Heretic Astartes in 9th edition

Hey everybody,
Yes, I realise I must seem like quite the hobby butterfly right now! Just a couple of days after my Sisters of Battle appreciation post, I’m here talking about another army and my plans for it – I just can’t help it, I’m addicted to the plastic! I wanted to talk a bit about my Chaos forces though, after having spent some time during last week with the codex and having a look at things in terms of what I currently have for the army, etc.

Chaos Space Marines is a wonderful army, and one that I really like the look of. It seems like they can be quite difficult to make work, though I think a lot of that noise comes from the tournament folks who are continually complaining about issues with the book in comparison to the Space Marines codex. For their 9th edition book, though, there do seem to be some concerns, particularly around how terminators have rules that don’t reflect their plastic kit, or something – I’m not an expert, and I don’t even have Chaos Terminators (yet!) so can’t really comment on that.

To me, though, as something of a newcomer to Chaos (even though I’ve talked about the army for years now, and have had the models for longer!) the book does seem to be quite nice. The unit entries have been tidied up a little bit, and on the whole it does seem like an improvement – though to be honest, anything has got to be an improvement on how I would go about army-building in 8th edition, when I needed the codex, the Daemonkin codex, the second Vigilus book, and the Psychic Awakening book. Everything is wrapped up quite well, and presented fairly nicely, too.

There are a lot of new models coming out to accompany the new book, which is very exciting, so there are new entries that are reflective of that. Due to having a lot of new cultists coming, I have left out my own chaps from the current list that I have drawn up, as I think I’m going to stick to marines for the time being while I attempt to make sense of the army as a whole.

Let’s take a look at what I’m working with, anyway.

So there we are! I’m on the cusp of 1500 points, but this is what I have built and (reasonably) ready to go so far – some of it is even painted! It isn’t a legal force yet, as there are too many HQs for a patrol and too few troops for a battalion, but I do have another box of Traitor Marines that I could at least build up to make it work out. I think I would probably ditch the Master of Possession to keep the HQ slots in check for now, as I have no real targets for his Daemonkin abilities in the army – certainly not enough targets to make it worthwhile taking him. I still don’t 100% know how I would like to build the third unit of Legionaries, but I could always throw in some of my Cultist models to make the numbers up – a mob of ten models is 50 points, so there are some easy options there.

Marks of Chaos cost 15 points per unit when you upgrade a unit to have one, which feels a bit too much of an investment at the minute! That said, each of the four Marks grants an effect and has a second effect for units equipped with an icon, so I could potentially see myself giving one of the Legionary squads a Mark just for that, really. Of course, it’s not just these effects that you get, as the psykers and priests will know additional powers and prayers when they have pledged themselves to one of the Four. For now, I’m shying away from the investment, as I say, but I think it might be interesting to give, for instance, the Legionary squad a Mark of Tzeentch, which would improve the AP by 1 on each ranged attack in the squad, as well as allowing them to escape some damage when they fail a saving throw. Something to think about in the future, anyway.

At any rate, let’s take a look at some of these chaps in turn. To start with, I’m playing Black Legion, so I get to ignore all modifiers to combat attrition tests, and I get +1 attack if I’m shooting at the closest enemy, or if I made a charge move that turn. Nice! All models in the army have the Let the Galaxy Burn special rule, which is a bit like the combat doctrines for the Imperial Marines – in round one, they get exploding 6s to hit on Heavy, Rapid Fire or Grenade weapons; in round two, that is changed to Rapid Fire, Assault or Pistol weapons; round three changes it to Assault, Pistol or melee weapons. There are rules to change this a bit, including giving a unit all three of these effects whenever you might need it, but it seems to demand a certain staged level of play, which (to my mind) goes against what Chaos Marines are all about. They also get their own version of Bolter Discipline, called Malicious Volleys, which applies to the Legionaries and Havocs.

I might be talking about ditching the Master of Possession, but let’s start with him, anyway. He can cast two powers per turn, and I’ve given him Warp Marked and Possession, the former lets him mark an enemy unit within 18” and any Daemonkin or Daemon Engine units get +1 to wound against that unit; the latter lets him roll against the toughness of a unit within 9”, destroying a model from the unit if he succeeds, and dealing D3 mortal wounds if the unit is not destroyed by doing so. Some fairly decent shenanigans there, then, though I must remember that Possession will be no good against anything T7 or better! He can also add 2 to any psychic test he makes by dealing D3 mortal wounds to a nearby friendly infantry unit, as he makes a sacrifice to the Dark Gods, and any enemy psyker within 12” who suffers perils is dealt an additional wound as a result. This is quite useful if the Master of Possession goes into close combat against an enemy psyker, because after he has bashed them over the head with his staff of possession, that psyker suffers perils anyway.

My Sorcerer knows Prescience and Infernal Gaze, which are two psychic powers loaded with memory for me – I’ve talked about this before, but painting up my first ever army while listening to 40k battle reports, I can remember hearing all these terms from back in the day, and it brings all those memories back! Prescience gives +1 to hit for a friendly unit within 18”, and Infernal Gaze is a witchfire power that lets you do mortal wounds for every 4+ on 3D6 (or 6D6 if you rolled 10 or more for the psychic test). Very nice stuff, particularly as I don’t see him otherwise being a very useful model – he won’t likely be leading from the front, at least!! The force stave always makes me smile as a weapon though – something akin to the badge of office for a psyker, it just makes me smile to think of the guy beating people around the head with it!

My Dark Apostle is the beefed-up Warlord of the team, though. This may change in time, as I am considering getting myself into the whole Chaos Lord scene – I do have the model, of course, from Blackstone Fortress, but I do think I might make my own, in the fulness of time. For now, though, my warlord is chanting prayers to the dark gods from a book dripping with Warpfire! I love the model, it’s just a stunning centrepiece, and I’m really looking forward to getting him painted up in the fulness of time. Natively, he knows Dark Zealotry and one other prayer, and he can chant one of those prayers that he knows. I’ve given him Warp-Sight Plea for this purpose, so he can either let core or characters within 6” re-roll hits in melee, or he can let them re-roll shooting hits of 1 and deny cover to the targets of that attack. However, I have given him the relic Inferno Tome, which allows him to know one further prayer, and whenever he chants a prayer that is heard, the closest enemy unit within 18” suffers D3 mortal wounds! Wonderful! His second prayer, then, is Omen of Potency, which gives him +3 attacks and improves the AP of his melee weapons by 2. Very nice, he’s now making 8 attacks with his accursed crozius, which is S6 AP-2 and D2. Not bad, eh? There isn’t much in the way of stratagems to make this worse, just Death to the False Emperor to re-roll hits and Veterans of the Long War to get +1 to wound roll. There is also the stratagem to chant an additional prayer, so he can potentially buff himself up and then get to re-roll hits in melee.

