Sunday, December 26, 2010

Prospero Burns Review

I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of the latest instalment of the Horus Heresy, Prospero Burns. This novel tells the other half of the epic battle for the Thousand Sons home planet, Prospero. Unlike most of the Heresy novels that follow Primarchs, Dan Abnett follows Kasper Causer as he is initially protected by native Fenrisians and then by the Space Wolves. Kasper, aka Ahmed Ibn Rustah, is an academic who enables us to understand the mind set and logic of the Sixth Legion. This understanding includes everything from how members admit their mistakes (I have seen the error of my ways and will work to correct it (worked awesome with my Wife!)), to what scares the Space Wolves and how they deal with that fear. Through out the book we are transported back into Kaspers memories where we learn more about the Council of Unification and it transitions into the Imperium of Man. We see the Rout's (one of the Space Wolves names for themselves (like Clan)) perspective on the ceremony at Ullanor and the council of Neakea. It isn't until we are about 7/8 through the book that the Wolves land on Prospero. There are several secrets that are revealed, which I won't spoil but make for a very enjoyable and informative read. Abnett did a great job encapsulating the Wolves and their mind set when it comes to life, death and war. I have been a Space Wolf player since they were the first codex brought out in 2nd edition 40k and this book did more than them justice in my mind. The only thing that I would have liked to seen was more of how the Space Wolves interact with the other Legions as part of the great crusade. If you get a chance to pick it up I highly recommend it as either a stand alone if your a fan of the Wolves and as a must read if your a fan of the the HH.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I have recently started two new projects. One I have already posted here and that is my new Dark Eldar army. As you can tell from the pics I am putting a huge amount of time into painting everything. I think my first 10 warriors took about 15-20 hours total and the Raider was about 10 hours. This is the first army I have really started in earnest after my Tyranids and I have to say that I am feeling a bit drained putting that much effort into one project for over a year and a half (the nids). I decided I needed something to work on along side my DE to take a break from using a 000 brush painting everything.

So my second army project is a speed painting project painting the one army I have started and stopped about 7 times now, and that is Orks. I have owned a decent amount of these green skinned buggers for as long as I can remember (like, well before the 4th ed Ork Codex came out) and I just could never decide on a colour scheme that I was happy with. I liked my Deathskullz scheme but each Ork Boy was taking me 2-3 hours, and when you have well over a 100 models to just hit 2000pts your will power really starts to vanish. I did some test models about 3 years ago of some Ork Boyz and the 6 of them took me about 2-3 hours (so 6 in the time it took to do one from my old scheme). The scheme in question ONLY uses foundation paints (well, like 95% foundation :P) and uses a lot of inks. The smallest brush I use on anything for this army is a #3 and there is a liberal use of the Tank brush. They don't look nearly as good, but at least they are finished lol. The following group shot (minus the ork boyz, so the Trukk, 3 Killa Kans and the Dread) I did in the last week.

The Dread was what got me back into painting my orks. Freaking LOVE the new plastic model, easily up there with the Trygon and any of the new DE as my fav kit GW makes. He was just sitting on my shelf collecting dust so I figured "lets do this" and ended up painting him in about 3 hours. The whole model was dry brushed boltgun metal, then delvin washed. I then painted black on all the areas that weren't going to be metal. After that I did the red patches, inked them with Delvin Mud, then did the black, followed by the checkers. After that there were a couple of touch ups as well as a final dry brushing with Chainmail to help pick out the metal and give it more definition. All the mechanical stuff in this army is painted this way and I try to do as many things as I can at once due to how much ink I use and how long that takes to dry.

Killa Kans took a bit longer then the Dread, around 4-5 hours.

Trukk was about the same amount of time as Dread, so 3 hours. Oddly enough it is the biggest thing I have painted, but it was by far the easiest. I am going to finish the crew for my first Trukk Boyz squad this week (hopefully) and then it will be onto the bikes. I will also finish the crew for the Trukk when I find them (no idea where they are lol). I have decided to try and do the large, difficult stuff first, then just do the assembly line for the Boyz. I also have 10 lootas primed, ready to go. Anyways, that it for now, let me know what you think :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ogryn Mobile Turret

This guy isn't painted yet either, but I figured it was time to get it up and running. Some green stuff and super glue later, and here is the Tallarn Ogryn Chimera Turret.
I needed a way to show that this Chimera had my 5-6 Ogryns in it, so I thought it would look cool if the Chimera didn't have enough room for the turret mechanism so they took out the turret, piled some sandbags, and one of the Ogryns grabs the heavy flamer and uses it. Living turret! And I wanted to make a "turret" that was removable so that if this Chimera was not going to be carrying Ogyrns, we can go back to the original turret.

