Into the Hulk: An attempt at Zone Mortalis in 8th Edition

img_5883
2x Space Hulk sets, some Kill-Team scatter terrain, and 2 50 Power Level Armies. What could go wrong?

At the Clubhouse, Myself and a few others have been running a narrative campaign, based around a star system of our own devising, the Alatheian Abyss. Round one of the campaign was a success for everyone, and going into round 2 we decided to shake things up a bit, at least on this one mission.

The idea was fairly simple; Adapt what we liked best from the Zone Mortalis 7th edition rules, and use the Space Hulk tiles to make a massive 6×4 ship interior. The objective was a Blood Angels relic deep within the ship, with 2 consoles activating a random elevator to one of two secondary floors, one which controlled all the doors and one that contained the objective. We ruled that you couldn’t deep strike into the alternate floors, and that any units that didn’t fit in your deployment zone could be deployed via boarding torpedoes. A third party faction, using Chaos Space Marine rules but representing feral crewman and astartes that have been on the ship for 300+ years, was played via a GM, in our case, Paul, the guy who owns and operates the clubhouse.

img_5884
The map at the end of deployment; The much smaller Blood Angels army consisted of smaller, elite units, while mine contained 2 ten man squads of Chosen. This decision to take bigger squads bit me in the butt quite hard later!
img_5889
Intercessors breaching and clearing a room!
img_5890
The Aggressors tore a bloody swathe through my army; I had no answer for such firepower in a closed in space.
img_5893
The end of one of my Chosen Squads…caught between a rock and a hard place.
img_5888
Eliminators arrive via Boarding Torpedo, and make for the console located in the adjacent room!
img_5886
My large units made maneuvering quite difficult, and slow. The blood angels were able to cover much more ground more quickly, while the bulk of my force navigated the deployment zone…
img_5892
The cultists kept up a steady retreat, leaving my slow Terminators in the dust. As a Khornate Warband, this probably drove them absolutely mad!
img_5898
A lucky pull saw the Blood Angels correctly activate both the elevator and correct console, and they completed the Objective. An almost complete blow-out, but a well played game on her side, and I can’t begrudge that

Our campaign at the time had 4 players, so while we were playing this game, a force of Imperial Fists and PDF forces were guarding a shrine from the vile forces of Slannesh. A closely fought game, with a resulting draw. The Fists and PDF made off with the Shrines relic, a forgotten Baneblade, while Slannesh successfully drove them off and defiled what was left of the shrine. As I was busy playing my game, these pictures were kindly donated by a few individuals watching the game!

A blast all round, and we have roped in another player to join with his beautifully painted Genestealer Cults army! There will be more missions being made and played over the next few weeks, and I intend to showcase the really crazy missions being planned, one being a Lab raid and an underground battle between my Skulltakers and the Genestealer Cult!

But until then, Ave Imperator, and happy wargaming, where-ever you may be!

 

Chaos in the Abyss: A Narrative Project

Hey guys, before I begin I would just like to say the attention I have been getting recently has been great! I was shocked to log in after my last post to see far more viewers then I usually garner. It was a real boost to my motivation! There while be more Praetorian Guard and Vostroyan content in the future, so those who love that stuff are in for a treat over the next few months, as I have quite a surprise for you folks, a passion project that is taking a while to set-up but will be worth it in the end. (A big hint; If you liked Zulu, your in for a treat!)

img_5713

Now Easter weekend was quite a busy week for me, between my sister’s birthday and the fact me and three others in the Clubhouse have started a narrative campaign. It is really fun to leave Matched Play for a while, and embrace Narrative for a bit. We are using the Chapter Approved 2018 custom character rules, and building the lore of the Alatheian Abyss, a system I used the Rogue Trader system generator to do the base work; but we are going to build a narrative in the current 40k timeline to give our armies a boost in background fluff. This sort of collaborative world-building is something I really enjoyed as a game-master for Dark Heresy, and its great to to put that experience to use with three other like-minded individuals.

