For the past couple of months, I’ve been cobbling together a conversion of an Imperial Knight to run with my Tau.

The story is that the chassis used to be a deep-water/high pressure plasma-welding construction rig. Where a pair of crab-like manipulator claws were originally located, some Tau Earth Caste genius decided to install an experimental cannon. The plasma drones have been over-charged and can now do short, super-intense pulses (i.e. ‘D’ attacks) in close combat. When not in close combat, they function as low strength plasma burst guns (i.e. Stubbers). The entire thing is unstable, so any Tau forces deployed with it are strictly forbidden from coming too close.

Pics to this point:

Original concept for hull; crabshell with the close combat and cannon arms mounted in the drone slots. Scrapped this idea pretty quickly as too labor-intensive (and well beyond my meager skill-set).

Original concept for hull; crabshell with the close combat and cannon arms mounted in the drone slots. Scrapped this idea pretty quickly as too labor-intensive (and well beyond my meager skill-set).

 

Cannon WiP

Cannon WiP

 

First 'Stubber' conversion idea. Scrapped for the 'Plasma Drone'.

First ‘Stubber’ conversion idea. Scrapped for the ‘Plasma Drone’.

 

Idea to use Devilfish engines as upper thighs.

Idea to use Devilfish engines as upper thighs.

 

Basic shape of the hull.

Basic shape of the hull.

 

The 'Plasma Drone' conversion. First idea was to have launching racks. Scrapped that and decided to just use the drone mounts from the nose of the Devilfish.

The ‘Plasma Drone’ conversion. First idea was to have launching racks. Scrapped that and decided to just use the drone mounts from the nose of the Devilfish.

 

Cannon installed. Yes it's underslung. Yes, I know what it's going to look like on the table. :)

Cannon installed. Yes it’s underslung. Yes, I know what it’s going to look like on the table. ­čÖé

 

Sad-looking Dark Vengeance Aspiring Champion included for size reference.

Sad-looking Dark Vengeance Aspiring Champion included for size reference.

 

Left leg rough-pinned (incomplete).

Left leg rough-pinned (incomplete).

 

Reference shot (Ball jar, not Mason, in case you're wondering).

Reference shot (Ball jar, not Mason, in case you’re wondering).

 

Another reference pic.

Another reference pic.

 

Most recent work: Getting close to a foot/ankle solution.

Most recent work: Getting close to a foot/ankle solution.

 

Another shot of the main foot components (that's an Eldar cockpit as the bulk of the foot).

Another shot of the main foot components (that’s an Eldar cockpit as the bulk of the foot).

Quick update (12/4/14): First foot largely done save for packing the cockpit with plasticard/greenstuff to provide a better seat for the main shaft and fiddling with the armor for the top of the foot.

I may also put an actuator on the 'big' toe.

I may also put an actuator on the ‘big’ toe. 1000 Internet Points if you can tell me which brewery the pint glass is from. ­čśŤ

Closer look. I'm worried that the knight won't look like its weight is over the foot. But I have some ability to adjust angles and hopefully that will suffice.

Closer look. I’m worried that the knight won’t look like its weight is over the foot. But I have some ability to adjust angles and hopefully that will suffice.

Quick Update (12/10/14): Feet complete save for the armor on the top of the foot, glued to plasticard that will eventually be glued to whatever I use as a base (mdf, most likely). Legs not in their final position (and not glued into feet yet).

Sad looking Ulthwe Guardian included for scale.

Sad looking Ulthwe Guardian included for scale.

Another angle. Upper thighs/knees will definitely be covered with armor. Lower legs might get some too.

