Friday, 31 October 2008

Unoffical Dark Angels FAQ

Only a quick post today, just an attempt to bring something to the attention of players it might interest. After an great discussion right here on the merits of Codex Space Marines Vs. the Codices of the various 'special' chapters I was interested to see an unofficial 'Rationalised Dark Angels FAQ' on The Dark Fortress (although it apparently began life on Bolter & Chainsword).

This is an attempt to bring the DA codex more into line with C:SM, in a way that many have called for. It would seem to well balanced at first glance, it modifies points costs and allows the DA access to the new wargear options in C:SM while (rightfully) denying them any of the new units.

Now, I can't see myself using this FAQ, as I stand by my comments made in the discussion post, and I certainly wouldn't want to see this used in any 'official' or tournament games. However, if somebody in a pickgame felt sufficiently hard done by that they wanted to use the FAQ, I wouldn't really object. And knowing that there has been some interest right here on this topic, I though I would try to spread the word.

Does anybody know of any equivalent Blood Angles or Black Templars documents, or is it on the DA getting attention? Actually, if you read a recent post of The Bell of Lost Souls, it would appear that the Black Templars don't need any assistance to be game winners!

If you've got any opinions on this debate, feel free to add them to this thread, or the original discussion.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Cameras, Tactical Marines & Ravenwing...

Good news people, I have access to a camera! Although not my actual digital camera (I keep on spending money meant for repairs on more models...) I've got a fairly good camera phone that will do the job for now. 

So, as promised, below are some pictures of the Tactical Squad I finished a while ago. They took me about around a month to complete. I still consider that as slow, given the speed some of the people on blogs and forums seem able to achieve. What do you all think, are these people just insanely talented or should I be looking to paint faster? 

Please also add you vote to my poll on painting the interiors of vehicles. I'm sitting here looking at my Rhino and wondering if its worth the effort. I'd love to hear some comments on this too. 

Anyway, photos. Apologies for the lighting on some of them, I just wasn't able to get it right today.

These pictures are all attachments, so be sure to open them up in a new tab/window for a better look.

As you can see I've used a number of bits from the DA Veterans box, including some of the Veteran torsos. I decided to paint these marines in brown robes instead of the traditional Deathwing Bone for a few reasons. Primarily I think that bone robes stick out far too much in a dark green squad, I wanted them to look like a coherent unit. It also means that if I do ever get a veteran squad, they will look distinct as they should. And of course, the brown was far easier to achieve! Any thoughts on if this look works?

Below are a few closer detail shots as well as some photos featuring some excellent terrain I bought on ebay - that site really can come up with gems every now and then! 

These last two photos show my highlights quite well, they don't aways show up on camera...

I'm really pleased with how the squad turned out, but I welcome any criticisms or improvements people can suggest (compliments are also nice!).

To finish off this already picture heavy post, here are some WIP shots of the Ravenwing. I'm hoping to get the first 3 done within a week. I have already confirmed that I really REALLY hate painting white...

Thursday, 16 October 2008

ToP Update & Blog Housekeeping

Well, it appears that I am an idiot. When signing up for the Tale of Painters Project on Librarium Online I misread the process in a rather major way. Because the sign up for the event began in early September I naturally assumed that the first deadline would fall on the 15th of the next month and thus furiously began painting my first Tactical Squad, which I finished yesterday.

I was, evidently, wrong.

The first deadline is in actually on the 15th of November, a fact I only realised a few days ago. Now, because I don't really want to buy or paint any more Dark Angles than what I need for my 1500pts List, I was left with a bit of a choice. Do I paint no DA for a month and submit the Tactical Squad in November (allowing me to work on some Saim-Hann), or do I solider on with the DA and end up with more than I technically want? Well, simply because I'm enjoying painting to the higher standard that the DA enjoy, I've decided to continue with them. I'll probably just paint an extra tactical squad for ToP. I'm also desperate to get an army painted to the best standard I can manage on the table as soon as possible.

