Withering Fire

A new Traveller project is eating up a lot of time at the moment, so the Deathwing Knights that have been sitting on my desk since before Christmas received little more than a couple of new details on their shields this weekend. But! I did manage to polish off a couple of Dark Reaper units for my Eldar.

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Again, these were models from the older range from eBay, and I picked them up for a song – averaging £2 per unit, which has to be good going for this much fire power.

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Will they see action soon? Not sure. Unlikely to have both units on the table in the average game, that is for certain. They are very expensive to field (30 points each) and despite their heavy armour, are all too vulnerable to either heavy weapons or ranks of small arms. They also need to be deployed just right or be given their own Wave Serpent.

The unit just above, for example, weighs in at 180 points, which is a tad more than, say, a Crimson Hunter flyer or is pretty much what my Jetbike unit costs. On the other hand, they are kicking out 12 dice of Strength 5 fire, AP 3, up to 48″ inches away. Against my regular Dark Eldar opponent… seems a bit much. They could rip a large Incubi unit apart in one round of shooting, but I would have to ensure the Incubi fell out of their transport in exactly the right place and dedicating one unit to destroy another that costs about the same? Bit of a false economy.

Then again, they do have their lovely rangefinders which ignore all Jinking, and suddenly the Dark Eldar’s Armour 10 and 11 vehicles look extremely vulnerable. Stick these guys in cover on some elevated scenery (especially ruins) and the Dark Eldar player has to think very carefully about where he goes. This unit would be fully capable of neutralising a squad every turn (Dark Eldar without their vehicles are just so much fodder).

Still, a very expensive way of doing things. Might have to look into building an Eldar version of a Bastion…

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Now, this guy might make a little more sense, with his Split Fire, Precision Shots and all the other gubbins that Maugan Ra comes with. However, he is nearly 200 points himself, I would never drop a Farseer to take him, and he needs a squad to go around with. Putting him with a bunch of Dark Reapers (brushing an eye-watering 350 points combined – or two Crimson Hunters, one of which could be an Exarch) is a nice idea but I do not think they would make their points up against Dark Eldar.

Now, against Sandrine’s Space Wolves or James’ Ultramarines, ah, there is a different story. I have faced Dark Reapers with a Marine army in the past and know just how utterly lethal they are against anything with 3+ armour. The sickness will begin…

Anyway, I’ll leave you with a picture of all the new additions to the Eldar army combined.

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Eldar Reinforcements

No Star Wars news this week – though we should be getting in the final prints some time next week!

Instead, I finally got round to polishing off a few new Eldar units. Should have been finished last week but, what, you want some stress? This is supposed to be fun!

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This was the first bad boy. I had picked this up with the rest of my army before Christmas but it was not part of the initial 1,500 point ‘build’ so it got kept back. I was going to do it as the Fire Prism, as that seems to be everyone’s favourite, and the Fire Prism does have a sexy gun. However, I was idly paging through the Doomweaver rules and I suddenly realised how good the Night Spinner variant could be. Considering I fight Dark Eldar a lot, the Barrage effects are nice for ‘opportunity’ hits on things like Reaver Jet Bikes and, especially, the Talos (which tends to mope around in the formation with a Cronos and Haemonculus). Template comes down out of nowhere and on 6’s get an AP1 hit. Nice to just ‘erode’ units like that before they get into contact with the main part of my force where they will be just a little bit weaker (and that has also got me looking at D-Cannon weapons, where they can do much the same thing – though they are shorter ranged, they can possibly get an Instant Death even on a Talos).

However, what swung it was the fact that the Doom Weaver could also be used as a Torrent Template weapon. So, launch Barrages at the start of the game and when it starts raining Raiders with Warriors, this thing scoots out and throws monofilament templates on them, hitting both Raider and the Warriors inside.

