Saturday, 31 January 2009

Battle Report: Saim-Hann Vs. Tyranids - 1500pts

Saim-Hann Vs. Tyranids - 1500pts
Capture & Control - Pitched Battle

Well I'm back with my final battle report for now. There will hopefully be more at some point, but my dissertation is now really demanding some attention - so I can't guarantee any full reports in the near future.

This was another game against Alex and his multi-coloured Tyranid horde. However, to add a bit of spice I will be using my Saim-Hann Eldar. I've not played with this army since 4th Ed., but I wanted to prove I still love them! I've had to proxy some of the models (using Falcons as Wave Serpents) so I apologise for the un-painted models!

Army List

I was using an Eldar list based Dire Avengers and Wave Serpent - mainly because I think these are the most efficient Eldar units by far. Of course I still had my Jetbikes and Vypers for some of that Saim-Hann flavour! Alex on the other hand seemed to be trying to get as many models on the table as he could, and he out numbered me almost 2 to 1.


We rolled for mission and got Capture & Control with Pitched Battle deployment. Alex won the roll off and chose to deploy and go first. He spread his horde across the table, with most of the heavier stuff (Carnifex, walking Tyrant) on the left side.

For my deployment, I did my best to hug cover, concealing my Jetbikes behind the large ruin and doing my best to hide the Serpents. I planned to move over to the right* as soon as I could, to destroy the weaker flank of his army. After that I could hopefully destroy his force piecemeal and then zoom for the objectives near the end of the game.
*When I say left and right I am referring to the maps.

When it came to starting I decided to try to steal the initiative (being the impulsive fellow that I am) and typically rolled a 6. After due consideration I realised this was a bit foolish - I was hunkered down in good cover and could have forced Alex to move out into the open first. But, once the dice was rolled I was committed. I haven't played Saim-Hann since 4th Ed. at it appeared to be showing!

Turn 1

So I began as I'd planned, moving towards the right of the board to attack Alex's weakest side. The Farseer began by casting Fortune on his own bike squad, as he would for the entire game. They then Turbo-boosted, doing their best to make use of cover. The Serpents and Vypers moved rightwards and down the flank. Shooting could have been better - I managed to gun down a Zanthrope on the left (as I was rather afraid of their Warp Blasts!).

In response to my move to right, the majority of Alex's horde moved left - he seemed to be rightly focused on the objectives. His winged Tyrant soared to the central building and proceeded to gun down three Jetbikers (despite their 3+ save with re-rolls!). His other shooting as ineffective.

Saim-Hann: 1 Objective Tyranids: 1 Objective

Turn 2

As I was unwilling to go up against the bulk of Alex's force I spent my turn moving further down the flank, hoping to see an opening to strike. My main concern was the Flyrant, who might be in charge range of my Jetbikers (something I did not want to happen). To this end the Farseer cast Doom on the abomination. With this aid it took all my Serpents and the bike's Shuriken Cannons to down the beast - much to Alex's annoyance. The two Vypers shot last, and managed to gun down 6 Gaunts directly in front of them.

Seemingly realising that his 'nids on the left would perish if they stayed put, Alex ran them towards the bulk of his force, using the Gaunts as a screen. The rest of the horde continued on its path, rounding the right side of the central building, advancing ominously on my objective. The Fortuned bikes this time survived the majority of Alex's shooting, loosing one of their number to the Carnifex. The retreating Warriors on the left also managed to down a Vyper.

Saim-Hann: 0 Objectives Tyranids: 1 Objective

Turn 3

With time pressing on I figured that I had to start really making a dent into Alex's tyranids. If I didn't start whittling down numbers now I would be simply overwhelmed in the later stages of the game. The plan was to kill all the 'nids on the left flank, with the Dire Avengers supported by Jetbikes and Serpents. The key was to make sure that nothing survived to charge me - allowing the Avengers to hop back into their transports next turn, ready to rinse and repeat. To that end most of the army moved down the table, with the Serpents unloading their Avengers right in front the of their targets.

The exception to this was the Wave Serpent with the Fire Dragons, that retreated back to my deployment zone in order to start weakening the Carnifex. If the plan went well I would be able to double back with the rest of the army and secure my objective while sacrificing one Serpent and Avenger Squad to contest the 'nid objective.

