Tuesday, August 12, 2014

World Eaters Tactical Support Troops

World Eaters Space Marines with "tactical support" weapons; I will add some groundwork once I finish painting the whole group
Well, it's been a while, but I am finally putting paint on some more Horus Heresy figures for Warhammer 40k (or "30k").  These are figures from Forge World, Space Marines wearing Mark IV power armour from the "World Eaters" Legion, one of the Legions that would turn against the Emperor and join with Horus' rebellion.

The officer has a "vexilla" - I thought they were stupid at first, but I really like how Byron's turned out so I thought I would do at least one officer with one

The "Tactical Support Squad" is a creature of the Legion army list, a troop choice of a supporting nature (although I haven't seen the latest cash grab-dex, so perhaps they changed this?).  Keeping with the grand style of the Space Marine legions, the squad is all armed with the same support weapon. This essentially creates an Imperial version of the Eldar Aspect Warriors, and this is a good thing for the Legion player.  Concentrating the weapons in this way manages to simultaneously match well with the fluff of the setting and what I imagine the "tactical approach" of a Space Marine Legion to be (overwhelming, singular application of brute firepower) while also allowing the Legion to fight on the table in a way that lines up perfectly with the min/max channelling effect created by the 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th edition of the 40k rules.

The embossed shoulder pads are a dangerous addiction - once you do one squad with them, you will want to do all squads with them...
The weapon options for these Tactical Support squads range from the classics - flamers, melta guns, plasma guns - to some specific Crusade-era/Heresy-era choices like "Volkite" weapons.  To catch some of the flavour from the period, I opted for the latter choice for this squad.

The armour is quite mucky (pigment powders) but I still needed to weather the shoulder plate markings a bit more
The good weapon smiths of Mars made Volkite weapons available from pistol-size all the way to super-heavy-tank size.  Other than the officer, the Marines are carrying Volkite Calivers, sort of on par with a plasma gun.  According to the fluff, Volkite weapons are a type of thermal ray weapon, once common among the early Legions but, as the Emperor's Crusade started to really take off and the ranks of the Space Marine Legions grew and grew, was replaced by the more available and easier-to-make bolt gun. 

Volkite Calivers - a sort of plasma gun without the downside
The weapon has a special rule - "deflegrate". I was less taken by its game effect (which seems kind of scary yet redundant and therefore somewhat pointless) than by the word itself. Apparently "deflagration" is an actual thing - subsonic combustion through heat transfer, or something like that. So this is a horrifying weapon that I can totally imagine the Space Marine Legions rolling out to use on those who resist the Imperial Truth.

Plus the Forge World sculptors/designers did a great job on these guns - as they have with so much of their Horus Heresy stuff.  The weapon looks f**king cool and dangerous.  I love it for the looks-cool-factor.

I am doing a 10-man squad with these things, and I hope to finish the whole group by Friday.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tempestus Scions - Full Squad

GW's Tempestus Scions
More dribs and drabs from the painting table.  Here is a completed 10-man Tempestus Scion squad, GW's new plastic storm trooper figures for the Imperial Guard. This is a completion of the original mini-project that I started back in July.  I had intended to finish these models, together with a command group, in time for Curt's visit at the end of July.  The timing didn't work out, but at least this initial batch is finished now.

The squad has two special weapon spots, and I opted to go with the new "hot-shot" volley guns.  Unlike the lasguns, they are pretty decent weapons.  They suffer from the intensely lame "gets hot" special rule, but with some luck (ha! yeah right!) and some use of orders from the officer you can avoid most of the worst after-effects from that barmy rule.

Look cool, but they die easily and quickly in the game

A few of these individual models saw some limited action during Curt's visit and the hunt for the "Red Barun", but they will have to wait a bit for their first use on the table as a full group.

Lots of gear and stowage on these models

These models are lovely, but the Tempestus Scions are not really a viable force in the current Warhammer 40k tabletop environment.  The low strength and short range of their basic weapons renders them close to useless and unable to reliably or predictably overcome any of the basic troop types of basically every other race in the game.  They are not able to bring heavy weapons with them. They will not last very long in 40k's noxious "close combat" dominated environment, and will not have the firepower or range to prevent "close combat" from happening to them.

