It’s all for the Greater Good

We are coming up to my anniversary. That’s right its been nearly a year since my re-insertion into the hobby. Which I imagine to be a bit like being reinserted into the Matrix but a lot less sinister and somewhat more enjoyable. 

A lot has happened in the last 12 months and a great deal of that has been in the last 3 – 4 months if I’m honest. You may recall I had played a couple of games of Mordheim which I’m sad to say didn’t reach any higher than a couple. But there have been other distractions and lately I have found myself less in love with my warband than I was before. I was never 100% taken with them. I suspect a combination of rushing to get something together on the cheap, which meant using models I didn’t like and being so rusty with my painting that I made a hash of a couple of them. This following on from a mishap with a can of basecoat (people it is really important to shake the can well and make sure it’s not cold). With no inspiration for a colour scheme or the background the other guys had behind themMonty’s Bastards have languished in one of my now numerous carry cases. Until last week when the poor perverted sociopath has found the dust being brushed off his unpainted shoulders and being put straight on eBay. He and his merry band of mentalists are being replaced with a warband I’ve wanted to do since before my departure from the hobby a decade ago. A heavily themed Beastmen force. I won’t go into too much detail now but I am genuinely excited at the prospect of fielding some hairy stinky Beastmen, with a slight humorous twist, and I get to have an Avatars of War Minotaur because frankly they are awesome. 

I am also now the proud owner of a small Sorylian fleet for Firestorm Armada all thanks to my wife being very generous, and not too judgemental, on my birthday. Although have you ever tried to explain to your other half why a Dreadnought (space shotgun) made from resin is so damned expensive? No? Well I have and she still doesn’t get it. Much like many of my other models: the fleet is currently sitting in a carry case in a very much unpainted and un-played with state, but I am slowly adding to it and I know my colour scheme so it’s just a matter of getting round to it and I look forward to seeing how the Sorylians do in a game. 

Now those other distractions I mentioned, are primarily the Star Wars X-Wing Miniature Game by Fantasy Flight Games. If you didn’t know already Phil and I have a massive hard on for this game, which does border on the slightly unsavoury side from time to time. I run the Imperials and Phil as you may be aware is fielding the Rebel scum. I have to say I didn’t take much convincing to pick this one up, I had been looking at it but didn’t know how to take the plunge. Phil, being the enabler that he is,saw to that. I am now the proud owner of a small but growing Imperial fleet which includes 5 TIE Fighters 1 Tie Advanced and recently Slave 1 (you may have seen my rather gushy review). We have yet to get down to pitting Slave 1 against the Falcon but I am very much hoping it’s soon as I have a bit of a score to settle and honestly it would be nice to maybe win a game. [Never! - Ed.] This new love affair has kicked off many thought processes that revolve around Star Wars but again these are things that will I’m hoping become more apparent in the not to distant future. 

Dreadball… okay so I have dabbled here a little bit and while I’m not as hot for it as Neil, I do still love it. I never really got on with Blood Bowl but Dreadball is everything Blood Bowl wasn’t which is good, fun and fast, (all opinions expressed in this article are purely my own and are just that only an opinion). Now I haven’t actually played a straight game of Dreadball just yet, but I have played Ultimate against 3 other opponents and it was brilliant, I was slightly concerned as I have a Judwan team (yes I field the pacifists in space). Despite the fact they only have strikers and can’t perform any physical attacks they performed really well. Except against the Maruader player who decided he wanted to squish everything on the board and Judwan are particularly squishy. But I enjoyed my game so much I have actually started to paint my team, and after a couple of pointers from the painting guru that is Lee, I have to say I’m rather happy with the results. I am yet to finish them but so far so good. 

Before I get onto the subject that this article was named for, I have a few other bits I want to mention. Firstly being I now own a copies of Dreadball & Sedition Wars, rule sets for Battlefleet Gothic, Necromunda, Adeptus Titanicus 2 and I’m now on the look out for Epic Armageddon rules… So a busy boy, I know. Having recently played a game of Battlefleet Gothic (battle report with spangly pictures coming soon) with my Necrons (God are they broken) I have once again got the bug to sail the warp and blow the shit out of Imperials, BUT not with my Necrons. And Phil gave me a copy GCT Studio’s game Bushido to read and review too! I’ve always been into Japanese culture, and this mixes plenty of that with some great looking models and so far decent looking rules.

I have also got ever so slightly further with scratch building my Chaos Titans but that’s a completely separate article. 

So onto the matter of the Greater Good. Some of you may recall last year I started talking about a Space Marine project using Codex Space Wolves, based on Celtic culture and mythology. They never really got named although Moon Dragons was an option, especially for Nate of ODAM fame. I built up a fair few blokes including some Horus Heresy stuff from Forge World. I wrote a background and devised a colour scheme. Now due to the fact they were Celtic themed, they were going to be rather up close and personal and through discussions with Lee & Phil I realised just how badly dicked on they were going to get in the process. And so my Tau allies were born. And this is where it all changed. 

I really wanted my Space Marines to look the tits and I was looking at a mixture of Forge World and Scibor miniatures for the main force. Now this is a lovely idea but it’s just so expensive. I was also concerned that my painting skills would never really do them justice and so it would be a project that would limp on and on and never be finished. So I made the decision this week to sell my Marines and concentrate on the Tau force that had grown beyond a small allied force because, basically, I was psyched by them. 

