Thursday, 28 May 2009

OPINION - Genestealers, what other monster is there?

By Suneokun

Back in the day (1990), I had been swept up in the plethora of board games that trundled out the Games Workshop lab. At the time, Devilin and I were twelve, playing D&D at school and absolutely gasping for something creative, innovative, exciting, violent and inspirational.

For the younger readers, it should be noted that in 1990, computer games were pretty basic at this time. Monkey Island had launched 'point and click' adventures at us (along with a remarkably funky themetune), while we were amazed with the movement and animation of the original Prince of Persia ... Flight Sims, the original SimCity games and even 'Battle Chess' topped the best games.

This was before the watershed year of 1992, When the following genres were invented:

RTS (Real Time Strategy) games - Dune 2: Battle for Arrakis (1992)

FPS (First Person Shooter) games - Wolfenstein 3D (1992)

... and the hugely influential Starwars beast rolled into the gaming arena with X-wing (1992)...

Multi Genre games would have too wait, now the dominant genre (Bioshock, Crysis, Fear, System Shock 2 ... et cetera ... first person/sci-fi/story led/horror/shooter would have to wait - System Shock (1994).

So 1990 was a pretty quiet time.

Into this arena rose Games Workshop, who in combination with Mattel released two clever combination games "Heroquest" and "Space Crusade" - and they sold like hotcakes...

I never owned Space Crusade or Heroquest, but many of my friends did. On the back of this GW managed a bit of a coup and subverted the Mattel monster with two detailed and hugely inspirational follow-ups, wittily titled "Advanced Space Crusade" and "Advanced Hero Quest".

We bought Advanced Space Crusade (ASC) - and I haven't look at another Fantasy model since...

Star of the Show - Genestealers

Any over 30 year old worth his salt will remember another great game of this era - Space Hulk. Luckily, you young bucks are about to experience the same genius with the game due for re-release this year! Space Hulk and ASC brought me the genestealers, and I've never looked back.

Genestealers, in my humble opinion, are the coolest model GW have ever created. They steal wholeheartedly from the 'Alien' films and the Space Hulk and ASC exploited this similarity by having the scuttling monstrosities clogging up the corridors.

Genestealer Cult Armies were very cool, and the fluff (including the Magus, Patriarch and the generational Hybrids) created one of the most colourful sub-armies in the 40k world. Check out BoLs Mini-Dex for a blast from the past! Genestealers are the reason I have always collected Tyranids and with the new upgrades available are one of the best fun models to field.

Nothing garners fear quite as much as a swarm of 'stealers!

Below are a series of photographs of the genestealers through the ages. The far left model is circa 1990 Space Hulk/ASC version - the detail for a plastic model of this period is superb - the whole ASC set was very well made. Next up is a Battle for Macragge version - note its tail is tied to the leg - definition is actually down on the first model and the genestealer looks a lot less frightening... finally is the modern version (kept basic) with the arms modelled for scuttling rather than "reaching" (they're not zombies you know!)


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

TACTICA: Commissars and the Tarpit

By Suneokun.

For those without the new Guard codex, it's worth noting that Commissars have changed considerably. Some of their abilities and stats have altered and this should significantly change how you field (or face commissars) in future.

Commissar's under the Old Regime
Under the old advisors rules, Commissars were worth taking for the following reasons:
  • Focusing minds: the commissar adds +1 to leadership of the unit he's in.
  • Summary Execution: the commissar shoots the leader of the squad on a failed leadership test and assumes command.
  • For your own good: the commissar shoots the psyker.
Under the old codex, the commissar was a fairly handy lightweight 'non-independent' character who gave command squads a real buff. The Combination of a commander and his 12" leadership ability, a regimental standard and a commissar were pretty standard fare as under 4th edition everyone in this bubble would become an unbreakable reroll Ld10 with an execution reroll backstop!

Under the 5th edition rules this bubble approach could become a liability. As shooting no longer affects leadership (no more 50% - 1 modifier), the +1 leadership was nice but Meh? It also added little benefit in assault as the new rules on cumulative negative modifiers on the command squad meant that even a +1 was negligable, everybody dies AND the commissar shoots the commander!

Regime Change - The New Codex

The standard commissar is no longer a separate or 'attached' advisor, but simply an upgrade to Company/Platoon Command Squads or Infantry Squads. The Commissar is now only a one wound model, but apart from his reduced Leadership (from 10 to 9) he has similar stats otherwise. Importantly he cannot be singled out as he is part of the squad.

