Wednesday, February 26, 2014

WWX - Union Models

Wow, February is almost over and it's been a month since I posted on the blog. If I am being critical it's actually been over a month since I posted some of my own content in the form of pictures, battle reports, or opinion pieces. I hope you, dear reader, are assuaged with the explanation that my job has been absolutely insane and contributed for my online absence here.

In the interim I have only gotten a couple games in. I placed 2nd in the recent Netrunner Store Championship at Huzzah, bringing home a nice new play mat and deck box. I also got a couple more games of WWX played, mostly 3 player games with John and I teaching a couple new players. Last on the game up date's is my wife and daughter discovering Zombicide. This has led to a number of games where we have formed up a nice group of 3 survivors and are working our way through the book scenarios.

That's not what your hear to read about or gaze upon though. Based on the title of this blog post, it's not my plan either, so lets dive in. I was speaking ill of Geronimo for the Warrior Nation (in comparison to Sitting Bull) and decided it would be good to get some games in with him. This led to my painting up a couple more Warrior Nation models. You can see the Totem Pole to the left, which provides influence to the Warrior Nation in a similar fashion to the Dark Council member. I also painted up the Crossbow Heavy Weapon brave, who has spirit aim and is a nasty shooting model for my WN. I also painted up the bear and played a couple games with him. My opinion was only reinforced through those games, which does not lessen what a nasty customer he is to deal with. I just find Sitting Bull's abilities (namely Wolf Blood) to be better overall. I wanted to paint Geronimo up as a black bear so Googled a couple images and then set to work. I'm pretty happy with how he came out.

Upon completing my last couple Warrior Nation models I decided to pull out some union troops I had not heard many people talking about. At the point when I started I was missing a couple models I wanted for my Lincoln's Special Forces union posse, so I built out a Grant Firing Squad posse. My Warrior Nation posse is heavily character based and I wanted to switch gears a bit to play around with the hired hands. Grant seemed the way to go as he has abilities to support and "beef up" his hired hands. Leading off the work were the 10 hired hands models, 5 Close Combat and 5 Long Ranged.

I was pretty happy with the sculpts on these models, they each had some nice individual character and were all very different while staying coherent in their style. Some of the models such as the long ranged trooper leaping backwards and the close combat trooper pointing his pistol seem to cry out for some Armor Cast Cinematic effects. I may pick some up in the future to add them on. Adding to my hired hands I painted up the Union Lady of the West, which we will heretofore refer to as Civil War Barbie (see left). I will likely head back at some point in the future and finish up the face by adding some lipstick and possibly make an attempt at painting her eyes, but for now she works well on the table.

Sticking with the plastic models I also assembled both of the union Light Support I received as part of the kickstarter. These are the Union Rocket Pod Trooper (right) and the Union Gatling Gun Trooper (left). I have not yet gotten the Gatling Gun onto the field but with the recent update to his rules adding Steady I am looking forward to future games with him. Steady allows him to treat his big gun as a 1-handed weapon, shooting it in a snap-fire situation along with being able to move and shoot it. The Rocket Pod trooper has hit the field twice now and both times he worked wonderfully. The rocket pod is a long range blast weapon that can deal out some pretty nasty damage. This guy became a priority target for John's snipers in my most recent game, forcing me to spend a fair bit of influence on my armor rolls to attempt keeping him alive.

That works out way through the plastics and moves us onto the resin characters. We open up with Captain Sheridan, based on (I believe) General Philip Sheridan. In WWX, Captain Sheridan is a range finder and has the ability to reload other model's weapons where needed. His best ability is to allow friendly models who start near him to take a free aim action at the start of their activation. When combined with Grant's ability to improve hired hands this makes the posse of union "throw away" troops fairly formidable. Considering WWX Sheridan is only a captain and fills a sidekick role in the game heirachy I kept him in the same uniform as the rest of the troops.

This brings us to one of the Union Underbosses, Major Sherman, based on Union General William Tecumseh Sherman. In WWX he is only a Major working for Grant and has taken on a deep fascination with fire to become "Burning Sherman". His RJ-1027 weapon "Old Reliable" is both a flame thrower and a very nasty long range blast weapon (that still sets you on fire). He has an ability to create a large blast centered on himself as necessary which he is unaffected by. Sherman has become a priority target to remove from the board in both games I have used him. My opponents just have not been happy with his blasts coming down the board as he moved toward their lines. In painting up Sherman I decided to blacken his armor, showing the metal plating only on the edges. I am pretty happy with the effect overall, as it works nicely with his black Calvary hat.

That brings us to the man, General Grant. In the WWX storyline, Grant has been horribly burned by a Dark Council coordinated attack on his house. The same attack kills his family, turning him bitter and vengeful. Grant wears a full mask to cover his burned head and some heavy armor over his uniform. Knowing that senior civil war officers were allowed to pick some of their own clothes for their uniforms I went with a black trench coat for Grant, feeling it fit his overall "Darth Grant" look. Grant has 2 sculpts from the Kickstarter (and a third from post kickstarter), both of which I have. The sculpt to the right is the "original Grant sculpt", which I actually like a fair bit. It's simple and fits Grant and his abilities overall. I kept Grant's armor silver as once I got the base coats down I felt that painting it black would be too much black on the model (considering the coat). I'm fairly happy with the way both models came out (alt Grant is to the left below).

Grant is a nasty character in his own right, being very tough to take down with his armor and wound totals. His weapons are nasty although not terribly long range. I believe his most important and impactful abilities are those that interact with his hired hands. When starting an activation close to Grant, Friendly Hired Hands gain an extra AP that can only be used to shoot with. In addition, when starting close to grant they also pick up the "Best of the Best" rule, which improves their shooting ability overall. When combined with Sheridan's free aim ability this allows a Union Long Range Trooper to take 3 shots with his rifle an activation, hitting on 3's or 4's and ignoring terrain. This makes for a horrifying fusillade to any model coming toward the firing line.

Aside from the friendly Dark Council member who seems to tag along with the union wherever they are that finishes out Grant's Firing Squad.I've played a couple games with the posse so far, playing at the $750-points range. It's certainly a gunline although I have found places for Sherman and two close combat troopers to move up the board and threaten the opponent. Coming from my WN group which has a lot of influence, the lower influence of the union is something I felt right away. This makes the union more reliant on the Dark Council to provide the 2 extra influence per turn he can. I tend to pair the DC up with Sherman and his killers while leaving Grant with Sheridan and the boys at the back of the board laying down covering fire. It's an interesting switch although I think I prefer the close combat close range playstyle of the Warrior nation over this posse. I still plan to play more games to see if it grows on me though.