Sunday, November 30, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Calas Typhon


Once a librarian in the Death Guard, and also one of the first in his legion to succumb to chaos, Typhon would eventually become Typhus the Traveller. But in the crusade and heresy era, Typhon is the master of chemical death, embodying the deathly chemical war traits that the Death Guard became synonymous with.

Typhon is one of the pricier sub-commanders available in Massacre - coming in more costly than Kharn or Eidolon. He is equipped in some ways like a Grave Warden terminator, but also carries a master crafted death shroud power scythe.

In addition to this, he has the power to call down a chemical bombardment since he is the master of the Terminus Est. A large blast with poison and no cover saves is a great wound inflictor, but a different beast to a regular blast. Hence he gets Ordnance 3 to make up for this.

Finally, he also has "Witch Blood". This means he is a low level psyker. The only issue is that he cannot use his abilities on the battlefield if Mortarion is also present before the primarch's fall to chaos.

Is he worth the points in comparison to a praetor with terminator armour? Possibly. I think the combination of being a psyker coupled with the orbital bombardment just about cuts it to an even level between the two points wise.

Tactically, I think Typhon wants to be getting in to combat later on in the game, after calling down his bombardment. His access to telepathy should help with this. I would think he would want to be with other Death Guard terminators (Grave Wardens or Deathshroud terminators) but could be equally effective with a large blob of regular tactical squad troopers who are footslogging across the board. And moreover, he is also a very fluffy choice for a traitor player (he cannot be selected by the loyalist side after Isstvan) that can inspire dread in an opponent due to his fame in 40k. But he doesn't get any plague zombies of his own to command here!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Grave Warden Terminator Squad


Carrying the foulest of Terminus' Est's armouries, the Grave Wardens are Nurgle Terminators in all but name and toughness bonuses.

All of them are armed with an impressive array of weapons. Not only do they have power fists as standard, but they also have the Death Cloud (a toxic template weapon that ignores cover) and an assault grenade launcher.

It is important to note that all of these weapons have a short range -- 18" in the case of the grenade launcher. Hence the Grave Wardens are fundamentally a close combat squad and therefore need to be on board a land raider phobos or spartan for maximum effect (not withstanding any Orbital Assault rite of War). That said, I feel these terminators can take on most things in the game and come out smelling of … yuck.

Upgrade wise, the chain fists are attractive for maximum damage potential against all types of units in the game. The heavy flamer with chem munitions is attractive, but might be overkill. The combi-weapon for the chem-master is a nice choice and could conceivably be either a melta or flamer component (which in turn could also be given chem munitions as well). More members is also a good option, particularly for a land raider spartan.

Here are a pair of potential builds.

5 Grave Wardens, 2 chain fists (210 points)
Probably the baseline build here, but still very effective so long as they get in to the optimum position. Highly points effective too.

10 Grave Wardens, 2 heavy flamers with chem-munitions, chem master with combi-melta, 4 chain fists (415 points)
A large squad for a land raider spartan. This can take on anything in the game technically.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: The Kakophoni


In short, the Kakophoni are the early iteration of noise marines with psycho-sonic weaponry. But instead of the 40k Salvo style sonic blasters, they have the Cacophony -- effectively a heavy 1 weapon instead.

But the bonus in 30k is that these guys have a special rule called bio-psychic shock. In short, if you cause wounds on your target, the target must take an Ld test modified by the number of wounds caused. Failure indicates more wounds that have AP2 and instant death. Hence the optimal tactica with Kakophoni is to have a large squad of them to ensure the maximum possible hits, the maximum possible Ld modifier, and hence the maximum amount of damage. A large squad of these marines can readily take down squads of enemies with some good die rolls.

The only real upgrades available are for the Orchestrator (squad sergeant). Given their sonic shriekers, I think a power weapon is probably the optimal choice, but can also see that a power fist hidden in a larger squad might be beneficial.

I'd suggest a build along the lines of this:

10 Kakophoni, Orchestrator with power weapon and artificer armour (265 points)
A back field unit with sufficient range to take out enemy infantry squads. Place in cover, or take a rhino and drive closer to your target before unleashing that bio-psychic shock!

Alternatively, a slightly smaller squad drop-podded in to the enemy would also be a nice way to deploy them. So perhaps:

6 Kakophoni, Orchestrator with power fist, artificer armour, melta bombs (195 points)
A squad to drop pod in with Orbital Assault rite of war and take down some light tanks and their contents.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Lord Commander Eidolon


As skilled as he is arrogant, Eidolon is almost everything that one might expect of a lord commander of the Emperor's Children.

The first thing to note is that Eidolon has a force multiplier ability for his warlord trait: +1 to charge distances within a bubble of 12" is an excellent addition to the Emperor's Children, and can be combined with other bonuses to make his Legion particularly rapid on the battlefield.

Not withstanding his archeotech pistol, Eidolon has subjected himself to the attentions of Fabius Bile and as such has a template weapon than can pin and rend -- but only once per battle.

Naturally, he is also only available to the traitors.

But the real stand out thing is his ability to ignore the cumbersome effect of his master-crafted thunder hammer on the charge. This means that whatever role you choose for this HQ, he should ideally be getting the charge in when he goes. So, we should be tactically thinking about placing him in a land raider phobos or spartan along with some honour guard or terminator squad to make best use of his excellent close combat abilities.

