Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Order of the Blazing Sun

Finally finished my Empire Knights, Order of the Blazing Sun. In a 2 x 6 formation this is pretty large unit of Knights, you don't see them much bigger than this in one group. My opponents usually do a double take when I drop them on the table. (I do wish they performed a bit better, having a string a crap luck with them of late.) It's 24 Models including the horses and it took me a couple of hours a night for just over a month to paint. In addition to that I definitely put some extra time into the freehand on the standard and the unit champion.

The knightly orders box isn't stocked for a unit this large from one particular order so there are bunch of conversions in order to make them as individual as possible. The heads of the musician, and the guys in the center are all custom. They are modified heads of Knights Panther parts, augmented with parts for the Empire Generals kit and green stuff. The musicians horn and the unit champions head are from the Pistoliers sprue.

These guys were a tough nut to crack, and doing a big unit like this does get monotonous, especially when every horse took twice as long as its rider to do, with the obvious exceptions. I still need to touch up the border of the bases, I am still going back and forth on what color to paint them. We'll see how they start performing now that they are fully painted up, because I am told that fully painted models always perform better!!! ( at least according to Art ) well see, I am playing Jeff from Hammer's Blog and his High Elves on Friday. Thanks for checking them out!
(the massive snow storm we had friday, forced us to reschedule, hopefully soon!)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mighty Empires Round 6

Games Workshop, Oak Park 1/22

Current Scores (in Empire Points, 18 wins)
map post round 5 results-

Chaos (Black)- 11
Orcs and Goblins (Orange)-8
The Empire- 5
Bretonnians- 4
Lizardmen (White)- 3
Lizardmen (Blue)- 3
Vampire Counts- 2
Orcs (Green)- 2
Chaos (Brown) -2

Orc (Green) - Land Grab
Chaos (Brown) -Building Boom
Vampire Counts- War Tax +150gp
Bretonnians- Treasure Trove
Lizardmen (Blue) - Scouts
Lizardmen (White)- Survey the Battlefield
Empire- Espionage
Orcs (Orange)- Disaster @ Chaos- Loses 1 city!!!!
Chaos- All or Nothing


Orcs (Green) - carry over 442 + mines +80 (total= 522gp)
Lizardmen (Blue)- carry over 490 gp + mines 60 (total (550gp)
Orcs (Orange) - lost mine (again) gains 244 gp, (total =434gp)
Chaos (Black)-end of round 4 =160 gp rnd 6 TBA
Vampire Counts - carry over =4 gp , +180gp (wartax, raid) (t0tal= 184gp)
The Empire (total-0gp)
Lizardmen (white) Mine (total- 70 gp)
Bretonnians carry over- 260 gp rnd 6 TBA
Chaos (Brown) Carry over 120gp (total= 120gp)


Chaos (Brown) VS Vampire Counts
Vampire Counts- Solid Victory!

Orcs (Green) VS Lizardmen (White)
game not played- 1pt each

Chaos(Black) vs Lizardmen (Blue)
Chaos- Massacre!!

Bretonnians Vs Vampire Counts

Vampire Counts- Massacre!!!

Empire vs Orcs (Orange)
Orcs + 843 -Solid Victory!

Ok look out for Bill everybody he's on a tear!,
Obviously the Undead are pissed-


Chaos +7 EP, (all or nothing) builds 4 cites and 1 mine
Orcs ( Orange)
+4 EP, takes two new tiles
+1 EP, upgrades to castle
Lizardmen (White)
+1 EP, upgrades to castle
Lizardmen (Blue) + 1EP, upgrades to castle
+1 Ep, upgrades to City
Vampire Counts
+ 4 Ep, takes new tile, builds city
Chaos (Brown)
+1 Ep Raids for gold +40 gp
Orcs (Green)
+1 Ep upgrades to castle

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Battle Report- Empire Vs Wood Elves V

2250 points @ plastic legions HQ 1/15.

Ok, you knew it was coming, Empire VS Wood Elves round FIVE!!! Its been a few months since Felix has come over for a game, This was the highest army point game we've played yet, and he dropped the Wood Elf bomb on me. Completely changing his previous tactics, Felix brought some new units to table including a Treeman and a group of Warhawk Riders and finally busted out that large group of Eternal Guard led by a High Noble we had been talking about, Thankfully this was just a casual game, because I got my ass handed to me.

Army List- Wood Elves

Wood Elf Highborn -Army General
Hand Weapon; Longbow; Great Weapon
The Oaken Armor
Amber Pendant

Wood Elf Noble
Hand Weapon; Longbow; Spear; Light Armor; Shield
Elven Steed
The Helm of the Hunt
Hail of Doom Arrow

Dispel Scroll
Dispel Scroll

Level 2 Upgrade; Hand Weapon; Longbow
Calaingor's Stave
Dispel Scroll

22 Eternal Guard
Full Command
1 Eternal
1 War Banner

10 Glade Guard

10 Glade Guard

7 Dryads
1 Branch Nymph

7 Dryads
1 Branch Nymph

6 Wardancers

4 Warhawk Riders

4 Wild Riders of Kurnous
Full Command
1 Wild Hunter

1 Treeman
Total Roster Cost: 2239

The Empire
(same 2250 list I've run in last several bat reps, with exception of moving my Spearmen detachment over to my Greatswords. I'll leave the full list off to save space)

