Sunday, 1 July 2018

Latest projects hobby update - thousand sons, knight and eldar.

Hi guys,

I've been in a bit of a hobby lull for the past 2 months without much progress on things. I was supposed to be participating in a tale of gamers project with others at the gaming club but unfortunately failed my first months pledge of thousand sons terminators, but instead completed a custom heldrake. I was supposed to then complete the terminators for the second month but have barely done a thing to them due to working on our club scenery and also making a start on my knights. A bit of work on dark angels and eldar to prepare them for games has also drawn me away. I guess it's not as if I've ultimately done no hobbying, just focussed more on gaming and other projects not on the schedule. 





On the plus side I've hit a hobby milestone by finally investing in an airbrush, the results of which can be seen above with my scratchbuild Heldrake. I'm pretty pleased for my first effort and hope that once I get a decent extractor setup I can do more airbrush projects. As for conventional bursh painting, below can be seen my finished scarab occult terminator and a WIP custom autarch 'Kayleth' base on dawn of war 2. Speaking of airbrushing, I've made a start on expanding my knights collection. I previously had a freeblade knight and a couple of unassembled knights from renegade and a pair of armiger warglaives from forgebane. I've now started to basecoat these chaps using the airbrush so hopefully won't be too long til I have my custom house comprised of various outcasts and freeblades ready for action. 




Sunday, 13 May 2018

Imperial soup army - Ultra-Mordians. Plus Thousand Sons.


Hi all. Though technically this isn’t exclusively a non space marine army I just wanted to share it and haven’t updated this blog in a few months. Sidetracking for a moment, I’ve organised a tale of gamers type event at my local club with 12 of us participating, mostly 40k. This is to incentivise is all to regularly commit to painting up and gradually building an army of choice. Although I still have a couple of outstanding hobby commitments (namely admech and imperial guard) I’m trying to move on to chaos stuff now and this seemed a good way to do it. My first fully painted model can be seen below. Another aside, I will share pics of my genestealer Cult army in a post soon. 


Back to business. I chose this army as I wanted to paint a few marines to base standard and some imperial guard also. I’ve always loved the Mordian models and so though lt a small detachment of them would be great. In addition, I have the Guilleman model but have never used him in battle so now seemed a good time. Hence the ultramordians were born. It was a 1500 point battle and I think at this points level g-man, beast that he is, is a little too pricey relative to the overall army cost. I won one game and lost 2 (one of which was to the overall winner) but had a great day and feel I made a good achievement getting everything painted to tabletop standards. Cheers.

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Adeptus Custodes are here!


Custodes today folks. I started out with a set from burning of Prospero and magnetised them to switch between options. The talons of the emperor boxed set seemed like such a good deal that I got a set except I sold on the static contemptor and got ahold of one of the snazzy fw ones to proxy, though now it seems you can use them anyway. A few more additions came along with advent of their glorious codex doubling the size of my force to what you now see. 



They’ve all been basecoated with the good spray except for the 5 original ones who were painted the same gold but then washed and highlighted. Originally I had intended on an industrial theme using sector mechanicus for the bases but now there are so many models of different base size in the army I decided to change themes and try something new in the form of a textured rolling pin of ancient ruins. I think it turned out pretty well - finished ones can be seen below. 



That’s the army for now. First few ventures with them have been fun and I hope to further expand them once the Forgeworld list becomes available. The new 30k shield captain and the hover tank are the items I’m eyeing up.  Cheers. 




Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Hobby update (well it's about time) - Tau!


Well, remember how I said this year would be about finishing off a few marine projects then getting stuck into other imperial/xenos things before turning to chaos about halfway through the year? It's kind of happening but as usual a bit more haphazard and slower than anticipated. The marine projects are all but at an end now and so I'm free to crack on with other things. These have been to build a few Imperial guard, get all my scenery assembled and base-coated and to get the Tau complete. I'm using the codex release schedule as a rough guide so expect a few necron characters and scarabs to get done over the next few weeks with dark eldar rebasing after that. For now though, here's what's been going on with the Tau.

This army was started about a year after I got back into 40k (so around 10 years ago) as my first stint with 40k ended in 2nd edition before the Tau were dreamed up. I liked the concept and aesthetics of them and so bought a few of the army boxes. I've added to them gradually over the years - generally speaking by adding one of every release (plus the awesome Supremacy suit). I've a few models that I wish to one day add - namely vespids and shadowsun, but other than that they're done. One dilemma I have with them is that I can't decide between ochre and desert yellow as a colour scheme. Either way I won't give them any more colour until I have an airbrush setup, but they're ready for the tabletop now. Cheers. 









