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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Chaos Grippes (Brief) and DEATHWATCH!!

Hey there Chaos fanatics! Old Man Chaos is back with a new installment of the ongoing lunacy of Old Man Chaos! LOL

First, I want to say a big "I told you so" regarding Traitor's Hand. I don't like saying I told you so (Wife? Why are you laughing at that? You know I NEVER say "I told you so"... that's you're department), but... it was pretty much what I predicted. I posted that blog BEFORE the leaks came out.

Sadly, I knew all too well that Traitor's Hand would not come close to helping Chaos Space Marines. It is, at best, a band-aid. A band-aid for a freshly amputated limb ("Tis just a scratch"). While there are some decent formations, it just isn't at the level of Space Marine formations (or, indeed some others). It is just a resounding "Meh". I even played a game against my friend Joe using some formations- his Dark Angels wiped the floor with me pretty much. It was hardly a contest. Joe said that when I take Mechanicus, he sweats, and even a win for him is closely fought. Against CSM, he wasn't too concerned, and he took a fairly conservative approach against them. So sad- the mighty Chaos are so low.

Now, there might be hope. Recent rumblings have proven true- Magnus the Red Daemon Primarch is being bandied about, as are new Thousand Sons. Now, while I don't have 1K Sons, anything that Chaos gets that's good will make me happy. If it is a 1K Son Codex (a la Khorne Daemonkin) I could get behind that- KDK is a fun book with some nifty special rules, and KDK is a solid army on the tabletop. If 1K Sons get the same treatment I'll be thrilled. Maybe Plague Marines could happen too?

Anyways, I have been working on some Deathwatch forces. First off, I have always loved the idea behind the Deathwatch- Space Marines from wildly different chapters working together under the auspices of the Ordos Xenos... great hook for storytelling, and I have enjoyed their Black Library stories. Particularly the current The Beast Arises story, which delved into the origins of the Deathwatch! (If you haven't read the series, you should. There are a few clunkers, but overall its been a great story).

From a modelling standpoint, the Deathwatch are nice too- they are Space Marines but with a bit more variety. The different shoulder pads add color and personality to the army. They are uniform, yet distinct. Visually, the Deathwatch are a lot of fun.

My wife had bought me the Deathwatch Overkill board game when it came out last spring. The models in that box are fantastic. I really was excited and put the entire box together very quickly. But, as often happens, I didn't get to paint them for a while. Other projects, real life, etc all got in the way.  So they sat for a while.

When the Deathwatch codex was released at the end of the summer, I quickly scooped that up. Yes... I was sorely tempted. After all, I already have a good start with the Overkill box- what's one more squad? Or a Drop Pod? Or... Well, you know how that goes. I now have a new army.

However, I do TRULY intend on keeping it small, for two reasons. First, from a fluff perspective, they rarely go out as a full-blown army (unlike Grey Knights). They are usually smaller strike teams, using sneak attacks and guerilla warfare to hurt the enemy. Second, I plan to use them as allies to my Mechanicus. My Cult Mechanicus forces can use allies that have Drop Pods, Razorbacks, and air support from a Corvus Blackstar. I don't need a huge army. Just a couple of troops with fast delivery methods; by fast, I mean in a vehicle, which AdMech simply don't have access to for some strange reason (after all, don't the Tech-Priests repair and maintain these things? Seriously).

My plan is to have two squads of varying size. One squad will focus on close combat (Thunder hammers are nice). The other squad will have shooting with special weapons- the frag launcher in particular could be quite nasty- deploying from drop pod and shooting the rear of the enemy at close range... yeah, that's nice. My AdMech need that.

After reading the Codex, I'm not sure the Deathwatch are the most viable army. They are more costly than average Space Marines, and don't have access to key pieces of SM units and equipment. However, as an ally, they are a nice fit with the AdMech I think. I'll have to try it out at some point, once I have enough built and painted, that is.

So, that's my latest. Hope you enjoyed this look at my Deathwatch. I will certainly post more as I finish them. Now I must go... A squad of Deathwatch don't just paint themselves you know.

