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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Another Knight, Another Dream, But Always You

Hey there Chaos fanatics! Welcome back to another addition of Chaos Corner. I must confess that it doesn't feel too Chaos-y here at the moment. I have been painting furiously my Mechanicus forces, leaving my Chaos lovelies neglected. Now- I've heard that the new campaign book for 40K will feature some type of Chaos forces (Daemons, at least for the 1st book), so I'm sure I'll be pulled back to to Chaos soon.

However, I have been trying to get my Mechanicus REALLY off the ground. It's kind of weird trying to build an army from 2 codexes like this. I hope they do unite the books- but who knows? Anyway, I have a tournament coming up and I'm trying to finish some stuff so that I'll be able to build a strong, versatile list. Plus, I'm loving this army, so...

So first up- yes, as the title says, I have just finished my second knight. You may have seen my first Imperial Knight completed in March 2014 (was it really that long ago? Time flies here in the Warp I suppose). That Knight was named Veritas (Latin for "Truth"). I even made a history for him which you can read HERE. The thing is I never thought I'd get another Knight. I imagined Veritas to be a "Freeblade", and my whole story was that he was the last Knight of his House. So- what the heck happened?!

Well, a few things. First, the new Knight Codex makes it possible to take several Knight formations and detachments. Ideally, one would like to do the Oathsworn Detachment- where you could take up to 3 (The Household Detachment is also possible in that case, though I can't imagine going to the full 5 Knights). Second, since I have introduced my friend Brian to the game, he has played with the my Knight Veritas more than I have. He was talking about fielding 2 (for Oathsworn) possibly. That of course got me thinking. Third, my Mechanicus force is growing nicely. Having a Knight or two to compliment my new army makes sense both play-wise and fluff-wise. And lastly- I'm freaking weak. There. I said it. I love the new Knight options, particularly the Thunderstrike Gauntlet.

So, I caved in and bought a new one (again, so weak). I assembled my second Knight on the morning of December 31, and I made him a Knight Warden with the Avenger Gatling Gun, the Gauntlet, and the missile pod. This time, I actually tried to have the arms move- they both move fairly well actually, and I'm not afraid of them breaking. Whew.

At any rate, I have spent the better part of January painting him, alongside my Kastellan Robots and something else (which I'll show in a bit). I finished him on January 30th. It was a lot of fun to paint, like the last one. I really love the model- it just seems to tower over things and has a great look to it. On this one, the Gauntlet just makes the thing look bad-ass. I like how the Warden looks like an jazzed up terminator.

The armor plates are my now standard Stegadon Scale Green, with Thunderhawk Blue in spots, all with Russ Grey edge highlights. The metal trim I did Balthazar Gold basecoat with Copper layered over it generously. It gives it a metallic luster in the light, but it doesn't overwhelm the model. The metal joints, back, etc. I did very simply- Leadblecher with Nuln Oil all over, with certain areas highlighted in Leadbelcher or Ironbreaker. I also dabbed on some Earthshade, just to make it look a little dirty.

Three things make this Knight stand out from Veritas, my previous Knight. First, the missile pod. I decided to paint the missiles red (Khorne and Evil Sunz over it). This makes the missiles stand out, and the red really pops on the otherwise dark model.

Second, the faceplate. I decided to do the mechanicus skull faceplate. Now, I couldn't do it Mechanicus style red (as my Mechanicus are Stegadon Green). Nor did I want to do it Stegadon, as I felt that wouldn't stand out. So, instead, I decided on a bright white, with a little Nuln Oil in the recesses. The face really draws your attention to the model (though I made sure I used white transfer decals, so the face isn't the ONLY white thing on the model).

Finally, I decided to do the banner Sunset Yellow. I wanted something that would stand out, but not too much. The yellow is "close" to the cream color of one of the skull decals. Also, I used yellow for some of the wires. Again, the eyes are drawn to the white skull, but as your eyes move over the model, the red missiles and yellow banner give the piece some variety. After all, Knights are supposed to be somewhat individualistic and they are well-cared for- so they would look cleaner and brighter perhaps than your standard Imperial tanks or the like.

