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!

Hobby Progress, week 52

Well folks, here we are, week 52! It’s been one hell of a year when I look back, with a lot more models painted than I’d thought. But I’ll get into all of that in a little while. First of all, let’s take a look at the week!

First off, I’ve finished the Necron Wraiths that I’d built up about eighteen months ago for a Canoptek Harvest. You can see the original instagram post where I’d built up all the pieces here. I’ve actually built up a fourth at some indeterminate time – I’d bought some wraith bits to make a Cryptek with, and after building the three from the kit I realised I had enough bits to build more! I was convinced I could actually get three more, but alas, I don’t know what I’ve done with those bits anymore… At any rate, these chaps are now finished, which I’m very pleased about, though at times I did feel like I was rushing the blighters, so it’s not what I would call my finest work… That said, I think they do blend in perfectly with the Tomb Stalker that I’d done way back in 2014, so if nothing else, I’m pleased with that!

I’ve also finished up the small batch of Deathwatch marines that I’d started work on a few weeks ago. These chaps were a lot of fun to paint, and I’m really pleased to get them finished. The Iron Warrior isn’t one of my all-time favourite marines, so I was painting him along with some other bits like the Deathwing terminator just to get him done, really. The two vanguard veterans were more enjoyable to do, a Raven Guard and a Blood Angel, even though I had no idea what to do with their shields, and have settled for just painting the imperialis for now. I love dreadnoughts, even if I’m not the quickest at painting them, so was particularly pleased to get this one finished.

I’m not done with the Deathwatch by any means – aside from all of the models that I still have built up and waiting for me to get on with them, it’s a bit of an ambition for me in 2017 to get every possible weapon combination for the veterans built up, and then rather than having them in squads of five or whatever, I can basically assemble a team each time I want to use them. As part of this, then, I think I might also build up another Venerable Dreadnought, as I’ve seen some other ideas online for building them, and fancy giving those a try!

2017 is already starting to excite me!

I’ve also been building stuff – because, of course I have! I want to start with this Leman Russ tank for my Genestealer Cult, because the thing is bloody hilarious! While I do enjoy the tanks of the space marines, I do feel that these Imperial Guard tanks look amazing and, well, tank-y. The Wyvern was a lot of fun to put together, but this Leman Russ was almost better, going together pretty much like a dream! I’d decided to start building it up mainly because I like these things, but I actually have no idea when I’ll be able to get round to painting the thing, as I seem to have so many other projects on the go right now… I think I’ve settled on a colour scheme, which I’ve written down and stuff, so I suppose I just need to get the time! There’ll be more on this shortly, anyway.

I’ve also kit-bashed Armillus Dynat together. Well, I actually clipped the bits off a long while ago, but have only this week gotten round to actually building him. I love the fact that he can wield two weapons like this, and while my original plan for having him with the hammer lowered and the sword raised to strike hasn’t worked out, I still like the fact that he looks somewhat of a centrepiece. The guy has been built out of 5 or 6 different kits, and was a bit of a labour of love in that respect, but I’m now looking forward to getting some paint on him!

The only other thing I’ve done this week is build up the Sisters of Silence from the Burning of Prospero box. I’d thought I’d have done more with these by now, as they were the part of this box set that I was looking forward to the most but, I have to say, I’ve been feeling particularly uninspired by this box. The Sisters look good, don’t get me wrong, and while I’m as excited as anyone for the Custodes, I do feel a little bit overwhelmed by those sculpts, as they look too ornate, somehow. Maybe I’ll think differently once I’ve gotten them built and whatnot. However, the MkIII armoured marines are just not what I would call my favourites, and I bought the box thinking I’d paint it up as the boardgame but, on reflection, I think it’d be better if I just sold these marines and reinvested the cash in something I actually want! So they’re up on ebay, along with the characters. I had briefly entertained the idea of using Ahriman for something else, but don’t think that will come to pass.

So, not the most productive of weeks, though it has been exciting all the same! Now it’s time for the retrospective you’ve all been waiting for!

hobby progress retrospective

So it’s time for the retrospective!

2016 has been a great year for progress with miniatures. Over the course of the year, I feel that I’ve made some real progress with my painting, specifically with how I paint the Deathwatch chaps, and my determination to conquer the fear of painting faces! Of course, I’m still not going to win any awards, but I think I’ve come a long way, and want to see what I can do to build on that over the next twelve months!

My day job is in statistics, so inevitably, I’m going to look at some stats for this year’s progress. According to my figures, I’ve bought 89 kits this year, though I think stuff like Death Masque has been counted as four distinct Deathwatch kits because some of them I’ve painted, and some of them I haven’t. I’ve managed to build 58 kits, though some of these I’ve had from previous years – only 35 of the newly-bought kits of 2016 have been built. I’ve also completely painted 28 kits, which is a lot more than I had expected, but when you see it in relation to the number of kits I’ve bought, it’s kinda sad. I’ve also part-painted a further 22 kits, which I suppose does help to mitigate circumstances a little!

