+ inload: Catachan Colonel +

+ Boots on the ground: Catachan Colonel +

+ War of the False Primarch? No. Augustine Crusade? No. Alien Wars? No. Scallop Star Purges? No. Just a kick-ass model that I wanted to paint? Yes. +

+ ...and of course, being an awesome model doesn't preclude him from being used in any of the above scenarios. Themes, campaigns and stories (to my mind at least) should provide inspiration and a broadening of the possibilities, rather than making you feel you can't using your hard-painted models in different ways. +

+ There's a balance to be struck here, between using your models exactly as you want, and the unspoken social contract that is key to everyone having a good time. All participants having consideration for the other people involved, and what they want out of a game, is perhaps the most important bit! +

+ It's worth noting that being a good person to play against (as opposed to a 'good opponent' in terms of the actual game) doesn't involve just rolling over and running with what the other person/people want to do. Be engaged, be active, and everyone will have a better experience. If you're enthusiastic about something, speak up, discuss, and come to a compromise with your friends; or, better still, create a synthesis of all your good ideas. +


+ Some armies lend themselves more easily than others to being involved in different scenarios within the 40k universe. Guard, Orks and Eldar, for example, are hugely diverse and don't really vary much across the timescale of the galaxy. These armies can turn up anywhere from tiny kill teams to massive apocalypse games, and from the Horus Heresy to the post-Resurrection period of M42. +

+ Some armies/forces require either more though to come up with a cool reason why they'd be fighting – or, as a group, you might come to an agreement not to use them against each other. Perhaps most obviously, highly-themed Horus Heresy period armies don't easily fit into games against Tau or Tyranids – but unless you come to the conclusion that you or the other player(s) won't have a good experience, remember that there's no harm in playing a scenario in which the Tau/Tyranids are played as one of the numerous Xenos species encountered during the Great Crusade, or conversely that the Space Marines are a Chapter blessed with huge numbers of Relic equipment. A good story can help fill the narrative gaps. +

+ Above all this, It's also worth remembering that you can just treat things a bit more lightly, and forget the number of rivets (or limbs!) on your models, and simply have a fun game. Not everything needs to be justified. +


+ Enough talk! More action! +

+ Man, I think this model is awesome. A great combo of cheesy action movie  and video game tropes, cool chunky GW details, and a real sense of character. About the only thing I don't like about it is the fact that the first plastic infantry model for the Guard in about two decades was a limited splash release that can't be found for love nor money. I hope that local hobby shops benefitted from GW's largesse (and I do genuinely think it was a nice gesture), because it seems to have caused a large amount of friction and disappointment in the Imperial Guard community. Here's hoping that it gets a broader release at some future date. +

+ Enough grumbling (that's reserved for when the Longbeards get on the painting table!), let's get stuck into definitely-not-Carl-Weathers-from-PredatorThis figure isn't quite finished, but I couldn't resist showing him off at this point. +

+ As noted in yesterday's inload, it's been a while since I've painted up Guard – though a few baseline humans have been sneaking through. This model was a treat to paint, with a mix of smooth fabrics for detailing, nice clean plates for sharp highlighting, and the perennial favourite, bare skin for blending and glazes. +

+ I kicked off with an experiment, using Halford's Camouflage spray paint to undercoat him. I genuinely thought this was an April Fool's joke when I spotted it in-store, but it turns out it's a range of four matt sprays that you use to build up camouflage on (full-size) vehicles. The deep brown is a lovely undercoat that I think combines the best bits of my usual black and grey primers – lots of depth, but not dead. +

+ I started with the base, then moved onto the skin. Once these were complete, I painted the fatigues using a variation on the camouflage tutorial here: [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. The swapped-out colours are pictured above, but note that the brown undercoat is serving as the deepest value. The key thing is to have a deep tone, midtone and light tone. +

+ Bits still to do include the lenses on the field glasses, the eye on the servoskull/banner/aerial thing, and some sort of eye-catching accents – perhaps some bright glowing green xeno blood? +

+ Bright accents don't make much sense on camouflage, of course, but they do make a model more fun. Tasteful and muted is my vibe, but it's nice for special figures to stand out a bit. +

+ The rear detailing could do with some more attention, too. I was toying with the idea of a slight OSL around the backpack generator/battery for the power fist. That cloth could do with a marking or two, as well. +


+ Jungle is massive +

+ One man does not a killteam make (unless you count Marbo, of course), so I've also been working on his squadmates. Sergeant 'Ripper' Jackson, above, was a kind gift from Lord Blood the Hungry. She's coming along nicely, and I hope to finish her off this week. +

+ Vaguely related to this is a Knarloc who's been sitting on my desk for a long while. Kroot are one of those projects that're always the bridesmaids, never the bride. I thought fitting them in with a loose jungle theme for 2021 might encourage me to get some done. +


+ inload: A brief return to The Augustine Crusade +

 + Commissar Mortilegere +

+ Deployed to the region as part of the ongoing Officio Prefectus sweeps, Kahlo Mortilegere was stationed with the starport garrison on Gella Major, at the time a well-defended region, considered well back from the bulk of the fighting. + 

+ Attached to the Finbin First Fusiliers, an inexperienced light regiment that was lumbered with the inevitable nickname in high command as the 'Effing Finbins', Mortilegere's posting was to prove unexpectedly eventful; as it made her present during the Ardent System Counteroffensive in M42.050–053. +

