Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Making Hills

Today I will be covering another attempt at making scenery appropriate for 10mm scale miniature games. This time it was my first attempt at creating my own hills. If you want to make some the same way, you'll need some cardboard, maybe some styrofoam, wax paper, glue, flock, and the key element: plaster cloth. I found this at Hobby Lobby. It comes in a roll of this loose cloth with plaster on it, and you just wet it and spread it out how you want, then it dries hard. Very convenient.

The first thing I did was to cut a base out of very thin card. Here is a picture of the base for my first hill.

Then in the middle of the base, I glued a large piece of styrofoam to form the bulk of the hill.

I found this to cause a bit too steep and uneven of an incline. For future hills, I built up the bulk using many layers of thick cardboard. Each layer was cut in a similar shape as the one before, but about a half inch to an inch smaller all around. This seemed to work better, but made the hills much less steep.

With the large piece of styrofoam in place, I built up the sides and top with newspaper and coardboard to make the hill more rounded.

For the hills after this, I taped or glued strips of wax paper to the stepped cardboard layers to round out the hill shapes. This gave a much more rounded hill. Don't try using newspaper like I did. After you put the wet plaster cloth on the hill, the paper gets wet and collapses. This resulted in a lumpy rather than smooth curvature to the hill.

So once that was done, I applied the plaster cloth. I used Woodland Scenics Plaster Cloth. You just cut it into strips, dip a strip into water, lay it on the hill, and smooth it out with your fingers. Keep doing this in strips until the hill is covered, then let it dry overnight. I'd usually put on a second layer the following day just to make the hill sturdier. Here are the results on the first hill.

Another thing to watch for is that while the plaster was drying, it tended to make the thin cardboard base I was using warp a little. So I made sure to put some heavy things all around the perimeter of the hill to hold the base down while it dried and keep it flat. If you can find something more sturdy or waterproof to use for the base that is thin and you can still cut it out in rounded shapes, that would probably work much better. I, however, do not know of anything that fits that description.

Once the plaster cloth was completely dry, I spray painted the entire hill green.

I then glued several rocks around the hill, using them to cover up or distract from places where the shape of the hill looked unnatural. You can see how I created the rocks here. Below are some pictures of the hill with rocks attached.
Hill Hill

The next step was flocking the hill. I used some watered down Elmers/PVA glue, which I brushed all over the hill before sprinkling Woodland Scenics Green Turf over it. This method did not work very well, and there were large bare patches all over that I had to re-flock, which was very difficult since applying more glue would wash away any flock that was already in that area. Because of this, I had to re-flock the hills several times to get decent coverage. Using some kind of spray glue might work better, but then there is no way to keep it from getting on the rocks. Perhaps flocking with spray glue before putting on the rocks would be best. If you must brush on Elmers glue, water it down as little as possible, just enough to make it brushable. The less watery it is, the better it will hold the flock.

Below are some pictures of the first attempt at flocking the hill. I also sprinkled some ballast on before flocking, (I used Woodland Scenics Medium Ballast) to make the hill look a little rocky.
Hill Hill

After a few touch-ups on the flock job, I added some dark green clump folliage all around the hill to look like bushes. Again, I used the Woodland Scenics Medium Green Clump Foliage. This is also another good way to cover up any odd looking spots on the hill, or places that didn't get flocked well. I covered up a lot of the bald areas with some clump foliage, which was much easier than trying to re-flock them.
Hill Hill

At this point, I sprayed some matte varnish over the entire hill to hopefully keep the flock, ballast, and clump foliage from coming off over time. And that's all there is to it: one custom made hill. Hopefully this has given you some ideas or inspiration, and you can learn from some of my mistakes. And if you make some of your own, definitely let me know what other things you learn and tips you have for others to benefit from.

Finally, here are some pictures of the other hills I created in a similar fashion, and a couple of rocky terrain pieces I also made.
Hill Hill Hill Hill Rocks Rocks

Monday, February 23, 2009

Attraignnor IV Campaign: Turn 8

Warhammer 40k campaign map
The forces of Captain Octavio Ferranus gained control of the Law Courts just south of the Palace. The off-world chaos space marine forces continued their push to capture hab blocks in the northeast corner of the city, solidifying their hold on Hab Alpha. Meanwhile, the Tau forces continued their attacks on the chaos positions.

