+ Common Core Concepts +

Friday, May 19, 2017

+ inload: Constructing Tactical Dreadnought Armour part II +

+ The forges burn hot... +

+ The Terminator I started yesterday continues:

+ Dry-fitted, I think he's coming together pretty well. I've filled out the legs, raised the torso slightly (you can see the gap between legs and body now)and begun adding some additional shaping on the torso. +

+ Quite an intimidating appearance, I think you'll agree. The reason for the oddly-spaced legs also becomes a bit more apparent – compare the be-loinclothed (yeah, it's a word) chap above with the stripped-back version below. +

+ While he looks a bit odd here, the proportions match the standard-sized models better – which ties back in with what I was saying in yesterday's inload about balance between looking proportionally correct and correct in-context. In addition, on a very practical level, there's space for the pteruges. +

+ Being able to retain some elements of the standard-sized models – head, weapons and, in this instance, pteruges, is what helps sell the altered proportions, rather than simply creating a differently-scaled model. +

+ The head can be swapped out. Currently it's got a fitting suited for the more usual Space Marine head fitting, so the flat-bottomed Terminator and Cataphract pieces sit a little too low. I think I'll make a 'booster' section for these for greater versatility. +

+ Still a little crude – I don't claim to be a master of greenstuff, but practise makes perfect – the details above and below shows the shapes tightening up on the torso, and the hooped detailing on the legs. +

+ Scale shots +

+ A couple of pictures showing the Terminator next to some power-armoured marines. I had a comment that the Terminator's torso was a fraction too short – and indeed it was, so I cut at the waist and raised it a touch, which I think improves the result. It's very helpful to get these comments at the early stages; it's easy to get too close to a figure and lose the overall sense. +

Thursday, May 18, 2017

+ inload: Constructing Tactical Dreadnought Armour +

+ Building Cataphractii plate +

+ I've built Terminators in 'true-scale' (though given the models from the upcoming new edition, that term might be pretty obsolete soon) before, but have never quite got them as I wanted them. I thought I'd give it another go, and decided to be more ambitious and tackle Cataphract armour, aiming to create a model closer to the original than my previous attempts, which had always been something of a compromise. +

Modern, 'Indomitus' Terminator plate, alongside an enlarged marine. Built c.2010

+ Theoretical +

+ Terminators offer more of a challenge than power armour when scaling them up. Not only are there fewer large models to act as a base – equivalent to using Terminator legs for truescale power armour – but those models are often expensive and require far more conversion to appear correct. A further challenge is that the already-exaggerated proportions of Space Marines are stretched to the point of disbelief. +

+ Now, I think basic Terminators look cool; and fundamentally I'm always more interested in 'cool' than 'realistic' when it comes to space war, but when making a conversion, viewers aren't going to be as forgiving as when they see a stock model. Unfamiliarity often provokes rejection – just look at the reaction resculpts or updates of new models get from manufacturers – and the very fact of presenting a conversion to someone is, in part, an invitation to critique. +

+ So, excuses made and out of the way(!), it's on to planning. A solid plan saves a lot of effort later on. I dug out my previous attempts and looked at what I did and didn't like:

A previous attempt – Erasmus Golg

+ My most recent attempt was the special character Erasmus Golg. He was working pretty well, but I rushed the end. As a result, while the legs were pretty much how I wanted them, the core of the body ended up too small. He's big, but not substantially bigger than the marines around him, and I wanted to get that sense of a walking tank. In addition, he looks a little wasp-waisted to me here. +

Built by the inimitable EdT
+ This version was created by a hobbyist called EdT, who sent him to me when he retired (hopefully temporarily) from the hobby. Again, I really like the limbs, and the bulk is starting to be there, but the design – based on the 'peahead' Exoarmour prototype – is not what I was after. +

+ At this point, I decided I'd go back to the root of things, and looked at the artwork, rather than miniatures. This proved very useful. Rather than looking at compromise solutions for parts, I just found something that I liked the look of:

+ I found this rather awesome image of Cataphract plate, by David Sondered [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]:

+ This had everything I wanted: solid, believable proportions and a sense of weight. Combining the parts I knew were successful previously, I began work. +

