Vulkan Lives

Following the events of the Dropsite Massacre at Isstvan V, the primarch of the Salamanders legion is taken captive by his erstwhile brother, Konrad Curze, and continually tortured, but each time he is killed, he reawakens to some fresh hell at the hands of the Night Lords’ primarch. Vulkan, it turns out, is a perpetual, so nothing Curze throws at him will kill him. During their final encounter, though, where Vulkan recovers his hammer with its in-built teleportation homing beacon, he escapes the Night Haunter’s clutches only to seemingly burn to a skeleton while entering the atmosphere of an unidentified planet.

While all of that is going on, we also follow the Word Bearer Elias, who is acting on Erebus’ orders to recover a weapon from the world Traoris. Thing is, the weapon, a fulgurite spear, has already been recovered by the perpetual John Grammaticus, and so the Word Bearers track him down – killing his colleagues, but John is rescued by a group of Shattered Legions marines. The Word Bearers are able to recover the fulgurite though, which turns out to be a shard of the Emperor’s own psychic lightning frozen into rock. Elias intends to use it in a ritual to convert Traoris into a daemon world, and sets about killing the entire population while the sniper Barthusa Narek leads a kill team to take out the Shattered Legion. John Grammaticus is killed, but comes back to life and receives a psychic message from Eldrad Ulthran to save Vulkan – the spectacle of John coming back from the dead convinces the marines, especially their leader Artellus Numeon of the Salamanders, that Vulkan did indeed survive Isstvan.

Things get crazy when Erebus decides to show up. The fulgurite changes hands left and right, and eventually finds its way back to John Grammaticus, who is allowed by Erebus to go on his way, because his mission is actually to assassinate Vulkan using the spear.

Well, folks, I have to say, I did not expect a great deal from this book. I have almost zero interest in the Salamanders legion, so a book seemingly about their primarch held no special joy for me before I cracked it open. I have to say, though, that I was actually quite impressed! The scenes with Vulkan and Curze did become a little confusing at times, and there is a lot of back-and-forth in terms of flashbacks and stuff, which may be intended to show the fragile state of Vulkan’s mind? However, I kinda knew all about Curze torturing Vulkan, and that Vulkan is a perpetual, as it’s one of those things about the 40k universe that is quite common currency, even if you might not know where it comes from, you know?

If I had given it any thought prior to picking this up, I suppose I would have expected to have read something along the lines of Deliverance Lost, which follows the Raven Guard after Isstvan V. However, we seem to be in a position where a good number of the Raven Guard survived, but the Salamanders are truly smashed at the Dropsite Massacre – we have a scattered handful here, we’ve met one or two in other novels since, etc. It’s quite sad, in a way – again, I am not a Salamanders fan, but I find it interesting how few survived the battle. I actually feel really bad for Vulkan’s legion, as Curze is almost right on this point – it seems his legion cannot be rebuilt…

I find that any Heresy book with the Word Bearers in it turns out to be a very good book. As they are something like the prime movers and shakers within the “spiritual” side of the Heresy (if you could call it that), I do enjoy seeing what they’re up to. A lot of it tends to be shadow operations, as they seek to corrupt the universe to Chaos, while Horus and his lot are more of the belligerent conqueror types. Unfortunately, given how long the Heresy series has been at this point (this is book 26, with no end in sight), it all seems to fall a bit flat. Even though there is a cast of billions in the series, trying to sustain interest in the major players and make them remain compelling has already become a horrible task. Here, we have a return of Erebus, but somehow he isn’t as interesting as he used to be. John Grammaticus, first introduced back in Legion as the agent of the Cabal with their own interest in the course of the civil war, is okay but just confusing at times. The new characters, particularly on the Shattered Legions side, are all pretty bland, and I didn’t get much of a sense of “this is a Salamander” and “this is an Iron Hand” from them.

But I had started with pretty low expectations – no interest in Salamanders, and the last time I read a Nick Kyme novel, it was Damnos, which I did not enjoy – so it was a more enjoyable read than I thought it might have been!

Necromunda: Dark Uprising


So there have been quite a few exciting things shown off by GW at this year’s Spiel, but the only thing that I’ve got eyes for is, of course, Necromunda! After the tease a few weeks ago, we finally get to see what it’s all about!

What looks to be a new starter set, Dark Uprising pits the Palanite Enforcers against the Corpse Cult, which was a bit of a surprise to me. I mean, was it only August when we had the Enforcers, anyway? But it’s taken me almost the whole day to realise that, actually, these are new models – or at least, there’s an upgrade sprue in there for the riot shields. Wonderful!

The Corpse Cult are delightfully weird, and I think they could well replace my love of the Dark Vengeance Chaos Cultists! There is something really creepy at work with these dudes, and I love them! I also think it’s really interesting to see the numbers here – I’m guessing they’ll be really cheap and flimsy guys, with a strength in numbers thing going on.

