Monday, May 31, 2010

New Kids on the Blog

A plug for the new blogs set up by the folks displaced by the upcoming closing of the Eternity Gate.  Hopefully I'll get to plug a few more in the days or weeks to come, but for now:

Ethereal's Projects - Eldar, Imperial Guard, artwork, Necrons, Space Marines, Vampires, Lizardmen and who knows what else.  This Australian bloke is "the cute one."

Icehornet's 40K projects - Currently working on Space Wolves, he also has incomplete Dark Angels, Imperial Fists, Ultramarines and god knows what else.  Another Australian, he's the "bad boy."

The Fighting 54th - Commanded by the venerable fighting spaniel, who's currently building this Guard unit but also has other forces lurking about and some nifty terrain too.  This Kiwi is "the funny one."

Big G - Another Kiwi and deadly opponent of the spaniel, he's "the hunky one."  He's packing Black Templars, Ultramarines and Daemon Hunters for 40K and High Elves, Goblins, Warriors of Chaos and Daemons for Fantasy.

Tordeck's Projects - While he has Marines and other things, I believe his soul belongs to Chaos.  Also has an interest in BFG.  He's "the moody one."

They've just started up, so there's not a lot of content for some yet, but once they start loading up more of their older work as well as new projects and rants I expect that you'll agree that they have "The Right Stuff."  Let's welcome them to the blogosphere!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

40K Names - rise of the Warlords of the Death Legion!

(Previous readers may also notice that I've been playing around with templates, let me know what you think.)

Just as the imagery of 40K contains some of the same elements over and over again - skulls, wings, lots of black and red - the language of 40K uses the same elements over and over again too.

Through a very unscientific and limited survey, I've gathered together some of the more common words used to describe 40K armies and their units.  I went through the GW online store, picking out the words that popped out most often.  I discarded those things that were neutral or merely descriptive, like tactical, squad, or brood in favor of IMO more evocative ones.  I then went through the names of the original Space Marine legions, perhaps the most iconic groups and names in the background and added them to the mix.  I didn't go into successor chapters that weren't in the store as it would be a bit much - so Black Templars gets counted but Silver Skulls don't.  If you went through using all the mentioned SM chapters you'd probably see some things like Angel become much more common.  I didn't use race-specific names like Eldar or things like Marine or Chaos but would pick out Dark from both Dark Eldar and Dark Reapers.  Where something repeated from the army level to the specific level, I would only count it once - so one point for Blood for the Blood Angels, but no extra points for every unit that also has "Blood Angel X" as the name.

I may have missed a few things, but I think it's a good starting point.  If you're looking for some suggestions for names that would fit in well with the 40K jargon, or if you're trying to avoid common names and themes, this might be useful for you.

So...the results!

Guard comes out on top, with Imperial Guard, Death Guard (perhaps the most "40K" of all the army names), Wraith Guard, Tyrant Guard and so on helping it claim #1.

Closely behind we find War/WarriorWarlords, War Walkers, various types of Warriors.  Not even counting weapons like Warscythes.

In the next tier comes Lord, Legion, and Death/Deff.  

In the honorable mention category are a number of others - Blood, Wraith, Storm, Fire, Dark, Iron, Wing, Space, and Priest.  Then Sanguinary, Angel(s), Raider, Beast, Imperial, Spider/Spyder, Damned, Black and Grey.

So if you're ever stuck for a name, fall back on the 40K standbys and bring the Wraith Legion or Storm Guard to life!

So the 41st Millenium isn't "grimdark" - it's really "warguard"!

(Part 2 now available.)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Old Batreps with new home

FYI, I had old links up for these, but with the upcoming closure of the Eternity Gate, I've moved them to a local site.

If you're interested, they can be found at gameongw.  Mostly in the 40K section, but there is one old WHFB tourney report as well.  Mix of armies and opponents over the last few years, so be aware that editions/rules may have changed since then! 

