Sunday, January 27, 2013

Models In Progress and Recent Battles

It was recently brought to my attention that I've failed to update the 40K blog for over a month. Appropriately enough, the neglect was due to my push to increase the size of my current army and significantly increase its competitiveness.

My first five Tactical Marines
When I started the hobby, I turned out five Tactical Marines from the beginner's paint set, a full ten man Tactical Squad, five Terminators, one captain, and a multi-melta Dreadnought (i.e., the Black Reach kit) within four months. The next month I had added a Vindicator, Vastator, to the army. I've since completed several other models, but not at the rate that I had achieved early on.

Right now I can muster between 1300 and 1400 points of fully painted models. The army's come a long way since I finished the Black Reach force, but it's lacking in a few areas. Hoping to grow my army as quickly as I had a year and a half ago, I started a project I call "Black Reach II". The intent of this was to recreate my efforts of mid-2011 by adding another Tactical Squad, a Terminator Squad (a close combat one, this time), an HQ, and a Dreadnought (an Ironclad) to my army.

A few weeks ago I began to prepare enough Marines to be able to field a second Tactical Squad with all the special weapons and most of the heavy weapons options. (As much as I love Telion and his Scout Squad, their usefulness as a troop choice is very situational and I often find myself wishing that I had ten more suits of power armor on the table.) I've also begun to prepare seven close combat Terminators: three with storm shields and thunder hammers and four with paired lightning claws. These seven will eventually be joining a Terminator Chaplain (which I haven't even taken out of the package yet) in a Land Raider Crusader (also still in its box). I expect this Terminator force to give me the close combat unit that I've been sorely lacking. Finally, I've pulled my Ironclad Dreadnought kit out of storage. I've had a bit of luck landing an assault cannon Dreadnought via a drop pod behind or near the rear lines of Jon's Orks and look forward to doing so with AV13, an additional attack, and twin heavy flamers.

I wish I could finish models as quickly as before
Unfortunately, my grand schemes have been delayed by this year's unusually cold winter, which isn't ideal for undercoating any of my models. Once things warm up, though, I'll have quite a few models ready for painting.

Recent Battles
Space Marines/Tau vs. Orks
A couple weeks ago saw 1250 points of my Ultramarines allying with 1000 points of Bryce's Tau against 2250 points of Jon's Orks. The fighting was brutal as the shear number and variety of Ork units nearly overwhelmed our joint armies. The dice gods were fickle as my Tactical Squad's sergeant was again killed by his own plasma pistol while the rest of his squad couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. The Captain tried to shield his men with his artificer armor, but an unfortunate series of ones quickly took him out. The only bright light of the squad was a lone special weapon Marine who swept his flamer over the onrushing mob and removed an above average number of greenskins. On the other end of the spectrum of luck, Telion and his men made a bizarre number of 3+ cover saves while drawing the Orks' fire turn after turn.

The drop pod with my assault cannon Dreadnought fell exactly where I wanted it and the walker started to chew up Jon's Lootas in his rear lines. Unfortunately, the fire from two Loota squads and a missile from a wayward DeffKopta immobilized and stunned the Dreadnought, preventing it from charging the Orks. Since the Dreadnought now sat with its guns pointing away from any useful targets, Jon thought it was safe to leave it alone...

Although Bryce's Fire Warriors were lost early on, the Broadsides, the Tau commander, and the commander's body guard wreaked havoc. A lucky snap shot brought down the Ork's Dakkajet while Jon's new Battlewagon was destroyed by a Broadside's guns. The Warboss and his Burna Boyz were unceremoniously dumped into a crater where they failed their pinning test. The Tau whittled down the Burna Boyz and left an angry Warboss in the rear of the mob with one remaining wound. The Emperor must have been smiling on my Dreadnought; the stunned walker successfully snap fired at the Warboss, scored a wound, and the Warboss failed his Look Out Sir roll and a cover save. Although crippled shortly after entering the game, the Dreadnought nearly won back most of its points with that single lucky shot.

(In case anyone is wondering, the Imperium denies that the Tau killed more points than the Space Marines did that night. Any reports to the contrary are clearly Xenos propaganda.)

Space Marines vs. Dark Eldar
The same 1250 point army I took against the Orks was used against the Dark Eldar this weekend. The Ultramarines had the first turn but accomplished almost nothing when the dice wouldn't cooperate. Fortunately for me, the Dark Eldar had the same problem and very little damage was done to either side.

With a brief prayer to the Emperor, my Munitorum dice began to cooperate and my army started to do some serious damage. Dark Eldar Venoms and Raiders exploded or were reduced to wrecks thanks to lucky assault cannon shots, my Razorback's lascannon, the heavy bolters and autocannon of Spear of Talassar, Vastator's demolisher cannon (the shot was a gamble since the Terminators were only a few inches away from the expected blast), and the Tactical Squad's missile launcher. Marine losses were relatively light, although the Dreadnought was quickly dispatched by haywire grenades and Telion and his squad were wiped out when a Venom got behind their position and peppered them with poison shots.

With all the skimmers down, the Marines faced off against the transports' contents. Kevin's Wyches assaulted the Terminators while the Tactical Squad turned its guns on the Kabalite Warriors. The Terminators took seven wounds but saved all of them; the Wyches weren't so lucky and the survivors were sent running. Storm bolters and an assault cannon ensured that they wouldn't be coming back. The Marines' bolters dispatched all but three Kabalite Warriors. However, the Ultramarines were denied a clean victory; with the three survivors keeping the Dark Eldar in the game, Kevin was finally able to make his reserve rolls and bring two Voidraven Bombers (Razorwing models filled in for the soon to be released flyer) onto the table.

Spear of Talassar isn't too effective against power
armor, but it usually makes short work of Xenos.
The Voidravens, which are AV11 and can't be brought down by bolters, spent the bulk of their time trying to destroy those units that could actually do damage to them. The Razorback was first to go while the Predator survived multiple shots with some damage. By the end of the fourth turn it was obvious that the Marines weren't going to bring the flyers down before the end of the game while the bombers would be unable to significantly reduce the number of surviving Marines. We finally called the game in favor of the Space Marines, recognizing that they would certainly have the most units and points left by the end of the theoretical sixth turn. The game was fun and I came out with the victory (which is rare), but it wasn't particularly satisfying.

Now that three members of our Cabal play with flyers (Kevin has two Razorwing models, Jon occasionally fields a Dakkajet, and Carl's Grey Knights have a Stormraven), I just might have to buy those Stormtalons I've been wanting.
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