Well, it almost worked! Though it took the combined fire power of all the Avengers, two Serpents, the Vyper and the bikers I managed to destroy Alex's entire left flank - bar one irritating Warrior on 1 wound! Curses! Still, as long as the rest of the army was mobile I figured I could cope with one Avenger squad tied up for a turn.

Unfortunately for me it seemed that I has miscalculated dramatically. I made the crucial mistake of not assault moving my Jetbikers back, something I always forget when I've not used the host in a while. Because of this Alex's Ravaners, whose effective charge range always astounds me, were able to reach my Jetbikers & Farseer. To add insult to this injury a Spinegaunt Brood was just in charge range of the Dire Avenger squad that couldn't be charged by the remaining Tyranid Warrior. Hmmm, this was not how is was supposed to go!

Tyranid shooting produced no casualties (which was probably just as well). Combat was also not a disaster. The Raveners killed a biker but suffered wound for their trouble. The Spinegaunts also killed 1 of their opponents but also received a casualty in return. The enraged Warrior attempted to avenge the loss of his brood but was promptly cut down by the Exarch before he could strike. But, despite the fact his charges were far from brutal, Alex's units has successfully tied down my Army, some thing a Saim-Hann player does not want!

Saim-Hann: 0 Objectives Tyranids: 1 Objective

Turn 4

With the game possibly nearing its final stage I needed a plan to get myself out of the mess I found myself in. To this end the Dire Avengers not in combat hoped back in their Wave Serpent and zoomed towards the 'nid objective in order to apply some pressure there. The other Avenger Serpent left its squad fending off Spinegaunts in order to get back to my deployment zone and bolster my defenses.

Shooting was okay, with the Vyper killing 2 Warriors in the central building (shuriken cannons & Warriors do not mix well!) while the two Serpents in my deployment zone caused three wounds on the carnifex. I can't recommend Starcannons and Bright Lances enough! Combat was a mixed bag - the Jetbikes lost one and were unable to damage the Ravaners (despite two singing spears), but the Avengers killed 7 Spinegaunts for no loss. 3 of these kills was due to the fearless rules, god that hurts 'nids!

During his turn Alex launched his forces at my objective - the two Gaunt squads taking it for the Great Devourer, supported by the Carnifex. The parts of his force lagging behind turned, to discourage the Wave Serpent at the bottom of the board from coming any closer. To stress this point the Tyrant blew the Starcannons from atop the skimmer.

In combat Alex was absolutely gutted to find his Carnifex was just 0.2'' out of charge range to my bikes (we cut a range ruler to 6'' just to be sure)! In the other combats the Ravaners continued on their theme, killing 1 more biker. The Avengers managed to finish off the Spineguants and were able to consolidate back towards my deployment zone (perhaps they just ignored the Carnifex in their way!?).

Saim-Hann: 0 Objectives Tyranids: 2 Objectives

Turn 5

If I was going to save the game it was now or never. My plan was fairly simple. I hoped to use the Avenger/Serpent on its own to gun down the entire Gaunt Brood on Alex's objective. Regardless of weather my guys survived the reprisals, if they could wipe out the Gaunts Alex had no other scoring units in the area and wouldn't be able to claim his own objective. At the top end of the board I knew I had to down the Carnifex - if it made a charge I was pretty much done for. I had to hope that I could kill it and have enough firepower to wipe out the Gaunts on my objective, or at least contest with the as yet unused Fire Dragons. I was working for a turn 5 draw or hopefully a turn 6 win.

So, the plan began. The lone Serpent ignored its damage and dropped off its cargo within shooting distance of the Gaunt Brood holding their objective. In my deployment zone my units got themselves into better firing positions. So shooting began. After shooting the Vyper and the two Serpents the Carnifex was still annoyingly standing. This meant that I had to use my Dragons to finish it off which was frustrating as I hoped to use them to shoot and charge one of the Gaunt Broods.

