February 24, 2011

Dwarf repainting progress

Making slow progress on Dwarf repainting project after a fast and furious start. Focused recently on basing various models and movement trays as well as undercoating those that have been stripped. Currently completing 20 Warriors with GW and expect to get them down by mid next week. Somewhat less enthusiastic at the moment due to Earthquake - family in Christchurch flying out tonight to stay with me for a while - and as teaching starts again on Monday so my workload has gone up.

Still aiming to get lots done over next few weeks particularly as cricket season draws to an end and I can get back into attending local club nights. Looking forward to a few games against Aidans Dark Elves and Adams Dwarfs come April.

February 22, 2011

Earthquake in Christchurch

Another earthquake hit Christchurch this morning around 12.50pm lots of damage, reports of fatalities... spent most of lunch and early afternoon on phone to family in the city who are thankfully all ok. Thoughts go out to everyone else in the city whose families werent so lucky.

2nd time in 6 months, not sure how much of this my whanau down there can take.

February 16, 2011

High Elf tournament army list @ 2000pts

Providing I havent missed out on a place Ive decided to take High Elves to Runefang IV primarily as I think they will be more competitive given the tournaments format. Basically it will follow a Mighty Empires format based around teams of 3 using the various scenarios in the army book.

All lists are subject to the following restrictions:
- 30% core minimum
- No double specials
- No double rares
- No unit to cost more than 350pts including command, upgrades and magic

My list will be

Archmage L4
- Silver Wand, Ironcurse Icon, Talisman of Preservation, Lore of Shadow

- Armour of Caledor, GW, Guardian Phoenix

Spears x35
- Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame

Archers x14
- Musician

Archers x10
- Musician

Phoenix Guard x18
- Full Command, Razor Standard

White Lions x18
- Full Command, Banner of Sorcery

Dragon Princes x6
- Musician

TOTAL 1,997 pts

WIP - Dwarf Warriors, Unit fillers & movement trays

More recently completed work for my Dwarf repainting project - pics should expand when clicked on.

Movement trays

Dwarf Warriors w. Great Weapons

Unit fillers from Miner ponies

Miners w. completed movement tray

Progress slowed lately hence my shift to movement trays, may add some drybrushing to them and possibly some static grass to complement the Silflor tufts. Aim to complete unit of 20 GW Warriors, then unit fillers before moving onto Hammerers.

Providing I havent missed out on a place have also decided to take my High Elves to Runefang IV rather than my Dwarfs, primarily as I am more confident about the list I want to use and as they are all painted.

February 14, 2011

Tavern Talk - Views on list building

Depending upon how and why you play WHFB and what type of gaming environment you are in list building is either the most important or the least important aspect of the game. Before I stumbled across Lonewolfs Army Builder software (which I purchased a couple of years ago) list building was often a painfully slow process involving countless scribbles and scratched out notations on pieces of paper. This frequently resulted in me missing out on various unit/item combos through bad maths or simply by forgetting certain items existed. Army builder means I can concentrate a lot more of getting the most out of any list. All up I have three basic approaches to list building

#1 - The standard or play your favourite model/units build
Under 7th Ed I had an exercise book full of different army lists at different points sizes all of which aimed to get different units and combos on the table at various times. During friendly games at my club I would chop and change between various lists at random, often for no real reason.

The units these lists included usually consisted of (a) those I had finished painting - due to my aversion to playing unpainted models or (b) my favourite units. Often this resulted in my taking armies that didnt work well against particularly opponents or didnt work well in general. But as long as I got my favourite figures out on the table (Hammers & Quarrellers for Dwarfs/Phoenix Guard for High Elves) I was happy.

At other times I would just take really weird character builds to try things out or even odd unit choices. The point being to experiment with what I had to learn more about my respective armies.