His points cost is moderately high, but, I think, justifiable. And he will certainly live a while to tell the tale on the battle field. But he's certainly vulnerable to characters like Kharn wielding gore child, so his use (as with much of the Emperor's Children) has to be highly tactical.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Phoenix Terminator Squad


Terminators locked in to the quest for perfection within the Emperor's Children legion, these individuals are the elite of the elite.

They come armed as standard with phoenix spears. These unique weapons are reminiscent of power lances in the sense that they gain a nice upgrade (+1S, AP2) on the turn that the unit charges in to melee. Otherwise, they function as power weapons. Hence the deployment of these units necessitates getting the charge on an opponent rather than being charged. As such, they are vulnerable to enemy terminators who can guarantee AP2 all the time, as well as other enemies with "hidden" power fists and the like. Therefore, I cannot underscore enough that this unit must be taken with a land raider phobos or spartan to ensure such an eventuality. Otherwise they are expensive points sinks that might act as little more than meat shields for Fulgrim.

I think there are at least two build that merit consideration.

5 Phoenix terminators, Champion with grenade harness (275 points)
I think that this is the baseline unit to charge out of a land raider phobos. Ensure you get the charge. And even if its drawn, you still win thanks to the unit's living icon special rule.

10 Phoenix terminators, Champion with grenade harness, all with sonic shriekers (490 points)
This is the maxed out squad! Place in a land raider spartan and go forth!  Its worth noting here (again) that the Horus Heresy sourcebooks encourage large units and this can readily be seen here with the ability to upgrade the entire squad with sonic shriekers for a set price (rather than per terminator). 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Kharn The Bloody


Before he was the Betrayer, he was a voice of reason: a calming influence on Angron, and a skilled duellist. After Angron slew most of the other senior officers on rediscovery, it was Kharn alone (as a mere line captain) who talked him around.

In the game, Kharn can be taken either with the Cutter (an AP 3 weapon) or with Gorechild (a better option, but costs more and only available so long as Angron is not also on the board). Naturally, Kharn can only be selected as a traitor in any narrative that follows the canon course of events.

His points cost is comparable to a well armed and armoured Praetor. But more than that, his WS is excellent and he also has the boons of Rampage in addition to an invulnerable save and his plasma pistol. Coupled with the World Eaters special rules, Kharn is an excellent beat stick in close combat and will be able to take on most infantry in the game (more so with gore child in his hands). Plus, he is an incredibly fluffy choice for any World Eaters army before, during or after the Isstvan campaign. Hence, even if one thinks that the points cost is a fraction too high, I think people will still take Kharn for the name and his ability to inspire fear in the enemies ranks (figuratively speaking). 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: The Red Butchers


Wearing custom terminator armour that doubles up as prisons to hold their occupants in when they're not in battle, the Red Butchers are those World Eaters who have utterly succumbed to their darker murderous urges thanks to the Butcher's Nails.

Their deployment is not without drawbacks: since they are lunatics, they are always hit on 3+ by any enemies in close combat with them. Clearly this can be their downfall (despite their high WS), but to balance this up, they also have 2 wounds each. Coupled with fearless and hatred of anything, these terminators are ones that will rip apart most opposition in short work. Hence the best tactic is to get them in to melee as soon as possible. I would therefore strongly recommend taking a Land Raider Phobos as a personal transport (a Spartan Land Raider is also viable for larger squads), or (if permitted by a rite of war) take a drop pod, although to be honest, I'd prefer a land raider out of the two.

There are a number of reasonable builds that can be made, but all of them have a strong close combat component to them - as one would expect. But beware: the points cost of these units is already high to begin with. And even with two wounds each, they can still die to instant death if they find themselves against a bunch of enemy thunder hammer or power fist terminators, let alone a vindicator blast.

5 Red Butchers, all with two power axes (275 points)
This is a kind of "vanilla" build that is still highly effective at the expense of zero ranged weapons. But with a BS of 2, this is hardly a great sacrifice. Place them in a land raider phobos and go hunting any none-tank unit in the game. Even a primarch - just for laughs - if you're so inclined!

5 Red Butchers, all with pairs of lightning claws (300 points)
As above, but striking at initiative to circumvent enemy power fists and thunder hammers, but sacrificing a little bit of AP. Not quite what I'd be inclined to take, but still viable thanks to the hideous amount of attacks available on the charge.

5 Red Butchers, Devourer with combi-flamer and thunder hammer, butchers with two power axes (290 points)
This is about the best of the lot to be honest. Given the poor BS of the squad, the flamer is there as both an anti-charge deterrent, and to try to soften up enemies in cover before charging in. Can't go too wrong with this squad, especially placed in a land raider.

10 Red Butchers, Devourer with combi-flamer and thunder hammer, 9 Butchers with two power axes (515 points)
Getting very expensive now, but this death star unit can be accompanied by Angron himself and then placed inside a Spartan. Good luck - and avoid those vindicator shells as they will be the death of this entire squad!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thunder Hammer Conversion

Many space marine armies run thunder hammers in some form or other -- the most common being on terminators armed with said hammers and storm shields, but also on character models and occasionally on squad sergeants or others. 

Given how common they can be, it is worth considering a minor conversion to make them stand out from the proverbial crowd. 


In this conversion, I've attempted to do exactly this by replacing one of the heads of a terminator thunder hammer. Firstly, I've cut carefully around the front hammer head to remove it from the body of the hammer. Once filed down, I drilled through the centre of it to provide a pin that goes from the handle through to the new head. In this case, I've chosen one of the gargoyle pieces from the chaos space marine tank sprue to be the head. In between the gargoyle and the filed down edge of the hammer, I've inserted a very old plastic shield centre from the warhammer range (which can be seen in my old bits box rummage image).  This extra "spacer" ensures that the gargoyle head looks somewhat tapered to the main shaft of the hammer, rather than simply gluing the gargoyle directly on to the shaft. 

