Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Van Fysher's World

OK. I've been muttering a bit about the re-organisation and serious scaling down of my 40K projects from "ALL OF THE THINGS" to "a coherent story about the war of liberation for a single world during the Amalthean Crusade".

So, to that end, today I rummaged through my figure drawers and my army case and came up with the following (among other things):

Patrol Group Sierra-Five, Aderaband Province, Towyrran contintental landmass:

L-R: Aderaband Home Defence Militia section with their locally-built RH1N0 APC with searchlight and heavy stubber; High Mallain Yeomanry half-platoon (even further understrength!) with Chimera AIFVs; Suzerain's Lifeguard Regiment Sentinel with assault cannon.

I envisage the world as having two major continental land-masses (Adwyrran and Towyrran), with three oceans - the Northern Ocean, Southern Gulf (between the two continents) and the Vast Sea, which spans almost half the globe from Western Adwyrran to Eastern Towyrran. On this world, the Imperium of Man and the Tau Empire are engaged in a life and death struggle for control...

...while Chaos cults stir within the indentured mutant workforce's townships and camps...
...while the Tyranids scutter and devour on the far west of Adwyrran...
...while the perfidious Eldar (of all kinds) strike hither and thither, following seemingly no pattern...
...and the brutish Greenskins, drawn to war like moths to a flame (if moths were heat-proof and carried blowtorches), raid from their crash-landing in the northern mountains of Towyrran!

For me, the PDF, Arbites and Imperial Guard garrison troops (Skye's World I Light Infantry) are fighting a counter-insurgency campaign against Tau sympathisers, Ork raiders, Eldar pirates and Chaos cults in the hinterlands and rear areas, while the main force of Imperial power - the Space Marines, Guard and Sisters of Battle - bring the fight to the Tau on both Towyrran and Adwyrran.

I'm looking forwards to tying all my Imperial figures together and being able to tell stories within the overarching context of the Amalthean Crusade that I've spent years thinking about!

Monday, 26 May 2014

In The Empire's Name

Well, I've done it. Or at least, started it. I'm condensing my 40K stuff to a single basing scheme, and from now on my battles will be fought on a single, mostly desert, world. Name and story to be determined. I know that it produces promethium in vast algae-farms, it has a religious shrine of some importance, and is also a net exporter of food and mineral-glass as well as some luxury items.

What this means is that 2nd Edition 40K is going to be my go-to system for the forseeable future, and that any army that doesn't fit with this is going... including the Darendarans. I'm going to parcel out their tanks to the Rigellians and Drokharan Taureg Legion, and the leftovers are going to be sold on.

Money raised from this will probably go towards fuelling my X-Wing addiction, which has recently seen me expand my Imperial starfighter group by two more TIE/ln fighters and a Lambda-class shuttle:

Which has brought me up to eight TIE fighters, enabling me to field Academy Squadron. I'm aiming to get a full squadron of TIEs, supported by a bomber flight, interceptor flight, and an element each of Defenders and Phantoms. I'll only need the one Advanced (because it's Darth Vader's personal ship) and one Lambda, so really I'm not far off completing my little group and starting on the Rebels (for which I currently have one X-Wing).

I played a game of X-Wing against JY today; Scenario 6 from the Lambda class shuttle pack. This is part-way through the first turn's activation phase; my Omicron Group shuttle has headed over to a stranded Imperial ship to pick up the dignitaries while Black Squadron TIEs fly escort. I ended up winning (just), with only one ship lost on each side. The Lambda looks cool and flies very differently to everything else I have.

I'll be ordering a Firespray (Slave 1 - Boba Fett's ship) and another Interceptor later today, and then I'll put a stop to the madness until at least July as I'm off to Tunisia for a week with S, my partner, so that'll be taking the rest of June's disposable income!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Lock Achieved - Weapons Hot - Fox One, Fox Two, Missiles Away

Today I received two TIE bombers in the post, which was jolly fun. Lots of little resealable bags to keep all the cardboard tokens in, and more options for my Imperial Navy starfighter force in X-Wing, which now stands at 10 little ships, which are really quite lovely pieces.

TIE Advanced-X1, as flown by Darth Vader:

TIE Interceptor:

TIE fighters:

TIE bombers:

The starfighter group so far:

Hopefully my next purchase will be less twin ion engine and a bit bigger. We shall see!

In other news, I've sold off my Armageddon Steel Legion infantry, and have put eBay auctions up for:

A Baneblade super-heavy tank of the Balurian IX Armoured - auction here.

An Imperial Knight Titan - auction here.

Captain Cato Sicarius of the Ultramarines 2nd Battle Company - auction here.

And a small Warhammer Fantasy Battle Warriors of Chaos army:

Chaos Lord and Tzeentchian Wizard - auction here.

Marauders of Slaanesh, wielding either hand weapon and shield or flails, depending on who you put in the front rank. Auction here.

Chaos Warriors. Long OOP, these are the original multi-part plastic warriors. Auction here.

Daemonettes - led by Dechala the Denied One, a now long out of production special character figure, and with a Juan Diaz Daemonette too! Auction here.

There'll be more auctions to come in the near future, too. Watch this space!

Sunday, 18 May 2014


I have plans for, and at least the start of, no less than five seperate Imperial Guard armies.

I do not need them.

With Games Workshop's latest edition of 40K, I am finally giving up my last vestiges of toy soldier insanity - I hope - by rationalising my Guard and, with them, my 40K plans, as follows:

  1. My 40K armies will all be based the same; for actions on a primarily desert world.
  2. This will make constructing terrain and armies much easier.
  3. I will construct all future armies for 2nd Edition 40K.
  4. I will get rid of all those figures that do not fit into this new paradigm.
Keep your eyes peeled; there may well be eBay auctions coming soon...

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Learning By Error

Yesterday I played two games of X-Wing, primarily because yet another TIE fighter expansion and the first TIE Interceptor expansion arrived. The first was a training simulation with CH, the second was me and CH against JY's rebel scum.

I made a lot of illegal moves in the first game with Soontir Fel; I didn't realise that you couldn't do the same manoeuvre twice in a row and I did an awful lot of barrel rolling. Oops! I still lost, anyway. We played a 72 point game, with me taking Darth Vader and Soontir Fel, and CH flying six Academy Pilots. Fel got shot down and Vader was whittled down to just one hull point before flying into an asteroid. D'oh. There were some amazing examples of precision flying in that game though:

 Academy Squadron engages in some precision crashing. Here the frontmost Academy pilot has moved in from the right of picture, only for his comrade at the rear of the image to attempt to occupy quite literally exactly the same space!
 Moments later, Lord Vader, inspired by their heroic display of expert precision, himself flies alongside the hapless pilots.
The end. Darth Vader flies his TIE Advanced X1 into an asteroid to avoid the shame of being shot down by Academy cadets...

After that display of finesse from the Empire's finest, JY came over and we had a 160 point game. He took:

The Millenium Falcon flown by the Galaxy's smoothest man, Lando Calrissian, and crewed by  Luke Skywalker,
Tycho Celchu in an A-Wing with Assault Missiles
Green Squadron A-Wing with Assault Missiles
Rookie Squadron X-Wing
Rookie Squadron X-Wing

He had some other upgrades but I can't remember what they were.

I was flying:

Dark Lord of the Sith, Darth Vader, in TIE Advanced X1 with Shield Upgrade, Cluster Missiles and Marksman
Soontir Fel, Finest Pilot In The Navy, in TIE Interceptor with Push the Limit and Stealth Device

CH took:

Howlrunner in TIE
Night Beast in TIE
Winged Gundark in TIE
Obsidian Squadron TIE
Obsidian Squadron TIE
Obsidian Squadron TIE

 Deployment. Obsidian Squadron spreads out. L-R (Imperial): Fel, Vader, Howlrunner, Night Beast, Winged Gundark, O4, O5, O6. L-R (Rebel): Rookie, Rookie, Tycho, Lando, Green.
End turn 1. Fel and Vader zoom up the left flank, followed by Howlrunner, while Night Beast goes BOOM thanks to Tycho's Assault Missiles and Lando's shooting. 
End turn 2. Fel and Vader put paid to a Rookie with some help from Howlrunner, O4 gets it in the neck from the Falcon and Green Squadron, but several shields go down on the Rebel side.
End turn 3. The flights pass through each other. Winged Gundark goes down but more shields do too, particularly from the Falcon... and Green Squadron gets critically hit, preventing it from using its Assault Missiles!
 End Turn 4. The Rookie tries to get away while Tycho and Green Squadron end up out in the mix. 
End turn 5 (and end game, too, because apparently not everyone wanted to play X-Wing). Rookie got killed by Vader, who had just bumped into Tycho, and then everything else fired at the Falcon, putting it on just three Hull Points. At which point we called the game as an Imperial Victory. Hurrah!

