Monday, 16 March 2015

The Bespin Affair

Tay tried to push the medical droid's hands away. He was sure his head was just fine but M3 insisted that Kodo undergo a battery of test something about deficient mental functioning. Tay had more calls to make he had already contacted Genko he was surprised that the major domo had been so accommodating when confronted with the truth. Darqa was right honesty was the best policy in this case, but Tay remained sceptical about relying on it too heavily. He had also put calls out to Goova. The Oonta matriarch wasn't surprised in the least to receive the call. She had playfully inquired if Kodo had been to Bespin recently. She had said that the museums were quite exciting. Tay had no idea how Goova had already heard about the cloud city indecent let alone linked it to the Raging Dewback's crew. The Oonta clan was certainly in safe hands now that Goova was out of retirement. She still appeared to be fond of Kodo and had happily did him a favour, it only took her minuets to supply Tay with the contact details of Enu one of the few Info brokers Tay trusted to supply him a false identification and keep it secret. M3 was coming at him again with some kind of probe. Tay protested.

Please Dr 4T, I assure you I am fine! If there was anything wrong with my head I wouldn't have been able to pilot that stolen cloud guard speeder upside down, along the main avenue of could city against the flow of morning rush-hour traffic. Would I?

M3-4T paused as he calculated the odds of a mentally comprised individual executing the manoeuvres that Kodo had preformed. The odds were ridiculously high. But so was a chance of a completely healthy pilot performing the same actions. M3 then analysed the manoeuvres Kodo had preformed during the high speed escape. And compared them to the manoeuvres he had used to win the cloud city grand prix the day before. M3 calculated that Kodo's reaction times were comparable with no desirable degeneration of performance.

Hmm… Perhaps you are correct Kodo. But how do you explain Darqa's description of your symptoms?

The droid’s voice somehow conveyed a mixture of concern and interest despite its synthetic quality.
Tay waved his hand in a dismissive gesture.
Look. Doctor its simple; that witch Eliza cast some kind of spell on me.  Why don't you take Thal down to the cargo hold and check on your owners new freeze unit? That's why we came to Bespin after all.
Tay was sure that M3 wanted badly to check on his owners but the Medical Droid had hardly left the crews side, tending to wounds that Tay and Darqa had hastily patched during the flight from the museum. Tay had never seen such dedication in a droid before. 
M3-4T pondered what Kodo had said. He badly wanted to examine the vitality data of the carbon freeze units to check for any ill effects the malfunction may have had on his patients. But he was genuinely concerned about his crew. Darqa’s description of events seemed to indicate that Kodo was somehow influenced by the elder woman. M3 discounted Kodo's magical superstitions. Perhaps it was some kind of manipulation of intelligent microscopic bacterial by morphic fields? No that was more ridiculous than Kodo's witchcraft. He glanced at Darqa sleeping under heavy sedative on the lounge. The wounds the Gotatl?? had received would have killed several lesser beings.   

Ok Kodo you do seem fully functional. I will be close by, please call if you feel any dizziness. Or if Darqa begins to stir.

Kodo was relived to be spared M3's probe.

Thail you should go with Dr 4T he may need your technical know how.

Alone, Tay had time to think about the heist. That gem was bigger than any he had seen before.  And  there was something special about it more than the legend around it . He was sure about it. Something had felt odd when he held it, a scratching sensation between his antennae. He had to hand it to Arend Shen. Steeling the gem and hacking the cloud city banking system to redirect the auction funds was a great idea. As usual the high and mighty needed someone to carry out their dirty deeds. Kodo was familiar with the power plays of wealthy families from his time on Coruscant . Tay was sure Mr Shen would be quite busy dealing with the fallout between Marus Greyson, Kaltho The Hut, and Vorse Tabarith and not to mention the Wing guard investigation. Yes much too busy to bother about a simple criminal who betrayed him. His daughter Aris however was a different matter. That blue skinned beauty was very determined to succeed. Tay was sure she would be able to avoid any unpleasantness her father and husband got themselves into, and Tay suspected that she was the true brains behind her fathers gem plot. Tay leaned back and thought about each encounter they had together.

The secrete meeting in the market as she slipped away from her husbands minders.
The playful negotiations at the safe house apartment with those bribed wing guard outside. Kodo had played hard ball and she had called his bluff. She was a cool customer and yet Tay was sure he caught her steeling glances at him during the meeting.
Tay's suspicions were confirmed when he danced with Aris at the museum during the silent auction. The way her touch had lingered on his neck and how she had hung on his every word. Tay could tell she was intoxicated by his talent displayed during the Cloud City Grand Prix, winning the race while avoiding both cloud born life forms, and blaster fire from the elite pro racing teams. Holo-vids of Tay in disguise standing up out of the open canopy of the sky car, arms raised catching flowers and streamers as he crossed the finish line, flames still fanning out of the overstressed engines were all over the Holo-net.          
The desperation in her voice as She had commed for them after the heist had turned sower. Tay remember how he had felt a stab of shame as her calls of concern had changed into rage at the realisation that the funds transfer hadn't gone into the prearranged Shen account. But Tay new her feelings were still conflicted. As Tay had stood in the open of the Holo-park guiding Thal into land, he had been caught dead in Aris's sights, but the blaster bolt had gone clear over Tay's head. Aris had wavered at the last moment. And Tay had seen her pouting in rage as he had said his Farewells sprinting up the landing ramp of the Dewback. Tay had never met her type before but was sure he would get the chance to again, and despite the danger or perhaps because of it he relished the idea.

