Saturday, May 21, 2011

Making the Hobby Our Own: Alternate Models

Before you read my post, read this:

It is a post by a fellow blogger posing the question: What is keeping you from using alternate models for 40k? Pretty much there is only one reason: tournaments (ok, maybe personal taste as well). However, since GW no longer puts on nearly as many events as independent retailers, I believe it is up to the independent retailers to make the jump and allow alternate models in 40k tournaments.

Obviously, this would need to be carefully regulated. For example, base sizes must be strictly adhered to. This helps prevents abuse of modeling for a gaming reason. Maybe "counts-as" models must be pre-approved, and detailed in the army list that you hand each opponent in the battle. Regardless of the particulars, I believe that it is our prerogative to "Make the game our own" by using non-GW products.

In the spirit of that school of thought, I am showcasing several models I commonly use in my local scene to play 40k. Above is a picture of a Cyberdemon from Fantasy Flight Game's OOP boardgame based on the ID computer game: Doom. Having re-based him on a properly-sized base, and giving him weapons modifications to match WYSIWYG, I now present him as a Daemon Prince in my CSM army. (Not many people do daemons as good as Doom!)

Next up are some zombie figures I use from the Wargames Factory. They sell several multi-part plastic models for gaming at affordable prices. I use the zombies pictured above for lesser daemons in my current CSM army. I believe it adds flavor to a Nurgle list!

Lastly, I offer another Wargames Factory plastic model, coupled with the excellent head pieces produced by Pig Iron Productions. These have replaced my IG, as they are nearly half the cost (18 troopers in a box for 15-20 dollars).

In the current economy, it pays to remember that GW is a publicly-owned company, and not really in it for the long haul outside of providing long-term profit opportunities to its investors. That is why you see things like staff-cutbacks, price raises every year, and so on. If the company is not turning a profit in the here-and-now, then the investors are not happy, which is bad news for the company as a whole.

What I'm getting at is: while the prices of models keep going up, I don't see my paycheck getting any bigger. In fact, with fuel prices being what they are, I'm seeing half my income going into the gas tank. That means I have less and less to spend on models these days as it is, and then some due to the price hikes. Therefore, if I don't buy it used, I'll be looking for alternative models. I suggest we all do the same, until GW makes some major changes to its business model.

Please feel free to discuss this via the comments box!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Discussion: Nurgle CSM Pt. 2

Continuing the discussion began in Part 1.

To continue my justification of my units, we move on to the Troops section.

Plague Marines-
Plague marines have been hailed as the single most worthy Troops choice in the CSM codex, and I am inclined to agree. Though I think they are a bit overcosted currently, Plague Marines have a few notable benefits over their standard CSM brethren:
A) They have increased toughness, as well as Feel No Pain. This makes them tanks to small arms fire.
B) They have access to 2 special weapons per squad, which allows small fire-teams to pack a vicious wallop.
C) They are troop choices, and thus are a scoring unit.
D) They have blight grenades, which allow them to take some of the punch out of units assaulting them.

However, for all these benefits, there are several notable drawbacks to Plague Marines:

A) Feel no Pain is negated by anything AP 1 or 2, or that would cause Instant-death (I.e. force weapons, weapons with double the strength of the model's toughness, etc), and power weapons. With no invulnerable save, this means that Plague Marines are especially vulnerable to high-strength or low AP weapons like Demolisher cannons, Lascannons, and Plasma. Since they cost a lot of points, a few heavy weapons can ruin a squad of Plague Marines. Close combat can also ruin them if they are up against Power Weapon wielders of any type.
B) Without some form of transportation, they are quite slow (as foot-troops are oft to be). With the amount of mechanization in 5th, they really need a transport to get them across the field faster.
C) They lack access to heavy weapons, instead having to rely on shorter-ranged special weapons such as the meltagun and plasmagun. This isn't a severe drawback, but without transports, armies like Tau and IG can outrange them and destroy them before they can close the distance.

Summoned Lesser Daemons-
My list, with the models on hand, was severely lacking in the troops department. I needed something to capture and hold the objectives, so I turned to Summoned Lesser Daemons to fill the gap. They aren't too bad, surprisingly, and can even turn the tide for some objective-based battles! They have a few things going for them:
A) They have a +5 invul save. This means that they can sometimes withstand attacks that would have wiped out whole squads of Plague Marines, such as Demolisher cannons and the like.
B) They are fairly inexpensive compared to other choices in the codex.
C) With personal icons, they can bail out some of your other units with a precision deep-strike. They can also Assault the same turn they arrive, a huge bonus.

