Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Battle 12: The Varangur Throw Down

Last week, I played a game of Runewars (which has some really slick models and interesting mechanics), and was repaid with a game of Kings of War this week. While my opponent does have an old Warhammer Fantasy collection (Ogres and Wood Elves) from back in the day, and had technically played before, we opted to have me just build up both lists for this battle. This would be basically a large intro game. I opted for Kingdoms of Men vs Varangur, and as I was having trouble with list-building, we ended up at an unusual 1300 points.

I was hoping to fit in the newest Bloodsworn units and some gifts for them, but was having issues juggling points, so their debut will need to wait. I opted to run the duo of old Bloodsworn instead. Below, is the Varangur list.

I did manage to fit in the Horse Raiders, the Sons infantry troop, and some Ogre allies. Honestly, the Ogres were why the lists ended up at a wacky points level. I wanted to see what they could do! I figured the core of the Varangur list (Bloodsworn and Mounted Sons) would be intuitive for my opponent, and forgiving of any misplays due to their good stats, while these other special units would be available for more complicated strategies if desired.

I had 20 points left over for gifts, and picked Brutal for the Sons troop and Lifeleech for the Mounted Sons regiment. We’ll see how they do.

Most of the army is quite tough, with 5+ Defense, and the army-wide Nerve boost. The weakest links unit-wise in the army are the Horse Raiders and the Ogre Allies. Both are Def 4+, and the Raiders can probably be picked apart if I prioritize them, due to their lower Nerve. The Ogres, while lacking a source of Inspiring, cannot be wavered, and still have a decent Nerve value, so while they are a weak link, I doubt I can do much to them before they make it into combat. I think the Ogres are going to be really fun shock troops for the Varangur!

Regnum Aeternum
I really need to get hobbying on more Romans! Foot Guard and Shield Wall units are all on the horizon, but for now, my list options were a little circumscribed. Here is the Regnum’s list.

I waffled between adding my General on a Winged Beast, or running the Beast of War, and in the end, opted for the Dino and Ballista. I needed to run the Spear Phalanx units, and so needed to find a way to both get them into the game and support them enough so they stick around. The Beast would help with both. If I deployed the Beast with the Spears, they should make a good solid line, which should allow my mounted units to hit my opponent in the flank.

My two important units this game are the Knight Regiment and the Beast of War. If I can protect them and use them wisely, I think I can win.

The aged wizard shook his head, regarding the glinting of metal off in the distance. The latest scouting report were yet another nightmare made real: armored raiders from the north, along with rapacious, frenzied ogres. He drew his hood to shield his wrinkled brow from the midday sun. If he survived, the hallowed Tactica of the Regnum Aeternum would need to be amended yet again…

The battlefield was rather mundane: some forests; some height 1 hills, and some obstacle hedges and rock piles. I still don’t feel like I have a solid grasp on all the terrain rules, so apologies in advance for any goofs there.
The table, in all it's fuzzy, felty glory.
When devising my initial strategy of going wide and trying to outflank my opponent… I neglected to consider the board size. Oops. My opponent opted to be very aggressive, deploying everything besides the heroes right on that starting line, ready to pounce… and stretching from one end of the board to the other.

Oops. Instead, I have the strong center, and am in danger of being enveloped. Plus, look at those Ogres poppin' wheelies. How can I compete with that??
I revised my strategy, deploying the bulk of my forces in the center, pairing a Spear Phalanx and inspiring source with both the Dino and Knight Regiment. The Militia stood ready to take one for the team. On either flank, I deployed a troop of Scouts, with Sergeants on my left flank and Knights on my right flank. Hopefully, I could still take at least one flank, and then be able to relieve my center before it crumbled.

Turn 1: Varangur

The Varangur advance most aggressively.
My opponent had won the roll-off, but was hemming and hawing. I convinced him to take the first turn, pointing out that doing so would mitigate my shooting against him. He agreed, and moved everything up as far as it would go. The Militia got zapped by Lightning from the Magus, and wavered. (Being on the hill, I figured they would be visible, and didn’t want to delay the game by looking it up.)

Turn 2: Regnum

On the left, my Scouts advanced a bit, and landed a shot against the Horse Raiders, pivoting slightly to protect the Sergeants, and maybe bait a charge from the Mounted Sons.