All this was due to the following: 1. The Space Marine project was prohibitively expensive. 2. One army per system is enough for any man (well at the moment), 3. FOCUS. This is in capitals because that’s the text I get from Phil two or three times a week when I start talking about something cool I’ve seen and how it’s given me a great idea. And 4. It’s all for the greater good. That is to say: Tau are my jam.

So my Tau force grows, which is funny when I think about it, and has been a long time coming. When I first started to drift away from the hobby the Tau had only just been released. So a decade or so. And in my odd drifts back into the fold I have picked up various iterations of the codex but have never got around to acquiring any models. had a massive thing for Fire Warrior on my PS2: who remembers that? [No one because it was shit. - Ed.] And the bit where you come face to face with a Chaos Space Marine… shoot and run, shoot and ruuuuuun. But more recently since coming back to the warm loving folds of plastic crack addiction, Phil was giving away some of his goodies to The Chaps and the Tau Codex was amongst them. Clearly it was fate.

Now I’m not only pulling together a decent force with a colour scheme I’m happy with, and actually have some painted models, but I’m looking at creating a Pathfinder Kill Team and looking at cool conversions I can do too [FOCUS! - Ed.]. I’m currently liking the idea of sculpting cloaks for them and giving them some samurai swords to act as their Ta’lissera bonding knife. Kromlech do some nice Sci-fKatanas that would work really well for this.  

do have to admit I’m not a huge fan of the Kroot or Vespids so they will be left out of my Tau force. I know this may not be the best idea but, frankly, I just don’t care. I’m also not a big fan of the vehicles but that said I’ve never been a massive fan of vehicles in any army and always preferred to go down the infantry route. However after a few conversations with The Chaps I will likely end up with at least one Devil Fish and possibly a Hammerhead. Okay, three. As I realise the need for these and that vehicles have become a much bigger focus since my days of 40K. I also love the look of the Forge World Pathfinder Tetras but that’s going on the possible list as I like the idea of my Pathfinders being sneaky stealth bastards. 

So currently I’m sitting at 3 Fire Warrior Squads, 3 XV15′s, 6 XV25′s with Drones, 1 Small Pathfinder Team, 1 Commander in Crisis Battle Suit, another 2 Crisis Battle Suits as body guards and a hand full of Drones.

Tau have slightly taken over my life as I also currently find myself reading Fire Warrior by Simon Spurrier the book based on the aforementioned game, it’s a great if not wholly accurate look into Tau culture. 

So my addiction continues and is culminating/climaxing* in a trip to Salute in a couple of weeks, which I no doubt will have to write about my splurging of monumental amounts of cash. And hopefully I will get to meet some of you guys there. 

So until next time…

Oooh I nearly forgot Firefly: The Game is AWESOME. 

*delete as appropriate

Mordheim Video Game

Mordheim_Intro_LogoAs you know we are massive fans of Mordheim here at The Shell Case, so you can understand our excitement when the below image appeared on twitter with the announcement that a Mordheim Video Game was in production.

Mordheim Video Game

Mordheim City of the Damned is being Published by Focus Home Interactive and Developed by Rogue Factor.

We don’t know much more at this stage other than it will be a strategy RPG with a solo and multiplayer mode.

Mordheim Video Game 2

Mordeheim Video Game 3

 

Watch this space for updates.

X-Wing Expansion: Slave 1 – A Review

Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game By Fantasy Flight Games

So now we really get to the meat of the subject, capital ships for the X-Wing Miniatures Game, and for me it all starts with Slave 1, the entire reason I choose to do an Imperial fleet. Boba Fett was always my favourite. Yes, I know it’s an obvious choice but so what? He was freaking cool and his ship is awesome.

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of the Firespray 31 Prisoner Transport (check me out using the proper name) I would like to quickly comment on the packaging, as I touched on it in my last review about how I expected a premium product to be in premium packaging. Well now, I’m with Phil: this is massively over packaged frankly. It’s about twice as big as it really needs to be. But who cares, it’s what’s inside that we’re interested in.

fantasyflight-xwing-slave1-box

Now being a capital ship, and therefore somewhat larger than the standard snubfighters, it does weigh in at a hefty £22.50 when bought from the fine chaps at Firestorm Games. That seems pricey even by Games Workshop standards but actually when you compare it with the other expansion kits that come in at £10.79 and are considerably smaller, you’re actually getting a decent amount of ship for your money… and besides it’s Slave 1!

I would like to go on record at this juncture and say that so far the painting standard of the models hasn’t really bothered me. I mean TIE fighters are, well, dark so there’s not a huge amount of detail to see and honestly it’s better than I could do at this point. And it means I get to field a painted army. But Slave 1 is frankly a little poor. The whole shitkicker look (as Phil would say) works but it’s a little lazy, to be honest. I mean this ship is old. Really old. And the paint job is just a bit basic and blocky. There are some nice areas of detail but I think Fantasy Flight could have been done a little better given the size of the model.

