Time to paint my Ferratonic Furnace from the Shadow War Armageddon Box. Continue reading “Armageddon Blog 3: Painting a Ferratonic Furnace”
The main attraction of Shadow War Armageddon box, at least visually, is clearly the terrain. I started by picking out the two sprues from the box that make the terrain piece GW calls, individually packaged, the Ferratonic Furnace. Continue reading “Armageddon Blog 2 – Building a Ferratonic Furnace”
Look at what the mailman brought. A shiny new box of Shadow War Armageddon!
It has been a while since I played with my Warhammer 40K miniatures, but Games Workshop latest skirmish tease has me back in a flash, ordering a box of Shadow War Armageddon (which also sold out in a flash, so I’m clearly not the only one). Continue reading “Armageddon Blog 1 – Unboxing Shadow War Armageddon!”
Taking photographs of miniatures can be hard. Worse, I am not much of a photographer. Usually, I simply use my iPhone.
However, I did have a small foldable light box that made it a bit easier to take pictures of small things. Most of my Imperial Assault pictures on this site were taken this way. Continue reading “Havox – Professional Photography Light Box Review”
As I move house, my paints and miniatures disappeared in boxes. Deprived of “proper” hobby time, I took to playing on my iPhone. Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion is a really cool retro game with shiny modern graphics
Playing Deathwatch feels a lot like playing Space Hulk or Imperial Assault (if set in Games Workshop’s grimy 40k-universe, not Star Wars).
What is Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion?
Deathwatch plays as a turn-based strategy game. You command a “kill team” of 5 Space Marine to battle hordes of the insect-like Tyranids.
You select one of your Deathwatch Space Marines and order him to move, shoot, attack in close combat or use one of many special abilities (like setting a Space Marine, Space-Hulk-style, on overwatch) with a limited number of action points.
After that, it is the Tyranid’s turn. And more than once I found myself nervously fidgeting, hoping a Space Marine of mine would make it to my next turn alive.
As I said, very retro. And a lot of fun.
Choosing & Equipping the Space Marines
A big part of why Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion is great fun is the ability to train, personalise and equip the various Space Marines serving in your kill team.
At first glance, Space Marines would appear to be fairly uniform. It is also worth mentioning that the game (currently?) only comes with Space Marines from three chapters, the Ultramarines, the Blood Angels and Space Wolves and in four variants: Tactical Marines, Assault Marines, Devastators and Apothecaries.
Though this might seem limited, the game more than makes up for this in the various skill-trees, equipment options and variants it offers within this selection.
Surprisingly, the developers truly managed to bring “personality” to the Space Marines. Playing the game, I really became attached to my band of grimdark heroes.
Rodeo Games even added a bit of banter between the Space Marines of different chapters, which sometimes plays during a mission. A cool touch!
Accomplish Different Missions!
Rodeo Games also added variety to the game by giving you different missions: Break through and reach a base, secure vital information, defend a position for a number of rounds or take down a particularly tough opponents like a Carnifex or Hive Tyrant.
Give Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion a try!
Does Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion replace the tangible gameplay of a board game with miniatures? No, not for me. Probably not for you, if you are coming from the miniature-games side of the hobby as well.
But if you’re plastic soldiers are packed away, as mine currently are, Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion is a great game to scratch that particular itch.
It truly plays like a miniatures board game on a touch screen and very different from most smart phone games. And it really makes you work hard to achieve those missions (on Veteran and Heroic difficulty) with some nail-biting challenges.
Give it a try. Highly recommended!
The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure offers well-written and well-illustrated, fast-pace action scenes of X-Wing dogfights and lightsaber duels, strung together by a minimal story of, essentially, The Force telling Luke to go from A to B.
It is a good fast-food-read of Star Wars nostalgia and a bit of X-Wing and lightsaber-action, but nothing truly memorable stands out. No unique story is told.
A Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Disney acquired Star Wars and cleared out four decades of books, comics, games and other background material known as the Extended Universe. A few classics regrettably went down with it, but having a clean slate still seems like a good idea.
The novel series “A Journey to Stars Wars: The Force Awakens” is part of the new Disney lore, leading up to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens later this year.
That said, The Weapon of a Jedi, this particular book in the series tells a story set between the original Star Wars movie and The Empire Strikes Back. It holds no secrets, hints or spoilers for things happening after The Return of the Jedi.
