Thursday, September 30, 2010

Space Marine Drop Pod tutorial, Part 2 (Still Dark Eldar free!)

Just like in any complex construction, the foundation is key. Luckily the foundation of the Space Marine Drop Pod is fairly idiot-proof. The base is two pieces (with a few little vent fans that glue on the bottom), and the 5 doors are two pieces each. That's the good news.

The bad news is the doors, like every other contact point, must be shaved like a Wookiee going to work in food service.

The key points are the underside just above the "hinge" (i.e. the base of the actual door which will close against the floor of the pod). This seam, when the two door pieces are glued together, will not be square. You'll want to dry-fit the doors into the floor pieces and check to see how flush they close. Then scrape whatever excess plastic you find around all the seams, paying close attention to the hinge and the door base I mentioned previously.

Once you are sure you have all the doors able to close completely you can begin carefully gluing the floor to the base after laying the doors in their brackets (this part is pretty obvious so I won't go into more detail.)

Painter's Note: This is the perfect time to take care of painting the base of the pod (at least the inside bits.) As you can see I have also decided to handle the caution striping at this stage. It's a great deal easier to get your hands at the right angles to tape and paint before the walls are raised. Here is how I did the stripes:

I laid out a strip of blue painter's tape on my handy exacto cutting mat and marked it in 3/8 inch intervals. Then I used a ruler to cut the tape along those lines with my exacto knife. Finally I cut the tape in half longways leaving me with a strip of 3/8" tabs of tape to be peeled off and used as needed. I found a length of about 8 inches gave me more than enough tabs to do all 5 doors.

Once the tabs were cut (and the door edges were painted black), I proceeded to tape every 2 "dots" (the recesses that are molded along the door edge), leaving the first 3 dots from the pod black, then an open strip, then 2 dots covered with tape, then 2 dots exposed, etc until the end of the door was reached.

I then painted the exposed areas with foundation paint followed by a brighter yellow once dry. Once I had the yellow looking the way I wanted I carefully peeled off the tape and cleaned up a few slips. Tadaa! Done.

At this point the base of the pod is ready to go. We will use this portion to help build the uprights in part 3 of the tutorial.

Feel free to post any questions you may have. Until next time, FOR THE EMPEROR!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Event Wrap-up: Little Egypt Wars

Team Snake Eyes was out in force this past weekend. There were 13 players at this Rogue Trader event, and 8 of those represented TSE! There were several players new to the area because of school and, for some reason; many of the traditional local players didn’t show up. We could easily expect an attendance level approaching 20 if all the stars align. Of the 13 armies, here is the breakdown:

2 Orks
4 Chaos Space Marines
1 Dark Eldar
1 Eldar
1 Tau
1 Tyranid
1 Black Templar Space Marine
2 Codex Space Marines (Ultramarines & Salamanders)

The Team Snake Eyes Results are as follows:

Marvin the Despoiler (Chaos SM) = 1 W / 1 L / 2nd turn bye
Ol’Seth (Eldar) = 1 L / 2 D’s
Guyver Blue (Ultramarines) = 2 L’s / 3rd turn bye
Chaplain Aerion (Black Templars) = 1 W / 1 L / 1 D – winner of best painted army & 2nd place overall
Chosen 1(Salamanders) = 1 D / 2 W’s = 1st place overall
Zephyr (Dark Eldar) = 1 draw / 2 wins
P.G. (Chaos SM) = 3 draws – winner of best sportsmanship
Genoside (Chaos SM) = 1st turn bye / 1 D / 1 L

As you can see, the odd number of players required the “bye” system of one player sitting out per round. I’m not sure how the bye’s were selected, but we were disappointed that only TSE members got byes. Numerically speaking, there were more of us, so this isn’t a veiled attempt at suggesting a shady deal. We just hate to spend money to attend an event and drive (1, 1, and 2 hours) to get to an event only to be told that we’ll be sitting out for a round. I’m not sure why the organizers don’t use a ringer to take care of this issue since the last few tournaments have had an odd number of players, but I’ll be putting that in my suggestions to the tournament organizer.

Also unusual at this tournament was the scoring. There were the traditional battle points with additional modifiers at the end which meant, for example, that you could earn a draw worth 7 points and a win worth 7 or 8. So the W/L/D doesn’t mean nearly as much as how BIG the W/L/D was in relation to the others. In addition to that, I think the two or three results were averaged to adjust the results so that the folks who received byes were on similar footing with those who did not. Again, this madness could be avoided with a ringer so total points could be calculated. Don’t get me wrong these comments are in the “suggestions for improvement” category, not criticisms. To my knowledge, all in attendance had a fantastic time and we’re all looking forward to returning.