Another angle. Upper thighs/knees will definitely be covered with armor. Lower legs might get some too.

xxx

This past weekend I went to my first GT, the Renegade Open. List building rules stipulated 1850 points, allowed for two sources, self-allying and Forge World units (not lists though). This is what I took:

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HEADQUARTERS

  • Autarch [Warlord] (Fusion Gun, Scorpion Chainsword, Banshee Mask) 88

TROOPS

  • 5 Dire Avengers; Wave Serpent (Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannon) 195
  • 5 Dire Avengers; Wave Serpent (Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannon) 195
  • 5 Dire Avengers; Wave Serpent (Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannon) 195

ELITES

  • 5 Fire Dragons (Exarch; Fast Shot); Wave Serpent (Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannon) 260

FAST ATTACK

  • 2 Hornets (4 Pulse Lasers)┬á160
  • 2 Hornets (4 Pulse Lasers)┬á160
  • 8 Warp Spiders 152

HEAVY SUPPORT

  • Wraith Knight 240

ALLIED DETATCHMENT: Dark Eldar

  • Archon [HQ] (Haywire Grenades, Webway Portal) 100
  • 5 Kabalite Warriors [Troops] 40
  • 1 Venom [Fast Attack] (Splinter Cannon) 65

Round One (Emperor’s Will & ‘Maelstrom’, Vanguard Deployment): Eldar & Dark Eldar v. Eldar w/ Pulsar Lynx & Cullexis Assassin

One of his cleverly converted Dinos fell on my Hornet and snapped off the flight stand. I got even though!

One of his cleverly converted Dinos fell on my Hornet and snapped off the flight stand. I got even though!

Right off the bat I face an army that my list is designed to deal with. While I had initially given feedback (after playtesting mission rules) that having players place terrain was not a good idea, I completely changed my mind as soon as I saw what I was up against. I lost the roll to choose table sides, and therefore the ability to pick the first piece of terrain. Instead of taking one of the LoS blocking pieces, he took the only ruin on the board. I took the biggest piece of LoS terrain and deployed so that I could hide at least one Wave Serpent behind it. That made the difference; despite going second, he only got a few shots at my serpent (and venom) with his Wraith Knights.

My opponent made two fateful decisions: First, he was unwilling to move the Lynx off the Skyshield to get a shot on my two units. Second (and more importantly), he did not capitalize on the Lynx’s ability to fly. Knowing that my reserves would be coming in on Turn 2, he could have put the Lynx in flight mode. That would almost certainly have saved it. As it was, I destroyed the Lynx (without it firing its Pulsars once) and one Wave Serpent (the one with his Warlord in it) on the bottom of turn two. With the Lynx out of the picture, I kept the pressure on his ObSec serpents and Dire Avengers, eventually leaving him with only 2 Wraith Knights.

I do have to point out that his Cullexis lasted until turn 4, where it died to Overwatch from the Dark Eldar Warriors. It had charged my Wraith Knight, survived the first round of combat and then deleted my knight with an Instant Death attack, so he made his points back, regardless of how ignoble his eventual death was.

I win 9-2 (or 9-3).

Round Two (Kill Points COMBINED WITH Big Guns Never Tire & ‘Maelstrom’, Dawn of War Deployment): Eldar & Dark Eldar v. Black Templars

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My second round opponent’s army┬áseems like it’s already giftwrapped for me; Two Landraiders, Razorback, Vindicator and Storm Raven vehicles, a Hammernator unit, Helbrecht & a bunch of dudes, and two small 5-man(ish) units of Templars. We roll up 5 objectives, which is a lot to cover, but I’m confident since my ObSec units outnumber his. Deployment favors me (and I have first turn): He puts the Vindicator next to Helbrecht’s Landraider to my right and the Hammernator Landraider on my left, too far apart from each other to lend immediate support. I decide to focus on the Hammernators. On his turn one, he moves up a bit and pops smoke on everything.

