+ 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! +


+ Legio Nikator rules musing +

+ Hitting the concrete +


+ Let's get back to looking at models and painting. Two maniples of Legio Nikator are gearing up to face Lucifer216's Legio Kerberos in a game this weekend – our first for more than a year. +

+ As is traditional, I'm not playing any of the forces I've painted in the interim – Blood Angels, Gatebreakers, Dwarfs... no; I'm working on the Titans that have been lurking semi-painted all year. At the moment I'm gradually pushing through a mound of Titanicus weapons:

+ They're a mix of Games Workshop, Forgeworld and Battle Bling. Given that we're still essentially novices to the game, if I use the non-standard pieces, it'll be simply as 'count-as'. We'll have enough to remember! +

+ At a fairly early stage, this is simply a basic gunmetal coat with Solar Macharius Orange picked out; then washed with my go-to mix of black and brown paint, flow medium and water. +

+ The result, as you can see, can be a bit blotchy; so refining them takes some improvisation. Sometimes I want to get a smooth area, so I cover it over with the base layer (here, more Solar Macharius Orange); but if the effects are interesting, I might lean into it and highlight around particular blotches or marks, developing them into weathering and battle damage. +

+ From there I develop the pieces a bit further, adding highlights and picking out detail. Part of what's taking me so long with this project is the fiddly heraldry. Wonderfully absorbing and enjoyable in the freedom it grants, it also imparts a pleasing sense of scale and rhythm to the piece. +

+ I also keep getting distracted by the fun bits, so I now have half a dozen Warlord heads painted. Since I have no intention of fielding six Warlords any time soon, they're all magnetised to swap in and out as the mood takes me. +

+ This work-in-progress shows the result part-way through. This Titan is pretty much ready to walk, though I'll continue polishing and refining as I go. A couple of indulgent Warlord Maniple pics follow:

+ It's not just Warlords on the bench, but Reavers too. My favourite class of Titan, the Reavers are such wonderful little models; with lovely large clean areas for freehanding. The arch on the carapace here will be joined by flanking figures, and go with the Byzantine-style freehand on Old Spiteful [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. +

+ Gaming with The Sons of the Temple +

+ With gaming opening up, I've been turning my thoughts to what rules to use. The recently released Loyalist Legios book contains the Crusade Legion rules, and while I wait for the companion Traitor Legios rules to come out, I took some time to muse over the rules I'll use to represent the Legio Sumer-Nikator. +

+ As with any army – as noted in the Creating an Army of Your Own series [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] of articles, coming up with background is a good way to guide you on the path to rules.  Adeptus Titanicus openly encourages narrative play, and one of the key lessons I've learned to creating colourful characterisation is to concentrate as much on your character's flaws as their strengths. +

+ In applying this idea to the Crusade Legion rules, which mostly give you access to rules that represent your forces been exceptionally good at something, I thought it worth considering where the Legio's weaknesses in comparison to their peers lay to help me decide. For example, I didn't think that the hyper-doctrinal and ritualistic techpriesthood of Sumer-Nikator really warranted something like Elite Magos, as most Magi of my Forgeworld are more concerned with esoterica and star-scrying than the practicalities of battle. In my opinion, Elite Magos would be better suited to a more openly martial Forgeworld, or one whose background suggests a very hands-on approach. +

+ You might explore the approach of emphasising one type of upgrade. If your Forgeworld is very well-connected, or supports lots of Explorators, I think that taking proportionally more experimental wargear and odd tech would suit. If your forces are constantly campaigning and very experienced, then putting more weight into stratagems might suit. Perhaps you want to explore an up-and-coming force, in which case you might try to avoid upgrades on the Titans and crew themselves, and instead go for lots of battlefield assets. +

+ For my part, the priesthood of Sumer-Nikator is largely isolationalist, secretive and cabalistic, owing to their historical wars against the Eldar, and their attempts to out-think that farseeing species. I thought that their Legio would suit being a defensive and reactionary force – but a static gunline doesn't really appeal. Musing some more, I decided that since Eldar are very fast, so hanging around is going to get you outflanked. On that basis, the Sons of the Temple also needed to be mobile and hard-hitting. +


+ Legio Nikator's rules +

+ Based on the thoughts above, here's how I'll be play-testing the Legio; at least until the Traitor Legios book comes out.

