Monday, March 30, 2015

Sarum Pattern Respiration Masks for Heresy Era Space Marines

Close reading and inspection of the Horus Heresy rule books reveals a number of hidden gems and "easter egg" style gifts to the gamer. The first one of these is the Anvilus Pattern Backpack that one of the Death Guard can be seen wearing in Betrayal. Today, I wanted to note another one from Betrayal:- the Sarum Pattern Respiration Mask, pictured below.

The story in Betrayal goes that the World Eaters managed to form an alliance of sort (such that the World Eaters are capable of) with the Sarum Forge World having been deployed there and seen serious action. As a "reward", they got supplied with a new pattern of respirator. The nice part about this particular helmet is its visual similarity to those included in the space marine boxed sets. Although clearly a much later pattern, the Mk VII Aquilia Armour is probably the one that is closest to the Sarum pattern. That said, there are some subtle differences. But at a distance and at first glance, both the Mk VII helmet and the Sarum one are almost the same. Therefore, the World Eaters players should feel free to use this helmet in their conversions. And probably Alpha Legion as well - because they're Alpha Legion! 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Imperial Castellum Stronghold

A dedicated fortification available to the legion armies. I feel this was mostly included to provide the Imperial Fists and Iron Warriors -- and in particular Kyr Vhalen -- a point to occupy and defend from a position of advantage. With this fortification and Vhalen, even the Alpha Legion are going to be doing some serious head-scratching about how to take the place.

The fortification itself is divided up in to an open deck area, one large AV14 bunker and three medium AV14 bunkers. Together, these provide 5 upgrade mounting points to arm with a variety of weapons or equipment like a comms relay.

To a large extent, it depends entirely on how one wises to play the game, and the game objectives as to how to utilise the Catellum. Will you be objective camping on a single objective within the Castellum and then just grabbing another one of two as you're able elsewhere? Or is it about a glorious last stand (kill points) mission or a re-enactment of the battle of Paramar from Extermination? Given the price tag attached, this fortification will probably form the core of any armies tactics - or at least it should. So plan accordingly and think about the mission parameters (if known in advance).

Here are two example builds.

Castellum with 2 Icarus Lascannons, 2 Whirlwind Launchers, 1 comms relay (435 points)
This is a bunker to provide extra firepower at long range where it is needed. Combine with an aggressive or deep striking forward force for maximum effect.

Castellum with 2 Quad Guns, 2 Hyperios Missile Launchers, 1 Hyperios Command Platform, 1 comms relay, 1 hostile signal jammer (495 points)
A more defensive style of play here with the hostile signal jammer and automated dakka from the command platform. Not sure how the Alpha Legion will handle this against the Iron Warriors and Vhalen at the battle of Paramar, but through scouting and infiltration I'd imagine. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Stormblade Super-heavy Tank

The primary weapon of this super heavy tank is the plasma blast gun. Its worth just going over what this primary weapon can do since there are two firing modes. The first is a rapid mode what provides 2 massive (7 inch) blasts at S8. The second is an overloaded mode that gives but a single 10 inch blast at S10. Let's do a little maths at this point. How much of an area can each of these blasts cover? Well, the area of a circle is pi r-squared. For the 7 inch blast, this is two lots of 154 sq inches (rounded), for a total of 308 sq inches. For the 10 inch blast, we're looking at 314 sq inches. Hence they're about the same in terms of the sheer area covered. But the strength of the blasts is clearly rather different! Ultimately how this weapon is fired will come down to how the enemy is arrayed in front of the Stormblade, but I thought it was useful to point out that the areas of both (summed) is very comparable. Yet, there is no way around a cover save, despite the high strength and low AP of the weapon.

Other than that, it has AV14 on the front, decreasing around the side and back, and 9 whole hull points. It is broadly survivable and will certainly cause a headache for anything that is footslogging or otherwise out in the open. It can be upgraded with a number of weapons which would provide alternatives for weapon destroyed results if needed. To some extent the choice of whether to go for sponsons or other tools is down to personal taste.

Here are a pair of builds to consider.

Stormblade with armoured ceramite and space marine legion crew (495 points)
Probably the base line that players of this unit will take. The marine crew improve the BS (if needed in the first place with blast templates) and the armoured ceramite is almost a given against melta opponents.

Stormblade with lascannon/heavy bolter sponsons, armoured ceramite, space marine legion crew, havoc launcher pintle, command tank (585 points)
A truly upgraded tank that provides the core of a legion's tactics with the command tank status and the range of weaponry available. Although other options like hunter killer missiles could be added, they are really overkill at this stage. As would be a second pair of sponsons, but I could see that being played as well. Just consider how many points the total army is at this point and figure out what fraction we are spending on the tank is. How many points are you willing to sink in to a super heavy?

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Falchion Super-Heavy Tank Destroyer

Coming under the Lords of War slot, the Falchion is a real monster with 12 Hull Points and AV14 on the front. Let down only by a BS of 3, this is a tank to be reckoned with at first glance.

