Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Last Stand on Isstvan - Horus Heresy Battle Report

Last week we rolled out my new IX Legion Blood Drinkers army for a game of "30K". Conscript Greg supplied the storyline:

“The Warmaster has raised his true flag at Istvaan and now his Legions turn against the very Imperium they strove to create.  Horus’ war fleets make a grim advance toward Terra while the Imperial authorities struggle to recover from the shock of the Warmaster’s betrayal.  Through the Warmaster’s own sinister designs the Loyalist forces are scattered at the outset of the war and must make what defence they can manage while awaiting further instruction.

In this setting elements of the IXth Legion are making a stand in a city called Rogsburg, hoping to hold back elements of the Sons of Horus and the World Eaters as they race through the local system.  Can a determined local defense of a critical supply depot spike the plans of the Warmaster and his minions?”

We played a straightforward game with 4 objectives, on a half-urban-half-rural board using my new mat from Barrage Miniatures. The Blood Drinkers deployed a Praetor and his Command squad, two large tactical squads, a veteran squad with missile launcher, six-man Terminator squad, and a Rapier. They were joined by two large Solar Auxilia units (19 men each) and an Auxilia Veletaris Storm Squad.

The traitors followers of the alternative Emperor rolled with a couple tactical squads and some specialized weaponeers - squads armed with multi-meltas, heavy bolters, volkite weaponry, and plasma guns. Ouch! They were lead by a Praetor with command squad and various hangers-on like a Centurion, Apothecary, Legion Champion, etc.  Points totalled about 1500 per side.

Here's a view from the Blood Drinkers' side of the table. The objectives were mainly scattered through the middle of the table, with both sides having to move on them.

Game on! Traitor Marines move towards a wood, looking to set up a firebase.

Traitor tactical squad moves up also.

Traitors deploy in the built-up area. You can see a few of the traitor characters standing just outside the building.

Roll Tide!! The followers of Sanguinius got the first turn, and the two tactical squads moved up, fronted by the Terminator squad. First objective taken - seen at centre right just behind the front-line trooper.

The Blood Drinkers were accused of using the Solar Auxilia as ablative human shields in the battle, a charge that the IX Legion strongly denied. Not even sure how anyone would get that impression.

I mean, I ask you...?

Veteran Marines squad deployed behind an Auxilia squad and moved together towards objective #2.

Rapier Laser Destroyer somehow made it up onto the second floor of the building. Some serious suspensor work there.

Auxilia fan out a bit and start taking fire from the traitors at top.

On the other side of the table, the Terminators have been thinned down a tad, and some Auxilia have rushed to the front. Their righteous zeal for the Emperor knows no bounds - it would be downright boorish for the Blood Drinkers to prevent the Auxilia getting between them and the traitors.

Traitor bolter fire takes its toll on the Auxilia but the survivors hang in there. I have to give some props to the Solar Auxilia in this battle, their lasgun fire took a toll on the traitors, especially as the Auxilia was tooled up with some buffs to their shooting.

Blood Drinkers Veterans sweep towards the objective after Auxilia absorb the shooting. There's a reason these guys survived long enough to be "veterans".

Surviving Terminators anchor the line with the Auxilia. The battle's nearing its end and the IX Legion is firmly in control.

Too many chiefs and not enough braves on the traitor side, I'm afraid ;-)

The mighty IX Legion had a weight of numbers and the excellent Solar Auxilia to back them up, and while the game went back and forth, the result was a clear win for the followers of the Emperor. I really like 30K as a gaming experience - the models are great, and the fact that there's a limited number of unit types involved means that the "special rules overload" of 40K isn't as likely to rear its head. Heresy escalation is now in full effect - we need vehicles!!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sons of Horus Land Raider

Veteran marines from the 16th Legion on maneuvers with their new ride
It has taken over a year, but my Horus Heresy forces finally have a proper vehicle! This is a Land Raider Proteus from Forge World, painted to accompany the Sons of Horus into action against the dupes of the False Emperor. 

I took this photo to make sure I was able to mount the tracks properly for both sides

WIP progress - I was thrilled to have the tracks mounted on until I started priming...
So far, with the exception of El Booze, and Ferrum Mori, my 30k painting efforts have been concentrated on infantry - various foot slogging Marines as well as some Solar Auxilia.  But as you will see in a battle report that I expect Dallas to post here shortly, infantry alone can't always get the job done.  It's time to round out my Heresy forces with some vehicles, and the Knights and Titans are a little too unbalanced to set up for our Thursday games.

