Sin of Damnation

Hey everybody!
I recently finished reading the novella Sin of Damnation, also known as Space Hulk: the novel, so thought I’d turn this week into some kind of Warhammer 40k nostalgia week and talk about it here for a bit!

The novella runs to just under 100 pages, and reads a lot like a disaster movie. It’s basically a novelisation of the events of the classic board game, and takes us though the Blood Angels first company boarding the space hulk Sin of Damnation. I thought it was quite funny how it felt a little like a RPG storyline, with the terminators fulfilling objectives aboard the space hulk at the direction of the off-screen Captain Raphael, who seemed to be some kind of weird GM.

Of course, there is a lot of space marine vs genestealer action in the book, with some really nicely written parts from the point-of-view of the Broodlord. While the story lacks the scope of something like Shield of Baal: Deathstorm, there is nevertheless the sense that this is the antecedent of the Shield of Baal storyline.

As the story went on, I thought it was interesting to note that there were multiple Broodlords within the hulk, something I guess I hadn’t thought about previously. Just assumed that there’d be one overall leader that directed the hive mind. But there we go!

The book also includes a second short story that was published in the 2014 edition, Sanguis Irae, which follows the librarian Calistarius on another hulk, as he delves into the mind of a long-comatose Blood Angel who has managed to preserve his life despite being in the grip of the Black Rage, enough to allow his battle brothers to defeat a Navigator-Broodlord aboard the vessel. That was weird, I have to say, and I found myself trying to work out how such a creature would come to be – presumably a member of the Navis Nobilite was infected by a genestealer, so the child was both purestrain and a navigator? Who knows. The story was quite intriguing in the way it blended the recollections of the Black Rage guy, along with the fact that the Black Rage basically makes a Blood Angel believe he is Sanguinius in his final moments aboard the Vengeful Spirit. The three timelines of the story worked quite well, at any rate, and it wasn’t as confusing as perhaps it could have been!


Anyway, all this talk of genestealers has me wanting to share with you all some progress with my own brood!

As you know, I’ve been struggling for years now to get my Genestealer Cult models painted – I love the army, and love the models, but find it extremely difficult to actually make any headway with the force, due to the models being so insanely detailed. I recently managed to finish 11 Neophyte Hybrids, which I think has helped a great deal to see how I can get the colour scheme painted in bulk, and have therefore been ploughing ahead with some Acolyte Hybrids this time around – as well as the first of my Purestrains!

The minis are definitely coming along nicely, I think! I’m a little concerned that they look a bit too blue in comparison with the Neophytes, but they are more hunched, so it is slightly more difficult to make out the points of similarity between the two troops choices. But they’re painted with the same fatigues, armour and such – it’s just that the Acolytes have more carapace on show!

I’m quite pleased that I’ve managed to get these painted in a little less than a month, however – especially considering there has been a lot of Necron activity going on in the month, also!

I’m pretty much committed to playing the Cult in Kill Team for now, anyway, so I’ve got a few more models I want to paint up for that, then I’ll have my main force finished. My local GW has a campaign starting on the 15th, though I’m currently away on honeymoon so won’t be able to join in with that quite yet! Once I have my Cult sorted though, I’ll be able to focus once more on getting the Necrons reanimated in the Thokt Dynasty colour scheme, and that will likely take me up to the end of the year! Splendid!

Kill Team – I finally played it!

Hey everybody!
Yes, that’s right, the game is two weeks old now, and I’ve finally gotten round to playing it. I suppose, after seeing my facebook feed filled with posts in the 40k Skirmish Community page, it was time to actually see what the fuss was all about!

I took along a group of 15 Genestealer Cultists (not all of them painted…) and had an absolute blast, though was pretty badly brutalised in both the games we managed to play. That brings me to my first point, however: ordinarily, I play at my local GW for about 4 hours on a Friday evening, and games usually get to round 3 at the most. That’s probably due to the fact I play a lot of games against Orks, and have tailored a Drukhari list to be horde-based as well, but even so! Getting two full games in one night, as opposed to a bit of a game, is actually really good value for money, and I’m quite impressed!