Terrain and Deployment-

Instead of placing terrain we decided to use the small village around a watchtower set up I already had in place on my 4x8 table. I knew this would hinder me because I had no hills to set artillery up on but I figured the cover provided by all the buildings was fair trade off for both of us..The terrain setup definitely added an extra challenge to the mix. While my deployment was pretty standard, a strong center with a fast strong flank, my other usually weak flank was solidifed by my General, in retrospect I really needed him on the strong flank. My artillery was setup with cannons on each flank with a nice diagonal lane across the table I couldn't find a place to put my Hellblaster so I put in the center where it only really could protect the backfield until late game. In retrospect should have put my Hellblaster on the left to protect that cannon, and put my General on the right to counter balance the Wood Elves Left flank. Felix had his Skirmishers and shooters in the center, his fast flank with the Wild Riders and Warhawks backed up by both SpellSingers on his right and his Eternal Guard, General and Treeman on his left.

Magic Selection

Felix didn't have the normal heavy duty magic I am used to with his Elves, he came to play with only 5 power dice and 4 dispel dice. I totally
screwed up in my spell selection as I choose lore of fire rolled a 3 and 5, "burning head" and "conflagration" with only four power dice I always need to take fireball as that can be cast on 5+, so I can roll 3 dice for the big spell and then still have shot at getting the fireball off. I should have take burning head at 8+ and fireball at 5+ and been able to have great chance of getting two spells off a turn with priests bound spell, he off been hard pressed what to dispel. I knew how awesome "Conflagration" can be so I haphazardly took it not thinking about the dice mechanic of 11+. Stupid..I screwed myself on the magic phase before the game even began- lesson learned. Felix spells, were Tree Singing x 2, Hidden Path, and Aerial's Blessing.

Before I start the turn by turn, I want to note that my Artillery all game was a trainwreck. My cannons rolled 1 primary misfire and 4 secondary misfires, One cannon was was spiked in turn 2, my other blew up in turn 4 so out of 10 total rolls, 50% were misfires. With my Hellblaster I only had, a target twice..1st time I rolled a misfire in turn 2, then a jam. when I got another chance to fire it in turn 4 I rolled a misfire, then a dud, then another misfire, jammed. so I rolled 100% Misfires on the HBVG. you only have a 1 in 6 chance of rolling a misfire WTF!!! I say.

Turn 1-

I had 1st turn and moved my foot sloggers up, tried to cast "Conflagration" failed. Then shot my artillery, I killed a couple dryads with cannon fire 1st turn, I then nailed one of the warhawks with some long range from my Crossbows. On the right my plan was to run my Pistoliers up on an angle get a volley off at the EG, then retreat from a charge, allowing my knights to charge the flank of the EG next turn., well my pistoliers where short on the shooting by about 1/2 an inch. (with 16 inch charge, I should be 8 inches from the deployment line, unfortunatley felix must have deployed slightly back from the line) during Felix's turn he moves his treeman up into the forest and unleashes "strangleroot" at my pistoliers obliterating them completely, felix rolled 10 hits and 6 wounds...this was precursor to felix's insane dice rolling, it literally seemed like he only rolled 5's and 6's all game. he used tree singing to move up some forests containing his wizards and wild riders, the warhawks and dyrads advanced and the glade guard started raining arrows on me. First turn I took roughly a dozen casualties including my full unit of pistoliers

Turn 2

I continue to advance my foot troops, my swordsmen dont really have anywhere to go and are advancing toward the glade guard, my Greatswords and Spearmen detachment are headed toward both groups of dryads, magic and shooting dont much of anything this turn. My General is just sitting there on his griffon wasting his points, waiting for the Wild Riders and Warharks to advance, I should have been using my General to go straight after both units of Glade Guard, who would have run or been easily destroyed. I'm still not used to using my general as offensively as I need to, he needs to directly start going after weaker annoying shooting units or single characters the first couple turns, forcing my opponent to move a powerful unit to counter him, giving my other offensive units some relief. I blew a good opportunity to test new offensive strategies here, all I can say was my head was not in this game. On the soon to be disastrous right flank my knights are now alone with the treeman looming, I dont want to sit there and take flank charge and turning and running opens me up for another "strangle root", I am still close enought to have to take a terror check, I do and pass. my best option is to charge Felix's lone character, of to the side of his EG, if I kill or break him the overrun or pursuit move will move way into felixs backfield, behind the EG and far away from the treeman. I charge having 7 attacks from the based knights and horses, I roll like complete shit, but still manage to land two wounds, Felix makes one of the saves taking only one wound, I still win combat but he then makes his break test, worst case scenario for me. EG are going to flank charge me and I have the treeman, at my gamble failed- I am toast.

