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Tag Archives: Armada

KoW Armada: Expanding Collection Guide

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in a few gaming/strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

Kings of War: Armada is a naval strategy game set in a rich world of Pannithor, pitting multiple wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against one another. Divided between a Fleet Starter, a Fleet Booster and multiple individual sets, each faction comes with a range of ships and units to choose from. It is quite common for new players to ask what to purchase next in order to expand a collection. Today I would like to present to you a quick guide to Kings of War: Armada purchases. 


Collection Tiers

Although each Armada fleet differs from one another, they all seem to follow a similar path from first purchase up to a complete collection. To keep things easy I have divided collection sizes into tiers, each of which represents a certain milestone allowing for more list building flexibility and in-game shenanigans. When considering how to expand your existing collection, treat tiers as casual guidelines. If for example you own a Fleet Starter and a Fleet Booster, consider adding anything missing from tier 2, preferably in order it is presented. This should, in theory, expand your collection in a way that offers new playstyles, diversity and a power boost.


Tier 1: Basic

  • One Fleet Starter,
  • One Fleet Booster,

This tier represents the usual entry point into Armada. A relatively low price start, allowing for a number of builds within a 150-250pts. range.


Tier 2: Standard

  • XL Ship*,
  • Second Fleet Starter,
  • Second Fleet Booster,
  • One Fliers Booster,
  • Armada Magic Deck,

This tier, once achieved, is a golden tournament standard. An XL* Main Battle Ship, along with a pair of L and multiple M, backed with an array of Support Ships allows for flexible list building, enabling different playstyles and archetypes within a faction. Some players will stop right here, all tools already available.

* if available to your faction.


Tier 3: Advanced

  • Support Ships up to a total of four each, (single ship packs)
  • Second XL Ship*,
  • Second Fliers Booster,

Last tier is a complete collection including everything that you will ever need to build a wide range of 150-250pts. lists honed for specific scenarios and/or archetypes. Four copies od each Support Ship and a second XL allows for some edge case combo lists. Second pair of fliers, while not necessary, is always good to have, just in case of local meta going flier heavy in the future.

* if available to your faction.


Secret Tier X: Beyond

  • Whatever floats your boat,

There’s no real gameplay advantage of adding more sets after tier 3, unless you plan on playing some huge climactic naval battles. Armada miniatures are truly beautiful and full of detail, thus I won’t judge you for further expanding your collection. 

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Cheers!

Scarhandpainting

KoW Armada: Empire of Dust is Stronger than You Think

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in a few strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

If you still don’t know what Kings of War: Armada is, I strongly invite you to read some of the previous Armada related articles. In short Kings of War: Armada is a naval strategy game set in a rich world of Pannithor, pitting multiple wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against one another. Today I would like to focus on one such a faction and especially some common misconceptions surrounding it.


The Empire of Dust is ‘Weak’… not really

The Empire of Dust has it all. It has the looks, the special rules, ships of all sizes, access to all kinds of weapons, and yet it is commonly addressed as being weak and requiring a buff. Whereas some other factions are pretty one dimensional when it comes to list building and playstyle, the EoD comes across as a more advanced, ‘difficult’ fleet. The main fleet theme seem divided between particular ships and is very polarized. With devastating weaponry being shoved on top of Large and Extra Large ships, in exchange for extra Crew Strength and speed being transferred to Medium Main Battleships, it might seem like if the fleet as a whole, doesn’t know if it wants to shoot or board or both. Additionally, thanks to Kopeshiis being the most expensive Medium Main Battleships across the entire game, the list building process for the EoD is rather intimidating. It gets even harder when you realize that compared to other factions, the Slave Squadrons, which are supposed to be fillers, are also priced premium.
So yes, all of these issues might result in a faction being perceived as overall weak. Except it’s not! The Empire of dust is just difficult to master as I have learned the hard way…

Empire of Dust Main Archetype

The Empire of Dust has a very strong, although somehow hidden theme of heavy artillery bombardment. I wrote “hidden” even though the theme is there in plain sight. This is because at first glance, not all EoD ships seem to go along with the archetype. It is somehow unusual for an Armada fleet and might confuse players that are relatively new to the game. 

The theme is centered around Large War Galleys and Extra Large Monoliths Main Battleships, both types packing Indirect Weapons (IDW) on the sides. There is no other fleet with an array of Broadside mounted IDWs. This is an exception throughout the entire game and has some huge list building and gameplay ramifications.

  • Broadside mounted IDW can Fire as She Bears!
  • Broadside mounted IDW can Rake!
  • You can increase the value of Broadside Mounted IDW with Additional Weaponry upgrade from Seas Aflame.
  • Instead of going straight for the enemy, you can maintain a comfortable distance and still shoot with a Broadside Mounted IDW.

The rest of the EoD fleet is clearly honed to provide support for the L and XL centerpieces, mostly by intercepting hostile ships, engaging them up close and denying access to EoD artillery pieces, thus extending the ‘Bombardment’ duration.

  • Kopeshii – Fast and potent Boarding Action interceptor, Objective runner, finisher.
  • Dust Chaser – Cheap roadblock, damage sponge, screener.
  • Soul Hunter – Close range area denial (Soul Thirst) support, self sustaining additional Artillery piece.
  • Slave Squadron – Mobile, Objective grabbing, first aid kit.
  • Bone Dragon – Mobile, self sustaining (healing), harassing skirmisher, finisher. 
  • Scavenger Flock – Cheap, fast, flier interceptor.

Further main archetype improvements come from EoD’s Upgrades, Magic Upgrades and Captains.

  • Hig-Priest T’mork allows to deploy a Main Battleship anywhere on the board at the end of second game turn. Positioning a potent Artillery centerpiece behind enemy fleet with full SP and ready to begin bombardment – anyone?
  • Arkhanten the Cursed Slayer bounces back enemy misses of “1” increasing damage output regardless of range, but especially up close where it becomes a bit uncomfortable for the EoD to face enemy ships. Ideal for a more aggressive build.
  • Balefire is a key EoD upgrade, enhancing each IDW hit with +1dmg and Fire. Resulting Blaze markers will exponentially mitigate enemy ability to deal damage, forcing them to either forego shooting, or risk a 16,66% chance of getting blown to shreds on a failed Fire Extinguish test. In Armada, an auto Blaze on dmg is a rare thing, most Blaze dealing requires an additional dice roll.
  • Windblast can be used when in a tight spot, to clear the length of an enemy ship then turn and Rake, or just to gain distance. Multiple uses can exponentially speed up an otherwise slow ship. 
  • Soul Snare is a (rare in terms of the game) healing on damage dealt. Instead of Grappling, punish the enemy ship for it’s Crew Strength and Repair yourself in the process. This item goes well with a layer of close range defenses (Soul Thirst, Kopeshiis with Curse of Undeath and Terror ready to close in and entangle in Boarding Action) plus some IDW being capable of Point Blank Raking Fire on top.

