Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Second Sphere competition entry- Deathskull Looted Wagon

Wow, talk about being busy! I've had nearly no time to sit down and paint or do anything hobby related since the week before the last big Apoc game as we've been getting stuck into some major home renovations and landscaping upgrades. While this is all well and good it does mean that I've felt bad about neglecting the hobby, and in turn my Blog. I'm hoping to pick up the pace again over the Xmas-New Year's break as i'm not going anywhere or doing anything major, so unless something appears straight out of left field then I should get some more painting and posts completed.

so, on to the topic at hand. I was trawling through a few of my favourite 40K-centric forums the other day and saw that entries for the Second Sphere Heavy Support contest was ending very soon. With my Deathskull Orks recently base coloured I thought it might be best to complete one of the mini/s from their as a submission, however there was a few issues...

The first was time- i'd glanced at this contest ageeeees ago when the rules and details were first put up online, and in the back of my mind had locked in the 22nd of December as the submission deadline. Lucky I looked at the rules post again, because the submission date was actually the 21st, with the voting starting from the 22nd! So I was trying to complete my entry on the last day for submissions to be accepted!! I wish I could say this was the only time this has happened but I'd be lying through my teeth. However, as history shows this is usually when I'm at my most productive- nothing like a looming deadline to get tasks out of the way!!

The second issue I had was with choice- in my current Ork army I have 3 Killa Kans, 2 Battlewagons and a Looted Wagon (with Boomgun) as possible HS choices, all of which were done up in their base colouring- Hawk Turquoise blue, Devlan Mud washed, Boltgun Metal drybrushed, with a nice Blazing orange "rust effect", with random white checks and dags. But which of these to do up?

  • Battlewagons- although super cool and imposing, I opted against finishing one of these as there was way too many small details remaining to be painted, and to look good enough to stand a chance of winning I'd have to paint up the crew in their gun cupolas, grabbin claw hatch and the two ladz in the tray manning the big shootas. Im thinking that once both Bwagons are completed i'll be happy to chuck one into the "Transports" competition which comes up early on 2S every year.
  • Killa Kans- I literally had a Kan in hand last night about to apply paint to model when I decided against it- whilst i've used Devlan Mud wash to highlight all the hydraulics of the engines, legs and arms/weapons of these models I feel that i'd regret rushing their paintjobs to make a competition deadline. All in all the Kans are my favourite models in the armym, and this persuaded me to work on them with a bit more care and to take my time. Sorry ladz- i'll get to you soon though!
  • Looted Wagon- so yes, eventually the Wagon got the go-ahead for a quick completion job to make the competition deadline. The blue was touchup up with some more stippling in the middle of the panels to brighten it up and make the paintjob "pop". When doing this I stayed away from panel edges, joins and 'damaged' parts of the tank where the Devlan wash and Blazing Orange "rust" was found. I also gave the tracks and wheels a quick hit of Boltgun Metal (they were still in black undercoat), folowed by a single heavy wash of Devlan. The majority of the time spent was on the twin pistols (with leather holsters), banner pole and icon strapped to the back of the turret- ironically, when I ended up taking the photos and picking out the three to submit you really cant see any of tthe detail or time that went into this work. I also went back and applied a second hit of thinned/semi-wash Blazing Orange to the current rusty parts of the tank where I felt the colour should be more pronounced, with pure dots of the colour applied where large orange bubbles of rust should show through.
With all my painting done, it was time to get some photos. Some people like to photograph outside in natural light, but if you're like me then you'll want more control- for this reason I use what is commonly referred to as a 'light box". Put simply, a lightbox is a box (OMG no way!) with a bright colour on some or all of its internal walls to reflect light around the object placed in the middle of the box. My lightbox is a carboard carton originally used to hold reams of A4 printer paper- i've cut one side out so its now two side walls, a back wall and floor, all of which have had white A4 paper glued into place. I've then used a pure white energy saving globe (i've found these to provide excellect illumination with almost no colour distortion) positioned just above the camera that i've used for the photos. As for that Camera? Its simply just my iPhone 4 camera sitting on a small wooden block, with the "HDR" photo setting turned on. All I do is get some focus on the model, move the light source around until i'm happy with what I see and start snapping off shots- sometimes the HDR gives better detail shots, other times it might wash some colour out, so it gives two photo versions to select from.

Anyhow, less talk more pics- here's the comp entry photos that I ran with.  You may note that I painted a small 'kill marking' on the turret, as the Looted Wagon has so far been able to destroy a Leman Russ Battletank (a few months back at ANUCON), I thought it only fitting that the crew would mark this somewhere. Its not exactly Orky in how it looks but I reckon it looks cool!

