Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chaos Dwarf Blood Bowl: first team of 2012

Started in December, but final touches for this team was in January, so it's the first team of 2012.

Chaos Dwarves have so great potential for using various miniatures, you could really explore a lot of themes with them.

The first Chaos dwarf team I painted was .. a long time ago, maybe 1997? It was the GW team and one of the first times I'd painted yellow as a major color: the cloth was bisected red & yellow, painted for a friend.
I began that team thinking I hated yellow and came away from it feeling like I really enjoyed painting yellow: always be open to new things.

The next time I painted Chaos Dwarves was for my Rackham 'Vulcan's Hammers'.
This time it would be Greebo's fun new Chaos dwarves, with the old classic GW hobgoblins.
The client wanted muted black cloth, dull yellow metal armor, and the hobs having some various drab colors, to show their ramshackleness.

These Chaos Dwarves are pretty traditional in their look... I think they come from Khazapersialonnia.

They have those tall hats and ringlet beards...
No, not him... but a lot like him... 

All that armor detail can be a bit of a pain, but when you get into the zen of it, it is pretty fun. 

These have been converted.  Claw is a popular mutation: cuts through heavy armor teams like butter.
Freddy Kruger & Edward Scissorhands has nothing on these two!
Bonus points if you can spot where I got the claws from!

Centaurs! I think these are about the best bull centaur sculpts I've seen. 

And the under-appreciated players.  I think Hobgoblins are gold on a CD team. 
They have agility 3 and decent movement. Sure, they're armor 7 and no skills, but on a team that suffers from lack of rerolls, they make good ball carriers in early league, and good utility players later, with giving them wrestle, kick, sure hands.. 

And the big boy, shown in an earlier update on Minotaurs:

Here is the team in it's entirety:

(click for bigger)

The team now has been placed in the Hall of Fame: page tab at the top of the blog, where I have a collection of all of the teams I have painted. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Space Pirates: In Zero G You Must Remember to Buckle Your Swash

Not long ago Hydra Miniatures, makers of War Rocket, released their newest faction: Space Pirates.
I thought the Class I was dead sexy, and when they had a sale and released the Class II, of course I had to get some, making it my third fleet... then FRP had a sale and I couldn't resist getting the starter fleets for the Galacteers & Valkeeri, so now I have more to paint... I'm such a sucker for spaceships!

This month Hydra had a contest, to create your own pirate clan, with a bit of background, common equipment for the pirate rockets and to paint one up in the group's colors & design. I've been so busy I almost missed the deadline before I had a chance to start, though I'd already given it some thought beforehand.

First to decide is the look of them.  The Hydra studio paint job is already amazing. Black with a triangle of red.  Sinister power colors that are classic.  Actually, speaking of Gary Numan from a couple updates ago, the ship as they painted it would fit in great with 'Telekon':

Gary Numan: Space Pirate Captain. 

As fun as that would be, the color scheme is already theirs, so I had to think of something new. 

I decided I'd like to stick to a classic pirate look: Black & White and use the good old Jolly Roger, emblazoned across the nose of the rocket.  I decided to paint one of my Class II rockets for the test piece. 
The only color would be blue, for the windows and energy weapons, and the red engine fire.

Here's how it came out:

The Pirate Clan's name is the Void Hawks, and their pirate lord is Dirk Black. Here's their background:

The Void Hawks

The Void Hawks, and their pirate lord, Dirk Black, are some of the most infamous pirates in the galaxy. Rumor is that Black served as a Galacteer until he left in disgrace, but since his exact identity is unknown, the Galacteers can neither confirm nor deny this.

Dirk Black has a reputation for being cunning in battle, but not without mercy. Those who have surrendered have lived to tell the tale, being set adrift in life pods or within hailing distance of space stations. The location of the Void Hawks' base is unknown, but their hunting grounds range across Human space and even to the stars of the Valkeeri.

Black is a master of surprise. The Void Hawks often use captured rockets, sending out distress signals and then preying upon the would-be rescuers.

The rockets of the Void Hawks are painted black, with white accents and bear the historic emblem of the Jolly Roger. Void Hawks are often equipped with asteroid talons, allowing them to attach to asteroids, undetected until freighter vessels stray near. A favored weapon is the Tangle Web, which can debilitate a rocket making it unable to remain in formation or convoys, and thus easier to board and capture. They also favor disruptor beams, and ultra atomic engines for added speed.

