Summer Painting Updates!

Hey everybody!
Just thought I’d share with you all some Summer Painting Updates, after having a fairly productive weekend with the minis! Unfortunately, I’ve yet to lift a brush to my Militarum Tempestus force, and the Skitarii have only vaguely been looked at, so this update will be purely based on the T’au part of my painting goals.

Let’s take a look!

After exactly four months, I have finally managed to finish painting my first Fire Warrior squad! It feels like it shouldn’t have taken this long, but I guess it was a long slog trying to figure out the scheme, and then trying to work it so that I could paint things quicker than usual. I’d say that, once I got going with it, it wasn’t too long to get everybody done.

The drones are fairly quick to do also, I’m not trying to go in for a stunning standard with anything here, but very much trying to get them ready for the tabletop. So no glowing lens-effects, or anything! Though I have tried to get some vague glow-like effects on the ends of the plasma weapons.

Anyway, let’s talk about the scheme!

The armour is basecoated with Caliban Green, then drybrushed with Kabalite Green, Warpstone Glow, and a final highlight of Niblet Green. The fatigues are basecoated with Mechanicus Standard Grey, then shaded with Nuln Oil. I had been toying with drybrushing them with Dawnstone, but have decided against that.

The weapons are basecoated with Dark Reaper, then shaded with Drakenhof Nightshade, before a light drybrush of Thunderhawk Blue – not too much, just enough to help bring out the details.

The blue badges are all painted with Caledor Sky, shaded with Drakenhof Nightshade, and a light drybrush of Teclis Blue just to help brighten the details back up. I also then drybrush the ends of the plasma weapons with Teclis Blue, to give the effect of an active weapon.

Speaking of weapons, the Tactical Support Turret there is equipped with a smart missile system (at least, I think it is – I had thought at first it was the missile pod variant that had the bank of six, but given the missile pod for the Commander is just three warheads, I’m switching round!) When I was painting my Riptide over the May Bank Holiday, I’d decided to paint those with yellow noses, to both add some visual interest and differentiate from the missile pod, which I had painted red on the Commander. These are done with a base of Averland Sunset, a shade of Agrax Earthshade, then a light drybrush of Yriel Yellow. It’s almost maddening to try to paint these as neatly as possible, especially because the yellow will show up horrendously on the dark grey should I make a mistake, but they do look quite good, I feel! Such a shame that the smart missile system is the better weapon than the missile pod…

The skin of both the Shas’ui and the Ethereal is done using the classic T’au skin scheme:

The bases are then done with Armageddon Dust, with some Agrellan Earth dabbed on here and there. Once all that is dry, I shade the whole lot with Agrax Earthshade, then when that is dry, drybrush it with Terminatus Stone. I’ve still got some of the Burnt Grass basing flock from back in the day, so I then add a bit of that with PVA glue – Tau armour is meant to be camouflaged against the environment they’re in, so if I were painting a desertscape for the base, it should by rights be a more tan/ochre colour. Adding the grass helps to justify the green of the armour, but the red bits in the flock do help to add interest to the base overall.

So there’s my T’au army to date! I do need more drone support, and I do need to get moving with more troops as well, but I’ve actually started basecoating every battlesuit that is on my painting table with Caliban Green at the minute, so I should probably get a grip and stick to the plan! I’ve previously made a fairly decent start on some Pathfinders, so I think next on the list will be trying to get a squad of those finished, along with their accompanying drones.

Stay tuned for more!

New Kill Team!

Well folks, the news has dropped, and so has my jaw! This release looks huge, and makes the 7th edition ruleset look particularly awful by comparison!

I mean, right off the bat there’s just so much stuff!

I’ve not played Shadespire, but from all accounts it’s pretty good. Using the same rules designer to come up with this game seems like it’s a sure bet for success, at any rate. The article linked above talks about what will make the game so good, such as the squad customisation stuff, and from the sounds of it, we should be in for a really great addition to the 40k universe.

The way that the game is going to be supported, with individual Kill Teams available with their own bits of terrain, as well as terrain bundles that come with the game mats to play on, sounds like it’s almost akin to a boardgame than anything else, and I guess that is the overriding impression I get from the launch article, that they’re heavily targeting the boardgame audience rather than making just a different way to play with your existing 40k collection.

