The Devastation of Baal

#nowReading #BloodAngels #Warhammer40k

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Well folks, it took me long enough, but I’ve finally made it to the end of this book! That’s not to say that I wasn’t enjoying my time on the Blood Angels’ homeworld during a Tyranid attack – the book is actually really good, with some tremendous action scenes, as well as being quite thought-provoking.

I think the main reason I found this heavy-going at times was just how arduous those action scenes can be. We get about 200 pages of space marines fighting Tyranids, and it did become a bit much after a while. There is enough peppered throughout to keep interest, don’t get me wrong, but I just found it difficult to want to return to that melee day after day.

Another reason why I found this to be quite heavy-going is the simple fact that I’m not that big of a Blood Angels fan. For sure, I enjoy the sons of Sanguinius as much as any other casual space marine fan, but I’m not overly interested in them to the exclusion of all else. And I think this is a major point for this book – if you’re a Blood Angels fan, you’ll absolutely love it. There’s nothing but wall-to-wall red armour where everything is named something to do with blood. We get a lot of Commander Dante, and learn what it’s like to be the oldest-living space marine of the Imperium.

So, the story is basically the attack on Baal from Hive Fleet Leviathan, in what often feels like a follow-up to the Shield of Baal series from 2014. Oddly, though, while it does feel like a follow-up, a lot of what is referenced comes from the campaign books, and not another novel, which just feels a little disjointed to me! Anyway, after a long preamble where the various successor chapters of the Blood Angels gather to accept Dante’s leadership, the Shadow in the Warp descends and the Tyranids begin their attack. After a gruelling battle, where Baal and its moons is basically devastated (well, it’s in the title…) the xenos are beaten back and Guilliman shows up with loads of new Primaris Space Marines.

A lot of people have already been talking about how Guilliman saves the day yet again, and have voiced their complaints that the novel falls down because of the over-use of this device. However, I have to say that I don’t really share this view. True, the Tyranid attack stops and the Indomitus Crusade shows up, but it doesn’t truly feel like Guilliman actually defeats them. Dante and his combined Blood Angels forces do the vast majority of the fighting, and Guilliman himself actually ascribes the victory to Dante. Instead, Guilliman really only shows up for the clean-up. The main turning point comes when Cadia falls, light-years from Baal, and the Cicatrix Maledictum basically destroys the Hive Mind’s synapse long enough for the Tyranids to actually be beaten back.

Leaving entire chapters-worth of Primaris marines behind does feel a bit like a forced ending, of course, as we essentially have the Blood Angels updated for 8th Edition. Now you too can field countless droves of Primaris marines in your Blood Angels army, because Guy Haley told you it’s what happens! Seriously, it’s not the worst way of bringing this development into canon. There is an interesting scene near the end between Dante and Gabriel Seth of the Flesh Tearers, where Seth calls the Primaris replacements for the marines, and their lack of the genetic flaws of the Blood Angels means that, while they may wear the colours, they will never be true sons of Sanguinius. Which is an interesting way of looking at things, to be sure.

Dante’s reaction is similarly thought-provoking, as he seems to have a bit of an epiphany whereby his attempts to preserve the Chapter almost cause Baal to be lost to the xenos. It makes the reader question whether space marines are too caught-up in their own past glories, and whether they really are willing to lay down their lives in service of preserving the Imperium. It’s a subtle point, but I really found it intriguing.

Of course, fans have been endlessly discussing the scene between Dante and Seth, and whether there will be a civil war between the old marines and the new. While we’ve been seeing fractures already like this, I don’t think GW is going to go down this route too much, as I can see it causing further problems with the integration of the product line. People already hate them, it seems, so why encourage that divide? Doubtless, it would be interesting, but I don’t foresee anything too much just now.

Anyway, overall this was a good book, and fans of the Blood Angels will of course love it more than anyone!

Space Marines Legends: 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.

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!

There is only war!

Hey everybody!
Well, after the exciting launch of the new edition of Warhammer 40,000 at the weekend, there really could only be one game that would be featured on my game day blog today! This isn’t going to be any kind of exhaustive account of the game, but more some of my initial thoughts after getting the new starter set and having had a flick through the rules. So let’s take a look inside the Dark Imperium!

