Thursday, April 28, 2016

Iron Within, Iron Without - 30K Iron Warriors Test Models

Well, it's safe to say that around these parts, between the Betrayal at Calth boxed set frenzy and general Forgeworld crack addictions, the Horus Heresy is raging on. So it is therefore perfectly sensible for me, despite having armies of 40K Black Templars, Rogue Trader Howling Griffons, and Heresy-era Blood Drinkers/Angels, (plus Deathwing and Plague Marines too) to start another Space Marine army.

Step forward the Iron Warriors! The fourth Space Marine Legion to be raised in the First Founding; cold, calculating weaponsmiths; siege and heavy weapon specialists; and legendary all-around hard nuts, the Iron Warriors have a lot going for them as a Traitor Legion choice for Heresy-era gaming.  Not to mention that, as long as you like hazard stripes, the paint scheme is absurdly simple, fast-painting and awesome looking!

So I've taken the plunge into "the narrative of hope and change" as Conscript Greg would say, and have started collecting and painting a IV Legion force for our Heresy games. First up were some test models - a MKIII Space Marine from Forgeworld (seen here) and a MKIV armour from the Calth boxset (farther below).

I am a huge fan of the MKIII armour. It has a brutalist aesthetic that to me, just captures the Horus Heresy so well. The model was primed black and painted GW Leadbelcher, with gold bits picked out in Balthasar Gold. Hazard striping was done with Averland Sunset highlighted with Yriel Yellow. The whole model was washed with Nuln Oil, and the gold bits washed again with Agrax Earthshade, then highlighted with Leadbelcher and Balthasar. Some chipping with black over the yellow and light powders finished it off.

Although I have to admit that the MKIV suit isn't my favourite-ever Space Marine armour, the models from the Calth box are awesome nonetheless. This one assembled very quickly and accurately and looks great.

I painted him using the same technique as the MKIII.

His right shoulder pad is also left blank for application of some IV Legion insignia later.

I have two Calth boxes and five MKIII suits for a command squad, so that should pretty much do me for Marines. I reckon 30-40 Tactical Squad Marines and 10 Iron Havocs with lascannons, and perhaps a 10-man Tac Support squad or even Assault Squad made with Forgeworld accessory goodies. Ten Cataphractii Terminators of course, done up as Siege Tyrants with added missile racks, likely from some third party vendor. There's two Contemptor Dreadnoughts in those boxes too, along with an Iron Warriors body on the way. I have some Praetors about that could go Iron, as well as a MKII Command set with banner and leader-type coming. Vehicle support will be sparse but powerful to start with anyway, as I've ordered up a Legion Medusa (hopefully a better kit than the Armageddon pattern vehicle) and the irresistible Typhon heavy siege tank for some serious line-breaking.

"Iron within, iron without!" :-)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fantasy from Otherworld and Ral Partha

In preparation for my game at PrairieCon in June, I've been working on some fantasy figures. One of the murder hoboes intrepid dungeon adventurers in the game will be this wonderful fighter from Otherworld Miniatures.

I love that the Otherworld dungeon-crawlers are fully kitted out with gear. It gives them a kind of versimilitude that's often lacking in fantasy figures.

How about these guys for a throwback? Dated 1984 on the bases, these amazing Ral Partha Chaos Warriors hold their own over 30 years later, and that's how long these castings have been sitting in my box waiting to be painted. Better late than never, and they'll give the dungeoneers something to think about.

This model is one of my favourite fantasy figures of all time.

Completely bad-ass!!

His sidekick is pretty cool too. I love the full helm look.

This fighter of unknown manufacture was plucked from the obscurity of the bits box. He seems to be kind of an analog to the Otherworld fighter above - same style of helmet anyway. He'll be the fighter in the "other party" of adventurers in my game.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!"

This is another of my favourite RP sculpts from back in the day - the Jabberwock. Still holds up well nowadays and it'll give the dungeon adventurers something to consider.