Until Next time!

Monday, September 5, 2016

The State of Chaos 2016 Edition- Rants and Predictions

Hey there Chaos fanatics. I know I have been gone a long time. I had a bit of a "problem" over the summer, and as a result I haven't blogged in a while. I have been painting, though not at the same rate that I have in the past also. It's been a bit rough, but now I'm back.

 Like I am sure we all have, I heard last week about the new Chaos Space Marine supplement, Traitor's Hand, as well as new psychic powers and a new Kharn the Betrayer (awesome model, one that I am looking forward to painting. Big time.). Now, I know some Chaos fanatics are chomping at the bit. I am excited too, though I am much more guarded and cautious about it. In fact, I doubt that the book will really help us Chaos Space Marine players very much. Indeed, the cards seem stacked against us. So, I decided to come out of hiding and offer my 2 cents about CSM and my hopes/fears for the Traitor's Hand book. 

The state of Chaos Space Marines, as most of you know, has been rather poor for some time. CSM have been quite neglected for what feels like millennia. It is widely known that the forces of CSM are no longer feared. In fact, they have become something of a joke, which I know we Chaos players take very personally. We spend so long converting and painting and molding our models, and it sucks that "Joe Blow" Space Marines can kick our asses seven ways from Sunday. How the mighty have fallen indeed. At any rate, I thought I would blog about my thoughts and frustrations just as the new book approaches. With that, let us examine the state of the problems CSM players face right now, in no particular order:

(Note: This rant does not address Khorne Daemonkin (which is a solid book), only the regular CSM book)

1) Units are over-costed for what they do (except Plague Marines perhaps). They therefore have a smaller footprint and lower model count (unless you're doing cultist spam- in which case the book should be called "Chaos Cultists" and not CSM). You can bet that if you run a CSM force that you WILL be outnumbered (no matter who your opponent is), but without a significant advantage or mechanic to overcome that numerical inferiority. GW needs to either lower the points costs or give CSM MORE special abilities to compensate. 

2) CSM is lacking in some of the "advancements" in weaponry, like Grav. I say "advancements" because while Grav weapons are relatively new game play wise, Grav and other weapons have been around since the Great Crusade. Why on earth don't CSM have these ancient weapons? Perhaps they might be rarer, and they certainly won't have the Grav Centurions, but you mean CSM can't steal some Grav guns/cannons in their attacks and raids to supplement the ones left over from the Heresy era? Come on.

3) CSM lack drop pods- which puts them at a severe disadvantage against Space Marines. Again, this makes no sense fluff wise or game wise. How do CSM NOT have drop pods? These were a staple of the Great Crusade (Istvaan drop site massacre anyone?)- how do CSM not have them in the 41st millennium? And if you are doing more recent heretic CSMs (like Crimson Slaughter, the Purge)- surely they would have them too, as drop pods ARE what SMs do in the 40K era... I really don't get this one.With all the new shenanigans with "free" drop pods and the like, well, it puts CSM behind the 8-ball. I don't necessarily want "free" drop pods, but let use use them. Oh, and NOT the FW one that costs a bazillion dollars- let us "Chaos" out regular drop pods.

4) Lack of Formations is a major sticking point for me. SMs get formations that are each better and more outlandish than the last. Seriously, between the SM codex and the recent Angels of Death supplement the SMs have SO many great formations to choose from, each with nifty bonuses. What does Chaos get? Hmmm... Up till now, not much. Yes, I hope the Traitor's Hate book fixes this, but if you have seen the few other CSM formations that have been done till now they are but shadows compared to other factions formations. What besides the Sorcerer Cabal has been good for CSM? (And Chaos Daemons fare little better- I have to have 90 Blue Horrors to field a Tzeentch formation. 90! Are you fucking kidding me?). CSM needs solid Formations to catch up with everyone else.

