Saturday, December 6, 2014

Works in Progress...

Since my last (and first) post, I think I have accomplished a great deal without having ever actually finished anything!  Like any true Sagittarius, I have begun many new and exciting projects, among them:

    - Designing a Zone Mortalis board and playing a game or two;
    - Converting my own "Blue Falcons" Chapter of Space Marines into Crimson Fists;
    - Custom-building a Crimson Fists captain, who will count-as Pedro Cantor in-game;
    - Building a drop pod (what a nightmare that was!);
    - Buying and building squadrons of Aeronautica Imperialis models - Eldar, Imperial, and Space Marine; and
    - Buying (but not building, yet) a fleet of Imperial cruisers, escorts, and Space Marine strike cruisers for Battlefleet Gothic.

I'll take the bolter; you just stand there and look pretty!
I am now terribly thrilled at the prospect of being able to play a multiphase campaign in space, in the air, and (tactically, at least) on the ground.  I have no plans for getting into Epic at this time, although Rob has always spoken quite highly of it; I have too many other projects to complete, first, and frankly, I don't have the brain-space to learn yet another complicated rule-set.  After all, I still have a thesis to write!  And, now that the decision I have been waiting for is being published, I can really begin my work in earnest.  Once more unto the breach!  Let's take that hill!!  FOR THE EMPEROR!!!

Additionally, around-about the time I began serious work on the Moritat, I also painted a number of my Night Goblins.  Although I have not made very much progress with them, I have nonetheless posted some pictures of them here, as well.

As for my Zone Mortalis board, I will post a couple pictures here to show the concept, but I'll post the battle report elsewhere.  For those of you who don't know what Zone Mortalis (ZM) is, it's a style of game for Warhammer 40k (and 30k) which uses a special subset of rules and a tightly-confined, maze-like battlefield to represent warfare in places like underground corridors or spacecraft.  To give you an idea, you may see a picture of Forge World's Realm of Battle Zone Mortalis Battlefield Complex on their website at:,000_Terrain/REALM_OF_BATTLE_ZONE_MORTALIS_BATTLEFIELD_COMPLEX.html.  Forge World also offers some beautiful blast doors to use with its ZM Battlefield Complex:,000_Terrain/ZONE_MORTALIS_BLAST_DOOR_SET.html.

The ZM Battlefield Complex is, alas, a little outside of my price-range at present.  Yet the rules for ZM are so appealing that I could not simply sit back and wait for circumstances to become ideal; I just had to make a board of my own.  So, using poster board, I created a proof-of-concept board:

Zone Mortalis proof-of-concept, made using poster board.
Using a marker, I drew a grid of 2" x 2" squares on several one-foot squares of poster board.  I then filled-in various squares to create the "wall" sections, using the patterns from the Forge World ZM Battlefield Complex as exemplar.  The "floor" sections I made by adding dots to represent rivets.  I made "doors," some wide in 2" sections, and some narrow in 1" sections, to be used either in wide or narrow corridors, respectively.  On one side I drew the doors to represent the doors being closed, and on the flip side I drew the floors to represent the doors being opened.

Then, I arranged the squares together and played a game with a friend to see whether the two-dimensional nature of the board detracted significantly from the experience:

The Crimson Fists battle the Dark Angels in a desperate boarding action...on square-foot sections of poster board....

The game was a blast!  It didn't matter at all that the board was two-dimensional. In fact, we noted quickly that one of the advantages of the two-dimensional board was added flexibility; for instance, we could make more doorways and passages simply by laying a door on top of a wall section (see, e.g., the one-on-one battle between our warlords taking place in the "control room," created by laying doors down atop wall sections).

So, I created a much larger board, 4' x 4', made up of sixteen square-foot tiles of thin plasticard.  I made more doors from poster board, as well.  The final board, made from plasticard, looks like this:

4'x4' ZM table, made up of sixteen square-foot sections of plasticard.  The doors are made of poster board; the glass globe in the left-hand side of the picture is the attacker's primary objective - a ship's plasma coil.
Another project that I've begun, and indeed am making some progress on, is the conversion of my very own Blue Falcons Chapter of Space Marines into Crimson Fists.  When I bought the Blue Falcons, an entire company of space marines with Rhino transports, they were originally painted a dingy blue with sad gold trim and absolutely no distinguishing marks, neither chapter insignia nor unit identification.  Ever since the 4th edition Space Marine codex introduced the Chapter Traits concept, I'd wanted to make my own chapter.  I thought the "Blue Falcons" was witty - for those veterans out there who get the joke - and I relished the opportunity to create an entire back story for the chapter, from recruiting methodologies, to promotion within the chapter, to rank and insignia; yeah, I totally geeked out.  The livery I designed added bright, silver trim to the space marines' original blue paint.  Demisquad leaders (i.e., corporals) were given silver helmets; sergeants had silver helmets and silver shoulder pauldrons; the commander wore all-silver; and only tactical marines or better wore the chapter insignia - a winged-sword - with assault marines and devastators wearing alternative insignia indicating their battlefield role.  It was awesome.  Unfortunately, to the casual boffin passer-by-and-inane-commentator (of which there are many in our hobby), they looked like Ultramarines.

No offense to Rob, who has a thing for Guilliman's Gang, but I have always had an affinity for the Sons of Dorn and have never quite forgiven ol' Roboute for breaking up the Imperial Fists Legion; needless to say, I do not have a lot of love for the Ultramarines.

