Feast of Blades banner progress.

Hey folks!

So I was commissioned by fellow blogger Duke to create a banner for The Feast of Blades, a large "tournament of champions" style event that he is planning.  Look at the bottom of this article for some copy about the event off his blog.The short of it is that out in the great state of Colorado, a dozen or so gaming stores are holding tournaments. The winner of said tournaments will be invited to participate in The Feast of Blades,  Tournament of Champions to find the ultimate winner.  How awesome is this?? The Throne of Skulls is a national thing going on now along the same vein, but it would be cool if more local areas did the same thing. Perhaps this is something I can organize... Hmm..  If I lived in Colorado, I would be all over this. I hope if you are in that area you take the chance to get involved and have some fun! If I was not already flying all over the country this year, and bringing my new marriage to the brink, I would try to wrangle myself an honorary spot in the finals. :)

Check out these trophies:

Any way, on with the reason why I am writing today. In a previous article CLICK HERE FOR THE ARTICLE:   I spoke about my contribution to this event. Duke had initially commissioned one of my hand painted banners and I quoted my standard price, but once we spoke on the phone I realized how cool an opportunity this was, and I decided to do it for cost.  How can I not take this opportunity to help out the community!  It is an honor to create this banner for the event. I am not sure, but I think the winner will get to bring it home, or it will go to the hobby store where he hailed from.  You will have to ask Duke about his plans for it but whatever he does, I'm sure it will go to a good place.

In the picture above, I started painting the base colors.  This was a feat in itself. First of all, over the past 10 days we have had 2 or 3 snow days, and an equal number of early release and delayed openings. (I teach art and do the bulk of my work in my class room.)  This is great because I have lots of room to spread out and get work done, but at the same time, if school is out, my shop is closed.  :(  Add to that, I misplaced my box of paints... I use very high quality Liquitex, Windsor and Newton and Grumbacher acrylic paints for these banners, (among others) and keep them under lock and key.  Stuff tends to walk away because my room is sometimes used in the evenings for night school.  But I forgot where I locked them up! It turned out that the box was buried under some construction paper in the first closet I looked in.

This design is a pretty close reproduction of the sketch I created in the my PREVIOUS POST. I decided to extend the wings off the edge of the painting area, and I off set the figure and shield a bit to the left, because on the right I will paint a scroll on which the inaugural date of the event will be painted, and room will be left for winners etc.  (Originally this was going to go on the bottom, but there will be little space there now.)  This was a last minute addition so does not appear in the sketch.

I painted the scroll work Burnt Sienna, and layed down some Alisarin Crimson for the base reds of the robes. I used the Burnt Sienna on the fingers aswell, and then a layer of Bleached White.  I decided to go with Blue an Green on the shield, so I laid in some fading colors to make it look rounded.  Once the shield is done, I will go over it with black to outline the designs, then paint them normally. I did the wings with a dark grey, then a couple of lighter shades of grey. I will add more and more lighter shades all the way up to white.

The top scroll ended up a bit short, so I will be elongating it on both ends, and the bottom one did not curve enough, so I will be using black to correct it.  Both scrolls have long flowing ends that will twist around the wings and other objects in the design.  I painted the wings over them for now and will work them in again later.

So far, in case you are interested, this has been about three hours of work with sketching and painting.  I estimate about 10 hours of work time on these banners, and I suspect I will blow way past that on this one.  (That is how I come up with my quote for those who are wondering.)

Ok, back to work for me.  Check back for more updates!


Posted by Duke on his blog: I wanted to take a quick moment to talk about my recent project: The Feast of Blades.  A few months ago I was working with some friends on a 40k tournament project that had the floor fall through the bottom of it after thinking about it for a little while I still felt like I wanted to organize something to help bring my community of 40k players together. 

 I live in Colorado and there are actually a lot of really good 40k players along the front range.  I noticed this when I would go to events like Wargames con (BoLScon) and noticed about a dozen or more people from Colorado were playing at the event.  The sad thing is that though a few individuals knew each other, there was absolutely no sense of community as a group.  This only made me want to do an event even more.

what is the event?

Essentially it is an invitational to a tournament of champions and this is how it works.

Currently I have 12 stores participating who will have around 10-15 people attending at each location.  On the 5th of march they will all host a 2000 pt tournament at their store.  The top players will then advance onto the final round which will be held at a central location two weeks later.  The winner of this second tournament will be crowned Champion of the Feast of Blades.

There will be prize support at both levels and if everything goes as planned everyone will get something for just coming to the finals.  In addition to all the prizes Jawaballs is making a full size hand painted banner for the overall winner to take back to his store.  His name will then be embroidered onto the banner. (pretty awesome if you ask me.)

I will provide every qualifier store with the missions to be used and the grading rubric for painting. This helps make sure that everyone who qualifies will be qualifying on the same criteria.  

All in all I am very excited about this and can't wait for march to come along.  I know there will be some speed bumps along the way, but if you knew me personally you would know that I prepare way ahead of time to help mitigate those things.

If you have any ideas or tips please throw them my way.  I didn't go into great detail simply because I didn't want to bore everyone.  

Perhaps if this year goes well I will talk about expanding.  I would love to see feast of blades qualifiers all over the country with regional semi-finals and then a finals in Denver.  Now that would be a hard core competitive/awesome  tournament.