On Felix's turn the EG flank charge my knights, also those wardancers have moved over are now are also in charge range. So my knights take the wardancers in the front and the EG on the flank. I can't flee because I am locked in with the stupid character with one wound left. when the wardancers unload they unleash 22 attacks, felix rolls 11 wounds...Luckily I save a ton of them
but its doesnt matter, on my strike back, I get a few wounds but felix saves them ALL so I lose combat big time needing "insane courage" to stay, I run escape being run down...but my next turn I fail my rally check ( although I forgot my +1 for musician, so I might have made it) and I get charged by the lone character with an 18" charge who just catches me. My Knights and Pistoliers are wasted, neither units removing a single model from the game, disaster.
Elsewhere the Dryads charge my Spearmen detachment, who lose combat, flee and and are run down and destroyed bringing the dryads smack into my Greatswords., The Warhawk Riders charge my crossbowmen, who stand and shoot and land 1 wound, the wild riders charge my cannon, kill the crew, spike it. My Swordsmen change direction heading toward the EG and wardancers all the while being marched blocked shot to crap by Glade Guard, this was stupid on my part.

Turn 3

Finally my General does something, I flank charge the warhawks, but I roll 1,1,2, whiffing but the Griffon and the crossbowmen follow up kill two and land another wound on the last, Warhawks have "hit and run" so the lone model escapes. Felix's Spellcasters are well protected in the forest, magic isnt much of an issue this game as I dispelled alot of spells, Tree Singing was only for movement and I was dispelling Hidden path and the blessing. My spell casting as I mentioned was totally nerfed by my own stupidity and felix and 3 scrolls on top of his dice. ( I did roll an irresistible force on Burning Head against the EG but only managed to kill two models and his made the panic check) My artillery was useless and my Handgunners didnt have a target . My greatswords break the two unit of dryads fighting them, running one down while the other escapes just out of reach.

On Felixs turn the lone warhawk and wildriders re-charge my crossbows, and blow them away, the resulting overrun takes them both off the table, to return on the next turn. My General sits there watching out of the combat (I think we missed the terror check on warhawk, but the WR are immune) The treeman had pops out of the woods moving toward my wizard, swordsman, and free company. (photo below) his glade guard keep shooting me weeding away at my swordsmen. The running dryads rally, The EG and Wardancers start heading my way.

Turn 4- My swordsmen, free company and wizard all need to terror check. the Free Company run the others hold. I fly my General over to help deal with the treeman and my Swordsman marchblocked move to get a line on the treeman next turn. My Cannon has line on the treeman , misfire, blows up, then My Hellblaster gets a second chance this game to fire and at the treeman, I roll misfire, dud, misfire, jammed. (felix is laughing) My greatswords charge the rallied dryads, but my bad dice rolling begins, I can't kill one, I am so annoyed by my crap rolls I forgot about the fact they have hate and I get rerolls on the first turn. This setups a horrible dice rolling streak for me where Greatswords can kills these chumps, my priest gets killed by the branchwraith and felix's dice are so hot he's blowing thru the unit like its free company, not Greatswords and my 4+ save (well 5+ , Dryads S4) might as well be a 12+ the way I am rolling. My handgunners move to fire at the Felix's units coming back on the board.

Felix's turn's his treeman- "strangleroot"s my swordsmen, but I get lucky and take minimal damage, it doesnt matter the glade guard keep hitting and I have lost over 15 swordsmen to missile fire.
His mounted noble that I should have killed in turn two, comes up and kills my wizard with some arrow fire and his Wild riders come back on the board moving toward my hellblaster and general while the lone warhawk rider moves back into some the woods. the EG and Wardancers Hold where they are.

Turn 5-

My General charges the treeman, I land four wounds, Felix saves two, but loses combat the treeman runs and I run it down. Lucky but my only break all game. I will take it. My free company rallys, my swordsman turn toward the EG moving up next to a house where they are exempt from the glade guards arrows, My handgunners move again trying to get a target. My wizard gets a spell off at the EG, felix, dispels with scroll., My Greatswords aren't breaking but I can't kill any dryads I can't hit and if I do felix is saving. my free company rallies.

Felix's turn, with all the tree singing "movement only" going on I totally forget about the ranged attack portion of tree singing and my Swordsmen move right into it. The trees unload my two dispel dice left come up empty and I take another 6 causalties, leaving my swordsman with only the front rank of 6 left. The Wildriders run down my Hellblaster, The dryads finish off my Greatswords.

Turn 6-

I realize I am totally screwed here, so I am trying to figure out what I can do my only option is to hold my swordsman take another round of treesinging, and fly my general over to force a terror check, if he fails and runs I'll get points for that huge unit and get the quarter and it probably a close game because the treeman and EG plus the General is around 1000 points, pretty huge gamble but what the hell., My free company runs inside the watch tower to hide and my Handgunners finally get a shot off killing that lone Warhawk Rider.

Felix's last turn pretty much sums up the game. He needs a 10 or less for the terror check and makes it no problem, his EG charges my Swordsman, everyone dies but my BSB who kills 1 EG on the strike back, but loses combat and he needs insane courage fails twice (reroll) gets rundown. The glade guard shoots at my Free Company inside the watchtower and even with the -3 to hit penalty Felix kills 5 of the 8, the unit fails panic...runs more points (he needed sixes to hit and still comes up with five kills) all I had left is my General and my Handgunners. Felix also picked two table quarters and two banners, I got one table quarter. He outscored me
by 1500 and change so the result was Wood Elves- Massacre!!!!!
Great game to Felix and despite my many problems I still learned a hell of a lot this game. I can't wait for the rematch!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Taking Better Pictures..Part II

Here we go with second part of my trial and error with miniatures photography. Hopefully this helps explain a few of the confusing parts and helps you take better pictures too. I'd like to thank Rich over at Chicago Terrain Factory, for prompting this and adding some key insight in some private discussions we had.

