Sunday, 17 April 2016

Review: 30th Anniversary Space Marine

If you've been living the the warp for the bast few weeks (or half hour, depending on your local time distortion levels), this weekend marked 30 years of the Space Marine; Warhammer 40,000's most iconic hero (and a few years later, villains). To celebrate, they released a remaster of their very first Space Marine, the LE-2 Imperial Marine

The model seemed to be an instant hit, selling out at my local GW in only 5 minutes. I only managed to get a copy because there were two window copies that had been forgotten about, and even then the second one was sold in seconds.

For your £18, the price of your average Space Marine character, you get an up-scaled and greater detailed version of that very first marine, armed with a combi-disintegrator (a strength 5 ap2 instant death gun that can be used more than once), combat knife and Disintegration Pistol. You also get some rules to use it in your games of 40k, as a free upgrade for any Space Marine (this guy will become an auto-upgrade for sure). All of this is packaged in a retro-looking box reminiscent to those earlier kits. I wouldn't quite call it a presentation box like GW did, but it's a nice box as far as boxes go. 

Interestingly you do get a few options, in the form of alternative shoulder pads. The rest of the model is fairly straightforward; multi-part, yet mono-posed. 

Whilst everyone else will paint it up for their force (or stuck it on ebay with a 3000% mark-up) I thought I'd go down a different path...

And ta-da! A new Chaos Lord of Tzeentch on a Disc. My fluff-concept for this guys is that he was a marine of a forgotten chapter (or legion), lost in the warp, but rather than be consumed he was moulded by it and became a champion of Tzeentch. Keeping his colours, he chose to be a warning to those who would forget him so easily. The main additions besides the disc were some Raptor shoulder pads, a Dark Vengeance Lord's backpack (Which is reminiscent of retro CSM power packs so it suits the model) and a Tzeentch knife. These were simple additions which greatly change the look of this model, and is something just a little different.

I plan to paint it just like this original model I did for a painting contest, but heavily beaten and worn. It will be a fun addition to the force, and may become part of a Tzeentch aligned chaos force to go with the Thousand Sons.  

All-in-all, a fun little model that was quickly snapped up by fans across the globe. For those who have one, you have a piece of history. Keep it, enjoy it, and if possible, find an original copy to go with it. It started the Space Marines as we know them, and it stands out as one of the greats. 

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Editorial: Why laser cut MDF Is Awesome

In previous years, your only real choice for terrain was plastic kits or scratch builds. But now it seems that the industry is taking a leaf (or rather the whole tree) from nature, as a swathe of wooden products have come out of, well, the woodworks.

Now I will admit, wooden kits for war gaming and modelling uses have been around for a while, but it's only been in the last few years that anyone's really taken notice, particularly 40k players, whose terrain needs have been, in the past, somewhat sated by GW's plastic kits. So what makes wood better than plastic?


Nine times out of ten, it seems that wooden laser cut kits are far, far cheaper than GW and equivalent kits. Take for instance the above large building kit from TT Combat, in 28mm scale. It cost me less than £9 (with discount). The equivalent to this from GW is the Sanctum Imperialis at a whopping £20. Another example is the ruined sector, from GW it is £70. A similar kit, again from TT Combat, which includes two full ruined buildings (each in 4 parts, so up to 8 tiny buildings or a fair mix), 2 shipping containers, 3 walls and 5 barriers, is only £18.


There was a time when wooden terrain was pretty basic stuff. With advances in computer programming and more time to develop skills, some kits that are being made today feature a surprising amount of detail, with some even featuring intricate textured surfaces and layered surfaces.

Ease of assembly

For the most part these kits are easy to assemble, and in most cases can be built without any glue (though from experience I still prefer it). Whether you have PVA or nothing at all, you can enjoy easy to build pieces without the toxic fumes that poly cement and super glue gives off. Even though PVA isn't an amazingly strong glue (you can use wood glue), the way these sets go together means they will be strong enough anyway without risk of collapsing. Still, I wouldn't stand that depleted uranium Chaos Dreadnought on the top floor anytime soon.

100% Recyclable

Mother nature is taken care of here (don't worry, this won't turn into a Green Party conference). Being made of wood, it is completely recyclable, and as far as I can tell there isn't any special coating or toxic treatment. This is a nice little bonus when it comes to the time to get rid of the terrain (as much as I love MDF terrain, I doubt it has the same longevity of plastic). I've often struggled to work out if plastic from GW is recyclable, with wood it's. Also, if you're cool/a hipster/camping and you need some firewood, the sprues have a second use.

They now make actual models from wood!

The general market is flooded with terrain pieces, but occasionally you can find usable MDF models. The above is a near-perfect stand-in for a Necron Sentry Pylon, and at only £7 it is seven times cheaper than the Forge World kit, and would even undercut the worst painted Ebay listing. Obviously it doesn't have the same level of detail, but if you're on a budget (many of us are), then this is an amazing saving.

