Salute in Review: Mat Bought Toys!

Salute 2014

And relax… So that was Salute. Well I have to say for my first show since Games Day many moons ago it was great and I loved every minute… But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me take you back to the Friday before…

It’s Friday night and I’m getting ready for the early morning start to pick up Lee, Neil & Phil and make our way to ExCel London. My bag is packed with all the standard supplies, chocolate, Jelly Babies for that mid show sugar pick me up, Business Cards, Wallet with money (but no credit card) and of course my all important ticket. Now I have had a pretty hard week and not a great deal of sleep up to this point so I was really looking forward to getting an early night and some well deserved Salute action. But one more thing had to be done, the car needed to be sorted ready for the drive up, which meant fuel was required, or so i thought.

So I take myself down to the local petrol station. On route I realise I have three quarters of a tank of Diesel so I’m probably okay for fuel but as I’m out I think: sod it I’ll top it up. It’s at this point everything goes horribly wrong and nearly ends in my not attending Salute. So I’m at the petrol station idly watching the litres tick over on the unleaded petrol and…fuck my life!

I end up spending my Friday evening sat in the petrol station for 2 hours waiting for the AA to turn up only to tell me they will have to tow me home as they can’t drain the tank until the following day. Needless to say the wife was less than impressed and I didn’t get my early night. This did mean I had to take my little run around with 4 blokes up to ExCel. All things considered it did okay. It got us there and back in one piece and that’s the main thing.

But what about the other car Mat? well my wife waited in the next morning and a very nice man we will call Trevor turned up at 9.30am and drained the tank and topped it back up with enough Diesel for my wife to get to a petrol station and put the correct jungle juice in (which cost us £152 people check your using the right nozzle it can be an expensive mistake to make), enabling her to meet Phil’s wife for there prearranged play date (with our 1 year old daughters).

Jump back to 10:30am Saturday the 12th of April… SALUTE! MAT BUY TOYS!

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The Shell Case has landed.

 

There was so much to see my poor brain couldn’t take it all in at first, there were hobbyists everywhere and toys galore, I don’t think I’m remiss if I say it was an awesome humbling sight, and it made my wallet cry.

But before I got to buying toys we had to round everyone up say hello as some of us had never actually met in the flesh namely Rob and Reece, it was great to finally meet thee guys, it also meant I could reduce the weight of my bag as I had Robs business cards with me. And once handed over I wold have more room for toys.

I had to remember that I wasn’t just here to buy toys, I was here on business, and it was with this in mind we headed over to a few of the indie stands to chat to a few people about some truly interesting games, that not only looked awesome but sound utterly brilliant.
Among these was a game that has been mentioned a couple of times on The Shell Case now and that’s World Of Twilight: Travels through Anyaral
first mentioned by Gav Thorpe in his guest post, but I will leave Phil to tell you more about this. What I will say is the models are gorgeous and it looks fantastic, I for one am really looking forward to this one.

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A Game of Twilight in action.

 

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Next up was a very cool looking game that got Phil and I very excited, its in development by a company called White Dragon Miniatures its called Shattered Void and it looks and sounds truly brilliant, the models look great and the artwork so far is stunning, its also going to incorporate a bit of RPG so your pilots will evolve as you play more games, and the movement template is frankly inspired, it also looks the utter tits when being played, I was slightly disappointed they only had the one demo on the go as I would of really liked to of had a game of this and really get to grips with it. As I say it is still in development although some of the models were on sale on the day and it took a great amount of will power for me not to succumb. But rest assured when the Kickstarter is due to go live we will let you know all about it. This is definitely one to watch.

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A Game of Shattered Void in progress

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Some of the models already being produced and sold for Shattered Void

Another in development game we got to have a quick look at and chat to the producers of was a game called Twisted by Demented Games, this was in very early stage of development but is set to be  board game or maybe an RPG, I have to say I don’t think its 100% sure what type of game its going to be but one thing is for sure the models were beautiful, the ones we got to see were supposedly the main protagonists based on characters from Charles Dickens Oliver Twist (I’m guessing this is where the name comes from). From what I understood the initial board game idea sees different fictional characters brought to life by some sort of Engine. The Dickens characters are jumping about literature causing mayhem and mischief. As I say this is very early in its development and I think the concept is a little confused at the moment, but its still one to watch if not just for the stunning miniatures we saw. It will be coming to Kickstarter in the not too distant future, so keep your eyes peeled and hopefully by then it will have a better idea of what it wants to be.