If you don't mind painting lenses, then these models will be fun to paint!

So, in other words, they are just like a standard Imperial Guard force: you will be relying on your vehicles (or perhaps allies) to do the heavy lifting.  In my particular case, it will be up to the Valkyries to do the heavy lifting (which is what happened in the game against the Orks).  You can also build a ground-themed force if you wish, but that would mean using the Taurox, one of the worst model designs I have seen from GW in a long time (I used to say "the" worst, but every time you think they hit bottom, someone throws them a shovel). Your mileage, however, may vary :)

But it is fun to zip around the table and drop out of Valkyries - so if that appeals to you (and why not?), then prepare to enjoy your Scions!

And as for the painting table, it's time to get back to a project from the spring...more on that later,

New recruits for the Horus Heresy coming soon...

Friday, August 8, 2014

Tempestus Scions Command Squad

Tempestus Scions Command
Oh man - the "dog days" of summer are finally, finally here! The weather has been so bad for so long that I was starting to contemplate witchcraft, ritual magic, or perhaps the construction of a ziggurat for human sacrifice in order to placate the gods.  Thankfully, the warm weather associated with a Canadian prairie summer finally arrived a couple of weeks ago - with no human sacrifice required (this time...). 

My dogs Spencer (left) and Joey enjoying the dog days of summer in the back yard. They have the right idea!
With the lovely weather here at last, my painting volume has taken a total nose dive as I opt for being outside as much as possible. But I have still finished a few things here and there in quick bouts of painting after sundown.  Here is one of those little side efforts - a "Tempestus Scion" (i.e. Imperial Guard storm trooper) command section.

These models are from the new, dearly expensive GW Tempestus Scion box set. I started on a small group of these models a while back. You can use the box set to create either command models or standard troopers - they are listed separately on the web site, but it's the same set.

I find this box set to be fascinating reflection of GW's current gnarled c*ck state.  The amount of options you have for the figures is really something, and the detail and quality of the plastic sprue continues to impress.  There are helmets, berets, knives, a wide assortment of special weapons, grenades, swords, plasmas pistols...on and on! Not to mention the standard etc. The styling of the armour might not be for everyone, but as a I said before, these are really nice figures with many design elements that speak to both new and long-time Imperial Guard fans.

Officer and four troopers
At the same time, I can't imagine just how much time and effort had to be invested into providing so many different options on so much sprue for just five figures.  I mean, you even have what look to be laptop cases as accessories! There is a floating servo skull! How many of those am I going to need? Seriously...you couldn't find room for a couple more legs and torsos on there, huh?  GW - what a pack of douchebags.

But enough GW ranting for now.  There is already a lot of great content for that elsewhere on the Web, written much better than I can manage (see here for a great example).  Back to the figures!

The Scions can have a command squad with a senior officer and all of the little add-ons common to Imperial Guard formations since the Rogue Trader days.  You can ad a medic, a comms guy (ok, that is more second edition than Rogue Trader, but still, it's been around for a while) and a standard bearer.  I opted for berets on the command squad guys, leaving a more standard helmet on the melta gunner.

Standard bearer - skulls anyone? Sigh

The standard bearer is a tricky fellow - I will need to mount a washer inside his base to keep him from falling over.  I was pretty disappointed with the flag - much too full of skull BS for my tastes. I do enjoy markings cast directly on to flags, as they are fun to paint, but this one was a disappointment and a blank one would have been more fun (not that it always turns out better for me, but a blank flag would have been nicer than this silly skull design).

Medical trooper

The medic has the all-purpose medical kit, and a laser pistol with a little saw blade handy for amputations.  It seems in the grim darkness of the far future, every medical procedure will involve an amputation...

Lots of kit for these fellows to carry

The comms guy is a nice figure. And another example of just how exhaustive the bits are with this box, you get "hot-shot" lasguns in their protective sleeves for each of these special role troopers, to ensure your command squad can still fire with them in the event you are confronted by a WYSIWYG pedant.