Its worth taking a moment to talk about the primary weapon of this beast: a volcano cannon. This is a Destroyer class weapon with a 5 inch blast radius and AP2. To be clear, this is a true tank killer that is going to clear the board turn by turn if permitted to do its job. It is a tank that truly has to be countered as soon as possible by an enemy, and ultimately, I think it will come down to who has the best position coupled with who gets the first turn for this purpose.

In addition to this, it sports a pair of quad-las cannons for its sponsons. These weapons, coupled with the primary volcano cannon is going to quickly add up to a multitude of immobile, wrecked or exploded tanks every turn, (or dead terminators, primarchs, monstrous creatures or gargantuans) with a bit of luck. It does not come cheap though, at over 500 points for its base cost.

Here are a couple of builds to mull over.

Falchion with armoured ceramite and space marine legion crew (545 points).
This is probably the base line build. The armoured ceramite is almost a must in 30k (or 40k even!) and the space marine crew improve the BS to acceptable levels.

Falchion with hunter-killer missile, armoured ceramite, pintle-mounted havoc launcher and space marine legion crew (570 points).
A few more upgrades here - the havoc launcher provides suppression of mobs at a distance (but maybe a multi-melta could be superior if hunting tanks 100%, or even a heavy flamer for close range suppression), whilst the hunter-killer missile is there to shoot off on Turn 1

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Sicaran Venator Tank Destroyer

This variant of the Sicaran Battle Tank is a tank destroyer, as might be summized from the name. And significantly, it actually does what its name suggests it should!

The main weapon of the tank is one of the best of its class in the game: a S10, AP1 neutron laser beam that is Ordnance 2. Alone, this is going to cause some serious level of impact on many tanks in the game. But its use is not just limited to this. With the "Shock Pulse" rule, the neutron laser beam can cause any tank it scores a penetrating hit on to only be able to take snap shots the next turn.

I really cannot underscore enough what an incredible effect this is. Really. If you manage to get a penetration on any tank -- including any super heavy that you like -- they can only snap shot the next turn. Hence even if you don't destroy a target tank, it is entirely possible to take them out of play (effectively) in terms of shooting for an entire turn. This is absolutely amazing in Warhammer 40,000 and I don't know of another example like it anywhere. It can absolutely ruin an opponent's day and hand an super heavy a crushing negative effect that cannot really be countered in any concrete way (correct me if I'm wrong on that, please).

In terms of builds, there are options to add on side sponsons, but given the main weapon is an ordnance weapon, this probably isn't such a good idea unless we want to provide an alternative "weapon destroyed" result. The other upgrades are situational, but okay.

Here are a couple of example builds to think about.

Sicaran Venator Tank Destroyer (190 points)
The naked version to spoil a super-heavy's day. Take a Hunter-Killer missile to taste.

Sicaran Venator Tank Destroyer, Armoured Ceramite (210 points)
This is probably about as much upgrading as one wants to do, and is purely defensive.

Sicaran Venator Tank Destroyer, Armoured, Ceramite, Heavy Bolter Sponsons, Auxilliary Drive, Dozer Blade (245 points)
Probably too many upgrades here to be honest, but placed here as an illustration of the kinds of upgrades that can be possible for this tank.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Achilles-Alpha Pattern Land Raider

There are many similarities with this unit to the Achilles Land Raider that shares its name.

It has a transport capacity, it is what you'd expect from a land raider with AV14 all around, and so forth.

On the front, it is a little bit different, mounting a quad mortar, and it also exhibits volkite culverins on its side sponsons (twin linked).

The main draw back here, in my opinion, is that we can only take a single Achilles-Alpha for the unit composition. For the land raiders, recall that we can take 1-3 in a single unit to make up a full squadron.

I'm not entirely sold on the loss of the meltas either - the quad mortar will certainly be nice against horde armies (Orks, Tyranids, etc.), but against mechanised space marines of the Heresy era, I'd much sooner have the meltas.

The only major benefit here is the ability to re-roll dangerous terrain checks and the enhanced ferromagnetic rites that have been applied.

Overall, I'm therefore not that sold on this unit. I think I'd prefer to run a regular land raider squadron and take the base line Achilles. But that's just my opinion. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Fire Raptor Gunship

This is a variant of the Storm Eagle Gunship. And it makes the Storm Eagle seem unworthy of the title "Gunship" to be perfectly honest!

At its base, this gunship is AV12 all around with a nice 4 hull points for durability. Although it is vulnerable to dedicated anti-aircraft fire, it is one that will be likely to hang around.

The really amazing thing about this unit from my perspective is the sheer amount of weaponry that it holds -- even without upgrading it.

Let me give just a brief overview of what this gunship is capable of shooting off every single turn:

(a) Seven S6 AP3 shots (twin linked);
(b) Twelves S5 AP4 shots (also twin linked);
(c) One shots: Four S6 AP4 sundering shots.

I really think that this is an incredible amount of firepower for the price tag. Indeed, I don't know why we're not seeing plenty of Fire Raptors on every gaming table! Probably the model cost in real life, I suspect.

There are a number of upgrades possible as well. A reaper auto cannon battery can be taken, reducing the number of shots in (a) above, but increasing to S7. This is probably not worth it (arguably) as the AP3 at lower strength is going to be more valuable in Heresy era gaming (and in 40k as well, I'd wager).

