Saturday, February 28, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Magos Dominus

The first of the Legio Cybernetica Mechanicum faction is the principle, and indeed: only, HQ selection.  In terms of background, these characters are the masters of the sects and secrets from the Dark Age of Technology. Notably, the Magos can also be used as an HQ selection for the Ordo Reductor as well (rather than having to take Caleb Decima).

There are many ways in which we could build the Magos. Ultimately, it depends entirely on the kind of army that one wishes to play on the battlefield. Will you be using a wrecking, tank exploding maniac? Or how about a ranged marine killer? Or perhaps something a bit more close combat might be what you're after playing? In any case, the Magos comes with the Cybertheurgy special rule to boost battle automata, as well as cortex controllers (to ignore programmed behaviour), as well as basic equipment like a laspistol, power weapon and refractor field.

The first choice to make is whether one wants a regular Magos Dominus, or an Archmagos. The upgrade is a modest cost but can only be applied to one per army. I think it is totally worth the points for the bonus W, T and BS that it provides (as well as WS, and Ld to a lesser extent). From there, its a case of what role we want the magos to play. Hence, below are a selection of builds that might take your interests.

Archmagos, Mechanicum Protectiva, Conversion Beamer (135 points)
A very cheap shooting Magos that can reliably sit in the back field and take out heavier opponents. Arguably a Photon Thruster might be a nicer alternative.

Archmagos, Mechanicum Protectiva, Abeyant, melta bombs, photon gauntlet, servo arm, rad cleanser (180 points)
More of a close range Magos here, with the ability to take down marines from short range, as well as tanks with the melta bombs. Mobile as well - to keep up with the rest of the army.

Magos Reductor, Mechanicum Protectiva, Abeyant, rad grenades, 2 phosphex bombs, 2 breaching charges (150 points)
An alternative to Caleb Decima for your wrecking pleasure.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Truescale Termintors

In creating my new army, I have undertaken to make sure that each of my regular marines (perhaps with the exception of the scouts, since I'll have them in kneeling positions) are converted such that they are trusecale. I've wrote a couple of articles about how to achieve this end, including the conversion of terminator legs to create my custom version of Armillus Dynat, as well as regular space marine leg conversions

Such conversions raises problems for terminator scale models.

Not only will they seem too small, but its not really apparent how to solve the issue of making terminators truescale. Perhaps the first issue is that a number of other convertors have expanded the chest and torso of regular marines when they create truescale miniature conversions. Clearly, I've not bothered with this step for my miniatures. I think this is fine as it makes the marines look the correct height, and I'm not truly so fussed that their torsos are not Hulk like scales. But for terminators, they certainly need to look much more imposing than regular space marines.

My solution is therefore to increase the height of the terminators, without bothering bulking (or Hulking!) them up in the torso regime - which for resin based miniatures is very tough work. 

The ways I considered achieving the extra height included (i) slicing the thighs and using a pin to increase the height there; (ii) slicing the shins / lower legs and using pins there to increase the height; (iii) slicing at the ankles and increasing the height there; (iv) raising the torso significantly above the top of the legs when combining the two parts together.

In all of the slicing cases, it involves cutting through resin (which is tougher than plastics in some regards), and then the subsequent application of greenstuff to fill in the holes. For regular marines that I slice through the thighs (or near the hips), this is not an issue: the legs are circular and can readily be greenstuff'ed in with convincing effect. But for terminators, the greenstuff'ing stage would be much more hard since the legs of the terminators are not completely round in appearance. On this basis, I went for the fourth option in the end: creating an extra space between the torso and the legs. 

The image below shows the final model for the squad sergeant with the thunder hammer using this method, coupled with a bit of a dynamic pose due to a waist twist.

If you look closely around the waist, you'll see how much extra height can be gained with this method, without having to resort to tricky slice-and-greenstuff conversion work. For Tartaros terminators, the waist actually has an extra piece that is ordinarily hidden by the torso (which almost comes down to the belt when glued as it was intended). All I've done here is added a generous lump of greenstuff between the legs and torso to achieve this, plus a bit of superglue. A very minor amount of sculpting later, and the look is achieved. 

