Category Archives: Retro

Throwback Thursday: The Rogue Trader Land Raider

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Tasting Notes

Once more, this tank draws upon the esoteric and outmoded designs that appeared during and in the years after The Great War. The Land Raider uses sponsons to mount its lascannons, but absconds from a more practical, traversable turret as seen on the predator. I imagine this is because the Land Raider was conceived as a heavy transport first and a main battle tank second. In fact, if you peel back the millennia further, its designers probably intended the STC to be used as a rugged agricultural vehicle. The exposure of the tracks (a tank’s greatest weakness) is madness whilst the profile is huge, towering two or three times higher than a 21st century armoured vehicle. Madness! A low profile is not a priority on the battlefields of the far future…

This might sound like criticism, yet it is the Land Raider’s ugliness, its impracticality, its sheer lack of suitability as a fighting vehicle that makes it so utterly appealing a concept. Humanity in the far future is bombastic in its arrogance. This young, violent race is absolute in its belief that it should hold sovereignty over the galaxy. In essence, the Land Raider is an allegory of that very sentiment given form: It is built upon the edifices of a glorious past; immovable in its dogma for 10,000 years, flawed, overblown, unwieldy, yet utterly lethal and capable of disgorging the finest soldiery in the galaxy. It may be driven by mortals, but it is a ‘machine spirit’ that ultimately governs its path. The Land Raider is truly a preposterous design that captures the imagination and is the very embodiment of the galaxy it inhabits.

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I was very happy with how this came out. As you can probably tell, this was assembled and converted within a fortnight of watching Fury Road…

Theoretical:

The Proteus is 180 points basic. For a four hull-pointed, twin-linked lascannon armed transport, this is tremendous value. Invariably these points stack up when you succumb to the temptation of upgrades. Not taking armoured ceramite is a serious gamble, although the prevalence of this upgrade has diminished the amount of melta taken in 30k, especially amongst the crowd I play with. Anyway – I never risk it, particularly when I take a step back and consider what purpose this vehicle serves: To keep your vulnerable troops safe until the critical moment.

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Early builds had my Protei (plural form) deploying Tactical Support Squads. I would later learn that the humble rhino was far better suited for this Forlorn Hope type of strategy…

The Armoured Spearhead Rite of War enables the purchase of the Proteus as a dedicated transport for my Tactical Squads. Even on the lethal battlefields of 30k, a Proteus is capable of sticking around until late in the game, providing they are kept away from assault. This might not suit all play styles, but the Proteus is not an assault vehicle; it is in effect doing what the rhino falls short of – keeping your core units safe whilst laying down long range fire. Providing the rest of your force doesn’t crumble, this configuration will give you a fighting chance of a victory late in the game.

For those favouring a more aggressive approach, take the Armoured Spearhead RoW and this time load them up with outflanking Veteran Tactical Squads. The arrival of two of these monsters on your opponent’s flank will be most unwelcome, particularly if their deployment exposes the enemy’s vulnerable rear or side armour. This will really shake things up and allows you to get close without having to drop 50 points on the prohibitively expensive Exploratory Augur Web.

Practical:

I’ve been amazed at how many games these things have survived. Their durability far outweighs their damage output and I’m happy for enemy firepower to be directed at these tanks rather than at my comparatively vulnerable Contemptors, Mhara Gal or other soft targets. It should be noted though that nothing dies quicker in 30k than tanks under assault from heavy infantry… Angron illustrated this with aplomb last week.

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Remember to keep them well back from angle grinding maniacs!

Conclusion

The Proteus:

Gun Platform. Metal Bulwark.Objective Taxi. Humanity Given Form.

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My heavy metal hero.

Bearer of the Burning Horizon Chapter of the XVII Legion.

Do you remember?

On Mars. It was on Mars you were born.

Humanity’s Crusade was in its infancy and slow was the tread of man from its cradle. Fell xenos of every description, nightmare cousins and rival empires proved worthy adversaries for the fledgling Terran empire. It befitted the mightiest warriors, the Adeptus Astartes, to be ordained with the most formidable weaponry to smite those that would stand in the way of humanity’s ascension amongst the stars. You began as such, a weapon. But now, you are so much more. 

