Battle Report – Hammer and Anvil

The fight for the Great Green Torc that hangs in the sky above the Scabrou Sprawl is in full swing, and a new force now enters the fray…

 

The Story So Far

The Battle for the Torc hung in the balance. Both Stormcasts and the forces of Chaos had battered one another heavily, while the Spiderfang Grots who lived there were fighting a guerrilla war against both, just trying to survive.

Without constant reinforcement, the Rotbringers who had gained a foothold upon the torc were gradually being whittled down by the Stormcasts and Spiderfang Grots. Over the following weeks, the Stormcasts gradually pushed their way around the torc, finally entering Springseed and Rebirth, the domains of at one end of the torc. There stood Castle Neonatus, and they gained its walls just in time, for they had been followed by a combined force of Rotbringers and Brayherd. Under the massive rocks hurled by Cygors, a section of the castle broke away and slid into the Amethyst Gate, where it would be greeted by the Lord of Death himself, Nagash. The remaining Stormcasts prepared to sell themselves dearly.

Then, everything changed. A new army arrived on the battlefield – a large tribe of Spiderfang Grots. They had seen their chance to rid themselves of the forces of Nurgle who had corrupted their home, and now threw themselves at their greater enemy, accepting a temporary alliance with the Stormcasts against a far more dangerous foe.

If they could win here, the Great Green Torc would be robbed from the forces of Chaos.

 

The Forces

This is a three-way Battleplan, with the forces of Nurgle trapped between the Stormcasts and Spiderfang Grots.

Rotbringers
Lord of Plagues
Chaos Warriors x 24 (two units of 12)
Chaos Knights x 5
Gors x 40 (one unit of 20, two units of 10)
Ungors x 30 (one unit of 20, one unit of 10)
Bestigors x 10
Warshrine of Nurgle
Cygor
Ghorgon

The forces of Nurgle have been battered in recent battles, but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Notably, these include a Ghorgon and Cygor, along with a Warshrine of Nurgle.

Stormcast Eternals
Lord-Castellant
Knight-Heraldor
Judicators x 10 (two units of 5)
Decimators x 5
Retributors x 5
Liberators x 25 (five units of 5)

The Stormcasts too have been hammered in this campaign, and they have just lost their to leadership to the breaking of Castle Neonatus. However, help is on the way…

Spiderfang Grots
Big Boss on Gigantic Spider
Spider Riders x 30 (three units of 10)
Arachnarok x 2

 

The Battleplan

This Battleplan lasts for six rounds, with the Stormcasts and Spiderfang Grots having to wipe out the forces of Nurgle to claim victory. The Rotbringers still have some pride, however, and despite being bracketed by both of their enemies, they can re-roll any Battleshock tests.

The Stormcasts, on the other hand, can re-roll any saves if they do not move (being the Anvil), while the Arachnaroks deal mortal wounds whenever they charge (being the hammer).

We will be using the Tome of War Sheet for the Great Green Torc once more, this time using the Rebirth section. This brings back models to every unit that suffers a loss, while Wizards (just a Grot Shaman in this battle!) know the Back From the Dead spell, capable of resurrecting monsters and heroes.

One last word, as it will become very relevant later on… While the Spiderfang Grots and Stormcasts both win if they can wipe out the Rotbringers, the major victory will only be awarded to the force that slays the most models.

Keep that in mind as you read on…

 

Deployment

The Rotbringers were immediately forced to deploy back to back, ready to receive a charge from either Spiderfang Grot or Stormcast. While the Stormcasts deployed along a wide front, the Spiderfang Grots, knowing well how nasty the Rotbringers could be, concentrated their force into two distinct areas on the flanks.

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Battle Round One

Sensing time was against them, the Stormcasts led the charge into the Rotbringers. Liberators were the first to crash into the Rotbringers, singling out a unit of Chaos Knights, slaying one immediately.

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Not wanting to be left behind and eager to exact revenge upon the Rotbringers for their oppression since they arrived on the Great Green Torc, the Spiderfang Grots quickly followed.

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The vengeance of the Grots was terrible to behold as they were urged onwards by both their Boss and Shaman, and their spiders fell upon a unit of Bestigors, shredding the beastmen apart before pouncing forward to engage nearby Gors. Between the Spider Riders and the Liberators, the Rotbringers were already finding themselves squeezed between two murderous foes.

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The rest of the Spiderfang Grot and Stormcast armies did not reach their enemies so quickly, but they were well on their way. The Knight-Heraldor raised his trumpet and blew, a thunderous sound rolling out to break apart branches and bring down trees in one of the woods strewn across the battlefield. Falling trunks crushed an Ungor and damaged the Warshrine of Nurgle.

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Fighting the Rotbringers was not without its risks though, and a Liberator succumbed quickly to Nurgle’s Rot, even as he approached them. The Lord of Plagues could see he was vastly outnumbered, and he ordered his troops to pull away from the Stormcasts to concentrate on the Spiderfang Grots.