This is probably how most people put lists together initially. Over time though you'll start to develop a more consistent build to the point where you frequently take the same character/unit builds in nearly every game. Tournament experience really helps here as it provides a huge learning curve as to what works. For most of 7th Edition my lists at various points always included the following:
  • Core troops - for Dwarfs 2 units of Quarrellers, for High Elves - 2 blocks of Spears
  • Specials - for Dwarfs a big block of Hammerers, High Elves - Phoenix Guard
  • Rare - Organ Gun for Dwarfs, 2 RBT's for High Elves
The major changes came with characters at various points levels Lord level figures were never taken under 2000pts and at 1500 or below I often dropped the BSB and went with a single character - Runesmith for Dwarfs and combat orientated Noble for High Elves.

#2 - Tooling up vs. a particular opponent
At my local club the range of armies I faced is (unfortunately) very limited, even more so this year, and consequently I often found myself facing the same armies time after time principally Warriors of Chaos (the old book) and Lizardmen (the old book). While I often took my "I like these models" lists I also, notably for bigger games, tryed to specialise to counter a particular army, e.g.
  • vs. Warriors of Chaos - Quarrellers would go and Thunderers would come in as would a Cannon, and GW weilding units would get precedence.
  • vs. Lizardmen - Quarrellers and Thunderers would get fielded to counter the Skink horde my club mate usually fielded (upto 60 in some games) and I would maximise my anti-magic protection.
More recently this has involved building High Elf lists to fight against Adams Dwarfs (in our War of the Beard series) but even here I frequently took units I liked vs. those that worked really well as there are few specific anti-Dwarf items in the HE arsenal.

The tooling up approach really depends on what you and your friends are going for, sometimes its fun to have your opponent make your list for you or even to swap armies once you get to the table.

But to build this kind of list you really have to know whats in your opponents army book. To be honest outside of my Dwarfs and High Elves I know stuff all about the contents of the other army books - although Armybuilder helps here somewhat.

#3 - Tournament play
If you want to improve as a WHFB player particularly when it comes to list building tournament play is the only place to go. In my first two outings I took standard "#1 - I like this unit" type lists. This was a bad mistake but a good one to learn from. At tournaments you will encounter the uber-combos tooled up characters and units put together by players who can get the most out of their respective army books and the rules. Its here that you learn the little tricks that turn an average unit into a killer, or a standard hero into a rampaging menace.

You also learn pretty quickly what parts of your army work and what dont and in which combos. After competing in 8 WHFB tournaments I have come to the conclusion that to build an effective tournament army list you have to:
  1. Know the contents of every other army book inside out - what units are the killers, what items should be feared, which combos are going to hurt your army the most.
  2. Know the contents of your army book inside out - what combos work best for you, which units do other armies fear, what units do other armies least want to see on the table.
More importantly list building at tournaments is about putting out an army that:
  1. Maximises your advantages while minimising or removing your disadvantages compared to other armies.
  2. Can take advantage of other armies weaknesses while avoiding or at least protecting you against their strengths.
In 7th Edition (particularly for Dwarfs) this would generally result in you deciding which of the 3 main phases (magic, shooting, combat) you wanted to dominate and building a list around that. With 7th I found that if you could control one phase and get a draw (at a minimum) in another then the game would come down to tactics rather than who had the best item combos. One thing I never tried though was a Dwarf gunline.

In 8th things have changed to the point where I believe you need to dominate or at least be competitive in every phase, although for Dwarfs this is damn difficult.

I've also found that after playing in tournaments my #1 and #2 lists changed to the point where after a while #3 Tournament lists were all I played in most games - outside of my High Elf vs Dwarf grudge matches. Still its sometimes fun just to take a unit because you like it i.e., the High Elf Dragon Mage - as a unit it sucks, but it looks cool so I use.

February 10, 2011

Dwarf Thunderers, BSB & Runesmith finished

Finished first 10 members of my Dwarf Thunderer unit last night. They are a lot brighter than the original paint scheme which is what I intended. Also completed the banners on the BSB and Runesmith adding appropriate runes from the Dwarf Codex. The Runesmith has the MR Balance and RO Spellbreaking, the BSB the MR Stromni and MR Grungi - yes I know you cant have two Master Runes but it looks pretty. The runes in the middle of the BSB banner are Dwarven for KT or Karak Thorinkin the name of my Dwarves hold.

