Something fishy this way cometh

Well, some changes in the last months. And yes, you shall almost always find dismaying puns or references in the titles …

Firstly, the Brace For Impact event did occur, and it was glorious. The staff didn’t have much hair left, but the concept of a scripted campaign gives a very nice atmosphere and even if some scenarios were more inbalanced than anticipated, the fact that everyone wrote the story of the Piraleus sector gives even a defeat enjoyable. Among the hoard of immersive ideas from the staff :

  • Classical but efficient : some games did influence the next round depending on the result (change of scenario, of size …)
  • One briefing card for every game. Every faction recieved them and the players of that faction did choose its next game based on these fluff intel reports. Of course, sometimes the real scenario of the game is an ambush while you travel to obey your briefing … Of course, you don’t necessary know your enemy at this point :).
  • To avoid the meatgrinder playstyle : every ship lost has a penalty on its Leadership the next round (-1 on ships, battleships dropped to 6). Some scenarios, if won, did give a token to cancel the penalty for ONE ship.
  • A dynamic map, updated every round, to visualize where everyone was fighting. I’m rather proud of the miniships token I did for this event, but the map itself is absolutely gorgeous (Well done Pix !).
  • A complete fluff book about the sector, 33 pages long as an introduction for the week end.

The plot was about a Tyranid invasion in an imperial sector, with Tau evacuation fleet that flees before the beast and ends up in a cat and mouse chase with the local defenders and Eldars that just do their stuff with ancient Webway issues in the sector.

Secondly, as one player finally could’nt come, we were short of one Tau fleet. As everything was scripted for two Tau fleets, and to avoid to change everything 2 weeks before the BFI, I ended playing Tau with my custom models (Korvattra for the win !). I had to rush an explorer model in 15 hours to be able to send it to print in order to recieve it 2 days before the tournament. All in all I made a pretty simple list, based on what I had at hand and what I could print. I only had one hero and merchant, so I planned to use for each one of my models and one of GW. I can confirm that these are a pain to glue. But, and because every plan has to fumble at some point, the nice metal Merchant encounter a feline warp-beast during the night, and the prow was lost with all hands. The rumour is that it reappeared two weeks later, vomited by the Warp in the form of a vacuum cleaner. The Inquisition is investigating. So, at the last moment I briefly painted an emissary to replace it. Here is the list :

  • Kor’O (Ld9) + 1 re-roll
  • Phasing Smith – Explorer battleship – Bor’Kan variant
  • Voice of the Eclipse – Explorer battleship – Vash’Ya variant
  • Silent Whisper– Hero cruiser – Vash’Ya variant
  • Tau’va Toridas – Hero cruiser -Tolku variant
  • Decent Communion – Merchant cruiser – Dal’Yth variant
  • Stargazer – Emissary cruiser – Sa’Cea variant
  • 2 x 3 Orcas
  • 2 Defender
  • 2 x 1 Messenger

I was rather surprised at the efficiency of the fleet. On the paper, I didn’t anticipate the very agressive playstyle so much ordnance can give. The Messenger is a pearl, allowing several locked broadsides at the beginning of the game. I don’t know if I accidentaly stumbled upon a very competitive list or if I was just lucky, but things went rather smoothly. I’ll make a post with some detail on the 4 games themselves, because there was some nice moments 🙂 (Finishing an Emperor battleship with a double front ramming by Heroes : check ! Survive it : check !). Our narrative arc was that we (the Tau) were fleeing a neighbouring sector where we were peacefully dealing with a local xeno race. The tyranids did come, and we fled, bringing along a colony ship of these xenos (for their greater good of course) and just had to cross the over-militarized imperial Piraleus sector. Guns on the front, teeth on the rear …

All in all it was a very nice weekend, very smoothly operated and full of nice players and games. In the end the Piraleus sector did survive, despite having lost 2 sub-sectors to the Great Devourer. The Tau did stumbled on the last step of their exodus (only be lack of time :().

Secondly, I finally managed to make some decent pictures of my Tau models :

First : The Explorer. I wanted it more bulkier, since it’s a cargo/exploration vessel in the beginning, before being retrofitted for combat duties. It’s still WIP, being absurdtely undetailled on the bottom side, but it’s a 15 hours work to print it for the BFI tournament. I’ll keep it that way, just detailling some dorsal parts and allowing a proper keel. The prows and the engine section shouldn’t change.

Explorer - Missile variant
Explorer – Missile variant

Explorer - Carrier variant
Explorer – Carrier variant

Explorer aft. I wanted to change the layout of it.
Explorer aft. I wanted to change the layout of it.

