Hobby Update – Space Marines

+ + + + + Urgent comms burst Inquisitor Marleck + + + +

Inquisitor, the listening post based in the gedron cluster picked up this scrambled message. Despite running Terran protocols the data serfs were unable to reconstruct the full message. Heavy interference and jamming occurred from the originating location.

Inquis%#+^^ Marleck. It is as we suspected $€}%*+^#] I have seen it with my own eyes. The &^}%*€€* a contemptor, ancient, Shadow Sentinel @*^^**+$€<. ALPHA LEGI**+}€#€#. Lucius Grit£&@*^%**

+ + + + + Message Terminated + + + + +

The last few months have seen me make my first Forge World purchases. The first was an impulse buy to pick up the last chance purchase of the Mann’s Blades command group. I mainly got these as I thought the musician model was really unusual. With only limited Empire models (and no inclination to start that army) they are going to be remaining in the blister for the present, though I have thoughts of Mann having fallen on hard times and being reduce to leading my halfling contingent (just need to strip the 30 odd old hammer halflings painted my sister in the late 80’s!).

My second foray into its products was more of a planned purchase. Just two items (because frankly I couldn’t justify buying anything more at their prices). The first was Leitpold the Black. A gorgeous mounted Empire general model (if you haven’t seen it: https://www.forgeworld.co.uk/en-GB/Lietpold-the-Black). I’m planning on using him as my general in my slow build Bretonnian Army.

The second was a Contemptor Dreadnought. If you know me, you will be well aware of my love of Dreadnoughts. Even in the previous edition of 40k I used them a lot (probably why I was trounced so much). Thankfully they are much improved this time round. “But why did you buy a forge world model when GW already produce a cheaper plastic version”, I don’t hear you ask?

Good question. Firstly, I buy dreadnoughts for their aesthetic appearance and the standard GW one is a very horrible static rigid pose. Not something that normally bothers me too much but I just don’t like the standard model. Secondly, forge world sell a number of chapter specific dread’s and some of them look stunning (two of which had really caught my eye, the first of which was the Raven Guard one). Thirdly I had an idea for my Shadow Sentinels Chapter fluff and the other Dreadnought ticked all the boxes.

So enough rambling. I present the hidden secret, the only visible link to the chapter’s gene sires. The most Ancient and Venerable Contemptor Dreadnought: The Twin is Cleft.

Yep it’s an Alpha Legion Dread. Having my own space marine chapter was always a no brainer. With that decided, I had to come up with a back story and having an unimaginative, unknown founding (mainly so I could try out different chapter tactics) was nothing new. Reading the Horus Heresy series, some of the stories that really captured my imagination were the those where members of the traitor legions found themselves defending the imperium, sometimes against their own legion brothers. The Alpha Legion in particular originally only defected in order to hasten the eventual defeat of Chaos. Would it not then be plausible that some of them would remain on the Loyalist side fighting incognito (as their legion was known to do)? Who knows, 40k lore is not my strong point but it’s my chapter and it’s what I’m going with.

In terms of the model, in the main it was easy to put together, even lacking any instructions. The one fiddly bit was the assault cannon. That was a total bitch to fit together. Seriously, why would you cast it in 6 parts just for the rotary section and connectors. If I had to do another, I’d seriously consider trying to pick up the plastic GW kit and using the cannon from that (assuming it comes in a single piece that is).

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Fantasy books that influenced my youth

Inspired by a post by Luke on Start your Meeples and GW launching their new range of graphic novels for younger readers, I thought I’d add capture some of the fantasy series that held my hand and introduced me to the genre when I was younger, perhaps moving onto more recent books if I think they are worth a look.

I love books and reading so really this post is just a thinly disguised reason to waffle on about my favourite past time (yes it rates even above my plastic crack addiction). I’ve just picked the genre that links in nicely with the blog.

You’ll notice that many of the first/second books shown below don’t match the style of the later books. This is because I’ve had to replace many of them over the years where they’ve fallen apart due to the numerous re-reads!

1. Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy

I’m not sure if it was possible for any boy of a certain age in the 80’s to not have owned or read at least one choose your own adventure book. The concept was recognised to have started by R.A Montgomery and came to prominence after Bantam got behind it in 1979. In the next decade it seemed like everyone got in on the act from the Famous Five to Starwars.

My personal exposure to the genre was through Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston’s (yes them of GW fame) Fighting Fantasy series.  I won’t claim to have read Warlock when it was released in 1981 but I definitely got Deathtrap Dungeon in ’84 and that book together with the sequel, Trial of the Champions, was likely the reason I was so interested in the MB/GW collaboration board game Heroquest when it was released in 1989 and we all know where that led!

This was the first game world that I really got into. It was helped along by the release in 1986 of Titan: The Fighting Fantasy World. This was the first time I had come across a source book and I lapped up the artwork, maps and descriptions of the various peoples and cities. It was fair to say it blew my young mind and started my love affair with these types of books. Following on, it was then only natural that I would buy and love the Trolltooth Wars (the first actual novel based in the setting) when it was released in ’89.

It was a shame that the world wasn’t further developed outside of the CYOA books, as it really caught my imagination as a child but it definitely paved the way to all things GW.

1. Fighting Fantasy

Titan - The Fighting Fantasy World
Look at it, still one of the best covers of the 80’s

2. Lloyd Alexander – Chronicles of Pyrdain

This set of five books was written in the late 60’s and to quote David Robert of Vox.com (who has done a great article on the books), “it was one of the first true high fantasy series written by an American, and the first to rival the British greats like Tolkien”. I won’t go into this too much as he has done it far more eloquently than I could.

