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…

New Genestealer Cult minis inbound?!?!

So I’ve just seen this video from Chapter Master Valrak, showcasing some new models for the Genestealer Cults in advance of their hotly-anticipated codex, and it looks like they’re going to be deviating from the mining aesthetic that characterizes the rest of the range, although it’s still grim-dark in its own way…

new genestealer primus

Along with the possibility of an actual Aberrants kit, it looks like the final Codex release for 8th edition will actually be coming with some new models that aren’t Imperium-related! Interesting stuff, for sure!

You never know, it might actually prompt me to continue painting my own Cultist army… maybe…!

Summer Painting Goals: T’au Empire

Hey everybody,
The other day, I published a blog detailing my summer painting goals for two 500-point Imperium armies, which you can take a look at here. I mentioned having a third plan, for my T’au Empire army, so today I wanted to talk a little bit about what my plans are for this curious beast!

Bork'an Sept Tau Empire

The list for my T’au is actually a 1000-point list, as I had written it with the miniatures I’ve already painted in mind. I’m still sticking with Bork’an, but I’m going for a 1000-point list that will provide a strong basis for future army builds. Anyway, enough rambling, let’s take a look at the list itself:

So this is a Battalion list with some added extra bits, mainly because I wanted to include the two models that I have fully painted, as well as some Pathfinders for the more accurate markerlights. Let’s talk about some of these units in turn.

Pathfinders are something that I talked about in my last blog devoted to the T’au, as I think the more accurate markerlights are a definite boon. I’ve since played a six-player game where I brought two squads of five Pathfinders, and they actually did some useful work. The biggest boon for bringing them, of course, comes from the Pulse Accelerator Drone, which I used in that game to fly back to support the main Fire Warrior gun line, rather than anything else, and between it and the Cadre Fireblade, it was a really beautiful thing! I have yet to try Pathfinders with any of their exotic weaponry, but I think when I look at building this list up to 1500-points, I’ll start adding in some of that.

Drones have so far been pretty hit and miss for me, so I’ve cut back significantly in this list. I like the fact that Gun Drones are buffed by the Fireblade, so have included a couple of them for good measure, but I’m sticking the shield drones along with the high-priority stuff like the Commanders.

The Enforcer Commander is something that I’ve only tried once, and the results were also mixed, so I think I should probably try him a bit more before talking about the joys of fusion blasters. The Coldstar Commander is still pretty great though, and as the first model I painted for the army, he does have a special place in my heart!

The Riptide is a glorious miniature, and one that I’ve been really happy with since getting him finished. It seems that a lot of advice I’m seeing for building T’au armies is recommending the heavy burst cannon, so I’m pleased to have included that in the build. I don’t really have a big plan for him beyond distraction at the minute, but I’m sure once I’ve played a game with the guy, I should have a better idea.

Which brings me to the bête-noir of my T’au painting right now, the Fire Warriors! I don’t quite know how to go about painting these guys quickly enough that I can get a unit finished, but still to a decent tabletop standard. As such, they’ve been languishing in the partly-basecoated stage for a number of weeks now! Hopefully, I can get moving with them soon enough and get the production line sorted.

As an aside, the eagle-eyed among you will notice there are eight points left over from this list. “Why not throw in an extra Pathfinder?” I hear you cry. Well, because I’m also painting up an Ethereal on Hover Drone, and I’m thinking that I’d like the flexibility to swap out the Fireblade for this guy. Doing so would bring the list to 1000-points exactly, which is what I want!


So there we have it, the three lists for my summer painting goals. While this one is a little large for such a thing – 51 miniatures still to paint, including drones and turrets – I’m hoping that I can get a lot of them done fairly quickly once I have the troops scheme hammered out. Then I can focus on getting some games in with my actually-painted force!

Summer Painting Goals

Hey everybody!
I’ve spent what feels like a really long time so far this year, trying to motivate myself to paint the enormous stack of unpainted miniatures that I have lying around (seriously, it’s enormous). I’ve tried a couple of things to impose a sort of deadline on me, hoping that I can get something painted if I give myself a month, or give myself until the next game, but this never seems to work.

Well, it’s time to introduce the latest in this list of attempts to pick up a brush!

I’ve got a lot of armies on the go right now, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve drawn up 500-point lists for three of them, and so have decided to just paint the models for these lists. My thinking here is, if I only have 20 or so models to paint, that will be so much easier than staring down the barrel of 50 or more. They’re all battalion lists, so they should be vaguely playable, and I’ve gone a step further and chosen warlord traits and relics, so that they are as real as I can get them.

And I have to say, it’s actually working for me in some respects, as I want to field these armies right now, and try them out!