For the transfers, I used Mechanicus symbols to tie this Knight in MORE with my Mechanicus. On Veritas, I deliberately DIDN'T use the cog symbols, as I made him a Freeblade (and I had no idea that a Mechanicus army was coming, let alone that I'd get such an army). THIS Knight would be clearly Mechanicus. However, I kept the skull and reaper motif going (the reaper decals are from Imperial Guard tanks), as this would tie the 2 Knights together if I ever fielded both.

So- what about this Knight's background? Well, that is another story for another time. Perhaps. However, I can tell you that his name is Vindicta (again, from the Latin "Vindictae", which means "Revenge"). This name enabled me to keep the "V" and Latin-esque motifs going, again tying both my Knights together.

So, that's my Knight. I do have another something to show you, my fellow denizens of the 40K universe. One of the things that I envisioned as I worked on my Mechanicus is how they would work with my Knight (Veritas at first, but now I've got 2 Knights to consider). One of the ideas that took root in my mind was this: I could just see a bunch of Sydonian Dragoons with their lances, standing at the side of the Imperial Knight. They are his allies on the battlefield (Knights, lances- all so medieval). If danger approaches the Knight, the Dragoons would charge in. The Knight would fire to weaken the foe, while the Dragoons race in to finish the job up close.

As it turns out, I have discovered that the Dragoons actually pack quite a punch. They are cheap, fast (can move and charge 3 extra inches because of their Dunestrider rule), have extra protection (Incense gives 5+ cover), and finally, they have a great weapon. The Taser Lance can be brutal against the right opponents. On the charge, their initiative doubles AND they gain 3 to their strength. They can hit REALLY hard under the right circumstances.

Supported by the Knight (and perhaps, the Kastellan Robots or the Kataphron Destroyers), the Dragoons would make a very fast and hard-hitting force on the battlefield. Against a squad of Terminators or Land Raiders they aren't much. But against regular troops (even Space Marines) and lighter vehicles, they are formidable. Against single characters the Dragoons are also effective- with their higher initiative and strength on the charge, they *could kill a character (as long as he has no or a strong retinue to hide behind).

So, I have completed 3 Dragoons to escort my Knight onto the battlefield. My first one (completed over the summer of 2015) has his lance up, as if contemplating or about to issue the command for the charge. The other 2 (completed along with the Knight this month) I have with their lances down, as if preparing to follow the order to charge the foe.

The model is quite nice, though it can be a bit of a challenge to put together correctly (the darn legs have to be "just so" in order to stand properly). I actually have one more to put together (which would make 4 for me). Theoretically, a squad could have up to six. I may stop at 4. However, I would like some Ironstriders to compliment them- so I may have to buy a few more... Oh. Ignore that sound. That's just my wife saying "You NEED what?! Don't you have enough to paint...?". LOL

Anyways, I must get back to the manufactorum. I've got a few more Mechanicus pieces to finish up. I also want to do Skarbrand. I also have some Ultramarine pieces that I need to paint for Brian (though it's technically for me). Whew- perhaps my wife is right? Do I really have too much? Nah...

Until Next Time...

Friday, January 22, 2016

Mechanicus Update & 200th Post!

Hey there Chaos lunatics! Old Man Chaos is back once again- though I don't have a lot of Chaos to offer this time. This is however my 200th posting, so I'll make it a double-sized extravaganza. Indeed, like the title says, I've got some brand new Mechanicus stuff to show off. So, without further delay...

I have always been interested in the workings of the Mechanicum. They are a vital part of the Imperium while also being very odd (which, considering the state of affairs in the 41st Millennium, is saying something). I always enjoy an appearance by a Magos in the 40K fiction. They are human, but in so many ways, practically alien.

