Tuesday, November 30, 2010

so you say it's your birthday

Well, it's my birthday too, yeh. 

Indeed, it is. Today, I am [... cough, cough, hack, chortle, wheeze...] old, which has got me thinking about time and its relativity. In lieu of (ir)regular posting this week, I'd like to take a step back into the "distant" past of A Gentleman's Ones and revisit a favorite post or two from the early days of the blog. This particular post is a favorite because a) it shows two of my favorite conversions, and b) it hails from a time when this blog was not yet two months old and when there were only three or four of you following (Brent, you only count once). As such, I suspect that this may very well be new to most of you, all the more reason to share.

Moreover, this re-post will allow me a moment to harvest the birthday revelry. Everyone wins!

Here goes:

In the last few posts, I outlined the Onorevoli Chapter’s obsession with dismantling the Iron Warriors, the near heretical consequences of that obsession, and the extreme force organization that has ensued as a result. At top of the food chain, then, only Librarians or their Terminator bodyguards remain, both of whom have enthusiastically continued to steer the Chapter on its relentless pursuit ...although in slightly different manners. 

(I should also mention that Scouts, as I’ve imagined them, have been recruited into this machine at an alarming rate and either callously expended or shuffled quickly up the ranks as a reward for success or survival. So far, the key phrase has definitely been “callously expended” as not a single Scout has survived a game yet. I love it when fluff and function align. )

What’s more, I envision that the Librarians (both of whom are flirting with heresy and perdition in their own right –that’s what books do after all) had somehow either actively encouraged or tacitly allowed the kinds of cultish behavior akin to that which initially got Horus into his particular brand of trouble. And so, the Onorevoli wheel around the axis of my two converted Librarians.

As mentioned yesterday, we have the Librarian leader of the un-wolf Terminator Lodge (who also double for games of Space Hulk): These guys are designed to look weathered and roguish. They have neglected basic upkeep of their armor not only because they’ve been campaigning, but also (and more tellingly) because they have really come to embrace the Cult of Pursuit –from which they have embraced the Wolf emblem. The Un-Wolf Terminators from yesterday are, therefore, the bodyguard for my converted Space Hulk Terminator Librarian –and I’ve made a pact with myself that they won’t grace a table without him.

This was a pretty standard conversion, with a simple arm swap on the left hand for the Storm Shield, and a only modestly more ambitious armament swap on the right hand. The only catch for the second conversion was the power cables that needed to be trimmed and re-sculpted a bit from the original. I also used a few Space Wolf details to hid various emblems and references to the Blood Angels, most easily seen with the wolf skull on his tunic and the emblem now covering his left knee. Thankfully, plastic is so incredibly soft, that you can almost cut and sculpt it on its own. As a rule, I love plastic releases for this simple reason: adhesion and conversion made easy.

The second Librarian is pretty ambitious and expansive kit-bash. In total he takes components from:
CSM Terminator: body and gun both with chaos arrows removed.
Space Wolf Terminator: head (with green stuff and plasticard hood) and pauldron.
Space Hulk Librarian: book at top –which was cut from first Terminator Librarian to make room for his wolf cloak.
Grey Knight Terminators: force weapon.
WHFB High Elves: second book, cloaking, and part of base.
Ogres: part of staff.
Skeletons, skeletons, skeletons: heads.

As with the previous Terminator Librarian, plastic made this possible. And I know that I've said this before but it merits repetition: never throw anything away. I’ve also raised his torso slightly with some green stuff -which makes room for his twisted pose, and which (along with the raised base) makes him the same height as his counterpart.

Primarily, I wanted to suggest his flirtation with Heresy through his armor; One might reasonably imagine that it need only grow back those missing arrows to fully represent his Chaotic inclinations. Moreover, I wanted to bring back the Library with this Librarian much akin to the story of my antiquated and abandoned chapter The Book Wardens, whom I discussed at some length in these three posts (in reverse order). If the previous Librarian invites Heresy through his cultish behavior, this Librarian invites it through his bookish pursuit of knowledge, a detail that is further emphasized by the eyes from Chaos armor.