On to the Dire Avengers... With the intervening Carnifex finally down the first squad of Dire Avengers ignored the Warrior on their left and unleashed a Bladestorm into one of the Gaunt Broods, killing it outright. Hoping to do the same thing, the Avengers on Alex's side of the board readied their catapults. However my luck didn't hold and after the Shuriken had flown there were still 3 annoying Gaunts remaining - fearless due to the proximity of their Tyrant. With one objective contested (by Fire Dragons) and one held by the Tyranids I had to hope there would be a turn 6.

Alex used his turn to try and secure the objectives he had. His Tyrant moved to cover the three remaining Gaunts on his objective (role reversal anyone?), while his central mob of Warriors and the Zanthrope reversed course again.

In the shooting phase the 'thrope shot off the Bright Lance from the Fire Dragon Serpent and the Tyrant shot 4 of the Avengers facing it. The real star however was the lone Warrior that had moved out of the central building. Leveling his Barbed Strangler at the Avengers in front of him, he managed to miss them completely and scatter into the densely packed Gaunts and Fire Dragons, killing 4 from each squad! Not what I wanted!

In combat the same Warrior charged the Avenger squad, hoping he might have better luck with his claws. He was naturally killed by the Exarch before he lifted a talon. The remaining Spinegaunts charged into the now severely depleted Fire Dragons and managed to kill 1 for no loss, leaving the Exarch bravely contesting the objective alone. In the prolonged Jetbike combat, a Ravaner was finally brought down, although the Jetbikers suffered another loss.

With Alex's turn over I went to roll the dice for random game length. Knowing he would win if the game ended Alex jokingly said 'anything but a 1'. As I threw the dice into the air I responded with 'No, I bet I get a 2!'.

Well. Its a funny old world isn't it...

I now hate the number 2.

Game Ends Turn 5
Saim-Hann: 0 Objectives Tyranids: 1 Objective

Tyranid Victory

Well, another close game with Alex. We have been playing together for ten years now so we are getting fairly clued up on each others tricks (though I still lead on the overall game tally!). This leads to very hard fought games were every decision and mistake really counts. In this case I think my failure to assault the move the Jetbikes out of combat range on turn 3 really cost me. If I'd have those Shuriken Cannons to add into the mix I think I probably could have mounted an effective counter attack.

With my Eldar list it all comes down to when you strike - I think I chose the right time, but just executed it badly! And of course Alex played a great game as usual.

I hope all enjoyed the report. In other news, I have converted and assembled Belial and I am about half way through the painting. Look for updates next week!

Friday, 23 January 2009

Dark Angels Painting Update

Good lord, its not a battle report! 

After a spate of actually playing the game I've finally got back to painting. 

First up, slow progress continues on the Deathwing (I think slow progress is the only thing possible with these guys). Below is a picture of my newly applied Deathwing Transfers. I had to make these myself on photoshop so I'm quite proud at how they turned out!

I've also applied some transfers to my Tactical Marines, but I  have no photos for you. 

Next up, new additions to the Deathwing family!

The Sergeant for Belial's Squad - quite pleased at how the huge power sword turned out. The top DA logo looks better in the flesh as well.

The beginnings of my Terminator Apothecary: 

I'm chuffed at how the white helmet has turned out, the limited layering seems to work well.  

However, it's not all good. When I got round to trying to paint the converted Narthecium/Reductor it all seemed to go wrong. I was trying to layer up the white from Space Wolves Grey and the coverage was just not going right. It's ended up being a bit too thick and I'm not sure if I can salvage it. 

This is an issue as I don't have another spare Narthecium/Reductor, and I REALLY REALLY don't want to buy a Command Squad for one part. Any advice on how to  strip this (on the cheap) would be great. 

After I've sorted this out I am finally going to get round to mixing some Bleached Bone & Skull White & then highlight the D'wing!  

Anywho - on to the main star of the post, my newly completed Rhino!

Contrary to the Apothecary, this went really well. I tried out a few new things (like the rust/painting chipping & drybrushing the tracks) and relied on the techniques learned on the Marines and Ravenwing to get the rest done. 

To be honest, these pictures don't quite do it justice - the stone icons seem a little better in real life, as do the lenses. I might do a few details shots at a later date! Either way I'm chuffed, and I'm now really keen to start work on one of my Two Land Raiders. I have however promised myself that I would get some more troops out of the way first, and that means more Bikes and Terminators. Oh, and Belial - look out for some work on that within the month!

