Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rhino APC for 30k Alpha Legion

Head-hunters from the XX Legion on maneuvers with their new APC

Another little bit of 30k painting - this is a Deimos pattern Rhino APC. Capable of carrying 10 marines (never quite looks like it can fit 10 of anything, actually, but that has been an enduring mystery of this model for many years), these vehicles are a mainstay of any Space Marine force.  And while the Legiones Astrates in 30k have access to all sorts of troop-carrying terrors, from Land Raiders to Spartans and more, the humble Rhino is still a core part of moving Legion Marines around the battlefield.

Front panel features door-ish looking plates, while a pair of bolt guns are mounted up top - just like the original Rogue Trader era models for this vehicle

Had fun with the hydra-themed decals for this Legion, although getting that one centered on the top hatch was tricky, and it doesn't look quite right - very Alpha Legion, I guess...

The Deimos pattern model is a conversion kit from Forge World, applied to the current 40k plastic rhino kit (which I'm trying to stock up on before they cancel them to replace it with more garbage "Primaris" kits but that is a rant for another time).  The design is really nice, an homage to the earliest version of this plastic model from the Rogue Trader days.

Main access ramp at the rear of the APC

These vehicles are not much for weapons - just a pair of humble bolt guns up on the turrets - but they do a great job ferrying the Marines around toward their objectives on the gaming table.  I find they do an even better job in the 8th edition of the game, as vehicles linger much longer on the table, even under heavy fire, under the newer rules.  Great news for the fellows catching a ride!

Not sure how 10 guys with that kind of armour fit in enduring mystery of GW...

Close-up of the side hatches...again, the design is a faithful tribute to the original RT-era model
This is the first vehicle I have painted for my Alpha Legion forces.  I have a few more cued up in the painting line, of course, but they may wait for a while, as I have turned my painting attention back to a project that is about 29,000 years earlier on the historical clock...hope to share more soon about that!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Alpha Within, Iron Without - 30k Battle Report

Alpha Legion Headhunters move out toward their objectives inside the loyalist base at Paramar V

Over the past several months there has been some continued expansion and escalation in our 30k collections.  I'm a huge 30k nerd of course, and with my painting spirits animated by fun books likes "Legion" by Dan Abnett and the amazing "Praetorian of Dorn" by John French, I have been building up the Alpha Legion forces I started back during Curt's most recent Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. Dallas, meanwhile, has started painting up some troops from the IV Legion, the rugged, dependable and so-oft-abused Iron Warriors.  After returning from a wonderful visit to my cabin in Sault Ste Marie, I was pretty psyched to get all of this newly painted stuff out on the table for a scrap.  Dallas obliged, hosting a 30k game last week - here are some photos!

View of the table as the game begins - the Alphas have appeared from their various vehicles and crates, and they must reach the slurm machine near the Mechanicum node at the top right of the photo.

Of course, both the Alpha Legion and Iron Warriors fought under Warmaster's banner in the Horus Heresy, so a game pitting the two collections against each other called for a bit of nuance within the setting.  Fortunately, Forge World itself already provided a handy backdrop for just such a game - the fall of Paramar V, as profiled in "Horus Heresy Book III: Extermination".   The Alphas are tasked to capture this world, and an isolated group of Iron Warriors, unaware of the Warmaster's rebellion or Perturabo's decision to join it, are caught up in the assault, joining the Mechanicum garrison in a final defence.  Thus are the Alphas thrust into battle against some of Perturabo's sons.

Lernaean Terminators prepare to move out.

Heavy support squad, backed by an apothecary

Besides, the Alpha Legion's motives are always so complex and opaque, they could conceivably be pitted against almost anyone...

Iron Warriors despoiler squad moves to reinforce, arriving down a corridor on the base
Kyr Vhalen positions his small blocking force, anchored on the very tough dreadnoughts

The main story of the fall of Paramar V, a vital mechanicum and fleet re-supply depot as well as a critical communications link, is one of a big-time ground assault.  But I wanted to have a bit of Alpha Legion flavour to the game.  The Alphas are notorious for deception, trick plays, underhanded moves and infiltration. So I suggested something along those lines to Dallas in the context of the fall of Paramar V.

Alpha Legion Praetor and his familiar try to inspire progress on the assault

The table would be set up to represent the interior of the facility, a maintenance hangar-type area.  Weeks prior to their assault, the Alpha Legion had connived to send a shipment of "damaged" vehicles from the XVI Legion to the base for repairs. As these were vehicles and associated supplies from the Warmaster's own legion, and the launch of his rebellion was as-yet unknown, these vehicles would a) not be inspected closely, and, b) be placed somewhere important.  When the time came for the assault on the base, a large team of Alpha Legionnaires would spring from these vehicles and associated "supply crates" to launch a critical blow from inside the defences, having essentially mailed themselves behind enemy lines.