So that's the start of the fantasy painting binge. Still have about seven more adventurers to paint but I can generally knock off one a night if I'm on it. I'll just have to make sure not to get distracted by the next Horus Heresy project...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Poll Results and New Poll

Our last poll asked, "GW has released plastic 30K models in the new "Betrayal at Calth" game. Will you buy it?"

35 of you responded; here are the results:

Yes, I'll pick up one. (9 votes, 25%)

Yes, more than one! (4 votes, 11%)

No, not interested in 30K (22 votes, 62%)

So a little more than one in three respondents intended to get their Calth on.

The next poll is in keeping with the GW theme:

Did you buy Games Workshop's new Limited Edition Imperial Marine last weekend? 

Register your vote up in the corner! /

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Necromunda League - Necromunda By Night

Last Thursday was a great start to our newly-formed Necromunda league (the League Rules are available here). Barry, MikeA, and Dallas came out with their gangs to fight the first scenario of the narrative campaign, Necromunda by Night. It's mostly based upon a Necromunda scenario pack used at Adepti-Con a few years ago.

Scenario 1: Total War

Your gang has been tasked by a local miners' guild to eliminate a creature that’s been nesting in one of the newly-abandoned domes. The creature only leaves its lair during lights down and its lair is very well concealed, so it is imperative to kill it before darkness descends.


Each player chose how many gang members they wish to deploy at the beginning of the game. A Bolt Action order die was placed in a cup for each ganger, using different colours for each side. The players then took it in turn to nominate a specific point on the table and picked out one die from the cup. The picked side then placed a figure on the specified point. This continued until all fighters in the cup were placed. Any fighters not placed at the beginning of the game moved on to their player's table edge during Turn 3.

Lighting conditions were getting worse each turn:

  • At the beginning of Turn 2, vision range is reduced to 36”.
  • At the beginning of Turn 3, vision range is reduced to 24” and models may claim partial cover if within 1” of a full cover structure or terrain feature.
  • At the beginning of Turn 4, vision range is reduced to 16”, models may claim partial cover if within 1” of a full cover structure or terrain feature, models may run and hide, and may not use the Fast Shot, Marksman, or Rapid Fire skills.
  • At the beginning of Turn 5, all the above restrictions apply and models count Fumbles as double in HtH combat.
  • The dome becomes fully dark at the end of Turn 6 and the game ends.

The objective was for either gang to kill the creature BEFORE THE END OF TURN 6! Whichever gang successfully killed the creature would win.

At the beginning of each player's turn, I rolled a D6 for each friendly fighter on the table. On a roll of 6 (adding +1 if the model is Down) , that model would be the first to encounter the creature. The creature model was placed within 4” of that model, in a random direction (scatter die). On each player's turn before the Shooting phase, it moved towards the closest model and attempt to charge into HtH combat (if target is under 6"). The opposing player made any applicable rolls for the creature.

Instead of using a "monster" figure, I used a model I had never actually used before in a game; a Bretonnian Sorceress that I had painted back in the late 90's!

She had the following profile: M5, WS5, BS0, S4, T4, W2, I6, A2, Ld10
She counted as armed with a Sword and a Massive Club. The creature had a 5+ armor save.
The creature counted as never able to be Pinned, and never suffered from Psychology effects.

I confess that I liked the idea of the creature being monstrous only in its disposition, not its appearance.


Barry's Cawdor faced off against MikeA's Spyre Hunters first. IIRC, Both sides fielded 5 fighters. The creature was revealed almost immediately by Mike's Spyrers, who were decimated by it and Barry's hot-shooting gang. The Spyrers bottled out, retreating off the table, but the Cawdors took it on the chin from the creature, failing to down it.


At this point we remembered we had camera phones, and Dallas and I took pictures of our own game.

Dallas and I faced off, his newly painted House Delaque (conversions of figs purchased from East Riding Miniatures)  vs. my own Spyre Hunters. Dallas fielded 7 gangers, while I fielded all 5 fighters. Dallas' leader took the high ground on top of a 3-story building, while the rest were spread out. The Spyrers were mostly by the train or near the restaurants/shops.