The Exalted Champion is a bit like a beefy lieutenant model, as he weirdly has a combi-melta as standard! Something I hadn’t realised, but anyway! He allows core units within 6” to re-roll wound rolls of 1, so he goes hand in hand with the Chaos Lord in that sense. He’s very much a model that I have built and primed, so that’s pretty much why I’ve got him in the list for now!

I have two big blobs of Legionaries, and I was surprised when working out the points for the list at just how expensive these guys are! The first squad is the Shadowspear unit of ten, so is fairly standard, and it comes in at 210 points! The next squad is the upgraded one from the recent Kill Team box, so has some interesting options in there, and the addition of the psyker in the unit is really what has pushed this one up to 240 points. I’ve given this psyker Warptime, the psychic power that allows a unit to move twice – he will most likely be using it on his own squad, I’m thinking, but it might be nice for positioning if he can send other folks out into the wilderness, as well!

Legionaries are, of course, the backbone of the army, and I would really like to get three groups of ten models in the army, at least (can you imagine bigger squads forming a massive gunline?!) Now, a gunline might actually be a red herring here, as they are incredibly punchy in melee – 3 attacks base, and the chainsword giving them +1A. Interestingly, while they have the normal rules for one special or heavy weapon per five models, they can also take 1 plasma pistol instead – which I suppose makes sense if you wanted to make an all-melee unit and felt like the special or heavy weapon would therefore be a waste. The unit now has rules for almost all of the Kill Team options as well; I was particularly pleased that you can make one of these chaps a psyker as it gives so much interesting flavour to the unit as a whole.

Writing this blog has really made me want to get building that third box of guys now!!

The elites section of the codex is quite interesting, especially with the advent in a week’s time of the new Chosen coming to general retail. Still no possessed yet, sadly, but they’ll be here soon, I hope! I’ve got a Helbrute in the list, which is the original model from Dark Vengeance – and, interestingly, that is the model that is used for the codex entry photo, even though the model isn’t available any more. The regular Helbrute is such a boring one in comparison, it really turns the argument about monopose models on its head! I do like the Helbrute for the fact it has a decent threat level – it’s making 5 attacks, each at S12 AP-3 D3, so against power armour he’ll be hitting on 2s, if he’s taken so much as a single wound, he’s re-rolling any 1s in that attack. He can tear Terminators apart with those angry fists, to say nothing of Primaris Marines! But that’s not all, because while he’s getting into battle, he can be firing his multi-melta, which is always fun! The Helbrute also gets his very own stratagem to shoot at a unit that has shot at him that turn, provided the shot hit.

The Venomcrawler is another of these units that is in the list simply because I have it built up, a relic from the Shadowspear box. However, the fact he grants +1 to a psychic test for friendly psykers within 9” is just fascinating, really! Makes him almost some kind of daemonic pet for the Sorcerer, although I’m sure it’s designed more for the Master of Possession. At any rate, he’s making 6 attacks with his soulflayer tendrils, which are delightful at S7 AP-3 D2, and he also has an Assault 3 gun that is only marginally less potent at S6 AP-2 D2. Very handy for harassment, for sure, and I think it could be a useful model to pair with the Sorcerer to help him concentrate on the Warp.

Finally, the heavy support slot begins with my Havocs, built up with two missile launchers primarily because I felt it was the right thing to do at the time, rather than because I wanted them! However, they do offer a kind of flexibility, so I suppose I can’t complain too much! I do love the heavy bolter as a weapon, and if I had the unit over again I would probably have given them another one. The reaper chaincannon is a bit of an auto-include for the unit, of course, and any kind of gun that’s throwing out 8 shots at S5 AP-1 D1 is something to think about. Havocs, of course, have part of the cost of their big guns baked into the unit, and heavy bolters come free for them, but even the chaincannon is just 5 points extra. It seriously makes me think about getting another kit and building it differently. I don’t think they’d take too kindly to being mutilated by having the missile launchers hacked off…

Obliterators are a fun unit, aren’t they? They no longer roll for the fleshmetal guns weapon characteristics, just a random roll to see how many shots it does once you’ve selected one of three profiles to use for the attack. One of those profiles has the potential to do 15 shots, which is quite worrying – especially when you discover the little nugget that they can fire into combat with these bad boys! It’s not enough that they’re doing 4 attacks at S10 AP-3 D2, but they can potentially then fire 15 shots at S5 AP-1 D1 at you in the next shooting phase – that is quite upsetting to be on the receiving end of it, I’m sure. They’re also Daemonkin, so will benefit from the Master of Possession’s shenanigans. 90 points each isn’t too bad either!

Interestingly, Mutilators have now gone from the codex, so my theory of a new plastic kit for Obliterators/Mutilators is out the window (coupled, of course, with the upcoming box of two Obliterators and Venomcrawler, of course!)

There is a decent amount of punch across this army, I think, so it should be really good to try out on the table once I’ve made my adjustments! Taking out the Master of Possession, and adding in a third batch of Traitor Marines at roughly 200 points would bring the total up to 1480, so I’m sure I could kit that third squad out to hit the 1500 mark, which would be nice! With all of that firepower and all of those attacks coming out of the army, it’s a nice image to have, for sure!

The Black Legion update 2

Hey everybody,
It’s been a long, long road with the Black Legion, as I’ve been doing little bits and then leaving them for ages, but I have finally finished the first group of five marines, and the Sorcerer!

