Playing EPIC in 28mm.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The plot coagulates.

Ancient Iago maintains a ceaseless watch over the ambush site.  One of the things that's easier when your sarcophagus is loaded into a contemptor.

The strike and holding forces wait in dead ground for the ambush to be triggered.

At the sign from Ancient Iago, the terminators teleport into battle, determined to stop the convoy in it's tracks. Literally.

The hidden vindicator cripples the LR Crusader.  Enraged by the bare faced cheek of anyone thinking that they could interfere with the Emperor's business, the Brothers of the Lostwithial de-bus to confront their attackers.

The sudden close assault of the unmarked, silent assault marines is a bit of a shock to the bored Templars, who have not fought a worthy foe for very long time.

But Castellian Brodeep is not one to let his Templars forget their vows.  The Black and White Crusaders prepare to sell themselves dearly.  The un-named Captain of the mysterious marines alights directly in front of the Castellian in a wordless challenge.

Driven by his vows, Castellian Brodeep squares up to someone twice his points value.  Idiot or flawed genius, either way, the Castellian is left as a crumpled wreck.

"Oh shit !" The Templars are temporarily stymied by the realisation that they outnumber their attackers, which happens at the same time that their revered leader hits the dirt.

The mysterious green marines begin to disengage. leaving the column to be straffed by over flying hurricane bolter armed Stormdrains. 

Their task evidently complete, the mysterious marines make good their escape, taking their dead and wounded, or booby trapping the bodies with melta charges, leaving no clues.

Who were these mysterious marines ?  What were they doing on Mhuven 158 ?  Why assassinate Castellian Brodeep ?  (Brodeep has two wounds and will be back to commit atrocities another day).

Friday, 25 April 2014

Deeper into continental Acer, under the ruins of the San Cantor Hive

Over two thousand miles from Xyphonica, under the ruins of San Cantor there are ‘The Forges’.  After the atomic purging of the San Cantor Hive over seven hundred years ago, this is where the Adeptus Mechanicus brethren came looking for salvage and secrets.  Whatever they found kept them here, amongst the millions of tonnes of reclaimable scrap.

The years passed and those who remained, in order to continue their work, became more machine than man.  Eventually machines were repairing and replacing machines.  The Omnissiah would be pleased.  Their contact with the outside world, when she was appointed, was a high ranking official from the planetary government.  She stayed in ‘The Forges’ as well.  Eventually the position became a hereditary position for the daughter of the previous incumbent.  Contact with the local government was eventually lost, but ‘the speaker’ remained, and over the years, the holders of the title have developed psychic powers. 

On the speakers authority, Skitarri took what they needed from passing trade caravans.  Seven hundred years later, the inheritors of the Adeptus Mechanicus mission to Devos IV are almost a folk memory for most of the population.  All of their leaders are long gone, preserved as data slugs, venerated by their successors, but never committed to a processor.  Oh no.  It would not do to awaken the old ones.  The speakers have been telling them that for hundreds of years. 

What remains today is a society of servitors, ruled by a mad woman, making things in the dark.  On the edge of many things.  On the edge of the ash wastes, the edge of the known world.  On the edge of reality, the edge of the ‘other’ as the speaker calls it.

Under the ruins of the Hive it is hot and dark.  There is constant noise and fume.  Everywhere the walls drip with leachates from the ruins and condensation from the remaining population.   Slaves are kept in chains.  They keep some of the processes running.  And provide valuable genetic material to keep the mission going.  The darkness is lit by bright burning fires, the forges, ducts and channels of molten metal.  The lords are the Sorcerer-Engineers,  Arcanists, some possessed, some mad.  Some feed off of the slaves.  They used to be aided by minions, all identical, grown in vats in the image of one supreme soldier of millennia past.  These minions are still the overseers of the processes, tormentors of the slaves.  But the knowledge of their making and remaking is lost now.  Many are lobotomised, slaved to a single task, identical to other servitors throughout the Imperium.  But they are wearing out. 

Paint by Mr Lee

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Death Sentence

Cadian Hill - the monument to the fallen was officially unveiled a week ago.  A commissar on foot struggles up the steep dusty shale to the foot of the obelisk.

“So why am I up here ?”

“Do you recall the Palladian lieutenant who captured the first witch ?” The unremarkable looking warrant officer did not wait for an answer “General Zhukov made him up to captain and held a parade to award the platoon an iron star.  Well, when they returned to the line they promptly found four more witches.  Now there are any number of reasons why this may be, one of which is that they the more you encounter, the easier they are to spot.  Of course the real answer is simply that there are more witches as the ruinous powers seek to become more involved.”

“So ? You always have a point.”