So let’s take a look at the first two lists…

Tempestor Prime

First up, it’s my Militarum Tempestus list.

I’ve talked about this army a number of times over the course of my blog. See, it’s one of those armies that I’ve always liked the look of, ever since I first saw the miniatures, but have somehow never managed to get round to doing anything with. I mean, I’ve had the minis built and primed for well over a year now, but I just can’t seem to get myself into painting them! Well, I’ve painted precisely two models for the force in the last two years…

So I have a while to go yet, but this is definitely a project that I’m finding myself really enthused for!

The big theme across this merry band is getting the most from Voice of Command, relaying orders up to 18″ away thanks to all of the vox casters. I think my eventual plan for the full army will be to have two Tempestor Primes, each with a Command Squad, whose vox caster will act as the fulcrum of that relay. The relic I’ve chosen is the Tactical Auto-Reliquary of Tyberius, perhaps the most hilarious of names for such a thing, which allows the bearer to issue another order on the roll of a 2+.

It’s an army that I’m really looking forward to getting properly off the ground with, at any rate, so stay tuned for further updates there!!

Next up, we have the glories of my Skitarii!

Skitarii

These guys have been on the radar for almost as long as the Tempestus Scions, after I bought the Start Collecting box on a whim. I’ve so far gotten further with these than I have with the Scions, however, having painted up a total of five models, but the list is a little different, with four groups of troops and a heavy support. There remains a fairly nice symmetry between the two armies, however, and I like the fact that I can put the two of them together when I’m finished, for a 1000-point Imperium army that, I feel, is nicely formed.

This list, however, proved to be the most difficult to write, predominantly because I couldn’t settle on a Forge World for it! My own painted efforts so far don’t conform to any “known” Forge World, having blue cloaks rather than the traditional red. (As an aside, I thought it a nice counterpoint, back in the day, that my Skitarii were painted predominantly blue, while my Scions were predominantly red).

In the event, I’ve gone for Forge World Ryza, which allows me to re-roll 1s in the Fight phase. Hopefully, I won’t be getting into any fights, but it is nice to have that kind of back-up, just in case! As far as relics go, I’ve selected the wonderfully-named Weapon XCIX, which replaces the Dominus’ volkite blaster. I’ve therefore opted not to take the Ryza-specific Warlord Trait, which would kind of do the same thing as the relic, though you can’t stack both, so instead have picked Monitor Malevolus, which is the usual one that allows you to re-gain Command Points.

So there we have it, the first part of my summer painting goals! The third list involves Tau, but is a little more involved, so I think I’ll save that for a separate blog post.

Stay tuned for updates as the summer marches on!!

LCG News!

Wow, folks! Just, wow! Things seem to be getting a little bit crazy in the Living Card Game world at the minute, with FFG announcing the end of one of their most successful LCGs, Android Netrunner just days after the announcement of a new co-operative card games, Heroes of Terrinoth!

Android Netrunner

The news that Netrunner is ending is quite the shock, I have to say. I’d always been under the impression that it was one of their biggest product lines, and thought that would be too much to let it go. While the article, Jacking Out, makes it sound very much like the decision was made by FFG, and the game was just at the end of its natural run as a product, there are other quotes scattered around related news articles that refer to “the unfortunate news about the Netrunner license”, which makes it sound more like they’ve lost that license, rather than anything else. A lot has been made in the past of FFG wanting to focus more on their in-house IP, which we’re now seeing with the second-edition-style of Terrinoth games such as the RPG, so I can see why they’re looking at things like the Warhammer license and perhaps choosing not to renew (though what exactly happened there, we don’t know!) Star Wars is doing well for them, and I think A Game of Thrones will continue to be an earner, as well. But it still feels a bit odd that they’re just letting this one go, especially so soon after the rotation period.

Android Netrunner

I’m going to be sad to see Netrunner leave the stable, even though I stopped following the game after rotation. I’ve had a lot of fun with this game over the years, and I still remember the excitement of that very first game I had back in the summer of 2013. When I used to live in my flat, I had neighbours out the back who would hold a massive birthday party around the 4 July weekend every year, which would invariably go on into the small hours – Netrunner proved to be my coping mechanism for that, as I’d just settle down to a night of watching the Naked Gun trilogy, and (initially) sorted out my entire card pool into each faction (up until this point, I’d kept them sorted by expansion). Year after year, that 4 July weekend would be when I’d go through the card pool once again, and see about mixing up my decks for the coming months. It sounds a bit strange, but I came to really enjoy these times, all the same! Netrunner was the game with which I somehow managed to infect my entire local community with the LCG bug, and led to one of only two official tournaments in which I’ve competed. I don’t want to turn this into some kind of eulogy for the game, but I’ll be sad to see it go.

