Sunday, June 11, 2017

Space Marine Dreadnought #2

Progress continues on the dead lead projects.  Man 40K has really gotten under my skin lately.  This guy has been sitting in my Knights of Eden army box for years.  This is an old metal Dreadnought with a Forge World plasma cannon arm.  Back in the day this was a killer model that would have been the envy of many a Space Marine player.  Today it is a dated relic that does not stand up well to the new plastic kits.  I really like the rough texture of the model as I think it really makes you think of something that has been in use for hundreds, maybe thousands, of years and repeatedly rebuilt.

This one was really fun to get on the paint bench and get finished up.  I still have tons of models for this army awaiting completion and I am sure I will have more to come.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Nurgle Chaos Space Marine Kill Team

I painted these guys a few weeks back just after the Shadow War Armageddon game box was released.  This is the first Kill Team I have specifically painted for this game.  I chose Nurgle as it is a mark of chaos I have never modeled for 40K so I thought it would be an interesting change.  I made this choice before I even knew 8th edition was being released and well before I knew the new box would feature Death Guard.

Chaos Marine Aspiring Champion with plasma pistol.  This is the boss.

Chaos Space Marine gunner with an auto-cannon.  This guy is pretty cool but has yet to prove his worth in battle.

Chaos Space Marine with bolt pistol and chainsword.  Just your standard run of the mill close combat marine.

Another Chaos Space Marine with bolt pistol and chainsword.  For a campaign one of these guys would likely start as a gunner so that later on he can have a weapon upgrade.  Chaos Marines are too expensive to add during a campaign in my opinion.

Chaos Cultist.  This guy is armed only with a knife even though he has some impressive mutations.  Basic cannon fodder.  I am getting the feeling that cultists are a liability rather than a benefit.

Chaos Cultist 2.  Even though this guy looks totally different in game terms he is just like the other guy.  Both these models were built by rummaging through the bits box and sticking stuff together in interesting ways.

These models are just some random stuff I pulled out of the dead lead pile.  I actually have quite a bit of Chaos stuff.  I swear this stuff breeds in the dark.  I have enough additional models for weapon options as well as Specialists so I am sure there will be more items added to this collection.

In game terms this Kill Team is really not very good.  The cultists make the force fragile.  The lack of ranged weapons other than the auto-cannon means lots of movement.  I need to paint a few models and try some different options to get a feel for this force.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Space Marine Scout Additions

With the pending release of Warhammer 40,000 8th edition and the already released Shadow War Armageddon I have been inspired to paint more of my collection of Space Marine models.

I have tried the Space Marine Scouts in SW:A a couple of times and found my configuration to be lacking.  I have been using the 5 close combat scouts that I painted up over 8 years ago as the basis.  With the additional points I added a scout with a sniper rifle.

The sniper rifle has not really impressed me so I decided to paint up my scout heavy bolter to add some punch.

As well as the heavy bolter I also painted up a couple of scout with boltguns.  The bolt pistol option is nice but you have to allow enemies to get very close before you can shoot and as fast as some of these armies move you need some balance on the ranged weapons.  The boltguns will do that.

Now I have 9 painted scouts to mix and match for my SW:A force.  I really can't wait to try these new options out and see which ones work best.

These models have all been painted in the colors for my Knights of Eden Space Marine Chapter I have been working on for more than 10 years.  These are the first additions to this collection in about 5 years.  I still have lots of models waiting to be painted for this army and this latest work has inspired me to work on more of it.  This is another area of saving money by painting what I already have.  Novel concept for a gamer but so far it is really paying off.  Sometimes less is more.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

More M7 Priests for Flames of War

Even as the luster fades from Flames of War my work complete various long neglected projects continues.  Today we have three more M7 Priests for my MW US Army.  These will see action for various US actions in Tunisia, Sicily and Italy in the MW and LW periods.  They will also be handy for LW ETO games.  These are pretty much a must have unit for US forces.  I now have 6 or these for two batteries of guns.  I have never actually fielded that many in a game but with v4 (or v3.5) pushing the battle size up I might actually use them all in a game.

I also painted up a couple of jeeps.  One is the FO jeep for the artillery and the other is part of the security section for a TD platoon.  The neat thing about jeeps is you can use them in lots of different army builds so it is good to have extras.

This will likely be the last Flames of War post for a while as I switch gears to other long ignored projects.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

My Future with Flames of War

Just over 7 years ago I played my first game of Flames of War after literally years of wanting to try it.  This was towards the end of 2nd edition.  I had tried to get the game going back in the 1st edition days, and I even bought most of an army, but no one locally was very interested so it never got off the ground.  After that first proper game I was hooked and Flames of War soon became my main game pushing out others such as Lord of the Rings and Warhammer 40,000.  Most of my time with Flames of War has been with the 3rd edition rules and for the most part I thought the rules were fine.  There were a few things I would have changed but I felt, and still feel, the core of the system works great.

