Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A look back: Miniatures of 2013

Now that the year is drawing to a close, I find myself thinking back on it as a whole and remembering all the exciting miniatures that were released. Between the Bolter and Me is now almost a year old, and I can’t help but think of some of the releases that kept me forging forward with the hobby amidst the toils of graduate school. Before the year turns over, I felt it would be neat to talk a little about my favorite models of the year, culminating in my pick of the best model of the year.

The year certainly had a number of really impressive releases which really helped inspire me to work harder than ever to assemble and convert  new models. With so many companies releasing models, it has become increasingly difficult to select a single model as the best of the year. To make this post more manageable, I am going to break it down by the specific company that released the models.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Deadzone (Mantic) Modular Terrain Review

The assembled Deadzone terrain looks good at first glance.
In my last Deadzone unboxing post, I talked about how the modular terrain included in the box was a primary motivator in my decision to purchase the game, due to its ability to be used in a wide variety of miniature games that I currently play.  When I wrote that post I had not yet tried to assemble any of the terrain.  Over the last few days I was able to assemble the majority of what came in the box, only stopping when I ran out of connecting pieces.  I ran into quite a few snags along the way, and wanted to let everyone know about them in hopes it improves other peoples’ experience with the terrain or allows new buyers to be more informed of what they are getting themselves into.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Deadzone (Mantic) Unboxing

And Deadzone arrives!
On Monday, I was excited to get home to find that my Deadzone Kickstarter pledge was delivered. Ever since Mantic started to ship out copies of the game two weeks ago, the internet has been alive with activity surrounding it.  Although the overall impressions were largely high, an increasing number of comments on their Kickstarter comments page suggested that things were poorly packaged and confusing.  Reading all this only increased my anticipation to receive the game myself and to see how everything would turn out.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Welcome to Malifaux! Impression of the game

There will be Blood.
Although I had known about Malifaux for a few years, and heard a lot of good things about it, the models really left a lot to be desired for me, and I resisted any urge to start playing it.  When the 2nd edition was released and the new plastic models started to come out Adam bought a few and was quite impressed by them.  So much so that he bought the rulebook and started to learn how to play the game.  Despite this, I was a little reserved about starting up the game myself.  Did I really need to be playing another skirmish game, having started to play Deep Wars and now Deadzone?  But when he assembled enough models and asked if I wanted to play a game of it, trying out the rules, I could not resist.  Although I knew I would not be able to appreciate and incorporate all of the nuance and  strategy in the game having not read though the rules myself, I was excited to go through the basics and see how things played out. In particular, I was interested in seeing how it compared to Deep Wars and Deadzone, both rulewise and in narrative scope.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Dark Eldar: Converting Duke Sliscus

Follow the Serpent!
Ever since the release of the Dark Elf assassin Shadowblade, I knew I wanted to use the model as a foundation for a conversion of Duke Sliscus. The model’s dynamic pose seemed to play nicely with the image of him I had in my mind, a flamboyant firebrand of a character.  I mused on how best to create the characters, and with the later release of the Dark Elf fleetmaster, I knew I found the last few pieces I needed.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dark Eldar: Kabalite Trueborn - Part 3

They cower. We carve.
It has been a long time in coming, but I have finally finished the fourth member of the squad of Dark Eldar Trueborn that I started some months ago. The final member of the squad is very much in line with the other members of the squad, adopting a pretty unassuming pose, with his blaster poised and ready. The model took advantage of the recent reinvisioning of Dark Elf range by using one of the heads from the wonderful plastic Dark Riders. Each of the squad members are based on Dragon Forge Tech-deck bases, perfect for reinforcing the idea that they are seasoned space pirates, accustomed to raiding void-crossing vessels.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Codex Inqusition: Digital Edition Review

“You accuse me of being a madman. What right have you to judge what is sane and what is not?

I have fought with the shadows on the edge of your vision. I have seen the faces that laugh at you in your nightmares.

I have smelt the foetid breath that issues from the mouth of hell itself. I have heard the silent voices that make your spine tingle with dread.

I have entered the realms between worlds where there is no time or place. I have clashed with creatures the sight of which would sear your soul to the core.

I have bested horrors that chill with a gaze and tempt unreasoning terror. I have faced death eye to eye and blade to blade.

I have stared into the eyes of insanity and met their all-consuming stare. I have done all this for you; for your protection and the guarantee of a future for Mankind.

