Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hobby Time! Or Adventures With Airbrushing!

Hi all, SeerK here with a little blurb about some stuff I am working on.  This past April while at the hallowed now former site of Adepticon, I got a smoking deal on a brand new Airbrush.
 Badger Airbrushes is pretty much a fixture at Adepticon.  They make a very nice high quality product.  I picked up a Badger Krome airbrush and a complete set of their awesome airbrush paints.

Our local Kedorian Overlord Tony supplied me with an air compressor.  Now I was nervous at first.  I actually did not pop the cherry on my airbrush until this month.  That's right, I had a very nice airbrushing rig all ready to go and it took me almost 6 months to pick it up and start experimenting with it.  I will never paint in the same way again.

So what have I been working on?  Well I finished painting my RSN fleet a few weeks ago.  They have a pretty basic paint scheme and besides being able to paint ships quickly by hand, it looks decent on the table top.  A gunmetal base with a very dark red secondary color.  I finally decided to try my air brush out on my Dindrenzi Patrol fleet from the Battle for Valhalla box.  I based the ships in black and then used the Airbrush to hit the ships with a couple layers of Badger Dark Green..  I then did a light dry brush of Iosan Green from Privater Presses P3 paint line.  I taped off the nose and hit the exposed areas with Badger Scorching Red.  I did the vents in Whatever GW calls their base red now.   All in all they ships turned out nice and I was happy with the results.

The DNS Ignatius Rex
I wanted to get my Works Raptor and Ba'Kash Ships painted, especially since there is a Ba'Kash patrol fleet box in my future.  I am picking up the new ships along with some Kedorians as long as its in the budget.  I wanted the Works Raptor ships to look evil.  I wanted there to be no doubt these guys were bad news and the stuff of nightmares.  So I took a page from my days of playing Dark Eldar and decided to go with dark Purples.

I based the ships black and then did about 3 light coats of Badger Ecchymose.  I wanted to darken it up a bit so I did a liberal coat of Secret Weapons Soft Body Black Wash.  I love this wash so much.  If you were to ask what I recommend for washes, Secret Weapons line of washes is second to none.  They are awesome.  You have good control over them and the wash stays put.  I wanted to darken them up a bit more though, without the base color getting lost in the mix.  This is when I decided to be brave and break out the Ghost tints.

Now Dreadbeard and I had done a brief experiment with Ghost tints a few months ago.  He too had picked up a case of Badgers Airbrush Paints and he was using them with gusto.  The Ghost tints were the ones he had not tried.  Les Burley of Awesome Paint Job is one of the best painters I have ever met.  He has some good tutorials on how to use the Ghost tints On the Badger website and on Awesome Paint Job.  I decided to use the Purple Ghost tint over the layers I ave already done on the works Raptor Ships.

I did a couple light coats and man did they turn out nice and dark and purple.  It was the exact look I was going for.  It also gave them the customary shine people are used to at the shop.  I am known for my "Shiny pointy eared bastards".  After the Works Raptor ships turned out better than expected I used a Ghost tint on the Ba'Kash ships.  You have to let the Ghost tints dry for 24 hours so I moved on to working with the Ba'Kash.

I based the Ba'Kash Sharnak cruisers with Badger Scorching Red and then did a wash of the Soft Body Black.  After the wash dried I used the Badge Crimson Ghost Tint.  Man this is a nice tint.  The ships turned out blood red and look great.  Sadly the pictures do not do the ships justice.  I only have my Iphone and poor lighting to get the pictures at the moment.  Granted they are works in process, but so far things are looking good and I am very happy with how things are turning out.  I am still trying to decide what colors I am going to highlight with and do the detail work though. I may have to make a trip to the store in the near future and get some more paints.

I have an idea of what I am going to do for the Kedorian ships when I pick them up.  I am also more than likely going to pick up Directorate and Relthoza Patrol Fleets so I can field pretty much anything in the Zenian League as a combined force.  I swear this spaceship habit is starting to get bad.

Well that is all for now.  I will be doing some major convention related announcements in the coming weeks.  Spellduckwrong and I are both now Officially Spartan Vanguards.  Dreadbeard is our behind the scenes go to guy when it comes to events.  We three have been brewing up some big things over the past month and we have started to see results.  We are excited and I want to spill the beans, but not until we have some stuff set.

Until then crush the Alliance and as always.....

REMEMBER DRAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ships Of The Rense Pt 6: The Spectre Battleship

SeerK here with another installment of “The Ships Of The Rense”. We are coming to the end of the series. We have one more tier one vessel after this installment. It seems fitting one of the main command ships of the Rense Navy is named Spectre. A Spectre is a ghost. A silent shadow lurking in the dark. It is also the name of the antagonistic organization from the James Bond series. Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion. Also strangely fitting due to the role the Rense Navy plays in the Dindrenzi Federation.

