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.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

APOCALYPSE: Cadian Imperial Guard

Here is the Apocalypse list for my main Imperial Guard army, the Cadian 271st.

  • Command section
    • Heroic Senior Officer with power weapon
    • Master vox
    • Medic
    • Standard bearer
  • Sanctioned Psyker
  • 4 Ogryn
  • 10 Stormtroopers, melta gun, plasma gun
  • Infantry platoon
    • Command section, Junior Officer with powerfist, 2 plasma guns, melta gun
    • Infantry squad, missile launcher, grenade launcher, vox caster
    • Infantry squad, missile launcher, grenade launcher, vox caster
    • Infantry squad, missile launcher, grenade launcher
  • Armoured Fist, 10 infantry, flamer, vox, Chimera, multi laser, heavy bolter, heavy stubber, hunter killer missile
  • 20 Conscripts
Fast Attack
  • 3 Sentinels, 2 multi lasers, autocannon
Heavy Support
  • Demolisher, lascannon, plasma sponsons
  • Leman Russ, Heavy bolter
  • Basilisk, indirect
  • Heavy Weapon Platoon
    • Anti tank squad, 3 Lascannons
    • Command section, junior officer, missile launcher
  • Heavy Weapon Platoon
    • 3 Mortars
    • Command section, Junior officer with plasma pistol and power weapon, vox caster, 3 melta guns
Points: 1896

I've left out many of the possible toys and options in favour of a simpler army but it does weaken the list significantly. In particular, I have not selected any doctrines, deep striking or infiltrating. Still, there are 3 ordnance guns, a load of mid-high strength weapons and over a hundred models so they should contribute something in a battle.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

MODELLING: Blood Angel bases

I'm working on several blog posts over the weekend so expect to see a second Blood Angel battle report, a Cadian Apocalypse list, an Aeronautica Imperialis review and some pics of my Blood Angels shortly.

I picked up the Warhammer 40k basing kit yesterday, along with a box of Tactical marines. I was surprised to find 28 bases in a box containing just 10 models. Since I'm feeling a bit poorly, and not in good enough shape to paint to a decent standard I thought I'd do something far less demanding and use the basing kit to decorate the bases. This little lot took just 30 minutes to put together.

I glued the resin pieces and the large slate pieces randomly on the bases using superglue, then I added PVA glue and sprinkled on some of the smaller slate chippings. Finally I added fine sand over the rest. I'll leave them to dry out overnight then I'll start to build some of the Tactical marines and Veterans to put on them.

Friday, October 19, 2007

GENERAL: What the devil have I been up to?

I have posted a brand new battle report over on my other blog. This was the first outing for my Blood Angels with the new codex and a first game for me against the revised Chaos Space Marine codex. I'd urge you to head on over and check it out.

I haven't been posting as much partly because I've been busy with real life but mostly because I've been painting. I've all but finished my five Tactical marines, and that includes 3 layers of highlights, washes, the works. These models are by far the best painted of my rank and file models ever and even though it has taken a long time I want to carry this standard on over the rest of the army. Of course, I will get quicker and better as I progress because I'm out of practice painting. I'm really enjoying the challenge.

I'll post decent pictures of the completed models over the weekend, once I have experimented with my photography set up. All of the photos on lone pilgrim so far have been simple snapshots at my painting desk, but I really want to do justice to my models, and my Blood Angels in particular. I want to re-photograph some of my older Blood Angel models and post the results up here too.

I was so taken with my recent games and my painting exploits that I went out and bought another Tactical marines box. Not only will this give me another ten troops, the box comes with 3 special weapons and another heavy weapon. I plan to build all of them so that I will have some choices in my Tactical squads.

I'm really torn right now between getting stuck into my Blood Angels and tackling the Baneblade kit which is sitting there whispering at me from the corner. To make matters worse my limited edition Renegade Ogryn with Death Korps victim arrived from Forge World today. I tried to buy this at Games Day but it was sold out so they posted it later instead. It looks really sweet and makes me want to start my Renegade Militia army. I could add the Baneblade to them and play Apocalypse games using them alongside my Exigators Chaos Space Marines.