But first their was the matter of a fist sized gem and another mysterious lady Elaiza was equally as fascinating as Aris Shen but for completely different reasons. Aris was a foil to Tay's personality someone like himself, a kindred sprit of sorts. Elaiza was a mystery or a riddle to be solved. Tay had always been good at reading people for as long as he could remember he could read them and then tell them exactly what they anted to hear. Its was Tay's trade M3-4T under stood the working of life and how to heal the sickly. Thal was a brilliant engineer and mathematician who was privy to inner workings of a star. Darqa was a precision machine his body and reflexes were tuned to the identification of danger and elimination of threats. Tay understood how peoples minders worked he could read the face of a mark and exploit the weakness he found the boredom of a guard, or the desire of a bank clerk. Tay was a master of lies, but he couldn't impose his thinking onto another. He could only subtlety manipulate. But Elaiza had done the impossible she had simply told Tay that she needed the gem, just out right said it "I need the gem to save the Galaxy." what a terrible lie, there was no way anyone would believe it. But Tay had. One Second Tay had was thinking what an amateur. You may be a master Cat-Burglar to have climbed up the waste-shoot, but you don't know anything about manipulation. Then the next thing she slowly waved her hand and said those eight words and Tay had believed. Believed it with every fibre of his being, then a few minuets later he had realised how stupid that sounded. Save the Galaxy, how daft was that!  As much as Tay wanted to go after the gem he wanted Elaiza, well he wanted that old witch's powers. Tay remembered the same scratching sensation between his antennae when he was speaking to Elaiza as when he held the gem. He could still feel it now if he concentrated hard enough. A scratching, itching, feeling between, inside? No was it beyond his antennae?!

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Damurus Highland Levy

My painting progress on the forces militant of Rogue Trader Atticus Havlock is continuing slowly.
I decided that synced that Damurus is a cold world the PDF would have white or light blue uniform with green sections synced is also an agri world. I painted up two miniatures with opposite colours on the cloth and armour to see what the finished product would look like.

I didn't like the plain white.
A blue wash improved it a lot.

I decided to go with green armour and blue cloth. I just hope the finished product doesn't look too much like Cadians. After selecting my scheme; I started my paint line when batch painting I like to paint each model the same to the same stage. I base each one I turn before changing colours or moving to highlighting.

So far the I am enjoying the results I still need to paint the flesh and pick out the details and finish the highlighting but I think they look good.

Base colours done. Still a lot more to do.

Unfortunately my shiny new toy didn't arrive in time to save me from base coating. I finally took the plunge and got an airbrush. I took the advise of my FLGS when purchasing the brush, having no experience with airbrushing I had no idea on what to buy. Apparently what I have is a good beginners brush that wont break the bank and will handle some more advanced techniques when my ability improves. It sounded exactly like what I wanted. And so far I am extremely happy with it.
I was also offered caned air or a miniature air compressor to purchase. I simply decided to use my existing air compressor, I figured if it can handle driving nails form a nailgun then it could probably blow paint.
I needed to grab some fitting to connect the small airbrush hose to the standard airline couplings, but other than that there were no problems.

Star  SAP-BR  .2 nozzle
Custom air hose. yep I be pimping.

The large tank allows for prolonged use.
Once set up I proceeded to start using the brush. My first attempts were on a sheet of paper with just water in the paint cup, just to get the hang of the trigger. Next I tried some black paint. I quickly learnt just how tricky is was using an airbrush. I needed something more than blank paper to practise on so I grabbed one of my sons partly completed colouring in books an attempted to colour between the lines; I suddenly felt like I child again. My first attempts were pitiful, but I quickly realised what was the cause of my difficulties. My paint was too thick, way too thick. I liberally added some flow medium and some 50/50 water Windex mix. (about one equal part of each) and was soon on my way to air brush competence if not mastery.
It took me a while to figure out the paint.
First attempt with paint. 

once I thinned out the paint things were much easier.
Straight after I worked out how thin the paint needed to be I started on painting my first miniature with the airbrush. I will post about it soon, I've already built a wall of text in my previous short story blog.
The paint must flow.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

