My first game of 8th: Marines Malevolent VS Orks 75PL

What follows is not a battle report as such, more a collection of thoughts and impressions of this superb new edition: 

My first game of 8th certainly did not disappoint. Everything that I had either read or listened to on various podcasts (such as the elegant simplicity of the ruleset) came to light in this game. I was also pleased that my opponent, James, was happy to play with Power Level instead of points, a concept that in my local gaming scene many players seem perhaps a little suspicious of…

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In customary ‘cunnin’ style, the Weirdboy transports a mob of boyz to the rear of my devastators’ position. The ensuing charge took a dreadful toll on the Astartes ability to bring heavier ordnance to bear on the advancing hoard.

As it happened, this turned out to be an extremely tense and hard fought battle. Most exciting of all was that the behaviour of our units was no longer resigned to the imagination or the pages of Black Library; the Astartes fought heroically, whilst the savage and relentless tide of Orks reminded me of passages from Aaron Dembski Bowden’s immortal Helsreach.

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The dreadnoughts stand shoulder to shoulder, raining shells from their rotary cannons upon the greenskins. To the right of the picture, a squad cautiously takes up position in the tree line…

Oh and good grief! Finally, STUFF WORKS! The apothecary is no longer resigned to dishing out an abstract ‘Feel No Pain’ to his unit, but is actively getting marines back on their feet to continue the fight! The techmarine, planted between my two advancing dreadnoughts, regained a cumulative 9 Wounds on his venerable pals over the course of the game (this did not prevent the titanic explosions of both as the battle reached its climax.) My favourite was the Company Ancient, who raised the banner high, inspiring mortally wounded marines to make one last defiant stand before succumbing to their wounds. Just. Awesome.

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The mass of frenzied orks surges over through the logistical district, eager to claim the archeotech in the centre of the battle grid.

Oh, and my Captain, who cleaved the warboss in twain with his relic blade. I didn’t think captains could do that…

All of these guys are normal HQ’s, but through their actions they contributed to a truly compelling and cinematic narrative that complimented the gameplay.

James was an excellent opponent and was really good at explaining various elements of the ruleset as I got my head around it. Fortunately, power armour is relatively forgiving and soaked up a few of my mistakes!

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The three Kans posed one of the biggest threats to my left flank…
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The last Kan destroyed a dreadnought then waded over the wreckage of the Tankbusta’s trukk. In an epic duel, the grieving techmarine laid the perverse xeno contraption low.

Frankly, I was concentrating on the new rules and having too much of a good time to take a comprehensive record of events! Both sides cut one another to ribbons, but ultimately the Orks took the day, despite the loss of their Warboss. I suppose they’re never too sentimental about that sort of thing.

James realised that he had forgotten to bring on his three buggies at the close of Turn 5. I felt bad for him for about ten seconds, until I remembered that I too had forgotten to bring on my Landspeeder from reserves! Dammit, that heavy flamer could have come in handy…

My thanks again to James for being such a fun opponent – it was a pleasure to play against such a beautifully painted Ork army. Thank you also to Jim at Bristol Independent Gaming for creating such an amazing space for gaming.

Thanks for reading.

 

Ed

Resurrecting the Malevolents

“There is no innocence in this galaxy, of all places why did you think to find it on a planet named Armageddon?” Brother Bericus

 

My box of Dark Imperium, along with the Imperial I and Chaos indices, sat gathering dust in Bristol Independent Gaming for an unreasonable amount of time. Finally, after a busy surge at work and a relaxing break in Lisbon, I picked up my goodies.

I won’t go into my thoughts on the contents of Dark Imperium (that ship has sailed!) save to say that it is simply awe inspiring and brought to the surface the same feelings I had as a nine-year old when I received the 2nd Edition starter set all those years ago…

Last week I got my first game of 8th down at Bristol Independent Gaming. The day before I had spent a few hours rebasing and touching up my 40k Army – The Marines Malevolent! I absolutely loved these guys at the time and really appreciated the fluff Nick Kyme gifted this chapter. For those not familiar, they are a really nasty lot. They wantonly disregard imperial institutions (and lives) in the pursuit of their enemies. Their contempt for others has not played out well and they can no longer count on the Administratum or Mars for logistical support. As such, they scavenge, scrounge and downright steal in order to keep themselves operational. Their kit is, as a result, antiquated, battered and a strikingly at odds with those chapters that revere their wargear. Consequently, many chapters regard the Marines Malevolent as beneath contempt and barely worthy of the name Astartes, yet it is a testament to the chapter’s grit that they can survive in a hostile galaxy with such an arrogant and destructive temperament.