Heroes of Terrinoth

Going back to in-house IP brings us nicely on to the news from earlier in the week, where another co-operative card game has been announced: Heroes of Terrinoth. This game looks like it is strongly influenced by the mechanics of FFG’s Warhammer Quest card game, something that turned out to be a one-shot before the license went away back in 2015. While I wanted to like it, ultimately I wasn’t really a big fan of that iteration, I have to say, which makes me a little wary of saying this, but I’ve been waiting for a Terrinoth LCG for what feels like centuries!

It feels at first glance a bit like Arkham Horror LCG, with heroes coming from a specific class. However, with eight quests in the core set, and a focus on dungeon-delving to slay the monster and grab some loot, I think this is more akin to Descent: the Card Game, than anything else! Maybe that’s just me being immersed in these games from the start, though…

It’s definitely got the potential to be a lot of fun, at any rate, something that I think has been the hallmark of the first batch of Terrinoth games such as Descent. While FFG has looked more at the tribal feel of the setting through factional games like Runewars and Rune Age, I think it’s interesting that they’re returning to the hero-driven style with this new game. It seems to be an aspect that a lot of people appreciate – and I’m guessing that if they had introduced another factional-based game, it would have the potential to be too similar to Legend of the Five Rings. Building a deck as a hero rather than a warlord has that classic RPG feel, which I suppose is another of the hallmarks of Descent-era Terrinoth games. It’ll certainly be interesting to see where this game goes next, and if the tribes such as Uthuk Y’llan or Daqan Lords will make an appearance. It could be telling that the announcement article mentions the setting as Mennara, the entire world of which Terrinoth is only a part, so perhaps we’ll branch out beyond any of the other games FFG has yet produced?

While it isn’t another LCG, I’m guessing that the distribution model will be very much akin to it, with campaign boxes bringing more quests and the like, and potentially class-specific upgrade packs to further kit-out your decks. A huge negative for the Warhammer Quest game was its lack of replayability, but with eight quests off the bat, this should at least be better in that regard.

It’s worth pointing out, incidentally, that all mention of the deck-building card game Rune Age has been removed from the products pages now. You can still find it if you search for it, of course, but I wonder if they’re planning to quiety do away with that one now that they have the LCG on the horizon?

There’s also the State of the LCG article up on the website, which looks into how the Netrunner announcement will potentially affect the other games on the roster. L5R is naturally a big component of this right now, and while I’ve not been paying attention to the latest of the living card games, it does seem like this is perhaps their principal thrust for the time being. The approach of releasing all six packs for a cycle across six weeks, rather than the usual six months, I find really interesting, as it was always something of a contention for the games I used to follow really closely, waiting for that one sweet card that I knew was in pack six, and having to stand by while seeing other factions getting awesome stuff. Warhammer Invasion was always a pain for this, but to a lesser extent, I’ve also seen it a lot with Lord of the Rings, when a card would come out in pack six that would have made the experience with quest #3 so much easier!

It’s interesting to read how the designers think the other LCGs are doing right now, and seeing their priorities for the future. Arkham Horror and A Game of Thrones also seem to be pretty big for the company right now, and seeing the designer insight for all four of the games here was really interesting as showing just how unique each game is now being encouraged to be. While it strikes me as a little funny that A Game of Thrones seems to be morphing a little into its first edition, it’s cool to see such attention to the story being given in Arkham Horror. It’s also kinda fascinating to see the differences that each game is trying, with stuff like the Return to the Night of the Zealot box for Arkham Horror that seems to function almost as a Nightmare Deck deluxe, and the intro decks for each House in A Game of Thrones.

Lord of the Rings still troubles me a little, though I think there is still the potential there to keep going for a while. We’re poised on the brink of the Ered Mithrin Cycle, of course, which is exciting as it feels like we’re going back into the heartland of Middle Earth after being away for so long, but there’s a part of me that wonders, will this be the end? I think a lot of players have been guilty for a long time of thinking the end is nigh, but with the launch of the new digital edition, it does seem that this is more of a possibility now. With seven full expansion cycles, not to mention all of the Saga expansions and standalone decks, would this be the right time to draw the game to a close? The glimmer of hope, for me, is seeing Caleb’s thoughts about implementing campaign play with the game now that the main six-part Saga expansion era is over. Not that we should be reading so much into it these days, but perhaps something like a Return to the Night of the Zealot box could be coming, marking a return to some of the older scenarios to make them into a more cohesive campaign. I think it’s really exciting to see them return to some of the encounter sets from the Core Set in the upcoming deluxe expansion, so maybe this could be a thing once again?

Anyway, this has been a very long and rambling post about Living Card Games, so I think I’ll stop here. I’m curious to see what other people think, though, so do feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts!