Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Well done Black Library


I was a Horus Heresy skeptic.

(some spoilers)

I always liked the basic story, but thought it best left to legend and the fog of the distant past.  Having it somewhat unclear made that it was the distant past to the "current" 40K universe feel more real.  When they announced they were going to do a series of novels about it and flesh it out, I was disappointed.  I didn't want the myths broken down in detail, didn't want to know what primarch X had for breakfast right before Isstvan.  
 
I read the first trilogy, and wasn't especially impressed.  Over time I've read some more, with mixed results, but overall as the series has progressed I've become more impressed.  Not only are a number of the stories themselves good, I've found I've actually liked some of the things they're doing.  The sheer logistics and planning involved is staggering - decades of background built up haphazardly, and they're putting it together to make sense with itself, and foreshadow the 40K state of things.  Various writers, doubtless coordinated, working towards a definable (thought still very far off) known end goal.  Collaborative universes have been done before - things like Thieves' World,  the 1632 universe and the like, but they have grown more organically, without a real known direction.  Lots of Easter eggs for long-time fans, some doubtless tongue in cheek.  Nice seeing throw-away characters from 40K like Kargoth Bloodspitter get some attention.  Nice seeing the ironies that what the Word Bearers had originally been building up before their censure is effectively what the Imperium is in 40K.  Nice seeing foreshadowing for various successor chapters.  Nice seeing a lot of the tragedy, like just how far 40K Kharn is from 30K Kharn.  Nice having various discussions of the warp from different perspectives.

For a lot of what I've read, I mostly followed some authors, such as Dan Abnett and Aaron Dembski-Bowden, and branched out a bit for stories or legions I was interested in.  So far I've read:

Initial trilogy - as said, OK but not terribly impressed.  Might be worth a second read now.

Legion - apparently you either love or hate this book.  I'm in both camps.  As a "40K" book, I really didn't like it.  The Cabal I could do without and the Perpetuals I could stand to see less of in the Heresy.  Some separate series featuring the Perpetuals from pre-unification through the millennia I could dig, but in the Heresy I think they distract from the primarchs and legions - too many different types of being exceptional.  But as a sci-fi book, I think it was very good.  File off the serial numbers and it could have been a pretty interesting standalone book.

The First Heretic - Similar to Legion, I think I would have liked it better as a standalone.  In a lot of ways it reminded me of Roger Zelazny especially Lord of Light, which is a very positive comparison for me.  I felt some of it was a bit contrived, with everything being laid out ahead of time thousands of years in advance by the Chaos gods.  If Cadia had been downplayed a bit I wouldn't have minded so much, but it felt a little heavy handed.  
 
Age of Darkness anthology - I don't remember much of most of the stories, but as an Iron Warriors fan I of course liked the Iron Warriors story.  
 
Know No Fear - Pretty rip-roaring once it gets going.  One of the times I would have liked some more detail on some of the engagements and see some more with some of the characters that were built up.

Angel Exterminatus - I'm an Iron Warriors fan, so this was an easy sell for me.  Nice seeing Perturabo as a frustrated builder, adding to the tragedy of his story as he could have really shined in a galaxy where the Heresy didn't happen and humanity stayed united, or in a post-Heresy Imperium had he stayed loyal as one of the literal architects of the new order.

Betrayer - Good discussion of Chaos and the warp, with Argel Tal getting some good lines, lamenting the nature of Chaos but saying that's the reality and it's foolish to deny it.  Surprising hearing it from a possessed marine, but more effective as a result.  Another aspect of the warp as a tool, an inconvenient reality that once you know it exists, you may as well use it.  Contrasts with the fervent believers like Erebus, whose enlightenment can be as blinding as ignorance.  Really shows what a jerk Angron was, and the tragedy of the War Hounds/World Eaters.  Nice addressing the World Eaters' librarians.  

The Unremembered Empire - Some potential 40K foreshadowing and showing unintended consequences (lighting up Macragge as a beacon...what's later drawn to Macragge for some reason?).  I thought the basic idea could have been fascinating, showing Guilliman's genius for organization, showing him rallying Ultramar against the incursions and reordering his shattered realm, doubtless with some difficulty and interference.  Instead it seemed too busy.  By the end we have five primarchs involved, which distracts from Guilliman and in my opinion is just too much for the premise in my opinion.  Add in Perpetuals and Space Wolves and so on and it gets too cluttered, like the third movie in a superhero movie series where they feel they have to keep tacking on extra heroes and villains.
 