My turn two starts out well: I have a Skyfire Node that I can use for when his Stormraven comes in, and all of my reserves arrive. And then┬áI get a lesson in how the best-laid plans can go awry (DICE!) when I fail to destroy the Landraider with 5 Melta hits, a Haywire hit, 2 Heavy Wraith Cannon hits and 2(3?) Pulse Laser hits. The Meltas Pen twice, Glance twice, and fail to do anything with the 5th; the glances go through the smoke and he makes his cover saves for the two pens! The Haywire grenade hits and glances…and he makes his smoke save. The Heavy Wraith Cannon hits fail to do anything, as do the hits from the Pulse Lasers. When the smoke clears (literally), the Landraider is short 2 Hull Points and most every ‘fragile’ unit in my army is standing around looking dumb.

In the following turn, my opponent kills all the Fire Dragons, but does not get my Autarch. He then proceeds to make a 3-unit multi-charge through terrain.┬áHe rolls the charge distance┬ábefore we measure and agree on the number needed, which results in a bit of contention. Ultimately we call over a judge, who rules in favor of my opponent. It could have gone either way, so I was fine with the ruling–I was annoyed by what I see as a breach of etiquette: ALWAYS measure, discuss, and agree on the number needed before making a charge.

The game stumbles on and his low-model-count comes up in his favor. He beats me on the Primary by just a couple of points, but I take the Secondary. I lose 6-4. C’est La Vie, no?

Round Three (Modified Scouring & ‘Maelstrom’, Hammer and Anvil Deployment): Eldar & Dark Eldar v. Tzeentch Daemon Flying Circus

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For my third opponent, I am paired (by the wonderful software that is Torrent of Fire [/lightsarcasm]) with my round one opponent and another player is ALSO paired with a prior opponent. The options are: Adamantium Lance with some elite (Low Model Count) allies all primed in black (guy had his army stolen the week before the tournament) or flying Daemon spam played by one of my club-mates. I get the Daemon spam. Boo-yah. Although I might have lost against the AdLance, I wanted to take a swing at one given how much time I’d spent prepping. Ah well.

My opponent keeps his Daemons in ‘Glide’ mode, and then jinks like crazy when I shoot at him (Note: The ability for MCs to ‘jink’ while Gliding/standing on the ground goes on my list of BS rules, I’d be happy to trade a BS rule that applies to my army to get rid of that one). I deploy almost everything (all the serpents for sure) on the board; there is little to no point in Webstriking versus a toughness army. My opponent has first turn, so he’s got Iron Arm etc. etc. up by the time I get a chance to shoot him. I may put a wound on one during the first turn.

During his second turn, he presses forward on a wide front, summoning units and buffing his Daemons (three princes and two Tzeentch HQ dudes). I decide that if I can’t kill a Daemon on my turn two, I’m done for (there’s nowhere to run, so forfeiting a turn of shooting to try to flat-out away from the Daemons is pointless). With my back against the table edge (and Hammer & Anvil perhaps the only thing giving me a chance at two turns of shooting), I make a mistake and target a T9 Daemon Prince…. I put a wound or two on him before realizing that I do not likely have enough shooting left to bring him down. I switch to my second target (which should have been my first), the non-warlord Tzeentch Daemon. I roll well and my opponent does not, so I breathe a sigh of relief as I finally manage to remove one Daemon from the table.

Then, a miracle happens: One of his Daemon Princes perils (what he was casting is permanently erased from my memory because of what happened next–it was successful, at any rate), rolls a ‘1’ on the chart and then proceeds to fail his Leadership Check. BOOM! Suddenly he’s down to just three Daemons and I can see daylight. A minor miracle follows: His warlord charges 5 Dire Avengers but only kills 3. The remaining two make their morale and stay stuck in! I put my Wraith Knight and the Fire Dragons (with the Autarch) into the melee and start chipping off wounds with Melta Bombs (the knight was near-useless).

I shoot down his other Daemons (having effectively stifled his summoning factory) and eventually kill his warlord. I end up holding more Scouring points than he can (two 3-point markers, two 2-point markers, and two 1-point markers on the board, similar to what BAO does with the Scouring) as well as taking the secondary.

I win, 9-2. My opponent goes on to take the Sportsmanship trophy; every one of his opponents voted for him.

