Friday, 28 July 2017

The Auxiliary Support Detachment and you


The Auxiliary Support Detachment is your one-stop excuse to put whatever you like alongside your regular army. Its a single choice from pretty much any battlefield role, which is generous, but just using the Auxiliary Support Detachment costs you one of your Command Points. Its open to abuse, obviously, but it has potential to create some very interesting combinations. Off the top of my head...

Your Secret Masters

Nice and obvious, your Astra Militarum army is secretly being manipulated by the Alpha Legion and now they have chosen to reveal themselves! Personally, I'd do with a fully tricked out unit of Chosen because if you're going to lose a command point over it you might as well go all out.

Fallen are another possibility. Then, of course, there's Genestealers for when you want to have a proper, full-on Genestealer Cult Regiment instead of the dregs represented by the actual Cults list.

Iron Warriors Basilisk Battery

First of all: yes, I got into playing Chaos under the 3.5 codex and thus remember when Iron Warriors could take Basilisks just because. Also, in spite of being weaker than a Vindicator's demolisher cannon, a Basilisk's earthshaker is always D6 shots and you get to roll two dice and choose the highest, which as far as I'm concerned is much better odds for flattening the servants of the Corpse God.

Xenos Mercenaries

Kroot, Blood Axe Orks and Eldar Corsairs (represented by Guardians, I guess?) all have a history of working with Imperial forces when the money's right and the commissars are conveniently dead. Also, Harlequins have a history of just turning up wherever they bloody please.

Gue'Vesa

I think I spelt that right. Basically, humans who have either defected to or grown up in the T'au Empire. Once upon a time they were a Chapter Approved unit made up of basic Guardsmen with the odd pulse rifle. Now, if you want to lose a command point buying a ten man unit of standard issue grunts or marginally superior veterans... well, to be honest, I've done dumber things in the name of fluff.

Just a few ideas to get you started.

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Side-Project: Six Flavours of Primaris


So, the other day I was going to buy the Easy Build Plague Marines and, of course, it occurred to me that it'd be useful to also pick up the Easy Build Poxwalkers, as well. After all, thought I, they are a unit that gains models through combat so it would help to have a couple extra bodies knocking around.

Of course, when you start thinking like that its a slippery slope and you think “What's five pounds more for the big set?” After all, it gets me a little cardboard scenery and a mini-rulebook. I do like a mini-rulebook or, rather, my arms and back like a mini-rulebook when I'm lugging my army down to the local store.

And I get six Primaris Marines, after all that other stuff effectively for free (shut up, I'm rationalising).

Frankly, its the perfect opportunity to do some colour tests to see whether a different palette makes me more interested in the Primaris designs. Its not that I hate them, they just don't quite inspire me yet. So, a few ideas I want to test:

Intercessor #1: Fire Hawks

Unlike most chapters on this list the Fire Hawks aren't here because I particularly like their background. In all honesty, I barely remember any of it. I remember that they're a Cursed Founding chapter and that's about it. I assume they have a thing for flamer weapons but that's a wild stab in the dark. Rather, they're on here purely for how pretty they look. They have orange-brown armour with freehand yellow flames painted on them. That's cool.

I've always suspected that Space Marines might look good in orange and not only does this work as a test case but I get to practice some simple freehand, which is an area I have been meaning to improve on for a long time now.

Intercessor #2: Angels Revenant

One of those great colour schemes that Forge World periodically creates for chapters that just die out in the first few pages of an Imperial Armour story but I reckon the Ultima Founding will have resurrected a few chapters using archived gene-seed so here we are. Also, resurrecting a dead chapter saves on having to come up with new names, colur schemes and such and the Imperium is nothing if not ultimately a really lazy bureaucracy.

Anyway, royal purple armour with bone elements, I love the contrast and I think deep purple is one of those colours that will really sell the idea of Primaris Marines as glorious agents of the Emperor. I feel these models, free from much of the crusty ostentation of normal Space Marines, might benefit from a really clean and artificial colour scheme.

Intercessor #3: Celestial Lions

Speaking of the congenitally screwed: the Celestial Lions. I have some Custodes that I've been meaning to get to for a while so a chance to test out gold armour methods would be welcome. Also, the bright blue on the shoulder armour is something I want to test myself against as getting a good, solid bright blue is a colour I've struggled with a lot. I'm thinking of adapting a method the Dark Imperium building guide recommends for plasma coils.

On the subject of potential futures, there's a history of the Lions working with the Black Templars so they could appear as an allied detachment to my beloved Black Templars.