Empire of Dust has partial access to Oars and Light Oars which makes positioning for a kill or simply keeping a healthy artillery formation so much easier. Entire fleet also benefits from Curse of the Undeath, potentially mitigating results of enemy Boarding attempts.


Finally, stat wise, the EoD excels at Nerve Value and this in not a coincidence. With a bulk of the fleet serving as speed bumps and reliable obstacles, high Nerve Value translates into their survivability, resulting in increased duration of the ongoing artillery bombardment served by the main pieces. 


Once you take a deep dive, everything in Empire of Dust revolves around the main theme

The Empire of Dust List Building

So now that we’ve toppled the main archetype of the Empire of Dust, where does this leave us in terms of list building? First of all the EoD should definitely be built around L or XL centerpieces. Being ‘forced’ to field a War Galley or a Monolith is a bit of a crutch, but at the same time these ships are probably what drove you into playing the Empire of Dust in the first place, so… there’s that. Once you decide between aggressive and passive playstyle and build an appropriate configuration for a centerpiece, just fill the remaining points with a protective screen of Kopeshii (s), and a mix of Support Ships that best suit that playstyle.

Off course I could go for another round over each ship and describe in detail what it does and how to use it, but at this point you probably already have a grasp on what each ship’s roll is. Plus there’s no better learning process than to play the actual game, so instead, allow me to present some Ship Configuration ideas that I myself use. This should allow you to intuitively place a ship on a mental power scale and ‘feel’ it’s designated role.

  • The Monolith / Shobek’s Wrath

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Weaponry (Broadside) – IDW+1, Magical Rudder/Soul Snare, Lucky Crew/Master Gunner.

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Arkhanten the Cursed Slayer, Kedge Anchor, Soul Snare.

  • War Galley

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Weaponry (Broadside) – IDW+1, Lucky Crew/Master Gunner.

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Arkhanten the Cursed Slayer, Soul Snare.

  • Kopeshii

Veteran Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, Fire Oil.

  • Dust Chaser

Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction.

  • Soul Hunter

Regular Crew/Veteran Crew, Crow’s Nest.

Regular Crew/Veteran Crew, Sturdy Construction.

  • Slave Squadron

Inexperienced Crew/Regular Crew.

Sample Fleet Lists

Below are sample EoD lists that, in my opinion, represent the EoD preferred archetype well.

Monolith: Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Broadside, Magical Rudder, Lucky Crew. 137p.
Kopeshii: Veteran Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, Fire Oil. 54p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Soul Hunter: Veteran Crew. 24p.
Slave Squadron. 9p.
250pts.


Monolith: Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Broadside, Magical Rudder, Lucky Crew. 137p.
Kopeshii: Regular Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, Fire Oil. 45p.
Slave Squadron. 9p
Slave Squadron. 9p
200pts.


War Galley: Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Broadside, Lucky Crew. 89p.
Kopeshii: Veteran Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, 52p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Soul Hunter: Veteran Crew. 24p.
Slave Squadron. 9p.
200pts.

All in all the Empire of Dust is a solid faction, on par with other Armada fleets, offering an interesting (if somehow rigid) playstyle. It is hard to master which might lead to some initial disappointments, but once you put some games in and get a grasp of how things work, the EoD is a very rewarding fleet. Is it good in everything? No. Is it good in some things? Oh yeah, definitely. Is it fun to play? Totally!

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Cheers!

Scarhandpainting

KoW Armada: Does Size Matter?

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in a few strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

Kings of War: Armada is a game of fantastical sea warfare. Set in a rich world of Pannithor the Armada clashes wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against one another. As much as miniatures go, KoW Armada offers a selection of beautiful miniatures from across multiple factions, with more being released every few months. These ships vary in size and power from Tiny Squadrons zigzagging between larger vessels to XL flagships capable of dealing devastating damage with a single broadside. With size comes the firepower and capacity but at a cost of speed and maneuverability. Is a spamy fleet capable of competing with a centerpiece type fleet? Is, in general, a particular ship size more optimal than the other? Today I will ponder a question: 


Does Size Matter?

Let’s start by stating the obvious: Yes, in Armada the size does matter a lot. The larger a ship, the more firepower it brings and the more devastation it is capable of with a single Activation. But large size does not come without some drawback, most obvious being speed and maneuverability. A ship’s hull can be bristling with guns, but what if it is unable to draw a proper line of fire to a group of smaller, more agile enemy ships? Let’s talk about pros and cons of large size and see if they hold merit.


* The larger the ship the more guns it brings.

Large ships are more expensive and so they pack more guns than their smaller counterparts. Having more guns allows them to deal more damage in a single Activation. So much so as to potentially Cripple or even Sink an enemy ship (or ships!) before subsequent Activation.
Interestingly, more often than not, the same points value spent on a variety of smaller Main Battle Ships will result in more guns on the gaming board. This is obvious to see for some factions, while a bit more obscured for others. Basilean fleet, being pretty vanilla, with same type of armaments across all three Main Battle Ships, is perfect to represent this:
A Basilean Dictator has less broadside guns than three Elohis combined. 2H less to be precise.
Basilean Dictator: 90pts, 4H, 3L, 3C
Basilean Abess: 62pts, 3H, 2L, 2C
Basilean Elohi: 30pts, 2H, 1L, 1C


* Larger size equals more upgrade slots.

Capacity increases with size, which allows for more upgrades for a ship. This can lead to some pretty nasty combos or just increase efficiency of some upgrades. For example a Master Gunner allows for a reroll of an entire salvo. This upgrade has a much more impact on a Dictator’s devastating salvo of 4H, 3L and 3C, than on Elohi’s 2H, 1L and 1C. Furthermore it will cost three times the cost of a Master Gunner, to equip three Elohi’s.
Fielding a variety of smaller ships is not without it’s merits though, as it allows to add important fleet-wide-buff upgrades for cheap and not take up a valuable slot on an expensive vessel. More so, the cost of such upgrades can be decreased by degrading a Crew Level to Inexperienced. “Okarina of Korgaan” and “War Drum of Spite” are good examples. Of course nothing prevents mixing ship sizes to achieve the same result. 


* Larger ships have more Crew Strength.

Large ships pack a lot more CS, which means a huge advantage over smaller opponents during Boarding Actions. Advantage that is not mitigated by the current Multiple Grapple rules. Even though most Large and Extra Large ships might be unable to grapple fast moving enemy ships (Full Speed etc.), usually there will be some opportunities to do so throughout the game. Furthermore having high CS ensures fast Ongoing Boarding Action resolution, thus freeing a larger ship from being pinned by a smaller, cheaper vessel.
On the other hand a single powerful ship can become entangled in melee, thus significantly reducing the firepower of an entire fleet. A fleet of more ships will still be mostly operational if one get’s caught in a Boarding Action, allowing the rest to deal damage and go after objectives unhindered.