My opponent was a chap called Kev, against whom I’ve played a couple of games, either with Tau or Necrons against his Deathwatch. This time, he was sticking with the power armour, and brought five Grey Knights. First of all, then, you can see that my force was three times the number of his, but if you know anything about anything, you’ll probably realise that Genestealer Cultists are pretty weak and pathetic, and really require that horde mentality to just drown an opponent in bodies. 15 wasn’t the maximum I could have taken, for sure, as I’m sure a pure Neophyte list would easily get to 20 models, but I’d allowed for just 11 of the regular chaps, alongside a Metamorph, two Acolytes, and a Purestrain. It was a fairly nice mix, I thought, but none of those combat-orientated gentlemen could make it across the table in one piece, and so I was pretty decimated, relying on just a single Neophyte gunner and the rest of my dudes to carry the day.

Unsurprisingly, the day was not carried!

See, not only are Genestealer Cultists physically weak in comparison to anything in power armour, but their weapons are also pretty terrible when talking about ranged firepower. I don’t think there was anything above S3 in my list! Trying to position myself to get unobstructed shots left me woefully out in the open in turn, so I could either risk being shot outright, or else I was hitting and wounding on 5s, which I’m not very good at doing!

The best moments for me came when I suddenly remembered, in my second game, that I had blasting charges on everybody, and managed to get one of them as five shots, though sadly all of the damage I ever inflicted all night was saved!

So I think Genestealer Cults vs Grey Knights is a really bad match-up.

We played two games, as I said, and while we didn’t actually link them together as a campaign, I think the system in the book is actually a really nice way of implementing such a thing. There’s a lot of negativity that I’ve seen about the fact they’re selling dice packs with d10s “just for the campaign stuff that nobody is bothering with anyway”, but I think it’s currently too early in the game’s life to be saying such things. We’ve already seen the NOVA open stuff they’ve put out, and a flurry of posts have happened recently where local stores (my own, included) are going to be kicking off store campaigns from next month, which actually makes a lot of sense as we do need to get to grips with the actual rules first of all!

I do love the new terrain that they’ve produced for the game, I think that looks really cool. While perhaps not as exciting as the Sector Mechanicus, it does nevertheless feel very grim-dark, and I have to say, I’m having a hard time not snapping up that Basilicanum. I’m getting married next month though, and would like to have some money left for the honeymoon…

Overall, then, I think my first impressions of the game were really good. It doesn’t so much feel like just a small-scale version of 40k, but instead definitely has its own feel. The turn structure is slightly different, which did take some getting used to at first, but I actually think I prefer some things (charges in the movement phase feels about right, somehow!)

Squad building was something I wasn’t entirely sure I’d like as much as I have ended up doing. Having every single chap be his own man seemed a little daunting to me somehow, like it’s easier to keep track of a blob of models, but when each one has its own personality, it just felt like it would be too much. That’s probably one of the perils of having a larger team (that and Nerve tests… urgh…) Suffice it to say, though, once I’d gone through that Lithuanian baby names website to name all 15 members of my cult, I’d gotten into the process quite a great deal, and have since been planning similar adventures for more Kill Teams that I have on paper. Good ol’ fashioned English names for my Tempestus Scions? Damn right!

So anyway, I’ll leave you with the make-up of my Cultist kill-team as I played it last night – I think against non-power-armoured armies it might be a little more fun to play, but I’m also thinking of a few swaps I want to make to add a bit more oomph to the roster overall…

Cult of the Bladed Cog kill team

Kill Team!

Well, it’s almost upon us, so I thought it about time to come here and waffle for a bit more about how much I’m looking forward to this Kill Team malarcky!