Slave 1 for Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game By Fantasy Flight Games

So what comes in the rather oversized boxed?
1 x Slave 1 Ship with Plastic Base
2 x Ship Tokens
1 x Manoeuvre Dial
1 x Focus Token
2 x Stress Token
1 x Evade Token
1 x Critical Hit Token
4 x Shield Tokens
2 Ion Tokens (the fun begins)
1 Bounty Token
1 Proximity Mine Token
1 Seismic Charge Token
2 Reference Cards
6 x ID Tokens (21 – 22) We are yet to sue these but you know it’s on the cards (excuse the pun).
4 x Ship Cards, Boba Fett, Kath Scarlet, Krassis Trelix and Bounty Hunter. 13 x Upgrade Cards (yes 13 upgrade cards) 1 x Homing Missles, 1 x Assault Missles, 1 x Ion Cannon, 1 x Heavy Laser Cannon, 1 x Veteran Instincts, 1 X Expose, 1 x Seismic Charges, 1 x Proximity Mines, 1 x Gunner, 1 x Mercenary Copilot, 2 x Stealth Device and last but not least 1 x Slave 1 card.

And you get a rather cool looking scenario specifically for Slave 1.

So you really are actually getting pretty decent value for money on this Expansion set and some of these upgrade cards are serious game changers, especially when coupled with Slave 1’s Auxiliary firing arc, which allows it to fire behind it with its primary weapon.

Needless to say with all this in the pack you are a little spoilt for choice and it also means you can load the Firespray 31 to the teeth and that’s not just a whimsical expression, you can seriously load this bad boy up with some nasty ordnance and special rules.

I’m just going to pick out some of my favourites because honestly with 13 upgrade cards we could be here a while. So for me the essentials are: the Slave 1 card which adds torpedoes to your arsenal of very nasty stuff and it’s free so it’s a must. You also have your Homing Missiles which are pretty self-explanatory which weigh in at 5 points but means your opponent cannot evade. Although I find myself torn between these and Assault Missiles which are the same cost but if they score a hit they cause 1 damage to any other ships within range one of the target which is nasty. You can also choose between an Ion cannon or Heavy Laser cannon. I’m more inclined to lean towards the Ion cannon because of the longer term effect and the fact it will make your other weaponry more effective. And it’s only 3 points against 7 points.

Then you get to load up some mines. I can see these being a real pain for the opposition as you perform it as part of your action and by then it’s too late for your opponent to change his mind about where he’s going. Which makes them a bit beardy. But I’m still likely to load up on proximity mines though. At 3 points, they detonate once a ship touches them and they have their own reference card which explains the results. This is one of the aforementioned game changers I was talking about. These could cause some serious mischief for the Rebel Scum. You can also take the Veteran Pilot Skills card much like the Falcon which gives your Pilot 2 extra skills points which I have to say sadly is much-needed as Fett only comes in at 8 skill. But as this only costs you 1 point it’s well worth it. The Crew Cards are very much like those of the Falcon. And Finally you get to add your unique modification: a Stealth Device which adds one to your agility, however if you’re hit you lose it. It’s worth taking but at 3 points it’s not cheap considering you can lose it within two turns.

So your Pilots. Well it goes without saying, I’m only ever going to use Boba Fett who rocks in at 39 points and has a rather nifty special rule that allows him to change his bank manoeuvre once you turn over his movement dial. With the cost of Fett taken into account and all the additions you’re going to want to take to make him the ultra bad ass he is, you’re looking at around 65 points. You could get 5 TIE fighters for the same price. Whilst the TIEs are better value, Slave 1 will still pack a wallop and offers some handy tactical advantages over TIEs. Mainly in the form of high explosives.

But ‘what if we don’t want to take Boba Fett’ I hear you ask. Well firstly why not? Are you mental? And secondly, you have got some other rather cool options. You have Kath Scarlet for 38 points whose ability means that if an opponent cancels a critical hit they take a stress point which is not too bad. And then there’s Krassis Trelix for 36 points who allows you to reroll 1 attack die when firing a secondary weapon, which if your firing Assault Missiles could prove devastating to your opponent.

So to sum up, the Slave 1 expansion is, for me, so far (barring the core set) the best value for money with all the additions you get, as well as what it adds to the game. There is some seriously heavy hitting stuff going on in this expansion and all well worth the points cost. I know I can’t wait to see what it can do in a game and how much of a difference it will actually make. As you can tell the poor painting in the end is actually not that big a deal once you get caught up in the fact you’re going to field Slave 1 with some serious ordnance and Boba Fett at the helm.

The Star Wars X-Wing Slave 1 Expansion pack is available from Firestorm Games for £22.50.

Big Damn Painting Competition

That’s right the rumours are true, The Shell Case is doing a painting competition and not any old painting competition a Big Damn Painting Competition, in conjunction with the nice people at The Army Painter and Firestorm Games.

For all the information on how to get your hands on our fantastic prize of one of The Army Painter’s Mega Paint Sets follow this link, The Big Damn Painting Competition. Or click on the tab above.

If you want to know a bit more about the fine paint products from The Army Painter you can catch a review here.

So all that leaves me to say is good luck and have fun.