Now, I’m a Guard player. I like massed infantry and artillery to win via attrition and sheer firepower. But for this campaign, had I chosen the play the Imperial Guard, we would have had three Imperial players to one Chaos, and that wouldn’t have been as interesting. Therefore, my Chaos Marine army, a side project, has been pushed into the spotlight. My chosen Warband, the Skulltakers, has very little actual lore written about them, and I have taken a lot of liberties to make them my own. This warband was chosen specifically because their leader, Zhufor the Impaler is such a cool model, if busy with detail, that I just had to build an army based around him.

img_5762
Zhufor! I didn’t get a good picture while building him. Those familiar with the model will note he lacks the trophy racks and cape, the cape looked too plain in my opinion and I’m looking for a replacement. The trophy racks didn’t fit well, and made the busy model already even busier, so I chose to leave them off. Finally, I mounted him to a GW Hero Base, to make him more imposing and give him a boost in stature compared to the newer Chaos space marine models.

Of course, for our custom characters, we decided it couldn’t be a named hero, and the Chapter Approved rules forbid it anyway, so I decided to use one of my Chaos Lord on Juggernaut as a “lieutenant” to Zhufor. Karnath the Gore-Chosen was born. My idea behind him is that of a excellent warrior, an overly proud glory-hound, who chafes as an underling and looks to challenge Zhufor for leadership in the near future. I have given him most melee based traits, making him quite powerful on the charge.

3f5a9188-e7b9-4047-a51b-136c15c07b22-10118-00000766e16849f4_file
Karnath the Gore-Chosen; A proud warrior and a powerful champion of Khorne.

He still needs the proper round base, but I’m quite happy with the conversion. The use of a power-armor torso and power-pack bring him into the dark future enough for my liking, and he has an air of menace that will be a blast to paint.

The rest of the force consists of the Marines I have shown before, but as a bonus when selling my knights, my friend tossed in a Chaos Rhino from the Conquest magazine. Now, I like Rhinos. I like Chaos. I do not like Chaos Rhinos. To me, they always had too much spiky bits and superfluous detail that didn’t add anything. So when I got mine, I tried to go for a more subtle approach.

img_5805
A simple Combi-Plasma conversion, and a bit of Chaos iconography. Of course, playing the Skulltakers means I needed at least a few skulls, so the chains at the front were added. A couple of smaller trophy racks were added, but not the dreaded “picket fence” spikes that are usually put on.
img_5807
A chain and skulls plus a Khorne insignia, just enough to add interest.

It should still be recognizably a Chaos Rhino, but more of a worn-out war-machine then a mobile spike factory.

I did get a few photos of our first narrative battle, a minor 50 power level skirmish between my Skulltakers and a mix of Guard (representing Planetary Defense Forces) and Imperial Fists, taking place in an abandoned supply depot as my Marines try to loot powerful weapons!

Now this is the part where I’d have painted models to show you…but, to my embarrassment, I have run out of primer! As I live in quite a rural area, and the fact my local hobby store doesn’t carry the primer I use for both my Praetorians and Chaos, means a trip into the GTA (Greater Toronto Area, for you non-Canadians), and that could be a while. So, at least for the immediate future, it’ll be most Vostroyans getting painted while I try to get a hold of some Army Painter Pure Red. It should be only momentary, and you’ll get your dose of Pith Helmets and Evil Marines soon enough!

That is all I had for today, but I have plenty of stuff to showcase over the next few months, so stick around and I hope you’ll find the future content interesting! As always, Ave Imperator (Or, in present company, Let the Galaxy Burn!) and happy war-gaming, wherever you are!

Chaos Revamped: A Review of Sorts of the New Chaos Space Marine Kit!

