Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Vale Decem

So 2010 is rapidly drawing to a close, and before i get swept up in the inevitable chaos of family gatherings over New Years i figured i would make the traditional blog post about resolutions for 2011.

The last year has seen me amass a sizable heap of grey, unpainted plastic and not a lot of painted additions. So my main resolution is not to buy any new models for an army unless i've painted everything i have for it already. This will no doubt be a familiar declaration to many, many hobbyists. I doubt there are many of us who haven't made such a promise to themselves only to break it a week or two later when the latest shiny thing appears on the shelves of their local game store.
So i will be attempting to resist such a temptation. Of course i added the handy caveat of not buying for an army, so if GW release anything completely new i can indulge to my hearts content.

In other news a generous friend sent me a few gift vouchers for xmas, so i splashed out on a new carry case for my Grey Knights/Dark Eldar and order a booster pack of the World of Warcraft pre-painted miniatures. My housemate is quite obsessed with the game so the plan is to repaint one of them to look like her character. I've not had any experience with the WoW miniatures, but if they are anything like the pre-painted Star Wars mini's they will look like they were handcrafted by blind pirates who have lost both hands in an unfortunate cannon accident. Only less talented.

So until the next post, happy new year to the hobbyists out there in Internet land and i'll see you in 2011, hopefully wearing a jetpack on my way to a hover car showroom.

Friday, 24 December 2010

2010 Retrospective Part 3 Retrospective Harder

For this post i'm featuring my Grey Knights. 2010 saw me develop a rather love hate relationship with my shiny silver marines. I loved the models, the sculpts are great but i hated how obsolete the army has become.
As it currently stands the Grey Knights are about as competitive as a damp sponge. While i've never been about the winning, it's also not that pleasant knowing that you don't stand much of a chance no matter what you pick from the army list.

This led me to the brink of putting the army up on Ebay and giving up on the Inquisition armies completely. Thankfully i procrastinated long enough for the internet rumour mill to grind round and reveal the upcoming update for the boys in silver.

Yes in a few short months, if rumours are to be believed, the Grey Knights will be receiving a shiny new codex, new plastics, new units and new special characters. Given the unbelievable quality of the Dark Eldar plastics i am pretty optimistic about the upcoming releases next year, if they can maintain even half the quality of the Dark Eldar 2011 is going to be a good year.
So the Grey Knights have been saved from being sold for a fraction of their cost, and i've been suitably inspired enough to get my arse in gear and get the army painted, ready to add the shiny new stuff coming next year.


In other news i've managed to get a hold of a copy of Imperial Armour Volume 9. This is the first Imperial Armour book i've gotten, the £45 price tag is rather a put off. And while i'm unlikely to splash out on any resin anytime soon, the book was well worth the price. IA9 delves into the Badab war and provides a phenomenal amount of background and detail, not to mention rules that amount to another 40k expansion revolving around boarding actions.
Whatever your feelings about Forgeworlds rules, for fluff nuts this is a must have purchase, heartily recommended.

I've also had a rummage around my boxes and scraped together my current collection of Minas Tirith units for Lord of the Rings. As i mentioned in my last blog post, i am aiming to rectify my lack of WotR gaming next year (still looking for opponents interweb people), starting with a Gondor based army. Everything pictured will likely be stripped, and there are quite a few repairs to make on the various plastic blokes. The army had literally been chucked in a box after i became very disillusioned about my chances for future games.
I'll be using a disinfectant called Dettol* to strip the mini's. This has proved to be fantastic for stripping models, with none of the risks involved in using other methods. Dettol won't melt your plastics, won't tarnish your metals, isn't lethal if inhaled and isn't flammable. About the worst case scenario is you end up with slightly smelly hands that are completely germ free.

*Make sure you use the liquid Dettol meant for medical use. DO NOT use Dettol cleaning products, because they WILL melt your plastics and make you woozy if inhaled.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

2010 Retrospective Part 2

For the second part of my round up of my hobby activity in 2010 i've decided to go with my Lord of the Rings activity, mostly because its fairly easy to sum up.

In 2010 i've half painted exactly one miniature for LotR, a Dwarf ranger. Why so little? Well basically it boils down to a lack of motivation as i have no opponent to play against.

War of the Ring is actually my favourite of the core game systems, it's ruleset is sleek, fast playing and i really enjoy playing it. But i haven't had the chance since about two months after it's release because no-one at the Liverpool vet's night actually plays it.

There seems to be an odd anti-LOTR bias amongst GW hobbyists. LOTR is looked upon with scorn, despite the strengths of it's ruleset and miniatures. This often is due to a misplaced sense that somehow LOTR is taking resources away from 40k and Warhammer, not to mention the specialist games. It's rare that anyone is willing to acknowledge that the cash LOTR brought in is responsible for a lot of the high tech developments GW has invested in in recent years.

So despite it being my favourite game GW currently produces i haven't played it in a long time, nor collected or painted any LOTR miniatures. This is a situation i hope to change in the new year.

