Sunday, April 29, 2007

A mixed bag

This is going to be a bit of a catch-up post. I've had loads of things going on which have impacted upon my gaming time.

I worked a six day week this week and I couldn't make my regular Tuesday night gaming session. In and around work I spent some of my spare time playing Football Manager on my Playstation Portable. This is a highly addictive game and I find it difficult to put down; I always have to play the next match. I whizzed through three seasons in as many days and took Huddersfield from potential relegation to the second division all the way to the Premiership. Now I just need to tear myself away...

I'm off to the Lake District shortly for a bit of a walking holiday, so I've been out hiking to get back into shape. The last couple of weekends I've been tramping around Blanchland, getting blisters and toughening up my feet. Here's a pic I took today.

It's a beautiful part of the country. We really do have it all up here.

During a lunch hour I wrote up some of my thoughts about the responsibilities both players have during a game. This was sparked by a couple of games I played recently (and wrote battle reports about on this website). Once I've knocked it into shape I'll post it up here and on the Warhammer Forum and try and generate some discussion.

I've also been re-reading The Battle for Armageddon. I'm halfway through chapter five of five. When I finish it I'll post up a review.

My wallet has taken a real hammering. First, my White Dwarf subscription ended so I had to renew it. Since I was on the Games Workshop store site I picked up a set of the new foundation paints too. Second, I got a heads up that the Black Library, Games Workshop's publishing wing, were having a sale. I took a gander round the site and found some real bargains. Third, I got my latest Forgeworld newsletter which announced the pre-orders for the Siege of Vraks were available. Since I had already bought a batch of the renegade militia models I just had to buy the book. That relieved me of £40+.

Finally, I have managed to get in a wee bit of painting. I put together my five Marauder Horsemen (converting them to carry flails). I also constructed my four War hounds. I drybrushed all the bases and then concentrated on the hounds to try and get them finished first.

I painted them up in slightly different colours from my last batch, the idea being I don't want them all to be uniform in appearance. This lot I overbrushed Scorched Brown, then drybrushed them Bestial Brown with another drybrush of Bubonic Brown. A mix of Flesh wash and Brown Ink tied all the layers together. I'm hoping to have these doggies finished before my next game on Tuesday night so I'll be able to field two units of five.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Redressing the balance

Having gone into debt to buy my latest batch of models I thought I should redress the balance by listing some more items on e-bay. Here they are:
I aim to post tonnes of stuff over the next few days, so keep your eyes peeled for a bargain.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Absolute Chaos

Brimstone on the Warseer 40k rumour roundup forum has posted the following information regarding the new Chaos Space Marines codex:

This is a collection of Chaos Marine rumours, these are rumours NOT facts, if you want facts wait for the codex.

I’ll be adding to it as more information becomes available and is not a complete list of codex contents.

Daemon Prince (can be winged but no daemonic speed) cannot be instakilled.
Chaos Lord (highly impressive new multipart plastic kit to be released)
Chaos Sorcerer (force weapon as standard).

N.B. No restricted units i.e. the Ancient enemies rule is gone.

These are all individual entries.


Possessed Chaos Space Marines (New models on the way which are a vast improvement on the more recent ones)
Dreadnoughts (still frenzy)
Veterans (only unit that can infiltrate)
Terminators – Can be marked (new plastic kit, reasonably impressive but not that different from Imperial versions), points brought into line with Imperial Terminators.

Troops – All troops come with bolter, bolt pistol CC weapon and grenades as standard.
Chaos Marines – Can be marked
Cult Marines
Khorne Bezerkers (lose their Khornate Chain axes).
Plague Marines (lose their plague weapons but keep blight grenades)
Noise Marines (retain their options for sonic weaponary but may be more restricted, Doom caster is AP3).
Thousand Sons (Power armour save / 4+ Invul save) and bolters with inferno bolts (AP3)

Fast Attack

Raptors – Can be marked (new champion model on the way) no 0-1 restriction.
Bikes – Can be marked

Heavy Support

Obliterators – Can be marked, S and T reduced to 4, no 0-1 restriction.
Defiler – Loses indirect fire option but can be given a CC upgrade.
Vindicator (New plastic model for release).