I've finished this particular miniature by drilling out the bolter muzzles, as well as adding some pouches to his left leg. I like the overall look of this guy, and he's certainly now got the correct height in comparison to the truescale marines I have (I'll post a height comparison photo at a later date). Time to rinse and repeat this method on the other Tartaros terminators I have. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Torsos of converted Tartaros Terminators

Just a short update today to show the images from the first three Tartaros Terminators that incorporate the converted arms (power axes and combi-bolters). The arms go on to these models very easily, but some care is needed to ensure that the double-part shoulder pads are in the correct orientations. The kind of stances I'm aiming for here are dynamic, even bordering on arrogant in order to characterise the Alpha Legion martial hubris. Overall, I'm very pleased with the look of these guys! Legs to be added later once I've decided on how to handle true scale terminators…

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tartaros Terminator Combi-Bolter Conversions

Following on directly from yesterday's post about converting power axes for Tartaros pattern terminators, today I'm showing the other hand: the combi-bolter conversions that I undertook. Although the squad leader for my Tartaros terminators is sporting a Death Wing storm bolter, I ultimately decided against going all out storm bolters for the rest of the squad. My thinking here is that the squad sergeant should look something different and dynamic compared to the rest of the squad, hence perhaps his ranged weapon might be artificer made (narratively speaking, of course). Plus, the remaining Death Wing storm bolters that are still on the sprue have way too much Dark Angels iconography all over them which would result in a lot of clean up work for me. As it turned out, producing this conversion was almost as much work!

In the image, you can see that final result of my conversions. What we have here are effectively the arms from the Tartaros terminators joined on to chaos space marine combi-bolter fists and weapons. There has been extensive work done on the bolters to get them in this shape. The first thing I did was to slice off the chain blade extension that features on the chaos space marine bolters. I felt that these did not give off the vibe or dynamic that I was looking for with my Alpha Legion Tartaros terminators at all. But the chain blades dig further in to the bolters themselves than would might ordinarily be seen in 30k. Hence, there is horizontal and vertical edges along the bolter that need cleaning up: directly below the gun barrels, below the main housing and to the right (in the sense of the image above) of the ammo feed. Getting these four edges looking flat and believable takes serious time with filing and the trusty old modelling knife. 

At the other end of the arm, I used a saw to slice directly down from the edge of the bolter. This captures the fist readily, albeit at the expense of further tidy up being required. As with the power axes from yesterday, there are skulls and other decorative bits the poke outward from what would otherwise be a flat wrist. These need slicing off with a modelling knife. Further, a little bit of filing proved necessary to ensure that the shape of the fist and wrist slotted in snugly with the Tartaros arm -- part of the arm overlaps with the wrist and the shape of the fist can cause a rotation to occur without this.

To ensure an excellent finish to the conversion, I pinned the wrist to the arm (both have flat surfaces, but I felt that simply gluing would not result in the tight fist that I required). Overall, the effect is a good one. The fist sits neatly inside of the arm, whilst the bolter appears to slightly extend over the top of the arm. Although the chaos iconography (i.e. leering faces in the ammo feed) might be problematic for some players, I actually feel that it enhances the look for the Alpha Legion. Especially if they have been purchased bane strike ammunition rounds -- this kind of design would readily differentiate such configurations from others. 

I will be pairing them up with the power axes from yesterday to create my final Tartaros terminators very soon!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tartaros Terminator Power Axe Conversions

For my Tartaros Terminator squad, I wanted to combine elements of 40k and 30k together to create a unique feel and vibe for my miniatures (plus - my maxim for my growing Alpha Legion force in 30k is that no model can remain unconverted … as well as not wishing to expend any more cash than is strictly necessary on extra bits that might already be contained inside my existing bits box).

Hence, I decided to try to combine together some chaos space marine terminator power axes with the arms of the Tartaros terminators. This is not the easiest of conversions to do, unlike what might be suggested from my final image above.

To execute the conversion, it is necessary to ensure that the chaos space marine axe arm is removed cleanly from the sprue. I chopped away the normal cabling on these axes (it usually dangles from the bottom of the axe and in to the arm pit, as illustrated in one of my earlier chaos terminators images). However, to ensure that the fist of the chaos marine attaches to the (flat) wrist terminus of the Tartaros arm, it is really necessary to use a saw for a clean finish. The only problem is that this: (a) ignores the angle of the chop as on some chaos arms, it threatens to chop off the axe as well; and (b) the hand itself requires cleanup work as there will be skulls (etc) that overlap the hand from the end of the chaos arm itself. To try to help with this, I trimmed as much as possible before using the saw, and then after the slice, used an xacto blade to ensure that the new fist was a clean as possible of previous ornamentation.