The book itself has 184 pages, uses a large font and features several double-page illustrations throughout. It is a premium format with a short story, not a true novel.
The Story of “The Weapon of a Jedi”
The story follows Luke, before as a Rebel pilot – before he ever met Yoda, before he knew the identity of his father – along with C3P0 and R2D2.
The book kicks off with a bit of X-Wing vs. TIE-Fighter action, which I thought was great fun. Ultimately, Luke feels The Force nudging him to visit a backwater planet, and on the backwater planet an ancient temple quarantined by the Empire.
Once Luke finds the temple, he receives a bit of pre-Yoda Jedi-training and must immediately test his new skills, especially with his lightsaber.
There is a lot to like about this book. This book is clearly meant as a quick, fun read, and it delivers in that.
The writing flows well, the action is exciting and the C3P0 vs. R2D2 banter adds old school Star Wars comic relief. Likewise, the production of the book is great. The grey pages, the added artwork Disney veteran Phil Noto fits and the general visual design make this a very nice book to hold and read.
Thus, before I start nitpicking, I would recommend Jason Fry’s The Weapon of a Jedi to anyone looking for a fun, light Star Wars-read for an afternoon or two.
There are a few things that keep the book for being truly excellent.
- The story, in any sense of the word, is nonexistent. The Force tells Luke to go to this place or that. Luke, after some hesitating, follows and the next action scene occurs. A bit more plotting would have added a great deal.
- The whole idea of Luke receiving separate Jedi-training, distinct and before he meets with Yoda, for me, does not sit that comfortably with the original trilogy of movies. If scrapping the old Extended Universe meant to clear out inconsistencies, it seems odd to bring them back in from the get-go.
- It is a brief tale. 184 pages sounds like more than you get, given the large font, plenty of artwork and more. The book is beautifully produced, but with a regular font and less white-space, this story would only fill 40-50 pages. There is an element of making it appear more than it truly is.
I had fun reading the The Weapon of the Jedi and would usually recommend it for Star Wars fans looking for a light read.
The book probably holds little interest for a broader audience, as it really tells no distinct story of its own. There is no room to lose oneself in a fantastic universe or become engrossed with the twists and turns of a thrilling story.
This isn’t what The Weapon of a Jedi aims to do.
This is a book for a quick, fun lightsaber-battle and some nostalgic Star Wars quotes to read about on the subway, which it nails pretty well.
Will the new T-70 X-Wing bring back (a version of) the X-Wing to the X-Wing tournament scene?
It’s a question I have been asking myself. Now, at a local tournament, I ran a test with the following Rebels Squadron, featuring the top X-Wing aces of two eras: Poe Dameron and Wedge Antilles.
X-Wing Aces Old & New
My 99 points Rebels X-Wing tournament list:
- Wedge Antilles (X-Wing) with BB-8 (2), Push the Limit (3) and Plasma Torpedos (3) – 38 points
- Poe Dameron (T-70 X-Wing) with R5-P9 (3), Lone Wolf (2) and Autothrusters (2) – 38 points
- Bandit Squadron Pilot (Z-95 Headhunter) – 12 points
- Bandit Squadron Pilot (Z-95 Headhunter) – 12 points
To Hit Hard, To Survive the End Game
There is a nice symmetry in the list, with two X-Wing aces at 38 points and two Bandits, who generally serve to purpose of being a nuisance to my opponent.
Though the two X-Wing aces cost me the same amount of points, they fly very differently on the table.
- Wedge Antilles is not nearly as survivable as Poe Dameron. He rarely survived the games.
He did deal massive amounts of damage and I was really, really positively surprised with the BB-8 + Push the Limit combination. I knew it was good. I didn’t know how good. It makes the X-Wing extremely maneouverable (for an X-Wing) and allowed Wedge Antilles to deliver his trademark killer-attacks right where he needed them to be. With or without Wedge Antilles, this is a combination I will certainly use again (with a T-70 X-Wing Red Squadron Veteran or even Poe Dameron himself).
- Poe Dameron in this build was the exact opposite to Wedge Antilles, as far as X-Wing-builds go. With Autothrusters, re-rolls from Lone Wolf and the ability to regenerate shields, he was meant (and usually was) built for the end game, the last ship on the table, where he excelled at wars of attrition.
