Sunday, 16 April 2017

Blood ravens full army showcase

This was an extremely fun themed army to develop and nurture over the years. The theme was dawn of war, in that (with a bit of wiggle room) there are no units in the army that you wouldn't find in the dawn of war games. By wiggle room I mean that I have a unit of vanguard veterans which, while they don't appear in the game, seem to represent assault marines well. Things such as centurions and flyers however are not to be found in the  army. The other aspect to the army is that  I have tried to represent all of the characters found in the games with converted models. 

Initially the army was run as a combined arms detachment, but a couple of strategic additions to the line up have allowed me to split this into a gladius strike force and a smaller combined arms detachment. 

Battle demi company

The Gladius core choice is, of course,  a demi company. In this case the composition is 3 tactical squads each led by a character from the games, namely tarkus, aramus (force commander) and an as of yet unarmed chap representing the misc sergeant from the original game. There are a pair of rhinos and a drop pod to aid them or others in getting around. The fast attack slot is a land speeder and the heavy slot a devastator squad under the command of avitus. There is an apothecary model for completions sake but the veterans I have are usually fielded in the 1st company task force rather than as a command squad. 

Sergeant Aramus, Noname and Tarkus

All 3 incarnations of Gabriel Angelos

Scout sergeant Cyrus, Captain Apollo Diomedes and Sergeant Avitus
In terms of characters that can lead the company, there are 5 to choose from. The generic plastic chaplain is a decent rendition of chaplain mikaelus. The other options are all captains or chapter masters of one sort or another. Captain apollo diomedes is a jump pack captain, captain Gabriel angelos is a relic blade captain and finally chapter master angelos comes in his power armour or terminator armour forms wielding a thunder hammer. Last addition to the battle company is none other than the venerable dreadnought Davian Thule. 

Librarian Natorion, Orion and Isador

Chaplain Mikaelus, Techmarine Martellus and the apothecary whose name I've forgotten.

The indomitable Davian Thule

For the 1st company task force there are 3 squads. A unit of terminators led by Tarkus in terminator armour is the first, a small sternguard unit led by The Ancient is the second and lastly a small Vanguard squad led by Thaddeus. A Land raider is in support. Random fact: aside from Angelos the only other character to get a duplication is Tarkus in his original, terminator and ancient guises. (and he may even have a fourth if the original DoW Sergeant was meant to be him also)

The combined arms detachment is led by either a techmarine (martellus) who is converted from an older techmarine model or telion (Cyrus) the converted scout sergeant. The troops slots, as with most of my marine armies, are made up of a couple of scouts squads, in this case with sniper rifles. Fast attack wise there is a sole forgeworld contribution in the form of a landspeeder tempest. This is not the genuine model and I actually a conversion I made some time ago. Heavy support is occupied by a predator with a scratchbuilt front armour plate. I also have a whirlwind turret option as an alternative loadout. 

2 Scout squads, Cyrus, a Predator, Tempest and Techmarine Martellus make up the CAD

Veteran Sergeants Ancient, Tarkus and Thaddeus

Well that about wraps things up for the Blood Ravens. They need work to get the other half of the army up to tabletop standards but in terms of the size of the army I call it a day. Very pleased with such a fluff-inspired themed army that, while some elements are pretty plain (the mono-pose tacticals for example) other elements such as the characters conversions and unique look of the army make it pleasure to see on the table. Cheers.

Monday, 10 April 2017

And what of Angelos...? Blood ravens chapter master conversions.

Hi chaps. It wasn't that long ago I took the blood ravens to matts fluffageddon tournament which at the time meant getting about half the army painted to a decent tabletop standard. I will be posting in the next couple of weeks with a showcase of the army but in the meantime wanted to share the final price to the puzzle.

My initial theme for blood ravens was an army that not only consisted of units from the dawn of war games, but also characters too. Therefore, when I created a captain to lead the army it was none other than Gabriel Angelos I chose, firstly in his dawn of war 1 incarnation prior to gaining his sword. This was a fairly simple conversion using some green stuff sculpting and a few parts such as a chain sword pommel and a captain sicarius head. I forget where the leg armour came from.

