Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking forward to 2017

This will be my last post of 2016. Which is a good thing since today is December 31st 2016 and tomorrow is 2017. Having had a look back at the top images, the top search hits (and the bottom ones too), and the most popular pages of the year, I thought I'd jot down a few items that I'm going to do next year on this blog.

Firstly, we are absolutely going to continue with the Horus Heresy reviews. They are by far the most visited pages from this past year and its clear there is a hunger in the community for more 30k gaming articles. So those are going to continue. That said, I've now finished all the big black Horus Heresy books and am awaiting the release of Inferno before continuing the unit reviews. 

In 2017, I plan on reviewing the Genestealer Cult codex before Inferno is released. Since the early days of my involvement in the hobby, Genetealers and their cults have loomed large alongside Space Hulk and I've long been looking forward to this codex. Hence its overdue that I should review it in all its glory. 

Collecting and painting will continue with a focus on my growing Alpha Legion forces and some new purchases that I got recently. More on that at a later point. 

Gaming: there's going to be a local kill team style tournament early in 2017 that I'm personally looking forward to. It'll be 300 points per team following a slightly modified version of kill team modelled on the old kill zone rules set that was worked out ages ago. Not quite sure whether I'll play Alphas or Genestealers at this point, but it should be fun!

There will be a few roleplaying games articles along the way as usual and various war-games gallery articles from both my own games, other locations, and Warhammer World images and videos that I simply haven't had time to process or upload just yet. 

If the opportunity presents itself, I'll also continue doing the "mystery shopper" at Games Workshops that I visit during my travels. That said, if anyone wishes to write a guest review of a Games Workshop from around the nation (or other nations: I currently have the UK and Australia on this blog), then I'd be happy to talk to you (email me at the link at the top). 

Requests for army lists, analysis, commissions and so forth are also welcome; again please feel free to email. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Top Images from 2016

In no particular order, I wanted to share with you some of the top images from Warpstone Flux, as judged by the number of hits the pages hosting them contain. They come from a variety of sources, including Warhammer World, my own battles, tournaments, and Games Workshops stores themselves. Enjoy!

(Betrayal at Calth -- Warhammer World)

(Night Lords Land Raider -- from a tournament & not mine!)

(Amon Sul -- a different tournament)

(Isstvan V -- Warhammer World)

(Blood Ravens Predator -- painted by my old mate, Paladin)

(Rynn's World -- Warhammer World)

(Battle at Phall -- Warhammer World)

(Despoiler Prototype -- my own Alpha Legion)

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Search Terms in 2016

Today, I wanted to jot down some popular, and some less popular search terms that have lead folks to Warpstone Flux this year.

Happily, the top search term leading to this blog was "Warpstone Flux" itself. That's very re-assuring! And I think also indicates the usage that folks out there are getting from the blog and the resources that it is presently providing.

Carrying on that theme, the next most popular search terms are the name of the blog in conjunction with items like "Horus Heresy", "30k", "Legions" and the names of the 18 legions themselves. Clearly, 30k gaming is hugely popular to say the least!

At the other end of the scale, we have the odd ball search terms and the humourous ones. In not particular order, I thought I'd share these with you:

"What DefCon is it as of today?" (seriously? How did this lead to this blog??!!).

"Weightlifting et zona pellicia" (someone might have to explain that one to me).

"Locutarus Storm Club" (clearly searching for something else, but found the Ultramarines).

"Is the chaos daemon prince in stock at games workshop York?" (I've no idea. But I did do a mystery shopper thing at York this year!).

"Gama Vegas" (yeah, moving on).

"First you give me, then I give you what you gave me cuz I'm Dynat" (told you Alpharius is everywhere).

"why does key code 11144238 not work?" (I got nothing for you).

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Most Popular in 2016 on Warpstone Flux

It is that time of year where I do a quantum of naval gazing to see what has been popular on this blog over the past year. So, below (in reverse order, leading up to the most popular post of the year) are the landing pages that have received the most hits on Warpstone Flux this year. 

10. In tenth spot, we have a 30k Army List for Night Lords using Terror Assault. Considering that I don't have much material or love for the Night Lords, this post has done really rather well!

9. A 1850 Points Death Guard Army List for 30k using the Reaping rite of war comes in at 9th place. Impressive, considering the Alpha Legion focus that I have for army lists, but clearly there is a hunger for other sample army lists out there that I should pay attention to perhaps.

8. Impressively, the Iron Hands legion rules review comes in at 8th in the 2016 list. 

7. The Word Bearers legion rules review came higher in terms of hits than I might have otherwise imagined in 2016. 

6. My guide to the Basics of Horus Heresy Army List Building has seen a solid number of hits. I am personally a little surprised that it didn't do a lot better than 6th highest spot for the year!