Armoured ceramite is usually a given for ground based tanks, but for fliers, I just don't know. It kind of depends on whether we are thinking melta guns are going to get in range, or lance weapons are going to be an issue. This could, therefore, be skipped without too much risk I would contend.

A search light is always nice - and certainly cheap. But given that most points costs are done in multiples of 5's these days, we'd probably be wasting 4 points (unless we have similar upgrades available elsewhere!). It could always be valuable against Night Lords, of course.

The hell strike missiles depend on taste to some extent. I do like the basic tempest rockets, but can certainly see why one might wish to upgrade.

Add in to that mix that it can do a strafing run (BS5) as well as fire at different targets and the bolt like weapons don't contribute to the amount of weapons that can be fired per turn, and we're looking at an excellent unit here.

Overall, I would think that the baseline unit is therefore completely viable. But more than that: this unit is really a very powerful one. I'm totally surprised we don't see more of them - they are really rather good.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Legion Kharybdis Assault Claw

Primarily, this is a ship to ship assault vehicle, delivering its cargo to where its needed by burning its way in through metres of bulkhead and outer spaceship layers.

The (not upgradable) price of the Kharybdis places it as equal or slightly more expense than a land raider. Is it worth such a price tag though?  Well, despite the AV13 all around, it does feature an impressive 5 hull points.

But the primary reason for taking it is probably going to be the ability to take a whopping 20 space marines on board. This is a full tactical squad - all ready to be placed in to position and even use Fury of the Legion when they arrive (perhaps).

In terms of weapons, it has the heat blast and fire sweeping ability that the Anvillus Pattern Dreadclaw Drop Pod does, but in addition, has five "storm launchers". In short, they're S6 heavy 2 and twin linked. These are significant and can provide a half decent amount of fire power for the legion for the price of the assault claw. To be clear: its not a game winner in itself, but can certainly add to the firepower of anything it is transporting.

Finally, it also has frag launchers as well as a "melta ram" ability that provides it with a good amount of tactical flexibility.

I primarily see its use as one of two things:
(i) to get a 20 man squad in to a certain position and let them open fire on turn one. This could work very nicely for tactical squads, but also for smaller sized tactical support squads armed with meltas or plasma guns. Or even volkites - which could be very nasty at short range against hordes!
(ii) getting a close combat orientated squad in to position to charge in on turn 2. Squads of ten strong terminators are an obvious choice here!

Horus Heresy Review: Anvillus Pattern Dreadclaw Drop Pod

The Dreadclaw provides the rest of the legions access to a flying drop pod that was previously (in Betrayal) only available to the Sons of Horus in the form of the Dreadclaw Drop Pod itself. The key difference is a lack of frag launchers here.

For a nice baseline cost of 100 points, the Anvillus pattern gives the legions a pod that has not only the usual drop pod assault, but a decent heat blast for a S6 no cover saves hit in a modest radius (or in a line if its moving).

Their capacity is typical for drop pods, but they can also hold contemptor dreadnoughts if the orbital assault rite of war has been selected. Regular dreadnoughts are no problem though.

I'm not sure what else to write about this unit to be honest. There are no upgrades available and its a pretty standard drop pod transport in 30k that I'm sure will see some play by certain legions and certain styles of play. Other than that, it will be shunned by legions that prefer full-on tanks, or slogging it across the battlefield. Enough said really. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Unboxing a Contemptor Missile Pod

Although the box is labelled as a contemptor pattern missile pod, in 30k, this will be treated as a havoc launcher for contemptor talons, or contemptor-mortis dreadnoughts. It is broadly a popular choice for fire power based contemptors as it can add an extra layer of firepower to ensure that enemy units are whittled down before they can pose a serious threat.

Alternatively, they can provide a contemptor that has two dreadnought close combat weapons with some extra firepower that is able to soften up an enemy unit prior to the dreadnought charging at it. 

The image displays the contents of the missile launchers straight out of the box.

There are two sprues contained within. The upper one are the two upper covers for the missile launchers which sit either side of the bit / sensor array that sits directly on the centre of the model. 

The lower sprue consists of (Left to Right): missile pod, a contemptor head, the central bit / sensor array, and the second missile pod.

To put them together, its simply a case of gluing the missile pods to the central bit / sensor array and applying the upper covers to the pods. The head can be used as a direct swap for other contemptor heads and features a zoom-in telescopic augmetic fitted over the eye. In all, very simple to put together, but perhaps needing some hot water to slightly re-shape the upper covers if necessary.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Legion Vexilla Bearer

With Leadership values being particularly important in Warhammer 30k due to the chance of routing and fleeing off the board, Legion Vexilla are important to take for helping to counter these chances - especially for large squads. Indeed, for my 20 marine strong tactical squad, I will be taking a vexilla along with a few other upgrades.

To model the Vexilla, there are a number of options. Forge World supply parts that attach to the top of the back pack of the space marines. But I was a little bit dissatisfied with this approach. If one examines the front cover of some of the Black Library books (in particular the cover of Sedition's Gate) it is clear that the Alpha Legion has their vexilla carried by marines rather than on their backs. I much prefer this kind of approach since it feels more authentic - to inspire the troops, the legion symbol and history can be hoisted high by the bearer.

