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All posts for the month October, 2011

Not long ago, I briefly discussed the awesome, new 2-player starter set.  Being a faction-a-holic, and Press Ganger, my mind is constantly running over battleboxes, small lists and how to expand on each faction’s battlebox.

This obsession with listography was greatly accelerated when I traded in my Blackberry for an Android and had access to iBodger.  Oh boy, did that make things fun.

Anyway, I’ve been wracking my mind about how to best make use of the 2-player starter set.  The Man-O-War Shocktroopers are a staple Khador unit, but the Cinerators are another story.  Recently, Gentleben of Bell of Lost Souls went over his suggestions for expanding the Protectorate side of the set.  His suggestions are all top notch, and almost exactly what I would suggest.  His army looks fantastic too, so be sure to check it out.

For the Khador side, we start with an even 20 points.  My first thought is to move a warjack off Sorscha somehow.  She likes having all her focus for upkeeps, Boundless Charge, and Wind Rush faux-J-charge shenanigans, so having more than one ‘jack on her can leave her starved for focus.  The Destroyer would be the better ‘jack to put on a marshal since it rarely needs to boost a roll, whereas the Juggernaut loves being fully loaded (and should therefore be on a warcaster since that’s the only way to give a Khador ‘jack 3 focus).

Khador has two ‘jack marshals and by far the best one is the Koldun Lord.  It carries Power Booster, so it can give it’s ‘jack (effectively) two focus a turn.  In addition, it has a spray and Ice Cage, which reduces the DEF of a target enemy model (which means the Destroyer is more accurate).  All that for 2 points and $10?  Yes. Please.

Next, I would add in the classic Khador Warcaster Attachment, the War Dog.  With Tough, Counter Charge and Guard Dog, this little 1 pt wonder should be in every Khador list that allows it.  Especially when he turns Sorscha’s DEF 16 into an 18 if she’s caught in melee.  You can also use him to clear off a nearby enemy model engaging your warcaster with a charge, so you don’t have to chance a free strike when you move your warcaster.  Often my opponent will run something into melee with my warcaster, trying to tie them up, and the War Dog can come chew on their ankles, letting my warcaster get away.

Next, Widowmakers.  These snipers auto-plink for one damage, so they completely ignore Shield-Wall or other such ARM increasing effects.  They are perfect for picking off solos, support models, or any type of infantry, really.  With four to the unit, you can use them to open up a charge lane, or LOS from one of your important models to one of your opponent’s.  They aren’t terribly well equipped, defensively, but they will do alright if you can park them in some woods or on a hill.

At this point, I have 8 points left.  I feel this list could go two different ways, depending on what you want out of it.  If you wanted to go ‘jack heavy, I’d add in a Kodiak.  It runs amazingly well on zero focus, and on her feat turn, it’s phenomenal.  If you’d rather go infantry heavy, go with a full Winterguard Infantry with UA.  That’s a dozen more bodies on the field with the ability to shoot CRAs, sprays or just charge in and tie stuff up.  It’s also the beginning of the dreaded Winterguard Deathstar, which I won’t go into right now.

So, my 35 pt Khador 2-Player Starter Expansion looks like this:

Kommander Sorscha (*5pts)
* Juggernaut (7pts)
* Kodiak (8pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Man-o-war Shocktroopers (Leader and 4 Grunts) (9pts)
Widowmakers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (4pts)
Koldun Lord (2pts)
* Destroyer (9pts)
Kommander Sorscha (*5pts)
* Juggernaut (7pts)
* War dog (1pts)
Man-o-war Shocktroopers (Leader and 4 Grunts) (9pts)
Widowmakers (Leader and 3 Grunts) (4pts)
Winter Guard Infantry (Leader and 9 Grunts) (6pts)
* Winter Guard Infantry Officer & Standard (2pts)
Koldun Lord (2pts)
* Destroyer (9pts)

 

Personally, I highly suggest the ‘jack heavy option.  You’ll get great use out of the Kodiak model (since it works very well on it’s own, or Marshalled for that matter), whereas the Winterguard need another 5 points of support models to really shine, and are fully optimized only with one of the ‘casters with access to Iron Flesh.  You also rarely need Shocktroopers and Winterguard – they’re both primarily there to tie stuff up long enough for you to assasinate the opposing warcaster. In addition, it’s more expensive to go with the Infantry, and it means you have another dozen models to paint.