I've resolved to gradually collect a Gondor based force, making use of the batch of Warriors of Minas Tirith that i got with the Return of the King box set. I'm also going to try to get a regular opponent to play against. This i feel will be the harder of the two tasks i've set myself. So if anyone who wants to play more War of the Ring and who lives in the Liverpool/North West England region is reading this (unlikely i know) feel free to drop me a line via the blog because i really am rather desperate to play WOTR again.

So that's part 2 of my retrospective, more will follow along with a few more pictures next time as i look back on some of my other hobby projects.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

2010 Retrospective Part 1

With the first decade of the 21st Century coming to a close (speaking of which, where's our jetpacks? Pull your finger out Science!) i've decided to do a series of (ir)regular posts with a backwards looking slant towards my hobby activity of the last year or so.

I've decided to begin with the project that directly led me to resurrect my defunct blog and start posting updates again. On a personal note it's also a project that marked the beginning of my treatment for depression and the slow improvement of my mental state and personal life. It is my Dark Angels.

I'm quite pleased with how the army has progressed in terms of looks, although not with the rate at which i've been turning them out. Numerous distractions and procrastinations have led to a big slowdown in the rate i'm getting them done, not least financial restrictions (if any millionaires are reading this, feel free to make a donation towards their completion) but still work is progressing.
The army is also one where i've tried to further my painting abilities. The bases are the first time i've used resin parts and the armour is my first attempt at edge highlighting and i'm quite pleased with how its gone. There have been a few mis-steps along the way, the tactical squad sergeant in particular doesn't look quite right and will likely be replaced in the new year.

Future plans are to expand the army into a tabletop force and get the blasted things painted. Deathwing are high on my list of want-to-buys with a Belial conversion on my to-do list. Hopefully the new year will increase my finances and get me back on the Dark Angel horse. With any luck i'll get the force finished by the time a new Dark Angels codex is release in 2039, shortly after the conclusion of Bill Oddie's tyrannical Bird-based reign of Terror.

Movie Review: Ultramarines - The good, the bad and the ugly

Captain Severus of the Ultramarines Chapter receives a distress signal on the planet of Mithron. Leaving the bulk of his company on Algol, Severus sets off for Mithron with only a ten-man squad for support. On the tough and unforgiving surface of Mithron, Ultima squad discovers that a terrible battle has taken place. The planet's shrine has been desecrated, and vile evils unleashed. As unseen dangers close in around them, the recruits have to mount a tense and deadly insertion to find any surviving Imperial Firsts and the reason behind the distress beacon.


After a long wait, and some terrible mistarts - i'm looking at you Bloodquest:The Movie - we finally have a Warhammer 40,000 animated film, albeit a fairly short one. Featuring the Ultramarines chapter, poster boys extroadinaire, the film revolves around the (mis)adventures of Ultima squad and its leader the courageous Captain Severus.

So was it worth the wait? Sort of.

Well let's start with what works. No expense seems to have been spared in gathering prestigious voice talent for this project, every actor is pitch perfect and portrays their characters wonderfully. Likewise the story, written by Dan Abnett no less, while relatively small scale, works well as an introduction to the characters and the setting.

So if it has good voice acting and a decent script, what's the problem then i hear you ask. The script is good but theres only about 30 minutes worth of material there, the film is very padded out which is suprising considering its only 70 minutes long. Apparently Roboute taught his marines to land miles from their objectives and walk, slowly, everywhere. For the first half hour we are watching eleven marines walk, across rather featureless terrain doing bugger all, with Severus apparently taking the Battlecry "We march for Macragge!" rather literally.

Which leads us to the next issue with the film- the animation. It is very uneven in quality. While the characters look good in their armour, the second their helms are removed the quality dips. Faces look waxen and stiff and deep in the middle of the uncanny valley. Likewise their surroundings vary wildly. There are moments of very high quality, like the mist effects that gather around the Marines feet which look fantastic, let down utterly by bland ground textures, and lack of shadows and footprints.
The animation of the characters also varies, we have moments of fluid lifelike action coupled with awkward jilted movement that doesn't look good at all and throws you out of the film. The film feels like they used up their budget before realising that they only had a half hour film, and so they cut corners with textures and added extensive padding of the same repeated walking animations.

Overall the voice acting and script are what saves the film from mediocrity. And they are worth buying the movie for, and i urge you to do so. Because with a tad more cash the film could be a lot better, so if we can make Ultramarines a success maybe we can convince the powers that be to invest more money in future animated ventures.


Saturday, 11 December 2010

Cataclysmically Distracted...

I've not posted on the blog for almost a week, a terrible unforgivable crime. The blame for this lack of hobby activity can be entirely laid at the feet of Blizzard and their release of the latest World of Warcraft expansion, Cataclysm. Yup, i'm one of the 12 million sad people who spend far too much time repeatedly killing the same graphics to receive a moderate reward in either a shiny new graphic or an almost random number being added to my experience. But God-Emperor help me, i rather enjoy it. So i've spent the last week leveling up my Tauren (think Minotaur to the WoW uninitiated) Shaman and exploring the newly ruined realm of Azeroth.