“Inquisitor Hallas decided that the most likely reason what they had become warp sensitised themselves and that it was only a matter of time before they became possessed.  He called them in for a debriefing which he held in a room he’d had turned into a gas chamber.”

“It would solve the potential problem.”

“Yes.”  The Cadian looked at his feet.  "If there was a problem."

The Commissar snorted. It wasn’t a ‘yes’ that answered anything. “So ?”

“So…  The witches they had apprehended were without exception low threat manifestations, none of the usual warp sign one would associate with the great enemy.  Inquisitor Hallas’ zeal has deprived the Imperium of one successful and decorated officer and a platoon of Palladia’s finest.”

The commissar studied the back of his left glove for a few long, silent moments.

“Are we.." he began his question.  He was cut off by the Cadian.  “No.  It would be far too risky without a huge body of evidence and the support of other Inquisitors.  The best thing I can think of at the moment is that you use your professional network to encourage units not to locate or capture witches, if you take my meaning.”

The commissar exhaled deeply.  'Take no prisoners' would filter into the army more easily from the Commissariat than it ever could from the grey slime*. 

“Agreed.  Find out if Hallas has his eye on anyone else, it might be time for 72AG to send some veterans back to Agripinna as part of a training cadre.”

“I am on it.”   

The commissar nodded and turned his back on the monument on the top of the hill without a second glance.  There were still guardsmen to be saved, he wasn't too bothered about the ones he could no longer save.

*'Grey Slime' is a widespread colloquialism for the interior guard or intelligence services within the IG. 

Friday, 18 April 2014

The Inspiration for the Taurox

Obviously, this is where the inspiration came from:

Taurox Prime / Taurox

There's almost no difference;

I think I'll be going to Laser Cut Card.  Next year, of course.

And thanks to PVP for sending me this heads up: http://ttfix.blogspot.com/2014/04/zinge-industries-taurox-conversion-sets.html?spref=bl

It looks much better than the vanilla one, IMHO.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Thunder, Thunder, Thunder Guard Ho !

And just in case you didn't get the reference: Thunder Cats Ho !

And of course the title is also an homage to well known poet Col Ackland and his mega cavalry army.  So you'll have seen his recent Tuetonian 'Life Guard' storm troopers; and of course his blog is all about the gee-gees.

Hum, Tuetons and horses.  Tuetonians and horses, Prussians and horses, I know that should be ringing a bell...

Oh !  I know -

So here's some progress with the waffenritters.

Ranked up and ready to trot off to a paint booth on the east coast.  I've got to pluck a tray out to load these boys up.  Sounds dodgy, but it's the way it is.

More of them, getting ready for the - blogger has just bumped me out and lost fifteen minutes of typing.  It really annoys me when it does that.  I'll truncate my clever joke to one sentence then - These guys are waiting for their arms, so that they can bear arms.  te he.

The issue with the fellows at the top of the page is that they were built as individuals in a one-er.  What happens then is that they settle and the rear leg seam opens up under the weight of the parts of the mini.  So these ones are being done in batches, and their legs allowed to set before being stuck to their bases.

As we are now, these boys are on their bases and that's about fourteen of them waiting for arms and, er, arms by Saturday.  Progress, by gad !

Salute/London Marathon update:

I'm gonna need a bigger box....  You'll notice the Empire standard (how appropriate :) ).  And the Troop Leader is waving a sword about, so there's a spare pig sticker for the guidon bearer if needed.  What I really want now is a bugle or two for the command section.  

Friday, 11 April 2014

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Edmund Burke

Now, I know that some of you think, possibly quite rightly, that I overthink 40K sometimes.

If this blog focussed more on my Eldar warhost, then it wouldn't contain quite so many musings on the fluff and how and why the imperium might work.  But when you think about the factors involved in trying to launch an army through the warp, to fight a war somewhere else in space, things get sort of involved very quickly - more of this in another post later, perhaps.

My Eldar warhost contains a lot of killy stuff.  No combat engineers, no tiers of command, no regimental bands, no divisional creche or baker; just corsairs, aspect warriors, some token guardians and fistloads of seers to hold it altogether. So there's not too much to contemplate - they're Eldar, like the fluff - like Mr Thorpe's well realised but sometimes awkwardly writted books.

But the Imperial Guard demand, by their very nature, a little more consideration, especially considering their delivery system - the Imperial Navy, the DM and ultimately, the wider imperium itself.  Now, these are people (albeit made up ones).  And people exhibit different behaviours, some of which we can understand, if not relate to...