And yet you accuse me of being a madman, you who have never had your sanity tested so sorely. What right have you to call me heretic and blasphemer, who have not heard the whisper of dark gods in your ear?

You are weak. Vulnerable. Human in your frailty. I am strong, and yet still you judge me. And yet you still judge me for my sins, you who art most sinful to the heart?

Only the insane have strength enough to prosper; only those that prosper truly judge what is sane.”

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Deadzone (Mantic): Digital Rulebook Impressions

The Deadzone rulebook is in print!
As evidenced by Between the Bolter and Me’s first blog post, I really enjoyed Mantic’s fantasy sports game Dreadball, largely for its simple-to-pick-up rules and fast pace.  So you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that Jake Thornton (creator of Dreadball) was working on a skirmish game called Deadzone. The game was designed to emulate smaller scale battles between individual squads, set in Mantic’s Warpath universe, which is their primary science fiction wargame.  Like Dreadball, Mantic used Kickstarter to raise money to produce the models, terrain, and other supplies for the game.  And while none of the models they previewed appealed to me too much, I still jumped at the opportunity to send some money their way to get the boxed game, primarily for the rules and the terrain that was to be included (after all, I figured I could use Warhammer 40k models to stand in for most of the Deadzone factions).  Fast-forward six months, and Mantic is getting very close to being ready to send out the boxed games and the different faction starter sets.  I must say that the speed at which Mantic was able to get everything produced surprised me a little and, admittedly, made me fear that perhaps things were a little rushed to meet the deadlines they placed on themselves with the Kickstarter. To help backers bide their time as they waited for their models to arrive, Mantic sent out digital copies of the finalized rulebook.  After spending a couple days reading through the book, I wanted to provide my initial impressions and comment on whether my fears about the game feeling rushed have any merit.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Building an Inquisitorial retinue: Looking into the past

 I am the Law!
When the Daemonhunters book came out amidst the 3rd edition of Warhammer 40,000, I was taken by the imagery of Ordo Malleus. While I was really excited about the new take on the Grey Knights, it was the more human element of the force, the Inquisitors and their henchmen, that struck the greatest chord with me (something that was certainly helped by Dan Abnett’s Eisenhorn novels). This lead me to collect a force comprised primarily of Inquisitorial stormtroopers and Inquisitorial henchmen. Now that I am actively working on new Inquisitorial models, I thought it would be fun to show pictures of some of those models.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Deep Wars at Games and Stuff

A fantastic submarine created for Antimatter Games using a host of old toys and random bits.
Having been a little while since I last played a game of Deep Wars, and knowing that a lot of newer models have begun to show up in retailers, I decided to head down to Glen Burnie’s excellent Games and Stuff to see if I could get a game in.  Few people know Deep Wars better than Patrick Weaver; having run Antimatter’s Deep Wars booth at both Adepticon and Gencon, he has spent more time in the inky depths of the ocean then anyone I know.  Luckily for me (and anyone in or around Maryland), Patrick runs Deep Wars games every Sunday at Games and Stuff, and has virtually all of the current range of models if you would like to try out some new units or even a new warband!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Chainsaw Warrior Review

Nowadays, Games Workshop is known almost entirely for its miniature-based wargames, but the company has a long history of releasing roleplaying games (bringing Dungeons & Dragons to the UK) and producing and designing boardgames such as Talisman. One of their lesser known titles was Chainsaw Warrior, a single player game released in 1987.

The game is set in the near future (2032) in New York City, where a rift in time and space has opened up, spilling out zombies and other terrible creatures. At the heart of the onslaught is a shadowy figure referred to as “Darkness” who commands the harrowing creatures. After initial attempts to stem the tide of monsters failed, the US military brought an unnamed ex-special forces agent out of retirement for one last mission. Taking on his role, you have 60 minutes to infiltrate a building at the center of maelstrom and find and kill Darkness. If you fail, New York is destroyed and the game is over.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dark Elves: New possibilities for Dark Eldar and others!