Did have some problems with the Thunderers in that my fine brushes are all munted and need to be replaced and that the paint stripping took some of the detailing off. Unlike the Miners I also found these guys somewhat harder to paint - not sure why. Now that my bases have arrived from Maelstrom so I can get onto painting a small unit of 10 Hammerers.

Completed (except for bases) Thunderers

Early stages of painting

Completed (except for basing) Runesmith w. MR Balance & RO Spellbreaking

Completed BSB w. MR Grungi, MR Stromni Redbeard

Original Thunderers & BSB in action before repainting

February 9, 2011

High Elves @ 2000pts

Although I will be taking my Dwarfs to Runefang I thought I would put together a High Elf list as well using the same restrictions. With a month or two until the tournament it gives me room to try out both lists (Dwarf & High Elf) to see how they play. Tournament army restrictions are:
• No Double Rares (unless 2:1) – and Rare % limited to 20% (400 points)
• No Double Specials (unless 2:1)
• Core % = minimum of 30% (600 points)
• No unit (including Command, Banners, Magic Items etc) over 350 points
• Warmachines limited to a maximum of three (2:1 count as single choice)
Expect players pack to also introduce army specific rules as well these wont affect Dwarfs too much but do expect them to ban certain items like the Power Scroll, Book of Hoeth and possibly the Banner of Sorcery (hopefully not).

2000pts High Elf Army

Archmage L4 (Lore of Metal)
- Folraiths Robe, Talisman of Preservation, Silver Wand

5 Spells, 4+ WS and immune to all non-magical attacks, and Lore of Metal to bolster army. Solid magical potential backed by Banner of Sorcery with White Lions.

- Armour of Caledor, Guardian Phoenix, GW

On foot to go with Spears, standard 2+ AS and 5+WS striking at S6 with re-rolls.

Spears x33
- Full Command, Banner of Eternal Flame

Big block rather than smaller one, 33 is an odd number but necessary to keep to 30% core requirement and also because of my lack of archer models

Archers x14
- Musician

Archers x10
- Musician

Two units of these rather than two blocks of Spears as High Elf shooting is slightly more accurate than that of Dwarfs

Swordmasters x18
- Full Command, Ironcurse Icon

Run in 6x3 formation, bolster with Lore of Metal and WS vs. Warmachines from Icon

White Lions x18
- Full Command, Banner of Sorcery

Dragon Princes x5
- Musician


TOTAL 1,999 pts

Two blocks of hard hitting infantry SM at S5 and WL at S6 both with re-rolls, good shooting, reasonable horde type formation to cater for light enemy infantry and decent magical potential. All round a nicely balanced list. Only issue is lack of bodies in special units due to the 350pt unit maximum, otherwise I would be running 25 Phoenix Guard and 25 White Lions. Inability to double up specials also means 1 large block of Swordmasters rather than 2 smaller blocks.

February 7, 2011

Runefang IV comp rules & final army list

More from Petes Blog on Runefang IV going to make list building somewhat difficult now, especially for High Elves.

• No Double Rares (unless 2:1) – and Rare % limited to 20% (400 points)
• No Double Specials (unless 2:1)
• Core % = minimum of 30% (600 points)
• No unit (including Command, Banners, Magic Items etc) over 350 points
• Warmachines limited to a maximum of three (2:1 count as single choice)
Going to be taking Dwarfs whatever the final rules are, but the 350pt unit maximum means my Dwarf horde of 35 or 40 Warriors is now out.

FINAL LIST for Runefang IV

- MR Balance, RO Spellbreaking, Shield

- MR Gromil, RO Preservation, RO Resistance, RO Furnace

Warriors x30
- Full Command, GW

Warriors x30
- Full Comannd, GW

Warriors x25
- Full Comannd, GW

Hammerers x25
- Full Command

Stone Thrower
- Engineer, RO Accuracy, RO Penetratingx2

- Engineer, RO Forging, RO Burning

Organ Gun

TOTAL 1,997pts

Runesmith takes 1PD and gains 1DD each round meaning on average Ill have 2 less dice than my opponent but the benefit of the +2 to Dispel bonus of Dwarfs. RO Spellbreaking gives me one decent scroll to use at a key point.

