Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Hobby update 2019 - part 1

Hi all, me again! It's high time I resurrected a weekly look at my hobby progress I think, and though I've not done a montage image yet for this year that's no excuse not to get posting up some pics of stuff!

So far this year I've granted myself a little time off from my commission work, and have been putting several hours into my Swords of Dawn. As you may know, I'd got a scheme sorted for these guys and had just about finished all the Dark Imperium stuff when over Christmas I decided that I was going to change it all. Typical me that, I'm a true hobby butterfly after all!

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Meta shift in 40k and its impact on you!

We gamers love a technical term don’t we, especially ones that we can use to confuse or befuddle our contemporaries or those not involved in the hobby. Makes us sound clever and makes up for the fact we’re bad at sports!

Today I wanted to turn my attention to the biggest of these terms – Meta.

Monday, 7 January 2019

A Xenos interlude

Hi all,
I’m back again! See, I’m really making an effort with this blogging thing again!

Right, last time round I left you with a promise that I would update on the direction of my Xenos armies, and I certainly will. First though, I just wanted to do a quick round-up of the hobby week.

Wednesday, 2 January 2019

A New Year, a New Direction

Hi All,
so, that was 2018 was it? Wow that went quick!

As ever at this time of year, I tend to look at my life (both real life and hobby life) and re-evaluate things, trying to figure out where I want to be at the end of the year, what I want to have changed and done differently, and what I want to improve upon.

2018 was a year of huge change for me, moving to a new job after 16 years at my old place threw a lot of things up in the air and changed a lot of other things about my life, not least of which the 2 hours travelling a day I now do instead of about 10 minutes I did before.

But enough about the real life stuff, this blog is about my hobby and I've neglected it over the last 11 months, something I very much wish I hadn't felt I needed to do. So whilst this post isn't about making 'resolutions' as such for my hobby life, it very much is about trying to reconnect with things I love about the hobby, and blogging is certainly one of those things.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Swords of Dawn - building a history

Greetings all! Long time away from the blogs again, I've got a host of stuff on the cards coming though, both hobby and blog related stuff! Hope you enjoy.

First up today, I've got some fluff for you - in this current realm of chapter approved and FAQ's tweaking the balance of the game to make things as balanced for competitive play as they can be I find myself rebelling somewhat and wanting to play more narrative style games, creating cool moments and events rather than finding that extra 1% (who am I kidding, 10% is the minimum I'd need to start competing!) in the rules to help me hold my own in more competitive games. It's no surprise either that this changed approach follows on from me signing up to https://www.deploymentzone.tv/ and watching their more narrative approach to gaming, designing their own missions and playing in a narrative style (a particular highlight was watching a pair of Ork Generals squabbling amongst themselves and getting in each other's way on the tabletop on purpose whilst ostensibly joining forces to battle the Death Guard 'End of All Things').

Monday, 29 October 2018

Hive Fleet Echidna makes first contact

Welcome all, let me open a datafile for you on the latest threat to the stability of the Imperium since the opening of the Great Rift. May I introduce to you, Hive Fleet Echidna.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

Nid list thoughts, input appreciated!

Hi all!

So last time out I set out how I'd made a decision (with your help) to go with Tyranids for my next army choice, so this post of course is all about my thoughts on building a list with them. Now I'll qualify all this with a simple statement to start with. I don't have the codex yet. So all of my knowledge comes from a combination of battlescribe, and 1D4chan.

I've talked before about how I go about putting an army list together, and I'm following those same broad steps with this army. I should also just say however that thanks to the ease of putting lists together with battlescribe, I've already written several lists etc so some of these thoughts will be going over ground I've already crossed, whilst others are fresh. They are all up for discussion however, and for those of you with experience fighting with/against Tyranids I'm really hoping you'll be able to give me some insight into what I've said/thought.

Without further ado then, let's look at how I wrote my list (ps, this is the second version of this post, and it's a lot shorter than the first, so if you want me to go into detail about any particular choice, please just ask!

1. What's the army theme?

Simply put? Fast. I wanted to swarm across the board and overwhelm my opponents before they have time to really think about target priority.

