Saturday, December 13, 2014

Codex Blood Angels

Everyone's favorite space vampires are back! The boys in red got a serious FOC readjustment. This brings the Blood Angels back in line with the fluff, that they are a Codex Chapter with just a few quirks. They like to get up close and personal, but aren't made out jump pack troops.

Here is a quick run down of the big changes that jumped out at me.

Everybody that isn't a tank or speeder has Furious Charge. Oh. Yeah. No more rolling for Red Thirst.

The Baal Strikeforce FOC is 1 HQ, 2 Troop, 1 Elite compulsory and the regular optional choices. Which means you can have 4 Elites in your force. The Command Benefit: Red Thirst, +1 Initiative on the turn any unit charges. Very stabby indeed.

Lord Dante and Master Seth are in the Lord of War slot. Dante got some nice buffs, Eternal Warrior, and his Axe of Heretic Smiting is now +2 Strength, Master Crafted.

Librarian Dread is now a HQ. The Sanguinary Priest is a HQ and a single model with two wounds and Ld 10. Brother Corbulo is a seperate choice. Captain Tycho has two profiles (again), and the Techmarine now a HQ choice. The Reclusiarch is gone, and the 2 wound Chaplain moved to HQ.

Big changes here. Now only two choices! Tactical Squads and Scouts. Tac Squads gained Grav guns and Heavy Flamers as options, but lost Land Raiders as a dedicated transport.

Lots of choices here, good thing you can take 4 in a FOC list. Vanguard Veterans, Death Company and Lemartes, and all the non-psychic Dreadnoughts are now here. And yes, Blood Talons lost their "mulch" stetting and have to settle for x2 Str, Shred.  

Fast Attack
The Assault Squad is the only addition in Fast. Vanguard and Baal Predator moved out.

Heavy Support
The Baal Predator went from Fast to Heavy. Predators, Whirlwinds, and Vindicators can buy overcharged engines. Land Raiders no longer fall from the skies.

Being a (mostly) Codex chapter I was disappointed not to see the Stormtalon gunship, or the Landspeeder Storm as a transport choice for the Scouts. I also miss the Reclusiarch. The rest of the changes make sense to me. I have yet to look deeper at the Psychic stuff, and the of details on some units. That's why there will be a part II.

"So fear not and be proud, for we are the sons of Sanguinius, the protectors of Mankind."
-Commander Lord Dante

Tuesday, December 9, 2014


I've assembled my Toxicrene/Maleceptor kit as a Toxicrene, and it is pretty nice. A good sized monster, with big (and perhaps unwieldy on the tabletop) tentacles. 

A note about construction: The instructions default to the Toxicrene in the rearing up position, with one claw on a unlucky Terminator and the other claw up. The model can also be built with a lower pose. This is descriped in tiny print on the cover of the instructions. I'll admit I did not notice them until after I had assembled the body. Good thing I wanted the default pose.

It is important to let the arm sockets dry before attaching the tentacle arms. Otherwise they may push in and that is no fun. Alternatively, you could leave the head off so you can put your finger on the socket and hold it in place while you glue the tentacle arms on.
The fallen Terminator is a really nice touch and I can't decide if I am going to put it under the Toxicrene's claw or on a base by itself and use it as an objective. 
With a Dreadnought for scale
I'll get this beastie painted and unleash it upon the battlefield soon.

The Hive Mind Hungers
Now with even more Tentacles!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Armageddon Released

Warhammer 40,000 Armageddon for the PC is now available. Head over to Steam or Matrix Games and get it this week for $10 off. I'm downloading it now and will have a review up in the near future. Looks great if you like the turn based wargame thing. Which I do, very much.

The Emperor Protects
Armageddon's Tourist Bureau has its work cut out for it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Devil is in the Decals

Decals. That finishing touch to a model. Sometimes they curl up and fall off after a few months. They always look like decals, shiny and obvious. But that is not how is has to be!

This article is aimed at those who don't know the mystical and arcane art of applying decals. It's not simple, but it is worth the effort. The end result is decals that look painted on and never peel off.