On top of this, the Tartaros arm comes slightly over the hand, as can be seen in the picture. This forces some of the hands in to an unwanted wrist rotation if one were to just use glue at this point. Hence for every axe, they are all pinned at the wrist to ensure that the hand is at the correct level with respect to the Tartaros arm, and at the correct orientation so that the overlap doesn't force it in to some odd angle. This requires holding the pin in position at least until the glue is surface dry and won't change position. 

The overall result is one that I'm very pleased with. It combines the aesthetic of the Tartaros terminator with the power axes of the chaos space marines to create something new. Although the axe designs are a little bit more chaotic inspired that I would ordinarily go for in a (somewhat) loyal Alpha Legion force, I think the Alpha Legion wouldn't think twice about it to be honest. And it harkens to darker future days when these weapon designs will be common. The only additional work I might carry out is to remove the additional spikes from the length of the handle -- I think that would serve to de-chaotify the axes further whilst maintaining the conversion work an overall appearance.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Lorgar

I genuinely don't know whether I feel sorry for Lorgar Aurelian. All he wanted was the truth, and in the worship of the Emperor, he had attained that (as well as a holy war - also known as the Great Crusade). I think his character could have been handled better by the Sigillite and by the Emperor. His censure was needlessly over the top and ultimately the key factor that drove him on his Pilgrimage to find the dark powers. This could, presumably, have been predicted for someone of his temperament. Equally, I don't feel all that much empathy or sorrow for the Night Haunter - he's just a monster through and through from the start. But on the other hand, Angron I do feel sorry for due to the Emperor's repeated betrayal of him. For me, Lorgar is somewhere in between. He made a few mistakes perhaps, and could have been handled (nay: managed) whole lot better. Due to management error therefore, Lorgar started down a dark road to purge his legion long before Isstvan III, and to corrupt certain other legions in a long game.

In the game, Lorgar is one of the weakest and cheapest primarchs. This to my mind is in direct keeping with his temperament - he's more of a preacher than a warrior, all told.

But he does provide a number of good bonuses to his legion. The first of which is as the Sire of the Word Bearers, he allows all of his sons to use his Ld whilst on the tabletop. This is an excellent force multiplier that cannot be overlooked.

Better than that, he's also a Living Icon to his legion. This is an amazing force multiplier rule that provides bonuses to any Word Bearer unit that can draw line of sight to him. These include charge distance rolls, fear immunity (which is so valuable!), and a bonus to assault determination outcomes. These are an amazing set of bonuses. It begs for Lorgar to be inside a large unit and be visible to all around him (i.e. in the open and leading his sons).

His Dark Fortune gives him a deny the witch bonus, along with forcing an enemy model or unit (once per game) to re-roll all 5's and 6's rolled against Lorgar.

His armour is fairly standard (but does incorporate a bonus save against witch fire and force weapons), and his weapon (from Ferrus Manus no less) is a wonderful AP2 S+2 crozius like device. This makes Lorgar excellent in combat against almost everything other than another primarch. Seriously, his brothers will dent his skull if he goes toe to toe with them -- he's just not as good as them overall by a small fraction (but that fraction is all that matters really).

What is interesting is that there are two versions of Lorgar available. The base one (with the low cost) is one that has erratic psychic powers - as a level 2 psyker with a penalty to activating powers (6th ed), or harnessing warp points (7th ed). In his transfigured form (which comes at a price), he becomes a lot more masterful of the sorcerous arts, becoming a level 3 psyker with a bonus to activate powers (6th ed) or harness warp points (7th ed). Personally, I much prefer the way that 6th ed psychics dealt with Lorgar. I feel 7th ed is a little weaker perhaps for the erratic version of Lorgar, and perhaps more powerful for the transfigured version.