(oh, as an aside, I've since added some static grass to this guy's base, so that it doesn't look quite so sparse).

Well. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this explanation of my Onorevoli. At some point in the future, we’ll take a look at the ubiquitous Scouts from that army as well as the one and only Tactical Squad. Tomorrow, however, be sure to check in for the next installment of Hailed vs. Hated. I’ve already been enjoying the substance of tomorrow’s post and sincerely hope that you will as well.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

WIP: even god rested on sunday

There's not a lot to report this week, as the holiday eclipsed most of what might otherwise have passed for hobby time. I am a glutton for gluttony (you heard it here first), and every other spare hobby moment was directed to that other project that I keep mentioning only to tell you that I'll not be talking about it.

Well. I'm nearly finished with that one, so I can continue at length not to talk about it.
I entertain myself sometimes.

I have made the modest effort to revisit yet another Team for my Killzone collection. These fellows will be part of my Rogue Trader Team, which I'm assembling from all  over the show, including the random pieces and parts that I've had tucked under the sofa for years and years (and some of whom, I suppose, aren't exactly RT). 

The front two are from Space Crusade, while the one in the back hails from the classic armor series and has been suited with a very odd jump pack. At the end of the day, these three hapless cards will join the two fellows you may remember from the photo above. 

Slowly but slowly. Slowly but slowly.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

WIP: IG KZ (p.3)

Although the Catachans are great fun, the real elbow in any Imperial Guard army (in my fluff-addled brain) simply must be the Commissariat. I’d originally bought several Commissars for my floundering Valhallan army that is sitting patiently in the margins. I’ve neither abandoned nor forgotten them, but figured that one less Commissar in their ranks would not be missed and might actually improve morale a tick.

Perhaps oddly enough, the Catachans don’t intuitively lend themselves very well the Commissariat theme, which made this connection a hard sell for me. After all, those sloppy uniforms and irregular gear are sure to raise an eyebrow, if not a bolt pistol, here or there. 

Moreover, just as I wanted to rethink my Catachan coloring, I wanted to move away from the SS disposition of the standard scowling Commissar. Sure I wanted him to be willing to clip a trooper’s ear as well as the next fellow, but I also wanted to imagine his motives for doing so a bit differently.

So I got to thinking about how I might fit what I want into what I know, and the red that I mentioned yesterday was the key to my puzzle. Instead of creating a Commissar that looked quite traditionally like a WWII Gestapo agent (all black and black and black with red), I tried to reach back a bit further to WWI (and force the red to complement some other colors as well). In this sense, I’ve tried to tone down the black and to pick up some of those standard military greens and khakis, as well as that red.

Although not nearly finished, I feel the coloring is coming along quite nicely in conjunction with boots and the riding crop behind his back, all to make him seem more like a WWI Ace than some surly bureaucrat. And indeed, I’ve imagined that he is a pilot, a commissar, a double agent, as well as a descendant from a storied and noble house on his homeworld; the Catachan rank-and-file are compiled from several of the more trustworthy and notable peasantry from his familial estate. If he has to shoot one in the back, well, he would do so from a resigned sense of noblesse oblige moreso than from some radical imperial devotion. And like an ace of old, I imagine he drinks mightily with his men the night before a mission knowing full well that most of them would not be sitting in the hall the following supper.

…now for a name. 

Oh, and then there's this guy. I suppose he represents one of the hands from the farm (I've always wanted to paint one of these guys).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

WIP: KZ IG (p.2), and Thank You

Happy Thanksgiving! ...and Thank You, gentle readers, for your fine contributions and comforting appreciation of what happens here on A Gentleman’s Ones. On that note, I’d like to single out two particular instances that deserve a bit more gratitude.

-I absolutely must thank both Brent (Not Brent) and Loquacious for their very kind words and consideration over on the House of Paincakes. You are too good to me.

-I’m also quite flattered to have made FTW’s Tuesday Top Ten this week. Cheers Ryan, you are entirely too kind.