+ Later assessed to be Hesh's final sally, at the time the counteroffensive was yet another blow from an enemy that was proving unexpected and resourceful, reclaiming recently-captured territory and rolling over strongholds and bastions that were yet to be completed. Securing these bunkers and bulwarks extended the Augustine Crusade's closing stages by many months, as the Traitor forces drove the Imperials back and were immediately able to make good on the Imperials half-finished fortifications. +

+ After the offensive, in which she served to ensure the Gella Major garrison  could hold until relieved, she was seconded to the Cadian 144th – the so-called Cadian Last, where she served for the remainder of the war. +


+ Despite seemingly painting nothing but Space Marines for the past couple of years, I still consider myself a Guard player at heart. The humanity and personality that you can get into a human figure is hard to match, and being able to draw elements from all over is a great benefit. +

+ It's been a while since we've delved into the Augustine Crusade – the delay on my part largely down to my order from Reptilian Overlords miniatures now  outstanding for two years and counting. Slack's got to be cut for the global pandemic, but I dearly want to get stuck into the Kolossans. +

+ In the meantime, I finished painting up this Commissar. She'll be winging here way through the Warp to fellow traveller The Rook – his blog can be found here [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+], as part of a prisoner exchange model swap we did within the group. +

+ If you fancy giving the model a go yourself, the main components are:

  • Commissar Hat from a finecast Commissar
  • Face/head from a Van Saar figure, with greenstuff neck.
  • Torso is from an old Empire figure (Greatsword, or possible Empire Militia)
  • The coat is from the Tempestus Scions kit, with a greenstuff chain for detail
  • The arms are Forgeworld Cadian, as are the weapons
  • The legs are from AT-43 Steel Troopers.

+ inload: Epic basing +

+ 'What is this – Warhammer for ants?' +

+ Basing Epic-scale miniatures +

+ What is Epic-scale? +

+ While idly assembling some miniatures, I thought I'd put together a little tutorial for basing Epic stuff. The phrase 'Epic' or Epic-scale' in wargaming terms is probably familiar to most inloaders, but for anyone unsure, Games Workshop used to support a companion game to 40k based around larger conflicts on a slightly more abstract level than 40k. The figures were roughly a quarter of the size of their 40k-scale equivalents, meaning infantry are roughly 6mm tall. + 

+ This has caused no end of online discussion about whether the modern Adeptus Titanicus 'scale' is the same, or slightly different. That's an discussion for another – less hot and sunny – time, so here we'll stick with the practicalities and just refer to any roughly 6mm-sized figures as the numberless 'Epic-scale'. The instructions below will work for any comparably-scaled game, such as Adeptus Titanicus, 10mm: Dropzone Commander or Games Workshop's Warmaster. +

Epic Marines alongside a 40k scale one.


+ Theoretical +

+ Since their introduction in the original Epic: Space Marine game, infantry have been fielded, usually in groups of five, on specially-designed 25mm (1in) square bases with recesses to accept the built-in 'plugs' on the feet of the figure. These were later joined by 40mm x 10mm strip bases with similar recesses. 

+ Both styles of GW official bases are long out of print. They're not particularly hard or expensive to buy second-hand or find on auction sites, though this obviously makes them less reliably available. Vanguard Miniatures do a nice selection of circular and strip equivalents in plastic [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] if you want a nice clean base to work on. +

+ Players usually flocked and painted the bases using sand or similar. Have a look at a Tactical detachment from my Ultramarines army below for an example. These were based on some 1mm ply wood that I had drilled to provide the recesses. As a result, all are grouped in the same ring of five. Not a problem in itself, but the downside of using pre-made bases is it that it can look a bit dull. +

Epic Ultramarines 

+ I wanted to show a method that allows you to add a bit more character and variety to the bases. Adding little touches like this will go a long way to adding character to your formations – and from tabletop distance, it will help to make your forces look like scale figures in combat, rather than abstract gaming tokens. +

+ Practical +

+ You won't need a lot of specialist equipment here; about the only thing you'll need is a fine texture gel or medium. I used Winsor & Newton's Galeria Sand Texture Gel, available at your local art and craft store, but there are lots of equivalents. The important bit is that it is finely textured and holds its shape. +

1_ With your figures prepared, take a 2p coin – or anything roughly 25mm (1in) in diameter, and squeeze on a blob of the texture gel in the centre. 

2_ Use your modelling tool to loosely spread it around, keeping it off the rim of the coin.

3_ Optionally, embed a small piece of gravel, or similarly-sized detail. Offcuts of sprue, small pieces of terrain etc. also work well. This'll end up looking like a piece of cover and create some variation in height. More importantly, it will create something for your figures to interact with. Use the modelling tool to draw the modelling gel up and around any natural elements (like boulders); it will help integrate them and look much more natural. Depending on the effect you want, you can leave some bits exposed, or cover the whole thing.


4_ Take a moment to consider what simple story you want the vignette to tell. This doesn't have to be involved or complex – something as simple as 'moving up quickly' or 'warily patrolling' or 'taking cover' can work. Here, I've opted for three figures huddling around the rock, providing covering fire for two who have started to redeploy.

Considering the pose, place the first figure, leaving space for the others. Push the figure firmly into the gel and use the modelling tool to work the gel over and around the tab, hiding it.

