Saturday, June 25, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Blood Angels Legion Rules

Background Material Evaluation.
From the twisted inhabitants of Baal, their Primarch's gene-helix literally re-wrote them to be the perfect warriors on a more fundamental level than even the Space Wolves underwent.

The background material supplied in Retribution points to a painful transformation from mortal to Astartes, more than any other legion. Not only does the physical change take its toll, but the mental change too has a high price tag to be paid. This nicely (and grim-darkly) hints at the thirst and the rage contained within 40k codex rules.

Legion Rules Review.
There are a number of special rules associated with the Blood Angels. I'm going to start with the main "drawback" one. Its called Host of Angels and means that a detachment of this legion may not have more vehicle units than space marine units with the Blood Angels special rules. A direct consequence of this is that certain rites of war will simply not be available to them. Clearly, the Blood Angels are based around infantry from this rule alone.

Without Remorse, Without Relent combines with this to ensure that the Legion marines may never go to ground out of volition. Plus, they must always sweeping advance. This gives some back up for the marine based army that the previous rule encourages.

Lastly is the one that they're getting a lot of renown for: Encarmine Fury. This is a great rule and gives a one "pip" bonus to wound in close combat when using a melee weapon. This is outstanding in a legion vs. legion battle as a S=4 vs. T=4 roll now requires a 3+ to wound and not a 4+. This rule gives the Blood Angels a huge edge over other Legions. Better yet, the Blood Angels player can save points on powerfists and just get power axes instead in a number of cases. Since it is a unique rule, it will combine nicely with other close combat rules from the main rulebook as well.

There's a small host of special war gear available to the Blood Angels.

Replacing a volkite serpent with a hand flamer is a nice touch … but probably won't be taken much unless its on a praetor.

Replacing a plasma pistol with an inferno pistol is attractive as an alternative melta option.

A blade of perdition is fine for a HQ selection that cannot take a paragon blade, but otherwise if you don't want AP2 at initiative, just take a power fist to be honest.

And then there is the assault cannon! Beautiful stuff really with decent strength and shot outputs, even if there is a risk of it jamming since it is a prototype weapon compared to its 40k analogue. Take them with a heavy support squad and watch when your opponent asks to see the rules for themselves when you pick up a large handful of die.

Summing up.
We'll look at rites of war separately. But overall, the Blood Angels are wanting to be an infantry based army with plenty of focus on close combat to take advantage of the Encarmine Fury. Take some drop pods, rhinos, or jump packs to ensure a rapid insertion and you have an army to match the Emperor's Children for sheer speed and punch, let alone a flare for artwork on their vehicles and banners. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Planetary Empires Campaign - Round 2 Update

Continuing a few reports based on our local campaign, Round 2 has now played itself out and the Planetary Empires map has been updated accordingly. 

So what happened here?

Well, my 30k Alpha Legion forces played against the Space Wolves (40k) in this round. The mission was "harvesting", in which there were 4 objectives and each player gains 1 victory point for controlling any objective and the end of the OTHER player's turn. 

In playing against the Space Wolves, I did something that I've not done much before: chose something other than infiltrate for my mutable tactic. Instead, I selected counter attack as I knew my opponent was running a bucket load of wolves backed up with long fangs and Wolfen. Further, due to the way the games are set up, I was at a 75 pt disadvantage. I didn't think I had much to lose, so I castled up in one corner of the board with a terminator squad hunkered down in a land raider for most of the game. This remarkably paid off, and I scored a victory as I took out the Space Wolf army piecemeal, whilst retaining the bulk of my army in a largish blob. 

In the other game, the Eldar massacred the Chaos / Khorne forces by a very very narrow margin. I was thinking that their game could have gone either way -- and it could have right down to the last moment. A few saving throws here or there gone the other way and it would have been a massacre the other way around. A very tense game.

This means that the updated map shows that the Eldar are winning with 6 tiles in total (they're undefeated!). Both Chaos and my Alpha Legion have 1 win and 1 loss each, but I now have 4 tiles and Chaos has 3. The Space Wolves are yet to score a victory and have been reduced down to 1 tile. In the next round, I will be facing off against the Eldar. I'm not looking forward to those D-Scythes to be honest with you. But we'll see what happens!

As a result of these battles, I stole one of the Space Wolves tiles right at the top of the map, whilst the Eldar conquered one of Chaos' tiles adjacent to their territory. We both expanded in to the only unclaimed land. Much building of manufactoria proceeded (they give +50 points value for a battle) and we now find ourselves in this situation. We're having a week off, so round 3 won't be until 2 weeks time. Wish me luck! (I'm going to need it against 40k Eldar!). 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

More Apothecary

Following on from the Primus Medicae in my last post, today a shot of a completely assembled regular apothecary, reporting for duty.