In the infantry squad the commissar has become a welcome upgrade. Since the commissar brings two things - the Stubborn universal rule AND leadership 9.

The rulebook states: "If a unit includes models with different Leadership values, always use the one with the Highest Ld value." - this means that the Commissar is a valuable Ld9 boost to morale. Combined with this is the 'summary execution' rule (which commissars and Commissar Lord are exempt of) which means he shoots the highest leadership model and gets a reroll. This means (unfortunately) that the Sergeant must die, but does give the squad another Ld 9 test - which should be move than enough to overcome any unlucky rolling.

Added to this is the 'stubborn' ability. This is standard now for penal squads, Ogyrns and Commissars and effectively means we ignore any negative morale modifiers in close combat. So how should this affect our deployment of commissars?

Cold War Concluded - 5th Edition

Before you all rush out and buy a commissar for every unit, it's worth remembering that they're no cheap. A standard commissar comes in at 35 pts plus bells and whistles. It's also worthwhile being fairly tactical about where you place your commissars.

The Commissar still carries the same execution ability, which could prove awkard if your 35pt commissar shots your 90 point Creed for one unlucky roll of 11?!? This is also clearly less helpful in even 'basic' company command squads, where the value in the unit is less in it's leadership potential, but in the orders it can dispense.

Thanks to the dropping of the 12" leadership bubble, commanders will face far fewer leadership tests (they'll only be against their own squad) so a company standard becomes pretty mandatory (since it'll afford you a reroll and +1 to the combat resolution).

In platoon command squad I'm less convinced. The small size of these squads means that anything that's totalled up a -4 on the leadership test has pretty much killed them all anyway. Adding a commissar may be useful for a combat orientated command squad as an additional body with 3/4 attacks - but I'm unconvinced.

Where meagre commissars really shine is in conjunction with the new 'combined units' rule for the infantry squad. The ability to field 50 men as a single squad fielding 5 flamers and 5 4 attack on the charge sergeants is a real bonus. The addition of a commissar in this size of unit becomes mandatory as the unit then has a Stubborn Ld9 rerollable test no matter what the adversary. This combination totals at a paltry 310 points for a well armed tar pit. This tarpit would be a remarkable objective holder AND has the ability to turn the unremarkable 'fire by ranks' order into a lethal force on Ld9.

The closest achievable with the conscripts is only 270 points, but means that you have to sacrifice a HQ slot as a commissar lord to the same role. You couldn't take flamers either. Alternatively, you could take Yarrick with them for 385pts. However Yarrick's benefits are in applying bonuses to multiple mixed units, and he's a little wasted in such a big tarpit. If you want to gain the benefits without sacrificing an HQ slot - take a priest with an eviscerator.

At 60 points the Priest can offer up a reroll to hit on the charge for all 50 men and can bring a powerfist equivilent too. Personally I'd add a few plasma pistols to the sergeants/commissar to bolster the pre-charge and some power swords might be worth it...

In my recent Apoc battle I fielded the combined squads of 20-30 men for the two platoons. It meant that 30 men arrived from the flank together. Such large units (as Ork and Tyranid players will attest) are very hard to target without them gaining a cover save, as they spill out behind terrain and the like and are difficult to 'spot' more than 50% in the open. I found them very useful at that scale as they were able to shrug off casulaties with ease and their firepower was overpowering (and lets face it, you need at least 30 lasguns to kill one marine squad!)

What's your thoughts... ?

Monday, 18 May 2009

CONVERT: Guard Special Characters

By Suneokun.

I thoroughly enjoy converting, and the new guard codex has given me a fun challenge of converting many of the special characters from plastic mini's. After all, Sly Marbo is 'just' a Catachan Guardsman. Harker might be a monster of a man (by last time I checked, we were all whinging about catachan's oversized arms), and Bastonne is effectively your existing stormtrooper sergeant (hellpistol and powersword anyone?) - who's now a grenadier, go figure?

On Bastonne, has anyone alse noticed that his regroup whatever option is called 'Never give up! Never Surrender!' - I think one of the editing team was asleep the day that one got through as it's the main catchphrase from the genius Startrek spoof comedy 'Galaxy Quest' - (if you haven't seen it, do - it's genius!). So Bastonne's actually Commander Tim Allen?? See here for Galaxy Quest.

