Friday, 21 July 2017

July hobby update - Sons of Orar Primaris begin.

Greetings all. 

As always, it appears my plans to keep up regularly with the blog have failed. Hobby time is extremely limited between the shifts I have been working and recent holidaying but the good news is my shift are about to revert to a more civilized pattern and so I'm hoping to get on track. Not much to add from a non-marine perspective sadly. My original plan for this year was to wrap up all my imperial marine plans by end of second quarter to focus on non marine stuff the second half of the year so I could make a clean break for chaos in 2018. 

Suffice to say this hasn't happened…..

To my credit I have it a damn good go though. In honesty I have found that an enjoyable hobby can sometimes turn into a chore if you set to restrictive targets, whereas having no targets to aim for at all can result in making no progress whatsoever. The past 6 months have allowed me to make great progress, but have taken away some of the enjoyment from things. Therefore more recently I have been less focused on meeting rigid deadlines and have allowed myself flexibility to just pick up a squad here, assemble some xenos there and it has made things a lot more enjoyable. However, I am drifting away from the goal somewhat so need to reestablish some focus. 

I have 17 (now 18) loyalist marine armies and getting them all up to assembled, basecoated and based (rebased in most cases onto 32mm) was no small feat. As it stands, I have finished all but a few of these tasks. The main outstanding ones to me are rebasing all my salamanders (about halfway there), some centurions for imperial fists (1/6 done) and, always pushed to the bottom of the pile, finally sorting out the entire luna wolves army. These in themselves pose an interesting question - now 40k and 30k have different rule sets how would I ever run them on the tabletop? For now I'm happy to carry on as if they are 30k on the assumption they will be unlikely to ever get a game regardless. 

It became apparent with the leaks that some of my squads would need a little tweaking, such as command and honour guard squads with the new changes to squad numbers and also I might swap a few scout squads around to spread the sniper love between armies. I am waiting a little longer though to see precisely what the lowdown is on things from the official marine codex. Initially I was a bit annoyed that after almost 2 years of trying to get all of the above armies to fit into the new detachments (some swapping and purchasing involved) that it's now all invalid. However, the newer way to build armies is much more flexible and allows fw units to be easily incorporated so I'm more than happy with it. 

I mentioned army number 18 above. I always had a pipe dream of making a small sons of orar force to represent the forces from my one attempt at fan fiction. The arrival of primaris marines gave me 4 options:
  1. Don't collect them (obviously never a real option)
  2. Integrate individual units into existing armies
  3. Start a new faction
  4. Change my sons of orar idea into a primaris faction
As my fan fiction didn't feature primaris marines it would mean giving up on that aspect of the army build but ultimately this is what I chose to go with. As can be seen below I have made a test model and intend to gradually incorporate the new range of primaris marines into the army once I have an idea of what units will be available. I wasn't a fan of the idea of simply adding one unit per existing army as it would look a bit odd and at least this way I would have a unique army on the battlefield. The rest of the models are basecoated and ready to go and I need to settle on a basing theme also. Although I promised not to touch chaos just yet I couldn't resist assembling the death guard also and having a play with some washes.
 
 
Test model done aside from the weapon
 
Dark imperium sorted

A stab at plague marines

My Original Sons of Orar test model who sadly has no place in a Primaris army. Any takers?


It's been a while since I have done any decent codex reviews or tutorials. To be honest the pace of 7th was just too overwhelming to keep up with reviews in the end and, as I haven't even managed a game of 8th yet, there seems little point in me trying to review anything. I may drop a small review in once the marine codex hits but that will be more comparing old to new rather than analyzing what's best in 8th as I don't feel qualified to comment. I may do some basing tutorials as one thing rebasing all those marines has taught me is how to make a few nice lava bases. 

That outlines where I am and what I'm likely to do on the blog but states very little about actual hobby intentions over the next 6 months. One thing that my relentless drive to completeness has taught me is that it's very easy for a pleasure to become a chore. I realized after a while that it had been ages since I'd actually sat down to paint a squad or individual model. Plus there's only so much basing and power armour assembly you can do before getting fed up with it. To this end I have been painting the odd squad here and there and even assembling some admech and harlequins ahead of schedule in order to stave off boredom. Therefore my hobby targets have shifted somewhat but remain overall similar. New targets to be interspersed over the next 6 months are as follows:

  1. Finish basing salamanders
  2. Finish assembling imperial fists centurions. 
  3. Any loose ends for marine stuff i.e. Scouts
  4. Finish assembly and basing of luna wolves. 
  5. Continue with collecting/assembling new primaris army
  6. Aim to paint one unit every 1-2 weeks
  7. Assemble harlequin army
  8. Base harlequins/dark eldar in same scheme as craftworld eldar. 
  9. Assemble admech army. 
  10. Loose ends with other Xenos bits i.e. Necron characters, phantom titan. 