Rediscovering Angels #6: An Argument for Attack Bikes

Hey there boys and girls!  Xaereth here again from Delusions of Grandeur, hoping to help give you ideas for your Blood Angels army.  Today I want to talk about Attack Bikes, with the hope that you won't immediately dismiss them in favor of the other fan favorites (Baal Predators and Vanguard Veterans).  I think there's a lot they can offer to a lot of different armies out there, including all kinds of Blood Angels.  Read on to find out why :)

Editorial: The Diverse World of Wargaming

Hey All, Kevin from baals-2-the-waals here to talk about something I've noticed as I trudge my way around the FLGS' across our country, no one is my age.

It is part of a fact that I've noticed since I got back into the hobby....but before we go into that topic lets start at the begining. Even though I am only a college student and fairly young compared to a lot of the wargamers I know I more than likely have been playing this game longer than atleast 75% of the readers. I started at this game about 11 years ago in the dim twilight of 3rd edition at about the young age of 8. While at the shore (I'm from Jersey, only we can drop the Jersey part legally I think) my cousin introduced my brother and I to this amazing new game he played called Warhammer 40k where the stalwart few super warriors of mankind stood against the evils of the universe. Immediatly I wanted tog et into the game. Notably a lot of this generations Elite players started all in the same store called the Dragon's Den. I've noticed that recently.... but back on topic I started my pretty big Guard army filled with Tanks and lots of foot sloggers. For me all I wanted to was have as many different units as possible and not focus on spamming or how to defeat other armies. I was an off and on gamer casually for about 8 years...I still play with those guard, regardless of the crappy childish Michaels craft paints I used or the shotty models I still love them, and Im gonna use them at TempleCon. so if you see 3rd edition Catachan models looking like they were painted by a 9 year old then smile my friend, because they were and Im proud of them....

Anyway back on topic. the above was to show the wargamer I became. Im one of the few breed thats been exposed to this genre for a long time yet I still never meet anyone like me. Its a testament to the wargamer. I know gamers that are older and younger, stronger and weaker. We are a pretty diverse group. In very few places can you see a small 12 year old playing a 40 year old in a game they both love.

The closest person I've ever met that was like me is my bud Marcus and even he is 2 years apart from me. Now he is coming up to game with me for a weekend at a event Im helping to run. We wargamers start these cliques of people we like to travel with and play with but are any of us very similar? I know Division 1 college athletes that played 40k and some guys who looks like they never lifted a wight in thier life but we are all bonded by the love of very little plastic space dudemens (quote the Goat) pwning some Xeno scum across our kitchen tables and basement ping pong tables everywhere.

Now whether your a jock, a not, a player, or a hater, smelly or clean cut, even a unicorn you have to respect our community for its diversity. I'm happy to think that theres not many other gamers like me, people that I know are generally shocked by this hobby. But I usually smile and tell them its important. Now I really should get to my Bakeshop class, I have a final today.....more on this later...... =)

So tell me wargamers, when did you start? How? Who got you into the game? Tell us about your experiences in the comments, and happy wargaming!

The Throne of Skulls!

Gentlemen, the time is upon us.  This June 17th, the best of the best will descend upon Las Vegas and experience the ultimate in Gamesworkshop gaming.  The Throne of Skulls.  I received my invitation today for the tournament, including a nice rules pack, and I have one thing to say. Gasp!  They have so much scheduled, and so much to do, that I simply cannot wait.  I am definitely attending. Once I have had a chance to fully comprehend every thing in the packet I will make another post and share.  But in short, there is a five game GT wrapped around painting and conversion contests. There are team events and all sorts of awards and prizes.  Too cool!

The question now is what army should I bring? I think the event calls for an entirely new army.  Dark Eldar? Grey Knights? My new emo vamp Blood Angels?  Those will be my three options.  I have 6 months. So much to do. I'm in heaven.

:)  Jawaballs

Feast of Blades!

Hey Folks,

My newest hand painted banner commission came from a fellow in Colorado who is organizing a pretty nice event.  From what I understand, they are doing a sort of Tournament of Champions.  A number of smaller venues are holding tournaments, and all of the winners will be invited to partake in the grand championship called, The Feast of Blades!  Nice. :)  More info will be forthcoming. HERE IS THE LINK.

So here is the creation of the banner for this commission.  First of all, Chandler sent me a sketch of his ideas.

Bad image sorry.  His design was a central shield with two swords, a chalice, a wreath.  The rest is a bunch of scrolling banners and an iron halo.  Fairly easy and straight forward, but not all that exciting.  That is where I come in.  Using the elements he wanted, I redesigned his banner, mixing in some super cool stuff.  I decided to go with the angel of death and combine his ideas.  Here is what I came up with.

Here you can see a more pleasing to the eye design that incorporates the elements he wanted, has a focus point, and more flowing organic shapes like the wings which are what make these banners look outstanding.  

Next will be to paint the image onto a 3x6' piece of pre gessoed canvas and that gets sewed onto the banner below. The scale of this bad boy is about 7x3 made of heavy canvas type fabric. 

Finally, I am sculpting some purity seals of clay and will cast them in resin. I think he wanted enough to give to every participant, but I don't think I will be able to pull off that many. Well, more to come as I work on this banner!  If you would like to commission your own full sized banner, send me an email, jawaballs at hotmail. I have won "Best Painted Banner" at Gamesday two years in a row. Here are some of my banners!


New Blood Angels Models!

I know, I am a couple hours late on the clock.  I saw the new stuff posted at 7am EST, but could not actually access the pictures until some one from Bolter and Chainsword posted them on the forum for me.  So here you go!

First thoughts? Well, I was one of the few people in the world who loved models in the leaked pic of the Storm Raven. I thought it shouted Space Marine. Short, Squat, Bulky and Blunt.  Just like the dreads it carries.  I think that the pictures that have surfaced only reinforces my opinion, and I think that many many will come around. The model looks great! Some guys eloquently exclaimed that "ANY ONE COULD HAVE MAD THAT MODEL" or that "It looks like a half hearted kit bash."  (mish mashed quotes guys, you get the drift).  Well I repeat that the model is every thing I was hoping for.  I will be getting three for my BA army and three for my GK army.  

