Saturday, December 29, 2007

REVIEW: Deus Sanguinius synopsis

Synopsis [Spoiler alert] This bit tells you exactly what happens in the book!

Blood Angel Brother Rafen secretly worships the Emperor in a makeshift shrine on Shenlong. Arkio tells Rafen of his plan to reunite the Blood Angel successor chapters then launch a Blood Crusade into the Maelstrom.

Captain Gallio and Librarian Vode arrive to investigate Arkio on Chapter Master Dante's behalf. Inquisitor Stele uses his psychic powers to turn the confrontation into a battle; Gallio and Vode are slain. Rafen quizzes Inquisitor Stele but is driven off by psychically-induced suicidal impulses. He stumbles back to the shrine to kill himself but is saved at the last moment by a vision of Sanguinius.

Inquisitor Stele consults with Warmaster Garand of the Word Bearers and the Daemon Mallafax. They tell Stele to convert the Blood Angels to Chaos more quickly.

Sanguinary Priest Sachiel requests an audience with Dante on the shrine world of Sabien. Fearing a trap, Mephiston goes in his place.

Rafen tries and fails to overload the fusion core of the Ikari fortress. Arkio believes Rafen died in the attempt, but Rafen escapes. Sachiel reveals his doubts to Stele but his mind is wiped by the Inquisitor. Rafen sneaks aboard the starship Bellus and travels to Sabien with Arkio. Arkio is troubled by dark dreams and visions and his corruption by Chaos is only hidden by Inquisitor Stele.

Arkio and Mephiston meet on Sabien. Mephiston challenges Arkio to single combat. Rafen takes up the challenge. Rafen injures Arkio. His taint is realised by Sachiel who is psychically killed by Stele. The Inquisitor blames Mephiston and uses Sachiel's death as an excuse to launch an attack on the Blood Angels.

Warmaster Garand takes the opportunity to begin his own ambush of the Blood Angels. The Warmaster also orders his space ship, Misericorde, to attack the Bellus as well as Mephiston's Europae.

Rafen kills Arkio. Stele summons the Daemon Mallafax. Mallafax kills Stele, then the Chaplain Delos. Rafen wields the Spear of Telesto and the rebel Blood Angels renounce Arkio, fighting once more for their united chapter. Rafen destroys Malfallax. As the Daemon dies it forces the Blood Angels to succumb to the Black Rage. The Word Bearers retreat. Rafen and the Spear bring Mephiston and the Blood Angels back from the brink.

The Spear is taken back to Baal. Shenlong is destroyed by Exterminatus. Warmaster Garand must explain his failures to Abaddon the Despoiler. Rafen is offered Captaincy but refuses it, asking for forgiveness instead.

REVIEW: Deus Encarmine

Review This bit doesn't give the plot of the book away

As a long time Blood Angel player (from Rogue Trader days) I was looking forward to reading this book. In my view the Blood Angels have had a hard time of late due to a very dodgy third edition codex. This was overpowering rules-wise and left many Blood Angels players and their opponents with a negative view of the chapter. The slim mini-codex also had little space devoted to background material, so new players had no real insight into the motivations behind the chapter. With a set of broken rules and no context to place them in the Blood Angels got a very bad reputation on the tabletop battlefields of the 41st millennium. I hoped this book would remedy that.

Sadly it doesn't. Deus Encarmine doesn't really convey the full richness and depth of the Chapter. The Blood Angels have a lot of internal conflicts that could make for a great narrative but they aren't really developed or explored here. For example, the Blood Angels are created from shambling mutants on Baal and become superhuman Space Marines. Because they are so long lived they have the time to hone their artistic skills and have the most ornate armour and banners of any Chapter. At the same time they are susceptible to the Black Rage and can become homicidal maniacs. They are forever torn between the height of civilisation, art, and the depths of barbarism, murder. I got the feeling in reading Deus, that the Blood Angels could have been substituted for any other Chapter without much revision and without substantially changing the plot or characters.

I have another problem in Inquisitor Stele, who commands many Blood Angels. My understanding is that the Blood Angels are loathe to trust outsiders, especially Inquisitors, who may be exposed to their rage and therefore expose their failing geneseed. I just didn't buy his position of authority within the Chapter. He had to be there to make the plot work but I felt it ruined the internal consistency of the novel.

Another section of the book I struggled with was the flashback to Baal. That also felt tacked on and forced. It sketched out the relationships of the main characters in a very schematic way without conveying any real character. In the end I really didn't care much about the predicament of any of the protagonists.

In fact the whole book seemed very thin; on plot, on detail, on character.

There are some positive points, though. The action scenes are written well. They are pacy and very cinematic. In many scenes I could imagine a computer game version of the events running in my head as I read. And at least it is some focus and attention on the Blood Angels.

I should also note that this is the first of a two book series. In that light, this book is simply a prelude to the second in terms of introducing characters, exposing conflicts between them and setting the scene. If the pay-off is good in the next novel, then the first volume has done it's job.

We'll just have to wait and see.


Deus Encarmine is a wasted opportunity to explore the Blood Angels Chapter. The plotting, character and detail are lacking but the action scenes are involving.

Score 4/10


All of my reviews end in a score out of ten for the product. The table below explains what that score means.

  • 10/10 Perfect, absolutely nothing better
  • 9/10 Excellent, highly recommended
  • 8/10 Very good, recommended
  • 7/10 Good
  • 6/10 Above average, some problems
  • 5/10 Average, some good points some bad points
  • 4/10 Below average, some redeeming features
  • 3/10 Poor, major flaws
  • 2/10 Very poor, avoid if possible
  • 1/10 Absolutely appalling

REVIEW: Deus Encarmine synopsis

When I switched the web address of this blog earlier in the year I neglected to delete the old blog content on my webspace. That meant that if anyone was to search for lone pilgrim through a search engine they'd have a good chance of finding the old blog which halted abruptly in August, and they'd have no idea that I had continued at this address. This point was made forcibly to me recently when a frustrated friend explained he couldn't find my blog at all!

So I've deleted the old blog files on my webspace and hopefully people should find their way here. A side issue, and the reason for this post, is my static HTML website. That is still sitting there on my old webspace with a fistful of content on it. I want to shut that down too, and make this blog my only web presence, but in order to do so I need to transfer the content over here. I don't want to just lose it.

The first things I want to bring over are my reviews. So I'm starting with my book reviews. First up is Deus Encarmine.

Synopsis [Spoiler alert] This bit tells you exactly what happens in the book!

Cybele is a war-grave world in the Ultima Segmentum. The Blood Angels, including Brother Rafen, are trying to stop it's desecration by the traitorous Word Bearers. At the last moment, the beleaguered Blood Angels are reinforced by the returning members of the Bellus expedition, led by Inquisitor Stele. The mission lasted 10 years and successfully recovered the Spear of Telestus, an artifact dating back to the Horus Heresy and which was reportedly used by the Primarch Sanguinius himself. Brother Sachiel has moved quickly through the ranks while on the mission and is now a Sanguinary Priest. Rafen is reunited with his younger brother Arkio, who has matured remarkably.

Meanwhile, Iskavan, the Word Bearers Dark Apostle, has his Sorceror Tancred make a fortune telling. Tancred is too frightened to tell Iskavan of his forthcoming doom.

Arkio leads an attack on the starport and uses its gun batteries to destroy the orbiting Chaos space ship. Arkio saves Sachiel's life during the battle by killing a Daemon single-handedly. Sachiel declares that their Primarch Sanguinius has been reborn in Arkio.

Iskavan is commanded to retreat by warmaster Garand against the Word Bearers tradition. Iskavan flees to Shenlong and the captured Ikari fortress (a munition manufactory).

