Monday, July 24, 2017

Summer Break

Dear Readers,

I will be taking a little break from blogging for the next couple of weeks due to the Northern Hemisphere Summer holidays. 

I hope you have enjoyed the materials so far this year. We will be continuing with the Horus Heresy Review series in the coming months, as well as the usual digest of wargaming, photos, painting, terrain and other assorted hobby goodness. But for now, its time to recharge some proverbial batteries and take a seasonal break. See you in mid-August!

JabberJabber :)

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Natural Rock Stacks

Today, I wanted to write about and highlight a set of rock stacks that have been in my collection for some time. They are supposed to represent natural rock formations as might be seen in hot, dry locations around the world as a result of erosion over many millions of years. Not quite buttes, they're more of a set of rocks stacked on top of each other that have resisted further erosion over time. 

Creating these kinds of terrain is actually remarkably simple and easy to do. The key ingredients are:

(1) Plentiful styrofoam;
(2) Hot wire cutter;
(3) Paints;
(4) PVA glue;
(5) MDF base.

Obviously, one doesn't need an MDF base for these items, but I find that it does help preserve the lifetime of the piece. Also obviously, most hobbyists will have paint in their collection. However, I tend to use textured paint for these kinds of projects to try to give a more natural feeling to them. I would certainly recommend that others try them out if they don't already own some. Making your own textured paint can also be achieved through the addition of PVA glue ... but that isn't so kind on your brushes in the long term, so I tend to stick with pre-made and shop-bought textured paint for my projects. Styrofoam packaging is plentiful in this day and age. Just keep some around in your bits box rather than send it to a landfill, and you're sorted.

Perhaps the hardest item to acquire is the hot wire cutter -- I would recommend mail ordering it if you do not live in or near to a major city shopping precinct as they can be tough to casually track down. This is an integral ingredient as it is needed to slice in to the foam and shape it to the desired morphology. To achieve this, I basically rule together cubes of foam on top of each other using PVA glue and base them on the MDF board. I then slice inward and outward at regular intervals to create the rock shapes. 

Painting them over with a dark undercoat and then a textured layer of brown works wonders. A brief dry brush with a slightly lighter vanilla colour and the job is done. Total working time is a couple of hours, but I think the results are very nice indeed.

Below is a picture of the desert themed board that I regularly use them on (top right hand corner). I think they fit in very well here. Although they also don't look too out of place on Martian themed boards either.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Warlord-Sinister Pattern Psi-Titan

Assumed to be granted permission to exist by no less than the Hand of the Emperor Himself, the Warlord Sinister is a psychic version of the regular Warlord Titan.

At some level, I can't actually believe that I'm reviewing this. As amazing as the Warlord is itself, the level of "wow" goes up to eleven with the psychic variant. In short, this titan is fuelled by the mental energies of captured psykers that are subsequently bled to a dry husk in service of the Imperium. Grim.

The psychic pilot rule gives this amazing beast a psychic mastery level of 3 and several reasonable quality powers alongside it. These include the ability nova a cover-ignoring soul blaze, the ability to repair hull points on the move, and a haywire vs vehicles or d6 hits vs toughness things models auto-hit witchfire.

Anything within 12 inches has to take a leadership check or fall back due to its shroud of terror that it emits. And should anyone wish to charge this thing (why would you do such a thing????) has to take a -3 leadership modified check.

It has access to a unique weapon called the Sinistramanus Tenebrae. We shall call it the left hand of darkness for the sake of my spell checker. This weapon has a huge range of 120 inches with an apocalyptic sized blast radius with Vortex / Fleshbane / Poison within the inner, middle and outer circles in play.

On top of this, it is a Warlord Titan. Game breaking AV=15 on the front and sides and a rather impressive 30 hull points behind 6 void shields. I will simply refer the reader to my previous article on the regular warlord titan at this point.

It explodes in a 36 inch radius when it goes down. And it will kill stuff with D strength hits in doing so in all probability.

Other than that, there are really no weaknesses. Thank Alpharius!