5_ Repeat with the other figures. It's usually easier to work from the centre of the base outwards, to avoid the risk of knocking them. Use a damp old brush to clean any excess gel from the figure's legs.

6_ While the gel remains wet, you can now sprinkle some fine sand over the base. I use 'play sand', as it's fine, and clean. Odd bits of grit work well at larger scales, but at Epic-scale it can be a bit jarring. Leave the gel to dry overnight to finish, ready for painting. 


+ Additional cognition +

+ As you can see, the addition of a bit of height to the base itself helps to create the impression of a more natural, believable surface than the level plains of Planet Bowling Ball. However, it's not entirely necessary. The combination of gel and sand creates a subtly varied texture in itself, as you can see below. A few small (2–3mm) static grass tufts can add a bit of height and interest to the basein the same way as the pebbles/scenery: you just need to plan it a little in advance. +

+ Note here that the Rhino and Dreadnought are also mounted on bases. I think the adding bases to tanks hugely improves things, particularly in Epic. Mostly, I try to build up gel on one side, so that the vehicle is at a slight angle, and occasionally slightly off-setting the vehicle on the base – it goes a long way to giving them  some dynamism and prevent them all looking identical. +

+ I usually mount Dreadnoughts and upgrade characters on smaller pennies – approximately 12mm (½in) across, as this prevents them looking lost. + 

Silver Stars marines and Contemptor support.

+ If you want to, of course, you can take this much further, creating a mini-diorama. The thing to bear in mind is that we'll need to hide any built-in 'tab' bases, particularly on infantry but also frequently on cavalry and artillery. Adding too much addition 'stuff' can lead to a crowded base that doesn't work so well. If you really want to get involved with more complex things, I suggest using slightly larger bases – around 32mm would work well – or altering the number of figures on the base. +

+ If you're intending to play the most recent iteration of the game, the much-loved Epic: Armageddon, it's worth nothing that the rules allow for a great deal of flexibility in basing, and in my experience the relative advantages and disadvantages of different shapes and sizes all balance out:

1.1.2 Stands
As previously noted, a unit can be a single vehicle model, or a stand made up of several very small models grouped together and glued to a small base. Stands usually represent things like infantry, where moving the individual models round on their own would be very fiddly with Epic scale models. All the models glued to a stand count as a single unit as far as the rules are concerned. The size of a stand and the number of models glued to it are left pretty much up to the player to decide within the following limitations:
• A stand may be no more than 40mm and no less than 5mm across in any direction.
• A stand must be at least 20mm across in one direction (ie, a 5mm by 5mm stand is not allowed, but a 5mm by 20mm stand would be okay).
• Stands representing infantry units must have at least three infantry models and may not have more than seven. Infantry mounted on bikes or horses must have between two and four models mounted on each base.
• Stands representing artillery must have between one and two artillery pieces and up to six crew models.

+ This can be used to good effect. While I like the look and idea of five marines on a base – it fits with their disciplined nature and their method of using five-men combat squads – the freedom to play around offers lots of potential. +

+ Eldar, for example, might look good scattered a bit more sparsely on bases – perhaps just three or four figures per base, to suggest an elite, thinly-spread Warhost. Conversely, hordes of Orks, Tyranids or Necrons would look great more densely packed – whether in loosely roaming packs or serried ranks. +

+ More 'small-c chaotic' forces like Orks or Chaos marines would look great with varying numbers of models, and the addition of odd one-off bits like stray gretchin or cultists alongside the main infantry. +

+ As a final point, these techniques can of course be used for Adeptus Titanicus models, too. In fact, I think practising exercising your brain in creating a story with infantry can help to build your skills and creativity for the larger space of a Titan base – and what better than a cohesive Epic-scale army led by a Titan or two? +

+ inload: Painting the Partisans

+ Partisan Chapter paint schemes + 

+ The War of the False Primarch is in full swing over on + Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten + and I've been painting away. This shades-of-grey civil war is being fought between those who follow a mysterious figure hailed as a returned Primarch, and those who follow the edicts of the High Lords. It's open to anyone, so if you want to get involved, the info is here [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] +

+ The Chapters following the False Primarch are collectively termed the Partisans, and a very diverse bunch they are; from the stable and orderly Marines Orcinus – or Red Fish – to the rad-haunted Wormwood Sons. I've been painting up examples of each to help illustrate the Index Astartes articles, and thought I'd add some notes on how I approached them. I've tried to keep things simple and quick – each of these was painted in under two hours – just to show that getting involved isn't a huge time sink. +

+ If you're interested in giving any of them a go, we'd be delighted. It'd be lovely to see some more shared on the +Death of a Rubricist+ Facebook group or Instagram (with the #warofthefalseprimarch, #somethingsarebestleftforgotten and #partisanchapters tags). I've included the original creators of the Chapters so you can get in contact with them on Instagram to ask any questions; or you can leave a comment below and I'll do my best to get you in touch. +


+ Inheritors +

"We are your shield, we are your sword, we are the light in the darkness."
+ These suspiciously handsome, white-haired and violet-eyed Space Marines are the creation of Lars J-D [+Instagram handle: @lars.j.dahl +]. They have lovely Slavic/Sikh inspiration to their background, are classic Paladin-style goodies, and the scheme is both striking and simple. What's not to like? +