I enjoyed all of my games, especially the rude wakeup call I received on behalf of Zephyr’s Dark Eldar army in the first turn. This was only my second game overall against the DE, and they were as bad as I remember. SO MUCH SHOOTING! It seemed like every other pointy eared freak had a dark lance or whatever their version of the plasma cannon was. Zephyr was an outstanding opponent, however, and he made sure I knew exactly what his army could do before he did it. He doesn’t know it yet, but Zephyr is going to be writing some Dark Eldar Codex review articles when the new book comes out. :)

Game 1 for me vs. Dark Eldar. I was told that Zephyr took a "fluffy" list. He would have won this game but a plasma cannon (whatever those things are called) scattered over his lord and insta-killed him. That lord was about to own Vulkan and a combat squad. That point swing (killed lord + my saved HQ) was enough for a draw. I didn't earn that draw, but I'm sure as heck glad I got it.

My game two against Chaos. I used those buildings to hide my speeders and dreads and effectively pulled his teeth (killed defiler + predators, popped troops out of transports) by the top of turn three. He was an awesome player who came to Carbondale, IL from Indiana. Quite the drive, we hope to see him again.

Game three against the Despoiler's Chaos Marines. Long story short, I went first and some productive shooting from my early turns. Highlight of this game is Marvin's Chaos Dreadnought surviving four turns of assault from not one, not two, but all three of my Dreadnoughts. Picuture above is of Vulkan about to give those Chaos Terminators a warm welcome.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Space Marine Drop Pod tutorial, Part 1 (HEY! No Dark Eldar!)

First, let me acknowledge that others in our hobby have blazed this trail prior to me. The only reason I'm posting this is to share some detailed observations regarding the infamous (and oft hated) Space Marine Drop Pod assembly, or perhaps to help someone who reads this blog that may have encountered problems. At least I hope it will help you avoid the above scenario.

Anyone who has purchased one of these long-overdue and dreamed of kits will already know that the GW instructions included within the box are, in a word, crap. And that's me censoring myself big time. The pictures are vague and barely instructive (a feature I've often found to be key in instructions, but maybe I'm just picky).

Now, don't get me wrong. The model itself is an opus of engineering and design. The kit is so well made that, if properly prepped and assembled, will fit so snugly together that glue becomes an option in some places rather than a necessity.

So if you're staring at a Pod on the sprue and haven't done the following, STOP and do this before you go any further:

  1. Go here and study this blog. Pay close attention to (and even save and zoom) the picture.
  2. Clip your kit from the sprue and SHAVE MOLD LINES.
  3. Shave some more.
  4. Once you think you have the mold lines gone, SHAVE SOME MORE!
  5. Dry fit everything. If it resists, well, see steps 2-4.
I hope you see how vitally important the complete and thorough elimination of mold lines is in this process. As a hobbyist with a glue-frosted and disassembled-via-velocity kit sitting in the box (which has been covered in various litanies of hate and profanity), I really can not stress this enough.

Once you get the imperfections shaved completely (focusing extra hard on the contact surfaces between hull and base, as well as the underside of doors where they contact the model when closed), you may opt to begin gluing the pieces into the Pod's 3 main parts: Hull, Base w/ doors, and console.

A. The console-

The console is the central pylon which forms the core of the Pod. To assemble this hold the segments upside down (so you're looking "up" into the pylon) and, once dry-fitted, carefully glue each segment to the one before it using a little glue on the contact surfaces. If you look carefully you will notice that each segment has a tiny notch at the bottom and a tab at the top (with an indentation on the backside that receives the tab on the next piece). Once you dry-fit the first two segments together while looking at the underside you will see how the fit snugly together. Be sure to hold each joined segment carefully until the glue sets, then let it sit a bit longer until it is good and solid. If you start attaching the segments too fast the whole thing will pop apart in your hands and rage will ensue. Patience is key in this process.

Eventually you will get down to the final segment. This part is TRICKY! CAREFULLY and gently twist the final piece in so the tab slips together at the top and the bottom fits snugly into the notch at the bottom. This can get frustrating but with a little practice it will work. Be sure to try it a few times without glue before you do it for keeps. I found it best to put the glue on the receiving segment rather than the one I was handling, but you know your fingers better than I.

After the pylon is together and the glue has set you can slip the dome over the top to hold everything in place. If the dome fits snugly you have the pylon together perfectly. If it fights to go on you likely have a segment or two out of whack and will need to fix the problem. If the dome is snug, go ahead and glue it.

The next step is to begin dry-fitting the harnesses into the posts. There is one key element here to consider:

There is one harness with a skull on the cross-piece. This piece will only fit into the upright that has a circular hole instead of a square. There is only ONE circular hole on the uprights so once you find it you're home free.

