Tag Archives: wip

Black Templars: Moving On, With Options

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

After reading through the new Space Marine codex, making adjustments for things like the Emperor’s Champ taking up an HQ slot, and recalculating point costs, my current Black Templars list – the one I’m working on for the Independent Characters’ Hobby Progress Challenge – looks something like this:

HQ: High Marshal Helbrecht (180 pts)

HQ: Emperor’s Champion (140 pts)

Troops: Crusader Squad (168 pts)
5 Initiates with Bolt Pistol & CCW
1 Initiate with Flamer
1 Initiate with Bolt Pistol & Power Axe
5 Neophytes with Bolt Pistol & CCW

Troops: Crusader Squad (168 pts)
5 Initiates with Bolt Pistol & CCW
1 Initiate with Flamer
1 Initiate with Bolt Pistol & Power Axe
5 Neophytes with Bolt Pistol & CCW

Troops: Crusader Squad (180 pts)
3 Initiates with Bolters
1 Initiate with Plasmagun
1 Initiate with Lascannon
1 Razorback (Twin-Linked Lascannon)

Elite: Venerable Dreadnought (150 pts)
1 Dreadnought (Venerable; Twin-Linked Lascannon)

Elite: Terminator Assault Squad (305 pts)
2 Terminators with Lightning Claws
5 Terminators with Thunder Hammer & Storm Shield

Fast Attack: Land Speeder Squadron (75 pts)
1 Land Speeder (Typhoon Missile Launcher)

Fast Attack: Land Speeder Squadron (75 pts)
1 Land Speeder (Typhoon Missile Launcher)

Heavy Support: Land Raider Crusader (260 pts)
1 Land Raider Crusader (Multi-melta)

This comes out to 1,701 points – 149 shy of the 1,850 I had previously. I dropped the Master of Sanctity from the list, chiefly because he doesn’t exist as an option anymore, and the standard Chaplain is a bit lackluster in comparison. The question is, how do I fill up those points, while keeping in mind that this is a painting challenge that only has 2 1/2 months remaining. Well, I’ve come up with a few options:

templars_initiates

Option 1: More Crusaders

This one is pretty obvious. Templars, as an assault-focused army, benefit from having more bodies on the table, and the obvious targets are the Crusader Squads. 12 models in a squad are okay, but 15 would be better… and this also allows me to take advantage of the new Sword Brethren in the squads. In this option, my Crusader Squads look like this:

Troops: Crusader Squad (225 pts)
8 Initiates with Bolt Pistol & CCW
1 Initiate with Meltagun
1 Sword Brother with Bolt Pistol & Power Sword
5 Neophytes with Bolt Pistol & CCW

Troops: Crusader Squad (225 pts)
8 Initiates with Bolt Pistol & CCW
1 Initiate with Meltagun
1 Sword Brother with Bolt Pistol & Power Sword
5 Neophytes with Bolt Pistol & CCW

Troops: Crusader Squad (214 pts)
3 Initiates with Bolters
1 Initiate with Plasmagun
1 Initiate with Lascannon
1 Sword Brother with Combi-Plasma
1 Razorback (Twin-Linked Lascannon)

The melee squads get more choppy, and the shooting squad gets a bit more shooty. I trade a flamer for a meltagun to crack open armor, and I pass the power weapon off to the Sword Brother. Why a power sword and not an axe? While the extra strength from the axe is nice, he’s mostly there to take challenges, and with only one wound I want him swinging at initiative, and I’ll bank on the Rending provided by the Templars’ new chapter traits. This option gets me up to 1,849 points. Not bad.

templars_honor_guard

Option 2: Honor Guard

One of the benefits of running Helbrecht is that he unlocks Honor Guard, and frankly, they’re murder machines. Two attacks base (three with their bolt pistol), artificer armor, power weapons, and bolters? And they can carry a chapter banner that gives the entire unit an extra attack each? And a champion with one more attack? And they can take relic blades? And they cost less than Terminators? Sign me up. I’d be willing to swap out my Terminators for these. Sure, you lose the invulnerable saves and the thunder hammers, but instead you get a crazy number of attacks. For 10 points less, I can get this:

HQ*: Honor Guard (295 pts)
9 Honor Guard (Chapter Banner)
1 Chapter Champion (Relic Blade)