In essence, the plot is nothing out of the ordinary, it follows the exploits of a young, orphan, assistant pig keeper who undertakes various adventures, confronts evil, discovers himself and earns the trust of the people becoming a leader. Although you might think, “oh the same old story we’ve heard many times before”, this was one of the earliest examples of it and it is an endearing, easy to read story, that even now i’ll re-read.

It will likely be the stories that I use to introduce my children to fantasy (even above the Hobbit).

Lloyd died in 2007 but a kickstarter raised enough funds to create a documentary about him and this is now available for to watch for free on you tube

P.S. The 1985 Disney Black Cauldron film was slated but as an under 10 year old watching it (being deliberately vague on my exact age but you get the ballpark), I really enjoyed it. Now I couldn’t tell you how well it has stood the test of time but I suspect not.

2. Chronicles of Pyrdain

3. Joe Dever – Legends of Lone Wolf

As a child I had no exposure to the actual Lone Wolf gamebooks. I’m aware that Joe and Gary Chalk were early writers at GW (Bloodbath at Orc’s Drift being one of their works) and then they moved on to write/illustrate Lone Wolf. My only contact with their world was in the form of the novels released in ’89 (noticing a trend here?), after fans were eager for more, after the initial run of game books finished. They started with with Eclipse of the Kai and followed the story of Lone (Silent) Wolf, last of the Kai (basically an order of warrior monks), together with his allies (such as Banedon the wizard) and a further 11 books were released in the series, each apparently based on and fleshing out characters and plots from the original game books. How closely, I can’t comment on, as stated before, I never read them. I will say that I loved the first 6 or so of the books and they were also re-read to death. I was less of a fan of the later releases.

Sadly he passed away in Nov 2016 but not before showing his generosity in giving away all his online content and books for free on Project Aon. What a total legend and he deserves a mention just for that!

3. Legends of Lone Wolf

4. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Dragonlance

It may not have been the first fantasy series I read but it was one of the first and without a doubt my favourite as an impressionable adolescent. Above all other series, I had a fascination with the world of Krynn and the adventures of our favourite gang led by Tanis Half Elven. Part of the appeal of the series was the interactions and differing motivations of the group and even the friendships between members of the group.

The most endearing (damn, I’ve now used this word twice in a blog post) is probably that of Flint the gruff hill dwarf and the light fingered Kender Tasslehoff.

It is worth noting that the sheer number of Dragon Lance books can be overwhelming and they weren’t (in the main) released in any kind of chronological order (the books cover 9000 years of the world of Krynn!). As such a number of lists have been produced of what books to read and in what order. The folks at The Dragonlance Nexis probably have the best advice but everyone agrees that you should start with the Chronicles trilogy, starting with the Dragons of Autumn Twilight (and that book, together with Dragons of Winter Night and Dragons of Spring Dawn, are definitely worth a read).

As with all big sprawling series written by multiple authors (Starwars/Warhammer etc.), the quality of stories can vary but in the main they are good, if easy to read, books. If you, like me, tend to get invested in characters (especially if you re-read books so they end up as old friends), then I recommend reading Flint the King. All i’ll say about it is he ends up captured by Gully Dwarves and it fills in the plot of some of the years he refuses to talk about in other books.

4. Dragonlance

5. Forgotten Realms (Various Authors but R.A. Salvatore is probably the standout)

Forgotten Realms was a setting created for AD&D way back before my time (though perhaps not for some of my readers). The first novel wasn’t released until 1987, a few years after the first Dragonlance release. My journey with them started in ’89 with the trilogy below but I soon found Drizzt Do’Urden and grew to love the writing of R.A Salvatore. Although the setting broadened my fantasy horizons, it never quite reached the same prominence as the Dragonlance setting (at least in my younger mind).

5a. Forgotten Realms

5b. Dritz
Terrible artwork but great trilogy

6. J.R. Tolkein – The Hobbit and LotR

I couldn’t write a list without at least a mention of these two. I have great memories of the hobbit. Not just the story but it’s the only thing I can ever remember my Dad ever reading to me when I was younger and we also listened to the story when it was read over a number of episodes on BBC Radio 4 a few years later. I also remember a few English lessons at school where we looked at the dwarf runes and had to decode them. I’m not sure that was necessarily on the school syllabus but I didn’t complain! Suffice to say I have a real soft spot for these.

6. Tolkien
These are my copies rather than my parents ancient hardbacks.

7. Terry Brooks – Shannara

The Shannara range was my next evolution in fantasy. Although I don’t remember the exact year of purchase I do know it was from an airport shop and was around 1986 and it started with the Elfstones. It was the artwork that caught my eye (the original rather than the version below as, yes, once again my original copy fell apart). This book, the Wishsong and the Scions series set the benchmark for me at that point. I think part of it, was the fact it had been set in a post apocalyptic world (again my first exposure to this premise).

Later series expanded the world but didn’t add anything very different to it until he released the Word and the Void series. This was set in our world and had the story of events leading up to the apocalypse. I will add that this is considered a separate range from the Shannara books and maybe my memory is failing and I’ve incorrectly linked them together.

