+ inload: Speak not its name, for it is Xenos +

+ Speak not, think not, know not of  Xenos. Its very nature is a lie + 

+ Long buried beneath new exciting projects for the best part of a hundred millenia two years, the Necrons were understandably miffed about being left out of plans for 2023 [+Ref: prev inload+], and while they're unlikely to be taking centre stage for me, I thought it only fair to exhume them for a bit. You know how these enthusiasms take hold. +

+ Designation Samaritan [+noosphericinloadlink embedded+], pictured above gathering his forces, remains the sole fully-painted model in the force – though they have progressed a teensy-tiny bit since this one, in that they're now accompanied by considerably more friends (for whatever value of friends eternally-trapped and technologically-mangled souls can have). +

 Bob Hunk offered me the Necron side from Indomitus, so the army virtually doubled in size. Designation Samaritan is the herald of his master, himself a thrall of the enigmatic Ur-dimmu; and since I already had one stock model of a Lord, I thought it'd be nice to use the duplicate sculpt to convert up a more unique Lord. +

+ Forget about me, would they? Well, they'll pay – Just you wait... +

The new (well, relatively) Necron range is quite extensive now, so things have opened up to make converting a lot easier. The range's design consolidation means that parts from the larger Lords and Nobles can be more easily interchanged. Whether this chap will prove to be the Overlord (I suspect not...) is up to fate, but you never know. In either case, it'll be nice to have some fun converting new models. +

+ Standing beside the partially-resurrected Lord is a Cryptek. He's a special character whose name I definitely remember, *mumblemumble* the Crooked. I trimmed off the odd forearm cloak/decoration, as I felt is rather hid some nice internal details. The Crypteks in general have very much grown on me. I wasn't all that fond of them, but there's a surprising amount of character in these peculiar advisor/priest/scientists sculpts. +

+ A Destroyer Lord, converted to have a Dawn of War-style helm/headpiece/face stands beside some underlings. +

+ Said underlings have received a lick of paint. The new Necron warriors have a lot of character for such zombie-like sculpts. Regular inloaders will know I like masses of infantry, so some variation in their detailing will probably go a long way to keeping me involved. +

+ The scheme is a simple one that emphasises contrast and texture. I want my troops to look properly ancient! +

+ ...and to close out this inload, here's a picture of a Gatebreaker besides a big mech-skeleton and a little mech-skeleton. Best wishes for a great Christmas, all! +

+ inload: Planning MMXXIII +

+ Plans for MMXXIII +

+ The galaxy-spanning levels of planning in today's inload require Primarch-like concentration... +

+ Look who found the HDR option on his pictcapter. While these pict-captures weren't taken in particularly good lighting, they're certainly a bit clearer than I've been used to getting recently! +

+ Pictured above is the 'is-he-isn't-he' False Primarch, who I had been intending to show off in a bit more detail this year – not least because I'm rather pleased with how he came out. Alas, mid-December has crept up on me and I haven't quite managed to tick Some Things Are Best Left Forgotten over into the final stage V. Rather than bungle through, then, this project will be ticking over 'til the new year, when I'll be able to tackle it with a bit more vigour and vim, and with some stockpiles of new material. +

+ Anyway, as regards +Death of a Rubricist+, with Advent ticking down, I felt it a good time to gather some thoughts and write them down – as much for reference next year as anything else +

+ Fall in, and listen up! +

+ 2022 has been an odd year, hobby-wise. I've certainly got less done than in the preceding years, but given the nature of lockdown, that's perhaps unsurprising. I suspect it's also down to so much hobby time going into writing for the War of the False Primarch – which is at least a good thing. +

+ For 2023, I'm planning to tick things over. No huge ambitious plans, but rather to chip away at existing projects and scratch a few hobby itches. A consolidation, and digging down into the cupboard of opportunity. In no particular order:

+ Xenos +

+ An expanded kill-team of Kroot – the Kindred of the Bloody Moon – represent about twenty models or so to paint. That should (and I emphasise should) be a pretty compact little project, though it's precisely that sort of thinking that means they tend to get bumped in favour of off one-offs. Let's draw a line in the sand (snow?) and say that these are top priority for the rest of the year, eh? Give me a poke here or on the Facebook group to make sure I stay on track. +

