Friday, December 28, 2012

 Making the most of your Christmas Gaming

Hey guys,
With the Holiday Season well and truly upon us we’ve been talking about what sort of gaming we can do over the winter break that the season gives us…Here are a few ideas on how to make the most of your time and or spread the hobby love over the season

Board Games

Board games are a truly great way to pass a cold winter evening over the holidays, here in the Shack we held our board game night on our last club night pre Christmas and it was a roaring success. Games like Small world, Settlers of Catan and the excellent Battlestar Galactica are always firm favourites with everyone including the uninitiated to the world of nerd and can potentially be a great gateway for anyone looking to get into the hobby! In essence board games are awesome and can serve to show our families and better halves that our hobby isn’t just for us, but is open to all

The ever elusive “Big Game Day”

With time off, there is always the opportunity to look to do something completely different with our hobby time. For the 40k players amongst us an apocalypse game could be on the cards, for Privateer Press aficionados a game of unbound could be a great way to spend a day with your buddies. One thing I’d advise with these big games is to take the time to plan it out. Don’t just arrive and throw things down, take your time to come up with a story or idea for your game. Also get the right venue, your Local Gaming Store’s opening hours will probably be a little different over this period so make sure they’re open and what’s more has the space to accommodate you! Also try to pick a day that suits everyone as much as possible.  But assuming that you cover all of these bases you should have a great time! A cinematic holiday time game is a real treat so go for it!

Paint + Brush = Painted Army

Christmas is a great time to catch up on some of the models that accumulate over the course of the year, some good eats, a well lit room and some of your fave holiday tunes is a brilliant setup to being productive. It also links in well with the above big game idea….there’s nothing quite as satisfying about getting a whack of new toys painted for something a big game. Particularly if, like me, you struggle most of the year to get stuff done on the painting front!

Something New

With a New Year upon us, so it’s a great time to potentially pick up a new game or two. Christmas present requests can be allocated over to stuff you resist buying for the rest of the year. I personally have asked for some Dropzone Commander stuff and shall spend the Christmas hatching my plans for my Shaltiri and trying in the nicest possible way to break the rule set and fun wreck all over Mad Eye and Big Mo in January!

Anyway enough of my seasonal take on all things Hobby. Have a great one folks, from our family to yours have a happy and safe Christmas period

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Can you make it....Taller?!

Hey Guys,

So we're having a busy week with out commission work for the Christmas period, we thought we'd show some of our latest work...

One of our customers recently purchased himself the new Chaos Warshrine, a beast of a model in every sense (God God IT'S TALL) He loved the model but the thoughts of the time commitment it would take to get this bad boy together was just that bit too much. So in step the shack boys to get the 'shrine ready for the battlefield.

The general brief given was "make it look really cool" away we went. This pics are rough and ready as they're straight from the paint table but I think everyone can really the awesomeness of the job that Big Mo has done on the Warshrine, it's weird, wonderful and should make a great centre piece for any chaos army 

A close up shot of some of the flame detail....painting fire by all accounts is something of a pain in the rear end!

front shot of the Warshrine

 I call the purple giant Grimace....for obvious reasons 

Side shot of the Warshrine.."thats right, I have a severed head"

And of course a close up of the nutter ordering the giants to carry him places

Here's hoping you like the work...If you'd like to see some sexier photos do let us know, or if you like to enquire about getting some commission work done drop us a mail at


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Terrain and all things tournament

Hey Guys,

through sure weight of sheer bullying I got my buddy Brandon Vallee, American tournament player and all round good human, to put together a post for the Shack..This is a particularly topical discussion because of Shack Attack 1, our very first tournament, being on this weekend....So over to Brandon to talk about good terrain and good tournaments

Terrain Placement and 6th Edition

Hey Everyone, Brandon here to shed some light of what I think makes good terrain in a tournament setting

I am writing up this piece in light of a few tournaments I have recently played in.  The premise of this article is written in a tournament minded individual.  The way terrain is set, how fortifications are handled, and the quality of terrain has varied greatly in all three of those events.  The need for consistency is essential in order match up results to not be determined by the terrain, but rather the skill of the player.  

Key Definitions

Line of Sight Blocking: These pieces come in various shapes and sizes and the sole purpose is to block line of sight.  What they are capable of blocking depends on the size of the piece. 

Non Line of Sight Blocking: These pieces also come in various shapes and sizes, however it is close to impossible to be completely obscured.  Their purpose is to provide cover to advancing units.

Extremely Large pieces of terrain:  These should simply not be used in a tournament.  Yeah they may look cool, but they simply on are not practical for small, fast pace games of 40k. Anything larger than 15” by 15” should be placed in this category.  The one exception to this rule is if the vast majority of the terrain can be played upon with relative ease (i.e. a base with scattered ruins to hide behind but most of the piece is covered in rubble). 