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Callously, he threw two units of Ungors into the paths of the Stormcasts, hoping to slow them down.

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Hefting a large boulder above its head, the Cygor tossed the rock at a nearby Arachnarok Spider, but it did little more than causing the monster to notice its prey. The Cygor then heeded the commands of the Lord of Plagues, following him and a group of Gors into a unit of Spider Riders.

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The Grots were caught offguard by this attack, but their spiders were alert enough. Gors fell to the ground as poison wracked their bodies, and even the Cygor swayed under its effects.

More Gors raced past the Numinous Occulum to engage more Spider Riders but, again, the poisonous fangs of the spiders took a dreadful toll.

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All across the battlefield, Gors broke and ran, fearful of fighting beasts whose fangs dripped a deadly poison. The Spiderfang Grots mostly held their nerve, though a handful slipped into the surrounding jungle and its safety.

 

Battle Round Two

The Rebirthing of the Great Green Torc took effect, and both Spiderfang Grot and a Liberator were returned to life, much to the dismay of the Rotbringers.

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The Rotbringers were now firmly caught between two armies, and the rest of the Spiderfang Grots and Stormcasts began to move in. The Grot Shaman hurled an Arcane Bolt at a Gor that have been brave enough (or stupid enough) to stand its ground, freeing up the Spider Riders who had been hunting it. They now raced forward into the Warshrine of Nurgle and the Chaos Warriors clustered around in its defence.

Meanwhile, a retinue of Liberators charged from the opposite side.

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Once again, the poisonous fangs of the spiders wreaked havoc among the Rotbringers, whose resilience to disease was no defence against cold venom. Half the Chaos Warriors succumbed to the poison of the spiders and Warblades of the Liberators in seconds, and many of the others chose to flee rather than face certain death. The Warshrine itself was rocked by the assault, and its bearers stumbled under the wounds they received.

As one of the Arachnarok Spiders started to feast upon unfortunate Gors, the Spider Riders supporting it concentrated on the Cygor, delivering ore poison straight into its veins.

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Across the battlefield, more Gors started to flee, but more Spider Riders had started to join them.

However, the Great Green Torc was indiscriminate in its Rebirthing, and now Chaos Warriors and Knights started to return to life.

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The Lord of Plague smiled as he hefted his axe and raced towards the Arachnarok, keen to pit his skills against a worthy foe.

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However, the Arachnarok Spider’s hard chitin shell proved harder to breach than he had reckoned, even with his great axe, and he backed off slightly to assess his next strategy.

 

Battle Round Three

By this stage of the battle, the Rotbringers had been hit hard by the combined might of Stormcast and Spiderfang Grot. They were still holding out in small pockets, but now their attackers moved in for the final slaughter.

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At this point, a dangerous rivalry sprang up between the Grots and the Stormcasts, with neither willing to let the other grab glory. They both started to engage in a series of reckless charges, trying to claim Rotbringer lives before the other.

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Having slain so many Gors earlier in the battle, the Spiderfang Grots were confident that the fight would be theirs, but there were still plenty of Rotbringers left alive. The great Cygor was finally overwhelmed by the sheer amount of venom in its system and it collapsed, the Spider Riders it was fighting leaping over its still body to attack the Lord of Plagues. Wounded by their fangs and spears, the Lord of Plagues retreated into the nearby woods, looking for an escape of his own.

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The Chaos Knights had the same idea, and kill enough Spider Riders to break free of the slaughter and gallop away.

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The Spiderfang Grots were far from safe from the attentions of the Rotbringers, however, as both Arachnarok Spiders stumbled under the effects of Nurgle’s Rot, the virulent disease wracking their bodies with painful buboes.

 

Battle Round Four

One of the Arachnarok Spiders was in clear distress from the Nurgle’s Rot sweeping over its frame, and the Lord of Plagues took advantage of its distraction, quietly making his way through the trees to creep up behind it.

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With a loud cry, he rushed out of the woods, axe held high above his head. Bringing his weapon down, he cracked the chitin-sheathed abdomen of the spider revelling in the gush of diseased ichor that flowed over him as the monster sank down onto the ground and died.

Meanwhile, as the Chaos Knights galloped further away from their pursuers, the few surviving Chaos Warriors broke from combat and tried to run as well, though the only ground free from enemies was right in the centre of the battlefield. Surely they could not remain safe for long.

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The Spiderfang Grots and Stormcasts both rallied quickly and set about chasing the fleeing Rotbringers, though both were still trying to outdo the other. The Spiderfang Shaman hurled an Arcane Bolt at the Lord of Plagues but was then carried off on the back of his Arachnarok Spider to chase the Chaos Warriors.

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The Lord of Plagues called for aid as he was ringed by a unit of Spider Riders, and he desperately fell back into the trees as they pounced forward. The only sign of the Lord’s demise was the rustling of trees before the Spider Riders emerged once more, covered in brackish blood.

