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