* More Structure Points in one place for larger ships.

Larger ships come with more Structure Points, which makes them more difficult to Cripple/Sink, resulting in more time of full effectiveness. A fleet composed of three Elohis will probably gradually lose it’s firepower while ships get damaged and subsequently Crippled, or Sunk. At the same time a single Dictator can be expected to stay operational for longer, before reaching the threshold.


* Repairs Bonus.

Large and Extra Large ships receive a Repairs bonus of +2 SP regained with a Repairs action.
Multiple smaller ships, faster and more maneuverable by default, are capable of putting constant pressure on a larger vessel, while being able to take turns, speeding out of immediate danger to undertake Repairs.


* Area of effect.

Thanks to the size of their bases, L and XL ships are easier to Rake enemy ships. Wider Broadside is easier to position for a solid Raking Fire. This leads to larger ships being more difficult to go around and combined with high durability, makes them perfect area denial pieces. 


* Speed decreases with size.

The larger a ship the slower it usually is. High Movement allows to go around slow enemy ships, zoom out of danger and go after objectives. Fast ships are capable of crossing the entire board in a matter of barely few Activations, resulting in a much higher effective range of their weaponry.


* Maneuverability decreases with size.

On top of a (usually) yellow Turn Arc, larger ship bases are more difficult to maneuver with. More so, L and XL movement is more hindered by Sandbanks, Islands and dense battlefields.
This can be partially mitigated with Kedge Anchor and Magical Rudder upgrades.


* Less is sometimes more.

Large and Extra Large ships are points intense. Adding these to a list results in a small size fleet, which in turn leads to easier general maneuvering. Wielding a numerous fleet is not an easy task, potential collisions dealing high amount of self inflicted damage. 


* Some scenarios favor small size.

While a large SP count is good, there are some scenarios that favor smaller ship sizes and/or greater numbers. Not every scenario devolves into sinking more enemy ships.


* Large targets are easier to Hit.

L and XL ships are easier to hit, providing an additional +1 To-Hit bonus for shooting opponents. There is a catch though. Due to how Partial Visibility rules work, S ships are unable to gain Full Visibility to XL ships when side by side.

And now we’re left with a question: Go big or go for numbers? There’s not a straight answer. Extra Large ships are monsters, capable of dominating entire game. They are though, reliable and deadly. On the other hand Large and Medium size ships are just as well optimized and excel in areas outside of XL’s capabilities. Are Extra Large ships overpowered? Certainly not. Are they generally “better”? Maybe, depending on the faction, but not by a large margin. My guts tells me they are just easier to successfully implement in a game. I am inclined towards an opinion that in time, when meta clarifies and players get used to everyday maneuvering, we will see a shift from more cumbersome XLs towards Medium and Large. Regardless, with how well balanced Armada seem to be right now, the XLs are definitely worth the points investment and are fun to wield. I for one, love me some of that Dictator swinging and greatly enjoy having an Extra Large ship on the table. If you haven’t already, be sure to give Extra Large ships a try. GLHF.

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Many thanks to M.L., R.Z. and K.R. for providing valuable input. Your feedback and suggestions is what made this article possible.

Cheers!

Scarhandpainting

KoW Armada: Faction Guide

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in few strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

Kings of War: Armada is a game of fantastical sea warfare. Set in a rich world of Pannithor the Armada clashes wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against one another. As much as miniatures go, KoW Armada offers a selection of beautiful miniatures from across four factions, with more being released every few months. These factions vary between themselves, not just visually but also on-tabletop, offering different playstyles, themes, strengths and weaknesses. Below I will focus on each faction individually, pointing out some pros and cons, but also offering insight into possible strategies.

Before we start, some notes:

  • I’m not a professional data analyst, might be wrong on some observations. I base my conclusions on data and personal on-tabletop experience. In case of newest releases my assumptions are purely speculative so take it with a pinch of salt. 
  • Math and notes behind average fleet stats can be found in this google spreadsheet.
  • Any tactics and archetypes described here might be influenced by your local meta and scenarios being played.
  • Average Faction strengths does not include Fliers.
  • As more new factions get introduced an Average baseline will start to change. Factions that are now top 2 on certain stats, might fall from grace. I decided not to revisit older factions each time new one gets introduced, but rather make an update every once in a while. The reason is convenience. In my opinion if a certain faction was in the very top of certain average stat, it will still be high, regardless if new faction steals the spotlight.

Basilean – Cleric Faction.

Cheapest on average, best SP to points cost ratio. Not standing out at anything except Move, SP/point cost ratio, healing and damage reduction capabilities (Aegis Shield, Blessed Hull, Light of Ekhos, Halo of Light, Helping Hand).

Ship of interest: Gur Panther with 28SP for 12pts, can be used to screen Heavy Hitters from enemy fire, providing closest target to enemy inexperienced/standard crewed ships.

Basileans can cheat activation order (Jaymes Ellias) to deal unexpected (both direction) broadsides pain with a Heavy Hitter.

Strategy proposal: Avoid close quarters, make use of H, L, IDW going slow and with a side to enemy fleet, while also repairing damage suffered. Going slow means hitting easier, but also being hit easier, here’s where repairing comes into play. Once close go in between enemy ships and fire both ways. Use Gur Panthers for screen against Ram and incoming fire.

Basilean Average strengths:

Movement to cost ratio,
Nerve to cost ratio,
*Structure Points to cost ratio,
Crew Strength to cost ratio,
*Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
Light Weapons to cost ratio,
Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
Red Turning Angle availability,


Orc – Berserker faction.

Least durable, but also good SP to points cost ratio makes Orcs a Glass Cannon faction. Orc main strength is Boarding Action, ease and damage increase with which it comes into play (Ram, Morax, War Drum of Spite, Ensnared, Rabble Rousing, Grappling Arm, Crew Strength, Let’s Get Them). Although Orcs excell in boarding, they can also pack a solid punch. There’s a tone of C weapons which can be buffed to a point of madness (Morguns, Yinn Greythunder) and can be leveraged for good positioning (Gorfang Bluejaw).

Strategy proposal: Go hard and fast using Boomboats to disorganize and divide enemy fleet formation (IDW). Fish for solo easy targets with important Heavy Hitters, while ganging up on enemy Heavies with your cheap stuff, ram (deal some damage), immobilize (grapple) and keep them occupied – guns silent, move into position with your Heavies and bomb entire cluster into splinters, cheap Orc ships included. In late game use boomboats to their maximum potential, shooting all directions amidst enemy ships.