Warhammer 40,000 Dark Imperium

Warhammer 40,000 8th Edition is amazing. While I haven’t yet had a chance to field any of my armies in the new rules, I can still say that this is the most excited that I have ever been for this game in the last three years, and I’ve been fiddling with army lists and devouring rules, building and painting more miniatures, and generally basking in the glow of the new for a while now. 7th Edition confused and scared me, and given the fact that this is supposed to be a game that you’re supposed to play for fun, that’s just weird. By contrast, 8th Edition seems much more straightforward, while retaining a degree of depth.

I had a total of three games played during 7th, so I’m not about to launch into a comparison of the two editions, but I may still make the odd comment. To begin, though, I think it’ll help to go over the phases of the game and see how the whole thing is structured.

So, once you’ve chosen armies and missions, and have gone through the various stages of setting up your miniatures on the table, the game begins with the Movement phase. Models all have a Movement characteristic, which is now representative of the individual models rather than a stock number for a particular unit type, no matter that unit’s biology. I do like this, as it makes things much easier because everything is right there on the datasheet for that unit, rather than having to remember stuff all the time. (I’ve ranted about this before, though!)

Next comes the Psychic Phase. Something that I usually don’t bother with, having my main army as Necrons and my second army as Dark Eldar, the Psychic Phase is nevertheless something that I really like the look of, and has been one of the reasons I’m so keen to get moving on my Genestealer Cults army! Things have been simplified, so that you now attempt to manifest a psychic power by rolling 2D6, and Deny the Witch just means roll 2D6 and beat the test result. Seems very straightforward, rather than gaining all those warp charge dice, and using some to do things with and all the rest of it.

The Shooting Phase has changed insofar as units can split fire, and the roll to hit is now a target in the unit’s profile, for example 3+ for the Genestealer Primus, rather than having a Ballistics Skill value that is subtracted from 7 in order to find out what you need to roll. BS, indeed. There is still the nonsense about rolling again to see if you wound the target, comparing the strength value of the weapon to the toughness value of the model you’re shooting. It seems unnecessary to have to roll twice to see if a shot was fired at a unit, but at least there’s no longer the need to memorise a massive table of what you need to roll to actually wound somebody – now, there’s a very simple chart that does simplify this element a great deal. My main issue though is that this element is still in the game, to begin with! In real life, if I shoot you in the head, the odds are it will cause a wound, you know? Anyway… There are still Saves to be made, either armour saves or cover saves, and this involves another change, as weapons have modifiers to these saves on them now. I like this, as it makes a lot more sense to me. For example, going back to our Primus example, he has a Save of 5+. However, if you’re shooting at him with a Necron Immortal wielding a gauss blaster, those weapons have -2 Armour Penetration, meaning that the saving throw is made worse by 2. So that Primus needs to roll a 7 or more to avoid that wound, on a single D6. I don’t know if you’d ever use Immortals for that sort of attack, but the Primus does have five wounds, and could be the Genestealer Cults’ warlord, so it could be useful!

After shooting comes the Charge Phase, where you can charge an enemy unit within 12″ by rolling 2D6 and moving, before which the enemy has the chance to fire Overwatch at you. This is an out-of-sequence shooting attack, where all shots hit on 6+ regardless of the previous Ballistics Skill business, to reflect the panic I suppose. Whereas previously this could be detrimental to your charge, as you had to remove casualties from the front, meaning you might not have enough models to get within melee distance, now the controlling player chooses where his casualties come from, so you can remove models from the back if you want.

The Fight Phase has changed insofar as the charging unit will go first, now that Initiative has gone. I’ve talked about this before as well, how I liked Initiative and stuff, so I’m a bit gutted about that. Apart from that, though, it does still feel mechanically like 7th Edition. You charge, you pile in, then you slug it out with hand-to-hand weapons. This is pretty much the same as shooting before, though you use the Weapons Skill value to determine hits. I’m looking forward to seeing how my Necron Lychguard fare this time around, as the warscythes do look to be quite beastly in close combat – hitting on 3+, then wounding most often on 3+ also with a -4 AP and 2 wounds per hit, that looks awesome! As an example, a unit of five Lychguard would make ten attack rolls that hit a Genestealer Cults Chimera on 3+, they’d wound on 4+ because the strength and toughness are both 7, but due to the AP, the Chimera’s save would be 7+. It’s too early in the day to work out probability, but I’m sure it would be glorious!

Interestingly, you don’t get the additional dice for charging – I guess getting to go first in combat is bonus enough!