Sunday, 31 December 2017

Goodbye 2017 - and welcome 2018




Greetings folks. 

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and the end of 2017 is nigh. Non-marine projects have been pretty low key this year as expected but there's still been some love for them. To recap, my grand plan is to finish my Marine armies to a stage I'm happy with (which I hope to achieve by June latest next year - see my other blog) and then move on to non-marine/non-chaos projects before selling my soul to chaos entirely. Here's the run down:

Talons - I built up a couple of boxes of Talons and had a great game with them a few weeks back (land raider is a beast) - they look awesome on the tabletop and are rock hard in combat. Hoping to get more games in next year. 


Harlequins - Finally assembled the death masque sets and had a bit of a painting disaster when my corax white spray peppered them all. A day of stripping paint solved it and then I got a game in against death guard. Wow, they're fast but flimsy. One of my favourite model ranges GW produce. 


Eldar - When the codex dropped I split my Alaitoc force up to give me a smaller Alaitoc army and the beginnings of 4 smaller forces each representing a main craftworld. I aim to bolster these over time. The new codex makes Eldar a lot of fun to play with and I've got a couple of games in with them so far. I finally reassembled my poor, broken Phantom and got him sprayed up. Now I need to find somewhere to store him!


Necrons - earlier in the year  I had a Necron hobby sesh and now there are just a few scarab bases and characters needing a spray left. 


Genecults - The army I've been working on most recently as between Overkill, a FB trade buy and a couple of the Xmas box sets I've got a decent sized army. Only a few infantry and vehicles left to assemble and I can start spraying them up. 


Scenery - the past week I have had a good go through, assemble and spray of all the scenery I have to make it more tabletop friendly. Still missing LOS blocking terrain sadly but next year I am aiming to add a realm of battle to my collection and now I have scenery to populate it with. It will get its own post in the near future.


Going forward into 2018 I hope to transition from marines to non-Chaos armies in the first half of the year. The two armies I want to address mainly are Guard and Admech, both of which I have sitting in boxes waiting for some love. Towards the end of the year I then want to start moving towards Chaos, starting with Death guard. Obviously GW will throw some interesting releases out there over the next year (Sisters please!) so that's sure to shake things up a bit. As well as  getting the rest of the codexes updated and focussing on secondary games like Necromunda and Titanicus, I'm really curious to see what the next year holds for GW releases. Predictions: Khorne marines, Sisters of Battle, Arbites, more Primaris, Slaanesh daemons. We shall see.
All the best folks.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Eldar Harlequin 8th edition review / tactica


A disclaimer as we begin – I am no expert in tactics for 40K and am much more a hobbyist. Having said this, I have dedicated a reasonable amount of time over the past month to how to use harlequins in 8th and watching several battle reports to get a feel for them. I also played a game with them recently that gave me further insight. This will try to address a few things that I learned.

Overview

First turn is key. Already it is becoming clear that this is a factor in 8th, even more so for Harlequins, who rely on their speed and hard hitting ability to turn things to their favour early on. When it comes to staying power, they have the advantage of a 50/50 chance everytime, but are pricey, low toughness models and thus don’t really have any staying power. Thus it’s ever more important to get where you want to be and do what you need to do fast.

In general, all units will have a 4++ and can pretty much ignore cover making life very easy when deciding where to go and what to do next. Everything is darn fast in the army, with the infantry moving 8”, bikes/skimmers 16” and the solitaire at least 12”. Added to that, all the non-vehicle units have the rising crescendo rule, meaning they can still advance, fire assault weapons (in the case of the bikes) and then charge in the same turn. This makes their threat range greater than that of 24” and, when added to rules such as blur of colour (for the skyweavers) and the Solitaires psychic boosts they are ludicrously fast. Rising crescendo has another perk, in that you can fall back from combat with impunity and still shoot and charge in the same turn. Extremely good assuming you or your opponents survive 2 combats if you charged, or if you’re locked and losing badly against a counter-charge by one of their elite melee units. Simply leave the combat, fusion something then charge something else.