This leads me on to a bit more blog housekeeping. I guess I just want to warn those reading that due to some time and transport constraints, this blog is largely going to be a simple log of my painting efforts for the next few months. I'm not able to get to somewhere to game at the moment meaning that I wont be able to do battle reports and other things I would like to do. However, this should change at the start of next year- just about the time I plan to finish my DA! Convenient? I think so!

Finally, in a twist of fate it seems quite fortuitous that I muddled up the ToP deadlines. My camera suffered an 'accident' and is not working at the moment - meaning that I would not have been able to submit pictures of my entry in time anyway. However, the camera is in for repair, and pictures of the Tactical Squad should be gracing these pages shortly.

Be sure to check out my thoughts on the new Space Marine codex below. In the mean time, work begins on the Ravenwing...

Codex DA vs. Codex Space Marines: The Debate

(Warning: This is a long post that may not interest everybody!)

Codex Space Marines. Its here in all its glory. Although I'm yet to actually buy the book I have managed to get my hands on it and, through the wonders of the internet, I'm aware of most of the changes. Although there are a myriad of reviews and deconstructions of the book on the net, I just wanted to briefly give my thoughts and, perhaps more relevantly, talk about the DA Vs. Space Marines debate.

First off, the book itself. Well, it appears the codices need to stay off the fast food because they are putting on weight! This book is huge! This is a potential bugbear for me. I understand that Space Marines are GW's poster boys and, to be honest, I really don't mind much. Unlike many, I understand the appeal of 'good guys' & Ultramarines - they were my first army after all. I now prefer the gritter side of the galaxy but all my armies (IG, DA & Eldar) are still on the 'good' side. However, to give SM a significantly bigger book, while making the other races make do with their smaller books grates a little. If this large book remains the exception rather than becoming the norm I will remain annoyed.

As for content, its very impressive. I do like the increasing trend to make SM a highly specialised and potent force at the price of numbers. They should be the mighty few, battling against hordes of the foe, and this appears to be the route developers are going down. I also like some of the interesting new units and rules that really give codex marines a 'flavour'. This leads me on the DA vs. SM debate.

For those of you unaware or uninterested in what has been going on, the debate was sparked by the release of a new DA errata by GW that confirmed a rumour that had been on the web for a while. In the past when a new marine codex was released with changed weapon stats, the other marine codices were given erratas that kept parity with the changes.

Not so this time. This time the erratas have explicitly stated that previous codices stand as written. Now this may not sound dramatic but the new SM codex is different. Very Different. This, to quote The Dark Fortress, is a list of some of the changes:
• Cyclones
• Scout transport
• Whirlwinds (can fire both types of ammo during a game)
• Expanded wargear/weapons choices for characters
• Expanded weapon options for Razorbacks
• Land Raiders and Crusaders weapon options
• Land Raider transport capacity
• Typhoon missile launcher on Speeders
• Drop pods weaponry
• Vindicator Siege Shield
Wargear options for Dev squads
• Smoke launchers
As you can see this is quite a list. To simply point out the ones that affect me, I would love storm shields that give a 3+ invulnerable save from shooting and combat, I would love to use the new Land Raider, I would love to be able to turbo-boost my bikes during their scout move, I love to use some of new toys like Sterngaurd and Thunderfire cannons. A whole series of protests have sprung up, including on Bell of Lost Souls, Librarium Online and in two very well written articles on The Dark Fortress (Aritcle 1, Article 2), all of them decrying the fact that all the stand alone chapters seem to be at a disadvantage.

However, allow me to go against the trend. I'm going to agree with GW here.

I know. Shocking stuff.

It is true that in some ways we are at a disadvantage here. But, in their own ways all the stand alone codices still allow us to do things that bog standard marines cant. However, more importantly, this new SM codex actively rewards people for playing bog standard marines. This is the point that this meandering post is trying to convey. For years people wondered why anyone would bother using the normal SM codex when the Dark Angels/Blood Angels etc. gave you so many more options. Now, they have a reason. Vanguard and Sterngaurd and the rest give marines a real flavour of their own that they really deserve, while some of their improved rules perhaps allow them to punch a little harder in certain areas.