When I read the article, my first impulse was to buy everything so that I could have it all, but upon reflection, I have a great deal of this stuff already, so will likely only be getting the manual at first. I’ll probably be getting one or two of the “environment expansions” as well, mainly for the terrain but also because they come with the game mats. I’m really hoping that they will produce some way of selling the datacards for the kill teams separately for those of us who already have the models – I’d be really interested in playing a Genestealer Cults kill team, but I don’t want to buy another set of Neophyte Hybrids just to get the cards. (Or maybe I will, anyway…!)

The scenery does look incredible, and I really want to get that Basilicanum right now, even though my painting backlog is insane!

It’s just beautiful!

The accessories are as exciting as the game, almost – with unique dice sets giving this the greatest resemblance to the Shadespire model that is giving me the hope they’ll sell the cards separately. But I digress…

It’s not all fantastic though, as there is something giving me a little pause here. The game is described as the successor to Shadow War: Armageddon, and the article ends with a look at the different factions that will receive rules support, saying that “each of these factions uses a specially chosen pool of units, designed to represent the kind of forces you’d find in a kill team”. While I realise that balance is important for these sorts of small scale games, one of the things I really hated about SWA was the fact that I was so severely forced into playing with a narrow pool of units if I wanted to play the game – sure, I want to play Tau, so I have to play with Pathfinders and cannot make a team out of Fire Warriors or just two/three Crisis Suits. I might want to try out Dark Eldar, but cannot make a Coven team, or a Kabalite team, but instead must use only Wyches for the core of the squad. It just feels so incredibly cramped that I found myself without a whole lot of interest in playing it as time went on.

I hope that Kill Team is much broader, and uses a similar sort of idea to the last iteration, and instead of really prescribing the models we can and can’t use, it will allow for much more cherry-picking of favourite unit types.

While not mentioned in the article, the FAQ they have posted alongside all of this news does specifically state that the recently-leaked Rogue Trader game is actually an expansion to this game system, which sounds like it should be a fantastic new games line for the company. Delving into corners of the 40k universe that the main tabletop wargame doesn’t otherwise allow for conjures up all manner of goodness to me – principally, Arbites! Who knows what awesome stuff they could bring out?!

It’s very exciting, and really cool to see something done to this extent with the skirmish game. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on the book (maybe the box set itself), and maybe getting some games in with a couple of the other skirmish fans at my local store!

Ashes of Prospero

I’ve recently finished reading the second book in the Space Marine Conquests series, Ashes of Prospero, so thought I’d ramble on here for a bit about some of my thoughts!

Similarly to the first volume in the series, this one takes its focus on a single Space Marine chapter, the Space Wolves, and tells the story of why it’s acceptable to include Primaris Marines in your army if you were on the fence. Well, it’s a little more than just that, but anyway. The story follows Njal Stormcaller as he attempts to relieve himself of a psychic stowaway in his brain, a Thousand Sons sorcerer who was stuck inside the Portal Maze during the razing of Prospero back when Leman Russ was sent to censure Magnus. Njal hopes that he can also liberate members of the 13th Company of Space Wolves who were likewise trapped, and so leads an expedition to the Thousand Sons’ homeworld.

Spoiler Alert: Njal succeeds in battling through the Maze and ridding himself of the psychic presence of Izzakar, and manages to pick up about 200 space marines of the Heresy era, along with all of their attendant tech. Interesting. I’ve read of people speculating this means the Space Wolf codex will include rules for Spartans and Mastodons, but I highly doubt that.

Anyway!

The book felt unnecessarily long, and as with pretty much anything that involves the Space Wolves, includes so many over-the-top Viking references that it feels more like a parody of Space Vikings than an actual serious space marine fighting force. Everything is wolf-this and wolf-that, with faux-Norwegian peppered throughout to give it that rime of hoarfrost that we’ve come to expect. It’s not a long book, but because the action feels so drawn-out, it does feel like a chore to get through.

But that could just be because I’m not a Space Wolves fan!

The good parts were few and far between, but I did like the in-depth look at the launch of the taskforce, as we see the efforts the Navigators go through to enter the Warp. It’s also been a nice sequence so far, with the novels focusing on chapters and their classic enemies: Blood Angels vs Tyranids, and now Space Wolves vs Thousand Sons. The third book has apparently been recently released, and sees the Dark Angels go up against the T’au, so that was a bit of a novelty for me, but even so, it all feels quite thematic.

While I don’t feel that this novel did much to advance the timeline as the first book did, it’s probably worth picking up just to see the little bits and pieces of the 8th edition story come together. Then you can probably pass it along to a charity shop or something…