+ inload: One Throne on Terra! +

+ Marginalia: Silver Stars +

'Ymga? I recall... vessels. Glass; and... other materials. It is as though a skein of silk lies over that memory; and because of that I know it was close to what I lost. Of the Rangda? Hm. It is hard not to know that name. Every one of the inquisitive asks me of it – them? And yet, I can account for that absence. If I were there, I... have forgotten. I know only that it is a mercy that I no longer know.'

'It was not intended that we should forget. I remember... afterwards... it took a great deal of craft. Bargains were struck beyond the Rim that it should be so.'  

'No, there are no seals. It is not as simple as that. There were, I am told, moments when I would have welcomed mental mutilation; and given my certainty, I perforce place my trust in my former self. It is a ragged conviction – but I must believe that I, or my father, so decreed the action. I resent your intrusion. Nothing remains beneath. This is no mere semblance or mummery. I have forgotten. And I will it to remain lost.'

'These are, it seems, times in which conviction bears more weight than truth. The latter – for me as for my father – has become a luxury I can ill-afford. Some things, after all, are best left forgotten.'
[//attr. Conficturas+]


+ Ten tiny Silver Stars. These were painted with a stripped-back version of my scheme for their larger-scale brethren.

_1 Spray with GW's Wraithbone undercoat.
_2 Paint the base with a deep brown.
_3 Paint the whole figure with Apothecary White – the contrast paints are absolutely stellar for these small scale figures.
_4 Once dry, pick out the backpack and boltgun with a mix of brown and black diluted with flow improver (this makes it behave a little like a wash, so you get a deeper tone in the recesses).
_5 Use Sotek Green to paint the chestplate and helm.
_6 Paint the pauldron stripes with Screamer Pink.
_6 Paint the backpack and boltgun details with silver.
_7 Pick out the shoulder trim and chestplate with Balthasar Gold – at this scale, the paint has enough coverage to work straight over the white undercoat, which is a great timesaver.
_8 Once dry, add the washes: Agrax Earthshade over the backpack, boltgun, and gold areas; and Drakenhof Nightshade for the turquoise areas.
_9 Allow to dry, then pick out any details to finish.


+ I added highlights to the helms by adding a little Vallejo Cold White to the Sotek Green, and also used Cold White to pick out the Legion* symbols and other markings on the pauldron. I also picked out some squad designation on the kneepads with simple stripes of Screamer Pink. +


+ Casualties proved a good way to test out the scheme on different armour marks. +



+ Echoes of Warzone Null +


'I cannot account for the absence. I... have forgotten.'




+ inload: Getting started with Horus Heresy in 15mm +

+ Where the Stone Oxen and Lions Stand +

+ Getting started with 15mm Horus Heresy wargaming +

+ Pic of Bob Hunk's glorious (and LED-enhanced) Imperial Fists +

+ As outlined in this inload [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], our gaming group is adapting the freely-available Antares 2 ruleset for our Horus Heresy wargaming. This inload is intended as a primer, so if you fancy doing it yourself, you should feel free. +

+ First steps +

+ To get started, you'll need to download and read the Core Rules that are available here [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]. You'll also need:
  • A second player(!)
  • A measuring tape
  • Around a dozen D10 dice
  • A D6, a D8 and a D4 dice
  • Something to act as pin markers
  • Order Dice – one for each unit – and a bag or box to draw them from.
+ You can use pretty much anything for most of these, but if you want a one-stop shop, Skytrex (a subsidiary company of Warlord Games) produce a set of blast markers; and an Antares dice pack. +

+ The Order dice are the one thing that can't easily be substituted. You can buy different colours from Skytrex here, or search second-hand sets. The important thing is that each side must have a set of dice of a different colour to the other. If you don't want to buy as set, you can either use stickers to mark up some D6s you have (make sure both you and the other players use the same size), or use the handy table for reference:

1 – Rally
2 – Advance
3 – Run
4 – Fire
5 – Ambush
6 – Down

+++

+ 'I've never played a wargame!' +

+ First off, welcome to a fun new hobby! The Antares 2 rules are written nice and clearly, and there's a handy quick reference sheet here that I recommend keeping to hand while you find your feet. If possible, find someone on the Gates of Antares Facebook group to talk you through. It's a thoroughly friendly community. +

+ 'I already play Antares 2' +

+ Great – tweaks have been kept to a minimum, so if you're familiar with Antares 2, you'll be ready to play. The key changes are:
+ If you want to play in 28mm scale, then feel free. The only tweak I'd suggest for 28mm play is to reduce the Movement stat (M) of the marines and tanks back down to 5. +

+ Note that this army list is not intended to play against the factions and creatures of the Antares setting. You can, of course, do so – there's no difference in the mechanics, but I don't think it'll really reflect the comparable capabilities of either side very well. +

+ In terms of models, you can use any of Games Workshop's Space Marine models, if you're playing at 28mm scale. If you're doing as we are, then I suggest you scour the noosphere for Epic-scale STL files, and print them out at 187%.

