Tuesday 1 May 2018

The Return to Commorragh...

Seeds of Evil

Greetings and salutations!

Today I want to talk about my Dark Eldar Haemonculus Coven.  I built a small number of them some time ago for a one off event that I ran called the Blood Games which was a sort of gladiatorial games set in Commorragh.

With the release of the new Dark Eldar / Drukhari Codex, I thought I'd have a little ramble about my thoughts on the Codex and share some images of how I'm reviving the force.

My observations on the Codex are limited mainly to the Coven units and shouldn't really be taken as having any battlefield value as quite frankly, my tactical genius extends only as far as making a themed army that looks great as it's wiped off the table!

My approach to battle and regard for my men's safety was recently likened to Wellington...

"An extraordinary affair. I gave them their orders and they wanted to stay and discuss them..."
If you don't like your own fingers then Drukhari are for you.  Be safe in the knowledge that should you ever require a lethal weapon to defend your home, look no further than a Dark Eldar Raider...

The Drukhari Codex

Although I understand why the Indexes were produced, I still found that they sucked the life out of the armies, leaving them as dry and lifeless husks.  Much like the effect of a hot summer on the British.

Well, I was extremely pleased to see that GW have restored not only the former glory of the Drukhari, but also breathed some new life into them as well.  Where the Indexes reduced the races to very bland variations of the same core troops, the Codexes have restored what was lost, with the individual qualities of the Dark Eldar coming back to the fore.

The Drukhari are once again a fragile but deadly force with a very distinct style of play.  Much like a scalpel, they need to be used with precision and planning to get the best results.  Which is why when I play them, they tend to get bludgeoned to death by thunder hammers on turn 2 after being poorly positioned!

Having said that, they are an absolute joy to play with in 8th edition.  The new strategems provide really useful benefits which you can use in lots of different situations rather than requiring a contrived and overly complicated A-team style plan in order to use them...

Tau dementia is common - help your commander by placing him in familiar surroundings at just the right moment...

My favourite aspect of the new Codex is the fact that Incubi, Scourges and Mandrakes are now free agents, effectively allowing you to drop them into detachments without causing all of your other units to lose army traits and have some sort of existential / self-determination crisis mid-battle.

This free agent mechanic has led me to cast a slightly wider net when planning my Haemonculus Coven expansion.  As Covens traditionally don't do well against armoured targets (because it's hard to poison a land raider), I decided that I needed some mobile heavy weapons in order to dish out some anti-tank nastiness.  And to that end, I have created this bad boy...

Wrack Scourge with blaster and hideous humpy bone wings!
Eventually, he'll be part of a whole unit with two blasters and two haywire blasters. Tanks shall be nommed....

So what the hell have I been up to?!

As well as adding some more outlandish conversions, I've also been revisiting the original units and either touching up worn paint jobs or just expanding the units.  I have more planned for the force but it's mainly WIP at the moment.  My chosen Coven is The Hex...

Hex Then...

Utterly Grotesque

 Hex Now... 


Wrack Knight

And finally, I'd like to show you one of my more diabolical creations.  As usual, I started work on this some time ago and it's not finished yet although the new Codex has given me the foot up the arse I needed to get him painted!

In-game he's an Eldar Wraith Knight armed with a giant Husk blade (Wraith Knight Glaive), a Shadow Field (Scatter Shield) and Disintegrator Cannons instead of Eldar Starcannons as they cost the same and vary only slightly in their profile.

I played a game with him on Saturday and even though he doesn't benefit from any of the Codex rules, he's still an absolute beast!!

Concept Sketch
Magnus Body and Heavily modified Wraith Knight legs were the basis for this conversion...

Clearly having a dump
My hump, my hump, my lovely bony lumps
Slimmed down legs and reversed joints
...can we get ice-cream please dad?

Wrack for scale...
Building up the hump in layers was key to getting some nice detailing

First lick of paint! Plenty more work to do!
                   Just time for one last sneak peak of things to come...
Can you guess what it is yet?!

Friday 27 April 2018

Motivated by the movies

That city.  It needs to be flatter.

So, I wanted to talk about the recent Pacific Rim Uprising movie release and how it's influenced my hobby drive.  As you'll probably guess from my blog title, big creature features are something I'm into in a big way - if you don't want to read a madman's frothings over big ol' monsters, then look away now!

It's easy to start a big project then get distracted by the next big thing, particularly with the pace of new releases for games such as 40K and Age of Sigmar being so prolific.  As such, I have a number of projects which I have started with the best of intentions, but have ended up on the back burner because I saw something new and got distr...

I was so excited to see Pacific Rim Uprising as I was such a massive fan of the original.  Giant robots fighting giant monsters - what's not to love?!  It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it does irritate me slightly when people go to see a Kaiju / robot movie then complain that it was all pew pew lasers and fighting.  It's kind of obvious what the film is going to be about; if someone's engineered a giant robot, it's probably not for stacking shelves or starring in their own sitcom...

Now Uprising isn't without its flaws - some of the acting and writing is just about on the right side of camp and the action sequences don't have quite as much impact as the original movie did.

It does have all new Jaegers and Kaiju in it though - rather than re-treading old ground, they've gone for something a little different.  For instance, the Jaeger builders have clearly realised that shooting and stabbing works better than punching and kicking giant monsters to death!  As such, the Jaegers are armed with a plethora of new and interesting weaponry!