But i haven't entirely neglected the hobby side of things. It's become something of a tradition that around this time of year i add a few bits and bobs to my Tyranids. Now my 'Nids are only about 500 points strong, as i tend only to get things for them around christmas, usually as a gift. I find having a particular army reserved to gift duty is helpful, it means you can just tell relatives to buy Tyranids without worrying about them getting something you already bought earlier.

So far i've not bought any GW models for the 'nids this year, rather my activity revolves around solving the lack of a mycetic spore model for the army.
I've seen quite a few attempts at modeling the spore, some more successful than others, but haven't found a suitable version for myself. Until yesterday that is.

While wandering the rainy streets of Huyton, i nipped into one of the bargain stores in the village shopping centre and chanced across a cheap childrens toy - a Mega Blocks Plasma hatcher* to be exact. A small model dinosaur type creature that comes packaged in a plastic egg that just so happens to be almost perfect to represent a mycetic spore. And for only 99p to boot! I quickly grabbed one and nipped home to begin painting it.

This is what i've done so far, very much work in progress. I'll post more updates as i progress, assuming i can tear myself away from the fires of Azeroth that is...

*A word of warning to any parents who purchase one of these things, the goo that comes within it will stain carpets as i learnt to my cost.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

To Forgeworld or Not To Forgeworld...

In my frequent lurkings around various interwebs forums like Warseer, one subject that repeatedly comes up and spurs a fair bit of shall we say "passionate" debate is that of Forgeworld units and using them in a regular game of 40k.

Forgeworld seems to have garnered a reputation for being unbalanced and overpowered amongst some members of the internet community, though having browsed their various lists and units i fail to see what makes them so "uber-cheese", and when anecdotal evidence is presented it's usually said units being overpowered only when the player takes half a dozen of them in his list.

Most recently for example is this thread on Warseer about the Land Raider Achilles. The initial reaction was to decry the user and declare all Forgeworld materials junk, unfair and detrimental to your social life. It was only until later in the thread other opinions appeared pointing out that a Necron army is going to have a bit of a rough time against three Land Raiders of any variety, Forgeworld or otherwise.

And i'm sure we all have examples of lists that dominated us solely because they spammed a particular unit type. Those who have been playing a fair while will no doubt have faced an Iron Warriors artillery army of doom, back in the days when they got an extra Heavy Support choice and could take Basilisks in their army, where you were lucky to survive the first round of shooting let alone win the game. Or for the fantasy players amongst you, the Beastman Minotaur army that has emerged with the most recent Army Book. Having faced that with my own Ogres i can assure you its unpleasant and pretty hard to deal with.

Now i think part of the problem with Forgeworld is the apparent "exclusivity" of their kits. Not all of us can afford to throw £300 at a new model for our armies, or heck £50 on a new book, so a lot of us are priced out of these new options. There's also the mistaken view that only things sold inside a GW store can possibly be legal to take, an opinion that was once levelled at my Grey Knights no less as they were no longer on the shelves.

This difficulty in acquiring the miniatures and rules prompts a feeling of unfairness i suspect in some people. Why should Joe Fancypants get a brand new kit just because he has several hundred quid burning a hole in his pocket. This coupled with half the people decrying Forgeworld never actually reading any of the rules and relying on internet hyperbole to inform them results in the idea that all Forgeworld is evil and people using it should be shunned. A situation that is far from productive for the hobby.

Now as far as i am concerned, i will play anyone using Forgeworld anytime, because i delight in facing new models and seeing fancy units on the tabletop. That's where i get the bulk of my enjoyment from the hobby. I will admit sometimes i am rather envious of the player, i would love to be able to afford a warhound or chaos mammoth of my own, but that thankfully doesn't prevent me from enjoying the game. Afterall if i can't afford one of my own, at least i get to experience one on the tabletop even if it is stamping all over my army.

This is a topic i'm sure will return again and again on the internet, and its one i've taken a particular interest in with the future release of Chaos Dwarf units by Forgeworlds Warhammer division. It would be a damn shame if such debates resulted in the amazing sculpts being produced by Forgeworld never seeing a tabletop.

Friday, 3 December 2010

God-Emperor bless the Rumourmill: Or how a Blood Kitten saved my Grey Knights from Sale.

If you've read any of the previous posts on this blog then you'll know i've been weighing up selling my Grey Knights due to their less than stellar performances on the tabletop, due largely to their obsolete codex. And if you're a GW player on the internet, likely you are also monitoring the various websites like Bell of Lost Souls that report rumours and no doubt have read the same batch posted by Blood Kitten that i have.

Now while the rumours are far from confirmed, and some don't seem quite right, they have none the less succeeded in rekindling the spark of affection i have for the Shiny boys. At the very least they've got me thinking about the Grey Knights again and a little more enthused about painting them since they are likely to receive an update in a few months time.