The new Dark Elf models are just begging to be converted!
This past weekend marked the first wave of releases for the new Dark Elves army book. With a release schedule somewhat reminiscent of the Dark Eldar in 2011, the army is slated to have a second wave of releases in the near future. Taken together, these two waves largely see a complete resculpting of the army’s range of miniatures. This is an exciting time for the Dark generals of Naggaroth and the Warhammer 40k generals alike. This new set of releases offers a large collection of new pieces suitable for all sorts of conversions, be it individualizing some Dark Eldar warriors, or converting an INQ28 death cult assassin. With this post I wanted to talk a little about some of the new releases and my thoughts about them and how I envision them being used in conversions as well (this is greatly facilitated by all of the releases being in plastic!).

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Lorgar Aurelian of the XVII Legion

"All I ever wanted was the truth."
Gamesday UK has just passed, and what an exciting time it is to be in the hobby!  True to recent form, Games Workshop had little to do with what made it exciting, with Forge World completely stealing the show.  Much like last year, they revealed a whole host of wonderful looking models (with only a few disappointments), primarily focusing on expanding the Horus Heresy range.  With Ferrus Manus just being revealed a few weeks ago, I was shocked to see another completed Primarch when pictures started flooding the internet Sunday night.  No rumors or hints suggesting who was next, simply Lorgar Aurelian of the Word Bearers!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Malifaux: Finally time to go through the breach?

Bad things happen.
In the recent years, the game Malifaux has been growing in popularity. And while the backdrop of the game was intriguing (a weird mix of Victorian horror and wild-west gunplay), I could not get too excited about their range of miniatures. Wyrd Miniature’s initial selection of models for Malifaux were very hit or miss, tending towards the latter end of the spectrum.  But with their transition to plastic, there has been a dramatic increase in the quality of their sculpts, greatly benefited by the advance in computer generated figures and 3d printing.  And while I do not necessarily like the design of all the new models, it is hard to argue with the actual implementation.  They use a 32mm heroic scale system, similar to GW’s 28mm heroic scale, although these numbers are more of a rough guideline.  The main difference between the two companies is the artistic style they use, with Malifaux favoring long limbs and small hands and feet, while GW’s models are a little stockier.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Ferrus Manus: The Gorgon Primarch of the Iron Hands

Glory to the Tenth Legion!
Perhaps I should stop being surprised by it,  but every time Simon Egan releases a new Primarch model (or any model for that matter!) I am stunned.  The level of seamless detail he is able to achieve, without weighing his figures down, is astounding.  This is only magnified in an age where so many miniature companies are transitioning into designing their models completely via computers and 3D printing the results.  His newest model is no exception to his excellence, and could quite possibly his best Primarch to date, which is quite a statement considering how magnificent Angron and Fulgrim are.  Now the Gorgon Primarch of the Iron Hands, Ferrus Manus has a model!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Digital Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook Review

Finally, a digital version of the core rules!
As much as I like Games Workshop’s printed books, my shelves are filling up with them.  But with the constant stream of FAQs, I am now less likely to rush out and buy a new release.  One such release, now a few weeks old, was the mini hardcover Warhammer 40,000 rulebook.  At first one might question its purpose, in that you can get a mini rulebook in the Dark Vengeance box, but the significance of the release is not in it being hardcover, but that it is actually updated to reflect the current FAQ status of the rules.  As far as I know, this is a first for GW.  And although the little tome is likely very nice, I see little reason to get it.  What necessitated printing it in the first place is the very reason it is hard to justify purchasing it; the next FAQ is likely just around the corner.  But I am not writing this to complain about GW’s inability to get their rules right the first time; I wanted to say a few words about the little talked about sister release of the revised rulebook:  The Digital Edition of the Warhammer 40,000 Rules.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

INQ28 - Inquisitor WIP

He who allows the alien to live shares in the crime of its existence.
With Guardsman Vell complete, I have now set my sights on converting an Imperial Inquisitor of the Ordos Xenos. Fond memories of Dan Abnett’s Eisenhorn trilogy convinced me that I should convert an Inquisitor with a subtle undercover look, rather than an Inquisitor lord marching into full-fledged war against against Chaos, donning brazen power armour littered with litany papers and circled by servo skulls and mechanical cherubs. And while there is nothing really wrong with that, it portrays a different scale, one more inline with Warhammer 40,000, where you command huge armies and the individual gets lost amidst a sea of bodies. I want something more personal and individual. More espionage and intrigue than plasma guns and chimeras.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

INQ28 - Guardsman Vell

Let freedom ring with a shotgun blast!
My next INQ28 post arrives with the completion of my first INQ28 model! I am still working on the background for the guardsman, but have finally settled on the name Arkan Vell. He is going to be part of an Inquisitor’s retinue, but my ideas for that are still pretty preliminary.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Deep Wars: Dire Fish-Lizard Review

