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.

RAIDEN WINS

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FATALITY

I’ve had the Raiden painted and ready to go for a while but never really had much to say on account of only using him once or twice (in JSA) until now and using him poorly. It’s a shame because it is one of my favourite models. The colours and mask make him look so sinister. I’m even tempted to buy the spitfire model, even though I’ve never seen it in a list and have never been tempted to take one. The sniper has no model, so my experience is entirely with the HRL.

The role of the Raiden in JSA is a tricky one. With a long range weapon, camo and mines, they have the look of a defensive troop. The implicit strategy is to deploy both the camouflaged Raiden and his mine in threatening positions, and let the enemy waste order discovering, throwing smoke etc. This is how I used mine most of the time.

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Then when they discover the real Raiden, begin trading shots.

This falls apart when an enemy who knows Raidens well calls the bluff. They know your strategy depends on them wasting orders, so they can be pretty confident you will not ARO until the Raiden is in danger. Worst case scenario they move to where they can see both the mine and the Raiden on the first short skill and discover against one on the second. If they succeed and it’s a mine, they declare discover-shoot on the other. If they discovered the actual Raiden first go, a firefight ensues that will almost favour the active model unless it goofed by bringing friends into the blast radius. Raidens have no abilities that really enhance their ARO competency. In fact, using them in ARO throws away their primary advantages – surprise shot. The Raiden should use this one-hit-wonder to actively clear enemy troops. Working against him in this role is the fact that he is a bit slow getting to the exact circumstances he shines in (at 4-2  believe he is the single slowest mover in JSA), and that is that the surprise shot won’t work against a link team with the 4 member bonus, which is quite often the ARO troop who needs clearing the most and your best chance of catching others in the template.

On the face of it he just does not compare favourably to the lightning fast Aragoto Spitfire, who is also often used as an ice-breaker shooting his way through enemy defences, but then has later turn utility as a suppression turret you can park anywhere. The Aragoto costs more points, but less SWC and SWC is normally where I feel the squeeze first in JSA. This is because I almost always take a Keisotsu link with a missile launcher and frequently take an O-yoroi lieutenant. Add in an Aragoto spitfire and hacker and that’s the SWC gone. I did end up making a list I liked without the Aragoto, and finally Raiden had a chance to do his job.

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The Corregador Nomads I was up against locked down a flank with an overclocked Tsyklon that was equipped with a Fuerebach. The O-Yoroi was pinned behind a building and I did not want to risk copping 2 explosive hits on a chunk of my army that size. So the Raiden plucked up his newly issued V: Courage and tried his luck. 2 shots each, same range mods and ballistic skill. The surprise shot modifier was the decider which opened the flank for the samurai to do samurai shit.

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As for painting the Raiden, he has an open pose that makes painting him in one piece a breeze. All the colours used were the same as on this Keisotsu step by step.

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Rollin’ Ronin

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Gaijin see him rollin’, they hating.

And rightfully so, Yojimbo is both extremely dangerous and in-your-face Japanese. He takes some of the key strengths of the Japanese Sectorial Army line up, that is, blindingly fast bikes and close combat blenders, and jams them into one 21 point profile with Crazykoalas to boot. Throw in smoke and No Wound Incapacitation and it seems too good to be true. He is however very vulnerable to bullets.

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He was also quite comfortable to paint. I painted the mounted version fully assembled, which is always a huge plus to morale. I had to really jam the brush in here and there to get underneath the seat but other than that I found nothing inaccessible. The standing version also has a nice open pose that is very conducive to painting. I can’t say I painted him in one piece, although I tried to. In the poor light of my flat, I ended up dropping him not once but four times during the process of painting, each time taking a bit with him. Luckily he made a full recovery, thanks to a pair of ratcheted surgical forceps my brother gave me, which I used to straighten the pretzel formerly known as his scabbard.