Orc Average strengths:

Movement to cost ratio,
Nerve to cost ratio,
Structure Points to cost ratio,
*Crew Strength to cost ratio,
Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
Light Weapons to cost ratio,
*Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
*Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
Red Turning Angle availability,


Dwarf – Hammer faction.

Most durable sledge hammer of a faction, packing top numbers of L-H weapons across the fleet. On top of a Nerve re-roll (Headstrong) Dwarfs have access to a large spectrum of upgrades that can fill any holes in their overall straightforward play style. You need durability? Done! (Master Engineer, Advanced Construction). You need to deal with these pesky Boarders? Easy! (Dwarven Ale). Wanna pack even more punch? Dwarfs got your back! Flame Belchers, Ironwatch Marines). This allows to hone certain ships for specific jobs, like Boarding counter, a tank or a heavy damage dealer.
Dwarfs come in steady and focused, thanks to almost flat speed across entire fleet. Once they pierced your fleet – they’ll be back to bite a piece of your stern. (red arcs, Advanced Engines on entire fleet).

Ship of interest: Hunter, packing a solid 3L and 15SP on a 10pts. expendable platform.

Strategy proposal: Go fast and hard, divide and conquer enemy fleet. Dwarfs seem like a faction that want’s to charge, guns blazing, then go through the middle of enemy fleet, wreaking havoc. Pick weakened targets of opportunity for GrimmStones and Furies. Make use of Engines and red Turn Arcs setting up for Raking Fire. Remember about special tools in your fleet – ships, that thanks to proper upgrades, are very good at one particular thing.

Dwarf Average strengths:

Movement to cost ratio,
Nerve to cost ratio,
Structure Points to cost ratio,
Crew Strength to cost ratio,
Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
*Light Weapons to cost ratio,
Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
*Red Turning Angle availability,


Empire of Dust – Artillery faction.

Straight off the bat the EoD fleet might come as pretty average. Their stat specialty is NV and they excel at IDW. There seem not to be a common theme across the faction, except Boarding Action mitigation (Curse of Undeath, Terror) and bad turning (Yellow Turn Arc all over the place). Yet the EoD comes with a lot of surprises. Different ships specialize in different things and this is what makes this faction Interesting. Empire of Dust is all about where and when… and with which tool. You need to break an incoming blob of enemy ships? War Galley and Soul Hunter will bomb from afar with all that sweet IDW, while rest will add some H and L to the mix. You need to intercept or go hunting for juicy artillery at the back of enemy line? Kopeshi is the fastest ship in the game and has a solid CS, Terror and Curse of Undeath to sway it’s chance in any Boarding Action. Dust Chaser is a Gur Panther with Light Oars, capable of taking a punch while screening your heavies. Most importantly you can extend your heavies lifespan by cheating SP (Slave Squadrons, Expendable).
EoD is also the trickiest faction, being able to deal damage in pretty unexpected places. On top of situational maneuverability (Windblast, High Priest T’Mork, Light Oars) EoD has a range of damage dealing tools (Balefire, Arkhanten the Cursed Slayer, Soul Thirst, Lightning Bolt, Soul Snare).

Strategy proposal: Leverage IDW and keep enemy at a distance. Screen your fleet with Dust Chasers and make a good use of Slave Squadrons to eat up some of enemy fire. Once amidst tight battle, outflank with Kopeshii to pick valuable targets, while the rest of the fleet does some Soul Hunting AoE, IDW up close and bring down carnage.

Empire of Dust Average strengths:

Movement to cost ratio,
*Nerve to cost ratio,
Structure Points to cost ratio,
Crew Strength to cost ratio,
Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
Light Weapons to cost ratio,
Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
*Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
Red Turning Angle availability,

Hungry for more empire of Dust in-depth analysis? Visit the Empire of Dust is Stronger than
You Think article
and learn how to master the undead fleet!


The Twilight Kin – Assassin faction.

Stat wise the Twilight Kin fall into the same archetype as Orcs – the Glass Canon. This is clearly backed by the highest Crew Strength to Points Cost ratio, 2nd best Close Quarter Weapons to Points Cost ratio and the fact that C Weapons are present on every single ship, except Tiny Needlefangs.

The main difference between the two factions is how they go about dealing damage and the consequences of getting close.

Where Orcs seem a bit more flexible* and prone to sacrifice with crippled suicide Ram exchanges, the more maneuverable Twilight Kin are focused on well placed Boarding Actions and Glass Canon engagements, dealing massive damage and aiming to cripple, as any retaliation will be devastating to in-fleet synergies.Orc have access to IDW, XL ships, can build ships for either Boarding Actions or Shooting with Morax / Morguns.
Being by far the fastest fleet, combined with access to Shroud (enemy gets -1 to Hit over 8″) the Twilight Kin will get close – it’s a fact. Once in range, assuming key pieces are in place Grappling enemy ships is just a formality (Ensnare, Barbed Harpoons and common upgrades), then it’s Boarding Actions. Here’s where Twilight Kin excel. Blade Dancers, Decimate, Banshee’s Wail improve the odds of defeating enemy ships, but it is the synergies that allow them to outshine the Orcs. Being caught between attacking Blade Dancers and a Banshee’s Wail seem like a quick trip to the bottom of the sea.

Strategy Proposal: When it comes to Shooting the Twilight Kin strength lays in their maneuverability and speed. Coming in fast, turning just before enemy prow to avoid Fire as She Bears Broadsides, unleashing a Raking Fire C salvos up close would be a go to strategy. Then Grapple, then GG. Once Grappled, enemy ships cannot Fire as She Bears, the rest of the fleet can safely position themselves behind a target, either joining Boarding Action or just bombing it with a C Stern Rake.
One thing to keep in mind is the Domino effect. The Twilight Kin rely on in-faction synergies and initial Damage far more than Orcs. When crippled the Orcs can simply throw themselves to Ram, usually getting a great deal out of it. The Twilight Kin have a very high NV to Points cost ratio, but they lack XL ships to hold the fleet together. Once the Twilight Kin start to crumble, the synergies will dim down, the fleet will start to loose momentum and Damage output necessary to pull preferable deals off. Because of that you want to go fast, hard and move to safe positions, be it Boarding Actions or over 8″ and outside deadliest enemy firing arcs.

On a side note: Compared to initial fleets gameplay the Twilight Kin seem like a difficulty level went up. I do believe this is a trend that we will see continued with new releases.

Twilight Kin Average strengths:

*Movement to cost ratio,
*Nerve to cost ratio,
Structure Points to cost ratio,
*Crew Strength to cost ratio,
Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
Light Weapons to cost ratio,
*Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
*Red Turning Angle availability,


The Kingdom of Men – Marksman faction.

Fast and hard hitting the Kingdom of Men is in my opinion the strongest mid-long range Armada faction. The KoM is basically Basilean ships on steroids, maintaining good Movement, maneuverability and low Cost, while trading fancy rules, IDW and durability buffs for pure Damage output, To-Hit modifiers and insane Nerve shenanigans. With access to Spotter Gunboat Squadrons and Motley Crew, the Kingdom of Men Light and Heavy Weapons shooting is very potent.