On another note, Admiral Drax has done a stellar job 'marking' our latest Commander's Field Handbook product - Imperial Guard. I think this one's going to be a really useful tool as remembering to give 'Orders' and what they are ain't second nature yet. I'm going to do some quick artwork and then it's over to the overworked maestro - Ron @ FTW.

So, on with the conversions....

Gunnery Sergeant Harker - the new codex immediately killed two of my key mini's - my veterans sergeants were kitted out with power swords and storm-bolters, but have now found themselves redundant and non-specified. However, my recent Apocalyse battle gave me the opportunity to field Harker. At 55pts Harker's a steal. After all his heavy bolters worth ten points, and unlike the normal heavy bolter - harker's relentless, giving you a 36" S5 AP4 assault weapon! Harker also brings 'Catachan Devils' as an automatic upgrade to the whole squad. Suddenly your guys can infiltrate, have stealth (+1 cover save) AND move through cover. Well I know - I play Tau), so Harker is a buffed up S4 sergeant who costs 15pts for move through cover and infiltrate - yes please! Alongside Harker, I'm converting a flank assault unit with two grenade launchers and a heavy flamer - because I can.

I took the 'demolitions' toolkit in the apoc battle, and they were brilliant, offering dangerous anti-personnel and lethal anti-tank options. I didn't even get to use the Demolition pack and they were so worth it! They destroyed a Basalisk - weathered a barrage of shots and explosion thanks to their 3+ cover save AND stormed the underground bunker, shot up the corrupt governors retinue with Shotguns, heavy bolters and grenade launchers and pounded him down in two turns (with a little help from Marbo)

10 Veterans: Harker (Payback Heavy Bolter) 6 shotguns, 2 Grenade Launchers, Heavy Flamer, Meltabombs and Demolition Pack - 185 pts.

The conversion is made out of a Catachan Trooper. The right arm is the 'carrying lasgun' arm with the wrist cut and twisted. A Chaos marine heavy bolter barely needs conversion on a catachan as it's really not all that Chaotic. I removed some obvious spikes, but left the dangly bits and the skull - very Catachan! The right arm is the 'lasgun carrying arm' from the catachan box set with the lasgun removed. The left arm is from the catachan sentinel driver with the 'scanner' being molded into the Heavy bolter as a handle. The neck strap is from a standalone Catachan lasgun. No greenstuff was required.

Captain Al'rahem: I don't know about you, but the GW Al'rahem looks a little bit too much like Omar Sharif had a divorce from Elvis and crashed the Bentley into a Middle Eastern Bazaar - it's a horrible horrible mini (just like Straken) and reflects the worst of the 2nd Edition production (like metal rough riders!) Originally I was trying to build a 'Bastonne' for my list (before realising he's basically the Stormtrooper Sergeant), and got stuck on how to do the carapace or the Hot-shot laspistol. As such I decided to covert him to a cadian style Al'rahem - as the sword was 'magical' enough to be his claw - add a plasma pistol and bobs your grandma!

Al'rahem is just brilliant, few armies can cope with a Imperial guard tank/gunline AND a whole flanking platoon! When combined with Sentinel or Vendetta support this option is just too mental not to take. You do have to rethink your battle plan AND an astropath is entirely mandatory, but what great fun! In the apoc battle Ra'hem turned up in his Chimera with three squads and 20 concripts (led by Yarrick) - this resulted in real chaos as the special weapon teams, heavy bolters and so on open up at point blank range. Outside the Tyranid codex, only guard can put quite so many mini's on a flank in one turn. Devastating.

The conversion is a mix of 'Empire pistollier sergeant' coat (leftover form the Cadian Rough Riders Conversion) and sword combined with Cadian garb. The cloak and cadian body needed extensive shaving to fit the model (the riders cloak is usually swept back in the charge), and even the cadian legs had to 'lose the bum' to fit. The head is a catachan's, with the head scarf scraped off to give a 'jean-luc picard' look. The real feature of this model is the lustrous underside of the coat. I've opted for purple as my 'officer' colour in the Kochi 20th, this also means that the army 'fits' with the purple and blue of my Nids for 'genestealer cult armies' care of BoLs.