+ Practical +

+ So, here's the start. This represents the basic bulking out of the figure, aiming to emulate the silhouette of Mr. Sondered's awesome artwork. The lower legs are from a second-hand Obliterator (for all its faults, Finecast is great for conversion work – easy to cut and solid enough to take a pin). The right foot (left in the pict-capture below) needed to be cut and repositioned, which proved to be a much easier job than I'd anticipated. +

+ The upper legs and groin are from a Privateer Press Khador Man O' War model – again, bought for a song on eBay, as the set was missing some parts. No matter to me! This shot demonstrates the first 'cool/realism' problem – namely, the spacing of the hips. There's no way a human would fit in there, but the silhouette works to suggest the existing models in a way that closer legs would not. This will be ameliorated to some extent by a small amount of bulking on the upper legs, and the addition of pteruges, but it'll still be apparent. +

+ At the end of the day, I'm content that some people will like my stuff, other won't. The core thing is that I'm happy with 'em – it's very easy to end up disappointing yourself and building something by committee, which takes a lot of the joy of creation away. +

+ The torso is heavily bulked up with greenstuff, but the underlying core is a Grey Knight terminator torso back with a Cataphractii back attached. I used a spare Forge World piece left over from another conversion, but it'd work just as well with plastic. The front is a Grey Knight terminator torso front – a small spacer is set between the two standard parts – and the curved 'hood' of the plate is made from the trimmed-down front of a Tartaros Terminator. This all probably sounds a bit esoteric, but it's all leftovers from my bits box. +

+ The back here shows crude bulking. Note I've used the edges and sides of the existing kits where possible – I find it easier to use these to create the straight lines, then blend the edge between them, than it is to sculpt the sharp lines from scratch. In any case, using the existing bits like this 'spreads out' the detail. You'll notice I've trimmed away the circular fans from below the pipes on the back – these will be reinsated later on to detail the greenstuff area and help the visual flow. +

+ The head is a temporary placeholder, used to make sure the placement is correct. The shoulderpads are similarly there just for sizing. That said, I quite like 'em – they look about the right size to me, so they may end up having their detail filled in and being pressed into service. + 

+ What next? +

+ Once the greenstuff has cured properly, I'll be going back to sculpt the detail – filling in the legs, adding a gorget and generally creating the distinctive banding and detailing of the armour plating. +

+ The following shots show him next to a few different models, to give a sense of scale and size. I checked him back and forth quite a few times while I was working – there's actually quite a slim margin between 'not big enough compared to the power armour' and 'ha-ha that's far too big'. +

+ I'd love to hear your thoughts on the model at this stage before I go much further. +

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

+ inload: The Immortal +

+ The Immortal +

'Rest? We were not made to rest; we go on, unflinching, unstoppable, unending in our strength. The Emperor did not make us for such mortal concerns as hearth and home, vanity or contemplation; we are his engines of war, his hammers, beating out the fabric of existence into a vessel fit for Mankind to inhabit.'
attr. the Primarch Ferrus Manus in The Shadow of the Gorgon, by Czel Atternas

Turn the eyes outward.

That is the only direction for peace.

Even then, it is only the cold comfort of stars – and one could easily find himself lost in those. Staring out from the Nereid, my thoughts wandered to a lecture on void warfare strategy that Legion Master DuCaine had given, not long after Ferrus Manus had been found. It had been intended as an honour, a demonstration that the worthy once-leader remained vital, remained a part of the Legion now he had been sidelined by the Primarch, his superior in every respect.

The lecture was simple. Childishly simple. 'Look between the stars. That is where the enemy will reveal himself.' he had begun.

It was the lesson of a Terran, advice borne from experience in spotting the enemy up-close; from a man born and raised with his feet rooted firmly on soil. We had waited for him to expound upon this, to reveal some insightful twist that applied such advice to the complex multi-dimensional warfare of space.

He had demurred. His lecture was close-sighted; the tale of a man slightly out-of-time and out-of-step with the movements of the Imperium, but who was allowed leeway for his capability elsewhere.

'The void is – famously – immobile to the eye of man. All the wheeling of the spheres happens across vast timescales; any apparent movement of the stars can be owed to atmosphere.'

As he went on, and it became gradually more clear that his lessons were embarrassingly shallow, I looked about at the impassive but unimpressed war-leaders and specialists ranged about, gathered out of respect to hear their sidelined Legion Master once more. Not one showed a flicker of approval or contempt; which to me seemed all the more damning. I had cringed inwardly.

Of course, who was I – who am I – to judge the Legion Master?

