Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rise of the Screamers

Brent's article on BoLS got me thinking more about Screamers of Tzeentch and their rising role in daemons armies.  Since the new rules debuted in White Dwarf, I think its fair to say that all us daemons players have been gushing over the flamers and screamers once more.  Where they were once limited, I think both of these daemons are coming back with a vengeance.
For the Screamers of Tzeentch, the changes mean that they are much more survivable than they were before.  The extra wound means that we will no longer be losing some (most? / all!) of a squad due to exploding vehicles (yess... that's happened to me).  But perhaps the biggest change is the replacement of warp jaws with Lamprey's Bite.  Against vehicles, that means that they probably aren't as good as they used to be (pen = 8+2d6 in the old version, vs 5 + 2d6 in the new version).  That said, they do gain more attacks (1 in the old version, vs. 3 in the new version).  Hence, they can still readily tackle light tanks, but the probability of penetrating an AV=14 tank has gone from 83.33% to 16.66% per attack. At AV=10, the probability has changed from 97.22% to 72.22%.  Given the 3 attacks, light tanks are probably in even more danger from screamers than they used to be.  But gone are the days of Land Raider hunting methinks.  I'll leave that to the monstrous creatures now.

Lets have a look against infantry.  To kill a marine, the screamers now hit on 4+, and wound (with no save) on 3+.  That compares to 4+, 4+ followed by a save previously.  And this is where the price increase is at, I think.  Screamer of Tzeentch can really put a whole lot of pain on all armies.  Striking at I=4, they should devastate the typical tactical squad in exchange for minimal damage in return.  For 100 points, 4 screamers on the charge will typically inflict 5.33 unsavable wounds on a marine squad.  That really hurts and is up there with the damage potential of a 5th edition bloodletter.  But more significantly, they can also rob terminators of their 2+ armour save, forcing them to use their invulnerable save.  At 25 points each, I contend that Screamers are going to become a mainstay of daemons forces for the immediate future.  I'll save talking about flamers to another time.....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bloodcrusher Standard Bearer Based

The final bloodcrusher of my pack has finally been based after much time has elapsed.  The reason for this is that I bought the old herald when it first came out in metal (you remember working with that medium, right?). 

The base of the bloodcrusher features a few bits from Hirst Arts (the column in white in the foreground, similar to the columns I've placed on my other bloodcrushers) which was cast with regular hobby plastercast (rather than dental grade material).  The rest of the base features bits from the 40k basing kit (in particular the space marine helmet in front of the column), and an etched brass cog to the rear.  This is augmented with scattered slate of small and medium sizes on the rest of the base.  Once painted, some flock of static grass will be added to the base for added detail.  I think this guy is going to fit in well with the rest of his pack...!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dark Vengeance Miniatures Evaluation

I was all ready to place a pre-order (or two) for the Dark Vengeance set, when I decided to count some pennies and think about what miniatures would be in the box and whether I really (truly) wanted them.

Sure, I've got a soft spot for the Dark Angels, as my long term readers will know.  And, I'm a self-confessed heretic.  So, on the surface, this starter set looks absolutely fabulous for me personally!  

But then I started to think about what is in the box.  Clearly the rule book contained within doesn't warrant my money -- I already got that, thanks.  The rules for the Dark Angels and the Chaos Marines are a different matter -- they're tempting and may shine light on future codex releases.  But again, I think I can wait for the real codex releases and therefore that doesn't interest me so much either.

Now, the miniatures.  They really are awesome.  The sculpts look great fully painted up and I know I'd just love to let rip on a few of them already.

Let's start with Chaos.
The chaos lord deserves a pedestal.  He's wicked good in my opinion.  If this kind of sculpt is a taste of the things to come, then I'm sold.  The same goes for the chosen marines. They are also looking very resplendant. I could easily imagine these guys in Word Bearer iconography and colours (heck, the colours of the Crimson Slaughter chapter are pretty close already on the pre-order website).  Then, the hellbrute is probably going to be one of those must-have miniatures for the future chaos codex. 

On the other hand, I'm not taken with the cultists.  The sculpts in themselves look good, but there's a little too much repetition for my taste (i.e. almost two of each sculpt).  I can't help thinking Necromunda either.  I'm fairly sure that the boxed set of cultists will be superior to these guys (or at least I hope!).  Considering these guys are going to be snap-fit, the boxed set will have the advantage of pose-ability at very minimum.  