The_Army_Painter_LogoFireStorm-Games

The Army Painter Mega Paint Set – A Review

As many of you may know I have returned to the hobby after a chance meeting with Phil at an antenatal class. It didn’t take long for his enthusiasm and promise of new and shinier toys than the ones I remembered from a decade ago to renew my plastic crack addiction.

armypainterlogo

So as I dug out all my old bits and pieces, finding some real gems in the process, I found my old paints which was a pretty extensive collection of hard lumps of coloured crap. But it had been 10 years. But now the conundrum: do I reinvest in the same paint system or look to something else bearing in mind I needed the whole shabang – brushes and all. So after seeking Phil’s advice I started looking at The Army Painter products. Phil had always raved about their basecoat sprays, and the price point was much more tempting than Games Workshop’s paints so I thought I’d give them a go.

Yes I know there are other manufacturers out there but there was something about The Army Painter stuff that got me and I honestly think it was the price of the Mega Paint Set. To start with anyway. So I took the plunge and bought myself one.

So what do you get for your £76.50 (if you purchase it from the fine chaps at Firestorm Games).

27 Colours
5 Metallics
3 Quickshade Inks
1 anti shine varnish bottle
Insane Detail Brush
Detail Brush
Character Brush
Regiment Brush
Small Drybrush
Vehicle/Terrain Brush

I would like to add at this point it was the Mega Paint set 1 I purchased as the new Mega Paint Set 2013 wasn’t available at the time I bought mine [Yes, it's taken you a year to write this you lazy bastard - Ed.]. There are a few differences, some I’m a little jealous, I have to admit, so what are these subtle differences, well they’re as follows.

http://www.thearmypainter.com/

29 Colours
5 Metalics
7 Quickshade Inks
1 anti shine varnish bottle
Insane Detail Brush
Regiment Brush
Small Drybrush

So you get less brushes, more paints and 4 of the colour Quickshade inks which are on my “to buy list”.

My Mega Paint Set arrived and I was excited as a little girl with a new pet pony and a bag full of sugar to feed it [Or something far manlier. -Ed]. And I wasn’t disappointed the box was reassuringly heavy making me feel like I got my money’s worth.

My first though was: so very many colours! There are shades to cover most if not all painting requirements, and many of them share names or hints to names of a certain other companies paint range, and from what I can tell so far are a pretty damn good match.

I found myself really liking The Army Painter paints, the dropper pots they come in are great with the pipette style nozzle making it really easy to mix paints as you can ensure you get your mixes right with your 1 part white 1 part Wolf Grey highlight rather than the more haphazard ‘that looks about right’ approach that I used to adopt with Games Workshop’s paints. One thing I will say, and this is by no means a negative, but you really have to shake these pants well before you attempt to use them or you end up with a very watery mess. Yes, I know you have to shake all paints before you use them but you really really have to shake these. But once that’s done they give a nice coverage, they spread easy and have a nice finish. I have been really impressed and very happy with The Army Painter paints especially when you consider the price point. They make for fantastic value for money and really should be considered if you’re looking at getting some new paints.

I am just as impressed with the brushes. They hold their points well and the odd triangle handles does give a nice firm grip which is also surprisingly comfy. They pick up paint well and give good coverage. Whilst I admit it’s been a long time since I used any other brushes, I can honestly say these are just as good as anything else I have used previously and, as I say, the odd handle shape does give you a really good grip.

Needless to say I am now an advocate of The Army Painter range and I have found myself slowly filling my hobby box with other items in their range and I am yet to find something I don’t like. My next purchase is definitely going to be the coloured Quickshade inks.

So to sum up the Mega Paint Set from The Army Painter is fantastic value for money and you get a great range of paints that as long as you remember to shake well before use, won’t disappoint you, and with such a great price point you could look at it as you’re getting the brushes for free. And we can always use more brushes, especially when they are of this quality. I will repeat myself and say if you are on the lookout for some new paints or want t change systems you can’t go wrong with The Army Painter.

And just to help you out you can actually win one of the Mega Paint Sets by entering The Shell Case Painting competition, thanks to the great guys at The Army Painter.

The Army Painter range is available from Firestorm Games from £1.80.

X-Wing Expansion: TIE Advanced – A Review

FFGSWXwinglogo

Back when Phil first dangled X-Wing in front of me, like a dealer with a fresh bag of something lethal before an addict, one of the things that sold me on the game was the option of being able to deploy two of the most iconic characters in science fiction. The first being Boba Fett and the other being Darth Vadar. And the other day I finally got my hands on old the Dark Lord of the Sith. Old Captain Asthma himself, piloting the equally iconic mark I TIE Advanced.

tie-advanced-layout

Having played a couple of games I was struck by just how vast a gulf there was between the performance of an X-Wing and a TIE Fighter. And I don’t mean the pilot: the craft itself. Shields make a massive difference. This seems obvious but they really do. Numbers don’t count for as much as I thought they would so the addition of a TIE Advanced that increased level of protection, as well as some sorely needed ordinance was going to make a big difference. And I got Darth Vadar thrown in to boot.

Now I know Phil isn’t keen on the packaging but I like it. If I’m going to pay as much as £10.79 for a single snubfighter miniature I at least want it to look premium when it turns up, and the packaging definitely does that. It feels solid and looks nice. The model is well presented, a bit like an Apple product in so much as it’s all a bit unnecessary but you don’t really care. Plus as anything with the words Star Wars on the packaging usually gets inflated by 30%, it needs to look top end.

