Space Marines Legends: Cassius

Cassius

Hey everybody!
I’ve been continuing to make my way through some Warhammer 40k novels lately, riding the wave of 8th Edition and general positivity towards the IP, and have recently finished the first book in the Space Marine Legends series. This series began earlier in the year, and has been looking at a different, well, legend of the Space Marines! I’ve not been all that interested in pursuing the others in the series, which include spotlights on Ragnar Blackmane, Shrike and Dante, though the Azrael book may be of some interest. Anyway!

Cassius follows the Ultramarines’ chaplain as he leads an assault of the combined Third and Fifth Companies against the Tyranids on the world of Kolovan, close to Forge World Ryza and the Sol System. The Tyranids are dangerously close to Terra, and the hive fleet must be stopped before it can destroy the heart of mankind. Cassius leads the troops in pushing back the advance, only to discover that the world had already fallen before the Ultramarines’ arrival. However, with the discovery of a Magos of the Adeptus Mechanicus’ bioweapon that could potentially destroy the Tyranids, the Astartes launch an attack on the hive ships themselves in orbit. Ultimately successful, the space marines are nevertheless depleted by their losses, and decry the fact that few, if any, will ever learn of the importance of their sacrifice.

The novel is fast-paced and fairly short, as it happens, running at around 220 pages. This seems to be a bit of a trend these days, and while part of me quite likes the fact that novels of this length feel more like a movie that I’m enjoying, I’m nevertheless saddened by the fact that it’s £12.99 for more a novella than anything. The story is good though, if a little wacky towards the end – though I always find it vaguely silly whenever the space marines board a Tyranid vessel.

The Ultramarines chaplain is front and centre during the book, as you’d expect, and we do get to learn a little of the chaplain’s role within the chapter. Throughout my reading of it, I kept thinking about how much I’d like to get back to painting space marines, and even how much I’d like to start doing something with those Tyranid models from Shield of Baal! More than I think any other Warhammer novel that I’ve read recently, Cassius has made me want to buy and paint miniatures, which I think says it all, really! It was a good read, the only downside for me was the price. But this seems to be standard for hardbacks from the Black Library these days, so I can’t really hold that against it.

Drukhari catch-up!

Hey everybody!
Well, it’s been quite the slog at times, but I’m pleased to announce that, this week, I’ve not only finished my initial Dark Eldar Oath project from back in February, but I’ve also started to add more miniatures to the ranks! Well, kinda…

Back in February, my local Games Workshop started a painting project where we all picked a new army for the new year (we were a little late getting it all sorted), and we had six months to paint up a 1000-point list. Of course, 7th Edition was still a thing, and I’d already started to build and paint Dark Eldar, so I went along with making up a list there. You can read all about my initial efforts with the dark kin here.

Over the course of the last few months, then, I’ve been trying to get paint on this thousand-point list, though was initially pretty stumped by the vehicles. I mean, I’m fine with painting infantry, and even the odd monster, but vehicles seem to just get me every time. I had the same issue with the Necron stuff, and the only thing I’ve managed to complete for the Space Marine stuff is that Alpha Legion Rhino, which isn’t my finest work! So having a pretty mechanised army was a bit of a stumbling block, I have to say!

However, I think I’ve managed to pull it all back quite well, and this weekend got the list finished! It wasn’t my original 1000-point list, as 8th Edition had kinda messed with that to the point where I wouldn’t be able to fit everything in. One Raider was cut out, and the Trueborn had to be re-done with their weapons options, but I’m finally at the point where the army is done!

I’m actually really happy with it, in the end. Sure, the faces are always going to cause me grief – but this is tabletop standard, I’m not trying to win any awards with them! I just want a fully-painted force, done to the best of my ability.

Costed precisely how each model is built, I’ve worked this out to be 1010 points, or 53 power, in the new edition. But that includes stuff like the power sword on the Dracon, which I’m not sure I actually want to use in the game. The first game, incidentally, is lined up for tomorrow, so I’ll be sure to come back with some thoughts on how they play in the not-too-distant future!

I’ve also been finishing off a few other models for the Dark Eldar, which had been built for the original list. Initially, both Kabalite Warrior squads were in Raiders, but the increased points on vehicles has meant that I can only take one now. That said, a Raider is the same points cost as my current Kabalite Trueborn build, so I could always swap them out.

