Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Roman Test Model Take Two

I'm working on a further eight models now that I finished my initial test model, but I've made a couple of changes. The first was to change the helmet color to reflect further reading that shows that the standard legionnaire did not start wearing iron helmets until the Imperial era, so the color needs to reflect the bronze helmets that they did wear.

The second change was to change the wash from Gryphonne Sepia to Devlan Mud. The latter wash is darker and I was afraid it might be too dark at first, but it does a much better job of bringing out the details of the miniature, to the point that I may not need to do extra work on the faces after using it.

I'm still experimenting with how best to do the shields. A full wash leads to problems on the flat surfaces requiring touchups with red to finish the model. I'm going to try just applying the wash around the center details and see if that works.

I haven't been taking pictures, but I'll try to get some eventually.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Roman Test Model

No pictures yet, but I thought I'd describe how my Romans are going.

After getting in my bases from Litko, I decided to go ahead and rank up four models and finish one of them so that I could do a test painting. After thinking about it a bit, I decided to go with the shield attached, which worked out OK. Shields are the one thing I usually tend to leave off when painting because they simply make things a lot more difficult to paint when attached, but because their placement is so important in getting these models to line up correctly, I felt I needed to try painting them attached.

Unfortunately, there are a few things that are going to slow down the painting time on these models. The flesh color and the red of the shield requires multiple coats of paint to get to a decent coverage. Also, the soft details I described earlier make my standard wash technique less effective. The detail simply isn't sharp enough to be defined by the wash. The main result of this is that the face needs a little more detail work after the wash in order to look OK. It's not a big deal, but when we're talking about over 130 models it's going to add up. Still, I think these guys should end up looking pretty good as a unit

The following are the paints I used (edited to reflect changes made since original post):
primer: Krylon flat black
skin base: Citadel Foundation Tallarn Flesh
skin top: Citadel Dwarf Flesh
clothing and shield base: Citadel Foundation Mechrite Red
clothing and shield front top: Vallejo Model Color 947 Red
armor, pilum tips, dagger scabbard, sword and dagger pommels: Vallejo Game Color 53 Chainmail Silver (will probably replace with Citadel Chainmail for supply reasons).
helmet: Vallejo Game Color 56 Golorious Gold (may also replace this with Citadel equivalent).
belt, sandals: Citadel Foundation Khemri Brown
pilum shaft, sword scabbard: Citadel Foundation Calthan Brown
helmet plume base: Citadel Foundation Iyanden Darksun
helmet plume top: Vallejo Model Color 915 Deep Yellow
wash: Citadel Wash Devlan Mud

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Retail 101

My retail 101: you're there to sell stuff.

This should be pretty basic stuff. You don't make money if you don't sell stuff. Unfortunately, I saw this break down tonight, so I'm going to rant a bit about it.

Every Wednesday night I run board game night at the FLGS. I usually make a purchase at some point in the evening. Sometimes it's something I've decided to buy ahead of time, and sometimes it's something that catches my eye while I'm there.

Tonight I planned on buying an expansion for Memoir '44 that I don't have yet, but when I got there I saw they had a starter set for Arcane Legions behind the counter, along with a few booster packs. I asked if it was for sale and the clerk didn't know because he thought maybe it had been an ordering mixup and they weren't supposed to get it. I made it clear that I wanted to buy it, but he wouldn't sell it to me because he didn't know if he could.

There's two failures here, one from the employee and one from the manager, with the latter being the more important.

The failure of the employee was to do anything to find out if the product was for sale. He could have asked the other employee that was there at the time (I didn't realize until after that employee had left that he might have had further information), and he didn't call the owner/manager to find out either.

The failure of the manager was to train the employee in the importance of making sales, and to make that call.

As it was, I was a bit pissed off that I couldn't buy a product that was sitting right there. Pissed off enough that I decided not to make any purchase, even the one I had been planning to make originally. So, no sale instead of potentially two sales. Not a good result.

As an aside, I know that on other forums I've commented that I wasn't impressed by the marketing plan for Arcane Legions. I'm still not, but the guys at the D6 Generation have gotten me interested enough in the underlying game to give it a try.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Eldar Victory

I finally got in another win with my Eldar. Part of my victory was due to learning more about using the maneuverability of the army, but I think the bigger factors were upping the points to 1500 and playing something other than chaos and nidzilla tyranids.

The game was against Robert's Imperial Guard. The table had less terrain than I usually play with. This was a conscious decision on our part in an acknowledgment that we usually play with terrain heavy tables at the store. Three hills, two buildings and a central crater were all that was on the table. We rolled up a Capture and Control mission using Pitched Battle, and Robert won the roll to go first.