Close combat weapons choice is a tricky one for the same reasons that choosing between power axes, swords and mauls can be. They are all good for different situations and you will only have the option to run them on Troupe Masters, Players and (compulsory) on Solitaires. The Troupe Master is wasted if he hasn't got at least a power sword, and the Troupes I would tend to upgrade 2-3 of the models leaving the rest as ablative wounds. The standard weapon will still cost you 1 point and has no benefits so bear this in mind when allocating points to upgrade them. The 3 meaty weapons are the kiss (s4, ap-1, dD3) at 14 points, caress (s5 ap-2 d1) at 9 points and embrace (s4 ap-3 d1) at 6 points. There's no real right or wrong as to which is best to take but I tend to steer towards the caress as the middle ground. Perhaps a mixtue, say 1 of each per Troupe is a good way to experiment and naturally different weapons will be more or less effective against different units). Remember, the most effective way to increase your damage output is going to be to have a Troupe master nearby and increasing the hitting strength of your army by rerolling wounds.

A word on leadership, I personally wouldn’t worry about taking anything that bolsters your leadership as if we assume a unit is no larger than 5 models in the whole army, the lowest leadership value is 8. Even if you only had one man left in that unit having taken 4 casualties that turn, you still have a 2/3 chance to pass and at worst would lose one more.

Try to deploy as close to the enemy as possible taking advantage of LOS blocking terrain. Cover is totally irrelevant for an army of ++ saves so unless it blocks LOS, just go for it. You should aim to keep units as small as possible – best way I’ve found is to put 5-man Troupes into starweavers with a character then some bikes, which at 1500 points should only leave you with 5-6 units on the table, which can immediately jump out if need be.

Warlord traits wise, whichever you choose you’ll likely be putting it on a Troupe Master or Solitaire. Inspiring leader is not so useful as you will not really need it with MSU. In terms of the others, legendary fighter means you will get an extra attack when you charge (most of the time) and tenacious fighter gives you a 6+ feel no pain. I would choose legendary fighter personally – Harlequins aren’t known for their resilience but making hard hitters hit that little bit extra hard is useful. Command rerolls are very useful for when you fail a ++ save that kills a character or miss that all important fusion shot. Counter-offensive too is very useful as once you’ve wiped the floor with the first enemy units you may well find yourself being charged. Chances are that insane bravery won’t be very useful if you are running MSU.

Units worth taking


Troupe Master – take at least one and keep near your troupes. The reason for this is he grants rerolls to wound for units within 6” in the fight phase – this is essential for a CC army with low strength. This chap should be tooled up with a fusion pistol for certain (to take advantage of his BS2+) and a close combat weapon of your choice. High attacks and wounds make him semi-resiliant, but I would avoid going toe-to-toe with any close combat units / characters without backup.


Shadowseer - your only Psyker and, IMO, worth bringing every time. It is also you most expensive unit. With a comparable profile to the Troupe Master (minus a couple of attacks) and a few pieces of wargear included in the profile, a Shadowseer is still almost double the cost of a tooled up Master. However, it does bring a few tricks along that will benefit the army as a whole so make sure to keep other units nearby. First though, the standard wargear is a hallucinogen grenade launcher, which can cause d3 mortal wounds at 18" if you roll higher than the units leadership on 2D6. Added to smite as a standard power (more on others in a moment) and you have the capacity to put out up to 6 mortal wounds per turn! It can also equip a neuro disruptor (no fusion) but I wouldn't bother. The other weapon is a mistave, s+2, ap-1, dD3, effectively a force stave and reasonable melee weapon.

Now we get to the interesting part. Its shield from harm ability grants a global -1 to wound rolls against the shadowseer and any Harlequins within 6". Given their relative fragility, this can be crucial in turning those S6+ wound rolls from 2+ to 3+, S4 from 3+ to 4+ and S3 from 4+ to 5+. It is a level 2 psyker and can use the phantasmancy powers, which do the following. Twilight pathways is WC6 and the most useful IMO. A friendly unit within 3" can immediately move as if it were the movement phase, including advancing! A great way to get first turn charges off. The second power, fog of dreams, is WC7 and targets an enemy unit in 18". If successful, that unit must -1 to its to hit rolls. Great for softening up a threat that will be a challenge in combat or that you expect to lay down heavy fire on you next turn. Lastly, Mirror of minds is WC8 and allows you to pick on an enemy unit within 24". Each roll a D6 and so long as your roll is equal or higher then you inflict a mortal wound. Repeat until the unit is destroyed or they roll higher. Might get lucky and inflict some damage and don't forget that a command re-roll can be useful here.