I still have a Ravager and a Venom that have been partially finished for a while now, so I hope to get those models completed soon enough! In the meantime, though, I’ve been working on a third squad of Warriors, and also getting round to painting the Reaver Jetbikes! Exciting times ahead, I must say!!

Getting into 8th

Not too long ago, I had my first game of Warhammer 40k 8th Edition, so thought that I’d ramble about my experiences for a bit in today’s game day blog!

I’ve been loving 40k for a long while now, but the arrival of 8th Edition last month really has me firmly on that path now. I’ve previously talked about my experiences playing 7th Edition here, as well as my first impressions on the new edition here, so it might be useful to take a look at these blogs as a bit of background!

I played a game of roughly 40 power against Orks, having arranged the game with a guy at my local GW. Having only played against Imperial Guard in all of my games of 7th, I was really excited to see what was in store for me! I’ve heard the tales of Orks from watching bat-reps around the internet, of course, and was prepared for waves of the greenskin menace and bucketfuls of dice, but it was really cool to see what was in store!

Necrons Overlord

The armies

(Again, I didn’t have my phone with me, so couldn’t take pictures, so there will be some generic indicative stuff on offer!)

My list shows off my usual love for Lychguard, though coming in at 8 power per squad, they are a bit of a points-sink. I had an Overlord leading two 10-man Immortal squads, both armed with gauss blasters. One squad of Lychguard were armed with warscythes, and another with hyperphase swords. To round things out, I also included my squad of Wraiths. In total, I had 45 power.

Robin’s Orks consisted of two squads of twenty Boyz, led by a Warboss, along with a Weirdboy, a Painboy, and two Killa Kanz, for a total of 40 power.

The game started fairly sedately, as I moved one squad of Immortals up the field and shot at the first squad of Boyz, but only managed to get rid of one of the buggers. Orks turn one saw the Weirdboy use Da Jump to move the second squad of Boyz almost to my table edge, which allowed them to charge into one of my groups of Immortals that turn. However, these Immortals were also very close to my Lychguard with scythes, and as luck would have it, I was able to start laying into close combat with them from my turn two.

Indeed, sensing the desire to be in close combat early from the Orks, I basically allowed the army to come to me, and while it would have been more useful to have had more Lychguard on hand to start slicing up the big fungus creatures, I think it was still good to see how the army worked. I charged my Wraiths across the board into the first group of Boyz, who were by now in combat with my Immortals, and the centre of the table quickly became a gross tar-pit of metal and green.

In the event, my Lychguard were quite effective at carving up both squads of Boyz, and despite the Killa Kanz killing my warlord, he was avenged when one remaining Lychguard with a warscythe managed to carve up one of the Kanz, which caused the other one to run away! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Lychguard are amazing! Both as a kit and on the tabletop!

So what are my thoughts?

Aside from Lychguard being awesome, I think the main thing for me is to not really bother with large units for Reanimation Protocols. The way this rule works now initially prompted me to automatically think of max-strength units (which is still only ten models for Immortals, Lychguard, Deathmarks and Praetorians – the only Infantry models I like). However, while it is undoubtedly useful to think of it like this, I had two ten-man Immortal squads which were tied up quite quickly in close combat, and so were basically neutered early on. Having a lot of smaller squads carefully positioned should at least allow me to have some models that can shoot, as even a green horde can’t tie up every single one!

While gauss has that wonderful -2AP, I think I want to invest in some more tesla Immortals, as I think the hit rolls of 6 becoming three hits could be really good. Indeed, I think I want to do more with tesla in general – that Annihilation Barge should really be finished off soon!

I tend to go for a lot of Infantry in all of my army lists, as I enjoy having miniatures in a miniature wargame. However, I think it might be tactically prudent to include a healthy dose of other things – the aforementioned Annihilation Barge being a case in point. Necrons don’t have a great variety of stuff, of course, but I think I want to do more with the Catacomb Command Barge. Depending on how vehicle-heavy I go, I might try to get more Canoptek stuff such as the Spyder into the list, also. Against horde armies, I don’t think the Doomsday Ark is going to be much use, though for pinpoint destruction it could be fun. The Triarch Stalker looks like it could be good, too – expensive, of course, but I’m also thinking about getting that model finished soon. I’m certainly looking to change up my lists a little – though I’m doubtless going to keep a core of Immortals and Lychguard because these units are my favourites!