2. Which hive fleet?

Two options really stood out, Kraken and Behemoth. Whilst Behemoth certainly appeals and has the potential to engage really quickly, the latest FAQ on arriving from reserve has really put a dampener on its day, particularly if you'd been looking to leverage reserves and re-rolling charges like I had been...

Kraken on the other hand lets me both charge after falling back (keep leveraging those charge bonuses!) and also roll 3D6 and pick the highest for my advance rolls.

Next up, cover the basics.

3. Board Control, target specific threats.

Tyranid Troops units don't appear to be that resilient from what I can see, so here I went for a combination of quality and lack of threat to push the target priority down. I pushed the boat out to get two battalions in the list, meaning I needed 6 troops units but would get extra command points to counter that cost. Equally however, many Tyranid Troops units benefit from being taken in larger unit sizes (I like this decision from the games developers, it really encourages you to go for the classic swarm style). In the end I plumped for two units of 16 Genestealers (with adrenal glands for +1 to their charge and advance rolls) - big enough to get the bonuses and survive a little bit of early shooting - and a unit of 24 Hormagaunts. Both of these units are incredibly quick and so they allow me to threaten the enemy army on turn 1. The Genestealers can advance and charge meaning they have an average threat range of  20", whilst the Hormagaunts are to my mind even better. Still an 8" move, though they're not allowed to charge after advancing, but with adrenal glands they get +1 to advance and charge moves, and there are a couple of sneaky tricks up the Nid's sleeves (do they have sleeves?) that means these guys can charge after advancing, or simply move a second time and charge anyway. With the combination of scything talons and numbers, the Hormagaunts also get to re-roll 1's to hit and to wound in the fight phase. Incidentally, whilst the advice I read suggested avoiding the adrenal glands, when you run the numbers they make interesting analysis. The average threat range of the Hormagaunts is 15" moving once and charging when taken bare bones. If you allow them to move twice then that goes up to 23". Still less than the likely minimum starting separation of 24". If you cast onslaught on them so they can advance and charge, then they will average 20". Add adrenal glands and the basic threat goes up to 16", moving twice gets them to the magical 24". Moving once with onslaught gets them up to 22". When you factor in those threat ranges, and the fact that you only need to get within 1" to get into close combat, simply having them in your list with that kind of threat range puts your opponent on the back foot, and could cause them to compromise their deployment. Equally, the threat of moving a second time and charging puts the Genestealers up from the 'dangerous' threat index into 'lethal'. Their threat range goes up to 33" when you factor in that ability.

For the second detachment, a basic 3 unit ripper swarm could pop up onto objectives in my own deployment zone and would pose such a low level threat the chances are it would be ignored. Add to that a pair of warrior units with paired boneswords and deathspitters to give me a couple of nice jack of all trades units to plug any holes there might be. The Warriors are also synapse creatures, which will help me to avoid any nasty morale checks I might have to take. 6 troops units would give me lots of lovely 'objective secured' whilst these units would be a sufficient threat to the enemy they can't be ignored (except for the rippers) which will take the pressure off the bigger units in the list.

Once I'd got the basic units into the detachments I needed to start thinking about the other required units - the HQ's. I've already hinted a few times at it, but the Swarmlord just couldn't be left out. Aside from being a truly epic blademaster with a potential 27 damage dished out in a single turn, his Hive Commander ability is the real reason he's straight into the list, allowing a unit within 6" to move (and advance) a second time in the shooting phase instead of shooting. Next up was the other no-brainer. With two units of Genestealers in my list, the Broodlord was a given, it's both a combat monster in its own right and boosts the abilities of the 'stealers to unholy levels (seriously, a 16 strong unit in range of this guy gets 64 attacks hitting on 2's and re-rolling 1's if you take the free scything talons). I also stuck the Ymgarl Factor relic on the Broodlord, giving me +1 strength, attacks or toughness each fight phase. This unit is perfectly capable of ripping even the most elite enemy units to pieces on its own. In similar fashion, the Tyranid Prime lets the Warrior units hit more efficiently (in both shooting and fight phases) and although he's not comparable to the Broodlord on his own, 5 attacks as S5 hitting on 2's and -2AP is nothing to sniff at when backed up by the warrior units. Finally, I figured that despite the Swarmlord and Broodlord both being competent psykers in their own right, a Neurothrope wouldn't go amiss. With a natural 3+ invun and few enough wounds that it can't be targeted unless it's the closest model, the Neurothrope is a decent shout for the Warlord of the army, which also fits with it being the 'Brain Bug' unit (you didn't think I'd get through this whole article without referencing Starship Troopers at least once did you?).

