Tuesday 26 May 2020

The Elucidian Starstriders


Following on from my previous post about my wondering of eBay and where that can lead, I thought I'd share another of my wondering thoughts. 

As I've mentioned several times, right now, Kill Team is my main focus and while I do t get to play all that much, I really like the game and the options it give you. One of those options is the opportunity to use various characters and teams from several other GW boxed games, namely Blackstone Fortress and Kill Team: Rogue Trader. For every day casual play, I really don't need any of these games or the models. However, I quite like some of fluff behind them and the opportunity to mold it to my own ends, basically, I like the thought of kit bashing my own versions to fit my own theme. 

As a collector of Imperial factions, it's only the Elucidian Starstriders (from Rogue Trader) that have caught my attention. I like the idea of the team, having lots of special characters that I can kit bash up to my own tastes, obviously keeping them as close to the original idea as I can so that it's obvious what they are. However, there are some down sides to the team. The biggest on is that it's a 100 point team with no options to add more models or to change wargear. While I don't think that is a big issue for what I want them for, I would like to add in some different models, namely the ability to add in more voidsmen. I would also have like the option to change some of the voidsmens weapon, maybe switch out laspistols for chainswords or lasguns for shotguns, something that would add some extra dimensions to the team. I understand why they haven't, seeing as they are set pieces from a game, which come with a set wargear list. As  things stand though, there are no options and so I will look to build them as they are. 

Talking of building, I have a few ideas. I have numerous Catachan models floating around and a few Cadian ones as well, although these are all push fit, easy build types and not easy to customise. For the voidsmen this might be alright but a better idea would be using the Scion bodies I have, although I think I've only got 4 of them and there are effectively 5 voidsmen, including Voidsmaster Nitsch. I think I have enough bits that I could bash together a pretty reasonable looking force, using mostly Catachan parts to give a much more ferrel and lower tech look bit still be coherent. My only issue would be the dog, Aximillion. I don't have anything I could use now and I wouldn't want to use a dog anyway, I'd want something different, maybe feline or more beastial, maybe giant rat or even spider, something more suited to the back water scheme. I also have a number of AdMech bits spare, which might be useful for making some of the characters or even adding some tech to the voidsmen. Either way there are some possibilities for bashing this lot together. The real question at the moment is whether I want to or not.

One thought that I did have was to add in some other models from the Blackstone Fortress range. Although on closer inspection the choice is actually fairly limited, as only Pious Vorne, Rein and Raus and Gotfret De Montbard. There is also X-101 and UR-025 but these are both AdMech units and cannot be taken with other forces. The former can all be taken with guard units and Vorne and Montbard can also be taken with Sisters. The rest of the Blackstone Fortress models appear to all be commanders and so not much use to me.  Unfortunately, the Elucidian Starstriders themselves are neither Guard or Sisters but there own faction and so can not be paired with any additional characters. This sort of put another spanner in the works and makes it even less likely that I'll bother to build the Starstriders although I may think about building Vorne and Montbard for my guard team or Inquisition team for some combat support.

Building these two should be quite easy. Vorne can easily be built with a separate flamer and chainsword or it should be fairly easy to combine the two to form a weapon more similar to the original. I'll probably form the body out of Catachan parts to reflect the 7+ armour save! Montbard will be formed from Scion bits for the armoured look and probably borrow a sword and shield from some marines. I'll probably build these guys, mostly because I can and not because I would actually use them. 

While I was wondering this post and how to build the units here, White Dwarf 454 was released, containing rules for Sister of Silence in kill team, so I thought I'd tack them on to the bottom of here! Now, SoS ( as opposed to SoB) only have 3 units, those armed with bolters, flamers and swords and so I would not need to form a full 20 man kill team to have an effective roster. By my calculations, a basic usable team, with leader and 3 specialists, would also need 5 bolter armed Sisters and the most expensive would only need 3 swords instead of bolters. I have decided that, should I do a team I would have a Prosecutor Superior as leader, a sniper Prosecutor, a Demo Witchseeker, a Zealot Vigilator Superior and Combat Vigilater plus 3 Prosecutors, 2 Witchseekers and 2 Vigilators, for a team of 12 and enough options to cover most situations. This should work out quite well as my Sisters of Battle team should be about 16 strong, which should mean that I have enough with 3 boxes of Sisters to make the two kill teams. 

I figure that I can build the Sisters of Silence team with Sisters of Battle, painted up golden and possible with some extras of eBay, like heads. It's not like I've got enough teams to paint and play with, so I don't know if I will get around to doing a Sister of Silence team but I will keep some Sisters of Battle spare in case I do. 

