Cognisance

I became conscious that I hadn’t posted an update to this blog in ages – and felt that this should be rectified! Since the last post (April 2016), I have not been inactive in the hobby – and have plenty to show, both Death Guard and otherwise! With the recent release of Codex: Death Guard and the new Edition of Warhammer 40,000 (8th Edition), there is an entirely new range of lovely models to build and paint, including the Death Guard Primarch, Mortarion himself, in plastic. This should mean in due course I’ll be getting lots of the newer sculpts painted up in the traditional scheme in order to get them ready for the tabletop.

From a gaming perspective, this has mostly been dominated by games in the Horus Heresy, including a few narrative campaign weekends, such as Throne of Skulls. My Heresy-era Death Guard have therefore have become suitably battle-worn, to match their paint-scheme, and have grown yet further. The next project for them will be an Orbital Assault Drop-Pod list, as I’m looking to flesh out possibilities for running different Rites of War depending on the game or the event. To complement my Death Guard, I’ve been working through a number of Mechanicus/Mechanicum elements, which have been suitably themed to have potentially questionable loyalties, as to whether they may or may not be Hereteks… as not everything’s allegiance is binary…

This aspect of the hobby began in early 2016: I started initially with Skitarii Vanguard, putting together a core of six units – one of which will have three Plasma Calivers, and the rest will have three Arc Rifles:

In order to get a correct number of Arc Rifles, I bought extra from the Kataphron sprue – and with a cut Radium Carbine, and a small piece of plasticard, we were in business!

This progressed quickly, as I look to paint them in a Ryza-based scheme: the use of orange would appropriately tie in with my Death Guard, as well as being a lovely bright colour! After construction, I looked to get things sprayed grey (including a few other notable additions, such as the Dominus and the Kastelan Robots) to go with the pre-built and sprayed Ruststalkers and Infiltrators (which lurk in the back of the photograph…):

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Working then from a base layer of orange on the Vanguard, Robots, Datasmiths and Dominus, it was good to get the main colours on and blocked, before starting to work in on the lovely details:

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Metals and their first wash:

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Carbines and bases:

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Starting to pick out details:

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En masse:

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Then, wanting to venture further into the Heresy side of all things mechanical – I picked up some initial bits to start off with and to form the core of the army:

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I then worked on a larger selection of robots, in a variety of sizes. Some Kastelans:

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A mixture of 30k Mechanicum: Thallax, Castellax, Ursarax, a Domitar and a Thanatar, and associated Datasmiths and Priests:

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I’ve also focused on thematic basing, which I believe captures a suitable ‘Martian’ or technical off-cut style, completed with broken cogs and gears, a few tufts of hardy grass, and set around the Ironearth/Ironcrust Technical Paints:

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A close-up example:

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To lead them, I added and started to paint a Magos (to be used as Scoria for competitive games), and added another Thanatar for fire support:

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Here are a few WIP photos of Scoria:

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It was around this time that I added (yet) another Thanatar, and kept trying to keep everything cohesive, by tying in similar spot colours among the overarching scheme:

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Here’s a photo of the (ever-)growing Cohort:

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With a couple of pictures of the Thanatars complete, next to their master:

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To make sure my Legio Cybernetica Cohort remain legal, I did require some more Castellax to fulfil the core of my army, so had to bulk that up further. I tried to match those armed with four Dark Lances, with four more toting Heavy Bolters:

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As well as then thinking about the other things to start adding, such as an additional Magos Dominus and some Tech Thralls:

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For a Bolter & Chainsword event, Loyalty and Treachery, I also pledged to add a number of further options, including Vulturax, Krios Venators, and more Thralls. A few photos of them in progress are included below!

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For my Thralls, I wanted to pick out all the details as they are such great models (despite their relatively low points cost on the tabletop!). I’ve picked out all of the cables in different colours, and used these to help tie them in with the rest of the robots. I chose to do these in yellow, rather than orange, just to reflect both their semi-human nature and to be reminiscent of Hazardous Materials suits. A quick progress photo:

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More final details:

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The support cohort together as completed:

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Having completed this, I now have somewhere in the region of 4,000pts of Mechanicum (and a reasonable amount of Mechanicus, to be totalled), which has expanded into quite a sizeable amount of support units. Bar the Vulturax and the Krios Tanks, I’ve been able to magnetise a case to fit all of the above Mechanicum in – with a quick example shown below too:

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It has made things very usefully portable! I’ll follow this blog-post with a few photos of it in action: it plays very differently to the Death Guard within the Heresy setting, and will hopefully be a useful contrast and supporting element in future. With the new Forgebane boxed set having just been released, I’ll show some WIP photos of the Armigers, before looking to turn my focus back towards the Death Guard. Until next time!