The Chaos Warriors had been unable to respond to their Lord#s call for assistance, as they had very serious problems of their own. Caught in the open, they were quickly surrounded by Decimators, Retributors, Liberators and Spider Riders, all led by the Lord-Castellant.

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Hammers swung and axes descended, and most Chaos Warriors were slain where they stood. One managed to shoulder his way past his attackers and he raced into the jungle, to be later hunted down by vengeful Spiderfang Grots.

This left the Chaos Knights as the only surviving Rotbringers on the battlefield, and the combined forces of Spiderfang Grots and Stormcasts started to make their way to them, all intent on being the ones to claim the final kills.

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Battle Round Five

Knowing that, even when weighed down by armour, Chaos Knights could be very mobile, the Grot Shaman called upon the power of the Rebirthing, and raised the slain Arachnarok Spider back from the dead.

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Stormcast and Grot then advanced, running to cut off any chance of escape for the Chaos Knights.

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Urging their steeds through complicated manouevres, the Chaos Knights outwitted the Spiderfang Grots who had caught up to them, and gained more distance, even as the Rebvirthing brought them back up to full strength. Time was running out, however…

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Battle Round Six

The Spiderfang Grots were the only ones fast enough to reach the Chaos Knights in time, and they cackled as they descended upon their prey, knowing they had beaten the Stormcasts and proved their worth over Sigmar’s shiny soldiers.

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However, once again the Chaos Knights managed to evade the worst of their attacks.

Seeing their chance, the Chaos Knights broke free of the battle and thundered off into the jungle. The Rotbringers had been smashed as an effective fighting force, but it would be many years before the Spiderfang Grots would be able to hunt down them all. Until then, the few survivors among the Rotbringers would band together and constantly strike out at the grots, taking their toll over the coming weeks and months.

The Rotbringers had earned a major victory.

 

Conclusion

It has to be said, that battle was for the Spiderfang Grots and Stormcasts to lose -and they did! The Stormcast player (that would be me) told the Spiderfang player (that would be Andy) that the Chaos Knights were going to be a problem way back in the second round. But did either of us listen to that most sage advice?

Nope! Not even slightly!

No, we were both far more interested in claiming more kills than the other, which would have determined who claimed the major victory assuming our side won.

This is a classic example of not focussing on the objectives.

Was a lot of fun though and, if I am honest, I am not sure either of us would have changed what we did, even had we known the result beforehand!

 

The Story Continues…

While the war seems to have been won on the Great Green Torc, things are not going so well back on the Scabrous Sprawl. In fact, complete disaster awaits…

Ruins of the Mortal Realms (Painting Guide)

After the flurry of initial releases, there has not been too much new stuff in the way of scenery for Age of Sigmar (I am trying very hard to ignore the Crucible box set that is currently sitting on a shelf, waiting patiently to be painted…), but Godbeasts has a painting guide for the Realmgate in Orb Infernia.

It looked very quick and easy to paint (no washes, just successive drybrushes in the main), so I gave it a whirl!

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I would not call it awesome but, frankly, for something this quick to paint (ignoring the drying time, which is minimal and only really present on the first coat of orange) you just cannot beat it. In fact, I would go as far to say that even if you are more art talent-challenged than me (such a person is hard to imagine), you will fly through this and have a decent looking Realmgate on your table in no time.

The steps really are just this:

  1. Spray Black undercoat.
  2. Drybrush the whole thing with Khorne Red (quite a heavy drybrush).
  3. Drybrush the whole thing with Evil Sunz Scarlet.
  4. Drybrush the murals and skulls with Screaming Skull.
  5. Paint the flames Troll Slayer Orange.
  6. Drybrush the flames towards the centre with Yriel Yellow.
  7. Drybrush the flames a little further towards the centre with Dorn Yellow.

That really is all there is to it! Perhaps 30 minutes work, tops.

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However, I was not going to add just one piece of scenery, surely? It just so happened that someone bought me a box of Arcane Ruins for my birthday last year, and this seemed the perfect time to crack it open and build them!

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The paint scheme for this was also dead simple (though with a longer drying time, as it uses two washes), and I used the same scheme White Dwarf suggested for the Ophidian Archway – I thought that would be a good way to link the architecture of the Mortal Realms.

Again, it was simply:

  1. Undercoat with Corax White (worth splashing out on the spray can, it is much better for this than any other white undercoat I have used).
  2. Wash the whole thing with Seraphim Sepia.
  3. Drybrush the columns with Pallid Wych Flesh.
  4. Paint the stone slabs and steps Stormvermin Fur.
  5. Wash the whole thing with Athonian Camoshade (sounds a bit weird to use a green wash, but it creates a nice mossy feeling).
  6. Drybrush the stones with Administratum Grey.
  7. Drybrush the whole thing, lightly, with Ceramite White.

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That really is all there is to it! Once again, a very quick way to get a decent piece of scenery on your table.