Also. Killzone at AdeptiCon! You may have heard. At the time of typing, there are only 5 spots left for the second session on Friday and a mere 3 spots left on Sunday. That's 66 slots booked. Not bad for an event that’s still over four months away. It’s going to be a good un.

and now the post:

These eleven Catachans represent the (still very much in progress) core of my newest Special Operations Team. They were inspired, as much of my follies in Killzone, by some old models that I had lumped into a box in the basement. I’ve always enjoyed these old metals (moreso for some reason than the plastic version, I don’t understand why), but never found a proper home for them –particularly I have neither time nor models for a full army... as such, they wallowed.

So these fine fellows got a dip in the soylent green and a new look. I wanted to move away from the standard Catachan green or camo and red combination. Instead, I took the opportunity to experiment some more with Army Painter’s military range and work up a few quick layers of brown over black primer to achieve a very, very fast and reasonably useful look. Of course, I built the layer up one or two more shades of tan before the compulsory Devlan Wash. Not bad.

Initially, I wanted these guys to stay limited exclusively black and tan; in the end, however, they began to look both too washed out and too Desert Storm, which was not at all my intention. And so, I broke down and hit them with the red accent color. I mulled over this for ages and ages, but just couldn’t find another color that would have suited them for the accent. And so, red.

I believe in serendipity and, in the end, the red gave me a fine idea for the final component for the Team. More on him tomorrow.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I neglected to mention three irons that I have in the fire in yesterday’s post “Irons in the Fire” -funny how that happens. This week, I’m going to pick up one of those threads and explore it in a bit more detail.

With all the hullaballoo surrounding Special Operations: Killzone, I’ve let myself get a swept away in a flurry of hobby housekeeping -what with all the old models I’ve had under the sofa, in the basement, half finished on a shelf somewhere.

Here’s just such an example: I bought the kit for this Sentinel many, many moons ago, assembled most of it, but got distracted with some other urgent task (which was almost certainly usurped by some other urgent task, and so on). This happens to me more often than I’m pleased to admit.

But Behold! Once more, KZ has given me the opportunity to breathe new life into a stagnant project; I've quite eagerly resuscitated this limping Sentinel in order to make it the centerpiece of a new band of IG hooligans. Those hooligans will be the subject of Wednesday’s post, with the last link in the chain appearing for Friday. Stay tuned.

The Sentinel was accomplished in an extremely hasty manner: I primed it, then sprayed it with a dark green, then a lighter green (much more lightly this time) from Army Painter’s military range. I washed it with Devlan, and then drybrushed it once more before hitting the Boltgun Metal then wash then highlight.

At the last moment, I also decided to try out the weathering powders for my second time.  They say it's better the second time. They say you get to do the weird stuff... ahem. I’m still a total rook when it comes to these powders, but I’m learning (see last week’s theme). He’s not finished just yet, obviously, but in all I think he’s not too bad for an afternoon’s work.

Oh, one last note. The “rocks” on the base are insulation board that I need to hack and shape a bit with wood filler before the final pass. Still, so far so good.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

WIP: Irons in the Fire

Although still very much “in progress,” I’m tremendously pleased to finally have something that represents genuine movement forward on the hobby front.

The first photo is a test piece for my “make it new” Dark Eldar Kill Team in progress. This first Wyche is very much a rough, rough draft, but in all I found some moments that I quite like in the process. The armor is a brand new effort; I was trying to build toward a vibrant red metallic, which was more complex than I originally imagined. While I’ve not actually achieved the effect that I intended, I still found some new ideas about how to manage my metallics. At the end of the day, the recipe is too unwieldy and particular, but I hope to refine and to improve upon it with successive efforts.

Both the hair and the skin are much more vibrant than I would normally attempt. I’ve enjoyed looking at the almost “day-glo” colors in the codex, and I thought that I might really push my accent color toward the ridiculous. Likewise, the skin takes Dwarf Flesh as its base, where normally I would start with Dark and Tanned Flesh. I was inspired by the vibrant skin tones Big Jim (from Galaxy in Flames, as if you didn't know) has created with his reincarnation of the Soul Reapers. I really like the way Jim’s skin resonate with light, and hope to recreate some of that magik for my DE. Having said that, I’m not there yet and, in future efforts, I intend to use this as my excuse to push into an entirely new range of paints.