Last time we looked at miniatures photographed directing on my gaming table, this time we move over to standard neutral white background. I eliminated my homemade light box from the discussion as there is just no way to get enough light into the shot even with a 2.8 AV. Sure I could cut a hole in the top, and do some tests but I decided to just move directly to the neutral backdrop which in this case is a 2'x3" piece of white poster board. Per request here are some photos of the lighting set up.

Here is the basic set up, that clip-on light is actually held in my left hand directly above the camera pointing at the target when I snap the shot. Ideally your backdrop is supposed to be curved but I had to put slight kink in it to get it to stay put as I annoyingly couldn't seem to find any tape. Also note the bi-level workbench is great as the camera and tripod are on the lower level allowing the lense to take a close to horizontal shot of the regiment.

Here is the overhead lighting, the yellow work light contains 2 fluroscent bulbs, it's quite bright emulating 100 watts. The circular work light contains a clear GE, 100 watt blub. Both lights are approximately 3 feet above the target. I didn't experiment with moving the overheads close as I thought my results contained enough light to get the point across .

Here is my Swordsmen regiment, its 6 wide by 5 deep, 30 individuals miniatures, you don't see single formations much bigger than this in Warhammer so this works nicely as "large unit". The question regarding depth of field versus the Aperture value was posed last time and this answers it. This shot ISO 100, Flash OFF, Macro ON, AV 2.8, exposure +0 , one thing I noticed right away is that I was able to get a much faster shot on the white background. getting this shot off at 1/100. The 1st thing to notice here is that the formation is tilted slightly so we could examine the depth. The standard bearer is at the end of the row is out of focus and we only get a depth of clarity in the front corner of the regiment. This and all photos are taken from about 6-8 inches away.

Again exact same setting only difference is the AV is 4.0. notice on the clarity and depth of field is better, the speed is 1/60 I don't see any difference in detail outside of the better depth.

Here is the AV 8.0, exact same settings otherwise., To my eyes this picture is clearly superior in detail to the depth of field, you can make the visible face detail perfectly to the 4th row. and the freehand painting on the banner is crystal clear.

Conclusions here are pretty obvious you want to stick to the recommended AV of 8.0 on neutral backdrop shots, but don't be afraid to use lower aperture values on different backgrounds, the amount of extra light it lets in is very helpful. Keys things to worry are obviously the amount of light, and the hand held light is necessary, overhead lights alone don't cut in my opinion unless you are taking your shots in space that has lot of natural light. While I prefer to take my shots on the gaming table, I will definitely go back to neutral backdrop for some final shots from time to time. Next time I am going to look at the ISO setting and how it works in combination with your AV, Speed and exposure and how what you give up (if anything) to not get blurry photographs.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Battle Report-Empire vs Chaos

2250 points- 1/8 @Games Workshop, Oak Park

This game was against my pal Jeff who runs the Oak Park GW shop, Jeff is undefeated winning by massacre after massacre in our current campaign and I knew it was going to be a brutal game. For moral support I had the local crew routing for me and I also met uber painter Tim Lison who's a buddy of jeff's and told me to crush him with no mercy. He also said he thought my army looked "really great" which was very cool of him ( Tim has big fat collection of Golden Demons and Slayer Swords to his credit)

Being this is a Mighty Empires game, There are certain campaign rules in effect skewing things slightly. Given my Map assets and the weeks events, I have the Scouts campaign rule which has my opponent deploy his entire army before I do, then I get 1st turn. That is pretty huge in itself, not to mention I get "Survey the battlefield" as this weeks event - That lets me reorganize the board terrain, after we deploy it, but before we choose sides. On Jeff's side- he had nice amount of extra army points as he gets 100 for being the board leader, he choose to spend 100 gp for additional points, and his campaign event gives him 50 points of magic items for free. The Point totals where really 2250 vs 2500 for Chaos. Given the set up I had about a good a chance as any to beat Jeff, the odds should have been on my side, but I haven't actually played Chaos before so that would undoubtedly come up to bite me.

Army Lists


General of Empire w/ Griffon
- Full Plate Armor
- Sword of Power
- Enchanted Shield
- Holy Relic

Captain of Empire
-Battle Standard Bearer
-Armor of Metoric Iron
-Sword of Justice

Battle Wizard
-Level 2
-Power Stone
-Von Horstmans Speculum

Warrior Priest
-Heavy Armor
-Icon of Magnus

29 Swordsman / Full Command
w/ War Banner (Ancestral heirloom)
10 Free Company
10 Spearmen

10 Handgunners
-Marksman w/ HLR

10 Crossbows

12 Knights of the Blazing Sun
-Full Command

2 Great Cannon
5 Pistoliers
14 Greatswords
-Full Command

1 Hellblaster Volley Gun


Chaos Mortals (Undivided)