5. The Iron Warriors legion rules review lands in a high spot for 2016. I'm pleasantly surprised at this placing to be honest!

4. Always a popular choice, the Imperial Fists legion rules review has received a good number of hits this year, landing it just outside the top three. 

3. Shockingly, the Night Lords legion rules review comes in as the third most popular article on this site for 2016. I'm a little surprised as I don't really have much love for the Night Lords to offer anyone. Yet, my reviews of the Night Lords seem inordinately popular. But not as popular as the next two posts. 

2. The Alpha Legion rules review comes in as the second most popular post of the entire year. Given my own interest (and large army) of Alpha Legion marines, this is good!

1. The most popular page on Warpstone Flux by a factor of at least two is the Horus Heresy Review Summary page. This might not be a surprise given some of the above entries to be fair! 

So there we go. Not a single entry in the top ten is from outside of Horus Heresy / 30k. And more than that, only a few of the posts are from 2016…! Perhaps not surprising, but I do try to post occasionally on roleplaying games (etc!) and on 40k itself from time to time. But I will freely admit that my passion at the moment is indeed in 30k. So I can live with that!

Interestingly, I also (and periodically through 2016) received an inordinate amount of hits from Russia and the USA (bots!) that were very VERY targeted at certain posts. For example, three of my current top five posts (right hand side column) are a result of this targeting. They've bumped the Alpha Legion rules review way down (further done than it deserves to be) right at this moment in time in favour of Wargames Gallery style posts. Not sure if anyone else is getting these kind of random hits to be honest -- let me know in the comments!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas from Warpstone Flux

Well, it is still Christmas Eve locally. But regardless of which timezone you find yourself in this year, Merry Christmas (and, unusually: Chanukah as well this year), Happy Holidays and all the best from Warpstone Flux. 

I will post a review article or two before the New Year, but otherwise, I'll be taking a couple of days off blogging from now :-)  Hope you've enjoyed the content this year -- more is yet to come of course!

Thought for the day: Is Santa Claus one in the same as Alpharius?

Friday, December 23, 2016

World Eaters Muster -- Video

Taken at Warhammer World, this is a video of the mustering of the World Eaters legion that is featured in the artwork and publicity for the Horus Heresy books. I really liked the juxtaposition of the different Realm of Battle tiles coupled with the stark white and blues of the space marine marching in strict rows and columns plus the sheer violence that is lurking under the surface of a legion that used to know well the value of tactics and strategy.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Warhammer World: Ironjawz Warclan War in the Jade Kingdom

"Megaboss Kroggax slashes and burns his way through the Hollow Forest at the head of a brutal Ironjawz Warclan. "

This display is the diametric opposite of the Sylvaneth display that is next door to the Orruk display. Destruction and new birth juxtaposed beautifully. I really love this pair of displays, even though I've not yet played a full game of Age of Sigmar. I'm inspired!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Warhammer World: Sylvaneth War in the Jade Kingdoms

"Striding in the wake of destruction is Alarielle the Everqueen and the Sylvaneth of Oakenbrow Glade, re-sowing that which has been despoiled even as they strike at the Orruk scourge with root and talon…"

This was a new addition to the Warhammer World exhibitions when I visited last weekend. I really genuinely love this display. Its so original compared to the other and stands out in a really good and positive way.

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Battle for Angelus Prime -- Video

I made a brief video at Warhammer World whilst there was nobody in The Battle for Angelus Prime exhibition. Replete with music and sound effects recorded in the exhibit.

This is especially for those of you who have never had the chance to ever visit. Whilst there is no substitute for actually visiting, I hope this will somewhat make up for it. Please enjoy!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Visiting Nottingham

Purely by chance, I will be visiting Nottingham this coming Sunday and plan on dropping in GW HQ (Warhammer World). Not sure if anyone will be around, but feel free to say HELLO to me if you see me wandering around those hallowed halls…!
No room in the luggage for my armies though... although happy to chat, etc if you're around.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Planetary Empires: Tournament Endgame

After many months of play (on and off due to real life), our Planetary Empires campaign has finally come to a close. The board situation at the end of the game is as pictured below.

With an unassailable lead, the Eldar of Ulthwe have all but dominated the world of Farenheit's landing in this campaign. My own Alpha Legion force (30k) is in second place with four tiles held. The space wolves (40k) have but a single tile left. Meanwhile the poor forces of chaos have been totally routed off the planet through a series of battles. 