For his part, Gutgrope has been very patient, as have his merry band of thugs. Slowly but slowly.

The Runtherder and cattle are fun. Once upon a time, I’d have felt obligated to create some elaborate, fluffy rationale for how I might fold these into my collection. No longer. As I’ve mentioned previously, Killzone has freed me from that burden and I can now paint as I like. These grots will be an integral (and astonishingly inexpensive) part of my third (final?) Ork Warband. I’ve got two or three more models to assemble, then all the Warbands will be fully wysiwyg-ed and operational. How about that.

And then there’s this guy. This is Claudius from the very good people over at Gorgon Studios. I've awarded this model to myself as a little guilty pleasure to paint. Eventually, he will lead one of the much-delayed Romans that have been shuffling around my workspace for months and months –proving once more that Rome was not built in a day. 

Salve Citizens. See you tomorrow. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Way: Imperium Statues

About a week ago, Rushputin over at Warpstone Pile posted a great pair of articles (here and here, read them) on the statues of the Imperium, and specifically the verdigris version thereof. He was extremely kind to mention that he’d, at least initially, based his approach on my verdigris posts (which you can find here and here). 

I’m generally both tremendously pleased and dreadfully nervous when a reader experiments with a recipe that I’ve suggested. I’m flattered, naturally, but I’m also terrified that he (or, I suppose, she) will not be pleased with the result, and that I will be responsible for any ensuing disappointment, befuddlement, calamity...

At the time I read the articles mentioned above, I’d just decided to revisit a pair of my own statues, which I’d started then abandoned (the photo above is an early WIP, and I promise that I’ll not moan about the horrors of October again). I’d been hoping to create a version of highly-weathered copper, or tin, or whathaveyou for these statues. 

Like Rushputin, I began with an inspirational photo (pictured here) that I’d taken in Copenhagen a year or so ago, and thought that I would simply press my recipes into service in the traditional capacity while sticking quite closely to what I thought I already knew. The way I figured it, I’d only need to pull one color or another forward in order to more readily match the inspirational hue: more turquoise, less green, etc. The problem, however, was that I was only looking at the colors, and not the actual statue I'd taken as a starting point.

Well. I suspect, by now, you know where this is going. As fate would have it, both my hopes and my fears came true. Rushputin painted up some stunning models, but he did so with very little help from my suggestions. In fact, Rushputin quickly discovered that something was rather amiss with the recipe when applied to statues.

The premise of my recipes is, quite simply, that the worn edges maintain their metallic shine, while the recesses hold the rich patina. It works for my CSM Terminators, but statues don’t really have worn edges the way armor will.

I had never thought of that. Go figure.

So. Rushputin inverted the approach (if not the entire recipe) and worked from a metallic base toward the greens and blues and general verdi coloring as a kind of highlight rather than focusing on the shaded recesses. Brilliant! -such an intuitive solution. The weathering on the statue now settled on the parts that would be most weathered, while those areas more protected from the elements would maintain more of the original metallic hues.

In that one simple gesture, Rushputin illuminated the theme for this week: I need to take a new look at my old habits. Cheers, Rush. The statues aren't yet finished, but they're a world better than they would have been if I'd stuck to my routine.

See you Sunday for more WIP…

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Way: Paint Stick

The Paint Stick: I am absolutely certain that I’m not the first to think of this technique, but it’s new to me and it has struck me so firmly that I felt it best to share. I mentioned last time that I’m trying to re-think even some of my most basic, commonsensical habits with the hobby, if for no other reason that many of these have become exactly that: commonsensical, habitual. 

Quick Note: Primer. I've been using Armory's Black Primer and I've enjoyed the results tremendously. I don't have a strong opinion here, as I've found them to be much a muchness, but Armory seems to bring quality to the table.

Back to the stick: In yet another recent re-organization of material (baby number two is on the way in January), I lost the tray that I would normally use to shuttle figures back and forth to the rooftop where I do nearly all of my priming (my nerd kingdom is adjacent). If I am to be candid, the tray was a bit of a mare because, as often as not, I would overspray in my enthusiasm and leave odd marks on the brickwork; it’s the roof, so no big shake, but still. For just about the entirety of October, this was neither here nor there because I lacked time, and therefore, material to prime.