Overall, I'd therefore play Lorgar as a central on-field figure for his sons to look to. Using his psychic powers to augment nearby or joined units, he can be a force to be reckoned with. But he really needs combined arts warfare around him: he's not sufficient on his own to tackle other primarchs (although in his transfigured form, his psychics might give him the edge overall). On the plus side, he is a huge force multiplier potentially (unlike other beat stick primarchs). Hence he needs to be used as such - a visible living icon of golden radiance for his sons to be inspired by!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Kor Phaeron

Adoptive Father of Lorgar, and one of the sources of poison that Lorgar drank deeply from, alongside High Chaplain Erebus. Its likely that he never wholly abandoned the old chaos-tainted faith of Colchis (much like others) and hence it was relatively easy for him (and others) to whisper in to Lorgar's ear about this after the censure of Monarchia. Although on the surface, supplanting the worship of the Emperor with that of darker powers is a radical move, one must recall that in the heart of a zealot a fire burns. The cause is less important. Denied the Emperor, the darker powers awaited with open arms for them all.

In addition to this, Kor Phaeron was much to old to undergo the usual Space Marine upgrades - much to the scorn of the rest of the legion it would seem.

This is reflected in his stat line, which is really actually rather fluffy. Not only does he have T3 like a "normal" human would, but his initiative is similarly low. That said, he make up for it in a number of ways. First of all, he has 4 wounds - this is great for a character model (even with T3). Teamed up with his terminator armour that also grants feel no pain, and Kor Phaeron is starting to look actually okay-ish.

What really sets him apart in my opinion though is his warlord trait. Called Dark Oratory, it means that all other Word Bearers gain +1 Ld. This is huge in a game like 30k where routing from fear or losing combats is a real concern.

Accordingly, I think Kor Phaeron should be on the board from the start of hostilities. Preferably in a transport and surrounded by other terminators too. I think I'd place him with a bunch of close combat terminators and drive up to the desired target to take them out (and hence make use of those lightning claws of his and the single shot digi-flamer he conceals). Critically, I think keeping him alive is a good thing as well due to his warlord trait, hence he'd better have a lot of good marines for "look out sir!" to take effect as well. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: High Chaplain Erebus

If there is a singular figure that blame for the Heresy can be attributed to, then Erebus would take it. It was he who counselled Lorgar that if the Emperor didn't want adoration and worship then there were other beings - true gods - who did. When Lorgar trod the path to damnation it was he that again counselled caution and planning rather than diving head first in to rebellion, declaring for the darker powers immediately and spreading the word of the Primordial Annihilator to the Galaxy. And it would be Erebus who became the architect of Horus' downfall as well.  But on top of this, he is also a servant and a puppet of the Dark Powers. Little more than a pawn to be used by them as their plans came to fruition (albeit through him).

In terms of his stat line, its actually not all that impressive (especially given that we see him duel Lucius in "Horus Rising" for a very protracted period - but maybe Lucius was just toying with him?). An extra pip in WS and I, with 3 wounds and attacks. Sure, he gets artificer armour and an iron halo to help keep him alive, but what else does he give and get?

The most interesting rule is his warlord trait of being an intimidating presence. This means that opponents within a smallish radius use their lowest Ld values rather than their highest. This is a HUGE boon to Erebus and any unit he joins. Seriously: Erebus begs to be in close combat, or rapid fire range of an enemy to make best use of this rule.

On top of this, he is a level 1 sorcerer (ahem: psyker!), a zealot, and in protracted and narrative campaigns more likely to hang around thanks to being marked by the dark fates. Whilst his plasma pistol could injure him, he also takes a power maul for melee crunchiness. (why can't this legion learn from the World Eaters and go in for axes instead, I just don't know!). He also has the Dark Chanelling and access to daemonic allies for the army.

Overall therefore, I think the tactical way to play Erebus is to place him with a squad of Dark Chanelling upgraded marines (or other close combat exemplars like terminators) and ride to battle in a land raider, get out, and hit hard in order to cause a rout on the turn they charge in. A little bit of psychic invisibility won't hurt either. He is probably worth the points from this point of view, but clearly, playing him necessitates a certain in-your-face play style as well. And the Word Bearers are not to shabby at that to be fair with their legion rules. Plus, he is very characterful for the Word Bearers as well!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: The Ashen Circle

Burning enemy books, libraries and entire cultures and faiths where necessary, the Ashen Circle served alongside Word Bearers Legion Destroyer Squads with the simple purpose of eradicating false doctrine. Clearly at first, this meant opponents to the Imperial Truth. But later, their tearing down was only so that the Primordial Annihilator could gain a footing.

