Monday, March 29, 2010

Captain Rull Mothantis, part 4: Painting

To paint Rull, I wanted to do something a little bit different to normal. I decided that I would have one half of the model in darkened conditions, and the other half in light. Effectively, this means that the (imaginary) light source will be coming from one side of the miniature, with the other side almost silhouetted. The above photo shows the finished product (apologies for the camera flash causing bright spots on the wings -- doing it without the flash looked a lot worse). The light source is coming in from the right hand side of the picture (as viewed face on).

To paint the miniature, I undercoated it black to help out with the dark side of the miniature and the darkened crevices that I knew would be present in the final painting. I then made a start on the lit side of the miniature, painting it pretty much in the same style that I've developed for other plague marines -- a rusted feeling with some greens and brown, edged in a lighter cream colour.

The tough part here was figuring out which parts would be lit, and which parts would remain in darkness given the source of light.

To do this, I ended up shining a light late at night on to the miniature and just looking at where the light fell, what parts of the miniature were visible and which were hidden away by self-shadowing.

If I were to think about which was the hardest part of this, it would be the wings. Given their curvature, I had to pay special attention to which folds of the wings would be lit and which would be darkened. Hence I applied a lot of selectively located washes to this part of the miniature.

The darkened side of the miniature was easier in some respects: I knew it had to be dark, so I didn't set about painting it in glorious technicolour. I did however, selectively highlight a number of areas just to better define the shape of the miniature (e.g. the armour on the legs, the wing tips, and I even gave the bolter a very gentle boltgun metal dry brush).

There's just enough colour in there to suggest reflected light coming in from the other side of the miniature. For instance, it is obvious that the wings and the tree stump are brown and which parts are metallic, but it is hard to gauge any real detail, or fine colours in there as would be the case in low light conditions.

Overall, I'm happy with the way this miniature came out -- it has been an experience for me painting in this manner as it is not a technique that I've used extensively or am particularly familiar with. But the experiment has worked for the main part.

In battles, I will use the miniature in regular games (i.e. not using the rules I came up with) to represent unique plague champions or a winged chaos lord with the mark of Nurgle. Alternatively, I might just use the miniature in a kill team warband from time to time, or even as part of a fast attack raptors squad.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Captain Rull Mothantis, part 3: Rules

For all intents and purposes, Rull is considered an HQ choice. He is best utilized in low (less than 1000 points) games, where a usual Chaos Space Marine choice might cost significantly more. Rull has the following profile and rules.

Captain Rull Mothantis (HQ slot)
Cost: 105 points
4 4 4 5 2 3 2 10 3+/6+
Unit Type: Jump Infantry
Number per army: 1 (unique).

Power Armour
Bolt pistol
Power Fist
Frag grenades
Krak grenades
Blight grenades

Special Rules:
Mark of Nurgle (included in profile / Toughness is 4 for instant death rules)
Feel no Pain
Independent Character
6+ Invulnerable save

Psychic Power:
Nurgle's Rot.
Special Condition: Rull MUST attempt to use Nurgle's Rot every turn, even if there are no enemies in range.

In terms of coming up with these rules, I simply price a plague champion and added on the power fist and the other accessories as standard. This was followed by adding on 15 points for the extra wound and rounding up. I used half-price wings as an incentive to select this character whereas the 6+ invulnerable save is about the only full give-away here. This is somewhat balanced by being forced to try to activate Nurgle's Rot every turn. He has no choice in this matter! If playing a narrative campaign, then I'd suggest that Rull cannot be "killed" by a perils of the Warp attack from being forced to use the Rot -- rather, the narrative should be that the Rot has incapacitated him for a time, until Nurgle re-animates him. It encourages the player to play him aggressively less he dies from the rot before the end of the game -- hence the very dynamic pose for the miniature (see part 2 of this mini-series).

The feel of these rules is about right for the points value. This is a low level character that represents someone who was once a possessed chaos space marine but is left with various "mutations" from the experience (power fist for an arm, wings, a 6+ save from once being daemon-kin and Nurgle's Rot that occasionally overcomes him).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Captain Rull Mothantis, part 2: Model

This is the miniature that I'm going to use to depict Rull on the battlefield with. I'll show how the painting went in the final part of this series of four.

The bits used in this conversion were as follows:

Base = Back2base-ix resin forest base.
Legs = Chaos Space Marine standard. Left leg has been chopped off and reposition with some milliput.
Torso = Death Guard resin from Forge World.
Shoulder Pads = Death Guard resin from Forge World.
Left Arm = Possessed Chaos Space Marine. (Representing a mutated power fist).
Right Arm = Chaos Space Marine standard.
Wings = Possessed Chaos Space Marine.
Bolter = Chaos Space Marine standard.
Blight Grenade (held in the power fist) = Warhammer Fantasy Zombie boxed set.

Altogether, this is a more dynamic plague marines than I usually encounter or set out to build. I think that the positioning of the bits looks like he has just come in for a landing on top of a tree stump and is about to charge forward, bolter blazing and blight grenade / death head at the ready.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Captain Rull Mothantis, part 1: Background

(Today: some fluff to start a series of four postings about a unique character...) After the Heresy, the Sons of Horus became the Black Legion. But they were suffering many woes. The Emperor's Children stole the clones of Horus from them. Their numbers were shattered. The other traitor legions held them in contempt. Abaddon, unifying the core of what was left of them, lead lightning raids to destroy the clones. As the years became decades, the chaos powers that the Black Legion paid service to shifted also ebbed and flowed. Caught up in the ebb and flow was one Captain Rull Mothantis.