As I looked out over the blank starfields of this backwater void, I mused on his words. They had, after all, come in useful on occasion. Though he had no fondness of me – in truth, I doubt I registered on him beyond our shared homeworld heritage – I had a certain regard for him, above and beyond by dutiful obedience. Piloting shuttles relied mainly on instrumentation, but the mark I eyeball – or at least, my occulobe-enhanced base biology, I reminded myself – was still reliable for those occasions when instruments were out or needed to be damped.

On this occasion, his simplistic advice may have saved our lives. It was purely because I was looking outwards, lost in thought, that I did catch something moving. A wrinkle; a twitch.

'The void is – famously – immobile to the eye of man.'

I raced down the black wood of the stairway, barking at the Dead Reckoner to confirm our location while pointing a steelshod finger at the navigatrix to hold her attention. Her already star-pale skin blanched further, her eyes wide. The Watchmaster, to his credit, did not bluster or demand an explanation. Without seconds, the ship was wheeling about, its movement shown through the shadows and highlights on the glittering dragon-prow.

The Immortal, however, did his duty; barging me to the floor with his shield and pinning me to the deck with a heavy mag-enhanced stomp, his blaster aimed levelly at my bare head.

'Explanation, Brevet-Lieutenant.'

His words were seemingly without rancour, but I was a better reader of men than most of my brethren. There was more than surliness behind that blank mask; more than the over-literal and bullying application of his role as bridge guardian. On a more personal level, he didn't like me.

I guess not even the retreat from Isstvan was going to weld us all together.


+ The Medusan Immortals +

+ Owing (I suspect) a great deal of inspiration to the Spartans, one of the Iron Hands' special units is the Medusan Immortals, a band of dishonoured warriors who throw themselves into the most desperate fights as 'forlorn hope' troops. I like the imagery, and the concept is at the heart of my May You Live Forever project [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]: offering an alternative answer to the question 'how do the Iron Hands react to the death of Ferrus Manus?' +

+ The narrator, a born survivor, answers that by burying and refusing to confront facts; Medardus with contemplation and withdrawal. The Immortal, already dishonoured and ashamed, finds a sour glee in the belief that all of his Legion are now fundamentally as damned as he is. After all, the Immortal corps is intended to offer a slim hope of redemption – but what purpose does it serve if the judge is dead? +

+ The paint scheme is nigh-identical to that for the rest of the force – a tutorial can be found in an earlier inload [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] – though I'm not so happy with the application here; I went overboard with the weathering and smeared a flattening grey-brown over the subtler highlights. Not everything goes to plan! +

+ The main difference is in the lack of honour marking and Legion detailing, for background reasons: his Clan markings have been replaced with the large X (neatly, the Tenth Legion's numeral also represents a crossing-out or negation), and his boarding shield is devoid of ornamentation beyond the massive slab of the Legion symbol. This leads the model to being even more muted than the rest of the force, only his volkite charger and eyes being picked out in grey-white. +

The grey scheme extends to the shield's inside screen – predictably, as the part of the model of which I'm most proud, this is, annoyingly, the least visible! 

+ The conversion was a minor variant of my usual Astartes conversions [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]; using a torso plate from Games Workshop's Kataphron Servitors – kindly donated by my chum Lucifer216 – and a backpack from Forge World's Mark III techmarine. I was lucky enough to grab three of these in a second-hand bundle, so I'll be able to keep a little uniformity to any future Medusan Immortals I make for the force. +

+ I deliberately avoided using loads of bionics. I like the idea that Iron Hands in 30k go some way to cladding their bionics in power armour plate to further drive out and hide weakness. While I have used a few here and there, most bionics added before Isstvan are sufficiently advanced augmetics that they can be hidden. This enables me to show later injuries with bionics, as the resource-poor survivors are forced to make do with lesser equipment (e.g. on the narrator himself). +

+ This also leaves me with crude bionics available as a visual identifer for my Iron Warriors... +

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

+ inload: Iron Warriors on the workbench +

+ Work in progress +

+ There's not a huge amount to say about these beyond 'you can blame the PCRC'. Enthusiasm is a funny thing – I thought I was all set with the Iron Warriors, but give me a couple of giant robots [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] and suddenly I'm all enthused again! +