The puny humans are not eager to get into combat. No sir.
On my right, my nimble Scouts pivot, move and pivot again, and manage to score a few hits against the Ogre Berserkers nearer the center. I decide to fire the dino’s light ballista into them as well, but roll 1’s to hit. I then decide to commit to this focus-fire thing, and send some Lightning, courtesy of my mounted Wizard into the Beserkers as well. I roll well, and they are routed!

Turn 3: Varangur

On the left, the Horse Raiders go into my Mounted Scouts, wavering them. This was not what I was hoping for at all. I wanted them to somehow hold, or be routed. Wavered just puts them in the way.

The Mounted Sons arrive a little quicker than anticipated...
The Mounted Sons decide to get into the thick of things, and charge through the hedge into my regiment of Spear Phalanx. Even with a hindered charge, the Sons prevail, landing about 10 wounds, and are able to rout the unit. My opponent decides to overrun, and succeeds on getting out of sight of my Knight regiment.

End of Turn 3. Even hindered, the Mounted Sons easily destroyed the Spear Phalanx.
In the center, my opponent advances, but lags well behind the Sons. The Magus lands a wound on my wizard via another Lightning Bolt. On my right, the Ogres cautiously advance, looking for a flank charge once battle has been joined in the center.

Turn 4: Regnum

I am in a bit of a pickle, and not really liking what is going on. The Mounted Sons are already through my lines, so I decide I need to commit to some fights. Hopefully, I can knock out a threat or two, and then regroup in order to deal with those Mounted Sons.

Slightly desperate charges were declared while the Mounted Sons are out of position.
On my right, the Mounted Scouts advance, getting in the face of the Ogres and shoot some arrows... hitting nothing. While the ASB flees, my Wizard gets 1 Bane Chant boost off on the Spear Phalanx, who along with my Knight troop, charge the nearest Bloodsworn. The Dino and Knight regiment charge the troop of Sons infantry. It’s a little overkill there, but I felt I needed to deal as much damage this turn as possible (while the Mounted Sons are out of position), and charge targets were somewhat limited given the initial positioning. Even the plucky Militia get in on the action, and charge the other unit of Bloodsworn.

On my left though, things are gummed up. The Wavered Scouts can’t get out of the way, so they sit there, along with the Sergeants.

Things turn out ok.

Right-to-left, the Ogres are unscathed; the Bloodsworn Wavered; the Sons infantry routed; the Bloodsworn ok, but with two wounds. I reform my Knight Regiment to face the Mounted Sons, and back the Dino up D3

Turn 5: Varangur

It’s now my opponent’s turn to feel the heat a bit. Most of his army is engaged at this point, and his heavy hitting cavalry, while safe, also can't do anything this turn. The Mounted Sons change facing, eager to present their front to the enemy Knights.

If only they started out in this position...

The Ogre Beserkers eagerly charge the Mounted Scouts on my right flank and punish them for their ineffectual shooting. While the Ogres do 4 wounds, they roll 1’s for the Nerve check, and the Scouts stick around.

Those Ogres look hungry.
The Magus sneaks another round of Lightning into the Wizard, and assassinates him. No more magic for me, and I'm now down a source of Inspiring. Lastly, the Horse Raiders again charge the Scouts on my left flank, finishing what they started last turn.

Most of the board, at the end of turn 5. The Magus is juuust out of frame.
Turn 6: Regnum

The Regnum commits to heavy combat again this turn, with everyone but the ASB getting in on the action.

Clashes all over the place!
On my left, the Sergeants gleefully charge the Horse Raiders… but they rested too long, apparently. They inflict only a single wound, and are unable to budge them. The Knight regiment of the Regnum charge the Mounted Sons, and the Dino goes it alone into the unwavered Bloodsworn, does some damage, but is unable to punch through.

The charges are repulsed.
Again, the Spear Phalanx and Knight troop charge the wavered Bloodsworn, but are unable to rout them (rolled a 3 for the Nerve check… totaling 16, wavering them again). On the right, the dauntless Scouts charge the Ogres, and manage to actually deal 3 damage. While they outperformed the Sergeants (who had Thunderous Charge) this turn, the Ogres stand their ground, and the fate of the Scouts is all but sealed next turn.