Thanks for reading! 

Monday, 19 January 2009

Battle Report: Dark Angels Vs. Imperial Guard - 1500pts

Following is the next installment in what I now calling 'Battle Report Month' on The Astronomican. Enjoy...

Dark Angels vs. Imperial Guard - 1500pts
Capture & Control - Dawn of War

This game was a straight 1500pts game against Sam, a player I had not met before. He was playing his Imperial Guard (with the support of my Praetorian Demolisher). His list seemed well suited to fighting my Deathwing, including two Demolishers ready and willing to take away my 2+ saves...

Follow this link for a larger version 

I once again trotted out my standard 1500pts list as I really want to get some practise in with it. 

Sam's list featured the aforementioned Demolishers, a standard Russ, 2 Infantry Platoons & a Command Platoon (including a Mortar Squad & Fire Support Squad). His doctrines included Carapace Armour and Drop Troops .


We rolled for mission & deployment and got Capture & Control with Dawn of War. I actually won the roll off for first turn/deployment but chose to give Sam first turn. I planned to deploy nothing and deny him a turn of fire, whilst giving me the last say in grabbing objectives. 

Sam, being a good old fashioned Guard player, chose the table edge with the most cover and nestled as much fire power as he could into it! He deployed one Infantry Platoon & his HQ Platoon into the firebase, sitting atop his objective. 

I, in line with my plan, deployed nothing, relying on the speed of my units to get me to where I wanted to be (i.e. deep in the IG lines!)

Turn 1

In his first turn Sam, with nothing to shoot at, rolled his three Leman Russes onto the table, with a Demolisher on each flank and the standard Russ in the middle. His second infantry platoon he kept in reserve, intending to use them as Drop Troops. 

Beginning my attack I brought my Crusader (with Belial & co.), followed by my Rhino (containing a combat squad) onto the left side of the board. The combat squad with the Lascannon also entered the board, running into cover so it could try to start popping tanks next turn. 

My only action in the shooting phase was to pop smoke on my crusader, hoping the beast would stay mobile for next turn.  

Dark Angels: 0 Objectives
Imperial Guard: 1 Objective

Turn 2

Turn two began with Sam rolling for his reserves. He managed to bring in one of his Infantry Squads, which deep struck close to my Lascannon combat squad. He also moved two of his Russes up on the right, aiming for my objective. 

His shooting phase went rather well - the deep striking squad rapid fired my Marines and killed all but two. The real insult was the lucky Battlecannon round that glanced and immobilised my Land Raider. Once again the tank had failed to do its job! Belial and his precious squad now faced an advance towards a Demolisher Cannon...

In my turn I had my Attack Bike and Land Speeder turn up and, in attempt to deal with the pesky tanks, I outflanked them both (Rules Fail - I know now that the Land Speeder can't scout and therefore can't outflank. I'm still learning the army so these mistakes happen. However, Karma struck and the offending Land Speeder did nothing worthwhile all game, which I guess is fair!). Both got excellent positions, and lined up to inflict kills on both the Demolishers. I also had my second Deathwing squad. Attempting to avoid a warm welcome from the Demolisher Cannons, they deepstruck behind the standard Russ. Hopefully they could survive a turn of fire and inflict some pain. 

In the movement phase, Belial and his cronies bit the bullet and charged towards the firebase. I was hoping for a good scatter and some lucky saves. Even if two or three terminators survived, it should be enough to take down IG squads...

Shooting was abysmal (karma again?) as both Multi-Meltas missed their mark, leaving those AP2 cannons still going. The Deathwing cyclone also missed the rear armour of the Leman Russ. The depleted Combat Squad made kills, knocking out a measly two deep-striking Guardsmen, and the frustrated Crusader killed two Heavy Bolter Teams with its fire.  

Dark Angels: 0 Objectives
Imperial Guard: 1 Objective

Turn 3

In Sam's turn Guardsmen continued to fall from the sky, with the second Drop Squad landing on top of my objective (leaving both in Guard hands). Sam now entered a crucial shooting phase which, with some luck, would win him the game.

