Friday, 21 July 2017

40k: New Primaris Librarian – Part 1

I had told myself I wouldn't do it. I can't afford it, don't need it… but yesterday I found myself in possession of the new plastic Primaris Librarian kit.

It was the last one in the shop, so I felt kinda lucky that I'd managed to get hold of one. The price – £22.50 – stuck in my throat a little bit, but it's a lovely model and my librarian had done so well the other evening in our 8th Edition Intro Game that I felt this was a worthwhile investment.

The box contains two small plastic sprues, a base and transfers, plus a small booklet containing construction diagrams and the datasheet in half a dozen languages. It didn't feel like a lot for £20+

I started to build him early evening, and almost immediately hit problems. I had to stick two legs to part of a body, then once in place add a second part of the body. Not a complex task, but the flowing robe parts need to be positioned in a precise way. In addition, there wasn't much surface guide or suitably large areas in which to glue these pieces, so it took several attempts to get things vaguely correct.

At each stage of the construction I had to let the glue dry thoroughly before I could proceed as bits were moving all over the place, so delicately were they positioned.

Next I had to stick the back half of the model to the front piece that I'd constructed. Only problem here was that the two halves of the robe have to marry up exactly… which of course they didn't do very well. The outcome being that additional glue had to be used and the two halves firmly held in place for a while, resulting in fingerprints across the surface of the robe.

To add insult to injury, I then discovered that one of the pipes on my Librarian's Force Sword hadn't been cast properly!

By this time it was late evening and I decided to call it a day. I need to spend some time cleaning up the robes and the gaps before I can start adding some of the detail pieces from the kit.

This has been a pig of a build so far, and certainly not worth the £22.50 spent on it – not even close. Hopefully I'll feel better about it at the end.

The irony is that the Primaris Captain, who towers above the Librarian, took precisely 6 minutes to build and clean up with a file, ready for painting.

Roll on part 2…

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

40k 8th Edition: Intro Game

After a month of patient waiting and reading, last night I managed to get in a game of the new 8th Edition of 40k.

The night before I had been up late, feverishly getting some colour onto models. I managed to get some black and purple painted (or rather slapped on base colours) onto most of the models I intended to take. It didn't look great but made me feel better. The main focus was the new Reiver models. Painting an undercoat over the blue plastic turned out to be a challenge – I should have sprayed them perhaps, but I didn't want to obscure the 'soft' details any further. I have to say I am very much looking forward to painting them properly at some point. They will look very cool.

Bull and I put together lists of 50 power points. I took an ad hoc collection of Dark Templar marines and I was facing a massed horde of Orks, with a Battlewagon. I tried to take a range of models to cover various facets of the new rules, including Rhinos/Razorbacks, a Dreadnought, some Tactical marines with Missile Launchers and Plasma guns, and a Librarian.

Up to this point I have struggled to visualise how the game would play, something I'm not used to. The one overriding conclusion Bull and I have come to is that we've got to unlearn a lot more than we have to learn. We found a lot of the rules didn't make sense, or just felt downright illogical. Other times there seemed to be glaring gaps in the rules and there were quizzical glances shared across the table.

For example: It felt wrong that a vehicle speeding into a massive group of Orks can only score a melee hit on 6+, whilst the return hits were 3+ (I'm guessing it's a size vs size thing). Terrain seems to have been virtually ignored in the rules other than a reference to cover. Is there such a thing as difficult terrain anymore? When a unit arrives from Reserves is it considered to have moved for Shooting purposes? The idea that a group of 30 Orks shooting pistols can take down a Rhino feels silly.

Like I said, we have a lot to unlearn. This edition of 40k is an entirely new game and cannot be compared to previous editions. Something as straightforward as not thinking of vehicles as vehicles, but rather a large marine with heavy weapons and lots of wounds – vehicles as we knew them don't exist. It was easy to slip into old procedures or rule interpretations and that was more problematic than the new rules themselves.

Having said all that, I think there is a lot of potential here. The current 'Index' armies feel quite bland, though we are trying to keep things as simple as possible to grasp the core mechanics. I came away from tonight's game with the feeling I used to have back in the days of 4th edition game nights – eager to pour over stats and trial new combinations and units. We definitely had an interesting opening game, that probably produced more questions than answers.