I am going to have another little break from scenery for a while, but I will be lining up both the Crucible and another Skull Keep before year’s end (and here I was thinking I was done with the Dreadhold!), and I have a hankering to do some Sylvaneth Woods in the style shown in the All-Gates book, but that might be going a step too far (just how many Sylvaneth Woods does one really need, eh?).

White Dwarf and the White Dwarf

White Dwarf has completely changed its format, going from the weekly pamphlet to a big, thick 148 page monthly, from a set of adverts with the odd hobby article to a full blown hobby support mechanism. I wasn’t going to review it (and, unless you pay a premium on eBay, you might have trouble finding a copy now – it was very popular), but within they provided full rules and a painting guide to the White Dwarf, Grombrindal himself – as I painted him up, I thought it might be an idea to take a peek at the magazine too!

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The magazine itself has GW’s normal very high production values and while it lists new products for sale (of course it does, just not realistic to think otherwise), there is a great deal of ‘meat’ in this issue – and that is before you get to the free Slaughterpriest on the front cover!

As for the hobby material, you are going to find something to interest you in this issue, no matter what Warhammer universe you are currently fighting in.

A Tale of Four Warlords: Veterans will remember the old army-building articles where GW staffers would paint up a unit or two every month and then have a big fight at the end, and this classic returns to this issue, concentrating on Age of Sigmar and the Start Collecting box sets.

Kill Team Excis: A brand new Kill Team for Deathwatch: Overkill.

Power Down: New rules (for ductways) and mission for Space Hulk. Reminds me, I really need to get back into this game…

Alternate Histories: Varying the missions in Betrayal at Calth, plus a Venerable Contemptor Dreadnought.

Lost Patrol: Scouts keep getting killed? Try using Terminators with these new rules.

Daemonic Incursion: Using daemons in Execution Force, plus new Achievements.

Gorechosen: Two new characters for the game that has not even come out yet (rather looking forward to it, after seeing the preview), and they are not messing around – they have added Skarr Bloodwrath and Valkia the Bloody!

Grombrindal: Rules have been created for the White Dwarf in both Warhammer Quest and Age of Sigmar!

Deathwatch: Full rules for using the Deathwatch’s Corvus Blackstar in Stormcloud Attack.

The Brimfire Ritual: A full battle report for Age of Sigmar and, I have to say, it is good to see he Knight-Venator being useless in someone else’s hands too!

Plus all the usual background articles (including quite an extensive one on Imperial Knights), painted models (both GW and readers), and interviews.

I have to say, if White Dwarf continues in this vein, GW is going to have a right winner on their hands.

And it certainly made an impression on this gamer, enough for me to splash out on this chap:

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Grombrindal, the White Dwarf!

It uses the old Slayer model from the Fantasy Battle range but, as it says in this month’s White Dwarf (with a little tongue in the cheek), if you paint him up using the painting guide they provide, you get to use his rules as Grombrindal (and they are quite nice!).

As for painting him up following their instructions, it is simplicity itself – in fact, I completed the whole model, from start to finish, in one lazy evening. This is another project ideal for the talent-challenged like me and if you felt like having a crack at this model but did not feel your talent levels were up to the task, have a go. He really is an easy model to get to grips with…

 

Battle Report – Dawn Raid

The Badab War got off to an explosive start as the Salamanders began their landings on Bellerophon’s Fall – but can the Mantis Warriors capitalise on the recent victory?

 

The Story So Far

The Salamanders had launched their surprise attack after the initial landings, targeting a small Mantis Warriors patrol that had taken shelter at a remote refinery. However, despite being caught off-guard, the Mantis Warriors repelled the attack, albeit with heavy casualties.

This threw the plans of the Salamanders into disarray for but a short time – but the Mantis Warriors, led by Epistolary Oromo, were quick to react. Utilising their guerrilla training, Oromo led an assault on one of the Salamanders’ staging areas, hoping to deliver a knock out punch that would leave the Loyalists reeling and open to further attacks.

The Salamanders would have to show a robust defence if their entire planetary landing was not to stall before it had really begun…

 

The Forces

We still do not have a huge range of miniatures to choose from for our forces (that will change soon enough!), but both Mantis Warriors and Salamanders managed to rouse some different units for this fight!

Mantis Warriors
Librarian (Epistolary Oromo): Level 2 Psyker, Meltabombs, Digital Weapons
Tactical Squad (9 marines): Veteran Sergeant (with Power Sword and Meltabombs), Grav Cannon, Graviton Gun, Rhino (with Extra Armour)
Tactical Squad (10 marines): Veteran Sergeant, Plasma Cannon, Meltagun, Rhino
Dreadnought: Twin-linked Lascannon
Dreadnought: Multi-melta
Land Speeder: Multi-melta
Land Speeder: Multi-melta x 2
Vindicator Squadron (3 tanks): Siege Shields
Stormraven: Multi-melta, Lascannon, Searchlight

The Vindicator squadron forms the hard-hitting core of this force – short-ranged, but nothing wants to move inside their ‘umbrella’ for long.