5) Chaos gets NOTHING for free (besides Chaos Focus for psychic powers). Nada. Zilch. I have played SM players tacking the decurion and I can't stand it anymore. Free Rhinos, Drop Pods, and Razorbacks have really fucked things up. Free?! My friend Brian simply takes free Razorbacks (pays for the Las) and Drop Pods- he wrecks havoc every single time against almost every opponent because he gets in for face quickly with the drop pods, fires a ton of las shots, and because the transports are free it means he has points to spend on other things. For a 2,000 point game he figured that he used about 400 points in transports. He had a 400 point advantage. How is that fun or fair? (And the Chaos Boon table is too random and too situational to count as a free bonus as opposed to free transports)

6) There are many specialist units that aren't actually "special" at all. Warp Talons are supposed to be fast, hard hitting close combat units, but they don't pack any more of a punch than other units, and they are so damn expensive so what's the point? Maulerfiends are close combat wrecking machines, but their weapon skill is lousy, and their base attacks are too few. Mutilators suck big time too. Chosen are good but far inferior to Sternguard or Command squads. I could go on , but seriously, the specialized units are anything but special.

7) Again, compared to their SM counterparts, CSM get shafted on army-wide tactics. Ultramarines get to chose from 3 doctrines (and can re-use them if they take the decurion). Iron Hands get FNP, Fists get Bolter Drill, etc. Sure, Plague Marines get FNP, but at a premium cost. Iron Hands get it for free. I don't want what they have, but give me some equivalent, for free.

8) Chaos characters must challenge is a great concept in theory. Its fluffy and fun. But again, when enemy characters are usually better equipped or have better special rules, far too often my champion dies. What is the point? This one is a minor problem, but still blows.

9) Chaos have rules that HURT the Chaos player. Like becoming a spawn. Getting hit by your own Daemon weapon. Daemonforge. Helbrute rage. Once again, I get the fluffy idea- they have traded their souls for power, and that entails risk. I get that and love it. But the "bumps" they get are not great- For example, Daemonforge allows re-rolls, but at the end if you roll a 1 you get wounded. Oh, and it only can be used once. Now, if it was every turn I say the risk is acceptable in exchange for what it can do- you could dole out a ton of damage but also risk dying. But once a game? Not that helpful considering the risk. How come Ultramarines allow everyone to re-roll ones for a turn without harm?

10) Chaos needs an improvement in their HQ choices. Compared to more recent HQ entries for SMs, the Chaos HQ choices are lackluster, at best. Sure, Typhus is a beast, and Kharn can be brutal, but besides them, what other HQ really works? Biker Lord truthfully, and that's about it. We need them to get beefed up a bit- better special rules or weapons options. Also, the Dark Apostle and the Warpsmith should be 1-3 per choice rather than 1. Being only 1 limits you greatly.

So, those are my 10 problems with Chaos as of September 2016. Now, I feel that Traitor's Hate is only going to be a band aid at best, as it cannot possibly be able to address too many of the big problems, as the book is only a supplement. Nothing short of a complete overhaul and new Codex can even begin to surmount the problems that this past edition has given us. A campaign supplement is not focused on that at all, actually.

So what will Traitor's Hand give us? We will get a couple of formations that, my gut tells me, won't be that helpful or special compared to SMs. There won't be any new units. No legion rules. No drop pods. We will have a decurion (which Cult CSMs will not be able to utilize), but I doubt we will get the luxurious SM treatment. My sad prediction is that Traitor's Hand will be cool for fluff, but poor (once again) for actual gaming. Have you seen some of the formation bundles that GW has on their website? It looks like things we have seen before (Malestrom of Gore), and things that are useless (yet another half-baked attempt to see Possessed with their Favoured of Chaos bundle).

There are some positives though. First, rules for a Chaos Knight. This is a nice plus, though I do not think Knights are be all and end all. I do like the idea of having that option though. The other thing is that Predators and Vindicators will be in formations of 3. This is really good, and is what SMs have in that respect.

I want to have hope that Traitor's Hand will make me want to play regular CSM again, but I have my doubts... Who knows? Maybe I'm wrong and will have to eat my words. I wouldn't mind eating crow if that means CSM are feared once more. I don't want a "win" button- I just want to see CSM stand toe to toe against all comers again. As of right now, we cannot do that.

