Monday, September 19, 2016

Reinforcements Encore - Predator Tank for the XVI Legion

Treads for hope!

The reinforcement parade moves to the motor pool this week.  Here is a Predator tank for the XVI Legion. I have to once again recognize and thank local gamer Steve B for putting this !#$!#$ing thing together for me...these Rhino upgrade kits don't always proceed smoothly for me...but thanks to the skills of Steve, I was able to paint another asset for the Sons of Horus.

The Predator was once part of the core of a Space Marine armoured forces - Rhinos to carry the troops, Predators to the support them, Land Raiders to do both, and Whirlwinds to back it all up.  Of course the vehicle lineup has expanded significantly over the years, but I still wanted a Predator to have a "classic" shout-out in the lineup for  my Sons of Horus forces.

Forge World has found a design that blends the classic Predator with the new Rhino - it's lovely
In game terms the Predator is OK - decent armour, an interesting assortment of weapons to choose from, helpful for your Legion chaps as they slug away at their particular mission - but there are only so many "heavy support" spots on your roster, and the current 30k lineup is so full of Crusade-era goodies (like these and these) that using up a spot for a Predator is a bit of a downer.

The Eye of Horus is always watching...even from an access ramp...
So the Predator for me has a nostalgia value as opposed to value as a clever force selection.  Full credit to the Forge World guys for sticking with a design that matches the original model released to support Rogue Trader.  While the armament selection available now has become quite exotic (melta weapons and conversion beamers are available for the turrets, for example) the look is still very much a shout-out to that original model.  This makes me think so much of the original Space Marine figures. Great stuff!

Brass etched icons are not cheap, but they come out soooo much nicer than the decals

View from a Titan's perspective...

And based on that nostalgia I opted for a weapon load-out that reflected the original model - the "autocannon" in the turret and lascannons on the sponsons.  A flexible fire support mix that will chip in usefully while hopefully drawing fire away from elsewhere.

Bring on the loyalist fools!
There is just one more 30k figure I needed to paint as part of this little run I started back in the is connected to the thrashing I received during the side-duels of the 2015-16 edition of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge...that will be up always, stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Contemptor Dreadnought for Sons of Horus

"Will you welcome the Warmaster?" Contemptor dreadnought for the XVI Legion

More fresh forces for the XVI Legion in this post.  This is a Contemptor-class dreadnought armour for the Sons of Horus.  Somewhere inside the machine is the near-death remnants of a Legion Marine, wounded seriously in action and deemed "worthy" of being permanently entombed in a powered and armoured walking machine. He gets to live on, fighting with his battle brothers through this big suit of power armour.

Heavy plasma gun - a very scary, all-purpose weapon useful for cooking loyalists to just the right consistency of heated vapour...
Life in a dreadnought likely sucks for the Marine inside (even though the fluff tends to portray them as these wise old veterans that somehow manage to hang out between battles). But it's great overall for the Sons of Horus as they benefit from having this fellow strutting around the battlefields of the 30th millenium, zapping enemies with a heavy plasma gun, dousing them with a flamer (inside the mit of the power fist) or just straight-up punching them to bits with a super-large power fist.

Dreadnoughts are a bread-and-butter support system for Space Marine forces, and the Legion marines are no different - save for their "Contemptor" variants are more powerful and perform better than the 40k variants.  Equipped with a heavy weapon, a close combat weapon and some decent armour, the dreadnoughts are very versatile in the battle, able to engage hard targets like vehicles or sweep away infantry.

View of the power plant etc on the rear - I suspect the carbon emissions are an issue...

Forge World has released Legion-specific sculpts of the Contemptor dreadnought hulls for just about every Space Marine Legion (or maybe all of them by now?) and this model is the hull for the Sons of Horus.  The XVI Legion as a group has some, er, "issues" ongoing *cough* and you can tell by the design of their Contemptor dreadnought - lots of skullz and spiky bitz seem to inform their "world view", I suppose a reflection of the grim future and in particular their home world of Cthonia, in which the principal economic activity appears to be murder.  No wonder they want to follow the Warmaster - they need some hope!

Anyway, back to the dreadnought, the original model had too many skullz for my taste, so I shaved quite a bit of that silliness away prior to painting.  In particular the pile of skullz hanging from chains between the legs, and the bunch strung along the left leg. It's still pretty spooky with those things removed, with spiky bitz on the legs, "hips" and torso, but at least there are no skulls hanging from chains on this particular model.

I quite like this version of the shoulder plate - and the big power fist is ready to smash things in the name of the Warmaster...
The skullz may be lame, but I quite like the XVI Legion iconography on the torso and shoulders, so overall it was worth the hassle.  I augmented the sculpted markings with just a few decals, including some of the weird geometric scribbling decals normally found on the Word Bearers, courtesy of a "Betrayal at Calth" decal set.  With the spiked features and ominous icons, he already appears to be on a bit of a dark path, but I think the designs add a pleasant little hint of additional corruption.