Engineered and built by The Directorate for the Navy as it began to take on the role of spies, secret police and Elite cadre above the normal main line Dindrenzi fleet, the Spectre is a formidable ship. Equipped with Tried and tested Dindrenzi Rail Guns /'and Directorate Plasma weaponry it is more than a match for all but the heaviest vessels. It also is the hub of Intelligence gathering for any Rense fleet.

Lets take a look at the Spectre. We have a good DR of 7 and CR of 11. Eight hull points, good crew and assault points. Excellent point defense and mines. Weaponry with long range in all arcs except the rear. We also have a shield, which is a rarity in the Federation Navy. A wing capacity of 4 gives us some options. I like to go with Interceptors or bombers, it depends on what I am planning on doing with the ship. Fighters are actually a good choice in most situations though as they have the ability to multi task. They can do offense and defense.

We have two hard points with several good options. I almost always choose the -1 turn limit option as one of them. This is mainly because of the fixed fore main kinetic weapon. I know this is also a default choice for Dindrenzi Fleet Marshals as well. Any opportunity to make our ships more maneuverable should be taken. You need to be able to get your weapons to bear as quickly as you can.
Adding AP is nice but the options I usually have a hard time choosing between is the additional 2” of movement, which takes the ship up to a move of 9,” and the Ops Center MAR.

I choose based on what I am purposing the ship for. If it is my primary tier one ship I usually go for movement. People do not expect fast moving Tier one vessels from the Dindrenzi. Our upgrades are Special Forces, which I also always take and Precision strike for the Kinetics. As I typically do not bother with precision strikes I don't take this option.

We do have quite a few options for Escorts. We can take up to three Sirens, a single Cerberus and up to three escorts from Zenian League members. With the Marauders rules out this also opens up options as the fleet building section specifies that you can take OSO or STL escorts if it states the ship can take Zenian league or Kurak escorts. I am kinda sad that it states OSO and STL as I would love to take the Grief escorts from the oroshan. Its like Having Dindrenzi bucklers that you can either have AP or PD on albeit 5 points more expensive. Which is ok as it has more guns and a better CR than the Buckler. But I digress....

The Escort options are varied and this is where you have to make some tough choices. Sirens are good as they add a point defense screen few can penetrate and you can use Target Resolution on 3 systems if you have three Sirens, or a much easier command role at long range. If I run sirens this is usually when I run Bombers or Fighters if I am running wings. I run Sirens if I am sitting back and trying to hit targets at range. Ships that rely on close range shooting find themselves in the danger zone quick as they close. Target Resolution can really increase your damage output at close range.

I take the Cerberus if I am going to be getting into the thick quick. Especially if I think I am going to have to square off with a Dreadnought. The Cerberus adds a lot of fire power for engaging big ships and it can deal with cruisers and escorts with gusto. For instance, I do not combine fire when dealing with carriers. The Spectre can deal with a carrier pretty well on its own. If the Carrier has Cruiser escorts or Gunship escorts the Cerberus is well equipped to deal with them on its own. This way I can inflict a maximum amount of damage on a squadron made up of medium and larger ships. You can also do a nice one two with your torpedoes if you give the Cerberus the Torpedo Spook MAR.

If you are willing to sacrifice your fleet tactics bonus, this opens up some other interesting options. Dindrenzi Buckler Escorts add some additional fire power with some mid to short range gun racks which can be nice for taking out frigates and smaller vessels. I find the power of frigates oft underestimated. Having a gun escort gives your larger vessels some better protection in the form of offensive power vs small vessels, that is when fired separately they hit easier.

Relthoza escorts are nice if you are planning on hitting a target with a massive assault. Having 6 additional AP can be nice. Granted you don't get the benefit of Special Forces on these guys though. Directorate Escorts are actually pretty nice They give you the PD of a Siren and they are unmanned so they do not suffer penalties from having 0 crew. You can also give them assault points. The Marauders give you access to one escort, the STL Trader Penitentiary class, which gives you access to Grav weapons. They are restricted by the Tractor Beam rule, but if you want to be that guy and push things into planets this is the escort for you.

All of these Escorts are nice, but may not add anything as good as your standard ones. It really depends on what you are trying to do. I personally don’t like using allies that take my Fleet Tactics bonus to 1. You kind of get used to having the first activation when you have a fleet tactics of 3.

The Spectre is a nice ship, but it does have some weaknesses. Compared to other Zenian League Battleships it is a little under most on hull points. The Directorate battleship also has 8 hull points, but it can have 2 shields. When you compare it to a Terran Battleship it is a little lacking in a point for point comparison. The Apollo/Razorthorn is 20 points cheaper with 2 shields base. It is a point less on DR and CR, but you have a lot of options to really kit it out and three hard points. It comes down to out maneuvering the Terran commander and trying to stay out of his optimal firing arcs and ranges. The Terrans benefit from Weapon shielding as well so in a slug fest the Spectre is on the loosing end as it takes damage.