Scars - I'm a White Scars fan, so another easy sell for me.  More good discussion of the warp, with the discussion of the Librarius, how the stormseers use the warp but don't delve too deeply, and the great line of how even though the warp may talk to you, you don't have to obey it.  Nice contrast with views like Argel Tal in Betrayer and of course other traitors.  Ironic, or perhaps appropriate how the primarch with the most emphasis on speed is perhaps also the most patient. For him speed is not to be used to rush ahead, but to allow you to choose the most appropriate time to act, to be able to get more information and being able to act more successfully when you do.  Some good exploration of the difficulties with Terran recruits and those recruited from the primarch's world, something explored as well in Betrayer with the pre-primarch legion and friction with how the primarch changed it.
 
So, I'm a convert.  I won't read them all as they come out, but I will continue to read some of them as they interest me.  When it's all done, I do think that even with some weaker books overall it will end up as one of the great sci-fi epics, and I envy anyone who will get the chance to read through it without exposure to the 40K storyline/knowing the outline of the Heresy already.  I fear that most who start and get interested will end up exposed to tons of spoilers, but for the few who manage to get through it all unsullied, wow.  I'm also quite pleased with how the success has helped lead to the Forge World Horus Heresy books, models and whatnot. 

Well done!






Sunday, May 17, 2015

What does Tzeentch say?






Russ goes woof, Ork goes Waaagh.
Kroot goes tweet, and Hrud goes squeak.
Grox goes moo. Slaan goes croak, and the Tyranid goes zoot.
Nurgle coughs and Khorne says blood, and Slaanesh goes OW OW OW.
But there's one sound that no one knows...
WHAT DOES TZEENTCH SAY?

Ring-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!
Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!
Gering-ding-ding-ding-dingeringeding!
WHAT DOES TZEENTCH SAY?
Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!
Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!
Wa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pa-pow!
WHAT DOES TZEENTCH SAY?
Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho!
Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho!
Hatee-hatee-hatee-ho!
WHAT DOES TZEENTCH SAY?
Joff-tchoff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff!
Joff-tchoff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff!
Joff-tchoff-tchoff-tchoffo-tchoffo-tchoff!
WHAT DOES TZEENTCH SAY?

A million eyes, or just a can, changing things and making plans.
Lots of plots, up your sleeve, everyone you will deceive.
Your fur is red, no blue no green, like a kaleidoscope.
But if you meet man named Horus, will you communicate by Er-er-er-ebus, Er-er-er-ebus, Er-er-er-ebus?
How will you speak to Ho-o-o-orus, Ho-o-o-orus, Ho-o-o-orus?
WHAT DOES TZEENTCH SAY?!

Jacha-chacha-chacha-chow!
Jacha-chacha-chacha-chow!
Jacha-chacha-chacha-chow!
WHAT DOES TZEENTCH SAY?
Fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!
Fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!
Fraka-kaka-kaka-kaka-kow!
WHAT DOES TZEENTCH SAY?
A-hee-ahee ha-hee!
A-hee-ahee ha-hee!
A-hee-ahee ha-hee!
WHAT DOES TZEENTCH SAY?
A-oo-oo-oo-ooo!
Woo-oo-oo-ooo!
WHAT DOES TZEENTCH SAY?!

The secrets of Tzeentch, ancient mysteries.
Somewhere deep in the warp, I know you are.
What is your sound? Will we ever know?
Will it always be a mystery what you say?

You're my mentor lurking in the warp.
What is your sound? (A-bubu-duh-bubu-dwee-dum a-bubu-duh-bubu-dwee-dum)
Will we ever know? (A-bubu-duh-bubu-dwee-dum)
I want to, I want to, I want to know! (A-bubu-duh-bubu-dwee-dum)
(Bay-buh-day bum-bum bay-dum)






Friday, May 15, 2015

The Brute Squad



In the upcoming Sons of Taurus army, I plan to have two Dreadnoughts/Helbrutes done up.  One is from the Dark Vengeance Starter and the other is the recent Helbrute kit.  So, I thought I would do a little side by side and review.
 