Maybe I’m just a masochist, but I eventually really got into painting these guys, even with all the trim! They are incredibly detailed miniatures, of course, regardless of the fact that the trim takes forever to paint. But I did get into it, by the end! I think it helps being in a more relaxed mindset when tackling them – I’m not trying to rush things to get them finished for the sake of having finished models, I’m just painting each model and enjoying the ride, you know? While I’m not going to win any awards of course, it is great to see them finished, as well, which is spurring me on to do more! I think I am definitely over my hobby slump of recent weeks, then!

Currently, then, my painted Chaos forces consist of seven models – the Sorcerer, the Master of Possession, and these five marines. I’ve got some Cultists that are kinda sorta on the way, too, but for the time being I’ve started work on the next batch of five marines so that I have the full squad painted. I think I’ll then turn my attention to finishing the Cultists to get a 10-man squad of those, too, before doing anything further.

Of course, I have also been building a second marine squad, using the fancy models from the Nachmund box, but currently I don’t know how that squad is going to turn out, rules-wise, because there are three “odd” models who currently don’t have rules. However, with all of the codex talk now starting to take place, it seems like they will become an option for the squad, which I’m quite excited for.

It’s quite nice in general to have the new book to look forward to, with of course the promise of new kits coming at some point. The live stream from the WarhammerFest event the other day has shown some very exciting things, and of course we already have the new Chosen and Warpsmith out in the wild after that box set that came out recently. Seems like they’re really leaning heavily into the Cultist side of things this time, with a new 10-man set, plus the Cultist Command Squad (for want of a better term), plus the possessed Cultists and the abominable possessed Cultists – disgusting yet beautiful, all of them! New Possessed models, as well – wonderful stuff! Part of me wonders where the separate Greater Possessed and the separate Obliterators are, to say nothing of the plastic Mutilators, but I suppose we can’t have it all just yet.

But we are getting a new Daemon Prince…

I did talk about this when I last mentioned the heretics here on the blog, and at the time I wasn’t sure whether I was going to keep going with the army. Well, I am now sure, having enjoyed my time with the models that I’ve painted up to now, so I’m looking forward to seeing where things will be going from here! That said, of course, I’m not going to go mad with this project, because I’m actually trying to thin down the various models that I have once more, but I realise that I always say this, and follow it shortly after with “look what army I’m going to start next!”

I enjoy the Master of Possession though, and the daemonic side of the army, so I think I will likely be getting myself some of the new Possessed when they’re out. I’ve talked about having a Cultist-centric army in the past as well, of course, though I think I’m somewhat shying away from that for the moment. Maybe I’ll reconsider in due course. The new Cultists do look good, and I’ll be interested to see whether the older Cultist models remain viable with these new guys coming along as well (I think I have about 35 of these guys, after all!)

I’ve been trying to organise my miniatures into some kind of cohesive army, and have come up with a 1000-point list (well, it’s actually 999 points) to use next week against my buddy JP, who has played exclusively Word Bearers since I’ve known him, so it’ll be interesting to throw my guys against whatever he decides to bring to the table, as he has been starting an Imperial Fists army, as well.

At any rate, I’ll be keeping my stuff confined to just marines, with the legionaries and Havocs, plus two Greater Possessed and an Obliterator. Nothing too fancy. Without having the second edition of the codex, though, it’s going to be a hilarious game where I will have the old codex, one of the Vigilus books, the Daemonkin mini-codex, and one of the Psychic Awakening books on hand!

That new book can’t come out quickly enough!

However, I’m trying to keep myself under control, which isn’t easy with the amount of Chaotic good stuff coming out soon! I absolutely don’t want this army to get out of control, though, so I will be trying, as much as possible, to stay focused on just the models that I have, for the time being.

But then they go and announce this, and I’m all “oooooooh! Traitor Guard!” 🫠

The Black Legion update 1

Remember when I painted this glorious miniature, all the way back in the mists of time (August 2020)?

Well, he’s since been languishing in a box of otherwise unfinished comrades. After a lot of procrastination (even by my standards, it’s been a lot…) I’ve finally begun work on a fairly major push to get more Black Legion models finished. I’m starting with the 10 Shadowspear marines (I keep calling them that, but they’re probably now better labelled as the Start Collecting marines). It’s been a long road, but I’ve finally got some progress to share, and it is definitely getting me motivated to get more painted!

I’ve only been working on five of them, plus the Sorcerer, as the amount of details on these guys is quite overwhelming. However, as I’ve been getting closer to the finish line with them, while I wouldn’t say that it’s actually gotten easier, it is certainly becoming more manageable, as I pick out the bits that I can actually see, and not worrying too much about the tiny stuff that you can’t see.

They aren’t going to win me any awards, for sure, but I am enjoying getting more miniatures finished. It’s always difficult, I find, to come back to half-finished models and pick up where I left off, especially if it’s been a number of months or years! In the group of five, though, I had two that were barely touched, and it’s been good to actually see those “come to life”, as it were. At any rate, the five marines, plus the Sorcerer, are coming along nicely, and I can hopefully make some good progress with these chaps, and the remaining five members of the squad, and it won’t be too long before I can be showing off another finished unit here on the blog!

March 2022 retrospective

Hey everybody,
March has felt like a long month, do you think? It seems to have been a long time since I last wrote one of these retrospective blogs, at least, and I was a bit concerned that I might have missed it! It’s also been a fairly slow month, in many respects, although I think that’s possibly due to me taking a week off work to sort the garden out, which meant my hobby time was otherwise fairly limited!

However, I did get the Tau Commander painted up quite quickly, which I was very pleased with! It didn’t seem to take all that long, either, so I was pleased with the progress there, though said progress then seemed to just atrophy, as I began casting about for other projects. I did have a pretty hefty focus on Warcry, and have managed to get all of the Red Harvest terrain built, as well as the Tarantulos Brood. I still have some of the Darkoath left to put together, but it’s getting there!

Warcry is such a beautiful game though, and I love how GW are still putting out content for us to devour. The Tome of Champions 2021 is a good example of this, keeping the game fresh with stuff all the time. Of course, I don’t play it anywhere near as much as I would like, so it’s hardly at risk of going stale for me, but even so! I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get some more games in soon though.