First turn I swung a spider-like Malcodon onto an overhead walkway, into close assault with a Delaque armed with a rifle.



The Malcodon made short work of his opponent.

Camera Roll-1044

My Orrus took cover behind the dubious protection of a planter.


Other Delques tried to move into position against him, so the Orrus ended up retreating into the wine store to gain cover.


The creature appeared by my other Malcodon. Moving away behind the mag lev train, the Malcodon set up a shot with his webs at the creature, with a Yeld flying down from a flat car in support.

Camera Roll-1040

My careful movement was to no avail, as the creature struck down both these Spyrers, plus a Jakara that tried to attack her in the subsequent turn.

Below, the creature stands victorious!

Camera Roll-1043

Meanwhile, my remaining Malcodon  was shot and put Out of Action by fire from a Juve and the Delaque leader, sniping from above.


Finishing off three(!) of my Spyre Hunting Party, the creature turned her attention to more of Dallas' Delaques, who couldn't seem to draw a bead on her.


After making a couple of Bottle Tests, my sole remaining fighter, an Orrus, made a desperate charge against a wounded Delaque Juve, putting him Down. That forced a Bottle Test on Dallas, whose leader failed, and thus the disheartened Delaques fled the field!


The creature was too far away to get into contact with my Orrus before the end of Turn 6, so we called the game.


Suffice to say, no one's gang slew the creature! There is a resulting three-way tie for Campaign Points. Barry, Mike, and Dallas each received 5 Campaign Points for their respective Draws. Barry and Dallas received a bonus Campaign Point each for "Game Hunter" (one of their models made one successful shooting attack at long range this scenario), and Mike got a bonus point for "Expert Tracker" (one of his models revealed the creature on Turn 1). As Arbitrator (player/referee and host), I received no Campaign Points.

By the end of the mini-campaign, the player with the most Campaign Points will receive an unpainted Goliath gang provided by Conscript Kevin. The Nightrider Award (for the best gang painted by one of the other players, awarded at my sole discretion) will be a Hired Gun model that I am in the midst of painting. A WIP shot can be seen below:

Camera Roll-1045

It's been fun to play these small-scale games, where every shot and every casualty counts. In the post game phase, one of the Delaques succumbed to his wounds, but was replaced by a Juve. The story is writing itself, as Dallas said the dead Delaque's brother has joined the gang, seeking revenge!

Some of the guys couldn't make it out last week, so there will be a few more folks playing Scenario 1, as well as the rest playing Scenario 2 this week. I look forward to more games in the under-hive!

Monday, April 11, 2016

30k Battle Report - Drop Site Party on Istvaan V!

It's time for a change! The XII Legion readies to finish off the dupes of the false "emperor"

Over the past couple of months I have been painting up some Raven Guard for further 30k mayhem on the table.  It's not a very big force at this stage - about 40 figures, no vehicles or dreadnoughts.  Not quite enough for a game of 30k under the current rules, but I was really keen to get them out on the table for an initial bloodletting.  So we decided to play some old-school Rogue Trader instead!  Dallas was kind enough to host the game two weeks ago, and set up a table for us.

Sons of Horus heavy support squad - locked and loaded
XVI Legion moves into a blocking position

The scenario was set on Istvaan V - home to the infamous "drop site massacre".  So you already know up front how this was going to end for the Raven Guard...the scenario featured the small Raven Guard force - two 10-man tactical squads, a 5-man support squad with autocannons, and a Preator and some bodyguard and command figures.  They realize they have been betrayed, and as their Legion brothers are massacred around them, this group looking to break out and escape into the hills.  They were trapped by a mix of Sons of Horus and World Eaters.  The Raven Guard would start in the middle of the 6' x 4' table, and their objective was to exit as many Marines as possible off of either short table edge, representing survivors who would head off into the hills and begin the guerrilla campaign against Horus.

