Wednesday, December 03, 2014

End Times: ARENA OF DEATH

Following on from our painting competition last weekend we decided it would be fun to have our newly-painted special characters scrap each other. This also served as painting motivation for some of us... because when you get together with your Warhammer buddies, when do you NOT debate who's the most powerful?



We drew inspiration from a classic article from White Dwarf #221. The rules we decided on are here. For better or worse, End Times: Khaine was released on the day of the event, so we had access to the new End Times magic and the new Eternity King. Brian was delighted.

The vast ability gap between the characters reflected our choices for painting entries, rather than power level, so we all knew this was not a fair fight and were just keen to roll some dice.

Seeding was random. We generated the first bracket and kicked off!

Round 1

Valkia vs Tetto'Eko
I believe this was a short fight. The Sword-Maiden of Khorne laid down the expected level of carnage on the poor lizard-dude. However, Tetto'eko has a very small skull, and not a lot of blood really, so just how pleased her patron god was by this remains a matter for theologians.

Winner: Valkia


Bragg vs The Glottkin
Only Ghurk Glott had his model represented, but we agreed to let him use the full Glottkin rules. With the impact hits and breath weapon, Bragg was buried in a mountain of diseased flesh and puke. Luckily he was able to eat his way out in time for the second round.

Winner: The Glottkin


Nagash vs Gorbad
The Lord of the Undead took a few early wounds from the ferocious Gorbad in the first turn, and then completely fluffed his own attacks. Annoyed (and slightly nervous, truth be told), he cast Malediction of Nagash on the legendary warboss, halving his Strength, and making sure the choppy-thing wasn't nearly so painful. Gorbad was unable to harm Nagash in the next turn, and was summarily chopped to pieces (Nagash is a bit of a dick when it comes to revenge; just ask Settra).

Winner: Nagash



Archaon vs Malekith
Big matchup early on. Archaon has so many rules that a few important ones were overlooked in this round. Things might have gone down to the wire had Archaon remembered his Mark of Nurgle, or that he is only wounded on 3+, or his horse attacks (never forget horse attacks). But this fight was all about Malekith. The Lord of the End Times was finished off, having inflicted 6 wounds on the Eternity King.

Winner: Malekith



Losers Round 1

Bragg vs Tetto'Eko
So this was much closer than you would think. The dinky-skinky from the south unleashed the only two spells he could use in this situation - Harmonic Convergence, and Comet of Cassandora. To the amazement of all, Tetto'eko managed to survive several turns, chipping wounds off Bragg and waiting for that comet to fall. Bragg had a hard time getting through the skink's minor defences, probably put off by how little meat the creature had on it, but eventually managed the killing blow before the Comet hit.

Winner: Bragg


Gorbad vs Archaon
Archaon has a 'history' with fighting orcs (*cough*GRIMGOR*cough*) and so was determined to put a swift end to the Greenskin. His daemon sword, Slayer of Kings, was happy to oblige.

Winner: Archaon



Round 2

Valkia vs The Glottkin
With the world in ruin as a result of the Four Brothers working in concert, it was nice to see some Chaos infighting. The legends do not tell whether it was the vomit, the tentacle, or the thunderous stomp that finished off the Sword-Maiden, but the result was much the same - a bloody-smear on the landscape.

Winner: The Glottkin



Nagash vs Malektih
Another clash of the titans. Nagash had to dig deep into his repertoire of 40 spells for any kind of advantage. But being unable to deal Heroic Killing Blow or multiple wounds put him on the back foot, losing six wounds himself in the first round from Asuryath Reforged.  A relatively low weapon skill stopped many of Nagash's attacks getting through, and so Speed of Light was used. With a few millennia-worth of cobwebs to blow out, the undead fiend cast the End Times spell Malediction of Nagash... however he realised his mistake shortly after. Halving Malekith's Strength did nothing with Okkam's Mindrazor in effect. A few more spells were tried but the onslaught of the Eternity King was too much.

Winner: Malekith



Losers Round 2

Nagash vs Bragg
So this battle had some awkward undertones. Nagash was being played by myself, and Bragg by my partner. I didn't want to crush her soul, but losing to Bragg would have meant Nagash would not be able to show his face among the serious villains of the End Times any more.