But who were the heroes and villains this evening for the new look Dark Templar?

My Assault Cannon Razorback has a lot of potential, and Bull killed it off as soon as he could. The Librarian dropped a couple of awesome boosting powers that helped swing melee combats my way. The tactical marines were quite weak, and pretty poor in combat (I had been pre-warned, thank you Nick). The dread was untouchable in combat but didn't do much damage in return. And finally my Reivers – all they managed to do was throw a handful of Shock grenades before being mugged by 30 Ork Boyz (3 is definitely not enough in a unit). They nearly survived the charge too, but fell without getting to inflict any damage.

Lots to read up, especially FAQs and errata. Then it's back to the painting table!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

40k: New Primaris Reivers Miniatures

I've been largely ignoring the new Primaris space marines in favour of my old school Dark Templar marines, but when I saw the new Reivers being previewed they really caught my attention. Today a plug and play version went on sale and I couldn't resist.

The box costs £10 for 3 models – pricey if you consider a Tactical Squad of 10 models plus lots of bits costs in the region of £25 – and contains a single blue plastic sprue containing the models, plus slotta bases, transfers and a small booklet. There are no extra bits on the sprue – each marine being made up of 2-part body plus backpack, arms and head. The booklet contains building instructions, a quick painting guide and the Reiver datasheet (in at least half a dozen languages) and feels less useful than it should be.

The quality of the plastic is good, with a decent amount of detail without going overboard (like many of the GW releases). Each piece will quite literally plug into the body so you don't have to use glue if you don't want to – GW pushes this big time as a selling point.

I wasn't convinced that the pegs would work as well as I'd like, so for my first model I trimmed them all off – the idea being that this would give me more freedom with the posture. The two body halves went together perfectly, as did the head. The backpack and arms proved a little more tricky as, without a reference point, it was easy to glue them off balance (no shoulder pads to hide mistakes). However, experienced prevailed and the model was completed without much fuss. I even clipped the tab at his feet and stuck him on a traditional round base rather than the slotta (I like to glue 2 pence pieces under the bases for added weight which would be impossible with a slotta style base).

To mix things up and for experimental purposes, I put the other two Reivers together using the pegs – or rather the pegs for the arms and backpack. I still trimmed the body pegs for a smooth fit and stuck them on regular bases.

I have to say that I am rather impressed by these models. The models from the Dark Imperium box set do feel a little superior, whilst these feel a little bit like the 'soft' scouts models currently available. Yet, given my expectations weren't very high to begin with, these do seem like decent models. Are they worth £10 for 3? I'm not sure they are, but if you bought the new 'First Strike' starter box set they work out close to half price because they're packaged with other Primaris and some Death Guard equivalents.

I am glad I bought them though, especially if they life up to their hype on the battlefield!

Now they just need some suitably Dark Templar colours on them.

Friday, 14 July 2017

A 40k Project 10 Years In The Making…

A long time ago, when I first decided to reinvent my Dark Templar marines as Mk6 clad astartes, I decided I needed to make my vehicles a little more bespoke. I had already bodged my version of 'extra armour' by removing some of the hatches and replacing them with reinforced strips plasticard. This worked fine in the early tournament days but I wanted to take things to the next level to something more elaborate.

I cracked out the plasticard again and, using a razorback as a test piece, started my epic project. After sorting the extra armour and new hatches I also incorporated the top plate from one of the new Razorback models. This would give me access to a wider range of weaponry that didn't fit the metal Whirlwind top plates I had been using.

After completing the first vehicle, however, my enthusiasm waned and the project stalled, the models falling into the category of 'projects that were too big to be realistic for me to complete'. Over the next couple of years I dipped back in and things moved a little further forward, but the project was never going to see completion any time soon (an oh too familiar hobby occurrence in this household unfortunately).

After many years of sitting idle, my 40k miniatures are seeing the light of day again thanks to 8th Edition. No games being played as yet, but I am finding a desire to go through the old storage boxes and see what's there. With my decision to look once more at my Dark Templar space marine project, it was inevitable that these vehicles were dusted off for inspection.

