Sunday, January 29, 2017

Celestial Lions Kill Team (part 2)

I found some cool bitz online that I didn't have that I wanted to use for my Celestial Lions. While waiting for them to arrive (they are apparently coming from Australia so it may be some time before they arrive) I decided to fill out the unit a bit more for flexibility with list making. I picked up a box of the plug 'n play Battle for Vedros marines for $10.

Vedros: When you want to buy cheap models with different packaging.

After a bit of mold-line removal, I cut off their slotta tabs and glued them to some 32mm bases (the Vedros box comes with 28mm BTW). I was then ready to get their bases started.

32mm bases. 
After that I glued grit to the base and then I primed them using gold spray paint. This coat will also serve as the primary base coat as well.

Primed/base coated.
Next I went in and picked out the areas that needed a black base coat. Following that I base coated the grit on the base using Territorial Beige. Now they no longer appeared to be raiding a treasure horde!

Black base coats added.
 Next I had to figure out which specific color of blue I used all those years ago. So I experimented until I found the one. Below you can see the two models I tested these colors on. They are flanked by the older ones with the right color.

Blue test.
It's not as much progress as I would've like to have made, but I have been under the weather this past week. Hopefully I will make additional progress soon.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Anachronistic 40k: D-Cannon

Hello and welcome to this monthly feature where I look back on the history of iconic elements of the 40k game. This month: the Eldar D-Cannon.

Original image and blurb from White Dwarf #100.
 It first appeared in the early days of Rogue Trader in the landmark White Dwarf #100. Despite it's humble design (I never thought it looked very "eldar" even then) players encountering this thing on the table would learn to absolutely dread facing it.
The symbols under the ad copy indicate base options.
I recall the first time I ever faced one. I was playing Space Marines against Doc TSG's Eldar when this gun fired at my Land Raider. The Land Raider was wicked-tough in 1st Edition and the idea of this thing "one shot, one kill"-ing it seemed so...unplausible. After a few dice rolls my Land Raider was removed from play, or according to the background,  removed from known reality!

"Ok, what the hell was that?" I declared in bewildered shock. He passed the Rogue Trader tome to me and this is what I saw:

Snipped from Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader.

Look at that first sentence and check out all those alternate names for this thing! Each one is amazingly accurate, but most are long since forgotten. The background for this cannon states that it uses the same warping technology typical of the warp engines on a spacecraft. However the warping effects on the target, as it's shunted from reality into the warp and back again, is usually enough to tear the target apart.

Despite the instant death rules, you had a fair chance to avoid having your models killed if they were fast enough to "dive out of the way". Something you just don't see at all in the modern GW games: Saves based on speed of movement!

These original rules were pretty simple and straight forward, however by the end of the edition the rules for this weapon had evolved quite a bit. In fact, the whole thing had evolved. Jes Goodwin had re-sculpted it into the weapon platform that we more-or-less have today, and with it came additional rules for moving the piece as well. As you can see in the image below, the new gun was actually smaller but uniquely Eldar for it's time. In fact it sort of led the way to what would become "the look" for Eldar weapons and it would be a few more years before the other weapons conform to the same design. You can see the Las Cannon (Brightlance) and Scatter Laser in this pic too and they look far more like Imperial weapons. The hover platform itself was the real game changer as this allowed the support weapon to move during the game with far less restrictions that the other armies were capable of doing with their support weapons.

Let's not talk about those tripods....

At the end of the 1st edition The Battle Manual arrived and with it a far more complicated set of rules for the D-Cannon, which was now listed as the Distort Cannon on Anti-Grav Platform. It was no longer a Heavy Weapon, it was now a Support Weapon. The rules based on the target's Movement rate had been replaced by placing a 2" template and rolling a D12 for scatter. In the the 2nd Edition of the game this would change to a scatter die roll. After determining where it ended up you would scatter it a 2nd time. That would indicate the blast's final position. Whatever was below that Template would have it's fate determined by a D6 roll on the Distort Table.

The warping effects of the Distort Cannon always did something to the target, it was just a matter of determining what that was. If you rolled '5' on the Distort Test you rolled on an additional chart to see what the outcome of that result was. It sometimes wasn't pretty, but it was always interesting!

The last two results were particularly horrific as "5" usually killed the target from the fall, and "6" resulted in the target essentially turning into a Mole Mortar shell!