MARINES MALEVOLENT

“And as for these lesser Chapters, these harbingers of misery, these scum, these marines malevolent, I defy them. Let them crash like waves upon fortress Terra, they will only break and retreat like the tide. Let them do their worst. For I am the light of the Imperium and will purge them in fire and blood!”

-Gorge Vandire, broadcasting to his supporters at the height of the siege of the Ecclesiarchical Palace on Terra, M36

“The Space Marines themselves appeared to be just as archaic. Most wore Mk VI Corvus-pattern power armour, stained yellow with a black cuirass and generators, the left pauldron studded with fat rivets. The armour’s plastron was bereft of the Imperial eagle, and carried only an octagonal release clasp, unlike the modern suits of the Mk VII Aquila-pattern. Every suit amongst them, bar none, was patched and chipped. The rigours of battle were worn proudly as marks of honour, in the same manner as the Salamanders’ branding scars. It was armour that had been made to last, not in the sense of its superior forging or exceptionally durable craftsmanship; rather, it was battle-plate that had seen hundreds, perhaps thousands, of victories and been strung back together and hammered into shape by any means necessary in order that it saw another.”

From the novel ‘Salamander’ by Nick Kyme

Captain Bericus: 4th company – Actions of Note

TREPTA

Bericus was given the honour of triggering the release of the Life Eater Virus against the Genestealer-held world of Trepta. From orbit, he watched entranced as the virus blossomed across the entire planet, wiping out every living thing, before finally consuming the atmosphere in a series of hellish firestorms released by the stored energy of the world’s dying biomass.

JIBBUS IV

Bericus was infiltrated into the heart of the vast bunker complex on the rebellious mining world of Jibbus IV in 901 M41 and laced the ancient life support machines with nerve gas, killing millions of heretical fanatics in minutes. Bericus knew his actions were justified, as the world can still by mined by the automated servants of the Adeptus Mechanicus, but sometimes he still hears the choking screams of the dying.

ROTRACUDA

During a desperate defence of the Forge World of Rotracuda in 946 M41 from a massive Tyranid splinter fleet, Bericus, then a member of his Captain’s honour guard, called artillery fire onto his own position as it was overrun. Bericus’ actions led to the death of all of his surviving squadmates, but was lauded by his superiors (including his mortally wounded Captain) as exemplifying the ruthless ethos of the Chapter.

MAUDIGARN

Bericus commanded the cleansing of the hive world Maudigarn II in 980 M41. The world had been infiltrated by a sinister race of shapeshifting Xenos able to replicate the divine human form. The world was in the process of tearing itself apart in a series of paranoid civil wars until the Chapter descended upon it and instituted brutal purges. Billions were killed, thousands of them at his hands. Most of them were probably aliens, though there was no way to be sure. Even if hundreds were innocent…better to die than suffer the Xenos to live.

3rd War for ARMAGEDDON

As part of Captain Vanyar’s strike force Bericus was tasked with leading his Sternguard squad on seek and destroy missions on high priority targets. Open warfare of this kind, bloody and merciless, against an enemy that would give no quarter, saw Bericus embody the epitome of what it is to be an Astartes of the Marines Malevolent. He would endure days of ceaseless slaughter striding across the ash wastes, heedless of his safety, armour pitted and blackened by combat, tirelessly seeking greenskins to strike down. Bericus’ wounds didn’t impede him from participating in every major action of the campaign, despite the grievous injuries that he sustained at the claws of an orkoid war machine. It is worth noting that Bericus was present during the incident at the “Emperor’s Deliverance” refugee camp and a staunch supporter of his brother Captain’s tactical decision to use the camp as a killing field.