I love how the triangular dags on the turret blastshielding look three-dimensional, even though its just painted on.
A closeup of the turret, showing the Killa Kan "pogo" legs that I used as recoil suppressors.

The competition entry thread will be up a day or two's time (competition committee are generally all UK-Europe based), so make sure to have a look and cast a vote if something takes your fancy!

Thanks for looking!
Tempest :)



Sunday, December 4, 2011

40,000 points of devastation! Apoc Battle Report

Well, it finally happened- on the 26th of last month we finally ran the Apocalypse I’ve been talking about for a while now with seven players in total and a thrown together Ork army being run by Adam and I to even things up. The players and their respective armies were as follows:

Colin- Daemons
Ash- Necrons/Chaos/Renegade Marines
Ross- Hawk Marines
Alan- Imperial Guard/ Space Wolves

And on the other side of the table-

Adam- Imperial Guard (Armoured Company)
Brendan- Grey Knights and Eldar
Me- Dark Angels
Shared Army- Goff and Deathskull Orks

The game was run without any objectives to capture, as we were using straight up Victory Points which proved to be relatively painless as everyone was required to provide two half-point costs listed against each and every unit on their list (including vehicles and transports) so that points could be given to the player that earned them for taking a squad to less than half starting models/ immobilised for vehicles, and also for wiping out/destroying the unit.

Terrain was laid out in a relatively open manner, with Adam’s landing pad being the centrepiece for the game right in between both forces. The table deployment line was set with standard Apoc rules using the scatter dice and a line to the diagonal opposite table edge, with the ping-pong table side having a very large deployment area and the grey table side a much smaller and more compact area- my team bid 30 minutes for deployment vs 4 minutes for the other boys. They decided to take the larger deployment zone and they put down what they could in four very frantic minutes, with the exception of Ash who was on his way and would deploy in the second turn. On his behalf though, his allies had placed his (made by me!) Doomsday Device up on the deployment line where it could cause havoc. Never let it be said that a flickering LED candle inserted into a ping-pong ball, inserted into a plastic screw container is not threatening...

Our team put down everything except for my Dark Angels (sniper scouts did deploy though), all our flyers and Brendan’s Eldar grav-tanks. The main battleline was comprised of two Stompas- each with a Kustom Force Field Big Mek- being placed 2 feet apart, with a full 111- strong Ork “Green Tide” Apocalypse Formation in between them- being infantry they were covered by the KFF bubble giving them a 5+ cover save from ranged attacks! In front of each Stompa was a mob of Kanz, Nob-filled Battlewagons beside them, and a Deff Dread in front of the left Stompa. Behind this front line was row upon row of Leman Russ Battletanks and Demolishers, Chimeras, Heavy Weapons Squads and two Shokk Attack Meks- one in the bamboo trees, the other on the extreme right in the stone fortress with a bunch of Burna boys, and backing all these units up was two Baneblades on the right and a formation of Basilisks on the very back table edge.

Our opposition had a full complement of Daemons on the left side of their deployment line, in a “Tetragon of Darkness” Apoc Formation, Daemon meaning that whilst the key Greater still lived, all units in this Formation were extremely hard to see/hit, as all our shooting at them would be using the Night- Fighting rules. Ross’s Hawk Marines anchored the middle and the right flank with Tactical-Squad- filled Rhinos, and several Land Raiders, with a small Assortment of Space Wolves, Leman Russ’s and a Baneblade, with a scary back-line made of Basilisks and a single Deathstrike Vortex Missile Formation (Alan plays for keeps in Apoc!)

And so without further ado, here is the turn by turn rundown of the incredible destruction, heroics and sacrifice that made this such a phenomenal battle!

Turn 1:

•With all launch protocols satisfied and with the Lord Commisar’s approval the mighty Vortex Missile flies skywards on a trail of fire. Arcing downwards it explodes next to an Ork Stompa, destroys an IG Command Squad in their Chimera as well as vacuuming up a Battlewagon with its full complement of “Deathstar” Nobs and their Warboss! The resulting Vortex template that remains spends the rest of the game wandering around randomly eating Leman Russ tanks, scaring famed Chaos Warlords and blocking unit movement.
•A squad of screamers breaches the disruption field and destroys 3 artillery vehicles on their next turn.
•The Dark Angel Sniper Scouts joined up with the Ratlings when infiltrating deep in the enemy backline to harass the Deathstrike and Basilik artillery guns and the squads guarding them, with an unofficial contest starting up to see who would make the most kills.
•The Goff stompa poured out more than 70 shots from the psycho-dakka blasta, killing Ku’gath Plaguefather and nullifying the tetragon of darkness. The Deathskull Stompa followed suit with 60 plus shots into the tactical squads in front of it, wiping out two of the three and sending the surviving Sgt fleeing in his Rhino in the next turn.
•Seeing the main landing pad in front of them as a hindrance, the Linebreaker Formation of Vindicators annihilate the installation, leaving only a smoking flaming set of craters, opening up lines of fire and setting the stage for the most brutal of close combats.
•Commissar Yarrick and an entire platoon hid away inside their tanks for an entire game! What a Hero...
•A unit of Deathwing teleports deep behind enemy lines to shoot up the basilisks, blowing up one.
•Due to limitations on deployment space, the Marine Hawk Landraiders (particularly the Terminus Ultra) and the Razorback were all out of range in the first turn – a tactical disadvantage as the first turn was theirs to fire away. This meant that five twin-linked lascannons and three single lascannons missed a turn of firing with a large mechanised Ork horde closing in.