In service to a Rogue

Wulf Heironymous jerked as he snapped awake. Drenched in sweat he panicked a little as he scanned his surroundings trying to orientate himself in the darkness. Despite being a veteran soldier of four years service, he felt the panic rising as it took a moment to realise where he was. Shaking his head free from the effects of sleep he mused about the fact that he still wasn’t used to travelling in the bowls of this ship. He felt the subtle rocking as the ships centre of gravity shifted over eddies and currents, to him if felt like being locked inside a building while someone rocked it like a crib. He slid off the top of the tripled stacked bunk careful not to wake the men sleeping below him. The steel of the floor felt cold beneath his feet as he walked towards the end of the cargo hold that housed the lavatories and showers. The hold that was serving as his unit’s barracks always felt cold and looked dark, even when the overhead lighting was set at maximum brightness. In the shower room he squinted as the sudden brightness pained his sleepy eyes. As he splashed water from a spartan steel sink onto his face his mind flashed back to the dream that woke him. The ship-men that he had spoken to when he first came aboard had warned him of the dreams.  They said they would be bad. Especially when transitioned, something about them being your worst nightmares or sometimes terrifying pleasures. He didn’t understand what transitioning was, they had said it had something to do with the ship traveling into the black. He thought about that for a second. He’d seen out of some of the port holes before they’d been shut and welded in place before they had transitioned.  Outside had looked black to him, except for the stars. No not into, they had said traveling beyond the black. He had thought the portholes were shut because they weren’t meant to see out, but perhaps it also stopped someone from seeing in? Well whatever transitioning was it had made him nauseous, and given half of the men in his platoon migraines, and the dreams. The first night a dozen men had awoken screaming, soldiers who were adults when Wulf joined the Levy at fifteen. Men who had held firm in the face of Xeno beasts when others had wilted, screaming for the Emperor’s mercy in the night. The men hardly ever screamed in the night  anymore, but that didn’t mean they weren’t terrified while they slept. The dream that had woken him was ample evidence of that.
Wulf always dreamed about reliving the events of his past. He would stand atop the defence walls of Damaris City fighting off the Ork assaults only this time they fail. The city burns as the men of the Levy are slaughtered. Wulf sighed in relief at least this time he had awoken before his memory had soured and become a twisted parody of actual events.

Wulf stared out across the western plains despite having grown up in one of the agri collectives he had never seen them from this vantage point. Normally his visa consisted of furrowed soil covered with grain that needed harvesting or muddy fields covered in pulped grain storks from the harvest that needed to be reploughed. Now that he was above the fields he could appreciate their beauty. The fields of rolling crops seemed endless, he fancied that he could see all the way to the permafrost at the edge of the cultivated lands. But that was over a thousand kilometres away, further than Wulf was ever likely to travel.
He was snapped away from the view by the harsh words of Aldheim. Boy! What the hell is wrong with you?! Move your sorry arse!  We've got at least six more loads. Wulf sprinted after Aldheim, sorry sir it won't happen again.
The older man didn't even turn around to reply as he jogged down the stairs. Don't promise me boy. Just don't let any of the officers catch you lollygagging. The Corporals will just flog you around the backside of your head, but you better look out if the sergeant spots you slacking. What will he do? Wulf nervously asked. Nothing Aldheim replied. Wulf was confused, Aldheim continued just as Wulf was about to ask what he meant. The sergeant won't lay a finger on you.  It's not his job,  but he will make sure his corporals are doing their jobs. If a corporal is getting chewed out because some wet behind the ears recruit is off skylarking then you can bet the corporal is going to shove his boot directly up that recruit's arse.
They arrived at the base of the stairs, Wulf looked around him hundreds of men were hustling all around him, dragging out cargo from the backs of trucks and APCs  and beginning the long climb back up the stairs it reminded him of harvest day, only everyone was dressed in the green and blue uniform of the Levy instead the rough grey cotton overalls of a labourer. Someone slapped him on the shoulder and pointed to a pile of metal boxes being unloaded from the rear of an eight wheeled cargo hauler. That pile there recruit Heironymous. It was Reinald, the soft spoken gunner of the heavy weapons team he had been assigned to.
Aldheim spoke up again as he grabbed two of the large ammunition boxes and heaved them onto his shoulders. That bloody name of yours, we need something shorter. I can't be yelling Recruit Heironymous get that Mellon down before it gets shot off every five minutes. How about Mus?
Wulf stammered. Actually you could just call me Wulf. Aldheim looked at him and simply said; Mus it is. Wulf tried to respond but was interrupted by Reinald. Sorry. You rarely get to pick your nick name.  Reinald also grabbed two ammunition boxes and started up the stairs.
Wulf sighed and with one ammunition box in his left hand attempted to lift a second. Grunting he abandoned the attempt and shifted his hands to better grip the single box and prepared for the long climb.