IV Legion Deredeo dreadnought lays down heavy fire
The defenders would include Dallas' Iron Warriors, bolstered by some 40k Adeptus Mechanicus models standing in to represent the Mechanicum garrison on the base (no reason these cool models can't be in a 30k game).  The Alpha Legion force was overwhelming, larger than the combined defenders by about 50%.  The challenge for the attackers was the isolated location of their objective - a slurm machine in which Alpha Legion operatives had pre-placed and hidden a critical device that would, once activated, shut-down the automated shields and defences of the base.  They would have to move flat out to make it there in six turns...

The Alpha Legion's heavy fire group tries to take down the enemy dreadnoughts

For rules we used the new 8th edition of 40k. I am aware that GW has made the (absolutely baffling) decision to maintain 7th edition for the Horus Heresy gaming, but as is so often the case, the fans of GW's games tend to be as much or more nimble and competent stewards of the game than GW itself.  Fan-driven and created 8th edition rules for the 30k setting have appeared in amazing short time, and we made use of these for our game.

Iron Warriors look to block the dreaded Lernaeans...

Frederick, Indo (aka "the voice of Alpharius") and Mike A played the Alpha Legion attack force, while Dallas, John and Mike F took command of the defenders. Battle was joined!

Dallas' fantastic Mechanicum models were part of the doomed defence
The Alpha Legion troops sprung from the various vehicles and crates in which they had been hidden, and swarmed towards their objective.  The defence of the loyalists was anchored around a trio of Iron Warrior dreadnoughts - one Deredeo class and two Contemptors.  They all fell in glory, but took a number of Alpha Legion troops down in the process. 

Tough outing for the IV Legion! The Lernaeans reduce the 15-model Despoiler squad down to three survivors...ouch!

The stars for the Alpha Legion side included their own Deredeo dreadnought (wow, those things are amazing), their heavy support squad equipped with missile launchers (scary enough in the 7th edition, even more vital in the 8th edition and the new way that vehicles and dreadnoughts take damage) and the Lernaean Terminators, who carved a pretty bloody swathe through the defenders. I have never seen Terminators be so effective on the tabletop...

KABOOM! An Iron Warrior dreadnought explodes after sustained abuse.

The defenders suffered near total losses, but after six turns the Alpha Legion strike team had not yet reached their objective, so it was a phyrric victory for Kyr Vhalen and his defenders of Paramar V - although poor Kyr Vhalen got hit by multiple krak missiles in the final turn, so was not really in a position to enjoy this bitter success.

EDITOR'S NOTE - upon reflection, Kyr Vhalen, as a character, wasn't a legit target for the missiles, with that big tactical squad right nearby.  Oops.  We'll chalk that up to more Alpha Legion trickery...

The Alpha Legion strike force surges ahead

Contemptor dreadnoughts put a beating on an Alpha Legion tactical squad

The Lernaeans step in to finish the opposing dreadnoughts

Of course 30k/40k as a rule set continues to boast a number of large flaws, but as a not-too-mentally taxing game it is a lot of fun to roll out for the group. I have really started to enjoy the 8th edition (after a bit of a bumpy start) and I think, in particular, the 8th edition of the rules will be a lot of fun for 30k players out there.

Kyr Vhalen finishes the game as a recipient of multiple krak missiles...looking back now, I don't think he could have been targeted as he was a character...but that is the Alpha Legion for you, always sneaking around the rules...

Thanks to the guys for playing and to Dallas for hosting.  Was great to see his Iron Warriors and Mechanicum guys out on the table, and I hope it inspires further painting and collection escalation on his part (and keeps Mike F going on his Imperial Fists).  Outnumbered and mounting a last stand, it was a pretty rough scenario for the Iron Warriors.  Once Dallas gets more of them painted, we'll have to set up a game where they enjoy a bit of a more balanced chance.

Alpha to omega! Horus for hope!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Imperial Fist Legion Tactical Squad

I finished my second unit of Imperial Fists. Progress has been slow with this project, though not for a lack of painting. The Mark III armour is very challenging in general and the yellow makes it worse. I am quite happy with the results however. Dallas asked if I was going to weather them up. I initially balked at this as it took so long to paint the yellow. I changed my mind after considering the state of the loyalist legions during the Horus Heresy. Considered from the Imperial Fist point of view, they are in seriously deep s#!t. 3 Legions nearly destroyed, 3 legions apparently building a new Imperium in Ultramar (terrible book by the way) and the Space Wolves and White Scars off doing God knows what. The Imperial Fists are pretty much it and I can see them being tasked to help put out every little flare up in Segmentium Solar, in addition to trying to re-enforce Terra for the inevitable apocalyptic invasion by Horus. Sending their armour off to the cleaners is probably on hold for now. So after some research on Youtube I came up with a weathering strategy that I think worked well. I used weathering powders for the lower legs and feet. Yellow armour is very unforgiving with weathering powder. Too little isn't visible on the model, but too much and it looks like they're wearing thigh high leathers. I think I found the right balance.

