Sunday, 1 July 2018

Moving on to new projects and club scenery purge

Hi folks,

Been a while as I've mostly bee working on non-marine projects a few months now, aside for a bit of tinkering with my Dark Angels. Looks like Knights and my 'tale of gamers' pledge to gradually build up a thousand sons army will take priority for a while. But, I still need to put out a few showcases for armies that I haven't got around to doing yet. Blood angels certainly spring to mind. 

Anyway, one thing that has been taking up a lot of time lately is the gaming club scenery. I've been at the club for a year and a half now which has been great. Generally we fill 4 tables every Thursday night and store our scenery at the venue. This is a great set up, but what was apparant to me is although we had a decent amount of scenery, much of it was in need of repair / painting. I therefore pledge to tackle this to make games more enjoyable for everyone.

First things first, we needed cash. After a bit of a whip-round and sales of a few not-wanted items, we came up with a budget. Next, we needed a decent storage solution, as making all the repairs only to store things back in the same damaged and open-topped boxes was a waste of effort. Six 110L boxes later we had our storage solution. I then set upon the scenery, taking all of it home and sorting through it (luckily the wife was away for a few weeks). Also, I reinforced one of our sets of boards and added an old citadel mat to it to make it more attractive.

By using a lot of glue/sand and some hardboard/placemats, I was able to put together 25+ pieces of scenery, most of which are pictured below. We still have a bit more scenery that was donated and that we have bought with spare funds since then. One issue it that it still needs painting. I have a bit of the budget left to address this with later in the year. Also, we would like to make some LOS blocking rocks out of insulation board, which we also hope to have donated and work on later this year. 


Ultimately it's bee hard work but very rewarding to see people down the club enjoying it. It will,  however, be nice to have a break from it to enjoy my own hobbying for a while. Cheers.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Heroes of Badab army showcase

Who are the heroes of badab I hear you ask. Simply put, they are a themed army I created to represent each of the space marine armies of the badab war on the same battlefield. This army has gone through a few changes in the previous edition, most markedly changing from 5 raptors and 5 exorcists as scouts to 10 raptor scouts and 10 exorcist tacticals in a pod. 8th edition has seen changes by rounding up the star phantoms to a 10 man squad, the red scorpions company veterans to 5 man and giving each army save for the salamanders a character. I run them as ultramarines. Here is the organisation of the army - please note some models are still in different base colours before I restructured them. 

Fire angels - predator and counts as chronus due to preference for armoured warfare. 
Fire hawks - vindicator as preference for then plus a mk3 captain as use a lot of mk3. 
Sons of Medusa - relic javelin and techmarine as iron hands successors. 
Salamanders - contemptor dreadnought. 
Marines errant - fleet based hence stormtalon and a lieutenant. 
Novamarines - Tartaros terminators as stocks ancient patterns plus a catephractii captain to count as blaylock. 
Star phantoms - devastator squads as they prefer with plasma. Imperial space marine. 
Carcharadons - vanguard veterans led by tyberos 
Raptors - 2 squads of scouts with a counts-as telion
Red scorpions - company veterans and razorback with ancient, apothecary, champion and culln. 
Howling griffons - tactical squad in rhino led by jump chaplain. 
Minotaurs - tactical squad in rhino with enkomi and moloc. 
Exorcists - tactical squad in drop pod led by terminator librarian. 

And that’s it. Army finished. Any last minute additions? I was considering a salamanders hq which would leave either the named captain or ash mantle as options. Other than that there is nil to add. Obviously all the bases are finished nicely but the models themselves have a fair way to go. I’d like to try some custom decals on them when the time comes. Cheers.

Friday, 20 April 2018

Dark Angels army showcase

Dark angels. The first legion. The unforgiven. 

This army has been a pleasure to craft over the years and started as little more than a 2k doublewing army. The advent of dark imperium and the newer dark angels books brought he temptation of expansion after expansion. Ultimately, it has grown into my 2nd largest army after the blood angels. The theme is triplewing with grass and forestry bases. 

The deathwing comprise 27 terminators, 5 deathwing knights, a land raider crusader, venerable dreadnought and a host of characters. These are: Belial, a terminator librarian, chaplain, ancient, apothecary and champion. 

