Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rules you may have forgotten . . . precision strikes and shots!

I don't know for the life of me why I don't remember that my characters have precision shot and precision strike.  

I think it might be that when 6th edition came out, one of the major 'trends' in the rules was to use majority characteristics when dealing with units.  IE, if a unit is shot you use majority toughness. 

However, characters are a notable exception to this rule.  When character roll a 6 on any to hit roll, whether it be in close combat or shooting, they get to allocate the hit to a target of their choosing in the target unit.

That mean you can take out plasma gunners, sergeants with power weapons, librarians with force weapons,  and the like. 

Why can't I just remember it!  Thus far my experience in 6th is that S7 and S8 weapons are king.  Plasma especially, but melta as well.  Why wouldn't I want to take every chance possible to take these targets out?

It's worth noting that snap shots and weapons that scatter can never be precise shots. Thank goodness

In melee, precision strikes can only be assigned to engaged models, ie, if a model is not in base contact or 2" from the combat, they are safe.  This might be another good reason to decline a challenge after all, just not to get too close to the action.  

Does anyone else have trouble remembering to use precise shot and strike, and if so, how do you force yourself to remember?  Different colored dice for your characters? 

Interestingly enough, I haven't had a single opponent since 6th edition came out look at me and say "Oh, the captain rolls a 6!  I'll allocate that wound to your lord." 

Give that captain a melta gun and watch the instant deaths tally up! 

My name is Caleb and I run White Metal Games, a miniature painting and conversion service.

Be sure to check us out, and until then PUT YOUR MINIS WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS!  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Star Wars Dreadnoughts

Greetings fellow wargamers!

Once in a while it's nice to break stride to embark on a project just for fun.  After all the dice rolling and rules lawyering and back and forth, it's good to remind ourselves at the end of the day that we are playing with little plastic toys and we're all just big kids at heart, trying to get a few more minutes out of our childhoods. 

On that note I present some Star Wars dreadnoughts!  I have a friend in Virginia, was best man at his wedding, who LOVES Star Wars.  And by loves I mean would go down on George Lucas loves Star Wars.  A few years ago I got the idea, as a gag gift, to build him a few Star Wars dreadnoughts.  He's a Chaos player after all, and I thought he'd appreciate the humor behind my gift.  At the time I was experimenting with the Venerable Dreadnought kit for a few projects and had quite a few extras lying around my bits box.  Many of the pieces featured on these dreadnoughts are from a variety of kits, including tau bits, imperial bits, spares from various kits like valkyries . .  so many pieces, even I don't know where they all came from anymore! 
Since these were a gag gift anyway, I didn't spend a gregarious amount of time painting them up to a stellar degree.  I mostly just wanted to get a basic feeling across for the figures, which I think more or less I accomplished.  As far as Vader goes, I wanted to add a little OSL, but my airbrush was out of order at the time I painted up the project, so I had to stick with some very basic red drybrush work to get the effect of the red glow of parts of his armor.
When I started experimenting with the heads of the figures, I thought "Yes, I could buy some 20mm star wars mini's and put smaller heads in place of the venerable dreadnought heads" but it didn't get the feel for what I wanted to accomplish.  I wanted these to be more like bobblehead figures.  Big and silly and draw a lot of attention on a book shelf.  So I went the other direction, rounded up some action figures sized star wars toys, and cut them to pieces.  Mostly the only parts I needed were the heads.  I kept the rest of the parts handy for whatever future screwball project I think up next. 

My favorite figures to paint by far must have been Boba Fett.  I didn't realize how much I liked the paint scheme of green on red metallic until I painted it up first hand.  I actually think it would work really well as the color scheme of an entire warband, like Tau or Necrons or CSM or the like. 

Love them or hate them, they were certainly fun to build an another interesting project for the old gallery, which I expand upon daily. 

My name is Caleb and I am the owner of White Metal Games, a conversion and painting service based out of Raleigh, NC.  We hope you'll consider using our services for your wargaming needs, but until you do . . . PUT YOUR MINIS WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS! 


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ghost Rider for Chaos Space Marines

Greetings fellow wargamers!  Today I present to you 'Ghost Rider,' a converted Chaos lord on bike for a Nurgle 40k army.  I've always been a big fan of the look of the Ghost Rider, and thought it would make a welcome addition to a 40k warband.  The trick was finding a way to convert the model using all GW bits and managing to coax flames out of my mediocre sculpting talents.  So let's get right down to brass tax. 