The steps were steep and seemed endless. Streams of soldiers were flowing up and down the stairs. Wulf joined the flow heading up, Wulf's boots were ill fitting and he tried not to stumble as he climbed. Most of the troops carried ammunition canisters similar to the one Wulf was. But many still carried sand bags these were for construction of individual pillboxes on top of the wall. Each weapons team had their own. Three bags thick and four feet high, except for the entrance at the rear and embrasure at the front. These were constructed behind the armourcrete parapet at each opening in the crenellations. Two hundred weapons teams guarded this section of the wall. At either end of stood the ordnance towers making the limits of this section. The towers were at least fifteen meters higher than the wall they stood upon. Armoured doors prevented access to the tower and the next section of wall beyond the tower. The towers surfaces facing to the outside of the wall were pitted with numerous embrasures. Unlike the temporary pillbox constructed by Wulf's team, these were thick stepped armourcrete, and reinforced by additional armour plating. Each plate was engraved with images of Imperial heroes striking down foes. The weapon barrels that protruded from each opening weren't like the man portable Autocannons mounted on tripods held in place by stacks of sandbags.  They were permanently fixed weapon systems each one was fed ammunition directly from the tower's own internal magazine. They were guided by individual machine spirits that aided targeting, and they had hardwired communication systems that allowed the bunker commander to coordinate its gunners actions with HQ and the other towers. Wulf continued to drudge up the stairs, he could just see the very top of the nearest tower between the press of bodies on the staircase. It was an impressive sight. Each tower was topped with a massive metallic Imperial eagle. Wulf had always thought they were simply mighty sculptures. Then the tekpriests had begun awaking them. One by one the sculptures had transformed; the wings normally by the great birds sides had unfurled as a mighty cannons had risen out of the plinths that each eagle stood on. The sight of the thick towers ringing the entire city, each topped with a colossal Aquilia was truly inspirational. Then the wings protectively closed around the cannons forming an armoured shell. Finally the mighty dual heads that normally faced away from each other pivoted forward and now they seemed to survey the landscape around them. Their eyes faintly glowed and seemed alive. Apparently it had been more than a hundred years since the city had last needed it's defences activated.

Wulf finally reached the top of the stairs and started along the parapet heading towards the pillbox that he had helped construct. He tried to avoid looking over the edge as hefted the ammunition canister, as much as he enjoyed the endless view across the fields, looking down directly off the edge disturbed him. The walls were at least thirty meters high and thirty meters thick at the base they then tapered to about ten meters thick at the top. Looking over the edge always induced a feeling of nausea in the pit of Wulf's stomach. The work continued through the day, and at nightfall the heavy weapons teams settled in on top of the wall. Supper was brought to them up the stairs by civilians, although since General Dante declared an emergency and called for a general mobilisation every citizen was technically part of the military.
One week previously Wulf was a juvenile labourer, he had not yet even received an indenture. Like all the other juveniles the only military experience he had was with the youth militia, one day each week the youth of the agricultural districts would muster for three hours drill. Marching & parade formations practice then physical training, finally it would be marksmanship. Wulf's militia unit only had a single battered lasrifle for each of the sixty youths to share, they were lucky to get three shots each week before they were dismissed. Then one day they had heard the public Vox broadcast for all militia to muster and upon arrival at the drill yards Wulf had discovered regular troops of the Highland Levy fortifying the area. Rows of slit trenches and great earthen berms surrounded the drill house that was now covered in layers of sandbags. When he entered the compound he had was taken aside with the other youths, and addressed by an officer. The young lieutenant informed them that they were all now conscripted in the Levy with the rank of recruit. They were all handed a bundle containing uniforms shoes and a helmet. All of which were designed for grown men not the slight frames of the adolescent militia. After they dressed all sixty cramped into the hopper of a ten wheeled cargo transport ment for caring raw grain and were driven to Damaris City, without the chance of seeing off their families.
Wulf was awakened when they arrived by the sound of cheering, it seemed that the whole city had turned out to see the new recruits Wulf's cargo hauler had joined a great convoy of other vehicles filled with youths from the outlying agricultural districts. The trip from the city gates to the levy training fields was like entering a whole new world to the simple farmers, many had never even seen the city from a distance. The capital of Damaris was a city of many hundreds of millions with the news of off world Xeno invasion millions more had traveled here seeking refuge inside its walls. The buildings were awe inspiring to Wulf, looking up out the cargo truck they seemed like mountains, the massive glass sheets in the windows reminded him of waterfalls. At the training fields each recruit was issued a lass rifle, Wulf had never believe there could be so many weapons, the quarter masters office was staffed by dozens of clerks and they were all tasked with issuing rifles to the recruits, thousands of them were handed out. The recruits were given a whole day of marksmanship training Wulf was able to fire over a hundred shots. Thats when they were divvied up, each heavy weapons squad was to receive a recruit Wulf was sent to the wall and that's when he met Aldheim and Reinald.

Wulf shook his head; how long had he be daydreaming? The broken sleeps had been getting to him. He exited the brightness of the prefabricated structure that housed as the shower block. As the door slid shut behind him he was plunged into darkness. His night vision destroyed by the clinical brightness of the shower room lights, he was unable to identify the dull red bulbs that dimly lit the cargo holds during the ships night shift. He didn't need the dull glow bulbs to find his way back to ladder of his bunk rack. He silently slipped into his bunk and as he begun to nod back to sleep he prayed to the God Emperor that he would not dream anymore.

