Hobby Essentials: Magnets

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I think most gamers understand the benefits of magnetizing select models throughout their army -- easily swap weapons configurations; easier to transport larger models; you can finally remove that tank sponson from a weapon destroyed result; you get the idea. Magnetizing is something I meant to get into a long time ago with my armies, but I didn't have all the right tools until recently. The most important thing you'll need, outside of the actual magnets, is appropriately sized drill bits to match the size of your magnets. I recommend this set from Dremel which I picked up from Lowes. Even if you don't own a dremel tool, you can use these bits in any standard hand drill, and you'll notice the sizes are perfect for all the various magnet sizes you'll need for working with miniatures.

I picked up this pack of 1/16" x 1/32" magnets from my LGS which carries a wide range of sizes for working on small stuff like guns / arms all the way up to large magnets for super heavy tanks / flyer base stands etc. The pack I have is intended for the smaller projects which I'm using to magnetize weapons options for my Dark Eldar and also my biker command squad. I used larger magnets for my Land Raider sponsons.

For this unit of Wracks I decided to magnetize 2 models, the Acothyst for weapons upgrades and a second for the Liquifier gun. I plan on trying out the Hexrifle on the Acothyst (because "removed from play" trumps Eternal warrior *sinister chuckle*) but if I end up not liking it, no worries. I made sure to track the polarity of the magnets so either model can use the weapon swaps.

Which brings me to my next recommendations for working with magnets:

A sharpie for marking which side of the magnet needs to be glued vs the connector side, and a larger piece of metal so you don't lose track these little guys before you super glue them. RobO asked about the size of magnets I'm currently using and these are pretty small:

Perfect size for this particular task, but I'd recommend slightly larger magnets for working with vehicles or drop pods. I'm not sure of the exact size I used on my Land Raider Crusader since I used the larger ones that I got in my swag bag from Nova last year, but they are definitely larger in diameter for a much stronger hold.

Next up, more Necrons and some ideas I have for basing them and my Dark Eldar!

Presidents Day

Monday, February 20, 2012

It being a holiday weekend and all, I decided to make a big hobby to-do list. Time keeps getting more and more limited so I need to crank a bunch of stuff out whenever I get the chance. The list is all over the place but at least I'm not getting bored working on the same unit.

  1. Finish magnetizing the Land Raider Crusader
I finally busted out my new micro sized drill bits which made this task a breeze. I even went back and redid all the other magnets since I could get a perfect fit drilling precise holes exactly where I needed them.

     2.  Build a box of DE Wracks and magnetize the weapons options

Again, the drill bits made the magnet part simple. What made this task annoying was Finecast, which isn't fine at all. The first couple boxes of this stuff was alright, but not for Dark Eldar... they have too many small, pointy bits that end up falling off or getting warped from basic handling of the model. Larger kits, ok, I wouldn't mind a Thunderfire cannon done in finecast, but the material just doesn't lend itself well at all with smaller models. I'm so happy I ordered most of my DE back when it was metal. Once the Court is finished, it's all plastic and metal for the rest of my DE. The material has made up my mind regarding a Coven build; less stuff to buy is also a good thing.

     3.  Finish Scout Bikes and Sternguard squad

I'm halfway done with both units. I think I'm more looking forward to being finished with these so they aren't taking up room on the table anymore.

     4.  Start assembling the last 2 Drop Pods

Haven't started this one and I'm not looking forward to it, haha. But, they will free up space on my shelf and will open up a few more builds with my Raven Guard, at least that's what I keep telling myself.

     5.  Press mold more Scarabs

I'm running really low on green stuff so this task is pretty much on hold till I can afford to get more supplies, same goes for the Immortals.

Brief Tournament Recap

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Last weekend I played in a local tournament organized by the Inner Circle Gaming Club using the same army list from a couple weeks back. I was going to make some changes to the army but then decided that I really need to play several games with the same list before I go making changes to units that I'm inexperienced with. And what better way to learn a list than to play 3 back to back games.

I had a really good time at the tournament and although I made several key mistakes, especially during the first couple rounds, I definitely learned a thing or two. There's been a few recent articles on the net about "rock" lists and having just added one to my army I thought I'd briefly state my two cents. The rock unit I'm referring to of course is the 5 Assault Terminators in a Land Raider Crusader. Compared to some rock units, mine is still relatively reasonable on points but it still clocks in just shy of a quarter of my entire army. Then when you factor in my plan of running Khan in a bike unit hidden behind the LRC to break off and join the termies for charging into close combat, that's quite a sizable chunk of my forces all tied up together on the board. While the strength output of a rock unit is generally amplified over the rest of the army, the same is true of any mistakes made with said unit. There are no small mistakes when you mess up with a unit that makes up so many of your army's total points. Over the course of the day, I made some deployment blunders, confused the setup and mission during the second round, and also made a couple target priority mistakes that overall had some significant impacts on how my games played out.

What's important is that I learn from these things, reflect on the circumstances that led up to these situations / decisions and use them to better my game. There were some really tough army lists in attendance and sometimes you'll draw a tough matchup against your list, but the losses I incurred were not a result of having a weaker army list than my opponents. It was because I didn't use my army to its full potential, and honestly only having played one game prior with the list, I didn't expect that I could. You can't just add something like a Land Raider to a list and expect it to take care of itself or carry the weight of the rest of the army. For the most part I enjoyed playing this list -- it seemed to generate a decent amount of threat and huge board control. It could deliver a formidable amount of ranged shots, presented a decent amount of target saturation, and still had a close combat / counter assault unit that was no joke. In the hands of a better general than myself, I think this list would have performed better than my 1 - 2 record for the day. None of my games were blow outs and I at least felt like I had a good chance to make something happen in each round. Certainly more durable than some older biker based lists I've used.