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The colours were really very simple, yet I am very happy with the effect. I started by priming the whole models with Army Painter Uniform Grey from a painfully expensive spray can. Then I painted the metallic areas, namely the servo muscles of his sword arm, the magazine of his contender, the engine and wheel hubs of the bike and the elbow pad and bracer of his right arm with Citadel Shadow Grey. I then applied heavy washes to the whole models with dilute Abbadon Black. Then, the jacket was painted with Enchanted Blue. Once the Jacket was dry, I mixed a wash out of Regal Blue, Abbadon Black and water, and painted the whole jacket with it. After that dried, I mixed Enchanted Blue with Ceramite white and painted most areas of the jacket that did not hold any of the wash. The tan areas, namely parts of the bike, belts and straps, left arm bracer and some detail on his Yojimbo’s shirt and boots, started as Vallejo WWII German Camouflage Beige, which is a very nice colour. I then sparingly added Deck Tan. Skin was painted with Bronze Fleshtone, then washed with dilute Cavalry Brown, then highlighted with the Bronze Fleshtone again. I got brave and painted the scalera of the mounted version, but failed in all attempts to give him pupils, so now he looks like someone out of Street Fighter. Can’t remember what reds I used for the rising suns, but I am sure Citadel Blood Red featured at some point.

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Funny story, Yojimbo is actually one of the only models I ever proxied (not that proxying is funny). He took out infiltrator Thrasymedes, my most hated of all the Homerotics, and that was enough to make me watch the movie and buy the figure.

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Exchanging Pheasantries

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The Imperial Agent – Pheasant Rank is a troop dear to me because the first ever Infinity model I ever owned was one.

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Furthermore, I believe the Pheasant with MULTI Sniper rifle is one of the best looking models of any game, ever, and the only competition I can name comes from the new Ninja with Tactical Bow, incidentally from the same sculptor, Javier G. Urena.

I love Pheasant agents so much I even used them once or twice.

The Pheasant had the unenviable reputation of having a very poorly optimised suite of profiles pre Human Sphere N3 that made him a hard sell in the sectorial of such remorselessly cost efficient units as Kuang Shi and the Rui Shi. I had one or two memorable games where I took one, but we were all very new to the game. I don’t know if I would get away with sniping two Q-drones from outside 32 inches in one game against those guys now, and I certainly wouldn’t be game to invite such risk again anyway. Thankfully, the redesigned model comes with a redesigned profile the ups his usefulness considerably. Free agent, a tempting Haris option and the price dropped generic shotgunner that I’m showing off today provide some tempting choices. I’m hanging out for a model of the Red Fury profile.

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The model itself has an easy pose to paint and crisp, embossed details. If I were doing it again I’d leave the ponytail off, paint the figure, glue it on and prime it with the brush then paint it last. This might not be necessary if you are not as clumsy as me but I ended up accidentally squeezing it off at some point. I used the same set of colours as always, except now that it appears Yu Jing trousers are getting a standardised colour, I’ve settled on mixing Vallejo Turquoise and Heavy Blackgreen and washing it with Black.

20160730_122918Seeing as the lore and naming has not changed, if you are interested in a little Chinese language be sure to check out the original Pheasant article.

Dungeons and Dragon lady.

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It’s nice sometimes to take a break from all the soldiers and killing to paint a fashionable civilian. The Dragon Lady – Imperial Service Judge, was no exception. She hits the seen with a parasol, some manner of neotenous, porciform animal companion and a qípáo inspired extreme double split midi dress that puts her on par with Asuka  for the most pervy Infinity figure I’ve painted.

It was a comfortable model to paint, although on closer inspection you will find  the floral design is a crude imitation. It really felt small compared to the Su-Jian that preceded her in the queue, but the actual surfaces you have to work with are, for the most part, quite large. The red dress, the skin and the parasol. Only the spokes of the parasol really felt like a chore. The red was done with a mix of mainly GW Mechrite Red with some Blood Red Thrown in, highlighted with the same mix plus some bleached bone. The skin was done with a far out of date bargain bin dropper of Vallejo Bronze Skin Tone I bought randomly, shaded with Vallejo Cavalry Brown. The Parasol skin is Vallejo German Cam Beige (This colour has really grown in favour with me and cops a hiding on my Tohaa). Hair was done with Vallejo Scurvy Green, and highlited with the same plus Bleached Bone.

The animal companion, hereafter refered as Zhū-zhū, was basecoated in German Cam Beige and shaded with whatever black I had diluted on hand. After shading, I did the Ribbon in GW Warlock Purple and then GW Tentacle Pink. I then lightened most of the Zhū-zhū’s skin with Vallejo Deck Tan, leaving some conspicuous dark patches in an attempt to give the mottled appearance of a pig’s skin. Zhū-zhūs eyeballs were painted white with CW Ceramite White (AKA brushkiller) and then shaded with a highly diluted GW Enchanted Blue. Pupils were added with black.

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As far as I know, the only instance of the Dragon Lady’s  fluff bio is buried deep in the news pages of the Infinity Website, so I thought I’d wrap up by posting it here in case anyone is curious.