Up from the depths! Thirty stories high...
I was drawn into Deep Wars primarily due to the setting.  I can’t think of too many things more exciting than fighting scaly fish monsters in the cold depths of ancient oceans. Since assembling my initial starter box of Ancients, however, I have not really been inspired to purchase any of the new models.  And this is not due to lack of new models, as they have maintained an impressive release schedule, sculpting and selling most of the models in each range.  Unfortunately, I feel most of the models are not as strong as the initial set of miniatures for each faction.  Many of them are Bob Olley sculpts, which tend to be mediocre at best.  Some of this can be attributed to questionable concept art, which looks to have been followed to the letter in every case (character’s weapons being particularly outlandish and undetailed).

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Space Marines advance into 6th edition

It looks like the Space Marines are getting a host of single-pose plastic characters.  The Librarian looks particularly impressive with a face that looks quite unique compared to the standard yelling ones.  And is that a reasonably sized combibolter? 
Space Marines are Warhammer 40,000.  They have defined all of the editions of the game, forming the basic statline that every unit is measured from.  Their bulky power armour and cumbersome boltguns form the keystone that holds the universe together.  They have the most models and most different armies (based on different chapters), and they sell more than any of Games Workshop’s other products.  Due to this, it is surprising that they waited over a year to release an updated codex to bring the Space Marines into the 6th edition of 40k.  But the wait is finally almost over, as they are the newest army to get an update.  It goes without saying that the models accompanying these new rules have been eagerly anticipated.  Pictures of many of these model have just leaked; let’s take a look at them and compare them to other models in the range.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Da Grey Knightz - First Purifier finished

Ere we go!
After a hiatus of nearly two years, I have finally completed the first Grey Knight ork Purifier! Having largely completed the torso of the ork previously, the final element to tackle was the ork’s arms. My uncertainty of what to do with the ork’s arms was largely what kept me from finishing the conversion. If anyone has assembled Black Orcs in the past, you will know that they are heavily restricted in their arm positioning. They are limited to two basic poses, one taking a two-handed grip on a great weapon and the other brandishing two single-handed weapons. In both cases at least one of the ork’s arms is held aloft in the air. Furthermore, half of each arm is molded onto the body of the ork, making repositioning all but impossible without significant greenstuff work. What could the ork hold up in the air without look awkward and forced? That was the problem...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Da Grey Knightz - Making Grey Knights with orks

Daemons beware! When I get my arms, things will turn ugly for you!
Amidst my hobby efforts this week, I came across a conversion I had started close to two years ago. A friend of mine started a conversion project to build a Grey Knight army using ork models as substitutes. The effort was partly to pay homage to mighty Tuska the ‘Daemon-Killa’, an ork warlord who ventured into the Warp to hunt daemons (detailed in the 4th edition ork codex). To aid in the project I decided to try and convert a Grey Knight with a psycannon. Unfortunately I never quite finished the project. Now having a few more conversions under my belt, it seems like there is no better time to revisit the model and finish the conversion (and maybe make a few more!). First I thought people might be interested in seeing some pictures of the ork.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

INQ28 - Imperial Guardsman WIP

The 1997 Gorkamorka Digga Shaman. A really interesting model.
With the recent rumors that Games Workshop is planning to release a new skirmish game based around Inquisitors, I thought what better time to start work on some Inq28 models. Looking through the random collection of models I have laying around I rediscovered the now ancient Gorkamorka Digga Shaman. What an interesting model! I knew from the moment I laid eyes on him that he would serve as a base for a conversion. I am currently still deep in the conversion process, but thought people might want to see my current progress.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fulgrim the Illuminator: Unboxing

Fulgrim unboxed!
Since his reveal a few months ago, I eagerly awaited the opportunity to get my hands on Simon Egan’s latest Primarch, Fulgrim the Illuminator.  I was very impressed with his first Primarch model, Angron the Red Angel, and wanted to see how his next compared.