Chaos General
Battle Standard Bearer
- Banner of the Gods

20 Chaos Warriors
- Full Command

20 Chaos Warriors
- Full Command
- Chosen

30 Marauders
-Full Command
-Great Weapons

10 Marauders
-Hand weapons

10 Marauders
-Hand weapons

5 Chaos Knights
- Full Command
- Chosen

5 Chaos Knights
- Full Command
- Chosen

5 warhounds
5 warhounds
8 Flayer Kin


deployment diagram

Turn 1- Both sides made basic moves advancing, which dictated how the game was going to play out. After my intial moves it was clear that game was going to break down into two separate battles, My Knights, Pistoliers and General, vs His Knights, hounds and flayerkin, and everyone else on the other side of the field. Magic and Shooting phases delivered a couple minor losses to both sides. I ran my pistoliers up the right side hoping take a quick reform at angle and get a volley off so I retreat vs the oncoming charge, setting my knights up for flank charge. Unfortunately, I could rotate properly because of the woods and then I was short on my shot so I couldn't shoot, on Jeff's turn I end up doing a stand and shoot on some hounds to take two kills fail their break test and run off the board. The charging Chaos Knights bear down on my pistoliers take the charge and get obliterated the Chaos Knights overruning right into my Knights and General. (who make their leadership holding firm) Warhounds also charged my knights but where short. The Flayer Kin (who end up being a nightmare for me this game) fail the terror test from my general's griffon and are bogged down in the woods.

Turn2 -
Advancing movement on the left side continues. I had 5 archers ( that I accidently left of the deployment diagram) screening for my main block of troops. I didn't realize Jeff didn't have any shooting period. so my own screeners end up being a huge pain in the ass as I am trying to use them to block some oncoming units while I position my main force. My Greatswords, take the lead charging some Marauders and In CC, they take out half the unit but they pass their break test.. Shooting and Magic from my side wipe out one small unit of Marauders the few survivors go running. I use my power stone too prematurely here to make sure I got my wall of fire off, I did but too little effect, my artillery is barely connecting and not doing much to these big units. The Hellblaster is sitting idle without a target. Close Combat on the right really goes my way...I take break one unit of chaos knights and am locked in with other unit of hounds. My General is nearby waiting. On Jeff's turn he is really rolling horrible, the Fleeing unit of Chaos Knight runs off the board, the other unit of Chaos Knight charges my General but is blocked by my knights so they lock in with them. My Knights hold and destroy the remaining hounds on the counter attack and my General is ready to flank charge the chaos knight.

Turn 3 - Things are looking good for me at this point but quickly go to hell, chaos style. My General flank charges those Chaos Knights who are locked in with my Knights, together we break them, my Knights pursue and run them down and kill them. the dreaded Chaos Knights are out of the game! great! Stupidly however I have my general restrain (I should have kept them all together) allowing those flayerkin to rear charge my general and his griffon thinking I can handle them, which I should have, but I forgot about "killing blow" jeff lands 4 wounds on my general directly, two of which are killing blows. Amazingly I make both my 4+ ward saves, thanks to his holy relic. Now I only have to make 2 regular 2+ armor saves, no big deal right? WRONG I fail both armor saves, then fail both ward saves so I take two wounds, I'm still ok with 3 wounds right? Wrong again! because I let myself get rear charged like a jackass, and take two wounds I lose combat by 1 and so I need to make a breaktest and of course, I fail. I am 6 inches from and facing the edge of board on a Griffon!! see ya!! with the VP bonus for my general..492 points just flys off the board!! During the Greatswords combat, they hack down a bunch more maruaders but can't break them, because this particular unit is stubborn . Shooting and magic do miminal wounds if any in there respective phases.

Jeff's half of turn three is just as nuts. First of all his Chaos Choosen Warriors with his Sorceror charge my Swordsmen because of those stupid archers my Free Company cannot countercharge, and that allows his huge group of marauders to flank charge me, my spearmen got tied up out of position and cant countercharge either so both my detachments dont make this round of CC and I am going to lose my rank bonus, while he is going to get his. I catch a huge break in the magic phase when Jeff's sorceror miscasts, then rolls "snake eyes" on the miscast table. ripping the fabric of time and space killing his sorceror ( almost my BSB) and a few other guys die as well. unfortunately close combat doesnt go so well and I lose combat and fail my break test (twice with my reroll) because the flank charge broke me, I pivot and run to the right 8 inches, of course the Chosen CW, are closer being they were facing me and only need a 4 to run me down, they do of course and I lose my main block with two banners, 26 guys and my Free Company panic and run the spearmen hold, what a disaster. With my General and and my main block gone and the corresponding bonus points, Jeff scored 1000 points this round.