The dreads? Even more awesome. Dreads have always been on the top of my list of models I love. I wrecked face a while back using a three death company dread list and loved it.  The game is trending back towards a version that is more dread friendly again... I noticed a LOT less melta on the table at The Conflict GT.  So, I have written up a 5 dread, 2k point list that I will be sharing with you soon.  But to the point, I think the models are cool. The Grenade Launcher is menacing, and the Lilbby bits are imposing.  I can't wait to play them both!  So have at it guys.  Let me know what you think.  I have been griping a lot about GW lately, but they definitely got these right.  Good job boys, keep it up! 


Blood Angel Army Showcase


Greetings all! The Capt of the 8th is back after a bit of a break.

Now something I have always wanted to do is get some pictures of all my army together. Not that I have a huge army, or that it is a Golden Daemon winner, but more because I wanted to take a look back at all the work I have put into my little hobby of plastic toy soldiers.

It is funny to me to see the evolution of my painting style; from how I changed the style in which I paint models to get more done in less time, and how my paint scheme has changed over the last year or two. The army has always seemed a bit haphazard to me in its painting, but when I got it all on the table I was pleasantly surprised. I hope you all enjoy the pictures.

As an intro, if you can't stand unbased models, then just look away. I have only based the models that have been in painting competitions. Kinda sad, especially since nearly all of my LotR models have nice bases with grass and everything. I need to take a night or five and just get them all done. Also, some, if not all, of the models are WIPs. I have painting ADD, and just seem to jump around from squad to model to tank painting stuff.

Let's start off with a nice army banner my 6 year old drew up for me. She loves to paint models with me, and it gives me an excuse to get some painting in if she is with me.

(in the grim dark future there is no spelling, just bubble letters . . .)

Here is most of the army. I have some random models here and there not painted, also I have 3/4 of a tac squad that lost their bases to extreme heat in my car. Arizona summers ftw!

Here is my AoBR Tactical squad. Bleached bone accents that I haven't been able to successfully work into the rest of the army . . .

My 3 razorbacks with completed Las/plas turrets.

My two Landraiders, both have magnetised sponsons so I can change from Redeemers to Crusaders in a flash.

My fast attack options, with some shooty termies on the side. You can see my lame cyclone missile launcher conversions there too.

Death Company Rhino I did some free hand on. It's no jawaballs production, but it turned out better than I had hoped. Doing that large of scale scared me to start, but I just went for it.

Here is my favorite bit, my Librarius. I love librarians. I love the fluff, I love the rules, and I love the imagery and iconography. They are a blast to paint and convert out of ordinary models. My Mephiston is probably the model I am most proud of, slightly edging out my Chaplain Dreadnought from Forgeworld that I use as a Furioso. I also am currently in love with my 2 new JP Libby's I converted. I put loads of work into them and I will get some close ups and post them soon ideally.

So there it all is, hope you all enjoyed the show.

I'm going to try and get a game in this week for some practice. I need it. Wife surprised me with a trip to the DC area come August, and more importantly, a spot in the Nova Open. I am so stoked. It will be my first big tourney, and I need to represent for the Sons of Sanguinius. More on this to come.

Michael, Capt of the 8th.

Jawaballs on the GW site!

Gamesday was such a blur, I almost missed the banner contest!  Thank god dudes reminded me because I would have missed the opportunity to be immortalized on the GW website!  Check out the Golden Daemon section. Here is a picture of me with my banner and loot won for claiming the Best Banner prize for my second year in a row.  Now to choose a banner too see if I can take three in a row at Gamesday Chicago.  If I go that is.  This year, if I go, and if I win, I will give the banner away to some one in the crowd!  SO get your self to Gamesday Chicago and scream like no tomorrow when it is time to vote for me.

Also, if you are interested in having me paint a banner for you, email me, jawaballs at hotmail. They are roughly 3x6 feet in size, and hand painted by yours truly.  They will cost you a few C notes, but hell, it costs me one just to have the banner itself made. But what manroom is complete without one? :)

I just noticed I appear on the very next page after this one, along with two more of my banners.  :)

More to come.


Need Vampire Heads and conversion advice!

Hey Folks, The Conflict GT just ended, and I had a great time!  I will be writing up a tournament report tomorrow. But for now, I wanted to bring up what is immediately on my mind! I have been to quite a few tournaments lately, and I always score well on painting, but I can't quite seem to cross the event horizon from good to great.  I have picked up more than a few best painted, but it seems lately that my army just falls short. Two recent times the big stop between me and the elusive Best Painted was conversions.  Battle for Salvation, Mechanicon, Nova to name a few. I am not saying that the guys who won best painted at those events did not deserve it because yes their armies were fantastic. I'm saying that I did not give myself the best possible chance.  And the biggest hit I always take is that my army has very little conversion work.  

Now, this is a bit difficult to me.  I don't see how I can create a massively converted Blood Angels army. First of all, I LOVE the BA models. In the past most dudes who have used converted models did so because adequate models for the units they wanted to play did not exist.  Case in point... Storm Raven!  But the issue is more involved than that.  Many times guys get high honors in conversions simply by swapping out models from other systems for their own.  You see this often with IG.  Armies made up of Cadian Infantry are ho hum.  But use all Warhammer Fantasy Dark Elf bodies and heads and give them lasguns and blammo, max conversion points.  I won't even get into armies that are completely and totally made up of converted things. The biggest problem is that you have no idea what the hell you are looking at.  A tyranid army made up of flying mechanical things made from Tau parts for example.  (sorry went off on a little tangent, I will save that "counts as" rant for some other time.)  

