Monday, 3 August 2015

Forgeworld Ultramarine Invictus Suzerain Squad Unboxing.

Forgeworld have just released the Invictarus Suzerain squad for the Ultramarines legion in Horus Heresy and they are flipping gorgeous! So I thought I'd take this opportunity to take a look at the rules, lore, and the models as they've just arrived through my letterbox.

So the rules first, and at 200 points for five they're not cheap, but for another five its only 125 so there is a pay off. They come with Legatine axes and boarding shields as standard, along with a bolt pistol each, and donning some artificer armour.
They can take Phobos and Proteus variants of Land Raider as their transport, and are basically a fancy Breacher squad.
If you wanted to you could exchange the bolt pistols for plasma, and the axes for thunder hammers. You're not limited on how many, so if you fancy it these boys can get very expensive!

There's a few special rules attached to these guys too. The Chosen Warrior rule means that any of them can issue and accept challenges, and the Lords of Ultramar rule gives them a leadership boosting bubble for surrounding units.
Perhaps the most interesting rule is the Honour Bearers upgrade, where one Suzerain can exchange his Boarding shield for a Legion Standard and become an Invictarus Ancient when accompanying a Praetor or other Master of the Legion as a command squad. This is what I think I'll be doing with mine, as I've got a nifty idea for the standard, more on that in a jiffy.

In the fluff, the Invictus are marines that have been selected from the ranks due to being truly exceptional. They serve our Primarch and the Tetrarchs, with the aim of becoming future leaders and officers. They embody the Legions traits, with shining armour, shields to hold disorder at bay, and Legatine axes as symbols to remember the old Battle-Kings of Macragge. That's some serious weight on their shoulders!
As I mentioned at the start of this post, forgeworld have absolutely knocked it out of the park with this unit. The level of detail is staggering, they are so ornate and intricate, they'll be a real treat to put together and paint. The bodies come as one piece with the legs so there is limited posing, but they've been sculpted so well that you'd hardly notice the duplication when taking them up to a full ten man squad. At £60 they are a bit pricey in one go, but comparable to having to buy a mkIV squad and an upgrade pack, so no complaints here at all.
With the standard bearer I'm thinking of using one of the banner poles from Roboute Guilliman's base, since I'm not using the big marble slab. I'll have to do a dry fit and see how it works out.

I've done a quick unboxing video of the Suzerains as well which you can find here!

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

2015 Black Library Open Submissions window.

At the start of the year, I received an email from Black Library saying that they were now accepting submissions for stories. The theme was to be Deathwatch, and there was a very strict 500 word limit, so I got to work. I'd not really done any serious creative writing before, just some narrative battle reports and shit, so it was certainly a challenge. Here's the blurb I came up with to whet your appetite.

When a mysterious Inquisitor enlists an Ultramarine who had fought at Damnos, and a Minotaur survivor of the Orpheus Sector, into the Deathwatch with a mission to investigate a potential tomb world, frictions arise between the pair over the theoretical and practicals of facing the living metal of the Necrons.

Needless to say I haven't heard back from them, I assume that my advance cheque got lost in the post, so I think I'm safe to be able to publish my submission now so here we go! Please let me know what you think, it's quite removed from bolter porn the usually put out.

Bronze, Silver, and Gold

As Gladius boarded the Thunderhawk that would be his carriage to the warship waiting in orbit his thoughts drifted. Why had he been selected by the Ordos Xenos? Had someone put him forward for this mission, possibly the High Suzerain of Ultramar?

He had stood beside Sicarius during the first fateful battle on Damnos, one of a handful of survivors from the struggle against the Necrons, then returned alongside hundreds of his brothers when Marneus Calgar had declared a return to the planet to rid it of the ancient beings. Perhaps it was due to this experience that he was chosen, having survived two cataclysmic battles with the same foe. Could that be why he had been chosen?

Would he ever rejoin his squad? He knew that such thoughts were unnecessary, that it was a great honour and his duty, but Gladius had always imagined his glorious bloodied death to occur surrounded by his battle brothers, marines he had spent countless hours with upon the field of battle.

From what had been relayed to him, he was to be the third member of the killteam assembled by the Inquisitor. Recalling his career, Gladius could think of very few encounters with such characters previously, and the tales woven by his comrades ranged wildly from the extreme to the mysterious. He felt the tug of deceleration as the transport began it's landing in the vast hangar bay of the waiting ship. He was not aware of the fact but Gladius was the last of the Inquisitors' puzzle pieces to step aboard the sombre vessel.

