Thoughts on the painting of, and playing with, toy soldiers.

Epic

A Brief History of Imperial Knights

It looks like Knights are about to return to Warhammer 40,000 in 28mm scale. Before they become the new hotness, I thought it might be fun to run through their history.

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Epic Stormblades on Flames of War bases

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Back in January I mentioned that I was painting a company of Stormblades and said I’d post when I’d finished them. Somehow that post never materialised, but since I’ve just rebased these models onto Flames of War bases (which are perfect for Epic models) I thought I’d fulfil my promise.

These super-heavies will (along with the Ordinatus Golgotha) provide the backbone of armour for the Skitarii force which supports my knights and titans. I have a Leman Russ Tank Company and a Skitarii Mechanised Infantry Company also in the works, and the colour scheme on the Stormblades will be replicated on the Leman Russ tanks and Chimeras of the mechanised infantry company. These models will also be based on Flames of War bases.


Updates to NetEpic

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Some interesting things are going on in the NetEpic world. Despite the “Gold” editions of the core rules and army books being fully released, Pete Ramos (better know as Primarch), the co-ordinator for NetEpic for more than 17 years, has initiated a new round of updates and improvements.

I’m pleased to say that I have been helping out, and have been nominated to edit the Necron army list. Fortunately, we have Stephane’s fantastic Necron army book to work on. This book actually won the vote to become the “Gold” version, but due to lack of playtesting wasn’t chosen. But as of now this book is now the “official” army list for NetEpic 6.

If you love Epic gaming and want to help make NetEpic as good as it can be, head over to Tactical Command and lend a hand!


The Milk Float, Completed

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Here’s the completed Mk II Warlord “Milk Float” titan I mentioned previously. The right arm weapon is the improved Melta Cannon.

More pictures below the fold.

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Epic Battle Report: The Author (et al) vs Dan Abnett

As (possibly) previously mentioned, my home town is lucky enough to have (a) a great independent wargames store, and (b) a High Lord of Terra and New York Times bestelling author, who is also the unofficial patron the aforementioned store.

Last weekend, No Mans Land had a grand re-opening in its new location in a swanky shopping arcade, and Dan came along to sign books, answer questions from the gathered throng, and throw some dice and push some models around a table.

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Dan played two games of Epic – one versus me, and then another (which I GMd) against Darren (also known as The Burning Beard), another store regular, using the NetEpic rules, slightly modified to suit small Adeptus Titanicus games.

In the first game, we took one Warlord, Reaver and Warhound each and squared up against each other. I was able to knock out his Reaver in the first turn. My Warhound survived a strafe from his Warlord and ended up in close combat with the Dan’s Warhound. Meanwhile, our Warlords went toe-to-toe with almost identical loadouts: my titan had twin Gatling Blasters, A Quake Cannon and a Volcano Cannon, Dan’s had twin Gatling Blasters and twin Volcano Cannon. Dan’s only mistake was moving his titan when could have stood still; that meant that I could open up on him in First Fire before he could hit me (he’d won initiative). My Gatlings and Quake Cannon stripped his remaining shields, and the Volcano Cannon dealt the final blow.

For his second game, Dan wanted to do something a bit different, and decided that he wanted to take out my Imperator, Machinator Formidabilis (“Fearsome Engine” in Low Gothic), against a pack of four Warlords, commanded by Darren.

The game began, and the Imperator stood and watched (and saved up plasma in its reactor) as the Warlords approached.

But calamity! In a well co-ordinated (and unexpected) surprise attack, all four Warlords pounced at once, stripping the Imperator’s shields and starting to do damage! First a gun tower was knocked out, then a sensorium. Just when it seemed that the Machinator was going to survive the turn without any serious damage, a deflected shot took out the coupling on the left arm, and the mighty Plasma Annihilator came crashing to the ground!

With Machinator’s most deadly weapon wrecked, and surrounded on all sides, there was little that Dan could do as the Warlords moved in for the kill. One of the Warlords was reduced to slag by the defence laser, but in the same turn, a shot from the rear penetrated the plasma reactor, and KABOOM! For the first time in twenty years of combat, my beloved Machinator Formidabilis was destroyed in a mighty conflagration.

Despite the ignominious defeat of an ancient and noble God-engine, great fun was had by all, and No Mans Land had a fitting and enjoyable (if rather chilly) re-opening.


