Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Blood Angels/Blood Drinkers Test Model and Legion Musings

So, I've amassed a ton more old RT-era Space Marines, including a bunch in the "variant" armour marks (mainly MKII-MKIV) and since the Titan and superheavies are finished, it's time to start painting Marines for the big Horus Heresy mega-game.

But what Legion to do? The truth is, in the ~25 years I've been playing 40K, while I've always had one or more Space Marine armies, the only First Founding/"Legion" army I've ever had is beaky Space Wolves back in the early '90s. Since then it's been Black Templars, Deathwing and latterly, Howling Griffons.

My own view of "Legions" is that it's probably OK to play successor chapters in 30K, because with tens of thousands of Marines in a Legion, they've probably broken themselves down into smaller units anyway. These smaller units - whether you call them corps, regiments, tercios, maniples or whatever - presumably have their own identity, heraldry and history as part of the larger Legion. Hence, the 49th Imperial Fists Tercio (the "Black Templars") or the 66th Maniple of the Blood Angels (the "Blood Drinkers"). This would also give some continuity from Legion to Chapters of subsequent Foundings. "Okay, you guys in the 66th Maniple are now going to form your own Chapter..." "Great, turns out we already have a name and symbol picked out!"
In any case, as I said, I wanted to paint some Marines for the big Heresy game. Some Chapter I've never done before. Since I always liked the Blood Drinkers since the days of the old Compendium (the picture on page XX of the Blood Drinker Marines lounging around their Rhinos - so cool), I've settled on Blood Angels/Drinkers as the focus of my new army.
This guy painted up very quickly (as you can likely tell). Primed black, basecoat of Khorne Red, highlight Khorne Red mixed with Blood Red up to pure Blood Red, Red Ink wash (that turned the model very dark), Nuln Oil wash to pick out some shading, back up to Blood Red again. Hoses, weapon and backpack are Leadbelcher washed with Nuln Oil. For the next test I might skip the Red Ink and see how that goes.

I really love the work the guys have done in weathering their Heresy Marines with sponge chipping, and I tried it a bit on this model, but ended up reversing it. Somehow it doesn't seem to fit the sculpting style of the old RT models. I used some powder instead and the effect is very subtle, but characterful I think.

So this is the first model of a new army - I have several dozen more metal models and probably 50+ RTB-01 plastic Marines, plus a couple Rhinos and even an old metal Landspeeder. What do you guys think? 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Catching Up On The Challenge - Entries 10 and 11

We reject the false Emperor!
Sorry for the longer post, but I've been away for a bit and neglecting my posts on the Analogue Hobbies Challenge, so this one is meant to catch up, including my 10th and 11th entries.  These continuing a similar theme from my last few Challenge submissions: more GW figures from the Horus Heresy - known informally as "Warhammer 30k" among GW afficionados.  Up first is the 10th entry, which included 11 models from the Sons of Horus Legion, and a single model from the Emperor's Children Legion - both Legions which turned against the Emperor in the civil war.

Bad-ass commander from the 16th Legion - wearing extra heavy armour
If the Legion is called "Sons of Horus", then it can't be a big surprise that particular Legion sided with Horus the Warmaster - their own Primarch and leader - during the wars of the Horus Heresy.

"Volkite" energy weapon

I like the old-school segmented look to the armour on the Horus Heresy era figures

Some nice cutlery - I just wish I could learn the right technique to make these futuristic power swords look more spooky
The really big figure is a "Praetor", intended to represent a senior commander within the Legion.  He will be the overall commander of any force on the table during a game.  He is wearing old-school Terminator armour - "cataphract pattern", and carrying a scary sword and a small-ish energy weapon known as a "volkite charger" that actually hits much more heavily than it looks like it would.

This fellow saw his first action on our gaming table a few weeks ago - see here for a break down.

Crowd control, Sons of Horus style
Up next is a "devastator" squad - five troops carrying heavy bolters, rapid fire support weapons of the Warhammer 40k universe.  Putting five of these weapons into a single squad is bonkers, but it reflects the heavy excess of the Warhammer 30k setting and the Space Marine Legion force listings.  This little group of troops can put down a serious curtain of fire at a decent range to boot.  See this game for evidence...

The logos on those shoulder pads look a little soft...
A close examination of the embossed shoulder plates on the devastator troops will reveal them to look quite sloppy - the reason is my laziness, and a mishap with an airbrush. I believe life is too short to go around washing off model kits and figures before you paint them (give me a break!) so I generally don't bother with that, despite all of the suggestions, positive intentions and tips from pro-painters.  Part of me just thinks "oh, good lord, what a waste of damn time" and part of me also thinks that washing figure kits in the sink may just be the final straw that sees me and my hobby kicked out of the house for good...

