Legacies of Glory: Predator

While the ‘classic’ Rogue Trader-style plastic vehicles are somewhat in vogue for 30k players at the moment, I would normally not look twice at them. However, my Dark Angels force is, umm, rather large, and variety is always good. So, when I saw a Mk I Predator going very cheaply on eBay, I got the idea to make it a very old tank, and stick a Legacy of Glory on it from the current Imperial Armour 2 book.

I have played around with these before, but only on the Sicarian – it, being a very old design of tank, seems a perfect fit. However, putting a Legacy of Glory on a ‘current’ vehicle? Just seems wrong, at least without making it look a lot different.

So, I grabbed this older tank, with the idea of sticking loads of Dark Angels iconography all over it (and removing the Rogue Trader-era Heavy Bolter that had been stuck on the cupola), and seeing how far that got me. The results are here…

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I was lucky enough to have the Forge World Dark Angels transfer sheet arrive at pretty much the same time, and took advantage of some of the new details on that, particularly the short prayers/mottoes. Lots of purity seals, a big book and a little Dark Angel on top finished the job. That, and it being based on a Mk I Predator chassis, makes it look sufficiently different to qualify as a Legacy of Glory, I think…

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So, what Legacy to put on it?

Well, those that give special rules against specific armies are out – I don’t generally fight against those armies.

The War of Murder upgrade gives the Predator the Monster Hunter rule – interesting when fighting against a Dark Eldar Talos, but the granting of Fearless to nearby troops is not brilliant for Dark Angels (if we are not Fearless, we are Stubborn). Still, only 20 points, so remains a possibility.

The Battle of Sarosh gives one vehicle, once per game, Interceptor, Skyfire, Tank Hunter and Night Vision – a nice surprise for 30 points, but of limited use on this vehicle. Much better suited to the Sicarian (which, ahem, is exactly what I did…).

Schism of Mars gives it Tank Hunter and a 4+ ward (effectively) against Haywire effects, plus a benefit against Daemons which will never get used, all for 25 points. Re-rolling Lascannon and Autocannon penetration against Dark Eldar vehicles and guarding against their Haywire? Hmm, we might just have a winner…

Battle of Terra grants It Will Not Die. Now, that is a very nice upgrade but it is 40 points (a substantial percentage of a basic Predator), and I am not sure a light tank really benefits from the rule. Still, something to consider.

Icon of Glory – this gives a +1 bonus to BS (making this the Tank of Ever-Hitting Lascannon and Autocannon), but costs a whopping 50 points and grants the enemy a bonus VP if it is destroyed. If you want to see your Predator destroyed every single game, this is the one to go for, but is otherwise best put on something else, I think (a Land Raider Achilles springs to mind, or maybe a Terminus Ultra…).

Shrouded Provenance effectively makes the Predator venerable. As a Dark Angel player, this is less exciting than for others as all our Deathwing vehicles already have this. It is also unfriendly to allied troops and, given that it costs more than a Deathwing vehicle upgrade, I’ll be giving it a miss.

And that is it for the Legacies suitable for a Predator. The Schism of Mars legacy (Tank Hunter and anti-Haywire) is probably the front runner here. Battle of Terra (It Will Not Die) is relatively sexy as a choice but will be hard to justify the cost. Something to play around with if I can keep the Predator from getting squashed in a single turn. Icon of Glory is probably something that should only appear in Apocalypse games when the Predator is part of a squadron (where it can hide behind its mates).

Time for some experimenting!

Serious Anti-Tank

While my regular opponent Alan may well disagree, my Eldar have been lacking serious anti-tank capabilities for a while now. The odd Bright Lance has popped up here and there among the current units, but I have been hankering after some serious destructive power for a while – and eBay is always your friend there. So, I picked up these chaps;

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Five Fire Dragons can be had for, frankly, a song on eBay, and it is difficult to criticise what are effectively five Meltaguns on guys who can actually shoot straight. In fact, I liked them so much and they were so cheap, that I got hold of these guys too;

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For the record, this second squad is, I think, painted much better – nothing to do with skill (of course), it is just how things turned out! These guys obviously have an Exarch with them as well who will be a real terror to anything with armour with his longer ranged Fire Pike and two-shot Exarch Power.

