Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Review: Blood And Skulls Capricorn Kit

The Chimera is the armoured workhorse of the Imperial Guard. This tracked transport has been with us in plastic form for over a decade now, and recently had a revised kit produced, with a nicer turret and better fitting parts. But one feature puts many people off; the Lasgun arrays. Not only can they be fiddly and annoying to align, but they are very easy to break. Some choose to not use them, but then you are left with six round holes in your hull. Well, it appears that Blood and Skulls Industries is here once more to save the day, with the Capricorn kit.

For £12.30 you get a new upper hull and turret, which comes with a cannon, pivot point and operable hatch. For those who do not want a turret, the hull is available by itself, for £8.41.

The hull is a one-piece section that replaces the standard upper hull and roof. It is a much shorter hull, being about an inch shorter than the stock part. It is just long enough to reach the edge of the upper front hull piece, and leaves the round hole at the front, which can be plugged with a hatch. Do note that newer Chimera kits do not come with a spare hatch. Fortunately I had an old metal one from the previous Hellhound kit. The shorted hull set the turret further back, leaving it fairly central on the model. Be aware of this is you plan to give your tank a Heavy Flamer, as you will loose about an inch of range.

The square hole in the roof is the exact same size as with the plastic chimera, so the plastic hatches are compatible with the resin parts. The resin is of a good quality and easy to work with. The rear side sections of the hull, if warped, are very easy to bend into shape.

Fitting the roof to the rear hatch is no problem, though there is a slight difference in angles.

The turret sports a look similar to the Artemia Hellhound from Forge World: with a low and wide silhouette and off-centre main gun. Building the turret is fairly straight forward: you have the turret body, hatch, gun and gun mantlet. This makes for a simple and easy assembly. The turret is held on by a pin, similar in style to the original chimera. this does mean that the standard Chimera turret, with its twist and lock design, is not compatible without some work to the turret underside. This is important knowledge for anyone who decides to buy the hull on its own.

There was one part that confused me, as I didn't know what it was for.

However, after some investigation, and trial and error, I found that it is an adaptor for the Chimera weapons, allowing any of the plastic turret weapons to easily fit the new turret.

This upgrade set has a lot of potential, not just as a chimera. With just a bit of work, this turret has been given a unique Inferno Gun, making this model a perfect start to a new Hellhound for the Vraksians. The main gun is reminiscent of the KV-8, which boasted a disguised main gun, to fool the enemy into thinking it was a normal KV-2.

as an upgrade to a new kit, or as new parts for a repair or salvage job, Blood and Skull's latest kit provides a fantastic alternative to the Lasgun arrays so many of us seem to hate using. Its contemporary and functional non-flamboyant design is perfect for guard armies of all styles, in an army which is well known for function over form.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Workshop Datalogs (February 2015)

Hello, and welcome to the first post of a new series, Workshop Datalogs. This is a new segment in which I share with you what is on my workbench at the time, and give hints towards future articles and projects (with some super-secret items you’ll just have to look for). This is great for when I have a lot of things on the go, but not enough to write a whole post for each item. For example, when I’ve started painting a unit I wrote about a week ago). This week, I have a selection of painted projects, an update on a current rebuild, and a mini-preview of an upcoming review.

Let us start off with the Renegade Command Squad from last week. It now has a little colour on it, with most of the base colours completed. I have decided to add a little bit of added colour (greens and greys) to differentiate them from other squads.

I decided that I would paint the banner as if it were a captured Krieg artefact. A basecoat of Vallejo Reflective Green forms the main colour of this piece. I have yet to find a good design for the banner, so please feel free to share links of good designs.

I also have this Necron Overlord on my workbench. This is for my girlfriend’s Necron army, and started life as a bunch of spare bits and so leftover from other models. The body is from an old metal lord, whilst the arms are from the plastic barge lord. The left hand is from a junked Flayed One I was given, which came with two left hands. A 40mm base completes the model, and has made something which is pretty unique amongst an army of carbon-copy automatons.

You may recognise this tank from one of my more recent reviews: the Deimos Predator that acted as a test mule for Blood and Skulls’ awesome track set. Whilst planning that article, I thought that the tank itself could do with a few repairs and a new paint job: in fact, all of my tanks previous to the Spartan have been looking a little tired. So having decided to make a change, I stripped the tank down and removed most of the paint. Having used the tank with a jury-rigged Executioner Plasma Cannon (simply two plasma cannons glued together) to great effect, I decided to make it a more permanent feature.