Army-wide Leadership 10 is really useful for the Necrons. Even when my Lychguard were being picked off one at a time, nobody was running away. The new way of working out to wound rolls was so much better than 7th -I was still having to check the toughness of the Orks I was hacking apart, but I think it went to much quicker than trying to remember that bloody chart from the last edition. It may just be me being thick, of course! But I think this is a hallmark of the new edition – certainly, as much as I can make such a statement after only one game: everything just moves along quite nicely! We were playing a small game, of course – a small number of units per side, and only having three command points each to use meant we both pretty much re-rolled something, and interrupted each others’ combats once. But it didn’t feel as bogged-down as my previous games of 7th have felt, and while it took 3 hours, I think that was definitely more because we were both quite new (well, I was brand new!) to the rules. I’ve previously set aside entire days for one single game of 7th, so I definitely appreciated how quick you can move through a game.

I didn’t really have a plan for my battle. I started out wanting to get a sort of firing corridor for my Immortals, but the Orks’ charge just floored me and so I was put onto the back foot. While I could adapt a little and managed to charge my Lychguard into a couple of combats, I think overall I need to have a little more flexibility into the list to allow for shooting and melee, and a little bit of shenanigans as well. I think this is where Deathmarks could come in handy, as they can teleport onto the battlefield and snipe at characters etc. Synaptic disintegrators aren’t the greatest weapon in the arsenal, of course, but with My Will Be Done giving them +1 to hit if there’s a nearby Overlord, it could be decent enough!

Necrons Deathmarks

Overall, I really enjoyed this game, and I’m looking forward to getting up to the store for more games soon! It took 3 hours to play, as I said, mainly because we were both quite new to the game (though also the fact that Necrons are very tough to get rid of, even when my reanimation protocols aren’t going too good – I was still getting at least a couple of models back each turn!)

Definitely excited to not only play more 8th with my Necrons, but also to get some experience with more armies!

A New Dynasty Arises

Hey everybody!
At the very start of the year, I’d made a couple of plans to do with miniatures that largely involved trying to get myself in gear for actually finishing with painting the massive number of little plastic people I have hanging about. After 52 consecutive weeks of hobby updates, I was feeling flushed with success to actually keep to these goals, but the inevitability of real life soon returned, and I’ve been putting a lot of these plans off. Well, now that I’ve finished my degree, it’s time to make a return!

One of said plans was to revitalise my Necron army, and go back to actually repaint some of the soulless space robots. Necrons were my first foray into 40k, of course, and among some of the first ever miniatures that I had painted. Since then, I’d been swelling the ranks while trying to match that original paint scheme, meaning that I wasn’t really progressing with my skills. I’m not suggesting that I’d become a phenomenal painter in that time, of course, but rather that I felt like I was stagnating. As 2016 drew to a close, I began to think of how I could spruce up these original miniatures, yet keep the original scheme going, and promptly stripped the paint off a number of Lychguard. However, it took me a good while before I started the Great Reanimation of 2017, as my Novamarines and Dark Eldar plans came to the fore! I don’t think I’ll ever not have a dozen different things going on (what kind of self-respecting hobbyist only focuses on one project at a time, anyway?)

Last month, however, I managed to finish off the Lychguard that had been stripped down, and began to think about what I wanted to do next with the army.

One of the things that had been bothering me initially was the fact that I could see brushstrokes within the paint on a lot of the miniatures, particularly the faces. Indeed, the faces in general were starting to bug me, as I’d been painting them too white for all these years! Long time readers may remember me talking about the miniature showcases at the end of the “how to use Citadel paints” videos, where a Lychguard is used to demonstrate the various paints in the then-new system – the face is supposed to be painted with Ulthuan Grey, and edge-highlighted with White Scar. I’d just been painting it White Scar and leaving it, which had led to some decidedly ropey-looking miniatures in my army!

Necron Lychguard

This introduction is turning into quite the essay, but I’ve nearly finished!

The turning point for me began back in November, when I had a game up at my local GW against a beautifully-painted Guard army. Seeing my own attempts against these really inspired me to actually try to get my army looking good, rather than merely wanting to, essentially, colour-in some models. I’d been trying to paint well since starting with the Deathwatch project, and my Novamarines were a similar effort to up my painting game, but I was still a little less than enthused for my Necrons, due to the fact I was trying to match a paint scheme that I’d come up with years ago.

However, the beginning of the end came in the most innocuous of ways.

