lauantai 23. tammikuuta 2016

Izazel's Tzeentchian Warband

A new year, a new army!

In the past three months I've been forging together a brand new army: Warriors of Chaos! My current collection consists of only Order and Death factions, so this is a welcome change. I found a good deal on the web that got me a whole bunch of units for a very reasonable price, and although all the models had been pretty much assembled and basecoated it was still a golden deal!

Here's a group shot of the northern warriors I've finished thus far:

That's already 64 Wounds worth of models if my calculations are correct. Let me introduce this merry lot!

From left to right
Back Row: "Dolgeram's Doomriders" (Chaos Knights x3), "Aphophas Silvertongue" (Daemon Prince), "The Comet of Doom" (Chaos Chariot)
Middle Row: "Gulbrand's Warband" (Chaos Warriors x10), "Tyr's Fyrd" (Chaos Marauders x10)
Front Row: "Balfrik Steelshanks" (Champion with Battle Standard), "Izazel the Twisted" (Chaos Sorcerer Lord)

After a long and painful thought-process over the four gods of Chaos I finally settled on Tzeentch, mostly because I found a stunning paint scheme for my models! At first I was going for Slaanesh (as Khorne and Nurgle seem to mainstream for me) but when I spotted this selection of colours at Dice and Brush I was sold to Tzeentch... That blue theme just catches my eye more than any other, especially when applied to armour!

Here's the first model on which I practiced before starting on the rest of the army:

I really love that blue+purple+bone theme, especially with those bright highlights... Makes these otherwise dark-and-evil warriors look much nicer and happier!
I found the Chaos Warriors to be very enjoyable models to paint, as there are lots of plain areas like the cloak and the armour plates but also rough spots like the fur or the chainmail. I never got tired of painting these guys!

A few more Warriors from the "Gulbrand's Warband" unit. The weapon options here are various as the previous owner apparently switched many weapons and shields to those from a box of Zombies. I'm not sure where the shields are from, though, might be Orcs or Beastmen. In terms of gameplay I use them as having a pair of Chaos Handweapons.
All in all I don't find these hand replacements a bad thing as many of them are quite cool-looking. I think it's hilarious that one of them is armed with a severed leg!

I've got ten of these guys painted already, and a further 5 still waiting to be painted.

Gulbrand the Aspiring Champion, leader of the Warrior unit. Waving a big axe and dragging the torso of the former leader around seems to be enough of a recommendation to make you rise into a respected position in this society!

"The Comet of Change", one of the two chariots I got in the deal. I somehow like the sturdiness of this old model, and the overly-huge spikes also get me going. Those sickles on the wheels look nasty!
I'm planning to mount him on a base of some kind so I can texture it to match the rest of the army once I get to the basing phase. This model was pretty straightforward to paint, I did the horses, the charioteers and the chariot itself on their own and glued them together afterwards. I had a bit of trouble trying to fit these two huge armoured guys into the chariot, bu in the end they found their places with no further commotion.

Here are a few Marauders from the "Tyr's Fyrd" unit (a total of 10 painted, 6 waiting). I kept using the same limited palette to make my whole army unified, and I had to give these barbarians blonde hair as there were precious few other parts in them that I could paint with Screaming Skull. This didn't bother me at all as it just makes them look more "Scandinavian" and vikingy.
Painting the armoured parts blue was a real pain in the ass, as well as the shields. I have no idea why, I just hated it!
Instead the muscles were a pleasure to paint, as weird as that may sound... I enjoyed giving them a heavy wash and picking them out one by one to make them distinguishable.
Still, one must not think that I generally like to wash men and pick out their muscles, as this is not the case. Nice try, though.

Balfrik Steelshanks, the Champion with a Battle Standard! I did some minor conversions on this one, as he had a round wooden shield in the other hand and the banner in the other. I wanted him to carry a weapon, but still have something to represent his Chaos Runeshield -ability. So I ended up with an Ogre fist-weapon! This gave me the "shield" and the "weapon" parts I wanted in a compact package, as well as a nice detail: his weapon hand is mutated, having grown two times larger than its original size!
The banner took some time to do, and as I had already used the Tzeentch symbol on the shields and banner of the Chaos Warriors I needed something different on this one... So I ruthlessly copied the "Burning Eye" symbol from Dice and Brush!
It is one of the few freehand banner paintings I've ever done, but I'm happy with the result.

