Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Home at last... and some Space Hulk Terminators

We finally got home today... and I got to base some of the terminators from the Space Hulk set for use in my Blood Angel successors.

Sgt. Valencio

Brother Leon

Brother Scipio

Brother Noctis

Brother Omnio

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My latest miniature: baby Rochelle!

I've been working on this one for a while now... and this sculpt came out larger than anticipated!

Miniature jokes aside, my wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl at 6:53 AM this morning at our local hospital. She was a bit bigger than we had guessed she would be, weighing in at 9 lbs, 6 oz.! She is much larger than our son was when he was born (8 lbs, 12.5 oz.) and she appears to be healthy! A proud dad can't ask for much more!

The way labor started was kinda funny, in an ironic kind of way. I had packed up 1500 points of Blood Angels successors and gone to the next town for a 4 player game: three 1500 point players vs. a 4500 point Eldar player. We had spent the better part of 2.5 hours setting up the board, fixing the lists, and deploying the units. I literally had just finished the last model of my first movement phase when my cell phone started blowing up with my house number on it. My wife was frantic, due in large part to her contractions being every 5 minutes or less, and demanded that I rush home immediately. So I did. About 12 hours later, Rochelle made her debut.

So... we're tired but proud parents of another beautiful baby. We'll be held here for another day or two, so don't expect many projects to get accomplished until we get back home and settled down!

So thank you, Mrs. Foxphoenix, for giving me the best gift a daddy can ask for.

Until next time,

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On Foxphoenix's Painting Table: Leman Russ Executioner finished!

I finished up my Leman Russ variant today, the Executioner type. I started running out of black wash on this one, so I had to mix up my own. It didn't turn out too bad, but I definitely prefer store-bought washes. Anyway, enjoy!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Foxphoenix's Painting Table Update: 9/21 Afternoon

The last post was in the early morning. Now it is the afternoon, and I've made progress on two of the projects I had, the Veteran Assault Squad and the Predator tank. The Veteran Assault Squad is completely done now, just waiting for a clear-coat. The Predator is nearly complete, I just need some finalizing weathering techniques to wrap it up. Any day now, my wife will pop. I'll continue painting until then...

Until next time,

On Foxphoenix's Painting Table: 9/21

My wife is about ready to pop, and I can't go back to work until she does, so right now we are playing the waiting game. To make matters worse, my Xbox broke (lovely red rings of death and the warranty has expired), so I'm back to doing some painting and kitbashing.

First up is a little addition I put together for my IG army. This is a WIP of an Ordos Malleus Inquisitor Lord and a few members of his retinue. (The "mystic" also can double as an Imperial Priest.) He will boost my IG's effectiveness against psykers with a LD 10 Psychic hood.

Next up is a Predator tank I have been repainting. I needed to tone down how red the tank was, to bring it more in line with the rest of my Blood Angel successor chapter. I am giving it a little bit of a Blood red highlight, but for the majority it is going to remain Mechrite red like the rest of the chapter.

Third up, we have the project I devoted the better part of a day to: A Veteran Assault squad. It actually took a bit longer to make these then other projects, because I had to convert them from commander models I had already put together. The squad would consist of one powerfist with a plasma pistol, two power swords, a meltagun, and a regular joe with a bolt pistol and CCW.

Lastly, I finished the base for the Colonel Straken model. A minor detail, but necessary all the same.

So, with the Xbox broke, expect to see more projects coming to fruition!

Until next time,

Thursday, September 10, 2009

He's behind you...

Marbo is finally complete, right down to his base! Normally, I kinda shirk on the bases, but for my IC's I finally got out the expensive basing stuff and got to it.

For those of you that remember my Blood Angel successors, you'll recognize the helmet on his base... those BA have become regular opponents so it was only fitting to give Marbo a trophy from that chapter...

I kept him pretty simple. No fancy techniques, no terribly-complicated kitbashes, and even his base is relatively simple. Well, here's my first 2 painting points for the month after my brief hiatus. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Inciting the Mob: IG Hordes

As many of you may have noticed, I am adding to my Imperial Guard army with Catachan infantry garnered from Ebay auctions. I netted 48 of these buggers for around 25 bucks, so I was not too picky with the condition they were in upon arrival. For the record, I hate getting models that were assembled with super glue...

