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!


Monday, 6 August 2018

Looking to get back in the groove

Hi all,
wow, it's been a long while since I last posted, almost 3 months in fact! I'm thoroughly settled in to my new job now so I'm looking to get myself a little bit of time now and again to get back to the blog and get some more content out!

So, what's been happening in the hobby world since then for me?

Dusk Knights

These guys are now mostly up-to date in terms of having painted almost everything I own for them, though with each passing codex release it becomes apparent that the book is ageing quite quickly, in particular in terms of which units 'should' make up a fluffy force, compared to which units 'do'.

I think the next additions to the Dusk Knights are going to be in the armoured section, with a view to getting the 'black templar' combat side of the army functioning better.

Swords of Dawn

Ever since I started painting the Stormhawk Interceptor for this force, I've decided that I'm short on detail in the paintwork, so I've tweaked the background for them slightly and I'm adding some more tribal/piratical style markings to them, I wanted to add some unusual flavour to the chapter that much of the Primaris stuff seems to be lacking.

Mael Dannan

I'm just about up to speed also with these guys now as well, just a few underslung guns on the windriders to do. I've got a big batch of other models to do for them, however these were a freebie from a friend and none of them are GW models so they're nothing more than occasional stuff to keep my hand in.

Kill Team

Well this was a real welcome release, I've run several kill team tournaments at my local club, so to get hold of a proper rule set and supported game was beyond anything I had dreamed of, plus it gives me an excuse to start a new army. And plug my other project of course, since me and my brothers grim have decided to run ourselves a campaign and get some battle reports filmed and on to youtube. I'll let you know more details when I have them, but for now, just a heads up that we all agreed it would be more fun to draw factions at random than resort to our default favourites. I'm not gonna reveal too much just yet, since we filmed the draw but we've got a pretty nice spread of factions involved and I'm working on some cool background for the campaign (plus writing a second background for my club campaign, why do I do this stuff, haha!?)

That's it for now, but I'll try and get some regular posting back soon and get some more pics up for you to see! I'm also going to look at getting the background and fluff parts of the blog bulked out and organised better - I've always enjoyed making sure my armies have background but that's rarely made it very far in terms of anything other than my own head.