Monday, August 31, 2009

August's Painting in Review

I've had a very productive month in painting. Most of my IG army was painted in this month, and I still have a lot to go. I now have a Demolisher kit that requires painting, and soon an ebay auction will arrive. It will contain 48 catachans, that I plan on using as a 2nd infantry platoon. I have already started constructing the command squad for this platoon. Additionally, I will need to paint the remaining special characters I did not get to this month, namely Creed and Marbo. I also am trying to get some regimental advisers ready for paint, so I still have plenty of opportunity to add to my points total in the coming months.

For this month, however, I accomplished much. Here's the list as it stands, pulled from my main page:

This month: (August)
1 Regimental Standard Bearer, 1 Armored Sentinel, 3 Chimera Transports, 2 Veteran Squads, 3 Flame Throwers, 2 Voxcasters, 1 Medic, 4 Snipers, 3 Mortar Teams (counts as 2 infantry), 1 Casualty Marker, 1 Terminator Chaplain, Colonel Straken
TOTAL: 77 Point(s) thus far

Does a Temple of Skulls count? No? Alright fine...

Ok, so 30 points in vehicles, 5 points in dreadnoughts/warwalkers, 6 points in ICs (I counted the standard bearer as an IC, due to the intricacy of the standard), and 37 infantry models of various kinds. Let's double check the math... oops I guess the standard bearer should be counted as just an infantry model. That equals out to 77 points, as written before... still a monumental achievement for me! I thought last month's total of 56 points would be hard to beat, but I really put my nose to the grindstone due to the 2 tournaments I attended this month. For anybody wanting motivation, put your armies in events that judge painting. It really made me stick it out.

Well, a new month starts tomorrow! Let's see how much I can fit into a month!

Until next time,

An In-depth Look at the New Demolisher Kit

So today I got my new Demolisher kit in the mail. The Mrs. may not be happy when she gets home and sees it... but for now I am enjoying the new backbone to my IG army.

Some key points I wanted to hit on that may not be widespread information to those looking to buy one of these kits:

Let's start with the bad news: There are no accessory sprues for this kit anymore. No track guards, dozer blades, pintile stubbers, or even Imperial Aquilas to paste on. Save your accessory sprues from those chimeras and old LRBT kits if you want to use them on these, because otherwise you will have to purchase the sprue for 12 bucks from GW direct. I'm going to have to myself, to keep the dozerblade theme I have on all my vehicles going. As an alternative, however, I suggest browsing through bits on Ebay. You might be able to snag a dozerblade or set of track guards for much cheaper, if that's all you are looking for.

Now lets dive into the new and improved: For starters, the tracks are MUCH easier to build, thanks to the new design that has special slots for the tracks to slip in instead of those annoying wheels that never see the light of day. The track pieces are numbered as well, making it nearly fool-proof. I have no gaps in my treads, a first for me! To sweeten the deal further, the directions are actually COMPREHENSIBLE and much more step-by-step then the previous instruction booklets (which more resembled CAD drawings that you were supposed to figure out on your own). These new directions make things run a lot smoother.

Now the really good part: CUSTOMIZATION OPTIONS!!! Yup, you read it right. Just take a look at that picture up there. Now, you don't have to glue on the side sponson hull pieces, but I did anyway because I figure 90% of the time I'll have them. Anyway, the three main weapons, two hull weapons, and 4 choices of sponson weapons are all created to be interchangeable with their optional counterparts. Meaning, if you don't glue them in, you can swap out the weapons to make different variants without having to be an expert modeler. This is huge for me, because I can't magnetize anything to save my life (lack of magnets and expertise). That sticky poster-tack you might recall me mentioning in my very early posts works very well for this, as the slots are not super-tight and the weapons tend to drop out of them if they don't have a little extra help. So with this kit, its like getting all three variants in one. Of course, you can only field one at a time, but the ability to pick which variant fits into your next list is just awesome.

So, with this kit, you can make:
A Leman Russ Demolisher
A Leman Russ Executioner
or A Leman Russ Punisher

with choices for:
Hull Heavy Bolter or
Hull Lascannon

as well as:
Multi-melta sponsons
Plasma Cannon sponsons
Heavy Bolter sponsons or
Heavy Flamer sponsons

So, in all, I guess my 45 bucks was well spent. I expect to see the 2nd wave of IG updates might include a similarly-upgraded kit for the regular Leman Russ Battle Tank, with options for a Vanquisher, Exterminator, and Eradicator. If you like the accessories to come with the tank, and only want vanilla LRBTs, I suggest you stockpile them now, before they go out of production. Otherwise, be on the lookout for that new kit that I imagine will be released soon.

We'll go over tactics for the three tank variants, that can be built with this kit, at a later time. I hope this little article helped someone thinking about buying one!

Until next time,

Friday, August 28, 2009

Temple of Skulls finally painted

Just a quick pic for you all... here's the Temple of Skulls prize I had won for my army being Best in Show at a local tournament a week or two back. I finally got around to painting it up the other day. Enjoy!

IG Special Character Showcase

Alas, the day you all have been waiting for! (Ok at least a few of you... just one of you?)

I have been working on kitbashing my own versions of the Special Characters selectable in the Imperial Guard codex. So far, I have assembled 3 such characters of which I find to be almost essential if a Guard player is to consider including SC's:

First pictured is Guardsman Marbo. Who doesn't know of this guy? He's a one-man army. demo-charges, a sniper-pistol, and a poisoned blade just describe his wargear. In addition to his awesome kit, he has special infiltration rules that put him within danger-close range of enemy units. He can be used as a HQ-assassin, or wreck a vehicle's day with a demo-charge up the tailpipe. For this model, I went with a catachan and tried to make a decent-looking pass at his Ripper pistol. A few precise cuts and a scope was all I could work with. He's in the process of getting a paint job.

Second pictured is the infamous Ursakar Creed. He is the epitome of a battle-commander, able to give up to 4 orders out to a range of 24". You HAVE to take a vox with him in my opinion, to make sure you take advantage of his awesome ordering ability. Putting him in a chimera sounds like a wise choice, to give a few extra inches on those orders as well as to protect him from enemy fire. For this kitbash, I used standard cadian command pieces with a commander's Pig Iron helmet, and gave him 2 laspistols and a GS cloak. The fancy base also helps denote that he's a SC.