Salamanders
Captain: Artificer Armour, Lightning Claw, Primarch’s Wrath
Tactical Squad (10 marines): Multi-Melta, Flamer, Rhino
Tactical Squad (10 marines): Multi-Melta, Flamer, Rhino
Tactical Squad (10 marines): Multi-Melta, Flamer, Rhino
Ironclad Dreadnought: Heavy Flamer
Centurions (3 marines): Hurricane Bolters
Centurions (3 marines): Hurricane Bolters
Assault Squad (10 marines): Veteran Sergeant (Lightning Claw, Meltabomb), Jump Packs, Flamer x 2
Devastator Squad (8 marines): Lascannon x 2, Missile Launcher (Flak Missiles) x 2

The Salamanders have ditched their Predator and Stormtalon from the previous battle and, with a little jiggling of points, have included two squads of Centurions.

 

The Mission

Dawn Raid is an objective-based battle, with one objective in the centre and another in every ‘quarter’ except the one the Mantis Warriors start in. The Night Fighting rules are in effect every turn, and only cease when the sun rises on the roll (made at the end of every player turn) of a 6!

Both players start with very limited forces, with the rest coming on as Reserves. The Mantis Warriors begin with Troops and Fast Attack units only, while the Salamanders have Troops and Heavy Support.

Victory is determined by the number of objectives held when the game ends.

 

Deployment

The Mantis Warriors deployed first, with two Tactical Squads in Rhinos (Epistolary Oromo leading one) and two Land Speeders, streaking ahead to gain first contact with the Salamanders they knew would be nearby,

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In contrast, the Salamanders were far more prepared than the Mantis Warriors had expected – they were met by three Tactical Squads, a Devastator Squad and two Centurion Squads, already mobilised and rushing to meet them.

Was it a trap?

 

Turn One

One of the Mantis Warriors’ Rhinos slewed to a halt, and its Tactical Squad disembarked to set up their weapons. Epistolary Oromo had already identified the Centurions as the greatest threat before his force, and he ordered the Tactical Squad to train its Grav weapons on the hulking brutes striding through the darkness towards them.

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Though the fire was directed hastily, it proved telling and two Centurions succumbed to their wounds. Meanwhile, the two Land Speeders had swept around the right flank and their Multi-meltas blasted apart a Rhino, killing two marines of the Tactical Squad inside.

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This barely slowed down the Centurions and they lumbered ahead, eager to get to grips with the elusive Mantis Warriors. One of the surviving Salamanders’ Rhinos ground to a halt as it disgorged its Tactical Squad, while the other gunned its engines and sped to the far side of the battlefield, keen to claim the ground as belonging to the Salamanders.

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As the Mantis Warriors’ Tactical Squad took cover behind their Rhino, the Centurions swept in, their siege weapons grinding through the transport in seconds to leave it a smoking wreck, even as the Devastator Squad poured fire into it.

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Turn Two

The ultimate plan of Epistolary Oromo began to unfold as the Vindicator squadron and a Dreadnought entered the battle. They quickly assessed the situation and determined that the Tactical Squad closest to them could not repel the might of the Centurions. Their targeting solutions were updated accordingly.

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With a mighty roar of their guns, all three Vindicators hurled massive shells into the Centurions, blasting apart even their enhanced armour. Only one staggered out of the smoke and craters.

On the right flank, the Land Speeders had come under fire from the Salamanders’ Tactical Squads, and one burst into flames before crashing into the frozen ground. The other jinked the incoming fire and dashed behind a rocky outcropping. However, the Mantis Warriors had tallied just a little too long and, as the sun arose over the battlefield, the Land Speeder crew were alarmed to see the blocky shape of an Ironclad Dreadnought striding towards them.

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As a Salamanders’ Assault Squad jetted onto the battlefield, one of their Rhinos unloaded its Tactical Squad who quickly spread out, preparing to defend the terrain they had picked as their own. This was not a moment too soon, as Epistolary Oromo had chosen to lead his own Tactical Squad against it as well.

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The last Centurion staggered towards the Tactical Squad before it, roasting four of the marines with its Heavy Flamer as the Devastator Squad supporting it continued to pound them too. A little further away, the last Land Speeder jinked the Multi-melta blast of the Ironclad, but could not avoid the widespread of its Heavy Flamer. As the crew sought to put out the fires, the Dreadnought quickly closed range and tore the craft apart.

 

Turn Three

Though Epistolary Oromo was expecting further reserves, none arrived, and he wondered if a Salamanders’ flanking force had intercepted them.

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However, he knew he could not delay his attack, and he ordered the Techmarine driver of his Rhino to take cover, leaving the Tactical Squad before them to the tender mercies of the Vindicator squadron.