With Cybele saved, Inquisitor Stele presents the Spear to Arkio. In their bloodlust, the Blood Angels forget their duty to defend Cybele and set out for Shenlong. Veteran Sergeant Koris and Sachiel argue. Commander Dante, back on Baal, orders Stele to remain on Cybele. The Inquisitor kills the Astropath carrying the message.

Flashback to Baal, and Koris the Marine is selecting initiates to become Blood Angels. Arkio, Rafen and Sachiel are among the candidates. Koris takes Sachiel and Arkio but dismisses Rafen as he shows no humility. The Thunderhawk carrying the aspirants crashes. Rafen rallies the survivors against the flora and fauna. Koris reverses his decision and takes Rafen as an initiate.

Back to the present, and Koris and the other skeptics confront Stele. They think the attack on Shenlong is suicide. Stele lies and tells them that the Ikari fortress conceals an Eldar webway portal. Koris accepts the now vital mission, despite the odds. Stele shares a benediction with the Marines. They all succumb to the Black Rage before the attack on the fortress. Just before he dies, Koris tells Rafen of Stele's treachery and that Arkio could destroy the Blood Angels.

Rafen kills Tancred, and the Blood Angels take the fortress, largely thanks to Arkio, wielding the Spear of Telesto. Iskavan escapes.

Rafen secretly sends a message back to Dante on Baal, recounting the abandonment of Cybele and the attack on Shenlong. Stele finds out about the message and executes the Bellus' astropathic choir, so that he has sole control over communications.

Arkio and Sachiel begin the execution of civilians upon Shenlong for hiding the impure. Commander Dante dispatches a force to bring Arkio and the Spear back to Baal. Inquisitor Stele and Arkio reveal their plans to set aside the Codex Astartes and raise an army on Shenlong.

Garand tells Iskavan that his army was a sacrifice to try and corrupt the Blood Angels. In order to spoil Garand's plan, and gain vengeance upon the Blood Angels, Iskavan tries to release chemical weapons which would kill everyone upon Shenlong. He is delayed by Rafen and finally killed by Arkio. During the climactic battle Arkio sprouts wings, just like his Primarch.

When Rafen recovers he is made to pledge his allegiance to Arkio. Sachiel forces him to drink a benediction.

Monday, December 24, 2007

PAINTING: Tide of filth

Merry Christmas!

I'm as organised for Christmas as I can be - it's too late for anything else now - and my manflu has finally abated so I thought I'd drop by the ole blog and let everyone know what I've been up to.

I had 30+ models on the painting table and had planned to finish the lot by New Year. A week ago it seemed like there was no chance of that happening but now it's a possibility. I managed to get some painting done over the weekend and despite painting the models to a far higher standard than the rest of my Chaos army, I finished two squads. They aren't based yet so I've only taken quick snaps for now. Apologies for the poor images but the light is terrible and the flash is very harsh.

First up are the Plague Marines.

I wanted to keep away from the standard green paint scheme so I went for an off-white/grey armour. This was liberally splashed with Blood Red paint and layers of red/purple/black ink washes. I painted the metallics Boltgun metal with washes of black, brown and orange to get a rusted look. These models took an absolute age as I painted a test model first, didn't like it then painted them in the new scheme. I layered and washed everything unlike the rest of my Chaos models which were speed painted. At least they're finished now (bases apart). If they perform well on the tabletop I may consider painting more units later...

Nine Plague Bearers accompany the Plague Marines. I overbrushed a Bubonic Brown and Rotting Flesh mix over the black undercoat. I added Bleached Bone and Skull White to the mix for successive drybrushes. Then I washed them with Brown and Green ink. I next painted the swords in the same way as the Plague Marine metallics, with plenty of rust. The only other details were the teeth (Skull White), eyes (Sunburst yellow with and orange wash) and the exposed muscle (Blood Red with red washes).

It took me maybe 6 hours to finish the daemons and the results - although it might be difficult to tell from the photo - are mighty fine.

So that is seventeen models down, eighteen to go. The good news is that the remaining models should be easy to paint. Eight of them are Khorne Berzerkers which I plan to paint the classic way - red armour and brass trim. It's a scheme I've painted many variations of and enjoy painting. Nine of the remainder are Khorne daemons. In many ways they are similar to the Nurgle ones in that they have large areas of flesh with the only other details being the weapons and faces. I plan to paint them in fleshy colours with spatters of blood and then give them brass weapons. I reckon I'm looking at about 15-20 hours to complete them all.

The final model is an old school Keeper of Secrets. I'm not enamoured by the model so I doubt I'll go overboard with this. I plan to keep it quick and easy - which is probably appropriate for a Slaaneshi daemon!

Once this lot are done I can then turn my attention to Apocalypse. I've already started to put my Baneblade together and I have one other idea which I'd like to have a crack at...

Anyway, that's me for now.

My posting will be sporadic over the holiday season so I hope everyone reading this has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

GENERAL: Invasions, both xenos and bacterial

I've now posted the third battle report in the Phoenix Campaign. I'm really enjoying these battles as they are adding a new dimension to our games. Due to the unusual scenarios and victory conditions for the missions Gary and I are having to explore our codexes all over again. Units we may have once dismissed for competitive play are suddenly optimal while old favourites get left behind on the shelf. Our brains are also being exercised as they have to come up with new plans and strategies to achieve specific goals. It is also nudging us to add more units to our armies. Gary plans to add anothe Wave Serpent and a Fire Prism.

Of course I already have a stack of Chaos models still to paint. I haven't made any more progress unfortunately. My manflu has developed into a full bacterial invasion of my sinuses. I've had a headache for 5 days and I can't seem to concentrate on anything. I was sent home from work and forced to go to the doctors. So now I'm on anti-biotics and lazing around at home. Normally I'd be putting my hobby cap on and tearing through my list of projects to do but all I feel like doing is sleeping or lying on the sofa watching films (I watched some Band of Brothers today).

Ho hum. As long as I'm recovered for Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

CAMPAIGN: Phoenix campaign game 2

I've posted up my second battle report from the Phoenix campaign. This is another long write up as my Chaos Space Marines clash with Gary's Eldar in a Night Fight. Hopefully I'll get the third game played next week and then I can start painting my reinforcements over Christmas, now that my manflu is receding.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

CAMPAIGN: Phoenix campaign first encounter

I've posted up the first battle in the Phoenix campaign on my Battle Reports blog. It's turned into quite an epic, and is replete with army lists, background, photo's and more. Check it out here.

I'm starting to pull myself together and recover from my manflu so I plan to get the second game posted tomorrow then I may even try to get some painting done. My half finished Plague Marines are calling me...

Friday, December 14, 2007

CAMPAIGN: Phoenix campaign map

Here's the map Gary and I are using for the Phoenix campaign.

The campaign takes place on Kutch, an insignificant agri-world in the Salazar systems. The Exigators Chaos Space Marines have set up a secret base on the deserted Tyro peninsula, part of the planet's major northern continent. Unbeknownst to them, an Eldar Webway portal lies nearby.

And here are all the descriptions of the locations.

Location 1
Eldar Webway portal. This portal had lain dormant for many millennia until the Starstriders of Alaitoc rediscovered it. The Eldar have used the portal to transport their armies to Kutch. This is risky; should the Eldar fail in their campaign the forces of Chaos may be able to enter the Webway.

Battles fought here:

D6 Mission played
1-2 Strongpoint Attack
3-6 Bunker Assault

Location 2
A long tunnel links the island of Orzark with the peninsula of Tyro. It was built during the Greenskin invasions of the 39th millennium, when the whole peninsula was used as an Imperial Guard facility. Since then the tunnel has fallen into disrepair but it is still navigable.

Battles fought here:

D6 Mission played
1-4 Patrol
5-6 Take and Hold

Location 2a
Orzark Island tunnel mouth. The Eldar have constructed a small airbase close to the tunnel mouth and have stationed some Wave Serpents and Falcons there. They occasionally brave the ferocious winds that blow around the headland to bring troops onto the peninsula more quickly.

