Tuesday, July 29, 2008

MODELLING: Quick win

In a recent game with my Blood Angels I played my old Dreadnought Rueben. The model was released in late 2nd edition, or maybe very early 3rd edition 40k and came without a base. I improvised with two square Warhammer Fantasy bases joined together with Milliput. Here's how he looked.

He served me well for maybe 10 years but square bases are now a definite no-no in 40k and besides, there are new dedicated Dreadnought bases. I mail-ordered a new base from GW and painted it up to give me a 'quick win' in updating my Blood Angels for 5th edition.

I'm sure you'll agree it looks a lot better. It will also now match my other Dreadnought base (although that one could probably do with a repaint).

One of my favourite things about Dreadnought Rueben is his custom banner. I drew and painted it myself, freehand, to represent the drop pod massacre incident when Brother Rueben was hideously injured and subsequently interred in his death dealing sarcophagus. If you look closely you can see how old this model is by the shape of the drop pods - that's what they originally looked like.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

GENERAL: Bi-monthly book update

Two months have flown by so here is my latest bi-monthly book update.

Books bought.
  • Sniper One, Sgt Dan Mills
  • Soldier, Mike Jackson
  • Imperial Armour: Apocalypse
  • Battle for the Abyss, Ben Counter
  • Warhammer 40,000 5th edition
While not strictly Games Workshop books I am including Sniper One by Sgt Dan Mills and Soldier by Mike Jackson in my update. That's because I'm not generally a fan of Military fiction or history but I am interested in how it may inform my gaming activities. In particular I think both books can help me when it comes to writing scenarios, background and my own fiction.

Sniper One was an interesting read. It's a real-life account of a Sniper platoon under siege in Iraq. Bad points first. It made me appreciate the quality of writing in the other books I read, even Black Library novels. The narrative could have been much more compelling, as there was a great story in there somewhere, but it wasn't shaped very well, and the descriptions and characterisations were poor. It was also distressing to see that the hyper violent, racist, misogynistic, meat-headed, Manichean morality of stereotypes of squaddies was firmly in place.

The good points included the fact that the book shone a light on what our armed forces are doing in these far away places - and this is often in conflict with what the politicians are telling us. From a gaming point of view, all the little details were great; the terminology and fetishisation of weapons, the reasons why missions are made and succeed or fail, and the squabbling behind the scenes about resources and policy. All of this could be used in 40k fiction (with Imperial Guard naturally) to create an authentic milieu.

I also bought Imperial Armour: Apocalypse. It was inevitable I would buy this book as I am getting more and more interested in Forge World products and I love the idea of Apocalypse. I wasn't blown away though. It's functional enough I guess but has even less background material in it than I had presumed. Still, it will enable me to get some of Forge World's glorious models on the tabletop.

Brothers of the Snake was not the type of book I was expecting. I thought it would be a straightforward novel but it is actually a collection of loosely linked short stories. I got the feeling that Dan Abnett wrote these over a long time period and drew them all together to be released at once, in a similar way to the start of the Gaunt's Ghosts series. They also differ in style and tone from his previous books as most of the stories are told from a 'distance.' The best comparison I can make is that it reads a bit like the Silmarillion, in that actions are described in generalities rather than specifics. The use of a 'long lens' helps to show the Marines as superhuman and legendary figures, something that other Black Library novels have often failed to do. Brothers of the Snake does a good job describing the variety of missions a Chapter might undertake, and convincingly portrays the rituals surrounding a Space Marine Chapter. I'd still recommend the book but it's not as satisfying as I'd hoped.

40k 5th edition is a 300 page hard backed monstrosity and will take some reading. It looks gorgeous so far, though.

Battle for the Abyss is also currently on the reading stand.

Books read.
  • Brothers of the Snake (paperback)
  • Imperial Armour: Apocalypse
  • Sniper One, Sgt Dan Mills

Here's what I already own and still need to read:
  • Imperial Armour Three: The Taros campaign
  • Liber Chaotica
  • Storm of Chaos
  • Imperial Infantryman's Primer (Damocles Gulf edition)
  • The Life of Sigmar
  • Faith and Fire
  • Storm of Iron
  • Dark Apostle
  • Cardinal Crimson
  • Warriors of Ultramar
  • Dead Sky, Black Sun
  • 13th Legion
  • Kill Team
  • Annihilation Squad
  • Space Wolf
  • Ragnar's Claw
  • Grey Hunter
  • Soul Drinker
  • The Bleeding Chalice
  • Crimson Tears
  • Battle for the Abyss
  • 40k 5th edition
  • Soldier

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I broke out the modelling files and superglue yesterday to build my Techmarine and Servitors.