Pirate Upgrades:

Pirate Crew (+3 points per model):
+20% to board a rocket
+10% to special action rolls during boarding as described by scenario

Savy Captain (+5 points per model):
When a ship with a savy captain has the same activation value as an opponent ship he may decide to go before or after the enemy ships.

Asteroid Talons (+5 points per model):
Ships with Asteroid Talons may attach themselves to asteroids. At the start of the game these ships may be placed hidden in any asteroids on the table. Mark the location secretly on paper. At any time the controlling player wishes, the ship may reveal itself and act on its appropriate activation point.

Tangle Web (+3 points per model):
A tangle web is a discharge of electric energy. The weapon may be used instead of the ship's normal prow weapon, but with a range of 6. The weapon has a +1 to hit compared to the normal to hit value, however it will not stun or damage a ship. Instead, if the value (with the +1) would be enough to score a stun or better, then the enemy ship is entangled. Any maneuver or weapons fire the affected ship attempts must be declared, then roll a d10 and it may do the action if a 6+ is rolled. If it rolls 1-5, the ship may not fire the weapon, or if it failed to make a turn or rotation, it instead moves the minimum distance that is required before another rotation could be made, in the direction it was pointed. The Tangle Web remains until the ship rolls an 8+ when making an action attempt.

I'll do a proper review and tutorial for the Space Pirates like I did for the Zenithians & Imperials, but I didn't have time yet if I was going to make the contest deadline.  Spoiler: they are very nice. 

But now I'm stuck with Telekon in my head, so here's a song that has a bit of a pirate-threat that would be appropriate.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Lot of Bull

My last 2 completed commissions were both Chaos Dwarf Blood Bowl teams, and with my own Narnia Pact team, that means this month has been full of Bull (budump-bump).

So before showing the two teams I want to just focus on the Minotaurs.

The Minotaur is one of the oldest monsters from western civilization.
And one I've always thought was pretty cool.

There have been lots of interpretations of Minotaurs since the Greek legend, some of my favorites:



A classic monster and a lot of fun.

In Blood Bowl, they're usually viewed as a mixed blessing big guy: luck swings wildly with this guy.

On the one hand, Minotaurs are the strongest big guys other than Treemen (without the serious limits that treemen have: rooting & sub-minimal movement).  They're just strength 5 like all the other big guys, but with horns, they're strength 6 on the blitz -now, even when starting in the tackle zone of the target of the blitz- and they tend to be the guy you want to blitz with, so on offense they're almost always strength 6.  They have frenzy, which (at blitzing strength 6) is a real powerhouse.  

But on the other hand, wild animal is a bigger problem than the common 'Bone Head' since if you're only moving with him you have a 50% chance to not activate... so again: don't just move: Blitz!  They also have pretty soft armor for a big guy: armor 8. While thick skull does help some- keeping him on the pitch stunned on an 8 or less instead of 7, most people would agree it's better to not have the armor broken in the first place. So again the conclusion is: hit first!  The Minotaur really is a fun player if used aggressively. 

So here are the Minotaurs I've finished recently: (Click pictures to see them larger)

This is my favorite 'true minotaur' miniature.  It is 'Cretus' from Reaper.  The weapons have been removed since Blood Bowl refs frown on giant axes on the pitch.  I suggested a Black & Ivory uniform for the team, going for simplicity and to aim for the feel of ancient Greek shields & pottery:

The next is not a Minotaur per se, but a 'counts-as' Minotaur.  Don't argue with him, it would make him angry... you wouldn't like him when he's angry.

This minotaur I've dubbed the 'Minophant': a Bronzeback Titan from Privateer Press.  He's got a perfect blood bowl pose: I can just image him swinging those tusks, sending the opposing players flying across the field, as he drives a path clear for a grinning hobgoblin ball carrier. 

And lastly the Minotaur I made for my Narnia Pact team, the Elk

Lots of ways to interpret any monster, so let your imagination run wild.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Movies From Another Earth

Just wanted to share some fun stuff.
Sean Harter's blog has a large collection of Movie & Book posters that would fit in great in a parallel world,
a collection of 'what might have been'.

I'd really like to see some of these movies.

This would have been awesome! 

Here is another fun one..
Considering Jeremy Irons did 'Dungeons & Dragons' this doesn't seem far fetched.