The Tau in the north of the city continued their attack on the Palace Grounds from the Mercantile and Pleasure district. Both sides were cautious after the previous losses they had suffered fighting over the palace grounds. Warlord Captain Thamuz, leading the defense of the staging area on the palace grounds, had learned valuable lessons already. Now he was much more effective in dealing with the infiltrating Kroot squads, isolating and destroying them with minor losses.

The Tau broadsides were again effective in damaging and destroying the Chaos tanks, but Captain Thamuz had a plan for them as well. He called down reinforcements, in the form of a squad of Obliterators teleporting down from orbiting ships. They arrived on the battlefield right where they were needed, and were very effective in destroying the Tau broadsides. They even managed to destroy the battlesuit-wearing Tau commander.

As the Chaos forces closed in, the remaining Tau fire warriors made a courageous stand on a hill overlooking the battlefield. A couple of frantically charging chaos warriors managed to reach part way up the hill in their attempt to reach the fire warriors, but were blasted apart by the devastating onslaught of pulse rifle fire. Captain Thamuz pulled the rest of his forces back, allowing the last of the Tau to retreat from the battlefield. Being a cautious commander, Captain Thamuz did not wish to waste any of his men pointlessly capturing the hill when the battle was already won.

During their retreat, the remainder of the Tau force happened upon a scrambled Ork camp, the refuge of some Orks that has survived the invasion and awaited their chance to resume their attack. When the Tau encountered them, they were apparently getting motivated to start a waaagh march towards the areas in the skies that were most colored with the smoke of war. Hearing those giant explosions must have got them riled. But the Tau army already had reinforcements moving up from the Mercantile and Pleasure district to support the attack on the palace grounds.

With the meeting up and support of 2 whole squads of fire warriors, The Orks were mowed down. With the advantage of fighting on these grounds for what seems months, the Tau dug themselves in good picking key locations to whittle the Orks away. That was until a unit of Nobs nearing the Tau line called for a push and got the charge they needed to breech the Tau line. It was a massacre and the 2 new fire warrior teams were cut down. It was up to the last two fire warriors to hold their ground and keep the murderous unit of Nobs at bay while the rest of the Tau army adjusted and repositioned them self for the next wave of fire.

They did just that, not breaking and running they stood up to the nobs, repeatedly smashing their faces with their rifles, they were cut down but got the job done. As this was happening, the forest to the far was literally torn in half by a squad of ten massive Orks in Mega armor. The appearance was enough and after taking a test shot at them with the last surviving Broadside, the decision to avoid them at all costs was made. The Tau were able to position themselves in the right spots of the field to eventually defeat the Ork war party and send them scrambling with very few numbers left.

Elsewhere, the other wing of the Tau army, in the Eastern area of the city, used took advantage of the Tau’s legendary mobility to perform a surprise maneuver. They pulled back from their attack on Angel Square, and were almost immediately able to redeploy a large force for an attack on Building 235, where Chaos Marine forces had set up power generators to power their staging area on the palace grounds.

The rapid redeployment of the Tau forces caught the Chaos Marines off guard. They had only a small contingent of marines stationed around Building 235, since they did not have the numbers to fully defend all of the territory they had managed to capture in the city. The meager forces in the area would not be able to withstand a full scale attack from the Tau, and reinforcements were not able to arrive before the Tau sprung their attack.

Commander Mesme of the Tau managed to redeploy his forces masterfully, and in no time had all but surrounded the Chaos Marine defenders of the area around Building 235. Commander Mesme skillfully used the combined strengths of each of the variety of units he had at his disposal to annihilate a unit of Khorne Berzerkers, including markerlights, seeker missiles, sniper drone fire, and even an ambush by a unit of flying Vespid, culminating in a surprise assault to finish off the last berserker at point blank range.

Another unit of Chaos Marines was cut down by a massive horde of Kroot, and things were not looking well for the defenders. But reinforcements were on their way. Responding to a call for support from the beleaguered defenders, a squad of Raptors first swooped down to do some reconnaissance for the rest of the forthcoming reinforcements. Unfortunately, the landing in the building they were aiming for proved trickier than expected, and two were taken out of the fight immediately, badly injured while trying to amongst the jutting steel and shifting rubble of the building.

The rest of the squad then immediately came under a hail of fire, and took cover in the rubble around them. They would be little help to the rest of the reinforcements, and their mission to relay vital information about the situation on the battlefield could only be considered a complete failure.