The fun things about this squad is that it works against any one. Imperial Guard and Marine tanks are the obvious targets, sure, but as each guy has a Strength 8 AP 1 Melta weapon, multiple Terminators get hosed down just as well. At the other end of the spectrum, they have enough shots between them (more than enough) to tackle Dark Eldar vehicles and the AP 1 means that a penetrating hit will explode a Raider or Ravager 50% of the time.

Doing some quick maths on that, you have six guys firing, one at BS 5 with two shots – call that five (may be closer to six, but we’ll stick with five) hits. Two fail to penetrate, and the target jinks. Either one or two shots on average will penetrate, and as we rounded down earlier, we can round up here to the two shots. 50% chance of a boom result = one dead skimmer every turn. If they get close enough to be rolling two dice for penetration, frankly it matters little whether they are shooting at a light skimmer or Land Raider…

Delivery is going to be a factor for these guys, and I suspect a Wave Serpent is not the most efficient method of doing it (though in larger games a unit of ten of these guys jumping out of a transport could be just plain rude…). I am thinking a Falcon is the way to go, with its own anti-tank capability thrown into the mix.

Fortunately, eBay supplied one of those this week…

Aborted Army

Usually, when you start a new army, it is with an air of excitement as you start on that long, long road of treading new ground and figuring out how to actually paint things.

Sometimes, it does not work out.

So it was when I started putting together a Tau army. I had this ‘brilliant; idea that being high-tech and ‘clean’ in appearance, Tau might not need highlighting or shading if approached the right way. This was not without precedence, as a chap at the local club had done something similar and his force worked very well.

The basic idea was that the models get painted in their base colours, then all the panel gaps would be lined with, I kid you not, a felt pen. Sounded, quick, easy, and the results could be good.

Instead, I got this;

 

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Now, a number of problems with these models, of which the pinkness is just one.

Lining with a felt pen is not a quick process (or, at least, was not the ‘quick and easy job I can do while watching the TV’ that I had predicted). It takes a sod of a long time.

Another issue is that while it kinda/sorta works on vehicles, the process is a pain in the rear end on the tiny panels found on the infantry (drones not too bad) and, in the end, you still have to go over the model with paint once more to tidy up any errors made with the pen.

Finally, I tried a multitude of ‘artists’ pens, and never found any that was consistent – I fully acknowledge this was more likely down to my own technique, or lack of, but the lines would sometimes ‘peter out’ half way along a panel gap, with the ink just not taking to the paint.

Still, I think the grey was a good choice to go with the pink, so I got that right at least.

After this, I did go through a phase of thinking that a Halo-inspired colour scheme was the way to go, basically olive green, and there was a Tau model in Visions lately that followed this idea – but I had just started my Catachans and, frankly, I have enough olive green to last me quite a while.

I think I have finally settled on doing Tau in a colour scheme that matches the one I used on my Eldar Crimson Hunter Exarch (the lead fighter below);

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This follows a very similar idea and gives that ‘clean’ appearance Tau should have – basically bone/cream without any shading, and using the Magic Goop (with a brush) along the panel lines. This inevitably needs going back over with the cream tidy the lines up, but this was not a great hassle on the Exarch. The black and red work well as the secondary and tertiary colours (not sure which way round they should be yet).

However, the Tau are very much on the back burner now – got enough on my hands with Catachans, High Elves, possible Harlequins and, frankly, I am more likely to start on the few Flesh Tearers I have tucked away than the Tau.

But at least I know what i will be doing with them when I finally get the Tau itch once more.

Fortifying the Imperium

We had a painting day this weekend (where a bunch of us roll up to the office to, well, paint stuff – the idea is you get motivated by everyone else, and it works) and, as we are currently prepping for a Fantasy Battle Mighty Empires campaign this weekend, I naturally got went to work on some fortifications for 40k.

