Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sedition Wars Project - Phase II Update: train and chopper

Next in the painting queue was a maglev train from BP Laser. It's a cool, massive MDF kit, with about 5' of track, and the tender and 3 flatbed cars around 4' long. The photo below, from their website, shows what it looks like when assembled, without paint.

The kit is great; all the MDF parts are cut out cleanly and fit together well. BP Laser provides detailed assembly instructions as downloadable PDFs.  I was impressed by all the clear parts for the various windows; they are slightly beveled on the edges, so they can press fit very snugly into their locations without glue (after all the painting is done).

Below is a photo of the completed train, sitting on its rail near the edge of my urban table.

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The tender is striking, with finely cut details.

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I painted and slightly weathered the three flatbed cars. I painted them in different colours. I figured that in the future the various evil corporations represented on my table would still have some of their own "rolling stock" (floating stock?), which would be connected together to form cargo trains.

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There are 5 laser cut plastic windows located around the front of the tender. After painting, I test fit them with their protective paper covering still on. I removed the paper, then, wearing nitrile gloves (to avoid finger prints), carefully press fit them into the openings.

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The roof comes off so you can have fights inside the tender. I left off some parts, like the tender's rear door, the drivers' seats, and the couplers, for easier for placement of figures.

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I freehand painted the control panel as if the left console was active.

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Also threw some light weathering around the base of the rail sections.

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Here is a shot of the train loaded with cargo, with a 28mm Vanguard Samaritan standing on the nearest flatbed for scale.

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This model is a significant addition to my stock of near/future terrain. As with the other buildings and pieces, it will be useful for various sci-fi games.

I am now ready to run the next two scenarios in my ongoing Sedition Wars Outbreak Campaign. The first is a race to the train (using probably just the tender and two flatbeds), followed by a running gunfight on the full train itself!


Yesterday I received in the mail yet another addition to the pile of sci-fi gaming stuff. It's a 1/48 scale air ambulance from Dust Studios that I found on eBay. It's a funky design, created for their Dust Tactics miniatures game, This model is part of their "Premium Edition" line, so it comes fully painted and weathered.  To me, the "Weird War II" aesthetic makes the model usable for all kinds of sci-fi backgrounds. It could be used as an active gaming piece, as a scenario objective, or just as a neat bit of terrain for Sedition Wars, Infinity, 40K, Gunschwarm, etc.

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Monday, August 24, 2015

The Defence of Orask, Part 1 - Horus Heresy Campaign Battle Report

Force escalation is a wonderful thing - it drives us to move stuff from a wishlist, to the painting queue, to the gaming table. And the end result is spectacular games! Such has been the case with our Horus Heresy escalation project. Greg's been working on Sons of Horus and World Eaters, Byron on his Death Guard, and me on my IX Legion lads. The objective has always been to have some large games in the late summer, and with it being August, that's where we are. So last Thursday we leaned on Greg to design a scenario for the first game in our mini-campaign, "the Defence of Orask". Here's what he came up with:

The machinations of Horus are revealed, and they reach well beyond even the events of the Istvaan System!

Knowing they would not join his cause, Horus dispatched the IXth Legion to “liberate” the worlds of the Signus Cluster - a campaign far from Terra, far from Horus’ plans, and home to a trap.

The Primarch of the Blood Angels has led the bulk of his Legion into that distant assault, and Horus now looks to cut them off completely from contact with the rest of the Imperium. He will do that with an attack on the frontier world of Orask, staging area for the IXth Legion’s invasion force.

As news of events on Istvaan reaches Orask, the local Imperial government is stunned - and panics when their sensors detect a task force of ships bearing the signals and markings of the Sons of Horus, the World Eaters and the Death Guard headed for the planet. Things get worse when a number of Horus’ agents take action, disabling defence systems, monitors, docks and other elements, sowing further panic. The traitor Legion elements crash through the scattered resistance among the orbital defences and begin to secure landing areas.

On the planet’s surface, elements of the IXth Legion - the 66th Maniple, the “Blood Drinkers”, reserves which had been planning to follow their brethren toward the Signus Cluster, instead turn to defend the planet, knowing if Orask is overrun, the bulk of the IXth Legion will be trapped in the Signus Cluster and unable to defend the Imperium from Horus.
In our first game the Blood Drinkers will rush to try and defend against one of the rebel landings, hoping to contain the enemy and buy time to secure the capital….  

