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Friday, July 27, 2018

Examining a Movie: Day of the Dead

Hey there my friendly neighborhood warp entities! Old Man Chaos is back in action just as I promised.

Almost a year ago, we learned of the passing of George A. Romero. While he was 77 years old and had lived a full life, I was very saddened when I saw it on my phone. If you have read this blog a bit you'll have noticed that Romero's dead films have a special place in my heart. Heck- my Plague Marines and Plague Zombies draw a lot of inspiration from those films!

I was lucky enough to have met Romero once. It was at NY Big Apple Convention at the Hotel Pennsylvania. This was I think in either fall 2005 or 2006 (I can't quite remember). Now this was before "Comicon" became the huge draw. There were plenty of smaller cons then (and now, but Comicon is obviously just huge). At any rate, George Romero was signing autographs. Naturally, I knew exactly what I wanted him to sign- a mini poster for Dawn of the Dead. When I finally got up to him I couldn't believe how tall he was. He was also very friendly and laid back. As he signed my poster I sheepishly asked him if there was going to be another Dead film after Land of the Dead (a film that I like quite a bit actually). He smiled and said something akin to "we shall see what happens". Now, he must have been asked that question 10 million times by every film and horror geek out there. But at no time did he show that. He was a friendly gentleman. Period.

Later in the Con, my brother and our friend Pete went outside to have a hot dogs and soda. While we were out there, Romero came out all by himself for a smoke. I wanted to go over and say "hey" but Pete was like "Let the man smoke in peace". Pete was right and so I left him alone. But it was awesome nevertheless.

The autographed mini poster is one of my most prized possessions. No, it has no certificate of authenticity. It is not numbered. Nor is it an original poster or something. None of that matters. This is special to me. It is now occupies a central place in my man-cave.

A while back, I did reviews of both NotLD and DotD, both as films and their interesting reflections on the times in which they were made. NotLD stands not just as a zombie film, but as a reflection of the uncertainties of a changing world (the 1960s), while DotD is a satire of our media and consumer obsessed society (the 1970s). It is those things for me that elevate the films beyond simple horror films. They have larger things to say about both history and the human condition. That makes them timeless.

After I watched Dawn of the Dead, I immediately sought out Day of the Dead on VHS. And immediately, I was disappointed. I really didn't like the film all that much. The movie lacked both the originality and action of the first two films. I recall watching it, hearing a lot of yelling and indiscriminate cursing, a fairly blood soaked finale, and then... a stupid ending. At the time, it was bland in comparison to the two that came before.

That was years ago, while I was in college. But of course, as one gets older, things change. A refined movie-viewing palette develops. New experiences and knowledge. Perhaps a growing amount of cynicism. But several years later when I revisited it I discovered that it was actually a powerful ending to the trilogy. Now some fans say Day is the best. I won't go that far. NotLD and DotD are superior films. But Day has a lot to offer, again about the human condition and the time period in which it was filmed. In previous reviews I went all out reviewing every nook and cranny of the movies. I won't do a beat for beat review here. Instead, I'll focus on some of the larger points that are threaded throughout the film and the trilogy as a whole.

Reaganism and the 1980s

Like the other two Dead films, this movie is an attempt at reflecting the times Romero was living in. This one is a bit different though, as it was made in the middle of the decade rather than at the end of a decade (which means he's commenting on things unfinished as it were). What exactly is he commenting on?

Well, in the 1960s America was going through a variety of identity crises- we were a changing nation in the 1960s, and NOTLD reflected the uncertainties of those changes. The 1970s saw America become helpless- ending of Vietnam, Watergate, Oil Crisis, etc. It also saw America become a lot more pessimistic and cynical.

The year 1980 became a bit of a turning point for America. The serious, though flailing, Jimmy Carter ran against Ronald Reagan, a Hollywood actor turned politician, promising to restore America via conservative programs. Reagan promised he would cut government spending, whilst increasing the size and power of the military. Trust Reagan, and he would solve the problems. Obviously, Reagan won that election.

At that point, "Reaganism" swept America. Liberals held Reagan in disdain, but also felt his vision was both flawed and dangerous. As Reagan increased the size of the armed forces, some Americans and Western Europeans alike thought he would unleash World War 3- massive protests were held in both America and Europe when Reagan wanted to deploy new missile systems in Europe. His rhetoric was also incendiary, calling the Soviet Union the Evil Empire. Finally (and importantly for this film), Reagan called upon scientists to create better (defensive?) weapons, such as the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI- popularly known as Star Wars).