So where was I. Oh yah, converting an army.  On the painting rubric for The Conflict GT, which was great by the way, their painting score was a maximum of 40 points, and had a nice checklist giving you complete feedback on what you need to do to improve. I scored 37/40. My areas to improve?  Aside from conversion, I could do more with my display board. (That is another future blog post, new board incoming.)  For conversions, there were 4 possible points.  I scored two.  Kit bashing, minimal conversions etc.  Not much to speak of in my army for sure.  A mix of Assault squad, tactical squad, death company, sanguinary guard and forgeworld bits make up my marines.  My priest is converted from the Chaplain dread model using a few other bits cut and shaved to fit.  But thats it! And I LOVE the Blood Angels models. Why should I have to build my own to get full points? I relent. In order to get the maximum on conversions, I need to do more than kitbash marine sprues.  First of all, I need to bring in elements of models from other armies or systems.  Then I need to do some sculpting, plasticard work and scratch building.  So, what are my plans you ask?  

First of all, I will be rebuilding all of my infantry.  I will begin by adding 10 new marines to the 10 Forge World Heresy armor models I already have.  I paid 50 bucks for them, I'm using them. Then I plan on getting creative.  I want to make my army look more space vamp.  So I will be going goth on my marines.  Chaos Warriors Chosen might be one of my first stops.  They seem pretty bulky to represent power armor and slicing off the chaos bits and replacing them with purity seals and blood drops should not be a problem.  But if I go with my two different squads of Forge World models, i will need to do two distinctly different other squads.  For the second?  Not sure, maybe just kit bashing and such will suffice. Vanguard Vet models, blood angel sprue etc.  For heads I am looking for vampire heads.  The best I have seen so far are from the WHFB Vampire Counts Blood Knights.  Five great vampire heads, but the damn box set is 90 bucks!  I have not seen them offered by any bits seller.  I did see some vampire models offered by Reaper, about a dozen, that might do. My question to you is what else is there? What would some of you converting experts suggest? The army has to be legal for use in GW tournaments. 

Also, I will make yet another display board. The scoring rubric had 3 or 4 possible points for display board, and I failed to get one of them.  The top level was a display board that went above and beyond the basics, with lighting effects, water, and muiltiple tiers.  I want to keep my display board at the 18x24" size I have now because the main purpose of a display board is to easily move your army around a crowded tournament. I found that 18x24 fits great in most places, and I have seen some absurdly huge display boards being carried around by some guys, that actually just cause traffic problems and annoy people. Or, I can make a larger display board for the purpose of displaying my army for painting, and use my small one for actual game play to carry my army around.  Really just a tray.  In going with the vamped out blood angels, I can make a gothic throne room of sorts, complete with lit candles and music... a river of blood!  

Finally, this new theme will help tie my vehicles together. I will come up with some sort of batwinged version of the blood angels logo, with a fanged skull.  I think some already exist. And I will paint up some nice Fantasy banners for the squads to carry.  

Any one care to brainstorm more ideas? What models and bits should I use?


What Brushes do I use?

Hey guys, I figured I could share this info with every one since I'm sure many of you have wondered this. I have talked about it from time to time, but here is a summary of all the brushes that I use.  First of all, here is the email I got today:

Howdy JawaBalls,
  I was wondering about paint brushes.  Took a quick search on your site and didn't see anywhere you discussed what brushes you use, prefer, and what role they serve in your mind.  If you would be willing to take a moment and share a bit of your wisdom I would be most grateful, as well as hopefully improving my skills at the same time!

Mark Dieter

Thanks Mark for sending in your question!  Pretty much the only brush I use for painting models is a Reaper Kolinsky 10-0 brush.  You can find them on amazon or at Spikey Bits.  They are without a doubt the best brush I have tried, and i tried em all.  Call rob at http://www.spikeybits.com/servlet/StoreFront and tell him I sent you.  Get yourself a couple Reaper Kolinsky 10-0,  a 10-20, a 0, and a GW tank brush and dry brush.  That is all I use!  For dirty jobs that don't matter, I have a bunch of cheap brushes from Michaels.  The Army Painter makes a selection of brushes that are fairly good too, and more affordable.  Hope that helps!  jawaballs

That was my emailed response, but allow me to elaborate here on the blog.  The biggest issue with brushes is this:

Image stolen from Michale Hogan and his blog

We have all had this happen to us. Our pointy little brush gets stray hairs that makes painting fine details next to impossible.  I tried a lot of brushes and of all of them, the one that in my experience does this the least, is the Reaper Kolinsky.  That is not saying that Reaper makes the only Kolinsky Sable brushes that are good. They are the only Kolinsky Sable brushes I have tried, followed by a bunch of different camel hair or synthetic brushes.  I am sure there are other more expensive and better Kolinksy Sable, or other sable brushes out there, but the Reaper is the best bang for the buck that I have found.

Click this link and call Rob and ask for Kolinsky Sable
Tell him I sent you.

