‘Ere we go

I’ve finished tackling the organization of my orks (finished should be in quotation marks because I am constantly re-organizing them) and I am now to the point where I can begin refurbishing, re-painting and getting them tabletop-ready.

Some things have changed in the 20-ish years I’ve been away from Warhammer 40,000. The basics are the same, orks is still orks (an’ dey’z da best) but the clan rules are much more fundamental to army construction. Visually my ork army was always a pastiche of influences, painted yellow and blue with black and white checkerboard and other random fun like flames and eyeballs and zigzags. It worked visually when I didn’t have to pick a clan kultur, and I suppose I could just run them as Freebooterz but I don’t wanna do that just yet. I have my reasons.

One of my trukks

I have the minis to make three complete armies of 3000 points each. That plan doesn’t use absolutely everything orky I have in my collection but I’m not sure there’s a point in making armies of a higher points value. That’s as high as the army builder goes. Do people play bigger games than 3000 points? (No one’s playing any games now I guess but my question remains) After much reading and thinking and obsessing I have decided that my three armies will be Snakebites 🐍 , Blood Axes 🪓 and Deathskulls 💀 . I would have gone with Goffs 🐃 but there’s no satisfactory way for me to convert Skarboyz. I’ve seen it done by using Nob bitz and mixing them with bitz from the regular Boyz kit, and as fun as that sounds I’m not going out and buying more orks when I have hundreds already. Once I’ve refurbished the orks I have, then I may reward myself with MOAR ORKSES.

Warhammer is not just a game, it’s also a hobby which means you never really stop. When you’re not actually playing a game it doesn’t just go back in the box. A hobby is something you sort of think about a lot even when your not doing it.

Another one of my scratch built trukks

I’ll be spending a lot of time with these orks, creating narratives with them through model making, mini painting, lore writing, army construction and… last and least is gameplay. The majority of my time investment will be on things other than playing games, so it shouldn’t factor that much. The 40K game rules will change over time, so the meta just doesn’t matter to me. The game will have updates and new editions and this faction will get buffed and that one will get nerfed and I don’t want my enjoyment to be tethered to factors that are beyond my control. I hope to play in tournaments and events, and obviously it’s nice to win, but partially I enjoy the orks because it’s always fun to play them, winning or not. (Orks nevva lose tho)

Morkzilla has seen better days.

So here’s my thinking about the Clan Kulturz and why I picked these three as my favourites.

Deathskulls – I primarily like da Boyz in Blue because I love kitbashing. I have quite a few scratchbuilt and converted vehicles, and the Deathskulls are particularly known for this. Their lore is very fun as they are known to be thieves who loot whatever they can whenever the opportunity presents itself. They feel the colour blue is lucky and because they believe this, it’s really true. This army will be the home for my more outlandish Mekboy creations and probably my more shooty army. Their warlord is a Warboss named Gorkamungus Prime, a towering monster with a Supa-Cybork body. He’s basically an ork head that I stuck on top of a Battletech figure. His army is called Da Blue Meaniez.

Warboss Gorkamungus Prime sporting a Supa-Cybork Body and with his loyal Attack Squig perched on his shoulder. I’ll probably scrub off a lot of his paint and redo it. Also gonna put some more thought into his weapons, they’re kind of just okay right now and I think he deserves better.

Snakebites – Just love these guys for the old rusty dusty rural flavour; backwoods orks that spend all their time hunting, lighting big fires and trippin balls on wacky fungus juice. So much fun to be had with the lore of this clan which is summed up as ‘da old wayz iz da best’. They listen to their Weirdboyz and also spend time learning a lot about squigs and grots and fungus. Visually all the tribal motifs and leather and rust and dirt is really fun to paint. Looking forward to crafting a distinctive army with this in mind. I’ve got 2 scratchbuilt Squiggoths, Gorkzilla and Morkzilla and I am excited to refurbish them and start terrifying my opponents. Their warlord is a Big Mek known as Da Wizzerd of Zzog who smokes a lot of mushrooms and gets inspiration for new inventions and his warband is known as Da Durty Dawgz.

Da Wunnerful Wizzerd of Zzog.

Blood Axes – they have been my favourite clan from the first ork source book ‘Waaargh the Orks’. These are orks that see the Imperium and think, ‘oi, dem gitz iz quite klevver’ and then imitate them crudely. They like uniforms and marching and drills and barking orders and a bit of discipline – it’s fun for them, while orks of the other clanz think they’re un-orky and sneaky. I’ve always leaned more towards the ‘Kunnin’ but Brutal’ side of the ork philosophical debate. They are known to actually negotiate with the Imperium and co-operate with them sometimes. I love the idea of ork mercenaries fighting alongside the Imperial Guard. Back in the day my friends and I organized a huge 6-player game with Orks, Imperial Guard and Eldar holding a fortress against a massive Tyrannid swarm. Good times.

This fella used to be a Runtherd but now he’s a Weirdboy, Prophet of Krork.