Once you get into the packing, along with the faithful recreation of Vadar’s ride, we have the following:
1 x Base and stand
3 x Ship Tokens
1 x Manoeuvre Dial
1 x Evade Token
1 x Focus Token
1 x Stress Token
1 x Critical Hit Token
2 x Shield Tokens
2 x Sets of Lock on Counters
4 x Pilot Cards including: Darth Vader, Maarek Stele, Storm Squadron Pilot & Tempest Squadron Pilot
5 x Upgrade Cards including: Concussion Missiles, Cluster Missiles, Squad Leader, Swarm Tactics & Expert Handling

In short, a lot of card. And as before you don’t just buy these expansions for the model it’s as much about the cards and upgrades they offer you that can be used on your other ships. It’s kind of tabletop game, collectible card game and RPG all rolled into one when you think about it. Which is kinda cool.

But obviously this is all about Lord Vadar, and his inherent Pilot Trait is frankly awesome. You get to perform 2 actions a turn which means you can put both evade and focus tokens on your base. This means you can dodge a hell of a lot of fire even if your evasion rolls are only average. It dramatically increases Darth Vadar’s survivability. Although Maarek Stele ain’t too shabby either on the trait front because as he scores critical hits you get to draw three cards and choose the worst result to inflict on your opponent. It’s not hard to see how that can be an utter disaster for your opponent.

And the upgrade cards that come with the TIE Advanced are pretty damn handy too. Obviously we have had Swarm Tactics with the TIE Fighter pack but now we have Squad Leader which is a unique card so can only be taken once, but gives you the ability to select any friendly ship within range 1 – 2 with a lower pilot skill and this ship can then perform an additional action for free. Which is crazy good. And the Expert handling card allows you to perform a free barrel roll removing 1 target lock, damn useful for when you’re being hounded by those bloody pesky X-Wings.

And now we come to my favourite. Namely cluster missiles. In exchange for 4 points and your target lock, you get to launch this bad boy twice at with 3 attack dice providing you’re range band 1 – 2. Tasty. And then you have the Concussion Missiles which, again for a target lock, get four dice at range band 2 – 3. It also allows you to change one blank roll to a hit. Boom!

So to sum up the TIE advanced is essential to any imperial fleet as it gives you your first taste of shields and missiles but also some rather nice upgrades that, in the right combination, are extremely nasty. But honestly, what imperial fleet is complete without Darth Vader?

The TIE Advanced Expansion Pack is available from Firestorm Games priced at £10.79.

Make an X-Wing Carry Case – Part 1

FFGSWXwinglogoRegular readers will know that Phil & I are a touch into the X-Wing Miniatures Game. Just a touch, mind. It’s not like we’ve started reading the fiction, watching the movies or humming the theme…not a one. Promise.

After our first game I got thinking about figure cases, and it was mainly down to the fact Phil turned up to that game with a tiny card board box within which he had everything he needed for the game, plus a some scenery. And that was it. I realised that I didn’t need a bloody great figure case to lug all my X-Wing stuff about in. As Phil and I text one another back and forth (provoking the usual boyfriend banter from our wives), we hit on the same idea. We both had Empire Strikes Back lunch boxes as children which would have been roughly big enough to fit some foam and fighters in.

So to eBay I took myself and looked up Star Wars lunch boxes, and low and behold I was rewarded with a plethora of options, including an old Empire Strikes Back lunch box… which sold for £32.56. As tempted as I was the exercise was as much about budget as it was convenience.

Once again texts flew back and forth and within minutes we’d found metal character lunch boxes. Being Rebel scum Phil opted for R2D2 and being the Imperials with a penchant for a certain Mandalorian I snapped up Boba Fett for a trifling £8.99. That may seem expensive for a smallish child’s lunch box but don’t forget licensed products are always more expensive than they should be.

Between us we then purchased a sheet of egg box foam for £7.00 which was more than enough to do the job. So total spend on materials thus far: £12.49.

What you need:

Image 1

x1 Boba Fett Lunch Box, x1 Sheet of Foam, x1 Craft Knife,
x1 Pair of Kitchen Scissors, x1 Glue Gun, x1 Cutting Mat, x1 Thick Card, x1 Pencil

So first up, using the thick card make yourself a template, I did this by drawing around the outside of the lunch box and then cutting out the shape. Bare in mind though the inside is going to be smaller so you will need to trim it down until it fits nicely inside your chosen case.

Image 2

Now you have your template you need to use this to measure out your bits of foam and cut out the basic size and shape, you can use a sharp knife or your scissors for this bit I found it easier to use the knife at this point.

Image 3

Now holding your template to your cut out section of foam you need to trim it to size. I originally started off using the knife to do this bit but quickly found the scissors were a lot easier to use for the kind of shapes you need for some of the odd-shaped tins.

Image 4

Once you have done one section of foam check how it fits in your case as you don’t want to do all pieces and find none of it fits.

Image 5

If it all fits okay repeat this method for the piece that will fit inside your lid, but again bear in mind you will need to make this bit ever so slightly smaller to ensure it all closes nicely, and make sure you take a decent size strip off the bottom so it won’t get in the way of the hinge.