+ I used Vallejo Cold White (GW: White Scar) for the pauldrons, helm and boltgun casing, building up from Halford's Grey spray primer. These areas also received stripes in Vallejo Flat Red (GW Mephiston Red). If you don't feel confident with painting clean stripes, then rest assured that: 
The helm colourings vary a great deal; with a reversed scheme – white faceplate on green helm – a common variant. Likewise the red stripe is frequently split in two, decorated or missing altogether, according to the whims of the squad sergeant. Some encourage individuality amongst their troops; others demand a uniform approach.
+ I'd suggest painting the whole of the helmet crest red if you want to include it in some way: painting to edges is easier than freehanding. +

+ The bulk of the armour is sea green. I used Vallejo 'Highlight USMC Tank Crew 70323', from their Panzer Aces historical range. (The nearest GW equivalent is probably Gauss Balster green, or perhaps Sons of Horus green mixed with white.) The green base was shaded with the addition of Thraka Green, an old GW Wash; though I'd suggest using GW's new Coelia Greenshade, as that's a cooler blue green –  I simply didn't have any to hand. I added highlights with the simple addition of Vallejo Cold White to the tank crew paint. +

+ I used a nice dark metal base – GW Iron Warriors mixed with Abaddon Black – for maximum contrast with this high key scheme, and washed this with Seraphim Sepia and Druchii Violet Shades wet in wet. The gold areas were based with GW Rhinox Hide, then painted with Balthasar Gold, highlighted with Retributor Armour. +

+ Tactical markings are dark grey – I just added a touch of white paint to black for mine. The Chapter Badge is identical to the Astral Claws, so if you don't fancy freehanding it, you can use transfers – and keep an eye out for these, as a little cyber-caryatid suggests that transfers for all the Partisans and Pentarchy Chapters might be available at some point... +

+ You can read more about the Inheritors here on Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten. +

+ Void Barons +

"Who holds the stars? We do!"
+ Spiteful, unsentimental and pragmatic boarding specialists, the Void Barons are headhunting space buccaneers in racing team colours; and absolutely fantastic fun to paint. High impact and – besides the Chapter badge! – surprisingly easy. These are the brainchild of Simon V, part of the @heresyhobbyheadquarters collective on Instagram. +

+ A base of Macragge Blue had Drakenhof Nightshade added to the recesses for shading, and I used my old standby for highlighting blue, Space Wolf Grey (I think Fenrisian Grey is the modern equivalent). The pauldrons and helm with painted Vallejo Off-white, then washed with Gryph-Hound Orange contrast paint; fast becoming a favourite of mine. +

+ Once dry, I touched some Agrax Earthshade in the recesses of the orange areas to deepen the tone further, and highlighted with a rather awkward mix of Vallejo Flat Red and Winsor & Newton Cadmium Yellow Deep. This was purely because I don't own any bright oranges, and would suggest that you use GW Jokaero Orange, Trollslayer Orange or equivalent bright orange paint, to make things still easier. +

+ Metallic areas were treated as with the Inheritor above, and here boltgun casings, chest eagles and pouches were painted with GW Charadon Granite; but any dark grey would suffice, and highlighted with the addition of Off-white to the same grey. The pauldron trims were painted flat Abaddon Black, which both helps neaten the edges and really delineates the break between blue and orange, helping to further heighten the impact. +

+ The markings were made in Vallejo Off-white before being outlined with Daler Rowney sepia ink (you could just water down a little Rhinox Hide or similar dark brown paint). The Chapter symbol is an Off-white rectangle on top of a Macragge Blue circle, with the legend 'GVLF' written in orange. I'd suggest that you add a little red-tinged brown paint, such as Bugman's Glow, to help with contrast and legibility. +

+ You can read more about the Void Barons here on Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten. +


+ Silver Stars +

+ The cause of all this fuss. There's an article here on the basic paint scheme [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], and one here on the markings [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. I'm always very pleased to see other Silver Stars pop up, so if you do give it a go, do let me know!

+ Three new Silver Stars, polished off last night. + 

+ While the bulk of my hobby time has been taken up with Titans and writing, I've been working away slowly on these chaps, and they're starting to look like a cohesive force. After the highly varied mongrel armour mix of the Gatebreakers [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], it's been interesting to rein in my urge to personalise, restricting modelling differences to the occasional set of pteruges and crests. A uniform sea of Crusade armour – variously from Txarli Factory and Tortuga (c'mon GW, make Mark II available again!) – has a striking effect en masse. There are another nine in various stages of painting, and twenty being built... so much for side projects! +

+ The False Primarch and his warriors. +

+ inload: Adeptus Titanicus battle report – Great Ash Forge +

+ The Battle of Great Ash Forge +

+ An Adeptus Titanicus battle report +

'Aye, I remember Auberon,' muttered the old priest, his augmitter continuing to emit an errant tic-tic-tic as he paused to draw on the pipe. 'We spent fourteen weeks picking spalling out of the Cathedral after Father Victory fell.' He paused to tamp the smouldering fauxbacco down with one of his right thumbs. The neophytes waited, shifting uneasily, their new implants pink and raw. At length, the techpriest looked up, and the glittering iris-lenses of his eyes slowly cycled open. Perfect sapphire crystal, they seemed to see far past the courtyard; reliving, perhaps, the devastation of the war.