The overall effect is one that implies something of a unique thunder hammer (perhaps even master crafted) and reminiscent of some of the analogous hammers available to the Space Wolves and other chapters / legions. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Shouldering Arms, Meltagun Marine

Whilst technically not quite a full shouldering arms pose (since the fist is still on the trigger rather than the base of the weapon), this marine has his meltagun held vertically in his right hand while pointing at a distant target with his left.


The conversion here uses a metal meltagun that I purchased a long time ago in the old style clam packs. The only real way to ensure structural soundness of this model is to pin the metal to the plastic. This takes some significant drilling work -- and with a sound drill that isn't likely to snap as pressure is applied. But the lead alloy that the melta gun in made out of is reasonably soft, and so can give under the pressure of a hand drill. That said, some care is needed to not apply too much pressure as the drill bit can break under high pressure (as I've discovered on past occasions). The pin in this model runs deep in to the metal fist and in to the plastic arm, and is a simple paper clip. 

The left arm is a simple pointed finger glued in to place and the corvus helmet looking in the same direction to give a sense of purpose to the conversion. The back pack follows my previous meltagun / gun kata marine and is from the grey knights plastic space marine boxed set. Eventually this torso will be married up with a set of true scale legs and some accessories added to make the final product.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Gun-Kata: Finalized Meltagun Marine

Wielding a melta gun and a bolt pistol, this space marine is a dynamic example of the "gun kata" meme that I'm trying to capture in my evolving Alpha Legion army that is coming together.


The marine features the arms set apart at 90 degrees as described in the original Gun Kata article. In addition to this, greenstuff has been added in to the arm pit region to emulate piping on the armour. The torso part has then been glued on to a pair of true scale legs that I prepared separately. As can be seen, the legs have been extended by the addition of greenstuff at the lower part of the thighs following extension through pinning. 

The marine features a plethora of different parts sourced from diverse plastic boxed sets, including chaos space marines (torso, melta gun, arms, bolt pistol), space marines (legs, head, shoulder pads), and grey knights (back pack). He will eventually form a part of a tactical support squad that are armed with melta guns. 

I'll leave the impending question of the back pack unanswered for now!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Maloghurst The Twisted


Twisted in mind before he became twisted in body, Mal is Horus' equerry and as such carries the authority of Horus wheresoever he goes.

His rules are nice: he is able to make both veteran tactical squads and reaver attack squad in to troops. But he pays for this for having a broken body: he doesn't move fast at all and as such probably does not want to be attached to front line melee style units. Hence he is only really suitable for back field units like support squads. This is something of an enigma as he would otherwise be quite a reasonable beat stick in combat. But since he is also a scoring unit, then one could imagine placing him in such a unit on top of a back-field objective for the entire game. His presence is then a deterrent against being charged there whilst the faster elements of the force go forth and conquer.

On top of this, he has the same abilities as a Praetor in the sense of being able to activate rites of war, and also carries a legion standard.

In short, I feel that Mal is a great addition for a certain style of Sons of Horus army that focuses on Reaver Attack Squads and Veteran Tactical Squads. But there is an enigma here as well in the sense that Mal is not well suited to front line work, so much be maintained at the back in all likelihood (unless drop podded in and then leaving the squad he joined before combat commences). And his price tag is attractive as well considering his equipment. Hence I think he's not only a fluffy choice for a traitor force (or pre-heresy Luna Wolves), but also an effective one if handled well.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Reaver Attack Squad


One of the specialist units available to the Sons of Horus, the Reavers grew out of the Cthonia gang warfare and more than despoiler squads or assault squads are the essence of the Sons of Horus' way of warfare: rapid attack and merciless slaughter of their opposition.

Their boons are outflank coupled with precision shots from all squad members (not just the sergeant -- or chieftain as he's called here).  But the upgrades can also make a difference. Given that every shot is a precision one, bane strike ammunition is very tempting for this squad to make sure it is going to be taking out power armour equivalents reasonably regularly.

Unlike regular squads, a reaver one can take a drop pod or a rhino as it pleases (so long as they're not wearing jump packs - which they can as well). In short, I feel there are multiple ways one can build this squad depending on what one wishes to see it do.

Here are a few examples.

Reaver Attack Squad, 15 members, all with bane strike shells, 4 powerfists, chieftain with artificer armour, entire squad with jump packs (480 points)
Excessive certainly, but able to tackle most things in the game. The jump packs enable the player to get the charge in (we hope) on the opposition after decimating them with bane strike and precise shots, and coupled with the Sons of Horus special rules, should be bringing down enemy squads with regularity.

Reaver Attack Squad, 5 members, 5 combi-meltas with bane strike shells, chieftain with artificer armour (195 points)
This is a squad to outflank and take down some back-field tanks, and then use their precision shots to take care of some squad sergeants and then to force leadership checks.

Reaver Attack Squad, 10 members, 2 flamers, 5 power axes (280 points)
Take these guys in a drop pod. On landing, flame the local area, and then subsequently look to charge in with the power axes to take care of anything up to and including terminators.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Chaos Space Marines Summary Page

This is the summary for my reviews of the Chaos Space Marine Codex. Entries are listed according to Force Organization Chart position rather than any other order. Also included are entries such as Be'Lakor which come from data slates rather than the hardback book. At the end of the list are other reviews on this codex, including Warlord Traits.