Up next and probably filling up most of the next few months will be 9th, not just looking at the rules but also my thoughts and feelings on the game, my armies and where I think I'll be going from here!

Friday 22 May 2020

A crazy idea......

So, the other day when I was browsing eBay, which is pretty much a daily occurrence at the moment, I came across something that piqued my interest somewhat. On this occasion I was just flicking through 40k related items, from miniatures to terrain to random game related items. It was one of these game related items that caught my eye, namely Space Hulk Tiles. 

Now, I'm not planning on buying some tiles, mostly as they are quite expensive for what they are (on eBay anyway) and because after a quick search on Google, I've found a whole host of tiles for free. Only problem is that they are PNG files and not PDFs, so I'm going to have to convert them all to PDF, so that I can then modify them,as the few that I have done this to have not "printed" the same size. Do far they have ranged from 3.5 inch squares to 2.1 inch squares. Ideally I would like to have them at 2 inch squares, as this seems to be a good size for playing. 

This process of converting and resizing is going to be pretty time consuming but should not be very complicated, as it should just be a case of printing to PDF from PNG and then reprinting at a lower percentage to get them all to be the same size in the end. Once this has been done, I'll look at combining the files and getting multiple bits on to one sheet and then printing. Once this is done I'll stick the price tag to card and then cut them all out to give me lots of playing pieces to use. Now, I won't do every PNG file, as I have several duplicates, as in I have 6 different types of 3 square long corridors and 8 different 2 and 4  square long corridors, when I'll only need one of each type. 

The plan is to have a few corridors but mostly lots of rooms, including several big rooms. This is for a couple of reason, the first being that I don't want to limit who can fire to much. Yes, it will be limited, due to the terrain and such but if the maps just long corridors, then one the front person will get a clean shot, the couple behind might get a bit of a shot but everyone else can't see any thing. This is also one of the reasons that I want the corridors wider, so that more models can see and shoot, in addition to the fact that models on 32mm and especially 40mm can't technically fit in the original corridors. The second reason I want more rooms than corridors is because I want this to have a more arena feel and less of an old skool space hulk feel. Another reason for more rooms, especially larger rooms, is to enable scatter terrain to be placed, giving cover for obscurement. 

Hopefully if I manage to get all this sorted I should be able to create a versatile, modular game board that packs away pretty small and neatly. It should also, hopefully, give some good games.  

Tuesday 12 May 2020

List building apps

I will start this post with a promise. I promise not to let this post turn into a rambling whine about how crappy all the various list building tools are. Now that's out the way, let's get on with the rambling whine about all the crappy list building tools!

On a more serious note, there are several list building tools out there, some are game specific and some are very generic and I doubt that I will cover even a fraction of them on here but I hope I've covered the main ones. For me, the list breaks down in 3 ways; list building apps, computer programs and manual systems. Now, I am aware that apps are computer programs but for this list, apps will be programs specifically designed for list building and computer programs will refer to programs adapted for list building.

Let's start by listing out the various options;

List building apps;

Kill team companion
Kill team manager
Kill Team command roster
Army builder
Codex Commander

Computer program;

Various Excel spreadsheet

Manual systems;

Pen and paper

As you can see there are lots of apps and not many other options, although I probably could find dozens of Excel based list building tools if I really wanted to and I suppose that for fairness I probably should have but I haven't and as such I'll be pretty general when talking about them.

Personally I use list building apps partly to actually build lists to play with but partly to brain storm options and possibilities or to just play around with list for the fun of it, such as how many infantryman or how many command points I could manage in 2000 points ( 42 if I remember right).

When I started using specific programs for list building, I started with the Lone Wolf Army Builder. While I haven't used this program in a long time, it still seems to be a very good program. I always found it clear and easy to use, with all the options and relatively few errors. However, it had and still has one big issue for me, you can't get it on Android. I do pretty much all my hobby on my phone, so not being able to get the program on my phone instantly dumps in on the "no use pile".

The led me to Battlescribe, as it solver that particular problem but I have found the program not to be as good and quite often having wrong or incomplete information. In addition I have found that it can be very slow to load and use and can suck the life out of your battery. While it is a good program to use, these issue mean that I get frustrated with it and quite often end up having to double check my lists with other sources.

With the release of Kill Team, I sought out apps that could help here and while Battlescribe does have kill Team, I decided to try other apps and came across Kill Team Manager. This was a brilliant app. It had everything I needed in one package, which was easy to use and accurate. I loved it from the first time I used it and all things Kill Team went on Kill Team Manager. That was until Elite's can out, and since then it's been rubbish. Crashing all the time, units you can't use or delete, as it causes the program to crash and with the latest update, it's now even less usable as it's removed some of the previews for units, so you can't see what there equipped with with out clicking on them, which can be very tedious when planning new teams or rosters. It annoys me so much now, especially as it was so good.