The fleet is all about tight formation around Main Battle Ships and two important auras to build around: Solid Command will keep the ships in the fight, even after being crippled, while Spotter will ensure more hits. Large and Extra Large ships can also benefit from a War Wizard, which is a powerful tool to deal with foes that came too close invading KoM’s zone of comfort. Putting a Blaze Marker on an enemy ship is an easy way to force a bad choice between shooting and a risk of being blown up on a roll of “1”, on next activation.

The Kingdom of Men Flagship can be improved with choice of Captains. Kraiger is a solid Nerve buff, while Dead Eye McHardy turns unmodified “9” into Crits, doubling the Crit chance. On a ship like a Conqueror, which is basically a Basilean Dictator, the Critical Hit chance buff is pretty deadly.

Strategy Proposal: Staying at Steady Speed in a tight formation ensures all ships benefit from auras and allows Gunboat Squadrons to keep up. Enemy IDW might be a problem so unless there are C heavy ships closing in, IDW should be the main target, as otherwise the Kingdom of Men dominates Long Range Shooting. For this purpose it is imperative that all ships are equipped with Crows Nests. In case of no IDW and slow enemy fleets the KoM can Anchor comfortably to increase To-Hit chance, except Frigates. Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction Frigates are perfect to be used to screen the fleet and force enemy ships to fire at an unfavorable targets. Because of that they should always be moving, thus more difficult to hit.
Finally, as Nerve is not an issue, the KoM can baldly undertake some high risk high reward actions if things get to close and personal. 

Ship of note: Conqueror, packing a solid 6H, 3L, 3C with a cheaper Veteran Crew and Critical Hits on “9-10” is just a must have. With Master Carpenter, Dead Eye Hardy, Motley Crew and Crow’s Nest this beast is barely 99 points. *Drops the mike*, or rather an Anchor. 

*Movement to cost ratio,
Nerve to cost ratio,
*Structure Points to cost ratio,
*Crew Strength to cost ratio,
*Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
*Light Weapons to cost ratio,
Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
Red Turning Angle availability,


Elves – Spearmen Faction

Fast, nimble and precise, the Elves sail into Armada with a very interesting set of stats. Although average speed is being dragged down a notch by XL ships, the Elves are the fastest faction on a ship by ship basis. With a Red Turn Arc on par with Dwarfs and the Twilight Kin, the Elves claim the very top thanks to Masters of the Waves skill, which allows them free extra turns at the end of first Move during each Activation. Combined with an immense arsenal of Light Weapons, this extra agility allows for some deadly shenanigans.

When it comes to weaponry the Elves pack the highest L/ship across the fleets and a solid number of H Weapons. They also have access to one IDW vessel type with lack of C being the only drawback to the fleet’s arsenal. This mid-long range weaponry setup is further enhanced with Elven Eyes, allowing Elves to ignore -1 To-Hit for long range shooting.

Up Close is where Elves does not feel comfortable. They come with average CS, lowest SP/Cost ratio, worst NV on average and no C weapons. To put it simply – unless necessary, you really don’t want to engage the enemy fleet up close.

Strategy Proposal: Go steady and keep the enemy fleet at length, making full use of Elven Eyes, buffed IDW and Auto Criting Enchanted Bolt Thrower. Adjust speed to keep Argus Squadrons within aura range and add that extra umpf to your Crits and eventually aura heal with Green Lady’s Blessing before you commit to full scale sailing. Once the opponent starts to catch up, increase Speed and go around and on the back of enemy formation. With low SP and no C Elven ships are a bit too fragile to risk cutting through against probable Fire as She Bears. If you went with Therennian Sea Guard and are within Kindred Bond you may consider Boarding Action to entangle important enemy damage dealer and buy time for your heavy hitters to sink easier targets. Otherwise avoid unfavorable Borading Actions until no other choice.

Assume proper strategy in line with choice of captain: Stormwing Captain (adds another free turn from Masters of the Waves) or Madriga (once per game counts one shooting position as Point Blank for Damage purposes). Both can give you an edge when facing against heavy damage dealers. 

*Movement to cost ratio,
Nerve to cost ratio,
Structure Points to cost ratio,
Crew Strength to cost ratio,
Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
*Light Weapons to cost ratio,
Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
*Red Turning Angle availability,


Salamanders – Shieldwall Faction

To put is simply – the Salamanders are sea turtles. They come slow and steady, in a tight ‘shell’ formation that enhances their many short range auras and synergies (Elemental Roar aura, Clan Ensign aura, Shield aura, Blessing of the Three Kings). Ignoring Critical Hits (Blessing of the Three Kings) combined with canceling Crippled (Shield) and being able to re-roll extinguish fire Skill tests makes the Salamanders the most resilient fleet up to date. They have exceptional damage reduction, yet that doesn’t mean the Salamanders are not capable of bursting into movement and doing some shenanigans up close. Still I feel like they’d rather take all the advantage of their many long range weapons (including double IDW) and Blaze related tricks (Red Hot Shot) – softening their prey right before engulfing it in close range fire and boarding (Corsairs).

Stat wise, the Salamanders excel at Nerve, Heavy and Light Weapons, but it is the lack of evident drawbacks that makes them stand out. They are, at the very least, average on all other stats. Add access to all ship sizes and you have a solid base to build all the combos and strategies on top of.

Salamanders come with two interesting Captains choices, both adding FREE additional upgrades that doesn’t take up slots on the ship. This allows for turning a L or XL ship into a real deal top tier vessel, bristling with upgrades. Additionally Arhkblash Deezelo comes with a fancy rule of forcing re-rolls of successful extinguish fire tests on enemy vessels… which is just nasty.

Strategy Proposal: Take advantage of all the H, L and IDW by going steady and slow. Keep in tight formation, depending on auras to reduce incoming damage even against enemy IDW. Prolonged long range bombardment should soften enemy fleet to a point where it is optimal to fire up Elemental Roar and Clan Ensign and just go for it, choosing targets of opportunity and concentrating on crippling as many ships as possible before closing the formation for a long come about around the table. Use Corsairs and Boarding to your advantage, intercepting CS heavy enemy ships before they catch to your weaker ships. Remember that once Ablaze, enemy ships are forced to do nothing or risk getting blown into shreds, thus it might be wise to ignore ships on fire, switching attention to a more immediate threat. 

