Tuesday, August 12, 2014

World Eaters Tactical Support Troops

World Eaters Space Marines with "tactical support" weapons; I will add some groundwork once I finish painting the whole group
Well, it's been a while, but I am finally putting paint on some more Horus Heresy figures for Warhammer 40k (or "30k").  These are figures from Forge World, Space Marines wearing Mark IV power armour from the "World Eaters" Legion, one of the Legions that would turn against the Emperor and join with Horus' rebellion.

The officer has a "vexilla" - I thought they were stupid at first, but I really like how Byron's turned out so I thought I would do at least one officer with one

The "Tactical Support Squad" is a creature of the Legion army list, a troop choice of a supporting nature (although I haven't seen the latest cash grab-dex, so perhaps they changed this?).  Keeping with the grand style of the Space Marine legions, the squad is all armed with the same support weapon. This essentially creates an Imperial version of the Eldar Aspect Warriors, and this is a good thing for the Legion player.  Concentrating the weapons in this way manages to simultaneously match well with the fluff of the setting and what I imagine the "tactical approach" of a Space Marine Legion to be (overwhelming, singular application of brute firepower) while also allowing the Legion to fight on the table in a way that lines up perfectly with the min/max channelling effect created by the 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th edition of the 40k rules.

The embossed shoulder pads are a dangerous addiction - once you do one squad with them, you will want to do all squads with them...
The weapon options for these Tactical Support squads range from the classics - flamers, melta guns, plasma guns - to some specific Crusade-era/Heresy-era choices like "Volkite" weapons.  To catch some of the flavour from the period, I opted for the latter choice for this squad.

The armour is quite mucky (pigment powders) but I still needed to weather the shoulder plate markings a bit more
The good weapon smiths of Mars made Volkite weapons available from pistol-size all the way to super-heavy-tank size.  Other than the officer, the Marines are carrying Volkite Calivers, sort of on par with a plasma gun.  According to the fluff, Volkite weapons are a type of thermal ray weapon, once common among the early Legions but, as the Emperor's Crusade started to really take off and the ranks of the Space Marine Legions grew and grew, was replaced by the more available and easier-to-make bolt gun.

Volkite Calivers - a sort of plasma gun without the downside
The weapon has a special rule - "deflegrate". I was less taken by its game effect (which seems kind of scary yet redundant and therefore somewhat pointless) than by the word itself. Apparently "deflagration" is an actual thing - subsonic combustion through heat transfer, or something like that. So this is a horrifying weapon that I can totally imagine the Space Marine Legions rolling out to use on those who resist the Imperial Truth.

Plus the Forge World sculptors/designers did a great job on these guns - as they have with so much of their Horus Heresy stuff.  The weapon looks f**king cool and dangerous.  I love it for the looks-cool-factor.

I am doing a 10-man squad with these things, and I hope to finish the whole group by Friday.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Tempestus Scions - Full Squad

GW's Tempestus Scions
More dribs and drabs from the painting table.  Here is a completed 10-man Tempestus Scion squad, GW's new plastic storm trooper figures for the Imperial Guard. This is a completion of the original mini-project that I started back in July.  I had intended to finish these models, together with a command group, in time for Curt's visit at the end of July.  The timing didn't work out, but at least this initial batch is finished now.

The squad has two special weapon spots, and I opted to go with the new "hot-shot" volley guns.  Unlike the lasguns, they are pretty decent weapons.  They suffer from the intensely lame "gets hot" special rule, but with some luck (ha! yeah right!) and some use of orders from the officer you can avoid most of the worst after-effects from that barmy rule.

Look cool, but they die easily and quickly in the game

A few of these individual models saw some limited action during Curt's visit and the hunt for the "Red Barun", but they will have to wait a bit for their first use on the table as a full group.

Lots of gear and stowage on these models

These models are lovely, but the Tempestus Scions are not really a viable force in the current Warhammer 40k tabletop environment.  The low strength and short range of their basic weapons renders them close to useless and unable to reliably or predictably overcome any of the basic troop types of basically every other race in the game.  They are not able to bring heavy weapons with them. They will not last very long in 40k's noxious "close combat" dominated environment, and will not have the firepower or range to prevent "close combat" from happening to them.

If you don't mind painting lenses, then these models will be fun to paint!

So, in other words, they are just like a standard Imperial Guard force: you will be relying on your vehicles (or perhaps allies) to do the heavy lifting.  In my particular case, it will be up to the Valkyries to do the heavy lifting (which is what happened in the game against the Orks).  You can also build a ground-themed force if you wish, but that would mean using the Taurox, one of the worst model designs I have seen from GW in a long time (I used to say "the" worst, but every time you think they hit bottom, someone throws them a shovel). Your mileage, however, may vary :)

But it is fun to zip around the table and drop out of Valkyries - so if that appeals to you (and why not?), then prepare to enjoy your Scions!