After packing up, JY, CH, LR, JF, AC and I sat down to play Munchkin! Much stabbing in the face ensued, mostly of party members rather than monsters, before LR's High Elder Halfling Legendary Elite Cleric won by combined a filthy number of bonuses and using a Doppleganger card to defeat a collection of monsters with a total Combat Value of 43. Much fun was had by all!

 Munchkin (and ChessTime) in progress. Clockwise from the top of my head: JF, CH, AF, JY, LR.
Victory goes to LR! In the foreground you can see my Halfling Thief, riding his tiger (with plastic nun to make it immune from curses), wearing Mithril armour and equipped with a pike and foot mace. Not to mention the false beard...

A good afternoon and evening of playing games in excellent company.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

"Dare To Dream!"

This week my friend CH is staying with me while he does some teacher training type stuff. Or something. Anyway, because I not only (finally) received my TIE fighter expansion pack, but I went to the trouble of buying a piece of black drill cotton to make into a 3'x3' playing area today, I introduced him to Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures, and he likes it, which is excellent. I only have Imperial Navy vessels, however, so we had to do some 'training exercises'.

Black 3, 'Backstabber', finally arrives...

Darth Vader's Black Squadron, or at least half of it. L-R, Black 6, Black 4 'Dark Curse', Black 5, Black 3 'Backstabber', Black 1 Lord Vader, Black 2 'Mauler Mithel'.

The first exercise pitted a Tempest Squadron TIE Advanced (CH) against an Obsidian Squadron Pilot and an Academy Pilot in TIEs. This game ended after the Tempest Squadron ship, having 'killed' the Academy Pilot, flew off the board by accident.

Then we played a scenario from the rulebook, whereby I, taking the part of the OPFOR (Howlrunner with Swarm Tactics, Mauler Mithel with Marksman and Winged Gundark) was up against Marek Stele in his TIE Advanced with Cluster Missiles, and two Academy Pilots. This game showed us the true power of the Pilot Skill 1 TIE, as the rookies out-flew and out-fought the veterans. Every 'kill' in the game came from the laser cannons of Academy TIEs - Howlrunner first, then CH's two Academy pilots to the guns of Howlrunner's replacement... an Academy pilot!

CH busily crashing Marek Stele into 'Winged Gundark'. Early on in Exercise 2. You can see that his Academy Pilots on the left have survived a pass by Howlrunner and Mauler Mithel, who are yet to move.

So, in a fit of giggles, we created ACADEMY SQUADRON: eight Academy pilots, costing 96 points. Motto? "Dare to dream!" Radio chatter heard during the game? "That wasn't required reading!" (on crashing) "See you at graduation!" (on killing Howlrunner) "Do I get bonus credit for that manoeuvre?" (on pulling a K-turn) and so on. I fully intend to take this unit to a tournament, with a t-shirt showing a TIE pilot giving the thumbs up over the slogan "See you at graduation, scum!" on the front, and 'ACADEMY SQUADRON - DARE TO DREAM' on the back. I don't expect to win, but I do expect to cause much laughter.

In the end, CH won that second game, with Marek Stele, having killed nothing but scanned two of the three satellites, flying off the board to the impotent rage of the surviving OPFOR. Half-rations for Squadron Leader Cive 'Howlrunner' Rashon!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Quantity Has A Quality All Of Its Own

I had another game of X-Wing tonight; my Black Squadron list against JY's 'All-Stars' X-Wings flown by Biggs Darklighter, Wedge Antilles and Garven Dreis (with various Astromechs, upgrades and Swarm Tactics).

