Monday, November 19, 2018

Isstvan Clash - 30k Sons of Horus vs. Death Guard

Byron's Death Guard jet bikes prepare to make their stand amid the ashes of Isstvan III.
Back in the fall, I was itching to get a game of Epic 30k in, and Byron was kind enough to oblige me.  Through this time my hobby mojo has still really been "in" to the broad 30k setting and the Horus Heresy (whether through Adeptus Titanicus, Epic or with the standard scale). So last week I was really keen to play a game of 30k in standard scale (using the fan-created 8th edition rules). Once again Byron was ready and willing to participate.

The battle lines are drawn - the glorious legions of Horus Lupercal assembled on the left side of the photo, while rag-tag pro-Emperor terrorists clog the table on the right side...
Byron has an excellent collection of 30k Death Guard (seen throughout this blog, and on Curt's Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge blog), and it is always fun to see those beautiful figures on the table.  They are a fine demonstration of Byron's great skill not only with his airbrush, but with the various filters/coats that he has used to achieve a very chipped and worn effect that looks absolutely fabulous.  Byron brought his lads over last Thursday night for a game.

Byron has done a fine job on his Death Guard collection.  Note the Volkite Culverins on that heavy support squad. Volkite weapons are not quite what they were in the 7th edition, but still...OUCH. 
My Praetor (white cloak, centre) prepares to lead the attack. 
I set the scenario on the ruined world of Isstvan III, location of the outbreak of the Horus Heresy and site of one of the Warmaster's most notorious atrocities clever victories.  In this battle, Horus and his fellow rebel commanders have kicked off their betrayal fight for freedom by trying to purge their own Legions of those who would not toe the line.  As such, on Isstvan III you can have intra-legion conflicts that would pit forces otherwise associated with a unified front against the Emperor against each other instead.

The Death Guard lines await contact...
In the story of the Horus Heresy, the initial wave of Death Guard had been sent down to take out the main defences on the outskirts of the Isstvan III capital city (known as the "Choral City").  Warned of the impending betrayal by Captain Garro, many of these Death Guard troops on the surface raced to seal themselves up in bunkers and fortifications they had just captured from the rebels. They survived the virus bombardment, and once the bombardment subsided, emerged on the ruined surface of the planet...as Horus landed troops to finish off these pockets of survivors, the Death Guard made an effort to move into the ruins of the Choral City and join up with the survivors from the other legions and simply hold out as long as they could. 

XVI Legion prepares to move out.  Note the heavy support squad hunkered behind the Rhino...they would have a disappointing outing...
So for our game last week, Byron's Death Guard forces would represent loyal marines who, having suppressed the rebellious regime on Isstvan III, were then betrayed and abandoned on the surface, bombarded from space and,  once it was clear they had managed to heroically endure said bombardment, were subjected to a ground assault...at a power level of 90, his forces represented a blocking force, looking to hold out while larger groups of their comrades escape to join fellow surviving loyalists in the Choral City. 

A 20-man tactical squad races forward. 

Contemptor dreadnought spearheads an assault, and a 15-man assault squad prepares to join the action. 
I assembled a similar power level force from the Sons of Horus, tasked with smashing these delusional followers of the so-called "Emperor" and preventing them from linking up with other survivors to perpetrate further acts of reactionary pro-Imperial terrorism...for rules, we used the fan-created 30k 8th edition stats and lists.  Remember that GW made the (somewhat bewildering) decision not to formally do an 8th edition for 30k...but the 30k community filled that gap in like...five minutes? Anyway, they did fine work, and we took advantage of this.

Death Guard jet bikes arrive to help stabilize the loyalist line...
And look, this game wasn't complicated.  Work was busy for both of us, and we were not about to tax our minds with a complicated game. This was a nice line-em-up, light-em-up game! My brave and honourable troops of the XVI Legion moved as quickly as possible to get to grips with craven Horus-deniers on the other side.  Surely we would wipe them from the table?

Well, not so much...over four turns of 30k mayhem, both sides pounded each other to pieces.  My 15-man assault squad and my kill-stealing very brave Praetor were the stars of the game for the Sons of Horus.  Of course, only two models were still around from that assault squad by the end of the game, but they did good work.  The Sons of Horus Praetor, for his part, cut down (or, depending on your perspective, "kill-stole") quite a few enemy tactical marines, before using his plasma pistol to score the final wound against one of Byron's Contemptor dreadnoughts...which duly EXPLODED! Mortal wounds all around!  Great stuff!  The Praetor eventually succumbed to combined fire from surviving loyalists. Having fallen bravely in the Warmaster's honour, his name will be inscribed on some motivational deck plate somewhere on Horus' ship, the Vengeful Spirit.