Kill Team Nachmund has been released, as well, and so I’ve also been spending time building up that, starting with the Corsairs and then terrain, as well as the Heretic Astartes upgraded models. This last in particular has now got me in full flow with my Chaos once more, as I’ve been working on some Black Legion guys as a bit of a palette cleanse following two-and-a-bit months of painting Sa’cea Sept. I do keep thinking that I need to return to the Tau, of course, but I do feel the need to get something different painted.

The Black Legion are proving to be a little troublesome for me, because of the amount of detailing etc, and I’m not all that sure about the scheme right now. I think Chaos Marines are probably just one of those model sets where they are difficult to get painted well, due to all of the baroque finery. In comparison the Tau were a piece of cake! For now, I’ve decided that I’m going to get five Marines and the Sorcerer finished, all models that I had started working on a long time ago, so it’s definitely something that I need to get finished!

Star Wars
March has been quite the month for Star Wars as well, though, as I have been reading The Fallen Star and watching the Prequel movies. My wife Jemma isn’t entirely fussed on watching them, but we started watching the Prequels mid month and have decided to just keep going through them all, so that’ll be good! It’s got me thinking about re-reading some more of the Legends books and comics, as I did talk about in last month’s blog, and so I’m planning to do something throughout the summer, so watch this space for that! Should be quite a hefty series of blog reviews and so on, but hopefully it’ll be interesting for you all!

We also had the first trailer for Kenobi, which is excitingly coming out in May, so not too long left now! Mandalorian season three is still on the cards for the end of the year, as well as the Rogue One prequel series Andor coming out at some point. This photo was doing the rounds in October 2021, purportedly showing what we could expect in 2022, but with Mando being pushed back, who knows when Ahsoka will be coming back to the screen?


Watching the movies has put me in such a Star Wars mood, though – that probably accounts for some of the hobby dip that happened. Though I have got those Legion miniatures out of the attic, so who knows whether that will be a feature going forward?! Legion is something that I have thought about a lot over the years, though my first serious thoughts came when we were a couple of weeks into the first Lockdown, and nobody really knew what was going to happen. It was a nice distraction at the time, but I ended up not doing anything with this as we all settled into the new normal, and I went back to 40k. Well, maybe something will happen this time?

I’m always a bit wary of making these sorts of announcements, because I invariably get distracted, but hopefully it’ll be a big summer of Star Wars here on the blog!

Arkham Horror LCG
I have surprised myself this month by playing a couple of games with this, getting three-quarters of the way through the campaign before (spoiler alert) my investigators were killed! In my game day blog on Tuesday this week, I had said I wasn’t sure whether I would shuffle up and try again, or accept their fate and close the book on Innsmouth for the time being. Well, I have decided to close the book, and have dismantled the decks for Stella and Zoey – they weren’t a bad pair, if I’m honest; I just don’t think I was as into everything this time around for some reason. Possibly because I was snatching games where I could, and not really making the time to enjoy the game.

I’ve since made up two new decks, using Ursula Downs and Lily Chen, and I’m pondering my next move as regards which campaign I’m going to set off for. I’m currently favouring The Forgotten Age, though the allure of the new Edge of the Earth is also calling to me! I did feel bad for skipping TFA when I embarked upon The Circle Undone, more than twelve months ago now, but obviously campaigns don’t need to be played in the order they were released, so that doesn’t really matter.


My Ursula deck is pretty standard fare, leaning heavily into her already-high investigation attribute to really bolster this, and then use it (so far as Seekers allow) to fulfil other tests, too. The theme of using one attribute for another is more prevalent in the Mystics, of course, but Lily is a curious one in that she has a very high combat attribute already, so I don’t necessarily want to include a lot of spells that allow her to use her willpower for everything. I have included those spells like Rite of Seeking that allow her to investigate with willpower though, and there are a couple of ways for her to improve her willpower too, as I tend to split my party in games, to cover more ground, and so I like to have my investigators able to be as flexible as possible.

Lily is also curious in that she is a Mystic who can only use Level 0 Mystic cards, but can lean into Guardian cards up to Level 5. Whether that’s simply to allow for her to use the butterfly swords, I have no idea, but I find it interesting that this is going to likely become a deck that bears no resemblance to its beginnings, although of course we shall see how that transpires! I’ve only played a Mystic a couple of times, but I seem to recall there are a lot of good, higher-level cards that I like. Hm.

At any rate, Mystic and Seeker are my two favourite classes, and so I am looking forward to taking these two out, whichever campaign I decide to embark upon!

February Retrospective

Hey everybody,
Another month has been and gone, and it’s once more time for another retrospective blog! I’m quite enjoying this idea, so hopefully that’ll continue for the year ahead! It’s been a pretty productive month as well, with a lot more hobby and stuff to report!

Since last month, I’ve been making terrific progress with the Ossiarch Bonereapers, which was most recently chronicled in my update blog, here. I’ve now got 590 points-worth of the bone-boys painted up in the colours of the Petrifex Elite. It’s been a lot of fun painting these chaps, although for now I’ve taken a small break as I look at what else I have that needs attention.

The next part of my plan for the Bonereapers is to have the Necropolis Stalkers painted, although I’m not sure whether to build them as the Stalkers or the Immortis Guard. It is on my radar to get more troops, although I’m kinda waiting for the inevitable Start Collecting box, which will likely have these guys in there. Unless they go for a cavalry box? That said, with 40k moving to these combat patrol boxes, I don’t know if they’re planning to continue to do these for much longer. At any rate, for now I’m continuing to build and paint what I have, rather than branching out and buying yet more miniature men.

Quite the sea-change for me, really!

At some point in the near future, though, it’ll be the turn of this magnificent specimen, and I cannot wait to get this one built!

In the middle of getting this small army of mine assembled, I did a little work on the nascent Black Legion that I’ve been wanting to get off the starting block for quite some time now! I’ve been inspired by Martin Sivertsen on Instagram and his own burgeoning Black Legion force! It’s a beautiful force, and I think it’s about time that I got somewhere with my own. In addition, I’ve also been hard at work building up the remaining models from the Necron side of the Indomitus box (I’ve decided to sell the Space Marine portion, more money for the stuff I do want!)