He set up six vehicles on the table. Three pairs of two, each pair consisting of a Russ and a Chimera. The tanks on the end had a battle cannon/lascannon combo, while the central tank had a demolisher cannon/lascannon combo. The Chimeras all had multilasers and heavy flamers. His right flank Chimera had a psyker squad, the central had his company command squad armed with plasma, and the left flank a veteran squad armed with plasma. He held two penal legion squads in reserve, along with a Vendetta carrying another plasma armed veteran squad, and Marbo. His objective had been placed behind a building on his left flank.

I was tempted to keep some stuff in reserve, but without an Autarch in the list I decided it wasn't worth it. Instead, I lined up my vehicles across the board, keeping them spaced out enough that a scattered template wouldn't just scatter onto another vehicle. I believe my order, from left to right, was Wave Serpent with Storm Guardians, Wave Serpent with Storm Guardians and Farseer, Wave Serpent with Fire Dragons, Fire Prism, Fire Prism, Wave Serpent with Fire Dragons, Fire Prism. All my Wave Serpents were armed with bright lances and shuriken catapults.

I won't try to do a turn by turn battle report, instead I'll try to hit some of the highlights. First turn shooting by the IG did some minor damage, but didn't blow up any vehicles. I think I lost a bright lance off of a Wave Serpent, and that was about it. This was one of my biggest worries during the game. A lucky round of shooting could have crippled me at this point thanks to the relatively open table, instead I was able to put my plans into motion on my part of the turn.

I moved my fire dragon transports toward the tanks in his center and right flank and disembarked them. They then blew up both tanks with concentrated melta fire. The ones in the center had no problem, but I got a bit lucky with the ones on the flank as I only got three shots and they were just within range, but my usually crappy penetration rolls evened themselves out a bit by getting a destroyed result. My Fire Prism fire was largely ineffective, something that would become a pattern for most of the game, although they still did their job by attracting fire.

Turn two saw all of his reserves arrive except for Marbo. One penal legion squad was able to charge my Fire Dragons on the flank, while his shooting started to take a toll on my vehicles. I don't remember what went when, but I gradually lost most of my Wave Serpent weapons, and by the end of the game all but one was either wrecked or immobilized. Fortunately, I never had one blow up while troops were still inside. He unloaded his command squad to take some shots at me, but failed to do anything.

The melee with the penal legion and the Fire Dragons would end up lasting until turn 4 or 5 due to the 3+ armor save of the Exarch and no armor ignoring weapons in the penal legion squad. I couldn't decide whether or not this was a good or a bad thing as I had several opportunities to drop a template on the penal legion if they hadn't have been stuck in melee.

On my part of turn two I moved my Wave Serpent with my Farseer up to his command squad, disembarked, and wiped him out with concentrated fire from flamers and shuriken pistols. At some point I got a template on the other penal legion squad by tracing line of sight through an open doorway, but I don't remember if it was turn two or three. I didn't destroy the squad, but did knock it down to only four or five models. Unfortunately, the one remaining tank on that side of the table prevented me from exploiting the damage.

The events of turns three, four and five are a bit jumbled. On turn three I re-embarked the survivors of my storm guardian squad with my Farseer (they had been shot up by his Chimera on his turn). This was the first time I'd re-embarked a squad during a game. I then rammed the Chimera that had shot up my Storm Guardians with a weaponless Wave Serpent, destroying the Chimera. That Wave Serpent would then be immobilized by him on his turn.

By turn five he had dismounted all but his psykers, who had killed themselves with a Perils of the Warp on turn four leaving only their handler in the Chimera. I had broken one of his Chimera mounted veteran squad with a tank shock and then moved the Wave Serpent that did the shock close enough to contest his objective, although it immobilized itself due to a dangerous terrain check in the process. He had immobilized the Wave Serpent carrying my other Storm Guardian squad by disembarking his veteran squad from his Vendetta. My Storm Guardians then disembarked and wiped out the veterans with a little help from Doom and Guide from my Farseer that was close enough to help out. Meanwhile the Vendetta managed to get itself immobilized as well, from either a Fire Prism or my last remaining bright lance, I can't remember which. My Storm Guardians had to run around the front of the grounded Vendetta to try to get to my objective to control it (the Vendetta was too far away to contest). I also moved the Wave Serpent containing the remains of my other Storm Guardians and the Farseer to control the objective, just in case the first squad of Storm Guardians didn't roll high enough on their run roll to make it (which did indeed turn out to be the case).

