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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

I fell off the face of the warp

Hey there Chaos fanatics! Old Man Chaos is back, with a vengeance as it were. I know I haven't posted for quite a while, but I have been very, very busy. Mrs. Chaos and I bought a new house. As I'm sure you realize, this is a big undertaking- banks, lawyers, etc... but it also meant that we had to move, get settled, do work on the house, paint, rearrange furniture for the 20th time... well you get the picture. Because of all that, I have been unable to post in quite some time. That doesn't mean I haven't been keeping up on my 40K though. I have been doing my models, reading 8th edition rules, etc. I will show the things I've painted up... when I can find my lamps that I use to illuminate the models, that is...

Besides, I have something a bit bigger than that to share with you now, my fellow denizens of the warp. When my wife and I were shopping for a house, she said that I should have a dedicated space for my hobby. Not just a painting desk, but a virtual man-cave sized gaming and hobby area. Now that is an understanding wife, no? At my old family home, I had a gaming table in the basement, but the basement was crowded with a family's lifetime of stuff and clutter. It wasn't that big either. And it had an old boiler that my friend Pete said was the gateway to hell itself (it threw out lots and lots of heat- making it impossible to play down there in the summers). At any rate, my wife wanted me to live the 40K addicts dream with a dedicated space.

With incredible luck, we found such a house that had the perfect space. Yes, it is a basement. But with a little work the basement could be finished, and it would practically double our living space. Great neighborhood, great house, good price... and an area for 40K.

Fast forward a few months. With most of the work done I began planning out my man cave / battle bunker. Half would be dedicated to a good TV and videogame setup. The other half would be 40K central. I moved my painting desk down to the cave and it was perfect (I just have to tidy up a little bit).

When it came time to get a table... I was fucked. I am absolutely NO good with building actual things (plastic models? Yes. A 4x8 table? Hell no.). My previous table was designed and built by Pete (my brother and I certainly helped, but Pete was the boss. And Joe only played with Skorpinok in my basement as we toiled). Pete has since moved far away, and while I see him once in a while there's no way he could build me another table. How could I do it now?

As it turned out, I'd get a ton of help. A bunch of my friends/family put our heads together and came up with a solution. Russ, who has never ever played 40K before is very good at figuring out things. As we described the table I wanted he said that it could certainly be done. And it would be a housewarming present to boot!

 So, a few Saturdays ago, Brian, Russ, Steve, and I went to get all the lumber and screws and such. We took it all back to my basement and began construction. It took several hours, but by the end we had created an incredible table! And despite all our efforts, there were no snags or snafus- heck, no one got hurt either (power tools and us don't mix exactly).

 We started with the legs, framing them out. Russ wanted me to have storage space underneath so that I could store some terrain, dice, models, etc. Now, it could never fit all my terrain crap, but it would certainly be helpful to have that space.

Once the legs and shelf space was set in, we then put the table top on. Now, originally it was just going to be one huge sheet of wood. However, it couldn't fit in any of our vehicles. So I said to have the store cut it down the middle for transport. Russ said he could make it work. With metal braces placed on the undersides, he as able to join them together just fine. Then, the table went on top of the legs and with some screwing, hammering, etc, the table was done.

 But we were not finished. One of the things that always bugged everyone who has ever played warhammer is when dice roll onto the floor. To solve that problem, we put wood molding around the perimeter of the table, as a border. Now, dice won't roll off the table edge.

The other issue we dealt with was WHERE to roll the dice. Now whenever Pete built a table, it was always 4 x 8. Now, usually games are no more than 4x6. I figured that I would only do 4x6. But Brian had a wild idea- build it 4x8 (just in case we wanted an Apoc game or something). Using similar molding as what we placed on the perimeter, we would cut two pieces so they would fit width-wise across the table. If I placed my game mat in the exact middle of the table, I would have a foot on each side. The molding border would be put in, giving us a rolling lane, an area to put Tactical cards or dead models or what have you. This was also accomplished with great ease.

With construction done, I decided to paint the table top black (my multimedia unit and my modelling desk are black so I figured why not match it all). I may or may not paint the table legs at a later date, but I really just wanted to get the top done.

Ah! Now it was finished I put on one of my mats that I got from FAT Mats. And then some terrain. And at that point I knew that I had exactly what I wanted- a gaming table in a place with plenty of space! And the table is just perfect.

So, about a week later, Brian and I decided to break in the new table with two games. His Ultramarines against my Khorne forces- as nature intended. Now I have played a few 8th edition games, as had Brian. I like 8th edition, though I think it still has problems. Brian with his gun line wins against me every time, because I have to go in close to get him. Though close combat is brutal, you still have to GET there, which turned out to be very difficult for me.

