Monday, June 14, 2021

Space Skaven #1 (Art Monday)

 Here's an odd one for you, it's a Space Skaven! This one has an autocannon. And dead Beakies. 


This was one of a set of three that I sent to The Dark Library, a Warhammer 40,000 zine that was produced back in the mid-'90s. Sadly, the publisher, Joseph Goodman, wrote back to me after receiving these to sadly tell me that he wasn't going to do the Space Skaven issue and that he discontinued publication of the zine. It was a bummer for sure as his fanzine was a lot of fun. He did go on to produce bigger and bolder things though which has proven to be quite successful. But I always wondered what that army list would have turned out like. This was during 40k 2nd ed and that ruleset ported over rather effortlessly with Warhammer Fantasy Battle at the time.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Book Review: Penitent

Hardcover edition. 
 Penitent, A Bequin Novel,  by Dan Abnett. This is the 2nd Bequin novel, the first one being Pariah. Originally this was going to be called PENITENT: Ravenor VS. Eisenhorn: Volume two of the Bequin Trilogy. I guess it was decided that was a bit of a mouthful and we're just going with 'A Bequin Novel' now for the name of this series. After all the vs. aspect of this story isn't that intense. That minor observation aside, this novel is incredible. 

This is a direct sequel to Pariah picking up where we left off but a few months have gone by. Beta is staying with Eisenhorn's crew and it's interesting to see how she has grown to know his crew and how well she has fit in with them.

The book is a big departure from all the Imperial Guard and Space Marine warporn that the Black Library has been cranking out lately. It starts off humbly enough in a cthulu mythos way with Eisenhorn and Bequin mingling undercover among the intellectuals and elitists of Queen Mab who are dabbling in secret occult knowledge and brews.  All this is an effort to find someone who can decipher the book she recovered in Pariah. The crap hits the fan pretty quick when a channeling performance they are witnessing is assaulted by a graal, one of the energy assassins dispatched by the King In Yellow, appears and eliminates the woman performing the channeling. It's all a bit freaky, and Dan Abnett does a splendid job creating the atmosphere to induce fear in the reader. But this is nothing compared to what is to come. 

A lot happens in this book, too much to easily summarize. So I will touch on some highlights without throwing out major spoilers. Needless to say, there may still be some spoilers forthcoming.

++++SPOILERS AHEAD++++

In search of Renner Lightner,  the burdener, that assisted her last time, she is deep in the under layers of the city of Queen Mab when she and Renner discover what we are led to believe could be a clone of Sanguinius!  Regardless Bequin gains a handy new ally. 

The scene when we are introduced to the Immaterial College was haunting, creepy and damn well written. A few chapters later who they are is (kind of ) revealed (I shall not spoil this, but trust me, these guys are rad!) but as creepy, unique and powerful as they are it is chilling to discover that they are just one of many factions coming to Queen Mab to fight against the King in Yellow. Clearly that guy has pissed off a lot of people.

It's later revealed that there are five Aeldari Craftworlds waiting to sack Queen Mab in an effort to keep the King in Yellow from transitioning into our realm. And that Ravenor has bought limited time with them in the hopes that his team can deal with the King first. This threat brings Ravenor and Eisenhorn together to let go of their issues long enough to try and thwart the King In Yellow. Only by the book's end Bequin discovers that they are all so grossly out matched. 

I think I touched on enough points without spoiling too much. And this books is just crammed full of revelations. It's the kind of novel that after you read it you seek out others who have read it so you can talk it over with them. And everyone else who hasn't read it you try to convince them that they should do so ASAP. And you would be right, because they should. 

I just hope we aren't waiting long for the next installment, Pandemonium, and the stage is very much set and we can't wait nine years for it!

  • Did I like it? Loved it! 
  • Was it hard to put down? This was a tough one to put down. I burned through this one pretty fast (for me). 
  • Could I care about the characters? Abnett is masterful at getting his readers invested into his characters. In this one he has created some  charming characters meshed wonderfully into a world of intrigue and mystery.
  • Was I being talked down too? Written in 1st person it's difficult not to like Beta. She is telling a story as honestly as she can recall it and from her worldview. As the layers of mystery are peeled back and the revelations surge forth, you are with her in sharing these surprises. The surprises are definitely many, and epic in scope. One take away when I finished was that I would love to see a spin off featuring Beta Bequin and Patience Kyss as a duo. It would work, and it would rock. 
  • How predictable is this story? Not very. Which is why it was so very engaging. 
  • Do I recommend this book? Highly. But you need to read Pariah first. I could argue that you need not read the previous two trilogies, but it would be much more enjoyable if you did. 
Limited Edition cover. 


Monday, June 07, 2021

Adeptus Arbite (Art Monday)

 This one was done back 1996 as a submission for a 40k fanzine. It went unpublished, primarily due to that zine closing up abruptly (a bit more on this next week).  

"Get up citizen!"

This one is somewhat small. I like all of the hive/post-industrial Gothic stuff happening in the background more than the figure in the foreground. If I had the opportunity to redo this I would probably put a lot more detail on the Arbite. Maybe also add a servo skull to accompany him or something (Cyber mastiffs were not a thing yet). Anyway, when I did this there was very little reference art. A sketch from around White Dwarf 130 (?) by Jes Goodwin and the miniatures that came for Confrontation and the squad that was released in the early months of Warhammer 40,000 2nd edition, and that was pretty much it.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Objective Drop

 

Dark Angels vs. Orks!

Finally after waaay too long, The Bob and I were able to meet on the field of battle! We agreed to 1250 points for the battle size. I decided to break out my Orks, an army (for reasons that baffle me) that I have never deployed against him before now. And he brought his Dark Angels, who I have faced a few times now. Usually they were chasing my old Cypher model around.  I wanted to play my Orks in this new edition and use my current codex before it becomes invalidated (trying not to rant here is really... difficult!). Anyway, we agreed to use the Open War cards and what pulled was quite interesting indeed: 

This battle's Open War results. 

The mission is Objective Drop. This is one neither of us have pulled before. It's a weird one. Basically an object (The Object, going forward. It looks suspiciously like a grotbomb) is falling from orbit and both of our armies are there to catch it when it hits. The rules on the card could have been written better but we interpreted them to mean that the object won't land until Turn 3, giving us the first two turns to attempt to manipulate it's decent by rolling off against each other with the winner able to shift the object's landing point by 2d6 inches. It's starting point is the center of the board. 

The deployment zone was an odd one too but strangely appropriate for the mission. 

The Twist card is where this gets fun. He got to turn his Company Commander into a superhero and my ork warboss became the freaking hulk. Even more so when I stacked the Warlord Trait 'ard As Nails on top of it. My Warboss would be showing up with his stats modied to Str 7, T 7, W 8, and A 6. Finally, a Warboss worth a damn!  

Bob was able pull a Ruse card, which he kept hidden.

The gathering green.

I am astounded by how small a 1250 point Ork army is in this edtion. Granted, the Mega Nobz soaked up a lot of those points. 

I forgot to take a pic of the Dark Angel force. Oops. 

Ork Deployment 


Dark Angel deployment.

Here's an obligatory shot of Bob's Ravenwing because they are awesome, they scare me, and I am envious of them. 

The Ravenwing roll out. 

TUTN 1

We roll off to see who gets to shift the landing position of The Object, now breaking into the upper atmosphere in a fiery decsent. The Orks win the roll off and gleefully shift the target closer to their lines. The Dark Angels win the roll off and choose to go first. The Ravenwing dashes forward and the landspeeder takes a wound off of the Deff Dread. The marines in the middle of the Dark Angel line takes some long range shots at the grots in the he middle of my deployment zone and even with the cover save they were wiped from ten down to eight grots. The resulting morale check resulted in the Runtherd's squighound eating the last two grots, finishing off the unit*. The Tactical Squad in the ruins almost wiped out the Loots, leaving only a few left. 

On the Orks first turn the Mega Nobz were teleported by the Warphead to appear behind the Ravenwing. The Dakkajet and Deff Dread moved up to confront the Ravenwing. The Ork Shooting started off with the Kustom Megablaster knocking another Wound from the deff Dread, but it's scorcher managed to take a Wound from one of the bikers

The Ravenwing Landspeeder is eliminated.

The Ork shooting phase was a bit frustrating as the Ravenwing shrugged off a 'Law Of Averages' defying amount of wounds. Then the Dakkajet opened up on the land speeder, destroying it. 

Air superiority!

The Shoota Boyz opened up on the Dark Angels doing little more than scratching a guy, tearing up some parchment and putting a few holes in some robes. The Dark Angels would soon make them regret this insult.

"First rank fire. Second rank fire...um, you lot fire!"

The Deff Dread charged the Ravenwing. But the real risky long shot was the declaration of a charge from the Meganobz. I need to get over a 9 to pull this off and I made the roll with a 10! 

 Charge!!!

The Meganobz absolutely wrecked the Ravenwing Bikers, killing them all! Bob and I were both impressed (although his Commander now had a target priority lock on these guys now). I was thrilled to see them perform to spec, considering in their first outing they were wiped out in a very humble fashion.**  But the poor Deff Dread didn't get to go, and was sad that his power claws weren't able to snap any feathery banner poles, marine bones and bike parts...

The Ravenwing are destroyed.

TURN 2

The Object roll-off was again won by the Orks. It will now arrive deep in Ork territory on the 3rd turn. Also arriving this turn were both of the Deathwing Terminator squad, one in his deployment zone and one in mine.

Vengeance was declared in a hail of bolter fire. The Shoota Boyz leaving only a single Boyz and a Nob left standing and that boy would flee in the Morale Phase, leaving just the Nob. The Lootas were finished off, having been brutally targeted by the Tac Squad on the opposite building. The Deff Dread and the Meganobz were the subject of the concentrated fire from the rest of the Dark Angels. Two of the Meganobz were eliminated from these shooting attacks. The Shoota Bkyz behind the shattered acquilla were wiped down to just the Nob. 

The squad of Deathwing Knights that had teleported in 9 inches away from the Meganobz were unsheathing their blades, unfurling their flail and cracking their Terminator knuckles in eager anticipation for the coming fight. But when the charge phase came they didn't make their roll (or reroll) to get into engagement range***. 


The other Deathwing Squad arrived in the back of the Ork Deployment zone. The hope was to perform a decapitation strike against the Warboss and Warphead and claim The Object when it arrived. But it didn't do to plan as the dice defied the Deathwing in this instance. 

The Deathwing land in the Ork DZ.

ORKS TURN 2

I needed more orks. Thankfully I had enough CP to use Endless Greentide to bring back the Shoota Boyz, who had been whittled down to just the nob in the Dark Angel's turn. I wanted to pull the Dark Angels away from The Object, even if they only distracted a unit or two for a round or two, it would relieve some pressure from my forces that are trying to secure the in bound object. 

The Endless Green Tide floods the DA backfield.

The Dakkajet roared overhead, dumping fire into the Tactical Squad that killed off the Lootas, but their cover was worthy indeed and only a few wounds got through.

Waaagh!

The Slugga Boyz, Runtherd and Warboss charged the Deathwing Terminators and they actually killed killed a few!  The Warphead had cast Warpath on the Boyz and those extra attacks helped  a lot.. The Runtherd was surprisingly efficient in this melee! And the Warboss's Attack Squig was also deadly. On the other side of the field the Meganobz made their charge but the Deff Dread unfortunately did not. To add further insult the Meganobz attacks were not nearly as successful as they were against the Ravenwing.

End of Orks Turn 2.

TURN 3 

The Object arrived, but the Orks were not there to receive it as the Deathwing had successfully drawn the Boyz away from the landing point. The  Dark Angels hit back hard. The DW Knights charged the Deff Dread, and the Company Commander, now augmented by the Twist Card, also charged the Meganobz, slaughtering them. 

The Meganobz fall.

The Deathwing Knights smashed the Deff Dread apart. It really had no hope under the oppressive abuse dished out by them.

The Knights glorious  beat down. 

The Deathwing on the otherside of the field were about to fight back but the Warboss paid the CP to interrupt their attacks and destroyed them instead. 

Deathwing fall. 

On the Orks Turn 3 the Boyz moved back into position to claim The Object. But they would have to be holding it at the end of the next Command Phase to claim that VP.  The Dakkajet killed a few of the Tactical Squad before soaring towards the board edge. The Shoota Boyz split their fire killing the DA Librarian and trying to kill the DW Knights. If I recall I think they may have put a Wound or two on Deathwing Knights but no kills. It was one of those rounds where I starting to feel the futility of my efforts and I was having doubts that I could pull off a win...

Start of Turn 4.

TURN 4

At this point The Object has been on the board for a while round now and no one has managed to a score a point off of it. But my Boyz are now poised to claim it unless the Dark Angels can shoot the unit to death. Two squads of Marines, led by the DA Chapter Master were advancing toward The Object. All of them opened up on my slugga Boyz leaving only a few alive, but still enough lived to hold that objective.


" 'old da line ya gitz!"

A bit of a morale boast occurred when the Deathwing Knights declared a charged and two of them were killed by Overwatch! I was stunned that they were more effective than when they shoot at full Ballistic Skill! And, to add further shame on the Deathwing Knights, they failed their charge! 

Orks Turn 4, 

The Runtherd, whose Ballz Squigs are exceptionally large apparently, charged the DA Chapter Master and despite his bravado was gruesome defeated. The Dark Angel Chapter Master racking up heads for his MVP award, consolidated toward the remaining Green Skins.

The Runtherd tries...

The Dakkajet flew off the table with the intent to return next round. The other orks moved up to hold The Object.  The Warphead cast Smite and took two wounds from the DA ChapterMaster. .Not willing to leave themselves open to a charge I saw no choice but to have the Shootas charge the Deathwing Knights. They crashed into them with a furious roar but the Knights held strong and slaughtered many of them in turn, but not as many as I had feared...

The charge of the Shoota Boyz.

TURN 5

Do or die. And the Dark Angels had no intention of dying. The Dark Angel Commander lead his men forward. Some of his men put wounds on the Warboss, some of them killed the Warphead  but the rest turned their bolters onto the remaining Slugga Boys. 

Start of The Dark Angels Turn 5. 

The Dark Angel Tactical Squad and Company Commander charge the Orks at The Object. Most of them attempted to kill the warboss but the rest of the sluggas were ground down, leaving only the Nob left alive. I did not see how I was going to pull this off, even if I got the next VP , that nob wasn't going to survive against the Company Commander. With my Warboss locked in combat with the Tactical squad there was nothing he could do to assist the nob. But, hope was found in my Strategms: Get Stuck In Ladz!. The Warboss went again, destroying the Tactical Squad. And he was now set up to charge the Company Commander...

The Warboss Defeats the Tactical Squad. 

ORkS TURN 5

 The Nob was Obsec, which allowed him to claim the 2nd VP for holding The Object. Looking at what was happening at the start of the Ork turn, Bob decided to concede while I was moving the only unit I could move (the Dakkajet). My plan was to have the Dakkajet return and finish off the last Tactical squad while my Shoota Boyz were just going to continue to attempt to kill the Deathwing Knights. My warboss and nob would shoot the Company Commander with their pistols and then proceed to kill him with their power klaws. Regardless, Bob did not like his odds. 
 
The final moves that officially didn't happen.

So it was another victory for Warboss Ror-Ruk, but only barely! That well-played stratagem secured the win for me! Although it's possible the nob could have killed the Commander it's just not as likely he could have done so efficiently as the ubered-up Warboss would have. 

"Da Object is mine!"

On reflection, this was a far closer game than I thought it was going to be. The Dark Angels inn9th edition are nothing to casually dismiss. The Deathwing's ability that allows them to only be wounded on a 4+, greatly neuters the high Strength weapons anyone can bring against them. The Deathwing Knights greatly benefited from this as the Nob's Power Klaw hits failed to damage when normally they would have. 

The Twist cards that turned our leaders into superheroes was a fun one to pull. I was hoping to get them into combat with each other (it was close!) To see these titans clash. My Warboss and the Company Commander were both easily the MVPs of this game. In fact, Bob was so impressed that he decided to paint his model:

The greatest prize of all: a nice paint job!

Oh, by the way, did you forget about that Ruse card Bob was holding onto? That's OK, he did too. And it might have made a difference. Maybe? I can't recall what it was either. He found it while we were putting up our miniatures. 

Thanks for another awesome game Bob! Maybe we can finally get that follow-up WFB game played sometime soon? 


*This is the most recently painted unit in my army, so it's interesting to see 'newly painted model syndrome' (a subclass of 'New model syndrome') very much put to practice here.

**Another example of 'newly painted model syndrome'. 

***Teleportation lag, not unlike jet lag, can be a frustrating thing to experience.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Fanatical Preacher (Art Monday)

 The title sums this one up well doesn't it? 


This was done as a submission piece for one of the 40k fanzines that were around in the mid-'90s, but it never was used by any of them. Shame too, I think this one has character.  This was a bold use of black for me, I am not usually eager to embrace the high contrast style when I do line art. Maybe I was reading some of Mignola's work at the time? 

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Blood Axe Boys (Part 3)

Think'n 'bout it.

As any ork player knows, five models does not a Boyz squad make. So before I got too much further on these guys I wanted to double-up on the model count. Thankfully I have A LOT of first edition miniatures ready for the role. 

Da new recruits. Or old recruits. Whatever. 

We used to call this boy Da Mad Thunker back in the day. I think you may be able to determine why that is. I found this resin piece from an old basing kit that I thought might justify this model's determined level of thunk'n. It's an unexploded anti-personel missile next to a rock designed for throwing at a riot police line. I think this is quite characterful and is so not typical of the current Orks line of miniatures. As I stated, more like gushed, in Part 1, I just adore the detail on these old ork miniatures. They are so full of character and each one has unique details. They're loaded down with dystopian relics and each one looks like they should be heading to Barter Town to trade in some scraps. 

Da Mad Thunker and the contemplation of unexploded ordinance.

I have to point out the beakie (Mk VI) Space Marine helmet which also came from the old basing kit. I have a particular fondness for the beakie helmets as they were the Space Marine design when I started playing and when this model was sculpted and released. I just couldn't resist the throwback.

Beakies were 'ere.

Tamiya Color Olive Drab was sprayed on these guys and after a few days of curing it was time to do a bit more.

Primed in Olive Drab.

I painted the base using watered downed Folkart Asphaltum. And I used Caliban Green for the skin basecoat. The flesh steps are pretty much going to follow the steps shown in Blood Axe Boyz Part-2. 

Basecoats in the early stages.

And here they after they had the Goblin Green layer and Tesseract Glow wash. As you can see they are matched fairly close to the first five boys. This is great considering the wash used over the Goblin Green on those first five models was done using a mixture of yellow and green ink while these five were washed with Tesseract Glow. Both of them look like Anti-freeze before application and gave me the same, or very similar, results in the end.

Reunited (sung in the key of waaagh!)

Ok, that's it for now. I am trying to decide if I shall dabble more on these guys or those Imperial Guardsmen and/or Ratlings? My choices sometimes overwhelm me... sigh. 

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Abernathy The Black Monk

 

The Black Monk.

Father Abernathy The Black Monk of Unicoi Secondus. When I wrote the taunting email to Da Masta Cheef as prelude for our recent game (The Prize), the character of the wacky zealot Father Abernathy the Black Monk was born. 

Super easy basecoats.

The model was included with the Valhalla Imperial Guard army I bought from Rob many, many moons ago and remained in his primed black state in my miniatures case for two decades. I rediscovered him while poking thru that case looking for options to put into that small IG list and this chap all but jumped out at me. My first thought was that he could be associated with the Bank of the Black Monks from Blackadder, particularly the Baby-eating Bisbop of Bath and Wells who enjoys torturing those who fail to pay their debts, and the amusing thought of that stayed in the back of my mind. I was just too inspired by that idea to let it go and so I just had to make a list based around this chap. His paint scheme in the above pic was super easy as I was only going for a battle-ready level.

The Black Monk inspiring his men in battle.

I was really enjoying painting this guy and he was fun to play with in the recent game that we used him in. So I figured I would finish him off. Nothing special to really discuss as far as painting techniques or color combos other than his robes. I did that by edge highlighting up two shades of gray before washing it with Nuln Oil. I then deepened some of the shadows and recesses using Abaddon Black. Simple, and actually fun!

I decided to go with the dirt brown base rim even though my older IG have Goblin Green bases. I just think the Guard look better with the grittier color.  

The finished Black Monk.

And with that, he was done. Glamor shots were in order for the newest member of the Neverness Rogues Gallery. (This is likely not the last we'll of this guy!)  And here they are, enjoy! 

Bringing the light to the damned.

Hindsight.

Foresight.



Monday, May 17, 2021

Sister Of Battle (Art Monday)

 Here is a Sister Of Battle/Adepta Sororitas blasting away with her bolter. This was done after the SOB line was launched at the tail-end of Warhammer 40,000's second edition. I had explored a Sister earlier for a piece that was published in Inquisitor Magazine that was popular at the time, but I really wanted to draw this design. This was my first attempt at it. It's done in a style that I was playing around with back then, and I like how 'clean' my line work is. If I were to do this today I wouldn't have her as 'skinny' as she appears, and I doubt I would have her shooting that massive bolter one-handed as depicted here. This was done in pen & ink. It was going to be included in BMQ, a fanzine that Dr TSG and I were working on back then (don't look for it, it never made it to press).



Friday, May 14, 2021

Ratlings Report (Part 1)

 Ratlings!

 My recent challenge to paint 500 pts in Imperial Guard led to my attention falling on these guys. They were the first IG miniatures that I ever owned, but they weren't necessarily purchased for use in the Imperial Army. Way back in in 1994 while in my 2nd year of art school, some of my roommates and I decided run a Chaos campaign as detailed in the back of Realm Of Chaos: The Lost And The Damned. We generated by rolled up and/or selecting our champions and warbands and, well, chaos truly ensued. There were just three of us playing this campaign. Ron chose Slaanesh, Scott chose Khorne and I selected Nurgle.  My champion to lead them was randomly generated and I rolled up a Ratling. 

"What? Me, a chaos champion?!"

We scoured the game and hobby stores in that part of New Jersey until I found a blister of Ratlings. I selected the one that appeared to be in charge and made him my champion. Something about his appearance reminded me of a classmate so I named him Howie N'wtaewn, a chaotic bastardization of my classmate's name. 

Adorable murderer.

In the course of the campaign my Ratlings received some crazy rewards and gifts. At one point the ratling unit were gifted with Grav Gun Techno arms which were better than their actual needle rifles. I recall an instance where they totally wrecked a rival Predator tank by grav attacking it's tracks, flipping it and ultimately exploding it. This was using the 1st Edtion Vehicle Manual, the ruleset with the clear targeting grid. 

Another gift, one that Howie received,  was the Nurgle gift of Immensity. A hilarious conundrum for a ratling. For a long time I pondered on how to convert up this model. In time,  I gave up on the notion, and as the editions rolled away in time, the prospect has felt more and more unnecessary. 

Queuing up.

Back to present, and here they are answering the call to rid the Imperium of foul xenos filth. After reglueing them to their bases it was necessary to fill the gaps in their slotta bases. I do this by first taping over the bottom of the base's slot.

Tape on the base bottom.

And then I will the gap with glue, and I repeat this step over and over until the it dries. If you don't do it enough you may still end up with a dip in flock or whatever basing material you employ. 

Gluing the gaps.

With the basing done, I took them out and primed them. The next morning I painted their skin areas with Gulliman Fleshwash, their guns with and their bases. 

Ready for battle? 

These models aren't even truly basecoated yet but I at least got to the classic three-color-minimun to justify putting them into action. Which later that day I did! And they performed pretty good actually. I look forward to finishing these chaps when I can.