HQ
Abaddon the Despoiler
Ahriman
Be'Lakor
Chaos Lord
Daemon Prince
Dark Apostle
Fabius Bile
Huron Blackheart
Kharn the Betrayer
Lucius the Eternal
Sorcerer
Typhus the Traveller
Warpsmith

Elites
Chaos Terminators
Chosen Chaos Space Marines
Helbrute
Khorne Berzerkers
Mutilators
Noise Marines
Plague Marines
Possessed
Thousand Sons

Troops
Chaos Cultists
Chaos Rhino
Chaos Space Marines

Fast Attack
Chaos Bikers
Chaos Spawn
Heldrake
Raptors
Warp Talons

Heavy Support
Defiler
Forgefiend
Havocs
Land Raider
Maulerfiend
Obliterators
Chaos Predator
Chaos Vindicator

Related Articles
Daemonic Steed
Familiars
Gift of Mutation
Ichor Blood
Icon of Despair
Icon of Excess
Icon of Flame
Icon of Vengeance
Icon of Wrath
Warlord Traits

Chaos Daemons Summary Page

This page brings together my codex reviews of Chaos Daemons as it was in 6th-7th edition Warhammer 40,000. Entries are listed by Force Organization Chart position and then alphabetically. At the bottom of this are a few additional thoughts and entries about other aspects of the daemons codex, such as the Warp Storm Table.

HQ

Elites

Troops

Fast Attack

Heavy Support

Other Daemons Review Articles.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Glaive Super-heavy Special Weapons Tank


The final entry in Massacre for the normal legion army lists is a super heavy. The Glaive is interesting for fielding the volkite carronade. This is a beam weapon with a 1" width that not only ignores cover saves, but also deflagrates as per regular volkite weapons as well as haywires enemy tanks. With a high S and low AP, this can cause damage to anything in the game.

The options are somewhat limited though. I'm not sure one wants to get rid of the default las cannon sponsons. Perhaps heavy flamers might be cute instead of heavy bolters to cure any charging units of their suicidal tendencies. But otherwise, I think I would run the following build:

Glaive, with armoured ceramite (650 points).
The armoured ceramite is almost a given in Heresy era gaming, but could be left out if desired as the HP of the tank is large enough to ensure it'll last a while even without it. Although do note that the tank does have a lower AP to the rear which could be a vulnerability.

Game wise, I think the tank will keep a half decent range from the enemy and pump out shots at heavy tanks, heavy infantry (i.e. terminators) as required. The critical thing is to keep the vulnerable rear facing away from heavy weapons and D class tank killers. To be clear: this tank does not have a D class weapon of its own, so if you do take this tank as a Lord of War, you can almost be assured your enemy will have a D class weapon. Therefore you need to play this tank to its strength. It is not a titan killer. But it will take care of lighter tanks and infantry with ease. 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Dreadnought Drop Pod


The Legion Dreadnought Drop Pod does exactly what one might expect it to. It delivers a single dreadnought - either a regular dreadnought, or a contemptor (including regular mortis or contemptor mortis patterns of course) - to where they are needed on the battlefield.

More than that, the drop pod has the assault vehicle special rule meaning they can assault right out of disembarkation. But this does not apply to the turn that it drops in to play.

Much like the regular drop pod, it can also drop pod assault, and has inertial guidance systems. Perhaps the biggest new rule here is the burning retros rule which can provide shroud on the turn it arrives.

The points cost is more than a regular drop pod to compensate for its larger nature. But that's fine. As I think the dreadnought drop pod can do more than simply deliver your cargo to where it is needed. This drop pod is very capable of denying lines of sight, providing shroud to anything drawing a line of sight through it, and of forming choke points on the battlefield to exploit and / or box in your opponent with. I think several of these, combined with an orbital assault rite of war from a legion praetor will give you the opportunity to play out a "box in" tactica against vehicle heavy opponents. This would make for a particularly interesting game in my opinion.

I have no build suggestions for this entry, since there are no upgrade options. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Gun Kata - Dynamic Bolter and Bolt Pistol Arms

Judging by the number of hits on my previous Gun Kata Space Marine article, the meme is a popular one. So today, I wanted to explore it in a bit more detail with some more regular parts. 

One weapon that every "standard" space marine comes with is the bolt gun / bolter. There are a number of ways to build in some dynamism in to such weapons to make any space marine stand out on the tabletop from its counterparts and "regular" space marine armies that just have bolters held across the body in a regular fashion.

In the image below, I'm going to illustrate this with both a bolter and a bolt pistol. Firstly, the bolt pistol. This comes from the chaos space marine range. And the only thing that I've done to it is a wrist rotation. Seriously: that's all. But: it is more than sufficient to give any marine holding it a unique "gangland" kind of vibe as the pistol is now held horizontally such that the empty spent rounds are ejected directly downward (rather than sideways as is usually the case). I pinned the wrist rotation in place to give it extra support, but I don't think its really needed. 


The bolter is a more complicated matter. Firstly, Space Marines are supposed to be ambidextrous. But every model always has the space marine holding the bolter's trigger in the right hand. Both space marines and chaos space marines suffer from this. I think the reason is because the spent bolt rounds supposedly eject from that side of the bolter and hence no one wants to be whacked in the tummy by them ejecting in the middle of a gun fight. But this situation is different if a space marine is wielding the bolter one-handedly. And why wouldn't they - they are super human angels of death after all!

