Monday, 29 August 2011


The end on the month is upon me. Bases are all complete. Time to post up my August entry for the 'Tale of X Gamers' competition:

That's 1 Sword Master, 21 Sea-Guard and 1 Great Eagle. A total of 23 models in about as many days (due to being away at the start of august etc). I'm pretty chuffed with the volume for this month, more than I have ever completed before. Here are some extra shots.

My original aim was 28 Sea-guard. A little optimistic really. But I did manage 21 Sea Guard maintaining the standard I have been painting at even for a little core unit. 21 is actually enough to field 2 small units of 10.

But I will probably still field it as a single 3*7 unit. Or lose 1 model and drop to a 5*4 unit.  

The back rank is made up from spearmen warriors with suitable shields and a bow/quiver.

IN my step by step guide to painting girly elves I mentioned I am painting them all with blond Legolas inspired locks. Here is picture of said hair (before I finished the base).

My original army 'plan' was to have a Mage on foot supporting a small unit of Sword Masters. In 1500 point battles I can't afford that and a mounted arch/mage galloping with the Silver Helms. So I needed to fill a space in my Sword Master unit. This guy stepped up to the role:

Over the last 2 nights I had time to complete my Brucie Bonus for the month. I'm playing Cheaphammer's Bretonnians next. I'm borrowing 10 wood elf archers as I didn't finish my 28 Sea Guard. However even just 10 archers took me over the 1500 points. So we decided on a 1600 point game. The gap in points will be filled with a great eagle. Again I was going to borrow that but utilised the last few nights of august to paint my own. I went for a Bald Eagle look (only right for a war against terror in the old world - you know who you are axis of evil!). I also customised the base with a high elf shield, broken spear and a few painted rocks. Works really well. The beak looks fantastic. I tried my hardest to blend the colours.

So that's me. I'll post again in September with my next aim/ambition. It won't be on this magnitude. I have lots of nights away from home coming up, might attempt some more scenery and maybe another 7 Sea-Guard (as if I'm not sick of them already!)

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Khila amin...

So you can all appreciate the time and effort I take in painting these core unit models here is my step by step guide for painting elves:

Step 1 - Undercoat in Chaos Black. I spray all my models using the GW canisters. Expensive but quick.

Step 2 - A base coat of Mithril Silver on all metal/armour/helmet (making sure I leave some chaos black showing at all edges). Scorched brown base coat for areas of skin, wood, weapons (bow, spear, sword hilt), cloth work (gloves, rope) and gold metal areas.

Step 3 - Base coat of regal blue on sash, helmet plume, decoration, armour edging etc. Codex grey on cloth under-garments, shield, decoration.

Step 4 - Highlight skin with Elf Flesh. Weapon handles get a coat of Bleached bone. I use Burnished Gold for all the nice decorative shiny bits. I try to leave some Scorched brown at the edges but it is not a main focus as the ink stage will bring out the detail again. I highlight the gloves with Snakebite leather. Any string/rope like features are highlighted with Dheneb stone.

Step 5 - Inking stage. Armour, helmet and weapon blades get covered in Badab Black wash. Skin, weapon hilt, fancy gold bits get inked with Ogryn Flesh wash.

Step 6 - Highlight cloth under-garments and shield with Skull White. Leave codex grey showing in all creases and crevices.

Step 7 - Highlight. Highlight armour and weapon blades with Mithril Silver. Highlight gold areas with Burnished Gold. Highlight  sash, helmet plume, decoration, armour edging etc with Enchanted Blue. Areas of skin get another coat of Elf Flesh avoiding the eyes. Another coat of Bleached bone is applied to weapon hilts, leaving inked sections at the edges for detail.

Step 8 - Finishing touches. One final highlight of ice blue for sash, helmet plume, decoration, armour edging etc. Gems are painted in Blood Red, with highlights of Red Gore, Blazing Orange and Skull white at the edges. Similar colours are used on the shields. Eyes are painted chaos black and then tiny spots of skull white applied in the corners. The base is covered in PVA glue and dipped in fine grain sand and the model is ready for basing.

