Monday 27 July 2015

Space Hulk - After Action Report

Yesterday (a dreary Sunday afternoon if ever there was one) I was fortunate enough to be invited for a painting session with my gaming buddies. I arrived to a scene of utter carnage; apparently they assumed I was the messiest painter ever and had covered the entire floor of their living room in newspaper! After a brief double take and my patented quizzical stare I manfully got on with painting some more Night Lords. Good progress was made by all involved but as the evening drew in I was getting antsy (and hungry!) so we duly broke out the Space Hulk and ordered lashings of Chinese food.

Space Hulk is a game I've struggled with in the past. Try to play it with a hardcore wargamer and they'll complain that it's too simple. Try it with a casual board gamer on the other hand and they complain that it's too much like a war game! Regardless, it's a game I have a soft spot for and so I've continued attempting to foist it upon anyone who will even remotely entertain the idea. For this game we played as a group of five, three playing the Blood Angels and two playing the Genestealers. I chose the exterminate mission simply because I hadn't played it before.

The Exterminate map - Scary!
In this mission, the five Blood Angels begin play scattered across the map. Their objective is to either block the Genestealer entry points by standing near them; or to kill all of the Genestealers. The Genestealer objective is simple, kill all the Blood Angels! The Blood Angels have the deadly Assault Cannon and are led by the utterly useless Sergeant Gideon.

The game started with a bit of confusion as I failed to tell the Blood Angels players that they could win the mission by killing all of the Genestealers (sorry guys!) This caused some aimless shuffling by several of the Terminators as they wandered up and down corridors. Sergeant Gideon was particularly impressive as he walked round and around the same room, opening and closing the doors as he went. Needless to say, the Blood Angels command point totals were dismal at this stage (he was probably distracted by all the doors.)

After a few turns some of the blips began to reach the Terminators and the game began in earnest. I took command of the Genestealers coming from the South entry areas and Keith took the North. Facing off against an Assault Cannon on overwatch was always going to be messy and I took heavy casualties as I attempted to rush the southern rooms. I did however manage a lucky kill as a Stormbolter jammed and one of the Terminators was brought down. Keith played a much more stealthy hand and moved his blips through the tunnels to the far North causing a lot of backtracking and overwatching from the Blood Angels.

As we moved into the mid-game I finally accepted that I was going to have to try to force a reload from the Assault Cannon. I duly expended my Genestealers only to have the Assault Cannon retreat into the central area just out of reach. How frustrating! Meanwhile, the Terminators to the North were attempting a retreat towards the central area and Keith managed to kill one of them with a well timed rush.

The last few turns saw two terminators hunkered down in the central room and Sergeant Gideon bravely hiding behind them retreating down a dead-end corridor. Once again, we realised that the newly reloaded Assault Cannon was only going to be silenced by throwing bodies at it, so I attempted another mad rush. Slowly the ammo counter dropped and the bodies of Genestealers piled up. We were starting to get low on bodies and I was considering running away and forcing a draw. Finally there was only one round left in the chamber, a stray Genestealer rounded the corner, the dice were rolled and came up a four, a four and a four! The Assault Cannon had exploded! Instantly killing the wielder and slaying the Terminator standing next to him! All that remained was for the last seven Genestealers to kill Gideon (now firmly wedged in the dead end) and the day would be ours!

Grimly seeing his fate, Gideon was put on Guard and awaited the final rush. Come and get it alien scum! Expecting an easy victory, Keith and I hurled the Genestalers forward only to have the first few crushed by Gideon's mighty hammer, this wasn't going to plan at all! This must have emboldened the Blood Angels players and they sent Gideon forward, hammer swinging away, and squished a couple more precious Genestealers. This forced us into an interesting position; it was the final turn of the game. If Gideon killed the last three Genestealers the the game would end in a Space Marine victory. On the other hand we could just run away from him and force a draw. We decided to go for broke and so the final combat of the game began. I've fictionalised it below for your amusement.