Misc Rumours
Codex follows the DA/Eldar format.
No books of Chaos in the codex.
Daemons (greater/lesser) have generic stat lines (will be expanded upon in a Daemon/LatD codex).
New unit – Chaos Spawn (1-3 cannot be split)
No basilisk option in the codex.
Wargear highly restricted – Daemonic gifts are gone, options are all given in unit entries.
Daemon weapons standardised – power weapon 1D6 attacks (if you roll a one you take a wound), can be upgraded with power specific options i.e. Khorne gives 2D6 attacks.
Any unit can be marked to the Chaos gods in the form of a Icon, marks are as follows – Khorne (+1A), Nurgle (+1T), Slaanesh (+1I), Tzeentch (+1 to invul save (max 2+) if already present or gives a basic 5+ invul save).
Recut CSM sprue.
Special characters – All survive and now include Huron Blackheart (model due for release) Ahriman has all chaos psychic powers and a force weapon as standard.

Interesting stuff. I can see some players complaining that the codex has been dumbed down because it has lost some options, especially in the wargear section, but how many people actually took a wide range of wargear. In my experience most gamers took Daemonic Speed, Dreadaxe/Darkblade chose between a handful of other combat upgrades. 80% of the choices were never taken.

I don't confuse complexity and depth of gameplay, and if the codex ends up balanced (in that it has a number of viable options) then I'll be happy.

I'm really tempted to continue with my Exigators for another tournament season to take advantage of the new codex.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Battle stat attack

I felt the calling of my inner geek yesterday so I sat down to work out the statistics for the Warhammer games I've reported on this blog.

I have played 11 games in total, winning six of them, losing four and drawing one. I have won the first turn five times, that same number as Gary (one game is unrecorded).

I'm not too bothered about my win/loss ratio for these games as I view them as knockabout fun while learning the game, but I do think that I will become a better player if I assess my performances.

Overall, then I'm doing okay. I have won my last three games on the trot. Is it luck or skill?

I guess I'll find out over the next 11 games...

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Get there fastest with the mostest

Following my completion of the Exalted on Daemonic Mount my attention has now turned to the last 500 points of my army. The natural unit choices are Marauders, both on foot and on horseback. A unit of each would mean I would own every single core mortal choice in the list. This would be a good thing, I think, because I would have a wide variety of units to play and practice with. It's maybe not the best choice in pure competitive terms, and it plays into the Dark Elves hands to a certain degree because they will be excellent targets for those wicked bolts and arrows, but it will help me to learn the Warhammer game by including a broader range of units.

The Horsemen will add light cavalry to my force. Having seen the Elven Dark Riders run rings around me in previous games, it might be nice to give the Druchii some of their own medicine.

Similarly, the Marauders will give me another dimension; fully ranked infantry. Coming in at just 6 points per model I can get a unit of 25 for well under 200 points. These guys should thicken out my army nicely.

Another source of cheap units is War Hounds. I had always meant to add more of these doggies to my army but their sheer cost put me off. The models are lovely, easy to paint, and the cheapness of the unit in the game, along with their sheer utility, are only rivalled by the fact that they cost almost £1 per point. 5 Knights may cost £25 but at least they gobble up nigh on 300 points of my army.

So, after reviewing my finances I have spent some cash. I've invested in 5 Marauder horse and four War hounds. That comes to £39. Other deductions are my e-bay fees which are £3.68. On the plus side I've managed to sell something on e-bay for a whopping £0.99.

So my new model fund now looks like this:
  • Total income from sales (and my penny jar) £61.98
  • Less selling fees (so far) £8.28
  • Less models bought £59.00
  • New model fund -£5.30
Oops. How did that happen?

I really need to dig out some more stuff and list it on e-bay to generate more income. Not only that but I need a further £36 to buy two boxes of Marauders for that ranked up unit.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I just know he will die horribly...

I was really up for this game.

We were bumping the battle up to 1500 points apiece and this meant our armies did look like armies rather than small skirmishing war bands. We're now getting closer to our final target of 2000 point forces.

The main reason I could include the extra 250 points was finishing my Exalted on Daemonic Mount. He weighed in at a hefty 190 points on his own. As well as a centrepiece model for my army he should be fairly powerful on the tabletop, but his true significance is that he represents Sigurt Volsung, the ruler of my whole horde of Chaos.

I just know he will die horribly...