After leaving the planet and returning to the Chapter fleet Bericus‘ was given the Captaincy of the 4th Company in its entirety, a unit which had been badly mauled by a protracted series of engagements with Traitor Legionnaires. With his new command and the blessing of his Chapter Master and fellow Captains, Bericus headed to the Naufragium Cluster intent on collecting such a string of victories that even the High Lords on Terra would sit up and take notice of the much maligned Marines Malevolent…

Excerpt from an unfinished short story title ‘Season of Fire.’

As requested the thick astral scope of the Adsideo, one of nearly six hundred orbiting watch stations, glanced away from its vigil on the Pallidus Mountains to inspect a tiny corner of the Infensus region. Adepts adjusted the magnification, cycled through image filters and promptly found what the terse report from the Adspectus Claritatis was demanding. A plume of dust. The filters cycled to thermal, peeling away the obscuring layers, froze the image and came to a rest. The outline, despite some atmospheric distortion, was unmistakable. A score of Ork vehicles, adorned with all the accoutrements of crude lethality that could be expected of their race. There too, gutted on their battered hulls like offal on a butchers block, were the grizzly remains of what had been the Kholundan IXth.

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‘Hold Brother!’

The Razorback’s heavy treads locked abruptly, bringing the fearsome tank to a screeching stop behind the boarding ramp of the waiting Thunderhawk. The craft’s enormous turbofans beat up billowing plumes blasting the armoured vehicle underneath in noxious dust and toxic filth.

No, no. This world’s not done with you yet, thought Bericus inside the halted Razorback.

‘Captain Tull to Sergeant Bericus,’ rasped a disembodied voice from the tank’s internal voxcaster.

Tull, the taskmaster, the uncompromising, the sentinel of what was Hades, the Lord of the Third – or what was left of it.

‘Aye, Brother Captain,’ said Bericus, picking a fleck of bone from the teeth of his underslung chainblade.

‘State your readiness.’

Bericus spoke without thinking, his response as practised and monosyllabic as if he were back in the hallowed cloisters of his chapter monastery. ‘All brothers present and battle worthy, our steed is still fresh and our assault cannons still hunger.’

‘ Good. Sergeant of the Squad, accept your orders.’ Tull the traditionalist. ‘See here then, Brother Sergeant.’ A torrent of tac-data fuzzed in an epileptic shock across Bericus’ visor. ‘Eight enemy vehicles counted,’ continued Tull, ‘two to four score Xeno- filth moving at speed. Currently on a heading consistent with Ragalan’s Reach at -’

Yes Tull. I understand. We’ll intercept them.The Titan graveyard will be the killing ground. The leering skull face of that fallen lord of war will witness their ruin, see them and their wretched hulks smashed by my brothers. I picture them even now, hungrily entering that adamantium ruin. Into our bolters. Into our blades. Into our steed’s assault cannon.

‘I accept my orders Brother Captain,’ said Bericus taking the target’s speed and bearing, duly plotting an intercept in a heartbeat. ‘We go now! Glory and hate.’

‘Glory and hate. Tull, vox-out.’ The link snapped closed as Bericus gave a nod to Brother Fortix opposite. Fortix banged his gauntlet hard on the battered plate that separated the five astartes from their driver. The Razorback roared into life, surging out from under the rapidly climbing thunderhawk. The tank’s treads tore through the rank silt, eagerly gunning towards the new objective. Inside, Ajax pulled out his auspex, deftly goading the machine spirit into life with a silent prayer whilst Domli rose steadily and opened the top hatch. Suffocating heat poured into the compact compartment as the marine climbed out onto the hull. Domli gripped tight, his dull mustard armour suddenly bright in the intense glare of Armageddon’s hellish twin suns. The vehicle bucked about savagely as it tore through the blasted landscape. Ignoring the forces threatening to throw him off the hull, Domli reached out and ripped away the heavy enviro-tarp covering the twin linked assault cannons. Brother Ursad exchanged his sickle magazine for a sixty bolt round drum, locking the hefty load underneath his MK IV Godwyn Vb bolter just as the corvus helmed Domli dropped back onboard. The thick hatch behind closed him with a resounding crunch of alloy on ceramite. He tossed the tarp to one side and drew his boltgun, a matt black Umbra bonded with an indiscreet melta then checked the mechanism for the hundredth time that day, and days were short on Armageddon. Ajax sat at the Razor’s command node, his testy auspex now mag-clamped to his thigh and tracked the horizon through the assault cannon’s ocular feed matrix.