Reiver #1: Raptors

I love the Raptors for their very direct and very non-Codex attitude of “whatever works”. Take command of local Imperial Guard regiments? If it helps! Repaint your armour for camoflague? Not a bad idea!

In painting terms, this is the least ambitious on the list. They wear camoflague green armour and I could be lazy and just use the same all-purpose green method I use on my Orks and Death Guard but there's a rather good WarhammerTV video for an olive green Raptors armour I want to try because I need more green methods so that everything in my Death Guard doesn't look identical.

This will definitely be the Reiver with the bare head because I want to experiment with a pale flesh method to represent the pallid Raven Guard fleshtone.

Reiver #2: Exorcists

First of bloody all, they're not blanks! I feel oddly strongly about this and I don't know why, I read the Forge World background first where they have a psyker brotherhood called the Orison of the Broken Tower, of which their Badab special character is a member. Okay, rant over, moving on...

If you're detecting a little bias towards the chapters of the Badab War you are not wrong. Those two books are my favourite Imperial Armour books in terms of story and of all the chapters in that book the Exorcists are the ones who grabbed my imagination the most. I love the idea of having a chapter who are daemon hunting specialists but still perform all the general functions of a Space Marine chapter. I actually, briefly, had an Exorcists army but it was before I could paint even as middlingly well as I do now.

Painting opportunities here are to try a brighter red than I use on my Flesh Tearers as well as perhaps trying to achieve a very, very dark grey for the trim (I originally painted it black but looking at the illustrations it is actually a grey).

Reiver #3: Carcharadons (aka Space Sharks)

Oh, I love the Carcharadons. For one thing they're an ultra-aggressive crusading chapter who patrol the outer darkness of the galaxy fighting vaguely defined supernatural menaces. They have mutated shark skin, basically, as a result of corrupted Raven Guard gene-seed. Also, they have what basically amounts to a monochromatic colour scheme going from dark grey to light grey to off-white which looks amazingly cool. Also, their armour has these markings based on Polynesian tattoos which should be fun / frustrating to attempt. 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Well, I'm an idiot (Easy Build Death Guard and basic maths)

It really should have occurred to me why this box exists. I mean, you get seven Plague Marines in Dark Imperium and the Index entry allows you to take them in fives so, of course, this box exists to allow you to bulk out the DI unit to two five-man squads.

Also an easy way to bulk out to get two of the three compulsory Troops choices for the new standard force org which is about 50% of the reason I'll be picking up a set (that and they really are nice sculpts I want to paint).

Oh, and I want that blight launcher: Assault 2, Strength 6 for -2 AP and D3 Damage re-rolling ones to wound? Yes, please.

I'm still not sure what the three model Intercessor and Reiver boxes are for since you get ten of the first in Dark Imperium and a ten model box of the latter is being released imminently but that realisation will probably strike about fifteen seconds after I press “publish” on this post. 

Friday, 14 July 2017

Building A Better Seth: The Build


I am glad that the body I originally bought to make Gabriel Seth (the power armoured Legion Praetor) turned out not to fit the chainsword I was using because my second choice for the body has worked out so much better:
The twist in the body, on the original model meant to facilitate a pose where the Captain is drawing his sword from a scabbard, gives a real sense of motion that matches the way the chainsword is held and how the cape hangs. The title in the torso also meant I had to pose the head looking upwards, which works as I imagine I'll be charging Seth in towards the biggest, scariest thing on the battlefield.

It also retains the sense I wanted to convey of a more controlled and commanding Seth but with more dynamism than the Praetor body would have got me. I still don't know what I'm going to do with the Praetor but this has come out better than I imagined, the cape component even fit perfectly to the back without any remodelling to either component.

So, down to parts:

The main body (torso and legs are one component) come from the Forge World MkIII Command set via eBay; the Eviscerator chainsword and arms from the Space Marines Assault Squad, the head from the plastic Horus Heresy MkIV Maximus Armour set; the Flesh Tearers shoulder pad from the Deathwatch Kill Team kit (its why its on the “wrong” shoulder); the other shoulder pad a spare from the Sternguard Veterans kit; and, finally, the backpack and cape from the original Gabriel Seth model leftover from one of the several irretrievably damaged Seths that drove me to make this conversion in the first place.

I'm not usually one for special characters but Seth really inspires me as a character. I like that his attitude towards the inevitable tragedy of the Blood Angels geneseed is to pick up his sword and declare that by the time insanity and genetic degradation destroy his chapter there will be nothing left alive to challenge the Emperor's dominion. 

