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

Origins: The Burning Horizon

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Zu’ul Na’gir

Their Praetor,  Zu’ul Na’gir, traces his origins to the motor-gypsy tribes of a world claimed by the XVIIth during the early part of the Great Crusade. Born aboard a tracked carrier, his mother died shortly after his birth, exerting her last grain of life to get her son to safety before the migratory swarms of xenoform locusts devoured the continent’s surface biomass.

Inducted into the XVIIth some fifteen standard years later, the legionary displayed considerable aptitude for armoured warfare and frequently grew impatient with the methodical doctrines of his fellow officers.

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Zu’ul has a great many seasoned warriors under his command, and he is reluctant to let them slide off into oblivion. Mortally wounded legionnaires all too often awake to find themselves rehoused in the sarcophagi of Contemptor chassis, ready to serve the legion once more.

Following Monarchia, the XVIIth accelerated their execution of the Crusade and Zu’ul’s expertise soon rose to prominence amongst his kin. He gained a reputation for rapid advances, and possessed an uncanny ability to identify and exploit weak points in the enemy battle lines.

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Nathagnol Mu’hur – Steel Centurion of The Burning Horizon and second in command.

The vehicles under Zu’ul’s command held special significance for his Folio. Where others regarded their tanks and transports as mere tools, Zu’ul’s legionnaires gave them names, etched scriptures upon their hulls and painstakingly restored wrecked vehicles to their former glory. The chapter’s Motorpools and Engineerum decks were even converted into places of worship to ensure that the vehicles could attend the services.

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Yet it was on Istvaan V where Zu’ul gained true notoriety. Some four hours after the moment of betrayal, many Loyalists had managed, despite the crippling losses inflicted by this act of wanton fratricide, to form cohesive formations and hit back at their erstwhile brothers.

IMG_2422One such sizeable formation of Iron Hands and Salamanders was inflicting significant losses upon the XVIIth; the Salamanders’ stubborn resistance, combined with the mechanical ingenuity of the Iron Hands, made for a formidable adversary. Worse, their commander was shrewd, using his armour to carve up unsupported Traitors that had overextended themselves in their advance, whilst evading traitor heavy battalions with tremendous skill. Upon hearing of this, Horus insulted Lorgar’s ability to direct his forces effectively, reminding him that every moment that passed on Istvaan would compromise the secessionists’ plan for total victory.

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At Lorgar’s personal request, The Crimson Revenant moved into low orbit, disgorging wings of Stormbirds, Stormeagles and Thunderhawk Transports. Within minutes, Zu’ul was on the ground, directing his forces from the cupola of his Land Raider Proteus, ‘Instrument of Ruin.’  The armoured spearhead had soon located the enemy formation, misdirected it and probed carefully for weaknesses via aggressive reconnaissance. The pseudo tank battle raged for hours, neither commander willing to commit his forces utterly for fear of a trap. Bluff followed bluff as Predator tanks skirted the lines and Land Raiders charged forth only to quickly dive back into the choking radioactive fog that enshrouded the Urgall Depression.

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It was one such piece of misdirection that finally proved to be the undoing of the Loyalists. A squadron of Zu’ul’s Land Raiders made contact with an Iron Hands Contemptor supported by infantry and a damaged Fellblade. In this engagement, a Land Raider was badly damaged whilst the rest of the squadron withdrew, giving cause for the Word Bearer’s within to disembark. Such a target as infantry in the open was too tempting for the Fellblade which moved into position to unleash its volkite cannon upon the target location. The infantry evaded the superheavy successfully, taking cover in a nearby arcology in the hope of mounting an ambush upon the enemy reconnoitre. Their opportunity came. The Iron Hands Contemptor advanced upon the stricken Land Raider, supported by a collection of Loyalist survivors. The Word Bearers watched as the Contemptor prized open the hull and ended the life of the mortally wounded tank commander. The Loyalists quickly got to work, ripping out the power coils and thermo packs of the Proteus’ lascannons and equipping themselves with salvage that could aid their own depleting motorpool. At this distance, the Word Bearer Stave Leader recognised the Contemptor as an ancient commander of the Iron Hands, a warrior of renown and deep significance. If the Iron hands would only commit here, in defence of one of their revered ancients, then the Salamanders would be forced to support them or submit to their forces being divided and destroyed piecemeal. Voxing his co-ordinates to the rest of Zu’ul’s Folio, the Stave Leader engaged.

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Six of his men were annihilated in a volkite inferno seconds after breaking cover. The Stave Leader, along with his three remaining faithful, survived the few minutes that it took for the Contemptor to be locked into a protracted firefight with the Land Raiders that had returned from their feigned flight. When reports came that the Contemptor had been immobilised, Zu’ul committed all of his forces. The gamble paid off.

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Whether it was the grief and rage of losing their Primarch that day, or the significance that the Iron Hands placed upon feats of mechanical engineering, who can say. Yet the bulk of Iron Hands moved to protect their leige, giving the Salamanders little choice other than to follow. It is fair to surmise that Zu’ul counted upon the Legion’s tendency to seek out a last stand…

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Within fifty eight minutes of the Stave Leader’s vox call, battle was joined. Hundreds of Lascannon beams lanced through the fog, hungrily piercing ceramite and filling the battlefield with the shrieking crack of superheated metal. Contemptors bound through the Word Bearer ranks, eager to reach the Loyalist lines and exact a bloody toll upon targets of opportunity. Predator autocannons hammered home whilst the contents of Zu’ul’s Proteus and Phobos squadrons fixed their chain-bayonets in anticipation of the close action to follow. Zu’ul’s medusa batteries rained shells over the slow tread of his armoured formations, raining phospex and high explosive onto the defenders, whilst Vorbak units, spearheaded by demonically charged dreadnoughts, formed the vanguard of Zu’ul’s assault. It was at this very moment that Zu’ul’s forces received their new moniker; over the vox, the sonorous and enigmatic tones of their beloved primarch delivered the final order:

Children, the gods themselves watch o’er us now.
In fire you march, in glory you tread. Hark!
Bring Truth this day at my request, for now
you etch our deeds upon the stars themselves.