+ 'I already play Horus Heresy: Age of Darkness' +

+ You'll be familiar with the background, and with the sweeping battles of Space Marines. The modifications we've made to the rules are designed simply to reflect this background. +

+ First off, you'll need the rules. Happily, these are available for free here [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+]. Antares 2 is a brilliant game, designed by Rick Priestley (of 40k fame) and Tim Bancroft. +

+ Secondly, you'll need either to apply the adjustments to the scale (noted above, under I already play Antares 2) to use your existing models, or source some 15mm models – again, as described above. +

+++

+ Lucifer216's Night Lords clash with my Emperor's Children +

+++

+ Playing space and mission +

+ Now you've got all the rules and models to hand, you'll need a table – we  used 30 by 44in for Battle of the Mirror Plains. Conveniently, that's twice the size of a GW Kill Team board, so if you've got one hanging around, that's all good. The game scale nicely, and for a larger game, I'd suggest that you use a 6 x 4ft table, as in Meeting Engagement on Gundrun Prime. +

+ Next, you'll need to create a mission. Both Antares 2 and AoD are unapologetically narratively-leaning, and that's also the attittude I'd encourage here once you get into the swing of things. Come up with a cool story and work together to write a mission around that. Because Antares 2 has really clever morale mechanics, you can play an asymmetric game that remains fair and engaging. +


+ My Emperor's Children +


+ When starting out, however, I'd encourage you to use mirror forces (so you can get used to the mechanics and learn the strengths and weaknesses of various units together) and one of the missions from the 'Playing the Game' booklet here. While these missions are Antares-themed, a lot of them can happily be played in another setting. They're been thoroughly playtested and  all those I've tried are great fun. +

+++

+ Gathering an army +

+ With all those in place, gather your forces. The rules for doing that are also in the 'Playing the Game' booklet listed above. The game does scale well, but I'd recommend trying it out with about six or seven units a side to start. +

+ The Army list and weapons stats (at time of writing, we're at v0.3) can be downloaded from the Files section of the +Death of a Rubricist+ Facebook group. Do feel free to ask there if you can't find them. +

+ At the moment, we haven't got any Army Options for the Space Marine list, but we're going to playtest allowing each side a one-use Order Re-roll per Force Level (FL) – that is, if you're playing a FL2 game, each side should be given two tokens that they can spend at any point to re-roll critical command rolls. That should help to ameliorate any 'feel-bad' moments. +

+++
+ At this stage, you're ready to play – good luck! Please do feel free to comment here or on the +Death of a Rubricist+ Facebook page if you've got any feedback or ideas. +

+++

+ Designer's notes on version 0.3 of the army list +

+ Changes made since the last game have included:

+ Weapons +

  • The boltgun now has two firing modes: Deliberate and Burst
    • This change means that players can either choose to fire one accurate and more deadly shot, or go for weight of fire. I don't anticipate this slowing the game down much, and it will create some fun tactical choices.
    • I'm leery of adding additional complication and granularity to a battle-level game, but this change is made to ensure that Tactical Marines remain at the heart of the experience, and an enjoyable, exciting and interesting unit to use.
  • Power sword renamed to Power weapon; it felt too granular to have swords, axes, mauls etc. SV (Strike value – basically armour modifier) increased to SV4, to make them more worthwhile in combat.
  • Power Fists likewise were bumped up to SV7, making them a credible threat to tanks.
  • Increases in SV to krak missiles
  • Increase in SV to autocannons, and replacement of RF to Not RF, allowing them to fire both shots without a penalty to their Acc.
    • These changes were made to differentiate them from Heavy Bolters (which fire a greater number of less powerful and less accurate shots), and make them more attractive in comparison to Missile Launchers.
  • The Autocannon's bigger brothers, the Predator Cannon and Accelerator Autocannon (from Sicarans) have appeared. The former is basically a four-shot autocannon, while the latter is shorter-range and slightly less powerful, but fires six shots.