Having just received Fulgrim from Forge World, I wanted to take a few pictures and show you all of the parts and do a few quick comparisons to Angron.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Dark Eldar: Kabalite Trueborn - Part 2

The Blasterborn assemble!
The past couple weeks have been a busy time for modeling on my end. Despite my best efforts, I have not been able to keep focused on a single project and, as such, I still don’t have anything completed. One that has been occupying a lot of my time has been continuing to build my first squad of Kabalite Trueborn. I have made pretty good progress since my last post about them and now have three that are near completion. As I work on the fourth, I thought I would show some pictures of the new squad members to see what everyone thinks.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Codex Eldar: Digital Edition Review

Finally a codex released on a device other than the iPad!
One cannot deny that Games Workshop has released a lot of Codex books since the release of 6th edition in June 2012.  Five released in a little under a year.  I, like most of you, have been thrilled that they are updating the armies so quickly.  But with this rapid release schedule, GW’s proof-reading and testing has taken a back seat.  Almost every book is released with an accompanying FAQ on day one, changing point costs and rule wording.  This makes the physical purchase of one of their books a bit frustrating.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Leviathan Crusader Complete: Apocalypse and beyond!

The Crusader is finished, ready for Apocalypse!
Seeing that Apocalypse is coming to 6th edition Warhammer 40k, it seemed an excellent time to put the finishing touches on the Leviathan Crusader I have been slowly working on for the last few months.  Although I largely completed the model in my last post, I never decided on a final pose, or assembled the left hand vulcan cannon arm that was given for free as a part of the kickstarter.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Unforgiven: Building a Deathwing Command Squad

Never forget!  Never forgive!
Ever since starting a Deathwing army way back in 4th edition, I have wanted to build a command squad to accompany Belial into battle.  When starting the army, this task always fell behind building normal squads to fill out the core of the army.  Eventually, towards the end of fifth edition, I had the core army where I wanted it, 5 squads of terminators, a host of dreadnoughts and Land Raiders, and a trio of Landspeeder Typhoons.  This got me to thinking about building the command squad again, but I still put it off, knowing that 6th edition would likely change optimal loadouts, and that a new codex was coming, one that might offer new options and maybe come with new models to aid in the conversion process.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Apocalypse: Khorne Lord of Battle - the Line Between Warhammer 40,000 and Epic Thins

I never expected to see the likes of this model again.
Although it started in Warhammer Fantasy Battles, the trend of centering every new army release with a massive plastic kit quickly took hold of Warhammer 40,000 as well.  Nowhere is this more evident than with the release of the Tau Riptide battlesuit, that was quickly followed up and surpassed by the Eldar Wraithknight.  The Wraithknight, a re-envisioned relic from Epic, towers over even the Riptide (9” compared to 5.5-6”).  When it was first revealed, it spawned discussions of whether it was a sign that such Apocalypse-flavored massive units were going to become a mainstay in Warhammer 40k armies, even those below 2000 points.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fulgrim the Illuminator Revealed!

At long last, the next Primarch is here!
This weekend was an exciting one for those of us who play Warhammer 40,000.  The highly anticipated Horus Heresy Weekender event took place in Nottingham, resulting in a wealth of new information (and models!) from Forge World’s vision of depicting the epic civil war that set brother Space Marine against brother Space Marine across the known universe.  What I was looking forward to most, however was the full unveiling of Forge World’s next Primarch, Fulgrim the Illuminator!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Dark Eldar: Kabalite Trueborn

High Elf Shadow Warriors integrate nicely with  Dark Eldar warriors.
For the next installment of my quest to build a Dark Eldar army, I want to show my initial efforts to convert a unit of Kabalite Trueborn. At this point I have finished the the majority of a single Trueborn and wanted to get any feedback or suggestions for completing the model and converting newer members of the squad.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fulgrim the Illuminator, Forge World's latest Primarch

Who better to define a Primarch's image then John Blanche? 

The Primarchs have always held a sort of mythic status in my mind, steeped in mystery and conjecture.  An unknowable quantity that was only spoke of in whispers, like all the best elements of Warhammer 40,000.  So when I heard models were being made, I was pretty skeptical, because unless the result was utterly spectacular, it was likely to add a level of finality to these figures that I would rather leave to my own imagination.  But as luck would have it, Forge World gave this herculean task to arguably their best sculptor, Simon Egan.  And the moment Forge World revealed their first Primarch, Angron the Red Angel, I (and I imagine most of you) craved to see the other’s rendered with the same magnificence.  