So, I finally gave up after several dozen times explaining "no, they're not Ultramarines, they're Blue Falcons, which is actually a funny inside-joke among veterans, because Blue Falcons stands for...get it?"  I decided that it was time for a change, and with the release of the 6th edition Space Marine codex, I determined that my Blue Falcons would become Crimson Fists.  So, I wrote up a 1,850-point list, built a couple of devastators with missile launchers, a couple of tactical marines with missile launchers, a bunch of Sternguard armed variously with grav-guns and combi-meltas, and a drop pod.  I also built a Space Marine captain to count as Pedro Cantor.  They are all assembled here in parade-ground formation:

My Crimson Fists, in various states of undress.
Note the Sternguard, in the front rank.  The sergeant has two grav-pistols, which is a bit of an extravagance, perhaps, but I just couldn't say no to the idea of the Sternguard being led by a gunslinging Deathwatch veteran!  Here are a few close-up, detailed pictures of my counts-as Pedro Cantor, which is still very much a work in progress (as you can see):

The Sons of Dorn are known for their obsession with scrimshaw. 
A bit blurry, but this is a picture of the etched-brass Fist on the cuirass and the scratch-built chain-mail sporran.
The etched-brass Crimson Fist insignia on the left pauldron.
The Deathwatch pauldron worn on the right indicates that the captain is a Deathwatch veteran.
Additionally here are some pictures of the devastators and tactical marines with missile launchers I built.  You'll note that the devastators are wearing magazine-backpacks with robotic loading-arms, while the tactical marines carry a few missiles (frag, flakk, and krak) on their person:

Four devastators, with auto-loading systems, and two tactical marines.  Note the missile protruding from each tube.
The tactical marines are loaded for bear, packing frag, flakk, and krak missiles.
I'm hoping that with six missile launchers, all with flakk missiles, nothing will remain in the air for very long.

Speaking of the air, here is a picture of both of my air wings for Aeronautica Imperialis, Eldar and Imperial: 

From left to right:  5 Hydra AAA tanks; 1 Manticore SAM launcher; two buildings; 1 Marauder bomber; 4 Epic-scale Thunderbolts (counting as Lightnings, Storm Talons, etc); 2 Epic-scale Thunderhawks (counting as either  Thunderhawks or Storm Ravens); 4 Thunderbolts; an airstrip cut out of poster board; 3 Eldar Nightwings; 4 Eldar Phoenix; 1 Eldar Vampire Hunter; and 5 Eldar Firestorm AAA tanks.
And finally, the Red Moonz Tribe of Night Goblins.  Ah, my poor, poor neglected Night Gobbos.  Very few people around the DC metro area play Warhammer Fantasy, it seems, so these guys don't get out much.  When they do, they are subjected to the merciless nit-picking of the passing boffins, none of whom can believe that anyone would ever field an all-Night-Goblin army --

Boffin:  "You'd be so much more competitive if you brought a [e.g., spear chukka, rock lobba, doom diver]."
Me:  "Perhaps, but then it wouldn't be an all-Night-Goblin army."
Boffin:  "That's easy!  You could model the goblin crew like Night Goblins!"  A variant of this is, upon first hearing that I have an all-Night-Goblin army, is "Ooh!  I have one too!  My war machines are all crewed by Night Goblins."
Me:  "But those aren't Night Goblins.  Those are Goblins.  They'd be modeled as Night Goblins, but counting as Goblins.  That's an all-Goblin army, sure, but it's not an all-Night-Goblin army.  I play an all-Night-Goblin army.  Night Goblins don't have war machines.  They have squigs.  Did you see my squigs?"
Boffin:  "Squigs, huh?  Nice.  But war machines are so much more competitive.  Why don't you bring a war machine?"
Me:  "Why don't you just go somewhere else now?"

I present the Red Moonz.  The first two pictures are of my warboss, armed with a great weapon and riding on a giant cave squig.  In the background, you can see my two level-two shamans, as well as a regiment of spearmen.  The third picture is a better shot of the shamans, as well as a magnificent shot of the warboss' squig's teeth!  The last picture is my regiment of gobbos; in the background, you can see how much work I have to do.  And this is only just 1,000 points of gobbos.  *Sigh*
My warboss, Thwakabash, mounted on his (relatively) trusty steed.
Slightly out of focus, unfortunately, but nonetheless a great shot of Thwakabash's heavily converted great weapon.  Upon occasion, it has served as an Axe of Stunty Bashin', as well....
My two shamans, "Red Hat" and "Red Doll."  Guess which is which.  Also, I think this picture really captures the joy in the squig's smile; it's that special sort of happiness that only comes from eating a regiment of Free Company.
The backbone of the Red Moonz tribe.  Who am I kidding?  Night Gobbos have no backbone.
Well, that's all I have for now.  My Aeronautica is put away, my Saim-Hann Eldar are put away, and my Night Gobbos are put away.  So, right now I am just working on rebranding my Space Marines.  I also have a number of VIIth Legion Imperial Fists terminators, too, but I will post those separately.  Also, be on the lookout for a battle report of my ZM game, in which a boarding party of Saim-Hann Eldar attacked a Dark Angels strike cruiser.  As my work progresses on these many disparate projects, I will post more pictures and describe, in better detail, my painting methods.

Thanks for reading!