Ravenwing have several conversions in there, mainly characters. There’s sammael, a bike librarian, chaplain, champion, apothecary, ancient and techmarine. 2 squads of bikes each with an attack bike make up the core of the force. There are 8 black knights (who are amazing) and a pair of land speeders, one of which can be swapped out to a huntmaster or sammael in sableclaw. Lastly, a land speeder vengeance / darkshroud and dark talon / nephilim finish off the force. 

Finally, greenwing consist of a demi-company (30 tacticals, 10 assault and 10 devastator) as the core, as well as 10 scouts. Infantry characters include a converted azrael, 2 masters, 2 lieutenants, apothecary, imperial space marine, company and chapter ancient, champion, 2 interrogator chaplains, a librarian, a techmarine and the names characters asmodai and Ezekiel. In terms of armour there’s a land raider and 3 converted tanks which can be fielded as a predator / vindicator / whirlwind or rhino / razorback, plus a drop pod and standard dreadnought. A more recent addition was a bargain stormraven which, while green, is still painted as a salamander vehicle. Finally, there are a host of veterans who I intend to donate mostly to a fallen army project as they are much more restricted in dark angel armies now. 


So that’s it, an unintentionally huge army that I’ve had a lot of fun playing with lately. I want to thin out the veterans to get the numbers down and form a fallen army led by cypher. In terms of additions, i would love to add another dark talon to be able to field an air wing. A wishlist item is the Forgeworld relic plasma predator just because it fits the army. Lastly, I have parts to make some custom objective markers at some point. Cheers. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Iron Hands army showcase

It’s a great pleasure to showcase this army as at one point it was my most completely painted. Now it has expanded and been rebased but is still impressive from a distance. Ill briefly go over the theme and then explore the units. Iron hands are supposed to be very much in touch with machines, thus I knew it would have to be a heavily mechanised army. The basing I also wanted to be machine-related and so I went for an industrial theme. 

The characters are mostly converted and are slightly less numerous than before as I donated a couple of techmarines to other chapters. Captain-wise there is a converted bike captain/cyborg and a converted catephractii captain. There are 3 characters wielding a hammer/sword/combiplasma that can be used as champions/captains/lieutenants as needed. I addition, we have a converted terminator librarian, apothecary, chaplain, standard bearer and imperial space marine. Lastly, 2 foot techmarines and a techmarine on trike. 2 of these have conversion beamers. 

Moving on to the infantry now. 3 full tactical squads make up the bulk of the army, though we also have a devastator squad and 10 scouts, plus 5 foot vanguard and 2 honour guard (previously all honour guard). Terminators come in the form of 5 catephractii and 5 assault terminators. There are 10 mk3 sternguard present also. Lastly, both a 5 man bike command squad (fw) and 5 man bike squad plus attack bike (quad) aid mobility. 

On to vehicles now. There are 3 rhinos and a drop pod (not pictured) to give the army some mobility. Further transport comes in the form of a godhammer land raider, converted to have tracks all around. There are 4 tanks, 3 of which are new rhino chassis converted with older weapons of a vindicator, whirlwind and predator respectively (the 4th being a hunter). Air support comes in the form of a stormhawk. Lastly, what iron hands army would be complete without dreadnoughts? Here we have 3 - 2 venerable and 1 contemptor. 

And with that the army is complete. They were an absolute pleasure to build and convert, my only regret being that some of the later additions from the prospero set lack the bionics of my earlier conversions. Half the army is fully painted with the other half needing attention at some point. I would love a ferris mannus to lead them (in spirit if not on the tabletop) and would definitely consider adding a super heavy such as a Cerberus if the chance arose. Cheers. 

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Whitescar complete - showcase

It’s not deja vu. I have previously posted a whitescars showcase but there have been a couple of changes since which I thought warranted an update. Namely, a few additions to the company veterans and a lieutenant. Without repeating myself too much I’ll give a brief overview. 

with the bike squads or individually. 5 scout and 5 company veteran bikers make up the last of the mounted contingent. There are 5 more mobile infantry in the form of jump pack vanguard. Both they and the company veterans use 30k conversion parts. I didn’t include anything like dreadnoughts, drop pods, devastators or terminators as I didn’t feel they reflected the background of the whitescars. 