+ Legio Traits +

Towering Exemplar  The Princeps Seniores works as a mentor as much as a leader, using their knowledge to help the Titan’s in their Battlegroup; this allows one Titan from the same Legio within 6” of the Princeps Seniores each Strategy Phase to gain +1 to Command Rolls as well as re-roll hit results of 1 for the entirety of the round.

+ The hierarchical nature of the Forgeworld seemed to fit the idea of tyrannical, controlling or darkly charismatic leaders; able to adapt on the fly and lend their experience to the Princeps under their command. +

Masters of Defence  Allows the Titans to move within rear arc at full speed and after being on the receiving end of a Charge order (after attacks are made) can back up a full 3” and take one point of heat. 

+ A surprise for any sneaky Eldar, this will hopefully allow for some surprising moves in the heat of combat; particularly when couple with Locomotive Override below. +

+ Legio Stratagems +

Power Reserves (1)  Before rolling the reactor dice to push the reactor play this stratagem and count the roll as a blank instead, automatically. Allowed to be taken multiple times but restricted to once per engine per phase. 

+ Simple but useful, this reflects the Legio's well-prepared and adaptive (some would argue hesitant and reactionary) way of war. +

Locomotive Override (1)  A Titan of scale 9 or 10 can use this in the combat phase to turn up to 180 degrees and then suffers 1 point of Critical Damage to its legs. Important to note that it’s only a Critical Damage, not a Hit so you don’t advance the track, making this less of a drawback than it could be. 

+ What do you do if a Phantom Titan appears behind you? For most Legios, the answer is 'die'. For the Sons of the Temple, the answer is break your legs to turn around and catch it!


+ As mentioned above, Lucifer216 and I have a game scheduled – we decided to use the Open War pack to help generate it, and got the following results:

+ Keep an eye out for the battle report soon! +


[+ If you've found the blog interesting or useful, you can contribute to a 28mm scale Reaver, if you like, by dropping some credits in the Ko-Fi link at the top. +]

+ inload: Battle Bling review +

+ Let the forges burn hot! 
Battle Bling
Titan accessories review +

+ *Warhorn noises* +

+ Mentioned a few times in my inloads on Adeptus Titanicus have been my desire for two things: more Titans, and more options. With mechadendrites crossed for the much-hinted at Rapier or something similarly exciting being revealed soon, it's largely fallen to third parties to produce upgrades beyond the basic weapons available from GW and FW. +

+ These have largely started popping up on 3D-printing sites and so forth; but those lacking a 3D printer have largely been left feeling a little like Tantalus. I was therefore pleased to see some entrepreneurial and intrepid hobbyists like Battle Bling and Winterdyne [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] begin to sell physical prints and casts. +

+ Today's review looks at Battle Bling's output. As I understand things (from their appearance on the excellent Maximal Fire, God Engine Cast and Full Stride podcasts [+appendnote: all well worth a listen+], this two-man studio sculpts and prints both their own designs and some from outside the studio, such as Artisans of Vaul's great Lucius-Alpha Warlord head, as mentioned in this inload [+noosphericinloadlink.embedded+], modelled by Gaugamela in the pictcapture at the opening of this inload. + 


+ Shop and communication +

+ Battle Bling sell through an Etsy store [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] and eBay [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+]. I made two orders – an initial foray for heads through eBay, and a larger order through Etsy; both nice smooth transactions, as you'd expect through these third-party shops. +

+ I had a couple of questions about one of the Warlord weapon arms before placing the second order. These were answered politely and clearly within the working day – all nice and professional. +

Postage and packing were free within the UK, which was lovely. I'm sure I'm not the only one to have put together a cart in an online shops, only to balk at the P&P at the last minute. It's a particular problem with eBay bits stores, I find, and relieving to have the P&P baked into the cost of items. +