Movement to cost ratio,
*Nerve to cost ratio,
Structure Points to cost ratio,
Crew Strength to cost ratio,
*Heavy weapons to cost ratio,
*Light Weapons to cost ratio,
Close Quarters Weapons to cost ratio,
Indirect Weapons to cost ratio,
Red Turning Angle availability,


These are the Kings of War: Armada factions available for now. I will be revisiting this article to provide updates and add new content from time to time so stay tuned. Personally I hope to get some Twilight Kin and Elves commissions to add more pictures in the future, but for now glorious Four is all I have.

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Cheers!







Scarhandpainting

KoW Armada: RAMming for Dummies

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in few strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

Kings of War: Armada is a game of fantastical sea warfare. Set in a rich world of Pannithor, the Armada clashes wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against each other. As much as miniatures go, KoW Armada offers a selection of beautiful miniature ships from across four factions, with more being released every few months. Although colliding prow first into enemy ships is forbidden by the rules, some ships are designed to Ram. This usually ends up with both ships getting crushed to ribbons, which led to a lot of misconceptions about Ramming in general. Most common being “Ramming is a weak faction mechanics”. Today I will topple the topic and prime you for successful Ramming. Hold on to the decking and All Ahead Full!


Ramming for Dummies

Allow me to start by saying this: Ramming is a very strong and rewarding mechanics.

That being said let’s focus on what makes a Faction oriented mechanics good. For starters a Faction game mechanics should be synergic with faction strengths (and weaknesses). It should allow for leveraging the common rules to faction’s advantage. A Faction game mechanics can be a strong independent rule, or a synergic one in which case the more synergy the stronger rules combo becomes.

For instance Baseilan ships have the best Structure Points to Points Cost ratio in the game. They have upgrades like Aegis Shield which reduces damage taken and Blessed Hull which allows them to Repair more efficiently. Basileans also have Slopes with Helping Hand increasing Repair efficiency even more. There is a theme to these rules which translates into a strong Faction Mechanics. Worth noting is the fact that it takes more than a single rule to achieve this synergy. Like, Elohi’s Halo of Light is useless in a vacuum, but kicks in when combined with other pieces of the puzzle.

Back to Ramming, RAM(n) allows to deliberately Collide with enemy ships and auto fail the Evade test. It also adds (n) damage to the total dealt to enemy ship in case of a successful collision.
In a vacuum the rule is very swingy. Unless (and sometimes regardless if) you Ram a much smaller target, there is a chance of taking more damage than dealt to enemy ship.
On a wider scale RAM(n) goes along the common Orc main theme: High damage output and expendable ships.
Orc ships are all about C weapons, which have best damage output, but the shortest range from among all shooting weapons. This means you need to get close and inevitably take some damage before you can unleash your C volleys in a devastating salvo. Orc ships, on average, are also cheap and have a second best Structure Points to Points Cost ratio in the game.
Still the main Faction mechanics for Orcs is Boarding Actions. On average, Orcs have more Crew Strength than other factions. They also have access to upgrades that further boost Crew Strength (Morax, War Drum of Spite, Rabble Rousing etc.). Going all ahead full to get close and use all the C weapons means Orcs are also close enough to Board and they even come with cheaper Boarding Hooks and a rule allowing them to try to Grapple enemy ships moving at Full Speed! And as I already pointed out – Orcs are great at Boarding Actions.

So the most efficient strategy should follow the most efficient mechanics:
– Go at Full Speed towards enemy to get close as soon as possible to start dealing damage, plus be harder to hit.

– Use C weapons once you’re in range. Best if moving between enemy ships to be able to fire both sides for more damage output.

– Initiate Boarding Actions to protect your ships from being shot at during enemy activation, plus further increase damage output.

Where does that leave RAM(n)?
RAM(n) is just a tool. It is not a main faction strength, but rather another synergic mechanics in a wide arsenal of increasing damage output. It is more of a situational tool, rather than go to strategy.
To be successful at Ramming you must master “when” and “where”.

Proper Ramming:
* Your ship is low on Structure Points and will probably get sunk in the next enemy Activation. Might as well deal a lot of damage in a blaze of glory, especially if it also carries a Crystal Keel of Retribution.
* Large, dangerous enemy ship is next to Activate, but is also on a brink of being Crippled.
* Your main C damage dealer is soon to Activate, but an enemy ship (low on SP) is the closest target blocking line of fire to much juicier targets.
* Enemy ship has not Fired as She Bears yet and you need to avoid getting in it’s side Fire Arc, electing to Ram head on and trying to initiate Boarding Action afterwards to keep it from Firing at your incoming fleet.
* Last turn, enemy ship holds an objective, Ramming has potential to sink the ship, thus swinging the game result in your favor.

Dummy Ramming:
* You main strategy is to prioritize Ramming over Shooting and Boarding Actions.
* You use Ram as an opening move in a battle.
* You just want to see the world burn and don’t care who goest to the bottom of the sea.
* You Ram same size or larger enemy ships with no additional goal to achieve with this action.

In short: Treat Ram(n) as a tool of opportunity, a strong Glass Canon type of Damage dealing. Accept Ramming means sacrificing your ship and be sure to Ram if it’s worth the sacrifice, or if it allows you to achieve important long term goals.

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Cheers!

Scarhandpainting

“Kraken Islands” Special Project.

Over the Seas and Far Away:

I have been a huge fan of everything Pirates since early childhood. It started with LEGO Pirates back when it was still a brand new hotness, then continued to grow throughout the years. Once I moved to Miniatures Wargaming I dipped my toes in a range of Naval warfare games, Dreadfleet being the latest. Years went on, games rose and sunk, all the while I craved to find that ultimate Naval warfare experience – with beautiful miniatures and all the sassy fantasy vibes… and I did!
At the end of cursed year 2020 Mantic Games released their own naval game Kings of War: Armada. A wide range of artfully designed, beautifully detailed and perfectly themed “Tiny Resin Ships“. I fell for this game head over heels. Got all four available fleets and started expanding collection, feeding a typical hobby hype frenzy. Once I run out of ships I set my sights on a grand new project: Scenery set. But not any scenery set – an ultimate, well crafted and detailed set to match with the ships. Here’s where story of the “Kraken Islands” begun…


Uncharted Waters:

I set sails and ventured into the unknown, experimenting with stuff I had at home. Few hours of work saw a first pair of islands done. The process (that you can follow in it’s entirety here) was rather simple and the result looked pretty decent. It increased my hype and sealed the deal – I was about to make more islands!

As time passed, new islands joined the collection. First another pair in a similar theme to the first one, next a set of rocks to add verticality and diversity on the gaming board. The scenery seemed fine as a gaming set, but felt far from an “ultimate set”. 


Second Expedition:

Armed with experience from previous endeavor and nagged by a creative muse – I gathered a crew and set sails in search of ultimate Armada scenery once again. This time around I aimed at larger, multi level, more interesting islands. Scenery pieces that could tell a story. For this purpose I decided to dump plasticard in favor of bark. More so, I spent over half an hour to dug up some old sculpts, made years back for unfinishedTM 3d Settlers of Catan board project. These costed me a lot of work back in the days and I was happy to use them for such a cool project.
It took me two days to finish a first amongst the new islands. “Lighthouse Island” looked pretty dope as a centerpiece and set the direction for the upcoming series. 