My pictures from the day didn't really turn out and I didn't have the time to take a ton of notes to bat rep each round, but one thing I'm really happy about is the motivation to finish more of my marines as I continue to work on my Necrons and Dark Eldar. It's fun adding new units to the army and having more available choices when building a list for an event like this. I've got one more list to try out with my Raven Guard which I'm hoping will bring me to the end of my marine backlog of unfinished units. But I'll get into that more some other time. This weekend my goal is to finish magnetizing a few things and getting the next large batch of models ready for some paint.

1st Game of 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Over the weekend, I played my first game of the new year against John's Iron Hands list. I was able to try out two new units (really only one since they were taken together), Assault Terminators mounted in a Land Raider Crusader. I made room for them by dropping the biker command squad and a few other things. I kept the 5 man Sternguard with 2 lascannons and a Razorback with TL lascannon from my last game as the extra fire support they provided was solid. Basically, my list looked like this:

Khan - moondrakkan

8x Bikes + AB - 2x meltas; multi-melta; power fist
4x Bikes + AB - 2x meltas; multi-melta; melta bombs
5x Scouts - sniper rifles; Telion

Dreadnought - 2x TL autocannons
5x Sternguard - 2x lascannons; Razorback w/ TL LC
5x Assault Terminators - 2x LC's; 3x TH/SS; Land Raider Crusader w/ MM, EA

Thunderfire Cannon
2x Vindicators - Dozer blades

We rolled up Annihilation and a Pitched Battle deployment again. I won the roll off but elected to go second -- lately I've been feeling like going second is way more advantageous, at least for an army with mobility and outflank options. On one hand, I now have a few things that can shoot long range but the bulk of my list is still medium ranged, so I feel it's better for my army to be placed knowing where my opponents' biggest threats are on the board. I knew with bringing the LRC that I'd have a few high armored targets to hide behind and the rest of my stuff hid in the bolstered terrain, minus the large outflanking bike squad. I basically castled up in the corner; here's the board after both sides have been deployed:

With everything in the one corner, I avoided some exposure from John's army and didn't have to endure the full weight of his army's shooting on turn 1.

I did lose the Thunderfire that first turn though :(
But my return fire was still pretty effective. I was able to knock out one his Dreadnoughts, 2 Typhoons, and an empty Rhino, all while pushing my LRC and Vindi's forward.

By turn 2, it was clear the main encounter would happen smack dab in the middle of the board. My fire support in the ruins had done a good job neutralizing the ranged threats on that side of the board and I wanted to make sure I positioned my units so they could still be in play for future turns, but John was cunning and kept blocking LOS terrain between them and the rest of his army really well. It was cat and mouse with my vindicators chasing after his terminators each round; I never did manage to get a single shot off on them the entire game!

The main event began on turn 3. John had moved a razorback and rhino up to block the path between the two center terrain pieces. For my turn 3, my melta bikes whipped around the building to explode the razorback, while Khan broke off from them to join the assault terminators as they jumped out of the LRC and prepared to charge the rhino and crew. The multimelta on the raider didn't hit anything this game so I had to rely on the close combat. I managed to wreck the rhino but the tacticals hopped out in prime position to lay a lot of shooting down the next turn.

Turn 4, John moved his other full sized tac squad that was hiding in terrain up on top of that large green/white cylinder to add even more shots to the fray. I don't know how my terminators survived, but they pulled through against 2 full tac squads rapid firing at them as well as the storm bolters from the terminators and shots from the remaining typoon -- I lost 2 TH/SS termies and Khan took a wound.

On my turn 4, the remaining terminators got back on board the LRC which then backed away from the meltas which had gotten too close. Khan hid behind the tank while one of my vindicators got in position to fire a shell at the exposed squad atop the terrain. The other vindi moved flat out to round that corner to set up a shot on his backfield termies the next round. Also, this was the turn my large bike squad came in from reserves; then ended up coming in from the side with the rest of my army and moved into position to fire some bolters into the tacticals as well. Between them, the demolisher, the LRC, and anything else in my backfield that could see the enemy on top of that terrain, I shot everything I could at that squad, but only managed to do 9 wounds. The remaining heavy bolter marine from that squad prevented me from claiming that kill point!

Meanwhile, I really should have done something with this squad, as they ended up eating a well placed plasma cannon blast and some krak missiles the next turn to get wiped out.

By turn 5, we had both brought the full strength of our armies' shooting to bear on each other and not much remained out in the open, but John's Lysander had been making his way through terrain towards my LRC and finally was in position to assault it this turn. I thankfully kept that thing moving, even if just a few inches each turn to avoid the auto hits in cc, and as luck would have it my tank survived the fist of dorn that round. In all of the games I've played against John when he's had Lysander in his list, I've been worried with how to deal with such a tough character -- 4 wounds, eternal warrior, 3++. So I did the only thing I could... surrounded him with my entire force and shot EVERYTHING at him, and even got my termies and Khan ready to charge in if the shooting wasn't enough.

Thankfully, by the time I had gotten to my last shooting unit, the LRC, I was able to score the last wound on him!

Then the game ended right then and there on turn 5. I was fortunate enough to have claimed a couple more kill points from that first round of shooting, and this list still didn't offer very many kp's overall to begin with; annihilation/kill point missions definitely favor the smaller # of units in a bike army. It was a  really fun game and I think I'm really going to enjoy the addition of a LRC and termies to my main bike list.

There's a local tournament coming up in a couple weeks and I'm not sure if this is exactly the list I'll use or not. It'll really boil down to whether or not I get those Forge World doors in time to actually build the LRC and get it painted up with the terminators (as you can see, the LRC was held together by a rubber band and a hair tie -- thanks hon!). But it's a fantastic kit and I can't wait to have it be the center piece for my Raven Guard.