Overall, this was a fun tournament. Earlier rounds can be read about here (Round 1; Round 2; Round 3); with two of the battles available to watch as YouTube battle reports (here and here).  

We are planning a much smaller Kill Team scale tournament next with some additional (new) players. Stay tuned for that in the New Year!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Games Workshop Bristol (Central)

Continuing my travels around the world and visiting Games Workshop stores along the way, a little while ago it was the turn of the city of Bristol, England (near the boarder of South Wales). 

Physically the store is located on Wine Street just north of Castle Park -- an expanse of "green area" on the north bank of a tributary to the River Avon. In turn, its location is on the south edge of the Broadmead Shopping Centre -- a very large mall area on the north side of Castle Park and Wine Street. As such, it is in a good location to receive plenty of footfall, yet is offset enough from some of the major retailers that I would guess store rents are less. Naturally, its proximity to the major shopping precinct of Bristol means that there is very high quality access to public transport. Indeed, the major intercity railways station, Bristol Temple Meads is a mere 15 mins walk at most (I think I covered that distance in 10 mins to be honest), but it wasn't a busy day and was pouring down with rain at the time as my pictures attest.

Indeed, the reason why I have such a close up of the store in the top picture is due to the rain and not wanting to get my camera lens too wet!

The store itself is of modest size with a good amount of board displays. On the day I visited the Christmas decorations were in full view with a nice Christmas Tree on the right hand side of the store front and the boxes underneath the window table (see the second image -- I really like how the chaos star looks like a snow flake!). 

The miniatures on display were attractive and the store is well laid out. Staff were top quality and very friendly to me on my visit. Equally, I didn't tell them that I was from Warpstone Flux or anything like that (or even interview them!). I prefer to remain as a "mystery shopper" and write my experiences up later. 

All in all, I think this is a quality store in a reasonably good location with everything that I've come to expect over the years. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Sequestered Industries Editorial

Here at Warpstone Flux, we don't do too much advertising (we dropped google ads a few years ago; we might return in the future who knows). We don't do too many giveaways (although I would consider it in the future perhaps). Nor have a constant demand to sponsor us (we have no sponsors at the moment or buttons to buy me a pint, but we do respond to incoming messages that want answers to Horus Heresy questions, etc.; Significantly: we don't ask for anything in return so long as you understand real life might mean delayed responses). It has also been a very long time since I did any conversion and painting commission work (I could be persuaded to do that again, but clearly my time is limited -- if you're interested in that you can email me and we'll have a look at the schedule).

That said, we do have a business that raises money for the hobby and for many of the things that you see on this blog: Sequestered Industries. Plus I pay full UK taxes to run this hobby business in my own time -- its not some shady moonlighting thing!

Sequestered Industries sells roleplaying games and roleplaying game accessories in both pdf and hardcopy formats (depending on the product) through; and Many of these have attractive (independent) positive reviews due to their standards. 

Our back catalogue contains:
Astulae: a full roleplaying game, campaign setting and system that has achieved Copper Best Seller status. Check out the preview video below.

Expansions for Astulae include: Necrogenic; Encountered and Understorm.

Other products include:
Flux Battle Objectives (a PDF of the various rules we've already published here on Warpstone Flux and more);
One Hundred Planets (for detailed descriptions of sci-fi planets on the go);
One Hundred Alternate Histories (also a Copper Best Seller; for any time line exploration adventures);
One Hundred Alternate Realities (for when you need some oddities to spice you your rpgs);

Plus a wide variety of place name generators in multiple flavours:

And name generators for:
all of which have been done by research in my own time. 

Hence, this is an infrequent blog post to say that if you like the kinds of things that you see on the blog, and you are in to roleplaying games or any of the areas that Sequestered Industries specialises in, then please check out the Sequestered Industries range of products in the run up to the Christmas season. Profits from this business have enabled many posts here on Warpstone Flux by purchasing some of the miniatures seen (the Warhound Titan in particular) as well as the the odd Horus Heresy rule book once in a while. From google analytics, I know that the Horus Heresy reviews are by far the most popular posts on this blog at the moment. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Salamaders Legion 30k Army List: 2000 points + The Awakening Fire

This army list explores what happened to Salamanders Legion members who were not assigned to the Retribution fleet after the Istvaan V conflict when most of the legion was wiped out, and more significantly: after Vulkan went missing. This rite of war represents the anger and flame that that ignited inside the Salamanders after this and the darker path that some of them trod. 

As such, it has to have a Chaplain inside the list to instil a bit of hatred in the ranks. But more than this, there are some really neat special rules such as the new beam ability known as "Fury of the Salamander" that becomes available to a Salamanders Librarian that seems like a must to me. More than this, they take advantage of their ability to cause fear in others (a bit like the Night Lords -- shudder!). 