But Reagan's pro-military stance did more than that. It permeated American culture. American films became more violent, more "gung-ho", if you will. Rambo was a popular hero, taking us back to Vietnam and "winning" it retroactively. On TV, cartoons such as G.I. Joe promoted both America's military and the idea that shooting is the answer to any problem. Jingoism was omnipresent in American pop culture.

This is the world of Romero that he is commenting upon in Day of the Dead. A small group of soldiers and scientists have been ordered to solve the "zombie problem". The soldiers are certain of their guns alright; however they are callous, crude, etc. Obviously Romero is criticizing Reagan militarism- for Rhodes, Steel, etc., shooting is the answer to the problem. The scientists don't escape Romero's criticism either, as embodied by the rather amoral but brilliant Dr. Logan. It is clear that Romero thinks that Reaganism isn't going to solve anything, but rather, make it all worse. Neither the soldiers nor the scientists can get us out of this jam, despite what Reagan says. Humanity's days are numbered, and not all the bullets in the world are going to change that.

Is It Just Me or Is Everybody Crazy?

Something that escaped me on first viewing but is now something obvious is that every single character but one is crazy. Yep. Batshit insane. All but one. This is what makes the film difficult to watch, as opposed to the previous Dead films. The world is effectively over- Zombies outnumber humanity by the hundreds of thousands to one. There is simply nothing left. All that's left of humanity might well be in that missile base. That the base is filled with trigger happy soldiers and oblivious scientists make it all the sadder and more pathetic.

As I said, the film must be understood from that point of view. Humanity is dead and the few stragglers are simply crazy. How could they not be? After all of this, how could they not be unhinged? Let's look at Rhodes for example. The death of his superior has put him in charge. Rhodes screams, he threatens, he yells, waves his gun, even at the most innocuous of things. If the zombie apoc hadn't happened he'd be a military prick blowhard. But since all went to hell, Rhodes is just about shattered, and it clearly shows.

Naturally, Dr. Logan (AKA Frankenstein) has also seen better days. It is obvious he is a smart man, but has lost touch with reality. He wants to understand the zombie problem- but at this stage what's the point? He is interested in their memories, and hopes to domesticate them, zombies like Bub. It doesn't seem to register that feeding Bub parts of dead soldiers might be a bad idea for many reasons. Nor does it register that there is no chance of actually solving the problem. Logan just seems interested in his macabre experiments, nothing more or less.

What about John, the chopper pilot? He seems sane on the surface, and he understands that there is no solving the zombie plague. His answer is that they should all forget the past (keep it buried in the silo he basically says) and just live their lives on an island some where How can one do that in the midst of hell on earth I'm not sure- hence I think John isn't too tightly wound either. His belief that the zombie plague is God's punishment against man doesn't make him sound any saner.

Surely the heroine and main character, Sarah, is sane. Again, on the surface she appears to be, but again this is not true. Sarah as it turns out truly believes that a solution can be found. That there is a way to reverse the effects of the zombie plague. She puts up with both Rhodes and Logan, hoping that a cure will be found. Despite her skills and demeanor, she is crazy if she really expects to end this. Her hallucinations/dreams show that she is falling apart as well.

No, the only sane character left in the entirety of the base is McDermott. Why? Because his solution is to drink booze. He is always wanting a drink from his flask throughout the film. He stays with John because he's the least insane and is a capable fighter (to protect McDermott). But the booze helps him cope with the situation- I think that's a rational response LOL. And if this lush is all humanity has left then you can appreciate Romero's sick sense of humor.

Is That Really The End?

One of the things that bugged me was that, once again, our main characters escape by helicopter, this time to a sunny island and Sarah, McDermott, and John live happily ever after. Night's ending was nihilistic, with all the main characters dead. Dawn's wasn't much better- they leave on a helicopter without much fuel left- they won't be getting too far. But this ending seems false- we leave it all behind just like John says and they're all OK?

Perhaps the ending IS false. As you will have noted, Sarah has been plagued by nightmares the whole time, earlier in the film. At the end, just before she gets into the helicopter, a zombie jumps out at her and then... she awakens on that beach. Suppose the zombie really did get her, and this last dream of a happily ever after is just that. It's not real. Her irrational mind is trying one last defense against the inescapable. If that is true, perhaps no one makes it out of that base after all. I do not know what Romero intended, but my hypothesis makes it fit better with Romero's other endings. (It still bugs me though).

At any rate, thus ends Romero's original Dead trilogy. Now he's gone on to make a few more Dead films, but they are all weaker efforts- even Land of the Dead, which I do enjoy, is not on the same level as these three. No contest. However, these three are secure, having originated a genre of film whose power today is undeniable. But it wasn't just blood and guts that made Romero's films. It was the subtext, the combination of real world issues in this apocalyptic setting that makes Romero's films worthy of being called "great". Day of the Dead, though not as strong as the previous two, continued that trend, if in a rather bleak and even more hopeless way (despite its "happy" ending). These three films are commentaries on the times in which they were made, and that makes them all the more unique and special.

Monday, July 23, 2018

In (Partial) Defense of The Last Jedi

Hello once again Chaos fanatics. Welcome back to another red hot edition of Chaos Corner. Sadly, I have no new 40K models for show today (and probably not for a while yet). So I have decided to do a bit of a rhetorical exercise, a "partial" defense of Star Wars The Last Jedi (TLJ). So away we go...

When my wife and I saw TLJ last December, my initial feelings could best be described as "underwhelmed". Not quite disappointed, but certainly not as thrilled as I was when I walked out of The Force Awakens. My wife and I saw it again and I appreciated it more, but the flaws of the film bugged me more as well.

There are some things about TLJ that are pretty bad. The Canto Bight thing is totally shoe-horned in there, at the expense of pacing, but worse, at the expense of ALL logic (if Finn's ship could go to hyperspace to GET TO that casino planet, why couldn't Leia and the others escape like that, or each ship goes to a different destination so Hux can't follow/trace them all, etc.). Sadly, Finn and Rose are wasted on this rather boring subplot. Furthermore, while I liked Poe's growth (what it means to truly lead), it came at a silly cost (why didn't Holdo just tell everyone the plan? This plot point would have worked better if they found out there was a spy aboard or something to make Holdo keep tight lipped about it, whilst making Poe paranoid and rash). I was thrilled to know that Leia could use the force, but floating through space was a bit much (and the effects looked too much like a similar scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1 for my tastes). Truth be told, Carrie Fisher's performance is one of the highlights of TLJ ("Dead heroes, but no leaders"), however her floating scene just doesn't sit right with me even now.

Despite those flaws, there are 3 huge positives- Kylo Ren, Ray, and of course, Luke himself.

Let's start with Rey. Some call her a "Mary Sue" for wielding the Force like a pro with absolutely zero training. I would agree, EXCEPT Luke did the same thing in ANH. What? Let's be honest, he knew Obi Wan for like 5 minutes but was suddenly able to use the Force to guide the shot blowing up the Death Star. Later, he trains with Yoda for like a week or something- hardly a lengthy curriculum. So there's that. Hence I discount "Mary Sue" when it comes to Rey.

Despite that debate, what I found compelling about Rey this time out is her search for "her place" (just as Kylo Ren is also seeking his place, more on that later). She is looking to Luke to help her find her place, who she is, why she can do what she can do, etc. Sadly, Luke has no answers for her. Now, this is where the filmmakers pull a doozy- Rey isn't a Skywalker. Or a Kenobi (stupid fan theory). Or anyone in particular. She is a nobody, coming from poor deadbeat parents from Jakku. This does two things: first, you don't have to be a Skywalker to wield the Force; second, its a great contrast to Kylo Ren, who was born in privilege (a Skywalker, son of the Rebellion's greatest heroes, etc). She has nothing but is intrinsically good, whilst he is born with everything and is simply bad. The fact that she is a nobody makes her relatable, and while it is a little sad, it is very realistic (after all, the characters cant all be related, right? Its a bigger galaxy than that). This is one thing I hope they don't "undo" for Episode 9.

Then there's Kylo Ren's equally complicated story arc. Kylo Ren starts the film being chastised and belittled by Snoke- Ren is told that he is "just a child in a mask", hardly the next Darth Vader. Thus, Ren begins to question all that he has done. He destroys his own mask in a fit of impotent rage, and it is clear he is filled with anger, and a lot of doubt (Snoke calling Hux a rabid "cur" certainly applies equally to Ren, and he knows it). Have all of his decisions led him to this? Surely he must be greater than this?

In Ren's next scene, when he is flying toward Leia's ship, he hesitates to shoot the bridge, knowing his mother is on board; again he doubts, just as he felt doubt in killing his father Han Solo. When the other First Order ship blows up the bridge instead, to Ren, Leia is dead. I think that several critics missed that idea- HE thinks Leia is dead, and thus his past is just about dead as well. It is time for him to bury the past (even though he will always be obsessed with it) and forge his own path to greatness. There is nothing- no love, no sentimentality- to hold him back.

Even though a lot of people complain about it, Ren's murder of Snoke fits Ren's arc perfectly. He must get out from under Snoke's shadow, and in doing so does something that even Vader could not do- he becomes the head of his new Empire (or whatever you want to call the First Order at this point). Thus Ren has surpassed the past, even as he claimed to "kill" it. Ren is now the number one threat to the galaxy, his greatness fully achieved. All he must do is get rid of the stragglers of the Resistance (he thinks his mother is dead, so he will feel no hesitation) and he will have achieved it all.

But, his anger and his (continued) obsession with the past blinds him when Luke confronts him. Ren lets his rage blind him to what Luke is doing (more on that in a bit). When that "confrontation" is over, Ren heads inside the old rebel base and finds- Han Solo's dice (another Force projection). Again, something that I bet a lot of viewers miss- by seeing those dice, Ren must surely realize that his mother was there, still alive! Imagine how he must be reeling knowing that he just missed his mother, that his past isn't as dead as he thought. (Sadly, the audience knew that Carrie Fisher died and the Ren/Leia confrontation will never happen. But think about it as if that wasn't the case... )

Finally, this brings us to Luke Skywalker himself. After RotJ, one would have expected everyone to have a happy ending. However, TFA shows that there is still no peace in the galaxy. None of our characters had a "happily ever after". What makes everyone think Luke would have? Whatever happened, he blamed himself and left everything behind. That was all we knew from TFA. We find out, more than we bargained for, in TLJ.

People have had enormous problems with Luke's behavior. First, some have said he was made cowardly by going away and hiding. I don't think I need to remind anyone that Obi Wan and Yoda both went into hiding, waiting for years before getting involved again. Luke is just following a Jedi tradition, if you will. I have no issue here.

Luke is obviously reluctant to jump in again, and tells Rey to "go away". His argument is VERY logical- would he jump out with his "laser sword" and fight the whole First Army war machine singlehandedly whilst blindfolded and jumping through the air? It is unrealistic for many reasons. But, as Luke's story unfolds, there are other, more personal reasons to not get involved.

Luke has many reasons to doubt the Jedi, his father, and himself in terms of their galactic legacy. He makes the case that the prequels tried to make (but couldn't quite figure out how)- that the Jedi, whatever their intentions, had become part of the problem. Subsequently, they have become romanticized figures, but Luke, knowing the truth of it, feels they are not nearly so worthy of veneration. "Failure" is their legacy, Luke says. Is he really wrong?

Finally, the issue that has divided the fanbase ever since- Luke's reaction to the growing power of Ben Solo. During his time training with Ben, Luke feels the darkness stirring within the young man, and, for the briefest of moments, contemplates killing him. I think it is akin to killing a young Hitler- do you kill an innocent child for the evil he may do one day? Luke can see that his nephew is enamored by tales of GrandpaVader (never thought I'd write that), and that he will travel down that path, ruining everything Luke and Leia accomplished. Who could stand aside and LET that happen? Surely such a scenario is a trap of the Dark Side of the force.

He is TEMPTED, but doesn't succumb to that trap. To those fans who say this is a poor way to handle Luke, I have two responses. First, Luke was sorely tempted to kill Vader in ROTJ. Look at the end battle of ROTJ- Luke is enraged, and violently hacks his father's hand off. Luke is certainly about to perform the death blow, but stops just short of the abyss. He will not do this- he will not murder. His actions toward Ben are similar. He is tempted, but doesn't commit the act- thus Luke is certainly consistant. Second, some say that he resisted the Dark Side in ROTJ, and thus shouldn't be so tempted again. Says who? Who said that its a one and done thing? Sure, Luke passed the test in ROTJ. But the future? The future is always in question. Temptation can rear its ugly head again, and no one, not even Luke, is a saint, forever perfect. Luke was tempted, didn't fall into it, but the damage was done. Or was Ben going to go bad no matter what, and this was just the convenient nudge? Truthfully it doesn't matter. Luke blames himself, rightly or wrongly, and runs away from everything.

