Monday, 23 May 2011

016 - Raising the Bar

So, with my Rezzers more or less complete (for the time being anyway), I'm now looking at other projects.

First on the list is the Malifaux tournament at the UK Games Expo in Birmingham in two weeks time. I'll be taking Pandora, as she's been neglected over the last couple of months while Seamus has had all the fun. Since I'll be choosing my crew each game from a 55ss pool of minions, I'm going to try and paint up a couple more Neverborn models for her before the 4th June to give me a bit more flexibility.

At that point I'll be working on my next crew - I've already bought the boxed set and made a start on the assembly. As for a clue to who this crew will be... well lets just say I've had to stock up on green paint...

For these new models I've decided that I want to bring my painting to the next level. I'm very proud of what I'm achieving so far, but I feel like I'm not improving, just repeating stuff I can already do and staying within my comfort zone.

To that end, here's my list of Objectives for painting my new crew:

1) Proper blending. At the moment I'm slapping on a couple of highlights without too much effort. I'd like to increase the number of highlights to 4-5, and build up enough confidence to move further away from my base colour in the highlighting shades.

2) More detailed bases. Although I really like how my sculpted sewer bases came out, they were rather drab, and so I want to pull out the stops and go crazy with detailed bases. This may involve using base inserts then adding some extra personal touches. I think this will be the most important step to being more competitive in future painting competitions.

3) Conversions. I'm not very confident with conversions and sculpting beyond basic weapon swaps and gap filling. I want to get my feet wet with some proper conversions.

My first step towards Objective 1 has been investing in some proper gear. My tatty old GW detail brush has been relegated to "undercoating only" (sorry old faithful, but you were losing hair like a scabby cat, and its a long long time since you held a point!) and I've ordered a Winsor Series 7 Kolinsky Sable (0) brush. From what I've read around various forums, these brushes are the Big Daddy when it comes to great paintjobs and I can't wait to try it out!

Step two has been the construction of a simple wet palette, which is going to help me with that blending. By keeping my mixed colours usable for much longer than using an old piece of tile or, more often, the back of my thumb (yes I know it's lazy - hence the change!) I'll also be using my paint more economically.

Here's how I made it.

Wet Palette
Plastic container that formerly held Chinese food (Kung Po Chicken yum yum), or a similar Tupperware box.
Asda's greaseproof paper
Sheet of grey sponge from a Malifaux crew box

Place the foam in the tray, then trickle water into it until it's just on the edge of floating.

Cut a sheet of paper to the right size and place it on top, then press it down so that it sticks all over.

And you're done!

Paint applied to the paper won't dry for a very long time. The greaseproof paper is semi-permeable - enough water gets through that it stays wet for hours. Sealing the lid on top of the container stops any moisture escaping and then the paint stays wet for days! It does seperate slightly if you've mixed a colour, but can be easily mixed back together again when you come to re-use it. It's absolute genius and I can't believe it's taken me this long to get myself one.

All being well, I hope to be showing off the first results of this next chapter in my painting career in the near future!


Sunday, 15 May 2011

015 - Leeds Wargaming Centre Tournament

Oh dear is it really a month since I last updated? Shame on me! Luckily I haven't been wasting all that time, I've spent it preparing for last week's Malifaux Tournament!

Held at the Leeds Wargaming Centre on the 7th May, the event was organised by the local henchman James (also goes by the name Mythicfox) and it was a lot of fun. All photos in this post were taken by my girlfriend/official photographer Charlotte (

Ade considers his next move

The format was three 35ss games with a fixed master but flexible crew selection with games using the Core Strategy table. Schemes were restricted to one use only on the day.

My crew
I'd spent the last few weeks painting a variety of models to go with Seamus to give me a bit more flexibility, but come the day of the tournament I opted to stick with the same list in all 3 games.

Grave Spirit
Madame Sybelle
3 Rotten Belles
Punk Zombie
5ss cache

I benched Bête Noire and the Copycat Killer (who had both been underperforming in my practice games) and swapped in the the Grave Spirit and a Hanged Man that I painted from start to finish the evening before the event.

The undead assembled for their group portrait

The Games
Round 1

24 players attended, and the first round was a random matchup. My first opponent was to be Mitch (aka Stern) who'd brought his lovely lovely Perdita crew. This crew was the well deserved winner of the Best Painted prize.

Perdita (riding a dinosaur - someone made the very true observation that "EVERYTHING becomes cooler if it's on a dinosaur")
Drill Sergeant
2 Guild Guard

I flipped Reconnoitre, and opted to Grudge one of the Guard and Hold Out, while Mitch had Treasure Hunt and Bodyguard and also opted to Hold Out.

Setting Up on one of Kaine's scrumptious boards

The Grave Spirit linked onto the Hanged to give him armour, and together they soaked up a lot of the Guild's shooting, taking just one Wd per shot after reductions. I took advantage of my Belle's speed to run her into the centre to guard the treasure before Mitch's forces arrived.

They advanced slowly, using the Guard's Cordon ability to try and prevent me reaching their deployment zone. A couple of Lures though was all it took to pull my Grudge target forwards for an early 2 VPs. The Austringer hiding in nearby ruins took the occasional pot shot at me from behind cover, the cowardly little bird-lover.

Misaki took out the Belle in the centre with some impressive damage but was taken out herself by the Slow to Die retaliation! The Drill Sergeant tried to make off with the treasure but didn't get far as I had 3 models bearing down on him, and before long the treasure was safe in the hands of my Belles.