This lead onto the Genesis of Shannara which is set during the events of the apocalypse and ties a number of things into the books that follow. I have to say this was also a very enjoyable read and well worth the time if you like back stories.

All in all this is a very enjoyable fantasy settings and one of my staples through secondary school.

7. Shannara

8. David & Leigh Eddings – Belgariad and Malloreon Series

This is hands down one of my all time favourite fantasy series. I’ve probably read one or both once a year, for the last 25 years. I love both the character interplay (one of the strengths in their writing) and the story immensely and both series intertwine well. I actually prefer the Malloreon series of five books but I’ve included the Belgariad as they are so intrinsically linked you can’t list one without the other. They also released two prequels, Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress that cover these characters back stories

If you enjoy these (and I really do recommend them) then the two trilogies: Elenium and Tamuli, following the adventures of Sparhawk (though in a different fantasy setting from the above books) are also worth looking at.

I really can’t recommend their final set of books (The Dreamers). Compared to the earlier books they are seriously lacking in both depth and character interaction.

8. Eddings

9. Katherine Kerr – Deverry Cycle

Split into 4 sets of 4 books, this was one of the longest running series I have read.  Being released over the course of years, meant you inevitably had to re-read them each time to catch up on where the story had gotten too. Not that i’m complaining as I often re-read all my books. The first 2 sets of books are fairly self contained but the final 8 books are more of a continuous story so if you get that far you will want to finish them. Thankfully the series is now finished so you won’t have the large wait that earlier readers encountered!

The story is heavily influenced by celtic themes, with each book having multiple parallel story lines containing the same characters but in different reincarnations, (to quote someone else) weaving a rich tapestry of stories reminiscent of the celtic knot.

They are an excellent read and anyone who enjoys fantasy should give them a go.

As an aside, you’ll note that the covers below are very similar to other covers of the period (David Eddings books come to mind) and don’t necessarily have any relation to the stories within. Still I do like the artwork, which takes me back to my youth almost as much as the stories

9. Kerr

10. Terry Pratchett – Discworld

For a bit of easy reading, light hearted, fantasy humour I don’t think you can beat Pratchett’s discworld series (disclaimer, I’ve not read any of his other books).

The series is mainly based round the city of Ankh Morpork and the whole thing is a parody of our world, sometimes depressingly so.

Although Colours of Magic and Light Fantastic are nominally the first two books in the series, if you haven’t read any of them before, I would very much suggest skipping them as apart from introducing one of the staple characters, they are unlike any of the following books and could almost be excluded from the reading list.

If you had to read just one book, I would probably recommend Small Gods. It is almost a stand alone book in the series (featuring only Death as one of reoccurring Discworld characters).

The death of Pratchett in 2015 was a real loss as his books had been going from strength to strength in recent years, especially with the introduction of Moist Von Lipwig, though perhaps his last few books were slightly weaker than others but this could be down to his Alzheimer’s.

10. Pratchett

11. Stephen Donaldson – Chronicles of Thomas Covenant

These books definitely have an unusual twist on the normal fantasy hero and is probably the first time I encountered the idea of an anti-hero.

The main character, Thomas, is a reclusive outcast in our world due to his leprosy and when he is thrust into the new world as the reincarnation of their most famous hero, he struggles to both believe it is anything bar a series of hallucinations or overcome the natural self preservation that has been drilled into him as part of the defence against his disease. He is definitely not a likeable character something reinforced by his actions throughout the books. Never-the-less the story is immersive and not your run of the mill fantasy offering.

The second series is also very good and adds further twists to the ongoing story. The only negative of this series is the second book. I feel it could have almost have been left out.

I can’t comment on the recent third series as I’ve yet to read it (I was waiting for all the books to be released in paperback and then got distracted!).

11. Donaldson

12. Robert Jordan – Wheel of Time

This is by far the biggest single continuous fantasy story I’ve ever read, weighing in at 14 books in the main series plus a prequel (they also released some source books and a few short stories as well).

It is also currently, by far, my favourite fantasy epic. I love the story, the characters and the setting. There is some criticism that the story dragged on and I can see that, though I’d also argue that it could have been expanded further to give more depth (though perhaps that is proof that I fall into the ‘fan boy ‘ category…).

When he died in 2007 after book 11, Knife of Dreams, I was devastated. Thankfully he knew he was ill and had the foresight to write copious notes and outlines for how he wanted the story to end. His wife (an editor) picked out a younger fantasy write, Brandon Sanderson, to finish off the series, a job he preformed admirably.

12. Robert Jordan

It’s here that i’ll end the early years books and move on to a few newer series and authors. Not all the books are necessarily well written masterpieces but I’ve picked them as they are all great reads, have different world building premises and are generally gripping stories.

13. Brandon Sanderson – Mistborn Trilogy

As stated above, Brandon finished off Robert Jordan’s epic series. I’m glad about this as it introduced me to him and his many books. Brandon’s great strength is the number and depth of his ability to create unique worlds and how the character’s powers work. It helps that the stories are also very good.

If you had to start with any of his books, then the Mistborn trilogy is the one I recommend. It is set in a world where the dark lord ostensibly won. The trilogy is a very enjoyable read but what makes this world setting unusual, is the next set of books follows the evolving world and it set hundreds of years in the future where is moves more to a Victorian steam punk setting and even the powers have evolved. It’s very unusual to get this in a series where follow up series don’t normally jump so much.

His other series are also good and i’ll give a special mention to the reckoners, a story set in a world where nearly every super hero is ‘evil’.