What is Kolinsky Sable?  A Kolinsky Sable is a breed of Russian Fox.  It is the hairs from this fox that are used for making the bristles on the brushes.  Typical manufacturers will use a variety of different materials to make the bristles ranging from plastic fibers to camel hair, to well, the underbelly fuzz of Russian Foxes! Most student brushes that you find in a standard school art room are either plastic fiber or camel hair.  We all have memories of school brushes that clump, spread out, bend at weird angles, fall apart or whatever else. I doubt any of us who have tried to paint a picture in high school or middle school had many good experiences with the brushes we were given. That is because Art Teachers buy cheap brushes in bulk. I can get a canister of 100 cheap plastic and camel hair brushes for my classroom for like 60 bucks.  I put the canister on the shelf and when the bristles fall out, we throw them away.  Bristles fall out because cheap quality glue is used to attach them to the brush. The way around theses problems is to buy high quality brushes. But not all high quality brushes are made the same.

I tried a sable brush, (it was not a Kolinsky sable brush) from another manufacturer, and while I was happy with the brush itself, the bristles all fell out through use.  Ok bristles, bad glue, bad brush.  I tried other brushes like Windsor and Newton which is a prestigious brand offered at Micahels art supply, but their expensive brushes had synthetic bristles! Some had camel hair.  The short of it is that I was not happy with a single brush, for an extended amount of time, that I bought at Michaels.  I was using their cheap 2 dollar ones with the pink handles, and buying them in bulk and just throwing them away when they started to suck, but there had to be a better way.  

So any way, I don't want to make this an article about what brands suck.  Simply assume that I tried a variety of brushes in my experiences as an art teacher and model painter.  In terms of quality of bristles, and strength of glue, and price, the Reaper Kolinsky are the way to go.

If you are looking to save a little money, I would say The Army Painter would be the way to go. They have a line of white handle brushes. Definitely not their red handled ones!  But the white ones have decent enough quality bristles to make them not a bad investment.  

Here is what I use, and why:

Reaper Kolinsky Sable 10-0:

The 10-0 is a measurement of the size of the brush. I don't know what they measure, but it goes like this.  The higher the first number, the smaller the bristles.  I have tried 10, 20 and 30.  Frankly, 30 is just too small. I do use 20s, but rarely.  The 10 has a small enough tip to paint any details you will encounter on 40k models. I use it to do the highlights on my space marines eyes, and highlighting armor plates on tanks.  It is a versatile and useful brush.  

Reaper Kolinsky Sable 0 (zero):

This one is a larger version of the 10.  It has a sharp enough tip to do highlighting on infantry, but is not much use for detailing. I use it to do blending on bigger armor plates on tanks and termies. I also use it to highlight broad armor plates where detail is not such a conern.  I use it to lay down lots of paint to cover large areas on models, like when painting Boltgun Silver over a black space marine bolter.  It is good at covering space, but being precise enough to not get the paint on the rest of the model.  

Games Workshop Tank Brush:

I use this big boy when I need to lay down vast amounts of color on flat surfaces.  It is a large, round bristle brush that caries a lot of paint, and has bristles that are stiff enough to dig the paint out of crevaces, yet soft enough to minimise brush strokes.  

Games Workshop Large and Small drybrush:

I have tried lots of substitutions, but the drybrush I keep coming back to is the GW one.  Drybrushing is a horrible thing to do to a brush. I have found that the GW brush handles it the longest, and provides the nicest results while doing so.

It can be noted that the single worst brush I have ever bought was the GW fine detail brush.  If you have never bought one, don't. If you are using one, switch to the RKS brush I am describing here, and you will see a whole new world of painting develop right before your eyes. Don't believe me? Try it.  

That is it!

I do have a selection of other brushes I buy cheap at Michaels.  Round points, chisel points, all of them larger than the zero Kolinsky.  I use these for various parts of tanks, applying washes to models, etc.  

Other advice?

Well, the other reason why I like GW dry brushes is after the bristles have separated so much as to make them useless for their purpose, I give them a new life. I cut the bristles pretty much in half. This leaves me with very short, and stiff bristles. This new brush is now great for stippling!  Dip the tip of the brush into some paint, then dab it onto the surface of your tanks.  The paint will thin out as you go from the edge towards the inside of the armor plate, leaving a "fade" look.  

Finally, know when to throw a brush out.  Even the Reaper Kolinskies separate. After enough use, no matter what you try, every time you dip the model into the paint then try to use it to detail a model, one of the bristles will pop out and annoy you.  You can stave off having to replace your brush for a while by using an xacto blade to prune off that offending bristle.  But sooner or later, you will need to just make the decision to junk the brush.  Without being too precise, I would say a 10-0 RKS brush lasts me about 6 months of heavy painting.  

Be sure to rinse your brush every time you use it, and occasionally use some sort of soap or brush cleaning agent to wash your brushes and they will last longer.  

There you go!  I hope that helps.


Rediscovering Angels Part 5: Vanguard Veterans

Hey there folks, hows the day?  Xaereth here once again from Delusions of Grandeur, seeking to share my views on competitive ways to play Blood Angels.  Some interesting stuff to talk about today, mostly about Vanguard Veterans.  Let's see what they have to offer us...

Space Hulk Terminator Commission WIP!

Ok folks, as promised, here are a few pics of some Space Hulk Terminators for one of the few commissions I will be doing.  I have in my possession three sets of Space Hulk, and when they are gone, they are gone. This is the first of the three sets.  Of course these are WIP. I need to do the scrolling, drill out the barrel holes, and many other details, but for the most part, these boys are good to go! If you want to be one of the lucky two who gets one of the other sets, email me at my hotmail address!  Jawaballs at hotmail.

Oh, and here is some video of today. We got hit with a huge snowstorm.  I had to dig out about a ton of snow!  Enjoy.


This weeks WTF gripe. GW Profits???

A club member posted this link up on our boards and I thought I would share and discuss it here.

It pretty much says that sales are down but profits are up.  