Actually, all I did was bring the bulk of my remaining Fish Pile, and tried to clear it. Didn’t quite complete everything, but that is another story.

Anyway, the first thing I completed was this, an old Forge World turret carrying a Heavy Bolter.

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They do not do this model any more, and it can get quite pricey on eBay, but I saw this one going for a song at Vapnartak earlier this year on their bring and buy, and snapped it up for £8. The base it was mounted on was way to large (and square, for my tastes), but a quick bit of sawing and chamfering sorted it out.

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Painting, frankly, nothing is easier. The turret/bunker itself was drybrushed Codex Grey, and had a few details picked out like the skulls and eagles. The base was sanded, and painted brown to match my new Catachan Imperial Guard Astra Militarum.

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The last touch I did at home. With a base that large, I could really go to town with the junglisation of the base, making it look like the kind of bunker that would be hidden in a jungle, ready to open fire on an unwary patrol. Nothing more than lichen from model railways and choice items from aquariums. I like this kind of model – deceptively little effort, but  it ends up looking really good, if I say so myself!

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I am going to have to dig around the old Imperial Armour books for the stats on this thing, as it is no longer supported but, as I recall, it was 50 points, Armour 14 all round, BS 3 and mounted with a twin-linked Heavy Bolter. Nothing too scary, and it can easily be slid into the Fortifications slot of a Guard army. Just want to use the model, really!

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This was not the only fortification that got done – a short while ago I picked up the Wall of Martyrs Redoubt for cheap on eBay.

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I have an idea that, some day, I will be able to put together a whole fortress for Imperial forces but it is a slow (and pricey!) affair. The Redoubt is not the best choice to begin, as it is 200 points and really is for anti-aircraft work (though it does that very effectively) but, for the price, I could not argue. In ‘normal’ games, it can function as a very expensive bunker with the added benefit that no enemy flyer will appear for long.

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More to come from the painting day, but I will save that for other posts, plus I have also taken pictures of an ‘aborted’ army – you will be able to easily see why it was aborted!

1st Platoon, 3rd Company, 32nd Catachan

last weekend was quite productive, as this week’s posts show – managed to get quite a bit polished off, including these guys – my first complete(ish) platoon of Catachan Imperial Guard Astra Militarum.

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Had some fun with these guys, painting them up while watching various Vietnam films – and when they ran out, I started on the old TV series, Tour of Duty!

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As you can see, some effort went into the bases, mainly by the chopping up of various plastic plants from a fish shop (they might be called aquariums), left-overs from my jungle terrain.

This platoon is completely unoptimised, with me just painting up what models I scavenged on eBay, but I am gradually filling in the gaps so there will be some changes here with different special and heavy weapons. The basic plan is to have one platoon on the ground in my deployment zone, and have another mounted on Valkyries and Vendettas, streaking across the table Air-Cav style!

Can’t help thinking that the casualty rate for units like that in 40k will be horrendous…

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A close up of the Platoon Command Squad. Again, nothing awesomely special (yet), but every squad has a comms pack and for the Lieutenant I went with the cigar-chewing, Bolter-armed model. It works well.

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I did not stop there though, and also managed to polish off these guys, a Veteran Squad called Sandler’s Serpents. No plans to use them in the first ‘build’ of this army yet, but I had the models spare and wanted to play around with them. To make them look more ‘veteran-ie’ I picked out the models that were a bit unusual or had some conversion work already done to them – the guy with the axe, some models with some (very weird-looking) shotguns, there is a guy there with a cybernetic eye, etc… I also painted their bandannas green rather than the platoon red, which makes them look immediately different (I figured the veterans would go with a no-nonsense colour). Finally, I had a much higher proportion of models with added terrain on their bases.

 

One thing that did occur to me while taking these photos is that, for an army based on the US forces in Vietnam, it is looking mighty white, as they say. That will change in the next platoon when I will start mixing things up.

Did get one final model done;

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I quite like this model, and it is the one that started getting me excited about doing Catachan. I cannot take the credit for most of the terrain on the base, as that is how it came from eBay, but I will be copying it for my other heavy weapons teams.