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Adeptus Mechanicus - SKULZ, Inq28, and a Golden Age

Tech-priests of Mars assemble!
Way back in June of 2000, Games Workshop started a sales promotion campaign known as the Skulz Program. The program rewarded customers with little Skulz stickers for every $10 worth of product purchased directly through Games Workshop.  These stickers could be collected and redeemed for a host of different prizes, such as limited edition models, belt buckles, and even a mighty Baneblade!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tools of the Trade: essential modeling supplies

A selection of some of the most useful modeling supplies.
A lot of time and effort is spent on blogs and forums detailing armylist building, tactics, and painting, but the basic modeling equipment that made all of this possible is often overlooked and little mentioned. Having been playing Warhammer 40,000 and assembling models for the better part of 16 years, I have accumulated a wealth of knowledge and experience on the matter, and wanted to talk a little about the supplies I use.  I have broken the post up by each tool for ease of navigation. Hopefully you will find some of it helpful. As always, I would love to hear about your thoughts and experiences!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Deep Wars at AdeptiCon!

Alex, the shark senses blood in the waters...
Since receiving my first models for the Ancients of Atalan (one of the enigmatic races in Antimatter Games’ underwater skirmish game Deep Wars), Antimatter Games has released a swell of new models and terrain for Deep Wars. What’s more, the digital rulebook has received an update to make slight corrections and clarifications. Perhaps the most exciting development for the game, however, is the fact that it is starting to be stocked in game stores across America! My local game store, Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie, Maryland is one such store. Moreover, Patrick Weaver, a huge proponent for the game and one who has helped revise the ruleset with Antimatter games, is a regular at the store. For the last few months, he has been fanatically assembling, converting, and painting the entire Deep Wars range of models in preparation for holding a Deep Wars booth at AdeptiCon 2013 this weekend (Friday and Saturday: 12:00pm – 7:00pm)!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Leviathan Crusader: Assembling the arms

By the manner of their deaths we shall know them.

I thought I would update you all on my progress with the Crusader.  After last post, I figured I would only have one more entry about the Crusader, showing the completed Crusader, arms and all.  The last few weeks have not afforded me much hobby time however, and the arms took much longer than I had initially anticipated (the belt of the assault cannon was particularly daunting...).  I have finally finished both the sword arm and the first vulcan cannon, and wanted to show and tell you my thoughts on them.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Dark Eldar: Raging Heroes Blood Vestals as wyches?

The Blood Vestals make their way to 40k!
In addition to the Dark Eldar warriors, I have been working towards adding a few squads of wyches to my Dark Eldar army. While I was never too thrilled with Chris Fitzpatrick’s overly exaggerated take on wyches, in light of my previous efforts to pay homage to the earlier Dark Eldar range, I wanted a single squad of wyches to maintain a similar design aesthetic. Fortunately, the up and coming French miniature design studio Raging Heroes had just the models for such a squad, the SciFi Blood Vestals.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Angron, the Red Angel and Codex Daemons: Initial impressions

Blood for the Blood God, Skulls for the Throne of Khorne!

The new Daemon codex has been out for a few weeks now, and the initial rage over the perceived nerfing of the entire army that scourged the internet surrounding its release has finally died down.  A lot has been discussed over many blogs and forums about how the daemons actually fared, and the general consensus seems to put them along the lines of the other 6th edition books (Chaos Space Marines and Dark Angels).  Having a fledgling daemon force throughout 5th edition, I would like to talk a little about my thoughts on the new book, and more importantly, how can I construct any army with my current models, and how it will develop in the coming months.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Leviathan Crusader: Assembling the body

Armless, but still imposing.
Having finished building the legs, instead of going on to assemble the arms as the instructions suggested, I decided I wanted to finish the core of the titan.  Since the arms can easily be swapped at any time, I wanted to see the actual body of the crusader come together, and then decide on how to arm it afterwards.

When assembling the pelvis/spine region of the body, you put three ball joints on the titan (one for each leg and one for the spinal column).  These fit on so tightly that glue is not necessary, and I would actually recommend not using it at all.  You need to apply a huge amount of pressure to get the balls to slide in completely, and if you apply glue it might set before they are completely in position.  Even without glue, when you put them on they are not coming back off, so make sure you are committed when applying them.  After attaching them, I did apply some super thin cement (something I really recommend if you are starting to build such a large plastic kit, because it can easily be applied after you have fitted pieces together and are certain they are attached properly).  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Chaos Terminators: Mark of Tzeentch

Veterans of the Long War assemble to bring ruin to False Emperor's Imperium.
A friend recently started down the path to Chaos with the release of the 6th edition Chaos Space Marine codex, and although he wanted a Chosen heavy army (led by Abaddon), I convinced him that he really should have some terminators (he has been on the receiving end of my Deathwing for years; the closest equivalent he has played with are the lowly Mega Armoured Nobz for his Ork army...).  Over the last few months, we have been slowly working on them, trying to imbue some Tzeentchian elements into them (4++!).