In the midst of the wars to unify the other legions behind the Black Legion's banner, he gave himself up for daemonic possession. A Great Unclean One of Nurgle answered the call and mutated his body. He increased in bulk, grew mutated wings and his fingers lengthened to monstrous proportions: pushing through the gauntlet of his power fist.

Yet, in the fullness of time, one war lead to another war. Nurgle fell out of favour as Tzeentch ascended into prominence in the Black Legion. It was shortly thereafter that the Black Legion figured out how to remove safely recover the host as the unwanted daemons retreated (voluntarily or not) back to the Warp. This discovery is reported to have singularly saved the Black Legion from extinction.

Captain Rull Mothantis was one of the first group of Black Legion marines to be safely recovered from daemonic possession. Regaining full control of his body, he realized that the body was scarred for eternity. the Black Legion had not yet discovered how to turn a mutated body back to its original form. Even the Thousand Sons were reported to be suffering from excessive and rampant mutations without finding a cure. Although Rull knew the Iron Warriors simply chopped off the offending mutation and replaced it with bionic and cybernetic implants, this would never be enough.

Moreover, the Great Unclean One who had controlled the flesh had left residues behind, such was its power. His very flesh had been contaminated with various unpleasant Nurgle pestilences and his body was decaying. His fear fermented. Then he went in to action.

In desperation, he left the Black Legion on a stolen fighter and sought out a Death Guard warband. They accepted him as one of their own and he dedicated himself once again to Nurgle, but this time in control of his own body and no longer suffering from the ailments that the Great Unclean One had left for him (although still a carrier).

Rull is now one of Nurgle's finest Chaos Lord's and willingly serves both the Black Legion and Death Guard. Additionally, he has been sighted on the battlefield on numerous occasions with an ominous looking Great Unclean One. Scholars believe it is the self same daemon who had control of him all those decades earlier: but now they are strongly allied in different bodies.

(This background is unofficial; Please read the disclaimer).

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

WFB Chaos Warrior

A while ago, I thought about some chaos warriors and assembled them to see what they'd look like on a warhammer 40,000 circular base. This is the first of the chaos warriors painted, and I wanted in particular to show off the cape on the rear of the miniature.

The cape was basecoated in a cream colour and given several washes of good old devlan mud and chestnut colours. Highlighting was done with bleached bone to create lighter tones around the ripped segments of the cape and the folds. At the top of the cape, the fur (if indeed, it is fur?) was given almost a pure bleached bone highlight. Further highlighting was accomplished by mixing some skull which with the cream colour and applying it very lightly to the raised areas.

Finally, the lower portion of the cape - that bit that almost drags along the ground behind the chaos warrior was given another wash to suggest that it had been soiled by the ground and the warrior's own feet.
In contrast, the front of the warrior still needs a bit more work. The original idea was to have some Khornate paint scheme going here, but I've overdone the reds (especially their inking and washing) and I haven't yet highlighted it properly. Let's not even mention the horns on the helmet ... they need much more attention to get right.

Overall, this is one miniature that looks better from behind that from the front! But I've learnt a lot about how to shade and highlight capes from painting this miniature and may use that on a chaos terminator lord at a later date.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Winner of the March 2010 Army List Challenge

The voting has been a nail-biting affair for this month's army list challenge (and a lot more interesting than the Tasmanian and South Australian state elections that have been reported on TV here).

Much like Tasmania, it looked like we were heading for hung vote with SandWyrm and Cthoss on level pegging after a few days of voting. Then, sonsoftaurus came up from a low count to rival the other two. In the last few days, there were a small flurry of votes coming in for all of the competitors. But in the end, SandWyrm took the poll by a single vote (and with 33% of the total votes).

Congratulations to SandWrym -- another victory and glory for you! That makes it a clean sweep for the boys from the Back 40k for this year as well. Can they keep it up?

I hope you all enjoyed this month's challenge - there were some fantastic entries in there. There will be another Army List Challenge issued on the 1st of April.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Battle Missions: Chaos Space Marines

As promised, here's some thoughts on the chaos space marine's scenarios from the Battle Missions expansion that was released earlier this month. As with the Daemons scenarios, chaos space marines have 3 related missions in the book. These are: Pillage, Black Crusade, and Scorched Earth.

Whereas I felt that the daemon's battle missions were different time-slices of one whole narrative, the same cannot be said of the chaos space marine's battle missions. They have more of a feel of "here's some battles that they might find themselves a part of at any given time".

The first mission, Pillage, does what it says on the tin: the marines want some loot, and aren't afraid to cause a lot of damage along the way to get a hold of it! Mechanically, it adds a point system to the more usual objective based missions. I've played such missions before (using identical rules even!) and have an ambivalent opinion of them. They're okay, I guess.