Anyway here he is. He's even older than the OOP Ogryns I use as my troopers. I think he's first generation! But I got him from a gaming buddy, and his goggles really work with the open top desert look. I was really close to giving him an Afrika Korps style cap, but decided the face material would be enough. The arms and hand of course had to be cut and re-glued so that they were facing the right way. Might also add in a flame thrower hose and tanks after he's properly painted. Also have to remove the heavy flamer tab that was from the Sentinal sprue that the flamer came from. The Chimera body is from the only Chimera I've fully painted so far so I wanted to show it in its glory (pre-painted)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Valkarie/Vendetta Initial Magnetizing

So with the Waaagh GT a mere 10 months away, I decided I needed to get EVERYTHING ready for my army painted STAT. That includes getting the Vendetta ready for action. But I also realized that you need to magnetize the Valkarie because what happens if GW decides that vehicles aren't as important in their next edition of 40k? Well with that, I looked around a few sites that do this kind of conversion and magnetization, and here is my contribution:

First of all, the multilaser in front needed to be swapped for a twin linked lascannon. I'm assuming for now that I won't have just a single lascannon on the front of this thing. Since with the side pods, you get 3 options for the spotlight, I used a trick where you reverse one of them and place it on the back side of the weapon pod thusly:

The 0.135 x 0.03" rare earth magnets I used for this project were just a tad too weak, so I generally had to double them up. On this particular piece, I used only 2, but there was plenty of space so not a big deal.

Next the lascannon and multilaser were magnetized:The top half of the twin linked lascannon was cut down from a triple pack of regular guard las cannons that I bought from Nice and cheap, they look the same, and you'll see what I did with the other 4 lascannons soon enough..

Here you can see the connected lascannons to the side pod. The magnets touch and are quite strong.
Here's a shot of the side pod glued onto the Valkarie body:
One problem with doing two magnets is you have to worry about polarity, so to make sure that they were correct, I mounted everything using multiple magnets while the super glue dried:
After the glue is dried, the pieces can be pulled apart easily, and I KNOW for certain that the weapons attached to them will face the right way.

Below is a shot of the weapon pieces. The missile and the rocket pod are fairly straight forward. You just have to carve down the top pieces a bit until you have nice flat surfaces to glue the magnets to. The lascannons are ground down to that they glue evenly to each other, and then I tried to glue a stryene tube with a paper clip inside it to the top. That sucked as the magnets were not strong enough, so I cut it in half and glued the magnets to it. It looks messy, but should paint up fine.
Here's the rocket pod and lascannons mounted to the wing. It looks pretty sweet if I do say so myself. You may notice there are 3 magnets on the wing. This is because the magnets weren't strong enough (it was flimsy, and I want my connections strong), so I had 2 magnets mounted to the wing sponson.

And here's the full weapon loadout on the Vendetta/Valk conversion. You'll notice first that the wings aren't glued on yet. That is because I'm trying to decide whether to magnetize them or just leave them detached for easier transport. The slots are very firm and easy to put the wings in, so may not need magnets. Also notice that the top has not been glued on. I did this to be able to paint the inside more easily. For this build I'm not planning on using the side bolter gunners, but I'll have them and magnetize them if necessary. Also the back ramp has magnets so that it can be closed easily (I think it might get loose after a while, so you gotta think ahead!)

That's it for now. I'll start painting this baby in the next few weeks, although I also want to get my Ogryn Turret conversion greenstuffed. I need to figure out how to do sandbags in greenstuff first though...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Group Shot!

Here is a small group shot of the redone warriors with the Raider and the Haemonculus. I took advice from friends and people on here to change up my colour scheme. I took out the "glow" from their eyes as it really wasnt working for me. I also added a lot more black as an "undersuit" so all the leather, gloves, leggings, etc. which I think helped to add more visual interest and colour variation. Same goes for the red for the tabard which I changed to a kind of skin tone since when you combine it with the other red accent colours like the hair, arm bands, etc. it over powers the miniatures. Anyways, let me know what you think and as promised there will be more shots throughout the week as well as the start of my painting tutorial :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Painting Contest...

Hey all, just a super quick shout out to a painting competition that I entered on last Monday over at Spikey Bits.

You guys should check it out as there are some really good entries including my Haemonculus :) (Mike Davy). If you guys do go check it out if you could throw a vote or two my way that would be mucho appreciated as I am in a complete dog fight for top place. One nice thing about the competition is there are about 4 entries that would have no problem winning, one of which only has 5 votes which is a shame since if his picture was actually in focus he would probably be winning the competition (a fellow named Ron Gamble). The competition ends on Wednesday so check it out before it is over.

Later this week I am going to have some pics of my first 10 man Warrior squad and I am going to be doing at the very minimum part 1 of a painting tutorial on how to paint Dark Eldar the ghoulio way. I am also planning on doing a speed painting article/tutorial using some orks that I have been working on. Originally I was going to put the same amount of effort into the Ork Army as I did with my Tyranids then after painting 8 of them I realized I have about 120 more to go I thought to myself "Ef That!". The test models I finished do look surprising good considering 6 models took me only an hour and a half.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tyranids Battle Report!

As a follow up to the Tyranid Tactica articles I have been writing I decided I would do a battle report to show off certain lists in action. A couple of weeks ago I played my friend Nick using a "Come From All Sides" type army list. I decided to try out a couple things I have never used in this edition of the codex. The biggest one is a Flying Hive Tyrant (although, I don't have one so he is represented by my regular hand to hand Tyrant on the board). I basically made up this army a 100% for fun (in regards to my choices) with the overall theme of assaulting my opponents on my terms instead of just footslogging across the board and getting shot. So, without further adieu here is the report.