I’m back now, and refuse cry in my milk about the lost tray. Instead, I found this solution after a brief perusal of the paint aisle at Home Depot. The mixing sticks were free (although I’m not certain this would be true had I not purchased paint as well), and so I helped myself to three. Cheeky. I know.

I’ve placed the models onto the paint stick with generous dollops of sticky-tack, or whatever you might call it, with ample space between each figure. The plastic models are so light that the sticky-tack holds them in place beautifully.

By comparison, the old tray was terribly unwieldy and, in regrettable moments of clumsiness, the “hands on” approach it necessitated sometimes left my fingerprints firmly pressed into the drying primer. The shame of it. Moreover, I invariably found myself with blackened fingers from either repositioning the models or the tray or holding them upside down to get those odd nooks and corners; I found the primed fingers a bit unsightly for a man of my general disposition. 

The real advantage of this technique, however, is that the stick allows me to twist the models while priming and hit them from just about every angle one might desire… away from the brickwork, away from my hands. As you can see below, no primer -brick or hand. Triumph.

It’s an idea made of win.

In summation, I’m a convert to the paint stick approach. More hobby goodness on Friday.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Way: Basing

I contemplated tagging the theme for this week as “hobby top tips” or somesuch, but I reconsidered almost immediately –not only because I remain unconvinced that any of these tips are particularly top, but also because I’m not really advocating that you try them per se.

You see, last week I purchased a new set of paints, and I mentioned that this is a bold step for me because I’ve been tremendously habitual with my approach to my GW paints, to my recipes, to quite a lot of what I do with this hobby really. All that’s changing, of course …or rather, a lot of that is changing and, while I’m not about to pitch the baby with the bathwater, it’s come time to reconsider what exactly I’m doing that works and what needs a clean tub.

Which got me thinking about that delightful old fellow Ralph Waldon Emerson: “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds…” but that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and would make for a silly week’s theme.

So. This week is dedicated to what I’ve been doing "my way" for better or worse, to what I intend to continue doing (if only because I find it works for me), and to what I’m rethinking –specifically in my approach to some of the more simple hobby conventions.

Basing: let’s start here. Yesterday, I mentioned that I’ve started a few Wyches. Unlike many hobbyists, I base my models before priming them and I fully intend to continue in this vein. 

I slather on a bit of glue, dip them in the sand, clean the edges with my thumb, and then let them sit for a little while.

(you’ll notice, by the way, that the lovely lady in the foreground of this photo has a new arm from the one she was sporting just yesterday, as well as in the photo at top. Well. As I went to clean the flashing, I snapped off her hand –which you can see on the table at the right edge of the photo. That's a tough start. Here’s a top tip for DE players; S3 T3. These models are fragile in more ways than one).

After the glue has set a bit, but not necessarily after it dries completely (I usually paint or prep something else in the interim), I thin out another dollop of white glue  with water until it’s roughly the consistency of skim milk (bottom right). I then use a very old brush that has been relegated exclusively for this purpose and drip -not paint-  that coat on top of the drying sand. 

I resist the urge to do anything more the dollop the watered glue onto the base. If I am more aggressive, the brush tends to push the sand around in ways that I don't actually want. The idea is simply to create a layer that sits comfortably on top of the sand. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Again, I am careful to wipe off excess from the base.

Although I’ve exaggerated a little bit here for the photos, I’m pretty generous with this step all the same. The key, in my opinion, is simply to make sure that the entire base is covered. This locks in the sand. I may lose a little bit of detail in the exchange here, but the pros distinctly outweigh the cons for my liking.

In particular, the sand will now be held both by the glue and the primer, and will be much more strongly situated on the base for when it comes time to put brush to paint to model. I can get quite rough with drybrushing or other techniques, which I haven’t found true when I’ve added the sand after the fact.
Once completely dry, these vixens are ready for the primer –which leads me to the topic of Wednesday’s post. See you then.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

WIP: It’s On

I’ve come back to the hobby in what can only be described as a “full frontal” capacity.