4 big blocks of infantry all with GW is going to be somewhat scary for anybody even those with a horde army like Goblins and Skaven. Against Goblins Ill have the benefit not only of step up but also hatred, and vs. Skaven higher toughness and S5 mean Ill chew them up pretty easy.

Against cavalry armies I will suffer from a lack of mobility meaning I might have to group the warmachines together leaving the 25 man Warrior block back as a defensive reserve - depends upon the scenarios being played.

Stonethrower all up costs 170pts which is alot but its accurate and striking at S5 and any hit on a 20 model unit is going to kill everything it touches. Cannon at S10 with burning shot is going to be horrible against monsters and my guess work with Cannons has also been a strong point. Then theirs the Organ Gun my old favourite which I can either leave with the other machines or advance forward with the infantry.

Lack of Longbeards makes panic from shooting an issue but rerolls from BSB should take care of that and at L9 I have a better than even chance of passing the majority of those tests.

February 5, 2011

WHFB Army list Dwarfs @ 2000pts

Provisional army list for Runefang IV in April is:

- MR Balance, RO Spellbreaking, Shield

The army general. Will hold back from frontline. MR Balance takes 1 PD from enemy and gives me 1 DD which when combined with Dwarfs +2 dispel easily negates enemy magic.

- MR Gromil, RO Preservation, RO Resistance, RO Furnace

Standard set up for BSB who wont die. 1+ rerollable AS, immunity to killing blow and poison and 2+ WS vs. flaming attacks.

Warriors x25
- Full Command, GW

Warriors x25
- Full Comannd, GW

Warriors x25
- Full Command, GW

3 big uber blocks of GW infantry striking at S5 going to be hard to beat. Considering also taking two horde units one of 40 and one of 30-35.

Hammerers x28
- Full Command, MR Grungi

The armys anvil WS5 S6 and Stubborn. BSB will stay with these guys in middle of battleline.

Stone Thrower
- Engineer, BOP, RO Accuracy, RO Penetratingx2

RO Accuracy to reroll scatter dice all important especially for indirect fire. 2 RO Penetrating making all hits S5 or S8 under the template. Brace of Pistols (BOP) helping against charges.

- Engineer, BOP, RO Forging, RO Burning

RO Forging is mandatory for cannons allowing rerolls on misfires (either initial shot or bounce) without losing ability to fire next turn. RO Burning gives ability to harm Treeman and other nasty regen units.

Organ Gun

Included because its the best warmachine in the game. Automatic S5 AP hits not to be ignored. Did consider swapping for Gyrocopter but opted for firepower instead.

TOTAL 1,993pts

As you can tell this is a very combat orientated list. Runesmith will aim to nullify enemy magic while warmachines decimate strongest enemy units. 4 big blocks of infantry or possibly 3 horde blocks are going to be horrible for anybody to face. In 7th I wouldnt run with this as it would be too risky. But in 8th Step Up and Steadfast makes big GW carrying units golden.

Modified version with horde units

- MR Balance, RO Spellbreaking, Shield

- MR Gromil, RO Preservation, RO Resistance, RO Furnace

Master Engineer
- RO Stone, GW

Added to entrench Organ Gun and to further improve Stone thrower. Means that with RO Accuracy I can reroll scatter dice and artillery dice when shooting with it.

