Monday, 15 December 2014

Stryker 2 and 3

There are few casters in the Warmachine setting that have more impressive models than Stryker version 3.

This guy is brand new for me, and I still haven't got to put him on the table yet. But I can't wait.

There is something about a cavalry caster that just has that extra bit of grandeur and gravitas that other casters are lacking. 

The assembly of this model is a right pain, and I strongly advise anyone putting him together to glue to bottom of the banner to the side of the horse.

You might also notice that I left of the decorative plates from the side of his horse. Personally, I thought they were clunky and overkill and I think he looks better without them.

This was also an interesting activity of painting two versions of the same caster in parallel. 

I tried to have the colour schemes very close and hopefully i suceeded. Stryker2 is another new model for me, it's pretty awesome to have a whole bunch of new casters and new options to play and I think both these guys will be fun.

In addition to these two casters, I have also finished off my Sword Knights and their UA. These are the first metallic models that I have mostly painted using an airbrush. The gold, for the most part, is all air brushed and has turned out reasonably well. The PP liquid pigment metallics actually work well in the brush, so bravo PP.
10 more down, still many many models to go :( 

Monday, 8 December 2014

Nemo, Laddermore and Jakes - Cygnar update

A quick update on my ongoing quest to paint "ALL THE CYGNARS!"

And this time, it's a bunch of new models I have never got to try out on the battlefield yet.

First up, the original grumpy old man, NEMO the first.

I painted him in exactlt he same style as the Nemo2 i've laready done. And frankly, there isn't a huge amount of difference between the 3 different Nemos. All of them are old dudes, with the same hair, holding different energy staves. 

Nemo2 has been a favourite caster of mine, and I am looking forward to giving prime a real go. I think he has some game, and anyone who can assign 5 focus to a stormwall has to have something going for them. 

Jakes was a nice simple paint scheme, although, by accident, i've managed to give her a seriously bitchy face. 

I'm actually playing through the Warmachine computer game campaign at the moment, and if Jakes ends up remote as cool as she does in that game, she will be an awesome caster to play. (Field marshall - sprint for starters!)

My first game with Jakes will probably be the upcoming "tiers mandatory" tournament i'm playing in, which will have her working with Siege and a few other journeymen. 

She looks fun, and her figure is a nice female sculpt. My partner saw her and went "this girl better be badass, because she looks badass", she was slightly disappointed to find out she was a badass in training.  

And finally, Laddermore. I really wish she wasn't 5 points, I really do. 

I mean, she is an awesome figure, and give's bonuses to Stormlances which are already pretty awesome..... but 5 points for one model is still a big investment.

She's yet to hit the table, despite me running a load of cavalry recently. In a 50 point list, i may have to include her, but at 35, she just hasn't fit in yet.

Oh, i love how her cloak turned out, yellow is such a bastard to paint but it works here. 

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Darius Conversion - Or how i rid myself of Toilet man!

Ok, first off, I haven't got to use Darius in battle yet, so I don't really have anything to say about him asides from "theory-machine". He looks like he could be a blast with loads of jacks, but i'll wait to see how he goes before saying more. 

So i'm not going to talk about anything other than the conversion. And Boy, was this a big job. 

There is a load of green stuff on this model, as well as parts from an 90's era Chaos Dreadnought from an army I started making but never finished (I think i had the total of 1 lord, 2 tactical squads, some noise marines and a dready)

Anyway. I chopped Darius to pieces with brute force. I really wish i had a good file so i could have trimmed him up better, there are still so many uneven bits on him.

The body was turn around and modeled onto the dreadnought legs. Now I actually spit the dready legs, because the whole lower body was too wide for the base, and it would have given him too much of a "here is my crotch" stance.

Green stuff has been applied over the skulls and whatnot on the shins, to give it a more "cygnar" look as well. 

The head is off.... triumph I believe. 

The cannon was chopped off and remounted on the arm, while the spanner got added to the servo rig on the top. That's two old dreadnought smoke stacks acting as the servo arm. 

I initially tried having the hammer operating on the servo-arm, but it made the model too lop-sided and it just didn't work. So i ended up moving the hammer to his left hand.

Now i'm not wild about this conversion, it has many many flaws, but boy..... do I loathe the original model.

Oh, if your unfamiliar with it, here it is. 

Gross toilet man is gross. 

Oh, and bonus pic of his little helped "halfjacks" done in the simplest way possible. Shadowed undercoat + metal + ink wash. Done!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Tales of Heresy - A Horus Heresy short story review

Well, it’s been roughly an ice age since I wrote a book review, and here is why.