So they will be kept and i will resume work on getting them painted. They still aren't likely to see action before the new codex release but based on the stellar Dark Eldar codex and it's accompanying superb miniature range, i am cautiously optimistic about the future of the Grey Knights.

There is some debate over whether the new codex will contain Inquisitorial units and elements from sequestered Imperial Guard or not. I'm in two minds about this really. On the one hand it'll be rather unfair to Daemonhunter players who went the Inquisition route with their armies and used a lot of allied elements in their army. I can't imagine they will be impressed with the idea they will have to buy a heap of new models just to use the ones they have.
On the other hand, less Inquisition means more room in the codex to flesh out the Grey Knights and give them a full background that they've been missing. Despite the fluff in the Daemonhunter codex we still know little about how they are organised or significant actions they've been involved in.

And like others who have read the Ben Counter novels, i'm wondering if the line about no Grey Knight has ever fallen to chaos will be amended to "No Grey Knight has ever fallen to chaos, except one but it's ok he got better and the Chaos Gods let him off because he wasnt in his right mind". April can't come soon enough.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Ravenwing Revisited

You may be forgiven for thinking that i'd abandoned my Dark Angels in favour of painting more of those lovely new sadistic Dark Eldar, however i've actually returned to painting the boys in dark green this last week and made more progress in getting the Ravenwing units i've collected so far painted up.

So on the painting table at the moment are a normal Ravenwing biker and his Sergeant. They are both still very much work in progress but i hope to have them finished by the end of next week, at which point i'll take a few army shots to show how the force is progressing.

In the run up to Christmas, my spending on the hobby decreases quite a bit. I have two kids you see, so any parents reading this will more than understand how expensive the holidays are and how little cash there is spare. However his year this is something of an advantage, since i cant afford to buy shiny new models i've got no choice but to paint up the stuff i've already got so the piles of grey may actually decrease over the next few weeks. With the gaming side of things also greatly reduced for the next month or so, it gives me an opportunity to return to the veterans night in Jan with a fully painted army for once, at least thats the goal anyway.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Book Review: Soul Hunter by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

The Night Lords form an uneasy allegiance with the Black Legion in order to assault the valuable planet of Crythe Primus. The Imperial world puts up a stern defence, but the biggest obstacle to success will be the disunity and mistrust between the two Legions. Will their covenant last long enough for them to succeed in their mission?


I approached this book with mostly mixed feelings towards Aaron Dembski-Bowden's (ADB from now on so i dont have to keep checking the spelling) work. I'd read his first novel, Cadian Blood, and found it to be rather disappointing, although this was likely due to the hype that had surrounded it upon release and the way it was mismarketed as a Cadians vs. Zombies book rather than what it actually was.
But i had also read his short story, One Hate, which to be frank ranks as one of the best pieces of Space Marine fiction published thus far by the Black Library. So i was curious upon reading Soul Hunter to see which way his work would lean this time.

Following the (mis)adventures of a warband of Night Lords Chaos Space Marines, ADB does something few Black Library authors have achieved: he has given us a group of characters that are at once vile and certainly evil, but also rather likeable, dare i say even more likeable than the average loyalist marine. The normal level for Chaos Space Marines outside of the Horus Heresy books are a batch of frothing lunatics who like stapling babies to their helmets, whereas ADB has given us a group who are far more three dimensional in their characters. And no matter your personal tastes you will likely find yourself rooting for them rather than the staunch defenders of the Imperium.

The book also reveals the infighting present amongst the Traitor Legions and the Night Lords view of the others that sided with Horus, to say they are unimpressed with Abaddon and his lackeys is an understatement. ADB also provides a few hints into the mindset of the Night Haunter and his final days before his assassination by M'Shen, some of which provide unexpected revelations about Konrad Curze and his legion.

As usual, ADB's prose is exceedingly well written. His battle sequences, particularly the climatic events at the end of the novel, are superb and really draw you into the action and leave you rushing to finish the final 30 or so pages.

All this and it sets up a mystery for the next novel to continue as well.

So colour me impressed by ADB's second novel. He's improved upon the flaws present in Cadian Blood and is rapidly establishing himself as one of the best authors when it comes to tales of the Astartes. Definitely recommended.


Now i know what trepanning feels like...

My plans for the end of the week fell into utter chaos as i awoke on thursday to the sensation of a hole being drilled into my forehead. Upon checking in the mirror and seeing no hole, i realised it was simply a migraine. And a bad one at that. The last couple of days therefore have consisted of downing pain medication, vomiting, resisting the urge to smack my head into the wall and admiring the wonderful lights bursting behind my eyelids rather than painting some more marines and getting the rest of my Hellions assembled and undercoated.

With the headache from hell finally receeding, i've taken a few more pictures of my Helliarch/Possible proxy-Duke as the initial photos left the orange looking rather more pink than expected, thanks to the rebellious machine spirit inhabiting my camera. These new pictures provide a much better indication of the colour of the actual model, but thanks to being ill her paintjob hasn't progressed at all since the last pictures i took.

