Friday, October 14, 2016

Kill Team: Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors (part 2)

Following on from the last post on this topic, kabalite-warriors part 1, I can show you that I have made quite a bit of progress. Considering that this is 20 warriors, and how fleeting my hobby time is, I'm very pleased with the progess actually.

A chunk of the progress.

All but three models have their 'red parts' finished. The three models that I am holding back are the Sybarites and a special weapons model that I feel deserve more focus and less of an assembly-line approach when it's their turn for color.

Sybarites with armor base coats.

As stated in the last post, this scheme is based on a coven presented in the 5th ed  Codex: Dark Eldar called the Crimson Rose. I'll let you judge if I have done a good job representing it with these models.

The stages. Finished guy on the left.

Basically the red color scheme is simple, yet requires a little patience and a bit of precision.

  • It's essential to prime the models black, and I usually apply my primer as thin as possible then go over the model again in Chaos (or Abbadon) Black. 
  • Next I thinnly apply Scab Red to any raised areas and edges on the areas that I have decided will be the "red" part of the armor.
  • Then I go over it again with a more solid application of Scab Red along the edges ad higher areas.
  • I use a strong application of Blood Red on the edges but a dry brush along the high points that aren't so obvious.
  • I then give this area a wash of Nuln Oil to tone the reds back down.
  • I used Chaos (or Abbadon) Black to the areas I might have been sloppy with or that I might have added too much red to.
  • I reapply a conservative amount of Blood Red back onto the edges, picking out the parts I want to stand out.
  • A final highlight of Sunburst Yellow is added to the extreme edges of the red.
That's a lot of steps, but it goes faster than you might think if you're just reading this.

Next up for these models are the dark blue areas, finish off the weapons and then the eyes. I think I want to make their hair black but make the crests on the helms a kind of dark green but I am still deciding on that one.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Review: Dark Angels: Accept No Failure

Accept No Failure by Gav Thorpe.

I purchased this audio-book back in the fall of 2015 (a year ago next week!) when I visited the Warhammer Store in Turkey Creek, otherwise known as the Knoxville Games Workshop. At the time I had not yet completed my reading of the Legacy of Caliban Trilogy, so I set this aside for later. I recently pulled it out and gave it a listen.

There are two stories contained in this collection:

Accept No Failure and Holder of the Keys.

Accept No Failure is the main feature of course, and much of it is adapted straight from the novel Master of Sanctity. It is a reflection of Deathwing Captain Belial as he looks back on the time he ran into Ghazghkull Thrakka the uber Ork Warlord, who in this script might as well be the Incredible Hulk on meds while encumbered by lots of armored junk. Here is a snippet from the script:


Sheathing my sword, I reloaded and fired again as the Beast started towards me once more, every shot aimed for the exposed face and skull. Two rounds glanced from the jagged gorget that protected the Beast’s lower jaw. Another pair clanged from the bionic half of Ghazghkull’s head, leaving blackened welts on the metal but not penetrating. My fifth shot hit flesh, deflected from the bony cheek beneath and exploded beside the ork’s ear rather than beneath skin and muscle. 


The chunk of script (above) is from the 2nd disk which includes the scripts for both stories and desktop wallpaper (I recall when the Black Library would include these things as free download...). Personally I got a kick out of Gav's sound FX descriptions. The FX on the audio was quite good actually although I tend to recall this story had a lot of 'crunchy' sounds due to the fight occurring in an old warehouse district. I was hoping to hear ork-speak in that classic deep cockney that the Orks have had attributed to them since the late '80s, and yet I'm thankful that we didn't get the voices from the Space Marine video game ("Die Spayace Mahreene!")

This fight was quite enjoyable to listen to, however it's broken up by events in "modern times" as Belial how seems to regret how that fight ended (obvious spoiler- he didn't kill Ghazghkull). He tattoos himself with admonishments and testimonies as a form of punishment. The FX team has the buzzing of a tattoo gun (although it reminded me more of a dental drill) while his thoughts are narrated. These scenes, and the scenes from Master of Sanctity where he meets his new Deathwing inductees for the first time, felt unnecessary and painfully slow. It could be that I've read it before, and chances are anyone picking this up has read it before as well, but the biggest problem is that it's set in 2nd person while the action scenes are all in 1st person, and far, far more exciting.