Next we come on to the last few elements. 2 10 man tactical squads and 5 scouts make up the troop contingent. A pair of rhinos transport the tactical infantry. Air support comes in the form of a stormtalon and both a land speeder and land speeder storm. Ranged firepower is provided by a predator and its big brother, a sicaran. Lastly, a random trio of tarantulas are included for a bit more ranged firepower - I see them as being the trap the whitescars herd their prey towards. 

Well that’s it for the scars. I love the look and few of the army and, since rebasing them all, have decided to sway from the aquarium plants instead preferring the bracken and vine scenery sets from gw. I’m in the middle of painting these now. No future plans as such but the one thing I thought would fit nicely with the army would be a land raider proteus for a bit more heavy support.  Cheers. 

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Devastator squads - overview and tactica

Hi all,

Following on from my tactical squad and lieutenant articles, I wanted to write about devastators. The humble devastator squad first caught my attention way back when I read my first white dwarf battle report and some blood angel devastators held an objective against thousand sons in Epic. One reason I wanted to talk about them is the changes in 8th edition that have made them a lot more popular than they were previously. I include them in most of my lists these days. What I will do is talk about their merits, weaponry and perks from chapter tactics, stratagems and characters. What I won't do is try to compare them to predators, helblasters and the like. All the standard chapters get access to them even if they don't always fit the background. Space Wolves are an exception to this in that they field long fangs but I will talk about them more later. (I won't cover Grey Knights or Deathwatch or anything 30k).   

As before, devastators fill a heavy support slot and thus are only mandatory for consideration in either a spearhead or brigade. This will depend on how many points you are playing and your play style. For a gunline army (i.e sit back and shoot) or a hammer and anvil army (half static, half taking the fight to them) I would always consider at least one unit. Reasons for this are mulitple, as they can pack 4 heavy weapons (plus a combi if you so wish) for a base cost of 5 bodies, plus they get unique access to the armorium cherub and signum. There are 3 things in 8th which make them shine:

1. All units can split fire now
2. The damage characteristic of heavy weapons.
3. Modifiers being more forgiving for sitting in cover or moving.

Later on I will look at weapons, Characters and Chapters, but for now let's look at a couple of things that are standard for all: build and deployment. I always equip 4 heavy weapons per squad and leave the sergeant bare. This is usually a mix and match approach to heavy weapon selection, unlike the previous edition which favoured mono-weapon selelction. I mostly include an armorium cherub and always include at least one 'ablative' marine wound (who we shall refer to as 'Johnny bolter') to protect your heavy weapon investment. Some people prefer to take a couple of squads and equip them with less than the total heavy weapons, which I agree can have merit if you need to fill slots and you will benefit from auto ablative wounds and more than one signum. However, you will need to pay for a minimum of 10 marines for multiple units. 

The signum is a great piece of wargear that adds 1 to the BS of one shooting model. This is great for either your tank-busters or hellfire/flakk users, but more on that later. Unlike previously, the sergeant does not forgo shooting for this. As mentioned, I don't generally equip my Sergeants as it 's better to keep them cheap in case they are ablative plus you want them to stay out of effective shooting or charge range anyway - use the upgrade points on their screen. The cherub is also a great little 5 point investment, which at best allows your lascannon a one-off extra shot or at worst provides a cheap ablative wound. Speaking of which, the way you should be removing models is Johnny bolter first, then either the cherub/sergeant or your heavy bolter marines depending on what you are facing. (i.e you might prioritise maximising effectiveness of a lascannon to kill a vehicle by keeping the sergeant/cherub alive over the heavy bolters) Before we totally go away from wargear, I want to cover each of the weapons available to the devastators (and indeed their tactical cousins) in more detail. 

Heavy bolter - cheap, reliable and, most of all, compatible with the hellfire stratagem. Always include one unless you're going mono-weapon (see Dark Angels) as an ablative wound and access to hellfire. 