Meet Prince Aphophas Silvertongue! It took quite a lot of time and effort to get him to shape as I always found myself displeased by the result in the end. His chest and shoulders have been re-done quite a few times!
The story of this army is all about finding the right artifacts and performing a ritual to awaken Prince Aphophas, so he's quite an important character. This is why I took the time and patience to continue fixing him until I was satisfied.
Blue, gold, bone and strong highlights were the main features, but I also managed to get some purple on his malefic person (the cloth behind the chainmail) as well as red and orange by fitting them into his Daemonic Axe. Now he's ready to be summoned into the material realms by his devoted followers to wreak havoc!

Last but not least, Sorcerer Izazel the Twisted, leader of the warband! It is his sacred duty to direct the warband in its search of the artifacts and to summon their Daemon overlord from the Realm of Chaos to lead them in a glorious conquest!
Again I used the same palette as with the rest of the army, but used more purple than on any other model to make him stand out of the crowd. As if his badass lava base doesn't do that already.
I'm happy with how the staff and the eye-symbols look, but the horns and his own eyes are terrible, oh so terrible. I fixed both of these later on, yet I still have no pics to prove it. Some day I'll show you the fixed version of him!

I still have a small unit of Forsaken, another Chariot, 13 more Knights, 6 more Marauders, 5 more Warriors and a Chaos Lord to paint before I can add them to the army. There is much to be done, but the models I have ready thus far enabled me to already play a test game with them. Alas, the game was against my brother's brand new Stormcast Eternals and I took a sound beating despite all the preparations I made before the match...

Speaking of the pre-game preparations, I sacrificed my dog in the name of Tzeentch to lend some much-needed luck and surety to my dice rolls:

This proved to be quite effective, as my Knights and Warriors made 90% of their Save rolls (most of them requiring a 5+) during the match! I've never rolled that sweet! In the end I lost the match, yes, but it still doesn't take away the miracle of these save rolls.
Lord Tzeentch is a fickle master, though, and when Prince Aphophas was required to make 7 save rolls on a 3+ to avoid death, I rolled the following results: 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 4.

There is a lot to be learned about the exact effects of pre-game sacrifices, and I only have three dogs left... We'll see where my research takes me before I run out of pets.

Until next time!

PS. In case someone didn't get it by now: my dog is still alive and in very good condition. I have committed no animal sacrifices and I still own four dogs. It was nice to make jokes with you.

keskiviikko 20. tammikuuta 2016

Sea Battle of Diamond Bay

Here we go, this blog's 8th Narrative Battle Report!

I promised you a unique scenario, and that's exactly what we had here. A sea battle!
Well, it might not be THAT unique now that I think of it, but it's not like you see many AoS sea battle reports out there.

So, here's our deployment:

The gaming surface was a sea, as well as three boats that were connected to each other by boarding planks.
In this scenario, two Duardin assault ships ambush an Orc supply vessel. The game lasts for 6 Battle Rounds or until one side gets wiped out. At the end of the game, the side with the most models aboard the Orc ship is declared victorious. Simple, isn't it?

It certainly was too simple for us, so we added a nice little extra rule: each turn models starting their movement phase on a boarding plank had a chance to slip and fall to their doom! We rolled a dice for each such model, and a roll of 1 took the model off the table. This did not affect models with the Hero keyword, though.

Let us carry on to the narrative!


The waters of Diamond Bay shimmered brightly in the sunlight, making it easy for Captain Garin Baragorsson to deduce the origin of the name. The two small ships under his command had been ordered here by the Iron Company to intercept greenskin supply vessels while the company itself advanced in the mainland, yet there had been no signs of any seaborne traffic in the past few days. Anchored side by side, the Dwarven ships swayed slowly in place, housing their crews that were either fishing on the gunwale or snoozing below-deck.
A lazy breeze swept over Garin as he stood at the prow of his ship, the wind rippling through his magnificent beard but carrying with it an urgent message. There was something disgusting, yet still so familiar, in the breeze. Garin frowned, trying to decide the meaning of the scent. It was...

Orc dung.

"All Dwarves on deck! Prepare for imminent boarding maneuver!" Captain Baragorsson bellowed at the top of his lungs, resulting in exploding action from the crewmen of his two vessels as they cast aside whatever they were doing to take up their wargear. He eyed the horizon, empty and calm as of yet, as his second-in-command emerged by his side.

"We under attack, my lord?" Yadri asked urgently, his axe unslung and ready for a fight.
"No, but I think the supply vessel we've been waitin' for has finally arrived," Garin replied, sniffing the air again.
"According to the stench it's an hour's sail, they're comin' straight at us."
"Perfect, sire. I'll prepare my warriors for boarding," Yadri stated before bowing and vanishing below the deck.
Captain Baragorsson grabbed his runic warhammer and unhooked it from his belt. Lifting his shield from the gunwale shield rack and laying his horned helm upon his grey curls, the Dwarf noble was ready for war.