The general M.O. of a Sorscha1 army is to capitalize on the feat, much like a Kreoss1 army.  With that in mind, both of these lists are heavy on ranged firepower, and should be able to handle most other lists out there.  Other models to think about include:

  • Winterguard Mortar, with it’s 20″ POW 16 for 3pts
  • Spriggan, because of Reach and it’s targeting flare that can expose Stealth models
  • Gun Carriage, because who doesn’t love a horse-drawn tank?

From here on out, I’m going to highlight questions directed at you, the readers in orange.  Please share your thoughts or responses to them in the comments below!

What do you think of the lists?

How would you expand on the 2-player set?

This is a new segment I’m going to try to do regularly.  It may be a huge tutorial, it may simply be a link to an article elsewhere.  No matter what it is, I hope you’ll learn something helpful.

 – Plarzoid

I don’t know about you, but I’m gearing up for Templecon 2012.  Templecon 2011 earlier in the year was my first convention, ever and I’ve been looking to repeat the experience at every opportunity.  Templecon 2011 was an adventure since I went on a whim, and made that decision far too late in the game.

I’m hoping this article will help you learn from my mistakes and make the most out of your next convention experience.  After all, the point is to have fun, so be sure to make that happen!

Don’t Over Extend.

One of the biggest mistakes I hear about is trying to do too much.  Most conventions offer around the clock tournaments and events, and while that’s fabulous, it’s way too easy to over extend yourself.   I suggest picking one event a day.  Whether that’s a tournament, a seminar or a social party, just pick one for the day.

Balance Cost and Comfort.

At Templecon 2011, we had 5 or 6 in our room with two beds in it.  We all figured since there was stuff going 24-hours a day, there’s no way everyone would be in the room all at once sleeping, right?  Wrong.  I got a spot in a bed two of the three nights, and was on the floor the third one.  I slept OK in the bed, but I didn’t sleep at all on the floor.

By all means, split a room, but don’t get caught in the “more people = lower cost per person = more money for toys” spiral of doom.  This year, we’re splitting a room 3- ways, and that’ll be about $100-120 a person for the entire weekend.  That’s a fantastic nightly rate if you consider that it’s all of $35 a night.

Food at conventions can be rough.  Usually it’s not the greatest (unless the hosting hotel has a restaurant) and it’s typically expensive since it’s the most convenient option.  Don’t fall prey to their scams!  Find a place nearby that has better food for lower costs.  Have pizza or subs delivered for you and your room mates.  If you drive, swing by a grocery store on the way in, and grab sandwich materials (pre-made ones if nothing else) and fruit / vegetables.  A great example would be baby carrots or celery and your favorite dipping medium (Peanut Butter for me).  It’ll be cheaper and it’ll be stuff you know you like, so you’ll be happier all the way around, plus it’s a shorter break than if you had to wait on delivery, so you can get back to the gaming sooner!

Take Care of Yourself.

Gamers are notorious for smelling bad and completely ignoring their personal health for the sake of not being interrupted during their game.  There’s a motto for conventions:  3-2-1.  It’s pretty basic, and describes what you need to do every day:

  • 3:  Hours of sleep per day, minimum.  Yes, a human can survive for several days without sleep, however you have no excuse for doing so.  You paid for a room.  Use it.
  • 2:  Meals a day.  Remember to eat!  If nothing else, bracket your sleep time with food.  It doesn’t take long, and you’ll have all the energy you need to get right back in the game.
  • 1:  Shower a day.  Usually right before or after you go to sleep, preferably both.  I usually like to unwind from a long day with a hot shower and cold beer (Thx PolarBearCub).  I also find a hot shower in the AM helps wake me up and give me energy for the day.

Try Something New.

My last piece of advice for you is to be sure to stretch yourself a bit.  Conventions usually have people running demos of games, and this is a great chance to try something new, and it’ll only cost you time.  At Templecon 2011, I let myself get talked into playing Civilization, the board game.  I’d never really cared much for Civ the video game, but my feet hurt and I was a bit burned out on Warmachine, so I gave in.  By the time we finished our first game, I had no idea we’d been playing for four hours.  I ended up playing another game because I had so much fun the first time.

So, what conventions are you attending, and what’s your favorite part of a convention?

