King Wang

In Mandarin, Wang means “king”. In English, it’s slang for “Johnson”. On the table he lives up to both reputations. Who’s ready for some Mowang?

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Mowang is an aggressive troop that emphasizes endurance over firepower. Mimetism reduces the chance of successfully being hit, ARM 5 and BTS 6 reduce the chances of successful hits inflicting damage, and No Wound Incapacitation increases the amount of damage it can sustain before becoming dead. When the enemy sees Mowang across the table they are sure to develop a headache.

Mowang excels in short to medium range engagements, although it must take the direct route to battle as it has no special tricks to enter from behind. In terms of movement, four inches might not be enough for Mowang to satisfy everyone with a single move, but  it can get the job done.  A move-move activation will extend this to eight inches, which most people will agree is at least enough. Whilst Mowang effortlessly parts exposed flesh with it’s oversized Red Fury, it struggles against targets that have protection. That said, against harder targets, Mowang is capable of shooting glue with an effective range of 32 inches, although at Burst 1 this Akrylat-Kanone attack is unreliable and is generally best paired with the sign of the cross. Accordingly, Mowang is most effective when thrust into the enemy’s weakest areas, rather than its strongest. These characteristics make Mowang a good choice for the reserve trooper during deployment, preventing counter-deployment by enemy fireteams that it will struggle to overcome directly. This is easier in generic Yu Jing lists where the lack of attractive link team options means players are free to whip Mowang out and slap it down on the table at the most advantageous position without being especially constrained by the rest of your deployment. In Invincible Army, where Mowang is likely to duo with a Wildcard trooper, the solo Rui Shi is likely the better reserve choice as the buddy model narrows down it’s position to within 8 inches, which a  seasoned opponent will recognize.

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Unlike a lot of the similarly heavy offerings, Mowang doesn’t prefer Limited Insertion. This is because it is still easy to get a high order count with Mowang, thanks to the NCO skill and synergy with the Daoying Lieutenant. The Daoying Lieutenant generates 2 Lieutenant special orders and the Mowang can spend them to activate itself, in addition to the potentially 10 other orders in the same order pool.

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In Invincible Army, the Daoying  synergy can help the list to reach a competitive order count, and in Generic Yu Jing, insane effective order counts are possible. Accordingly, Invincible Army lists built around Mowang should make the most out of fireteams, or else it is not worth the opportunity cost of better order counts and other useful tools like smoke. In general, it’s hard to fit Mowang inside an Invincible Army list alongside the flagship Zuyong Invincible core fireteam. This generally means a core of Zhanshis, with punch provided by the hyper-optimised Haidao (MSV2) with MULTI Sniper Rifle.

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Given the shortage of affordable midfield specialists in Invincible Army, it is advantageous for Mowang to carry a specialist in its slipstream using Fireteam Duo as it forces it’s way across the battlefield.

The two standout choices to partner with the Mowang are the Haidao (Killer Hacker or Engineer) and Lei Gong. Personally, I’m most likely to go with the Haidao KHD because it’s the cheapest and provides a solution to entrenched hackers who are a hard counter to Mowang’s progress. The Boarding Shotgun provides a bit more certainty at extreme close range than the Mowang’s Heavy Pistol, giving it a slightly better option for taking on harder to hit enemies head on. There is also the option of Cybermask, but in all honestly I’ve nearly never seen it matter, although to be fair most of the Cybermask capable troops I have used or encountered already had a marker state by default. The Haidao bucks the trend by being a little tougher and also having no other states. At only two points more the Haidao engineer is viable, and carries D-charges, increasing the number of classified objectives it can do. He loses the ability to protect Mowang from hackers and carries a Combi rifle rather than a Boarding shotgun though, which reduces close quarters punch but picks up the option of suppressing. With few options to keep itself safe in the reactive turn and an operational profile that calls for advancing across the table, the Mowang should aim to finish its turn in the Suppression Fire state and it can’t hurt to have a friend covering him. Mowang can be quite difficult to dislodge from a tight spot when set up like this. Lei Gong costs a little more, and as hard as it is to part with his Shock Marksman Rifle, I’d be more likely to take the SMG version because he is a specialist. The SMG and nanopulser direct template weapon are both great short range weapons to complement the medium ranged Red Fury of the Mowang and help the pair conquer the midfield. Lei Gong’s MSV1 allows him to more easily engage targets that Mowang might struggle to hit, and his Albedo allows him to punish targets that would bypass Mowang’s mimetism. Being fast and non-hackable is also a massive bonus to Lei Gong that allows him to seek and destroy embedded hackers that would otherwise impede Mowang.