It was sometime last year that I fell into collecting a Mechanicus army. I am not sure why GW had to make it 2 books- yeah, yeah, to make money, but it makes no sense. Anyways, there are rumors that they will be getting a consolidated book this year, plus a few units (a flyer I hope). That would be better than having to ally Skitarii and Mechanicus- and then flip around 2 books for the rules... ugh.

Both halves have some great models, and a lot to offer a player. I must admit- I was enamored by the Kastellan Robots. I love their size, and the fact that they are actual robots, and not servitors with human components. I like that they come from the Dark Age of Technology- predating the Imperium. I love the concept that they must be constantly programmed- not sentient AI for the Imperium, thank you...

Just the idea that these ancient, lumbering, and unfeeling behemoths are striding the battlefield, acting at the behest of a Tech-Priest- well, I just love that. Over the summer, I painted 2 of the Kastellans. However, over the holidays, I got 4 more (2 boxes). I immediately put them together and began painting them.

First, while I love the models, they are not exactly posable. Sure, you can put the arms wherever, but the body is static, and the legs only seem to go together only one way. I tried very hard to give them some motion- twisting their torsos, trying to get the legs into different positions, etc. For the most part, I succeeded. They have a range of motion now, making each robot look a little different.

One of the things I did not like about the models are their heads. I certainly dislike how GW painted them (just metallic). Kind of boring. After getting some inspiration on the Internet, I made the faceplate look like a computer screen, complete with green scroll lines and a target matrix. Not only did it solve the problem of the bland heads, it also allowed me to give the robots a sense of "looking"- slight variations on where I pained the target matrix makes it look like they are scanning in different directions. It adds to their "range of motion" as it were.

Finally, because I can't help myself, I HAD to convert one of them- I made one ripping apart an Ork. I had been tempted to make it a Chaos Marine, but I have some Ork bits and rarely use them- I figured why not. I used green stuff to make the pulled intestines- and presto, instant bisected Ork.

I also went a little further with the new 4 than I did with the first 2 I did. I put more Thunderhawk Blue stripes on the robots. I faded and scratched them a bit to simulate wear and tear. I wanted to differentiate them all ever so slightly (perhaps they are robots from different areas or forges). The stripes add some diversity without ruining the uniform look.

I am thrilled with the 6. I know its a lot points-wise, but I just love the idea of having six of these things marching towards their foes, each one a tough and durable monstrous creature. Together they look so damn intimidating!

Not to be outdone, my ranks of Kataphrons has also grown, thanks to my birthday and holidays. I made one set Grav destroyers (after years of Chaos being pummeled by Grav- it feels good for me to be the one wielding it in such quantities). I assembled the other box as Breachers. So now I have 6 Grav, 3 Plasma, and 3 Breachers. I may need a box or two more to round it out and give me more versatility.

I initially did not like the Kataphron models- but I must say they grew on me quickly. Like the Kastellan Robots, they don't have a lot of motion or possibility. Nor should they I suppose, as they are mindless servitors. I did try to make them a little dynamic by posing the guns and angling the heads to match.

When I used these a while ago, the Destroyers were most effective against Terminators and Space Marines. AP2 is nothing to sneeze at, and they fire so many shots! I am looking forward to trying out the Breachers next time I play (which should be sooner rather than later).

It is true that I love the fluff and concept of the mechanicus so much- I envision my army having just Katapron Servitors and Kastellan Robots methodically working their way up the field- an implacable, almost silent advance- silent save for the blurts of binaric code as they receive orders and send updates to their Mechanicus masters. Ooohhhh...

Nor have I ignored my Skitarii contingent. My friend Pete got me a box of Sicarians for my birthday. I decided to make them Infiltrators, because their helms make them look more robotic and inhuman. The models went together very quickly, despite their spindly looking nature.

They also painted up pretty fast, except for the wires. There, you really have to take your time, so that each wire is defined and that you don't get that paint on the model. The five of them came out really good, and they match the look and palette of the army. I do not know how useful they are on the battlefield, but I will be sure to put them to the test.