Next : The Hero. The major change in the design was to alter the engines section. I understand why the engines on the original model look so puny (the Tau having difficulties matching other races miniaturization in space), but I wanted something else. As a huge fan of the design of the Star Wars Corellian Corvette (what an iconic ship), I mainly transposed it. The bulkier design fits for me for a race having troubling with space propulsion.

We can be heroes !
We can be heroes !

Hero - details of the CEC aft
Hero – details of the CEC aft

The Merchant. Not much to say here, some detailling work, mainly concerning the engine section.

Yes, this is the tau vision of a "retrofitted transport". It looks more impressive that it is.
Yes, this is the tau vision of a « retrofitted transport ». It looks more impressive that it is.

All the modules (launch decks, armaments, cargo or hook) are detachable and standardized. I have to take the plunge and test the magnetizing of the modules (I made a pre-hole on them and the hull to allow it. I only have to find a suitable magnet size able to hold them correctly). With this any configuration can be done, and I think, if it’s implemented properly, that it’ll allow to play with the variants class with a common hull.

Now, the escorts :

Orca : Just some proportions revisions, the « wings » on the prow of all the Tau escorts were always a bit larger to my taste so first revision here. It’s design to fit on the hooks module and the aft dorsal section of the explorer (just detach if from the base and plug it on). I shall add some picture of this.

Orca, reloaded
Orca, reloaded

Orca aft. A bit smotther than the original
Orca aft. A bit smotther than the original

Defender : This one was depicted as large, and the original miniature was indeed larger. Same reasonning as with the Hero here : bulkier engines, looking like the explorer revamp.

Defender prow
Defender prow

Defender - engines
Defender – engines

Messenger : A major change here, because it’s more a mobile comm station than a real ship. So it’s blistering with antennas and domes for intel equipment. And I personnally had a challenge the first time I had to see which was the Defender and which the Messenger with the original miniatures.

Messenger - hedgehog ptn
Messenger – hedgehog ptn

Messenger - engines
Messenger – engines

Finally, a picture of the ordnances token, painting courtesy of Kurgan (so it’s nicely painted). I chose to retain the Tigersharks as bombers … well just because I like their look :).

United colours of Tau'va, as Kurgan says
United colours of Tau’va, as Kurgan says

Bakka Revival

Back again on the Imperium. With the coming of BFI (french BFG tournament), I’m keeping on building a fleet with the 2010 Bakka list. As of now, I have several conversion on the standard cruiser to reflect the orthodoxy of Bakka (keeping a Mars Pattern) with enough small changes that make the fleet recognizable.

The 2010 list adds some very interesting variants. I had worked previously on the Havoc frigate for Cypra-Mundi, with the diamond prow, but with only a prow swap if can be made quite good looking (yes, I sometimes praise myself).

Bakka Havoc prototype
Bakka Havoc prototype

And finally, since the 2010 list allows the presence of Endeavour & Endurance light cruisers, I couldn’t let pass the occasion of making yet another variant to fit in :

Bakka Endeavour Prototype
Bakka Endeavour Prototype

Since the draft of this article was pending long enough, I recieved the test prints :

Bakka_Havoc_1Bakka_Havoc_2

Bakka_EndeavourBakka_Endeavour_rear

I’m planning to field some in June for the tournament.

Now time to find my ordnance for Bakka … They’ll have to be bulky, because Bakka is old school and I see them heavier than the standard Mars pattern.

BFI 2016

Well, for french BFG players it should not be a surprise as now, but I’d like to drop a few lines on the coming BFI tournament of this year. BFI was an initiative of some parisian players to finally try to hold a regular event arround BFG. It holds in june in Paris at a shop named the Waaagh Tavern (awesome people there in the staff, don’t hesitate to drop by if you are in Paris and innocently want to link with the hobby). Last year was the first edition, and a rather classic tournament in the mechanics, but with a lot of good spirit from the players and the staff. Nicely painted tables were available, which is always best. It’s also a full painted tournament, because grim dark gothic space miniatures always look better when painted. Unfortunately, the event last year was a bit altered for me, as my son was quite ill both before and during the tournament, so I had to frequently do round trips during the event, which wasn’t the best. And as I was a bit overwhelmed, I even didn’t manage to paint my fleet :(.

This year, I was able to be more invested in the preparation of the event, and the main change is that it’s more a large scale narrative campaign (4 turns – 20 players) than a competition. It’s already hard to play on a regular basis BFG, at least the BFI aims to make people play together instead of against each other. Basically, the background story revolves arround the Tyranid invasion of a sector, but we try to find some hooks to change a bit from a too classical story. This year again, I’ll play a Bakka fleet. The 2010 list is OK (a few things aren’t to my liking, but enough of it so I can build a list). And of course I didn’t resist to make some custom models to fit with my vision of Bakka (and the conversion I have already done). More on this in a few days.