This was originally supposed to be a small army, but a never ending stream of packages from Canada Post have made it anything but. Still not equal to the traitor forces accumulated by Greg, but with Dallas' Blood Angels and some Shattered Legions' we should be able to have a Battle of Terra game in the new year (probably not the new year.) Next up is a 20 man Tactical Squad.

Lernaean Terminators for 30k Alpha Legion

Cataphractii Terminators for the Alpha Legion

More lake painting to share.  This is a squad of Lernaean Terminators for my 30k Alpha Legion forces.  These are plastic Cataphractii Terminator figures from GW spiffed up with decals and conversion bits from Forge World, including embossed shoulder plates made specially to fit the bulky Cataphractii models.

Close-up of one of the Lernaeans
In 30k each of the Space Marine Legions has their own little menu of specialized elite units they can select forces from in addition to the standard rosters of tactical squads, assault squads etc. One of these selections tends to be a Terminator unit - I think just about every Legion has some kind of fancy Terminator unit option.  In the case of the Alpha Legion, their elite Terminator units are known as "Lernaeans".  They wear Cataphractii armour and carry a slightly altered weapon loadout, using volkite chargers and power weapons in place of the traditional combi-bolters and power fists/chain fists.

View showing the rear detail on the figures - and you can see the large gaps I left among some of the shoulder plates..oops...
Plasma weapon for extra support, in place of the more traditional heavy flamers or reaper autocannons

Forge World hasn't yet issued sculpts for Lernaeans, so I thought I would try combining the plastic Cataphractii figure kits with accent pieces from Forge World.  The results were...well, they were OK, but I goofed in a couple of ways.  The first problem is the spacing and sequencing of the shoulder plates...try as I might, I could just not quite figure out the precise placement of the multi-layered shoulder segments on these figures.  As a result, several of the figures are sporting sizeable gaps in their shoulders - I think there is supposed to be a small gap, but not large ones like I ended up with...I'm just not a very sharp model builder...

The bulky and ominous Cataphractii terminators are sharp-looking models

The other issue is the close assault weapons.  These are Cataphractii conversion bits from Forge World, but they are chain-axe-style weapons rather than power weapons, which is what the Lernaeans are supposed to be sporting.  These chain-axe things have a grim, spiky look that I'm not entirely pleased with - they seem more like things the World Eaters or Night Lords would use to open bottles.  Looking back I regret not finding some different weapons that resembled the sleeker look of power weapons - or just keeping them with traditional power fists, which is still an option for the Lerneaens, but at the time I was fired up to have them look different, and the regrets did not occur until everything was glued...oh well, now that they are painted, I'm sure they will work out fine.

Now which one is Alpharius?

Despite the modelling issues, I'm glad to have some Terminators finished for the Alpha Legion. And I really, really like the look those embossed shoulder plates for the Cataphractii terminators. The casting from Forge World was very sharp (never a guarantee) and it really helps set them apart.  I would like to try this for some other Legions (or add more for the Alpha Legion) again in the future.

I never get tired of the sunsets at my cabin...

This wraps up my painting from Lake Superior in 2017 - about 31 figures completed this year.  Not as many as last year or as many as I had hoped - but there is always more to paint anyways, right?  In particular I had hoped to get some 30k vehicles painted for the Alpha Legion, but that will have to wait for a little while.  They are still building into a good sized force - about 60 infantry models and a Deredeo Dreadnought. I hope to get them into some kind of game soon! Meanwhile a few vehicles will move forward in my "pending pile", but who knows what my butterfly-style attention span will turn to when I get back home...

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Alpha Legion 30k Tactical Support Marines

Tactical support Marines for the Alpha Legion

Labour Day 2017 has come and gone, and I was able to put the time spent at the lake toward a bit more painting. Here is a post with some outcomes from that painting - a few more troops for the XX Legion.  These are tactical support marines in Mark IV power armour carrying plasma guns.  They are plastic kits from GW, and have embossed shoulder pauldrons and decals from Forge World.

I love the little decals from Forge World - I wish they would do entire sheets of those small decals...

