Unboxing the Ro-Kan

Some of you may remember that a couple of weeks ago I did a give away on Twitter for a Ro-Kan starter set for the awesome Bushido game by GCT that I reviewed back in April.

The lucky winner was a good and loyal #warmonger – Nick Rapson (@Nicks_IT). I’d spoken to Nick some time ago about writing a guest post for The Shell Case so he decided to write an unboxing article about the new box of shiny I’d (finally) sent him.

So without further a do, I give you Mr Nick Rapson…

The serene martial artist masters of the Ro-Kan have long viewed themselves as above all mortal and mundane conflicts. Now, following the Han civil war, the rise of the Cult of Yurei, and the incursion of the Savage Wave, the monks of Ro-Kan are being dragged into the clandestine wars of universal balance – a war in which they will reluctantly turn out to be key players. The monks follow an age-old path and know the secrets of Ki better than any others, but they are few and divided – will they be able to unite and join forces before it is too late?

Thus are the Temple of Ro-Kan described in the Bushido skirmish game from GCT Studios.

I recently won a Ro-Kan starter set for the game and I have to say, they are just about as far removed from my Space Wolves as I’ve ever been!  I want to cover the set as a whole so first off, here’s what you get in the pack:

  • Five sculpted metal models
  • Five plastic slotta-bases
  • Five stat-cards
  • One red die, six black and six white – enough to play the game
  • A small booklet containing *some* fluff on the factions and the rules you need to play.

It’s good to see the trend of getting everything you need to play in a faction pack is still going strong.  All you really need to play are two packs – and some space!

The models:

Some of them require assembly but that’s fine.  Though some of the pieces are very fine so pinning them to make stronger bonds isn’t really an option.  I’ve yet to try to glue them together properly but I suspect I’ll be using a fair amount of Liquid Greenstuff to achieve that stronger bond.  No matter how careful we might be, wargames models are seldom handled delicately and to be honest, I’d be worried about some of these breaking once they’d been glued.

Aside from that, the detail is of high level.  The scale is 32mm and since all are unarmoured they look very slender.  They also have a very oriental look about them which GCT Studios has captured perfectly.

The bases:

Nothing special here – they’re slotta-bases that have raised lips around their circumference which should allow for some interesting basing patterns / materials.

The stat-cards:

These contain all of the model-specific rules you need to know during the game.  I have to admit that I found the symbols quite difficult to read but I imagine that once I get to know the rules and characters, that won’t be so much of a problem.  The cards felt a little flimsy to me so to protect them, might be best to laminate them.

The dice:

Just 13 standard six-sided dice – exactly what you need to play the game.

The rules booklet:

The booklet is small and compact so definitely easy to carry around.  Unfortunately, given the (at first glance) complexity of the rules, most of the booklet is made up of text.  A few tables and some small artwork break it up a bit but I found it quite difficult to keep reading until the end.  A scenario rounds out the booklet, which is useful – particularly when learning new rules!

I’m certainly intrigued enough to try the game out – just need to find more players!

@NationOfLee’s Astral Claws

Lee Parry, aka @NationOfLee has painted himself up a rather splendid Astral Claws army and as he doesn’t have a blog (yet!) I said that I’d show them off for him. But, rather than just bunging up a whole load of pictures I invited Lee to write a bit of a guest post about them to go with the snaps. So, without further a do I give you Lee and his miraculous and marvellous Astral Claws:

Hello readers of The Shell Case and fellow #warmongers. First off I’d like to thank Phil (now known as Forgefather) [I don’t know who calls me that but I like it! – TSC], for allowing me to post on his site.

Like a certain Chapter Master, Lufgt Huron, I’m feeling fairly pleased with myself at the moment; this week I finally finished painting up 2,300 points of Astral Claws Space Marines for Warhammer 40,000.

A couple of weeks ago I was at Warhammer Worl and got into a conversation with Jes Goodwin (Awesome right?!), and he asked me why I’d picked Astral Claws. Without climbing too far up his anus, the reason was that I’d had a few choice Bitz Box pieces knocking around for a while (all his designs) and really wanted to build a Marine force. After reading the first few Horus Heresy novels too I was utterly sold on the Astartes. But, having been involved in one way or another with 40k since Rogue Trader, the pre & post Heresy Chapters…well…I really kind of knew it all. I wanted something new…and something that no-one else had! I really like the way that I can use my Astral Claws both as a Loyalist and Secessionist force, sometimes even both!