The second incarnation of Angelos was meant to serve as a chapter master and I decided, rather than simply duplicating the look from the first figure with a hammer, to go for a post-retribution look. To this end I used the plastic chaplain head with bionic eye and sculpted the hair on. A few necromunda parts were used for the bionic arms and the hammer haft. The head of the hammer was built from spares and plasticard. I went for a running pose to distinguish from the previous figure.

Now for the icing on the cake. This was one of my most complex conversions right up there with mephiston and eisenhorn. I wanted to complete the triumvirate (seems fashionable these days) by adding the dawn of war 3 Tartaros armoured Angelos into the fold. An excellent base for this was the legion tribune model, which I swapped out the torso with a plastic Tartaros terminator as it suited better. The blade was replaced with a hammerhead modified from a vanguard hammer plus free stuff, plasticard and the banner topper from a second edition backpack cut in half. I also used green stuff to add an Aquila to the chest.

A plastic captain cape was attached to the back with greensruff making for a smooth transition. Green stuff was also used to smooth the legs down and widen /enhance the shoulder pads, which also had a crux and sculpted chapter icon added.  An old metal iron halo (chaplain?) was added to the front of the armour and the head repositioned with some green stuff to scar the face. The small shield was cut off the left Pauldron and replaced by a large wax seal with the scroll cut off. The small shield then had a skull added and was glued to the left forearm. A dire avenger loincloth was added. Finishing touches came in the form of some green stuff chains/ropes and lots of small trinkets added from the bits box.

And this was the final result. Very pleased with how Angelos number 3 turned out and how all 3 models look in general.  This is a great themed army and I hope over the next 2 years to go back and get the other half of the army to the same tabletop standard paying special attention to the character models. Cheers.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Whitescars army full line up

Hi all. With my space marine projects all finally coming together I have decided to post over the next few months showcasing each army, what the theme of said army is and what stage it is at. To put things into perspective, my overall aim was to get each army to a stage where it is assa bled, based, basecoated and with a full complement of models. This would enable me to pick up and either game with or do further painting work on them at any time and allow me to move onto other armies that are not loyalist space marines in terms of hobby and assembly projects.

The army here is a whitescars one which, unsurprisingly, is mostly themed around bikes. As with all my marine armies one of the goals was to get them all onto unified and up to date bases. This has been achieved for the scars as they are now on 32mm (except the scouts) and oval bike bases. Interestingly, the carnifex sized base was a good fit for attack bikes. The basing is basic with simple gw texture paints sprayed over with mournfang brown and dry brushed. Once the models themselves approach completion I will add the plastic aquarium plants to the base for more variety and decoration.

Back to the army itself, the core is a scar blade strike force with a combined arms detachment in support. Most of my marine armies have been redesigned to work like this, but the scars are unique in that the marine specific detachment contains bikes and scouts with the power armour being part of the cad. Reason for this is that I didn't want to include devastators in the army as I don't feel they fit whitescars very well, like terminators and dreadnoughts.

The hunting force is composed of a converted khan on moondrakkan with the other elements being  a bike command squad, 2 units of bikes, an attack bike squad and scout bike squad. I used some wfb parts for the flags and the whitescar upgrade models to represent the sergeants. In practice, the bike squad are supposed to be for anti horde duties being loaded out with flamers and heavy bolters, while the attack bike squad have multi melta for anti tank. The scout bike sergeant is partly converted with a space wolf scout head and a combi melta. The command squad has a few conversions built it to it including a removable banner from fantasy. The latest addition is a modified deathwatch overkill biker as the company champion. Hq options are for a bike captain and / or chaplain, which can obviously swap in with khan if needed as part of the hunting force. The chaplain is simply the metal chaplain with a few extra bits and the captain simply the upgrade set captain.

The auxiliary formation is comprised of a squad or scouts in a land speeder storm with accompanying land speeder escort. Nothing particularly remarkable about them but i like the formation as an auxiliary as the scouts are good for objective grabbing.