In Black Crusade, the chaos marines are part of a once-every-millennium rampage through the Galaxy. At its heart, Black Crusade is simply a killpoints mission, but with the feel of Tyranids attacking thanks to a variant of the "without number" rule. If we know ahead of time that this will be the mission played, then I suspect I'd want to take lots of deep-striking units (terminators, raptors, obliterators) to ensure that my units (repeatedly) came on the board somewhere useful to score maximum kill points. I think this is a fairly bland mission that doesn't truly capture the idea of a Black Crusade -- I think Apocalypse would be better suited to such monumental ideas.

Scorched Earth on the other hand is the shining winner of the three chaos space marine missions. The use of terrain features to create a truly burned-out feel of a battlefield is a good one and I'm looking forward to playing this mission. Although the idea of having alternate rules for scenery is not a new thing, the specific rules about lines of sight being blocked by them excites me. It's a little bit of a nod to the 4th edition rules in some respects.

In a generic sense, all three of these missions would be well suited to the majority of the races in Warhammer 40,000. I think I would have liked to have seen something more specific to chaos marines: perhaps a daemon planet battle where the laws of physics aren't quite the same. Or even a "Quest for the holy artifact of Tzeentch" sort of battle. Maybe I'll take up those ideas at a later date and post some novel scenarios based on them.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sons of Malice: A Test Model

The Sons of Malice are an unusual space marine chapter with very little cannon history associated with them. They're rumoured to be the followers of the Chaos god Malal -- the Chaos power who wants to destroy the others. From time to time in various White Dwarf magazine articles and Chaos Marine codex, they've been pictured and spoken about in light terms; presumably so as not to tread on the feet of the people who own the intellectual property rights to Malal (which is not Games Workshop from what I hear). But I digress.

The paint scheme for the Sons of Malice (I almost wrote Sons of Malal there) is always depicted as black and white. Although I've sometimes seen in halved, the most common form is a quartered black and white painting scheme -- very heraldic and obvious to those that know who the Sons of Malice actually are. I decided that I wanted to paint a few of these up, primarily as I got very bored with the Night Lords colour scheme that I was planning to use on my chaos chosen load-out. Moreover, I'm also wanting to create a kill team for the new Battle Missions and wanted a unique colour scheme: I think the Sons of Malice fit the bill very well.

Hence, I decided to try out painting a single chaos space marine in the quartered black and white colour scheme. Now let me tell you, black and white are two of the top three colours (along with yellow) in the category of "hardest to paint and get looking right", as can be seen from the From the Warp archive. There are a number of good tutorials out there for painting both black and white. I tried to digest them before I set about painting this model. Sadly for me, I'd already undercoated the model in black. In hind sight, grey would have been a superior colour to use.
I first decided to work on the white portions of the armour. To begin with, I basecoated these regions in dheneb stone. I was careful with this layer to leave a little bit of the black undercoat showing through around the edges. I then gave it a wash of diluted black and allowed it to dry off. The next stage was to apply a thin (i.e. diluted) wolf grey. I then blended this colour with skull white and progressively added diluted layers over smaller and smaller portions of the white armour-work. A couple of pure skull white highlights were added as a final step. The black portions meanwhile got a small coat of grey (=black plus white) in selected areas (the back pack, portions of the legs and arms). This was washed as above and then highlighted to a lighter grey colour around the edges of the armour.

Only with that all done did I start on the trim. The trim is picked out carefully in boltgun metal and highlighted in off-white. The eyes and horns were painted with a wet blending of reds and oranges. Whilst the feet were given a dusting of brown colours to simulate them having trodden through mud and general debris. The bolter on the other hand was basecoated in bolt gun metal, washed in black, highlighted and given gold accents on the arrows.

Overall, I'm very happy with the outcome of this model and am now thinking about making a kill team of Sons of Malice.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Imperial Ruins Project - II. Assembled Straight

The straight section of my Imperial Ruins from CNC miniatures scenery is now assembled, as pictured. I think that the hardest part was actually getting the bits out of the sprues and sand-papering the nubs and chads that remained on them. The material, although not dissimilar to balsa wood in density, is paper based (its MDF) which means that sand-papering is very effective (but time consuming).
In the picture, I've simply assembled the straight without actually glueing it together in any way. The joins are not so bad and it holds together well without any glueing at all. However, I will be using PVA glue to finish the job off. The building itself is reasonably sized -- the walkways are wide enough to take a 40mm sized based on it comfortably. I feel it is well suited to the gothic warhammer 40k background.

My plan for painting it includes adding some texture to the surface of the building by using some watered-down PVA glue and sand prior to the base-coat. Another update will follow once that stage has been done.

Monday, March 15, 2010

No Evidence of Witch Hunters and Daemonhunters Withdrawal Down Under

I heard a couple of whispers and unconfirmed rumours from my mates overseas recently that the Witch Hunters and Daemon Hunters miniatures and codex were being withdrawn from sale in certain retailers.

As far as I can tell, here in Australia no such similar activity is happening.
That's all I wanted to report!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Poll Open: March 2010 Army List Challenge

This month's army list challenge features 5 entrants who are all vying to have the most effective army list that is also best suited to the theme. And this months theme? To deliver a bomb in to the heart of an underground necron tomb and get back out alive; much like the old Dawn of War: Dark Crusade game.

The five entrants are: sonsoftaurus (Imperial Guard), Cthoss (Eldar), TheGraveMind (Tyranids), SandWyrm (Imperial Guard), and FoxPhoenix135 (Space Wolves). Their lists are below. After reading through them, please use the poll in the right hand column to select which of the lists you think is the most effective army list that also best articulates the theme.

