Ambush!

Hey everybody!
It’s my 700th blog post! Crikey!

This isn’t really going to be a very long post, but it’s going to be an exciting one, all the same! See, I’ve been doing a bit of an inventory of my Warhamer kits that are waiting to be built, and while I’m continually shocked at just how much plastic I have waiting for me to get round to it, I think that everything I have is fairly necessary. I mean, of course, that I don’t really have an odd kit for an army that I don’t really collect. I have a lot of things that I’ve not really managed to properly do much of anything with yet, like Space Marines, and I have a lot of stuff for well-established armies such as Necrons and Dark Eldar. And I have bits and pieces for the combined Militarum Tempestus/Adeptus Mechanicus list that I’m working on, along with some pieces for a Genestealer Cults army that has been on my mind for about a year now…

Genestealer Cults progress

It’s this last army that I want to talk about briefly today. I’ve got a bunch of kits, along with the stuff from Deathwatch Overkill, that has been in varying stages of completion for quite some time now. I know the colour scheme that I want to use, both on the mining Cultists and the guardsmen Cultists, and I have a vague idea for including a detachment of Tyranids in with them now that I’ve been delving into Index: Xenos 2, but it’s finding the time to work out a proper army list that is proving to be difficult right now!

So far, I’ve decided that I want to have a core of actual Genestealer Cultists for the army, and I’m probably looking at a Battalion detachment, given the number of HQ units that I’ll be doing for these chaps. My big plan is to then have waves of Neophyte Hybrids much like in the picture above, though on a much larger scale. I think I want to get at least two more boxes of these guys – to add to the one box I bought last year, and the contents of Overkill.

I then have a sort of secondary plan to use the Acolyte Hybrids probably in a separate detachment with an Acolyte Iconward. However, I found it quite interesting when working out the points values for the squad of Acolytes that I had built up last year:

The squad that I built up just over 12 months ago now works out at 106 points, by my reckoning – with the weapons forming almost half of that cost. Now, I have 5-man troop squads that have quite a high cost, and something I’ve been thinking about when building my Imperium army has been keeping the cost down in order to get more bodies on the ground, so I’m surprised at just how expensive these things can turn out to be.

The modular flavour of building a 40k army is something that I really enjoy, and drilling down to that level of precisely what I can kit out my guys with is always a lot of fun for me. Especially given how restrictive my first army, Necrons, can be! So I don’t think I’m ever going to go for a boring, basic squad, but I do feel somewhat bad about including such expensive wargear in just one squad!

(I’ve lost some of my miniatures in moving house, and currently can’t find the Neophytes that I had built prior to the move. Once I do, I’m planning to write up a proper “My First Genestealer Cult Army” style blog, so stay tuned for that!)

The Tyranid detachment is something that I’m very much looking forward to adding, as it’ll finally give me the impetus I need to get painting these chaps! I love the look of the Zoanthropes, and have been looking forward to getting them done for a while now. I’ve been thinking about adding these in a Vanguard detachment, just because there are more Elite units of Tyranids that I want to add to the army than anything else. I definitely want to build up my Maleceptor for the list, and add some Venomthropes (along with a Toxicrene in the heavy support slot). It would be more thematic, however, to build the list around a Broodlord and Genestealers, which are troops in the Index, so I suppose the idea of concentrating on a Vanguard because of the Elites really isn’t quite so limiting.

Genestealer Cult

Anyway, I thought this blog would be a short one, but clearly not! Tyranids and Genestealer Cultists always intrigue me greatly around this time of year, so I expect to be talking about them more as the autumn goes on. Thanks for making it this far through the post, and here’s to the next 700!

Army Updates!

Hey everybody!
For today’s game day blog, I thought I’d share the fruits of some of my musings on Warhammer 40k since I spent the best part of a weekend sorting out how I’m going to field the legions of little people that I have right now. It’s been a very exciting time, I have to say, so I’m excited to share it with you all!

Imperium Army

First of all, I’m sure by now you’ll all remember the combined AdMech/Militarum Tempestus army that I’ve been thinking about for a while? Well I’ve been looking into getting the AdMech part ready for a tournament at my local game store at the end of October, so was working on a 1500-point list of Skitarii and the odd Tech Priest. What a glorious list that would have been! The only problem, of course, is that I would need to buy more miniatures than I already have, and the enormity of the task was somewhat getting to me… I mean, the total project weighed in at 1468 points and 66 miniatures, of which I’ve currently only painted one five-man Skitarii Ranger squad.