We then move onto the combined arms detachment which has a choice of either a bike librarian or techmarine in the hq slot. The librarian is an old second edition model cut in half and mounted onto a bike. The techmarine is a more complex conversion from one of the fw bikers and involves techmarine, stormraven, command upgrade frame and admech parts. Troops wise there are 2 units of tactical marines both in rhinos. Most of them are stock models with a few interesting conversions in there. For elites there is a unit of vanguard veterans with jump packs, all of which have been customized to fit with the rest of the army. Fast attack contains a stormtalon. This was actually the first stormtalon I assembled and painted and was fully painted for a tournament in which I took one unit for each of the first founding marine chapters. On it you can see heavy weathering and the aforementioned aquarium plants.

Lastly, heavy support contains a unit of tarantulas, a predator and a sicaran tank. The tarantulas were part of a space crusade lot on eBay and, with some conversion to accommodate an auspex where the original marine gunner would have stood, they were salvaged. At first I hesitated to add such a static unit to a mobile army, but when I thought about it I liked the notion that the scars would herd their prey towards a trap in the form of a deepstruck or concealed tarantula battery. The predator is there for some much needed medium range and strength firepower and the aptly named sicaran 'wrath of khan' adds even more long range firepower and anti air.

That about wraps up my brief army tour. As with each army, I can tailor the list to the points being played and can complete the paint jobs on individual units as a when. I will post a duplicate of what's here on the army info tab which will serve as a permanent guide to the army and also aim to do the same for each other army in turn. Thanks for reading

Monday, 14 November 2016

Fluffageddon aftermath - Blood Raven battle reports and army photos

Hi folks.

On Saturday I was fortunate enough to attend the Fluffageddon tournament  hosted by Matt Greenwood at the outpost in Sheffield. It was my first tournament in over a year and the theme of the day was a 1500 point army playing in 3 rounds with comp rules in place. The other aspect to it was that 'fluffy' armies were encouraged, meaning you should take an army that was representative of how the army is designed to fight in the background literature. For me, there was one obvious stand out amongst my armies that was already built in this way - the blood ravens.

The army prior to the event
My blood ravens army Is heavily influenced by dawn of war and weighs in at about 3000 points. The idea behind it is that I don't have any units that aren't featured in either of the dawn of war video games and that as many of the characters as possible are built to resemble the characters from throughout the series, mainly those of dawn of war 2. I went about building the army for fluffageddon by selecting the characters I most wanted to use and then after much tweaking ended up with a reasonable list as seen below.

The army list
The strategy to be employed was fairly simple. Most things would start on the board with terminators and the drop pod (containing sternguard and hqs) in reserve. The land speeder would possibly start in reserve also. Predator and devastator would provide backfield support while the vanguard and dreadnought go where needed.

The first game was against Luke and his eldar army, which was mainly footdar - guardians x2, avengers with eldrad, some scatterbikes with warlock, 3 war walkers, fire dragons with an autarch and warp spiders. Lastly, a pair of dreaded d cannon platforms. The mission was a modified maelstrom mission.  The deployment worked in my favor being diagonal and I set up most of my force to be out of range of his army while at the same time securing 3 of the objectives thanks to infiltrating scouts. The south east corner objective and central North ones were just out of reach and he deployed clustered around the north east objective. His war walkers and fire dragons opted to outflank and warp spiders deep strike. I had my drop pod, land speeder and terminators in reserve.

The land speeder crisps some guardians
Little happened on the first turn except me cautiously podding onto the north objective. The second turn saw my terminator deep strike onto the south east objective and stupidly immobilizing my rhino. The land speeder landed near to some guardians and crispy fried them. My devastator went down to ranged fire from bikes and war walkers and he deep struck his warp spiders onto the south east objective, killing enough terminators to put me out of range and allow him to claim. On the other side of the board the fire dragons walked on and, thanks to battle focus, got just in range to get a clear melta shot on thule, who had strayed just a little too close to the board edge trying to grab the south west objective.