13. Brandson Sanderson

14. Joe Abercrombie – First Law Trilogy

When two of the main heroes are basically a schizophrenic blood thirsty berserker and a crippled torturer, you know you are in for something different. These books draw you in, pull the wool over your eyes in one and then shatter all your pre-conceived thoughts in the next.

I have yet to meet one person who has read them who hasn’t liked this series which I think is rather telling and I can’t recommend them enough.

He then expands on the world in a series of stand alone books and these are good but not in the same league as the original trilogy. It is definitely crying out for a prequel series

14. Abercrombie

15. Trudi Canavan – Black Magician Trilogy

I suppose the best way to describe the start of this book is what happens if you took a street urchin and put them into Eaton as the first scholarship program. This is not entirely accurate but much of it is based around a school for magicians (it’s no bloody Hogwarts though).

One of the strengths of this series is the description of magic battles (though as with the rest, the characters and plot are also good).

She has done several further series, one based in the same setting, which is also good if not quite on a par with the black magician. I did very much enjoy her Age of the Five trilogy too.

15. Canavan

16. Antony Ryan – Raven’s Shadow Trilogy

This series is a bit of a wildcard to throw in here. The reason being that it is by far the newest of the books in the post (they were released between 2011 and 2015) and also I’ve only read them twice.

That said they were complete page turners and I couldn’t put them down till I finished each of them.

Plot wise, the story had undertones of the Lone wolf series with the main protagonist being a survivor of a school of warrior monks. However it is there the similarities end and it deviates into a fast paced well written series. I will caveat that I found the 3rd book to be the weakest of the three but that is because it probably didn’t quite go the way I thought it should.

16. Ryan

17. Warhammer Fantasy – Various authors and series.

I couldn’t include a list of fantasy books without including a selection from the Warhammer Fantasy setting. As with all settings that include such an extensive list of books, by so many authors, released over such a length of time, there are a number that aren’t great but in the main I’ve enjoyed most that I’ve read. This is probably helped by being immersed in the setting for decades and many of the stories linking to the various army books used to shape the lead pile and plastic crack addition.

Still many of them stand on their own two feet as great pieces of fantasy writing and being set within the Warhammer world might have actually been detrimental to gaining the recognition that they should of.

17. Warhammer

This is by no means a comprehensive list, just some of my stand outs.

I’ve missed out things such as CS Lewis’s Narnia (though it was a favourite as a child) and Game of Thrones was deliberately not put in as the series isn’t finished yet and frankly I’m fed up waiting for him to write the next instalment. I’ve not included either Melvin Peake’s Gormenghast of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series as both I just didn’t enjoy.

Other notables I’ve not included (but feel I should mention) are Tad Williams: The Dragonbone Chair series. I really enjoyed this but always find the first book a bit of a slog to get through. David Gemmell, Raymond E Feist, Anne McCaffrey are also worth a mention. Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London and further books are also easy reads but are slightly different to the above style (think of a far less annoying version of Harry Potter getting a job in an offshoot of the London Met Police). I’ve also often had the Dresden files recommended a number of times but I’ve yet to read one.

I’ve also never tried an audio book. Some of my US friends love them but I tend to think it partially comes down to how you commute to work. They tend to do so in cars (where reading books would be somewhat challenging) whereas I do so in a train which is ideal for books.

I hope this gives you some ideas for you next holiday reading. Are there any fantasy series/books that you’ve read that I’ve missed and you would recommend?

2017 Recap and New Year Resolutions

nye-big-ben

First off a happy new year to you all, I hope the upcoming year brings you everything you want it to!

In a completely unoriginal post I’m going to recap my 2017 and what I will be aiming for in 2018.

2017 Objectives

So at the start of the year I listed the following objectives. I’ve noted how I did against each of them in Red.