1500 points
My Chaos Undivided mortals:
  • Sigurt Volsung, Exalted on Daemonic Mount, Gaze of the Gods, Enchanted Shield
  • Thaer, Exalted with Book of Secrets, extra hand weapon, shield (Steed of Shadows spell)
  • Angur Boda, Lvl 2 Sorcerer with 2 Dispel Scrolls (Dark hand of Death, Doom and Darkness)
  • 12 Warriors full command
  • 10 Warriors full command Banner of Wrath
  • 5 Chosen Knights full command
  • 6 War hounds
  • Chariot
  • 8 Furies
The Dark Elves had:
  • Noble on Cold One, Sword of what save?, 1+ save
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress
  • 2 Repeater Bolt Throwers
  • 10 Repeater Crossbows
  • 16 Spearelves full command
  • 5 Dark Riders Repeater Crossbows
  • 5 Dark Riders Repeater Crossbows
  • 19 Executioners full command Banner of Murder
Terrain and deployment
I had a wood on my extreme left just outside my deployment zone. There was a patch of rocky ground ahead of this on the fringe of the Dark Elf deployment zone. I had some ruined buildings in my centre right deployment zone and there was a hill in the middle of the board just ahead of them. The Dark Elves won the choice of table edge yet again (they have won this roll for virtually all of our games so far).

I refused the left flank, not wanting to get involved with the rocky ground which didn't affect line of sight much but counted as difficult terrain. Instead, my plan was to envelop the right flank by sweeping around the hill on the right with my Knights, supported by the Warriors.

I put the Furies out behind the wood on my right early on to keep my opponent guessing. From the centre I had War hounds, Chariot, 10 Warriors (with the Sorcerer and Exalted on foot), 12 Warriors (with Sigurt) then the Knights. The Dark Elves were more spread out with the Dark Riders, Repeater Bolt Thrower, Repeater Crossbows, Sorceress, Repeater Bolt Thrower, Sorceress, Executioners, Spearelves, Dark Riders and the Noble.

The game
The Dark Elves won first turn. The Dark Riders on the left manoeuvred to shoot at my Furies but did nothing. I reckoned they were out of charge range so I flew the Furies to my right and surrendered the whole left flank completely. The second Dark Rider unit moved up behind the hill on my right.

I raced the Knights up the right flank. Everything else marched forward too. My magic did nothing.

The first Dark Rider unit galloped down my empty left flank behind the wood. They stayed put for the whole game and claimed the table quarter. The second Dark Rider squad charged my War hounds who fled. They never rallied and eventually ran off the battlefield. This now left the Dark Riders exposed to a charge from the Chariot and 10 Warriors (we only just realised that if the opponent fled it counted as a failed charge for the chargers - Gary was expecting the Dark Riders to move the full 18"). Oops. Combined shooting and magic only killed 3 Furies.

The survivors charged a Sorceress and she ran off the table in fear. The Chariot and Warriors charged the Dark Riders in the centre. They chose to flee straight through 3 units who were all hugging the board edge. The second Sorceress, Executioners and Repeater Bolt Thrower crew all passed their panic tests. Boo!

My Knights pressed on up the extreme right flank and angled in to receive the Noble charge. I moved the 12 Warriors so that Sigurt could charge out of the unit and begin some general on general carnage if the Knights held.

The Noble hit the knights and challenged and killed the champion. I won the combat, though, but the the Noble passed his break check. Dark Elf magic and shooting took my Furies down to two models and removed three wounds from my Chariot. The Dark Riders rallied right on the edge of the battlefield. All in all a decent turn for the pointy ears.

Thaer got his Steed of Shadows off and chased the other Sorceress off the board. My other magic did nothing. The Furies charged and ran down the Repeater Bolt Thrower crew. This meant they crashed into the Executioners. Uh-huh. Sigurt slammed into the flank of the Noble. In the subsequent challenge both generals lost a wound.

The Dark Riders sallied out to try and angle the 10 Warriors away from the Executioners who were fending off the pursuing Furies. The Repeater Crossbows stripped the last wound from my Chariot. The Executioners...executed the Furies. Both generals swung at each other again...and killed each other. This left my Knights free, facing the Spearelves (they've faced off against this unit in virtually every game we have played).

One bone crunching charge later and the elves were reduced to a fleeing rabble. My 10 Warriors charged the Dark Riders who fled off the battlefield. This meant the Executioners got a juicy flank charge in. Eep! Gary rolled appallingly and killed nothing while I killed an Executioner. nice. My Warriors passed their break test.