Along comes Team Yankee and things start to get weird.  I was not really interested in this game, and I still am not very interested, but a few of my friend are and jumped right in.  They all seemed to really enjoy the game and most seems to like the card based unit creation system.  My friend Tom, after getting into TY, was convinced that this would be the model for Flames of War v4.  I wasn't convinced this would be the case and I wasn't even convinced that there would be a v4 any time soon.  Well, I was wrong on both counts and, as we all know, version 4 was released a couple of months ago and it is 99% Team Yankee (I am actually referring to Mid-war version 4). 

Battlefront really made a mess of the new release process and through some bad communication to the customer base really got off on the wrong foot with version 4.  As an example, it was not really clear until just prior to release that this actually entails the release of what is effectively two games that share much of the same rules but have completely different army construction philosophies.  These two games are Mid-war version 4 and EW/LW version 4 (which our group calls v3.5).  A big part of the confusion I have about the release of the new version, for me, centered around what exactly they were giving away for free to existing players.  Battlefront has been really good about version changes in the past and once again they had plans to give free rules to all existing players.  The problem was the rules the game away for free (EW/LW) turned out to NOT be the rules they spent so much time talking about on the web and in publications (MW).

Another area of trouble and the one that I find the most concerning is in the area of army construction with MW v4.  The TY card based model seems to work great for an entirely new game set in a new era where most all of the players will be starting with no existing collections nor preconceived ideas on how things should work.  This worked great for TY and Battlefront was dazzled by its success.  Unfortunately this model is a complete disaster for a new version of a well established game like Flames of War.  When combined with another goal for v4 stated by Battlefront, the reduction of product codes, and you have the making of a dull, flavorless mess of a game setting.  It is now clear that BF intends to severely reduce the number of models they produce and have no intention of including units in the game for models they do not produce.  From a purely business perspective there is a certain amount of sense to this approach but from a customer relation perspective this is a disaster.  You see, there huge well established customer base already has many of these soon to be eliminated models in their collections and they would really like to use them in the game but Battlefront cannot see any value to keeping these people happy as they think these people are already unlikely to spend money anyway so no great loss.

This is EXACTLY the same attitude that Games Workshop had towards their long time customers for many years.  GW steadily convinced themselves that young kids and new hobbyists were where the real money was to be found and that long time gamers already had lots of models and therefore had no desire to by more.  This contempt for their loyal customers eventually brought the company to the verge of irrelevancy.  Huge numbers of middle aged gamers with lots of money to spend were so put off by this attitude they moved on to games that treated them better, like Flames of War.  But now the GW rot seems to have set in with Battlefront and they seem determined to destroy their game in the name of increasing sales.  We are seeing the tip of an epic iceberg that it set to rip the bottom out of Battlefront.

This brings me, finally, to the point of this article - my future with Flames of War.  Needless to say I am not very happy with the new direction of the game as it relates to the army construction in particular.  I really like the EW/LW version of the rules.  These allow you to continue to use the extensive variety of the version 3 army list books and while some of the points are now off due to changes in effectiveness of certain units in the game it all still works fine.  I really believe this should have just been the true version 4 rules.  I have yet to play any of the MW armies and I actually have no plans to buy the books.  The price of the books has actually gone back up with MW v4 as now you have to spend $40 to get a tiny variety of armies for only British and Germans.  The version 3 North Africa book was $30 for dozens of armies for four different countries.  Oh, and now you can buy card decks that give you additional army options that should have just been included in the pathetic army books for even more $$.  It is a disgusting money grab and I just can't bring myself to buy into it. 

I am not going to be playing the full blown v4.  In fact, I expect this game to fail.  I think that Battlefront is about to have their version of Warhammer 40K 6th edition.  I hope they can see the writing on the wall soon enough to turn things around before any lasting damage is done to their brand and their business.  I will continue to play the game using the EW/LW rules along with the old army books.  I have way too many armies collected for this game to just stop playing.  I will also make new model purchases to expand my collections.  I really want to get the new desert British tanks as well as Panzer Grenadiers and 88's.  The new models they are producing for v4 are great!

All of this drama (of which I have barely even talked about) is really souring the game for me right now.  It has been slowly falling in table time and the new version was supposed to spark renewed interested but it seems to have just caused a major split in the player base and created a lot of ill will. Ironically, all this is happen right at a time where GW seems to have righted the ship and is now moving in a very positive direction.  I am already starting to get pulled back into the GW hobby and my Battlefront lifeline seems to no longer be tied to anything.

Don't worry, I still have models to paint and stuff to post...