Monday, 31 March 2014

Dark Pact: Demetrios Poliorketes

Another faithful Brother has joined the ranks of my Ultramarines to fight Horus' traitors.

Demetrios Poliorketes

"The Besieger", a grizzled trench-fighter and siege engineer. Having lost an eye and both legs holding a landing site against all odds, Poliorketes now rivals his brothers in the Iron Hands Legion in the degree of his bionic augmentation.

Close up of his bionics.

More bionics.

And again.
This now rounds out my initial squad of ten tactical marines, Squad Nikator. I have some fluff about the squad and it's famous "Demetrioi". I'll have to post that some time.
+ For the Emperor +

Tactical Squad Gabriel

My second Tactical Squad for my Dark Angels army as my April commitment for the 2014 Hobby Progress Challenge is now complete, and it has been a little bit emotional. Firstly, I hate model kits where I have to assemble every part of the figure. I am sure some people enjoy being able to customise the tilt of the the torso on the legs, or festoon their figures with tiny little purity seals, but I, gentle reader, prefer the simplicity of line troops being quick to assemble and paint.

It feels like I spent forever assembling these troops. So much so that I feel like I spent more time assembling them than actually painting them. Of course this is ludicrous, and entirely untrue, but this is certainly a case of experience trumping reality. Assembly issues aside, I thoroughly enjoyed painting the squad. I opted to use the metal cast Dark Angel shoulder pads, and freehand the squad markings on the right hand shoulder pads. My experience with transfers recently has only served to drive me further from wanting to use them. Since the symbol is simple, and involves two triangles joined by a square it didn't prove too taxing. The one thing that isn't 100% complete yet is the assault gunner. I plan to magnetise the weapons I painted and his hand so that I can swap out the assault weapon if I so choose. I will probably be fielding him with a plasma gun most of the time, but I'll have option of the flamer and melta just in case.

My next commitment is going to have to be a character, I feel. My merry little band needs a leader and it feels like the right time to commit to painting one. The major issue I have is that I feel that this will swiftly devolve into a quagmire as I desperately try and do the lovely Dark Vengeance character models justice.

Here are some more pictures of the figures individually. I have to say a massive thank you to Craig (Bowlzee) from the IC Forums for kindly donating the heavy bolter for this squad, along with some combi weapons that will be used on my veterans or command squad.

The bolter armed brothers.

Heavy gunner, Sergeant Gabriel, grenadier and assault gunner.

Until next time.

+ The Emperor Protects + 

Sunday, 30 March 2014

This Week in the Hobby 30/03/2014

Les dernières cartouches , 1873
This is a painting by Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe de Neuville which I stumbled upon the other day, I can't really remember how. I love this painting, which depicts a scene from the Franco-Prussian War. de Neuville did loads of war paintings, this is the famous Rorke's Drift painting.

The Defence of Rorke's Drift , 1880
Of course this got me rabbit holing into the history of the Franco-Prussian War and all the surrounding wars, such as the earlier Austro-Prussian War. I naturally started searching through the ranges on offer, what can I say, standard operating procedure for a wargamer. By the way, Pendraken do some great figures in 10mm. 

Inspiration is a dangerous thing, it can strike from the strangest places. Paintings like those above, novels (Flashman is particularly good), and of course films. Part of the problem though is parsing this inspiration into reality. How feasible is the Franco-Prussian War as a project for me really? I don't know anyone who plays it or intends to. That means I will have to paint up both sides, find someone who wants to play and then make that happen. So, the Franco-Prussian War inspired by a painting comes crashing down, consumed by the flames of reality. 

My update is a little late this week, but I have been working away, but not at the rate I would have liked. Good weather means I like to go outside and enjoy myself. So therefore, little hobby gets done. I am almost done with April's commitment for the HPC, as of twenty minutes ago this is the state of Squad Gabriel:

As you can see, only three marines to go. I also managed to finish a 30k Ultramarine amongst all the green. I will be doing a little Dark Pact update about him soon. Time to finish off Squad Gabriel and pray that this rain stops so that I can take some nice pictures in natural light.