Plasma cannon - marine killer pure and simple. Avoid overcharge unless near a source of re-rolls or your squad will soon thin out. It's pricey for a single point of damage but can be worth it if used correctly. 

Missile launcher - the age old debate, missile vs las, is even more complex now they're the same points. Missile launchers have a few advantages over las and that is the alternate fire mode if there are no suitable big targets, plus the access to flakk missiles, which is the main reason I will always include one somewhere in my army. 

Lascannon - a point better strength and AP that the krak missiles, this is your go-to anti-tank weapon. Try to have a source of re-rolls nearby to make sure it does the job and so you can save the command re-roll for the damage. 

Multi-melta - range of 24", S8 but the best AP at -4, meaning all but the heaviest armour won't get a save. you need to be within 12" to get the benefit of picking the highest of 2D6 for damage though. Not a weapon I tend to use with devastators, finding it better suited to tactical squads or vehicles. 

Grav-cannon and amp - an interesting weapon and marginally most expensive. Same range as the multi-melta and best volume of shots of all the heavy weapons with a fixed 4. However, S5 and Ap-3 is unremarkable compared to other options. Unless that is you are targeting power armour or better, which most armies and their vehicles have. In which case the damage output becomes d3 rather than just 1. Ideal for cracking open terminators or, at a push, tanks through volume of fire. Come up against Daemons or infantry guard though and they're much less use.   

Heavy Flamer - only available to Blood Angel devastators. Not great for gunlines (see below) or for podding in due to the 8" range. 

With deployment, aim to deploy at the centre back of your forces, so that they are bubble-wrapped from charges or smite. Higher ground with a good field of view is ideal and obviously within 6" of any nearby character buffs. They should get preferential pick of cover as they will be a high priority target and, as you generally don't want to move them, might be good to sit on an objective also. (note, this will only make them a higher priority target and thus there is merit to putting a tactical squad on a nearby objective instead to force your opponent to choose) Again, taking 2+ devastator squads (or helblasters) also has the benefit of making your opponent have to prioritise which one to kill. I generally avoid transports with devastators aside from Blood Angel heavy flamers and so won't cover them. 

On to talking about characters now. I won't cover special character perks in any detail but I will go over the standard characters available to marine armies. Captains/Chapter Masters are great to have nearby for a few reasons. Firstly, rerolling to hit is maximising the potential for your devastators to do the damage their name suggests. Not to mention that overcharging plasma you will want to be able to reroll those 1s. Secondly, even a bare bones character can be formiddable when you factor in cheap upgrades and relics - handy to have in your backfield to defend your devastators. We will also talk about the ideal warlord trait for them to have later.

Lieutenants are also useful to have nearby as there's nothing more frustrating than hitting with all your heavy weapons than to roll plenty of 1s to wound. Bear in mind that you can only use one command point as a reroll per phase and you may want that for you damage roll. Chaplains provide a morale boost but that's about it (hardly useful in small squads of marines anyway) Librarians and techmarines also bring very little to the party. When we move into the elites section, however, things get a bit more interesting. 

Apothecaries can potentially bring back one of your models on a 4+ during the movement phase. This is great but is only 50:50 to work plus I'd always leave the most valuable member of the unit to die last - if there's no unit left you can't revive anyone. The Astartes banner carried by the Ancient is a really nice feature. As well as the borderline useless morale boost, you get the chance to shoot as if the shooting phase on a 4+ every time a model dies. Much more useful than the apothecary and can be used as many times as you like. 

Let's talk a bit about warlord traits and relics. There is one warlord trait that would be very useful for a vanilla Astartes warlord babysitting devastators and that is storm of fire. This means that every unit in 6" that rolls a 6 to wound in the shooting phase gets an extra -1 to their AP value. Excellent for weapons that are already at least -1. The standard of the Emperor ascendant can be added to the Ancient above to make the slain models get off one last shot on a 3+ rather than 4+ which is great if you haven't invested in a relic elsewhere or have the command points to spare to buy an extra one. 