Soon the Duardin flotilla sighted the Orc ship. Rowing with all the strength of their race, the stunted warriors closed in with astonishing speed. As soon as the Orc captain realized it had sailed straight into a trap, it ordered the supply barge's greenskin crew to take up battle positions.
Coming from behind the enemy ship, the Dwarves split up and threw out their boarding planks, locking them firmly in place.

Enraged by this daring assault on his big boat and its cargo of fungus beer and scrap metal, Captin' Croll Rustaxe waved his sea-worn weapon in the air.
"Dem stunties are boordin' us! Take up yer choppas and chop 'em good!" Croll roared, dissatisfied by the speed with which his crew clambered up from the bowels of the ship. With all the haste they could manage, the Orcs flocked to the deck, ready to defend their precious cargo against the attackers. Especially the Captin's bodyguard, a group of nasty-looking Black Orcs, were more than happy to come across a little scrap on an otherwise boring sea trek!

Ignoring all the hassle on the enemy vessel, Captain Garin made one last check to see if his warriors were ready. They were.
Letting out a wordless warcry and gesturing with his hammer, Baragorsson led his kin in a thundering charge over the boarding plank.

On the larger of the Dwarf ships a boarding crew was already in full action. A heavily armoured wave of Ironbreakers swarmed the enemy stern, starting to form a shieldwall to secure a foothold on the greenskin barge before they could react.

To support the Ironbreakers' charge, a line of Thunderers opened fire over their ship's gunwale, pouring a rain of lead into the Black Orcs. No casualties were inflicted, though, as the combination of heavy Orc armour and the sturdy wooden frame of the ship absorbed the volley.

Following their captain the Dwarf Warriors charged headlong into the midst of the foe, engaging the Orc Boyz on the deck in a bloody swirl of close-quarters combat. The ferocity of the Duardin attack took the greenskins by surprise, and many fell to the bite of dwarf-forged steel, while the crude choppas of the Orcs found no weak joint in the enemy's armour.

Captain Baragorsson slammed in to the towering form of Captin' Croll, but instead of unbalancing his opponent the Dwarf noble managed to unbalance himself. The Orc was immovable!
Unimpressed by the challenge his adversary had offered thus far, Croll Rustaxe brought down his heavy fist on the Dwarf's helm, cracking a horn and laying his opponent low on the deck.

Before the Thunderers had a chance to fire another volley, a howling mob of Orcs rampaged across the boarding planks to assault their ship. A few hastily fired shots took down some of the boarders, but the inevitable fight saw casualties inflicted on both sides. Crudely crafted choppas rose and fell, carving a bloody path through the Dwarven vessel, while carefully placed blows from gun-butts sent roaring greenskins overboard into the sea.

The Ironbreakers at the stern of the enemy barge hadn't finished forming up their shieldwall as the Black Orcs descended upon them. Laying about them with huge axes and spiked maces, the greenskin elite managed to crack three gromril armours and send their broken wearers into the depths of the sea, while all they suffered in the process themselves was a few flesh wounds.

As the battle raged across the decks of the ships, the two Captains were still locked in a duel. Never letting his opponent rise back up from the deck, Croll swung his rusted axe downwards, crushing through shield, armour, flesh, bone, all.
After the initial puff of blood had settled, Captin' Rustaxe kicked his adversary's corpse into the sea.
"You's got no permishun to bleed on me deck, stuntie!"  Croll roared after the body and turned to take in the situation on his big boat.

The Orcs were pressed hard. The Dwarf Warriors cut down Boyz one by one while advancing on the blood-slick deck, although now the greenskin resistance had begun to toughen: several Duardin Warriors laid among the slain bodies of their foes, their chainmails pierced by blows from heavy choppas.
Despite the casualties the Orcs fought on tirelessly, determined not to let their fungus beer and scrap metal fall into Dwarven hands!

In the Dwarven assault vessel the Thunderers were being decimated. Shots were fired point-blank and gun-butts whirled in the air, and many greenskins fell, but the ferocity of the Orcs far outweighed the skills of the Duardin. Soon only a weary knot of Thunderers stood back to back in the corner, surrounded by the enemy and their slain kin. There would be no mercy begged nor given.

The Ironbreakers finally locked their shields into a wall, starting to advance in unison while cutting down the foe. The Black Orcs grudgingly gave ground, feet by bloody feet, but despite all their rage and heavy weaponry were unable to land a single blow past the shields of the Dwarves. Many of the greenskin elite fell to the rhythmic beat of axes and hammers, while a shout of triumph rose from the lips of the Ironbreakers.