My Blood Axe army is called Da Dark Moon Troopaz, and I think I may try and give them a Pink Floyd theme. It will be the last of my three armies that I work on, so I will have some more time to figure them out. I like the marching hammer logo from The Wall and an orky version of it would look pretty dope. My Blood Axe Warlord is a Waaagh Banner Nob named Ug-Waa Moondog og-Nazgof, and he actually will float between all three armies. According to my lore, Boss Moondog is the Dark Moon King, the great unifying leader that brings the three tribes of Nazgof together for da WAAAGH!!!

Lots to keep me busy while I anxiously await the new Ork Codex. I may not be able to resist new orks if GW puts out a new box, but for now I will focus on Da Blue Meaniez and get them ready for the end of lockdown.

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The Ork Kingdom of Nazgof

Orks are a constant menace that have plagued the Imperium of Humanity with brutal and unrelenting war for millennia. Attempts at peace treaties are pointless, as there is no central ork authority with which to negotiate. Their society is an ever-shifting network of tribal warlords that fight with each other even more than they fight external enemies. From time to time a powerful figure rises to prominence and unites a large number of factions into a single great horde, what the orks call a ‘Waaagh’. The formation of these groups is highly difficult to predict and their behaviour is equally inscrutable. The Waaagh is less like a political structure and more like an energetic system. It builds up potential force, and then starts a reaction that continues until its energy is spent.

Within the region known as the Koronus Expanse there exists an Ork ‘empire’ called the ‘Undred-‘Undred Teef which is less of a coherent empire and more of a group of systems that have been inhabited by Orks for so long that few other lifeforms exist within its borders. Most of the habitable planets have been terraformed by centuries of the orkish fungal ecology cycle and now provide a reliable foundation for cultivating generation after generation of ork warriors. The systems on the outer edge of the sector tend to produce many Freebooterz who take to the stars in search of loot and enemies to fight. The traditional clan ‘kulturz’ are more distinct in the inner systems where orks have no one to fight but each other.

The Uznaa system is situated at the core of this sector and was possibly the original stronghold that spawned the rest of the Ork infestation in ‘Undred-‘Undred Teef. It is centered on a blue giant star indexed in Imperial cartographical records as VK-7726.9231. Space travel is hazardous in this system due to high levels of radiation but the magnetic fields of the planets make them relatively safe for habitation.

Fingog is the innermost planet of the Uznaa system with an orbit in the mercurial zone that occasionally skirts the edge of the star’s solar flares. It is a dense and rocky world, with more gravity than physics would allow for a planet of its size. This is likely due to the dormant xenotech artifacts that can be found everywhere on this hot and dusty wasteland. At some point this planet was an advanced technological complex with very large transmitters directed at the nearby star. The original builders are gone, their purpose in building this massive machine is unknown. The orks have a shocking lack of curiosity about this and are delighted to have such a vast treasure trove of shiny bitz to loot and repurpose for their own inventions. The majority of the orks of Fingog are of the Deathskull clan and they are kept quite busy digging around and exploring in the endless ruins. Occasionally their activities will awaken something dangerous and they have a nasty fight on their hands which is always good fun too.

Orbiting along Uznaa’s inner biosphere, Zzogamor is the second planet and it is a classic Death World covered in hot steamy jungles teeming with life and filled with dangerous creatures. The ork fungoid bioform is the dominant species and can be found all along the food chain from basic producers like mushrooms and toadstools up to apex predators like gargantuan squiggoths. The orks that dwell here are of the Snakebite clan and they live deep in the jungles, hunting the great beasts.

Nazgof is one of three moons orbiting the gas giant Gargor which is the outermost planet in Uznaa’s habitable zone. The other two moons are inhabited by orks as well, but they all take orders from a sort of king called the ‘Ug-Waa’ that rules Nazgof. Several tribes of the Blood Axe clan are spread across the moons of Gargor where they plot and scheme against each other for the throne of Nazgof and the right to rule over the entire sector. This may seem like atypical ork behaviour but it is normal for the Blood Axes who enjoy orders and discipline and of course treachery. The intrigues around a royal throne offer the orks of Nazgof another form of combat where they can hatch kunnin planz and schemes.

Every few centuries Uznaa enters a quiet phase where the radiation levels drop low enough for space travel to become feasible. During this time the Ug-Waa of Nazgof will declare an off-world military expedition known as the Ug-Waaugh. The target of this Waaugh is determined by Da Prophets of Krork, who are a group of Warphead Weirdboyz that maintain a compound on Zzogamor. The Ug-Waa makes a ceremonial journey to the Weirdnoyz of Zzogamor to formally begin the great Waaagh that unites the clans under the Nazgof banner and unleashes their wrath across the stars.

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561 Orks

WAAAGH!!!

