Saturday, 8 May 2021

It's like Hannibal but in 1944.

It is! It's Elefants in Italy again! 

I'll be playing in an event in a week that's themed around the campaign in Italy. I ran this army many many moons ago for a weekend event set in the winter on the Eastern Front in V2 or V3 and it did not go well for me. So I'm trying again with a slightly different list. The event organiser has replicated a whole wack of the old V3 lists so this is definitely not V4 legal. That version of the list will be going to Panzerschreck in July because MOAR ELEFANTS! 

The Core

Elefant, Tiger 1P, Elefant OH MY
 
Tiggers!

The core is all heavy and was built this way for two reasons. One, the organiser is permitting two 1-tank platoons. Two, I was spending the points on StuGs before I decided that it was go heavy or go home and adding the Tigers also shores up the army morale so I'm not unhappy about that. I'll be using the classic Mid-war Monsters Tiger 1P as a proxy Elefant. After this event, it'll drop in with the other two normal Tigers just in case I ever want to run 3....

The Support

 

Infanterie

Artillerie



The support is a motley collection of my previous 653 and some newer bits and bobs. The AA came from the original 653 V3 list where a Panther- and T34-hulled quad AA were permitted by the list. The Nebs I did late last year and the Grenadier platoon is the first of the three I need to do for my Winter Infantry army. The greatcoated Schrecks and Fausts are from Peter Pig and complement the BF infantry nicely. The 8-rads were taken from my Early War Panzerkompanie as I'm unlikely to use 4 in any Early War game at this point in time and they are usually options for recce in LW so they'll drop nicely into my Grenadiers when I get the rest of this army painted. Which leads us nicely to....

Meaningful Science

Sometime last year I was confronted with some particularly obstructive primer that I was failing to remove with the classic Simple Green. One of the locals here recommended an antiseptic called Dettol as an insanely powerful paint stripper that'll beat things Simple Green can't move.

He was right. Dettol will take the paint off almost anything. Unfortunately using it as a paint stripper also turns some acrylic primers hanging into a sticky slime that's a right pain to move. Especially off your fingers. BUT! I have discovered the answer. There is a really useful degreaser made from orange oils that works like a dream. Throw something that's been Dettol-ed into that for a couple of days, the stickiness goes right away and the antiseptic smell is replaced by an intense orange. It's not bad. 

So I'll stick with Simple Green most of the time but Dettol will definitely work for those really truculent jobs.

Next Time

The results of Hannibal's most recent ride through Italy. Will it go well? Almost certainly not. After that, it'll be back to the workbench methinks!

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Pooch's April update

And with that, April is gone. I vaguely recall saying in an earlier blog that whichever month it was my most challenging yet at work. That was true then, but now it has been well trumped by this month!

Will May be any better? Who knows!

But you aren't here for that, you are here to find out how I went with my painting goals.. 

1. Finish a table of terrain

Keeping on with my Frostgrave theme, this month I finished up an ominously shaped rock/statue for the table.

I picked up the polystyrene skull from a local sewing/craft shop a long time ago for about $2. I bought it... about a year ago I think, and when I couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to build more TT Combat terrain, it seemed the easiest way to get something done for this goal!

I carved the skull down so it would sit flat on the table, and gave it an overall spray with a dark grey spray. Being polystyrene, the aerosol ate into the surface, giving it a really cool pitted look. I thought this might happen, but wasn't 100% sure! Then painted on dark grey paint, then a light grey spray over top to match my other buildings. A bit of snow, and we are done!

It is quite a large skull....

2. Play a game a month

Two games played and blogged!

3. Finish a 1,500 point 40k army

I had a slower start to this month, which when combined with us confirming that this month would be when we started the 500 point narrative games, it made for a fair bit of a problem!

The solution? Paint something that was a bit more simple than the fully white armoured sisters- Repentia!

Super dynamic poses, and super large eviscerators!

To lead them into battle, I added a Repentia Superior... She is literally throwing the book at the enemy.

Another lovely plastic model from the sisters range

And since I was doing one Sister in white armour, I figured I would do another one while I was at it, the Imagifier!

Some serious arm muscles required to lift that banner aloft!

4. Finish armies that I have part started

Ok, so Valleycon is next month, and I really needed to get ahead of painting this month. And, conveniently for me, I did!

I finished eight Greyhounds....

Pink air recognition markings denote unit leaders

Ten Jeeps...

So. Many. Crew.....

and a full Engineer Platoon!

More infantry!

The list is now just missing Stuarts and Shermans. Totally doable before the 15th!

5. Buy, build and play a new game

The Droid horde continues to grow, this time adding Commando Droids! 

Once again, contrast comes to the fore, with basilicanum grey over top of a leadbelcher undercoat. 

Seven of the sneakiest droids you will ever see (or not see as the case might be!)
The shields are so cool- this one has his blaster going through it!

I have a horde of B1s still to go, I think they will need to be the focus for next month...

Progress. Oh yes.... progress is good........

Pooch

Saturday, 1 May 2021

A Game I've Been Waiting For: Stargrave

 Today we discover the first adventures of Rogue Trader Devona Caligari, her First Mate Mortem Castranova and their trusty crew, including Hieronymus, who is a very good doggo. Given this was a bit of a spur of the moment thing, I downloaded the free Dead or Alive supplement for solo-play Bounty Hunting and set to work. 

Devona Caligari had tracked her Mark, Dogorin the Soulshark, to a starport on the outskirts of some deserted place. His gang was here with him - a bunch of raw recruits mostly but some powerful allies including Bull and his heavy machinegun and the Eltee and his military issue combat armour.

 Caligari was just as well served, with her hacker, medic, and picker, along with Castranova and his marines and their very good doggo.

 Pause

So the game details (and I really like this!) - I picked the scenario because I'd already set out the table so we were in the Starport. On the complications table, I had to bring back physical evidence of the bounty (so the body of the Mark would need to be a loot) and then I rolled up the random selection of dudes that would be supporting the Mark. Each scenario places some 'Notable Features' and they help with directing the movement of the enemies and with deployment.

  Unpause

Here's where we started: 



There were three enemies in the middle of the board, a Gunner, a Trooper and a Recruit:

At the rear right, a Pathfinder and two Recruits:

At the rear left, an Armoured Trooper and a Recruit with the Mark:


Turns one and two were pretty uneventful - the game order changes slightly when playing solo so I was a little skittish. Devona moved three crew forwards before the entire enemy gang came on. My gunner did some damage to the enemy gunner who in turn stunned one of my Troopers. The Pathfinder and his recruits moved up and then the rest of my crew went, the only note was the medic returning the stunned trooper to functional. At the end of turn two we'd shot down the Trooper in the centre who'd had to move to get line of sight: 

Turn three things started to get real: 

My Gunner took down the enemy Gunner and one of my troopers took out the Recruit in the centre. Hieronymus and the Chiseler moved up my right and the Hacker attacked the left. Mortem the First Mate made a bunch of shots with his marines and did a whole lot of nothing.

By the end of turn four this was the state of play. You can't quite see the Hacker on left-hand table edge in an entirely unfair fight with the Armoured Trooper and the Chiseler is hiding behind the bushes on the right.

 Hieronymus had been killed out on my right by the incoming Recruits and the mess that was the middle of the board had really begun to pile up. Dogorin the Soulshark had arrived and used Psionic Fire which killed a trooper and further wounded Devona and my last action was to smash a powerful 11 points of damage into the Mark.

Turn 5 was really just as violent. Most of the crews scrapping over the middle of the board had been killed. The unpainted Tyranid Gargoyle was the first Unwanted Attention I'd rolled and the flappy bird had arrived from the ceiling at the end of Turn 4. It survived shooting, charged one of my Troopers and was promptly killed.

You can see in this photo above that the Soulshark, having been reduced to near death, was trying to flee the battlefield at the end of the turn.

In the end, as the Armoured Trooper gunned down my poor Hacker, Dogorin the Soulshark fled towards freedom. Ignoring the pleas of the wounded Trader Caligari, First Mate Castranova attempted one last time to gun down the Mark but the Soulshark's magic won the day and he evaded the shot before fleeing off the board! 

 So I won. Or I lost. Or both. Both. I think it was both. It was a lot of fun, regardless.

Thoughts

Oof. Violent. The crew I DM for will tell you DnD is my game, a game in which I have spent more time as the DM cheating 20s down than I have cheating other things up for a crit. Stargrave is more of the same - rolling 20s to hit with shooting attacks leading to +5 additional damage were fatal repeatedly. Those were my only one-shots though, which was nice. 

I didn't really pay attention to the author's advice to pick my powers carefully for solo games so I don't think I got to do as much as I wanted. Devona managed to fail to cast Void Blade in every turn (and by enough to not want to exert to cast it) and Mortem cast Power Spike on three turns and missed every time with the +3 damage shot.

Overall, I really liked Stargrave. It's got the same simple, underlying mechanics as Frostgrave, but the powers are much less overwhelming and the soldiers do a lot more of the heavy lifting, which I definitely appreciated. I like the fact that the Captain and the First Mate can be completely different (which has lead me to start thinking about new Stargrave crews already) and there is a good variety of soldiers to fit almost any collection. I can't talk to the scenarios too much yet but they look like a very interesting set of encounters. I really love the Unwanted Attention rules and I love the idea that the longer the game goes on, the more likely the attention is and the more likely it is to be slightly terrifying.

Also, really impressed to get the free solo supplement this close to the rules coming out and how well it works. You sort of go in expecting you can out-think a table but actually, other than being able to throw my dog and Chiseler away and have the game be forced to go after them, it worked really well. The slightly different turn structure where the entire enemy gang goes in one hit definitely means you have to take a more prudent approach and stupid plays get punished.

Next Time

I have finished the first incarnation of 653 Schwere Panzerjager Abteilung for an event in a couple of weeks to they'll wait till next time, as will the meaningful science of stripping paint that I promised last week. I'll try and get my first unit of Shore Troopers done this week as a bonus.  

Conflict on Thracium VII (Narrative 40k games day 1)

 Our series of club 40k games, with a loose narrative around them kicked off last weekend. This is how the Sisters got on in their two games....

Landfall on Tharacium VII

Repentia Sister Superior Emelda walked at the fore of her penitent sisters as she entered the ruined apse of the once great cathedral. The hymnals sung by the Repentia echoed from the silent stones as they lay scattered around them, the songs enough to drown out the muttering engines of their eviscerators.

Beside Emelda and her charges, sisters of the Sacred Rose walked. Their very presence shone through the gloom that surrounded them. The bright white of their armour matched in it's brilliance only by the strength of their faith in the God Emperor. 

A group of citizens were walking towards the sisters, their shuffling gait reminded Emelda of a hospitallier ward she had once visited, home to those who bore terrible wounds, who had no hope of restitution or a life beyond their suffering.

Weapons appeared in the hands of the citizens, a banner was held aloft, bearing blasphemous promises of support from a god other than the holy God Emperor. All of this was clear to Emelda through her helm's lenses, and was clear to the sisters nearby.

Holy bolters sang their song of punishment, and the heretics fell.

Seraphim swooped to the earth, their retribution unstinting on the unfaithful, through flame, bolter and plasma they cut through more mutated heretics, each weapon fired accompanied by the hymns of hatred and vengeance, disgust at the weakness of those who had fallen from the Emperor's light.

As ever, the Repentia were charging even before I was able to strike them with the neural whip, it was expected of them, and they expected the whip to strike them none the less. A sentinel, commandeered from some militarum depot spat a red lascannon beam at the white armoured sisters. Sister Verity fell, her armour not proof against such a weapon.

The sentinel took only one further stride forward, and then the Repentia were upon it. The song of their eviscerators now joined the songs of their hymnals, the tortured metal, the screaming voices merely added to the devotion within the song, it was these moments that the Repentia truly were able to begin to atone for their sins.....

Death of the Eternally Faithful

Interrogator Chaplain Dael materialised within the Ecclesiarchy warship, the powerful teleport technology aboard the Sword of Caliban more than capable of delivering him, and his Deathwing cohort aboard.

Klaxons sounded, a call to arms, a call to repel boarders. Clearly the Deathwing had materialised aboard closer to their objectives than he had. No matter, there was nothing aboard the Eternally Faithful that could stand against a cohort of Deathwing terminators appearing in their midst, and his objective was not far.

Movement ahead was met with a stream of fire from his storm bolter, the heavy rounds punching through the unarmoured serfs, pilgrims and penitents who fled from his advance. Dael had fought the philosophical debates with other chaplains about the righteousness of killing such as this, killing those who believed they served the Emperor as he did. Those debates felt long ago, and so much less relevant now.

Dael emerged in a large open area, designed perhaps to welcome shuttle craft. But it's purpose had been given over to that of storing the single stasis chamber at it's centre. Dael was not the first of his cohort to arrive, two terminator squads were present, weapon discharges marked the position of Barisan's squad, identifiers marked the position of Antochlus. His sensors quickly identified the enemy within the room as Sororitas.

Before he could react, the life signs of Dael's squad blinked out, the sounds of chainblades revving and tearing through ceramite echoed around the chamber as they did. 

It was now that he saw Antochlus. Terminator armour was able to move at incredible speed, far surpassing expectations of how quickly the layer upon layer of plating should move. His moves to combine with Antochlus was stalled by a stream of flame and bolter fire from above, enemy jump pack troopers dropping from the catwalk above. His armour was proof against such attacks, while it threw his storm bolter from his hand and dented, scraped and battered his armour plates, he remained whole. 

His crozius crackled with energy as he swung it at the nearest enemy. He connected with a thunderclap, and the woman in white armour was thrown across the room, followed by another. Another fusillade from the sisters rained down on him from their pistols, more flame licked at his armour, more bolts sought passage into his flesh.

He swung again, but they had become wise, the three remaining fired their jump packs again, returning to the relative safety of the catwalks above. 

As he looked up at the sisters above him, bolter fire crashed into his armour from the gunsmoke haze around him. A meltagun blast connected with his right pauldron, annihilating it entirely. Purple plasma fire burst through, lancing through the haze to clear a path to white armoured soldiers, marching in lock step, weapons raised and spitting fire.

Dael was only now aware that Antochus' squad markers had blinked to black too.

Crozius raised, he bellowed at the warriors advancing on him, his suit's amplifiers more than capable of being heard above the rattle of bolter fire.

I am the agent of the Emperor's Will.

I am crafted by the Emperor himself and you are interfering with matters you do not understand.

Move aside. This ..... thing you have trapped aboard your vessel.... is not yours to keep, nor yours to interrogate.

The bolter fire continued, a second blast from the meltagun struck Dael straight in the torso, reducing most of his internal anatomy to gas in an instant. The damage was too much even for his physiology to cope with. 

Instead of the next firey statement, a gasp escaped his lips, the last vestiges of his lungs attempting to source what little air they could get, as he dropped to his knees.

Standing over him was a white armoured sister, her head framed by a steel grey halo and holding a plasma pistol, trigger held down to amplify the charge. Her voice was calm, but edged with disdain.

You have boarded our vessel, slain those devoted to the service of the Emperor's will.

I pronounce you Heretic.

And your punishment shall be death.

The pistol fired, and Dael ceased to be.

And as both hearts stopped, the secondary explosives which had been placed by the other terminator squads that had teleported aboard the Eternally Faithful triggered. 

All those on the surface saw the bright flash streak across the sky as the Eternally Faithful entered the atmosphere, breaking up as it fell gracelessly through the atmosphere.

Postcript

None of the mortals answered the riddles I had set them. Some came close, and those few who did had to be distracted, and yet some had to have their threads cut. It wasn't the time for them to find out the answer, not yet.

So said my master, and so it was.

The starship streaking to earth, devestating the land as it died was too as my master willed it, for what was aboard that vessel needed to be on Thracium VII, and the explosions that scoured the earth were needed to uncover what lay underneath.

And so as my master willed it, so it was done.

And so, I wait for my master to direct me to wear the face of another. Perhaps one of the Eldar? I do so enjoy the arrogance of being one of them. Perhaps a Space Marine? So strong, so blind to the world around them as they . Perhaps one of the Sororitas? To feel such righteous anger in service of such hypocrisy is one of the true pleasures in existence. Or perhaps, just perhaps, I shall wear the face of one of the Grandfather's children. To wear the bloated skin and occupy the closed mind of one of his own disciples would be a great joy....

But that will only come when my master wills it, when the time is right.