The conversion itself was pretty cut and dry.  The head for the biker is from the Vampire Counts Coven Throne/Mortis Engine kit.  I used a spare hub cab to give a base for the skull to rest on in the neck socket.  I used a heat gun to bend the tendril of smoke around the backpack and create a sense of forward motion to the figure.  The axe is from a Chaos Dark Vengeance Chosen. 

The flame are a combination of a Chaos Spawn tentacled head and several sets of spawn tentacles.  The tentacles were glued to the wheels and arranged in a way that was aesthetically pleasing and created a sense of writhing flames.  The flames were painted by brush using a basic blending technique, working from dark green to a light green until the final highlight is nearly pure white with the touch of light green.
Ordinarily I'd suggest using an airbrush to create some OSL from the flickering green flames, but my airbrush was out of commission and I didn't feel I could do the model justice by hand.  So I decided to leave the model as is and go back to touch the OSL back up when I had my airbrush in hand again.

Whilst flames in small areas aren't terribly hard to sculpt, flames that writhe and snake out are very tricky.  Using the tentacles saved precarious amount of time.  And since this was a nurgle style chaos lord I felt like the tetacles for flames really worked with the style of the model.  You can almost imagine the flames writhing with a life all their own. 

Although the traditional Ghost Rider comic book super hero has flames surrounding every inch of the tire, I felt like localizing the flames to a few locations got my point across with going overboard.

My name is Caleb and I am the owner of White Metal Games, a full service miniature service in Raleigh, NC.  Check us out here! 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Rules you may have forgotten . . . Gunslinger

Cypher.  His name is feared and reviled across the imperium.  But he's not the only fellow in town toting two guns anymore . ..

Page 52, under PISTOL WEAPONS

Models with 2 pistol weapons can fire up to both in the same shooting phase.

This may not seen like a big deal at first, but when you consider the Precision shot rule (page 62) characters get a better end game when picking out an enemy of their choosing.

Let's take, for example, a Space marine lord with a plasma pistol and bolt pistol vs. a SML with a boltun.  Both get 2 shots at 12" range, however, the gunslinger has an S7 AP 2 weapon, much more effective when dealing precision shots.

Under this example, one lord has the advantage of being able to add a shot to his squad at 24", whilst the other is only lethal within 12".  Both get two shots at the shorter range, but one has a S7 AP2 pistol.

 Additionally, the gunslinger already counts as having two CCWs so doesn't lose any attacks for swapping his boltgun with a bolt pistol.

What do you guys think, is it worth it?  Have at it!

White Metal Games is a full service miniature conversion and painting studio for hire.  Check us out or email with inquiries or to set up a commission at


Caleb, WMG

Friday, February 22, 2013

On the open road . . . bike bases with Chalk Paint by White Metal Games

Greetings fellow wargamers!  For your amusement this week are some specialty bike bases I painted up using chalkboard paint.  If you're unfamiliar with this stuff, then the gist of it is:  it's a paint you can apply to any surface to achieve a chalkboard like finish.  When dry you can actually use chalk on the surface, just like a chalkboard.  Great for roads, as you'll see!

Downside . .  it's pricy, about $20 bucks for a quart.  So only follow this tutorial if you have the paint lying around.  The basics of the tutorial will also work with a place base and white paint, if that helps, but I like the dry dusty look of the chalk.  So without further ado here's how it's done . . .

What you'll need for this tutorial:

  • Bike Bases
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Chalk (white and maybe yellow)
  • A Que-tip and some water
  • Some basing material (grit, sand, flock)

 If you don't have chalkboard paint, just bring your favorite white and black paint and a medium sized brush.

Plus whatever edging color you use for your base (and your completed ready to be glue on bikers, of course!)
Grab some bike bases (like above) and some chalkboard paint.  Apply a thin layer (doesn't take much) of the paint to the base.  Paint it on smooth and allow it to dry, usually an hour or two.  I put it in front of a box fan to speed up the process. 

Once dry, take a chalk stick and mark out some dotted lines.  Now, in real life, the lines wouldn't be this close together BUT we're trying to evoke an idea here, not a real life representation.  One a few of the bases I even used a yellow line on the outside to simulate road edges/boundaries.  Don't worry if you get them too wide.  We'll clean it up in the next step.

If you don't have chalkboard paint, not to fret.  Just grab a drybrush and overbrush some white streaks on the black bases.  Keep it as straight as you can.  Add yellow 'boundary' lines as desired.