If there’s one thing that I am a fanatic about it’s orks. This week I organized my sprawling and anachronistic Orks collection. I started collecting orks in 1987 when I bought my very first Warhammer minis: the RTB2 Space Ork Raiders box. It was love at first sight, and I have picked up every iteration of orks since then, in whatever game system GW has included them. There’s something about their narrative that connects with me on a basic level of my personality. Yes, they’re badguys, but Warhammer 40,000 is an entire universe of badguys. One of the overall themes of 40K is there are no heroes, everyone is a bastard. In a rotten corrupt universe of killers, the orks don’t try and pretend they are anything else. They don’t need complicated justification for their brutality, they are completely un-conflicted. Everyone in the 40K galaxy is miserable and terrified except the Orks, who are happy as pigs in shit.

Da Green Tide

I was always a fan of the Klingons but they have this stuffy ‘code of honour’ that harshes my mellow. There’s something almost Buddhist about the philosophy of the Orks. An eternal Burning Man horde of non-binary YOLO ‘Eavy Metal Murder Hobos… I find this to be very aspirational. When I was 20 I got tattoos of an Evil Sun and a Bad Moon. Absolute fact: The Best Movie Ever is Fury Road. Its actual title is ‘The Gorkamorka Movie’. This is the damn truth, and if your opinion is different then your entire life is a lie and I feel pity for you. I recommend that you seek spiritual guidance in this matter and correct your thinking.

‘Ere we go, ‘ere we go, ‘ere we go…

So as I have mentioned in other posts, I stepped away from Warhammer about 20 years ago, not for lack of love for the game; during that period the needs of family and career left little time for any hobbies. My kids are grown now and during lockdown I have reconnected with my tabletop gaming roots. My first ‘get back’ project was my Space Marines army (the Storm⚡️Hunters) which was a good way to dip my toe in and see if I still like it. I have found that I do indeed like it quite a lot and I’m ready to take the plunge and dive back in.

I can’t just jump in and start painting orks because that way leads to madness and despair. Army painting requires army organization so that the miniatures are playable on the tabletop. For me to make best use of my orks the first step is to do a proper tally. I got out all my storage boxes and put everybody out on my table – every Ork and Gretchin and Snotling that I have and did a head count. It came in at 561. (Edit: since writing this I found a few more) This is more than I think would ever reasonably be playable in a regular game, well over 3000 points even without units like Warbikes, Kans, Squiggoths, etc. I have to figure out what army (armies) these guys all fit into before I make decisions about how to paint them.

The Ork Clan Kulturz are more prominent in the rules now than they used to be many years ago, and this needs to be taken into account for choosing colour schemes. I will probably have at least three different army corps with some elites like Tankbustaz that will be shared between them all. When I played in tournaments I sometimes found it annoying to try and tell what units in my opponent’s army did what, and it’s worse when all their minis have the exact same colour scheme so the only way to tell them apart is by the differences in their little spiky bits. So in the interests of good sportsmanship I always made an effort to accentuate the different unit types through paint scheme. Things should clearly look like what they are so it’s not confusing for the players. I’m not a fan of ‘gotchahammer’ and I’d rather my opponent played their best game. All this is to say that I need to sort these lads into proper units so I can start to figure out how to paint them.

My collection spans several generations of ork sculpts. In the 80’s they started out quite comedic and cartoonish, and over time became more grimdark looking and scary. They also got bigger. The scale creep is real. The RTB02 OGs are only slightly larger than Gretchin. It makes sense visually to start by putting like with like, and perhaps mixing a little from each to homogenize them a bit. There’s really old metal guys, there’s slightly-less old plastic guys, then there’s the tail end of the comedic orks with the metal blister pack guys with plastic sprue arms.

The big design change came when Gorkamorka came out, and suddenly the look of orks shifted to a more dangerous and grim looking aesthetic. This fits with the current line but the Gorkamorka orks are still quite a bit smaller. The challenge is to blend these four different looks in a way that’s visually pleasing and also clear for gaming purposes. I have grouped my orks into three big blobs, each one predominantly guided by the tenets of a different ork kultur, and of course I am rooting this structure in lore… but that is for another post. Right now I have a lot of orks that need to be refurbished so I better get to it!

Quit yer mukkin’ about!
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Adeptus Astartes Completus

I’m calling them done. The Storm⚡️Hunters are finished. There’s always going to be little details and touch ups I can spot, but I’m ready to move on. I will build them a road case so they can be safely transported to and from any hypothetical games that I may be playing with them in the future.

They’re not intended to be overly competitive in terms of their list. I never set out to make these guys a grand-tournament winning army. My goal for these guys has been achieved: if I ever want to play marines, I have an army that I’m proud to show on the tabletop.

I actually used transfers!

The whole point was to refurbish my decades-old space marines collection and fulfil my space marine ambitions of yesteryear. These guys have been with me for a long time and they deserve to be properly finished and possibly used in a game or two. So I can scratch that off my bucket list: completed a space marine army. ✅

I still haven’t completed the lore for the Storm Hunters, but I may return to that at some point if people are curious about it. I should do a proper chapter entry for them. Marines aren’t really my thing though. I have other, bigger armies to bring out of storage.

