Monday, 22 May 2017

The redemption of the transport vehicle

"Remember where we parked."
The other day, Warhammer Community put up the latest in their series of 8th edition rule reveals and it was the one I'd been most looking forward to: transport vehicles. Long story short, it looks like they might actually do what they're meant to this time round.

I've never really got along with the concept of transport vehicles, to be honest. There were some designs and concepts that grabbed me, to be sure. For instance, I genuinely believe the Imperial Guard Chimera is the best and most versatile light tank in the game. The problem is that transports in general just weren't that useful.

The simple shift in rules GW now proposes is this: embarked units get out at the beginning of the Movement Phase and have complete freedom to move, shoot and charge as normal. A transport vehicle is now, plain and simply, for rushing forward, absorbing enemy fire in their next turn, and then disgorging a large number of angry people right in the face of the enemy. Oh, and then the transport can move off to offer a second target to the enemy.

Hell, now they have combat statistics even a Rhino might offering interesting tactical possibilities. Who knows, maybe Guilliman's plan to make even more superhuman Space Marines will involve inventing a basic transport that's more than a motorised storm bolter. One can hope.

Also, everyone embarked on an open-topped transport can now shoot. That's going to do wonderful things for Dark Eldar and Ork armies. 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Battlefleet Gothic knock-offs: a review

My two knock-off Battlefleet Gothic ships finally arrived from Russia and they are a lot better than I anticipated. I was actually fine with what looked, on the eBay picture, to be a rather grainy finish to the resin. After all, I was paying about three pounds a ship and pretty much not much more on postage for dodgy recasts from some Russian guy. Meanwhile, an original metal one of these things from down the road was at minimum ten pounds.

The idea that I'd have to compromise on quality was fine by me but then they turned up and it turned out I hadn't compromised. These recasts are amazing. Just look at the detail fidelity on these things...

When I bought them I said you had to squint just a little to see them as a Nova and a Gladius but with them in my hands there's no need to squint at all, they just are straight up recasts of the original. Also, I got a free plastic soap dish sent as packaging. Result!

Okay, before anyone brings it up, yes this is technically miniature piracy. HOWEVER, its not like Games Workshop makes these models anymore. Choosing the Russian knock-off over second hand originals doesn't take money out of the hands of the people who made them. They want to bring this game back some day with a full product range I will support the shit out of it but I see no reason to pay above the odds for metal models that will chip and break over practically perfect lightweight resin models that won't. If they were recasting models currently in production then I wouldn't touch those, I think that's a step too far.

The only issues I have with the sculpts are that, as you can see from the soap dish images, there are injection points at some pretty delicate places. In fact, I did some small damage to the bottom of the Gladius removing one.

The other small issue was that arose, as you can see, is that the contact point for the flying base on the Gladius is fractionally too wide. The one on the Nova is the perfect size but it should be mentioned that some packing of the contact point might be necessary before affixing the base in some cases. Its a small flaw and one I'm more than willing to live with when a frigate is just over £7 including postage and packing.

Construction is pretty pain free, even the tiny side gun or whatever it is Nova has a pretty good tab design that helps you slot it into the exact right spot to match the one molded onto the other side of the ship. The rear fins on the Gladius also have a small detail on their side that allows you to line them up perfectly with a connecting detail on the main body of the ship that allows you to line them up right.

Purchasing details
The name of the seller is erinaceus_primus and his store can be found on eBay. His product listings are, not unnaturally, in Russian but incorporate the English class name of the ship so you can tell what you're buying without comparing the picture to a rulebook. He carries, as far as I can tell, recasts of all the frigates and escorts for the Space Marines fleet including the escorts that can also be used in the Imperial Navy fleet. They do not supply flying stalks but they can be easily ordered from Games Workshop.

All models are resin, please cut and assemble in ventilated conditions.

He accepts payment by PayPal. He has a 14 day returns policy with the buyer paying return postage. 

Monday, 8 May 2017

(Battlefleet) Gothic Revival

Ships passing in the night, yesterday.
Long story short: I showed a friend my Flesh Tearers and now I'm painting a Battlefleet Gothic force for him.

Long story long...

Yesterday, my friend Tom came over with his Battlefleet Gothic collection which he'd recently recovered from storage. He had decent sized Ork and Imperial Navy fleets with a few Eldar and Chaos ships. Given the rarity value of things, his big plan is to collect a variety of small forces and share them with us for the purposes of games. Over the course of the afternoon I ended up showing him some of the progress I'd made on the Flesh Tearers.

And he liked them. He really liked them, to the extent of asking me to paint any Space Marine ships he acquired in that colour scheme. We agreed on red for the main body of the ships with black on the prow rams, wings and other sticky outy panels.

I've also ordered a couple of... ahem... mildly naughty “not-Battlefleet Gothic models honest, guv” from a Russian company on eBay that, if you squint (not, admittedly, by much) would appear to be a Gladius-class and a Nova-class frigates. I'm waiting for them to arrive before mentioning the name of the company, just so I can be sure of the quality, but they look good enough for the rather low price, especially compared to what the real deal goes for these days.

Being me, of course, I've already named the ships: the Gladius will be Blood Oath and the Nova will be Midnight Approaches. Going to be a lot of violent and/or depressing names in a Flesh Tearers fleet, is my thinking. If I like the models, being escorts, they'll end up in squadrons with their sisters ships Blood Debt, Blood Price, End Of All Hope and Future's End.