Again, I am happy to report that Poe Dameron served excellently in this faction.
In one game, circling with an equally mobile and nearly as robust IG-88 Aggressor, I was able to wear my opponent down through many, many turns of shooting and shield-regenerating.
It wasn’t the finest game of X-Wing ever played, but it shows Poe Dameron‘s potential for the long game, assuming he does not die early in the game to a concentrated barrage.
Did I win the tournament?
No. I was beaten soundly by a Scum-&-Villainy-Swarm full off M3-A Interceptors and only just managed to eke out a small, technical victory by points against a Squadron of Y-Wings with Twin Laser Turrets and Corran Horn in an E-Wing.
That said, both X-Wing were tons of fun to fly. They were also effective in their own right and complemented each other well.
A fun list, and I will definitely fly something along those lines again!
This is the second part of my StarViper unboxing. In the first part of this article, I talked about ship as a model, its basic statline and maneuver dial.
This second part examines the named pilots and upgrade cards – everything to really tool up and customise your StarViper for a space battle!
The Unique StarViper Pilots
The StarViper Expansion Pack for the X-Wing Miniatures game comes with four pilot cards: The generic Black Sun Enforcers (pilot skill 1) and Black Sun Vigo (pilot skill 3), as well as the Prince Xizor, leader of the Black Sun himself, and his bodyguard and human replica droid Guri.
Prince Xizor is the top pilot for the StarViper, though his pilot skill of 7 is slightly below most top pilots of other ships. His ability to palm off damage to nearby ships – and inverse Draw Their Fire – is very thematic, both for the crime prince himself and for the Scum and Villainy faction as a whole.
That said, Rebels are probably still better suited for squadrons using Draw-Their-Fire-like abilities, as they have more ships that can regenerate shields.
Guri has the more interesting ability, I believe. Her ability to gain a free focus up and close to the enemy synergises very well with the StarViper‘s role as a close-combat dogfighter and frees up an action to use for barrel roll and/or boost (with abilities like Push the Limit)
Both Guri and Prince Xizor can take an Elite Talent.
Scum & Villainy Upgrade Cards
Virago is the StarViper‘s unique title. It can only by used by Prince Xizor and Guri and adds the ability to equip both Illicit and System Upgrades to the ship, opening up a lot of customisability.
Bodyguard, featuring art work for Guri, is a card obviously designed for Guri. It works well with Guri‘s ability to generate a free focus. It makes Guri a nice companion, especially for large ships (more so than Prince Xizor), allowing her to boost the other ship’s agility. I am tempted to try with with, say, a Firespray 31.
Inertial Dampeners is a one-use-only card, though it can be a nice surprise to stall out a pursuing ship. It is also a cheap upgrade.
Generic New Upgrade Cards
Upgrade cards from this expansion that anyone can use.
Autothrusters – the one Modification that brought arc dodgers back into the game against turrets. These days, it is impossible to go to an X-Wing tournament and not see Autothrusters. Arguably. this upgrade – and you get two in the expansion – sold FFG more StarViper expansion packs as the ship itself.
Accuracy Corrector – if Autothrusters are amazing, Accuracy Corrector is a System Upgrade without a place, at the moment. For one, the few ships currently able to take System Upgrades all have plenty of attack dice, making two guaranteed hits less exciting. For another, System Upgrades, rare as they are, include some amazing cards. The Accuracy Corrector is also rather expensive.
Hull Upgrade – A card seen before and, in this expansion, arguably meant to go on Prince Xizor‘s ship, potentially making him a bit more tanky.
The Final Two Upgrades
Yes. Two more. There really is a lot of fun things in the StarViper expansion pack!
Calculation – a Elite Talent featuring Prince Xizor himself (don’t expect to get this from other expansions anytime soon. Yet another way to use of Focus Tokens (the Episode VII starter set added a few of those too). Situationally powerful and cheap, but I would not use it over abilities like Predator.
Ion Torpedos – a secondary weapon I have not used. This torpedo has great potential to wreak havoc among swarms of small ships. Imagine taking out somebody like Howlrunner with the Ion Torpedo and (!) ionizing her swarm. Still, 5 points is a lot to gamble on a one-shot weapon.