So the terminator units aboard Lord Agramon’s flagship would be forced to teleport into the middle of a battle blind, with little information about the layout or situation. But their defense forces could not hold much longer and were completely boxed in and unable to inflict any casualties on the enemy Tau. It was a risk that Warlord Captain Adriel and his terminators would have to take.

Three squads of terminators teleported down to the battlefield, but only two arrived. The third had been teleported way off course in a crucial miscalculation. But such were the risks of trying to teleport into the middle of a battlefield without proper reconnaissance being done.

The two squads of Chaos Terminators, one led by Captain Adriel himself, appeared suddenly right in the midst of the Tau army, and wasted no time in causing havoc in the Tau line. A heavy flamer laid waste to two units of the vile xenos, while Lord Adriel personally slaughtered his way through several more units with his howling daemon weapon.

The Tau were clearly disrupted by the sudden onslaught in a battle that only moments before looked completely in their grasp. The remainder of the Tau force fled from the rampaging terminators, and scattered through the surrounding buildings. The reinforcements had been enough to turn the tide, but only just. The Tau were forced to fall back in order to regroup, but they had managed to kill or wound all of the Chaos Marines stationed in the area to defend building 235. The area around the building was no longer completely under their control, nor had the Tau managed to capture it outright. Captain Adriel and his terminators would return to the orbiting flagship, forced by other pressing matters to leave the area contested.

If the Tau had succeeded in their pincer attack on the Chaos Marine forces, they might have been able to punch through and connect both wings of their army. But the Chaos marine line managed to hold, and keep the Tau forces from joining together. The desperate Tau plan to turn the war around had been a complete failure.
Warhammer 40k campaign map
Victory Points
Chaos: 48.5
Tau: 14

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Making and Painting Rocks

Recently I have been working a lot on creating some terrain appropriate for 10mm miniatures. One such project was creating hills of an appropriate size and properly sloped. I also wanted some rock formations jutting out of these hills. I'll cover the creation of the actual hills in a future post, but today I want to talk about creating and painting the rock formations.

First I went to Hobby Lobby to pick up some supplies. They had rubber molds of rock formations in several varieties. I got one that had many smaller rocks, since it was for terrain to be used with 10mm miniatures. I also bought a small carton of casting plaster. And that is pretty much all you need for making rocks.

For the plaster, you simply mix the powder with a certain amount of water until it has a uniform consistency, then pour it into the mold. They recommend you first use a spray bottle to spray the mold with water that has a little bit of soap in it. I don't know if that is to keep it from sticking to the mold, or keep bubbles from forming at the surface, or something else. But I did as instructed.

You can tap the mold a few times to get rid of any bubbles. Then just let it dry overnight. I found that one batch of plaster (3/8 cup of powder and 2 tbsp. of water) was about exactly right for filling the mold completely. Then again, I think I may have accidentally used too much water and mixed it a bit too thin, because the resulting rocks were very brittle and many crumbled and broke when I removed them from the mold. So be careful about using too much water.

Here is a picture of the first batch of rocks, and the mold I used to make them.

Next came the painting. I had never painted rocks before, so I had no idea how to proceed. I started by using spraypaint to basecoat the rocks black. You definitely want to spray paint on a base coat because if you try to paint on the bare plaster, the water soaks up into it and it takes a lot of paint to cover anything.

If you want to replicate what I did, all of the paint colors I will mention here are GW/Citadel paints. If you use different paints, there is a really handy utility here for finding matching colors in different paint lines. How it works is you just pick the paint line that you want to match to, and the paint line you use. Then it gives you 0-3 matches for each color in the line you are trying to match, along with a number rating. The lower the number, the closer the match is. Try it out, it is very useful for finding a color you have that matches one that someone recommends in a painting tutorial.

After the black spraypaint basecoat, I gave all of the rocks a very heavy drybrush of Codex Grey. I followed this with a lighter drybrush of Fortress Grey. You can see the results of these two steps in the pictures below.
Rocks Rocks

At this point, I was thinking that the rocks looked decent, but too grey. Rocks you see in real life jutting out from hills often have some color to them, but I have no idea how to replicate this look with paint. I tried a few things, including applying ink washes in various colors, sometimes one after another. I was never happy with any of the results. The ink washes blended the colors together too much so that at a distance you couldn't really see as much of the detail anymore. I tried to correct for this by doing another drybrush after the inkings, but I still didn't like the colors it was producing.