On Warlord Titans, and Hyperbole

For #MiniatureMonday, I posted this picture with the following tweet:

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Here’s the last #Epic Beetleback Warlord Titan that I will ever paint (I hope)

I immediately regretted the above sentence, because I know that it isn’t true: I am pretty sure that at some point in the future, I will repaint all the old Beetlebacks in my Titan Legion, using a different colour scheme so that I have two opposing forces to play against each other.

Even though this is the last Beetleback Warlord to emerge from my bits box, there’s still the milk float Mk II warlord to paint, and a pair of Reavers. So don’t expect the photos of stompy castle robots to dry up any time soon!


2,500 Point NetEpic Ultamarines vs Adeptus Mechanicus

Today was a bit of a first for me: I played an Epic game against a complete stranger. PapaRomeoJuliet (real name Pete) contacted me via the Facebook page after we’d chatted on the Tactical Command forum. We agreed to play a 3,000 point game, which got amended to 2,500 points, when I realised I’d left a pair of Warhound Titans at home!

My army list:

  • Paladin Household
  • Castellan Knight Squadron
  • Reaver Titan
  • Robot Maniple
  • 2 Robot Squadrons
  • Ordinatus Golgotha

Pete’s:

  • 2 Battle Companies
  • 2 Land Speeder Squadrons
  • 2 Thunderhawk Gunships
  • Predator Squadron

As before, the result was a convincing victory for the Mechanicus. I lost a handful of robots and a couple of knights, and did substantial damage in exchange. I think Pete himself admitted that he was a bit too cautious with his Thunderhawks, which contained Assault detachments, and should have committed them (and the Devastator detachments which teleported in) earlier.

This was the first game of Epic that I’ve ever played against someone outside my close-knit circle of gaming friends, and it was a most enjoyable experience. I’m looking forward to the rematch!

Pics from the game below.


NetEpic 1K – a simple Epic-scale skirmish game

A couple of years ago, my good friend Steg and I came up with a stripped down version of NetEpic, suitable for fast, casual play, training, or tournaments, based around small 1,000 point armies. A number of normal NetEpic game rules are suspended in order to make the gameplay quick and easy.

More recently, there’s been quite a bit of interest at No Mans Land in starting up with Epic, so I decided to commit the rules of our game to paper, and am calling it NetEpic 1K.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please post a comment! See also the discussion on Tactical Command.

Update: for absolute beginners or people getting back into Epic, Steg and I have produced a number of sample 1,000 point army lists (XLSX file). If you don’t have the army lists handy, this spreadsheet includes the models that make up each unit.


Ordinatus Golgotha

Here’s the Ordinatus Golgotha I previously mentioned as being part of the mechanised firepower that will support my knights. This is an old model of mine that I stripped and repainted.

The paint scheme is simple enough, but I had a real headache with the hazard stripes. There’s just no way to do them neatly at this scale! Fortunately I was able to hide the more egregious examples with some weathering powder.

I am currently working on a trio of Stormblades, and will post photos when they’re done. They are important because the colour scheme I choose for them will probably decide the colour scheme I use for the rest of the Skitarii: a Leman Russ company, and a load of infantry supported by APCs.


Improving a Melta Cannon

Having raided my bits box, I finally selected a Melta Cannon for the previously mentioned Mark II “milk float” Warlord.

The Melta Cannon is fairly plain, but the version created for the Forge World Reaver Titan looks rather cool, so I thought I’d have a go at improving the stock version.

Apart from the arm, which I made from plastic rods of various sizes, there are three new additions. First is the piping on the back – this is from the arm of a 40K scale Necron Destroyer (the arm is discarded when you upgrade to a Heavy Destroyer). Second, I’ve added the muzzles from a Necron Immortal’s Gauss Blaster to the front of the gun.

Finally, the underslung piping and housing is from the powerfist of a Space Marine Terminator.

Here’s the Melta Cannon, attached to the main body of the Titan:


Here cometh the Milk Float!

I have the legs, torso and carapace of a Mark II “milk float” Warlord (the other bits have gone into other models). Despite being quite detailed, this model has a very boring, static pose (example here), so I thought I’d try giving it a more dynamic pose by twisting and bending the legs.

I also raided my bits box, giving it a close combat head and a pair of Exodus Wars Edenite Reaper turrets as Vulcan Mega Bolters on the carapace. I’m still not sure what I’ll be mounting on the right arm.

The new pose means that the feet are no longer flat on the base, so I built up a pile of rubble using pieces of cork to create a stable platform for the front foot. The rear foot is pinned to the base.

Click to embiggen.


How to get hold of Thom’s Robots

Pretty much the most frequently asked question I get is how to get hold of the robots I use as Knight proxies. To avoid having to repeat myself (over and over and over and over!), I’m posting this here.

