Sunday, 12 February 2017

40k analysis: Scarab Occult

The top warriors of the Thousand Sons, the Scarab occult are the elite terminator guard of Magnus the red. But how do they stack up in the tabletop?

Let's start by comparing them to vanilla Chaos terminators. Starting at a hefty 250 points for 5, they are 100 points more expensive (compared to a squad of 5 vanillas) and because they have a minimum unit size of 5, they are a bit less flexible, so tactics such as termicide are less viable.

For your extra 100 points, you get an improved invulnerable save, fearless and ap3 bolters as standard, and and a mastery 2 psyker as a unit champion. When you factor that in, it starts to sound like good value. Let's look at it this way instead:

  • 4 plain terminators will cost 120 points
  • A sorcerer in terminator armour,  with an appropriate mark, and mastery 2, is 125 points

So that's 245 points already, factor in the mark of tzeentch for the other 4 guys, ap3 bolters, fearless and free votlw, you're looking at a hidden bargain. It also saves you a hq slot, meaning you can enjoy another option, such as Ahriman or an exhalted sorcerer.

If you take a thousand sons detachment, you get the added blessing bonuses, making this unit as durable, if not more so, than thunder hammer/storm shield terminators , with the added bonus of a round of shooting.

The options are far more limited, with no access to the combi weapons and other combat options (barring an extra sword for the sorcerer). You do get access to some very powerful special weapons instead:
  • Hellfyre rockets, a two shot krak missile launcher
  • Heavy warpflamers, ap3 heavy flamers with warpflame
  • Soulreaper cannons, an ap3 assault cannon with 1 less strength

The few options you get can greatly improve the units offensive abilities, the flamer and cannon can mince infantry up to and including space marines, whilst the hellfyre rockets give you a solid anti tank/monster option. As well as this, the sorcerer can choose from a wide range of disciplines,  giving you tscticwl flexability (heretech is ideal for an anti tank unit, and pyromancy for hordes, whilst divination could make the unit very deadly assassins that'll rarely miss their mark).

These guys made for a great bodyguard for your chaotic lord. With good saves and ap3 weapons, units will have a touch them getting close. Whilst expensive, if you have the points they are are good alternative to plain-Janew terminators.

The other option is to run are Sekhmet Conclave. Units that are within 6" of two units units benefit from +1 toughness,  making them much more durable. Combined with other abilities and powers, such as flesh metal hide,  can make them incredibly durable, ideal for holing objectives and tanking shot after shot. 

  For a thousand sons player they are a great addition to the army, but can quickly eat into your army'so available points. One unit can greatly add and support your force, whereas a Sekhmet Conclave is a force to be reckoned with. 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Workshop data logs: January 2017

It's a bit later in the month than planned (hours to spare as I post this) but here's this month's update. Today's letter is the letter 't', for tanks and terminators.

With a big 4v4 game next month, I've been spending this month getting my sekhmet ready.  No named characters means I can't use big red, but it just means more points for terminators and tanks.

One of the tanks I'll be taking is a stripped back predator. This tank wallowed in my bits box for months, but the game is a great excuse to paint it up. I'll keep it clean and crisp, with some intricate freehand for the former weapon mounts.

I also had a go painting up this chap, a cheap and cheerful disc sorcerer, made from general odds and ends. Because the disc is quite small it'll probably be used as a lesser sorcerer for formations and small games.

Next up are a few more terminators. My 2k list for this game demands three terminator squads, all fully painted. With the official models painted, the cataphractii and the tartaros conversions are next.

Lastly,  something a bit more historical. This Tiger is something a bit different, the lesser known Porsche variant. Only one was thought to have seen battle, the rest being lately converted to the Ferdinand/Elephant.

It's a conversion I've been meaning to do for years (two houses ago!) and I thought it'does be a nice break from all the blue.

A short but sweet post, I'll keep you updated over the weekend.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Showcase: Magnus the Red

The crimson king approaches! An amazing model which not many people expected to see in 40k, the first daemon primarch makes for a fantastic centrepiece.