I experimented with introducing color to a few of the rocks, as you can see below. Since I didn't like the results, the rest of the rocks I just gave one final drybrush with Ghostly Grey, but only along the ridges and places that jutted out. You can see the results of this last step below, as well as the rocks I experimented with inking in various colors.

Also at this point, the rocks were still very brittle and kept crumbling on me while I was painting them. I didn't want them to crumble more after I was finished and ruin the paint job. So I brushed on a coat of watered down Elmers/PVA glue to make the rocks sturdier. It worked well and kept them from crumbling any further, but if you're going to do that I would recommend doing it before you paint the rocks. Some of the glue didn't dry completely clear, and it left some white pools and dulled-down areas on the rocks.

Overall, I liked how the grey rocks turned out, but I still really wanted some rocks with some color to them. So I made up another batch of rocks to try a different method. Again I spray painted them black and then did a heavy drybrush of Codex Grey, as can be seen in the picture below.

This time my next step was another drybrush of the GW/Citadel foundation paint Khemri Brown. In the picture below, the results of this step are showin in the large rock to the right. The next step was a lighter drybrush with Bleached Bone. You can see the results of this in the rocks to the left.

There are also two rocks in the picture, the smaller ones at the bottom to the right, that I tried some inking on. The one farthest to the right had yellow ink an then brown ink applied. The other one had some green ink applied, and then was drybrushed with Bleached Bone. It does give the rocks some interesting colors and looks good up close, but from a distance the details just don't stand out. So I decided to stick with the just drybrushing method.

So to sum up, for grey rocks subsequent drybrushes of Codex Grey, Fortress Grey, and Ghostly Grey. For rocks with a little more of a browning color, drybrushes of Codex Grey, Khemri Brown, and Bleached Bone work pretty well. All with black spraypainted basecoats.

I'm pretty happy with the results overall, for a first attempt. But if you have any advice or techniques for painting rock formations, I'd definitely be interested in hearing them.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Attraignnor IV Campaign: Turn 7

Warhammer 40k campaign map
As dawn's first rays splashed across the enormous gates of the Imperial Palace, a solitary figure crested the hills of rubble fronting the palace's once glorious walls. Like an angel with wings of fire the figure descended from the dawn, his arms open wide in welcome and forgiveness to the palace defense cannons now trained upon him. Behind the majestic figure came a tide of sycophants and an army of golden angels. The light caressed their armor and sounds of celebration floated across the ceramite walls. The remaining populace of the Imperial palace were bombarded by a noise unknown to them for years.. Joy. Prophets ran to the gates crying that their savior had come at last, and almost as one, the once imperial citizens flooded the streets. The palace gates were opened, and the mighty angel stepped forward. His very glance threw those upon which it landed onto their knees, and these poor wretches knew their time of suffering was at an end. Captain Octavio Ferranus looked upon the lost children at his feet and bade them rise. His warriors quickly relieved the tired guardsmen at the walls, and the populace rejoiced as vast stores of supplies were brought forth through the gates. Ferranus ordered the sick and wounded to be mended by his finest apothecaries. He ordered the hungry to be fed. His procession trundled forth, bringing peace to these shattered people. Gangs were disbanded and their members assimilated into the ranks of the Church of 36 Secrets. Ferranus' procession slowly became a full fledged parade, and the streets were filled with music and dance. At the steps of what once was the Governor's Manor, a massive throne of Ultramarian White Marble was brought forth, and the populace bade Ferranus to sit, and he acquiesced. And upon sitting, the people asked for his guidance and leadership. And to the last they swore their fealty, and on that day Cardinal Degrassio of the Church of 36 Secrets crowned the Lord Captain Octavio Ferranus, ruler of all Attraignnor IV, and the people rejoiced.

Meanwhile, the Tau continued their attack on Angel Square, despite their previous setback. Commander M'yen was too badly wounded to continue leading his men, so another commander, Shas'el J'karra Mont'au Mesme Tsua'm, led the wave of reinforcements. The results were disastrous for the Tau. Some in stealth suits managed to sneak behind enemy lines and ambush a unit of Chaos Marines. But the Tau were stunned by the ferocity of their enemy when the marines recklessly charged through some rubble to leap on the stealth team before they could escape. The ensuing melee resulted in the stealth team being massacred.