It was a good way to jump back into the hobby after so long away. I have been exploring the resources available such as blogs and other online resources that just weren’t there 20 years ago. I got a pin-vise which I was always curious about. I am happy with the varnish I have found, and the basing recipe works ok but I may mix in some lighter green for the grass on my next army… which will of course be the Orks.

The strategic goal with this project was to return to miniatures painting after a few decades away and check where my skills are at, learn some new tricks, and prepare for the main event.

These guys are the last ork unit I painted for the last tournament I was in many years ago. I’ll soon find out how my painting skills have developed since then.

Well now my brain is cooking up all sorts of orky things to figure out, but that can wait for my next post.

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Maleziel: Planet of the Lost

A lonely planet orbits an ancient white dwarf sun, designated RX J049.8-6809. It is a very old star, and it gives off a ghostly pale light as it dwindles towards death. The nights on this planet are dark and moonless while the days are dimly lit in an eerie twilight. Sometime during the 33rd Millennium a penal ship crash-landed on this uninhabited world and now, in the 42nd Millennium the wrecked hulk of the original vessel forms the centre of the colony’s only settlement. Those that are born here say this place is cursed and those that arrive from elsewhere soon agree. Maleziel is a penal colony of about 200,000 where prisoners are sent to serve out their sentences, often to the end of their miserable lives. The colony is little better than a collection of gangs, run by Wardens who do what they can to keep the peace even if they don’t often enforce the law. Prisoners are not chained up or locked in cells. In fact they are free to leave whenever they wish. Most don’t leave the colony simply because there is nowhere else to go.

It is a bleak and empty world with shallow seas, featuring tough inedible plants and few scrawny animals. The polar regions are beset by near-constant storms. The climate near the equator is damp but temperate and the terrain on the highlands is mostly scrub plains with weathered rocky outcroppings. The colonists cling to their rusted dwellings which offer the only shelter from the harsh winds that constantly wail across the rugged plateaus. This wide dry area is hemmed in by jagged mountains and bordered by salt bogs which give way to oily swamps that feed into a putrid slushy sea of mud and silt.

Human life is possible beyond the settlement, but harsh. Agriculture is not practical and hunting is difficult as most animals found on the surface are rodents and insects. The only beasts with enough meat to make hunting worthwhile are a few species of large amphibians found in the more wetland areas. The local apex predator species is called a pit leech, usually found in the bogs and swamps, but able to breed in any subterranean body of water. They hunt by lurking in soft ground and waiting for their prey to draw near so they can erupt from their hole and attack. They can grow to a size of 4 meters are are capable of swallowing an adult human.

Without off-world resources the penal colonists are confined to the shelters that have built up around their wrecked ship. Over the centuries some mines have been constructed in the nearby mountains but this is extremely hazardous work as the rock is riven with pockets of sediment and underground water reservoirs. The mines are prone to cave-ins and attacks by pit leeches. The colony’s survival is dependent on trade with whatever starships venture their way, often coming to drop off prisoners, unwanted and undesirable dregs from all corners of the Segmentum Obscurus. Intakes of fresh convicts are processed by the Wardens and then left to fend for themselves in the colony’s hierarchy of clans and gangs. Most find a place in one faction or another and make a life for themselves as best they can. Occasionally a prisoner is released, either when their time is served or in the rare case of parole or an official pardon. Some colonists can be assigned to indentured void crews or penal legions to reduce their sentence. All passage off the planet is subject to approval by the High Warden whose authority in the colony is absolute.

Maleziel is a place that tries to break the human spirit and reduce its people to obedient wretches incapable of questioning their fate. Those meek souls are destined to die as they have lived, knowing neither victory nor defeat. To live in this place is to accept damnation. However there are some that cannot be broken, no matter what hardships and suffering they must endure. In every place there are those that refuse to give up hope, and for those few another destiny is possible. A legend that tells of an ancient shrine within a crumbling fortress hidden amid the howling storms of the north. Tales tell of a wise sage who tends this shrine, tolling its bell each morning and chanting magic spells which keep the sun from dying out. This sage once fought at the Emperor’s side 10,000 years ago and they have such skill as to kill you with only their thumb. It is said that this sage will grant a wish to those that prove themselves worthy.

This legend of the Hidden Fortress is an entertaining story to the people of Maleziel, a fanciful tale to pass the long hours on a windy night. Most dismiss it as fantasy but there are some that swear it to be the truth and speak of those that have visited this shrine, met with the sage and had their wish granted. This far-fetched tale has inspired many an idealistic fool to head off north into the Mountains of Death seeking the ‘golden path’ to their hearts’ desire. The mountains are treacherous and the few rugged trails that lead away from the settlement fade after a few miles, often ending near abandoned mines or step gorges, some filled with dark water. There are bones to be found that tell of others who lost their footing in their quest for paradise and now lie as a warning for others.