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On to the model. I really like how Mowang looks now that I have painted it. Mowang is certainly very large. I primed the whole thing with Citadel Chaos Black Spray and it took a lot of time to undercoat every nook and cranny. The studio paint scheme diverges greatly from expectation by applying a camouflage pattern to most armour panels. This was challenging at my skill level. I didn’t have a suitably military green, so I mixed one on a wet pallet from GW Goblin Green and Castellan Green, getting it right after my third attempt. This was painted over the entire panel The beige blots were done with Vallejo WW2 German Camouflage Beige, a wonderful color with a very specific name. The brown blots were done with a mix of GW Rhinox Hide and Khemri Brown, but I am sure there must be a better choice out there that doesn’t need mixing. Camouflage often looks strange on miniatures, because its purpose is to obfuscate detail and silhouettes which is kinda the opposite of what you are going for when painting a centerpiece model like Mowang. I was able to get around this by heavily blacklining recesses and joins in the armour panels using black, and exaggerating the edge highlights using Vallejo Deck Tan, which is another wonderful colour. The metal looking bits were basecoated in GW shadow grey, then layered with mixes containing incrementally more Fortress grey, then finally pure Ceramite White. The few orange panels were done using the orange that I always use.

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Onto the name. Mowang is made up of two characters, Mo (魔) which means demon or devil , and Wang (王) which means king. Put them together and you get demon king.

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You might have noticed the character for Wang looks very similar to the character Yu in Yu Jing (玉), which means Jade. Interesting that the pictogram meaning Jade is an adorned king. Both the Characters Mo and Wang are present in the logo, along with the character Bing (兵) which refers to soldiers/troops/etc, and is the same character as in Yaokong Weibing.

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“Mo” sounds like “more”, but ends before you sound out the “r”. The ‘a’ in “Wang” sounds more like the ‘a’ in “father” or the ‘u’ in “fungus”  depending on who you ask. So Wang doesn’t really rhyme with slang, despite being it.

Hail to the king, baby.

Tech Support

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The original Yu Jing Mech-engineer has long been one of my favorite models to use and photograph, despite me never getting around to giving her an article of her own. You can see her prominently in the photos for many posts I wrote about remotes. This is because her career on the table has been very focused on the support of Yu Jing’s remotes, where she has performed admirably, returning them to the fight and occasionally surprising all with turn 3 heroics. We salute her and wish her well for her retirement.

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My main motivation for getting the new modelwas mainly because I like the Doctor model from the same box. I like the new engineer too of course. He is more congruent with the current Yu Jing aesthetic since N3, both in terms of design and colour.

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With regards to how I have used the profile, to be honest I would have used generic Yu Jing in less than 10% of my games to date. This is because I prefer to use maximum-sized core fireteams for first turn defensive ARO. In those games where I have played generic Yu Jing, I have tended to compensate for my feeling of reactive turn vulnerability by enrolling two Yaokong Husong Remotes to help me survive until my first turn. I also almost always take a Rui Shi, because they are still SO good. The presence of the Mech-engineer provides two distinct benefits depending on who you are up against: They either fix the remotes, or never get the chance to try,  because the opponent really makes sure the remotes are destroyed beyond repair. The latter often takes an extra order on top of killing the remote, and if the remote put up an order-depleting fight before going to sleep, then the attacker is even more likely to make sure it will never get back up. Two levels of unconscious thanks to Remote Presence rule make this more of an investment than simply finishing off the average battlefield casualty in cold blood. Thus the engineer may function as slightly more expensive cheerleader that may drain an extra order per remote each game. He’ll see a lot more table now that Invincible Army has landed and White Banner Army is about to.

cofI normally include a Yaozao in the list to extend the Engineer’s repair capabilities to multiple Remotes. Sometimes that adorable Yaozao’s speed and lack of order generation make it the best candidate for jobs that are too dangerous to risk a human. This includes touching off mines and discovering camo markers.

