Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How to do a Headstand.

So, you've got a head you need to paint, and you want to do an extra good job (say for a competition model or and independant character). You can either glue it to the body, prime it, and paint it along with everything else, OR.... You can use this little contraption. For lack of a better term I'm dubbing it the Headstand. It's super easy to make, and the price is either cheap or free (depending on whether you're a wine drinker or have access to one). All you need is the cork from a wine bottle (sorry, screw-cap drinkers. This one's for the snooty types), and a paper clip. Simply pry the clip apart in a fashion that has half crooked (roughly in an L shape) and the other half sticking out straight at an angle. Insert the crooked end into the cork and bend the rest around it until it holds. It doesn't have to be tight. The cork will hold the wire fairly well.

Once that's done you're ready to prep the head. Grab your handy pin vice and drill a hole in the bottom of the neck. Make sure you drill it deep enough that the head will sit securely atop the paper clip.

Now we're ready for the glue. Dab a little atop the paper clip and seat the head. Turn the head until it's facing in the direction that will be most comfortable for you to hold the stand while you paint. Let the glue set and you're ready to go! Don't worry about the head being attached to the clip forever. With some gentle but persistant twisting the head should separate easily from the stand and be ready for attaching to the model. In the unlikely event that it doesn't you can always snip the wire with your cutters. I've found this little tool to be extremely helpful and I hope you do as well. Please leave comments if you try it, or if you have other ideas that work please share them. Happy modelling!

Mr. Angry Face says, "Paint me NOW heretic, or I shall purge thee with righteous flame!"

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kneel before He'Zod!!!

Rejoice Humans, I bring the Audacity of Oppression!
Image courtesy of P5YCHIC
So Adepticon 2011 is in the books, and like all good "in the neighborhood of average" team captains, I have begun the process of preparing for Adepticon 2012.  With the added benefit of 2012 being a major election year for the U.S.A. I have decided to include a mascot for the upcoming year's preparations.  No, I don't really think Team Snake Eyes needs a mascot.  I have been given permission to add some Salamander flavor to our Overlord's name in recognition of his status of TSE 2012 front man.  Yes, I made this decision within milliseconds of seeing this sweet image.  You can't tell me you guys haven't generated a blog post based almost entirely on a cool image right?  Right?  Oh well.  I'm going with it.

As I mentioned in our after action report, we finished much better than last year, and to be honest, much better than I anticipated we would finish (37 of 106).  Primarily, we have room for improvement in the Battle Points area.  In better.  Easy right?  Not really.  The likely members of the team don't live near each other, and we'll have a hard time getting in any practice games.  I'm also most likely to gets comments and criticism from them on army list choices after I have finalized them and begun working on completing the needed models.  Yes, that is a subtle hint for my, it likely won't inspire much more input from them.

Codex: Space Marines has a lot of variety in it, but one thing I noticed this year was a bit of codex envy from my opponents.  Primarily from the Blood Angel and Space Wolf books.  With HeroHammer(R) making a strong come-back the named characters from those books are just awesome.  Don't get me wrong, I love me some Vulkan, but once you get your face kicked in by Mephiston, you feel the disparity.  I also made a strong effort to remove any weapons with a range over 24" to force my armies into an aggressive stance.  For the most part it worked, but I played a Blood Angels list that spammed Predators and Las/Plas Razorbacks.  That sort of firepower made an impression right away.

Something else I have to contend with in making army list decisions is my inventory.  I have almost completely filled my PACK 1520 carrying case (some terminator slots and a land raider remain unfilled).  I have almost completely exhausted my supply of "wife points".  Married gamers know of what I speak.  Bachelors quake in fear of what comes.  That said, I need to stick primarily with what I've got, and make small changes with the most impact.  What are my initial thoughts?