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Salute 2016 – Steampunk!

Last Saturday, I was lucky enough to make my annual pilgrimage to Salute this year, held at the ExCel Centre in London by the South London Warlords. It’s an event I’ve been attending since roughly 2000 (with the odd gap here or there), but is one of my personal wargaming highlights of the year! It’s always great to see so many different traders, displays and games all on one day, and an opportunity to catch-up with friends and immerse oneself in a day dedicated to all aspects of the tabletop hobby.

I had tactically reserved a few of the things I’d really wanted (The Horus Heresy ‘Red Books’, some Battlefoam and a copy of the new SAGA release for a friend), which meant I could dedicate time to enjoying the show more broadly, and seeing what else there was on offer. And, there is a lot! It really does include every company great and small, which is fantastic for seeing new things from every possible genre and theatre you could ever wish to play. With some fantastic show-only deals too, it’s always worth a look! There are a number of displays and participation events run by clubs and societies, as well as traders themselves – which makes for an action-packed day, with plenty to view and do.The day goes very quickly (when I was younger, it felt like it lasted an age, in a good way!) – and there’s inevitably so much to see, you can’t truthfully do it all justice – but some of the photos below are some personal highlights.

There was a giant Heresy game run by the South London Warlords entitled the ‘Brotherhood of Mars’ – which was great to see given my current focus on 30k:

 

 

Warlord Games had a couple of boards to show off their new game: ‘Beyond the Gates of Antares’. I’ve yet to open the starter box, but I’m looking forward to it!

 

Warlord were also demoing the rules for their new alternate war game – Konflikt:

‘All Quiet on the Martian Front’ looked very fun too:

 

Hawk Wargames were there as ever, and nice to post the annual photo of the amazing ship they normally bring:

 

There was a Mad Max participation game going on too – it looked like great fun:

 

Mantic had a great display board to advertise Deadzone 2.0 – I’m looking forward to the Kickstarter arriving soon!

 

And there was a huge Kings of War Demo too:

There was a rather large ACW game going on:

 

 

Shattered Void was once again on display before the Kickstarter goes live in July:

 

 

I was pleased to pick up a couple of Bolt Action bits (German Command and US Marines squad), three packs of Maxmini Plague Marine replacement heads, a new Daemon Prince and count-as Mutilators from HiTech – as well as this lovely large case from Battlefoam:

And, a new set of dice – to see if that helps my rolling!

Another fantastic year – and look forward to the next one!

Continuing to Escalate!

Following my initial vow, our Escalation forces have rumbled on – and I found myself needing to add another 500pts already! Although there’ll be quite a few things that I’ll need to paint in due course, I thought that given the games so far have mostly been Zone Mortalis, it might be nice to add some close-range punch. As such, for my next two vows, I’ve opted to do two Terminator squads – one armed with near basic weaponry, and the other, more lethally, with paired Lightning Claws…

Two more units to vow as part of the B&C’s Loyalty and Treachery:

Vow 5 – 5-strong Terminator squad, with combi-bolters and Power Fists, Heavy Flamer and two Chain Fists.

Vow 6 – 5-strong Terminator squad, all with Lightning Claws

The thought of adding these to my already rather sizeable Cataphractii contingent was too good an opportunity to pass down – and potentially using a load in either ZM, or in future definitely appealed. The aesthetic of their armour very much suits everything I like about the Death Guard – so happy to get more of these fantastic models built and painted for the cause. Armament wise, I’ve gone for two distinctly different squads, in order to fill up the gaps in my current Cataphractii – namely, Chain Fists and Lightning Claws! This ensures I do have a variety to choose from, as and when required.

A photo of them prior to painting:

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Here’s my first WIP photo, blocking out main areas of colour, such as shoulder pads, ptergues and trim:

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And finally, the finished product!

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Glad to have that complete! I’m unsure what I’m going to paint explicitly next, but I think it’s worthwhile considering a 2.5k list and working towards playing more regularly. Watch this space for plans and actual painting!

Otherwise, I’m thinking ahead to things I both need and want to do more broadly. If you’ve ever wondered, this is what a couple of hundred Mantic Zombies look like clipped off the sprue…

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One of the next projects!

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!