This meant my 12 Warriors could now charge the flank of the Executioners. I hadn't seen such bad dice rolling since...the last combat phase. No-one died and everyone remained as they were. Thaer returned to the battlefield, wiping Sorceress blood from his axe. He was immediately speared by a bolt. 180!

My Knights came up and obviously focused the minds of my Warriors so much that they finally killed some Executioners. The survivors ran off the table. I repositioned my three units to capture two table quarters.

I was well ahead but decided to be greedy and cast that one last spell to wipe of the Repeater Crossbows. Angur Boda miscast and rolled a double one on the chart. He disappeared in a blinding flash of light and took three Warriors with him, reducing the unit below half strength in the process. Meh.

Result Marginal Victory
Chaos 1389 vps
DE 1097 vps

  1. Magic. Never cast that one last spell - I lost over 250 vps in the subsequent explosion. The Dark Elf magic was poor once again. The range on their spells isn't great and they really depend upon two good phases early in the game. From turn three onward I am in amongst the Dark Elf army and putting pressure on the casters. Gary either needs to revise his magic strategy or invest in some better dice.
  2. This was a tighter game than the previous two, largely due to losing the first turn, but also because of the Noble on a Cold One. My envelop the flank, refuse the other tactic is still working - I wonder how long it will be before Gary learns how to counter it? Maybe I should change to something else?
  3. My mounted Exalted worked okay I guess. I hadn't considered giving him any offensive weaponry as I was hoping his raw stats would do the business. I hadn't considered the Noble who ended up with a 3+ save from my general. Perhaps the Biting Blade could be a good investment? Gary really didn't like me putting Sigurt in the foot unit. I was fairly certain that I could do this because the mount doesn't fly but I promised to check it out before our next game. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Done at last, done at last...thank God almighty, done at last!

I'm glad to see the back of this model.

I've finally finished my Exalted on his Daemonic Mount (well, to tabletop standard at least). The mount took far longer than I expected but the rider was relatively simple to complete. He only had a few different areas and textures; the armour, fur, skulls, cloak and axe.

The only thing I haven't covered so far in this painting log is the purple cloak. I gave it a base coat of Liche Purple. Normally I'd highlight up from this, but it seemed a little bright so I mixed in Chaos Black and painted this dark purple into the deepest folds. I then mixed some Liche Purple and Tentacle Pink for the highlights. To tie it all together I glazed it with Purple Ink (from an extremely old paint set - it's actually in a dropper).

Above is a close-up of the axe. I painted the wood Scorched Brown and then painted very fine Snakebite Leather grain all over it. Brown and Chestnut ink washes tied it all together.

I'm very happy with the result so far. Some parts are a little rough around the edges (the ink wash on the axe for instance) and I'll go back and tidy these up at a later date. I also need to paint some extra special tartan on his cloak.The main thing for now is that he is table top ready.
I just know he is going to die horribly...

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Saga of Sigurt Volsung part two

Following my last battle I had three more verses of The Saga of Sigurt Volsung to write up. Those of a nervous disposition and those with an aversion to bad poetry should look away now.

The armies opposed across the Ford of Arnod,
dark riders were cornered and flung to the stony ground.
The Banner of Wrath spat forth it's venom,
and the Lordling Elf died an ignoble death.

The cowardly Elves hid behind rock and bush,
our brave warriors showed them the virtue of honour.
Daemonic furies breathed down their neck,
but the Gods struck down Angur Boda for his dark pact.

The Druchii darkened the skies with bolts,
while hounds and furies were slaughtered.
Kurgan Knights swept the flank,
and the Dark Elves were pushed back to the sea.

Okay, back to painting my army...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Deploy for victory

I still hadn't completed my Daemonic Mount so we agreed to play at 1250 points again. While I had no changes to my last (winning) list, Gary had a surprise for me. Two in fact.

He dropped his Hydra in favour of two Repeater Bolt Throwers. I knew it would only be a matter of time. Gary hadn't wanted to buy these initially, instead relying on his magic and combat ability to battle my Horde but he was having trouble dealing with my Knights. To make things worse I'd upgraded them to Chosen in the last couple of games. Enter the Bolt throwers.

The Dark Elves also dropped their Noble in favour of an extra Sorceress and added Repeater Crossbows to the Dark Riders.

How would the changes affect the game?