Vox operator

I painted these mostly for collecting/fun. In game terms, this command squad is a rather amazing waste of points.  While the ability of the officer to issue orders is important, things like the standard bearer and the medic offer bonus abilities that are of no real use to your Tempestus Scions.  "Feel no pain" and a +1 to close combat resolution will not save these guys from anything.  The extra range provided by the vox caster is risible. A comms net measured in inches? I can get behind the retro-yet-super-advanced tech of the 40k setting, but come on!  It is particularly ridiculous when you see the advanced data slates/scanners etc. modeled right on the figures...

Nice model, but sort of pointless on the table - take a special weapon trooper instead!
The biggest negative of these special role figures all of these come at the expense of the special weapons that you will need if you are to have any hope of success in the game for your Scions. A useful command squad for a 40k game will have an officer an four troopers armed with the same special weapon - all flamers, or all melta guns.  The new "hot-shot" volley gun would be a good choice as well - an officer and four troopers with volley guns would pour out quite a bit of fire.

All of these guys were supposed to be ready in time for the game during Curt's visit...oh well.  I'm sure they will get another chance to deploy...

NOTE - Fawcett Blog visitor Admiral Drax offered a fine rant of his own on the utter stupidity of the vox rules, and I enjoyed it so much I think you should check it out here.  It's from 5th edition, but it still applies.  GW's ongoing inability to come up with decent, workable rules for simple things like this continues to astound.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Allies in 40K - Poll Results

For the record, here are the results of our latest poll. 37 of you voted on the following question:

The new "meta" in 40K tournament play seems to be "allies". What do you think of Allies in 40K?

Here are your responses:

Great- I'll take an ally any day to give me something my codex lacks - 3 (8%)
They're OK for a themed game or special scenario, but not for a tourney - 10 (27%)
Meh - don't care one way or the other. Take 'em if you want - 3 (8%)
No way - too ripe for abuse by power gamers - 11 (29%)
I don't play 40K - 10 (27%)

So, taking out those respondents who don't play 40K, 78% of you thought allies are either unacceptable or only OK in a special or themed game. Only 11% thought that allies are a good fix for codex deficiencies.

My own view is that allies are generally lame. I wouldn't use them except in a themed narrative game on a Thursday. Although I am maybe the wrong person to ask, as I'm not too fussed about winning or losing a game as long as the result is close and it looks really nice :-)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Rattenkrieg auf Middenheim! WHFB Pictures

A few weeks back, we decided to dust off a couple of our old Warhammer Fantasy Battles armies and have a go. Conscript Greg brought his Empire panoply and I rolled out with my Skaven. Two thousand points was the engagement level, and I was pretty worried about making the time to get a list together since work has been so mental... however I needn't have worried overly, since in my podcast listening I'd found out about Battlescribe, a free list-building app... both Greg and I used it and it worked pretty well on our iPads.

Greg's guys looked awesome arrayed in a line of battle. I was initially heartened by my superiority in both bodies and magic-users. Greg brought a few scary things though - notably the three artillery pieces and a 15-man knight unit...

Even scarier than they look - and they look plenty scary

I brought some Jezzailists to wield their S6 -4 save weapons against said knights...

Level 4 Grey Seer on his Screaming Bell...

Hell Pit Abomination and a third big block of Clanrats.

Chittering hordes itching to get at the humans...

If I recall correctly, this is one of the main things that did me in - Helblaster cannon.

Rats had a simple plan - advance to contact and rip the humans apart. We had superiority in numbers and some big monsters on our side too. What could go wrong?

Well, this for one thing... that's the bounce on the Great Cannon shot at the Hellpit Abomination. Yes, he died quickly. No, he did nothing.

Knights ram into the clanrat block with Screaming Bell. I kept forgetting to activate the Bell but it didn't make a great deal of difference as it (and my Grey Seer) died horribly.

Nothing much better on the Plague Monk front - Empire troops took an extra dose of hand sanitizer before the battle and came out refreshed.

Can't remember exactly what this die roll represented but I'm pretty sure it was Not Good for the Skaven :-(


All along the line we were getting stuck in but it seemed to no avail. Empire detachments wrapped around and that was it. No coordination = no momentum.


Mortar played a part as well dropping templates on the clanrats from afar.

Anyway, this post is kind of an object lesson in posting when the battle is fresh in mind. This one happened some weeks ago and although I'm sure SOME things went my way in the game, all I can remember is abject defeat ;-)  Perhaps that's the Horned Rat's way of saying "must do better next time" :-) Always fun to play WHFB though and the game looked great!