Now here is what I consider the best part. Luke now realizes that he must learn from his failure and come back to the galaxy. But Luke has sworn to never wield a Lightsaber again. But Leia, the Resistance, and indeed "all hope" is about to be extinguished by Kylo Ren. Luke does something we have never seen a Jedi do- a realistic force projection of himself to Crait and the battlefield. Now, we have never seen a Jedi do that before- such is Luke's power. But the best part of this is- he doesn't actually fight. He turns Ren's rage against him, buying time for the Resistance to escape. Luke does this without bloodshed, without anger. In my opinion, Luke knows this will cost him his life, but the cause is the right one. Luke will save his sister, he will save "hope". Indeed, Luke's "fighting without fighting" is an action that FEELS so true to the Jedi principles, more true than any previous Jedi action in any of the films. Luke is using the force for "defense", not attack. Luke tricks the Dark Side, and saves the light without anger or violence. Luke's explanation to Ren gives me chills whenever I watch it "The rebellion is reborn today. The war is just beginning. And I will not be the last Jedi". Powerful stuff in my opinion.

There are many problems with TLJ. Pacing is a problem. The Canto Bight subplot is a problem. Some of the humor is a problem. However, I would argue that the main through line of Luke, Leia, Kylo Ren, and Rey is strong, worthy of the best of the Star Wars films. The trick is sifting through the weak stuff to get to the good stuff. In that way its like the Prequels, but unpredictable. I do not know where TLJ will ultimately fall in the pantheon of Star Wars. There is a lot of hate for it right now (some legitimate criticism, some just crazy). But there are defenders of it as well. Only time will tell, depending on how Episode 9 deals with this. Some hope that Ep 9 will reverse all of the big things that happened in Ep 8. I HOPE they double down- Rey is a nobody, Snoke is DEAD, Kylo Ren is the new Emperor, etc. Let this stuff have the opportunity to stick. It is worthwhile, and if Ep 9 can keep this while adding to it, this "sequel trilogy" will be successful.

PS- Carrie Fisher's untimely death certainly impacted how people viewed TLJ. IF she lived to be in Ep 9- the climax to 8 would be stronger in that Luke saves Leia for a future "confrontation" with her son. But, in real life we know she won't be in Ep 9, making Luke's act seem almost futile. Something to ponder...

Until next time...

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Old Man Chaos Where Have You Been????

Hello there once more Chaos fanatics. I know that I have been away for quite some time. You don't want excuses, so I'll give you the facts. My wife and I recently had a baby boy (well, she did the work and I got the co-credit LOL).

This is a brief post to let everyone know why I have been MIA. With summer around the corner I plan to blog when I can- as well as paint when I can, as well (Oh- how I want that new Knight).

I'll post again soon. I promise.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The New Great Unclean One

Hey there Chaos fanatics! Old Man Chaos is back with a new look at my finished Great Unclean One (just like the title says duh). Let's take a look...

How long I have waited for this model. I have been hoping for a plastic Great Unclean One since they did the plastic version of the Bloodthirster. While the 'Thirster was a tremendous re-envisioning of what came before, the GUO isn't nearly as radical a change. Indeed, his form is more of a natural evolution rather than a major overhaul.

My friend Joe says that he is unimpressed with it, as it looks not unlike the Forgeworld GUO (forgettting his daemon name at the moment). But to me that's the point. They all tend to look like Nurgle himself (check Nurglings... they look like micro GUOs). This model looks exactly how it should- boils, maggots, slimy tentacles, and of course huge open wounds. There is no mistaking what this model is.

I should also comment that the thing is as big as a house. While not the size of a Knight or something it will likely be the biggest single thing on an average battlefield. It is clear that he's "large and in charge" as it were. Certainly a sight to see in a game of 40K that's for sure.

