Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Re-Visiting Lernaeans

In the background for the Alpha Legion, the Lernaean Terminators are supposed to be the cutting edge of their assault. The tip of their proverbial spear. The recent announcement from Forge World that these marines would be getting miniatures has me rather excited as I'm sure I will be getting a squad of them. Or so. The image below shows the miniatures previewed by Forge World (Image copyright via Warhammer Community). 

I like a number of features about these miniatures. Clearly the Alpha Legion iconography is a major draw card for them. However, this is also a negative in the sense that they are all the same. Yes: they should be to some extent. Countering this is the plentiful arrangement of armour styles we have seen for the regular troopers though. Hence I am a little surprised by the uniformity of their armour. 

I really like the scaling applied to the shoulders, arms and legs though. Some really nice work there, even if painting them will seemingly take a while(!). The poses are varied enough to be interesting and some conversion opportunities do present themselves as well.

What I really wanted to return to were their rules. I have covered their rules extensively before in my large Horus Heresy review series, but given the miniatures are going to be available to us soon, I thought it was worth returning to them. There are several striking features here:
(1) stubborn (worth the price in 30k).
(2) mixed weapons (the beamer is oddly placed for what should otherwise be a close combat squad).
(3) extra pip in WS. 

The third and first points are what make the points value of this unit almost (perhaps totally) worthwhile. Given the charge, they are going to make better use of themselves than an analogous (and more regular) set of legion terminators. In a terminator on terminator fight, they will be making back more of their points. Indeed, the points efficiency of these models is higher than regular terminators due to the extra WS pip. I sat down and did some sums and thought that the points efficiency was something like a gain of 10-25 per cent on regular terminators depending on the scenario used (they get the charge; they face analogous terminators; etc). Sadly I deleted that calculation off my files, but think I'm right in recalling that percentage. Hence these guys really are the elite of the terminators.

However, there is the problem about what to arm them with. The beamer just doesn't sit right; even though it is very, very cool (and thematically fitting). Potentially the best way to go is to simply keep the cost down as low as possible and take them as it. That said, arming them with power fists or chain fists is a good option as well given that they are swinging at the lowest initiative regardless. Plasma blaster is valid. But I cannot justify the cost of the beamer in comparison to a weapons platform such as a predator that can pull the same kind of duty. 

An alternative that I thought of trying to pull off is simply to have the beamer in there as a kind of flexible utility, but then have Alpharius replace the model. Just because. Shoot the beamer in turn 1, then have Alpharius show up to wreck some other units in a different part of the board in turn 2. Not a good plan. It wastes a lot of points. But the look on an opponents face if this ever gets pulled off would be good! On reflection, I'm not going to do this ... but I cannot help but think the beamer does look good on these miniatures, and I am one for the rule of cool... its just how to play it that still is the problem without a solution. Otherwise, this is a really good, and elite, terminator squad that should see some play at certain points levels. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Death from Above And Below

Thanks for stopping by. The topic that I wanted to briefly talk about today was the new option that has opened up with the impending release of the Forge World Termite. Namely, the Subterranean Assault rule.

In essence, this is very much akin to a second version of the more well known Drop Pod Assault special rule. At least in the sense that a controlling player would select half of their drop pods (termites) to enter play by deep strike and arrive on the first turn. The Subterranean Assault special rule creates a second category of this kind of assault, except its just those that come in to play from underneath the surface.

The overall effect of these two rules is that we can now have two guaranteed first turn deep striking units coming in from the reserves without having to roll for them coming on. In 30k, this is a huge thing; and makes going first a bit more of a game-changer for some armies.

Consider, for example, the Alpha Legion. With all its bonuses to seizing the initiative, having 2 first turn deep striking vehicles is an amazing start to the game and ties in well thematically with the Alpha Legion being able to attack from unexpected quarters and from multiple directions all at once. I'm thinking something like a Deathwind Drop Pod (to eliminate masses infantry on landing) coupled with a termite containing something like a support squad (who shoot once disembarked). Naturally, Alpharius will be concealing himself inside the support squad and will reveal himself on turn 2 to provide a super charged (preferred enemy: everything) second turn.

Obviously there are more uses besides this one. I think the Night Lords could make good use of this tactic as well to so fear and (literal) terror in to their enemies on turn one as well. Bathing the battlefield (where needed) in fire and promethium is an excellent option for the Salamanders as well.

Overall then, I like this rule, and it won't be long before we see competitive lists taking full advantage of having two first turn deep striking units coming in to play.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Black Library Bookmark

Something odd happened in the past week. I got a freebie. This doesn't happen terribly often to me unless I'm reviewing a new miniature, or a new game, but it happened completed out of the blue. I was purchasing a Horus Heresy novel (Path of Heaven for the curious ... I know I'm a little behind in the reading, but hey, caught up on the White Scar's action now!). When I was paying for the book, the store manager asked if I wanted any of the free stuff that he had been asked to give away. I said sure. Alongside a couple of badges / pins, I ended up with the bookmark pictured below. 

The bookmark is a fairly regular set of materials with a kind of (what I presume to be) faux leather upper and man-made lower backing. Embossed on it is the Black Library name and logo and the lower end (right hand side of the image) has been sliced in to smaller sections in the traditional manner. 

I'm not sure what its worth, but I thought it was a cool little freebie to be given alongside a book purchase. Thank you Games Workshop and Black Library. It put a little smile on my face! 

It also got me wondering: how many of you out there have also got give-aways or free stuff from official Games Workshop stores? Presumably I am not the only one, but usually these kinds of things are given away due to store loyalty schemes, or equivalent. I've not been given anything point blank, just because I made a purchase except for this. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

We Are Alpharius

In my previous post, I noted some of my general feelings surrounding burn out in the hobby. I'd like to thank everyone who commented on the post and who mailed me with their words of support (and similar confessions in one instance). Clearly I am not alone out there. Thank you. 