Now, grab a q-tip.  Dip it in some water.  Use the tip to clean up the markings and make them as nice and uniform as you like. Make the lines larger than you think is needed . . . remember the bikes are going to be glued down on top of the bases so much of these lines will be covered. 

You could stop at this point and call it a day.  But for a little added effect and variation, we added some patches of grit to the bases, to make the roads appear old/unused and overrun with debris.  This will also help to tie the bases in with the rest of your army is you are already using flock material.

Finally, glue the models down to your bases and voila!  Rolling, rolling, rolling!  Keep those bikers rolling!  Rayhide!

White Metal Games is a full service miniature painting a conversion service.  Contact us at if you are interested in setting up a commission. 



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Keeping up with the (Jervis) Johnsons

A few weeks ago I had a bit of a scare.  I was surfing the GW site when I noticed that prices were up across the board.  $124 for a rulebook.  $96 for a Trygon, $110 for a storm raven?  What gives?  Normally I get news about price increases from sites like BOLS or Spikey Bits.

I kept checking the message boards to see if anything had been announced.  When I didn't see anything my first thought was 'Sneaky GW!  Who do they think they're kidding!  I won't pay it!'

My second thought was 'I quit!  I can't do it anymore, I'm broke enough without more new shiny toys!'

But then my third thought was 'That's odd.  The contact # for GW starts with country code 61.  Australia?'

Turns out I had somehow changed My Profile on the GW webpage and the prices were reflecting Australian currency.  Wheww.  What a relief.  But it got me thinking . . .

The economy is (still) in the tank.  I know this more than anybody.  I run White Metal Games, a small internet painting and  conversion business (still under development).  Our first official year in business we did about $55 grand in sales.  Not bad.  Our second year, about $45k.  What the hell?  A drop of almost 20%?  I couldn't believe it.  My sales should be going up, not down.  What gives?  I increased viewership through my youtube channel, posted on my twitter account, the whole nine yards.  I certainly drew plenty of attention from GW, who's resent cease and desist letter in regards to my conversion work (much of which is featured on Spikey Bits) shut me down on ebay almost completely, minus a few projects.  More on that in another post.

Anyway, my point is business was on the decline.  And then to add insult to injury, GW had raised their prices . . .again.  Or so I thought.

But even after I updated my profile and got back to my native currency, the thought stuck with me.  Prices at GW are continuing to rise, and the economy is still running on fumes.  No wonder my business is suffering!  Disposable income is the first thing to go in these sorts of instances, so hobbies like 40k, Warhammer, and Warmachine/Hordes are really only vices of those with time and money on their hands (usually both).

So how do we keep up with a hobby that continues to spiral upwards despite the leanness of our wallets?

To play the devils advocate,  games like 40k and WFB are better than ever!  GW has some of the best models in the world.  They are releasing new kits, books, and gaming sundries every week. Products are launched in waves and some armies even have 100% product support for the first time since 2nd edition.  The rules (at least in 40k) are brand spanking new and as a rule of thumb are considered the best rule sets ever for GW. 

But this also means pressure to expand your collection, buy new figures, and keep up with the Johnsons, if you will, is higher than ever.  Sure, I can bring my 4th edition models to a 6th edition game and probably compete.  But like the new kid at school, all you want to do is blend in.  After all, everyone else is buying shiny new models and loving them!  Why shouldn't you?

To exacerbate matters, codex's definitely start to show their shelf life after a few years.  Newer armies like Dark Angels, Grey Knights, Dark Eldar, Necrons, Blood Angels and of course Space Wolves are the front runners at most major tournaments.  When was the last time you read about a Black Templar or Tau player placing in the top 3 of a GT?

The 'band aid' solution here is to buy a few new models.  A few flyers, an aegis line, maybe a bastion, and you're back in the game.  And to be fair, a few hundreds bucks a year doesn't seem like a price too high  to stay in the game, literally.

So my question to you is . . how do you keep up with the Johnsons?  When your best friend is swapping out his army every  year for the newest WAAC army on the block, how do you stay current?

Well, there are a few strategies I'd like to share with you.  These are my thoughts on the matter:

1.  You don't keep up at all. Put your credit card away.  Be reasonable about your budget and disposable income.  No more models for you, at least not for a while.  Put your emphasis on the hobby.  Don't buy more than you can paint in a week of steady work.  Otherwise you'll eventually suffer from the inevitable 'closets full of models and grey plastic army' syndrome, as well as more debt than you should have to enjoy a hobby.  And don't buy ANYTHING until you paint what you have!  It's a slippery slope, as we all know.  If you bought a unit every other week, and spent the time between purchases painting, you'd have a fully painted army in just a few months!  Just stick to your gumption! 