Holder of Keys was awesome but lamentably short. To sum it up, a member of the Fallen is being psychically tortured and he recounts how the loyalist Dark Angels attacked Caliban with unbridled furry and that he and his comrades who stood with Luther had to defend themselves. This Fallen was on one of the orbital stations and the battle he describes to Ezekiel is of it's defense. It's an exciting story but it's over far too quickly. I was particularly intrigued by the description of Corswain who in this story is a total bad-ass. In the Legacy of Caliban Trilogy The Sword of Corswain is an artifact that one of the characters is entrusted with taking into battle. The concept of Caliban, particularly the Dark Angel Civil War and it's break-up at the battle's climax, has always intrigued me and it's always fun to see it explored.

Another snippet:



FALLEN: They had chased us from orbit. There they had spat their hate upon us, spewing fighters from burning flight decks. Like a storm of swords they fell upon our station. We manned the defence batteries. Macrocannons and mass-fusillade laser barrages. A wall of fire, a barrier of lightning, plasma and missiles to fend off the rage of a demigod.


Screen shot of the bonus disk menu.

  • Did I like it? Yes I did. However, I found it the 2nd story was over too soon, which is a shame because it was far more interesting to me than the first one.  
  • Was it hard to put down stop? No,  it was like I was hoping for a bit more info on the Dark Angels, another snippet of revelation to the overall Dark Angel Story.
  • Could I care about the characters? Belial comes off as a bit whiny to me, especially in the scenes where he is petitioning the Dark Angel inner circle to allow him to pursue Ghazghkull. . But then, in Gav's books most of the Dark Angels are somewhat like this I guess, so I suppose it works.The change in POV maybe a factor as the older Belial seems to be in a constant state of self-torture while Belial the younger is something of a bad-ass. Ghazghkull's portrayal as a monster as opposed to an ork military genius (albeit, an insane one) felt wrong to me. It also felt wrong to me that he would be alone and cornered in a warehouse and not completely swamped with mobs of orks all competing to be in his new retinue. I understand why it's presented this way, as from the Marine's perspective, the Orks are just big dumb aliens and Gav's just trying to present them as such here. In the 2nd story, it's a bit challenging figuring out exactly what's going on with the psychic-torture scenes, but the Fallen's recanting of the battle was very well done. 
  • Did the writer truly grasp how the 'world' of the 41st millennium works in the sense that it doesn't betray or retcon previously established (as I know it) lore? Gav's knowledge on the Dark Angels has got to be uncontested at this point. The 2nd story describing the attack on the orbital station was particularly awesome, focused, and well done. 
  • Was I being talked down too? Not so much. 
  • How predictable is this story? The 2nd story wasn't predictable at all, heck it's over so fast. The first one is some what predictable as anyone who know the 40K universe knows that Ghazghkull isn't deceased yet, and this is a flashback, so it's all a matter of figuring out how Belial gets out of this encounter alive. 
  • Do I recommend this book? Only for the hardcore Dark Angel reader and collector. This isn't something I would recommend to the casual 40K fiction fan and especially not for some's introduction to the Dark Angels. 
Imagines and text snippets are Copyright Games Workshop and are used here for review purposes and are not intended as a challenge to Games Workshop's Copyright. 

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Kill team battle

The Bob and I got together for another game, and while I do have the Bolt Action 2nd Ed rulebook, I have not had time to read it yet. We decided to give Kill Team a whirl since neither of us has ever played Warhammer 40,000 at this points level before.

After a quick review of the rules Bob threw together a Dark Angel Squad while I spent that time setting up the battlefield. I love the 4' X 4' battlefield as it really keeps the game centered on a focused area and since it's Kill Team, and neither of us had tanks, I tried to fill up the board with as many ruins and brush as a could. After Bob finished his list we took the time to select our Specialist abilities. I pulled my own Kill Team from it's containers, and set about distinguishing who exactly my Specialists were.