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Wonder if I can convince my opponents that I should always get a Cover save with these guys, as they bring their own cover with them…

Psychic Support

Another little item that got finished this weekend, and one well over due – a Warlock on a Jetbike for the Altsain Craftworld…

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Like the Farseer on Jetbike I did a while back, this chap came from Chapterhouse Studios and, like the Farseer, is intended to support my unit of 9 (11 with the two psykers) Windrider Jetbike riders.

Every Warlock gets Conceal, which could be interesting if there is a nasty AP weapon coming in to the Jetbikes, but what I will really be after is the Protect/Fortune combo (ahem, sorry, synergy) between Warlock and Farseer which will take the Jetbikes to an Armour save of 2+ which can, of course be re-rolled (and can shrug off even Battle Cannon quite nicely). With the ability to re-roll their Jink saves as well, the Windriders will really just have a weakness to close combat and I intend to keep them well away from the enemy.

You can’t rely on getting both powers, of course, but there is plenty the Warlock can do to help the Windriders out otherwise.

Reveal: Remove nasty, nasty cover saves from an enemy unit (and, of course, stopping them from Jinking – nice for lightly armoured skimmer targets)

Destructor/Renewer: If an enemy somehow manages to retain a cover save, the template Destructor will sort that out – otherwise, Renewer can keep the Farseer in the game for a few more turns if he gets shot.

Embolden/Horrify: Not planning on getting this unit shot up too much, but Embolden is always useful for keeping them in place. However, Horrify has some interesting potential, especially if it is linked to other units in the army that cause, say, pinning. Also useful to convince the enemy to run after a vicious Shuriken Cannon attack.

Enhance/Drain: If a mistake is made, these could help the Windriders survive a close combat but, really, it is better used draining an enemy about to be charged by another Eldar unit.

Protect/Jinx: Already covered Protect, but Jinx could be interesting as some enemies will suddenly become vulnerable to a wider range of Eldar weaponry…

Quicken/Restrain: Probably the bottom ‘choice’ but it could be used to keep an enemy in place.

Empower/Enervate: Again, more close combat-led, and the obvious answer is to nerf an enemy about to charge. However, by boosting the Strength of the Jetbike riders, a lot of enemy vehicles suddenly become vulnerable to a close combat attack (assuming they survive the hail of shuriken fire into their rear armour…).

 

So, a lot to experiment with and just a single model to give all those new options. Looking forward to trying this one out!

Dark Angels 10th Company

This weekend, I managed to finish off something that I have been working on for, oh, a good few years now – I finally painted up the two Scout Bikers I needed to complete the entire 1oth Company of Dark Angels.

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At some point, I’ll pull them out of the cabinet for a proper photo shoot but it is Monday morning and there are a hundred of them – so give me a break!

I figured that an 8:2 split between bikers and guys on foot was reasonable, with a decent mix of weaponry among the infantry.

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I was going to put a jump pack on the Chaplain of the company to reflect the mobility of the scouts, but I already had a jump pack on the 3rd company’s Chaplain and did not want the repetition. For the Master of the Scouts, I used a very handy old 40k model from the Rogue Trader days, complete with robes – he is not as heavily built as the other Masters, again suggesting a lightness across the whole company.

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I really need to add some Land Speeder Storms, I am thinking three or four, but the actual scouts are now all done – 100 of them! Now, at this point, if you are familiar with 40k, you might be wondering why someone would do the entire Scout company of a chapter and why would they include bikes and soon Land Speeder Storms if the Dark Angels Codex does not allow them.

Well, to answer the first, it is possible that I am completely mad. As to the second, I have an idea to use the Scouts as an Allied detachment using Codex: Space Marines. Not sure what size game it would have to be for this to become realistic, but the idea is there! I have not given the Space Marines Codex a good look yet, so I am not sure what funky bits to give these guys, but that will provide some mid-week reading.

I managed to get a fair bit more done this weekend, but I’ll save that for another post.