No mans land between the dueling armies
Retaliation in turn 3 was swift. Sadly I had discarded my card the previous turn which would have rewarded me killing characters as I tallied up 4 this turn. The tactical squad in the immobilized rhino to the west slaughtered the fire dragons and autarch with a bit of help from the tactical doctrine and scouts. The vanguard wiped out the warp spiders and the terminators killed the jet bike warlock, though failed to charge. The predator pummeled the war walkers. In eldar turn 3 the jet bikes surged forwards to claim an objective and the terminators went down to massed fire as did the land speeder. All the eldar started to advance and the noose tightened.

My turn 4 I used the tactical squad and a cheeky storm bolter shot from the drop pod to eliminate the jet bikes and the vanguard made a last ditch effort to kill the avenger and eldrad in order to secure me some much needed vps. The sternguard held the objective bravely but, sensing the proximity of the distortion cannons, my warlord wisely chose to retreat. Eldar turn 4 the platforms destroyed the predator and a bright lance from the guardians narrowly avoided sniping my warlord. The vanguard for got swarmed by guardians but despite surviving failed to kill eldrad. Thanks to the last blood secondary objective (rewarding final Kill of the game) I lost by one vp, 9-10.

Squad Thaddeus make a last ditch attempt to assassinate Eldrad
An extremely enjoyable game against a competitive list. I think I acquitted myself well and only narrowly missed out on a draw. Errors i made in retrospect were leaving the dreadnought on the southwest objective in turn 2 to be killed by the fire dragons, discarding the card end of turn 2 that would have given me 2 (house rules rather than d3) vps for looking character the next turn and ultimately drawing the game and finally not moving the predator out of range of the distortion cannons. A narrow loss but extremely tactical and fun game.

My second game was vs Jim and his Khorne daemonkin. I was somewhat apprehensive having never played against them before and facing down a bloodthirster. In addition he had 2 units of melta bikes and flesh hounds, a topped up lord on juggernaut, a squad of marines and cultists, some beserkers in a rhino and a dreaded heldrake. Deployment was dawn of war (irony) and I went first. There were 5 objectives on the table each worth 3 points and I deployed my devastators, tactical combat squad (other half in the rhino) and scouts onto the 3 in my deployment zone. The speeder started on the table.

Angelos, Orion and the Ancient lead the Sternguard against the Khorne hordes.
First turn I drop prodded into the north east corner and between the devastators, predator and melta finally popped the rhino killing two of the beserkers and cornering the others. The land speeder grilled some of the scouting hounds alongside the tactical squads shooting. In his turn the bloodthirster surged forward but was just out of range of charging anything. A bike squad melted my rhino pinning the occupants. Turn 2 saw the sternguard gun down the berserkers and the terminators drop into the backfield to pound the marines. The vanguard multicharged the bikes and remaining hounds killing the former but the other side of the table saw the main event. Both the predator and devastators softened up the bloodthirster down to 2 wounds and Davian Thule heroically charged in against him. Thanks to the unwieldy destroyer axe Thule was able to kill the bloodthirster. He was soon punished for his impudence with the remaining melta bikes stripping a hull point. The juggernaut lord who had advanced with the hounds pulled back to deal with the terminators. The blood tithe heralded the arrival of a winged daemon prince in the west. The heldrake entered the arena and turned its attention to grilling the sternguard, who luckily has the protection of his artificer armory limiting the damage. The battle between the hounds and vanguard on the objective continued but sadly their terminator allies succumbed. The surviving chaos marines engaged my tactical combat squad in the assault phase also.

Having faced down a Bloodthirster and melta bikers, Thule mops up the Western board edge.
Turn 3 saw me pour my devastators, predator and sternguard shooting into the heldrake. Each stripped a hull point thanks to a lucky last ditch melta shot. The beast was no more. Thule crushed the bikers who had dared to attack him. In the chaos turn the juggernaut lord charged my sternguard and the daemon prince landed on the objective held by the scouts. Captain angelos was no match for the juggernaut lord but the rest of his squad held firm. The last turn saw me pour the devastators and predator firepower into the daemon prince reducing him to a single wound. The vanguard finally beat the fleshounds in combat and the remaining members of the tactical combat squad fought it out with the chaos marines. My librarian just survived an assault by the juggernaut lord. Thule and the speeder overkilled the cultists and took another objective.  The final chaos turn saw my scouts survive by a single model against the daemon prince, but unfortunately they fled in the onslaught granting him the objective. The juggernaught lord won the combat and consolidated allowing him to contest the vanguard objective.