+ Units +

  • Veterans – The granularity of the D10 system allows slight increases in Acc, Co and better Init when compared with Tactical Legionaries. A limit of 0–FL means that you can't just take these over Tacticals; and their Sergeant also has 'Follow', which allows him to take charge of a section of the battlefield.
    • This unit is intended to stand-in for everything from Legion Veterans to specialist units like Terror Squads and Noise Marines.
  • Terminators – Similar stats to Veterans, these benefit from improvements to Storm Bolters (addition of Not RF means they fire at full Acc) and Power Fists (increase in SV makes them able to take down tanks in combat). The Res value has been chosen so they'll only die on criticals against small arms fire. Slower than other Marines, they'll need more careful use than the more flexible other units. 
  • Command Squad – officers weren't really thought through before, so I've created a unit. While the Centurion is fairly tasty in close combat (and the squad can be armed with pistols and swords to help), this isn't really a game that revolves around it, so the idea here is to provide a strategic rather than tactical advantage:
    • The officer has Command 15, which allows units within 15cm to use his Command value; and Follow, which enables multiple units to activate, allowing you to concentrate force on a critical area. This helps the unit to shore up a critical part of the line, and generally act like an officer, rather than simply smashing face.
    • An optional Ancient allows your Centurion to be accompanied by the Company banner. This model has 'Hero', which means other units can use his Init (allowing Tactical Marines to react better, for example), representing the inspiration they draw from their Company colours. 
    • The Veterans here have Loyal bodyguard, which allows players to reallocate hits on the Officer (or Ancient) to them.
  • Predator – Cheaper than a Land Raider, better armoured than a Rhino (but losing self-repair and transport), this is a nice all-round tank that I hope to see more of. The armour is at the sweet spot that makes infantry heavy weapons meaningful against it (in a way that they're not against the Land Raider).
  • Sicaran – Very much designed as a 'side-grade' to the Predator, it's a hint more expensive, but a little faster and tougher. See the notes on the guns above.

+ Plans for v0.4 +

  • Further refinement of units
  • Addition of krak grenades options to units
  • Addition of specialist options (e.g. close-combat veterans)
  • Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield options for Terminators
  • Further weapon variants on tanks
  • Apothecary
  • Dreadnoughts (including Leviathans)
  • Consider Rhino and lighter tanks becoming single order dice units; modify speed up.


Silver Stars on the painting block +



+ Further thinking +



+ In short, the initial idea was a whim as much as anything. TrojanNinja and I had enjoyed a fantastic day out playing the new version of the wargame Beyond the Gates of AntaresLucifer216 had found some wonderful 15mm models, and enthusiasm was high for Horus Heresy (HH) gaming, with the release of Games Workshop's updated Age of Darkness (AoD) game. +

+ We could very easily have started playing the new AoD with our existing HH armies, or simply played Antares 2 itself. In fact, I'd thoroughly encourage you to do both. Let me emphasise that this isn't intended as an anti-GW thing, nor as a rejection of the Antares background and universe. As a group, we very much enjoy both! This is simply a nice way to scratch a few different itches in combination, and make the most of our limited gaming time together. +

+ If you do decide to dive in, I hope you'll find this engaging with this as simple as possible. +

+ The 'elevator pitch' for the Antares 2 ruleset is that it's manufacturer-free, so while there is an extensive (and awesome) range of models, the core rules can explicitly be used elsewhere – which is what we're doing here. +

+ The resulting game is slightly more stripped-back and grubby than either the high sci-fi of the Gates of Antares universe or the space opera of the Age of Darkness. If you think of it a bit more like old war films, you won't go too far wrong. +

+++

+ inload: Firebreak, collecting and 15mm gaming +

+ Collecting +

+ I don't talk much about collecting as opposed to building or painting, and I think that's because I don't consciously think about 'sets' of models. Most, but not all, of my forces and factions have developed gradually. Nevertheless, I do sometimes think of armies as 'complete', which I suppose implies there's a sense of a complete collection. +

+ A selection of models from the War of the False Primarch setting – a collection in the making? +

+ Anyway, why am I talking about it? Well, in turning more attention to the War of the False Primarch, I always wanted to make sure there was at least one new model in every article. As it happened, I've ended up rather deluged(!) with awesome stuff from other contributors, so I haven't had to paint many models up to enable me to make posts like this [+noopshericexloadlink embedded+], which feature a model for each of the eleven(ish) Partisan Chapters and all five(ish) of their foes, the Pentarchy of Blood. +

+ Where I have stepped in, it's usually been to build a 'normal' Tactical Marine; a bog-standard soldier with a boltgun, as – for understandable reasons – creators tend to want to prioritise making the unusual stuff that gives their Chapters character. +

+++

+ Firebreak +

+ So it was with Cameron M's (@Dizzyeye.01) Chapter, the Firebreak [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], where I painted up a marine (see below) in fairly short order. As with a surprising number of the Partisans, the Firebreak scheme is basically silver with differently-coloured shoulder pads, so he was quick to paint up, and I spent most of my time on adding fun freehand twiddles. +

+ Adept-brother Hild Brandt, Fourth Conclave. Note prominent Caputmori torso decoration +


+ While quite pleased with the result, it's niggled a bit at me that, firstly, he's a 3D print, and so stands out a bit from the others in the 'collection; and secondly, the Firebreak have such lovely depth to their background that I wanted to do something a bit different. +

+++

+ The appeal of the Firebreak +

+ They're a subtle Chapter, in that there's nothing that really jumps out as their 'thing' (like White Scars bikes, say); but I think that's where their appeal lies. Their homeworld is a great mix of Arrakis from Dune, Tatooine from Star Wars and a lovely dollop of Warhammer darkness. +

+ As Cameron puts it:
From the start, I wanted these guys to feel accessible to people wanting to give the Chapter a spin without having to worry about forming a squad. Plus, considering the general context for the War in general, it'd make sense for there to be some chapters hurting from the very start so I was more than happy for them to be on the back foot from the very start. 
As for a note on the gardens, I really wanted to explore a different side to the marines that we see flashes of in some of the Horus Heresy books. They have the chance to be more than just killers – but the galaxy has different plans in mind. 
As for any advice I could offer to anyone looking at taking a crack at the Firebreak; the freedom is out there. The chapter is very much an experiment for me testing out freehand skills such as the flame marks and the inscriptions etched into their armour (if you have it, the white markings from the 30k Word Bearers transfer sheet work really nice for adding a little something extra on top) can really go anywhere within reason. [...] Experiment, see what works and what doesn't. You never know when you can hit upon a great idea.

