Thursday, June 22, 2017

8th Edition Rulebook First Impressions

It feels like a very long time since I pre-ordered my copy of the 8th Edition rulebook. (Note to self: it isn't that long ago really!). It also feels like a long time since Games Workshop send me their notification email that it had been dispatched. (Note to self: it wasn't -- it was totally consistent with the expectation date of dispatch!). It feels like it has been in the postal system for quite some time. (Note to self: you are absolutely correct in that assumption, even if you're wrong about the other two!). 

But finally. FINALLY! It is here!


The shrink wrapping in the picture certainly didn't last too long, rest assured!

There are a number of facets of this new rulebook that I would like to comment on. I don't think I will do it all in one post though. So today, I'm going to focus on global impressions.

Organisation.
Firstly is the organisation of the book itself. Most of the background material is presented to the front end of the book, with a strong focus on the Imperium of Man itself. This is to be expected at some level. Yet, it does represent a deviation from some of the other core presentations where the rules came nearer to the front and the background materials to the back of the book. And of course, it differs from the 7th edition rule book that had three different volumes combine in one sturdy cardboard sleeve. 

I rather like the idea of having a lot more focus on the background and on the fluff side of things right up front. Being an old-timer (Rogue Trader) person, this certainly appeals to me. I just find it a pity that they could not small-font all the unit entries in to the back of the book as well instead of having several different pseudo-codexes produced alongside this (and codexes that are going to be outdated rather quickly if I'm reading between the lines correctly). That would have been much better, and probably would have harkened back to the Rogue Trader era a bit more for us very old timers!

Gaming Photography.
The second and final thing that I'm going to note for today is some of the photography. If I flick through the older rulebooks and search for people playing the game, they are generally (but maybe not exclusively) white males. Many appearing somewhat middle-aged. In this rule book, what is striking to me is how this has changed (for the better) to have more women visibly playing the game. Now, of course, these are probably staged photographs. But with daughters of my own who are getting in to the hobby, I welcome this change of focus away from men and encouraging women and girls in to the hobby. About (redacted) time frankly. Gaming should not be seen as a white, male, young person (possibly testosterone poisoned judging by some of the comments on various forums out there) hobby. It is for everyone who is interested. 

Good on Games Workshop for updated their marketing, sincerely from me. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Battle Report: Ynnari vs Alpha Legion (1500 pts)

The final in the series of battle reports today from the "End of 7th" tournament we had. This time, I am using my 30k Alpha Legion forces against Eldar Ynnari, in the third match of three (following on from the Tau in Game Two). 

I also have a confession to make. This was the first time ever that I'd faced a true Ynnari Eldar force. I really had not much of a clue what to expect beyond knowing the mechanics of the "burst" a little bit.

My forces remained unchanged from the previous matchup: 

Alpha Legion List: 
HQs: Autilon Skorr (Pride of the Legion Rite of War), Master of Signals 
Elites: Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought (Kheres) 
Troops: Assault Squad (plasma pitols, serg with thunder hammer); Terminator Squad (Axes, plasma blaster, thunder hammer); Veteran Squad (two melta guns) 
Fast Attack: Storm Eagle (las cannons) 
Heavy Support: Heavy support squad (missile launchers)

The Ynnari were running the following.

Ynnari Eldar List:
Reborn Host
HQs: Eldard, Farseer with singing spear and Anath'lan stone
Elites: 5 Wraithguard, Death Jester with lost shroud, haywire grenades, shrieker cannon, Shadowseer with mask of secrets, haywire grenades, mastery lvl 2, neuro disruptor
Troops: 5 Rangers, 3 wind riders with scatter lasers

Aspect Host Formation: 4xDire Avengers with exarch; 6xDire Avengers with exarch and wave serpent (target matrix, holo fields, shuriken cannon, spirit stones, bright lance), 5xWarp Spiders with exarch.

Ulthew Strikeforce:
Elites: 10x Black Guardians with eldar missile launcher platform 

To be honest, I was dreading facing this list. Plenty of firepower in there and nothing I can do against the psychic strength of the list either. 

The one thing -- and it was a very critical thing -- that I had going for me was that I managed to gain the initiative to go first. Deploying across the board, I decided that I wanted to take out the Eldar piecemeal style and target their key assets. The game objective was the simplest one possible: annihilation of the enemy. The winner would be decided by the points value of the opposition we managed to take down. Really as simple as that.

Early Turns (and the flank).

In the early turns, I advanced my foot-slogging veterans up the table to try to out gun the dire avengers that they had in front of them. They took several out.


But they were rapidly reinforced by the jet bikes who retaliated well against my marines.

A game of cat and mouse followed on this particular side of the board featuring me trying to keep pace with the Eldar and gunning them down whenever I could. The chance to charge the Eldar never really materialised, so I relied on the bolters and the melta guns I had to do the dirty work here. But it was not without significant casualties. 

Middle Turns (and the rest of the board).
In the middle of the game, several key things happened, broadly in swift succession.

The first one was that I made the mistake of killing the warp spiders with the Master of Signals. This prompted the Death Jester to spike in his burst. Its a very nasty combination that I hadn't really thought about too hard. The Death Jester shot at my assault squad, forcing them to take a morale test. Which they dutifully failed and started fleeing backwards off the table.

Rallying them the next turn, I charged them toward the Jester. Shooting on overwatch, the Jester killed again. By the time I'd taken out the wave serpent with my contemptor dreadnought, he was bursting again. I really didn't think that vehicles could cause a burst, but they do. Drat. I'll remember that for next time.

Hence, by the time I actually managed to get in to combat with the Jester, the situation looked grim for my assault squad.


However, the thunder hammer marine was able to prevail here and finish the job finally. But it was a close run thing.

The turning point in the game really only came about when I managed to get my storm eagle on to the board though. With its extra fire power, it soon started to eliminate wraith guard and shadow seer. Eldrad lasted a little while longer, but eventually Skorr claimed his head for the Legion. Not bad for the King head hunter!


Late Turns.
By the end of the fourth turn, there were few Eldar left on the table due to the fire power (and fluke die rolls that I was managing to pull off). The sheer firepower that the storm eagle was pumping out eliminated any threat to it from the board.