The Renegade Militia are supposed to be my primary painting goal this year but I now realise that my Blood Angels need a serious overhaul to make them battle worthy. I had thought that I could simply add a few models then concentrate on the Militia, but it doesn't look like that is the case. Realistically, I don't think I can finish both armies to a high standard this year. So I have a decision to make; do I put back the Militia to next year and concentrate on the Blood Angels or do I do the minimum with the marines and move on to the Militia?

A tough decision. I'll let you know what I decide.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

PAINTING: Blood Angel highlights

Having got my five Tactical marines painted up to tabletop level, I went down to my local store to get in a couple of games. I'll write the full battle reports up on my dedicated blog over the weekend, but suffice to say the games made me want to finish off my models properly.

So I broke out the paints tonight while England played Russia (why did I rush home from work to watch this?). I got all the first set of highlights done on the armour and then tidied up the purity seals and ammo pouches and packs. The picture below is taken with a flash so it's not the best, but I'm sure you get the idea.

I still have another series of highlights to paint and then the little details like eye lenses, grenades and applying transfers. Then the tough decision will be whether to continue with the Blood Angels or take a break to construct my Baneblade.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

APOCALYPSE: The big delivery

After an inordinate amount of time spent faffing on with DHL I managed to take delivery of my Apocalypse stuff yesterday. Not much point advance ordering it then.

Typically, Games Workshop have screwed up the order, so I'll have to get on the phone to them to sort it out. I hope they'll tell me to keep the extra stuff, as they have done in the past, but I think it's unlikely. I had originally ordered the gamers pack, which consisted of the backpack, rulebook, templates and dice, as my local GW store told me there would be none at Games Day. Of course I managed to pick up a pack, minus the templates, at Games Day.

So I rang GW to re-arrange my order, cancelling the pack and getting the templates instead. Gary also wanted the templates so I ordered some for him. In the end I have been sent all of my original order plus the two sets of templates, and been fully charged for everything. Gah!

Here's what I got.

I still can't quite believe how big the templates are. Here is the Apocalyptic Barrage template in all its glory.

That's covering a Leman Russ, demolisher, Sentinel squadron, about four heavy weapon bases and most of an infantry squad. Yikes! This is the 10" Apocalyptic blast marker.

Finally, we have the Hellstorm template. It's covering a Basilisk, Leman Russ, Demolisher, Sentinel squadron and then clipping a Chimera.

I did get another funky template in my box. I think this one is a limited edition.

Yep, it's that old favorite, the Vortex grenade. I can't wait to try it out.

The item I was most excited about was the Baneblade. Here are all the sprues.

They're massive. The box also comes with some serious assembly instructions. The booklet is actually stapled down the edge.

The illustrations are all computer generated.

The last thing in the box is the transfers. This is a big sheet with lots of different options.

Looking at the kit, I reckon it will take me a good weekend to put it together, then a similar amount of time to paint it. I wonder if Gary would fancy a game of Apocalypse to christen it?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

PAINTING: Tactical marines stage two

I got a wee bit of painting in and managed to chuck some Blood Red on my marines. I had to use the flash in the photo below, so it's not a terrific representation of the real colour. I also painted the chest eagles, guns and pouches Chaos Black in anticipation of the colours/highlights to come.

Finally, I washed some Brown ink over the base. I'll go back to the bases later and lighten them with some drybrushing.

Stage three will hopefully follow shortly.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

APOCALYPSE: Imperial Guard

I've just come off the back of a really busy period; I've been out and about four nights of the last five. Consequently I'm absolutely knackered tonight and I've crawled onto my blog to keep you up to date with what I've been up to and what I'll be doing in the near future.