The XVI Legion Praetor..."edges in" *cough* to help in the close assault...
On the "needs improvement" file, I was excited of course to debut my new Sicaran combat tank.  But this was a newly-painted vehicle and...well, it went the way of newly-painted vehicles.  The Sicaran cannons shot up of lots of loyalists, but in the end my tank was blasted to bits.

The Death Guard dreadnought has just one wound remaining...the Sons of Horus Praetor draws a bead with his deadly plasma pistol, and...
KABOOM! Where did everyone go? Mortal wounds all around, including a couple on the Praetor himself...
The biggest disappointment was my heavy support squad with lascannons.  I was counting on those guys to take down some of Byron's heavy armour, but the only thing they managed to knock out was their own sense of self-worth...awful rolling...back to school for them!

Boy...that 15-man assault squad sure took a beating...
For Byron's side, his collection is tremendous, but in particular I just LOVED the jet-bike squad. He has them mounted on custom pill-shaped flying bases, and they look SUPER COOL. We found the rules penalized them a bit (the penalties for shooting heavy weapons when moving are a deterrent to zipping around the table - that seemed odd) but oh man they were neat on the table - and tough to bring down!

Surviving members of Byron's heavy support squad look to mop up a few more of their betrayers...
There were very few models remaining on either side when the game concluded - very apropos for 30k in my opinion. The loyalists payed a dear price, while Horus would surely rage at the heavy losses and delay incurred in what should have been a boring "mop-up" operation! Time for some new commanders in the Legion! I would say it was a loyalist victory.

Thanks again to Byron for the game - I just love the 30k setting, and it was great fun to push some Legion stuff around the table once again.  Hopefully Isstvan III will be a setting we can return to again soon.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A Hound For Hope - Warhound Titan for Legio Mortis


Warhound class Titan for GW's re-booted "Adeptus Titanicus" - in service with Legio Mortis
More Adeptus Titanicus stuff from the painting table to share.  This is a Warhound Class Titan, painted in the colours and markings of Legio Mortis, a Titan Legion affiliated with the noble Warmaster and his plans to, um, "rebuild the Imperium" from "the ground up".

As the smallest and lightest of the Mechanicum God-Engines, the Warhound is often referred to as a "scout Titan".  Which is hilarious. I mean, the Warhound is still many stories tall, and its weapons can still eliminate entire platoons or vehicle columns in one pass. How is anything that size "scouting" anything else? But in the glorious Imperium of the grimly dark future, it's all relative - the Warhounds are the smallest Titans, and as such, they have a sort of lighter, recon-type role to play.

WIP photo showing the engine coming together during the painting stages...just waiting for the head and the weapons. 
All this "scouting" means speed (I mean, in relative terms). The Warhounds are the quickest and most maneuverable God-Engines in the Adeptus Titanicus game.  The heavier chassis of the Reavers and Warlords will outclass them individually. The Warhounds' void shields will not last as long, and their plasma reactors cannot take as much abuse.

Some very nice, Warmaster-oriented iconography on the hull. 
But the "scout" moniker is misleading, and not just because it is still a very big thing. There are rules which allow the Warhounds to operate in a pack-like fashion.  These rules make them very dangerous to larger and heavier opponents on the table.  This is very, very cool. By operating in groups, using their speed and maneuverability to get into positions which are very difficult for larger, more ponderous opponents to handle, clever Warhound Princeps will score some engine kills for sure. Commanding a group of these on the table is a lot of fun.

A view of the engine, legs etc - outstanding detail on these kits, just lovely. 
This particular Warhound is equipped with a "Vulcan Mega-Bolter" (oh, the hilarious weapon names), very useful for knocking down void shields, although not so useful when it comes to actually harming the enemy engines.  Fortunately, it is also carrying a "Plasma Blast Gun", which can cause some serious damage if it lands a shot past the enemy void shields.

Plasma blast gun, useful for delivering hard-hitting energy blasts to vulnerable targets. 
These multi-part plastic model kits are very nice - each box comes with two Warhounds, and plenty of weapon options, options for different looks to the head, carapace and shoulder plates.  Really fantastic stuff and, as always, causes continued bafflement as to why the twits at GW could not manage to provide more weapon options for their Warlord kits.  But I digress...