Things started well, the first deep-striking Guard Squad wiping out what was left of my Lascannon Combat Squad. 

Perhaps unsurprisngly, the standard Leman Russ only took down one of the Terminators bearing down on it. It was the Demolishers that however took the prize for most spectacular fails of the day. First the Demolisher Tank on the right failed to hit the Attack Bike behind it (the shot scattering away harmlessly). This is perhaps understandable, its a small target after all.

However, the Demolisher on the left flank must have loaded a rubber shell or some such because, after hitting Belail and his squad squarely, and then proceeding to cause five wounds, it failed to kill a single one! I, to my amazement (and Sam's despair), managed to roll 5,5,5,6,6 for my five invulnerable saves. I guess karma was somewhere else at this point in the game!? To add insult to injury the massed Lasguns on the fire base also failed to damage the Deathwing, leaving the squad free to wreck merry havoc in my turn...

Never surer of their own indestructibility, Belial launched his men towards the firebase, under the covering fire of the Crusader. Elsewhere, the second Deathwing Squad stalked towards the Leman Russ, and the attack bike sped round to the back of the Demolisher on the right (it having turned to face the bike in its shooting phase). Conscious of the fact that I still controled neither objective, the Rhino in my rear sped towards the Drop Troops and dropped off its combat squad. 

The shooting phase was not spectacular, with both Ravenwing Mulit-Meltas failing to hit (again). However the Crusader continued to whittle down the Guardsmen on the firebase, while the Combat Squad gunned down 3 Drop Troops. The Plasma Gunner also had the good sense to blow himself up. The Bolter salvos were weakened by the fact that Sam's Gauardsmen had Carapce armour - its odd to see Gaurdsmen getting saves! 

The Combat phase however cheered me up immensely. First, Belial and his squad managed to charge the Demolisher on the right, Stunning it and ripping off its Demolisher Cannon. 
Next, the Deathwing Squad in the center tore the back out their Leman Russ, destroying it completely. Finally, frustrated at his gunner's lack of accuracy, the driver of the Attack Bike charged the second Demolisher with his Krak Grenades held high. He blew the thing apart with ease (someone give that man a Multi-Melta!). 

In the space of one combat phase I had destroyed or crippled all of Sam's Armour and, although the Guardsmen held both objectives, it would be a real struggle to hold them. 

Dark Angels: 0 Objectives
Imperial Guard: 2 Objectives

Turn 4

Sam was in real trouble and knew it. His last infantry Command Squad failed to come out of reserves, so he largely stayed put and hoped he could maintain control of the objectives by the skin of his teeth. Both his Drop Troop squads fired on the Dark Angels Combat Squad, but made no kills. The rest of his infantry tried in vain to kill some Deathwing - massed Lasgun's proved no challenge to armour that had already withstood Demolisher shells! 

My turn 4 was largely spent beginning to mop up. My Ravenwing Squadron (which Sam had forgotten I had) turned up on my board edge, to shift the 2nd Drop Squad off my objective. The Attack Bike moved up from the ruins of the Demolisher to lend support. 

After a meager shooting phase (Carapace once again proving resilient against Bolter Rounds), Combat sealed the deal for the DA. Belial finished off the remains of his Demolisher and got ready to assault the firebase. The second Deathwing Squad charged and completely wiped out the Mortar Squad. The Ravenwing made seven kills against their Guard Squad, and the Combat Squad killed three of theirs, both for no loss. Although both Guard Squads used their Vox sets to pass their leadership tests, it was only a matter of time before they would be overwhelmed. 

Sam at this point decided that his IG could do little but wait to be slaughtered and conceded the game to me.

Imperial Guard Concede

Dark Angels Victory! 

By turn 3 the Dark Angels had begun to dominate the battle...

So, a turn 4 victory! A rare thing to savor I think. However, it was clear that I was very lucky - especially surviving a direct Demolisher Cannon hit unscathed. By rights I should have lost at least 3/4 Terminators and, with wound allocation rules, I could have lost some valuable models. However, sometimes the dice just work for you! 
I also think that IG are one the armies that I will naturally do well against - Terminator armour will always be a nightmare when you average troops carry flashlights and have the combat ability of a snail. A dead snail at that. 