Guardsman Marbo (WIP): Marbo is just so much fun. Allowing you to assassinate one enemy option out of the blue. Marbo is just placed over 1" away from enemy models. His real effect is in dropping a S8 AP2 large blast template on the enemies head, but his combination of envenomed blade and meltabombs makes him equally dangerous in the backfield.

Marbo was a very easy conversion, I already had converted a 'ordinance charge' veteran. I simply removed his shotgun and replaced it with the 'mortar shell loading' arm from the heavy weapon team. After shaving off the excess mortar - I added a Ogre Bull knife (leftover from the Ogyrn Conversions) for a suitably large catachan devil blade.

Commander/Kell: I'm undecided as yet, but this tank commander is a great model, and is an easy build into Kell. I'm undecided as yet (all he needs is a loudhailer - from a cadian vox unit and a standard). He doesn't have carapace, but I don't see that as a big problem. I'm not a big fan of the Kell model for one main reason - he comes with a Cadian 8th banner. My boys are Kochi 20th - so maybe I'll convert?!?

Either way Kell is very handy when it comes to converting commander's rule to mortars and lascannons in the backfield, but is Kell just one too many 'personalities' for one army list - probably. What do you think?

Future: I would like to produce a Hagard Munk character (see here for an introduction to this most nasty of Guard Commanders) perhaps based around the ForgeWorld stormtrooper chimera commander? I'll probably use the Creed rules for him (they're very simlar) and as long as Munk has a meltagun toting trooper at his side he's all buffed up... probably make Geffen a bodyguard.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

CONVERT: Flying Tyranid Warrior

Flying Warrior - kitbash by Suneokun.

By Suneokun.

Now my first Apocalyse battle is out of the way, I'm cleared up for getting cracking on my Tyranids and Tau. One of the conversions I was itching to get a handle on was the Tyranid Warrior. Unlike the Gargoyle conversion (see here), I wanted to make sure that this conversion was done purely on bits from the same battleforce. My thinking is that the Gargoyle conversions have forced me to purchase lots of additional 'bits' to complete - I didn't want the same problem with the Flying warriors.

Plus, for all you readers out there a cost effective 'All in the battleforce' kitbash conversion would be more usable! The cost svaing on this is considerable as a full price GW Tyranid Warrior plus forgeworld wings will set you back a sturdy £10 each (without postage etc), My Warriors from the Battleforce cost about £1.50 each.

FlyWar - 48pts

WS 4 BS 3 S5 T4 W2 I4 A3 Ld10

Biomorphs: Wings (jump infantry), Devourer, Toxin Sacs, Enhanced Senses, Bio-plasma.

Can deep strike like a Ravener, but is immune to instantdeath and powerful when supported by multiple Gargoyles/Flying Tyrant.

Notes on the modelling: I wanted to mimic the gargoyle design as much as possible to keep the feel of the model right. I originally thought about setting the model on a flying base, but the heavy lower body of the model looks slightly out of place.

Instead I've opted for a 'just landed' pose. Effectively the FlyWar is sprinting forwards, hailing out devourer death at it charges into close combat.

While the Tyranid Warrior model only has two arms, the stats clearly highlight that wings and weapons are separate stats. I decided to overcome this issue by giving the warrior 'scything wings'. I also decided to continue the wings around an apron at the back of the model. I did this as without this 'skirt' the Warrior's wings looked undersized. I perceive these models to be combining 'leaping' (although not the stat) with a set of gliding wings - allowing them to cruise across the thermal like larger 'macro' fruit bats.

Notes on Building the FlyWar

The hardest thing are the wings. The flying arms are built from a combination of Genestealer and Warrior scything talons. Removing the 'scythe' from both pieces and then bringing the two arms together to build a double jointed elbow and larger 'wrist' alike to bats...

The base of the genestealer arm and the end of the warrior arm must be cut at an angle to form a straight forearm limb. The two limbs mold together very well when cut at the right angle.

Finally the wings need to be attached. For this I've used the same 'leathered' plastic document folder used on the Gargoyle. I've found the best way to cut the wings is to cut them vaguely to size, line them up and then draw around the inside line of the wing with a fine top felt tip pen (I used my Daughters little drawing pens). The pen won't mark the plastic, but will leave a slight mark for you to cut around, you can then wipe off the pen with your finger. Remember to cut the membrane slightly bigger then the wing (only 1-2mm), you can then bend the membrane into the wing - giving a fantastic effect of air buffeting the membranes.