Run that squad in the Land Raider Crusader with Helbrecht and the Emperor’s Champion, and they almost assuredly kill whatever you point them at, especially if you figure in Helbrecht using his once-per-game Hatred/Fleet ability the turn they come out of the Land Raider. Spend the 10 points saved on Extra Armor for the Land Raider, and you guarantee that it’ll get where it’s going (if it doesn’t get blown up). The Emperor’s Champ gets to benefit from the banner as well, so he’s now 5 attacks on the charge (2 base + 1 pistol + 1 charge + 1 banner), making it likely that he will slay anything he challenges.  The best part about this swap? I still have the points to add the Crusaders in option 1! The downside, though, is that it’s 10 models I don’t currently have, along with a banner. Painting this all up in time for the challenge might be difficult – but if I can get them assembled and primed before the end of the month, who knows?

templars_dreadnought

Option 3: Another Dreadnought

This one’s an option for fast painting, mostly because I already have one built and primed, along with a drop pod. It’s not as effective as more bodies, but it would allow me to drop a big nasty in my opponent’s backfield and tear up armor. Pretty simple, really:

Elite: Dreadnought (135 pts)
1 Dreadnought
1 Drop Pod

Troops: Crusader Squad (194 pts)
4 Initiates with Bolters
1 Initiate with Plasmagun
1 Initiate with Lascannon
1 Razorback (Twin-Linked Lascannon)

The dread gets me up to 135 points, leaving me 14 more – which is perfect for padding out the shooting squad with an extra Initiate. It’s not a terrible option, and definitely the easiest to paint, but I’m not sold on it for effectiveness.

There are other options as well – a Storm Talon, maybe, or a couple of tanks, or even another small shooty Crusader squad without a transport – but these are the first three I’m looking at. They don’t require me to buy much (and even with buying a few extra models for the honor guard, I’d get a ton of extra bits to save), and the first two definitely make the army better.

Imperial Guard – Getting My Feet Wet

IG_haulWhat you see above is a lot of Imperial Guard minis that I just happened to luck onto at an amazing price. Now, what’s there in this picture is slightly converted for making Traitor Guard, but I’ve decide to forgo that path (my Slaaneshi Chaos Marines already have daemonic allies) and instead turn them into Steel Legion (or something looking vaguely like it) to ally with my Black Templars (which gives me an excuse to eventually get a Baneblade for Apocalypse). Here’s what I’m looking at so far:

  • Chimera w/Multilaser and Heavy Flamer
  • Leman Russ Executioner/Demolisher (have both turrets) w/Plasma Sponsons and Heavy Bolter
  • Vendetta
  • 10 Cadian Hostile Environment Troops w/ Sergeant and Voxcaster (to use as Veterans)
  • 40 Cadians w/ 4 Sergeants and 4 Voxcasters (some missing limbs, so I’ll need bits)
  • 3 Cadian Mortar HWT
  • 1 Sanctioned Psyker
  • 1 Master of Ordinance

On top of that, I already have a Death Korp of Krieg Quartermaster from Games Day to use as the Company Commander…

Yeah, he'll do.
Yeah, he’ll do.

And so I have the basics for a small IG force. There’s some repairs that need to be made – the Vendetta is missing a fin, and some guys are missing limbs – and there are conversions that need to be done. For example, if I’m going Steel Legion, Cadian heads are a no-go. Fortunately, there’s about 20 or so Pig Iron Kolony Militia heads, either loose or already on models…

c7a21c8efdee0edacb6c5389ed2dbf78.image.733x550

So that’s a start. I’ll need to buy more, as well as possibly the command versions, but it’s a good start to getting them looking at least partially the part. I’m no good at sculpting, so giving them all coats isn’t in the cards, but I think this will be good enough.