After the launch article earlier this month, I was left somewhere between hoping this would be better than Shadow War: Armageddon, and wanting all of the accessories, no matter how painful it would be for my wallet. Since then, we’ve seen a series of articles on the Warhammer Community site that talks about each of the factions eligible to play in the game, and some of the special rules those factions have. While I have often found myself feeling a little saddened at the narrow focus on models that can be taken in specific armies, I’m nevertheless trying to be hopeful that the game system itself will have enough redeeming features that it will still be a lot of fun to play.

Enter, the latest video!

It seems really interesting to me to see just how similar the rules are to regular 40k, although with a few subtle tweaks that will likely make it difficult to keep a track of. Charging in the movement phase? Interesting. The whole business of fighting on while wounded does feel a little bit weird as well, though a similar situation exists in Shadow War, and I suppose it could be just too devastating for the small model count forces to be picked off. Kill Team should, rightly, be more than regular 40k in 10 minutes…

Skitarii killteam

The datasheets look remarkably similar to those for the regular game of 40k, also!

Overall, I am very excited for the new Kill Team, though I have the usual feeling of not wanting to write on the cards that come with the game to mark things like level-ups, so can see myself getting some sort of alternative solution for that! I like my stuff to be as clean as possible! As to what faction I want to try out first, while I’ll likely be playing something like Necrons, Dark Eldar or Tau, simply because I already have painted models for them, I’m looking forward to trying out some of the smaller forces that I’ve been working on (or planning) for a while now, foremost among them being my Thousand Sons!

Yes, I started building these handsome folk back in November, and have so far managed to get just five of the blighters built up. While I’m still not sure how things like points work for the models in a Kill Team (I have heard that there’s a system similar to power points, where each model is costed, regardless of its wargear), I’m slightly hoping that just five models might be enough, though I might well build up the entire box of ten before I move on to painting them.

Paint scheme is something I’m not 100% sure of just yet, but I’m either going to go for the classic blue and gold, or else a scheme that involves purple. We shall see, I suppose!!

I’m also thinking that this could be the excuse I need to get moving with some Genestealer Cults at last, as well – progress really halted around February time, as I felt it had been too long since I’d painted detailed models properly, and consequently felt my skills had lapsed somewhat. In fact, it was the stumbling block of not getting very far with these guys that led to me picking up the Tau force. I do have a number of minis that have been painted almost to completion, however, so I’m thinking I might possibly try to finish those off in time for the new game. We shall see I guess!

Of course, while I do like the sound of it, and I’m looking forward a great deal to the new style of gameplay and micro-level squad-building, I don’t think this is going to take away from regular 40k for me. I’ve been having the best time playing in 8th edition so far, and so don’t really see myself moving away from that in favour of a smaller-scale game. While it’s nice for the change of pace, and it seems to allow for a whole host of different flavour to come out, ultimately, I want to play with big battlesuits, tanks, and all that cool stuff that doesn’t have a place in a smaller game.

New Genestealer Cult minis inbound?!?!

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

new genestealer primus

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

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

Genestealer Cult progress!

Well, folks, I’ve managed to do some painting! Not a great deal, to be sure, and they’re hardly the best I’ve ever turned out, but I’m glad to have them at this point so quickly. I mean, the bases still need to be done, and I think I might go back and tidy up a lot of things soon enough, but still!

I’m painting the Cult of the Bladed Cog, which has an interesting backstory that is linked to the Adeptus Mechanicus. The story goes that the cult began on Feinminster Gamma and rose up when the Mechanicus arrived to harvest the planet’s bioelectricity – at least, that’s what the old painting guide for the Genestealer Cults had to say on the matter. The 7th Edition Codex explains that the cult apparently infiltrated the Mechanicus’ operations on Feinminster Gamma, which better explains the close relationship that appears to exist between the two – the red on the cultist armour and so on is evocative of the Skitarii of Mars.

I’m really enjoying painting these gribblies, I have to say. I think the Dark Eldar from last year kinda got in the way of my Genestealer Cult progress, as I’d been building up a bit of a force before moving over to the dark kin. But the cultists have always been there, much like their in-universe incarnation, biding their time and waiting to strike!