I've transferred the final battle report from this blog over to my dedicated blog. You can read it here. That means that from now on, all the battle reports I post in the future will go directly onto that blog and I'll be constantly updating it with old games that have never appeared on this blog, just on my old website. I'll still flag new reports up on this primary blog as and when.

I got back from work tonight to find a note from DHL saying they were unable to deliver a parcel. I'm pretty sure this is my Apocalypse stuff, including the Baneblade. Aaaarggh, I want APOCALYPSE stuff NOW! I'll have to pick it up from the depot tomorrow night. All my other projects will have to wait while I put the Baneblade together and paint the behemoth. The only decision will be whether to add it to my Cadian Imperial Guard or paint it in Chaos colours for my Exigator Chaos Space Marines and later for my Renegade Militia. Whatever, I desperately need to get my Blood Angels tactical marines painted first so I can actually start playing the army.

Meanwhile, I'm still ploughing through the remainder of my Games Day swag. I'm over halfway through Descent of Angels and will finish it by the weekend, I think. My opinion so far is meh. There has been far too much pre-Imperial build up with kids driving the plot, obviously so that they can go on to become Space Marines later. I'm hoping that it will pick up now that the Legion has been reunited with it's Primarch.

Having finished and reviewed Apocalypse I have moved on to the next glossy book on my pile; Aeronautica Imperialis. Once I've finished this I need to read the supplement Tactica Aeronautica. I reckon I'll be buying models for this game sometime in the second half of next year if I enjoy the rulebooks. I'll keep you all informed.

And now, eventually, I can get onto the main reason for this post. Below is an Apocalypse army list for all the odds and sods of my various Imperial Guard projects outside of my main army - Cadians.

  • Commissar Yarrick
  • Commissar Gaunt
  • Command squad
    • Heroic senior officer (Corbec), plasma gun, veteran with standard (Milo), medic (Dorden), sniper rifle (Mkoll)*
  • 10 Stormtroopers, plasma gun
  • Infantry platoon
    • Command squad, junior officer with bolt pistol, 4 guardsmen (Praetorian)
    • Infantry squad, autocannon, melta gun (Praetorian)
    • Infantry squad, lascannon, plasma gun (Catachan)
  • Infantry platoon (Catachan)
    • Command squad, junior officer with bolt pistol, flamer, 3 guardsmen
    • Infantry squad, flamer
    • Infantry squad, flamer
    • Infantry squad, heavy bolter, flamer, veteran sergeant with bolt pistol
Heavy Support
  • Mortar squad
*Not strictly legal but it was the best way I could find to represent the Tanith models I have.

This is a real hotch potch of models dredged from the back of my cupboard. They've never seen the light of day for many moons and an Apocalypse game is probably the only time they ever will. The next army list I'll post will be my 'proper' Imperial Guard army, my Cadians.

Righto, I'm off to paint some Blood Angels.

Monday, October 8, 2007

APOCALYPSE: Daemonhunters

My Exigators Chaos space marines see action in another battle report here for those following their exploits.

Meanwhile, I've put together another army list for Apocalypse. My radical Daemonhunters are one of my favourite armies in terms of background, models and paint jobs but they are awful on the tabletop. They should be fun in Apocalypse games, though, where the emphasis is more on having a laugh than winning. As with my other lists, I kept the wargear to the absolute minimum of what is shown on the models.

  • Inquisitor Lord, thunder hammer, bolt pistol, psychic hood
    • 3 combat servitors, 2 acolytes with power armour and bolt pistols, 2 familiars, 2 hierophants
  • Inquisitor Lord, psycannon
    • gun servitor with plasma cannon, warrior with plasma gun, 2 warriors with shotguns, 2 sages, 3 mystics
  • Inquisitor, anointed weapon, incinerator
  • 2 Daemonhosts
  • 3 Death cult assassins
  • Vindicare assassin
  • Culexus assassin
  • Callidus assassin
  • Eversor assassin
  • 9 Sormtroopers, 2 meltaguns, rhino with hunter killer missile, extra armour, smoke
  • 8 Stormtroopers, 2 flamers, veteran sergeant with plasma pistol, rhino with extra armour, smoke
  • 6 Stormtroopers, 2 plasma guns
  • 6 Stormtroopers, 2 grenade launchers
Points: 1711

I have two lots of Imperial Guard and my Blood Angels to add to the Daemonhunters to make an Imperial alliance. I think the Daemonhunters would add some close combat counter assault to the thin line of Imperial Guardsmen, where their lack of speed wouldn't be a factor. Probably not the most effective use of points but they look cool.

