Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Moving the Imperial Guard Machine

I know I'm supposed to be working on my drop pod but after reading the newest White Dwarf's Imperial Guard preview and getting a good look at the new codex I just had to do some painting. Combined with me taking yesterday off from work to relax after running the Boston Marathon on Monday , we have this fellow:

He isn't a masterpiece of painting by any means but he does represent what I hope is a very good mix of quality and speed. Most of the colors here are the result of a good base coat and either a single highlight (the green aroumr) or heavy wash (the boots, metals, leather, and fatigues). The only part that received more attention was the skin, which I did with a base, wash, and highlight.

Since this was my gesso test model he was primed white - a mistake I will not be repeating for anyone else in this army. Having a white base forced me to be really honest and meticulous while painting this guy, which is something I want to be able to avoid while doing this army. Aside from that little snag the only thing I'm unsure about is the armour highlight color I chose. I wanted to avoid mixing paints if I could but I think I'll probably end up doing it for the armour.

I mentioned earlier that I got a look at the new codex and I have a few ideas about building a list. Anyone who has some Guard experience, please (please) chime in and tell me if these are actually good ideas or if I'm being stupid.

Company Command Squads
This unit can give more and better orders from a longer range than the platoon command squads, so my priority is to keep them alive and yelling orders. To that end, I'm thinking about something like this:

Command Squad with
medi pack - Feel No Pain will help everyone survive
standard - the company banner allows you to reroll failed pinning and morale tests for any units within 12"
vox caster - this helps make sure those orders get followed
plasma gun - to give the squad some teeth
Chimera - this will keep the squad safe, mobile, and extend the order range ever further
Master or Ordnance - I'm on the fence about this guy because the template ALWAYS scatters and it can only be used if the squad didn't move

I imagine this squad riding behind my gun line of platoon and veteran squads giving orders and generally bolstering my men, while ocasionaly dropping a template of fun on the enemy.

All told, including the Master of Ordnance, this squad comes in at 200 points. That seems pretty steep to me. I can cut out almost 50 points by dropping the Master and plasma gun but then the squad has a lot less offensive capabilities on its own.

Platoon Command Squads
These guys can give fewer orders per turn, have fewer options for the orders they can give, and have a shorter order range. They're still useful but more disposable than the company HQ. I'm looking at two options:

Platoon Command Squad with
vox caster - again, to make the orders more effective
heavy flamer and flamer
(total of 70 points)

Platoon Command Squad with
vox caster
medi pack
2x plasma gun
(total of 95 points)

Both of these are designed as counter punch units. If something manages to assault my lines, these squads have the firepower to be punishing. The flamer squad is going to hit more models and be cheaper while the plasma squad has fewer shots that are more effective, but at a higher cost. I'm leaning towards the flamer squad because it has the potential to be more devastating and I can add another flamer cheaply for even more destruction. Given the essentially suicidal nature of my role for these guys, I think cheaper is better.

Veteran Squads
I love that these guys have a higher ballistic skill and can take lots of fun guns. There is also a really nice special character upgrade that allows you to issue an order to your own squad, including the twin-linking one. That means that a squad with this guy doesn't have to be within the order range of your HQ squads to receive this order.

Veteran Squad with
3x melta gun
Sergeant Bastonne

This squad is 245 points, which is a bit steep. However, they have a nice Ballistic Skill, 3 melta guns for some serious punch, can twin link the melta for some hurt, and have a Chimera and Carpace Armour to stay alive. There is an option to drop the Grenadiers to save points, swap melta for plasma to change roles, or put them in a Valkyrie to help put them where they're needed. I really like the idea of this squad.

My Prototype List

Company Command Squad, as above
see above for tactics

full Psycher Battle Squad in Chimera
these guys will drive around, safe in the Chimera, shoot from it, and cause general mayhem
some Ratlings
possibly work with the Psychers to pin units, but more for crowd control and big things (also, I love snipers)

Platoon Command Squad, as above
see above for tactics
2x Infantry Squads with vox, plasma gun, and autocannon
the basis of my gun line - plasma and autocannons can put out a lot of shots with good STR
Veteran Squad with vox, plasma gun, and autocannon
same as above but with a better Ballistic Skill
Veteran Squad, as above
anti-tank or tough target breaker

Fast Attack:
2 Scout Sentinals with lascannon and smoke launcher
probably outflank and hopefully pop something important with the lascannons

Heavy Support:
Leman Russ Battle Tank
be big and scary and shoot things
Leman Russ Executioner
3 plasma cannon shots without Gets Hot! - yes please

This should get me around 1500 points. Thoughts?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Crimson Fist Scouts and Games Day Preparation

They took a lot longer than I wanted but the scouts are finally done.