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They also have Zhanshi combat aptitude that, while basic, may come in handy. It’s not something you plan on, but they often end up included in coordinated suppression orders as an afterthought, keeping the deployment zone just a little bit safer. Just occasionally, their status as specialists sees them attempt late game battlefield heroics.

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Painting the new engineer was pretty agreeable. He’s a big guy with a pose that presents some nice flat surfaces without too much being obscured by his limbs. No surprises with how the orange armour was painted. Clothing is Vallejo Heavy Blackgreen mixed with Games Workshop Regal Blue. Whites started as GW Fortress Grey with increasing white added. Skin was Vallejo Bronze Fleshtone washed with Cavalry Brown.

On to the name. The Chinese name of the Mech-Engineer, printed on his unit logo is Zhànshì gōngchéng (战士工程).

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Zhànshì (战士) is the same word that is used for the Yu Jing’s most basic line trooper. The ‘Zh’ sound of Zhàn is pronounced like the end of “judge“, starting at the ‘d’. The ‘an’ rhymes with “ran”. The character  (战) stands for combat. This can be from wars to battles to brawls. “Shi” sounds like the first part of “shit”. The character (士) is usually used as a suffix to denote a professional. The two characters in gōngchéng (工程) together mean Engineering.

Gongcheng Gōng (工) denotes work, labour, trades, crafts, etc. It sounds just the name of the metal instrument. Chéng (程) denotes sequences, rules, formulas etc. It sounds somewhere between how a random pool of English speakers would instinctively say the word “Cheng” and “Chung”.

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Command and Conquer

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The Daoying Operative Control Unit empowers the Invincible Army to confidently complete its missions, and fundamentally improves the capability of generic Yu Jing lists. They are described as a unit trained specifically for front-line command and their profiles represent this well within the INFINITY rule set. Each combination of weaponry is able to take the Lieutenant Level 2 special skill, which generates two Lieutenant special orders that under normal conditions would only be usable by the Trooper possessing the skill. Whilst there are some important situations where the Daoying might wish to use the orders it generates on itself, they become especially meaningful when the army list also contains a powerful trooper with the NCO Special Skill, which allows its owner to use the Special Lieutenant Order, considering it as another Regular Order of their Combat Group. The Invincible Army is gifted with two very powerful Troopers capable of taking the NCO skill, Mowang Troops, who are brutally tough solo gunfighters, and Tai Sheng, a skilled sub-commander who can use these orders to activate a Zuyong Invincible fireteam. Whilst their core function of empowering NCO troopers often leaves the Daoying stationary, they are not completely defenseless thanks to Camouflage. Being able to hide under a marker puts an extra layer of effort between would-be assassins and their prize.

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I was immediately drawn to the hacker profile who I will showcase in this post, so let’s take a look at what makes the Daoying Hacker Lieutenant Level 2 such a great choice.

The hacking devices gives the Daoying two more functions that perfectly synergise with her existing camouflage and bonus orders: Supporting the army through hacking programs and being a specialist trooper for the purpose of completing objectives in ITS missions. In terms of completing objectives in ITS missions, 2 extra orders and a marker state help the Daoying overcome her slower than baseline movement speed for endgame objective runs. Her Boarding Shotgun can also be a nasty surprise for defenders too, especially when the first attack is from the camouflage state. This same shotgun also makes her a prickly target for assassins too, who in all probability will have their heads blown off if they try to intuitive attack her within her zone of control.

Regarding her hacking device, the Daoying is well suited to use many of the programs that come with this versatile equipment, meaning there is always a use for her two bonus orders, even when no NCO trooper is around. The most common function will be buffing friendly Remotes and Heavy Infantry, both of which are very common in the Invincible Army. She can also assist with the deployment of drop troops, including the new Liu Xing Invincible, who has not yet found its way into my lists. The extra orders from Lieutenant Level 2 are especially handy for making sure she is back in the camouflaged state before the enemy turn, assuming they are in any condition to retaliate.

