A Year In Review

To review my year in the hobby is to acknowledge that I’ve not posted as much during 2015 as perhaps I anticipated that I might, with only four posts spread throughout the year. That said, this offers the opportunity for a (bumper) reflective on the things that I did do, and didn’t chronicle, as well as the plans for the future too!

The Games

The most recent reflection was on my tournament performance in a local 1650pts 3-game event in August, which thoroughly put me through my paces in learning 7th edition. Mustering four games in two days had bested my total for the rest of the year, and it was great to field a fully cohesive army, even if I couldn’t do better than last place!

That said, just a couple of weeks later I was lucky enough to roll out my Heresy army, to make five games in the space of two weeks – which is most likely a personal record – and was delighted to roll some dice against a top notch opponent. We had planned for a 2.5k Heresy game, I’d originally wanted to roll out my Contemptors, and more of my lovely Heresy-era Terminators, but packing in the early hours before you have to leave for a conference, with the limitation of just one box, meant I had to be slightly creative. A couple of minor proxies and working with what models I had readily available to make a force I’d not yet tested, but thought would be fun to play.

List included the following:

Mortarion with three Deathshroud
Praetor with Paragon Blade and Iron Halo
Legion Destroyer Squad with Rad Missile Launcher and two Phosphex bombs
Legion Destroyer Squad with Rad Missile Launcher and two Phosphex bombs –
Apothecary with Power Sword
Legion Tactical Squad – 20 Strong
Legion Tactical Squad – 20 Strong
Legion Support Squad – all with Volkites
Legion Support Squad – all with Volkites
Legion Sicaran Battle Tank with Lascannons and Armoured Ceramite
Legion Sicaran Battle Tank with Lascannons and Armoured Ceramite
Fire Raptor
2500pts

In short, lots of troops (represented by retro plastic Plague Marines in the main!), a Primarch and not a lot of anti-tank. To then come up against a list like this:

Alexis Pollux
Legion Praevian with 3 Castellax
Tactical Squad Rhino
Tactical Squad
6 Jetbikes
2 Sicarans
Legion Falchion
2 Contemptor Mortis dreads
2500pts

Meant I was slightly outgunned – and against a lot of armour, including the Falchion that with a strength D tank-busting weapon, would probably make things difficult for me.

I got my friend to deploy first, and tried to counter-deploy with everything possible in cover. With the Warlord Trait allowing us both to move a unit, I moved Mortarion et al to the other side of the board, to hopefully wreak havoc around the super-heavy, and to deal with where (at that time) most of the targets he could actually deal with would be. The range of the Falchion meant cover was essential, but difficult with the fire-arc and kill-zones it would inevitably be holding.

Here’s a quick shot of my right flank:

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To the left, the other squad with Apothecary, and then further over, in cover near the objective, both Destroyer squads. Mortarion is in pure white, with three Obliterators (as Deathshroud) around him), and my Praetor in that squad.

First turn was somewhat brutal: I’d wanted to use my Sicarans, was very excited having painted them up nicely and hoped they could kick out some damage. To see the Falchion one shot the first, and reduce the other to one hull point, before being summarily executed by a follow-up shot from another unit, I now didn’t have anything holding the right flank, or any real anti-tank. My opponent (kindly) offered to restart with it swapped out for something different: I had basically nothing that could hurt it, and I’d lost about a fifth of my army early on. The perils of Strength D! I was keen to continue – it was my first game of the Heresy proper, and I was keen to try and at least plough through – even if it meant only another twenty minutes before I might be tabled!

Oddly, things got better – for the fact I would struggle to damage those tanks, it focused my attention on anything softer. Mortarion cleaved his way through the Castellax, then their Praevian, before jumping behind cover. His teleport rules are excellent – the Falchion was somewhat limited by the terrain, and therefore spent time chewing through Tactical marines. The Fire Raptor made a huge difference, knocking out an opposing Sicaran and taking the other to a single hull point, before destroying the Rhino to leave those Tacticals available for Mortarion to scythe through. I was delighted with the Destroyers – their damage to the jetbikes and subsequent effects made it easier for the boltguns of the marines to deal with them – as many nobly died so my Praetor could live throughout. The support squads, with limited range and anti-tank, were basically used to sit on objectives, and it was great to finally see one of my Deathshroud (the last remaining) cut down the contesting bikers.

