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Friday, February 19, 2016

Mechanicus, Bloodletters, and Books...

Hey There Chaos Fanatics! I'm sure many of you have been excited about Curse of the Wulfen. I have been going through the story-line slowly- it is very exciting and a lot of fun. I did quickly devour the Rules book, and its a mixed bag for Daemons. It is very difficult to do a Daemonic Incursion with some of those formations- they are VERY unwieldy (seriously, 9 units of Horrors? 7 units of (but-ugly) Beasts of Nurgle? Give me a break). I feel that the Daemons got shafted here a bit- to do the Incursion, you have to sacrifice a TON of versatility and balance. The Space Marines Decurion is very tactically flexible, for example (yes, there are "unit taxes", but not like this). Time will tell, but I think the Daemonkin book is better than this Daemon upgrade. I'll certainly have to try it soon.

So, this posting has a smorgasbord of stuff, so why not get started then...

First, I have completed another Skitarii Dunecrawler. I really love this model, and it fits in so well with the Mechanicus aesthetic. I equipped this one to be similar to my previous one. My thought was that they should be uniform within their vehicle squadron. In truth, I may have to get 2 more and make them anti-air support.

At any rate, I continued my Stegadon Scale Green with Thunderhawk Blue plates and Russ Grey highlights. Although the base is green, the highlight certainly makes it look blue. I painted the gears and legs with Leadbelcher, with Nuln Oil over all, with lighter metal highlights. The trim I did Balthazar Gold with Bronze over it. The energy of the gun, etc. I did with Khorne Red, adding successive highlights of reds and ending with orange. This give it a deeper, energy-pulsing look.

My wife recently commented that my Mechanicus army has grown really, really large fairly quickly. To recap, I have (painted) the following: 1x Tech-Priest Dominus, 6 Kastellan Robots, 3 Datasmiths, 6 Grav Destroyers, 3 Plasma Destroyers, 3 Breachers. My Skitarii include- 10 Rangers, 3 Ironstriders, 5 Sicarian Infiltrators, and 2 Dunecrawlers. Plus, I have 2 Imperial Knights. Unpainted I have another Ironstrider, 5 Sicarians, and 20 Skitarii Rangers. Whoa... maybe my wife is right?

As I have told you many, many times- I am always drawn back to Chaos. I always will be. The Mechanicus has my interest, sure, but... my true love will always be Chaos. So, recently I painted up 10 more Khorne Bloodletters.

These I did slightly differently. GW has a new Dry paint Astorath Red that I used. I did Khorne Red base coat with Nuln Oil liberally used on the models. Then I did Astorath Red drybrused over. This gives them the models a deep red color. I then used Wild Rider Red highlights to make the models really pop. Overall, I am pleased with the new Red dry paint.

The daemons swords I did Dryad Bark brown with Trollslayer Orange highlights, making the sword look fire-y and molten. The Bloodreaper's sword I painted with the technical Blood over the whole sword- the blood is translucent, so you still see the orange and brown underneath. I just wanted his sword to look different.

I did the Banner of Blood similarly to my previous banner. The flag is black with grey highlights. Then, I used Khorne Red to draw the Khorne symbol. I used Mephiston Red and the Blood technical to put blood smears all over the banner.

Thus, my Daemons were complete. They certainly compliment my previous Khorne Daemons. This means I have 40 Bloodletters! With my Bloodcrushers and Flesh Hounds, I have enough to do the Daemon formation Murderhorde. But brother is that a lot of points!