  1. Continue with whfb but get my wood elves onto the table (and possible the high elves). I played one game with the wood elves. The High elves were loaned out to Steve, for him to use in the whfb competition which somewhat stopped the ability to use them.
  2. Finish painting my dwarves. This means around 40 miners, 16 Quarrellers, a gyrocoptor, grudge thrower and crew, 2 doomseekers and a load of characters (3 runesmiths, 4 engineers, Bugman, a dwarf lord and the white dwarf on shieldbearers – in this case Bugman and Gotrek). I’ll ignore the raft of unit fillers I have lined up. Ok after  listing them out, it’s more than I first thought, so realistically i’ll be happy with completing the miners, quarrellers and the Gyro. Failed miserably. I managed to finish the gyro and a few of the characters. Basically the models I used in games.
  3. Continue painting my wood elves (you can see where this is going). Most are painted but I definitely want to finish the 3 hunters (being used as treekin), the 10 Wild Riders and flock the bases of most of my older models. Although I didn’t finish the models listed, I did start to make strides into the Wood Elves, rebasing the older models and getting through a chunk of the unpainted older archers. 
  4. Continue painting my High elves (ok, ok, so I enjoy building models and not necessarily painting them). Quite a few are painted but I definitely want to finish the Sisters of Avelorn, the remaining 10 Phoenix Guard and the Lion Chariot. As noted above I loaned out all the HE’s.
  5. Finish painting the Beastmen. 10 harpies, 15 Bestigor, a Beastlord and Malagor to go, so this should be easily achievable. Done! (with the exception of Malagor). I have also picked up some additional Minotaurs (and have more due in 2018 through a kickstarter) that will also need painting.
  6. Buy a house. Not at all gaming related but may definitely impact on it through time/stress. If we find the right place, I may even be able to finally move up all my other gaming stuff from storage at my folks (especially my legion of lead/white metal orcs and gobbos). Failed! The new aim is for summer 2018.
  7. Continue the D&D campaign. The first session is already booked in so I can tick this one off already! Done!
  8. Try KOW. This will definitely happen in the first 3 months. I just need to book in a date. The more I read up on this the more I want to try it. I’ll probably be shot for saying this but in some ways the mechanics are similar to AoS, if only as each unit has a fixed value that is needed to be rolled to hit or to damage (rather than looking it up on a chart). The main difference (that matters to me) is that KOW is ranked unit combat rather than skirmish and that is why I have limited interest in AoS. Mike Carter from the Blog, Until Somebody loses an eye, has written an excellent article on switching from Warhammer to KOW. Done! I did enjoy KOW and played a number of games in the inaugural club competition. 
  9. Possibly try out Ninth Age rules. I was very much up for trying this out but after what seems like just a year of their version 1 being released, they are again revising the rules. Changing after such a short time period is putting me off slightly as it seems that there is potentially a lack of consistency. Either that or  after the initial beta the game was still rather unbalanced. (Although I do know that one of the changes with the next version is reducing the number of magic lores substantially – which is for the best as they went overboard last time with far too many). Failed!
  10. Try Malifaux. We do have an official henchman at the club, so he should be able to hook me up with a game. I may still end up buying a starter set anyway as there are a few of the models that I really like (The Viktorias, Lady Justice and Lillith). You’ll notice a theme around the masters having swords. Failed!
  11. Try one of the Starwars games (Armada or X-Wing). My preference is Armada, as who doesn’t want to use a Star Destroyer, however there have been a number of starter games of X-Wing at the club and a few of the chaps have already bought into that game so it may be the easier one to try (and potentially cheaper). Failed!

Lessons Learnt

So what did I learn. Stop making unrealistic goals and being too specific with them! Having a young child throws the best laid plans out of the window!

2017 Achievements 

So what did I achieve in the year?

Kings of War – Played 6 games and entered the club competition.

Warhammer Fantasy Battle – Played 10 games. This included finishing the 2016 competition and starting the 2017 competition.

D&D – Continued the ongoing quest line with the group.

Battle Reports – I ensured I wrote reports for every game played. This is an element I enjoy almost as much as the games.

Painting – I did get through a chunk of miniatures and the standard is definitely improving. Possibly for the first year in a while, the number of models purchased may have been less than the number painted!

2018 Objectives

So for 2018, i’m going to keep my objectives simple.

  1. Continue to play Warhammer Fantasy. This will, as ever, be my primary objective. What can I say, I love the game, flaws and all.
  2. Continue the ongoing Dungeons and Dragons campaign.
  3. Continue to paint.
  4. Try out the new 40k.
  5. Enter the club Blood Bowl competition.

Although I would like to enter the 2018 Kings of War competition, I think realistically I won’t be able to commit to it due to time constraints.

And with the Blood bowl competition due to start in Jan, I was thrown a curve ball by my other half when she bought me these for xmas (New Edition of blood bowl, Dwarf Giants with dice and pitch and the Goblin expansion pack). Hmmm new team option now available!

The Shadow Sentinels – Space Marine Chapter

Having decided that I will finally give 40k another go, I felt that I should try and put some fluff together for my Chapter. It is very much a WIP. And because I couldn’t resist, i’ve also added a couple of lists and thoughts at the bottom.

+++++ Report to Inquisitor Marleck on the origins of the Shadow Sentinel Chapter+++++

The Sentinels are a chapter of an unknown origin and founding, based around the northern outskirts of the Sementum Pacificus, near the Halo Stars. They appear to be fleet based, though they neither confirm nor deny this and if indeed they do or did have a homeworld base, the location is not recorded on any records we have been able to find.

Due to their secretive nature and proximity to the ruins of Caliban, it has been theorised that they were an unknown offshoot of the Dark Angels chapter. This theory appears to have been given credence due to their similar chapter colours and markings and may have been further perpetuated by the Chapter themselves. The Dark Angels have denied any lineage.

There is one question on their otherwise spotless record. Their first known appearance was in M.27 when they put down the Katar rebellion. Before this date, there was no known record of the Chapter and that date does not correspond to any known founding. Due to their sudden appearance, use of archaic language & prose and close proximity to the eye of terror, they were subject to an extensive inquisitional investigation after allegations were put forward that they may have been linked to the Alpha Legion. The source of the accusations is unconfirmed but Are presumed to have come from a well regarded source considering the speed they were acted upon. Any findings of that investigation were unobtainable by this agent but it appears no further action was taken against them.

What is known about them, is they are selective in their chosen battleground, favouring heavily forested or urban terrain and when they take the field they mainly deploy infantry, shunning vehicles. There is one exception to this rule, the chapter routinely deploy an unusually high number of dreadnoughts. This has led observers to question if they follow the standard codex structure and further speculate if they indeed have enough battle brothers to field a full chapter.
They have recently been seen with greater numbers of Primaris Marines deployed, so it appears that they have benefited greatly from the Primaris reinforcements offered to all chapters as part of the Ultima Founding. Who authorised this and from which gene stock remains a mystery.

