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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40k First game

A few Fridays ago I played my first game of 8th ed. 40k (and only 4th game of 40k ever) vs one of the club committee members, Nick. (I’ll put my thoughts on 40k in a separate post).

Nick decided to use the game to try out a number of things he hadn’t used in this edition, mainly revolving around the Dark Imperium Primaris.

What he actually bought was a modified Guilliman ‘blob’. I believe that is what the ‘technical’ name is and it involves having the core of the force within the primarch’s bubble to make effective use of his re-rolls. His list was something like this:

Roboute Guilliman – 385pts

Chief Librarian Tigurius – 130pts

Primaris Librarian – 101pts

Troops

Scout Squad (5) incl. Heavy Bolter – 65pts

Scout Squad (5) incl Heavy Bolter – 65pts

Scout Squad (5) incl Missile Launcher – 80pts

Tactical Squad (5) incl Las Cannon – 90pts

Tactical Squad (5) incl Las Cannon – 90ps

Tactical Squad (5) incl Las Cannon – 90pts

Elites

Primaris Ancient – Standard of the Emperor Ascendant – 69pts

Heavy Support

5 Hellblasters – 165pts

5 Hellblasters – 165pts

6 Hellblasters – 198pts

Fast Attack

6 Inceptors – 270pts

Now this list only comes to around 1960pts so i’ve missed an upgrade or two. I’m also not sure on the exact make up of detachments but it must of had at least a battalion, so with that, battle forged and Guilliman he had a minimum of 9 command points (and he had the warlord trait that regained them on a 5+ when he used them – and he rolled a 5+ a lot!).

My list and thoughts can be found here but can be summed up as: try as many different unit types as possible whilst taking all my Dreadnoughts.

Suffice to say, Nick had put in somewhat more thought into his list building.

I’ll apologise straight away as I will quite likely use fantasy lingo rather than 40k in elements of this, either due to habit or because I cannot remember the equivalent terminology.

The first decision thrown up was the type of mission to play. There are 2 styles, Eternal War and Maelstrom. Nick suggested playing the first as he thought it would probably be easier for a learning game. Having watched a number of you tube battles I however completely disregarded this and suggested the Maelstrom games. The difference appears to be that Eternal games have fairly fixed capture an objective(s) style, whereas with Maelstrom you draw random tactical objective cards (which could be anything from kill something, to capture something, to charge a unit etc.). In both styles, the player with the most points at the end wins and similar to Kings of War, the game length can be variable. I also had a copy of the space marine tactical cards and wanted to at least make use of them once, hence I again picked Maelstrom!

We rolled up Escalation, where you start with one card and draw an additional one each turn and always have a number equal to the turn number. We also had the Spearhead detachment deployment, basically a triangular shape and we played lengthwise on the table.

Taking the high ground
I’ll take the high road and you take the low road
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Trying to prevent any deep strikes
IMG_4461
The blob

Knowing how many shots the Inceptors could pump out I tried to prevent any gaps in my back line where they could deep strike. As it was, it was a fairly wasted endeavour as Nick had no intention of moving much out of range of Guilliman and his infuriating ability to allow rerolls on all failed to hit and to wound dice and the only thing it accomplished was that half my forces had to spend too many turns unable to target anything and had to move up to get into range.

I got the first turn and the Aggressors lived up to their name and decimated the scouts in the central pyramid. First blood to me! The Ironclads popped smoke and charged forward as fast as possible.

The Sternguard (in the drop pod) and my Inceptors deployed in the Ultramarine backlines and proceeded to inflict damage. Everything else in range, shot up the nearest Hellblaster squad. Tigurius’s ability to nominate a unit and make it at -1 to hit didn’t help my Alpha strike. My lack of thought on targets and deployment also hindered it. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and they should have all gone into the Hellblasters. Those guys are just brutal!

In Nick’s first turn the carnage continued and he took one Ironclad straight off the board, the Standard of the Emperor Ascendent allowed almost all of the slain Hellblasters to fire off a final Salvo before being removed (and they all overcharged of course as there was no reason not too). The Redemptor also took a shoeing from the remainder.