Hence for the bolter, I've used a chaos space marine arm (one that connects to a heavy bolter, or a standard bearer arm will suffice) and attached this to a hand taken from the grey knights range (they have a couple of clenched left fists on the sprues) incorporating another wrist rotation when I attached it. Then, a standard bolter (drilled, of course!) is attached on the top of the fist to finish the conversion. The result: a left handed held bolt gun angled horizontal to the ground that makes a matching pair with the bolt pistol. I'll be adding both of these arms to the same space marine to create a unique gun kata style marine that is holding both arms out to his front, stretched out, and firing away at his enemies. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Alpha Legion Mk.II Shoulder Pads Unboxing

If it wasn't obvious before, then this post will make it obvious: I'm building an Alpha Legion army as my new force. The army will be a 30k force in the main part, but many squads will also (ultimately) also be viable for 40k as well.  I'm aiming for both true scale, as well as "no model left unconverted" throughout the entire army. I'll worry about painting and colour schemes later.

In the image is the unboxing of Mk.II shoulder pads for the Alpha Legion purchased from Forge World. I really like the design of these shoulder pads: they combine together elements from chaos space marine should pads (the edging in particular) with a three dimensional, raised legion symbol. They come in packs of 10, and I've removed one of the set of 5 from the clam pack in the image below. The resin is reasonable, but thin in some places (nothing I can't cope with). Cutting it from the sprue will need a bit of care as the resin can be brittle if clipped too close to the edges of the shoulder pad. Hence I'm going to clip away from the edge of the pad, and then get closer (plus file it down) when its off the sprue. My only complaint: Forge World doesn't yet produce the classic "A" symbol for the Alpha Legion -- I'd love a few of these in addition to the hydra icon. 


Some of the models built, or in progress for this army can be seen in these previous posts under the "unbroken chain" tag. There will be more updates on this project as time progresses.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dynamic Squad Sergeant Conversion

Continuing building my new space marine army, today I wanted to display a squad sergeant work in progress. To re-iterate: this army will be following the maxim of "no model left unconverted" whilst having dynamism built in to it where I am able. An earlier example of another marine that follows this trend was my "gun kata" model. Both that model and the sergeant displayed here will eventually receive some true scale legs that I've been working on in parallel to these dynamic torsos. 


This model is built out of an Anvil Industry torso as its basis. This is because I wanted this sergeant to have artificer armour, and I think the torsos from Anvil Industry suits this role exceptionally well. 

The left arm is a power fist from the Dark Angels terminators range. I selected this power fist as I liked the pose -- i.e. the clenched fist, and the angle it made at the elbow -- meaning less conversion work ultimately. That said, I have spent some time scrubbing the Dark Angels iconography off of the fist itself as it would not be appropriate for this particular army. The shoulder of the arm is sliced off and connected to a standard space marine shoulder so that I can apply a regular shoulder pad at a later date (as opposed to a terminator shoulder pad). The entire arm is angled out to the torso such that it is almost parallel to the ground. The idea here is that the marine is in mid-swing of the fist, bringing it up from a lower angle and hooking across his body. 

The right arm is a bolt pistol conversion. The bolt pistol has been completely sliced off from the hand and replaced with a space marine devastator melta bomb. To do this, the melta bomb needed its handle shaved off so that it sat flush with the hand, pictured below. 


The final touches were to add a grey knights back pack (the teleporting one!) along with a head. The head is actually a chaos space marines one, but with the top knot removed and filed down flat to a shaved scalp.

Although there is some work remaining (addition of the left shoulder pad, and some green stuff required for the arm pit), this is essentially done and awaiting connection to some true scale legs. Another very dynamic space marine for the new army!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Old Bits Box Raiding

If you're like me, chances are you have a whole heap of spare bits from your collection over the years. Recently, I rediscovered one of my oldest bits boxes and up-ended it all to search through it for interesting bits that I might use for some of my new army build. 

And the picture below is of the tipped out bits!


If you needed an indicator of the age of some of these bits, you can see some of the really old (original) plastic space marines in the yellowish plastic, plus the front of the original rhino model. And scores of shield from skeletons and other miniatures. The white plastics are from elves and other assorted fantasy products. And there's a whole load of orks, eldar, space marine and other grey plastic bits from slightly latter years in there as well. Plus a turret mounted twin linked las cannon from a predator. I might have to do something with that. 

In the end, I found the bits I was interested in (left handed space marine arms that are doing anything other than merely supporting the front end of a bolter!), plus many other accessories besides.  Lots of fun digging through all this stuff regardless! 

Close ups of Painted Space Marine Terrain Piece

A few people wanted to see some different angles of my post from yesterday about the painting of my space marine statue. Well, here they are!: the shield, and the base in particular, plus a top down view so that you can get a feel for the zenith verdigris that I added. Hope you like them.




Monday, November 10, 2014

Painted Space Marine Statue

It has taken me a long time to getting around to painting my space marine statue terrain piece. This was in part because I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to take it in.

Eventually, I settled on a rusted, patchy paint scheme as can be seen in the image.

The paint proceeded from a black undercoat following by a gold/bronze mixture base coat. On top of this base coat, I dappled a lot of dull silver in random blobs using a large sized paint brush head. And then a mixture of bronze and silver in other locations. 



From there, I used at least three washes of dirty black (basically watered down black mixed with a small amount of brown and red) to settle in to the recesses and give the statue a bit of a dirtier look.