Overall, I prefer the Cult Mechanicus stuff compared to the Skitarii. I just like the idea of robots and mindless servitor drones comprising the entire force. The Skitarii are still (kinda sorta) human, and that doesn't excite me AS much. However, the Sicarians are mostly machine anyway, so perhaps they do indeed fit in. Oh---- I just wish they'd make a single book.

I have a ton of stuff on deck to build and paint. My wife got me Scarbrand- I assembled him, and I plan to paint him in a bit. I still have Mechanicus stuff in various stages of painting, so I want to do them first. It doesn't help that I painted an Ultramarine Drop Pod and a squad of the Centurions for my friend Brian. Technically, its my army, but I've been letting him use it so...

Lastly, I have been reading 40K fiction again (I dropped off it for a bit). I loved Ahriman: Unchained- great "conclusion" to his story. I also read Ravenlord. I loved that story. Corax may well be my favorite loyalist Primarch (though I think he talks too much despite his "taciturn" reputation). I can't wait to see what happens to him next. I also enjoyed the Cain story Old Soldiers Never Die. Commisar Cain going up against Plague Zombies (or "Revanants" as he calls them)- what's not to like. Blackadder and Baldrick in space fighting zombies is as fun as you'd expect. I also read I Am Slaughter by Dan Abnett, which kicks off a year long series about the Ork invasion of the 32nd Millennium. It was not one of Abnett's better efforts (when he is on- damn he is on), though I think he did a great job capturing the petty politicking of the High Lords of Terra. The action was just OK though. Of course, this is just book one. I am looking forward to see what comes next.

Well, that's all for now. Until next time...

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A New Year, and a New Gaming Table

Hey there Chaos fanatics! It's a New Year in the crazy Warp- indeed, every day here is like a big New Year's Eve Party- if your idea of partying involves the complete disregard for physics, daemonic incursions, and the like. LOL

Anyways, I have a special article here for your approval.My friend Joe and I have recently put the "finishing" touches on his "new" gaming table, and we just played our inaugural game on it. I know that I have written about this table before (Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3  if you are interested in an "in-depth" look).

In brief, I once had a huge gaming table. However, after getting married and "life event" stuff, I was no longer able to keep the large battlezone. So I gave it to my friend Joe. Now, for him as well, "life events" intervened, and for a while he did nothing with the table. But, in recent months, Joe's life has settled a bit and he has once again gotten the 40K bug. Since last summer, we have worked to create a new gaming table, made from the ashes of my old one.

Basically, Joe wanted something different from the cityfight table that I made. So, we just flipped the table over. Once again, Pete planned the design and cut the foam, while I would work to paint the table. Joe would help with both, but he's mostly a "supervisor" LOL.

So, what type of table did Joe want? Why, an ice world table, of course! Joe has visions of a Hoth-like situation- cold, desolate, frozen. Of course, he is currently building Dark Angels as opposed to Space Wolves (which is what I'd do if I had a damn snow table), but that's not important. Once the table was painted (blue with heavy stippling of white texture paint on top), we then set out to make the frozen lake / river that takes up a chunk of the table. We decided to use lots of water effects. It worked great, though the stuff isn't as resilient as resin (such as what Pete used on his lava table). The ice LOOKS great, though we may have to revisit it later with resin or something else.

In the meantime, I also made several terrain pieces for the board, complete with ice and snow. I used both 40K and Fantasy pieces. I painted up the prometheum pipes I had laying around. I also finished the Fortress  of Redemption (that Pete and Joe had given me for the holidays a few years ago)- I decided to give it some ice and snow and give it to Joe, since he's now playing Dark Angels. I'll still get to use it, so that's the important thing. Finally, I bought some Christmas trees for decorating holiday villages- on sale! So I bought 2 bags of them. We could make a small forest on the table if we wanted to (and we just might).

