Friday, May 18, 2018

30k is alive and kicking

So, there has been a lot of "discussion" on the interwebs and social media platforms recently about the supposed demise of the 30k game format. I will not pretend to have any inside knowledge about the rumours that have been circulating, their origins, or anything associated with that.

What I do want to say is that from my perspective, 30k is very much alive and kicking.

There are plentiful reasons to think this. Here are a few off the top of my head.

* Tournaments. A large array of tournaments feature 30k alongside 40k and Age of Sigmar. As well as Lord of the Rings. These tournaments are very well organised and attended on the whole. More than this, there remains exclusive 30k tournaments. Sure, Rogue Trader events still happen and Rogue Trader is not a recognised format much any longer. But the interest from the fan base is still there and very strong.

* Miniatures. There are plentiful new sculpts and miniatures that are coming along now and in the near future. Mark well for instance the Alpharius miniature that I hope will be up for pre-orders soon along with the other Alpha Legion goodies (terminators, new Preators, and so forth).

* Rules. The continuing publication of the Horus Heresy series remains impressive. The White Scars and Blood Angels should be getting the specialist treatment in the next book in the series that is due out later this year.

* Books. This is underpinned by the long running range of Horus Heresy novels from the Black Library that keep on coming out. Perhaps they will reach an end soon with the siege of Terra being hinted at. But after that, there is the Scouring to deal with. Plus the other Primarch books. It will keep going for as long as people read them.

* Blogs. The sheer amount of material on the 30k era is impressive. I'm not even talking about the reviews that Warpstone Flux seems to be famous for these days -- they sheer quantity of painting, conversions, and every other gram of hobby goodness out there shouts out loudly that 30k is still in business and going nowhere.

Overall, the fan base is strong, and very dedicated. I don't put too much stock in some specialist parts being withdrawn from sale -- every company does this. I'm certain that replacement stock will be forthcoming at some point in some form or other.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Digest from Coventry

Like many others in the hobby, I was not able to make it to Coventry over the weekend to be part of the festival that was being held there. However, the internet being its wonderful self means that many of us don't have to miss out on the main announcements thanks to the wonderful hobbyists that do attend these events and regularly post to blogs and other media on the news being released. More than this, the Warhammer team themselves have got involved with doing what a large number of blogs out there are already doing: detailing the news themselves, but with already extant high resolution images of the new miniatures and games being previewed.

So, what caught my eyes this time?

Near the top of the list is the extensive Alpha Legion releases that are being made. I think a number of people were able to pick up Alpharius at Coventry, but I'm going to have to wait a few weeks longer for that by the looks of it. More interesting in the Alpha Legion territory were the impending release of two praetors, pictured below in the Warhammer Community image. 



These miniatures are very interesting from a number of points of view. Firstly the design is clearly meant to blend in with other miniatures. The terminator armoured praetor will clearly slot in very nicely alongside the Lernaeans themselves. The other one features a scaled set of armour that would be very much in keeping with the head under units. Note as well the cape on this one which could readily make it useful for this purpose. 

The terminator praetor deserves a second look though. Notice that the patterns on the terminator armour are not scaled particularly. Indeed, he stands apart from the Lernaeans impending release from a number of aspects. What strikes me in particular is the edging of the armour plates. The design here is not content with a regular edging pattern. Rather, it has inlaid spikes that are highly reminiscent of chaos warrior armour (i.e. they look like part of the chaos star symbol at some level) and that's a feature that is generally not seen on loyalist miniatures too much. I sincerely hope this is hinting at the wider internal Alpha Legion civil war and the factions within it taking more shape and definition. Can't wait to read up on this within the new Horus Heresy book which has been confirmed to include additional Alpha Legion background materials alongside the White Scars, Blood Angels, and daemons faction. 

It also looks like Adeptus Titanicus will be released fairly soon as well. The game miniatures themselves look exemplary. They really are scaled down versions of the large war machines themselves down to minor details. More than this, the scenery associated with the release looks very advanced, including the Realms of Battle style boards. Whilst I don't know if I will get involved in this new game, it does look enticing.

The reports of a new version of Age of Sigmar are very welcome too. In fact, its almost enough for me to dust off some daemons miniatures, or maybe even commence a new army. Almost. Very almost. However, at the moment, I am still fixated on the Alpha Legion in 30k, and on scenery and terrain in general. Those are the main items that I'm working on and playing with at the moment, almost to the exclusion of other things. 

The Harlequins codex and the revision of Sisters of Battle looks very advanced too and exciting. They are clearly both primed for a solid release. Just to repeat: plastic Sisters. Its been a very long time coming and a lot of people are going to be very happy to say the least.

Other than that: re-tooled dreadnaught drop pods, Anacharis Scoria, Land Speeders, and more are all inbound soon. These are good days for Games Workshop and Forge World it seems!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Salting

One of the techniques that I am experimenting and playing around with in painting the Sector Mechanicus terrain is salting. 

The technique and the idea behind it is simple enough. Essentially what I want to achieve is some kind of "masking" of random areas of the paintwork. I paint over them in a normal manner, but once done, remove the masking area to create a rough or chipped appearance. 