Battles fought here:

D6 Mission played
1-4 Blitz
5-6 Sabotage

Location 2b
Tyro peninsula tunnel mouth. The Exigators are unaware of the tunnel's existence at the start of the campaign.

Battles fought here:

D6 Mission played
1-4 Seek and Destroy
5-6 Blitz

Location 3
Tyro military airbase. Squadrons of Marauder Bombers and Thunderbolts were based here during the Greenskin invasions and later in the war it was large enough to accommodate bulk lifters and other space-going craft. The abandoned spaceport was the main reason that the Exigators made Tyro peninsula their base. They have made the eastern parts of the spaceport operational once more.

Battles fought here:

D6 Mission played
1-4 Patrol
5-6 Secure and Control

Location 4
Tyro harbour used to be a sleepy fishing port but it became a heavily fortified military base during the Greenskin invasions. Now it is little more than a ghost town. The Exigators maintain a small garrison here to watch out for Imperials from the mainland.

Battles fought here:

D6 Mission played
1-4 Patrol
5 Cleanse
6 Seek and Destroy

Location 5
This central part of the peninsula was used as a firing range and weapons testing area. As the Greenskin war escalated forbidden weapons were unleashed and the area is filled with drifting chemical clouds and radiation. This makes it a treacherous area to cross. Nevertheless, it is an important strategic area linking the eastern and western parts of the peninsula.

Battles fought here are always Night Fights.

Location 6
Emerald ridge is an important crossroads that links the northern and southern parts of the peninsula. It is exposed to the elements and endures especially high winds. Despite this, it was used as a forward airbase during the Greenskin invasions. The Exigators have set up a small communications array here.

Battles fought here:

D6 Mission played
1-2 Strongpoint attack
3-5 Sabotage
6 Bunker Assault

Location 7
Newalla town was the most heavily settled area on the peninsula and it's population tripled when the Imperial Guard set up base here. Like the rest of the peninsula it is now deserted. The Exigators occasionally use the town to monitor Imperial shipping off the coast.

Battles fought here:

D6 Mission played
1-3 Patrol
4-5 Cleanse
6 Sabotage

Location 8
At the southern tip of Emerald ridge lies the Exigators storage depot. Here they have stashed their stolen weapons and munitions.

Battles fought here:

D6 Mission played
1-2 Seek and Destroy
3-4 Take and Hold
5-6 Cleanse

I hope to post the battle reports up shortly.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

GENERAL: Bargain books

I was having a mooch around town in my lunchbreak yesterday when I spied a Black Library Warhammer book in a second hand bookshop. I went in to see if they had any 40k novels and found three; Storm of Iron by Graham McNeill, Dark Apostle by Anthony Reynolds and Faith and Fire by James Swallow.They were only £3 each which is a bit of a bargain; Dark Apostle was only published in September this year.

Storm of Iron is a particularly timely acquisition as I have not long finished Nightbringer, McNeill's first Ultramarine novel in that trilogy. From what I can gather, Storm of Iron fits into the Ultramarine stories and, if I want to read the books as one grand narrative, I should it next. I had been prevaricating about buying Storm of Iron or just ploughing on with the Ultramarine trilogy. My mind has now been made up for me.

Faith and Fire I'm not so sure about. I absolutely loathed James Swallows' Blood Angels books but I enjoyed his Horus Heresy novel Flight of the Eisenstein. I'll give it a go and see how the Sisters of Battle fare.

I have a few days off now so I'm hoping to get a few more posts up regarding the Phoenix campaign (lurgy allowing).

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

GENERAL: Eating humble pie

I'm dying. Well...probably not but it feels like it. My Manflu has found another gear while my voice has dropped an octave as the virus attacks my throat. Sniff.

Anyhoo, this is just another short post to flag up another battle report I've posted on my dedicated blog. This game was a re-match with Wayne's Tau. I ate a lot of humble pie after this game. Ho hum.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


My cold has developed into full-blown manflu so my posting will be curtailed for a while.

I've just come back from Gary's where we've played the second game of the Phoenix campaign. I'll write up the first two reports and post them on my battle reports site shortly.

In the meantime I have another old Chaos Space Marine game up on my battle reports blog. This game was against Gary's Chaos Space Marines.

Monday, December 10, 2007

GENERAL: Nurgle attacks

I'm battling away to get my Plague Marines painted (the metallics are all done and the armour has two layers of highlights and a wash so far) and I have a cold. What are the odds?

That means I won't be making a big post today.

If you've been following my battle reports you can read the latest installment here. I played this game against Morris' beautifully painted Ultramarines. It was almost a shame to blast them into tiny pieces!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

CAMPAIGN: Phoenix campaign rules

We wanted to keep things really simple so we based the campaign around the Phoenix Island campaign in the hardback 40k rulebook with just a few small changes. For the sake of clarity I'll summarize all the rules here.

The campaign revolves around the campaign map, which includes 10 locations. All the rules for choosing scenarios are the same, we've just renamed the locations. I'll write up the map and descriptions of all the locations in my next post.

My Chaos Space Marines begin with four locations, Gary's Eldar start with four and two are uncontested. There is a simple campaign phase before each game. Both players dice off and the winner can move from an occupied location to capture an uncontested one or can attack an occupied location.

Some locations are linked by a route which is difficult to navigate. The player moving along such a route must roll equal to or under the number shown otherwise he is unable to move along the route and cannot capture the intended location or fight the battle.

Each location has a chart to decide what missions should be played there. Some are the standard missions like cleanse while others are a bit more esoteric like blitz or sabotage.

The winner of the battle captures the location. If the result of the game is a draw both armies withdraw and the location becomes uncontested. Once the winner of the dice off has completed his campaign turn then the loser takes his turn.

Victory conditions
The campaign will last until 10 battles are fought or one player captures all of the locations. If a player captures all the locations he has won a major victory. If one player has not captured all the locations once the 10th battle is fought then the player who owns the most locations has won a minor victory. If both players hold the same number of locations after the 10th battle, play one final game. The winner of this game wins the campaign with a minor victory.

Gary wrote a special homebrew scenario to kick off the campaign. Our infiltrators and scouts would fight a small skirmish and the winners would be able to choose the first location to be fought over, the mission to be played and have the first turn. The surviving skirmishers kept their positions on the board for the first battle.

Meanwhile, in other news, your tireless reporter continues to bring you stories from the front. If you're interested in seeing how my Exigators fared against the Death Guard check this out.

NEW MODEL FUND: Inching forward

Christmas party season is in full swing now and I'm posting this hungover following my works bash last night. This is in a busy week of two football matches (Arsenal midweek and then Birmingham this afternoon) and two concerts (Kings of Leon and a thankfully cancelled Stone Roses tribute).

With all that behind me, I have a relatively free weekend, apart from the Ricky Hatton fight at 4am on Sunday morning (is there such a time on a Sunday?), so I want to kick on and get my Plague Marines finished by Sunday night. I also want to get the rest of the Pheonix campaign rules and background up here before my next game against Gary's Eldar on Tuesday night.

Onto the finances.

I still haven't managed to get anything on e-bay but I have doubled my New Model Fund anyway. This money came from my penny jar. Here's what it did to my finances.
  • Total income from sales (and my penny jar) £354.36
  • Less selling fees £31.02
  • Less models bought £299.16
  • New model fund £24.18
In theory, despite having a pittance in the fund, I'm not too badly off; I have 30+ Chaos models to paint immediately then I will move on to my Blood Angels for the next 6 months. Pretty much all of those models are already bought and they are just waiting to be painted. The only other models I'm tempted to get in the short term are Super Heavies for Apocalypse. I'm currently building a Chaos Baneblade and an Imperial version for my Cadians would be sweet. I'd also like to take a shot at a Brass Scorpion.

