Tuesday 15 May 2018

The Triumvirate of Watch-Fortress Rubicon

Triumvirates were an interesting thing I wish had survived into 40k 8th edition. Those were nice box sets and I genuinely wonder what might have been achieved if we'd seen the idea continue. My own fantasy booking for them would be a Triumvirate Of Chaos with Abaddon, Zaraphiston and some sort of enormous new Daemon Prince (or Primarch Lorgar who I imagine would be smaller than Magnus and Mortarion).

Anyway, considering that I've now decided to fold in my Mechanicus with my Deathwatch I've decided to build a Triumvirate of my own to represent the different factions present at Rubicon Command.

First up will, of course, be the Deathwatch Watch-Master, commanding officer of the fortress. This model will absolutely just be straight out of the clampack with no conversions other than, maybe, a chapter shoulder pad because I absolutely adore the model.

Second will the leader of the Mechanicus delegation who will either be a converted Magos Dominus or a converted Belisarius Cawl. Whichever model I use I want to add xenotech components to it to represent the heresy that Stygies VIII keep getting in trouble for.

And finally, a model that I don't even know what I'll use as the base for conversion: the Ordo Xenos Inquisitor assigned to the fortress. Background has changed over the years so now the Deathwatch co-operate with the Ordo Xenos rather than being the ordo's chamber militant. I actually prefer this version of the background, if I'm being honest, but I definitely think the ordo would have some sort of presence even if only as a liaison officer. So my Xenos Inquisitor Laurento Hex, one of my oldest 40k characters, will find himself and his retinue assigned to Rubicon Command and incarnated in a brand new model.

I just have to work out what he's going to look like.

Monday 14 May 2018

The Sprawl Addressed (finished models)

I looked at my hobby diary before writing this and it turns out I haven't finished a model since the 6th of March. No wonder I needed a week of intensive hobbying to get myself back in the groove. Admittedly, I didn't get anywhere near finishing the small legion of models on the mantelpiece but plenty did get done. I started last week with thirty-one models and I finished sixteen. That is not bad, especially as one of them is a Lord Of War choice (admittedly one of the smaller ones, but still).

What's more they're all for the same project: the many headed beast of detachments that is my Deathwatch army.

First up we have Kill-Team “Omen” (Rubicon Command, Watch Company Primus, First Squad) under Sergeant Mori Pellos of the Star Phantoms:

The chapters, from left to right, are the Dark Hands, Star Phantoms, Exorcists, Black Dragons, Angels Sanguine and Marines Malevolent (the Marine Malevolent was already painted and is just joining his completed squad here). Basically, I wanted to make a team composed of some of the less trustworthy chapters in the Imperium simply because the shoulder pads in the official kit tend more towards the upstanding and heroic sorts (plus the Dark Angels). I particularly enjoyed the chance to include a mutated Space Marine in the form of the Black Dragon with his horned head (taken from the Chaos Space Marine Raptors kit, by the way).

For anyone wondering, the shoulder pads come from the online store of Shapeways trader POP Goes The Monkey. They're 3D-printed and require a little cleaning before painting (hence why the paint looks a little thick on these ones, I didn't know that when I started them). As you can see, the detail fidelity is fantastic even if some striations from the printing process remain visible through the paint.

Also for the main body of the Deathwatch detachment itself is Terminator Kill-Team “Gauntlet” (Watch Company Secundus, First Squad) under Sergeant Dane Ixion of the Minotaurs:

The chapters from the line-up, left to right, are: Red Hunters, Brazen Skulls, Dark Hunters, Minotaurs and Angels Of Redemption. Again, shoulder pads from POP.

I also finished the first unit for my Adeptus Mechanicus detachment which will operate as allies (...ish) to the Deathwatch of Rubicon Command.

I've painted these Sicarians in the red armour and black robes of Stygies VIII, a Forge World often censured by Mars for an unhealthy interest in xenotech. Rubicon Command uses them for technical analysis and fabrication and the Stygies mob use the Deathwatch to get their hands on all sorts of proscribed alien technology.

And, finally, the big fella: an Imperial Knight Armiger Waglaive from House Cadmus:

I'll be honest, the main reason I picked this colour scheme was because it was simple. I do like the House's background which mainly revolves around them being effectively mounted hunters more than mechanised heraldic knights but the fact I could use two principal colours (silver and camo green) with just a little yellow and black mixed in for variety. Whether I'll have them siding with the Mechanicus in my background or standing for good (… ish) Imperial values I've yet to decide. Cadmus aren't linked with Stygies VIII in the background, their local forge world is/was Gryphonne IV which is convenient since that world and an awful lot of Cadmus Knights fell to the Tyranids.

All in all, not a bad week's work.

Sunday 6 May 2018

Addressing the hobby sprawl

My works in progress are sprawling again. As I write this half-finished models occupy pretty much the entire length of the mantelpiece, a mismatched combination of Deathwatch, Mechanicus and one very lonely Necron. To be specific:

1x Deathwatch Librarian
1x Deathwatch Terminator Watch-Captain
5x Deathwatch Kill-Marines
6x Deathwatch Terminators

1x Necron Cryptek

1x Magos Dominus
10x Skitarii Vanguard
5x Sicarian Ruststalkers
1x Knight Armiger

That's too much. That's dispiritingly too much and just looking at it has been a roadblock on my hobby for the last couple of weeks. So, to address this: method and reward.