With salting, this is achieved through application of salt. There are various types of salt available of course, ranging from regular granular table salt through to rock salt and various sized chunks in between and beyond. 

The key thing with salting is that I want to achieve a random appearance. Hence it is necessary to think about the size of the salt grains to use. Here, I am using a blend of table salt and small rock salt that can be seen in the images below.




To attach the salt to the undercoat paintwork, I have simply used tap water. Dip a medium sized brush in to the water, then dab on some salt to the brush, and then apply to the paint work. I have deliberately experimented with very little water in some areas -- this leads to concentrations of salt that retains their original shape; and plentiful water -- this dissolves the salt in the main parts and makes it lie flatter on the paint surface. I anticipate that the latter (lots of water) will also be more regular shaped chips whereas less water will lead to more irregularly shaped chips. 

Once the next layer is applied over the top of the undercoat and the salt, I will go back to the dried paint and use an old toothbrush to chip off the salt underneath to (hopefully) reveal parts of the undercoat. 

Given the hot weather at the moment, I may wait a few days before doing these next few steps though. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Undercoated Mechanicum Terrain

Deep in the Hive Cities, lurks various pipework relays connecting to vast storage vats and arcane boilers, incinerators, and forges. 

This particular kit is one that I've had for a while in the background awaiting some work alongside the rest of the Ferratonic Incinerator and Promethian Forge terrain of Sector Mechanicus fame.

For undercoating this, I wanted to take a bit of a different approach to normal and make use of some highlighting. So instead of using just a pure black undercoat, I have applied a zigzag of silver to the surface of it, as illustrated in the image. 


What I intend to do from herein is a bit of a "salting" approach to some weathering for this piece. I intend to apply table salt to the surface and then add my layers on top of the salt. Hopefully the salt will then scrub away revealing the black and silver underneath the chipped paint and provide some authenticity to the age of this sector. Once done, I intend to apply some browns and Typhus style corrosion effects to the chipped paint work. At least, that's the idea that I have in the back of my mind right at this moment in time. We shall see how this takes shape soon!


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Wargames Gallery: Low Flight

Flying in low, the Alpha Legion assets strike swiftly and precisely across the surface of the Forge World planet to secure their objectives before vanishing back in to the void leaving destruction and confusion in their wake.



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Re-Visiting Lernaeans

In the background for the Alpha Legion, the Lernaean Terminators are supposed to be the cutting edge of their assault. The tip of their proverbial spear. The recent announcement from Forge World that these marines would be getting miniatures has me rather excited as I'm sure I will be getting a squad of them. Or so. The image below shows the miniatures previewed by Forge World (Image copyright via Warhammer Community). 


I like a number of features about these miniatures. Clearly the Alpha Legion iconography is a major draw card for them. However, this is also a negative in the sense that they are all the same. Yes: they should be to some extent. Countering this is the plentiful arrangement of armour styles we have seen for the regular troopers though. Hence I am a little surprised by the uniformity of their armour. 

I really like the scaling applied to the shoulders, arms and legs though. Some really nice work there, even if painting them will seemingly take a while(!). The poses are varied enough to be interesting and some conversion opportunities do present themselves as well.

What I really wanted to return to were their rules. I have covered their rules extensively before in my large Horus Heresy review series, but given the miniatures are going to be available to us soon, I thought it was worth returning to them. There are several striking features here:
(1) stubborn (worth the price in 30k).
(2) mixed weapons (the beamer is oddly placed for what should otherwise be a close combat squad).
(3) extra pip in WS. 

The third and first points are what make the points value of this unit almost (perhaps totally) worthwhile. Given the charge, they are going to make better use of themselves than an analogous (and more regular) set of legion terminators. In a terminator on terminator fight, they will be making back more of their points. Indeed, the points efficiency of these models is higher than regular terminators due to the extra WS pip. I sat down and did some sums and thought that the points efficiency was something like a gain of 10-25 per cent on regular terminators depending on the scenario used (they get the charge; they face analogous terminators; etc). Sadly I deleted that calculation off my files, but think I'm right in recalling that percentage. Hence these guys really are the elite of the terminators.

However, there is the problem about what to arm them with. The beamer just doesn't sit right; even though it is very, very cool (and thematically fitting). Potentially the best way to go is to simply keep the cost down as low as possible and take them as it. That said, arming them with power fists or chain fists is a good option as well given that they are swinging at the lowest initiative regardless. Plasma blaster is valid. But I cannot justify the cost of the beamer in comparison to a weapons platform such as a predator that can pull the same kind of duty. 

An alternative that I thought of trying to pull off is simply to have the beamer in there as a kind of flexible utility, but then have Alpharius replace the model. Just because. Shoot the beamer in turn 1, then have Alpharius show up to wreck some other units in a different part of the board in turn 2. Not a good plan. It wastes a lot of points. But the look on an opponents face if this ever gets pulled off would be good! On reflection, I'm not going to do this ... but I cannot help but think the beamer does look good on these miniatures, and I am one for the rule of cool... its just how to play it that still is the problem without a solution. Otherwise, this is a really good, and elite, terminator squad that should see some play at certain points levels. 
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