Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Reading Rogue Trader, Part Two

The first and maybe longest part of the Rogue Trader book is called Combat and contains most of the rules. Ironically, it is also probably the weakest part of 1st edition. Don't get me wrong, the core of the rules presented is strong and largely the same as the game today - roll to hit, armour save, roll to wound, test morale. Dead simple and maybe even elegant. It is when you start delving into the details, maybe again with an eye toward the modern game, that you find the mess that NEEDS a GM (see part one of this series). I'm not going to point out every flaw (remember, I LIKE this version of the game) and I'm not going to cover every section, but I will go through a few problems as well highlight some of the elements I like that are missing from the modern game. As the chapter is so long I will spread this look at the first chapter across several posts.

Personal Characteristics
Models in 1st edition had all of the normal stats still present (Move, Weapon Skill, etc) but they also had four 'Personal Characteristics' - Leadership, Intelligence, Cool, and Willpower. There was a lot of role playing influences in Rogue Trader and these characteristics lent more... err... character to the models. Later versions of the game dispensed with these and rolled them all into Leadership.

Leadership - This was a model's ability to command and follow commands. This stat was used for morale tests in combat.

Intelligence - The main use for this stat was to limit access to advanced equipment. In Rogue Trader all weapons and gear had a tech level and a creature required an Intelligence equal to or greater than the tech level of an item to be able to use it properly.

Cool - This stat was used to measure a model's ability to handle psychological conditions - fear, frenzy, etc.

Willpower - This stat was used to make or defend against psionics.

Now in skimming the book, most creatures had the same rank in Leadership, Cool, and Willpower, with some exceptions (for instance a genestealer had a Leadership and Cool of 10, but a Willpower of only 8). There are rules later in the chapter for generating random characters and you could get some asymmetric stat lines that way. Again, these were gone by 2nd edition (as were tech levels) so it's not hard to see why later versions of the game combined all of these into Leadership.

Models for the Game
This small section contains the obligatory "Citadel Miniatures manufactures a large and comprehensive range of Warhammer 40,0000 metal models". However, the majority of the two paragraphs in this section go on to encourage you design your own content, ending with "If you want to invent your own races, or create your own flora and fauna - then do it!"

You can certainly do this in friendly games in the modern versions of 40k, but it's not encouraged in the rules. The best you can usually get away with set in stone army lists is 'Counts As' armies and some venues won't allow even those. To be fair though, the ability to field 'unbound' lists in 7th edition (choose anything you want) can lead to some more creative armies.

Another oddity from Rogue Trader - the size and shape of the base was not considered critical and players were allowed to use any method they chose as long as it didn't look 'ridiculous'. Most of the combat examples in the book use hex bases, though almost all of the infantry models that appear in photographs are on round bases and large models (like dreadnoughts) are on square bases.

More next time...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dread Dalgath

With all of these skeletons, I decided it was time to add another Necromancer, Dread Dalgath!

There is something vaguely familiar about this guy...


Friday, April 24, 2015

Skeleton Warriors

Not really anything else to say about these guys other than I am enjoying painting them! If I can keep up the pace, the regiment should be finished by next week at this time.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Skeleton Warriors

I absolutely love the variety found in these old models (and somehow I have managed to end up with all unique minis so far).

The mad bomber is one of my favorites, though the wide brim on his hat made it so I couldn't catch his grinning skull face in the photo.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Skeleton Warriors

More undead warriors...

A couple of total badasses I referred to a few posts back (the reason I paint a wraith to lead the regiment). I have forty or fifty of the old plastic skeletons that I plan to paint up for summoning, but some may find their way mixed in with these metals to form two full units at some point so I may be in need of more heroes!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Reading Rogue Trader, Part One

I've been playing Warhammer 40k since it was first released and I've played games in every edition. I've long felt that the 1st edition was my favorite, but recently someone asked me why. I'm sure a big part of the answer is simply nostalgia. I have very fond memories of simply throwing whatever models were in my collection on the table and forging a narrative around them. Points didn't really matter (the point system wasn't great anyway - more on that in future posts). They didn't even have to be painted (horror)! A simple fact of the matter was I didn't have tons of models. The nearest store to really stock a comprehensive selection was an hour and a half away and in the dark days before the internet and online shopping it wasn't easy to simply choose optimal builds. After that drive I usually just bought whatever looked the coolest!

My 'good guys' were a mix of Space Marines, Imperial Guards, Adventurers, and Eldar (including Harlequins) and these fought against the 'bad guys' of Orks, Chaos Renegades, Adventurers (sometimes the same characters who were notorious for switching sides), and Genestealer Cult forces. The games were usually small with 20-30 models per side (sometimes unpainted, did I mention that before? Shudder!) with limited vehicles - I had a rhino, a landspeeder, an Eldar Warwalker, several Ork buggies, an Ork dreadnought, a Chaos dreadnought, and a couple of robots.