It should be noted that the expansion also comes with 7 (yes, seven!) Ion Tokens, in case the Ion Torpedo (the only ion weapon in the expansion) works as intended!
Autothruster modification cards put the StarViper expansion pack on the shopping list of every X-Wing tournament player. Yet even ignoring the Autothrusters, I feel this expansion offers a lot for budding Scum-and-Villainy-players.
- It offers a very nimble, elite ship with a cool, unique look
- It is bulging with unique upgrade cards and abilities. Though most (except Autothrusters) may not be the top-shelf tournament stuff, they offer some interesting and fluffy builds. With the possible exception of the Accuracy Corrector, no upgrade here seems bad.
The StarViper is definitely an expansion worth buying!
The StarViper, signature ship of the Black Sun elite in the Star Wars universe, is a very unique and well-designed ship, both in its looks and how it plays on the table, even if the expansion is perhaps often bought mainly for its upgrade cards.
There is a lot to talk about, so I will split this unboxing of the StarViper Expansion Pack for the X-Wing Miniatures game. into two parts.
- This first part talks about the ship itself, its model and dial.
- The second part talks about the special pilots and upgrade cards.
The StarViper miniature
Let’s talk about the StarViper ship as a miniature.
The StarViper is an elite ship, and its design and size give it a suitable presence on the table. It is one of the larger ships on a small base in the X-Wing miniatures game, though its vertical design make the model far less wobbly or prone to snagging other miniatures than, for example, the likewise large (for a small base) K-Wing.
The StarViper also has that somewhat intangible “Star-Wars-look”, that (in my humble opinion), not all Scum and Villainy ships managed to capture.
It certainly is, to me, a big visual draw to building a Scum and Villainy squadron.
StarViper: An Elite Dogfighter
The StarViper is a high-end dog fighter. It comes with 3 attack, 3 agility, 4 hull and a shield (!), as well as the ability to both boost, barrel roll and target-lock, putting it on par with a TIE-Interceptor with hull upgrade, shield upgrade and targeting computer (minus the ability to evade).
At 25 points for the most basic pilot – the Black Sun Enforcers – it is not a cheap ship. Its excellent mobility and reasonable resilience make the StarViper an excellent platform for an elite Scum-and-Villainy-arc-dodger.
Moreover, any StarViper can equip a torpedo, giving the ship the option for some extra punch. Curiously though, the StarViper cannot, by default, use the Scum and Villainy faction’s trademark illicit upgrades.
The StarViper’s Manoeuver Dial
If the StarViper has an excellent statline for a nimble dog-fighter, it’s manoeuver dial is just as great.
It can perform all speed 1 and speed 2 maneuvers, making it extremely mobile in close quarters. Many of them are also green maneuvers, allowing the StarViper to shed stress relatively easily.
The StarViper can also cover distance with a straight 4.
Most notably, however, it can use the Segnor’s Loop maneuver, a new manoeuver first introduced to the X-Wing Miniatures game with the Scum and Villainy faction (though the Episode VII TIE/Fo-Fighters since learned to copy this trick).
Part 1 Summary
In summary, I have to say I really like the StarViper. It is a unique-looking ship, which – especially in absence of a large ship like the Slave I – makes a splendid centre-piece for a Scum-and-Villainy-squadron.
The StarViper clearly feels right at home in the thick of things, dodging and weaving around enemy ships at close range.
In part 2 of this unboxing, I will therefore take a look at some of the upgrades and named pilots of this expansion, seeing if the best pilots in the StarViper can match the game’s more famous arc dodgers like Soontir Fel or Tycho Celchu.
With the new X-Wing The Force Awakens starter set sitting in my gaming-shelf, I decided to try out some of my new toys.
I made the following Rebels X-Wing list and took it for a game at the club. This is clearly not a tournament list or anything of this sort. The idea here was to fill the list with as many of the new Episode VII Rebels toys from the starter as possible.
Here is my 100 points X-Wing Episode VII Rebels test list:
- Poe Dameron (T-70 X-Wing) with R5-P9 and Adrenaline Rush (35 pts)
- Tycho Celchu (A-Wing) with A-Wing Test Pilot, Chardaan Refit, Push the Limit and Wired (28 pts)
- Rookie Pilot (X-Wing) with BB-8 and Flechette Torpedos (25 pts)
- Bandit Squadron Pilot (Z-95 Headhunter) without upgrades (12 pts)
I played against an Imperial squadron of elite pilots in nimble, arc-dodging ships, including Echo (TIE-Phantom) and Carnor Jax (TIE-Interceptor).