I had my first game of 8th Edition at my local store, and as a result had decided to pick up some more undead space robots, thinking I might do some more tesla Immortals. These guys have been repackaged, and the back of the box now shows a couple of alternative paint schemes, which really stopped me short as I was looking at them in the store. “They hadn’t invented these colours when I’d started painting my Necrons!” I cried, indignantly. But of course, they had – back in 5th Edition, the Codex showed a variety of different colour schemes for them, including the blue scheme that so impressed me:

Thokt Dynasty Necrons

I was enamoured. The Thokt Dynasty, above, looks superb, with the cool blue glowing effects and the darker armour with those grey highlights – mmm, that’s quite a beautiful scheme, right there! I hadn’t really thought of it properly before, but the dynasties seem to be treated much like Space Marine Chapters, with the 7th Edition Codex talking about a couple of them and providing a look at their schemes and glyphs. The recent announcement that Codexes will be coming out and featuring unique rules for, among other things, Necron dynasties, has also made me more interested in painting up a “real” dynasty for a change.

But I don’t want to repaint all of my guys! I have over 3000 old points tied up in silver-and-green miniatures!

The nail in the coffin, however, came just last week, when I finished painting another trio of scarab bases.

I knew that Mourn Mountain Snow had been removed from the shelves of GW and other suppliers, but I had seen it still available on the webstore, and so wasn’t feeling too fazed by it. “Maybe I’ll pick some up when I’m next doing an order…” tended to be my thoughts, although I never seemed to get round to it. I now have about two-thirds of a pot left, and so decided to take a look to see if the snow was still available.

Catastrophe! It wasn’t.

Valhallan Blizzard has been out for a while now, of course, and I do have a pot of it, but it just isn’t the same texture/consistency/look/feel/thing as the other stuff. In a panic, I thought I might be able to just put any old texture on, and then paint it white (rationally, I think this is entirely possible and could well work), but over the course of an evening, I’d convinced myself that enough was enough! I’ve been talking for well over a year about trying to be better with my Necron paint scheme, but have never really done anything about it. If truth be told, I’m not even sure I like the scheme that I’ve come up with – I mean, it’s been fine all these years, but I’ve never really critically looked at it until now. I do like how I’ve painted the warscythes on the newly-rescued Lychguard, but the expanse of green on the vehicles and other places doesn’t really fill me with pride, or anything. Having recently built up a Monolith, the idea of having a huge green box on the table was just slightly too boring for me.

So, I’m going to do a new army.

I’m settled on doing the Thokt Dynasty, as you may have picked up on above, and I’ve been taking some time to really go through and work out how I want to do it. For the Immortals and Deathmarks, who are shown in these colours on the box, it’s pretty obvious. However, Lychguard are the focus of the faction for me, so I want to come up with something that will look awesome. I also have ten Triarch Praetorians built and primed ready to do a Judicator Battalion back in the day, so need to think about them, also.

Thokt Dynasty Necrons

My first attempt at producing the new Thokt Necrons has turned out pretty well, I feel! I managed to churn them out over the course of a couple of hours, all told. My recipe is as follows:
1. Base the body with Leadbelcher. Base the pauldrons and head with Mechanicus Standard Grey, and the gun with a 50/50 mix of Mechanicus Standard Grey and Abaddon Black.
2. Shade the whole thing with Nuln Oil.
3. Layer the pauldrons and gun with Skavenblight Dinge.
4. Layer the head (stripe) with Dawnstone.
5. Base the gun barrels and pipes with Kantor Blue.
6. Shade the pipes with Drakenhof Nightshade.
7. “Softbrush” these blue parts with Alaitoc Blue. Take the barrels further with Hoeth Blue, then Blue Horror.
8. Glaze the barrels with Guilliman Blue. Also glaze the eyes.
9. Use Stirland Mud / Stirland Battlemire on the bases, and drybrush with Praxeti White. Add in Valhallan Blizzard and ‘Ardcoat where necessary (‘Ardcoat to simulate ice).
10. Paint the rim of the base with Dryad Bark.

These are the first Necrons that I’ve painted since starting my painting career all those years ago, where I’ve actually tried to do a good job. And I have to say, I’m actually very proud of myself! I think they look fantastic, and I’m really excited to start painting more Necrons in this scheme – I’ve already got more kits waiting to be built expressly for this dynasty!

Necrons

Has there ever been a more tortured, or more gratuitous reason for completely starting over with an army? Probably, but I’m looking forward to getting these guys done, and in time, I hope to re-do my entire Necron collection in these colours!