Image 6

I have created a multi-layer case thinking I could get 2 layers of models in, but more on this later.
The best way to do this is to glue 2 sections of the basic cut foam together back to back using your hot glue gun. I would say here make sure you’re quick as once the glue goes cold your kind of screwed and have to peel it off and start again, which makes a real mess of the foam. So make sure the glue is nice and hot, it’ll give you a few seconds of sliding about before it sets.

Image 7

Now repeat what you did earlier with your template, at this point I would recommend discarding the knife in favour of the scissors if you haven’t up to this point, as trying to cut through 2 pieces of the foam can be a pain in the arse with a knife. Not to mention the blade will be pretty severely blunted.

Image 8

Finally, get your glue gun out again and glue the base section and lid section into place if you so wish, I have to admit I didn’t do this bit as I am using the lid to store certain card templates much like I do with my GW figure cases. But otherwise you’re done and ready to load up you brand spanking new Star Wars themed X-Wing carry case.

Image 9

Now to conclude, as I mentioned I didn’t actually glue my foam in. This is due to a bit of an issue with the size of the case and TIE Fighter models. Due to the stabilizers on the TIE Fighters being rather sticky-outy, I wasn’t able to utilise the middle layer as it would have frankly crushed my models, so I am left with but a single layer of miniatures. All that said it’s not a huge issue as I think I should be able to get at least 10 or 12 models in. and it still looks damn cool. But it does mean, in the short-term, I’ll be replacing the double layer of foam with a single layer, which will allow me to fit bases and flight stands in the case tidily. I’ll also be making a larger case in the not too distant future and be taking my sandwiches to work in the most secure lunch box ever…

As an alternative to egg box foam a range of KR Multicase & Battlefoam foam are available from Firestorm Games.

X-Wing Expansion: TIE Fighter – A Review

A couple of weeks ago Phil decided he wanted to get back into the X-Wing Miniature Game. And as he didn’t have anyone to play against he pushed it on me like a dealer on a crackhead fresh out of rehab. I’d like to tell you I resisted. I’d like to tell you I said ‘no Phil, I have enough to work on at the moment’. I’d like to say that… By that afternoon I’d ordered myself the starter set and we’d got ourselves an expansion pack each.

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We managed to avoid the standard ‘no I want to be the X-Wing’ argument because (a) Phil’s threat of unspeakable levels of violence  if I messed with his plan of fielding a squadron of X-Wings kept me awake at night and (b) I wanted to do Empire anyway. Rebel Scum.

As Phil reviewed the starter set in October last year I’ve taken a look at the Imperial TIE Fighter expansion pack.
Firstly I have to speak to the cost. Those fine chaps at Firestorm Games punt them out at £10.79 each, RRP is actually £12. I know this sounds like a lot of money but remember two things. 1) you get quite a lot in the pack and (2) in the same way that if you put the word ‘wedding’ in front of the word ‘cake’ the price triples, so too with anything that starts with the words ‘Star Wars’. But it’s Star Wars and they’re really cool.

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So what do you get for your £10.79 (buy it from Firestorm Games)
1 x TIE Fighter Ship with plastic base
3 x Ship Tokens
1 x Manoeuvre Dial
1 x Focus Token
1 x Stress Token
1 x Critical Hit Token
12 x ID Tokens (12 – 15) these become really important when you start playing larger games.
1 x Evade Token
6 x Ship Cards, Howlrunner, Backstabber, Winged Gundark, Black Squadron Pilot, Obsidian Pilot and an Academy Pilot.
2 x Upgrade Cards, Determination and Swarm Tactics.

As I say, you do get quite a lot for your money. And the card elements are beautifully printed and feel really nice much the same as all the card in the core set.

The additional Pilot Cards are the main pull for getting an Expansion pack after the additional ship itself. You get 3 special pilots in the TIE Fighter pack, namely Howlrunner, Backstabber and Winged Gundark, each one has their only special trait. Winged Gundark can change any hit icon to a critical hit icon when within a range of 1, which is sick. Backstabber can roll an additional attack die if outside the defending ships firing Arc, living up to his name. And finally Howlrunner allows any friendly ship within range 1 to reroll 1 attack die. Not only this but his Pilot skill is 8 putting him on par with Luke Skywalker and at an extra cost of 18 points this makes him a must have and as well as that you can take an upgrade card with him.

You also get a new upgrade card: Swarm Tactics. This allows you to pick a friendly ship within range 1 and this ship can use your Pilot Skill for an entire combat phase. Put together with Howlrunner this could spell an awesome combo.

So is the TIE Fighter pack worth the money? Personally I think so because the pilot cards alone represent a huge boost to your squadron. I don’t have a massive issue with cost of the models either way. Yes they rival Games Workshop’s pricing but it’s a licensed product and because all the bits you need to use the model are included resorting to Micromachines isn’t really an option. But at the end of the day it’s Star Wars and I for one can see me spending lots of money on the additional fighters and ships.

I’m really excited about this game and whilst I can appreciate the mid-standard pre-painted models aren’t for everyone it suits my limited hobby time and they still look cool on the board. The standard of the inserts and cards is also really high and the aforementioned pilot cards make it worthwhile all on their own.

The TIE Fighter Expansion Pack is Available from Firestorm Games for £10.79. The force is strong with this one.