Long term, after the Blood Angels, I plan to start my Chaos Renegades and though I have bought some Forge World resins already, this army will cost me an absolute fortune (£500+). Gulp. Still, that's six months off so I have plenty of time to invest in my New Model Fund until then.

I'm ploughing on with those old battle reports and my latest offering is this grudge match against Gary's Chaos Space Marines.

Righto, I'm off to the match then back to paint some pustules.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

GENERAL: Aha Chaos Heartbreak

I'm still rocking from the Kings of Leon gig last night and I'm off to see Newcastle United versus Arsenal tonight, so there is no let up in my hectic schedule. I've still found some time to post up an historical battle report (you lucky, lucky people!) - this one is a right royal spat between my Exigators and Gary's Chaos Space Marines.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

GENERAL: A view from both sides of the table

I'm posting on the run again as I'm going to a Kings of Leon concert tonight. My latest battle report has a bit of a twist because it includes a write-up of the game by my opponent. I had hoped this would happen more often but my opponents rarely participate (lazy bastards!). Anyway, this game was against Wayne's Tau.

Monday, December 3, 2007

GENERAL: Waaaaagh!

I don't have time for a full post on the Pheonix campaign so I thought I'd draw your attention to another battle report I've just posted. This one was played against Gary's Orks.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

CAMPAIGN: Phoenix campaign background

I've been working out the motivations behind our little campaign and trying to tie it into the greater narrative of the Skolarii Sector. Here's the basic premise for the campaign.

971.M41. Tchoi Guerez, former captain of the Exigators 1st company, has sworn a pact with The Adorator, the leader of Chaos forces in the Kjalter sector. Guerez will return to the Skolarii Sector and try to turn the rest of his chapter to Chaos. Together with his re-united followers, the Exigators will act as the vanguard for a major Chaos incursion.

The Adorator has given Guerez three main objectives.
  1. Provide intelligence for other Chaos forces.
  2. Destroy isolated targets.
  3. Raid Imperial shipping for supplies.
The first part of Guerez's plan worked well. He secured the loyalty of both Daemon Prince Bellicus (formerly second company captain Badalementi Astrid) and Jaxx Sebastian (formerly third company captain) and their warbands. Guerez already had the support of Forax Tork and his Nurgle cult, Hotep the Sorceror and Axhote the Berzerker.

The Chaos alliance set up a secret base of operations upon Kutch, and insignificant agri-world in the Salazar systems. Numerous piratical raids allowed them to stockpile weapons and munitions in preparation for the coming conflict.

Resistance to Guerez's plans came from an unexpected quarter.


Starstriders of Alaitoc craftworld tirelessly traverse the south eastern fringe of the Imperium, seeking out those who would oppose the aims of the Eldar. Upon their travels in the Skolarii Sector Eldar Rangers, led by Saduras Clearsight, reported Chaos forces massing upon Kutch. The hot-headed Saduras petitioned his craftworld to attack. Autarch Icareane noted the report but did not act upon it. The Chaos army may have been dangerous for the Mon-Keigh who worshipped the Carrion God but they were not yet a threat to Alaitoc. Saduras maintained a silent vigil over the Chaos marines.

Things began to change when Farseer Lauthelias began to feel portents of doom. His divinations revealed that a great black wave would engulf the entire Skolarii Sector, and that that wave emanated from the Salazar systems. Although the Farseer cared little for the millions of Mon-Keigh lives that would be lost, he cared deeply for the single Exodite world of Habour in the Kandaeon Worlds which would be swept away.

Lauthelias appealed to Icareane to send out an expedition. This time Icareane agreed. If the Eldar could defeat the meagre Chaos forces on Kutch now, they might just stop the Chaos incursion before it really started.

My next post will explain the rules for our campaign.

Meanwhile, here's another little bit of history involving the Exigators. This was a battle between my Chaos Space Marines and Steve's Feral Orks.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

CAMPAIGN: The Phoenix campaign

I'm back from my trip away so I'll be trying to get some posts up over the weekend. Most of them will revolve around the campaign I've just started with my long term gaming buddy (and nemesis) Gary. I'll be using my Exigators Chaos Space Marines while Gary will be playing the enigmatic Eldar. My first posts need to explain the background and campaign rules, then I'll be writing each battle report up on my dedicated site - I'll link them all from here of course.

I'm desperately trying to get all of my remaining Chaos models painted so I can use them in the campaign. To that end I've started painting my Plague Marines and I'm trying to paint a unit per week so that they'll all be finished by Christmas. I'll keep you all updated on my progress.

So my first real contribution to The Phoenix Campaign will be an Exigators campaign roster. While we aren't using fixed army lists as such, this campaign will be set solidly in the background we have both developed for our armies. We're both using experience points so our units will remain the same for the whole campaign.

Here's the entire list of units I have to choose from, and more importantly, their names. The units in italics are still to be painted. I've had to mess about with some units (bold) because I chose the army list for my first game without checking this master roster. I simply won't play them again in the campaign, or change them around so that they match the established ones.

  • Bellicus - Daemon Prince
  • Tchoi Guerez - Chaos Lord, Terminator armour, Lightning Claw, Combi-plasma
  • Sebastian Jaxx - Chaos Lord, bike, lightning claw
  • Forax Tork - Chaos Lord, mark of nurgle, daemon weapon
  • Chaos Lord, mark of nurgle, palanquin of nurgle, daemon weapon
  • Evomere Incursus - Sorceror, mark of nurgle, nurgles rot
  • Ppbhuln'naks - Greater Daemon (Great Unclean One)
  • Areoakirsh - Greater Daemon (Keeper of Secrets)
  • Squad Surculus (The Gene Cursed) - 5 Possessed
  • Atrocitor - Dreadnought, twin linked lascannon
  • Squad Myre - 8 Chosen, 2 plasma guns, aspiring champion with powerfist
  • Squad Krall – 10 Chaos space marines, plasma gun, lascannon, aspiring champion with powerfist, icon of chaos glory
  • Squad Brakar – 10 Chaos space marines, plasma gun, lascannon, aspiring champion with powerfist, icon of chaos glory
  • Squad Profuge - 6 Chaos space marines, plasma gun, aspiring champion with plasma pistol, icon of chaos glory
  • Squad Hotep – 9 Thousand sons, Sorceror with warptime
  • Squad Putid - 7 Plague marines, melta gun, flamer, aspiring champion with power weapon
  • Squad Pestis - 7 Plague marines, plasma pistol
  • Squad Odoratus - 7 Plague marines, 2 plasma guns, aspiring champion with powerfist
  • Squad Contagio - 6 Plague marines
  • Squad Kanker - 7 Plague marines, 2 plasma guns, aspiring champion with power weapon
  • Squad Axhote - 8 Khorne Berzerkers, aspiring champion with powerfist
  • Hhakuuoohlaoks - 9 Lesser daemons (Blood Letters)
  • Iideommae - 6 Lesser daemons (Daemonettes)
  • Arableuerakiar - 8 Lesser daemons (Furies)
  • Uuandearzao - 9 Lesser daemons (Plague Bearers)

Fast Attack
  • Squad Scrementor – 8 Raptors, 2 flamers, aspiring champion with power weapon
  • Mirescab and Witherpuke - 2 Spawn
Heavy Support
  • The Machine Cursed - 3 Obliterators
  • Torius - Predator, twin linked lascannon, heavy bolter sponsons
  • Squad Imber - 6 Havocs, 4 heavy bolters, icon of chaos glory
  • Squad Abraxar – 6 Havocs, 2 autocannon, missile launcher, icon of chaos glory
  • Squad Infractis – 7 Havocs, 2 melta guns, flamer, aspiring champion with plasma pistol
That's quite a list to choose from. I doubt I'll use them all in the campaign but that largely depends on how fast Gary's Eldar keep killing them!

