Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wargames Gallery: Lured by the Masque of Slaanesh

Lured by the dance of the Masque of Slaanesh, the Black Templars leave the relative safety of the woodland ruins and come toward the Death Guard.  Only the Land Raider (top right) is unaffected by the dance, but seems unable to bring itself to destroy the rhino and its riders. 

The Death Guard leave the rhino and rapid fire the Black Templars.  This is followed by the Masque charging in to fell the remainder.  Ah, the insanity of Apocalypse!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Painting Experiment: Ghost Knight Shoulder Pad

This is a test colour scheme for some Ghost Knights of Mordrak.  The shoulder pad is a standard grey knights terminator pad with no adornment or conversion work. 

To paint it, a base coat of skull white was used in order to give strength to the colours applied over it.  The edging was picked out in astronomican grey and a base coat of white applied to the other areas.  Three washes were applied: asurman blue, thraka green and then the blue once more.  Highlighting consisted of electric blue (inner edges of the pad and raised areas of the book), grey (outer edges of the pad) and white (lettering and skull / book detail). 

My initial evaluation is that I'm not sure its quite what I was after originally.  It feels a bit more statue-esque rather than ghostly.  But perhaps that is a result of just painting one part of the miniature rather than the entire miniature in one go?  Alternatively, it may be that the white undercoat simply got "lost" in one too many wash layers and the original "brightness" of the ghostly appearance got lost somewhat. But am I being too picky? 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Colour Scheme for Ghost Knights?

Having assembled a few Ghost Knight terminators for use with a Mordrak Grey Knights army that I'm building, I wanted to start to consider what colour schemes might be appropriate for painting the ghosts with.  I noticed that a number of Ghost Knight images on the web tended to focus on greens and blues as the main hues.  The major inspiration for these colours would appear to come directly from the army of the dead (Lord of the Rings).  The image above shows such a colour scheme.  Although the transparency is not really a viable option (I wish!), the general blue and/or green hue could be something cool to aim to emulate.  I think I'm leaning more toward a pale blue colour than the green hues to be honest (the green makes me think more of a sickly cursed knight than a Mordrak ghost knight to be honest, but opinions welcome!).

The second point is whether to go for an all-ghostly colour scheme.  By that, I mean should the Ghost Knights be a complete ghostly colour everywhere (whether that's green or blue biased), or perhaps should there be some of the original colours showing through in various regions?  One alternative option might be to have only some set portions of the armour in the ghostly colours -- specifically the lettered portions on the shoulder pads (and elsewhere) to give an ethereal "inner glow" approach.  

The weapons are another area that I don't know how to approach.  Should they be "powered" like some other power weapons (e.g. see these terminator's power weapons), or should they be in the same colours as the "ghost" portions of the miniature?  Your thoughts welcome!

[image from Lord of the Rings motion pictures; posted here in accordance with "fair use" guidelines as a reference material]

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Deep Strike Mis-haps 101

The deep-strike mishap table can cause both the player and the opponent headaches when a deep-strike doesn't go the way it is supposed to.  For armies such as daemons, Death Wing and the like, this can cause even more trouble. 

As a daemons player, I often succumb to deep-strike mishaps.  But only on a few occasions has an opponent taken maximum advantage of the situation.  So for those players who do play against daemons (and other deep-strike armies), here's the key thing to punish your opponent for a poor deep-strike.

Firstly, the deep-strike mishap table has two results that you're interested in and a third that serves only a minor advantage (or potentially disadvantage).  The latter that I speak of is returning the squad back to the reserves pool.  This is probably the result that you don't want as the opposing player -- it is just delaying the inevitable return of the unit to the table somewhere, sometime.  In many cases this can be an advantage as the opposing player gets to see where would be most critical for the unit to arrive.  In late game turns, this might mean the difference between winning and losing if the sqaud materializes on top of an objective.

The mishap that destroys the squad is clearly to the opposing players avantage.  Effortless kill points are always welcome!

But the most mis-understood mishap is the one where you get to decide where to place the unit.  All too often when my opponents get this result, they simply shove my unfortunate unit in the corner of the gameboard, far away from where the action is.  This is a mistake in my opinion.  The unit that gets put in a corner will simply (slowly) slog its way to a useful position (or objective) eventually (so long as its not near the end of the game).  In order to take maximum advantage of this result, I would encourage players to put the mishap squad in some difficult terrain (just as the deep strike mishap table suggests you should do).  For a walking tank like a soul grinder, this might be devastating -- I've lost my soul grinders to this event frequently enough when facing good players.  Even for small terminator squads, it is worth considering.  Not only might they take unsavable wounds, but they'll also be slowed down by the terrain which makes for a double whammy.

[image: Warp Hornets terminators just after a deep strike]

Monday, January 23, 2012

6th Edition: A resurgence of Narrative Gaming?

With all the rumours flying around about what may or may not be in 6th edition, I thought I'd take a step back and comment on some of the flavour of the new rules, rather than their absolute content.  

I was particularly taken with the lack of kill points if a unit runs off the table, the various "levels" (if I can call them that) of feel-no-pain and eternal warrior, and how a sergeant seems to count so much more (and a deputy must be nominated if a squad sergeant suffers an untimely demise).  These kinds of rulings get me feeling that the 6th edition of Warhammer 40,000 will be lending itself to the narrative campaign style more than the current edition.  By that, I mean a sequence of games that follow on from one another and have consequences for having a major victory, versus a stalemate.  Perhaps the advantage is extra points, a superior deployment position, a unit upgrade like tank-hunters (for successfully recovering those objectives that you've been contesting in the previous game, remember?).  Recall also that several of the core rulebooks make mention of a number of styles of play, ranging from the full campaign (attackers vs defenders mission trees depending on the prior mission), to the old kill team game and how models could get upgraded if they survived long enough.  