Glue the harnesses into the uprights (after dry-fitting of course) and make sure the "bulb" where they meet (around the little nipple on the back of the uprights) is cylindrical (i.e. make sure the seams are as smooth as possible and line up well). You'll want to hold both harnesses for a bit until the glue sets so there's no slippage.

Once the harnesses are in place you'll want to check each bulb seam and scrape or file them until they're even. This is the part that will insert into the round holes that surround the console just under the dome top. If they will stick in until the hoses are nearly touching the pylon you have a good fit.

Painters Note: It's a good idea to paint the console before you assemble it completely. I laid down a dry-brush of Boltgun Metal over black, then hit it with a few highlights of Chainmail and then painted some of the fittings gold or brass. This is purely optional of course.

Go ahead and grab the floor piece and notice the raised bump in the middle, as well as the long, narrow slots around the outside. You will also notice that each upright has a thin, flattened rod of plastic sticking out and pointing in the same direction as the bulb above. On the central pylon you'll see a small arch in the center of each segment. Be SURE to slip the rod under the arch when affixing the uprights to the pylon, and make sure you have them glued properly. What I did was after inserting the upright into the pylon I would slip the tab at the base of the upright into a slot while the central pylon sat over the central bump. This ensured that all the pieces were in the right place and would remain so while the glue solidified. Again, this is NOT a race, and if you go for speed you WILL lose.

Work through the uprights, leaving the "skull" harness to go in next to the control panel on the pylon (see picture). Do NOT glue this upright.

At this point you can go ahead and finish painting the console as detailed as you wish. Once it's done and all but the skull upright are glued into place you'll be ready for part 2 (coming soon).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Army List Decisions

I would love to sit here and pontificate about how awesome my 40k army lists are, but they're not all that revolutionary. I have no "street cred". I've won a local tournament, but that doesn't give me any authority. I have all sorts of opinions, but you know what they say about those...

What I do know is that unless you are an internet God who can use terms like "pro tip" and "beat face" without skipping a beat (or realizing it makes you sound like a douche), picking an army list can be tough. First, unless you are playing a casual game in your buddy's basement, there may be additional rules levied by the tournament organizer. I, for example, will be playing in a tournament this coming weekend where I have to have at least 40% of my 1850 points in troops. I disagree with this restriction on principal, but it's not my tournament, and I realize that's just the way things are sometimes. You also might be restricted on what models you have. Lord knows this isn't the cheapest hobby on the planet and sometimes real life takes priority over our dolls.

In any event, I have two potential army lists in mind for this Saturday the 25th of September. One list is a slight variation of the 1750 list I used in a recent tournament while the other is a more elite, harder hitting list with a little less flexibility than the first. I thought I would throw these out there and see if the handful of folks who read my drivel have any constructive opinions on the matter. :)

First up, my "Fire & Rain" list. It gives me more guns and mobility and has worked out for me in the three games that I played the 1750 version:

190 Forgefather Vulkan He'Stan
230 Tactical Squad with Multi-Melta, Flamer, Powerfist & Rhino
230 Tactical Squad with Multi-Melta, Flamer, Powerfist & Rhino
280 Tac Squad with Lascannon, Flamer, Powerfist, & Assault Cannon Razorback
115 Dreadnought with Multi-Melta & Heavy Flamer
115 Dreadnought with Multi-Melta & Heavy Flamer
115 Dreadnought with Multi-Melta & Heavy Flamer
140 (2) Land Speeders with Multi-Meltas & Heavy Flamers
70 Land Speeder with Multi-Melta & Heavy Flamer
70 Land Speeder with Multi-Melta & Heavy Flamer
85 Dakka Predator
85 Dakka Predator
125 Vindicator with Siege Shield

The next list makes use of some models that I want to put on the table because they look awesome. My newly acquired Blog Chain Giveaway Ironclad Dreadnought among them. Here is the list I call my "Pyrotechnic All-stars":

190 Forgefather Vulkan He'Stan
230 Tac Squad with Multi-Melta, Flamer, Powerfist & Rhino
230 Tac Squad with Multi-Melta, Flamer, Powerfist & Rhino
280 Tac Squad with Lascannon, Flamer, Powerfist, & Assault Cannon Razorback
200 (5) Assault Terminators w/ Thunder Hammers & Storm Shields
195 Ironclad Dreadnought with Heavy Flamer & Drop Pod
70 Land Speeder with Multi-Melta & Heavy Flamer
70 Land Speeder with Multi-Melta & Heavy Flamer
260 Land Raider Crusader with Multi-Melta
125 Vindicator with Siege Shield

Threat Comparison: The first list gives me 13 "vectors" or operational units to work with as well as 18 kill points. The second only has 9 "vectors", but only 14 kill points. I'm not too worried about kill points as I've done so-so in the past when I've outnumbered my opponent in kill points at the beginning of games.

