perjantai 14. huhtikuuta 2017

Easter orcs

My orcs & goblins project is moving on in schedule. I want to have WFB: Armies troop minimas done by july this year and with both gobbo and orc arrers done and orc boyz very near to completion I strongly believe I can make it.

As these arrer boyz were in black undercoat when I posted this it means that it took me just under one month to get a unit from start to table-top-quality-ready. That´s pretty much the maximum pace at which I can paint because of work and other real life responsibilities.

Everyone was first sprayed black. Then basic colours were applied and models washed with Agrax. As last stage I did some high lighting. I´m satisfied with the result. Individual models are not that great but as unit they look good enough for me from a couple of feet away.

Full twenty strong as is the O&G´s troop minima in WFB: Armies.
Some sort of banner needs to be painted but I´ve not yet 
come up with an idea for that.

 The command group would really need a musician but I don´t have any
appropriate models for one. Anyone care to sell or trade?

 Harboth´s archers, 80´s arrer boyz and a couple of early nineties in there I think.
The standard bearer is a Marauder skulpt.

Just one more shot from a bit different angle.

I´ll finish this posting with two thumb selfies. These gobbos are the first two of twenty that are the next in line to be painted. Lovely models both.

torstai 6. huhtikuuta 2017

Animal handlers in 3rd ed. WFB: Skaven Clan Moulder Beastmaster

This part of ´Animal handlers in 3rd ed. WFB´ -series of articles is about Skaven Clan Moulder Beastmasters. It discusses rules, models, tacktics, pictures, links, pro´s and con´s and everything related to Skaven animal handlers. Please click here to find the other arcticles.

WD137 is a very good source of material for skavens including beastmasters as there is a lengthy article by Andy Chambers describing his then new skaven army. Andy´s army includes a pack of rat ogres and another pack with giant rats.


Andy Chambers points out in his article that you could in theory field colossal 48 rat-ogres if you wanted to. I really didn´t understand how he got that number. Eight teams,each with four handlers, each with six rat ogres: 8 x 4 x 6 = 192. But 8 x 6 =48. That could only mean that I´ve been completely wrong with the way how you count how many animal handlers you can have. I always thought that the number on top meant number of packs. And model per unit how many handlers you can have in a single pack. How embararssing - now I have to go back and rewrite parts of three previous articles. Hope no one noticed :D

But it´s always nice to learn something new. And this is yet again a good example of how 3rd edition WFB rules are perhaps not the most comprehensive ones out there.

So infact you can have up to 8 handlers divided in 2-8 units. Each handler can have 2-6 beasts in his control. This way you could build two units of 4 handlers and 24 rat-ogres.

The beast choise is pretty nice with rat-ogres and giant rats that only skavens get. Chaos hounds are powerfull as discussed in dark elf and chaos articles but there must be some mistake with the points per model value. For others the hounds cost 23 but for skaven only 20. Giant wolves are another cause of confusion. Points per model cost is given as 2 which is a lot less than their cost of 8 points in rulebook bestiary. I haven´t seen this corrected anywhere but 2 points per model just can´t be right. The points value should be corrected to 8.

And where are wolf-rats? WFB: Armies tells that they are Clan Moulder creations but don´t appear on skaven army list - anywhere!

What happened to wolf-rats?

The Pariedolia blog knows that: "Wolfrats, oddly, were excised from the army roster as of 4th edition and (besides a brief appearance in the Moulder Hell Pit army list in White Dwarf #310) were only recently re-introduced via Forgeworld and the 8th edition supplement Storm of Magic (infamous for also re-introducing Fimir and Zoats, albeit in a rather limited fashion)."

What I am seeing is that the wolf-rats for some reason never made any further than WFB: Armies bestiary. To make things even more curious Andy Chambers tells in the WD137 article that he is planning on converting some wolf-rats for his army. That would suggest to wolf-rats being a troop choise for skaven but I´m not seeing that in the WFB: Armies.

I would personally allow a skaven player to take wolf-rats as pack beasts. By the description in bestiary they are clan Moulder created creatures and in style much more skaven than normal giant wolves.