For this miniature, I therefore too a chaos space marine icon pole and attached a space marine banner to the top of it. The pose of the miniature certainly suggests that the marine is proudly displaying the banner front and centre and rallying the troops around him against the xenos or other enemy. The conversion is finished off with a bolter conversion, plus parts from space marines, chaos space marines, and grey knights. As with a number of my miniatures for my Alpha Legion army, the legs will be added later once I've converted them to true scale ones.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Let's Go!

Today, an example of a posed marine who will form part of a tactical squad. The inspiration here for the marine is one that is gesticulating to his brothers to come along quick - Let's Go and get stuck in over here!

The conversion is created by combining parts from space marines (torso, bolter), chaos space marines (arms, back pack -- clearly from the Anvilus Forge World, shoulder pad, head), grey knights (left hand) and anvil industry (bolter cartridge conversion).

Overall, I'm pleased with this relatively simple conversion and will be applying some truescale legs a little bit later, along with an Alpha Legion shoulder pad to the left shoulder.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Finished Plasma Blaster Tartaros Truescale Terminator

This is the final, truescale, tartaros terminator armed with a plasma cannon which will be counting as a plasma blaster, plus a power sword. The pose is intended to suggest some dynamism: the blaster is held in an almost upright position to the body, whilst the sword arm is extended, as if either engaging with an enemy (perhaps a parry manoeuvre even?), or pointing in the general direction in which to charge.

As with the sergeant of this squad, I've built the model so that the extra height to account for the true scale comes in at the waist and hips. This is achieved in a very simple manner by adding extra green stuff in to the gap between the torso and the legs.

The overall effect is one that I'm please with and will sit well alongside the other terminators for my (slowly) growing Alpha Legion 30k army!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Games Workshop Oxford Street London, on Bloodthirster Release Day

Continuing my ever expanding series of Games Workshop store reviews, today I wanted to share some thoughts about my visit to the Oxford Street, London store (UK). As always, I usually do an anonymous shopper thing and purchase a small item and have a chat with the staff there. I must say, that the (apparently solo?) staff member who served me was the height of courteousness and provided total customer service! I guess a lot of stores in London do do that, and it contrasts to the hustle and bustle of the streets outside.

For those of you unfamiliar with London, Oxford Street is one of the busiest shopping precincts in London. Around Oxford Circus tube station, the crush of the crowds is pretty intense - especially during the rush hours (which is when I happened to walk along there to the GW store - a bit of a mistake on my part perhaps, but also the only time I had to walk there). Physically, the store is situated a good ten minute walk away from the Oxford Circus tube station and is located within a smaller plaza just off Oxford Street. It was very easy to find and pleasantly near the entrance to the plaza. The store itself is of a modest to small size, with three gaming surfaces (appropriately covered in miniatures set up to play with ranging from 40k, to the Hobbit) and several works in progress, plus ample space for painting. I was particularly intrigued by several blue-and-white painted magewrath skull piles that were looking like they were going to make some awesome scenery when finished. 

I visited the store on the release day of the new Khorne Bloodthirster as well - hence I snapped the photo below in their glass cabinet to justify to myself just how humongous the new greater daemon is. Very impressive when sat next to Glottkin. 

Other than that, they're really looking forward to the opening of a new store on Tottenham Court Road and were pushing a number of special events surrounding that. Overall: impressed, but would have thought the store might have been bigger given its location.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Perturabo

The Lord of Iron was as intelligent just as much as he was brutal. His conquests were efficient to the point of brutality and his loyalty to the Emperor strong. Probably at least until he had the return to Olympia to solve the crisis there. And from there, he headed to Isstvan as there was logically little alternative. Many see the act at Olympia as the final straw that pushed Perturabo and his legion over the edge after several reversals of fortune in the campaign against the Hrrud and others. But perhaps the weakness in his armour could be found much earlier due to his intelligence being cold, nearly paranoid, and almost wasted on Olympia. The gnawing darkness within finally let loose on Olympia pushed their guilt over the edge and Horus found them easy to sway to his side - as the Emperor would probably not forgive them, but Horus suggested it was justice that Perturabo carried out on Olympia.

Perturabo is a powerful figure in the game and his cost is certainly in the upper echelons for primarchs. Firstly he is a force multiplier by giving stubborn to his sons. Recall that in 30k, the stubborn special rule comes at a premium. This means that this boon is quite a big deal for the Iron Warriors. His own attacks are also capable to wrecking buildings as easily as tanks.

Much like Alpharius, he is also a masterful strategist when it comes to warfare. This reveals itself in how he gives furious charge to his army in an enemy deployment zone, and how he can start to call in reserves from turn one if required. This latter ability is amazing overall and such a huge boon to certain flavours of army.

But more than that, he can call down bombardments like Horus can, he has exception armour in the Logos that ensures his terminator armoured sons gain deep strike plus a significant wrist cannon that can help wiping out power armour enemies.