Lets analyze. First of all, of course profits are up.  GW raised the prices on all of their products, as much as 50%. Or even 100%, and in some cases, 500%. Take a look at THIS ARTICLE for some info on a recent eye gouging price increase.  Also, I bought a Brother Corbulo model in 2007 for 8.00.  Now, without looking at the GW site because it is blocked from my work, I believe it is checking in at what... 16.00?  That is DOUBLE!  I understand inflation and all and I understand raising prices to reflect the cost of manufacturing, but the cost of making Brother Corbulo did NOT double.  

This is problem number one. GW profits are up because they have punched each of their loyal customers in the gutt by raising prices on their models. They know they can charge 50% more for a model than they were charging a few years ago because we are stupid and will buy it. 

In addition to raising prices, they have slashed costs. They have closed stores, fired employees and reduced the creative think tank.  An excellent example of where GW has taken a notable plummet is in their RPG stuff. I understand that Fantasy Flight is now handling their stuff.  And since they have taken over the reigns, it has improved, but before that, their published work was simply dreadful compared to what it was in the 80s and early 90s.  The Reikland series of adventures, "There's Something Rotten in Kieslev" for example, are without a doubt some of the best written roleplaying supplements for any game, any genre, ever.  They were chock full of handouts, intrigue, story and fun. They set the bar for other RPGs to try to follow. DnD could only fail in comparison.  

The more recent stuff... simply does not do itself justice.  

This is a result of years of cost cutting and neglect.  GW made a well deserved outstanding name for themselves based on providing superior product at prices that while were not cheap, were not killing us.  Then they started selling inferior stuff, at higher prices.  See the trend?  (I hate to say it but I just bought the new Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay released by Fantasy Flight, for a LOT of money, and I am very much less than impressed. More on that in another article.)

Let me reign myself in. GW doubled it's profits for last fiscal year. They did so by raising prices, (Double the cost of Corbulo), and cutting costs with crap development of new product. (Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, Tyranid Codex.)  Need to stay on point!  

This is great for GW on the short turn. Some one says "We need more profit!". Some one else says "Ok, lets make more profit, what is the easiest way to do so?"  (Raise the price of super glue to 40.00 an ounce.) Promotions are handed out, some short term exec pads his bank account before planning his retirement and we bear the brunt of it.

But that brings me to the next issue. GW sales are down.  In trying to increase profits, they are not only kicking us all in the balls, they are discouraging vital newcomers from entering the hobby.  Loyal buyers will always exist. We will always buy their product, and they can always count on our money. They know that they are not significantly going to increase profit off us except by raising profit.  Which they did. 

What they are not taking into consideration is the Loss and Gain effect, as I call it.  Over time, the hobby loses people and gains people.  Guys become disenchanted with the game. (Necron players?) They lose their jobs and have to make changes. (Brother Captain James) So forth. They leave the game.  This creates a dip in GW sales.  Normally, this is compensated for by people like me.  I started playing the game a few years ago and am a new player relatively.  Fresh blood. Blood for the Blood god!  Dollars for the Dollar God!!!  But when I started playing 40k I was paying 2.50 a pot for paint. Corbulo cost 8.00 US.  A predator was under 30.00.  On and on and on.

Here comes the point... 

Wait for it...

Cutting costs is producing inferior product and chasing away loyal customers. Raising prices is also chasing them away. But the problem is that the combination of those two factors is chasing away the fresh blood.  Blammo!  Profit is up but they are selling less.  Less new people are joining the hobby. More people are leaving it.  More people are leaving the hobby than joining it.  Less people are buying new stuff. Sales are down.

Know what I call this?

Know what else I call it?

Will this kill GW? No. I doubt it. The company will continue. Changes will occur of course. Customers will come and go. Creative types will be run out of the business by greedy financial types. (Dave Taylor we love you.) The fanatical core will always be here. The show will go on.  

But at what cost?  

Growth.  Improvement. Progress.

Don't get me wrong, I am not griping about rising prices. The cost of business has increased for every one. I support GW raising prices to off set their costs.  But it does not take an MBA to know that doubling profit while losing sales is not a good thing.  Or is it?  What do you think? 


List Help: Jump Packs again!

Jump Pack Generals need plenty of these.

Hey guys!  I get a lot of questions about Jump Pack armies. Email in:

Hi jawaballs, im a fan of you and your blog since i wanted to start to play warhamer 40k, im a fantasy player and i want to play 40k with blood angels. I have a coming tourney the 1st of February and i wanted to start playing a jump pack list, but i have read a lot about jump packs list and i would like your advice. I have to tell you that im from spain and my english is terrible :P, so dont get scared of me hehe:

Librarian - Jump pack & Shield and blood lance

Honor Guard - 4xMeltaguns & Jump packs

Sanguinary Priests x 3 Jump packs

Ass squad 10man - 2 Meltagun & power fist

Ass squad 10man - 2 Meltagun & power fist

Ass squad 10man - 2 Meltagun & power fist

Vanguard Veteran 5man - 4xpowerweapon & powerfist & Meltabombs & Jump packs

Do you think this list is good for a tourney? or would you make any change to make it more competitive.

I would like a lot your advice if you could, i will be so thanked :P.


So what would I do? First of all, drop the Blood Lance. It is a nice idea, but fails in my opinion.  Give the libby something more useful.   If you are concerned about tank popping, go with Sanguine Sword.  4 Str 10 shots in the assault is better than one lance shot.  I found that preferred enemy is huge too.  

3 priests? Drop one.  You don't need that many. The strength of your army is going to be in using your units together. Put a priest in one RAS and leave another without one. Move them up together.  So long as a single model in the squad sans priest is near the priest, the whole unit gets it.  