Extra ammo clipped to the back - I'm sure that makes it even easier to get around...not...
Anyway, I was priming these figures using a airbrush (something that challenge participant Byron has been assisting me with - the guy has patience). The primer stuck perfectly to the models, but melted right off the logo-embossed shoulder pads. Rather than evaluating carefully, I instead opted for a Verdun-style war of attrition against the f*!@$!ing resin, piling on the primer until the stupid particles of f!@#!@# mold release fluid or whatever were buried under black to wither and die. Die, mold release fluid! Die!

You get a little targerter-type device to add to one of the troops - a nice feature, although not totally clear in this photo, anyway, that is not a recommend approach overall, as it dulls the detail a bit...but hey, they are in with Horus - these guys will be growing tails in no time, so I doubt they would notice soft armour bits anyway!
It's a plasma gun party!
Ahem - moving along with this submission, up next "tactical support" squad - five troops carrying plasma guns, rapid firing energy weapons of significant firepower but relatively short range.  Again, one might typically see one of these weapons within a squad of 10 troops, but in the Space Marine Legion force listings, there is a lot of just about any equipment to go around, so these special weapons are put into their own units! These weapons have some silly special rules attached to them ("gets hot" - soooo stupid) which would make most of their own users casualties through the course of a single game, but whatever - I like how they look :)

Time for a BBQ!
Finally the solitary marine who's armour does not match the others is a test model - a Legion Marine in Mark IV armour from the Emperor's Children, the Third Legion.  Quick side note - how bummed out was the Emperor when he found out the Legion named "Emperor's Children" had lined up with the traitors? Ouch!

Test figure for the Third Legion
Anyway this fellow was just to test some colour combos for a few units of Emperor's Children Marines that are still in the pending painting queue. The purple turned out a little darker than I hoped, but overall I was still pretty pleased.

I love the bonkers chainsaw-type combat accessory - really fits the setting
So that was submission number 10 - and submission number 11 continued with a similar theme, more Horus Heresy stuff.

Prepare for getting the sh*t kicked out of you compliance - Sons of Horus in MK III power armour from Forge World
This 11th entry is 10 Space Marines in Mark III armour from the Sons of Horus, the infamous 16th Legion.

Rivets galore!
Officer on right, communications trooper on the left
In contrast to the Mark IV armoured marines, these Mark III troopers have a more menacing and proto-medieval feel to them.  The armour is covered with extra plates, is segmented in the back, and the helmet is darker and more ominous with a "face plate" that would not look out of place in the late middle ages. Many rivets are visible.  I quite enjoy how they look.

Horus' lads prepare to unleash a burst of fire

In hindsight I wish I had ordered more figures wearing this type of armour - I like its look a lot more than that Mark IV power armour (which is still very nice).  The Mark III seems more ominous - the joyless, faceless grim legions of the Emperor's Great Crusade, coming to wreck your shit bring you into "compliance".

Lots of segments in the armour - a very proto-medieval feel to the design
The squad has two special weapon troopers - one with a missile launcher, and the other with a melta gun.  The design of the missile launcher is lovely - an homage to the "shark fin" style of this weapon from the original RTB 01 Space Marine box.  The Forge World guys have done these little nods to the early history of the sculpts again and again throughout this figure range, something I definitely appreciate.

"Let's hug for Horus!"

The embossed shoulder plates are awesome...and terrible, in that once you start with them, you can't stop using them...
This group is meant to represent a veteran squad - in the 30k rules, squads to not typically carry any special weapons with them - there are whole other squads for that work, after all :) But as "veterans", they are able to add a couple of special weapons to the group, mimicking the more common 10-man squads of Warhammer 40k's more "current" iterations.

Bit of a view of the comms pack in this photo
The officer (with the wacky comb on his helmet) has a small standard mounted on his backpack, and is wearing a power fist to assist in the smashing of his enemies, likely in the face.  He is accompanied by a communications trooper, who has a modified helmet and backpack.

Good ol' "Shark Fin" style missile launcher

"I can see his house from here..."

I used decals throughout where I could, with very mixed results - the bronze does not come off of the green very well.  I also tried to weather them up a bit - again, the results are mixed in my opinion.  My sponging approach, which works so well on larger vehicle models, is harder to apply consistently on these figures.

Marine with melta gun
Proudly loyal to humanity's last hope - Horus the Warmaster!
All of these figures dragged me close to my increased goal of 1500 points, but I still haven't quite cracked the 1000-point mark yet.  Hopefully I'll manage that this week!  In the meantime, be sure to check out the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, including many excellent entries from Conscripts Kevin and Byron!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Conscripts Storm Legio-Con 2015!