There was nothing random about your birth; Geobytes of combat reports, both actual and hypothetical, weighed the schematics of your design against most hostile of environs whilst Martial theory spanning millennia of human conflict weighed the merits of your architecture; Sun Tsoo, Guidiron and the great Rrolmel – the embers dredged from lost civilisations and cataclysmic war – deigned you a suitable contraption for dealing death. After years of refinement and months of field-testing on four score worlds, your kind were deemed worthy of service. How ironic that your genesis was, as our cousins might say, ‘a perfect compound of theoretical and practical.’

So it came to pass that a requisition order, bearing the seal of the Sigilite himself, commanded that you be made in the war forges deep within the Martian volcano of Olympus Mons. You and ten thousand others, rendered out of a sea of molten metal, stamped and beaten until you were given your true form. Fuel cells, engines and auxiliary systems filled your shell whilst hundreds of mechendrites coated you in ceramite.

Your teeth were delivered across the Meridian plains; Lascannons from Hellas Minor, Heavy Bolters shipped from Pluto and a targeting matrix derived from the greatest minds of the Boreum-Neuro slums. Deep you slumbered amongst ten thousand of your kin; Racks of new forged blades, unbloodied within their scabbards.

Waiting.

Astartes dignitaries visited you whilst you slept, regarded your chassis and marvelled at your potential. The bulk lifters soon departed, bearing you and your kin to the embattled expedition fleets.

You dipped into the Emperyan. And out. Light years later, you met your legion. On the training grounds of Colcharis your engine sang for the first time. A defiant roar. A challenge to the galaxy at large.

Legion service. Compliance they called it. Blood work.

For two hundred years your treads have stamped the mark of the legion into unnumbered worlds; Your guns have mown down seething monstrosities, crystalline xenos, mutants and traitors all.

You brought them the Word.

You are a mighty instrument and a Bearer of brothers.

You have bourn us through nuclear infernos, acid wash and alchem firestorms.

You have enabled us to close with a thousand hated foes and brought your mighty ordnance to bear on those that we could not have bested unaided.

We call you friend.

We call you brother, for you have saved many of us, carrying us many leagues broken and bleeding to safety.

We have bled together, you and I.

You have outlived seven crews in your century of long service; On Dolgatha IV I saw you burn as weapons of infernal alien design immolated you from the inside; On Crix, the Druggandred, numberless and cunning, prized you open and gutted you. During the compliance of Huthra you fell for two miles when your thunderhawk was lanced. After each calamity I wept for you as I would a revered brother and each time we remade you where other Chapters of the XVII would have discarded you. The Burning Horizon has remade you many times, yet only once were you reborn. 

As the shroud was lifted and we gazed unblinking into the primordial abyss, you looked too didn’t you? Your crews tell me that you twitch and grumble down here, that you bellow in the dark of this hold and long for another war. You feel the rage as we do don’t you? I can see it – the yearning for fratricide. I sense that you long to test your mettle against your azure kin, adorned in the livery of the XIII.

I’ve prayed for this. You’re no machine, not anymore. You’ve altogether tasted too much blood, taken too much life. Your Standard Template designates you as ‘Land Raider: Type Proteus.’  That is past. We within the Legion have given you the nomenclature ‘Instrument of Truth’ since your inception in the XVII. Yes, you have gone by many names. But I have heard the celestial whispers of choirs in the night. The Dark Monarchs themselves recognise you now, bearer of Zu’ul Nag’r Herald of the Horizon. I pronounce you ‘Athame of Oblivion’.

“ You there, Tech adept. Paint my brother red.”

Thank you for reading.

Until next time!

 

Throwback Thursday: Rogue Trader Predator

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Tasting Notes

Conceptually, I think the Rogue Trader era predator is superb. The design evokes so much of the blocky, utilitarian aesthetic found in all imperial tanks. The sponsons, a design abandoned in most tanks within the first quarter of the twentieth century, seems to have finally found its place in the far future. But wait – there is a nod to progress; the domed turret and a pair of equally curved mountings to house the lascannons stand proud on that chassis of stubborn edges. The result is both incredibly archaic and oddly reminiscent of 50’s sci-fi.

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Acquisition and Assembly

The XVII Legion needed armour, so immediate ebayage was necessary. The two models I received were in bad shape and needed some serious restoration. They were carefully disassembled and given a good soak in Dettol for about two weeks. After cleaning and drying, the reassembly phase revealed a new host of problems: Attaching the track sections to main hull exposed gaps where the plastic had either degraded or warped over time. Plenty of green stuff and a few choice accessaries later, the pair looked fairly presentable and I deemed them to be ready for priming.