Know your foe: Water slide decals like to adhere to a very smooth surface. If you did not paint with a gloss or satin finish you will need to transform the surface of the paint. This is easy. Clear glosscoat is available at most hobby shops in spray form. I use Testors ($7). The only danger here is that if the weather is outside nominal use parameters it may fog up and give the model a frosty look. This is easy to avoid, do not spray paint if it is cold or windy out. Use a light coat. One pass only. Then do not touch it for 24 hours. Fingerprints are next to impossible to remove.

Assemble your tools! Now that the glosscoat has set it is time to get down to business.

 You will need: the sharpest hobby knife on hand, a pair of tweezers, (the kind that stay closed are prefered), two old paint brushes, paper towels, a few Q-tips, and a bowl of warm water.

Plus chemicals. I have used Micro Set and Micro Sol for decades. (Get some from Amazon by clicking on the widget on the right--) You will need a bottle of each.

What they do: Micro Set aids greatly in the adhering of the decal to the paint finish. Micro Sol is a weak solvent that softens the decal allowing it to conform closely to the models surface. Don't drink them.

From here on out this is the method that works consistently well for me. Applying decals is like sex or cooking, everyone does it a little bit differently, but the same.

Cut out the decals. I use a new X-acto blade to cut out all the decals I will be using. Make sure to cover the decal sheet with a paper towel so your hand is not touching the sheet. The oils on your skin can cause problems with the film covering the decal. Some people avoid this by using scissors, but a lot of modern decals sheets are too crowded for me and scissors.
Put the decals in a bath of warm water. Cold water takes forever to loosen the glue and makes the decal stiffer. I give the decal 40-60 seconds under water and then pull it out and place it on a damp paper towel.
Giving the decal a few more seconds to soak up the water, I now apply some Micro Set on the spot where the decal is going to go. Don't worry about putting too much on too wide an area, it dries totally clear.

Now the tricky part. Slide the decal off the backing paper and onto the model. I use a damp Q-Tip to hold the decal down and slowly slide the backing paper away under it. This is the moment to move the decal around a bit to get it in position. You can add a bit of water or Micro Set to loosen it and reposition it.
After it is where you want it, very gently dab the decal with a paper towel taking care not to move it. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then apply some Micro Sol to it. After you have put on the Micro Sol do not move the decal! If you try it will disintegrate into mush. One coat is fine if the decal is on a smooth surface. If the decal is on a uneven or bumpy surface put another coat on after five-ish minutes.

I use separate brushes for the Set and Sol. Then I don't use the brushes for anything but the Set and Sol. Yes, I have them labeled. Let everything dry for at least a few hours. Now you have great looking decals on a really super shiny model. That's right, time for Dullcoat! Same drill as for putting on the Glosscoat, just a diffrent can. The Dullcoat also protects the decals very well so you don't have to worry about damage while handling the model.

And there you have it. It is a bit time consuming but the difference in appearance and durability makes the MicroSet/Sol choice an easy one.

The Emperor Protects
Decals now get a 2++ save 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Regular Brass Scorpion

When Apocalypse first came out in 2007 we were all excited to see that one of the new units was a 40K version of the old Epic Brass Scorpion.
I happened to have a unbuilt Defiler laying about. I picked up some extra bits, and like legions of others, went to work. I was pleased with my creation and it had many good games. Then Forge World released this monster:
About the size of a Baneblade, it was now the Greater Brass Scorpion and had new rules to reflect its much greater stature. It was almost twice as many points as before and far deadlier. My Defiler knock-off was puny in comparison, so what to do? 

For a while I just used my (Lesser) Brass Scorpion as a regular Defiler, but it always left me a bit unsatisfied. So after much deliberation I chose to make my own stats for the Regular Brass Scorpion. 

Taking the Defiler as a starting point, not that many changes were needed. No longer a Super Heavy, it did not need so many secondary weapons. Swapping out the Battle cannon for a Demolisher cannon was the first step. Ditching the Hellmaw flamers was sad, but necessary if it was to be a reasonable amount of points. Boosted its base attacks, the front armor value, and gave it Rage.  