Large pieces of terrain: These pieces should include both LoSB and NLoSB terrain.  If the terrain is designed to block line of sight, it should be able to block out the view of the largest of models.  A land raider is primary measure of this.  Therefore, if it can completely hide a land raider at multiple angles, it is a large piece of terrain.  As far as dimensions are concerned, the terrain piece is somewhere between 15” by 15” and 9” by 9”.

Medium pieces of terrain: These pieces should include both LoSB and NLoSB terrain.  If the terrain is designed to block line of sight, it should be able to block out the view of the average sized tank models.  A Rhino or Devilfish is the primary measure of objective.   In regards to dimensions, this terrain piece should be between 9” by 9” and 6” by 6”.

Small pieces of terrain: These pieces should include both LoSB and NLoSB terrain.  If the terrain is designed to block line of sight, it should be able to block out the view of a standard infantry model.  A tactical marine should be the measure of this.  In regards to dimensions, the terrain pieces is less than 6” by 6”. 
Impassible terrain: This terrain can be in any shape or size, or may even be one segment of  a larger terrain piece.  Generally speaking, impassible terrain is defined by being unplayable.  In a tournament, impassible terrain is ok, as it adds extra dimensions to the game, but the trick is to not go overboard, and for the pieces to not being gigantic.  Anything larger than a medium sized piece of terrain that is impassible should not be used. 

Terrain Setup

Preset Terrain is about establishing balance in all games of 40k.  While it is not possible to ensure every table is balanced, this is a recommendations. 

Preset Terrain coverage should be done in an “X” formation on the board, utilizing Large and Medium sized terrain pieces at the center and the points of the “X”.  A large line of sight blocking piece should be placed in the middle of the “X”.  The reason for this is to prevent shooting oriented armies from blasting the opposing army off the table.  It forces them to make decisions on deployment and positioning of key units.  In regards to the points of the “X” I recommend alternating terrain and line of sight blocking options.  This way both sides are even. 
In the gaps of the “X”, this where small terrain elements come into play.  These pieces allow for cover of advancing forces while not being completely obscured.  Therefore, depending on the collection there should be roughly 2-3 large pieces of terrain, 2-3 medium pieces of terrain, and 3-4 small pieces of terrain.

There are two ways to set fortifications on preset terrain.  First is deploying the fortification within the gaps of the set terrain, leaving a few inches between pieces and if it can’t be placed it too bad.  Second is completely removing a terrain piece from the game in order to deploy the fortification. This judgment call should be made depending on how fortifications are viewed in your area.  

Player set terrain is about letting opponents set the terrain in an order which benefits them the most.  If the same style and quantity of terrain is given (2-3 large, 2-3 medium, 3-4 small) then there should be some coverage on the table.  However there is a risk of shooting armies or deep striking armies lining the board edges with terrain to leave massive terrain gaps.  In order to prevent this from occurring, perhaps prohibitions on  placement should be developed.  Such as:

·      No terrain within 6 inches of another piece
·      No terrain within 6 inches of the table edge
·      Only “x” number of terrain pieces can be placed in your deployment zone
·      Alternating terrain set up

Fortifications should be set up before terrain placement.  If one player has a fortification and the other doesn’t, the player who does not have one should be the one setting the first piece of terrain.  If both players have fortifications, then roll off to see who places it first. 

Special Terrain

There has been plenty of discussion based on the whether or not mysterious terrain or bunkers should be utilized in tournament gaming.  Personally, I think the rules are pretty cool and add extra dimensions to the game.  However, I can see what people don’t want those rules to have an impact on the game, because of maintaining balance.  Therefore, the use of these rules should depend on the climate and mood of the tournament.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Just in Case

Recently the gentleman of the last chancers have been discussing the best way to transport your precious lumps of plastic to their green felt battlegrounds, or anywhere else frankly. So I thought I’d chronicle some of the popular options that folks around the Irish tournament scene have been using in the past couple of years.