The Vulcan Mega-Bolter - not so dangerous to armour, but useful for knocking down/out void shields on enemy engines. 
My new Legio Mortis collection to date, waiting on the shelf of a display case in the basement...getting pretty ominous!
And so we have another God Engine ready to help clear the path for the glorious Warmaster, Horus Lupercal.  My Legio Mortis contingent is almost complete.  But I think, in the interests of game balance, that I should add a bit more oomph to my Loyalist collection as a next step.  I mean, the glorious followers of Horus will need some target practice, after all. So I hope to be sharing some more Loyalist engines with you as the month wears on.

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Reaver Titan, Buildings and The Warmaster Himself for Adeptus Titanicus/Epic

Some more additions for "Adeptus Titanicus" and Epic 30k
I have continued to work on building up forces for GW's new-edition "Adeptus Titanicus", and those efforts have produced an assortment of items share - a new Reaver Titan, a few of the new buildings from the new box game and, last but not least, a very special character, the Warmaster himself, Horus Lupercal, in 6mm!

Reaver Titan

A Reaver titan for the Loyalists...doomed to be destroyed opposing the Warmaster.  How sad. 
This is one of the new multi-part plastic Reaver Titan kits from GW, painted in the colours of Legio Gryphonicus, the "War Griffons".  As so-called "loyalists", this poor God-engine will fight in the doomed cause of the false "Emperor".

If you have paid any attention to prior postings over the years on this blog, you will see I'm no whiz with plastic models, even very straightforward ones, and this was no exception.  I have difficulty posing the legs on these new Reaver Titan models, even when I believe that I am trying something relatively straightforward.  In this case, you can see I managed to over-pose the Titan's right leg and foot.  This prevented the leg "greaves" from attaching in a clean, proper way.

Oops. That leg doesn't look right.  That's what you get with "loyalist" Mechanicum, right? 
I din't realize this problem until I had already glued all the supporting pistons in place, and couldn't fix it without having to pull a bunch of really radical and risky modelling stunts - stunts which risked breaking the whole kit (and wasting too much $$). So I had to bodge it. The "solution" was that the leg "greaves" were attached in a slightly off-kilter manner.  I mean, this is a loyalist machine, so it only makes sense that it would have some sort of defect.  The crews were probably too busy obsessing over a so-called "Emperor" who doesn't even exist to notice!

These models cost a frigging fortune, but they are very nice.

I love the absurd "gatling cannon" - I mean...just nuts. 
This Reaver is sporting the trusty "apocalypse launcher" on top, a power fist for punching foes on its left arm, and the trusty "gatling cannon" on its right arm.  This armament will be mostly for knocking down void shields, and moving in for the kill with the power fist.  Or, in theory, at least, those are the proposed tactics.  In practice, this Reaver will encounter the hallowed God-engines fighting in the name of the benevolent and unstoppable Warmaster, and thus will see its void shields evaporated and plasma reactor melted down before it could ever even attempt the blasphemy of returning fire...but it will be fun to have on the table nonetheless :)

The Buildings

One of the new building kits from the "Adeptus Titanicus" box set.
The new "Adeptus Titanicus" re-boot comes with a nice set of new plastic buildings.  It is rare that I paint terrain, and I am already fortunate to have a large collection of the old-school card-and-plastic buildings from the original versions of "Space Marine", but these new buildings are quite nice to look at, so I thought I would paint some of them up.

Another view of the first building. 
The new buildings are modular, and the design is very clever, in that once you figure out how the components mix and match, you can really go to town and create structures which are at once very evocative of the pseudo-baroque gothic look of 30k/40k, but which are mercifully free of "skullz", and so are applicable to really any generic sci-fi environment (in 6mm).

I will say, however, that assembly is tricky.  And I don't mean by the "Greg is useless and impatient at model assembly" standard of tricky - they really are tricky to put together, a necessary condition of their modular nature.  But they are worth your time, and will give you some nice pieces of real-estate to fight over (and blow up in the process).

A nice, small, generic building - great for Epic 30k gaming. 
Two of these buildings have fairly generic sand-ish colours to match the desert terrain settings where I like to set my Epic 30k gaming.  But I thought I would have a bit of fun, and try something a bit different and more specific.  The green building will serve as a Consulate building for the Warmaster.  I used the same greens on the building as I did for my Sons of Horus marines, and I threw some decals on the roof.

A Consulate facility for the XVI Legion. 
Given the stature and importance of Horus Lupercal in the galaxy, I thought he would likely have these sorts of office facilities at different points across the Imperium.  At these locations, members of his staff, together with designated representatives from the XVI Legion, plot the destruction of the  of those who oppose them oversee various charitable causes such as free skills training and low-rent housing for those impacted by pro-Imperial terrorism.