Rat-ogres and their handlers by Pete Taylor from WFB: Armies

Citadel did produce a set of handlers and pack creatures. The beast choises were giant rats and rat ogres. They were sculpted by none other than Jes Goodwin.

Skaven beastmaster page from the red famous catalogue of 1991.

Clan Moulder beastmasters were sold in blisters with either rat-ogres or giant rats. There was no giant wolf and chaos hound dedicated set produced. You can always use wolf riders or other wolves and chaos hounds from chaos/dark elf animal handler set if you want to use those.

The C22 skaven handlers sell normally for 3-9€ on ebay. A pack of 6 giant rats should cost you about 15€. Jes Goodwin rat-ogres can be purchased for a price of 16-20€ per model.

MM32 and Citadel goblin wolfboy wolf prises range normally 5-10€ each. In BC2 monster starter set there is a vicious giant wolf model that can be bought for less than 5€. FF69 giant wolf will sell for around 20€ and often comes with an orc rider. For wolves there are many allternatives from different manufacturers. Just google for warhammer wolf and choose the ones you like.

Chaos hounds are usually around 10€ BIN.

There is a Forgeworld wolf-rat set available at a price of £32 for five models.

Forgeworld wolf-rats.


Giant Rats

Rules

A giant rat described here matches pretty well the models that were produced. Rats have good speed and because of venomous attacks great strenght. But their usability is somewhat reduced by their low WS. Propably the best thing about them is their cost - for just 2 points per model they are cheap. The empathy rule is a strange one in my opinion. I can understand it if rats were to act unlead but with a handler whipping them into action I don´t think empathy would really be an option for rats.

If you have read my earlier articles you propably know what I think about mutations. They are a nice addition but should be used with care. But that´s just me - I´m not telling you how run your game. D4-1 - that´s a lot of mutations.

Base size of 25 x 25 mm is nice as they do not take so much room on the battlefield as the 50 x 25 mm mounted collegues.

A big pack of rats from Tales From the Big Board

Tactics
The cost effective way to field giant rats is like Andy Chanmbers says - take maximum number of rats for each handler and divide them into units that support you battleplan. Small units for harrassing flanks, skirmishers or warmachines. Bigger ones for screening action and close combat against chosen targets. If you take the maximum unit size of 4 handlers and 24 rats you can get maximum rank bonuses that will help you against smaller enemy units. And can even take some casualties before you start losing those bonuses.

Rats are not that endurable and you can expect them to take losses from missiles and in hand to hand. Taking a big unit lets you take some damage before rolling for rout/panic. And with skaven handler profile you can expect to fail that roll.

A giant rat unit is propably something you field as expendaple. You sort of expect them to die or run eventually. Therefore I would unneccesarily boost their value by assigning them a character model of some sort. They are cannon fodder, a speed bump or a nuisance to enemy at best - don´t put more points there than is needed to do the job. Four handlers and 24 rats costs you just 86 points. I think that pretty good value for money.

A pair of beastmasters with giant rats. From Orcsbains miniature world.


Giant Rat Pro´s:
Unique to skavens
 Very skaveny
Fastish
S3 + venomous
CHEAP!

Giant Rat Con´s:
Low WS
Low combat endurance

Rat-Ogres


Rules

Strong profile for close combat. Rat-ogres cause fear which is a very good ability. If you win a round of combat and enemy is pushed back he is automatically routed. And when you charge the enemy of he charges your rat-ogres he has to for fear. Mutations are pretty rare as you get maximum of one on a D4-3 roll.

Some rat-ogres and beastmasters from Snickit´s Tail

Tactics

Charge! You want to get your rat-ogres engaged in combat. Their WS is an average 3 but 2 attacks and good strenght will compensate. They are very tough with T5 and W3 but the handlers aren´t. Lucky missile fire can take the handlers out and then your rat-ogres are useless. I would really concider taking a hero to lead them. Both for sustainability and leadership bonus. Rat-ogres are a good substitute for heavy cavalry the skaven don´t have.

Some of LM´s beautiful rat-ogres.