Imperial Service judges are high-ranking functionaries in service of the Emperor with an authority that inspires a great deal of reverence and dread. As such, they enjoy a social standing and influence comparable to that of mid- to high-ranking Party officials.

Most judges cultivate personal and professional connections to either of the two dynasties of the Imperial System. Hexahedron analysts have coined a codeword, ‘Dragon Lord’, for the small subset of judges who have consolidated most of the power around themselves via their position at the High Courts or their familial or political ties to the Imperial System.

New-Jian

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A lot of stuff happened and I didn’t post for a while.It seems in the mean time that Corvus Belli decided that Yu Jing was the only faction that matters and everyone else is just NPC races. There’s a lot of catching up to do and the rebooted Su-Jian is great place to start!

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The Su-Jian underwent a complete redesign that I think fabulously portrays him as heavy infantry with remote presence rather than a remote. He is humanoid in his combat form, but the proportions are still bestial. He shares some design elements with existing heavy infantry (and the Guijia!) so he looks right at home with his team mates, yet there is no mistaking him for one of them. The new Spitfire + light flamethrower design is also excellent. I love this model.

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There is of course, more than one model to love. The mobility form (AKA BEAST MODE) version is completely radical. Apparently the idea of felid remotes for Yu Jing existed a long time ago, but this still caught me completely by surprise. If someone told me the Su-Jian was becoming a mechanical cheetah I almost certainly would have said “That’s stupid”, so I’m kind of glad it did. It just looks powerful.

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When the preview dropped, Javier G. Urena, the digital sculptor for many of Infinity’s most amazing models, including the majority of Yu Jing, attended to many questions about the design which was enlightening. They put a lot of effort into making the transformation plausible. For instance the knife folds back on the forearm and you can see it stowed in mobility form. He was predictably bombarded with questions about the tail, which apparently collapses in on itself an folds into a hatch on the oversized codpiece when not in use.

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Not content with simply producing a massive redesign, Corvus Belli also revisited the stats of this literal killing machine. This included jacking up it’s armour, BS and giving it No Wound Incapacitation, unprecedented on a unit with remote presence. I love this company. Also, painting both forms was a real breeze once I finally got back on the horse after I think 4 months. There is only really two types of surfaces, armour plates, which I did in orange (thankfully I wrote down the recipe somewhere), and the muscle layer which is all grey. I left the knife arm off mobility form when I painted the model so I could reach the belly.

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If you want to read more about the name of this unit, how to pronounce it and what it means, check out this article from when I did up the original Su-Jian.

 

 

Hack Tao

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I don’t usually edit photos, but this time I could not resist…

The Hac Tao hacker profile finally has a model, after first being described by Bostria around the time N3 hit as a profile who no one used to take who would become a monster in N3. He’s what I’d describe as a jack of all trades, master of a whole bunch. There are few situations he doesn’t have an answer for. His stat block has a scary number of 14s  in it, his MULTI Rifle can threaten anything within 16 inches, his nanopulser can kill things he can’t see, he can complete objectives and can freeze, designate or possess the scariest models in the game through walls. His hacking device, paired with stealth also ensures he’s dealing with enemy hackers on his own terms in the active turn, whilst his ability to assume a marker state, high willpower, high BTS and access to the Carbonite program keep him safe in the enemy’s active turn. Finally, thanks to hidden deployment, a careless opponent might not even know how much trouble they are in until it’s too late.

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Model-wise, “super cool” doesn’t even cut it. He is posed with the confidence of someone whose only fear can be summarised as “Intruders”. I love that even though they went with his sword in hand, that the MULTI Rifle is evident on the model.

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His hack gear gives him a noticeably different geometry compared to his HMG wielding predecessor (Be sure to check out that article for everything you might want to know about the meaning behind the unit’s name!). That said, once I got painted, he started to feel very familiar, and soon they looked like peas in a pod. Here’s hoping you can take two in White Banner!

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Painting him was fairly straight forward, as there were few colours to figure out that were not used on the first one. Notably I did the crossguard on his oversized Jian exactly as I had done it on the Gūijiă, and the blade the same as the servo muscle.

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His visor comes from mixing black with a tiny bit of purple and a bit more turquoise, then adding in more white to it as I painted successive layers. That was something of a guess but it worked out all right.

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Super cool. Yu Jing really is blessed these days. Now I just have to use him quickly before the new Su-Jian comes out drags me back into the murky world of the Imperial Service.