Ah fun times. I recall a particular 2nd Edition game where my Ork Dreadnought was struck twice by the same D-Cannon, both times resulting in it being displaced inside a small building! Each time the Dred had to spend it's entire next turn getting out of that annoying building, effectively making it worthless for half the game! It wasn't always comical though, and I usually made it a priority to take those nasty things out.

Snipped from Codex Eldar (3rd Ed ruleset).

Speaking of Dreadnoughts, in these early frontier times of the 40K game, if I ever encountered an Eldar Distort Cannon it was most likely mounted on an Eldar Dreadnought. A tougher, and arguably more reliable method for getting the D-Cannon closer to the thing you wished to annihilate. The Dreadnought tended to be a tougher target to eliminate as well, although I recall some creative ways to counter it (my Ork Weirdboy "Squishing" the pilot for example).

"I haven't been called Dreadnought since...oh before you were born!"

Third Edition arrived, and like everything else in the game, the Distort Cannon was beat down good by the proverbial nerf bat. It was now a Guess Range Weapon with only a 24" range, Str 10 AP2 using the new large Blast template. Still a nasty weapon, but losing all of it's fun and random elements. The "get out of the way" factor was replaced by the Guess Range rules, which in the hands of some people wasn't really that inhibiting! And the Str 10 AP2 equaled death to most of the things that it pointed at. Also, now you could buy these things in batteries -just in case you absolutely, positively, needed to annihilate the the crap out of something all the way down to the molecular level!

Hello gorgeous, give us a smile! 
With the 4th Edition Codex the stats and rules changed again. The gun was still a Guess weapon but now had Instant Death on 6+ when rolling to wound. This only served to make the Distort Cannon that much more effective and deadly. Also, the new model that came out around this time was simply gorgeous.

Codex Eldar (40k 4th ed ruleset).

The next Eldar Codex to come out was during the 6th edition of Warhammer 40,000. It was an impressive tome visually but the rules served to take the Eldar to a power level they haven't fully enjoyed since the 2nd Edition. By this time the Eldar family of Distortion Weapons has grown significantly. It started with the smaller Wraithcannon  as wielded by the Wraithguard back in 2nd edition as a hand-held portable and slightly less powerful version of the D-Cannon. By this time we now have D-Sythes, Heavy D-Sythes and even Heavy Wraithcannons. In various games over the years {this one comes to mind as an example of why one never declares a challenge against anyone carrying a D-Sythe!) I have had the mixed fortune of facing off against these other Distortion Weapons, but I just never see (and seriously, this isn't a complaint!) the D-Cannon hit the table any more. Eldar players like it, but in the end, they have so many more efficient killing options available to them for the points that they would sink into a D-Cannon battery, that it usually remains back on the Craftworld...probably with a tarp over it.

6th ed rules.

7th edition, which shocked the world with how fast it followed behind 6th, took a slightly lazy approach. See that profile above for 6th edition book? Somebody at the Design Studio looked at that and had an epiphany:

"Hey, we got D-Weapons in the game now that migrated over from Apocalypse, How is it that we have a gun called a D-Cannon and it isn't a D-weapon? That's really confusing...we should fix that!"

"Oi, that's a brilliant idea!!!"

So, they took an eraser to that S column and replaced all those annoying numbers with a capital D. Which (like you don't know) means Destroyer. Yes, these are all Destroyer Weapons now meaning you roll on a chart to see just how extensive your target's demise is. They're slightly nerfed with a -1 on the table, but still: Ouch! However, despite access to these junior-grade D-Weapons, I still don't ever see the old D-Cannon on the table-top. It still has the same problem that it had in 6th: for the points sacrifice I could get even more Warpspiders!

And here we are. The nasty killing machine that has had many different ways to play it over the course of 30 years. I am hoping to hear some comments regarding tales of glory and woe for those who faced or used the D-Cannon at some point.

-Till next time!

All of the images in the post are Copyright Games Workshop and are used here for the purposes of review and not as a challenge to their individual copyrights. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Celestial Lions Kill Team (part 1)

Kill Team has brought to me the opportunity to work on my secondary and/or tertiary 40k armies. These are armies that I want to build and do something with, but my primary armies always tend to take up my time and focus instead. With my Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors Kill Team finished it was time to dig in the toy box for the next one.

I settled on the Celestial Lions. This is an army I have talked about doing for years. The idea would be that it would be a small Codex Space Marines army that would let me play with the stuff my Space Wolves couldn't use. As well as allow me to broaden my paint palette (way too much green, gray, red and black in my armies!). I was about to embark on building this army when my brother decided he was over 40k and sold his Ultramarines to me.

The first Celestial Lion model I ever painted was this guy:
Don't be afraid, 'e's 'armless!

And yes, he isn't done. He was a test model for the color scheme, just to see if my fast method for painting this army would work. I was satisfied with it and it turns out that right around this time a local store (The Maelstrom, for those that recall it) held a painting competition and I cranked out a Celestial Lions Terminator Captain. You can see him on the Other Armies page. Other than defending the notion of ever doing this army from the relentless taunts of Da Masta Cheef, until now that's all I ever managed to do with the Celestial Lions.

Here they are in the state they have been in for years:

Vet. SGT. 
The Veteran Sergeant was a weird experiment when I built him. For those that don't know the story of the Celestial Lions, they first appeared in the 3rd War for Armageddon Codex that came out in support of the summer campaign of 2000. They got barely a mention in the codex, but the supporting web site provided an illustration and brief history which stated that their entire Chapter had been sent to the war after pissing off the Inquistion. And after a series of coincidental battlefield misfortunes they had been wiped out down to less than a company's strength by the Orks. It was this rag-tag group that I originally, and ambitiously, had hoped to model up. This Vet. Sgt has a grot tied to his trophy pole. Not sure why, I guess war does strange things to a guy after a while...?

Grot prisoner/trophy.
The next 3 guys were probably intended to be bolter troops. For reasons that I can't explain I had never readied arms or weapons for these guys. Otherwise they were mostly done.

Ready to be armed.
So today the project was renewed. The first step was to expand their bases using Secret Weapon conversion rings.

Afixing the extensions -one half at a time.
Next, I used greenstuff to fill in the joins. Then I glued on the grit for their bases.

Slathering on the glue!
While the bases were drying I decided to finish the grot. He had been dabbled on over the years usually because I was working on other green skins and had left over paint on the brush and he was still on my modeling station. But today I completely finished his skin tones.

Skin tones completed.
 After this I finshed off their bases, primed their arms and began selecting their weapons. I scoured the internet looking for examples others have done and for some iconography ideas. But I'll talk more about that in part 2 (which hopefully won't take another decade to accomplish!).

The progress so far.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Clowning Around (part 4)

After taking a small break from doing much with the hobby, mostly because of the holidays, I decided to pick things back up a bit by painting some more Harlequins.This time I decided to do more Troupers so I can have a minimum squad size of painted models. Perhaps with maybe getting them into a Kill Team mission?

As I stated way back in Clowning Around part one, my Troupe is based on the Reaper's Mirth from the Harlequin Codex. In part 2 I broke down how I painted these models but I decided, for my own reference anyway, that I needed a slightly more in-depth guide. So 'ere we go:

I started out with a black base coat. The white areas I used a very dark grey. The red areas I used Scab Red. I used an old rust color from the old Citadel Range called Tin Bitz on the areas that I will build up to gold.

Base Coats
The mid coats followed, I used a dark blue on the areas that will be black to make for a "leather" sort of look. I painted a lighter grey on the areas that I am building up to white.

Mid Coats.
The leather areas were next highlighted with a light grey. I used that same light grey on their mohawks, painting both sides in this fashion. Evil Suns Scarlet was built up over the Scab Red.

Light Grey on their pants and hair.
This is where I decided to deviate from the steps I showed in Part Two. Instead of washing the black areas with Black Ink, I chose to wash them in Drachenhof Nightshade Wash. I liked how this turned out a lot better, I will still add black ink some places but the areas that are building up to the final highlight will be left like this. Also, I used  Carroburg Crimson on the read side of the mohawk, and Nuln Oil on the other.

Inks applied.
Next I dry brushed White Scar over the white side of the mohawk to bring it out to white. I also used White Scar to complete the White areas of their uniforms as well.

Scar White for the white bitz!

And this is where I am at with them so far. In the next part I will be touching them up and applying details. See you then!