Here are the two lists in the battle:

"They're all around us!" - All Reserve Nid list 2000pts

Flying Hive Tyrant - Wings, 2xScything Talons, Hive Commander, Paroxysm, Leech Essence

Hive Guard (2)
Zoanthropes (3) - Mycetic Spore

Genestealers (9+Broodlord) - Toxin Sacs, Broodlord w/ Scything Talons
Termagants (20)
Tervigon - Cluster Spines, Catalyst

Fast Attack
Raveners (6) - Scything Talons, Rending Claws
Harpy - Twin Linked Stranglethorn Cannon

Heavy Support
Trygon Prime - Adrenal Glands

Iron Warriors 2000pts (aka Nick) (from memory, so more or less this +/- an upgrade or two)

Demon Prince of Nurgle - Wings, Warptime

Tzeentch Terminators (9) - All Aspiring Champions, Power Fist, Chain Fist, Reaper Autocannon

Bezerkers (7+Champ) - Champ w/ Power Weapon
Chaos Marines (9+Champ) - Plasma Gun, Lascannon, Icon of Chaos (undivided), Champ w/ Power Weapon
Chaos Marines (9+Champ) - Plasma Gun, Lascannon, Icon of Chaos (undivided), Champ w/ Power Weapon

Heavy Support
Raider - Demonic Possession (Zerkers and Abbadon in here)
Havocs (9+Champ) - 4 Missile Launchers, Icon of Chaos (undivided), Champ w/ Power Weapon

Set Up:
Mission was Dawn of War and the objective was capture and control (5 objectives). I won the roll off to see who went first and I opted to go second. The Iron Warriors set up two units of Chaos mairnes each with a Lascannon, Plasma Gun, Aspiring Champ w/ Power weapons and a chaos icon.

I set up a Tervigon and a unit of Termagants (20) in a building near one of the objectives. The only unit visible was the Termagant unit (Tervigon was completely blocked).

Turn 1: The Iron Warriors either walked/drove everything onto the table from his board edge, keeping most things closer to the center of the table. The Land Raider with Abbadon came on in the center of his army while the huge unit of 9 Tzeentch Terminator Champions came on his right flank. His shooting phase consisted of gunning down a couple of Termagants in the building near the objective.

I walked on the Hive Guard and the Mawloc. I walked the Mawloc behind a building so he couldnt be shot at, same with the Hive Guard. I opted not to Burrow the Mawloc as it would be pretty much certain death on turn 2 with Abbadon waiting for him. I cast Domination from the Tervigon to get an 18" synapse bubble. The Tervigon also created a new unit of 9 to run towards the middle objective with the hope of either drawing out some of his hand to hand combat units or pulling some shooting away from the Tevigon and Gants in the building.

Turn 2: The Iron Warriors moved up the Raider with Abbadon in it and took some more shots at the Termagants running towards the middle objective. He also moved the Tzeentch Terminators further forward and took some more pot shots from the Gants in the building. His Demon Prince of Nurgle moved up in the left building on the hill near the 3 objectives in the middle of the board. After all the shooting was done I lost about 3 gants from the new squad in the middle and about 7 from the original 20 in the building.

This is the turn where the fun begins for the Nids Everything came in except the Raveners and the Zoans (which were the only one I WANTED to come in to blow up the raider). The Stealers came in from the right flank, near the Tzeentch Terminators. I decided based on how the board was set up that I was going to overload one flank to try and make too many things for him to attack at once. So Harpy, Tyrgon Prime, Winged Tyrant, Stealers and Deathleaper all showed up on the right flank. I was hoping to Paroxysm the Terminators but alas, scattered too far away. I basically pumped everything into the terminator unit. So 3 large blasts (from Tervigon/Harpy - all hit) and a large unit of termagants took down 3 of them. I also created another unit of Termagants with the Tervigon and he crapped out (made 8). Those 8 moved onto the objective near my board edge. The 1st created unit moved onto the middle objective (hoping to pull his Demon Prince into the center of the board). I also burrowed the Mawloc at the start of the turn.

Turn 3:
The Iron Warriors decided of all the threats on the one flank that came in, it was the Stealers that needed to die (being deadly, scoring and visible). He moved the Terminators into the building as he new nothing in my army other then the Deathleaper had Frag Grenades. He pumped the entire terminator unit into my stealers only managing to kill 2 of them and he also put a wound on the Broodlord. The Demon Prince moved up as hoped and completely mashed the small Termagant unit holding the middle objective. Abbadon finally got into the frey and hopped out of the Raider and charged (and decimating) the original Termagant unit. The Iron Warriors managed to kill 2 of my 5 troop units. He also managed to put a wound on the Harpy with his Havocs.

I started the turn off by using the Deathleaper's phermone trail to auto hit with the Mawloc on the Terminators, only killing 2 of them due to their 4+ invuln save. Since my reserve roll was at 2+ (Deathleaper and Hive Commander) both my Raveners and Zoans came in. I brought them in on the other side of the board, hoping to draw the demon prince towards the Raveners (as the Shadow in the Warp will hopefully shut down warptime). The Hive Tyrant moves forward to Paroxysm the Terminators (which he does, so they are now WS/BS 1). I also moved the Trygon prime up hoping to leap frog the Terminators into the unit of Chaos Marines behind them. I took a bunch of shots at the Abbadons unit (2 cluster spines and a Stranglethorn Cannon) doing minimal damage. The Hive Guard managed to take 2 wounds off of the Demon Prince and the Zoans kill 2 of the Chaos Marines on the left flank. In the assault phase things really heat up. The Trygon gets 7 wounds on the Chaos Marine unit he charged, easily breaking them and running them off the board. The multi charge of the Deathleaper, Hive Tyrant and Genestealers kill all but 1 of the Tzeentch Terminators leading them to break and they were caught by the Deathleaper and killed. Basically Paroxsym won that combat as the terminators were hitting on 5's.

