Saturday 30 August 2014

Iron Snakes: Sternguard Test Mini


Hi folks,

I have finally knocked together a test miniature for my Iron Snakes Sternguard, and he looks a little bit like this:

He is a little rough; I didn't bother stripping him back when I made mistakes. In fact, there are two paint schemes underneath the final one! I am happy to consider this guy as "the first pancake", anyone who likes making pancakes will know what I am talking about.

The bulk of the miniature is from the Forgeworld Mk III armour and boarding shield kits, whilst the helmet, shoulder pad and combi-weapon are from Chapterhouse.

Paint scheme-wise, I started off with a black spray undercoat on the torso and a white spray undercoat on the shield. The armour was painted Leadbelchers (the old Boltgun Metal) with Runefang Steel highlights (Mithril Silver) and a black wash. The weapon and various trim components were painted Tin Bitz with Kabalite Green highlights. Enchanted Blue was used to paint the eyes, Iron Snake symbol, plasma coil and octopus.

I have another nine of these guys to paint, with four more free-hand shields to do of varying difficulty. One of them is a sergeant who will look a little bit different, but I'll save that surprise for later. Let's just say the inspiration for him was Odysseus' conversation with Achilles in the underworld (Homer's Odyssey). Overall, I am happy with the scheme and look forward to seeing a block of these guys dumping out of a Rhino, Land Raider or drop pod and unleashing spears of plasma at the foe.

See you across the table,


Thursday 28 August 2014

The 2014/15 Hobby Season

With just three days of winter left, it is time to think about spring cleaning: hobby-style. Dave Weston over at Confessions of a 40K Addict starts his new hobby season on the 28th of August each year and has invited other 40K bloggers to join in. If you check out his blog you will see that he is a prolific gamer, modeller and painter of Dark Angels and Tyranids: a man after my own heart.
The deal is this. We all write a list of to-do projects and every time we finish something off, we get to add one of these to our post:

So, here is my list for the 2014/15 Hobby Season:

Some of the projects have been sitting on the shelf for a while unfinished, whilst others are still bare metal or plastic on sprues. First on the list are the Iron Snake Sternguard I have been talking about, which I should have a test miniature for in the next couple of days.
Last but [sigh] not least, my garage, once lovingly called “the bunker”, is utterly trashed. Two kids in three years and impending house renovations will do that to any empty space I guess, even if that “empty” space happens to contain every article of gaming I own. I’ll have to do something about that mess…
See you across the table,

Thursday 21 August 2014

Iron Snakes: Starting an Odyssey

About three years ago I was sitting in a hotel in Crete overlooking Charnia harbour (I know, right?) and my wife said “I haven’t bought you a Birthday present”. I said something along the lines of “…honey, we are in Greece, I’m good!”

Anyway, after much arm twisting, I suggested she could order me some miniatures online. To celebrate the holiday she got me some Spartan-style Space Marine helmets and Iron Snakes shoulder pads from Chapterhouse Studios.
Now, I am not going to wade into the debate about whether 40K parts dealers are breaching intellectual property rights law or not. That is really a job for the lawyers and law makers to decide. I will say, though, that it inspired me to purchase a squad worth of Mk III armour, boarding shields, a Techmarine with servo harness and a Contemptor Dreadnought from Forge World to round out the force. In terms of stimulating sales, I think those little bits did more for Games Workshop than the last five years of White Dwarf magazines.
If you are not familiar with the Iron Snakes chapter, they are a creation of Dan Abnett. To quote KuriboGoomba “That guy can write the crap out of anything”. His book “Brothers of the Snake” contains seven short stories that follow the various trials of Damocles Squad under the leadership of sergeant Priad. The Chapter has a dominant Ancient Greek theme to it, which I found very compelling to explore, especially being a fan of The Illiad and The Odyssey (hence the trip to Greece).
The force I am putting together will consist of ten Sternguard with boarding shields and plasma combi-weapons/plasma guns, a Master of the Forge, a Contemptor Dreadnought and perhaps some scouts to make it all playable. I have decided that half of the shields will have some stylised animal designs on them, which I have created a little mock-up of below. I am aiming to have some test minis painted soon, so keep an eye out for them.