+ Alaitoc Eldar – inspired by WD138 and an opposing force for my Blood Angels, these alien lovelies have been bubbling under for a while, too. That's because they represent a rather larger ambition than most of my ongoing projects, and I'm intending these to be my major 'push' for 2023. (Look out for the finished army in late 2028 or so!) +

+ Part of what's been delaying me is uncertainty on how – and whether, and how much – to convert them to better fit the retrohammer concept; or whether simply to lean into trying to paint them as nicely as I can. +

Minor xenos – poor neglected Krell (Enslavers, pictured above), ambull and a zoat. Why, oh why have these lovely sculpts lingered half-painted for so long on my shelf? It's such a shame! It's particularly egregious because there have been so few opportunities to play any games that I might as well get stuck into some one-off painting projects. Again, these are models that I want to get finished, and soon. +


+ Imperial Guard +

+ Goodness me, doesn't the HDR setting make a difference? I never need much of an excuse to default to Imperial Guardsmen, and the #lettersfromlambsworld thingie is a great excuse to hop about a bit. After the kroot, I think I'll dip back into the Lamb's World Regiments (above) for the Bolter & Chainsword's 'Muster the Guard' challenge [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+]. There are fifteen more of these, plus a Vanquisher tank. To my shame and regret, I also have three part-built chimeras – but they're such a mental drag I'm going to kick those on and make them a problem for future-me – sometimes it's best to pick your fights. +

+ Secondly, the wonderful Ever-ready Catachan 634th are proving a bit of a passion project. I'm really enjoying lavishing each model with a bit of individuality, so I'll continue building on these. Happily, there are only fifteen or so of them, so they'll be my third priority for painting next year.+

+ More puny hu-mans: the Imperial Navy. These chaps are going to be a multi-use little group, for the War of the False Primarch, Killteam gaming and (hopefully) as part of an Antona Australis PCRC group project. They'll wait until I can get some suitable bases and the rest of the PCRC are ready. +


+ Space Marines +

+ The past couple of years has seen quite a large Space Marine presence here on the blog, and that means most of the projects are either nearing completion or not due for any large expansions. +

+ The 16th Millennial of the Emperor's Children are all but complete for the moment. They just need their markings added – a relatively quick job for an evening. +

+ The War of the False Primarch. Lots of odds and sods in various scales to polish off, and the Naval killteam above rather fit in here, too. Pleasingly, these are generally one-offs, and with so many other contributors, I think my efforts are generally best spent on keeping up with the writing, and throwing in an odd new model when I can. +

+ The Gatebreakers – they just need their Land Raider to be finished. +

+ Blood Angels 3rd Company – as near to being 'finished' as a project gets, this really leads into the Eldar above. The box arrived back from GW recently, after a year or so away, so I'll have a little look through and re-assess. +


+ Titans +

+ Titanicus! Giant robots! and sadly – shamefully – unpainted. These need some love and attention sometime soon, and I'm designating them priority 2 as these are far too cool to sit half-done. In addition, I've got the rare chance to get some local gaming in, so I've got an extra kick up the bum to get Legio Validus (the yellow ones) cranked out. +


+ I'm aiming to get a couple more inloads in before the close of the year, but in case I don't, I want to wish you all the best for the coming celebrations, and thank you most sincerely for continuing to put up with inloading this croaky old medium. Here's to MMXXIII! +

+ inload: Kill Team – Silver Stars take on the Sons of Medusa +

 + Battle Report: Spite Itself +

'Hypno-indoctrination,' murmured the Officio Sabatorum Agent. 'A wondrous thing.' He glanced over at his counterpart, dimly-lit in the bucking Rhino interior.
Attaché? Warder? He hadn't been able to quite put a word to how the green-plated giant saw their relationship, but – characteristically of the Chapter – he hadn't moved to respond to the Agent's musings.

He shrugged, internally. It mattered little. If the mission was successful, neither of them would remember anything. Hypno-indoctrination was a wonderful thing, and some truths were better left covered. 