I better get off now as I've lots to do. Before I go, here's a link to another old battle report where, funnily enough, my Chaos Marines fought against Eldar.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

GENERAL: Here and gone

I'm going to be away for a few days so I won't be posting. In the meantime here's another historical battle report involving my Exigators Chaos Space Marines.

See you soon.

Monday, November 26, 2007

GENERAL: Pre-Apocalypse batttle report

I have undercoated all my Chaos models tonight. I haven't taken a photo, though, because I didn't think anyone would be interested in 35 black models. I'll be out playing a game of 40k tomorrow night so the first chance I'll have to get any paint on the models will be Wednesday night. Then I'm away for the weekend so progress will be slow.

I normally start with the bases and I may even do all 35 at once, then I just have to decide which models to start with; Khorne or Nurgle. Decisions, decisions...

Meanwhile, I've posted up a four player battle report here. Nowadays this would have been a 6000 point Apocalypse game but back in 2003 it was just a big ole shapeless shoot out. This was one of my favourite games at the time, with lots of smack talk between the players.

Good times...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

MODELLING: Blowing the Chaos cobwebs away

I went out for a winter walk this afternoon to blow the cobwebs away. I certainly achieved that; I went down to the coast and the sea was wild. I took a short video clip and I'm including it here for little other reason than to see if I can get the technology to work.

This hasn't put a stop to my gaming related activities. I've updated my Battle Reports site with another Chaos Space Marines game. This one was against Wayne's own Chaos Space Marines.

Continuing on the Chaos theme, I also built the Rogue Trader era Blood letters which will now count as lesser Daemons. The tabs on the models were copyright 1988 so they'll be 20 years old next year - older than some of my opponents no doubt. Here's how they look.

So that makes 8 Khorne marines and 9 Khorne daemons to go with the 8 Nurgle marines and 9 Nurgle daemons I've already glued together. My last addition to this Chaos gods frenzy is a very old Keepr of Secrets. I started painting the model so long ago I can't even remember, hence the (bad) paintjob so far. It's been a long time since I started any model with a white undercoat.

He/she/it will stand in just fine as a generic greater daemon for big Apocalypse like games.

So that's all my outstanding Chaos models built; 35 in total. Tomorrow I plan to undercoat them all (weather permitting) then my task is to get them all painted by the Christmas.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

MODELLING: Plague Bearers

So much for the footie. A bad day for Newcastle; a terrible day for all the teams in the North East. We lost 3-0 at home as did Middlesborough while Sunderland lost 7-1 away. Ouch.

I took out my frustrations on some Plague Bearers. I bought these models shortly after I got the Plague Marines. Again I found them in a second hand shop. £2 a pack, 3 to a pack. They are the older style models and I don't think they're fantastic but that's okay - I don't like the new versions either.

They are one piece models so there a few duplicates. The upside is that they are easy to put together. Even the mold lines were minimal.

Next on my workbench are a unit of very old Bloodletters.

GENERAL: The green tide

Just before I head off to the Newcastle United versus Liverpool game, I'd just like to draw your attention to another brief battle report I've posted on my Battle Reports blog. This one pits my Exigators Chaos Space Marines against Steve's Feral Orks way back in the third edition of Warhammer 40,000.

Howay the lads.

Friday, November 23, 2007

GENERAL: A new wave of battle reports

I'm starting another push to get more battle reports posted on my second blog, cunningly entitled Battle Reports. There are about fifteen Chaos Space Marine battles dating all the way back to third edition. I'll concentrate on getting these games up first since I'm back playing my Exigators (Chaos Space Marines).

I've posted the first of these here. The rest will follow shortly.

Meanwhile, I have another day off work today so I'll be trying to get the last three units of Chaos models ready to paint. First up are the Plague Bearers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

MODELLING: Khorne Berzerkers

The weather is cold and wet here so I have had no chance to use the Chaos Black spray that I bought from Games Workshop on Monday to undercoat my new Plague Marines. Instead I have constructed an 8 man squad of Khorne Berzerkers.

I got these models, in various states of disrepair, from Gary. I had to add lots of weapons, weapon arms and backpacks and scrape lots of mold lines from the mini's. Ideally I would have stripped the models of their original paintjobs before I started but they are a mix of metal and plastic bits and I was simply too impatient. Now I have to decide whether to add my own paints over the top or spray over everything and start from scratch.

I might as well undercoat all of my Chaos models in one batch so I'll start putting my Plague Bearers together next.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NEW MODEL FUND: Funds can go down as well as...down

I haven't updated my new model fund for ages because I haven't sold anything for ages. I have however been buying stuff.

I bought the limited edition Forge World renegade Ogryn (£15), Etched Renegade Militia symbols (£8), Renegade Militia icons and assault weapons (£9), two packs of Renegade Militia weapon arms (£18), two lots of Renegade Militia conversion sets (£18), the Baneblade (£60), and the Space Marine veterans (£18) at Games Day. Then I bought a Tactical Marine box (£18) for my Blood Angels.

Here's what that little spree has done to my finances.
  • Total income from sales (and my penny jar) £342.36
  • Less selling fees £31.02
  • Less models bought £299.16
  • New model fund £12.18
I'm almost totally wiped out! I really need to get back on e-bay to contribute more funds because I have a plan to add a big model to my Chaos army for Apocalypse. Watch this space.

PAINTING AND MODELLING: Chaos reinforcements

Fresh from painting up my Chaos Terminator Lord I started putting together some of my other Chaos models. The first set of models I want to add to my Chaos army is my Plague Marines. After a couple of hours filing and scraping, here is what I have.

It's not an optimal squad, hell it's not even legal. The Aspiring Champion has a power weapon when a power fist would be better and there are two plasma guns and a flamer when Plague Marines can only select two special weapons. The reason it's an odd squad is because I acquired it in a strange fashion.

Two or three years ago I mail ordered some stuff from Games Workshop and got the flamer and a plasma gunner by accident. Later the same week I went into a second hand book shop and saw six Plague Marines, including the Aspiring Champion and another plasma gunner, for sale for a fiver. So without setting out to buy them I ended up with a Plague Marine squad for five pounds!

Since then they have languished at the back of a drawer only to be dragged out into the light of day now.

My Chaos Black undercoat has run out so I'll put the rest of my Chaos model pile together before I start painting.

Friday, November 16, 2007

PAINTING: Chaos Terminator Lord - finished

I've finished the Lord. I added ink washes to the claw to represent old, dried blood.

I used Red Ink, Purple Ink, Chestnut Ink and Black Ink. I also glued some static grass to the base.

Here is the finished model.
Not bad for a days work.

PAINTING: Chaos Terminator Lord

I've been toiling away over the past couple of hours and I've almost finished the Lord.

I've used a simple but strong colour scheme based around black, red and gold.

You can see the combi plasma gun well in this photo. I painted the coils green and the cables a variety of colours. They tricky to get to and I needed my finest brush.

The lightning claw looks a bit plain so I want to add some gore to it. I plan to use lots of ink washes to achieve a relatively subtle effect.

The red is mostly visible from the back. I'm not sure you can make it out in the pic but I drybrushed the cloak with Snakebite Leather to dirty it up a bit.

The last touches are going to be the lightning claw and some extra detail on the base.

PAINTING: Chaos Terminator Lord cloak

Here is the latest part of the mini to see paint; the cloak.

The basecoat was Mechrite Red, one of the new foundation paints. If anyone hasn't used them yet I'd recommend giving them a try - they are invaluable for painting colours like red over a black undercoat.

I mixed some Chaos Black into the Mechrite red to darken the folds of the cloak. The highlights were Blood Red with some Blazing Orange added right at the end.

The last pic is probably where you can see the whole process at it's clearest. I washed the whole cloak in Magenta Ink to tie all the layers together. Given the ragged ends of the cloth I think a Snakebite Leather drybrush may be in order to dirty things up but I'll do that at the end.

I'll be tackling the skulls next, and they should add some 'pop' to the model. Let's see.