I'll be braving the lovely scent of polystyrene cement later today and sticking together a second helliarch to lead a second squad of hellions. I'll attempt to get some more work done on Hastur as well and post the results.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The best laid plans of mice and men...

As mentioned in my previous update, i've given into temptation and started a Dark Eldar force. I also said the plan was for a hellion based force led by a conversion of Baron Sathonyx using Lilith.

Well of those three statements, two have largely changed. I'm still collecting a Dark Eldar force, but after perusing the codex a bit more, it'll likely not be as Hellion focused as i'd initially planned. Instead i think i'll be going with a traditional Warrior/Wyches core for the army to begin with, and then expand out into more specialised army types.

In fact i intend to build up quite a large collection of the pointy eared sadists and unless GW comes out with something utterly spectacular they'll likely be the last 40k army i start completely from scratch. I've reached the point now where i have several core units for several different forces, so future releases and updates from GW will simply add a few units to the armies rather than a full army.

Anyway, after taking a look at Lilith and the way she is attached to the scenic elements of her base, i decided it was best not to risk damaging the model by separating her (i'm rather cack handed when it comes to cutting metal) so she was dropped from my planned purchases. Instead i've used a combination of Wych and Hellion parts to create a plastic version of Hastur. For the moment she'll be a simple Helliarch, but as my collection progresses i'll hopefully use her as a proxy baron in the future.

I've attached a few images of her, she's still very much work in progress with a lot of detailing still to do but it gives an idea of my paint scheme for this first batch of Dark Eldar. I've gone for a black/orange scheme, as i've not used orange as a main colour since my Chaos Dwarfs way back in 1996-1998, so it's been fun to go a bit retro.

As it stands i currently have about 600 points of Dark Eldar, so it'll be another few weeks at least before they make an appearance on the tabletop. Until then my Blood Angels or Daemons will be pulling Veteran night duty. After last weeks abysmal showing, the Grey Knights are sitting things out on Titan for the time being. But if rumours prove correct, that should be changing around March time.

Right time to get back to the paint table, the sooner the Dark Eldar get finished the sooner i can start harvesting tasty souls. Om nom nom.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Resistance is Futile

I tried, i really did.

Ever since i first saw the new Dark Eldar models several weeks ago, i have been severely tempted to rush out and pre-order some. I resisted. Then when they were released last weekend i was severely tempted to rush out and buy some. Again i resisted, but it was hard, so very hard.

Buckle down i thought. Focus on your Grey Knights/Blood Angels/Dark Angels/High Elves/Daemons/Ogres/Empire/Any of a Dozen started then abandoned projects.

And i did.

For just over a week.

You see my willpower is pratically non-existant. It's why i've never taken up smoking or drinking, because if i did i'd probably never be able to quit. And so when i was offered the chance to purchase some Hellions a week early i couldn't resist. So i'll be headed to Games Workshop to pick them up tomorrow morning. The plan is for a box and Lilith, plus some greenstuff. I'll be using Lilith as the basis of my own unique character, using Baron Whats-his-face's rules to have a Hellion based army.

Why Hellions you ask? Because they look darn cool. That's the sole reason why i want them, and whether they perform well or not on the table is largely irrelevant. I've always been a visual collector, with the look of a model by far being the most important thing. It's why i never ventured into a Dark Eldar collection in the past because thanks to Gary Morley, a significant proportion of the models looked like arse.

So they will form the basis of my planned army. Now all i need is to name my character and Hellion gang. For those not familiar with the new Dark Eldar background material, Hellions are not part of the regular Kabal organisation of Dark Eldar society. Instead they form roving gangs of miscreants who are either too young, too independent or have been thrown out of other Kabals. Their only loyalty is to Baron Sathonyx who controls the criminal underworld of Commoragh.

So i need a gang name and a name for my own special character. Now being a Lovecraft fan i'm provisionally going with the Flying Polyps, named after a race of ancient malevolent beings who warred with the Great Old Ones on Earth in the Cthulhu mythos. It's also fits somewhat with the Dark Eldar naming tradition of using disturbing body parts in their Kabal names.

Continuing with the Lovecraftian influence, i began searching the various names of malevolent deities present in good old H.P's work. I settled on Hastur, a philistine deity that Lovecraft appropriated for his own work. Fittingly, Hastur was the patron God of sheperds, so it rather matches the Dark Eldar view that all other species are prey to be culled at will.

So there we go, the Flying Polyp gang, led by Hastur the Unspeakable. Tomorrow i will venture out into the wilds of Liverpool, and hopefully grab Lilith, some hellions and some green stuff to begin work on converting the foul ganger and her minions.

I'll also work on some more fluff for the army and have a think about the various other ne'erdowells who will accompany her on her realspace raids.

Lest we forget.

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Oh Dear: A Photolog of Annihilation

I remembered to take my camera with me to the vets night for once, so i took a handful of pictures to illustrate the fall of my Grey Knights.

First up is my heroic charge into a squad of Berzerkers led by the Tyrant of Badab. Despite depleting their numbers with firepower, Blackheart was able to hold up my Grey Knight squad for the rest of the game.