The next step is figuring out what I may be lacking. I’ll probably want a couple of Company Command Squad boxes to flesh out the platoon and company squads, possibly 3 so I can get 3 plasmaguns. I’ve got three metal meltagun bits already, so I’ll want to convert those onto the veterans; might need to buy more bits for that as well.  After that… more heavy weapons teams? More Chimeras? More Leman Russes (and/or alternate weapon bits)? Some artillery (so tempted to get Basilisks, just because they look awesome)? As I embark upon the start of my 6th army (Tau, CSM, Daemons, Eldar, Black Templars, and now IG), I wonder what I might have gotten myself into…

Tau: More Adventures in Magnetizing

broadside_magnet_01After magnetizing my Riptide more-or-less successfully, it was time to try another model – one of the new Broadsides. I love the look of the new Broadside, and the idea of magnetizing it so I can swap between the two primary weapon loadouts was very appealing. In practice, though… it’s a pain in the ass, much moreso than the Riptide. There are two major reasons for this. The first is that the arms are heavy as far as plastic goes, so if you just try to magnetize them at the ball joints with the magnets pointing directly out to the sides, they’ll pivot down as they lose the fight against gravity. Fortunately, there is a relatively simple solution: mount the magnets on the tops of the ball joints:

 

broadside_magnet_02This leads to the second issue, though: the two sets of arms do not sit at the same angle on the joint. The High-Yield Missile Pod arms sit independently and swing a bit outward, while the Railgun arms join together and angle inward and a bit downward. This leads to some interesting magnet positions inside the sockets, and is really, really easy to mess up. This is one case where I wish I had a larger hand drill, rather than just my cordless Dremel; trying to get fine control with a high-speed drill is not a skill I’ve mastered. In the end, I had to cut one of the missile arms apart just above the elbow and re-point it because the magnet had it swinging too far inside. The railgun arms had their own issues. For ease of attachment, I had the two separate, with another pair of magnets joining them at the gun – but some excess glue that I thought had already dried stuck the two magnets together permanently, leaving me with glued-together arms. Not unworkable, but not what I wanted. In all honesty, though, the final results, while a bit chewed by the Dremel, aren’t horrible:

broadside_magnet_03_missiles

broadside_magnet_03_railgunsI also managed to magnetize the back equipment hookups so that I can change up the weapons and wargear as needed. Getting these magnets placed was a bit difficult because of the small area and the necessity of getting them flush. I had to pull out and redo one of the magnets just to get it to sit right. Since I didn’t have smaller magnets for the gear, I used my finishing nail trick to put small pieces of metal into their bases. It doesn’t “click” as solidly as another magnet, but it works. The Dremel was a big aid here, as I could switch to a sanding bit and grind down the excess nail and get it flush with the plastic.

broadside_magnet_04They’re a little wobbly, but overall they look fine.

The question I was left with last night was, “Would I do this again?” The answer right now is, “I don’t know”. Magnetizing this suit was harder with the equipment I had, and the results weren’t what I’d originally pictured in my mind. The time spent in trying to get magnet angles just right and trying to clean up the resulting damage to the plastic, such as filling in the sockets with material to keep the arms from swinging wildly (yes, the top-mounted magnets only worked somewhat) made me doubt that magnetizing the arms was a good idea. If they were a bit easier to do, then sure, but I don’t know if I’d want to do it again as they are. The secondary weapons and gear, I might do again with smaller magnets and my pin vice. Still, there comes a point where the time spent outweighs the money saved. I might just make my next 2 Broadsides static.

Without smaller magnets, though, I am not touching any more Crisis Suits. I’m really feeling the limitations of 1/8″ magnets, and as much as I love my Dremel, I need the finer control of my pin vice for that task.

Malifaux: And Now For Something Completely Different…

viktorias_wip_01After building and painting a lot of 40K miniatures (and I now have bits for 10 Tau Pathfinders queued up on my workbench), it’s nice to take a bit of a breather and paint something completely different. I’ve had my Malifaux crew primed since November, and it’s finally time to getting around to painting them. Most of what I’ve painted has been completely armored, or, in the case of my daemonettes, completely inhuman in skintone. Painting the Viktorias and their crew is an exercise in learning to paint human skin, and, well… I’m getting there. Not there yet, but getting there. The twins themselves actually weren’t that difficult, because a lot of their skin is covered by costume, whether it’s a coat and corset or just a bunch of belts and swords. Blonde hair, though, is very easy – I paint it much like I’d paint parchment, just with a different density of highlighting.

taelor_lady_hammerstrike_wip_01Lady Hammerstrike, however, was a pain. I’ve repainted her face and abs once, and while it’s still not as good as I think it was going to be in my head, she looks decent. I’m still learning wet blending, so the edges on the highlights are a bit sharper/more stark than I’d like, but she’s coming along. The sculpt of her hair had a bit less definition that I’d like, but I think I made do well enough with highlighting.

convict_gunslinger_wip_01On the other hand, I’m really happy with how the Convict Gunslinger’s skin turned out. The scars were particularly fun to paint; once I had the rest of the body done, I went over/around the scars with a blend of Scab Red and Tallarn Flesh (yes, I’m still using my older Citadel paints until they’re gone), then lined over the scar ridges with Elf Flesh. Gives them that nice healing/raised flesh look, and his skin took a wash really well to make sure it was properly shaded.

