Saturday, July 31, 2010

Stormtroops and Shock Troops - a comparison

I have now assembled the first few figures from the Wargames Factory Shocktroops box. As I said in a previous post, I intend to use them for an Imperial Guard army for 40k, so they're being assembled to fit that system. For the first lot, I have stuck (almost) exactly to what is in the box - here are ten troopers, with a sergeant, a special weapon (grenade launcher) and eight lasguns. Once the heavy weapons are released, I will drop two lasgunners from the squad and draft in an autocannon proxy, which is why there are two guys without squad markings. From my four boxes, I will get six squads initially (Echo Yellow 1-3, Echo Red 1-3); once the heavies come out I will be able to spread out into another two squads (Echo Yellow 4, Echo Red 4).

Plus points:
The figures are in general nicely sculpted, the coats seem to flow well, the shoulder pads are distinctive without being intrusive. There are enough of the standard weapon to arm every figure; it's is a nice looking gun which is very much equivalent in length and bulk to the GW offering. There are five other gun options; three are similar to the lasgun in style and could be used to kit-bash other weapon types by combining them with GW parts. There is also a grenade launcher (which looks nice) and a flamer (which I'm not so keen on) so plenty of options for the standard troopers. There are a couple of water bottles and knives; I would have preferred one more of each, so every man got one, but nice nevertheless. There are enough spare powerpacks for every figure to get at least one hung from their belt, which is good.

Minus points:
The left hand is at the wrong angle. If you assemble the figures exactly as they come, the thumb is too high and the heel of the hand is too low. I have started amputating at the wrist and rotating it about 15° so that the gun sits neatly in the hand.
The command options are very weak - the only options are a pistol-packing right hand and a pointing left hand. The pistol is a real pea-shooter of a weapon, and this was the one adddition I made to the figures I assembled, exchanging it for a lasgun from the GW Cadians. If you assemble the pieces exactly as they come in the kit, it makes the command figure look very peculiar. This is a multi-part plastic kit, yet the only command figure you can make is completely two-dimensional. I have put one together for this blog entry, but it will be the only one to look like that - I will be drafting some Cadian parts in for the others.
The necks are too long. They are giraffe-necked if you assemble them directly from the sprue; I chopped back the length of the neck by somewhere between 1 and 1.5 millimetres (which may not sound like much, but in scale that's perhaps 3" out of the neck!) On the plus side, it's far easier than doing that with metal, and you quite quickly learn where to cut rather than having to offer the head up to the body each time. Another option would be to spin a 1/8" drill bit in the neck socket, which might be quicker; I will try that on the next unit.

I'm reading back, and I think I am coming over very negative. I don't want to, and I don't mean to. They are nice figures with a few small problems which are pretty easy to overcome or ignore. And at the price, they are hard to beat. Anyway, I have enough for two 35-man Imperial Guard platoons for under £50; that's pretty good going. I will almost certainly buy some more when I have assembled all of these, which is surely the acid test of a model.

And finally - the painted veteran squad, and a comparison between the GW Cadian Shock Troops and the WF Stormtroops - I think it shows that they can happily be used together.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Greatcoats have arrived!

The first box of Wargames Factory greatcoat troops arrived from the States this morning; they were sat on my chair in the living room when I got in from work a few minutes ago. This is written from the point of view of a 40k player who wants to use them to bulk out his Imperial Guard; I will be using GW Cadians for Veterans, and the WF Shock Troops as basic infantry, as they're about half the price.

First impressions. Nice mouldings, very compatible 'size wise' with their GW compatriots. The basic gun and grenade launcher are closely comparable in length and bulk to the GW equivalents. The heads are nicely moulded, and there are plenty of choices. On the downside, the flamer is very weedy; however, there are three extra lasgun variants that could be easily cut-and-shut into a plasma gun or a bulkier flamer using the spares from my Cadians.

The basic box comes with 18 figures for US$20, which feels about right. You can get them for £14.50 from Wayland Games; I have a pre-order of another 3 boxes coming at a fairly decent discount which will give me a total of 72 guys which is plenty for a couple of troops choices. They don't have heavy weapons (yet) which is the only downside, but they are in the advanced planning stage.

One final comment, and this is more cosmetic than anything. You know how you open a GW box, and it feels as though it's been packed with goodness? Well, these feel the opposite. The sprues are small, the box is tall, and you could very easily have fitted another two, maybe even four, sprues into the box. No reflection on the quality of the product, but it feels like it could have used a slimmer box and thus saved packaging cost, transport volume, and felt like better value too.