+ It's implied that they're a Dark Angels successor, but the way that that they deal with the secret of the Fallen is awesome. Rather than having only some members of the Chapter informed about them, the Firebreak are all aware of the Fallen – but the twist is that their Chaplaincy (the Dark Judges) use a form of hypnotic memory suppression. As a result, aside from the Judges themeselves, none of the Chapter are conscious of the Fallen until the memory is ritually dredged up immediately prior to the mission – and then just as swiftly repressed once more. +

+ Secondly, they maintained gardens on their desert deathworld home, which has a wonderfully sense of melancholy; and more than a sprinkling of Samurai traditions. +

+ Thirdly, the poor buggers get absolutely stomped by the Carcharadons in the early days of the war (thanks to Cameron for being such a good sport about this!), and driven from their homeworld. As a result, we've got a small number of quasi-mystical warriors armed with the sword style of their lost homeworld. It's a heady mix – and not one that I felt my bog-standard Tactical Marine  properly captured. +

+ So I built this guy:


+ A relatively straightforward conversion, this uses the Phobos Librarian as the basis. I've removed the markings and details that identify him as such, to strip him back to simply being a robe-wearing warrior monk. +

+ The main change is the head. Unless you're happy to resculpt the robes, robed models can be difficult to repose convincingly. Here I opted to change the direction of the head – I've exloaded before about how this can go a long way to changing the feel of a conversion – and so swapped it out for one in my bits box. I think it's from the Deathwing boxed set, but I wouldn't want to swear to that. Initially I left the face bare to further distinguish it from the base model, but in the end sculpted on a rebreather, as it's such a cool part of the original, and not something that is indicative of a Librarian. +

+ The main work went into sculpting over the Phobos legs to convert them into Mark VII. I've really liked the base model since it was released a few years ago now, but really didn't like the legs. I'm glad I finally bit the bullet and gave it a go; the sculpting was easier than I'd feared, thanks to the way the model is broken up. +


+ I was aware that I didn't want him to read too much as a robed Dark Angel. It would be a disservice to this successor Chapter to simply being a pale shadow of their former Legion – indeed, I like successors in general to be as distinct as possible, which I why I think Chapters like the Carcharadons work so nicely; they nod to their (likely) progenitors, but have a distinct character all of their own. +

+ To that end, I've used a scimitar style sword and trimmed away details like the keys. I wanted this Firebreak marine to look like a road-weary ronin, and plan to incorporate some patterning and colour into the rob to prevent it looking too monk-like. +

+ Looking forward to getting some paint on him, just in time to hep illustrate Warzone Qorabbas, where the Firebreak ambush the Flesh Eaters... +

+++

+ Not only but also +

+ A few extra close-ups of the War of the False Primarch set-up at the top. Who – and what – can you spot? +


+ Coming back to the idea of collections... It's satisfying to pack things away neatly and have a fresh space, but every so often it's worth pulling things out and just appreciating all the work you've put into your stuff. I usually expect to see lots of things I'd change and improve – but I'm also sometimes surprised with how pleased I remain with some stuff. +


+ Mini-warfare +

+ Over the weekend, I met up with my gaming group, the PCRC, and had both a lovely catch-up and some really enjoyable games. The ever-generous Lucifer216 also came bearing gifts in the form of Mark II marines and some casualty figures. The former (and probably some of the latter) will see the War of the False Primarch (or are they really a missing Legion, and it's HH warfare?) expand into the 15mm realm.+

+ Stage 1, as usual, is gluing them onto pennies. As Stuntwedge observed, it's weird to be doing this, but you try finding bases for a penny a pop... + 


+ Onto this I add acrylic texture gel and sand, as for most basing I do. Here, because the figures were designed for 6mm Epic gaming, they have large integrated bases. To help camouflage this, I added a mix of leftover greenstuff putty, small pieces of gravel, and a mix of the detritus that builds up on a  cutting board: old hardened putty bits, plastic trimmings and sprue offcuts make for decent rubble at this scale, and the acrylic gel holds it all securely. +


'One Throne on Terra! Onwards for the Primarch and the Emperor!'

+++



+ inload: Battle report: Meeting Engagement on Gundrun Prime +

+ Meeting Engagement on Gundrun Prime +


+++ 

Dawn; and the cobwebs stirring in the windows of the long-neglected abbey were all the indication of the former population. Having endured Old Night, the degraded inhabitants clustered in what had once been an important regional centre for the safety it offered. 