The first five pics here show the force all assembled – I ideally use them organised from everything from 600 point Schools league Battles ( I run my schools team – Did I mention we are champions of Cambridge?), to 1k Doubles, typical 1,500 point for Gaming Nights and the occasional 2k ding-dong. The ‘host’ before you is organised in a number of ways that way.

The whole project has taken 9 months from reading Imperial Armour 9 to this very week (I need to add a few transfers and decals…) and so far the battle Honours read: 10 Wins, 1 Draw, 4 Loss.

Things that go vroom!

Pictured here is the Land Raider “Relentless” and a Drop Pod. Is the Land Raider an obvious choice? Does it attract stupid levels of enemy fire? Yes on both counts – but it is AWESOME! Both the ‘Raider and the ‘Pod are integral to the tactics I use – A “spearhead’ Assault. I tend to deliver my Assault squads directly into the heart of the foe, while also trying to take out enemy heavy support, Both of these vehicles help me achieve that!

The Land Raider is covered in oaths – in my fluff, these are the remains of the petition presented to the Council of Terra by the Tiger Claws Chapter…This is 2nd Company after all…

The Drop Pod was a pain to paint: but i really like the effect of the Fantasy lion head from the Elven Chariot – worked well. Both vehicles were hand painted and I can only imagine that from this point onwards I’ll ALWAYS spray vehicles…

Next, it’s the “Wardens of The Maelstrom”. All the pics here are of my Troop Choices: 1 full tactical Squad, 1 Combat Squad, 1 Scout Squad. It’s too easy to take only the very minimum of regular Marines in your list, because it’s so easy to forget how amazing in game Marines really are! One of these Squads has literally won every game for me so far, either by capturing an objective or unleashing the Emperors’ justice (Bolters at rapid fire).

While the Tactical squad is direct from Assault On Black Reach (but with a helmet conversion – just a hint of the impending Chaos), Both the Retaliator Squad and Scout Squad contain some of my favourite models designed, one of he reasons I wanted to build a force in the place!

The Combat Squad: painted as a 1st Company Retaliator Squad – The “Tyrant’s Legion”, the Mark 8 ‘Errant’ Armour is my favourite and has been since ’92! The shoulder pads from ForgeWorld. ( also a few arm swaps with Chaos marines here…) The Sergeant has odd coloured eyes right? Kinda like it.

The Scout Squad was an old Arbites force I used for Necromunda, waaaaaay back in the 90’s, I cleaned ’em up and repainted – in a few of my lists they appear as Marines, either to bulk out the Devastators or to when I use the Tyrant’s Legion list (20 marines a squad anyone?!?)

So, a little on the paint scheme here. Armour: Boltgun metal, washed with undiluted Badab Black [How apt – TSC], drybrushed with Chainmail, then Mithril Silver. Pads etc: Ultramarine blue, highlight enchanted blue (wet blend) – washed with Asurmen Blue 3:1 water. Gold: Dwarf Bronze, wash of undiluted Ogryn Flesh, highlight Shinig Gold, highlight 2 – 4:1 Shining Gold & Chainmail. Point highlights Mithril Silver, Final wash of Ogryn Flesh. Apparently all of that is now achievable with Ghenna’s Gold – arsebiscuits… All of my Veterans and Sergeants have gold helmets and detailing. Bases: Calthan Brown, Tau Sept Ochre Drybrush, Bleached Bone highlight – I have it in my head that the surface of Badab Prime is desert…dunno why really! You might notice that some of my favourite minis/characters have very spiky bases – from the Chaos Rhino kit – this is meant to represent the “Palace of Thorns” – the Chapters fortress-monastery.

I really think the overall effect of the paint scheme works – yes there’s a uniform look, but by being non-codex, the occasional flash of blue and gold works really well.

It was Huron that said Big Guns Never Tire. And who am I to argue? Every Marine force needs a Devastator Squad, I was particularly happy with how the Sergeant turned out, a little bit of Bitz Build there!