Anyway.  Morality popped up again - first the Laughing Ferret suggest that we be more circumspect when using certain words (whose meaning is actually derogatory or pertaining to vice) and then Col Gravis asked if we really need or want some of the female sculpts that are being offered.  But some of them manage the trick of being quite demure whilst still being somewhat attractive.

I did notice that no-one commented on the Gionvudar Massacre.

In reply to Col Gravis I alluded to the idea that perhaps given the actual unpleasantness of warfare in 40K, an army of over sexualised soldiers is perhaps not such a great evil.

For those of you who have not given it much thought; the whole fluff of 40K is a war of extermination; the Eldar are out for themselves, the Necrons want to kill all living things, the Orks just want to fight everyone, the 'Nids will just eat everything and the various bits of the imperium will turn in on themselves whenever there is no external enemy to face.

The SoB, BT, OH and iggies and beakies who have seen too much (and they all have) will wipe out civilian populations without a second thought.  The High Lords might care, but do not even possess the wherewithal to do anything different.  There is no Geneva Convention, no Queensbury Rules.  Flame-throwers, poison gas, chainswords and other things that we would think of as barbaric are workaday options in 40K.

The great enemy is just the icing on the cake.  Eldar, Ork, Nid, Cron and Tau are clearly the alien.  Xenoforms are an obvious rival and itching to continue with the payback for the Great Crusade.  But it seems inevitable that the greatest threat is from other humans.  And knowing that there is no quarter to be had from any enemy, none would ever be offered.  No mercy, no remorse.

If war in 40K arrives at a planet, then worrying about refugees is not really a concern of any of 40K's usual suspects.  Iggies might be disposed to offer succour, but only if they have resources to spare and no orders to the contrary. Everybody else either sees them as an inconvenience or prey.

40K is not a 'nice' game, none of the protagonists are worthy of absolution, redemption, acclaim or hero worship; they are all criminals either by act or omission.  It is a dirty, pitiless time.  (Don't worry, I haven't forgotten that it's fictional).  We ought to be ashamed of ourselves, gaining pleasure from playing with such bloodsoaked toys.

So.  What's my point ?  If Admiral Drax can score a small victory by fielding an ethnically diverse army, if Col Gravis can score a small victory fielding non-sexualised female iggies, If any of us avoid using popular but technically obscene terms in conversation; then perhaps we should.

What this does not mean is that humancentric armies should suddenly start going on humanitarian relief missions.  Exodite warlords will not suddenly start sparing colonists who maintain their claims in the face of the Eldar's older ones.  Orks will not suddenly by-pass undefended cities just because they are not offering a fight.  Changing the behaviour of 40K arhcitypes is not what I meant.

The challenge is ours as players.  The action lies with us to behave with a degree of integrity; to display virtue where it might not always be the easiest way. And perhaps it doesn't stop at the gaming table, does it ?

Of course, if I just played this as a game, with pieces, in stead of buying into the background, it wouldn't matter...

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Tabletop Fix: Gamecraft Miniatures - 20mm Blackhawk Down "Target...

Tabletop Fix: Gamecraft Miniatures - 20mm Blackhawk Down "Target...: Gamecraft Miniatures added the 20mm Blackhawk Down "Target Building" to their range: Link: Gamecraft Miniatures

20mm ?!??!?!

You're feckin' jokin !

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Amusing Root Vegetable not seen at FW open day.

I missed the FW open day.  Karitas & I cooked up a plan and acted !  We were going.  And then I somehow acquired an eleven year old.  He shall be known by his code-name "Turnip" (after the shape of his head when he was younger).  I phoned Karitas, we chatted it over briefly and then, driven possibly by my own overwhelming optimism, bought another ticket.

In the event, Turnip said he would be ok going to the open day.  I explained what FW was about and he looked a little dubious but was still up for it, even given the knowledge that he would likely be the youngest person there.  "Get in !" I thought - I was still going to the open day; Mrs Z was quite prepared to wave us off.

But in the event, his declaration that he wasn't willing to get up before noon scuppered it.  With the benefit of a few seconds of hindsight - it's possibly a good thing.  Sometimes my nephew and I get on really well and sometimes I just do not 'get him' at all.  So it's possibly good that there were no falling out's this past weekend.  And I suspect that forcing him out of bed five hours early and then putting him in that situation might well have resulted in some degree of truculence.

A win for sense and sensibility; and possibly saved me a few quid too.

An old bit of Warwick Castle (the mound, not the stone work)

What did we do ?  Well, on Saturday we went to Warwick Castle.  Which is not quite a theme park, but is definitely not being run along English Heritage/National Trust lines.  There is quite a lot to keep small people interested.  It's a bit overwhelming to someone brought up on the Norman castles of North Wales; and at £30 per head for tickets including the dungeon, merlin and princess "experiences", it isn't cheap.  But it did keep him out of his i-pad for the whole time we were there.