Sure there are a few downsides; they are a bit more fragile, the joins and connections are far more obvious, and if left untreated for too long, very vulnerable to water, for those who need to count the pennies, and those who want a pleasant, easy kit to assemble to pass some time, look no further.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Workshop Datalogs: March 2016

And I'm back! After a brief vacation down to the homeland of Wales, it's back to work on my current projects. Whilst I do plan do start new projects in the future, they may end up fewer and far between (or second hand), as I now have a wedding to save up for (proposed on vacation).

First off, let's recap on some previous projects...

 The Decimator now sports a more complete colour scheme. For my walkers I plan to adopt the same scheme I use on infantry. You'll notice a head swap, well...

It's now a part of this; a Daemon Prince of Tzeentch. This is a new addition to the force which will help with both anti-air potential and other monstrous creatures. The base model is an Undread Morghast, with a trimmed down Decimator's head and a Heavy Flamer from a Dreadnought. The Pink Horror on the base will act as a familiar.

Now a couple of side projects. We have, from left to right, a pair of Possessed to add to my existing 2005 veterans, and a Terminator Sorcerer, made from a mix of the classic Terminator Lord and new plastic Terminator Librarian.

With the 30 year anniversary of Power Armour, and a local contest, I thought I'd enter something special. This is a LE2 Imperial Marine from around 1991. I'm going for a simple grey colour scheme, with red and white accents. It's very different painting this than more modern and detailed kits, so I thought a simple but consistent colour scheme would suit it better. It's such a cool model, and I do have a second one, so I may find a way to include one in the Sons forces.

Finally, we have some wooden creations from TT Combat. I've been after a new storage solution for my paints, and this paint tray/workstation was perfect, and as less than £10 it was a great price. Ideal for both a selection of Vallejo-sized paint pots and brushes, it is a lightweight and compact option for gamer and painters. The holders for the brushes are a bit 'shallow' for my liking, but for the price I can't complain.

Next up is a new building. For around £8 it is less than half the price of an equivalent GW kit, and it is even possible to build it with no glue (though I'd still use it). It has been modified by blowing a big hole in the side of the building, for ease of access and to make it more of a ruined building.

This final piece also doubles up as a gaming piece for my girlfriend's Necrons. At under £7, it is a steal compared to, say, a Forgeworld Sentry Pylon at over seven times the price. It's not as detailed, but for this price it is a high quality piece and more than suitable. Once painted it should be less obvious that it is made from trees. I plan to go into more detail with these in the coming weeks.

That's it for today, but keep an eye on Facebook for more.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

WIP: Refurbished Thousand Sons (Next 200 points)

This weekend saw me trial the first 600 points of my refurbished models in a game against the might of the Tau Empire. A close battle, which saw a 6-4 victory for the Sons.

 The game highlighted a few weak-points in the army thus far: numbers and anti-armour. Today's update shows my plans of the next 200 points of this campaign list.

First up is a 14-man unit of Autogun cultists. This should help me tackle the numbers issue, and give the force a good objective-holding unit. They are made from a mix of classic guard models, current models, and third party arms and heads. I only have the basecoat and a wash on, but these will be painted in light colours suitable for desert environments. Blue and yellow shoulder armour will help tie them into the army.

Next up is one (of several) Obliterators. After seeing some amazing conversions on the GW newspage using a mix of Centurions and Helbrute parts, I was motivated to get back to work on my original Centurion/Obliterator conversions.

To replicate similar results, new trim has been added to nearly every panel. This has been sculpted in the style of newer chaos models to help tie it in with the army. It is taking a long time to do, but once painted it should look great in this army's colours.

The remaining points will be spent on upgrades for the army, including a better invulnerable save for the sorcerer lord or a second mastery level.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Showcse: Thousand Sons Revisit, First 600 Points

This year I've decided to roll out a new colour scheme for the army: one I've trailed before on newer models (such as my possessed). Today's post showcases the first 600 points, and is what I plan to start using at a local campaign event at our new GW store.

 First off, we'll start off with the list:

HQ-Sorcerer, mark of Tzeentch, Disc of Tzeentch, Lightning claw, gift of mutation

ELITES-Helbrute, Twin Heavy Bolter, Power Fist, Twin Bolter

TROOPS-5 Thousand Sons (Force Axe, meltabombs)

TROOPS-5 Thousand Sons (force staff, meltabombs)

FAST-2 Chaos Spawn

Overall this list should be very effective against power armour. The AP3 bolters make light work of marines (last game they easily ripped up some tactical squads and devastators. With plenty of sorcerers I also generate a good handful of power dice. Meltabombs on the characters give me a bit of insurance against walkers or MCs that get too close.