Well, terminators and another land raider are obvious choices.  I have 5 more thunder hammer/storm shield termies on my desk, and 10 standard terminators unbuilt.  I also have a terminator librarian who is likely going to replace my power armored librarian.  Not having an invulnerable save has really hurt this guy in all of my games with him.  Also on my drawing board are the other named HQ units in the vanilla codex.  I have stayed away from using them up till now, but I'm only ever going to have one space marine army.  I enjoy the others, but I just can't afford to buy blue/yellow/black marines to play with their special characters.  It will allow me to expand my play options with my Salamanders without requiring completely new armies.  I am also considering adding an Imperial Armor unit.  We were allowed one this past year, and if its offered again, the Salamanders are rumored to have an HQ Dreadnought character.  I know nothing about him, but it sounds cool.  I've made much poorer choices with far less provocation.  As you can see, it's a process.

"Can I get that in Green?"
I also need to spice up my line infantry and vehicles.  I hear there are some Forgeworld shoulder pads for power armored marines as well as a brass etching sheet coming out.  I love the Chapterhouse Studios pads, but the detail of a forgeworld pad is hard to pass up.  That and a resin dread (or his conversion) would really add some great detail to the army.  In any event, I'll be posting updates as time progresses.  Feel free to post comments and suggestions.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Battle Report: Grey Knights vs. Orks

We'd like to offer a warm welcome to TSE's newest member, Xerxesian. Xerxesian is a beardy vet of 40K and was a member of TSE: Black at Adepticon this year. His experience in the hobby is extensive, spanning several editions and armies. As for what he plays, I'll let him tell you in his own words: "Just in case you need to know my 2.5k+ armies are: Sisters, Orks, Necrons, IG, Chaos Daemons, Tau. What don't I play? Oh yeah! Space Marines! That will soon be rectified w/ hopefully both a SW and GK army in the future." Welcome Xerxesian. We are glad to have you on the team. Now here is our newest member's first contribution; A hot-off-the-presses Battle Report! Take it away, Xerxesian!

Firstly, I should mention this was a revenge match on the part of my opponent as I had tabled his vanilla SM army the previous evening by the end of turn 3 (lol) w/ a very similar Green Tide army list (I used 13 Lootas on Friday and replaced them w/ 13 Tank Bustas for Saturday's match).  He had actually conceded at end of turn 2 but the other gamers convinced him to play on. I agreed to a rematch since he allowed my Orks a good head bangin.

Orks vs. Shiney Humies (mostly a dull, unprimered grey actually) Game was annihilation, spearhead, Orks win roll for deployment, I elect to go first. Spearhead is not an Orkie favorite btw as I have to cram 160 troops into 1 table quarter and wave at my opponent while Boss Gobsmacka yells "Gots yer any Pie... (plates)? He does. But only 1 so it's not so bad. Btw, in a friendly game I don't ever ask my opponent for a list, trusting they will be honest and liking to be surprised as the battle unfolds. My opponent IS honest :) but sometimes makes some honest mistakes (like packing 13 Terminators into a God Hammer Land Raider Friday night. "Shenanigans" I cried! and made him Deep Strike the 8 too many onto the board lol).

My army consists of Warboss Gobsmacka, 7 Nobs including Painboy, Big Mekk Lugnutz w/ Kustom Force Field, 15 Burna Boyz, 13 Tank Bustas, 3 Deffkoptas, 30 Shoota Boyz w/ 2 big shootas and Nob w/ bosspole (bp) and power-klaw (pk), and 3x 30 Boyz w/ Nob w/ bp + pk) His army was: Grand Master w/ Warding Stave, Troops: T1= 5 Termies: Halberds, 1 psycannon, Justicar has Warding Stave (oh how I learned to love 'em!), T2= 5 Termies, psycannon, Warding Stave, T3= 5 Termies, psycannon, Warding Stave, T4= 5 man Strike Squad w Halberds and 1 Psilencer, T5= 5 man Strike Squad w/ Halberds and 1 Psilencer. Elites: 1 Venerable Dreadnought w/ assault cannon (the only reason he included this is he had the model and wanted to finally play it) Fast Attack: 1 Stormraven w/ no upgrades (he proxied this w/ a Valkyrie so I'm not sure if he did any of the free upgrades) Heavy Support: He does not actually own any Dreadknight models yet but instead proxied them w/ 2 Valkyrie bases. Dreadknight #1 w/ hvy psycannon, teleporter thingie. Dreadknight #2 w/ Great Sword, teleporter thingie.