(11/18/2010) Unfortunately, the gameongw forum may be closing down due to lack of local interest (they prefer the Yahoo group?  Really?) so I've migrated the reports over to the blog, under the header of "Bash from the Past".  Apologies for other places I may have links that are now broken - if you happen upon any please let me know and I'll see about fixing them.  Thanks!

Why Play a Chaos Space Marine Army?

So you've been thinking of starting a new army and are giving Chaos a look. What are the possible draws to this army?


The background of the different groups of Chaos Space Marines presents several layers, any of which can be appealing on their own or in combination.

For the rebellious-natured, the whole notion of fighting against the monolithic Imperium is appealing. Why defend such a rotten status quo? The 'dark reflection' of the flagship army can be a draw as well - corrupt instead of stalwart, unpredictable instead of rigid.

For others, the notion of the stubborn fighters that refuse to accept defeat is an attraction. So, in the Horus Heresy the traitors lost their leader and much of their forces and got chased across the galaxy literally into hell, their support networks cut and homeworlds destroyed. Did they hole up and wait for the end? Did they give up? No! They tamed their warp-corrupted new homes, rebuilt and have continued the conflict for the past 10,000 years.

Further down the chart from the general notion of Chaos are the more specific groups. Each Legion has its own unique background, motivations, look and feel. Beyond the Legions are more recent traitors, renegades such as the Red Corsairs, the Purge and so on - or even a group of your own creation! Add to the mix the different 'religions' of Chaos, the four major powers (Khorne, Nurgle, Slaanesh, Tzeentch), a multitude of minor powers ripe for creation or fleshing out and the concept of 'undivided' Chaos that worships all. Some Legions or warbands are aligned to a specific god (like the World Eaters and Khorne), others have a mix of worshippers (such as the Black Legion where you can see Plague Marines of Nurgle fighting alongside Tzeentchian sorcerors), while others such as the Word Bearers pay homage to all without fully dedicating to any single patron and others still trust only in themselves, not the capricious whims of greedy gods.

These various elements can be used singly, or combined to create the force that appeals most to you. Maybe your army will be renegade White Scars that have turned to Nurgle, their bloated bodies carried across the battlefield by their bikes, plague spreading through their exhaust? Or perhaps Iron Warriors that are following the ways of Tzeentch to give them better insights into even more intricate battle plans and strategems?

Also, if you enjoy reading the 'fluff' of the 40K universe, Chaos has a lot to offer there, from inclusion in other stories as adversaries (such as the Space Wolf or Guant's Ghosts series) to books where they are the protagonists (such as Storm of Iron or the Horus Heresy series).

If you like your battles to have stories, Chaos can make things easy for you in that regard too. Obviously any battle with Space Marines, Inquisition forces or Imperial Guard is easy to explain! Throw the Eldar's hatred for Chaos into the mix while you're at it, especially the Harlequins. As for the others - Chaos slew their own brothers in pursuit of their goals...what makes you believe they'd think twice about getting rid of any Xenos that are in their way?


Chaos is blessed with lots of plastic and a wide variety of kits + fantasy Chaos + loyalist SM kits that can all either work together well or provide lots of bits. Lots of wild conversion potential - archaic and cobbled together technology, mutations and daemonic influences can all show their hand alone or in combination. There are also several generations of metal figures that can fit in as well if you're inclined to track them down - check out older Citadel catalogs at the Stuff of Legends (LINK) for examples.

Daemons are another area where you can go wild with 'counts as' and use a wide range of potential models, from GW's own daemon kits or other GW kits like fantasy dryads and beastmen, to figures from other miniature ranges (just be aware you might run into trouble using them at more restrictive events such as GW-run tournaments) or scratch-sculpted monstrosities.

Army List

The Chaos Space Marine army has a lot of similarities with regular Space Marines, so if you are familiar with loyalist marines the transition should be easy. Bolters are bolters, lascannons are lascannons, power fists are power fists. A unit of Raptors can fill the same basic role as a unit of assault marines as will a Predator and Chaos Predator.