For the first time, these Razorbacks and Rhinos are starting to see some paint, the first three undercoated earlier this week after a few minor repairs and tweaks. If I can take things to the point that at least one of them has a completed paint job, before going back into storage, I will be very happy that things have progressed. If they actually get to see some game time, well, I'll just be over the moon!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

40k: Space Marine Captain Conversion

Typically I get distracted by the cooler aspects of building an army. My new look Dark Templar marine army is no exception. I discovered bitz from a project that never got started – a converted Space Marine Captain – and so couldn't resist the opportunity to get stuck in. The model is predominantly the Ultramarines Captain Sicarius miniature, so this should be a quick project. However, he is adorned with Ultramarine motifs and in need of making a little more unique.

The Sicarius model was purchased a couple of years ago, and is made from that hideous resin stuff that GW pumps out their non-plastic models in. I have never seen so much 'flash' in a long time and worse still, it was sitting amongst the finest details. If you've ever had Edinburgh rock (the crumbly confection from Scotland, not some form of heavy music) the texture and robustness is just like that!!

The flash was removed with a scalpel and I dug out the Dremel to sand off the Ultramarine logos. Not a big time sink (though I've spotted more looking at these photos).

I decided to keep the same Power Sword, just trimmed off the Ultramarine logos from the top and bottom and pinned it in place. For the head I decided to pinch an idea from an old article on the From The Warp blog – this involved using a head from the plastic Captain kit. I knew I had one somewhere, but had no idea where to start looking. By sheer blind luck I managed to find a plastic container full of old space marine sprues, and amongst them was the one that I was looking for. OMG – that was awesome (especially as I found a bunch of other useful stuff in the same box!).

I'm still on the lookout for a suitable plasma gun, or maybe something even better – no decision been made yet so will come back to that.

For the base I wanted something elaborate. The model was made to fit snugly on a 25mm base, but given that most characters nowadays are on much bigger bases I went for a 40mm. I managed to find more of the resin rocks I'd used on my Typhus conversion way back, so decided to repeat the process.

So, not bad for an hour (minus searching time). I just need to find a suitable ranged weapon and I can get to some painting!

Friday, 7 July 2017

40k: Old Tournament List

I mentioned in the last blog post that I was looking to recreate my original Dark Templar tournament list from back in October 2001. Well, I managed to find a dodgy photo or two of the army. As you can see it's made up of lots of old school models, before we had many extra bitz on sprues (or even twin-linked lascannons for razorbacks!), and is in my original Dark Templar scheme of (very) dark green and black (awful colour scheme with hindsight as there is no contrast).

The list itself (from what I can tell) uses the Black Templar listing from within the 3rd Ed Armageddon Codex, and looks something like this:

Chaplain with bolt pistol and crozius

Emperor's Champion with bolt pistol and black sword

Troop Squad 1
Initiate with bolt pistol and power sword
Initiates (x4) with bolt pistols and chainswords
Neophyte x1 with bolt pistol and combat blade
Razorback with twin-lascannons

Troop Squad 2
Initiate with bolt pistol and power sword
Initiates (x4) with bolt pistols and chainswords
Neophyte x1 with bolt pistol and combat blade
Razorback with twin-lascannons

Troop Squad 3
Initiate with bolt pistol and power sword
Initiates (x4) with bolt pistols and chainswords
Neophyte x1 with bolt pistol and combat blade
Razorback with twin-lascannons

Troop Squad 4
Initiate with bolt pistol and power fist
Initiate with meltagun
Marines (x3) with bolt pistols and chainswords
Neophytes x4 with bolt pistol and combat blade

Troop Squad 5
Initiate with bolt pistol and power fist
Initiate with meltagun
Marines (x3) with bolt pistols and chainswords
Neophytes x4 with bolt pistol and combat blade

Troop Squad 6
Initiate with bolt pistol and power fist
Initiate with meltagun
Initiates (x4) with bolt pistols and chainswords
Neophytes x4 with bolt pistol and combat blade

Land Speeder with Heavy Bolter

Land Speeder with Heavy Bolter

As you can see there is lots of duplication, the idea being that no individual loss would be devastating and that there was a lot of mobility. Rhino rush with the three big squads, pop enemy transports with the melta and mop up what's left in combat – the three Razorback squads would roam around lending support where needed, whilst the Speeders played hit and run with lighter vehicles and T5 troops.