On the greenskin barge the Dwarf Warriors finished off the remaining Orcs on the deck, but before they could move to the stern to help the Ironbreakers they were set upon by howling Captin' Croll waving his rusted axe!
Gathering their courage, the Warriors formed up and surrounded the Orc Boss, ready to avenge their own Captain's demise.

They had no chance against the might of Rustaxe. Croll's weapon swung in wide red arcs, decapitating and dismembering multiple enemies with each stroke. Soon Dwarven corpses littered the deck, with many more sinking to the bottom of the sea as bleeding carcasses.
"WAAAAAAAGH!" Captin' let out his battle-lust into the skies, cherishing the bloodshed he had just committed.
"No stuntie's gonna take me big boss boat!"

The situation seemed dire for the Duardin. Of all their numbers from the combined crews of the two ships only a handful remained. A single Thunderer was fighting for his life against an Orc Boy, while the Ironbreakers still had their hands full with the last of the Black Orcs. To top it off, the captain of the greenskins was still alive and unscathed, having sent Captain Baragorsson to play with the fish along with his Warriors. No clear victor had yet emerged, but it was clear that whoever won would do so at a terrible cost...

Among the bodies of slain Orcs and Dwarves on the bloodied deck of the larger assault vessel, the leader of the Thunderers battled the remaining Orc.
Dodging a swing from the choppa, the Dwarf fired one of his dual pistols at the foe. Taking the shot into his squig-hide shield, the Orc pressed the attack, swinging left and right with its weapon to deny the Thunderer of any chance of reloading the gun.

At the stern of the greenskin barge the Ironbreakers were advancing, pushing the Orcs back towards the centre of the ship. The hulking Black Orcs noticed a gap in the Duardin shieldwall and struck for it, separating a shield arm from one careless warrior with a chop of a heavy axe.

Enraged by the loss of yet another of their number the Ironbreakers broke formation, swarming the Black Orcs and beating them to a bloody pulp with their hammers. It was then that Captin' Croll stormed across the ship, crushing into the Dwarves with the power of a rolling boulder! Seeking a revenge for their fallen captain and kin, the Ironbreakers surrounded the Orc Boss in order to drag him down and take the ship for themselves.

In the assault vessel the duel between a Dwarf and an Orc came to a gory conclusion. Firing his last remaining pistol shot only to have it sink into the foe's shield, the Thunderer had used up all his cards. Lunging at the Orc using his pistols as makeshift clubs, the Dwarf ran face-first into the Boy's descending choppa.

Despite all his might and fury, Croll Rustaxe couldn't break the enemy armour. His blows glanced off shields and pauldrons, while the Ironbreakers surronded him and battered from all sides with vengeful strikes. A hammer dislodged his kneecap and an axe cut deep into his flank, but all this only served to make the Captin' angrier...

Having emptied the enemy assault ship and lost his mob in the process, the lonely Orc Boy started back to the supply barge. The Captin' was fighting six foes at once, so the Orc headed towards the closest boarding plank and hurried to the stern of the barge to lend a hand.
All around the ships the sea was crimson and filled with floating bodies, while many more were on their way to the bottom, dragged by the weight of armour.

There was no help needed, though. Angrier than ever for the wounds he had suffered, the Rustaxe laid about him with wild abandon! A caved-in head, a severed arm, a decapitation... There was no end to the carnage he wrought. Soon all but the Ironbeard laid prone on the deck, dead or dying from the berserk fury of the Orc captain.
"You made a biggy mistake comin' to me ship, stuntie..." Croll growled, pointing a green finger at the last Dwarf.
"Yeah, beat it!" the Orc Boy joined in.
The Ironbeard's answer was a hammerblow at the Orc Boy's face, cracking it open in an explosion of gore.

"WAAAAAAGH!" Croll roared as the quickly closed in, swinging his axe at the impudent Dwarf. The Ironbreaker's corpse flew against the ship's gunwale before falling limply on the red deck. The last of the boarders had been slain.

Standing alone on a corpse-strewn deck, Captin' Croll considered his options. He now possessed three ships in total but had no crew left to sail them. He had no idea where he was or how long it would take to arrive at the horde's campsite... and he knew he was already late.
Letting out a frustrated growl, he dropped his rusted axe on the deck and started tying the vessels together with a length of rope. He would please the Big Bossy Warboss by delivering him three ships instead of one, along with a cargo of fungus beer, scrap metal and the latest addition: fresh meat.