Just played a game against Alan’s Dark Eldar, and the Night Spinner did exactly this, with the Doom Weaver smashing a Raider and killing everyone inside (combination of the Template hit and an Explode result on a penetrating hit on the Raider itself). A lucky enough shot but even if it had done half as well, it would have been worth it. Didn’t even get to fire the Shuriken Cannon that was added.

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This was another chap that got used in the battle for the first time – up to now I have been sans Warlocks and I knew this was a nasty gap in the army. I teamed him up with the Storm Guardians and, again, they were used to ambush descending Raiders (this time one filled with Trueborn). The Raider itself immobilised the Guardians’ Wave Serpent, but they were close enough to pile out and hit the Trueborn with their two Flamers and the Warlock’s Destructor. That was enough to wipe out the Trueborn on board and leave the raider on its last legs.

I need to add some more Warlocks to the force (thinking about the possibilities of putting one with a Vaul’s engine battery), but without an abundance of Guardians they are going to be limited in number.

What really needs to be done is adding a Warlock to the Windrider Jetbike squad that also currently escorts the Farseer, but I’ll hold off on that until my regular opponents start figuring out how to counter the Eldar. As it was, in the last game the Farseer had Fortune and after two Raiders (with Warriors) came down, assisted by a twin Splinter Cannon Venom, only three Jetbikes bit the dust. A nice, durable unit that one, but a little bit sick if a Warlock is added (Conceal, etc.). So, I’ll leave that one be until someone tries some sickness on me.

Then they will pay. Oh yes, they will pay…

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Yeah, so I picked up some Howling Banshees cheap on eBay – and I am not sure what to do with them yet. They rock against Marines and, so long as they get the charge, will tear Incubi apart. But without an assault vehicle, their use is problematic in many games, especially when Marines and Incubi alike can be dealt with much easier with the odd Starcannon or two here and there.

Something to ponder…

Oh, and I know these guys are the old, original Banshees. I figure different style Aspect Warriors can be used to reflect different Aspect Shrines on the Altsain craftworld – I already have two units of two different styles of Dark Reaper, which follows this idea nicely. Currently on the painting table, hope to finish them next week (and then I need to figure out how to use them without cheesing it and putting them in a bunker…).

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And my first Vyper Jetbike.

This guy will see a lot more use, I think, especially when he is joined by a few friends. Cheap, fast, and equipped with a Bright Lance, he will be an absolute terror against any armoured vehicles – in a squadron, he will even have enough firepower to crack jinking Dark Eldar vehicles, though he is primarily intended for anti-Marine and Guard work.

 

Coming Up

For the Eldar, I already have two units of Dark Reapers on the painting table, along with Maugan Ra. I also have the Avatar of Khaine and some Striking Scorpions to work on, but they are distinctly lower priority until I switch the army from shooty to choppy, which is some ways away yet.

Also on the painting table are a squad of Deathwing Knights (been there since before Christmas – half done, just haven’t mustered the will to finish them yet), a Drop Pod for the Dark Angels, and twenty Sisters of Avelorn for the High Elves.

Difficult to get excited about Dark Angels models at the moment (though that will likely change, due to a new model I recently ordered – more news on that later), as the army is currently on garrison duty (in a display cabinet at home, rather than at work where I normally play). And the Sisters… well, kinda hard getting excited about Warhammer Fantasy right now – the End Times is all well and good but with the rumours floating around about a new edition that completely changes the background of the game, you just don’t know what units will still be legal/effective and which won’t.

So, back to Eldar! I could use some more Vypers, obviously and the force is crying out for a Falcon or two. And I would not mind another Jetbike unit, just because they are a) so cheap and b) another unit will force the Deep Striking Raiders to make a choice about where they go. On the other hand, there are rumours that the Eldar will be getting new plastic Harlequins very soon, with redesigned Jetbikes. And if they redesign Jetbikes for Harlequins, it is entirely possible they will redesign them for Guardians too, which would suggest it makes sense to wait…

All these decisions!

Star Wars 40k – The Codexes are Here!