The new main gun still uses a Plasma Cannon as the basis, but widened to about double its standard width, making it one big gun rather than two glued together. It has been widened with plasticard, and some additional plasma cannon cores. It is early days, and I plan to wire it in to the main turret, which will receive more “plasma” like details such as cables and vents.

The tank's new brutal look has been helped by this big plow, from the Chimera set. The old dozer blades are now…

…on the front of this; the Land Raider Armoured Proteus. This final piece means that, apart from a tiny bit of detailing, the tank is ready for some paint. I plan to paint all my future Thousand Sons tanks and infantry in a quartered yellow/blue scheme, as seen on the Ferrus Infernum Dreadnought I recently finished. If anyone has a suitable suggestion for transferring this scheme from walker to tank, comment below or on Facebook.

On the review side of things, I have this lined up next: an upgrade for the 40k Chimera kit. This hull and turret set comes from Blood and Skulls Industries, and replaces the standard roof/hull and turret to give the standard set a different look. Initial thoughts suggest that it is perfect for people who don’t like having six Lasguns waving about, and want a bigger turret (which also comes with an Autocannon).A full review of this set will go up this weekend.

That is all for this week, so keep an eye out for further updates on Facebook or twitter. By the way, have you spotted the bonus model? Comment below if you have.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Analysis: Renegades and Heretics Troops Choices

A solid troop foundation is important in any army. These core units can be customised just as much as every other unit (but to a weaker degree) and are often the cheapest units available to you. Today, I’m looking at the troops choices in Imperial Armour Volume Thirteen: War Machines of the Lost and the Damned.

Renegade Platoon

First off we have the platoon. It is pretty much the standard guard platoon found in Codex: Astra Militarum, apart from a few key differences:

-squads start off with no armour. They can choose to buy sub flak armour (6+) or Flak armour.
-squads start off with BS2. They can upgrade to BS3 via Militia Training.
-squads can go up to 20 models, 30 if you choose Master of the Hordes as a HQ upgrade
-like most units in this book, they have a random leadership value from the Uncertain Worth rule.
-there is no conventional platoon command squad. Instead, one of the squads is elected. The elected squad’s champion is upgraded to a demagogue for free (+1 attack) and any vox in the squad is upgraded to a command vox net for free. Other than that it is the same as a normal squad).

This unit is perfect for anyone wanting to run a large horde, as in it’s base form it offers players a cheap and potentially large unit. With a base unit of 30 only costing 90 points pre-upgrades, and access to armour, special weapons and transports, there is a lot of potential here.

Mutant Rabble

What chaos army would be complete without mutants? This squad is the cheapest of all units, with a base cost of only 30 points for a unit of ten. The key downside though is that Mutants have no options, apart from the ability to choose either Laspistol/CCW, Lasgun or Shotgun, and take a 6+ save. Only the Mutant Champion can take any extra kit. They can be taken in units of up to 50 models, allowing for one the largest single squads in the book (Platoons don’t count, since an individual squad can only go to 30).

The squad does get an interesting feature, Curse of Mutation. On the roll of a dice, you have a chance of receiving one of three upgrades, each of which comes with a pro and a con:

-Horrific Disfiguration: Fear, but reduces nearby friendly unit’s leadership if they do not have that rule.
-Unnatural senses: Acute Senses and Scout, but all heavy, barrage and blast weapons targeting the unit also cause Blind.

-Horns, Claws and Fangs: Hammer of Wrath which is done at +1 STR. Must assault if it can.
It is a nice cheap unit, but not ideal for those who want options and reliability. Still, it is a potentially fun unit and very thematic, especially for Khorne and Nurgle forces.


Next up is the “elite” Troops choice. They are more expensive, at 35 points for just five starting models, and can only go up to ten models. They benefit from a natural BS3 and WS 4 (a bit redundant on guard models) and a 5+ save, but cnnot take any heavy weapons (they can still take specialist weapons). Nothing too spectacular at this stage. What sets them apart is that they can take one veteran upgrade. Choices include Scout, Carapace Armour, Tank Hunters and Deep Strike, plus a few more. This is a great chance to make a specialised and fun unit with a tailored job to do.

In all honesty, they are best taken as Grenadiers (15 Pt extra), via the Bloody Handed Reaver HQ perk. This gives them BS4 and Hotshot weaponry, giving you your own version of Tempestus Scions. The AP3 of the Hotshot guns really helps when taking on Power Armoured foes.