Good luck to all!

Imperial Guard 1750pts Tomb Raid

Commissar Yarrick

Veteran Squad – Sgt PW/plasma pistol, 3xPlasma guns, Grenadiers
Chimera (ML/HF)

Veteran Squad – Sgt PW/plasma pistol, 3xPlasma guns, Grenadiers
Chimera (ML/HF)

10 Ogryn

10 Rough Riders


Deathstrike Tunneling Torpedo Launcher

Deathstrike Tunneling Torpedo Launcher

Deathstrike Tunneling Torpedo Launcher

The cunning plan:

Yarrick with Ogryns for a huge, tough fearless escort.
Army except for Deathstrikes advances down the tunnels together.

Banewolf and Rough Riders use their extra reach to take out clusters of crons from outside rapidfire range. Move+fleet+cav charge or 12" move+template.
Assuming by nature of tunnels, long-range fire is unlikely. Vet plasma and volume of fire from ripperguns should tear up anything that gets close, and chimera HF for targets of opportunity.

If the enemy survives that, the Ogryn+Yarrick should be able to handle things up close.

Meanwhile - one Deathstrike starts on the board and begins countdown. Either enemy fails to mass sufficiently to stop column, or Deathstrike blasts concentration.

Other two start in Reserve, and begin countdowns after they arrive, to allow for spacing out of the cover/armor/WBB ignoring blasts and keep the defenders worried. While given the scenario I wouldn't expect to see them, S10 AP1 also allows for something that could better deal with Monoliths should they come into play after all. Best case would have one blast cripple the initial defense, second one hit defenders around objective before column gets there, and third hit defenders trying to block exit after bomb planted.

On the way out, if the Ogryn are depleted and a Chimera is still operating, Yarrick joins a vet squad and gets a ride.

In a unit Yarrick should be pretty safe outside of CC, and most Necrons won't be a threat there. Even when his meatshields get removed, EW, Iron Will and his force field make him one of the toughest SOBs in the game. If nothing else, using a character with his own version of We'll Be Back should be very fun when fighting Necrons!

Autarch on Jetbike with Mandiblaster, Laser Lance and Fusion Gun: 140 points
5 Shining Spears: Exarch with Starlance, Skilled Rider and Withdraw: 237 points
--> my bomb squad. Able to move 18" each turn and packing enough punch to wipe out most Necron units in one round. Can reach a point 48 inches away in 2-3 rounds and get out again in 2 turns of turbo-boosting if necessary. Skilled Rider makes them get round corners and through tunnels without killing themselves.

Farseer: Jetbike, Runes of Witnessing, Spirit Stones, Doom and Fortune: 170 points
--> enhances the bomb squad, rides with some guardians (as he would be unable to hit and run as per Eldar Codex Exarch rules).

7 Jetbikes: 2 Shuriken Cannons, Warlock with Destructor: 207 points

7 Jetbikes: 2 Shuriken Cannons, Warlock with Destructor: 207 points

3 Jetbikes: Shuriken Cannon: 76 points
--> 3 units of Outriders to scout out the tunnels ahead of the bomb squad.

9 Warp Spiders: Exarch with Powerblades and 2 Deathspinners, Withdraw: 240 points

9 Warp Spiders: Exarch with Powerblades and 2 Deathspinners, Withdraw: 240 points
--> can jump through walls and thus hit and run Necron units. Should actually be able to engage and stall lone units of Warriors or Immortals, due to their 20 S6 shots and higher Ini in hand-to-hand.

6 Fire Dragons: Exarch with Firepike and Crack Shot, Wave Serpent with Shuriken Catapults and Spirit Stones: 231 points

Tyranid Subterranean Assault
Planting the "Living" metal virus bomb

Tyranid Prime 100
Dual Boneswords

Zoanthropes x3 180

Warriors x6 210
Scything talons, Rending claws, Toxin sacs(4+ poison)

Hormagaunts x15 120
Toxin sacs

Hormagaunts x15 120
Toxin sacs

Raveners x5 200
Scything talons, Rending claws, Spinefists

Raveners x5 200
Scything talons, Rending claws, Spinefists

Mawloc 170

Trygon 200

Tyrannofex 250
Acid spray, cluster spines, Desiccator larvae thorax swarm

Needing to disable the Necrons that lie underneath while the planet-top is stripped of biomass, a Nercrometal virus is to be release within the tombs. An Alpha Warrior is sent leading a swift pack to deliver this viral spore.

The two units of raveners can swiftly engages and tie up necron warriors early on either by pure speed or tunneling through the ground.
Mean while the Tyrannofex and zoanthrope escort the warriors and Alpha Warrior through the tunnels. The zoanthrope supplying high AP blasts at the crowded Necrons while the Tyrannofex puts three templates out that should fill most of the tunnel.

After turn one the Mawloc dives under the ground to pop up ahead of the main force, devouring entire units whole, thus denying We'll be back. Those few survivors are severed from the rest of their down comrades making recovery that less likely.

