Monday, August 31, 2015

How long does it take to breed a Space Marine Chapter?

I've been re-reading my old Warhammer 40,000 books for some pre-heresy inspiration over the past week -- both Rogue Trader and the Compendium (pictured).

I got thinking about the progenoid glands and how they grow and are able to produce new gene-seed. As an overview (or perhaps even an introduction to the topic!), each and every space marine is implanted with a number or organs during their teenage years. These grow the person in to a full Astartes and give them abilities beyond ordinary mortals. Here's the catch though - to grow a full set of organs for this process requires a gene-seed. And the gene-seed is contained only within a mature progenoid gland. 

Every space marine is implanted with two of these: one that matures in a timespan of 5 years, and a second that is fully mature only after 10 years. These can be harvested after this time period and returned to the chapter (or legion) to grow new sets of organ, although often the 10 year maturation glad is only removed when the marine dies.

To form a new chapter, Terra grows a suite of gene-seed from a pool of vat-slaves. Each is implanted with the progenoid glands as well as the organs, and they're left to mature. Rinse and repeat lots of times, and you'll have enough for a full and new space marine chapter. The only problem is the time line involved. 

Let's start with a single (carefully selected) gene-seed. After 5 years, one of the progenoids is ready to harvest. Hence we get our gene-seed back. After 10 years, the second one is ready, and we have double the number we started with.

But suppose we implant the seed back again as soon as it is mature. After 5 years we have our original "slave" in a vat who has produced the 5 year mature seed which is then implanted in another host. After 10 years, the original slave has produced the 10 year seed, and the second slave has produced the 5 year seed. We now have two seeds and a third in progress that'll be ready in another 5 years.

After 15 years, those 2 seeds have yielded 2 lots of 5 year maturation seeds, and the second slave has produced the 10 year seed. That's 3 total, and we have another 2 on their way.

In 20 years, we have 3 lots of 5 year maturation seeds returned, 2 lots of 10 year seed returned for a total of 5. And 3 lots of 10 year seeds growing well.

It continues in this fashion:
25 years: 5 x 5yr + 3 x 10yr (total = 8), with 5 x 10yr gestating
30 years: 8 x 5yr + 5 x 10yr (total = 13), with 8 x 10yr gestating
35 years: 13 x 5yr + 8 x 10yr (total = 21), with 13 x 10yr gestating
40 years: 21 x 5yr + 13 x 10yr (total = 34), with 21 x 10yr gestating
45 years: 34 x 5yr + 21 x 10yr (total = 55), with 34 x 10yr gestating
50 years: 55 x 5yr + 34 x 10yr (total = 89), with 55 x 10yr gestating 
55 years: 89 x 5yr + 55 x 10yr (total = 144), with 89 x 10yr gestating
60 years: 144 x 5yr + 89 x 10yr (total = 233), with 144 x 10yr gestating
65 years: 233 x 5yr + 144 x 10yr (total = 377), with 233 x 10yr gestating
70 years: 377 x 5yr + 233 x 10yr (total = 610), with 377 x 10yr gestating
75 years: 610 x 5yr + 377 x 10yr (total = 987), with 610 x 10yr gestating
80 years: 987 x 5yr + 610 x 10yr (total = 1597), with 987 x 10yr gestating

Therefore after 80 years we have more than enough gene-seed to create a new chapter from scratch, with room for failure and tithing to Terran vaults / purity checks.

For something like a full legion (100,000 gene-seed), this would take an additional 45 years. Hence the Emperor must have had a strong lag time up his sleeve when he created the Astartes … or had more than one gene-seed per legion to start out with.

It also illustrates how easy it would be to suffer a huge loss (cf.: Emperor's Children early on) from a small error. And why the Raven Guard sought an accelerated process to get numbers back up after Isstvan V.

In the Warhammer Compendium, it states that it takes about 55 years time to get enough seed to produce a new chapter's worth of organs with constant reproduction. My value above is longer than this, but not outrageously so. Perhaps I've made an error? (Or they have?)  Comments welcome!


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Contemptor True Claw Conversion

This is a conversion inspired by a number of Space Wolves miniatures and dreadnoughts that I've encountered over recent years.

For my Alpha Legion dreadnought, I wanted an option that looked simultaneously both deadly, and like it had been "borrowed" (ahem) from other legions, or xenos technology that has been reverse engineered. When I set eyes on the True Claws of Bjorn, I thought that I had the mark!