Last is the SC I am scrambling to get ready for the next tournament, which will be a cityfight tournament. Colonel Straken is a huge buff to the close-combat abilities of the Guard, giving the Furious Charge and Counter-Attack special rules to any unit within 12" of him. Additionally, his squad is fearless. He is also quite a capable fighter himself, with WS5, T4, and S6 in his profile. He is further augmented by his extensive bionics, allowing him to roll an additional D6 for armor penetration and all of his CC attacks ignore armor saves like a power weapon. I used a "choppy" CCS with him in the last game, and he successfully took on space marine squads. Terminators still beat the crap outta him and his squad, but its still a massive change from the usual "IG suck in CC" mentality. I can only imagine his potential when coupled with tailor-made platoons with commissar support... That would make them potentially almost as dangerous in CC as orks, but still able to put out ungodly amounts of lasgun fire before the assault takes place (he's still a commander and can give orders, don't forget). For him, I put him together out of tank commander bits with some leftover bits from the command squad... nothing fancy. A special base denotes his SC status, as usual.

I hope you enjoyed my showcase. I don't currently have plans for the other special characters as I feel that these are the only 3 (besides Pask) that I will be using in any frequency. I will update the blog with pictures of them painted as I get them done!

Until next time,

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cityfight Battle Report: 750 IG vs. SM

For the first time in recent memory, I finally remembered to take consistent pictures throughout a game. This was a 750 point pickup game against my baby's momma while our son took a nap. Essentially a Gamma-level game, but played on an extremely terrain-dense 4x4 board. We could have played a Omega level, if we had an extra two feet to add to the table.

The lists looked like this:


Company Command Squad with Straken, Medipack, 2 Flamers, and a Vox
Veteran Squad with 3 Meltaguns, Chimera (with dozerblade, heavy flamer, and pintile stubber).
Veteran Squad with 3 Grenade Launchers, Chimera (with dozerblade, pintile stubber)
Leman Russ Battle Tank with Lascannon, Heavy bolter sponsons, pintile stubber, and dozerblade

Chaplain in Terminator Armor
Tactical Squad with meltagun, missile launcher, in Rhino.
Tactical Squad with flamer, missile launcher, in Rhino.
Terminator Squad

We picked our deployment zones and stratagems. She picked Booby Traps and a Medicae facility (the center building). I then picked Combat Engineers and Demolitions.

Here's the board, pre-deployment:


She picked the corner with the large industrial tower, and I got the opposite quarter that included the Astartes Shrine. We had rolled a "5" on the mission type, so we both nominated our single objective buildings. She chose the industrial tower, I picked the shrine. They were the most obvious choices available to us. By now I already had a pretty good idea of my game strategy.

Turn 1:
This is what it looked like after we deployed:

Deployment/ Turn 1

She rolled highest for deciding the first turn, but she passed it to me. First things first, I disembarked my grenade-vets at the base of the shrine. My Melta-vet's chimera sped down a alley way, and my Leman Russ situated itself at the corner of the shrine, preparing for my plan to execute. Straken and his command squad moved through the ruins, heading towards the Temple of Skulls.

For her turn, the SM disembarked a squad from a rhino, while the other rhino moved up parallel to a ruin. The terminators marched forward.

Turn 2:
Here's the beginning of turn two:

Turn 2

For my turn, I moved up my melta-vet's Chimera towards her rhinos. My Grenade-vets climbed to the upper level, and Straken's squad moved through a building with a decent difficult terrain roll. The shooting phase is where it got interesting... My demolitions roll was successful, and the center building went up in smoke, leaving a large area of difficult terrain, along with her hopes of using it as a key building. To make matters worse for her, my Leman Russ now had line-of-sight to her tactical squad that had disembarked. A large pie-plate later, and the squad had been reduced to a couple marines. A lascannon shot further picked off an unfortunate marine. My melta-vets popped the empty rhino, and it exploded. Nothing of further note happened in my turn.

In her turn, she moved up the 2nd squad's rhino and the terminators. She blasted at my chimera, but failed the to-hit roll with the meltagun. Not much else she could do in this turn.

Turn 3:
Here's the beginning of turn 3:

Turn 3

My grenade-vets reached the top of the building, and the empty chimera traversed some difficult terrain to circumvent a booby-trapped sandbag barricade. The melta-vet chimera sidled up closer to the surviving rhino and pointed its front armor to it. Straken and his squad continued their slow foot advance. The 3 vets popped out the top hatch and vaporized the rhino with well-placed melta-gun fire. The Chimeras themselves tried to thin the ranks of the exposed squad, and the Russ missed with its template completely. The tactical squad suffered some casualties.

She started by moving her decimated tactical squad that had only two members remaining (despite me pointing out the pointlessness of moving the missile launcher). She brought up the terminators a little bit further, and launched right into the shooting phase. She let my chimera really have it, and it exploded, causing a few casualties to the squad inside. They fell back to the rubble of the destroyed building.

Turn 4:

Here's the top of turn 4:
Turn 4

In my turn, I moved my melta-vets back through the rubble to get within range. The empty chimera moved forward to support, and Straken's squad moved up alongside. The Russ made a slight move. The meltas picked off a few marines, and my russ eradicated the remnants of the gray tactical squad.

In her turn, she moved up the tactical squad to provide room for the terminators to move up. she blasted my vets into oblivion with a fusillade of bolter rounds from both the blue tactical squad and the terminator squad behind.

Turn 5:
Here's the top of 5:

Turn 5

On my turn, Straken's command squad rushed to the sandbag wall. The chimera also inched forward. At this point, the end of the game was closing in so I decided that I had to eliminate her ability to score. Shooting phase went fast; my russ put a pie-plate on the terminators that failed to cause any wounds. My command squad torched the armor of the tactical squad, but failed to cause any wounds as well. My plasma pistol on straken didn't fare any better. Now was as good a time as any to test the effectiveness of my assaulty-command squad. Straken led the charge, getting his furious charge bonuses. The defenders reacted, and the battle got underway. When the dust settled, the command squad had inflicted 2 casualties while suffering 1. The space marines failed their morale check and fell back, but Straken's squad was unable to sweep-advance them. The marines fell back 12 inches, which turned out to work in my opponent's favor. I consolidated back along the sandbag wall for cover.