Battle for the Abyss again killed my will to read. It’s such a diabolical awful book that my enthusiasm for the project wen’t up in smoke, I limped through Mechanicum, but then I just couldn’t stick with it.

However, recently I picked up Tales of Heresy and re-read it. This review will be a little different as Tales of Heresy is a short story compilation, so I can’t really use the established format. So instead, I’m going to talk about each story briefly,
And remember, spoilers abound in these reviews. If you don’t want spoilers, go elsewhere.

Blood Games

Starting off with Dan Abnett is a good move, the man can simply write well. This story starts out incredibly strongly with a compelling narrative of some super-powered assassin dude sneaking into the imperial palace on Terra to try to attack the Emperor. It’s really tightly written and really tense and the reveal that it’s one of the Emperor’s bodyguards doing a test run on the security is excellent.

I love the concept. And it’s great to see a little more about the Adeptus Custodes, as in the 40k universe, these guys are pretty much stuck in one room doing not a lot. In 30k however, they are the super-secret service.

The second half of the story, investigating corruption on Terra is less interesting. But it’s still an insight into the custodes role as counter intelligence operatives with the Emperor’s safety as paramount. I like that Abnett explores politics and intrigue on Terra, as previously it has always felt as though terra was 100% behind the Emperor.

All in all, a great short story, but the first half is so good it makes the rest of the story feel a little flat.

Wolf at the Door

I really liked this story, and here are the reasons.

  •          The Space Wolves in the story weren’t caricatures of Norse beserkers, they felt like soldiers first, and Nordic heroes second, which was nice for me as I’ve always found the Space Wolves a little “one-note” in that regard (see Battle for the Abyss). They suffer, they struggle, and in the end they fight a good fight for all the right reasons (from an imperial point of view)
  •          The Dark Eldar make a nice change of pace as a villain in the 30k setting. It’s easy to forget, that with the heresy and chaos going on, that the good old Dark elder are still out there pillaging planets and turning farmers into hood ornaments. They are such a cartoonishly evil bad guy group, but it works for the story quite well.
  •          The locals have an interesting story, and it’s a sad “Morlocks and Eloi” story. Centuries of constant predation from the Dark Eldar have made them docile and cowardly, and it’s understandable if you’ve had your ass kicked ten thousand times that it’s best just to roll up and hope for the best. But they find their steel and mettle through the example given by the Space Wolves. Which leads to….
  •          The finale, the wonderfully written final page. Where, after finding their spirit to fight, they refuse compliance. At which the Space Wolves immediately turn from liberators into conquerors. It wonderfully demonstrates the single-mindedness of the Crusade and the soldiers fighting it.

Mike Lee does some good work here, and I have a much more favourable impression of this story compared to his Dark Angels work.

Scions of the Storm

First Heretic is a compelling story about a devoted son whose love for his father is turned to hate when his affections are rejected. It’s a compelling story about a complicated character, it is everything Scions of the Storm is not.

Ok, so it’s a short story, but it’s the second time the Word Bearers feature prominently in a Horus heresy book (after Battle for the Abyss) and they are still cartoon villians, and not in a good way.  

This is a weak story, and it covers ground that will be explored a lot better in first heretic. In short, it’s a story that adds very little material, and doesn't do a good job of showing its characters. It’s 80% action scenes and the dramatic reveal material seems rushed and ham-fisted.

This brings me to an important point about Heresy short stories. I believe they should explored non-central elements to the story, they should look at the side stories, and give extra depth and breadth to the overall Horus heresy story. Scions of the Storm fails to do this, as it treads over the same ground that will be explored in much more detail and depth in First Heretic.

You can really skip this story without losing anything.

The Voice

So, I just said that short stories should explore side characters and work to improve the depth and breadth of the setting.

The Voice is a perfect example of this mentality and is a great short story. It focuses in on the Sisters of Silence, an order of psychically negative nuns who run the Black Ships that capture, contain and transport rogue psykers.

It’s an Event Horizon style story. A black ship has gone missing in the warp and a group of sisters is sent to investigate the horrors within. The exploration is told in a tight, claustrophobic style that clearly conveys just how crazy and horrific the final moments of the original crew were.

The sisters themselves are given more depth and the nature of their order, their role in society, and the interesting foibles of a silent battle order are well covered.

The finale is a singular moment, and, while this story seems to have limited impact on the overall plot of Horus heresy it covers two major themes, the increasing religiousness of the Imperium towards the Emperor, and the willful disregard of warnings to that effect.