The Dreadnought come direct from the Assault ono Black Reach box, plus a Heavy Flamer I added. The game function for both of these units is fairly straightforward…Shoot ’em in the FACE!

As for the Thunderfire Cannon – well, what a cunt to put together…Finecast this please GW! But I think it’s turned out well, the Techmarine is a total winner in-game it has to be said, the Servo-Harness makes him anything but an easy target. As for why I got it, well… it’s a big gun and I had 2 old 90’s servitors I wanted to use!

What 40K army would be complete without some mental unit that costs a lot and only tends to work half the time?

Terminators. Assault on BLack Reach again – a Space Wolf Heavy Flamer a bunch of Badab war trophies and what I think is a mean-ass looking’ Sergeant! The Sergeant’s head is the Empire General’s head from Fantasy (Tiger Claw again!) and the Lightning Claw I added for a little theme fluff there’s a number of Red Scorpion, Mantis Warrior and Nova Marine trophies on each of the bases.

Sternguard. ALL Marines should be like this. All of them. ALL THE TIME. [Word – TSC]

Vanguard Vets. So, this unit comes in at 260 points….yeah. 260 points. 5 Marines, lightning Claws and Storm Shields. [Who cares, they look fucking cool! – TSC]

But when I put ’em with my HQ…

Heh. If there’s one thing that Forgeworld do best it’s create a mental, balls out, do or die HQ that usually makes your opponent look like he’s trying to squeeze out a square poo!

However, for smaller games I do use my Bitz Build of Chaplain Cassius from the Space Marine Codex. At Toughness 6, Combi-Flamer and all the usual Chaplain rules he does well. I’ve painted the ruff on his cloak in Tiger fur detail (wonder what Chapter he’s from then…) [Not to be a damp squib, but he’s an Ultramarine – TSC]

Armennus Valthex – The Alchemancer. I was disappointed with this model. Not really ‘special’ enough but depending on my mood he really is fun to field! A Conversion Beamer, plus making one infantry Squad have poisoned Bolters? When I use the Tyrant’s Legion rules you can have 40 Bolter shots (Rapid fire range) hitting on 3+ and wounding on a 2+! C’tan? I shit on C’tan. Swarmlord? Say hello to my little friend! Abaddon? Yeah..let’s not talk about Abaddon….

Captain Corien Sumatris – The Tyrants Champion. This is my guy, I love the character and I’m still fairly happy with the Bitz Build. Sumatris is Tiger Claw, ‘hidden’ within the Astral Claws – as Captain of the 2nd Company, I Think it’s fairly easy to assume that a number of my troops are also Tiger Claws. His base has the head of the last Champion and a Red Scorpion helmet trophy! In Game he is simply awesome…

WS 7. I 5. Furious Charge and TWO attacks for charging. He gives any unit he joins Furious Charge and +1 to their WS. Then I put the Chaplain in the unit. Then the Vanguard Vets. Then I stick them in the Land Raider. They get to charge 20″. Theres’ 24 attacks, majority needing 3+ to hit, re-rolling any misses when charging, at strength 5 with 16 of those hitting attacks getting to re-roll to wound. All wounds caused are with power weapons. The unit has a 3+ invulnerable save and is fearless. [But as I discussed today, they’ll still die just as easily as a 16 point Space Marine when a battle cannon shell lands on their heads… – TSC]

Well That’s My Astral Claws – I’ve painted them for so long now, it seems weird that I’m done. Or maybe I’m done…a couple more Drop Pods couldn’t hurt could it? I’ve always liked those Venerable Dreadnoughts and Bikes quads are really cool too…and didn’t I buy a Forgeworld Huron lately?

DocBungle in the 21st Century

Not so long ago I asked @JohnnyHawkwind to right a guest blog for The Shell Case for being the first person to vote for its name back in July when I first spawned this unstoppable wargaming juggernaut.

I enjoyed this so much – if for no reason other than it give me another day or so to think of something intelligent/interesting/nonsensical (delete as appropriate) to say – that I’ve decided to make it a regular feature. And who better to get things going than my good friend @DocBungle of Miniature Musings of a Bear who has not only helped me link in with many fine warmongers on Twitter but helped me get The Shell Case forums and the Alliance off the ground.