As a slight change, instead of plastic glue I've used Loctite Super Glue Gel. This has made the whole process a lot easier (the plastic glue was handy at disintegrating the fine membrane) - The gel is useful as after fixing the wing in place, the glue can be used just like a filler or caulk to fill gaps and make a smooth seemless join.


I hope you like the conversion as much as I do. It's a little fiddly, but fairly quick to mass produce, once you've mastered the build.

What do you make of Flying warrriors - waste of points? Are Lictors and Raveners better?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

BATREP: Apocalypse Coming your way!

Baneblades lead the charge of Imperial Armour!

By Suneokun.

I'm in the process of writing up a titanic Apocalyse battle report that went down this weekend. A total of seven players fielded both sides across two enormous battlefields (interlinked by a bridge!) ... The Forces of the Imperium Fielded Ultramarines (Commander in Chief), Imperial Guard (Yours truly) and a mixture of Deamon Hunters, Grey Knights and Assault Orientated Heavy Space Marines totalling 11,200 points. The Evil evil evil governors forces and allies included two spectacularly painted Chaos forces, a band of heinous 'Pirates' (using the old IG codex) and an enormous force of 'new' Guard, including many tanks totalling 10,100 points - which were given their paces over four turns ... Bastions, bulwarks, flanking and Baneblades - all good stuff really...

The front line of the evil governor defence... prepare for the Blitzkrieg!

I'm still awaiting a series of photographs and army lists from the other players and as soon as I have these, I'll be posting like crazy!

For the sake of my sanity - I'm going to play this out across multiple posts. See the photographs above for a taster.

Plus: On another note, I completed my Harker, Sly Marbo and Al'reheim conversions for this battle and they were indispensible. I've got to finish off the paintjobs (I ran out of time and they're mostly half painted for the battle) - so watch this space.

In addition, the conversion work of the first (all Tyranid battleforce) FlyWar (Flying Tyranid Warrior) is complete. I'll finish off his paint job too and give a full 'how to' guide.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

DOWNLOAD: Commander's Field Handbook - Tau

Second in the Field Commander's Handbook Series: Tau

By Suneokun.

Big thanks out to Ron for some nice artwork of the latest Field Commander's Handbook. Tau is now the second in the set. Ron will be starting work on doing a fine editing job on the Eldar Handbook (just as soon as he's painted the Dark Angels, Rebuilt his house and recovered from the shock of Codex: Imperial Guard!)

Click on the following link to download: Tau v1.0

Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway!), the NEW Imperial Guard Handbook is currently sitting in my to-do list and I'm itching to get it completed ... sorry Ork and Smurf players - but I gotta clarify those commands!

Please follow this link to the FTW Commander's Field Handbook download section: FTW

For those that are new to these Handbooks, they are designed as an accompanying document to the Codex Reference Sheet. These "crib sheets" are being designed with a few people in mind.
  • The new player taking their army out on the town for first time and looking to make sure they don't miss anything.
  • The player looking for a little information on the army setting up across the table from him.
  • The veteran player looking for something to jog his memory and remind him of key points.
I find the best thing to do is print out the GW Tau Codex Reference Sheet: here. Print out the Commander's Field Handbook and them laminate them back-to-back for a easy to use reference guide to the most common rules and stats of the game - should save your codex from being thumbed to death (especially where Sternguard are concerned...)

As before, spot any problems or want to give feedback - please feel free to drop me a message on this post!

I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

CONVERT - New Imperial Models

By Suneokun.

Exciting news on the Handbook side, Ron's just polishing off the Tau version.