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Another series of massive booms shook the entire battlefield and, when the echoes had died down, nothing remained of the Salamanders’ Tactical Squad or their Rhino – only a smoking crater signalled where they had once stood.

Doubting their ability to weather the Vindicators’ shells any better than the Tactical Squad, the Salamanders’ Assault Squad used their jump packs to boost behind a fist of rock sticking out of the battlefield, threatening the Rhino with Epistolary Oromo inside and, perhaps, being able to launch an assault against the Vindicators and neutralise the greatest threat in the battle.

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As Epistolary Oromo prepared to give the order to head full speed out of cover, the Salamanders’ Devastator Squad caught sight of him and, despite the cover of the rocky terrain, their Lascannon found its mark, destroying the Rhino and forcing the Tactical Squad to proceed on foot – they were now very vulnerable to the nearby Assault Squad.

 

Turn Four

The Vindicators repositioned themselves, this time lining up on the Devastator Squad who had remained in the open to continue providing support to the rest of the Salamanders. They soon came to regret that decision as Demolisher shells landed amongst them, gouging great holes in the ground and killing all but three marines in the squad. Meanwhile, another Mantis Warriors Dreadnought had arrived on the battlefield, close to the Salamanders’ Ironclad. Its Lascannon drilled a hole in the Ironclad, leaving the machine immobilised and unable to move closer to the objective it had been tasked with capturing.

Meanwhile, Epistolary Oromo decided to take charge of the tactical situation and led his squad around the rock to charge the Assault Squad before they could do the same to him.

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The two Sergeants challenged one another, Power Sword against Lightning Claw, with predictable results – both were spitted on the weapon of their opponent. The rest of the fight was chaotic in the extreme, with a lot of pushing but few actual blows landed, leaving just a couple of casualties on either side.

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The Salamanders’ Captain, having led the Devastator Squad up to this point in the battle, left the unit to sprint around the rocky terrain and counter-charge the Mantis Warriors who were engaged with the Assault Squad (this had absolutely nothing to do with the Captain being worried that the Vindicators had managed to get the Devastators in their sights, we are told). However, the terrain was tricky to navigate, or maybe the rising sun briefly blinded the Captain – either way, he failed to reach the swirling melee.

The two Mantis Warriors Dreadnoughts continued their advance on the right flank, the lead machine absorbing three shots from Multi-meltas with just a little damage.

 

Turn Five

Over the noise of the melee he was engaged in, Epistolary Oromo heard the sound of screaming jets and he smiled – finally, his Stormraven had arrived!

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Now, perhaps, he could overwhelm the Salamanders entirely. His confidence boosted, he called upon the power of the Warp and shrouded his squad in the immaterium, causing them to all but disappear from sight. Few swings of Chainswords from the Salamanders’ Assault Squads now connected with their targets.

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The Vindicators now concentrated their fire upon the centre of the battlefield as the Salamanders struggled to hold onto it. Their first volley smashed into the Tactical Squad who had taken possession, forcing the survivors to reel back in confusion and disarray. On the other side of the battlefield, one of the Dreadnoughts had managed to bull rush into a lone Tactical Squad, killing two and forcing them to retreat as well.

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However, it was the Techmarine pilot of the Stormraven who claimed the highest honours of the battle so far. As he flew above his Librarian, watching the ebb and flow of the melee, he spied a figure skulking around a nearby rock – the Salamanders’ Captain!

Grinning, the Techmarine brought up the targeting recticles of the twin-linked Lascannon and Multi-melta – and then he flicked a switch on the control column to add two Stormstrike Missiles to the salvo. The Captain was blasted out of cover and launched into the air. When he landed, he did not move.

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The Salamanders’ last surviving Rhino accelerated and took position on the far right flank, both to claim territory and provide the now immobilised Ironclad with a little cover from the Mantis Warriors’ Dreadnoughts. However, its guns were still active, and a finely-aimed Multi-melta shot immolated one Dreadnought while the nearby Tactical Squad destroyed the other. The Mantis Warriors had lost their right flank entirely.

 

Turn Six

Traffic over the Mantis Warriors’ communications network alerted Epistolary Oromo of a much larger Salamanders’ force closing in, and he knew he had to win this fight quickly or be forced to withdraw.

The Stormraven banked hard and boosted across the battlefield, laying down withering fire upon the Salamanders’ Rhino. However, despite great gouges being torn out of the side of the transport, it remained defiantly intact. The Vindicator Squadron fared better, their repeat salvo tearing apart the Tactical Squad that had tried to venture onto the central objective for a second time.

Meanwhile, the close combat training of the Assault Squad began to make itself felt at last, and Epistolary Oromo was pushed back by his few remaining marines.

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By now, it was clear that the Salamanders’ larger force was about to arrive and, bolstered by this overwhelming presence, the surviving troops pushed forward. The last battered Tactical Squad raced for the centre of the battlefield while the Assault Squad drove Epistolary Oromo further back.