+ As you can see, I've been on a bit of a building spree. As long-term followers of the blog (thanks all!) will know, I tend to jump from periods of building to periods of painting – mainly owing to the fact that my workspace gets cluttered with either paints or bits. Inevitably, as I start to clear up, I spot something and start fiddling around with that. I find it a nice spontaneous way to work. +

+ Breachers! Giant-shield-bearing robots (that's giant robots with giant shields) deserve some shield-bearing infantry to accompany them. As with the others in this inload, I should probably have photographed them when primed grey, rather than sprayed black, but you get the idea. There are ten here, including a vox-link bearer and a Basilikoi sergeant (front row, second from right), marked out by his spiky shoulder pads. +

+ A destroyer. I've been hoarding a load of jump packs for ages – being as rare and expensive in the real world as they are during the Heresy, I've been saving them up for... some mythical perfect project. After being earmarked for the Ultramarines, then Imperial Fists, then an Iron Warrior assault squad, I've finally bitten the bullet and decided to just use the [SCRAPSHUNT] things on a set of Destroyers, a unit type I've never explored, but one that I think fits with the Officio Monstrosa project nicely. +

+ I'm very tempted to magnetise these Destroyers' backpacks, so that I can swap back and forth between loadouts. I really like the idea of Destroyers running through Zona Mortalis games, so I want that option too. +

+ These two Basilikoi above, like the three Legion Tactical marines below, are reinforcements for existing squads. I've been working in a very organic, unplanned way with the Iron Warriors, building and expanding the force as I go. It's a nice way to work; there's no sense of things being incomplete. +

Monday, May 15, 2017

+ inload: Honour to the Dead +

+ Sergeant Aquila and Brother Septival +

'Hope is but the first step on the road to disappointment, brother. You can fight for hope if you wish. I will fight to bring honour to the dead.' 
Sergeant Tulian Aquila – from Honour to the Dead

+ I spent a pleasant – if occasionally frustrating – evening finishing off the Ultramarines detailed here [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+]. +

+ A bit like my Mark of Calth [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] and Horus Rising dioramas, these are an homage to Gav Thorpe's short story Honour to the Dead, available as an audio drama [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] or as part of the Legacies of Betrayal collection. These are slightly different in execution, as the others were based on Neil Roberts' artwork, whereas these have no artwork associated with 'em. +

+ This created its own challenges, as there was very little detail on the Ultramarines (who are, in fairness, playing second fiddle to the Titans and civilians in the drama). Aquila is mentioned as having dark hair, and you got a bit on their weaponry, but little else. As a result, I decided I'd use these marines as an opportunity to try out some ideas that I've wanted to explore, but that may not have fitted in with my existing army. +

+ Sergeant Tulian Aquila +

+ A project like this is an enjoyable excuse to re-read books and scour them for little hints that catch the imagination. A little research from Horus Heresy V –Tempest gave me some ideas on the standard Ultramarines markings. These weren't around when I started my marines, so it's nice to apply them 'from the book' for a change. +

+ As mentioned above, there wasn't a huge amount of specifics on the appearance of the characters. The challenge then became making figures that are identifiable as the characters, rather than being generic. I contacted Gav to ask whether he had any preferences and, lovely chap that he is, he came back with some helpful and interesting notes. In short, he'd intentionally left them fairly open, but was happy for me to pick a Chapter, which he'd add to his personal 'head-canon' – great to hear! +

+ Tempest gives some information about the Legion's disposition at the time of the attack on Calth, including which Chapters were where on (and off) the surface. Of relevance here, it states:

  • 17th Chapter, 18th Chapter, 23rd Chapter and 4th Chapter comprising those chapters whose order of battle included large numbers of armoured vehicles, especially the 4th, known as the 'Aurorans'. These chapters were assigned to muster in the largely uninhabited continent of Ithraca.

+ Given the location of the story – Ithraca (which Gav tells me was included in Tempest as a nod to Honour to the Dead, showing the inter-connected nature of the setting, along with the mutual enthusiasm and support of the writers) – it seemed that one of the Chapters above was the best bet, so I was all set to paint. However, the next paragraph gave me pause:

  • 20th Chapter and 21st Chapter - known informally within the Legion as 'The Eagles' and 'The Hawks', the 20th Chapter having trained extensively for void combat and the 21st being renowned for the skill of its pilots. These two chapters were assigned to security duties among the orbital platforms and docked warships in Calth's local orbit.