You also have a priest in your HG.  Drop two of the meltas and give them at least one power weapon.  With small squads you need the power weapon to kill on initiative 5 and reduce the number of hits you are going to take back. Actually, Make your HG this:

HG x4
Priest x1
Jump Packs
Melta x1
PW x1

Reduce the vets PW allocation to just 2.  Increase the fists to 2. Drop the melta bombs.  Increase the size of the squad to 10.  Combat squad them. Now you have two 5 man squads assaulting on Deep Strike with a PW and PF.  Drop them supported by 10 man RAS with priests.  Make sure the priest is close enough to give the VV squad the grail in assault.  Both squads land.  RAS pops transport. VV assaults.  Priest keeps em alive.

Your 10 man squads are fine otherwise.  You have the option to combat squad if needed. Take advantage of it. Splitting up the melta guns from each 10 man squad is smart. Drop both squads next to each other, but this gives you the option of different targets with your squads.

You are going to either win big or lose big. There will be little middle ground. Welcome to Jump Packs!

Keep the emails coming guys!


Rediscovering Angels Part 4: A Closer Look at Death Company

Hey, what's up everyone!  Xaereth here from Delusions of Grandeur, hoping to help you take your Blood Angels to a new level!  Today I want to talk about the Death Company.  I think there are a lot of misconceptions about Death Company, and today I want to address a few of those, as well as talk about how to use them most effectively/efficiently.

I guess the first question, as always, is what do you want from the D-Co in your list?  The best approach is to look at like this:  will I usually be able to make this unit perform in a way that helps me win the game?  In short, is it a useful unit in your particular build?

Lets get the super-simple overview of the Death Company over with:

Good Stuff:
  • WS5
  • Furious Charge/Feel No Pain without Priest nearby
  • Lots and lots of options
  • Chaplain gives rerolls to hit *and* to wound
  • Take up troops slots
Bad Stuff:
  • Rage- it's pretty difficult to control them
  • Expensive points wise
  • No invulnerable saves
  • Average statline
  • Take up troops slots
So, I'm sure you all know all that.  But, it has to be said, so we're all on the same page starting off.

Many will argue that the bad stuff outweighs the good stuff, and it's hard to argue against that specifically- rage in particular will make Death Company do some incredibly inconvenient things from time to time, against certain opponents.  When a skilled opponent can simply make a potentially expensive unit like the Death Company chase empty Rhinos all day, it can get pretty old.

Let's face it, lots of what makes an expensive unit good is the ability to choose when and where that unit can do the most damage.  With the USR Rage, Death Company really struggle with this- at least, that's the perception most people have of them.  The key is to make them role-players in your army, using them as a brick to throw at your opponents window, and force your opponent to deal with the D-Co, or lose.

This requires a somewhat delicate touch, since simply ramming the Death Company down the throat of your opponent from the start will rarely work against a skilled opponent.  Given any amount of reaction time, a good player will simply avoid the DC until they have the time or resources to deal with them.  The best idea is to force them to react in a way that severely limits their options.  A frontal approach won't really do this.

So, we're left with non-traditional deployment options.  No jump-packs + starting on the table, no 'hide them in a Rhino and hope my opponent doesn't pop their transport, stranding the Death Company'.  Instead, consider this:  what's going to give me the best chance to force my opponent to react and make a tough decision?

Perhaps an obvious answer is to put them in a Land Raider, since it keeps the DC in control, ensures the 20"+ charge, and is tough for others to kill easily.  I would remind those who think this is a swell idea, that dropping that amount of points on a unit essentially makes that unit the focus of the army.  An army's core made up of a unit that is as undependable for a sustained period of time as the DC is, isn't what I'd call a good idea.  For the same points, 5 LC Termies + priest are going to do about the same amount of damage, and are far more survivable.

Here's the simple truth about Death Company:  they will murder one single unit dependably, and then do what they want until the opponent whittles them down, or you've won.  The thing is, throwing them at a fully functional gunline isn't going to yield the results that the points you've paid reflect.  Death Company are the ultimate 'mop-up' crew, delighting in chaos that is already in motion.

Death Company can kill tanks easy enough with infernus pistols/rerollable attacks given by the chaplain, and can kill just about any squad in the game if DC can get the charge.  They can be dependable to kill whatever they want- they might be a big chunk of points, but they will kill what they want.  If they have 6 turns of life, they'll likely kill 6 things, when properly tooled.  Another important thing to note is that while the rest of your army is generally advised to stick together in order to keep the FNP/FC bubbles in effect, the DC can operate independently.  It's nice not to have to support them in this way.  The main obstacle is how easy they are to kill.

This presents a problem, since DC die as easily as any other marine with FNP, and cost over double what a regular marine costs.  Finesse is required for DC, not only because they are hard to control, but also in judging where the threats to them lie.  Knowing how to deal with these threats before the DC swoop in is important, since a single guard plasma squad will mess with the DC something fierce.  Once the big threats are mostly taken care of and the battle is in full swing with little room for either side left to manouver, the DC can arrive and begin to create pandemonium.  Remember, if they can't be reliably stopped, not much in the game is as good at killing things as the DC is.

There are two ways to go with these guys, in my eyes.  One is the expensive way, and the other way is the cheap way.  Wheeee...

The Expensive (and somewhat risky) Way:

So, how to load these guys up?  I'll warn you now- it gets expensive quick.  I like Jump Packs for Death Company.  The reason is this:  most transports are unreliable for Death Company, and the kicker is that a squad that can be lead around by the nose as easily as the DC needs good manouverability in order to present a threat to things every turn.  If they get distracted by a random vehicle one turn, they need to be able to turn around and present a threat the very next turn in order to be effective.  If they don't have jump packs, this is simply impossible.  Put the packs on, and deep strike them in.  The packs will help you determine when and where you want to bring them in fairly dependably.  Put them in a place they won't get killed right away, and then let them go to town on the enemy's forces.