Until next time...

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Skitarii fresh off the Forgeworld Assembly-line

Hey there Chaos enthusiasts everywhere! Old Man Chaos is back with yet another scintillating edition of Chaos Corner. Summer is upon us in the Eye of Terror. Since I despise sunlight and the outdoors and dolphins, I know that I will be able to accomplish a ton of painting. Now, I have a huge list of projects, but at this pace I may be able to put a significant dent in that list (even with my Horus Heresy project taking shape and all).

Just this past week alone, I have been able to finish not one but two units of Skitarii- a new squad of Vanguard and a squad of Sicarian Ruststalkers. For both, I decided to use some of the new GW paints, namely Nuln Oil Gloss and the shinny and new "warpstone" technical paints. So- let's take a look...

Sikarian Ruststalkers

 Now, up to this point, I have only done the Infiltrators. With their large helmets and cabling, they looked weird and very different from the other Skitarii. I was also interested in them because of the Taser Goads- which are great close combat weapons. So naturally I did 10 of them in total.

I was initially less impressed with the Ruststalkers. Their headgear was certainly less impressive and less "odd", as compared to the Infiltrators. As far as weaponry, I was less than impressed by their load out. The chordclaw is fine (1 attack fleshbane) enough, but the trasnoic razors / blades are less than idea. In the first round of combat they have AP 2 only on a to wound of 6. In subsequent rounds of that combat, all hits are AP 2. That means to be effective they must survive (in sufficient numbers) for at least one round of combat in order to be really effective. Kinda sucks if you ask me.

However, I HAD to build at least one squad of Ruststalkers if I am ever to do the War Convocation formation from an issue of White Dwarf. So, in earnest, I decided to assemble a new box of Sicarians as Ruststalkers.

I still think the headgear isn't as cool, but the chordclaw looks really nasty. I highlighted the claws with the new GW metal paint Stormhost Silver. That paint is incredible. I always had a hard time with the previous silvers- either being too thin or not bright enough. Like Retributor Gold, this goes on so nicely and leaves it looking very bright. The grasping chordclaws really pop now, as compared to the rest of the model.

As for the transonic razors / blades- I decided to do a little experiment. I painted them first with Mephiston Red. Then I painted the whole blade with Evil Sunz Scarlet. Then I highlighted with Wazdakka Red, and finally Fire Dragon Bright. Once that was done I used the "warpstone" technical paint Spiritstone Red. I must say that I really, really like the effect. It is kind of like Bloodletter Glaze, except that it really brightens and shines the blade. The technical paint really makes the blades "pop" as it were. Indeed, with my dark color scheme of Stegadon Scale Green and Leadblecher hit with Nuln Oil (matte) for my Mechanicus, the bright red blades really change the dynamic of the model, with your eyes first being drawn to the blades, making a great contrast with the dark and dingy Sicarians.

I ultimately do not know how these guys are going to do in-game. I believe that I will need to do up 5 more, just to bulk out the squad. My instinct tells me that they are just too squishy in a unit of 5 alone- they NEED to survive a round of combat to be effective. I think 5 won't cut it. So- it will have to be 10.

Skitarii Vanguard

So next up I have another squad of Skitarii Vanguard. This will make 20 Vanguard total for me (and I plan on adding a few more at some point). They are quite a good troop unit- cheap with great access to special weapons (as befitting a Mechanicus army). I had initially hoped that Kataphron Destroyers would be the bulk of my Mechanicus force, but for all their power, they have some limits. They can't really hide in cover all that well as they are too large for example. And they are more costly points wise. For me, Vanguard will fill in that gap nicely.

At any rate, I really like the almost Roman-esque look of these guys- their helmets are really remeniscent of Roman style helms. Naturally I assembled most of them with their standard Radium Carbines. I painted them Dryad Bark, making them look like old wooden rifles, in complete odds with their otherwise mechanical look. I highlighted the helmets with Stormhost Silver, again really loving the new paint.