I’ve got a fair amount of Genestealer Cult models built up and ready for the paint to be splashed upon them, but as detailed last time, I’m trying to focus on just the small 500-point list to get somewhere first. My Astra Militarum detachment (to say nothing of the Tyranid detachment!) can wait for a while yet, I think…

Building and painting isn’t all that I’ve been up to though, as I’ve been living in the Cult through this bad boy, also:

This book was released back during the autumn festival of Genestealer Cults in 2016, and I’ve been wanting to get around to it for a long time. I managed to read through it in the run up to Christmas, and I actually really enjoyed it! It tells the story of a group of “pilgrims” on their way through the galaxy, seeking religious solitude of the planet Redemption, which was the scene of a massacre of Sisters of Battle in the distant past. The pilgrims arrive, but are immediately drafted into the Imperial Guard regiment to help defend the planet against some vague, nebulous threat.

There is an air of mystery about the planet as the story unfolds, and we learn of the not-quite-human denizens who live in the civilian town near to the garrison. The story is pretty decent as it shares its secrets, before an explosive finale that sees the Cult of the Spiral Dawn rise up, even within the ranks of the military.

While I did enjoy the book, a cynical part of me was struck by just how closely it manages to tie itself into the Genestealer Cult range of miniatures, from the cultist models of the Magos and Primus (and even the Patriarch), to the Astra Militarum tie-ins like the Sentinel. Of course, the book was released in order to continue the hype, and whatnot, but it does exist as a decent enough read in and of itself. It’s coming out soon in paperback, as well (as Cult of the Spiral Dawn, fyi), so well worth investigating!

Cult Uprising!

Hey everybody!
I’ve been back and forth on this subject for a couple of weeks now, but I’ve finally found the time to sit down and work out just what I’m doing with my Tyranid/Genestealer Cult army. Remember this?

Tyranids are an army that has appealed to me almost from the start, but I’ve always had something else going on. For 2018, however, I decided to throw my lot in with the bugs, and finally set about creating a Tyranid army. However, I’ve already found myself losing interest in such an enterprise, despite having bought so many of the blighters! I’ve had some bad experiences in assembling a carnifex and a tyrannocite, so thought it might be better to start where this really all began for me, with the Genestealer Cult.

Genestealer Cult

Cultist models have really caught my imagination since their release in the Deathwatch: Overkill boxed game a couple of years back. I picked up the game, of course, and when the range was introduced I did get myself a couple of extra bits, though I’ve been really slow at building them up. Well, no more! I’ve worked out a small, 500-point list to start with, and will be working on that for the next month or so as a foundation to a larger Cult force.

Genestealer Cults list

 

It’s probably not going to be the most competitive list out there, but who cares – I’m excited to put it together and get it painted, which I think, in this specific instance, is the most important thing right now! It uses the models from the Overkill box as a basis, though the Acolyte Hybrids are from the separate squad box released afterwards. In my Ambush! blog, I talked about how good a basis Overkill is for a Cultist army, though I’ve since gone through all of the models in there and notice that the squad sizes are a bit weird: two squads of six Acolytes (which are a minimum of 5 per squad in 8th Edition), and two squads of eight Neophytes (which are a minimum of 10 per squad). I’ll probably be raiding the bitz websites to see if I can bulk these out soon!

The Neophytes are probably my favourite kit in the whole range, and I think I’ll likely be looking at doing more of these in time. For now, I’m mainly using the Overkill miniatures as I already have them built, and eight of them have actually been painted to some degree. However, this list may well change soon as I decide to add in models from the Neophyte kit in due course.