Anyway, after repairing the models, swapping around kit, and constructing the two I was missing from spare bits: I finally have a full platoon of infantry. I managed to outfit each sergeant with one of those really huge-and-mean looking swords/knives, enabling me to count them as either power weapons or regular CCWs as the list requires.

I even had enough bits to construct a PC squad with all flamers, to give a further assault-oriented edge to the unit. I've been playtesting a few ideas, and I have some results:

If you plan to do any assaulting: blob (combine) your infantry squads up and keep them light. Don't stick any heavy weapons that will weigh them down. Straken is an expensive character, but he is a godsend if you are going to be doing any rousing infantry charges. Furious charge and counter-attack are not special rules to be taken lightly, as they can exponentially increase the effectiveness of this platoon on the charge. 5 Sergeants with powerswords on the charge = 15 power attacks made at S4... as effective as a 5-man vanguard squad with power weapons (albeit at lower initiative). What's more, is all those 45 infantry to the rear are great ablative-wound-takers. Your Sergeants can just shrug off the attacks onto their lesser brethren, and keep fighting on.

Low leadership? Worried you will take more wounds than your opponent? That's not always a bad thing. Let them fail that leadership test... as long as you have your Company commander behind them to give the "Get back in the fight!" order, this will put the squad in a prime position to let loose with those lasguns. That sort of volume of fire is bound to do some damage, even on venerated Space Marine units. My last playtest pitted a list that included this platoon against a Blood Angel list, and this platoon was able to eat up two assault squads and a tactical squad without taking significant casualties. How? What they couldn't kill outright in the assault, they would decimate with a fusillade of lasgun rounds after the regroup. It was a bit risky, but the 10 point addition of a vox to each the infantry squad(s) and the command squad made it worth it. Counter-attack made them receive charges like champs too, getting the extra attack (if not the S and initiative bonuses).

This platoon type is spendy though, and can only ever focus on one target at a time. It is also awful-slow, and requires decent deployment space. Let's not forget to mention the monotony of moving 55 infantry models just for one turn... and moving them every time you assault or receive a charge... it is quite a task. Experienced horde army players may be used to this, but it is new to me. If you are like me, you much prefer to push a couple tanks around and get right into the shooting.

For that reason, I probably will not make horde IG my preferred style, just because I am too lazy to move that many infantry models. Just be aware though, that these kinds of armies have their merits. Don't underestimate the Queen of Battle, the poor bloody infantry.

For the hobby aspect of it, I am not looking forward to painting another 50 infantry models like I did last month... But hopefully since I don't plan on them being integral to my list for this month's competition, I won't have to meet a deadline to getting them done.

So what are some of the ways you run your IG platoons?

Until next time,

Friday, September 4, 2009

Photographing Miniatures: The Kinda Easy FoxPhoenix Way

Lately I have seen a lot of posts on forums and such of new players trying to get some feedback on their freshly-painted miniatures, but the pictures are just so fuzzy that nobody can see their work to help them. Miniature photography is difficult, and most people don't know the basics to this different style of photographing (I know I sure didn't). I want to help remedy that.

You don't need a bunch of fancy equipment... quite the opposite actually. As long as you have a decent digital camera, the rest is relatively easy to procure. Let's jump right into the basics:


The camera you use should have at least a couple key functions for photographing miniatures: A "Macro" function (paramount to this type of photography), a "White Balance" setting of some fashion (some label this as simply WB or AWB), and an adjustable exposure setting. The rest of the functions such as shutter speed and stuff are really outside of my knowledge, and the scope of this guide. Stick to the basics at first. A tripod is useful, but not essential.

Light Source-
You may have heard that daylight is the best light source... but I say that isn't always the case. I prefer to use a simple approach to lighting... the two lamp method (as pictured above). Take two normal desk lamps with incandescent bulbs, and position one immediately above the subject, and the other about 45 degrees pointing down on the subject. If your camera is on a tripod, you may need to adjust the height of the frontal light source, but you'll figure that out.

