Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Skaven Test Subject

Hi gang,

I have spend my hobby time in the last couple of days divided between painting my Vampire Counts Ghoul unit (as well as constructing their movement tray) and trying to perfect the the colours I want to paint my Skaven army.

Finished Test mini
 So this is the scheme I've come up with. I have added a new page to my blog, where I am going to keep a record of all my painting recipes. This is more for me in the future rather than for you guys but hopefully someone else might find it useful. This Clanrat is the first miniature to be added to the list. (Very unlike Skaven to be the first in anything, they would normally leave that to the more brave/foolhardy races, preferring to stab them in the back when they are not looking and take their rightful place in their stead.)

I always knew I wanted to go with a blue colour with this army as it's not a colour you see many skaven forces, but I really did struggle with the skin colour. I obviously wanted it to be a quick scheme to paint and I experimented with a lot of different browns, ranging from Vermin Brown to Calthan Brown, and Beastial Brown to Khemri Brown but found that they were all too dark. The combination of the dark metal, the dark cloth tunic and the dark skin just made the mini look like a blob of browns from a distance. I eventually went with the classic Tallarn Flesh washed with Orgyn Flesh. I found this brightened the miniature up and defined the different areas of the mini a lot more.

I  also like how the metal turned out, for a very simple method which can be done quickly. This fits the image in my head of a skaven horde with rusty weapons advancing under the whips of their betters. The basing is going to be simple with a grey gravel base with a couple of tufts of dead grass.

Until next time.........

Monday, 12 September 2011

Initial Skaven Thoughts

Drawn by Adrain Smith, coloured by MajesticChicken (DeviantArt)

Hi gang,

I got to play my two first games with Skaven yesterday and I wanted to give some inital thoughts on them. But firstly I want to say that I am in no way a regular WFB player and in fact these thoughts should be seen as being from someone who has just started playing the game. With that statement out of the way onto my thoughts about the army.

So both myself and my regular opponent Phil have been learning WFB with the same army, namely Vampire Counts. As you can imagine while having enjoyable games they have tended to be quite magic heavy with little to no shooting or psychology. The combats have also tended to be large grind fests with neither side breaking and each Vampire respawning any lost troops in the magic phase.

The get around this we decided to start another army each, so Phil decided on Wood Elves and from my previous posts you should know I have gone for Skaven. As I have said we played two games with these armies yesterday. The first was a 1000pts game and the second was a 750pts game.

The First Game:
I used all the mini's from the Island of Blood Box set along with a 15 man(rat) unit of Gutter Runners. I placed the Engineer (upgraded to a level 2 Wizard with Skitterleap and Warplightening) in the unit of Clanrat Spearmen with a Poisoned Wind Mortar, the chieftain was with the unit of handweapon Clanrats with a Warpfire Thrower and the Giant rats with a Master Moulder were on the right hand side of my flank. Phil had 2 ten man units of Glade Guard, 2 five man units of Scouts, an 8 man unit of Dyrads, 5 glade riders and a hero of some kind with a bow that shot four arrows a turn. He deployed the 2 units of scouts and the hero on my right flank. Everything else was deployed in front of me.

So how did it go for the ratmen? Awfully! I got completely destracted by the flanking force of the scouts and hero, and didn't know whether to stick or twist and in the end fell between both stools and ended up being pincushoned by the elves bow fire.

I used skitterleap in the first magic phase to move my engineer to behind the scouts units in the hope of killing them in my shooting phase only to realise I had forgotten to give my engineer a gun! (No doubt some rival engineer had switched the real gun with a wooden dummy!) He was quickly shot to death in Phil's turn, thereby giving up the clear magical advantage I had as Phil had no wizards in his army. From there on my force was really split in half with one unit of clanrats shot by the two units of Glade Guard and the Glade Riders and the reminder running away. The second unit of clanrats with spears and the Chieftain being beaten by 1 in close combat with the Dyrads and being run down and the Rat Ogres and Master Molder falling from the combined fire of the scouts and Wood Elf hero. The only high point was the Gutter runners coming on behind the Scouts and wiping out one unit with poisoned throwing stars and the other in close combat. But by the end of the fourth turn it was all over and a convincing victory for the Wood Elves.

What I learned: 
  1. Skaven have really low leadership! Being used to playing Vampire Counts who never break in combat it was quite a shock to me how easily the Skaven broke. It was even more a shock how easily it is for the opposing player to run them down. If not in the turn which they broke but in the turn after. It really drove home to me the need for the extra ranks leadership boost the skaven have access to.
  2. ALWAYS know what your characters are equipped with. While the plan to skitterleap the Engineer behind the scouts and hero was a bad idea in the first place as I was never going to be able to kill them all even if I had a gun, to not have a gun at all was idiotic! We did have a good laugh at my stupidity though.
  3. Be focused. I really did get distracted by the flanking force and hesistated in my first turn. This allowed Phil to fire at me at will in his turn, as he didn't feel treatened by my units in any way. It was always an uphill struggle after the first turn.
The Second Game:
For this game we dropped the points down to 750pts. I removed the Chieftain from my list and coverted my Gutter Runners to Night Runners with slings. My Engineer Rolled Warp Lightening and Cracks Call (?) for his magic this game. Phil removed one unit of scouts, reduced the no of Dyrads and took away the command group from one of his Glade Guard. We left the table the same.