The was no welcome party as he disembarked from the Thunderhawk, the only sounds being the creaking of it's metal skin as it cooled in the atmosphere, and Servitors whirring and clicking about their business. After some minutes a door slid apart and a wiry biped ambled towards him. From a distance he appeared to be just another Servitor, but as he approached, Gladius could see that he was an augmented human, part of the Inquisitors retinue no doubt. No words were spoken, but Gladius knew that he was supposed to follow the strange creature.

After unloading his meagre belongings in his sparse chamber, he set out to find the other marines selected for the mission. There were no signs of life aboard, so he followed his instinct and the faint sounds echoing along the corridors. Striding along the metal decking he noted the absence of any other movement around him.

The sounds grew louder and as he rounded a corner he was greeted by a towering arch, through which a great light streamed. He recognised the familiar noise of someone duelling with a battle automata. As his unhelmeted eyes adjusted to the contrast between the dark corridor and the bright practice chamber he saw a lone warrior, twisting and turning around the apparatus with skill and ease. The figure was in his battle plate, a burnished bronze, with red accents. Gladius knew the chapter immediately, the Minotaurs.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Sons of Ultramar, Ultramarines Painting Guide Review.

I picked this book up on my first visit to my new home GW store in Taunton as I was grabbing the White Dwarf Weekly, and was feeling impulsive. I don't particularly need to know how to paint Ultramarines, it's something that I've been doing for quite a few years now, but was really hoping for some insignia guides, notes on heraldry, things along those lines. I'd picked up the How to paint Space Marines painting guide many years ago, and that was a font of hobby knowledge, and probably something I'll take a look at in another review.

The guide opens with a few pages of fluff regarding the Ultramarines 3rd company, and their captain Mikael Fabian. There's some basic colour plates of marines and vehicles, showing the general positioning of some insignia, such as company colour, and squad type.
It then goes on to show the whole third company on a double page spread, but with one glaring error, unless there's been a dramatic change in company compositions since I last checked. They only list six Rhinos, one for each Tactical squad, and none for the Devastator squads. Either someone has slipped up there, or they've altered the formation for no apparent reason.

Next up is a section entitled Strike Force Hammerfall, where we look at Antaro Chronus and the war for Quintarn, where the Armoury of Ultramar battled against Chaos. There are plenty of shots of painted vehicles, and some Sternguard Veterans, but still no painting guides and we're up to page 37 at this point.

Lo and behold, on the next page the headline act appears. It breaks the painting down into different miniatures, each highlighting either a new technique, or repeating a previous one from a few pages earlier.
First up are the basics for any Ultramarines painter, blue armour, and gold details. One thing that I did find useful was how they tackled white. I'd always shaded it with Nuln Oil, but here they use a Celestra Grey basecoat, and leave that showing in the recesses as they highlight up to white, it definitely looks more natural than my efforts. The six stages to paint leather on tabards was also good, and I'll be trying it out on my Cataphractii shoulder guards, and possibly on Guilliman himself.
There's a really nice nine stage guide to painting skin, which is something that I've struggled with in the past, so will be going this a go too. The guides for painting gems and lenses are something I'm going to try and follow as well.

Having made my way through almost eighty pages of step by step guides I feel rather cheated. There was a very apparent amount of repetition to the guides, with 14 examples showing the exact same way to paint blue armour. As I have noted above, some of the guides are useful, but a lot of space could've been dedicated to other aspects of painting an Ultramarines army. There is no mention of the other eight companies, or how to paint their trim. The only skin painting guide is white, where are the variations in skintone?
They could've included a masterclass section towards the rear of the book for people wanting to take their painting to the next level, and included a gallery of Ultramarines that had been entered into the Golden Demon completion over the years.
Another obvious idea would be to cover basing, even just a brief look at techniques, from sand, to textured paint, to using sprues for rubble would've added weight to the guide.

My final suggestion is perhaps the most obvious. In White Dwarf Weekly and Warhammer Visions they occasionally include two articles, Sprues and Glue, and Kit Bash. These could've been included, from a basic look at each sprue for the marine kits, to variations of poses and combinations. They could've suggested using the new Devastator Marine legs in your Tactical squads for the heavy weapon toting marine. They could've mentioned the new Ultramarines upgrade sprue. Both of these would've pushed sales and added a lot more to a very flimsy book.