As it was, Nagash again missed most of his attacks in the first round, leaving Bragg on one wound and allowing him to attack back. One hit even got through. And so it was that Bragg had a one in six chance of taking out the Supreme Lord of the Undead.

Alas, it was not to be, and Bragg's soul will now suffer for eternity as a result. On the plus side, our fold-out couch also got some use.

Winner: Nagash



Valkia vs Archaon
Sometimes taking on the boss just isn't worth it. Valkia discovered this to her eternal damnation.

Winner: Archaon



Losers Round 3

Nagash vs Archaon
Archaon had hit is stride by this point. Ably utilizing Lore of Shadow hex's and augment's enhanced his power greatly. Archaon took three wounds off Nagash (from his horse - never forget horse attacks), but the magical storm that followed allowed the Arch-Liche to get off Vanhel's Danse Macarbe and Hellish Vigour for a few turns in a row. The Lore Attribute of these spells also allowed Nagash to heal himself, and so after a few turns of trading blows, Nagash was able to finish off Archaon.

Winner: Nagash



Semifinal Round 1

Nagash vs The Glottkin
Nagash stored four power dice into his staff as soon as he could, and then bolstered himself with Speed of Light with irressistable force. He saved the incoming magical backlash, but lost the rest of his power dice. Drawing on the power of the staff he attacked, and made the Heroic Killing Blow to strike the Glottkin where it mattered before he could return the favour.

Winner: Nagash


Final Round 

Nagash vs Malekith
The rematch! Nagash actually needed to beat Malekith twice to emerge victorious from the Arena of Death, and it really was not to be. Malekith got through four wounds right away, and though he rolled one's and two's, his sword did D3+1 wounds, and so dealt 8 wounds total - enough to topple Nagash in one round. Standing atop a pile of corpses, the ancient Eternity King grasped the air in triumph.

Winner: Malekith



Here is the final bracket:

Champion: Malekith
Runner up: Nagash
Second Runner up: The Glottkin


We all agreed that we will be doing this again once all the End Times books are out. Our next painting competition will involve completing an entire regiment, and having a free-for-all battle at the end. Can't wait!

Monday, December 01, 2014

End Times: Painting Competition

Whether you love or hate the new rules and back story, the End Times are exciting times. Speaking personally, the return to the very stories, events and personalities that originally got me into the hobby over 20 years ago has got me in a buzz. Special Characters were what our hobby was back then.

It was while we were around at Dan's place a few months back that we started hassling him about his unpainted Archaon. The End Times need a Lord, after all. Peer pressure may-or-may-not have occurred, so to be fair, Brian and I also pledged to paint an End Times special character. From there we opened it up to other friends and family, and so, at the beginning of October, our Tronhammer Special Character Painting Competition began.

We upped-the-ante shortly after starting; why not test the mettle of our newly painted heroes/villains? Thus, we organised an Arena of Death to follow the painting competition (which I will cover in a separate post). You can view our guidelines here:

Painting Competition Rules
Arena of Death Rules

We were extremely fortunate to have Mel along to take some fantastic shots of our toys. Below are some select photos (click to enlarge). You can view the full album here.


Nagash - Supreme Lord of the Undead
Archaon the Everchosen - Lord of the End Times

Gorbad Ironclaw
Tetto'Eko - Astromancer of the Constellations
Bragg the Gutsman
Malekith - The Eternity King
Ghurk Glott - Champion of Nurgle
Valkia the Bloody - Sword-Maiden of Khorne
The Field
Democracy in the Old World

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Nagash Awakens!

From beyond the grave riseth this blog... and so too Nagash, Lord of Undeath!



I have been captivated by recent rumours by reputable sources for a new campaign book, along with new miniatures, for this iconic Warhammer figure. In fact, it was Nagash from the Undead 4th Edition Army Book that hooked me on the hobby. I must have re-read the army background in that book 50 times at least.