My favorite detail on this one is the score by Gary Numan.  Good call.  How he hasn't been jealously sought after for movies baffles me.  His music would be great in so many movies, such as Tron.

Check out a host of good stuff at Harter's blog: http://hartter.blogspot.com/2009/11/misc.html

And enjoy the hit single from the movie Tron, that never was:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

For the Love of Bacon: The Puggy Story

Everyone loves bacon.  

Even pigs love bacon.  Vegetarians love bacon (they just hate their taste buds), so it should come as no surprise that Halflings love bacon.  Yes, even more than a South Carolinian with a cholesterol level ten times his age, Halflings are the kings of bacon appreciation.  Saying this then, you understand the full weight of the statement when I say that one young halfling, Puggy Baconbreath, loves bacon a good three or four times as much as do other halflings.  No really, it's true!  And the only thing equal to his love of bacon, is his love of the game: Blood Bowl.

Puggy was born a fat, round, squealing infant prone to roll around in his own filth: a typical halfling child.
His mother loved him dearly, so wanted him to have the best advantage on life he could get, so she started him on bacon even before he was weened.

Growing up on Baconbreath Farms, young Puggy had ample opportunity for physical activity.
As he grew, his parents saw he was naturally athletic, when properly motivated, so trained him by letting him pick his own lunch: he could pick a pig, but had to chase it and wrestle it down, which worked up quite an appetite!

This activity soon led him to a career in Blood Bowl.  His father shipped him off to a Blood Bowl camp when he was a teenager, after realizing that Puggy ate more pigs than his farm could afford to lose. 

Puggy quickly became the most famous player from the Moot.  Stronger than his team mates, his coach once remarked to reporters "He's a terror on the pitch! He's just more hungry than the others."  When asked about this, Puggy said indeed he was, cut the interview short and went to his second lunch!  

Now Puggy is a star, playing for only those teams which can afford to pay his excessive appearance fees which include meals to his specifications.  His favorite in-between drive snack is the 'Puggywhich' as it's known now back in the Moot:

 An eight pound mass of bacon between a soft roll, with a dill pickle.  Yes, the pickle is shown, it's somewhere buried in the bacon.  To wash it down, he's quick to drink a couple of these:

Yes, life is good for a Blood Bowl star.  

Today, Puggy has signed with the Picnic Pillagers, and says "I look forward to the bacon sandwiches"

Monday, January 23, 2012

Aslan's Asskicker's Day Out: Cue Queen.

Yesterday I had my 3rd, 4th & 5th game with my Chaos Narnia Pact team.
I went to a tournament in Pacifica California.

From the best of my memory, there were 3 Orcs, 2 Ogres, 2 Undead, Norse, Halfling, Dark Elf, Slann, and Chaos Pact.  The tournament package allowed for 1.1mil with allowing for skills and stats to be bought for the standard prices, though no more than 2 extra skills per player and no more than 3 of the same extra skill on the team.

I took a similar build as my league team: all the renegades & big guys, 5 marauders, but down to 3 rerolls so I could afford more skills: Block for the Ogre, Block & Pro for the Minotaur, Block for the Elf, Wrestle for the Skaven, Leader for a Marauder.  I worried about putting an extra 60k on the Minotaur, but I figured Pro would help a lot: wild animal is very unreliable if you want to simply move, and with frenzy, you can get into a bad spot, so Pro would help out.

Game 1 was against an Orc team: Ze Seaside Orcs

-The Orcs was a fun team build: full blitzers, 2 black orcs and a troll, leader kick off returning thrower and 3 goblins, one with agility 4, and a wrestling line orc. The Troll had strong arm, and the blitzers had some skills.

I've played this coach before: a very talented opponent: one of the craftiest players you'll ever run across.
I knew the agility 4 goblin was going to be a problem, although he didn't end up needing to rely on it.

I kicked to him, and the first half was a battle for every square.  I nearly held him to 0 Touch Downs, and my last attempt was to do 2 go-for-its to get on a blitzer's Tackle Zone, to force a dodge roll for him to score- but I got a 1 on the roll, and it was an easy walk to score.  I rolled a lot of 1's this game. Everyone notices the 1's they roll, and it always feels like a lot, but even my opponent said that yes, he noticed I was rolling a crazy amount of 1's.  In the first half, I failed 6 of 8 or 9 go-for-its, 3 of those were after rerolls!  Yes, I spent all of my rerolls in the first half to reroll failed go-for-its only to roll a 1 a second time.  Well, sometimes those 1's just will not be denied: what can you do?