Turn 4
Last turn was a very deadly turn for The Iron Warriors as his entire left flank was crumbling beneath him. He still had 2 scoring units so all was not lost. Abbadon and his unit head towards the Hive Guard and the Demon Prince heads over to the Zoans. After watching the Trygon Prime effortlessly kill 10 marines in hand to hand the name of the game became putting him down. So the Havocs, Raider and the last unit of Chaos Marines shot everything they had and only managed to bring he down to 3 wounds (he had cover amazingly). Abbadon single handedly kills the two hive guard and the demon prince kills a Zoan and almost kills the pod due to overkill as he multi charged them.

At this point in the game my only thought is covering the objectives so I burrow my Mawloc and put my Deathleaper back into deepstrike. The Trygon rushes forward towards the Havocs in the lower building and the Stealers move forward to capture one of the objectives in my opponents deployment zone. I also move the last termagant unit onto another objective. My Raveners move around the building with the intention of helping the Zoans out. My Harpy Moves forward and charges the Raider since it didnt move (only glances, does nothing) and the Hive Tyrant is out of charge range. The Trygon just walks through the Havocs, doing 6 wounds but takes 2 in return (as he charged into cover) leaving him with 1 as he breaks the unit leaving him to the mercy of the last Chaos Marine squad in the building. The Demon Prince casts warptime but rolls perils due to Shadow in the Warp and drops himself to one wound (the hive guard did a couple earlier in the game). He does a minor amount of damage on the Raveners and the Raveners in turn score 6 rending wounds killing him.

Turn 5
Things at this point are winding down for The Iron Warriors and he starts focusing on the objectives. He tries to tank shock the stealers off of the objective near his board edge, only to roll a '1' immobilizing the Raider. Abbadon and his unit starts running towards the Termagants holding my lone objective. His last chaos unit fails to put a wound on the Trygon Prime (failed to wound on the plasma gun, rolled a 1 to hit with the lascannon and I made my saves against the bolters).

The Mawloc misses Abbadon's unit and scatters 8" away. The Deathleaper appears in the middle of the board to contest the middle objective in case Abbadon turns around. I put a couple more wounds on the Bezerkers with the Harpy and Tervigon. My Zoans totally wiff on the Raider and the Hive Tyrant fails to do any damage in hand to hand. The Trygon licks his chops while staring up at the last Marine unit. The Chaos marines fail to take off his last wound and the Trygon kills 5 of them, breaking the unit.

Turn 6
The game continues as I roll a "6" for random game length. At this point all that is left for The Iron Warriors army is his immobilized Raider and the Bezerkers with Abbadon. The raider opens up on the Stealers and they go to ground so it does no damage. Abbadon gets into charge range of the objective in my deployment zone.

I re-burrow the mawloc and put the Deathleaper back into deepstrike in case the game goes to turn 7. I blow up the raider with the Zoans and I fly the Tyrant over the building and Paroxysm Abbadon and his cronies. I also cast Catalyst on the last
Termagant unit. One thing to note as well was my Tervigon was actually on TOP of that building he is standing beside. He was just really wobbly up there so we put him at the base of it :)

Turn 7
The game keeps going as I roll a "4". Despite being WS/BS 1 Abbadon and the 4 Zerkers manage to easily wipe out the Termagants and putting them on the last objective now tying the game.

I try to deep strike onto Abbadon but miss...again (huge miss too lol). The Deathleaper also comes in contesting the last objective. My Flying Tyrant Paroxysms Abbadon and the Zerkers. Abbadon still does a wound to the Tyrant as the Tyrant charges him and then the Tyrant kills all the Zerkers.

Final Result

Tyranids win with 1 objective leaving only Abbadon alive with 2 wounds. I still had my stealers, Tyrant, Mawloc, Tyrgon, Zoans, Tervigon, Harpy and the Deathleaper. Great game, super fun army and Nick (the Iron Warriors Player) was great to play

Tyranid Player of the Match: Trygon Prime. He killed 27 marines in total (this is including breaking them). Not recognizing the threat he posed right off the bat basically cost the Iron Warriors the game as he ate 2 of his 3 troops.

Chaos Player of the Match: Abbadon as he was the only one to actually do anything. He killed about 20 Termagants and 2 Hive Guard, not too much, but its still 3 kill points

I figured when I took this army that it would just be a "fun, casual" army but it ended up playing really well and was most importantly really fun to play

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Book Review: The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

I just finished reading the latest instalment of the Black Library New York Times best selling series the Horus Heresy. I can honestly say that I thought is was the best book yet! This is the first book that I've read by Aaron Dembski-Bowden and I will be picking his other books up shortly. I won't spoil the book for anyone that wants to read it but basically it tells the story of the Word Bearers and their Primarch Lorgar Aurelian from about a century into the Great Crusade until just after Istevaan V.

Some of the cool points in this book are; It is the first that that we see the Legio Custodes (besides Valdor) play a larger part of the story. This is the second time that learn a first founding chapter's name before they were reunited with their Primarch (the Word Bearers were called the Imperial Heralds). Aaron does a great job of making you cheer for the "bad guy", you know the betrayal that will happen and yet you can find yourself agreeing with it in may cases. Not to mention all the background and understanding of how and why the Word Bearers began setting the stage for the Horus Heresy.