And who wouldn't like the chance to use all four assassins in the same game?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

REVIEW: Apocalypse

I'll get this out of the way first; I've re-posted another Chaos Space Marine battle report here.

On to the review.

Apocalypse is a 200 page expansion book for Warhammer 40,000 which lets players fight cataclysmic battles using their whole model collections, as well as super-heavy vehicles and titans.

The book is split into six main sections along with three massive battle reports.

Part one explains what Apocalypse is all about. Jervis Johnson outlines the philosophy behind these larger games. They are not ultra-competitive, win-at-all-costs games, but sociable get togethers where players can use all their models, even the dusty ones that have languished on the shelf because they 'don't make their points back.'

The Apocalypse mission is described in depth - normal 40k missions aren't used. This is because a standard deployment zone wouldn't hold a 6000 point army, for example. A neat innovation is the bidding method for deployment. Each side bids up to 30 minutes, with the lowest bidder setting up first but automatically taking first turn. They only have the number of minutes to set up that they bid, with undeployed models going into reserve. This will hopefully encourage players to set up quick and loose rather than slow and methodical, so that everyone can get on with the game. Having played a few mega-battles before and endured two hour deployments followed by an hour-long game I think this is a very good idea.

Reserves are dealt with differently, too. They are called strategic reserves and half of them (chosen by the player) enter on turn two while the remainder arrive on turn three. This ensures that all units will reach the battlefield with enough time to contribute to the battle.

Thank the Emperor that victory points aren't used to determine the winner! Imagine trying to add up the victory points for 20,000 point armies. Instead, half a dozen objectives are placed on the board and the victor is the player who captures the most objectives. This will encourage gung-ho play, I reckon, rather than players hanging back with troops to preserve victory points.

The second part of the expansion book concerns organising a battle. It's only four pages long but gives important, practical advice on how to run an Apocalypse game. Games Workshop staff would do worse than read this bit of the book, because I've had nightmares with previous mega-battles!

Armies and battlefields are covered in the third section. This is the 'thinnest' but prettiest part of the book. It has lots of photos of big armies; artillery companies, a horde of Orks, a phalanx of Necrons and lots of players own armies which they have expanded for Apocalypse. Vehicles are looked at in particular, with their markings examined as well as super-heavies and scratch built variants. Tables and terrain get some love too.

It was right about here that I realised that Apocalypse was essentially the first 40k coffee table book. It is in a suitably large format which makes the colour photographs all the more impressive and is the sort of book you could leave lying around and just pick up and leaf through for a spare five minutes. It's probably the best book you could show to someone who does not 'get' the Games Workshop hobby and make them understand why the games are fun to play. The three battle reports are even more glossy as they come in fold-out format, meaning the pages fold out to show an in-game photograph across four pages. They are truly impressive, especially the Exterminatus battle at 40,000 points! The scale of the game is truly staggering. If you don't have a big goofy grin on your face while reading these battle reports then you must have a geeky heart of stone.

Part four introduces the only new rules to the game. Games Workshop have long since decided that expansions won't alter the core mechanics of 40k, so these rules only add what is required; rules for gargantuan creatures such as Ork Squiggoths, rules for super-heavy vehicles like the Baneblade, rules for flyers and new weapon rules. The weapon rules are the most fun to read for their sheer destructive power. The blast markers are gigantic (10", 7" a 4x5" barrage template and a 16.5" flamer template) and there are special rules for destroyer weapons, which always inflict penetrating hits on vehicles and cause instant death on living creatures regardless of toughness.