In her turn, she auto-regrouped the tactical squad and shimmied it up the side of the industrial building, onto the roof. She rolled excellent on her difficult terrain roll, and hid on of the marines out of LOS behind the tower, but on the roof. She now held an objective. She then blasted my squad with a volley of bolter-rounds from the terminator squad, but failed to kill anybody.

Turn 6:
Here's a pic of the beginning of turn 6:

Turn 6

In my turn, I knew I had to do everything to annihilate that two-man squad. I shifted my chimera to get a better angle, and moved Straken's squad to within assaulting distance of the terminator squad. I dropped the russ template on the two-man squad on the roof... and hit! Unfortunately though, I rolled a 1 on the to-wound roll for one of them. Drat! That lone marine passed his leadership test too, darn it! She had him safely nestled back out of sight behind that tower, so I couldn't shoot anything else. I took out my anger by charging Straken into close combat with the termies, and even managed to inflict a wound (at the cost of my two flamers). Straken's squad held his ground, and didn't suffer any wounds from being fearless.

In her turn, all there was left to do was stay out of sight, and wrap up the close combat. The chaplain inflicted the first wound on Straken, but the grizzled colonel remained fighting. Straken managed to take out a terminator with him before being clubbed down by multiple powerfists, along with his chief medic.

Game's End:
Here's what the end of the game looked like:
Game's End

I had managed to keep my objective in force, but failed to totally remove the last vestiges of scoring units from the enemy objective. I probably should have just gone for the contest of the objective with Straken's squad, but I had thought the chimera and the russ would have been able to pick off two simple space marines. I guess that is what I get for underestimating a Marine!

Some bonus footage of the battle:
Straken on the Line

Objective Captured

Well, I hope you enjoyed my first battle report with pictures! Later I'll analyze the tactics I used and what worked in a CoD game. Also I am still putting together the special character showcase post, so be on the lookout for that as well.

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Expanding the Painting Points system

Ok, so the last time I came up with Quint-M, (Modified Motivational Method of something or other) it didn't catch on quite so well... Ok maybe keeping track of how much stuff you assembled in a month isn't so impressive.

In this post, I'm tackling a smaller problem... how do you account for all those non-miniature items you spend time painting? Such as the Temple of Skulls scenery, or all the new stuff GW puts out? I think if you spent 2 days painting a bastion/blastscape/aegis line then you should get credit for it. Here's my proposal for painting points, as adjusted by the cost of the scenery kit (because bigger is usually more expensive)-

For every 10 dollars the scenery piece is worth (MSRP), +5 painting points?

This way, stuff you make on your own can also factor in. Just estimating the cost of materials should get you a decent enough figure to determine painting points from.

Anybody see value in this, or am I barking up the wrong Citadel Trees?

Monday, August 24, 2009

A break from IG: Terminator Chaplain

I have the majority of my IG completed, so I wanted to take a break from the norm and get something different completed...

This chaplain kit-bash has been sitting on my to-do list for quite some time... Now that my Aqua-Marines project is about to get underway, they needed a tough-and-able HQ option to lead them. I'm partial to chaplains, and Terminator armor is always cool-looking.

Well that's all I got for the moment, I have some WIP shots on the way of my special characters for my IG army in the works, so look out for those!

Until next time,

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Let's Talk Tactics: IG in Cities of Death

The next scheduled tournament next month is slated to be a Cities of Death tournament, at 1500 points. I am tickled pink, as I consider this to be my specialty! On ebay I saw two of the old-model Demolishers going for cheap, so I picked them up. I also have been constructing various ICs of differing kinds, and for this tournament I figured Straken would be appropriate.

Let's get into the meat and potatoes of the issue: IG are primarily a "shooty" army, right? So how in the sand-heck are they supposed to contend in a game that places emphasis on tight-quarters battles? Well, I have a few ideas to throw down-

Imperial Guard are PRIMARILY shooty, but they have plenty of options to be more effective in close combat. For example, Colonel Straken lends models within a certain distance of him to have the Counter Attack and Furious Charge special rules. This is in addition to his effectiveness as a combatant himself. As a WS 5, T 4, and S 6, he is not to be taken lightly in assaults. Heaping on the special rules he has access to, he truly becomes a monster in close combat. Thus, I considered him absolutely essential to a cityfight game.

Sometimes, the best way to approach a problem is not from the front, but from the sides! IG are not Space Marines; they don't need to bash their way through opposition all the time. Therefore, using units that have the ability to outflank can prove invaluable at hitting from an angle that one does not expect. There are several ways you can accomplish an outflanking maneuver- A) Take some scout units such as Scout Sentinels, and an Astropath to help ensure they make it on the side of the board they need to go on. B) The special character Usakar Creed lends the outflank ability to any single unit in your army. An outflanking Russ squadron or entire Infantry Platoon is pretty scary. C) Alternatively, if you take the SC Al'Rahem, any part of his Infantry Platoon MUST outflank. I see this as being the worst of the three choices, because it does not leave the decision to outflank up to you.

Those are general ideas that benefit the army strategically, but let's look at tactical decisions you can make in your list based on the units that are available to you:

Veterans can really come into their own in the dense confines of a city table. Melta-vets need short distances to be effective against armor anyway, so having terrain-dense boards like those that are frequently seen in Cities of Death can give them something to hide behind while they close for the kill. If Chimeras don't do much more than add a killpoint for you, then take them out and give the squad either Carapace or Forward Sentinels doctrines. The abundance of cover makes this one of the few instances that you would actually use the Forward Sentinels doctrine, mainly for the cover buff the stealth cloaks give. If you still prefer to have them safely tucked inside a Chimera, then I suggest adding the dozer-blade wargear to the transport for a mere 10 points. That may seem like it would add up, but it is far more costly to risk losing a Chimera to a poor Difficult-Terrain roll.

Now the fun kinds of tanks start showing their worth, as well. Demolishers, Executioners, and Punishers all have a higher rear armor value than any of the other Russ variants. Since assault attacks hit against the rear armor value, that one point makes a HUGE difference in a Cities of Death game where the enemy can be in assault range before you have a chance to fire. Additionally, the shorter effective range of these tank's main armaments make these better suited for this kind of fight.