Curiously, he also has access to two unique upgrades. The first is to take Ferrus Manus' Forgebreaker hammer - a token given to Perturabo from Horus after Isstvan V. This is probably worth the points in conjunction with his ability to deep strike and should certainly be played in an aggressive style of pride of the legion assault (which is certainly something that Perturabo and his sons would excel at given furious charge and other bonuses). The second is the ability to take a personal (modified) Shadowsword transport (The Tormentor) that comes with 15 transport and a void shield. This costs more than Perturabo himself and its utility is mixed in my opinion, but could be splendid when played correctly in a very large points game. Indeed, it could be an excellent edge.

Overall, I think Perturabo can be played in a couple of ways. The first is part of a spearhead of terminators coming in within the enemy deployment zone and crippling everything around them. Coupling the first turn reserves rolling with free deep striking is amazing as it allows a mixed arms approach backed up by tanks and other elements to hurt the enemy elsewhere whilst the terminators do their job. He could also be played slightly mid to back field and damage the table with his bombardment in the early turns, only to follow through in his own personal Shadowsword. Take lots of tanks with this one and pummel the opponent from range before closing to combat.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Kyr Vhalen

Here is an Iron Warrior HQ character who found himself separated from the main force of Perturabo, and did not know about the betrayal at Isstvan. Hence he's a loyalist. And one that took great pride in his loyalty when the Alpha Legion attacked Paramar following the betrayal.

His abilities to boost his force are amazing, in my opinion, and totally worth his points, so long as the controlling player builds their army around them. Firstly, he can boost a fortification. This might be to re roll "1"s for saves from it, or increase AV to a maximum of 15. Yes - you read that right AV15. Further, a single unit in the deployment zone can benefit from re-rolling misses to hit with shooting. Hence the only way to play Vhalen is to purchase a fortification along with the force. And one that is already significantly good! The Castellum Stronghold might constitute such an example, but certainly there are others!

Within this terrain feature, I'd suggest placing some of the strongest long range (heavy support style) squads to help out. Iron Havocs are one example that would certainly benefit from this.

His final feature is to be able to have a shatter assault ability - this prevents enemies from hammer of wrath'ing him and must make disordered charges. But its only once per game. His presence and the combination of these abilities is certainly what makes a re-enactment of the Paramar battle between the loyal Iron Warriors and traitor (?!) Alpha Legion a highly interesting contrast. Take an appropriate rite of war in addition and its truly an amazing contest. Perhaps even in the Iron Warriors favour?

On top of this, Vhalen is also a Warsmith and master of the legion. He probably therefore wants to stay back and join a large squad of Iron Warriors. Take some robots to boot, plenty of dakka, a fortification, and some big tanks, and its game on realistically. I will freely admit I like both this character and his abilities!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Erasmus Golg

A grim character that's a bit hard to warm to, not unlike some of the Iron Hands to be fair. Golg is a brutal bully of an HQ choice for the Iron Warriors to be fair, and this is reflected in his rules. Not only does he share his Ld value with other Iron Warriors (which is standard fare these days it seems), but he also does a number of other things.

Firstly, he "unlocks" terminators as troops. Hence if you want a pride of the legion style army, then Golg is an excellent way in which to achieve it. The fact that the wording of the rule includes "may" means that both the troops and elites slots can be dedicated to terminators. This is fantastic for this kind of army, and Golg begs to be used in this way, in my opinion.

To doubly back up that opinion, Golg and any terminator squad he joins gains the hammer of wrath rule -- this is a strong encouragement to have Golg as a front line combatant along with a bunch of his terminator underlings.

In and of himself, he's a reasonably standard stat-line, with good WS and BS. He comes with terminator armour (as one might expect) with chain fist and combi-melta, but also a nuncio vox for extra interest!  This combination of arms makes him flexible, but clearly is dedicated to taking out tanks. I therefore think he wants to be in a similarly armed squad (meltas, chainfists, powerfists or thunder hammers at minimum) and possibly be given a land raider to ride in with said squad. Equally, if deep strike is in play, a pure terminator army is entirely plausible (cf. Death Wing).

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Iron Havoc Support Squad

What do you get when you blend together the best marksmen with heavy weaponry? Iron Havocs would be the answer. These Iron Warriors are clearly the forerunners to the latter day Havocs of the Chaos Space Marines in name, but only in name. The Iron Havocs are far superior to their 40k namesakes though.

Not only do they automatically have tank hunters, but they also have deadly aim to reduce cover saves of their targets by 1 notch. Their armour is hardened and they come with shrapnel bolts in their heavy bolters as standard (see Iron Warriors Legion Rules).

Overall, the baseline unit is one which is going to pin down many enemy units within cover. But their upgrades are also very interesting. For a cheap amount of points we can gain missile launchers that have not only krak and frag, but flak as well. Lascannons also make for an entertaining option. The squad sergeant can take some of the more standard upgrades alongside this. Therefore, for me, the squad comes down to what primary heavy weapon it is going to select. Here are a few ideas.

10 Iron Havocs, all with heavy bolters and shrapnel rounds (310 points)
A little bit pricey, but pretty much assured of doing damage and pinning down a squad you don't want firing back at you. Take out the 5 extra members to go just for annoyance pinning tactics. Replace with auto cannons to taste?