It had been three days since the sandbag pillboxes on the wall had been completed. Wulf was nervous it seemed all they did was watch and wait. Sometimes a group of offices would walk along the walls inspecting the men, some times the offices escorted lords and other gentry. Once it was the great General Dantie flanked by aids and guards he had stalked along the wall demanding the relocation of heavy weapons so that their fields of fire would better overlap. Then the off worlders had come. Among them was a great lord dressed in strange garb, a tall man of noble bearing that the others defend to. His face marked by a single large scar that ran down over his eye. Clad in armour seemedly made of glass that drank up the daylight instead of reflecting it. At his side hung a large sword whose scabbard and hilt was adorned in gold filigree and set with precious gems whose brilliance was only outdone the fabric of his cloak.
Behind him walked a group of men that acted as advisors. The great lord stood atop the parapet he leaned forward with his foot resting atop one of the crenelations, his cloak bellowed behind him as he stared out across the plains. His face shielded from the sun by his magnificent bicorn hat whose crest was thick with bright plumage. Wulf was close enough to hear them converse
Ragnar my friend, you've faced the brutality of these Xeno during your time in the Navy. Will these walls hold? His voice was smooth as oil and carried musical quality a symptom of his off works accent. One of the odd group of advisers stepped forward. His back was straight and his step was as sharp as any officer on parade. His uniform was the dark blue of an imperial naval officer similar to Commodore Naremmus the commander of the cruiser Aegis which often docked at the orbital Bulwark during its breaks in patrolling the Expanse. Except in place of military service medals his chest was adorned with a single gold pin. A swooping eagle with claws bared and beak open, and from its open beak thrust a fist as if to strike an adversary.
Aye Captain. I have faced the green tied, and lived. These men think they are prepared but they know not the magnitude of the threat they face. An Ork Warrgh is part holy war part, plantenary migration. The Orks that will come here will delight in the slaughter, whither it's their enemies or their own. They will not break until their war chief is dead. The troops here will need additional ammunition stores. The walls and buildings behind the wall will require fortification. But most of all they will need more men. The officer's voice was short and clipped. It possessed a tone that was accustomed to issuing orders and dealing out scathing beratements to those who failed any tasks assigned to them.
Then they shall have them. The Captain's voice was one you would follow anywhere, his words inspired confidence and loyalty. Luther bring down some men have them prepare the fortifications to Ragnar's specifications and open the arms lockers make sure they are prepared to repel any hostiles that make it to the walls.
Another of the advisers stepped forward he held a data pad in one hand and an electro quill expertly scribbled notes faster than the eye could follow, this superhuman act of scribing was only possible because of the augmented hand the advisor possessed. My lord by my calculations the necessary expenditure of manpower and liquid capital will be quite extensive. This advisor spoke with the polished accent of someone accustomed to using High Gothic daily, like a scribe. But he wore a high quality suite of master crafted armour and bore himself like a man accustomed to violence.
As the group continued along the wall there was one member of the advisors who didn't speak. Wulf starred as he walked past the deep flowing robes seemed to hide a multitude of secrets within their folds. It almost seemed like he was floating as he moved, when Wulf looked at his legs he just barely caught a glimpse of metal under the robes. It was as if like both his legs were augmented. Wulf wondered what had happened to these men that they bore such scars and replacement limbs. As Wulf looked up from the odd advisors feet he found himself staring into the hood of the robed figure. A disturbing voice issued from within. Worry not what horrorth we have facedth boy, jutht know that men can triumph againtht the foulnethth of the abythth. The as the figure answered  a question Wulf had not the courage to ask aloud, he leaned in close enough for Wulf to see what hid inside the darkness of the robes. A face as pale as it was gaunt leered at him, two bloodshot eyes that were unaccustomed to the morning sun glistened darkly, and mounted prominently in the centre of a greasy forehead was a third eyelid,  thankfully closed for the time being. An as the advisor spoke Wulf could see why the figure lisped. A mouth full with long needle like teeth packed so densely they more resembled some kind of primordial beast rather than a human.
The advisor smiled disturbingly. But then againth the we, are not ordinary menth.

For the second time that night Wulf awoke in the darkness of ships hold.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

New year Blogging.

In my absence

So it's been way too long since I've been on here. I've had a little break from the hobby, modelling wise, but I have continued to game. The weekly role play sessions of Star Wars edge of the Empire continues. We are currently causing all kinds of mischief on Bespin, as we work our way through the Jewel of Yavin campaign. It's got a real nice heist caper feel to it. I've also continued to play X-Wing most weekends. Fantasy Flight Games has continued to produce some great ships. And on the gaming days when we are down a RPG player we normally pay a variety of board or card games. Some of the notable mentions I can think of in no particular order are: Boss Monster, Cosmic Encounters, Myth, Gloom, Coup (one of my favourite), Love letter, King of Tokyo, Bang the card game (Blizzard trappings), Elder Sign, Small World, and Once Upon a Time. I am sure there was more but those are the ones I can remember. 
I've also been playing a tonne of Density, on the PS4. So much in fact that I am burnt out on it. The kicker was an update on the Bungie community page where they basically gave the middle finger to any casual players having trouble organising a team for the raids. The raids form a large portion of the end game content, and as Bungee has decided not to implement any kind of matchmaking for them I've decided to take and extended break from it.
One of the other geeky things I've been doing is catching up on Anime I should have watched 10 years ago. Ghost in the Shell 2nd Gig, Gunslinger Girl, and some Desert Punk. Still on my internal to watch list is Cowboy Bebop, and Akira. I know, I know, how the hell did I miss all of those.