I think most of my money in 2016 went on Tomb Kings stuff, though that is a little artificial due to the fact that the line was discontinued so I bought as much as I could afford in one hit. The launch of the Deathwatch army in the summer was probably the single most exciting event for me; as much as I love the Genestealer Cults, I think my enthusiasm for the Deathwatch is shown by the fact that I’ve finished quite a few of those models already, while the Cult is only part-built and part-primed.

hobby progress retrospective

The biggest success I’ve had this year has most assuredly been the Alpha Legion, however. While I was convinced I was going to collect an Ultramarines army, the XX Legion has infiltrated its way into my heart and, bolstered by the painting campaign at my local GW store towards the end of the year, I’ve managed to completely paint up more models for this army than any other single faction all year! I think the final count is 48, including the contemptor dreadnought and the rhino. Moving ahead into 2017, I’ve already got a further 12 models waiting for paint – another tactical squad, an apothecary and a drop pod.

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Space Marines remain some of the most numerous models that I’ve continued to paint in 2016, as I’ve done smaller numbers of Ultramarines, Novamarines, White Scars and Deathwing. In the middle of all of this, I’ve also managed to churn out some more Stormcast Eternals, some more Necrons, a couple of Orruks and the start of my Tomb Kings!

hobby progress retrospective

There are still an awful lot of partially painted miniatures hanging around, of course, and I hope that I can get the majority of these finished off in the coming months, as well as those bits and pieces that have been built but are still hanging around! In addition to all of those numbers I’ve been spouting off about earlier, there are still plenty of miniatures that I’ve built in 2015 and are as yet incomplete, including quite a few Necron things! So I do hope I can do things with those, also.

So!

It’s been a fun year, and has been really quite productive, but I think it’s time to look ahead to 2017 now, and set out some objectives for the year.

First of all, let’s talk about Necrons. This was my first army for 40k, of course, and is still the one closest to my heart. In building up my force, I’ve always made a conscious effort to match the look of those early models, which hasn’t always been great because I do think that I’ve progressed as a painter since those days. As such, over the course of this year I’ve tried to up my game with some of them, but I haven’t really decided what I want to do with the older models. Keep them as mementos? Strip them and re-paint them? I think I want to keep at least some of them as they’re a part of my painting career and stuff, but I have a lot of them that I want to just start again with, particularly the Triarch Praetorians. I’ve recently built up ten Praetorians to run a Judicator Battalion, but I think I might strip the five I’d built years ago and re-paint them to throw in there as well. There are a few other models I think I’ll do this with, also, including some of the Lychguard. Anyway, what I’m saying is, I want to make my Necrons look a bit better than they appear currently, as they’re still the force I feel most comfortable with playing right now, but it isn’t that great when you pull out some models that look ‘meh’ at best.

2017 will therefore feature something of a Necron rebirth!

I’m going to continue with my Deathwatch, as discussed earlier, and the Novamarines will also be on my list as the year progresses. I’m also going to continue building up my Alpha Legion, in part because the campaign at my local store is still ongoing! 2017 is the 30th anniversary year for Warhammer 40k, so even though I have no idea how it would happen, I’m still expecting to see some new Space Marine stuff released throughout the year. Given that Space Marines have become such a thing for me, I’m sure I’ll end up investing in any such thing, but I would like to try and keep new ventures to a minimum where I can! The fact I’ve managed to hold back on the Thousand Sons so well has really surprised me!

2017 will hopefully be the year of Chaos Daemons for me, specifically Slaaneshi daemons! I currently have a box of Daemonettes and a Seeker Chariot in the throes of being finished, so I’m looking forward to not only getting them done, but also moving forward with adding other stuff to the army. I’ve been trying to draw up a 2000 point list, but the amount of models needed for that is kinda scaring me! I want to keep it as Slaaneshi as I possibly can, though there will be some Slaves to Darkness involved because I want the Warshrine as a centrepiece! I have some minis already, and have ordered some more, so at some point very soon, expect to see these making an appearance!

hobby progress retrospective

So, at the top of the year, I’m planning to rejuvenate my Necrons; continue with the Deathwatch, Novamarines and Alpha Legion, and to get started building up a Slaanesh Daemons army. Undoubtedly Genestealer Cults and other stuff will also be featuring as I go along, and for the rest of it, well, I guess we’ll see what GW offers!