Come back with your shield or on it,

Monday 18 August 2014

Hive Fleet Numereji

Hi folks,

Just a quick housekeeping update regarding my new Tyranids page: Hive Fleet Numereji. I have been playing and collecting Nids since the 3rd Ed. codex, though I have been painting them for a lot longer. The most recent incarnation of my Tyranid army is a work-in-progress, having stripped my figures of their old blue paint scheme in a moment of madness a few years ago. Before that fateful day, they used to look a little bit like this:

After brainstorming with my mate KuriboGoomba for what seemed like eons, we came up with a new scheme. It is very quick to paint, utilising metallics and washes where possible, allowing me to crank out new broods fairly rapidly. Now my Nids are starting to look like this:

The name Numereji relates to an Aboriginal legend about a giant serpent that terrorised tribes in the Kakadu nation of Northern Territory in Australia. The serpent emerged from the ground (sound familiar?) to devour people until only one was left, hiding in a tree. Unable to help herself, she swatted a mosquito that was biting her. Hearing this, the serpent attacked and swallowed her too. When challenged by another tribe, the serpent vomited up the bones of all the people it had eaten.

The paint scheme is based loosely around some models of the xenomorph used in the filming of the Aliens franchise, as well as the winter colouration of the Fierce Snake (Inland Taipan). Their head turns black in winter, allowing it to absorb more solar radiation. It also happens to wield the most potent venom of all the snakes. Thankfully they are only found in very remote areas, with most envenomation events occurring in captivity.

Anyway, I digress! Any new Nids will be posted on the dedicated Hive Fleet Numereji page. Meanwhile, you can take a look at what I already have on my shelf.

See you across the table,


Sunday 17 August 2014

Dark Angels 3rd Company: Command Squad

Hi folks,
I finally finished my 3rd Company Command Squad tonight, which is my first completed Dark Angel squad in a very long time. I think the last thing I finished was my Deathwing Dreadnought with lightning claws (which you can find on my Deathwing page), close to three years ago. The finishing touches were three Dark Angel decals on the Standard Bearer, Apothecary and boltgun marine. I have a love/hate relationship with decals. They are great because they are so sharp, but goodness I hate trying to get them on shoulder pads. I really need to invest in some more solvents and setting media.
The Apothecary got a freehand symbol with some stylised wings. This was actually a happy mistake, as I managed to put on the wrong shoulder pad when I was constructing him. I have a proper shoulder pad with the symbol included in my bits box, which I will now use on a Ravenwing Apothecary. I also added some detail to the narthecium. You can see some awesome narthecium jobs around the place; this probably isn’t one of them! It is good enough for me, though, at least for now.
So here’s a pic with how my Command Squad usually rolls, six deep in a Razorback usually hull-down behind a Land Raider Crusader. The guy at the back is my Master of the 3rd Company, who I am sure is thankful for the new meat shield. Then again, they are worth more than him

See you across the table,


Tuesday 12 August 2014

In the Works...

Hi folks,
Just a quick update on my 3rd Company Dark Angels project. I have snatched a couple of hours during the week to work on some of the figures in the Command Squad, with the Standard Bearer and Apothecary now close to completion.

I can still remember when dedicated Command Squads were introduced in 3rd Edition and everyone went “NOOOO! They are turning 40K into fantasy!” Well… that never happened, but I do miss the days when you could spread your specialists out a bit. It was fun to place your Apothecary and Standard Bearer where they were most needed.

I have always been a big fan of the Dark Angel banners. For starters, they look very cool with the angel motifs. Secondly, the rules have always had some great synergistic effects that helped to differentiate Dark Angels from the other Chapters. I have always included the sacred standards in my armies, and my long suffering mates all laugh at me and say things like “Time for a banner save!” whenever I roll them out. Love you guys...
This guy is carrying the Standard of Devastation, which greatly increases the boltgun shot output of nearby squads. The banner itself was snipped out of one of my (many) codices; it is just a place holder. I will hand paint my own at some stage. I love the way that it makes boltguns the focus of the force, it doesn’t get more “tactical” than that. In fact, I may just rename it the Standard of Tactical.