The game then ended with me controlling one objective and contesting another. I would have found it difficult, but not impossible, to win if the game had continued. My Storm Guardians in the open would have taken some fire from the grounded Vendetta and the heavy flamer of the psyker's Chimera, but were spread out enough that they probably wouldn't have been hurt too badly. If he'd cleared his objective by destroying my immobilized Wave Serpent, I'm not sure how I'd be able to contest it again, so a draw would have been the likely outcome if the game ended on turn six unless I managed to get a shot at his penal legion squad on his objective and knock them off it, a possibility since I still had one Fire Prism left, but a long shot.

I think the odds would have shifted back to my favor on turn seven as long as my Storm Guardians survived, as I'd probably be able to get that long range shot with my Fire Prism and I don't think I'd have too much difficulty keeping Marbo and his penal legion squad from contesting my objective. Still, it would have been close no matter what.

Going back to my original claims about why I won, the 1500 point level lets me put in my Fire Dragons, which gives me an all but guaranteed kill on a vehicle if I can get them in range. That let me eliminate two out of three of his tanks on turn one. The bright lances and fire prisms are supposed to give me vehicle killing power, but it never seems to be very reliable. The other factor was playing against an army with units that weren't quite so tough. My Storm Guardians kicked butt against units without a 4+ armor save, completely wiping them out in one turn of shooting.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Roman Holiday

Well, it's a holiday from 40K. I picked up some boxes of Late Republican Romans from Wargames Factory during a one day sale they had on them a little while back. My intention is to do up an army for Field of Glory, even though I don't actually have anyone to play the game with. For now I'm just clipping the sprues and thinking about how I'm going to assemble and paint them.

The plan is to keep the paint job as simple as possible, and I've even considered trying out the Army Painter system on them, but I think I'm going to go with using an airbrush to basecoat them instead.

I thought I'd go ahead and do a first impressions review of the models. They are good but not great. The detail is a bit soft, but I think it will look good once it's painted up. If you're used to the crisp detail of a Games Workshop plastic miniature you're going to be a bit disappointed. These are the first models that Wargames Factory did, and they admit that they didn't quite get what they were aiming for. In fact, they included a couple of free sprues of their latest models, Ancient Germans, and they are up to Games Workshop's level of quality in terms of detail. I don't want to exaggerate the problems with the Romans though, as they are still nice minis.

Since these models are "official" Field of Glory models, I think it's fair to evaluate them based on how well they work with that game. The box comes with 48 miniatures, enough to make twelve stands, or three minimum size battle groups. This is the minimum amount of stands you can take in a Late Republican Roman force, so that's good, but you'll probably want more than the minimum if you're going for an army of around 650 points (recommended tournament size for 28mm scale tournament games of FoG).

More important is how they rank up on the 60mm x 20mm bases that the game calls for. It is a bit tricky, but not impossible, to get them to rank up four to a base. The key appears to be properly assembling the shield arms. When I was trying to figure out how to put these models together a google search for images turned up another blog that criticized the models for not ranking up. The problem was that the models had been assembled incorrectly.

Most people assume that a shield is strapped to the arm by one or two straps and held with the arm parallel to the ground. This is true of some shields, but the Roman Legionary shield had a handle placed in the middle of the shield that was held like you would a bucket. So, if you model the miniatures with the arm held parallel to the body instead of the ground, then you should be able to rank up the miniatures as long as you're careful. If you instead model the minis with the forearm parallel to the ground, then the shields will stick too far out to get the models to rank up properly.

The fact that I had to do a google search for images in the first place does turn up one weakness of the product: lack of instructions. There are no assembly instructions for the miniatures, not even a picture of a completed miniature. The front features a nice painting of a line of legionnaires throwing their javelins, the back has a painting of a legionary marine taken from an Osprey book, while the sides feature a cutout tent for use as part of a camp marker in the game, and several tokens for marking status in the game. Overall, an attractive package, but of little use for figuring out how to assemble the models.

Fortunately, their website features some pictures of assembled and painted models, and there are a few more elsewhere on the web, but there's room for improvement here.

If I get the Romans finished, then next up would be to get some boxes of Wargames Factory Numidians. Creative use of these sprues should allow for most of the remaining core troop choices in the Late Republican list to be made. The upcoming Ancient German Cavalry box should allow for most of the remaining core choices to be taken.

If I somehow manage to get the army completed, then I'd probably look at putting together either an Early German or Ancient British force to fight against it, since both these forces would be appropriate opponents, and can be put together with models from Wargames Factory.