+ Tulian Aquila is also mentioned in The Returned, a 40k-era short story by James Swallow, in which it turns out he becomes the first Chapter Master of the Doom Eagles successor chapter. This was too good a detail to ignore, so I decided that the 20th were the final choice – the name made it too good to pass up. My rationale is that Aquila and his men were part of the 20th's shuttle security; conducting monitoring duties between Ithraca and the space docks, when the attack occurred. They thus got stranded on the surface, where the tale begins to unfold. +

+ As a reference to this, I incorporated the Doom Eagles' heraldry – a skull-headed eagle – into Aquila's armour as an honorific on his bracer; which you can see above. +

+ This rear shot shows the all-silver backpack, a Rogue Trader-esque element I wanted to incorporate. I think this looks pretty good; and subtle enough that I might extend it to some of my 15th/190th marines. +

+ Just to hammer the identity home, I added the sergeant's name on his pauldron. He is, after all, still a fairly anonymous figure. Note the use of the most recent tactical markings, detailed in Tempest. I've used a variant of the 40k-era markings on my other Ultramarines, so it's nice to have the opportunity to do something more official (for whatever that's worth). +

+ Brother Septival +

+ 'Ain't got time to grieve.' +

+ Ah, rotary machine guns. Is there anything simultaneously more awesome, more 80s and more impractical? I think not. Septival was, in great part, the motivation for this mini-project. I had no great desire for a squad of rotor cannons, but a one-off was too good an opportunity to miss. +

+ Whirr-dakka-dakka-dakka-dakka-dakka-dakka! +

+ Largely standard otherwise, Septival was a nice chance to use some of the new Heresy-era plastic bits – the head and forearm here are spares from the Betrayal at Calth and Battle for Prospero boxes. Expect to see more of these in future builds; they're really useful and considerably cheaper to source than the FW bits I usually use. +

+ Again, a nice silver backpack. The design of the Forge World Mark IV backpack is a nice homage to the common plastic ones I remember from my earliest games. +

+ To match the sergeant, Septival shares the same tactical markings and Chapter numeral; along with his name beneath. +


+ What next? +

+ These two were the simplest of the set. It's going to be a lot harder to convert Gaius the third marine, Varinia the mother and Pexilius the baby, but that should make them all the more rewarding. If anyone's got any clever ideas for base figures for any of these , please do feel free to let me know in the comments. +

Thursday, May 11, 2017

+ inload: Opening scenes in Shallowell +

+ Shallowell + 

Events kick off in the mysterious town of Shallowell. I'm fairly sure LordBloodtheHungry, who's done the bulk of the work in creating the town and its inhabitants, is planning to post up a full report of the game. I'll post a link to that when it goes up, so this is really just a very quick overview.

A treat to play; we used the Mordheim rules. The scenario revolved around the player's warbands – Warmtamale's local inbreds, Omricon's merchant caravan, Bob Hunk's ratcatcher's guild and my Witchhunters – arriving at the edge of Shallowell (hence the encroaching fields at the bottom of the picture) and finding a caravan under attack by goblins and bandits.

A closer look at just some of the NPCs, all built and painted (along with the scenery) specifically for the game.

Warmtamale's thieving yokels.

Bob Hunk's ratcatcher's guild.

Omricon's merchants.

The scenario unfolds...


+ Burning of Prospero +

+ It's taken me a while, but I've finally got most of the figures for Burning of Prospero built. I'm treating it as a self-enclosed game, so while I wasn't able to resist a bit of kitbashing and conversion, I decided against making the marines larger. It was a refreshing treat just to cut the figures off the sprue and start building! +

+ I'll post up the rank and file in a later inload, as there's a bit more to say about them in terms of what I've done, so for the moment, here's a couple of the stand-out leaders and elite pieces. +

+ Going for a song on trading and secondhand sites, the Ahriman figure is a really cool sculpt from both an aesthetic and technical viewpoint. Lots of thought has clearly gone into this iconic anti-villain. I've made a simple headswap as the original one looked a bit 'pudgy' to me, but otherwise he's simply off-sprue. Very clever arrangement of pieces; the Legion symbol on his right shoulder (left in the image)helps to hide the join. +

+ Custodes! Never thought I'd see the day that these were released; let alone in plastic, but I'm very glad they did. A really lovely set of models, with a great mix of dynamism and sense of their stalwart nature. Being an old traditionalist, I went with halberds all round (aside from the standard bearer, who in the interests of looking good, is missing a weapon entirely!) as this is the image I most associate with the Emperor's personal guard. +