With such an impressive, intricate model, I decided to largely follow the warhammer TV guide for painting the model. Despite being mostly red, the other details help tie it in with the blue rubrics.

I did make a few changes to personalise the model. The key different is the wings.

 Rather the the black wings of the box art, I thought white wings would stand out more. Painted in the same way as the cloth, the wings brighten up the model significantly.

Magnus was built using the optional khopesh blade and the death mask, with a few extra basing bits to complement the dreadnought arm at his feet. Truth be told the model didn't really need much adding to it. The sword and wings can be removed, making it far easier to transport.

It's been a difficult but enjoyable experience to paint Magnus, and I'll certainly get as much use from it in games as possible.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Workshop datalog: December 2016

With Christmas tomorrow and with 2016 nearly over, there's still a bit of time to squeeze an update in.

Most of this month has been taken up by terminators, and lots of them. Including new kits and old repair jobs, im up to about 20 terminators. Having tested out the sekhmet conclave,  im liking the idea of an even more elite force than I'm used to. An army entirely of 2+ saves, boosted toughness and tons of ap3 appeals to my gaming style. 

The latest recruits are based on my Calth set. These have never seen a game since i bougjt them so I might as well get some use out of them with the rubrics. 

I've built them with a heavy warpflamer and hellfyre rockets. 

The rockets were made from the grenade harness, plus some combi-bolter drums. Simple but effective.

To help support the terminator's advance,  I've started to resurrect my old demos predator, which has been in a sorry state for far too long. To keep it cheap it'll only have the automation and combined bolter, focusing on light armour and acting as a support vehicle rather than a full-on battle tank. The next job is to plate up the sides, covering the sponson holes.

As well as armour, sorcerers will support the scarab occult. Using bits from the exhalted sorcerer set, half a herald and an old disc, I've built up a functional but dynamic-looking sorcerer.  

One of the legs was missing from the herald, so a robotic replacement was made using a necron leg.

And that's it for today. I hope you all have a great Christmas, and that space Santa brings many great hobby gifts. 

Monday, 12 December 2016

Review: Wrath of Magnus

If you're a lifelong Thousand Sons player like myself, you'll agree that it's been so long since our bodiless automatons received any attention model-wise. With just over a week to digest the goodness, I'm about ready to give my thoughts on War zone Fenris: Wrath of Magnus.

For £45 for the standard edition, it is a hefty investment. For your money you get two full codex-sized books, one full of story-developing fluff, the other a comprehensive supplement to Codex: Chaos Space Marines. Whilst this book does work on its own, you need the old chaos book for tanks and other units, as the new book only covers the shiny new models.

First the fluff. And without wanting to spoil anything, I will say it is fantastic story development, and the Space Wolves sure do get a good kicking. Magnus, the first ever daemon primarch to grace the 40k game (not epic!), is made out as the ultimate schemer, barring his chosen deity. He's also no slouch on the battlefield,  at one point (SPOILER ALERT)

...takes an orbital bombardment without so much as a broken bone. It's very rare you get a demi-god like this, and now he has rules  (yaaay!).

And speaking of rules, if you're you're a fan of low model, high powered units, this is your army. Sadly the Thousand Sons didn't go down in points,  but for the first time the basic squads have options, as well as new army units. Mini guns, flamers, beastmen and the Scarab Occult, we now have new units and rules to go with them.

On first impressions this army will dominate the psychic phase. From generating changes on a 3+ to ‘irresistible force’ powers, there are several formations and artifacts which means you can throw out a ton of sparks and flames. As well as this, all sorcerers have and success to a far superior tzeentch discipline, as well as access to all the major disciplines for higher ranked sorcerers.

If you want to add to your Thousand Sons or start an army of these guys, this book is essential. If you just want the rules, the chaos legions book is out and features the sons plus the other main baddies, but the fluff in this book is too good to miss.