I can’t tell you much right now, as we prepare some suprises, but I wanted to show that BFG is still alive (and yes « this was a triumph ») in France. I’ll give you some feedback and pictures of my fleet in the two months to come, and of the event in june :).

Tau-Kugawa

Again, let’s relaunch the blog :).

This time a centralization of a project which began with the last Tau codex at 40000. When the Kor’vattra was released for Battlefleet Gothic, I reacted like almost everyone : « Woh, it’s ugly ». With time, I began to appreciate the retro design of the ships, as it fits the low tech in space for the Tau. But (there is always a but) the miniatures were crude and the fact that they were made of metal didn’t help for the details and assembly gaps. So, in parallel of my return to the Tau in 28 mm, I began working on HD models for the Kor’vattra. No major changes in the designs, I just tried to densify the details.

First work on the Merchant (also to be able to have heavy transports for the Kor’vattra hence the need for a Cargo Module to be designed). The prototype from Shapeways has arrived and has been primed (badly as I’m unable to make a smooth undercoat).

Tau_Merchant_Proto

For the cargo module, I tried to be coherent with a small freighter I made some time ago (which looks so dull and undetailled now). Some changes too on the gun module, allowing placement of turrets to show the fire arcs (front + side). The launch decks are made, I’ll show them with the Hero.

Containers for the cargo version
Containers for the cargo version

Railguns and Ion canons. On such small pieces, Shapeways FUD and FXD are great, and most of all, they don’t need supports, allowing more freedom with the designs. Too bad the material is a pain to work with. The concepts:

Railgun Ion_Cannon

Work done on the Orca and the Defender (some details left to be done at this stage). Design picture at this time.

Orca Concept. Some detailling to be done on the prow
Orca Concept. Some detailling to be done on the prow
Defender concept

And to go with, some fighters and bombers.

Barracudas
Barracudas
Tigersharks
Tigersharks

And this time I won’t let the blog down one year aND A HALF ! Gosh …

Dogfight time !

So much for a regular update on the blog … This whole year saw the eking out a living (is this english ?) of several projects, but mainly a lot of change in my personnal life (work, home, familly …).

First line of work, some little ordnance minis to replace the regular ordnance tokens. I tried to have several designs, because a bit of variety is always welcomed. First of all, a set of fighters/bombers inspired by WW2 airplane (which make them suitable to figure marauders or thunderbolts).

Le grand cirque - revival
Le grand cirque – revival

With this kind of volume it’s a lot cheaper to print them directly en masse than casting them in resin, so I have a horde of them ^^.

Second tier with a bomber derived from Wing Commander and the french Mirage IV fighter :

Thunder_child

More classical but I think it suits the bulky and ragged look we all love.

Third try with an inspiration from Battlespace that I found lovely :

Banshee Fighters
Banshee Fighters

Nicknamed « Dragonfly » by several people in place of the « Banshee » original name, but well … I’m quite proud of my work (yes, more self-praise) for a 8 mm piece. Just the basecoat ATM, thay’ll reinforce my Voss fleet.

Bakka Bakka

On this lame japanish pun, I’m quite proud to announce that I finally finished my model for my Firedaggers, for the Bakka battlefleet. This fleet comes from an alternative imperial fleet, in the venerable BFG Magazine #2, and represents the home fleet of Segmentum Tempestus. The list was updated in 2012 by the BFG Compendium team. I’m not a big fan on some modifications they made, but some are interesting. There is some people that question the choice of Bakka for this expansion, but personnally I like its fluff and the orientation is interesting. The compendium version make the list more playable, but some new ships like the Havoc aren’t to my taste. On the contrary, the Mercury really fits the concepts of this fleet, very gun-oriented.

So, first work on this : The Firedagger. Bakka is a fleet belonging the Big Gun Lobby in the admiralty. Thus, they use very few attack crafts. This dates back to the 36th millenium, when the Gaerox Prerogative tried to focus the new doctrine of Bakka on carriers. Lamely, some ships (like the Despoiler) all defected to Chaos, or were too ammunition consuming (like the Viper destroyer). The Firedagger is a frigate hull equiped with Fleet Defense Turrets, capable of defending nearby ships from ordnance attacks. These turrets are also available to some of the Mechanicus cruisers.

To sum it up, I’m working to make myself a small Bakka fleet, for the moment based on the old BFG Magazine list. After a long time of testing and thinking (mainly concerning the wings), I achieved this :

Firedagger - Side View
Firedagger – Side View

The Flak turrets are separate, allowing some posing and re-using on Mechanicus ships.