Rat-ogre pro´s:
Great close combat profile
Cause fear
Unique to skaven
Jes Goodwin

Rat-ogre con´s:
Value per model
Vulnerability of handlers

Giant Wolves


Rules

So the rulebook bestiary tells us that giant wolves are almost as large as a horse. Well - the wolfboy wolves are pretty close to metal elven horses so I´m confortable with that. Base size is 25 x 50 mm. The bestiary description says nothing about skaven and points out that giant wolves are riding animals. Perhaps they were originally not thought to be used in a pack of beasts?

Giant wolves must always follow up and pursue as they are difficult to control. Being hungry for combat a unit of giant wolves must charge if they begin their movement phase within charge range of an enemy unit of half it´s size or more. This can be avoided by a 2D6 test versus units LD.

A minor weakness is that the giant wolves fear fire and must make a paniv test if attacked by fire weapons or if they come closer than 4" of a fire.

The point value feels a bit high. They are fast and have WS4 but are they really worth 8 points. Maybe.

Tactics

As wolves are really fast and pretty good in close combat with WS4 you could use them as light cavalry. Threaten flanks, harrash skirmishers and war machines. Just keep in mind that you can only make that one maneuver per movement phase and that a big unit will take quite a lot of space. A small pack of wolves could perhaps be held back to protect you jezzail teams or warp fire throwers. With that M9 you should be able to charge first and buy time for weapon teams to do their work.

Once again T3 and no armor means that this type of pack is vulnerable to missiles.

Three BC2 Vicious wolves and a FF69 Giant wolf by Goblin Lee.

Giant wolf pro´s:
Really fast
WS4

Giant wolf con´s:
No very skaven
Bit pricey
Vulnerability compared to value

Chaos Hounds

I know I´m repeating myself now with chaos hounds. Things saud here have been said in previous articles about dark elves and chaos.


Rules
 
Rules say that chaos hounds 25 x 25mm but models are supplied with 25 x 50mm and propably won´t fit a smaller one less rank up at all on those. The profile is strong for close combat. Chaos attributes can be a curse or a blessing. And in any case should be generated as mentined under GM´s supervision. We don´t want to take the fun away from anyone by some lucky/unluncky rolls before the game has even started. But everything that all players can agree on should be fine.

The points value has to be a misprint and should say 23 as for darkies and chaos.

Tactics

These dogs are deadly in close combat so you want to get them engaged. They are hard to kill with T4 and W2 but will propably draw missile fire as the enemy wants to take out the whelp masters and send the hound on their way to wilderness. Take a hero to lead the unit and concider armoring the handlers.

As chaos hounds are pretty valuable I wouldn´t waste them on harrassing skirmishers or war machines. Like rat-ogres they are a substitute for heavy cavalry so a simple staright forward advance followed by a charge should work. But once again - a large pack takes a lot of space.
A large pack of chaos hounds from Realms of Chaos blog.

Chaos hound pro´s
Nice models
Look good in large packs
Very powerfull in close combat
Good speed
Strong overall profile
Chaos hound con´s
Vulnerability of the handlers
Pricey
Wolf-Rats

Rules

Compared to ´normal´ giant rats wolf-rat have better WS but no venomous attack. They fear fire and are not affected by mutations even though the description says that they are horribly mutated.. Base size is 25 x 50 mm so your unit will become much larger. And they cost more than giant rats.

Tactics

Pretty much the same applies here as for giant rats. Or for wood elf war hound packs that have almost the same profile as wolf-rats. I don´t see much sense in taking wolf-rats if you can field giant rats as rats cost less and can do the same things as wolf-rats.

Pirate Viking Painting blog Forgeworld wolf-rats.

Wolf-rat pro´s:
Unique to skaven

Wolf-rat con´s:
Price compared to giant rats
No oldhammer models available
Lame rules


keskiviikko 29. maaliskuuta 2017

Animal handlers in 3rd ed. WFB: Chaos Beastmasters

This part of ´Animal handlers in 3rd ed. WFB´ -series of articles is about Chaos Beastmasters. It discusses rules, models, tacktics, pictures, links, pro´s and con´s and everything related to Chaos animal handlers. Please click here to find the other arcticles.