Finally, the Morale Phase checks to see how many models from a unit died that turn, and adds that number to a D6 roll. If the result is higher than the Leadership value of the unit, you remove models from that unit equal to the number of points higher you rolled. So if you roll a 5 and 4 models were slain from a unit of Neophyte Hybrids, their Leadership is 7 so you remove two more models from that unit.

These are the core rules of the game now, so a lot of it has indeed been simplified. However, there is a strong element of Age of Sigmar in this game insofar as each datasheet for each unit contains unit-specific rules. While the core rules are therefore just 8 pages long, there are tons more rules in the place of the universal special rules that took up a chunk of the core rulebook previously. Sure, things like the unit types rules have been drastically simplified, and these changes are definitely for the better, as it makes it so much more straightforward to seeing just how a unit works. I’ve rambled about my difficulties in trying to find the rules for Triarch Praetorians previously, needing two different books and about four separate pages within those books just to figure out how the models work. None of that exists now, really. If you know the 8 pages of rules, all you need in front of you is your own datasheet for that unit, and away you go.

(Of course, there are army-wide rules that still exist, such as the Reanimation Protocols rule for Necrons, which aren’t detailed on each and every datasheet. So you may still have a little flicking around to start with.)

I love the fact that the datasheets have everything you need to know, even down to the most common weapon loadout profiles. True, I’d have preferred to have seen every weapon on there for even greater ease, but I imagine some units might get quickly over-loaded. But these things are few and far between. In the main, if you want to know what a weapon on your model does, the rules are there on the same page as that model.

The three ways to play thing, ported pretty much directly from Age of Sigmar, is also really cool as it allows the game to be more things to more people. If you like picking out an awesome element from the narrative and re-creating that, you can do that. If you want to have an equal points-level, you can do that as well. Points have been taken one step further, by having an overall “power” level for a unit, based on roughly 25-3o power for every 500 points. While initially it seemed that power levels were being decried as worthless, over the launch weekend it seems that pretty much everyone at my local stores were talking in terms of power rather than points. It seems to be a great way to quickly build a list and start playing, rather than spending an evening working out the exact cost of your army. Of course, if that’s your thing, then you can still do that.

What’s even more interesting to me is the fact that there are 8 pages of core rules, the majority of this blog so far having gone over them, but there’s an additional Appendix that adds in a bunch more rules that you can add in to however you choose to play, meaning you really can make 8th Edition as complicated as you like.

I think the rules overall are a great way to invest a lot of narrative into the game, and I’m really looking forward to getting some games in soon!

As always with a new edition, we also get a new Starter Set for the game, which has previously come with all of the dice and templates that you need, in addition to a rulebook and lots of fantastic miniatures. Well, this edition doesn’t use templates or special dice, but we do get the full hardback rulebook, along with some truly spectacular miniatures in the new Dark Imperium box!

Warhammer 40,000 Dark Imperium

The factions included here are the Primaris Space Marines, and the Death Guard. So it’s a bit similar to the last box, Dark Vengeance, which featured loyalist vs Chaos space marines, but the miniatures here are really quite spectacular. I think the painting video where Duncan paints the Lord of Contagion really shows how incredible these new guys are!

Of course, people are a bit twitchy about the new Primaris marines spelling the end of the current Space Marine line, but I’ve got to be honest, I think these guys look amazing. I’d been back and forth over whether I liked them, before finally settling on a yes a day or two before the release. Having now had the opportunity to actually build and paint some, I think this is what Space Marines should have always been. The Mk VII armoured chaps will always hold a special place for me, and I plan to continue building and painting them for my Novamarines, but I think the Primaris are certainly a worthy addition to the universe, and I can’t wait to see what we get in the multipart kits that will inevitably follow later in the summer…

You get the full hardback core rules, which alone cost £35 and accounts for most of the weight of this thing, as well as short “codexes” for each of the factions that have some paint schemes, some fluff, and the datasheets (they even include the points values for them, if that’s something that interests you!) And of course, you get 53 beautiful (if disgusting, in the case of the Nurgle stuff) miniatures. £95 seems like a lot of money, don’t get me wrong, but it also feels about right for what you get. Burning of Prospero came with 47 miniatures, and a separate game, for the same price. So it does seem to be fairly standard – and of course, if you manage to get it for less, then go for it!