Sergeant Gideon strode forwards over the broken bodies of his foes. He was already bleeding from several wounds; the vicious strength of the Genestealers proving more than a match for his indomitable armour. Ahead he could make out the ruin left from the malfunction of the squad's assault cannon. Brother Leon had died a hero, expending every round with pinpoint accuracy and reaping a fearsome tally of alien lives before his weapon betrayed him. As Gideon approached the mouth of the corridor he was greeted by alien eyes glittering in the blackness. Raising his battered shield he charged forwards. The Genestealer pounced, its six clawed limbs propelling it forwards with inhuman speed. The thing hammered into Gideon's shield knocking him backwards whilst clawing madly at the edges of the shield. With brute strength, Gideon slammed his arm sideways into the wall, trapping the Genestealer beneath his shield and ruthlessly crushing it. Too late he noticed the other two Genestealers creeping out of the darkness; his enhanced senses only just saved him as he flinched backwards from the grasping talons. One of them ripped through his ceramite pauldron tearing the flesh and muscle beneath. Gideon roared with righteous anger, swinging his hammer and smashing the Genestealer into the deck. It disintegrated messily, alien ichor painting the walls in a sickening spray. The last Genestealer lashed out with its claws, tearing the hammer from Gideon's grip along with most of his hand. He gasped in pain, even his genhanced body unable to mask it. The momentary distraction was all the Genestealer needed; it raked his head and torso with powerful blows, crushing armour and rending flesh. Gideon's world was suddenly nothing but flashes of light and ringing tinnitus. He tried to rise, to strike with his weapons, when had he fallen to the floor? Above him he could see the rictus grin of a Genstealer as it opened it's fanged maw to reveal a glistening ovipositor.........

Thursday 23 July 2015

An Evening of Painting

So, last night I made my way along to my FLGS for my fortnightly fix of 40k (I can quit any time I want, honest!) Upon arriving I received quite a surprise, I was the only one who had turned up! After hanging around for a while, the owner (Keith) and I broke out the paints, to cover some ugly grey plastic (or lead, in the case of Keith's Babylon 5 Wars minis) with some much needed acrylic goodness.

Despite being disappointed at not being able to get a game in; both Keith and myself made good progress with our respective projects and had a good old chinwag into the bargain. I took the opportunity to photograph my tactical squad as they are taking shape.

Bathinko leads his Reavers into battle!

How many skulls is too many?

Sons of our father, stand in midnight clad!
I'm very pleased with how the squad is taking shape so far, I've also painted a seventh squad member but had forgotten to bring him along last night. When I first began building the unit I was concerned that they would all look a bit too uniform; after all, they are a Heresy era tactical squad, so there are no special or heavy weapons to break up the ranks of bolter wielding marines. I've tried to remedy this by using parts from different sources as much as possible. The 40k addicted amongst you will no doubt recognise the tactical marine, chaos marine and khorne berserker parts throughout the squad. The left shoulder pads are from Forgeworld (I was splashing out on a Contemptor anyway so a few shoulder pads didn't really break the bank!)

Throughout the unit I've also leaned quite heavily on the Exo-Lords range by Anvil Industry. All of the legs and torsos are from their range as well as Bathinko's chainglaive and the arms and bolter of the marine standing on the far right. I have to say that I've been really impressed with the quality of Anvil's products; they are beautifully detailed and have a rugged, mechanical quality that is perfect for Heresy era gaming. Not only that, they are a fraction of the cost of Forgeworlds 30k marines! I have enough bits and pieces remaining to complete the squad and build myself a tactical support squad into the bargain (I'm thinking Volkite Calivers!)

In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed my evening of painting; here's hoping nobody shows up to the next wargames evening! (Not really - I need my fix!)

Friday 17 July 2015

500 Point painting competition - More photos

Following yesterdays belated painting competition post I dug up a few more pictures of my stuff and one of the winning entry.

A little blurry but you get the picture (bah dum pum!)