+ I've deliberately tried to avoid assembling them to look cohesive, as their background suggests they shouldn't look as regimented as the Legiones Astartes: each Custodian is an individual, which should be represented in the model as much as the rules. +

+ In some ways, this method of release – as a particualrly desirable part of an box set – harks back to classic games like Titan Legions, which was the only way of getting the awesome Imperator Titan. I hope this style of release works for GW, as it certainly works for me. +

+ Surprise treat of the box for me was the Silent Sisterhood. The models were a treat to assemble, and even had the bits left over to convert Inquisitor Greyfax (another cool recent model, and a gift from Warmtamale) into a senior Sister of some sort. +

Monday, May 08, 2017

+ inload: 30k Battle Report: Iron Warriors vs Imperial Fists part III +

+ Find the start of this battle report here [+noospheric inloadlink embedded+] +


The wind blew hot and airless around the bleached wattle and plaster buildings of Pradesh Novum, , kicking up clouds of ochre dust which were lit from within by gunfire, smoke and screams. The armoured vehicles of the Imperial Fists and Iron Warriors had clashed – many sat smouldering – and the battle would now be determined by the infantry in bloody close-quarters combat. 

Letholdus, Praetor of the Imperial Fists, did not merely watch as the Leviathan tore open Thunderchild, his Land Raider transport. Even as the beast withdrew its whirling siege drill from the wreck, the Fists were drawing firing solutions.

On the left flank, Çjarn ordered his men to brace for the charge. A storm of boltgun fire spanged ineffectually from the Custodes' inviolate armour as the golden giants charged, and the Iron Warrior Centurion felt his choler rise as his hand gripped the red-bladed axe he had been gifted.
+ Çjarn's daemon axe Barashu is represented in-game by the Combat Augment Array relic – there's generally a half-decent way to represent even the most obscure story element in-game. However, had this not been an option, it's always worth remembering that even upgrades that might get written off as basic are often pretty scary when measured against the standard equipment of your army. A power axe upgrade would be a perfectly acceptable way to represent the magic daemon axe: AP2 is a huge advantage. + 
+ This sort of things is doubly true if you keep the rest of the army 'honest' by taking such upgrades more sparingly rather than par for the course – something I'm normally guilty of by upgrading all my Ultramarines and Iron Hards sergeants with artificer armour etc. For the Officia Monstrosa, I made the deliberate choice of keeping such upgrades stripped back. This means my grubby trench-dwellers strike more of a contrast with Bob Hunk's awesome Imperial Fists elites – giving the additional visual benefit that the goodies are usually outnumbered by the baddies.
+ Such an approach also means that these upgrades stand out and are more special when they are taken – generally by those characters you want to build your army around. +

It the tight alleyways and backstreets of Pradesh Novum, Breachers show their quality. Neither side was inclined to close; instead trading fire at point-blank range.
+ Fighting Imperial Fists against the Iron Warriors gave us both a pleasant surprise – both armies' rules meant that we stood to benefit by standing back and shooting, rather than immediately slam into combat, which is more typical of 40k. Just a nice example of how Forge World's characterful Legion rules make these games more than a straight 'mirror match'. +

The Basilikoi elite find out the hard way what new Terran technology can do, as the Fists' Contemptor opens up with its state-of-the-art Kheres Assault Cannon.

Shield-Captain Hyperion calmly accepts Çjarn's maddened challenge, even as the other Custodians begin parting heads and limbs from frantic Iron Warrior bodies.

Letholdus steps forward himself, calling out Siegemaster Artabas. The Iron Warrior is no coward; and spits out a hateful response as he pushes past his men. 

The fight is short – despite a flurry of swift blows, the Siegemaster's strikes have little effect, and Letholdus finishes the short fight with a dismissive backhand of his Solarite Gauntlet, which shorts out the Iron Warriors' protective force field and sends Artabas crashing through the dismayed ranks of the remaining Iron Warriors Tactical squad. They hold; but barely.