Here is the Blood Drinkers force. Praetor Draculis and command squad, Veterans to the left, Rapier behind just in front of the Tactical Support squad and the heavy weapons squad. Masses of Tactical Marines at right.

But wait... there's more. Assault squad and Terminator squad, with Rhinos. Landspeeder and THIS. IS. SPARTAN!!!! ;-)

Byron brought his Death Guard. Sicaran, Contemptors, boss and standard bearer.

Plus Terminators, Support squad and tactical marines too.

Solar Auxilia joined the Blood Drinkers in defense of Orask. Greg has done a great job with these.

Greg's Sons of Horus strike force... Land Raider Proteus, lascannon squad, heavy bolter squad, Assault squad, Veterans...

Plus Support squad, scary boss, Contemptor, and tactical marines in new Rhinos.

The battlefield represents a tactical staging area for the Orask planetary defense force/Solar Auxilia. The superheavy tanks are under repair and won't take part in the battle (tonight anyway). The Blood Drinkers and Solar Aux defenders were allowed to deploy in the Bastion (at centre) and behind the defence line around it, as well as in the area "south" and "west" of the roads (assuming that "north" is the short table edge at top right of picture).
The objective was to control the Imperial Bastion at the end of the game.

Solar Aux mobbed up on the top of the landing pad with excellent fields of fire over the approaches to the Bastion. Their comrades deployed behind the defense lines. The Blood Drinkers were allowed three infantry elements on table - the Tactical Support squad with Volkite Calivers on the landing pad, the Rapier carrier behind the storage tanks, and the plasma cannon squad on top of the Bastion.

Solar Aux defending the Bastion. Quad autocannons are under AI control.

Plasma cannoneers keep a lookout. "Land Raider spotted!"

Traitors got the first turn; Death Guard walk on, accompanied by the Sons of Horus vehicles. They drew first blood, if you can call fragging a single Solar Aux dude "first blood".

Where's the Death Guard gone? The entire squad was wiped out by Blood Drinker plasma cannon fire. That's what I call "first blood" ;-) Masses of Solar Aux lasrifle fire and Quad autocannon fire scratch a hull point off the Rhino.

In turn two, the Blood Drinkers started to roll for Reserves to bring the rest of the force on board. However, the Warp was playing up (and Orask Telecom was subsequently not to be trusted), and for each successful Reserve roll, Byron was allowed to attempt disruption with his Death Guard... basically an opposed die roll. If the DG won the die roll, they were allowed to bring one of their own units in Reserve on table, instead of the Blood Drinkers getting their unit. So guess what happened - three Blood Drinkers units available, three Death Guard challenges, and three Death Guard wins. Three DG units appear in the Loyalist backfield, uh-oh...

But the news got worse at the top of turn three. Greg explained that the Warp was in turmoil...

...the Solar Auxilia were beginning to panic...

...and their treason became complete! The Solar Auxilia switched sides to ally with the forces of the Warmaster!!

The victory conditions of the game changed at this point as well - in order to win, the Traitors had to ensure that not one Blood Drinker Marine survived! This whole development had the potential to cause some serious problems for the IX Legion as at that point, there were only 9 Blood Drinker models on the table! (Greg surmised that this stab in the back was likely a contributing factor to the Legion's later "rage issues")

Blood Drinkers reinforcements did start to arrive from reserve, though. The Assault squad came on and shot, then assaulted the Death Guard Contemptor Dreadnought and Support squad camping on the Loyalist table edge, wiping them out.

The SPARTAN!!! and a Rhino rolled on as well. Just out of shot, the Praetor and command squad were about to assault the other Death Guard tactical squad, and eventually eliminate them.

Around the Bastion, the psychic tsunami had blown the two remaining plasma cannoneers out of the building and into the midst of the now-suddenly-unfriendly Solar Aux and Sons of Horus. Undaunted, they blazed away with their plasma cannons but sadly the scatter of a template took one of them to the bosom of the Emperor. The last remaining hero bellowed his defiance as the Traitors cocked their weapons...

...and blew him to his component atoms.

Meanwhile, back on the Loyalist table edge the Praetor and co. were dealing with some Death Guard. Byron's boys had it pretty rough in the game.

A moment later there were none left standing...