Some more of the Kabal, I'm really not happy with that power sword.
Unfortunately I haven't had many chances to field my Dark Eldar recently; their huge winning streak has put people off playing repeat games against me. I've had to resort to playing my Tyranids instead, but I might bring the Dark Eldar out of retirement to put those damn dirty Necrons in their place!

All of the entries, the winner was the Grot army closest to the camera.
The next painting competition will most likely be for single miniatures. I'm thinking of buying a Sevatar from Forgeworld to feed my current Night Lords fixation. If and when a date gets announced I promise to put up some progress photos.

Thursday 16 July 2015

500 Point Painting Competition - Dark Eldar

It's been the best part of two months since I entered the local army painting competition but digging through my files I found a couple of photos and thought I'd share them.

It all started over a year ago when Keith (proprietor of my FLGS) decided he'd had enough of all the half finished armies knocking about and promptly announced a competition to inspire us all to finish a 500 point army. It was pretty open ended, contestants could enter an army from any system so long as it was worth 500 points and was a project that they'd struggled with in the past. The only problem was that he hadn't set a particular date.......

Fast forward a year and everyone has forgotten about or lost interest in the competition when suddenly Keith resurrects the notion and offers us a Games Day Orc (NIB no less!) as a prize! The only catch being that we had a  month to finish our entries. 

Well, it was just enough to convince me to finish 500 points of Dark Eldar including my new Voidraven Bomber (of which I'm particularly proud).

My baby in all her glory - be still my beating heart!
Sadly my efforts were only enough to manage a close second and the Orc went to a better man. Nonetheless, I came away with a fully painted 500 point army which probably would have never happened without the incentive of a competition. I'll definitely be entering the next one!

The Kabal of the Broken Soul

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Legion Wars: Honoured Brother Mordo

Finally, a promise I've managed to keep! I present for your delight Honoured Brother Mordo!

Oh yeah, he's awesome!
This is easily the fastest turn-around I've ever had on a vehicle (about a week and a half). I've been really impressed with the quality of the Forgeworld models; the amount of detail is stunning and I've had very few problems with warping or air bubbles.

A side shot - so you can admire (mock?) my freehand.
Ok, so a plasma cannon and plasma blaster might be the most suicidal and expensive loadout ever conceived for a Dreadnought but they're glued on now so it's too late to change my mind. I'm sure he'll inflict some damage before he succumbs to his own gets hot rolls!? Sadly I haven't yet had the chance to try him on the field of battle, it should be interesting as at 205 points he makes up over half of the points in my fledgling force!

Below is a bit of a photodump because I got all excited with the camera. I've started a short piece of fiction for brother Mordo which will be up soon.

Oh my! That does look hot!

Posing with his Legion brothers.

Just 'cos.

Wednesday 1 July 2015

The Legion Wars: Escalation

Well it's a stupidly hot afternoon here so you'll have to excuse any errors in this post. You'll also have to excuse the lack of pictures because I can't get hold of them at them moment. Damn technology!

The legion wars have continued apace with as many as twenty (gasp!!) models gracing the field over the weekend. Sadly my Night Lords ran riot in both games slaughtering the Salamanders left and right. So much so that both Berserkerbro and myself got a bit pissed off and started painting Dreadnoughts. Oh dear, the threat of mutually assured destruction looms! Once I finally finish the Contemptor (next week I promise) it will be photographed in all its glory. Shortly thereafter I fully expect to have its last hull point removed by its own plasma cannon........

Anyway, in lieu of photos, here's another short piece of Legion Wars fiction.