I’m still not a huge fan of the new Necron aesthetic of shambling robot zombies, but the army is of course my first love, and I do find myself enjoying the look of the new Crypteks, so have picked up a Psychomancer for the list that I talked about a while back, and I’m planning to start work on painting the Plasmancer pretty soon. That juggernaut of GW painting, Garfy, posted yesterday showing the new Chronomancer mini and it’s absolutely beautiful. Probably going to be a while before this one is released separately, but I suppose it’s at least four more months before we will see the lockdown restrictions removed here in the UK, so I’ve got the time! I’ve got a lot of disparate ideas for 40k floating around, but it seems as though I’m much more likely to focus myself on Age of Sigmar right now.

Slaanesh has been on my mind of course, now that we’ve had the new range of mortals released. I’ve picked up the Shardspeaker, such a fantastic model, but have otherwise reined myself in here. In all honesty, this is a force that is a long way off just now, and I’d rather keep focusing my efforts on the bone boys to get a decent sized force finished.

In addition to the Bonereapers and Slaanesh, I’ve had my eye on the Lumineth Realm-lords, following the latest Warhammer Preview this month. There are some very beautiful miniatures in this range, to be sure, and I’m trying my hardest to resist buying anything just now! There’s definitely something Old World about these minis, that makes me nostalgic for the old days. I keep thinking I might just pick up a box of the basic infantry, just to have a go…

Lumineth Realm-lords

So far, though, I have been a good boy!

Something that I haven’t been able to resist, though, is this:

The “latest” expansion for Warcry is a few months old now of course, but I’ve been thinking on it for quite some time, vacillating over whether to get it or whether it was a bit steep for the content involved.

However, I am glad to have it, despite all the negatives floating around online! Warcry is absolutely one of the things near the top of my list right now. I’ve been wanting to get further into that game recently, although I’ve still not played it after that game back in September. I’ve got the Iron Golem models from the original core set primed and waiting, and I’ve been thinking that may well be the next project to get underway with. Of course, Warcry could be the perfect way to start with Slaanesh when the time comes, and I’m sure I’ll be exploring more of that here!

Arkham Horror LCG The Circle Undone

At least I’ve been playing Arkham Horror LCG, and have managed to get started with recording my endeavours on the blog here! With working from home more regularly during the current lockdown, I’ve found that I have the time while on my lunchbreak to get a game in, which has been quite good for getting to explore the game some more.

Taking a sharp left turn now, I watched The Phantom Menace last weekend, for the first time in what feels like an age. It’s hardly the best film in the series, of course, but it did feel quite wonderful to be watching Star Wars once again, and I did feel really quite nostalgic for the whole saga. I used to watch the prequels almost every Christmas, while reading a selection of the novels and comics set around there – to the point where I had almost developed a set scheme for “my prequel Christmas”. I do quite miss the days when I had nothing much going on, and could read a 400 page book in a day, happy times! I’d like to try and get back into that maybe someday here, revisit the old days and chronicle some of those classic tales here – though much like with the Legacy series I re-read last December, it’ll be interesting to see if these things hold up.

Something that I have finished reading this month is the Warhammer Crime anthology No Good Men. I really enjoyed the first novel in the series, so had been looking forward to reading more. Anthologies can always be a bit ropey, and I think this one is no different. Seven short stories from Black Library alums (including Chris Wraight, author of the inaugural Bloodlines), all set on the world of Alecto and around the hive city of Varanganthua. The thing is, after Bloodlines, and after a couple of stories here, things begin to sound all the same. Probators going about their investigations, etc. There are a lot of missing persons, it seems, in the hive city, and I found myself wanting a bit more variety. I’m not really that down on the book, of course, but things just tend to blur into one at the end. Individually, the stories are pretty good, and very enjoyable with that noir feeling. Some are better than others, of course, but I definitely like the change from space marines and the like.

I’ve got Flesh and Steel, the next Warhammer Crime novel, ready and waiting. But I’m also hearing such good things about the first Star Wars High Republic novel, Light of the Jedi, that I’m thinking I might have to pick that one up sooner than later.

Planning! part one

Hey everybody,
It’s time for more rambling thoughts to start your week! After thinking about it a couple of weeks ago, I have now started in earnest on my 9th Edition Black Legion army – and yes, it’s turning out to be quite the army, at that! What has initially started life as a 500-point (ish) Combat Patrol force has now become something far bigger than I’d been expecting!!

To start with, though, let’s talk briefly about how army building works in 9th edition. Rather than receiving a number of command points based on the number of detachments that you’re bringing, instead you get the CP based on the game size, somewhat balancing things in comparison with 8th edition, where one army could be starting the game with something like 17, and another might only have 4. For games of up to 500 points-a-side, such as we’ll be discussing today, you each get 3CP to start the game with. After that, at the start of each round, you get an extra one in your Command Phase, a new phase of the game that seems to have been borrowed from AoS.

Now. Each detachment that you bring costs command points, but if your warlord is in that detachment, you get those points refunded. So the humble patrol detachment costs 2CP, but you then gain 2CP if your warlord is in there. Interestingly, this only counts for the patrol, battalion and brigade detachments – the vanguard, spearhead and outrider detachments cost 3CP each, and don’t refund you even if your warlord is in that detachment instead. So no elite-only armies, for you! Even more interestingly, the Supreme Command detachment doesn’t cost anything, but you get additional command points if your army also includes a patrol (+2), battalion (+3) or brigade (+4), but that Supreme Command must include either a Primarch, Daemon Primarch, or Supreme Commander unit. Interesting to see how they’re sort of pushing those big commander type of units – and even more interesting, considering there is only one Primarch currently in the game. I’m guessing that characters like Abbadon and the Silent King will be getting Supreme Commander keywords in time?

Anyway, I digress.

I’m talking about my Combat Patrol plans for the Black Legion!

I’ve literally only just planned out my starting force for these guys, and then the points changed quite dramatically and I couldn’t fit everything into the same force! Marines in particular were hard-hit, meaning that I’ve had to take out the Exalted Champion and a second Greater Possessed! But anyway.

For this list, then, I get 3 CP to start the game, which isn’t so bad I guess! The Master of Possession is literally only there as the headliner because of the fact that I’ve finished painting him; I think in the fullness of time I’ll be swapping him out for a Sorcerer or maybe even simply a Lord, although I have just today primed the Dark Apostle ready for action!