2.  Rent your armies, don't buy them:  Redbox has the right idea.  You can rent a game from Redbox for about $3 bucks a night.  You can rent a game and have a weekend game fest, play for 20 hours in three days (like you aren't going to do that anyway), beat the game, and then return it for a fraction of what it would cost you to own the game and then trade it back in to Gamestop a few years later for pennies on the dollar. 

Don't think of your army as the only army you'll ever play.  Think of it as an army you are enjoying for now, until you are bored of it, and then that you'll let go. Too many of us get attached to our armies, especially the fluff that drew us to them in the first place.  Like 'I play Khorne so I AM KHORNE.'  Let me clear this up for you:  You're not.  Lots of other people play Khorne too.  You don't have to own every figure in the CSM range to be an avid fan of the Blood God.  I like to watch movies, but I don't own a copy of every movie I've ever enjoyed.  Not with Netflix, Hulu, and the like.  Play the game.  Don't BE the game. 

When you finally do sell your army, don't try to get top dollar for it.  Just try to unload it for enough to buy your NEXT army.  Think of the time you owned it as 'leasing to buy' and any money you didn't get back was just due to rental fees.  After all, you've already paid for the army.  So any money you get back is just icing on the cake!  You've already enjoyed your army, but now you're enjoying it AND making some $$$ back on the tail end.  Bonus! 

And if you stuck to #1, above (fully painting your army), you should have little trouble getting fair market value for it.  Unless you were playing the Pink Bunny army or some such.  

3.  Community Armies:  Got a few buddies that all want to get involved in the hobby, but no one can front the cash for the entire army?  No problem.  Get the band back together, and sit down to work out an army list.  Maybe 3000 points (this would work for other games like Warmachine and Hordes too!, try 500 or 100 points instead).  Not everyone has to agree on every unit, but if a majority of people do, then add it to the list.  Then have everyone buy a few kits, or even better, a few army boxes!  Then have a round robin assembly/painting weekend where everyone gets together, watches a few movies, and works on the army as one.  The army will be done in no time.  And when finished you guys can SHARE the army. Think of it like Time Share at the beach.  No one owns the condo.  But everyone enjoys it when it's their turn. Each of you owns your own units but you agree to let your friends use them whenever they aren't in play.  This works great for college roommates, siblings, or stores that let you store your army there for a small fee (usually a few bucks a month). 

As American capitalists, we get obsessed with the 'what's mine is MINE' syndrome.  Think of it more like a garage band playing your first coffee shop gig.  You all have to bring your own microphones or NOBODY gets to play. 

4.  Display Armies aren't just for looking pretty:  Some FLGS have 'house armies' that they use for display purposes.  But a lot of these armies belong to the store owners.  They use them at GT's and local tournies and the like.  But most of the time they sit in a case, gathering dust.  Try this instead.  Tell the store owner at your FLGS how much you LOVE their store, love their armies, and would love to have a showcase game using their army some time.  Most store owners, if they know you at all, will be flattered and likely say yes.  Want to shoot a youtube batrep?  I'm sure if you post a few links to the store or promote them in some way they'd be overjoyed!   Rob Baer at Spikey Bits has some AMAZING store armies and I'm sure he'd be thrilled to let them out for a spin so long as you agreed to handle them with kid gloves.  And how much $$$ did you spend to enjoy this privilege?  Zero (maybe a few bucks to buy them a pizza or box of donuts or the like to thank them.  Who doesn't like pizza or donuts!)

5.  Proxy:  This more applies to individual models than full armies.  If you want to test out a figure, then PROXY IT before you buy.  I don't mean "This cereal box is my predator for the night.  Hope you don't mind."  But I think 'This Rhino with a candy bar on top is my predator for the night." is probably fine in most circles, especially if you're willing to let your opponent do the same.  Don't try this at tournaments, but certainly in friendly settings with permission from the guy across the table its okay! 

So in summary there are TONS of ways to enjoy your favorite hobbies without taking it up the . .  .wallet. 

My name is Caleb and I am the owner of White Metal Games, a miniature painting and assembly service.  Check us out here!


Caleb, WMG