27 Jun 2013

Vampire Counts - A New Army!

Hey guys, I am Learn2Eel and today I want to tell you about some awesome new models my best buddy JT gifted me! There is love in the air, with the Lahmian Vampires laughing at the pitifully weak minds of mortal souls; some awesome conversions from our helpful LGS manager have really given character to a force that I am trying to familiarize with. I hope you enjoy this article!

Just an FYI guys, the next part of my Eldar Tactica should be up in the next two days. Sorry for the delay!

Once upon a time, there was a young boy sitting in a hobby store. That young boy had no money in his pockets, and watched with envy as the other kids could buy to their hearts' content. Ire and envy built in the young boys' mind, so much so that he could not stand to witness the joy of others. He held himself tightly, wallowing in the unfairness of lacking money to buy miniature models. And then, out of the rain came a traveler, learned in the ways of money blundering. From his hands came a spurt of golden light; the young boy was taken aback at the sudden intrusion, but his doubt quickly turned to jubilation. "Here you go, little afro-man. Give yourself some love." And the boy snatched the money in excitement, running across the store in triumph. What would he choose? What would he take? Would he decide in time to go home, and live a merry night?

Or.......I could just say, cheers JT for buying me an army. My buddy JT did good yesterday, but gee....sometimes he can be a real cheap-skate. Is it too much to ask for some cheesy fries? I mean, a $700 Vampire army is nice and all, but what use is it if I can't eat something nice? Nah, but seriously, you are the best my man! Now go paint everything in five weeks or I will gut you....

If you can't tell already from my slightly exaggerated introductory paragraph, I'm quite happy with what transpired yesterday. I got about $700 worth of Vampires, including;

*A Vampire Battalion
It couldn't all fit in the same camera shot! So much stuff....
*A Vampire Army Book
*A box of Zombies
*A Mortis Engine
*A pair of Terrorgheists
*A trio of Black Knight boxes
*A trio of Vampire characters

Vampires are a Fantasy army that I have wanted to do ever since witnessing the incredible feats a Vampire is capable of in a melee; master magicians and combat monsters dually, they give me the potential to have a truly crazy Lord not quite possible for High Elves. The Undead theme of simply flooding an opponent in constantly rising dead is awesome, as are the incredibly detailed models; though the price still irks me, Blood Knights are truly amazing models, for example. Their big models present something of a unique challenge to me, with detail and construction requirements the likes of which I've not seen before. They are a well balanced army book from what I can tell, with a range of viable builds such as massed Black Knights or Grave Guard, and either dual Terrogheists or Mortis Engines certainly being the common themes. In a Warriors of Chaos-dominated meta, Vampires will really spice things up in a way that my High Elves wouldn't be able to; drown them in bodies that simply keep being resurrected, and smash them with elite combat characters and brutal magical attacks. It is through Vampires that I have chosen to learn the Warhammer Fantasy table top game to its fullest extent. Warhammer Fantasy will eventually become as big a forum for tactics and hobby on this website as Warhammer 40K, and what better way than in an army book that can consistently deal with all of the new armies that have been released thus far in 8th Edition. Expect a Vampires Tactica in the coming months, and be sure to check out JT's inevitable slew of hobby articles focused on painting these models!
"Can I kill something?" "No."

For now though, I want to talk about building these models and how even the few I have built so far have really given me a big challenge. For most, they would usually start constructing the Core choices of their army first so as to more quickly have a playable army up for practice games. Because I purposefully ignore tradition and logic, I went with an odd choice; one Black Knight unit, with the full command for my eventual "bus" of fifteen to be built. These guys are pretty cool models, and are surprisingly easy to construct for a cavalry model; though there isn't much going on with the model as say a Dragon Prince, they nonetheless look really cool and stick very well. It was a joy building these, even if it was time-consuming as I wanted to be really careful with what can be very fragile models. My favourite part of the kit was really how well these models fit into my army case; my Dragon Princes and other cavalry models seem to never fit into army case slots due to their size and lances, but the Black Knights fit perfectly without worry of "bending-lance syndrome". I like them, I really like them. As foils for my Vampire and Vampire Lord, they don't need to do too much in my games aside from being expendable bodies and, in the case of the champion, challenge jockeys; Invocations make this a funny tactic indeed.