Now that's more than enough for a (less than) 6 month period. And this is not including the inevitable curve ball that will be thrown with new codex releases. If it's a simple matter of a new release or two accompanying a release I may use it as a reason to focus on that faction for a week. For example, the grey knight codex we know is coming (and I recently rebased and got the army up to scratch) but around its release I may use that as incentive to paint up another squad and generally give them some attention. A release like say sisters of battle on the other hand would need a change in approach…….

As for imperial guard and chaos, I am growing less enamoured with my ‘counts as’ mantic guard as time goes on and so am putting them on hold for now - no point going to a huge effort assembling them if they will ultimately be replaced. As for chaos, I intend to get the codexes and have dabbled worth the starter set death guard but ultimately am still waiting until all my other armies are where I want them before getting stuck in. Though the call is strong. (Heresy!) Below is a selection of things I have been working on the past few months. Cheers. 

A selection of Salamanders on new bases.

My Imperial Fists infantry in all its yellow splendour

The legion as it currently stands

Lysander and pals

The task ahead

Based blood angels assault squad

Based blood angels devastators

Selection of Ultramarines basecoated

Smurf infantry

Grey Knight purifiers basecoated

Testing out the citadel white texture paint

Sunday, 11 June 2017

8th edition release thoughts.



Hello all. That most wonderous time that only comes around once every so many years is almost here. The impending release of dark imperium (everything is 'dark' this or 'storm' that these days) opens the next chapter in the 40k saga, promising faster, more balanced gameplay, new armies and further progression of the storyline charting the rise of chaos and guillemans return. 

So what are we actually going to see from this release? So far we are promised not just the starter set that is all too familiar for new editions (save for 7th and 1st ed) but also a hardback rule book available within the box and separately. This is a new development and it appears you also get the core rules as a set of reference sheets as well as free PDF download. Of course there are the obligatory dice, ruler, transfers and other bits also. The presentation of the box overall seems vastly improved over previous editions with separate sections and inserts to keep plastic and books apart.



Primaris

I've already talked about these a little in a previous post but in the interim we saw some very detailed pics of he individual squads. So we get a gravis captain, ancient (ie standard bearer), 2 lieutenants and a host of smaller squads. These are two squads of  intercessors, a squad of 5 helblasters and a squad of 3 inceptors. The Inceptors are the only models I wasn't sold on initially - there's a lot about their design that I can't immediately like, as opposed to the rest of the models which I immediately took to. They are growing on me but it'll take time.

Next the characters. The gravis captain is effectively an artificer captain and incorporates elements of the intercessors, Inceptors and some extra armour plates. There is of course the obligatory cloak and power sword, but also a gauntlet comprising a power fist and bolt weapon. He does look a bit bulky with all the overlapping armour but stands apart from the other models as a result. The ancient is a bit disappointing in that, aside from the standard, there is nothing to mark him out as unique. Same with the lieutenants. Aside from the wargear there is nothing that really makes them standout. 

The intercessors are all uniquely posed but, unlike tactical squads, possess no weapon options. Whether this will be the case with the squads once the army gets its own codex who knows. Would be strange that the sergeants cant take options but then again they are trying to make them distinct from the normal tactical guys and giving them no options within squads is certainly one way of doing it. The armour looks good and overall they make a nice core to the start of a collection. Helblasters are pretty much the same but with some very cool plasma weaponry instead of souped up bolters. This is the start of a very promising new army and it will be interesting to see how they expand it into a new army in its own right (we've already seen the tank and dreadnought so they can't be far off, maybe even this month)



Nurgle

Onto papa Nurgle. Like the thousand sons, Death Guard are now getting their own unique flavour, silly names and all. The 3 main characters are reasonably well scaled to look like bloated and ancient Marines on eye level with the Primaris. Effectively the death guard answer to a terminator Captain, ancient and Librarian, the three characters ooze (!) detail and are a great new direction to have taken the death guard in. The Plague Marine infantry are beautifully detailed also (note there are 7 of them as in Nurgles sacred number) with a nice plasma gun in there as well as plague knives galore.