Hm.

It’s with a bit of regret, then, that I think this army project will likely not be ready inside of a month… But I’m going to continue on with it for the time being, as I really do like the idea of having a wave of Skitarii robot-men marching across the field implacably!

I picked up the Codex for the AdMech when it dropped, and also the Guard Codex when that came out at the weekend. What a pair of books!! A lot of people have been really tearing the AdMech to pieces, whereas the Guard have had nothing but glowing reviews – indeed, it seems right now, they’re the most powerful army in 8th Edition! So I’m intrigued to see how a combined army would fare.

Of course, my own Guard contribution is Militarum Tempestus, which seem to have come off the worse in comparison with the other Regiments in the book. However, the models are so damn amazing that I would never let a small factor like the rules get in the way of me enjoying them! So before I move on, let me talk about the planned army that I have right now.

The original army list for the Scions that I posted back when I was working from the Index came in at 385 points, very much a subsidiary portion of the overall force. I’ve not actually changed the load-out, from what I can see, but my new Tempestus force weighs in at 391 points, so still not exactly a massive part of the force.

Tempestus list

I’ve since bought another box of Tempestus Scions, and the Start Collecting box, as I managed to find both at a reasonable discount. It’s probably important to note, I’ve never owned a Guard Codex previously, so I’ve never really been aware of the make-up of the army. Reading through the new edition at the weekend, though, I was quite impressed to discover that this list, plus the kits I have yet to build, make up a single Militarum Tempestus Platoon! Exciting times. I do enjoy having the proper organisation for these things, after all.

Now, of course, I just need to think of how I want to kit-out the three other squads of Scions…

For the AdMech portion of the army, however, I’m not being quite so formal. I very much want to field an army that I want to field, if that makes sense, and so I don’t particularly want to go forcing myself to get miniatures that I don’t particularly want, just for the sake of getting a Maniple or Cohort or whatever…

Skitarii list

The army is Skitarii-heavy, as I’ve mentioned already, but I think it should be an interesting build to play (and, hopefully, to play against!) Right now, then, I have a total of 717 points built and primed, which I suppose isn’t too bad going, on the whole! I’ve added a 10-man Skitarii Rangers group to this list since I first blogged about starting the army, as well as the Tech-Priest Enginseer, as I was aiming to get that Battalion detachment going on there. I’ve since started work on a further box of Skitarii, building them as Vanguard this time, so I’m now wondering if I can manage to slip them into a Patrol detachment that would give me yet more command points to spend, but I think I’ll need to give this some more thought for the time being. The dream remains a Brigade detachment, of course, but I think that will be a long way off yet…

On the whole, then, I have a Skitarii Battalion and a Tempestus Patrol detachment, so I’ll be getting the grand sum of 9 command points. So what can I do with all these things?

Codex Astra Militarum has given us some really nice, juicy Stratagems to work with. I’ve taken great care to ensure that all of my Tempestus units have vox casters in them, to allow for Orders to be issued as far as 18″ away, and the Tempestor Prime has his command rod that allows him to issue two orders instead of one each turn, anyway. The Inspired Tactics stratagem will allow him to issue up to three orders per turn, all for a single command point, which I find very exciting – I’m looking forward to seeing how well that can work for me, anyway! The Tempestus also have their own unique stratagem that allows them to immediately fire at a unit arriving from reserves within 12″, which could be quite useful, though so far in 8th I’ve not really played against a great deal of these types of armies…

As for the Codex Adeptus Mechanicus list of Stratagems, I’m not entirely sure if I’ll be using a great deal. I do like the Protector Doctrina Imperative, allowing for +1 to hit in the shooting phase (+2 if the unit has an enhanced or broad-spectrum data tether) – as I’m seeing the AdMech primarily as a gun-line army, I think it’ll be really useful to bolster them like this. I don’t have a Forge World for my army, so I’ve been taking a look through those in the book, and overall I think I like the look of Metalica – it was originally going to be my colour scheme, after all! So I think I’m going to have them as subsidiaries of the Metalica FW and go from there.

