Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Future of War

Here's the Lancer conversion I talked about previously:

Lancer - WIPLancer - WIP

That's right! I switched out the Lancer's chassis for the Charger's! By way of comparison, here and here are pictures of the original builds.

The idea first came to me when I noticed the Arc Node fit equally well on both chassises. I also didn't feel that the Charger's more fluid, dynamic pose suited the model - it looked like he was side-stepping, not lining up the shot he should be taking! Furthermore, I liked the image of my Lancer shouldering into another warjack, bludgeoning it with his shield.

Thus was born this very simple conversion. The biggest thing I did was pin the head, making it so that the warjack was looking over the shield at his target. I drilled the pin into the head at an angle, then filed a little down on both sides - on the left side, to make the head more flush with the body, and on the right, to make the back corner of the head less obtrusive where it stuck out. 

I'm really pleased with how the whole thing turned out - the simple conversion proved to me that with the right amount of creativity and thought, unique takes on "unmodifiable" metal models were possible. On top of that, pinning the arms and head was much less difficult - and dare I say, more fun - than I thought it would be.

Also: sorry about the color of the photos! I forgot to turn on the white balance of my digital camera. The photo quality turned out well enough that I don't feel like retaking such simplistic WIP shots, but the pics of my Journeyman Warcaster will need to be redone. -_-;

On the note of "taking pictures of your models," here is a really great guide to just that! The same site provides some seriously sweet background gradient jpegs, so that your photos can look professional, too!

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Story So Far

My current Cygnar holdings are as follows:
    • Commander Coleman Stryker
    • Captain Victoria Haley
    • Ironclad
    • Charger
    • Lancer
    • Hunter
    • Journeyman Warcaster (alt.)

I also have two Iron Kingdoms models - Valeria Alvaro, Ordic Pistoller and Taryn di la Rovissi, Llaelese Gun Mage - that I plan on using as substitutes for a Gun Mage Captain Adept. I'll probably paint them both up, but I'm leaning toward using the Ordic Pistoller - she looks more badass and less like a skank!

Right now, my focus is on building (and trying to paint) a respectable 350 pt. Cygnar force:

Cygnar Starting Force
Army Points: 350/350
Victory Points: 13
    Captain Victoria Haley
    • Ironclad
    • Lancer
    Journeyman Warcaster
    • Hunter
All things said, I think it'd make a pretty good Mangled Metal list (well, except for that there solo). I know that many (most?) Warmachine armies aren't painted, and that I shouldn't wait to play till every single model is painted. But I'd like to play with something I'm proud of, ya know? I'm almost done with my Journeyman Warcaster, and I've pinned and assembled the Hunter and Lancer. I'll get pics of the JW up soon enough, as well as the Lancer - the latter has an easy but interesting conversion I'd like to show off.

Till then, if any of my readers have any tips or tricks they'd like to share - either with the army or the models - I'd love to hear them! Over at ATT, it's been pointed out that everything is about to change - which is completely true! - and that I should carve my own path. I agree... but friendly feedback is always fun!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Experience So Far

To date, I have little true experience with Warmachine: my Cygnar battlegroup is growing, slowly but surely, but I've played only two duel-sized games with the store's starting Cygnar army (won the first with a caster assassination, surrendered the second). I recognize that, with such little field experience, I should not rush to comparisons between Warhammer and Warmachine - but I just can't help it! Since I have so little experience with the game proper, I'm going to limit my comments to a comparison between the Privateer Press and Games Workshop models:

1) I feel I get more bang for my buck. This is derived from two disparate, but complementary, facts. First, it seems that I need less models to field a good-sized battle group in Warmachine. For what I've seen, most Warmachine matches are held at the 500 or 750 point level - and each faction's starting set already provides roughly 350 points. While you get alot more models out of them, 40K battle forces are rarely balanced ("Here's a tank/transport, and a few squads of guys! Go!"), are much more expensive ($70-$90), and provide a fraction of the forces you'll need for a 1000 point, and especially 1750 point, game. Secondly, I can find Warmachine models for really cheap on the internet, more consistently than I can Warhammer models. I know this is a one-off experience, but I was able to get my Cygnar starting force on eBay for $35, including shipping.

2) I'm more invested in my models. The Cyngar starter kit has four models, a warcaster and three 'jacks, and that makes up the lion-share of a 500 point force. All of the models are impressively cast, really giving you the sense that they're lumbering war machines, and you only have a few of them. It's really easy for me to justify spending time and effort making these (awesome looking) models live up to their full potential. Contrast this with my experience with Tau Fire Warriors: well, if you're lucky, they spend the entire game off map, hiding in their Devilfish - thanks to 5th edition rules, they don't even need to disembark to claim an objective! And if they are disembarked - well, either an autocannon has disintegrated them into a fine blue mist, or they've been ripped limb-from-limb in close combat.

3) Heavy metal? I don't really care about this difference. I've read Matt Wilson's enlightening post, and I realize why Privateer Press went with metal models. Compared to the Fire Warriors and Crisis Suits I'm used to, PP models are riddled with amazing charm and detail. Granted, detailing is coming into its own, so we'll probably see more than just Bastions in plastic. I really like these high-quality metal models (I'd be lying if I said the weight didn't factor into that feeling), but if they can be done in plastic - well, alright. Anyways, in my book it's a moot point: for the far-foreseeable future, my Cygnar army is going to be all metal.

Last but not least, and the reason for this blog's title:
4) Privateer Press' models have more sex appeal. While working on my Tau, I said many, many, many times that, if new plastic models were released for the Witch Hunters, I'd change armies in a heartbeat. I don't intrinsically crave T&A, I don't want to field an army of daemonettes. But I would like some cool looking warrior women in my army! Games Workshop, you have let me down in this regard! Privateer Press, you know my heart's desire! So, I'm backing a "boys in blue" Cygnar army... except they're chicks.

A Tale of Two Games

I started with the Tau a little over two years ago. I have roughly 1000 points of Tau, more if I equip my hunter cadre just right. But in all the time I've had them, I've only played a handful of games, the majority under the (incredibly awesome) 4th Edition Combat Patrol rules. I've constructed plenty, but have only one Piranha, two XV-15s, one Crisis Suit commander, and half a squad of Fire Warriors painted.

I guess my experience is really not that different from most peoples - walk into your local game store, and there's a good chance most of the armies won't be painted (white or black base-coating excluded), and may only be partially constructed. I could just suck it up and play... but the oppressive weight of so many unfinished models gets to you.

I think I lost my momentum early one, when I carefully and meticulously crafted my very first Fire Warrior team. So much effort and detail went into making that squad unique - a different pose here, a pointing hand there. And then I realized the squad made up just a fraction - and a small fraction! - of my total fighting force. There's just so much work to do to have a fully-functioning 1000-point cadre, and each little building block requires a (seemingly) disproportionate modeling effort compared to its point-cost and usefulness on the battlefield.

Last summer, about nine months back, I got introduced to Warmachine. I bought the rulebook and two blisters - the alternate Sorscha and the variant Journeyman Warcaster. I couldn't make up my mind between Khador and Cygnar, nor could I even bring myself to invest in a Warmachine army: I had a massive and unfinished Tau cadre, and the "local" Warmachine hangout was twenty minutes down the highway.

This all changed at the beginning of this year, when I discovered Asgard Games had just opened up. The location was right, and I knew the owners - Will and DJ - from the Rice Village Games Workshop. Warmachine is really popular at Asgard, so I went ahead and took the plunge.