In fact if you already have a Space Marine army, you have a ready-made renegade army waiting for you! You'll have to leave the Land Speeders, Attack Bikes, Crusaders and Whirlwinds at home but your tactical squads can serve as chaos marines, your Devastators as Havocs, your leaders as Lords/Sorcerors and so on, with Rhinos, Predators, Land Raiders and Dreadnoughts coming along with little difficulty. Doing so could be a great way to try out the Chaos list to see if you like it before investing in a new army. And who knows - you may like it so much that those loyalist marines wind up being permanently converted to renegades!

The Chaos army list has a lot to offer. Rock solid troops, a variety of support options and a good deal of customization available. The basic chaos marine comes with power armor plus a good stat line and is equipped with a trusty bolter, bolt pistol, close combat weapon as well as both frag and krak grenades. He's got good damage potential at range and in hand-to-hand combat and can potentially hurt any vehicle with AV12 or worse rear armor. About the only things in the game that he can't threaten are Wraithlords, Land Raiders and Monoliths. Not too shabby - and that's BEFORE you upgrade their weapons, make them cult troops or add a champion!

With the Chaos list you can easily go any number of ways. You can load up on terminators and obliterators and be a nightmare to anyone without lots of AP2 weapons. You can focus on bikes, raptors and transports, using mobility to win the day. You can focus on one god (making a Khornate or Nurgle army for example), you can ignore cults and icons altogether and focus on getting more basic troopers or anything in between. Players who want to enjoy the random nature can load up on Possessed, Dreadnoughts and Spawn, who might fail or succeed spectacularly. Theme players can find plenty to work with, and power players can make use of solid forces, flexible obliterators and devious abilities like the Lash of Slaanesh to challenge their tournament opponents.


Whatever part of the hobby appeals to you - the background, modeling, painting, playing the actual game - Chaos has a lot to offer.

But at what price?

Chaos Hate 4.0

You've all seen them. Maybe even participated in them, maybe even started them. The Chaos hate threads. About how the 4.0 "Gavdex" is an insult to Chaos players, how it sucked all the life out of the legions, etc. It's been years since the book has come out, but there seems to be little letup in the bile (not Fabius, small B ) directed at it. Other book changes have also experienced negative reactions, like the loss of traits for Space Marines, or the loss of Craftworld-specific rules for Eldar, but the fires of hatred for these don't seem to be as well-tended as those for Chaos.

Fluff. Some complain about the fluff emphasis on Renegades. Eh, who cares? There's tons of stuff about the Traitor Legions out there over the past 20+ years already, the Horus Heresy series is still coming out, Black Library books, etc. There's a ton of Legion fluff out there already, do we need it repeated every time a new codex comes out? Why not throw a little bone to the Renegades now and then? A few pages hardly overshadows the decades of Legion background that's already been established.

 Let's look through the various CSM books from 3-4 and see how much fluff there is about Legions, not counting that about the special characters. 3.0 = 2 pages. 3.5 = 8 pages. 4.0 = 8.5 pages. About the same. More added about renegades, but they hardly gutted talking about Legions. And all the old stuff is still out there, in older books, WD, online and so on. I don't know of much of anything that was invalidated by the background in 4.0. There's a lot of extra RULES for Legions (though half of those rules are just restrictions, and for the cult legions the main benefit is free champions and +1 to reserve rolls for daemons), but I don't see a lot of extra fluff about them in 3.5 compared to 4.0.  Also: 3.5 pages devoted to the story of the Horus Heresy: 2 -- 4.0 pages devoted to the story of the Horus Heresy: 4

Options. Some complain about the lack of options, that they want the return of the big, fluffy armory and daemonic gifts chart. As much as people bemoan that, I can't take it too seriously. Look back through the lists made with the prior book and see how often people took "cool and fluffy" things like Daemonic Fire compared to the efficient workhorses like D.Str and D.Mutation. Veteran Skills - again, cool, but you mostly saw lots of Furious Charge and Infiltration, sometimes Tank Hunters for whoever was packing lascannons. Not a lot of Move through Cover or Counter Attack.