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However, these were rapidly becoming small, inconsequential skirmishes and, as a Salamanders’ Thunderhawk appeared over the horizon, the surviving Mantis Warriors retreated form the field.

 

Conclusion

That was a very bloody battle, with heavy casualties on both sides!

In the end, the Salamanders managed to capture two objectives and contested a third, leaving them in the lead when the battle ended. With another turn, the Mantis Warriors may have cleared those two objectives but the third (contested by the Librarian and Assault Squad) would probably have remained unclaimed by either side – so the best they could have really hoped for was a draw.

We did get a couple of things wrong in this battle, notably the Centurions (Assault Centurions, so they should not have started on the table – a little bit of confusion over what ‘Troops’ meant…), and I just plain forgot that un-arrived Reserves come on automatically on Turn Four. Still, won’t make that mistake again for, oh, at least three more battles!

The Salamanders still have not found a good answer to those Vindicators yet but, it has to be said, the Mantis Warriors have not yet found a way to kill Tactical Squads quickly and that, frankly, is probably an easier job…

 

The Story Continues…

The Mantis Warriors have tried to turn the tables on the Salamanders – and they have failed! Following the campaign tree, the next battle will be Pillage, featuring the Mantis Warriors as they avoid direct battle with the Loyalists as much as they can and instead hit ammunition cashes and supply dumps to bolster their own war effort and erode that of the Salamanders.

Review – Ironwarp Citadel

This is a bit of a stealth release for Age of Sigmar – an installment in the Realmgate Wars series, entitled Ironwarp Citadel.

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The reason you may not have heard of this one is because it is one of GW’s Warhammer World-only releases, available only from their HQ in Nottingham. So, if you want a copy yourself, you will either have to make the trip up there or avail yourself of eBay (where it seems to be going for circa £20 at the moment).

It is a 48 page softback book which focusses on one set of battles depicted in the Godbeasts book, specifically the fights that went on in and around the Ironwarp Citadel, just before the Noble Sacrifice Battleplan in the main campaign book. It is also based around the massive new diorama the Exhibition Centre has just put together.

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The book starts off with a behind the scenes look at how the diorama was actually built, and while the final result is going to be beyond any mere mortals (75 Helfort sets were used to create it!) it is very interesting in its own right and may even give some ideas on how to approach scenery. For example, the painting of the actual citadel itself uses an extremely quick yet effective basecoating method that could be duplicated if yu want to quickly paint up your own Dreadhold.

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And that is what the final result looks like!

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The book then goes onto the story behind the Ironwarp Citadel. This fortress lays on the edge of the Land of the Chained Sun (which, as we now know, is actually Ignax, one of the Godbeasts). Now, this part of the Realmgate Wars does not go so well for the forces of Order, but during the fight the Fyreslayers launched their own offensive to clamber up one of the chains to plant a rune on the side of Ignax that would allow them to control the creature’s flames – this would become very important in the All-Gates book.

The anchor for one of these chains is the Ironwarp Citadel, hence the massive fight for the fortress that is the basis of this book.

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I won’t give away the full story, but anyone who has read Godbeasts will know the Fyreslayers obviously make it (it is in subsequent events that things go south for Order).

There are lots of lovely photos of the diorama where you can see the combined Fyreslayer and Stormcast armies hammering away at the Khornate-held walls. What is interesting here is that some familiar faces pop up that have not yet been directly mentioned in the background of the Age of Sigmar – in this picture, for example, you can see the new Forge World Khorgorath, Skaarac Bloodborn and, a couple of pages on, you can see Fyreslayers trying to beat up Scyla Anfingrimm.

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The battles culminate in the Fyreslayers starting to climb the chain as Lord-Celestant Imperius, ably assisted by his Drakesworn Templars, try their best to keep Archaon busy.

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A Time of War sheet is included to cover the Ashlands, the area in which the Ironwarp Citadel sits. I think this is the same Time of War sheet as in Godbeasts but I cannot double check that at the moment as, umm, my Age of Sigmar app has crashed since the last update (I don’t believe I am alone there…).

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There are three Battleplans in the book. The first, Storming the Gate (though it does not actually have a gate, funnily enough…) sees the forces of Order rushing forward to claim the back end of the defender’s territory.

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The next, Securing a Foothold, has the attacker’s surrounded within the fortress as the defender’s launch a counterattack.

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Finally, To Kill a King is a direct attack upon Archaon – though the Everchosen is going to be tough to defeat, as he can use 3 Command Abilities every round, and has access to any and all that his underlings have!

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Beyond the Battleplans, the real point of interest in this book for many will be the new Battalions. Having seen the 40k-equivalent of this book, I was expecting some very sizeable Battalions which require a number of models that most gamers will simply not have – however, while they are large, they are not completely undoable.

The Swords of Chaos, for example, depicts the First Circle of the Varanguard, and requires at least three units. Not sure I am desperate to paint that many Varanguard, but I can see others will. Especially as the Battalion means they can re-roll hit rolls of 1, which basically means they will almost never miss!