Most heed this warning and return to the settlement with a story to tell, their curiosity satisfied. Those that press on will face increasingly difficult challenges. There is no safe path through, but those that are willing to face the danger can prevail and reach the other side of the mountains. The northern face is sheltered from the winds and has formed a rainforest micro-climate where several unique species of flora and fauna thrive. This Valley of Life is abundant with fruit trees and seems like it could be a magical paradise. It is not.

The 500 square km area is sheltered by the Mountains of Death on its southern edge, and bordered on the west and east edge with high rocky cliffs peppered with geothermal springs and geysers. A barren land of storms and broken rock lies to the north. This sheltered jungle region thrives with all manner of life, including poisonous amphibians, large arachnids and xeno predators of greater size than the pit leeches.

No one that enters the Valley of Life will survive without skill and cunning. There are many ways to die but also an abundance of food and sustenance. A skilled hunter will be able to find everything they need to live but there is something else hiding in the jungle. In addition to the predator beasts and venomous creatures there is a silent watchful presence that permeates the valley. There will be signs and signals that to live in this valley is to be hunted. The valley has an opening to the north, a cave tunnel that empties onto a bleak and barren landscape, wracked with constant storms. Once through the caves the only option is to move out into the stormy plains and seek the Hidden Fortress. It lies many miles out in the wastelands, an ancient ruin of crumbling stone walls with a single remaining tower. Those that seek it are guided by the deep tolling of the bell from within that tower, rung each morning by an ancient sage called the Mergen.

This is indeed the sage that the legend speaks of, for the Mergen says any who enter the fortress may have one wish granted provided that they truthfully answer three questions. The Mergen will ask one question at a time, when they feel the time is right. This will take as long as necessary. They are welcome to stay as long as they like and they are also free to leave. They will be provided a room and three meals, and given work to do. They will also be given lessons in meditation, scripture and physical training. They are also given a name by the Mergen, often an animal name.

Anyone that reaches the Hidden Fortress is already well known to the Mergen, for they will have been observed throughout their journey. Unseen watchers will have followed their every step from the very moment they left the settlement of Maleziel. For generations, others have found their way to the temple and many now dedicate themselves to learning as acolytes. These acolytes will have delivered a full report by the time anyone reaches the Mergen. The journey to the Hidden Fortress is a difficult one and it challenges a person on every level. Only those with a strong will can succeed on this quest. Perhaps they started out with dreams of wealth and glory, but the journey changed them. Deeper truths reveal themselves in the purity of the struggle to survive. While staying with Mergen and the acolytes, these truths are focused and given form through spiritual practice.

+++ The Three Questions +++

The three questions are not the same for everyone, for they are tailored to the acolyte’s specific character. When an acolyte truthfully answers the Mergen’s three questions, they ‘graduate’ and choose one of two paths; Earth or Heaven. The Earthly Path leads to the fulfilment of one’s wish in the physical world. The acolyte is now a member of a secret society called the Sersen and has the skill and resources to master the world around them and shape their life as they see fit. They will know the secret signs that grant passage from the Wardens of Maleziel, and they will be free to leave on the next ship. As a Sersen they will have assistance from others in the secret society and they will go on to become people of knowledge and influence. Other members will come to them for aid from time-to-time and in this way the Sersen form a powerful intelligence and resource network that extends across Segmentum Obscurus.

+++ The Heavenly Path +++

There is another choice for those acolytes that ‘graduate’. The Heavenly Path is a life of devotion to the Emperor and more importantly, devotion to his original purpose, which is the protection of humanity. The path begins with a descent into the dungeons of the Hidden Fortress, to a code-sealed door of plasteel. The code is an intricate labyrinth pattern which resembles a Chogorian glyph. Solving the labyrinth will unlock the door revealing a vast subterranean complex called Zhangdü. It is one of the most well-kept secrets in that the Fortress-Monastery of the Storm Hunters Space Marine Chapter is hidden under the surface of Maleziel. Once an acolyte opens the portal and enters Zhangdü they become an initiate and start on the path to becoming an Astartes.

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Damocles of Healing

I have always loved the Damocles Command Rhino, ever since it was first introduced in Epic Space Marine. Sometimes in Warhammer you just love the way certain models look, regardless of what they do in-game. The Thunderhawk Dropship was another one of those.

I love the idea of a bunch of space marines loading onto a drop ship and plummeting down into a battle zone, like a space-age D-Day. A lot of the ideas that are in WH40K today got their first iteration in Epic, due to the game’s wider lens. That’s part of what always appealed to me about the more ‘zoomed out’ games like Epic and Battlefleet Gothic, the strategic-level of the 40K universe. I have ambitions to play a sector-wide campaign that mixes rules systems of various scales. Some day.

Just like the Thunderhawk, I need to have a Damocles and just like the Thunderhawk, I decided to make one of my own. I picked up a vanilla Rhino kit and then set about building a satellite uplink thingy for it. I used an orange juice bottle to get the main curved shape of the satellite dish. I also found that a 25mm base fits neatly into the Razorback turret hole on the top plate so I used that as a starting point for building the uplink array.