Some Kroot also managed to sneak forward into a vital building in Angel square ahead of the main attack. But Lord Agramon of the Chaos Marines had stayed behind in Angel Square to continue the fight against the Tau, while other chaos marine forces continued on into the Basilica Imperialis. Lord Agramon discovered the Kroot hiding in the building, charged forward ahead of his men, and annihilated the enemy. He then flew across to another building and ripped apart a Tau Tank that had moved up to fire on his men. The flaming wreck of the tank crashed to the ground in the already damaged building. But just then, the Commander Mesme ambushed Lord Agramon, flying up over the side of the building to open fire on the chaos lord. The hail of fire tore into Lord Agramon, wounding him badly. He fell to the ground into the wreckage of the Tau tank, and was buried in rubble from the collapsing building.

Aside from the Tau commander avenging his wounded comrade against the chaos lord, the rest of the battle went badly for the attackers. The Chaos defenders caused severe casualties among the Tau while suffering few of their own, and the Tau were forced to retreat.

At the same time, another Tau force attacked the Eastern side of the Palace grounds where other Chaos Marines were posted to defend the chaos staging area. The Chaos forces here were under the command of Warlord Captain Thamuz, a strategic strategist and valued advisor to Lord Agramon. Here, several squads of Kroot were able to sneak deep behind enemy lines and occupy the wooded areas on the palace grounds. Once the Kroot were in position, another Tau force attacked head on.

The defending Chaos marines organized a defensive line to hold off the attack, and then suddenly realized they had been completely surrounded by the enemy as they were fired on from all sides. The Tau broadsides devastated the chaos tanks. A large unit of defending marines and the lieutenant leading the army were pinned down in a forest by punishing enemy fire for the duration of the fight.

But the chaos forces fought back. Some of the Kroot in the rear of their lines were eliminated by a chaos marine unit, but at great cost. The only two unwounded members of the unit then tried to take down one of the enemy hover-tanks. But despite many, many attempts, they were completely unable to damage the flying beast. A mobile unit of thousand sons in a rhino moved up an annihilated a stealth team, before re-embarking and moving farther back to get in position to fire on some of the infiltrating Kroot.

The Tau attack suffered a severe setback when their commander was accidentally killed while attempting to surprise the defenders and land in the midst of the battle. The marines counter-attacked, a handful of Khorne Berzerkers managing to chase down one of the elusive broadsides. But the broadside held off the ferocious attack and even managed to kill one of the crazed marines in close combat. Some reinforcements arrived in the form of a unit of Terminators teleporting in to destroy a couple units of Tau infantry. They then charged another broadside, which managed to kill one of the terminators before being ripped apart.

The battle was hard fought on both sides, but attrition got to the Tau forces first and they fell back to fight another day.
Warhammer 40k campaign map
Victory Points
Chaos: 46.5
Tau: 14

Friday, February 13, 2009

Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer

To lead the brigade of Michigan cavalry I intend to eventually have, I of course would need to paint up Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer. The figures I used are 10mm GHQ command miniatures from the Federal Commanders #1 pack. The figure I used for Custer is actually meant to be Ambrose Burnside. I just filed down the hat much lower, and filed down Burnside's sideburns a bit, and it looks close enough.

As I understand it, Custer liked to design his own uniforms. There is a color drawing in the book The Gettysburg Companion by Mark Adkin that shows the uniform that Custer was apparently wearing at the Battle of Gettysburg. This consisted of a black jacket with grey trim, a blue collar with a silver star on it, a red handkerchief around the neck, and dark green pants. I thought it look interesting, and would give the model some personality and make it stand out from other mounted officers. I'm hoping that I can do something with all of the brigade command stands to make them look a little different from the others, so they are easy to identify even without looking at the labels on the bottoms of the bases. So when I painted Custer, the uniform he was wearing at Gettysburg was what I was trying to replicate.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

1st Michigan Cavalry Dismounted

I recently finished painting up a unit of dismounted Union American Civil War cavalry to represent the 1st Michigan. You can see the mounted version of the unit here. The figures are 10mm GHQ Federal Dismounted Cavalry. The miniatures are very nice, perfectly proportioned, and well detailed like all of the 10mm GHQ miniatures I have. But their carbine barrels are so thin that they get bent at the slightest touch. So it seems like it is just a matter of time before many of the barrels break off from being bent back into position over and over.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Attraignnor IV Campaign: Turn 6

Warhammer 40k campaign map
With the fall of the Imperial Fists librarian to Tzeentch, as with the corruption of all the Imperial Fists on Attraignnor IV, the Dark Gods began whispering to their followers, calling them towards the doomed planet. Most who answered the call were small warbands and would quickly fall under the sway of the charismatic Captain Ferranus. The palace grounds were given to the great Tzeentchian Daemon Lords Cyclonius Du Mer of the Alpha Legion, and the Dreadnought Ancient, Master Zalel of Caliban, to defend.

