Thursday, October 8, 2015

well, technically 1/3 of my infantry is painted now...

...sounds kinda impressive till you realize that that's just half a dozen 15mm minis plus a small stand of my Battle Cattle. Man life has just been brutally busy here of late, so much that only managing to finish 6, half-painted 15mm minis sadly feels like an accomplishment! Wolfy and I keep telling ourselves that next week things will slow down, but after 2-3 weeks of that, I'm starting to wonder if it ever will or not.

Over there. Shoot the one over there!
I guess that that's why I cling to playing with my toys (mini gaming), because aside from sex, being an adult sucks!

Monday, October 5, 2015

My little army is starting to take shape


With the arrival and assembly of my 2nd order from Khurasan, The Buffet Assault Group is starting to look like a coherent force. Check em out:

My 1st infantry squad has started to get some paint.
My commander is still awaiting his/her replacement weaponry which is enroute from Scotland...
After building the APC's turret and seeing what the gun actually looked like up close, I changed its stat card, swapping the full-auto laser cannon to a medium grenade launcher.
I wonder how long it'll be before that little machine gun snaps off of there...
My army as a whole.
These will work for the time being as right now what they need is paint and to get some games under their belts. Additional units are something I can worry about later after everything has been painted. Yes, I know, I know, how many times have I, or has every other game said that, right? but at 15mm, these guys are so small that honestly, there's no excuse no to have em all painted...

(...and again, how many times have I said that too?)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Recruits from The Ion Age.


One rule that struck me as odd in Gruntz, well not so much a rule but rather a stat is that of the army commander. I had figured on using a spare squad sergeant as my commander but...

Hrmm, the guy on the right has the same number of hit points as a light tank...

Yeah, okay that won't work.  There is an optional rule which allows you (and your opponent assuming you both agree to it before hand) to give your commander a more realistic single wound, or just house rule it to whatever number of wounds you'd like. However we've yet to even get a single game in, so adding in house rules from the outset ought to be avoided I think.

I thought the command tek/module that can be added to a vehicle would effectively turn that vehicle into your commander, but then I found the following on the Gruntz forum which killed that idea.


So, I decided (as I've mentioned in an earlier post) to 'build' my commander as a mech (essentially) since he/she'll be a walking tank anyways...thus my purchase of a Havelock battle suit from The Ion Age. However my mini arrived with the incorrect weapon fit.

The gun I received is the one in the top left corner.

No, this is what I was wanting.

Sad Face. 

There's a small gun on the back of that huge fist, which I'm calling a grenade launcher...

Sending them an inquiry about the mix up, I was told that my mini went to Holland and I got that customer's mini in turn. However the correct weapons are already in the mail, so all is good. Gavin, The Ion Age's Creative Manager also asked where I'd heard of them (Table Top Fix) as I'm a new customer, and what I'd intended to do with the minis I'd ordered (and I was happy to do so).

That was 'minis' (plural) as aside from the Havelock battlesuit, I also ordered an previously free monthly release called a Vending Bot (there's a new free and unique design every month), but even paying for it the cost was minimal (plus I received this month's free mini as well). I'm sure we'll use the bot as an autonomously roaming objective in a scenario of some sort. Meanwhile Gavin's reply in regards to the free minis echoed my sentiments on gaming here of late:

"The free monthly's are pure 'whimsy' a sense of fun that is sadly lacking now.  Without it there would be no Vending Bot and as it is, it is REALLY popular."

What? you wanted a Mountain Dew? Sorry, the vending bot slammed a few itself and now its so hyper that it won't slow down long enough for anyone to get one for themselves!

Whimsy, yes what happened to that?  That wasn't necessarily what I was looking for in Gruntz, but hell let's add it in anyways!

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Battle Cattle!


Whilst The Buffet Assault Group is a relatively disciplined unit, there are always a few bad apples. Most are allowed to collect their personal effects, their paycheck (minus any damages resulting from their actions) and a taxi (of some sort) to the nearest space port. Most go, but a few beg for a 2nd chance, knowing that life in any other Merkz unit will be far worse than what they had as a TBAGer. For these unfortunate souls, the only option is a tour as a Battle Cattle handler.

