Thursday, 30 May 2013

Opening Shots (Amalthean Crusade - 1)

Opening Shots:

The road was dusty, and empty. The trees in front of the Inquisitor rustled and whistled in the stiff sea breeze. To her right, the outskirts of the fishing village, to her left, woods and empty sands. Behind her - salvation. Ahead - death. 

As the Righteous Fists' strike force moved up into the lengthening shadows of the late evening, Sergeant Polix's squad auspex began to sing. 

"Objective located," his Squad Leader said, "tactical net aware."

Polix nodded, his power fist humming as he activated it. The weight of his bolter was comforting to him, the dispersal of his Marines second nature. His Squad Leader moved off with his Demi-Squad, and Polix motioned his brothers to follow as the Strike Force spread out to confront the Tau cadre that moved cautiously out of the buildings and woods of the settlement. 

The element of surprise was theirs. The Thunderhawks had inserted them without incident and were waiting to extract them once the Inquisitor had been retrieved... or killed. Polix brought his bolter up, and looked across to Codicier Tithonius. 

"Death to the xenos, Brother-Librarian."
"Death indeed, Brother-Sergeant. Fists of Dorn!"
"Emperor's Fists!" the battle cry was echoed across the force comm net as the Chaplain, Maeon, and the jump Marines of Oleon's Demi-Squad roared over a nearby grocery shop and landed heavily in the road, ready to leap again and bring the force of the Emperor's justice to the foul aliens in the dwelling ahead of them.

Polix moved, a steady lope characteristic of the powered armour suits and huge physique of the Astartes, his Demi with him, the Inquisitor alongside, a barely-visible wisp of blue-green energy permeating the air as the Librarian chanted, keeping them safe. Then a sudden roaring and a series of loud bangs blurred with rapid shrieking noises from his helmet and suit alarms, and everything went black.

Some time later, Polix moved. A grubby, vaguely humanoid, figure was trying to tear his helmet off. He rolled, throwing the figure to one side, and smashed its head apart with his inert power fist. He rose, groggily, to one knee, and activated his helmets low-light filters. He took stock. Amber and red warning lights flickered to one side of his vision. No green at all. His whole squad, dead or unresponsive to suit-suit communications. He breathed an oath, and looked around. The Tau had gone, and with them the Inquisitor. His IFF beeped green, suddenly, and he span, raising his shattered bolter by instinct. There, in front of him - an Astartes. A Devastator, one of Plato's Marines.

"Brother-Sergeant," the Marine began, "thanks be to the Emperor that you're alive!"
"Brother," Polix rasped, "what happened?"
"The Tau, Brother-Sergeant, gave a good account. They incapacitated or killed almost all our force, and Techmarine Sabas has had us combing the field looking for survivors ever since they left. We have too many dead, Brother-Sergeant."
"Then let us gather our Brothers and leave. Where are the Thunderhawks?"
"Nearby, Brother-Sergeant. This way."

The Amalthean Crusade has begun! Sort of. An Inquisitor with information vital to the liberation of Hamish's World (a small, largely desert, world whose main exports prior to the Third Sphere expansion were Guardsmen, minerals and fish) had been uncovered by Tau spies and was forced to flee, awaiting pickup by Astartes of the Righteous Fists' Second Company. Unfortunately the Tau arrived at the same time, and after a fierce firefight had killed or incapacitated most of the Marines. The Tau, in full knowledge of the importance of the Inquisitor, and aware of their own heavy losses, withdrew immediately with their prisoner, leaving the field to the Astartes.

The Imperium has one chance to either rescue their agent, or kill her, before the Tau can break her and gain vital knowledge about the forthcoming invasion by 2nd Crusade Group's 3rd Front Group.

Unfortunately, the Righteous Fists are not able to perform the rescue; the damage their powered armour suits took was such that, although most of the 'dead' Marines survived, they are unable to return to the fight for some time. Luckily, the 3rd Front Group has another asset - Stormtroopers of the Crusade Command Reserve, and Inquisitorial agents! We shall see how the Tau fare in a different kind of fight!