In the first game, we had table quarters playing big guns never tire. Brian stole the initiative and shot me to hell. I lost half my army during his turn 1 shooting phase. There was literally nothing I could do. Nothing. And I made decent save rolls too. It was just too much firepower.

 In his turn 2 he wiped out most of what remained. Brian is the type of player who always goes for the throat. Not unfair or cheating- just he plays tough and he plays to win. He said that close combat armies will always lose to that sustained shooting. He feels that alpha strike determines the winner way too much.

The second game was the arrowheads deployment and we played the cleanse and control maelstrom mission. This game Brian also won, but It was back and forth until turn 3. Heck, some of my guys even managed to kill things in combat!

 Kharn killed some stuff (including 4 of my Warp Talons- I forgot he can re-roll to hits. I rolled 4 1s and forgot the re-roll. Ugh). Again, Brian shot me to hell, but I was able to score some points with the cards and hurt him a little bit. The fact that Marines can get re-roll to hits and re-roll of 1s to wound makes their shooting pretty much unstoppable. But I got some skulls so Khorne was happy.

 Two losses in a row was not the ideal way to break in my new table, but that's OK. The table was great- the mat and terrain were just fine, and the rolling lane made it really nice so our dice weren't hitting models, getting cocked every 5 seconds, etc. 

So with that I will close this blog post. I am grateful that I have gotten the chance to have what I have always wanted- a dedicated Warhammer space. Thanks to Brian, Steve, and Russ for making it happen. And my wife, who doesn't mind being married to a nerd.

Until next time...

Monday, April 10, 2017

New Exalted Sorcerers and Flamers of Tzeentch

Hey there Chaos goons! Old Man Chaos is back with another riveting installment of Chaos Corner. All your Chaos needs right in one convenient spot. I have some more Tzeentchian goodness (or badness, if you will): 3 more Exalted Sorcerers and Flamers of Tzeentch. So, without further ado...

First up, my Flamers. These were a gift from my wife for Valentine's Day (yes, she knows exactly what kind of a nerd her husband is). I have a bunch of the metal ones, which I am very fond of. These "new" plastic ones are fine- the flames coming from them are nicely sculpted. The whole model has a nice sense of uneven motion- perfect for the Flamers of Tzeentch.

 However, I was troubled by the multiple heads. Seriously, the detail there is SO damn small. The bodies were fine; I just had a hell of a time with the heads. I decided NOT to paint them much or differentiate them. Instead they are just indistinct- as if they are forming from the Flamer's warping body without actually being different from that body. Leering faces that you may or may not be able to see---- this sounded Tzeentchian enough for me.

Their bodies I painted with Kantor Blue. The long tendrils I did Ahriman Blue as a complementary but also vivid color. As for the highlights, I did each Flamer with a slightly different blue, so each one looks a bit distinct from the others, but still unified (Teclis, Thunderhawk, Thousand Sons, Altdorf, etc).

The part that sticks out the most is the flames. Now, A couple of years back I did an Exalted Flamer of Tzeentch (see pics HERE), and I did the flames green. But, my old metal ones I did with more flame colors- red, yellow, orange. So- I decided since I had 6 I would do both- some green, some burning yellows/oranges. I started with white, then put either yellow or green washes on them. Then I highlighted with Moot Green, or Averland Sunset and Troll Slayer Orange. The bright colors stand in contrast to the darker blues of the Flamers.

 Overall, they are not my best paintwork, but certainly adequate for my Daemons. I worked on them while I was working on my second wave of Exalted Sorcerers, which are far more detailed. Now, I'm not going to go over how I painted these new Exalted Sorcerers, as I have already discussed my Thousand Sons paint scheme (HERE). I will say that the bands of yellow and blue are tough for me, as my hand shakes when I tray to paint such little lines, unfortunately (a problem I don't have with Khorne Bezerkers or Plague Marines). I will instead give a little fluff for each of the new Sorcerers, to compliment my previous three (which you can read about HERE).

Sethos- Prince of the Crimson King

Sethos was, at one time, one of Magnus the Red's closest advisors, behind only Amon and Ahriman. With his red hair, he even resembled his Primarch physically. Sethos was one of the best of the Pavoni Cult, and his reputation for being a master of the use of biomancy on the battlefield. When the Space Wolves attacked Prospero, Sethos was at the forefront, using his powers to initiate the "flesh change" within members of the Space Wolves 13th Company.