I am about to out do myself. The proof copies of Codex: Galactic Empire and Codex: Rebel Alliance are finally here. Star Wars has come to Warhammer 40,000, and it is good…

Disclaimer: This is a personal project with a tiny, tiny number of copies being printed for me and my gaming buddies. If we even thought of selling them Games Workshop’s and Disney’s legal departments would jump all over our heads and go cock-a-doodle-doo. So we are not selling them. To anybody.

In no way are these books designed to challenge the ownership and copyright of Games Workshop and Disney in any way, and they are not official in any capacity. They are no more than the product of a bunch of gamers and fans who have a passion for both Warhammer 40,000 and Star Wars.

And no. You cannot have one. Start up your own gaming company and you can do cool things like this.

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For the past few months, we have been working on a very special project. For years now, I have been waiting for a company to come along and do a ‘proper’ Star Wars miniatures game, with plastic multi-part, multi-pose Stormtroopers, resin AT-ST variants, and Epic/BFG-type spin-offs. In short, I wanted a Star Wars game similar to Warhammer 40,000. Given that this is not likely to appear any time soon, I made the decision to take the 40k rules and do our own Codexes for the Empire and Rebellion.

This involved doing all the army lists, collating the background (Wookieepedia came in very handy here), diverting our playtesters to make sure everything was balanced and then passing it on to our graphics people to make them look pretty.

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It was, inevitably, a lot more work than had been initially planned for! However, the arrival of these two proofs (the finals, coming in a couple of weeks or so, will have better binding and spot UV lamination to mimic Games Workshop’s own Codexes) makes it all worth it. We have officially done Good Work here.

 

Codex: Rebel Alliance

We tried to ape the approach of the official Codexes as much as possible. At all times we asked ‘how would GW do a Star Wars book?’

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So, we hunted down the nicest artwork we could find and started to put together the background for the forces, starting with the Rebel Alliance, from the birth of the Rebel Alliance to the destruction of the Death Star and beyond (Codex: Galactic Empire goes on further to the founding of the New Republic, ending with the – final – death of the Emperor).

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This then goes on to chart out the major confrontations between the Alliance and Empire, and a showcasing of the most famous leaders (you can guess who they are in Codex: Rebel Alliance).

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Then, of course, are the army lists. These cover just about every model and unit in the old Wizards of the Coast range of Star Wars miniatures, which are the models we principally use for the games (let’s just say that when these miniatures came out, I went a bit silly as to the number purchased – mostly because I always planned, some day, to use them for games of this scale).

 

Codex: Galactic Empire

The Empire book follows the same format but ended up a few pages bigger because, well, there are more cool things to say about the Empire!

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As well as similar background material to the rebel Codex, we also went into some detail on how Stormtroopers are equipped, organised, and what tactics they use in battle.

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And both books have a ‘hobby’ section, with some cunningly put together photos by our graphic designer and photographer, Amy Perrett. I don’t know about you, but the photos above just get me itching to (re)fight the Battle of Hoth. We have three AT-ATs and plenty of Snowspeeders, and I have already worked out that the old Palitoy Rebel Transport is pretty much the right scale for 28mm!

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Not sure this page needs much of a description! Darth Vader may not be an absolute killing machine compared to, say, a Hive Tyrant, but he is very well scaled to kick Rebel units around!

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And at the other end of the scale, we have the TIE Crawler as a Heavy Support choice whereas the AT-AT is (naturally) a Lord of War. The other Lords of War in these Codexes are Yoda and, of course, this guy;

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Yeah, we figured he should be a Level 5 Psyker, taking a cue from Nagash in Fantasy Battle…

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We had to do Force Powers, of course! The Primaris Power for both Light and Dark are the same (Farseeing – seems appropriate for all Force Users), but we worked hard to get Light Side and Dark Side feeling distinct and different. The Dark Side concentrates on, well, kicking ass with the Force, whereas the Light Side depends more upon buffing other units rather than directly attacking the enemy. However, the Sever Force power proved popular for Light Side users, effectively nullifying Dark Side users for a turn!