Round Four (Table Quarters with 5 ‘Quarters’ & ‘Maelstrom’, Spearhead Deployment): Eldar & Dark Eldar v. Screamerstar w/ Belakor

So, to keep this short: I dislike Torrent of Fire (that may change in the future). ‘Win-Loss’ Path as a PRIMARY way of tie-breaking, in an environment where dice can betray the best general/list, is less than optimal. Win-Loss Path in a tournament with 256 players makes sense as a time-saving approach. It -may- also make sense in large Chess Tournaments (doubt it does, but I’m not willing┬áto say it has no place whatsoever).

After counting my Victory Points, I think I will make the┬áTop 16 (only 8 players can have a 3-0 record, so there are 8 spots that will go to 2-1 records with the most Victory Points). So, I call home and tell my son, ‘Maybe!’ A teammate tells me I should be in and shakes my hand, so I call home and say, ‘Yay, I made it!’ Then the list is posted and I’m out of the top 16. I call home and say, ‘Oh well. I don’t understand it, but that’s ok since I have another tourney tomorrow.’ I express my disappointment to the Tournament Directors and leave it at that. Then, that list comes down. I assume it is final so I pack my models and start coordinating a post-tournament beverage imbibing and sympathizing session with a guy I just met in person (long-time forum acquaintance). I have my coat on, ready to walk out in just a couple minutes, when ANOTHER list of the Top 16 pairings is posted…and I’m on it (10th! /flex?). I call home, despite my teammates shouting at me to not jinx it and, to the total befuddlement of my wife,┬ásay, ‘Yay!’ What a rollercoaster.

The Renegade had requested Win/Loss RECORD + Victory Points as the means by which the Top 16 should be determined. The software did not do that, so they had to do it by hand. Despite doing it by hand, three players were left out of the Top 16 that should have been there. Had everyone who qualified actually been listed, Adeptus Brew City would have put 5 players in the top 16. Not bad.

[Insert Picture Here: Didn’t get one, nor could I find one taken by someone else. Ah well. He had 4 flying Daemons (Fateweaver, Belakor and two(?) supporting Daemons), two Heralds of Tzeentch (one with the Grimoire), 8 or 10 Screamers, two units of Horrors, a unit of Plague Bearers and a Bastion.]

The game: I face a Screamerstar for the first time ever. I get the Infiltrate Warlord Trait and decide to use it to Outflank (still Webstriking my Fire Dragons in their Wave Serpent). My opponent, who went on to finish 3rd overall, commented that my decision to Outflank rather than Infiltrate was interesting, and that it put some extra pressure on him.

Since I only had two units (Wraith Knight and a Wave Serpent) on the table on turn one, despite going first (in retrospect, putting everything on the table is the better choice), I managed to put 2 wounds on Belakor but not take him out. Had I done so, the game still would have been difficult (he rolled up Perfect Timing, which makes it hard for serpents to avoid being glanced to death), but definitely more in the realm of possibility. As it was, I spent too much time running from the Star and hardly made him pick up any models at all (two units of minor Daemons, if I remember correctly). My idea was to preserve my ObSec units until turn 5, then put them in as many table quarters as possible. Unfortunately, when his Star split up, he had more than enough firepower to remove all of my ObSec units, leaving only my Warlord and the Fire Dragons to contest the center ‘quarter’.

Overall it was the most interesting game of the day, and one that I think I would have done better in if I’d had any experience at all against Screamerstars. Ah well, I made the Top 16, which was my goal for the tournament.

I lose, 9-0 (he did not get my Warlord) and am knocked out of the championship track.

 

Yeah, I’m one of those guys. I hired some shady (even for Dark Eldar shady) mercenaries that just happen to be in possession of a Webway Portal…. You may notice that I really only have 3 paint schemes…this one is yellow/red/black. I’m not a very good painter. ­čśŽ

The Archon (I’m going to do more work on the sword):

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The Warriors:

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And the Venom:

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