Just a good story, I’m glad the sisters got more screentime.

Call of the Lion


This is another pretty pointless story, so let me sum it up for you quickly.

The Dark Angels have an internal conflict, from those who were with the Lion on Calaban, and those who were part of the Legion beforehand from Terra.

The two characters in this story represent those factions, and the young turk from Calaban is a toolbox and the old guard Terran is a fuddy duddy.

That’s about the story. They go to do a compliance, the Terran want’s a peaceful approach, the Calaban undermines him and slaughter occurs. The end.
Seriously, this is a nothing story that adds nothing to the mix. Such a waste

Oh, so it turns out the Terran is a minor character in "Fallen angels", so this is the origin story for a bit part in the next book. Cool.....  

The last Church

Boy, am I conflicted about this story…. But that’s a good thing.

You see, it’s a really clever story that deals with matters of faith and fact. It’s told in the form of an exchange between the last priest on earth and , what appears to be the guy from the Imperial bureaucracy who is shutting down all the churches.

Now, with any discussion of maters of faith things get a bit tricky. But what I found interesting, as an atheist, was that I was pulling for the Priest and thought the bureaucrat was a smug self-righteous douche the whole time. He comes across as that sort of “internet atheist” that gives atheists a bad name by telling faithful people they are childish and infantile. And the priest is such a wonderfully flawed man, a man whose faith actually has made him a better person.

Of course, the reveal is that the man investigating the Church is the Emperor and that the miracle that inspired the Priest was just the Emperor using his awesome psychic powers. This still doesn’t shatter the Priests faith though, what destroys his faith is that the Emperor is a giant douche.

The Emperor wanks on about how religion has done X and Y evils, and then says “Oh yeah, I’m making an army of super soldiers to conquer the galaxy and anyone who gets in my way will get spanked”. The priest rightly calls him an autocratic douche who will damn humanity.

Yep, Priest guy is right.

Great story, Uriah the priest is a great character and I think the Emperor is at maximum douche here. He’s just a complete cockbag.

After Desh’ea

Speaking of the Emperor being a giant douche, after Desh’ea is a story about what might be his single worst move in the whole Horus Heresy (ok, he make millions of bad moves, but this is a big one)

A good short story focuses on a tight group of characters, and like “the last church” this is really just the interaction of two characters around one major narrative. It’s Angron and Kharn, meeting for the first time after the Emperor teleported him away from his army on Desh’ea and left him with “the war hounds” (The world eaters original name), without telling him who he was or what had happened.

Angron is a mess, a broken confused and enraged man who has just lost everything and does not know why. Kharn has the unenviable task of trying to talk the single most dangerous killing machine in the galaxy down and explain to him who he is, and what has happened.

It’s a tall order and the story is told extremely well, you can’t help but feel for Angron. He’s been through so much, and if the Emperor had just taken some time with him, he may not have butchered half his new command staff.

The portrayal of Kharn is also great, a loyal, yet level-headed solider who is bound by oaths and loyalty, having to do the impossible task of reasoning with his insane Primarch. It set’s him up for his own books later, and I must say that Kharn is the single biggest surprise of the whole Horus Heresy. Many other characters who become villians in 40k have been presented as thin one-dimensional hacks (Abaddon, Lucius, Bile), but Kharn is a deep character with convictions and conflict. I love how he has been treated (asides from Ben Counters treatment in Book 3, but Ben Counter sucks)

The final word on this story though, is the first word. The Emperor, what a douche.


5 good stories and 2 forgettable ones, this is certainly a short story compilation worth picking up.

3/5 recommended reading if you are reading the series.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Jeremiah Kraye - What Warmachine casters should aspire to

In my opinion, Jeremiah Kraye epitomizes what Warmachine casters should do.

It's not because he is powerful, or game breaking, it is for one simple reason.

He changes how the game is played and how you build your lists completely. 

No one plays like Kraye, he has a truly unique feel and set of rules. And that is mostly from his Iron Horse rule that turns all warjacks into cavalry. 

Now I get that not all casters can have such a dynamic change to the rules, but I love Kraye for this reason. Some casters feel a little "generic", but I never feel that with Kraye. 

One of the things I love about Warmachine is how your caster selection changes your game plan. And there are few examples of a caster that does this more than Kraye. 

His spell list supports a lot of move and maneuver tactics, as well as straight down your throat threat.

Light jacks get a light cavalry move of 5" after that activate. This adds in a load of funky "move, shoot, move" options that few others can replicate.