Cult changes. Here, to some degree I feel the pain. For those with their sonic-toting Slaaneshi Havocs and the like, I can understand frustration. And I agree it is annoying not being able to Mark anything outside of the Cult Troops - while I like having the option for Icons, it would be good to have the options for Marks too. And here is where I think one of the mistakes was and where the rage comes from - it's not that IoX Chosen, Terminators, etc. are necessarily *bad*, it's that the Troops version is so much better. If they hadn't made Zerkers WS5 and Furious Charge and hadn't given Plague Marines FNP, and had given a way to make Terminators, etc. Fearless I think a lot of folks wouldn't have the same disconnect. But when your grunts have FNP, but your Nurgle Lord, Terminators and Chosen can't get it, or your Zerkers have WS5 and FC but your terminators and Chosen don' feels off.

Antagonism. Some complain about the lack of restrictions on gods working together, of having Slaaneshi princes leading Plague Marines and so on. You know what? If you want to create a mono-god force, there's nothing stopping you. If you don't want to be restricted in other ways, why try to force others to be restricted in this way?

Daemons. Here again I can feel some of the pain. It would be nice to have at least some minor differentiation among daemon types, and for the GDs that typically have wings to be able to get them, but there's no *need* for the kind of powerhouses like the old Bloodletters. And not counting for compulsory troops is a bit sad for the various -wing Chaos players.

Legion Flavor. There are some aspects I can feel the pain on, like for those who bought/made a bunch of cultists for their Alpha Legion. And the aforementioned full-cult folks with their Slaaneshi sonic havocs and such. But for others...not so much. How critical is it *really* for your Dark Apostle to have a 4++ vs a 5++? It's nice to have, sure, but it shouldn't be enough to pull you out of the feel of the Word Bearers. Your Iron Warriors don't get 4 HS slots anymore or a basilisk, but you can get multiple oblit units and multiple vindicators when the vindi used to be 0-1. Night Lords can still get lots of Raptors, which used to be 0-1 for everyone else.

I liked the 3.5 Codex too. It had a lot of fun stuff and some nifty options. But a lot of it was a mess. Multiple reprints and it was still a mess. Compared to the confusion and questions that arose from that book the questions about Lash were a drop in the ocean. How long did it take for the average starting CSM player to finally stop making lists that A) were right regarding wargear/gifts limits, B ) were right about what FOC slot marked units ended up in and C) stopped having Marked units with multiple veteran skills? It was a needlessly confusing mess and needed some measure of simplifying and cleaning up. Did they go too far? In some ways, yeah, they probably did. But staying with that same maze would have been a bigger mistake IMO.

I would like to see some way of having Marked as well as merely Icon'd units. I would like to see a little variation among daemons. I'd like to see a few tweaks on things like dreads and spawn. But I don't feel the same rage that many seem to feel.

So where's your rageometer on Codex: Chaos Space Marines, and why?

Army List - Lost and the Damned (IG)

Planned list for my upcoming Chaos Guard:

Here's the basic 2000pt list I'm planning to build:

Company Command Squad
"Astrakenor", Word Bearers Prophet - Counts-as Iron Hand Straken.
Regimental Standard (+LP/CCW)
Chimera - Multi-laser, HF

Sorceror Coven - 9xPsykers + Overseer
Chimera - Multilaser, HF

Chaos Ogrynx10

"Khonan" - counts-as Marbo

Infantry Platoon
Platoon command - PF/BP 2xflamers
Inf squad - PW, meltagun
Inf squad - PW, meltagun

Infantry Platoon
Platoon command - PF/BP, 2xflamers
Inf squad - PW, flamer
Inf squad - PW, flamer
Mortar squad
Lascannon squad

Fast Attack
10xRough Riders (1)
sgt has meltabombs

Fast Attack
10xRough Riders (2)
sgt has meltabombs

Fast Attack
3xSpawn Riders (Scout Sentinels) w/Missile Launchers

Heavy Support
Hydra, HF hull

Heavy Support
Leman Russ Eradicator, HF hull

2000pts (1999)

I'm also planning on building some more infantry and more Chimeras for when I don't want to take the Ogryn/scale down the point size. Also a regular CO instead of Straken, and a Manticore to swap out for the Eradicator (or a Deathstrike maybe...).