Little People Love

Godslayer

I’ve never been a fan of Dwarves. It’s not a heightist thing – if that’s even a word – it’s a Dwarves in fantasy can be a bit boring a shit thing. Lord of the Rings movies nearly saved Dwarves for me until the moment Gimli uttered the immortal line “Nobody Tosses a Dwarf!” Oh God good why Peter! Why?

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Anyway, so yes my dislike of Dwarves, not going to mention Chaos Dwarves (don’t want to head down that road), is a dislike I have had for many a year. That is until recently, when Phil showed me Godslayer by Megalith Games. Now if you don’t know Godslayer, which if you are a regular reader of The Shell Case I would be surprised at, in short it’s a 28mm Skirmish game with a choice of 6 Factions the Banebrood, Halodynes, Mortans, Nordgaard, Troglodytes and The Wyldfolk of Annyr. It has also recently celebrated its 1st Birthday, so a big congratulations to the guys at Megalith on this milestone.

Recently Megalith Games have announced a few new miniatures around the Nordgaard faction and for the first time that I can ever recall I found myself liking Dwarves but not just liking Dwarves these models are for want of a better word AWESOME, honestly, so much want as Phil would say, they truly are epic, everything the Games Workshop models aren’t.

I think my actual words to Phil were “I never liked Dwarves before I saw these models”. Which is what has led me to writing this. Now I could easily and happily gush about how much I love these models and the amazing quality of the sculpts and how the braided beards just look awesome and how much I want to tug on them… ahem sorry too far. But I really wanted to do something with a bit of substance and so I fired off an email to the chaps at Megalith Games wanting to know a bit more about the inspiration behind the Nordgaard, and David was kind enough to take the time to reply.

I really wanted to find out where the concept for the Noordgard came from, yes it’s clear that they have drawn on Norse influences but I thought there had to be more to it than that anyway this is what David had to say about the Noordgard.

The inspiration for the Nordgaard Dwarves (and the entire faction) was Norse mythology. The Nordgaard faction (of which the Dwarves are the biggest component) include human warriors called Skannfyrd and Ogre warriors called Myrgaerder, as well as allied Giants called Fjellgangr and Dire wolves called Bloodvargs. All of these united and formed a hybrid culture over a period of several thousand years, and Nordgaard is in fact the oldest existing kingdom on the continent of Ghorn where Godslayer is focussed. The reason for their uniting was firstly necessity, and secondly the fact that they share a bond of common blood and worship. The Old Gods called the Vanitans include the Stone Gods Gaard and Arguthon, who created the Dwarves. A separate pantheon of gods worshipped by Mortals (called the Vaettir) were worshipped by the Skannyr tribes. Contact between the Vaettir and Vanitans led to the birth of two divine brothers, one of which embraced his Mortal/Vaettir side, and the other who embraced his Vanitan heritage. Both were instrumental in forming the kingdom of Nordgaard and became its patron deities.

Andre – co-founder of Megalith Games and co-developer of Godslayer – was most focussed on this faction. This is because Andre was a long-term fan and collector of Dwarves, and also interested in Viking culture. He made the initial design of the Dwarves and with very little corrections we were able to get our team of freelance artists to draw them according to Andre’s vision.

It was Andre’s specific wish that people should be able to see the legs of our Dwarves, and that they should be muscular and realistic, not fat blobs in chainmail overcoats with little boot tips poking out from underneath

Our artists all understood the brief and did well producing the art.

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I can totally get on board with Andres vision, if you look at the Mountain Clan for example you can clearly see their legs and to be honest not a huge amount of chain mail in sight, and the one thing that really stands out is that they are in proportion. They don’t have ridiculously over sized muscles and short dumpy legs, and I think this is what my problem has always been with Dwarves. They are the aforementioned blobs in chainmail.

Models aside the artwork for the Noordgard is stunning. It’s the kind of stuff I aspired to back at Art College, and again the thing I find with the Noordgard is they don’t look like your typical Dwarves. Yes the usual tell-tale signs are there, but just looking at the artwork you get an impression of real depth and power and you almost forget they are ‘Dwarves’.

And before people get up in arms, that’s exactly what Dwarves should be they should epitomise depth and power. They an impossibly ancient race of people who combine strength, wisdom and generally in most fiction a thick skull and stubbornness. Megalith has so got the idea of Dwarves totally right in my book.

Now once the artwork was done and the concept for the Noordgard complete they needed to get the models created, now what David told me next got me thinking and this will make sense in a moment, but I love the idea of a secret group of sculptors somewhere with alter-egos just cropping up to help with projects they deem worthy.

The sculptor of the starter box Dwarves was an international man of mystery who goes by the code-name “KulAsyrk” (he prefers to remain anonymous). He had been sculpting for only a couple of years when he took on our commission, and he made for us:
Fjell Warriors
Warsmith
Brewer of Odrorir

I have to say his work from what I have seen is stunning I will admit I am yet to get my hands on any of the models but from the high detailed photography you can see the detail that KulAsyrk has gone to town on these models, from the tools on the belt of the Warsmith to the ale sloshing out of the Brewer of Odrorir’s Horn.

The Brewer of Odrorir is one of my favourite miniatures in the range, he has a real look of pure “I’m going to mess up your day in a violent and unfriendly way”.