Genestealer Cult

So there we are, 500 points of Genestealer Cult, which forms the bare bones of a Battalion Detachment! In time, I can probably stretch this to 1000 points by incorporating some Tyranid models – I’ve got both Warriors and a Hive Tyrant armed with lashwhips and boneswords, and I think it might be cool to have them in the same army to tie in with the Acolyte leader (and, to a lesser degree, the Primus). Of course, I could equally go the other way and build up the Astra Militarum alliance, having already got some guardsmen and a Leman Russ built and primed…

The important thing, though, is that I start getting this army on the road. So, by the end of February, I intend to have all 531 points fully painted – I may even have gotten in a couple of games with them by then, as well…!

Make sure you come back to check on my progress! And remember, I usually post up what I’m doing over on instagram as well, feel free to check me out there in the meantime!

Warhammer 40,000 news!

Hey everybody!
It’s the Warhammer 40,000 open day today in Nottingham, but I’m at home moving furniture about so couldn’t make it. However, catching up with the news over on the GW Community site, it looks like a tremendous time ahead for the game! Let’s take a look, and then I’ll catch you all up with what I’ve been doing of late, as well! (Spoiler: it isn’t what you might think…)

First of all, following its release yesterday, Necromunda has already got the next gang expansion lined up: House Orlock!

House Orlock is made up of miners and engineers who use ingenuity and grit to solve the various problems of the underhive, whether they’re making sure mining quotas are met or are just working out the best way to neutralise a charging Goliath ganger.

Exciting stuff, I have to say! I think this is actually the best-looking gang so far, and I can definitely see myself going for them – I was planning to go for Escher because I thought the Goliaths look slightly too over-the-top, but these chaps look like they could be exactly what I want in a gang! If nothing else, they are sporting some truly amazing facial hair…

In addition to a new gang, there’s a new book coming out with their rules, and new terrain tiles to further help expand the game! Looks like GW are truly making this a wonderful gaming experience! However, the new Hive Scum are being released in resin, which is not something that I’m looking forward to experiencing. Might have to pass on them.

I’ve not actually had the time to pick up my preorder copy of the game, so need to try harder and get my stuff soon…

While we’re on the subject of Necromunda, have you guys seen this video from Warhammer TV? 3D combat is, of course, what Necromunda was famous for, and while the new boxed game doesn’t have any multi-level terrain, the Gang War book apparently does. Anyway, I got on a real scenery kick earlier this year, building loads of stuff for an Armies on Parade board that never really got off the ground, given that I ended up moving house and all the rest of it, but I do still have a few kits lying around, and have recently managed to consolidate all of the stuff I had built up, following the move. Now that GW are releasing new terrain, and this has cropped up, I’m hoping that we’ll continue to see stuff like this into the future – and, indeed, more videos to inspire all manner of build options!

Back to main-line 40k, now, and the mythical Myphitic Blight Hauler is finally coming out in time for Christmas – and it’s just £15! Having decided to build a Chaos force that is predominantly these lovely chaps, I’m definitely going to pick up this demon engine for the army, and it just looks so cute!

It’s an easy-build kit, and we’re getting more for both Primaris Space Marines and the Death Guard – I actually think it’s a really great way of continuing the Dark Imperium box by having these things available as well. I’ve often thought it’s a bit weird how there are starter boxes with the push-fit models, then if you want anything more added to your force you need to level up your modelling game. Plenty of people are put off by the assembly of these things, and instead have picked up the likes of X-Wing, so having almost a complete range of easy-to-build kits can allow someone to assemble quite a decent army even when they’re an absolute beginner. Sure, it might not look as great to experienced gamers, but I think this is a problem that a lot of commentators seem to forget – experienced gamers are not GW’s intended audience for these kits. Of course, such folks will no doubt buy them anyway, but I don’t think these kits are intended for anybody other than those people who want to spend as little time at the hobby table as possible, and more time at the gaming table. A lot of people are complaining about the Redemptor Dreadnought coming out, due to its mono-pose look – well, luckily for you, you can actually buy a fully-customisable version already! So leave the easy-to-build one alone and move along!

Urgh. Rant over, anyway.