The Tau launched a sneak attack deep into the daemons' lines, squads of Kroot and stealth teams nearly getting completely past the alpha legion's patrols in the area. The alarm was quickly raised by Veteran Sgt. Drazziel, a hardened veteran of Caliban, who was able to sound the alarm before coming under fire by the alien army. Because of Sgt Drazziel's quick action, Squad Satchiel of the Ravenwing was able to hold the eastern flank. The Alpha legion patrol unit Argos and the detachment of Silver Skull Havocs pressed the advantage on the western flank whilst under heavy fire. Patrol unit Octavio fared much worse. Their Rhino was tore to pieces even as they learned of the alien presence and as the vile Tau commander and bodyguard of dreaded Crisis Battlesuits fell from the sky, it looked as if the center would fall.

His squad destroyed, Veteran Sgt. Drazziel raced to the breaking center, cutting through the aliens heretical machinery, as the chime upon his back began to sing. The sing became a droning wail just as the mighty warrior came in sight of the alien commander, and eight enormous bodies suddenly appeared behind him. He dove to the floor, firing at the aliens just as a storm of bolter fire roared past into the alien leader's bodyguard. Alpha Legion Terminator Squad Drachus had arrived.

On the eastern flank, the Ravenwing had single handedly run through a hoard of Kroot and rushed the Broadside Battlesuits deep behind Tau lines, but at a heavy cost. Sgt. Satchiel was finally knocked from his steed by the energy pulse of a shield drone. The brave Ravenwing Sgt had held long enough, however, and his last sights before losing consciousness were of his Master, Ancient Zalel, soaring in from the south and the esteemed Cyclonius Du Mer hurtling down from the heavens.

The Tau commander, seeing his forces overrun made ready his retreat, but not before the fallen Squad Octavio's Sgt. Romethius unleashed his final trick, surrendering his very soul to the Keeper of Secrets, N'Kari, who quickly pursued the alien leader.

At the last moment, Ancient Zalel initiated the final facet of his plans. With the Terminators to the west, and Zalel himself to the east, it was easy for him to implant the idea that the north was the only road open into the Kroot shaper's brain. He watched in fiendish delight as the mighty Cyclonius was overrun by a massive wave of aliens and banished to the warp. His hold on the forces of the palace grounds was cemented.

Meanwhile, having linked up at the Palace Grounds with the forces of renegade Space Marine Captain Octavio Ferranus, formerly of the Imperial Fists, the forces of the Crusaders renegade Space Marine chapter began spreading out to capture important areas of the city. A large force of them moved south into Angel Square, led personally by the warp-infused monstrosity, Lord Agramon.

The Tau in the East had also moved into Angel Square, led by the young and inexperienced Commander M'yen. Forward elements of the Crusaders advanced force encountered a contingent of the Tau right around the massive building that served as a base for the majestic angel statue. At first the Tau brought a lot of firepower to bear on the small force of renegade marines that were the first to arrive. But due to their ability to coordinate supplies, resources, and tactical information with their allies led by Captain Ferranus, Lord Agramon managed to stage a perfectly timed counter-attack.

Lord Agramon himself arrived with substantial reinforcements at the critical moment to swing the balance of the fighting around the statue building. Having never faced forces of chaos before, Commander M'yen was caught unprepared for the shocking ferocity of the sudden attack.

The timing of the counter-attack was almost disrupted by some overzealous followers of Khorne, who in their eagerness to get to combat drove their rhino full speed and arrived at the building ahead of the other counter-attacking units. But even this turned out to benefit the renegade marines. As the rhino flew forward recklessly and wildly towards the center of the Tau advance, it drew fire from every Tau in the vicinity. Firing the smoke grenades and driving forward insanely into the hail of fire, the rhino managed to take an unbelievable amount of punishment before finally being destroyed by a Tau seeker missile.