Monday, July 28, 2014

"Target: Red Barun" - 40K Battle Report

Last week we were happy to welcome back "Founding Conscript" Curt, late of the Western Chapter. So what better way to celebrate than with a game of 40K ;-)

I kid, but only a little. We wanted to try the "new 40K" again to see if it would be as much fun as we thought it might be after the last game - plus Greg was looking for some redemption for his Valkyrie bunch.

So instead of using masses of cards and random scenarios, we decided to play a real narrative game. Old Imperial adversary "Da Red Barun" (above) has been raising Hell on Rynn's World, but the Imperial defenders haven't been able to locate his base. A patrol of abhuman veterans happens on the makeshift Ork airbase and calls in Valkyrie-borne reinforcements. The Barun himself is passed out from fungus intoxication, sleeping it off in the cockpit of his plane. The object of the game is seize da Barun, and the side in control of him at the end of the game gets 3 VPs. Victory points are also scored for Kill the Warlord, Linebreaker and First Blood, as usual. This IS 40K, after all ;-)
I laid out the terrain as an Imperial installation that's been captured and turned into an Ork airbase.

It was also the first chance I've had to use the cool Quonsets I picked up from the Dust range!

First turn and off we go! Conscripts Mike F., Indo and me ran the Ork horde, which consisted of three mobs of 15 boyz, five assorted warbuggies and Skorcha half-tracks, two Traktor cannons (Skyfire!!), a Trukk with a mounted quad-flakka-dakka gun, two Deff Dreads, a squad of 10 Stormboyz, and lastly another Trukk with five meganobs and Warboss Irongob.

Here's the quad flak on the lookout for Valks... Conscripts Greg, Curt and Byron rolled out the Guard - a veteran squad of very cool Quar models and their Quar-mera (visible at top left), some of the new Tempestus Scions, and three Valkyries full of troops. You can just see the Scions behind the Quonset at top centre.

Here's Byron plotting his next move as a disembodied hand points the way ;-)

Curt all smiles...

 ...as his Quar head for Kenny Rogers' Roaster...

Indo made a beeline for the opposite table edge where the Quar were positioned in a wood. Skorchas are nasty... in little time at all the Orks were up 2VPs to nil with First Blood and Linebreaker.

Over in the centre, though, it wasn't easy being green as the Scions reached the prize first, dragging the semi-conscious Barun out of his aircraft. The boyz squad was angling for a charge...

Our cunning plan was to overwhelm the Scions with a devastating combo from the Meganobz and Warboss. Imperial plasma guns put paid to that plan, however, with the boss being plasma'd... 2-1 Orks as the Imperials score 1VP for Kill the Warlord.

Meanwhile the Traktor Cannon and quad flak were dakka-ing away at the circling Valks. BS2 is a bit of a bitch, but we were heartened when the quad flak scored a 6 to hit and another 6 for penetration! Outstanding! But our joy turned to sorrow when we found that all we did was take off a hull point, as the quad flak didn't have the requisite AP to knock a flyer down outright. Yeah, that's what we thought too.

Deff Dread dealt with the Quar-mera in spectacular fashion.

Those Valks were pesky indeed though, dropping "pie plates" that chewed through boyz squads with ease. Greg and Byron were particularly deadly with the scatter dice :-)

Luckily the Stormboyz were able to stick their landing (not shown) and grab da Barun from the decimated boyz squad... They in turn were wiped out almost to the last boy by Imperial fire.

Guardsmen deploy by poop grav chute (sorry, Ork joke) and light up some boyz, but it was to be too little, too late, as the Skorchas dealt with them. S5 AP4 is a sure-fire Guard killer, especially when you don't need to use BS.

Only a couple of Ork Meganobz left to safeguard the Barun but it was enough. The Imperials were out of troops and Valks can't grab the target.

Losses were heavy on both sides... as it should be in 40K :-) The final tally was Orks 6VPs to Imperials, 2.

I think the lads had fun and it was great to get the quad flakka-dakka and buggies out on the table. I quite like the new 40K and I'm sure we'll play again - we're planning a big Heresy game for later in the year so stay tuned!