Here are two of my suggestions. You cannot go too wrong overall though.

Psi-Titan with Left Hand of Darkness, Titan Power Claw, Two Vortex Missile Banks (3400 points).
This is a close combat titan(!). Fire off the missiles and then get stuck in once the enemy has been softened up with the Left Hand. It gives the opponent a sporting chance at least. Joking. I actually don't even like this build. But its still ridiculous.

Psi-Titan with Left Hand of Darkness, Belicosa Pattern Volcano Cannon, 2 laser blasters (3350 points).
I like the shooting output potential of this titan. I like it a whole lot. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Contemptor Galatus Dreadnought

The best way to describe this dreadnought is as an anchor point. Armed and armoured with some of the best technology in the Imperium and a pilot who was possible a great friend of the Emperor himself, the Galatus is simply an amazing power house for the slaughter of any enemy of the Imperium from within or without.

There are so many strengths here. The Praesidium shield for a starting point is amazing for the fact that it allows re-rolling of invulnerable saves. Better still, it reduces the typical to-hit roll by one (basically non-gargantuan creatures), meaning that its almost certainly going to have an edge in close combat almost all of the time.

The warblade it carries is amazing as well. Shred, rampage and AP2 mean that it will tear in to almost anything. And just for fun, an inbuilt incinerator as well. Who could want for more?

Look, it is not a Caladius. But you knew that already, right? I'm just pointing the Caladius out as it occupies the same force organization chart slot as the Galatus. That is all. There's competition here. And the Galatus doesn't move like a grav tank.

This is a very powerful choice that will literally chew up whole enemy infantry units in close combat. Getting the dreadnought there might be a challenge, but one that it should be surviving. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Caladius Grav-Attack Squadron

The Caladius is a mobile weapons platform in a nutshell. It boasts the Iliatrus accelerator cannon that would later be retro-fitted to the Sicaran for the space marine legions, and can potentially take heavy blaze cannons instead in the much rarer annihilator pattern upgrade.

Fast. Deadly. Lots of fire power. Flexible in a pinch. And very handy to have on your side.

The primary draw back here for me is the armour value of 11 on the rear. Other than that, it really is a decent tank overall and comparable to a predator or a sicaran from the more familiar space marine arsenal.

They are so fast and deadly, that they are rather forgiving on the controlling player and I think they're going to see a good amount of use in either variety.

1 Caladius, armoured ceramite (205 points).
A bit of a baseline build. Take extra armour to taste.

1 Caladius, Blaze Cannons, armoured ceramite (220 points).
An interesting choice here. The exoshock rule can provide a vital extra result for the controlling player that can readily see the demise of any tank it is looking to take out. Overall, well worth the price being paid so long as a good target can be brought in to range. It could be very good against enemy knights for instance. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Sagittarum Guard Squad

Theirs is the laying down of withering firepower from a vast distance. Theirs is also pattern recognition and recall to a scary degree. The ability to read a crowd from a vast distance away and pick out what might happen next are all hallmarks of this incredible group of warriors - rare even for Custodes.

Like all Custodes, they will be tough to dislodge.

The Adrastus bolt caliver is an odd sort of weapon. Its like a heavy bolter to be honest, but with a shorter range. Hence, although they can lay down withering firepower, other squads will do it better.

Arguably, its the second profile that you are taking the Adrastus for: the disintegration beam. With armour bane and AP2, these guys can certainly get almost any job done. But their range is very short.

I'm not sold particularly on this squad. They seem to lack the sheer firepower for their points compared to other heavy bolter units in the game. And the anti-tank mode is perilously short range. Hence they could make good distraction squads to place near enemy tanks. But its hard to see other utility for them as they're bound to get caught up in a tarpit (intentionally or otherwise) after this kind of alpha strike.