For his skin, I sprayed him Death Guard Green then I did successive washes of Earthshade (heaver in some places than others). Then I highlighted some of the folds with Nurgling Green to make them stand out a bit. The boils I did with yellow and a wash of Earthshade over that to make them duller and dirtier looking.

The wounds / guts were outlined in flesh tones to make their edges stand out from the rest of the model. Then I painted the wounds with screamer pink and then some khorne red. Finally, on the muscles I added some brighter pink to differentiate the muscle strands a bit. The guts I decided to keep dark red, as it contrasts with the rest of the model. Naturally I put the Blood for the Blood God technical on, but used it sparingly.

The tentacles I decided to do purple. Purple and green go together nicely, so I figured why not. Speaking of, I made the GUO look the way I wanted- a big sword but with the sorcerer's (Rotigus') arm- I thought the dagger was stupid, and I just didn't want a flail. If I ever did another I'd do the bell- I like the idea, but since I'm only likely to have one I decided to go with my top choice.

Overall, a very impressive model. I am quite pleased with it. I was also pleased by my paint job. I still feel that my Bloodthirster is still my best. However, it is certainly clear that this thing is the leader of my hordes of Nurgle Daemons.

Though Joe is right about one thing- it is a bit bigger than the forgeworld GUO, but not by a lot. That means that I have two GUOs. I should make up a story about the "Brothers of Ruin" or something like that lol. I wonder how a game with two of these things would go...

Until next time...

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Plagueburst Crawler

Welcome back Chaos followers. I'm back pretty quick with another new addition to my army- the Plagueburst Crawler. This was my other Christmas present from my ever faithful and ever suffering wife (She puts up with my plastic crack habit! She has the patience of a saint).

I am very torn on the look of the Crawler. On the one hand, it is pretty unimaginative looking- it could be a slightly odd Imperial Guard tank. It is also supposed to be a Daemon vehicle, yet there is absolutely nothing Daemonic.

That being said, it is said that Mortarion had a hand in creating the Crawlers. It is deliberately NOT ostentatious because Mortarion is very straightforward and without adornment or embellishment. It is a slab with a mortar on it. Yep- Mortarion would approve.

Well, there is no "Chaos" adornment, so naturally I had to add something. So I did. I placed some "growths" on the tank using green stuff. I also placed Chaos Spawn tentacles in the mortar cannon- it looks like the cannon launches slimey things at the enemy.

Paint scheme is what I've been doing with all of my Drones. Death Guard green with wash of Earthshade. I highlighted with Nurling Green on the raised edges, etc. Some of the metal I did with Balthazar Gold. The rusty metals I did with Leadbelcher with spots of Ryza Rust and yet again more Earthshade. The tentacles I did with Screamer Pink with violet wash over it, giving it that deep look.

It terms of in game play, the Crawler is fairly good but it has a BS of 4 because its a daemon. I get it, but it limits its effectiveness, especially since the mortar is only 1D6. If it was 2D6 for targets with 10 models or something I'd be happier. The Entropy Cannon sponsons have been far more effective, killing a Redemptor Dreadnought in one game and killing a Hive Tyrant in another (on overwatch no less!). But I could just use a Predator for that, right?

I like the Plageburst Crawler, but it is an odd model both in look and in rules. I have taken it in all my games with Death Guard, and I find that teaming him with a Chaos Lord (re-roll 1s to hit) certainly helps.

I'll be back next time with one more "big ticket" model, hope you enjoyed this look at the Plagueburst Crawler.

Until Next Time...

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Death Guard drones in all shapes and sizes

Hey there Chaos fanatics! Old Man Chaos has been busy at work in the laboratory churning out some goodies for the Death Guard. It has been drone city for me the past couple of weeks. So let us delay no longer... lets have a look...

First up is a second Bloat Drone that my wife got me for Christmas. I really like the model, and the multi-part kit is really cool- I like all the faceplate options and the weapons options.

Even though I think the Plaguespitter is the better weapon in-game (2 Plaguespitters for 2D6 auto-hits is better than one Blight-Launcher which is 6 hits but needs 4 to hit), I liked the look of the Blight Launcher- it looks heavy and being dragged around by the drone.

The armor plates are similar to the last Drone I did- Death Guard green with a wash of Earthshade all over it. It gives it that dull, dirty look which I really like (appropriate for Nurgle naturally). The weapons and spikes I did with my usual rusty metal look- Leadbealcher, with Ryza Rust orange with eathshade over it. This gives it a dull but rusty look.