If your a fan of the Heresy novels you definitely need to pick this book up. If your a fan of just good fiction, I would totally recommend this novel as it manages to encompass so much of the Heresy you don't really need to have read the other ones. I can't wait to read the next instalment, Prospero Burns.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Haemonculus Ancient

I had a bit of time off during the week this week so I figured I would get some more work done on the Dark Eldar army. I was originally going to work on the 20 man warrior squad that I have then I read about an Online Painting Competition for Dark Eldar and the grand prize is about 500pts worth of Dark Eldar figures. I also had to include some "Work in Progress" pictures so I figured I would share those as well. Here are the work in progress pics of the Haemonculus.

Here is the finished product. I did some slight conversions on this guy like replacing that ugly sword he had with the Husk Blade from the Archon kit. I plan on running this guy with a Soul Cube (doubles his str when he kills an IC or MC), Husk Blade (causes instant death) and a Shattershard (one shot flamer, everything touched but it takes a toughness test or is removed from play). Combine this with a Grotesque unit and you have a seriously killy, fairly different deathstar unit. Can't wait to see the Grotesque models lol.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Dark Eldar Incubi

I did a bit more work on the new Dark Eldar army today. I finally picked up all my new stuff and everything is built other then the new Raider. I love the Incubi models so I just couldn't help working on these. I finally nailed down the colour scheme for the unit. Overall I am really happy with how this army is turning out. Going to take me forever to finish it, but I think the overall look will be worth it.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wet Palette

A friend of mine post a picture and quick instructions on how to make a wet palette so I decided to give it a try (thanks JO). I can not over state how cool this completely inexpensive tool is and how I will never again not use one. You will need several house hold items to make this and it will likely not cost you anything but a little time.

Items required:
1 x Tupperware (or something similar)
Paper towel
Parchment paper
Pencil (something to trace the shape of your contain with)
Scissors (or other cutting tool)

Trace the shape of your container onto the Paper towel and Parchment paper
Cut several sheets of paper towel and the Parchment paper
Place the Paper towel into the container then wet it (about 3 - 5 mm of water, you want it so the paper towel is wet all the way through but not dripping water)
Place the Parchment paper on top of the Paper towel
Your done!

This is what mine looked like.
I started using this after I had built it and the paint you can see is still as wet and as fresh as the day I took it out (over 48hrs after I put it on the palette) I literally only had to take about 2 or 3 drops from the paint pot before I closed it and didn't need to use it again (bye bye wasted paint clumps on your painting table)!
I figure this is going to open a whole new range of potential painting options for blending colours. I also could believe how easy it was to paint. Normally the paint will start to dry out and that causes the brush to stick at times or for you to get less than ideal coverage, these are problems of the past with this bad boy. I will post some of my touched up and redone Space Wolves once they are complete. Try it out for yourself and see the difference it makes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Part 1: Nidzilla Tactica!

I find the Nid army, more-so then any other army out there, very difficult for new people to get the hang of. It is such a drastically different play style then everything out there since we have no tanks, and everything is pretty easy to kill, and you are ALWAYS the aggressor. I find the first thing any Nid player needs to do when starting out is get into the right mind set, and that is “I *know* I am going to lose at least 80% of my army, and that is fine with me”. It is VERY common for me to lose at least 80% of my army by the end of the game and still win. The main thing is if you can’t get into that mind set, then I promise you, you will never have fun playing Tyranids

The Main thing to keep in mind when creating a Tyranid List is deciding on an overall theme and focus and sticking to it. There are basically 4 main “themes” for Tyranid lists. Almost all Nid lists will be a variation/combinations of these 4 basic ideas:

1) Nidzilla: This is a list that has as many large creatures in it as humanly possible. Typically have a maxed out Tyrant squad (tyrant + 3 tyrant guard).

2) Reserve Bomb: This Type of list typically starts in reserve playing the "null deployment" game and you then come in from all sides (due to deep striking, outflanking and special deployment).

3) Horde: This option is making the focus your small critters, getting them to do most of the work while being supported by a small handful of larger bugs.

4) "Mid"-zilla. Focusing on multi wound, toughness 4 models. So lots of Warriors, Raveners, Zoanthropes, Venomthropes and Biovores with a smattering of termagants and other smaller bugs to provide mobile cover as well as a Monstrous Creature or two.

I have decided that I am going to start playing through the 4 different styles and write down some tactics on playing each list. The first one I am going to start with is Nidzilla since it was the list I never actually played in 4th ed (although I hear it was all the rage). Never before have I felt like the Tyranid book actually pushed me in that direction since the idea of running 6 individual Carnifexs and a Hive Tyrant never really appealed to me. The one nice thing with the 5th ed Codex is that you have a whole slew of different MC's that preform different tasks and that look cool. I have been trying to figure out how I can make this list fun to play and be somewhat competitive, although, to be honest having fun is my main concern.

Tyranid Monstrous Creature Basics:

The number one thing I notice when looking at people's lists online is just how many upgrade's people give their monstrous creatures. It is also the number one mistake people make when playing this army. A totally kitted out Flying Hive Tyrant that has everything and the kitchen sink that costs 300+ points can't do anything more then a bare bones Flying Hive Tyrant with one special ability like Hive Commander or Old Adversary that costs 250-ish points.