You have a vulnerable rear arc as well. You must drop your mines to cover your rear. You must not forget to drop the mines. Drop them in a good staggered pattern to cover your rear area as to discourage ships from shunting in close or making it difficult to get a good firing position for ships maneuvering to get your rear arc. This especially gets very important as you make your way into the battle field.

The Rense have Expensive ships so you have to build smart and play smarter. Well thats all for now. We bring “Ships Of The Rense” to a close in our next installment. We cover our last vessel. Occupying the top of the current food chain we have the Banshee Dreadnought.

Until then, crush the Alliance and as always...


Sunday, August 17, 2014

New Marauders Of The Rift: First Impressions

SeerK here.  Well as many of you may or may not know Spartan has updated the rules for the Marauders Of The Rift.  The Fleets from the old source book are now updated to 2.0 rules.  There have been some major changes and it would seem the story line has been moved forward a bit.  You can find the new rules on the Spartan Games Blog.  Well at least you could until they had some site problems and it crashed. They lost about a days worth of data, which would include the new rules.  I am sure we will see them back up Monday or Tuesday.  I downloaded a copy though just in time and printed it out.

Spellduckwrong and I tore right into the new rules and played a 1000 point game to try them out.  I decided to field a strait Oroshan Fleet while Spellduckwrong went with the biggest threat currently facing the galaxy.  I speak of course of the fleet known as only The Pathogen.  The Syndicate is back and merged with the Rift Traders.  They form the STL or Syndicate Traders League.  The fleets are still distinct though.  The STL is loosely affiliated with the Alliance of Kurak although they will still alley with Zenian League fleets, albeit at a higher points cost. STL Syndicate and STL Traders are Nautral Allies with the Terran Alliance.  Omnidyne and the Corsairs have banded together as OSO or Omnidyne Special Operations.  Both fleets are also still distinct though.  They are loosely affiliated with the Zenian league, but will work for the Kurak at a higher points cost.  The only real exception is any Works Raptor fleet cannot contain Omnidyne ships.  They are corporate rivals and would not be caught dead working together.

The Oroshan are strait up mercenaries.  They will work for anybody willing to pay as contracts have been thinning out in the Directorate systems.  The Pathogen is an entirely different kind of fleet. They have several vessels that are named as they are "full grown".  The rest of the entries are composed of stat blocks for infected ships.  They also have only one kind of SRS token.  It covers basically the job of a fighter, interceptor and bomber.  They also regenerate lost wings when they destroy an opposing wing.  The pathogen are kinda scary.  They are like a storm.  Building momentum as they go.  played right they can quickly outnumber you.  As you loose ships they add them to their ranks.

I am pretty impressed with the first presentation of the rules.  I know there may be some tweaks and changes before they see print, but there is a lot of cool stuff in this new fleet manual.  I would have to say the flexibility and ability to customize the fleet and even the ship squadrons in the fleet is what has me most impressed.  The Traders and the Corsairs have so much flavor and customization options.  Adding shields at the expense of crew, adding to the damage and critical rating at the expense of mobility. Adding wings and weapons in exchange for MARs and other stuff.  The combinations are many and let you design a fleet with flavor and a specific purpose.  Also the Reformer class Battle Station available to the STL Traders is kinda scary.  It is very similar to the old Supermax-89, which sadly is not in the book for Supermax fans.  It has Tractor beams...........that is it has grav weapons that can only be used in control mode.  With the potential of being able to move 6 inches and have launch tubes, that is kinda scary.

So back to Spellduckwrong and I's game.  As we were trying out unfamiliar fleets we opted for a strait up Border clash mission. We had 1000 points each.  I ran the following list.

Armageddon Dreadnought with 3 Grief Escorts

4x Defiler Cruisers

2x 6 pack of Slayer Frigates

1x 4 pack of Slayer Frigates

Spellduckwrong ran the following.  He has the Pathogen Section of my print out currently so forgive the lack of names.

Named Battleship

Named carrier

2x 3 named cruisers

2x 6 pack named frigates

I have to add one thing to this abbreviated battle report before I go further.  My dice were on fire and we were both using fleets that were brand new to us.  This was very apparent as the game progressed.  The Oroshan have a fleet tactics of 3 and the Pathogen 1.  I took the first activation for most of the game.  Turn one was relatively uneventful.  I managed to reach out with the beams on the Defilers and damage one of the Pathogen cruisers.  Despite not having and port or starboard weapons, other than torpedoes, I have to say I like the Defiler almost more than the Cerberus.