PAINTING: Chaos Terminator Lord

This a much more meaty post. I have painted all the metallics on the Lord. There is a lot, as I have discovered!

I began the gold bits with a Tin Bitz base, then overpainted that with Brazen Brass. Next I mixed in some Burnished Gold and then edged it with Mithril Silver. A wash of Chestnut Ink and Brown Ink warms the gold up and ties the layers together.

The silver bits are simply Boltgun Metal with a Black Ink wash over the top.

I also edged some of the armour with the Boltgun Metal. Although the armour is largely black, the metal represents battle damage around the exposed edges.

The next largest area of the model is the cloak. I'm going to go for a classic red.

PAINTING: Chaos Terminator Lord from basecoat to varnish in a day!

Here's the first real update; some pics of the base.

I overbrushed Calthan Brown over the black undercoat, then mixed in some Iyanden Darksun and overbrushed with that. Next I added a Bleached Bone drybrush.

I painted the rim Goblin Green. This will make it fit in with the rest of my Chaos army. I will add flock and static grass once the whole model is finished.

For the sake of completeness (it seems to be a requirement for all painting blogs these days) I have taken a photo of my painting area.

Next up are the metallics.

PAINTING: Chaos Terminator Lord

After stumbling over the 200 post mark it's all gone a bit quiet on lone pilgrim. That's because I've been away on holiday and I've just got back. I haven't quite got a tan. As a northern lad it takes me a week to go from pale blue to white. Nevertheless I am feeling refreshed. I also have a plan.

Deciding to push back my Blood Angels and concentrate on my Chaos Space Marines has re-energised me and today's post(s) are proof positive of that. I have a fistful of Chaos models I'd like to get painted over the next few weeks. They include the Terminator Lord, a Plague marine unit, some Plague bearer daemons, some very old Bloodletters and possibly some Berzerkers.

I'm starting off with the Terminator Lord and my ambitious plan is to finish painting the model today. Yes, that's right - from undercoat to varnish in one day. I plan to blog regularly throughout the day both here on lone pilgrim and also on Warseer.

To start off I thought I'd show everyone my photography set up. Here it is.

I got the 'lightbox' from Maplins. It folds down so it's easy to store and only cost about £15 IIRC. I have three of the lamps you can see in the picture but I'll only be using one with my photos today. That's because the f£!%@ing natural light bulbs I bought especially are both broken and I only have one working. A great start. Never mind, I'll soldier on.

Here's a pic of the 'raw materials' I'm starting with.

Even with just one light source the photo is acceptable I think. The model itself is the old metal one released around the time of the Medusa campaign. I put it together at the time with the intention of using the main weapon as a Kai Gun. Rather than pull the model apart I'll just count it as a plasma combi weapon. The Lightning Claw will still be tasty in close combat so there are no problems with that.

Without further ado I'm off to start the base.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

GENERAL: 200 posts old today!

This is the second big milestone for the lone pilgrim blog. Yes, I've hit 200 posts!

Not a bad total at all considering I only started the site at the beginning of the year. This isn't just a self congratulatory post, though. I thought I'd take a brief look at what I'd done and where I'm going.

In my early months I managed to keep a steady post rate up; mainly covering the building of my Fantasy Chaos army. I also had a good sort out of my gaming paraphernalia and decided to sell much of it to finance the restructuring of my Games Workshop collection. I broadened the content of lone pilgrim to add reviews of gaming products and posted some background material for the Skolarii Sector, my own playground in the 40k galaxy. I wrote up some battle reports of my games and I've been steadily refining the format over the past few months.

One of the main things I did was structure my gaming around Games Workshop's tournament year which runs from 1st August to 31st July. I came up with a masterplan - a list of what I thought I could accomplish in a year. Here's what I came up with:

  • I will build and paint 1500 points of Forgeworld Renegade Imperial Guard.
  • I will add some models to my Blood Angels Space Marines to bring them up to 1500 points, and they will be my main tournament army for the year.
  • I will finish my trench gaming board (which is currently half built).
  • I will complete subsector 1 (the Salazar systems) for the Skolarii Sector.
  • I will get all my battle reports up on my website (around 150 of them!).
Some things have gone better than others. I am getting on well with the battle reports. I have started a dedicated blog and I have transferred a ton of old reports already and I'm completely up to date with my recent games.

I haven't even looked at the Skolarii Sector yet, but I'm still hoping to do so. Similarly the trench board is still waiting for some attention, but that is in hand too. In fact both of these projects slot into my plans regarding Apocalypse, something I didn't even consider when I was making my plans earlier in the year.

I bought a Baneblade at Games Day and plan to put it together around Christmas time. I also plan to scratch build a Brass Scorpion at the same time, so that both my forces of order and forces of disorder have a super heavy vehicle. I'll want to play an Apocalypse game or two to show them off so I'll need a big board. That's when I need to complete the trench board. I can add it to my other boards to make an 8'x4' table. The background to these conflicts will be the second Chaos invasion of the Skolarii Sector which, yes you've guessed it, takes place in the Salazar systems. So I want to take a good month or two at the start of 2008 to pull all these projects together.

I also bought more models for my planned Renegade Guard at Games Day but that is where my masterplan begins to break down. The problem is my Blood Angels.

I thought I could simply add a handful of models and get the army on the tabletop but that's not going to happen. The main reason is that I really love the Blood Angels and view them as my main army. I want to do justice to them and spend lots of time painting and modelling them, but that doesn't get the models on the board quickly enough. We are already in the tournament season so I want to be playing games with them now. They aren't ready. In fact if I add all the models I want to the force and paint them to a good standard they won't be ready until the next tournament season.

Another reason they're a problem is that I want to take them to a Grand Tournament. I had said that I wanted to build a 1500 point army every year and my intention was to use it for that tournament season. Games Workshop is handing out final tickets to the best painted armies so that is a real incentive to do my best with them. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get to the tournament this year due to work commitments so, in theory, they have missed their shot at tournament glory altogether. I couldn't let this stand.

My third and final problem was with my Chaos Space Marines. I had played my Exigators quite a bit last year and had managed to attend the Grand Tournament with them so I wanted to retire them for a bit. Just as I was doing so, the new codex was was released. There were a ton of new models to add to the army, new and better rules and therefore a chance to use some of those unusual units that tended to get left on the shelf when using the old codex. And there I was, packing the army away, despite having about 4000 points of well painted units all ready and raring to go. It just didn't make any sense.

So I've decided upon a change of plan. I've made my Exigators this season's main 40k army and pushed the Blood Angels back to next year. This makes a whole lot of sense to me as it means I get to use the new Chaos codex with my already painted models and I'll be patiently putting my Blood Angels army together in the background. That means they can hit the ground running next year.

It does mean of course that my Renegades will have to wait until the year after but I think the cycle is better. Rather than painting and playing with the same army during the year, and putting myself under immense pressure to do so, I'll now be playing a complete army while getting the next one ready.

A lot has happened over the last 200 posts. Stick with me over the next 200, I'm sure it will be quite a ride.

Friday, November 2, 2007

REVIEW: Tactica Aeronautica

Tactica Aeronautica. An expansion for Aeronautica Imperialis by Warwick Kinrade. Published by Forge World. £26.

I liked Aeronautica Imperialis and awarded it a rock dang solid 8 out of 10 score in my last review. I bought this expansion book at Games Day at the same time as I bought the first book and I've only just finished reading it a month later. In many ways there is more 'to get your teeth into' in this shorter book than in the initial longer tome.

So what exactly is in Tactica Aeronautica?

There are seven sections spread over 128 pages. The book opens on familiar ground (in familiar skies?) with new aircraft. They are presented in the usual format; a photoshopped picture of the model in action, some background on the aircraft, it's specifications, some technical drawings of the flyer and then several variant paint schemes. The Imperials (natch), Orks, Tau and Chaos get some love here. The Chaos addition, the Harbinger heavy bomber, is mind bending, especially compared to the existing Chaos craft. The model is as big as your hand! To give you some idea of the scale difference the wingspan of a Hellblade fighter is 5.6m while the Harbinger has a wingspan of 33.3m. It's huge!