And as for the painting table, it's time to get back to a project from the spring...more on that later,

New recruits for the Horus Heresy coming soon...

Friday, August 8, 2014

Tempestus Scions Command Squad

Tempestus Scions Command
Oh man - the "dog days" of summer are finally, finally here! The weather has been so bad for so long that I was starting to contemplate witchcraft, ritual magic, or perhaps the construction of a ziggurat for human sacrifice in order to placate the gods.  Thankfully, the warm weather associated with a Canadian prairie summer finally arrived a couple of weeks ago - with no human sacrifice required (this time...). 

My dogs Spencer (left) and Joey enjoying the dog days of summer in the back yard. They have the right idea!
With the lovely weather here at last, my painting volume has taken a total nose dive as I opt for being outside as much as possible. But I have still finished a few things here and there in quick bouts of painting after sundown.  Here is one of those little side efforts - a "Tempestus Scion" (i.e. Imperial Guard storm trooper) command section.

These models are from the new, dearly expensive GW Tempestus Scion box set. I started on a small group of these models a while back. You can use the box set to create either command models or standard troopers - they are listed separately on the web site, but it's the same set.

I find this box set to be fascinating reflection of GW's current gnarled c*ck state.  The amount of options you have for the figures is really something, and the detail and quality of the plastic sprue continues to impress.  There are helmets, berets, knives, a wide assortment of special weapons, grenades, swords, plasmas pistols...on and on! Not to mention the standard etc. The styling of the armour might not be for everyone, but as a I said before, these are really nice figures with many design elements that speak to both new and long-time Imperial Guard fans.

Officer and four troopers
At the same time, I can't imagine just how much time and effort had to be invested into providing so many different options on so much sprue for just five figures.  I mean, you even have what look to be laptop cases as accessories! There is a floating servo skull! How many of those am I going to need? Seriously...you couldn't find room for a couple more legs and torsos on there, huh?  GW - what a pack of douchebags.

But enough GW ranting for now.  There is already a lot of great content for that elsewhere on the Web, written much better than I can manage (see here for a great example).  Back to the figures!

The Scions can have a command squad with a senior officer and all of the little add-ons common to Imperial Guard formations since the Rogue Trader days.  You can ad a medic, a comms guy (ok, that is more second edition than Rogue Trader, but still, it's been around for a while) and a standard bearer.  I opted for berets on the command squad guys, leaving a more standard helmet on the melta gunner.

Standard bearer - skulls anyone? Sigh

The standard bearer is a tricky fellow - I will need to mount a washer inside his base to keep him from falling over.  I was pretty disappointed with the flag - much too full of skull BS for my tastes. I do enjoy markings cast directly on to flags, as they are fun to paint, but this one was a disappointment and a blank one would have been more fun (not that it always turns out better for me, but a blank flag would have been nicer than this silly skull design).

Medical trooper

The medic has the all-purpose medical kit, and a laser pistol with a little saw blade handy for amputations.  It seems in the grim darkness of the far future, every medical procedure will involve an amputation...

Lots of kit for these fellows to carry

The comms guy is a nice figure. And another example of just how exhaustive the bits are with this box, you get "hot-shot" lasguns in their protective sleeves for each of these special role troopers, to ensure your command squad can still fire with them in the event you are confronted by a WYSIWYG pedant.

Vox operator

I painted these mostly for collecting/fun. In game terms, this command squad is a rather amazing waste of points.  While the ability of the officer to issue orders is important, things like the standard bearer and the medic offer bonus abilities that are of no real use to your Tempestus Scions.  "Feel no pain" and a +1 to close combat resolution will not save these guys from anything.  The extra range provided by the vox caster is risible. A comms net measured in inches? I can get behind the retro-yet-super-advanced tech of the 40k setting, but come on!  It is particularly ridiculous when you see the advanced data slates/scanners etc. modeled right on the figures...

Nice model, but sort of pointless on the table - take a special weapon trooper instead!
The biggest negative of these special role figures all of these come at the expense of the special weapons that you will need if you are to have any hope of success in the game for your Scions. A useful command squad for a 40k game will have an officer an four troopers armed with the same special weapon - all flamers, or all melta guns.  The new "hot-shot" volley gun would be a good choice as well - an officer and four troopers with volley guns would pour out quite a bit of fire.

All of these guys were supposed to be ready in time for the game during Curt's visit...oh well.  I'm sure they will get another chance to deploy...

NOTE - Fawcett Blog visitor Admiral Drax offered a fine rant of his own on the utter stupidity of the vox rules, and I enjoyed it so much I think you should check it out here.  It's from 5th edition, but it still applies.  GW's ongoing inability to come up with decent, workable rules for simple things like this continues to astound.