My teleporting Grey Knights arrive at the rear of the chaos force, hoping to stifle the flow of chaotic reinforcements to the frontline. Instead two terrible rounds of shooting were followed by a lacklustre assault.

The Grey Knights charge in, only to find themselves completely outclassed by the bog standard traitor marines and their terminator armoured leader which in turn led to this...

One Grey knight valiantly attempts to hold up the chaotic tide, only to be smashed into a fine silvery paste.

The only ray of hope in the entire game, beyond a first turn disabling of a vindicator was Stern's charge into the possessed, eventually wiping out the squad.

Another Veterans Night , Another Crushing Defeat

My losing streak continues unabated this week. I'd originally planned to field my Blood Angels at Thurday night Vet's night in Liverpool, but i didn't finish painting them in time so i decided to use my Grey Knights once more.

This time i was up against a Red Corsairs force, led by the Tyrant of Badab himself. Things went ok at first, until a round of amazing shooting by the Red Corsairs and some terrible saving throw rolls by myself led to an entire squad of Grey Knights being wiped out, even their shrouding failed to limit the damage.

From there things went from bad to worse. A teleport assault failed miserably to do any damage at all to a large squad of corsairs, and a combat between a squad of berserkers led by Huron and my Knights dragged out until only the Tyrant emerged unscathed.

There were some heroics elsewhere on the board. Brother Captain Stern bravely assaulted a squad of nine Possessed, managing to weather their strikes and wipe them out over a few rounds of combat, but it was too little to turn the tide of the battle.
By the beginning of turn 5 there was but a single Grey Knight remaining on the table. Deciding that it was more important to recover the geneseed of his falling comrades, he abandoned the fight and the game was conceeded.

The main things the game illustrated to me was that a) The dice gods despise me and b) Grey Knights are woefully obsolete at the moment. But then i'd already realised that.

So it looks like the boys in silver will be pulling shelf duty for the forseeable future, if not vanishing from my collection entirely in order to finance a Dark Eldar force (my will power really isn't that strong)

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Shiny Happy People

I've taken a break from painting dark green the last few days, instead focusing some attention on the newer elements of my Blood Angels army- the Sanguinary Guard and Death Company.
When these kits were first released earlier this year i naturally grabbed a couple of boxes of each, initially planning on simply expanding my existing Blood Angels/Drinkers i've decided to take an alternate approach.

The Sanguinary Guard will join Dante in a "Dantewing" or "Blingwing" army. With a relative handful of models, only around 20 or so for a 1500 point list, i hope to get it finished quite quickly.
The Death Company will form an army organised around Astaroth and represent his travels gathering Black Rage sufferers from amongst the successor chapters and leading them to their heroic doom. As i collect the remainder of the two forces, i'll be combining both to make up the points when i go to the veterans night at GW Liverpool this thursday. During my last visit my Grey Knights suffered a rather brutal pounding from a Tau force, something i hope to avenge with my Blood Angels.
Given the small number of models i also hope to have everything i've collected thus far painted so that i'm not taking to the field with silver and grey forces. Which leaves me with six Death Company to make a start on, and ten or so Sanguinary Guard to finish the details on. Not an impossible task, but still a bit tough for me to pull off since i paint at the speed of an arthritic snail.

Mephiston has also snuck into the force, which i know can be seen as poor form given his more powerful than average stats and abilities. At the moment though he's simply there to make up the numbers. He'll eventually be replaced by the Sanguinor for the Blingwing, and Astaroth and a Chaplain for the Death Company force.

This re-organisation of the two forces is mostly an attempt to prevent myself on spending a small fortune on a new Dark Eldar army.
With every picture i see of them, it's getting harder and harder to resist rushing out and spending my last penny on them. Thats why ive avoided liverpool this weekend, because had i been present at the Codex's release this saturday, i know i would have succumbed to my urges. I also made the mistake of listening to the round table discussion GW put out for the DE, which left me even more desperate to buy them.
Normally i'd just give in, but i really think it would be doing a disservice to such brilliant sculpts to buy a bunch and leave them grey and sitting on my shelf. I also don't think i have the finances to rapidly purchase a horde army, which again would lead to them being shelf bound for the forseeable future.

Must. Remain. Strong.

In other news i am strongly considering selling my Grey Knights. I've a 2000 point force, consisting of 30 powered armoured GK, organised into 3 squads with Psycannons and Incinerators, a land raider, stern and two dreadnoughts. I've become somewhat soured on the army after realising just how out of date they are, it's only the beauty of the sculpts that keep them in my collection. That and i just know the second i sell them, GW will announce the imminent release of a new codex and spangly new range. Something to think about i guess.

Anyhow comments and criticisms welcome as always, and i am certainly always on the look out for new tips on painting metallics given the armies i collect.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

A Small Update

A small update on my painting efforts this week. I've continued with my Dark Angels this week along with a few bits for my Grey Knights, Daemons and Blood Angels.
I've added some edge highlights to the Dark Angels armour, as it was looking rather flat. This is the first time i've attempted such highlighting on space marines, so any advice in the comments would be greatly appreciated.