"Not enough mana." "FFUU-"
Being the fearless pioneer of stupidity that I am, I further distanced myself from the Battalion and instead leaped into the arms of the mighty Mortis Engine. Oh dear. If you have never built one of these before, let me give you a tip; you will die before you finish it. Amazingly, there are only two large sprues and one small sprue in the box; for a model so intricately detailed, it is amazing that they manage that. What helps here is that, even despite the sheer number of parts still available, many of them are large and do not require much more than minor additions to complete. It is rather easy to build for the most part, until you get to the Reliquary when positioning the spikes can be rather annoying. Aside from that though, the only real issue is the time it takes to build this thing; it took me a total of two - yes, two - hours to construct a Mortis Engine. It is a surprisingly simple kit with the only truly mind-boggling part being that the model fits on a chariot base; before even touching the raised part of the model, the steeds alone were enough to fill up the entire base. No joke. The most difficult part for me, otherwise, was attaching the Tomb Banshees; it isn't really clear where they are supposed to fit in, and for someone who can't see the obvious, this may be more of an issue for me than it is for anyone else. Realistically, it will probably take most almost half the time to construct one; my best recommendation is to be careful, particularly if it is your first. Oh, and the untouched Vampire ladies from the Coven Throne make for excellent kit-bash material.....All up, this is a great kit with lots of spare parts after building either variation; a hobbyists' dream for potential conversions. Given that I am really invested in double Terrogheist at 2000 points - my preferred Fantasy point limit for a new army (kids these days - JT) - I'm not sure how often I will use the Mortis Engine, but in bigger games it will definitely be a shoe-in. The magic boosts and cool damage effects are well worth the risks, in my opinion, but not in a small game where my army is very prone to losing the general.

"Get him Norman!"
Now, normally you would expect someone to maybe start assembling either some Core or at least a character after all that cool stuff. You've got a nasty Rare choice and some Special cavalry; what more do you need to play a small game other than Core and a Lord or Hero? Someone told me not to listen to strangers - like that voice I hear when I go to the bathroom - so I went the opposite route again and decided to spend another two hours building a Terrogheist. Now, this kit isn't as time-consuming as the Mortis Engine, with the only reason for the bloated construction time being that I was enjoying the masterful comedy movie, Batman and Robin. The main body was simple enough to build, with some dry-fitting required around the rib-cage to get everything into the right position. Trying to attach the spinal bones around the neck was really annoying, with either the main body spinal bones being pushed away or the Terrorgheist head dropping off. The wings were surprisingly easy to stick on, with only a little bit of drying time - a few minutes at most - required to get them set in. The feet were interesting and a place where dry-fitting would have been incredibly helpful, but alas, I can't see beyond that big chunk of crap called a nose. The model is cool looking, and the bat head is quite distinct; the wings are gigantic and disallow my poor Terrorgheist from fitting in a regular case, though. My only complaint is that I think the Zombie Dragon head is a lot more awesome looking, though bats work fine with my theme so I'm not fussed there. What I really like are the extras, as well as a little base for me to build a Stigoi Ghoul king; a very handy general for small games of 1000 points or so where a Vampire Lord might be a bit too expensive to upgrade. The Dragon and Vampire Lord bits are really cool and I'm definitely going to use them on some later conversions for other Vampires. This kit gets a big thumbs up from me both for the great end result and the mostly easy construction phase, though painting this model might be difficult for my main man. In-game, I'm well aware of just how brutal Terrogheists are, with decent combat potential and good durability outshone by an amazing ranged attack that really brutalizes units with small numbers. It is a pity my opponents are Warriors of Chaos, at least, it is a pity for them that their Knights and Skullcrushers won't ever see combat for more than one or two rounds!

My Vampire Lord, with her mighty chalice!
After the rush of models built last night, I decided to turn my gaze upon my two leading ladies; my Lahmian Vampire Lord and Vampire Heroine. The main reason I grabbed a Mortis Engine was solely for the vampires from the Coven Throne parts; they are great models and really fit the theme I was going for. With a lot of help from the awesome manager at my friendly local gaming store - he did all the work, really - I've ended up with two fantastic mounted Vampires to lead my army. Using the highly detailed Barded Nightmares from a Blood Knights kit as well as some other random bits, I have what look to be my best designed characters from any game system. I am very impressed with them, and I am deciding on names to give them for future battle reports and campaigns. Though they aren't completely finished, with some minor green-stuffing on their backsides and doing their scenic bases still to come, they nonetheless look great and I'm really excited to start using them. If you want Lahmian Vampires, there is no better place to look - with some work - than the Coven Throne vampires and barded nightmares either from Blood Knights or other vampire characters. In game, my Lord will butcher most foes in combat while providing some strong magic, a true embodiment of what I have always wanted in a kick-backside character in a Warhammer game. The regular Vampire is very impressive as well, and will butcher anything from a mounted Exalted Hero to a slew of Empire Knights on the charge. They will make for a deadly tag-team at the head of my Black Knight unit.
The regular Vampire, lance and all.

As you can see, I have been having a lot of fun with the Vampire models. Tonight I hope to get some of my Zombies built, and then I will look at building the entirety of the Battalion tomorrow so that I can at least start playing some decent sized games of around 1500 or so points. If I get lucky and finish my second Terrogheist, I could have my first 2000 point game tomorrow too! Have you got any new armies or projects in mind? I would like to hear about it all - whether it is a Skaven clan of five rats or a Caledorian force of dragons - to really get an idea of what that sense of jubilation at starting something new in the hobby is like from another person.

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