So, after working on it off and on for so long, the table was finally ready to be played on. I must say that Joe has the perfect "man cave" set up. The gaming table is in his garage. Now, the garage is finished, but it could only fit one car and not much else. However, it is LARGE enough to make an entire man cave out of it. Whilst he is still working on it, he has already put a small couch in there, and a space heater. With a bit more time, effort, and purchases of essentials, Joe will have the perfect gaming space. Heck- it is big enough to put a smaller table in there as well. We could have a small game going at the same time as the big one. Perhaps 2 elite squads are in the facility under the frozen lake, desperately battling to control the super weapon within. Or, if GW finally gets its act together, we could do a Battlefleet Gothic game alongside- the fight on the planet and in the stars above... the possibilities are endless.

So, about a week and a half ago, we fought our first game on the table. I decided that I HAD to use Khorne Daemonkin against his Dark Angels. Loyalist versus Chaos, as nature intended. Plus, I thought the red would look striking against the white and blue frozen board (it certainly did).

The mission was Secure the Relic, which was placed dead center on the table. Joe was clearly out for blood from our last game in which I played Mechanicus (see HERE). My Mechanicum forces brutalized Joe, and now he wanted to make me pay for it, There would be no mercy, no quarter in this game. It was also the idea that he wanted to win on HIS table for the first time out that made the game extra spicy.

However, I wasn't going to go quietly into that good night. I built up a rather effective Khorne list (I actually used a variation of it at one of the tournaments). I allied it with CSM Codex, to get Kharn and a Heldrake (cultists being the mandatory Troop).  Once again, Joe did not know much about the Daemonkin, as he has not faced anything quite like this before (the book has far different synergy than a traditional CSM / CD alliance). I, on the other hand, have had some experience against the new DA book (sadly, I was beaten handily but the Tournament Organizer who used  DA). However, I learned from that, and planned to use that knowledge against Joe.

First, I was determined to rush EVERYTHING forward. Nobody waits, everyone goes. Now, this meant casualties. My Daemon Prince got zapped immediately by Joe's Dreadnoughts. His terminators made short work of my bikers. My cultists were used as cannon fodder, naturally.

My aces in the hole were my Maulerfiends and Flesh Hounds. These two are very very effective. I decided to run the 3 Maulerfiends together, rather than spread them out across the battlefield. This meant that if they collided with ANYTHING in CC, that enemy would die, no question. The Flesh Hounds, with their 2 wounds each and S5 on the charge are great at killing Space Marines, or at the very least tying them up for several turns. Any +3 armor saves would be toasted by my third ace- my Heldrake. He would make quick work of Joe's regular Marines.

The game was certainly a back and forth. As more of my stuff died, I summoned Bloodletters and a new Daemon Prince to replace the one he killed. The Drake/Mauler/Hound combo was taking its toll on Joe. It didn't help matters that some of his Deep Striking terminators scattered off the board- and were LOST! Good times, good times.

Ironically, it was my bikers and cultists that actually won me the game. They played a crucial role, delaying the advance of Joe's terminators toward the Relic. Due to the delay, my newly minted Daemon Prince grabbed the Relic first, and began slowly walking away with it. The terminators just finished up when my Maulerfiends were swinging round, fresh from killing a squad of terminators and Devastators. They were now flanking, and took out those pesky relic-seeking terminators as well. Plus, my Heldrake was also flying in support, torching a squad of Space Marines (that had been tied down by my hounds).

 The game ended with my DP in possession of the Relic, with Rhinos and Khorne Bezerkers led by Khorne in protective support. Ultimately, the score was 5 to 2. I got 3 for the Relic, 1 for Slay, 1 for Linebraker (Maulerfiends were in his zone by that point). He got 1 for Slay and 1 for First Blood (both for shooting my first DP to death).

The game was a ton of fun, and the beautiful table certainly helped to make it an evocative setting to our battle. Joe vowed revenge once more, and I have no doubt that he shall have it, sooner or later. Nevertheless, the Scions of Gorechild have gotten a hold on an important Dark Angel relic. Who knows what that Daemon Prince will do to desecrate it?

(Please note- I took few pics of Joe's models because they are either grey plastic or just coated black. Once he works on them I'll be sure to put them on my blog). 

Have a Happy New Year. Until Next Time...