Scars

Hey everybody,
It’s been a while! I’ve been working my way slowly through the twenty-eighth novel in the Horus Heresy series, Scars. Written by Chris Wraight, one of my favourite Warhammer novelists, it’s actually a really good read, albeit a bit of an odd one. Originally serialised online back in 2013, the story does have some elements that mark it out as such, such as the occasional recaps.

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The novel, unsurprisingly, features the White Scars legion front and centre (I think the only time we’ve seen them previously was the sixth novel, Descent of Angels). The legion is a bit of an anomaly, as they are still almost always deployed as a single unit, rather than in multiple warbands to multiple fronts. The legion has, up to this point, been deployed on Chondax. We get a lot of background on them, following in particular two initiates and their careers in the legion – one a Chogorian called Shiban, and a Terran called Torghun who was originally intended to join the Luna Wolves. We also follow the primarch himself, Jaghatai Khan, as the pacing is quite broad during the beginning. The system has been cut off with Warp storms, however, leaving the Khan awaiting orders, and his legion subsequently restless.

In contrast, we also see the Space Wolves dealing with the aftermath of the battle on Prospero. While they are licking their own wounds, they are set upon by the Alpha Legion, some of whom board the Wolves’ ships and, when confronted, state that they are doing the Emperor’s work.

When the White Scars emerge from the storms, they receive multiple conflicting orders, including from Rogal Dorn asking for them to join him on Terra for the defense. The Khan, going against all of the orders that he has received, decides to go to Prospero to see for sure if Magnus has been defeated, and in an effort to learn the truth of what is happening in the galaxy. The planet has been utterly devastated, and teleporting down to the surface with his keshig guard, the Khan is beset by psychic ghosts and separated from his bodyguard. He discovers a psychic projection of Magnus however, who confirms that the Space Wolves attacked his legion, although he understands now the reasons for his censure.

While in orbit, it emerges that there are several warrior lodges within the legion, however, and as the novel goes on, it transpires that these lodges are in communication with the Sons of Horus, and believe that their true purpose is to join them in their rebellion. One of the lord commanders of the legion, Hasik, effectively leads a coup on the ships, awaiting the arrival of the Sons of Horus to join them. However, the legion who arrives to support the coup is the Death Guard, with Mortarion joining Jaghatai on the surface in an attempt to convince him to join Horus’ cause.

Needless to say, Jaghatai is not to be swayed, and things are finally made clear as regards what is happening in the universe when Targutai Yesughei, the legion’s chief librarian, arrives with news that the Warmaster has indeed gone over to Chaos, having himself come across some survivors from Isstvan III in the course of his travels across the galaxy.

Horus Heresy Scars

This is actually a really great book, one that I enjoyed a lot. The atmosphere of uncertainty in the galaxy at this time is captured really well, in particular with the use of the Alpha Legion launching their attacks on both the Space Wolves and the White Scars. The inclusion of the Alpha Legion, and their misdirection, was quite a masterstroke really, as their presence is often guaranteed to add to the air of confusion.

There is a fantastic battle sequence when the White Scars punch through the attack of the Alpha Legion – we get to see that they are really a unique legion for their use of speed. They use a lot of pseudo-Mongolian throughout the book, which I was surprised didn’t interfere too much with the telling of the story as things went along. Often with such things, I find them hard-going, but there was obviously just the right amount used that meant it wasn’t hard to keep track!

The book is a little odd in that the story seems to just forget about the Space Wolves around halfway through. Of course, I’m not a Space Wolves fan at all, so I’m not really missing that side of things, but it did feel a bit strange how they were just left out. Anyway! It was really interesting to see the events of the burning of Prospero revisited, too, and to see what has happened to the planet since the attack. Of course, it was a little bit contrived how one Thousand Sons legionary had managed to survive and led the keshig guard to safety, etc, but I suppose the narrative needed something!

Something that I keep coming back to, though, is just how effective the atmosphere of the unknown is here. The Khan really doesn’t know who to trust, and so reverts to his old friend Magnus, with whom he had pushed so strongly for the use of the librarius within the legions. There is a moment of great irony when Yesughei remarks how the Edict of Nikea has effectively hamstrung the loyalists, removing their greatest weapon against the traitors and their Warp-craft. Even though we’re still roughly around the mid-point of the series, there is a sense already of trying to pull together several plot elements from across the wider Heresy, and making a cohesive narrative out of things. Whether that was intentional or not, I don’t know, but it’s really quite remarkable how the author is able to make the book feel like the legion have been sidelined, keeping them apart from the rest of the goings-on in the galaxy, but at the same time pulling together these plot threads to make it all feel like one long story. Bravo, that man!

Overall, though, I thought this was a really fascinating look at the legion that has been somewhat on the sidelines for the series up to now. We’re 28 books in, and only now seeing yet another “new” legion – crazy! Of course, we haven’t really met the Night Lords or the Iron Hands in proper novels, either, which just feels ridiculous now that I think about it!

Painting Progress: week 8

Week Eight of hobby progress is upon us, people! And to continue the theme established in recent weeks, this is going to be another pretty short update, unfortunately! That said, it is also a pretty important one, as it features the first properly finished models I’ve painted all year!

hobby progress 8

It’s the White Scars again – the models that I was painting for a competition at my local GW, but which, in the event, I didn’t get finished in time. Oh, the annoyance! I mentioned a couple of posts ago how much I’ve come to really dislike painting white, and I think this is what has made me so apathetic to getting them done. However, they’re now as complete as I think my skills can get them, so voilà! The first finished miniatures of 2016! I am such a slow painter, and I also take a long time to get motivated into doing anything. I don’t think I’ll be doing any other White Scars in my life, though you never know what I might do!