After their defeat and retreat to the Planet of the Sorcerers, Sethos would play no part in the casting of the Rubric, as his ego was so overblown that he believed that Ahriman's efforts were doomed to fail and Sethos would not be associated with such a risky venture. As a result, when Ahriman and the others were exiled, Sethos remained, and in the days(?) that followed, Sethos became Magnus' right hand. His power was so great, that many called him "The Prince of the Crimson King".

In recent years, Sethos has worked very hard at unlocking the mutation present in all Space Wolves due to the Canis Helix. With Magnus overseeing, it was Sethos who worked out the original formula- the biomantic process of transforming the Space Wolves into the Wulfen beasts. Magnus was able to take that discovery and magnify it to such a tremendous extent (such is the power of Magnus), that the Magnus would be able to trigger mutation in many of the Space Wolves, leading to the disaster at Fenris. Once again, Sethos proved his worth to the Crimson King, and is the undisputed crown prince.

Banitih, "The Teacher of Tzeentch" 

Banitih served long and faithfully during the Great Crusade; although he was subordinate to Ahriman, he was a fine Librarian in his own right. When not on the battlefield, Banitih worked as a senior- a teacher of the younger Thousand Sons. Not only dud he teach them the history of the Legion, but it was his job to assess each new warriors psychic potential and aid them in discovering their powers and help them to understand the enumerations.

Like so many, Banitih was terrified when his Legion began to mutate on the Planet of the Sorcerers. For him, it was actually very personal, as he had taught so many of these younger legionaries. Banitih blamed himself- if only he had taught them better, maybe they could resist the flesh change wrought by the powers of the warp. When Ahriman proposed his Rubric, Banitih was one of the first to join the Cabal, hoping to save his students (and, erase his own failure). Needless to say, Banitih was horrified by the results of the Rubric. 

After being banished by Magnus, Banitih and his Rubricae traveled from Chaos warband to warband. Banitih would teach the warband's aspiring sorcerers, helping them to truly tap into the powers of the warp. In exchange for his services, Banitih would be given any relics or tomes that the ravaging warbands found on their raids. Thus, Banitih has amassed a large collection of artifacts, although his collection pales in comparison to Ahriman's. That does not dissuade Banitih from trying to acquire more pieces of ancient knowledge and power.

Hanbal The Impure

The story of Hanbal is a tragic one, even by Thousand Sons standards. Hanbal was a powerful sorcerer of the Raptora Cult in the days of the Great Crusade. He was one of the first children of Prospero to survive the implantation of the gene-seed. He fought with Magnus in many battles in the Crusade, and was always looking for knowledge of the civilizations that the Thousand Sons brought into compliance.

When the Thousand Sons retreated into the warp after Prospero fell, Hanbal was horrified when he began to exhibit signs of the flesh change. He fought hard against it, but his body and mind were slipping away. As Ahriman was gathering sorcerers into his Cabal, Hanbal was two steps from being a mindless Chaos spawn, his powers now useless. Once Ahriman cast the Rubric, the mutations in Hanbal stopped and reversed themselves, but not fully.

Hanbal retained many avian mutations, with his head distended into a beak and feathers growing from his arm. But it went no further than that, and his mind and powers were restored and enhanced. After Ahriman and his Cabal were banished, Hanbal remained with the loyal sorcerers at the Tower of Magnus. However, he seemed to not "fit in" as it were- the other sorcerers were not mutated at all, and Hanbal seemed to be a freakish in-betweener- part sorcerer, part mutant. He earned the nickname "The Impure" from Sethos, who saw Hanbal as a weak and imperfect sorcerer.

Eventually, Hanbal took his Rubricae and left the Planet of the Sorcerers. Now, Hanbal did not seek out a cure to his mutation or a way to improve the Rubric (as Ahriman had). No- instead Hanbal swore to become a Daemon Prince, cast in the image of Magnus and the Lords of Change. Hanbal has done horrific things to catch the attention of mighty Tzeentch. Little does Hanbal know that Tzeentch will never give him daemonhood- his rage and energy is much better spent this way, as a frustrated champion of Tzeentch driven to ever greater acts of destruction on the material plane.

So, that makes 6 Exalted Sorcerers for me, plus Ahriman. That's a lot of sorcery right there folks. Sadly, I have played two 2,000 point games with the Thousand Sons, and neither battle went particularly well at all. My first battle saw me virtually defeated on turn one, as my Ultramarine opponent dealt out so much damn firepower that I discovered the old adage "a 3 is a 3 is a 3"- youre going to roll 1s and 2s eventually. But unlike regular marines, you are paying a premium for the Thousand Sons.

