Lunah rocks

cofMajor Lunah is an interesting profile and character who adds some much needed depth to the roster and lore of the Imperial Service respectively.

In terms of the former, she is a rare marker state (admittedly less rare with the addition of Kanren and the changes to Holo projector level 2), packing a gnarly gun with BS mods in all directions.

In terms of the latter, she is an interesting non-Chinese character  with a long history written into the INFINITY Universe, having at various times been a Haqqislam Spec-ops, Aristeia! sports superstar, traitorous whistle-blower and now a political-pawn and law enforcer in the Imperial Service of Yu Jing. I find it a little unsettling that Haqqislam special operations are bad enough to give t h e   I m p e r i a l   S e r v i c e   moral high ground. I wonder if she flatlined any Elevens during the  Uprising, and whether they deserved it. Lol jks, they all do.

cofI’ve not actually used Lunah much, at least not in INFINITY. I might have to consider it now that Marksmanship Level X has been revised for Third Offensive. In Aristeia! on the other hand, I’ve used her a fair bit. Like my Mushahi model, she has seen way more time in the hexadome than the 48″ x 48″. Both are really exciting characters in that really exciting game. cofThey are about to waste each other in these photos but I usually play them as a team. There is a really gross combo you can pull off with the two of them working together, that basically needs a ‘No!’, “Epic Regeneration’ or similar card to save the life of whatever she has in her sights. Fun times.cofIn terms of painting, there were a lot of new colours to figure out, as well as a “”””technique”””” for the snakeskin mantle. The studio painted the mantle in a lime-green, large diamond-scale pattern, but I really liked how it looked in the dossier so I made a futile attempt to replicate it.

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I primed her with GW Chaos Black, as is customary for all my Yu Jing, then I started on the mantle with Graveyard Earth and pretty much poked it with Bleached Bone and Abaddon Black-tipped brushes until I was sick of it, with a result that looks more like an Australian Aboriginal dot painting than snakeskin. Still, I like the way the colour matches with the green, even if it was technically a failure. As for that green, I mixed GW Castellan Green, Goblin Green and Bleached bone until I got something that seemed to match the dossier. The fabric of her boots is just Castellan green without the other colours. I did my standard rushed ‘non-metal metal technique’ (in the comments on this post) on her greaves, but for some reason it turned out especially convincing. I can’t remember how I did the skin, but the result isn’t nearly as moe as the dossier so you would be doing yourself a disservice to learn. Yellows were all Vallejo Orange Brown base with a GW Golden Yellow layer (this particular pot has been on the verge of death for close to a decade and did not deliver the mustard look that  I was hoping for). Hair is Vallejo Orange Brown washed with GW Mechrite red. Gun was GW Abaddon Black, Dawnstone and Ceramite White in ratios that shifted from more black to more white as I approached the edges.

cof

 

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Invincibles Incoming!

 

It’s been a long time – in more ways than one! The Invincible Army sectorial is finally available on INFINITY Army, with a host of new profiles and troopers, and a brand new starter on the way. Seems like the right time to get back in the saddle (I apologize to anyone who has been hanging out for updates in the last year).

So what am I excited for?

The number one item is Zuyong fireteams, so this post is going to focus on them, the core of the Invincible Army. Whilst I had always fantasized about having a reason to use a lot of them, I never expected that they would receive the benefits of as many new skills as they did. Most of these boons target the generation and use of orders. Tactical Awareness is a major game changer on its own (an extra order with no restrictions when used in a fireteam), but it also happens to be on two of the more useful profiles. The HMG is who you would be spending orders on anyway, given his BS16 B5 bullet hose. The Tactical awareness Tinbot haris profile might not be spending orders mowing jerks down like the HMG will, but she can use the order to move the link when you are secure enough to do a move-move order. Just watch out for that hidden deployment, especially in factions that have access to hidden missiles!

Invincible Army players are also able to sub out one member of the link several different cheap and/or useful wildcards. The new FTO profile for the Yaopu will be doing a lot of this, although there is also merit for using various Haidao in this way.

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All this aside, the real shock and awe begins with Tai Sheng, the thus far unseen Zuyong hero. He is so incredibly good that I actually feel a bit guilty. Aside from being a total beast statwise, a specialist and packing a truck of a gun (I’d only ever use the Mk12 profile), the ability to spend the two Lieutenant orders generated by a Daoying on Tai Sheng, without breaking his fireteam is pure insanity.