1250 points
My Chaos Undivided mortals:
  • Aspiring Champion with Book of Secrets, extra hand weapon (Steed of Shadows spell)
  • Lvl 1 Sorcerer with 2 Dispel Scrolls (Dark hand of Death)
  • 12 Warriors full command
  • 10 Warriors full command Banner of Wrath
  • 5 Chosen Knights full command
  • 6 War hounds
  • Chariot
  • 8 Furies
The Dark Elves had:
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress
  • Lvl 2 Sorceress
  • 2 Repeater Bolt Throwers
  • 10 Repeater Crossbows
  • 16 Spearelves full command
  • 5 Dark Riders Repeater Crossbows
  • 5 Dark Riders Repeater Crossbows
  • 19 Executioners full command Banner of Murder
The Dark Elves won the choice of table edge and took the one with the hill. I had two woods clogging up my left middle and a hill on my right middle. I also had two ruined buildings in the centre of my deployment zone.

I deferred my choice of refused flank by putting my War hounds, Furies and Chariot smack bang in the middle of my table edge. By this stage, the Dark Elves had their Spear block on my right with a unit of Dark Riders nearby. I decided to deploy the rest of my army on the right and refuse the left.

Gary split the rest of his army evenly across his board edge.

The game
I won first turn. I marched the Knights up the extreme right toward the two Dark Rider units. Both Warrior units tramped up, one either side of the hill. I pushed my War Hounds into the centre of the battlefield and flew the Furies up behind them. I was hoping that if either was wiped out, the survivors would be able to threaten the Repeater Bolt Thrower on the hill.

The Executioners got six inches on their Banner of Murder and managed to charge the War Hounds. Obviously the lone survivor fled and the Furies panicked. The murderous Druchii ploughed on trying to run past the charge arc of my Chariot. I was in serious trouble on my left flank.

The Dark Riders did their thing. One unit got in the face of my Warriors with the Banner of Wrath, while the others ran up behind the hill. Combined pointy-eared shooting killed four Warriors from my larger unit. Their magic was less successful - a miscast ending the phase and wounding a Sorceress.

I charged the Knights at the Spearelves and failed due to range, but it did leave my unit nicely behind the Dark Riders who now had to receive the charge from my Warriors. My Chariot managed to hit the Executioners flank. I moved my Aspiring Champion out of the Warrior squad and up onto the hill. He swept down the hill and into the flank of the second Dark Rider unit with Steed of Shadows. He killed two but the survivors held. The other Riders were butchered by my Warriors. The Chariot killed four Executioners who held. Although I'd suffered some early casualties I was involved in several different combats by the second turn so I thought I was in control. Both of the Dark Rider units were neutralised too, my traditional bogey units.

I lost three more Warriors from the larger unit due to shooting but the Dark Elf magic was lousy and achieved nothing. My Chariot killed four more Executioners but the Elves held. My Knights now got to slam into the Spearelves and duly killed five. The survivors foolishly remained. My depleted Warriors charged the last of the Dark Riders still battling the Aspiring Champion - unsurprisingly they were destroyed. Both Repeater Bolt Throwers missed. My Knights killed seven more Spearelves and this time the rest ran away off the table. My Chariot broke and ran down the Executioners.

My Knights charged the Repeater Bolt Thrower. The crew fled and my horsemen broke up the war machine. My Sorcerer and the War Banner combined to panic the Repeater Crossbows. My Aspiring Champ got Steed of Shadows off again and forced the Sorceress to flee. My Chariot moved up to threaten the Bolt Thrower on the hill. It had one last sting in the tail though - it put a bolt through the chest of my Aspiring Champion. I ran it down with the Chariot for it's impudence. It was sometime around here that I used my first dispel scroll!

My Sorcerer shot down the last Sorceress with Dark Hand of Death, completely wiping out the Dark Elf army in the process.