If you’ve been reading these hobby progress blogs throughout the year, thank you so much for being along for the ride! I hope they’ve been entertaining, and maybe even motivational – they certainly have been for me! I’m still not sure if I’m going to be doing them every single week, as I have been thinking about moving to monthly, but that seems somehow too long to wait. I guess we’ll have to wait and see!

Happy New Year!

Who knew plastic could be so exciting! #2016bestnine

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Hobby Progress, week 51

It’s the penultimate week of my hobby progress blogs, and for those of you who are into this stuff, Merry Christmas! Get yourself another mince pie, and let’s take a look at what I’ve been up to this week!

It’s actually been another fairly slow week, as I’ve finished off a couple of the things I talked about in last week’s update, but very little else.

First of all, let’s look at this, my first ever attempt at proper freehand stuff. For a first attempt, I think it looks pretty great actually, but for what I was trying to achieve, it does leave quite a bit to be desired. The marines themselves look nice, though – I’m actually really pleased with how the Centurion has turned out, and the Command Squad guys look fine and stuff. Standard Alpha Legion scheme at this point, really, and there’s not a lot else I can say about them!

My attempt at OSL for the Corvus-Alpha legionaries has turned out pretty okay, again for my first serious attempt at doing it. I’d built up the blue on the armour with Temple Guard Blue, which is brighter than the usual Teclis Blue that I highlight it with anyway, but still hadn’t provided enough of an effect to be really noticeable, unfortunately. I then went in with Baharroth Blue, going lightly over the plasma coils and then building it up with a vaguely drybrush/stipple effect to create the diffuse glow, and while I do think it looks decent enough, I still think the fact that I’m basically doing a blue glow on blue armour leaves the effect somewhat lacking. But it’s serviceable, and I suppose that’s the main thing!

Bam! Another tactical support squad finished! #AlphaLegion #HorusHeresy #Warhammer40k #SpaceMarines

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Finally, I’ve got a second Tactical Support Squad finished! These guys are equipped with flamers, so it’s the unupgraded version of the unit, and again, they’re just the standard Alpha Legionaries. Since reading about the concept of the tactical support squad, I’ve always enjoyed the idea of having these guys launched at the battlefield in a drop pod and just dousing the whole place in flame, covering a retreat or something super dramatic-like, so I’m glad to have them in the army, even if I never end up doing anything of that sort!

All together, it was a productive week for the Alpha Legion, as yesterday I built up a second Tactical Squad! And an apothecary…

I’d set myself a bit of a challenge for Christmas Eve, to get as far as I could with these chaps, and in the event I was just impressed that I’d managed to build them all. Once these have been painted, that will mean I have the minimum force required to play some 30k, so I hope that I can start getting some games in in the new year!

The apothecary is for the January painting challenge at my local GW store, where we need to paint an elite unit. I’m kinda taking the easy route, as I believe most people are using the plastics from the Calth and/or Prospero sets, so terminators, while I’m going for the single apothecary. I do now also have the necessary weapon options to start looking into building some Lernaean Terminators, but I’m hoping to work on some other stuff as we move into 2017, so I want to go easy on it!

Along with finishing off some of the Necron things I’ve had hanging about for a long time, I’ve decided to make my dream of a Slaaneshi daemon force a reality, and so want to get moving with the Daemonettes and Seeker Chariot that have both been built up since the summer, and then start adding things like Hellstriders and Daemon Princes to the roster, and eventually some bigger stuff like the Warshrine! Looking forward to seeing where that goes, anyway! Age of Sigmar is still as big as it ever has been at my local store, and I get the vague impression that the uncertainty around 40k’s future as we look at 8th edition has been causing a few 40k regulars to drift into AoS – the chap I played a few weeks ago has started a zombie force, for instance, and there are skaven rumblings from die-hard Eldar players. So I think it’ll be good to have a force for each system – while I do have Stormcast Eternals coming out of my ears, Slaanesh is something that I’ve wanted to build for a long time…

Finally, I built up five Tree-Revenants. I actually have no idea what I’m going to do with them now as, while I do have some dryads and whatnot, I don’t really need yet more miniatures to paint at the moment!!

Anyway, there’s just one week left before the end of the year and the culmination of my hobby progress blogs for 2016. Fortunately I do have the week off work, so I hope to get some things finished – stay tuned for that, at least!! And whatever you’ve been up to today, I hope it’s been a wonderful time!

We are Alpharius!

Hey everybody!
As you might well know, if you’ve been following my Painting Progress blogs I’ve been writing every Sunday this year, I’ve been slowly building up an Alpha Legion force, primarily to play 30k at some not-too-distant point. I’m a hugely fluffy gamer – by which I mean, I’m more interested in the theme of the game than whether I’m playing at all tactically – and so reading about the Legion has been a big part of this process. Of all the Space Marine Legions, the Alpha Legion is by far the most secretive, and while little is really known about them, there is a fair bit of conjecture, so I thought I’d add a little of my own thoughts to that in today’s blog!