Chaos assembled. 
I chose my Khorne Berserker Aspiring Champion as my Leader. The other Aspiring Champ was my Combat Specialist who got the special rule Killer Instinct which gave him the ability to wound his foes on 2+. The Chaos Marine with the Melta Gun got the Eagle Eye special rule which gave his melta gun an 18" range. And the Berserker in mostly black armor was granted the Murderous Blow special rule, allowing him to re-roll wound rolls in close combat.

The Dark Angels arrive, ready to unleash some atonement. 
Bob's leader is the guy in the front of the pic above. I think he's a Vet Sgt. He rolled for the ability to have his LD extended up to 12" for break tests. The three Specialists are behind him: a marine in the old armor who got Soulblaze,  the missile launcher got Shrouded and the Plasma gunner got the ability to ignore cover (ouch!).

The field is set.
I set up first, and my strategy was to set up on my deployment zone line so I could close with him and the objectives as fast as possible. His set up was a tad bit more defensive.

After Bob missed stealing the initiative (by one -ulp!), I started the first turn. Mostly I just ran everyone up, but I did get an awesome shoot with my extended range melta-gun killing a guy. A guy who turned out to be the Dark Angel Team Leader!

Oh, a guy in range! I'll see if I can shoot him...

First Blood and Slay the Warlord achieved in one glorious shot!

That was your leader? Oops!
But a good start to the game giving me 2 immediate Victory Points (First Blood and Slay the Leader).

The Dark Angels turn was an exercise in patience for Bob as his dice seemed to make a mockery of his shooting attempts. He did set a World Eater on fire with his Soulblaze marine but the flames extinguished by the end of the turn.

"Have some Soulblaze!"
Round 2 and I was feeling bold. I got my leader to close and get a charge on a Dark Angel that was crouching behind a crater. Despite the amount of dice I was allowed to roll I failed to kill the guy, however he got a hit on my leader in return and I failed the armor save. Bob racks up a Slay the Leader VP.

"Blood for the Bloo---urk!"

Note that we decided it would be fun to leave our dead behind on the table. With a game this size it sort of adds to the drama. I was using the flat blood-red marbles to represent pools of blood for a bit more of a dramatic effect.

Bullets rained back and forth, both of our men near the biggest crater were down, with my guy being baked in his armor by the Dark Angel plasma gunner.

End of turn 2.

Turn three, with more back-and-forth, I got one of my beserkers to close with the Dark Angel with the Soulblaze power and they were locked in a melee for a few close combat rounds.

Contested objective.

Bob's shrouded missile launcher on the roof of one of ruins had been trading shots with the Aspiring Champion and/or the accompanying Black Legion marine since the game started. Finally the Black Legion was able to get a killing shot on him and he went down.

Dark Angel missile launcher falls.

Eventually the Soulblaze DA dies to the Berserker and Chaos takes an objective. At this stage I was sitting on three of the objectives and now had Line Breaker so at this stage I had 6vps to Bob's 1vp.

Objective claimed.
Pressing on, the Chaos Champion slaughters another Dark Angel in Close Combat and sets his sights on a fresh target...

"You are next!"
With a sudden surge in fire-arms proficiency, both of Bob's Dark Angels on my right flank gunned down the two chaos guys in the opposite ruins. One is killed off of the objective and other, my extended range melta-gun user, is vaporized by the DA plasma gunner.

Taste the vengeance! 

Feeling cocky, the Berserker that had killed the soulblaze marine attacked the marine on the 2nd level of the ruins. It was a quick duel, ending with both men killing his opponent!

"I kill you!" "No, I kill you first!"
My last objective, one in the middle of the board which a Khorne Berserker had been holding for much of the game, was abandoned. The Berserker decided to charge the marine that had killed the chaos Kill Team Leader and who had been taking shots at him for most of the game. Just like the squad leader, it was suicide, as this Dark Angel gutted him like a fish! He then took the objective!

Objective secure!