Whilst the sons take out infantry, the dreadnought helps soak up return fire and can handle most unit types.

Leading the force is a sorcerer on a disk, both to unlock sons as troops, and to take on enemy commanders and vehicles, where strength 6 (8 with fiery form and staff, or strength 6 with shred from the claw) can take on the majority of vehicles from the back. The disc helps with survivability and mobility. I plan to upgrade the mastery level at higher points levels, and will try to squeeze in a familiar for more reliable casting.

The spawn are there to soak up shots and act as bodyguards to weaken squads whilst the sorcerer handles any characters. Made from the now OOP Tomb Kings Ushabti, they form a great looking and thematic bodyguard unit. I have a third model to make, but I'll need to source another pair of arms.

This list does struggle against any flyers, so the next upgrade will be a form of AA or heavier weapons. It is also a very elite force, numbering only 14 models. Using such a small force should be interested for developing tactics and handling different opponents. I have plenty of cool models coming up for this army, so stay tuned for more.

Monday, 22 February 2016

WIP: Idolator MKII (Part 2)

The Idolator MKII is the result of experimentation, canibalisation of machine spirits, and complete disregard of the teachings of Mars.

Each Idolator starts off as a Leman Russ, Chimera, or similarly-sized Imperial vehicle. The armour plating is removed and replaced with Astates grade plating, typically Plasteel or bonded Ceramite, depending on availability. The more a warband pays, the better stock they get in return. The engines are upgraded to ensure greater speed and reliability. Advanced filtration systems are added when the vehicles are expected to battle in high-pollution or desert landscapes.

In terms of armaments, most are equipped with the potent Demolisher Cannon; an easily available, deadly siege gun. However, a number are equipped with the Xana V Lascannon array. A hellish-six-barrelled laser weapon, the laser weapon is equal in power to the venerable Rapier Lascannon, once a common sight in Imperial forces. Despite it's potency, it is a volatile weapon. At full power it has been known to overheat and occasionally explode. To help combat this, Idolators with the Xana V have additional ventalation systems fitted to the flank of the vehicle. It makes the weapon more vulnerable to enemy fire, but anything facing the barrels is unlikely to survive.

Idolators, though rarely seen, has proven to be a potent machine. in M38.91, a pair of Xana Idolators in hiding brought down the venerable Knight Immortal Reverance, in a cascade of light. The helm of this famous titan now hangs from the prow of Eternal Torment, in tow with the Thousand Sons of the Heralds of Change warband.

The two tanks, once a pair of Leman Russes, now sport a strikingly different look. This week's seen some of the final pieces of the puzzle fit in.

The main gun issue has been solved. I've used a pair of Hades Autocannons to represent the Rapier guns. The barrel size is close to FW-scale Lascannons, so in terms of weapon size it should be just fine. I'll add in some extra cabling to make it appear more integrated. Both tanks have added Havoc Launchers for any leftover infantry. The left-side one was missing a front plate and mount, so those have been custom made.

For the engine, the system's been completed with exhausts from a Knight titan; leftover from the Chaos Knight conversion. A fuel barrel and mounts help finish off the back end.

The final stage of the build is a ton of rivets (fun!). Once that job is done the paint schemes can be applies and the tanks will be ready for their first games.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Reivew: Blood and Skulls Industry Double Sponsons Beta

Many of the tanks in 40k are armed with sponson mounted secondary (sometimes primary) weapons. It's important to house them in something strong, both in-game and in the real world. As lovely as Forge World Deimos weapons are, they are fragile. So here's a nice third party alternative for your viewing pleasure.

 These sponsons, the Double Beta, cost around £11.05 for a pair, and are suitable for larger tanks such as the Land Raider. Their shape makes them unsuitable for Baneblades (without modification, the Alpha is a better option) The sponsons don't some with locating pegs, so a good bit of eye-work and guessing is needed to ensure that they line up right, but it does make it compatible with other ranges of tanks with only a bit of work.

The kit is fairly straightforward to put together, with each sponson made up of seven parts. There are no instructions but it's fairly straightforward to work out anyway.

In all honesty the above part could have been reworked from five parts to three, but I guess it helps with modifying the angles of the guns.

The kit doesn't come with guns, but it's very easy to add your own (a selection of weapons are also available from Blood and Skulls). The kit includes recessed holes for magnets, or you could glue weapons directly to the weapon mounts, which swivel left and right once assembled.

On the tank they have a MKIIB feel to them, though much shorter. Still, there's plenty of surface area to glue them onto the tank. For more strength, either pinning them,or gluing a door on first for more surface area, will help.

If you're after some tough-looking armoured gun-mounts, then these offerings will do a great job of that. The weapon mounts maybe slightly over-engineered, but that's airways prefered over an under-designed mono-part upgrade.