There will be a full write-up of the game I played tonight coming later. Suffice it to say that the new Tau are really giving me problems...

Monday, 27 May 2013

Starships And Space Elves

I've got the spaceship bug again. Last time I got it this bad I was on holiday in Norfolk in the early 2000s. Today I painted a Lunar Class cruiser, the Invictus, and a Mars Class battlecruiser, the Imperator Vult. This puts Strike Group Invictus several ships short of its current full strength, but since yesterday it's grown from seven escorts to seven escorts and three ships of the line.

Imperator Vult on the right and Invictus on the left. Invictus is the flag vessel of the little fleet at the moment.

I also painted up another Tactical Marine for the Righteous Fists, bringing my total of Fists left to do down another notch. Eight more Tacticals, the Captain and his five-strong Command Squad, two Bikers, and a Terminator Squad. Hmm. I can see the light at the end of that tunnel soon enough!

A basic bolter-toting Marine. Just noticed that I haven't painted his red-dot sight, but oh well. He's finished enough for my wargames!

Then my son arrived for the day and when he went to sleep I got distracted by some Eldar:
These will be up for sale when they're finished. Metal figures from before Finecast!

Painting Points: 3
2013 Total: 146 (99x 28mm, 2x 54mm, 3x tanks, 2x spaceships)

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Spaceships And A Space Marine

I dug out my copy of Battlefleet Gothic today, and discovered two things:

1) I have a sizeable Chaos fleet and a reasonable Imperial Navy Fleet,
2) I need more flying stands.

I also touched up the Plasma Cannon gunner from Squad IV of my Righteous Fists, and designed what is likely to be a fiendishly difficult 40K scenario for me, JY and JS to play through on Thursday night.

It's very late and I should be in bed, so here are some pictures:

Battlefleet Paridon - Strike Group Invictus elements: 'Red' Squadron (Cobra-class destroyers), INV Radamantine (Dominator-class cruiser); 'Ghostmaker' Squadron (Firestorm-class frigates).

Righteous Fists Tactical Squad heavy weapons Marine carrying plasma cannon.

No painting points this time as all I've done is some touching up. I hope to build some scenery tomorrow night and maybe get another Marine done.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Space Marines In Space

So tonight I finished the Lascannon-toting Space Marine from the Devastator Squad, completing the squad and bringing me one figure closer to conquering the unpainted mountain:

He's the chap with the big gun second from right. I'm pleased to report that despite having last seriously painted Righteous Fists almost a decade ago, I can still turn them out quite nicely. So now the squad looks like this:

I like this unit because it has four figures that are almost as old as I am in it. And they look like they mean business!

Painting Points: 1
2013 Total: 143 (98x 28mm, 2x 54mm, 3x tanks)

Friday, 24 May 2013

Righteous Fists, Righteous Fury

So I've not posted for a few days. I have actually been productive - a couple of cheap eBay purchases turned up, and I've painted up a few more Marines as well as rescuing some old ones from my bits boxes.

Chaplain Maeon with jump pack. This figure has been in my collection for years; I remember painting him in the late 1990s or early 2000s. I found him with his arm missing and backpack broken off. At first I glued both back on, but then I realised that actually he would work best in game with a jump pack so he could keep up with my Assault Marines. So Maeon re-equipped, got rebased, and is now ready to smite the Emperor's foes once again!

Sergeant Plato and Brother Volin. Volin's left pauldron is awaiting either a waterslide transfer or a painted on fist (I tried to paint one on but it went so wrong that I covered it over in shame). These are some of the first Marines I've painted for about a decade. It's strange how time flies; I first started properly painting and collecting Games Workshop stuff in 1996, but had been interested since 1995 when Al Front bought me a box of Dwarves (and my mum later got me some Black Orcs when I was ill with the flu). My first White Dwarf - 195 - was the release issue for Necromunda. I've been playing with GW toys ever since and that means it's nearly 20 years. I routinely see players and painters who are better at both than I am and who are much, much younger. I am looking forwards to seeing my own son, hopefully, pick up a paintbrush in the next year or two.