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The Twisted Game Board.

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Some of the stunning models for Twisted.

Now… MAT BUY TOYS! I had a rather extensive list of things I wanted to get at Salute or at least look at but one of my main objectives was Pathfinders for my Tau force and some X-Wing shizzle to aid me in my ever growing struggle to actually win a game. So we all headed over to the rather large Wayland Games stand, I got my Pathfinders hoozaah, but alas there was no X-Wing Shiz for me or Phil although we did get some extra Dice for said game, I say these won’t help me in the struggle to bitch slap Phil, but you never know these could be the dice I was looking for.

Its Business Time… Whilst Lee and Phil queued to make their purchases Neil and I wandered over to Mantic, whose stand was swamped and with good reason, Mantic had brought with them a limited number of there pretty awesome Battle Grounds sets. During our rather long chat with the guys at Mantic we got a bit of an over view of the future of Dreadball, which honestly had us totally gripped and is something we can all really look forward to, I can’t say too much here but needless to say Dreadball is set to become something even bigger and better than it is right now. And getting the low down on the Battle Grounds set was awesome, it was really good to speak to the guys and find out what was there intentions for the scenery set, and we all agreed it would make a god damn brilliant Necromunda board, so watch this space as our Necromunda itch grows fuelled by Mantic goodness. After talking all things Mantic it was time for… MAT BUY TOYS!

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The impressive Tower made up using the new Battlezones sets.

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Deadzone, being played out on the Tower.

And to Forge World we wound our merry way, we had 20 minutes before the #warmongers meet, so this had to be a strategic hit and run style purchasing spree with the queue neigh huddle still being rather sizeable. Phil, Lee and I worked together to cordon off an area to enable us to make our way to the front on the queue (eventually) and pick up our wares, I had preordered myself a tasty Tau Battlesuit for my growing Tau force, yeay another tick for me… and a slight addition something that had been tickling my hobby spot for the last week… DEATH SHROUD. Yep I crumbled it didn’t take much to be honest, and purchased myself a set of Death Guard, Death Shroud Terminators. I’m not totally sure what I’m doing with them yet I’m thinking a small skirmish force but that’s always how these things start.

FOOD TIME, so it was that time of day where we all broke out from the buying of all the things as Ashley would say and went in search of sustenance to enable us to continue our day of awesomeness. It was also time to catch up with the other #Warmongers and compare purchases and stories of our days so far.

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Once more unto the breach my friends, after the #Warmongers meet it was time to head over to Heresy Miniatures, one to check out the new Netherlord and two for me to get my hands on a set of Andy’s amazing gangers, just to help me with that Necromunda itch. I’m doing Delaque this time around but don’t really like the original models Andy’s are a fantastic alternative the “not” Delaques are stunning and the full set ay of set me back £70 but for that I got 25 blokes and a big bag of weapons with some god damn inspiring choices. Sadly we missed the last Netherlord by a matter of seconds it was such a big hit that some desperate French man forced Andy to sell him the one out of the display case. but hey MAT BOUGHT TOYS! and another tick.

It was at this point Rob decided to join us the workaholic had missed the #Warmongers meet due to his blue foam addiction, and the need to push this on other people. Which I’m all for frankly. But it was good to have a catch up and compare purchases which were pretty meagre on Robs side of things, he did however point out Mierce miniatures were in attendance with some of their wares, so with this in mind we made our way over to the stand Via Forge World to enable Phil to part with some more money of some old armour variants for his Ultrmarines. Now I’m not going to talk to much about Mierce here mainly because I was so distracted by all the shiney I don’t recall much of what was said, luckily Phil was in attendance and did most of the talking whilst I and several other others of the crew frankly perved at the utterly beautiful miniatures on display. I managed to hold off buying anything here but mainly because at this point I was influx as to whether I was going to do Beastmen of Lizardmen for my Mordheim warband.