The downside to them is that they HAVE to be held in reserve. You don't get a choice. This means that you cannot use them for screening your other units at the start of the game or similar uses. The other downside is that they lack offensive punch, having only regular CCWs and 2 attacks at strength 4, so they are no better in assaults than regular CSMs but they have no shooting attacks either.

Summoned Greater Daemon-
To help fill the heavy anti-tank gap, I put in a Summoned Greater Daemon. This is a hit-or-miss strategy for me. On the plus side, if I successfully summon a Daemon by sacrificing a champion from elsewhere in the list, I get another Monstrous Creature that can chew through tank armor in assaults. Not so great is that I have to sacrifice a perfectly good model on the table to get him, and there is no guarantee of when the Daemon will arrive. Still, an extra MC in this list helps give the opponent another target to split his fire on, helping take some of the heat off the Daemon Princes. During my last game, a Summoned Greater Daemon pinned a squad inside their Chimera by standing at the rear of the vehicle and wrecking it. Only the sergeant had enough room to deploy, and he was quickly killed by lesser daemons backing up the larger Greater Daemon. Use his base size to your advantage.

I will go on to Army tactics and tips in part 3.

Discussion: Nurgle CSM

Followers of Papa Nurgle have been around for a while, but how are we faring against the ever-rising trend of Mechanization in 5th?

To be clear: I am new to CSM, especially Nurgle. However, I have trouble finding any relevant tactics on the Internet outside of Kirby's blog: "3++ is the New Black", and I don't know when that was written or how relevant it is to the times. On the other hand, I have played a few games with them recently, so I would like to discuss some of my recent observations on CSM and Nurgle-followers in particular.

Here is a list of what I currently run (until I can get more models anyway):
1 Daemon Prince with Lash
1 Sorceror with wings, plasma pistol, Mark of Nurgle, personal icon and Warptime
3 Chaos Terminators plus 1 Champion, Icon of Nurgle, 3 powerfists, 1 Reaper Autocannon
3 Chaos Terminators, Icon of Nurgle, 3 powerfists, 1 Reaper Autocannon
4 Plague Marines plus one Champion, 2 Meltaguns, powerfist, plasma pistol, personal icon
4 Plague Marines plus one Champion, 2 Meltaguns, powerfist, plasma pistol, personal icon
10 Summoned Lesser Daemons
10 Summoned Lesser Daemons
1 Summoned Greater Daemon

Now, I didnt intend this post to be about my list. I am well aware that it is a sub-optimal list, and I'm ok with that. I would, however, like to discuss some of the benefits and uses to some of the units in my list.

Daemon Princes-
I have found that the Lash Prince has long been lauded as the best HQ choice in the CSM codex. I have seen the benefit of Lash of Submission, though now I find it's use limited in the current trend of mechanized forces. Though limited more so now than in the early days of 5th, that does not mean useless! There are common situations that Lash comes in handy for still; such as IG bubblewrap situations. Being able to pull a squad away to leave a Leman Russ vulnerable can be a great use of Lash. Really though, I think the best use for Princes is to use them as vehicle killers and general bullet soaks. Lash really is the best choice if you decide to mark a DP, as the cost is quite low and it gives you some versatility.

Sorcerers are a matter of taste. Most people prefer to go the route of Daemon Princes as their HQs to reap the benefits of a Monstrous Creature at an affordable cost. I chose to put a Sorcerer in for a couple reasons: A) I had Built a model for it from bits already B) Mobility is something Nurgle CSM struggle with without rhinos C) I needed a redundant personal Icon to summon daemons with, in case my Plague Marines died. With his wings, I could fly further up the table and drop a squad of lesser daemons into an assault. I gave mine a mark of Nurgle for the added toughness, and a plasma pistol for some light anti-vehicular punch. Warptime can help against squads in close combat, scoring more wounds in the hopes of inflicting a failed morale check. Again, this is not for everyone. In our current meta-trend of more and more vehicles, you are well advised to stick with the Daemon Prince as your 2nd HQ option.