Bathinko was laughing again; laughing like a maniac and revving the engine of his ridiculous chain-glaive. Kromellus could hear him over the squad vox as he exchanged sporadic bolter fire with the Salamanders scouts crouching in the ruins to the North. Kromellus loosed a three round burst and dropped behind a stone parapet as he reloaded. As he crunched another magazine into his bolter; Kromellus couldn’t help but reflect on his situation. It was one thing to have dropped through the warp onto this forsaken world; it was entirely another to have to follow a raging lunatic into battle time and time again; at least he wasn’t screaming for a change.
As he stood and took aim at the green armoured figures, Kromellus saw a midnight blue blur in the corner of his retinal display. Bathinko had broken cover and was sprinting headlong towards the Salamanders position. “Get back here you moron!” Kromellus yelled uselessly into the vox. The only response was another wave of mirthless laughter. Instantly the targeting vectors of his enemies changed to bracket the new threat with a storm of bolter fire; Kromellus could make out two scouts emptying their weapons in desperation to bring down the charging giant. He watched Bathinko pause in his headlong sprint to prime a Krak grenade and hurl it fully into the torso of one of the scouts. The anti-tank warhead detonated with a dull thump, utterly destroying the scout in a pointless and gory display of overwhelming firepower. As Bathinko gloried in the carnage his grenade had created the remaining scout took careful aim and hammered three rounds into his bat-crested helm. Bathinko dropped like a rag doll, still burbling incoherent laughter into the vox.
As Kromellus watched his Sergeant fall into the dirt he realised he’d expended his last magazine. Opening a squad vox channel he called for his brothers “Sons of our father, with me! Murder them all!” With that he vaulted out of the rubble and ran towards the scout; he had just enough time to notice two of his brothers charging with him before all of them were engulfed in the searing torrent of a flame weapon. Immediately Kromellus dropped into the dirt, rolling in an attempt to extinguish the clinging chemical fire. His brothers did not react as quickly and were caught in a second burst of flame. From his prone position, Kromellus saw a figure clad in green ceramite emerging from the ruins wielding a chainsword and an ornate combi-flamer. He vaguely heard his brothers’ screams over the vox as the flames ate through their armour joints and they died in agony.
Kromellus desperately regained his footing as the Salamanders Sergeant bore down upon him. The Sergeant hacked at Kromellus’ neck joint with his chainsword, the serrated teeth spewing sparks as they glanced off the layered ceramite. Kromellus drew his gladius and punched it into the Sergeant’s abdomen. He felt the point snag as it was deflected by torso plating, but the blow was enough to unbalance his opponent; instantly, Kromellus moved inside the Sergeant’s guard hammering his gladius downwards in a backhanded grip. The legion steel smashed into the Sergeant’s respirator grille, mangling the intake vanes and drawing blood. Just as Kromellus drew back his hand for another strike he heard a cry from behind “Kal’Dhanis!”, as he tried to twist to engage this new threat he felt a sickening impact against his right knee joint. Kromellus’ leg buckled and he lurched sideways as he turned, seeing the scout firing bolt pistol rounds point-blank at his exposed armour joints. With a snarl he drove his body forwards using his good leg and stabbed his gladius upwards through the jaw and soft palate of the scout and into his brain. Kromellus had no time to watch as the scout’s eyes glazed over; Sergeant Kal’Dhanis had recovered and was swinging his chainsword in a decapitating blow. Kromellus abandoned his blade and threw his forearm into the path of the descending blade. The teeth chewed through his armoured gauntlet, severing muscle and tendons and showering him in a spray of his own blood. Kromellus made a grab for the blade sawing through his arm and wrenched it away; hurling it to the ground nearby. In the same motion he smashed his head forwards, driving into Kal’Dhanis shattered faceplate with a horribly organic crunch. Kal’Dhanis reeled and Kromellus wrapped his fingers around his throat; using his armoured bulk to drive Kal’Dhanis onto the ground. For what seemed like an eternity he choked the life from the Salamanders Sergeant; green armoured gauntlets battering and scratching at his faceplate as the son of Vulkan fought desperately for life.
After the body finally went limp in his hands, Kromellus pushed himself back to his feet. His left arm was nearly severed below the elbow and his right knee would bear no weight. He had a nasty feeling that an augmetic replacement would be required for him to continue serving the legion. His retinal display registered a catalogue of damage to his armour; not the least of which was that he was still smouldering from the flamer wash. As he half-heartedly patted at the clinging flames; Kromellus heard a burbling chuckle over the vox. Bathinko was still laughing.