The second work for Bakka is my Daemon Slayer. This ship comes from the BFG Mag #2 too. It’s a unique ship (basically a Tyrant), armed with a prow psychic canon. This is an abomination which disrupts the hive mind control for tyranids, banishes demon ships and cripples a regular ship for a while … As it’s a unique ship, I tried to make it stnd out, while staying in the general design of an imperial cruiser, since Bakka is a rather rigid fleet on the conception of ships.

These are the firsts layer of paint, to settle the official paint scheme of Bakka.

The small conversions on this are :
– A long antenna from the Space Marine Battlebarge to represent the Psychic Canon
– A test for the figurehead : an etched brass eagle from Forge World
– A bridge from a Mechanicus Cruiser in place of the antennas, to represent the esoteric face of the psychic canon (containing a psyker choir or similar), and reinforcing the relic side of the Daemon Slayer.
– A custom made engine (made for my Cypra Mundi fleet, before I found a better piece for it. More in a post to come).
– The wings were lengthened with the fins of the Repulsive bridge.
– The fins on the engines come from the Falchion
– Weapons batteries from the Space Marine Battlebarge, as they look more gothic than the standard batteries)

Well, this is only the beginning :).

BFG – Modular Cargos

So the pace increases in July :).

Today, a bit of a check up on a long term project of mine. As the BFG rulebook said, the transports add some variety to any fleet. GW only produced two imperial transports. Forge World did some variants and new transports for the Kor’Or’Vesh Tau and the Eldar, and quite nice heavy transports for the Imperium. As it is a bit restraining, because nothing looks more than a fuel transport that the same fuel transport. In the Battlefleet Gothic Magazine 4, Nate Montes did submit some profiles to recycle old Space Fleet models to count as new transports classes, and a cute little scenario with a pair of tables to deal with the civilian reaction in a space battle (from the coward that flees to the madman who charges the ennemy with it’s puny transport … In all cases, your convoy formation is forgotten). Since then, Warp Rift did submit some new profiles for a bit less than a dozen transports and some nice examples and tutorials.

To sum it up, I always had a lot of fun to imagine various cargo ships, all different. A bit similar to scale model railway, when you assemble a convoy of very different freight railcars. All of this must come from the old and blessed days of Transport Tycoon.

The Alpha of it all ...
The Alpha of it all …

So here I am since some weeks, building small pieces of modular transport ships, dividing them between prow, cargo section, stern and special modules :

The prows

The firsts cargo sections :

And the Sterns :

And 2 modules, one of engines and one of battlements, to be inserted and create armed or fast variants (before I gather my wits and do several versions of each cargos) :

And three fast examples :

Sabot Containers Composition
Sabot Containers Composition
Beaky/Sabot/Crescent Composition
Beaky/Sabot/Crescent Composition
A clearly excessive composition :)
A clearly excessive composition 🙂

Basically some blocks have been thought together, but everything is adaptable with everything. Some time the result may be not just as well as thought, but at least the freedom of composition should be here.

I think I’ll test them during this summer :).

Heavy Hauling for the Knights of Titan

Well, well … Already 20 days of bloging without any update … So much for regularity ^^.

Today, a short article about Warhammer 40000. Already … Six months ago ?!, my sweetheart braved the bugs of the GW website and bought some of those shiny little plastic thingies we all love. After a deadful duel with the checkout routine and a fearful last stand against the delivery adress form (yes, the website was particularly vindictive this day), the reinforcements went to the Warp of the french post office. On the day of christmas, my true love gave to me, 1 box of dice (with a scatter dice that only seldomly scatters), and a brand new Stormraven gunship.

« What a nice kit » I told myself. « Hell, he looks ridiculous with the engine far behind the cell » answered my sneering mind. I went to and fro on the internet to look at some conversion people made for inspiration, and I found this on the « blog des Kouzes » :

A picture of the main source of inspiration, directly from the German Games Day 2010. Thanks to the blog des Kouzes for the picture.
A picture of the main source of inspiration, directly from the German Games Day 2010. Thanks to the blog des Kouzes for the picture.