Alpha Legion

The Alpha Legion was the twentieth and last of the Space Marine Legions created by the Emperor of Mankind during the First Founding. Unlike the majority of their brother legions, the Alpha Legion was created somewhat apart from the others, with a very specific purpose in mind. This purpose appears to have been one of secrecy and intrigue, assassins fighting in the shadows and doing the jobs that otherwise could not be performed openly.

Before they were reunited with their Primarch, there are records of a secretive Legion carrying out assassinations and other shady activities that were off-the-record, sometimes these operations took place alongside other legions, who had not been made aware of the Legion’s presence on the field.

Eventually, they were reunited with their Primarch, Alpharius. Or, that should be, their twin Primarchs, Alpharius and Omegon. Something that is truly unique to the Legion, nobody is sure if this was by accident or design that there are two of them – though, given the predilection for secrecy and misdirection, I would guess that it was more the latter.

Praetorian of Dorn

As a Primarch, Alpharius was the last to be found by the Emperor, hence the Legion was designated the XXth. Alpharius was a coolly calculating, brilliant tactician every bit the equal to Roboute Guilliman, and in fact the two legions formed something of a rivalry during the Heresy. Alpharius had few friends among his brother Primarchs, notably only Horus (though the Legion did campaign alongside the Dark Angels and the Iron Hands).

Alpharius’ wargear is particularly exotic, including the double-headed spear known as the sarrisanata, which is possibly of xenos design. I’m thinking about kit-bashing an Alpharius together, as a Stormcast Eternal paladin glaive might do the trick with this one, but I guess we’ll have to see. I kinda want to make him really stand out from the army…

Alpharius was said to be able to walk among his legion with some degree of anonymity, which must mean he was short for a Primarch. I mean, space marines are generally pretty huge, so he’s still definitely taller than the average human, but not as imposing as his brothers. Sources also talk about many other marines from the legion undergoing cosmetic surgery to further resemble Alpharius, deepening the level of subterfuge and intrigue. It was also common for any member of the Alpha Legion to call himself Alpharius when dealing with outsiders.

While a lot of folk online still say all of the Primarchs were super-human beings, I think the fact that his own legionaries could pass as his double must mean that Alpharius (and, by extension, Omegon) was of average space marine height, right? I mean, what’s the point in the rank and file undergoing cosmetic enhancement to further resemble him if he’s still two feet too short to pass as the Primarch?

Hobby Progress 43

That’s the principle I went with when I built my Omegon conversion a couple of weeks ago. The one concession I made to the idea that the Primarchs are stand-out characters was in using a head from the regular 40k range, which are slightly bigger/more rounded than those in the Betrayal at Calth marines. Otherwise, this guy is just one of the rank and file, and you’d never know who you were dealing with until it’s too late!

Hobby Progress 43

Omegon is the leader of the Effrit Stealth Squad, so I’ve paired him with the Reconnaissance Squad. In the game, Omegon doesn’t actually have any rules (yet), but the assassin Exodus does, and given the fact that he can only join Recon Squads, I thought it made perfect sense to basically use the Exodus rules for him.

In the lore, Exodus is thought to possibly be more a title than an actual person, with several deployments being made at the same time on some occasions. His skill as an assassin is legendary, rivaling even the members of the Officio Assassinorum.

Horus Heresy Legion

The Legion relies on stealth and subterfuge, and makes use of a lot of non-astartes personnel. This is seen quite prominently in the novel Legion by Dan Abnett, which is a remarkable novel in the Horus Heresy series for the fact that the space marines have such a small role – at least, it seems that way at first! It’s true that the genhanced space marines would find it difficult to move around in stealth even out of their power armour, but regular guys from the Imperial Army would be much better-placed for the most part. I’m not entirely sure how I’d add some regular troops to my army, but I’m bearing the thought in mind for the time being…

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Something I couldn’t quite get my head around at first – but now really like about them – is the unit organization. Space Marine Legions were usually formed into some kind of fighting companies of varying sizes, such as the Fellowships of the Thousand Sons. Not so the Alpha Legion, however, which was organized into whatever fighting unit was required for the mission at hand. In painting up my Ultramarines, I’m trying to take some pride in the fact I will have the proper unit and squad markings, colours and all the rest of it – like a real military unit, essentially. With these chaps, though – I have no idea! But there is a bit of freedom to being able to use the miniatures however I feel, and I just know when it comes to fielding them in battle this will be right up my street. I never like to use the exact same combination twice, so a flexible fighting force really appeals to me like that.

I do love these guys, and I’ve really enjoyed building up my force over the last few months! All in all, I feel like I’m going to be in for some exciting times once I get into this Heresy game play!