Note - Some of the sea-guard models are garbed with sea-weed. I paint this as I would an Orc. Base coat of Dark Angel green. A coat of Snot green and a final highlight of Goblin green.

You can't see the hair on this model. I am painting all my elves blond. They get a base coat of scorched brown. The area is highlighted with Snakebite leather and Dheneb Stone before the inking stage. After a flesh wash I add one final highlight of Dheneb stone. Seems to result in a realistic elf blond... I'm thinking Legolas here. I sometimes dry brush with sunburst yellow but find this a very fake looking colour so more often don't. 

Monday, 22 August 2011

Sut an?

Another week and another 7 High Elf Sea-Guard painted. Oh and that final Sword Master I needed (and promised) for the 1500 point army:

These aren't as intricate as the island of blood models. They are from the standard Spearman set and have the bow and shield attached to complete the Sea-Guard look. I only used Shields that depicted a dragon/water to maintain the theme running through the unit. That now completes a workable core unit of 14 models but I still need a few more for my army. Getting a little bit bored of painting these models now. It's hard work but this blog is definitely helping keep me focused.

Should manage to get another 7 Sea Guard complete (back to the island of blood models) taking me to 22 models completed in 30 days. Pretty impressive for me. Might have to cool down next month and spend some time with the Memsaab. Also have a nice Elven tower planned and meeting my full Core unit requirements has kept that on the back-burner this month.

Have left the bases to complete as a job lot on Bank Holiday Monday.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Uuma ma' ten' rashwe, ta tuluva a' lle

Don't look for trouble, it will come to you! Lee kindly agreed to come to my place to play out a raid between his Warriors of Chaos and my graceful High Elves on my rather unconventional, but campaign appropriate (I'm thinking Might Empires here) gaming table:
Yes that's an 8 man poker table with a battle mat on it! I won't tell you that the Chaos Lord came all the way to Deepcar with only half his army (we had to quickly scour the lands for substitute models - mainly consisting of treacherous unpainted high elves!) - oops.
Anyway we had a quick 1500 point battle using 'the pass' scenario from the main rule book. Within the shadow of the impassable sides of the battle field were a few scree slopes and hills, a wizards tower and a haunted mansion. Could Lee get revenge for our last meet - not if the winds of magic had anything to do about it!
Deployment -
My 3 High elf units looked totally outnumbered. I had a mounted Noble BSB and a level 4 arch-mage with the Lore of Shadows in my Silver Helm unit. Opposing me were 1 unit of marauders, 2 units of Chaos Hounds, a large unit of Chaos Knights, Chaos Warrior and Chosen units. Behind this intimidating block of muscle stood a chariot and war-shrine. Both these models (which Lee has been custom-modelling) looked fantastic (bar the missing steeds!). The Chaos general was in the Warrior unit and the sorcerer stood along with the chosen. He was level 2 and knew spells from the Lore of Death. Gulp!
After deployment the Marauders used their Vanguard skill to put pressure on my left rank. We rolled off and it was down to the High Elves to make the first move. 
Turn 1 -
I held back. With very little ballistics I knew the Chaos would have to march towards me. I could hold back and use my sea guard to whittle down the enemy. I had taken the Banner of Eternal flame which meant when I shot at the enemy mounts they would need to pass a fear test. My plan for later turns when the Chaos units were in charging distance was to advance with the Knights. I did make the mistake of deploying my Sword Masters behind the Helms (silly when Lee had nothing that could shoot at them). I wheeled my sea-guard to shoot at the marauders. They passed the fear test and I did very little damage. My mage cast Mystifying Miasma to slow the marauders down a little and relieve my flank. Using the lore attribute I teleported him to the front of the Helms (where the BSB stood) in an attempt to cast the shadow vortex spell. It failed. This left him quite exposed at the front of the unit.
As predicted Lee advanced quickly towards me. His marauders swung around my left flank but being slowed my the miasma couldn't get within spear throwing distance of the sea guard. The Chaos sorcerer failed to cast a direct damage spell on my mage.
Turn 2 -  

My Silver Helms charge the unit of hounds facing them, the cowardly dogs turn and run (passing the dangerous terrain test as they run as fast as they can through the Chosen). I can't catch them. My sea guard ignore the marauders and hold position to shoot the incoming hounds completely obliterating them. My sword masters march to help reinforce the sea guard position. The Winds of magic fail to blow for the High elves.