The standalone codices are left with their real differences and flavour intact and will now have to really rely on them to win. For example, I'm going to have to use my scoring Termi's to discount the improved equipment in the new book, while Templar's will have to rely on their larger squad sizes etc.

And of course, should any DA or Black Templar players want to use the new rules, then they are free to use the new book aren't they. Therefore I fail to see a problem. I do know that I will not be surrendering my scoring Terminators!

If anybody managed to extract some meaning from that, I would love to know what they think!

Thanks for reading...

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

WIP Saim-Hann Army

Frankly this blog post has been long overdue. The Astronomican proudly shows the Cosmic Serpent alongside the winged sword of the Deathwing, but there has a been a bit of a disparity when it comes to content. So displayed here is the current strength of my Saim-Hann Host, which is very much a work in progress... 

I discussed some of my motivation behind this army in one of my first blog posts a few months ago. I want to add to what I said in that article by highlighting the role of a certain blog: The Way of the Saim-Hann. Fritz's great collection of articles, tacticas and photos really inspired me to follow the way of the Saim-Hann myself. It was the first blog that I really got involved in reading and in no small way is one of the main inspirations for my own blog. If Fritz reads this I would just like to express my thanks!

Anyway, back to the Host.

I currently have assembled and painted:
1 Converted Warlock
9 Jetbikes (3 Shuriken Cannons)
2 Vypers
1 Wave Serpent 
1 Falcon
10 Dire Avengers

Any Eldar player will realise that this is not enough for any 1500pts force, which is what I was aiming at when I started. When rumours about 5th Ed. reared their head at the beginning of the year I, like many other Mech. Eldar players really started to get worried about the viability of my army. The new damage chart seemed to ruin our vehicles, true LOS exposed our Jetbikes etc. etc. This lead to me moving on from the Saim-Hann before they were done, and starting my Dark Angels.

However, after some tweaking, I have made a list that I like and that might just work in 5th Ed. So with this blog as my wittness, I commit myself to working on the Eldar during any spare time I may have left from the Tale of Painters project. Before the 15th of October, for example, I'm hoping to be able to not only complete my Dark Angels tactical squad, but also the best part of a Wave Serpent.

So without further ado, here are some more pictures of what I have completed:

Converted Warlock 

This was a fairly simple conversion, but one of my first. It simply involved cutting up one of the metal warlocks and adding an spear arm from the Dire Avengers spure. Simple, but effective!

Warlock & 1st Jetbike Squad

2nd Jetbike Squad


These both feature a simple conversion to mount Shuriken Cannons under the hull. I intend to change the turret mounted weapons to Eldar Missile Launchers, to make my Vypers more 5th Ed. viable. 


Wave Serpent

Luckily I had the foresight to magnetize my grav tank weapons, making the switch to 5th Ed. easier. Now I'v just got the paint the rest of the weapon options!

Dire Avengers

I love this unit, they never let me down!

So that's my Saim-Hann. You will note that the painting standard is not that of my Dark Angels, but is far better than the Guard. The Eldar mark out a bit of a transition stage, going from simply painting as fast as possible to actually taking some time with my models - a strategy which is paying off! I do intend to go back at some point and give my Eldar a full hightlight and touch up etc.; but that is a project for a long way off!

I'll leave you with some of my real work in progresses for this army, these again are some of my first conversions. Its the only way to get those pesky jetbike mounted HQ's!

WIP Farseer 

This was a tricky conversion as the Farseer has a rather large torso - if I'm being honest it slightly dwarfs the legs and is something I may take a second stab at. This also shows my first and only attempt at green stuffing a cloak.

WIP Warlock

First completed Fire Dragon

The Saim-Hann are a real pleasure to both collect and paint, their bright red colour scheme and exciting (yet difficult to master) playing style mean you will never be bored! I hope some of you found this army interesting and also hope you meet some Saim-Hann on the field soon. If they are played right it will be one of the most enjoyable yet frustrating games you will ever have!


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