Saturday, 19 December 2015

Review: Betrayal at Calth Boxset 2/2 (The game)

Last time, on Power Armoured Metal...

We had a look at the Betrayal at Calth boxset, looking in great detail at the contents. Today, I've had a go at the game, and have a few thoughts on how it plays, and how much fun I'd have.

 The game that comes with the set is vastly different to 40k. Gone are measuring tapes, armour saves and profiles (as we know them), and normal D6. In its place is an interesting hex-board orientated game, with simplified weapons, ranges and movement. The dice are also a bit odd, with a selection of symbols replacing the familiar dots.

Players are equipped with a selection of cards, including unit stats, tactical actions and attach actions, including the deadly rad grenade.

Each tile has a "unit cap" of three, making movement much more strategic. As much as two terminators would improve a situation, you can only fit in one, so players are required to be a bit more clever.

The game only comes with six missions, and no options for a generic beat-em-up (though I can't image it being hard to work it out). It was recently revealed that White Dwarf will be publishing a new scenario, so this could be the future for the game's expansion and continual updating.

All-in-all, the game is a refreshing change from 40k. From the smallest first scenario to the all-or-nothing finale, Battle at Calth is a fun little boxset that offers something a bit different.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Review: Betrayal at Calth Boxset 1/2 (The Content)

When Forge World released the first kits for their Horus Heresy range, the gaming community collectively lost their minds. Finally, one of 40k's most influential events was getting its own range. But over time, we realised that was so popular that it really aught to have been plastic: a resin army, whilst lovely, is super-expensive. It seems GW listened, and this weekend released the first of what is most likely to be a full range of plastic Horus Heresy Kits.

 This first one, Betrayal at Calth, is a 2-player board game with models which can also be used in 30k and 40k. It comes with enough parts to make 30 MK IV Space Marines five Cataphractii Terminators, one Contemptor Dreadnought, and two captains, one in power armour, the other Terminator armour-clad. You also get a set of card playing tiles, a pack of action cards, strange-looking dice, rules for the game, FW-standard transfers and tokens. Clearly, they haven't skimped on content.

Straight from the get-go this is a high-quality product. The box card is thick and glossy, and the set has a fair bit of weight to it. Quality and quantity? A very strong start for Betrayal.

The £95 price tag may intimidate some at first, but once you compare it to Forge World it becomes clear. To buy the same amount of resin models, model for model, would cost in excess of £370 (and that's before you factor in the costs of the many special weapons and multiple arms for the Contemptor, so add another £30 to that). Add in the costs of the dice tiles, and maybe a fiver for the transfers, we could assume that the total value, in resin, is around £420. Over £400 of models for £95? Yes please! If you're lucky, your FLGS may be doing a discount. I got my copy for £85, making the deal all the sweeter. 

I was surprised to find that most of the models are fully posable, not your typical mono-pose clip-together that Age of Sigmar and 40k deal with. Only the dreadnought and characters are mono-posed, though it is standard practice these days for the latter two. 

Another bonus is that the models do not have any legion-specific marks, allowing for these models to be used for any of the eighteen legions (and their many splinter factions), without the hassle of shaving off existing icons. 

GW's claim that the models are fully compatible rings true. Here are some test models for my Horus Heresy force (can you guess which?). I've added Thousand Sons metal torsos, which was easy to add since the bodies are two-parted. Weirdly the studs and holes on the torsos are reversed, so a tiny bit of trimming is needed just to remove those. 

Based on the contents alone, this is an amazing set. Even if you decide the board game isn't for you, you've still got a strong foundation for a Horus Heresy army at a quarter the price. 

Next week I'll be going through the game play for Betrayal at Calth, so stay tuned. To finish off, here is a new character I made for this army. Can you guess who it is? Comment below, and keep up to date on this project on Facebook

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Workshop Datalogs: November 2015

The last few weeks have been pretty mad. Not only have I had a great new job to get settled into, I've also bought a shiny new motor. With these two things, I've had little time to get an update out to you all. Still, today is a great chance to share with you what work I have managed to get done. I've been working on something pretty big, but first, the smaller stuff.

To help the girlfriend's Necrons out, I've build her two Wraiths, made from leftover components. Both are based on mechanical tails from Puppets War's Wraith stand-ins, with upper bodies from a couple of Necrons. The claws are from the same Puppets War kit. I really like how the cloaked one has come out: looks like a lesser-known hero type, akin to the Destroyer Lord. Once the other model gets arms, they will be painted up in a silver and ice-blue scheme.

Next up is the Lord of the Long War Dreadnought. It's 99% done (having received the final piece from a great fan, Timmo), and the only things left now are the optional weapons.

 I'll mostly run it with a Power Scourge and Thunder Hammer, but I've also made up a couple of ranged options, a twin Heavy Bolter and a Plasma Cannon.