With three ways to play the game, straightforward rules for the game, and an increasingly phenomenal miniatures catalogue with which to populate the game, Warhammer 40k has never seemed more exciting! Locally, 8th Edition seems to have garnered a lot of interest among the “never playing 40k” crowd, and while I’ve long been interested in the game, I’ve never been more keen to finally get some regular games in!

All about the Primaris!

Hey everybody!
While I realise I’m a bit late to the party on this, I thought I’d finally get round to putting some of my thoughts down on the new space marines coming in the new box set for Warhammer 40k 8th Edition. We’ve had the images doing the rounds for a number of weeks now, of course, with a bit of the lore coming out that talks about their backstory in the new edition. Understandably, people seem to be losing it over all of this, with the prevailing thought being that these kits will be replacing the current range of marines at some later date, although currently GW are denying it.

Primaris Space Marines

I’ve been going back and forth over whether I actually like the look of these chaps. When they first landed, I think I got caught up in the thrill of the new, but that quickly seemed to wane and I felt a bit sad to see the loss of the older models, which I actually really like! I don’t really have a huge number of marines finished of course, but even so!

When the Deathwatch models came out last year, the new MkVIII armour was somewhat larger than we’d previously seen, and I quickly came to love these guys. I’ve since been feeling the same about these MkX armoured-guys as well.

So I’ve pre-ordered the new Dark Imperium box, which will include fifteen of the regular marines, from the look of it, along with some HQs and those three flying guys. It looks like the perfect start to a Primaris army, and as we’re getting closer to the release weekend, I’m finding myself getting quite excited about trying something new. Which brings me on to the lore.

Belisarius Cawl

Primaris Marines were the brainchild of Roboute Guilliman and the Tech Priest Belisarius Cawl, both of whom have recently had models as part of the Gathering Storm series. I’ve still not yet invested in these minis, but I’ve been considering making the leap soon enough as I like the idea in particular of having my Primaris Marines being led by Guilliman!

During the height of the Heresy, Guilliman, seeing the flaws of his brothers in falling to Chaos, asked Cawl if he could work on improving the work of the Emperor and create a new breed of marine. Cawl returned to Mars to work on this, and Fulgrim attacked Guilliman, the Ultramarine Primarch being kept in stasis at the point of death for the next 10,000 years. During the Gathering Storm, Cawl finally emerged into the galaxy again and, with the help of the Eldar technology, ‘saved’ Guilliman by interring him in the Armour of Fate. And thus, Guilliman saw the state of the Imperium and finally unleashed his centuries-old plan to save his father’s work from the depredations of Chaos: the Ultima Founding!

A lot of folks have been decrying the fact that Belisarius Cawl was able to improve on the Emperor’s design of the space marines. Why? I have no idea. It took the Emperor a number of years, and apparently a pact with Chaos, to gain the gene technology to create the Primarchs, after which he created the Adeptus Custodes and, finally, the mass-produced space marines. It then took Belisarius Cawl, who is a pretty important Tech Priest remember, ten thousand years to make some small improvements upon the mass-produced – some may even say, the lesser – marines.  It’s not like Cawl has made more Primarchs, after all.

The new marines have been deployed across the Imperium in new Chapters as well as bolstering the dwindling ranks of the other Loyalists. Of course, this sounds like more of a marketing ploy than anything else, giving existing marine players the perfect reason to add some of these to their existing army, or to start a new collection. But within the lore, the whole thing makes perfect sense!

I’ve been starting on a Novamarines army for quite some time now, of course, having already painted some Ultramarines and White Scars in my time (to say nothing of the ongoing Deathwing army!) I was vaguely thinking about doing something hilarious with either orange or pink (or both), but have since been thinking about waiting, and giving it some more thought. At any rate, I’m getting really quite excited about these new marines – just not those goofy-looking flying guys…

It’s here! (Almost…)

Pre-orders for the new edition of Warhammer 40k went up today, and my facebook feed has been showing nothing but Warhammer goodness all day! It’s been quite glorious!

Personally, I went for the new starter box, Dark Imperium, but have otherwise played it safe as I recently bought a house, so funds might be tight for a while! I couldn’t resist the goodness, however – the box just seems crammed full of value!