The last few threats were the highly mobile units that were still around.


My decimated veteran squad finally did the trick though, seeing off the final jet bikes and their dreaded scatter lasers to ensure that the Alpha Legion scored a decisive Massacre victory by the 5th turn. No eldar left on this world whatsoever.

I hindsight, I was very lucky. Although I played my set up correctly, the fact that I went first really sealed the match up. I think if I went second, it would have been a completely different story altogether. 

Combined with the master of signals doing a lot of the (lucky) dirty work with the orbital blast and the storm eagle coming on to team up its firepower with the contemptor, the game was sealed by the fourth turn. 

However, the lessons learnt here were painful. The Ynnari burst moves thanks to the death of nearby units is immensely powerful and one that I won't forget in a hurry!

Monday, June 19, 2017

8th

There seems to have been an issue with the postal service. The issue is not quite on the scale as a certain Icelandic eruption, just to be clear.

Hence, it looks like I'll be pottering around at least one more day before the new rules and everything else arrives!

Gah! I want my new toys already!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Battle Report: Alpha Legion vs. Tau (1500pts)

Going in to this match from my victory over the Salamanders in a 30k match-up, I wasn't so sure that I could do well here. The Tau have a (rightly) fearsome reputation for firepower. That said, I was confident that I could at least pull off one charge by turn 2 with my assault marines and hopefully put them on the back foot for a turn or two. That was at least the plan. The battle would be fought over the beach table with two objectives to secure.

My forces remained unchanged from the previous matchup:

Alpha Legion List: 
HQs: Autilon Skorr (Pride of the Legion Rite of War), Master of Signals
Elites: Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought (Kheres)
Troops: Assault Squad (plasma pitols, serg with thunder hammer); Terminator Squad (Axes, plasma blaster, thunder hammer); Veteran Squad (two melta guns)
Fast Attack: Storm Eagle (las cannons)
Heavy Support: Heavy support squad (missile launchers)

Meanwhile, the Tau had plenty of firepower to call upon:

Tau Army List:
HQs: XV86 Coldstar with shield generator and stimulant injector 
Elites: XV104 Riptides (early warnings, earth caste pilot array, ion accelerator, plasma rifle, velocity tracker)
Troops: Strike Team (missile pod support, marker light, Devilfish transport); XV8 battle suits (2xShas'ui, 1xShas'vre); XV8 battle suits (2xShas'ui)
Fast Attack: 2 Pathfinder teams (marker lights) 
Heavy Support: XV88 Broadside (drone controller, seeker missile, high yield missiles, smart missiles).

Early Turns.
The set up is pictured below. And as a general health warning -- I took too many pictures for this one!


Off screen to the right are a bunch of suits that I'm aiming to charge at early in the game with my assault squad. My heavy support are holed up in the Eldar ruins on the left and I have my contemptor with my veterans near the top left who are foot-slogging along. 

Luckily, I manage to get the first turn. 


Not much happens, but the drones and the marker lights start lighting up everything that causes me to start to worry a whole lot. I distract myself by taking some cool pictures :)


Things start to get much more interesting in turn 2 as my assault squad enters close combat. Sadly, I completely forgot about the insane over watch that the Tau are capable of pulling off. All the surrounding squads take pot shots at my poor charging marines and whittle them right down before they can get truly stuck in to the enemy. 

Much pain ensues.

Middle Turns.
The combat with the battle suits pictured above will go on for another few rounds as I fail to kill them on my charging turn.


Meanwhile, the footsloggers are making good progress and are being supported by an incredibly lucky shooting contemptor who is really whittling the wounds off the enemy. (And I think this shot looks awesome as well, so I had to include it in this report). 


Despite lots of casualties on both sides by this point, the fun really starts when my storm eagle arrives and disgorges the terminators plus Skorr in to the melee. It is only at this stage that I recall the mission is to control the objectives (one in each deployment zone), so I make sure that the terminators can not only charge, but get back again to reach the objective nearby. In this game, they are classed as troops for scoring purposes due to the rite of war I'm running.



Late Turns.
The terminators try to finish off the enemy HQ, but do not succeed, and take casualties in exchange. For their troubles, the Tau HQ flies away in a hit and run effort to survive and shoot again next turn.

All of my assault squad are dead now following the melee. They took plenty with them though. 


The above picture shows the game position at turn 4. Much carnage has occurred, and more blood and fuel are yet to be spilt across this beach landing paradise board. This comes in the form of the remaining Tau shooting my Storm Eagle out of the skies. It narrowly avoids anything on the way down, but otherwise is wrecked.


Critically, the terminators are able to slog it to the objective marker nearby, whilst finishing off the remaining Tau troops. The veterans have meanwhile perished due to incoming fire. The contemptor has only one Kheres left. The Tau make a run for it to try to claim the opposite objective. But I manage to kill most of them along the way. Sadly not enough.

The game ends in a tie on the major objective: 1 objective secured each.
The game ends up being decided by secondaries. I have just one more than my opponent (in terms of line breaker), hence I win. But only just.

This was a very tough slog to say the least. I was very happy with the photos that the game produced, but tactically, it could have gone either way. I thought I was going to lose when the storm eagle got taken out and the Tau jetted away for the opposite objective. The terminators and the heavy support squad held on though and a draw ensued. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Wargames Gallery: Beach Landing

++ Deploy, brothers!++

++Resistance encountered. Some kind of Xenos advanced weaponry. Caution advised.++

++Deal with them quickly. They bleed well enough. Power axes drawn and good hunting.++


Monday, June 12, 2017

Battle Report: Salamanders vs. Alpha Legion (1500 pts)

In the Goodbye to 7th Edition Tournament, the first battle was a brutal 30k face off between the Salamanders Legion and the Alpha Legion. Whichever way it would go, the Emperor was sure to win. Or at least that's what we both thought when the game began (!)

