Monday, March 30, 2015

Sarum Pattern Respiration Masks for Heresy Era Space Marines

Close reading and inspection of the Horus Heresy rule books reveals a number of hidden gems and "easter egg" style gifts to the gamer. The first one of these is the Anvilus Pattern Backpack that one of the Death Guard can be seen wearing in Betrayal. Today, I wanted to note another one from Betrayal:- the Sarum Pattern Respiration Mask, pictured below.

The story in Betrayal goes that the World Eaters managed to form an alliance of sort (such that the World Eaters are capable of) with the Sarum Forge World having been deployed there and seen serious action. As a "reward", they got supplied with a new pattern of respirator. The nice part about this particular helmet is its visual similarity to those included in the space marine boxed sets. Although clearly a much later pattern, the Mk VII Aquilia Armour is probably the one that is closest to the Sarum pattern. That said, there are some subtle differences. But at a distance and at first glance, both the Mk VII helmet and the Sarum one are almost the same. Therefore, the World Eaters players should feel free to use this helmet in their conversions. And probably Alpha Legion as well - because they're Alpha Legion! 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Imperial Castellum Stronghold

A dedicated fortification available to the legion armies. I feel this was mostly included to provide the Imperial Fists and Iron Warriors -- and in particular Kyr Vhalen -- a point to occupy and defend from a position of advantage. With this fortification and Vhalen, even the Alpha Legion are going to be doing some serious head-scratching about how to take the place.

The fortification itself is divided up in to an open deck area, one large AV14 bunker and three medium AV14 bunkers. Together, these provide 5 upgrade mounting points to arm with a variety of weapons or equipment like a comms relay.

To a large extent, it depends entirely on how one wises to play the game, and the game objectives as to how to utilise the Catellum. Will you be objective camping on a single objective within the Castellum and then just grabbing another one of two as you're able elsewhere? Or is it about a glorious last stand (kill points) mission or a re-enactment of the battle of Paramar from Extermination? Given the price tag attached, this fortification will probably form the core of any armies tactics - or at least it should. So plan accordingly and think about the mission parameters (if known in advance).

Here are two example builds.

Castellum with 2 Icarus Lascannons, 2 Whirlwind Launchers, 1 comms relay (435 points)
This is a bunker to provide extra firepower at long range where it is needed. Combine with an aggressive or deep striking forward force for maximum effect.

Castellum with 2 Quad Guns, 2 Hyperios Missile Launchers, 1 Hyperios Command Platform, 1 comms relay, 1 hostile signal jammer (495 points)
A more defensive style of play here with the hostile signal jammer and automated dakka from the command platform. Not sure how the Alpha Legion will handle this against the Iron Hands and Vhalen at the battle of Paramar, but through scouting and infiltration I'd imagine. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Stormblade Super-heavy Tank

The primary weapon of this super heavy tank is the plasma blast gun. Its worth just going over what this primary weapon can do since there are two firing modes. The first is a rapid mode what provides 2 massive (7 inch) blasts at S8. The second is an overloaded mode that gives but a single 10 inch blast at S10. Let's do a little maths at this point. How much of an area can each of these blasts cover? Well, the area of a circle is pi r-squared. For the 7 inch blast, this is two lots of 154 sq inches (rounded), for a total of 308 sq inches. For the 10 inch blast, we're looking at 314 sq inches. Hence they're about the same in terms of the sheer area covered. But the strength of the blasts is clearly rather different! Ultimately how this weapon is fired will come down to how the enemy is arrayed in front of the Stormblade, but I thought it was useful to point out that the areas of both (summed) is very comparable. Yet, there is no way around a cover save, despite the high strength and low AP of the weapon.

Other than that, it has AV14 on the front, decreasing around the side and back, and 9 whole hull points. It is broadly survivable and will certainly cause a headache for anything that is footslogging or otherwise out in the open. It can be upgraded with a number of weapons which would provide alternatives for weapon destroyed results if needed. To some extent the choice of whether to go for sponsons or other tools is down to personal taste.

Here are a pair of builds to consider.

Stormblade with armoured ceramite and space marine legion crew (495 points)
Probably the base line that players of this unit will take. The marine crew improve the BS (if needed in the first place with blast templates) and the armoured ceramite is almost a given against melta opponents.

Stormblade with lascannon/heavy bolter sponsons, armoured ceramite, space marine legion crew, havoc launcher pintle, command tank (585 points)
A truly upgraded tank that provides the core of a legion's tactics with the command tank status and the range of weaponry available. Although other options like hunter killer missiles could be added, they are really overkill at this stage. As would be a second pair of sponsons, but I could see that being played as well. Just consider how many points the total army is at this point and figure out what fraction we are spending on the tank is. How many points are you willing to sink in to a super heavy?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Falchion Super-Heavy Tank Destroyer

Coming under the Lords of War slot, the Falchion is a real monster with 12 Hull Points and AV14 on the front. Let down only by a BS of 3, this is a tank to be reckoned with at first glance.

Its worth taking a moment to talk about the primary weapon of this beast: a volcano cannon. This is a Destroyer class weapon with a 5 inch blast radius and AP2. To be clear, this is a true tank killer that is going to clear the board turn by turn if permitted to do its job. It is a tank that truly has to be countered as soon as possible by an enemy, and ultimately, I think it will come down to who has the best position coupled with who gets the first turn for this purpose.

In addition to this, it sports a pair of quad-las cannons for its sponsons. These weapons, coupled with the primary volcano cannon is going to quickly add up to a multitude of immobile, wrecked or exploded tanks every turn, (or dead terminators, primarchs, monstrous creatures or gargantuans) with a bit of luck. It does not come cheap though, at over 500 points for its base cost.

Here are a couple of builds to mull over.

Falchion with armoured ceramite and space marine legion crew (545 points).
This is probably the base line build. The armoured ceramite is almost a must in 30k (or 40k even!) and the space marine crew improve the BS to acceptable levels.

Falchion with hunter-killer missile, armoured ceramite, pintle-mounted havoc launcher and space marine legion crew (570 points).
A few more upgrades here - the havoc launcher provides suppression of mobs at a distance (but maybe a multi-melta could be superior if hunting tanks 100%, or even a heavy flamer for close range suppression), whilst the hunter-killer missile is there to shoot off on Turn 1
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