The skin I did a little differently- I did Rakarth Flesh with several washes of violet to give it an unhealthy pallor. I then highlighted with Pallid Wych Flesh to give it some definition. I then used red washes around the boils/sores to complete the effect.

I do have to say that the Blight Drones usually do very well in my games. However, the random 2D6 sometimes goes bad on me (snake eyes!? Again!?). More often than not though, the Drones have been quite effective- fast, survivable and yet too much of a threat to ignore- driving my opponents mad in the process. And on more than once I had it deliberately explode, hurting the surrounding enemy forces- so even when it dies its a bastard. For me, these are a mandatory take, even if they are a bit pricey points wise.

Going from models that have become a mainstay to models I haven't used yet- the Myphitic Blight-Hauler (what a silly, yet trade-marked, name). These models are from the "easy to build" line. The model is nice enough, though it is very static and only goes together one way. Rules wise they sound pretty darn good, though to be at maximum effectiveness you need three of the Haulers.

I was only able to find two of the Haulers at first (visiting many stores near and far to boot). So I painted the two up (and I just got my hands on a third so I haven't painted it yet). I will try them soon, painted or not as I am really curious as what they can do.

Painting the models did go fairly quickly, as they are pretty straightforward to paint up. Again, the plates were Death Guard green with Balthazar Gold for the trim. The metal parts painted rusty as I described above.

The skin I did two different ways. One of them was Zandri Dust with a yellow wash over it (again a sickly yellow look). The other I did with Rakarth Flesh with flesh washes over it. They look like variations of my Bloat Drones.

Finally, as I am a crazy chaos converter, I felt the need to convert 1 of the Haulers. I used spawn bits around the mouth to give it a different look from its brother Hauler. It was just a little conversion but it helps differentiate the two Haulers.

So that's it for now. I'm working on a couple of other big ticket items so be sure to check back sometime next week for more.

Until next time...

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Double Header

Hey there Chaos friends! Old Man Chaos is back with a brief report on two battles that happened in my subterranean layer the other day. I had a three friends over and we played two 1,500 point games of 40K back to back. We were originally going to do 3 games, but we decided the two games were more than sufficient.

Game 1- Secure and Control... in Hell!

So the first game saw Brian and his Ultramarines against Nick and his brand spanking new Tyranids. Ah. Ultramarines versus Nids in the Ultramar segmentum- just as nature intended LOL. Nick won the roll for deployment and selected the map Hammer and Anvil. At first I thought it was a weird choice for Tyranids (starting so far opposite would mean a long walk to get to grips with the Ultramarines), but Nick had a pretty good plan as it turned out.

With both sides deployed, Brian had more units than Nick so Nick got plus one and won the roll off. Nick set to work immediately by sending in two Trygons followed by 2 units of Genesetalers. Brian had castled up around the objective in the middle of the table and left plenty of room in his backfield for the Trygon to tunnel in and deep strike. Meanwhile, Nick's Hive Tyrand and Swarm Lord left their side, running straight on towards the front- veering to the left flank. Suddenly Nick's deployment made a lot more sense- Brian was swiftly under siege.

Brian immediately used a command point to allow him to shoot at a unit that just arrived via deep strike. His shooting managed to kill a couple of Genestealers on the right flank. Unfortunately, that's about as lucky as Nick got on that flank. On the charge, Brian's overwatch whittled down the Genestealers further. By the time they got to combat there were only three of them, too little to damage Brian's right flank. Nick's left flank attack did better- his Trygon destroyed a Dreadnought and the Genestealers destroyed a squad of bikers. The Tyranids then consolidated into other Ultramarine units.

In the Ultramarine turn, Brian used his Ultramarine tactic to withdraw and fire. This left the bulk of Nick's Tyranids open to an intense barrage of both heavy firepower and a ton of bolters. With some great rolling, Brian whittled down the Tyranids, wiping out the Genstealers and one Trygon. On the other end of the battlefield, Brian deployed his Inceptors near Nick's objective, shooting the babysitting Genestealer squad. They survived, angry with their Broodlord right behind them.