Alpha Legion List: 
HQs: Autilon Skorr (Pride of the Legion Rite of War), Master of Signals
Elites: Contemptor Mortis Dreadnought (Kheres)
Troops: Assault Squad (plasma pitols, serg with thunder hammer); Terminator Squad (Axes, plasma blaster, thunder hammer); Veteran Squad (two melta guns)
Fast Attack: Storm Eagle (las cannons)
Heavy Support: Heavy support squad (missile launchers)

Salamanders List:
HQs: Praetor (thunder hammer, halo, combi-melta; Covenant of Fire Rite of War); Master of Signals
Elites: Contemptor Dreadnought (multi melta); Contemptor Mortis (Kheres); Dreadnought Talon (2x Multi Melta and one with 2 CCWs)
Troops: 2x Tactical squads (serg with power sword)
Heavy Support: Heavy support squad (volkite culverins)

I will freely admit that out of all of the lists taking part in the tournament, this was the one that I feared the most. No less than 5 dreadnoughts combined with the Covenant of Fire rite of war in the Salamanders legion is very strong. Those heavy flamers in the hands of the dreadnoughts are to be feared, and those melta weapons were always going to be deadly.

However, the battle was to be fought over a pair of objectives -- one in each of our deployment zones. I figured that my approach here was to almost entirely ignore the dreadnoughts and instead take out the troops. That way, without any objective secured units, I could potentially still win. If I could figure out a way to stay alive.

Of course, one thing that the Alpha Legion has going for it is the mutable tactics. Hence, I decided to select Tank Hunters. Combined with the Master of Ambush warlord trait, I can still infiltrate three units -- and this is exactly what I ended up doing.

The Salamanders deployment was pretty much a straight line as pictured below.


This provided the first opportunity for me really. I would infiltrate my assault squad and try to eliminate one of the troops squads (top right) whilst using the master of signals to take out the heavy support (bottom centre on the crates). I would then shoot the remaining squad (not shown, but located further down and left). 

This plan actually worked very well. By the middle turns, I was engaged deeply in close combat. However, despite my initial alpha strike (pun semi-intended), the dreadnoughts in close combat really slew my troops very quickly. However, with the good fortune to have the first turn, coupled with my Storm Eagle coming on very early in the game from reserves, the tide slightly pivoted in my direction. 


As my units got stuck in, losses on both sides mounted up quickly. With dreadnoughts in close combat, all of my assault squad got wiped out, and most of my veterans too. The Storm Eagle brought in the terminators to the fight and eventually, I managed to seize control of the objective on the opposite board edge. The enemy master of signals started to wipe out my missile launchers, but not before they accounted for a couple of dreadnoughts. Meanwhile my mortis managed to wreck a few of the enemy. With only a few marines left and my contemptor, I had secured one objective and was pinging away at the remaining enemy dreadnought. 

As turn 5 rolled around, the game was almost mine -- just one dreadnought remained to be killed. But rather than yield the massacre to me, this dreadnought went on the run behind cover to ping my storm eagle from the sky. 

The game ended here. I had one objective, lots of dead things (basically only my mortis and a few marines left) and the Salamanders had one hiding dreadnought. The game was won. But only narrowly and at a very steep cost. 



Saturday, June 10, 2017

Goodbye to 7th Tournament: Boards

Friday saw a "Goodbye to 7th" tournament. I was playing my 30k Alpha Legion force, and I'll detail the battles in full reports later on. But for now, I wanted to show the tables that we were playing on and fighting over. Each was themed and some had a few special rules (e.g., difficult terrain in the water and nearby to deathworld scenery; fires that provide cover, but a certain distance must be maintained away from). The scenery is a mixture of Games Workshop, MDF terrain from CNC miniature scenery and TTcombat, plus various homemade items and other items. 


World: 1417-402.  Cognomens: Isha’s Necklace.
Classed as a death world by the forces of the Sons of Horus, 1417-402 has a single redeeming feature – a very large ocean teeming with moderately benign life. In comparison, its archipelagos are covered with all manner of flora and fauna widely to be considered immiscible to human colonization. Control of this world and its oceans could provide a food supply for planets many sectors removed. 




World: Ravishol.  Cognomens: None.
Ravishol is part of the 500 worlds in the realm of Ultramar and comes under the direct purview of the Ultramarines. After the Betrayal at Calth, the planet came under attack from unknown forces, although reports variously suggest World Eaters, Blackshields and Knights-Errant for a similarly wide variety of reasons. Ten thousand years later, Nurgle looks to attempt to gain a foothold here too. Sent here to investigate, any would-be attacker would have to contend with the corpses of the cities that litter its surface.


World: 53.417.  Cognomen: Altruism.
Discovered by an Iron Hands fleet during the Great Crusade, the world of Altruism was marked early on as a good prospect for colonization. Although at the hot end of ideal temperatures for unenhanced humans, the colonists readily took to the world and founded a settlement. It was not long thereafter that deep deposits of valuable minerals and fuel were discovered. Altruism thrived and is a prosperous, yet minimally inhabited world making it an easy target for all warlords.



World: Angstrom’s Rest. Cognomens: 1772-2.  (Imperial Fists).
A small contingent of Imperial Fists secured this world against the large predators that had plagued the small human population locked here since the night of the Age of Darkness. Cut off by warp storms themselves, the Fists established a temporary operation on the surface of the planet for the purposes of refuelling their orbital cruisers



World: Tancredi. Cognomen: 15-220.
All Forge Worlds are important to the Mechanicum and offer significant resources to would be conqueres. The world of Tancredi is no exception. Sitting at a pressure point between segmenta, Tancredi was ever on the list of targets for the enemy, and for worlds to be protected by the Imperium due to its vast shipyards. Tancredi finds itself at a nexus in both time and space.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Crate from Game Mat EU

The image below shows one of the large crates that Game Mat EU retails from their website. It is made of a type of resin that is heavier than the standard Forge World stuff. It also needs washing though, so make sure to undertake that step. The interior of the crate is also hollow. When I was washing mine, the inside started leaking ever so slightly and I wound up with water trapped inside the crate for days on end as I waited for it to dry through some small cracks in the (otherwise thick) resin shell.