Turning now to the Dark Angels.
The interrogator-chaplain is a superb model.  And I think it'd be easily converted to a dark apostle (or similar) for chaos with a bit of scrubbing here and there.  The company master is good, but not outstanding for me -- one for the Dark Angels fundamentalists perhaps.  I really like the librarian though.  The pose and sculpt are excellent -- this is really a hidden gem in plain sight.  The company master is standard fare -- I like it, but it doesn't "pop" for me personally.  I like the terminators -- the heresy era power fists, and legs of one terminator look great.  And the poses remind me of the dynamism of the Space Hulk Blood Angels a few year ago.  

The regular marine squad though, is just that for me: seen it, done it before and not very interested. Even less so with the raised iconography that implies tough conversion work to make in to other chapters.  The bikes would be a nice investment if folks were interested in a ravenwing army (perhaps even White Scars with some conversion work).  

Overall.
Numerically, I think I'm 100 per cent taken with under half of the miniatures in the boxed set, and not in the rules so much at all.  Moreover, I didn't find any mention of scenery bits in the boxed set that I was hoping would be in there (recall the crashed lander in 4th edition).  I was really hoping for some chaos and/or Dark Angels themed scenery not available elsewhere ... and maybe cowls and robes on the regular marines since the Dark Angel veteran miniatures are so cool.  Financially, that means that I'd be buying the boxed set for (probably) one third of its contents, maybe less.  Although I could sell the parts I'm not interested in, it seems like a bit of extra effort ... as I suspect that many folks will like the same miniatures as me. So, I've pretty much decided to save the pennies and wait for the big codex releases.  But that's just my personal take on things.  I'm sure the boxed set will sell like hotcakes and will be a humongous hit overall.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rules Homebrew: Power Generator - a Fortification Upgrade

In the desperation of battle, canny commanders will rig up whatever they can find to the laser weaponry to produce a steady and unrelenting arc of fire.  Power generators come in all shapes and sizes, but the desired effect is the same: to enhance what is already present.


Cost:
One-tenth the points cost of the fortification it is installed within.

Effects:
A power generator causes all laser, plasma, melta, or other "energy" based weapons attached to a fortification to become twin-linked, representing an overload of power.

In addition, a single model in base contact with an appropriate type of weapon can "hook-up" that weapon to the power generator and gain the same effect.

The power generator is treated as an AV=10, open-topped immobile vehicle with 2 hull points.  If it explodes, double the explosion radius and inflict an automatic strength 10 hit on the fortification that it is contained within.

(Image: Quantum Gothic power generator).

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lupercal

Got excited by the new Forge World teaser trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1L2yt7IS0OY&feature=plcp

The Horus Heresy books look terrific!  I wonder how the rules will compare to the old warhammer 30k fandex launched by BoLS a while ago?  It'll be interesting to compare.

The release date *appears* to be UK Games Day.  That's September 21st this year.  Exciting times!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Plastic Plaguebearer Conversion: Three Arms

The first of (perhaps) a number of plaguebearer conversions from me today.  This fellow features a mighty third arm ... which, belonging to a plaguebearer, is being dragged behind him, toting a death head in a gangly manner.

The conversion is simple enough: the plaguebearer sprue contains excess arms (even more if one makes up the musician and standard bearer options), hence there will usually be some spare for this kind of work.  The gangly dangling-behind arm feels like a good fit for a third arm, as the shoulders almost butt up against each other without having to use any greenstuff.  That said, it can be seen in the picture that instead of using greenstuff, I have used a little bit of excess plastic (that I snipped off the sprue) to fill in a small gap where the top of the two shoulders don't quite meet snugly enough.  Since this model is a plaguebearer, being fine and finessed about these things is pointless: having an extra lumpy bit at the top of the shoulders only adds to the decaying feeling of the sculpt and conversion!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Plastic Plaguebearer Unboxing and Sprues

I think it was inevitable that I got hold of some of the new plastic plaguebearers given my previous excitement.  When I opened the box, I must say the even I was impressed with the new sprues (imaged below).  

Two things struck me: (a) the level of detail that the designers have been able to sculpt in to the miniatures that I think is superior to previous incarnations of plaguebeareres; (b) the sheer number of components that the production process has managed to squeeze on to the sprue - long gone are the days of large gaps between components.  That said, I think these sprues have some advantages over others: the added nurglings and maggots really do justice to the compactness of the sprue.  Compared to tabards (etc.) that appear on marine sprues, I think these will see more usage (although I am biased, of course).