With the time I have at my disposal, I’ve been trying to wysiwyg my Ork Warbands for Killzone; this includes five new Nob conversions, with an entirely new model for Gutgrope Grotshank and another soon-to-be-named personality that just appeared as I was assembling good ole Gutgrope. There’ll be more on these monsters later in the week, but here you can see a quick peak at the progress of the rusty bits.

Of course, there’s more. I’m also knee-deep in two other Killzone Teams of the distinctly human variety, the table for AdeptiCon (you may have see it laying around the site), and the other super-secret project that I’m not talking about (even now).

That’s a lot of irons in the proverbial fire.

For their part, Games Workshop has been kind enough to throw one more on the stack. Although I promised myself to go slowly, to finish what’s on my plate before moving forward, to practice a modicum of self-control, to appeal exclusively to my own sense and reason... I broke down last night and started a group of Dark Eldar Wyches. I couldn’t help it. I’ve been reading the codex in the spare moments I’ve had between life and the above,  and the siren's call was more subtle than my resolve.

The following may sound pathetically fan-boyish, but it’s true nonetheless: I genuinely cannot remember the last codex I enjoyed reading as much as this one. In fact, I can’t remember the last codex that I actually read, or even wanted to read, from cover to cover. There. I said it. Perhaps I’m getting soft.

As for the Wyches, I haven’t had this much fun assembling a model since the Venerable Dreadnought (here and here) I pounded together back in April for the Onorevoli. I feel obligated to note that this is not base hyperbole. I have genuinely enjoyed assembling this kit, and I have  likewise surprised myself when I raise my head to find that I am plodding one inevitable footfall after the other toward Comorragh.

But no. I’d like to think this has more to do with the quality of the product than the poverty of my resolve. The models are just wondrously dynamic, the options are ample and clever, and the models look really, really cool …and they are going to be a challenge to paint.

S3 T3 indeed.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Killzone: AP3 Thousand Sons vs. Space Wolves

On Monday night, Matt’s Wolves and Scott’s Sons pitched up for the second classic confrontation of the evening. This time, we rolled Scenario I, Mission 4: Extreme Prejudice –which seemed about right.

In this Mission, the Teams start diagonally from each other and have marked the enemy Team Leader as a target in desperate need of removal. As such, the Team Leader counts for triple his normal Mission Points value if killed violently. Certainly, this creates a tactical challenge, as the individual usually best equipped the crushing of your opponent must, by necessity, consider his options quite carefully. At the very least, the dynamic prevents Team Leaders from strolling out in front of his group (as pictured in the photo at top).

To dissuade those that would otherwise treat this as a cause for overly conservative play, the Teams also earn bonus Mission Points for pushing forward into the enemy deployment zone (the details of this will be refined slightly in the forthcoming edition).

So. The Wolves and the Sons tiptoed toward the Bulkhead between them, which was situated in the central room, in anticipation of what was certain to be a messy affair.

In a desperate gambit, both Leaders sensed a second opportunity and sent a smaller contingent around the flank in a bid to either trap a wayward Team Leader in his backfield or potentially to collect a few uncontested points in the endgame.

Matt’s Wolves proved vicious on that flank, as his same Power Weapon dood that had stomped me earlier in the evening now utterly minced Scott’s flanking contingent. He took a wound for his effort, but I humbly submit that this fellow would deserve MVP of the evening if it weren’t for one other item that I’ll mention in a moment.

Of course, it wasn’t all good news for the Wolves. As the door flew open, the action in the center looked particularly grim. The Thousand Sons AP3 Bolters (and the sheer number of them) took a tremendous toll. Matt had cleverly worked his men into a kind of cover on the doorframe, but the mystical bolt shells were unconcerned.

In fact, the Wolves disintegrated so quickly that the situation was looking perilous to the point of hopeless, while the flank became isolated and otherwise inconsequential. Matt’s battle-proven Lone Wolf would not be able to get to the necessary points in time to make a difference. Alas.

Matt’s Team Leader hesitantly moved forward, seemingly resigned to his Fate. This drew Scott’s Sorcerer forward as well, perhaps in the notion that these two heroes should salute and engage in a gesture worthy of the moment.