Break open hammer and iron this day,
do it with bolt and blade and truth,
with shell and shot, alchem venom, las lance -
prayers and zeal;  Steel yourselves - now advance!

The very Horizon Burns at our touch!

                                                                  —Lorgar, Primarch of the Word Bearers

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…Hell follows with them…

Terrain Project 1.0

Rumours of my ship being lost in the warp were greatly exaggerated…

The self imposed hobby edict to create a table bursting full of diorama-type terrain is alive and well. In the past month I have been building, spraying, dry brushing and washing in a rattle canning, paint splattered fury!

Well, not quite…

But I have made significant headway and learnt that cool terrain doesn’t have to cost the world or have to take up a tremendous amount of hobby time.

I assembled and painted this piece of terrain last year.

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Ideally, I’d like all of my terrain looking like this. Seriously though, this is not tenable. I probably could have assembled and painted a squadron of tanks or a large squad of miniatures in the time it took to make this. Not ideal.

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I love looking at it and I’m proud of the little details; the blood splatters, the oxide, the washed out, griminess of it all. I’m also pleased with the little bits of Blanchian artwork and propaganda images that have been pasted to the walls. Unfortunately though, when put upon the battlefield, it seemed to detract somewhat from the miniatures. Worse still, it make the rest of the terrain (then under various stages of progress) appear somewhat underwhelming and demanded that I paint all of it to that level of detail.

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The grimy sandstone effect jarred with my city rubble neoprene mat and rather sealed the deal – I needed a new solution – a new direction entirely. I would keep this piece of terrain, but it would represent a municipal or religious building rather than be A-typical of the structures that were to be found on this city fight table.

During the recent 40kathon with Nick, Alex and James, we discussed terrain at length during and between games. We all fully subscribe (and are subscribed) to Carl Tuttle’s view that terrain is ‘The Third Army.’ [I urge you to check out The Independent Characters Podcast – you won’t regret it.] Whilst the GW terrain is undeniably awesome, the repetition of design choices and aesthetic soon gets old. It also dictates play style a little too much and undermines certain units. How valuable, for example, would jump infantry become on a table full of multiple levels and gantries?

We also wanted to see into civilian life a little more. What about subway entrances, abandoned imperial parks or a mausoleum complex? How about wrecked civilian vehicles or little details that told of frantic evacuation, ration distribution or martial law? The severe STC brutalism of the GW buildings doesn’t tell that kind of story, but could be integrated to add the aesthetic stamp and unify the look.

On my last post I mentioned TTCombat, and showed you a snap of two cargo containers.

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Well, I was so impressed with the designs that I bought several sets of their terrain, including gantries, barricades, walls and ruins. They were painted up in short order and I was careful to choose colours that matched the neoprene mat this time:

When painting the gantries, I could not stop imagining jump troops boosting up to secure the high ground or the kind of close action reminiscent of Necromunda. Metallics and rust paint completed the look.

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I duplicated this method for some barricades too.

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At this point I wanted to get creative and had a look in my bits er…bag. I wanted a few pieces of scatter terrain that told a story. This wrecked rhino has clearly been here for a while, and many battles have been fought over its desiccated remains.

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This is rather grisly, but the remains of the PDF or perhaps ‘the first wave’ could be used either as terrain dressing or ad hoc objective markers.

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These two statues, dedicated to the space marines who liberated this world, stand tall amongst the rubble.

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James very kindly gave me this manufactorum after the geekend. I assembled it to look like one of the more eccentric suggestions on the packaging.

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These ruins have only been sprayed and dry brushed so far. I will probably add more details and weathering, but for now they’ll serve.

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Now what?

I’m far from finished…

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Thank you for reading and I look forward to bringing you more of this project soon.

Ed

Terrain, Macromats and Holiday Hobby

Last weekend, three friends journeyed to my gaff to enjoy two days of hobby. It was a superb weekend and really galvanised my enjoyment of gaming in general. I’ve been friends with two of the guys for about twenty years now and Nick for nearly ten. Curiously, none of us met through the hobby, but it has served to bring us closer together and I’m indebted to them all for making the arduous journey!

40k was the common denominator, so I dusted off my Marines Malevolent, allying in with James’ Knights Unyielding to do battle against Nick and Alex’s chaotic forces. We played three games apiece over two days, including two doubles games.

Great fun! After the dust had settled, I resolved to do several things before the next meet up.

  1. Paint up a small 40k force. At the moment I’m leaning towards Genestealer Cults.
  2. Commit to building a table that is functional, but akin to a diorama in scope.
  3. Finish one project at a time…(!)

The next day I left for five days of unexpected sun and relaxation in Cornwall. I packed a limited number of paints and managed, over four nights, to crank out this fellow:

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I photographed him when I returned using Tablewar’s new ‘Macromat’ which I supported on Kickstarter a few months back. It’s fantastic and has really elevated the standard of my humble IPhone 5C’s camera. That said, I’m definitely going to get a new phone soon as I’m sick of taking subpar pictures. The Macromat comes with several other backgrounds, including the classic ‘blue to white’ that harkens back to White Dwarf of old. If you’re interested in taking beautiful pics of minis, I heartily recommend giving them a look.

Oh, I also managed to make a little headway with my terrain pledge:

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These containers are from TTCombat. Initially sceptical of laser-cut terrain, I am now a firm convert and have a huge amount more to assemble.

Thanks for reading.

Ed