Monday, 23 December 2013

PSA: Christmas Announcements

Hello, one and all. As we approach our annual day of receiving boons and gifts from the Chaos Gods (no refunds), it's time to make a special service announcement.

To let everyone know, there will be no post on Christmas eve, Boxing day, or the 28th December. I plan to enjoy time with the family, and I expect you will be as well. So that means the next post should be uploaded on the 2nd January 2014.

I also want to let people know that I have a two-week work placement at the start of January, meaning I'll only be able to make weekend posts for the first part of January, sorry about that.

However, once the holiday's and early-start placements are done with, a new format of service will take place. I plan to change the way the blog is operated, and will assure you the quality will not diminish; if anything it will improve. I'll be detailing my proposed changes in the new year, after a reflective post on the past year.

So for now, have a happy Christmas folks! May the Dark Gods bless your souls and grant you gifts to strike the hearts from men. Again, no refunds....

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Lore: Mekidius Sirak and the Avenged Warband (Part Two)

Click here for Part One

Fear and Vengeance: The Tale of the Avenged (Part two)

The fight for power

And so Mekidius and Nightmare plotted their vengeance. They knew they would have very few allies: the Night Reaver was feared by most, anyone who questioned him, from lowly cultist to the Terminator elite, went unseen for days, and then a new skinless corpse was added to the terror chamber. Mekidius could rely on most of his squad to follow him, as he had often overheard their dislike of the Night Reaver, and thought one of their own should lead the Night Lords. He also suspected that the Betrayed, a Raptor squad made up of rebel Word Bearers Ashen Circle members, also hated their current lord and master.

The rebels were to make their move during a raid of the Golthana Hive world. The Night Reaver was to lead the assault personally into the main hive, Golthana Prime. To make sure they had some decent fire-support should things go wrong, Mekidius arranged for Nightmare to be smuggled inside a modified Thunderhawk Transport transporting a pair of tanks. With that arranged, he and his supporters boarded their Storm Eagle for the assault.

Mekidius' rebels were tasked to take out the defenders surrounding the Golthana Prime hive's power station. once completed, they would redeploy up front with the Night Reaver alongside his terminator elite. Mekidius made sure that his forces were 'delayed', meaning the Night Reaver's forces were further dwindled by enemy fire. With the power station finally deactivated, the rebels made their way to change history.

Furious with the delays of Mekidius, the Night Reaver was ready to execute the failed soldier. By the time he had made it to the governor's palace and killed the governor, he was left with a very small detachment of Terminator bodyguards and a few dozen marines, waiting for pick-up in the courtyard. Finally he saw Mekidius' flyers, coming in very fast; too fast to land in the designated zone. He realised what was happening; a coup. The flyers came down fast and he ordered his bodyguard to fire on the flyers. Too late. Both craft landed in the coutyard, the first to release it's cargo was the transporter, its door opened to reveal a dark cargo hold. Expecting meagre infantry, he ordered the terminators to fill the cargo hold with flamer fire. But once the fames cleared, Nightmare burst out; armour blackened by promethium flames. In rage, the Dreadnought smashed apart the closest Terminators, vaporising one with his Plasma Cannon, and crushing another underfoot. A third was swatted aside and over the edge of the courtyard, to fall three-hundred feet into the hive's acid lakes. Mekidius then emerged from the other craft; an air of superiority came off him.

"Well then, the dog seeks to be the master now?" said the Night Reaver, lightning dancing off his Lightning Claws.

Mekidius smiled: "So sad, I know. It's about time things changed for the better; your time has come".

"Never!", yelled the lord, and then the two clashed. All the others remained circling the two combatants; neither wishing to irk the winner by involving themselves in the challenge for power. The Night Reaver slashed with adaminatine claws, raking deep groves in Mekidius' Storm Shield. Mekidius' axe swung across, cutting deep across the Night Reaver's Terminator, but not to the flesh. Mekidius was not able to get through the massive lord's armour, as he staggered back to the edge of the circle, blow after blow struck his shield. He was struck hard, his shield taking the hit, but smashing back to strike him in the face.

"You are a week fool Mekidius, you knew that from the start", exclaimed the Night Reaver.

"Perhaps against you, yes", Mekidius said, forming words in a bloodied mouth. 2But do you know what I am? Clever".

Mekidius ducked, and the Night Haunter was too caught up in blood-rage to see where they had ended up. Nightmare struck the lord with an uppercut smash of his power claw; shattering his Terminator-armoured torso and sending him crashing into the centre of the makeshift arena. He lay there, with broken ribs piercing both of his hearts. He gargled words with blood filled lungs, until Mekidius limped towards the lord.

"Welcome to your fate". Mekidius' power axe struck the lord's skull, ending his life and the reign of the Night Terror.

"I am your new master, and you will follow me". The few remaining warriors all knelt in front of their new master, just in time for the remaining Night Reaver soldiers to arrive....