In game, they're jump infantry equipped with hand flamers and grappling axes (aka Axe Rakes). The main question faced by the Word Bearers player is whether to use the Axe Rakes, or replace them with Power Axes (at a small cost). The benefits of the power axes are well known so I won't comment much there. But the Axe Rakes are interesting for two facets: the bonus to Strength, and the penalty to the fall back distance on enemies after losing an assault. I'm a little torn to be honest. And ultimately, I think some thought needs to be injected as to the purpose of this squad to solve that riddle.

Amongst the other special rules, if the Ashen Circle deep strikes in to play, they can cause a S3 hit on nearby models. This might not seem like much, but just one extra wound caused (improbable as it might be) could be valuable to them in a subsequent assault phase. In addition, always being able to Hammer of Wrath is excellent for them (as is the improved WS). The price of all this is not being able to be joined by an independent character. Oh well.

Here are a few builds to toy around with. I'm not quite convinced by them, but see what you think.

5 Ashen Circle, 5 Power Axes, Iconoclast with Artificer Armour (210 points).
These are flying power axes. Their targets are anything requiring a low AP to be taken down. Fundamentally, they're still 3+ power armour marines so some care with placement will be needed.

10 Ashen Circle, 5 with Power Axes, 5 with Axe Rakes, Iconoclast with Artificer Armour and melta bombs (315 points).
A mixed purpose squad, and one which might also benefit from phosphex bombs as well. This is meant for enemy infantry squads - preferably troops!

7 Ashen Circle, Iconoclast with Artificer Armour, Inferno Pistol and 2 Phosphex Bombs (255 points).
More of a mid-range option. This is one that has a few extra bodies for more survivability and the Iconoclast relying on the Phosphex to do some nice and interesting damage. Its targets are back line heavy support squads, and then troops.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Gal Vorbak Dark Brethren

The Serrated Sun chapter of the Word Bearers may have conquered Cadia, but they paid a heavy toll for it by looking too deeply in to the Eye on the ordained Pilgrimage.  They became possessed by warp entities along the way and are now super-Astartes: part daemon and all deadly beyond what even a marine could regularly do.

In terms of their rules, the Gal Vorbak are strong melee antagonists. As well as daemons, they also have the rage universal special rule along with rending and deep striking. Although there's a steep points cost associated with them, their main drawback (if you can call it that) is that they will never ever be scoring units. Hence, there's no point holding back with these marines - hit hard and have them do their stuff (i.e. close combat -- they're ranged weapons are very standard to say the least). This role is doubly backed up by their stat-line which sees increases to WS, S, T, W, I and A versus regularly marines. Yep - 2 wounds each for the base dark brethren, and three wounds for the dark martyr!  This is incredible. But they do cost the same as terminators for a single unit. And critically, they are not classed as Legiones Astartes (Word Bearers) either (unless I missed a FAQ / Errata!). So they don't get any of the advantages of the Word Bearers sweeping attacks.

Ideally, they want to be in close combat as soon as possible. Therefore, they will want to be using their deep strike ability or be transported by another unit that the Word Bearers player has purchased for their list. Foot slogging them across the board is a bit of a waste really, and exposes them to unnecessary risks. They can be brought low by massed small arms fire, as well as high S blast shots from vindicators and the like (not withstanding their invulnerable save, of course!).

Here are a pair of builds to consider.

5 Gal Vorbak, Dark Martyr with Power Fist and Artificer Armour (225 points)
This is what I would regard as a baseline squad of Gal Vorbak. They're probably going to deep-strike in and then assault the turn after they arrive with any luck. And they will hit hard as well with 20 S5 rending hits on the charge, plus the Dark Martyr's Power Fist in addition to this. Ouch!

10 Gal Vorbak, 2 Plasma Guns, Dark Martyr with Power Fist and Artificer Armour (405 points)
Seriously cool with the ability to take down even heavily armoured enemies. Replace the plasma guns with melta guns if you're going tank hunting. Equally, who needs melta guns when you have that many rending attacks: a transport like a rhino will be dross in no time at all from these guys. Go forth and break or kill enemy infantry!

