Monday, July 18, 2011

When do conversions go too far?

image courtesy of The Kingworks Creative Blog

As many of you have seen, the BOLS video battle report this week showed a battle between the Orks and Dark Eldar. (See link here in case you live in a cave) The Ork army featured custom built battle wagons which were absolutely gorgeous. The problem however is that these models were so different than their official GW counterpart that many people have complained about this conversion.
I have some thoughts on this conversion (proxy). At our club we allow all sorts of proxies and stand-ins for models so that people can play.

However, we try to encourage our guys to use models, cut outs, proxies, that are similar in size, shape, and scale of the GW original. This is not because we are GW fan boys and don’t want to encourage our guys’ creativity. In fact, quite the opposite, we really want our guys to convert models. Hopefully we can show some of Little Zach’s (LZ) custom ork conversions, they are gorgeous and they stick within the parameters of the original models.

So.. what’s the deal with the gigantic battlewagons being a problem? Milking the system. (sidenote – this is not saying the person in this discussion intentionally is breaking the rules here) battle wagons, as designed in the 40k universe are supposed to have short armor 14 fronts with LONG smaller armor sides. There is a reason this model has been built like this, the rules are written to use this model. The game has been balanced (well in theory) to use the model with the small armor 14 area and a larger small armor area. The model was supposed to be vulnerable on the sides. Makes sense.

Now, by his custom conversions, he has eliminated this very vulnerable area of his models and his army in general. He had a HUGE area in the front that is now armor 14. In order to get side shots on these beasts one would have to travel halfway around the map instead of simply changing position slightly. This is where we start to see why a tournament or opponent would not allow this model to be used. It massages the model’s size in order to create a tactical advantage for one player. If you are in a tournament, and you see someone with a model such as this, and you think it will provide an advantage to your opponent that he would not normally have, please tell a Tournament Organize and hash it out. Don’t be scared to lose your sportsmanship score.

Having said that, don’t be a dick. Seriously. If the guy has a cool conversion, he is honest about it, and explains to you why he did the conversion the way he did. (fluffy or just looking cool or whatever). Your opponent should explain to you what the conversion is, and ask your permission to use said conversion in the match. ‘Hey guys, I just converted these awesome battle wagons as large tanks because I am roleplaying an ork army that had raided Mars and took a bunch of the heavy armor there, do you mind if I use these models in our match?’ (*presents models*) you say, hey no problem man, thanks for asking. I don’t mind at all. Boom, there you go, no need for messy arguments. If you agree to it, there shouldn’t be a problem at all. More importantly, if you lose, you can’t blame it on the model conversions. You agreed to it, so you are stuck with the results.

Most people won’t have a problem with this, but yes, you will see those people who will try to lame the rules by the way they construct their models. But have a talk with your opponent first regarding them. Maybe he even has an extra model in case you don’t agree on the conversion that can be swapped out. Just be aware of these things before you start your match, once it is started, its too late. Starting a match is basically agreeing to what your opponent is running. Have fun with this guys, and lets get out of the video battle report what we should, inspiration for modeling, converting, painting, and playing.

Until next time,

Brother C.


  1. The extra wide wagons also help the Ork player in other ways other than front armor arc.

    -Deffrollas - the wider they are, the more likely you are to be able to hit multiple units along your path.

    -Disembarkation - the bigger they are (length or width) the more options the Ork player has for hopping out. Not *as* much of an issue with these specific ones as they had Ard Case so weren't open topped.

    -Shooting - the bigger the vehicle, the more options passengers have for shooting. Again, wit Ard Case not as much of an issue.

    -KFF - the bigger the vehicle, the larger the area covered by the KFF.

    -Explosions - For vehicles that are built to roll into the enemy, this is a perhaps minor advantage, but likely an advantage nonetheless. If the transport explodes, the passengers take X damage, regardless of the size of the transport. For the enemy army that the wagon is in the middle of, a bigger wagon means a bigger explosion and potentially more models hit.

    -Objectives - the bigger the vehicle, the more likely it can contribute to contesting multiple objectives (or scoring them if carrying Troops).

    -Deep Strike protection - the bigger area the wagons take up, the more dangerous it is for enemy Deep Striking units without "safety cheats".

    There are some downsides.

    -Harder to get non-KFF cover.

    -Harder to completely avoid terrain. With Deffrollas failing a terrain check is unlikely, but possible.

    -Easier for enemy blasts to scatter and still have center hole on the hull.

    -If own army gets clustered, the larger explosions can be a downside. In a mechanized army probably not too likely, but if multiple wagons are kept in KFF range and the enemy can pop several in a single turn it could happen.

    -Enemy units more likely to be able to get into range/assault range.

    Do the disadvantages compensate for the disadvantages? Maybe, maybe not.

  2. I think you should always have a cut out of the original shape with you if you are using custom made vehicles with different footprint than the original.

    And let the opponent use wich ever he prefers when measuring ect.
    That would most definitely not be modelling to your advantage, rather the opposite.

  3. thanks for the comments. good points there taurus about some of the other factors involved with the battle wagon conversions. it looks like their TO's allowed him to roll with those custom models, which I think was the right call.

  4. I just recently made a battle wagon, but seeing as how I dont have a real one I had to guess at the proportions. I made it a long rectangle with a small front would you play against something like that?

  5. Oh yeah Gork... I think the point being made here is that you can model for advantage too much... for instance... on a godhammer pattern land raider, with the lascannon sponsons you can place them on the front door mounting causing you to gain a slightly farther shooting range... that is fine imo... but if i were to put the lascannons on the front of the land raider, thats too far and would be considered cheating..

    As long as your model is close to the official one i'd be cool with it personally