Turns 4 and 5

At this point I have 10 knights left alone on the right side of the board alone with the 4 flayer kin All my shooters and artillery are ok and my Greatswords and Warrior priest are locked in combat with the chaos general, the regular chaos warriors and some straggling marauders who just wont die. I should have used my knights to run down those flayer kin and come around to my deployment zone. But again I hold waiting for the chosen who ran down my Swordsmen to advance as they are heading directly toward me. The damn flayer kin flank charge my knights locking them up until I kill them in turn 6 I just couple finish them off, and they end up killing 5 knights! My greatswords stay until the last man,eventually they and my priest fall to the Chaos General. I had one trick up my sleeve here, which instead of making my Battle Wizard the normal scroll caddy, I gave him Von Horstmanns Speculum, hoping to use my Wizard with my
Handgunners as bait and challenge a powerful unit in single combat. It "almost" worked, when my wizard challenge Jeff's general, he figured the game was almost over and maybe I was just screwing around. Then he played it safe and accepted the challenge with the unit champion. Despite the switched statistics- I roll like crap and don't kill the Champion, the rest of the handgunners fold like a house of cards against the chaos troops and they all die. Nice try. The only saving grace these two turns was I had a "wall of fire" up that those Chaos Warriors had to run through to move My Spearmen detachment also won combat against the huge unit of Marauders, but they held and subsequently wiped me out. That did set the Marauders up to face the Hellblaster Volley Gun point blank, I roll two "10"s then a misfire which is a "1" Kaboom!., it blows up but I get 20 shots landing 10 kills leaving the unit with 8 troops left.

Turn 6

My knights finished off those flayerkin but with 5 guys left, don't stand a prayer against 17 choosen, so I run back to my right table quarter to score with a captured standard from one of the units of chaos knights., After killing my crossbowmen as well in turn 5 Jeff's remaining Marauders take out one of my cannon, but the other one Grapeshots the crap out of him leaving only his BSB and standardbearer alive. It doesnt matter as those two manage to spike my last cannon. speaking of cannons I rolled very few misfires this game only two total with three pieces of artillery, i had two rounds of open fire from both cannons on those chosen and could only kill one guy because despite accurate guessing, I kept rolling "10"s on my first artillery die...instead of when I needed it on the bounce. Oh well. In the end all that was left on the table for me where. 5 Knights and 3 archers, while Jeff have 17 chosen Chaos Warriors, His General, 9 regular Chaos Warriors, His BSB and 1 Marauder Standard Bearer. Jeff picked up 2 table Quarters, 2 Standards, and killed my general so a bonus 500 to him and I got one table quarter and one standard so 200 to me. despite the only 21 unit difference in survivors with the extra points the score was 2572 to 1540, so +1032 to Jeff and a Solid Victory!
Congrats to Jeff, I take solace in not being massacred but it was still only 168 points shy, Until next time!

Turn 2- before my knights get into it with the second group
of Chaos Knights and their hounds

Turn 3, here you can see how my main force is out of formation, and blocked by my own troops and being charged by 50 enemy troops, textbook example of what NOT to do with your Empire troops.

Turn 3, If they just could have survived this one round of CC, I could gotten those spearmen in there and even the odds, C'est la vie!

Mighty Empires Round 5

Games Workshop, Oak Park 1/8

Current Scores (in Empire Points, 18 wins)
map post round 4 results-

Chaos (Black)- 9
Orcs and Goblins-6
The Empire- 5
Lizardmen (White)- 3
Vampire Counts- 2
Lizardmen (Blue)- 2
Bretonnians- 2
Chaos (Green)- 2
(Note, Ken our Orcs player had to drop out so he is being replaced by Josh also running Chaos )


Chaos (Green) -Building Boom
Vampire Counts- Espionage
Bretonnians- Land Grab
Lizardmen (Blue) - Scouts
Lizardmen (White)- All of Nothing
Empire- Survey the Battlefield
Orcs (Orange)- Disaster @ Chaos- No effect.
Chaos- Treasure Trove


Orcs (Green) - Mines +120gp (total = 120gp)
Lizardmen (Blue)- end of round 4= 410gp Mine 80gp (total = 490 gp)
Orcs (Orange) - end of Round 4 150 3 Mines - 220gp + war tax (total= 370 gp)
Chaos (Black)-end of round 4 20gp Mine +140 (total= 160 gp)
(mine destroyed during revenue phase)
Vampire Counts end of round 4 =4 gp , (total 4gp)
The Empire (total-0gp)
Lizardmen (white) Mine (total- 70 gp)
Bretonnians end of round 4- 170gp + Mine 90gp (total= 260 gp)


Empire 2250 Vs Chaos (Black) 2450 (+100 LE bonus + 100 gp)
Chaos +1032 Solid Victory

Chaos (Green) 2000 VS Bretonnians 2000
Bretonians +1100 Solid Victory

Vampire Counts 2000 VS Orcs 2126 (126 gp)
Orcs, Massacre

Lizardmen (Blue) VS Lizardmen (White)


+4 EP, takes new tile, upgrades to a city
Orcs ( Orange)
+5 EP, takes two new tiles, upgrades a mine.
+4 EP, 2 new tiles, upgrades to castle (land grab)
Lizardmen (White)
+2 EP, takes new tile
Lizardmen (Blue) +2 EP, takes new tile
+1 Ep, upgrades to castle
Vampire Counts
+1Ep, Raids for gold +30 gp
Chaos (Brown)
+1 Ep upgrades to Arcane Monolith
Orcs (Green)
+1 Ep raids for gold 50 gp.