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We even went as far as doing a Formation for each, a specialised detachment (the Rebels have the Heroes of the Alliance detachment) and Tactical Objectives, as well as all the rules needed for weapons, equipment and other wargear (Lightsabres are S User, AP 1, Fleshbane, Gets Hot, Melee, and Smash – but Force users ignore Gets Hot and derive either a 4+ or 3+ Invulnerable Save, depending on their level).

 

So, What is Next?

We are really proud of what we have accomplished with these books, and look forward to re-enacting all our childhood fantasies when we had loads of Star Wars figures but no rules to play with. Now, as adults, we have both!

Now, we would not be true wargamers if additional and related projects had not already suggested themselves! The obvious next step is to do Codexes for the Separatists and Old Republic. Or maybe PDF-only Codexes for Bounty Hunters (Boba Fett!), Wookiee-only detachments, and there is a lot more we could do for Force Users in general. I have threatened my gaming group with a Gungan-only detachment, if they do not behave.

Will we do any of these things? In a world where we did not have to work for a living, oh yes. Realistically, it is probably going to be another year before we can even begin to justify the time it takes to do something like this. However, it is Star Wars, and I have little doubt we shall at some point return to a galaxy far, far away.

Now, if you will excuse me, it seems that there are some small forest savages that need a lesson in Imperial discipline. Commander, warm up the AT-AT!

 

Final Note: If you are interested in the design approaches we used for these books, you can have a read through some of the development posts we did here, as well as see some games in progress.

The Altsain Craftworld

Over the Christmas Break I like to give myself a longer project. Regular visitors will have already seen that I polished off the Imperial Knights force, but I also wanted to do a completely new army.

I had been playing with Secret Army 1, but ran into trouble with the paint scheme; I tried two different ones and am not happy with either. So, I switched completely, ordered a bunch of models from the local store, and set about to return to an army I last played years ago – Craftworld Eldar!

I even returned to the paint scheme I used way back when, only slightly modified, based around deep purple and black for a custom craftworld I call Altsain. And this is what I ended up with after two weeks;

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When I first did Eldar in this scheme, I used Warlock Purple with purple ink for the base, helmets and vehicle panels were black and weapons were gold. For the purple this time round, I switched to GW’s new base and wash paints – and found while they covered the model more evenly, they did not offer quite so much definition in, for example, the panel gaps on the vehicles. Still not 100% happy with how that has turned out.

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For the weapons and helmets, I went with Coat d’Arms Linen with the Magic Goop, to suggest ageing wraithbone. The helmets work well with this colour and a black face plate (with red eyes), far better than my original black, as the head/face provides a highlight for the whole model. I retained the gold on many of the ‘blisters’ that pop up on armour and vehicles.

The sharp-eyed among you will realise that the two Guardian Squads above are not complete, as neither numbers ten men. These models were ‘overspill’ from some £1 eBay auctions I nabbed while building up the force and were not part of my original 1,500 point force. I have since grabbed some more Guardians from eBay and will be fleshing these guys out and adding a Wave Serpent to carry them around the battlefield.

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These are the Guardians I went with for my initial force, and they seem to be an odd choice as few Eldar players I have seen use the close combat Storm Guardians. My thinking here was that these were the only Troops choice in the army that could sport flamers, and two of them at that – fighting Dark Eldar all the time, I am quite keen on getting flamer templates to lie across open-topped vehicles!

Their Wave Serpent mounts Scatter Lasers as they a) are powerful enough to worry AV10 vehicles (Dark Eldar) and b) pretty much guarantee the Shuriken Cannon and Serpent Shield re-roll all misses. I also added the Ghostwalk Matrix and Holo-Fields (pretty much as standard on all floaty vehicles in this army) so I can sit happily in terrain and take advantage of improved cover saves.