Part three coming soon, I hope you enjoyed today's instalment.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

WIP: The Avenged Warband (Part Two): Mekidius, Dreadnought and Cultists

The wheels of progress turn at a steady pace, and the Gods dictate their champion to come forth.

Mekidius Sirak, the lord of the Avenged, is now fully built. All that was needed was an axe head. This one was taken from a two-handed axe from the Grave Guard kit, with an extra bit attached to the back of the axe (a spike from another axe).

The completed axe-head was then put in place of the Accursed Crossius' weapon head. The paint cheme I have in mind is black, with dark blue trim (to hint at their origins). If I dare, I'll be attempting some major freehand on the shield, possibly the cover of Nightmare, one of Avenged Sevenfold's best albums (well, they're all great).

The Dreadnought Nightmare (see what I did there?) is almost ready for an undercoat. Since last time, I've sculpted on a few details (bat wings on the torso, and an 'A7X' on the left shoulder. I've decided to keep the original power claw; not it's had the paint removed, there's something about it.

I've also added a small spacer and cables on the waist, to make the Dreadnought taller and more imposing.

As well as that there are these guys: who will count as cultists. They are based on the Grave Guard kit, with added guns. I felt that they were too armoured, so I've left the shoulder pads off the ones I have built so far.

I couldn't get the left arms to hold the guns normally, so instead I've cut down some lasguns, and fashioned the shield-holding hand/left hand weapon into some sort of forward grip. They're more akin to las-SMGs, but people should know what they stand in for and do look pretty good.

I went with Grave Guard because I want the Avenged Sevenfold theme to come though. First off, skeletons feature in a lot of the band's album covers. Secondly, the bat symbols everywhere add to the theme, and tie them in with the Night Lords, the Avenged's original faction. The third reason is this guy, who looks an almost spitting image of the skeleton king on Hail to the King, Avenged Sevenfold's latest album. I do plan to get this model for the unit champion. Expensive for a 4 point model? maybe, but it will look fantastic leading the unit.

My next task is to work out the colour scheme fully, then I can get cracking on with painting everything up. If anyone knows of a great tutorial for painting black, let me know on the Facebook page, or comment below.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

WIP: The Avenged Warband: Dreadnought

So it seems I'm going full-hog into this new war-band idea. Do not worry, I haven't abandoned my Thousand Sons. I've been working on some characters for my units which I plan to share at a later date, when I have some decent progress on them. But for now, most of my attention has been on the Avenged; my Night Lords splinter faction, themed on the albums of Avenged Sevenfold.

Today is the debut of the mute Dreadnought from my short story, Nightmare (I know they're called Helbrutes now...but It's still a Dreadnought). I managed to get this model, in a pretty pitiful state, for £5; at a sixth the price of the cheapest plastic dreadnought, it's bargain in anyone's books. But I had a lot of work to do. What I did first first was to break it down and remove the thick paint, green-stuff plugging all the joints, and excess flash that had just been painted over in an effort to hide it. The model spent the night in a jar of Fairy Power Spray.

Once the bits were rinsed and dried, assembly began, as did custom work. I wanted the Dreadnought to look more like a MkIV; the main ways I've done that is to change the hull and the feet. The hull plates were ground down, and got a layer of Milliput over the top, smoothed and sanded flat. I still plan to do a lot more, namely adding some trim, and sculpting some detailing similar to Forge World's Night Lord's Dreadnought. A few extra cables and a shoulder pad from the Grave Guard kit helps add some much needed detail.

As well as the hull armour, I've modernised the weaponry. The old-style plasma cannon has been replaced with a new one, leftover from a Storm Raven. I'm not sure what to do with the model's claw: I want to make a modern version, but this old-style weapon is growing on me a bit. Suggestions are very much welcome.

The original Dreadnought's feet looked terrible, and modernising them would do wonders for it. These monster-stompers are sculpted from scratch, and based on the MkIV's feet. I still need to sand them down and add details like pistons, and maybe a few claws growing out.

Next on the list is to work out how to update the power-plant, and add a back-banner from the Grave Guard kit.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Lore: Mekidius Sirak and the Avenged Warband (Part One)

Fear and Vengeance: The Tale of the Avenged (Part One)

The Avenged is thought to be a very small splinter faction of the Night Lords Legion. Their true size is unknown-it is entirely possible for them to have a wide net of cults and followers across and around the Eye of Terror. What is known is that there are very few Space Marines amongst the warband when last observed. It is thought that the group is composed of perhaps fifteen Space Marines (several of which serve as crew-members for tanks), and a few ageing astartes vehicles, namely a Thunderhawk transporter, a Rhino and one Predator. Although this is a pitiful army when measured in size, the warband specialises at covert attacks. Armies in their thousands have kneeled to their new master after  campaigns of terror, psychological warfare and assassination. 