From left to right (sort of) I cram 30 Boyz, 13 Tankbustas (in cover) 30 Boyz w/ Big Mekk Lugnutz, 30 Shoota Boyz, 3 Deffkoptas, 30 Boys. Immediately behind Tankbustas are Warboss Gobsmacka w/ Nobz and da Burna Boyz are behind the Shoota Boy mob. Why, you might ask, do I have my flamer Boyz in the back? Cuz Burnas count as power weapons in an assault (45 attacks if I charge) as long as I have not fired them as flamers. My opponent deploys two very stealthy Valkyrie bases (his 2 Dreadknights lol) as close to me as possible with an empty Stormraven immediately to their left (from my perspective). Behind them on left are 5 Termies, immediately behind them is the Ven. Dreadnought. At his far back corner are 5 Strikes. Immediately behind DredKnights is a 5 man Termie squad w/ Grand Master, and on the far right are 5 Strikes, immediately behind them are 5 Termies. The terrain includes many walls and barricades, 2 buildings, all which he is behind, I'm expecting his first turn to be a big shoot 'em up deal. On my "half" (it's spearhead but you get the idea) is one piece of terrain on left which is closer to both my board edges (about 8" each way). Farther up the board there is a nice piece of terrain, stairs leading up to a shooting platform, despite stairs, my opponent insists it is difficult terrain, I laugh at him, suggesting not only does he bring the cheeze but now has to cheat as well (smirk). It's ok tho, I intend to move, then run my shoota boyz into that cover. On my far right is another piece of terrain that will be a non factor other than squeezing my Boyz together a bit as I try to avoid it, wanting to make sure I move and run as far as possible. Neither of us has anything in reserve.

He finishes deployment, and despite having witnessed it the previous night, is not happy when A:) I ask him if he forgot to deploy any Servo Skulls and he answers no, he has none and B:) my Deffkoptas Turbo Boost to 12" away from his Stormraven and DKs w/ their Scouts move. "Are you sure you want to do that?" he asks me. His surprise quickly becomes an obvious licking of his lips, he's chomping at the bit to use those DKs and a juicy target has been sighted. "Would you like to roll for stealing?" I ask, nonplussed. He fails it, my Deffkoptas shoot at the Stormraven, I get three hits, 2 pens and... it blows up! Yay Orks!! explodes 1" hitting nothing else but I'm a very happy camper. I know they will die on his turn, but who cares? They've fulfilled their dastardly mission. Everything else in my army moves and runs toward him (it's what Orks do, yawn). Ok, not only is this his first time playing GKs but my opponent, though not new to the game, is not the greatest strategist or tactician. He moves both DKs up within assault range of my Deffkoptas, the 5 Strikes in the rear move up so they can shoot at my Deffkoptas. His 5 Strikes & termies in the center all shoot at the Deffkoptas (i think he causes 1 wound lol) 5 Strikes on far right shoot at Deffkoptas and put 4 wounds on them= 2 dead DeffKoptas and the remaining one has 1 wound on it (2 wound models). He then announces he is going to assault the remaining Deffkopta w/ not 1 but both his DKs. I ask him to pause and look at the board, don't they have pie plates, nasty shooting of some sort? (remember, I have not seen his list and he is proxying these models) Wouldn't 1 of them easily handle the Deffkopta w/ 1 wound left on it? He considers and shoots a pie plate into my swath of Orks. It hits 5 various Boyz but thanks to Big Mekk Lugnutz's Kustom Force Field (5+ cover save) I save 2 of them. He assaults and kills the Deffkopta. Turn 1: 1-1