I’ve always had a bit of an interest in Chaos Space Marines; The idea of the ideal post-human warrior going rogue is an interesting one, and I dabbled in both Death Guard and regular Chaos Space Marines before. But, the Death Guard, while fun to play, were not my cup of tea. They were slow, hard to kill but at the end of the day Nurgle’s chosen legion just didn’t grab me. My normal Chaos marines were to be Red Corsairs, and were a mix of Space Wolves, Iron Hands upgrade kits, and the old Chaos marine box. But even that potent mix did not evoke the post-human dread that a marine of the Dark Gods should.

When Shadowspear was announced, and the news that Chaos Space Marines were getting a revamp, I was very excited. I sold my kit-bashed marines to a player just starting out and on a tight budget for cheap. I bought 2 boxes worth of the Chaos side of the Shadowspear box-set. But, while the new marines looked the part, finally, of a super-human warrior sworn to darker powers, they were mono-pose. While useful to bulk out and kit-bash, I needed the multi-parts to really make a serious effort.

img_5603
Goodies! I picked these up before the tournament yesterday.

With the release of the multi-part kits, I was both excited and deeply annoyed. Excited because the kit looked really good…but annoyed that they were 70 dollars Canadian! So does the kit warrant the price?

I started to build a squad today, with their focus being on ranged objective holders; bolters and plasma made the most sense. Luckily, despite concerns that these models would be difficult to customize, I can happily report that while the torso and legs are usually one assembly, the arms are a good old flat surface that will accept almost any arms in the kit, and even ones from outside of it, provided the scale is similar. I followed the instructions very loosely, mostly just to make sure the torso and legs matched. The arms were placed on whatever body I thought would look cool.

Below are my favorite builds from the kit!

img_5619
A minor kit-bash on this Aspiring Champion; His pistol has been replaced with a combi-bolter from the Cataphracti Terminator kit. I replaced the hand so it would be the right scale, carefully cutting away the plasma pistol so that it could be reused, and then placing the bolter on the hand. The use of 30k kits is on purpose; I imagine these weapon patterns are common in the warp. He isn’t armed with a chainsword; He keeps a bolt-pistol in a holster. The knife was supposed to be used in tandem with the included missile launcher, but looks far better used here.
img_5610
This was a fun model; I love the fact that Chaos bolters appear to be able to accept a belt feed. It makes absolutely no sense, but as seen here it looks really cool! I positioned his head to look as if he is advancing, weapon ready.
img_5612
OK, this is the real reason I bought the kit. This guy looks far too badass to not use. A surprisingly easy model to build, I thought the belt would be much harder to put together, but the kit is really well designed to make assembly a breeze.

With the highlights out of the way, here’s the rest of the squad. As usual, you can click the picture for a write up of it.

So yeah, I do think the kit is overpriced, but that being said it IS a good kit. It is too much to hope for a reduction in price, but in this case I’d recommend buying it from a discounted store. My local store, the Giddy Goblin, does a discount. I paid a much more reasonable price for the 2 squads I bought.

Oh, and remember when I got Shadowspear how I said I would convert some models so the duplicates would be less obvious? Well, I completed the Aspiring Champion conversion.

img_5622
On the left is a Shadowspear Champion, with a subtle head-swap. On the right is the same base model, but with his melee weapon swapped to a power axe and in his other hand, while the plasma pistol, from the Raptors/Warp Talon kit is in his right. While it is still fairly obvious they share the same base, the dynamic is changed quite dramatically.

There will be more conversions in the near future; I have 8 chainswords left from assembling my ranged squad, and my other box is also going to be a ranged squad, for a total of 16 spare arms. I’m going to try and cut up the Shadowspear marines to be all melee.

I also have some ideas on what these Chaos marines will be a part of. But your going to have to wait a bit longer to find out what! But I’ll leave you with a clue; No psykers, dedicated to Khorne…but not World Eaters! At least, mostly. You’ll see.

As my usual sign off would get me beheaded by current company…lets see here…. Let the Galaxy Burn! And happy war-gaming!