Hunters become even more annoying with this, and minutemen get off the hook with advance, jump pack and light cavalry moves. 

Add in "full tilt" a spell that doubles a warjacks speed if they don't shoot and the ability to give all jacks pathfinder and you have some CRAZY movement potential. 

(Watch you opponent have sad face when you move a minuteman 12" as an advance, and then jump pack into his character unit and kill them with flak field. Poor poor black frost shard thought they were safe behind that forest)

Heavy jacks also get ride-by-attack, which allows them to move, attack, and continue moving. They also get mount attacks and a cavalry charge bonus. I'm yet to pull off the "cyclone ride-by double-handed throw", but I love that it's an option.  

All these bonus mean you have to relearn to play with Kraye, and he is an exceptionally fun caster to play. 

I run him light on infantry and use focus easy jacks (and stormwall). 

The current list I use has Stormwall, multiple hunters and Sentinels, a minuteman and rangers. 
It can put out an insane number of boosted shots to clean up infantry, and a Full tilted Collosal is a scary threat on his feat turn (17" threat, charge for free, boosted melee attacks, 5 pow 20 fists roll 6+3d6)

Sure, he may not win all the games like an eHaley, but he's normally a lot more fun to play.  

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Triumph - The jack nobody seems to love

My Triumph conversion was a nice simple one. I used my old school defender for the chassis and used my clippers to remove the old shock hammer and some green stuff to help secure the shield.

I have two magnetized heavy jack kits on the ironclad chassis, so this old fulla was only ever seeing play when i was fielding 3 of Ironclad, Cyclone & Defender. Which is not too often, so i figured he would be worth sacrificing. 

Also, I like that he's an old school jack. It makes Triumph that much more characterful. 

To say Triumph is an ugly duckling is an overstatement. I can't think of any model in the Cygnar range that has met with as much derision or contempt as Triumph.

Now, i'm not going to say that it's undeserved and that he's actually a top level model. I will say , he's not that bad. (he's not that good either)

My biggest gripe is cost. 11 points is a very very expensive Warjack. For that investment, you want something that is exceptional. Triumph just isn't worth it in his current state. 

Many people say he's worse than a Defender. I think that's a bit silly. Yes, he has a shield instead of a Shock Hammer, but the number of times that Shock hammer has been useful to me is pretty low. Let's just say, if i'm using the hammer in melee, i'm probably about to lose anyway.

Defenders have always been about a range 16, double boosted power 15 attack. It's all about the long barrel. 

To improve on a defender, Triumph has arcane precision, two more armour, the ability to make his attacks AOE, but loses the Shock hammer.

To me, that's a very good trade off...... if you didn't pay two points for it.

If I could tweak him, it would be to drop his points to 10 and/or add "shield guard". 

That would be enough to warrant spending the extra points to take him, and he would fill a valuable role in a force. He would be the "anti-Eiryss", the warjack that keeps squishy casters safe, while still throwing out long range support and picking off troublesome solos and UA's. 

As it stands, he can do that now, less effectively without shield guard, but 11 points is a serious commitment for a force.

Poor triumph, I try to love you.......

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Operation Cygnar - I will paint every model in the collection

I have set myself the goal of finishing off the Cygnar Warmachine army, in it's totality, by the end of January 2015. The picture below is most of what i have left to paint (missing are 3 light jacks, Triumph and Laddermore who are either in the post, or mostly done.)

Now some of these are duplicates, but the goal is to have every single currently available model for Cygnar painted. Excluded are Sturgis, Dynamo and the caster resculpts. Oh, and all the mercenaries.... that's next years task. 

Here is the checklist
  • Caine1
  • Nemo1
  • Nemo3 and Finch
  • Stryker2
  • Stryker 3
  • Darius and Halfjacks (you can see the conversion i made in the top left)
  • Thunderhead
  • Triumph
  • 3 Chargers
  • 2 Fireflys
  • 2 Sentinels
  • Cygnar Heavy (Centurion, Hammersmith, Avenger)
  • Hunter
  • Storm Tower
  • Stormcallers
  • Sword Knights
  • Silverline stormguard
  • Runewood
  • Laddermore
  • Allison Jakes
  • Journeyman caster (male)
In addition, I will aim to finish off the mercs I have on hand
  • Eiryss 1 &2
  • Ragman
  • Gorman

It's a big job, and I will be posting updates as I go along. Once I am complete, I will do an epic photoshoot of the whole army deployed. Should be great. 

PS. This is what I have already painted

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