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

An impressive torso going spare


I had a plan. I was going to convert my own version of Gabriel Seth using the Forge World Legion Praetor body and the two-handed chainsword from the Space Marine Assault Squad kit. It was a good plan that would have looked awesome if only the two components of said plan actually fit together.

You see, when I came to dryfit them together they didn't fit. The Praetor's torso is not designed like every other Space Marine ever with perfectly flat, perfectly parallel surfaces on either side for flat arm connections to fit on. Instead, I end up with a situation where gluing one arm has the other hanging wildly away and forward of the other shoulder.

Luckily, the random eBay purchase that netted me this torso also got me the Captain's body from the MkIII Legion Command set whose body does fit the arms. He'll be a little smaller but on reflection the twist in his body combined with the chainsword does give me a more dynamic pose as if Seth is bracing to received a blow.

This leaves me with the impressive, finely sculpted and suddenly useless Praetor body on hand. So here I dither, wondering what project to slot it into.

The knightly appearance of MkIII suits itself to making a Black Templars Marshall, of course. There's also the unit of Fallen I'm currently converting to accompany my Death Guard using Iron armour and a Dark Angels Veteran Squad who could develop a sudden Fallen Lord. The Death Guard themselves are already overflowing with characters and I don't want to do any heavy conversion work to the body itself, so that's out.

Then there's the project the MkIII Command body was meant for in the first place: an Alpha Legion officer to lead the Headhunters squad that will accompany (and be the only Astartes unit in) my resurrected Lost and the Damned army. That said, the Praetor body is a little too glorious to be Alpha Legion. I am not a fan of the Armillus Dynat concept, if you were wondering.

I definitely don't want to use it for another Flesh Tearers character, I don't want a random Captain going around looking more glorious than the Chapter Master.

So right now the options are Black Templars or Fallen, either way another excuse to fail to learn how to highlight black. Just depends on which character I can come up with the best design for. 

Monday, 10 July 2017

Death Guard and...?


Don't worry, this isn't me second guessing my army selection for Konor. Since starting to paint the Death Guard I've found them to be both user friendly and rather interesting to work with. Rather, this is about expanding the army beyond the contents of Dark Imperium and the odds and ends I had lying around (like the Helbrute).

For one thing, of course, there's the new tank that's been doing the rounds on the rumours sites, the Plagueburst Crawler.
courtesy Mini Wars
To the look of it, its essentially a Bombard with what looks like the same guns as the Feotid Bloat-Drone as sponson weapons. It fits very well with the idea of the Death Guard as footslogging attrition specialists in a way I don't feel the Predator does. And I don't just say this because I hate the Predator and the way its sponsons snap off if you so much as brush your hand against them reaching for a dice.  

Of course, we live in the world of Keywords now so there are so many posibilities for expansion in the future, probably after Konor since I already have more than a 75 power army on hand in various states of half-painted. So, the candidates:

Daemons of Nurgle

I have never used Daemons. I don't particularly like them as their own army and my previous Chaos armies have been focussed more on mortal characters.

The big benefit of having them as a small addition to the larger army is I can get pretty much everything I want for them out of the Start Collecting set. The set includes a Herald, ten Plaguebearers, three bases of Nurglings (so cute...) and three Plague Drones. That 19 power levels, which is more than enough to be getting on with though I might get another little box of Nurglings because a) adorable af, and b) I used to have a massive ten base unit of “Gibbering Hordes” aka Nurglings in my Lost and the Damned back in the day and nostalgia is a powerful motivator.

Green Vanilla Chaos Marines

As it happens, I already have one unit from the Heretic Astartes list as Death Guard don't have the option for Terminators at this time. That'll probably change when their Codex comes out but until then that's where we are. There are also numerous Daemon Engines I like the look of, which are horrible and mutated enough that it won't matter that they're not strictly Death Guard.

There are other units in the Heretic Astartes, though, that don't fit the Death Guard theme as well as Terminators. Things like Raptors, who just aren't something they ever had, the Death Guard Legion not maintaining dedicated assault squads. I also have a Terminator Lord because I got the Lord and Terminators box set before I knew the Lord of Contagion existed.

My solution, should I go this route, would be to paint the more vanilla Chaos Marine units as The Purge. The Purge have a colour scheme that is both similar enough to the Death Guard to not clash and different enough that they'll be easily distinguishable. I also like the idea of having some random, post-Heresy Space Marine hanging around who absolutely worship the Death Guard as Nurgle's chosen whilst the Death Guard themselves think of them as cannon fodder, unworthy of particular attention.