A downright must-have in any list in 8th edition, vehicles can be taken down through sheer volume attacks, but it's not usually very easy. Thankfully, the Nid codex can tackle vehicles in many ways. Although not quite as ideally suited as many of the weapons available to other, shootier armies, The Swarmlord, Carnifexes, Trygon Primes, Hive Guard are all capable of doing nasty things to vehicles in their own way, and even the Broodlord can take on lighter vehicles and come away with bits of wreckage impaled on its claws. I'm not sure I could field a Tyranid army without at least 1 Carnifex, so that had to be in there, and with monstrous crushing claws (effectively a power fist) it could easily wreck a vehicle in one turn on the charge. I also wanted a Trygon Prime. Remember how I mentioned earlier that the Hormagaunts had a nasty charge range with adrenal glands? It gets even nastier when you pop out of a Trygon tunnel only 9" away. The Trygon also comes with a pretty nasty shooting attack that can thin a horde nicely before a charge. The stars of the show however are I think the Hive Guard. Generally you see them with the Impaler Cannons, which are incredible I must say, but given the very specific role I had in mind for them, the Shockcannon seemed to be the way to go. Mortal Wounds on a 4+ to wound against vehicles and D3 on 6's? Yes please! My only regret is I couldn't fit another 3 in the list.

Yes, I've got quite a bit of volume power in the list, but there was one more unit I wanted to include, mainly for the rule of cool, but also because they're just so damn fast and fit perfectly what I wanted to achieve from the army. Raveners. These guys move 12"! 12"! With a second pair of scything talons and spinefists these guys could plough through units of chaff as if they weren't there. As with the other special units, there's a way of buffing them too, the Red Terror gives them +1 to hit in the fight phase, and when taken with scything talons, they have 5 attacks each hitting on 2's and re-rolling 1's, plus a further 4 attacks in the shooting phase!

So, in total the list looks like this:

Battalion 1

Broodlord (Ymgarl Factor, The Horror)
The Swarmlord (Catalyst, Onslaught)

16 Genestealers with scything talons
16 Genestealers with scything talons
24 Hormagaunts with adrenal glands

3 Hive Guard with shockcannons and adrenal glands (for extra range)
The Red Terror

4 Raveners with 2 pairs of scything talons and spinefists
Carnifex with adrenal glands, tusks, spore cysts, bone mace, toxin sacs, monstrous crushing claws and monstrous scything talons
Trygon Prime with adrenal glands, biostatic rattle and toxin sacs

Battalion 2

Neurothrope (probably the Warlord)
Tyranid Prime with adrenal glands, deathspitter and boneswords

3 Ripper Swarms
3 Tyranid Warriors with adrenal glands, boneswords and deathspitters
3 Tyranid Warriors with adrenal glands, boneswords and deathspitters

So there you have it, I open the floor to you all to comment, advise, refine and generally help me make this a better list!

Till next time, TBE

Saturday, 6 October 2018

It's time...

Hi people!

First of all can I just say a really big thank you to anyone who took part in my recent poll to help me decide which army to collect next, I'm really grateful for your input!

As is traditional for these sort of things, let's run down the results in reverse order shall we?

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Audience participation time!

Greetings all, it's that time again!
My last reader participation event went really well, determining the name of my craftworld eldar army, Mael Dannan. There's just one problem, which is that a lot of the next stuff I want to include in that army is stuff that I either don't like the current models for (Shining Spears, Skyrunner Autarch etc) or more of the same I've already got. As I don't hear many whispers about new stuff coming for the Asuryani any time soon, I thought I'd get my planning pants out of the drawer and shake the dust and spiders off them. No? Don't like the idea of planning pants? How about a thinking man's mankini?