Saturday, 22 March 2014

This Week in the Hobby 22/03/2014

Another quiet week, which started at a blistering pace, before I had to go off to the Gold Coast again for work. Hopefully I will relocate to the Gold Coast soon so that my hobby can live there too.

I decided to get started on my next challenge commitment for the 2014 Hobby Progress Challenge. After floating my options on the forum, we (the collective voices of reason on the IC Forum) decided that since I was getting things done at a fair rate another Tactical Squad was in order.

The next question was what sort of Tactical Squad to assemble. The options are quite versatile, and here are my basic thoughts:

(i) Classic Tactical Squad: Flamer and Missile Launcher combo. This tries to be the all rounder, the versatility of the missile launcher as either vehicle hunter or infantry killer theoretically works well with the flamer. The problem is that you have to keep moving to get the flamer in range, and the missile launcher can't shoot if you move, so I suppose while it is useful as an all comer unit, I question the wisdom in picking a unit that doesn't do at least one thing well.

(ii) Tank Hunter/Bunker Buster: Multi-Melta and Flamer/Melta Combo. Quintessential aggressive Tactical Squad. These guys assault a position and should clear anything they encounter. I can imagine them hitting an artillery emplacement or a dug in tank, or breaking open a fortified bunker.

(iii) Fire Support: Plasma Cannon/Heavy Bolter and Plasma Gun. This unit a medium range fire support unit, Devastators would fulfil the long range role in my mind. The idea is to take up a position, preferably in good cover and unload a hail of fire. Nothing should realistically survive a fusillade from this unit at short range.

Some Infantry Tactics

Now, please bear in mind that all my thinking has absolutely nothing to do with the way 40k actually plays. I haven't played since third edition. What it is however based on is my understanding of infantry tactics, as an infanteer in the British Army. The notion is that you always operate in twos, preferably threes, whether at platoon, section or firing pair level, with each unit filling a role when trying to dominate ground. 

Assault Unit: One unit, whether section or platoon, they are just different magnifications of the tactical situation, will be the assaulting unit. Their role is to make the actual attack on the enemy position, close with the enemy and either drive them off or destroy them at close range. Grenades are usually involved.

Fire Support Unit: A unit that focusses on suppressing the enemy with overwhelming fire. The objective is to pin the enemy to their position and at the same time reduce their ability to return fire. This should have two objectives, firstly the enemy unit is firing sub-optimally as they take cover, secondly, they are distracted away from the moving assaulting unit as they focus on the more imminent threat.

Reserve Unit: A tactical reserve which is usually situated behind the fire support to be deployed where they are needed most. This unit will normally follow up the assaulting units position after they have taken it and become the new, fresh, leading edge for the continued attack. 

The way that I understand 40k, and the Space Marine Codex in particular, there are separate units for each role. Assaults should be carried out by Assault Squads, Fire Support by Devastators, and the Reserve should really be a tactical squad as it can theoretically do both. The issue arises though that 40k to my mind lacks enough detail, tactically, to allow for a tactical reserve to be of any value, they merely become idle assets. Furthermore, the ability to equip the tactical squad with vehicles or drop pods mean that they could actually be an assault or fire support asset. I suppose therefore that Assault Squads and Devastators become your lock in options, and Tactical Squads a necessary all-rounder. 

What this means for me going forward is that as I am trying to build a Fifth Company Dark Angels Army, I need to be mindful of the fact that I will have Company Assault and Devastator Squads, but that realistically in 1000 point battle, the ability to field these squads is diminished as they quickly become very expensive. As a result, my aim it to try and build, eventually, six Tactical Squads that have a function that parallels those of the Assault or Devastator Squads, simply in lesser measure.