Hi, readers!  This is the first of what will be many guest posts here on plarzoid.com!  Mugu, is a good friend (despite being a dirty Cryx player), and is currently taking part in our Slow-Grow League, painting some of his filthy undead minions.   Enjoy!  – Plarzoid

courtesy Master Marf

Hello all you crazy gamer fiends out there! This will be my first post of hopefully many here on Plarzoid’s website. When I was approached (at spork-point no less!) by my good friend to add some content to his site, my mind immediately melted. After cleaning up the remains and pouring them back into my head, I thought I’d start off with a subject that I’ve seen come up time and again regarding getting miniatures painted up and put on the tabletop:

Finding or making time to paint.

I’m currently in the last few weeks of our slow-grow league and to me a large part of a slow-grow league is that it’s an ideal opportunity to make time to sit down and paint your miniatures a little at a time, and end up with a 35 point Warmachine/Hordes army. Perfect, right?!
Well, it would appear not to be the case for a few of our players.  I’ve asked a few of them why they don’t at least make the attempt to get their armies painted and the reasons ::coughexcusescough:;  roll in – No time, no place, no experience, too much of a perfectionist, too intimidating, no money to buy paints and brushes (okay, that one any gamer can understand), my models don’t look as good as so-and-so’s models, and so on.

Yeah, what he said!

While I won’t address some of those here, I do want to cover the two I hear most often – No time to paint and no place to paint. Never enough, right? Finding or making time to paint is…well, hard! Yes, I know, trust me. And here I bet you thought I was going to beat you all with an old brush and berate you for not making time to paint – family, girlfriend, kids, pets, friends, work, and homework be damned! No, I really do get that making time to paint is hard to do. Like a lot of fellow gamers and painters that I know (or read about online), they like to have at least an hour to paint. Why an hour? Well, to set up their painting area – paints, miniature(s), water well, palette, light(s), and whatnot (I like to have a drink at hand), then paint, and then clean up and put everything away. That, of course, is assuming you don’t need to clean, pin, or assemble anything, which eats away more of our precious available painting time.

I'll start with your camera!

One way that I’ve found to increase the odds of getting our little metal undead minions (did I not mention that I’m a Cryx player?) painted and on the table (I know it’s a personal preference, but I don’t usually field models that are unpainted) is to try to make a permanent painting area or have a quick setup. All that time spent on set-up and clean-up eats up valuable time you should be spending painting! Ideally, in your house, apartment, or room, you can make a small area that you can leave your paints, miniatures in progress, brushes, any other tools you like to use, and a container of clean water permanently that won’t be messed with by kids, cats (amazingly my cats became quickly disinterested in anything on my painting area when covered by an old towel or piece of cloth), and wayward nerf gun bullets. Someplace that you can quickly sit down when you have a small amount of free time to paint. I’m currently lucky enough to have such an area in my house, though this wasn’t always the case (especially when we lived in an apartment up until a few months ago).

A quick note on what I mean by a “small” amount of free time, I really do mean like 10 to 20 minutes or less. In that time I can paint a wash on several minis, do some basecoating, maybe paint a few details here and there. Nothing big and meaningful, but trust me those little 10 minute sessions really do add up and help you in the long run. This in turn allows me to focus on things that take longer (like highlighting and shading or detail-work) when I do get longer amounts of time to paint.

Uh... Not Quite...

While I realize not everyone has the option of having a permanent place to set up a painting area (trust me, in my old apartment, I certainly did not), but if you have a plastic storage cart, tackle box, old TV dinner stand/tray, a large unwanted flat baking pan/tray, or box or something that you can set up quickly and put away again just as quickly is the key here. The idea is the same as with the permanent painting area- set your stuff up quickly and get 10-20 minutes of painting in. Note also that none of these things are terribly expensive even if newly purchased. The plastic cart below is only $15.00 at Office Depot online and will allow you to store paints, brushes, and whatnot and still roll it into a closet or out of the way area when in use but quickly pull out and set up when you want.

Much better!