The datasheets are explored in the largest chapter, chapter five. There are two variants; legendary units (which describe super-heavy tanks, titans, flyers and other stuff you wouldn't find in a regular codex) and battle formations (organisations of units beyond the scope of a normal 40k game such as an Imperial Guard artillery company - 9 basilisks!).

Each 40k faction, other than Daemonhunters and Witch hunters, gets it's own selection of datasheets. The best part of this section, and something I wasn't expecting at all, was the explanation of the higher level organisation of each faction. One of the best is the genesis of an Ork Waaagh which ingeniously combines numbers of Orks with planets conquered and timescale in one diagram. Entirely new background material is outlined in the Necron pages, while a whole expeditionary force is described in the Tau section. I know I'll be plundering this for my Skolarii Sector background.

Games Workshop promises to create more datasheets in the future and post them on their website and publish them in White Dwarf.

The sixth and last section covers strategic assets. They work a little like strategems in Cities of Death, representing tactical assets (such as the vortex grenade), battlefield assets (like minefields), front line assets (shield generators and the like) and support assets (such as anti-plant barrages). Players always begin with one asset each and then the side with the least number of points gets bonus assets. Some of the datasheets for battle formations give you more strategic assets; fielding an entire space marine battle company(!) gives you three, for example. Many of them seem unbalanced upon first reading them, but in the context of the wholesale carnage on the tabletop anyway, perhaps they are just fine. Anyway, they should provide some memorable moments during the game, which seems to be what Apocalypse is all about.

I was suitably impressed by this book. I know that a lot of people have taken Apocalypse to be a cynical marketing ploy by Games Workshop to sell more models, to pull new gamers into the hobby with the spectacle or see it as a diversion from producing more 'competitive' codexes, but I don't buy it.

Of course Games Workshop want to sell more models; they are a business, and that's what business' do, they sell product. If Apocalypse sells well that will benefit the company and will allow them to invest in other areas which will benefit all gamers.

I don't see it as a game for 'newbies' either. I see it as a game for veterans who don't concentrate solely on competitive play and who have already collected several armies but rarely get to play them. I don't have to spend anything on models to get use out of this expansion.

Some people have moaned that models such as the new plastic Baneblade are a con because they cost so much (£60) and you won't be able to play them in every game. Sure, you won't play them week in week out in 1500 point pick up games, but they don't represent the whole hobby. What's wrong with writing your own scenarios to include the Baneblade in smaller games? Can't someone buy the Baneblade just to model and paint it? Not everyone plays only tournament games. At the very least Apocalypse gives players a framework in order to play multi-player battles.

Apocalypse has really whetted my appetite after a break from 40k and it has made me pull out all my models and write up Apocalypse lists for them. I'm looking forward to playing some really spectacular games in the future.

My final score for Apocalypse is 9/10.


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

Saturday, October 6, 2007


There's another 40k battle report posted on my other blog here.

My main reason for posting, though, is to show you my Apocalypse Ork army. Most of my models are second edition, single pose ones from the boxed set, and have only been painted to tabletop level. I'd never consider playing them for regular games as I'd be too embarrassed, but they'd do okay for Apocalypse. The remainder of the models came from Gary who got rid of his old Ork army and gave me a handful of models.

From a numbers point of view, the Orks are comparable in size to my Chaos Space Marines army, but in terms of points they are under half the value. Again I'm really short of vehicles. Here's the full list.

  • Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka
  • Warboss, slugga, choppa
    • 5 Nobz powerclaw, slugga, 4 choppa, slugga, wartrukk, big shoota
  • Warboss, 'Uge choppa
  • Painboss, 'Urty syringe
  • 14 Shoota boyz, 3 rokkits, nob, powerklaw
  • 21 Slugga boyz, nob, powerklaw
  • 13 Slugga boyz, nob, iron gob
  • 17 Shoota boyz, big shoota, nob, choppa
  • 12 Shoota boyz, 2 rokkits
  • 30 Gretchin, slaver, squighound, grabba stik
  • 20 Gretchin, slaver, squighound
  • 12 Gretchin, slaver
  • 10 Gretchin, slaver
Fast Attack
  • 5 Warbikes
  • 1 Wartrak, twin linked big shoota
Heavy Support
  • Dreadnought, rokkit launcha, big shootas
Points: 1898

I'll be back tomorrow with my review of the Apocalypse book.

Friday, October 5, 2007

APOCALYPSE: Chaos Space Marines

There are still a handful of battle reports initially posted on this blog that I am transferring over to my dedicated battle reports blog. The first of these is a 40k battle between my Chaos Space Marines and Gary's Dark Eldar. Once I have the rest of them moved I'll start digging through my archives for my other battle reports. I reckon I have somewhere in the region of 150 of them, charting my gaming progress over the past three or four years. Eventually I want to start compiling some stats based upon these reports; win/loss ratios, most played missions, etc.

Meanwhile, I have started making army lists of all of my painted armies in anticipation of some Apocalypse action. I have asked Gary to do the same so I can work out likely alliances and we can split our collections evenly. I started by examining my Chaos army which has obviously been massively affected by the new codex. I kept the wargear to an absolute minimum so that all the models are WYSIWYG and they'll be easier to play in game. I forget wargear and special abilities even in small games so this makes sense in an Apocalypse game.

Here's what I have.

  • Daemon Prince
  • Chaos Lord, bike, lightning claw
  • Chaos Lord, mark of nurgle, daemon weapon
  • Chaos Lord, mark of nurgle, palanquin of nurgle, daemon weapon
  • Sorceror, mark of nurgle, nurgles rot
  • Greater Daemon (Great Unclean One)
  • 5 Possessed
  • Dreadnought, twin linked lascannon
  • 10 Chaos space marines, plasma gun, lascannon, aspiring champion with powerfist, icon of chaos glory
  • 10 Chaos space marines, plasma gun, lascannon, aspiring champion with powerfist, icon of chaos glory
  • 6 Chaos space marines, plasma gun, aspiring champion with plasma pistol, icon of chaos glory
  • 9 Thousand sons, Sorceror with warptime
  • 7 Plague marines, melta gun, flamer, aspiring champion with power weapon
  • 7 Plague marines, plasma pistol
  • 7 Plague marines, 2 plasma guns, aspiring champion with powerfist
  • 6 Plague marines
  • 6 Lesser daemons (daemonettes)
  • 8 Lesser daemons (Furies)
Fast Attack
  • 8 Raptors, 2 flamers, aspiring champion with power weapon
  • 2 Spawn
Heavy Support
  • 3 Obliterators
  • Predator, twin linked lascannon, heavy bolter sponsons
  • 6 Havocs, 4 heavy bolters, icon of chaos glory
  • 6 Havocs, 2 autocannon, missile launcher, icon of chaos glory
  • 7 Havocs, 2 melta guns, flamer, aspiring champion with plasma pistol
Points: 4022

If you look closely you may notice some slight differences from the picture and the army list. This is because I initially forgot my Furies who were away campaigning with my Warhammer Fantasy Horde of Chaos, and I had included Cypher in the photo but dropped him from the list. He is unique in that he can be used in two army lists; Chaos space marines and Imperial Guard. I'll not include him in any specific list but decide before each specific game.

It's only seeing the army altogether that I realise how many infantry models I have and how few vehicles there are. If I ever want to expand the army, vehicles are definitely the way to go. For not many models (and therefore not a lot of painting) I would use up a lot of points. A Brass Scorpion would be great...

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

PAINTING AND MODELLING: Red, but not blood

In between reading all the books I picked up at Games Day I have managed a little bit of painting. I now have five Blood Angels marines who have metallic bits and a base coat of Mechrite red armour.