Pop this code into INFINITY Army to see how it might look: EwBgLAPgzCIRwCkBGYYyLANlYghMgKwrBYZgDsyW+xqhImWhUtJDThGedwH2YJD3aMB3YK1QUklKEgACioA=

Just in this unfinished list there is the potential to spend 12 orders on the link, so long as 1 goes to the Haris/Tinbot, 1 goes to the HMG and 2 go to Tai Sheng. This could easily be 14 orders once the list is finished. The reasoning behind these particular profiles is that if going first, the missile launcher can nuke hard targets, relying on his second wound and high stats to see him through, and if going second, BS16, B2 Missile AROs with Sixth Sense is comfy enough defense to go second with. In both scenarios, he’s likely to eat shit, which is why the Yaopu is there, making sure you still have the BS bonus when you reform the link and take revenge for him. The munchkin version of this list would probably trade the missile for a Haidao MSV2 Sniper, but I like Zuyong Invincibles and we are getting a missile launcher in the starter, so might as well put it to work. I’m really happy that by the time that the dust has settled, we will have 5 different Zuyong models, most of which will see a lot of play.

Zuyongs also gained the ability to have a pair of Yanhuo Invincibles form a Fireteam with the Haris profile (Check out my posts about the two Yanhuo Invincibles here). Anyone who is not completely irrational is going to swap one Yanhuo for a Yaopu FTO or Haidao KHD though.

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Such a fireteam is sure to turn heads, but whether it will be able to stand up to the serious tournament lists of something like VIRD, TAK or OSS is suspect. Gosh it looks cool though.

I’m also excited about finally being able to form a fireteam with Yu Jing’s most basic trooper, the Zhanshi. I think I will cover them in another post, as I intend to pick up the SWC box and I have two conversions that I’d like to show off. As this ended up being a post about Zuyong fireteams more than anything, be sure to check out one of my favorite posts on one of my favorite models if you haven’t already.

One last thing, a quick shout out to my first Invincibles, who I would not be here without. These are my “waiting a long time for Invincible Army” cred.

 

Get in the robot

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I picked up this cool pilot model for my Guijia a while ago, more for the sake of completeness than out of any strong belief that she would be getting out of her TAG in the near future. It’s a good excuse to take more photos of the awesome Guijia model.

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The recent run of ITS rules have imbued her with the ability to do objectives once she dismounts, in addition to a light flamethrower of arguably limited use and utility. If the TAG has already been wrecked, then it’s a nice deterrent, but Direct Template Weapons are primarily used for trades and you are unlikely to find a good one for the squishy operator of a hard TAG under any other circumstances. These abilities came free though, so we should only be bitter about it in the context of what other TAGs got, which was nothing in the case of the eternally suffering Anaconda.

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The model itself is very small and intricate, which made it harder to get a good result from painting. The exploding hexagon pattern with with randomly alternating black and orange hexes was especially tough to paint. To some extent I wish I had given her lighter skin to contrast her uniform a bit more.

She has an interesting design. Her body sleeve is as skimpy and revealing as you’d expect from the background material, but aside from its striking design, it  also lets us see that the operator has a fairly cruel-looking amount of augmentation. It’s more apparent in the concept dossier, but she has protruding metallic ports on each vertebra, and what appear to be plugs on her head and sternum. Her white hair also contributes to the trans-humanism vibe you get from her.

Be sure to check out this link for what is probably the most popular post on the blog, full of cool photos and information about the Guijia TAG.

Fancy Zhànshì part 2

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Today I am again writing to celebrate the retirement of some Yu Jing line infantry models, this time some much adored but seldom used Zhanshi, the second infinity models I ever bought.

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I love these old models. I love the no-nonsense haircuts, complex uniforms and action poses especially. They might be some of the best single piece miniatures ever in my opinion. The old combis are proportionally bigger than those abandoned OICW prototypes, but still look cool. The models may have changed, but the statblock regrettably has not. Whilst I get the impression my adoration for the sculpts is above the average, my “love” for the statblock is right there with the majority. That’s why these models are retiring after having been repainted more times than they have been used in a competitive match. Frankly, no one is taking Zhanshis to fight. Keisotsu and Kuang Shi cheerlead for better value in vanilla. Zhanshis will have no competative niche until a sectorial army list both makes them linkable and denies access to keisotsu butai, celestial guard and kuang shi. I hope it happens soon, because I like the new ones and am eyeing off the SWC box, despite having never played a profile without a combi rifle.