My second game went better, though it was still a defeat. My biggest problem was that I didn't have anything to punch through my Dark Angel opponent's armor, which included Dreadnoughts. Ahriman did fairly well casting, as did the exalted sorcerers, but it just wasn't enough. My Scarab Occult Terminators were worth every penny though, as they destroyed a squad of bikers and absorbed a ton of firepower. I think my problem is that the Thousand Son footprint is small (like most Chaos Marine armies). Thus you are outnumbered by virtually any army, and the psychic powers alone can't win you the day. Brian and Joe keep telling me to do Magnus, but I'll be disappointed if my army can ONLY do well with Magnus.

Until Next Time...

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ahriman and the Exalted Sorcerers

Hey there Chaos boys and girls! Welcome back to yet another "exciting" edition of Chaos Corner. I have been working hard to add to my Thousand Sons forces. I have put a lot together, but painting these highly detailed models is slow going. Having done 2 squads of Rubric Marines and 1 squad of Scarab Occult Terminators, I decided to do some work on the other half of the Thousand Sons- their "enlightened" leaders, the sorcerers!

I was fortunate enough to get two boxes of Exalted Sorcerers for the holidays, so I was able to do some mixing and matching to give each sorcerer a different and dynamic look. I also used some staff heads from the other Thousand Sons boxes to spice things up even more. Heck, I even did some minor conversion work on one of them by including some bitz from my box of horrors... er, bitz box.

I have already gone over my paint scheme in a previous post. I did do some alterations on their cloaks and head-dresses to make them stand apart, so I won't get into that too much (except for Ahriman at the end, as he is a bit different). Instead, I'll give you a little fluff/background on each Exalted Sorcerer, since each is an independent character.

Ahmes The Scribe of Magnus:

Ahmes, also known as the "Scribe of Magnus" was one of the Thousand Son's greatest librarians. When the legion began to mutate on the Planet of the Sorcerers, Ahriman did not even attempt to recruit Ahmes to his cause, knowing that Ahmes was loyal to the Primarch to a fault and would not countenance what Ahriman was attempting with the Rubric.

After the casting of the Rubric, Ahmes began to rise in stature in the eyes (or is that eye) of Magnus, becoming one of his most trusted lieutenants and apprentices. At the feet of Magnus, Ahmes learned many of the deepest truths about Tzeentch and Chaos in general. Finally, at the order of Magnus, Ahmes was charged with writing down every scrap of knowledge and wisdom that Magnus had learned since becoming a Daemon Primarch. It is said that Ahmes is assisting Magnus in writing a new book, which will dwarf the mighty Athenaeum of Kallimacus itself.

At certain times, Magnus will task Ahmes with going into the material universe. This may be to find a certain artifact, destroy an important Imperial Shrine, kill a certain individual- anything that will further the schemes of Magnus and his patron, Tzeentch. Ahmes is a superb sorcerer, and an able military tactician. Woe to any foe that crosses the path of one of Magnus' favored sons.

The Blind Seer (formerly known as Kaemqed) 

Many millennia ago, Kaemqed was a librarian and follower of the Corvidae sect. Naturally, Kaemqed was convinced by Ahriman to participate in the casting of the Rubric. In the aftermath, Kaemqed was banished by Magnus for his participation in casting the Rubric.

 Once back in the material realm, Kaemqed roamed with his Rubricae, searching for artifacts that would boost his power. He seemed to wander without any real goal other than the acquisition of such trinkets and books. Several thousand years ago, Kaemqed found a chaos-tainted artifact- a tome known as the Encyclopedic Mathematica. Containing many powerful spells and incantations, Kaemqed's power grew, in fact, his powers now eclipsed many other Exalted Sorcerers.

But it was not enough for Kaemqed, for he sought something more- he wanted to be more powerful than any sorcerer, so that when he returned to the Planet of the Sorcerers Magnus would have no choice but to take him back. Kaemqed would take his rightful place at the right hand of Magnus. With the Encyclopedic Mathematica fully deciphered and in hand, Kaemqed attempted to call out to Tzeentch, offering his eye for great power, as Magnus had so long ago. Tzeentch did answer and promised to give Kaemqed great power indeed- but the cost was both of Kaemqed's eyes!

Kaemeq's power was greatly augmented, and his power to divine the threads of fate and the future became arguably second only to Karios Fateweaver himself. However, the cost was greater than his eyes. Tzeentch allowed Kaemeq to see almost anything- except a path to the Planet of the Sorcerers. Thus, Kaemeq's plans were frustrated, and he continued to wander the galaxy. Since, that time, he has become known as "The Blind Seer". Many Chaos warlords have sought Kaemeq's insight and wisdom to plan future campaigns against the Imperium. The Blind Seer often exacts a high price for the use of his vision, perhaps a great sacrifice, or perhaps an artifact that must be obtained at a great cost. Sometimes, The Blind Seer offers his vision in exchange for a role on the battlefield, as he longs to use his powers to destroy the followers of the false-emperor. At any rate, The Blind Seer has, either directly or indirectly, become a major threat to the Imperium, his foresight allowing him (or other Chaos Warlords) to attack Imperial worlds at exactly the right moment.