In the image, I've combined the fingers of the Trueclaw with the arm of a resin contemptor from Forge World. Each of the fingers had to be shaved down in terms of their sheer width to fit the slots in the contemptor's terminus, and each has been pinned in place with a paperclip wire to the knuckle of the contemptor's resin. 

The fingers are spread out to reveal a flamer head and pilot flame in their centre - an aggressive pose that combines that "flame that enemy" with "going to claw you" deadly pose that I was gunning for. What remains is to magnetise this claw and see how it looks on one of my contemptor dreadnoughts. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Alpha Legion Sniper, with Necron Deathmark Rifle

Another day, another completed Alpha Legion sniper with a Necron Deathmark rifle. This one is mounted on one of the bases that was displayed a few days ago. I think the pose and everything else really clicks well here for me. So I won't write much more and will simply leave you with the image.


Thursday, August 27, 2015

Base Making for Snipers

Four new bases for more of the growing Alpha Legion snipers (Reconnaissance squad) that I'm building.


The common theme here is one of a disarrayed battlefield - destroyed and rendered a complete mess by the Legion in their preparations for the attack. No doubt caused by the onslaught of the Alpha Legion's agents before they even got there. Moreover, it follows the precedent set by the scenic resin base that came with Armillus Dynat

Although I originally thought about a different thematic base for my Alpha Legion Unbroken Chain army, I can certainly dig the devastation theme. The benefit of it is that it allows a whole range of different terrain whilst simultaneously being able to cater toward different styles, such as variations in height as used in these bases. 

This is exemplified in the upper right base wherein there is a wreck of a tyre adjacent to come cork, sand, slate and a few other bits. If you examine the base closely, you will see a small paperclip pin jutting out from the top of the tyre. This is where the leg of a marine will eventually attach to the base for a running, aggressive pose. For my snipers, they will serve as a elevated levels for the marines to take their shots from. 


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Completing an Alpha Legion Sniper (or perhaps Mor Deythan)

Not sure if this one is an Alpha Legion reconnaissance marine, or whether it is a Raven Guard Mor Deythan marine. Or arguably, a Mor Deythan marine that is an Alpha Legion marine in disguise. Or Alpharius himself. Yeah - infiltration. It drives you mad.


The marine follows on from my earlier concept piece with a Death Mark necron weapon. This particular variant is in a running pose and features legs and cape from Anvil Industry as well as the almost compulsory Dark Angels head. 

The base for the marine is a sliced up rhino hatch, covered and edged with some fine sand and a little bit of slate here and there. All that's lacking is the left shoulder pad which is on its way…

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Assembled Armillus Dynat

After unboxing Armillus Dynat a little while ago, I finally got around to putting the final touches to the model and fitting it all together. 


There were two sources of (very minor) headaches for me.

Firstly was the scenic base. Not only does it fit very tight and snugly around the regular round playing base, but getting it to sit right against all the other scenery proved tricky. I strongly recommend that others dry fit everything to make sure its all in place. (The cape especially took me a while to get positioned well enough next to the sword). 

The second was associated with the thunder hammer. If you look closely at the model I've built and compare it to the ones available elsewhere on the internet (or indeed, on Forge World's own website) you will see that the thunder hammer in my image is positioned differently. 


The variant positioning resulted from two factors. Although the hammer was warped slightly, I managed to get out the bulk of the kink from it with hot water, but some still remained. And when I attached it to the body, I found that I had angled the shoulder a little bit too forward facing for where it should have been. 

The net result of all this is that the hammer appears to rest on Dynat's foot, rather than just in front of him. I'm actually not bothered by this at all, as it looks like a very natural pose, and one that is slightly on the edge of arrogance as well. I feel this suits the character of Dynat superlatively well: martial hubris embodied!


Friday, August 21, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Auxilia Leman Russ Strike Squadron


Background
Named for one of the primarchs, the Leman Russ battle tanks are an excellent choice for the Solar Auxilia. Significantly, there are FOUR variants to select between and a squadron can be up to three tanks.

Strengths
Look, these are Leman Russ tanks. They are a reasonable price, and they perform accordingly. They are not game breaking in the slightest.

Well, that is until you start to realise what outflanking Leman Russ tanks might be capable of.

Most tanks in 30k and 40k have significantly weaker armour to their rear. Outflanking a Leman Russ (or a squadron of them!) in a critical area of the board means that the controlling player is suddenly in a really good position compared to what might otherwise happen if they were set up as a part of a gun line army.

On top of this, they have an induction charger fitted. This means that unlike their 40k descendants, they can move very fast. Once per game at any rate. Hence if they do outflank and appear where they should not have been, they can at least try to go fast to get to where they should be.