The foetid bloat drone is a nice addition to the armoury and has a clear relationship with the larger blight drone. The position of the engines in a nurgle triad shape is a nice touch.  Lastly, the poxwalkers are beautifully unique and gleeful at their existance in service to papa Nurgle. These chaps will be a lot of fun to convert for even more unique looking models. I expect having seen the earlier GW pictures that a box of Plague marines, terminators and who knows what else is not far away. The artwork we have seen shows a few more plague vehicles (and of course the big guy Mortarion himself) and so I suspect a significant expansion with codex is also not far away.




The index books are a new step for gw and at a very reasonable £15 each will allow all players to update their armies for 8th immediately rather than wait years for codex releases. This is a very welcome move and the price makes it an even sweeter deal. Even someone who only has the one army likely won't be too disgruntled at having to pay for rules they don't need at that price. From one end of the spectrum to the other, there is also the obligatory limited edition which is beautiful as always but for me carries far too high a price tag.

Then we come to the releases alongside the main boxes set and books. Some cards to help keep track of objectives as we've come to expect over the past 3 years. Also, though we are keeping a D6 system we can use D10s as wound markers now. Some other coloured dice that can be used to keep track of unit status. A small rubber measuring tool is also thrown in for good measure (groan). A novel telling the story of Dark Imperium so far and, last but not least, some very tasty and flavourful objective markers designed to fit with the latest scenery.



So what does all this mean for me? I certainly plan on getting the starter box as, despite being more expensive than previous starters it has a great selection of models and a 280 page rule book included. The death guard will be boxed until I have fulfilled all my hobby commitments but will likely be one of the first chaos armies I start with. The primaris marines remain a bit more of an enigma. It's a pretty binary decision for me: split them amongst existing armies or start a new army, most likely sons of orar if I do. For now I plan to carry on with my existing hobby commitments and wait to see how the primaris codex shapes up when it's released. 

I also have the index books incoming as they're a great way to get so much information on how the armies will play in this edition and just working through them alone will take months. Just rewriting army lists will take enough time in itself! The objective markers are just gorgeous and I couldn't resist picking up a set.  This is a very exciting time to be a 40k fan but I can't help but remain feeling overwhelmed by it all. My hobby time is becoming more and more limited and, with the reset button now effectively pressed for everything it will be hard to get my head around what I need to do and when. 

I have fallen behind schedule with my hobby commitments but actually overall am managing to make pretty decent progress on things. I had originally hoped to be done with Marines by end of June but have gotten sidetracked with other hobby things, mainly due to being bored with the tedium of working through marines. I still aim to get them done this year but may move on to non-marine / non-chaos projects sooner than intended to keep things fresh. The net result should be the same for 2017, just a slightly different order. 



Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Primaris Astartes revealed!




Well they're here. Months after the initial teasers that a fair few decried as conversions (I personally always believed them to be the real deal) we now have official photos and the lowdown on marines 2.0, or Primaris Astartes as we now know them to be called. I thought I would talk a bit about them and give my thoughts. To best go about this I'm going to split the article into 3 and talk about first the concept, then the models and lastly the rules.


Concept

So GW are continuing with their storyline advancement and revealing what it was that Guilleman tasked Cawl with for the past 10 millennia. There has been some outrage about this from fans, calling weak plot device and cheap sales gimmick. I don't mind the storyline myself and see it as a natural progression of things. The Imperium is at its lowest ebb, enemies striking from all sides and now one of the Emperors sons returns with a new crusade to, if you'll excuse the TF reference, light their darkest hour. 


But as we know GW is mostly driven by money, and this new AoS style ruleset now has its very own 'Sigmarines'. This isn't as surprising a move as one would expect given the current SM range and the last releases. One got the impression that, between Centurions, the stalker/hunter and the Stormhawk, GW were getting a little desperate to find units to fit into the SM range. They filled this gap nicely with the Horus Heresy marines, but there's only so many plastics one can release without invalidating the FW range. As far as I can tell, the only units that need plastic representation in the SM codex (if you ignore those such as dreadnoughts, scouts and teminators desperate for updates) are techmarines/servitors/thunderfires and honour guard, neither of which are going to be huge sellers. (Note, I still hold out hope that we will get chapter upgrade sprues for the other first founding Chapters at some points and, given that the pads are compatible with Primaris I actually think it's all the more likely)


Anyway, back on track. There was a need for them to revitalise the SM range and rather than take a gamble (which they would probably lose) and invalidate the entire range with a revamp, they chose the middle ground and designed these chaps, the Primaris Astartes. Bigger, better and faster than a regular Astartes, they chose to make them so they could be both used as an army on their own (more on that later) or as a supplement to an existing force - from a collectors point of view this is ideal as you can either ignore their existence, add a single unit to your collection or go all out and buy a whole army of them. Speaking of which, it has been stated that we will be getting about half a dozen units which I expect to fill out the regular assault, devastator and terminator roles as well as a dreadnought and vehicle. 