The five armoured giants went about their battle rites in grim silence. No regard was given to the fact that the Thunderhawk now searing into the crimson sky had been mere seconds away from taking them away from this wretched planet for good.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

Heresy Batrep: There are no Wolves (or Word Bearers) on Isstvan III

Horus Heresy: Betrayal (the tome that ignited my imagination and convinced me to get into 30k) has been on my mind of late. I’ve been spending some enjoyable evenings within its pages, initially reading about the Death Guard and their role on Isstvan III. It is easy to forget just how awful and catastrophic that initial act of fratricide was. Of course Isstvan III overshadowed by the Dropsite Massacre on Isstvan V, but the scale is no less mind boggling.

I’m still a little freaked out by the Life-Eater Virus and reading about its ruinous impact on the world of Isstvan III doesn’t get any easier. The population of six billion is extinguished along with one third of the 90,000 astartes in the Choral City. Crysos’ account of bunkering down with his squad mates in a shipping container to wait out the bombardment is harrowing indeed. When the life-eater finds its way in and penetrates an unfortunate Death Guard’s suit, it is apparent that there’s something insidious and utterly, utterly evil about this weapon. Crysos even alludes to it having some kind of sentience:

“Yes I saw it, the Life-Eater, a monster from the Old Time, human evil given form.

Then I believed”  – From the testimony of Crysos Morturg

-The Horus Heresy Book One: Betrayal. Alan Bligh and John French

Believed what I wonder? In the reality of the betrayal? In Gods? Was his belief in the Imperial Truth burst in that moment?

Anyway!

As I poured over the missions with their awesome mysterious terrain tables and special rules I realised that, as another edition looms and the heresy creeps ever closer to its conclusion, I still hadn’t played the campaign! Well, my game with Dan and his wolves yesterday marks a firm a step in the right direction, even if our armies weren’t quite in line with the lore…

THE MISSION

We chose COUNTER THRUST, one of the Legendary Missions in the Betrayal campaign.

The mission represents an attempt by the Loyalists to break out of a kill zone and do as much damage to the Traitor offensive as possible. So far, so good!

Before the game I spoke with Dan about the scenario, explaining that I was going to take a foot heavy list ! Dan, in deference to the scenario, left his drop pods at home because why would the Wolves be drop podding down to break out of an encirclement? Oh, and the Traitors  controlled all of Isstvaan’s space.

I had played Dan’s Wolves on an few occasions before, but this would be the first time since their new rules broke. Dan explained them to me, but all I could hear was “stay well back – these guys will be on top of you and ripping you to shreds before you know it!

Now although the Word Bearers are no slouches in hand to hand, (3D6 Leadership removing the highest) they would be wrecked by Dan’s large groups of feral infantry. My plan was simple: stay out of reach – Withdraw and keep pummelling them at range until they bled out. Dan would receive VPs for every unit of his in the break-out zone (my table half) and I would in turn receive VPs for every Wolf unit languishing in No Man’s Land.

The Gal Vorbak I regarded as my ‘ace in the hole’ and was the only unit with a good chance against his murderous infantry formations.

TABLE SET UP

Appropriately red terrain served to represent the WB frontline, with a large bunker fortification covering the centre of the board. This bastion would prove to be a significant obstacle for the loyalists to push through…

Now for the exciting part: Rolling up on the Mysterious Terrain Table!

The bunker became an ammunition stockpile, with all weapons fired from within granted the shred special rule!

The ruins in Dan’s deployment zone became a Charnel House – Dan would have to pass a leadership check if he wished to move through them.