The Master of Possession is heavily geared towards daemon-support, so the Greater Possessed has stayed in the list simply to give him targets for his abilities! I do want to ally in some daemons, though, and I’m thinking the whole Dark Ritual stuff could be quite fun as well, so it’ll be interesting to see what he gets up to in due course! For the marines, I’ve got the 10-man unit from Shadowspear, and I’m currently working my way through all that trim on those guys… what a detailed task that is!

I’m enjoying my foray into these guys though, even if I haven’t yet been able to come up with an easier way of painting the basic troops! Of course, I’ll be using Cultists when the army grows, so that may prove to be an easier task, although I still haven’t finished painting that batch of Cultists from back in the day…

The Havocs are hopefully going to be great. Again, when I get the army fully off the ground, I’m hoping to get at least one more squad of them, kitted out slightly differently so that I have more heavy bolters for volume of shots. Given that they’re almost as expensive as double the number of regular marines, though, I’m curious to see what else could possibly fit into the list!

I think this is really indicative of how 9th edition is changing things, with fairly big points increases, which in turn are seeing smaller armies. In looking at how I could increase this force to 1000 points, I was looking at some Terminators, though kitted out as I’d like (combi weapons and power fists, with a reaper autocannon in there just because) brings a five man unit to almost 200 points! Added in a second marines squad at 175 and a second Havocs squad at 150, and I basically have no room to manoeuvre! It surprises me, I think, because during 8th edition I was almost always pleasantly surprised as just how many models I could fit into a list. Now, however, I’m finding that my lists are becoming almost elitist given how few bodies I can squeeze in!

In addition, though, I’m also intending to ally in some Chaos Daemons, principally of Slaanesh, given that I have those models already, although I can’t deny that I’d like to get a few more interesting gribblies in as time goes on! I think I might start with a small patrol detachment of these things, rather than relying on Summoning them on, as I feel that tactic might be vulnerable to having the characters removed before they can attempt the Ritual. But who knows? Maybe I’ll try to get my Dark Apostle to summon a Keeper of Secrets, and see what havoc can be caused!

So far, then, I’ve got a small force underway. I’ve recently picked up a couple of Rhinos and a Forgefiend, as I’d like to go bigger with this army as time goes on, but I’m trying my hardest not to go picking up tons of kits and finding myself drowning in plastic! In addition to the Marines, I’d like to get a nice selection of Cultists painted up, and who knows? Maybe 9th edition will answer my dreams, and we’ll get that Renegades & Heretics Codex that I’ve been after since Blackstone Fortress first showed what could be possible with such wonderful miniatures!

Catching Up

Hey everybody!
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Seems like life has been passing me by recently, as I have been focused a bit on work – I’ve got an interview this coming Tuesday for a promotion, so we’ll see what comes from that. More money for plastic crack, maybe?! We shall see!

Speaking of plastic, let’s start with the main topic of the day…

I’m not a big fan of the new Necrons, having now seen them in the flesh, as I wasn’t keen on the sculpted battle damage. For my Necrons, I’ve tried to paint them more like a pristine sort of warrior race, with the advanced tech that means they don’t retain battle damage like that. While I’m not entirely fussed yet on the Necrons, I have been admiring those Space Marines…

However, Chaos has become a major thing for me, considering I’d planned for Genestealer Cults to be my 9th Edition army! I’ve long wanted a force of Heretic Astartes, and having started with the idea of a Cultist rabble, I’ve now moved more into the realms of actual marines in the list. Today has been quite exciting though, as I’ve finished painting the Master of Possession from the Shadowspear box set! Finally!

I’m really pleased with this chap, and have followed the tutorial for the fire in particular from The Brush & Boltgun, which was a godsend! I’ve not had a chance yet to look at the other stuff on the channel, but it looks like a lot of the stuff that I have on the list, anyway, so it might be worth mining that stuff!

Speaking of which, I’ve finally picked up a Chaos Rhino for the nascent force, which I’ve wanted to get a hold of since seeing this wonderful piece of art from another of my favourite instagram’ers, Martin Sivertsen:

I mean, look at it! It’s absolutely beautiful, and I hope mine will come out a mere tenth as good! I’ve actually made an order for a second Rhino, as well as a Forgefiend (which I’ve wanted for a long time, as well) and a Dialogus for the nascent Sisters army!

Have I posted a picture of the Sisters here yet? Can’t remember, so here you go:

Looking forward to getting these painted up, however long they might take!

Moving on to a different game now, though…

My wife and I have been enjoying a few games of Elder Sign in recent weeks, as we’ve re-established Friday nights as gaming nights, and it’s been an absolute blast to be playing once more!

We’ve played a few times with the core set, as we get back into it all, and so last night we played with the first expansion, Unseen Forces, which I thought might be the best one to start with, as pretty much every other expansion has the Gates of Arkham rules and ramps up the difficulty! We had a couple of games with Unseen Forces, and while we managed to save the world from Shudde M’ell with just three locations left to explore per turn, we came under attack from Abhoth and it all went wrong.

It’s great to be back playing games from Fantasy Flight, I’m feeling really quite nostalgic for the whole thing! Of course, we’re slap bang in the middle of GenCon 2020 right now, but it all feels a bit weird with the global pandemic ongoing. FFG have shown off a few Star Wars bits, such as more Clone Wars era stuff for Armada, X-Wing and Legion, and that’s about all that I’ve managed to glean from the internets right now! Of course, it’s always an online event for me, but it feels particularly odd right now, regardless!

What else has been going on?

I’ve read quite a few books since I last came here to provide a review, so will doubtless have some thoughts on them to share with you all! I’ve also been reading the rest of The Flash’s run through the New 52, so will sometime soon get a round-up blog sorted for that! I’ve also been catching up with the DC movies that I’ve not seen, after watching Man of Steel a few weeks ago. So there will be plenty of blogs incoming once I have the time to properly sit down once again!