The method, going against a lifetime of habit, will be to concentrate on one thing at a time. Instead of trying to address the sprawl in its entirety or as a couple of units in one go I'm going to take one unit or character down at a time and concentrate on finishing that one thing before moving on to anything else.

As to reward: for every unit I finish between now and next Sunday, I get a “cheat” on my resolution to not buy any models until I've finished painting my Forgebane set.

Thirty-one models and seven days. Let's see how I do...

Saturday 5 May 2018

Reading Tea Leaves: Forge World discontinuations

The other day the hobby side of the internet exploded with the news that Forge World had shifted all their Horus Heresy Legion upgrade sets to Last Chance To Buy. To the look of it they've taking the entire range out of production including the extremely recent Space Wolves upgrades.

Oddly, this happened with not a word from Forge World.

I'm actually quite happy to say I find that odd now. Once upon a time this lack of communication was the norm for Games Workshop but they've got a lot better in recent years. Still, this is not a good look. We don't know what this means.

The most optimistic outlook would be that the main design studio are taking over the project and we're eventually going to get all these sets (or equivalents) in plastic. Its certainly possible but it seems odd to take it all out of production in one go. This is six pages of products all going Last Chance To Buy in one go, they represent almost every legion and effectively an entire game system of product. That's a big release schedule of upgrade sets for what is essentially a very large specialist game system and I'm not sure I see the logic of taking it all out of production in one go instead of staggering it to meet a plastic release schedule.

Then there's the pessimistic outlook: its the end of Horus Heresy as a supported system. Again, it could happen. If Fantasy can go then Horus Heresy can go. I'm not sure that I buy into that scenario, either. By all accounts its Forge World's biggest seller which is certainly supported by how much stuff they've released for it.

Then again, it might be a matter of cost. GW are not exactly unknown for pricing themselves out of the market. Even with the plastic Horus Heresy Space Marines a single unit of ten miniatures fully customised is extremely expensive. An upgrade set of ten torsos and ten shoulder pads comes in at £33 plus the price of the actual marines. Maybe its just that the sets themselves aren't selling.

Maybe its third parties. Forge World products are expensive and suffer from infamously poor quality control. Forge World resin is fragile, it takes ages to clean, and there is absolutely zero chance it won't arrive with at least a few parts distorted possibly even beyond use. Third party stuff, I'm sorry to say, usually has better quality control and that's just a fact.

So, maybe its a problem with Forge World itself losing out to third parties who provide the same parts with better quality control and no greater barrier of inconvenience since both involve ordering online. Maybe Forge World is just reducing its production base as they move more into the Specialist Games line.

Regardless of reason, however, its a shitty move not to communicate what's going on. This is a game system that, almost by necessity, involves a huge financial investment from the player as well as the sheer time-consuming inconvenience of working with FW resin. Making this huge reduction in range and not communicating to what extent the sky is falling is a dick move I thought Games Workshop had developed beyond, I really did.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

Deathwatch Mission Tactics

I love the Deathwatch but one thing I've learnt through bitter, bitter experience is that they absolutely need to do as much damage at range as possible. Once your enemy closes with you and starts causing casualties its basically over for that unit. The battlefield efficiency of a Kill-Team drops drastically with the death of each and every marine.

There's been a lot of speculation the last few weeks on the Deathwatch Facebook group I'm a part of about how the new Codex might combat this. Top of the wish list for most were either better special issue ammunition or some sort of invulnerable save.

As it turns out there is at least one new special issue ammunition type available in the stratgems but the big idea the design team has had is Mission Tactics.
The basic idea here is to choose a type of unit (Troops, Fast Attack and so on) and for the duration of the game most everything in the army (infantry, bikes and Dreadnoughts) re-rolls 1s to wound against the type. There is a Warlord Trait and an item that allow you to change the Mission Tactic mid-game.

Obviously, I'll have to see how it works in game but this is probably the best solution to the problem. Deathwatch excel in shooting and have a slight weakness in combat because of their small numbers (more in the taking casualties area than the number of attacks area, obviously). This boosts the shooting and helps out with the combat problem, making them better at the thing they're meant to be amazing at and papers over one of the few real the army has.

I am very much looking forward to road testing this codex.

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Hobby Goals for May

Build Forgebane

I definitely need to build these models. I've been painting the first of the Armigers and the Cryptek for the last week and its lit a fire under me to work on these factions. Unfortunately, those aren't just the only models I've been painting they're the only ones from the set I've even built.

Time to get a little construction going.

Decide what I want to do for Necrons

Between my own Forgebane and the Necron half I bought cheap off a friend who just wanted the Mechanicus models, I have the basis for a decent size Necron army. I just need to make a few decisions. My own colour tests having failed I've fallen back on the utterly gorgeous Novokh Dynasty colour scheme so that's decided (and oh so easy to paint).

For a start I need to decide what to do with all those multi-purpose kits. Two units of Immortals with different weapons load outs or one of Immortals and one of Deathmarks? Triarch Praetorians or Lychguard or both?

So, I need to go through the Codex to see what the Novokh background suggests and how their bespoke faction rules work and prepare an army list.

Finish something for the Deathwatch

I have a lot of things just sitting half-finished for my Deathwatch and there's a new Codex on the way. It would be nice to have a thing or two battle ready when that drops.