But I think it will make for a fun objective in a game - and it shows how nice the building models are. The paint jobs here were very, very quick-and-dirty. But there is a lot to go to town on if you want to take the time, and much more skilled terrain painters than I (i.e. nearly everyone out there) will find it worth their efforts.

The Warmaster

The Warmaster himself, inspecting one of his facilities...

Since I love Epic 30k, and since I have collections of troops from the Warmaster's own Legion, and now, even a consulate for him, well, how about the Warmaster himself?  This is a privately sculpted 6mm-scaled figure of Horus Lupercal, Warmaster and Commander of the XVI Legion, humanity's last hope! The figure is a faithful rendition of the Forge World 28mm figure.

Suitably dramatic cloak. 
Obviously, I would not just pop Horus himself into any old scenario. But if he was to make an appearance in a game, I think a game of Epic would make more sense, where he can be accompanied by a full company of Legion marines, whole squadrons of armoured vehicles, and several Titans.

Some pelts, of course - the Space Wolves might think they are original, but they are just copying Horus of course...
Whether he is personally leading a critical assault, or perhaps looking to evade some manner of craven, low-brow terrorism perpetrated by delusional "loyalist" forces, Horus in Epic should help to set up some particularly fun scenarios for "Adeptus Titanicus" or Epic 30k.

For a small figure, still a really impressive sculpt. 
And of course, you may wonder, how about a figure for "The Emperor"? That way, they could fight it out on the table! Well, that might be interesting, but remember, there is no "Emperor"! :)

Thanks for stopping by at the Blog today - I hope you have a great day.  I'm off now for a quick visit to...Helsinki! The Winnipeg Jets are playing a couple of games as part of an NHL effort to promote their league in Europe.  If you know of a good hobby shop in Helsinki, by all means, share it in the comments! Happy painting to all.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Infinity Project Phase II: the Japanese Secessionist Army


(Click on the pictures to embiggen.)

Last March, while Jen and I were out of town on a mini-vacation, playing board games with Conscript Byron and his lovely wife Kim, news dropped about the release of a new(ish) faction for Infinity: The Game. Formerly a sub-faction of the powerhouse Yu Jing, the Japanese Sectorial Army morphed and changed into its present form, the Japanese Secessionist Army (JSA).  The folks of Japanese descent were tired of being oppressed, and rebelled against their Chinese masters, forming their own political entity. This necessitated some changes in the background and play style of the JSA, while keeping their core flavour of being basically sci-fi Bushi/Space Samurai.

This, of course, also meant that Corvus Belli released some new rules and figures, namely a JSA themed Infinity Uprising book and a JSA Army Box set, both of which I pre-ordered directly from Spain. The rules give some neat background and scenarios. The army box contains 10 figures, more scenarios, cardboard terrain, templates, dice, and a paper map (I had the similar Operation: Red Veil map dry-mounted on particle board at a framing store - see TERRAIN below). With the early-bird purchase, I got the three extra figures noted on the website, too.


FIGURES

The new figures are some of the best gaming miniatures I have ever seen. The figures continue Corvus Belli's new engineering practices, with very positive location points and pegs for the assembly of the multi-part 32mm scale models.  They are very much LESS fragile than their Yu Jing counterparts that I painted up last year.

I received all this stuff in early April, and assembled 9 of the models right away. However, with various work and personal commitments, I only finished the first 7 models over my recent vacation, at the end of September.

I finished painting 7 JSA figures: 6 infantry of various classes, and a non-combatant High Value Target. This is enough to play small, 150-point games of Infinity Recon+ or RECON 2.0, small firefight versions of the basic game, based on 2'x3' maps, instead of the tournament standard 4'x4' playing area. The mounted paper map is of such a smaller size, which makes for fast games, and an easily transportable setup for demos at conventions.

I attended a fantastic painting seminar put on  by Sergio Calvo Rubio back in May of this year.  Based somewhat on that experience, I approached the painting of these figures a little differently than I have in the past. The putative light source is now above, and sightly in front of the forehead of each figure; I hoped that this would provide a more dramatic look to the overall impact of the figure. Also, I was more concerned with the basic shapes of the figure - analyzing the cones, cylinders, cubes, etc. that are part and parcel of the figure's shape. I was less concerned with painting every detail. Also, I tried to highlight and shadow according to the texture of what each figure wore - sharp, point highlights for hard/shiny areas like armour and weapons, and softer edges for cloth, and to bring out interesting shapes of major areas.