This article is mainly about WFB rulebook and WFB: Armies but I´ve included a shortish look into the Realm of Chaos material too.

WFB and WFB: Armies

At first the chaos beastmasters look like a very simple case - just two types of beasts available. But as one digs deeper there are so many sides to them. And pretty many inconsistencies too. I´ll start with the most obvious - it says beastman animal handler and the profile is normal beastman but the picture is clearly of a chaos warrior or a marauder. And as we see later the handler model produced is surely not a beastman but resembles the picture above. So once again someone within Citadel/GW has changed his mind. The chaos beastmaster model was there before the book but then something happened. Perhaps they felt that a chaos warrior or a marauder is too expensive for a handler with pointsvalues of 74 and 39 respectively.

As we see a chaos army can include 0-8 Beastmasters divided into units each with 1-3 handlers and 2-6 animals / handler. You can choose either chaos hounds or spawns for a pack.

Beastmen with T4 and W2 make chaos beastmaster teams a lot less vulnerable to missile fire than what the other races have to offer. Their biggest weakness on the other hand is the below average psychology profile. Your expensive pack may end up running sooner than you think. But good toughness helps to prevent casualties and using a big pack allows you to take some damage before having to check for panic/rout.

The beastmen units get D6-3 chaos attributes. I would count the beastmaster as a beastman unit roll the attributes. This is clarified in the Slaves to Darkness as we´ll learn later. Some GM concideration could be in place here - just to make sure the game does not get broken by mutations.

 Color add of handlers and chaos hounds. Here we see that the handler 
is infact a chaos warrior/marauder not a beastman.
Casting room miniatured did produce this set but it was
discontinued in 11/2016. There we have a beastman
animal handler.

The Citadel chaos hounds are just great and there are so many to choose from. The chaos warrior handler has a good threatening pose. It´s a very nice set as a whole. But the lack of a beastman handler is obvious. You could always use a normal beastman or a slightly converted one as a beastmaster if you wanted.

Citadel chaos warrior handlers with 2-4 dogs can be obtained from ebay with BIN price of around 40€. In a recent auction a handler and three partly painted hounds sold for 15€.


This is the Marauder MM93 Chaos Beastmaster set. One of the better Marauder sculps in my opinion. Again the handler is clearly a chaos warrior/marauder. The pose suggests that he is just about to motivate the pack with that whip of his. Mixing this set and Citadel produced one you could create a unit of two handlers and twelve chaos hounds with no dublicate models!

Cost of a set of a Marauder handler and two hounds is around 25€ in an auction. BIN prices can be as high as 60€.

The idea of producing a set for chaos spawns is a bit of a paradox. Spawns receive D6+6 chaos attributes when generated and there are tens of possible starting profiles so making a set for something like that is just impossible. I understand that not all players are willing or capable (me for example) of creating such conversions a spawn may require.

But if you want to buy yourself a chaos spawn set there are infact some alternatives to choose from. The grandmother of all chaos spawns has to be Ngaaranh.
A painted example of Ngaaranh: Spawn of chaos
from Rogue heresy blog.

She or it dates back to 1983 when released as limited edition. Ngaaranh appeared in this Compendium one article.


 Exerpt from Compendium one.


 Ngaaranh was sold as a chaos harpy in this add from WD49 (1983).



This one is an unreleased Bob Olley chaos spawn painted by
one Mike McVey. Picture from Eldritch Epistles.

Then it´s all the way to the catalog of 1997. I´ve included
this chaos spawn set as I think it´s quite oldhammeresque.
Lot´s of heads and tails to choose from but still quite limited
as the basic form is what it is. But a good base for conversions perhaps.


The 1997 spawn will cost you about 12€. When writing this there were two Ngaaranhs on ebay for BIN prices of 37€ and 83€.

There are multiple newer set in both 40k and WFB/AOS lines but the afore presented are the most oldhammery ones available if you are not that into converting a chaos spawn from scratch yourself.