Ring mount for the sponson - one section gave way during the prep...f**k resin
The Land Raider Proteus is a wonderful model design from Forge World, a shout out to the original Land Raider plastic models from the Rogue Trader era.  When I think of the Horus Heresy games that I played with the "Space Marine" and later "Epic" games, Land Raiders were always prominent so I really wanted one to accompany the Sons of Horus and their friends on the table.

WIP - the green is down
Painting the lascannons separately is highly recommended
 A vehicle model from Forge World is always a fraught experience.  The designs are (for the most part) lovely, but the quality of the casting can be hit and miss.  Further complicating matters is the utter lack of instructions.  I have heard many horror stories in particular related to the Land-Raider-based vehicles, as the design of the model is open to rage-induction depending on how reliably the resin was cast.

Lucky for me this kit was relatively well cast. I had a problem with one of the lascannon mounting rings - it was laughably thin and a chunk came right off during assembly prep. The other challenge was the side doors - they barely fit, and it was more than a matter of a mis-cast - they were flat-out too big, and I had to do some carving to get them to sit in the recess of the side of the vehicle.

Ready to roll!
Figuring out how to mount the tracks was also a bit of a puzzle, but I was able to sort it out.  I was lucky, the tracks were straight and well-cast, and the track channels were cast properly and so the tracks fit! 

Twin lascannon sponson, ready to dish out abuse to the foolish adherents of the False Emperor
Chuffed about getting the thing put together, it wasn't until I started painting that I realized I had messed up - I should have left the tracks off for painting.  Getting the black primer into the recesses of the tracks was a huge pain in the a@@.  If I do another one of these, the tracks will wait and get a separate paint job on the side.

At least I was smart enough to leave the lascannon mounts and cow catcher aside to paint separately.

I'm sure the Sons of Horus use "green" bio fuels...
The painting results on this overall were...OK...I used the same greens and edge highlighting I have been doing on the Sons of Horus marines and while I looks alright, it's not as smooth as I would wish it to be.  I will probably have to break down and try and airbrush at some point if that is something I'm really interested in achieving...

Heavy bolter mounted on the command cupola
The decals are from the Forge World Sons of Horus decal sheet - the big "eye of Horus" symbols turned out great, but the roman numeral legion markings silvered up like crazy!  There is always something that comes up when painting a Forge World can still see the damn silvered reflection in some of the photos when you look at the "XVI" near the front.

Anyway, I sorted the decals as best I could, and did some hard core weathering - lots of sponge chipping, weather powder, and even some oil paint! However, I noticed that the Testors Dullcote tends to wipe out the effects of weathering powder, so I may have to go back and add a bit more. But overall it still turned out OK, well enough to roll out on to the table and get shot up in the first turn. 

Wheels are better than heels!
Of course a single vehicle still leaves my enlightened supporters of Horus short when it comes to transport - I hope to add some more conventional Rhinos, and maybe one or two more terrifying vehicle bits from the Legion armory.  But it's great to have this vehicle done and it will hopefully inspire more progress on some others.  Horus for hope!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

40K Chaos Renegade Ogryns WIP

A flurry of hobby activity over the past week included some greenstuff conversion work (I am hesitant to call it "sculpting") on two new acquisitions - some out-of-production metal Ogryns. I've given them gas masks to fit in with the rest of the Chaos Renegades. These two will fill out a squad of three models, joining the example I've converted and painted already.

This guy already had an augmetic eye fitted and I thought it would be a shame to lose that, so I gave him a half-mask.

The filters are done by making a small ball of greenstuff, setting it in place on the model, and pressing down on it with an appropriate-size circular or cylindrical object (in this case, I used some plastic rod I had around). Then, use a pin or dental pick to make the holes for the filter.

This model got a full over-the-head mask. Eye ports are made the same way as the filters.