The leader of this force is Mekidius Sirak, a former unit champion under the rule of the Night Reaver. The Night Reaver was a fearsome chaos warlord and veteran of the fifth claw. His fearsome intellect lead the Night Lords under his rule to many victories. But he had a strong contempt for Mekidius. Mekidius was not a true Nostraman. 

Whilst he had the tell-tale pale skin and amazing night sight that his brothers had, he was recruited from another night-world, Draconia, a fallen Imperial world which was sucked into the Eye of Terror and plunged into eternal darkness at the amusement of the Gods. all light was cut out by a curtain of daemonic energy. The only light came from terrifying daemonic faces; often in the form of dark purple, blue and white winged skulls flying above. This was to be an omen for a young Mekidius; the world would be taken as a recruitment world of the Night Lords.

Mekidius made very few 'friends' so to speak amongst the true Nostoman astartes. Although he was feared by the enemy and lead a small unit (also from Draconia), his blood-line meant he was never taken seriously by most. His only true companion has been an ageing Dreadnought, Nightmare. Whilst Nightmare was a mighty warrior capable of massive damage, the Night Lords didn't see him as an effective terror-weapon. His inability to speak meant he could not use voice amplifiers fitted on other Dreadnoughts in the legion to frighten the enemy with daemonic screams and roars. And so he was brought into battle less and less, eventually being left to rust in the confines of the battleship Terrorblade. Mekidius came across the towering Dreadnought by accident, chained up in the bowels of the Terrorblade. He found that he could communicate with Nightmare though a rudimentary language; the noise of Nightmare's Power Claw tapping on the ship floor and the roar of the Drednought's power plant in a series of patterns acted as a reply to the Night Lord. If one were to observe the practice without knowing, they would hear Mekidius speaking, but receiving no reply.

Mekidius and Nightmare developed a bond of trust; both were outcasts in their legion. Both wanted power, respect and vengeance. This is where the Avenged begins...

Thursday, 12 December 2013

WIP: Mekidius Sirak, Lord-Champion of the Avenged

Mekidius Sirak, lord-champion of the Avenged, the shepherd of fire, slayer of kings, chosen of the pantheon.

For my entry into the Path to Damnation campaign I knew I wanted to do something different. At first the idea hadn’t come to me. But after a surprise trip to see Avenged Sevenfold, an early birthday present from the girlfriend, I had an epiphany. I then came up with the Avenged, a small war-band, a splinter faction of the Night Lords legion, and entirely themed around Avenged Sevenfold’s albums (mainly Nightmare and Hail to the King).

The model is based on the Chaos Space Marines Dark Apostle. The backpack has been replaced with one from Forge World's mkIII iron armour kit. The chest plate has been filed flat, and a big pair of bat wings adorn the plate. Both were sculpted around a screaming skull, which is a piece leftover from a Vampire Counts Cairn Wraith.

I've also attached this storm shield, from the Tartaros Terminator weapon set. Not only can this count as the model’s 4+/3+ invulnerable save (sigil of corruption and mk of tzeentch), it is also a great place to work on some freehand. If I’m feeling daring, I may attempt to paint the album cover of Nightmare onto it.

Another idea I've had is using this, a servo skull with in-built bolt pistol from a Forge World Titan Techpreist. This, made by adding wings from the Grave Guard kit, will hopefully make a great deathbat familiar, a count-as combat familiar and bolt pistol.

The final piece of the puzzle is the weapon. I’m thinking of using the Grave Guard champion’s two-handed axe or two-handed halberd. What worries me is that both weapons are on the small side. However, if I use the Dark apostle’s weapon handle, and a few bits, scale shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

If you’re interested in joining the Path to Damnation Campaign, go over and join this group and this one, where you'll find the campaign rules and get some ideas for your own lord and warband. All you need for now is a chaos lord model to your liking, built and painted by the end of January 2014. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

WIP: Tzeentch Changeling

Tzeentch is the master of magic and deception. It only hakes sense to utilise his daemonic pawns as allies for my Thousand Sons. fortunately I have most of what I need, Pink Horrors: lesser daemons leftover from my 5th edition army list, as well as some Flamers I made up as part of a double kit review.

 So what I now need is a HQ choice. Seeing as Daemons can take up to four heralds as one choice, I'm going to be having a lot of fun with different set-ups. But one of the first heralds will be the named character, the Changeling.

A mysterious individual, its form has changed so many times; so many that only Tzeentch knows its original appearance. So, in a way, this gives a player near-free reign on how it looks, and here is my effort.

This model is based on a Vampire Counts Cairn Wraith. The scythe and arms have been replaced. the model's left hand is the tip of a flamer's arm, and the other hand is from the Forsaken kit. I've purposefully left a head off. The model was then finished off with flames and mouths from the Flamer kit, and given a custom base.

The model will be painted with pink skin. I plan to paint all of my Horror-type daemons, which currently have a human skin tone. The robes will be dark blue, possibly fading to black. If I get the chance, I plan to add plenty of freehand patterns.