Rumours


 I have the same nerdy pangs of excitement about these rumours. Here is a summary;
  • Preorders up end August
  • New Miniatures for Nagash, Mannfred, Arkhan the Black, Neferata and others
  • Campaign Book plus a limited edition version
  • A set of magic cards
  • Campaign special rules including using Nagash (1k points), and using undead units in all armies
  • Known as the End Times

We even have a GW teaser;



It's hard to describe why this is such a big deal. I think campaign books in general are fantastic - having picked up all the recent offerings. But the Nagash thing is so tied in with nostalgia from the 'good old days' that it's making me giddy.



Friday, July 12, 2013

Custom Heraldry Transfer 'Tutorial'

I mentioned a few posts back that I was attempting to create some custom water-slide transfers (or 'decals') for my Nuln-themed Empire army. This is because I have almost no confidence in my freehand painting abilities, and would like a look of consistency across banners and shields.

I used to have a set of transfers for the 5th Edition Undead army, but they are long gone and have been out of production for a decade or so. GW has just started to bring back water-slide transfers, but so far has only released sheets for High Elves and 40k.

So I set about making my own. I have been asked to provide a tutorial, but to be honest the process has been rather fraught with trial and tribulation, so this is more of a cautionary tale.

First up, you will want either some digital source material or some sweet design skills. I own a copy of Uniforms & Heraldry of the Empire, so all I did was scan the Nuln pages onto my computer.


Next, you will want some kind of editing software. I used Photoshop. I needed to clearcut and touch-up the images, as well as collate them into one sheet.

Once I had the file ready, it was time to print!


I sourced some water-slide transfer paper from a New Zealand supplier called The Train Depot, who provide very prompt and helpful service.

There are two types of paper options - Inket and LaserJet.

I initially bought LaserJet paper, but when I tried to print I realised it was just melting in the printer, so I had to order another supply of Inkjet paper. My advice would be to make sure you know what sort of paper you need to get! The Train Depot will be able to help you out with this.

Once printed, I excitedly applied the decal to my knight's shield... only to discover with horror that it could not even be seen. This was my second mistake.

Ruh-roh
If your transfer is going over a dark background, you need to buy solid white transfer paper rather than clear, and match the background colour of the image to the surface you wish to apply it.

If you are applying transfers over a lightly coloured surface, clear transfer paper will be the way to go.

So here is version two of the decal sheet printed on white paper;


With Inkjet paper you need to apply sealant of some kind, like Crystal Kote, to stop the image from flaking. I applied three coats.


When this had thoroughly dried I cut out one of the icons to add to the shield. I found the best results by cutting as close to the shape of the design as possible. I prepared the surface of the shield by painting on some Lahmian Medium. Once this was dry, I put the cut-out transfer in a shallow dish of warm water until it came loose.

For the direct application of the decal, I followed this excellent tutorial by Sholto of the Incunablog, applying MicroSet to the surface, and then carefully sliding the transfer from the paper to the surface with a paint brush.


Once this was positioned, and the excess moisture dabbed up with a paper towel, I left it to dry. Later I liberally applied some MicroSol, which dissolved the transfer film leaving the design on the surface fully conformed to the slopes and edges (particularly important on wavy banners).

When this had dried, I touched up the transfer with some Abaddon Black to tie it in with the background.

So there you have it! I hope this cautionary tale has allowed you to avoid some of the pitfalls I came across, and ultimately add some cool details to your army.


Monday, July 08, 2013

Nuln Army Background for NerdyCon

NerdyCon 2013 is the first community event to have piqued my interest in almost two years after I got completely burned out of attending tournaments.

In no small part is this due to the event being organised by the League of Extraordinary Nerdymen who are a fine bunch of blokes and extremely good fun.

This besides, the NerdyCon rules pack has a very strong hobby focus and is a great point of difference from many local tournament 'comp' events, providing an opportunity to get together with other like-minded players and play some Warhammer as the Good Lord Jervis intended.

Part of the scoring component is supplying a written backstory for your army, which is really where it is at for me. Below is the backstory I will be taking, though I don't doubt I will be tempted to fiddle with it more before the event. I wanted to base it off the famous Magnus the Pious quote, and theme it with the classic Nuln contrasts - black and white, rich and poor, human and machine. Feedback welcome.

If you are interested in NerdyCon, it is a 1400 point single-day event in Auckland on August 18th. Player's pack can be found here.

Part 1 - The Priest


Part 2 - The Preceptor
Part 3 - The Castellan-Engineer