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6,000 NetEpic Game: Adeptus Mechanicus vs Squats at No Mans Land

Earlier this month I took my Knights down to No Mans Land for a 6,000 game of Epic with @StegTheDinosaur, my gaming partner in crime, who used his Squats.

The battle was incredibly one-sided, as you can see from the live-tweet below. This was primarily due to the cheesy nature of my Adeptus Titanicus army, which included ten titans, combined with the relatively inflexible Squat army list which had been designed to deal with swarms of robots.

Here are the pics we took during the game:


Reaver Titan

I recently finished the Reaver titan that I showed you a Work-In-Progress shot of last month. I originally started building and painting it in May, which should give you an idea of how fast I work.

Here are a few shots. You can also see this beastie in the background of my EpiComp submission.

The Epic reaver is Games Workshop’s oldest model still in production, and this item does sort of show it: it’s hard to guess how old the cast is (I bought it off eBay, so it could be two years or twenty years old), but the detail is pretty poor, and the flat surfaces are rather pitted.

Colour-scheme wise, this guy is nothing new. He has the same black and white checked pattern I’ve used on all my titans (one day I’ll do a big family shot so you can see them all), with the additional bronze edging that I’ve given to the “elite” titans (on the Warmonger side of the family).

This is the first Reaver I’ve painted since the mid-nineties, and I have two more to do to complete the second battlegroup. One thing I’ll do differently next time is paint them in pieces and then assemble afterwards: there are a lot of fiddly bits!


EpiComp 2012 – My Submission

It occurred to me that I with a bit of work, I could probably get my knights into a state where I could submit them to this year’s EpiComp.

For those of you who don’t already know, EpiComp is the premiere (ok, probably only) annual Epic-scale painting competition. It regularly brings in some amazing work by the best painters and modellers working in the 6mm scale.

You can see my submission above. I took a load of photos, which, due to the limitations of the competition rules, I can’t submit, so I’m posting them here.

This represents about one third of the models that are going to form the Knight army. I still have another squadron of French chevaliers, two squadrons of Castellans, and a load of Paladins still to paint, not to mention a Leman Russ Company, a Stormblade Company, two Ordinatii majoris, and some Skitarii. You’ll be seeing more of them in 2013. In the meantime, these photos include everything I’ve painted (Epic-wise) in 2012. Enjoy!


Getting back in the swing of things

In my last post I mentioned that my wife and I had put our house on the market, so I wasn’t allowed to make any mess. Well, it’s now been about three months since we started having viewings, and we’ve not made any progress. The place that we fell in love with has been lost to another buyer, so we’re at the point of not really caring any more about the whole moving-house thing, and will probably taking the place off the market soon.

This is a bit disappointing, but it does mean that I’ve been able to break out the toy soldiers again!

While my wife took the kids to visit her sister, I’ve had a few days entirely to myself, and I’ve been making good use of them. Apart from making inroads into the 3rd edition of In the Emperor’s Name (for which I’m the editor), I’ve also been working on some more knights.

Here’s the first finished squadron of Castellans:

And here’s some Errants, which just need a decal on the right shoulder and they’re done:

Finally, here’s a Reaver titan, the first I’ve painted since the mid-ninities:


Kitbashed Ordinatus Armageddon

Ordinati are leviathan sized warmachines created by the Adeptus Mechanicus. Every individual Ordinatus is a unique construction and named for the world on which it was first employed or built. Each Ordinatus is unique in that it was designed for specific purpose, for a particular battle.

The Ordinatus Armageddon mounts a giant plasma cannon that can fire using either all available energy for one devastating blast, or several smaller pulses. Its main weapons system is essentially a slightly smaller, vehicle mounted version of the Plasma Annihilator carried by Imperator titans.

I have an original Ordinatus Golgotha model which I love using, especially against Orks (any unit which suffers casualties from a Gologtha’s Hellfire missiles must pass a morale test or go on Fall Back), but I wanted to expand my collection. Unfortunately I don’t have £100 spare so I decided to kitbash one using some Neo-Soviet tanks from Brigade Models as the chassis.

I’m looking forward to getting it painted and on the table!


Distractions

Like most hobbyists I tend to have a lot of different projects on the go at once. Here is a list of my unfinished projects as of writing:

  • Firedrakes 40K Army
  • Khador Warmachine Army
  • Epic Knight Army
  • Inquisition retinue for In The Emperor’s Name
  • Epic Tyranid Army
  • Praesentia Army for Critical Mass (15mm SF)
  • Blue Moon Shivan Sisterhood Army (also 15mm SF)
  • Khurasan Mekanoid Army (ditto)
  • Terrain projects for all of the above

In addition, I also have some repairs on my Warmonger to do: as predicted, the fragile resin Hydra turrets have been damaged, so I need to replace them with spares from the bits box.