In many ways, I think I have been waiting for something to sufficiently pique my interest again. Something that would enable me to rekindle some of the enthusiasm that I had and get me going again. Well ladies and gentlemen, I think this happened today. 

Forge World announced that the new sculpt for Alpharius would be made available soon -- and early purchases could be made at the Coventry convention in later May. On Warhammer Community, a preview of the fully painted Alpharius model has now been made and I have copied the relevant image below (I do not have copyright on this image, and I acknowledge the owner, Warhammer Community, as the rightful owner of this image and will gladly take it down if requested. I use it here under the fair use copyright clause for the purposes of review). 

I like many aspects of this model, I have to confess. Firstly, the overall pose is one of dynamism. It is not a static pose like we see with Lorgar (whose sculpt is very much one of being in place and broodily looking); or Dorn (whose sculpt is very static and stoic, surveying the battlefield). This is a sculpt that shows the Primarch in the midst of attack, swinging his weapon to kill with a stabbing thrust motion. I suspect with a bit of a tweak, he would be made to look like he is in mid-swing or a defensive pose (add in a little head tilt, and bring the arms around a little bit perhaps to achieve this). He also, very wisely, is wearing his helmet. As joked about in some of the Horus Heresy novels, why would any space marine go in to the crucible of battle without it? Why wear a tank's worth of armour to have an exposed scalp? Alpharius shows the extent of his genius by actually wearing a damned helmet for once, unlike his lesser (more arrogant?) brothers! 

Obviously the miniature has a removable base that is smaller than the entire scenic base pictured in the image. One can almost make out the circular shape at the back left of the larger base that will be removable - in common with other primarchs. 

Interestingly, there is a marine in the base that is trying to plead or crawl away from Alpharius. I find it interesting that the painters have chosen (I use the word chosen deliberately here) to paint it as a Space Wolf. There are not too many instances in the novels of the Alpha Legion and their Primarch facing off against the Space Wolves. Perhaps this is something to look forward to?

However, when I do purchase this miniature (and that is most assuredly a "when" rather than "if"), I think I will be painting the miniature in other colours. I have toyed with a number of ideas for this ranging from Raven Guard or Salamanders to represent the Isstvan campaign and others. However, what I think I will do is convert the marine (if feasible) by attaching one of my remaining Alpha Legion heads and paint the miniature in Alpha Legion colours to represent the internal civil war within the Legion that eventually comes along to hurt the unity of their cause. 

I'd like to see a close up of the cape that Alpharius is wearing, as I think I will probably be painting it black (or at least green or purple) rather than the white we see in the image. That is about my only complaint about the paint scheme. In terms of the sculpt, I really like it overall. Not so sure about the surroundings on the base (its not got Horus or Guilliman's sense of awesome backdrop - this is very much a dirty battlefield), but I still totally like it. 

Anyway, more at future (not so far away) point...

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Intermission and burn out.

It has been a month since I last blogged here. My apologies for that. This is due to a combination of hobby burn out and available time. Available time is, of course, at a premium for most of us. Particularly us older gamers who have other duties to attend to, let alone demanding full time jobs.

As for hobby burn out, I think that this happens to a good number of people once in a while. Indeed, I would very much welcome your own thoughts and comments on the issue of burn out, or even being in the hobby doldrums.

I will be candid. Its not to say that I am not enjoying the hobby -- quite the opposite in fact. I love the hobby. It has been a huge part of my life for so long, coupled with this very blog, that I can't recall a time that I was without it. Its just the case that I think I needed a bit of time away in order to attend to other things and cease concentrating so hard on the hobby and develop other parts of my life and other hobbies. I know how heretical that that must sound! It does to me as well, and I'm sat here writing this blog article about having hobby burn out. I guess in some ways I can trace it back to attempting to organise several tournaments locally -- some of which were very successful, and others were just a non-starter (e.g., the 30k tournament that I was planning last year). I think this has taken a little toll on me overall. If I were located in a larger city or closer to London, then I suspect it would have gotten off the ground a lot more readily overall.

The other factor is that my airbrush needs replacing. At least the needle and nib of the airbrush do. And to be perfectly honest, I just have not got around to sourcing a replacement. I think I have been using this as an excuse to not do much painting overall. Even my Mechanics scenery that I posted about a couple of months ago has yet to receive an undercoat.

So, there we have it. Burn Out.
Normal service to resume shortly I hope. :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Swamp Game Mat

One of the earlier game mats that I purchased was the Swamp mat from Deep Cut Studio.

The image below shows the mat in all its glory.

What is really interesting about the mat - artistically - is how the overall effect tends to blend in to the background, and yet the the level of detail in the mat itself is actually very high indeed.

If you click to open the image, and zoom in, you will be greeted by a huge and surprising level of detail that include individual tree roots that meander across the swamp's floor; foliage from individual trees; different colours of swamp foliage and plant life in the underlying background; several different species of plant life; and more besides.

The only thing missing is an over abundance of mosquitoes to be perfectly honest. But I will leave the flies to some Nurgle armies for the moment.

Overall, I am very impressed with this purchase. The mouse mat backing of the game mat means that it won't be slipping any time soon and the fall of die on the surface will not cause a huge clattering noise. The surface is wipe-able with a damp cloth, and anything spilt on it can be mopped up quickly with a minimum of fuss (well, maybe not red wine stains: I'm not at that level of consumer testing to be honest! ....Yet). A full 5 stars from me on this mat :)
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