I think my only complaint sculpt-wise is that I preferred the musician being a bell ringer, rather than an odd woodwind thing.  But that's not a serious complaint -- I still think it looks cool!  Paint-wise, I think that the recommended paints on the back of the box are an odd choice (i.e. no Athonian shade?!). anyway, time for some glueing...


Friday, August 17, 2012

Swooping Deepstrike into Cover


Top of my list of things that I picked up this week:

If playing with a monstrous creature that can deep strike (I'm looking at you greater daemons of Tzeentch and Khorne), they can come in to play in the "swooping" mode.

When doing so, we can elect to deepstrike them in to ruins (they'll hit the ground level) or other buildings.  Since monstrous creatures all get the move through cover universal special rule, they do not need to take any dangerous terrain tests. 

More significantly, enemies need 6+ to hit them, and they benefit from a 4+ cover save.  Nice.

Citation: Imperius Dominatus and others locally (i.e. from real world conversations!) covered this earlier this week.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wargames Gallery: Vindicator Reverses into Cover

The chaos vindicator, "Event Horizon", reverses up a ruined series of steps to get a more ... comfortable view of the battlefield before launching the next volley. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Scenery: Creating Crystal Growths and Stacks

You're down to your last few drops of superglue and you know that if you re-seal the tube, it probably won't open again.  And if somehow it does re-open, the precious few drops you have left will have mysteriously evaporated.

To combat this, I have a stash of odds-and-ends kind of projects that use up the last few drips.  One of more more innovative ideas was to purchase a bag of plastic "crystals" from the local hardware / garden store.  These items are sometimes used in fishtanks, or to create a garden feature / pathway.

What I've done here is to glue four of these crystals together in to a small stack and base them on some CNC mdf board.  The height of the crystal growth is just slightly taller than a standard space marine model.  Therefore these little stacks create an unusal kind of terrain and scenery for miniature wargames. 

In Warhammer 40,000, they're perfect to represent some of the "mysterious forest" results in the scenery tables provided in the 6th edition rulebook. 

I have a few more of these made up, and in the works, that I'll post at a later date. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Quad Gun Construction

The quad-gun is sold with the Aegis Defence Line and can be purchased in-game with many of the fortification options. Rules-wise, the gun feels highly appealing (but I'll post about that another day).  Today, I wanted to talk about the construction of the kit.

Much like the Icarus lascannon, the assembly is reasonably straight-forward with very few fiddly bits to contend with.

The base is exactly the same as the Icarus: a square arrangement (4 bits), and a cover with a hole in the top (much like a predator main weapon perhaps).  The gun consists of the circular base that swivels on the platform base, the "retort stand"(?!), 4 guns, and some optional extras.

When I was making this piece, I got a little confused with the gun orientation.  For some reason, I wanted the tracers (or are they simply support struts?) to be on the upper edge of the guns themselves.  As can be seen in the image, these are on the lower edge.  The clue in the construction is to look at the orientation of the skulls on the side of the weapon, just in front of the ammo barrels.  Speaking of the ammo barrels, I also couldn't decide whether they were more appealing if they were slightly offset to the top (as in the image, and as recommended), or offset to the bottom.  I guess a gravity assist makes sense, hence why they're offset to the top edge.

There are also a small bunch of optional extras to the piece, including lenses, a power pack (both attached here) and some mechanicus looking bits (which I chose not to glue on).  In total, my final quad gun has (I think) 17 bits.  Of them, 4 are small (fiddly!) half-barrels at the front of the gun.  I might replace (or extend) the front of the gun with some chaos vehicle sprue gargoyle heads.  But I'm not sure if I'm totally taken with that idea just yet.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chaos Release Schedule Rumour Digest


By now, many of you will be aware of the rumoured release schedule posted on BoLS discussion forums.  Whilst I'm not taking is as completely legitimate, it is .... tasty .... to say the least.  


So, Chaos gets a wide variety of old and new items, including the four regular greater daemons.  The new plastic one is a dual kit for furies and something entitled "warp stalkers".  This is a good move methinks -- the old fluff about baseless fears coalescing into daemons in the warp is the embodiment of these creatures, I feel.