So what have I been doing today? Starting something new of course! Some more titans:

I have another Reaver waiting to be assembled, and want to get another one to form a Battle Group. This will leave my Titan Legion army with 2 Warlord BGs and 2 Reaver BGs which, along with the aforementioned Warmonger and its Imperator counterpart is quite enough I think (although I do need more Warhounds…)

I’ve also been sorting out some mechanised firepower to support the Knights and Robots. I’ve just finished stripping, reassembling and basing these:

Ordinatus Golgotha

Ordinatus Golgotha

The Ordinatus Golgotha has a fearsome reputation as an anti-Ork unit: any Ork unit that’s even targeted by one of the six missiles has to take a morale check (which is 5+ for Orks) making it highly effective at breaking large Ork companies.

I am planning to scratch-build at least one other Ordinatus using miniatures from Brigade Model’s Neo-Soviet range.

Stormblade

Stormblade

Stormblades are Titan and Super-heavy hunters. They mount a Plasma Blastgun which is normally carried by titans, as well as a number of specialist and one-shot weapons. I have a couple more coming from eBay to form a Stormblade Company.

Deathstrike Missile Launchers

Deathstrike Missile Launchers

These are also basically tank-mounted titan weapons. You can pick any of the one-shot titan missiles to mount on each model.

Leman Russ Tank Company

Leman Russ Tank Company

The mainstay of any Imperial army!

This is the first time I’ve based vehicles and I am starting to think it’s a good idea!


Knights: Test Castellan

Here’s the first of nine Knights Castellan. These are heavy-support knights which mount a Quake Cannon (normally carried by Titans) and autocannons. They’re slow but heavily armoured.

The brass areas were painted using Vallejo brass rather than the Coat d’Arms that I’ve used on previous models (I seem to have picked several pots from a bad batch, so I’m waiting for them to be restocked). The Vallejo paint is much shinier so I toned it down with some Scab Red. The difference between the two colours is visible, but not so much as to ruin the consistency of the paint scheme between models.


Knights: Baron and First Squadron

I’ve now finished painting the Baron HQ unit for the Knight army, and the first squadron of Paladins. Here’s the Baron:

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Epic Terrain: Kibri 6818 Gothic Cathedral (Basilica Imperialis)

I previously posted about Grimdarking the Kibri Goppingen Church, an N-gauge Model Railroad kit which has a mythical reputation among Epic gamers. If you saw my last post, you may have seen photos of the finished model in the middle of the battlefield.

Here are some photos of the cathedral itself. It was relatively simple to paint: I sprayed it black, then sprayed it with Army Painter Uniform Grey. The roof was washed with Gryphonne Sepia and Devlan Mud, then the whole thing was drybrushed with Coat d’Arms Mid Grey. Then I picked out details such as the shutters, doors and various spikey bits.

These photos were taken with a crap camera, I will update the post with decent pics later on. For now, I’m off to London for Salute!


6,000 NetEpic Game: Necrons vs Squats at No Man’s Land

If you follow me on Twitter then you may have seen me live tweet a game of NetEpic played at my local gaming store, No Man’s Land. It was 6,000 points of Necrons and Squats played over a city table: I was very pleased to be able to use a load of new terrain pieces including some GameCraft fortress walls and the finally finished Kibri cathedral.

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Knights: Test Chevalier

Here’s the first of Thom’s chevaliers painted in the same colour scheme I tried out on the test knight. Looks pretty good I think.

I just have to paint all the rest now!


Knights: Robot Cohorts completed

This weekend I blitzed the robots and got them all painted. It was a pretty simple process once I’d decided on a paint scheme and set up a “factory line”.

First, I undercoated all the models with black. Then, I base coated them with a mix of Scab Red and Deneb Stone: mixing a bit of Deneb Stone (which is a “foundation” paint) in with the red increases its opacity gives it better coverage.

One this was dry, I painted Coat d’arms Slate Grey onto the base, then I painted details in Boltgun Metal and Coat d’arms Brass. Then they were all given a coat of Devlan Mud – including the base. Once this was dry, I drybrushed the base Deneb Stone.

Here are some photos of the robots laid out on my city board: the bases are intended to match the boards. The robots have support from a few titans of the Legio Pantera.