So, I logged on to the GW website and had a trawl through the factions on there. And because I'm one of those people that appreciates the vast majority of factions for their own individualities, I made a list. And that's where you lovely people are going to come in, because I just can't make up my mind! I've been working on some of these ideas for ages, others are much more recent, so here we go! Each faction is accompanied by a little brief of what the army will be like, rough ideas for colour scheme and background, please post up in the comment section below what you'd like to see me work on next (alongside the odd little bit of Eldar and more Swords of Dawn of course). Hopefully I'd love to get all of these armies going one day, though I've known me long enough that that's probably an ambition way beyond my means.

Option 1: Orks. Waaagh Gruntsnagga
This would be a speed freeks warband, not sure which klan as yet but clearly this would be massively time appropriate given the forthcoming Orktober.
Colour scheme would be based around bone/cream clothing, the traditional rusty ork weapons and red glyphs.

Option 2: Necrons. The Sobekhotep Dynasty
This would be a pretty elite list, focusing one relentless blocks of nasty infantry with only a few outriders or fast moving units and few transports.
Colour scheme would be very dark, with large areas of black granite type texture, and red glowing weapons.

Option 3: Heretic Astartes. The Grey Death
No idea as yet exactly how I would build the army, except the background is that of a corrupted loyalist chapter. I love the aspiring champion model from the crimson slaughter starter set so would probably look to use that as the basis for the army's look. I've always liked the Night Lords background too so would probably look to blend those together, with a bit of Slaanesh thrown in.
Colour scheme would (of course) be grey, but I'd probably look for it to be Slaanesh Grey, and therefore have a sickly purple tinge to it, adding in some pale brass colours for the metals.

Option 4: Drukhari. The Burning Eye
Recreating my old Kabal, but with variant colour scheme. I think it would be a combined arms type approach to the army, probably looking this time to exploit my favoured method of painting red, moving away from its last incarnation in purple. I'm not much of a fan of the haemonculi so would probably look to keep these out of the list entirely at present.

Option 5: Tyranids. Hive Fleet Echidna
I'd probably look for my hive fleet to focus very much on the combat elements of Tyranids, I've always seen them as swarms of creatures around a few larger bugs than the Nidzilla type lists you sometimes see, though I'd certainly need to include some of the bigger creatures to keep things balanced.
Colour scheme would be a bit 'out there' as some Nids schemes can be. The particular one I have my eyes on is based around a lizard I found a picture of and would combine turquoise and orange elements to the models, incorporating some kind of funky patterning on the chitin.

There are a few other projects I'm keeping back from this poll, mainly because they're either too in depth at this stage or because I want to save them for a later date. (It's actually not a poll since google stopped that happening, grrr, please just post your choice in the comments below instead).

That's all I've got for you now, time to hand it over to you and your votes!

Monday, 24 September 2018

The Chastened Warrior

The enemy warriors broke into a run, slight figures swathed in shadow flitting from building to building. Blaze waited, his hand gripping the haft of Sanguine Judgement, its null-field glowing a dull red around the runes etched into the blade. He carried no ranged weapons, the halberd held confidently in one hand whilst in his other he carried Angel’s Wing, a storm shield crafted to resemble its namesake. All he could do was wait for the enemy to close the distance, if he revealed his presence too early then he risked them falling back into the shadows away from the fight.

Rage of the Burning Eye

Morning all, now I don’t normally succumb to nerd rage, because this hobby is most of all about each of us and how we perceive the narrative presented to us. I know there was a lot of angst generated when GW changed faction names in their publications to ensure copyright integrity (Eldar-Aeldari etc) but I maintained my chilled out, calm exterior and now switch between the old and new names with no real distinction.

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Hobby update - T'au commission work (with OSL)

Hi all,
just a quick painting update this time, I've been hard at work on a T'au commission most recently. It's an unusual one in that the commissioner has asked for me to just do the baseline work for them rather than working the models up to a finished standard so that they can spend their time weathering and adding finishing touches. It kinda feels a bit weird to be painting something to 'only' this level with no edge highlights etc, but as someone that enjoys painting I can certainly see the appeal in someone else doing the boring slow bits and only doing the finishing touches myself!