For the more power-armoured amongst us, we gain Cypher of the Dark Angels, something called a Cabal Tarellian Cotor (no idea about that one) and a Cabal Alpha Psyker (probably an Imperial Guard analogue I'd think).  

Noise marines, thousand sons round the power armour out (what: no plastic plague marines? ... Nurgle is always last it seems), Chaos bike squadron and mechanicus battle servitors (exciting!).

In terms of scenery, it seems that each codex is going to be getting something unique.  For Tau, the Nautilus Defence Platform, and for us Chaos players, a Dark Chapel upgrade pack.  Perhaps this adds on to the Fortress of redemption?  Or more likely, one of the space marine fortifications mentioned such as the battle fortress?

Finally, an honourable mention to the genestealer cults!  There's an upgrade pack to make hybrids (but out of what? Cadians?) and a patriarch.  If true, these are very exciting developments since it implies that genestealer cults could be allies for chaos forces, just like days of old!

(The image is of GRAINS OF SALT, taken from wikipedia and used under the GNU license.  The purpose of the image should be obvious!). 

Friday, August 10, 2012

A New Daemons List (1500 points)


This army list is one of three I'm looking at for the new local league.  

Its a fun list, with a few threats coupled with a desire to experiment around with a few new rules (i.e. screamers and flamers).  You'll notice I've avoided the new Slaaneshi chariots.  I'm not quite taken with them enough, just yet.  And yes: I know there's only one soul grinder and that that is going to be a prime target: I like my model!  

Otherwise, let me know what you think.



HQ:

Herald of Tzeentch on Chariot, Bolt, Master, Breath, Legion (140)
Herald of Tzeentch on Chariot, Bolt, Master, Breath, Legion (140)
Herald of Khorne on Jugger (105)

Elites:
3 Flamers (69)
3 Bloodcrushers (120)

Troops:
12 Daemonettes (168)
7 Plaguebearers, instrument (110)
9 Pink Horrors, Bolt, Icon, Changeling (193)

Fast Attack:
5 Screamers (125)

Heavy Support:
Daemon Prince, Flight, Iron Hide (170)
Soul Grinder, Phlegm (160)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Icarus Lascannon: Model Making and Statistical Evaluation

One of the nice features about the Bastion and Aegis Defence Line sets are that they come with a couple of "upgrades" in the box.  In the case of the Bastion, the Icarus Lascannon comes supplied. 

Making the Icarus was reasonably straight forward -- it is not the most complex (nor most fiddlesome) model to assemble (I think that award might go to the Shadowsword).  Some of the sprues do leave appreciable nubs on the main plastic once removed, so I found that some time invested in clean up work is essential to get the model looking good.  I think my only minor quibble is that the front end of the lascannon itself comes in two parts.  I'd prefer just one part please!  (equally, I am happy drilling my own barrel holes on miniatures; some other people may not be, so I can see how it is seen as an advantage).

Rules-wise, the Icarus lascannon is not too different to a regular lascannon except for being able to take on deep-striking and flying units nicely.  Assuming a typical (marine) BS of 4, the chances of scoring a penetrating hit on a flyer are then:

AV=10: 3+ to hit; penetrate on 2+ => 56% (with 33% chance of explosion if hit => 18.5% cumulative)
AV=11: 3+ to hit; penetrate on 3+ => 44% (with 33% chance of explosion if hit => 14.8% cumulative)
AV=12: 3+ to hit; penetrate on 4+ => 33% (with 33% chance of explosion if hit => 11.1% cumulative)
AV=13: 3+ to hit; penetrate on 5+ => 22% (with 33% chance of explosion if hit => 7.4% cumulative)
AV=14: 3+ to hit; penetrate on 6+ => 11% (with 33% chance of explosion if hit => 3.7% cumulative)

So, whilst appearing nice against low AV units, I probably wouldn't use it over the quad gun.  The gain is at the high AV end where the quad gun won't dent anything.  But then again, considering the low probabilities involved, why was I shooting at a land raider again?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Epilogue of the Wasp Campaign

The Wasp Campaign is finally (and sadly) over.

The final results were that Chaos space marines (jabberjabber) crushed the joint forces of the imperium who attempted to seize control of WASP's moon.

The Blood Ravens (paladin84) lured the sneaky dark eldar and hordes of greenskins into a trap, feigning weakness, only to hit them at their weakest points securing WASP for the imperium.