'Battle Cattle' is a generic term for whatever critters The Buffet Assault Group has at the time for use as shock assault units. Slavering and panic stricken livestock rampaging towards the enemy makes for one hellova distraction (and if they make contact, they hit like a truck!). Currently, the TABGerz employ the infamous Dire Swine, a genetically modified beast of burden that's fairly docile (when drugged), but has the general temperament of a Terran Hippo.

Off of the battlefield, handlers have the dreadful task of caring for, feeding, and cleaning the stalls of their Dire Swine charges (yes, they shovel a lot of shit!). Enroute to the battlefield, they have to walk as Dire Swine hate to be ridden, and the APC crews refuse to allow (quote) beasts with no bowel control on board.

Once on the battlefield, the handler keeps the swine moving via hauling/tugging on the collar of the alpha male (the females will follow) towards the enemy. At just the right moment, the handler 'hits the switch' and an injector attached to the collar injects Adrenalin straight into the Alpha's system. In the ensuing drug induced berserk rage, anything in front of the crazed beast is charged and either crushed underfoot or viciously attacked by both the alpha and the following females (they also have injectors which activate via remote when the alpha's injector fires). Then all the handler has to do is sit back and watch the carnage.

Simple right?

Broken arm in-progress...
Battle Cattle, the other other white meat!

Try it sometime. 

It is all to easy to hit the switch at the wrong time during the chaos and confusion of the battle-in-progress. As such, injuries among handlers are all too common (and deaths by stampede or dragging the unfortunate handler into the melee are not to uncommon either). Thus, a tour of Battle Cattle duty is seen as something of a death sentence. Some handlers survive their tours and return to the ranks, but invariably, there are a few individuals who are a 'little off', who choose Battle Cattle duty as their primary and preferred responsibility.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Cleaning up resin minis' bad name...


For years I've had a love/hate relationship with Forgeworld. Lots of us have...

Forgeworld produces some of the industry's most awesome models, but in general they're so horribly expensive that I actually referenced it in this blog's banner. Seemingly, in equal proportion to the high price is their piss-poor quality control of their products (one of my better rants in that Air bubbles, miscasts, warped pieces (gun barrels especially),  Gates in the WORST places, gates that were so large and still attached that they broke the parts they were attached to in shipment, silicone mold release that won't come off no matter how many times you scrub the parts, the list goes on and on. Yes, FW has excellent customer service, and its not all bad (just 'mostly'), but I've just come to understand that resin is a nightmare product to work with.

With North American manufacturers, the story starts to differ a bit. With Heavy Gear I've had a near flawless tank, and a (pre-blog) walker that was on par with Forgeworld in all respects. My Grymn flyer and its base from Bombshell and Secret weapon miniatures were cleaned of the mold silicone, but they're simple models (though the flyer has some gate issues similar to the one linked above). Xmarx's CBT terrain was fine, but again, really simple in design. Zombiesmith...despite remaking molds before sending me replacements, considering all 3 resin vehicles (simple as they are), I still can't honestly recommend them for resin (just stick with their metal Quar!).

So, expecting the worst (as usual), I steeled myself for another resin nightmare when I received my new 15mm Khurasan tanks Thursday. However, that nightmare is not to be it, actually they're as close to flawless as I've ever seen in a resin model! Seriously, why can't other resin manufacturers, and Forgeworld specifically given the horrid prices deliver quality like this? (and god I hope this isn't just a fluke either)

Near flawless casts, silicone release already cleaned off, gates REMOVED and sanded flat, the guns/hatches are metal (and also flawless), and most importantly, the two tanks together cost $2 less than the typical 40k plastic character clamp pack (i.e.: $33). Check em out:

Note: these are sitting on a 1" grid.
I love em!
There it is, the worst of the 2 casts...otherwise known as the only flaws!
Sanded off gates, what a concept!
Uh yeah, buh-bye Forgeworld! There will be no more of your over-priced garbage for me! Although with 40k quickly falling towards the bottom of the list of my favorite games, that's probably little surprise right?

Monday, September 21, 2015

The opposition has been spotted...


Notta whole lot to blog about as there's been little to no hobby time of late. However on Friday Waaargh Pug IM'ed me to let me know he took the plunge and bought some 15mm goodies, huzzah! He ordered a squad or two of infantry from Clear Horizon Miniatures, along with this:

Hrmm, looks like I'll have to get an air defense unit...