So what do the new sculpts bring to the table?

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In summary, big tits, round asses, manga aesthetic hairstyles, simple, easy to paint uniforms, sensibly sized weapons, modern-scaled bodies. Your mileage may vary on some of those but I’ve certainly seen the upside and am really happy with the new models.

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Whilst I would not have opted for many of the departures from the old ones if asked, I love the character and detail of these sculpts. I also like the poses, even if the blue haired woman is being a bit reckless with her gun. She was a lot of fun to paint, because she could easily be done in one piece in contrast to the others. I was foolhardy enough to paint the other two with their gun arms separate, something that I always regret until the models are together.

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Regarding the faces, I’ve spent a lot of time in recent years working in rural parts of Asia, and I think it is influencing my choice of skin tones. I’m definitely shading heavier. I’ve also tried a few different combinations, like shading with GW Snakebite Leather instead of Vallejo Cavalry Brown. I like the result but t is a little too close to the colour of the armour sometimes, even though it has no colours in common.

20170507_101155On the backs of the models, large black/grey areas with plenty of hard angles make for comfortable and quick painting too. 20170507_101050

Welcome to the team ladies and gentleman, the deepest insert of my figure case is that way. Get comfortable.

Dire Friends

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I’d long wished for an original Yu Jing character who was not Japanese or a recreation. This wish came true in the form of Xi Zhuang, a Celestial Guard turned covert operative. Xi Zhuang’s covert operations tend to involve the use of a flamethrower and rolling with a squad of his old buddies. He’s an interesting troop on his own, but given the presence of Number  2 on his only profile, he’s designed to support a team.

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Here’s the kind of team I think he shines in. My logic is that if you are investing in a CQB specialist for your link, you probably think that link is going places. And if you are dragging your fragile line infantry into the fray, one of them might as well be a martial artist legal scholar with power armour and a machinegun. Probably BS 16 after mods, solid medium range-band and burst 5 makes a formidable pointman. Like many mixed links, there is great cost efficiency to be gained by pairing an expensive, dangerous pointman with cheap link filler. Celestial guards and Xi Zhuang are not exactly cheap, but they are less liable to melt under pressure than the chocolate soldiers of other factions. The addition of an imperial agent gives the link a hacking vulnerability that it otherwise would not have had, although stealth (Thanks to martial arts) tends to mean they will be tripped on your terms. Defensively, Xi Zhuang’s MadTraps have the potential to keep hackers (and pig disgusting Ghazi Muttawi’ah) at bay. Overall, it’s a nice synergy, that only gets better when you start upgrading the filler. Boarding shotguns, MULTI sniper rifles and Kuang Shi control devices all have something to add. I’ve taken to having the hacker running separate, as his vulnerability to SWORD programs seems to make him a liability as he does not have stealth to protect him. It’s also less of a hassle to upgrade him to an EVO hacking remote if I am bringing a Garuda tacbot.

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Painting Zhi Xuang didn’t call for anything onerous. His pro-active law enforcement pose didn’t preclude painting him in one piece, which is always a plus. His Madtraps on the other hand, where a phenomenal pain in the ass. Their arms and heads are all separate bits if you can believe that. By the time I had got them to stay together I never wanted to look at them again. Eventually they looked passable but I greatly missed the 10 minute job CrazyKoalas represent.

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And that’s all I have to say about that. I’ve only had a chance to use him once but it looks like he will have a long career ahead of him.

The changing of the (Celestial) Guard

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It’s time to celebrate a semi-retirement of some much-used and distinguished servants of the Dragon.

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The shock arrival of the Imperial Service starter and some unexpected space in my painting queue lead to the earlier than expected completion of their replacements, who you might have seen sneaking into a few earlier photos on the page. I have nothing but love for the previous sculpts, which is part of the reason the new ones came as a shock. The new ones are, of course, very cool, although I already miss having an up to date shotgun model, in addition to the SWC profiles. For the time being I am taking a break from running ARO sniper plus cheer-leading cores while I wait for the box to arrive (It was said at Adepticon that it “has to happen”, but there was little to indicate that it actually was on the planning horizon). Instead I have been experimenting with a more varied approach, which I first touched on when talking about the Spitfire Crane but will likely report on in more detail in Xi Zhaung’s post.