"Let's go for a walk...a walk of hope...that's right..."
This machine will join a "Contemptor Mortis" I painted last year to double up the dreadnought support available for the Sons of Horus. Looking forward to a Horus Heresy game soon for him to make his debut!  As a newly painted model, I'm sure he won't blow up on the first turn or anything like that... 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Again With Reinforcements - Sons of Horus Heavy Support

The Warmaster has some direct feedback to share...

Again with the reinforcements! Yes, the flood of new troops for the Warmaster's own XVI Legion continues.  Well, maybe not "flood"...but five Legion Marines hauling lascannons would be enough to potentially wreck the day of most loyalist commanders. That is what we have here: a heavy support squad wearing Mark III power armour and armed with lascannons. One model is sporting a comb from the Mark III office upgrade kit, and all the models have the embossed shoulder plates with Sons of Horus markings. These will join five similar models painted in June of 2015 to "round out" the unit into a full heavy support squad of ten figures hauling lascannons.

The new paint jobs don't precisely match the prior paint jobs, but it is close enough, and as a group, they look like an intimidating bunch.

Sergeant in Mk III armour - also carrying a handy targeting/command computer
A regular heavy support Legion Marine drawing a bead with his lascannon

The weapon configurations of these Legion units - Tactical Support Squads and Heavy Support Squads, all equipped with the same weapon - are one feature of 30k gaming that stands in contrast to the configuration of the Marine forces in the more "traditional" 40k setting.  It brings to mind the Eldar and their Aspect Warriors - armed to the teeth with multiple "special" weapons.  The Legion Marines, not limited by the 40k fluff of small Chapters limited to 1000 troops, don't need to dribble a melta gun here or a few lascannons there among the Chapter...they deploy them in whole squads within their massive Legions. Excess in the name of the Emperor (or Warmaster, as the case may be).

View of the rear armour of the Marines

This Marine seems to be checking a setting on his weapon prior to use on loyalist fools

I game terms, these units are potentially quite powerful.  I have already used the small the five-man squad in a few games, and the multiples of lascannons proved to be quite useful on everything from loyalist vehicles to enemy infantry, particularly scary infantry like terminators.  Even on the move, the heavy weapons can "snap fire" - it is a low probability to hit, but if there are five, or better now, ten Marines, a couple of "6s" are bound to turn up on the dice. 

A "team photo" - combining the reinforcements with the squad painted in June of last year

Horus for hope!

With ten lascannons this unit can blast away at even the heaviest vehicles and either destroy them directly with a penetrating hit or wear them down with glancing hits.  In a proper position in the game table, these fellows can be quite devastating. Is there a downside? The points cost of a 10-man unit with lascannons is prohibitive, so it's really a specialized thing or a mega-game thing - but good fun in either situation!

Almost finished with the 30k painting run...just a few more bits on the desk...

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sons of Horus Reinforcements - Tactical Support Squad

"Prepare for Hope, my friends!"

I'm back from another refreshing visit to the Lake, and managed to get a bit more painting done at the cabin.  Continuing a theme seen for most of this summer, this post contains still more reinforcements for the XVI Legion, the Sons of Horus.  This is a 10-man "tactical support squad" in Mark III power armour and equipped with Volkite Calivers.

Sergeant and comms trooper

Tactical support markings courtesy of the "Betrayal at Calth" decal set

The models have embossed shoulder plates with Sons of Horus iconography and the two command models have upgrades from the Mark III command pack. The decals are taken from the "Betrayal at Calth" pack.

Mark III power armour marines sporting Volkite Calivers

You can see a bit of the weathering powder I used on the legs to give a bit of a dirty, mid-battle look

I painted these models using the higher-speed approach found with this GW tutorial.  I find it is still rather faster and more efficient than my previous plodding with glazes, but painting Mark III armour sets is a generally slower process than the smoother, less-segmented Mark IV armoured figures in that tutorial.  This was one of those little projects that became a real slog I couldn't wait to get finished...the Mark III armour is my favourite look for Horus Heresy marines, but all the segmented sections and gloomy, ominous-looking plates that look so cool can be a bit slow under the brush.  I'm glad they are finished!

The Volkite Caliver is a fun bit of fluff from GW's Horus Heresy setting, a weapon with a lineage tracing back to the Emperor's wars of unification on terra, and even serving as the original main armaments of the Space Marines before the Legions got too large for the Mechanicum to supply them, meaning they became a more specialized support weapon among the Legions.