Let’s just hope the eventual Codex release doesn’t see me enamoured of a whole different Dynasty, and precipitate a further change!

Warhammer 40k: First Strike

Warhammer 40,000 First Strike

Folks, this box is amazing. £25 gets you a total of 15 miniatures, including the new Reivers for the Primaris Marines, as well as three new-pose Intercessors, three new-pose Death Guard, and six alternate-looking Poxwalkers. Additionally, you get pretty much everything you need to start playing games right there and then – dice, measuring thing, a poster-map, and the inner tray of the box doubles as a terrain piece. The only think you’re missing when you buy this is another person to play against, really!

Warhammer 40,000 First Strike

There are a couple of books in here, one of which is a sort of background book that also has handy stuff about assembling and painting miniatures, and the other is the original 8-page rules pamphlet thing included in the Dark Imperium box, conflated with some of the additional rules content like missions etc. You also get datasheet-cards for each of the four types of miniatures included, which I really enjoy and would probably buy versions of them for all of my other armies, should GW ever feel the need to put this sort of thing into circulation (hint, hint).

Forget all of the naysayers who decry push-fit, “easy to build” miniatures. These things are as detailed as any other Citadel miniature, and just because you can’t get your space marine’s arm at precisely the right angle is not reason enough to dismiss these things, in my view! Sure, I’m looking forward to the proper multi-part plastic kits that will hopefully be on their way soon, but for now, I’m fine with this stuff!

Primaris Space Marines

With the release of the Codex: Space Marines on the horizon, I’m looking forward to seeing what else will be coming out to support the line of new Primaris stuff. I caught the chat with Phil Kelly on Thursday talking about the new stuff, where he showed off an image of some new and some old Chapters in Primaris armour, and have started to think about adding some to my Novamarines as well as doing the Dark Imperium box as Genesis Chapter. Might do a couple of squads as Novamarines when the proper kits drop, we’ll see.

In addition to the Repulsor Tank and the Redemptor Dreadnought though, there are rumours flitting about that we’ll be seeing Apothecaries, Chaplains and “something heavy”, a cross between Centurions and Terminators. That could be great, though I’m also a bit concerned it could look silly. I guess we’ll have to wait and see! But I am looking forward to seeing how they grow this new line, no matter how much the internet wants it to go away.

First Strike is an incredibly good value way to get into 40k, and I would go as far as to say everybody who bought the Dark Imperium box should also get this, just for the alternative pose miniatures to pepper through their existing squads. Definitely worth picking up for £25!

The Outcast Dead

I've been missing the heresy, so it's time to get back! #HorusHeresy

A post shared by Mark (@marrrkusss) on

I’m slowly making progress with the Horus Heresy series once again, having recently finished reading book 17 in the juggernaut of grimdark novel series, The Outcast Dead. It’s probably important to note that I’ve skipped Prospero Burns for the time being, as I’m not interested in Space Wolves (even if it is Dan Abnett at the pen), and have saved the short story compendium Age of Darkness for another time.

Anyhow!

The Outcast Dead is a very weird book, one that alternately fascinated me and annoyed the hell out of me. First of all to note, this is the first time a Horus Heresy novel takes place entirely on Terra. We follow the broken astropath Kai Zulane as he returns to the City of Sight for reconditioning, following a catastrophe aboard the Argo, a ship in the employ of the Navigator House Castana. Kai and the ship’s Navigator, Roxanne Castana, are the only two survivors of the tragedy, which saw a warp storm rip the ship apart, demons spilling into the ship and killing the entire crew. Roxanne herself has taken refuge from her House, who wanted to make her a scapegoat for the loss of the ship, at the Temple of Woe, a strange place near the Imperial Palace where people basically bring their dead for incineration.

The bulk of the first part of the novel deals with Kai Zulane and Roxanne alternately, and we get some insight into the working of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica at this time. However, when Magnus makes his ill-fated psychic attempt to warn the Emperor of Horus’ betrayal, the psychic shockwave is felt across Terra, and millions are destroyed by the warp spawn that manage to break into reality. During this incursion, Kai Zulane is given forbidden knowledge about the future that is deposited within his centre of guilt over what happened to the Argo, and he is incapable of accessing that knowledge until he has faced what happened.