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Paint-wise, all the colours were aped from the Kanren, except for the trousers which used the loincloth mix from the spitfire Crane, but with more black. They don’t have their unit logo painted on their backs anymore (phew) but check out this article from my first Celestial Guard to learn a bit about the Chinese Character involved.

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The attributes of the Celestial Guard in the RPG previews give as a more intimate appreciation for their talents that don’t manifest on the scale of the tabletop wargame. Their fearsome reputation affords them bonuses to psychological warfare, whereas their near limitless authority manifests as bonuses to command and leadership in firefights. Also they have files on everyone.

Yes we Kanren

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A midfield meddler par excellence, the Kanren was an unexpected and welcome boost to the Imperial Service’s chronically understaffed selection of things that can enter play outside your deployment zone and things that can impose a negative mod during a face to face roll.

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The base profile has a fairly unique ability to clog the midfield with 5 models; 3 holoechoes and two Madtraps. He’s a competent  fighter thanks to surprise shot/surprise attack, but this profile lives for the day that he gets to finish off something juicy with his monofilament CCW after it has been frozen in place with his Madtraps. Opponents who choose to delay AROs against him for fear of copping a full burst of combi/BSG to the face on a normal roll will quickly find themselves in the threat range of the Madtraps.  On the other hand, the Madtrap profile gets little mileage out of holoprojector level 1 however, as he would have to sacrifice his forward deployment level 2 (8 inches, an orders worth of distance) just to convincingly portray a handful of niche Madtrap profiles that no one really takes on their own. For other Kanren profiles without Madtraps who can impersonate a wider selection of Yu Jing profiles convincingly, I still don’t think it’s worth giving up 8 inches to occasionally trick new or casual players. That said, on these profiles holoprojector level 1 absolutely must be used! If you have a KHD or AHD, hide it by pretending to be a forward observer. If you have a forward observer, disguise it as an AHD to scare off heavy infantry and bait KHDs into wasting orders. Then, when your regular opponents start to suspect the ruse, you can mix it up a bit by “disguising” your KHD as a KHD. I believe this kind of profile level trickery is a lot harder to spot and manage than some of the grand ruses you see suggested elsewhere.

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The minelayer profile is interesting but extremely niche. It pretty much allows the Kanren to safely reveal enemy troops from Camo, TO or HD state in two orders so long as you have a Weibing or certain Zhanyings/Cranes in your list. Minelayer itself is pretty useless unless you know a hidden enemy has deployed on the center line when you deploy the Kanren, or you know the location of his inferior/superior infiltration (Niche use against daylami and Shinobu/Oniwaban if you are psychic). Given the Kanren can already intuitive attack with his chain-colt, it’s probably not worth taking this profile over one of the specialist profiles. Whether to go with the Madtraps or specialist profiles is a tougher choice. Hopefully there will be another Kanren model down the line that is visibly a hacker so I can take two without doubling up, although with the current model lacking any visible equipment that is not common to all profiles, I would not hold my breath for this. Thanks Corvus Belli, you guys are the best!

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Painting the Kanren was fairly straight forward because he is a chunky guy with an open pose, with one arm extending far away from his body. I say this often but it is just so much easier to paint models in one piece. Orange was the orange. Greys were a spectrum of GW Abbadon Black, Dawnstone and Ceramite White. LEDS were done with Scorpion Green. Tunic is Dark Angels Green Mixed with Regal Blue and then Bleached Bone for the highlights. Skin is Vallejo Bronze Fleshtone washed with Cavalry Brown, my go to recipe.

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As I’ve gradually picked up nearly all of the Yu Jing catalog, it’s not very often these days I get to write about a Yu Jing unit with a Chinese name for the first time anymore.
Kan ren.pngPronunciation is pretty straight forward, “Kan” sounds like the can in “can of coke” and “ren” is just like “rent eats up more than half of what I earn  and the rest is Infinity”. The unit bio tells us the characters 侃/kan and 刃/ren, proudly displayed on the unit’s insignia, respectively mean “Bold Edge” which is a fair call. 刃/ren is definitely the sharp part of a sword and 侃/kan means bold in the outspoken/cocky sense. 侃刃 is not really an existing term so I do wonder where CB got the idea to name their new unit. Perhaps it is a literal translation of a Spanish concept but that’s just speculation. Untitled.png