The common consensus is that the Techmarine is a characterful but poor choice for a competitive Marine army list. It's a real shame because the model is looks great. The thing I wasn't prepared for was just how large he was with the servo-harness. Emperor knows how any enemy model will actually fit into base-to-base with the Techmarine!

The servitors are pretty average lookswise but have a great utility in that I can use them in my Blood Angel army and my Inquisition army retinues.

Righto - I'm off to muster some more Tactical Marines.

Friday, July 25, 2008

MODELLING: Force Lazarus to do list

Over the past few days I've been really enthusiastic about putting together my Blood Angels models. I had a day off work today so I've had a good few hours to devote to organising my army. The first thing I did was pull out all of the models I could find. It was an impressive haul and I have easily enough models to cover the 2000 points I have promised to paint for the Warseer Tale of 40k Gamers.

After I'd put the models into some kind of order I used the Space Marine Force Lazarus chart in Apocalypse to sketch out my own version of the Blood Angels 2nd Company. He's what I plan to collect:

  • Captain Lazarus
  • Honourguard (jump packs)
  • Chaplain Arillus
  • Epistolary Angelus
  • Honourguard (Razorback)
  • Techmarine Kadeon
  • 4 Servitors (Razorback)
  • Terminator Squad Sanctarin
  • Terminator Squad Kalastin
  • Scout Squad Versos
  • Scout Squad Valera
  • Furiso Dreadnought Blackblood
  • Dreadnought Rueben
  • Dreadnought Osiander
  • Tactical squad Zephrus (Rhino)
  • Tactical Squad Tabbris (Rhino)
  • Tactical squad Tarasque (Rhino)
  • Tactical squad Volturnus (Rhino)
  • Tactical Squad Favonius (Drop Pod)
  • Tactical squad Notus (Drop Pod)
  • Assault squad Solaris (jump packs)
  • Assault squad Ombra (jump packs)
Fast Attack
  • Land Speeder
Heavy Support
  • Devastator squad Ignatius (Rhino)
  • Devastator squad Tarsarus (Rhino)
  • Whirlwind
  • Land Raider
  • Land Raider Crusader
  • Baal Predator
  • Predator Destructor
  • Predator Annihilator

If I collect and paint all that lot I can expand it further with Apocalypse by buying say another Land Raider to make an Armoured Spearhead, maybe another Whirlwind to make a Suppression Force and I'll certainly have a Battle Company.

In any case I'm completely occupied with gluing together all the models I have already got so expect to see quite a few assembled squads over the coming days. That means I can hit the ground coming for the start of the painting challenge.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

MODELLING: Blood Angels Veterans muster

I enjoyed putting my Blood Angels Assault squad together so much yesterday that I decided to dig out the rest of my unassembled Blood Angles models and see what I had. I found a Veteran squad, a Tactical squad, a Techmarine with servo-harness and four servitors and a Whirlwind. They will go alongside the Land Raider, Land Raider Crusader, Land Speeder, 15 Tactical Marines, Command squad with jump packs, Captain and 20 or so Scouts that I already knew about. That's one hell of an army I'll have when everything is built and painted.

I knocked one unit off that to do list when I constructed my Veterans.

From left to right they are armed with power sword and plasma pistol, power axe and plasma pistol, lightning claw, boltgun and finally powerfist. Like the Assault squad I used resin extras and slate to liven up the bases, although a couple of the models already came with their own rocks to stand on.

Rather than use these models as a squad in their own right I think I'll use them as Veteran sergeants in my Tactical and Devastator squads. My tentative plan so far is to model up the entire Blood Angels 2nd company based upon the organisational chart in the Apocalypse rulebook, led by Captain Lazarus. As you can see from above, I already own a fair chunk of the figures.

Anyway, I'm off work on Friday so I plan to get all of my stuff, painted and unpainted, assembled and unassembled, together in one place and make some final decisions then.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

MODELLING: Chaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrge!