By the time they arrive I'll probably have thought up commanding officers and combat histories for them as well, I'm just that kind of player. 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Tactics: Dwarf Rangers and kiting

I like Let's Plays and one of my favourites is the Side Quest series on the Extra Play channel. For the past year or so Dan Floyd, the voice of Extra Credits, has been playing his way through the Dark Souls trilogy. Its not as educational as most of the other series the EC crew put out, at least not since James Portnow stopped giving his designer's perspective early in the series, but its fun to watch Dan die over and over, plus he has a really relaxing voice.

Just me? Okay.

Anyway, his commentary introduced me to an idea that finally allowed me to put one of my favourite Dwarf units to proper use: kiting.

In a video game, you exploit an enemy's programming to make them follow you. You use the tactic to draw members of a horde out one by one or drag enemies into an area where you have an advantage.

On the tabletop, you present your enemy with a target they can't ignore but don't want to deal with. In this case, I set up my Rangers the minimun distance away from a unit of Dark Elves Dreadspears. This unit was holding down the right flank of my opponent's army with most of my power units set up towards his left. This unit was already at the farthest extent of his line and the furthest thing he had from the rest of my army. Chasing my Rangers would mean turning to face away from my army, marching twelve inches out of his way and charging into a hail of crossbow bolts.

Ignoring them meant having a unit with great weapons and crossbows attacking his right flank as my Warriors and Irondrakes moved in on his left.

I also had my Organ Gun positioned to take advantage of a failed charge or the complete massacre of my Rangers (who do not have a particularly long history of surviving contact with the enemy).

As it happens, terrible dice rolling on both our parts meant the tactic worked better than it had right to. I kept losing combat and he kept pursuing me exactly one inch short which meant three consecutive turns of stopping just shy of overrunning my Rangers and getting an Orgun Gun in the flank for his troubles.

Its essentially a psychological tactics so I'm going to have to work on making sure the bait is sufficiently annoying in future but I think I finally have a line on how scouting units are meant to be deployed.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

In the grim darkness of June 16th

This image, the next issue teaser from this weekend's White Dwarf, has been doing the rounds of the rumour sites and, just like that, we have a date.

And I have a deadline.

Presumably the White Dwarf will be released the Friday before pre-orders go up, though given they're going with the “free ruleset” system they did with Age Of Sigmar it could just as likely be the day before the rules pamplets arrive in store.

So I have just shy of seven weeks to whip this Flesh Tearers army into shape. I have a Librarian, a Tactical Squad and two Dreadnoughts (one Contemptor, one Death Company). If points costs don't change too drastically, that's just north of five hundred points.

So, wants and needs.

For definite I need Death Company. No Blood Angels army, let alone a Flesh Tearers army, should take to the field without Death Company. Given the shooting rules published on Warhammer Community, a unit or two of Devastators wouldn't be too bad of an idea, either.

I feel there should be Scouts, what with the Flesh Tearers' recruitment needs, and I absolutely want to have a Baal Predator outfitted with all the flamers now that templates are a thing of the past.

My lovingly converted Vanguard Squad, of course, is top priority and they do need something to ride around in. I'm not sold on the look nor the utility of a Rhino (oh, wow, an motorised storm bolter, be still my beating heart) so I'm torn between either a Land Raider Redeemer or splitting the unit in two and running them in a pair of Razorbacks. Ultimately, I think, it'll come down to what I can secure cheaply on eBay.

Time to get the red spray out... 

Monday, 1 May 2017

May is 40k Month!

Is this cheating? Can I cheat at a completely self-imposed and self-defined way of motivating my own hobby? Don't care, doing it.

With GW's recent commendable desire to tell us things about 8th edition, I feel myself really motivated to get things in shape for the brave new world of movement values and armour save modifiers. First and foremost that means continuing to work on my Flesh Tearers, my training wheels army for 8th, but also maybe plugging away at some other things I have lying around like my Genestealer Cult and Mechanicus.

My main aim is to have a useable Flesh Tearers force for 8th edition launch day in June. I have about five hundred points' worth painted with a Librarian, a Tactical Squad and two Dreadnoughts (I do so love my Dreadnoughts). The problem, of course, is I don't know what a “proper” army is going to look like come June: the points system is changing and there are going to be a huge selection of Force Organisation Charts to choose from.

So my idea is this: I shall build to a theme and that theme is speed. This has the dual use of both being true to the spirit of this faction and giving me a chance to paint some Space Marine miniatures I haven't before: Bikers, Land Speeders, Baal-Pattern Predators and, of course, my beloved converted Vanguard Squad who will be getting a suitably awesome tramsport vehicle as soon as I decide whether I want a cheap Rhino for them or to splash out on a Land Raider for them.

I also, more for myself than anything else, need to get some background written for this army. I prefer my background to evolve with play but I want a few details to go in with: unit names, a character for my Captain and a mission for this strike force to be on.

Being the Flesh Tearers, their mission is likely to be Gabriel Seth pointing in a direction and saying “Go that way. Kill things.” but I think I can do a little better than that. 

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Showcase: Flesh Tearers Vanguard kitbash

Before I undercoat them, I just wanted to post some pictures of my Flesh Tearers Vanguard made with the Horus Heresy Mark IV armour set and a big old pile of spare melee weapons. I didn't have much of a plan going in, I just slapped things together however they best seemed to fit but I'm quite pleased with the results:

Okay, I'm not too sure what the chap with the power sword is meant to be doing. Exhorting his brothers to advance, perhaps? Regardless, I think they'll look fantastic as a unit (or two, depending on my needs), though that's probably more down to Maximus armour looking amazing than any of my input.

I also slapped together this little fellow out of spares...
and some day he'll act as a colour test to see if I can apply the Angels Of Redemption colour scheme to power armour, which is a bit more complicated to halve than than Cataphractii Terminator plate that was my first experiment.