Turn 2:

•The Marauder Bomber lines up its run but is forced to disengage due to the heavy screen of AA fire streaming up in its sector.
•The Deathknell Orbital Strikforce lands to the right of the Goff Stompa, a full complement of 50 Terminators and a Dreadnought.  They were initially targeting the middle of hte Green Tide, but were sent off course by the Disruptor Beacon just behind the Ork lines.
•The Last member of the Platoon Command squad guarding the artillery up the back takes a Rending shot through each eye from the Ratlings.
•Sly Marbo appears to deliver some C4 pizza to the Deathwing, killing four of them. He is then shot into pieces of dogmeat by the Stormbolter of a vengeful DA Terminator Chaplain.
•An IG Veteran squad wander out of their Valkyrie, fail to hit anything except TKing half their own squad with a demo charge, but finally manage to destroy a Leman Russ in assault before being virtually wiped out.
•A lone Dark Angel Predator Annihilator rolls up on the right side table edge to engage Abbadon’s Land Raider but fails to penetrate with its main lascannon turret. It was then swiftly destroyed by a swarm of scarabs that ate through its armour and reduced it to a smoking hole-riddled hulk.
•The DOOMSDAY DEVICE (must be capitalised!) becomes “active” but doesn’t bring any effect out just yet. Unreasonable demands are made that our team hands over all our Blue Cheese or the Chaos Lord will visit ruin upon our world. We resolve to just destroy the DD and hang onto our delicious dairy products... 
•The Orks start laughing and pointing to the sky, where several massive flaming shapes can be seen- giant asteroids pulled into orbit by tracktor beams. However the massive Roks miss the battlefield by a wide margin, denying the greenskins the devastating strike they were hoping for.
•The Ravenwing Landspeeder deepstrikes next to a Baneblade and opens up with its Multi-Melta, destroying the super-heavy’s main gun before being destroyed by retaliatory Leman Russ fire.
•Azrael, Belial, the Terminator Chaplain and a Squad of Deathwing engage the Bloodcrushers, supported by a mob of Stormboyz and a Dark Angel Assault Squad led by a Company Master. The  Bloodcrushers are wiped out with only a few casualties from the Assault Marine squad
•The 100+ strong Green Tide Ork mob smashes into the daemons in the cratered ruins of the landing pad, dealing out over 350 attacks on the charge to the three units they engage, as all of them are in range to get their attacks and only a few boyz are lost in to the Daemons first strikes! The Daemons are severely depleted but there are more queuing up behind them for a go... the ladz care not- WAAAGH!!!
•Another swarm of scarabs eat through the armour of one of the Baneblades, reducing it to 0 AV and the tank is destroyed.
•The Dark Angel Assault Marines are caught in a blast from the nearby Baneblade’s Demolisher cannon, wiping them all out except for the Jump-pack Company Master who survives thanks to his Iron Halo. Realising that the warmachine is out of his league he goes hunting infantry instead.
•The Daemon Prince and Greater Daemon assault one of the Shokk attack Meks and his burna boyz, turning the mek into a Chaos Spawn in the process. They are only destroyed later on by the timely intervention of two Grey Knight Dreadknights. 

Turn 3:

•The Dark Angel Company Master leaps into the central bunker to assault and wipeout a squad of Long Fangs, but only just survives with one wound remaining.
•The techpriest enginseer charges in against the scarabs to save the second baneblade, but gets eaten. Its all those delicious augmetics... nom nom nom. Thats 1000VPs earnt by the one small swarm alone!
•The DOOMSDAY DEVICE sends out two giant beams of death, striking both Stompas like hammer-blows- the Deathskull machine is immobilised and has its Deathcannon destroyed, and the Goff Stompa is reduced to two structure points. In the Ork’s turn the Deathskull Mek waltzes out onto the arm and beats it with his wrench until it powers up again.
•The Dark Angel Devastators and Whirlwind were deployed in a position behind the main Ork battleline waiting for the expected Daemon breakthrough, but never had any chance to hit enemy units as the swirling combat in the centre continued on for three full turns as the Orks refused to break and just continued crushing everything thrown at them.
•The Goff Stompa charges in and carves a Chaos Fellblade in half, the explosion taking out several nearby renegades and Necron warriors. It is finally destroyed by a squad of Terminators, its own explosion taking one of them out.
•The three armoured sentinels behind the Deathskull Stompa open fire on the Linebreaker Vindicator squadron, destroying one and stunning the others with one round of shooting, achieving a result where the rest of their comrades had failed previously.

