Friday, January 17, 2014

Ironclad to Ol' Rowdy conversion.

  Pulling through the holidays has left a lot on the plate Warmachine wise.  I've got a Trollblood army I can't make up my mind on color wise (Will probably end up tan, just like all of my other armies I've ever had), and a few solos I need to finish up for Cygnar.

  For now though, I've got a modification tutorial for you.  I'm not a huge fan of the Ol' Rowdy model, and I can't really explain why, but it annoys me.  On top of that, it's a lot of metal and when I'm trying to pay for a Trollblood army and be ready for Vengeance to drop, I don't want to pay 40$ for a metal model I don't like and won't be used in the overall tournament scene.  E.G., It's not going to Warmachine cons with me.

  I've got the Ironclad from the battlebox, and until recently, wasn't playing it all that much.  Now that I've converted it, I use it all the time for an Ironclad, but that's besides the point.  Rowdy's essentially our regular Ironclad with a few main differences.


  Outside of the pose, mind you.  I don't care about the pose.  One of the main reasons I don't like the Ol' Rowdy model.  The main five things though are 1) Two extra boiler pipes.  2)  Fancy Buckler thing on the right.  3)  Cygnus up top and center.  4)  Wires on the arm.  5)  The Shoulderpad, the last one being the biggest change.

  Looking at this, I'm not going to worry about the buckler, and I didn't realize until I was halfway through the conversion that I needed more exhaust pipes.  If it really bothers me, I'll order a few metal ones off of the bits section of PPress's store.  I will, however, worry about the other three things.

  For this, I needed:

  1.  Polystyrene card of various thicknesses.  Thin, and really thin.
  2.  Greenstuff.
  3.  A way to heat plastic somewhat precisely.  I have a butane pencil torch that does wonders, but a longnecked kitchen lighter will work too.
  4.  Obvious hobby things, e.g., knife, superglue, patience, coffee, bandaids.
  For the base that I created, I used corkboard, coffee grounds, and red pepper flakes, but that's me.  So lets get started.  Start with cutting a rectangle out of your thicker plastic.  Two by one inches will probably be just a little big, but it'll let you trim it down to what you want.  Heat up the center of it and fold it against a hard surface so it develops that sharp (ish) edge down the center.

  You can set it up on the Ironclad now, size it a bit.  Check the Ol' Rowdy pic, and notice that you're covering the first two studs, and use that to line it up.  Shave it down, cut a new piece, whatever you need to do at this point.  Right now, it's pretty square looking, and we need it to form a bit better, so lets get back into it.  

  The left side is unformed.  On the right, I heated it just a little and curved it, trying to get rid of that "Hey, I built this guys!" look.  It's going to be hard to avoid, and nobody's going to mistake the shoulder pad as the original, but we can try, right?

  Both sides formed.  I'm ok with this.  Lay it down on your thin styrene and sketch an edge for it for that shoulder guard.

  Then cut it out, shave it down to fit.  I also cut mine so that the bottom edge didn't necessarily follow the piece we just made, but rather the shoulder on the warjack itself.

  And glue.

  I think I actually didn't like that particular piece, so I cut another one.   You can see here how it has the much gentler curve on the Ironclad side.

  While that's drying, it's time to greenstuff.  Mix up a ball of it and mush it flat on top of the Ironclad.  You want it pretty thin.

  For greenstuff modelling, this is pretty straight forward.  Scratch the cygnus into it with a paperclip then cut it.  The main trick here is to cut it cleanly so that when you pull material away, it doesn't take parts of your bird with it.  But then don't cut it so clean that you leave cuts in the warjack paint.

  Or just paint it after you're done.  Yeah, do that.  Don't convert already-painted warjacks unless you're a cheapskate like me.

  Cool.  Fix any edges, smooth it out with your butterknife flat or sculpting tool.  Dip it in water first so it slides on the greenstuff, instead of ruining it. 

  While we have green stuff out, take all the material you just cut and roll it into a long noodle.  Save a piece and roll it into a thicker cylinder, cut it in half, and place it as ports on the arm, then take the long noodle and drape it artistically all over Rowdy's left arm.  I don't understand why a high-powered, fast-moving warjack has a cable loosely draped over his arm so it can catch on things and rip off and lose power to the arm or whatever, but Rowdy does.  Let things sit, and pick up your shoulder pad again.

  More greenstuff!  The big thing here is just the corners.  Mash some down thinly on the corners, cut the excess, and let it dry.

  Test fit, because I want to know.  Can you tell me?!  I want to know about these strangers like me...

  Wife's pandora station.  I apologize.  I really like what Phil Collins did with Tarzan, but I don't like anything else he's done.  It's weird.  Anyways.

  Not bad.  I want some more detail though.  Cut a narrow strip of the reeeally thin styrene.  In fact, cut several trips, but one wider than the rest.  This will be the edging on our pauldron here.  Eyeball and cut the edges for around the main part, then glue the wider strip up at the top on the flange.  Like so:

  Oh, and roll another noodle of green stuff, you want it to be small enough to fit into the gap on the flange between the shoulderpad and flange edging.