LegioCon 2015 took place this past Saturday at the St. James Legion here in Winnipeg. As in previous years, the Conscripts were invited to put on a participation game at the convention. This year, I brought out my new Great War trench terrain and set up a WWI game - more on which below!

The Legion is a cozy venue for gaming and was absolutely chock-a-block with games and gamers. Lots of 40K, but some historical stuff too.

Mark, manager of the local GW store, helped organize the convention and as you can see, was going a mile a minute all weekend.

One cool feature of the convention was a "gamer's buffet", where you could get a 30-minute taster of various games from an experienced player. The games included 40K, WHFB, Flames of War and Infinity. Neat idea.

Conscript Jim was also involved in organizing.

Members of the Manitoba Model Soldier Society put on miniature painting demos throughout the weekend.

Here's a period we don't see all the time around here: English Civil War in 15mm.

Check Your 6! game in progress - Pacific War action.

This table was outstanding - rural France for a 20mm WWII game using home rules. There are several terrain ideas here that I'm happily pinching for our games.

A side room was used to display models and figures entered for judging.

Some really nice work on display.

Now to our game! I set up a modified replay of the first WWI trench game we played on the terrain, still using Warhammer Historical's "Great War" rules. Here are the German defenders - the Battalion commander, two companies of two 8-man platoons each, two MG08s, a 77-mm field gun, a trench mortar, a "T-Gewehr" anti-tank rifle team, and a sniper. A "beute" MKIV tank and platoon of storm troops come on in reserve.

The British: battalion commander, two companies of three and two 9-man platoons, two Vickers MGs, an 18-pounder gun, a scout platoon, and a Highlander platoon, plus two MKIV tanks. A cavalry squadron of three 7-man troops plus squadron commander are in reserve, ready to break through as needed.

German gun placed in the "Holland stellung".

MG08 team emplaced in a shell hole.

The game commenced with a preliminary bombardment by the British, the only effect of which was to eliminate a section of barbed wire, albeit in a key position! The British then commenced their advance across No-Man's-Land.

Unfortunately for the British, the Germans were able to seize the initiative and take the first turn, opening up with machineguns and cannon all along the front.

Fokker D-VII chases an SE-5a over the trenches. I put the planes out for an additional bit of eye candy.

Far above the mud and the blood...

The British took advantage of the long sap to run their Scouts and Highlanders into the heart of the German defences. The Scouts are pictured here about to assault a German platoon.

Firing revolvers and flinging grenades, the Scouts overcome the Germans and wipe them out! Close combat in these rules is bloody indeed, and the side with the higher Initiative value has a huge advantage when they can catch the other side out of cover. But look out for the platoon at top centre - the following turn they leapt up and gunned down enough of the Scouts from an enfilade position to cause them to bottle out and run.

Meanwhile, the cavalry has come on from reserve and pick their way across the cratered landscape, towards a gap in the German lines.

On the British right, the MKIV suffers a minor mechanical mishap but lurches into the German trench zone, its 6-pounder cannon and machineguns concentrating on a German MG nest right beside it. The last gunner miraculously survives the onslaught, only to be gunned down by a Tommy from an enfilading position.

In the centre, the Highlanders follow up the doomed Scout platoon and assault the remaining Germans. Highland steel proves decisive as the defenders are slaughtered to a man.

Under fire from the German field gun, the cavalry works forward, with losses...

In the skies above, the hunter becomes the hunted...

Highlanders consolidate their victory in the front-line trench.

The surviving cavalry have the green fields in sight, but the crew of the 77-mm gun in the "Holland Stellung" may have other ideas for them...

The game ended in a (rare) victory for the attackers - but not a cheap one. The British got several units into the German trenches, but several had been reduced to only a couple of models and had stuck around only thanks to excellent Leadership tests. One of the tanks had been damaged and the German MKIV was still operational, together with the storm troop platoon at full strength. But the requirements for a British victory had been fulfilled.

I had made a few changes to the scenario from last time; most significantly, moving the British start line to 12" onto the table. I also allowed a preliminary bombardment (per the Great War rules) and slightly reduced the number of German reinforcements. These helped the British side quite a bit, but we were denied the grisly War Horse-like spectacle of cavalry charging machineguns, at least.

I think the guys had fun and I had a good time running the game. My thanks go out to Conscripts Greg, Dave V., Frederick and Cam(!) for playing, as well as to convention attendees Bob and Mac. LegioCon is always fun, especially since there is a small, inexpensive cafeteria and bar directly downstairs from the gaming venue. Thanks again to the organizers (Bryan G., Mark T., Garth B. and Conscript Jim) for a great job in organizing and for the invitation to bring out our game.

See you next year!