Therefore the final situation is with the Blood ravens having secured a win and being convincingly in control of the planet and Chaos securing a win being convincingly in control of the moon. The campaign is now on hold and we may have a final (apocalypse) battle at some later point in time where the forces of chaos fight the imperium for control of the WASP system and decide the final outcome of this campaign. The orks and dark eldar have banded with chaos on the moon whilst the space marines have scoured the surface of WASP from xenos and heretic alike.....

Monday, August 6, 2012

Scenery Inspiration from Model Railways

I sometimes frequent model railroad exhibitions with family.  When I do, I have my camera in hand as I find the displays very inpirational.  Indeed: there are many overlaps between the wargaming hobby and the model railway hobby.  I have certainly bought many products from woodland scenics (and similar companies) in the past that are (on the surface) dedicated to serving the model railway enthusiast.

Below are a couple of pictures that I snapped that I liked.  I may post more in the future.  The photos show a range of vegetation, hills, and other fine detail work that I admire and (over the years) have attempted to emulate.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Leaderless Squads

Personal challenges in close combat are one of the main changes in 6th edition of 40k, bringing it closer in similarity to fantasy.  For my plague marines, I've been toying with the idea of attempting to construct a list that does not contain any squad leaders.  The main reason for this is that at initiative 3, they're usually going to get kicked by most other squad leaders (ignoring those with power fists of course).  Having said that, their increased resistance to power weapons (thanks to feel no pain) is making me second guess this tactic.  And having a power fist of my own buried in my squad is generally a good idea I find.  

So what would a plague marine list with no squad leaders feel like to play?  Probably little different to a regular plague marine list if I kept it reasonably mechanized.  The guys stay in their armoured personnel carriers and get out to shoot when required, leaving the big boys (daemon princes) to tackle the major threats encountered.  For the points saved (23 points for a regular plague marine, versus 63 for a power fisted plague champion), I can get another plague marine and have spare points over.  This increases my tarpitting ability.  I'm therefore seriously tempted to make an ally of Epidemius and use his ability to buff my plague marines (as required) to make up for the lack of squad leaders.  Very tempting...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Flying: The New Meta?


Over the course of 5th edition, various meta-defining army lists appeared.  These ranged from the well known Grey Knights paladin armies marshaled by Draigo, through the Imperial Guard "leaf blower" army lists, ork biker Nobz death stars, and others in between.  Each of these ideas came about from a single codex (in general), although some did feature some generic traits (e.g. a very tough core unit; plentiful firepower, etc.).  Most players at tournaments will have encountered these kinds of list at some stage in some form or other.  Arguably the strongest meta-idea in 5th is a full-on mechanized list.  Plenty of players packed multiple melta-guns (or similar) to deal with these eventualities.

I think that in 6th edition, the meta-defining army lists will no longer come from solely a singular codex.  Much like the mech-lists of 5th, I think that various concepts will come to the fore in the style that army lists are defined.  So, I'm going to make a prediction here: I think the next major meta-game will be "flying". 

Why flying?

Well, the recent focus on mechanized flyers, the promised chaos dragon flyer (and others) all make me think that almost every gamer out there is going to be opting to select at least some flyers.  This will mean that all army lists are going to require something to counter this style, or join in with this style. 

For me, I'm toying with the idea of 5+ daemon princes or flying daemons in my chaos lists.  Consider this: daemons can field 2 HQs with flying (bloodthirster / lord of change) coupled with 3 Heavy support flying daemon princes.  Add in some chaos space marine allies for an extra HQ flying daemon prince, and you can see my point here.  Granted, this isn't the strongest, most points efficient list that could be built (I'm playing daemons and chaos marines, remember!), but I feel that multiple flyers (whether monstrous or mechanical) will be the way forward. 

That said, I think that we're going to see an increase in weapons that have skyfire (and/or) interceptor special rules as well.  The reliable quad gun comes as an upgrade to the Imperial Bastion or Aegis Defence Line and I therefore think that we're going to see a number of players go down that route as well.  i.e. rather than radically rebuilding lists to go with multiple flying options, simply tweak existing armies to ensure an adequate spread of skyfire weapons.  For (arguably) a low tier codex like daemons, purchasing a fortification with a quad gun suddenly looks very tempting. 

So, there's my prediction!  Happy to be proven wrong.  Maybe fortifications are going to be the new meta to beat?  But I'm also interested in what other folks reckon the meta-defining feature of 6th might end up being?
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