Chaos 1850 vps
DE 545 vps

  1. My deployment worked well for the second week running. Again I tried to envelop a single flank, refusing the other. This kept my army nice and compact, negating the Dark Elf speed advantage. Of course the Bolt Throwers meant the Dark Elves were actually more static! Gary's more conventional deployment meant that battle could actually be joined this time around.
  2. I totally cocked up the Furies. My original plan was to fly them left up behind a wood or right behind the hill depending on where I chose to attack. I don't know what I was thinking. Fortunately, the Chariot saved the day. I will have to watch out for that banner, though.
  3. Magic was fickle again. With two level two's Gary could have rightly expected to dominate my two level one's. However, I managed to get off at least four spells and only needed one dispel scroll. Who'd have thunk?
  4. Gary is unsure what to do next. He is especially worried about the Knights and the Bolt Throwers just didn't work in this game. Nor did the magic. I thought adding some depth to the ranked units might help, allowing a flanking unit to counter charge. Gary favoured a more direct approach by firing his Sorceresses and hiring some fighty Nobles. I think the only sure thing is that I won't fight the same army twice.

Going, going...

I'm still trying to add to my new model fund so that I can make the final push and finish my WHFB Chaos army. To that end I have relisted some of the e-bay items that didn't sell first time around. Here they are:
I'll also be adding more new auctions very shortly. My new model fund stands at £36.39 at the moment and I reckon I need about £60 in total to finish the army.

£23.61 to go.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Base desires

More progress on my Daemonic mount. This has turned into something of an epic. I really didn't intend to spend so much time painting it to such a high level. Still, it will be a centrepiece for the army so it'll be worth it in the end.

I tore the model from it's temporary base and glued it to the already complete lave base. Of course this exposed the unpainted feet which will need some attention.

I also need to glue the tail onto the model and paint it.

I'm well chuffed with the pose of the model. It looks very dramatic. I hope the rider will also be suitably imposing.

I had a devil of a job completing the Chaos star. I wanted it to look like a molten lava core, like the beast was burning with an inner fire. My first attempt saw me painting the star white and using ink washes to tint it orange and yellow. It was a disaster. Next I painted it red and orange but it didn't stand out enough. So my third and final stab was white and yellow. I then had to paint very fine black lines to tidy the outline up and then touch up the grey and red flesh. Whew.

I thought I might have to pin the feet to get the model to stand up correctly as the tab was too small for the hole. Then I had a light bulb moment. I took some of the blu-tac I had used to secure the model to it's temporary base and used it to line the hole. It worked like a charm and a generous blob of super glue finished the job.

I'm almost ready to tackle the rider.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

I've got the bit between my teeth

I have another couple of photo's for you today. I've been putting the finishing touches to my Daemonic Mount (it's a surprisingly detailed model). This time around I painted the straps and leather bits. I started with Scorched Brown then mixed in some Bubonic Brown to highlight the edges.

You might also be able to spot a flash of colour. I painted the lining of the fur Liche Purple with Tentacle Pink highlights. This will also be the colour of the Exalted's cloak. The rationale for this is that each tribe wears it's own colours but upon elevation into Sigurt's inner council the tribal chieftains are required to exchange their own colours for the regal purple which the king wears.

I now need to paint the fiddly little details such as the metal bridle, the teeth and the eyes. Then I have the task of breaking the beast from his base and putting him on the proper lava base. I can't wait.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

The taint of Chaos

With the two bank holidays because of Easter I have four consecutive days off work. I'm hopeful I'll be able to squeeze in enough painting time to finish my army general.

Having finished the flesh but found it too light I washed it with a Brown/Black ink mix. I then decided to tackle the mane and other hair on the mount. I overbrushed Shadow Grey onto the black undercoat and then drybrushed Space Wolf Grey over the top. A Blue/Black ink wash tied it all together.

I went with the different greys to make the hair stand out but I wasn't sure how it would turn out - I didn't want the beast to overpower the rider. In the end I'm really happy with the result.

I felt like the model was really starting to come together but there were so many more fiddly bits to complete. I tackled the spiky growths next. I got out my smallest brushes and actually tried out a new technique; wet blending. I mixed some watery Codex Grey with Scab Red and also had plain watery Scab Red on my palette. I painted the Scab Red around each spike first and then feathered it out with the grey/red mix. It was painstaking work, mainly due to the number of spikes and their small size, but the effect was worth it.

I'm not sure how my efforts look onscreen with my rough and ready photography but the model itself looks pretty good. I went around the raised areas with small dots of Blood Red just to 'pop' the sprouting spikes. I hope the effect is subtle enough and plays down the Daemonic influence of the model - I want to keep the Chaos elements in my army to a minimum.

I painted the spikes themselves Dark Angels Green with Snot Green highlights and then washed them with Orc Flesh wash with a hint of Brown ink. This ties them in with the spikes on the base.