Ken our Orc (green) player is back in, as well a Josh our new chaos player, who becomes the brown player.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Taking Better Pictures..Part I

As anyone in this hobby knows, just about everyone is interested in taking better pictures of their work right? because what better way to show it off than taking photos and posting them on your blog or public forums. The amount of shitty photos I see get posted is annoying because there isn't really much point to posting blurry, out of focus or undetailed photos. Personally I am a complete photography novice, I never took a picture of a miniature until about a year ago, and over that time I think my photos have improved alot. To point where people are actually complimenting me on them. I was surprised to realize just last night, That I was making some very incorrect assumptions about what I was doing. (I'll go into that in a second) , So I figured I had to get to the bottom of this.

There are couple basic premises of miniature photography that I have pieced together from a variety of sources. Number one is ideally you want a neutral background, people recommend a easily built light box, a curved piece of poster board or some type of light tent. Number 2, is you want to use a tripod and use the "macro" or "super macro" setting on your camera. Number 3 is you want your flash off. as that burst of brilliant light washes out the color and detail of your miniature. finally, you need to manually set the shutter speed, exposure and aperture size.

This where I drive off the side of the road. I'm one of those guys that rarely RTFM, because I like to figure shit out for myself. Don't ask me why- its Sooooo much easier to read the manual, but I guess I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes down to figuring stuff out. SO If you go all the way back to early last year and look at my pictures in my homemade Light Box, they're dark, and kind grainy and I needed use "lightroom" bring up the color and contrast of the pics, because I couldn't get enough light in the picture with flash off, even with a 100 watt light right above the miniature itself. I tried all kinds of stuff, I couldn't get my pics better. I was using this mini photography guide I picked up somewhere, I had all the settings right. what was up?

I had read of course you want your Aperture to be as small as possible and your shutter speed as fast as possible in order to take good pictures., However with Aperture that small, no light is getting into the camera without a flash. your maximum speed is also contingent on how much light can into the camera as well. An Aperture value of F.4 was recommended to me right in the middle so I figure that what I was using. Finally I said screw the light box, I am going to start taking pictures on the game table, and I am going to try a smaller Aperture. and add a ton of light. So I had my light above the table, ( a couple 100 watt fluorescents) and I also used a hand held work light behind the camera, but pointing at the target.
Bang -Suddenly my pictures got ALOT better, the color was there, the detail was great, the non-neutral background really wasn't distracting from the picture. I must been doing something right. Well, kind of- I inadvertently made my Aperture larger instead of smaller as in all the way down to F2.8. As I had assumed the smaller number was the smallest aperture. However its counterintuitive and the largest number 8 is the smallest Aperture. The thing is the larger the Aperture the more light gets into the camera and that's good. Here are some photo's I took today as sample with my W.I.P Knights of the Blazing Sun.

(note all pics are ISO 100 speed setting, with the Flash Off, and Macro ON, with my Canon A640 Powershot on a small Tripod. )

The above three shots are Aperture setting of F2.8, the largest it will go with a shutter speed of 1/30th which where It needed to be for the exposure to be at "+0" (what you want ideally, you can play around with the exposure but thats another topic)

These above three shots are an Aperture Setting of F4. The shutter speed is 1/6th
exposure "+0"

The final three above are an Aperture Setting F8, the fastest speed I could get and achieve a "+0" exposure is now down .3 seconds ( the slower the speed the sooner even the motion of taking the photograph starts making the picture blurry. Your ISO speed helps combat this.

Conclusions- There isnt a hell of a lot of difference in these pics at all, despite that my Aperture went from the largest possible to the smallest possible. There are subtle differences for example the 1st three have the shortest depth of field, you see the building to rear is a bit blurry but the Knights are very clear as you progress to F8, the background gets clearer with what I see as a slight cost to the clarity of the knights, its very slight..not even particularly noticable. The most important thing as this little demo shows, is the LIGHT.. overhead light and back lighting are key, obviously the ISO speed helps with any camera movement and Macro setting is for close up detail, but other than quality of your camera lense the amount of light getting in your picture seems to outweigh your Aperture setting. Shutter Speed and Exposure are directly relevant but even here we go from 1/30 to .3 which should be a noticable speed difference, (as when you get to around "1" things often get blurry), but I dont see much of one here.

In Part II, I am going back to my old lightbox and a new neutral backdrop and then compare.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

GW Rumor Roundup

Updated 1/13

There are a tons of rumors flying around about GW releases for 2008, most of this stuff is complied from Bell of Lost Souls and Warseer but some of it is courtesy of what I hear hanging around at the store.

Feb- LotR- Harad Army Harad Miniatures- Previews are out., The Corsairs of Umbar are awesome...I am grabbing these based on how much I like the models.

March - WFB- Vampire Counts- Full previews are pretty available everywhere.- I'm sold my next WFB army.

April- Plastic Orc Stompa- This has been complete for sometime but they've had trouble fitting the whole thing on 7 sprues which is current box size maximum. the technology created for the Baneblade has opened the door for larger plastic kits, and had enable them to get more stuff on a sprue. So I hear it's done and on 7 sprues waiting for release. Not sure "when" this is actually coming out. April is my speculation. But considering its been done for a awhile now. They probably want it out sooner than later, so "by April" seems ripe.