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Horus Heresy: Unboxing Abaddon and Loken

The newest set of Horus Heresy characters in all their unassembled glory!
Having only been released to the world last Friday, you can imagine my surprise and excitement to have returned home to find that Abaddon and Loken had arrived from Forge World! I have been anxiously looking forward to taking a closer look at the models, and thought that others might be interested in seeing some pictures of the different components of the set.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Leviathan Crusader: Assembling the legs

The legs are done!
It has been a bit over a week since I received the impressive Leviathan from DreamForge, and I wanted to let you all know how the assembly has been going and impart a few suggestions for any of you who may be envisioning owning one in the future!

The legs are the probably the most complex part of the kit, and it is what you start assembling first (if you follow their nicely illustrated instructions), so it can be a little bit daunting.  There are a lot of parts (many that you are not to glue), pistons, joints and armour plates, but luckily they all fit flushly together and layer on top of each other easily.  Because of all the parts and the points of articulation, I took my time carefully trimming and sanding the pieces before dry  fitting all of them.  This allowed me to get more familiar with the model and how each part was intended to function, before gluing anything down.  There are a few minor errors in the instructions for the feet (which have been corrected and posted on their blog), but because the sprues are arranged by letter and have all the relevant pieces together, it is easy to find everything that you need.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Horus Heresy: Garviel Loken vs. Ezekyle Abaddon

Forge World's take on the Horus Heresy keeps getting better and better.
In case you were still uncertain of Games Workshop/Forge World’s most talented sculptor, Simon Egan’s next masterpiece was just revealed on Forge World’s website, a battle scene depicting the faithful dual between Garviel Loken and Ezekyle Abaddon.  It has only been a few months after his stunning vision of Angron, Primarch of the World Eater was released, showing the world that Forge World’s ambition to recreate the the Sires of the founding Space Marine legions was not one of misguided arrogance.

Egan’s strongest talent is probably his ability to sculpt unique, emotion filled faces.  Rather than simply recycling one of the over-used space marine unhelmeted heads, Loken and Abaddon's faces were sculpted to be genuinely unique (like Angron, both even have eyebrows sculpted!).  The anger he has crafted into each of them is remarkable. Thankfully, both of their heads are actually to scale and not comically large (unlike the new World Eater Rampager squad...).

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chaos Daemons: Impressions of the new models

Another new codex so soon after the Dark Angels?  I did not think it was possible!
Over the years, the Chaos daemons have had numerous waves of releases, some were superb while others have leaned towards abysmal. Now, it seems they will be getting another swath of new models and even new books, both for Warhammer and 40k. This is not long after receiving a White Dwarf update and new miniatures to go along with it last year (including plastic Flamers  and Screamers of Tzeentch, plastic Plaguebears and Nurglings, and a some Slaanesh chariots). While some of these pictures have been floating around the web for a few days now, I wanted to wait for Games Workshop to put up clearer images. In this post I will comment on the new models while referencing the old models to bring up some points about their evolution.  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Horus Heresy: Contemptor Dreadnought

By the manner of their deaths we shall know them.
It seems that a week can’t go by without Forge World releasing another new awesome model, one that makes it difficult to reason with yourself why you shouldn’t own it too. And with the release of the first Horus Heresy book, Betrayal, it has reached a fever pitch. But looking back, I feel it can be argued that the release of the Contemptor Dreadnought was a turning point (and foreshadowing for the Heresy) for Forge World in this regard. As soon as the kit was released, blogs from around the world exploded with their own versions of the dynamic armored behemoth.

The model was very well received, partially owing to its reimagining of the old concepts (the bulbous nature of it really harkens back to the original Rogue Trader design) and the model’s insane level of poseability (something largely unseen in Games Workshops larger models). This high degree of poseability comes at a high cost however. Aside from being fairly difficult to assemble, the model can very easily adopt an awkward pose despite one’s best intentions.  Before long, the grim defender of humanity can transform into a caricature of Space Marine might (maybe just skipping along or attempting some acrobatic marvel).