This has been an incredibly long ramble, so well done if you’ve made it to the end here! I’ve been very excitedly looking at my Dark Eldar collection in a similar vein, but I think I’ll wait for a bit before writing up my thoughts on the space pirates. October will definitely be a time for trying to get more of the AdMech and Tempestus guys finished for the tabletop, so I hope that I can soon get to my local store for some games!

My tabletop update!

Hey everybody!
While my games day blog from earlier this week has described how I haven’t really had a lot of time to be doing much in the way of gaming this last month or so, I do seem to have found the time to build a few miniatures lately, so I thought I’d take a brief look around the old tabletop and catch up with what I’ve been doing!

Adeptus Mechanicus update

No real surprise, in light of the recent Codex release, is the preponderance of Adeptus Mechanicus models here. I started to build up the Skitarii Rangers (and those two Vanguard) a couple of weeks before the Codex arrived, and have been steadily adding to the ranks of unpainted Rangers right up to this weekend just gone. Having now picked up the Codex, I’m pleased to see there haven’t been any differences in unit composition compared with the Index, just a slight points difference. These sorts of things always concern me a little, so I’m glad that I can now plough on with these chaps.

Adeptus Mechanicus Skitarii

You may recall that I painted up five Rangers back in July? Well, it’s time to try and really get going now with a massive force of these implacable robot-men!

These recent efforts have been in an attempt to get moving with my Imperial Soup army that I discussed in the blog linked above. That army involves 23 Adeptus Mechanicus models, and I’m very close to having everything at least built. I still need to get the Vanguard built, of course, and the Dominus, but still!

For that same army, I’ve already had the three groups of Scions built, but now have added the Chimera and Commissar to the roster.

Of course, now I just need to paint them!

The Commissar model in particular went together really nicely, I have to say. I still wanted to do a little conversion to him, as I fancied getting a power fist on there somehow, but in the event I put him together as he comes. I’ve now bought a Start Collecting Militarum Tempestus box as well, which also comes with a Commissar, so I might do some work to him instead…

Right now, I’m definitely in a building mood, as I continue to get to grips with how to arrange my paints in my new house. I’ve currently got things scattered all over the place, which is particularly annoying as my house is split across three floors. But hopefully I can get this sorted soon, and then make a start on painting these models. I’ve recently fancied getting those Haemotrope Reactors painted, though, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to follow up on this soon!!

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to have my industrial board ready in time for this year’s Armies on Parade. Far too much going on right now, after all! But next year…

The Fall of Damnos

Damnos

Hey folks!
While I’ve been reading (and re-reading) all manner of stuff at the minute, I thought I’d talk today about a book that I read a few weeks ago, back when I was moving house and all that attendant nonsense. The Fall of Damnos is the main bulk of the Space Marines Battles: Damnos book, which follows the progress of the Ultramarines’ attempt to liberate the populace of the mining world of Damnos from the return of the Necrons.

To all intents and purposes, I should love this book. Indeed, I’ve thought of it for a long time now as the quintessential Necrons novel.

Boy, was I disappointed.

The story follows several of the Ultramarines 2nd Company, under the legendary Captain Cato Sicarius, as they struggle against the reactivated Necrons across the world. There is a token planetary defense force, but the main populace on the world are the miners who seemingly accidentally wake the slumbering Necrons. There are several battles described, but despite Sicarius’ charisma and battle prowess, it seems the Necrons have the upper hand as they attempt to reclaim their tomb world…

The narrative feels like a series of vignettes for the most part, and at one point actually came across like some kind of attempt to describe a tabletop battle. I’m not a huge fan of that sort of thing, as it often feels like the story is going nowhere as we get several descriptions of epic nothingness. Maybe I’m being too harsh…

Confusingly, one battle group of Ultramarines is referred to as the Immortals, which is around the same time we get the Necron Immortals entering the fray. Kyme even uses different words to describe these guys depending on the point of view – to the Ultramarines, they’re “larger warrior constructs” or something, whereas to the Necrons, they are of course Immortals. Necron Raiders are mentioned quite a lot, often in relation to what I assume otherwise to be Necron Warriors. While the use of Raiders might be a nice throwback to fans of 2nd Edition, I can’t say it held much appeal as a Necron fan.