Second half, he put the pressure on me.  I wasn't getting any of his team off the pitch. Armor rolls weren't happening, and on rare occasion when they did, nothing but stun. Seeing his team making it around my lines, I had to go for the throw-team-mate: the ball got handed to the frog, the bear picks him up, makes the throw, he gets a beneficial scatter, sticks the landing and runs it in!  Score 1-1: now I just have to hold him.

I'm not a morning person: I make dumb mistakes before noon ;) I managed to slow him, despite being unable to get anyone off the pitch. At the last turn, he had only 1 player who could score: a goblin 4 spaces from the end zone. I had 1 reroll left, I blitzed him with my skaven: hit and get a push. His turn, he throws, I fail my interception, he catches it, dodges out and makes the winning Touch Down. What was I thinking? (I wasn't) I had a reroll and nothing to use it on: a free 2 die chance to bring the goblin down.  Ah well, must have been set to roll double skulls! ;)   The Game ended at 2-1 a Loss for me.  Points were close, since no bonus points were made by either of us: 16pts for the Victor 10pts for me (8+2 for losing by a margin of 1).

Game 2 was against Morathi's Minions, a Dark Elf team.

This is the team that trounced my Scotlins in November: Grudge Match. Another great player- lots of fun to play against, even when she's grinding your poor goblins into the turf.

Her team had one runner with leader, a witch elf, 2 blitzers (one was a blodger the other with tackle iirc), a lineman turned into a thrower and three rerolls.

The weather was Very Sunny, so I decided to kick to her.  The kick off result was 'weather change', which went to Perfect Blood Bowl Weather.  Thank you kick-off table.  sheesh.  So I tried to slow her progress and hurt as many players as I could.  She made a cage on my right, which the Elk broke apart, so she moved it to the left, which I then tied up, and next turn the Elk broke through it again.  On Turn 4 both the Elk and Bear both killed two players.  Yes: killed. I guess they aren't morning people either, but they were awake now!
I managed to steal the ball with my elf and scored.  I find it amusing that one of the best players on my team is the same as the basic shmoes on her team, but in an Agility 3 team, the one with Ag4 is golden!

In the second half she kicked to me, and I continued to thin the ranks. Another elf got injured and I scored again.
Kicking to her again, but only six elves on the pitch I managed to steal the ball and score with injuring another dark elf.  None of my players were injured- one had been knocked out once, but came right back.

The game ended 3-0 with 4 casualties in my favor.  The extra bonus points meant I got 24 pts for the game.

Game 3 was against Ragnar's Ravagers, a Norse team.

I'd played this coach once before as well, though we'd both had different teams.  Another great guy and quite the strategist.   His team had a seriously tooled Yeti: Block & Mighty Blow as additional skills.  What a brute!
I had almost given my Minotaur 'claws' (which I'd probably have had more use for than Pro against the orcs in game 1!)  claw & mighty blow is a wicked combo: roll a 7 and break any armor value. Ouch! I knew he'd be one to watch! He also had 2 werewolves with Block, a blodging blitzer, a sure hands blodging runner (was thinking I was glad I'd taken a wrestler!) and 2 guards. The only weak link in his team was he had only 1 reroll, and that was a leader reroll.

He won the toss, and elected to receive the kick. I realize now, I kicked first in every game, and I also lost every fame roll, though it didn't seem to effect much.  I survived the first turn pounding pretty well, but could see his defense was going to be very solid.  My first turn, looking at what was available I decided I had to make an attempt on the Yeti.  I pushed one lineman out of the way and called a blitz with my go-to guy: Rudolph the Elk.  Blitz, hit on the 5th movement, kocked the Yeti down, rolled 11 for armor, 9 for result (10 with mighty blow):injury = Yeti gone after 1 turn.  I was hugely relieved, though the team was still a beast. The coach recovered quickly: he'd had one earlier game with the yeti sitting in the knock out box for over half the game, so it might not have been too shocking.

This game had the most back and forth fighting yet. I managed to inflict 3 injuries, and take only 1 (but crucial: the frog pushed into the crowd) yet the Norse were still relentless. He really knew how to play this team well.