For the Vanguard Alpha, I decided to go with the mace, as I had already done a Vanguard Alpha with a sword, and my Alpha Ranger has the taser goad. In my gaming circles, that doesn't matter so much- as long as he looks like an Alpha that's all that really counts, and we can WYSIWYG it before the battle. I used the new metallic paint Skullcrusher Brass for his face plate. As I said before, I have been really pleased by the new paints overall, and this one is no exception.

I also made a Vanguard with a Data Tether. He looks different enough that I could use him as an Auspex or Tether, as well as another Vanguard if I decide to split the 10 Vanguard into 2 units of 5. His face I did Rakarth Flesh with Cmmoshade over, and a little highlight over his cheekbone. The rest of his face is mechanical, lending him a cruel visage. 

One of my Vanguard was "converted" due to a happy accident. I was cutting off his left arm from the sprue and when I did it just flew off, and I simply couldn't find it anywhere! So- what to do? I then saw my Ruststalker spues, and there are mechanical arms for the Infiltrator Pinceps computer- with a bit of trickery I made it into his arm. There was little mechanical digits as well as a full connection to the hand on the rifle. Hence, it looks like a totally mechanical arm. Adding screens (blue and green) on the flat parts (where the computer was supposed to go on the Princeps) and a targeter in the front (in red)  makes the dual limb arm look mechanical indeed.

The special weapons I did my old way but added 2 steps to with the new paints. For the Plasma Caliver, I started with Khorne Red, highlighted with lighter reds before finally drybrushing on Ryza Rust orange. But this time, I decided to add 2 more short steps. After the orange drybushing, I put Nuln Oil Gloss into the recesses of the coils, giving it a deeper but glossy shadows. Then, I used Spiritstone Red over the coils.

Compare the two. The nearer one is the new one (done as described above). The further away one is the old one, painted in the same way minus those last two steps (didn't have those new paints then). On my camera it my be harder to see, but the fact is the Spiritstone Red just makes the whole thing pop- it adds a brightness to it.

The same thing was applied to the Arc Rifle. This time I started with greens, ending with a Moot Green highlight. And again, I added 2 extra steps. I did the Nuln Oil Gloss into the recesses of the energy chamber, and then I used the technical paint Waystone Green. Again, the result made for a brighter and more dynamic looking weapon.

Again, compare the results. The near one is the new, the far one the old scheme. The difference is greater in person, but here you can see it is a subtle but notable difference. It just looks deeper and more vibrant.

Well, that's all I have done for now. I have a few more Mechanicus items that I am working on, and then I will be doing some other "mystery" things. I want to paint my Deathwatch set, and then my mystery Horus Heresy project. I'll be back to show them as soon as they are completed.

Until Next time!!

Friday, June 24, 2016

The New GW Containers, A Battle Report and a "Brexit"

Hey there Chaos fanatics! Old Man Chaos is back with an update to this part of the Realm of Chaos, known as the interweb. Like the title says I've got a lot so lets get started:

GW Containers

After seeing them in a recent issue of White Dwarf I knew I was going to get a set. My friend Joe and I have decided to split the cost, as they will be used frequently on his ice world table. I really like the look of the big containers- they were fairly easy to assemble and paint up. The barrels are also nice and an improvement on the old barrels. Finally, the ammo cases are a cool, though I think they give you too many- save that plastic for something else!

At any rate, I painted the containers and ammo crates pretty much like it says on the back of the box. I did one in Mephiston Red, with a drybrush of Astorath Red. I used Nuln Oil (matte) on the recesses to give it a bit of depth. I also added signs of wear and tear with dark browns and metals, as well as some acid or slime coming through the vents.

I painted half of the barrels the same way- Mephiston Red, with copious amounts of slime and grime. The other barrels I did in Leadbelcher with plenty of Typhus Corrosion. I think that putting a singular barrel somewhere is OK, but grouping them together is just so much cooler.