Turning wicked uncle Z into a frog - Mrs Z does not too unhappy about that.  Harumph.
I did also manage to turn his obsessive gaming to my advantage; that bit at the beginning of Space Marine, where you have to shoot the gretchin the other side of the barrier ?  I've never been able to do that.  X Box on and I explained the conundrum.  Half an hour later and the now tooled up Space Marine Captain was sabotaging the giant artillery shell. He can work the controller and switch between weapons with blinding speed, where it takes me ages.  I may go back into it at some point.  But I'll probably just be out of my depth.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Fundahawk progress

Managed a little shading on the ground around the thunderhork.  So it's an improvement (That's a question) compared to previously (post 07 Feb 14).  But the ground is still not as light as my tables.  I may just darken the tables...

I had a chat with PVP when he dropped in and we discussed toning down the rust and improving the canopy.  But small steps, eh ?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

High Command - Elements of 72AG's Leaadership. 902 Div Staff

3* Gen Tolstoy demanded a number of officers from each of the units under his command and did most of the planning for the first year of the campaign with his Korps 'superteam' on the Ocean on their way to Benq. This is perhaps a major contributing factor to 17 Korps' success - all of the Divisional teams were aware of both the overall and the specifics of the other Divisional plans.

The effect of this mass-planning cross fertilisation C3 success may be much diminished by time, but the legacy of co-operation and consideration of the Korps when planning for their Divisions has persisted, with the custom and practice of the HQ being passed on as personnel are posted in and/or posted on.

Lt Col Dalthem, in the uniform of a Volscarni Grenadier.  Lau Dalthem wears this uniform (which he is entitled to do, having served in a Volscani exile Storm Trooper unit as a platoon leader) with his tongue firmly in his cheek, given his current appointment as 902 Div's Intelligence and Security head.  Unsurprisingly for a frontline formation, his concerns are getting STAR information back from the units within the formation and the reports that come down from 17 Korps out to the units.  He can often be found tunelessly whistling hymns.  He does this as a sort of parody of Capt Edligu, but the good Captain either hasn't noticed or is too good mannered to rise to it.

Captain Several Edligu is the Ad Mech liaison officer.  He cracks his knuckles, sometimes at the dinner table.  He hums, mostly hymns and religious songs, off key as he goes about his business. He is a religious man and a little perturbed by the interface between the God Emperor and the Omnissiah.  As soon as he thinks he'd reconciled it to his satisfaction, he learns something else about the Imperial Creed or the Ad Mech that sets his mind running.  However, he is by nature an academic and realises that differing sects know different truths.  He's writing a book about his experiences.  Being tone deaf, he has no idea that Col Dlathem might be mocking him.

Lt Col Efloast Has, from the 7th Mordian Iron Guard is Commandant Welbahn's Chief of Staff; his job is to run the Divison's HQ, allowing the Commandant to command the Division unhindered.  He is an energetic and experienced infantry commander who is thoroughly enjoying his first posting to a non-Moridan formation.  He is finding that the whole thing is quite amazing and that he has such an important role keeps getting him up early to find out what the next challenge will be.  His enthusiasm and professionalism are infectious.

Captain Pasquilliano of the Cadian 127th is the President of the Officer's Mess Entertainment Committee.  As you can imagine, this involves arranging dinner nights, procuring suitable beverages, organising the occasional live entertainment.  But being a front line formation, there's not much of that sort of thing going on; supply of warlike material for the HQ is what he does now, Which he is finding both similar and different at the same time.  He has decided that caution is the better part of valour, hence the heavier than usual load out. "Be Prepared" has turned out to be a useful creed.  He wasn't best prepared for this job when he got it but has mastered his duties and incidentally accrued a large number of items of individual and unit kit during the course of his pressurised early months in post.  Being in a formation HQ has meant that he has been able to commit these items to storage amongst the more official paraphernalia.  One consequence of this is a reputation for being able to source 'things' amongst the senior officers of the Division - some of these he acquires as a part of his job and some are his largess from days when he used to have anything if it was not bolted down.

Major Speer of the Cadian 24th.  He is the Commandant's Artillery expert, drawn from 144 Fd Arty.  None of his fellow officers will play him at regicide any more.  The Officers in 24th stopped playing him at cards years ago.  Both of his brothers are in the regiment; after the Battles for the Nolag Heights, he will be the only one left.  But that is the nature of Imperial Service.

Maj Speer is a little deaf nowadays, but very professional.  And he is quite demanding of the artillery assets at his disposal - not afraid to praise or chastise as appropriate.