Solitaire - the solitaire fills a unique niche in the army list (and thus only one can be taken) and is effectively a super Troupe Master with the same stats except for 12” move (!) and 8 attacks (!!). Comes with a Harlequins kiss and caress as standard and has the same rising crescendo rule/flip belt as the rest of the army. That on its own is pretty formidable, but the Solitaire also has a 3++ save for extra durability. Lastly, the blitz rule now means that the Solitaire can make a once per game blitz move in order to add 2D6 to its move and increase attacks to 10. (this doesn’t stack with twilight pathways) Unless you’ve been significantly outmanoeuvred I would try to use this for your first turn alpha strike as for several reasons. Firstly, a 3++ is great but he’s still only T3 with 5 wounds and so will go down pretty easily still. Secondly, there’s no reason not to advance all the time due to lack of ranged weaponry, so it’s likely you’ll get into charge range with 12 + 3D6. Being able to switch between the kiss and caress is useful to tailor it to targets, and ideally try to get a Troupe Master in 6” too. 


Troupes – MSU seems to be the way forward as mentioned above. I tried with larger squads but they just didn’t work as well, lacking the staying power. These chaps will likely make up the majority of your army and should be tooled up as seen fit. I would tend to take units of 5 and keep 2-3 of the models tooled up and the others bare – this will allow you to remove ablative wounds while retaining the maximum effectiveness of the unit, whereas spreading the weapons around the models would mean tough choices early on as the casualties mount up. 2 fusion pistols seems about right, and the same for close combat weapons of your choice. Their 4 attacks each make the CCWs very cost-effective, but you need fusion wherever you can get it for anti-tank/monster in this army and so have little choice on that front. That being said shuriken pistols are far from shabby when you roll the occasional 6, but avoid the neuro disruptor (mentioned below). Incidentally, don't forget every unit has prismatic grenades which at d6, S4, -1AP are worth a shot.


Starweavers – Reasonably fragile with only T5 and 6 wounds but there are a few tricks that help it to survive a bit longer. Firstly, a 4++ and -1 to hit against it in the shooting phase. Secondly, auto-advance 6” to make a 22” move out of danger if need be. Combine this with a range of 24” on its 6 assault weapon shots and you can move yourself away from harm and still fire hitting on a 4+ to a decent range. The real purpose of the starweaver becomes clear in its supporting role. Being used as a transport to keep your deployment model count low and help gain first turn is one of its most useful roles, as well as providing relative safety to your troupes should you lose first turn. Supporting up close is another key role, allowing fusion pistols to do ‘drive-by’ shooting by way of open-topped (while again keeping passenger relatively safe) and being able to tank overwatch fire for its passengers should you be expecting high volumes when charging (it's no slouch in combat either). Lastly, it is excellent for running off and grabbing objectives while the troupes get stuck in or evacuating troupes when need be. An excellent unit and I would recommend one per Troupe if you’re going down the MSU route.    


Skyweavers – another excellent unit, though beware charging anything with D3/3 damage weapons as they will kill them off very quickly. 3 wounds a piece, with a 4++, -1 for enemy shooting at them and an auto-6 to advance. As with the voidweaver below, I would avoid taking anything other than the shuriken cannon on them as the haywire is a heavy weapon and will incur a -1 to hit penalty, plus can’t be fired if you advance. Star bolas are nice but as they’re grenades you will have limited range and again can’t use them if you advanced. The best upgrade is the zephyglaive, giving you +1S, Ap-2 and 2 damage. I would outfit as many bikes as you can with this in the hope that you will get into CC first turn and start wreaking havoc with their 3 attacks each. (strangely less than a player) It may be worth leaving a bike or two as ablative wounds and I would take a maximum of 6 per unit.


What best to avoid

Neuro disruptors – slightly more expensive than fusion pistols but with no advantages save for range. Avoid.



Death Jester - this is a model I want to love but am finding it tricky to, thus he doesn’t really make the cut I’m afraid. Points wise he’s about the same as a tooled up Troupe Master and comes armed with a shrieker cannon. First the pros: he can target a character even if it’s not the closest and has the same flip belt, holo-suit and rising crescendo as the other infantry. Now the bad. The Shrieker is a standard shuriken cannon which is widely available on your vehicles anyway. The alt mode fire is a single S6 AP0 D1 shot which, unless you roll a 6 (making it -3AP) is fairly mediocre and certainly not going to inspire fear in many characters. If any attacks should slay a model (in the unlikely event that you use him to shoot regular infantry instead of sniping) then you do get the (back to the pros) benefit of inflicting D3 mortal wounds. Lastly, if any models flee from a unit in the same turn the Death Jester attacked it (note, you don’t have to even hit or attack in the shooting phase even) then you can choose the first model to flee.