The Trygon and hormagaunts are all held in reserves. The trygon coming in via deepstrike either before or after the placing of the bomb, thus to break up the defenses and clear the path for the warriors. The hormagaunts will come in from the trygon tunnel, and further tying up necron units, making it easier for the warriors to escape.
If the hormagaunts come in before the trygon, they will work their way down the path, making sure the warriors are not overwhelmed by attacking the Necrons from behind as they try to trap the Alpha warrior.

Little fighting is needed as no Biomass will be harvested from the skirmish. Once the highly oxidizing viral enzyme has been release, the Necrons will be too busy counter-acting it. All the while the Hive Fleet takes what they need and move one quickly before retaliation and more biomass is lost.

IG Mechanized Assault: "The Screaming Iron Enema"

This list is focused on close-range AP2/AP3 killing and moral breaking with 2 HQ bomb-carriers for Redundancy.

70 Primaris Psyker
70 Primaris Psyker

165 Psyker Battle Squad (9 + Overseer) w/Chimera (ML/HF)
165 Psyker Battle Squad (9 + Overseer) w/Chimera (ML/HF)

170 Veteran Squad w/3 x Plasma, Chimera (ML/HF)
170 Veteran Squad w/3 x Plasma, Chimera (ML/HF)
170 Veteran Squad w/3 x Plasma, Chimera (ML/HF)

Fast Attack
130 Bane Wolf w/Hull Heavy Flamer
130 Bane Wolf w/Hull Heavy Flamer
150 2 Armored Sentinels w/Plasma Cannons

Heavy Support
180 Leman Russ Demolisher w/Hull Lascannon
180 Leman Russ Demolisher w/Hull Lascannon

Total: 1750

The intitial penetration into the tomb will be spearheaded by the fast Bane Wolves and the Armored Sentinels. Who should be able to chemically melt or tarpit any Necron Warriors they encounter.

Next will come 2 of the Plasma-Vet Chimeras, followed by the Psyker Battle Squad Chimeras. The Primaris Psykers will ride with these. As each new threat in the tomb is encountered, the strike force need only cause 25% casualties before weakening their resolve with the Psychic Battle Squad and sending them on their way. This should leave a large proportion of the enemy dead too far away from their kin to "get back up".

The Demolishers and the last Plasma Vet Chimera will stay back near the tomb's entrance, to guard against any Destroyers or other nasties that are summoned to reinforce the tomb. Once the inner sactum is cleared and the bomb(s) planted, these will exit with the survivors and roll off the board together with them.

Epic of Logan Grimnar, Verses 243-421
(Space Wolves)

--Logan Grimnar (who else?)

--2 Dreadnoughts with Assault Cannons
--5 Wolf Scouts with 1 heavy bolter

--4 Wolf Guard Terminators w/ Wolf Claws
Arjac Rockfist
Land Raider Crusader
--10 Blood Claws
--10 Grey Hunters w/ 2 Meltaguns
--10 Grey Hunters w/ 2 Flamers

List Total:
1750 Points

The first wave would obviously be the disposable Blood Claws, so they could satiate their thirst for battle and weaken any enemy resistance. The scouts would infiltrate past areas of resistance to strike suddenly from the rear. The Grey Hunters would be close on the heels of the Blood Claws, each squad focusing on their specialization of target. Flamers would corral hordes, the meltaguns would destroy heavy emplacements or armor.

After the initial clash, Grimnar and his bodyguards would enter via the land raider, space permitting. If the corridors prove too narrow, the dreadnoughts advance single-file to clear the way with their assault cannons and DCCWs. Grimnar and his faithful Champion (Rockfist) charge into any remaining pockets of resistance, utterly shattering them and advancing. The LRC waits to pick up the team after the planting of the bomb is complete, and makes a quick exfil.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Battle Summary: Mixed Daemons vs. Chaos Space Marines (1250 points)

This is a battle report concerning an outing of my mixed daemons (a reduced points and modified version of my usual army list) against generic chaos space marines at 1250 points. I'm also linking this battle report in to the Aftermath campaign for the first time. Although it is Forces of Disorder versus themselves, I thought the battle was sufficiently interesting as to deserve a full write-up.

This is my opponent's list:

HQ: Daemon Prince, Wings, Mark of Slaanesh, Lash of Submission (155 points)
HQ: Chaos Sorcerer, Mark of Slaanesh, Lash of Submission, Personal Icon, Bike (160 points)

Troops: 10 Noise Marines (5 with sonic blasters, 1 with blast master), 1 noise champion with power sword, 1 personal icon, Rhino Transport (335 points)

Troops: 5 Plague Marines, 2 with melta guns, Rhino Transport (170 points)

Troops: 8 generic lesser daemons (104 points)

Heavy Support: 2 Obliterators (150 points)
Heavy Support: 1 Predator with tri-las-cannons (165 points)

Initial thoughts: A rare lash of submission army to face off against! At least there isn't a land raider here (phew).

Here's my list, a slightly modified version of my more typical 1500 points list:

HQ: Herald of Tzeentch on a Chariot, with Bolt of Tzeentch (95 points)
HQ: Herald of Khorne on Juggernaut with Fury of Khorne (115 points)

13 bloodletters of Khorne (208 points)
11 plaguebearers of Nurgle, icon of chaos, instrument of chaos (195 points)
9 pink horrors of Tzeentch, chaos icon, bolt of Tzeentch, The Changeling (195 points)

5 screamers of Tzeentch (80 points)

Daemon prince with flight, breath of chaos and iron hide (200 points)
Soul grinder of chaos with tongue (160 points)

Set Up.
The game is a pitched battle to be fought over 3 objectives.
On the board, there are scattered imperial ruins and the odd hill or three on an otherwise mostly empty board. Plenty of lines of sight can be had, but whole squads can easily conceal themselves behind walls and in ruins.