I'm so close to finishing the beast now - all I have left to do is paint the leather straps and metal buckles and black line the model. Then I can turn my attention to the rider.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

A horse, a horse...

Tuesdays are my regular gaming night. I couldn't play last night, so I stayed in and painted instead. Since I had a good hour or two I decided to tackle the flesh of the Daemonic Mount. I knew I wanted a grey colour - close to a natural horse colour with just a hint of Chaos corruption (in keeping with the rest of my not so fantastical horde of Chaos). After some deliberation I used Codex Grey as the main colour, mixed with a little Bestial Brown. I hoped this reddy brown would add some warmth to the beast. Here is the first covering - with some Chaos Black to darken it.

I left the Chaos Black undercoat showing in the deepest recesses. For the next layer I used straight Codex Grey with Bestial Brown. I didn't quite cover as much area as previously which helped to give some depth to the model.

The model was looking a little too mundane for my taste so I decided to paint some texture over the most prominent parts of the horse. I was trying to convey corded muscle or flayed flesh, just a hint that this wasn't a normal mount. I used some Fortress Grey with the Codex Grey/Bestial Brown combination. I was quite pleased with the result.

My only concern is whether the model is now too light. I may go over it with a Black/Brown ink wash to tie the layers together and tone it down.

Monday, April 2, 2007

REVIEW: Nightbringer

I bought the Ultramarines omnibus a while back and have only just gotten round to reading it. This is largely because it is a big fat book and a pain (quite literally) to carry around. However, it was either this or the Last Chancers trilogy, so I plumped for Space Marines. I have enjoyed the previous Graham McNeill novels I have read, but the subject matter of Space Marines put me off reading this earlier. Anyway, here is the review of Nightbringer, the first novel in the series.

The first part is the synopsis and tells you exactly what happens, so if you don't want to know the plot just skip straight to the review.

60 million years ago. A starship is draining a star of its energy. It deposits the energy in a pyramid on a nearby world. Alien ships attack the starship.

The present, Caernus IV. Dark Eldar attack a feral Imperial settlement. Gedrik is the only survivor. The aliens uncover a strange metal beneath a hill overlooking the settlement. Uriel Ventris, an Ultramarine Captain, is summoned to Marneus Calgar, the Ultramarine Chapter Master. Calgar sends Ventris and his company to Pavonis to stop Dark Eldar raids. He is also to investigate the Imperial Governor who has not paid the requisite tithes.

Pavonis. Judges Ortega and Sharben try to defend Governor Shonai from rioters. While they smuggle her away, Judge Collix opens fire and kills many civilians. Leotas Vergen, head of the Vergen cartel, dies.

The Ultramarines ship is attacked by Dark Eldar, led by Kesharq, en route to Pavonis. The Marines repulse the attack with the help of Adept Barzano. The Marines land at Brandon Gate, Pavonis. Before they can meet with the Governor, they are intercepted by Vendare Taloun, head of the main rival cartel to Shonai. Barzano therefore knows not to trust Ballion, the local Adept, who must have informed Taloun of their arrival. Collix and Sharben hold back the crowd outside the governors palace. Taloun tables a motion of no confidence in Governor Shonai.

Tech-priest Kolurst is killed in Tembra Ridge mine as he investigates power draining from the generators.

De Valtos, head of another cartel, sides with Taloun, as does Honan and Solana Vergen, now head of her cartel. Abrogas sides with the Governor. Barzano suspends the vote, allowing Shonai to remain in power. The Marines try to hunt down the Dark Eldar while Barzano is allocated Judge Sharben to investigate the Church of the Ancient Ways. De Valtos, who has previously been tortured by the Dark Eldar and escaped, tortures and kills a victim. He meets with Almerz Chanda, one of Shonai's closest advisors.

Ventris visits Gedrik on Caernus IV. Gedrik passes a cryptic message on to Ventris before dying. De Valtos and Taloun meet to plot their coup. Ventris discovers the hill of metal, now with a component removed. The Dark Eldar ship makes for Pavonis. It is intercepted by Ventris and his small party in their Thunderhawk. Ventris and Kesharq meet in battle. Ventris is seriously wounded and the Marines withdraw.

Traitors in the Pavonis PDF gather under the instructions of Taloun.