Now, how about we talk stratagems. There are a few that stand out to me as being great for devastators. Individual chapter stratagems are covered below. Hellfire shells and flakk missiles make heavy bolters and missile launchers auto-include in my army, especially on devastators. the ability to put d3 mortal wounds on anything (especially good against daemon Primarchs) is amazing, especially in conjunction with the signum and any re-rolls. Wisdom of the ancients can turn a nearby dreadnought into a mock-captain for re-rolling to hit rolls of 1 - useful if you have no other access to re-rolls and have a shooty dreadnought in your backfield. Lastly, any fool who wants to deep strike within 12" of your devastators is about to have a really bad day if you play auspex scan - especially if you are in a re-roll bubble. I'm going to branch off now and talk about each of the 10 chapters in detail. This will cover any directly relevant chapter tactics, stratagems, Warlord traits and relics. 

Black Templars - you shouldn't really have any devastators as you have the excellent crusader squads and should be marching towards the enemy anyway! But still, the stratagem can help to protect you from mortal wounds should your heavy weapons be the nearest for smite or be the target of a mortal wound dealing psychic power.

Blood Angels - as noted above, they are the only chapter to get the benefit of heavy flamers, which aren't very useful as a gunline but can be devastating (no pun intended) as an advancing unit or counter-charge. Keep them in a razorback with 4 heavy flamers and a combi-flamer then unleash them (ideally into cover and on an objective) against your opponent. Then dare them to charge you next turn! Although a pre-disposition towards jump packs and charging (red thirst) doesn't really make devastators a thing for Blood Angels, I always include a unit. Having said that, at least you get the bonus to your wound rolls if you do get charged. Veritas vitae and the standard of sacrifice can indirectly benefit them with extra command points or a 5+ feel no pain (as well as the usual standard benefits) respectively. 

Dark Angels - having head several games with these chaps recently, I'm content to say that their devastators are pretty damn terrifying. Along with Blood Angels heavy flamers, these are the only chaps I tend to run with a single weapon load-out. Namely plasma. Before I go any further I will just mention that they have a few other tricks up their sleeve. The chapter banner bearer with sacred standard allows the usual one-last-attack shenanigans, but on a 2+. They also have a Warlord trait which benefits devastators, granting a once per battle reroll plus regaining command points on a 5+ (Azrael's).

But that's not all. They have two specific stratagems which work excellently with devastators as well as a chapter tactic and Warlord made for gunline filth. Grim resolve is the 'chapter tactic', which means they can re-roll 1s whenever you stay still and shoot (including for overwatch) as well as  never losing more than 1 model for morale checks. Effectively, you don't need to worry about having a Captain nearby. Of the stratagems, one allows you to still shoot despite having fallen back this turn, which is excellent if you do end up getting charged. The second is where the magic really happens though. Weapons from the dark age allow you to increase the damage characteristic of your plasma weapon by 1. Before I go on to demonstrate the effectiveness of this, I should mention that placing Azrael in the centre of your gunline allows rerolls to everything to hit as well as providing you with a 4++ invulnerable save!

Now, imagine this. You have a devastator squad which needs to kill a big nasty dead, sitting near Azrael and his Lt. You fire all 4 of your plasma cannons, overcharging as you go and using weapons from the dark age. For the sake of it you use your cherub too. The signum increased your chance to hit for 1 of them and Azrael allows you to reroll all your to hit rolls. The Lt is allowing you to reroll to wound rolls of 1 also. Which means that a fair few of your S8 Ap-3 shots will be getting through. Bear in mind that the maximum damage from this shot is 45. For the sake of 1 command point. Which Azrael gets back on a 5+. It is absolutely devastating. I have almost single handedly taken down both Magnus and a Tessaract Vault on turn 1 using this (with a little help from snipers, flakk and hellfire in my tactical/scout squads) 

Imperial Fists - designed for devastators! Well, not quite. Ignoring cover saves is all well and good except that mostly you will be targeting big nasties or vehicles which rarely get to benefit from them. I'm yet to come up against a fortification in 8th, but if so you can re-roll to wound against it. Their warlord trait can be beneficial against AP values of -1, granting you extra cover modifiers. The bolter drill stratagem would be of minor use on the heavy bolters as you'd mainly be using hellfire.