I won’t go into detail about the rest of the game as it basically involved me shooting up Hellblasters who refused to die straight away and who kept up a relentless barrage of plasma, tearing through everything in their path. By the second turn I was 4-0 up on points and it remained that way until turn 4 when Nick started to reap in points and then he leap frogged me in turn 5. By this point, he had decimated almost all of my force as they advanced piecemeal into his plasma fire. At the end of the game I had just 7 scouts left.

There was one turn that was very close to being potentially game changing. I was one wound off being able to target Guilliman with 5 Lascannon shots. I’m not saying I would have killed him but it was nice to dream 😀. Damn Tigurius and his -1 to hit ability, I just couldn’t get that final wound!

IMG_4463
The Sentinels push forward trying to get into range.
Whittling away at the blob
Inceptors push up to capture an objective
The Sentinels back field forces move up

Evaluation of the list

One game does obviously not give a grounding for any kind of realistic review, however that said, you can generally get an idea for what worked, shortcomings with your list and ideas of what you want to try.

General thoughts

With so many Dreadnoughts I was lacking bodies so trying to cover my backfield to prevent deep strikes, did nothing but ensure I had units well out of position all game. Next time I won’t even bother for the reason given a bit below.

Stating items were starting in deep strike, counts as a drop. Something I didn’t realise until he was able to then place his scout units on the advanced objectives before I laid anything on the table. I’ll know for next time!

Aggressors vs Inceptors. Aggressors are good fun but ultimately vulnerable to a mass of shots (the same could be said of most of the force). Inceptors perform a similar role but with a consistent number of higher strength and AP shots (12 S5 -1 AP each vs 6+D6 S4 each) and greater mobility. They also only cost around 20pts more for a squad of three.

Just saying that makes you wonder why you would take aggressors over them. The answer for that is the Aggressors ability to double the number of shots if they don’t move. Even after one game, I think I’d still rather run inceptors if only for the movement and deployment advantage and the issue with getting Aggressors into a good position without taking the Primaris tank. If I took them again, I’d probably actually use them in a defensive role, guarding an objective in my deployment zone with the ability to double tap anything that came into their 18″ range.

Sternguard in drop pod

My use of these guys was poor. Position wise I deployed them outside of 12 inches so they could double tap and still get the benefits of the Chapter tactics (tick). I then proceeded to retardedly fire them against the tactical marine squad that was (a) in cover and (b) Tigurius had put a -1 to hit on. Not sure what I was thinking. They should have targeted the Hellblasters. To top it off I completely forgot to use their unique stratagem that gave them +1 to wound. I should also have used the aux scan stratagem (where you get to fire out of turn) when his Inceptors dropped in. This might have helped the sternguard survive the barrage that came their way and at the least, could have whittled down the number of shots that helped decimate them.

The question is whether they are worth it. Their guns are basically the same as those on the Intercessors (though with -2 AP) and their points are the same. They gain +1 LD but the Intercessors get +1 wound. I do think they need a delivery system (whether a drop pod or something else). I definitely need to try them out again.

Dreadnoughts

I loved the Redemptor, the number of shots it can put out is fearsome. It is an auto include in my next game.

The venerable dread I used as a gun platform and I went the twin las/missile combo so that both guns had the same range. Against this mostly infantry force he wasn’t very effective but you can see how he could be against a different list.

The Ironclads had potential but again my use of them was sub-par. Charging them straight at the largest threat to them on the board was probably not the smartest move! I also think when I next use them (and I will), they will be sporting hurricanes to present more of a ranged threat.

Devastators vs Hellblasters

Well Nick definitely gave me a lesson in what a swarm of Hellblasters could do. Mine managed very little except be caught up in the plasma blob but I was able to see their potential. With the additional pip of armour penetration over the Lascannons, it meant nothing had a save and that really made a difference.

The 4 Lascannons I took had a great range but putting them on top of the rock meant they were out of my Captains bubble (doh!). They were also a bit wasted against much of his list. The D6 damage almost always ensured that they at least removed every Primaris they hit. They do however need a Captain and probably a lieutenant in range to maximise effectiveness.