3 Sagittarum Guard, melta bombs, teleport transponder (215 points).
I wouldn't really take anything more than this to be honest. Use them to take out a tank and then tar pit the occupants and slowly kill them over the subsequent rounds. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Sisters of Silence Seeker Cadre

Purge the mutant! Cut off their retreat and encircle them all for the future of the Imperium! Or at least that's how I mentally picture this squad being used. The background indicates that their primary use was being deployed on the flanks and the rear of the field to ensure that enemy psykers could in no way escape what was coming for them. More than this, they are also an intimidation weapon. Their presence says to planetary governors that they must comply with the tithe and relinquish psykers to them. I can certainly buy that point of view with ease.

Fundamentally, this is a highly manoeuvrable flamer squad. As such, I think it has a lot of potential. However, to fully exploit it, I would recommend having a transport to unload them out of. Cadre tactics with infiltrate can be a good substitute here as well.

Alternatively, the grenade launchers with psyk-out grenades is a fascinating alternative for them to use.

Like all Sisters of Silence, their toughness is an ever present issue. Hence I think the way to regard this squad is as an alpha-strike squad. Deployed from infiltrate or a vehicle, they should be laying down some significant fire (or fire power!) before retreating away, or tar pitting an enemy.

5 Seekers, Mistress with power weapon (95 points).
Cheap and cheerful. And expendable. Set up with infiltrate to push an enemy to distraction. Take multiples at this points cost to be honest.

10 Seekers, Mistress with power weapon (145 points).
Still cheap. But so much flame!

10 Seekers, each with grenade launchers (185 points).
For when you really need to cause perils of the warp on your enemy psyker. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Pallas Grav-Attack Squadron

The Pallas is supposed to be a hunter-killer with very high quality manoeuvrability and insertion options. It does not disappoint in these arenas. Based on the Coronus, it is smaller and meant to be lighter. It is also flexible in terms of its build.

Fast. Deadly and flexible.

This speeder is actually rather weak in some regards. With only an AV=12 on the front and two hull points, the Pallas will readily be shot down. Hence one needs to think carefully about how to best use these Pallas speeders.

I would advocate here that the Custodes player uses them as a flank attack, rather than straight up the centre. They need to be thinking about exploiting side armours, rear armours and taking care of rear elements of the enemy force.

1 Pallas, extra armour (90 points).
Useful, even if there's only one of them.

3 Pallas, 1 with adrathic devastator, all with extra armour and search lights (293 points).
The points add up fast here. This unit can handle many things in the game, but it must be used intelligently with a specific target in mind.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Legio Custodes Agamatus Jetbike Squadron

Custodes on jetbikes? You bet. This is one of the most amazing concepts in the game to be honest. Riding their golden steeds, these bikers are simply amazing and will likely be able to turn the tide of a battle if used prudently.

Where to begin? They've got it all really. Ranging from a toughness that can not be instant killed, multiple wounds, through to firing once with each weapon and re-rolling of charge distances coupled with being armed with power lances, misericordia and bolt cannons. Oh, and there is the usual custodes armour in combination with a refractor field too. Seriously. They're amazing.

I can't think of many. One can argue the points cost is high. But that is justifiably high.

I'd advocate keeping it simple here. They really don't need too many extras. Indeed, the heavy weapons that are optional here are not worth it outside of heavy support options. I'd argue they're not needed. Particularly if you think the jet bikes could get tar pitted with other units (thanks to the power lances perhaps).

3 Agamatus with melta bombs (230 points).
Keep it simple. Things will still die to them.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Horus Heresy Review: Sisters of Silence Pursuer Cadre

These sisters are the beast handlers. The ambushers. The quick and the agile. They hunt down targets at the periphery of the main force and given cyber jackals or hawks to help them along.

Let me be honest. I don't actually like this squad too much. Nor do I rate it particularly highly. I think it could have been actuated better than it actually is.

That said, the jackals are reasonably okay. I would take them in preference to the hawks just due to their superior utility for the squad. Although I guess that the hawks could be used as meat shields thanks to the relative high number of ablative wounds.

Other than that, they get fleet and move through cover. I'm a bit "shrug" about this to be honest.

They're still sisters of silence with a human toughness level and therefore very weak and flimsy. The beasts do little to add to this, although the jackals do have T=4 which is competitive with space marines that they might find themselves facing.