He is taken to the Custodian Guard, who attempt to break the information out of him, but at this time a group of powerful Space Marines imprisoned within the Custodians’ dungeons make their escape attempt. Led by Atharva of the Thousand Sons, and including three World Eaters, a Luna Wolf, a Death Guard and an Emperor’s Children, the “Outcast Dead” break out, picking up Kai in the process, but their stolen flyer is shot down in the Petitioners’ City, a vast slum close to the Palace. The Marines are tracked along their way, and come up against the local ganglord Babu Dhakal, who turns out to be a Thunder Warrior that has inexplicably survived the Wars of Unification, and attempts to capture the Marines in an effort to use their geneseed to help prolong his life.

In a battle with the Babu’s enforcer Ghota, two of the Marines are killed, and so the remaining Outcast Dead take their bodies for disposal in the Temple of Woe. There, the Custodians catch up with them, and after a bloody battle, all of the Marines are killed, with the exception of Saverian the Luna Wolf. Kai, reunited with Roxanne, begs the Navigator to use her third eye’s power to kill him, to stop any further abuses of his body and mind in the effort to extract the knowledge of the future.

The book is weird, mainly because it takes place in the weird realm of the psychic. The astropaths and other folk at the City of Sight are all slightly odd, and a clear sense of other-ness really pervades the book. While we do get Space Marines in the form of the Outcast Dead, it’s really interesting to see another side of the Imperium, much like with Graham McNeill’s previous novel Mechanicum, which maintained itself largely without any recourse to the Astartes.

In addition, we get a bit of a look at the Navigators, though without as much depth as the astropaths. It was a little confusing at times, as Kai was said to be in the employ of House Castana and to be working for the Ultramarines, and I couldn’t quite work out what was going on there. Of course, the details are largely irrelevant. I don’t think the Navigators have been shown previously in the series, however, so it was nice to have them show up for a bit.

Indeed, we seem to get many fringe elements turn up in this book, as the Sisters of Silence make a brief but pivotal appearance at the final battle, as well as a couple of Custodians having some decent page-time. Finally, we get the elements of the mythical past in the form of two Thunder Warriors, who are all presumed dead following the Wars of Unity. I can’t quite decide if I liked this inclusion, or if it felt a bit like over-kill. Of course, while the fact that there were survivors shouldn’t be surprising given the breadth of the universe we’re dealing with here, I think I would have preferred them to be left out, and Babu Dhakal to have been a Space Marine washout or something.

For all that I found it fascinating, however, I was also really quite disappointed with the book. The story of the Heresy has barely advanced since the first couple of books in the series – with Nemesis providing the first proper step on the timeline since probably Battle for the Abyss. Instead of continuing the story, we’ve instead gone back a step to the psychic incursion of Magnus to warn the Emperor, which we saw in A Thousand Sons, six books prior. It’s not entirely all bad, don’t get me wrong, but I just feel like we’re not really getting anywhere right now. I get that the narrative is immense and epic and all the rest of it, but I’m used to novel series from the Star Wars universe that tell a complete storyline – even padded out quite considerably – within nineteen books…!

I’m still more interested in what’s happened to Garviel Loken at the end of Galaxy in Flames!

It was an enjoyable book for a lot of reasons, although the copy I have is absolutely riddled with typos, word omissions and, towards the end, printing errors. It is a little frustrating that we’re seventeen books into the series and we don’t seem to have advanced very far at all into the story of the Heresy, but I suppose that’s just how the series is being told.

Another new army!

Hey everybody!
By now, you no doubt realise that I have an addiction to Games Workshop and their little plastic men. Well, we all have our vices. Anyway, while I’ve been both adding to my Necrons, and building up my Dark Eldar, I’ve also been thinking about a lot of the smaller-scale stuff that I have had on the go for varying lengths of time. Genestealer Cults, Deathwatch, and even the regular Space Marine stuff – but first and foremost, I’ve been thinking about making some sort of expansive Imperium army. With the release of the Imperial Agents codex last Christmas, I’ve been pondering all sorts of different combinations of interesting little marginal character-armies, and with the roll-out of 8th Edition, this idea is getting a little more firmly off the ground!