This was the end of Turn 5, and we rolled for it and the game was over. I had 4 VPs (Slay the Leader, First Blood, Linebreaker and Break the Enemy) wheras Bob had 3 (1 Objective, Break the Enemy and Slay the Leader). I was winning, However Bob was in a position to get the upper hand and was outnumbering me with living models. Eff it, we were having too much fun to stop now!

Knowing he could easily take the insufferable Dark Angel that had just claimed the objective, the Aspiring Champion charged. But he was cut down by the Dark Angel marine's overwatch response!

Seriously, objective secure!

The Dark Angels on my right flank moved into the ruins and claimed the other objective. There were three Dark Angels left alive to my lone Black Legion marine. The game ended with a tie, 4VPs to 4VPs.

Game over
That was a close one, and it was very intense!

Being our first Kill Team game, we had many thoughts on how well it went. We really enjoyed it and both agreed that it was a lot fun! We liked that even with so few miniatures it was still a very intense game. The fact that every individual model was now behaving as a unit of one, put a lot of importance and emphasis on each one of them. In normal sized 40K games a single model is often little more than fodder, while here, that single model has the potential to truly shine. Take for example the regular, non-specialist, tactical marine of Bob's that had the dice gods blessing in this fight: he killed 2 Aspiring Champions (one in hand to hand, one with an overwatch shot) and Khorne Berserker in hand to hand as well. That guy absolutely got the MVP for this match!

We're already talking about playing another game soon, and I am already thinking about what my next kill team might be...

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Kill Team: Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors (part 1)


My first (and currently only) fully painted Dark Eldar model.
Regular readers may be wondering "Hey, wasn't that last Kill Team post about Genestealers???" And they would be correct.

Umm... bit of a hiccup in that plan, but I shall write about that in it's own post.

Meanwhile I have been pleasantly surprised to find myself working on some Dark Eldar for Kill Team. Believe it or not, it's a project I have been debating to myself about doing for many years and my clowning around was actually me toeing those proverbial waters before diving into the deep end of the pool. (Or rather, after the proverbial pool separated into two with the Harlequins becoming their own army). Kill Team now provides me with the chance to work on a few things without building the entire army, which is in the webway (storage) waiting for their day to escape into realspace...

If you have ever explored my blog you may have seen these guys on my Other Armies page in the Tertiary Armies section. I have not touched them since these photos were taken in 2013 and it had been close to three years prior to that since any work was done on them.

The Dark Eldar assembled on my old, and totally unfocused, painting station. 

In the 2010 Codex: Dark Eldar they had a color scheme in the gallery section for a Kabal called the Obsidian Rose. I was quite impressed with it and wanted to make that the Kabal I would paint and play. I had a few Dark Eldar warriors that I had put together for fun when I was first collecting them seriously around the year 2000, and decided to try the Obsidian Rose scheme on them. I was impressed with it and with how quickly the model was finished. However I was quite seriously into completely my Space Wolf projects and decided to but the whole Dark Eldar experiment onto the back burner for another time. I was also upset about the transition to Finecast and my inability to get some of the new range models in metal before it was too late.

Obsidian Rose paint scheme reference pic.

Back to the present, and I took this pic (above) to help me try to figure out just how I went about painting this scheme and what were the exact paints I had used to do it. Luckily, I had stopped this project in mid-stage so the incomplete models have acted like a road map in helping me figure that out. I will likely do one of my typical stage-by-stage posts on this scheme soon so I can view it for my own future reference.

For now though, let's get back to the unit construction for Kill Team. As I said above, all of my unassembled and unopened boxes of Dark Eldar are in storage, but I had a baggy full of old Dark Eldar models, bitz and scraps that Mike had given to me. There was enough to make nine fully assembled models. I rebuilt and primed the three mostly finished models and ordered some bitz from ebay to give the rest of these models some variety.

Not as much variety as a Rush concert, but close...

After an evening of kit-bashing I was fairly impressed with the initial results. The woman in the pic above is to be a Sybarite, However I decided that if I was going to use the new style arms that I would have to it in pairs otherwise one arm would look bigger than the other. So the arm with the double-blade knife was removed, and you can see below that I decided to switch it with a newer style arm holding a grenade.