It had already been proven an empty promise. Over the course of less than a century, the people had been contacted and made Compliant; brought into the light of the Emperor – and then abruptly been informed that the Warmaster Horus was now their liege lord. 

If he were even aware of the planet, one wonders at his reaction at finding elements of two Legions supposedly under his command squabbling over the scraps.

The locals huddled together as distant gunfire began to be heard...



Game rules: Antares 2 [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+]
Mission: Meeting Engagement – aiming to degrade the enemy while maintaining their own strength, both sides were attempting to break the spirit of their enemy. The game would last for six turns, or until one side was reduced to half or fewer of their starting Order Dice (achieved by destroying whole units). 
Combatants: Apologist, commanding the Emperor's Children; vs Lucifer216, commanding the Night Lords.
Battleground: The Feudal World of Gundrun Prime – of little value itself, but a good proxy for control of the Luciferran forges. The victor would be able to throttle control of heavy armour across the region.

+ Building on the playtesting done for our earlier game, The Mirror Plains [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], this was a further test of our adaptation of the Gates of Antares 2 rules. It was also Lucife216's first introduction to the rules, so again it was deliberately fairly low-key and simple. +

+++

+ Forces +

+ A larger game than the Mirror Plains, each Commander had been entrusted with a standard mechanised demi-company of thirty Legionaries deploying as six five-man tactical combat squads. Each side also deployed two Rhinos and a Land Raider apiece. +

+ Each side thus had nine units. Since both Rhinos and Land Raiders are Mulit-Order-Dice (MOD) units – meaning they can act twice in one turn – there were twelve Order Dice for each side. To win, an army would have to reduce their enemies' Order Dice total to fewer than six at the start of a new turn. +

+ Deployment and early turns +


+ The Night Lords clustered their forces on the left, with a lone combat squad on the right in support of the Land Raider. The Emperor's Children, meanwhile, adopted a more centralised deployment. Both sides quickly advanced to take advantage of the available cover, while taking pot-shots at each other. +

+ The early turns were characterised by the Land Raiders wheeling around the central woodland, looking for advantage. The Night Lord Land Raider had the better of the duel, inflicting blast markers on its opposite number, while the purple tank's shots went wide or were saved. +

+ Night Lords Tactical Squads in the centre +

+ Boltguns had received some tweaks since the last game, being upgraded to firing 2 x SV1 shots, with Rapid Fire. Along with the introduction of Bolter Drill (a rule that replaces the fun buddy drone reroll lost in the translation from Antares to Horus Heresy), this meant that they had the potential to deal a lot more damage once the two forces closed. For the moment, the few blast markers being inflicted were the result of long range support weapons like missile launchers and autocannons – and even these were causing no out-and-out casualties. +


+ Emperor's Children mass to defend against the Night Lord Land Raider. While the tactical legionaries had no hope of destroying it outright, being able to place blast markers would be a way to render it combat ineffective. +

+ At the end of turn 2 of the six turn game, there were no major casualties; cover and range meaning that only a few scattered blast markers and a couple of luckless Emperor's Children legionaries would trouble the sides going forward. +

+++

+ Mid-game +

+ The Night Lords advance with the limited force on the right were risking pinning down a superior force. Wanting to avoid this, the Emperor's Children vehicles consolidated their forces towards the centre, hoping to strand the Night Lords Land Raider while it circled the wood. +


+ Realising that hesitation was allowing the Emperor's Children Land Raider to dominate the centre, the Night Lords began an advance on the left, pushing forward their mounted troops. It was somewhat hampered by the numbers of blast markers building up on their unmounted allies. Not one but two Night Lord combat squads failed their Order rolls – perhaps wanting to see how their fellows fared first! +

+ While the advance was thus not the knock-out blow it could have been, it did succeed in establishing a position on the flank, from where the Night Lords threatened to encircle the Emperor's Children lines. +


+ Wanting to avoid this, the central Emperor's Children Rhino moved forward, ready to receive the Emperor's Children tacticals and redeploy. A key failed order meant that the tacticals hesitated a moment too long – and were caught by an assault from the Night Lords! +

+ In the centre, ten Night Lords were being hammered by long-range support weapon fire – and more pointedly, the Emperor's Children Land Raider, which opted to take the risk of acting early and hoping that it could avoid too much damage when its opposite number came to move. +

+ On the right, twenty of the Emperor's Children marines were still struggling to deal with the Land Raider. Although they had managed to wipe out the supporting infantry, it had a been a poor trade, with the Land Raider destroying their support Rhino with little effort. At risk of being stranded out of position, the infantry 
began moving forward and left. +

+ By the end of turn four, casualties were mounting up, but the Night Lords were slightly ahead, remaining one Order Die ahead as the sides traded units. +