I use a simple home-made backdrop made from the bottom of a box of diapers and a piece of paper taped into it. This works for around 80% of the photographing I do of my miniatures... the rest are either too large or the white paper washes out some of the color. Experimenting a little with the background can yield satisfying results in your photography. Try switching out the white for a black if you have a very-brightly colored miniature. A light gray might be a decent compromise for most projects, but I haven't tried it myself.

OK, now that we have all the basics, we can go about taking the darn picture. Set your subject(s) up on your backdrop. I like to position them closer to the back if I am doing a group shot, as they will fit against your backdrop better. Position the lighting as described or photographed above.

The higher the resolution of the camera, the better. If you want to save space on your SD card, I'll write another article on enhancing the pictures you take later, such as cropping and changing the size, but you will need to have a higher resolution in order to make this work. Most cameras need to be at least 6-12 inches away from their subject, even in macro mode. This is called the "Focal point", and it determines whether or not the subject will be in-focus. If you put the camera too close, the camera can't adjust its focus to see it. Since most cameras use automatic-digital focusing, this can cause a big problem.

So, enable your macro setting. It usually looks like a small flower or something, and it enables your camera to focus in on objects that are close. The next setting you want to adjust is your white balance, sometimes referred to as WB, or AWB. You should be using two lamps of the same kind of bulb, otherwise you might notice the colors don't seem right in your pictures. If you are using "regular" filament bulbs, then incandescent is the setting you are looking for. If you have a fancier desk that utilizes fluorescent bulbs, there should be a setting for that too. Set it accordingly.

Finally, adjust the exposure setting. On many cameras, this is done in increments of thirds in the positive or the negative. For example, setting my exposure to -1/3 makes the picture slightly darker. You are going to want to set your exposure up at least by +1/3, or even possibly 2/3 or 1. This will lighten the photo and should pick out more of the details then it normally would. Play around with it a little and find out.

Take the picture! If you have ever fired a rifle before, you may remember some tips. tips such as control your breathing, squeeze and don't jerk, etc. You need to be as still as possible to keep the camera in-focus. This is where the tripod comes in handy. If your camera has it, setting the timer with a tripod can ensure you get the least amount of movement.

Voila! You should have passable pictures from the get-go. Next time, I'll go over how to clean up these images digitally by using free/readily available software that most computers come standard with.

Until next time,

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Let's Talk Tactics: Leman Russ Demolisher Kit

This post is a lot like a continuation of the review I did for this kit a few days ago. Since that post, I have since playtested every variant in a couple different configurations to try and determine what works and what doesn't. I'll share the tips I picked up with you.

1. Remember, the Demolisher kit is still a variant of the Leman Russ. It does have higher side and rear armor, but not in a significant amount... So don't think of it as a Land Raider. Keep its flanks guarded.

2. Each Variant has a specific job to do. Think of your Demolisher kit as a toolbox, and you need to pick the right ones for the job at hand. List synergy is more important than the effectiveness of this tank individually.

3. Most of these variants are designed to be most effective at medium to close ranges. This opens up your tank to assaults. Again, implement a strategy to guard your flanks and keep as many assaulting units at bay as possible. A tactic I have seen used is surrounding the tank with a tarpit of regular guardsman.

4. (This is more of a modeling tip than anything else-) Remember that this kit does not have the accessory sprue. I almost always put a pintile-mounted Heavy Stubber on my vehicles to add a defensive weapon. 10 points for a weapon that gets three 36" range shots at S4, on the move even, isn't too shabby. You may have to find other sources to get these stubbers, but it is the one upgrade I always recommend.