Game rules: Kill Team
Mission: Sieze Ground 
Combatants: Apologist, commanding the Silver Stars; vs Stuntwedge, commanding the Sons of Medusa.
Battleground: Thelanaxero, outskirts of the Myrean League.

Stuntwedge had built and painted a beautiful Sons of Medusa Killteam for the previous version of the game, but hadn't had a chance to take them out for a game. We played a short introductory mission, with his Sons of Medusa taking on the ill-favoured Silver Stars...


+ident: Sons of Medusa [REDACTED]{:commsvox report} +

+ They were searching for something. That much was clear. The raddled city had long been depleted of its inhabitants and defenders. Perhaps they'd left something behind? +

+ There had been a great battle here – the mission briefing had given frustratingly little data, but we knew at least of the fate of the Golden Hands. Intel was valuable, but some knowledge is best unknown. Uncertainty breeds inaction. +

+ [REDACTED] leads the [REDACTED] against the Penarchy of Blood some days earlier. The debris and casualties still lay unclaimed amidst the ruins. +

+ Regardless, the details didn't warrant speculation. If they were searching for it, by implication we needed to find – or destroy – it first. +


+ In the opening turns, each Killteam claimed an objective each, and crept up on each other through the dense terrain. +

+ We had been advancing through what had been the theatre district. The Others had been playing cat-and-mouse with auspex baffles and noospheric pings; but few knew how to ply the machine-spirits like the Sons of Medusa. They were cunningly hidden, but by identifying chordal lacunae, they appeared; one-by-one, to us. Six in total. I cautiously waved my men forward, and we claimed one of the likely locations. +

+ Nothing. +

+ We found nothing, saw nothing. +

+ Which is not to say we were blind... +

+ The Others were moving out to the flanks. We played a dangerous game in allowing them to think we were unaware of their movements – but the briefing reports of them wearing Mark II plate gave us reassurance that they could not interdict our close-bead comms. +

+ Surreptitiously, we moved into cover, spreading out and moving upwards. Little did we realise that the Others were doing much the same... until the first shots rang out.  +

+ Built for a previous version of the game, the Terminator simply counted as the squad Sergeant +

+ Boltgun fire. Nothing heavier. We'd brought a plasma gun to cut through their antiquated plate, but they were still using tactics that had been outdated for millennia. It rang from Mark VII plate – and I berated my brethren for being caught out. +

+ Our return fire clipped one of the Others. Commendable. +

+ I was right about the armour, at least. A flurry of shots knocked one of the Others from his perch. Judging by the heavy thud, he had been dead before he hit the ground. +

+ We were clustered – better able to support each other than the Others were – and their attempt to kettle us simply meant that they were now unable to respond on the right flank. A number of the objectives would be beyond their reach in the immediate term. +

+ They didn't give up, however – and while I hadn't expected them to be caught by surprise, I hadn't expected them to respond so quickly. It was like punching a wave: as one was driven back, it forced the others forward. +

+ The shots coming in on our firebase – our plasma gunner and an attendant Tactical marine – forced them to displace, with little but minor wounds. I pressed on, keen to sack the pre-marked objectives and deny whatever value they had to the Others while it was still possible. +

+ Midpoint of the engagement. One Silver Star down, one wounded, and the Sons of Medusa sporting minor wounds. Each side had claimed three objectives – but the Sons of Medusa had occupied the one by the abandoned Predator. Could they activate it before the Stars could drive him off? +

+ Tit-for-tat fire characterised the remainder of the engagement – and I felt that simple arithmetic would find in our favour. Two of their were down, and while we had sustained wounds, we were still fighting fit. The Others were out of position, too. I expected them to fall back. +

+ ...and yet they surprised us. Throne forgive me, but one of them had got past us. While the three remaining Others scurried down back-alleys to emerge on the left, one emerged on the right and gunned down my Brother by the ruined Predator. +

+ We responded admirably, and repositioned to bracket him, but the odds were suddenly evening. +