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum...

...namely, it's getting closed!

My main 40K forum hangout, The Eternity Gate, is going to be shutting down soon.  I've been posting there since 2003, and have made what I consider some true friendships there over the years with some gamers around the world.  It was never as big as places like Warseer or the Bolter & Chainsword, but I always considered that a plus, as I felt there was a higher signal to noise ratio than you get on a lot of the bigger forums.  But there is a certain critical mass to keep things going, and the Eternity Gate has fallen below that over a long slow decline.

It wasn't the first 40K site I frequented - old sites like and The Maelstrom hold the distinction for helping to pull me back into 40K.  But as those have passed into the night, now it's the Gate's turn.  I'll miss her, but hope to stay in touch with the folks from there, and as they set up blogs of their own you'll likely see them pimped here.

I'm also looking at what to do with some of the older stuff that I had on there, so in the coming days I'll probably be posting some things here in order to save them. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Where I do my thing

Some pics of where I paint/model and of my upstairs game-cave in the bonus room above our garage.

General shot from the far side of my official modeling/painting space.

View from where I'd normally be.  Paint carousel (rather disorganized atm) and brush caddy on the left.  Table is wrapped in tablecloth that's further wrapped in a plastic sheet to make spill cleanup simple.  Under the red cup is a little paint palette and under that is an old cutting board I use as...well, a cutting board so I don't chop up the plastic sheet.

Close up of the paint carousel and brush caddy.

Tub for tools.  Green stuff, hobby knives, files, drills and whatnot.  I use a lot of plastic tubs, as you will see.

My soaking tub-within-a-tub, Simple Green bath.  Keeping the container within another avoids the smell permeating the area.  Currently some Chaos Bikers are getting the spa treatment.

More paints and inks under the table.

Square/rectangular bases, round bases, and box of transfers.

In the shelves behind me, more paints, basing stuff, chemicals, and other tools like hot glue gun and hot wire cutter.

Partial bits organization.

Kitchen table, where a lot of stuff actually gets done.  When the rest of the family is in the kitchen/living room I'd rather be in the mix with them, and even when alone I sometimes want to watch something which is easier in here.

Let's head upstairs.

We've mostly gotten used to the low ceilings and especially the corners leading into the alcove on the right, and hardly ever bang our heads anymore.  The table used to be facing the other way, and turning it seems to have made some difference there.  While never super-clean, it's a lot more cluttered lately as we cleared out what was originally our storage room to make another guest room and all the stuff ended up in here.  As did stuff from my wife's parents' house, stuff from friends, stuff my mom brings over...etc.  Hopefully some point soon I'll get around to seriously attacking the clutter in here.

We use the table for my group's irregular RPG sessions, with whiteboard and markers to map things out as needed.  Also usually used for visiting 40K players, unless we need to be downstairs for some reason.

Shelves with a bunch of junk, as well as some terrain and minis we use for RPG sessions.

A bunch of fantasy minis (Reaper, Ral Partha, etc.) awaiting brush attention.

Bunch of Bretonnians and some other WHFB stuff that's been sitting around for years.

Vehicle sprues and kits, as well as tons of Marine and Chaos Marine figs/kits.

Part of my city board being stored atop rows of comic boxes.

Junk, old IG stuff that didn't carry over to the new army, and Ork bits&kits in the plastic tubs.


Incipient Chaos Guard.

Tubs of RPG stuff not currently in use.  Books, old characters, old campaign info.

Tubs of Heroclix figs and boxes of Cardboard Heroes, both of which we use for our supers RPGs.