Captain Priam's command squad. Again, mostly figures I've had for over a decade. I bought Priam - actually the Crimson Fists Chapter Master figure - when he was released and the Rogue Trader communications Marine (Brother Orinoco!) was an eBay purchase last week. His base tab was stamped GW 1987! The addition of a new backpack and servo-skull make him look the part. Again, these are mostly rescues - figures who had been primed but were now missing parts, figures who have been started but never finished. This way they get a new lease of life and may well see action!

eBay purchases! Orinoco, a classic Sisters of Battle RH1N0 (needs new guns) which will be my Canoness's ride, and a classic metal Catachan sergeant for my jungle/swamp fighter Guard army. The RH1N0 made me so happy when it arrived I can't really explain it. It was just so nice seeing one like it again!

Tactical Squad IV 'Rhesus' led by Sergeant Rhesus and equipped with plasma weaponry for AP2 anti-heavy infantry work. Again note the mix of bare plastic, undercoated, and basecoated Marines. Rescues ahoy!

Painting Points: 2
2013 Total: 142 (97x 28mm, 2x 54mm, 3x tanks)

Monday, 20 May 2013

"I Use Diplomacy!"

So we finished the mini-campaign tonight. Sia-Lan Wezz and Rann I-Kanu's last mission saw them tasked by Naboo Defence Force Brigadier-Gen Dannt and Queen's Advisor Sabe to accompany Special Operative Lilla Tane to a camp outside Theed to infiltrate and reconnoitre 'the Movement', a shadowy organisation led by a mysterious man known only as the Master.

After a shaky briefing ("Kryptonite? What?") the pair of teenage Jedi drove in their speeder to the swamp that housed the threatening organisation... and crashed. A falling tree hit their speeder and smashed it up, scattering their gear and soaking them. They were then attacked by a swamp beast, and Rann I-Kanu dealt with it pretty quickly - his lightning reflexes really helped - despite at first attempting to, well, use Diplomacy.

They camped out and were roused in the early hours by Tane, who had heard some noises - this turned out to be three Gungans who, despite only being able to communicate by mime, took the group to the Movement's camp. There was a minor hiccup where they all fell in some quicksand, but otherwise, uninjured apart from their pride, they all reached the sinister, dark encampment safely.

A Sith Lord attacked! But it was an illusion, broken by Rann moving faster than the attacking Sith and hitting it for 13 damage... breaking the illusion. Which hadn't affected Tane at all, or the guards on the gate. Nor did it put the Padawans off, and they entered the camp (Rann using Diplomacy! to keep his lightsabre).

After talking for a while to various NPCs about the Movement, they were invited by the man who'd met them at the gate, one Comrade Kibbs, who took them to see The Master.

This is where it all unravelled. Their carefully thought out deception "Yeh we're err Jedi who err left! yes we left. We killed our Masters and came here to look for... umm... power!" was useless, because the Master was none other than Lo-Jad, Sia-Lan's missing teacher!

It turned out that Lo-Jad and Rann's Master had stumbled across a Sith artifact, the Dark Throne, in the ruins at the heart of the swamp. The Dark Side was strong here, and Lo-Jad had succumbed, killing Ali-Vor and gathering an army of mercenaries, pirates, and weak-willed reprobates around him to who knows what end.

He attacked, knowing he had to kill the Padawans in order to maintain the element of surprise. Tane's life was snuffed out instantly, Lo-Jad snapping her neck from afar with the Force. Then Lo-Jad leapt across the room, aiming a kick at Rann's head - to which the response was, predictably, "I use Diplomacy!"

It didn't work.