++Report ends. Sector Agent Lucian Grite+++

img_2346
Ok so not finished but it gives you an idea on the chapter colour and symbol

First list attempts

If the points are a bit out in either of the below, it’s likely because I’ve tinkered with the lists since I originally posted them and missed updating something.

Also some choices (e.g only 2 scout squads) and loadouts have been dictated by models owned and actual weapons on them. I’ve done very little proxying (if only not to confuse myself when playing!).

The Crusade of the Leaping Panther

Imperial Fist Chapter Tactics

HQ’s

The Light that Guides – Captain – 77pts

Master-crafted Boltgun, Teeth of Terra

Stark is the Void – Chaplain – 102pts

Jump Pack, Powerfist

Long Grows the Night – Lieutenant – 63pts

Master-crafted Boltgun

Troops

The Mist Convalesces – Scout Squad – 65pts

5 Scouts, Boltguns, Heavy Bolter

The Wind It Whispers – Scout Squad – 75pts

5 Scouts, Sniper rifles

The Wave Breaks- Tactical Squad – 75pts

5 Tactical Marines, Boltguns, Heavy Bolter

Elites

The Storm Gathers – Aggressor Squad – 129pts

3 Aggressors, Auto Boltstorm Gauntlets, Fragstorm Grenade Launchers

The Tranquil Garden – Sternguard Veteran Squad – 180pts

10 Sternguard, Special issue boltguns

The Emperor Draws Breath – Redemptor Dreadnought – 206pts

2 Fragstorm Grenade Launchers, Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon, Onslaught Gatling Cannon, Icarus Rocket Pod

The Enduring Rock – Venerable Dreadnought – 148pts

Missile Launcher, Twin Autocannon

The Ground Trembles – Ironclad Dreadnought – 150pts

Chainfist with Meltagun, CCW with Storm Bolter

The Mountain Comes – Ironclad Dreadnought – 150pts

Chainfist with Heavy Flamer, CCW with Storm Bolter

Fast Attack

Wild Runs the Herd – Assault Squad – 144pts

9 Assault Marines, Jump Packs

Heavy Support

The Light Should Burn – Devastator Squad – 170pts

5 Marines, 2 * Lascannons, 2 * Missile Launchers, Armorium Cherub

Heavy Sounds the Call – Devastator Squad – 170pts

5 Marines, 2 * Lascannons, 2 * Missile Launchers, Armorium Cherub

Dedicated Transport

The Sky Must Fall – Drop Pod – 95pts

Total – 1998pts

 

List Thoughts

I have no idea how the list will play. My main thought was that I had to include all my dreadnoughts. The rest of the list is kind of dictated by the models I own, though I do have a 10 man squad of legion of the damned and the dark imperium primaris marines.

The list has 1 Battalion and 1 Vanguard detachment so will have 7 Command points to use.

My thoughts were the 2 devastator squads should provide the muscle to take out any enemy vehicles/monsters. They would be supported by the captain and lieutenant for the rerolls. The venerable dread’ would also act to support them with its long range payload.

The sniper scouts are there to pick on nme characters. They don’t have camo cloaks as I had to shave off points where I could to fit everything in and I chose those and kept things like the cherubs and assault launchers.

The boltgun scouts and tactical marines are there to capture objectives and put out a reasonable amount of fire. The Redemptor will support them but with a heavier amount of AP.

The Sternguard will be deployed in the drop pod to allow them the flexibility to go where needed and drop into short range where their special issue guns combined with sternguard and Chapter strategems should cause some damage and be a distraction. It also means they will avoid any first turn alpha strikes.

The assault squad will also arrive from reserves and they are very much a sacrifical unit to buy time for the ironclads and aggressors to get into range. The chaplain is there to help out against tougher models and I like the idea of him getting into the thick of the fighting with them.

I keep reading that assault marines are not very good but they, devestators and tactical marines make up the core of the chapters so it  seems wrong not to take some. Likewise, Aggressors have taken a lot of flack but I really like the models, so they remain.

I kept with Imperial Fists, even though I can tell they don’t have the strongest CT, mainly as it is what I’ve taken before and I like the idea that they ignore cover saves across the board.

I do worry that even for a marine army, I’m lacking enough bodies (with only 50 + 4 Dreads + a drop pod), especially troops (only 15) so with this in mind I created a second list.

 

The Crusade of the Stalking Tiger

HQ’s

Fiercely Strikes the Fist – Primaris Captain – 137pts

Gravis Armour, Master Crafted Power Sword, Boltstorm Gauntlet

Red Runs the Flesh – Techmarine – 57pts

Boltgun, Chainsword 

The Silence Screams – Primaris Lieutenant – 74pts

Master Crafted Auto Boltgun

Troops

The Wind It Whispers – Scout Squad – 90pts

5 Scouts, Sniper Rifles, Camo cloaks

The Mist Convalesces – Scout Squad – 65pts

5 Scouts, Boltguns, Heavy Bolter

Moons Rise Together – Intercessor Squad – 100pts

5 Primaris Marines, Bolt Rifle

Flys Well the Bolt – Intercessor Squad – 100pts

5 Primaris Marines, Bolt Rifle

Elites

The Enduring Rock – Venerable Dreadnought – 148pts

Missile Launcher, Twin Autocannon

The Ground Trembles – Ironclad Dreadnought – 145pts

Chainfist with Meltagun, CCW with Storm Bolter

The Mountain Comes – Ironclad Dreadnought – 145pts

Chainfist with Heavy Flamer, CCW with Storm Bolter

The Emperor Draws Breath – Redemptor Dreadnought – 202pts

Heavy Onlaught Gatling Cannon, Onlaught Gatling Cannon, 2 Storm Bolters, Icarus Rocket Pod