However. Can we just stop for a moment to appreciate this:

Rather than coming with just a few barricades, this box is giving us our first taste of the long-rumoured plastic Zone Mortalis terrain! The structures in the front look a bit weird to me, I must admit, but I love that centrepiece thing in the background, with all the stairs and walkways… oh my! It’s terrain features like these that really fire my imagination for tabletop gaming, and this piece in particular has really gotten me hooked for this box!

So, I had been saving for the Ossiarch Bonereapers. Then I’d decided to keep my pennies for Sisters of Battle. But with pre-orders coming next month, I need to start saving with real zeal for Necromunda: Dark Uprising!!

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (final trailer)

So the final trailer has dropped, and the little Star Wars fanboy in me has gotten really quite excited once again, as we look upon the final Episode movie in the Skywalker saga.

You know, this could well fall flat, it could well be a dreadful series of set-piece action scenes with no substance to them, or it could be a fitting end to what began back in 2015. Personally, I’m still not entirely sure we even needed a sequel trilogy, but given what has happened with episodes 7 and 8, I’m feeling pretty much that the film will at least draw those films to a decent conclusion. Will it also be a satisfying one? Well, we’ll just have to wait another couple of months to find out.

I’ve been a little busy with real life for the last few weeks, so haven’t had all that much time to take a look into it all. As such, I may well be coming to the film almost as blind as I did for The Force Awakens back in the day. We’re due for so much Star Wars content now, I’m expecting the saturation point to reach critical level, so it might be real nice to approach this bookend with (almost) fresh eyes…

Still alive!

Hey everybody!
It’s been a while, hasn’t it?! I don’t think there has ever been such a long break here on the blog as has just been experienced – nearly two months! Shameful. The reason, of course, is that the baby bomb went off, and my firstborn has now, well, been born. Phoebe is an utter delight – though she’d be even more delightful if she slept during the night, instead of the day! She’s only three weeks old, though, so I suppose there is plenty of time to get her into a routine that will restore sanity to both my wife and myself. It’s all been a bit of a blur, however, and what has only felt like a couple of weeks at most, has been over seven weeks’ absence from the blog here!

Having a baby has been an incredible experience, as every parent will doubtless agree, but along with all of the loveliness comes the sleep-deprivation, the sudden need to learn to do everything one-handed while supporting a growing baby, and an endless cycle of feeding and pooping. Consequently, I’ve had very little time for anything else, but as the little one seems to be remarkably settled this evening (it can’t last!) I thought I’d come here and catch up with the world.

During September, I started playing with Tyranids, which was really quite an experience, as it was the first time I was ever experiencing the Psychic phase during my own turn! Having a fairly big game (I think we were around 1250 points) for my introduction to the army was perhaps a little unwise, as there was a lot to get to grips with. In addition to having four Psykers on the table, I also had a whole boat-load of close combat bugs, so my Shooting phases were disproportionately short compared with what I was used to!

I’ve had a couple of games with them now, and I do think they’re a lot of fun. I’ve gone for Hive Fleet Gorgon, so a green skin and cream carapace, and so far I’m quite pleased with my limited results!

There is still a very long way to go, though – a couple of years ago, I was thinking about getting into Tyranids with a Big Bugs list, but that seems to have gone by the wayside somewhat!

The Autumn is a time redolent with 40k for me, though, as it was around September time that I fell hard into the grim darkness of the far future, at a time when Tyranids were getting new models during the early months of 7th edition. As such, it felt really on-point to be getting the bugs on the table. This is definitely an army that I will be exploring further!

Blood Angels

I’ve not had a fantastic amount of time to do anything in terms of my hobby, except read through old campaign books and codexes, in particular the old Shield of Baal and the last Black Crusade books. I’ve already talked about Tyranids being a big part of my September, and all of my most recent games have been against my buddy JP’s Chaos Space Marines, which has almost inevitably led me to looking at my own journey down the dark path.

However, the common theme that runs through both of those campaigns from 7th edition is, of course, Blood Angels, and after having had a (very) abortive start to that army a number of years ago now, I’ve decided to make the Sons of Sanguinius my choice for a Marines army.

Everybody should have a Space Marines force, don’t you think? I’ve been through a number of ideas, mainly thinking about them in terms of the colour scheme, but after thinking about it for a number of weeks, and having done some investigations online, I’ve finally settled on building up some Blood Angels, giving me an outlet for some of the old “mini marines” models that I still have hanging about – Assault Squads, and Devastator Squads, among others. I like the fact that the Blood Angels have so many unique units – Death Company being top of the list here, but also the fact they have their own unique Tactical Squad kit. It made sense to me, therefore, to stay away from the Primaris for the time being, and take the opportunity to go old school, to some degree!

This is a very slow project though, as I have so little time now for the hobby. I’ve built up the Devastator and Assault Squads, and also a Sternguard Veterans squad, and have kinda kitbashed a Lieutenant using a Vanguard Veteran as the base. So it’s just going to be a matter of time for me to keep going here!