Once I had the major colors blocked in I thought I was a few hours away from being complete but all of the pouches, grenades, and little ammo bits took forever to get through. Overall I'm happy with how these guys came out, especially the blue armour, but I'm still not happy with how my faces are looking. I guess painting an Imperial Guard army will be good practice.

My next project is the drop pod for my Sternguard. I had a little time a few nights ago to get started and I assembled the center console and harness parts.

I've been reading the drop pod assembly guide on BoLS because I've heard how tough this model can be to get right and I'm glad I took the time to go read through it. I'm not sure when I'll get to paint this or assemble the other parts but my goal is to have it done for Baltimore.

Speaking of Baltimore, I've begun my preparations. I have a flight booked and my ticket to the show and yesterday my army transport from Sabol arrived in the mail.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Scouts WIP and Baltimore Games Day List

I've been working the next unit for my Crimson Fists, a unit of 5 scouts with pistols and close combat weapons. These guys are designed to be a cheap third troops choice for me (to go along with my two tactical squads) that can be a harassment unit. They can infiltrate and be in the way early in the game, they can come on the board in surprising places, or can be used as a distraction / speed bump to protect something more important.

They're obviously still quite WIP but I'm pleased with where they are right now. These five are the original metal scouts (the tab between their feet says they were cast in 1999) which I like a lot more than the newer platic ones. I can remember thinking these were awesome models with I was browsing old GW publications as a kid in the 90's.

I've been trying to get these guys done quickly so I can start working on some other units to get as much of my 1500 point list completed as possible for May 9th. My goal was to have the whole list done for GD so I could play a fully painted list to play some games with but I'm not sure I can get it done. Here's my list:

Captain with jump pack, power sword, and digital weapons

5 Terminators with assault cannon and chain fist
10 Sternguard with 3 combi-meltas, power fist, drop pod

10 Marines with power sword, plasma gun, plasma cannon, rhino
10 Marines with power fist, melta gun, multi-melta, rhino
5 Scouts

10 Assault Marines with power fist

I know it's not the most effective list but it should be fun to play. Eventually I plan to drop the Terminators for a Vindicator, a multi-melta Attack Bike, and a speeder with multi-melta and heavy flamer.

I still have to finish these Scouts, then paint 4 Assault Marines, 10 Sternguard, and a drop pod.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Priming with Gesso

There are a bunch of good posts about this all over the internet but I thought I'd throw my hat into the ring anyway and talk about priming with gesso.

I live in Boston where the winters are long, cold, windy, and wet. None of these things make good conditions to go outside with a spray can and I don't like priming in my basement. Usually I can backlog primed models through December but I've been searching for a good alternative to spray cans. I think gesso could be that alternative.

What you'll need:

gesso (that large tub cost me 5 bucks)
a brush you don't mind getting ruined
models to prime
water and a pallet (these two are optional)

Step 1 (optional):

I put some gesso onto my pallet (see the penny for some scale) and mixed in two or three drops of water. Some tutorials I've read suggest doing this, others say you can apply the gesso straight from the tub.

Step 2:

Apply the gesso to the models liberally. Gesso shrinks as it dries so you can be pretty generous when you apply it. Below you can see that I was pretty heavy handed in my application.

Step 3:

Allow some time for drying. I left these guys alone for a few hours and that seemed to be sufficient. If you take a look at their faces or the eagles on the helmets / lasguns you can clearly see how the gesso has preserved the details. Awesome!

Step 4 (optional):

Maybe it was because I watered down the gesso or maybe it was because I used white but the coverage was a bit spotty after the first layer (see above picture). I decided to put another coat of gesso on these guys, this time straight from the tub. I let this dry for a few more hours and the results are below. Much better coverage (although still not perfect) and still not detail lost.

After my experiences with watered down vs. straight gesso I think I'm going to stick to the undiluted method in the hopes that two coats of straight gesso will give better coverage. Overall I'm quite pleased with how this worked out. The only pitfall I've noticed is tiny air bubble pits, especially in small but deep corners and crevasses, that form during the drying but I'm not very worried about these as they're small and shouldn't appear on the painted model.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

March Summary

New Model Fund

I started March with $57.59. I bought some paint, gesso, brushes, and a large box of 20+ guardsmen and bits from ebay totaling $55.83, which left me with $1.76 for the month. Since I lose half of whatever is left over at the end of each month and I pick up $50, I currently have $50.88 in my fund for April.

In the interest of getting my Crimson Fists up to 1500 points I bought a Drop Pod and Sternguard Squad today for $51.98. That kills my fund for April already, leaving me with $-1.10.

Painting for Points

March was a good month for me points wise. I painted 3 Greylords (3 points), 1 Koldun Lord (1 point), and 2 Rhinos (20 points) for a total of 24. Added to my previous total of 17 I now have 41 points done for 2009.

In other news, I cleaned and based two Imperial Guardsmen last night and I'm hoping to get some gesso and paint on them this week!