Iron Hands - while neither their stratagem nor relic or warlord trait are helpful, gaining a 6+ feel no pain on every infantry model does benefit your devastators also.

Raven Guard - now here's an interesting thing. Though Raven guard are more associated with stealth and jump packs, they do get a lot of benefits to their backfield infantry units such as devastators due to the -1 to hit chapter tactic. With careful deployment, you can sit in cover with impunity, getting +1 to save and -1 to hit. Alternatively, you can get very close for some Multi-melta fun with strike from the shadows, but this would be a waste of assets and better suited to a few suicide company vets with melta guns.

Salamanders - you don't get any benefit from their stratagem (as for some Emperor-forsaken reason they can't take heavy flamers) and their Chapter tactic, while brilliant for the most part, will only really benefit you if you don't have a re-roll bubble already, as you can't re-roll a re-roll. However, if your re-rolls are only that of 1s you can always save your Salamander re-roll for the dreaded 2's.

Space Wolves - the only chapter with no tactics as of yet and not even devastators as such. Long Fangs have no access to Cherubs nor do they come with a signum. They do have a 5-7 unit size, 5 heavy weapon capacity and the ability to have a Wolf Guard terminator (great for ablative wounds!) leading the pack. In addition, their special rule allows you to single out an enemy unit per turn and re-roll 1s to hit for the squad. This discourages split fire - ironic as in previous editions they were the only heavy weapons squads that could do it! 

Ultramarines - assuming you do get in engaged in combat and survive, their chapter tactic is great for falling back and hosing the enemy with retaliatory fire. The Warlord trait is indirectly beneficial, potentially giving you more command points to spend on stratagems as above. Their stratagem is useful if you don't have any other source of re-rolls to hit nearby.

Whitescars - your devastators are called attack bikes! In all seriousness there's no reason you should be falling back then charging with your devastators nor necessarily advancing. 

Well, that concludes my look at devastators. I hope this was useful for people. As always I certainly find these articles helpful for myself as I always find out something that I didn't realise before when researching them. Cheers.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Salamanders showcase and overview.

Salamanders are here! When building a themed army I usually build in restrictions depending upon what the background for the army is and what aspect of it I want to focus on. With Salamanders, therefore, I imposed a few restrictions with my army building and weapons selection. Also note that most of the bases are scratchbuilt, though painting all that lava was driving me mad so they're only about halfway painted.

For the army itself I’ve built it around a battle company with no bikes or jump pack included. There are lots of transports to aid mobility - 4 rhino/Razorback and a land raider redeemer (plus a drop pod not pictured) First company support comes in the form of sternguard and 10 assault terminators, while first company support is a mix of bolter and sniper scouts. 

I donated an ironclad to my imperial fists, leaving a standard dread and adding a leviathan. In terms of characters there is the usual selection but also including a cataphractii captain, vulkan he’stan (and Primarch Vulkan as I love the model) shen the chief apothecary, chaplain Xavier and a squad of company veterans. Lastly, air support comes in the form of a caestus assault ram. 

As you may have noticed this army lack anything that the fluff states they do not make much use of, such as bikes and anti gravs. It also leans heavily towards the use of thunder hammers, flame and melta weaponry. It is designed to be used in such a way that it is mobile with the transports, favoring close assault over ranged warfare. 

All salamanders units with chapter tactics benefit from a large amount of rerolls so it makes sense to min max and equip the squads for maximum damage output. Relic wise, one of your characters can benefit from the -+1 strength and your warlord (compulsory if Vulkan) gets +1 strength. Other things to consider are their stratagem which adds 1 to flame weapons to wound (such a shame blood angels gets heavy flamer devs and we don’t) and, the almost compulsory Vulkan in this list will grant you rerolls to hit and wound with flame and melta. 

As of yet they are untried in 8th edition. I think they will be tricky to play with the self imposed restrictions, relying on a few units to hold the backfield while the majority deep strike in or surge forwards. My friend Alex plays a very strong salamander list but it is a mixture of primaris and standard marines thar relies on a strong fire base with reroll bubbles and no unit restrictions.