I suppose minor tweaks could be made (lascannon vs. assault cannon razorback) but I'm pretty happy with both lists. I suppose my problem is that I want to play both, but I don't really have time to get in too many practice games. The Fire and Rain list is closest in theme to what Team Snake Eyes will be bringing to Adepticon, so I suppose I should practice with that one. On the other hand, the All-star list just looks "fun". That's why we're doing this right? Gah! I just wish I didn't have to work so I could play more. Damn adulthood and your silly responsibilities. :)

Anywho, let me know what you think.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Nature of the Beast

Last Saturday Castle Perilous in Carbondale, Il hosted an RTT. It was 1750pts and you were to have a minimum of 40% of those total points (700) as troops, and no more than 25% of them in any other force organization type. Now I'm not a fan of further restrictions on the rules unless special circumstances apply. The tournament organizer believing that "math-hammer" is the root of all evil and needs to be regulated from the local tournament scene does not qualify in my book. I love this game, however, and I love getting together with my lads and rolling some dice and talking some smack. My reservations about the set up were overcome and Aerion (Black Templars), Partho (Orks), Da Goffer (Orks), and me (Salamanders) showed up to represent Team Snake Eyes come hell or high water.

There were 11 players at the event with the following army list breakdown: (4) Orks, (4) Space Marines, (1) Black Templars, (1) Dark Eldar, & (1) Tau. Aerion's Templar list can be found here. The orks were mainly mechanized or hybrid foot/mech lists as were the Tau...I think. The Tau were all based white, so it was hard for me to tell what they truly were since I never played that guy. The marines were: Drop Vulkan, Bikes, "mish-mash" (not really sure what that kid had in mind), and my Salamander list which was: Vulkan, Tac Squad w/ MM, F, CM, PF & Rhino x2, Tac Squad w/LC, F, PF & Assault Cannon Razorback, Dread w/MM & HF x3, Land Speeder w/HF & MM x2, Dakka Predator x2, & Vindicator.

I ended up as overall winner going 2-0-1. Partho & Aerion went 2-1-0 and Da Goffer went 0-1-1 with a bye. I played Partho's Speed Freak Orks in the 1st round (win), a local guy's Hybrid Orks in the 2nd (win), and the Drop Pod Vulkan list in the 3rd (draw). Sportsmanship and painting were also scored and I'm certain that they helped push me into first place, but I don't believe anyone went 3-0 on the day.

Here's the deployment of my first game. It was one of the goofy diagonal ones and Partho's Speed Freaks went first.

It didn't take long for his boyz to get up close and personal but I stayed buttoned up in my tanks. When he hit my lines he did an number on them, but then the Salamanders came out to play...

Point blank flamers & bolt pistols followed up by Vulkan He'Stan's assault and the powerfist armed squads turned the tide. He put a powerful hurt on me, but at the end of turn six, I had tabled him.

Here is my deployment from the second game. I didn't take any pictures since there were 3 battlewagons full of boyz, 2 full mobs on the table, and 2 full mobs in reserve. Not only that, but it was an old school mission with the "traitor" know the ones where you have to swap an elite model for one of your opponents. Take a look at my list above, and you'll see it has three dreadnoughts in my elite slots. I traded a 115 point dreadnought for a 15 point burna boy. I was not happy. That essentially meant that I was operating a 1650 list vs. an 1850 list. I killed everything but the dregs of his last two mobs in that game, but it was a never ending shootout. I moved up a bit to get good shots and then backed up to my edge with my finger on the trigger the whole time. I assaulted when absolutely necessary (to kill off his two warbosses) but only then.

My last game was boring. No really, it was boring. Don't get me wrong, my opponent was awesome, but he got intimidated by my Vindicator. He made me go first and I knew he had five drop pods in his army. I castled up in a corner and waited for him. He saw my wall of steel and fire and said "Hell no". He dropped his entire army on the opposite corner. He had Telion shoot missles at me for six turns while I shot him up (barely) with autocannons. We went through 6 turns in about 45 minutes and killed a couple hundred points of each other's stuff. No surprise, game ended in a draw.

Aside from some minor issues with the organization of the event, we had a lot of fun. We met some really cool guys who came up from Kentucky and had some good games overall. The next tournament in C'dale is September 25th. Still thinking about that one...

A tip of the hat for my favorite tank movie (see above photo) as well as to honor the passing of Clyde. He kept us all safe from the Chaos Squirrels in Aerion's back yard for many years, and we'll miss him dearly. RIP buddy.