This would have been a 1500 point army back in 3rd Edition – that's 48 marines in total (if you include Neophytes) with over 100 attacks combined per combat round, 3 twin-linked lascannons, 3 melta guns and 2 heavy bolters. From what I remember it did ok, but never set the world alight (largely due to my poor tactics and inability to create a truly merciless army list).

Interestingly, in the new Imperial Index, this army would appear to come out at approximately 1586 points. Not a lot of difference, but I just don't think it's got the teeth to stand up to the new rules.

So, rather than recreate this army verbatim, maybe I'll do an 8th Edition interpretation of this list. Time to get my thinking cap on – any ideas?

Thursday, 6 July 2017

40k: Return Of The Dark Templar

Some of you may remember my original Dark Templar marines from seven years ago. They were a test to see if the theory of creating a Mk6 space marine army was viable. They were quite a success, but the project as a whole has not progressed much since. I have collected a lot of Mk6 bitz and have even prepped some for mold making – it would be prohibitively expensive to try such a project by buying everything, so some resin duplication will be necessary.

With the release of 8th Edition 40k my enthusiasm has been buoyed but a project of such magnitude  is daunting and not what I want to take on right now. My Plague Marines are on hold until we see some new kits and a codex, but what to do in the mean time? I decided that the best course of action was to revisit my old Mk7 Dark Templar marines and simply paint them up in the new purple and black colour scheme. That should be simple right? Er, no.

The purple paint I used for my original DT marines was Lich Purple, which has since been removed from the Citadel range. In the years since I have been collecting pots of Xereus Purple, which was it's natural successor. Only when I started to paint and ink my old marines this week did I realise that the results were not the same. The purple colour on the models had lost its life and vibrancy.

Upon closer inspection, nothing in the Citadel line would get close to what I wanted. Indeed I was struggling to find a match throughout other manufacturers' paint products too. It was made more difficult by the fact that colour accuracy online is not great – this would involve some purchases.

I bought a handful of purple paint, spanning multiple ranges, to try and find a match. It came down to a choice of three. Sunset Purple by Scale 75, plus Royal Purple and Violet by Vallejo Model Color. Upon closer inspection, the Violet was too blue and the Sunset Purple too red. The Royal Purple on the other hand was a virtual match. I had found my replacement colour purple!!

So, eventually, I got to put some paint on miniatures. I also discovered that I can recreate my old space marine tournament army from 2000 with the new Imperial index, so that seems like a good starting point – no more purchases necessary, just re-using old models!

Monday, 26 June 2017

The Green Horde Is Coming… To An End

June seems to have been a very long month for all the wrong reasons, but one thing that has kept things interesting is the Zombicide: Green Horde Kickstarter. I had announced to Bull when I first heard about it that I was going all-in and would sign up for every optional extra and splash out big time, given that it's a fourth game at the moment. However, after seeing my pledge pass the $300 mark in the first fortnight I decided that I may have been a little hasty and scaled things back. It is only a board game after all, even if it is a very good one.

Having said that, the amount of loot you get for an initial $120 pledge is growing daily and with less that 48 hours before the Kickstarter ends, now is the time to get on board or miss out on the exclusives (of which there is a lot – see image above).

In the last 24 hours we have seen a stretch goal for a Giant survivor smashed, revealing a stretch goal for a Giant zombie! The stretch goals this time around have been a mixed bag I think, but true to form for a Cool Mini Or Not Kickstarter there have been lots of them as the project races towards the familiar $4M mark. Will it beat the last Kickstarter that managed $4.2M? We will see…

Friday, 23 June 2017

Return To 40k

Every time Games Workshop produce another incarnation of Warhammer 40k I feel obliged to take a look, given that it's played such a massive part in my hobby life over the years.

8th Edition has been slightly different in that GW have highlighted some of the the key changes in the build up to release. I've been intrigued by the simplification of the Warhammer world with AoS (without ever actually playing it) and what I was hearing was that 40k was going to follow suit. This gave me some hope that things may actually change to the point where I could welcome 40k back into my life. It's been a long time time since the glory days of 4th Edition and I've had no interested in the versions since, especially as things escalated towards apocalypse type battle with flyers and war machines.