The Legionaries are able to drag down one of the Custodians, but despite putting up a brave fight, they're killed to a man. Çjarn's bellowed cries of rage are choked off by bubbling blood as he succumbs to Hyperion's measured but telling strikes.
+ Yikes, but Custodes are tough! It was great to see them in action; and they really live up to the hype. Being on the receiving end, I found them scary, but suitably so. The Iron Warriors did manage to put one of them down, so they weren't over-the-top in my opinion. +

'Faith? I have faith in big guns and strong supply lines.' – The Rapiers continue to impede and degrade the exposed Imperial Fist armour.

The Iron Warriors Predator squadron shoulders its way forward, determined to salvage something as their supporting infantry waver.

The alleyway steams with effort as the Fists capitalise on Letholdus' success; pushing the Iron Warriors away from the archway, and securing another objective.

With a mechanical growl, Hekaton Zodios turns to face its tormentors. A hail of autocannon fire from Predators and Dreadnoughs alike fails to do more than chip the paint of the Leviathan.

'Kill sight.' The barked order of the Fists' breacher sergeant sees the disciplined warriors consolidate into their shield wall once more, and begin advancing into the Iron Warriors' crumbling line.

Forced into a bottleneck, the Iron Warriors' tanks track around, preparing to stem the Breachers when their Tactical marines fall back.

The fight is hard-fought, with legionaries from both sides falling, but the impetus is with the determined defenders of the Imperial Palace.

As another VIIth Legion tank detonates with a dull gravitic boom, Zodios tracks back to persecute the Breachers. Hindered by the dense terrain, the frustrated Leviathan is reduced to unleashing its varied weaponry at the hapless Breachers. The volkite array and storm cannon turn the alleyway into a charnel house, but it is the launch of the dread banned crawl-fire – phosphex – that causes the most casualties in the confines of the archway.
+ Apologies for not getting more pict-captures here – I obviously got a bit carried away! Suffice to say that even the void-hardened armour and Breacher shields of the surviving Imperial Fists didn't save them from the hail of fire. Letholdus made a narrative escape here, but was also brought down at this point. + 

 The scattered Iron Warrior survivors – a mere three – regard the smouldering alleyway. Artabas, incapacitated and spitting blood, orders them back in.

A lone Iron Warriors sergeant dutifully steps forward against the Custodes. Hefting his power maul, he doesn't even get to strike before he is cut down; impaled on the Guardian spears.

The dust clears briefly, but there is no respite. Both sides have taken hideous casualties, but the Imperial Fists have kept their dutiful eye on objectives.
+ While both sides were exhausted here, Bob Hunk's canny early moves ensured he had a healthy advantage going into the end game. I was trailing Victory Points badly; but I couldn't be too despondent – it was an awesome game! +

Ignoring the advancing Custodes, the Rapier crew spitefully continue persecuting the Fists' beleaguered tanks, keeping the centre clear.

The Contemptor was stuck behind the walkways, but treated the Iron Warriors to some of their own medicine, cutting down one of the few survivors with its assault cannon.

Ranged casulaties bother the cold-blooded warriors not one jot!
+ Thank goodness for the Iron Warriors Legion special rules, which kept even these battered survivors standing. +

The battle is short, and the big guns fall silent. With their loss, the Iron Warriors retire, shifting into sullen reverse.

Both sides were battered and exhausted, but it was an undeniable victory for the Fists. There was little time to rest on their laurels, however. The Warmaster's forces seemed innumerable; doubtless the Iron Warriors would return, and in greater numbers...


+ Conclusion +

+ Coo, what a game! The combination of dense terrain, mission and – of course – a fantastically painted army to fight made this a real treat to play. The eventual VP count was something like 14–3, so it wasn't even close! :D Nevertheless, it's a great demonstration that a visually and narratively-led game is a victory for everyone involved. +

+ In hindsight, my drive up the centre was hindered early on by the wrecked Predator; when that happened I should have tracked Zodios and the Predators over to deal with the Custodes while Çjarn's squad pushed up the centre behind the Land Raider. Bob Hunk did a great job of getting his men where it counted while I was distracted by destroying tanks; that lone Rhino squad just kept racking up the objective points and I simply couldn't get anything over to deal with them. +

+ Man-of-the-match has to go to the Rapiers. They were hugely effective in stymieing the centre and helping with my traditional blindspot – dealing with heavy tanks. What little fire came their way caused little damage, and until they were brutally murdered by Hyperion and his men, were sitting pretty! +

+ Congratulations to Team Fisto on a great win, and I'm already looking forward to the next game. +