NB: These tanks are also fast attack selections.

Weaknesses
Some variants have ordnance weapons which means no snap firing of other weapons. Therefore some weapon upgrades might not be worth it.

Other than that, they're a breed apart from the 40k counterparts due to the outflanking. They also have an exploratory adaptation, but I doubt its going to do much as its rules are not very strong.

Builds
Below, I provide one build for each major tank variant.

Leman Russ Battle Tank, Armoured Ceramite (195 points)
A classic build with 30k's armoured ceramite thrown in on top for extra durability. This tank can happily stay as part of the army's main gun line and does not need to outflank.

Leman Russ Exterminator, Lascannon (180 points)
Now here is a tank to outflank and go tank killing with (assuming, they're all showing you their rear armour). Use the exterminator auto cannon and the lascannons to pop tanks (or even glance them to death) on the turn it comes on to the board (in the rear of your opponent's deployment).

Leman Russ Annihilator, Lascannon (180 points)
Although it has less shots per turn that the Exterminator above, two las cannons (one of which is twin linked) is a threat to anything in the game. Plus it has a long enough range to use in either an outflanking mode, or as part of a more static gun line.

Leman Russ Vanquisher, Armoured Ceramite (195 points)
Take a lascannon to taste. Either way, with a huge range, this tank can operate anywhere it so pleases. Outflank it to worry opponents. Keep it where it is (and in cover?) to reach out over the battle field with its huge range. The armour bane rule on the main weapon is going to be a problem for any enemy armour.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Auxilia Arvus Lighter Orbital Shuttle


Background
Noted in the background as being something of a workhorse, the Arvus is a light transport for both troops and equipment. The Solar Auxilia uses an armed version of the Arvus to insert specific troops in to the right location at the right moment.

Strengths
It flies. It hovers. It can deep strike. And it has room for 12 personnel. That's about it to be honest.

Weaknesses
It is not very durable as the armour is no better than a rhino. The BS and HP are both low. The capacity of the Arvus cannot carry a full 20 Auxilia which would be needed for lasrifle sections unfortunately. This means that only specialist sections, or command groups would be transported.

On top of this, given the poor armour, its likely that the only way to play the Arvus is by deep strike. Hence you need some kind of accurate landing system on the ground in all probability to use it this way.

Builds
There are a large number of options available. I'll look at a couple below.

Arvus, Twin-Linked Lascannons (95 points)
Forget the transport capacity here, its a flying, deep striking twin linked lascannon! Go hunting some tanks and take multiple Arvus' that are similarly armed! Add hell strike missiles to taste.

Arvus, Flare/Chaff Launcher, Armoured Cockpit, Extra Armour, Flare Shield (130 points)
The defensive build for the Arvus. This is when you are carrying precious people on board and want to survive and/or deploy on the board from the start of the game rather than deep-striking in.

Arvus, Twin-Linked Autocannon, Flare Shield (110 points)
A build that combines decent firepower coupled with a bit of defence capability to give opponents pause for thought. Several of these could be a headache.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Dracosan Armoured Transport


Background
This is the armoured and armed transport for the Solar Auxilia troops. The background materials makes mention that it is constructed to the same high standard of that expected by the Astartes Legions, which makes this beast an interesting option.

Strengths
Really good armour on the front (AV=13), a whopping 5 HP, all combined with serious weapons and tremendous transport capacity makes this transport a force to be reckoned with. Both in terms of its duty as a troops carrier and in terms of the threat level that it represents.

Weaknesses
The real problem here is the price tag associated with it, coupled with the AV=11 on the rear. There will not be too many of these transports in an army when these points could be spent on equally useful Tercios.

Builds
I have  couple of suggested build here, as below.

Dracosan, Armoured Ceramite (155 points)
This is probably the baseline build. The armoured ceramite is almost a given in 30k as it will help negate the benefits of melta guns.

Dracosan, Demolisher Array, Armoured Ceramite (185 points)
The points cost here is starting to increase steeply, but the demolisher cannon is a great tool to have in the army.

Dracosan, Armoured Ceramite, Dozer Blade, Auxiliary Drive, Flare Shield, Extra Armour (205 points)
For when you are carrying cargo (troops) that absolutely must get somewhere no matter what they face.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Aegis Defence Line


Background
Yes -- even in the Horus Heresy, you can find Aegis Defence Lines. They're basically barricades designed to give a bit of a cover save.