List Building.
This is a list that needs both a chaplain and a librarian to take full advantage of it. However, the draw backs of only having one type of flyer, skimmer, jet bike, or jump infantry really precludes having a jet pack chaplain with an assault squad sadly. Hence these HQs must either go it alone, it team up with a much larger squad and foot slog (or take a bigger transport frankly). 

In the list below, I opt for a mechanised format: almost every squad has a transport to get it where it needs to be. The idea being to jump out of the transport and cause fear before getting stuck right in where required. 

Playing off the Salamanders theme, I wanted meltas and flamers, with a touch of plasma to boot as well. In the end, I couldn't quite fit in the flamers that I wanted, but I got the other two. As can be seen, I've also exploited the Salamanders special storm shields across the board as well. 

Legion Chaplain with power fist, melta bombs, dragon scale storm shield (120 points)

Legion Librarian (level 3) with Scimitar jet bike, dragon scale storm shield (195 points)

Legion Praetor (100 points)
A naked praetor just for the rite of war. 

Firedrake Terminator Squad with 2xchain fists, 2xthunder hammers, fire drake master with master-crafted thunder hammer, dragon scale storm shield, dedicated legion spartan (635 points)

Legion tactical squad, 19 strong, sergeant with melta bombs and power fist (195 points)

Legion tactical squad, 10 strong, sergeant with melta bombs, power fist, artificer armour, dedicated rhino with havoc launcher, all with bolt pistols plus close combat weapons (210 points)

Legion tactical support squad, 5 strong, all with melta guns, sergeant with artificer armour and melta bombs, dedicated rhino transport with havoc launcher (240 points)

Heavy Support:
Deredeo Pattern Dreadnouth with aiolos missile launcher, hellfire plasma cannonade (255 points)

The idea here is to have the chaplain with the terminators on board the spartan in the most common set up. Failing that, have the larger tactical squad in there. The other one will objective sit. The other two troops squads will mount up in their rhinos to be useful where needed (blowing up tanks and or engaging other enemies). The Deredeo provides a huge amount of backfield support for the advancing army. Meanwhile the librarian goes solo and zips around the board to try to get off his nice new beam weapon and get enemy units fleeing off the board thanks to the Elemental Horror side effect!

Vulkan is dead, and so is the edict in his opinion, clearly. They're angry marines now. And they want to hurt the traitors. Badly.

For a bit more customisation, drop some of the marines from the larger tactical squad and equip the praetor with deadlier stuff. I'll leave this up to the reader to think about as there's plenty of options here realistically.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Mechanicum Ceratus Knight-Atrapos

Designed during the Great Crusade to take on filthy xenos macro-engines, the Atrapos is now a very rare commodity. Really, its only the Mechanicum who deploy these, but on the odd occasion they will use them as "payment" to a Knightly household should the need arise.

In 30k, they can stand for both a Lords of War choice in a mechanicum army, as well as being in a Questoris Knights army list.

The armaments of the Atrapos are just as rare as the beast itself. Firstly is the lascutter. This can be used as a beam weapon with a very short range and Destroyer strength. Or as a close combat Destroyer weapon. Both are very nice to say the least.

Secondly is the graviton singularity cannon. This has a 36 inch range and therefore marks the Atrapos out as being a much shorter ranged threat than others in the Questoris army list options. With armour bane, concussive and the potential to shoot off a vortex template, this is a superlatively strong weapon.

The real role of this beast is to take out enemy super heavies. This can be done nicely thanks to the Macro-extinction targeting protocols that give its weapons the twin-linked rule when it points them at enemy super heavies and gargantuan creatures.

Should the dice gods not be with you, then the Atrapos can help kill itself by wiping out hull points through unfortunate rolls of the singularity cannon. Whilst it can produce vortex results (as mentioned above), at the opposite end of the scale, it wipes out a hull point with no saves allowed once every six times it is fired, on average. Personally, this is a risk worth taking I would contend!

Also, its worth mentioning the restriction here: only one of these machines is permitted per 2000 points in the army. Hence you're looking at high points games only here.

The only option here is to add on occular augmetics. So here it is:
Atrapos with ocular augmetics (445 points).

In terms of house hold ranks, the most obvious is the Arbalester. That said, I could certainly find a use for it as my HQ and wouldn't mind it being the Seneschal. Dolorous and Aucteller are reasonable other choices here too. Situationally, the Implacable might be nice if fighting in a dense city or under hive.