What I think: Chaos Space Marines and Shadowspear!

galaxyburn

“Let the Galaxy Burn.”-Horus

Almost every new player to Warhammer 40k starts with an Imperial army, usually that of the Adeptus Astartes. Some eventually move on to Xenos armies like the Eldar, Orks, and Tau. But you will be hard pressed to find a player who doesn’t at least have one or two Space Marines hidden away somewhere. But some players eventually choose to play the Arch-enemy, the mortal and otherwise legions of Chaos.

bytheemeperor

But there is something about Chaos that makes that choice more interesting; We primarily view the galaxy from an Imperial viewpoint, and from that viewpoint forces an outlook that Chaos is the ultimate bad guy, with heresy and unbelief considered capital offenses. For a new player, this gives them a sense that despite the fact Space Marines and the rest of the Imperiums armies are serving, at best, a theocratic hellhole worse then any government in human history, that they are the good guy.

Chaos then, is for when a player decides to go bad. To rebel, to jump feet first into being a villain. Tired of the Imperiums dogma and rhetoric, they either choose Daemons or Chaos Space Marines. Of Daemons, I know quite little. Of the mortal servants of Chaos, I know a bit more. At a surface level, the forces of the Heretic Astartes resemble an evil mirror of their Imperial cousins, with smooth battle-plate replaced by a healthy helping of spikes, tusks, skulls, etc. But once one digs deeper into the lore of these depraved warriors of the Chaos gods, one finds that they have far more depth then what appears on the surface. The artwork depicts baroque, powerful figures of immense power, a force that could very realistically threaten the Imperium of Man.

post-238447-1496465687
These guys look terrifying, an amazing piece of older 3rd or 4th edition artwork!

But for the longest time, this wasn’t well represented on the table top. As Space Marines got release after release, modernizing them and bringing them up to par with today’s standard of miniature quality, the poor humble chaos marine didn’t change much. They were a product of 3rd Edition, and compared to models of the same age, didn’t look too bad.

Hobbies-and-Beyond-Games-Workshop-Warhammer-40K-Chaos-Space-Marines-Squad-43-06
Not a bad looking kit….until you compare with below.

But as releases came and went, the humble Chaos Marine stayed the same; they started to look long in the tooth, a holdover from an earlier time.

There was a glimmer of hope at the beginning of 6th edition, with the release of Dark Vengeance. While size had not yet been addressed as yet, the included Chosen in the starter box were less squat, more upright and most importantly, finally looked like what a Traitor space marine might look like after centuries of fighting the Long War.

Warhammer-40k-Dark-Vengeance-Chaos-Space-Marine-Chosen
A vast improvement! These looked baroque, full of malice, and ready to burn the galaxy.

Chaos players got excited. We lost Dreadnoughts, replaced with Helbrutes, similar but with more fleshy appendages and warped battle-plate. We got new Raptors, new units such as Heldrakes and Forgefiends. We all awaited the release of the new Chaos Space Marine kit.

It never came. 6th left abruptly, and with the arrival of 7th, a new version of Dark Vengeance, with the same models as before, with a new Aspiring Champion model that looked great. It also eventually saw the release of updated Rubric Marines, taller and more imposing then their by now very dated cousins.  But 7th, thank goodness, was left behind with the arrival of 8th.

0dd9c46066bc47ef41c8682cd0a0f4c9
Tall, upright, and downright awesome looking! Just like how I imagined them.

8th brought us Dark Imperium, which introduced the Primaris Marine, but also brought in new plastic Plague Marines, which dwarfed the Chaos space marine kits of old. This was great for Death Guard and Thousand Sons fans, as while many had to redo their armies to fit the new releases, at least they looked as menacing as the lore suggested. But for anyone still fighting the Long War with the vanilla Chaos Space Marine codex, our squat marines were still here.

Plague_Marine_Champion
Just like the Rubricae, these look exactly how I imagined Plague Marines to be, big, bloated, and full of angry sores and lesions. But where are the regular marines?

Personally, my Chaos army then sat on the back burner, as compared to the modern miniatures, mine just didn’t do it for me anymore. The 8th edition codex brought new units but no new models, and I thought for sure that again we were being left behind.