Turn 2: I Waaagh, (without screaming it for the entire building to hear btw) Boyz on far left move up but are .5" out of assault range with his Termies there. Rokkit Boyz move 4 inches but it is enough, they can't see the Dreadnought so are free to shoot at, DK! 11 Rokkit shots, dice Gods are keen, 5-6 actually find their target and that bad boy takes 2 wounds despite his 2+ save. Shootas did not Waagh and blast away at the other DK but only cause 1 wound. 30 Boyz assault left DK (2 wnds remaining) and 30 Boyz assault the other DK (3 wnds remaining) It's looking very, very good for the Orks. I laugh when what is supposed to be his big bad kick butt new toys only kill 2 boyz each. Now it is my turn to lick my chops. Regular boyz do a zillion hits (116 from each squad to be precise) but then I can't roll sixes to wound, only getting like 5-6 from each squad, and he doesn't roll any ones. OK, no worries, power klaw time, 8 attacks needing 4s... wha? I left my Team Snake Eyes shirt at home but alas, nothing but ones and twos, my PKs totally whif, I lose cc by 4 and promptly fail all my fearless saves, but really, who cares, 12 boyz down, these big humies is going to die!!!!! bottom 2: He moves his center Termies up, but they have to go thru Difficult and don't go far enough to get stuck in. He moves up all squads on far left and right. Dreadnought and Termies lay down a withering fire on my left, felling a good number of Boyz. On the right, his guys have just enough room to see my Burnas and they too assail them with bullets, killing about 8. Burnas pass leadership (whew!). Dks roll and whiff until I ask him, the one w/ the great sword, can't he re-roll like everything under the sun? Oh yeah, he kills 2 Orks. W/o Furios Charge my Orkzes are only S3 (excepting the Nobz w/ pks of course), I rolls 75 To Hit dice needing 4s, now I roll tons of dice needing sixes, get like 4 or 5, my opponent will just not roll a stinking 1!. Same thing happens in the other side. No worries, time to finish them off, power klaw To Hit rolls galore, his goose is surely cooked...1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, GGGAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!! On left side, his termies assault and as he's collecting dice I ask him, doesn't every squad have psychic powers? Yes indeed, he forgot. They roll for Hammerhand and get it, thus activating their Force Weapons too, i think. Won't come into play here as my Boyz have 1 wound. He kills tons, I kill a couple, I'm still Fearless and this is actually what hurts me cuz I only roll a couple of saves and another 8 boyz bite the dust. Good thing the Boyz in that squad are all caught up in the fight but I can foresee their impending doom as they are no longer fearless. No worries, Warboss and nobz( who had moved into cover cuz I thought he would be more shooty) are not too far away now to put the hurt on that squad. Game= 1-1

Turn 3: Everything that can moves up. Boss and Nobz still too far to get stuck in, Tank Bustas shoot at Ven. Dreadnought, couple pens, shaken and stunned is all I can do. Shootas double assault DKs. He kills 4 total, DKs are not the CC beast I initially worried they would be, guess I didn't read the stat line all that carefully. Time to die big oval bases with incredibly difficult to wound clearish air base thingies! Um... but... whiff whiff whiff, and NONE of my 4 powerklaws scores a hit (insert sad/angry/perplexed Ork face here) Left DK has 1 wound remaining, right DK has 2- both should have died after 1st initial charge (sigh) His turn, trumpets blare: da ta ta DA! Grand Master to the rescue of his stoopit oval bases lol, his GM and Termies make mince meat of my Big Mekk and one squad. The 2 other Ork squads are still fearless, so despite only taking 2 wounds on 1 squad, 0 on the other, it is one big cc and so each squad loses many more boyz. I did direct 2 Powerklaws the Termies way, and after the dust cleared from a bunch'o'boyz (registered TM) doing oodles'o'wounds (TM pending), 4 Termies die, but then 2++ on this guy and 2++ on the Grand Master, which of course he makes all of them lol. (He is most definitely not allowed into TEAM Snake Eyes!) I finally kill the DK on left. Far left he wipes the remaining squad of boyz ( I have to remind him again to take his psychic tests for these combats. Oh oh oh! For some inexplicable reason he rolled Hammerhand for his DK, rolled double sixes and finally failed a save LOL!) Sole Dk has 1 wound remaining.

Turn 4. Tankbustas shoot at VD, knocking the what had been very deadly Assault Cannon off of it and Immobilizing it. Warboss and Nobz assault Termies on far left. Um... dude? Yeah? You gonna roll for Hammerhand? Oh yeah! (Jeesh) Hmmm... I am dismayed to discover not all of my Nobs have cybork bodies, I'll need to redo that squad since in the last 2 evenings I've seen no less than 5 GK armies being played. I lose 1 or 2, finish off his squad, yes, even the guy w/ the 2++. (18 power klaw attacks :) ).

