Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sin City Dispatch #1

Hello everyone and welcome to the new Sin City Dispatch!

In this issue of the Dispatch, we will be looking at the new preview pictures that Rackham has released for AT-43 plus we will take a look at the new Assault on Black Reach boxed set for Warhammer 40,000 5th Edition. Next, we will be taking another look at my new Space Marine Chapter, the Reclaimers, to see how they are progressing. Last but not least, I stumbled across something at my local grocery store that has inspired me to start work on a new terrain piece. Just what could it be? Well, you'll just have to read on to find out!

Incoming!!!
Upcoming releases for AT-43 and Warhammer 40,000

In the latest Cry Havoc Online, Rackham released previews of several different miniatures that they having coming down the pipe in the next few months for AT-43. The first is the UNA Fire Crawler, the second of the support striders to hit the shelves.

Mounting two Grasers, this support strider packs a considerable punch and can easily cripple lighter striders with one salvo. It also mounts enough armor to make it a hard nut to crack though it does have the lightest armor of the support striders, the common hallmark of the UNA vehicles.

Now what about the miniature? Personally, I don't really like it. The forward sections of the hull swoops down so low that they really negate any ground clearance that the walker would have and the articulation of the legs where they meet the hull just doesn't look like it would be able to move well enough for it to be very maneuverable. There is also a large hatch on the back of the hull which seems odd. I would assume that this is meant for the crew to enter the vehicle but with the overall height of the hull it makes it look like the Crawler also has some kind of APC capability which it doesn't. While this is a nice addition to the game because it finally finishes off the units from the UNA army book, I am really not that thrilled with the sculpt. To each their own though, right?

Next are the Cog Warmongers.

While there are not many details out there about the Cogs, it seems like the Warmongers are going to be their basic infantry unit based on the previews that Rackham has been showing us. The main difference between this picture and the previous ones is they finally got some paint on them so we can see what they will look like. One question though; why are they wearing hunting vests?

These are still nice miniatures but I am really not that thrilled with the paint scheme. It reminds me too much of deer hunting season in Maine. Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against hunting but it looks like the Warmongers are wearing safety gear so that they don't accidentally shoot each other. Makes me a little nervous about how the rest of the army will look like, but maybe there is a reason.

Last but not least is the ONI TacArm which for some reason I can not post a current picture of so I will have to put up the old one in its place.

These two pictures are identical in all respects but one; the new picture has the "helmet" of the TacArm open so that you can see the pilot. As I noted before, the arms and torso seem very odd because they look like some kind of body suit rather then armor and the new picture seems to support this look. The face of the pilot within seems to be heavily scared (of course they are mercenaries which could explain this) but he also doesn't look like he has a neck (which the mercenaries thing doesn't really touch on). In fact the musculature of his shoulders looks absolutely massive, giving him an almost Frankstein look. While this seems really odd, he is ONI and they have already aluded to the fact that ONI has access to technologies from all of the other factions. It might be that the TacArms are enhanced and modified Humans but only time will tell and until that time I am going to hold back my opinion of this one.

On the Warhammer 40k front, the big release is the new Assault on Black Reach starter set. Coming in at $60, this is an amazing value for all of the stuff that it comes crammed into the box. Don't believe me? Well, here is a look at what you get in there.

As you can see, that is a ton of minis, plus three templates, dice and a digest sized version of the full rulebook containing all of the rules for the game. Definitely a great value for anyone that is new to 40k or even anyone that it already a fan. Since I have mainly focused on AT-43 in the past, I do want to point out that Games Workshop minis are not pre-painted so you will need to break out the brushes for these but I really do think that it is worth it. From what I have seen and heard, the new edition is pretty good set of rules and Assault On Black Reach is a solid step toward collecting either a Space Marine or and Ork army (or both if you are crazy like me).

As a side note, I am also going to do a review comparing 40k and AT-43 in the future but I want to get a bit more experience with Warhammer first. I can already think of a few pros and cons for each system but I want to get a little more play in to see if there is anything else that I might be missing.

From the Workbench
Raising the Reclaimers

As I showed you a couple of weeks ago, I recently unearthed some of my old Space Marines and started painting them up. I had the base coats on the full squad and force leader and I have made some more progress on them. Here they are in all their glory.

Not the clearest picture I'll admit but I think that you can get the idea. Beyond the base coat, I added a few details to them; the trim on the shoulder pads, the Imperial Eagles on the chest, the white stripe on the right pad indicating the squad type. These are all small additions to the models and it was very quick and easy to do them but they really do add a lot to the model. The bases are also very important as well. I didn't add any details to the bases beyond some flock and painting the edges black but even this helps to give the whole group a more uniform and finished look. I am still in the process of working on the Eddy the Dread but once I get some more work done on him I will be posting his picture as well.

Is this all that I will be doing with the Reclaimers? Not hardly! This is just the beginning of my new Space Marine Chapter and the minis from Black Reach will be helping to swell their ranks. I also have some other ideas floating about things that I can do to really give the Chapter my own feel instead of just being another cookie cutter Marine Chapter. Unfortunately more on that will have to wait until the new Codex comes out in a so that I can see exactly how far I can go with it all. So have no fear; the Reclaimers are coming for you!

Lay of the Land
The Storage Tank Project

While I was picking up some groceries the other day I noticed these items on the shelf.

I almost walked right past them but something told me to pick a couple up so into the cart they went. When I got home, I took another look at them and instantly saw the potential for a terrain piece, namely a large storage tank. With only a few additions I plan on taking this simple jug from the grocery store to the battlefields of the far future, and the beautiful thing is that it cost me less than a dollar. That's right only $0.75 for one of these bad boys so we will have to see just how cheap I can make this project by the time I am finished. I even picked up a couple of extra ones so that I could put several of them onto the table to create a small industrial complex but more on that later.