I wanted to add some old school flavour to the model so it wouldn’t completely clash with the other two RTB4 Rhinos (circa 1988) in my army. I had an old Rhino front plate in my bits box so I used that instead of the default armour plate that comes with the kit. I added some polystyrene to the outer edges of the windows so they won’t peek around the corners of the plate.

I painted the treads and interior before fully assembling the chassis. Nothing fancy, just flat black with dry brushed silver metallic. Not feeling like investing too much time on the interior, but I want some colour in there just in case you catch a glimpse of the inside.

I desired to use the storm bolter turret option for one of the top hatches but for the other one I want to have an HK missile. The one that comes with the kit doesn’t match my other Rhinos so I had to figure out something new. I took one of the half-marines that comes with the kit and put it upside down and then built up some turret gubbinz on top of that.

So there it is, after the base colours and some black washes it’s 95% done. I put a coat of varnish on and now it’s ready for squad markings and such. Which brings me to the ‘...of healing’ bit. The Damocles is my Chief Apothecary’s ride, so game-wise it’s a pseudo-ambulance. In addition to the usual Storm Hunters vehicle markings I’ll find some way to incorporate the medical helix emblem on there somewhere.

Cheers

Edit: I added some markings and did a couple of touch ups

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The Storm⚡️Hunters

The lore is still growing. It’s too much really, but I can’t stop now. In for a penny, in for a pound. When it’s done I will have said everything I want to say about Space Marines as I see them in my little corner of the 40K universe. Since I am continuing to write up the penultimate Storm Hunters lore post, I will share some photos of my 99% completed army. I now give you the Storm Hunters 4th Company, assigned to the Grey Watch Strike Cruiser ‘Vagabond’. The Storm Hunters are non-codex compliant and have their own unique organization.

1st Tactical Squad, led by Sgt Vor Khorram
Sgt Khorram’s Wolf Cloak

The 1st squad guys are Space Crusade marines, who despite being part of a board game have a pretty fun silhouette. I converted the flamer guy and gave him a more modern Astartes flamer. I also did some shenanigans with the sergeant to give him a bolter instead of the gimpy-handed options that come with the regular game kit. Another interesting detail for the sergeant is his backpack. I used a metal version with a cape and a wolfskin which was originally for the first Leman Russ mini they put out back in the day. I no longer have it because it was harvested for pieces decades ago. The backpack is cool though and makes Sgt Khorram that much more epic.

2nd Tactical Squad, led by Sgt Tazen Müür. 2nd Squad is mostly metal RT01 minis. Sgt Tazen is a Space Marine Captain figure circa 1989 (070145)
3rd Tactical Squad, led by Sgt Monx Vardü. 3rd Squad is mostly plastic RTB01 with top knots added for badassery.
5th Assault Squad is composed of all plastic RTB01 figures with plastic jump packs and assorted chainswords. They are led by Sgt Khetsübadai, who is a metal RT01 Captain Huron Grimm, circa 1987.
7th Devastator Squad, led by Sgt Choem Khaari. These cats were cobbled together from bits of many generations, and I have a Squat for an Armorium Cherub.
9th Scout Squad, led by Mergen Bataar. He’s in no mood for your shit.
10th Terminator Squad, led by Sgt Chaghagan Uua.
Left to right: Stormseer Zumburu Khan, Captain Yesugen Khatun, Chief Apothecary Tsolomon Khan

That’s my space marines army! Ready for gaming as soon as that’s allowed again. The bases need touching up around the edge – some slop from the dry brushing. I picked up a second hand Rhino which I am converting into a Damocles for my Apothecary to ride around in. I’ll share my progress on that soon.

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All your base are too small for us

I got my first Terminator Marines with the first edition of Space Hulk in 1989 AD (989.M2). I painted em up as Blood Angels and used em for Space Hulk with the bases they shipped with. That’s how they’ve stayed for the past 32 years.

Now it’s 2021 AD (021.M3) and I’ve refurbished my Space Marine army. Gone are the Blood Angels colours. Nothing against Blood Angels, just felt like I had to go my own way. The muse was singing a song of Storm Hunters to me.

Once I started looking around I discovered that terminators are on bigger bases nowadays (40mm). Makes sense, since they’re supposed to be huge and scary so they’d have bigger bases. Problem was that I didn’t own any… back when I stopped playing Warhammer I don’t think GW had invented them yet. (Edit: they actually did now that I think about it. I have more than a few mega-nobz that came with the 40mm bases)

So popped into my local shop and I ordered some. It took a while for them to be shipped, but that’s ok. I had a lot of other stuff to work on while I was waiting. They have arrived and I like em! I had no idea that I was able to get excited by 40mm miniature bases, but I was stoked to re-base my terminators. I realize now that I didn’t order enough of them. I need 20 but I only ordered 15.

My new(er) terminators were temporarily slotted into whatever jank bases I had around.