Oooooh, that's pretty! I'm more of a Tanker in vehicle preference but he's all about dropships. So we ought to have a good variety of units on the table when we get to play instead of relatively similar forces.

Speaking of playing, Neverness seemed a bit incredulous Saturday when I told him I only had one opponent for Gruntz. I replied with 'its not much different than Battlech' (which probably didn't help my case as he doesn't like that game). However it occurred to me afterwards that my for first two years of playing 40k, I also only had one opponent, and that turned into a 20+ year gaming hobby so...

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Comparing Apples and Oranges...

Okay, so figuring it out from the point of view of starting from scratch, here's a comaprison of what I've purchased for Gruntz vs. the 40k Spess mahreen equivalent (because lets face it, 90% of players start with marines.

Also I'm not going with the Dark Vengeance boxed set as (1) not everybody starts with it and (2) there's no Gruntz equivalent which more or less renders this whole exercise in comparing the two pointless. Especially as the forces contained in that set don't really compare well with what I bought for Gruntz. The DV box is also intended to be split by 2 new players (which is amusing as only veteran players who have pre-existing armies for the minis contained in the set tend to actually do that).

"He's the Orange!'
 This is a good size comparison photo (which tend to be surprisingly hard to find in google searches...

Anyways, first up buying the game rules:

Gruntz rulebook PDF and unit builder app: $14.00 (+$10 for printing out and spiral binding @ kinko's)
40k Big Rulebook and SM codex ebook: $145.99

A difference of: $121.99! (ouch!)

Next up, minis (all of which were purchased from Khurasan miniatures with the lone exception of the commander's mech which came from The Ion Age):

(1) APC
(1) Tank
(20) Infantry
(3) specialist squads (similar to IG heavy weapon teams)

Gruntz minis total: $79.42 and just short of 250 points as built. 
That point total could go higher if I beefed em up a bit but I've kept em simple to start with and that's a decently sized starter army anyways.

(1) Rhino
(1) Predator
(20) Tactical Marines
(5) devastator marines
(1) dreadnought

(nope, no GW links as y'all already know what those look like)

Minis total: $267.25, and about 750 points (give or take) which is also a good starter size.

Minis come to a difference in price of: $187.83 (again, ouch!) Actually it would be worse as the Gruntz also includes shipping costs, whereas the 40k doesn't. The 40k costs also don't involve sales tax, and since GW's NA HQ is in Memphis, buying from them online would involve sales tax just like buying their toys at the FLGS would.

Total Gruntz Start up cost: $103.25
Total 40k Start up cost: $413.15

For a difference of: $309.90 (triple ouch!)

Increasing the armies from there won't get any cheaper for the 40k player (assuming ebay isn't involved) but is debatable for the Gruntz player as I could redo the unit stats, increasing their skills and their point costs free of charge (I would have to buy more stuff though).
Now, obviously Gruntz is not the (gamers) household name that 40k is, and I've yet to get in a game to see just how much I'll like it in the long run either, but still...most games of 40k these days feel like a pay-to-win scenario which just plain sucks! Personally, 7th ed as whole hasn't been any fun in general, as it feels like it has far more cons than pros to it. Apparently I'm not alone (locally Infinity has all but replaced 40k at the FLGS' game night), so its not hard to see why GW is hemorrhaging players and having difficulty finding new ones with new army start up costs like that. Don't even get me started on the AoS debacle! What's the latest on that? $100 for SIX Khorne Blood Crushers...curiously with most every release, the WHFB cost too much excuse for AoS's existance seems hollower and hollower.

Oops, back on topic...

Speaking of hemorrhaging players, the Gruntz purchases listed above came out of my now depleted Plastic 30k Fund that I had built up. Mk IV tac marines isn't what I was hoping for and given GW's opaque marketing scheme of: just have a lot of money ready to impulse buy our releases with no forewarning of what they are or when they'll come out... 

Meh, why did I put up with their crap for so long? Honestly it feels like I've achieved escape velocity and I don't see any reason to look back (unless I'm looking waaaaaaaaaaaay back towards GorkaMorka, Mordheim and the goodies from GW's long since past 'Golden Age').