So without further ado, I give you Mr @DocBungle…

Hello everyone, are we sitting comfortably? No? Tough!
The good ship Shell Case has asked me to bore you all with a guest post, you poor, poor, poor souls…poor… Anyway I racked my brain trying to think of something meaningful and thought-provoking instead I wrote the following…
Wargaming in the 21st century

Back in the annuals of time we see that the only way to communicate with a gaming community beyond your friends was to get your models seen in magazines or going to shows/tournaments or gaming clubs/shops. So I am told, anyway, I am still too young to remember such times…
Now however we have forums/websites left right and centre (and very good one being The Shell Case forums…hint hint) as well as the huge numbers of blogs, online magazines and even gaming tools on your smart phone.
What has this meant to the world of wargaming? Well let’s look at each in turn.
Websites (and the internet as a whole)
This has truly been thebiggest thing to happen to wargaming (and the world I suppose) as now you can find so many small companies peddling their wares, and the advent of online shopping means that it’s easier now to get our grubby (and hairy -TSC) little hands on them. Also you don’t need to be a multi-million pound business to get a game off the ground anymore. Now all you need is an idea people can buy into and of course something shiny for impulse buyers (all gamers).
So what is the downside? Well gaming saturation for one. You will have noticed it is becoming very hard to find unique games out there. New games are coming along all the time but the lines are getting bit more blurred (card mechanisms being popular at the moment). I probably shouldn’t complain with so many great games you can now discover I suppose.
What an amazing idea for an electronic community to share ideas and thoughts about everything related to the particular avenue the forum is for be army specific ones to genre specific ones to general gaming ones.
The downside? I am sure we have all come across nerd rage and fan boy mentalities on forums and can I only assume it is by 11 year olds or people who are lobotomized as they log in (or are the kind of people who live alone surrounded by action figures still in their original packaging – TSC). This is a shame as people can miss out on good discussion threads or ideas when they descend into basically shouting matches. Strong opinions yes but back it up! I will say this is not just on wargaming forums but any public forum it can happen, the curse of the internet hardman…
Well I have a blog and have met others because they also have blogs. So it is another way of extending the community but also sharing ideas outside of a forum environment and is an easy way to show your models if you are any good or if you don’t care (like me). It is also an amazing place to get independent reviews of almost anything.
The downside? They can be hard work to keep going sometimes when you hit gaming burnout and like websites there are so many it can be hard to find the good ones sometimes although word of mouth and blogrolls helps with that.
Online Magazines
These are starting to become popular as it is a great cost saving exercise from the publisher to the reader. They also tend to be independent magazines so cover whatever they wish which helps as I have found interesting miniatures/rule sets from magazines that I hadn’t uncovered via the other areas already mentioned.
While I am here I will also mention electronic rule sets these are also becoming popular due to the advantage mention about online magazines but also the increase in tablets and eReaders. I believe it is only a matter of time before some of the bigger guys start using it as well.
The downside? This is simple to me and is the trade-off you have to deal with, we are generally a tactile bunch as gamers and love holding something in our hands a new book/magazine/model so this is the only downside to. Sure you could print it off but it’s not the same is it where is the shiny and colour (I am cheap so B&W for me).  All I will say is find your happy medium between the 2 and you will be a happy bunny and save the odd bit of money occasionally as well, which keeps the other half sweet.
Smart phones
So we come to the latest gadget in our arsenal the smart phone. Whichever one you prefer they all have apps that can cover nearly everything you could desire to help with wargaming from army builders to dice to scatter apps even rulers can be done although not the best in my opinion. What this means is you could play games with only the rulebook and everything else in your pocket that you carry round all the time.
The downside? Everyone loves throwing dice and comes back to the tactile nature of the hobby. Yes the apps are handy if you are caught short but nothing can replace really dice and flicking through army books can it? 
So there it is my first guest post ever and hopefully it was mildly interesting in some way and don’t worry I am now going to be locked back in my cage and won’t bother you for a while……honest!
A massive thanks to @DocBungle, I’ll sleep soundly tonight. 😉
If you’re interested in being a guest writer on The Shell Case then drop me a line via the contact page.