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The Everchosen’s Menagerie is a good one, and I think I will be using this Battalion in one of my own games. It is formed from a Bloodstoker leading any five Monsters you like (they cannot have riders), so you can unleash your Slaughterbrutes, Cockatrices, Hydras, Great Spined Chaos Beasts… whatever you like!

The Knights Imperius is one of those Battalions that is almost in reach – it reqStardrake (easy enough), and at least two Drakesworn Templars. If someone has a full Extremis Chamber, I can see them having one Templar alongside their Lord-Celestant, but two… Maybe not.

Mind you, if they went for the full Drakesworn Battalion in the Battletome, they will already have the models needed for the Knights Imperius!

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The Hammerfall Brotherhood may be the Battalion that veers most towards being out of reach for the average gamer – the Celestant-Prime leading five (and up to ten!) Retributor retinues. I think you would have to really love hammers to have that many Retributors without having made some into Decimators or Protectors.

The Fyrestorm Pack may be an easy one, formed of any three Magmadroths of your choice, in return for which you get re-rolls on the beasts’ magma-breaths.

 

Summary

And that is Ironwarp Citadel! It is not a long book by any means, nor is it in any way essential, even if you are a dedicated follower of the Realmgate Wars story line. I get the sense that it is intended as a bit of fun, really, concentrated on one set of battles that were ancillary to the main campaign anyway.

What I am saying is, don’t get angry that GW only released it via Warhammer World! You are not missing out as such, and it really is just a bit of icing on the Realmgate Wars cake. Collectors are going to want a copy, and they have the eBay route to fall back on.

Overall, I liked this book for what it is, but don’t consider it a major addition to the Age of Sigmar line.

The Dead Continue to Rise

I am currently working on both Undead and Slaaneshi forces at the moment, for the forthcoming Homeground Battleplan which is on its way in the Realmgate Wars campaign (Balance of Power book). So, naturally, this weekend I finished off a few undead models that have absolutely nothing to do with that battle (really must get better organised…).

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On the plus side, both the Spirit Hosts and Cairn Wraith are easy to tackle, and not exactly time-sinks.

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For the Spirit Hosts, I avoided the ‘standard’ Nihilakh Oxide on white base approach, going instead for Celestial Grey and Biel-Tan Green, drybrushed with more Celestial Grey and a touch of white. This gives an effect that is a bit ‘deeper’, and is really no slower to do. You can still get through a decent number of these models qwuickly, and you will never need a huge number of Spirit Hosts on the table. Six (two box sets) should be more than enough for most battles).

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The Cairn Wraith is mostly the same from the waist down, and uses an Incubi Darkness base up top, with Kabalite Green and Sybarite Green drybrushed on top – the same system being used on the four Morghasts Archai that I am currently working on (and hopefully finished this week too).

This weekend, I also re-based/built 30-odd Chaos Warriors, 10 Chosen, 30 Daemonettes and a smattering of daemonic heroes for the Slaaneshi force, and I am intending to make a proper start on them very soon. So, get ready for extreme pinkness!

Big Rat Boss

Want a big, centrepiece model for your Skaven, that is also easy and quick to paint? I think I have just the rat for you, Sir.

Enter the Verminlord Warbringer!

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The key to painting this model is that, being the big boss of the Clans Verminus, he is essentially the same colour scheme as the Clanrats – and Duncan did a very good ‘painting Clanrats quickly but still making them look good’ tutorial video on Warhammer TV (Youtube channel), which can be applied directly to the Verminlord.

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In a nutshell, you kick off doing all the fur with Mournfang Brown, then drybrush it with Tyrant Skull (may seem weird to highlight before washing, but this really does work for all fur – I do the same thing with my Beastmen).. Then, Bugman’s Glow for the skin, Zandri Dust for horns and teeth, Khorne Red for the armour, Leadbelcher for metal, and Balthasar Gold for, well, all the other metal.

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Then drown the whole lot in Agrax Earthshade. Leave to dry, and just drybrush/layer (I do a mixture of both) the highlights, each basically a lighter shade of the base colour – so, Khorne Red goes to Mephiston Red, Leadbelcher goes to Runefang Steel, etc. Except the Mournfang Brown which, of course, you highlighted earlier!

That complete, you will have a finished Verminlord – honestly, give it a go, it really is no more difficult/time-consuming than doing, say, ten Clanrats. And it looks way more impressive.

Time-efficiency Tip Number Two: When doing a model like this, see if you can slip one or two similar, but smaller, projects in alongside it. In my case, this was a Warpfire Thrower Team;

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I have found that if you add another unit or two to a project like this, it really adds very little extra time (as you are doing all the colours and layers at the same time, working on one model while another dries) and you end up with more models completed!

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Clan Skryre is going to be a thing in Godbeasts, so slipping in this model now saves a rush later on.

Try it, it works!