+ Game: Adeptus Titanicus, 2,500pt
+ Combatants: Legio Kerberos, Legio Nikator (Sons of the Temple)
+ Theatre: Ashdown ForgeForgeworld Minoris: Auberon, Spinther Subsector [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+], Antona Australis
+ Mission: Seize and Hold, on a staggered front.


Background: It is a peculiarity of the Adeptus Mechanicus that concepts of honour and loyalty are critical – any Magos uncovered in falsifying a dataset or reducing the truthvaluesum of a material quality would be humiliated; possibly excommunicated by forcible disbarring from the greater noospheric net, for example – while simultaneously the group tolerates extremes of physical and doctrinal drift. Forces that would be immediately declared heretical for their beliefs, practises or even appearance in the wider Imperium are allowed, by and large, to exist unmolested. +

+ It is thus that the arks of The Sons of the Temple – late of the proscribed Forge World Sumer-Nikator – roam from place to place, pursuing their visionary-led goals with no official santion against them from Mars. They move as they please, descending onto worlds and demanding succour from the faithful. One such unfortunate host region was the Smelts, a group of minor Forges in Antona Australis. A damp and drizzly world, the constant heat of the sweltering manufactora swathes great regions of the planet in a constant mist; laden with sensor-baffling aluminium and more esoteric trace elements. +

+ Nominally the world lies under the protection of Legio Validus, but with the Kings in Yellow deployed resisting the ongoing expansion of the Brightsword Protectorate in the rimwards region of the sector, ancient compacts compelled Legio Kerberos to respond to the invasion. Auberon might be a minor Forge in the great scheme of things, but allowing a rival Mechanicus agency – particularly one around which swirled rumours of flirtation with forbidden datascreeds – a foothold in the profitable region was doubleplusundesirable... +


+ It was with great pleasure that I was able to host my friends for a day of gaming, synthohol and fish and chips. We caught up, talked rubbish, and played Adeptus Titanicus... And we started gaming again with a bang! While Bob Hunk and Warmtamale explored what was going on in the Farpeak's End system as Tau and Crimson Fist patrols run into one another on the rolling hills of Csain Bastian, Lucifer 216 and I played an ambitious 3,000pt Titan battle. The size of the game took it above the 'Epic Clash' game size; the largest recommended in the book – never let it be said that the PCRC do things by halves! +


+ In the red corner: Legio Kerberos +

+ My pictures don't do the beautiful glossy red and gold of Kerberos justice, let alone pick out the intricate and beautiful freehand webs and skulls – but trust me when when I say that this was a stunning force to face, and a treat to play against. +

+ Lucifer216 brought a Maniple of two Warlords, two Reavers, three Knight Lancers and Zeus, a Warmaster. A significant force that were deployed to drive off the encroaching Legio Nikator presence from the planet. Such a show of force was sure to dissuade any renegades chancing their hand... wasn't it? +

  • Myrmidon Maniple
    • 'The End of All Things', Finis Omnium  Warlord Titan with Sunfury plasma annihilator, Belicosa volcano cannon, apocalypse missile  launchers. Equipped with ranging auspexes.
    • 'Father Victory' – Warlord Titan - with Sunfury plasma annihilator, Belicosa volcano cannon, paired laser blasters. Equipped with ranging auspexes.
    • Gloriae Ultio – Reaver Titan with laser blaster, gatling blaster, apocalypse missile launcher
    • Megaera – Reaver Titan with melta cannon, chainfist, turbo-laser  destructor
  • Zeus Alastor – Warmaster Titan with two Suzerain class plasma destructors, two apocalypse missile arrays, revelator missile launcher. Equipped with infusive supercoolant, and ranging auspexes.
  • House Temporis – 3 Cerastus Knight-Lancers

The Kerberos forces were well-prepared, having deployed ensuring one of the planet's many Void Shield Relays were nearby (this was effectively free, owing to the Forge World rules from the mission cards); and having ample Plasma Reserves (two of them, in fact). Forward-ranging Skitarii support forces had also seeded the area around the Cathedral of the Omnissiah Incoherent with Thermal Mines.


+ In the, uh... slightly less red corner: Legio Nikator +

+ Woe to the city of Great Ash Forge, for The Sons of the Temple had deployed in force themselves. A long column of Titans walked in from the plains: two Maniples of their Titans – an Extergimus band of three Warlords and a Warbringer was supported by a Corsair group of three Reavers. +

+ With neither force prepared to withdraw, the rivals began warily to advance into the outskirts of the mist-shrouded city, closing the gap. Great swirling bubbles of force coaslesced around each Titan as void shields were lit, and the air became pregnant with the deep prickly hum of charging macro-las weaponry. +

  • Corsair Maniple
    • 'Old Spiteful' Senex Codomannus – Reaver Titan with two laser blasters, and apocalypse missile launcher. Princeps Senioris – Dominant Strategist.
    • Dura-Yurobus – Reaver Titan with melta cannon, apocalypse missile launcher and laser blaster.
    • Megasthenes Dura – Reaver Titan with two gatling blasters, and vulcan megabolter.
  • Extergimus Maniple
    • Coropedion – Warlord Titan with macro gatling blaster, paired laser blasters, and belicosa volcano cannon. Princeps Senioris; upgraded with Tracking gyroscopes.
    • 'The Manifest Law' Ipsus Granicus – Warlord Titan with Arioch titan power claw, paired laser blasters, sunfury plasma annihilator. Upgraded with Tracking gyroscopes and ablative armour. Veteran Princeps.
    • Dread Hellespontion – Nemesis Warbringer with two volcano cannons and Mori quake cannon. Upgraded with Tracking gyroscopes and Seismic Auspex.
    • Gaugamela – Warlord Titan with mori quake canon, apocalypse missile launchers and sunfury plasma annihilator.
Typical of its straightforward and bellicose nature, 'The Manifest Law' bore an Overcharged Cannon (I used Battlebling's Plasma Burner model for this upgrade). The Manifest Law was commanded by a Veteran Princeps; and fifth-columnists within the Forge had not only arranged for a Communications Relay to supply information to the invaders, but had also exloaded False Intel to Kerberos.