Once dry, I decided that I wanted to have some verdigris on the upper surfaces. Although if the statue were copper, it wouldn't have the dappled silver and gold look, but I still think this technique and look works simply because of the aged look combined with the narrative of "who knows what metal this thing is actually made of!". Its the grim dark of the distant future, after all.

To achieve this look, I painted a zenith (from top down) scatter of dark, forest green on the upper surfaces. This was followed by further washes of a black / green watered down mixture to help it blend in to the other sections.

To finish off, I added black lines in to the recesses to better define the futuristic feeling of the slashes on the arms, as well as the boots and the base. This gives a great "lift" to the overall paint scheme. 

I'm half tempted to add a little bit of flock and grass to the statue as well: growing in the recesses where puddles would form after some rain.

Dark Sun Reviews: Marauders of Nibenay

This Dark Sun adventure follows on from Black Flames and Merchant House of Amketch only in the sense that the required level for the PCs has increased. To make these three (or four if one includes Black Spine) a proper series, there really needed to be more plot arcs. This was achieved (albeit not at a high quality level) with the original Freedom - Road to Urik - Arcane Shadows series. 

As per the title, the adventure is set in and around Nibenay. The set up starts with the assumption that the PCs are there somehow. This could fit in naturally with any number of plot hooks or trading adventures. Regardless, they will be approached by either the Veiled Alliance, or the Templars of Nibenay to aid them in a raid / ambush for them. Although there is a refreshing appearance of choice, the path through the adventure is the same either way, whichever faction the PCs wind up working for (and even more refreshingly: they can choose neither and still be on track for the adventure). 

Suddenly: something happens! The raid gets derailed by the Sorcerer-King attempting to wipe out the Zwuun - an entity described in Veiled Alliance who is opposed to the King. Lightning arcs across the palace and the surrounds. Then there are earthquakes, acid rain and in general: end of the world style apocalypse on the city-state of Nibenay as a result. Runaway magic turns the dead (stored in underground crypts in Nibenay) in to zombies and creates nasty flora that also want to kill the citizens and PCs. The Veiled Alliance and the Templars put aside their differences and try to figure out what is happening. And the faction associated with the PCs takes them to the King's palace to try to locate the Shadow King himself and figure out what is happening. 

Although there are plenty of details about the palace, the PCs can largely bypass this and head straight for the inner citadel. Therein, they find the King engaged in a silent psionic battle with the Zwuun, whilst Siemhouk (an NPC noted in several books) looks on. The PCs basically have to protect Seimhook whilst she attempts to calm the Zwuun and various nasties including elementals attack all around. Should they win, Nibenay might re-think his approach to the city and become more engaged. Or it might go back to factional warfare. But the former is probably more interesting given that something similar happens after the Prism Pentad has taken place.

The strong points of this adventure for me are the open ended nature of the introduction, coupled with the apocalyptic state that the city-state winds up in and how the PCs attempt to solve the crisis -- very epic. The negatives are that it should be more grand and sweeping. An introduction to the Zwuun, some familiarity with Seimhouk, etc., should come before all of this adventure ideally so that it can build up more slowly. Its not brilliant, no where near the epic coverage of Merchant House of Amketch for instance, but it is good. So 3 out of 5 stars from me. Possibly 4 on a good day with a bit more preparation and build up. Worth running, unlike some of the other adventures.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Dark Sun Reviews: Merchant House of Amketch


This is technically the follow-on adventure to Black Flames, but there is little overall meta-plot or character arcs to support this. The only real nature in which it is a follow on is that the PCs are going to have to be higher levels. But that is about my only complaint. Merchant House of Amketch is a shining light of an adventure for Dark Sun in my opinion - possibly better than Road to Urik or Dragon's Crown even.


The overall plot concerns the shaqat beetle: an insect that is able to inhibit psionic power. Naturally, orders like the Veiled Alliance want to know more about this. But the real power in the plot is the story telling. It involves the PCs without railroading them severely as other Dark Sun adventures are want to do. Instead, it starts out steadily with the Veiled Alliance (or others should you wish) asking the PCs to investigate the beetles. They know that Amketch is transporting heaps of them. This naturally leads to them being hired by the Amketch merchants for a little job: caravan guard duty. And then a little undercover work!

Aspects of the adventure can tie in really well with the Dune Trader supplement as the PCs figure out the life of a trader and the Merchant House. But investigating the beetles turns in to a much more interesting plot line when the caravan master is revealed to be a House Shom (a rival house) agent!  He also drugs the wine of loyal Amketch agents. Shocking! And so very Dark Sun.  Undoubtably the PCs won't do what the GM wants after that. But the adventure caters to that -- and in some respects encourages it as it likes the idea of the PCs trying to stage a rescue mission for anyone of their number who gets captured by this agent (etc.). This is so very refreshing compared to the BANG! you're all slaves meme problem in adventures like Arcane Shadows

Eventually, the PCs will head to Balic (assuming they're still interested in the beetles -- which they should be because if they got in to the wild it'd be a serious issue!). Infiltrating House Shom (or by other means), they track the origin of the beetles to Kalidnay. There, a nefarious defiler is bonding regular beetles using ancient bio-tech to create the psionic damping variety. Will the PCs be able to stop the defiler driving the beetle trade? Will they release the beetles in to the wild (a threat that is actually made at one point)? Will they follow the adventure linearly or go their own way? 