As for the other tow storage containers, I did one in Mechanicum Grey with lighter highlights. The green one was naturally Castellan with a drybrush of Niblet Green. To these two I added streaks of blood and even bullet holes. These details would have been lost on the red container, but they show up just fine on these. I also gave them signs of wear and tear as I described above.

The ammo crates were painted using the methods above. I really like them, but painting that many was a bit annoying. They are also somewhat small, so to give it a good effect on the table you'll have to pile them all together to look cool. 

I wanted to show them off, so I staged some photos of them with models so you can see the sizes. I pitted my Mechanicus against my Khorne Bezerkers and Chaos Cultists. I think you'll find that the storage containers are a good size, as are the barrels. I think they are quite interesting looking, and will give your battlefield a bit more detail.

I painted these ones quite "neutral", though one could paint them to be almost anything- cargo for Space Marines, or perhaps rusted out wrecks, or maybe they've been "looted"... The possibilities with these are endless. The price ain't too bad either, considering the 3 cargo containers are, together, bigger than a Rhino.

When we use them in a game I will be sure to use them as terrain, though I'm rather dubious of using the somewhat silly rules they have- but who knows? I'll have to give it a shot at any rate.

Speaking of battles, I had a "final grudge match" against one of my regular opponents at my local store. Nick is a great player- friendly, even-tempered, very fair and laid back. He also plays very much old school- no wacky allies, no broken formations. He plays in the old style, and I have always appreciated that, and he had become one of the opponents I most looked forward to playing- our matches were not only fun- but just about all of them were nail bitters, right down to the wire! And yet we were both always laughing and laid back. Great games.

Unfortunately (for me at least), Nick is moving quite far away, and won't be around the local anymore. Nick also sold most of his stuff (a bit of it to me actually. He's a damn pirate, appealing to my weakness for plastic crack at a discount), and now he only has a small Dark Angels force.

At any rate, we decided to have a "final grudge match". It was a small game, at 1250 points. The mission was The Relic. It was tough for me to make a Plague Marine list at 1250, so I included 6 meltas in 3 squads of 5 Plague Marines in 3 Rhinos (champions had power fists). I also had a Heldrake, Predator, Vindicator, and a lord and 4 terminators all armed with power fists.Nick had like 4 squads of terminators and 2 tac squads with plasma cannons.

Our final match was no different from the others. My heldrake incinerated his tac squads. His terminators attacked my heavy armor with their powerfists. It went back and forth like that for a while. But, Nick faced 2 problems. First, the Meltas ruined his day, killing whole swaths of terminators (his 5 inv sav rolling was lousy).

However, the game truly ended when one of my champions challenged one of his in combat. Nick's power sword attacks all whiffed (1s!!). When it was my champion's turn, he nailed him with the powerfist. I then rolled on the Chaos Boon Table and... Bam! Instant Daemon Prince. At that point, there was no real way for Nick to win, though he gave it a good go. In the end, I had the relic and he had virtually nothing to stop me, especially with a rampaging Daemon Prince running amok.

The game was a ton of fun. One of the things I liked about the battle was that at 1250, you had to make tough choices about what to take. It also meant no allies or formation tom foolery. It made for a fast, intense, and desperate game- each unit is vital, and yet you must risk them to win. You don't always feel that in 2000 plus point games. It was a lot of fun. I salute Nick- a worthy and honorable opponent. I hope to play him again someday.

Finally, I want a word about the "Brexit". Now, I have been following it fairly closely, and I get the arguments on both sides. It was a close vote, unquestionably. I find myself thinking that if the EU leaders were a bit more careful with their decisions, they might have not faced British backlash. Instead, the EU mismanaged and made big mistakes. I get British anger. I just don't know if the "Brexit" will help them or not, in the long run.

However, like a lot of you, I decided to act as a vulture (it's their fault for making me want it so bad)- I ordered some stuff from Forgeworld. As the dollar vs pound ratio shifted so crazily today, my friend Joe and I placed a $400 (American) order at FW. What did I order? I won't tell you now, as if I did it would be a HERESY and I'd have to kill you. You will just have to wait and see...

Until next time!!