All this being said, I think I played the army well and I am getting comfortable with the list. Hopefully some more victories will be in the pipeline...

Let me know what you all think, I hope your all enjoying these reports!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Updates: Vogen '09 & Tale of Painters

Today's post is a quick update on my two main projects, should any of you out there be following them. I'll start with the more boring of the two:

Tale of Painters 3: Jokered 

Regular readers will have noticed that there's not been much new painting around here of late. In fact I've only painted 2/3rds of a single Terminator this month, indeed I've not had much time for 40k at all recently. I'm not going to bore you with the reasons for this but it does mean I've have to use my one 'Joker' in the Tale of Painters Comp. The joker effectively allows you to get away with submitting no painted models for a month without going out of the competition. 

I've had to play this card a bit earlier than I had planned, but we are now half way through & I'm confident I can see the project through to the end. My current schedule only demands one painted model a week - as I only I have 7 Deathwing, 3 Ravenwing & Belial left to complete.

For those interested in the overall competition, here are a few statistics that the fantastic organiser Cyric the Mad complied: 
  • 54 Entrants
  • 54% have Jokered out (i.e. left the competition)
  • 24% are on-track
  • 22% are a little behind 
Given that rate of attrition I don't feel so bad! I strongly suggest you have a root around on the Librarium projects forum, there are some excellent ToP armies being built. 

And on to update two...

Vogen '09 Update

Well, after Malcom Wilson asked for a proper Vogen Campaign update I though I had better bring it all up to speed. 

The two battle reports that have been written so far have dealt with my Dark Angels' games up till Campaign turn 8. 

The start of Campaign turn 9 looked something like this:

As you can see there were three major conflicts on the day, but we only managed to get round to 2 of them. Both turned out to be Apocalypse games and, although I was unable to take detailed battle reports, I have a few snaps of both of them. 

1. Necrons vs. Eldar - 2500pts Apoc. (For 8 contested victory points)

From what I saw of this game, it was a (sometimes) surprisingly close contest between Wookie (using elements of my Eldar models) & Vessey's Necrons. It seemed for a while that the entirely Mech. Eldar force might keep itself out of the Necron clutches. However after stretching his force a little too far Wookie was eventually bogged down and taken to pieces by the C'tan, who were both present! 

Necrons: 3 Objectives     Eldar: 1 Objective

This victory won Vessey three territories and leaves him at the head of the leaderboard. Wookie on the other hand is in dire straights. Boxed in and with no VP's he is going to need to work hard to turn things around. His occupation of the Water Plant allows does allow him to strike anywhere in the city, but he's going to have to be clever to use that to his advantage. 

2. Dark Angels Vs. Tyranids - 2500pts (For 4 Contested Victory Points) 

Determined to see off any challengers Alex showed his love of Forge World by bringing no less than 3 (!!!!) Gargantuan Creatures to the table. His two Hierodules and one Harridan dominated my combined Dark Angels/Imperial forces, and the table soon became a tank grave yard. I also had some terrible luck with deep strike, with one Deathwing Squad being lost to the warp while another ended up in an entirely useless spot. This was crucial as their 2+ saves were the only thing standing up the Tyranid fire.

Tyranids: 2 Objectives     Dark Angels: 2 Objective

With some admittedly clever maneuvers I managed to scrape a draw against the beasts. However, this did not help me. Draws in campaign games are decided by victory points (who wrote these rules!!??.....oh yeah, I did) and by the end Alex had claimed more than double the VP's I had. This left him in control of Angel Square, and me in some desperate need of Super Heavy support. 

So, after this day's games we were left with the following:

The game between Sam and Alex is hopefully going to be played shortly. However I'm afraid after that there will be no updates until Easter time, when we all reconvene. I hope this has wetted your appetite enough till then! I certainly can't wait to exact some vengeance on Alex, and work out how to get out of this mess I find myself in...

Anyway, this 'short update' got a tad more detailed than I had planned, but here's hoping that nobody is complaining! I'd love to hear any thoughts you have on the update. I've also got two non-campaign battle reports to write up for the blog soon (including one with my Saim-Hann!) and hopefully there will be some painting updates soon.

Thanks for reading guys! 


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