Whether this actually works on the table top is largely irrelevant to me. Now this might sound strange, but I like things to look right on paper and on the table even if it doesn't equate to victory. To my mind the Fifth Company has limited assets, and must choose carefully how to deploy said assets, and this is how I will build my army going forward. The benefit of the Tactical Squad load outs that I listed above is that even though they try and fulfil a particular role, they can, in a pinch, adapt to complete the objective even if it is a poor fit. The fact remains that Assault Squads won't win fire fights, and Devastator Squads lose their value by moving, so ultimately I need to retain an element of flexibility. Having listened to many discussions surrounding the perceived uselessness of the Tactical Squad in the last edition of 40k, I am going to try my hand at approaching them differently. 

Back to the HPC

So, after discussing the issue with the collective wisdom of the IC forum I am going to be building Tactical Squad Gabriel, equipped with a Heavy Bolter and Plasma Gun, who will dispense torrents of the Emperor's Mercy. I have surprised by the pace of my progress and hope to have some pictures of completed figures to share very soon.

Friday, 14 March 2014

This Week in the Hobby 14/03/2014

It has been a pretty busy week for me hobby wise as work has been nonexistant. Obviously this means no money, but I thought I'd use the opportunity to get my March HPC commitment done. The feedback and encouragement from the Independent Characters Forum has been integral in keeping me focused, and moving forward.

So without further ado, here is the completed Scout Squad Nehemiel, attached to the 5th Company. I decided I wanted a close combat orientated scout squad for my Zone Mortalis portion, as it seemed coll and fitting. Infiltrate and Move Through Cover should be useful from a gaming perspective, and the more interesting armour with its webbing and such makes a pleasant break from painting power armour.

My advice to anyone painting Space Marine armies is to always vary what you paint. Tactical Squads might be the core of your force, but there are ways of making the process of building and painting an army more interesting for yourself. So for now my force consists of the following:

Tactical Squad Raphael: 10 Marines, led by Veteran Sergeant Raphael who wields a plasma pistol and chainsword, the squad also features a Plasma Cannon and Plasma Gun.

Scout Squad Nehemiel: 6 Scouts, led by Veteran Sergeant Nehemiel. Everyone wields close combat weapons and bolt pistols, except for one brother who carries a combat shotgun.

Things are starting to take shape. One point to note is that I don't necessarily care much for points or for building optimal lists, I prefer the look of the units. I always think that Dark Angels should feature many plasma weapons, so I tend to include them, even if they are often expensive. This puts me in an interesting position as regards my Command Squad and any Veterans I might build, as my instinct is to tool them up because it looks good, but with the strictures of the HPC I should keep points costs in mind, decisions decisions. However, those decisions can wait a little longer as I am focussed more on my April commitment. My choices are:

(i) Another 10 man Tactical Squad
(ii) Deathwing Terminators
(iii) An independent Character
(iv) Ravenwing Bikers

I'll take a few days to consider my options I think, but with two troops choices locked in, I have the freedom to choose whatever I fancy. In other hobby news, I bought my first Malifaux models the other day, three Ronin. I think two of these figures are amazing, one is okay. I'll be posting a Youtube video of my thoughts soon, and then get down to painting them.

Furthermore, I also picked up the bronzes I wanted to use on my Protectorate of Menoth 'Jacks, so I can also begin working on those in earnest. Lots to look forward to over the weekend, here's to hoping we all meet our hobby goals.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Dark Angels Chapter Upgrade Frame

I made another quick Youtube video the other day, a run down of the contents of the Dark Angel Upgrade Frame available from Games Workshop directly. Good buy in my opinion.

Almost done on my March HPC commitment, so keep an eye out.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Some HPC Updates

The sun came out after a spell of rain this morning so I decided to take some pictures, and add a Veteran Sergeant to my March commitment for the 2014 Hobby Progress Challenge. Here he is:

Sergeant Nehemiel will lead his scouts into combat.
I also thought it would be a good opportunity to take a group shot of Squad Raphael all completed, basing and transfers done. 