Warriors x40
- Full Command, GW

Warriors x30
- Full Comannd, GW

Hammerers x28
- Full Command, MR Grungi

Stone Thrower
- Engineer, BOP, RO Accuracy, RO Penetratingx2

- Engineer, BOP, RO Forging, RO Burning

Organ Gun

TOTAL 1,997pts

February 4, 2011

1st local tournament of 2011

Pete Dunn New Zealands #1 ranked WHFB player and tournament organiser extraordinaire has announced the details of the first local tournament for 2011 - Runefang IV for 16th/17th April. Assuming I can find room in my tight budget and get the OK from my wife (one of the unspoken barriers to any married wargamer) I definately hope to attend. Runefang II in 2009 was the first WHFB tournament I ever attended taking my High Elves. It was a major eye opener for me in terms of game play, tactics, the intensity of the competition and the quality of the modelling/painting work that other players had put into their armies (see pics). I managed to finish 26th out of 32 not bad for my first outing. It was this tournament that led me completely repaint and rebase my entire High Elf collection - a 15 month project I finished in Dec 2010.

In 2010 I returned to Runefang III this time with my mostly repainted High Elves and did slightly better finishing 21st out of 30 players. Again poor deployment choices and some bad tactical decisions cost meb (Pictorial battle reports #1, #2, #3, #4). But again i had a fantastic time.

Wellington is a couple of hours drive away from my home town so its tournaments are the only ones I can attend when they are on even then it does mean an overnight stay unless I drive there and back each day.

For 2011 the format under 8th is changing, to quote from Petes Blog (highly recommended) it will:
This year I wanted to try something a little different and so I’m going to attempt to run a number of Campaign Weekends. The point of these events will not be so much about the winning and losing but more so about have some fun over the course of two days.

The first of these “Runefang” is going to be run on the weekend of 16/17 April here in Wellington. It will be limited to 18 people who will be split into six teams of three people by the Umpire. Over the course of the weekend those teams will battle for part of the Old World through five
campaign turns. The campaign rules will be relatively simple based around the
Mighty Empires campaign.

To participate players will need a painted 2000 point army (and a sense of fun). The key to this event is the narrative – the chance to settle scores and create new ones.

I think this format sounds fantastic although at only 18 places it means Ill have to compete with the huge Wellington population of WHFB gamers to get in (will have to start stocking up brownie points with the wife now). Question is what army do I take? What are the pros and cons?

@ 2000pts your restricted to two characters which we would be a BSB and a Runesmith General with maxed out RO Spellbreaking to negate enemy magic. Now its a case of deciding what phase you focus on combat or shooting. Shooting I can deploy a lot of T4 S4 missile troops and quality warmachines, but negate my ability to survive in combat. For combat I can forgo some of the shooting and field blocks of 20-30 T4 Heavy armoured infantry with high leadership and go for maximum effectiveness.

- All infantry are T4
- All shooting is S4 minimum
- High magic resistance

- Infantry are expensive particularly if given necessary GW
- Warmachines are expensive
- Unable to match strong cheap characters of other armies @ 2000pts
- Will field fewer slower but tougher troops than any opponent e.g., 13pt GW Dwarf Warrior vs. 6pt Skaven Slave

High Elves
At 2000pts under 8th I could still run with my normal Archmage, BSB set up but the points cost would negate the ability to take the combos that normally work best with the Archmage. Standard BSB set up is 187pts leaving only 313 for the remaining character slot. 2 Lvl2 mages might be an option, but then its difficult to get an effective offensive magic phase in that way.

The strongest infantry units are also expensive 15pts per model meaning probably only 2 units can be taken. 500pts has to go on core so 2 large blocks of Seaguard/Spears to balance out shooting and combat.

I think for a High Elf army my preference given my playing style would be for an infantry heavy combat orientated force with minimal magic designed purely to buff up my units, so Lore of Life or Shadow. Banner of Arcane Protection would have to be included somewhere to assist with this as unlike Dwarfs Elves have no inate magical resistance, although there is the automatic +1 to all dispel attempts

- Cheaper core infantry than Dwarfs @9pts for a standard Spearmen
- Shooting is at BS4 not 3
- Possess magic phase and ability to buff units with various lores
- +1 to all dispel attempts
- Excellent elite infantry units

- All infantry are T3 and core have only light armour vs. T4/Heavy armour of Dwarfs
- Only Elite units carry GW and these are 15pts each
- Cost of elites & 500pt core requirement limits unit numbers
- Archmage losses effectiveness given 500pt limit on Heroes

So what to take? Ill work on few lists over next week or so and try and get some game time in as well to test them out.