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The Daoying Hacker is a beautiful model. Whilst I thought the concept didn’t look a whole lot like a command unit (there are a lot of unique elements in the legs made players speculate it would be a mobility troop), this particular model captures the role of a hacker commander perfectly. Assembly was a dream, two solid pieces that combine at the waist, leaving all parts of the model accessible to the brush once assembled. In terms of colours, there’s not a lot of the orange on her. She introduces a new blue colour that is not present on any other Yu Jing troopers I’ve painted previously. I made it by combining GW Shadow Grey with GW Regal Blue. Both colours are long out of production, but I am sure alternatives have been identified. I highlighted by adding white to the mix.

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On to the name.

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Daoying is made up of two characters, ‘Dao’ (刀) which covers in general all manner of knifes and swords, and ‘ying’ (鹰) which covers birds of prey.  The background in the Third Offensive book states that the unit takes its name from an alien falcon native to the region of Yutang where the training academy for the Daoying Troops is located. Thanks to its sharp claws, the Yu Jing settlers named it ‘knife-falcon’ in their language. Chinese names for animals are generally literal and descriptive, beyond those few that have a unique character (e.g. cow is cow, yak is hair-cow, deer is deer, giraffe is long-neck-deer, kangaroo is bag-rat and platypus is duck-lip-beast.). ‘Dao’ rhymes with “Foul” minus the ‘l’ at the end, or “cow” minus the ‘w’ at the end. “Ying” rhymes with “thing”.

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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.

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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.

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

Assume the Crane Stance (for the second time)

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The Imperial Agent Crane Rank brandishing a spitfire is a model I never expected to release when it did and never knew I wanted until I took it for a spin.

With no skills or equipment that helps him shoot better, I often considered him as a cost-inefficient Shang ji with a bunch of niche gear tacked on to drag the cost up. This was especially true before HSN3 when only Crane Lts could form fireteams with Celestial Guard in Imperial Service for some reason.

Now, the Crane feels like a pricey but worthwhile upgrade for the Celestial Guard spitfire, and the efficiency of getting fireteam buffs from far cheaper troopers than himself comfortably cancels out the cost of his close combat bells and whistles that he was unlikely to use when going about his core business of mowing guys down at B5 BS16.

With Celestial Guard Guifeng Xi Zhuang and his Madtraps currently  in bits on my desk, local tables should soon be seeing a durable, versatile, scoring fireteam with a very mean anchor. I would still never take this profile out of a fireteam and I am interested to hear if anyone can make a case for it.

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Assembly was fairly easy. Whilst his chunkier braid is less identifiable as the Qing Dynasty Queue/Bianzi hairstyle, it has to date never snapped off. I know of some Morat players who wish they could say the same for their Daturazi.

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Thanks to his unusual pose (I still have no idea what he is doing) he was very simple to paint in one piece. The colours have changed slightly since the old crane but it wasn’t that hard to execute. The black was done the same as my beloved hac taos and the orange is the orange that I’ve been using since day one of the blog.

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The loincloth and tails were done with a 50/50 mix of Vallejo Turquoise and Heavy Blackgreen with a black wash an highlights made by adding GW Bleached Bone to the initial mix. The “NMM” “gold” trim followed the same structureless please-god-let-this-work approach I employed on the Guijia‘s hook sword. I really should sit down with Angel’s book some time.

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And that’s all there is to it. If you want to know more about Cranes, especially the Chinese name, be sure to check out the post from when I did up my original Crane.

Miyamotwo Mushashi

At present I find myself wondering why I jumped at the chance to pay extra for early access to two more Miyamoto Mushashi’s than I have ever been tempted to take in a list.

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He looks cool in his alternate outfit, which I guess is part of the reason. Aside from looking cool, he’s also the most skilled melee fighter in all of Infinity, which might also have helped. He hits hard and often, and with a 6-4 move he can run like a gazelle, which may assist him in putting his talents to use.