Strengths
Park your ranged tanks behind them. Place a full Lasrifle Section behind them (and preferably on top of an objective too). And then play along!

Weaknesses
If upgraded with a ranged weapon (Quad Gun, Icarus Lascannon), beware that it can be captured by enemies and used against you.

Builds
Most of the builds are already covered in the core rule book.

I'll simply state the following:

Ammunition Dump: use this for troops with BS=3 that are sitting behind it for the cover save - preferably Lasrifle Sections?

Comms Relay: this depends on the army build. If you have deep-strikers it could be a huge game winner.

Icarus Lascannon: great for shooting fliers out of the sky with a solid penetrating hit.

Quad Gun: lower strength than the Icarus, but twin linked and perfectly capable of literally glancing a flier out of the skies.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Auxilia Flamer Section


Background
The flamer section does exactly what it sounds like it would do: brings chemical flames to a large bunch of enemies. It is probably best deployed against similar troops, Orks, and Tyranid Gaunts. Against marines, its going to be weight of wounds that carries these troops.

Strengths
Flamers! Everywhere!

Take three of these in a Tercio and they could be a very serious threat to be honest. With flames everywhere, even power armoured opponents will hesitate charging them and will instead rely on shooting them.

Weaknesses
As with other entries in the Solar Auxilia, these guys are mortals with a stat line that reflects that status and a 4+ save. Beware of being routed.

Builds
There's really not too many build to consider here, with only the sergeant able to take upgrades.

Auxilia Flamer Section, Sergeant with Melta Bombs (130 points).
A base-line build.

Auxilia Flamer Section, Sergeant with Melta Bombs, Power Fist (145 points).
A power fisted sergeant here in case of close combat. 

Horus Heresy Review: Veletaris Storm Section


Background
These are the more elite members of the Solar Auxilia, charged with tough battle field roles and armed with Volkite Chargers to help them out.

Strengths
Volkite weapons are always an interesting choice. They need to be taken in large numbers to have a good chance of maximising their effects, and the Veletaris Section is just about over the cusp of making that happen given their BS is an amazing 4 (for mortals).

On top of this, they have reinforced void armour to help keep them alive, plus the usual grenades as well as laspistols (which shouldn't be forgotten about in a charge situation!).

They also have the choice of swapping out their volkites in favour of rotor cannons (probably not worth it) or power axes (a very interesting and worthwhile choice!).

Weaknesses
They're mortals with 1 wound each T=3 and a 4+ save. They're not going to survive a Fury of the Legion attack, so they need to be manoeuvred accordingly. They're not the meat shields that the lasrifle section is either as they're about twice the cost per model. Be careful with their placement and they might survive to reap rewards. Shroud Bombs can help with this.

Builds
Veletaris Section with Shroud Bombs, Prime with Melta Bombs, Power Fist (160 points).
This is probably the basic build for the squad. Get in range and decimate enemies with the volkite chargers. Use the power fist and melta bombs as required. Add a Nuncio-Vox to taste.

Veltaris Section with Shroud Bombs and Power Axes, Nuncio-Vox, Prime with Melta Bombs and Plasma Pistol (215 points).
Lots of power axes here. Terminators do this job better to be sure, but this squad can do some real damage if they're allowed to. They're a points sink and vulnerable as well though. So take care with positioning and think about how they're going to get in to combat.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Auxilia Lasrifle Section


Background
One of the basic divisions that can make up a Tercio (which can be up to 3 sections), the Lasrifle Section is probably what most people would consider to be the Solar Auxilia core selection for troops (and later, the Imperial Army / Imperial Guard and other analogues).

Strengths
Cheap. Cheerful. And lots of lasrifles.

Weaknesses
Almost anything else. If you're thinking about close combat, you're doing it wrong, unless you're thinking about tar-pitting.

Builds
Auxilia Lasrifle Section, Sergeant with melta bombs (105 points)
A very basic set-up, but it doesn't need to be much more than this to be honest. Twenty lasrifles ready to aim and fire. Not subtle. Sometimes lacking effectiveness. But cheap.

Auxilia Lasrifle Section, Troop Master with Powerfist and melts-bombs (135 points)
A build that includes a troop master for better survivability and a hidden power fist on the basis that if they get in to combat, the troop master might actually survive long enough to employ it.

Auxilia Lasrifle Section, all with Blast-Chargers, Troop Master with Powerfist and melts-bombs (160 points)
An almost maxed-out squad that includes the often valuable Blast-Chargers for better strength attacks from the las rifles, at the cost of smaller range. Get them in to position carefully. 