Chaos hounds

Rules

 As with dark elf chaos hounds we meet the basing issue. Rules say 25 x 25mm but models are supplied with 25 x 50mm and propably won´t fit a smaller one less rank up at all on those. The profile is strong for close combat. Chaos attributes can be a curse or a blessing. And in any case should be generated as mentined under GM´s supervision. We don´t want to take the fun away from anyone by some lucky/unluncky rolls before the game has even started.


A very large pack of chaos hounds from Steve McCallums collection.
And he has both Citadel and Maraudet handlers too.

Tactics

These dogs are deadly in close combat so you want to get them engaged. They are hard to kill with T4 and W2 and as their handlers are likevise resilient so your hounds are not very likely to be send on their way to wilderness. 

As chaos hounds are pretty valuable I wouldn´t waste them on harrassing skirmishers or war machines. They are a decent alternative for heavy cavalry so a simple staright forward advance followed by a charge should work. But once again - a large pack takes a lot of space.


Chaos hounds are pretty valuable: a pack of ten hounds and two beastman handlers will cost you almost 260 points. A pack with dark elf handlers will cost you even more. And darkies are a lot more vulnerable to missiles.

The chaos attributes might affect the way you use the a hound pack. Most of the dominant chaos attributes (rulebook page 207) are quite helpfull but for example enormously fat chaos hounds would be nearly unusable. GM discretion is definately needed here. Don´t break the game before it starts.


Two packs of six hounds with beastman handlers equipped with shield.
Total of 308 points. Picture from the Tales From the Big Board blog.

Pro´s
Nice models
Look good in large packs
Very powerfull in close combat
Good speed
Strong overall profile
Con´s
High points value

Chaos spawns

Ok, this is where writing this article got pretty tricky. As the WFB: Armies refers to Realm of Chaos -books so I´m using a few exerpts of both The lost and the damned and Slaves to the darkness here.
There are so many different chaos spawn pictures around the net so I just chose to use some iconic ones from WD magazine.

The rules and creating table for a ´instant chaos spawn´ can be found at the Slaves to the Darkness book. You can either choose a starting profile or roll for one. Likewise you can choose nine rewards or D6+6.

The chaos spawns are first mentioned in Slaves to the darkness on page 52 under the title of Fate of champion of chaos - Becoming a chaos spawn. That part is just for chaos champions and does not reflect to games of normal WFB. On page 62 we learn that a creature in a champion´s retinue can become a spawn by rolling that result from follower´s reward table. Then on page 65 we meet the generation table for an ´instant´ chaos spawn. This is the table to be used when generating a spawn to be used in a game of WFB with chaos army list.


Rules

As mentioned before chaos spawn come in almost infinite shapes and profiles. Just this random table gives you 60 different starign profiles including the other part which can be basicly anything. And then you roll for the minimum of seven chaos attributes.

Chaos spawns are subject to stupidity. This means that in the beginning of each of your turn you have to make a stupidity check. As described under thr psychology rules in the rulebook the test is taken vs. unit´s CL. And as per animal handlers rules the unit´s leader´s profile is used for all psychology test. With beastman´s CL 7 you are pretty likely to fail a few of those tests. You could try to help this by taking a hero as a unit leader but the cheapest options to boost your CL is a level 5 wizard that costs 80 points more than a normal beastman.

Spawns and other creatures of chaos by Pete Taylor from WD117.

Here we finally get the points value for a chaos spawn: 100 per model. Depending on how you roll this could be from very cheap to total waste of points. Imagine one legged, obese, coward, bunnyheaded, albino, puny, hunchbacked halfling vs. mechanoid vampire with fire breathing, teleport, scaly skin, weapon mastery, horrible stench etc. If someone is using a chaos spawn I would really suggest that it´s the GM who creates it to make it somehow reseble it´s point value.

I personally don´t like the idea of a unit of chaos spawns with dominant attributes. It´s just against the whole idea of chaos spawns being randomly warped beyond recognition. Like where´s the chaos in having for example four identical spawns? I would take the time and create each spawn in a unit individually. That may give you some strange combinations but once again - serious GMing is recommended.