The Lost and the Damned

My beloved Renegades & Heretics list is dead, sadly, but if I didn't have infinite hope for the future I wouldn't still be a Lost and the Damned player, would I? Regardless, the Astra Militarum list remains as a dependable back-up. I likely won't be painting them as Nurglesques, simply because I have a longstanding LatD force I've been meaning to revisit for a long time. Happily, their colour scheme is black fatigues with flak armour drybrushed to look like polished bone, which is more than morbid enough to fit the theme.
I painted a few test models a while back using the Forge World Chaos Renegades upgrade torsos and they came out rather well.

Not something I could use in store but for friendly games at home amongst the group they'll be fine. We've already come to the agreement that I (and Matt, who also has a Traitor Guard force) will simply count all Imperium keywords and Chaos keywords. On the plus side, when I can use them they give me tons of boots on the ground as well as a choice of tanks that both look better than Rhino variants and don't have crappy, snappy sponsons.

*****


Those are my thoughts for the moment and hopefully the next time I talk about the Death Guard I will have some finished models to show off. 

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Trying out some alternative miniatures companies


Whilst trawling eBay for cheap Death Guard stuff, I stumbled on two interesting miniatures companies with innovative attitudes towards trademark law. Still, morality aside, they had things I wanted so I decided to order a miniature from each to see how they stood up. My last experience with such things, a Russian maker who did superb BFG ships, worked out well enough so here we go.
First up, “W” Artel's “Inquisitor Gregor”, a 28mm version of Not Eisenhorn Honest Guv. In my case, he'll be getting a head swap and some alternative weapons to become my Xenos Inquisitor Laurento Hex (appropriately enough). The detail on the miniature looks amazing. What's more, I checked their Facebook page and they had a long post apologising for delaying a much-anticipated model from sale because of casting flaws on the first production run, flaws that didn't even seem that pronounced.

And then there's the fact that they have in the works this:
Yes, superbly detailed models for Commissar Cain and Gunner (first class, sort of) Ferik Jurgen. They will, apparently, go on sale later this month or early next and I am absolutely getting them, the Cain novels being my favourite series Black Library has ever put out (yes, I know they're repetitive but they're fun!).

The other company I'm giving a try is Warex Miniatures and the test model will also be for my Inquisition: the Inquisitor Dominator With Power Sword:
That's a fantastic henchman model. Its so over the top with the giant sword and all the augmetics on the figure itself. My concept for this fellow is that he's a duellist who's aged past his prime and the Inquisition have layered more and more augmetics on him to keep him combat effective.

Warex also make a Not Death Guard conversion kit for the Rhino APC which just has to be seen to be believed.
I love all the detail that has gone into this. I mean, between the cost of this set and the Rhino that I won't actually be using much of it will make the thing cost about £60 but since I only intend to have one mounted unit of Death Guard that's a price I'm willing to pay for that much coolness.

Now, hopefully, both test miniatures will arrive in decent condition. 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

The Fate of Konor I: The Dark Muster begins

My initial plan, of course, was to enter the local store's Fate Of Konor league with my Flesh Tearers. However, standing there with my sign-up slip in front of a wall filled withnames attached to Primaris Marine armies, I changed my mind. Death Guard it is, which I'm glad of because the Dark Imperium models and Grave Wardens are proving so much fun to paint.

I also just enjoy being the villain, if I'm honest. Villains are just so much fun to write, I love developing background for them. My Lord of Contagion, Scrofulous Bezoar, will be leading his Vectorum into Ultramar come the end of the month.

So, what do I have? Finished: nothing. Aside from a couple of models I'm reconditioning (some old Plague Marines and a Helbrute), this army started with Dark Imperium.

So, at various stages of just started I have the Dark Imperium set; those old Plague Marines and Helbrute; a unit of Grave Wardens; and, a unit of Terminators built with old Forge World Plague Terminator torsos. Unbuilt I have twenty more Poxwalkers and a second Bloat Drone straight from eBay. Meanwhile, in the post I have the parts necessary to make both a unit of Fallen and a unit of Possessed (the latter hybridising MkIII armour and the actual Possessed kit).

All together that's well on its way to the “standard” 75 power level the local GW is treating as the new average size game, probably beyond it but I can't be bothered with mathematics right now. Most of the models I've started have their main colours done and it won't take me long to get the extra Drone and Poxwalkers built and up to the same stage.

Now, to get painting...