In turn 2, Nick was rapidly running out of options. His lone Trygon was still in the fight, but was weakening rapidly. His only hope was the Swarm Lord and his flying Hive Tyrant. Sadly, he rolled to charge with the Hive Tyrant and fell short. Meanwhile he suffered a few wounds from overwatch. With his Hive Tyrant hanging out there, he would prove to be easy pickings. On the other side of the field, the Genstealers killed two Inceptors, but the third hung on.

In Brian's second turn, he wheeled his castle toward the left flank. He shot the incoming beasts to death, while also dispatching the Trygon. While he made some great 5+ saves, it was just the hail of lead that killed the beasts. The bulk of Nick's army had been destroyed at this point. The Inceptor on the other side killed all but one Genestealer, which promptly killed the last Inceptor.

Although he was out of options, Nick still had the Broodlord and a lone Genstealer. Nick had hopped to babysit on the objective behind the volcano. Unfortunately Nick's advance rolls stunk, and he couldn't make it. Brian then turned all of his heavy firepower on them at distance, slaying them. It was over, but Nick played to the bitter end.

Brian, who never played against Tyranids before said "It was epic. A heroic struggle against the xenos, and such a cunning opponent". Nick said that it was a great game and "We need more biomass". Nick also said it was the "hail of bolter fire" that did him in. As an observer, it was a blast of a game, but it all hinged on die rolls, as both sides had great strategy.

Game 2- The Relic.. and a grand return!

So game two was between me and Joe. I had decided to play my Death Guard for the first time in the new 8th edition. I still don't have all the new models, but it was time to give them a go. And no, at 1500 I didn't use Mortarion. My list included: Lord of Contagion, Plaguecaster, 3 squads of Death Guard with a Meltagun (two squads had Rhinos, the third on foot). I also had 10 poxwalkers, two Drones (with Plaguespitters), and Plague Crawler, and a Preadator with Auotcannon and Heavy Bolters.

Joe took his usual Dark Angels (though this was his first with the new codex. His force included 5 squads of Terminators, a Contemptor Dreadnought, and Azrael and Belial. I must admit that I was intimidated, as I didn't know how I was going to destroy so many Terminators. Yikes.

The mission was The Relic. Joe won the roll off for the deployment, and he decided on Search and Destroy. After placing our models, I won the roll off with a six, so I got to go first. I immediately set to work shooting at the terminators. The Crawler, which I had serious doubts about, did a good job killing a couple of terminators. My Bloat Drones raced to meet them, but still out of range of their 9" weapon. Joe's turn, all his terminators moved toward the objective. He took a lot of shots at my Drones, and their Disgustingly Resilient did a great job allowing them to shrug off a lot (though not all) of their wounds.

It became a war of attrition around that objective. My drones now took shots at the terminators, as did everything else. It was a slow grind, just whittling them down one at a time. I tried to shake up his plans but dropping my Lord of Contagion near his flank, in an attempt to draw off some Terminators. Sadly, the tactic didn't work, and the Lord of Contagion got killed quick enough by the Terminators.

As the game went on, I lost my Bloat Drones. But he was losing Terminators. I still had 21 Plague Marines ready to go, plus my vehicles. By turn three, I had killed his Dreadnought, Azrael, and scores of Terminators. Joe couldn't make a 2+ roll to save his life, and terminators died to massed bolter fire.

At the end, it came down to Belial. He had made it to the relic, with some terminators BEHIND him. It was unavoidable, but Belial was now the closest enemy target. While he endured a shit ton of firepower (and killing off my Plaguecaster), in the end it was case of a wall of lead, and Belial died.

At the end he had only 3 terminators left. He was near the relic, but I had like 19 Plague Marines, the Crawler, the Predator, two Combi Plasma Rhinos, and a handful of Poxwalkers. Joe said that he had to concede, as there was no way 3 terminators could hold off that firepower.

It was a bitterly fought contest, in my opinion. He paid for every inch he advanced, and in the end he just kept rolling two or three 1s for saves, killing off his terminators slowly but inexorably. Joe said "It was a good first time out with a new codex. I still think the key concept is unit synergy and next time I will push that synergy to the max".

The back to back games were a lot of fun. We had a lot of laughs, some snacks, and lots of gaming carnage. Next time I promise to take better pictures- I hadn't intended to do battle reports but that's OK. Next time I will do a better job of it.

Until Next Time