Suddenly, Vigilus Defiant teased something big. 80 days until the Warmaster would arrive? Surely, we are hoping for too much, there was no chance that beyond the release of Haarken World Claimer that we would get much.

Vigulus-Dec4-HaarkenStockImage-4lb.jpg
Looking good! A great HQ to lead Raptors and Warp Talons, but those looked pretty good already…wheres the normal marines!

I, and many others, were thrilled to be proven wrong. A new Abaddon replaced his old model from the 90’s, something that while rumored for forever, was still able to surprise us. But for me, never a fan of the Black Legion, the release of new regular Chaos Marines got me very excited!

40kAbaddon-Mar5-Abaddon7tyerhvfsh.jpg
Holy Crap, I never thought I’d see the day…And as for normal marines?
9ip6lk1e9yj21
YEEEEESSSSSSSS! Glorious new sculpts! Finally!

So, now that the history is out of the way, what do I think of Shadowspear, our new box set of chaotic goodness?

While yes, much of the kit is mono pose, which was a little bit of a disappointment, as was the high asking price of $210 Canadian, to say the box was popular in my area was an understatement of some magnitude. Our small gaming club ordered 15 of the boxes, all but one selling the same day. The Primaris half I sold to a friend, and then used the funds to buy a second Chaos half. I won’t do an unboxing, as the rest of the internet has done that. What I will show is a scale comparison.

img_5496
From left to right; Shadowspear Marine, Dark Vengeance Chosen, MKIII Marine, Mark IV Marine with Khorne Bezerker parts, and finally our tiny Chaos Marine.

And while the kit is monopose, the heads are easily interchangeable with a head swap for some variety. I did one set of marines as the instructions showed, then fooled around with head swaps on the others. While small, it actually goes quite far in changing a models “feel”.

img_5499
The one on the right looks like he is shouting to the heavens, while his brother gazes downward, signalling with his chainaxe. The one on the right will probably get a weapon swap to make it less obvious that these are the same models.
img_5498
The one on the right looks like he surveying the battlefield, and the one on the left looks like he is blaring a challenge to an enemy champion. One model will get a weapon swap to further the differences.

These are small changes, and are by no means a completed project. A more involved conversion concerns the lack of Icon Bearers. As I wanted each squad to have an Icon of Wrath, I pulled out the hobby knife and tools.

img_5516.jpg
This Icon Bearer has a standard I took from a Bloodletters sprue. The banner isn’t overly ornate, and will probably be painted to resemble tanned hide. He looks ready to fight at a moments notice, with his bolter at his side.
img_5501
This conversion I didn’t like. I used a rather large banner from the Skull Crusher kit, and it looks A. Too heavy. B Too ornate. And C. Just wrong. While led to part 2.
img_5513
While not perfect, this is a big improvement I think. The Icon is clearly of Khorne, it looks less unwieldy, and while not planted firmly on the ground I can see it being held like that. I kept the idea of a shield on his arm, both to cover the damage I did to the model removing the big standard, and to tie into some fluff I’m thinking of for these guys.
img_5514
A better view of the shield.

In all, it may have been a very long wait, but these new marines are a joy to look at, substantially more detailed, and finally a size that looks menacing! I’m very pleased with Shadowspear. The other models have not been converted up yet, but I am aiming at no duplicate models looking the same, so watch out for that post in the future.

And I was ready to wait a month or two until the multi-part versions of the kit would be released…

CSMPreview-Mar17-CSMSquad2rhw
By the Gods! I NEED this. That model with the belt fed bolter feeding it like some sort of 80’s action hero is by far my favourite. And these will have options!

Guess I didn’t need to wait that long, huh?

But that is all I got for today, could be a while before I post again, but keep a look out for my painting logs for the tournament and a tournament after action report! As my usual sign-off would get me drawn and quartered by present company…May you slay many lapdogs of the Corpse Emperor, and happy hobbying!