The Sons of Horus formed up for a last push on the bastion. The crater at centre is where their Rhino once sat; the laser destroyer array on the SPARTAN!!! had done as the name indicated.

The SPARTAN!!! disembarked its 20 Space Marine passengers in preparation for a last push on the accursed Bastion. The Landspeeder (just above the SPARTAN!!!) supported the remnants of the Assault squad in attacking a Solar Aux unit standing just under the landing pad. The Solar Aux volkite weapons were suffcient to see off the charging Blood Drinkers though.

Two mighty machines of the 30th Millennium face off.

Blood Drinkers make a mad rush for the Bastion...

...but the turn limit expired before they could complete their victory by obliterating the last pitiful remnants of the Traitor forces (j/k). The game ended in a draw - the Traitors controlled the Bastion and its communications array, but the Blood Drinkers survived the encounter and are able to wage guerilla war against the forces of the Warmaster, and try to hold open the Signus Gate for the return of the rest of the IX Legion.

We had a great turnout of lads for the game and I think we all really enjoy "30K". The models are amazing, of course, and the gameplay is a lot less complex than 40K because there are a lot fewer special rules to remember. Looking forward to the next escalation in the campaign!  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Deimos Pattern Rhinos for the Sons of Horus

"All right! A ride!" Deimos Pattern Rhino APCs from Forge World
Continuing escalation in our 30k arms race.  These are "Deimos Pattern" Rhino APCs from Forge World, painted in the colours and markings of the 16th Legion, the Sons of Horus.  These trusty APCs will speed the Legion troops to victory over the loyalist forces dupes of the False Emperor.

A nice, updated version of the old Rogue-Trader-era Rhino kits - love this model!
I have been painting 30k figures for over a year now, but have been slow to add vehicles (unless you count Knights and even Titans, which are fun but are not, strictly speaking, "regular" Space Marine vehicles). Call it (yet another) "Exhibit A" of my disorganized approach to the hobby - lots and lots of infantry, but no real, cohesive force to put on the table. You have to be clueless like me to paint stuff for a project for over a year but not yet have a complete force ready.  It's not like these are Austrains or something...but whatever, I'm easily distracted...

So I had parts of three different forces (World Eaters, Sons of Horus, Solar Auxilia), but no one force was complete.  I decided to focus on the Sons of Horus - after all, they are THE bad guys of the Horus Heresy...

WIP showing the combination of resin bits the basic current Rhino model as a base
I finally completed a Land Raider this past spring to break the no vehicle spell. Now with these two Rhinos, the Sons of Horus forces are now a much more mobile and rounded out detachment for the table. These classic-looking models will carry 10 legion troops to various trouble spots on the gaming table in style and comfort, although they are certainly not as scary as a Land Raider...

Friendly side access point - I still don't get how Space Marines get in and out of these things, but it's part of the charm...
The "Deimos Pattern" Rhino is a mixed kit from Forge World - you get a plastic Rhino kit from the current 40k range, and resin bits to bolt over & combine with the plastic model.  The resulting vehicle is a clear shout-out to the original plastic Rhino model from Rogue Trader, and I quite like it.  You have little bolters on the hatches, the twin doors on the front, all the key design looks for the original plastic model, but with the larger size of the current one. The Forge World designers have really nailed the spirit of the Horus Heresy well with these constant little nods to the original models speckled throughout the range.

Rear access ramps
These are not cheap kits, but given the horrifying current price of a plastic Rhino, and the fact that the Canadian Dollar is once again circling the toilet, the price is not too far off from buying a "regular" Rhino.  As Dallas notes in his post for his IXth Legion Rhino kits using Chapterhouse, if you don't have spare unused plastic Rhino kits around, then you will not lose out by much more opting for the Forge World kit.

Not every line went together well, but screw it...
Assembly was a challenge - but surprisingly the issue was not Forge World's unreliable resin, but rather the plastic model components, which were warped and needed straightening - something I was not successful with as you will note if you look closely, especially the front fender plats on a couple of them.  I did my best, but didn't sweat it - I'm no Golden Demon model builder anyway, and I don't have the patience to try!

Legion tactical marines with their new vehicle - as a newly painted tank, it's guaranteed to survive well on the tabletop - right?