The hardest part was the big gun the tail. On the Greater Scorpion it is an impressive STR 6, AP3, 10 shot weapon of death. A bit overpowered for a secondary weapon on a non-super heavy. I decided to go with a enhanced Reaper for the Regular Scorpion.

I am pleased with the results. Similar to a Defiler, it now feels more like an Khornate assault weapon rather than a artillery piece. 
As always, I welcome your feedback. 

Brass Scorpion…………………………220 points
                         WS  BS      S       F     S     R      I      A    HP
Brass Scorpion     3    3    6/10    13   12    10     3      4     4          

Unit Composition:
 1 Regular Brass Scorpion

Unit Type:
• Vehicle (Walker)

 Demolisher Cannon 
• Blood Reaper Autocannon
 2x Powerfist 
 Demonic Possession 

Special Rules:
• Fleet
 It Will Not Die

Heavy: The Brass Scorpion is a Heavy Support choice for a Chaos Space Marine army that includes at least one HQ selection that has a mark of Khorne.

Blood Reaper Autocannon: Same stats as a Reaper Autocannon, just now Heavy 3 

Blood for the Blood God!
And his Mechanical Daemons too

Friday, November 7, 2014

Painting in Bunches

When you decide to paint a unit, how do you proceed? One model at a time? Or the assembly line method? I normally try and paint an entire squad at the same time, but I usually paint one figure to completion more or less, and then use it as the example. Then I go full assembly line on the rest of the squad and any similar squads.

I also keep a notebook of what colors were used. This allows me to pick the squad or formation back up if I put them down, or decide to expand it, as was the case with my flight of Valkyries.
I painted the lead ship many months before I got around to doing the other two, but looking at the finished trio you couldn't tell.
My Knight formation was slow going, but I am happy with the way they are turning out. Next is that step that can make or break the whole thing: the dreaded decals. The Knights have so many large ones that gloss-coat is a must. As we all know, sometimes gloss-coat is a bit tricky and can go very badly to give your model that frosty look you did not want. Wish me luck.

 The Emperor Protects
He could look after my brush-tips a little more

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Not only is it Halloween, but also my wedding anniversary. The lovely Mrs. Blackheart gave me an awesome present, Imperial Armour Volume XIII: War Machines of the Lost and the Damned with the nifty slipcase.
 I'm not going into the whole FW vs. GW thing here, but damn, some days it seems that Forge World "gets" 40K so much more than the studio guys. If you are a Chaos player and like tanks and tank-like things then Xmas came early.

A mid sized book for FW, it still comes in at 208 big full color pages. Chaos Astartes tanks, assault vehicles, and super heavies, including all your Heresy favorites, Fellblade, Sicaran and more.

All the things that fly and walk plus a Renegade & Heretic army list.
The book is full of FW's great artwork and fluff. It is really nice to have all of the Chaos vehicles in one book and the update to the Renegade army is well done. I highly recommend it.

Let the Galaxy Burn
And read all about it

Friday, October 17, 2014

Predator Autocannon Rant

In some game systems new expansions devalue the old units that made the game and universe what it is. Where your core units that are supposed to be the majority of your forces are replaced by new units that are much better that you never take the standard ones again. It is a old problem, and not one exclusive to GW by any means.

It has a few names, power creep, shiny new syndrome, expansion-itis, and more. Car Wars, Battletech, and Star Fleet Battles are a few examples of this. By and large GW has done a pretty good job of keeping it under control, but a few units do come to mind, and I will be talking about these other ones in weeks to come.

I love Predators, ever since my first GW vehicle model (seen above on the left). More specifically, I love the look of the Predator with the autocannon turret. Next to the ever present Rhino, the Predator is the mainstay armored fighting vehicle of most Space Marine chapters. The most common variant is the Predator Destructor with it's turret mounted autocannon to chop up infantry and sponson lascannons for armored targets. A classic combination that has totally fallen by the wayside.
Way back in Rogue Trader and 2nd Edition days, the autocannon was a really good weapon. Strength 8, -3 Save (that meant folk in power armor could only save on a 6) and a random but usually fair amount of shots. It was not very good at penetrating vehicle armor, but that is what the sponsons were for.