Turn 7: Varangur

The Ogres retaliate, this time obliterating the Scouts, and reposition themselves slightly, eyeing up the Spear Phalanx and Knights for the next turn. The Magus tries to Lightning Bolt the knight troop, but the rolls aren’t there.  

The Wavered Bloodsworn sit there, and the unwaverd Bloodsworn attack the Dino, dealing a some damage, but rolling just shy of wavering it.

The rebuttals hurt.
The Mounted Sons counter-charge the Knights of the Regnum, absolving a point of damage with their Lifeleech gift, and dealing 6 damage to the Knights. Thunderous Charge is out of the picture, but with more attacks, innate Crushing Strength and higher Nerve (and Lifeleech, even if it is just "1")… the Sons have the edge in this grind. I need to reinforce this fight as soon as possible.

End of Turn 7
Unfortunately, the Horse Raiders easily overwhelm my Mounted Sergeants in one go, winning that flank. The superstars had hewn their way through two of my units for the just two points of damage for their trouble. I really dig these Raiders, and this is using them on a crowded battlefield! They reposition victoriously, eyeing up the flanks of both the Dino and the Knight regiment…

Turn 8: Regnum

The Varangur had unfortunately coopted my “outflank” strategy. The Horse Raiders had their pick of targets right now, so I needed to finish these fights and regroup.

The combats... continue, with the Horse Raiders looking on eagerly.
The Dino charged the Bloodsworn; and the Knight regiment charged the Mounted Sons. They apparently understood the urgency, and even without Thunderous Charge, both were able to inflict a lot of damage on their respective targets. The Dino routed the Bloodsworn, repositioning to see the oncoming Horse Raiders, while the Knights got lucky, slipping in 6 more damage and wavering the Mounted Sons!

The Spear Phalanx went it alone against the wavered Bloodsworn, and slipped another wound through, forcing another check, and finally routed the unit this turn. The Knights had elected to charge the Ogre Beserkers, but were unable to punch through. In victory, the Spear Phalanx changed facing slightly, to try and threaten the Varangur characters, or help deal with the Ogre Beserkers next turn.

Turn 9: Varangur

Despite being down only a little in points, the Varangur were in a hard spot. Both Bloodsworn units had been lost, and the Mounted Sons were wavered, meaning my opponent would need some bold moves and some luck in order to claw his way back.

Not the best view, but not the worst either, provided you are a gamblin' man.
The Ogres attacked the Knight troop, dealing 4 damage, but unfortunately weren’t able to shake their foes.

The Magus zapped the Dino for another point of damage or two, but it stuck around as well, unfazed. The Skaald, meanwhile, ran up to Inspire the Mounted Sons, hoping they’d be around for another turn.

The gambit was a charge over the hedge, into the flank of the Knight regiment. Unfortunately, despite their previous successes, the Raiders were unable to land single wound due to the hindered charge, and the daring assault was rebuffed.

Turn 10: Regnum

The Horse Raiders bounced back 1”, opening themselves up for a flank charge from the Dino, and were driven ignobly from the field. The Mounted Sons were likewise “escorted” away by the Knight regiment, while the Knight troop was able to mop up the Ogre Beserkers this turn, leaving only the Varangur leaders alive.

Darius was nowhere to be found; his steed had run off, and a badly singed purple robe was all that remained on the hill where the wizard was last seen. The standard bearer rallied what remained of the expedition, and shepherded them back to the road home. There was much to report.

A big thank you to my opponent for the game! The Varangur were very aggressive, and very frightening to play against. This game could have easily gone very differently.

For my part, I think I deployed a little too far forward, and a little too congested (as evidenced by the gumming up of my left flank). I could have made better use of the forest in my deployment zone too, but other than those things, I think I made good decisions this game. The Scouts performed well, and I really liked seeing the new Knights on the table. They look good, and with a little more attention to the bases, they’ll look great! The Romans-only army is coming along!

After a long time avoiding it, I tried out the ubiquitous Wizard again, with the typical kit of Lightning Bolt, Inspiring Talisman and Bane-Chant. I understand him a little better now, and appreciate better what he brings to the table. I think he did a good job supporting the Beast and infantry, and may try him again later. I am also interested now in running a Mounted Wizard with Lightning Bolt to help support my Mounted Scouts with a little more damage… we’ll see what future lists hold.