Raven Guard survivors gather around a crashed shuttle, and prepare to make a break for it
XII Legion tactical troops take up a blocking position
It would not be easy. The traitors outnumbered the Loyalists almost 2-1, and featured a number of daunting weapons, including a support squad with five heavy bolters, another support squad with five multi-meltas (!) and a support squad with 10 volkite calivers! I tried to set expectations for the Loyalist players accordingly, reminding them the battle was known as the "drop site massacre", not the "drop site stalemate" or "drop site surprise win"...

Some heavy support for the World Eaters

Raven Guard heavy support lines up on some targets

Conscripts Dave and Dallas played the Raven Guard, while Indo and Mike F. took command of the enlightened followers of Horus. And as I said, we used the trusty old Rogue Trader game engine, but I did make a few adjustments - the toughness of the marines was increased to "4" from "3", and the basic save of Marine power armour was increased to "3+" from "4+".  Basically, we were just reflecting the "current" stat values of the marines in the old game.

Praetor prepares to confront XII Legion command

Covering fire! Autocannons try and buy time for the Raven Guard escape

And so the "drop site massacre" was on! The Raven Guard opted to break en-mass towards the World Eaters, wary of the heavy bolter squad from the Sons of Horus (remember, in Rogue Trader, heavy bolters are "following fire"...). Dave and Dallas used their autocannons for covering fire. Dave's Raven Guard Praetor led his command group into a direct confrontation with Indo's World Eaters Centurion and a smash-down featuring duelling veterans, standard bearers and leaders ensued.
A pitched battle, there is no mercy...

The Centurion for the World Eaters takes a lot of wounds, too many for the medic to do anything about...

Indo's multi melta vapourized a number of Raven Guard troops, and the Sons of Horus (although pleased to let Angron's clowns bear the brunt of the fighting) picked off a number of the retreating Raven Guard.  Mike F had a bit of a rough outing with the heavy bolters, so they were not as devastating as I expected them to be, but Dave and Dallas were also careful to avoid them to the extent they could...

Dallas' tactical squads make a break for it, led by the Company Champion
The Sons of Horus mop up...ouch...

The Raven Guard commander and his entire retinue fell heroically in combat, although not without killing nearly all of the World Eaters' command (the surviving standard bearer would be in for a promotion, assuming Angron wouldn't get mad at him for some random reason and kill him too).  The Raven Guard heavy support troops also fell, although not before taking several traitors with them.
The close assault between command groups grinds on...
With only one survivor when it's all over...

Dallas lost one whole tactical squad in the fighting retreat - many to Sons of Horus bolters and heavy bolters.  But his second squad managed to (mostly) skirt the ominous multi-meltas of the World Eaters and slammed into a World Eaters tactical squad blocking their escape.  Over several turns of tough close fighting (remember, you could use your pistols in close combat with Rogue Trader), the Raven Guard punched their way the time we called the game, eight Raven Guard (out of a starting force of 31) escaped.  I assured Dallas this was a decent outcome, and his survivors now represented like 20% of the Legion's active combat strength...they would head for the hills, join their surviving Primarch, and wage a dark and difficult guerrilla war against their betrayers...

Crash! Dallas' tactical troops look to break through...

I just love Rogue Trader, warts and all, and it was a lot of fun.  The guys approached with the proper spirit - particularly Dallas and Dave, looking to take as many traitors down as possible.  While this game would have been a very, very small game by the current standards of the rules, in Rogue Trader this was actually a very, very big game, and we managed to get it done.  Looking back, I should have increased the movement of all of the marines to 6" from 4" just to speed things up a bit.  But overall, I loved it.  I particularly like how the close combat is generally a grind, particularly between two evenly matched opponents.  Even the more heroic figures - the Preator and the Centurion - didn't just automatically kill everything they touched.  It was a great fight.

The Raven Guard overwhelm Angron's troops to make their escape...or, some of them do, at any rate

Thanks to the guys for playing - great for the Raven Guard to get their first game in! Big thanks to Dallas for hosting - and for putting the table and terrain together! I do really need to get some more vehicles painted, but one thing at a time...