Lots of acrobatic fighting occured, and eventually, after much blaster fire and lightsabering, Rann got the killing blow in, and Lo-Jad died. With his death the Movement fell apart, as it had been held together by the Dark Throne's power channelled through Lo-Jad.

Obi-Wan Kenobi himself arrived the next day with a unit of Naboo Defence Force troops and Brig.Gen. Dannt to tell the Padawans that they had to return to Coruscant and the Jedi Temple to be fully debriefed... and debriefed they were! So impressed by their actions and their foiling of Lo-Jad's evil, the High Council saw fit to knight the two on the spot.

The next campaign will see us revisit Rann I-Kanu some ten years later, as the Clone Wars begin. Stay tuned!

In modelling and painting news, I've been busy the last few days:

The last five figures from the first third of my Traitor Guard army, 'B' Company, XV Karaboudjani Kataphraktoi. L-R: 3rd Platoon 2nd Squad Sergeant, Company HQ Bodyguard, and three members of the Weapons Platoon's assault squad (three flame-throwers!). These chaps kind of mark the completion of an army, sort of, were it not for the fact that I still have to paint three Sentinels, a Demolisher, and a Hellhound just for B Company. Then I have started collecting figures for A Company and intend to do C Company as well as Battalion Command and various other attached assets. Ho hum. But it's a start!
Another squad of Deathwing, this time made from the amazing Deathwing Command boxed set. So may bits! The only gripe is that there is only one possible pose for the Sergeant's power sword, and more than one Terminator doing that in an army will look ridiculous. So I may be forced - forced, I tell you - to pick up a box or two of standard Terminators just for the power sword arms.

Dark Angels Librarian from the Dark Vengeance boxed set. A beautiful model that's a lot simpler to paint up than he at first appears. He is for sale in my eBay shop for just £20, with free postage!

 I have also been busily rebasing and touching up my Righteous Fists Space Marines in line with the Amalthean Crusade project. They have gone from a temperate warzone to the desert! I think the brown bases really compliments the colour scheme and makes the figures pop like they didn't before. I am keen to knock them on the head - I have a few figures to paint and then I can declare them 'half done' as a force (they need another two Tactical Squads and some armoured support really).
Scouts - old metal ones, including (centre) the old Veteran Sergeant Naaman special character figure released in 1997? Game wise a bit jack-of-all-trades and master of none, but I like the background aspect of two sniper teams led by an angry drill sergeant type.
Tactical Squad II Polix. A deadly force! Meltas up the wazoo and a Veteran Sergeant just to top it off. I really like these figures even though there are still mold lines and sloppy painting from when they were originally done all over the place. Oh, and Polix needs a back banner.
 Last time these fellas saw action was against my old friend SRB's Space Marines way back in 2004? Might even have been 2003. I remember them jump packing up the center of the board and laying into something power-armoured. Now they're gunning for Tau...
Newly painted stuff! Well, work in progress anyway. The Sergeant got assembled yesterday from various bits and the armless Heavy Bolter gunner was worked up from pale grey to what you see there today. The two Rogue Trader marines I bought at a Bring and Buy in Colours 2001 I think.

So there we have it - a pretty long and picture-heavy update! Hopefully more like that soon. In the meantime, why not head over to my eBay shop and see if anything catches your eye, or go over to Dragon's Hoard and e-mail me if you fancy getting your hands on new release Eldar at 12% off RRP? Tell me you swung by my blog by heading your e-mail 'The Weeks Work' and I'll give you a 15% discount!

Painting Points: 6
2013 Total: 140 (95x 28mm, 2x 54mm, 3x tanks)

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Blast From The Past

Tonight JY and JS came over to try out my copy of the now out of print Wizards of the Coast Star Wars RPG. We played through most of the missions in the introductory boxed set, with JY and JS taking the roles of, respectively, Sia-Lin Wezz and R.I.K, two Jedi Padawans seperated from their masters in Theed, capital of Naboo, during the Trade Federation Invasion.