Of course, a Freeblade would be the most entertaining as one could craft an entire narrative around how such a situation ever arose!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Ordinatus-Minoris Macro Engine

They're big. They're old. They're very powerful. And they kill things. Frequently. They are legends. Entire mechanicum cults have grown up around them, but even in30k, those in the cults do not possess a full understanding of their inner workings. And more importantly than all of this: they are available to deploy in 30k Mechanicum armies as Lords of War.

As a superheavy they feature a lot of hull points each (14 to be precise) and have a nice front, rear and side AV values to boot.

But where it is really at are the unique weapons. The Sagittar comes with a Belicosa Volcano Cannon more commonly seen on titans with a divinely large pie plate. Whereas the Ulator class comes with a sonic disruptor that sends out a wave of destruction 7" wide from the cannon to the edge of the board and hits everything in said line. Its strength varies as a function of the type of target (infantry get a S=5 hit, super heavies suffer a D class hit). In this way, and if played well, the sonic disruptor is incredibly powerful -- much more so than the volcano cannon in many way. But equally, my preference would be the volcano cannon just for sheer reliability of D class hits all the time.

The engine comes with a 6+ invulnerable save and what is called an ordinatus dispersion shield. Like a hybrid of a flare shield and a void shield, it provides a modifier to both the S of incoming shooting attacks and a negative modifier to rolls on the destroyer table against it.

The dispersion shield is imperfect. Over time, its effectiveness will degrade. The negative modifier to the S and D roll table goes from -3 to -1 over the first 3 turns as it starts to wear thin and burn out. This is clearly a degrading effect, and very fluffy. But its also one to watch out for.

Finally, its worth noting that a meltdown can be very spectacular if it happens with a large radius and high S bound to hit nearby models. Beware.

Well, there's only 2 variants so far for the macro engines: the Sagittar and Ulator. Both have their own strengths. I prefer the Sagittar myself just from the angle of reliable D class hits with a huge pie plate and costing less (points value). The sonic disruptor could be amazing though, there's no denying it. And its worth the additional points. Its just my personal preference that I like the volcano cannon more. That's all. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Macrocarid Explorator

No two macrocarids are the same, being deployed by individual forge worlds and having been tweaked with by their magi on their own terms. This leads to a vast array of front line vehicles that the Mechanicum can field on the battlefield. All of them deadly in their own right and all worth of respect.

The best way to think of the macrocarid is as a customisable land raider. It has transport capacity and it has AV=14 all around coupled with an impressive 4 hull points. The base points cost is actually entirely reasonable and it comes with las cannons on side sponsons, plus a mauler cannon on the hull.

The added rules provide an all round survival quantum, plus other nice rules such as an augury scanner. The only real question is how to configure it for your needs which we look at in the builds section below.

There are few weaknesses here in reality. The macrocarid is a strong choice all told, but like all good choices there is a temptation to splurge a lot of points on the vehicle. This temptation should be resisted, no matter how good things look on paper. A few Destroyer strength hits will take care of this beast and its often better to not have all proverbial eggs in one basket as a result.

Macrocarid Explorator with Exploratory Augury Web (245 points).
I really like the exploratory augury web for its ability to mess around with reserves. But this comes at the price of a reduced transport capacity. Hence it might be the case that this build is a mobile wall or screen for other pieces of your army.

Macrocarid Explorator with Flare Shield and Armoured Ceramite (240 points).
A very tough vehicle for any army to fight against. Put your precious units inside and use them wisely. Add a conversion beamer to taste!

Macrocarid Explorator with Two Irradiation Engines and hull-mounted Graviton Imploder (250 points).
Irradiate your opponents and then mop up with the graviton imploder. Very nasty combination really.

Macrocarid Explorator with twin linked Plasma Phased Fusil and sponson Mauler Cannons (205 points).
Very nice dakka for your enemy marines.

Other builds like having a servo-rig and anabaric claw are all possible, but the above examples are probably superior for generic builds rather than specialised battle smith builds. 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Knight Warden

Following on from the Knight Errant, the second of my Knights from the Renegade boxed set has been built as a Knight Warden. I really like the sheer number of shots that the gatling cannon can pump out. But more importantly for 30k is the ability to designate this Knight as an Arbalester -- with sky fire and tank hunters, this can really glance almost anything to death. Lining it up next to a preceptor might be nice as well, but that's a dream for a different day!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Wargames Gallery: Alpha Drake Stand-off

A picture from today's game (part of an on-going Planetary Empires Campaign on the frozen wastes of Fahrenheit's Landing) features an interesting tactical situation for my Alpha Legion to find themselves in: a heavy support squad stare down the maw of a Heldrake, whilst the Storm Eagle soars by.