+ Frantic close-range fire erupted – and as I dropped a frag grenade to spoil the final objective, they charged. Another of my brethren was felled; his position outflanked and his securely-chosen position proving his undoing. Their Sergeant gutted him with a power blade, and none of us were able to respond. +

+ Grim-faced, both teams withdrew. Both of us had sustained casualties, but the day was ours. We had learned nothing, but more importantly, had ruined whatever they came for. +

+ This victory was spite itself. +

+ Result: Sons of Medusa victory! +

+ A fun little game, we used just the basic rules and mirror-Kill Teams (with the exception that the Sons of Medusa had a plasma gun) to work through the mechanics together. +

+ Apologies for the rather vague pictures – Kill Team is great to play, but the density of terrain doesn't make for the clearest reports! +

+ I hope I'll be able to show more of Stuntwedge's awesome Sons of Medusa (and other PCRC Killteams) sometime soon. +


+ inload: Letters from Lamb's World +

 + Letters from Lamb’s World +

‘Six of us, all sharing a bunk room, we were. Privileged, I felt, for we were expecting something more like a dozen, perhaps a score. So to have just five others to share the space was, well; a prize I felt it was.’

’Afterwards, of course, I realised that doubly blessed I’d been; for it meant all of us we were less likely to lose a bunk mate. All those in the bigger rooms in the barracks, rare it was to find someone who hadn’t lost a friend. That all six of us were still around was… well, quite unusual.’

+ 'In the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war' – and 'whatever happens, you will not be missed'. +

+ Those quotes are core to 40k, and nicely highlight what a horrible time it would be to live. I wanted to humanise things a little, and who better to illustrate this with than the inhabitants of the little backwater Rainworld, Lamb's World? +

+ Over on Instagram, I've started a tag #lettersfromlambsworld. It's a busy time at the moment, so this isn't a grand project (I've enough of those ticking over!), just an invitation for you to post up a Guardsman of your own, along with a short piece of colour text framed as him or her writing home. I'd encourage a rather less bleak and grand tone as the core 40k quotes above – life becomes hard during an eternal war, but it must go on; and there's space for hope, virtue, comradeship and goodness in the small spaces around the horror of the time. +

+ If you'd like him or her to be from Lamb's World, please feel free. If not, then all other regiments are welcome, too. +


+ The first squad of the expansion is all complete, bar basing. I'll do that in one fell swoop when I've finished all twenty-five. +

+ The six new figures are shown here. Aware that my stock of Elysian models is running down, I've long included bits from other ranges, and will continue to do so with the latest Cadians. Here, for example, the melta-gunner has a chaos renegade gun and a Victoria miniatures torso. There are a couple of FW Van Saar upgrade heads, too. Little touches like this will blur the lines between the older troops and the inevitable stage when my stash of Elysian kit runs dry. + 

+ ...But that day has not yet come! Next on the bench are this half-dozen, which includes two sergeants/junior officers. The others are fairly anonymous line troopers – while it's fun to build more unusual, stand-out figures, I prefer to have some 'whispering' models so that the 'shouting' ones (literally, in this example) can stand out. +

+ Another angle on the new six. +

+ inload: Big guns never tire +

+ Imperial Guard field guns +

I've been saying we need fire support – you think the supplies have arrived?

+ Ka-boom! What do you call a tank without a hull or tracks or a turret? Well, a wreck, probably, but it appears that this is how I've decided to start an inload on big field guns, so let's make our peace with it and move on. +

+ The Field Ordnance Battery, or FOB (which gives pleasing onomatopoeic imagery) is a new addition to the Imperial Guard Codex, and finally allows Guard players to have field guns, something they haven't really had since 2nd edition. +

+ Field guns are not something that I've ever really felt the absence of in 40k – but now they're here, they seem an obvious missing piece for the Guard. For me, they look like a good balance between a centrepiece-size unit (like a tank) with the character of infantry. Little mini-dioramas – very cool. + 

I'm hoping for the big Cadia Stands boxed set for Sanguinalia, but bought these second-hand – partly because they were a bit of a bargain, and partly because I wanted to see how the new figures compare in scale. +