For painting, I sprayed on a black undercoat and then followed this up with a mechrite red base coat all over. The metallic hoops around the crate were picked out in gold and then everything had an extensive black wash. I then picked out some limited highlights before going to town on the scratches on the surface and the rusting (mostly a creamy orange colour). The overall effect is of a worn crate that has long since seen better days. On the battlefield, it will provide solid cover and block lines of sight. The height of this crate is more than double a regular space marine for scale comparison purposes. Looking forward to using this in our games tomorrow. 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Battlescape Scenery Repairs

The piece in the photograph below is the battlescape scenery that should feature a wrecked rhino, craters and several trees.


I purchased it at a discount from a retailer a long while ago. The main reason I got it cheap was the missing component. Literally the only thing that was part of the deal was the single plastic mould. It was painted (poorly), but otherwise it was in good condition. Yet it lacked the side of the rhino, and the trees themselves.

Recently I set about to repair it. Knowing that I didn't have the bits to deal with the side of the rhino, I instead opted to make the rhino appear as if it had been buried in the muck and dirt of where it had been crippled and immobilised. This was accomplished with a generous blob of filler material from the hardware store liberally used both on the underneath of the rhino and the side. I glued on a spare roof bit, and the top hatch myself that I had lying around. 

Painting them followed using a chaos black undercoat followed by a muddy red base colour. The stone work was picked out in old dheneb stone and layered up. For the trees, I disguised the branchless stumps with a good amount of rail way style clump tree foliage.

The final ingredient (which you might not be able to pick out just by looking at it) was a true experiment. The painting of the rhino was done using nail varnish. I originally had this radical idea to use this colour on my alpha legion, but early tests didn't go so well. But, as can be seen in the image, the rhino actually looks like it has turned out okay in the end. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

Battle Report: Alpha Legion vs. Death Guard (1500 pts)

Overview.
With a new mat from Game Mat EU, I had a game of 30k vs 40k with JK last Friday. I brought 1500 points worth of Alpha Legion using the Pride of the Legion Rite of War to make my terminators and veterans in to scoring units (as it means I can take them as troops).

I was using Skorr with a large blob of veterans inside a storm eagle transport and a master of signals. This was complemented by a squad of terminators riding in a land raider. A scout squad with rifles and a heavy support squad with missiles rounded out my list. More can be read about this style of list here which is essentially the same but without the transports.

My opponent was using a double vindicator approach coupled with two plague marine mechanised units (with flamers, melta guns) in rhinos with havoc launchers, a chaos dreadnought, heldrake and a Forge World blight drone. Templates everywhere basically. Oh, and did I mention the chaos lord on a bike with the Burning Brand? No? Well, he also had a pet chaos spawn for laughs. Or a meat shield. 


Set up and Early Turns.
The game was being fought over two objectives placed in the deployment zone of the enemy after regular squads had been deployed. I infiltrated my sniper squad on to my enemies as he castled up in the corner. This, I thought, gave me a tactical advantage. I had my missile launchers in a ruins on the lower right of the picture and kept the storm eagle in reserves.

The Death Guard, meanwhile, were deployed in a "castle" formation with the fliers in reserves. 

The early turns saw some significant damage to my forces thanks to all of the templates that were going around. Plasma carnage from the dreadnought saw off a heavy support marine, and the scouts got repeatedly whacked by a vindicator and havoc launchers. The land raider came through un-scratched though.

Middle Turns.
There was great carnage as the game progressed. My scouts got whittled down. My land raider moved up and disembarked the terminators to kill the rhino that they successfully charged. And the smelly Death Guard oozed out of the wreck to counter attack the terminators. The chaos lord and the spawn joined in the fun.


I immobilised one of the vindicators though from the heavy support squad.

By now though, the plasma dreadnought was truly whittling them down and the heldrake came on to finish a few off. I got a lucky shot in to kill the heldrake thankfully. But this did not stop the blight drone from killing off all my missile launchers a turn later.

Late Turns. 
Some unlucky reserve rolls saw my storm eagle spend a lot of time off the board. But when it finally came on, I disembarked the veteran squad on to the objective in my board zone. 

However, the other side of the board was looking grim. My scouts had been wiped out and the other Death Guard squad sat comfy on the objective inside their rhino. The storm eagle killed the rhino, but I couldn't dislodge the rest of the squad from the objective.


Meanwhile, the chaos marines slew my terminators eventually. The image above shows the near final board situation. We both have one objective each. And there is little that either of us can do to dislodge the other player from these objectives in time.

The game ends on turn 5 with a draw. Both of us have one objective each. If the game had continued, I think the storm eagle might have done more damage to the death guard on the objective. But equally, the blight drone and the chaos lord on the bike would have made it to my veteran's position for some template carnage. 

Overall, a very entertaining, tactical game full of carnage in the middle. And -- this is not our last 7th edition outing either. There's a tournament on Friday that we'll be doing using this (and more) scenery. 
 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sector Imperialis Objectives Sold Out

Wow.

Just a quick note from me to say that the UK online Games Workshop store appears to have already sold out of the Sector Imperialis Objectives. That'll teach me for leaving it a little while whilst the website was temporarily unavailable for whatever reason! lol!

Managed to get my order in for the core rule book now at least. Hence the waiting game now begins for the actual release date.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Land Speeder Raider Ahoy!

Is it a Land Speeder?

Is it a Land Raider?

Is it the offspring of both brought about by mechanicum heresy development? Is Cawl a secret traitor to the omnissiah? What the?

Of course, I refer to the recently announce "Repulsor". What a name it has for a start!

The image above is taken from the Warhammer Community. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this new tank to be honest. On the one hand, it is really nice for the Space Marines to have something new to toy about with. On the other hand, there's a lot of other factions that could use some love right now. And, I'm not sure how this fits in to the background materials at all given that the Grim Dark of the far flung future was all about the stagnation of technology, rather than the invention of new things and combining older machines and ideas together to forge something brand new. 

None the less, the Repulsor appears to be joining us very soon. I think it looks a bit blocky myself, but I can see aspects of land raiders, land speeders and a few other bits beyond that in the tank. I think it looks very powerful with those las cannons ... and are they frag launchers we are seeing on the side or something else that is new entirely? I cannot quite make my mind up on that. 