As for the Varangur, they performed very well, and my opponent made a lot of good calls. Deploying everything forward was probably his first good call, as this made it difficult for me to outflank, and then with his high Nerve, it would be hard to break through. I felt the walls closing in a little on turn 3. All the fighting was done on my side of the board, highlighting just how much pressure the Varangur can bring to a fight... and this was without monsters, or the popular Fallen! My opponent played a good game, despite being essentially new to it.
Expanding further… those Horse Raiders are my kind of units, even on smaller tables like this. Hindered Charges are rough, and hard to evaluate, especially with a flank charge involved… These seem like worthy units to run every game and explore further.

I really liked the Ogre Beserkers as well. I can’t speak to the viability competitively, but for these casual games, they seem to fit nicely with the Varangur as mean shock troops. They can’t be wavered, and also have good Nerve, which somewhat mitigates their lack of Inspiring. I think they could provide some versatile support for my Varangur, but I will need more experience to develop a playbook for them.

While it could be argued that the Bloodsworn didn't actually do all that much besides take a beating, oh man did they endure it. Splendid little anvils!

Not having much experience with the Varangur yet, I've been curious about the various gifts of Korgaan, and their possible uses. The Guise of the Deceiver (granting Headstrong and Fury) has been very popular in online lists... so I've avoided it. However, I believe twice now the Mounted Sons have been hobbled via a waver and then removed the next turn. From now on, they'll get it.

Mask of the Reaper - Lifeleech

This is what I had tried running on the Mounted Sons. The gift is awkward. Since it recovers damage, you want to give it to a unit that will get hit. However, since the effect is so small, you don't want the unit to get hit that much. I think I may take a page out of the Undead playbook and grant this gift to the Bloodsworn or other small anvil unit instead. Again, the effect is small. Sticking this on your main anvil probably won't do all that much, as they will be taking a lot of fire. However, sticking it on a smaller anvil unit to "off-tank" for you; like to hold a flank for a few turns, or delay something a few turns would work well I think. I'll probably try it on some Bloodsworn regiments in a future game.

Brand of the Warrior - Brutal

I think this will work best on smaller "hammer" troops, like Mounted Sons, or even Sons infantry. Those units already deal good damage, and the gift will help you rout the target unit and go on to other things. I could also see Chieftains grabbing this, as with their base size (mounted or not), they could sneak into a combat, and do horrific things.

Guise of the Deceiver - Headstrong, Fury

This was the internet favorite. It's a good bet for just about anything, and will be what the Mounted Sons regiments get going forward. It doesn't actually protect the unit... or boost it's combat prowess... but it gives you very good chances to get one last charge in, and with the Varangur, one charge can be huge. I think this will go on big expensive units that I really don't want losing, like primary anvils (like a horde of Bloodsworn), or large heavy-hitters, like the Mounted Sons.

Thanks for reading, and thanks again to my opponent for the game!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Hobby Update: KoM Knight Troops!

One of my goals with the Regnum was to eventually phase out my old Games Workshop models. They worked well to test out Kings of War, but honestly I don't really like most of the range. A new game deserved a new army, and I've really dug the Roman/Byzantine feel I've been working towards over the last year.

One unit that was causing me trouble in my search for replacements were knights. Some of you may know... the Republican Romans weren't big on cavalry. They Byzantines (Eastern Romans) relied on them more... but I just couldn't find anything suitable to make the cataphracts I wanted.

My search led me to pick up a 1/72 scale box of HaT Cataphracts up online, but the gamble did not pay off. In the end they were not big enough to convincingly mix with my existing models, and the search continued.

Eventually, I found these Norman Knight models, from Conquest Games. The riders would work perfectly, having a lot of armor, but not plate armor. While the horses could use more armor, both from a historical perspective and to further differentiate the Knights from my Mounted Sergeants... I can work with them. The lances and full-body armor should hopefully be enough to distinguish them on the battlefield for my opponent. (Though I do want to try and model one regiment up as a group of AOE2 Cataphracts, with more horse armor ... eventually.)

These should be versatile enough to last me a while. The troops can be run-as is for smaller games, or combined into two regiments as I see fit. I really like how the grassy tufts turned out with my force of halflings, so I will probably add some to the Regnum down the line (need to go buy more). Barring that addition to the basing, these are ready to hit the table!