Much fun was had - it was the first time I'd GM'd for some time, and using the counters and scripted missions was great, enabling me to grind back into gear and proving a blast for both Wezz and R.I.K:

Mission 2 - Wezz and Rik engage a light force of Battle Droids and Niemoidians to rescue a group of Naboo soldiers, airmen and civilians. The laid-out counters closest to the camera caused much consternation of this nature:

It wasn't. The Trade Federation really were that useless.

However, in the end, the two brave Padawans wound up in a POW camp after bravely sacrificing themselves to allow a decoy Queen, a handmaiden, and two Palace Guard to leg it into the palace and, together with the real Queen, Obi-Wan, Anakin et al, defeat the Trade Federation.

How did they get caught? Well, Wezz tried to Force Push too hard and knocked herself out (on a d20, rolled a 2, used a Force Point, rolled a 1, used her last Force Point... and rolled a 1) while Rik took on a battle tank and lost.

But they got so far and did so well that they levelled up to Level 3 and will be getting a secret mission on Monday, concluding the mini-campaign and potentially seeing their characters - well, best not give too much away.

A welcome blast from the past; I'd bought all my Star Wars RPG stuff in 2006, in my first year at university!

In between missions, while they sorted out new skills and suchlike, I started to rebase and repaint my Righteous Fists. No longer fighting in the temperate zones, they have been posted to the deserts! Pictures up tomorrow probably once I've finished the Scouts. I also built a squad of Deathwing today, and reassembled some of my broken Righteous Fists so that now I have a functioning army: 2 HQ choices, 2 Elites, 2 Troops, 2 Fast Attack and 2 Heavy Support. I could do with some more vehicles probably, and maybe some more Tac Marines, but for now they'll do (once I get them rebased, and in some cases painted that is!).

Wednesday, 15 May 2013


So,  today, I have been organising things.

I am trying to work out what my 40K collection looks like, and what armies I have that are close to completion, and what needs what.

Which has led to the creation of this thread on Warseer, and pictures like this:

Stormtroopers - metal and plastic - from the mid 1990s. I painted the ones at the back when I was about 10 or 11, and the ones in the front left in 2009, when I was 22. The two front right were painted when I was 9, way back in 1996!

Monday, 13 May 2013

More Dark Angels, And A Battle!

Today was pretty good, wargame-wise. I finished (well, apart from the bases - still undecided about those) the Deathwing squad, and painted up a Dark Angels Tactical Marine from the 4th Company (him and his squad will be for sale once they're all done). Then, JY came over with his Tau and some Terminators and we had a 1000 point game. We'd been giving each other talk about smashing each other's armies, but as it turned out... well, read on:

Mission 2 (6th Edition 40K Rulebook):


Commander with twin-linked plasma rifles, drone controller
Bodyguard with twin-linked missile pods
Bodyguard with twin-linked fusion blasters
Missile drone, 4 marker-light drones, shield drone

Fireblade with marker-light and pulse rifle

Elite 1:
Stealth Team with fusion blaster, marker-light, target-lock
Missile drone, shield drone

Elite 2:
Stealth Team with marker-light, target-lock
Two marker-light drones

Troops 1:
12 Firewarriors with pulse rifles, marker-light

Troops 2:
12 Firewarriors with pulse rifles, marker-light

Fast Attack 1:
Piranha with fusion blaster

Fast Attack 2:
Piranha with fusion blaster

That came to 1,052 points. I had:

Deathwing Strike Force:

Grand Master Belial (unpainted) with storm bolter and sword of silence

Venerable Dreadnought (Sentinel) with two twin-linked autocannon and extra armour

Deathwing Knights (Assault Terminators) with Perfidious Relic

Troops 1:
Deathwing Squad with assault cannon and chainfist

Troops 2:
Deathwing Squad with cyclone missile launcher (based Terminator) and chainfist

Totalling 1,053 points!

I lost the roll to choose table edge, and lost the roll to deploy and the roll to go first. Bah.