Overall, I think I regard this unit as one of the better, unique ones in the Horus Hersey for what they are capable of doing. To be clear: they are an infantry solution to an infantry problem (or a light tank problem). And they need to be played as such!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Word Bearers Legion Rules

The Word Bearers were once one of the most loyal legions with the primarch, Lorgar, practically worshipping his Father, the Emperor, as a god. Of course, the Emperor didn't like this one bit having always said he was never divine. Monarchia sorted all of this out when the Ultramarines razed a six decades long compliant city and Malcador the Sigillite rebuked Lorgar directly. Following this, everything changed as they turned to other beings to worship. And the scene was set for the Heresy to begin, orchestrated by Lorgar, Erebus and others of the Word Bearers. From one of the most loyal legions, they became one of the most hideous traitor legions imaginable.

The first of their specific rules is True Believers. This improves their morale checks significantly beyond what any other legion can gain (perhaps with the exception of the Salamanders who don't suffer fear). Arguably each can be better than the other in certain situations. I like this special rule regardless as its very fitting for the Word Bearers.

The second rule is Cut Them Down. By always sweeping advance and re-rolling low rolls for this, they effectively channel their hatred very well. This rule also argues for something of a close combat force for the Word Bearers overall. In conjunction with True Believers (above), this means that they're going to be quite reasonable in close combat, even in small squads.

The last one is Charismatic Leadership. They must take a chaplain or centurion as a second HQ selection that is compulsory. I can see why this is a characterful rule for the Word Bearers, and somewhat offsets the bonuses of the first two rules by tying points up in a second HQ selection.

Overall, these rules make for a flexible legion who can readily take on others, and wants to be played as a somewhat melee army, but competent with mixed arms and firepower too. Clearly they're not the World Eaters, hence some balance is required in designing an army for them.

In terms of unique units and gear, the Word Bearers gain the Diabolist as a consul type. As well as being a daemon, the diabolist has preferred enemy for loyalists, as well as access to Dark Channelling. This one is a little random, but for a price, can provide certain units a small bonus (including +1S, zealot USR, and daemon USR).

The Burning Lore can be accessed by certain HQ selections and provides a psyker (ahem) sorcerer for the Word Bearers for a modest points cost. For biomancy and telepathy, this is not bad and could be considered for multiple HQ characters.

Tainted Weapons can replace power weapons if desired, providing instant death at the cost of dumping the AP. I think I'd sooner keep the AP of the power weapons personally.

Their rite of war provides access to bonuses for a single unit (preferred enemy USR) and very notably, access to Codex: Daemons as battle brothers. I think any Word Bearers force post-Monarchia and finding the dark gods should seriously consider taking the Dark Brethren rite of war just for the sake of fielding some daemons. Its not only very characterful, but sinister, and something that other legions simply don't have access to (at least early on in the Heresy!).

My only complaint. I would have liked to have seen a pre-finding-of-the-dark-gods version of the Word Bearers. What rite of war would they have had then? What would they gain instead of the diabolist, dark channeling, burning lore and tainted weapons? I guess we'll never know, sadly, unlike for the other traitor legions.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Armillus Dynat

At the recent Forge World Weekender, the model for Armillus Dynat was revealed. I am actually really pleased about this to say the least as it is always deeply unclear if all the named characters will ever get the breath of fresh air (ahem) resin from Forge World.

But on the other hand, I'm a little bit miffed, as I had a good conversion for Dynat on the go.  Here's my attempt so far! I think the Forge World model is superior (obviously), so this model might just be taken apart for spare parts. For the moment though, I thought I'd show him off to the world and see if you like my take on Dynat.

For the model, I've used Dark Angels terminator legs, shaved down and green stuffed over the Angel's iconography. The torso is from Anvil Industry, as it the head. The weapons are from the Grey Knights, whilst the arms are space marines. The right shoulder pad is a chaos space marine one, shaved down so that the chaos symbol is gone, and the left shoulder pad is from Forge World.

The pose of the model that I was gunning for here was one of near-arrogance. At least in a way to encapsulate the Martial Hubris of the Alpha Legion. The power sword is therefore in almost a casual fencing pose, whilst the hammer is readied to deliver the harrowing blow. He also has some grenade accessories ready to deploy. One thing that I think is perhaps missing is an antenna on the back pack. But in hind sight, I'm not so worried about that as I selected a rather high-tech looking back pack from the space marine range to cover the rules for Dynat.

The bald head from Anvil Industry is excellent for Alpha Legion models. I was intending to paint it with a tattoo (as per Extermination's vision of Dynat).