During this time, Polux and Breacher escort (as Tacticals) had (just) successfully used deep strike to attempt to grab an objective and wreck my left flank: the Destroyers were to turn around, and with Mortarion in tow, carved through all and the warlord. This helped move me above on VPs, with a few solid tactical objectives, despite losing my Fire Raptor – and the game ended with my Death Guard sitting on five objectives, against a Sicaran with a hull point, a Falchion and a Contemptor.

A quick shot shows the devastation:

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It was a fantastic game – coming out with a 22-8 victory was unexpected after that first turn, and was characterised by it simply being great fun. I was lucky to have a superb opponent, and it made for a fantastic game. The massed numbers of troops were clearly a great boon, and I’d probably just want another Apothecary to help the other Tactical Squad achieve. I’d switch out the support squads for something heavier in future, but the Fire Raptor and Mortarion performed superbly – and the Destroyers offered another threat – as well as being very cool.

This was however the most recent game I’ve played, bar a fantastic Apocalypse battle, of roughly 5,000pts a side (five players per team – good vs. evil) – so we could fit in pizza and the game within about three hours.

Here’s a quick overview of setup:

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Aim was to reach that big building where the Titan was residing – if we could capture the grotto, and any objectives on the way… it’d be decent! It was a bit of a slog…

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Mortarion nearly killed the Wraithknight… he got stomped next turn however sadly!

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That was probably one of the highlights – managed to topple a member of the Seer Council on Jetbikes, but broadly as we were slightly outnumbered superheavy wise, and it was quite a long way to go – even recycling didn’t truly help us! Fantastic game though – thoroughly enjoyed it, and can’t wait for the next one!

Aside from this, I’ve managed to fit in a few games of Guild Ball, and one of Bolt Action – I’ve thus far lost all my Guild Ball games, and pulled out a draw in my first Bolt Action game – which suggests I should probably stick to non-sporting tabletop games in future…

Painting

On the painting and modelling side of things, I’ve been lucky enough to paint approximately 9,000pts of stuff over the course of the year, mostly thanks to the different competitions that have run on the Bolter and Chainsword – it’s a great motivation for me to take part in these, and proud to have actually cleared so much of a backlog – and do those pieces justice. I’m hoping to continue this level of output through the year, with a number of different pieces and projects – no doubt supporting the great core of things I currently have.

Most recently, I’ve diversified to add some Renegades, in the form of Traitor Sentinels, and a number of Khorne Berzerkers and Noise Marines, as pictured below:

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I’ve still got a number of things for my Death Guard that need to be improved in future, both repaints and some new ideas – and it’ll be good to explore those in time.

Heresy

The release of the new Betrayal at Calth sets have allowed me to bolster my Heresy army, in the form of the Tactical Marines I so desperately needed! Having totted up my rough points, I think I’m pushing 10,000pts – but so little of that is painted, coming mostly from Contemptors and Terminators. My aim for this year is to complete as much of that Heresy stuff as possible, and I’m looking forward to the next event at the B&C, which should allow me to complete Mortarion, and hopefully some other nice pieces… Watch this space!

The break over Christmas allowed me to build some Heresy leaders, who will be painted in Death Guard livery:
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And, I’ve enjoyed building a number of Breachers (to take me to 20), and the following, which should give me some semblance of air superiority:

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A Fire Raptor, huzzah!

Additions of a Deredeo, Storm Eagle, a Glaive and a Spartan should also heavily bolster these forces, the which have been started in true batch fashion:

I’ve laid them out together:

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Liberally applied glue from the bottle, before covering the full ‘face’ with a brush:

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And then applied my chosen materials, in cork and gravel, before shaking off the excess. About half shown:

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The other half are in progress…

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It is a start anyway – and looking forward to completing these and getting them on the painting table.

Other plans and projects?

The main goal is to continue to clear the backlog of models and miniatures that need to be painted, so they can hopefully grace the table-top more frequently. I’m hoping to do a bit more with the Dark Mechanicus/Skitarii I had planned, and perhaps see where that takes me in future!

To conclude

It has been an excellent year for the hobby, and has been one I’ve immensely enjoyed personally too, and I’m looking forward to all that 2016 has to offer – and I hope that it is happy, healthy and prosperous for everyone else too!