But the Rhino had managed to draw fire from the bulk of the Tau army, allowing the beleaguered chaos marines huddling in the ruined buildings a chance to regroup without being fired on. Also, though the Khorne marines were flung from the smoking wreckage of the rhino right into the middle of the Tau advance, they were quickly rescued. A squad of terminators waiting in orbit above managed to lock onto the signal from the squad and teleport right into the midst of the Tau, where they could do the most damage. At the exact same time, Lord Agramon arrived with the rest of the reinforcements in the same area.

The Tau were overwhelmed with the shock of the massive firepower coming from all the reinforcements as well as from the other squads that had managed to move into better firing positions with the break in incoming fire. Most of the center of their battle line broke and ran, and the battle was lost. The Tau commander, with the little forces he had remaining, tried to hold his ground and fight back against the sudden chaos surge, but Lord Agramon personally put an end to that, badly damaging the Tau commander's battlesuit and leaving him badly injured. The Tau commander did manage to escape in a transport vehicle, but the renegade Marines were left solidly in control of Angel Square.
Warhammer 40k campaign map
Victory Points
Chaos: 32.5
Tau: 14

Friday, February 6, 2009

Pendraken 10mm WW1 miniatures

I recently bought some 10mm World War 1 miniatures from Pendraken Miniatures in the UK. Since the Pendraken Miniatures website is disappointingly lacking in pictures and information about their miniatures, I thought I would post a description of the contents of the packs, some pictures of the miniatures, and my review of them. Hopefully this will be helpful for anyone considering purchasing some, or trying to decide on a scale or manufacturer to buy some Great War miniatures from. I bought several different packs each of Western Front British and Western Front German miniatures.

The packs of infantry typically have three poses total, one officer pose and two different poses of infantryman. The numbers of each appear to be very inconsistent. I've had packs with anywhere from 2-7 of the officer pose, with the rest split between the other two poses, not necessarily evenly. So this could be a real problem for anyone that wants a particular ratio of officers and men, or wants to split the two infantryman poses evenly for some reason. You won't be able to count on a certain number of officers, so you may end up with extras or have to buy more packs. Even the total number of figures in a pack isn't consistent, but they all had at least 30 figures.

Fist up, here's a picture of a couple of the infantry figures in front of a ruler to give an idea of their overall size. Click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

Size Size

BP1 - Infantry in Cap

BP2 - Infantry in Helmet

BP3 - LMG in Helmet (10 figures, all the same pose)

BP15 - Highlanders
BP15 BP15

BP22 - High command (4 figures, 2 of each pose)
BP22 BP22

GP1 - Infantry in Picklehaube

GP2 - Infantry in Helmet

GP6 - German Stormtroopers (4 poses, including officer)

GP11 - HMG 08 in helmet (3 teams of two figures)
Size GP11 GP11

GP19 - High command (3 figures of two different poses, and one trench periscope?)
GP19 GP19 GP19 GP19

My overall impression of these 10mm Pendraken WW1 miniatures is favorable. They are fairly detailed and the details are crisp. They are mostly well cast, though a few had excessive amounts of flash on them. The figures look a bit stocky and not perfectly proportioned, but that is true of most 10mm miniatures. On the other hand, they are extremely sturdy miniatures, even the bayonets and rifle barrels. My other experience with 10mm miniatures is GHQs excellent 10mm American Civil War miniatures. They are amazingly well proportioned, but many of them are also extremely fragile, and I end up with many bent rifle barrels. That won't be a problem with these Pendraken miniatures. So aside from the oddly inconsistent figure numbers in the packs, which might be an issue for some people who want to be able to count on having certain ratios of officers to men, I would definitely recommend these. Of course, I haven't painted any of them yet, and that's when I'll really find out how good they are by how easy it is to paint the details.

The figures can be ordered straight from the Pendraken website. They don't have an online shopping cart, which is kind of annoying. So you have to e-mail them your order and the total and your payment information. I'd advise splitting up your credit card number into multiple e-mails if you go that route, just to be safe. But the service I got was good, the delivery was fast, and even with the expensive shipping from the UK to the US (which was about 20% of my order total), with the exchange rate it ended up not being all that expensive to order from them. It was cheaper to order straight from them than from anywhere else I was able to find online.