I used to have most of my paints in a tackle box and my in-progress miniatures on an old metal side of a computer case (both of which I still somewhat use). For years I’ve had most of my paints in a tacklebox, though some stores – DickBlick online comes to mind, sell them as hobby boxes, they’re mostly the exact same thing and often more expensive (my current tacklebox was about a $20 less than the exact same one sold at Dick Blick online as an art storage box). Tackleboxes come in all sizes, but the ones I use (I’ve only had two and my first one lasted over 20 years) have the trays that fold out to one or both sides. This allows me to see most of my paints all at one time. The one pictured to the left is $17 on Amazon.com and is pretty close to what I have now.

With this old set-up I was able to pull out my tackle box of paints, my water tub of clean water, and my miniatures off the top shelf of my bookshelf (it helps that I’m tall) and be set up and painting in less than three minutes and clean up was just as fast. It had the added benefit of making my long suffering wife happy as there was no embarrassing (to her) toy soldiers or paints littering the dining table. It made me happy because I could get in the odd 15 minutes of painting before bed or while she was in the shower (hey, take your time where you can get it!) or otherwise occupied.

If you have $90 to spare, you could get one of these...

Which is almost ideal as it has a fold out table that you could paint on. But I’m like most gamers who would rather spend our hard earned dollars on more miniatures, paints, or other goodies. I mainly wanted to show you the above to give you all an idea of what is out there. The good part of getting a wooden cart though is that you can permanently mount a light on it and hide the cord inside a drawer when not in use (I have a friend who did that).

So, in the end, the idea is to enable you to make more time to get paint on your miniatures, even 10-20 minutes a day will add up and help get your army painted!

My question to you, dear readers, is what kind of set-ups do you have or how do you get time in to paint?

So, we’ve seen all the individual parts, but how do the models compare side by side, fully assembled?

Well, take a look for yourself!

Seeing them side-by-side, we see that the metal model is a tad taller and thinner, and the new plastics are a bit shorter and wider.  Also, the Plastic Torso is linger and more pointed in the front.

Taking a look at the shoulderpads, you can see how the pads being a separate piece forces them into a flatter angle, broadening the torso, and bulking it out just a bit.  I think the pads are the same size on the two models, however the Plastic ones just have a greater volume.

Another cool thing about the plastics?  Magnet-ization!

Just a few weeks ago, I picked up the new 2-player starter and got my hands on the plastic Man-O-War Shocktroopers.  I took a cursory look at the models and liked what I saw.

Since then, I’ve been dying to sit down with the camera and a metal Shocktrooper and a plastic one to compare the two.  I really wanted to go over all the details.  I mean, we’ve seen some unboxings, but no one’s really gone into detail and looked at the resculpts.

So, tonight.  I did just that.

FYI, most of these pictures were scaled to a quarter of their size in order to fit into the blog, so click on any of them and you’ll see just how shoddy my photo skills are without the help of a tripod and lightbox.

Starting off, you’ll note that the model is split up into entirely different pieces.

The metal torso has two parts, whereas the plastic torso is a single piece.  The metal arms have the shoulderpads integrated right in, but the plastic kit has separate ones.  The metal shield is a separate piece, but for the plastic kit, it’s molded right into the arm.  The other arm is all one piece for the Plastic guy, but the arm is two pieces for the metal model.  Lastly, the plastic model’s legs have two extra pieces – the loin cloth and… for lack of a better term, buttflap.  Overall, the plastic model is only one more piece, and has loads more pose-ability.

I’ll start with the legs. The plastic legs seem thinner side-to side, but about the same front to back. Also, the bulge on the thigh is not nearly as flat as on the metal model. The spikes on the knee are a bit bigger, and the… belt buckle (?) is much larger on the plastic kit.

There are holes under the belt buckle and in the back for the two pieces to fit into.  They do so snugly, like other PP plastic models, which is good.  The feet are also simpler, only two levels, not three.

Further comparing the legs, the buttflap is smaller on the plastic model, but the rivets are larger.  You’ll also notice that they moved the boiler from the back of the torso to the legs. Interesting…

They also made the calf area smaller, and the detail is less defined.  It’s still there, but plastics can hold that subtle detail much better than metal models can.  Personally, I like the over pronounced details.  The Iron Kingdoms are a slightly less refined world, and I think the subtle details don’t adhere to that.

The front loin cloth part is a tad longer, and a bit thinner than the metal model, but otherwise very similar.  I think the hole that this goes in could be deeper, because I had to hold it in place while the glue dried.  This part doesn’t fit quite as tightly as the others.

Obviously, both still have the tab for the base, nothing different there.