Okay, so it’s been pushed back, but there’s a Mandalorian novel due next year?! This news has excited me far more than I’d expected! Still very excited to see what season two has got in store for us, even though I’ve been really disappointed how it seems to be heavily leaning into the Clone Wars cartoons with the casting news that we’ve seen. Still, maybe live-action Ahsoka won’t be so damn annoying as to make me want to tear my own face off… time will tell! I think The Mandalorian is about the only thing Star Wars that I’m looking forward to right now, though, so I hope it won’t be disappointing!

Anyway, time to cease my ramblings, I think! Hope you’re all having an amazing Saturday, and stay tuned for more blogs coming as the summer progresses!

Black Legion

Hey everybody,
Following on from the first book in the series a few weeks ago, I thought it about time to get on with the second novel in the Black Legion series, simply named Black Legion.

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I must say, while I thought the first book was a pretty slow burn, this one was a lot more dynamic from the start. We’re back with Iskandar Khayon, as he tries to assassinate Thagus Daravek, a warlord of Chaos who has been bringing several warbands to his banner in the way Abaddon has been doing. We’re several years on from The Talon of Horus, and Khayon has been acting as Abaddon’s personal blade, though Daravek has been proving to be particularly difficult to kill. When his most recent attempt on the warlord’s life also fails, Abaddon sends Khayon to the mausoleum world of Maeleum, the world where Horus had initially been buried, on a nonsense mission that led the sorcerer to discover the existence of the Black Templars Chapter, and the seer, Moriana.

Moriana insists on being brought before Abaddon, and causes a slight rift between the new warmaster and his ruling council, the Ezekarion. This is especially true when Abaddon announces that he will lead a crusade into Imperial space, finally breaking the bonds keeping the Black Legion within the Eye of Terror.

Initially, this attempt does not work, as the stresses of the Warp destroy several ships from the armada. What’s more, Daravek catches up with them and a mutual annihilation looks likely. However, Daravek offers to parlay with Abaddon, and the two groups meet on the dead Craftworld of Taial’shara. There, Khayon comes very close to understanding the reasons why his attempts on Daravek’s life have failed for so long, as the warlord appears to have a peculiar hold over him.

Daravek demands Abaddon pledge himself and his forces to his own warband, which Abaddon scornfully refuses, but before anything further can happen, the Warp Ghost Saronos appears, offering to guide either group to Imperial space. While Daravek offers them ships and matériel, Abaddon simply offers them whatever they require, and wins their support. As it happens, Saronos wants their navigators, and while the Black Legion makes it out of the Eye, Khayon’s mentor Ashur-Kai is among those sacrified in the endeavour. However, when Khayon demands that Saronos removes his helm, he reveals himself to have the same face as Ashur-Kai…

Upon escaping the Eye, the Legion is confronted by the Black Templars fleet under the command of Sigismund, whom Abaddon determines to kill in single combat. The Vengeful Spirit is left under the command of Khayon, and Abaddon led the boarding action on the Eternal Crusader. Khayon psychically possesses one of the marines of the boarding party to witness the duel, but is forced to pull back. While the Black Legion has indeed made it out of the Eye, Daravek’s armada has also managed to make it through.

It transpires that Daravek has possessed a piece of Khayon’s soul, which has enabled him to exhibit a particular control over the sorcerer, as well as track him through the Warp. Daravek boards the Vengeful Spirit and massacres his way through the ship in search of Abaddon, who is still aboard the Eternal Crusader duelling Sigismund. Khayon is able to kill Daravek, and while Abaddon kills Sigismund, he is himself grievously wounded.

Black Legion

What a book! I felt like the first book didn’t really get going until Abaddon himself appeared, around two-thirds through. Here, however, the Black Legion is already formed and we’re in the thick of Khayon’s attempt on Daravek’s life. Of course, it is still slow in parts, as we still have the narrative device of the interrogation scenes.

A lot of the characters from the earlier book, such as Lheor and Sargon, are somewhat relegated to bit parts this time around, which on reflection seems a little disappointing. The novel has a much tighter focus, revolving around Khayon’s dealings with Abaddon and Daravek, with little time for much else. We do learn a little more of Khayon’s history, though, and we get some really excellent set-pieces, such as the opening chapter that sees Khayon using a breathtaking array of psychic powers.

Oh, and the void battle scenes… my goodness, there are some fantastic battles!!

I was hoping for a little more lore from the Maeleum section of the book, maybe more on the relationship between the Sons of Horus and the Black Legion. Of course, that section was there to get Moriana to Abaddon, but I feel as though it would have been perfect to see more of that meshing of the two. The fact that this is all I can say against it, though, really attests to how much I enjoyed it!

It’s a really good book, and I feel like it was along the same lines as The First Heretic as being classic Warhammer fiction. It’s making me really excited to see what happens next in the series, and I’m hoping that it comes out sooner rather than later!

All of this talk of Chaos has made me look again at the miniatures that I have for my own Heretic Astartes army. With 9th edition on the way, of course, it’ll be interesting to see how this force (indeed, any force) will work, but I’m hoping that it will be possible to bring along interesting armies with odd bits peppered in. I’m still sticking with the Chaos Cult idea, though perhaps with a few more Marines along the way.

Though I’m really hoping for a Renegades and Heretics army in the new edition!!

The Talon of Horus, and an update!

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About a week ago, I finally finished reading this book, the first of the Black Legion series of novels by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. It took me what felt like an age to get through, and that was mainly because it felt like such a slog! I’m a fan of ADB’s work, with The First Heretic being right up there in my favourite 40k fiction, but there was something about this book that meant I just couldn’t get into it.

It is told in the first person, through the eyes of Iskandar Khayon, a sorcerer formerly of the Thousand Sons Legion, now of the Kha’Sherhan warband. He has been captured by the Inquisition, and the story unfolds as a narrative where Khayon is telling them how the Black Legion came to be formed. As a narrative device, the interrogation comes back every so often, though principally we’re treated to the account in the past tense. However, it is the interrogation scenes that reveal, I think, my main gripe about reading this novel.

Being told through the eyes of a sorcerer, ADB has taken a leisurely, almost archaic frame of speech that meanders through the tale as you would expect one to recount it around a camp fire, or something. It’s not like he goes off on tangents, or anything, but if you can imagine someone kinda waffling their way through a story, then this is it.