6 Iron Havocs, 5 with missile launchers, sergeant with augury scanner, nuncio-vox and power fist, artificer armour (260 points)
The sergeant is there to help out with the nuncio-box and augury scanner and the power fist is a deterrent to nearby out flankers and the like, whilst the 5 missile launchers do their main job. Add in a few more havocs for fun and extra tank killing if you feel you need it.

5 Iron Havocs, each with lascannons (260 points)
Same price as above (curiously!), but lascannons this time. Although not an anti-air option, they will certainly pose a threat to a dreadnought or tank that happens to show the wrong facing to them.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Tyrant Siege Terminator Squad

I must admit that I like the sound of these guys when I first read Extermination. In brief, they are standard cataphractii terminators that are each armed with a cyclone missile launcher, a power fist and combi-bolter. On top of this, the squad sergeant carries a special device that permits the individual with split fire and night vision. This can be such a huge boon!

But it gets better than that: each and every attack is a wrecker one, regardless of the source (melee, weapons, whatever - its all a wrecker attack!). 

The main drawback however is the price tag. They cost 150% of a baseline terminator squad. But for that, we are gaining a lot more, I would think. The sheer attraction of the cyclone missile launchers simply cannot be overlooked. From turn 1, they should be pumping out much needed firepower support whilst slogging up toward enemy positions. But they still have only one wound each. So perhaps augment the unit with the addition of legion Primus Medicae in terminator armour to help out. This starts to get really expensive though, so beware. 

Here are a few example builds.

5 Tyrant Siege Terminators (295 points).
The naked version will serve very nicely in my opinion. Add in a character to taste. And or a land raider!

8 Tyrant Siege Terminators, 4 combi-plasmas, 2 chainfists (475 points).
This is a flexible squad for taking out light tanks, enemy 2+ save models, as well as being a close combat danger to terrain and vehicles alike. And the price tag seems to be relatively okay overall as well. Arguably.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Warsmith

This is a new type of praetor for the Iron Warriors, and therefore has access to all the regular bonuses such as rites of war and so forth. On the negative side, they're worth an additional victory point if an enemy takes them out. But their bonuses are neat: stubborn, Shatter Defences, and the potential to take a servo arm as well. The Shatter Defences special rule is kind of neat, but feels like it should have been just a touch more powerful - it reduces a cover save of a single terrain feature by one. I wish it was either more than one terrain feature, or the cover save was reduced by more than one. Either way would have made the Warsmith much, much more attractive. That said, the Warsmith is an attractive choice for the Iron Warriors and one that is also really very fluffy!

Here are some builds that might appeal:

Warsmith, terminator armour, servo arm, thunder hammer, iron halo (200 points)
An extra attack from the servo arm at S8 is very attractive to say the least for this build. The idea here is to place with other terminators in a land raider and go forth and conquer.

Warsmith, servo arm (135 points)
This is one to team up with other techmarines to ensure a vital piece of equipment is kept in place during the game. He's a bit naked, so keep him safe at the back of the board, but will provide access to whatever rite of war you like. Cheap and cheerful!

Warsmith, Cortex Controller, thunder hammer, melta bombs, iron halo (170 points)
This is one to keep near a block of allied robots (Castellax and so forth) whilst being embedded in some kind of larger troops or heavy support infantry unit. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Iron Warriors Legion Rules

Grim, brutal, calculating, and the real masters of taking down defensive sieges, as well as sieging up locations themselves, the Iron Warriors seem to be a popular choice of army in 30k. And I can see why people like them: their background combines together elements of sheer brutality when Perturabo was rediscovered and took command, with I-almost-feel-sorry-for-them because Olympia rebelled against their rule, and what-choice-did-Perturabo-have-but-to-join-Horus. This, plus the fact that they're one of the most spread out forces (due to defending certain locations) means that there are many, many loyalist Iron Warriors knocking around the Galaxy at the time that Perturabo sided with Horus. This makes things highly interesting to say the least, as much with the Alpha Legion, one can never quite tell if an Iron Warrior detachment is going to be loyal or traitor -- at least at the outset of the Heresy.

The rules for the legion reflect well their ability to take on overwhelming firepower and take down enemy positions of all kinds. The first rule they have is Wrack & Ruin. This is a great boon which means that they will never take tests for running away if they suffer lots of casualties as a result of incoming fire. Plus they get to re-roll pinning tests. These two facets are amazing in and of themselves - recall that in 30k, ATSKNF does not exist, hence the chances of units fleeing off the board are a serious concern. Not so for the Iron Warriors when they take incoming fire (but yes: they certainly can flee due to close combat). Immediately, this probably means that the Iron Warriors should be thinking about a focus on ranged superior fire power. On top of this, the same rule gives Wrecker to the legion's melta bombs and grenade attacks - perfect for this legion really!

The second (and final) special rule is called The Bitter End. In brief, it allows the Iron Warriors player to go to the full game length rather than stop early (should they desire). This can be a boon under certain conditions, but may never come in to play.