Chaos Terminators-
These elite choice troops are likely to be one of the most valuable transport-popping squads in the codex. Though they cannot go toe-to-toe with imperial Terminators in assault, chaos have cheap and easy access to the reliable Reaver autocannon. The Heavy 2, twin-linked strength 7 shots can reach vehicles up to 36" away, which is pretty darn good for popping light transports. Add a mark of Nurgle to the unit, and these beasts become much more resistant to small arms. Here's a tip: do not deep strike these types of units unless you have a really good reason to. You want these guys at medium range, picking apart transports, MCs, and other targets of opportunity. Outfitting them for CC is costly, and should be avoided if you have better options.

I will continue my dissemination in part 2.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bits Box Delve Part 2: Followers of Nurgle

After a long Sunday of building marines from spare bits, I decided to make a Nurgle-themed chaos army. I attempted to sculpt boils, blisters, and entrails from graystuff, and applied them over loyalist bits to cover up the Imperial iconography. Here is a status shot so far, showing a portion of my current army. I have built approximately 1000-1200 points of Nurgle-blessed CSM goodness! Pretty impressive for what started off as a bits box delve out of boredom!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Bits Box Delve: Chaos-Wolves WIPs and Medusa

Ever have those days where you are just sick of painting, and have the itch to go digging through your bitbox? I do. Sometimes, the results are better than I thought they would be!

You know your bit box is getting too big when...

... you can create an entire legal army out of bits.

... You can create an entire vehicle that doesn't look half bad.

... You create an HQ character, that actually looks quite badass, completely from bits.

... You consider selling your bits box as an "army deal".

You get the idea.

So, I hobbled together the above models. I decided to go with a chaos theme, defiling some standard terminators I had laying around. Some of the terminators were so old, they were mounted on 1" bases with plastic tabs! Some of you might be going "Is that supposed to be old?" but it's old to me.

This guy above is my stand-in for Logan Grimnar in a Chaos-Wolves list. Yeah, the wing on the axe is probably a no-go, but the axe was too good to let settle back into the bottom of my bits. I might chaos-ify it later, as I already plan to nurgle-ize (making up all sorts of words today) most of them so they don't look so Imperial. I finally found a good use for the resin 1.5" bases from the 40k basing kit, which I also used on the following model:

This guy is supposed to be my ultra-badass Wolf Priest (equivalent of a Chaplain for the rest of you marine players). Count the wings as a jump pack, and give him runic armor (because I plan to give him the gray-stuff treatment), and just for extra ridiculousness, I gave him a plasma-pistol to complement his oversized (soon-to-be-daemon) weapon. I especially like the head, which simply consists of a Khorn beserker's head after I shaved down the crests. This guy is my favorite that I built today.

All in all, about 800 points of counts-as-Space-Wolves, if I'm stretching it. At least 750 though.

The last pic is of a Medusa I cobbled together out of pieces from my bits box, as well as a few bits I was given over Christmas (Thank you Brandon for the chassis and gunshield!).

I had a super-heavy vehicle cannon left over from the Stormlord kit, and it made a perfect main gun. I prettied it up with other various bits, but it came out better than I expected! Now my Death Korps of Kremlin have some supporting fire!

Do you ever surprise yourself with the things you create from your bits boxes?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rogue Trader Models - WIP

I've had to sell the majority of my gaming models due to financial problems in the last several months, but I kept a few models that I just was too attached to let go of. Others I built from spare bits I had in a big box.

Here is my "Very" WIP shots of some characters I'm building for Rogue Trader games. From left to right: A void-master, a Seneschal, A female that can be used for a seneschal or a void master, an Astropath Transcendant, and a Kroot mercenary.

In my next batch, these are still WIP but closer to being finished. From left to right: A female Missonary or possibly a rogue trader, A combat-oriented Missionary (I like to think of him as a Templar!) or an Arch-militant, an Arch-Militant or Rogue Trader, an Arch-Militant storm trooper, and obviously an Explorator.

I have always been very attached to my Explorator model, as he just has a pleasing palette of colors. I really was pleased with the crisp white on my storm-trooper, but my wife adores the female Missionary. I did not paint the officer, I got him as a Christmas from a good friend of mine. I may add my personal touches to him, but he is well painted and I have other more-pertinent projects afoot. I suspect the Astropath will look top-rate once I give him the attention he deserves, but we'll see if the color scheme comes out like I imagine in my head!

Which is your favorite?

I'm back!

After long hiatus, I'm back in the saddle. My computer is fully up and running again, and I'm ready to start posting some of the things I've been working on recently. Stay tuned for Dark Space Opera (and Dark Fantasy) goodness!


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