This three-part series will detail my thoughts on
- Poe Dameron and the T-70 X-Wing
- Tycho Celchu with Wired
- The Rookie Pilot with BB-8
Poe Dameron and the new T-70 X-Wing
The Logic behind this Build
Poe Dameron presented a bit of a conflict for me.
One one hand, I wanted to test/get the most out of his pilot ability. An obvious, often recommended synergy is his ability with R5-P9, who allows Poe Dameron to use his “saved” focus token to regain shield at the end of each turn.
One the other hand, I also wanted to try the new Tallan Roll of the T-70 X-Wing, a red maneuver that prevents the focus action (and doesn’t sit well with abilities like Push the Limit). I opted for Adrenaline Rush to have it both ways in one turn.
My Thoughts after Playing
Tallan Roll: The Tallan Roll is by far my favourite novelty of the T-70 X-Wing. It allowed Poe Dameron to keep slippery Imperials like Echo in his sights, allowed him to dodge Carnor Jax and his deadly short-range fire and kept my opponent on edge.
Part of the maneuvers appeal may be its novelty, which may wear off as people get used to it, start predicting it, but so far I am loving it.
Doing the Tallan Roll just once with an Adrenaline Rush was definitely not enough and I played the maneuver a few more times, stress or no stress, for good results.
R5-P9: I was less impressed with R5-P9, despite the obvious synergies. I believe I only used the droid to repair a shield once in the game.
Partly, this was due to the repeated Tallan Rolls, which denied Poe Dameron a focus token in the first place, which in turn was possibly a result of flying against a squadron of nimble arc-dodgers.
I can see how Poe Dameron‘s pilot ability and R5-P9 could work a lot better, especially against less agile ships, especially those with a turret.
It just has not worked for me like this in practice.
The T-70 X-Wing, Poe Dameron in particular, represent a bit of a conundrum:
- Should I equip Poe Dameron for resilience, using focus, in ability and a suitable astromech to keep him healthy?
- Or should I play him for maneuverability, getting the most out of Tallan Rolls and boost actions to dance around asteroids or enemy ships?
Flying an X-Wing like a far more nimbler ship is certainly fun, and the pay-off for a well-placed maneuver with an X-Wing is nothing to sneeze at, even if Poe Dameron may not by the wisest T-70 X-Wing pilot to choose for this approach.
The former, more tanky approach might prove to be the more reliable one, especially if ships like the VT-49 Decimator or YT-2400 are on the table.
It is a tricky choice, but arguably also a sign of excellent game-design behind this ship.
Final steps on my Darth Vader miniature included a coat of Citadel Purity Seal, followed by re-application of glossy ‘Ard Coat, notably on the light saber.
I also rebased Darth Vader, adding a little grimdark skull to go with it (if anyone deserves a skull to his feet, it is Darth Vader).
Ready for action!
If you missed my earlier articles on painting Darth Vader, you can find them here:
The next step in painting my Imperial Assault Darth Vader was the light saber.
Step 1 – Red Undercoat
Step 2 – Highlighting the Blade
Once I had a nice red, I started adding a lighter highlight to the upper and front part of the blade with Wild Rider Red.
Step 3 – Silver Glow Effect
Another suggestion, which I picked up from YouTube, was to attempt the light saber’s glow effect of the light saber with a line of Rune Fang Steel, a very bright silver, and not a bright red or white.
I went back and forth on this, trying to get it right. I am not 100% happy with it.
One Step Back – Highlights on the Cloak
I also started adding a red glaze – Citadel’s Bloodletter – to the areas surrounding the light saber, to simulate the glow effect.
The red glazed did show on some areas, notably the glove and arm, but wouldn’t take to the cloak right next to the light saber, which was still to dark.
To help with this, I went back and added more highlights with a mix of black and Fenrisian Grey to the cloak around the light saber to create a basis for the glaze.
Step 4 – Red Glaze
I also toned down the silver line on the light saber itself.
Next step: rebasing Darth Vader.