Fast Attack slots are in high demand as always, and if you have the models, it is pretty much garunteed that the lowly Rough Riders or Sentinels are going to lose out to Vendettas, Valks, and Hellhound variants. The ability to simply cruise over the terrain with a Valk or Vendetta is an obvious advantage, and the amount of firepower those fliers can put out is pretty staggering as well. Add in some suicide Vets with Demolitions, or even Storm Troopers with Meltaguns for a quick grav-chute insertion, and you have a pretty top-notch contender for those FA slots. Your pocketbook might say otherwise, however... the Hellhound variants are slightly cheaper, and no less deadly. They lack any sort of transport capacity of course, but the array of short-ranged weaponry they mount is brutal. The one I am drooling over is the Devil Dog, or the Melta-hound as it is referred to by some. It sports a special kind of meltagun that spits out a blast template up to 24" that is truly terrifying. Another popular variant is the Bane Wolf, or Chem hound. It has an AP3 template, that wounds on 2+ automatically due to being a poison weapon. This has "MEQ-killer" written all over it. It definitely wrecks somebody's day, given the chance to get within template distance. The standard Hellhound seems to be less popular these days, as it's S 6 and AP 4 template are not quite as good as you would expect for a main-armament weapon. It's template, however, can be placed up to 12" away from the weapon's muzzle, making it one of the most range-effective of the 3 variants.

Artillery has been referred to as the "King of Battle" before, and in Cities of Death this becomes even more apparent. The advantage of firing while remaining out-of-sight is pretty obvious, but the real trick to the artillery is matching the power of the weapon for the job you need it for, as well as ensuring that the range contributes to that role as well. For example, the standard Basilisk might be fine for normal games that take place on a 4x6' board, where the high-power and long range are better utilized, but on a smaller 4x4' board that is the city-fight standard for Alpha and Gamma level games... the minimum range of 36" basically renders this artillery piece as a glorified gun emplacement: needing to shoot what it sees. In a Cityfight, the best bang for your buck is going to come from one of two artillery pieces, in this author's opinion: either the Medusa or the Griffon. The Medusa does not suffer from a minimum range due to not being an barrage weapon. The only weapon that comes close to the power of a Medusa is the Basilisk, which suffers from a massive minimum range requirement. If you are going to have to shoot over iron-sights anyway, it may as well be with the bigger gun, right? The Griffon is one of my preferred artillery pieces for a Cities of Death game, because it has a very short minimum range and it has the Accurate Bombardment special rule that allows a re-roll of the scatter dice. At S 6, AP 4, it is still going to threaten infantry as well as light armor (because remember that barrage weapons resolve hits as if they hit the side armor, to represent the weaker top armor), but deliver its payload much more efficiently. At a maximum range of 48", that is more than enough for Alpha and Gamma level boards.

Now let's talk about Infantry Platoons... In this game, you need to make a choice with your infantry platoons. Are they going to be mobile, and take objectives? Or are they going to be stationary, and lay down covering fire down open avenues? If the former, then you are going to want to take assault weapons (i.e. flamers and whatnot). If it is the latter, you will want to outfit some squads with Heavy Weapon teams such as lascannons, missile launchers, autocannons, or mortars. This is one of the few game types where the mortars can come into play rather effectively, so I like to add a squad of them to tuck out-of-sight to harass the opponent's infantry. For my squads, I kit them according to what weaponry I think my army is missing... usually Lascannons or Missile Launchers. If you are keeping them mobile, blob them together and have your flamers lead the way, putting enemies to the torch. If you are static and using gun-teams, then you have the choice of blobbing them for extra-padding for the gun teams, or keeping them separate to take different firing lanes. Either way you run them, you can use your PCS accordingly. The PCS can either stay close-by for order support, or it can do its own thing. Be forewarned, however, and take note that a PCS is only half the size of a single squad and has many less soldiers to use as ablative wounds. It is considerably more fragile than your other units.

And lastly, I like using Storm Troopers. True, they are a lot more expensive than vets and they are not scoring, but consider this: they have better armor, better standard weapons, the same ballistic skill, and they also have the benefit of their Special Operations rule. This allows them to do whatever you think will suit your strategic plan best- infiltrate and cause pinning on the first round of firing, reroll your scatter dice on a deepstrike, or move-through-cover and scout. This allows a great amount of tactical flexibility. I prefer to deepstrike them accurately in the opponents backfield, distracting him and causing his advance to falter. He has to make the choice of doubling back to defeat this threat quickly, or hoping that the Storm Troopers won't kill everything if he doesn't outright destroy it right away. The more special weapons you have in this squad, the harder it is for him to ignore... 2 meltaguns make them definitely not a unit he wants deepstriking behind a squadron of Leman Russes or an ordinance battery. And of course, the AP 3 hot-shots are tailor-made for puncturing Space Marine power armor, or those Tau suits. Sure its still only S 3, but think of how many wounds you would get with those regular lasguns if your opponent wasn't allowed to roll all those saves... And if your opponent has power armor troops, chances are he isn't making them stick to cover that much. Most SM or CSM players get used to not needing the cover unless faced with heavy weaponry, so it is likely that a deepstriking unit that can puncture their armor will catch them unaware.

Finally, we come to Stratagems. If you haven't already, pop over to GW's website and look up their stratagems specifically released for the IG in CoD. I'll just go over some of my favorites:

First up is Forward Spotters. This can give you a theme to your army by itself... basically any unit that has a voxcaster can "spot" for ordinance weapons... meaning that if a vox-equipped unit has LOS to the target of the barrage, then the barrage weapon can re-roll the scatter dice as if it is twin-linked. This stratagem can be a huge help to armies that rely on mortars and ordinance batteries. It can even be of use to a Master of Ordinance! It is listed under the Dirty Tricks category.

Second is less useful, but a neat idea for conversionists or kit-bashers. It's called a Killdozer Tracked Ordinance device, and it is under the Armory category. Basically its a bomb on wheels that can escort "an elite infantry unit" and be used to blow up a single city ruin. I could see where this could have its uses, but it wouldn't be my first choice.