Also ready, well, ready again, are my Mounted Scouts and Mounted Sergeants.

When I hobbied them up originally, they got leader models, and the unit was spread across three bases, necessitating a movement tray. With several thousand points of other units now under my belt, I decided that I really do like having units multi-based, and that the Ironheart Artisan bases were really doing it for me. I don't really need more projects, but I started updating the Regnum.

....aaaand, update successful!
Really, I only have these and the four Spear Phalanx regiments to rebase, so it's not that daunting of a project. These guys are already done! The Spear Phalanx could be a little harder though, so I'll fit them in in between other projects. 

The cavalry seemed like it would be easier to work, so they got worked on first. I figured the horses' ankles were way too weak to try and separate the old model from the old square bases, so I just hacked away at the old square base; glued it down to the MDF base, and then pasted around. The paste set overnight, and was painted the following day. There are a couple of harder, noticeable edges, but that will be ok; they can be camouflaged later with grass tufts, or a little more paste or pebbles later.

So, these guys are ready for the table (again)... which is fantastic, as I did actually get a game in tonight. Battle Report 12 should be up later this week!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Hobby Update: More Varangur

I did some more re-painting and repurposing of some Varangur recently, finishing up a few more infantry units. Here they are!

Some of the gang, before the repaints.
These dudes started out as a small unit of Chosen with hand weapons, then expanded to include some command models, and then expanded even further with some halberd-toting models for a mega-battle for an End Times game of Warhammer Fantasy. Originally, I intended to keep them all in one unit, but later decided on a troop of Sons and a regiment of Bloodsworn. With the units finished, I think that was the right call. They look more uniform separated.

The Regiment of Bloodsworn, looking fancy with a bunch of gold blades.
I want to run these regiments 11-strong, so I needed to paint up a few more warriors to get there. Fortunately, I still have an existing reserve of sprue-bound Chaos Warriors from which to pull from. These didn't need much touching up, so were ready pretty quickly.

The Troop of Sons, looking equally fancy.
These were also ready quickly. I had 8 halberd-wielding models, and I needed 8, so these were basically popped off one base and glued down to another. Nice and easy..

While I was putting these two units on the shelf, I noticed an old grouping of models from a few years ago. When Age of Sigmar launched, I tried to get into it, and painted up a small force. They haven't seen much use. So, I popped them off their old (round) bases, painted up an 11th mini, and glued them onto a new base.

Former Tzeentch warriors... now Bloodsworn Varangur conscripts.
Not much to say about the units themselves. I think the Bloodsworn overall will prove to be good grinding units, particularly against other infantry. These two regiments are unique-looking enough to justify a gift or artifact when they hit the table. The Sons are also pretty sturdy soldiers (good nerve; good defense), but the goal with this troop here (as it is still a troop) would be to keep them protected until a target presents itself.

The Varangur army continues to grow! Up next for them is a bunch of reformed Khorne Warriors, which will be hitting the table as a Horde of Bloodsworn. Those will be my final group of Bloodsworn; all my remaining warriors (about 3 regiment's worth of models) will end up as Sons of Korgaan infantry... eventually. Before I go there though, I'll be hobbying on some Kingdom of Men things. New knight models are on-deck for the Regnum, and that post should be up soon!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Hobby Update: Varangur Horse Raiders & Ogre Allies

After my last post, the smart thing to do would have been to work on stuff I literally already had on my hobby table. By and large ...that is not what I did, though the KoM Knights have gotten some more paint. 

So what did I work on? Transitioning some old Warriors of Chaos models. I was reorganizing some storage and figured they'd be quick enough to convert. I was mostly right. I still have some infantry to finish up, but the Horse Raiders and Ogres are finished! Aside from painting the horses blue, these models were pretty much just rebased, so I won't post any "before" pics, just the final.

Horse Raiders
I never did actually buy a box of Marauder Horsemen back in the day. The unit was jumbled together from bitz purchases over time. I started gluing these from right-to-left... and quickly ran out of space for all five of my models, so I have a spare musician now. Oops. I may have some other bitz around though too. If I can squeeze out another unit of these down the road, I will.