Conversion Corner's got a new money saving scheme today, and that's in converting character models from the New Imperial Guard Codex. After all, there's nothing that extraordinary about most of the New guard Characters.
  • 'Iron Hand' Straken: Looking on the GW website, the Straken model looks really naff - hardly appropriate... but why not build a 'cadian' style Straken? You have a plasma pistol, bionic arm on the cadian command sprue, and building a shotgun ain't too hard ...
  • Sly Marbo: my version consists of a Catachan machine gunner, crouching with his (autocannon ammo pack plus grenades) demolition pack and readying his enormous (Ogre Kingdom) knife ... photo's to follow!
  • Alraheim: Anyone else got a plasma pistol and power sword armed officer to hand? In fact the standard commander works perfectly well.
  • Lukas Bastonne: I've modified a warhammer pistolliers (left over from the rough riders conversion) leaders cape with cadian armour and legs and a catachan models head (shaved) to produce a credibly 'posh' sergeant... photo's to follow...
  • Gunner Harker: 1 Catachan bloke plus one Chaos Heavy Bolter (it's only got skulls on it anyhow!) = one Harker... photo to follow.
  • Nork Deddog: Perhaps this is the one time is actually worth buying a Bone'Ed as Nork is a fearsome component to your command squad.
  • Pask - well we've all got him already!
So have some fun ... remember that the 'ethnicity' of the model is purely cosmetic - I'm a big fan of Iron Hand - but would prefer a kitted out psycho cadian to the online version...

Have fun!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

OPINION: Digesting the new IG codex ... Infantry

By Suneokun.

I picked up the Imperial Guard codex on Friday... I've been reading it all weekend, trying to get my head around the changes... we'd been warned.

I'm fairly experienced with codex changes ... after all I've been into Warhammer since before the codex was invented and statsline were just released in WD - now THAT was a reason to buy the mag! The recent codex releases have been examples in point.

Codex: Orks

The new Ork codex release produced a bit of a stir, but it was still just a stir of the old material and codeci. Effectively, certain units had received a quick buffing (like Nob bikers), while other were simplified. Overall the Codex represented two distinct departures:
  1. Standardisation: relying on 5th Edition universal rules (like Feel No Pain or Stubborn) rather than 'special' army list specific rules...
  2. You can have everything ... at a cost. No longer would lists be restricted by selecting a particular 'flavour' of codex (Like Bad Moons/Deathskulls) - you could have anything in your 'deathskulls' army - it was up to you how fluffy you make it.
Codex: Space Marines

With the release of Codex Space Marines, another key ingredients came to the fore. The impact of the fifth edition rules was really biting, and this was feeding through to the codeci ... this resulted in the following two rules:
  1. Expansion of the Troops: No longer would troops be just a 'leftover' necessity. This was reflected in the space marine codex not so much in the troops themselves, but the pricing (tactical squads were made essential) and also the transport options...
  2. Balancing Act: in forth edition 'max-min-max' armies were rife. But different armies also played to certain flavours. IE: the army was only effective if ... space marines maxminmaxed or Imperial Guard gunlined... et cetera. This led to either very predictable or extremely weird builds...
So what's all this got to do with the new Codex, Suneokun?

Well, everything really. As some commentators have pointed out, the Imperial Guard Codex is the first 'true' 5th Edition Codex (although I think the other two above both had 5th Edition in mind). Before we get to the detail, it worth saying that it's a brilliant piece of work. Just like the Ork and Smurf codeci, it revels in the different elements of the Guard, presenting the armies in detail and offering exciting options. Just like the Space Marine codex, it offers the most options on the cadian and catachan armies (since these are the boxsets most widely available), but leaves things wide open with a special nod to 'characters' like the Rough Rider Mogul Kamir.

Balancing Act

Guard can be accused of one very common build under the previous codex ... castling up! The ability to field a tonne of heavy weapons has been guards staple, and this has led to a lot of 'heavy' armies, barracading their three 2 lemon rusks and a bassie lists behind a field of highly durable and highly lethal heavy weapon teams.

The new codex Nerf (an american term - to weaken and make soft) these units by combining the individual 6 man team (with 6 wounds) into 3 2 wound units) - suddenly all those autocannon, multilaser, scatter lasers and other weapons S6-7 will be gunning for instantkills on your heavy weapon team. A scatter laser will become a weapon of choice for the Eldar as a team of war walkers can kill an entire heavy weapons team with ease ... I'll get onto the tactics to prevent this in another post.

The focus of the writers and designers seems to be to move away from static guard armies towards a more aggressive footslogging footing. Ignoring shiny new toys like the Valkyrie, the Imperial Guard have gained awesomely in the mech division. The new Imperial Guard army is all about one thing - tanks. (As it ruddy well should be!)

Taking the fight ... to the enemy

First up, the Chimera is now cheap as chips at 55pts with all weapons and smoke. To add insult to injury the chimera is now the best mobile gun platform par excellance with a unit able to fire 5 of any weapon from the tank without it becoming open topped. This means that 'Chug Drive-by' will be the operation of choice. Also the Chimera acts as a 'mobile command post' meaning you juicy and valuable command squads can sit inside the Chug and batter down the hatches while actually expanding their 'sphere of influence' (orders range) by 3-4".