Upgrades worth Taking:

Adrenal Glands: Basically every MC in the book can benefit from furious charge. It is by far the best one in the book. It is an incredible upgrade for Trygons (almost a must) and you can use it to make your Carnifex's str 10 on the charge.

Thats it!

Upgrades NOT worth Taking:

Regeneration: After well over 50 games with the new codex I can tell you that this is the single biggest points sink there is. Most people will just keep shooting your monsters to kill it outright. If you take regen on just 6 creatures in your Nidzilla list you could literally trade them in for an entire TRYGON! It is ALWAYS better to just take more monsters.
Toxin Sacs: Why would anyone pay 10points to make their monsters worse in combat? It makes you go from wounding almost everything in the game on a 2+ to wounding everything on a 4+ with a re-roll. 100% not worth it unless you know you are fighting an entire army of Wraithlords...or maybe demons.
Toxic Miasma and Acid Blood: Both of these are very situational and do next to nothing in combat and are a complete waste of points.

In order to start getting into the meaty goodness of a Nidzilla list first I want to just do a quick rundown as to which units fit this type of playstyle the best. Remember, the focus on this list is drowning your opponent in toughness 6 monsters, so lets do that shall we?

- Hive Tyrant (with Guard)
- Swarmlord (with Guard)
- Tyranid Prime

- Hive Guard
- Zoanthropes (with or without pod, doesnt matter in this list)
- Venomthropes

- Termagants
- Tervigon

Fast Attack
- Harpy

Heavy Support
- Trygon
- Mawloc
- Carnifexs (should be in a brood for max effectivness)
- Tyrannofex

Unit Overview:

Hive Tyrant: This is the main HQ for the army, and is also the #1 area where I find people make mistakes. There are just so many places to waste points it isn’t even funny. I am just going to break down each section with what I feel are the best options.

Psychic Powers: This is an easy one. He has two AWESOME powers (Paroxysm and Leech Essence) and two HORRENDOUS powers (Psychic Scream and The Horror). Paroxysm is the one you will use 99% of the time though as you make a unit within 12” WS/BS 1 for your turn and theirs. I can’t stress just how incredible that is.

Ranged Weapons: This I find is one of the main areas where the Tyrant tricks you. What I mean by that is the Hive Tyrant has a huge selection of ranged weapons and all but 1, maybe 2, are freaking horrible. I ran a Heavy Venom Cannon on two Hive Tyrants for about 20 games and they did nothing. Their only function is to make you THINK you can actually kill something at range (you can’t btw) and to keep you from doing the one thing your Tyrant is quite good at, and that is close combat. In my opinion the only option worth anything is the Twin Linked Brain Leech Devourers. They have a short(ish) range, so you will keep your big guy running and they have a huge volume of shots, are twin linked and are str 6, so you can pen Rhinos. I typically only take one set since all your psychic powers are “ranged weapons” and, as a MC you can only fire 2 weapons per turn, and trust me, Paroxysm is better than any gun a Tyrant has.

Close Combat Weapons: The main way I arm my Tyrant is just his basic set up, Scything Talons and a Lash whip, Bonesword. You make everything Init 1 in base to base, you re-roll all 1’s in combat (and since you hit virtually everything in the game on 3’s, its handy) and you have a chance to instant kill things with the Bonesword.

Special Abilities: I love Hive Commander and for me personally, it is the main reason I take a Hive Tyrant at all. I personally just love the flexibility of deployment options with this ability, and it fits my play style perfectly. Old Adversary is also an amazing ability. It gives you a 6” bubble of preferred enemy. Both of these abilities have an awesome use, depending on what type of army you are running. The last 25pts ability is “Indescribable Horror”. It is hands down the biggest waste of points in any codex, period. I had this ability on my Hive Tyrants for free for 12 years (it was a standard ability Hive Tyrants used to get) and I never had it work…ever.

Upgrades: Like all MC's most of their upgrades are a waste of points. The only two that are specific to the Tyrant that I would choose are Wings and Armored Carapace. Both definitely have their place as you need wings for certain builds and the added mobility is nice and armored carapace can be invaluable, especially against Long Fang spamming Space Wolf armies. The Thorax Swarm is useless because it is 25pts and you can't take it with Wings.

Swarmlord: Basically just a more powerful hand to hand combat Hive Tyrant. Sometimes this guy can be really useful, especially his extra powers. Throwing out a well timed Preferred Enemy or Furious Charge is always great (especially on Carnifexs). He is also the ultimate character assassin and does have a fair amount of utility as well. With all his benefits I gotta say that he really can't do that much more then a regular Tyrant but is about 100pts more. It basically boils down to the individual playstyles of the person using him as to whether or not you should take him or just stick with a regular Tyrant.

Tyrant Guard: If you don't take wings then you pretty much HAVE to invest in these guys (I normally do two plus my Tyrant). They are incredibly important for two reasons. Firstly the obvious reason is each one gives your Hive Tyrant 2 more wounds. The second, and more important reason is it allows this unit to get cover saves by regular means (like screening termagants) because as long as the Tyrant Guard are alive they are majority, and as long as the majority of the unit is in cover, the whole unit gets cover (aka the Tyrant). I never bother with upgrades for these guys as most of the time they live just long enough to make sure my Hive Tyrant gets across the board.