My opponent places one objective in the centre of his edge. I place one objective rather near to the first. My opponent then places the third close to the other two ... almost forming a triangle of objectives near his end of the board. I'm very very happy with this set up and I think I've already got the advantage here. It's either going to be a very big win, or an epic fail at this stage I think!

Early Turns.
My opponent wins the die roll and chooses to go first. This makes me very happy. I suspect that my opponent hasn't faced too many daemon armies before ... which is always a bonus. The plaguemarines park themselves on top of one of the objectives. The noise marines aren't too far away. The daemon princes lurk behind the rhinos. The obliterators go to a hill on one flank of the board edge with a largely clear line of site to everything. The predator goes to the other corner and sits pretty. The chaos marines hold their breath as the warp tears open.

My first choice wave comes on the board. I deep-strike my pink horrors of Tzeentch near to my opponent's obliterators without scatter. My soul grinder scatters and heads back to the warp temporarily thanks to landing on some sharp terrain (ouch!) -- he'll have to come on in later turns and goes back to my reserve pool. The herald of Tzeentch sets up a bit of a way back from the rhinos that are on top of and near to the objectives. In fact, he's probably closer to the predator than the rhinos. The screamers scatter to almost dead infront of the plague marine's rhino. Well, it could have been worse.

The pink horrors let rip on the obliterators with their warp fire and bolt of Tzeentch. They ultimately cause three unsaved wounds. That means there's only 1 obliterator left, with only 1 wound. The herald of Tzeentch takes aim at the predator and vaporizes it. Horrah! I run the screamers to spread out in front of the Nurglesque rhino.

In exchange, the noise marines make short work of the screamers after they're bunched back up by the opposing daemon prince. I use the Changeling against the obliterator. Oddly, my opponent decides to with-hold fire. The obliterator is no-where near charging range of my pink horrors thankfully.

Meanwhile, the Tzeentch herald takes one wound from the plaguemarines shooting from the back of their rhino.

In my second turn, the soul grinder makes another entrance, this time coming in exactly where I wanted him: in front of the rhinos. My daemon prince also enters play, scattered by 4 inches to the side of the noise marine's rhino.

I move the pink horror squad away from the obliterator and tear him to bits with warp fire. He comes out un-scathed. But my bolt of Tzeentch finishes him. Daemon armies with AP1 weapons can be very scary sometimes.

The herald destroys the noise marine rhino. The soul grinder causes the plague marine rhino to explode. Job done very well here.

Middle Turns.
The opposing daemon prince charges my soul grinder. The soul grinder becomes immobile, but the daemon prince dies horribly. The sorcerer on the bike thunders toward my herald. He uses the lash to bring the herald closer, and then charges him in close combat. Let me tell you, pink horrors are not built for close combat. The herald goes back to the warp with celerity. The noise marines move closer to the pink horror squad and my daemon prince, without causing a single wound(!) whilst the plague marines hunker down on the objectives.

My bloodletters and Khorne herald come in to play on this turn and scatter behind a building. They craftily run around the building and place themselves in charge range of the plague marines. Here they are pictured doing said sneaking:(all my other pics from this battle didn't work out very well ... which is a shame as I don't often take pictures of battles as I never seem to have my camera on me!). I fly my daemon prince in to the heart of the noise marines. I manage to win the combat by 1 wound (dragging down another noise marine along the way). One wound left for my prince, and too many noise marines left quite frankly.

In turn 4, although the plaguemarines see what is coming from around the building, they only take down 2 bloodletters. My daemon prince gets killed thanks to the noise marines. My plaguebearers come in to play off the pink horror's icon, between the noise marines and the horrors. Meanwhile my soul grinder picks off a single, snotty-looking plague marine.

The bloodletters charge right in to the plaguemarines and kill them all in one turn flat. That's what bloodletters do. And they're good at it. The noise marines charge my plaguebearers. And get tar-pitted in an on-going combat that the plaguebearers look like they can stale-mate for a long time.

Meanwhile the chaos sorcerer on the bike tries to zoom in to conest at least one of the three objectives. Using the lash, he pushes the bloodletters further away from the objectives.

Late turns.
At turn 5, the generic lesser daemons enter play off the noise marine icon. They help to turn the tide against the plaguebearers. But not enough. All 3 units are now tar-pitted together, away from contesting range of the objectives.

My soul grinder (whilst still immobile) manages to kill the chaos sorcerer. The bloodletters hunker down on the objective, whilst my herald of Khorne detaches from the squad and heads toward the noise marine melee to support the plaguebearers.

He never reaches there as the game ends at the end of turn 5. The daemons have won by a large margin. My opponent only has the noise marines and generic lesser daemons left.