Cadre with 3 Jackals, 1 jackal with a flamer; mistress with Charnabal Sabre (100 points).
A bit of a base line build. Take a transport. Take a different unit actually!

Cadre with 6 pursuers, 3 Steeltalon Wings, 3 jackals (140 points).
Still cheap, but with lots of wounds now. Will still fit inside an Acquisitor.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Ramblings about the Death Guard Codex and Miniatures

My long term blog readers will be away that I have various soft spots for some armies, and am an avid collector of others. The latter includes the Death Guard of the 40k era.

Thus far, I have held off purchasing any more Death Guard chaos space marine miniatures. This has been for a number of reasons. Most importantly, I felt that I had completed my Death Guard collection a number of years ago and I had almost everything that I could have wanted to have in my collection (plus or minus some concessions). Vindicators, chaos lords on bikes, predators, plaguebearers, plague marines, and their rhinos were amongst many that I own and have played extensively with over the years and generally not embarrassed myself at tournaments with either. Also, I've been working on other things of later (e.g., my 30k Alpha Legion force) which is approaching a similar level of completion.

However, now that the Death Guard Codex has been announced recently along with the other codex releases (e.g., core space marines, etc.), I am sorely tempted to get back in to the Death Guard. I think the new codex is exactly what the community has been wanting for many MANY years to be honest. Well, even just cult terminators would have made many people happy I think. Myself included. I wonder what other delights the Grandfather Nurgle might have included in that book for us?

How have other people been finding the new miniatures?
At first, I thought that they were a bit dis-proportioned and not quite up to the same quality as the Forge World upgrade set. But now I'm not so sure. I do like the look of the pox walkers to say the least. And an army of shambling plague zombies does appeal at some level. But I'm still torn and not too sure.

Anyway, those are my internal ramblings for today. More in future weeks no doubt!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

A quick Vanguard Detachment for 8th

I have been thinking about how to translate some of my Space Marines forces in to 8th edition recently. So, here is a quick and dirty Vanguard detachment that I came up with. It is based on the Alpha Legion 30k miniatures that I already own and is simply an experiment to see how some of the points costs and power levels might translate across.

HQ: Captain with Thunder Hammer; Librarian with force stave
Elites: 10 Company Veterans, Sergeant with Power Fist; Contemptor with Kheres; second Contemptor with Kheres; Tartaros terminator squad with plasma blaster
Fast Attack: Assault Squad with 2 plasma pistols and sergeant with plasma pistol and thunder hammer.

Total Points = 1192.

Power Level = 72.

Okay, so this is a very quick and frankly dirty list that needs a lot more thought. However, it is a viable list that will give some pause for thought for opponents in how to deal with the multiple threats (contemptors) simultaneously whilst watching out for the faster moving assault squad backed up by both veterans and terminators.

The librarian is there for utility and the captain was originally meant to be represented by Dynat and might not be a bad approximation for the model at the time of writing. 

The points and power levels are low, so this is an army that is meant for a fast moving game and one that can be concluded in under 1.5 hours with a bit of luck. I might test it out against other people at a later date and see how it goes!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Wargames Gallery: Tau Assault the Big Guns that Never Tire

Truly, the big guns never tired in this game between the Death Korps of Krieg and Tau in our Goodbye to 7th Tournament a few weeks ago!

Monday, July 3, 2017

FAQ for 8th

Released yesterday, the FAQ for 8th Edition 40k is already out and available!:

Some interesting inclusions, clarifications, and omissions:

* Units occupying upper floors of buildings still have no FAQ for them (re being charged)
* Assault squads now have access to melta and plasma guns
* The points values for Typhus vs Lord of Contagion have NOT been corrected
* More than nine inches away does mean more than 9 inches away (thank you very much!)
* You can fire your vindicator backwards. Because vehicles are always turning on the spot during a turn.
* Do Orks re roll one or two die when they charge?
* What about Warp Time and Deepstriking?

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