Here’s how they came out…

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…and together

Theoretical

It was the inspiration to run the Armoured Breakthrough Rite of War that originally led to this purchase. With this ROW the predators become fast vehicles with scoring that can also be taken as Troops. One of them is automatically boosted to a ‘Super Heavy Command Tank.’ Nice! The 24” re-roll for leadership is useful, but with the Word Bearers rolling 3D6 and selecting the lowest two already, this is formidable, as is the BS2 upgrade.

The predators’ purpose is clear: To keep their distance, stay alive and secure late game objectives with a well timed flat out move. Should I opt to be more aggressive, they could tear up the enemy’s flanks, drawing away other units from my core, or position themselves midfield for those opportune rear and side armour hits.

And Finally

This is another miniature that I badly wanted when I got into the hobby in the mid-nineties but was sadly unavailable. Now, thanks to the wonders of the online marketplace, they are finally mine. I’m really pleased with how they have turned out and integrated into my army of 30k Word Bearers. Their comparatively small size initially gave me pause, but since they are ‘Fast’ owing to the ROW, they now fit both aesthetically and thematically.

At the time of writing they are unbloodied, but they don’t have to wait long – I’ve got a 3,000 point game scheduled tomorrow against World Eaters.

Oh,

and Angron’s coming…

NEXT WEEK ON THROWBACK THURSDAY

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It’s throwback Thursday…

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With a relentless release schedule of increasingly beautiful minis, it’s easy to forget about the phenomenal miniatures in the early days of Games Workshop. Heavy, prone to chipping and highly poisonous, these were the models that captured our imaginations. True, many hobbyists shy away from them completely nowadays, believing them too clunky, perhaps too ungainly for a place next to their newer, increasingly dynamic range.

That said, it is clear that a market for them  exists beyond simply a small cadre of veteran hobbyists with nostalgic glints in their eyes. Games Workshop, recognising the demand for many of those classic miniatures and perhaps (dare I say it?) noticing the exorbitant bidding wars occurring on ebay, asked the community what they would like to see returned to the forge for a limited run.

Although I did not indulge in this GW led retro revival, I know plenty that did; A friend of mine purchased a bundle of Daemonettes and their steeds along with a Chaos Lord or two. Admittedly he did this on a magic carpet of whimsy fuelled excitement (probably). In my case, what with a hobby room fast approaching absurd levels of cardboard and sprue based excess, I tend to make sure that my purchases are actually going to get used in an army some time soon…

So, without further introduction, welcome to Throwback Thursday, where every…hm… Thursday I’ll reveal an old favourite that has pride of place, even amongst its smug and CAD designed resin kin.

I’ll start with my all time favourite Rogue Trader era model, the Ogryn. There was a line of them back then, but of all the sculpts, ‘460101’ captured my imagination the most. The others are a little too cartoony and lacking in any real drama or character. ‘460101’ is somehow bulkier, captured in a half turn and laden down with all kinds of esoteric equipment. The goggles and expression are reminiscent of ‘2000AD’ which heavily influenced the design of many Citadel models. Finally, the tilt of the ripper gun suggests both the strength of the Ogryn and the weapon’s considerable heft.

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After scooping him up on ebay, I inevitably wrote him into an Imperialis Militia list, having previously no ambition to include any Ogryns whatsoever. Now I’m up to a squad of six of these lovable mutants…

I will do a detailed post on my Imperialis Militia project at some point in the future, no doubt it will contain details of my pained experiences on drafting a list that satisfied both my thematic and modelling ideals (its performance unfortunately was left on the bus…).

Anyway, Ogryns! I love the idea of having Toughness 5, multi-wound models lumbering forwards with Assault Heavy Bolters. If they elect to do so wearing purple trousers then so much the better! After batch painting nearly everything (including rhinos and a contemptor talon) it was a joy to focus on this miniature over the course of a morning and an afternoon.

2017-01-07-photo-00001444    “Knuckle duster. Check. Purple pantaloons. Check. Groin protector. Check…”

I won’t lie, he’s utterly incongruous amongst his enormous, Bullgrynesque brothers in arms, but I love him all the same. If ever there was an army where RT era models fitted in, it’s the Imperialis Militia. Lets all raise a glass to Forgeworld for designing an army list where almost anything goes!

Cheers!

Next week and in plastic!

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