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The second Troops choice was a squad of Dire Avengers. Not completely happy with the way the blue turned out on them (Ultramarines Blue with blue ink, drybrushed Ultramarines Blue to bring the colour back out), but I am quite happy with their potential on the battlefield. They will quite happily outshoot Dark Eldar Warriors, and you always have the Exarch inside to bring a couple of surprises to the party (I went with the Diresword). The Wave Serpent is identical to that of the Guardians.

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The third Troops choice had to be Jetbikes, to rub the Dark Eldars’ nose in the fact that they are not Fast Attack, if nothing else. The Shuriken Cannon means this unit can hunt down infantry or light vehicles, as it sees fit.

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And they are led by this chap. I picked up the Farseer on Jetbike conversion kit from Chapterhouse Studios, and it works very well. The pieces arrived a little bent, but two minutes under a hot tap sorted them out. It is a dangerous thing to have the Farseer in the only ‘exposed’ unit in the army, but I have methods in my madness. First of all I am, of course, hoping to roll Fortune for his psychic powers, thus allowing me to re-roll Jinks and Armour saves – that alone will make the unit much more survivable. The next step is to put a Warlock on a Jetbike too, so they get the benefit of Conceal.

I won’t be doing the Seer Council on Jetbikes – my Filthhammer combos (as a reader once put them) only go so far.

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The current 1,500 point set up only allows for a single outflanking War Walker (with Shuriken Cannon), but I painted up three to give me options later on. They all have Scatter Lasers, for the same reason as the Wave Serpents, with a choice of Shuriken Cannon, Star Cannon and Bright Lance to be paired with them. These models are, incidentally, a pain to put together as everything ‘moves’ (there are no static parts aside from the cockpit) and then a pig to paint as there are a lot of nooks and crannys. I may not do any more War Walkers because of this…

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Finally, my pride and joy of the army – the three Crimson Hunters, including an Exarch (incidentally, during our first game Alan did, in fact, ask which one was the Exarch was – anyone care to take a guess from the picture above?). These take up a large chunk of the army in points, and will be the first things to get swapped out to try list variations, but they look seriously cool.

They did, however, take the longest to paint, simply because I was at first using Crimson Gore and then Coat d’Arms Vampire Red as the base coat – and it just would not take, leaving streaky brush marks all over the place (the Exarch was fine…). In the end, there are something like five or six base coats on these fighters and while I am not completely happy with them, they stand up well to scrutiny at distances of a couple of feet or more.

 

First Army List

So, my first 1,500 point army list looked something like this;

Farseer: Singing Spear, Jetbike, Spirit Stone
Storm Guardians x 10 : Flamer x 2, Wave Serpent (Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannon, Ghostwalk Matrix, Holofield)
Dire Avengers x 10: Exarch (Diresword, Disarming Strike, Shield of Grace), Wave Serpent (Scatter Lasers, Shuriken Cannon, Ghostwalk Matrix, Holofield)
Windrider Jetbikes x 9: Shuriken Cannon x 3
War Walker: Scatter Laser
Crimson Hunter
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Crimson Hunter Exarch: Marksman’s Eye

First Battle

With this army all painted up, I gleefully told Alan to bring his Dark Eldar for a game, but neglected to tell him what he was fighting (what has fairness got to do with it).

We played to five turns, with Alan using a typical Dark Eldar set up – two units of Warriors Deepstriking in Raiders with Splinter Wracks, 6 Reaver Jetbikes, the Cronos/Talos/Haemonculus formation he has grown fond of lately, and a couple of Ravagers. oh, and a Succubus leading Incubi on a Venom.