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JIMP!

To West Wind Productions, now if you haven’t heard of them why not and where the hell have you been? They are the creators of the great Empire of the Dead Victorian/Steam punk skirmish game which has some great looking starter sets available with factions ranging from Vampire Slayers to Bedlam Inmates and Jack the Ripper, more on this game to come shortly as me and Phil face off with 2 opposing factions and a run down of the rules. We got chatting to Wendy whilst on the stand discussing our aspirations and explaining how much we liked what they had and what they were doing. It was at this point that Wendy filled us in on their upcoming update of Secrets of the Third Reich, One that got Neil and I pretty excited, I mean its a game that has Nazi Zombies for crying out loud what’s not to get excited about. And with its update imminent it is only set to get better. Wendy also gave us a quick update on their latest Kickstarter, War & Empire a 15mm Ancient Era Wargame, that got us all a little bit excited and I can foresee a few arguments about who gets to play which army. But more on this to come.

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The Secrets of the Third Reich.

 

As the day was drawing to a close we headed to wards KR Multicase and its mountain of blue foam and card board… Via Forge World (again!) for me to acquire Calas Typhon to go with my Deathshroud. Phil also needed to make a stop at Studio McVey to have a quick catch up with Mike, and we dropped in on Sphere wars.

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Sphere Wars in action.

After a quick chat with the fine people at KR including Rob… Again! and a sit down on their fine chairs made of the finest blue foam available, Phil and I walked away with an X-Wing carry case each, reviews to follow, I will say now its bloody brilliant and has got me looking at KR cases for my other armies now as well.

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Big Blue KR.

It was at this point I took the opportunity to grab a few snaps of some of the stunning games boards on show at Salute, I am only sorry I didn’t stop long enough to ask a bit more about them, but I think you’ll all agree it doesn’t make them any less brilliant.

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FREMEN!

 

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Sardaukar storming a Fremen Sietch.

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Charlie don’t surf!

 

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Oh and I bumped into someone who was clearly less than impressed with my last performance against Phil in X-Wing.

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I’m no good to you dead!

 

So with swag in hand we made our way to the Bar for a much needed rest and a post Salute catch up over a beer, or Pepsi in my case (other fizzy drinks brans are available) all before our mammoth 4 hour drive home, not helped by football traffic or Phil’s inadequate bladder.

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And… Relax.

 

So in review I thoroughly enjoyed my first Salute I didn’t pick up everything I wanted I had hoped to walk away with some Malifaux items but just couldn’t make up my mind on the day. I had also hoped to pick up some bits for Mordheim but again my own indecisiveness was the downfall there.

I did how ever tick a few of my boxes, I got my Pathfinders, Some X-Wing Shizz all be it just extra dice but that still counts, a gang for Necromunda and DEATHSHROUD. I didn’t foresee Calas but frankly I should of known the Pretty black boxes were just too much for me to resist.
Oh and the awesome KR case. Out of everything I have to say the Heresy Minis have become my purchase of the show and I really cant wait to build and paint them let alone play with them.

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The Swag!

 

And its with some great contacts made and empty pockets I wish you farewell Salute for another year.

 

 

 

 

Big Damn Painting Competition: Announcement.

In the last few days we have received a few messages from concerned entrants with regards to the voting on our site. We have been investigating this and can now substantiate that unfortunately there has been an indeterminate amount of manipulation/cheating happening. We at The Shell Case are extremely disappointed and saddened with this realisation.

We cannot prove that any particular entrants were actually involved in this, so all entries still stand, but the public vote has been closed and will be discounted. The voting will now fall to The Shell Case team and we will be looking to make a unanimous decision and the winners will be announced tomorrow.

I do find it sad that some people found it necessary to manipulate the vote in a community such as ours, and hope they feel ashamed of themselves for ruining what was our first – and now our last – public vote painting competition.

- Mat

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.