Ultimately, the heavy support squad survived, but the Storm Eagle did not in this particular game!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Arlatax Class Battle-Automata Maniple

Stockpiled by Xana, and with select Loyalist Forge Worlds having limited supplies, dark rumours swirl around these automata. Of course, where there's a bit of smoke there's sometimes a fire, and with these automata the chances of Malifica seem rather high.

Physically, these are Domitars. But they're domitars with jump packs in a nut shell.

As a jump pack monstrous creature, the Arlatax are a huge piece of kit. The toughness alone rules out the chances of instant death from vindicator shells and the stat line features an impressive 4 wounds. Moreover, the initiative is significant as being at I=4 bringing it on par with the average space marine. Of course, Anacharis Scoria can boost this further (as can choices of mechanicum sub-faction!) which can help increase it further.

The equipment is very good. The combination of plasma blasters with inbuilt cannons on the power claws is really nice and can be very powerful on the charge in to close combat. Indeed, I find plasma blasters to be highly valuable for taking out power armour.

The only real option is to swap out the power claws for arc scourges. This provides the rampage rule, armour bane and concussion and is really worth it in concert with the jump pack. One should be getting the charge in here and therefore the scourges can be very powerful against both troops and vehicles when required.

The Arlatax are categorically not Domitars. They lack the sheer resilience of the Domitars and are therefore a bit more vulnerable. In particular their armour saves are nothing particular special at 3+.

Fundamentally, the major concern I have with this unit is how to keep in range of a character with a cortex controller. There are very few that I can think of that would fit this bill.

There isn't too much to talk about in terms of options. However, here are two build.

Arlatax with Arc Scourge and Paragon of Metal (220 points).
With the paragon of metal special rule we are less worried about the cortex controller and it can function omits own very nicely.

Three Arlatax with Arc Scourge (555 points).
Only for very large games here. This maniple is very powerful and will clear out space marine squads with regularity if used and positioned well. Yet, they would still be vulnerable to focussed fire from even small arms like bolters and fury of the legion.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Horus Heresy Review: Anacharis Scoria

Entrapped within Xana, Scoria was `liberated' by the Imperium during the Xana Incursion, only to turn the Forge World in to the first of the hell forges. As such, it will be of no surprise that Scoria cannot be taken by Loyalist forces. That wording alone is interesting: he could be a traitor ally for the Taghmata or Legio Cybernetica, and also could be unaligned (if such a definition exists).

On his own, Scoria is a force to be reckoned with, even by Astartes standards, thanks to his impressive statistics line and a slew of special rules that would make a Primarch blush (eternal warrior, feel no pain, stubborn and the usual mechanicum rules that you might expect). Seriously, he could probably go toe to toe with the likes of Lorgar (minus psyker powers) and Alpharius very readily. That said, it is his special rules than make him truly shine on the battlefield.

Partis Cybernetica will allow Scroia to join a unit of monstrous creatures with the cybernetic cortex special rule. Clearly this is geared toward units like Domitars and Castellax -- which would be my preferred option here myself.

The Voidian Sceptre is an amazing close combat addition that yields d3 wounds on a hit with no IWND or FNP rolls permitted. This alone makes Scoria able to go toe to toe with Primarchs. He might even be able to stand a few rounds with the likes of Vulkan or Horus to be fair. Really, he's that good.

The Rite of the Beast meanwhile is a Cybertheurgy power. Activated at a small penalty, it provides an initiative bonus as well as critically re-rolling failed to hits (plus some bonuses to charge distance). This urges his use with units like Domitars.

The Homonculex allows Scoria to take some Arlatax automata of his own that he has, erm, experimented upon.

His warlord trait is Forbidden Protocols and means that his machines can sweeping advance and run (so long as they're in range). This, again, is a great force multiplier.

Finally, for a points cost, he can upgrade to have the Xanathite Abeyant. This makes Scoria ridiculous with a bonus to W, A, and a variety of special rules added to his already formidable array like IWND. If you're taking Scoria, you should take this as well. He already has really good base equipment like archeotech pistols, machinator array and the protectiva. Add on a cyber familiar and its truly ridiculous. Try going toe to toe with Horus. I dare you.

Not many here. I will mention that the Homonculex means that is Scoria is removed then any Arlatax that he has with him is also removed from play.

The biggest negative is that he is not fearless. He can totally be swept. Sure, its low likelihood, but the possibility exists.