We then rolled on the Ash and Darkness table. Nightfighting would be in effect for the whole game, certainly a boon for the Wolves, whose acute senses can cut through the worst of conditions…

ARMIES

Space Wolves 2000 points

Garro

Geigor

Speaker of the Dead

Contemptor Dread

Deathsworn in Phobos

Grey slayers x 10

Grey slayers x 10

Grey slayers x 15

Landspeeder

Sicarian

Venator

Word Bearers 2000 points

Chaplain

Librarian

Contemptor Cortis Talon – 1 with Kheres w/ DCCW + 1 with x2 DCCW

Contemptor Mortis with twin Kheres

Gal Vorbak

x5 Veterans w/ Rhino

15 Tacticals

15 Tacticals

x2 Predator

Land Raider Proteus

BATTLE

Disclaimer: I was too busy having fun to make a blow by blow account of what went down. What follows is a bunch of pictures (hopefully in chronological order!) of what unfolded on that fateful day on Isstvan III…

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The Word Bearers ready themselves for the Wolves’ assault.
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The Wolves surge onwards…
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The Word Bearers’ shooting is largely ineffective due to the atrocious visibility…
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The Wolves move up, eager to close with the hated foe. The Greyslayers unit in the centre sense terrible evil in the red ruins around them, forcing them to skirt the edges rather than storming straight through… 
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The Predator slams into reverse whilst the contemptor lurks on the edge of the bunker, ready to spring out…
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The Greyslayers on the right flank start to take casualties as lascannon lances and kheres rounds seek them out through the fire and ash… 
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Garro teleports down in the back lines, firing his paragon bolter into the rear of the predator, shaving a hull point off. The Gal Vorbak emerge from a rend in reality nearby… 
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Rending buffed bolter fire from the mysterious terrain hammers into the slowly advancing Greyslayers whilst the Phobos rolls by… 
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Deploy! Out come the Deathsworn and the Speaker of the Dead…
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Seeking a target, the Venator shifts position and immobilises the Predator on the Word Bearers left flank…
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The Deathsworn surge into the Word Bearer’s tacticals butchering a handful…
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Bellowing challenges, the Speaker of the Dead and the WB chaplain trade blows… 
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Whilst the bloody melee continues, a thunderous explosion erupts behind the Space Wolves’ lines – the WB Vets, toting meltaguns, have destroyed the Venator, killing two more Grey Slayers in the blast… No one expects eh?!
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With the WB tacticals dead, the Gal Vorbak enter the fray, eager to murder the hated Garro…
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A unit of Grey Slayers, incensed at the loss of their Venator, destroy the Vets Rhino then fall upon the squad, killing them to a man… 
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After two rounds of ceramite crunching, gear grinding combat, the Space Wolves Contemptor lays the traitor Dreadnought low… Another saga to be written…
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The Gal Vorbak prove to be as lethal as they are unnatural, tanking wounds and striking Garro down – only for the hero of the XIVth to get back up again!
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The Gal Vorbak strike again, exhibiting the horrific power of the warp. Garro is finally killed, along with a handful of Deathsworn. Rattled by the murderous toll, the Wolves break, only to be run down by the Last of the Serrated Sun. They begin feasting on the dead as a wrecked Predator smoulders behind.
The Wolves were repulsed. They retreat swiftly into the murk to lick their wounds and no doubt seek a weaker point in the traitor lines to better exploit…

A huge thank you to Dan for being such a fun opponent and of course to BIG in Bristol for the fantastic table, terrain and venue.

Thanks for reading.

Ed

The Last of Us…

I had command of some eleven of my brothers. Daeka, our last apothecary, had expended the last of his unctions and chems in the last ambush and had nothing to give the wounded. Devoid of purpose, he had reverted to that of a line legionary, yet occasionally scavenged medical supplies from the fallen…  

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Crysos Morturg

Sergeant Tarageth Sune found us on the thirteenth day, stalking the refuge tunnels and abandoned subsurface mag-rail network. Three of his Terran born brothers were in tow, mercifully unhurt yet in need of ammunition. We consolidated our meagre supplies and shared what little information we had. Sune suspected that he and his men were being tracked through the tunnels by Thallax Automata and Seeker Squads… We would take the fight to them…

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Sergeant Tarageth Sune

….the Thallax are scrap and the Seeker Squad dead. Molor timed the detonation perfectly, collapsing the tunnel behind our pursuers and taking them by surprise. I hurled my last phosphex orb into their midst, forcing them to break cover and into our waiting bolters. After five days of hiding we sorely needed combat… we needed vengeance. No quarter was given. It cost us Vasha, who took a kill shot to the head and Mulog was injured badly, yet for all that we emerged the stronger for it. Dragging the bodies away before phosphex consumed them, we scavenged plenty of ammunition and warplate. Amongst the treasure trove we found specialist equipment common among Seeker units. This would prove useful indeed…