+ The smaller order came very swiftly – within three days, if I recall – while the second took nearly a fortnight. Perhaps demand has slowed Battle Bling down a little; but nice and swift, either way. The larger order came parcelled in a sturdy box with a handwritten address. +

+ appendnote: I've always found unboxing videos a bit of a weird concept, but hopefully pictures of blurry objects within bubblewrap is of use to someone on the fence about whether to order... +

+ Within, each item was individually bagged in a plastic bag within separate sealed bubblewrap. Arguably the double-layering is a little excessive; but on the other hand, a few small pieces I've received over the years have found their way out of bubble wrap and rattled around. While I would have preferred some biodegradable wrap, I can't fault the thoroughness. Key thing is that everything arrived safely and swiftly. +


+ On to the good stuff: mechanical joins +

+ First out of the bag was the Warlord Titan shoulders; perhaps surprisingly, the most complex single kit in the order. At £9 for two shoulders (i.e. enough for both arms of one Warlord), this was the only kit that I hesitated on buying; nearly deciding that I could work out a way to easily swap out at the elbow rather than shoulder. +

+ Warlord Titan shoulders +

+ Having magnetised my Warlords at the shoulder, in the end I ended up deciding it was worth it. Forgeworld's equivalent, like the Mori Quake Cannon [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+], are slightly more expensive (particularly when you take P&P into account), but include the arm connection. +

+ On reflection, I think it's good to have the option of whether to buy the weapon alone for a slight discount, or together with shoulders, so fair do's to Battle Bling here. 

+ The kit itself comes in five parts. I was pleased to see a muted grey hue that shows the details nicely, rather than the more common white or clear that I've seen from other 3D printing services like Shapeways. +

+ Some 3D prints I've bought have been delivered with a dense, complex lattices of brittle scaffolding that needs to be carefully removed. It was with a sigh of relief that I saw the 3D print supports here were notable by their absence; a few stubs the only evidence that they were there (you can see them on one piece at the upper left of the image). Kudos to the designer here, not only for supplying the finished product largely clean, but placing the supports where they will be hidden once assembled. +

+ One of the great advantages of 3D prints over resin casts is the lack of shrinkage and warping. Having fought with my Forgeworld upgrade arms to get the 5mm magnet in cleanly, it was a relief to test fit the Battle Bling one here and have it fit snugly, as seen above. So snugly, in fact, that I had to use a stack of magnets to get it back out! +


+ Reaver Titan Magnet Arm upgrade kit +

+ Much along the same lines are these Reaver Titan Magnet Arm upgrades, intended to replace the standard arms entirely, and making magnetising both easier and hidden. At the other end of the pricing scale to the Warlord shoulders, you get enough here for three Reavers for £4. +

+ Not a huge amount to say about them other than they look clean, magnets fit well, and will doubtless make hot-swapping things a bit easier all-round. +


+ Weapon upgrades +

+ Much of what I've said about the shoulders above applies equally here – the colour and quality of the supplied accessories is excellent. The telltale striations of 3D-printing are all but absent in the kits, and the parts that fit the plastic kit are perfectly-sized. +

+ Reaver/Warbringer Plasma Cannon arm +

+ Shown here is the Battle Bling Reaver Plasma Cannon Arm alongside a Laser Blaster from the GW plastic Reaver. As you can see, the size and aesthetics match very nicely, without the details being direct copies of existing designs. The guns included recesses in the barrels, so no drilling necessary. Priced at £8, which seemed about right to me. It's comparable to, but slightly cheaper than what I'd expect from an official equivalent . +

+ The weapon comes in two parts; the gun itself and an ammo chamber, which appears to be able to be added to either side, allowing you to build a left or right arm. +

+ The design seems a nice midway point between the Warhound and Warlord plasma weapons; and fits in very well. Slightly bulkier than the GW weapons, it gives the Titan a solid look. +