So, full marks for surprising us still. Less marks as I'm yet to read the background materials to see how it all fits in. Somehow. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Rust

Over the past few weeks, I have quietly been getting in some painting time to get a batch of scenery ready for our games. The terrain is often large scale (cities of death), but in this case, I wanted to look a bit more at some of the smaller scale items that can be scattered around to represent abandoned items and otherwise decorative pieces.

These items come from both the plastic Munitorium Armoured Containers set by Games Workshop (the smaller pieces), and resin crates from Game Mat EU (the two larger crates). 



I wanted to try to get a rusted effect for these pieces, whilst maintaining an underlying paint scheme. Green lends itself well to this approach thanks to the contrast it makes with a relatively normative orange rust colour. 

Following a black undercoat, I used the death world forest green to base coat these items. A double wash followed using diluted black. I tend to favour this slightly over Nuln oil since it leaves a darker stain and makes it suggestive of being out in the weather too long. 

Highlights for these items were done in Scorpion Green (the closest present analogy is Moot Green). This is actually a rather strong green and can be seen clearly on the round parts of the corners of the large resin crates. Is is also on the Imperial eagle of the smaller crates to provide a contrast to the rest of the painting, but it is more subtle and watered down there.

To achieve the rust effect, I used a sponge combined with orange paint to dab on in random directions and frequencies all over the crates. Some of them have been underscored in black to make the a bit more realistic. But otherwise this sponge approach to rust effects works very nicely for these battlefield debris items and it is an approach that I will be carrying forward to other works in the future. 

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

No 8th for Horus Heresy

I wanted to write this article a few days ago, but I was a bit "hot" thinking about it. Hence I decided to delay writing it until now since I've cooled off a bit(!).

At the weekend, it was announced that 30k and the Horus Heresy would be parting ways with the mainstream 40k by not transitioning to the 8th edition of the rules set. The reasons behind this are anyone's guess, but probably a superposition of some of the following: a lot of work in converting to 8th; needing different rules in place; needing more time to play test; needing more time to consider how to do it; focus on 40k rather than 30k in the first instance (etc.). Genuinely, I don't know, but its probably some or more of these kinds of reasons.

This choice has me torn, and judging by the wider community, there are strong views on either side of the argument.

There are plenty of people who will rejoice at this decision. The shoe-horning of 30k in to 8th was bound to cause problems. And 8th does solve many of the problems with 7th edition 40k … but those problems were never really there in 30k anyway. The main one I can think of that will be "left over" for 30k is how to run psykers. The 7th edition of the psyker rules set has never sat well with me. Perhaps the new 30k rules will modify these?

On the other hand, it does present problems for me personally. How will I face off against the local Eldar player? Sure, Forge World might produce a 30k Eldar rules set at some point in the future (they will be doing daemons very soon in Angelus after all). But until then, how should I accomplish that?

Well, one thing is for sure. I will not stop playing either 30k or 40k! Indeed, we have a "bye bye 7th edition" tournament coming up locally that will feature a large variety of armies that we're looking forward to playing in. More on that another day.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Sisters of Silence Kharon Pattern Acquisitor


Background.
Sleek, deadly looking, and very stealth orientated, the Kharon is the Sisters of Silence transport unit. Realistically, it is meant to be for taking prisoners and bringing them in for some justice of one sort or another. It is also a highly rated tank overall as well.

Strengths.
The most important point to make here is that the Kharon is an assault vehicle. Given that the Sisters are in the same army list as the Legio Custodes, then they can team up to assault out of this tank should the need arise.

Of course, it can also deep strike, but it is a big vehicle. It features a small slew of extra rules including but not limited to the Spectra Distort Field that gives a penalty to hit when shooting at it and d6 hammer of wrath attacks when it tank shocks some infantry.

Moreover, the weapons are also attractive, 4 lots of S=7 shots from the Hellion array is excellent. And that is in addition to the two missile launchers that are capable firing of psky-out missiles.

Weaknesses.
This tank is what it is. Stealthy (literally) with a deadly weapons load and transport capacity for 12. It is worth the points. Watch out for the rear armour though.

Builds.
Honestly, I would tank this tank naked. Armoured ceramite (bringing the cost up to 145 points) is tempting, but perhaps not needed.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Coronus Grav-Carrier


Background.
I personally have always liked the grab-craft since they were first depicted in Rogue Trader. The Coronus carries on this tradition by having the grav-craft be in use by the Legio Custodes. It further indicates that the craft was an upgrade to the Jocasta design employed in the Unification Wars. Of course, the other grav craft are based on the Coronus design and have improved it whilst maintaining the goal of being fast an able to deploy in to zones that other vehicles might find tough.

Strengths. 
With a capacity of 12 models and a small selection of special rules such as a flare shield, the Coronus makes for a desirable transport craft for the Legio Custodes.

The weaponry features twin linked lastrums, as well as a turret mounted blaze cannon which is nothing to be sneezed at.

In addition, the "grav backwash" rule is very entertaining as it supplied a -2 to hit unless the vehicle is immobilised.

Weaknesses.
There are no real weaknesses here: this is a well balanced transport -- nay tank -- that is worth its points value.

Builds.
Even naked, the transport is viable. However, of all the upgrades available, I think this combination is probably what many people may opt for:

Coronus, armoured ceramite (155 points).
Of course, the armoured ceramite is completely optional. But it does come in handy every once in a while.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Vale Alan Bligh

Vale Alan Bligh. (1974-2017).

Undoubtedly, you have genuinely influenced my directions in my hobby and you will be sorely missed for your writing as the lead author for Forge World. You will be missed. Not just by myself, but by the scores and masses of fans who read your work -- particularly the Horus Heresy.

Further Links:

https://www.warhammer-community.com/2017/05/27/alan-bligh/

https://aarondembskibowden.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/alan-bligh/

http://www.john-french.com/2017/05/alan-bligh-remembered.html

Friday, May 26, 2017

Wargames Gallery: Cities of Death

++ Incoming message from Squad Sigma Five Alpha. Commence the Harrowing. ++

++ Acknowledged, Brother. For the Emperor. ++


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Sisters of Silence Vigilator Cadre


Background.
These sisters are the more senior mainstay of the order. Their purpose is to eliminate key enemy targets on the battlefield. I read that as enemy psykers as I'm sure more other people would. However, they are well equipped to deal with a rebelling human population too, as required.