If you're playing against daemons, I'd suggest going second. Spreading the objectives out might also have impeded my single-minded progress. And two lash characters were just not needed at this points level. Another squad of troops would have been superior. A mostly fun game that I know my opponent learned a lot from. He later went on to win his next game with ease (against a drop-pod army) and went second :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Shadow Sword: Part VI. Four Sponsons

The completely magnetized shadowsword approaches completion. The four sponsons have now been finished, as pictured below. Each one of them is magnetized and can be positioned on any of the side slots along the hull. Also, the armour plating is completely magnetized too and is therefore interchangeable with the sponsons.This virtually completes the assembly stage of the Shadow Sword. It can now be fielded in any of its six variants (banehammer, stormlord, etc.) with up to 4 heavy bolter plus las cannon sponsons. I decided against going with the heavy flamer option in the end as I figured more dakka was what this beast was all about. I'll let any troops on board the beast take care of things that are close enough to suffer a heavy flamer template!

About the only bit of assembly that I have left is the top hatch. I'm not entirely sure what will go there, so I'll leave that story until another day.

I'm now starting to think about paint schemes. My overall idea with this superheavy is to paint it in colours that are akin to the early days of the Horus Heresy. This would be in keeping with the iconography of the tank -- it has chaos stars over its hull instead of the imperial eagle, but the tank itself is not mutated at all (although I might add a few spikes here and there as finishing touches). Perhaps a Horus-aligned titan legion colour scheme? Suggestions welcome!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Verdus Prime Necron Squad

I've been working on and off (mostly "off") on a series of necron warriors painted in the colours of Verdus Prime for a long while now. I generally paint them as something else to do that's a little bit different when I get a little bored of chaos space marines. Although I originally purchased these necrons with the intent of making a number of bionic conversions to my chaos space marines, they've grown on me.As can be seen, I've now completed seven of them: enough that they can now look like a squad when placed together. I fully realize that I'll not fight a battle with them (perhaps apart from a kill team mission), but I think they look cool regardless. I might even be tempted to buy a necron lord at some point in the future as well.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Reminder for this Month's Army List Challenge

Just a quick reminder today that the March 2010 Army List Challenge is still open for entries.

With five solid entries already lodged, the competition looks excellent this month! If you fancy pitting your wits against a necron tomb and the other competing army lists, then give it a go. There are no prizes beyond kudos, honour and having your name entered in to the Hall of Fame -- the challenge is simply to get everyone thinking about themed and effective army lists.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Battle Missions: Daemons

Having picked up the battle missions sourcebook yesterday, I eagerly read through it the same evening. Today, I wanted to share some brief thoughts about the specific daemons missions included in the book (I'll gather some thoughts about Chaos Marines at a later date).

Thematically, the book hits the mark for me with the daemons missions. They revolve around the concepts that the daemon army is all about. The first mission (Night Fight) represents the daemons first erupting from the Warp and causing general mayhem. The second mission (Invasion) is more about the middle stages of a daemonic incursion: the warp is wide open and the enemy is keen to shut down the rifts that allow the daemons to keep on coming through. The third daemon specific mission (Fight to the Death) is about the closing stages of a daemonic incursion: the daemons have no rifts left and no more reinforcements are coming - the enemy attempts to purge them from a world once and for all.
In Night Fight, the mission is nothing special to be fair. One distinction is that the enemy will be scattered over the board and will not have (or rather: not be able to field) and reserves: they all have to be on the board from the start. Given this fact, I feel the daemons should have a distinct advantage with a little bit of deep-strike luck and intelligent placement of units and counter-threats.

Personally, I think the Invasion mission is my favourite. This is how I imagined a daemon army entering a hapless world through a warp rift and marching forth; the defenders making desperate moves to close down the warp rift. Much like the apocalypse: reload formation of the same name, this mission is going to require a Warp Rift marker to be placed on the board. Since this rift is deadly to all non-daemon army models, I also think that Slaanesh is going to be very useful in this mission. If they pull and push enemy combatant toward to warp rift, they can readily dispose of some enemy units without trying too hard. It could be very deadly if played right!

Fight to the Death meanwhile, is a mission with nominative determinism. Destroy everything: a plain and simple mission that all armies can partake in!

Overall, I feel that the battle missions book will become an essential purchase for Warhammer 40,000 games. But I know that there are many other scenarios out there that are of equal quality, but get less publicity.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Plaguebearer Evolution

Over the years, the not so humble plaguebearer has undergone a minor evolution. Below is a picture of several plaguebearer models over the past 2 and a bit decades.Going from the left, the first two models are both from the golden rogue trader / realms of chaos era. The leftmost is "Maggotgut" (see solegends) and shows an almost hunched over and diminutive plaguebearer with a nurgling close to its right foot. The second realms of chaos one is "Wormrot". Both of these two show a different variety of plaguesword: one that is somewhat ornate, but decaying and the second that is fairly plain and smooth, albeit with a slight curve.

The next two along are the marauder style plaguebearers. These are readily picked out by the swirls featured on their blades. I'm not entirely sure why they were cast this way as the blades certainly don't fit in with the regular theme of rust (etc.). Regardless, I do like these plaguebearers a lot -- the "herald" in the middle is one of my favourite sculpts simply due to the animal horns that are growing out of the sides of his head in addition to the traditional central horn that all plaguebearers feature.