Of course, the iconic part of the Shocktroopers are their shields, and rightly so.  That shield cannon is well recognized!  Luckily, the plastic sculpt didn’t mess with it much.  The shield overall tapers just a bit – larger on top, thinner on bottom.  Like the buttflap, the rivets are much larger, and less numerous.  The cannon barrel is deeper, giving it a more convincing empty look.  Lastly, the Khador Anvil is much more pronounced.  I like this, I think it’s lost a bit on the metal model.

Looking at the back of the shield arm, it’s clear that this piec is a 3-part mold.  there’s a mold line running around the shield edge, and along the top and bottom of the arm.  This is great, because it means that the face of the shield, which everyone will see, is mold line free.  The edges of the shield are easy to clean, and the arm is mostly hidden by the massive shoulderpad, so well done PP on this.

The shoulder connection point to the torso is a ball and socket, so you can angle the shield however you want!  Unfortunately, the arm and shield are all one piece, so if you wanted the shield in a more common position (against the forearm), you’re out of luck unless you employ the services of a jeweler’s saw.  The arm still has that iconic hole filled arm guard you find on just about any ‘jack in the IK.  Glad to see those little details stick around!

Comparing the little wheels on the elbows, you’ll notice they look completely different. Sure, they’re still a riveted ring surrounging a massive bolt, but the style of the ring is very, very different.  Also, the size of the wheel itself is different – the plastic one is smaller, less pronounced.  Again, I like the bigger, bolder detail.  It’s more in line with the aesthetics of the IK, in my opinion.

However, with the plastic model, you get to see the entire wheely thing, half it isn’t hidden by the shoulderpad.  They’ve also added a pipe or hose, which is cool.  I’m not sure what it does, but i’d certainly rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it!

Moving on to the halberd, the first thing I noticed was the slightly larger blade.  I’m all about bigger weapons. Not only is the blade itself just a bit bigger, but the bulkier attachment plates around it are also.

The shaft is a thicker diameter also, and just a tad longer.  Of course, with a bigger blade, you need a bigger counterweight, and it has been adjusted accordingly.

Lastly, you can see that the hands on the model are a big bigger than on the plastic than on the metal model.  The area where the forearm would be has been extended just a bit, and is bulkier too.  Overall, I think the arm has more realistic proportions on the plastic kit than the metal model.  It’s hard to tell though, since half the metal model’s arm is hidden!

I noticed while taking the pictures for this that the shaft was a tad bent.  I’ll have to see if my new found method for fixing plastics will work on that!

Ah, the shoulder pads!

Another iconic part of the Man-O-War look!

Immediately, I notice the embossed collar around the bolt.  This was also a new thing on the plastic ‘jacks, and honestly, I like it.  I’m not sure why, but it fits for me.  I don’t remember who said it, but, “This is the Iron Kingdoms, not the Stainless Steel Kingdoms.”

I also noticed the the spikes on the plastic part are smaller and further apart.  That could be because it’s a slightly smaller part overall, but somehow I’m certain they’re smaller too.

One fantastic thing about having the shoulder pieces as separate parts:  You can control the side that has the Khador Anvil.  If you need two squads of the same flavor of Man-O-War, you could put the anvil on one side for the first squad, and then swap sides for the other unit.  You could then keep paint scheme fidelity, but still differentiate the models.  Also, if you have a friend that really likes to free hand stuff, and you love the Anvil, you could trade your blank shoulderpads for his Anviled ones.  There’s nothing on the bottom that makes them go on one side or the other, and there’s nothing stopping you from mixing and matching to suit your needs.  Cool, huh?

Well, that’s it for the part by part breakdown.  Monday, I’ll compare the overall, assembled models, and I’ll discuss how to magnetize them.  I found Bombardier arms and a spare set of Bombardier Shoulderpads on eBay, and I’m going to magnetize the Shocktrooper bodies. Another fantastic bonus to the plastic kits!!

Oh, sometime during the taking of pictures and writing of this article, a Kreoss was assembled.  Not entirely sure how it happened…

I may need to get checked out by a doctor… I’m seriously not sure where he came from…

Before I fully assemble the Shocktroopers this weekend,  were there any other details about the plastic and metal models you had?  Something you want looked at?

Let me know in the comments, and I’ll get you an answer by next time!