But I digress. To answer the question why 1st edition was my favorite (and to get ready to play some more games with this edition), I decided to read the book cover to cover, which is something I haven't done in decades. This is the first in a series of articles on my observations. I know from skimming through there are some surprising things I'd forgotten that are much different than the game 40k has become. I'm going to take these articles one chapter at a time and I'll highlight things as I go.

On the first page of the book (well, page 6, but the first page of text) I might have found the answer to why the 1st edition was my favorite...

    To fight a Warhammer 40,000 game you will need an extra person called the gamemaster, usually referred to simply as the GM. He will act as the umpire or referee, and it is his task to enforce the rules of the game; interpreting them where necessary. The GM should make sure that the players have sufficent dice, pencils, paper and any other items needed during play.
    It is possible to fight a game without a GM, so long as players are willing to cooperate a little, adopt a reasonable attitude and are honest in their record keeping. It is also possible to fight games where all of the players are on the same side against a side controlled directly by the GM. Of course, this does rely on the GM to make the game as fair as possible. One-sided games against the GM should be conducted with the aim of finding how well the players preform, rather than by aiming to defeat them.

How different is this than modern 40k (or Warmachine or Bolt Action or... etc.)!? Throughout the original Rogue Trader book, many of the rules are presented with the idea that there will be a GM to adjudicate situations and interpret the rules as a neutral observer (and I love that one of the GM's duties was to make sure every one had pencils and paper). The book often seems like more of an RPG than a wargame. Now, I played plenty of games without a GM, but the narrative seemed far more important back then than seeking advantages in the Rules As Written, fielding the optimum model to point ratio, or even winning the game.

This aspect of the game was missing from the 2nd edition forward. Certainly you could play with a GM, but that element was not written as part of the game. Again, I'll get into specifics as I sort through the chapters, but as far as what made it my favorite, I can probably stop now!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Skeleton Warriors

As usual, the shields are from modern GW models and are from a mix of Chaos Marauders, Beastmen, and Vampire Counts kits.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Skeleton Warriors

I started out a little differently this time with the regiment standard and musician. I normally don't paint command models until I have at least ten rank and file, but I know this unit is going to be at least twenty warriors strong.

I just realized this is the ONLY musician model in my entire Oldhammer collection.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Wrathmoor, Undead Champion

The undead horde continues to grow!

At some point, Wrathmoor may become a summoned wight or wraith, but for now he will be an Undead Champion for my Skeleton Warriors regiment. I have so many badass skeletons that could serve as heroes that I really needed one that stands out from the rest.

There are a pile of skeletons on the way!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Natasha's Luck, Part Three

Here is my progress with a fast pinnace or shuttle for Warhammer 40k... Factory Fresh...

...and the Working Class Girl...

In the top set of photos's I painted the stylish stripes with GW's Averland Sunset (Base). Then I set about adding some variation in the hull color by washing different panels and equipment with GW Shades - Nuln Oil, Seraphim Sepia, Carroburg Crimson, or Agrax Earthshade. By using washes instead of paint I was able to maintain a unity of tone and keep all of the lovely variation that came from the earlier drybrushing and blending. Then I added decals from several GW spare sheets - I think a Baneblade and Imperial Knight.

Then I set out the mar the factory finish and you can see the results in the bottom two photos. First I nicked up the decals and stripes by painting small chips with Vallejo US Field Drab, which blended nicely back into the hull color. Then I used a sponge to stipple GW Mournfang Brown and Skavenblight Dinge over the entire model. I hand painted 'NATASHA'S LUCK' on the left wing with GW White Scar (Layer). I toyed with the idea of having some custom decals made, but decided I liked the look of the hand done lettering for a 40k vehicle.

It's getting close to being finished. It's actually fine as is, but I want to apply some targeted oil washes and weathering powders - these will be fairly subtle. It is easy to overdo weathering and I want this to look like a hard working vehicle, not a derelict! There are a few more details to pick out and a couple rounds of varnish, but I am really happy with how this turned out and am already thinking of my next conversion!

The next time I post pics of Natasha's Luck, I will have her set out with terrain...

Monday, April 13, 2015

Chaos Dwarfs with Crossbows

Not drawing these out all week as I painted them all in one sitting...

They are currently part of the warband of Caramon the Rabid. The red, orange, and yellow was a nice change from all of the green and brown I've been using. I'd like to collect enough for a 'legal' unit of ten models. Of course, Chaos Dwarfs were not allowed crossbows in the army book, but outfitting them at +3 points each should suffice as they cost exactly the same as 'normal' dwarfs. I realize it is also completely unnecessary to be concerned about what is 'legal' in Oldhammer, but the disclaimer is for those who are new to the movement, may have just stumbled onto this post, and think it's madness to ignore the army lists! And yes, Chaos Dwarfs ARE allowed crossbows on the Realm of Chaos retinue table:

31-35     2D4 CHAOS DWARFS
These dwarfs have the standard profile given in WFB (page 213). All special rules apply. Dwarfs are armed with light armour, a shield, and a hand weapon, and may have a spear of crossbow if desired.