So with Kill Team Manager going weird I was on the hunt for another app to use and I came across two, codex Commander and Kill Team Companion. Now Codex Commander looked interesting but it doesn't have a Kill Team option, so it wasn't any good for that but I thought I'd give it a go for 40k proper and to be honest, I wasn't very impressed. It was not very intuitive or simple to use, maybe if I spent more time on it I would have got a better understanding of how it all worked but it really didn't grab me at all, so the app got deleted and I moved on. Kill team Companion on the other had looks very good and lots of people seem to be very impressed by it. It's not a stand alone app, as it requires information to be imported from Battlescribe, so you still need that app as well but once the information is in there it's very simple to use and you can even assign pictures to the various entries. The only downside seems to be that one the information is in you can't edit it. So if you don't set your specialist at the beginning you can't change things around later. There may well be a way, I might just not have figured it out yet but apart from this it's a pretty good app to have.

Lastly, the is GW's very own Kill Team Command Roster. Now I'll included this in the apps list but it could just as easily fit in the computer programs list, as it's an online program accessed only via the companies website. Now I know that there are a lot of people out there who do not like this program, I have found it to be pretty good but not perfect. For starters there is a lot of information on there, such as the campaign resources counters and arena objective options. Now you could just ignore all these quite easily but it's still distracting. Other than that it does have some good features, namely the ability to name your men, without having to type it all in and all the squad info as well. However, it is let down by the fact that you need to have the internet to use it and as I write often play around with lists when out and about, including placed with poor or no signal, this is a bit of an issue. The other issue that I have found in the past and the main reason I have not used this in a while, is that I've often had trouble saving, loading and exporting the rosters. When I did use it I found that most of the time the process just froze and caused the page to crash, needing to reload and loose all of the data I'd entered. The other issue Ive found is that some of the data seems to be missing or incomplete, such as names for custodian guard or for several guard options. If  the program was available off line in app form, I would probably use this as my first choice but as it is, I don't use it at all.

While I was trying to find suitable apps for kill team, I have also tried other methods, all of which I have tried have been Excel based spreadsheet systems. Now, I have tried several over the years, over half a dozen and I have not found any that I liked very much. Most of the had issues, ranging from corrupt pathways or menus, wrong or inconsistent data and poor navigation. They also all suffer from the fact that you cannot easily update the information when FAQ's and Erratas come out. That being said, I have recently acquired a sheet for kill team, titled Elite Kill Team Command Roster, which I found through Reddit. I've had a little play around and from what I've seen so far, it looks quite good, although I've only been looking through my phone and think that it would be significantly easier to use on a computer. I am hoping to get a chance to play around properly one day soon but with all the kids around, finding a quite 5 minutes to play on the computer isn't easy! There still seems to be the usual issues, as in there, are actually several versions of the sheet, as new updates and expansions become available.

Lastly, we have the old classic, pen and paper. This seems to be one of the lost arts these days, actually getting a pen, piece of paper and the rule book or codex and writing a list out in long or short hand. I still do this on occasion, usually after I've played around with a list on one app or another and am modelling up any additionally required units, so I don't have to keep going back though the whole list again and again. Most of the time I don't bother with this, as it's too long winded and I keep changing my mind. It's a shame really, as its nice to look at when your all finished, that is until you notice a mistake and then it just becomes a page of squiggles.

So, after all this, where am I? Honestly I don't really know, I really thought I had it sussed with Kill Team Manager but now I'm left flicking back and forth from one app to another. Does anyone else have any alternative suggestions or tips for things I'm missing?

Tuesday 5 May 2020

Kill Team storage solutions update

Just a quick one  ago this week, as Iive been busy with DIY projects, namely the kids playroom but a while ago I  posted about my new storage solution for my Kill Team teams. Well, I decided I liked it so much that I bought another one, only this time it's blue!

Said blue box!

This box is the same size, 5 trays high, as the pervious box (there's only 3 trays in the picture above as my son nicked off with the other trays). 

The 5 trays will be filled with my other kill teams, namely a layer for Tyranids, and a layer for grey knights. One layer will house two marine kill teams and another will house the scouts and third marine kill team. The last will house the chaos team. This should mean that I have at least half a tray empty which is good because I have 5 Deathwatch models (the Vanguard vets) that still need a home, plus a Bullgyrn for the guard. They may we'll be others at some point but nothing's planned, even so, some extra space is nice. I'll post up more pictures when I've finished.