Finally we have the big beast, my new Knight. Working on this thing has been such a pleasure, and has been the perfect platform to try out a few skills, including my sculpting and base-building.

A few choice parts helped create the look. The Exhausts were pilfered from my Forge Field (which will in turn get the knight's stacks). The clusters of spikes are actually Plaguebearer swords, and make for great spikes on a vehicle of this size. The Heavy Stubbers are Evil Craft Autocannons, and look great on this model with minimal work.

The armour panels are being left off for painting, but once it's all put together, it should make for a great centrepiece.

The next few weeks should be fun, and I hope to get a couple of these projects closer to complete before I get stuck into the upcoming Battle of Calth boxset.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Review: Kromlech Morbid Praetorian Legs

The minions of the Plague Lord come in all shapes and sizes, from the minute Nurglings to the great blobs of pestilence known as the Great Unclean Ones. Today, I'll be looking at parts designed for Terminators: the larger, tougher Astartes units available to the forces of decay. Kromlech's Morbid Praetorian Legs are designed for the 2+ save making beasts, and straight out of the bag you can tell they are a fantastic addition to any Nurgle Terminator squad.

You get six sets of legs per pack, and they'll cost about £6.50 a pack. The cost is higher per part than other Kromlech legs sets , but they are for larger models. This should be enough for a standard Terminator box set, with one spare pair for perhaps a Terminator Sorcerer or Lord.

Three designs come in each pack, and truth be told they are all of great quality and the designs are suitable for their intended use. They mimic the styles of their other Morbid sets, only scaled up for Terminators. The details are still as intricate though, with fleshy growths, damaged riveted armour and chains helping to make some very detailed parts.

In terms of scale they are perfect for GW's Terminator models. Normal indented (bottom of torso) Terminator bodies should fit the hip ball-joint with no issues, and the legs themselves don't look short or oddly proportioned (barring the mutations). It's hard to see the final picture with this stock body, but I hope you can imagine the model in it's full glory once the top half is 'plagued up'.

They help convey the size and power of the Terminator. The models stand taller than a normal power armoured marine model, which is what you want for these elite troopers.

All-in-all these are a fun and easy addition to Nurgle-alligned Terminator units. The mix of broken armour and rotting mutations will make converting plague-ridden units a breeze, and the quality of Kromlech's work here is becoming the standard for the company. It's been a while since I've had a bad product come out of a third party, and I hope all these companies can keep this up.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

The Great Big Chaos Knight Build: Part One (Box Opening and Plans)

The death cry of my wallet could be heard at up to two miles away. I have done it: I bought a Knight. A project which I have longed to do, getting a new job gave me a good reason to celebrate by buying a big, lumbering walker of death; naturally.

 The kit is surprisingly compact, with everything you need on three sprues. I've opted for the standard one; it was £10 cheaper, and I don't need the other options anyway, as I cannot use them.

It comes with a lovely big base, which is crying out for a lavish scene to be played out. I have a busted up old Rhino so that will likely feature (a common them amongst Knight owners it seems).

The armour panels are huge, and will be great spaces to either create some freehand painted designs, or sculpt more intricate details.

The colour scheme will be a drastic change from both the Thousand Sons and the Vraksians: it will be white. I wanted a scheme that is clearly not affiliated with one Legion (much akin to how Imperial Knights generally are), but made it clear that it was a Tzeentch titan. I recently got into playing video games again, and this gave me the scheme I was longing for. I picked up a copy of the original Bayoneta (Think Devil May Cry but with witches and more pole-dancing)

 In the first fight I faced some low-level Angels (above), which looked uncannily familiar to Lords of Change . They also sported a white and Turquoise scheme, which I immediately liked. This, I decided, would be my scheme...

With the scheme sorted out, I can now start planning out the build. I'll be using the Forge World kit as inspiration, as well as the Tzeentch daemon range. The weapons will be magnetised so I can switch between the Warden and Paladin. I may end up canibalising my Forge Fiend for bits, as there is a good selection of items I can use: namely the Exhausts and back panel)

(Angel image property of Sega/Platinum Games)

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Workshop Datalogs: October 2015

With the months getting darker and colder, now is a great time to get some progress made on my many (and possibly excessive number of) projects. Today's update contains a lot of projects, so I'll be short and sweet with them all.

First up is this lovable chappy: another Ferrus Infernum. This one differs from my Destroyer of Cities variant, as this one will be upgraded to a Lord of the Long War. This allows it to take and issue challenges, and if it should explode, could become a Daemon Prince.

The body is from an Ironclad Dreadnought, mounted on the legs of the classic Chaos Dreadnought. The engine had to be made from junk found about the workbench, including Dakkajet exhausts, a metal Dreadnought engine, and Ogryn gun magazines. With challenges in mind, this model has been equipped for close combat, and is armed with a Power Scourge for reducing WS, and a Thunder Hammer for smashing stuff. The arms are magnetised so I can swap them out for other weapons, perhaps making use of the Ferrus' BS5.