Intercessors vs Scouts

I think they both have a role to play. Having a T4, 2 wound 3+ save model in troop choices with a 30″ S4 -1 AP gun is nothing to be sniffed at. 5 of them cost the same as 5 tactical Marines with a lascannon. Which is the most useful, likely depends on the rest of your list.

The sniper scouts did nothing for me all game but they were out of range for much of it so I can’t give any opinion on them. The bolter scouts did ok with the Heavy Bolter being great. I’d definitely take them and that heavy weapon again. It is surprising how much difference -1 AP makes.

Techmarine

He was the cheapest HQ option available and in a different game he might be worthwhile, however all the dreads were wiped out before he even got a chance to heal them. I am not at all sold on his worth in my list, especially as he needs to be within 1″ to heal. I think he favours lists with stationary vehicles. If I ever take a land raider I might well use him.

Librarian

I’m not sure if he is worth the points, at least not for the powers he brings to the table. As it went, the jump pack and relic armour made him a very useful threat. I think he will be more useful in a combat orientated army.

Captain

You almost have to bring a Captain, if only for the buffs. I liked the storm of fire warlord trait and would definitely take it again if he was near units with a high number of shots. I think he would be better off dropping in using a jump pack and then having a second Captain in the gunline.

Going forward

I definitely want to try out some combat troops, so vanguard veterans will be on the list. I also want to bring the land-raider crusader packed with hammer and shield terminators.

With a more combat centric force I’d definitely be bringing a chaplain, if only for fluff reasons.

A lieutenant will also be a must for a gun line list as re-rolling ones, would have made a huge difference in the game. He would be taken over the Techmarine.

I also fancy taking a Culexus assassin. The minus 2 to any power roll if he is in range would definitely hinder the number of spells going off. I suppose the question is whether I would take a librarian in the same list as him.

Hobby Update – Space Marines – Squad: March!

You can normally tell when I’ve not managed to get any game time in, as there seems to be a direct correlation between no games and my hobby output.

This is the case at present, though I do have a game on Friday. Unsurprisingly this is 40k. Why unsurprisingly? Well the second correlation I’ve noted is not only does my hobby output increase but it is normally directly related to the game system I’m about to play, especially if it is a new(ish) system for me. It’s probably the big kid / new shiny toy syndrome. It happened with Blood Bowl when I painted the Norse team in record time and it’s happening again with 40k.

It helps that my paint scheme is rather simple and it will be interesting to see if the enthusiasm to paint Marines continues after my first game of 8th ed.

It also helps that Azazel keeps throwing out challenges to motivate me, in this case ‘Squad: March!‘ and I’m pleased that I’ve actually managed to complete another one well in advance of the end of the month.

But ramblings over, this is my first completed unit of original Marines.

The eagle eyed of you will note the missing shoulder pad on one of the models. No idea how I missed that! I’ll have to dig around in my bits box. You’ll also note the differing base sizes. I have two units of Devastators that each came with the different sized bases and I just painted the ones with the load-out (las Cannon’s) I wanted to use on my upcoming game.

Hobby Update – Space Marines

++++++ Report to Inquisitor Marleck on the Shadow Sentinel Librarius ++++++

For hundreds of years it has been assumed that the Chapter lacked the gene required to manifest psychic powers (this time fueling rumours that they were an offshoot of the Black Templars). This opinion was furthered by the number of Culexus assassins that had been seen operating in tandem with the Sentinels in an apparent effort to neutralise enemy psykers.

It is this agents opinion, that this is another example of the misdirection constantly employed by the Chapter. Although he cannot offer hololith evidence, this agent has personally observed at least one Sentinel manifesting powers from the Librarius Discipline. Whether this Marine is an aberration in the Chapter or one of many Librarians rarely seen, he cannot confirm.

Of probably greater importance is the question of why have they gone to such lengths to conceal their presence.

++++++ Report ends. Sector agent Lucian Grite ++++++

The latest edition to the Shadow Sentinels is one of the very rare Chapter Librarians.

I kept the paint scheme in the same simple green and silver but added a bit more detail, a completely unblended variation of colours on his hand because, you know, that’s what psychic powers being cast look like… I also experimented on the sword (unsuccessfully) using the Nihilakh Oxide after I had edged it etc. with the various blues. At present I’ve not gone back to clean that up but will do so.