Looking forward to painting these guys and having a squad of three models to use in the army.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Horus Heresy Painting - IXth Legion "Blood Drinkers"

Command Squad
Earlier this Spring, I decided to start a 30K/Horus Heresy project to join in the big game planned for later this summer. Not that 2,000 points of Space Marines is gonna make a huge difference in a game with multiple Reaver Titans, Knight Titans, and super-heavy tanks, but there has to be some crunchies around to get plastered by "D" weapons, right? ;-)

The first thing I had to do was settle on a Legion. It had to be Loyalist - mainly to offset the massive Traitor forces that Conscripts Greg and Byron have been amassing, and to better fit in with my Legio Metalica Reaver Titan and Loyalist Imperial Knight. And it had to be a colour scheme that I hadn't done before on an "army" scale. I've discussed this more in depth in my post on the test model, but suffice to say I settled on the Blood Angels Legion (the IXth) for a colour scheme, and focused on a particular military organization within the Legion - the Blood Drinkers (later to become a successor Chapter, of course).

Anyway, I'd been accumulating more Rogue Trader-era metal Space Marines (mostly in MKVI armour that came into use toward the end of the Heresy) for an undetermined project, and it seemed like a good idea to reassign those assets to this one. I'd also picked up a lot of RTB-01 plastic "beakies" (also MKVI armour) in various states of repair, and those had their paint stripped ready for reassembly and painting.

I also picked up the MKII "Command Set" from Forgeworld. Fortunately, these new resin models scale pretty well with the old MKII metal Marines that I have in the collection. For example, in the first picture above, the middle two models are Forgeworld, and the two on the ends are old metal MKII bodies with Forgeworld resin MKII shoulderpads, backpacks, and Phobos pattern bolters. Games Workshop itself produced "Armour Variant" models in MKI-V armours, typically with metal bodies and separate arms, pads, weapons and backpacks. In fact, you can still buy Finecast versions of these models here, although they're usually readily available in metal form on eBay.

MKII Command set from Forgeworld. Banner deco is decals, except for the numerals which are hand-painted

How about this Rapier! Old-school metal with MKVI crew
I wanted to include a Rapier in the list just for fun. My preference was to use an old metal model to better suit the character of the list - plus I already had some Marines in the collection that would serve well as crew. So a model was obtained from an eBay seller, painted and weathered. It'll serve as the "laser destroyer" Rapier variant.

Heavy weapon squad - per 30K doctrine, all armed identically, in this case with conversion beamers
The heavy weapons squad is identically armed with Conversion Beamers. I like using these as the weapons because they can reasonably proxy for just about any other heavy weapon, from lascannons to plasma cannons, except maybe missile launchers. The Marines and weapons are all metal from the RT era, of course.

Veteran squad - composed entirely of Marines in MKII-V armour variants
The 10-man Veteran squad are equipped exclusively with early-mark armour variants. They're also all either one-piece metal figures or metal bodies with resin or plastic arms. They also have backpacks appropriate to the armour type, and figures with separate weapons have Phobos bolters. I obtained the bolters and backpacks as pieces from eBay sellers who specialize in that.

MKV - "Heresy" armour - distinguishable by studded plating

Another MKV suit

Converted one-piece metal MKII. Replaced sword in left hand with a bolt pistol

MKIV with metal body and plastic arms - Phobos pattern bolter

MKIV showing pauldron decoration

MKII in its original form with sword

Another view - this is one of my favorite models!

Tactical Marines
The Tactical Squads are RT metal models with a few RTB-01 plastics mixed in. I've converted a few of the metal models for variety and to suit my aesthetic.

Another conversion - hand flamer out, Umbra pattern bolter in

RTB-01 converted a bit - I used the "bolt pistol" right arm to brace the bolter in a firing pose

There's several of these Marines with Terminator honours in the group - I cut off the ridiculous blade attached to the bolter

Artificer Armour

The "army" thus far
Well, that's the Blood Drinkers as they stand right now. I also have a metal Terminator Squad in Blood Angels livery I'd painted for Space Hulk a few years ago, that can easily slot into this force. Future plans include a 10-man assault squad (just waiting on jump packs from MaxMini), a metal Landspeeder currently in primer, two Rhinos (Chapterhouse conversion bits on the way), a Land Raider (ditto), aaaaand... a massive Spartan Assault Tank now on my painting desk awaiting assembly. Heresy escalation is a thing, you know ;-)

Anyway, it's been great fun accumulating and painting these models and I'm looking forward to adding the vehicles. I hope you enjoyed reading about the army - look for them in a battle report very soon!