This time around I resolved not to get distracted by the flanking force (Phil used the exact same tactic) and instead marched both Clanrat units and the Rat Ogre Unit right up the middle of the board. The Night Runners scuttled up the side of the board. In the magic phase I got Warp Lightening off on the Dryads and rolled high for the number of hits and ended up killing 3. In Phil's turn he really had a hard time choosing what targets to shoot at but decided to shoot everything at the Rat Ogres. He succeeded in killing the Packmaster and one Rat Ogre. The final Ogre wandered into dangerous terrain 2 turns later due to stupidity and managed to kill himself. In my second turn I didn't move, but used Warp Lightening on one unit of Glade Guard who broke and ran off the table and hit the second unit with the Poisoned Wind Mortor, killing 8 of the ten, who also broke and ran off the table. The Night Runners on the flank targeted the Glade Riders with their slings and killed all five and finally the Warpfire Thrower killed 2 of the scouts on the right flank causing them to flee. From then on it was a mop up mission for the skaven, but not before my Engineer Clanrat unit passing a panic test on a roll of six when my leadership was a six. My other clanrat unit a turn later passed a leadership test on exactly the same score a turn later to stop them running of the table, only for their attached Warpfire Thrower to explode and wipe five of them off the face of the old world.

What I learned:
  1. Skaven have really low leadership! The game could have been quite different if I had not luckily passed two different leadership tests on a six. It seems lots of ranks of rats is the only way forward.
  2. Sometimes the dice gods are with you. See point 1 above. Also twice Phil rolled an inititive test to stop firstly his hero and then a dyrad falling into the crack from the Cracks Call spell, His inititive 7 models both rolled sixes.
  3. When Skaven magic and shooting hit they are very powerful. The second game only emphasied how much I missed my Engineer in the magic phase in the first game. I never got a chance to use the weapon teams in the first game but in the second game they were deadly to both elves and skaven.
  4. Stay focused. By giving Phil a lot of targets in the early stages of the game I forced him to make decisons. He wiped out my Ogres but that left the Engineer and the weapons teams to still cause a lot of damage. It was a lot better than dilly dallying in my deployment zone, which I did in the first game.
So two very enjoyable games with a lot learned about using skaven in WFB and I'm looking forward to using them again. I'm already planning on what to add to it and a Screaming Bell is really calling out to me! I also feel a Skaven Battalion with more clanrats/rat ogres and plague monks would be a good addition. Oh and an Assassin!

Until next time..............

Friday, 2 September 2011

Island of Blood

Hello gang,

now I realise that I am very very late getting to Island of Blood, but I purchased one in my FLGS for €70 yesterday evening. This coupled with the Skaven army book brought my total spend to €91. So I thought I would give a few inital thoughts about what I got for my cash.

The army book is the army book, I knew exactly what I was getting for €21. A monochrome book, with the exception of a few pages with the strict order of background/spells/unit descriptions/colour pages of models/points costs of models/back page summary. I am happy with this layout, some of the skaven artwork is great (especially the mirrored full page spread of a human city above ground sitting ontop a skaven one underground) and while I have not studied it fully yet, I look forward to getting a couple of solid years use out of it.

At this stage I have to say though I have looked through the full colour Tomb Kings and Ogre Army books and the sooner all armies get this quality of book the better. I think gamers and hobbyists are willing to pay extra money for a hardback, full colour rulebook.

Anyways onto the actual box o'mini's

I am delighted with it to be honest. I bought it for two main reason's. The first being that I travel to any games of WFB or 40K that I have. I have the small rulebook for 40k but I didn't for WFB and hauling that huge hardback version around with me was a pain! I love the little rulebook, full colour and easily transported in an army box or bag. Full marks to GW for producing it. Secondly for the skaven miniatures. Skaven have long been a favourite WFB army of mine.

I think I have already written a blog back in the mists of time about "Gateway Models". The model that you see that gets you into miniatures. That moment where you are either walking past a shop or (in my case) a friend says "look what I have" and pulls a box from his bag with a mini inside. I can remember that moment as clear as it was yesterday and not in 1995. From my friends bag appeared the old red GW style box with a huge yellow banner and black writing which red "SKAVEN DOOMWHEEL". From that box an unpainted silverly lump of metal was drawn and passed around to the group of us there to have a look at. I am not being glip when I say, from that moment I knew I loved miniatures and they were something I was going to be interested in for the rest of my life.

Anyway I degress, but as you can see Skaven hold an affectionate place in my heart but I've never collected them before. I saw the Island of Blood as an excellent way to begin and I am delighted, the skaven and elf mini's are simple one and two piece click together jobs but the detail is a joy to behold, as are the more complicated character models including the Rat Ogres and Griffin.In fact I found myself running my hands over the wings of the Griffin on the sprue feeling the details of the feathers. I think the miniatures included are top class. The High Elves mini's while never my favourite army are just crying out to be painted and the ranks upon ranks of filthy (but lovable) skaven are amazing.

So I am giving GW a thumbs up for this boxed game. I would like it to be a little cheaper, but I say that about everything! But I don't feel let down or overcharged in anyway at all.

I was just left to wonder though, why do they insist on including these in every boxed game they produce and what do people use them for apart from whipping the life out of each other?

Whippy weapons of death!
Talk to you guys next time!

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