This adventure has everything for me: intrigue and adventure coupled with the potential to save the world from a great threat that has just been exposed. So its 5 out of 5 stars from me. Run this adventure as is unless you have a good reason to swap out a named NPC. Go with the PCs wherever they want to take it (most of which is anticipated by the adventure notes). Use random raids as desired to push the PCs back in the right direction. Even throw the desert at them. This adventure has it all, and the potential to be spun out in to an epic.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dark Sun Reviews: Black Flames

This adventure module for the Dark Sun campaign setting seems to be cast from the same mould as Freedom in many ways. This ranges from the constant railroading, through to a general lack of rewards beyond gaining the hatred of some powerful NPC(s). So, right from the outset, I was underwhelmed by it.

The plot is simplistic to be fair: its a quest for a maguffin. In this case, a powerful scroll located in the ruins of Yaramuke and the Black Oasis. And the NPC wanting this item just happens to be a neo-dragon that the PCs have never heard of. Firstly: Dragons are supposed to be rare. Secondly, they're powerful. So why can't this guy just do it himself? Well, it (retroactively) turns out that there is a (never mentioned anywhere else in the canon) magic barrier preventing evil people from taking it without losing all but two senses (hearing and touch). 

My strong advice is to totally replace this random dragon with a favourite NPC villain from your own campaign. I'd suggest Malignor (see Arcane Shadows suggestions too) or someone similar.

At the outset, the PCs are assumed to be travelling the desert. Which is a nice alternative to BANG! you're all slaves meme that infected previous publications. The big bad NPC then conjures a sandstorm to isolate the PCs, deprive them of water (because there's no Water Clerics in the PC group with a bit of luck?) and then have his undead (but seemingly normal) minions offer the PCs water from the Black Oasis. Which will kill them unless they do his bidding. Seriously: he's that bothered to not do this mission himself despite his own power.  That's why a good GM will replace this big bad NPC with someone a bit more interesting. 

The second part of the adventure is actually nice. It is non-linear to a certain degree: the PCs are able to explore the ruins of Yaramuke in any which way they please. Its therefore almost a bit of a dungeon crawl, but Dark Sun style! But this is railroaded when the Sorcerer-Queen of Raam shows up -- she also wants the scroll at a coincidental time to the big bad NPC -- and all fire works erupt between the two. Naturally, in such a high level fight, the PCs should be little more than pawns and should get out of the way to avoid a splattering. Either way, these two powerful NPCs will end up not liking the PCs.

In the third part, the ruins collapse, and fleeing, the PCs must try to free themselves of the curse of Black Water by negotiating with the local druid. Whilst getting through all the zombies that have previously died of the curse. A revenge attack by the Big Bad NPC then finishes off the adventure. But I would strongly recommend that encounter for a much later time!

Beyond that, the format of the adventure is still in the spiral bound books that make a ruination of the card container they come in. Hence overall, I'm not overly impressed with the adventure. It has some good points, and with work (especially the replacement of the big bad NPC and hopefully their latter escape) could work reasonably. Better than Arcane Shadows and certainly way better than the worst of the lot: Asticlian Gambit. But not much better than Freedom without significant work (which I've recommended above). Overall, 2 out of 5 for me -- don't run it "as is": plan ahead and change the script and overall plot, but retain the non-linear middle parts. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Sicaran Battle Tank


Much has already been said of this tank elsewhere in the blogosphere. But I'm going to say it regardless: this tank is amazing.

The primary armament is simply awesome. The ability to pump out 6 lots of S7 rending shots every turn that denies jink saves cannot be understated. Seriously: denying jink saves! Where-else can you get that ability?!

I only have a few potential builds for this tank since I think even the none upgraded version is worthwhile.

Sicaran Tank, Armoured Ceramite (155 points)
A bit of extra durability in this meta can be vital -- the ability to hose down the effects of meltas can be life saving (tank saving!), but won't help against las cannons clearly.

Sicaran Tank, Lascannon sponsons, armoured ceramite (195 points)
A tank to almost (but not quite) rival a land raider - minus the transport capacity. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Whirlwind Scorpius


The Scorpius was a prototype undergoing battlefield testing at the Heresy's outbreak, having been created at the request of the Space Wolves. It was intended to ultimately replace the more regular Whirlwind and was approved for all Legions ultimately.

So what does this Scorpius provide? Well, AP3 S8 small blasts are pretty nice. Even more nice is that fact that this can be Heavy 1+d3 if it stays still. At S8, this is clearly enough to threaten lighter tanks, as well as anything in power armour (or worse). And it does all this for a reasonable price tag as well!

Although it can take a few upgrades, I think fielding the Scorpius in a "naked" capacity is highly viable.  That said, for 125 points having the extra armour (or even a hunter-killer missile) is a nice idea. Compare this cost against a heavy support squad with missile launchers and see the differences / improvements. Sure, they have different roles, but I can readily see the Scorpius having a strong role in most legions. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Deathstorm Drop Pod


This is a drop pod that delivers weaponry to where its needed rather than legionaries.

Although it is a heavy support option, it can be a fast attack option if the Orbital Assault rite of war is also selected. This gives a bit of extra flexibility - especially if we wanted multiple such pods.

Additionally, having just one of these pods might also be an entertaining idea: deep-strike in and use the pod as an "area denial" unit to hem in enemies and slow / prevent their advance through choke points and the centre of the field. With AV12 all around and 3HP, its more survivable than a rhino for this purpose.