And that is it for this issue of the Dispatch! It was a long time in coming but it took me a little while to figure out just what direction I wanted to go in. Thanks to everybody for putting up with the wait! Now that I think I have things figured out, the updates should be more regular in the future. This is the Snowman signing off and until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Returning to the Beginning, aka Another Minion for the Evil Empire

While I plan on taking a break from AT-43, I definitely don’t plan on giving up gaming. Far from it in fact! Among the things that I will be touching on over the next few months are several miniatures games as well as some board and card games. So, without further ado let's get to it!

The first of these games has a place in many miniature gamers hearts, be it for good or ill. What could it be you wonder? Let me give you a few hints that will make it obvious. Over the years, I have collected several armies for it and it is still in the sci-fi genre. Hmmm… What could it be? Sci-fi, been around for years, collected several armies for it… Sound familiar? That’s right I’m talking about Warhammer 40,000.

Over the years, I had amassed a motley assortment of Chaos Marines, Space Marines, Tau and Tyranids. Notice that I said had amassed. I sold my Chaos Marines, my Tau, and a good sized chunk of my Space Marines a couple of years ago leaving me with a handful of Marines and my Tyranid horde, neither of which were really painted. Well, they were painted as in paint had been applied at some point but there was very little theme to it and nothing was ever really completed.

With the release of the 5th edition rules our local gaming community has become all the buzz about 40k again and a friend of mine has started running very small games to help people become familiar with the new rules. In fact this past Saturday he ran several 500 point games at our FLGS so I decided to break out my minis to see what I could actually field.

Digging through the small plastic box of Marine bits and minis that I have, I actually managed to find about fifteen Marine minis that I could scrounge up for a game, along with a Land Speeder, an old version of the Land Speeder Tornado, and an even older version of a Dreadnought. I had planned on taking a picture of this bunch of misfits before I started painting them but it slipped my mind until I had the base coats on all of the Marines. D’oh!!! To give you an idea of how mish mashed my minis are here is a picture of good old Eddy the Dread (this is a Rogue Trader era mini for those of you that might remember it).

Originally painted up as to be part of a Chaos army, I kept it when I sold the rest of my Chaos miniatures. As one of the original dreadnoughts introduced to the game back in the 80’s in White Dwarf #100, they are quite hard to find. In fact my friend told me that I have one of three that he knows of in Vegas.

As for the rest of my fledgling army, here is a picture of how they look right now.

With a mix of some of the original “beaky” Marines from the 80’s along with a couple from the newest version of the Marine plastic set, I actually had the makings of a couple of squads right off the bat. By just adding a force commander and land speeder with a multi-melta to my other minis, I was able to field a nice little 500 point “army”.

The question now is how did it go? Well, I arrived while they were still wrapping up a four player battle (Witch Hunters and Space Marines on one side with Orks on the other) and I was immediately struck by how negative everyone was being. I have listened to various podcasts about the new edition and a majority of them have only good things to say about it. After watching them wrap up the game and launch into more complaints about the game, I asked them if it was so horrible why did they play it? I mean really, what is the point of playing a game that you can’t stand? No one was really able to give me a good argument against this and they all started say that it wasn’t really that bad so apparently it was another case of “let’s bash the Evil Empire” that prevails in the hobby.

The other players needed to get going and Jason and I set up our forces so that I could see how things worked. On my side, I had a total of twelve Marines (including the commander), one Dreadnought, and one Land Speeder. On the Ork side, there was a War Boss commanding the army, a unit of at least half a dozen Nobs, an Orky Dreadnought, and a mob of thirty Ork Shoota Boyz. Nothing like being hopelessly outnumbered, right?

So how did it go? Well, I did have to pack up early (family emergency which thankfully proved to be not too serious) so we only managed to get into the second turn but from what I saw it didn’t seem too bad. Movement seemed relatively straight forward as well, at least from what I saw of it. Coming from AT-43 I was at a loss at first as to how far I could move. As for shooting, there were lots of dice on the Ork side (in one volley Jason rolled 38 dice compared to the paltry four dice that I had rolled the turn before, and that wasn’t even the whole unit shooting!) but after playing against the Karmans that really didn’t phase me too much. The true line of sight and cover saves also really made sense to me from what I saw.

Was it enough to get me back into 40k? Possibly though there are other games that people would be familiar with that I am considering as well, the first of which is Warmachine. Unfortunately the Warmachine community in town is very erratic to say the least but it seems like it might be making a comeback so I have sent out some emails to see what is happening with it. Either way, I am still going to add some more Space Marines to my collection so that I have a small army that I can field. After all, it is 40k and like it or leave it that is one game that is not going to be disappearing anytime soon.

Another thing that people should consider is the new starter set coming out later this week, Assault on Black Reach. Loaded with a ton of miniatures, this set contains enough to give you the start of both a Marine and an Ork army right out of the box. You need more to be able to field “legal” armies in the game but this is a great way for new gamers to get into the game for a very reasonable price. As for the quality of the minis, they are not on the same level as the regular unit boxes but still, you are getting 46 miniatures of various types including three small vehicles and one walker for $60, not to mention a small version of the rulebook and the three weapon templates. Personally, I don’t see how you can go wrong with this. After all, even if you buy and decide that 40k is really not for you, there is always Ebay.

Well, that is all for now but there will be more in the future as I track my work on my Marine Chapter, the Reclaimers, and my Warmachine armies as well. Until next time, may all of your dice come up Dragons!