In 30k the so-called "tactical support squads" provide extra punch for the regular tactical marines who are equipped only with bolters.  By concentrating the harder-hitting weapons together in these units, tactical support squads hit pretty hard.  This was particularly critical in the 7th edition of the rules, with its restrictions on targeting, where everyone in each squad had to target the same enemy unit, so isolated special weapons could not fire at other more opportune targets.  Way less of a problem when the whole squad is equipped with high-powered weapons!

The 8th edition of the game is much more sensible when it comes to targeting (your models shoot whatever you like among what they can "see"), but these tactical support squads are still an important means for your 30k Legion forces to concentrate the high firepower required to take out other Legion Marines.

I love those embossed shoulder pauldrons with the Legion symbols...just awesome...and addictive, unfortunately...
A view of the power packs and features on the shoulders
While "volkite" weapons are my absolute favourite special weapons in terms of looking cool and effectiveness in the game, the plasma gun still offers plenty of punch, and looks pretty neat.  Even better, the 8th edition of the rules has done away with the infinitely moronic "gets hot" rules, so you don't need to worry about three or four models from this unit becoming casualties in the game simply because they fired their own weapons. 

Ready to eliminate loyalists and/or eye-witnesses...
This group will join another set of five similar models painting back during Curt's most recent Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge to make a full 10-man tactical support squad. The Alpha Legion forces continue to grow...alpha to omega!

Up next - some Terminators!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Alpha Legion Praetor

Hello - my name is...Alpharius...?
 Some more meandering painting progress from the lake.  This is a Praetor from the Alpha Legion, building on the command figures I painted a few weeks ago. Most 30k gamers will recognize the figure as the plastic Ultramarines command model from GW's "Betrayal at Calth" box set. I was not crazy about this model, but since I have accumulated a couple of those boxes, and I thought I would try putting at least one of them to use on the table.  I don't have any Ultramarines on the go at present, so I decided I would paint him up in the colours of the XX Legion, the Alphas.

Chain fist for...solving problems...yes, that's it..

The figure is sporting Cataphractii terminator armour, carrying a fancy "combi-weapon" that is both bolt gun and melta gun, as well as a nutty chain fist for that more up close and personal work 30k Legion commanders are expected to handle.

The decals from Forge World really came in handy on this figure

As I said I was not crazy about this figure. For starters, Space Marines should wear their helmets - it's dangerous out there! And there is something about the sideways angle of the pose that is at odds with the ominous armour and big guns.  Seriously, when you are that big and well-protected, just turn around and face whatever it is, and shoot it!

Whacky cloak? Of course! It's 30k, after all...

On the plus side, the ornate details on the armour are nicely done, implying a higher rank without anything too over-the-top, and providing a lot of spots for decals and Legion icons, allowing you to customize the figure to the Legion of your choice (assuming you don't wish to be painting the lame dopes of the XIII Legion).

More view of the real-estate on the armour for the decals from Forge World
The side-angled focus of the pose is not my thing, but he is certainly looking dramatic overall, what with the cape and the fancy weapons. Based on the practices of the XX Legion, I think we can assume this fellow's name is...Alpharius?

Up next, some more grunts for the XX Legion...

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Infinity... and beyond!

For my last game in Winnipeg, Byron treated me with an introductory game of Infinity. I have read a few battle reports on this blog and I was intrigued by the game system. Furthermore, I am myself a big fan of Japanese anime and the game is obviously inspired by shows like Bubblegum Crisis, Appleseed, Ghost in the Shell, or Blame. So reasons were many to try this game.

Byron set up a cool urban terrain with buildings he made. Games are usually played on a 4' x 4' area, but this one was a bit smaller.

For the first basic scenario, we both had three basic troopers. I set up one of my guys on the roof providing cover fire to his buddies moving forward. Everything just felt right.

Here is a ground view of the battlefield. The game is only three turns, but there is always lots of action. While one player makes his units execute orders, the other player must be attentive for any opportunity for reaction fire.

For the next scenario, I took command of a Panocean squad which included three regular trooper, one elite, one sniper, one close combat specialist and one commando. All these figurines were masterfully painted by Byron.

The objective was to claim the central building by being the last and only side standing on the roof. One security guard had to be "pacified" in the process.

Panocean troopers looking over the buildings at the 500' enemy commander.

The game uses "real" line of sight. So the little guy in the red circle could shoot at my guy in the foreground.

Troops supporting each other, getting ready to advance into the building.

We played three games in about 3.5 hours, and each scenario was providing the right feeling about fighting on the street with fire weapons, as well as a good dose of anime cinematic. All-in-all, it was very fun and I am even considering collecting a faction. But for sure I will be looking forward to play Infinity again and come back to Winnipeg next year for more discoveries and fun.

Thanks again to Byron for a great opportunity to try a new game that I truly appreciated.