Back to it

I may have had a little break from 40k modelling. The sheer volume of guardsmen and zombies from Zombicide had me a little burnt out. But I caught wind that my local GW store was running a conversion/kit bash competition, and I jumped in. I've had an idea for a neat conversion for the Rogue Trader themed Imperial Guard army I've been working on. During a Rogue Trader session the players went walkabout through a Space Hulk. Along the way they opened an ancient gaol and released a shackled Star God fragment. During this little adventure they brought along some of the murder servitors from their ship. Later they also deployed murder servitors on mass during an Ork Warrgh. So I wanted to include some of these in the 40k army. My plan was to combine the torso of an Ogryn with the legs of a Sentinel. I plan to field these as plasma cannon toting servitors supporting a Techpriest. But they are more Sentinel sized so they may end up as counts as Sentinels instead.
I entered my miniature not expecting much I haven't had much experience with Greenstuff and only paint to a table top level. Some of the miniatures I've seen in the store are very impressive. One of the conversions was an Ogryn Commissar with expertly green stuffed great cloak & hat and a brilliant paint job.
So you can guess how surprised I was when I won!  
I got a framed picture of some Storm troopers (and bragging rights of course)

A winner is me
The competition

I also painted all of the Zombies from Zombicide! Well when I say all, I am excluding the Zobmvivors, and zombie dogs, and toxic Zombies from  mall expansion, and the Prisoners zombies from Zombicide season 2. But I definitely painted all the Zombies from the base game.   

The  Zombie horde approaches.

I normally don't make new year resolutions, but this year I've decided to purchase and become proficient in the use of an airbrush. Airbrushing was once only for the hobby elite now with the relative price of quality air brushes compared to the cost of miniatures I am determined to make the leap into air brushing and hopefully my miniatures will be the recipients of better paint jobs. Once I get one I will have to learn how to use the bloody thing, but how hard could that be? 

"And to think Atticus' entourage spent those guys against the xeno hordes like so many disposable shark teeth!" 


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

A long time ago, the grim darkness of the far future and other geekery.

The gap between my last two blogs was greater than I planned but it wasn't from inactivity. I've been up to a bunch of game related stuff. So in the style of my favourite podcast The D6 Generation, I'll give you my Achievements in gaming!


I haven't played much Dystopian wars lately but now that version 2.0 of the rules are out I need to grab them and try em out.
In its place I've been playing X-wing most weekends. I am just loving the easy to pick up but difficult to master rules system and the more equipment and upgrade cards you get can completely change the way the game plays. I just picked up two of the new TIE-Phantoms and one of the TIE-Defenders. The FLGS is dreadfully short on X-wing miniatures and I grabbed theses on the same day they came in so I sprung the new hotness on my unsuspecting gaming group. Unfortunately they had also grabbed a few defenders.
Now to try and resist buying Armada.

One of the players from my previous Rogue Trader RPG campaign has moved back to town and agreed to GM a Star Wars Edge of the Empire campaign. I am so pumped to be a player again, without the responsibility of GMing. We have had half a dozen sessions so far and they have been a blast. My character is a Rodian Scoundrel who was pretending to be a senator when Palpatine removed the senate. He now maintains his cover to avoid the numerous bounties issued by the IOCI for his capture. My hi-lights so far have been swindling a Hut, and causing a Dewback stampeded to distract some storm troopers. Also getting to be a pain in the GMs side, its good to be a player again.


Progress on my new 40K army themed on the Rogue Trader forces from my previous RPG Campaign has been steadily ramping up. I have purchased a few boxes of infantry and worked on my list and figured out my purchase order. As well sketched out some ideas for conversions to personalise my little dudes. I ordered a whole bunch of guns from Anvil Industry and a heap of penal troopers from Victoria Miniatures with these combined I plan to make a large squad of 40K naval seamen. (snigger)  I also got one of my mates to draw up the house crest of the Havelock Dynasty, as it was described in play "A dive bombing eagle with a fist flying out of its wide open beak" I plan to use his designs to make up custom green stuff banners and units markings for the household guard. And of course the Havlock personal transport Rhino would be festooned with the house livery. The Rhino was a kit bash between an old Vindicator and a new Chimera. (of course under the new rules I could have just taken an actual Rhino). Soon I start the mammoth task of painting.


In preparation of painting my 40K army I have had to practice my long neglected painting skills. The task I set myself for improving my skills is painting every miniature I got in my Zombicide Kickstarter and I planned for the zombies to look like a true horde. I didn't want each sculpt to be painted in the same scheme. The progress so far is promising. Soon I start on the survivors.

Video Games 

I recently purchased a PS4 and have been enjoying the new system. But it heighted a dilemma for me, soon my PS3 will die or be retired and my chance to gain the trophies for my current games will be lost. I am a massive trophy whore. Not in the sense that I have a lot, but that I love gaining them. So I have spurned the new system and hunkered down and started replaying my existing games. The highlight of this was replaying the Mass Effect trilogy from start to end. Due to release times on the PS3 I played them out of order and I didn't carry my save over between games. I was surprised how much of a difference playing them in order with one continuous save file made. I always thought the games were ok, now I think they should be viewed as one huge excellent game.
I hope more games with sequels try this approach.