I was inspired by my two games of 5th edition 40k to put together some more Troops for my Blood Angel army. I had a root around my bits box and came up with five Assault Marines. The Veteran Sergeant has the classic powerfist and he is backed up by four regular Assault Marines. I already have another of these metal models in my army so I gave this one a grenade in his off hand to make him stand apart.

I obviously got these models second hand, but I have no idea where from. They still bear the remnants of an old, blue paint scheme. All that should disappear under a black undercoat.

I made the bases first using resin pieces from the hero and urban basing sets from Games Workshop. I then pinned the Marines using brass rod. Having seen the new True Line of Sight rules in 5th edition I'm just glad I didn't build them any higher.

I'm not going to paint the models just yet as I have signed up to the Tale of 40k Painters challenge on Warseer. I may put together some more Blood Angels instead, ready to be painted as soon as the I'll save them for August I think.

Of course I should be painting that Apocalypse Super-Heavy Mantis Stalk tank...

Monday, July 21, 2008

GENERAL: 2nd and 5th

This is just a short blog entry to point you towards my 2nd 40k 5th edition battle report. It was another game against Gary's Chaos Daemons, this time at a meatier 1200 points. Check it out here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

GENERAL: The first push

I'm interrupting coverage of my Daemonhunters 3rd edition 40k Vogen campaign to bring you my first 5th edition battle report. I decided to bust out my Blood Angels, despite the fact that I have very few models painted for them, and take on Gary's Chaos Daemons. You can read the full report here.

I've also taken the first steps in reducing my New Model Fund deficit. I've listed four items on eBay relating to the Judge Dredd Roleplaying Game, published by Games Workshop in the late 1980's. I've also listed my old laptop RAM. If you're interested take a look here.

Friday, July 18, 2008

NEW MODEL FUND: Death from above

It's been about six weeks since I updated my New Model Fund and there has been lots of activity to report on.

The good news is that I have managed to get a good run of auctions going on eBay. I am putting up two items a week which isn't a lot, but if I keep it up it will amount to over 100 items per year. It keeps things manageable without taking over my life. It'll also keep a steady income stream coming in to fund my model purchases. So far I have made over £50 by selling old role-playing books and I have plenty more to sell.

The bad news is that I bought some models. Expensive ones.

I finally succumbed and ordered two Aeronautica Imperialis fleets from Forge World. One was Imperials, naturally, and my wing now boasts four Thunderbolts, two Lightnings, one Marauder Bomber and one Marauder Destroyer.

I deliberated over their opponents for some time. Chaos was an obvious one as they fit into the narrative of the Skolarii Sector and my main opponent plays Chaos in 40k, but I understand they can be tricky to get the hang of; they have a horde of cheap and nasty aircraft and then one ginormous bomber. At the other extreme the Eldar are very powerful and elite to the point where some of their craft have had their points values changed. Because I wanted two evenly matched factions I was left with Tau and Orks. I finally plumped for the Orks because they fit in with the Skolarii Sector background better.

My Ork wing consists of six Fightas, four Fighta Bommers, a Bommer and some Grot bombs.

I hope that the two wings will be balanced opponents and have enough different models, and play differently, in each wing to compete with each other in a variety of missions.

Did I mention that they were expensive? These two armies set me back almost £150.

Here is what all that activity has done to my fund.
  • Total income from sales (and my penny jar) £436.08
  • Less selling fees £34.32
  • Less models bought £515.12
  • New model fund -£113.36
Ouch! I've never been in such bad shape with the fund. So time for some belt-tightening.

I really need to not buy any models for a few months until my eBay sales catch up. Fortunately I have a birthday coming up so I may be able to convince relatives to buy some for me, and this could be very good timing for the 40k Battle for Black Reach boxed set. That is packed with so many models it is an unmissable deal. It will thicken my Blood Angel army nicely as well as adding lots of new models to my Ork army. Other than that I will just concentrate on painting the models I have and not buying any more.

The second part of my plan will be to ramp up my eBay sales and bring out the big guns. As well as the RPG stuff I have a few non-gaming items to sell which I will put toward the NMF. These include my old mobile phone, my old film SLR, my old MP3 player and the old RAM from my computer. I'm confident I can wipe out my deficit with just these items alone so I need to get them up for auction ASAP.

I'll be back in another month to tell you how I got on.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

GENERAL: 40k 5th edition, the Royal Navy, a dodgy McMuffin and the iPhone

What a week I've had!