… Melta charges, prometheum and phosphex haunted our every tread. Evidently when the Seekers didn’t return they suspected the worst. It was time to go – better to die fighting on our feet than be extinguished like vermin in the dark…

…The sounds of heavy fighting echoed above us, steeling our hearts. More loyal kin yet live. As much as we wanted to burst onto the surface, I gave into reason; the terrain was unknown to us, as was the direction of fire and the placement of forces. We would wait until the fighting had died down…

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Like the Dusk Raiders before us, we emerged at nightfall and into the world above. A mass of twisted metal and tortured ruins greeted us as we moved silently into the city of ghosts. Surveying our position, it seemed that we were some eight miles south of our original holdfast. The Omni-Scope stolen from the Seeker dead proved most useful in scrying the darkness and radfog that had fallen around us…the battle had moved on and so too had the combatants… A second sweep of the Omni-Scope revealed engine signature….

Taking to the tunnels once more, the access shaft led me closer to where we had detected the signatures. Emerging once more, this time in absolute gloom, save for the flash of distant explosions and titan flare lumes, we stole closer to the target. Three brothers accompanied me, Daeka, Sollum and Kulg. It was then that we deactivated our power armour. I had no wish to give myself away so easily to augur sweeps. The Mark III plate would slow me considerably, but I felt steadier knowing that the tell-tale of heat signature and the low hum of reactor cells would not betray me. We moved silently for what seemed like hours, freezing at the slightest sound….

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…I recognised the iconography immediately. The Damocles rested to the rear of a trio of Medusas that fired northward. Vox chatter babbled incessantly between the cacophonous bellows of the siege guns as a column rhinos and Proteus Land Raiders gunned their engines by us, their high beams stabbing into the gloom…

…The Damocles…Our enemy believed that it had this sector secure and was free to operate with impunity. They would pay for their arrogance…

…closer still…

…closer…

Daeka and Sollum would take the Medusa crews, detonating their payloads and sowing confusion… Maybe they would mistake us for their own. Or perhaps not. The crews were too focused on their work and of a tactical detail there was no sign. The sheer hubris of it all…they thought they had us beat….well…

I would make for the command vehicle… 

It bore the personal seal of a favoured of Mortarion himself…Marshal Durak Rask.

My armour activated, the fibre bundles straining with strength and motion. In that same moment a vox-hailer roared its challenge to me as a score of gun lamps pointed in my direction.

“HALT AND BE RECOGNISED”

With calm conviction, I held up a hand and announced myself to my foe.

“I am Section Leader Crysos Morturg”

The first Medusa exploded as I broke into a run.

END TRANSMISSION

‘Our Last Apothecary…’

Crysos Morturg, whose testimony constitutes the majority of record concerning the fratricidal ground war on Isstvan III, cited the heroism of many of his loyal astartes kin. Of these was ‘our last apothecary’, known simply as Daeka, who was rent in two by a medusa shell when the loyalist’s holdfast was at long last discovered. Nothing else is known, save the speculation of this historian, who believes that for any astarte to have endured for so long, some two weeks after the fall of the Precentor’s Palace, is deserving of the highest accolades, even amongst their kind.

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This helm-cam pict-capture, believed by many to be the apothecary ‘Daeka’ mentioned in Morturg’s testimony, shows the Legion Medic hours before his death. The Mark III plate is badly damaged and has clearly been replaced with scavenged pauldrons and grieves from fallen or stricken brothers. This would account for the complete lack of iconography indicative of Daeka’s status as an apothecary. Indeed, the usual vials, unctions and paraphernalia typical of an apothecary’s role are missing, perhaps indicative of a total depletion of resources due to the extremes of astartes combat.
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Daeka has stowed his helmet on his belt’s mag clamp, perhaps better to observe his surroundings or, more likely, due to helmet malfunction.
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Note the unadorned, yet clearly well maintained Phobos pattern bolt pistol.
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The reinforced plate of the Mark III pattern became popular amongst the warring astartes due to its formidable frontal protection. Note the protection offered by Daeka’s armoured pauldrons. Daeka’s Narthecium seems to have been retrofitted with a chain blade. Following the shock of betrayal, many loyalist apothecaries absconded from collecting the gene seed of their fallen brothers, believing their Legion to be utterly damned and undeserving of preservation.