In between painting, I have also been reading Black Library stuff at a pretty good pace. What follows aren't full reviews, just impressions:

First, I'd like to comment on The Beast Arises series. I liked I Am Slaughter, though I feel it is one of Abnett's lesser efforts (now, his weakest is still really good, but still). I finished the second book in the series Predator, Prey by Rob Sanders. I must confess the book was odd. It seemed to be a bunch of vignettes, bouncing from war-torn world to war-torn world with little or no connection between events. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either- and it only minimally advanced the overall plot. However, I did like the ending(s) to some of the stories within. There's one scene toward the end when the Space Marines are getting ready for a final battle in a wrecked Star Fort. The book quietly details the smashed relics of Rogal Dorn, and you get this sense of sadness and loss. The hopes of the Emperor and Primarchs have truly collapsed- war without end has come at mankind from all fronts. It was a well-written part, and it moved me. So did the end of a female guardsman. She was forced to make a world shattering decision, made poignant by the fact that she was pregnant. Now, I don't recall a Black Library book that dealt with such a realistic concern; in this case Sanders put the horrors of the galaxy in strong relief- a mother with absolutely NO hope in a galaxy gone mad. Both of these "endings" were great- I just wish they had been in a better book.

Finally, I just completed Pharos by Guy Haley. Now, I think I read a short story of his at some point in the past and I didn't care for it that much. As a result, I avoided his more recent works (Valedor, etc). I saw he was the author of Pharos and I was like "man, I guess I'll be missing that HH story". However, I saw on line some positive reviews, so I decided to give Haley a second chance. And boy, was I glad I did. Pharos is an amazing book. Crisp action, VERY well-drawn characters (both good guys and bad guys), and, frankly, worthy of Know No Fear, Betrayer, and Unremembered Empire (it contains threads from all of those, and takes some of those strands to their logical conclusions). I found three really noteworthy things about the book- I'll try to avoid spoilers.

First, the emerging friendship between Dantioch (the non-traitor Iron Warrior) and Pollux (Imperial Fist) is very compelling. We know the two legions HATE each other (and we know the hatred will get deeper and harsher after the Heresy), and yet their friendship shows "what might have been"- if only the Legions and their Primarchs could see past their petty issues- the Emperor could have accomplished his dream. Dantioch and Pollux show the wasted potential of the Emperor's works.

Second, there's a guardsman Sgt. Mericus. He's a bit roguish at first, and a bit too sarcastic (comic relief?). But, as the story went on, Mericus encouraged bravery in his men, and through quick thinking managed to pull off some miracles in the heat of battle. Mericus becomes our surrogate- a regular guy confronted by the horrors of the Night Lords. Without spoiling too much- Mericus has a brave last stand, and it was exciting and moving stuff. A great character.

Finally, I want to make special mention of Haley's treatment of the Night Lords. As I'm sure you're aware, Aaron Dembski-Bowden has a lock on Night Lords with his Talos trilogy. However, Haley gives him a run for his money in his characterization of the Night Lords (and that's high praise). I love how he puts them in various shades of evil and wickedness. Rather than just make them evil for evil's sake, Haley gives them many motivations, and many different thoughts on what they think their Legion is (and is becoming). The brothers Kellndar and Kellenkir exemplify this- both are "bad guys", yet you feel some pity for them, and you can see that "evil" may well be a sliding scale. I was also very amused by the flamboyant Krukesh the Pale- his command of a host of Night Lords drives much of the action. He's quite vile, but has a sly sense of humor. Finally, there is Skraivok, a Claw leader that has his own agenda, though he longs (in his own way) for the old days of the Legion. His machinations lead to a lot of suspense and tension among the Night Lords, making their scenes so much more interesting and complex, as opposed to just plain "evil" (though the Night Lords do plenty in this department too).

I was pleased by the appearances of Guilliman and Sanguinius. However, I was unhappy to see Kurze once again. I like him, but damn- he's been in a ton of these HH books now. I think we get the picture about him at this point. He comes across as moody and angsty- again, we get it. His appearance leads to an interesting scene, but it ultimately resolves NOTHING. Its as if he has a contract to cameo in X amount of HH books... Can't we see more of some of the other Traitor Primarchs? How about more Peturabo, or Mortarion? Oh- and read the epilogue... amazing!

Anyway, I can't recommend Pharos enough. If you love 40K fiction or are following the Horus Heresy series- this book is an excellent addition to the overall story. I give Haley a huge amount of credit for living up to Abnett and ADB- no mean feat. Check the book out.

On top of all this, I have a tournament tomorrow at my local. Really looking forward to it. I'm sure I'll take pix and then post them on Chaos Corner at some point.

Until next time...

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