Plague Zombies

Finally we have zombies. Much like the Codex: CSM variety, they are slow, fearless troops with Feel No Pain and no options (other than adding more zombies.) What is different is that they have the Warp Plague rule. Every time you defeat a unit and either destroy it or flee, you can add D3 extra zombies to the unit, which can bring it over starting strength. If successful, this is a neat thematic way of bringing back some of your models.

That is all for today’s troops analysis. Next up: fast attack.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

WIP: The £6 Command Squad

The command squad perches at the top of the command structure: every unit in the army answers to it. Formed of the best strategists, soldiers and propagandists, they ensure the smooth running of any army. But with a standard Imperial Guard Command Squad costing from £15 to £25 (depending on kit and source), at the end of the day that is a lot for five models. So I thought to myself; can I do this for less?

The answer is yes. This command squad was built using Games Workshop’s mini-set of clip-together cultists, which retails at a tiny £6. A significant saving, yes, but in their standard form they would be no good as a command squad: they are simply armed and a bit dull. So, with a few added bits, I’ve come up with five models that will join my overall commander (the model of which varies depending on what commander upgrade I choose) in leading my IA:13 Renegade army.

First up, the simple goons. These two didn’t really need much changing, as they are there to fill the unit to minimum size. I did swap the combat weapon of the model on the left for a grenade, for some variety and to show the unit has grenades equipped.

Next up is a vox-opperator. This model was given an extra antenna, using a piece of paper-clip and a round ring, formally an Ork Shoota's iron sight. I think it needs another aerial or something, and then it can qualify as the command-vox.

The banner bearer was a fun model to make. I used one of the close-combat Cultists from the set, the one that wasn’t running, as this had the best posture. I remove the combat weapon, and used a length of brass rod for the banner pole. The banner comes from a Vampire Counts set, with the wings removed from the skull.

The head is one of Pig Iron Productions, from their Kolony Ferals set.

Finally we have a weapons specialist with Plasma Gun. Now, I did say early on that my Vraksians would have very few “energy” weapons like Plasma and Melta, but considering this is my command squad, in all honesty I think they probably have access to the best kit . I used the beaked Cultist with Autogun as a basis, and chopped away most of the gun, leaving the forward hand. I used a Space Wolf Plasma Gun, as I have a ton of those lying around. I cut away the hands, and managed to squeeze the gun in. It is a little rough around the edges, but Green stuff will fix most of it.

I think I will leave the squad at six men (including commander) but it is still tempting to bring it up to ten or 15 models, just so I can have a big, durable command unit leading my rebels. They will retain the non-dedicated neutral colour scheme of the army, and the banner bearer will be equally neutral, either carrying a large dedication to chaos, or a defaced imperial banner, possibly of Krieg origins.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Review: Blood and Skulls Industry Oppressor Tracks 00

Any self-respecting Chaos Space Marine player knows that spikes are a key visual theme to the army. Spike racks, spiked shoulder-pads, spiked trim, everything is pointy. But what if you want a more subtle way of displaying the theme on your tanks, without resorting to oversized (and easily breakable) trophy racks? Today, I’ve found the answer.

You may recognise these tracks from a previous series: they are Blood and Skulls Industry’s Oppressor pattern, which looked perfect on the Chaos Spartan. But these are the smaller pattern 00 set, which are designed for the smallest of Chaos tank classes, the Rhino and its siblings. They will also work on the Chimera series with some work, but today I’m focusing on their main role.

A set will cost you £5.99 before shipping, and for that you get two sets of track links (left and right), enough to replace the standard plastic links from any Rhino based tank kit. You get a variety of short, medium and long track sections, as well as two sprues of single links.

The quality has vastly improved from last time I worked with an Oppressor set. The tracks now have little pin-link holes, and much crisper details. The resin is also less shiny and there are no warped parts. There were a couple of bubbled links, but the kit comes with more than enough spares for such occasions.

Since the tracks are similar to the GW plastics (in that they have a left and a right-side set) they fit onto the tank with no extra work, in the same way that the plastic ones would. I did need to trim a few links to get them to go under the armoured panels at the back on this test tank, but apart from that they are a simple swap-job.

The spikes are smaller and shallower than on the bigger sets, which is great in two ways. Firstly, it won’t stab through your foam/boxes as easily, and secondly; it won't stab through you as easily.

To sum up, this set is perfect for chaos players (and radical Imperialists alike). You could easily use these to represent the Destroyer Blades upgrade, or just as a striking visual element in what will be an amazing war machine of evil.