+++

+ Closing turns +

+ Things were tightly in the balance. While the Emperor's Children were fractionally behind in Order Dice at the start of turn five, a string of their Order Dice being pulled from the bag (four in a row!) meant that they were able to press the attack in a number of key areas, and place additional blast markers on the already-disrupted Night Lords. +


+ As an illustration of this, the Emperor's Children Land Raider shrugged off the lone blast marker on itself (units that successfully pass an order check remove one blast marker – that's why it's generally best to focus on key units with at least two of your own) and opened up on an exposed squad of Night Lords gamely attempting to support the drive down the centre. Two rounds of firing saw the squad all but eliminated – and the resulting number of blast markers meant that the survivors of the squad broke and fled. +

+ On the right flank, the Night Lords Land Raider had got fearfully embroiled. While it was still undamaged and threatening, the constant harrying from the Legionary squads was preventing it clearing its blast markers, and the resulting negative modifiers to its command meant that it suffered a failed Order check. This resulted in the crucial order being changed to Down: making it more survivable (units targetting a Down unit have to reroll successful hits), but meaning that it was unlikely to be able to make headway. +

+ While it was able to move and target the Emperor's Children Land Raider at last, its shots proved as fatefully ineffective as the Emperor's Childrens' had at the start of the battle. + 

+ Fate was clearly wearing a wry grin, as this was followed up by the two Emperor's Children tactical squads in the centre each failing their crucial order rolls, leaving them Down and their beleaguered colleagues in the lurch! +


+ On the left, the Night Lords continued pressing the attack, being rewarded by wiping out the Emperor's Children behind the rocky outcrop. Had their fellow made it across to support, it was likely that they could have pressed onwards – but it was not to be, as they were instead driven back by weight of fire of the rapidly-redeploying Emperor's Children. +

+ The closing turn saw the critical events – the loss of the Night Lords' Land Raider, and some final piece trading. It was close – both sides had lost around half their starting number... but which could claim the field? +

+++

+ Result: Emperor's Children victory! +

+ Almost too close to call! The result of this razor-close game came down to a single Order Die – a fitting six remained to the Emperor's Children, while the Night Lords were down to five, thanks to the eventual loss of their Land Raider. +

As the Night Lords slipped away into the approaching darkness, the Emperor's Children began counting their casualties. 

+++

+ Post-game musings +

+ We enjoyed a post-game cup of recaf and talked over the events. Lucifer216 really enjoyed the flow and sense of manoeuvre – a key appeal of the Antares 2 mechanics for me, too. +

+ The adjustments to the movement characteristics (up to 10cm from 6cm) helped with the above, and felt about right to me in comparison with the Mirror Plains. You still need to run to make substantial redeployments, but standard advances feel decisive – and crucially, it doesn't look weird when you sprint, either. +

+ Likewise, the boltgun tweaks made firefights with basic weapons a bit more interesting. The high resilience stat (Res) of 7 that I gave to Space Marines means that they're hard to hurt – so adding SV1 to the gun reduces the save to 6 or less. Also leaves some space for future-proofing (for SV0 lasguns, for example). +

+ I think, however, there is an argument that the boltgun could be further refined by simply making it 2 shots. Even taking into account the -1 to accuracy (Acc) this adds, neither Lucifer216 nor myself chose to use the single shot option. In fact, I'm not really sure where that would ever really come into consideration, as in almost every case, it's better simply to roll more dice, even at -1. Perhaps I'm missing something crucial. +

+ We'll discuss things further, but I'm erring towards testing bolters as simple two-shot guns. That takes one modifier out of the equation, and generally frees up brainspace for things like range, cover etc. It'll clean up the statline, too. +

+ The other big thing that I'm wondering about is the resilience of the Land Raider. As it stands, it's all but untouchable to the infantry. One the one hand that's fitting; one the other, I don't want the Space Marines themselves to be a burdensome tax that you take to maximise the number of vehicles you can field. +

+ Whether we deal with that by reducing the Res of the Land Raider (currently 15), or by tweaking the stats of anti-tank weapons – or whether it's simply that we haven't yet painted up the sort of stuff you would take to deal with heavy tanks (Predators, Devastators and the like), I'm not sure. I'd suggest we keep this iconic battle tank as-is for now, and make a mental note to reassess after some battles with other tanks. +

+++

+ ...and speaking of other tanks, I imagine that this conflict, having opened up the route to the Luciferran Forges, will see follow-up battles featuring Dreadnoughts, Predators and so forth sooner rather than later. Perhaps even some slightly bigger stuff? Watch this space. +

+ On a final note, I'm pleased to say that the spectacle got both Stuntwedge and Warmtamale interested, so the struggle for the region will face the addition either of the Salamanders or the Sons of Horus – and perhaps some xenos... +

+ inload: On the road to Coldforge +

+ C-Day +11 +



+ ███ ██████ █████ ███ ███ ████████ ██████ █ ██ ██ ██ ██ █████ ██████ █████ ████ ███ █ █████████████ ██████████████ ██ █ █████ ████ ███████ ██████ █████ +