On Friday I got up early and got in line to pick up the new 3G iPhone. The sheer number of customers in the store and across the country crashed the activation computers, so they just handed over the phone and told me to do it at home. Fast forward one week and I have only just got a functioning phone. It's great though, and I'm playing with all the options at the moment to work out what I can incorporate into my gaming life. With the internet being so easy to use on the iPhone I can access any forums at any time, as well as the Games Workshop PDF's (including their errata) so rules disputes should be a thing of the past.

Potentially the thing with the most impact, though, will be the ability to update my blogs from the phone. That hopefully means more updates and maybe live updates from tournaments, Games Days, etc. Watch this space.

I was so ill on Friday night that I had to go to bed at 4.00pm and didn't get up until 7.00pm, and I NEVER sleep during the day, especially when I have a new toy to play with. I only pulled myself together by Monday night. Maybe it had something to do with the McDonalds breakfast I ate while standing in line?

On Saturday I got my reserved copy of the Gamer's pack for 40k 5th edition. I had a quick flick through the book and was immediately impressed by the layout, art and amount of background information. It'll take a good few weeks to read through this heavyweight book in detail.

The metal ammo crate was heavier than I expected but smaller. It looks cool but I'm not sure what I could actually use it for. Maybe a large, flat tank? On Saturday morning I had a walk around HMS Tyne. I had planned to pick up my 40k stuff beforehand and I'm glad I didn't. The ammo crate looks like a real-life military artefact, with additional Imperial Eagles of course, and bears the legend 'Hazard: Danger of pre-detonation if used unblessed.' I wonder how the Royal Navy would have reacted if I'd tried to take it onboard?

The Line of Sight laser is fun and projects a target over quite a distance. A bit gimmicky, and I'd probably be a bit self concious to pull it out during a game but hey, it was cheap.

The counters are more practical and there are loads of them on the two sprues. Just be careful when you clip them off the sprue. The plastic is brittle and a couple of my counters splintered as I removed them. I found the best way to do it was to slowly apply pressure as I twisted the clippers. I filed off any rough edges and they were good to go. One thing that was missing, though, was a box to put them in.

Overall I was a little dissappointed with the extras and would probably have been just as happy if I'd bought the book on it's own, especially as I'm broke. Ho Hum.

On Tuesday Gary and I abandoned our Blood Bowl league in favour of a couple of games of 40k 5th edition. I took my Blood Angels, which will be my new army over the next year and Gary took his Daemons. We played a 500 point game then a 1200 point game. I'll write up proper reports for my battle reports blog shortly. The missions, set-up and rules felt very different and it is obvious we need to do some reading up before we play any more games. Also, Gary needs to buy a copy of the rules - 'I had no idea the new book was out yet!'

Last but not least, yesterday the last of my Forge World goodies arrrived in the post. I've hinted at these in the past but never really revealed what they are. I'll do that in my next blog when I revisit my New Model Fund.

Finally, I have posted the second battle report from my Daemonhunters Vogen campaign. This game was against a Black Templar army.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

GENERAL: Radical Daemonhunters kicking off

Just a quick update to say I've sprayed my Mantis Stalk Tank Chaos Black and it is now awaiting it's paintjob. I've kept the legs removable, even though I plan to glue them in place, so that I can paint them easily. I think I'll paint each leg in turn first then move onto the body. The colours are going to be classic Black Legion; Black with gold edging and silver metallics.

I've given up on the base for the moment just so I can get the model finished and ready for battle. I can always add a base later if I want.

While I'm off work I'm trying to get more of my 40k battle reports onto my battle reports blog. I've started a new series today with my Daemonhunters, part of the Vogen campaign. This ran for nine games and was a chance to really put my radicals to the test. See how I kicked off the campaign against a Blood Angels Space Marine army here.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

MODELLING: Out of the workshop

The beast is complete! Apologies for the quality of the photographs but the light is terrible here (it's summer - it's raining). I threw another few hours at my Mantis Stalk tank and this is the result.

Most of my time was spent on the abdomen. The key parts were two Imperial Guard dozer blades. I turned these upside down and glued them over the battle cannon.

A couple of extra plates from weapons sponsons on an IG tank disguised the rectangular shape. To break it up even more, and chaosify it, I added the spiked halos and eight pointed star icons. More spikes came in the shape of a spiked ram from the Defiler kit.