I do like the dynamic of how some Chapters are willing accepting of them as reinforcements but others are more hesitant, seeing them as an abomination of the Emperors work. (Templars I'm guessing) Also, it is implied that the enhanced abilities come with enhanced gene flaws, which may not work out too well for BA and SW. The nomenclature, however,  is one thing I don't like as it doesn't fit with the rest of the SM range. We go from tactical, vanguard, scout to Intercessor and likely a whole range of such named models. (again, shades of AoS here) As for Mk IX armour, I can't believe this is lazy or an oversight by GW. I'm sure we'll get Mk IX at some point in the near future.


Appearance

Standing broader and a head taller than regular marines, the design features from several past MKs of armour can all be seen. GW have stated that they are cross compatible with heads and shoulder pads from the standard lines, making it easier to accesorise them to fit in with other chapters such as BA/DA/SW. I love the look of the bolters and also the plasma weapons we have seen. The 'Captain' also looks great and is noticeably on a 40mm base while the others remain on 32mm. Squad markings remain consistent with their Astartes brothers and, when viewed next to each other, it's actually quite tricky to tell them apart. 


One thing I haven't quite managed to get my head around thus far, however, is the starter set pic we have seen. Firstly, I'm 99% sure it's a starter set that's pictured. The contents, concept, way the scene is set all points to it. Secondly, it is defintely Ultramarines Vs Nurgle, as some of the Death Guard models we have already seen can be picked out (i.e Bellman). Now initially I was of the thought that The starter set will contain new snap fit regular marines and that the Primaris will be released later as their own release. Now I'm not so sure. Having scrutinised the pic it's clear there are 22 models on the UM side and that 5 of these appear to be assault marines on the new flying bases. The others are presumably 3 5-man squads and two characters. Really couldn't call it either way at this stage so we will have to wait and see.


Rules

I'm going to glance over the insights the profile gives us to relative power levels, grenade rules etc and just point out the obvious. The differences over a standard marine profile is that they get an extra attack and an extra wound. That is aside from any other rules the keywords may give. They come with the same equipment as a standard marine except that the bolt rifle has a -1 save modifier and an extra 6" range over the standard bolter. Now for the drawbacks. Squad size is fixed at 5 and the Veteran Sergeant is a compulsory upgrade with no options. Speaking of options, they don't have any. It's bolters only for this squad at least. 


As for how they fit in a SM army, it looks to me as if GW have very sensibly decided to put them in all SM armies. We know the Intercessors are troops and thus we could assume that, rather than being an individual faction, they will get rolled in to the SM army list, allowing you to pick and choose the new units for an army of Primaris, or simply adding them to your existing list.
So we finally got the 'moviemarines' that people have been raving about for as long as I've been in the hobby. How much transport capacity they take up in vehicles remains to be seen but in theory you could take an army of just these chaps and play them as being more resilient and with more attacks / nastier bolters than your standard marines, playing them as movie marines. Or you can pretend they don't exist and play your regular marines as normal. That's the beauty of how GW have executed this - you get the best of both worlds and can pick and choose as you wish.  


In conclusion

Excited for all things related to 8th so far - new rules, new starter set and new Primaris marines. Obviously they will be on the shopping list whether in the starter set or not but exactly how to use them remains to be seen. I suspect that if they are in the starter then I will be tempted to make them an army rather than add to existing. If not then I will probably add a few units to existing armies over time. Cheers.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Space Wolves full army showcase






Greetings folks. I actually got these chaps to this stage some time back but for whatever reason haven't got around to putting them up til now. This is my complete Harold Deathwolf Great Company strike force which has seen a labour of love to get to the stage it's now at. Left to right it consists of 2 Wulfen packs, 2 Thunderwolf packs, Logan, Harald, Canis, Iron Priest on wolf, 3 Lone wolves/Battle leaders, 10 Fenwolves (+2 cyberwolves), 3 Wolf Priests (including Ulrik), a land raider crusader, Stormwolf, 5 terminators (2 to be used as Arjac/Wolflord) 5 wolf guard, 3 Rune Priests (1 is Njal, 1 is a proxy), 15 Blood claws plus Lukas, 2x 10 grey hunters in rhinos, 3 dreadnoughts (can be assembled in various combos to include bjorn and murderfang) 6 long fangs, 5 skyclaws (plus a JP wolf guard) 5 wolf scouts and a footslogging Iron Priest (totally forgot to add the drop pod into the pic). Phew. That's the run down, now for some up close pics:

Thunderwolves, Logan and Iron Priest




More Thunderwolves led by Harald and Canis. Note some of the Thunderwolves are 3rd party as I got them well before GW released any.