Third up is a Key Building, called a Voxbooster. If an officer is inside the building, this device adds an extra 12" inches to his command range. Can you imagine Creed giving orders up to 36" away? Especially on a smaller 4'x4' board, this could be invaluable.

Fourth is another Key Building, called a Communications Relay. As long as a friendly unit occupies it, the Array grants the player the ability to re-roll any of his reserve rolls he wishes. It says that nearly word-for-word on the website, so I see that this might be interpreted differently, but to me it is pretty clear that you only should get ONE reroll of a reserve roll per turn.

Fifth is definitely unique... but it would take some uniquely-converted miniatures to pull off. Its called Lascutters, and it is part of the Armory category. It allows any infantry unit to be outfitted with a single Lascutter, which in turn allows the unit to move through an impassable terrain feature to the other side by treating it as difficult terrain, with the condition that the entire unit must roll a high enough difficult terrain test to move through it in one turn. No stopping in the middle! Again, the rules are kind of vague, but I am sure you can't use the cutter to move through an impossible water feature! Using your head and playing fair, not being "That Guy", and generally being a good sport will show its valor here.

There are a few more, but they are not my favorites, so go on over to the site and check them out.

So, to Recap:
You can gear you're army to have more assault-proficient units.
You can opt for avoiding direct confrontation and approach from the flanks
Keep in mind that the units you choose will be fighting in closer quarters and at shorter ranges, and that line of sight will often be obstructed.
Also keep in mind there will be abundant cover, and to utilize it to your advantage.
There are a wide variety of stratagems available to Guard players, as written on GW's website article "Imperial Guard: Cities of Death Tactics."

Well, that concludes this in-depth look at Imperial Guard and their uses in Cities of Death games. Did I leave anything out? Feel free to add to this post by commenting!

Until next time,

Friday, August 21, 2009

Best in Show!

I have to hand it to the boys at Kingdom Wargames in Palmer, AK: they know how to put on a fun show. Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending their first organized tournament- a 1000 point Killpoints tournament. I learned a lot about my chosen army, and about the game in general. I didn't bring a camera, but my first opponent had his and promised me pics. Of course, I forgot to give him an email to send them to so I will have to track him down later... but I'll give you a quick synopsis on the three games I played:

All the games took place on small tables, only 30"x60" inches. Definitely not regulation size, and it hurt me a bit because of it. It definitely made me re-think tactics and my deployment strategies.

Game 1: Annihilation (Vs. Tau with lots of Kroot)

We agreed on using spearhead deployment due to the small tables, and set about deploying. I had my sniper PC Squad in a tower overlooking half the board, the infantry platoon lined up against a bit of blastscape terrain, and most of my chimeras and the russ strong-siding the other side. Deployment space was tight.

We both didn't do so hot on our rolling. It was kind of funny: the two 'shootiest' armies in 5th ed. couldn't hit the broad side of a Land Raider. I knew I was going to be hurting, as this was a kill points game, so I tried to focus-fire on units I thought I could kill quickly. I killed two of his battle-suits, and a team of stealth suits, as well as totally massacring a squad of assaulty-kroot (forgive my less-than-canon names, it was my first time playing tau) with a well-placed battle-cannon template.

He had high ground with his fire warriors, and he used his suits to quickly move around to flank the side armor of my Chimeras to pop them easily. Also, a battle suit deepstriking behind my lines spelled disaster for the Russ, who got popped with a fusion gun from the rear. He massacred my standard platoon with lots of shooting, and destroyed the mortar team I had behind my lines with a deepstriking stealth suit squad. His total killpoints came out to 5 to my 4, a very close game.

Game 2: Capture and Control (Vs. Grey Knights)

This is the only guy I remember the majority of his list- He had Captain Stern with two power armor Grey Knight squads in two land raiders. What's the word I am looking for? Pillbox? No.... Castle! Yes that's it. Drawbridge, moat, the whole 9 yards. He was a great guy though, and knew his stuff (despite taking a long hiatus from the game after 3rd edition and only recently getting back into 5th).

So he placed his objective as close to the one I placed as he possibly could on the board. We agreed that pitched battle deployment would work if we kept it to 3" from the table edge (or touching the table edge, in the case of his obnoxiously-large Land Raiders). I deployed my regular infantry squads over to my left, and strong-sided all my chimeras onto the right. I also threw my russ over on the left for good measure, because I knew that its battlecannon would be pretty pointless anyway until those GK got pried from their cans.

Fate was not with me this day, however. Even though I hit with nearly every lascannon I fired at those behemoths, not a single one was able to produce any satisfactory results. I managed to shoot off a TL Lascannon sponson, but that was it for the entire game. He had better luck. His machine spirit made them very handy at shooting both my tanks and my infantry... heavy bolter rounds ripped my ground-pounders apart and TL lascannon shots were simply brutal against my chimeras and my russ. My melta-vets got close enough to shoot off a volley, and out of 3 shots only 1 hit, and that was the shot that destroyed his TL Lacannon sponson, but failed to destroy the beast. The resulting fusillade of fire wiped out the entirety of that squad, leaving my Lord Commissar out by himself in the open. Shots splanged off his refractor field though, allowing him to scurry back to friendly lines to lend his command aura elsewhere. In fact, if it hadn't been for that aura, the last squad of vets I had holding my home objective would have fled, but they held their ground.

In the end, it was a tie, but I had definitely been over-matched in this confrontation. If it had been an annihilation game, there would be no question who won... he knocked out multiple chimeras, broke my standard infantry platoon and sent them fleeing, and popped my Russ like a ripe cherry. I managed to kill maybe 4 or 5 standard Grey Knights. Not exactly an even trade!