Horus Heresy Review: Auxilia Enginseer


Background
The representatives and operatives of the Mechanicum have many guises. In the Solar Auxilia, these are the Enginseers. They're able to not only repair tanks and vehicles, but can be deployed with an array of automata that sport a plethora of weapons.

Strengths
These guys are adaptable to different situations and their strength depends almost directly on their battlefield role.

To repair vehicles, one wants to field a lot of servo-automata to ensure that repair rolls are going to be as successful as possible.

For gun line batteries, there are a number of options, but range must be taken in to account.

Weaknesses
Although cheaper than an Astartes Techmarine, they also have a worse stat line and less access to interesting technology like conversion beamer projectors.

Builds
3 Enginseers, 8 Servo-Automata with servo-arms (165 points)
Maximum number of models, but no upgrades. This is a unit meant to stick close (or even on board) a valuable tank to keep it going and fully repaired.

1 Enginseer with Graviton Gun and Refractor Field, 5 Servo-Automata with Multi-Meltas (170 points)
A build meant for dealing with enemy tanks. Could do with a transport to get them where they need to be though.

1 Enginseer with Volkite Charger, Cortex Controller, 8 Servo-Automata with Flamers (150 points)
Sit on an objective. Take some battle automata units along with you thanks to the cortex controller and equip for ranged duties. The flamers are a deterrent to incoming melee units charging you.


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Auxilia Ogryn Charonite Squad


Background
Yay - Ogryns! But these are not the standard Ogryns we've come to know in Warhammer 40,000. Instead, they've been brutalised, chemically altered, undergone mind-surgery, augmented, and made partially cybernetic with nasty looking claws attached to them.

They're used by worlds cut off from the wider Imperium, as they were originally created in the Old Night. Proscribed by the mechanicum, the technology still existed, and the Charonites were recreated as a match for the traitor Astartes.

Strengths
The Ogryns are excellent in close combat to say the least. With 4 attacks on the charge at S=6 and AP3, they're probably going to chew through space marine squads readily. And that's the point. But more than that, with a roll to hit of a 6, they get AP2 and instant death. Hence, there's every reason to throw large mobs of them against character models and their command companies. And at a modest points cost with three wounds each, they're a good price to pay for it as well.

On top of this, hammer of wrath and feel no pain will help them along the way.

Weaknesses
These guys are Ld=6. That's really pathetic for Warhammer 40k, 30k or any other k. As a result, they have a dead man's switch inserted in to them. If they fail a morale check, this switch can be voluntarily activated and they lose a random number of wounds to ignore the test result.

Further, they're not scoring and cannot go to ground. This is a fair price to pay for the positive aspects.

Overall
Take them in a modest size mob - nine is the maximum size, but somewhere around 5 or 6 is probably the sweet spot in terms of sheer number of AP3 or AP2 attacks (with hammer of wrath) on the charge. Just watch out for Fury of the Legion at short range in case they don't make it in to melee with traitor Astartes and they should do their job just fine.

With Very Bulky, they're tough to transport in to the right position, so foot slogging is the tough part of getting their job done. Careful positioning is going to be required to get them where they need to be.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Auxilia Rapier Battery


Background
The rapier is a well used artillery piece that sees extensive use within the Solar Auxilia thanks to its portability. Of course, for old timers like myself, the though of having a Thudd Gun in an army might be too hard to resist!

Strengths
The rapier itself is a tough one. With T=7 and multiple wounds, some well placed shots will be required to take it out.

Plus, it is configurable! The controlling player simply needs to think what type of gun the rapier should be carrying and how many of them to take in a battery. I'll look at a few plausible builds below.

Weaknesses
The strength and durability of the rapier platform sadly does not extend to the auxiliaries who staff it. They are pretty ordinary with a worse armour save than the platform itself. Don't expect to get more than a couple of shots out of these per game. Equally, they're cheap enough to perform their function before becoming overwhelmed.

Builds
Below are four builds; one for each of the main armaments.

3 Rapiers with Quad Multi-Lasers (105 points)
With twin-linked and S6, it hardly matters that the AP is so low here. I recommend taking a full compliment of them to pump out an incredible 18 S6 shots every turn. That should be enough to give many infantry units in the game pause for thought and inflict some unsaved wounds on even a modest terminator squad.

3 Rapiers with Laser Destroyer Array (150 points)
Effectively three las canons with twin linked on them. Take three so that if nothing else you can glance a lighter tank off the field of play.