+ The #warzonecoldforge Challenge Event – details here [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+] is into its (perhaps significant) 11th day, and over on Instagram you'll see some lovely submissions shaping up. +

+ While I've been concentrating on Kroot, I've also found that the Challenge Events are good to periodically reinvigorate my various War of the False Primarch projects. One of the nice things about this wide-ranging project (for the uninitiated, it's a sort of community-driven modern Badab War) is that there are literally hundreds of avenues to follow, with a lot of freedom in interpretation. I wanted my contribution to Coldforge to reflect this, and so – while things remain open – I wanted to bring in a variety of different models. +

+++

+ Work in progress +

+ While the War of the False Primarch involves lots of Space Marines, the key to me is the idea of an Imperial civil war – that is, involving all parts of the Imperium. To that end, I knew I wanted to include three differents 'arms' of the Imperial forces. +

+ For much the same reason, I wanted to make sure that the underlying silhouettes would be equally at home on either side. The War of the False Primarch digs into the futility and self-defeating nature of the Imperium of Mankind, so I thought it would help hit home if they're not visually 'goodies' or 'baddies'. +

+ With these ideas in mind, I decided I'd include a Space Marine, a combatant human, and a non-combatant. The events are also a good excuse to dig through the Cupboard of Shame Opportunity and bring forth some neglected models... +


+ Pictured here are a scribe, a woman with an autogun and a space marine (and a kroot, but you can ignore him; I was just enthused about having finished painting them!). Shown here unpainted, I think this gets across the point that they could equally well be Orthodox military as Partisan (that is, supporting the High Lords of Terra or the 'Primarch'). +

+ While I've made the decision that the marine will be a Void Baron – there's a decided paucity of this awesome Chapter – I haven't yet decided on the precise nature of the other two. Again, that's one of the things I find so freeing about the project. The scribe, for example, could be painted in rust orange as a Mechanicus factotum, native to Coldforge; in deep green as a Navigatorial aide from House Methuselahn; or perhaps a Chapter serf – and even here, it'd be as easy for him to be an unwilling captive from the Orthodox Death Eagles as it would be for him to be a recovered servant of the Partisan Storm Tyrants. +

+++

+ Besides the figures themselves, I also used the excuse to paint up this little signpost. Scatter terrain? Objective? Just a cool Easter Egg addition for games set on Purefinder Chanterwick? Likely all of these things and more. +


+ ... and because I think it's rather expected of someone organising the challenge to pull their finger out a bit, I also cracked on with the Silver Stars. +


+ There are a number of the ambiguous pseudolegion in a state of mid-painting, and with their Index: Apocrypha* on the near-horizon, I wanted to make sure I had some new models to showcase. +

+ This chap needs his markings to be added, his weapons painted, and his base completed. +

+++

* No definitive Index Astartes for this lot!



+ inload: The Farstalker Kinband kit review +

+ Nuggets of Kroot +

+ Kit review: The Farstalker Kinband +


+ It won't have escaped your notice that the Death of a Rubricist inloads have been quite kroot-focussed recently; and I'm pleased to say that the Kill Team: Into the Gallowdark box arrived late last week. It is enormous – absolutely packed to the gunnels with terrain and two new kits: the Kroot Farstalker Kinband and Imperial Navy Breachers. There are lots of in-depth reviews of the box as a whole, so I thought I'd dial in the mens-iris and subject you to just my thoughts on the new kroot kit. +

+ First impressions are always coloured by the previews we've seen, and in the case, I'm happy to say that the sprues themselves really live up to expectations. GW's own sprue shots are much clearer than mine, so if you want to see the raw components on the three large sprues, go check 'em out there [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+]. +

+++

+ Snap fire: key points +

+ For those inloaders on a time-budget, or who have stumbled over this noospheric node for the first time, I'll get to the key takeaways for this kit, and answer the questions I had:
  • The new models are well-scaled to the older Carnivore kit, and broadly speaking, can be kitbashed with little to no conversion work
  • There is a great deal of variety in the poses. To my taste, GW have struck a good balance between dynamism and flexibility, allowing for characterful poses when built as stock, but allowing for relatively easy conversion work.
  • As with most of the new Kill Team kits, this kit can be built to replace the existing Kroot Carnivore kit. and used in 40k There are sufficient regular rifles and components to build it perfectly legally for its entry in the Tau Codex. I'd grab one of the older kits if you fancy it, just in case its delisted.
  • ...and likewise with most other Kill Team kits, there are a huge amount of spare components left over. Combine this with some spare Kroot bodies and torsos, and you can really revitalise the older kit. 
+ Polished off older kroot, ready to welcome their new kindred +