Ok, these guys have heavy armour and no shields, but the save is the same.

Things will be more scattershot than usual on the blog as I have three or four projects going at once - coming up are more undead, lots of different warband stuff, robots, jokaero, genestealers, Ultramarines, and maybe even some Bretonnians...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Oldhammer Empire

These models are actually a little beyond what I consider Oldhammer as they are more firmly set in fourth edition and after, but they are one of the first armies I ever painted and the only one purchased in that era that I still own. I updated them a few years ago by rebasing, adding new flags, and generally touching up the paint.

Besides these models, there are also 7 Reiksguard Knights (normally accompanied by the Reiksmarshall to make a unit of 8), 8 Knights Panther, 24 handgunners, 16 archers, 5 Pistoleers, 6 Kislev Horse Archers, a few artillery, and various heroes and wizards that for some reason I never got around to photographing. I also have a unit of 6 Knights of Morr that I converted, but never got around to painting (but I probably have plenty of cavalry already). I need to think about taking some new photos...

I need to get ten crossbowmen to make a 'legal' 3rd edition list, but I need to play around with these and see how many points I can come up with. Hmm... actually I already have ten models from Pizarro's Lost Legion that I could assemble as crossbowmen (they could be built with pikes or crossbows)... I found them during the same search that turned up the rhino kit (and with the same surprise... what's in this box?). I wonder if you can have too many models?

Ok, now I am excited to add these into the rotation with all of these Chaos and Undead models (toddles off to make an army list). Oh, yeah... I also have some Bretonnians on the way!

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Death Rider Regiment


This unit will be used to hunt war machines, prevent march moves, cause panic in low Ld troops, and generally cause a little mayhem. Their ability to move through terrain really enhances their mobility since they can generally draw a straight line to their target.

As I mentioned earlier in the week I have a second unit on skeletal steeds waiting to be painted. They are eight models strong and will be used more in a line combat role, though they still need to be choosy about their targets and will probably stick close to the infantry blocks (I have a unit of Skeleton Warriors up next).

Friday, April 10, 2015

Death Rider

The (tiny) regiment standard bearer...

Umm... the regiment is tiny at five models, not a tiny standard bearer! I just used GW Nuln Oil (Shade) to paint the stripes on the banner for a subtle effect.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Death Rider

I love this rider - looks like he is leaning down to cleave a halfling!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Death Rider

Another Death Rider...

These models were painted a little differently than my normal process. After undercoating the model black, I drybrushed the entire model with Caliban Green, washed it with Biel-Tan Green followed by lighter coats of Warpstone Glow and Moot Green. Hair and Manes were painted with Averland Sunset, washed with Seraphim Sepia, and highlighted with Yriel Yellow and Ushabti Bone. Armour and weapons were picked out in Leadbelcher highlighted with Ironbraker. Any flesh still clinging to the riders were washed with a mix of Drakenhoff Nightshade and Lamhia Medium. Each cavalry model takes less than one hour to paint in this manner.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Death Riders

Kicking off a week of Death Riders for my Undead army! This model was also painted for the one hour challenge and finished in 50 minutes (not counting a black undercoat or the basing)...

I am planning on having two units of Death Riders. All of the models on zombie steeds will be painted in an ethereal manner inspired by the LotR Army of the Dead. Models on skeletal steeds will be painted in the same manner as my Grim Reapers. Right now I have five like the gentleman above and eight of the others. I will happily combine both types together into one large unit, but I like the idea of having two distinct regiments.

I'll post one Death Rider every day this week and gather the lads together for a huddle on Saturday...

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Natasha's Luck, Part Two

Here is a quick of shot of the progress on Natasha's Luck, a fast pinnace or shuttle for Warhammer 40k.

I started with a black undercoat followed by spraying it with brown from directly above and about three feet away which produced a very nice gradient across the hull. Then I used a large brush to overpaint (basically a heavy drybrush that covers the raised surfaces while leaving the lower areas the base color) with Vallejo US Field Drab. I followed this with the more traditional drybrushing of Vallejo Green Ochre. The final step so far was carefully drybrushing the sharp edges with Vallejo Dark Sand.

This thing has skipped ahead in the queue, though I have lots of stuff I'm working on in parallel (more Undead starting tomorrow)! I have quite a bit to do, but the basic hull color is finished minus one last highlight to bring out the major shapes of the hull. Next I'm going to paint in various details, use some controlled washes to add some variety to a few of the panels, and add decals before moving on to weathering...

Oh, Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Beastmen Regiment

No standard yet... standards are only for real units with at least two rank bonuses!

The army is starting to come together...