Sybarite. -Is it me, or does she look really pissed off?

These next two pics are of the model I decided will be the Leader in Kill Team games. She is also a Sybarite.

Sybarite and Kill Team Leader

 I decided she needed a powersword but the only bitz I had handy were from an old Craftworld Eldar sprue (that's another army I haven't touched in ages by-the-way). I thought it needed something flashy so I stuck a plume of hair/fur hanging off of the sword pommel. This is a bit from the original plastic Dark Eldar models that is intended to be used as a sort of crest on the helmets of those models. I think it turned out cool.

The Blade of Ticklish Distraction?

Also while building this model the idea to put a bladed crest behind her head came to me and I had to try it out. Pretty simple idea and I think it works. It kind of mocks the vanes that some of their Craftworld brethren have. I like it so much that I went back and added one to the first Sybarite also.

Next up was the opportunity to add special weapons. The lack of special weapons was an annoying short-coming of the original Warrior frames. Back then GW rarely gave us special weapons on the sprues and instead sold those alternative options in metal blister packs. The current kits (not just the Dark Eldar ones, but all their newer releases) have addressed this to the point were now it seems that you end up with more leftover bitz than you have glued onto the finished models!

Special weapons.
These next pic are of two basic head swaps.

The current heads have ball joints to connect them to their bodies, whereas the older models had a flat connection. I had to cut the ball joint off of course but I was able to cut it in a way so I could angle the heads to be looking in different directions. .

This last model will likely be a Specialist in Kill Team simply because she has one of the newer helmet-less heads and is easier to distinguish from the rest of her companions.

Grit has been applied, primer sprayed and the painting has begun. I look forward to showing you the results.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bolt Action Ally combat drills (with live ammo!)

Good day! Last week  The Bob and I got together for another session of Bolt Action. This is likely our (well mine anyway) last game before we all start playing BA 2nd edition (as I write this pre-orders of the new rule book have arrived and there is much excited rules discussion). So we gathered at our local Hobbytown USA, where we were joined by Mike and Screech, serving with the usual bombast as our merry band of hecklers.

Bob showed up with the U.S. Army and I used the same list of Brits from the last game. Whether it was these armies doing war game drills or the War of 1812 rekindled, it didn't mater to us. We chose a mission where we just tried to rack up the most VPs but we start out in reserves. Bob rolled some of his things onto the table and when my Firefly arrived it had a juicy tank to shoot at. And it did so very well and the tank was blown up almost immediately. A drastic improvement on the penetration results from the previous game and an impressive way to begin the game.

The troops continued to roll on but nothing else dramatic occurred on Turn One.

End Turn One
Turn 2 and the pin markers begin to accumulate. Bob's artillery piece was my next item of focus for my Firefly only it was too well protect by the cover that stood between it. This was also when I discovered how awesome Veteran level troops are vs my Medium level troops as Bob's Yanks proved quite stout compared to my seemingly soft Brits. It appeared that attrition would be a winning factor in this game after all...

Turn 2, the Pins begin to grow...
Both sides employed their Forward Observers to call in Air and Artillery strikes. In the next pic you'll see a scatter die, which is the incomong target point, in Bob's side of the field that his troops were quick to move away from.

End of Turn 2
Everything went nuts on turn 3, it seemed that by the end of it almost everything had a pin marker on it.

Under fire!
My right flank was starting to crumble quickly as my Infantry Division was taking far more damage than they were able to dish out.
End of Turn 3
Turn 4, as pin markers accumulated faster than they could be rallied off, my artillery barrage came screaming in and blew away the artillery piece that had been hounding me thus far.

End of Turn 4.
Needing VPs Bob's forces upped their aggression and wipped out the Infantry Division leaving just the Command Section in the Bren Carrier and the mortar team in the back woods. The remaining airstrikes and Artillery came in and I got to issue some payback from the last game by diverting his airstrike onto one of his own units. It wasn't as devastating as I had hoped, but both armies were starting to show a lot of wear.