I feel like I’ve been swinging wildly in my opinion lately of the new Primaris marines, but I’m currently back to wanting to paint up a small force of them. I think this will be more of a long-term project, and not something that I want to leap into quite so quickly, as I have plenty of stuff still on the tabletop waiting for its turn! The assault marines look ridiculous, however, and I’m not planning to keep those guys. My first thought on seeing them was actually, “I guess that’s how they’ll re-do the Seraphim Squad for Sisters”. I just think they look too goofy for me. But the other guys should be alright to build. I’ve particularly come around on the captain in the new Gravis armour. That should be fun.

They do all look chunky, of course, and the new Redemptor Dreadnought is definitely guilty of that. However, I kinda like the look, all the same. The Kastellan Robots always held a certain appeal to me, and I think it’s possible to see some of that design in here. Which I suppose kinda makes sense, given the fluff and all. I’m a huge fan of dreadnoughts in general, and I do like the look of these big guys. I likely won’t be doing them as Ultramarines, but rather a small force of one of the new Chapters that have been founded in the wake of the Fall of Cadia.

The new Repulsor made me chuckle at first. I just thought it was a new kind of tank for the new marines, then noticed the base and burst out laughing – tanks have bases now! Then I took notice of the design and realised it was a speeder-tank, and had to have a further chuckle at the amount of whining going on that it was a flying land raider, or whatever. I’m a huge admirer of the Land Speeder Vengeance for the Dark Angels, so I don’t see anything wrong with this – excepting perhaps the short flying stand that supports it. Hopefully there will be a way to fix that.

The Death Guard models look suitably disgusting, but I’m not a fan generally of Nurgle stuff, so will most probably be looking to off-load these soon enough. I suspect, of course, that ebay will soon be flooded with both halves of the box, so I may wait a while.

I’ve also got plans to pick up at least three of the new Indexes – both Imperium ones, and the Xenos I book – and the Imperial Armour Xenos book when that comes out later in the month. However, I’m also wondering just whether I’ll need those Imperium books, as it’s a fairly safe bet that a Space Marine Codex will be fairly quick out of the gate, whether it still has the Codex appellation or not.

Have you guys seen the news of a Chapter Approved book coming later in the year, as well? It seems like this is the General’s Handbook analogue that we’ve been expecting, and could potentially fix any issues that have crept into the game since release. It’s also going to be a yearly thing, which sounds like an excellent way to provide some fantastic updates in terms of campaigns or new model rules – generally, it could be awesome, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for Warhammer 40k than I am right now!

I’m hoping that I can get back to my local GW in the coming days and see if I can get a demo in for the game. I’m really excited about getting in at the ground level on this edition!!

Hobby Progress 2017!

Hey everybody!
Hobby Progress is back! That’s right – after last year’s weekly update blogs, I’ve decided to go for a monthly update throughout 2017, as I had been feeling a bit pressured at times to get something done, and a lot of things were rushed as a result. I still think I managed to turn out some pretty nice miniatures, compared with my previous standards, but I really want to level up my painting and try to really improve my skills this year, so I thought I’d go for the monthly check-ins rather than the more relentless stuff.

That all said, January has been a tough month for getting anywhere with painting models! I’ve had several different kits on the tabletop that I’ve really struggled to get very far with, and I do believe it has something to do with the lack of any real incentive to get them progressed. But for now, I want to stick to the monthly thing. Without any further ado, though, let’s take a look at what I’ve been up to!

First of all, I’ve well and truly started on my Dark Eldar. I bought the Start Collecting box and a Venom on New Year’s Eve, and after giving the Codex a once-over, added a box of Wyches to the roster in order to start out by making a kill-team. Over the course of the long New Year weekend, I actually built everything up, but have been struggling to get the models painted ever since! To start with, I chose the Kabal of the Obsidian Rose for my colour scheme, a wonderful rich brown colour. Brown is something that I’ve had no recourse to paint before, of course, so I thought it’d be a nice way to increase the breadth of my painting.

The scheme I’ve used has a basecoat of Rhinox Hide, followed by a very light drybrush of Doombull Brown. I then lightly drybrush Skrag Brown and Squig Orange, increasingly focused onto the raised details of the armour, before a very thin wash of Agrax Earthshade across the whole lot. You can see in the above photo that it has worked better on some than others, but I think that’s more due to the fact I’ve been testing it with my actual miniatures – never a bright idea, I know! The splinter rifles, where they’ve been painted, have just got Leadbelcher shaded with Nuln Oil, with those weird bulbous bits painted Balthasar Gold. It’s very straightforward, which I want it to be for the line troops, but I think it has come out really well, by and large!