Hopefully I will have a more productive week this week than the last.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Space Marine Command Squad Video

I managed to knock out my first Youtube video since moving to Australia yesterday. I filmed it using my iPhone and did the editing and uploading from my phone, as I haven't got a space to film using my Nikon at the moment and I didn't have my laptop, H had purloined it . I hope the video is comprehensible.

I have a few more videos to upload soon. Carry on citizens.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

This Week in the Hobby 08/03/2014

Total hobby time this week: 80 minutes.

I've been down on the Gold Coast again all week, and this is all the time I got to put paint to model. These little sessions, two of them, were squeezed in the morning at five o'clock in glorious Gold Coast sunshine. With my fancy hobby box now a reality, I can travel with my things and set up a hobby space in no time, so getting little sessions in is a possibility. 

At the moment I am working on my Hobby Progress Challenge March commitment, five Space Marine Scouts. I also got myself a sergeant figure off eBay and he will be added as and when. I have finished one scout so far, and hopefully by the end of the weekend I can have the other four done, if I am really lucky I might even get the sergeant done as well. 

I am also going to try and get some transfers onto my three tactical marines that I added to last month's commitment. I did toy with the idea of freehanding the shoulder pads, but that would be unnecessarily time consuming I think. Once those three chaps are complete, I want to take some pictures of the whole of Squad Raphael together. 

Not overly happy with the amount of time I am getting for my hobby at the moment, but I will have to learn to work around it.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

This Week in the Hobby 28/02/2014

Sometimes, I fee like this guy.
This has been a particularly busy week. Again I was down on the Gold Coast and away from my little toy soldiers, doing some contract work. The good news is I've earned some money, got a tan, and earned some extra dollars by selling off a load of Aluminium from the tear down we've been doing. However, as you can imagine, I didn't get much painting done, being separated from your miniatures for four days straight will do that. I did get to finish these chaps today for the HPC 2014. They are an addendum for my February commitment. The squad of seven wouldn't have been legal, so I needed to bump it up to ten. I am happy with the job on these, the figures are okay, nothing fancy, but they did the trick. All they need now is some transfers, which I will do when I am at home, and the middle fellow needs his base finishing, i.e. grass and edging.

With these, Squad Raphael is now complete.
Despite not getting much painting done, I did manage to arrange a mobile storage solution for my things. Thursday afternoon I headed back North to pick up some more clothes etc, and I while I was in Springwood I popped into Officeworks and picked up a $15 organiser box which I filled with all my hobby things so that I could paint on the road.

Everything in its place.
While I was at home I also popped up the road to Games Workshop Mt. Gravatt to collect my order that I had placed ages ago. It was also an opportunity to see what was going on there. My miniatures curious cousin Anri also tagged along to see what was happening. The place is massive, I might have mentioned that before, but they have a huge retail space, and then an annex with ten or more table in it. Additionally, everyone there seems really friendly. Unlike those one man stores where it is all about the sale. I have had the staff members in the UK chat affably before disappearing the minute someone walks through the door to do the whole sales pitch. Fair enough, one gots to get paid, but then don't try and be the hobby guy who chats only to bugger off mid-sentence. GW Mt. Gravatt, is nothing like that. I hope to visit it more frequently as my movements allow.

So, I picked up my Dark Angel accessory sprues, shoulder pads and some bases and added it to the pile of stuff I have waiting for me at home which I had bought off Wargamerau. So, at present I have a Tactical Squad, a Command Squad and enough bits for about ten more marines. This will allow my force to grow nice and organically over the course of the HPC. The only thing I still really want is a Dreadnought, but I suspect that can wait a little longer. I am going to try and get another scout for my March commitment done this weekend, but it is so hot and humid here on the Gold Coast I suspect I might fail. Also, I have to work Saturday which of course cuts down on my hobby time.

Finally, I have almost finished Mechanicum, which coincides nicely with the release of the Imperial Knights from Games Workshop. I must admit that I am a little bit tempted. I am sure I could squeeze one into my Dark Angels army...