The Mark III Marine - my favourite power armour, but kind of a pain to can't beat the pseudo-medieval look of the segmented, riveted plates

In the game they are a lot of fun to use.  I have a squad armed with these weapons serving in my World Eaters collection, and in several games these fine weapons of have mince-meat of pinheaded loyalist fools.  I definitely figured the Sons of Horus needed something similar in their ranks!  This group will have fun accompanying the regular tactical marines, hammering away at the deniers of hope and change who sadly plaque the galaxy...

The Volkite Calivers are not the best assault weapons - they can't fire effectively on the move (the Volkite Charger is useful for that). But the Calivers are pretty deadly on the defense, with a long range, high strength and a high rate of fire, and a little bit of rule fluff that scores extra hits when the other side fails their saving throws ("deflagrate" - sounds painful).  The weapons hit hard, and don't have the stupid "gets hot" rule to bother with. These guys can spend the first turn getting into a decent position and covering an assault or defense.  Having 10 of them helps to smother the enemy, and gives some sustainability in the game in terms of losses as they will certainly draw some fire. 

Ready for action in service of the Warmaster, Humanity's last hope...

Ten of these Volkite Calivers should dish out some serious abuse toward foolish, "Emperor"-obsessed loyalists

As the fall approaches my run of painting reinforcements for the Sons of Horus is nearly out of gas...since July I have finished about 50 Marines to join my XVI Legion collection - just about half a company!  I am looking forward to getting these figures out on the table sometime soon, and hopefully provoking a round of collection escalation from Dallas and/or Byron...

There are still more sitting Sons of Horus in the painting lineup (including some more chaps in Mark III armour) that I hope to finish shortly, but it will soon be time to take a bit of a break from painting 30k...Byron already has a head start on one little project I have in mind - stay tuned for more...

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Something to wash the 40k taste out of my mouth...

As I posted last week, I got my 40k Tournament Tau list done to go to an ITC event.  I knew that it would be complete cheddar due to being ITC based, but had no idea how bad it could be.  I expected cheddar, but the mildest cheese there was Blue!  Wow....

Don't get me wrong, if that's your thing, go for it, but the game has devolved to rock paper scissors at the army design level, once you are in a game it is too late!  To be fair, everyone I played was great to play and super friendly, they pretty much all thought the game has gone too far, but like me love the models and fluff, so keep playing.  Also, the organizers did a great job, things ran smoothly, on time, and they had tons of space available, tons of terrain, and a great looking setup.  It's just really too bad that they chose to use the ITC format, but like I said, to each their own.

So... to come to the point of this rant...  For the last 20 years, coming home from a 40k tournament I get anxious for my next project.  Like a junkie, I need my next fix, I have seen something that is just too cool, and I have to start a new army.  This has happened every tournament for 20 years....

Not this time.  Looking around the tournament, there were lots of amazing models, amazing armies, and paint jobs, but none screamed to me to start them.  In fact, seeing the direction the game has gone, I came home with a strong desire to paint something that would actually be FUN to play!

So, here is what I have done in the last few nights....

First up is a fleet of Venetian Galleys from Skull n Crown that Greg twisted my arm into picking up recently.  I started 1 of the ships in between washes on some of my Tau figures before the tournament, but finished the others up Saturday, Sunday, and Monday night.

They are laser cut plywood and come with all the flags, awnings, and side graphics. They are super easy to put together, but work better painting them in 2 main assemblies so that you can rig them through the supplied holes and then glue the two sub assemblies together afterwards.

Greg had already chosen two fleets before I decided to get in on the action with him, but he hadn't picked the fleet I wanted so all was good.  I figure if you are going to play a game, you really should have your army fit your personality.  As you all know I have a very evil, cynical, twisted take on things, therefore what better fleet for me than the most corrupt and evil faction of the time, The Vatican!  That's right, I am playing the Papal Fleet.

So far I have 1 large Lanterna, 1 Galley, and 2 smaller Galiots fully painted and ready to go.  Greg, what's the hold up?  Get yours done already!  Being at the lake is not an excuse!

The painting I did was very simple and plain, almost no shading or highlighting, yet on a flat surface I feel it works.  Adding too much to such a simplified take on the Venetian galley just makes the shape look wrong in my opinion.  The simplified block style design works great with these ships, I just feel its better to keep the paint simple as well.

Next up I got in a pile of 6mm figures to do Flames of War: Team Yankee with and had to start on them. I liked playing Team Yankee with Greg and Curt, however like Flames of War, really dislike the size of the figures vs the ranges on board, so am doing the game in 6mm where I feel things balance out better.

The first unit here is a group of T-72's that I actually painted a few weeks back, but never posted. 

The second unit is a group of M1A1 tanks, my favourite tank.

Both squads are done with very simple desert colours, then washed, and weathered with powders to give some depth.

I then based them on some bases I printed up that have lips around the area where I put labels, so that you can tell units and vehicles apart at a glance.  Oh, and to go with tiny labels, tiny magnets.  No, not for the labels.... I magnetized all the turrets, so they can turn to face the enemy.