On to orders. These look like a lot of fun. None of the orders are game breaking, but a reroll to hit on antitank is nice, as is a reroll cover save roll (This looks fairly effective for guard, reducing the cover save from 50% saved to only 25%!) on high AP weaponry, this is a godsend and makes a mockery of gretchin bullet shields.

All the orders are focussed on making Guard more effective in close quarters (for the platoon commander) and long range (for the Company Commander). They won't work all the time, but with the application of a vox-caster, they should. The shorter ranges of these orders also means that commanders must run with the flock to get their full effectiveness.

Next up, the weapons options are tasty. Suddenly Heavy Flamers are available as a 'special weapon' option in both Command Squads and Veteran Squads. The Infantry Platoon is bristling with options, I personally cannot wait to try some of the orders out on a 30 man squad with heavy bolters and plasma ... oh and commissars.

Getting up close and personal: Special Characters and Squad Upgrades...

Out of all the special characters, only Creed and Kell is built for a "stand off and shoot 'em" command style. All the other named characters are similar to the upgrades available across the Smurf Codex as they significantly upgrade the unit they are with/Platoon they command/mini's they're standing close to.

First up are commissar's, these are an upgrade option for platoon command and infantry squads.. at first glance it looks like these models have taken a serious Nerf - they've lost a wound afterall... however on closer inspection the new price tag comes with a definite benefit, a one that pretty widespread... Commissar's give the unit they're with the 'stubborn' rule - meaning that they now ignore negative moral modifiers in close combat.

Ogyrns are stubborn too, combined with their T5 and furious charge - they are a lethal combination (although they cost as much as terminators!). For platoon command Squads, a stubborn commissar may be a blessing or curse (he'll still execute your valuable leader!), however stubborn plus Ld8 is a pretty tough combination. Plus if there's a Regimental Standard in the area - you get a reroll.

Iron Hand Straken is a close combat monster comparable with a broodlord (if he had a plasma pistol and a shotgun), with a 5 S7 I4 furious charge attacks, he ignores saving throws and rolls 2D6 for armour penetration! Oh and he is fearless and gives every unit within 12" counter attack and furious charge ... er buffed?

And he can take Nork Deddog (yey!) along with him ... who has FNP, stubborn and a strength 6 attack. I'm thinking Nork and Straken will be the anti Ork Warlord-Chaos Commander-Terminator option of choice?!

Harker and Lukas are cheap. The Catachan is a walking relentless BS4 heavy bolter platform that gives his veterans squad catachan devil bonuses (move through cover, infiltrate and stealth). While you cannot take Carapace armour if he's attached, you can take meltabombs and an additional Demolition charge (on top of the heavy weapon team and three special weapons, and harkers heavy bolter) ... ouch. Lukas bring his own orders to his vets squad - which gives you a reroll to hit with three plasma or melta guns - nice.

Sly Marbo is interesting, but I think he'll struggle just like Techpriest did to get on the FOC with so many other options. His best weapon on arrival is the demolition pack - but at 6" range it could be a really unlucky Marbo if it backfires and that's 65pts wasted...

Ratlings have lost their 'silly' go to ground rule (everybody can do it now), and they now run just as well at Ld6 (best put them next to Yarrick, or not), however they are a point cheaper...

Finally there's Yarrick. He's sat on the shelf a lot recently, however no more. He's the most expensive character (at twice the price of Creed or Straken), and rather than being an upgrade he's an independent character. That said he brings:
  • Yarricks unit is Fearless (blessing and a curse)...
  • All units within 12" of Yarrick are Stubborn...
  • Unit on charge with Yarrick gains reroll to hit (but not prefferred enemy, unfortunately).
  • All units within 6" of Yarrick use his leadership for pinning, leadership and orders tests.
  • He can move where he likes!
All this means that while the individual rules for Yarrick are nice and fairly useful (he's really hard to kill now, with a shot cancelling shield, saving throw, T4, Eternal Warrior and a 3+ FNP roll... he's a flank turning monster for transforming Guardsmen into psychopaths.

Special Weapon teams are now playing a much more central role, offering move and fire grenade launchers, three flamer anti horde options or even anti-tank melta death... combined with the twin-linked front lined orders.