I’ve got a trio of Ronin with skin base-coated and washed, but they’re not ready to show off, even in work-in-progress status. I also have the Viktorias avatars’ skin base-coated, but again, there’s not much to show beyond that. That’s not saying that I haven’t been working on anything else, though. Besides taking small steps on my Venerable Dreadnought, I’ve also been working on a couple of minis from CoolMiniOrNot.com.

demon_girl_2_wip_01

demon_girl_1_wip_01If I wanted skin practice, these two ladies have given me a lot of opportunity for that. I’m planning on using them as objective markers for my Slaanesh CSM army, hence why they’re glued onto 40mm bases. They haven’t turned out badly, and I was actually working on them before I worked on the Malifaux minis, so I’m surprised that their skin turned out better, but it’s all a learning experience. Again, my blending techniques need a lot of work, but I’m getting used to building up the highlights in thin layers. The more I practice, the better I’ll get.

And no, Malifaux isn’t replacing 40K for me. It’s just a chance to paint (and eventually play) something different. Small skirmish-scale games provide a nice alternative to large company-scale wargames from time to time. Of course, with Malifaux 2.0 coming in a few months, there’s no point in learning to play right now…

Bikes and Apostles and Havocs, Oh My!

The bikes I started three weeks ago are finally together; I opted for meltaguns over plasma because I needed some anti-armor punch. Even the bike champ is toting around a combi-melta liberated from my loyalist bits to provide that extra shot when necessary. The lord is front and center, with the spiky head, power sword, and Noise Champion torso. I’m contemplating doing a thin layer of greenstuff on the sword and sculpting in faces like the Chaos Lord in the DV box has, but I doubt my abilities with greenstuff enough that I might just leave it as-is.

Speaking of the DV box, the Chosen with a power maul is getting transformed…

…into a Dark Apostle, with the addition of some spikes from the vehicle sprue. The official model has a spiked halo, so I decided to play on that theme a little bit and do something similar. Here, I’ll have to play with greenstuff to give him the long strips of parchment from his shoulders. I like that even his helm has a skull faced motif, making him thematically similar to a loyalist chaplain.

Meanwhile, I decided to tackle the autocannon Havocs in my new Chaos list without having to buy 4 boxes of Havocs. A number of conversion ideas online basically revolved around taking a heavy bolter and changing the barrel on it. Fortunately, I had plenty of heavy bolter bits that I’d never used, and I was lucky to have two extra twin-linked reaper autocannon bits that I acquired when I first bought my Chaos army, so it was time to do some cutting and combining. Here’s what I ended up with:

Basically, you trim the barrel and the iron sight off of the heavy bolter and file down the front so it’s smooth and even. Then, you take the end of the reaper autocannon, usually to just past the next-to-last vent hole in the barrel, trim that off, and file the ends until they’re smooth. Glue the two together, and you have a serviceable autocannon that, even though it’s built on a heavy bolter casing, won’t be mistaken for a heavy bolter anytime soon. If you’ve ever seen the Chosen artwork from the Black Crusade RPG showing a Chaos Marine toting an autocannon as long as he is tall, this looks very similar (and is just about as long as a Chaos Marine mini is tall, in fact.) All assembled, the Havoc looks like so:

Here he is with two squadmates:

And a fourth just waiting to pull himself together:

All that remains is to build the Havoc champion (assuming I don’t just use a standard bolter-bearing CSM), and then I can move onto my cultists. I’ll actually have enough models to build a unit of 17 autogunners, 2 flamers, and a champ. If I want to expand beyond that, it’ll mean picking up more DV bits; I’m definitely not paying $10 for 5 mixed cultists from GW when I can get Dark Vengeance leftovers at something like 10 (from the squad I need) for $15.