Speaking of Primaris Marines, however, we’re getting two new Lieutenants, one each for the Blood Angels and the Dark Angels, that have all the usual regalia of each chapter, to accompany their respective codex releases in December. Wonderful! I don’t actually have a Blood Angels force, but I have been trying to build a Deathwing army since GW made their first and only foray into the whole Black Friday thing a couple of years ago, and this is the first thing I wanted to talk about when catching you all up with my hobby progress of late!

My Deathwing force has been in a state of partial completion for about two years now, although to date I’ve only got about seven terminators and the venerable dreadnought actually finished. I had some time off work not too long ago, and spent a day building a land raider crusader for them. I love the Deathwing photo spread from the old Dark Angels codex, and have been vaguely modelling my force on that, so definitely wanted to get the big tank for my force.

When I spent some time trying to work out all of the points costs for this force, I think it came in somewhere around 1500 without the land raider, which initially surprised me for such a small force. However, I’m guessing that these chaps will do a lot more damage than otherwise expected… I have got two Vanguard Detachments, due to 3/5 of the old Command Squad now being deemed as characters in their own right, but I am wondering if I really need Belial in the force anymore. He used to negate scattering after you deep strike in, but scattering isn’t in 8th edition, so he’s mainly there for fluff. I suppose we’ll just see how the army evolves!

I’ve already mentioned my Chaos force that I’ve been assembling, of course and wanted to point out the other half of the army – Thousand Sons! I was very taken by these chaps when they were released about a year ago, and had thought about getting some for a Kill Team, but only recently pulled the trigger and picked up a box. Well, I enjoyed putting the Aspiring Sorcerer together so much last weekend that I’ve since bought a second box, as I think I’m going to have at least one Patrol Detachment in my Chaos army of Thousand Sons!

I just hope we get some plastic Noise Marines at some point…!

Finally, we have this handsome fella. I’ve been flirting with Tyranids for so long now, they were almost my first army (but lost out to Necrons), and a couple of times over the years I’ve found myself buying bugs without any real thought to making a force, but just having something utterly alien to paint. Very much like Lizardmen from Warhammer Fantasy, I think I’ve been drawn to Tyranids because they were part of my first exposure to 40k (Space Hulk, of course), and the fact that you can paint them with some really outlandish, almost venomous colour schemes.

More so than that, however, I feel that there is just something so utterly 40k-ish about Tyranids: while Chaos is probably the most over-arching enemy across the majority of 40k literature, I always find myself enjoying far more the books that throw space marines against the big bugs. Shield of Baal is definitely one of the best settings I’ve come across, and books like Warriors of Ultramar and Space Marines Legends: Cassius have proven just how much I enjoy these things.

Since the codex has been released, I’ve been scrabbling about, sorting out my Genestealer Cult models, as well as looking for the other Tyranid models that I’ve bought – I have a Maleceptor kit somewhere, and need to find those Zoanthropes that I built up a while back, too.

In the meantime, I’ve been working on building up the Tyranid Warriors from the Shield of Baal: Deathstorm box, as well as purchasing more reinforcements in the shape of the old Start Collecting box (I do want a Trygon as well, but that Hive Tyrant model looks so damn good!)

I suppose it’s somewhat inevitable, given the fact that I’ve been recently thinking about my Cult models as well, that I would have moved towards building a force – however small – of the bugs those cultists worship. I’ve not properly worked out a list just yet, but I think it’s going to involve a Hive Tyrant surrounded by Warriors, a Broodlord surrounded by Genestealers, and a psychic contingent of Zoanthropes and at least one Maleceptor. I can start thinking about Carnifexes and Trygons further down the line, I think…

I’m really happy to have started in earnest with building some Tyranids to go alongside my Cult. While it has previously always felt a little like a distraction from my main force of Necrons, I think I have enough on the go nowadays that adding one more faction isn’t really going to harm anything!

And who knows? Maybe if plastic Sisters of Battle ever happen, I’ll be adding yet another faction to the never-ending roster!