The base still needs some work performed on it to complete the look (and scene) off, but otherwise this one is on the shelf and ready for painting. In terms of the sculpt itself, I particularly like the extra lenses on the helmet -- I've genuinely no idea what they're for, or the narrative for them (infra-red perhaps?), but they do look very cool. Who wouldn't want to be treated by a person with so many eyes, after all?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Primus Medicae

Today, a blend of parts from Forge World, Chaos Space Marines, Space Marines, and Dark Angels. This is my take on a Horus Heresy era Primus Medicae in terminator armour. Although I thought about equipping them slightly beefed up compared to a baseline terminator, I didn't actually feel there was any particular need to do that. The Primus Medicae is there for his special rules, rather than his special weapons. Hence I thought I'd leave him fairly "plain" in this case. That said, I have green stuffed around some of the additional apothecary parts from the Dark Angels terminators (notably the search light on the top of the armour) and a hole in the resin just above the head. No pinning has been used here either -- its just straight gluing. I have, however, increased the height of the miniature by building in some greenstuff between the torso and the legs so that it matches the scale of the other terminators that I have in tartaros armour (maybe I should have saved the dark angels apothecary arm for some Cataphractii armour! lol!). I like the overall vibe of this piece and will paint him up along with the rest of the other terminators that I'm building. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Dark Angels Legion Rules

Background Material Evaluation.
As my long term readers know all too well, I have a soft spot for the Dark Angels and a couple of ancient Death Wing terminators that have not seen action in a very long time on the table top. So when I say that I was pleased to see the rules released for the Dark Angels in 30k, rest assured that I was very pleased indeed!

As the First Legion, the Dark Angels are pictured as being one of the most prominent legions in the early Crusade and the Emperor's personal army. They therefore became a template for the other legions yet to come. But more than that: they had access to all the old weapons from the Old Night that the latter legions did not (and instead relied on the Martian pact for armaments). Thus, the First Legion, have access to a wide array of weapons to use. Although losses in the Crusade would see the Sons of Horus become more important later one, the First Legion were a great threat to Horus in the Heresy: so much so that the Night Lords were sent almost in entirety to keep them at bay. Unsuccessfully. Hopefully we will learn more of their background in future publications when rules for the Lion become available. But for now, I'm pleased to see that the Legion is portrayed as very technologically capable, combined with a ruthless attitude to warfare and some sinister secret keeping. 

Legion Rules Review.
There are only two rules to discuss here. I'm going to start with the big negative one first. And that is Covenant of Death. The Dark Angels way of warfare is similar to the World Eaters in more ways than many would dare to suggest. Only the complete destruction of an enemy is good enough. Therefore if they fail to have a greater number of units left, then they suffer giving 1d3 victory points to the enemy. This is even steeper than the Alpha Legion negative (Martial Hubris). I cannot underscore what a humongous negative this is. For goodness sake, play to win and play to massacre. This may mean taking lots of small units even, which will make the Dark Angels steep in points cost for 30k. 

Their main rule though is a good one in principle. Mastery of the Blade means that they strike at 3+ to hit in close combat when using something that has a blade. Like a combat blade. Or chainsword. Or power sword. Or anything sword-like. They do like their swords! This is great when one is facing off against another legion (as is common in both 30k and 40k games). But it doesn't apply all the time. Only when the enemy is also at the same WS. Hence its not applicable all the time, but does give the legion a solid edge!

The Dark Angels are known to have stock piles of weapons from the Old Night. They therefore have access to the Terran Greatsword (not that great to be honest, unless you're fighting mechanicum monstrous creatures). The Calibanite Warblade is nice in the sense you get it for the same cost as a power sword, but it gets S+1 which is a very nice bonus. Take it if you were going to take a power sword, simply put!

The Plasma Repeater should be an awesome weapon. But unless its on a Support Squad mounted in a rhino, its really short range means that you're going to be taking a plasma gun most of the time in preference to a plasma repeater. 

Stasis Shells are actually really good as they can downgrade an enemies abilities through merely hitting them (-1I and -1WS). Aim for something with WS=5 and then charge them with combat blades (or a Calibanite Warblade) for some good effects. 

Molecular Acid Shells are totally worth it for heavy bolter upgrades as well. The variable AP alone means it can be absolutely devastating. Literally. Poisoned attacks are awesome. You won't look back after taking these once, I assure you. Totally worth it!

Summing Up.
We'll look at the rites of war separately at a later date since there's now a proliferation of new rites available to all legions. 

Overall, the Dark Angels are looking like a really solid legion with some nicely specific close combat bonuses augmented with acidic shells, stasis shells and upgraded power swords on characters which is all very nice. I'm a bit concerned with the Covenant of Death rule, but it can be played around with some forward thinking and army building. 

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Plasma Blast Gun

My Warlord Titan is getting very close to final assembly now. I've painted up every part of it that I intend to put together to at least a base colour standard. And today, here's the progress on the Plasma Blast Gun component. It is not finished though. Its just at a base colour standard right now. I need to perform shading, highlighting, weathering and everything else yet. But to do that, I want it attached and on the model so I can decide in a collective, whole-model approach, how to achieve these aims. 

Regardless of that, I wanted the plasma blast gun to look like it was pulsating with power along its coils. And for that reason, I decided to have several colours of blue along its length with a periodic white-blue highlight colour along the length. I think this suggests that the power is pulsating along and about to erupt from its tip. It still needs work in the blending department, but otherwise I think these base colours look neat.


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