+++

+ Into the meat of the review +

+ In exploring a new kit like this, where I was keen to try out different options, I started by doing sub-assemblies of the bodies. Below you'll see a selection of bodies from the new kit alongside a handful of bodies from the older Carnivore kit (handily in a lighter grey plastic, so you can see the difference). I mentioned above that the new kit has lots of options – and you can see the in action with the body on the left, in the middle. It's an old body with one of the options – a bionic leg from the Cold-blood – attached. This required a little bit of cutting, but as the figures are so gracile and skinny, it was very easy. It's a good demonstration of how compatible the kits are. +



+ Relating to this interchangeability, the connection points are very similar to the older Carnivore kit: the old heads are completely interchangeable; and some of the arms marry the old bodies perfectly, though some require a bit of work. Given the ponchos the models are wearing, I had been anticipating this, but I was delighted to find that a number of the poncho-wearing bodies had been cleverly designed to leave a recess at the shoulder – and so in a number of cases, you can slide in the old kit arms without modification. +

+ This isn't, however, universally true: some arms are designed to fit specific bodies, so do test-fit before you get gluey. Likewise, if you want to use the spares from the new kit to add some variety to the older kit, be aware that you might need to rebuild the shoulder in a few cases. You can do this with a spot of greenstuff, or by attaching an old arm, allowing the glue to set, then cutting it away to leave a flat edge to which to attach a similarly modified new arm. +


+ The sole picture of the new Shaper Kill-broker that I took. Largely built stock, I decided to go for the Kroot rifle. He has options for a pulse rifle, held up triumphantly in the now-traditional style for Shapers (don't these guys ever shoot the things?), and a pulse carbine, held as for the rifle above. +

+ Below you can see the specific choices that I made for my figures, along with some build notes; but to provide a quick summary, I'd thoroughly recommend this kit – absolutely stellar, so three mechadendrites up from me!

+++


+ From left to right: a cut-skin; cold-blood; warrior and kroothound. I had a lot of fun doing bits swaps and some minor conversion work to get a unique set of models. The cut-skin, for example, uses the spare blade left over from the Broker – added with a diagonal cut across the wrist/forearm. +

+ The cold-blood is probably the most in-depth conversion, using a set of legs and torso from the old Kroot carnivore kit. Likewise, the warrior is a combination of spares from the new kit with a body and legs from the old. While some parts require a little conversion work – typically building up or resculpting a shoulder – a lot of them work with no conversion necessary. +


+ Some of the figures are less well-suited to conversion – or the poses they’re in are already ideal to my eye . The pistolier is one such figure. Really has that alien cowboy swagger down. Also here is the second kroothound, another warrior – perhaps my favourite pose in the box – and the bow-hunter. +

+ Of course, if you convert one model from a set like this, you’re forced to convert another if you want to retain the specialist. In this case, the bow-hunter’s body was used elsewhere, so I used the left-over cold-blood body (with the supplied natural leg, rather than the bionic) for the bow-hunter. This nicely shows that there are options for interchanging bits and bobs here and there, even where a flat shoulder joint is not immediately obvious. +


+ The kroot warrior with scattergun (far left) uses the default body for the aforementioned bow-hunter. I think each specialist (or certainly the vast majority) can be assembled as a standard kroot warrior – and sometimes going the road less travelled is simply a case of building the model you like the look of best, rather than what has an in-game special rule. Here also is another warrior using the old kit as a basis – and given the number of cool spare parts, I’d thoroughly recommend mixing the old and new together – an alternative pose or head swap will go a long way to rejuvenating the (still wonderful) old kit. +

+ Third from the left here is a heavy gunner with what I’m assuming is the Londaxi tribalest, based purely on the three vanes and ‘tri’ element of the name. The new heavy guns look fun and add a nice sci-fi element to the kit. It’s worth noting, for lorehounds, that the ‘Into the dark’ booklet has lots of cool hints about other minor xenos. It also gives some more info on the kroot’s own culture. +

+ Finally here, the sharpshooter is furthest right. He’s another figure that I liked so much I left him (her?) unaltered and built stock. +


+ The last picture shows the other heavy gunner – made with the braced legs from another specialist, and a left arm donated by a regular kroot from the old kit (this required a little cut at the elbow for the correct angle). The next one along is another warrior, this one reloading his rifle. It’s the subtle poses like this that I think really add character and value to the kit as an expansion of the older kit. Here also is a demonstration of how the shoulder joints could be hidden by a shoulder pad from the old kit, if you’re not confident with building up or converting. +

+ Third from left is the Tracker. This is the only figure in the kit, I believe, that builds two of the specialists (the other is the Stalker), so you either need to decide or to convert. As I’d used some of the Stalker bits elsewhere, my kinband doesn’t have one (yet). The Tracker model is lovely as it stands, so the only change here was the use of my favourite head from the old kit. It’s this specialist that gives me my only (very) minor complaint about the kit, and that’s the lack of a Pech’ra in flight. +

+ Last here is a final kroot warrior with scattergun, rounding off a very, very fun building session. This kit is absolutely fabulous – I haven’t been as impressed with a kit since the release of the Adeptus Titanicus Warlord Titan, which I regard as the best kit GW have ever made. +

+++