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Ash Squadron - a deathwatch kill team. Who knows where it might lead...

Well, in my last post I mentioned that I was eager to see what Kill Team had to offer - well I had my first game last week as four of us tried to squeeze round a single board and took all evening to play a short skirmish game!

First impressions

Very good. The mixed activations had the potential to really slow down and mess about with the combat phase in particular, but I'm sure that will speed up as we get used to the rules, plus probably have fewer models on the table and certainly fewer getting into combat so early (we played a 4-player game on a board sized for two players, so we were all pretty close in to start with!

So, without further ado, I mentioned last time I've been writing fluff for my kill team and here it is! (Spoiler alert, purists may wish to look away now!)

Ash Squadron

Though few realise it, the weight of Mankind’s hopes against the alien apocalypse are borne upon the broad shoulders of the Deathwatch. These warriors form the Shield that Slays, a noble brotherhood of paragons whose might is sufficient to hurl back a hundred alien invasions and still not seek rest. They are the vigilant few, the watchmen in the void, whose star-borne fortresses stand guard against terrors unimaginable.
Though the Deathwatch have always worn sombre black and silver, splashes of colour appear amongst their ranks, for they keep their original chapter’s livery upon their pauldrons. Arrayed for battle with mighty war engines in support, they are an inspiring sight for their allies, and doom given flesh for the xenos armies they fight across the galaxy.
As ever with forces overseen by the Emperor’s Inquisition however, the chamber militant of the Ordo Xenos harbours secrets within its ranks, truths deemed to be too dangerous for all but the most powerful few to know. The forces of the Deathwatch have long utilised technologies too rare or unstable for mass production, and it is a long held belief in its ranks that the saying ‘Know thy Enemy’ goes beyond simply understanding the core physical characteristics of the Xenos armies the Deathwatch must face. To that end, an entire research wing was founded by the Divisio Biologis with its aim being the study of Xenos species and their technologies, and the research and development of new weapons utilising the advanced knowledge gained as a result. Such an undertaking could not rely on the ad-hoc recruitment of space marines into specific kill-teams that make up the majority of the Deathwatch forces however, and the order was given to create a permanent force of Deathwatch Veterans to support and protect the interests of the research and development project. This force is known only to a few even within the Inquisition, and is known informally in those circles as Ash Squadron, due to their tendency to leave no trace of their presence beyond ashes in the wind.

Ash Squadron eschews the traditional black garb of the Deathwatch, instead bearing armour painted ash white in honour of their role within the Chamber Militant, and whilst they still retain the original colours of their legion on the right should pad, the traditional silver left arm and shoulder guard of the Deathwatch is instead of a golden hue.

I've been having a great time putting together some models to represent Ash Squadron, and have written a command roster to cover the whole 20 potential members to fit into a campaign. I've finally got a selection I'm happy with, and have started writing some pen pics to go with them. In no particular order therefore...

So from left to right, top to bottom we have...

Silas Lucien

Comms specialist but no fluff yet.

Shai Falco

Combat specialist, also no fluff yet (this is going well isn't it! I promise I have written fluff for a lot of the team so far)!

Nyx Shadowbind

Nyx Shadowbind is the very antithesis of his Commander, Sorin Blaze. Taciturn, cold to the point of being unfeeling, and preferring to fight his enemies from afar, the two warriors have nevertheless formed a powerful bond in battle, and Blaze will rarely undertake a mission without including Shadowbind in his complement of warriors.

Shadowbind was originally seconded to the Deathwatch by the Raven Guard chapter following the battle for Mugulath Bay when the rest of his squad was destroyed by a T’au ambush. Understandably, ever since that day he has held a particular hatred for the blue-skinned aliens, understanding where many do not that underneath the even-handed, diplomatic exterior of the youngest of the galaxy’s pre-eminent xenos races, lies a steel core that would just as soon massacre their own children if it meant achieving their objectives. Ash squadron has a saying - “only in the eyes of the dead do you see Nyx Shadowbind”.