+ 'Visual contact, Princeps!' +

+ Kerberos won the coin flip for setting up, and we deployed the objectives roughly clustered around the courtyard of the Cathedral. Once we'd done that, Teutates Polassar, Princeps Senioris of the venerable Reaver Senex Codommanus – known to its allies and enemies alike as 'Old Spiteful' – deployed his expertise as Dominant Strategist, claiming the first turn. +

+ Kerberos had deployed in a serried line, largely in the open. Canny planning meant that they had been able to set up a killing floor as Nikator Engines emerged from behind the cathedral. Brooding and massive, the Warmaster clanked into place last, looming from the mist over the main Administratum bloc. Nikator, meanwhile, had pushed two Reavers to the right flank, with the Warbringer and Old Spiteful on the left; and the three Warlords as a tough hinge in the centre. +

+ New intel trickled in through the local noosphere, revealing that one of hte objectives was further from Kerberos than they had thought... As warhorns blared on both sides, the Reavers strode into action. Moving at full stride, first Megasthenes Dura and then Dura-Yurobus made for the worker habs at the upper right of the battlespace; trusting in speed, distance and obscuring mist to keep them safe. +

+  One of Kerberos' Warlords, Father Victory, advanced cautiously. The Dread Hellespontion had no such compunction, launching a quake cannon shell that detonated amidst the densely packed Engines on the left. As the Reaver braced for impact, the remaining Kerberos Warlord lumbered away, a shield stripped. A broken Lancer was revealed, and the survivors stumbled dizzily away, towards the cover of the tall communications tower. The effects of the shell slowed them considerably – and the typically vindictive shots of Old Spiteful finished them off. +

+ Missiles streaked out at long range as Gaugamela opened early fire on the looming Warmaster, stripping shields. +

+  Roaring aggressively, Ipsus Grancius threw caution to the wind and began advancing at full stride, the experimental plasma blaster on its right arm leaving a retinal trail on all witnesses. Distant shots licked out between combatants, but besides shimmering contrails and the rainbow shudder of void shield banks straining, no substantital damage was caused, save to the central Kerberos Reaver, Gloriae Ultio, whose shields collapsed entirely. +

+ Eager to take the fight to the enemy, the Princeps of Zeus Alastor emerged protectively from behind the Administratum Bloc. Stepping in front of the Bloc, missiles  began to streak out and impact on the advancing Warlord's shields; followed by licks of plasma from the colossal arm batteries. Swathed by clouds of smoke and superheated steam, the Princeps tapped its infusive supercoolant, allowing a satisfied smile as red reactor dials cooled to green ready lights. +

+ As the Warmaster concentrated on Ipsus Granicus, the Reavers  continued their advance, Dura-Yurobus firing bursts at Zeus Alastor to continue battering at its shields. Gaugamela planted its feet firmly and rocketed barrage after barrage of missiles at Zeus Alastor, following up. Under this covering fire, Coropedion's veteran Princeps, Hamilcar Syphax, coolly ignored the Warmaster in favour of picking on the vulnerable Reaver. +

+ Directing its fire at Gloriae Ultio, the Warlord's weapons caused a broad spread of damage – thanks in no small part to the Maniple's scorched earth approach – but was unable to land a killing blow. The Ultio was staggered but still in the fight. +

+ Even as Dread Hellespontion's quake shells arced over the cathedral towards them, Finis Omnium and Father Victory turned their fire on Ipsus Granicus, whose shields blew out spectacularly, shattering the windows on the northern hab-blocks. Gloriae Ultio began to pull back, but it would prove too late... +

+ With the mechanical snarl of a denied brawler, Ipsus Granicus slowed to a walk. There was no way to reach the unsure safety of combat with Zeus Alastor, so the Princeps made a calculated decision to place itself between the undamaged Coropedion and the Warmaster. Trusting to fate, the Ipsus Granicus turning its overcharged cannon onto the Ultio. Swaying and smouldering, the damaged Reaver was torn apart by hammering super-maximal plasma fire. A roar went up from the Nikator ranks: Engine Kill! +

+ Worse was to come for Kerberos, as Gloriae Ultio's wounded machine sprit lashed out, its weapons flaring even as it fell. Close-range laser fire washed over Father Victory's shields, which collapsed. A massive dust cloud erupted as the Reaver fell, plastering Father Victory in funereal ash. + 

+ Such injury would not go unavenged. Both Warlords opened up on Ipsus Granicus, the ablative armour absorbing some of the fury before breaking away. Great gouges were torn out of the Nikator Engine's legs, body and head, but seemingly miraculously the Titan stood, swaying as its stabilisers wavered crazily. +

