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).

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Warhammer World: Raven Guard of Horus Heresy

Of all the legions that had cabinets in the Warhammer World special exhibit for the Horus Heresy, I'm sorry to say that I found the Raven Guard to be arguably weaker than the rest. Perhaps in part it is probably that black is a tough colour to pull off (or that other black colours marines like the Iron Hands looked much better), but in addition to this, I didn't care much for the blue, red and purple accents applied here.

In the image below, I think the squad to the top left is probably about the best one, I'm just sorry to say that I don't have any close up of that squad in my library. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Warhammer World: Salamanders of Horus Heresy

Accented with gold and black, these Salamanders feature a prominent green coloured palette combined with a straight forward aesthetic that helps them stand out nicely. Like the rest in this series of posts, they were snapped at Warhammer World during the Horus Heresy special exhibit in the cabinets and (for me at least) provide a nice base reference point for their paint scheme. I particularly like the flames on the tanks myself, of course.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Warhammer World: Word Bearers of Horus Heresy

The turn of the Word Bearers has come today. Sporting the post-Isstvan red colour scheme, these word bearers have a variety of painting schemes applied to them including variant shoulder pads and decals, as well as the Colchisian scrawling across the armour and tanks which is very nice to see.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Warhammer World: Sons of Horus of Horus Heresy

And today, some shots of the Sons of Horus that were on display at an earlier exhibit in Warhammer World. I love the subtle green paint scheme that these miniatures exhibit -- it really offsets nicely with the red elements and the eye of Horus of various parts of the miniatures.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Burning of Prospero army list

A few people have asked me if I could post a quick idea or two about how to create an army list out of the components from the Burning of Prospero. If you've not read any previous articles on 30k army list building, then I'd encourage you to check out the following on this blog:

Horus Heresy Army List Basics
Synergy in Horus Heresy Army Lists
Betrayal at Calth army lists

Burning of Prospero Evaluations.
The key ingredient here is the 30 space marines in older mark armour. For each block of ten, we have access to a number of heavy and special weapons like the heavy bolter, melta gun and plasma gun. Sadly though, in 30k, we cannot simply take such weapons at will. They have to be part of a heavy support squad (for the heavy bolters) or part of a tactical support squad (for the special weapons).

This means that we are very limited to standard tactical squad, or to veteran tactical squads (who can take a smattering of special weapons).

On top of this, the terminators in tartaros armour provide a range of options. Going all lightning claws is a distinct option, but getting them in to combat is going to be tough without vehicles.

The Sisters of Silence and the Custodes provide very nice back-up to all of this, whilst the HQ choices will make a pair of nice characters that would no doubt be representing a praetor and librarian.

Army List Options.
Here, I'm going to opt for a Pride of the Legion rite of war -- simply to make best use of the special weapons available. This means I can have the terminators and the veterans as both troop choices and I contend this makes best use of what is available here.

Praetor, 1 lightning claw (master crafted), bolter, digital lasers, iron halo, melta bombs (182 points).
This character is to be represented with the Geigor Fell-Hand miniature. I've added a few tweaks here to make him a bit more of a close combat monster, but overall, I'm happy with this. He should be added to the terminator squad, or one of the veteran squads.

 Librarian, Level 3 Psyker, artificer armour, refractor field, melta bombs (160 points).
A bit maxed out in some respects, but this one uses the Ahriman model. To be deployed on his own, or with one of the other legion squads for support.

Veteran Tactical Squad with 10 members, 2 with heavy bolters plus suspensors, 1 legion vexilla, sergeant with artificer armour and power fist (275 points).
Give this squad the sniper universal rule and take aim. Note the lightning claw can be converted to a power fist readily if you wanted two of them.

Veteran Tactical Squad with 10 members, 3 with power swords, 2 with plasma guns, sergeant with power fist, plasma pistol and artificer armour (300 points).
Go with fearless here to save points on the vexilla and team up with the Praetor if he's not with the terminators. Get in to combat as soon as possible. Consider taking squad with melta bombs.

Veteran Tactical Squad with 10 members, 3 with power swords, 2 with melta guns, sergeant with power fist, plasma pistol and artificer armour (300 points).
Go with fearless here to save points on the vexilla and team up with the Librarian. Get in to combat as soon as possible. Consider taking squad with melta bombs.

Tartaros Terminators, 5 members, 3 with combi-bolters and chainfists, 2 with twin lightning claws, sergeant with grenade harness (245 points).
Sure, we could go all lightning claws, but I wanted something here to be a multiple threat, hence the chainfists.

Sentinel Guard Squad, 5 members (325 points).
I assume the rumours are true here.

Sisters of Silence (75 points) -- I believe this is correct, but am uncertain. Arm up with executioner blades and upgrade one to be a sister superior.

The main issue here is, of course, that the Sentinel Squad and the Sisters squad are allies and not core. Hope that you're wanting to play loyalists too!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Warhammer World: Death Guard of Horus Heresy

The turn of the Death Guard today from the Horus Heresy special exhibit of Warhammer World. Check out all the white armour that has been chipped, scorched and everything else from a plethora of toxic worlds. And the scythes too!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Warhammer World: World Eaters of Horus Heresy

Continuing my series of reference images from the Warhammer World special exhibit, today is the turn of the World Eaters. White is always a tough colour to get looking really nice, and these miniatures are a great example of how to do it. Combined with the obligatory blood splatter and the blue accents from the shoulder pads, these are great looking World Eaters.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Custodes -- Initial Rules Thoughts

Following on from a brief few thoughts on the Sisters of Silence release the other day, I wanted to turn my attention to the Custodes today. 

Firstly, their stat line is impressive. With a toughness of 5, they're going to be hard to kill, doubly so with 2 wounds each. Just hope that the enemy didn't bring vindicators (EDIT: they're eternal warriors, so hey hum) or D-class weapons. (You avoid playing against Eldar, right?). Effectively, they are terminators as well with a 2+ armour save and an invulnerable save when taken in their special formation. Yet, this invulnerable save isn't all that good really if you have taken storm shields (which many people will want to opt for). Hence the formation might be somewhat redundant depending on the exact build of custodes being employed.

The upgrades for the unit are nice -- especially the vexilla. But taking the vexilla means that one model will be losing their spear. That's not so good. But its more than offset by the bonus attack in a full, surviving squad to be honest. 

The guardian spear is nice, but is different in 30k. The ability to block is really rather good indeed. The AP2 is just terrific. And coupled with some shooting, its all looking very good here.

The sentinel blade sword with the BS=2 snap shots is okay I guess. I prefer the spear to be honest though. The reason you take the blades is to also take storm shields I would think.

In some situations the preternatural skill will be very nice, but I can't think of too many squads that have WS=6 on the whole. Solidarity gives a nice spread in coherence which will also pay dividends down the line when dealing with large incoming pie plates. 

The only real negative here is that they can break and be swept off the board. Its probably not going to happen, but it is a possibility.

Overall, they are a killy melee squad. To be honest, other squads can also do this, and the points value for their increased ability to kill reflects how good they are at it. I do wonder if TH+SS terminators are a better investment. Doubly so for taking land raiders and charging out of them (until I see the stat line of the Custodes grav-tank!). 

Hence, I'm on the fence. They could be a real points sink overall and perform at the same level as other squads. I would like to see them face off against Salamanders (30k) terminators myself at equal points value just for entertainment purposes. Other than that, I can see them being of big use to loyalist and Imperial armies in both 30k and 40k the world over. But for me, I think I'd be taking something else. Its not that they're not good (they most assuredly are), but they're almost too powerful (i.e. less fun for an opponent) and too much of a points sink.

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