The section ends with two pages of aircraft upgrades which allow wing commanders to add equipment to their machines such as chaff, star engines, daemonic possession and blacksun filters. They seem like an interesting way to individualise each aircraft.

New squadron lists
Next up are the new squadron lists. The lists are significantly longer than in the last volume as they now include all of the aircraft upgrades described earlier. Players are now able to buy aces and double aces to fly their planes for one-off games. The major change I noticed to the points values was to Eldar Vampire Hunters which have increased a whopping 10 points in value. I knew that Eldar aircraft were considered to be the best in the game - I guess now they're really paying for it.

The data sheets give rules for the new craft and also outline some new weapon fits for existing flyers such as Vultures and Valkyries.

Typha-IV campaign
One of the chunkiest sections, and the main reason why it took me so long to read the book, is the Typha-IV campaign. Readers of previous Forge World books will recognise the format. We start with a planetary survey of Typha-IV which is 80% water and entering a premature ice age due to extensive mining pollution. All of this work is carried out by indentured prisoners. Production has been stepped up to meet the threat from the Tau third expansion and extra Navy wings have been garrisoned there. The Navy also uses the planet for training exercises.

The Tau decide to launch a hit and run attack on Typha-IV to stop production and to show the Imperium that they can strike deep into Imperial territory. The Tau hope that by doing so the Imperium will have to defend it's assets and this will in turn give the Tau time to establish their empire on the newly acquired third sphere planets.

The forces of each faction are described in detail which at least gives us an inkling of higher level aerospace organisation in the Imperium. There are tons of graphics of planes that fought in the campaign, my personal favourite being the Thunderbolt of Ixan Muro. If and when I get some planes I want to paint them in a similar scheme.

The events of the campaign are told in less than compelling language and there seems to be no real narrative drive behind the story. This could be good or bad depending on your point of view. In theory it could be a deliberate attempt by the author to reject the dynamics of storytelling in favour of a more 'realistic' description of events. Real conflicts don't often fit into neat little narrative boxes or compact into discreet, fulfilling events; instead they are messy, inconclusive and ambiguous. On the other hand, and I think that this is the case having read this book and previous Forge World books, the author just isn't very good at telling stories and holding our attention. He says things over an entire page that could have been conveyed in two sentences while significant events are glossed over.

Examples in Tactica include the description of 'Black Week' when Tau fighters harried and attacked Imperial craft from a secret airbase. These events are painted in incredibly broad brush strokes and don't give us any real feeling for why it was such a 'Black Week' for the Imperial pilots. Later in the conflict the Imperium launch 'Operation Defiant Hate' in an attempt to stop the Tau. As far as I can tell this involves the Imperial commanders saying 'Righto lads, I think we should actually try and find this secret Tau base and bomb the hell out of the blighters.' The discovery of the Tau base does not seem to come from any cunning plan or individual display of bravery, it comes because we're getting to the end of the campaign description and things need to be wrapped up. It's ultimately not satisfying. Still, it is a rather cool backdrop to play your games against. It made me want to create a storm-tossed sea board to play my games on.

Which brings me to the campaign system. This is presented as a strategic target campaign, so although it is heavily tied into the Typha-IV specific conflict, it can be used to represent any campaign of this type. Many of the campaign rules from the first book are referenced and tweaked and new scenarios are introduced. It looks like it would be a lot of fun to play.

Other scenarios are added later in the book. The first is a tournament scenario, intended for competitive rather than narrative play, and the others include some of the new aircraft described earlier in the book.

Ground installations are re-imagined in far more detail than the previous tome and rules are provided which allow players to build their own custom buildings. There are even some sample photographs of buildings and two schematics of Imperial airbases (these tie in with the new terrain from Forge World). There is also a three page spread on how to build an ultra realistic airbase using their terrain. It looks absolutely stunning.

Battle report
Another major section of the book is given over to a battle report. Again this is Tau versus Imperials with the book's author Warwick Kinrade taking charge of the Imperials. The graphics are well drawn and convey the action quite well although the decision to show two turns on several of the maps can confuse the action somewhat. This section was a great read for me as I haven't bought any models or played a game yet and it gave me a real feel for how the game plays.

Hobby articles conclude the book. They include some basic tactics, a brief Q and A and the designer's notes (which are illuminating - I wish all Games Workshop books included these).

I think this book is pretty much essential reading for all Aeronautica enthusiasts. The new squadron lists and campaign system will be invaluable for those most interested in actually playing the game while rabid fluff-monkeys will love the campaign description and new aircraft. As it is slimmer than most Forge World volumes it is also a bit cheaper but I found it actually had more in it to read.

I give Tactica Aeronautica a solid 7/10.


All of my reviews end in a score out of ten for the product. The table below explains what that score means.

  • 10/10 Perfect, absolutely nothing better
  • 9/10 Excellent, highly recommended
  • 8/10 Very good, recommended
  • 7/10 Good
  • 6/10 Above average, some problems
  • 5/10 Average, some good points some bad points
  • 4/10 Below average, some redeeming features
  • 3/10 Poor, major flaws
  • 2/10 Very poor, avoid if possible
  • 1/10 Absolutely appalling

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

BATTLE REPORT: Blood Angels versus Eldar

So I saw Arcade Fire and it was an apocalyptic gig! If you get the chance to see them live, do it. Then I had the pleasure of getting up at 4:30 the next morning to go to a conference in London (why can't they be held somewhere vaguely north?) and then got back late last night. After another full day at work fire-fighting problems that cropped up yesterday when I was away I'm writing this post with bleary eyes.

I have written another Blood Angels battle report and posted it here. That brings me up to date with my current battle reports and because I won't be playing any games for a few weeks, the next battle reports will be older ones salvaged from my dead website.

Monday, October 29, 2007

BATTLE REPORT: Blood Angels versus Chaos Space Marines

I'm posting this just before I am due to go out to an Arcade Fire gig, so it will be short and to the point. I've posted another Blood Angels battle report, replete with photographs, on my dedicated site here.

I need to get up at about five o'clock tomorrow morning (!) as I have a conference in London all day so it is extremely unlikely I'll post anything, but I'll hopefully get another battle report up the day after.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

MODELLING: Blood Angel Scouts

A six day working week for me so my posting has been restricted. I haven't been doing much on the Games Workshop front anyway, other than finishing Descent of Angels. I'll be posting a full review in the future but if you want to know what I thought check out this thread on Warseer. The one thing I have managed to tackle is some Blood Angels recruits.

I had a ton of the old metal scouts sitting at the back of a drawer which I found when I was putting together an Apocalypse list for my Blood Angels. Having already created some scenic bases using the extra bases from my Tactical squad box , I decided to use them for my scouts. I clipped all the scout tabs off and pinned them to the bases. I have never done anything like this before, so I hope they hold. I kept the metal tabs to add to the underside of the bases to help with balance.

As you can see I have quite a few models. There are six armed with sniper rifles, three with shotguns, one with a heavy bolter, and the rest have bolt pistols and close combat weapons. Not the best mix of weapons.

My one nod to optimization was to add a powerfist to the veteran sergeant. This was a really simple conversion to saw off the arm and add a spare from a terminator. I've completely run out of powerfists now!

I think the first models I'll paint will be this sergeant and four scouts with close combat weapons to make a cheap scoring unit with a little bite. They'll be dirt cheap points-wise so that will help me get more boots on the ground, and they'll also offer me some more tactical options with their infiltrate skill.