As usual for my Infinity figures, all my bases are resin cast, from Dragon Forge Design. Secret Weapon and Vallejo washes, plus some oils, weathered the bases.

Below, I primed the figures with spray can GW Chaos Black, and I added zenithal highlighting with my new Iwata airbrush and compressor combo (blowing at ~17 psi; equal parts water, thinner, and pigment):




Below, faces done in Vallejo acrylics; ready for over-painting in tube artists' oils (to soften transitions, and punch up highlights and shadow):




Below, an in-progress photo:




Below, the completed High Value Target (HVT), a Kuge Delegate, a commercial agent representing the elite of a free Japan. She is armed only with a briefcase (full of counter-revolutionary secrets, no doubt), and a small cat. Using lots of thin glazes of GW Thrakka Green over the zenithal highlighting, I tried to emphasize the outline of her body beneath her traditional dress.








Below, a female Keisotsu Butai; a line infantry figure. Her face is really striking, so I used more contrast than my usual to bring out her expression. I also like how her cotton hakama (split pants) came out.








Below, a female Ryuken Unit-9. Able to infiltrate, armed to the teeth, and equipped with an optical disruptor, these individuals are tough, light infantry. This model looks a LOT like the anime character Major Matoko Kusanagi. from the Ghost in the Shell franchise. I again used a lot of contrast for her face. She is looking downward, so I left out the whites of her eyes. Just a few glazes of GW Nuln Oil brought out her musculature beneath her grey cat suit. The purple hair is pure Major Matoko. (This figure is also seen in medias res in the header picture above.)








Below, a Kempeitai - a type of political officer, who can immediately take over if the unit's officer gets killed. I painted it kind of like a character in Assassin's Creed, which his coat reminded of. His features are very craggy, which made for easy painting. 





Below, I used the limited edition Kaizoku Spec Ops figure as another Keisotsu. With his extra gear on his helmet and backpack, he is usable as a Keisotsu Forward Observer or Medic. I like how the figure is drawing a handgun; this adds to the strength of the physical connection between the (separate) arm and the torso.








Below, an Oniwaban master assassin. Kept it simple, using Panzer Grey for the zenithal highlighting, instead of white. The figure is basically black and grey, with appropriate highlighting for armoured or cloth areas. The pose is very dramatic.










Below, a Daiyokai Dengekitai. Not subtle at all, this is basically a model of a 7-foot tall guy wearing Samurai-inspired armour. The figure stands on a 40mm diameter base. I painted it with various GW greens (Drakenhof Nightshade, Kabalite Green, Sybarite Green) to give shape to the interesting armour and banner contours. I used lots of point highlights on the armour. The undersuit, as for all my JSA figures wearing green/teal armour, was in tones of dark blue and indigo. The large (~3 scale feet tall) brass crest was painted using NMM techniques; the new light source makes for a striking point of focus for the figure, whose features are mostly hidden by his posture and the high-tech jingasa-style helmet.












TERRAIN

Getting a burst of energy at the end of my vacation, I completed 13 terrain elements - Japanese and sci-fi buildings, lanterns, and a large Torii gate. These were all pre-painted, laser-cut MDF items from Bandua Wargames. I just needed to use white glue and clamps to get them together.

The sci-fi buildings are two different sets of their Q-Building, which can stack or be used separately. The Q-Building Beta better hides the edge seams associated with pre-painted structures.

The Torii gate, lanterns, and Japanese buildings are parts of Bandua's Edo District table bundle of building kits, that my dear wife Jen got me for my birthday. The Edo District components are usable for both historical Japanese skirmishes as well as sci-fi.

Coupled with some pre-existing holo-advertisements, cars, planters, etc., I placed most of the new terrain on the mounted Operation: Red Veil map to create the setup seen below. I think it gives a very Blade Runner type feel. 












FIGURES IN ACTION

Below, a Yu Jing light infantry figure stands beside a Tourou lantern.





Below, several JSA figures in mid-game action. The Daiyokai is huge!




Below, the Oniwaban surprises a Yu Jing heavy infantryman, while an Imperial Judge stands unaware in the distance.




Below, a Kuge Delegate is protected by a Keisotsu.




All in all, I am pleased with the progress of Phase II. I now have two painted factions, so I can always have a game of Infinity even if my opponent is new to the game. I think that I only need to paint 4 more figures (mostly heavy infantry) to make a full, 300-point ITS-Tournament-legal force for the JSA.