The work continued and soon “Wizard Island”, “Volcano Island” and a series of smaller “Wild Islands” followed. The set looked great and brought a feeling of satisfaction. It definitely sated my hunger for Armada scenery. For the time being at least…


Friendly Sea Routes:

Having few games on the set and using it as a background for Fleets photographic sessions brought a creeping feeling of unease. Sure the islands looked cool and I already put a lot of effort into them, but something just felt off. It took a while to pinpoint the exact issue – bases just didn’t fit the fleets theme. They had to go. 
Once I set my mind on something I go for it all speed ahead! I have contacted a friend from Micro Art Studio to help me out. He used a set of size comparison pictures I took and established dimensions for acrylic bases. Time stretched as I impatiently awaited delivery. Finally – they got here (like few days later) and I let the barbarism of removing previous bases, take control of me. Pulling off huge chunks of painted plasticard, all the while protecting detail from getting damaged, was the hard part. In contrast, basing went smooth and easy.

After an intense day of thorough rebasing I had it! The final form of the Kraken Islands was there for me to behold. And it seems I’m done with the project… For the time being at least…

See full gallery at: GALLERY KRAKEN ISLANDS

Thanks for reading. Be sure to let me know what you think of the project. Consider sharing this article with someone who likes hobbying around with miniatures. Find me on Facebook and Instagram. Most importantly have a great hobby time!

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Tutorial: Painting KoW Armada Empire of Dust Monolith

Welcome to Painting Empire of Dust Monolith tutorial. Here I will present to you a Step-by-step of an easy and fast painting process for Mantic Games Empire of Dust Monolith as can be seen in Gallery: Armada Empire of Dust.

Before we start, some notes:

  • This tutorial require airbrush.
  • You can use any paints, not just the ones I recommend. You can use this chart to compare paints between different brands.
  • Please note pictures present a huge miniature under strong light that might result in a feel of messy and clumsy paint job.
  • As usual, please take note that what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

Step one: Undercoat

I started with a thorough layer of Games Workshop Chaos Black spray.

Step two: Deck

I airbrushed Vallejo Khaki (air) over main deck and all top structures. I then flatbrushed GW Flayed One Flesh on top of Khaki layer. 

Step three: Broadside

I airbrushed Vallejo Panzer Dark Grey (air), followed by a layer of Vallejo Cold Grey (air). 

Step four: Gold

I then painted front and side ornaments, plus some additional detail with GW Warplock Bronze, followed by a solid flatbrush of P3 Molten Bronze and a highlight of Army Painter Shining Metal.

Step five: Wash

I then applied a lot of wash mix of Army Painter Strong Tone Ink 1:1 Army Painter Soft Tone Ink.
(If you followed my other tutorials you know at this point that the mixture is one of my very best friends in all painting.)

Step six: Main highlights

Once wash was dry I drybrushed broadsides with Vallejo Medium Sea Grey and then with Vallejo Ghost Grey. (I forgot to take pics). I then flatbrushed deck and top structure elements with GW Flayed One Flesh and edge highlighted with Vallejo Off White.

Step seven: Blue

I added accents of blue by manually painting chosen elements with Vallejo Magic Blue (air). I then highlighted with Vallejo Electric Blue, followed with Vallejo Glacier Blue. Furthermore I applied a wash layer of GW Guilliman Blue (glaze). Finally I added points of focus and thin highlights with Vallejo Glacier Blue. 

Step Eight: Purple/Pink

I applied Vallejo Warlock Purple onto chosen areas, including top gem, piramid inner lines and catapult flames. I then applied couple successive highlights with different mixes of Vallejo Warlock Purple and Vallejo Off White. With few highlights made with pure Vallejo Off White I moved to glaze Army Painter Purple Tone Ink into few areas of choice. This was contained mostly to top gem and recesses in catapult flames (and around). 

Such prepared miniature I airbrushed with two coats of Vallejo Polyurethane Matt Varnish and mounted on a base, following Tutorial: KoW Armada Water Bases


I hope you find this tutorial interesting. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your friends, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me with this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Scarhandpainting

Tutorial: Painting KoW Armada Dwarf Fleet

Welcome to Painting KoW Armada Dwarf Fleet tutorial. Here I will present to you a Step-by-step of an easy and fast painting process for Mantic’s Armada Dwarfs as can be seen in Gallery: Armada Dwarfs.

Before we start, some notes:

  • This tutorial does not require airbrush.
  • You can use any paints, not just the ones I recommend. You can use this chart to compare paints between different brands.
  • Please note pictures present a huge miniature under strong light that might result in a feel of messy and clumsy paint job.
  • As usual, please take note that what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

Step one: Undercoat

I started with a thorough layer of Games Workshop Chaos Black spray. This is a standard procedure for me. Chaos Black spray is my go to choice when it comes to undercoat. 

Step two: Armor

I painted entire ship with slightly thinned Games Workshop Warplock Bronze. Once Warplock Bronze dried I flatbrushed entire miniature with Army Painter Gun Metal followed by another flatbrush, this time Army Painter Shining Silver. Finally I painted few elements with P3 Blighted Gold. 

Step three: Red

Next I added some color to the ship by painting roof and side balcony elements with Vallejo Burnt Red which was in turn highlighted with a single layer of Vallejo Flat Red.

Step four: Wash

I richly applied Army Painter Strong Tone Ink onto entire miniature. The paint might be glossy depending on particular pot you got. I recommend adding just a bit of Matt Varnish before use.

Step five: Highlights

With wash dried out nicely I applied a layer of Vallejo Flat Red in most exposed red areas. I then followed with edge highlights and few lines/dots of  Games Workshop Lugganath Orange. I then done the same for gold except I used GW Auric Armour Gold. For silver I went back to Army Painter Shining Silver, highlighting few exposed spots and edges.

Step six: Front slots

I decided to add additional touch to the front of the ship, by painting two frontal slots blue. I done this by applying a layer of thinned GW Fenrisian Grey and then a wash of GW Contrast Ultramarines Blue

Step seven: Basing

In simple terms I followed my own tutorial for Armada Basing, that you may find HERE, except I used standard hdf bases painted with a single layer of Vallejo UK Mediteranean Blue, followed by standard AK Interactive Pacific Blue, AK Interactive Water Effect and AK Interactive Water Foam textures. 

I hope you find this tutorial interesting. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content to any groups or forums, where it might help someone paint their miniatures. Scarhandpainting is not just about professional miniatures painting service. I do my best to provide interesting tutorials and share my experience with other hobbyists. 