I'll hopefully be posting a couple of Blood Angel battle reports over the next few days.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

REVIEW: Aeronautica Imperialis

Aeronautica Imperialis by Warwick Kinrade. Published by Forge World. £35. Aerial combat in the 41st millennium.

This book has 10 sections and is in the usual Forge World large, glossy format. The book is crammed with the same type of photoshopped model photography and vehicle diagrams and paint schemes found in the Imperial Armour books. This will either delight you or appall you, depending on your sensibilities. For me, the price is not such an issue, so I like that the book looks and feels expensive, kind of like an upmarket Games Workshop publication.

The book opens with the game rules. They are relatively short and simple, with a turn consisting of choosing manoeuvres, initiative, tailing fire, movement, firing and the end phase. Many players will be happy to learn that this isn't an I-go U-go system, players instead alternating their actions between planes in the same turn. The advanced rules are only two pages long and could easily have been incorporated into the regular rules. Squadron lists for all of the races in the game finish off this first section. The lists are small and basic, with little real choice - the Chaos list has only two options, for example.

Section two contains the aircraft data sheets. These include all the profiles of the aircraft (type, hits, manoeuvrability, speed, thrust, weapons, etc). This is where the differences between the aircraft start to emerge, where even a slight variation in an aircraft can have big consequences on playing style and tactics on the tabletop. By all accounts, the Eldar seem to have a very powerful set of flyers.

The following six sections detail each individual aircraft used by each of the factions in the game. There are flyers for Imperial forces (by far the largest section), Orks, Tau, Chaos, Eldar and Space Marines. For someone simply wanting to play a game, these sections are largely superfluous but for a fluff-junkie like me they are one of the best parts of the book. The format is usually a photoshopped picture of the model in action, some background on the aircraft, it's specifications, some technical drawings of the flyer and then several variant paint schemes. The only criticism I have, and it's a big one for me, is that there is no background on the higher organisations of any of the air forces. I'd love to know how fighter groups are organised, how many aircraft form a wing and a squadron and how aircraft fit into their faction's overall battle plan. It's not that there is little information on this, there is nothing at all!

Scenarios are outlined next, and they are presented as historical encounters. There is some background fluff, a note about choosing non-historical forces, set-up rules, special rules and the victory conditions are described. The scenarios cover pretty much every possible mission, from search and rescue to ground attacks and convoy escorts. They look like a lot of fun and will add to the game immensely, given that the number and types of aircraft themselves are limited.

The penultimate section contains rules for a campaign. It supposes that the air forces are battling for supremacy over a warzone. The rules look like they would add another dimension to the game without bogging it down in loads of extra rules. Forge World seem to think less is more in this regard and it is a sentiment I agree with. There is even a one page example of a campaign which illustrates the rules very well.

The final section contains quick reference sheets, combat record sheets and photos of models and boards.

I enjoyed reading this book. It seems to me that it will attract two separate types of audience; the inveterate fluff-monkey and the gamer looking for something new to play. There is something for both, but there are reservations for both.

It sheds some light on new background material in terms of individual aircraft but I think it could and should have gone even further with the bigger picture. Fluff-monkeys may be left wanting more.

Similarly, out and out gamers may find the force lists limited and the rules basic, but at it's core this could be a good little game to pick up and play once in a while. It's not a game for people who like 'chrome' as Jervis would put it.

These are relatively small quibbles, though, so I give Aeronautica Imperialis a solid 8/10.


All of my reviews end in a score out of ten for the product. The table below explains what that score means.

  • 10/10 Perfect, absolutely nothing better
  • 9/10 Excellent, highly recommended
  • 8/10 Very good, recommended
  • 7/10 Good
  • 6/10 Above average, some problems
  • 5/10 Average, some good points some bad points
  • 4/10 Below average, some redeeming features
  • 3/10 Poor, major flaws
  • 2/10 Very poor, avoid if possible
  • 1/10 Absolutely appalling

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

APOCALYPSE: Grand reckoning

I have now put together Apocalypse list for all of the armies I own. Here are the combined totals, broken down into the forces of order and the forces of disorder.

Forces of Order
  • Cadian Imperial Guard 1896 points
  • Blood Angels 3670 points
  • Composite Imperial Guard 1000 points
  • Daemonhunters 1711 points
Total points: 8277

Forces of Disorder
  • Orks 1898 points
  • Chaos Space Marines 4022 points
Total points: 5920
Grand total of all armies: 14197

The clear winners are the forces of disorder with a 2000 point advantage. I have a few options if I wanted a game with just my own models, though. I could switch the Daemonhunters onto the forces of disorder, being radicals after all, or alternatively I could make some of the Imperial Guard traitors.

Looking over the lists, some of my quirks and preferences stand out. Considering I have six armies I have relatively few special characters. The good guys have Yarrick, Gaunt, Dante, Mephiston, Corbulo and Tycho versus the bad guys Ghazghkull. I have always preferred to make and play my own heroes. Characters such as Inquisitor Severus, Chaplain Blackblood and Daemon Prince Ferocitor are every bit as exciting to me as the established special characters.

Another thing I've noticed is that I seem to favour infantry over vehicles. I have very few tanks overall, and few transports. If I wanted to increase the points values of my armies for relatively little work, I could just invest in vehicles. I have a Baneblade which needs putting together, so that would be 500 points right there. This would also increase my heavy support options which are very limited. I guess I just don't like the big guns!

The next thing I need to do is persuade Gary to total his armies. I'll more than likely play Apocalypse against him and he has a model collection almost as big as mine. Off the top of my head I know he has Chaos Space Marines, Necrons, Dark Eldar and Eldar, and that would go some way to balancing the forces of order and disorder. I reckon we could comfortably get up to around 10,000 points per side!

According to the Apocalypse book that means we should play on a 12'x8' table and the game would take a whole day to finish. Yikes!

Monday, October 22, 2007

APOCALYPSE: Blood Angels

My largest force of 'good guys' for Apocalypse is my Blood Angels. I'm in the process of reorganising the army and I sold a bunch of second edition models a while back, so I have a mish mash of models from lots of different eras. I'll also be adding a lot more models over the coming months so the army should grow pretty quickly. Anyway, here's what I have now.

  • Dante 200 points
  • Mephiston 225 points
  • Tycho 110 points
  • Corbulo 100 points
  • Chaplain with jump pack, plasma pistol 120 points
  • Chaplain 100 points
  • Chaplain 100 points
  • Chaplain 100 points
  • Chaplain, plasma pistol 115 points
  • Librarian 120 points
  • Librarian 120 points
  • Librarian 120 points
  • Honour Guard, plasma pistol 140 points
  • Honour Guard 125 points
  • Techmarine 75 points
  • Techmarine 75 points
  • Techmarine 75 points
  • Techmarine 75 points
  • 10 Deathcompany with jump packs(7 free) 90 points
  • 5 Veterans with jump packs, powerfist, plasma pistol 190 points
  • Venerable Furioso Death Company Dreadnought 145 points
  • Dreadnought with multimelta 125 points
  • 10 Assault marines with jump packs, 2 plasma pistols 280 points
  • 5 Tactical marines, flamer, Veteran with power fist 145 points
    • Razorback with twin lascannon 80 points
  • 10 Tactical marines, flamer, missile launcher, Veteran with power fist 230 points
  • 5 Tactical marines 115 points
Fast Attack
  • Land Speeder, multi melta, heavy flamer 75 points
Heavy support
  • Predator Destructor, heavy bolters and storm bolter 100 points
Points: 3670

Not a bad total, considering the dearth of troops and the lack of heavy support choices. I have lots to add to this army too, including 25 Tactical marines, 15 scouts, 2 Land raiders, a Techmarine with servitors, a Land speeder and more.

So that concludes my run through of painted models and all of the armies I can play in Apocalypse. In my next post I'll put everything together, see what I've got and what my options are and then try and get Gary to do the same with his forces. I really want to combine our entire collections and play a huge Apocalypse game one weekend.