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40k First Game incoming

More than 8 months after deciding to retry 40k (after a very brief unsuccessful stint in 7th Edition), i’ve finally lined up my first game of 8th edition against one of the club committee members, Nick.

He knows it’s my first game so said he will not bring one of his nastier lists (which would probably have involved some form of Imperial Knight!) and would use the models from the dark imperium set. Being a glutton for punishment, I of course said bring whatever you like, so we shall see what appears.

I’ve said it many times before on the blog, I’m sure and I’ll say it again (I’m getting older and so repeating myself is not only allowed but to be expected). I suffer from perennial list tinkerer syndrome. It’s a real thing, look it up. I just can’t help myself, I’m sure my laptop is slowly filling up with variation upon variation of lists, most of which never see the light of day but exist just for my theory/list hammer pleasure.

Phew, now I have that heavy burden off my chest, I feel I can safely post my latest creation and chosen list for the game.

The Crusade of the Stalking Tiger

Raven Guard Chapter Tactics

HQ’s

The Light that Guides – Captain – 77pts

Master-crafted Boltgun, Chainsword

The Mind Awakes – Librarian – 120pts

Force Sword, Boltgun, Jet Pack, Armour Indominus

Red Runs the Flesh – Techmarine – 57pts

Boltgun, Chainsword 

Troops

The Mist Convalesces – Scout Squad – 65pts

5 Scouts, Boltguns, Heavy Bolter

The Wind It Whispers – Scout Squad – 84pts

5 Scouts, Sniper rifles, Missile launcher

Moons Rise Together – Intercessor Squad – 91pts

5 Primaris Marines, Bolt Rifle, Auxillary grenade launcher

Elites

The Storm Gathers – Aggressor Squad – 111pts

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 – 202pts

2 Stormbolters, Heavy Onslaught Gatling Cannon, Onslaught Gatling Cannon, Icarus Rocket Pod

The Enduring Rock – Venerable Dreadnought – 165pts

Missile Launcher, Twin Lascannon

The Ground Trembles – Ironclad Dreadnought – 145pts

Chainfist with Meltagun, CCW with Storm Bolter

The Mountain Comes – Ironclad Dreadnought – 145pts

Chainfist with Meltagun, CCW with Storm Bolter

Fast Attack

Swift Strikes the Thunder- Inceptors – 135pts

3 Inceptors, assault bolters

Heavy Support

The Light Should Burn – Devastator Squad – 170pts

5 Marines, 4 * Lascannons, Armorium Cherub

The Fires they Cleanse – Hellblaster Squad – 165pts

5 Primaris Marines, Plasma Incinerators

Dedicated Transport

The Sky Must Fall – Drop Pod – 85pts

Total – 1997pts

List Thoughts

The list has 1 Battalion and 1 Vanguard detachment so with it also being battleforged, will have 7 Command points to use. This seems like a reasonable number.

I have no idea how the list will play but I did have a couple of over-arching thoughts.

The main one was that I had to include all my dreadnoughts. The second was that I wanted to try out as many things as possible.

I feel a bit gamey using Raven Guard tactics (-1 to hit them when 12″ away) but I feel they are the most complementary of the list. If I weren’t using them, I’d probably use Iron Hands (due to the 6+++ save and the specific dreadnought stratagem) or Imperial Fists (due to fire ignoring cover). The advantage of these 3 are the consistent benefits, meaning I’m unlikely to forget them!

With my first few lists, I realised that I had little or no deep striking units so I revised it so that I had 3 distinct elements to the force.

The Pillar Endures

The first is the fire base. This group should do very little movement and camp any deployment zone objectives.

It will be led by the Venerable dreadnought who can, if necessary, burn a stratagem to act as a captain. He will be supported by the Devastator Marines, Intercessor Squad and sniper scouts.

This will give me 5 Lascannons (with one being a twin and one additional one time shot from the cherub) and 2 missile launchers with which to take out heavy armour. The 4 sniper shots will target characters (probably support characters as they usually have fewer wounds). The Intercessors will be used to help protect the fire base from deep strikers and will be the mobile element of the group.