Game 3: Seize Ground (Vs. Orks)

I got slaughtered this game. We deployed up to 6" from the table edges, and his hordes darn near stretched across the board. This game was just fouled beyond all recognition from the start. At this point, it was late in the night, and being the two largest armies at the event, we knew it would take a while for us to complete a game. Thus, we hurried through steps we shouldn't have and forgot stuff. We didn't have enough objectives: we realized this after the game started. Wanting to be fair I put down another in a spot that neither of our troops were contesting. He already had two objectives on his table edge, held by his troops, and he stretched out a horde to the max of its coherency to take the other objective I had placed roughly in the middle of the board. He used a mad doc to get Feel No Pain on a horde, and coupled with fearless and the smaller table size, he charged into my lines pretty brutally. We had to end the game at turn 4 due to time restraints, but I only contested one objective in his back field. I must say, out of all the players I played last night, he was the least fun. Less forgiving, more exploitative of the rules... He just was not a fun opponent at all. For example, I was trying to flank one of his looted vehicles with my melta-vet squad. I measured from the back hatch, and lo, I was mere millimeters short of the 12" range of the meltas. If it were me, and I were already winning as much as he was, I would have given the other player the shot. There were other targets closer, but he proceeded to remind me that once you declare a target and measure, if you are out of range you miss automatically. I didn't argue, and so I couldn't do anything else. All in all, though, it was still a good night of gaming.

Prize Results:

Well its pretty safe to say I didn't win any awards for my generalship. I apparently am a painter first, gamer second! It's okay to me; I like it better that way. For my efforts at keeping my whole army painted to a high standard, I was awarded the Best In Show prize. Best In Show was judged also in part by the army-list, and how balanced the list was. Apparently I just need to learn how to use such a list, because most of the judges agreed that I had a pretty balanced list!

For my prize I was awarded the Warhammer Scenery set, "The Temple of Skulls"! It looks pretty awesome, and is made of very sturdy construction. A great piece to add to my terrain collection! These guys at Kingdom Wargames definitely know how to make 8 dollars go far! Check out the pictures above, and I'll bring you updated pictures of the scenery as I get it painted.

Until next time,

Thursday, August 20, 2009

T-minus 2 hours... the competition. My last Chimera is drying right now, and I am packing my stuff up to go. I made a slight change in my list: dropping the CCS in favor of a Commissar Lord for the HQ option. I lose a little bit of offensive firepower, but I can hide him away with a vet squad in a Chimera, instead of deploying him right away. He can also lend his aura to that vet squad, ensuring that they don't break and run.

The tournament organizer was impressed with some of the terrain I've produced (see the links to the right), and has asked me to bring some of it for this competition.

I'm hoping to have the most consistent theme in this event, so hopefully I'll get some sort of prize or award to add to my wall! Wish me luck!

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Project Updates- 8/19

Real life stole a couple days from me, but I'm back and nose to the grindstone for the last marathon-sprint to the finish! With 16 hours left to go, I am staying up into the wee hours to complete a few projects that needed wrapping up before tomorrow's competition.

Chimeras - One is painted but missing the dozerblade, the other has the dozerblade but is not painted yet. The latter should be getting its paintjob in the morning, if I have enough time before the competition.

Heavy Weapon teams - I have 2 lascannons primed, but the 2 autocannons need to be primed as well as painted.

Ghillie Snipers - I have 3 painted, the last one is just waiting on a black wash to finish the painting. They all need based properly.

Snap-together Cadian Stand-ins - I have 5 troopers base-coated, but needing to be painted before tomorrow's competition. They are stand-ins for the models that have voxes.

Here's an update on other projects I have put on the backburner:

Griffon Project - Halted until further notice. Probably won't resume until well after the competition.

Special Characters - Halted until after the competition. I currently have kit-bashed together representative models for Creed, Straken, and Marbo. All have been based to a much higher standard than any other models, to catch attention and denote their special character status.

Friday, August 14, 2009

List-building: 1000pt. semi-Mech IG

After multiple re-writes and revisions, I finally am satisfied with the list I am bringing to next week's tournament. Here's a breakdown of how the list is supposed to work:

The CCS and PCS are both identically-equipped. The pair of snipers, with the autocannon, are intended to be effective against a very particular range of targets- heavy infantry and very light vehicles. The sniper rifle lends the rending ability, which can make the rifle effective against vehicles up to 11 AV, which basically means either Rhinos or the side armor of tougher transports.

The infantry platoon squads are my backfield defenders. Any objectives near my deployment are their responsibility, and in killpoint games they are the base of fire that my other units maneuver from. A lascannon in each infantry squad gives them some anti-vehicular punch with good range, and the mortar teams can lend indirect fire from nearly any point on a standard map.

Three veteran squads in Chimeras, one melta, one plasma, and one grenade launcher squad, are the land-grabbers and main combatants. Each has a specialized role to play. Both the plasma and grenade launcher squads can be effective on both infantry and light vehicles, but only the melta squad is effective against heavy vehicles. Hopefully, I will get the choice of deploying second to determine where each squad would work best based on the unit they are most likely to encounter.

The Leman Russ is pretty self-explanatory. I would have liked to field more than one, but both the lack of another model and the low point restriction made the venerable Russ a luxury. The russ is an effective infantry-support platform, and can be used for either anti-tank or anti-infantry. It's job will be to control the mid-field, or to shake loose any staunch defenders that oppose the mech-vets.

This army is definitely going to take some practice using. It should be effective against MEQs or Mechanized armies, which I suspect to see a lot of. It should also test my concepts of how the game is played, by forcing me to specialize squads for certain roles. No more of the "one size fits all" mentality I applied with my Space Marines. I hope to find this army competitive and rewarding to play.

FoxPhoenix's 49th Alascadian Imperial Guard


Sniper x2, Autocannon Team


Infantry Platoon-
Mortar Squad, Squad 1 Lascannon, Squad 2 Lascannon, PCS Autocannon, PCS Sniper x2, PCO Boltpistol

Veteran Squad-
Meltaguns x3, Chimera with Pintile Stubber and Hull Flamer

Veteran Squad-
Grenade Launcher x3, Chimera with Pintile Stubber

Veteran Squad-
Plasmagun x2, Chimera with Pintile Stubber

Heavy Support

Leman Russ Battle Tank-
Pintile Stubber, Lascannon, Heavy Bolter Sponsons

Points Summary:
HQ: 70
Troops: 732
Elites: 0
Fast Attack: 0
Heavy Support: 195
Total: 997

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ghillie Snipers

I found this post on Dakka Dakka about using gauze bandages to emulate the effect that ghillie suits create on snipers. -Read it here- I immediately got lightbulbs flashing over my head, especially after reading how cheap the basic unit of Ratling snipers are in the IG codex. These are my "Counts-as" Ratling snipers, after a quick ten minutes of converting. If you want a pair for yourself, grab a couple of standard guardsman and try this:

Method: cutting squares of gauze from a bandage square, wet it with watered-down PVA glue and drape it over the trooper, using a brush to make it conform to the body. Leave the face uncovered, and make sure that it doesn't appear that the guy is going to trip on his ghillie. Add several layers of this method, but only enough to break up the conventional human outline. Marshmallow/spaghetti men are a no-go.

