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.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Random Musings

Given that my digital camera looks like it will be consigned to digital heaven, and no money for a replacement available until tomorrow, my plans for putting up a few pictures over the weekend have come to naught.
I will endeavour to rectify the situation hopefully by tomorrow evening, which just so happens to be the night before my 27th birthday. And given the momentous occasion i've been somewhat nostalgic hobbywise.
October 27th also marks the 15th anniversary of my entry into the hobby, way back in 1995. It was a more innocent time, when England relaxed to the music of the Scatman and the Spice Girls had yet to launch their aural assault on our senses. I'd just started Secondary School (or High School for any colonials reading this) and was introduced to the Games Workshop hobby by a friend who would become fondly known as Ewok.
These first few games had little models nor indeed rules, we made them up as we went along pretty much, playing on school desks at lunch time with Ewok introducing me to the world of Warhammer. It was a while before i realised half of what he'd told me wasn't correct and the rules barely resembled anything put out by Games Workshop, but still i remember those days fondly. On the turn of my birthday i received my first GW models: 8 plastic Dark Elf swordsmen. In those days Dark Elves came 8 to a box, and were all one piece and monopose. Nonetheless i loved them dearly.

Thinking back i've also noticed an odd habit of mine. I tend to still think of several venerable models as "new" despite their decade appearing on GW shelves. Specifically its the Falcon Grav Tank. I remember clearly the month it was released and being amazed at the kit and how cool it looked, yet i've never owned one. Perhaps if i had i would cease to view them as something new and exciting every time i face one across the board, but then i think i would miss that feeling if i did.

Anyhow enough rambling. With luck pictures will appear on the interwebs tomorrow of my efforts with the sable stick.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Sod's Law strikes again

As is typical for my luck, the moment i decide to take a few pictures with my digital camera, it stops working entirely. Currently it won't stay on for more than a couple of seconds at a time, before conking out.
So the picture update will be delayed a short while, as i try to appease the cameras machine spirit.

Friday, 15 October 2010

New Blog start and a new army.

Greetings and apologies to anyone who actually reads this blog. Apologies because its been many a month since i last updated it.

This is due to a couple of reasons, primarily because i've been diagnosed with severe depression a few months ago. Since then i've moved house away from several of the reasons behind the depression (utter scum for neighbours for one example) and started a nice course of happy pills.

Part of the symptoms of depression, for those fortunate not to have suffered from it, is the lack of will to carry out activities that you once enjoyed. Hence my painting and posting took a severe nosedive over the last year or so, resulting in a defunct blogs and more than one aborted paint log on Warseer.

Now that the move is complete however and i'm on said course of happy pills, i've decided to make a fresh start. Where in the past this blog was mostly all over the place in terms of topics it's now going to be focused on wargaming almost exclusively, with the occasional ramble onto other subjects if my magpie brain latches onto them.
And with this new start i've decided to start (another) new army: Ravenwing. I've been planning a Ravenwing army since way back in 1996, when i was knee high to a grasshopper and had just received 'Codex:Angels of Death' for a Christmas present. Having also received a Tactical Squad and a Box of Death Company, my longings for an all bike force were supressed, since i'd decided on Blood Angels.

Fast forward a few years and GW released the first Ravenwing army set, for £100 if i remember correctly and again the longings were stirred but again repressed as i was but a penniless Secondary School student with a paper round providing me with a meagre income.

Then almost a dozen years later, Codex:Dark Angels arrives, with a new Ravenwing Battalion box and those forgotten urges were once more dragged into the light. But again i put it off, until finally with this fresh new move to Huyton i've given in to temptation and forked out fifty quid on the box set. Thankfully this was money given to me by my fantastic Grandparents as a birthday present, so my housemate and former missus restrained herself from forcibly castrating me.

For those unfamiliar with the set, it gives you six bikes, an attack bike, a landspeeder and a feth load of bits to upgrade them into Ravenwing goodness. With my income still a tad low (any Lottery winners reading this, please consider sending me a gift) i've decided to go the landspeeder route for the Master of the Ravenwing, when i get around to assembling him that is. That is the other decision i've made for the army - i'll be building a model, painting it fully, before assembling the next. This should prevent it from joining the hordes of grey miniatures that adorn my shelves.

So far i've finished the attack bike, i should have some pictures up soon-ish along with pictures of the next model to be assembled - the Master's Landspeeder.