The Mechrite red takes about 15 minutes per minute to apply as I had to leave the recesses black to help with shading. I have obviously been a little heavy handed with my initial metallic drybrush in places because bits that are supposed to be black have a silvery glint. I hope this won't show up too much in the finished miniatures. My next task is to cover the armour in Blood Red.

On the reading front, I have now started Descent of Angels, the latest Horus Heresy novel. It starts on Caliban, before the Emperor arrives. Already the splits between the proto-Dark Angels are appearing...

I'm also finishing off the Apocalypse supplement. The end of the book is proving a far tougher read than the start. This isn't because it is so bad, on the contrary these are my favourite bits. There is a section at the beginning of each faction's data sheets that examines how that race/army organises itself on an Apocalyptic level. The best so far is the genesis of an Ork Waaagh which ingeniously combines numbers of Orks with planets conquered and timescale in one diagram. Neat. The information is good, and I wasn't expecting it, so I am taking my time in reading it. A full review will follow.

In the meantime I have more marines to paint and some Apocalyptic army lists to write. I wonder how many points my entire model collection comes to?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

REVIEW: The Dark King/The Lightning Tower


This review contains spoilers.

The Horus Heresy Chapbook contains two short stories; The Dark King and The Lightning Tower, by Graham McNeill and Dan Abnett respectively. It is a limited edition of 1500 copies.

The stories concern themselves with two Primarchs who have developed a bitter enmity; Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists and Konrad Curze of the Night Lords.

Part 2 - The Dark King by Graham McNeill

Konrad Curze, Primarch of the Night Lords, is haunted by visions of Astartes fighting each other and a golden eagle cast from the heavens. As he comes to his senses he realises that he has attacked Rogal Dorn, Primarch of the Imperial Fists. Curze is imprisoned.

Curze and Dorn had quarreled about the purpose of the Great Crusade; Curze thought it was to conquer, to force obedience through fear, while Dorn thought it was to liberate and govern with benevolence. The Night Lords Primarch tries to illustrate his point. Curze gave a gun to a prisoner. While Curze intimidated the prisoner, he was compliant. As soon as Curze turned his back, the prisoner attacked him. Curze mercilessly killed the prisoner. Dorn is disgusted and orders that the Night Lords stand down from the conflict on Cheraut.

Curze told Fulgrim, Primarch of the Emperor's Children, about his tormenting visions. Fulgrim breaks his confidence and tells Dorn. Dorn confronts Curze. This leads to the fight between Curze and Dorn described earlier.

Curze learns that the Night Lords are to be recalled to Terra to account for their methods. He also discovers that Nostramo, their homeworld, is rife with corruption and lawlessness. Curze escapes his prison and slaughters many marines in the event. He uses the shadows and relishes the fear he causes in his victims. He becomes the Night Haunter.

Curze returns to Nostramo. The Imperial Fists follow him. Society on Nostramo has broken down. Curze belives that without the fear of reprisal, humanity has reverted to it's basest desires and that the Emperor's belief in the goodness of mankind is folly. Curze reads the Tarot cards and gets the same reading as Malcador in The Lightning Tower. Curze destroys Nostramo in the belief that it's sacrifice is what is required to preserve the galaxy for humanity.

Konrad Curze has always been one of the most interesting Primarchs to me, largely because of the literary and film links with Kurtz from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Colonel Kurtz from the film Apocalypse Now. I loved both the book and the film and the Kurtz character is integral to both of them. He is an ambiguous figure who exists to critique progress and the nature of civilization and seems able to connect to some base, animal will within himself and humanity.

Of course the other reading is that he is simply insane. His visions are true, though...

It's good to see an outing for Curze and a glimpse into his tragedy. It's also good that he doesn't descend into the typical pantomime villain, evilly cackling as he hatches his nefarious plans. Instead he is plagued by troubling truths and is betrayed and forced out by those around him. His twisted relationship with Dorn is well drawn and McNeill's writing is as solid and dependable as ever.

I give the The Dark King and The Lightning Tower 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