Thank you for reading!

Ed

The XIVth Legion: The Death Guard

The arrival of a Zone Mortalis Board at BIG was the perfect excuse to start building a small 30k force. I’m rapidly approaching about 4,000 points of Word Bearers at the moment, but I have always had my eye on other legions, just not with the intent of building such large forces.

My initial journey into 30k began with listening (and I think I’ve listened to it about four or five times since!) to the Independent Character’s coverage of The Horus Heresy Book I: Betrayal. It captured my imagination completely and I wavered a long time between collecting Death Guard or Sons of Horus. Fortunately, nothing came of it and three years later I had read Know No Fear, First Heretic and Betrayer, firmly implanting my determination to collect Word Bearers. Now, sometime later, I’m beginning to see the end of the Word Bearer project and I’m looking around for more colours to paint and ways to play. Zone Mortalis, The Betrayal Campaign and the Death Guard seems like the right way to go, especially with the new plastics.

Here is a test model for what will soon be a 500 point group of Loyalist Isstvan III survivors:

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Death Guard legionary Soluk Vasarg  [Pict-capture Isstvan III Atrocity] 
Soluk was part of the initial assault wave that was tasked with storming the rebel garrison outside the enemy stronghold designated The Siren Hold. Soluk’s company was largely wiped out by warsingers and the focussed fire of Isstvan rebel elite elements, as well as a largely forgotten friendly fire incident perpetrated by supporting Titans of Legio Mortis. Finding himself the sole survivor of his unit, Soluk stayed true to his legion’s character and resolved to continue his advance, fighting his way through the trench networks and into the bunker complex. It was whilst Soluk was attempting to patch through to his Company’s vox network that he picked up Saul Tarvitz’s warning of imminent betrayal and immediately took to the deeper recesses of the rebel emplacements, sealing himself in as best he could to weather the planetary holocaust to come.

After the combined evils of the Life-Eater Virus and the subsequent firestorm had scoured Isstvan of all life, Soluk set off in search of survivors, eventually finding a handful of his brothers under the command of one Section Leader Crysos Morturg wandering the wastes…

Throwback Thursday

It’s been a while, but TBT is back. I thought I came up with this myself, but having listened to Ash on The D6 Generation over the weekend, I suddenly remembered that the name ‘Throw Back Thursday’ sits firmly in Ash’s court. Check out his stupendously good channel on youtube: Guerrilla Miniatures Games, not least for his superior iteration of Throwback Thursday. (The original and the best!)

Anyway, this week I’ll be looking at the infamous Catachan Jungle Fighter.

Before going any further I want to go on record as saying that amongst the worst, fugly and downright dated miniatures in the GW catalogue are the Catachan Jungle Fighters. But wait, I’m referring to the plastic models. Strange then, that their original sculpts (released a years before the plastics) should be so vastly superior. 

uh…horrendous…
Bursting with character and guile…

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Look at this guy! The Catachans are born on a Death World of the same name. This world is the three-way lovechild of Pandora, Predator and Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors. Quite simply, its denizens want nothing more than to poison you, incubate inside you and then explode you everywhere to scatter seeds. Yikes. And they’re the nice ones. So, what kind of humans could survive in a place like this? – Thrive in a place like this? – Make pillow cases out of the most dangerous fauna in the known universe? These men who make up some of the most magnificent soldier stock of the Imperium of Man? Hard ones apparently.

The aesthetic result is heavily, unapologetically drawn from Stallone and Arnie and their adventures in the South American and Vietnamese jungles. These sculpts are pure, unabashed testosterone fuelled visions of soldiery, a vision as out of step with reality as was most of the pop culture of the 80’s and 90’s. Forget the fact that they’re not wearing any body armour, or that they’d have to consume about 10,000 calories a day to stay that size. Even if that mass was some kind of genetic predisposition, it serves little purpose other than to intimidate the overwhelming horde of mankind’s enemies, most of which sadly cannot be intimidated by any means. No, it is the guile, cunning and will to survive that truly makes the Catachans what they are. Or so we’re told.