(Note- the head of The Blind Seer is from the old "Chaos Mutant" sprue from like 15 years ago- I still have a bunch, as they were so useful that I have hoarded them since. As for the book- that comes from an old metal 40K Inquisitor model. Again, I have a huge bitz box. Hence the Encyclopedic Mathematica is represented on the model- even if he can't actually see to read it! Oh Tzeentch, what a sense of humor you have there)

Nakht The Wanderer

Once a Captain of the Thousand Sons, Nakht was a disciple of the Pyrae cult. Nakht fought furiously at the battle of Prospero, using his powers to kill many Space Wolves. He cursed all of creation when Magnus whisked them away to the Planet of the Sorcerers. Nakht felt further humiliation when so many of his battle brothers began to succumb to the curse of the flesh change. Naturally, he was eager to take part in casting the Rubric of Ahriman.

After being exiled, Nakht and his Rubricae joined forces for a time with a Word Bearer warband known as the "Bloody Betrayal". During those years, Nakht took his frustration out on weakling humans and their foolish Astartes defenders. Although he did not participate in the ceremonial worship practiced by the Word Bearers, he did delight in bringing destruction wherever the warband went. As the warband (and Nakht and his Rubricae) went far and wide, other Thousand Sons sorcerers came to call Nakht "The Wanderer".

In recent years, the "Bloody Betrayal" suffered spectacular defeats at the hands of their ancient enemies, the Ultramarines. As a result, the warband broke up, and Nakht took to space on his own once again. As if by fate (for certainly there is no coincidence to Tzeentch), Nakht was contacted by Ahriman himself, who asked for The Wanderer's aid. This time, Ahriman said, his new Rubric would not fail, if he could access the Webway and learn the secrets of the Black Library. From that time forward, Nakht has pledged himself to Ahriman once more, hoping to make the Rubric successful, so that a newly empowered Thousand Sons could take to the battlefields once more, and cast down the Emperor for good.

(Note- Like a good Chaos fanatic, I am always looking to the past for inspiration, I decided to make Nakht's disc a "Fungoid Disc", which comes from like 2nd edition or something. I used tentacles from Chaos Spawn to make the "fungoid" effect. I didn't use putty to mutate the disc, as I think the finished looking top contrasts greatly with the writhing tentacles.)


Naturally, Ahriman is one of the centerpieces of the army. And like all such models, he should be tied into the army, and yet still somehow distinct. I painted his armor and gold trim just as I had the rest of the Thousand Sons. I also did the gemstones the same way as other Thousand Sons.

The real difference comes in two areas. First, his head-dress / horns. Rather than do them gold (like other Thousand Sons), I painted them silver. After all, the forces of Tzeentch have "Silver Towers", so I thought silver would tie into that and make him stand out.

The other big difference is the cloak. While all my Exalted Sorcerers have variations on their cloaks, I also tied them together. With Ahriman, I went in a completely different direction, by going for a truly dark color. I painted the cloak Kantor Blue, then did washes of Nuln Oil (in the recesses) and a general wash of Nightshade. Then, I highlighted with slightly lighter blues. This gave the cloak a dark but deep color, contrasting him nicely with the brighter cloaks of the other sorcerers.

One thing I am disappointed with in the model is that there is virtually NO posibility. He goes together only one way. I was too nervous to cut the model- if I cut wrong it could be ruined (this isn't the Death Guard or Khorne Bezerkers, where a few tentacles or lots of blood can hide a multitude of sins). As a result, my Ahriman is very "average" looking. I love the model, but as I was unwilling to risk it, he now looks like every other Ahriman (which goes against these old converter's bones). Also, by accident, I dropped him on his head, breaking his horns. One managed to stay on, the other was just such a small break that the glue literally didn't have enough surface area to stay connected. He still looks fine, even slightly battle-worn.

So, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. My Thousand Sons force continues to grow apace. I hope to be able to finish more in the next few weeks. Once all of that is done, I intend on starting Magnus. As Magnus is the other centerpiece, I want to make sure I have my army's look completely down. As of now, I have NO idea what I'll be doing with him LOL...

Until next time... Stay thirsty my friends.