Indeed, there isn’t really much here for fans of the undead space robots. There’s a mad Overlord, a scheming Cryptek, and the usual insane Flayed Ones, then the most part of the army consists of Warriors/Raiders, and Canoptek Scarabs. Monoliths make an appearance at one point, which is nice, and there may have been a Tomb Stalker mentioned for one incredibly brief moment, but otherwise it’s quite a one-dimensional foe for the brilliant Ultramarines to fight.

As for the Ultramarines themselves, they’re a weird mix of politicking folks who seem to be out for personal glory above all else. Weird, right?

Damnos dates from 2011, and feels very much like “the old” Black Library. Sure, they still put out clunkers and filler-type novels, but in the main, they definitely feel like they’ve upped their game since these days, where they were basically a game company tie-in. We may not be getting Shakespeare now, of course, but we’re getting novels that are actually enjoyable to read, and are worth reading for their own merits, and not merely because they describe the deeds of the plastic men we push around on the tabletop. The Necron lore in particular felt badly written in this one, which put me off it pretty much entirely, but even with that aside, I can’t think of any reason why you’d want to pick this one up today.

The Death Guard!

So, the demon primarch Mortarion is coming out tomorrow, and I have to say, I’m actually really excited about the new Death Guard models we’ve been seeing!

Since the arrival of the Dark Imperium set earlier in the summer, I’d been primarily excited for the new Primaris marines, which I do actually like quite a lot. The Death Guard models were, at first, a little too busy for me – and the fact there are so many Poxwalkers to build for that side of the box has somewhat put me off looking at the whole Chaos half of the box. However, a friend of mine posted a picture on instagram of his work-in-progress Nurgle stuff, and it really inspired me to take a look!

So I’ve built up two of them, and have been looking at doing them in an alternate colour scheme to the usual greens. I’ve not gotten very far as it stands, as I’m not entirely sure where I’m going with it, but I think I might go for a tan look, or a pale brown…

I like them, anyway – they’ve got some lovely detail, which I’ve grown to enjoy rather than be intimidated by!

I happened to be in my local game store on Thursday when the owner had his GW delivery, so had a look at the box of Mortarion, and I think that model does look pretty good. I have been slightly intimidated by a lot of these big character models, but seeing him in the store, I did actually think it looked like a great project to sink my teeth into! I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, but don’t be surprised if I suddenly start posting up pictures of the demon primarch here before too long!!

Necromunda hype!

I’ve not been able to talk much about the hype around the return of Necromunda on my blog yet, as I’ve been in the middle of moving house and stuff, so haven’t had a proper amount of time to digest the news we’ve seen from GW about it. However, I’ve been gorging myself on this stuff today, and I have to say, I’m incredibly excited to get my greasy paws on this box when it arrives in November!

I wasn’t around for the original Necromunda, which was out in 1995. I mean, I was alive, but I was much more interested in fantasy than 40k at the time. Anyway! This time around, it looks like GW have applied all of the style and panache of their recent sculpting success into the gangs we get in the box, to bring us (what looks like) twenty wonderfully individual miniatures that would look great on the tabletop. While I’m excited for the game, I’m excited for the miniatures and find myself hoping that we’ll be able to use them, in some way, in 40k at large, as well. At any rate, they should provide some amazing conversion-fodder!

I’ve already been thinking about the potential for House Escher as Wyches in my Dark Eldar army!

The sculpts look amazing, but I find myself less than enthused about the paint jobs on the minis we’ve seen so far. The purply skin tones seem to clash terribly with the yellow on the Escher minis, although I love the weapons options, and I’m really impressed by the look of them as a gang. House Goliath minis look somehow weirdly washed-out with the faintly rust-orange thing going on all over there, but even so, they look like solid sculpts that I’m finding myself looking forward to painting up just as much!

Each of these gangs will be multi-part plastic kits, and I’m so happy about this! It sounds like this game is going to be more like Betrayal at Calth rather than Deathwatch Overkill, and we’ll eventually get the sprues for each available separately without any need for them to re-tool the sculpts. I love getting individuality from models through the assembly, so this is definitely something to look forward to. Forge World are also set to do upgrade kits, which sounds like there could really be quite the industry coming out of this game! Not that there would really have been any doubt about its popularity, surely…?

While the game is coming with just two gangs, I really hope we get more options soon for more variety. News from the recent NOVA open indicates that we’re getting a lot of support for the game – Adeptus Arbites, welcome back!