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The appeal of these guys lies purely with the Perrys’ and Matt Holland’s sculpts. There’s so much character in each, like a movie poster for an action movie, each pulling a dynamic pose telling its own story. This guy is leaning forwards, either about to break into a run, or straining to hear, perhaps to smell some nearby threat…

Surely they should be unstoppable on the tabletop?

W3 W3 T3 L7.

Wait? What? Yes. Those are the stats. Those are Rambo’s stats. In the 41st Millenium, a one man army of the 80’s is nothing more than a footsoldier, a worthless, forgotten instrument to be spent needlessly and without hesitation.

These sculpts were released when Second Edition was alive and kicking. Though unstoppable looking on the tabletop, they would face up to their foes – the Tyranids.

There they are now, the Guard of Catachan, lined up in a formidable gunline, entrenched in bunkers and trenches with a Leman Russ in support, ready to ‘pour it on’ those foul xenos.

Then the Tyranid player pulls out a strategy card.

“Jones is acting strangely.”

What’s that?

A barbed strangler bursts out of one of the hapless guardsmen, killing three of his fellows.

…These guys don’t stand a chance…

Welcome to the suck!

Thanks for reading

Ed

Hell Follows With Them…

If I could give one piece of advice to those thinking about entering into the Heresy, it would be to play their Legion the way that it is intended. Not so that you can optimise your list or table your opponent, but because it’s the most enjoyable way to play. I resisted this for nearly two years, running various builds and rites of war with little success on the tabletop.

Recently, the addition of the formidable Mhara Gal dreadnought and a wholesale use of psychic powers has, believe it or not, made the disciples of the Burning Horizon a far more dangerous force. Even so, I can recall on several occasions (usually after having my arse handed to me) my opponent saying, “Why don’t you run Gal Vorbak or ally in Daemons?”

Well, my tendency to run the army as a vanilla legion list (albeit with a 3D6 morale checks) is a thing of the past. From now on, I’ll be summoning daemons and calling upon all the help the Dark Gods can provide. After all, those loyalist loving dogs are no pushovers.

In keeping with this gradual fall down the eightfold path, the Burning Horizon has recently had a unit of Gal Vorbak seconded to its ranks! I’ve heard a great deal about these guys and can’t wait to find out if they’re as scary as everyone says they are.

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Despite the addition of these daemonic troops, the Burning Horizon is still an armoured company. These guys will be getting a Phobos to run around in as part of either an Armoured Breakthrough or Armoured Spearhead Rite of War list.

Thanks for reading.

Standby for more Burning Horizon soon…

 

Ed

 

 

Moar Terrain!

My work on the pile of terrain I ordered from TTCombat continues. Below you can see the Armoured Bunker that I have begun painting. It has been sprayed, washed, drybrushed and now awaits a little bit of detail work. The building itself is mounted on a cork tile that I painted with Vellejo Black Lava and sprayed with grey auto paint. The building itself was sprayed with metallic paint and washed in a combination of browns and black.

In terms of details, I’m thinking a combination of hazard stripes, blood splatter and motivational posters for flavour. Standby for updates… soon.

Here you can see some Traitor Auxilia making use of this fortification. When you go to war in purple robes, it’s a good idea to make use of any cover you can find.

I also completed the second walkway. When I think back to games of 40k and 30k that I’ve played recently, the use of levels is sadly lacking. Hopefully, this terrain is going to throw another dimension on the table and shake up the way people play. I’m very excited to get these on the table soon.

I continue to be enormously impressed with TTCombat.

Phew! I’m going to leave terrain for a few weeks now and return to miniatures once more:

Standby for more Word Bearers…

Thank you for dropping by.

Peace Out

Ed

Wrecked Rhino Terrain

Just a small one today.

Washing and dry brushing terrain is infinitely satisfying and today I added a few details to this footprint of ‘Dangerous Terrain.’

I am anxious to make my terrain compatible with both 30k and 40k, so I went for a rather generic scheme on the rhino. It could be a civil enforcement vehicle, an Ultramarines Legio rhino, an Inquisitor’s transport, a rogue trader’s ride or even belong to a successor chapter.

Standby for more terrain updates in the near future.

Thank you for calling.

Ed