Although we had to cut it short with the arrival of SB, LR, JF, and AC for Games Night, I'd shot down Biggs and Wedge in return for the loss of one of my Black Squadron pilots; and we declared an Imperial Victory. Black Squadron are now running an undefeated three game streak, which is interesting.

It's only early days, but it seems to me that having more ships is a much better advantage than having fewer, tougher ships. More ships gives you more attack dice, more movement options, better board coverage... the fire of four or five ships against one is much more of a threat than the fire of one or two against one.

I also won the game of Munchkin that we all played, after coming so close three times and dying (to a Plutonium Dragon). My Dwarf ended up with five arms, which is always good fun!

No photos for once, as I'm still suffering from having them randomly rotate 90 degrees. Hopefully tomorrow my last TIE fighter will arrive, enabling me to field either Black Squdron or Obsidian Squadron.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

"I Have You Now!"

Tonight JY and I played three games of X-Wing. I won the first, he won the second, and I won the third. I was right: it's easy to learn and hard to master. Having to try and work out where the enemy will be and where all your ships will be, and in what order, is hard.

Lord Vader survived all three games, and I think I've settled on a pretty solid list for my Black Squadron project:

Darth Vader in TIE Advanced X-1 with Cluster Missiles and Squad Leader
Black 2 (Mauler Mithel) in TIE with Marksman
Black 4 (Dark Curse) in TIE
Black 5 (Dzevan Halcek) in TIE with Determination
Black 6 in TIE

100 points spot on. Black 5 isn't a named character, but he did so well in my first game that I named him. He got shot down in the third game though (probably miffed that I'd swapped him out for Night Beast in game two).

Some photos from games 1 and 3 follow. I lost game 2 because the Rebel shuttle carrying the senator fled off the board before I could apply the coup de grace. Ah well, never mind!

 CH, ever the mature fellow, supplies a commentary on behalf of Han Solo towards the end of game 1.
 Moments later, the Falcon is critically hit (all turns and banks become red manoeuvres and give stress tokens. This is a bad thing)!
 "Surrender, rebel scum!" Han tries to pull the Falcon out of a tight spot, but... failed. Victory to Black Squadron!

The last shots of game three; Green 11 finally succumbing to the combined fire of Black 1, Black 2, Black 4 and Black 6. Pew pew pew indeed!

I'm going to get or make a star field playing surface too. Make the battles feel that little bit more cinematic and epic, I think.

Monday, 5 May 2014

"We'll Have To Destroy Them Ship-To-Ship!"

Well, JY and I have done it. We bought into Star Wars: X-Wing: The Miniatures Game, each getting a starter set and  a couple of expansion packs. I have decided to field Darth Vader's own TIE fighter squadron, Black Squadron, led by the Sith Lord himself in his Advanced X-1. JY has a fair few more options, what with his A-wings, X-wings, Hawk AWACs type thing and, of course, the Millenium Falcon itself.

Still, the models are really very nice. Pre-painted has never particularly taken my fancy before, but they are very high quality models that really look the part. The game itself is quick, intuitive, and demands a lot of thought I think (having only played a quick few turns against myself so far).

Here's my force so far. L-R: Black 1 (Darth Vader), Black 2 ('Mauler' Mithel), Black 4 ('Dark Curse' Phenirr), Black 5 and Black 6. I have another TIE fighter on order to make up Black 3 ('Backstabber'). That gives me half of Black Squadron, which at the time of the Battle of Yavin, consisted of 11 TIE fighters and Vader's TIE-X1 Advanced.

JY and I are going to have a game or two on Tuesday. Batreps should be interesting!

I also received a nice parcel courtesy of eBay:

Hydras! These are cool little resin aftermarket turrets from an eBay provider, but the vehicles themselves were made up and bought as is. The driver's hatch is too far back and can't open (the turret overhangs it) so that needs to be moved forwards, and I'm probably going to take the track guards off too.  These will eventually be Hydras B1 and B3 from the Skye's World I Light Infantry Regimental HQ. I'm going to paint them something like this, I think:

Which is South Korean 'tiger' pattern camo from 1952.

Speaking of painting, I've not done any for a while. Soon!