There are only 2 builds: one with frag missiles (90 points) and one with heavy 2 / krak missiles (120 points). Both are eminently viable, but the choice between them depends entirely on where you want your pod to come in, whether you already have such weapons in your army, and what the enemy is fielding.

Ten krak missiles per turn at different targets is very impressive and worth the 120 points in my opinion. It certainly can put squads like heavy support infantry to shame. And the 5 frag missiles have pinning in their blast radius.

Overall, a very strong contender for a heavy support slot in my opinion, especially for those armies that usually might not make too much use of heavy tanks due to their rapid deployment nature (e.g., Raven Guard). 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Javelin Attack Speeder Squadron


With up to three of these in a squadron, they can really add rapid and ranged pressure to enemies of all kinds. Clearly they're well suited to legions such as White Scars, but most legions can make great use of them in the right circumstances - assuming that they're not already using up the pressured Fast Attack choices!

Here are a few build ideas:

3 Javelin Attack Speeders, each with a hunter-killer missile (240 points)
Surprisingly versatile with the combination of krak, frag and hunter-killer missiles, as well as heavy bolters, the tactica here would be to either hide them and race up to slay enemies, or deep-strike them / outflank them and get them in to position right away. Note that with the low AV and HP, they won't last too long to sustained fire, but with smart positioning they can be a game winner (particularly for last turn objective grabbing when required!).

3 Javelin Attack Speeders, each with multi-melta (255 points)
Deep strike in to position and evaporate heavy armour with the multi meltas. Not very subtle, but rather effective. (assuming a lack of armoured ceramite). A single one of these at 85 points is also a viable option.

3 Javelin Attack Speeders, each with twin-linked lascannons and searchlights (258 points)
An interesting option for the back field: a unit that is able to rapidly redeploy and tank hunt (with the searchlights to help out in dark conditions).

Monday, November 3, 2014

Horus Heresy Review: Primaris-Lightning Strike Fighter


Deep-striking and fast as anything in the game, the primaris-lightning strike fighter is a cheapish Fast Attack choice for both Legion and Mechanicum armies.

There are a number of potential builds, depending on the battlefield role that one wants for this flier. And this is accomplished by using up to the three hard points on the craft. So: are you going to use it to hunt tanks with? Or what about chase down infantry? Or are you going to use is filled up with bombs perhaps and other one-shot items?

Here are a few ideas.

Primaris-Lightning Strike Fighter with 4 Electromagnetic Storm Charges, 2 Kraken penetrator missiles, Ramjet diffraction grid (220 points)
This is an anti-tank option. The flier relies on the standard lascannons that it comes with an supplements these with the haywire of the storm charges and the armour bane of the krakens for best effect. The diffraction grid is there to keep it in the skies! Add on the battle servitor control for tank hunters to taste.

Primaris-Lightning Strike Fighter with twin linked frag and krak missile launcher, rad missiles, twin-linked auto cannon, phosphex bomb cluster (220 points)
Immoral weapons, low AP and a half decent rate of fire make this the nemesis for terminators and artificer armoured targets alike. It won't last long, so make sure you fire off all your weapons quickly. Or take more than one fighter.

Primaris-Lightning Strike Fighter with twin-linked auto cannon, twin-linked multi-laser, sun fury heavy missiles, ground-tracking auguries (200 points)
This is one for taking out regular marines through a combination of rate of fire and AP3.

Primaris-Lightning Strike Fighter with twin-linked missile launcher (160 points)
A cheap alternative with both lascannons and missile launcher makes this a flier to keep the pressure up on multiple targets. Take several of them for increased enemy headaches.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Random Name Generator: Greek Sites


Today, I thought I'd try something a bit more adventurous. Following on from the various random name generator lists I've been toying with, I thought I'd have a go at trying to make a Greek sounding random location name generator.

From the outset, I'm going to emphasise that I'm not a native speaker of Greek!! I do have some classical training from many many years ago, but overall, I'm not going to vouch for how "Greek" these names might or might not come out as sounding to native Greek ears.

Here's the idea. Take an element from the first column (Element Alpha) and combine with EITHER an element from the third column (Element Omega), or an element from the second (Element Beta) AND third column (Element Omega).


Element Alpha
Element
Beta
Element Omega
A
Ac
A
Ab
Acter
Aca
Ach
And
Ae
An
Apo
Age
Ar
Bae
Ana
Cary
Cae
Des
Chry
Che
Dos
Cor
Chi
Dus
Dec
Dan
Ene
Ele
Delt
Essa
Eur
Den
Gora
Ger
Er
Ia
Gy
Geth
Inth
Hera
Hen
Kis
Ill
In
Kos
Ith
Iph
La
Kas
Ko
Lis
Leb
Lan
Ma
Lor
Mak
Me
Me
Man
Mos
My
Mo
Nae
Nau
Na
On
Ol
Nar
Os
Pan
O
Phon
Par
On
Pia
Pha
Phi
Polis
Pre
Phla
Pylae
Pser
Re
Ros
Ptol
Ron
Rya
Rho
Sil
Sos
Siph
So
Tas
Sy
Ssa
Tha
Sy
Sta
Thon
Ta
Th
Tia
Tau
Tor
Tis
Tha
Ve
Tus
Ther
Y
Us
Thra
Ymp
Ymna


Using this format, I'm able to generate names such as: Olympia; Rhodes; Caryanda; all of which are real Greek places, as well as invented others which are reasonably pleasing to my ears: Pserphlathon; Medeltus, Olmakene, etc. Enjoy!



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