+ There is also a Nemesis Warbringer version, which I didn't order. From the pictures on the shop, it looks identical, but is £1 dearer. Not sure if there is any difference, but that could either do with being consolidated, or clarified by Battle Bling. Perhaps £9 is their pricing standard for Warbringer weapons in general? With no other options, it stands out as a bit of an oversight at the moment. +


+ I thought I'd treat both of these Warlord upgrades together, as the comments largely apply to both. +

+ Lascutter Weapon Arm +

+ Plasma Burner Weapon Arm +

+ Unlike the Reaver weapons, these are mono-sided: that is, they only fit on the right arm. This is clearly labelled on the shop; and you can message the team to request a mirrored version – a nice bit of customer service. +

+ Both scale nicely with the GW/FW equivalents, as shown in the Lascutter picture aginst the Forge World Mori Quake Cannon. As noted with the comments on the shoulder kit, these are just the guns – you'll need to build them into your plastic kit, or order the separate shoulders. +

+ Lovely designs; the Lascutter a nice update of a classic weapon that incorporates a modern aesthetic, and the Plasma Burner a cool new riff on the plasma weapon concept. It's nice to see this creativity, and I'm looking forward to other weapons from Battle Bling. Neither has official rules, of course, but you could either sub them in for others (the Lascutter might make a fun counts-as powerfist, while the plasma burner could be a plasma annihilator or perhaps a gatling blaster to represent its short range), or come up with your own rules. I'm hoping that the community will playtest third party weapons like this; it seems entirely within the wheelhouse of the target market. +


+ Conversion kits +

+ The Holy Grail of third party upgrades for me is a variety of alternative Reaver heads, including one modelled after the 'long-faced' original variant. Battle Bling haven't made that yet – though they have already updated some of my favourite old Adeptus Titanicus heads in the form of the jut-jawed Command Head, classic plastic Warlord head (bought as a pair) Gothic splendour of the Custodian Head. The latter has been updated to be an option for the new Warmaster Titan – probably a good idea in light of the additional size that affords them. +

[+APPENDNOTE: If you're interested in more shots of the head inspired by the classic plastic Warlord, you can see my painted efforts below. There's also a painting tutorial in this inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. +]

+ I'll wait patiently for the Reaver options, but if, like me, you remember the old Titans fondly, you'll be pleased with the 'Oldeus Pattern' Warhound Kit. Coming in eight parts – chassis/body, top armour, and two sets of arm options – this is the same quality typical of the rest of the order:

Side-on traditional weapon mounts

Cowled modern weapon mounts

+ I thought it was a particularly nice touch to include options for a 'proper old-school' style, with side-mounted guns close to the body, as well as a design that split the difference between old and new, with the guns held horizontally and with shoulder pads. +

+ This kit is available for £16 as a pair only; and requires the plastic Warhound kit to complete. +


+ Coming back to variant heads for a minute I liked the command head so much that it was what encouraged me to make my first order – the smaller one. What I got it visible below; primed in black. 

+ Thus far, the only clear fault in any piece from Battle Bling was in the command head, which had a very small hole in the front of the jaw – you can see it between the two disc details. I say 'fault' – I'm assuming it's a slight printing flaw, though it could conceivably be a weird design choice. Don't imagine so, however. +

+ This image also shows the heads inspired by the original plastic kit, two arm missile mounts for the Reaver, and an adorable little shipping create with 'Battle Bling' written on it. This was a little three-piece freebie in my first order; I was half-expecting something similar in the larger order, but I won't deduct any points for them throwing in a fun addition in my first! +


+ Fitting +

+ I did a quick dry fit on the plastic titan, and confirmed that the Warlord shoulder kits will nicely accommodate GW plastic, FW resin and Battle Bling 3D-print weapons. I guess that's heavily implied, but for anyone hesitating over an order, wondering whether these kits are 100% compatible, I can reassure you that they all fit together beautifully. +

+ Fitted with magnets and in in place on a work-in-progress Reaver, the Battle Bling Missile Launcher arms demonstrate the fitting nicely. +