The Apothecary was a strange one to plan. Apothecaries usually have white armour, but I wanted this guy to have the robes of the Inner Circle as well. I always get a bit nervous when adding so many shades of white in such a small space, but I think it has worked out alright in this case. Apothecaries usually earn their points back in my experience, though I haven’t used one since Feel No Pain moved to 5+. At the very least, he is carrying a boltgun!


They both still have some basing and decal work that needs to be finished, which I am hoping to do this weekend. After that, I have one marine in the squad left to paint. I'll let you guess what weapon he is rocking.

See you across the table,


Wednesday 6 August 2014

Luthien Campaign Update


Scenario 11: A Samurai's Death

During the previous Luthien Scenario, Coordinator Takashi Kurita’s choler overwhelmed him and he led his Dragon’s Claws unit in a suicidal charge. The initial shock of the assault carried the unit through any immediate Nova Cat resistance, but they soon found themselves well beyond friendly supply lines or fire support. Knowing that they were surrounded, Takashi ordered his men to make their stand on the outskirts of LAW city. The Mech’s under his command hid between the abandoned towers and prepared to meet eternity. Shin Yodama, piloting his battered Phoenix Hawk, knew that he had failed in his duty to his friend Theodore. He resolved to take as many invaders down with him as possible, blotting out the stain on his honour with Clanner blood. The leading edge of the Smoke Jaguar assault tracked the Dragon’s Claws movement into the city and sent a hunting cadre to eliminate them. The resulting battle would echo in eternity.
The Draconis forces were represented by the surviving Mechs from the previous scenario: Takashi Kurita in his Grand Dragon (essentially undamaged), Shin Yodama in his Phoenix Hawk (heavily damaged and missing an arm), a Hatamato-Chi (Zombie-Chi!) and a Hatchetman (essentially undamaged). These Mechs would receive a -2 bonus to physical attacks and a +1 penalty to ranged attacks. They would also receive bonus points for enemies taken out with physical attacks and for not surviving the battle. They started the game hidden anywhere on the map.
The Clan force was a collection of Smoke Jaguars’ finest, an Ebon Jaguar Primary (represented by a Nova), Huntsman Primary (represented by a Hellbringer C) and a Shadowcat Primary (represented by a Kitfox). The Huntsman, with its Beagle Active Probe, would be handy for smoking out the hidden Draconis Mechs. Along with the other jump capable Mech, the Shadowcat, it could jump from alleyway to alleyway and even scale buildings. The Ebon Jaguar was just there to soak up fire and sling out gauss shots. Knowing the damage some of those Mechs had sustained in the previous battle, I was confident that it would not take too many gauss shots to cut down the opposition.
The game opened in fairly spectacular fashion, with the Zombie-chi being destroyed by the first shot to touch it, an ER Medium laser fired by the Ebon Jaguar. Shin Yodama had a pretty bad time as well, taking a gauss shot that holed his Phoenix Hawk’s centre torso completely. That left a plucky Hatchetman and the Coordinator in his Grand Dragon to preserve the honour of the Draconis Combine.
The Hatchetman engaged the Huntsman in a duel across the roof tops, which included several “death from above” attempts (below). The battle ended when the Hatchetman struck the Clan Mech in the head with its hatchet, then poured pulse laser fire in the hole. Damn, that was a brutal kill.
The Hatchetman got its beautiful death a short time after, thanks to a crushing mid-air gauss rifle shot from the Shadow Cat, which prevented the successful execution of another death from above attack.
The Grand Dragon challenged the Shadowcat and they traded fire for a few turns, until it was opportune for the coordinator to break the honour rules. The next turn both the Ebon Jaguar and the Shadow Cat bracketed the Coordinator with their gauss rifles and brought the Mech crashing down.  
The Jaguars scored -90 points for their kills, whilst the Draconis forces clawed back 40 points through NOT surviving the battle and a further 30 points by taking out the Huntsman with the aid of a physical attack. The final score was -20 points, which puts the campaign standings on – 5 VP. With only two Classic Battletech games left and one Alpha Strike game, I can sense that this campaign is going to finish the way it started, on a knife’s edge.