The next painting competition is apparently going to be paint it black, though purple has also been mentioned. I’ve been thinking about doing some Stormcast Eternals as Anvils of the Heldenhammer, but also have a lot of purple ogres in varying stages of completion, so I hope I’ll have something completed in time for that one, anyway!

hobby progress 8

The only other thing I’ve done this week is to paint the fifth dwarf hammerer to go along with the other four that featured in the very first hobby progress blog – so now, at least, they can be fielded as a unit on the tabletop! I still want to do some bits to this one such as the face and maybe hair, and I’m also thinking about doing something fancy with the hammer, but for now, he’s done as much as the others have been!

We’re at the end of month 2, and while I’ve made some progress so far this year, it’s perhaps not as much as I’d have liked! I still have far too many kits in varying stages of completion, so I want to really get some kind of plan of action together here and tackle them.

By the end of March, I think I’m going to aim to have finished the Deathwing Terminators and Venerable Dreadnought, as those are models that I really love the look of, and feel that I should be okay to try picking up the details now, having done those of the White Scars. I also want to paint my Stormcast Eternal Protectors, if not the Lord-Castellant as well, because I want to try them out in the game. So while I still have loads of other space marines and Necrons and whatnot hanging around, I feel that if I concentrate on those two groups – one because I can then play games with them, and one because they should be really pretty (and can later play games with them, as well) – then I should have things a little more manageable. Well, that’s my theory, at least!!

hobby progress 8

Painting Progress: Week 7

Hey everybody!
It’s week seven of my painting progress, and time for another short blog as I run through the small amount of models I’ve put any paint on! Unfortunately, a theme has developed here in recent weeks, where I’m not really getting a lot of time to do a lot here. However, as promised at the beginning of the year, I’ll be doing a blog here whether I’ve done anything or not! Onwards!

Hobby Progress 7

So first, a little progress has been made on my White Scars. Following last week’s update, where they’d basically been brushed white over a pale blue wash, they’re now looking a lot more, well, White Scars-y. Red trims and golden bits, with silver and grey on the weapons, things are starting to come together. Which is good, considering they’re being done for a painting competition at my local GW this coming Saturday! Need to really try to pull out some stops to get these done! I’m actually thinking I might have to concentrate just on the one, rather than looking at getting the whole squad finished.

Unfortunately, they’ve started to really irritate me now! I think, on reflection, I might have been a bit too careless with the drybrush, leaving a grainy texture across the minis which, when I’m now coming to add in the details, means the paint isn’t applying cleanly. Very upsetting! But I’m getting annoyed that I can’t seem to finish these quickly enough, and have a lot of stuff that I want to get painted but don’t seem to have the time. I’ve noticed this particularly in doing the eyes, which really aren’t that great, but hopefully I can tidy them up in time.

Speaking of models I’d rather be painting…

Hobby Progress 7

I’ve been building more stuff this week, including three more Retributors and the Lord-Castellant! I know that the Retributors are excellent in the game, of course, and the Lord-Castellant has a useful effect for fighting Chaos, which seems to be a popular faction down at the local store… These guys are primed, anyway, and ready for some gold – soon! I’ve also built up four more Dryad models, as I’d like to field more of these – in fact, I’d like to work on the Treeman model I’ve had since 2014, and get a real sub-faction going for my army.

I’ve also been buying a lot of Tomb Kings of course, and had been tempted to build some of those, too, but at the minute they all remain in the boxes. Soon, however!

Painting Progress: week 6

Hey everybody!
What an awful week – I’ve been really ill, hence the lack of any posts since my last painting update. Hopefully that’s all done now, however, so we can get back into the swing of things here!

However, this does also mean that this week’s progress update is going to be fairly small, as I’ve barely done anything!

Hobby Progress 6

I often enter painting competitions at my local Games Workshop store, even though I’m not all that good at painting these things. The upcoming “Paint it White” competition has got me wanting to try out some White Scars, which I have been interested in trying since at least the Warzone Damocles Kauyon book came out, if not earlier. White is famously a colour that a lot of painters call “difficult”, and being the glutton for punishment that I am, I can’t help but want to try these things! So, having bought the Space Marine Demi Company box, I thought I’d use the new assault squad minis to paint up in this way. (For my Ultramarines, I’m using the older assault squad, which I now realise doesn’t have all that much aesthetic difference as I’d thought it might).

I found this tutorial online before Christmas, so I’m trying to follow it as best I can. I’m currently at the stage whereby, having primed white and applied a wash of Fenrisian grey, I’ve sort of overbrushed the models with Ceramite white to give the armour that finish. They actually look pretty good in the flesh – I have no illusions about winning the competition, but I’m pleased with how they’re going so far, and looking forward to using them in upcoming games of 40k (once I learn how to play that!)

Hobby Progress 6

The only other thing to happen this week is the completion of four of the seven Stormcast Eternals I’ve been working at the week before. There are some bits and pieces here that I currently feel are beyond me – the pennant, and some parts of the reliquary staff – so I want to try and get into that painting groove I developed last summer, where I seemed to be churning out some pretty nice-looking models, then I might come back to these chaps. For now, however, I’m calling them done, and looking forward to seeing what the two banner-guys can do on the tabletop on Wednesday!

So yeah, a small update, but as I said at the outset with these painting blogs, I’m going to post here for 52 weeks of the year no matter what progress I’ve made. I’m hoping, over the summer, I might actually get to post a really mammoth update where I have all kinds of models done in a week, but that may be a distant dream for the time being…