+ Not being hugely au fait with the technology of 3D printing, I'm assuming that the material is some from of resin, but will happily be corrected. The key thing is that it doesn't strike me as fragile and brittle as other 3D prints I've bought, but nor is it quite as flexible as typical resin, such as you might buy from Forge World. When assembling, pay particular care and attention with clippers and knife until you get the hang of the particulars of the material. +


+ In terms of aesthetics, I think the design is spot-on. I'm always pleased to see third party designers – who are often hobbyists and enthusiastic fans themselves, as it is clear the Battle Bling team are – add their own spin to things, rather than make a direct copy. While the kits are compatible with the official kits, there are lots of specific differences, and it's refreshing to see new stuff – alternative heads, unofficial guns etc. – rather than duplicates of the official material. +

+ Even where similarity is necessary, it's nice to see that they've added a twist. This is likely to remain on the good side of GW legal as much as anything else, but the difference between the standard kit shoulder [REF: pictcapture above] and the Battle Bling upgrade is a good example of differentiation done well – and creatively – rather than just paying lip service . +

+ Any improvements possible? +

+ It's never all sunshine and lollipops, but happily the problems are few and far between; very much thoughts for future kits rather than genuine problems.

+ Firstly, no notes are included on assembly. This is a very minor thing for experienced hobbyists, and common for third-party kits. Anyone who's built a plastic Titan won't struggle, and to be honest, I think assembly notes would be a bit coals to Newcastle for the market, but a few videos or step-by-steps for beginners would be a nice way for Battle Bling to add value and make things beginner-friendly. It's a criticism I have of the Forge World kits, too – sometimes things that appear obvious to the designer (which way up an ammo cell is meant to go, for example), aren't to the recipient. +

+ The heads did have a few fitting problems – the prominent cables beneath the chin on the Lucius-Alpha and original-style heads get blocked by the plastic torso armour, restricting the possible poses, or requiring a trim. A slight redesign wouldn't go amiss on these, in my opinion. +

+ Unmodified, the cables on the heads only just fit; restricting posing. +

+ In addition, I found it slightly unclear as to what exactly you get from the shop photographs, as the different products aren't hugely consistent: some are just illustrated with scans; others include pictures of printed parts; others show painted models. It'd be nice to have at least one thing that's consistent – and personally I'd prefer that to be a flat shot of the printed, unpainted pieces as a priority, with painted inspirational models really useful. +

+ From what I've seen, this is largely down to the company being relatively new, not having painted examples of everything, and bringing in bits both from in-house and external designers. Nevertheless, I'd have been miffed to have ordered a weapon on the assumption that it would come with a shoulder (for example), and hope that this is on Battle Bling's plans for the future. +

+ Happily, they're running a painting competition through May on their Facebook page [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+], which I hope gives them a good source of photographs to use for their store. +


+ Summary and judgement +

+ Three mechadendrites up. All indications are that Battle Bling are a good company that makes excellent products for a decent price point. +

+ If they're taking suggestions, then an option of being able to buy arms as full sets – that is, an arm weapon and a shoulder, akin to the Forgeworld approach – wouldn't go amiss. I'd also suggest some consolidation of whether they want to offer complete modularity in their range, or a smaller range of more complete options. +

+ If modular, then break down things like the original Warlord heads into two separate heads (I had no use for the one with the Imperial Eagle, for example), and allow the purchase of one Oldeus-pattern conversion kit. If the second option, then decide on a price for (for example) Reaver Arms, and chuck in an arm connection along with each weapon. That'd allow a smaller, more easily navigable range that's rip for growth. All that said, I'm no businessman; and if it's working for Battle Bling, then long may it continue. +

+ The designs and prints are excellent in quality, the drawbacks few, minor, and easily dealt with by the sort of hobbyist who's buying upgrades for this wonderful game. I have no hesitation at all in recommending them enthusiastically. +

+ From indications on their Facebook page, the range is set to expand steadily, with releases every Wednesday. I for one will be checking in – just don't take too long with that second Reaver head! +