1 Rapier with Quad Mortar (60 points)
With heavy 4 regardless of whether its frag or shatter shells, this is a unit that can stand on its own. It can punish enemy infantry with negative modifiers to pinning tests and the shatter mode can aid in the take down of a tank. I'd probably want the laser destroyers to be sure of a tank kill though. Hence only one here as a "completer" or "finisher" style distraction unit / utility unit.

2 Rapiers with Graviton Cannons (140 points)
Graviton weapons are useful against both low strength opponents, as well as armour due to their haywire rule. But they are also situational. Against a high strength elite army (like terminator-based legion strike teams), they may not be so useful (maybe). Hence I'm only taking two of them here - to fire twice at the same squad to inflict sufficient injuries to force a Ld test, and to snipe tanks thanks to the haywire rule - the latter being simply in support of other weapons (and like the above, a "utility" style unit that can be pointed to different targets as required). 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Auxilia Medicae Detachment


Background
These guys are the Solar Auxilia analogues to apothecaries in the Space Marine legions. Outside of combat, they function to keep the mortals assigned to them alive, and preferably disease free, thereby serving a vital role in any army.

Strengths
Their strengths are completely analogous to space marines: they gift feel no pain to any unit that they join.

Weaknesses
To be blunt, they can only join four different types of unit and troops. But this isn't so severe to make them useless - on the contrary, purchasing several of these guys is exactly what you should be doing given how cheap they are!

Overall
Rather than provide builds (which are very limited to say the least), I will simply put it like this: the Solar Auxilia army needs these guys in place with key units. Don't try to save points by not having them on board. Purchase them. End of story!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Auxillia Tank Commander


Background

The Tank Commander can be a Warlord only so long as one of the other HQ selections is not on the table. But in reality, these HQs are the ones who are going to be spear-heading tank assaults on the battlefield and should be used as such.

Strengths
Want to give one of your tanks a special rule? Then this is the person to do it. It will not die, as well as Tank hunters, Scout and Move through cover are all useful. Monster hunters is situational (but can be awesome if up against Tyranids). Precision shots and preferred enemy against infantry depends on the type of tank that the tank commander is occupying to be honest. 

The increased BS on the tank is nothing to be sneezed at either. It really brings the chosen tank up to Space Marine standards, and with the special rules selected from the above, gives it a sound edge above them. It just depends exactly on the type of tank that they're selected to go with. 

Weaknesses
There are no builds for a tank commander, nor can they leave their vehicle. This means that they're not represented on the board. As such, they're just a tank upgrade and should be thought of, and played accordingly.

Overall

Take a tank commander or two on an important tank (especially a super heavy) and then put it to good use doing what it does best. Don't worry about other things - the Tank Commander is worth it for the right vehicle in the right situation with the right combination of tank weapon plus special rule. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Auxillia Tactical Command Section

Background
The Tactical Command Section is a group of models that facilitate the rapid dissemination of commands throughout the corpus of the army. In the absence of a Lord Marshal or Legate Commander, the Strategos of the Command Section functions as the Warlord for the army.

Strengths
Arguably, their strengths lies in the fact that they are an array of individuals, each with their own boons.

The Strategos carries the useful cognis-signum and can also call down a precision bombardment. For the points cost of the command section, this alone is probably worth it.

The Vexilarius carries the important standard of the army which means that casualties can be ignored for the sake of Ld tests when they have to be taken within a certain radius. This is incredible for an army like the Solar Auxillia. It alone also makes the Command Section worth taking even if the army also includes a Lord Marchal or Legate Commander.

The Proclaimator carries another useful device in the shape of a Nuncio-Vox.

Weaknesses
Fundamentally, these guys are mortals and won't hold up to an Astartes assault. Equally, that's probably not why you're buying them. Therefore to counter the threat of Space Marines chopping their heads off in short order, the controlling player will undoubtably want to purchase one of the dedicated transports for this group.

Builds
There are a few build, but fundamentally only the option on the Strategos and the Veterans make any difference. Here are a pair of builds to mull over.

1 Strategos with a power axe, 1 Proclaimator, 1 Vexilarius, 2 Veterans each with a plasma gun (115 points)
This is what I would use as a baseline. The power axe is for challenges (in the unlikely event that the Strategos survives an assault down to I=1), and the plasma guns are there to take care of higher toughness and better saves enemies.

1 Strategos, 1 Proclaimator, 1 Vexilarius, 7 Veterans including 2 melta guns (120 points)
A larger squad here, armed with two melta guns which are meant as a threat to enemy vehicles should the opportunity a

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Lord Marshal Ireton MaSade


Background
MaSade had basically retired. But then came along the Horus Heresy. And he rose to war again, largely out of hatred for the traitors.