Angelos makes a heroic but futile last stand against the enraged Khorne Lord

I won the game with 9 points to his 6 (half scored on secondaries) but stupidly could have claimed linebreaker with the speeder if I had remembered. Another very enjoyable game against a pleasant opponent and an army I had not fought against before. I think my strategy was fairly sound although I had no way really of combatting the juggernaut lord due to his meat shield of flesh hounds. Davian Thule was without doubt the star of this battle after his lackluster first game, but most element of the army played crucial roles, notably the predator and devastators.

Alongside the Predator, squad Avitus played a crucial role in killing both the Bloodthirster and Heldrake

My final game was a stand up blood points game which went to 6 turns in the end. I knew it would be challenging as I was facing down an army of 6 leman Russ (pask in command), 2 wyverns, an enginseer and 2 chimeras of guard. Dawn of war deployment saw him castled up in one corner and me with very little cover. I left the terminators, speeder and drop pod in reserve and put everything else a little bit too far away in retrospect to try and keep things alive during the first turn of punishment as he was due to go first.

The Veterans arrive in a desperate attempt to take the fight to the enemy.
A fantastic feat of technomancy allows Orion to turn the enemy against themselves.
First turn saw my scouts minced by a punisher, predator pummeled but barely intact and devastators killed by mass wyvern bombardment. Not a great start to lose so much firepower. Everything advanced at full speed while my drop pod landed next to parks unit. Melta and grav fire managed to kill one tank while the libararians technomancy allowed him to take control of a vanquisher which promptly shot a tank from the other squadron point blank and killed it. Perhaps things were looking up? Sadly not the case. My predator got popped and my sternguard were shot in to the point that only angelos remained on a single wound. My second turn saw me advance yet further and also the terminators arrived with the speeder. The speeder managed to immobilize itself and sadly the multimelta didn't penetrate the nearby Russ.  The terminators managed to blow up a chimera and angelos got pask down to his last hull point.

Angelos stands alone against Pask
Defiant to the last!
The next turn was the tipping point. 3 terminators, angelos and the vanguard went down. In retaliation i used the terminators to pop a tank and the tactical squad disembarked attempting to kill  both the surviving vanquisher and some guard from the chimera. The speeder managed to hit with its multimelta but not destroy the tank. Next turn the speeder died as did all the tactical squad members. I repurposed the terminators to take out a wyvern and Thule rended parks command tank. Weight of fire saw the last terminators go down and the enginseer hack my rhino apart. With no way I could win now I used Thule to butcher the enginseer in combat simply for a bit of sweet revenge, getting me last blood.

Thule and squad Thaddeus race to aid their Captain...
...while squad Tarkus teleports in and squad Aramus disembark
This was a really enjoyable game that presented a challenge as well as being a fun and straightforward ending to the day. Having only narrowly lost my first game and won the second thesis was my worst defeat of the day ending with about half the blood points of my opponent. What a memorable game all the more so for the librarians feat of turning the guards weapons against them.

Tarkus manages to oust one of the Leman Russ and Wyverns before finally succumbing
The Enginseer wrecks the Rhino and attempts the same on the Drop pod.
With nothing left to gain but vengeance, Thule crushes the Enginseer.
As mentioned it's been over a year since I went to a tournament and this was a great day to come back into it. I came eleventh out of sixteen overall and narrowly missed out on best painted for my army which was based on theme and quality. I'm happy with this as the army that won was a great theme also and a very creative ork army. Plus my ravens weren't painted to my highest standard due to time constraints. Dan was very obliging in taking photos of the day which are the ones seen here. Thanks to Matt for organizing and I hope to attend again next year. Cheers.

The winner of the best army competition
The full 1500 points on display