Instead, Matt’s humble, plasma pistol-armed Scout saw a desperate opportunity, strode forward, and shot the Sorcerer right between the eyes. Game Over.

Matt’s uncanny win streak is alive and well. The Scout, one presumes, drank his fill that evening.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Killzone: Teeftotallers vs. Space Wolves

On Monday night, the Teeftotallers squared their shoulders against Matt’s Space Wolves. This was something of a grudge match, as my Orks earned their “reputation” (and this recent slate of attention) after Gutgrope killed his opposite number in single combat (ftw). Notably, Gutgrope did not take the field on the day, choosing instead to put someone else’s neck under the axe –leadership, you see, is all about delegation.

So, we dusted off the Sin of Alacrity for the occasion in what I hope will become a regular gaming group. We rolled Scenario II and Mission 2: Crash Landing, which we modified slightly for the circumstances. In this Mission, one Team (Orks) must start about three quarters across the table and work its way back toward the far edge. The other Team (Matt’s Wolves) arrives piecemeal in a manner that I would describe as “controlled random,” and then tries to collapse on the withdrawing Team before it can exit the board. In this Mission, the Space Wolves get points for kills as normal, while the Orks only get points for getting off the table. That creates a much more peculiar dynamic than one might glean at first pass. As with many of these Missions, it’s important to keep one’s eyes on the metaphorical prize.

While Crash Landing didn’t seem entirely correct for the middle of a spacehulk, it was, nevertheless, thematically perfect. We imagined that the Orks had surreptitiously infiltrated the Alacrity and were in the midst of perpetrating their standard Orky goodness on a part of the Alacrity’s inner works. The Wolves, then, were charged with correcting this blight in the best way they know how before the Orks could move on to their next proper objective.

The early turns were all about stealthy decisions, deft maneuvering, and plausible supposition of an appropriate path to the table’s edge. Again, the table presented a few tricky moments, but we managed some decent and entertaining “door rules” on the fly, which will undoubtedly make an appearance come AdeptiCon.

Dr. Dakkasteef, two Boys, and a lone Nob went wide around one flank, while the remaining Boyz, Burna Boy, and one Nob went straight up the middle with careful eyes on the inevitable ambush. One remaining Nob with Big Choppa straddled the difference between the two groups in a truly altruistic rearguard action (you can just spot his axe behind the mechanics in the photo to the left). Or perhaps he knew something the others didn't -altruism indeed.

Matt had several models converging on the larger group, but I felt reasonably secure that their demise would only mean Dr. Dakkateef’s assured, mission-point-heavy survival. Despite nearly tripping over a cyber-wolf in early turns, and heedless of a genuine torrent of fire, Dr. D strode through whatever opposition presented itself with characteristically callous aggression (really, he’s a beast). While I cursed that wolf and celebrated Dr. D's potency in all matters Ork, Matt was playing a more clever game.

Unfortunately for the Orks, This Guy arrived. Matt’s Team Leader, perhaps still bitter from the last time he met Orks, cut a path straight through his opposition and even managed to ping the Burna Boy at the very cusp of his shooting range. The lone Boy that survived the Team Leader's romp was immediately dispatched by a power weapon-wielding maniac.

At this point, I should thank Scott, who has been reading the blog, for reminding me that I painted a Red Cross on the Burna Boy so that I would remember he carries a Medi-Pak. I had, forgotten, you see (ahem). While the Burna Boy still failed the roll, I must thank Scott both for reading, and for remembering what I quite clearly cannot.

In the end, Matt’s Wolves had done such a superb job decimating my main thrust and whittling the Boyz around Dr. D that only the rearguard Nob, Dr. D, and a lone Boy were left in what might have been a scoring position. The Teeftotallers were both functionally and mathematically eliminated from the Mission. I can say only that Dr. Dakkasteef’s next fledgling Mob would do well to follow his example, and to stop dying quite so willingly.

See you Friday for a recap of the other classic confrontation of the evening: Matt's Space Wolves vs. Scott's AP3 Thousand Sons.