Next is another close combat unit: two mutilators. These were a couple of experimental models that I've grown to like. Based on a K'daii Fireborn's torso mounted on Terminator legs, these two fit in with my Daemon Prince and Terminator Price models. The white areas will becom green flames, to tie them in with the rest of the army.

A viewer of the blog recently asked about Ignis, my count-as Warsmith character from the Ahriman series of novels. Since the last update featuring him, he is about 90% compete. I've followed the book's description of the character. He wears orange and black terminator armour, and his face is covered in tattoos, which I have decided to pick out in blue.

Now, onto the Vraksians. I've been working on two new units for the army: a second mutant rabble, this time with autoguns, and a new Bloody Handed Reaver model. The Reaver is based on the Bloodstaker from the Age of Sigmar set, with a heavily customised Autogun made from various Skitarii weapons. The mutants are mainly Plaguebearers, with weapons have heads from the Skitarii set, with a few Pig Iron heads and Forge World autoguns. I want them to look rag-tag, so I've started sculpting clothes onto the Plaguebearer bodies; torn and rotten remains of their former lives.

With a week off between my current job and my new one, I plan to make a lot of headway on these projects, and hopefully cut down on what I have left to do before I go buying new stuff. Hah! Like that will happen...

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Review: Evil Craft Plasma Weapons

Plasma: it's in our blood, our TVs, and in the 41st millenium, our guns. Today's review sees me have a look at Evil Craft's renditions of one of 40k's most powerful and temperamental weapons. I'll be reviewing both the Chaos Plasma Rifles and Chaos Plasma Pistols, both intended for use on 28mm heroic villains.

Both sets retail for £5.50 at current exchange rates. The rifle set comes with four guns, two copies of two designs, whilst the pistols come in packs of six-two copies of three designs. Price-wise these are a premium product, much like Evil Craft's Range. When buying these, remember that you are buying quality and design. There are plenty of cheaper alternatives, but none of them compare to the level of detail you are buying here.

The detail and quality of the products remains top-notch. The barbed looks to the guns tie in well with current Chaos ranges, mimicking the designs used on other Evil Craft models. Their range is totally unified and fits well together, and these guns are no exception.

All these weapons were designed with Chaos Space Marines in mind, albeit true-scaled ones. Far too large for 'human' models, these weapons are just on the larger end of the scale; they will fit plastic Chaos models, with a tiny bit of tweaking These larger rifles also have potential for being vehicle-mounted: an idea I've had with regards to a new Chaos Contemptor.

The pistols, on the other hand, fit much better (tacked on for illustration). Being one handed weapons makes them far easier to fit, and don't look as oversized on normal-scaled models. These intricate pistols are perfect for sergeants, champions and lords of all flavours, as the designs scream chaos, but don't dedicate themselves to being overly mutated or run down. They are chaos at it's simplest, and that is good.

My favourite design of all three pistols is this one, featuring a daemonic skull in the muzzle/exhaust vents of the pistol.

These weapons are a fantastic special weapon for your chaotic forces. Since you shouldn't need too many (unless you're playing a Chosen-heavy Abaddon list), the pricing should be less of an issue. For your money though you do get exceptional sculpts with examples of the highest quality on the market.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Review: Kromlech Legionary Smash Hammers

As a Chaos Space Marine player, I don;t often get to make used of Thunder Hammers. Sure I could use them as Power Fists, but generally I haven't made much use for them, and so most hammer bits go by without a glance in their direction. But could today's product from Kromlech change my views?

The Legionary Smash Hammers (sounds a bit Super Mario doesn't it?) is a 6-piece weapon set, containing three flavours of hammer, ranging from 25mm in length all the way up to 35mm. A set will cost you £5.05.

The hammers look like they are intended for single-handed poses, though the longer ones could easily become two-handed weapons, depending on the model they'll go on. None of the weapons come with hands, meaning they can be added to any model with ease, not just a Space Marine or Ork. This does mean cutting up the handle or finding open hands, so be prepared to think about the posing and extra parts needed.

These hammers are stunning in the detail they possess. Take this example, which features minute scripture around the ends of this hammer-head...

...this is that same hammer next to a five pence piece. The detailing on these weapons is outstanding, and the fact that it is legible and clearly defined showcases the product's quality.

In all honesty they are far more suited to 'Imperial' Space Marines and Inquisitors. They all have a strong Gothic flair, and would look great on one of the Imperium's greatest daemon-hunters. One style, the one shown here, has Templar iconography, making them perfect for Black Templars and their splinter factions.

If you're looking for the pinnacle of detail for your leader, these weapons are a gold-standard example. The detail is insane, and if you used these on bog-standard models, you'd be very hard pressed to find anything fancier for your leader. Ignoring the mildly comical name, Kromlech's Smash Hammers are truly a great hit*.

*That was a bad pun, I'll be going now...