OK, it looks like a mini-thunderhawk, but I find that it takes the general lines of the TH but keeps the specifics of the Stormraven (position of engines and the tilt of the wings). And what had to happen finally happened, I bought a second kit of Stormraven …

To sum it up, the details that ruin the vanilla mini are mainly due to the Disbelief Factor. Basically, this is the point of no return, beyond which something fictional goes from plausible to ludicrous. The small thing that ruins a lot of effort. The excessive excess. In this case, for me it is :
– The size of the hold, way too small. I’m not an afficionado of true scale, but here the border between game-manageable size and little wheelbarrow is crossed.
– The position of the engines, too ankward for me. I know that we are in total fiction and that the flying-bricks of the Space Marines would never be able to fly, but here I only see it do looping after looping when the pilot kicks the engines.
– The position of the Huricane Bolters, which fire in the forward hull or if they don’t have a huge blind spot in the forward arc.
– The big, glass turret. Here it’s just a personnal feeling, It breaks the line of the machine. Well, it’ll be stored for use on a Razorback :).

The nice conversion from the Games Day did appeal to me, because it solved the problem of the hold and engines, and made it look more like a Mini-Hawk and kept some specifics of the Stormraven. Well, the big gun (of dooming death) just screamed « THUNDERHAWK » and I didn’t like the Razorback turrets for the Huricane Bolters, but it’s a start. After the buying of one more hull kit via bitz stores on Ebay, here is comes the first try :

The hesitation about the hull assembly ...
The hesitation about the hull assembly …

Now it’s more beefy, at this stage I still hesitated on where to put the second floor : keep the line of the aft section, or like here and more to the fore ? In the end, I kept the first option. One stabilizer later, it gives this :

Hull assembled. Blessed be thee, Machine !
Hull assembled. Blessed be thee, Machine !
Yes, I'm boasting. I used this Grey Knight Forgeworld Rhino Door I bought on impulse several years ago ...
Yes, I’m boasting. I used this Grey Knight Forgeworld Rhino Door I bought on impulse several years ago …

Concerning the wings and the engines, the version of the Games Day Conversion was to my mood, so it’s a copy/paste here. Some work to cut two sets of wings, pinning, gluing and savage rookie greenstuffing gives this :

The enlenghted wing. What an astounishing skill with green stuff !
The enlenghted wing. What an astounishing skill with green stuff !

And a last minute finding : the Dark Angels Dark Talon has beautiful batteries of underwing Huricane bolters. And here they go.

The armament of the bird. Did the designer had something to compensate ? :)
The armament of the bird. Did the designer had something to compensate ? 🙂

So here I am, with something WISIWYG (bolters & missiles) that I like. I can imagine it breaking, all weapons blazing to clean the drop zone. It has a small look of the Clone Gunships of the Star Wars ugly trilogy (that is the episodes I, II and III).

And here is the shell of the hull.
And here is the shell of the hull.

There is still work on it, and in particular the holes to cover. I now have to find a practical system to magnet or pinn the wings, because this beast doesn’t fit in the display, and will be a nightmare to transport if I just glue them in place.

Cargo Haulers for the braves !

A small update. As usual, I’m on several project at once. Promised, the Gothic Fleet is on the bench, I’ll update in the days to come. As I always found that the imperial cargos are to few, I gave a try to make several variants or patterns.

Imperial variant, no reason for the Heretics to have it as an exclusivity !
Imperial variant, no reason for the Heretics to have it as an exclusivity !
Chaos transports, the poor heretics didn't have some
Chaos transports, the poor heretics didn’t have some
A Fast Clipper, a small and fast cargo
A Fast Clipper, a small and fast cargo
Sabot Heavy Transport - Cohesive with the Rogue Trader small cargo
Sabot Heavy Transport – Cohesive with the Rogue Trader small cargo
Beaky Transports - Fuel and troops variants
Beaky Transports – Fuel and troops variants

And another WIP, a Beaky Light armoured cruiser :

Light Armoured Beaky Cruiser
Light Armoured Beaky Cruiser

Gothic Project – The List

First draft for a Battlefleet Gothic fleet list. The main purpose of this list is to finally set up a small fleet, and play small games with only painted ships. This list will be used for the Battlefleet Gothic Painting log.

  • Edouard Bleuten
    • Fleet Admiral – Cd 8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  50 pts
  • Orpheus
    • Dictator class cruiser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  220 pts
  • Ozymandias
    • Tyrant class cruiser. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  185 pts
    • WB range upgrade. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  +20 pts
  • Stromboli
    • Dauntless class light cruiser. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  110 pts
    • Lance version
  • Adamant
    • Siluria class light cruiser. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  110 pts
  • Fireborn Squadron
    • 5 Sword class frigates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  175 pts
    • Names
  • Eutrope Squadron
    • 4 Cobra class destroyers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  120 pts
    • Names

1165 points, not very optimal. The main purpose is to have some fun, I don’t take the Swords or the Dauntless on the field. It’s mainly a frame to finally have some painted ships to field a full painted fleet.

Next update on the painting side :).