Thursday, February 14, 2013

DreamForge Plastic Leviathan Crusader: Initial Impressions

I first heard about the miniatures of DreamForge Games a little over a year ago on the wonderful gaming blog The Eye of Error.  He had gotten ahold of one of their Leviathan Mortis resin kits.  I was intrigued by the kit and felt it could easily serve as a Knight class titan or function as a suitable stand-in for a Warhound.  The limited production runs and high price tag (close to that of Forge World’s Warhound titan) of the DreamForge kits made purchasing one infeasible for me, however.

That all changed late last year when DreamForge began a Kickstarter campaign to produce the Crusader variant of the Leviathan in plastic for under $100.  They easily exceeded their $30,000 goal, reaching an impressive $205,971. This gave them the resources to make the Mortis variant in plastic as well, along with a host of alternative weapon options.  I jumped at the chance to get another titan for Apocalypse-style games (when one titan goes to war, it needs another to oppose it!).

I had been receiving steady updates over the last two months about the production and eventual shipment of all of the Crusader kits from China.  Last week I got word that they were finally being shipped to the Kickstarter backers and I got a UPS tracking number.   I am excited to say that the kit arrived in the mail today!  This is going to be the first post in a series chronicling my assembly of the Crusader.  In this first post, I am going to talk a bit about my initial impressions of the kit.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Unforgiven: Leading the Deathwing

The Sorrow (Metal Gear Solid reference)
One element that has changed with the introduction of the new Dark Angel’s book is the HQ selection.  Before there was really only one choice, and that was taking Belial to unlock Deathwing as Troops.  There were other choices, Interrogator Chaplains, Librarians, but none of them really brought anything useful to a Deathwing army.  The new book has given us multiple options that deserve serious consideration.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Dark Eldar Warriors

The denizens of Commorragh prepare for war!
For my second Dark Eldar post, I want to talk about some of the Dark Eldar warriors I have built. The new sculpts have come a long way from the originals, both in aesthetics and design. One of my favorite aspects about them is that all of the equipment is attached to their waists, including things such as toxin vials and grappling hooks (which they use to hang from their flying transports). I feel these small additions go a long way in establishing their character and convincing me they are going to war. I am glad they chose to cast the equipment on the models, rather than keeping them as separate pieces for you to glue on (easier to assemble and the stuff is attached more naturally than one could achieve otherwise). Additionally, the new warriors are much easier to assemble. The old ones were something of a nightmare to build if you decided you wanted to use any of the tiny rows of spikes and blades to adorn them; trying to line them up correctly was nigh impossible.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Unforgiven: Moving forward with the Deathwing

The first Deathwing Terminators will always have a place in my heart and my army.
With the release of the new Dark Angels codex, the Deathwing were put in a difficult situation.  From a modeling perspective, things have never been better.  The release of the new Deathwing command squad box has added a host of interesting and flavorful bits, most exciting to me being the inclusion of the daggers that always used to accompany the Deathwing (as iconic as the feathers).  The exciting conversion opportunities afforded by these new pieces are somewhat diminished when considered in light of the Deathwings’ actual rules on the tabletop.  At first glance, everything seems fine;  terminator squads can still take mixed weaponry and they have gained a few new special rules (splitfire, vengeful strike, and an improved Deathwing assault).  Unfortunately, the points cost of the unit has gone up considerably to reflect these additions (a squad with 5 thunder hammers and storm shields with a cyclone missile launcher moved from 235 to 270 pts)  And if you want to take them as troops, you still need to pay the Belial tax (he is better than before, but is considerably more expensive, as well).  I will not expound upon these shortcomings any further, but if you would like to read more about it, Kirby over on 3++ details it quite well.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Starting a Dark Eldar army

Kruellagh the Vile - Des Hanley

Ever since their introduction in the 3rd Edition of Warhammer 40,000, the Dark Eldar have always peaked my interest. Portrayed as deeply depraved and sadistic raiders, traveling the void praying upon the unwary, the Dark Eldar have always been a force that demanded attention. Some of the original imagery done by Des Hanley and Wayne England is superb and still sticks with me today. The image of Kruellagh the Vile slaughtering that Imperial guardsman with her Soul Flayer is particularly memorable.