February 2, 2011

Gyrocopter pics, stripping & what keeps me motivated

Oops I forgot to upload the pics of the Gyrocopter in my last post. Quick not on the cloak the Dwarf Lord is wearing its not green stuff but a Dark/High Elf cloak from a mage kit. I have a reasonably large bits box collection and thought a cloak would make a nice touch.

Gyrocopter 2011 version

Gyrocopter 2009 version

Unfortunately my green stuffing skills are appallingly bad and I have only really used it to fix up holes in the mouldings etc of metal models.

Unlike the other models in my collection I did not paint strip the Gyrocopter. Stripping destroys any superglue bonds and I did not want to go through the process of assembling the Gyro all over again. I had the model unassembled in my collection for over a year before finally getting it completed after purchasing a Gale Force 9 pinning kit.

Paint stripping
Had my first experience using Simple Green as a paint stripper the other night. Results were actually pretty good and compared to Nail Polish Remover it did a much better job of cleaning up metal models. Nail Polish Remover is good but (1) takes time to remove all the paint from some models (2) isnt the nicest substance to work with and (3) can dull the finish/detailing on models.

Simple Green on the otherhand got rid of the paint Nail Polish Remover did not and after scrubbing left the metal models looking cleaner and pretty much brand new. It also doesn't smell nor require you to wear gloves.

Dettol is still good its cheaper per ml than either Nail Polish Remover or Simple Green and advice from users on Bugmans Brewery has told me that it works when diluted. This means it will last longer than the other two products. While it is very nasty to work with, it absolutely kills the skin, it does do a good job.

Have yet to try Simple Green on plastic though, will do some over the weekend (its going to rain again so cricket will be cancelled meaning I have more spare time) and post the results.

What keeps me motivated?
I have had a few comments on this blog and in Bugmans about how big a project I have embarked on with repainting my Dwarfs, wondering how I stay motivated. For me 3 things keep me going when it comes to painting (1) is working on my painting skills, taking pleasure in any that have improved and enjoying the results of my efforts, (2) painting is a good way to unwind after a hard day, and (3) is the fact that, unfortunately, I do not get much time to actually play WHFB anymore. Painting therefore is my primary WHFB activity.

To be honest in 2011 I expect the only WHFB games I will get will be at the 3-5 tournaments I might be able to attend (difficult as it costs to travel and it means a weekend away from the wife and kids), and with the 1-2 WHFB players left at my local club. 3 years ago when I first started playing WHFB there were about 6-8 full time regular WHFB players at my club. Over the last two years that number has dropped to 2 - myself and another Dwarf player Adam (hence all of our War of the Beard games between him and my High Elves). There are other players out there but they drop by only once in a blue moon and are very hard to get hold of, that and club nights are the only time I can really game - weekends outside of cricket season are for the family.

Still I love the game, love painting and collecting, love reading about gaming and following other peoples journeys through WHFB etc online. So regardless of how often I get to play I still be painting and collecting.

February 1, 2011

Dwarf Lord & Gyrocopter complete + other stuff

Finished painting the Lord last night, as well as the majority of the BSB, Runesmith and Gyrocopter for my Dwarfs. Basing still has to be done on all of them, but this will have a while as I have run out of PVA glue. BSB and Runesmith have also been given new standards which need to painted as well. Shields on these have the runic symbol currently used throughout my entire army. This is going to be changed in the new look once I figure out what runic symbol I want to have.

Anyway pictures should expand out when clicked on - enjoy and any feedback most appreciated. Next to be painted - Thunderers.

Dwarf Lord with Shieldbearers

Comparison between new look Lord (above) and previous version (below)
You should notice that I have changed the pose on the Lord slightly.
Cloak is from a High Elf Mage.


BSB with new larger standard

Comparison between new (above) and old (below) versions of BSB