Well that does it for the general tips, now on to variant specific tips:


Remember KISS- keep it simple stupid! The Demolisher is used for similar purposes as the regular LRBT, albeit at a shorter range. It is slightly more powerful though, making it better for taking out groups or units you really don't want around. It eats terminators for breakfast, instant-killing them and bypassing their armor. If they fail their invul. saves, their dead meat... even those fancy terminator chaplains and captains. It also has a very high S ordinance main weapon, making it effective at destroying enemy vehicles. Adding Pask to this tank gives you an effective close-support tank, at a pretty comparable price to the standard LRBT. Since the demolisher is designed to work at short range, the hull weapon you choose really comes down to list synergy again. If you are lacking anti-tank firepower at range, then a lascannon is a safe bet. If you plan on using it as a line-breaking infantry-eating device of devastation, a Heavy Flamer is a great idea. The Heavy Bolter is really only useful if you want a bit farther reach than the Flamer, but in most cases I would much rather take the Flamer for this variant. The sponsons you choose also goes into list synergy... and the planned role the tank will play. To save points and keep your tank from being too points-heavy, sometimes it is better to not take sponsons. If you want to augment your tank's role, then sponsons can come in handy (especially if you don't plan on moving the tank a whole lot). If you intend on continuing your trend with a close-range tank killer, then Multi-Melta sponsons will really make this tank a lethal close-range bulldog. Plasma-cannon sponsons are spendy, but can further augment the role of heavy-infantry killer. For a cheap way to make the tank absolutely dangerous to regular infantry, adding Heavy Flamer sponsons is the way to go. Again, heavy bolters only have limited uses. If you don't want to spend the extra 20 points for PC sponsons, then the cheap 20 point H.Bolter sponsons are an alternative to give you some more 36" range weapon shots. Me... I'd just go with the PC sponsons.


I think this tank is overcosted for the role it is designed for. Pretty much, you are not taking this tank to do anything other than kill regular infantry, such as Ork Boyz or Guardsman. This tank is designed for math-hammerists, it seems. Twenty S5 shots sounds great on paper... until you consider that the tank's BS is a measly 3. That pretty much guarantees that about half those shots are going to miss. Factor in that there is no AP for the Punisher's Gatling gun, and that it's range is limited to 24", and you see where the problem comes in. Like the Demolisher, this puts you in close range, and in danger of being assaulted. To really make this tank effective in the role it is designed for, it takes a lot of points. To ensure that more than half (on average, that is) of your shots hit, you need to upgrade it with Pask. Now we're looking at 230 points. H.Bolter sponsons for more shots... plus a pintile stubber for a defensive weapon... you're looking at a 260 point tank for killing some infantry. Ouch. On the other hand though, if you're going to spend that many points on it, it should do a pretty substantial amount of damage to it's intended targets. With all the bolters added, that comes out to 29 S5 shots that have a 66.6 percent chance of hitting (with pask), plus the pintile stubber rounds. You're bound to kill a handful of regular infantry models with that many shots hitting their targets. I still feel as though there are better alternatives to this tank, however. If you want to take this variant, then remember it's intended role and use it as such... don't try putting Lascannons, Multi-meltas, or Plasma-cannons on it.


This one is a fun variant, but on the spendy-side. A Plasma cannon that spits out 3 blast pie-plates in one shot is a pretty great main weapon for destroying termies or light transports. The most expensive by far, though. The plasma cannon sponsons adds a pair of pie-plates you can throw down, but at a pretty heavy price. Of course, this variant makes mince-meat of infantry squads better than the Punisher (in my opinion), so it is probably worth it! Adding Pask doesn't help its role much, unless you are using it to pop light transports, but since the Plasma cannons use the scatter dice the fifty-point addition is not totally necessary. I would normally take a Lascannon as the hull weapon, to ensure the tank can defend itself against other armor, as well as insta-kill any independent characters. None of the other hull weapons really aid in this variant's role. For sponson weapons... really for me its only a choice between running it without sponsons or with Plasma-cannons. Again, none of the other sponsons really add anything to the tank's main roles. You could take Multi-meltas to further the anti-vehicle capability, but that's a matter of preference.

In summary, the most cost-efficient variant is likely to be the Demolisher. A high S blast weapon with low AP makes for a fine main gun, albeit a short ranged one. The most overcosted for the role is the Punisher. It is unable to fulfill its role with any sort of efficiency without very heavy points investments. The most expensive period is the Executioner, but it is very effective at its intended role. All of them are great tanks though, and have their uses. Just remember to synchronize them with your lists, and specialize them for their intended roles.


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