+ With Ipsus Granicus wavering but standing, Coropedion was hidden from Zeus Alastor – and the two flanking Reavers pounced on the unshielded Warmaster. Together with carefully directed fire from Gaugamela, the three Nikator Engines conspired to damage both shoulder missile banks and one of the plasma destructors. A quake cannon shell slammed the Warmaster backwards into the Administraum Bloc – but none of this would move Zeus Alastor's from its intended path. +

+ Straightening, it raised its remaining arm weapon to finish off the wavering Warlord in front of it. Washed over with powerful bolts of maximal fire energy, Ipsus Grancius collapsed to the floor, with a groan of slumping metal. Its unstable and overcharged plasma annihilator detonated, washing Coropedion, Zeus Alastor and Dura-Yurobus alike; though besides a couple of collapsed shields, no damage was done. +  

+ Megaeros, the surviving Kerberos Reaver, abandoned its steady advance towards Senex Codomannus and Dread Hellespontion, instead moving to claim the objective shifted at the start of the conflict. +

+ 'An eye for an eye,' muttered the Belicosa Moderatus on Coropedion, as Princeps Syphax ordered the execution of Father Victory in vengeance. To the surprise of all, it proved a killing blow, the overcharged bolt of energy striking the unshielded Kerberos Engine and setting off a colossal chain reaction that broke open Father Victory's plasma reactor. With a colossal explosion that rocked the city, a roiling white-hot cloud expanded, engulfing the nearby Finis Omnium. Bypassing the undamaged Warlord's shields, the plasma destroyed the second Warlord too! +

+ With two of the strategic points firmly in Nikator hands, and Kerberos' forces gutted, the red-armoured survivors retreated into the mist, leaving the crowing Sons of the Temple bellowing their victory. +


+ A startling and enjoyable game with plenty of cinematic moments, I had a ball – I think Coropedion deserves some sort of marking to record killing two Warlords with one shot! To me, that certainly marked the turning point. Prior to that, I felt that I had the advantage, but one that was swiftly ebbing away as the Warmaster and close combat Reaver got into position. Had the game gone on with Finis Omnium intact, I think Kerberos could have claimed the fourth objective; and from there, it would have been an uphill battle for me to drive them off as a swiftly-repairing Warmaster menacingly advanced. +

+ Thanks to Lucifer216 for a very enjoyable game. I'm looking forward to further games against Kerberos, where perhaps the famed elite Warhounds might prove the bane of Nikator's ponderous Engines... I think the mission generation created by the cards was really good, and would thoroughly recommend their use. +

+ inload: Tinfoil hat time+

+ Futureman predicts +

+ I don't often do editorials or opinion pieces here on Death of a Rubricist. However, I wanted to gather my cloudthoughtdata on where I think Games Workshop is heading. Take it cum grano salum; I have no special insight into the company. It almost goes without saying that anything here is purely the opinion of a individual hobbyist, but it's worth reiterating that before we launch into the mysterious realm of ... +

[+Execute tinfoil hat protocol+]



+ The TL;DR datablurt here:

  • I think we've got a new boxed game in the Age of Darkness Horus-Heresy setting coming; supported by a range of rescaled plastic space marines.
  • The Forgeworld, Black Library etc. online stores are going to be integrated behind the scenes with the main GW shop.
  • The 'Boxed Games' group (Specialist Games) is going to have more plastic support as resin returns to being a more niche product.

+ The future's plastic + 

+ Games Workshop have recently announced a couple of plastic upgrade kits for Necromunda – one for Goliath [REF:Pictacpture/indictator:below], one for Escher. Looking over them, I was struck by how similar the plastics were to the resin packs currently available from Forge World. +

+ The in-house podcast (Voxcast) has made it clear that Games Workshop are mostly 3D-sculpting these days. That allows for reuse of resources – as looks to have happened with the upgrade packs above: while elements (arms, weapons) are the same, they've been moved around, or swapped; ensuring that the plastics aren't a direct copy of the resin packs. What's interesting to me here is the blurring of Forge World, Specialist Games, and the main Games Workshop studio. This is a trend that's been going on for a while, and looks to be continuing with releases like this. +

+ Plastics +

+ Resin +

+ Resin +

+ GW have announced via Warhammer Community and the recent annual reports/half-year results [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] that they've been having production problems – partially caused by a lack of available power at their production facility, which must have been compounded by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. On top of that, GW have apparently had a few delays caused by leasing space with Amazon and Brexit shipping. Quite a catalogue of problems! +

Games Workshop are (perhaps understandably) pretty closed when it comes to the specifics of their plans. However, the past few annual reports have mentioned that (amongst other growth) they're opening a new second production facility in Lenton. Bear that in mind for a moment, along with the recent large recruitment drive for staff across manufacturing, studio and specialist games. The half-year results for 2020/21 states:
Our ‘old’ finished goods warehouse in Nottingham is planned to be reconfigured as an on-site component warehouse and offer us some space to support production of paint and resin miniatures.
+ I've no insight on the relative size of the old resin manufacturing space to the new, but the fact that resin production is sharing space with components (that's things like paint bottles, I believe) implies that at the very least it's not an expansion of the resin side. +

+ ...and to throw a further spanner in the holy rites of tech-maintenance, the ERP switch-over is causing some grief [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+]; which  by the looks of things is causing substantial knock-on effects with GW's ability to maintain a steady release schedule; leading to the bumps and move to a fortnightly rather than weekly launch. +