I decided to re-base my new(er) terminators and leave the OGs for next time. I’ll get around to ordering some more, and by then there may be a new release or two of interest. (looking at you, Beast Snagga Boyz)

First step is to clip off the tab for the old slot-base and shape it into a peg since the new bases don’t have slots.
After selecting a hole to punch out I stuck it with my trusty awl.
I broke his power fist off when sculpting the foot peg. Superglue is one of the many hazards of metal minis.
Started basing them! Nothing too fancy, just the classic ‘sand, rocks and grass’ look

I’ve got five of the 40mm bases left over so since I’m going to order more anyways I think I’ll use these ones to make a set of objective markers. I have an old metal Space Marine casualty mini which will make a good one.

Needs to be repainted so I’ll give him a dip in the isopropyl and scrub him with an old toothbrush.

The lore is still in progress. I went pretty deep on the Storm Hunters’ homeworld of Maleziel. They’re a fleet-based chapter but the have a secret homeworld… well I guess it’s not a secret since I just wrote it on the internet. But it is a secret so keep it to yourself. You can read all about it in my next post.

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The Machine Spirit is Displeased

You have failed me, weakling.

Big feel badsies for me the other day. WordPress ate my monster lore post. I think my despair was so overwhelming that it must have created a new chaos god, Mal’feaz’omen the Incompatible, Dark Lord of Software Clashes, Fat Thumbs and Dropped Connections. The internet was ruined for me for, like, I dunno, a whole hour or something. SO UNFAIR. Grab a cup of tea, pull up a chair and let me tell you about it. It is a tale of woe, of grievous emotional harm, of deep sadness.

TL/DR: You would think that nuking a whole post would require some sort of ‘are you sure’ button or something. 😔

It was to be the crowning capstone of my fluffy 40K space marines journey. After the seven-part epic that was ‘The Secret History’ I was finally ready to write up a current M.41 chapter entry for my White Scars Successor Chapter, the 22nd Pioneer Company of the V Legion, known as The Storm Hunters. Weeks of writing and revising the backstory had prepared me for this moment. The characters and events were clear in my head, part of the living Warhammer 40,000 universe. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and then revised and then wrote some more and then revised some more and I kept going like this for a couple of weeks. The post got really long, so long that I thought I’d like to split it in two. I went into the WordPress draft posts list and duplicated my post. So there’s two copies. So I go into the new copy and delete like most of it, just keeping the last section and giving it a new title. When I went back to the draft posts list, I am horrified to see both copies have the new title. And then I think it might be a display error so I refresh my browser, but then the copy disappears and now a there’s just one draft, and it’s the new version. My original is just gone. I just have to start it over again. 😫 In the meantime I’ll share some of my latest progress on the Space Marines army.

++ Warhawk ++

As I have mentioned before, 20+ years ago I built a Thunderhawk out of some junk I had kicking around. The project ground to a halt when I realized I needed 8 heavy bolters. At the time there wasn’t much of a re-seller market so after I asked around in my gaming group I was sort of out of options. I suppose I could have bought 4 Razorback kits, but I was working on a budget of zero at the time so that was not an option anyway.

My scratch built Thunderhawk – it’s been sitting incomplete and having little bits fall off it for 20 years.

I brought it to the club meetings a couple of times and the guys thought it was awesome. (back in those days we didn’t have a GW store in the region, so we organized our own club which met each week at a community hall) one of the guys from the club actually commissioned me to build a new one for his son, and that one had all the bells and whistles. It was more accurate to the actual Thunderhawk profile, and due to my patron’s deep pockets I had a ton of kits to pull bits from. I included an under-slung Rhino that attached to the bottom with magnets. Too bad I don’t have any pictures of it.

The basic shape is good but it’s deteriorated

It ended up in the attic with everything else in my collection. I never really fielded a 40K Space Marine army in a proper game since our club had no shortage of Astartes players and I prefer Orks anyways. Now that I’m finally realizing the dream it’s only fitting that I complete this long-postponed project. I still may never play a proper game of 40K with them since I still prefer Orks, but I am getting immense satisfaction out of painting this army.

The plating on the front ramp gate is missing
Resurfaced the front ramp gate with foam rubber sheeting
The magnetic strip that holds the ramp gate closed still works great
Yes it really holds 2 Rhinos inside the hold
Front ramp gate painted up – needs a couple more touches
Repainted in Storm Hunters colours
There’s no way I can find 8 heavy bolters so I decided to scratch built them from polystyrene and balsa wood
I found these at the dollar store – perfect size for the heavy bolter turrets
Experimented with affixing the bolters to the turret-ball with a pin. Decided that I needed to figure out a different solution because it’s very important to me that they be able to swivel into different positions.
The best solution is magnets of course
I superglued a rare earth magnet onto the bolters and then put another one just loose inside the ball.
Dry fitting the turret on the Thunderhawk in advance of permanently gluing it on
Some Chogorian script – it says ‘VB575 WARHAWK’

Now that I’ve written up the fluff for my chapter I have found the perfect name for this bird. The Storm Hunters venerate the Primarch Jaghatai Khan, who was also known as ‘The Warhawk’. It’s fitting that the would honour him this way.