In my opinion packs of chaos spawns should propably be used only in narrative battles where a GM has created them to suit the setting. There are too much randomness to their creation that can ruins your gaming experience if you just go by the creation tables.


An iconic Pete Taylor chaos spawn from WD119.
Guess they had too many Fimirs just lying around and
had to do something with them.

Tactics

Well - how to tell you how to use a bunch of creatures that can be anything from complete rubbish to almost unstoppable killing machines. The Slaves to the Darkness suggest that spawns can be useful for soaking up enemy charges and overrunning less numerous enemies. But it really depends on what you get. Hopefully you are playing with GM created spawns that should have at least some kind of use in the scenario you are going to play. You just have to figure it out that use.

Pro´s
Nice models if you make them so
Good for narrative battles where they serve some purpose
Chaotic naturel suits a chaos army

Con´s
Randomness
Stupidity

Daemonic Legions and Armies of Chaos

Daemonic Legions

Daemonic legions and Armies of chaos for each power are presented in the RoC books. Daemonic legions can have units of chaos spawns and packs of chaos hounds in their auxiliaries contingent. Chaos spawns must have a pack handler but the hounds can be fielded with one or just by themselves.


In The Slaves to the Darkness book we find units of both Khornate and Slaaneshi spawns. For Khorne you can take 0-3 units of spawn each with 8 monsters and a leader that can be either a bloodletter or a champion of chaos. This means that the value of a unit at it´s lowest is a whopping 860 points. Slaanesh can have 0-4 units each with 6 spawns and a leader. Lowest cost for that is 660 points. For some reason I believe that those points could be much better used elsewhere.

Creatures of chaos from WD109

The idea of daemonic legions having spawn units has been dropped at some point as they do not appear in The Lost and the Damned book. There is however a note that a daemonic legion can invlude troops drawn from the mortal world i.e. from the Armies of Chaos list. That allows fielding beastmasters/handlers too.

Armies of Chaos

Khornate armies of chaos can have beastmaster units each with 2 handlers and 8 chaos hounds or chaos spawns. Here it becomes clear that the handlers too are subject to chaos attributes. And that the spawn is created using a human profile as basic. The unit point value is quite odd. A normal beastman in SttD costs 8 points so a single handler should be 13. And chaos hounds as part of a host are 23 points which is normal. Adding up 2 handlers and 8 hounds gives you 210 points but the points per unit value is given as 120?!?!

And the handler in the picture looks more like chaos thug than a beastman.

What I wrote above about the Khornate army hadlers stands for Slaaneshi handlers too.

Personally I could think about adopting the human-profile-as-starting-point-for-rolling-a-chaos-spawn -principle to using spawns with WFB: Armies Chaos list. But only if there is no GM available to create the spawns and you absolute must have to use them in a game.

Nurgle and Tzeentch armies can have packs of chaos hounds. They are special in that they can either operate independently or be led by chaos champion. If acting independently I believe that they are not bound by the animal handler movement rules. And if they are lead by a chaos champion he is concidered to be an animal handler with all the applying rules for him and the pack.

Nurglesque pack of chaos hounds. As you see the style of the army list 
has changed somewhere between SttD and LatD.  And notice the base size.
Now it matches with the models.


 Tzeentchian chaos hounds unit.

Nurgle and Tzeentch packs differ in size (7 hounds for Nurgle and 9 for Tzeentch) and in number of chaos attributes. Both roll for D6-4 attributes but for Tzeentch the special rules say that: All the chaos hounds in the unit can be given up to the number of attributes rolled - thay can always be given less if you prefer, but must be given at least 1.

As with the hounds, Nurgle and Tzeentch armies can field chaos spawn as an independent pack or with a chaos champion leader. What strikes me is the points cost which is only 25 compared to 100 points in WFB: Armies. And the unit size is unlimited!

Chaos spawn unit of a Nurgle army.

Tzeentchian spawn unit.

A pair of ´eavy metal chaos spawns.

Writing this article was a pretty chaotic process. New things seemed to pop up around every corner and I´am pretty sure I missed something on the way here. Please sound up if you want something included.