Then GW played their ace card – Death Guard marines in the starter box – ah, dammit, this was not going to be a cheap return to 40k. As has become the norm in recent years, said models were of the highest quality (even if there are still a few dodgy poses). That was it then, I would have to shell out close to £100 to see what it was all about – even though the rules are technically free (how does that work?!).

I managed to miss the postman on release day and have to wait 24hrs to go to the sorting office and collect my parcel. I was excited, but with a certain level of reservation – disappointment for so many years will do that to you! Upon opening the box I have to say it is a very smart product. The only company I have come across that presents it's products as beautifully as this is Apple (they're in a league of their own, but this was pretty good). Taking the time and effort to present products to this degree makes the unboxing experience so much more enjoyable. It shows that the company cares what the customer thinks.

The contents was pretty solid. The fact that you got the hardback edition of the full rulebook, instead of an A5 lite version, was a good decision. That helped make it feel like a quality purchase and good value for money. The models are as stunning as ever and, again, helps to give a feeling of quality and value. The Primaris marines went on Ebay and sold in less than an hour, so I've made most of the cost back already.

After building my first few Death Guard models I decided to crack out my current army and rebase them on the larger 32mm bases. However, when old and new Death Guard stood side by side I noticed there was a significant scale discrepancy. Not unlike a Primaris marine next to a standard one, the size difference was quite noticeable and looked quite odd – disaster!

Now I'm left with a bit of a quandary. Do I relegate my old Death Guard to be standard nurgle marines and the new plastics are Death Guard? Do I sell my old DG marines and start a new army? Do I stick to the old ones and not bother with the new ones?

To complicate things more, my two favourite conversions of all time – my Nurgle Heldrake and Nurgle Forgefiend – can't be taken in a pure Death Guard army!! Neither can my Nurgle Biker!

So for now I'm simply putting together the models. Just like last time I built some Nurgle on the back of a 40k box set (above), I jumped straight in with a conversion. More on that another time.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

There And Back Again…

The blog has been quiet for the last three weeks due to me being away in the States with the family. A unique occasion to be sure as we travelled first to Illinois for a family wedding. It was a far more casual affair than we had anticipated and I stood out somewhat in a three-piece suit.

Next came two fantastic days in Chicago. Staying in a lovely hotel overlooking the river, I have to say it was the best time I've had on holiday since visiting Yosemite five years ago. We got to meet my 'glorious' friend Brian from Anvil Eight Games, who graciously took me and my family out to try some famous Chicago style pizza pie. What an experience and I can say hand on heart that I will never look at pizza in this country the same way.

Myself and Brian got to hang out for a while after dinner, drinking local beers and chatting about all things gaming. It was a very inspiring evening and makes me very excited for all things hobby related – not least the future of Anvil Eight Games. You will be hearing more about them soon as they raise their profile with more astonishing projects.

After our awesome time in the city we jumped on a plane down to Texas to hang out with the extended family once again. Whilst we didn't see much of this famous state, we did get to visit the Alamo… which was not what I had imagined.

Located in the middle of downtown San Antonio, and surrounded by a high wall, you could walk past the place and not know it was there were it not for all the signage. Crowded in on all sides by tall buildings, it was a far cry from the fort in the desert that I had imagined it to be. The site itself was interesting enough – a small exhibition and an enormous gift shop were sat alongside the famous church seen in most promotional material. The atmosphere on site was heavy with history.

Now we're home, the attention has swung back to hobby things. The new Zombicide Kickstarter launched on Tuesday and funded in 6 minutes. Whilst the stretch goals so far have not been terribly inspiring I'm hoping things will improve.

I have also just pre-ordered the new Warhammer 40k box set which is due out on the 17th June (day before Father's Day… cough). And just because all this hobby spending wasn't enough, I've also bought Massive Darkness Kickstarter on Ebay which is due to be shipped in the next couple of months.

I think I need a sit down – phew!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

New Zombicide – Zombie Sculpts

To compliment the new Heroes, here are the new Green Horde zombie sculpts. I'm find these quite a mixed bag, but am reserving judgement fully until we get to see the final things. 17 days to go till the Kickstarter!







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