Tyranid Prime The main use for this guy in this list is to buff your "Death-star" units. I normally put him in with the Hive Tyrant and his guard for those extra ablative wounds or I run him with the Carnifex unit for mobile synapse. If you do take one you pretty much have to give him one of the two bonesword options (I prefer lashwhips and boneswords, especially when you put him with the Carnifexs).

Zoanthropes and Hive Guard: Your best source of anti tank. I normally use the Zoans to kill land raiders and provide forward synapse i.e. what they are always for. Hive Guard are your anti-transport unit.

Venomthropes I will be getting really in depth for these guys in "Part 3:Horde!". Big thing with them in this army is it's one of the few ways to get most of your big stuff some cover saves. The main way to use them is make sure you hide them behind a Carnifex unit or other big creatures to block line of sight. If you can get them within 6" of your Termagant screen, even better!

Tervigon: Standard Cluster Spines, Toxin Sac, Catalyst build for these guys. I just cant for the life of me see any value in the other upgrades for this guy for this type of army other then the rare use of Onslaught. I see a lot of people take Adrenal Glands for when your Termagants charge they get init 5 and re-rolling wounds on T4, but, I literally never charge my Termagants (which I will go more in depth when I get to them). Part of me is even debating over taking toxin sacs since the termagants only purpose is to shield the rest of you army by giving them cover saves or taking enemy assault units charges.

Termagants: The main thing I use these guys for in a Nidzilla list is objective grabbing and screening the rest of your army, protecting the army with cover saves and against assaults from other armies monster killers (like assault terminators). It's great watching your army keep some amazing hand to hand combat squad at bay because of some crappy 5pt termagants. I can’t stress how many games these guys have won me just by using them as a living shield to protect my useful units from being assaulted by Thunder Calv or something.

Harpy: There to deal with long range threats. Great against dev/heavy weapon squads/ loota squads that you will face. It has no survivability at all and the only way it lives past turn one is due to the fact that everything else in your army is way scarier or you put it into reserve. The two main ways of arming him are either stock with a Stranglethorn Cannon or the Heavy Venom Cannon. Either way has its benefits and it just depends on what your army is lacking (anti tank or anti troop). I prefer the Stranglethorn Cannon because it makes him very focused (he can put out up to 5 large blasts in one turn). Most amount of hits I have done in a turn was 23 against some Ard Boyz and that was JUST with the Cluster Spines and the Stanglethorn. He won’t typically do too much damage against MEQ armies, but throwing down 2 high strength large blast templates or getting some highly accurate and mobile tank suppression is always a plus.

Trygon: Lets be honest here, it's just hands down the best unit in the book, maybe in any book. It gets virtually everything for a great bargain. Like all MC's there are some options as far as upgrades, and for the Trygon you only have 2 to consider. The first is Adrenal Glands and for me it is always a must. Going at Init 5 on the charge is huge. It turns him into the ultimate Dreadnought destroyer and being able to go before marines really helps limit the amount of damage you take in return. The second option is "Priming" him. For me the ONLY reason to Prime your Trygon is if you are light on synapse as 40pts is the cheapest way to get synapse in this army. As Nidzilla though its normally better left at home since everything is fearless.

Mawloc: Just there to sow the seeds of terror. You want him to hit the long fangs, big grouping of tanks, etc. Don't just throw him away though, but at the same time get him in the thick of it. He won’t do very much damage, but can be a big enough distraction/pain in the butt to warrant people dedicating a lot of firepower to him. You want to make sure he seems like a massive threat and you want to do your best to get him shot instead of your Trygon.

Carnifexs: My favorite way to run these guys so far is with 2 Twin Linked Brain Leech Devourers as they get a decent amount of highly accurate, high strength shots. The main reason I like the MC Devourers is because it basically makes your Carnifex good at everything. I like this build because it really gives the Carnifex unit a place within the army, and that is something I have been struggling with these guys since the book came out. For mega Hand to Hand killyness I have my Trygon, for Mid Range anti light vehicle/troops I have the Carnifex and for long range anti tank suppression I have the Tyrannofex. The only other way I would consider running them is just as a bare bones screamer killer with maybe Adrenal Glands and Frag Spines. I personally find they also work best when in a unit. It eats up a lot of points but saves you some kill points and gives them all the benefits of being a unit (ie if one of them is in cover the whole unit gets the cover save, etc.).

Tyrannofex Just due to my playstyle I typically don't field one of these guys. I am of the mindset that I just can't justify paying 265pts for two str 10, Ap4, BS 3 shots a turn. He obviously does have some things that he brings to the table and can give you that "un-killable" fire base to sit in the middle of your army.

Sample Army List:

Nidzilla 2000pts List

Swarmlord - 2 Tyrant Guard

Hive Guard (2)
Hive Guard (2)
Zoanthropes (3)

Termagants (20)
Tervigon - Cluster Spines, Toxin Sacs, Catalyst, Onslaught
Genestealers (10) - Toxin Sacs (to take advantage of the Swarmlord)

Heavy Support
Carnifex Brood (2) - Dual Twin Linked Brainleech Devourers

So, as you can see this list has 43 Toughness 6 wounds and it has quite a few creatures that fill certain rolls and help cover all your bases. You will notice instead of taking a Tryannofex I took two units of Hive Guard instead (best transport killers in almost any book) and a unit of non-podding Zoanthropes (which is one of the reasons for Onslaught). I also have the Trygon and Swarmlord as my elite CC units, I have my Genestealers as an outflanking and my Mawloc deep striking as my harassment units and the Carnifex's are on crowd control with their 24 x Str 6 twin linked shots per turn.