+ Futureman predicts +

+ What conclusions do I draw from this? I don't want to speculate completely wildly – at least, not 'til the section below – but I think that 2021 was intended to see the second facility open up with a bang (a metaphorical one, I hasten to add!), and there being a proper public re-launch of the relationship and organisation of Games Workshop's retail; removing oddments like Black Library being available via Forge World rather than the main GW online shop. +

+ Secondly, there's been a paucity of releases from Forge World. I believe most of this can be attributed directly to COVID-19, but part of me wonders whether a number of pieces that have been released in resin have been done so as a tide-over – that they are intended to keep sales ticking over until they can be remastered and released in plastic, with tweaks to avoid them being direct copies (as with the different weapons on the Necromunda sprues). The Necromunda upgrades, and – most recently – the odd  half-release of the Nemesis Warbringer Belicosa Volcano Cannon [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], lacking the 'turntable' that would allow you to swap it in and out, seem odd in light of the greater amount of resources given to Specialist Games. Is it simply a casualty of the timings? +

+ To me, that suggests to me that the two main facilities will concentrate almost purely on plastics, and that resin will be reserved for exceptional pieces like the traditionally-sculpted Forge World Primarchs, or parts that for one reason or another cannot practically or economically be sold as plastic. It's marked to me that Forge World – initially a side project to allow the release of Guard tank variants for 40k – hasn't released anything from beyond the 'Boxed Games' group – Titanicus, Aeronautica Imperialis, Lord of the Rings etc. in resin for a good long while. +


+ Futureman makes wild guesses: new Horus Heresy boxed set and plastic range+

+ ... Nothing, that is, with one major exception: character packs for the Age of Darkness (AoD) game. The paucity of news and releases on this part of the Horus Heresy (HH) setting is marked, particularly when contrasted with the recent openness of GW's marketing team in general, and the statement in the 2019–20 Annual Report [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] that reads:
We design, make and sell products under a number of brands and sub brands, which denote setting, tone and product type, the key ones being:
- Warhammer: Age of Sigmar - our unique fantasy setting.
- Warhammer 40,000 - our most popular and recognisable brand is a space fantasy setting.
- Horus Heresy - an offshoot of Warhammer 40,000, the Horus Heresy brand is presented as ‘fictional history’ of that universe.
+ Bearing the prominence that the HH setting has, I don't think AoD is going away. If that is the case, then why haven't there been any substantial releases – and of those that have appeared, why are they elites and characters, not the core infantry and tanks? +

+ Aesthetics +

+ Leaving that to one side for a moment, it's worth comparing the older AoD releases with those of the past year. To my eye, there's a definite aesthetic shift. I'm not going to say that it's better or worse – that's down to personal taste – but there's a definite change in the prominence of details and general 'chunkiness' of the more recent releases when compared with the older material. Compare the Legion Praetors (amongst the oldest extant kits from the AoD range) with the recently released Word Bearer ones:

+ In terms of aesthetics, the new Space Marines for the HH are far more like the main studio plastics – both in terms of aesthetic and proportions – than the older, now out-of-production, Forge World infantry released for Badab and AoD. +

+ My conclusion here is that a big re-release is on the cards – akin to last year's new 40k edition and the recently announced Age of Sigmar new edition. At some point in the next year I believe we're going to see a big update of AoD, accompanied by a new boxed set – with marines scaled to match the most recent Chaos Space Marine range from 40k; better proportioned than the older plastics, but not quite Primaris size. That's based on Jes Goodwin's comments on Voxcast  about a deliberate policy to have set scales for various species/factions; and the proportions that have been present in the HH Character Series for some time. + 

+ It's worth noting that the remaining Forgeworld infantry upgrades for the HH setting are the heads and shoulder pads, which remain compatible with the more recent larger plastics. The torsos, which aren't, have been discontinued. If rescaled older armour marks are produced in plastic, the existing resin upgrades will thus remain compatible. +

+ Some of the FW resin infantry packs have been out of production for a good few years now; with those remaining being specialist squads like Breachers and Despoilers. As these disappear, they tend to become 'No Longer Available' (e.g. Mark IV Assault Squad) rather than 'Temporarily Out of Stock'. I think that's a sign of stock depletion and a fallow period being left to avoid the worst of the inevitable backlash when things are rescaled and re-released. +

+ It's a good policy, I think; and one that walks the line between the desire for news and constant releases from the existing market, and for models that match up better with the mainline GW to carve out a new market. GW works on long timescales, and five years sounds like a decent amount of time to leave. While it's quite understandable that Mark III and Mark IV have disappeared following the release of plastic kits, it's notable that Mark II is now completely unavailable, and has been for some time. +

+ My prediction, therefore, is that Games Workshop online will consolidate the various offshoots – BL, FW and Specialist Games/Boxed Games into the main shop. If pressed for specifics, Futureman ventures that this hypothetical box set  will be released within the year, be themed around the Siege itself – likely Imperial Fists versus Emperor's Children or Sons of Horus – and include plastic Mark II as the key selling point. +

+ If this is the case, I'll be pleased to see it. While I'm not a fan of the Age of Darkness ruleset itself, I love the background of the era, and would love to see more plastic releases. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts – but do bear in mind that this doubtless includes some wishful thinking! +