Strengths.
Unlike the Prosecutor squad, this cadre is made up of Sisters with the iconic execution blades. This does well against many opponents. Coupled with the fanatic discipline rule, they're also fearless.

Death Mark allows the cadre to nominate an enemy squad that they're trying to take out. Of course, you should nominate an enemy psyker to be fluffy. But you don't have to! This gives the unit preferred enemy against their death marked target.

Weaknesses.
As with all Sister squads, the stat line is worryingly poor thanks to toughness and strength of 3 each. Otherwise, they should be allocated a transport and used accordingly.

Builds.
5 Sisters, Mistress with power weapon (90 points).
My favoured baseline build. Take with infiltrate to mess with your opponents thanks to company-cadre.

10 Sisters, one breacher charge, Mistress with Neuro-lash, plasma pistol (180 points).
A full load out, and still a modest price. Take a transport as required, or give some suitable rule with the company-cadre ability.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Sisters of Silence Prosecutor Cadre


Background.
These are the foot soldier of the Sisters of Silence. If there is such a thing as "commonly seen Sisters", then this squad is it.

Strengths.
These Sisters are for massed operations against known enemies. As such, they have a space marine style load out with bolt guns, the usual grenades and psyk-out grenades.

With the fanatic discipline rule, the also gain the all-important fearless rule (as well as hatred against psykers). This can be important in some match ups in the 30k environment.

Weaknesses.
As with all mortal humans, those 3's in the various important places in the stat line hurt (toughness, strength and so on). They will die fast if they don't have a transport or take appropriate cover.

Builds.
5 Sisters, Mistress with power weapon (75 points).
I regard this as a base line unit. Its not much, will die fast, but can keep objectives very nicely.

10 Sisters, all with two bolt pistols, one nuncio-Vox, one breaching charge, Mistress with Charnabal Sabre and plasma pistol (155 points).
Even with a relatively full load out, this is still a cheap squad. Take a transport. Get out and use those twin bolt pistols on the enemy. Kill psykers till you are content.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

40k 8th Edition Release Date Announced

It is old news by now, but the 8th Edition of Warhammer 40,000 has been announced this morning UK time. The book will go on pre-order on June 3rd, with the book available in shops across the Imperium by June 17th.

In addition to the core rules, there are all of the expansions that go along with it. No less than five whole books of new army rules -- two for the Imperium and Xenos each and one for Chaos. Very impressive. That said, a part of me really wants to hold off purchasing these as I strongly suspect that they will be superseded with haste in the coming months.


In the words of Warhammer Community, "Accompanying the new box set and books are a range of gaming accessories for the new edition. These include new Tactical Objective cards, Command Dice, Wound Trackers, a flexible Combat Gauge and the most thematic set of Warhammer 40,000 objective markers we’ve ever made, including a mini-supply drop pod and a xenos bio-containment tank." I really like the sound of this.

Overall, I can see myself purchasing many of these new products.

However, I'm going to court some controversy next. I'm not so excited by the new Death Guard miniatures. To me, they look just a little bit too much on the wrong side of cartoonish I'm sorry to say. Yes, they are impressive. Yes, they are very well sculpted. And the paint jobs are fab. But overall, their proportions look a bit off to me. Maybe I'll get the sorcerer -- he looks about the best to my eye. The bloat drone is fine as well. I do like the Poxwalkers -- presumably the mortal remains twisted by Nurgle -- as well. But the main Death Guard Characters and marines less so. Particularly the guy with the big bell above his head. No thanks.

As for the Primes, I'm very curious about the ones with the jump packs -- have a close look at their shoes and their bolters for instance. What is going on there? I need a rotating model to get a better view of the rear of these models to figure it all out! I like the look of the hell blaster squad (armed with plasma guns / rifles / big plasma hell blasters) -- I think they would fit in nicely in a 30k army for true scale purposes myself. 


I will leave you now with an exclusive. A picture by no less than Gav Thorpe who kindly shared it on Twitter. This is what the new devastator primaris will allegedly look like!


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Sentinel Guard Squad


Background.
The Custodian Sentinel Squad is the defensive formation of the Legio. As such they come with the Praesidium shields and the already very impressive Custodes stat line. Together these make for a formidable objective camping unit or counter assault unit.

Strengths.
As with other Custodes squads, the first thing to note is the stat line which features fives across the board apart from Wounds and Attacks that feature two each. This is impressive … but standard for the Custodes of course.

They come armed with the sentinel war blade -- a brutal close combat weapon with AP3. This features a built in bolt caster. Combining with this is the aforementioned shield. This combines to make them a unit that is really hard to budge. Great for objective camping. But also formidable in assault too.

Weaknesses.
As with other Custodes squads, they cost a fair bit of points. But used well, they will earn them back. I have said above that they are great for objectives. But I think I'd really want to get them in to the action and then camp out on an objective. Or take multiple small units of them perhaps.

Builds.
3 Sentinel Guards, teleport transponders (195 points). 
Teleport in and sit on an objective. Or be a distraction unit.

5 Sentinel Guards (310 points).
Even naked they're great. Take a transport to taste.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Custodian Guard Squad


Background.
The Custodian Guard Squad is the basic unit of Custodes that are deployed across the galaxy during the Great Crusade, Heresy and the Scouring thereafter. They are flexible and deadly to say the least.

Strengths.
The first thing to note is the stat line which features fives across the board apart from Wounds and Attacks that feature two each. This is impressive … but standard for the Custodes of course.

They come equipped with the iconic Guardian Spear. Of course, if they have charged, then they get AP2 on the spear which can be absolutely devastating in the game. The bolter fitted to the spear is nothing special though, but it can be replaced by other versions to get melta beams or adrathic destructors (the guardian equivalent of melta and plasma guns).

In general, they're great.