Wulfen

Classic Wulfen converted with modern weaponry




2 grey hunter packs

Skyclaws and rhinos

Blood claws led by Lukas

Long fangs (with new dev legs) and wolf scouts

Stormwolf and land raider crusader

Geigor, Dren and 'not ragnar' - designed to be used as battle leaders, wolf lords or lone wolves

Rune Priests. I use Krom as a proxy as he looks the part.

3 dreadnoughts and Iron priest

3 Wolf guard terminators plus Arjac and a Wolf lord. The latter two can serve different roles and the last member of the set joined the deathwatch.

Limited wolf priest with old Ulrik and new Ulrik

And that's all of them. Love the army especially now they are on 32mm bases. Plans are obviously to paint them properly one day and to use the new GW texture snow to add to the bases. For now though they are complete and table worthy and I have no intention to add anything to them unless they get any new fun toys in the future. Cheers.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Blood ravens full army showcase


This was an extremely fun themed army to develop and nurture over the years. The theme was dawn of war, in that (with a bit of wiggle room) there are no units in the army that you wouldn't find in the dawn of war games. By wiggle room I mean that I have a unit of vanguard veterans which, while they don't appear in the game, seem to represent assault marines well. Things such as centurions and flyers however are not to be found in the  army. The other aspect to the army is that  I have tried to represent all of the characters found in the games with converted models. 

Initially the army was run as a combined arms detachment, but a couple of strategic additions to the line up have allowed me to split this into a gladius strike force and a smaller combined arms detachment. 

Battle demi company

The Gladius core choice is, of course,  a demi company. In this case the composition is 3 tactical squads each led by a character from the games, namely tarkus, aramus (force commander) and an as of yet unarmed chap representing the misc sergeant from the original game. There are a pair of rhinos and a drop pod to aid them or others in getting around. The fast attack slot is a land speeder and the heavy slot a devastator squad under the command of avitus. There is an apothecary model for completions sake but the veterans I have are usually fielded in the 1st company task force rather than as a command squad. 

Sergeant Aramus, Noname and Tarkus

All 3 incarnations of Gabriel Angelos

Scout sergeant Cyrus, Captain Apollo Diomedes and Sergeant Avitus
In terms of characters that can lead the company, there are 5 to choose from. The generic plastic chaplain is a decent rendition of chaplain mikaelus. The other options are all captains or chapter masters of one sort or another. Captain apollo diomedes is a jump pack captain, captain Gabriel angelos is a relic blade captain and finally chapter master angelos comes in his power armour or terminator armour forms wielding a thunder hammer. Last addition to the battle company is none other than the venerable dreadnought Davian Thule. 

Librarian Natorion, Orion and Isador

Chaplain Mikaelus, Techmarine Martellus and the apothecary whose name I've forgotten.

The indomitable Davian Thule


For the 1st company task force there are 3 squads. A unit of terminators led by Tarkus in terminator armour is the first, a small sternguard unit led by The Ancient is the second and lastly a small Vanguard squad led by Thaddeus. A Land raider is in support. Random fact: aside from Angelos the only other character to get a duplication is Tarkus in his original, terminator and ancient guises. (and he may even have a fourth if the original DoW Sergeant was meant to be him also)




The combined arms detachment is led by either a techmarine (martellus) who is converted from an older techmarine model or telion (Cyrus) the converted scout sergeant. The troops slots, as with most of my marine armies, are made up of a couple of scouts squads, in this case with sniper rifles. Fast attack wise there is a sole forgeworld contribution in the form of a landspeeder tempest. This is not the genuine model and I actually a conversion I made some time ago. Heavy support is occupied by a predator with a scratchbuilt front armour plate. I also have a whirlwind turret option as an alternative loadout. 

2 Scout squads, Cyrus, a Predator, Tempest and Techmarine Martellus make up the CAD



Veteran Sergeants Ancient, Tarkus and Thaddeus

Well that about wraps things up for the Blood Ravens. They need work to get the other half of the army up to tabletop standards but in terms of the size of the army I call it a day. Very pleased with such a fluff-inspired themed army that, while some elements are pretty plain (the mono-pose tacticals for example) other elements such as the characters conversions and unique look of the army make it pleasure to see on the table. Cheers.