I had some crazy times in this game: once, to try to prevent him scoring I blitzed with the bear! I had to dodge out with Agility 2, made it! blitz over, roll 2 dice: result was push/push.. that won't do it.. I use a reroll, roll against the loner trait: I rolled a 4! I get to reroll the block dice! reroll: double skulls! ahhh! You can only laugh. 0-1.  Last turn of the half I have the ball, he knocks it away, I go in with the elf: dodge, go to pick up the ball and score, need a 2+ : 1. ah well. He'd had his share of bad luck too: double skull, leader reroll: double skull!  Ouch.

2nd half: he kicks: result: perfect defense: reorganize his players.. no advantage for me here. He's down 2 players, I'm down 1. My plan works pretty well but I can't stall if I'm going to have a chance to win: score fast, try to steal the ball to score to win is the plan: turn 3 I scored: 1-1.  I kick and I could not break through his defense well enough to get the ball. I'd stun some but not to much effect, though the troll did kill a lineman! 3 kills for my team this day.

He has the ball and on my last turn I have only one forlorn hope: the ferret. He's got my team well tied up, and it looks like he's got the winning TD in the bag for his final turn: my mission: send in the ferret to stop him and get the tie. But the ferret is in a TZ and 8 spaces away from the ball carrier. I have no rerolls left.
Declare the Blitz! The ferret dodges within the wolf's tackle zone: makes the 4+, dodge out: makes the 3+.. move one space, move another: into the TZ of a norseman, dodge within the TZ: makes my 4+, dodge out: makes the 3+, move, go for it: make the 2+, now in contact with the carrier.. roll the go for it to blitz 1 die, hoping for a pow or both down for the wrestle: go for it: result: made it! (you were expecting a 1 weren't you?) roll the 1 die block: push.   Push?? ah! sooo close!  His turn: dodge out: score. 2-1.  A close hard-fought match!

Since I had lost by only 1 and had bonus points for injuries I didn't fare too bad: 16 pts for him, 14 pts for me.

I took a couple shots from some friends' games too:

My friend Bill borrowed my Slann for the day, and played against the Norse in game 2: He didn't fare so well: it seems Norse like Frog nearly as much as Herring! Bill got the "Player's choice" award for favorite team.

And my friend Dan, now owner of the Picnic Pillagers brought his team to 3 "Halfling Victories"!
The definition of a 'Halfling Victory' is when you tie a non-stunty team!  3 games with no losses... a victory in any gaffer's book.  Dan secured the "Stunty Cup" award: not bad at all considering there were 2 Ogre teams there.

Somehow I managed to get "Overall Champion" for the day. It seemed a bit odd, since I'd lost 2 of 3 games, and someone else did win all 3 games, but a narrow victory with no bonus points gave 16 points, for 48 total, which was the same as I'd gotten, and the tie breaker was painting and sports, so I was quite honored to have gotten point from the look of the Narnia team pitching in to help.  Considering the last tourney I went to I got the wooden spoon I was pretty happy!

I got a fun trophy and the 16-man newest human GW Blood Bowl team, so I'll look forward to painting those up at some time.  I'm finding I really enjoy playing the Chaos Pact team: it doesn't have a lot of skills, but is quite a toolbox. a few limited pieces that can any job you need, maybe not as well as some other teams, but there is a potential to do anything needed.

A great day with great people playing a great game: a day well spent.

Now, Cue Queen:  (couldn't resist)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Aslan's Asskickers: Team Photos

I wanted to get pictures of the team done & posted before I head off tomorrow for a weekend of visiting friends with attending a Blood Bowl tournament right in the middle of it.  You never know what damage might happen, so photos before someone accidentally knocks over a table or some such seemed a good idea.

One of the minis that was a major driving force in making the team was this one, a 'giant weasel' from Otherworld Miniatures.  A really nice sculpt.  When I saw it, I knew I wanted one, to paint like my greatly missed ferret, who died almost two years ago.  She was concentrated joy, and the inspiration behind the name and logo of my studio.  So the idea for a forest-theme'd 'Narnia Pact' Chaos Pact team seemed right.

  Here she is:

She counts as the Skaven for the team. 

The 'goblin' is a frog, from Splintered Light: 

And the 3rd renegade, the Dark Elf, is an insectile Faerie, from Reaper:

The Big Guys: 

The Elk (Minotaur):

The Bear (Ogre):

The Boar (Troll):

The Fauns (Marauders):

Coach & Tokens:

The Team:
(click for bigger pictures)

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