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.