Overall, I think I'm pleased with the way that my model for Dynat looks. That said, I'm not beyond purchasing the real model from Forge World when it is released for sale, as I think that is a great model as well. Maybe I should keep my conversion -- the Alpha's could do with multiple copies of Dynat I feel?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Heavy Support Marine - with Eldar Missile Launcher

For my Alpha Legion force, I intend to leave no model unconverted. None. Whatsoever. They're all going to have some kind of modification, some kit bash, or some scratch build conversion about them. Indeed, all my infantry are going to be pseudo-true scale for starters. I'm trying not to do too much true scale stuff at the moment as it can be a bit of a killer on the hobby mojo.

I decided that for my heavy support squad (a squad of missile launcher guys), I wanted something that might be very characteristic of the Alpha Legion. Specifically: the use of alien technology that has been retro-engineered and put to full use (field testing or post field testing) in their arsenals. Of all the legions, it is the Alpha legion that has the least problems with this kind of thought. Note explicitly that Alpharius himself carries around a spear of unknown origin (perhaps necron, perhaps something else altogether).

Therefore, instead of normal missile launchers from the 30k range, I've opted to give my legionaries some eldar missile launchers.

In the image, you can see that the missile launcher is from the Eldar Wraithlord range. It has, however, been extensively converted. Firstly, I took some chaos space marine arms - specifically the ones that hold on to a heavy bolter - and modified them to carry the missile launcher. The left arm sits nicely on top of the planed eldar missile launcher. But for the rear, I have chopped off the rear of the missile launcher and inserted the right hand and arm, before re-pinning and connecting it. The look is finished off by adding some purity scrolls on to the missile launcher, as well as a veteran terminator crux accessory to the centre of the launcher. This gives the feel of something that might be Imperial - at least in the eyes of the Alphas.

The toughest part of the conversion by a long way was the pinning of the right hand. I had to drill right through the hand and ensure that it matched up with both the end piece of the launcher and with the main body of the launcher. By contrast, getting the left hand to line up and align with the torso of the (Forge World) body of the marine was relatively easy. That said, I might add a bit of greenstuff under the armpit to help with the angle. This will, of course, be eased in appearance once the left shoulder pad is added to the construction (and, needless to say, the legs as well!).

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Necron Command Barge

In a bit of a change from the usual pace, today I wanted to display an image of a necron command barge that I recently completed with my daughter. I've not built this kind of monstrosity before, so I was really looking at the instructions very closely every step of the way for this one.

What I found was:
(1) the shoulders of the pilot and the gunner at the front of the command barge can be a little  bit awkward to place. If you look closely, you can see on my barge that at least 2 of the arms on these guys look a little bit odd -- they're out by several mm compared to where they should be. This has been caused by wanting the fingers of the hands on the correct place of the control panel. But the problem that caused this was that these two figures are the first bits to be constructed according to the instructions. But sadly, these necrons are also placed farther back than they perhaps should be (I think I might have placed the seats too close to their groins for comfort). And as a result of this, the arms are not quite snugly where they should otherwise be.

(2) the necron lord comes with his own base. I constructed him separately (although the orb that he is holding is an odd one to glue together due to the elbow joint) and simply placed him on the command barge. Whilst this has the benefit of being able to remove him, I'm not totally sold on the pose being equally good for a ground commander as he is for commanding from the back of a barge.

(3) the curvature of the back "spine" of the barge was a little awkward to get in place with the horizontal struts that come off it. Although at first it looked like it was going to be an easy part of the construction, actually getting these struts in to place is something that I would recommend some dry fitting of before grabbing for the superglue.

Other than that, the build went reasonably well and I think I'm pleased overall. When I get chance, I'll apply some black undercoat and start to think about the colour schemes to paint it in. I want it in Verdus Prime colours (white and leaking brown effluent / oil) to match my previous small squads of necrons. The only question is how to paint the barge itself -- perhaps it should be in a contrasting black and metallic colour and going sparingly on the white?  Choices!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tartaros Plasma Blaster Terminator

The plasma blaster is one of the nicer options for Tartaros terminators to take. But, not being made of cash and wanting to do some real conversion work, I decided that I didn't want to go for the comparatively small plasma blaster weapon sold by Forge World. Nope. Instead, I wanted a full-scale plasma-cannon! 