That all changed with 3rd edition on up. Simplifying the game meant some weapons lost what made them effective. Lots of weapons were rightly dropped altogether. The autocannon was downgraded to make it a less powerful infantry squad version, which is fine, but the Predator's gun should have gotten an upgrade.

The Annihilator version's twin lascannons are good for anti-tank work, but the Destructor's single autocannon is inadequate for its intended role as hunter of infantry and light vehicles. How best to fix that? The Leman Russ Exterminator recently got a upgrade for its autocannons: Twin liked and 4 shots. That is nice, and much better than it was before.

The vehicle mounted autocannon having a increased rate of fire makes sense. It represents a large magazine feeding the gun as opposed to a soldier loading small clips as well as a more robust firing mechanism. The Predator's gun has a much longer barrel. This is key to increasing ballistic weapons muzzle velocity, which equates to longer range, better accuracy, and hitting power. The range on a autocannon is already high, and boosting it's AP or strength doesn't seem right in game terms, but giving it Rending fits well.

So that leave us with:

Predator Autocannon
Range: 48"  S:7  AP:4  Heavy 3, Rending

Give it a try, let me know what you think.

The Emperor Protects
And remembers how it was supposed to be

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Zulu Dawn, Kaiju Style

So much for my grand plans for September. We are (finally) kicking off the Sanctus Reach Campaign in a week or two now that some sanity has returned to all our schedules. So for today may I present the answer to a question: Can a Imperial Guard fortification hold off a Tyranid attack? The twist is the Guard get only fortifications and infantry with nothing in reserve.
The Tyranid players went for the Warriors and up army style. Lots of monstrous creatures with a few key support critters. That damn Venomthrope kept the Barbed Hierodule from taking any damage the first turn. I wasted a good portion of my firepower for no return. At this scale is does truly become target overload. There are so many units that you have to kill, if you are not careful, you will wind up not killing any of them. Like I did. Much to my detriment.
What I really should have done was kill off the Swarmlord right away. Because I didn't, ALL of the Tyranid reserves showed up on turn two. I knew I was frakked, but I fought on and hoped for some really hot dice.
And the hot dice showed up! Sadly it was the Tyranids who were rolling them and I lost two my bunkers and a whole lot of troops. I can't help but be amused when a game game goes so badly, so quickly. It just wasn't the Guards day, but it was still a grand spectacle.
My command squad put in a fine showing, almost wiping out a squad of Raveners. Almost does not quite cut it when dealing with the Red Terror and a friend. The command squad was quickly dispatched, and for the finale, Old One Eye disassembled the Macro cannon bunker. Top of turn three, game over.

A enjoyable bloodbath. The game went very quickly despite the large number of models on the table. I am already planning for the rematch. 

The Swarm Rolls On
Try not to be in its path.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Arena of Death Finals

Dante and Mephiston were needed elsewhere...
The Bloody Eight
Now things were getting really interesting. A few favorites had fallen early, and a few glaring defects revealed. Round two, fight!

Farsight vs. Kharn
Commander Farsight continued his upset streak. First by nailing Kharn for two wounds with his plasma rifle, then by making an improbable amount of invulnerable saves as Kharn rained blows upon him. The Dark gods failed to protect Kharn from the Dawn Blade and he was bested in two rounds of close combat. 

The Avatar of Khaine vs. Anrakyr the Traveller
Anrakyr landed the Tachyon Arrow and did a wound on the Avatar. It would be the only wound The Avatar would take this match. The Avatar crushed Anrakyr the Traveller in short order. He did not get back up.

Abaddon vs. The Swarmlord
A epic battle of initiative six monsters that did not disappoint. Five rounds of combat with lots of wounding and saving. On the last turn, Abbadon lost his last wound and scored four wounds on the Swarmlord, she made three saves and ended the battle with one wound left. 