The Talon of Horus

The story begins with a kind of update of the situation since the end of the Heresy, with a lot of internecine conflict between the Legions since they have taken refuge in the Eye of Terror. It seems that the Emperor’s Children have been systematically attacking the Sons of Horus, and scored a particularly decisive victory when they defeated them at Lupercalios and stolen the body of the primarch Horus, which was being kept there in stasis.

The main impetus then for the book is to follow the disparate bands of legionaries, seeing a small group of World Eaters, Thousand Sons and Sons of Horus band together to defeat the Emperor’s Children (specifically, Fabius Bile). Along the way, we get glimpses into life for the traitor legionaries in the Eye, and it’s really quite fascinating to see what has been happening since the Siege of Terra.

However, the book tends to limp along – it’s not, I think, due to ADB’s writing, but more like a stylistic choice for the narration. While I feel as though this should be a book that grabbed my attention and never let go, instead the first 2/3 of the novel felt like a bit of a chore to get through…

That is, until Ezekyle Abaddon made his appearance.

One of the plot threads, much like it is some kind of RPG adventure, is for the legionaries to recover the Vengeful Spirit, the Gloriana-class cruiser that was Horus’ flagship during the Great Crusade and the Heresy. They gain intelligence from the Word Bearer Sargon Eregesh, and it all turns out to have been a plot from the mind of Abaddon, to help wage his war against Fabius Bile. The legionaries join with Abaddon, and destroy the Emperor’s Children stronghold at the Canticle City. There, they not only find Fabius Bile, but also his clone of Horus – and it takes Abaddon showing up in his terminator armour of the Justaerin, and kills him using the legendary lightning claw, the Talon of Horus.

As I say, it’s the sort of book that should have grabbed me while all the way, but it wasn’t until Abaddon showed up that I really began to enjoy it. Abaddon is every inch the commander his gene-father was, and this really comes through when we see him engage the troops that Khayon and the others bring to his banner. There is a real sense of charisma that comes out from him, in the same way that we see Horus Lupercal in Horus Rising.


So yeah, even if I didn’t enjoy the whole book as much as I perhaps wanted to, it did have one benefit…

After experiencing quite the hobby slump earlier this year, as I got towards the end of the novel, I found myself wanting more and more to start painting my Chaos Marines as Black Legion. And then I started work on the Helbrute!

It’s the model from the Dark Vengeance set which, in my opinion, has a lot more movement to it than the regular model – which is strongly modeled after the Space Marines Dreadnought. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a Dreadnought model, but there’s something a bit more animalistic about the Helbrute, which I would have thought warrants a bit more verve to its pose. Ah well.

It’s been quite fun getting this guy painted, even though he’s still a work in progress right now! I’ve really enjoyed getting the skin to look so… sore, and think it really helps to set the armour off. All that trim, though… crikey! There are parts that still need touching up, for sure, but it’s coming along nicely.

I’d had some time off last week, and had been hoping to get him finished by then, but sadly I didn’t manage to get round to it. That said, who knows what’s round the corner? The UK has been ramping up efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus, of course, and as I’m writing this blog, we may be on the cusp of a nationwide lockdown, so maybe I’ll get a lot more time for hobbying! I guess we’ll have to see, though!

Whateer you’re up to, please stay safe out there, folks!

Shadowspear and more!

Well folks, it’s taken me a few days to digest all of the amazing stuff that we’ve currently got coming our way from GW with the second phase of the Vigilus campaign – and just when I thought I was over it, we get the preview for the big man himself! I mean, what a time to be alive!

First of all, the Shadowspear box itself looks really good. I was initially a huge fan, but my enthusiasm had waned a little bit, but now that we’ve seen these new miniatures in all of their glory, I feel very much like I need them in my life. Most of them. Well, probably all of them. I’m currently planning to split a set, and get myself the Chaos half as a decent start to a Heretic Astartes army and beef up my Cultist force idea from back in December, but then I also want that Primaris Vanguard Librarian. And possibly the ten man squad, whatever they’re called. Infiltrators? They look like beefier Reivers, somehow, and I like them!

I was listening to the latest episode of Vox Cast last night, with the legend that is Jes Goodwin talking about the contents of the box as a whole, and now I feel like I want to seriously make a Primaris Space Marines army! Gah!

So the new box looks amazing, and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on some of these models and getting them painted up. I’ve not really had any kind of thoughts as to a specific legion just yet, though I had entertained the idea of going “generic Renegade” and coming up with my own fluff, maybe, so I think that might be an interesting way to do it. We’ll see. I can’t wait to get that Master of Possession, at any rate!

I will likely pick up some Vanguard Primaris as well, maybe getting the Librarian off ebay and then seeing what else I can get in the fullness of time.

As if the new stuff in this box wasn’t enough, we also have the delights of the Warmaster himself coming in glorious plastic very soon, as well!

The model is insanely good, and I really like how they have clearly taken the original model as a jumping-off point. The amount of detail is just right, I think – so many of the new minis coming from Nottingham have been a little too busy, and it can make it difficult to really know where to begin with such things. But Abbadon looks just right, in my view – the baroque armour is definitely there, but it has enough breathing room that it can be interesting to look at, but not overwhelming. It should look fantastic as a centrepiece for my Chaos army idea, anyway, and definitely will form a nice counterpart to the Space Marine army idea I had way back in December, with Marneus Calgar forming a lynchpin of Ultramarines successors.

It looks like Abbadon will come at the head of the second wave of Vigilus storyline, as the second book in the campaign has also been previewed, and it doesn’t sound like it’s going to end well! I was very impressed with the first book, so I hope we see a similar sort of tome in the second one, with a lot of interesting rules and stuff to enjoy. We’re promised new rules, detachments and data sheets, alongside more new models, including what looks like a possible new Dark Apostle (just when I’ve gone and bought the finecast one!) and a new Havocs kit, which should be good if this chap is anything to go by:

I can’t really say I’ve always wanted a Chaos army, though whenever I’ve played Warhammer card games, I have invariably gravitated towards the Ruinous Powers, so I suppose it was inevitable! It should be good to get a small force of these guys, at any rate, so I’m looking forward to seeing what else we’ll be getting in this release window (Traitor Guard, please!)

All in all, there are some extremely exciting times ahead!