The logic behind this choice is not too hard to see. Not only do I think that that Alpha Legion would have access to some of the biggest, most advanced, baddest weapons possible, but they're certainly not shy of deploying novel creations of their own through reverse engineering whatever they please (cf. Corvus Alpha armour). That, and I'm also quietly hoping that the Dark Angels might have their own terminators capable of deploying plasma cannons themselves, which makes stealing them by the Alpha Legion much more credulous. 

The terminator here is a remarkably straight forward conversion. Having learnt my lesson well about haunched shoulders and the curvy bodies that these guys have on my sergeant, I opted for a variant pose for this guy. Rather than having the plasma cannon levelled, he has it up high as if running, or perhaps attacking with his power sword instead of using the plasma weapon. This made the pinning of the plasma cannon from the Dark Angels terminator range much more easy to do.

The power sword arm comes from the grey knights range -- it is one of the long power swords that the knights in normal power armour wield in two hands usually, but this one is wielded one-handedly (because he's a terminator!). The pinning to the Tartaros arm was not too painful either, but I might add just a dab of greenstuff prior to painting to bring it together better.

As can also be seen, I avoided using more of the puppetswar shoulder pads, instead just going for the Tartaros pattern shoulder pads. Clearly this works well for the power sword arm, but it actually works just fine for the plasma cannon arm as well for that matter. 

Finally, some of you may be wondering why I've opted for a power sword here (rather than a power axe). Let me be honest. This guy will always be the first to die (if I get to select) in any melee. That's because he's served his purpose by firing his plasma blaster once or twice on the way into melee. After that, I'm not firing the plasma and his value is diminished. But more than that, I don't want to be taking on enemy terminators with my terminators regularly. I want to crush weaker specimens if at all possible. That means I don't actually need AP2 that power axes will provide, and can use AP3. It might mean that I can whittle down an otherwise terrifying squad (even for terminators) before the rest of my AP2 weapons start hacking back. Without storm shields, this is not a bad sacrifice in my opinion and shakes up the ordinary paradigm (which is what the Alpha Legion would just love to do in my opinion). 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Tartaros Terminator Sergeant with Added Shoulders

When I last spoke about my Tartaros Pattern Terminator Sergeant, I was really rather worried by his shoulders. The main problem is that although they kind of look just fine at first sight, if you stare at the model too long, it becomes apparent that the shoulders MUST have to be hunched to achieve the pose depicted. Are all terminators similarly afflicted? Probably not. But for conversions such as this where a little bit of hunching is necessary in order to execute the build, there is a need to some how mask what has gone before.

And that is exactly what I set about doing.

Using "Termos" pattern shoulder pads from Puppetswar, this problem becomes a bit less apparent. Certainly for the thunder hammer hand, the entire arm now looks entirely plausible - this is particularly helped by the arm being a bit more lowly hung than the other. The combi-bolter arm still looks slightly off, but it has certainly been helped by these unique shoulder pads. The main issue here remains that in order to incorporate this arm from the Dark Angels range, it necessitated a slightly higher pinning position than I would have ordinarily went for. I think its worked out well in the end, but these kinds of issues can bug me as an avid converter!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Putting some destroyer arms to good use

A while ago, I mentioned that I bought some Destroyer Arms from Puppetswar. Today, here's what I've done with just one of them.

The first thing to note is that these arms are absolutely perfect for terminators. But as can be see here, I'm using them on space marine scale miniatures.

In order to execute this conversion, it was necessary to trim off the shoulder joint. Without this, the shoulder pad simply cannot be attached by any means and we'd be left with a shoulder that did not gel with the overall vibe of the miniature.

The rest of the miniature features a combination of parts from chaos space marines (the back pack, bolt pistol arm and shoulder pad), forge world space marine parts (torso and the other shoulder pad), space marines (head).

Overall, the miniature is one of a brutal design to be honest! And that is exactly what I wanted. This will be part of a squad that are all equipped with the destroyer arms from puppetswar. I'm not going to treat them as counts-as power fists or anything like that -- they're just going to be close combat weapon alternative for the main part. Hence this guy is just a regular marine. Of course, he just looks rather threateningly armed -- more so than the regular space marine. An entire squad of these guys is going to look a whole lot more intimidating than chain sword equipped space marines I think. And that's the point. Moreover, it makes them look very very different to other marines in the technology stakes. And that is one of the key ideas behind my growing Unbroken Chain army.

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