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He worked from the artwork, and produced excellent sculpts first time. In fact they were the very first Godslayer miniatures sculpted. KulAsyrk made the transition to 3D sculptor and continues to be one of our primary sculptors, and sculpted the Kinswords of the Nordgaard faction among many others.

However, the recent Dwarves were sculpted by Scibor. Scibor is world-famous for his amazing Dwarves, so we approached him and begged him to sculpt for us since we were fans of his work, and he kindly accepted. Scibor sculpted the runegate Keeper and the Einherjer.

All of the Dwarves are cast using normal white metal in rubber molds.

I don’t think I’ve written an article yet where I don’t harp on about Scibor, and it seems yet again I have that opportunity, but in all seriousness if you want some amazing looking Dwarves, he’s the guy to go to his work is outstanding and the Runegate Keeper looks to be a truly awesome model from the detail of the braided beard to the stern look in his eye of “this axe + your face = good times” and the theme carried across the Runegate Keeper and the Einherjer’s armour to say I’m a fan is an understatement. And that’s not just of Scibor but of Megalith Games, Godslayer and The Nordgaard.

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I know exactly what faction I will field in my first outing into Godslayer and honestly I can’t wait to play with the Dwarves. [Fnar fnar. -Ed.]

What’s in a Name?

Some of the #warmongers may recall a week or so ago I was asking what draws you to a particular Space Marine Chapter, this was all brought on by the imminent release of the new Space Marines Codex and miniatures as well as my own penchant for never doing anything simple.

Let me explain where my train of thought came from. It started with a comment on twitter made by I believe @RTGamer about creating a Celtic themed Space Marine Chapter. As some of you may realise from recent posts I have a bit of a wet spot for Scibor Monstrous Miniatures who do a range of sci-fi Knights which are Celtic themed as well as some familiar looking themed shoulder pads.

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My brain was ticking and after a quick chat with Phil over a few days, I acquired a copy of the Space Wolves Codex to base my home-brew chapter on and the long arduous task of deciding on a name began and to be honest I think is still going on.

Anyway I digress. Doing all this got me to thinking why is it I find myself so drawn to this idea more than any of the other chapters that already exist? Way back when, I had a thing for the Dark Angels but they seem to of changed ever so slightly in essence since my departure and return to the hobby, and I just don’t feel the love any more.

So why do we pick the chapters we do? Is it the background fluff that really stirs you to collect a certain chapter? Is it a particular book from the Black Library that reaches down your trousers and has a good rummage? I know @LemonPainting was influenced towards the Salamanders after reading Nick Kymes books. [Because Nick Kyme's fucking awesome - Ed.]

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“@Mat_Mac @TheShellCase the books by @NickKyme were a huge influence on me doing salamanders probably the same with the Gaunt’s Ghosts books. If the books weren’t so good I would have gone back to a homemade chapter or no marines at all.”

I know this feeling well myself, as after listening to the Garro audio dramas recently I really wanted to do a Grey Knights army, I also know Phil was inspired by the background fluff for the Ultramarines to collect his First and Fifth companies. I also think he wanted to prove a point about that Ultramarines aren’t just for kids and can look good.

Then there’s the colour scheme. Do you collect Imperial Fists because yellow is your favourite colour, or you like the specific challenge of the paint scheme which is why you went with the Legion of the Damned or maybe you choose that particular chapter because it would be a quick army to put together?

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@OmegaSupreme80 picked his Crimson fists because he liked the colour scheme as well as the background fluff:

“@Mat_Mac @TheShellCase Picked Crimson Fists due to combination of colour scheme, background and Kantor’s model (love it!)”

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He was also drawn to them because of a certain model. This may be why you are now fielding an army of Black Templars, because you just had to have the Emperors Champion model. With Forge World giving us even more choice how does this influence you into choosing what you’re going to field do you like me find yourself flipping through web pages of miniatures thinking how you could create your own characters for your chosen army, taking inspiration from something you’ve read to create a figure that appears in a certain story. Do you want to field the Grey Knights but have Nathaniel Garro leading them into battle against a Daemon horde?

Or is it simply like @OmegaSupreme80′s reason for loving the Space Wolves because they are Vikings…in…SPACE! His exact words I promise.

Maybe you’re drawn to their sensibilities and feel some sort of bond with the essence of the Chapter the fearless honour of the Blood Angels or the Clandestine practices of the Dark Angels.

Whatever the reason, those of us that feel the lure of the power armoured post human are drawn to a particular style of Space Marine Chapter whether, like me, you want to create your own because something has inspired you or you just want to make life difficult for yourself. Or you find a certain empathy for one of the existing Chapters for some reason or another whether it’s a kick ass model or striking colour scheme. We all have a story to tell as to why we chose what we did, and I realise as I write this that it’s not just limited to why we choose our Space Marine chapter but why we choose the Army we do be it Eldar, Necron,  Tyranid or any army for any game. There’s just something about them that resonates with us.

I would really like to hear from any of you as to your reasons to why you field what you do and maybe do a follow-up to this post just think it would be interesting to see what it is that makes us tick.

So what’s in a name or the colour scheme or that particular model that made you choose the army you did?

And don’t forget to enter the Create a Space Marine Chapter competition to tell your own story!