 days, and then 3 in the final 2 games?