He is the mechanicum equivalent to a Primarch realistically. And he can take on (and win against!) the weaker Primarchs very readily. With ones like Horus, he will do well and stand a sporting chance of winning as well.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Storm Eagle Update

A few photographs today to update my Storm Eagle progress. This one is, of course, in the nominal colours of the Alpha Legion. Added to this are extensive scratched and wear and tear. Plus, its now totally rocking a series of decals that I'm very proud to have attached with the aid of Micro Sol!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Inferno delayed to 2017

This is older news now, but it appears that Inferno, the next book in the Horus Heresy series, has been delayed until 2017 judging by the comments made on one of the official forums from Forge World.

Of course, for those following along, the original release date was always going to be something like February 2017. It was simply that the December 2016 White Dwarf rumours and image scans were appearing to suggest it would be in time for the festive season in 2016. And indeed: those White Dwarf sources looked both credible and the dates very real for a release in 2016.

The announcement merely re-sets the release schedule back to what it was originally.

All this said, I really like the "double-whammy" that Games Workshop has pulled for the Thousand Sons appearing in a very short time frame in both 30k and 40k. Plus, we also got the Burning of Prospero on top of that for a triple-whammy. There's little not to like at the moment about Games Workshop and Forge World's release schedule. And I for one can live with a small delay in Inferno!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Space Hulk Deathwing Gameplay Video Review

"Inside the Sanctum Imperator these impious creatures will find much to conceal their whereabouts and movements. Be on your guard, brothers" 

The above is the opening line to the recently released 17ish minutes of gameplay footage taken from the Space Hulk: Deathwing PC game that will soon be released. The video of this gameplay can be found here and the image below is a screen capture of part of said video.

From the outset, the game comes across as a vast labyrinthine maze riddled with genestealers, genestealer hybrids and monstrous tyranid creatures. Almost from the outset the growls of the creatures can be heard in the background and that sets the ambience and purpose of the game straight from the word go.

The player appears to control a Deathwing Librarian. Initially, he is armed with a force sword and a storm bolter. But in later play, it becomes evident that he can trade these in for other armaments. Imagine, for instance, a Librarian armed with an assault cannon and a power fist. No problem for this computer game at all -- you get to have your cheese (and cake) and eat it here! Nice!

The video shows that as battle carries on, various portions of the terminator armour become more damages (see the centre right of the screenshot) and it is entirely possible for other members of the team (which in this video appear to be computer controlled, but can be given basic commands by the player characters) to get injured and even die during the missions. Luckily there is an apothecary with the main player character it seems!

Navigating the space hulk and twiddling doors open, closed and locked is all part of the tactics that can be employed here. But the thing is: given that you can execute pincer movement on the genestealers also means that they're going to try to do the same on you. I think this is evident at a number of critical junctures in the gameplay where the enemies come from multiple directions all at once.

The variety of bad guys is decent. Ranging from the hack and slash of the rapidly moving purestrain genestealers, through to the very ranged hybrids that tote missile launchers, and the large big bad guy tyranid monsters at the end of one of the levels (plus enemy psykers) makes for a potent mix. The space hulk itself is vast and almost more like a city than a spacecraft. I guess that's the point though!

The gameplay looks good with a nice combination of first person shooter style coupled with hack and slash of swords and power fists in addition to beautiful and potent psyker abilities employed by the main player character. The orders given to squad mates appear to be executed very nicely with the computer artificial intelligence appearing to do a rather good job of things. 

In terms of negatives, I thought that the repetitive nature of squad members declaring that there is a missile launcher up ahead was annoying. Very annoying. At least, I think it would get on my nerves a lot if I played this game for a while. If only they could have more and different dialogue recorded for the game it would not grate on me as much I think. 

There are some features that I don't quite fully understand either yet -- in terms of resource management and upgrading various bits and pieces. I guess that will become more apparent when the game gets fully released on Dec 9th 2016.

Overall, looks good, wish the dialogue was more, and more varied, and seems like it'll be decently challenging. 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thallax Assembly #3

The final member of my Thallax squad today. This one features a plasma-fusil weapon on the left arm and a head slightly tilted to one side as if quizzically looking at those space marines that he's computing how best to most efficiently vaporise. 

Having a head at a slightly different angle is one of the most simple conversions possible to do, and is actually one of my favourite little tweaks to apply to a model to give it a bit of character. I've written about this subject before in the context of other miniatures (daemons in particular). With the mechanicum miniatures, such an approach gives them a slight aura of menacing automata. Almost a B-class movie villain in some regards perhaps! Well, that was what I was trying to aim for, its just a subtle tilt here though.