Turn 4 (Last Turn- time constraints):

• The demon princes that got scattered on deepstrike arrival end up killing the chapter master of the Grey Knights and destroying a Stormraven.
• Azrael, Belial and the remaining Deathwing engaged Logan Grimnar and his Wolfguard, with both sides fighting to a draw as the game ended.
•A Squad of Veterans jump from their valkyrie, shooting the baneblade with three meltas and destroying it, stealing the VPs from the Fire Dragons who were too busy reloading their guns!
•The Dark Angel jump-pack Chapter Master attacks a nearby Landraider, strapping a meltabomb onto its hull and immobilising it in the explosion.
•Massed Leman Russ, Demolisher, Conqueror and Chimera firepower finally wipes out the last of the Deathknell-Formation Terminators
•Abaddon and his squad deigned to grace the pitiful mortals with his presence, leaving his Landraider finally! However, a Shokk Attack gun and some IG heavy weapons teams culled his entire squad and knocked him down to just one wound. He also spent a nervous turn watching the Vortex template disappear and then reappear beside him.
•Changeling saving Ku’ros Fateweaver from being charged by some nobs by making them shoot a Killa Kan instead.
•The deff dread in the centre loses a combat arm and its skorcha, then advancing between two burning vehicles to destroy a necron squad in close combat.
•The Marauder finally makes an appearance, having previously turned back due to long-range Ack Ack fire, it drops its full complement of bombs on a squad of Necrons Warriors and some Daemons, blowing them into small pieces.
•One lone Tzeentch Flamer survives two rounds of combat with the grey knights squad that killed the rest of its squad, beating all the odds!

The Result:

So, the final result was a win for my team, with 11,220 VPs, and the opposing team ran up 8271 VPs, a very decisive victory no matter how you look at it! 


Here’s an assortment of pictures from the day, showing the insane scale and destruction that a 40,000pt battle entails:

Our team's deployment line
110 Boyz and a Warboss- Greentide!
The Linebreaker Formation annihilates the landing pad!
Deathknell Orbital Strikeforce teleports and drops in after a massive lance strike to clear the ground.
Da Ladz suss out the competition, but ultimately decide to go Daemon bashing! 
Necrons and Chaos deploy after being initially delayed.
Abbadon declares his intentions to all and sundry, presses the big red button and the Doomsday Device powers up! The Bloodthirster appears impressed!
New-codex scarabs vs Baneblade- 600VPs to the small metal swarm after eating the superheavy to pieces.
The Greentide about to crash into the Daemons, with the two Stompas hosing everything with their Supa Gatlers
Flyers strike deep behind our lines
the Kan decides to destroy a Drop pod as a last act of defiance before the Terminator's crush it to bits! (My flaming wreckage markers worked so good- flickering LED candle hot-glued inside pillow stuffing, with black spray on the outside!) 
The stompa scythes the Chaos Baneblade "Storm Of Chaos" into ruin! 
The Bloodcrushers are assaulted by the Dark Angels and a small unit of Stormboyz, whilst the Wraithlords and Deff Dread advance on the Doomsday Device.
The Assault Marines, Dark Angel Lords and Deathwing plan their next move.
The Marauder finally appears, weaving through the smoke-filled skies to deliver a huge payload to the Necrons and Daemons below. The very left flaming wreckage is the remains of the Linebreaker squadron.

The raw numbers...

And a couple of graphs showing the end VP results- the battle for MVP on the other team went down to the wire and was only won by Alan by a margin of 39 points!! And its obvious to see why my team won this battle- the Orks came storming out of the gate from the start and kept pouring on the death, culminating in a massive 1700+ VPs haul on the third turn alone (which is more than my Dark Angels scored all day!)

So what next?

Well, seeing how a lot of people are going to be tied up over the next 4-6 weeks with Christmas, New Years and things like Cancon its looking unlikely that there will be another Apoc until at least mid- to - late February. This in itself isnt a bad thing, as a few more people should be available to participate in the next game, and the returning players should have that extra time to complete new units or paint up what they have. It also gives me some time to build a nice shiny centrepiece terrain structure for the next game, i'm thinking of a large Manufactorum or Ork Fortress.