Boxes and boxes of stuff my friend Joel brought over.  He doesn't play 40K anymore, so brought all his stuff over here, I think to make room for more DVDs at his house.  I tried to get him to let me sell it for him, but he didn't want to do that.  So at the moment I've got huge Blood Angels and Tau armies, some GK and other stuff taking up more space.

So, that's my hobby/gaming spaces, my attempts at organization and masses of clutter.  Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Silver Snikrot Strikes, Slicing Several Squads - IG vs. Orks Batrep, 1500pts

Had a game today with Seneca, who though a long-term (and by long-term, I mean as in half of his Ravenwing are on jetbikes long-term), devoted Dark Angels player has been moving towards starting up Orks as well.  We gave him a test-run with my Orks a few months ago and he seemed to enjoy them, and today he took to the field with my Orks again though with a modified list, facing my Merkan IG.  His new Snikrot purchase, some old Grots, and a Bad Moon surplus dread and we were ready to go!

We played 1500pts, Pitched Battle Annihilation.

I used the same list as in my previous battle with the World Eaters:

Company Command Squad (PW, Regimental Standard, HB team)
Platoon Command Squad (PW, 2 GL)
      3xsquads with Plasmagun
      Mortar HW squad
      Lascannon HW squad
      Heavy Bolter HW squad
      2xML HW squads

Platoon Command Squad (PW, 2 GL)
      2xsquads with Plasmagun

Leman Russ Eradicator - hull lascannon

Leman Russ - hull lascannon, HB sponsons

Leman Russ - hull lascannon, HB sponsons

The Orks brought:

Warboss, PK, attack squig, eavy armor (attached to Snikrot's squad)

8xKommandos, 2xBurnas, Snikrot

6xMeganobs, 3xKombi-Skorcha, Battlewagon w/killcannon, deffrolla, armor plates

30xSlugga boys, PK/pole nob

19xgrots, slaver

12xard boys, pk/pole nob, trukk rokkit/ram/wrecking ball

Deff Dredd, 2xSkorchas

I won the roll-off, set up first, and after the Orks failed to seize the initiative, went first.

A lot of shooting later, there was a shaken Trukk and a few Orks killed by mortar fire.  Very unimpressive.

The dredd advances, but is destroyed the following turn.  It played no real part in the battle, but I did take a pic of it, so here it is. ;-)

The large Ork mob, screened by Grots, moves up in the middle, while the mechanized forces surge towards my right flank.

Some more Orks and Grots in the middle die.  A lot of firepower heads towards the Trukk, eventually destroying it.  After the ard boyz climb out of the wreckage, the Eradicator lands a shot on them, taking out most of the mob. 

The battlewagon charges forward into a guard squad.  The mighty deff rolla manages one wound, which the guardsman saves against.  Maybe it couldn't squash them as they were running too fast, having failed their morale check from the tank shock.  Meganobs pile out, ardboyz move around, and the Waaaghh! is called!

In the middle the footslogging Orks roll a one for their Waagh-induced fleet and fall short.  The Orks on the right, being much closer have no problems making contact and wiping out their opposition.

The Eradicator tank shocks through the remaining ard boyz and the meganobs, but both pass morale.  The IG finish off the ardboyz and one meganob, but a battlecannon shot scatters over to the Eradicator and immobilizes it.

The Orks get a number of charges off and clear a good portion of the field:

Snikrot finally arrives in turn 4.  He and the Kommandos take out some heavy weapons, while the Warboss breaks off but fails to take out a Russ.

A few more Orks are killed, but they manage to take out even more guard and the remaining tanks.  In the end two partial guard squads remain as the game ends at the end of turn 5, with an Ork victory 14 to 5!  Let the looting begin!

Even though he showed up late, Snikrot proved that he's a beast.  I was already planning to pick up the model, but may actually drop a kopta or something to make room for him sometimes in my lists too.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Finished Merkan IG pics

It was warm and dry enough last night to hit them with some matte sealer, so the Merkan 76th is officially complete.  At least until I decide to build the sentinels to bring them to 2000pts. ;-)

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