Turn 5. Far right, 5 Strikes and 5 more Termies move up and assault. GM and Termie are no longer stuck in, and being my turn, my 2 squads finally kill of the remaining DK, 4 Strikes and 1 Terminator. In his turn GM and 1 Termie run toward cover (wha?), oh, then shoot at my Burnas, then, needing a 6, assault them with a roll of six. bye bye Burna Boyz. CC on right: I kill 3 Termies but can't kill the remaining strike (2++) both Ork squads fail leadership, he catches and kills.

Turn 6 TBs shoot at VD but he is far too close for them to actually hit it lol. they assault VD but the 2 tank hammers don't reach him, Warboss + Nobz assault GM/termie. "Um dude? Yeah? Hammerhand? oh yeah!" His GM and Termie kill my meanest, baddest, toughest CC squad (stoopit force weapons, stoopit stoopit measly 5++ save compared to his delectable 2++) Rokkit Boyz knock off the VDs other arm, I actually wreck him but he makes me re-roll it, I roll a, you guessed it, 1.

Turn 7 I killz the VD with 2 Tank hammers, he is too far away to assault my Rokkit Boyz but pours all his shooting at them. Many die but I pass leadership, sparing me being completely wiped from the board. Final result: Humies win 9-4.

In all honesty, I felt like I was in the game for most of it and could have won ( or at least made it closer) had my Power Klaws done anything (just one wound on the charge would have killed a DK in turn 2.) My opponent got extremely lucky as well tho, making saving throw after saving throw w/o EVER rolling a 1! OK, he rolled a couple ones but that's out of like 80+ saving rolls!! Realistically, I was very fortunate to kill the Stormraven in turn 1, and my opponent didn't know his own rules or play it very smart, i.e. teleport out when he could have, to lay down a devastating volley of stormbolter fire- 3 squads shooting at Boyz would easily kill off a squad. I think a more experienced player would smoke a Green Tide list or any Ork list for that matter :( Dreadknights seem to be better used as a fire base or for Assaulting vehicles. Weren't scarey at all in cc tbh. I think Sisters would have ripped his list a new one as aside from his Stormraven, he was footslogging it. If you let Sisters shoot you up piece meal, you will lose. Of course, DKs teleporting could make that difficult to execute. Marine lists will now be maximizing TH/SS termies imo to counter that 2++ everywhere. I know my proposed 2k SW list will struggle vs. a more experienced GK player even with this same list. But... Eldar and Dark Eldar might do ok. And... I am happy to say, we finally have a 2nd army that can put a serious hurt on Nidzilla lists. Tau, Necrons, Chaos Daemons are even more screwed than ever lol. What about IG? Personally, I'd lose the VD and a Strike squad to get a LR-Crusader w/ psybolt ammo to at least have 1 more solid transport. I think most Guard will struggle, but does have a chance. Overall our game was very fun because we got stuck in early and for 2-3 turns it could have gone either way. Once the GM made his grand entrance, I was toast!

Thanks for the report, Xerxesian. I'm sure between the various Grey Knight armies in Team Snake Eyes (three at current count) we'll be weeding through a lot of the new tricks and traps. Feel free to leave comments or share your own experiences with the "shiney humies"!

Edited on 4/12/2011 by Chosen1: added paragraph breaks and italics.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Adepticon 2011: There and Back Again...A Salamander's Tale

Team Snake Eyes' Adepticon 2011 Display Board
This year's results are in.  Last year's results can be found here, but I'll summarize quickly:  In 2010 we finished 92 out of 110.  Hardly a confidence booster.  This year, however, we brought two teams (I'll discuss the 2nd team below) and finished 37th out of 106 teams.  Here's the breakdown:

247 total points out of 444 (37th overall)
109 battle points out of 240 (45th)
14 commander's head points out of 32 (66th)
18 command token points out of 32 (26th)
54 theme points out of 60 (10th)
44 painting points out of 60 (15th)
8 quiz points out of 20 (86th)
14 sportsmanship points out of 16
6 spirit points

Overall we had a blast.  There was a bit of stress involved as I wanted us to perform better on the table top and Aerion wanted to improve our scores in the theme and appearance categories.  I think we managed both, while still having something to strive for at subsequent events.  I saw some very impressive armies out there Saturday, so I am humbled to have gotten the scores we did on theme and painting, and I have to credit to Aerion's talent and the handful of folks who pitched in to help us get the Salamanders ready for Chicago this year.