Jump packs and... infernus pistols next.  Death Company want to kill as many things as possible, and the pistols really help with that.  Not only do they help as 'insurance' against tanks, they can also help to pop a tank, then assault the squad inside the tank that same turn.  They can help to soften up a MC before they charge, or a squad of I5 incubi.  They help threaten Land Raiders as well.  Remember, these guys are pure offense.  Treat them as such.  30 extra points for two of them is not too many points for the added flexibility and possibilities.

What's next?  Probably a couple fists.  They don't need many, really.  But they need to be able to threaten everything, which fists help to do. Fists also have the added benefit of being at a different initiative level as the regular attacks, making every single power wound help.  Here's an article that helps explain it in more depth.  If you put a different weapon combo on everyone, it can also help to thin out casualties from plasma/melta weapons in squads, when they cause more wounds than your squad has, since you can just slap 2 AP2 wounds on your infernus pistol and the rest of the AP5 bolter rounds on the regular guys.

How many guys?  I guess that's up to you, really.  It's hard to put a number on this squad- 30 points base for a model is super steep, so getting lots of ablative wounds is sort of out of the question.  Still, I wouldn't go out the door with fewer than 6 models in this squad.  A couple casualties will slow down their momentum quite a bit.

Chaplains can be included as well, and can be pretty useful.  The bigger the DC squad, the more you likely need a chaplain to make them better.  Lemartes is head and shoulders above the other chaplains in the book for his points if you're going with Jump Packs on the D-Co.  Simply ridiculous, the things the man can do when he takes a wound.  The other chaplains are nice too, because they add an invulnerable save (which gives the DC a measure of protection against AP1/2), and can add another infernus pistol to the mix as well.  Gets expensive though, doesn't it?

So, here's what I'd want in a fully tooled 'expensive' Death Company:

Lemartes, 6x Death Company w/ 2x Infernus Pistols, 2x Power Fists, 6x Jump Packs- 440 points

It's a lot of points for the somewhat small group of dudes, but you can cut the cost to 290 if you take out Lemartes.  In exchange for these points, you get a wreckingball of a squad, who when allowed to multicharge, will destroy multiple vehicles, squads, and everything else.

The key, like I keep saying, is protecting them.  The rest of the army needs to be built to be able to take out the plasma squads/russes the enemy has.  Keeping them out of the charge range of the 5 LC terminators the other guy has, etc.  It's a finesse squad.

The other option of course is a Storm Raven, but then to get full use of the raven's points, you want a dread inside as well, and then you've spent a few too many eggs on one basket.  Still, coming in from reserve, the Raven presents a viable(ish) 2nd option.

The Cheap Way

Sarah Palin... lol.  Really?*
There are other ways to use them, of course.  You can take a 5-man squad and put them in a rhino or storm raven, slap 5 power weapons on them and call them good for 225 points (including the rhino), and qualifying for a DC dread to go in the raven at the same time.  5 power weapons on the DC= 20 power attacks on the charge that will generally kill 9 marines on the charge at I5.  Not bad, even against Orks, honestly.  Any more wargear and they start to get expensive again however.  Remember:  it's not a good idea to mix mundane weapons with power weapons at the same initiative. (refer to the article I linked earlier)

These guys aren't really used as a mop-up crew as much, since we aren't putting the points into them that would let them do it.  Instead, they're more of a counter-charge unit.

As a sidenote, if you're running DC in a Raven, you still have the option to give them Lemartes as an upgrade.  His jump pack is wasted, but they can certainly still use him if they want.  Just depends on what you want.

What about all death company armies?

Heh, I laugh when I see these kinds of armies.  The idea that you have to table someone in order to win the game is ludicrous to me.  Sure, these armies can be tough to deal with but seriously- if you want to play competitively, you're depending on the opponent not reserving anything, not deepstriking anything on turn 5, outflanking stuff into corners you're nowhere near, etc.  It's too tall an order to realistically try to accomplish in a competitive setting.  The fact that the army literally plays itself makes me extremely meh about it.

Two quick sidenotes about Rage

1) Rage can be bypassed, since it requires Line of Sight.  If for instance, my squad of Death Company are all behind my Land Raider, and they can't see any enemy units, then they can move as regular squad would be able to.  You can use this idea to gain a modicum of control over your squad, if done correctly.

2) Rage doesn't require you to charge the nearest unit.  It also allows you to keep moving the models in your unit to a better place for them.  All the rules say is that you need to move towards the nearest enemy unit- as long as you stay within 1" of the 'nearest' unit, you can slide the DC around the unit so as to be able to charge another unit (assuming you have enough movement).

Wrapping up

Death Company is a tricky squad to use correctly.  They're fragile, but they can sure pack a punch when used correctly.  Simply flinging them at the opponent is not really a good idea.  They require finesse.

What do you think of Death Company?  Stupid?  Useless?  Awesomesauce?  I'd like to hear what you have to say!  I haven't yet seen someone use Death Company in a list where I really feared them, but I certainly think it can be done in the right circumstances.  It just seems like a unit that can be good, but people don't generally have the extra points for it.  Kind of like Sternguard.  /shrug

Let me know what you think!  Until next time...

*A note on the pictures:  they all showed up when I searched 'Death Company' on Google Images.  The Sarah Palin one made me laugh.  Not sure how she made the cut.