+ As noted elsewhere, I've collected a few Lamb's World armies over the years, and ended up settling on using the Elysian models as a basis because they were much better-proportioned than the old Cadian plastics. Combining them with the Cadian upgrade sets from Forgeworld (to differentiate them from the Elysians) made them eye-wateringly expensive, so I'm delighted to see that the new Guard models are much more reasonably sized, as you can see in the comparison image above, and will fit in largely unaltered. +

+ I've built this gun completely stock, and visually, I think they'll fit in to my Lamb's World force without any modifications. I will, however, likely chop and change a few bits and bobs to help integrate things – and I'm likely to include parts of the new Cadians (particularly the awesome heads) in any future Elysian-based Lamb's Worlders I make. +


+ Field Ordnance Battery mini-review +

+ The kit comes on three sprues (two of the one on the left, one of the one on the right), and builds two guns with three crew members each. It seems quite well future-proofed, as all the Regiment-specific crew are on one sprue. If GW are canny enough to expand regiments like the Death Korps or Catachan Jungle Fighters, I hope we see crew sprues for them, too. +

+ The gun itself goes together very nicely, and there are some clever touches to make it sturdier than I feared, including a two-part winding handle(?) at the back, to which the sitting crewman attaches. This is a neat way to make this potentially fragile part a bit sturdier. +

+ There are a few options in the kit. Most obviously there are three different guns: what looks like a lascannon, the 'standard' big gun I've used above, and a multiple missile launcher. Now, I like werfing nebels as much as the next man, so I suspect I'll probably try building one of the other options when I tackle the next gun. +

+ The crew are the star of the show for me, and I love the new look Cadians. A huge improvement over the older models. There's lots of options here, and some very characterful parts like the fingers tapping the side of the helm/cap, presumably to listen in to some vox note. The kit looks like it's had a lot of thought put into it. There are some cool little touches like rank stripes on some of the right arms, two options for the manned winding handles (so not every gun will have an identical sitting crew member) plus an ungripped version, so you can have your crew standing away from the breech, should you wish. There's also a very welcome surplus of heads – there's something like a dozen, which means you'll be unlikely to have identikit guns. +

+ It's not all glitter; there are some less than ideal joining points – it would have been nice to have gun barrels that don't have a great big seam running down the most obvious point, for example – and the crew members' legs are awkward to put together. These are fairly minor problems, and I certainly don't think they should stop you from picking up a set if you're in the Guard. +


+ Lamb's World reorg and resupply +

+ Painting continues on the Lamb's World infantry, too, with four of them complete save for basing and orange shoulder stripes. The remainder of the first squad are ticking along too, as you can see below:

+ It's been a real treat to return to the painting this scheme, and although I'm a bit rusty on the details, I think it's close enough to the originals for these to fit in alongside them without sticking out too much. +

+ As usual, most of the fun comes in for the last minutes, as I work on the faces and details. Random chance – or happy accidents – mean that a slight twitch in brushstroke or variety in tone can give a different character to a model's face, even if the underlying sculpt is the same. The model immediately below, for example, ended up looking curiously worried to me, so he ended up with a bit of lasgun graffiti. I used an off-white for this, so it doesn't stand out too much. +

+ On this grenade-lobbing, autogun-toting, helmet-spurning model, I had to add a little dollop of greenstuff to help the Van Saar head his on the Elysian neck. Rather than trying to hide the join, I sculpted a little neckscarf. Little flashes like this add some humanity to the army, I think.

+ Being a Guard fan, I've been keeping an ear open about the new Codex, and it's sounding like the army's not going to need too much reorganisation. The main change that affects me is the removal of Special Weapon squads. I've got two of those – one with meltas and one with Sniper Rifles. From the sounds of things, however, there are options for infantry squads to take two special weapons, so it may simply be a case of spreading things round (since I didn't take heavy weapons in squads anyway). Another option is for some of the special weapons to go into command squads. +

+ I'm quite excited about the command squad approach, as from the sounds of things they're going to get some fun upgrade options, including ogryns. It'd be nice to add a couple of bodyguards here and there to boost my ogryn numbers.