Next time I'll be analysing the units and giving an example of a list I'll be trying next, as well as well as preview of the new units I've added.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Workshop Datalogs: November 2016

And I'm back folks!

In case you weren't aware, I've moved to the other side of town, quiet suburbia live, my own driveway for the ride, the works. But it hasn't left me much time to work on projects, hence a lack of updates. But now I'm pretty much settled, I've been having a modelling marathon. Here's but only a selection of works, with more planned for next week, including some heavy hitters.

Firstly we have some more firepower for the Vraksians. In-keeping with their theme I needed to choose weapons that lack the high-tech feel of plasma or melta. So missile launchers it is! This squad of three will help me tackle heavier armour, and allow me to lay down even more templates. The models are my old cultists, re-based on 60mm, with added Panzerfausts from Warlord Games. I think the low-tech feel to these anti-armour weapons really ties in nicely with the low-tech force.

Most of the models have a Panzerfaust or two strapped to their back, but some are about to fire. These guys required completely scratch-made hands to hold the weapons. To do this I glued the weapon to a handless arm, and used greenstuff to add fingers and a thumb around it.

 For the Thousand Sons, this week has seen a fantastic wave of new pre-orders and rules. One of my favourite things, besides the beautiful Scarab Occult, is that basic squads finally have weapons options, in the form of Warpflamers (which every model can take!) and Soulreaper Cannons.

I just had to have these weapons in my existing squads, but being an impatient sod I decided to make a pair out of bits I had lying around. Both of these guns are based on Heavy Bolters, with the rotating barrel sections from a Taurox's main gun. Greenstuff was used to sculpt fancy detailing.

There's also a new sorcerer joining one of the units. Based on a Grey Knight and Huron Blackheart, it will be leading one of the MKIII units of Rubrics, and given his taste for flames, it might end up being a Warpflamer unit.

We also have something bigger, yet another Helbrute for the army. This one is based on one of my all-time favourite pieces of fan art. Using a regular Dreadnought torso, Contemptor legs and Forgefield feet,

I think it's fairly close to the art, but also it's own unique thing. The Lascannon barrels were changed as the originals were damaged.

Finally, in the midst if Bloodbowl fever, I've built a random 'Chaos Allstar' player. Bsed on a Bloodbound soldier with added Greenstuff, it's more of a tiral piece than a new team, but who knows.

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Sunday, 6 November 2016

Review: Blood and Skulls Industries 'Small' Heavy Weapons

Load up on ammo folks, we're going big game hunting! Today I'm reviewing a handful of 'small' heavy weapons, ideal for the smaller heavy weapons in our arsenals, such as Heavy Bolters, Assault Cannons and Lascannons. All of these weapons are from Blood and Skulls Industry's site.

 All of the weapons shown today I have classified as "small", and retail for about $5/£4 with our current suck-tastic exchange rate. Even with that in mind they are fairly cheap, as a lot of the weapons come in pairs. 

They all occupy the same footprint, with the same, identically sized space for a magnet. And because they all share the same basic footprint, they are all compatible with Blood and Skull's sponsons and turrets (the Turret I have demonstrated with has two slots, making for awesome twin or quad-linked weapons!

How could you not build something like this?! This would make for an interesting Stalker AA tank equivalent.

I would also add that even though they're smaller than other weapons I have lined up in a future review, they are by no means man portable, and best used just on vehicles. There are plenty of easier ways to get man-portable weapons.

The nice thing about these weapons is that because they all share the same footprint, and have spaces for magnets, they are an 'all options' player's dream. By making it so easy to switch weapons Blood and Skulls are onto a winner. It also saves modellers having to drill holes themselves.The weapons are both compatible with turrets and sponsons.

With plenty of options to choose from, Blood and Skulls has the guns to upgrade your tanks. If you are after infantry weapons, I'd look elsewhere, but these guns are sufficiently tough-looking, ideal for Imperial tanks, and come with easy mounting options.

Top pick: Gatling cannons. I mean, just look at them!