The citizens of Pavonis march peacefully against the Governor. It is turned into a riot by fake judges who assassinate the march leaders. Judge Ortega, with the help of the Marines, discover they are PDF traitors. De Valtos meets with Solana Vergen.

Overseer Lasko struggles to breach the last door deep in the mines.

Honan visits De Valtos and Taloun. He is drugged. Four warp beasts attack the Governor's palace. A Marine is killed but the beasts are destroyed. Barzano is revealed as an Inquisitor. PDF tanks sponsored by Taloun surround the city of Brandon Gate. Ventris discovers the corpse of Solana Vergen at the country estate of De Valtos. Honan has been horrifically tortured and Ventris puts him out of his misery. Abrogas is murdered. The resulting explosion destroys the Arbites precinct house.

The traitor PDF attack the city. The judges fight off waves of PDF. Chanda shoots Barzano. He hands the Governor over to De Valtos. Chanda is tortured as De Valtos cannot trust him. Barzano, Sharben and Shonai are imprisoned beneath the palace. Ventris leads the rescue mission. Barzano escapes but is badly wounded. The Governor is freed. Ventris locates De Valtos on Tembra Ridge.

Collix and Ortega seize the palace armoury. They hold off the PDF long enough to blow the weapons and deny them to the traitors. Both judges die in the blast. De Valtos and Kesharq penetrate the main chamber, deep in the mine. The metal objects collected by the Dark Eldar fit into the ancient sarcophagus. The Ultramarines attack the mine.

The Nightbringer awakes from its tomb. The Ultramarines and Dark Eldar fight its Necron servants. Ventris kills Kesharq. De Valtos is devoured by the Nightbringer. The Nightbringer calls its ship to Pavonis. Ventris threatens to destroy the tomb and trap the Nightbringer once again beneath the earth. The Nightbringer escapes to its ship. Barzano dies. Ventris destroys the tomb.

Taloun is executed for his treachery. The rebellion is put down. Shonai is reinstated as Governor. The Nightbringer renews its strength by eating a star. Ventris returns to Macragge.

I enjoyed this book more than I had anticipated. Space Marine books have a tendency to focus on long battle scenes and 'war porn' which tends to leave me cold, but this was different. There were lots of different plot strands and many of them didn't involve the marines at all. In fact this is a good book if you want to explore some of the 40k background away from the battlefield, especially political intrigue surrounding Imperial Governors. Much of the milieu of the novel was reminiscent of Rogue Trader era background material.

McNeill handles the story deftly, and like his previous novels, there is plenty of plot so the book rattles along at a fair old pace. His writing is generally good if workmanlike, with only a few hokey cliches to jar the reader. There were no glaring plot incosistencies or background innaccuracies that I noticed.

It is also good to see the enemies of the Ultramarines (Dark Eldar and another, ancient foe) have some attention, as they are quite under represented in Black Library fiction.

All in all I would recommend this book and I look forward to reading the next books in the series.

Score 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

Sunday, April 1, 2007

The bad, the worse and the ugly

I've had a terrible weekend.

First Newcastle get beat at home by Man City. It was so bad that a Newcastle fan ripped up his season ticket and threw it on the pitch. Then my girlfriend's mum's computer died, and because I'm the only vaguely computer literate family member, I had the job of trying to fix it. After two days of fruitless rooting around the guts of the computer and trawling the 'net for solutions I had to reformat the hard drive and re-install the operating system. Wonderful.

All this has meant I have had very little time for gaming activities. This is frustrating because I am within spitting distance of getting my Horde of Chaos up to 2000 points. I had hoped to finish off my Exalted on Daemonic Mount but I have only managed to get the chainmail and armour painted.

I drybrushed the chainmail with Boltgun Metal, followed by a lighter drybrush of Chainmail then a final drybrush of Mitril Silver. I washed the mail with Black Ink.

The rider's armour was a little more complicated. I started with a Tin Bitz basecoat, then a layer of Brazen Brass. I edged everything with Burnished Gold and then fine-lined Mithril Silver on the hard edges. To tie everything together I washed Chestnut Ink over the lot. Finally I brushed some Brown Ink into the recesses.

My next task is to tackle the mane.

To pull myself out of my abject funk I went and bought some reinforcements from Games Workshop. I had made some money on e-bay so I splashed out on some Marauder cavalry and some extra War hounds. I'm hoping I'll get some gaming time over the Easter weekend to put these models together and get them on the battlefield.