So overall, would I recommend this book? Definitely not. It feels rushed, lacklustre, and incomplete. During the course of writing this I've decided I will be following it up very quickly with my review of the old Space Marine painting guide to show the difference and how lacking in effort this book is.
What do you think of it if you bought it or have had the chance to flick through? I'd be very eager to hear your opinion.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Forgeworld Event Exclusive Horus Heresy Miniatures Unboxings.

I was lucky enough to attend the Warhammer World Grand Re-opening back in May, and amongst a few other things, managed to grab both of the Horus Heresy event only Consul miniatures.

The first is Narik Dreygur, Praevin Consul of the Iron Warriors. He’s armed with a power fist and a master-crafted bolt pistol, standard stuff so far. Where he gets really interesting is his Cortex Controller and Cortex Designator! The controller means that he can take a bodyguard of either Castellax or Vorax Class Battle-Automata. They then stack a few special rules on top, depending on your legion, making it quite a unit to bring to the table.

The model itself is pretty special, with what looks like chunkier, heavier armour plates, and some cool shoulder pads. For my Ultramarines version, I think I’ll be swapping the bolt pistol out for Volkite and changing one of the shoulder pads for one of the sculpted Ultra ones released a couple of months ago. I’m still undecided whether or not to scrape off the reaper detail from his ‘tabard’ thingy.

The second model is Autilon Skorr,  Consul of the Alpha Legion. He’s a Delegatus Consul type, armed with a bolt pistol and power axe, but you can always mix that up if you like. He’s got a very interesting ruleset, a Centurion that gives you a Rite of War like a Praetor. He has to be your warlord if chosen, so that limits your HQ options a few bit, but at small points games would be a fantastic choice!

His Rite allows you to take two squads of Veterans as troops, and I’ll definitely be getting some Praetorian mark armour marines for his attack force. You can’t take a Lord of War, or have any allied detachments to his army, so in bigger point games I don’t think he will work.

The model on the whole is nicely done, although he is very Alpha. So he’ll be having his head replaced with something a lot more in-keeping, as well as a shoulder pad, and some of the detail on his chest plate taken off.

I have done a video of my unboxing for my youtube channel, and here it is if you’d like to take a look!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Warllama is dead. Long live Warllama!

For a while now I've not really known what to do with my blog. Mostly I've just neglected it, other times I've posted about how I'll be turning over a new leaf and writing more. I've even gone as far as starting a new Wordpress account to totally start from scratch, but none of these solutions have worked for me.

Now that I've moved from Wales to England and switched my job, I'm too far from my Horus heresy gaming buddy, so I will need to try and get the local club excited about it. What I do have now though is plenty of drive to get some painting done for the next time I do see my mate for a game. I also have quite a long commute every day to work, where I'll be able to write, just like I'm doing now.

The first thing that I need to do though is have a spring clean of my blog. There's too many lacking posts, and a lot of diversity where I've tried to branch out and cover other topics. Some posts will be being deleted, others maybe hiding. What I do know is that the thunderhawk scratch building instructions will be being destroyed, the post has brought nothing but hassle and very skewed stats!

So with all that being said, I'll be endeavouring to keep my blog running, carefully thinking before I post to try and keep the quality levels high, and most importantly, getting back to some good ol' hobbying! Over the next week or so I'll also be trying to update the look of the blog, so keep your eyes peeled and let me know what you think.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The State of my Armies - Mechanicum Edition

This is a fairly recent army, I only started it at Warhammer Fest last year, and it's grown rather quickly, but has also been painted quite quickly too! I think it's my only army where everything has at least one colour on it! It's also the most completed with exactly half the units being fully painted!
The plan is to get this fully painted by the end of the year and hopefully expanded into a full 2000 point list with another unit of Thallax and a few more Castellax with Darkfire cannons.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The State of my Armies - Grey Knight Edition

I started my Grey Knights army when they were revamped for 5th edition. At the time I wasn't aware of how powerful they were, I just loved the sculpts, and the new Dreadknight.

As I knew it was going to be quite a small army I took my time to do a high quality job on the painting front, and started painting every component individually. I think it took me about 3 months to finish five marines! Because of this, the army never really took off and has been languishing.

My GK force also includes Coteaz, and a Chimera, as the plan was to build a Blanchitsu style Inquisitor detachment too, but that's a pipe dream at the moment. Not photographed is the unbuilt Storm Raven, I'm undecided what to do with it at the moment. If there were rules for it in the Forgeworld Heresy books I'd repurpose it!

The main thing I need to do is re-base the force on 32mm bases, and at least get some silver only the Purifier squad!