  I left that piece sticking out because it's easier to cut there rather than measuring.  Don't worry about these unsightly gaps we have at the moment, they'll be fixed.  One thing I wish I had done was get the lighter out and bend those front strips a bit more.  I had a nice gentle curve, but now it's mostly hidden.  Take some more GS, and hide that corner.  Just smash it in there, smooth the excess.  Then, if that noodle has dried some so it's got some resiliency, cut it, and drop it in as seen below.  This is a glueing nightmare, mind you, but the effect is nice.

  Test fitting again.  I think it might be a bit big, but I like it.


  And the base.  Again, corkboard, coffee grounds, red pepper flakes, and apparently hobby lobby ballast.  

  I like it.  I don't think it turned out too bad at all, and he did alright in the small tourney that happened that weekend.  I certainly like it more than the original model, and while it's got some fine cutting, it wasn't too bad overall.

  The only other thing I have for you is the secret santa gift I did for a friend.  He requested Mercs, so I though Bart looked like fun.

  The base is just a bunch of popsycle sticks washed and drybrushed, with the exception of the railing itself, which is a fancy one-sided toothpick I found somewhere.  Bart himself is a cool caster, and was a lot of fun to paint.  I actually got to see him being played a few weeks ago, which was really neat too.

  Hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and hope to have more running around.  If there's anything specific from the folding board I did that you'd like to see done in tutorial form, I'd be happy to oblige.  Leave a comment, let me know!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Putting Kraye's theorymachine into play

  Right after my last post, my wife and I decided that it'd be fun to spend the entire day at the game shoppe, and play games, either boardgames, cardgames, or Warmachine.  I.E., she'd con people into playing the Lord of the Rings Deck Building game with her, while I get to Warmachine.


  I took Kraye and eCaine, who I've been playing pretty much exclusively these days trying to get used them working together in the 2014 tournament season.  First game landed me a Harkevitch tier list with 4 destroyers, Black Ivan, 2 WG gun crews, WG deathstar and Joe.

  In case you're unfamiliar with Harkevitch (Most of us are), the Destroyers gain pathfinder with him, and he has broadsides as a spell that they can shoot out of activation once per turn.  This lets them move up the board 4'' at a time at ARM25 while the rest of his army follows behind until feat turn where they charge in with an extra 2'' of movement and cause problems.  Idk what the WG are there for.  Filler.

  I brought:

Full Nyss w/ Jonas
Min Blazers

Eiryss disrupted all day long, but it was kind of silly since nobody wanted any focus and Hark just camped it most of the game.  However, right off the bat, I pushed the Avenger up the middle, the Stormclad way out to the right and Ironclad to the left to try and divide up his clamjacks.  It somewhat worked, allowed Eiryss to aim, and drop Escort and four focus off of Harkevitch, leaving him at ARM16.  My Stormclad had a 17'' charge range and was well within charging Black Ivan, and hitting Harkevitch with Reach after that.

  But!  For kicks and giggles, I figured I'd shoot Black Ivan with the Avenger and KD the Jack and Harkevitch both.  I proceeded to miss on 3 dice, and learned that Black Ivan has dodge... He blocked my charge lane, I lost my Stormclad, yeah.  Nyss don't handle 4 Clamjacks bombarding them every turn, and neither does Eiryss.  Losing the Stormclad was pretty paramount.

  Overall, I played the list fine until I dumbed up and shot Black Ivan.  I wouldn't have, but it was my fault for not knowing the Jack or looking at his card.  On the plus side, the Minuteman killed most of a weapons crew, three winterguard and Joe all by himself, wandering around behind enemy lines.  I think I'm bringing the same list back, but I'll bring 2 minutemen, and no Avenger.  I realize that Minuteman really can't do much against that much Hi-arm, but 2 of them wandering around behind enemy lines does 2 things.  1)  It wipes out support if it's left alone, and 2), forces my opponent to dedicate things from his front line to deal with the problem.  In this case, it'd be a Devastator or two, and lets me deal with things a bit more at my pace.

  I liked my list, was just really ticked at myself for screwing up a perfectly solid assassination run.

  The second game was eCaine vs. Kallus in Legion, and that was over fairly quick.  Hiding behind the Angelius does you very little good when I have Taryn.  Which, in other news, may have been a better list to bring against Harkevitch there as well, except I didn't have a way to strip focus like eEiryss can.

  Overall though, I'm pleased with my lists, and enjoying playing Kraye different than I have been.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Playing Kraye as if I want to win by Scenario.

  Christmas season is past.  It's still difficult to prime models when it's -2 outside, but progress is still being made.  The painting table is slowly transitioning from Cygnar and Mercernary support to Trollbloods.  I have a primed Axer and eMadrak on the table right now, and the finishing touches to a Lylyth3 and Raptor Solo for a friend.