Overall, a nice miniature, but one that I have struggled to attach the piping from the rear of the gun to the torso with. I think I'll be using some guitar wire, or will be cutting the supplied piping down a fair bit.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Warhammer 40k FAQ goes live

So this happened whilst I was in transit, but the Warhammer 40,000 FAQ has now gone live.

Many of the entries provide a great level of clarity and are very welcome additions in my opinion.

That said, I can't help come back to the topic of grenades.

Why am I paying a steep cost in points value (especially in 30k) to equip every squad member with melta bombs please when only one can lob or attach a grenade at a target? What on Earth (or Fenris, or Prospero) is with this. Are the rest of the squad chanting away (Word Bearers, I'm looking at you) or just waiting for their sergeant to mess everything up so they can take over (Night Lords?). Bad attempts at comedy aside, this one perturbs me!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Warhound Titan All Together

I'll just leave this picture here :)

There's lots of work yet to do, including but not limited to shading, highlighting, weathering, lettering, fine detail, iconography (etc.). Notwithstanding that list, I'm happy!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

40k Thousand Sons Excitement

Okay -- just wow. I'm so very impressed with the direction that Games Workshop has been taking recently; ranging from their asking the community for their favourite questions to be FAQ'ed,the release of some very popular armies like gene stealer cults, and NOW: 40k Thousand Sons. Oh my. I think I need to earn more money to cope.

Although I really like the sculpts of all of these pre-releases, especially the Tzaangors, the real favourite for me are the terminators -- these occult elite of the Thousand Sons look awesome. Not only do they feature icons of the old legion and equipment to match, but they're also very clearly based on the Tartaros terminator mark armour from 30k. I can certainly see these miniatures being popular for 40k and 30k alike (with a bit of work for the latter arguably). Just fantastic overall!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Thallax Assembly #2

Today, the second of my Thallaxi squad. This one also features a lightning gun, but the pose is very different to the first one. The gun itself is slung low to the left hand side of the miniature -- I positioned it very low like this as I intend to mount this particular miniature on at least one layer of cork basing on its circular base. The other hand is somewhat open. Almost like it is gesticulating at something or someone.

One idea that did occur to me was to try to use this open hand to make the miniature hold something. Something like a space marine helmet perhaps?! I might toy with this idea later to be honest as I'm not so sure it suits the grip entirely. 

Also, this miniature has no piping coming from out of the back of the weapon. I might take advice and just make my own by twirling some wires together to create the effect to be honest.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thallax Assembly #1

Moving in to the Mechanicum as a small auxiliary force for my space marines, today just a few notes about putting together some Thallax. As shock troops, I really like the aesthetic of these cyborgs, so long as I ignore the fluff about how they're supposedly created. 

The main issue with my thallax has been to attach the power cord from the rear of the lightning gun to the rear of the torso. For this particular specimen, it was not a problem, but I'll show in a future post how a slight mis-glue spoilt another example. 

I like the pose (and pose-ability) of these thallax and as can be seen in the picture, I've made this one in to a running stance which adds to the dynamism of the miniature. Once based, it'll pop a bit more on the tabletop with a bit of luck.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Gaming Board Repair

Whilst I could blame the damage on neglect, the fact of the matter is that my cratered Martian themed gaming board has suffered quite a bit of damage during house moves over the years. Thus, it was high time to do something about it.

The damage can be seen in the first image that shows about one quarter of the full board. The white areas are where stones have come off, where epoxy resin or plaster mixtures have been chipped away, or where my children have literally been picking at things. There are several scrapes that have been sustained as well that are less obvious.

To correct these maladies, I use a combination of regular paints (red, brown, black) and a special textured paint (basically a thick brown coloured paint that dries anything but flat). I mix the paints together, but not completely -- i.e. there are still streaks of obvious red in the brown colour for instance and apply this liberally to the affected areas. The result is below. As can be seen, its a good remedy, but takes a bit of time to dry out. 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Warhammer World: Alpha Legion of Horus Heresy

Finally for this series, we have the Alpha Legion. Once again snapped at Warhammer World during their special exhibit, there are a range of painting and presentation styles here. For Dynat, the sparking approach to the armour with glittering blue edged and accented with silver and black. For the squad, a more muted blue colour not featuring so many accents, but provides an excellent table top quality. For a further squad, a very mucky and dirty approach to painting: clearly a blue armour base, but almost obscured by the sheer level of dirt applied over the top. I'm not sure how much of a fan of this approach I am to be honest -- legs and feet, sure: they're bound to be mucky after a protracted campaign. But the entire armour being this obscured is odd outside of a mud storm or similar perhaps. And some tanks and a contemptor to round it all off! A great reference point for me personally and you can see certain hints of these kinds of schemes combined in my own work (here and here).

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