I will hopefully build some this week; pictures to come.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Veterans under construction

It's been an odd week or so, but I have managed to get the first of my veteran squads constructed. They're made from GW Cadians, with heads and backpacks from Pig Iron. The heads fit pretty well, though I have drilled and pinned them to the bodies. The packs were a bit more awkward - I trimmed the little block off the back of the Cadians' torso, and joined the pieces together with a superglue-greenstuff-superglue sandwich. Seems pretty solid. I'm still not 100% happy with the heavy bolter loader's left arm; it may be removed and replaced. Still, that's one half of my Kill Team for the club tournament starting in September.

I also finished the hack-job on their Chimera; I have moved the turret backwards about an inch. Which left me with a hole where a hatch should go; I looked through the bits box, but I seem to be pretty much out. I have been using my spares on the KV2/Ragnarok tanks, which has left me short. Okay, we can fix this; one RTV rubber mould made, several grams of resin mixed, one never-ending supply of hatches created. It's pretty indistinguishable once you have primed the lot, which is the stage I have reached now.

I have also started to put together another building - this is the 'Bell Tower of Lost Souls' - I have still got to add a bell, but you get the idea. This time it's a 6"x6" base; if you look back through the blog to find my terrain mat, you can see where it's intended to go. The pencilling on the base is to let me line up the paving slabs, which is the next job.

And finally, a Land Raider I've been playing with for a while. It was an Ebay purchase, very cheap (about £8 including p&p), and came with quite a mess in places, especially the sides. I constructed coffin sponsons from plastic card and attached what was left of the lascannons to them; it's not perfect but it's more acceptable than it was. I still need to paint the heraldry - a big Dark Angel winged sword across the hull, and the symbols on the sponsons - but it's basically there.

Oh yes, my Chaos are a Fallen army - I started painting DAs under Rogue Trader when they were black, and when I got back into the game, I just stuck with it.

Not a bad haul for a week and a half, really...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wildebeest completed

Woo hoo! I managed to get the paints out last night after work, and this is the result. Wheels by Brigade Models, machineguns by Battlefront, hull by me!

Again, painted sand and granite, washed with devlan mud, drybrushed sand. Quick and easy, and I'm really pleased with the way they have turned out; I have another four assembled waiting for their paint jobs; I am tempted to give one of them a searchlight rather than a machine gun and make an ambulance. Then I must get on with the job of making some turrets to create an IFV version.

I know that they have cost me far more than I would have paid to buy four APCs from a 'real' manufacturer, but I am so pleased to have my own unique models that I don't care. There's something really satisfying about working through a model from start to finish.

Change the past, change the far future

Just a quick note - the Bolter and Chainsword forum site has produced an interesting 'Alternative History' version of the heresy; one in which Rogal Dorn rather than Horus leads the rebellion.

Very interesting, really nicely written, and it makes me want to add at least a squad of Khorne Space Wolves to my chaos army...

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Never give up...

I played another couple of games of the 40k Kill Team (40KT from now on) mission on Monday night. One that has stuck in my mind was a game of my Daemons against Mike's Orks. Orks are a really tough army in 40KT; not only can they take masses of figures to bump up their breakpoint, but they can take heavy weapon squads (Lootas) as well. Anyway, Mike's list was something like ten grots and a runtherd, ten orks, four lootas - it was certainly 25 figures, so he needed to lose 13 before he started taking leadership tests. My list comprised five bloodletters and seven horrors, so I would be taking tests after losing six.

Things started badly, I lost a couple of horrors very quickly, and I was down to seven figures before I had closed for combat. Horrors can shoot, but their ballistic skill isn't very high, and the cover saves were costing me kills. Anyway, I got into combat and started to do some damage, but not being able to consolidate into combat is painful and leaves you exposed to massed firing.

To cut a long story short, and to finally get to the point, I was down to a single horror, backing off and throwing out shots at the orks. I had just taken my 4th leadership test (at a -3, no less) when I managed to kill another grot to bring Mike down to twelve figures remaining. Of course, Mike failed his leadership test straight away, and I won the game... despite me having only one model on the table, and him having as many models left as I started the game with!

And the moral of this story? Never give up, and always keep your eye on the objective. Mike could have easily won the game by dropping back out of range and letting the leadership tests take me out of the game. Instead he kept pushing forward, allowing me to target his grots and eventually fluke a win.

We have been enjoying 40KT, to the extent that we are going to have a tournament after the summer; everyone submits two lists (though I think there were going to be some additional restrictions on vehicles and monstrous creatures) and plays all the other players...