Strengths
With the ability to redeploy some of the army, MaSade's warlord trait is situational but could come in very handy in a switch / bait approach to setting up armies. 

Having an entire system at his disposal, he also gains a one-third probability to have the first tank exploded or destroyed in his army come back via on-going reserves. This is handy, but not guaranteed by any means sadly. That said, it could be used in concert with the combat augment array relic to make sure this happens every time. This is a nice combination to run for the Solar Auxillia player and gives his a points cost edge over any opponent. 

Weaknesses
In comparison to the regular Lord Marshal, MaSade is much weaker, with one less pip in WS, BS, I and A each. This is probably meant to be a reflection of his age, even though he is noted to have had the rejuvenating treatments. Unlike Astartes, normal humans are not immortal despite all these treatments, and this is very much in line with the background.

Overall
Apart from his strength, he has a smattering of reasonable equipment like an iron halo and a psi-jammer that could be useful in a battle. With a 2+ save and It Will Not Die though, and a reasonable invulnerable save, he is a Lord Marshal to reckon with, even with a deteriorate stat line due to his advanced age. Although I wouldn't be afraid of playing him aggressively, he could equally hold a back line.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Horus Heresy Review: Legate Commander

Background
Beginning our tour of the Solar Auxillia, the Legate Commander is a character that can be as varied as any human is. Some are tyrants. Others are benevolent commanders that are truly concerned for the well being of their troops. Some might be noble. Others rich. All of them though are experienced and have risen to the high rank of commander one way or another.

Strengths
If they're upgraded to be a Lord Marshal (which you probably should for a warlord), then they gain bonuses to their personal household retinue that are well worth it. Of course, their high Ld can also be used by all other Solar Auxillia members, which will be vital in keeping them moving (and not, e.g., pinned down). With the Forged in War rule, the commander may select the warlord trait in play. This can be a useful boon, depending on the enemy and the battlefield.

Beyond this, the Legate Commander or Lord Marshal is a highly customisable character that can be taken down a number of routes in terms of builds. We'll look at some of them below.

Weaknesses
In the world of 30k (and 40k), these warlords are going to be easy blood for enemy Space Marines. It would be wise to hold them back, or sit them in a tank to ensure that their Ld bonus is spread to the whole army for as long as possible.

Builds
There are any number of builds possible here. I'm going to just touch on a few of them to give a bit of a flavour.

Lord Marshal, artificer armour, iron halo, power fist, digital lasers, archeotech pistol (150 points)
An expensive build that is meant primarily for close combat duties. Change the iron halo for a displacer matrix if you have the points. Or maybe a cyber-familiar as well just for the improved invulnerable save.

Lord Marshal, artificer armour, melta bombs (85 points)
A cheaper build for a Lord Marshal that is meant to sit back in a tank. The melta bombs are just a deterrent really.

Legate Commander, Hand Flamer, Iron Halo (65 points)
Very cheap, vulnerable (but hopefully he's inside a tank). And that's about it. The hand flamer is just for fun.

Legate Commander, Inferno Pistol, Iron Halo, Cyber Familiar, Melta Bombs, Artificer Armour, Power Axe (115 points)
A cheapish and versatile commander.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Nurgle emerges as front-runner for Labour Leader

(Warning: Satire, and probably bad satire, follows).

In what can only be described as a completely surprising turn of events that was worthy of being orchestrated by Tzeentch himself, Nurgle has emerged as the front-runner in the British Labour Leadership contest.


The bloated, festering and corpulent chaos god of decay is noted as being 22 percentage points ahead of his nearest rival in the leadership contest in the latest opinion polls conducted today, with a reported uncertainty of 3 percentage points. Early analysis points to a plethora of recently joined party members who are indicating that they will be voting for Nurgle in the forthcoming contest, much to the dismay of established life-long members.

"I would have preferred Slaanesh, but he / she is nowhere to be found at the moment" reported one lifelong Labour member on the condition of anonymity. "Its like he's had a huge feast and went to digest it somewhere, but then vanished. So Nurgle it is!"

Other, self-identified more sane members of the party inner elite expressed surprise. "We only had Nurgle on the polling card to give members a well-rounded set of candidates to decide between. Never in 40,000 years could we have ever imagined that he would end up as the front-runner" stated one of the inner circle.