The battlefield, seen from my deployment zone. I elected to 'Deathwing Assault' with my two Deathwing Terminator units, as Belial had a Teleport Homer... but he needed to be on the board prior to my squads' arrival in turn 2.

Deployment: the perfidious xeno scum have clustered together to minimise my Deep Strike advantage.

Tau Turn 1 - marker-light hit! The Dreadnought is immobilised! But it should have been destroyed, so that was a relief.
 End Tau Turn 1: No casualties apart from an immobilised Dreadnought. Hmm.

Deathwing Turn 1 - the quad autocannons opened up to no effect (thanks to the Piranha's Jink save), and the Knights moved up in lockstep, trusting to their 2+/3+ save and the God-Emperor to protect them from harm.

Tau Turn 2 - the Dreadnought is targeted for destruction. Four marker-light hits mean that Piranha is hitting on 2s and ignoring the cover save granted by the ruin. Result? Weapon destroyed.

Tau Turn 2 - a bucketload of dice later, and two Deathwing Knights are dead - and Belial is down to one wound!? Arrrgh!
Deathwing Turn 2 - Reinforcements arrive! I'm feeling a bit more confident now.
Deathwing Turn 2 - "Open fire!" The new arrivals blaze away at the command squad, killing both bodyguards and a shield drone.

Tau Turn 3 - Return fire kills four of the First Squad, and the Piranha again fails to kill the Dreadnought.

 Deathwing Turn 3 - The Dreadnought explodes the Piranha. KABOOM.
Deathwing Turn 3 - Elsewhere, the Knights and remaining Terminators move up and shooting from the Cyclone squad kills seven Tau from the roof. The chainfist-wearing survivor of First Squad gets overwatched to death by the nearby Stealth Team as he tries to charge the Piranha. Oops.

Tau Turn 4 - Still not dead! Down to one hull point, needing only a 4 to destroy the Dreadnought, the Piranha rolls ... a 3. On 2d6.
Tau Turn 4 - On the other hand, the Deathwing Knights are very dead. Very, very dead. Marker-lights are nasty!

 Deathwing Turn 4 - the Dreadnought knocks a hull point off the remaining Piranha, and the Cyclone Squad - now joined by Belial - legs it to the gate of the house. An attempt to move into the garden and thus into assault range of the Firewarriors fails when I roll a 1 for their run distance. Bah!

Tau Turn 5 - Potentially the last turn of the game, and we are tied at 2VP each. The Piranha moves away, its Fusion Blaster gone, and targets the Terminators (along with everything else). The result is inevitable. They absorb the shooting of the whole remaining Tau force and only Belial and the Cyclone Terminator survive.

Deathwing Turn 5 - HA! The Dreadnought wrecks the Piranha, putting me on 3VP to 2, and (after completley ineffectual shooting from the Terminators, made worse by forgetting to fire the Cyclone), Belial and his remaining marine charge the Stealth Team...

...only for overwatch to kill the Cyclone Terminator and the Shield Drone to save two of the Stealth Team from certain death. Belial survives the nine return attacks, and with that, the game ends - a draw. 3 VP each!

So honour was satisfied and a rematch in order. 1,100 points of Deathwing versus 1,100 points of Tau. Who shall prevail? Frankly if I'd had my head on properly I wouldn't've made so many silly mistakes. The 2+/5+ saves really helped me a lot, but footslogging towards Tau is always a Bad Idea. Next time I should just risk the scatter and drop on top of the little blue swines regardless...

Anyway, I also painted these fellows up - bases, as is the fashion at the moment, remain to be done:

Currently I am thinking of basing the Deathwing as if they are on a truly alien world - maybe a cobalt desert or a Martian-style surface? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!

One of the Tactical Marines from the Dark Vengeance set. A lovely model that painted up easily and well. One down, nine to go... they will be based in my standard earth/grass style for sale.

Painting Points: 2
2013 Total: 134 (89x 28mm, 2x 54mm, 3x tanks)