To show how tiny these things really are, here is one next to a 40k model (who has turned his back to us in shame over the state of the game).

There we go, I have gotten the bad taste out of my mouth now. Next up in the queue is a mix of more 6mm to finish up some armies to do a Team Yankee game and some figs for a GW game, but not 40k.  I have an alternate Necromundia Gang to paint up and would like to get them done sometime soon.

More Hasslefree Dwarves

First off, I have to say "thanks" to my fellow Conscripts Dave, Greg and Byron for keeping up the blog this summer. I can't actually remember my last post here off the top of my head but I know it's been a long time (since I've even picked up a paintbrush)... but anyway, "Winter is Coming" and it's time to get back to painting.

I've gotten back into it with a cracking bunch of figures from Hasslefree to round off the Dwarven warband I've been building for Otherworld fantasy skirmish.

I painted this female dwarf to be the interim leader of the warband, although I do have another Hasslefree character on the paint bench who might fill that role later. Anyway, "Adalheid" (for it is she) is a fantastic model and was "a joy to paint" as they say. Just enough detail to be interesting without overwhelming, and the face and anatomy are spot on.

The rest of the group are from the good old "Dwarf Multi-Pack" of four dwarves with hand weapons. I converted this one to be the standard-bearer for the warband. I'm not thrilled with the banner though, as I'd used a transfer for the Griffon device and painted it over, but some of the edges didn't adhere so well. Easy enough to rip off and redo later. The finial is from a Mordheim sprue I think.

Here are the three other lads in rather aggressive posture.

And here's the entire warband so far. We'll get at some skirmish gaming with these soon, I reckon. Anyway, here's hoping that this is the start of a fruitful winter painting season :-)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Ludus Gladiatorius - Back to the Arena!

A couple of Thursdays ago I brought out Ludus Gladiatorius (Eng. trans. "Gladiatorial School") for another evening simulating hand to hand combat in front of the Roman crowds. Dallas, on a recent rip to Imperial Hobbies in Vancouver, had kindly picked up for me a felt arena map from Hotz Mats, which we used to good effect.

I have both of the sets that were originally available from EM-4.  This is a quick-play gladiator combat game with pre-painted metal 28mm gladiators and special combat dice. Lots of cool play aids are available for download on the Yahoo Group.

They key feature of the game is that each character has a certain number of special actions that. once used, are no longer available. So, the tactics are based upon movement, and using your special actions wisely. Each gladiator has a rated movement, in hexes, but may get an extra hex of movement, determined randomly;y. So, you never quite know if  someone else can reach you or not!

The players chose their gladiators by die roll:

  • Bill = Vescen (hits pretty hard, and good at Feinting)
  • Dallas = Thrax (a real tank; hits hard and has lots of hit points, but slow)
  • Dave (me) = Leonius (good at Feinting, and with a decent amount of hit points)
  • Frederick = Marcus Attilus (very fast, and decent attack value)
  • Keegan = Caladus (slow, but good at Defense, and lots of hit points)

We had a battle royale with everyone starting just outside movement range of one another. Bill's Vescen was playing it cagey, so I ran Leonius across the arena at him.

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Our gladiators tarted dueling, as Calladus watched.

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In retrospect, that was not the greatest of ideas, since Leonius was the first to fall. However, the crowd must have liked what they saw, because he was spared! (There is a special purple die, with both "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" faces.)

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[Note: Historically, a gladiator who acknowledged defeat could request the munerarius ("editor", or giver of the games) to stop the fight and send him alive (missus) from the arena. The editor took the crowd's response into consideration in deciding whether to let the loser live or order the victor to kill him.]

The fight devolved into a couple of paired combats:  Vescen vs. Marcus Attilius, and Caladus vs. the mighty Thrax.

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Calladus was the next to fall, but also was granted missus.

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By this point, Marcus Attilus had only one hit point left, so he was trying basically to stay alive, moving back out of reach when he could. However, seeing Thrax standing alone, he and Vescens ganged up on the heavily equipped gladiator. below, Dallas swings for the bleachers...

Recently Added-21 no avail, as Thrax went down. Yet again, he had performed well, as Thrax was granted missus. The time was called, and Marcus Attilus and Vescens shared accolades as co-winners of the contest.

Below, Frederick looks on in relief. Both Marcus and Vescens had only a couple of hit points left between them.

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Ludus Gladiatorius is a fast-playing, beer & pretzels kind of game, well suited to our Thursday night style of play. For more detailed combat rules, there are other games like Avalon Hill's Gladiator, which better simulate the cut and thrust of personal combat, and attacking or defending different parts of the body.

I look forward to trying out the mat with Brian's model of The Collosseum.