Monday, 17 July 2017

On the edge-highlight of madness

Squad Panzerschreck complete.  Again it took far longer than I anticipated.  Being a naturally untidy person I struggle to be neat.  I could never stay in the lines when I was given a colouring book whilst growing up and didn't think it mattered.  I had no idea it was an important life skill.

I can do fine detail no problem (although I have to wear reading glasses now) but consistency and uniformity are hard.  Thats why I like tentacles.  I probably should have built and painted the Death Guard in this set.  Chaos is more my style.

But I really like these marines and think I've hit on a good colour scheme so I'm going to crack on.  I'm about half way through now, although I keep looking at the Captain in Gravis armour and fervently wishing that I hadn't glued him together.  He won't come apart with gentle persuasion so I'm going to have to paint the cloak around his backpack, weapon and legs which will be a bit of a nightmare.

The Hellblasters are an interesting squad.  The supercharge rule is a little confusing (although the Designer's Commentary does clarify).  I can re-roll natural 1's with the Captain nearby and avoid blowing myself up.  But if I roll a 2 whilst trying to hit a Flyer (-1 to hit) I still explode (re-rolls always happen before modifiers).  My probability theory is a bit rusty but I think thats a 22% chance of each Hellblaster dude exploding if he tries to supercharge flyers, even though he is stood next to a captain.  Not sure I like those odds.

They are also toughness 4 marines at the end of the day and armour piercing rounds can still tear them apart.  In my last game they were obliterated in the first turn by a Tau Ghostkeel which did 16 damage in one salvo.  Admittedly, it was wielding so many Fusion weapons that I wondered if it might implode into a small black hole but its the sort of thing I'm likely to face in competition.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Questionable Behaviour

 The weird thing about the Dark Imperium boxed set is that I don't like the Intercessor Sergeants.  Don't get me wrong, this is the best starter set I've ever owned (who didn't love the purity seal on the miniatures tray inside?).  All the models are great but they are more or less mono-pose.  Thats not really a criticism.  It makes sense to have miniatures which are easy to build in the starter set.  If they'd put a Tesseract Vault in there then it might be a stumbling block to the 11 year old just getting into the hobby.  Far better to have some toy soldiers which you can throw together in a couple of hours and start playing.  It will take years for that 11 year old boy to realise that he should have spent at least a week cleaning up all the mold lines and injection points as well as carefully dry-fitting all the components to prevent misalignment and glue leakage.  Thats if he is still playing at all.  Most people have casually thrown the box into the back of a cupboard at this point and moved on.  Anyway, the point is that I'm turning into a crusty old git who has gotten quite fussy about the hobby.  But I still don't like those sergeants.  And I've got nothing better to write about so here goes:

The first sergeant is not wearing his helmet.  If he was on a humanitarian aid mission for NATO forces, trying to gain the trust of the indigenous population then this would be totally acceptable.  Establishing eye contact and showing people that you are human is important in establishing a rapport.  However, in the grim darkness of the 41st millenium, he is a genetically engineered freak on a quasi-religious crusade to eradicate the enemies of the Holy Emperor in the most violent manner imaginable.  Therefore, he should be wearing his helmet.

Its not that big of an issue really.  He might have needed to take it off temporarily to blow his nose.  From a hobby perspective it makes the model more interesting. It differentiates him from his squad and he stands out as the leader.  It allows you to try out that Cadian Fleshtone which came in the set.  So not a huge gripe then.

No, my main issue is that he is pointing at something.  For some reason I really don't like models in this pose.  It always reminds me of that 40k meme with an Imperial Guard tank commander shouting, 'Drive me closer! I want to hit them with my sword!'.  As an 8 foot killing machine I believe he should be pointing with the huge gun he carries, not his finger.  It conveys a much more meaningful message.

"Listen up, men! You see that ork over there who's head I just exploded?  I wan't you to shoot in that direction.  In fact, as a general rule of thumb, if you see me blowing shit up then you should blow it up too.  Use your own discretion of course, but it saves time and increases accuracy if I don't have to let go of my weapon. I can't issue orders directly over the headset because I'm not wearing a helmet."

So I've decided to put my own interpretation on it and he is giving the sign of the horns.  Not sure why.  Maybe he is falling to Chaos.  Maybe its a military hand signal.  Maybe he is warding off the evil eye or just likes heavy metal.

I also swapped his weapon arm with the other sergeant.  This was partly because I didn't like the way the purity seals appear to defy gravity on the original.   There is definitely something wrong with that pose.  The purity seals are hanging upwards, his arms are all over the place and he looks like he is about to trip up.  I wonder if he is some sort of mish-mash from an up-and-coming regular boxed set?  It would make sense to have a box of fully pose-able, Primaris tactical marines with weapon options in the future (and helmets for everyone!). Maybe these mono-poses are just the prototypes.

Regardless, I've switched guns of the two sergeants and reposed the arms/stance of the second sergeant to make it look like he is reloading; ramming a fresh magazine home into the bolt rifle.  I still think he looks awkward but if you were trying to do something requiring manual dexterity whilst completely sheathed in several inches of ceramite plating, your arms and chest twice their normal circumference, you'd probably look a bit awkward too.

I'm not sure which of these two to paint up for my 1500 point force.  I'm already using a Lieutenant in place of the sergeant in the other Intercessor squad so I only need one more.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

One size does not fit all

After another drubbing in a game with my new Space Marine army, I decided to take stock.  My eldest son lit me up and then took me down with Tau drone spam in the latest match and it was yet another tabling. I realise that I'm not a particularly decent player but this is ridiculous (I built my opponents' lists!). So I decided to do an inventory of my Adeptus Astartes models and see if I could redeem myself in the sight of our beloved God-Emperor (thats right, He is a divine being according to the annals of the Red Scorpions, you filthy apostate!**)

Ahoy there!

I currently own:
22 Primaris Marines, 25 bog standard marines, 4 Devastators, 3 Bikes, 2 Librarians, 1 Chaplain, 10 assorted Deathwatch (including another bike), 31 Terminators, Command Squad bits, 5 Assault Marine jump packs, 10 Forgeworld Red Scorpion shoulder pads, 1 Razorback/Rhino, 1 Stormraven Gunship, 1 Thunderfire Cannon, 2 Psyfleman Dreadnoughts, 1 Nemesis Dreadknight, 1 Dirty Coteaz and 1 warp-dust coated Draigo.

Brother Tarquin had a defective Ossmodula gland but managed to scrape in by standing on tip-toes during the medical.

Not exactly awe inspiring but quite a lot for someone who apparently didn't play Space Marines until last week.  Most of it is just filler from various starter sets and the vast majority of models are half eaten by Tyranids or still on the sprue. The Stormraven and Rhino are fully painted, strangely.  I was thinking of attending Call To Arms this year as an incentive to build a 1500 point army out of this hodge-podge.

I probably want to use the vehicles as they seem to be quite good in this edition.  Unfortunately, in a stunning display of fluff retcon from GW, my Primaris marines are unable to embark upon any of them.  Yep, one size does not fit all.  They can't even stand on the running boards, gangster style or crawl around inside on all fours.  Its... Its just...  By The Emperor's 10,000 Year Old Bedsores!  This is Heresy, I tell you!

What to do? Normal tactical marines are super cheap and easy to assemble with my Forgeworld Red Scorpion shoulder pads.  They also sit comfortably inside a Stormraven without any of that awkward 'elbow etiquette' preventing them from enjoying the in-flight meal.  They come with deckchairs equipped as standard.

Squad Leprechaun

So I built a small squad of them, trying to look as retro as possible in direct contrast to the Charles Atlas physiques of my Primaris uber marines (who apparently don't bend at the waist).  I don't have any Mk IV helmets so Beakys and Command Squad Champions will have to do.  Notice how my sergeant is an apothecary so at least I got something right.

**We are in no way affiliated with the Word Bearers heretic astartes.  No sir.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Tell me when it kicks in

Squad Dauntless complete.  It took a bit longer than I thought.  I sat painting with Duncan Rhodes' sage advice echoing in my head like an Oracle: "Try to be as neat as you can, because it saves time later on".  Duncan's Slaaneshi, imaginary twin was also whispering in the back of my mind somewhere, "Make his eyes look like Cookie Monster!" but I ignored him.

I'm conscious that I could probably have painted fifty normal marines by now, but I can't stop because I'm on a roll.  Its all coming together.  I can almost smell the unguents used by the Tech-Priest to bless the power armour.  The chanted, monotone prayers and the addition of purity seals.  The solemn declaration of the Oath of Moment.  By Jiminy, I'm going to paint a Space Marine army!

I had my first game with them last week.  Incredibly this was with my son who has not picked up a 40k model since I forced him into Games Workshop on his brother's 12th birthday and made them both build the Dark Vengeance starter set.  He was less than enthused with the whole thing so I decided to fix it by buying him a new army.  I then bought the older son a new army just in case he ever wanted to play.  I may be a bad father.

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, as they say.  Both my kids are video game junkies.  They show a passing interest in the lore of 40k but thats about it.  I occasionally join them in an inept display of online Overwatch.  Mostly I am relegated to standing there as Reinhardt, holding my shield up or tethered to another Reinhardt like an oversized Tinkerbell playing as Mercy.  I once rebelled and said I was going to play a DPS character.  Switching to Genji nearly gave me an epileptic seizure and I blinked over cliffs constantly as Tracer. "How's that Tracer working out for you, Dad?"  they asked me innocently.

So I was very surprised when my youngest actually asked me if he could try out a game using the new 8th ed rules.  I built him a 1000(ish) pt list of Orks (his chosen army back when he was 9) being careful to put some nice toys in there to keep it interesting.  A Big Mek with a Shokk Attack Gun, missing his left arm.  An Ork truck with every single gun in the box glued onto it at bizarre angles.  I remember him asking me what was the point of putting all those guns on the sprue if you weren't supposed to glue them all on.  Flawless logic, but then he doesn't understand the power of the bitz box.  He had some Killa Kans which he had actually gotten round to painting.  Lots of Deffkoptas and Boyz.  I decided to take it easy on him and only use the Primaris Marines in the new starter set.  He tabled me in 4 turns.  It might have been sooner if he'd gotten that first turn charge off.

My oldest son has also expressed an interest in tabling me with his Tau.  I never knew that beating their father savagely into submission was the hook that was needed to grab their attention.  I might need to buy some new toys for my Marines in order to salvage some pride and demand a rematch (my Nids tabled them in a practice game too).  I can already see that this is turning into a sickening downward spiral of plastic crack addiction.