Scarhandpainting

Tutorial: KoW Armada Water Bases

Welcome to Kings of War Armada Water Bases tutorial. Here I will take you on a Step-by-step trip through the process of creating and painting bases as can be found in the Gallery: Armada Basileans from Mantic Games Kings of War Armada.

Before we start, some notes:

  • I put aside realism and focused on simplicity and rule of cool instead.
  • As usual, please take note that what works for me might not necessarily work for you.

Introduction:

I plan to go all-in with Mantic’s KoW: Armada. This means a lot of ships from across numerous fleets. To keep my bases easy to paint and visually coherent I decided to limit myself to some water effects and simple tricks. Instead of going through a lot of effort, trying to build multiple layers of transparent water, I switched out standard MDF bases for clear acrylics. 
That doesn’t mean the method wouldn’t work with MDF’s. If you’d rather stick with Mantic’s bases – undercoat them white, then paint sides with some dark blue and you’d be ready to go. That being said, this method was developed with clear acrylic bases in mind so please take that into account when trying different approaches. 

The process:

Without further ado, let’s get these bases wet!
I used:

  • Pacific Blue Water Gel from AK Interactive Diorama Series
  • Water Foam from AK Interactive Diorama Series 
  • Water Gel effects from AK Interactive Diorama Series
  • White paint
  • Clear acrylic bases

Step one:

I used a large brush to apply AK Interactive Diorama Series: Pacific Blue Water Gel onto entire surface of the base. I then stippled a bit to create an uneven surface. Lastly I used a finger to remove the excess gel from the sides of the base.

Step two:

I repeated first step two more times, leaving the paint to dry between each repeat. This darkened the base significantly and resulten in a nice solid layer with a lot more detail on top of the first one.

Step three:

Once I was done painting ships I applied AK Interactive Pacific Blue Gel at the edges of each ship’s underside. I then followed with Super Glue through the middle and glued the ship on top of a base. Excess gel was queezed out and filled any holes between the ship and the base.

Step four:

I then applied more Pacific Blue Gel around the ship. It was a bit messy so I used a clean flat brush to move any excess gel from the ship’s sides and onto the base.

Step five:

Some time later I applied AK Interactive clear Water Gel effects around the ship. I used a small brush and slowly built the mass of splashing water at the front and on the sides of the ship. This time I didn’t care about messing up the hull.

Step six:

Next I applied AK Interactive Water Foam. Using a small brush I applied small dots of the effect on top of previous layer. This one is very white so I tried to avoid applying to much. Mistakes were removed with a clean flat brush – pushed into more tight lines, where necessary.

Step seven:

Lastly I mixed white paint, water and AK Interactive clear Water Gel effect and stippled a bit behind and around the ship to create a nice effect of dissolving water foam. 

Task complete! The fleet is now sailing into the unknown. I hope you like this tutorial. For more pictures of finished fleet visit Gallery: Armada Basileans

Be sure to let me know your thoughts on the method either in the comments below or at my facebook profile

Please link this tutorial to anyone who likes to learn new hobby tricks. 

Lastly I also invite you to follow me at Instagram, where I drop some nice pictures from time to time.

All speed ahead and see you in the next article!

Scarhandpainting

Review: Mantic Kings of War: Armada Ships

Mantic Games – a UK based company made up of hobby enthusiasts that brought about such titles as Deadzone, Kings of War and Warpath into the tabletop wargaming world. On top of that the company released some successful board game titles including Hellboy, The Walking Dead and DreadBall just to name a few. Just recently Mantic Games released a brand new Kings of War: Armada – a game of sea battles set in the already established world of Kings of War’s Pannithor. Today I would like to take you on a short cruise through two Armada sets – an Orc Booster Fleet and a Basilean Booster Fleet – to see how the miniatures present themselves straight from the box. Grab the railing and let’s set sail into the unknown!

I would like to move away from the usual Quality, Visuals, Functionality etc. review format. This time around I will go ship-by-ship with a summary at the end. Let’s get started!

Basileans:

First set to go is Basileans. I love the design of Basilean ships and decided this will be my main fleet. Purchased seven sets in total so you see I’m pretty serious about this. Anyhow – the design is great and each individual ship has a lot of character. Basilean ships seem a bit high fantasy, but also look realistic enough to feel like real ships. 

Gur Panther

Elohi

Slopes

Impressions:

Basilean set is impressive but not without issues. The Gur Panther and Slopes are of a very good quality with crisp detail, just few air bubbles. Elohi in the other hand turned out to be damaged (hull part missing one lantern) and with one mast below expected quality. Anything between bent and air bubbles I have no issues with. This is to be expected with resin models and is easy to deal with. Damaged parts and miscasts are something entirely else and I will be placing a complaint about the Elohi. I can’t stop but wander if this is a rare occurrence, or is this something Quality Control accepted as a valid product.

Orcs

Time for some Orcs! Amongst humans, dwarves and undead, the Orc ships stand out as ragtag, crude, scrap-built hulks. This seems classic Orcs, regardless of what game you’re coming from, and I like this about Mantic – they go “classic” a lot. 

Hammerfist

Blood Runner

Rabble Squadron

Impressions:

Except for one shifted casting sail and some bent masts, this set turned out to be of a very good quality. A lot of uneven detail clearly forced Mantic to divide the sculpts into more parts – some cannons and hull elements being packed on their own. Everything fits though and I can say this is the quality I would expect from such a set. No issue beyond standard miniature preparation to deal with.

Price:

Kings of War: Armada stuck me as a rather cheap to get into. With two players set priced at 90€, Booster and Starter Fleet both being 40€ and an additional large Ship being 20€ you’re looking at a pretty low entry point. You can get into the game for about 50€. Furthermore you can get to an entire fleet with backup models for about 100-150€ more. Seems very well priced for a full skirmish tabletop game experience.

Booster Fleet price of 40€ for four resin ships (six to be precise, but four playable miniatures) is a legit price, especially taking into account these are large resin miniatures. 

Summary:

I won’t lie – I’m totally biased towards this product. I’m hyped for the game to a point where I ordered couple sets on top of a huge pre-order, just to get them few days before the main order arrival. There are clearly some issues with particular parts which I hope will get resolved. Either way a rating is required of me thus on a scale where 10 is awesome, 8 is good, 6 is ok, 5 is mediocre, 3 is bad and I don’t want to even mention 1 – I’d say Kings of War: Armada Booster Fleet sets are a solid 8 plus. They rub on “awesome” and are of much higher quality than most resin miniatures I worked with up to now. What’s your thoughts? Is this rating fair, or do you disagree? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers!

Where to buy:

Mantic Online Store is the way to go. 

Alternatively if you’re from Poland – I highly recommend any of these two stores: Vanaheim / Minibitwa

Scarhandpainting
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