That was an intense game!
Action-packed from start to finish, this scenario went straight into business. A close call as always, but I truly lament my ill luck with the Dwarf Lord's attack rolls. Absolutely none hit the mark! That Orc Boss managed to kill him off and took not even a scratch in return!
I believe my Lord's poor combat was the thing that lost the game for me. Had the enemy hero not been able to ravage through my ranks at full Wounds I'm sure I would've had a better chance. After all, he single-handedly slaughtered my remaining Ironbreakers and Warriors who could have won me the match.

Alas, it was not to be, but the game was still fun and thrilling to play! The scenario seemed quite well balanced although heroes are very powerful in such small games and the loss of yours early on will mostly decide your fate, unless you're blessed by the dice gods (which veeery few people seem to be).

Next I'll show you my brand new army that I forged together in secrecy during the past three months. Until then!

perjantai 1. tammikuuta 2016

Spanish Block of Iron

Happy new year, everyone!
In celebration of the start of a whole new year I took the effort to optimize ExtraBushyBeards to make it easier and more pleasant to read and follow. Here's what I did:

- the width of my posts was modified so that I can now add even larger photos to your enjoyment without them overlapping awkwardly
- a nice mountain background was added to enhance the overall dwarfy feel of the blog
- an email subscription feature was added, so you can now easily follow my posts by entering your email address on the right-hand sided column
- the blog now shows you the most popular posts from the past 30 days on the side column
- all my Narrative Battle Reports can be found in the very same side column under "My Narrative Battle Reports" in chronological order (oldest on the bottom, newest on top)

Today I'm also happy to announce that the first 10 models of my Ironbreaker alternatives are finally finished!

Here they are! After spending months trying to figure out whether or not to buy the GW Ironbreakers (10models/40€) I luckily found a solution. A company named "Momminiaturas" in Spain had these Dwarf Warrior models for an astonishing price (20models/20€) and I just couldn't resist. The cost was so low I didn't even care if I was just wasting my money on some crap!
So I ordered a box of these (there were also models for other AoS armies, such as Chaos mortals, Orcs, Elves...) from their website which was of course all in Spanish... Luckily Google Translate helped me through the payment and shipping options! The mailing took quite a while, but when it finally arrived I was over-excited.

The miniatures arrived in a plastic bag like this. Holy Sigmar, was there mold remains and crap on these models! I spent no less than an hour cleaning up the pieces with nail clippers, Exacto knife and a file, but in the end the models were clean enough.
Sadly some of the shields and weapons broke when I cut off the mold remains, but there were plenty of extra bits on the box to make up for it (there were 20 Dwarves, 25 shields and 28 weapons in the box, along with 20 pieces of 20mm square bases).
The models smelt strongly of some odd chemical, so I used the next hour washing them with warm water and a toothbrush. After that I started painting!

The models have some great detail, but they're also quite "jagged" in some places as you can clearly see on the pics above. Oh well, one can't expect to get GW quality models when they only cost 1€/piece!
Very ugly models in comparison to the real Ironbreakers, but while covering behind their HUGE shields they look just fine on the table... if you look at them from very far away... in the dark.

The poses of the models are of two type: "covering behind the shield" and "swinging a weapon", but one curious thing I noticed was that every model had their left leg put out in front with the toes in the air, to support the shield! A nice touch considering that they're standing in a shield wall.
There is some nice variation in their beards, helmets, shoulder guards and such. They only carry three kinds of weapons though: a hammer, an axe with holes in it and an axe without holes in it.

This is the "swinging a weapon" -pose I was talking about. I'll convert one of these to become the unit champion, as there is no command group in the box. I'm also considering adding a standard bearer and a musician, but we'll see what I can come up with.
Despite all the jaggedness an everything, they're quite Ironbreaker-ish after all, aren't they? The HUGE shield, the all-enclosing armour and impressive helmets really make them look more heavily armoured than an average Dwarf Warrior.
"What about the scale?" you're asking. Well, let me show you!

Momminiaturas website informs that they are 28mm scale, just like GW models. However, there is a slight difference when you compare them in real life. The Games Workshop Dwarf Warrior on the left is from the starter box "Battle for Skull Pass".
The Spanish model is slightly taller, but they're of roughly equal width. The weapons are quite the same scale, while the beards are of almost equal bushiness.

I played a game today where I tested my new Ironbreakers. I have to admit, I didn't even notice the small scale difference these two types of models had, they both looked very dwarfy on the field.

All in all I'm very satisfied with this purchase, I got myself 20 Ironbreakers for 20€, while the same amount of GW models would've cost me a whopping 80€!
I saved 60€ by just sitting down for an hour and doing some extra clean-up... and by tolerating some jagged edges on the models.

May your brushes be swift and the dice favor you in the year to come!