I joined up with the Clapham Wargamers’ Guild slow-grow league for two reasons. One: lots and lots of practice games, starting small enough to focus on one piece at a time, then scaling up to the point values I’ll be playing. Two: points for painting, to motivate me into actually slapping some acrylic onto all 35 points of my Retribution by the end of January.
I had 15 points done before the league even started…
… plus Ravyn and Sylys, and since then, I’ve got some more done!
This Very Bad Photograph is here because I’ve misplaced my camera and also because I’m not exactly happy with these Invictors.
In keeping with my Retribution of Silvermoon approach to choosing Angry Elf colourschemes, these lads and lasses are supposed to be Blood Knights (see right): a simple enough idea which has ended up driving me crackers.
1 – the source colourscheme was designed for a model that has clear trims on all of its armour and a lot of detail around the neck and thighs. Dawnguard don’t have clear trims on all their armour or a lot of detail around the neck and thighs. By trying to directly map the colourscheme from source to model, I was basically inviting myself to do an awful lot of freehand. My freehand isn’t the best out there (let’s not mince words – it’s crap) and I tend to go boss-eyed painting units unless I make them simple, fast, and not fussy (like I did with my Stormfall Archers). What I should have done was take the colours and apply them approximately like I did with Ravyn, working with the model I actually had in my hands and directing my efforts toward giving an impression of the source material rather than just imitating it.
2 – after two or three years of grey-gesso-then-ink priming, going back to ‘start black, layer up’ proved surprisingly difficult, and I was almost having to guess where the details were at some points, sort of spodging paint in roughly the right area and then cleaning it up with a second brush.
3 – the trouble with mostly-black mostly-lacquered armour is that my old ‘first layer is metallic drybrush to basecoat armour and bring out details’ method felt like a waste of paint (after all, 90% of it was getting painted over), so I skipped it – but that kind of exacerbated the trouble that the first two points put me in.
4 – while most of the paints were Formula P3 and went on fine, the red was Citadel Blood Angels Red, and even with a Formula P3 basecoat to start the process off, it took me three layers plus a glaze to get anything like a decent finish. Three layers of freehand on twelve models for a painter who dislikes painting units and isn’t very good at freehand. Not clever. Note that the Sanguine Base first layer covered beautifully, as far as I could see, so I think this particular bad workman can get away with blaming at least one of his tools for this particular balls-up.
5 – batch painting bores the face off me unless the stages just rocket by – there’s a reason I use a lot of drybrushing and washing on my bigger projects. I ended up nibbling away at these doing one layer a day before or after work, since the process was so slow, and really resenting them for it. It was like painting Skorne, only worse because I wasn’t following detail that was on the model.
Still, lesson learned, and they’re done now.
I’ve playtested most of the pieces in the list now and am starting to get a feel for it, with one or two issues of placement still rearing their heads. In particular, the Dawnguard and Stormfalls trip over each other when they’re both deployed behind the Halberdier screen. It may be time to set up in greater width than I’ve previously done, possibly with one of these units on either side of a centrally placed warcaster, or possibly having them interspersed and focusing my fire across my units and onto key targets, rather than generally matching things up one-to-one like I’ve been doing so far.
I still have one point to account for in the final build, which is probably going to go on a Soulless Escort for the Invictors, turning them into a properly independent flanking unit. The only other option, really, is a second Arcanist, which I think feels like overkill; on a turn when I have Concentrated Power on the Phoenix I guess I’ll generally be wanting to allocate three focus from the ‘caster and achieve maximum havoc.
The other thing I have to sort out, of course, is the final member of the warcaster pool for Hydra. I’d considered the totally unknown quantity of the new floaty-lady-warcaster, but since I’m not even sure she’ll be out in time for SmogCon, that’s been ruled out. Both of the Vyroses have been too, not because I don’t like them or think they’re capable, but because Epic Vyros is huge and hard to protect, and because they both want a nice big battlegroup, not a single ‘jack. That leaves me with one option, really; Adeptis Rahn!
Rahn’s feat may be a bit of a toothless lion without Battle Mages in the army, but it’s still going to be good for some very brutal Chain Blasts and/or Force Hammers, depending on what else I’m doing with my focus. A pair of Chain Blasts where everything’s boosted could do wonders, as could a dual-boosted Force Hammer or two, and either could be coming from 14″ away if Vyros cast them himself (thank you, Sylys, and thank you for the improved dice efficiency on one of them too!). Alternatively, there’s a potential for four Telekinesis casts on enemy models. Looking at the rest of the spell list, disengaging the Phoenix with Force Blast seems like it could be a giggle. Force Field should help with keeping the squishy support pieces safe from deviating AOEs, and slapping Polarity Shield on the Halberdiers could well and truly gum up the middle of the field. He’s definitely growing on me. As a nice extra touch, his six warjack points mean he’ll neatly swap out with either Ravyn or Ossyan for the Scalpel event, without me having to change anything else, which should help with the fiddliness of sideboarding in mid-event.