VB575 is the Warhawk’s serial number. I’ve been putting serial numbers on all my Storm Hunters vehicles. The VB stands for ‘Vagabond’ which is the name of the 4th Company Strike Cruiser on which they are based.

Close to being finished this army. I’ll set them all up for a group photo soon. Like I said I don’t know if I’ll ever play them as there are so many space marine players out there already. I like having them just for narrative reasons I suppose. My old warhammer club is extinct, but I’m looking forward to meeting some new players once live events start up again. It will be good to have some flexibility with regards to army choices for pickup games.

She may not look like much but she’s got it where it counts, kid
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The Smash Captain Cometh

Latest update: All of my Space Marines are painted and varnished! Not bad for 2 and a half months work. That’s 75 models altogether: 49 Marines, 20 Terminators, 2 Rhinos, 2 Land Speeders, 1 Thunderhawk and 1 Squat. It all weighs in at over 3000 points so that’s more than enough to field a decent army for any games I’m likely to play. All that remains now is finishing touches, details, touch ups, some customization for weapons and heads here and there. I still need a sergeant model for my Scout Squad and I’d like to get a Drop Pod and a Damocles. All in good time my pretties…

Still in the original package. Seals in the shame.

Today I will share with you the unboxing of my 80071 Metal Terminator Sergeant from circa 2000 A.D. As I recall, this blister was gifted to me by a buddy of mine who worked at the local hobby store because he couldn’t sell it due to a casting error. As you will see, there is a flaw in the power sword where the metal didn’t flow all the way to the end of the mold. I’m not bothered by that in the slightest, but I may retrofit a custom blade onto the arm at some point in the future if I’m looking for a fun project.

Unsealed! Instantly reduced in value! This is madness! Oh, the humanity ladies and gentlemen!

So this blister was given to me as a gift about 20+ years ago and it’s been tucked away in my pile of shame along with all my other ‘ard gitz space marines. I suppose I could have sold it but that’s just not me. I’ll get way more pleasure out of assembling and painting it and hopefully fielding it in some heroic battles.

Look at the dweeby little base. How is all that heroic chonk supposed to balance in that little lily pad?
From left to right: 1: Power Sword Arm (flawed blade) 2: Terminator Sgt body 3: Storm Bolter Arm 4: Buckler Shield 5: Back Banner Pole 6: Dweeby 25mm Plastic Base

Some of you youngsters may not be familiar with the ways of metal. In these days of plastic kits, everything is pretty much exactly what you expect when you open the box, just clip it off the sprue and if it’s dinged or fucked up then it’s probably your own damn fault. There’s still mold lines to shave off, but it’s a lot easier to fix those in plastic than on a metal mini. I’ve definitely stabbed myself in the thumb a few times trying to carve an unsightly fringe of metal out of someone’s armpit with a little hobby knife.

Hmm. I normally like my banner poles to look a bit less bendy than this.

In addition to the mold lines the metal pieces have some tags on them that need to be clipped off and cleaned up. Also there’s the bendyness, which is corrected with some basic manual counter-bending, which some may call straightenment, or perpendiculation. I am quite skilled in this technique as any fool can plainly see.

It’s just a lil guy, never hurt nobody but it’s gotta go.
Bye
This thing. Ugh.

The older Terminators had these dumb buckler shields that just added more gack to the model and ruined the silhouette IMO. Not a fan. 😐

The blade was poorly made, yet it was destined for a destiny of great destiny.
I can see why the shop couldn’t sell this one tho. I think Games Workshop’s QC is a bit better these days. Also metal is a bad modelling material.
Here’s the mini with back banner pole attached. Looks mighty! Maybe a bit too mighty actually…
Pictured on the left is my Captain. The new Sergeant looks a bit more imposing. I think the troops might be confused by this – it’s not a good look for the army if they keep asking the Sergeant for orders and ignoring the Captain.
Look buddy, ah, I know we thought you were going to be the Captain but we’ve done a bit of a re-org and well I’m going to have to ask you to go ahead and give me your arms. Yeah.
Ouch.
Wow thanks these arms are dope! Enjoy the melty power sword, Sergeant!

It only makes sense that the biggest and most shiny Terminator in the army is the Captain. That’s the law of the Space Marines. It’s right there in the codex.

Captain Yesugen Khatun, Smasher of Faces

Here she is on a less-dweeby base. She still needs some touch-ups and detailing but she’s mostly done. Don’t worry I have proper bases on order from GW and they are on their way. I’ll be rebasing all the termies with the 40mm bases and then texturing them all awesome and stuff. I figured out my basing look with the Scout Squad. It’s a recipe of sand, mini rocks and patches of mossy grass stuff.

Yeah so that’s my story this week. There’s a lore post I’m working on but it’s a monster so I need to work on it a bit more before sharing. I have also discovered a few timeline conflicts in my Secret History lore posts that require me to go back and edit.

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