For the lasgun: I simply cut off the standard las-barrel, drilled a small hole in the main lasgun body, and cut off the antennae from a vox-pack and inserted the rod in the hole (insert joke here) with the fat part at the end for the barrel.

Since my troopers don't operate in vegetation, the painting was not hard at all. I just base-coated with my standard uniform color, painted the boots, painted the flesh, and then heavily globbed on some black wash for some of the easiest to convert and easiest to paint models I have put together in a while. The ghillie suit is not always meant to simulate foliage, its primary goal is to break up the normal shape of a man that might be discerned by sharp eyes even if the sniper is well-camouflaged. I think this method simulates that pretty darn well, don't you?
Until next time,

Sunday, August 9, 2009

ANOTHER Griffon update...

Ported the mortar tube, retooled the bipod, and added a crewman (the assistant gunner that relays firing orders from the fire-control computer).

I think I am going to call it quits on this project until after the next competition.

Griffon Project Update

I was looking at some pictures on the internet of my intended result for the Griffon project: a M106A4 Mortar Carriage. I decided that the current design of converted Griffon I had did not fit well enough, so I found my rhino top-hatch doors and got to work.

I had to cut the doors apart, as I had initially glued them together. I also reduced the length of the barrel. Furthermore, I fashioned a simple bipod from cut sprue pieces, and mounted the weapon to the floor with a piece of poster-tack. I feel a lot better about this version of the Griffon I have converted, as it more accurately conveys a mechanized heavy mortar to me. I get tired of seeing the same old conversions on chimera hulls, so I thought I would try this one differently. Well, there you go. Comments, questions?

Until next time,

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Some random pictures

I took these while scooting some stuff around on my home-board today, and I thought you might like to see! I really should get a better shot of that Chimera for you all, but I can't find my lightbox lately. All the same, there you go!
Until next time,

Friday, August 7, 2009

Terrain Workshop: Easy Tree Armatures

I wanted to bring back terrain building posts, as I feel that they are among the more useful of my posts, but I do not care to make it a weekly thing again. Thus, I am going to label all the terrain posts I do from this point on as "Terrain Workshop" posts.

First up: Today I tried my hand at making some tree armatures. For now, they will serve as dead trees until I find suitable flock (or motivation) to make them live, or at least dying.

What you will need:
*Paperclips (jumbo for taller trees, small paperclips make decent shrubbery or short trees as well as smaller branches)
*Hot glue gun
*Basing material (cardboard, foamboard, or cork)
*2 sets of pliers
*Craft paints

Use the two pairs of pliers to twist the paperclips into the tree's roots, trunk, and top branches. Usually it takes at least 3 paperclips for this, but the more is usually the better. Cut out the base for your area terrain from the material of your preference (I used cork in this example).

The gluegun should be hot by now, so use it to glue the wire armature to the area terrain base. After it is secure, simply use the hot glue to give the wire armature some shape. I have heard that you can alternatively use air-drying clay for more control, but hot glue is generally a lot cheaper. I start large at the base, building up the trunk before moving out to the branches. If you get the strings from the hot glue, you'll need to get rid of them, so your miniatures don't become entangled in them. Also be sure to cover all the paperclip armature, because the metal does not hold paint very well. Let this glue harden completely before going on to the final step.

Paint it. If you have other terrain pieces, use a similar method for the ground as you have done before. For the trees, I suggest either a dark brown, or a light brown drybrushed with a light grey for a dead appearance.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


After last night's gaming session, I realized that what I need to compliment my mostly-infantry army is the long arm of the Artillery. Being broke, I desperately looked around for something to sell... and came across my two rhinos for my space marine army. Space marines not being my favorite army, I decided to steal an idea I saw on the Dakka Dakka forum: I was going to use them to convert them into Griffons!

They would very much look similar to the old M113 mortar carriages used by US troops. I set to it, first stripping as much of the old set as possible before cutting the top hatch free. Luckily, I had still held on to the old turret collar bit, and was able to put that in its place. A bit of PVC pipe later and... presto! I also used some plasticard to fashion a bit more coverage over the gaping hole. These two mortars will make a nice addition to my army, providing some much-needed long-range fire support.

I'll probably run them as having enclosed crew compartments, since that is only logical with this configuration. I sill need to mount some hull weaponry, but I am sure I have some heavy bolter hull weapons lying around here somwhere.

No more gunline stalemates for me! I still have to paint them up, and I'll probably add some pretty stuff, but I'll keep you informed.

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Competition Results 8/05

Well, it's almost midnight, and I just came through the door to my home. I would love to give you good pictures, but unfortunately my batteries were dead in my camera... I guess that's Murphy's Law for you. Not everything was glum though... I had a good time and got to test my mettle against another Guard player. Also, a person there was taking photographs, and he promised to give me some of them later of the games I played. We'll see about that...

The event was fun, free, and had some great prizes, and the gaming atmosphere was very casual. This was awesome for me, being new to the competitive circles, as I will be the first to tell you that I am a painter more than a player. The atmosphere was very casual, in fact, as they did not have set rounds or judge on battlepoints. Instead, there were awards for the "Best Overall List", "Most Epic Moment", and 2 door prizes. Much to my surprise, I won the "Most Epic Moment" award! First trophy to my collection! My prize: the basing kit you see pictured above. This is perfect, seeing as my basing for the IG needs work. I'll tell you how I won it:

Imperial Guard on Imperial Guard-
We played on an unusually-sized board, a 5'x5' board with a white tablecloth and some interesting ice terrain made from what looked to be hardened bits of mattress foam (with a really cool blue tinge) and stacked pieces of white cardboard that represented area terrain. Most of our units were infantry. He held a numbers advantage, as he ran 2 fairly-large platoons whereas I ran more points-heavy veteran squads. My opponent had enough points for a squadron of LRBT's, and an additional Punisher, along with a roughrider squad, a sentinel, and commissars sprinkled through-out.. So he moved up his squadron on my right and blasted away at my front armor of the LRBT, the shots bouncing off the hull. I blew the roughrider squad to pieces with a well-placed Battle Cannon shot on my first turn of shooting, ignoring his squadron and decimating a squad I actually could kill. He kept shooting at it until he was able to get at my side armor on a later turn, destroying it. By that time, I had advanced up some of my veteran squads. I inched up my plasmagun vets, hoping to get a shot at his side armor where they would have a chance to penetrate, but a well-placed volley of battle-cannon shots reduced them to a single trooper. That little guy defied all the odds, and passed his leadership test and pressed onward. I jokingly implied to my opponent that because my vets had been equipped with the Demolitions doctrine, this single trooper was going to assault his Russ squadron and do his darndest to take one of them with him. He knew I was joking, but at the same time I kept true to what I said and inched him closer and closer. Finally, the trooper must have been too close for comfort to his Russ's because he declared his squadron was going to shoot him. 2 templates, and 2 lascannon shots later, nothing was left of the brave trooper but his boots. The mental imagery, though, of the lone trooper watching his friends and squadmates turn to pink mist around him but finding the courage to assault a squadron of tanks single-handedly, apparently won me the award.

Things I learned about my force:
*Too top-heavy wargear-wise. Drop the fluffy stuff (I already knew that though).
*Meltagun Vets = Gold. Get more of them, and the Chimeras to take them to battle.
*Stormtroopers: don't rely on them to come in reserve. I deepstruck them, only to have a mishap and have them delayed. They never returned (rolled a lot of ones on reserve rolls.) If I am going to take them in reserve in the future, I need an astropath.
*LRBT's work just fine as single units, but you should always take more than 1 so the 1 tank doesn't get singled out (I already knew that too but had to deal with it)
*Static Gunlines don't do so hot against other Static Gunline IG builds, unless you have the heavy artillery to force them to move.
*Sentinels require squadrons too, or at least multiples, to be effective.
*More tanks, more tanks, more tanks! I need chimeras as well as LRBTs or Ordinance Batteries to make my list more effective. The Carapace is kind of unnecessary for my Mechvets, as the vehicle is supposed to take the brunt of the damage. I would gladly sacrifice the carapace for the 30 points towards a Chimera for the squad.
*Alternatively, if you're going to do a Gunline Guard list, then you have to make use of the cheap infantry available to you. The Gunline's strength is numbers: too many to eliminate, too many bodies to wade through. He had this down better than I did, and he blobbed up giant squads of them with commissars to press them on. It ultimately was a much more effective tactic than my veteran squads were. Vets are almost tailor-made to be Mechanized, rather than trying to plug a hole in the front of a Gunline.
*I was really lacking in the anti-tank weaponry too, with only a sentinel, a mechvet meltagun squad, and a single LRBT being effective against heavy vehicles. I might remedy this in the short-term future by adding Lascannon teams to the regular Infantry Platoon squads that didn't move much anyway. Put them in a position to cover a fire lane and leave them for a while, and they should do fine.

Well, it was a fun experience, and the event organizer tells me that it is going to be a regular event, once every two weeks. I had a blast, and will definitely be going again. In the shorter-term, we talked of doing a cityfight game in the meantime, so it will be fun to see what that is like with a more competitive opponent as well.

Well, time to hit the hay. Hopefully I'll get some pictures from that guy soon. Thanks Anson for putting on a great event, and having a great game! (He beat me, 3-1 Killpoints, if anybody wanted to know!)

I did it!

It is a mere hour before I have to leave to go to the next town, where the event is taking place. Not more than a few minutes ago, I finished putting the finishing touches on my most monumental achievment to date: I finished 2 full veteran squads, 3 flame-thrower troops, 2 voxcasters, 1 medic, 1 sniper, and 3 mortar teams, as well as based every single IG infantry model I own. I was up till daylight last night, and woke early to continue my work, so my back and neck are killing me. It was all worth it, however, as I feel I have definitely reached a new milestone in my painting skills.

So lets see... I think mortar teams count as 2 infantry models or 1 IC, right? So that comes out to...

33 painting points in one day and one night's time.

I'll let you know how I do, and hopefully this time I'll remember to take pictures!

Until next time,

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Change of plans: Crunch Time!

Instead of attending the escalation tournament later this month, which has a pretty hefty entrance fee, I decided to attend a new game store's grand opening night, which is hosting games and contests for 40k players. The biggest difference is that this tournament takes place tomorrow night, instead of two and a half weeks from now... and I am only about 2/3rds done painting my army. This event will have prizes for the popular choice of best-painted-army, and I intend to finish my 1500 point list before tomorrow night. Luckily, I got the big two pieces done in the last few days: the Armored Sentinel and the Chimera Transport. I unfortunately do not have time to shoot pictures, but I took a minute while some paint dries on my infantry to hammer this post out for you guys. This will be my biggest crunch ever, as I have exactly 24 hours from the writing of this post to finish 35 infantry models, as well as base everything I had previously finished painting in addition to the 35 models I have yet to do. Well, I better get to it! I will let you know how it turned out, and hopefully I'll remember my camera this time!
Until next time,

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A new month, a new opportunity

Today is the start to a new goal. I have been invited to attend a local "Escalation" tournament, in which there will be three rounds. The first game starts at 500 points, the next at 1000 points, and the final round will be a standard 1500 point game. This sounds perfect for me to test my new Guard army in a more competitive setting, and also serves as a new motivator to have my force painted by the time of the competition, which takes place August 22 this month. Hopefully the scheduling works out, but I plan to attend, and so I begin my work on preparing for it.

First project nearly complete for the month is a Regimental Standard Bearer. I opted for a simple standard, quick and easy-like. I still have lettering and decals to apply, but this serves as a sufficient base to work with. I expect to be done with this fellow by tomorrow, and be working on another veteran squad (or possibly a chimera) by then.

I will be posting my new proposed lists for analysis when I draw them up. I am unsure yet as to the restrictions that will be placed on the way the points are spent in the lower-level games, but only the standard force organization rules apply then I already have a good idea of what I will be bringing to the table.

Until next time,


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