The Blade is Poised

The Assault group will be led by one of the Chapter Captains. He will start within range of much of the fire base to buff them with his aura and will either stay with them or advance as needed to assist the Hellblaster squad, as their ability to overcharge will benefit most from the reroll to hit of 1’s he provides. I also like the idea of a Captain advancing to cleanse the enemy rather than hanging back. I’m contemplating spending an additional command point before I begin to give the captain an addition relic (the teeth of terra) as I do feel that bar the Dreadnoughts, the list lacks combat punch but it may be a wasted point. The other thing I’m unsure on is what warlord trait to give him. At the moment I’m gravitating towards Storm of Fire to give nearby Chapter units a chance to get an additional -1 save modifier.

The Hellblasters will be the mobile ranged hard hitters. I’ve taken the standard gun over the assault version due to the extra pip of strength.

In some ways the Captain, Hellblasters and Intercessors are fluid option, able to move between the fire base and assault groups as required.

The boltgun scouts are there to provide the second part of the deep strike area denial and if possible to capture mid-field objectives at the same time.

This group will have their own fire support in the form of the Redemptor Dreadnought who will advance with the Captain and Hellblasters. The Captains buff should again help with its damage output as moving will impede its hit rate.

The final element of the group will be made up of the units that will be barrelling forward at all due speed. The 2 Ironclads will be advancing towards the enemy as fast as possible. Their smoke launchers and Chapter tactics will infer a one turn -2 to enemy shooting, that should mitigate a lot of hits. The Techmarine will run with them to try and heal as much damage as possible (or he will help with the Redemptor if required). They will be supported by the Aggressors who have the ability to both advance and shoot and should be able to help thin out any potential horde style units that try to chaff up the ironclads. I’m hoping the 2 Dreads will present a greater threat and deflect attention from the more vulnerable Aggressors.

It is tempting to leave a deliberate backfield space near the Aggressors to entice a deep strike but I somehow doubt Nick would fall for that tactic but would capitalise on it if I moved later on.

The Crushing Blow

The final group is the strike force and is made up of those starting from reserve.

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 stratagem should cause some decent damage and be a distraction. The increased range of their guns also means they can still benefit from the Chapter tactic when in rapid fire range.

The strike force will be led by the Librarian who will jump in with the Sternguard using his powers either as an offensive force or to help buff the unit. As a bonus, jumping in might mean he starts in range to get a deny the witch boost. I’ve given him the armour relic to boost his save and give a one time 3++ ward. It should make him more survivable, especially in combat.

The Inceptors are very much a distraction. They are to drop in to try and thin out any hordes but I’m happy to make them sacrificial and as a fly unit, they are able to fallback and still shoot.

If you are still reading after that wall of text then I’m impressed. If any of you have played many games then please feel free to off any tips you may have.

 

Hobby Update – Space Marine Aggressors

I am on FIRE this month. Three hobby updates in as many days, you must be wondering what they’ve put in my water!

Ok it’s not that impressive as most of these miniatures have been worked on over the last month or so and not finished due to flitting from one set of models to another and I’ve now had a bit of time (and motivation) to finish them off.

I last posted 40k models back in November and despite my growing interest, I’ve still yet to have gotten a game in of 8th ed.

I have to say I really quite like the Aggressor models. They have a really solid feel to them and on the field, the number of shots they can put out, backed up with power fists, seem to be a good combo. I suspect they are still too fragile though as they don’t have many wounds so sheer rate of fire would likely be enough to bring them down.

I’ve kept with the plain green colour scheme of my Chapter, building on the dreadnought paint job and pretty much just using silver to offset it. I must say I like the simple contrast much more than the lighter green highlights used on my tester miniature. I am now going to go back and revisit the Dreadnoughts to add similar touches.

I did start with some middenland tufts as something different (using them for the first time), before adding my normal static grass to the base but all the tufts did were add a slight variation in colour rather than stand out like I hoped. I get the impression that they are best used on, say, a plainer base to add variation. Still, you live and learn. One thing that I was pleasantly surprised at, was the tufts are applied like stickers. I don’t know why but I had been expecting to have to glue them to the models base myself.