For the Wych Cult, I’ve gone for something that is different, yet still tied into the general scheme of things. Where they have kabalite armour, such as the left knee and arm, I’ve done the same scheme as the warriors. The wychsuit, however, is just Khorne Red shaded with Agrax Earthshade, then lighly drybrushed with Wazdakka Red.

For the longest time, I was trying to figure out what to do with the skin, as I wanted to try for that pale skin tone, but when I tried it, it just didn’t work out for me. I used Celestra Grey, washed with Druchii Violet, and then layered with Pallid Wych Flesh on the Wyches (urgh!) and Ulthuan Grey on the warriors (yikes!) It just wasn’t happening for me, and I couldn’t work out a way forward. Then, I was pointed in the direction of The War Gamer on youtube, specifically his Captain Artemis tutorial, and that put me in mind of painting the skin with the wash last. After talking about it at my local GW on Friday, I went back in with Kislev Flesh and Reikland Fleshshade, and it really came out looking nice, I think! I’ve subsequently painted the rest of the Wyches that I had hanging about with Celestra Grey/Kislev Flesh/Reikland Fleshshade, and I think they look okay. I do think part of my reticence comes from the fact that the hair is still making the models look a bit weird, so that’s my next port of call, and hopefully I’ll feel a lot better about them once that has been done.

The Venom has so far only been painted with Rhinox Hide. I wanted to get some kind of gradient going along it, but I’m kinda intimidated at the large surface area, so I think I’m going to practice my skills there a bit first…

Hobby Progress January

Moving away from xenos now, the “Strokes of Heresy” painting competition continues at my local Games Workshop store, with the January challenge being an elite choice. Many people have gone for cataphractii terminators or contemptor dreadnoughts, but I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to get anything major done, what with the Dark Eldar going on, so had bought the apothecary there specifically for the event. Even that one model has taken it out of me this month, though! I’ve eventually managed to get him finished with my usual Alpha Legion scheme, painting all of those vials and canisters all over him with a variety of washes. We’re in pre-Codex Astartes times, of course, so there’s no actual requirement for a white scheme – hence the black shoulder pad, I suppose! The narthecium has been painted with Stormvermin Fur and shaded with Nuln Oil, as per the usual scheme for bolter cases, to help tie him in with the rest of the army. I don’t yet know what the challenge is going to be for February, but I’m hoping that I can get the five terminators I’ve had built for over a year painted, if nothing else!!

Hobby Progress January

Finally, let me share with you a true labour of love: the conclusion of phase one of my Novamarines army build! I started to build a kill-team a little over two months ago, now, and managed to get the assault squad and the veteran sergeant of the tactical squad painted up back in December. The four remaining tactical marines, however, have been waiting around patiently until the last week or so, when I’ve really scrabbled around to get them finished (however, I’ve since noticed that the purity seal on the rightmost marine’s leg hasn’t been painted – gah!)

I’ve also added the Chapter Master to the ranks. He was a miniature that I’ve really enjoyed kitbashing together – the legs are from the Sternguard kit, as is the power fist and backpack; the body is from the Commander kit that I had as part of the Demi Company box set I’ve had hanging about for a while now; the sword is from the Vanguard Veterans, and I’m honestly not sure where the head is from! Possibly the Sternguard kit as well. That kit is actually a treasure-trove for kit-bashing fancy marines like this, I have to say!

While I’m pleased to have them now finished, I do feel unfortunately that the Chapter Master is a little beyond the realms of my skills to complete to a properly high standard. I’d have liked him to look a little better, but I think for now, he’s as good as I can absolutely get him!

I do still have a dreadnought that is in the throes of almost being completed, and I’m in the process of rescuing the marines from my initial attempt at painting Novamarines from last April, so I’ll hopefully be able to add them to the force soon enough (though unfortunately, they won’t have the fancy shoulder pads). I want to try to get these guys built up into a fighting force soon enough, but obviously it’s not the sort of scheme that lends itself to fast painting!

Hobby Progress January

So that’s been my progress this month! Check back in with me next month to see how far I get with the Dark Eldar, and whether I manage to complete any other miniatures… I’m aiming to paint one unit per month, so we’ll see how well I can manage that!