They didn't see a lot of use in Warhammer for me, but I could see the appeal in Kings of War, since I don't need to point-buy to make them versatile. Mounted Scouts and Mounted Sergeants are two of my favorite units for Kingdoms of Men, and these Horse Raiders fulfill a similar medium-cavalry role with the bonus of having a ranged attack, even if the range is limited. If I can get this unit into a flank, I should have plenty of options to harry the advance of opposing units or flank or multi-charge with them. The unit seems pretty versatile, but not prohibitively expensive.

Ogre Berserkers
I loved my Chaos Ogres in Warhammer. The only "gear" they got was the Mark of Slaanesh, but they were the workhorses of my Chaos Army. They were cheap; they were speedy; and they hit decently hard. In Kings of War, their uses might be a little circumscribed (no cannonballs to catch; no charges to bait nor to flee), but I still think there's plenty to work with, and I think they'll do well when they hit the table.

By my count, the Raiders put me a little over 2000 points of pure Varangur (no marks or upgrades or items), and the Berserkers add another 450 points of allies. This evil army is coming along nicely!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Misc WIP Update

I probably have a bit too much on my hobby plate currently.

With the completion of the Halfling army, I turned my attention the the Abyssals this last week. They are the last little army collection I wanted to undertake. (For the record, I am now collecting 6 armies: Kingdoms of Men, Undead, Halflings, Herd, Varangur and Abyssals. Also for the record, I am a fool.)

Like the Varangur and Herd, my intention with the Abyssals was to do up a quick intro-army now, and then expand it a bit down the road. I don't intend for them to grow beyond 1500-2000 points though; nor do I intend for them to be played much on their own. Rather, I figured the Abyssals, Herd, and Varangur would be a solid trio to play against for a bigger group game, with the Abyssals contributing some ranged options. We'll uh... we'll see how long it takes to get an intro list table ready. I have a few units primed already, but have made very little painting progress so far, so no pics.

Kingdoms of Men
I got back to hobbying on my main army for a little bit, but unfortunately ran out of the paint color I use for sand, and have yet to find a replacement (all three of the local stores were sold out of the color, and I hadn't been able to replicate it well). I'm hoping to get a replacement pot within the next week or so. When I get that pot, I'll be trying to get a second Beast of War and four Knight troops finished up. After that... I have some more Roman infantry to work on.

After finishing the Halflings (dozens of models) and starting the Abyssals (another three dozen or so), I was burnt out a little, and looking for a brief hobbying reprieve. I decided to hobby a bit on some neglected Undead, started long ago. The models are Reaper Bones, with some weapon swaps to spice things up. While I was at it, I also dug up an old Lich model, also from Reaper. Over an evening or two, these were all done up.

The Undead are peculiar among my collection, in that I did not intend for them to be a stand-alone army. They were painted up with the intention of being loaned out to my Undead-playing friend, which I why I don't have much of the staple Skeleton or Zombie units, and instead have a lot of fun Wights and Skeleton Archers; units I knew my friend lacked, but could be useful for Kings of War.

As I approached the weekend, I was gearing up for another round with the Abyssals.

However, my birthday was over the weekend, and my girlfriend surprised me with a Mortis Engine/Coven Throne kit. I apparently commented on one once while at the shop with her (I do not recall this offhand comment at all, but mad kudos to her for her thoughtfulness). I don't recall anyone ever gifting me a figure, let alone a mammoth GW kit, so I was floored. 

So... I will absolutely need to do something cool with the model. From what little I know about the Undead though, neither kit option has a good Kings of War equivalent, with most parties online opting to run theirs proxied as either a Vampire on Undead Dragon or Revenant King on Undead Wyrm. Some kind of leader model certainly seems appropriate, though I am not sure what I want to run mine as.

Whichever I end up fielding, I will likely need to expand my Undead collection a bit (heh, excuses excuses). Right now my collection is mostly Wights, with some skeleton archers and warriors in tow. 

As I understand the typical Undead force, the Wights are a very expensive hammer, and the army usually have more of a "overwhelm with superior numbers" approach to fighting. I have some spare Skeletons and a horde of Mantic Zombies sitting unpainted in boxes, but now I will very likely have a few Undead purchases in the future. 

So yeah. I have a lot on the table to begin with right now, even more things boxed up and waiting patiently, and now another project on the horizon thanks to a thoughtful girlfriend. That's alright. I'm perfectly happy to have these kinds of "problems"! Back to painting...