Overall then, the Iron Warriors are a very solid force with very little negatives. In many ways, they kind of archetypes for Legion forces - a baseline for others to compare with. Sure, the Iron Hands have arguably better boons, but they also have significant draw backs by comparison. The Iron Warriors are all positive and are capable of most things in the game, even if they're going to be mostly a shooting force.

Other rules include being able to field Warsmiths (see later), having access to Shrapnel Bolts (heacy bolters gain pinning, but also AP5), and Cortex Controllers (for controlling Castellax and the like). The latter is particularly interesting for the Iron Warriors, and fluffy as well.

Their unique rite of war, The Hammer of Olympia, allows them to make disordered charges even after rapid firing their bolters, all their vehicles gain more armour and they can even field more heavy support! This is amazing and should seriously be considered by any shooting mixed-arms Iron Warriors force. 

Overall, I consider the Iron Warriors to be an excellent example of what a legion could be, and a force to be reckoned with. Played to their advantages (shooting, mixed arms, and not falling back under shooting), they are a force to be reckoned with. I can certainly see their popularity both from the rules and the background.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Posing Marines for Gun-Kata

I've written a number of articles now on "gun-kata" for space marines (see, e.g.: here) . In brief, this is inspired by Hollywood movies such as Equilibrium and a number of others. Boiled down to its essence, it involves the individual assuming certain poses with guns in each hand so that they maximise their kill zones, whilst minimising potential incoming fire in return. Or at least that's what the background is supposed to be - clearly its science fiction.

But when the idea of gun-kata is applied to space marines, it creates some very dynamic conversion opportunities for the budding modeller. The example below is my latest addition to my range for my growing Alpha Legion 30k force. 

What we have here is a combination of parts sources from space marines (back pack, bolter, bolt pistol, shoulder pad), chaos space marines (torso, head), and conversion parts from Anvil Industry (arms, bolter conversion).

Of these, the arms from Anvil Industry permit an excellent variation in poses for space marines - at least in comparison to regular space marine arms (and they certainly rival, or are arguably better than, even assault marine posed arms). Indeed, it is these arms that ensure such a rich variety of poses in a number of my models I'm building for this force. 

In this particular example, I have the right arm with the standard bolter pointing outward from the body at a reasonably steep angle. The bolt pistol arm is straight, and pointed upward in the air. The idea here is that the marine has just taken a shot with the bolt pistol and has raised his arm, whilst the bolter has just come in to play and he's firing with that now. No doubt, the next pose will be to bring the bolt pistol in to a new position for firing…! I think this combination speaks volume about the dynamism of these space marines, and brings them to life in a way that is not often seen on the table top.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Size Comparison for Truescale Terminators

This is an image that was requested by multiple people following on from my conversion of a Tartaros terminator in to a truescale terminator. The conversion can be read about here, but in brief, if involves extending the miniature upward by providing a bit of extra filling (in the form of green stuff) between the torso and the legs. 

The image below shows the squad sergeant next to a standard (unconverted) chaos space marine terminator. 

The first thing to note about the image is that I didn't quite have the two miniatures level: the chaos space marine is slightly in front due to this positioning (and the position of the camera). This means that the chaos space marine terminator appears taller than he should do.

But the critical thing to note here is how much taller the Tartaros truescale terminator is looking. In all, he is at least one head taller than his chaos terminator brethren. And this has all been brought about simply by the torso extension. Critically, he doesn't look out of proportion either -- he's simply taller and perhaps leaner than his cousin.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Myrmidon Destructors

Power fists, preferred enemy (EVERYTHING!), and a choice of weapons makes the small drawback of not being able to make run moves or sweeping advances pale into insignificance. They're reasonably durable with 2W each and T5 and have a refractor field to help out. They're balanced overall in terms of the points cost, but some care will be needed on where to place them for best effect on the battle field.

For the main part, I think they will be wanting to sit back and pummel anything appropriate in range. That said, with the volkite weapons, they can afford to get a bit closer and deflagrate their enemies.

Here's a few sample builds to mull over.

5 Destructors, all armed with volkite culverins (315 points)
As with all volkite armed squad, one wants to go big or go home. Here, I've opted for a bit less than the full 10 squad size as it really starts to get pricey at that level and might not truly be needed. The idea is simple enough: go forth, deflagrate and then charge enemy troops with those power fists.

3 Destructors, all armed with Conversion Beamers (225 points)
Very esoteric, and very nasty at uber long range. This squad has huge potential to take out most things in the game short of titans if they can keep their range (and not move, of course). An interesting and entertaining option.

4 Destructors, all armed with photon thruster cannons (295 points)
This is your terminator killer squad. Just don't kill yourself through Gets Hot! and it'll be all good. I hope. Replace with irradiation engines to taste.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Tech-Thrall Adsecularis

These guys are the expendables. They're meat shields. And the mechanicum create them from prisoners and don't really care about them too much - they're just slave labour when some heavy lifting needs to be done, or when bullets need to be soaked up. And their price tag reflects this.

There are a number of uses we could imagine for them, ranging from just being there to soak up fire, right through to even attempting a charge and tar pitting opponents for a while during the game.