The Storm Gathers – Aggressor Squad – 129pts

3 Aggressors, Auto Boltstorm Gauntlets, Fragstorm Grenade Launchers

The Tranquil Garden – Sternguard Veteran Squad – 180pts

10 Sternguard, Special issue boltguns

Heavy Support

The Light Should Burn – Devastator Squad – 165pts

5 Marines, 4 * Lascannons

The Fires they Cleanse – Hellblaster Squad – 165pts

5 Primaris Marines, Plasma Incinerators

Dedicated Transport

The Sky Must Fall – Drop Pod – 95pts

Total – 1998pts

List Thoughts

So body wise, this has fewer than the previous (46 vs the 50). However a number of these are multiwound models. Where it differs, is having 4 troop choices (20 troops) to help capture objectives (or act as meat shields).

Many of the units are taken for the same reasons as stated in the first list so I won’t repeat it again.

The Devastators now have 4 lascannons as I feel they are stronger than the launchers but I still have the one on the dread which gives me flexibility vs flyers (with the strategem). The other devastator squad was replaced with a hellblaster squad. I thought this gave more tactical options if only because they’d be more mobile.

Both the Lieutenant and Captain have been upgraded to primaris, if only for greater durability and the Captain given Gravis armour, mainly because I like the model!

I’ve added a techmarine as the final (and cheapest) HQ unit and he will run with the ironclads to try and help them reach combat.

The ironclads lost the assault launchers as I needed to save points and having a 50% chance to inflict D3 mortal wounds felt too random. Likewise the fragstorm launchers on the Redemptor were downgraded to storm bolsters for the increased range and guaranteed number of shots (and again for cost).

In terms of what fell by the wayside, the assault marines so I could keep the sternguard and fit the additional troops and without them I couldn’t justify the Chaplain.

I did consider adding in a librarian but I wasn’t overly impressed with the powers. They all felt a bit weak but that might be a hang up from fantasy where they could be ridiculously OP.

Likewise if I put everything in a battalion, dropped the techmarine and went with a vanilla Captain and Lieutenant, I could fit in 8 assault marines with jump packs (with the sergeant having a power fist) but I’d really want a chaplain to back them up and not sure if the loss of one command point and the 8 troops is worth having.

If you have any thoughts and suggestions feel free to make them as I’m flying a bit blind with just my own thoughts and a few reviews off the web as guidance. I’ll just repeat that the only additional models I own are some heavy weapon options for the Marines, 10 or so Legion of the Damned, any other Primaris from the starter set and for vehicles, a second pod and a land raider crusader.

Cheers M

Something strange is happening

I’ve been trying to fight the urge but I’m starting to get excited by the thought of trying out 8th edition 40k. Being a die hard fantasy fan this is a weird feeling.

I’m not a total 40k noob. I played half a dozen games of 7th edition but really didn’t like it. This was down to a combination of factors however the new rules have really simplified it and are more in line with some of the old fantasy rules (especially around armour penetration). The 7th edition may have had the same named rules but they often worked completely differently, which was just too confusing.

It’s difficult to have played GW games over the years without having picked up a few space Marine models and a few years back I built up a small force curtesy of the dirt cheap 2nd hand eBay market. This included a number of dread’s which have always been, hands down, my favourite models.

I love me some dreads!

Recently I picked up a few of the new primaris marines including the Redemptor Dreadnought (it’s a dread, I had no choice!) and the Agressors. No idea how they play but the new models are superb (as you come to expect now from GW) and were a cinch to put together.

With the dread, the only slight pause I had when assembling it was fitting the legs to the torso and then that slightly impacted the position of the feet when they were attached. Still it turned out quite well. I deliberately angled the body to one side. One thing I will say about the dread is it is designed so the arms are all movable. I personally glued the cannon in place but the power fist still moves up and down as do both shoulder joints. It’s the first GW model i’ve purchased that has this freedom and I quite like it (though i may end up gluing it in place, depending on how loose it gets).

IMG_3950IMG_4021IMG_4022

So with some new toys, I now get to undertake possibly one of my favourite parts of my hobby, list bashing!

Traditionally I’ve favoured imperial fists (or more accurately a.n other successor chapter), mainly due to the large number of Bolter units I own and I’ll continue this trend, at least to start with (fluff wise I do love Blood Angels, so looking forward to their new codex).

 

Thoughts on Building and Painting an Army

Listening to a podcast the other day got me thinking about the differing elements that come into play when putting together a new army. This process normally starts even before your first purchase and will begin with:

Why would you choose a specific army?

I feel there are 3 main factors that influence this:

1) you love the models in the range.

2) you enjoy or want to try the perceived play style of the army

3) you like the background fluff.

You could argue that there is a fourth option: Cost, but i cover that later.

I personnally feel that 1 is a no brainer, why would you spend money on something you don’t find appealing? However it may not necessarily be the primary reason.

The other two are more conditional and will likely depend on the system you play. In warhammer fantasy (and to a lesser extent 40k), I was heavily invested in the fluff. When I decided to start collecting Dwarves the fluff was my primary reason for doing so. Yes there are great models out there too but it was the image of implacable holds in the mountains and the remains of the doughty race inhabiting them that made me want to play them. In a similar vein I could only ever play Space Marines or Eldar and went with the former, mainly due to the cheap second hand market.