A few lessons were learned;

1. The entire Dark Eldar army did not simply melt away on the first turn, as I had envisaged.
2. Alan is very good with Jinking on his Ravagers when attacked by Crimson Hunters.
3. But Serpent Shields are very good at blasting past Jinking Raiders.
4. Don’t throw Jetbikes right into the heart of the battle, even if they have a Farseer with them. Warriors with Splinter Racks have enough dice to hurt them (though they did survive three turns of continuous fire like this before going down).
5. Storm Guardians may well be able to catch the Dark Eldar Incubi and Succubus, blast them out of the Venom, and then reduce them to just two models. But those two models will seriously mess the Guardians up in close combat (the Guardians ended up fleeing, leaving the Dark Eldar trapped between a War Walker and Wave Serpent, so it worked out right in the end).
6. Crimson Hunters are very good at forcing Ravagers to Jink. However, a Jinking Ravager is quite happy to shoot at flyers because it makes no difference to the dice rolls…

The Craftworld Eldar did not really get any traction for the first couple of turns. I could say it was partly down to dice rolls, and that would be gtrue, but mostly it was my own inexperience with the force. The Crimson Hunters and Wave Serpents took on the brunt of the work during the battle, which is fine, but it meant units like the Dire Avengers were largely wasted. They ended up finishing off a Dark Eldar Warriors squad huddled in a crater, then grabbing an objective – fine, but they could have done more. Sorting out the Succubus and Incubi, for example, which they could likely have done far quicker and with less casualties than the Guardians.

Still, that was just the first game, and I am looking forward to getting back into Eldar-mode.

 

Coming Soon

Naturally, I have already started to gather new units for the army. On my painting desk at the moment is a Vyper with a Bright Lance I pinched for £2 (seriously!) off eBay and a Night Spinner (was going to go Prism Cannon, until I realised the focussed blast of its weapons was a Torrent template), along with two units of Dark Reapers and Maugan Ra (more cheap eBay wins). I also have another Wave Serpent sitting on the shelf, waiting its turn.

They will all appear here as soon as they are done, along with details of more battles they fight!

Heavier Metal

I completed one more Imperial Knight over Christmas, and a very special one it was too.

After finishing off the four previous Knights, which handily added up to 1500 points, it was natural to start casting around and think ‘what else is there?’ There are Forge World Knights, sure, but they all have odd points values that do not stack into an all-Knight army neatly, and seem to be aimed more as allies. Plus, they are really quite expensive.

However, White Dwarf did a datasheet a while back for a variant Knight Errant – Gerantius. At 500 points he very neatly rounds a four Knight army up to 2,000 points and after some heartache tracking down the transfers needed for him (released on a separate sheet as a limited run, so I had to use the ‘wargaming community’ to find some going spare – nice chaps!).

And, oh, how he is worth 500 points… Take a normal Knight Errant, then give him a new paint job, BS 5, It Will Not Die, and a 3+ Ion Shield. Shouldn’t be legal, really. But it is, and how the Imperial Knights rejoice!

This is how mine turned out;

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Once done, he had to be used in anger! So, I gave Alan a call, who had very neatly ducked out of fighting my Knights on the paint/play day, and told him to rock up with a 2,000 point army, and that he should come loaded for bear!

Gerantius did very well in the battle against his Dark Eldar – mostly because Alan completely ignored it (maybe he thought it would just go away…) and instead concentrated on my Warlord. His Reaver Jetbikes got round the side of the shield and dealt some hideous damage (that D3 loss of Hull Points on a serious hit can catch you out, especially when you only have 6 Hull Points to play with in the first place), and when the rest of his army piled in a turn later, the Warlord (Sir Gottfrei) hit the deck. Another Knight joined him on the floor later in the game, and the other two Knights had a few scratches here and there, but Battle Cannon and Thermal Cannon eventually shot true, blasting apart Raiders and Ravagers (and a Reaper) with growing ease.

 

Knightly Thoughts

I have always had the opinion that a Knight ally in a ‘normal’ army looks scary but it never seems to earn its points back – which is probably a good thing as it means a Knight is not a ‘must have’ and is not overpowering when it does appear.