A Chaos Knight failed charge keeps my Silver Helms out of danger. All enemy units continue their advance. The marauders hassle my sea guard again getting within throwing distance of my rear and cause some casualties. The magic phase is disastrous for the Chaos - Their sorcerer miscast a direct damage spell against my Mage. The miscast is catastrophic and kills 3 Chosen. Further misery for the Chaos, as the sorcerer is swept into the void. Lee rolls on the irresistible direct damage spell causing only 2 wounds on my Mage. He survives by the skin of his teeth with 1 wound left, he is still exposed at the front of the Helms.

Turn 3 -

My Silver Helms charge the Chaos Knights. My Sea guard unit looked in a perilous position. I aimed to rotate the sea guard, reforming into 4 ranks and shoot down the marauders while my sword masters moved into make sure the Chaos Warriors wouldn't charge the sea guard rear. But as is Warhammer/dice lore I fail the swift reform roll leaving my sea guard at the mercy of the marauders. During the magic phase the Winds of Magic again vent their frustration causing the High Elf Mage to miscast Okkams Mindrazor. Luckily I had taken the Staff of Solidity meaning I could ignore my first miscast. Phew! The Mindrazor spell is cast with irresistible force on the Helms (The Chaos did have a dispel scroll - but that isn't much use when the only guy that can read it is floating around in the void). Using the lore attribute my mage again teleports with the BSB back to the safety of the back rank. Perfect. My strength 10 Helms crush the Chaos Knights and win combat. The Knights flee and I overrun them reforming to face the war hounds flank.

 The Chaos warriors charge my Sword Masters. The Chariot fails a flank charge into the sea guard. The marauders move out of charge arc of my sea guard. The War hounds move out of the charge arc of my Silver Helms. All other units advance. No magic or shooting phase takes us straight into close combat. The Chaos lord challenges my Sword Master Unit champion. He predictably dies. Although my sword masters managed to cut a few warriors down they lose combat but mange to hold to face another beating!

Turn 4 - Things are speeding up!

This time my sea guard manage to swift reform and leave only 1 marauder standing. My silver Helms move towards the rear of the chaos army. This leaves their flank exposed to the war hounds but another mystifying miasma brings their weapon skill down to 1. I don't need to worry about that charge now! I wizard fails to cast the Mindrazor on the Sword Masters and they are cut down in combat. The Chaos Warriors reform to face the sea guard flank.

The 2 remaining chose move in to form a blockade between my Helms and the rest of the chaos army. The sea guard are charged by the Warriors. They hold to fight but lose combat and flee off the battle field. The Chaos warriors reform to face my Helms.

Turn 5 -

The Silver Helms charge the Chosen but can't quite catch them as they flee. Luckily this means the Warriors can't retaliate as the 2 chosen are in the way! The winds of magic again fail to blow making for an un-eventful round. Lee moves the chariot and war shrine to try and keep them safe from my un-stoppable helms.

Turn 6 -

My Silver Helms charged the war shrine (got for the big points - it was that or the chosen). Another pitiful gust of magic and I can't possibly cast Mindrazor, I however manage to cast Withering reducing the toughness of the Shrine by 1. I comfortably win close combat and overrun the shrine. This places my unit behind the warriors and the Chaos Chariot meaning in their last turn they can't do anything to me. All that remained was to calculate the point difference and see who won.

The Result

Standard victory conditions meant calculating the cost of lost units. Bonus points for characters killed in challenges etc. I wish I had read this before the battle. I had left 1 marauder alive, 2 chosen which meant I couldn't claim any points for the damage I did. I did still win by 56 points (mainly because my entire army is contained in 1 unit. 48% army value in the Helms. Then add the Mage and the BSB its a point mammoth.

So in theory I won! But alas, we found the errata sheet. You need to have a point difference >100 points to claim a win. So on paper this one was a draw!

Lessons I learnt:

My Massive Silver Helm unit is brilliant. I only suffered 1 casualty. That 2+ armor save and the Mindrazor spell work really well together. I worry what will happen in larger point games where I might be meeting war-machines. I can't hope for mis-fires every game. I might need to sacrifice something to squeeze in an eagle or 2.

It helped not having to dispel anything during the game. Lee was very unlucky with his magic rolls. But then in the later stages of the game I was getting a power pool of 2/3 dice. ergh!

DON'T try and chase skirmish units. They can run rings around my large units. Relying on swift reform isn't the best idea. Again a few eagles might help chase these annoying units down. I worry for when I face Kieron's Pegasus Knights.

Monday, 15 August 2011


At last! I have started painting High Elf core units. And better still I finally have time to update and show you where I am at the half way point.

It is a busy time at the University. Now all the students are out of the way we can start some proper research, which means late nights hauled up in front of a data analysis computer or travelling the country presenting our findings! With some nights taken out by actual game playing and visits to parents etc it all means less time for painting (boo, hiss!)... so I am 1 week behind schedule now.

Here are my first 7 Sea Guards:

I'm yet to base them properly and might wait until I have another rank painted up. There is a vast amount of detail on these "Island of Blood" models which is also slowing me down, so I may not reach the 28 I set out to paint but I will complete enough to field a complete unit (albeit with an army of very low points value). As can be seen I have done the 3 command models and 4 rank and file models.

Here is the Unit Champion from front and back:

the Musician:

and the standard flag:

Bit unsure about the runes on the standard. I am re-paint them gold. Thoughts?

The rest of the sea-guard unit was going to made up of modified High Elf Spearmen; which have considerably less detail, but don't look any where near as fancy. So I hit EBay again for another bout of cheaphammering (defiantly a verb!), managed to snap up another 10 IOB sea-guard and 5 Ellyrian Reavers for £6. Some of the sea-guard had their weapons missing (but mainly the command models) so I can now create a second rank of these glorious looking miniatures. I'll be hitting the Chaos Black spray can tonight!

As an aside I now have 15 Ellyrian Reavers which I'm yet to test on the battle field, but I have heard they are even worse than Silver Helms!


Friday, 5 August 2011

Tanya awra!

What follows is an account of the defeat of a proud Elven Noble, Huor Arcamenel, at the hands of an evil Tomb King known only as Galbraith the Interred. The following events happened in the Tancred Castle region in the fair land of Bretonnia. Artwork from the vicious battle was commissioned by the Elven High council and produced by the famous Elven painter, Digi Tal'Ixus Can-on:

We left Ulthuan some 10 days past:

As part of an ancient alliance our mission was to reinforce Bretonnia after reports that hordes of evil were pillaging the land. Orc and Goblin fanatics from the south, Raiders from the north, even the ground beneath the fine city of Marienburg was erupting with Skaven filth. The situation was perilous. What worried our Elven elders more were the prophecies offering foresight that the Tomb Kings would rise from their sleep in Landrel Barrow; and under the leadership of Galbraith the Interred strike at the weakened Bretonnian nation. Immediate word was sent to Lord Kieron of Couronne offering our assistance. Concern was expressed for the safety of the Baron of Tancred Castle. Renowned Bretonnian cartographers quickly produced a map the threatened region and we set sail for the sea of claws.

Our fine Clippers made light work of the often cruel waves of the sea of claws and I sent a small detachment to land on the shores of the Tancred region and march quickly to the castle to reinforce the Baron. This would offer us an excellent striking position against the Tomb King incursion brewing at Landrel Barrow. However, when I along with my elite Silver Helm, Sword Master and Sea Guard warriors arrived at the castle the Tomb Kings were already advancing:

Before our very eyes were:
Level 4 hierophant with a dispel scroll, the earthing rod and a 4+ ward save,
Level 2 Liche priest with the law of light,
Tomb Prince on foot,
28 skeletons,
3 chariots,
13 archers,
a Hierotitan,
and an exquisite looking casket.

We felt outnumbered only having landed:
A level 2 mounted mage (with the law of shadows),
13 Silver Helms,
28 Sea-Guard,
12 sword masters,
1 lion chariot,
and myself as a Battle Standard Barer.

The battle started in earnest. The legions of Undead moved slowly towards the castle with their faster regiments moving to stall our reinforcement. We quickly discovered that the winds of magic favoured the deadly Tomb King Hierophant and Liche priests. The Tomb way off on the horizon was particularly deadly, harming our Chariot and Sword Masters before even a single blow was struck. Only the sterling work of Findaráto Telrúnya our mage contained further devastation to our ranks. 

We couldn't hold back. We had to use our speed advantage. Our sword Masters marched quickly to reinforce Tancred Castle.

Having only just landed on the shores our Helms and Chariot rode out first. However, this meant we blocked line of sight for the Sea-guard. I ordered the Chariot to circle around Tancred Castle in hope of hitting the Tomb King Flank. I led the helms into charging position to the chariots and away from the Sea Guard allowing them to shoot all their mighty arrows at the Tomb King archers.

The winds of magic were blowing against us though and our Mage failed to hex any of the incoming enemy.

A large unit of Skeleton warriors repositioned to face our weakened lion chariot. We witnessed a Bone Giant titan move further forward towards our Helms. Again the winds of magic blessed the Tomb Kings and more undead appeared in the sand cloud blown around the battle field. This was true evil we had not been privy to before. A barrage of arrows from the Skeleton archers and chariots was released towards Tancred. I can only assume they were long dead elves as even I could not match their shooting ability. The Sword Master unit lost many in the attack and fled the castle along with the Baron of Tancred.

I retaliated. My chariot had lost positioning to flank the Tomb Kings and instead slammed into the Skeletons doing enough wounds to break the spell binding these undead. Skeletons crumbled as the Lions roared. The Helms I led could not reach the incoming chariots but this allowed time for my sea-guard to whittle them down with some accurate shooting. Again the winds of magic deceived us. With the Baron of Tancred safely running towards the shore and our waiting clippers the remaining sword masters rallied to fight on.

The remaining Tomb King chariots charged the Helms.  Our mage contained the winds of magic but again from the very ground rose another chariot. But this was not enough to fight off our aggression and we smote them all to dust. We repositioned to face an incoming bone giant. Meanwhile I heard the screams for our chariot crew as they were butchered. Worse was to come as behind the sea guard the ground started to rumble and 3 Necro Knights emerged. The sea guard conch blew and the whole unit turned to face this new enemy.

I led the charge of the Helms into the Bone Giant. Finally the winds of magic changed direction and our Mage augmented us for battle. Our mind were razor sharp and we cut down the giant easily. We reformed to face the archers who with their blessed arrows were preventing us from capturing and keeping the castle.

The Skeleton warriors entered the Tancred castle. Our worst fears were coming true. We were going to lose control of this region. Outside though the battle was going our way, a charge from the Necro Knights was of no concern to our Sea Guards. Their martial prowess dominated and reduced the Kinghts

We tried to limit the Tomb King magic but were out maneuvered by the Liche Priest and so reformed to charge down the Tomb and Hierophant  that was bringing death and devastation to our remaining force. Unfortunately while moving towards them, Findaráto Telrúnya miscast Mindrazor on the sword masters which sent him and 4 of my fellow Helms into the void! I didn't let this sway our resolve and I edged closer to the Tomb. The Sword masters continued to fight for the castle while the Sea Guard moved on to help.

However, one final magical volley from the tomb whittled down the number of sea guard and sword masters.  With the sea guard being the only unit capable of storming the castle they pushed forward while I destroyed the Tomb (although as we split the Tomb lid further death followed). They fought bravely, with captain Beren Alcarin taking on the Undead Prince and persevering. The remaining guards reducing the undead significantly (to 3 models!!!!):

But alas it was all in vein. We probably could of won out but I blame the pressure of knowing that the remaining Liche Priests could summon more undead to rise from the very earth and the fact that my Helms were exhausted meant we fell back to reform:

We had lost the battle (by 3 models!) but not the war! We will be back Galbraith!

So what did I learn from the game:

1) The Tomb Kings could out-shoot and out-magic me... so I couldn't hold back like I did against the Warriors of Chaos. I had to ride into combat quickly. It seemed to pay off. Had this
been a normal battle (not the watch-tower scenario) I absolutely devastated the Tomb King army on the ground and would have won. Although I'm sure Craig's tactics may of changed to some extent.

2) I also discovered why the Tomb King horde could out-magic me. When planning the army I thought that I was only allowed <25% cost in Heroes & Lords not <25% in heroes and <25% in Lords. Knowing this I can afford a more powerful archmage... maybe even make him un-killable (be afraid Lee)

3) Don't waste time trying to run down a single character unit with a large unit. They can out-maneuver me!

4) Craig always wins... he must be cheating.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Lye nuquernuva sen e dagor

Well we are now into august and another month of the 'Tale of x gamers' competition. We will get to find out who won the 'pot' for July in the next few days. I have a felling it might be the 'painting numpty' as his tomb kings look excellent. Expect a post indicating that I was obviously cheated though!

When compiling my scores for my fellow gamers I came to realise that we have lost a few entrants but I for one and still in the competition and it really helps motivate me to paint. And I will need as much motivation as I can get this month! Read on...

You may have noticed that up to now I have been painting special units and heroes/lords. Mainly because the miniatures look so enticing. To field a fully painted army on the battle field I really need to get on with some core units. This brings me to my aim for August: a unit of High Elf Sea-guard. I don't know if this is a stretch for me, especially as I am still working over the summer while some of my fellow gamers/painters aren't; but I'm going to try and paint a unit 7*4 (without fillers) in size. That's 7 models a week. Ergh! So I'm really upping the quantity here and probably have my work cut out. Anyway, here they are in their undercoated glory:

The Island of Blood set (8th edition warhammer) came with 10 fantastic looking sea guard. To flesh out the unit I have purchased some spearmen models off EBay. Attaching a bow and quiver to their back and painting the shield with a suitable design will turn them into more Sea-guard. Then I have 3 spearmen from the 5th edition of warhammer to fill the empty spaces (my own bit of cheaphammer).

I also need to get another Sword Master painted, as my smaller army (~1500pts) doesn't have the lvl 2 mage to support my unit of Masters so there is a space to fill:

So we are now 3 months into the competition and I haven't even shown you where the magic happens... no not the bedroom... here:

I use to paint on the floor but that was giving me some serious pins and needles in my legs! While at a service station (on my way up to Northumbria) I came across this laptop cushion. It had a handy section for my paint brushes and even a cup holder for my water pot! A nice hard top and a soft bean-bag style cushion underneath so I can sit on the sofa and paint! Perfect, so I snapped it up. Was only about £8 too. The LED light was a bit lame though so I 'aquired' a day light lamp which sits in the clamp you can see on the left of the picture. Be interesting to see what setups other people have.

When driving to the club for my first few games I soon realised my models ended up all over the shop. So the shim steel you can see (on the table) is glued onto the movement tray. I then use rare-earth magnets to stick to models onto the tray for easy transit. The shim steel is pretty cheap too.

So that's my first post for August. Should see me back again soon as I have my first campaign game against Tomb Kings on Thursday.