May- Both Demon books for 40K/WFB...I guess the 40K one will be compatible with the new 5th edition before its even released, seems odd to me but I've read and am told this is happening in May

June- 5th Edition of Warhammer 40,000/ New starter Set Space Marines and Orks a new SM codex. unknown??- however fits the profile of the redone DA, BA and BT codexes talk of redoing the SM codex was in the air at Adepticon 2007, so a new 40K edition and a new SM codex go hand in hand. They dont need to do any new models so it's pretty much a given.

June/ July - WFB- Dark Elves...New Book, New Plastics but not core troops...Little else is known, June is speculation but trying to fill in the gaps considering alternating releases.

July/ Aug- Imperial Guard- New book and some new models like non Forgeworld Death Korp and some other cool stuff., Time slot is speculation on my part. But I hear/read the new guard is coming and way overdue.

I am also told there is big Mordor release for LotR with new models and a new army book, so consider, WFB/ Dark Elves, 40K/ Imperial Guard, and LotR /Mordor the most likely summer releases.

September/ Oct - Planetstrike. New game book for 40K, Large plastic kits and terrain pretty much confirmed. Plastic Valkyrie, Thunderhawk Gunship, Defense Laser, I assume a bunch of other accompanying terrain and buildings, everyone is saying of course plastic drop pods..but I hear they are NOT a done deal (technical issues) While Apocalypse wasn't my cup of tea, as the scale is too big and even team games the turns are just too damn long. Planetstrike sounds very cool, smaller battles with defined missions using flyers sounds great, combined with a new edition of 40K means I will definitely be dusting off my Marines!

That all I can think of right now, I hope there is some new Fantasy Terrain in there somewhere.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Thoughts on Army Building

Just some thoughts on building my Empire Army. Thankfully for the blog here, I have a good documentation of the process. I can see looking back that I actually didn't dig into this army full time until around the beginning of August 07. I definitely did some building and test painting previous to that, so at this point I've probably put 6 months of work in. Currently I have built and primed 140+ models of which 122 actually have made in the final list, I still have enough stuff built and unbuilt to field another probably 1000 points, so I will have no problem fielding 3K with some options this year.

Currently I have 75 models fully painted and based with the corresponding move trays done. Some units have extra trays for different formations. All my units are magnet based and my cavarly and riders are magnetized which is a real time saver if I want change some mounted units up. I have 47 models to paint and 13 weeks to go until Adepticon so I am not too worried about getting it done. I have to build a display base which should take me a day or two. I have an old picture frame that will look very nice and given the amount of models going on display not much is going to fit on it other than some textured terrain and some trees.

This is the point where I scare people off from the hobby when I talk about how long things take (If you're reading this and have any interest you already know how long things take)
I consider myself an average hobbyist. I have been painting miniatures on and off since I played D&D in high school 20+ years ago. I still consider myself a slow painter even thou I didnt get back into the hobby for real until about 4 years ago, when I took up painting Reaper Miniatures as way to burn off steam ( I find painting relaxing) It wasn't until I got into Warhammer 40K and WFB about a year and half ago that I felt my skills have really progressed. The reason for the progression is obvious, I spend roughly 10-15 hours a week working on things about 85-90% of that time has been this Empire Army, while 15% being other things, building Terrain, working with Foamcore, or other miniature models, I average playing about 2-3 games a month, but not all of my game time comes out of my hobby time, some definitely does thou. Spend that amount of time on anything You'll get better at it. I probably spent 20 hours a week playing the Guitar in High School and College and I got professionally good at that. Point being is you have to put the time in to get results.

One piece of advice that I got early on in this hobby has become my basic discipline and that's "try to do at least one thing every day, no matter what". I've found sometimes doing one thing can lead to a major break through skill wise which can really help you set or even increase the pace on the rest of your project. The other piece of sage advice from longtime GW hobbyists is. "Don't buy more than you can build". Well if you're addicted to this plastic crack like I am, you know how long that idea lasts. good advice, but not really practical if you got money in your pocket and the bills are paid.

I read about some guy on Warseer the other day who claims to have painted 80 models in two days!, I find myself asking why?. They don't look good, while they aren't horrible, its seems like a waste of several hundred dollars in models to paint them half assed in two days, just to say they are done. While 10-15 hours a week probably seems like ALOT of time to some of you, (And I am sure some on of higher skill level than I can do the same in half the time) for me it works. I don't sleep a ton so between 10pm when my daughter goes to bed up to 2am (when I do , if not before ) is golden time for me where I can do what I want. I'm not saying take on more than you can handle but set a pace that works for you and stick with it. If you do, you will find things become so much more satisfying because even when the games or ruleset gets you down (like the current post-apocalypse, pre-5th ed blues going on with many 40K players)
You can always take comfort and satisfaction in your collection of awesome models that you would never dream of putting up on eBay just so some bonehead can throw them in simple green and re-paint them all in two days.

Once Adepticon hits, I'll probably step it down a bit and a get few other things accomplished. I have some actual furniture for my house I want to build and I have alot of terrain and other models I want to play around with and I'm sure I am going to start buying Vampire Counts when they come out this spring. Thankfully now I know that I can put a tourney ready army on the table from scratch in 8 months and that feels pretty damn good.


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