Weaknesses.
Okay, they are great. But there is a points cost to pay for them here. And if you want them to teleport, that costs as well. The advice here though is that they probably can and should be deployed in MSUs (multiple small units). The reason for this is that in 30k, there is usually a "tax" for a new unit purchase. But with the custodes, it is a straight cost oddly enough.

Builds.
5 Custodes (275 points).
Naked, they're still powerful.

3 Custodes, Pyrithite Spears, Teleport Transponders (215 points).
Take melta bombs to taste. Teleport in and blow up some tanks. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Green Oorookiagoths

"Any chance of some faction names we can pronounce? Please don't change Orks" asked a fan on the Warhammer 40,000 Facebook page.

The reply? 

"You mean, the green Oorookiagoths?" quipped Games Workshop to a multitude of likes. Including my own giggle.

The question was asked in response to the latest faction focus issues today -- on the Dark Eldar. Or as they seem to be calling themselves this week, the Drukhari. Drunk Hairs? Or something like that at any rate.


I get it. At least at an intellectual property (IP) level. 

To ensure that copyright is enforceable, one has to have an identifiable and unique name. Space Elves don't cut it. Neither does Space Marine. Adeptus Astartes, yes -- that is enforceable IP. Eldar. Well, I would have thought that that would be an enforceable name myself. So why change? I'm not sure. Its clear that Drukhari is a word that has never been used before, and therefore is eminently more enforceable though. I'm reminded of when Games Workshop changes all their paints. Gone was Skull White to be replaced by Corax White. And so forth.

The other item of recent news is the deep strike rules. Looks like you can come in to play on any movement phase after the first so long as you stay 9" or more away from an enemy. And no scatter either. I'm a little disappointed by the lack of scatter (or perhaps they're just withholding the full description of competitive play, but I doubt it). It has been such an iconic part of teleportation for a long time and the ways of minimising it (folks on the ground with chaos icons and so forth) have been integral parts of many army builds for a long time. How this will all pan out, I don't know, but I'm willing to wait and see at least. 

Just let's not start re-naming Orks. Okay?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Sisters of Silence Oblivion Knight Cadre


Background.
Even the space marine legions find the sisters un-nerving. The Oblivion Knights are regarded as a necessary evil by them, even though they are rare. The background paints them as an elite force that is rarely seen on battlefields.

Strengths.
The Oblivion Knights possess a number of nice rules to help them on the battlefield, ranging from precision strikes through to "ex-oblivio" which is an enhanced version of the psychic null abilities.

They are armoured with a void sheen cloak that provides a minor invulnerable save coupled with a 4+ save against blast and template weapons (hopefully that will be explained in 8th at some point, we trust). The execution blade comes as standard here.

Weaknesses.
As with all sister of silence, the low toughness and strength is a worry, but one that can be overcome with tactical placements and usage. Their points cost fully factors in these weaknesses though in my opinion.

Builds.
10 Oblivion Knights, Mistress with Neuro Lash (160 points).
Full members and something of a baseline unit. I like the neuro lash for its sweeping ability, but otherwise, the points value is very attractive here.

5 Oblivion Knights, 5 power axes, Mistress with plasma pistol (125 points).
Something of a specialist build here designed to take down terminator like opponents and could be useful against the Thousand Sons in general. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

On Primaris Space Marines

Like many other people, I have been following the development of the Primaris Space Marines and the new rules that are being discussed for weeks now over at the Warhammer 40,000 community. Today, I wanted to give some assorted thoughts on the newly revealed Primaris Space Marines.

In a nut shell, they are bigger space marines that were ordered by no less than the primarch of the Ultramarines many millennia ago. It is a bit of a ret con to say the least (or perhaps it will somehow work its way in to the Black Library novels in the late days of the Horus Heresy somehow?).

In terms of stat lines, they have an extra wound compared to regular space marines and are therefore in line with 8th edition terminators. The other fact that sets them aside is the bonus attack coupled with the newly invented, manufactured and issued bolt rifle. This is better than a normal bolt gun in range and damage potential. All told, this makes the Primaris better than a space marine, but not a terminator despite gains to a number of things.

I can readily see entire chapters being built from Primaris marines. I could envision that they might also eclipse regular marines perhaps. Personally, I am hopeful that they will slot in alongside other marines in regular space marine armies with a bit of luck, as I don't want them to be over dominant for 40k.

The other thing that occurred to me is that they look reasonably like true scale marines to my modeller's eye. I therefore wonder if we will see some 30k armies (I'm looking at Alpha Legion in particular here) starting to be modelled on the Primaris design eventually? It could certainly provide a nice alternative to the usual conversions that I and many others employ to create such marines.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Contemptor-Achillus Dreadnought


Background.
Custodes are extremely resilient. They do recover from serious wounds. But once in a while, a custode might be irrevocably injured but their mind remains intact. And so they go in to dreadnoughts in the same manner that a legion marine might.

Strengths.
The dreadnought is strong and has "echoes" of the pilots previous martial prowess and abilities. Refractor fields and extra armour pump up the base points here though.

There are not many options here though, but the achillus dreadspear is amazing. Providing the ability to have destroyer hits on a to hit roll of 6 on the charge is amazing.

Weaknesses. 
Not many weaknesses here, but they have the same issues as some other dreadnoughts such as rear armour being AV=11. Goodness knows how this will alter in 8th edition of the game. The lack of dedicated drop pod might be an issue though.

Builds.
I'll only mention one build here -- its my favourite.

Contemptor Achillus with Achillus Dreadspear (240 points).
Charge in, kill things. Rinse, repeat.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Aquilon Terminator Squad


Background.
Custodes in terminator armour. They are rare, given that the Aquilon pattern was adapted for the Custodes from the cataphractii pattern to bear extra weight. They find use in Zone Mortalis type settings where the extra armour comes in very handy.

Strengths.
The ability to charge with hammer of wrath after rapid firing their weapons thanks to the Aquilon armour is a strong ability that is not found in too many other places in the 30k era.

With the stat line of the Custodes, these guys can take on most things in the game (not all, but certainly many) and come out on top if positioned and played well.

Weaknesses.
There's not too many weaknesses here, but do look out for instant death weapons and vindicator shots that can ruin your day.