On the other side of the table, Seamus entered the woods with Sybelle and the Punk Zombie for support, while Perdita and the other Guardsman entered from the other side. The trees afforded my guys some good cover from Niño, who found himself with a lack of targets until he got Lured over and smacked about the head by another Belle.

Nino thinks he's got the drop on Green Belle, but finds her too irresistible to kill

Perdita and Seamus traded blows and severely weakened each other but neither could manage a killing blow. The Punk stepped up to the plate and managed to get a Flurry against Perdita, but forgot to use his Paired swords for two of the strikes! Luckily she was weakened enough by this point that his 3rd and final strike finished her off.

At this point Mitch only had the Austringer, whereas I had all my models surviving (albeit heavily wounded). I spread out to complete my Reconnoitre, claiming 3 of the table quarters. In the closing turn of the game, the Austringer got a sneaky shot or two at Seamus and the pesky blue-tit (or sparrow or whatever it was!) managed to land enough damage to kill my master!

I wasn't too upset though, as I'd managed a 6-0 victory in the first round.

Round 2
After a lunch break and after the crews had been displayed for the Best Painted award, my second game was to be against Ian, one of the Night Owls regulars that I hadn't yet had chance to play.

3 Ronin
Friekorps Librarian
Friekorps Trapper

This was another master that I'd never faced before and I think that, with hindsight, I was buoyed up by my first round win and I severely underestimated them.

My strategy was Destroy the Evidence, with Steal Relic and Army of the Dead as Schemes. We asked for a ruling from the tournament organisers regarding whether I could steal the relic from either Vik or if one had to be nominated at the start, and it was decided that I could take the Interact action against either model. I fancied my chances for this scheme, and also Army of the Dead, given Ian's low model count.

Ian had Slaughter, and also had to Stake a Claim on the house on my side of the table, and had a Grudge against the Punk Zombie.

Looking to thin out the enemy quickly, I lured one of the Ronin across to my side of the river, but she was saved on her last Wd by being Hard to Kill. This cost me my Punk Zombie early on, as with melee expert she was able to take him down quickly in retaliation.

5 against 1.. should be easy right?

I made the silly mistake of luring the sword Vik closer to try and separate her from her sister. She responded by charging in and killing Madame Sybelle and one of the Belles guarding Seamus with a Whirlwind. Also piling into the combat were the other 2 Ronin, who used a push off the Belle I re-summoned to get into melee with Seamus. I put the hurt on Viktoria, but not enough to kill her, and she teleported out for the fresh gun Vik next turn.

Seamus was then on his lonesome, on 1Wd and surrounded by gun Vik and 2 Ronin. I didn't realise until long after the game that I'd forgotten his Necrotic Ministrations ability (which would have healed him 6Wds and 3 cards from the Belles dying around him), and so he may have survived a little longer. I'd already wasted some actions on trying to steal the relic, but was starting to see that scheme as my only chance of getting any VPs, so Seamus tried again and succeeded (scoring 1VP), also putting up his Terrifying aura. Undeterred, Viktoria passed her morale duel and took his final Wd.

My last couple of surviving models found themselves outnumbered and blocked off from the Evidence markers and unable to achieve anything until they too were killed. To add insult to injury, Ian discovered the Friekorps Trapper had the Gravedigger trait, and proceeded to hoover up all the corpse counters and deny my other scheme.

I can't fault Ian, who played his crew very well, but next time I'll come prepared for the Vik's potential damage output, and take more care positioning models to avoid Whirlwinds!

The final result was 8-1 to Ian.

Round 3
Going straight into the final round, I was drawn against Jo-anne (you may know her by the name Neverata) and compact but deadly Lilith crew.

2 Mature Nephilim

With so few enemy models, I was hopeful when she flipped Reconnoitre - if I killed just 2 models and piled my models into one quarter she'd be unable to contest it and fail her Strategy. She also took Bodyguard and Hold Out. My final Strategy of the day was Claim Jump, which I decided to pair with Stake a Claim and Bodyguard.

This being the first time I'd played a Claim Jump, I made the mistake of heading all my models there at the start. I think I'd have done better if I spread out a bit and moved towards the marker later in the game.

As it was, Lilitu used Lure to get Sybelle all the way across the table to get ripped up by Lelu. I think she managed to cast Lure at least 5 times in a single activation.

The Matures outflanked me on the left, and dived over the castle in the centre to charge and engage most of my crew. One was brought down by the combined efforts of several Belles, but then bled all over the survivors. Seamus attempted to escape (again forgetting his Necrotic Ministrations) but was unable to get free of the melee.

In one memorable moment, I took a call to attack a Mature that was close to Seamus even though he was on his last Wd, as I believed him to be further than 1 inch away. When it came to measure the distance, it was so close to an inch it was impossible for us to call so we had to ask for an independent ruling, which went in my favour (just!).

It didn't save Seamus for long though, as Lilith then joined the fray and went to town on him.

On Turn 4 my only survivor was the Hanged, and he didn't last long from the combined attacks of Jo's crew. She still had 4 models left, which was plenty enough to spread out and claim a 8-0 victory.

The Hanged suddenly realises his day is about to get much worse

The Results
With only 3 Tournament Points to my name from the first game, and 2 complete pastings from rounds 2 and 3, my final placing was 19th out of 24. Not very impressive, but for my first ever tournament I'm happy enough!

The overall winner was Craig Johnson and his Collodi Crew, with Paul Hansel and Rob Owens taking 2nd and 3rd with their Lilith Crews. My opponents Mitch, Ian and Jo-anne placed 5th, 7th and 6th respectively, so I can always claim I was beated by some of the top players!

A good day was had by all, and I'm now looking forwards to my next tournament experience