I Finally decide to fill a gap in my geek knowledge I was at a book exchange, and I  picked up a second hand copy of Stephen Kings The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger. I read it in one night and loved every word. Now I need to collect the other books. I also now have a burning desire to play Savage World Deadlands.

I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy. I went in expecting an excellent movie, something on the level of Starwars. Not Starwars with a lifetime of emotional investment but a fun, high quality, space fanacty, adventure movie.
My mates went in with less than optimistic expectations. But we all came out extremely surprised. One best mate took me aside and told me "you were right. That was like seeing Starwars for the first time."
The following weekend I returned to the cinema this time with my eldest son in tow. Some of the jokes went a little over his head, and he cried a little when Groot died. But he loved it, and hasn't stopped talking about it.

Well that's it for my achievements what kind of stuff have you been up too?

Monday, 30 June 2014

List building and unit comparison

Last post I talked about my list selection and the theme of my army, some of my choices were difficult to make. Multiple  desirable units occupied the same force organisation slots. I used theme to thin down my selections but how do I choose between special weapon PDF squads form Damarus, narco tribe mercenary Ogryns from Footfall, and land ship storm troopers  from Zarth.
All of these units fit with my theme, could be embarked in a Valkyrie and dropped off behind enemy lines to strike a sensitive target. How do I make my choice? I need to somehow compare the points cost and abilities of each squad against the others. Enter; Mathematics, working out the likelihood of wounds caused by shooting compared to the points would give me the shooting efficiency of each squad. So it was pretty easy to work out the potential wounds caused by shooting. The formula I used was. Chance to hit x Chance to wound x Chance to fail save x Number of shots = Kills
So comparing some of my guard units shooting would look something like this.

Assuming that the target is a Space Marine

Infantry squad:- ten lasgun shots
.5 x .3333 x .3333 x 10 = .5554 (therefore on average ten lasguns equals half a dead marine)

Ogryns:- thirty. ripergun shots
.5 x .6667 x .3333 x 30 = 3.3331 (therefore on average 10 riperguns x 3 shots equals 3 & a bit dead marines)

So on the face of this it looks like the Ogryns are the better choice over the Infantry Squad.
But this simple formula doesn't take points cost into account.
So I was just going to divide the Kills by points cost of the unit. But at the same time, my Google-Fu turned up Simhammer. This site is a treasure trove of info that works to simplify the "Mathhammer" of 40K. The Dakka Per Point (DPP) algorithm does exactly what I was trying to do and it gives a comparable value to the Resilience Per Point (RPP) algorithm. With these two values Simhammer goes a long way to creating a method of working out the efficiency of the units perhaps the last corner of the true-value triangle is movement, I am not sure how to work that one out. Simhammer also provide the algorithms in Excel format.

So if I run the same two units through the Simhammer algorithm this is what I get.

(To hit x to wound x failed save x failed feel no pain x number of shots) ÷ points cost x 1000

DPP Infantry squad
(.5 x .3333 x .3333 x 1 x 10) ÷ 50 x 1000 = 11.108

DPP Ogryns
(.5 x .6667 x .3333 x 1 x 30)÷ 410 x 1000 = 8.130

So when shooting at marines, an infantry squad is more efficient then a squad of Ogryns. Even with the higher strength riper guns that produce three times the number shots of a infantry squad. The chunky Ogryns are just too expensive points wise.

Armed with these tools I was able to determine what units were the most efficient use of points in each force org slot.

Perhaps now with 7th edition out with its unbound army list rules, I could use the DPP and RPP algorithms to identify the most efficient unit in 40K and take a full army of just that unit.

I didn't even get to play one game of 6th Ed.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Logocal Purchasing Process.

In preparation for playing 40k I have begun planning out my army list and working out the buy order of the models I plan to use.
When I last played 40k my collection of Orks contained whatever miniatures GW released that I happened to love the look of. Therefore whatever army I fielded tended to be on the ramshackle side of things. When I did identify strengths or short comings in my lists through game play, having spent all my money on whatever random shiny had been released that week, I was unable to capitalise or mitigate these.
This time I planned for things to be different. I have a theme. My Astra Militarum would represent the glorious forces of Atticus Havlock, all units would represent forces collected during play or those easily available considering the events that occurred during play. I would weigh up the choices available to me and choose units that were effective in their use, and efficient in their points cost.
Finally I would construct a list that worked at 1000pts and 2000pts that way I could start playing test games earlier at a lower points cost.
There are a few potential choices for the HQ. Lord Castellan Creed seemed like a good choice to represent Atticus and the regimental advisors also seem likely candidates for the other players characters.
But after drawing up a few test lists I decided to drop Creed because of his points cost and swap the astropath for a primaris psyker because of the potential benefits of accessing the Divination discipline. Just because I am following a theme doesn't mean I don't want an effective army.
So for the HQ I settled on a Company commander as Captain Atticus his orders would represent his mastery of command.
The Master of Ordnance would represent first officer Ragnar his artillery bombardment would be a pinpoint orbital Macro-cannon shot.
The fleet commander's abilities would nicely represent Luther's sneaky seneschal shenanigans.
The accompanying veterans would be represented as Kroot bodyguards.
The new codex also includes several types of specialists that sit outside the standard force organisation chart, after a quick read of the various universal special rules on offer I knew I needed to include some of these specialists.

Enginseers serve as custodians of the mystic rites of maintenance and a imperial starship captain would have access to several thousand of these highly skilled mystics. Also they get to utilise their skills on the battlefield having among other things the neat ability to repair damaged vehicles. They also can be accompanied by Survivors, in this case they will be Murder Servitors.

Ministorum Priests seem like an appropriate inclusion in the army. Atticus rescued a stranded pilgrim ship on his maiden voyage beyond the Imperium's borders. He then proceeded to cultivate a strong personality cult among the faithful who now view him as a living saint. These Priests have the unit boosting ability to sing Was hymns when engaged in a mêlée, and to grant the Zealot special rule.

Commissars are the final specialist I will be fielding in my army. These ironed spined, stony jawed symbols of authority would represent the internal Morale Efficiency and Security forces of Atticus's chief seneschal. The Summary Execution special rule insures that any squad accompanied by a commissar will not fail a morale, fear, or pinning test. Apparently the barrel of a bolt pistol does wonders for Morale, Efficiency and Security when pushed against the back of someone's head.
Troops :
I really wanted to represent the mass of shipboard armsmen that a Rogue Trader would be able to call upon. These semi skilled workers would swarm enemies bringing them down through sheer numbers. Conscripts seemed the obvious choice to represent this mass of loyal bodies. I looked around for some suitable minis but couldn't find anything that really captured the feel of naval shipmen. While I was searching for minis I stumbled upon Victoria Miniatures.  They produce some very nice miniatures and the best bit is they sell all the individual components separately. By combining the arms, legs & heads of one type with the torso of another I think I can recreate the feel of 40k seamen. To complete the look I also ordered a range of guns from Anvil Industry, to give the impression of an haphazard collection of weapons. 
One of the last major story points the players encountered was the Ork Waargh to conquer Damaris. The players efforts resulted in a strong alliance with the military commander of the planetary defence forces. In response to aiding in a coup the Damaris levy now supply Atticus with significant military forces.
So a bulky infantry platoon with lots of troops seemed appropriate. Mantic Games manufacture a range of 40k compatible minis designed to substitute for official GW Imperial Guard, I considered Mantic troopers in part to help recoup the cost of ordering so many custom bits for the conscripts/armsmen. In the end I decided to stick with the official models mainly because I like the look of the GW heavy weapon teams.
I originally planned for the elites section to contain a couple of squads of the new excellent looking Militarum Tempestus, but I decided on more points efficient special weapon squads. I also really liked the new plastic Ogryns minis and seriously considered including a squad but the high points cost and inability to rationalize Ogryns with my theme caused me to disregard these brutes.
Fast attack:
I had expensive Forgeworld plans for the fast attack section but it turns out the fleet of Aquila landers I planned to use as Valkyrie transports would have to be canned. Forgeworld decided to cancel production of this neat miniature. I guess a pair of Valkyrie dropships will suffice, I think I will give the Valkyries a battered second-hand/surplus look, perhaps with worn and chipped paint.
I also wanted to include a squad of converted sentinels themed as murder servitors but again the points are just better spent elsewhere.
Heavy Support:
I have always loved the slab-sided look of the Leman Russ battle tank. I plan to field a trio of these brutes, and they fit nicely with my theme.
A major component of the Damaris PDF are the highland wardens, this elite armoured force newly battle hardened in the effort to repulse an Ork Warrgh. Led personally by Capitan Havelock "the savoir of Damaris" in several decisive counter attacks, this close bond forged in conflict would of course continue to endure. I expect an entire hold of Atticus's ship is dedicated to the housing and support of a fleet of armoured vehicles supplied by Damaris.
Another neat vehicle I plan to include in my army after discovered it in the codex is the deaths-strike missile launcher. This infinite range strength 10 AP1 large blast weapon seemed like the perfect addition. The only problem was theme, the thought of an ICBM or MRBM firing at a target within visual range seemed... dumb. But I wanted that strength 10 heavy blast, so I got to thinking what a Rogue Trader would have at his disposal with that kind of firepower. The answer was obvious his ship, a pinpoint orbital lance strike would easily match a death-strike in its level of destruction. So what purpose would the vehicle serve? I the assume coordination of an orbital gothic space fortress firing down to a planets surface would be a difficult thing. Perhaps it would warrant a dedicated observation and fire-control system mounted inside a Chimera chassis.

Some of my choices were influenced by the relative efficiency of certain units. The way I calculated these values is quite interesting in its own right, and I will post a little about the methods I used in my next blog.


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