Builds.
I really like the infernus fire pike as the optional weapon here, and the teleport transponders are a good bet as well.

3 Terminators, 3 fire pikes, 3 transponders (285 points).
This is a "termicide" squad for the custodes. Teleport in, flame everything and then try not to die in subsequent turns.

5 Terminators, 1 fire pike (390 points).
This would be my baseline unit. Take a transport as required.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Hetaeron Squad


Background.
These men are the inner circle of the Legio Custodes. They are the confidants of the Emperor Himself and only very rarely will they leave his side.

More than this though, they are exceptionally powerful individuals. They are arguably superior to Astartes in every way, just as space marines are superior to mortal humans in every way.

Strengths. 
Let me be blunt here. This is one of the best squads in the game right now. Sure, it costs a lot of points to deploy them, but they are well worth it with a solid 5 stat line (3's for W and A).

Moreover, they gain counter attack in comparison to regular custodes. In terms of equipment, they are very configurable, including the ability to each take a paragon blade and praesidium shield.

Weaknesses.
The points cost can rapidly add up here, and a vindicator shot can really ruin your day. But otherwise, there is little that these guys cannot handle.

Builds.
Lets see:

5 Hetaeron, each with paragon blade and praesidium shield (475 points).
Yes, it is pricey. But yes: it is going to kill plenty. Take a dedicated transport to taste.

5 Hetaeron, 2 paragon blades, 2 solerite power gauntlet, vexilla and war blade, teleport transponders (420 points).
Take shields to taste. There really is very little in the game that this squad couldn't try to have a go at and generally do exceptionally well, or okay against. 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Horus Hersey Review: Jenetia Krole


Background.
The "Soulless Queen" herself -- Knight commander of the silent sisterhood and a sinister figure to say the least. The background fluff suggests she was legend prior to the Battle of Prospero with the Thousand Sons and she stalked many battlefields like some deathly spectre hunting down psykers galore for the Emperor (or even at the Emperor's behest).

Strengths.
Increased pips above human standard (and even space marine standard) in WS, W, I, A and Ld mark her out as worthy of the mere 150 points that she costs. She has a suite of special rules to go along with her including the usual ones associated with the sisterhood (she is soulless after all) and the all important eternal warrior.

She can upgrade an oblivion knight cadre for a small points fee to make them her "raptor guard" and provides them with a WS bonus.

But for me it is the war gear and the warlord trait that make her very attractive. Her Sword of Oblivion provides a strength bonus and AP2 combined with murderous strike and a duellists' edge to make her a deadly opponent in close combat. Combined with her warlord trait of being able to grant scouts and re roll the seizing of the initiative, I can see Krole being the "go to" woman for the Sisters very readily.

Weaknesses.
Fundamentally the Toughness=3 is going to get her killed pretty fast if the owning player does not protect her (or put her in a vehicle of some kind), even with eternal warrior. Thousand Sons players would be well advised to just rapid fire her to death with bolters otherwise.

Overall.
An excellent choice for a Sisters army and one that comes wholly recommended by me. I could readily see her used as the lead HQ in many armies and tactics could readily be built around her scout warlord trait bonus.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Constantin Valdor


Background.
If the Emperor referred to the Primarchs by numbers, then it is arguable that he cared much more for the Custodes than he ever did for his legionary "tools". And if this is true, then of all of them, Valdor would probably be his favourite one of them all.

Being so favoured by the Emperor Himself, Valdor has a swathe of background and toys at his disposal. Indeed, the background portrayed in Inferno is very comprehensive about his role in the conflict with the Thousand Sons and who exactly he is.

Strengths.
Valdor has an excellent stat line. He is not a primarch, but he is way above a regular human or space marine. Probably he's somewhere just below a primarch in all probability. And he could give some primarchs a run for their money some of the time as well.

He has a whole suite of special rules to help him along the way including eternal warrior (which is very unusual in 30k it must be said).

His war gear is exemplary. The Apollonian spear is incredible for what it does - instant death on a 4+ to wound at enhanced strength (and that 4+ roll is good for armour penetration against tanks as well it has to be said). And successful invulnerable saves must be re-rolled. This is an incredible combination that makes Valdor supremely deadly on the battlefield. Oh, he also has an AP2 bolter with concussive on the battlefield as well.

As if this were not enough, he permits his army to all have teleporter transponders and a re-roll for seizing the initiative.

Frankly, he's cheap for what he supplies.

Weaknesses.
Primarchs. Anacharis Scoria. Titans.

Overall.
Valdor represents a way to build an entire army around him. Arming everyone with a teleport transponder means that the custodes suddenly turn in to a beefed-up Death Wing style army. Sure, they have very few models indeed, but they will be very deadly on the battlefield.


Monday, May 8, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Sisters of Silence Excruciatus Cadre


Background.
Imagine if a conquered world decided for some reason to try to hide their resident psykers. The Excruciatus Cadre would then be called to hunt down the protected psyker and bring them in. They double up as cult suppressors and general assault troops for worlds that seem loathe to pay the correct tithe.

Strengths. 
There are a number of nice rules associated with this squad including being able to impose a -1 to hit from ranged weapons thanks to their "spectra-vestments", inflicting instant death when they're on their own in a melee.

Topping this off are flamers with compression tanks that can be bought as upgrade (I think these will be very nice in 8th edition) and a base line poisoned weapons (assault needlers).

There are other various upgrades available and, of course, the cadre rules that can be played around with. I kind of like infiltrate for almost all the sisters of silence that are not needed +1 to combat resolution. That said, crusader might be nice here as well.

Weaknesses.
The main negative here is that this squad can only be selected as compulsory HQs for detachments costing less than (yes: less than) 500 points. They operate only in small numbers after all. Plus they have human standard strength and toughness.

Builds.
Excruciatus Cadre, 5 flamers with compression tanks (150 points).
A flamer orientated squad.

Excruciatus Cadre, 4 power weapons, Judge with power fist (145 points).
A close combat squad. Replace the fist with an executioner blade to taste.

Excruciatus Cadre, 5 stake crossbows (100 points).
I like this build for their sheer anti-psyker potential!
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