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He has a decent dodge and a good flash pulse to help and keep him alive long enough to reach base contact, although he is likely to need assistance from long ranged weapons or smoke (other troopers) to navigate enemy AROs. All of this is theory though. I’ve never actually used him. My experience with Miyamoto boils down to a casual glance at his stats and reading all the volumes of Vagabond that were available in 2014. Hopefully I have more to talk about by the time I paint his other costume. miyamoto

That just leaves painting to talk about. I primed him with Army Painter Uniform Grey, as has been customary for my JSA troops. Aside from his skin, there are 4 major colour fields on the model. Light blue on his upper body, dark turquoise on his hat, shoulders, skirt and trousers, metal parts and leather for his webbing.

I deliberately tried to use the same blue on his upper body as I did on Yojimbo to so there would be some cohesion, whilst still being a unique looking figure. The dark turquoise is Vallejo Heavy Blackgreen mixed with GW Regal Blue and Abbadon Black. The metal parts were done the same was as on the Domaru Butai. The leather started with GW Scorched brown, and was stippled with Vallejo Cam Beige. By stippling, I mean I took an old brush, loaded some paint on the tip of the bristles, wiped most of it off until what was left was almost powdery, and then gently and repeatedly poked at the surface of the model with the tip of the brush. I don’t know if that is actually called stippling. The scabbard was done the same way but with much less “stippling”. I don’t want to talk about how the “tsunami” design on the back of his skirt turned out. Other than that I am very happy with him and he wasn’t that much of a bitch to paint, certainly not worse than any Tohaa model I’ve painted.

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All that’s left is to actually use him now.

Killing Mahsien

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I recently finished painting my first model from the very popular Operation Red Veil, choosing to prioritise the redesigned Hsien Warrior because he’ll fit right into my existing imperial service. I already have a painted Hsien in the previous style (itself actually a redesign of a model that came and went before I took the Infinity plunge). The Hsien armed with a MULTI rifle served me well, but I always wanted to try the HMG yet never got around to buying one until now (To my surprise, a Hsien Warrior with a MULTI rifle in the new design is apparently not far off).

20161105_104945.jpgThe Imperial Service is certainly becoming the sectorial army of high fashion. I do love these coats. But it’s not just looks that kill. Ballistic skill 14 kills as well. Especially when it’s taking aim with a heavy machine gun through a Multispectral Visor Level 2 (2 is only one less than 3). Camo? Dead. Thermoptic Camo? Dead. Optical Disruption Devices? Dead. Smoke? Dead. The Hsien hits what he aims at unless it has white noise or eclipse grenades, and unless it is buried in armour and cover, there is a good chance what he hits becomes Swiss cheese. His combination of negative mod removing visor, high burst and high ballistic skill means he should win most exchanges in his active turn, and that’s how he should be used. He has some extras, some might call distractions, including a nanopulser, CC skill of 19, Martial Arts Level 1 and an APCCW. I think it adds flavor, and it is not without gameplay utility, despite increasing his cost without increasing the delivery of his core business. Some people will point out that for one point more, the PanOceanian Aquila Guard  has BS 15 and MSV3, with the same armour and HMG. They are right that the Aquila Guard is some of the best value point and click in the game, but the Aquila Guard is not in a faction with 5 point smoke warbands.

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Many people have asked about which way the spines on the Hsien’s back should go. When the Hsien was designed, his antennae pointed up, and this can be seen on his dossier and on the renders released on Facebook by the sculptor, obscenely talented  Javier G. Urena. When the studio put him together, they decided they liked how it looked down and rolled with that. This was not unanimous, but being 4 separate bits, it’s up to the owner to pick how they go. I like how they look angled down when looking at the back (my view from the table in-game), but I am not convinced I made the right choice when I look at him from the front. He would certainly have a more interesting silhouette if I went with up.

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Painting him was pretty straight forward, although I regret not doing the coat before the armour. Because I did the armour in my typical orange, which involves a red wash that has a tendency to overflow, I normally do it first. The large area of the coat however tempted me to use a larger brush which hit the armour in places. Nothing I couldn’t fix, bit I’ll know for next time. The coat was done in 3 layers. First was Vallejo Heavy Blackgreen plus GW Regal Blue. Second was Heavy Blackgreen plus Vallejo Turquoise. Final was Heavy Blackgreen plus Turquoise plus GW Bleached Bone.