Iestyn Frome - yep, no fluff yet!

Lumiel Dasalian

Typifying the secretive nature of his Chapter, Lumiel Dasalian is a quiet, solitary figure in Ash Squadron’s ranks. Such a demeanour should not be mistaken however, for there are few amongst the ranks of the chamber militant as capable with both firearms and blade as the former Dark Angel. Though his origins are shrouded in mystery, one thing that is known about the warrior is that his secondment to the Deathwatch was just as secretive as his Chapter. Rumours abound amongst Ash Squadron however that he was formerly a high-ranking brother within the Dark Angels, and that his permanent secondment was arranged to resolve some unknown dispute between him and his superiors.

Dasalian’s skill at arms in all forms lends itself well to the wide variety of missions Ash Squadron is called upon to perform, and he is rarely absent from field operations commanded by Sorin Blaze. Unusually, he always goes to battle wearing a white surplice over his armour, with a powered longsword scabbarded at his waist and a combination plasma gun cradled at the ready. Dasalian’s role is to adapt to the particular battlefield situation, providing covering fire or supporting combat operations as necessary.

Stranix Locutor

Stranix Locutor is the most recent Sergeant recruited by Ash Squadron, and is one of the recent influx to the Flesh Tearers of Primaris marines. Stranix quickly came to prominence following the reinforcement of that Chapter, and though boasting the enhanced physiology and geneseed of the Primaris strain, still exhibits savage characteristics more commonly associated with earlier brothers of the standard Flesh Tearers gene template.

In battle, Locutor wields a signature blade, a gleaming red power sword that he rarely sheathes. Some have questioned whether or not the blade has always had its reddish tinge, though Stranix has never given a complete answer to the question, usually simply giving the questionner a savage smile, showing off the incisors for which his chapter are infamous.

Gideon Thume

Gideon Thume is a simmering cauldron of barely controlled rage, the zealotry of his chapter’s character exhibiting itself to an extreme degree. Thume originally presented himself to the Deathwatch as a Blackshield, after he lost control during a boarding action on the Ork Rok known as Mork’s Gob and failed to follow the orders of his Marshal. Instead of falling back to defend the Marshal Thume pushed on, his righteous fury and templar blade driving all before him until he had butchered his way through to the engineering deck. Marshal Lomas survived the encounter and Mork’s Gob was diverted from its course, sent plummeting into a nearby star, but Thume was admonished for his failure to follow orders. Such censure would normally be cleansed through a penitent crusade, but Thume instead exiled himself from the chapter and sought out the deathwatch. Upon his presentation to that organisation however, the receiving Watch Commander felt that assignment to Ash Squadron was more appropriate, and therefore Thume still bears the heraldry of his original Chapter.

Always at the forefront of any combat operation, Thume wields the mighty Talassarian warblade Emperor’s Light. Wielding such a blade single-handed requires singular skill, and Thume seems to do so effortlessly. Alongside the mighty blade Thume carries an enormous Storm Shield, fashioned for him by the artificers of the Adeptus Mechanicus from the tilting plate of the Serran Interceptor, a Knight Errant of House Seraphus that fell in battle alongside the templars of the Lomas Crusade

and finally for now...

Sorin Blaze

Sorin Blaze is frequently called upon to command field deployments for Ash Squadron, and holds the nominal rank of Lieutenant for the purposes of the Chain of Command. Blaze was originally seconded from the Blood Angels chapter of the Adeptus Astartes and exhibits the typical features synonymous with that organisation. Fearless, aggressive and ever keen to get up-close and personal with their enemies, he is nevertheless of noble bearing and humble, understanding that his role is to lay down his life if required to see the mission completed.

His favoured armaments are the Xenophase polearm Sanguine Judgement and the Angel’s Wing, a storm shield of ancient construction and design, fashioned to resemble its namesake.

Blaze prefers to command his kill team from high ground, guiding them into position before dropping like a stone onto the field of battle like an avenging angel of legend, Sanguine Judgement cracking the very ground on which he lands and knocking his enemies from their feet.

Till next time!