Aerion's freehand banner design for my 2nd Company...beyond awesome.
While I won't be doing battle reports for this year (I concentrate too much on the game at these things so I never remember to take pictures) I can break it down a little:

On the day we went 5-3-0.  Round 1 we played "Team Rock Heads - Dances with Wolves" (placed 52nd).  They beat our faces in.  They brought two Space Wolf armies and two Blood Angels armies.  Mephiston and a Furioso w/Blood Talons in a Storm Raven?  Yes please.  We had both objectives and the middle of the board at the bottom of turn 4.  Turn 5 that unit showed up and ruined our day.  Head over to Dark Future Games to see a picture of the "Dexter Dread".  All of that gore belongs to my Salamanders.

Round 2 we played "Dragonfire" (placed 100th).  They had 3 Eldar armies and 1 Dark Eldar army.  It was my first opportunity to play against the new Dark Eldar.  There were some nice conversions in this army, but one of the players had recently injured himself and was drugged up pretty good.  That meant he played a bit slow and we weren't made aware of that until after the game.  Still, it was fun, and we ended up with two wins from this round.

Round 3 we played the "Emperor's Grease Monkeys" (placed 79th).  I believe they were all Blood Angels armies.  We also came away with two wins this round, although those wins were bitter in my mind.  At my table, the other team clearly kicked us up one side and down the other.  They won the primary objective, but our winning of the secondary as well as some tactical points gave us a higher total.  The other game was played by two coalitions that were unfamiliar with their respective armies.  My inexperienced guy told the other inexperienced guy some bogus armor values for one of our tanks a few times during the game.  I have no idea what kind of impact that had, but I still feel quite badly about it.  I did, however, get some great tactical advice on my Salamanders, and Space Marines in general, from this team.  It was also probably the most fun I had all day.
Chosen1 playing on table #1 "So you're saying there's a chance..."
Round 4 saw us playing the "Ironfist League" (placed 67th) on table one.  No kidding.  If seeing a 3-3-0 team on table one on round 4 of the Adepticon Team Tournament doesn't tell you they randomize tables, then nothing will.  We knew we weren't playing for a chance at the big prize, but it felt good to play there anyway.  Stop laughing, at least my mom was proud of me.  These guys were an all Chaos Space Marine team and it too was a fun game.  We split the games here, and the take away message for me was to stay away from IA Blood Slaughterers of Khorne.  Yeah, they're that bad.  The second bit that upset me occurred here.  The army lists we handed to our opponents are hand typed.  I loath Army Builder with a passion typically reserved for bullies and exercise.  While I spent a lot of time on a lot of things, I did not review them enough to catch a few omissions.  I did not spell out that the tactical squads (which were nearly identical throughout the army - and were correct on the individual player's army lists) contained flamers and multi-meltas.  This came as a surprise to our opponents, and I am sorry for that.  The fault lies with me.

As you can imagine, this ended badly for us.
Despite the two mistakes, the tournament was a success.  I saw some great armies, and met some great guys...including meeting up with the Michigan crew from Dark Future Games and Seer Karandras from Craftworld Lansing.  My big regret was not introducing myself to the Back 40k crowd, but when I was free, they were playing, etc.  I'll have to have Chambers work something out.  It was a blast fellas and I hope to see you all again soon.

Team Snake Eyes - Iron Hands Adepticon 2011 Display Board.
Team Snake Eyes - Iron Hands also attended the Big Show.  They finished 82nd out of 106.  I believe they went 2-6-0 on the day which is fantastic considering they were using two different armies than they originally planned and playing with two alternates.  Yeah, all that mess, and they still finished better on their first year than we did.  Great job guys, I'm glad you came and enjoyed yourselves.

Team Snake Eyes - Iron Hands engaged in something terribly important.