Whilst I don't think we'll be seeing the return of a games master (cf. Rogue Trader!), I think the potential for Narrative Gaming within 40k will grow larger with the new edition.  At least, I hope I'm right!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wargames Gallery: Bloodcrusher // Blood Raven

Charging in to a squad of Blood Ravens, a Bloodcrusher lets out an unearthly battlecry as his steed's part-mechanical, part-deamonic feet cause the ground to tremble at every footfall.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ghost Knight Terminator Justicar

Mordrak is able to field a unit of Ghost Knights when he appears on the battlefield due to a psychic manifestation of his survivor's guilt.  This particular grey knight is a justicar of his Ghost Knight retinue for a small army that I'm constructing (whilst waiting for codex: chaos legions to make an appearance, of course...). 

The miniature is a standard grey knight terminator, armed with a halberd and adorned with various paraphernalia that we have come to associate with grey knights (ancient liber, etc.).  Instead of a regular helmet, this terminator sports a skull.  This is inspired from the Ghost Knight status -- although the rest of my Ghost Knights will have sealed helms, I wanted the justicar Ghost Knight to stand out a little bit.  Hence I clipped a skull from one of the chaos vehicle sprues and carefully glued it in to place.  Although the skull lacks a jaw bone, it feels about the right size for the cavity where the helm should be.  I just need to figure out how to cunningly paint the chain that I've left attached to the skull so that it is not too visible (the chain was left in place to give the skull a bit of height from the neck of the terminator armour).

Monday, January 16, 2012

Modern Traitors have Guilliman's geneseed

A recent posting by Drathmere at 40k Hobby Blog started me thinking about where the modern traitor chapters emerge from.  From codex: space marines, we know the "more than one-half" of all marine chapters derive from Guilliman's gene-seed.  Therefore, it may follow (but perhaps not necessarily) that the bulk of modern traitor chapters derive from the Ultramarines. 

So my thought for the day is this: could it be that Guilliman's gene-seed has ultimately created more traitor marines than the Iron Warriors (etc.)?  Or, as my suggestive image may indicate, do modern traitors gene-seed mostly come from elsewhere :)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Scenery: Tau Game Board

Snapped in Melbourne, this Games Workshop table features several Tau inspired pieces of scenery that I found inspiring and wanted to share.

In particular, the walls of the fortifications in the foreground are made out of wood (or mdf at least) and have simply been etched to create the clean lines all the way around.  I'm not sure where the landing pad, the gun sentry or the communications device come from, but they're also very cool looking!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Outcast Dead: Criticism and Question

Having read "The Outcast Dead" over the vacation period, I had a number of criticisms and questions arising.  For those reader who haven't read the book, please turn away now as I don't want to accidentally be giving spoilers!

My first criticism about the book is the names of the characters and their spelling.  One of World Eaters characters is called Asubha (at least according to the dramatis personae at the front of the book; which curiously enough translates as "impurity" in English).  However, at various points in the book, the spelling shifts to Ashuba.  I personally found this to be quite distracting and hoped that it didn't mean a lack of proof reading.  Yet, there were other gramatical mistakes that a read-through should have caught (e.g. repition of "the" -- i.e. "the the") and some sentences that didn't feel quite right.

Those criticisms aside, I did enjoy the book and felt it lit up a previously unexplored region of the Horus Heresy' parameter space.

But I was left wondering at the end of the book about the timing of various events.  In particular, when was Magnus' warning to the Emperor delivered (at least in relation to real-time events in the Istvaan / Isstvan system)?  My impression was that Magnus knew things before the Heresy started to unfold and reveal itself fully.  But reading the Outcast Dead, I'm now a bit confused about whether the drop site massacre happened before or after Magnus delivered his warning.  And following on from that, how soon were the Space Wolves deployed to Prospero?  Or put another way: why weren't they dispatched to Isstvan with the Iron Hands et al. or told to come back to Terra to help defend like the White Scars were?  So confused!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A New Raptor Lord for 2012

With the New Year, I felt it was time to design a new Raptor Lord for the chaos armies I field.  Although raptors aren't such an often-seen choice on the gaming table, I still enjoy running a small squad of raptors from time to time and in the past have given plenty of thought to what chaos mark they should benefit from.  This miniature is an update for my old snake-headed raptor lord.  But instead of a power fist, this guy has an ugly looking mace.  In-game, this could be either a power weapon, or a force weapon if I were to run this fellow as a sorcerer.

The parts to make this miniature conversion derive from a number of sources.  The head, torso and wings are clearly from the possessed chaos space marine sprues.  The bolt pistol arm is a standard chaos space marine weapon.  The mace and shoulder pads source from Dark Angels bits and regular space marine pads.  Meanwhile the legs are cunningly from a loyalist terminator who no longer needed them.  The longer, somewhat bulkier legs give an exaggerated height to the space marine which adds to the menace when he towers over the grots and points his mace in their general direction.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Wargames Gallery: Objective Melee

Around a hotly contested objective, a squad of plague marines meets Black Templars and Blood Ravens head on.  Although the objective switches hands a number of times, the clock runs out for the Death Guard and they lose the battle eventually.  At least the librarian and his pesky Null Zone perishes.

Happy 2012

Happy New Year!
This year features a new logo to replace the older blue heliocentric banner at the top.  The new image is from NASA and is of NGC 281 (featuring Bok globules).  But it's red themed rather than blue, so is a change for this year!  Hopefully a colour of things to come...
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