End of Turn 5.
Last turn of the game and we were in a tie. Feeling bold, the command section raced up with the Bren Carrier and disembarked to attack the rival command section. Although a few soldiers were picked off, it wasn't enough to stop the yanks from charging the limey's for some good 'ol fashioned close quarter action. .

"Bayonets ready lads, 'ere they come!"
And by the time the dust had settled the U.S. was victorious.

"That was for burning the down the White House!"
The last actions of the game, at least for me, were a series of futile gestures intended to eek out another VP to secure lead, but they backfired. Most of my units were trying to wipe out his bazooka team that had gotten a bit too close but they just wouldn't go down! One of my Forward Observers got too exposed as a result of this foolish plan and was himself cut down, securing Bob and the Americans a slight edge in our tied game.

"Damn it man, they're RIGHT THERE!!!"
So it ends at officially a tie, but with the advantage to Bob. Had we kept going I am certain total victory would ultimately have been Bob's, as those vets are just very tough to kill. You can see in the pic below that his force was prepping for a final sweep.  It was a fun game, with Screech, who was our neutral dice puller and keeper of the bag, and Mike cutting up and helping us with the rules it was just a jolly good time. Thanks guys!

End of the game.
Comparing these rules to the changes we knew about for the 2nd edition, I am sure we would be in for a far more explosive game with the introduction of the template rules. As it was, the Firefly only really mattered against armored targets. I got my book yesterday and shall begin a proper read through in the coming week.

'Til next time, remember:

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Killteam: Genestealers

With the release of the new Kill Team rules the local gaming group is buzzing with the excitement of playing Kill Team. Actually, it was going through a revival prior to this, but now it seems even more gamers are keen to get in on it. I am excited about it as it will allow me to model and paint a variety of different miniatures in lieu of what I have been focusing on in recent years (chaos marines, orks, and Bolt Action Brits).

Models and paintjobs that are older than 3/4 of my readers!

I whipped up a few 200pt lists of armies that I haven't done anything with in a while and started to access where I wanted to begin. There are a lot of possibilities here. These lists were Chaos, Space Wolves, Celestial Lions/Ultra Marines (i.e. Codex: Space Marines), Harlequin, Dark Eldar and I decided I wanted to definitely do something with Genestealers. The Genestealers quickly became the lead contender in the Kill Team race. It took me a few days to locate the miniatures, but after much frustration and seeking, I figured out where they were at. And now the plotting truly begins.

For 200 points on the dot, I can take 9 models. That is 8 Genestealer Purestrains and a Broodlord. I upgraded them with Toxin Sacs because poison rocks. Pretty simple on paper, and they look like they can close wicked quick on their prey, I just need to watch out for the Overwatch and open fields...

Looking back on my few Previous genestealer posts I somehow avoided discussing the paint jobs on these models, an oversight I'll fix now.

The first Genestealer I ever painted.
My Genestealer Purestrains were mostly painted in England, so somewhere in '91-'92. They were purchased as part of a boxed set called Terminators & Tyranids. It was a great set for it's time. And at that time my paint palette was limited to the Space Marine paint set, a few choice bottles of loose Citadel and Humbrol paints and the Citadel Inks boxed set.

I did not undercoat the models back then, and the blue color of the plastic may have worked to my favor. The light blue areas are based with a dark blue, then a middle layer of Shadow Grey and highlighted with Space Wolves Grey. The purple areas were based with terracotta, then Worm Purple before being washed with purple ink. Worm Purple would then be added back as a highlight. Their tongues were painted using a Humbrol Red.

It will be fun to revisit this scheme. Being a lot more experienced with painting then I was back then hopefully I can improve upon it. The first model I will paint will be this guy:

Unlike the old days I will likely prime the model with Chaos Black.

My two specialists will probably be these next two models. I say "probably" because these models are different enough in design that I might use some of the (even older) metal ones that I have. Still deciding on this idea... anyway:

The team leader will likely be this chap below:

I say "likely" because, again, design-wise the older ones look OK with these Space Hulk 3rd ed models but clash when scrutinized. I am tempted to locate my old running Patriarch model who fits in very well with the older 'stealers and use him instead.

That's all for now, hopefully I'll have something newly painted to show you soon!