The KR Multicase

The last number of years has seen a big increase in the number of KR cases floating around the tournament scene. The reasons for this can be split as follows
1)    KR provide an excellent system for storage. Their hardened cardboard inner cases can easily be stacked up in whatever space the other half has designated for you to store your models. This can most definitely lead to a nice quiet life for you!
2)    Transport wise KR provide you with a myriad of options, from their small K-Lite case, to the Larger Kaiser case and all the way up to wheeled aluminium travel cases
3)    KR have been very generous with sponsorship for a number of ETC teams from both the UK and Ireland, which has most definitely upped their exposure
All in all they’re a solid choice, not overly pricey and with good carrying capacity. I’m not a fan of the card inner cases so that’d lead me to other carrying options, also the foam isn’t top drawer. So yep a solid choice

Battle Foam

This could be described as the “top end” of army transport. Battle Foam offer, what they believe to be, the highest quality of miniature transport on the market with their combination of highly personalised bags, with more pockets, holders and pouches than you could possibly ever need and their options for laser cut foam.
For those of you not familiar with the process, Battle Foam will laser cut any of their extremely high quality foam to fit any template they’re supplied with. They also offer stock options for highly common or prized models, to allow you to transport stuff like your new Warmachine Colossal or Baneblade.
This is all fantastic and is undoubtedly top of the scale when it comes to straight up quality….But there are a number of issues that you can run into
1)    Cost, a battlefoam case isn’t chep. In fact it’s not even in the same postal code as cheap, it would live further up town, past Priceyville, all the way up in Richtown. Basically for the average gamer a Battle Foam case is a luxury that you can’t afford. Have a look at the above site if you don’t believe me.
2)    Size, the cases range from those that are just that little bit too small, to those that are just that little bit too big. Maybe I’m crazy but I’ve always struggled to find a case that fits exactly what I need it to without being a serious size!
3)    Nerd man walking! A Battle Foam case, between its size, design and copious logos will draw questions if you’re carrying it. If you’re something of an incognito gamer, looking to stash a case underneath your desk before heading to the gaming club that night. This might not be the bad boy for you!
All in all, it’s top of the line but by no means perfect. Be very sure that this carriage system is the one for you before splashing the cash.

Portable Warfare

This case is a personal favourite of mine, It is not flashy, it isn’t massive and the company currently only support two carriage system types, the APC which is similar to a cut down version of a KR card multicase and the Sergeant, which would be described as their frontline carrying system.
The sergeant (of which I have two, sitting not too far from me in my office as I speak) is a great bag. It supports the Blu Foam that portable warfare themselves supply, but is fully compatible with pretty much every other foam system available currently. It can be stacked multiple ways and despite it’s pretty neat size it can carry a good amount and has pockets for everything I’ve ever needed for my tournament travles. They’re also available in a whole whack of interesting colours (orange or pink anyone), also they clip together to improve storage capability at home.

The bad stuff

1)    One style of case is pretty limiting for the most part, you’ll fir up to 2.5 k of a standard 40k army but after that you start to stretch the little case that could’ capabilities
2)    They’re small bags but they have large logo’s, its hard to disguise it as anything other than a nerd purse
3)    Only available online, many other cases are available in your local gaming stores, sadly as far as I’m aware you’re only able to order these bad boys online
In conclusion I love this little case, it’s never let me down and I’ve carried my Dark Eldar and Necrons all over Europe with only ever minor repairs being required…So I’d give this fellow serious consideration

Sabol Army Transport

This could be described as one of the top producers on the block, the army transport is widely (and rightly) regarded as a brilliant army carrying system
They have cases for every size of force from 500 right up to 5000 points. Also they don’t price themselves out of the market either, being as affordable an option as both KR and Portable Warfare. Their foam is excellent and can be easily customised (using their on site planner) and they offer a pretty affordable embroidery service if you want to go whole hog with the customisation of your case.

The issues

1)    Big logo….everyone else does it right
2)    I’ve found that with my own case there can be a tendency for the black in the case to become washed out or stained over time with wear and tear. It’s not too bad but since I’m pretty easy going with these sorts of things I have a sneaking suspicion that this might annoy other folks

That’s right only two bad things, this case really is awesome!!!!


I love these bags remorselessly….The website has a brilliant overview section that details everything you need in a bag and which bags have what. If you want massive carrying capacity and the ability to lock your case then go for the hard case (it looks just like a tool box, making it pretty inconspicuous to carry). If you want something a little funkier and more manageable, have a look at their messenger bag, no logo, covers with different colours that can be easily swapped out and as a good a carrying capacity as any Sabol product of a similar size.
Another awesome edition is the “no hidden costs” customising feature. Basically as you customise your case to your specifications the cost is shown at all times which Big Mo loves to death (or so he’s saying). Basically it lets you know how much money you’re blowing as you’re doing it, no bad thing!

Bad Stuff

1)    They don’t laser cut their foam….that’s all I could come up with on this one
So with free European shipping and a free t-shirt you could do a lot worse than buy one of these bad boys, I know I’ve invested in one as a Christmas present from me, to me…Yes I know I’m sad!
Anyway guys, hopefully you’ve gotten some good information that’s perhaps informed you the right carrying system for you to use!