My daemons have received a Daemon prince to lead them in Fantasy and to add a little heft to the army on the 40k side of things. The Daemon prince kit is an absolute joy to assemble and i fully intend to add another to my collection, this time using the 40k components.

The Grey Knights are part of my effort to finally finish off that army, hopefully before they get an update next year. I've rather neglected this army the last couple of years, which is a shame as they are beautiful sculpts, some of the best GW have every produced.

And last but not least is the first finished Sanguinary guard from my Blood Angels. As ive mentioned elsewhere in the blog i've been repainting my Blood Drinkers as Blood Angels, the Sanguinary Guard however originate from a separate army attempt. I have plans to eventually field an army of them, led by Dante, often known as the 'Dantewing' or 'Blingwing' on various interweb forums. This is one of those projects that has gotten away from me somewhat that i always mean to get back to, only to be distracted. Anyhow comments and criticism and advice are always welcome.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Book Review: Desert Raiders by Lucien Soulban

When an Imperial listening station receives an enigmatic call for help from a farflung planet, a regiment of Tallarn Desert Raiders is sent to investigate. Pretty soon, the Imperial Guard find themselves locked in a desperate running battle with wave upon wave of tyranids. Is there any way they can ever triumph against such numberless alien hordes?


I've had Desert Raiders on my bookshelf for a couple of years, having picked it up during a moment of fascination with the Imperial Guard yet never getting around to reading it. After finishing off The First Heretic, i decided to rectify that and make it my first book review to boot.

The book follows the deployment of a Tallarn Imperial Guard regiment in response to a mysterious distress signal. Those looking at the cover may well believe they know the exact origin and reason for said signal, namely a Tyranid invasion yet appearances can be deceiving.

Despite the book art and the blurb, the majority of the book has very little indeed to do with the 'Nids, in fact they don't even appear in the first half of the novel. Instead this is very much about the Regiment itself and the internal strife caused by the culture of the Tallarn.

The Regiment in question is made up of the remnants of two decimated forces, both belonging to different and rival Tallarn clans. This leads to a great deal of conflict between the characters culminating in the regiment nearly tearing itself apart despite the efforts of their friendly neighbourhood Commissar.

As such it's a rather different tale to the usual Black Library fare, if you've picked it up expecting constant action then you will be sorely disappointed. Instead it's strength lies with its delving into the culture of the Tallarn and defining the way they see the Galaxy and their role within it.

I did have some issues with the novel however. Characters were often introduced simply to be killed off a paragraph later, while others would seemingly be introduced from nowhere into crucial roles as the plot demanded it. This led to me caring very little for the majority of the characters, they either had no time to develop or arrived as a deus ex machina to push the story a bit further, when an already present character could have taken their place and received more development to boot.

Nonetheless it was an enjoyable book, if a little difficult to get into. And once the Tyranids show up things escalate to a fast paced running battle that will keep a reader gripped to the end.

If you can find it on the shelves i would recommend it to those seeking further background about the Tallarn when they aren't in combat. If you are looking for an action heavy story i would look elsewhere however.

*** out of *****.

Friday, 29 October 2010

So tempting...

I nipped out shopping today and picked up the latest White Dwarf while i gathered various groceries in Asda/Walmart. And i have to say the temptation to start a new army of Dark Eldar is almost overwhelming. The new plastics look fantastic, and having seen a few in person from the Black Box delivered to Games Workshop Liverpool they are almost painfully cool. Quite fitting for Dark Eldar i guess.

Only the mounds of unpainted plastic adorning my shelves prevents me from rushing out on November the 6th and buying a bunch of boxes. Well that and my strained finances that is. However i do intend to buy a copy of the Codex at least when i have the chance, if only to get the answers to fluff questions that have been bugging me since the release of 3rd Edition 40k.

These urges are accompanied by the desire to start an Imperial Fists army. You see i am quite readily influenced by stuff i've read recently, and i am currently in the middle of Chris Robertson's 'Sons of Dorn'. While it initially hard to get into, i've really started to enjoy the novel and the insights it provides into the Fists recruitment methods and training. So much so that i am severely tempted to start a 10th Company fists army. Again it is only the shame of so many unpainted plastic miniatures on my shelves that is suppressing this temptation.

So for now i will continue with my Dark Angels, Daemons, Grey Knights, Blood Angels, Empire, Ogres, High Elves, LOTR Dwarfs, Imperial Guard, Tyranids and a dozen other half started projects that need finishing before i consider starting another, and will post some pictures on this blog and elsewhere once i do so.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

A Couple of pictures of Big Stuff

Just a small update today, it's my daughters 5th birthday so all my time is being lavished on her at the moment. But i thought i'd stick up a couple of pictures of the bigger stuff that i've been working on, namely a Grey Knights Land Raider and it's enemy, a Daemon Soulgrinder. The Land Raider is all but finished, but the Soulgrinder has a fair bit of work still to do.