Army Tactics

The first thing I want to talk about is how I typically set up this army for a standard mission. Basically, for this particular list, everything more or less hinges around the Swarmlord and his ability to give out "choice" buffs as the game goes on, so everything in the army is placed in a way to take advantage of that. Here is a picture of my typical deployment to give you a basic idea of the initial set up:

As you can see the Termagant unit is sitting in front of the Swarmlord initially since he is the only unit that benefits from cover (ie since he has 2 Tyrant Guard he now becomes a unit, therefore can get cover saves via regular means). I also bookend the army with the Trygon and Mawloc in case I am playing against an army with drop podding Dreadnoughts, that way I can charge them (with Furious Charge from the Swarmlord). It also helps funnel things towards the middle of the army. If I know there are no Drop Pods coming in I will burrow my Mawloc on the first turn with the intention of hitting their Devastator Squads or those parking lots. I will pretty much always outflank my Genestealers due to the Swarmlord's special ability. For this army I also gave my Tervigon "Onslaught" to help with either the Carnifexs or Zooanthroes get in range of their target. With this list having your Zoanthropes start on the board is a great idea. Regardless of what they actually do in game they really eat up A LOT of firepower from your enemies armies, which is perfect. The two units you WANT people to be shooting at are your Zoans (takes roughly 9 krak missiles to kill the whole squad) and the Swarmlord's unit.

At the start of my Turn 1, my deployment area will change slightly due to my Tervigon creating his first unit, so it will look something like this:

What that does is it gives both sides of my army a small "buffer". Basically the 2 main reasons they are there are to give certain units cover saves (ie the Swarmlord) and to protect your whole army from elite hand to hand combat units like Thunderhammer Terminators, Thunderworlf calv, etc. Basically you WANT units to have to charge your termagant units so once they easily mop them up, then your heavy hitters can come in and really clean house.

The biggest thing with this army, and why it can work really well is target saturation. You give your opponent so many things to shoot at it makes picking the right ones difficult to do and helps keep the bulk of your army alive. Another nice thing is no one death will really hurt your army that much since everything in the list is quite capable of dealing with living creatures and Mech a like.

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Dark Eldar Raider...

I finally finished painting the main portions of the new Raider. All I have left to do is add on the crew hanging off the side and it will be fully finished. Basically, I am trying to figure out how to have the crew set up so when there is a unit in the raider, the crew are there, and when the unit disembarks then I can remove the models hanging on.

Overall it went really smoothly with some exceptions. Basically when I do my next one I will do it completely differently. Here are some quick tips when building/painting your Raider:

- Dont glue the sail section in. Build it (so sails, boom, splinter rifles) and paint it as its own piece. It will take drastically less time as you arent trying to manouver around the edges of the boat

- Dont glue in any of the spears until they are fully painted. I glued mine in and they are such flimsy little pieces its really hard to get a good brush stroke on them. The result of this is my skulls dont really look all that good (not nearly as good as I had hoped).

- The nice thing about not gluing in the sails or spears is it leaves the entire inside of the Raider open and makes it very easy to paint. I just did a metal cat walk for the crew to stand on so all I will have to do on my next one is bust out my tank brush, some metallic paints and some washes and I will be done in no time :)

- Do all the crew seperately and last, once the boat has been finished. Again, allows you to fully detail your models and you can pose the whole boat out in a "dry run" to make sure you like where the hangers on are standing.

- Last and not least DONT glue the plastic stand into the bottom of the boat. This time around they are these wonderful "ball joints" that the plastic stant snaps into, so it sits there on the stand (you can even move it into dynamic poses). Once your game is done and you need to pack up you just pop it off the stand making sure it wont break in transit. Just awesome.

Soon I will have the rest of my first 10 man Warrior squad as well as the crew for the Raider. I was also thinking of doing a "painting tutorial" for this army if people are interested, so let me know :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dark Eldar Warrior Test Model!

So I FINALLY have my hands on the first bunch of models for the new Dark Eldar army. Right now in my possion I have a unit of Warriors and a Raider. I have finished building it all and I have to say that these really are some of the nicest models that GW has made. Three big things that stand out for both kits is the sheer volume of bits and options, the detail of the models themselves and the lack of mould lines. Building the warriors especially was a dream since its basically just cutting them off of the sprues and glueing them together...DONE!

I have done a lot of thinking of what I want to do for my new scheme. I did a whole slew of test eldar figs and after much debate decided that I really liked my old scheme and would like to revamp/update it for the new range. Here is a quick comparison between the old warriors and the new one I finished last night.

As you can see the quality of high-lighting is much improved (especially when you see it in real life as my stupid camera washes out most of the detail..its much crisper) I also added pieces of gold and steel as well as keeping the red nice and dark. I also added black helmets instead of the dark green ones of the old and added bright green, glowing eyes as I love how they did that with their preview models.

In the next couple of weeks I will finish off this squad of 10 and I will have the Raider up and running. I am also going to do an "initial thoughts" of the book as well as some sample army lists :)