Amongst many policies, Nurgle promises to give absolutely zero hope of a better future, but will offer eternal life if you will only give your soul to him. He's also thinking about hosting a tombola at the county fair in a few months to palm off a bunch of novel virii and might have a ceilidh later to make sure that everyone catches every else's diseases. When questioned about this, he was quoted as saying children at the ceilidh would be made to share the same cups to drink out of.

Several grass-roots supporters noted that Nurgle is offering something that the other candidates simply are not. "He's a pretty honest, genuine, up-front guy who stands by his principles" said one recently joined Labour member. "I mean, I won't be needing the NHS or a dentist again if Nurgle gains power." Another said "Nurgle will ensure that the Tories never gain power again. Like ever. For all eternity ever."

We tried to contact a rival contender for a comment, but all they left was a recording on our answer phone that said "Kill, Maim, Burn!"


(feel free to swap "British Labour Leadership Contest" for any analogue in a different country. I think it still works).

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Alpha Legion Contemptor

For the Emperor! Hydra Dominatus!


Alpharius fell early on in the Great Crusade whilst waging righteous war against foul xenos. Or Imperial traitors. We're not sure. Luckily, Apothecary Alpharius was on hand to save Alpharius. With the aid of Alpharius and Tech Marine Alpharius, Alpharius was interred in to the sarcophagus of a Legion Contemptor. Always loyal, Alpharius volunteered to field test new weapons that were recovered by Alpharius on a different battlefield. Reverse engineered, these weapons were fitted to Alpharius' chassis by Alpharius. Alpharius now strides the battlefield targeting Space Wolf and Thousand Sons alike on Alpharius' orders. For the Emperor. Hydra Dominatus.

Parts:
Torso, Right Shoulder, Left Calf, Feet = Alpha Legion Contemptor.
Left Shoulder, Right Calf, Legs, Groin, Knees = Emperor's Children Contemptor.
Weapons = Necron Tesla Destructors from the Annihilation Barge set. 
Missiles, Head = boxed set from Forge World.
Base = scratch built (see yesterday's post). 
Magnets (for the weapons) drilled in place as well.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Scenic Base, in Preparation

This is a scratch-build base that is currently in a state of preparation. As can be guessed by the size, this base is going to be for a dreadnought. A contemptor dreadnought to be precise.


The circular base is a standard citadel miniature base. On top of this, I've added a pair of parts from the floor of the Imperial Ruins sets -- both a flat grill plate, and one of the sides with a sharp peak on the end. 

Underneath the main plate, I've built five pipes from hollow plastic tubes, arranged with three on the bottom and two on the top. I plan to push some other material through these eventually - perhaps some wires, or maybe even modelling some effluent coming out of them. The pipes are surrounded by a milliput build to keep the platform stable and add some weight to it - largely as a counter-balance for the dreadnought I plan to place on to. Finally, there's some plastic grid that I've added over the pipes and to one side of them.

The contemptor will be added in a dynamic pose, striding up the step to the top of the platform with one foot on top of the pipework seen to the bottom of the image. 

There's still plenty more work to get done on this scenic base, but the basis is now there and I can now proceed with posing the dreadnought on top of it.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Rules of Yesteryear: AD&D THAC0

If you already know what "THAC0" stands for, then you probably already know what I'm going to say in this post as you've probably got analogous experiences to me!

In Dungeons and Dragons, the chance to hit (and indeed: to wound) an enemy was determined by the THAC0. In short, it stands for "To Hit Armour Class 0". Every player character (and opponents!) had a numerical (integer) THAC0 value that started out at a modestly high level for lower level characters, and got lower as the player character increased in level.

In turn, everyone also had an Armour Class. The better the armour that someone was wearing, the lower that armour value would be. It even extended to negative values. 

Let's take an example to make this concept a bit more obvious. A level 5 warrior has a THAC0 of 16. That means that if he (or she) is facing an opponent with an armour class of 0, they need to roll 16 or more on a d20 to hit and wound that enemy. If the opponent was wearing slightly worse armour, they might have an armour class of 10 instead. Therefore, the warrior receives a modifier of 10 to this. Hence they'd need a 6 or more to damage them. And if their armour was superb, they might have an armour class of -2. That would need a roll of 18 or more on a d20 to do damage. And so forth.

THAC0 was eliminated from Dungeons and Dragons with the advent of 3rd edition (in the year 2000). Armour classes were reversed such that higher values of armour were better (rather than lower). Yet, the concept of THAC0 and its abbreviation will (I'm assuming!) sit strongly in people's minds if they've played Dungeons and Dragons in yesterdecades. 

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