In case you don't know, Dark Vengeance Helbrute on left (with different head)
 
 The two different brutes are very similar in many ways and obviously patterned on each other, but are not identical.  The multi-piece kit (MPK hereafter) has more options than the Dark Vengeance (DV) one but follows similar stylings.  I went with the option for the big horns to make the MPK match DV even more closely as I was using them together, and the big horns go well with the bull theme of the Sons of Taurus but there are other possibilities.  The design of the armor plates and weapons are very similar, and both have a techno-organic/daemonic mix going on.  The DV one seems somewhat further along the path, with some bits being more organic/daemonic than the MPK kit, like the legs, abdomen and back, and DV is a bit bulkier overall - powerfist arm bigger, torso thicker, legs a bit wider.  

DV arm on left, a bit larger but very similar styling.

 The MPK is a bit disappointing as far as poses - the way they did the arms, you have two options for each side - up or down (which are really kind of up and kind of not so up).  It is nice having so may weapon options, and if you plan to have multiples of them and are converting up DV kits, one MPK could serve you well with giving the DV guys an easy variety of weapons.  Probably pretty easy to snip off the multimelta barrels and add your weapon of choice.  You could probably use some of the MPK parts to convert other dreadnoughts with some more work on the connections, but they won't easily swap around with other dread kits due to how the arms connect.

There are a number of cable bits in the MPK kit to make it look even more like DV, but at least in my dry fitting attempts they didn't fit well, often not reaching all the way needed. You could of course make your own cables or shave other parts to make them fit, but I just decided to just leave them off. 

Overall I probably prefer the Forgeworld various legion dreadnoughts and contemptors for looks, but these are alright, and fit in with the daemon engine look of the mauler/forgefiend as well.   If you're already going to use the DV helbrute and/or are going with -fiends the MPK could fit in well.  If you plan on multiple dreads, I think the MPK kit alone would wear thin fairly fast unless you did some more serious conversion or made loadout choices that emphasized the differences (ie lascannon/missile launcher, twin power fists, ranged weapon and tentacle mass). 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fifteen Years Later...


Way back in 2000 when I was getting back into 40K, Chaos Marines were one of the things I was building.  This was the codex back then in 3rd edition.  CSM figures were either all metal or metal/plastic combo kits.  Regular guys came in blisters.  In this ancient time I planned out my Chaos Marines and came up with the basic idea for the Sons of Taurus - renegades from the Minotaurs chapter who turned after the Badab War.  I made lists, collected figures, named characters and worked on paint schemes.

But it didn't click.  The schemes I was working on kept looking too much like something else, too Night Lords, too X, too Y.  So I shelved the idea and went on to other armies.  The itch resurfaced every now and then, but other projects kept winning out.
 
No longer!  Planning out a Khorne Daemonkin army, I asked myself that if I was really going to make another full Chaos Marine army (in addition to the Word Bearers, Endless Ones and Death Guard), why not finally do the Sons of Taurus instead?  I decided I could live with the copper-based paint scheme from a few years ago and started organizing parts, ordering shoulder pads and other parts, did a test model and started to build things.

So they're finally coming, and the name of this blog will finally make some sense.  Much more to come!


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Foreshadowing, part 3



Some believe the darkness comes from 
without.
Some believe it grows from 
within.
It is everywhere, and it hungers.
The only place you are free 
is in the heart of the 
inferno.
Light the blaze and stand in the midst
letting the 
shadows 
cast themselves 
elsewhere.



Monday, May 11, 2015

Foreshadowing, part 2


++ Is treachery more detestable when birthed from defeat or from a yearning for greater victory?++




Friday, May 8, 2015

Foreshadowing, part 1



They are coming.



Monday, May 4, 2015

Wild Ride



Disjointed ramblings ahead.

40K is very annoying.  More of the same that everyone has complained about for years I know, but the speed of things lately has exacerbated it.  Lots of cool stuff coming out, but the pace that things are being released, and especially replaced, is kind of silly.  Eldar codex being replaced within two years with supplement being invalidated.  Knights being introduced ONE YEAR ago and already their book is replaced.  The 6th to 7th edition jump was shocking, but overall a better rules set so I didn't mind too much, but at some point I would like 40K to settle down again.  GW may even be shooting themselves in the foot a bit, aside from all the rage-quitters I'm sure that there are plenty of  people who are putting off new armies that keep waiting for the next book before they decide.  When it was six months in between, you had time to get and build one army before the next.  Now by the time you finish building an army you may start hearing rumors on your new codex.  I know several local Eldar players who I'm sure haven't finished their 6th ed Eldar armies yet, and here we go new book. Too much. 
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