The next one is a more modern era plaguebearer. By now, it is possible to see that the plaguebearer has grown in both stature and bulk since the realms of chaos era (although I do admit that this point is accentuated by having maggotgut hunched over at the far left). Although there are a few skinnier models of plaguebearer still around, I have mixed feelings about the heroically proportioned plaguebearer. I like some of the models to be bulky, but I think I miss a lot of the more traditional open sores on the newer models.

Finally on the right hand side there is the new herald of Nurgle that is sold along with the icon bearer and the instrument player in the command boxed set. He is by far the largest plaguebearer (apart from Epidemius) that I've seen in recent times. He's easily picked out (more so than the marauder version) on the battlefield and looks highly intimidating and dynamic.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Small Discourse about the Mark of Malal

A long time ago, I got thinking about designing some "generic daemons" for lesser powers and, more specifically, Malal. Although I didn't quite turn that series in to a mini-dex (perhaps I will one day), I did gather all the articles together and got thinking about what the Mark of Malal might possibly be.

Independently of other players, I figured that the special rule "preferred enemy" would be a good fit. Having since read some historic forum entries about the same thing, I discovered that my opinion was not a new one -- other players had thought of this one before.

Additionally, others had suggested other ideas such as an increase in the number of attacks for a follower of Malal; perhaps specific bonuses versus daemons and / or mortals with the mark of another chaos power; and so forth.

It seems that the preferred enemy special rule is a good fit to the (sparse and finite) background material available about Malal. Briefly, Malal encompasses the emotion of vengeance and self-destruction -- with a distinctly anti-chaos bent. So how would the preferred enemy rule work? Which enemies are we talking about here?

I personally see the answer to that question as having multiple answers. Firstly (and perhaps obviously) it would be against models that have the mark of another chaos deity - but would that include those with the Mark of Malal itself as well? Probably, under certain circumstances. And what about those who serve chaos in a general manner? Would Malal followers have any beef with the Word Bearers legion for instance?

Personally, I think that they would. The Word Bearers worship chaos in all of its forms. Ironically, that would include Malal as well. Malal would certainly be happy to help out against such a legion. Hence, I believe that the preferred enemy rule needs to be expanded beyond other models with marks.

Would it be preferred enemy against "chaos" in general? This seems more plausible, but it would need further definition. Does it include possessed rhinos? Yes, probably. What about obliterators? Again, probably yes. And everything from the daemons codex? Yes. But what about chaos furies? They're kind of independent (representing un-named fear). Again, though, they're certainly chaotic enough for Malal to be active against them. How about chaos spawn? Many of them probably once served chaos and subsequently became spawn through too many mutations. But on the other hand, given the psychic power available through both the chaos space marines and daemons codex, it might not be the spawn's fault that they're highly mutated. But here, I think the answer is still yes as they've been highly affected by the powers of chaos (arguably).

Okay, I'm happy with that then (i.e.: preferred enemy: chaos, with a very broad definition of chaos). But here's a puzzle for you. Would the Mark of Malal enable a bonus against Sanguinius? After all, he's certainly been "mutated" by the powers of the Warp. Well, that's enough rambling from me for now. I hope I haven't caused a riot.

Addendum (March 14th 2010): I've become pretty convinced by the comments I've received that the Mark of Malal should be = preferred enemy (chaos and anti-chaos). As such, I think the easiest / simplest way forward is to have preferred enemy (everyone).

Monday, March 1, 2010

Army List Challenge: March 2010

Did you ever play Dawn of War: Dark Crusade? If so, then this month's army list challenge should interest you...

One of the missions in Dark Crusade is to engage and explore a necron's under-ground tomb; plant a bomb; and get out alive. And that is the essence of this month's army list challenge!

Overview of the Challenge:
One of you HQ units (preferably accompanied by a large contingent of friends) must traverse the game board (to the opposite edge - considered to be about 48 inches from his or her starting point) to plant a bomb at the heart of a necron's tomb (marked by an objective or similar). For the mission to be a success, your HQ must also go back the way he or she came and escape. The bomb is considered planted when your HQ unit is within 3 inches of the nominated, marked location on the game board at the start of one of your turns.

The game is a non-standard mission. It has no last turn. It ends whenever your HQ is dead, or the bomb is planted and your HQ reaches your side of the board again. Of course, if you're teleporting in, you get a head start as you could teleport near to the objective ... but you'll still have to walk back to the other side of the board (a further 48 inches) ... and teleporting inside a tunnel complex might be tricky: winding up inside a wall is not a way any terminator would want to go.

(1) Design a 1750 points army list from any codex to take on this mission.
(2) Post your army lists as a comment to this posting and suggest why they're well suited to this mission. Especially: say why your army is suited to fighting in close-quarters / tight tunnels, under-ground in necron territory and what your plan is for getting the HQ in and out. You can take vehicles, but they don't totally occupy the width of the tunnels in the necron's tomb :) i.e. A vehicle can be got around by a single file of necron warriors at all times. And of course, who says that necrons come from the front? The nightbringer can walk through walls afterall...
(3) Entries close at 01:00 GMT on March 14th.
(4) On that same day, I'll open a poll for Warpstone Flux readers to judge which army list they consider to be the "most effective army list that also best articulates the theme" (whatever readers interpret that to mean) out of all entrants.
(5) Winner will be tallied and announced on Mar 21st. (and entered in to the hall of fame!).
(6) One entry per person please.

Good luck!
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