Being able to take them in a squadron of 4 and give them Pack Hunter is pretty awesome.  They are a DR 4 CR 7 with a shield rating of 1.  In range band 2 a full strength squadron can throw 22 beam dice.  Yeah you read that right 22 dice.  I was in range band 4 when I opened up and that was with 7 dice.  Not to shabby.

Turn 2 saw our fleets close in to lethal range.  I started lighting up Spellduckwrong's cruisers with mine and the Dreadnought got into the mix.  His Cruisers were taking a major pounding.  He did however get his 2 squadrons of frigates in and a huge frigate dogfight ensued in the middle of the board.

I managed to destroy most of the cruisers by turn 4 and I also thinned out his frigate swarm despite his capturing of 2 of my frigates.

The real clutch manoeuvre happened in turn 4 for Spellduckwrong though.  His carrier finally decided to join the show and dropped a mine in the midst of my frigate swarm.  Now a few of the Pathogen ships have mines.  They do not have real high ratings, but they do have one aspect that can be pretty deadly for small craft.  The mines can have the
Bio hazard MAR.  So if it damages your frigate it may not do enough hull points to kill it, but if it only has 1 crew point its dead.  I managed to loose almost 2 squadrons of frigates to one 3 die mine.  This tipped the balance.  In the end It was a duel between my Dreadnought and his heavily damaged carrier and battleship.  Granted I may have been on the loosing end of the duel as all Pathogen ships have self repair.  The game did not go past turn 7 though and it ended with a 12 to 2 victory for me. 

All in all I was impressed with the Oroshan and will be adding some ships to my fleet.  They pack a punch and with the addition of the Battle Carrier to their fleet roster they can actually be fielded as a patrol fleet.  I feel as though a rematch is not going to go as well for me.  Spellduckwrong is a very canny opponent.  It was very clear to him that playing the Pathogen as a standard non tentacle space herpes clear fleet was not going to work.  The real key in our game was he should have shunted his cruisers in.  This would have put them in assault range of my big ships.  Also taking a full sqaudron would have maxed out the assault points.  They have 5 each so I would have been hard pressed to repel boarders even with my dreadnought.

In closing I just want to say I love the new manual. It really pushes and tests the game mechanics.  It also adds a lot of flavor.  Now if only I can get me some Planetfall......

Until next time Crush the Alliance and as always....


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lets Talk Tournaments

SeerK here.  So there has been a rather big discussion over at the Spartan community forum about a regular Spartan Web Community.
tournament format.  Dreadbeard has spearheaded the drive to try and get some across the board standards for tournaments in the Firestorm community.  If you want to get into the real nitty gritty of the conversation you can find it at the

Essentially we are trying to avoid what is ever present in a lot of tournament communities, 40K cough cough...., that is a lack of uniformity and consistency.  Variety is the spice of life, but when you are trying to compare players and lists and strategy, it is very difficult when the rules vary a lot and format covers a wide range of points and scenarios.  don't even get me started on how rules are interpreted or ruled on in tournament FAQ's.

Now that's not to say there won't be variation.  There always will be.  Having a pool of scenarios and missions as well as a format standard to go from actually is really beneficial, especially for people new to running tournaments or trying to get a fledgling community off the ground.  Having an across the board standard also makes it easier to make lists.  Again this is especially true for new players or players that are new to tournaments.

The other big reason for this push is because we are planning two larger tournament events in 2014 and 2015.  This first Event will be taking place at UCON, link and dates to your right and we have a proposal submitted to run an event, which will be the same format as the tournament at UCON, at the big show in 2015, Adepticon.

Nothing is 100% yet or set in stone by any means.  proposals have been submitted and now we have our fingers crossed.  I am hoping the community shows their support by emailing the conventions and once an event is for sure signing up.

So now that the cats are out of the bag stay tuned for more information as it develops.  I am looking forward to UCON this year.  I may be doing some other games if time permits.  We are looking at 900 points and 4 rounds for both events. As it stands we will be using the 2 list standard as well.  Doing war log or just plain tournament compatible missions is really what we are trying to develop. There are some that are just not well suited to tournaments.  We have it down to any mission with an attacker and defender is generally not well suited for tournament play.  We have had mixed reviews on the escalating engagement mission as well.

So we are trying to keep it simple.  Objective holding and killing opposing fleets.  Mixing up the deployment zones and trying to keep things fresh and fun.  The next local tournament here in Lansing will be using our first drafts of some new missions.  me thinks a 2nd tournament War Log tracker may have to be started once we have a nice set of tournament standard missions available for use.  Have to keep everything consistent to get good data.

Well that is all for now.  I wanted to think out loud a little as it were.  Also Check out the new pictures of the Palnetfall stuff from Claymore 2014 over in the U.K.  Holy crap I am excited for this game.  Check them out here on the Spartan Community Forum.

Until next time crush the Alliance and as always....