So, he’s a bit of an odd one. Most of his rules seem geared up to benefit you if you are attacking squads, but then he has the ability to snipe characters. The ant-infantry ability is good, but then you need to really roll a 6 to wound or rely on your opponent to fail an un-modified roll to benefit from the mortal wounds. Also, choosing the model to remove from the board is all well and good, but they are unlikely to fail the morale check from the Jester alone. Perhaps targeting the unit with another of your units first to mount up the casualties before attacking with the Jester and hopefully forcing that morale check is best. I expect a point reduction or rules improvement when the real Codex comes out.  Saying that, he did win me a game by being pretty much the only thing left on the board at the end, but that was only because he was so crap I didn’t really do much with him nor was he even worth my opponent shooting at him! 


Voidweavers – effectively the same as a starweaver, you are sacrificing an ever useful transport ability for the ability to shoot an extra weapon. Sadly, this weapon will be of the heavy variety and thus will be shooting at -1 should you move. All weapons have a range of 24”, which begs the question if you can get into that range anyway why are you not simply deploying models with fusion weaponry to destroy big nasties. I don’t think that they have the staying power nor firepower to go toe-to-toe with long-mid range firepower that other armies can put out, and thus you’d be better off pouring the points into other units.

Take home messages

All in all Harlequins are a fun little army that rely on synergy from their characters (as many do) to be fully effective. MSU seems to be the way forward and, though I'm sure people use them, I personally steer clear of voidweavers and death jesters. Deployment and target priority are key in the first turn - hit things hard where you need to while you still have the numbers and don't be afraid to focus on one chunk of the army, wiping them out totally before moving on to the next. Also, while the infantry do the majority of the killing your transports are ideal to lay down some ranged fire support while grabbing distant objective.

Don’t forget, as I did on the first turn, that your pistol weapons will not be able to fire if you used rising crescendo to advance. This may be important as it may mean the difference between getting into charge range or not, making starweavers even more attractive to protect your units. Having said that, with the help of a solitaire, there’s no reason at least one of your Troupes (and bikes) can’t get into charges first turn unless your opponent is particularly cunning.

Example 1500 point build:

HQ
Troupe Master
1
59
fusion, caress
18
77
HQ
Troupe Master
1
59
fusion, embrace
15
74
HQ
Shadowseer
1
134
miststave
0
134
Elite
Solitaire
1
94
caress, kiss
23
117
Troops
Troupe
5
75
2 fusion, caress, kiss, embrace
49
124
Troops
Troupe
5
75
3 fusion, caress, kiss, embrace
49
124
Troops
Troupe
5
75
4 fusion, caress, kiss, embrace
49
124
Troops
Troupe
5
75
5 fusion, caress, embrace
36
111
Transport
Starweaver
1
79
2 shuricannon
20
99
Transport
Starweaver
1
79
2 shuricannon
20
99
Transport
Starweaver
1
79
2 shuricannon
20
99
Transport
Starweaver
1
79
2 shuricannon
20
99
Fast
Skyweavers
5
175
4 zephyrglaives
44
219






1500


Example 2000 point build:

HQ
Troupe Master
1
59
fusion, caress
18
77
HQ
Troupe Master
1
59
fusion, embrace
15
74
HQ
Troupe Master
1
59
fusion, kiss
23
82
HQ
Shadowseer
1
134
miststave
0
134
HQ
Shadowseer
1
134
miststave
0
134
Elite
Solitaire
1
94
caress, kiss
23
117
Troops
Troupe
5
75
2 fusion, caress, kiss, embrace
49
124
Troops
Troupe
5
75
3 fusion, caress, kiss, embrace
49
124
Troops
Troupe
5
75
4 fusion, caress, kiss, embrace
49
124
Troops
Troupe
5
75
5 fusion, caress, kiss, embrace
49
124
Troops
Troupe
5
75
6 fusion, caress, kiss, embrace
49
124
Transport
Starweaver
1
79
2 shuricannon
20
99
Transport
Starweaver
1
79
2 shuricannon
20
99
Transport
Starweaver
1
79
2 shuricannon
20
99
Transport
Starweaver
1
79
2 shuricannon
20
99
Transport
Starweaver
1
79
2 shuricannon
20
99
Fast
Skyweavers
6
210
5 zephyrglaives
55
265






1998

Please let me know if I have made any mistakes and I hope this has been a useful guide. Also, though I didn't read it til after I had written this article it's definitely worth checking out the 4chan article on 8th edition tactics HERE. Cheers.