Here's a few simplistic builds:

10 tech thralls (35 points).
Yep - this is the naked version. They're just there to go in front of other, more valuable units. That's it! No more, no less. Don't expect anything of them beyond a movable cover save.

10 tech thralls with heavy chain blades, frag grenades and the rite of pure thought (75 points)
This is the one where you might consider charging them in. They won't last long, but they might tar pit an opponent for a valuable extra turn due to being fearless (thanks to the rite of pure thought). But that's it really. I think I might prefer two of the naked squads over this one, just for more cover saves that are cheap. But hey, its 30k and there are probably spare points for this version, so might as well give it a whirl.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Cybernetica Castellax Class Battle-Automata

Since "Legio Cybernetica Castellax Class Battle-Automata" is a bit of a mouthful, we might as well refer to them as robots. Of course, they're not 100% robots, as that would be illegal under the Omnissiah. But they're close to that. They have programmed behaviour if there is not a miniature with a cortex controller nearby (and that means they shoot the nearest enemy within 12", etc.), but they also get fearless and a number of special rules, at the expense of being a bit more vulnerable to haywire grenades than the typical Iron Hands space marine is.

Their standard configuration is to have a mauler bolt cannon, along with two bolt guns. Additionally they have shock chargers (which have the concussion rule) and atomantic shielding (like contemptors). In this configuration, the Castellax can effectively rip through a standard squad of space marines with relative ease (AP3 on the mauler bolt cannon, and pinning). There are multiple options with these robots and they can be configured for more ranged dakka, or even for close combat duty. Considering they're monstrous creatures with 4 W each and T7, they're really really tough as well.

A sample of builds that covers these options are below.

5 Castellax all with advanced targeting arrays (500 points)
Very expense, but almost guaranteed to be wiping out a 20 strong legion troops squad every turn. They're going to be rather dominant, and a big target, but at the cost of a huge points sink (more expensive that primarchs!).

1 Castellax with dark fire cannon, targeting array and search light (106 points)
A bit of a lone wolf robot here. The idea is to sit back and blast away from the back field. Effective at S7 and AP2, with lance, and rather unsubtle. It'll be hammering light tanks and other monsters to death reasonably expediently. And its relative cost is very attractive in comparison to other heavy weapon platforms. Add in an infra visor, siege wrecker, or eve power blades for fun.

3 Castellax with two power blades each, frag grenades, 2 flamers each, and multi-melta (330 points)
This is the close combat variant that I liked most. The multi melta is for getting troops out of tanks, the flamers are for models in cover and to deter others charging them, and the power blades are going to hurt with AP2 and rending. Add more models for more attacks on the charge perhaps, but otherwise there's little not to like here. Just remember that cortex controller for goodness sake!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Myrmidon Secutors

Priests of the mechanicum cult and a breed apart from the other magos, they are essentially a grouping of war-like mechanicum who pursue the art of destruction as a way in which to reveal mysteries of the Omnissiah. Quite rightly, they get access to some of the more destructive weapons available to the mechanicum and they are able to fire two ranged weapons in the same turn. To be clear: they are weapons platforms for the main part, but having a power axe certainly means they're also able to take on most armoured infantry in the game as well. Indeed, many of the ranged weapons really require a close range to function, and the Myrmidons are certainly able to bring them close as well. But given they cannot run or sweeping advance, we probably want them to focus on shooting and only think of the power axe as a back up.

Stat-wise, they have BS of 5 and a T of 5 meaning that they're going to be great at shooting and tough to bring down. Coupled with 2 W each and 3+ save (plus invulnerable) means they are also going to be hard to dislodge as well. Let's look at a couple of builds.

6 Myrmidons, all with two phased plasma fusils (465 points)
Okay - these mechanicum are very pricey. But given the plasma and given the sheer number of shots coupled with their ability to stick around, they're going to be taking out at least one squad per turn of marines - almost guaranteed. If anything, reduce the points by cutting back on the number of members.

3 Myrmidons, all with two graviton guns (210 points)
For all your graviton shenanigans!

5 Myrmidons, each with one volkite charger and one irad-cleanser (340 points)
I like this combination of weapons, but you might not. Perhaps irad-cleansers with plasma fusils might float your boat more?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Enginseer Auxilla

In the elites slot for the Legio Cybernetica, the Enginseer's role   is one of support. The interesting facet of them for me is that if accompanied by servo-automata, then they provide a bonus to their battlesmith rolls so long as they have servo as well. This can create an excellent rolling support mode for these units to provide other units with great boosts as required.

Here are a couple of builds that I'd think about using.

Enginseer, four servo-automata each with servo-arms (85 points)
This is the base line unit for excellent battlesmith rolls. Add in a further four automata and enginseer for fun?

Enginseer x 2, each with cortex controller and graviton guns (145 points)
A unit to provide extra cortex controllers as required, plus a bt of graviton action where its needed.

Enginseer with melta bombs, four servo-automata each armed with a multi melta (130 points)
A bit of a suicide squad to be honest. Don't expect too much here, its basically a threat that will be taken out very early - and hence preserve other elements of your force.

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