So the Sons of Horus are now a much more coherent table-top force! Dallas has been working hard to build up his IXth Legion loyalist forces (a Spartan - crap!).  The arms race isn't about to stop, but it will soon be time to get started on some 30k gaming.  We've been noodling a little narrative campaign for 30k, sort of like what we did for Rogue Trader and Rynn's World, but this will build up into a massive mega-game where we get the Titans out for a spin.  The date on the mega game is a bit of a moving target, but we're going to get started building up the story with the first game this week. Stay tuned for more! 

Let the galaxy burn! (To create jobs, of course - good, high-paying Horus jobs...)

Monday, August 17, 2015

Sons of Horus 30k Contemptor Dreadnought

Contemptor Dreadnought from the 16th Legion
I've been painting a fair bit of WW2 stuff recently, but the Warmaster's stout lads in the 16th Legion need some reinforcements in order to take the fight properly to the dupes of the False Emperor. More vehicles, more firepower.  I hope this will help with the "more firepower" requirement - a Legion "Contemptor Mortis" Dreadnought, armed with a pair of Kheres-pattern Assault Cannons. The model is from Forge World.

The "Kheres Pattern" assault cannons - look cool, but they were a pain in the @ss to put together
Dreadnoughts are armoured battlesuits that support Space Marine units.  The dreadnoughts are "crewed", if you can call it that, by the physical remains of a badly wounded Space Marine.  Basically if you serve bravely in the Legion, and are terribly wounded, but still alive enough to be sort-of-saved, you are "honoured" by essentially being entombed into one of these armoured suits, so you can keep on fighting on behalf of the Legion.  Yay for you!

Besides, it's not like your average Space Marine is worrying about a defined benefit pension plan or anything...

Contemptor Dreadnought power system - NOT carbon neutral...
The average Dreadnought usually combines one heavy weapon on one "arm" with a suitably horrifying close combat weapon on the other, but this "Mortis" version is all about firepower, so sports two ranged weapons.  The Kheres pattern cannons are pretty nasty, and this fellow will be laying down fire support for the members of the 16th Legion as they work to destroy rival loyalist Space Marine Legions bring the Warmaster's light of liberation and tolerance to the galaxy.

Love the "Eye of Horus" logos sculpted right on to the models...spooky as heck
Forge World makes generic and legion-specific versions of these Dreadnought models. This model is obviously the Legion-specific make for the Sons of Horus.  On the plus side, I love the iconography and roman numerals sculpted right on the surface of the model - I am generally more and more addicted to the embossed and sculpted accessories Forge World offers for the different Space Marine Legions.

On the down side, the sculpt is a bit..."Chaos"-y for my tastes.  Now, you might say "well, duh, of course it is", and rightly so.  After all, in the narrative, Horus was tainted by Chaos, and so were the Legions that followed him a victim of an arrogant and uncaring Emperor.  It's subjective, but I loathe all the spikey bits, skullz and overly simplistic spooky stuff that adorns the Chaos stuff in the "current" 40k period.  In a bid to appear scary, the effect is instead almost self-parody, and you get laughable models like this. YMMV - you might love the current Chaos stuff, and more power to you if you do! But I remember a time, back when the Horus Heresy was played out through 6mm figures, when the Chaos side was subtle, and Horus and his Legions were more genuine rebels, at least in appearance if nothing else.

Detailed logos sculpted on to the front plates - Forge World does a dreadnought body like this for each major Legion, loyalist and traitor, profiled so far
In the current version of the Horus Heresy narrative that is obviously changing - in today's version, the Legions are already looking a bit "Chaos-y" - some more than others - and by the point they are landing for the assault on Holy Terra, they will probably all look as silly as this thing from the Word Bearers.  But I have to give the Forge World designers credit - they are straddling the line pretty well - the sculpt of Horus looks amazing, and ominous without being goofy (I expect another angry deamon version will be released at a later time...).

I christened this one "Issues" - I figured he was hurt in battle, and woke up entombed in an armoured suit with guns for arms - he would probably have issues
Anyway, all this to say, this Dreadnought model has about as many spikes, chains and skullz as I can tolerate.  It doesn't look too bad - just enough to be angry and ominous.  I have a second one of these still to paint, but I am going to shave a bunch of the spikes, chains and skulls off before I assemble it.

Dallas and I have been plotting a series of 30k games for some time - he's been adding reinforcements of his own.  We are hoping to start a series of linked games as soon as this week...stay tuned for details, and for more reinforcements!