In fact, everything in this army is a lot more assault orientated...

"I like to keep this handy ... for close encounters..."

The big news is that the stormtrooper have had a significant boost to their AP. All stormies can now get up close and personal and have a 9" assault weapon (hot-shot laspistol) and close combat weapon, giving them real close combat potential. The AP3 now means that the majority of armour classes are now unmade rather than being a paltry AP5... this combined with their two close combat weapon/firing charge option gives them huge potential. The new AP3 weapons are also a perfect completement to the plasma/melta combo's preferred in these units ... all good news.

However the big news should be this. Most Imperial Guard units are now automatically equipped with frag grenades. When combined with the propensity of 'stubborn' USRs and Ld8 Sergeants as standard, the guard are not to be sniffed at for staying power in close combat.

Veterans are another unit that benefits from frag grenades, and thankfully they've still got access to shotguns for assault goodness. One thing that is missing is their 'infiltrate' ability as standard. Veterans are now coming in with the other troops.

Penal Legion Squads... I'm not convinced by this one. Each of their upgrades are cute, allowing them to have 24" assault lasguns, furious charge, fleet or even two weapons and rending depending on a three way roll, but at 8pts each - they're pricey. That said they do come with scout as standard... and I love their 'rogue trader' nod ... I'd take one for fluff reasons if nothing else.

Techpriest Enginseer and Priests have become divorced from the FOC, and are now fairly handy. They've also done away with the Technical/Close Combat Servitor option and simply said that each Servo Arm has one S8 I1 no save attack in addition to their normal attacks. This means that 4 Servitors and a techpriest have 5 S8 attacks in close combat. I can see a lot of squads dropping their Heavy Bolters and Plasma Cannons and adopting this approach. Every servo-armed Servitor add +1 to the 5+ vehicle recovery roll. Plus the Techpriest is not an independent character, meaning he cannot be singled out to trigger a mindlock in the servitors. Suddenly there's a new favourite for Tank escort...

Finally, one of my favourite close combat units are struggling to fit. The Rough Riders are even less likely to arrives than in last codex. Hemmed in by Squadrons of Sentinels, Hellhounds and the shiny new Valkyrie - we're unlikely to see them. However they have some nice features ... like other units they've gained from the frag grenade upgrade. Plus they can have a psychopath leader in Mogul Khan - he might be fun!

"I got a bad feeling about this..."

Psykers have seen a significant boost in this codex. Has anyone actually thought through the danger of having a Chimera with a Psychic Choir and a Primaris Pyker along for the ride. This tank would cost 255 pts and do the following:
  • Move 6"
  • Fire 3 Multilaser (or Heavybolter/Flamer shots)
  • Fire a S9 Ordinance blast 35" with ap?
  • Fire 2d6 S6 AP5 shots or trigger a shroud which forces all opponent to take a leadership test to shoot at them...
However I can see a real powerful use for the 9 psyker squad. Easy to hide, this ten man squad can reduce any units leadership by -9 within 36". This makes them a lethal anti character or anti uber unit slayer (Apart from taking Straken, Nork and Commissar Yarrick in the same Unit that is!). Combine this potential of Hydra (ignore jetbike turbo boost cover saves) and Collossus (ignore cover saves and AP3) and your jetbike seer councils are going home, very very fast ideed!


I've been working hard on digesting all this as I've been tasked with drawing up a 3000pt army list for an apocalypse battle with the new guard army.

Needless to say - I'm a virgin to Apoc! With a new army list! and I'm gonna die badly. But at least it's been an interesting and exciting excuse to plunder the codex for it's titbits!

I hope you enjoy reading this codex as much as I have... and ready your knifes and paint brushes, you WILL need to completely rebuild your army!

Friday, 1 May 2009

FUN: Harikari the Lictor commits seppuku

By Suneokun.

Just a quick note to say that 'Harikari' - as I'm now permanently calling my lictor - has drived off my 'models shelf' onto a wooden floor and is now three Harikari's... so the only thing Hari's been 'buffing' lately is the floor!

Good grief! Guess I'll have to dig out the superglue - again!

WIP 'Magneto the Carnifex' is underway! And the first Winged Tyranid Warrior is nearing completion (adding 'wing membranes' tonight!) - so watch out for the next eciting episode of HariKari Lictor!