Mephiston vs. Jain Zar
Jain Zar managed to avoid Grukk's quick end, but still took a wound from the psychic onslaught before she got into close combat. She had difficulty in wounding the Blood Angel and ran out wounds well before he did.

The Furious Four
Only three matches left! Who will reign supreme!

Commander Faright vs. The Avatar of Khaine 
All hot streaks come to an end. Farsight put on a good run and gun show, wounding the Avatar twice. Then came the Wailing Doom and instant death.

Mephiston vs. The Swarmlord
Mephiston took a wound before closing for hand to hand combat in the day's only psychic duel. In a very close battle the Swarmlord's  higher weapon skill and invulnerable save made the difference as Mephiston was bested.

There can be only one!
I can't say I'm terribly surprised by the final two combatants. Both are monstrous creatures with a lot of wounds. But which one shall emerge victorious?

The Avatar of Khaine vs. The Swarmlord
It's alway nice when you save the best for last. This was a titanic grudge match. No wounds where taken before they engaged in close combat. Both combatants lost a wound apiece for first three rounds of battle, then the Avatar pulled away with a savage flurry of four wounds inflicted, and only two parried. Down went the Swarmlord.

Arena of Death was a very good time, and a nice change of pace for a multi-player battle. Many thanks to my fellow Warlords for making the event a lot fun. I have some ideas to improve the selection process, and what other characters to add. We will do this again next year.

I walk again, a god among mere mortals.
-The Living Avatar of Kaela Mensha Khaine

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Slaughtering Sixteen

Sixteen killer characters of the 40K universe converge in the Arena of Death to find out whose combat skills are supreme! After picking the participating characters the initial matches were randomly drawn. Then the fun began.

Deathleaper vs. Commander Farsight
Farsight danced around for a bit in his fancy battlesuit, but Deathleaper was able to close and charge. Deathleaper scored a bunch of hits and a few rends but Farsight's armor would not be breached, he did not fail a single save. Deathleaper was whittled away and fell on turn three.

Kharn vs. Ghazghkull Thraka
Two opponents not known for subtlety charged each other straight away. The Mighty Ghazghkull didn't get an attack in before being carved up by Kharn at the top of turn two.

Lord Dante vs. The Avatar 
Dante had trouble wounding the Eldar Demigod of War and that led to Dante's demise on turn three.

Lelith Hesperax vs. Anrakyr the Traveller
Anrakyr had a chance to end the match during the first shooting phase, but Lelith dodged the Tachyon Arrow. She danced into close combat with a impressive ten attacks, she only managed to score two wounds before suffering instant death from Anrakyr's Warscythe.

Abaddon vs.Commissar Yarrick. 
The Old Commissar was a bit outmatched by the Arch-Heretic and was killed in the first round of close combat. Then got back up. And was killed again. And again. And again. Yarrick seldom lived long enough to attack Abaddon, but he kept making his Iron Will roll to get back up. After eight rounds of combat we called the match in Abaddon's Favor. Abaddon scored twenty-five wounds to Yarrik's one.

The Swarmlord vs. Karandras 
Karandras charged the Swarmlord, and the two exchanged blows in a brutal well-matched slugfest. Ultimately it was the Swarmlord's invulnerable save and Karandras lack of one that was the difference, and the Phoenix Lord fell.  

Jain Zar vs. Grand Master Azrael.
Azrael started off very strong by scoring two wounds on Jain Zar with his plasmagun. Sadly for the Dark Angel Lord, the Sword of Secrets is only AP3. Jain made ten of her 2+ armor saves and wore down Azrael in four rounds.

Grukk Facerippa vs. Mephiston 
In the shortest battle (half a turn) Chief Librarian Mephiston used his psychic might and turned Grukk inside-out.

Eight exciting and fun matches in the first round. A few lopsided match-ups, and some awesome dice rolling, both good and bad.

Next up: the Arena of Death finals!

The Emperor Protects
But who will be his favorite?