Once the basic structure was in place I added more details. The gold squares are from the Chaos Renegade Militia brass etchings which I forgot I had until the model was almost complete. The chains are there to add that classic Chaos look and to break up the otherwise flat armour plating.

I continued around the Stalk tank adding other details. The Scorpion cannon had a further armour plate joined to the underside as I couldn't work out how to fit an ammo feed on the weapon.

The head also got a few embellishments. I added a Chaos icon on the top armour plate and then drilled and glued some sensor spines (brass rod) to the snout.

So the Mantis Stalk tank is finished and just needs a lick of paint. Here's hoping my can of Chaos Black holds out...

...And if you'd like to read about some Chaos Space Marines in action (admittedly on the other side of the battlefield) why not check out another of my battle reports. This game was memorable for me and my Daemonhunters for all the wrong reasons.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

MODELLING: Mantis strikes!

I got a lot of work done on my Mantis Stalk Tank yesterday and I have the photographs to prove it.

The most tedious job was going around the existing body, neck and limbs and scraping off the mold lines. The front claws in particular were a nightmare and took ages to finish. At the end of it all the model looked exactly as it had when I started. Harrumph. I'll greatly appreciate having done all this when I come to pint it, though.

The two main areas of new assembly were the head and the Scorpion cannon. They actually fitted quite well into the regular body of the Defiler. If I had taken my time and used counterweights and more careful modelling I could have probably made each element poseable. However I wanted to to finish as quickly as possible and I also knew I would be attaching the scorpion to a base. So instead I glued the head and neck at a slight angle and made the cannon slightly smaller and offset. I think the juxtaposition works well.

I'm really pleased with the head after many days of prevarication and procrastination. First I fitted the Hellmaw cannons on the side (Defiler heavy flamers) then I glued the sensor clusters above the snout (I think they are supposed to be smoke launchers on the Defiler sprue). Next I stuck an armour plate on the top and the smoke stacks behind. I added the stablight as a direct take from the Stalk Tank sketch in the Sabbat Worlds Crusade book. The only thing missing is something for the snout, maybe a leering face or a vox to represent a mouth. I'm not sure yet, so I'll leave it for a bit and come back to it.

Are you looking at me?

Once I'd finished the head I went straight on to the Scorpion cannon. This was relatively quick and easy.

I used a spare piece of leg structure to build the arm up from the body. Then I cut all the ammo feeds from the Defiler autocannons and glued one pair on top of the other. I took great care to get the all aligned perfectly, both horizontally and vertically. When that had dried I attached the cannons to the arm with some judicious pinning and a bit of greenstuff. Miraculously it all held together. Now it just needs a bit of tarting up, especially regarding the ammunition. Maybe I can use some of the ammo feeds to run into a box somewhere? Again that's just detailing and can wait a bit.

My next task is to work on the back carapace and then the base (gulp!).

Meanwhile, I'm still ploughing through my old Daemonhunter battle reports (nearly finished!) and I've added another over on my Battle reports blog. This encounter was against Steve's toasters of doom.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

MDELLING: If you want to get ahead get a neck

My week off work starts today. Hurrah! Fingers crossed I'll be able to spend a good chunk of my time on my gaming projects.

I know that 40k 5th edition will take up the back end of my holiday as it is released on Saturday 12th July. I predict I'll spend most of the weekend poring over the new rulebook.

I'll also be playing with my new toy; a 3G iPhone which is released the day before, on the 11th July. Man am I going to be broke this month!

I hope to finish my Brass Scorpion before 40k 5th edition is released on Saturday. It'll be great timing to utterly finish my Chaos forces and start my Blood Angels (with a bit of scenery making inbetween). Today I've started building up the neck and attaching it to the body. Next I need to create the head.

I'm also hoping to port over a load of older battle reports to the new blog so keep an eye out for them. I have one for you today; my Daemonhunters taking on Gary's Dark Eldar.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

GENERAL: Can't get there from here

I've been updating my two other blogs tonight so I thought I'd flag up the new content.

First up is my battle reports blog, and yet another Daemonhunter game. Like my last battle report this was a bit of an epic and gets a big write up. See how they fared against Gary's Chaos Space Marines.

My game of choice at the moment, at least until the new version of Warhammer 40k is released, is Blood Bowl. Gary and I got in another game last night, pretty much taking us to the halfway point in our league. I played the Gutter Runners against his Dark Elves in a high scoring encounter. You can read the full game report here (third game down).

That's all for now.