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Be sure to check out the article written about my first Hsien if you haven’t already. It includes an allegedly useful guide for pronouncing “Hsien”.

Dō-maru Beauty

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For a society that thought disemboweling yourself was beautiful, disemboweling your enemies must have been the bee’s knees. That’s what these guys do. They mulch things, aesthetically. They are so committed to beautiful death that they are willing to sacrifice their lives to get that perfect hit in, although with 2 wounds and ARM 3, often all that is sacrificed is your opponents sense of agency. An unopposed normal roll on 32 is about as sure as anything gets in Infinity. I’m unaware of any of any other stats being pushed higher by any other unit.

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The number of units in the game who feel like base contact with a Dō-maru is a good place to be can comfortably be counted on one hand. Even close combat monsters that are double or triple the cost like Seraphs and Achilles, who are likely but not guaranteed to turn the brave mecha samurai into scattered mince in retaliation, will more often than not find themselves immobilised  when the bits settle. That is of course, if the Dō-maru opts to take them on head-first, which may not be necessary when you can speculatively peg E/M grenades at PH 14.

In short, I love Dō-maru. I’ve used at least one every game I’ve played as JSA since the first one I bought was painted. I’ve used two in every game since HSN3 dropped. I think duo is obscenely good value on someone who has no real ranged combat ability and therefore often has to take the long way around to the enemy to avoid getting shot. There’s no downside to breaking a duo once you are arrive at your destination, so the extra order of the 0 SWC lieutenant option gives that extra boost which permits it to dive into the enemy ranks and go to work. When he finally does run out of steam, the second one is right around the corner.

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As for the other profiles, there is one which trades the E/M CCW for a DA CCW. This one has the advantage when you want to prioritize lethal damage. When the E/M CCW crits, the enemy still gets to make an ARM roll (against DAM 14), which could potentially be frustrating if slicing your way through chaff. In these situations however, I’ve found a solid critical karate chop is enough to send foes into blissful unconsciousness. I’d much rather the rare instance of having the enemy pass their save against DAM 12 by 1 or 2, than to have missed the opportunity to mission kill a TAG in one hit. There are also some profiles with various more expensive ranged weapons. I’ve yet to use one. Maybe I will in a core link however I’ve yet to explore core links with these guys. When I do go down that road, you can bet that it will be a Haramaki link with Dō-maru thrown in, to take every weakness of the unit and replace them with disgustingly optimised ranged strength.

I was extremely lazy painting these guys. I primed them with army painter Uniform Grey, like most of my JSA. I then painted their calf plates and servo muscles with GW Shadow Grey. I painted the abdominal and thigh guards, I think they are called Kusazuri and Haidate in Japanese, using GW Castellan Green. Then I gave the whole thing a fairly heavy wash with diluted GW Abaddon Black. Once that dried, I went back and hit the raised area of the abdominal and thigh guards with Castellan Green. I then mixed some GW Bubonic Brown into the Castellan Green and picked out the edges. This is barely visible at the moment so I might go back and do it again. Mine are noticeably flatter and darker than the studio’s. I then painted on the red panels of the shoulder pads (Sode) with GW Scab Red, which was then blacklined with the same wash, and highlighted with Scab Red mixed with GW Bleached Bone. Once that was all dry (and I mean really dry, nothing says impatient like a bright red finger print on white armour), I edge highlighted all the bits that I originally did in Shadow Grey with GW Ceramite White. I then painted the armour panels with the same colour. No layering, blending, mixing or anything. I just threw white at it, lazy as anything, but keeping out of the grooves. I tried to leave a fade to the original grey but it didn’t really happen.

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The scabbards were done with GW Blood Red, with Vallejo WW2 Ger. Cam. Beige banding. Note that my friend Dragonstriker from the forums fixed me up with the paired swords from an older Dō-maru to put on the Spitfire model, who ships without swords.

The electro Katanas were done by doing a hard edge highlight over the base-coat with white, before a few layers of watered down GW Liche Purple.