Conversely I started to collect Beastmen because their style of play was inherently opposite to the Dwarves. Rather than hang back and shoot shit, it was run forward and smash face.

2017 SELWG Kings of War comp entry

 

My other two current armies are both elves (wood and high) and these were picked up over the years because I loved the models.

Cost

So you’ve decided on your army, so what next?

Purchasing your models is likely to be the next step and here you reach your first dilemma and this will probably be based on two considerations: available cash and whether this is your first army.

There’s no beating around the bush, this plastic crack addiction can be expensive. As such a slow burn project buying a unit at a time is much nicer on the pocket and if you already have an army (and have the patience to do this) it’s quite doable. However if you are like me (and I hope for your sake and sanity you aren’t!!) and suffer from a lack of patience or it’s your first army, then you will likely buy or want to buy a larger number of models, at least enough to play a smaller game.

If you are buying GW models be prepared to spend a pretty penny. I won’t deny that a lot of their models look fantastic, however they are at the top end of the price range. However there are a lot of other companies out there that make great models and if you are still buying for use in warhammer fantasy, then for some armies you won’t have a choice but to use them (or ebay) as GW have discontinued large chunks of the old world range. At a later date i’ll post some of my favourite companies and the ranges I recommend for them.

Build or build and paint

So now you have made some purchases, what is your preferred method of putting them all together?

You again have several methods, you could build one unit at a time then paint that unit. If you are doing a slow build this might be a preferred method. I personally love putting together models and take immense pleasure from putting them together so am more likely to build everything before painting. However this has the drawback of leaving you with the daunting task of then painting it all in one hit. Just the thought of that is depressing so I now try and mix up building with painting.

Now you are ready to paint you again have a plethera of choices. Have you decided on a paint scheme for the unit? Do you paint a test model first to see if it works? Sometimes for me, the hardest decision is whether to undercoating black, white or a different colour? I’m a bit of a traditionalist and normally use black or white. Which I use will depend on what colour scheme I am likely to use. If it involves a quantity of light colours (white or yellow for instance), it will be white as it makes the colours stand out more (and I don’t have to use repeated layers!). If the model has large amounts of armour, then i’ll probably use black. One of my mates tends to just use black as he says it makes shading in crevices better and it is easier to see if he’s missed painting a section.

The one time I use a different undercoat is on space marines where I have been using Caliban Green as the base. As the majority of the model is that colour, it makes painting it easier (and no they aren’t painted as Dark Angels).

Basing

For me the last decision to make is normally around how to base them but this is because most of the time I haven’t put much thought into this and just do a basic flocking. Very occasionally for me and for many others, the base is something that is looked into after a model is purchased but before it is even built (I tend to only use them on larger models such as chariots). A good base can really make a model or even bring an army together with a specific theme. Most model companies provide plain plastic bases with a purchased model, however there are a multitude of firms that sell sculpted bases. Anything from fairly basic with rocks on to plinths. One of my favourite bases (and themed armies using them) was a pirate ogre army with bases looking like the decking of a ship. There is also at least one firm that sells different textured rolling pins that allows you to create your own bases using that to imprint green stuff and it looks really good.

 

I’m sure i’ve missed out lots of other options but the point of this post was just to make you think about what your process is. Do you use a tried and tested method or do you switch it up each time?

A trip to the folks and down warhammer memory lane.

I was at my parents for the bank holiday weekend and while down there I finally had time to go through and catalog the Miniatures stored there. I’ll probably cover that further down the road as I took very few pictures (though it included all my Orcs and Goblins, many of which are oldhammer figures), however I did come across a few gems whilst delving in cupboards and boxes.

The first being my copies of the warhammer fantasy battle 3rd edition rule book and army book. These are still some of my favourite GW publications ever. The rule book alone, on almost ever page, contains multiple paintings and drawings, including many by (but not exclusive to) the great john blanche! The only others GW book that comes close to the enjoyment I get flicking through this, was the 40k equivalent of the day.

No wonder the book was so big when so much of it was artwork

The army book, as well as containing every army, also gave sample armies from well known names from back in the day (complete with mullets on many!). It included one of my favourites Kevin ‘Goblin Master’ Adams.

One thing that jumps out is the difference in painting styles on miniatures from them to today. There also seemed to be a preference to varnish everything.

The second ‘gem’ I came across were 2 large boxes of white dwarf magazines and citadel catalogs and at the top was issue 123 which contains one of my favourite ever battle reports (3rd ed. rules between chaos and Orc and goblins). Forget the modern day report with pictures and battle chronicler, it was very much a narrative affair with sketched maps (in the same manner as the report in WD120). If you run across a copy, I recommend giving it a read. 


The third and final ‘gem’ were 34 citadel halfling models and the halfling hotpot. These hail back to when you could still take them in Empire armies. Now I will say straight off the bat that these were bought for my sister and were painted in the main, by her, when she was still in primary school so at some point I will have to dig out the dettol to strip them. 

However, the reason I count these as one of my gems is simply because I love the sculpts. Every one of them is unique and tells it’s own story from the lady armed with just a broom, to the professional militia man, to the peddler, to the multitude eating or drinking. They all have such character and I think they sum up why oldhammer figures are so collectible.