The board seems a bit flat, especially when you consider that the original game was all about the multi-level experience. However, as the article from whence I’ve been plundering all of these pictures explains, there will also be rules for us to enjoy the game amid the Sector Mechanicus terrain sets, which makes me glad I picked up the entire range earlier this summer!

I’m hugely looking forward to getting hold of this game when it comes out. I’m hoping that GW don’t drop the ball and make it some kind of limited-run thing like the original Shadow War Armageddon box – hopefully, its release in November means that it is taking the place of the Horus Heresy boxed game that we’ve had over the last couple of years, and so will be available for a long time yet. Though of course, I imagine that initial take-up is going to be phenomenal.

I mean, it’s Necromunda!

First and Only

Hey everybody!
I think I’m slowly getting somewhere with the new house after The Great Move 2017 – still waiting for someone to come fit a new kitchen, but these things can’t be rushed, it seems… Anyway! I have the internet again, which is a joy, as trying to write blogs on my phone is a nightmare, so less of that now!

While waiting for everything to fall into place and whatnot, I’ve been reading a few things I’d been putting off for a while. Sure enough, they’ll no doubt all make their merry way onto this here blog in due course, as I ramble inanely for a while, but today I wanted to talk about the Gaunt’s Ghosts series that I’ve just started to read anew, starting with the opening novel, First and Only.

YEAH! #Warhammer40k #GauntsGhosts

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This book series, by the venerable Dan Abnett, was originally published all the way back in the mists of time known as the 1990s, and I have memories of picking my way through it sometime after starting work in the early 2000s. Not really being a 40k enthusiast at the time, I didn’t really get a lot out of it, and it’s therefore small wonder that it had been the first and only 40k novel that I read for about a decade.

However, I’m back now, and I’ve been buying up the books in the series ready for my glorious return to it! Ever since Horus Rising, I’ve always had a real soft spot for Dan Abnett, and look forward to starting any of his 40k novels with gusto.

First and Only is the introduction to the Tanith First & Only regiment of the Imperial Guard, led by Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt. The novel is told in pretty much linear fashion across six Parts, each separated by a single chapter entitled “A Memory” that usually then foreshadows something in the subsequent Part. The structure is quite novel, to me, as I don’t really think I’ve read a full-length novel told in the same manner.

The story follows the Tanith regiment, nicknamed Gaunt’s Ghosts, and their rivalry with the Jantine Patricians as they take the forge world of Fortis Binary, which has been tainted with the warped powers of Chaos. After the battle, Commissar Gaunt comes into possession of a memory crystal that provides the catalyst for the main thrust of the story. Gaunt and his Ghosts become pawns in the ambitions of Lord General Dravere’s efforts to become Warmaster of the Sabbat Worlds Crusade, and the Ghosts eventually learn that the crystal holds information that could provide the tipping point for Dravere’s bid for power.

Dravere is helped along the way by the Inquisitor Heldane, who has appeared since in Abnett’s Eisenhorn trilogy (for me to know – he may also be elsewhere, of course, but I was excited to see a familiar face pop up!). I thought the handling of the antagonist group of Heldane and Dravere, and the Jantine Patricians, was actually quite interestingly done – the story pits the Imperium against Chaos, but Heldane and Dravere aren’t truly on the side of Chaos, yet remain viable threats to Gaunt and the “good guys”.

While this is definitely military sci-fi, there’s also the sniff of a spy thriller around the central act, and I particularly enjoyed the almost le CarrĂ©-like inclusion of Gaunt’s spy-friend Fereyd. There is definitely a lot going on in the book, and once I’d managed to get into it, I have to say that I really enjoyed it and devoured the story in no time. (It helped that I was stuck on a train for a couple of hours on Friday).

I have to say, though, it did take me quite some time to get into the book. Quite early on, we’re introduced to what feels like the entire regiment, and it felt like a lot to take in. As time wears on, however, it’s relatively straightforward to keep track of who everybody is, but having a cast of 20+ people from the off, and trying to keep them all straight in my mind, did prove a little difficult at first!

But that’s a minor quibble. The book is fantastic, with a really well-told, cinematic story that is totally worth picking up. I know a few people who re-read them every so often, and I can definitely see myself joining those ranks as time goes by!