  Meanwhile, on the gaming side, games have been scarce, but there's been a few.  The two main things I'm working on is figuring out out to play Trollbloods and develop the Kraye game a bit more.  I posted some basic musing on him last month sometime, but I've sounded out and put to the test a few of those theories.

  1.  Arcing Pursuit.  This seemed pretty neat at first.  Run Kraye with a Lancer and land pursuit out there.  This lets me move my favorite heavy up 4 or 5 inches, extending his threat range considerably and forcing my opponent to really wonder how much he wants to move.  This didn't work for a couple of reasons.
  A)  Lancer is 6pts, and he can't arc in melee, so you move him up, and that's it.  Next turn, he's going to die, be engaged, something, and you can't use him anymore to arc.  So you're paying 6 army points to move your Stormclad 5'', assuming your opponent doesn't find away around it.
  B)  There's a decent shot your opponent will.  Maybe 25%.  Maybe he won't move that jack, and he'll move something else.  Maybe it's Circle, and I'm an idiot, and the Stones will move him.  Either way, my Lancer either dies without accomplishing much, and possibly, my Heavy doesn't actually get to move.
  C)  Me moving my Stormclad forward may work in his favor.  Overall, at the end of the day, the Lancer is 6pts I'm gambling on when I really would rather have something I know is going to do work.

2.  Hunters.  I'm slooowwwwly less hostile towards hunters, but they still make me sad reeeaaally frequently.  It's also required in Kraye's tier to bring 2 if you want anything good.  That's 12pts of gambling.  Quite frequently, I find that while the AP cuts the base ARM in half, the +2 or +3 ARM buff the jack has makes it really tough for POW6 to do anything.  So sometimes, they do ok, but generally, I just dislike them.  They've been working better for me, but usually, if I'm taking them in a Kraye list, I realize I'd rather have something useful, like Nyss or and Jonas vs. 2 hunters.

  3.  Infantry.  And not Rangers.  There's been three major candidates for Kraye's infantry.  Nyss, Boomies and the Trencher Commandos (gasp).  The Nyss so far seem to be winning.  Boomies really are good, but I use them in my other list.  So the Nyss see more use with Kraye.  They do well, tarpit excellent, and don't really need help from Kraye, which is great because has nothing for them.  The Commandos are just fun, but they want help from Finn and/or Rhupert, turning them into a 14pt module, 17 if you go all out.  Nyss like having Rhupert, and Jonas, but they're not nearly as required.  Either way though, running Nyss or Commandos has been working for me, screening rather well.  My favorite game with the Commandos so far has to be my eStryker vs. Constance game.  My opponent brought 2 units of Forgeguard, and my Commandos with Stryker and Runewood and anatomical precision killed probably 14 models on feat turn, and I only got maybe 7, 8 of them into combat.  Anatomical precision cares not about your ARM34, dwarf.

4.  Ironclad.  I'm liking the Ironclad with Kraye, more than the Hunters, really.  PS18, Tremor, SPD5.  He plays up front, alphas in, kills something, and dies.  Which is great, because it begins the piecetrade process, and starts with me on the high side.  13'' threat range w/o feat turn is great.  I'd consider running 2, but I really need infantry.

  So, right now, my list looks like this:

Nyss (max)
Blazers (min)

  This generally doesn't mind a decent amount of infantry (Cryx hordes aren't any fun, mind you), but excels against lots of Warjacks, support heavy armies, and can deal with upkeep-heavy armies.  Khador, possibly Retribution (MHSF hate Minutemen, yo), Menoth (Eleaping blazers eat Choir), Legion (Same problem), and sometimes Circle.  It's also my drop against Mortenbra, possibly Scaverous, and a few Skorne lists.  Maaaaaybe Trolls, but probably not.  Lots of Medium-base infantry is a problem for this list, though weapon-master Nyss help.  I'd expect this list to struggle against a High Reclaimer list though, when you're usually seeing multiple units of Bastions.

  The other option I'm testing is to trade out the Avenger (gasp.  Jedi, Kraye, and no Avenger?!) and drop in a second Minuteman and Jonas for the Nyss.  This would let it handle more infantry, more support, and throw wrenches into a lot more plans.  I still don't feel like it'd be comfortable to handle a camping Butcher2, but it's still got a lot of fast, accurate jacks and will be fairly difficult for a Warmachine list to go up against if they've got multiple warjacks.

  The wrench in the plans is colossals, of course.  An eHaley list will make it cry, though a Stormclad/Ironclad combo might possibly be able to handle one of them.  If I tournament this list, I'll probably bring Ayaina and Holt instead of the B13, and leave them in my eCaine list.  This will focus the list a bit more towards Higher Arm, but that might be what it needs anyways.  PS21 Stormclad, anyone?

  Incidentally, the Avenger is in my eCaine list...  I can't help it.  KD is such a great thing.