Adeptus Mechanicus Skitarii

Back in May, I’d picked up a Start Collecting Skitarii box set, and not long after had built up five Skitarii Rangers. They’d been hanging about primed for a number of weeks, but finally I’ve decided to actually get myself in gear and paint the little blighters! I’d initially wanted to paint them in the Metalica scheme, but decided that I didn’t want the hassle of painting the off-white robes. In the event, I’ve created my own Forge World, which is yet to receive a name, but still! I’d initially wanted to have some very blue Skitarii, to contrast with the usual reds, but as it turns out, these chaps are just kinda muted and grungy. I’d hoped the bases would brighten the scheme somewhat and set them off nicely, but as it happens, they just seem to have added to the overall muted effect! Hm.

The robes have been done with Stegadon Scale Green, with Dark Reaper and Thunderhawk Blue providing the highlights; inside it’s a case of Celestra Grey and Ulthuan Grey, all of the robes then shaded with Drakenhof Nightshade. The pressure suit was done with Eshin Grey shaded with Nuln Oil, and the metallics are the usual scheme of Leadbelcher and Nuln Oil, and Balthasar Gold and Agrax Earthshade. I’d decided against painting the Machina Opus in the usual half-and-half manner, and instead have opted for a golden skull. Might see if I can somehow tie that in to the history of my Forge World at some point. The guns are painted with Rhinox Hide, shaded with Agrax Earthshade, and then highlighted with Skrag Brown. The Arc weaponry is Caledor Sky highlighted with Baharroth Blue. Both of these are pretty much the Duncan-approved methods, anyway! The purity seals are Zandri Dust (parchment) and Tuskgor Fur (wax) shaded with Agrax Earthshade. Finally, the eye lenses have been done with Ulthuan Grey shaded with Carroburg Crimson.

Despite the fact that they haven’t turned out as I’d first imagined them, I nevertheless actually really like these guys! I think once I have a proper horde of them on the tabletop, with some vehicles in amongst them, it’ll look really cool, anyway!

So what am I going to be doing with this army?

As I said before, it’s an Imperium Army, and for the most part I’ll be using models that I’ve already got hanging about for one reason or another. It’s broken up into two Patrol detachments, and combined comes to 50 power / 1000 points exactly. Let’s break it down.

Imperium Army

I’ve got a lot of Militarum Tempestus stormtroopers anyway, so thought it would be good to get some use out of them. Two squads of five Scions, flying about the field in a Chimera with a Commissar for inspiration should be useful – by giving every squad a vox caster, I should be able to make maximum use of the Tempestor Prime and his command rod, relaying orders up to 18″ away from him. I mean, in my head it sounds cool, but I don’t know exactly whether it will play out that way!

I bought a bunch of Astra Militarum stuff around Christmastime for my burgeoning Genestealer Cults army, so already have a Chimera and Commissar that are just waiting to be built – I had initially thought about converting the Commissar to be a Genestealer Hybrid, as I wanted my entire Guard to be cultists, but I think that may be a bit too much to bother with. Plus, the Primus is a pretty good Commissar stand-in if I need one! I’ve already built up two squads from a pair of Scions kits, as I was building up the relevant Scions for the expansion to Deathwatch Overkill that appeared in White Dwarf back in the day. Working through each of those models has proven to require a third box, however, to make legal squads, but no matter. I enjoy having the variety of weapons and such, anyway, and they are really quite wonderful kits to put together, after all.

For the Skitarii portion of the army, I only needed to get a second squad of the Rangers/Vanguard kit, and a Sydonian Dragoon. I’d already been attempting to paint some Electro-Priests over a year ago now, so hopefully this will prompt me to finish them off, and the Start Collecting box really is incredible value. I do plan on getting another in time, in part to continue the idea of a wave of Skitarii marching implacably across the table, but those Onager Dunecrawlers have been growing on me as models, and while I’d initially planned on selling that portion of the box, I think I’d like to have at least a pair of the buggers on the table!

The Skitarii portion of the list feels much smaller, but is actually a fairly significant portion of the overall army. While I was surprised at first at how cheap some of the units actually are, I think it would also be quite easy to sink a lot of points into upgrades that, on T3 models, are probably wasted. If building Dark Eldar has taught me anything, it’s to be sparing with the upgrades!!

Before I end this blog, I just want to give a shout-out to Alchemists Workshops in Winsford, who I came across after watching The War Gamer‘s painting tutorials on youtube. I trundled over there earlier in the week to pick up the above bits, and couldn’t believe how well-stocked and how cheap the Games Workshop stuff is! It’s in the middle of an industrial estate, which feels a little weird to me, but I was very impressed! Definitely going to be making that journey again to stock up on stuff soon, anyway!