Over the next few days i'll also be posting my first review of a Black Library Novel, to give the blog a bit more scope and hopefully get linked to on Facebook (i can dream).

Monday, 25 October 2010

Picture Update

Slightly later than promised, i've taken a few more pictures of the latest work to be complete on my Dark Angels- the painted Flamer wielding biker and a few foot-slogging Dark Angels, the first of six planned tactical squads.

I've aimed to harken back to the earlier Rogue Trader idea of Marines for this particular biker. Back in the old days, Marines were far less monastic than nowadays, with many sporting graffiti and xenos weapons. Rather than go full slog and give him a shuriken catapult, i've added a little bit of graffiti to his bike and used the space wolf head. Fluff wise i see this particular Battle-Brother as a bit of a wild card, more unruly than his brethren with only his skills with a flamer keeping him from getting his mind scrubbed. No doubt this has also prevented him from rising any further than the Ravenwing within the myriad circles of the Dark Angels.

As you can no doubt see i've gone with the Dark Angels veteran kit for the standard infantry, with black robes rather than bone. Why you ask? Well i wanted my basic troops to stand out from all the other Space Marine armies out there, and i wanted to use the excellent veterans kit without having to use veterans in the army itself as they don't really fit with my interpretation of the Dark Angels organisation. Similarly you will notice that i've gone for bone-white armour for the Veteran Sergeant rather than bone coloured robes. Again this was due to something that has niggled at me since Codex Angels of Death - a member of the Inner Circle has to pass through the Deathwing first, recolouring their armour to bone-white. The colour scheme GW went with suggests that afterwards they would then change their armour back to green, which seems to me to be rather disrespectful to the concept of the armour colour being a memorial to the bravery of past Deathwing members.

So i've kept the armour bone-white, with Dark Angels green robes and will do so for future character i paint. Unfortunately i made this decision after varnishing Sammael, so he's still in his black Ravenwing armour. If i ever replace him with the Jetbike version i will be following this new scheme, until then he's a disrespectful sod.

I've got a few details to finish off on the sergeant before putting together another bolter armed brother and another biker. I'm also planning on continuing my repaint of my Blood Drinkers and Grey Knights, the results of which i'll endeavour to post on the blog too.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Purge the Xenos....Easier said than done :S

Oddly enough i'd never actually faced Tau in a game of 40k before, despite playing for a decade and a half. That changed last night at the Games Workshop Liverpool veterans evening when i faced a thoroughly nice chaps Tau force with my Grey Knights.

We played a seize ground mission and at first my Knights shrouding (basically gives them night fighting rules) managed to limit the Tau's shooting for the first couple of turns, although they did manage to blow up my Land Raider on turn 1, but as i was forced to advance to take objectives the distance soon dwindled to a point where shrouding is useless and i felt the full force of Tau shooting.

My opponent fielded a ton of battlesuits and a few rail gun tanks, which promptly decimated my advancing Terminators and Grey Knight squads as their shrouding failed them. Fortunately he suffered some terrible reserve roles and the two troops choices he'd selected didn't turn up until turn 5, meaning i actually managed to seize a draw despite the heavy losses.

But i learnt two things: One, Tau shooting hurts. And Two, Grey Knights are fairly terrible as it stands and desperately need an update. Had i not invested so much cash into them i'd retire them until the new codex is released, but as it stands i like to dust them off every few weeks even if i am playing at a disadvantage. I guess i'd best get used to that now that i'm collecting Dark Angels too.

Speaking of Dark Angels i've made a bit of progress. The flamer biker is done, as are footsloggers. I'll hopefully have pictures up later today.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Finally Some Pictures!

After a weekend of cursing my fortunes i've finally got a working digital camera and can now display the start of my Dark Angels army. You'll note that i said Dark Angels and not Ravenwing, this is because i decided over the last few days that i'd expand my options to the full Dark Angels list and not only that but begin a huge endeavour and attempt to collect at least a full battle company's worth of Dark Angels.

Now given my Magpie tendencies this is far easier said than done but hey i might as well try to focus on one army now and again.
Anyway here are the first few pictures of my Scions of the Lion.

First shown is the model i am using to represent the Master of the Ravenwing, Sammael. I've gone for the Landspeeder option for two reasons: I want something with a bit of resilience to lead the force, and second i'm a cheap skate and didnt want to fork out another 25 quid on the jetbike version.

Underneath the Master is the first model i painted for the army, an attack bike armed with a multi-melta to give me a bit of tank killy-ness.

And last but not least is the next model on the to paint list, a flamer equipped biker. I used a spare heavy imperial guard flamer to give him something hefty to purge the fallen with. I also used a Space Wolf head (Heresy!) to make him look a bit more aggressive than the standard Dark Angel. My reasoning is he's been recruited from a Hive world and is a tad less stoic than the usual Dark Angel.
Anyway Comments and Criticisms welcome as usual. I should make some progress on the army over the next few days, including some Dark Angels on foot hopefully.