Five Knights together (or even just four at 1,500 points) do get a fair bit of synergy from one another and, yes, it is true they can invalidate a portion of an opponent’s army (those with basic weapons only). However, I also think the Knights are set that way, points-wise and, it should be remembered, even the smallest Grot can claim objectives and you will never have enough Knights to cover all bases. So, I do not think they are really an ‘unfair’ army at all (and, by all accounts, they are not topping the tables at tournaments). If you forewarn your opponent that you are bringing them, they certainly are not overpowered.

That said, I would not regard them as my ‘standard’ army, though they will get trotted out now and again, especially now that I have a Forge World Warhound Titan making its way to me through the post right now…

 

The Secret Army

Now, regular readers will know that my long-suffering opponent, Alan, reads this blog. He just cannot help himself. So, in an effort to maintain an element of surprise in our games (where is the fun without it?) I do not always post about models I have recently finished as soon as they are done.

Before Christmas, I had let Alan know I was building a ‘secret’ army, but refused to tell him what it was. As it happened, I could not get a colour scheme I liked, and so put the project on hold and started Secret Army 2. Now that one I did finish over Christmas, and this weekend I unveiled it during a battle against Alan’s Dark Eldar.

In my next post, I’ll reveal which army it is, and what happened in its first encounter…

Oh, and in a couple of weeks time, just to forewarn you, I will be posting about something that will have at least some 40kers drooling with envy!

Heavy Metal

No updates for a while, but I have not been idle!

Just before Christmas, Sandrine organised a painting and play day – basically, a bunch of us get together, paint up models in the morning and play in the afternoon. Alan brought his Dark Eldar, Sandrine her Space Wolves and James his Ultramarines. And me… well, I’ll get on to that.

I had been told that we would make up just one army list for the afternoon, and use it for all games without switching forces to suit opponents. Fair enough, I thought. I turned up first and started making some finishing touches to models, and then Alan walked in.

“You’ve got to be joking!” he said.

This is what I had on the table…

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I gave him my most innocent look and said I was happy to abide by the rule that we kept the same army list throughout the day (with these guys, it is not as though I have much choice at 1,500 points…).

Yes, I had finally got round to polishing off my Imperial Knights army, and a general mood of gloom settled around the painting table as the others turned up and we got to work.

Alan and James finished their bits first and went off to have a game (I believe Alan’s Dark Eldar won that game), while Sandrine and I started a little after.

Our game was somewhat embarrassing. Sandrine’s Space Wolves were completely unprepared for the Knights and, to add insult to injury, my pre-game dice rolls meant I had two experienced Knights plus a warlord with It Will Not Die. She conceded after turn three (only two units left), and went off to fight Alan (a game she won, though it seemed very closely contested – a Relic game where they just threw everything into the middle of the table!).

Which left me to fight James’ Ultramarines, a mechanised force full of Predators, Razorbacks and Rhinos. He also had a fortress in which he deployed a Tactical Squad.

It took the Knights a couple of turns to get into their stride (ahem), with just the odd Hull Point getting chipped off vehicles and that damned tactical Squad refusing to budge – or even lose men, despite rapid-firing Battle Cannon being dropped continually on their heads. Then the Knights got in close and things began to change.

Some rams from desperate Razorbacks proved completely ineffectual and the Thermal Cannon soon started taking Space Marine vehicles apart with its AP1 blast templates. His Chaplain Hero went into close combat against a Knight Paladin and actually managed to hold it up for a couple of turns – but the end was inevitable.

When all was said and done (we went to six turns) James’ marines had managed to do enough damage to topple a Knight – but the damage was spread throughout the force and all looked quite healthy.

This battle did illustrate one weakness of the Knights though. James had a Stormtalon buzzing about and I very quickly realised that with its Armour causing the heavy stubbers to just bounce off it and all my big guns using blasts, there was absolutely nothing I do about it unless I tempted it into a hover (fat chance).

Lesson: Flyers work well against Knights.

A few days later, I added yet another Knight (a very special one!), and took on Alan’s Dark Eldar. Battle report coming next…