Friday, April 8, 2016

Epic 30k Battle Report

Fellblade of the VIIth Legion unleashes fire from its main guns during Epic 30k action!
Another belated battle report as a catch up on a bit of blogging.  A few weeks ago, founding Conscript Curt C came to town for a weekend visit.  We tried out "Team Yankee" for the first time, but we also managed to squeeze in a game of Epic 30k using the "Epic: Armageddon" rules engine.  The scenario featured another battle between XVIth Legion, the Sons of Horus, and the VIIth Legion, the Imperial Fists, duped followers of the so-called "Emperor".

View of the table - the objective, the Administratum facility, is smack dab in the middle

Conscript Byron joined the game once again, taking command of the Imperial Fists, while Curt played the side of hope and change, the Sons of Horus. The game wasn't too complicated - both sides were looking to take possession of an Administratum building which housed critical records and data on the history of the later Imperial Crusades. The Warmaster, noted for his passion for truth, was particularly concerned about the presence of some records in this facility relating to recent operations in the Istvaan system. Intelligence sources indicated said records reflected poorly on his actions by completely leaving out the notable role played in these events by false-flag Imperial terrorists.  Consumed by his devotion to accurate historical recollections, Horus dispatched his Marines and heavy tanks to secure the facility for brutal and complete purging appropriate remedial measures.

Twin accelerator cannons - KABOOM!
This Fellblade is starting to feel the pain...
A kill for the Loyalists!

The game would last six turns, and whoever controlled the building would win.  The catch? Only infantry could be sent through the Administratum facility walls for any occupation (or related assaults) - the arcana of the outside walls, aided perhaps by some twisted dark-age technology, blocked all vehicles.  Given enough time, the enlightened chaps in the IT department of Legio Mortis might have solved it, but the presence of the Imperial Fists meant things would go down the hard way...

Sicaran tanks advance for the XVI Legion
The Imperial Fists try and corner another victim...
And so the battle raged! I have to say (selfishly) that it was great fun to see these figures in action once again, as Fellblades and Land Raiders clashed.  It was an escalating engagement, with Byron and Curt able to bring on an additional detachment every turn.  The catch - or, perhaps if you were Bryon or Curt, you might argue, the "shiv" - was that there were more detachments than turns, so they had to choose between bringing on artillery and heavy tanks to hammer their opponents, or bringing forward infantry to capture the building - and also to calculate how to get the infantry delivered to the building in one piece.

The Sons of Horus turn the tables!
And it ends in tears for the dupes of the false "emperor"
Early on the Imperial Fists seemed to be carrying the day, but Curt and his tanks - guided, surely, by their excellent training and faith in the Warmaster - started to knock out the Imperial Fist armour. By the 6th turn, there were almost no Imperial Fist tanks left running on the table...and yet...

The infantry of the XVI Legion seize the objective...
The Imperial Fists mount a fierce assault...

Hard slogging on the way up...
...And yet! Byron had fed a steady diet of available infantry into the maelstrom, and as the infantry battle raged inside the Administratum compound, the Sons of Horus were forced back in the final turn!

Whirlwinds fire in support...

The Sons of Horus are driven back...

But so are the Imperial Fists!
Opposing commanders reflect on the game - good times and lots of 30k carnage!
But not so much that Curt's lads couldn't dish out some final abusive artillery and break the Imperial Fist infantry too!  Maybe the VIIth legion needed a 7th turn...

And so, the 30k-est ending possible - nobody won, but there were tons of casualties! How appropriate. A big thank you to Curt for visiting and to Byron for playing.  Both embraced the spirit of the setting very well, and the carnage on the table was very enjoyable.  Epic remains one of my absolute favourite games, and playing Epic in the 30k setting is a ton of fun.  While I'm still painting 28mm 30k stuff right now, I'm planning to bring Epic 30k out to Prairiecon in June, so I'm hoping to get more stuff finished before then.