That said, I do feel that it loses some of the scale and charm of the original movie where the titanic mechs and monsters grappled and socked each other in the kisser at relatively slow speeds.  It added gravitas to everything they did instead of feeling like action figures hopping around the city (bloody transformers movies...).  It's not surprising given that Del Toro wanted the original to take on aspects of luchador wrestling which he enjoyed as a child.

Despite the shift from Godzilla style fist fighting, it's still very enjoyable if a bit silly in places.  But how does that tie into my hobby I hear you ask!  Well, it doesn't tie in directly, but it has spurred me on a bit with some long-standing unfinished projects involving giant robots and hideous monsters!  I tend to go through creative spurts when something captures my imagination...


First up is my Reaver Battle Titan Ferrum Dominus of Legio Metalica.  I've been working on him on and off for a few years and Uprising has given me some impetus to get him finished!  So far, I'm particularly proud of the sculpted badge on the carapace and how nice it looks painted up.  Since the pictures below were taken, he's come along a bit further.  Expect more pictures in a future post when he's finally complete!


Next is my Tyranid Dimachaeron.  When it was released I was completely stoked to find out that Forgeworld had produced a Knight sized Tyranid monster only to be completely underwhelmed by the actual model.  For me, it was definitely a case of good concept, poor execution.

The rule-set for the Dimi has always been really strong and I loved the concept so embarked on creating my own vision of what a Dimachaeron should be!

I looked up some other conversions on the net and took inspiration from a couple of sources (which I'm afraid I can no longer find!) and turned my attention to the Tyranid Bio-engineer's best friend; the Tyrannofex / Tervigon kit.

It's relatively low in price compared to some of the other large Tyranid kits and it has a great range of components.  I'd highly recommend it as a starting point if you attempt to build your own Dimachaeron!

This beast was Inspired partly by the spiky insectile Mantis Kaiju from the old movie 'Son of Godzilla' and the wibbly Cthulhu faced Tyranid assassins that are Lictors.

I made this beast well over a year ago now, but still haven't gotten round to painting him.  Big fighty monsters at the cinema have given me a boost to get him done though!


He's big. Really fekkin' big! Never gets a cover save...
...nom nom nom

At least the poor bastard is holding a grenade...

That's all from me for now!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Looking back on WD Battle Reports

I came across an older article today and thought I'd resurrect the discussion which was so eloquently laid out by the author (neverness).  I'd urge people to go and have a look through his post as it really does describe exactly how I have felt about battle reports in White Dwarf over the years!

The absolute low point of battle reports was in the accursed Warhammer Visions publication doorstop which genuinely almost brought me to tears.  It was the epitome of everything I hated about GWs attitude towards big fat money sacks (their customers as we're known again now).  In this £8 advertising supplement, the 'Battle Report' was a two page spread with some really dull one line comments.  It may as well have just been a Codex 'flavour' pic.

Looking back on the battle report heritage of GW, it's hard to see how they fell so far.  But my question is whether or not they have recovered from this face plant.  My conclusion is... sort of.

Battle reports began to interest me again since WD was brought back in its monthly format - which is also the first time I re-subscribed to the magazine after cancelling in disgust at the Visions / WD Weekly shitfest. .  While not exactly a radical reinvention of the magazine, it did at least return with some of the content which I used to enjoy even if it still contains a lot of rampant marketing junk.

The battle reports are still very new army-centric and rarely feature themed armies or any which have not received a new codex since the latest edition dropped.  I can forgive them that though as they've at least started to return to form.  The content is more engaging again, but as neverness wrote in his blog post, tactical planning, execution and review is still very thin on the ground and is often guided purely by one new character combo or new unit's 'time to shine'.

What I will say for the new battle reports is that while they were gone (DAMN YOU VISIONS!), the player community filled the gap by expanding the available content across the net.  GW seems to have realised that they're nothing without the community.  People who build enthusiasm and additional spin-off content on the net.

GW are running to catch up now that they have at last re-engaged their community and I think that's a good thing as the magazine battle reports are now being held to higher standards with player content some times outshining the dry GW coverage of new releases.  The rigorous battering that new armies and rules get on the net is forcing GW to be more insightful in their articles as they know that a few pictures and one-liners just doesn't cut the mustard any more!

Lastly I'd like to share my favourite ever battle report with you.  If you've not read it, go back and take a peek, it's worth the read!

White Dwarf 351... Assault on Fort Wrath battle report.

I must have re-read this battle report a hundred times!  It's an absolutely huge Apocalypse battle, which also being fought across several smaller tables - each had their own theme and mission objectives which then tied in together on the main table.

The fact that the players had individual objectives led to some hilarious antics as one of the Ork warlords had to 'accidentally' take out a rival whilst Phil Kelly's Warboss is ordered to 'Kill something big' and subsequently punches out a Warhound titan before being turned into red (green?) mist by the whole Imperial Battleline!

It makes me cry with laughter whenever I read it.  Also, the fact that there are so many Stompas (11 I think), really gives it an epic feel!

Thanks go to neverness for inspiring this random post!  His 'not-squat' drawing is great and makes me want him to revisit his fanzine vision in web format! :)