Monday, 18 December 2017

Azrael: a 40K journey

Hi folks,

Do you have a Warhammer 40K character that particularly resonates with you? Perhaps there is a character that you have used more than any other, or one that has a particularly interesting background story. Maybe they allow you to use your favourite army in a certain way, which improves the whole gaming experience for you.

When I first laid eyes on the Angels of Death Codex, Supreme Grand Masters Azrael immediately caught my interest. His stats were average for his rank (lots of 7s for those who know what I am talking about), which put him behind the likes of Dante and Mephiston, who were also in the book. He had a higher strategy rating, which meant a higher chance of getting the first turn. He had the Sword of Secrets, which could take heads pretty well, and a combi-plasma which could put out a fairly high volume of shots. He also came with a nifty little helmet bearer, which provided a protective bubble of invulnerable saves. Rules-wise, pretty solid. But more than this... his sword was also a key. The helmet bearer wasn't human. The helmet wasn't his.

For the sake of that first game, I made a cardboard cut-out to represent Azrael. I took on a squad of Wolf Guard Terminators and Ragnar Blackmane, which I picked off with my Devastators under the cover of the Lion Helm. When I started running out of bodies, I ran Azrael up the field and gutted the Wolf Guard in close combat. We ended the game after many, many, turns of Azrael and Blackmane trading blows and making saves. As far as Lion and the Wolf games go, it was an epic first encounter.

40K had sunk its' hooks into me.

I couldn't afford any 40K miniatures for a long time after my first game, so I made a bunch of these folded card proxies. I couldn't afford a codex either, so I painstakingly hand copied the Dark Angels army list to use. That kept me going in the game for about a year! At some stage I started getting some pocket money, which a spent on 3rd edition Magic: The Gathering cards. I had a great time playing MtG with my mates and won a heap of cards playing ante. When it got stale, I sold them off* and bought my first 40K figures. When Legion of the Damned didn't work out for me ("too cheesy", cried my soulless** friends). I turned to my first love: Dark Angels. I did end up getting an Azrael figure; KuriboGoomba threatened to eat my helmet bearer after one fateful game, but I painted it pretty badly.

Fast forward 20 years, and I sent Sgt Waz off with an Azrael proxy that I had converted (me and Azrael proxies go way back). He returned with this beauty.

I will call him "chip"

To ensure that he fit in with the rest of my army, I replaced some of the red and white of the tabard with brown, bronze and gold. I also dry-brushed some extra white over the helmet bearer, to match my other robes, and re-based both figures. I don't think any of the changes constitute an improvement over the original, but up against the rest of my models, he now fits in very nicely.

So, it feels very much like I have come full circle. Today I picked up my copy of the new Dark Angels Codex and I have a spiffy Azrael proxy to use. Now all I need is some Wolf Guard to gut :-)

See you across the table,


* I bought my old MtG cards back online for my Birthday this year. Gah! The nostalgia!

** Seriously, the Animus Malorum wargear card used to drain the souls of enemy models and use them to resurrect Legion of the Damned Marines. I had great fun with that one... perhaps too much fun.

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