Monday, September 30, 2013

Tyrannic War Veterans WIP, Part III: What Now?

Before the rumor of a plastic Sternguard kit had been solidified, I had pieced out the entire Tyrannic War Veteran/Sternguard Squad. Except for a late addition, all the parts were primed along with the Close Combat Terminators and the Ironclad Dreadnought. I decided to piece together a final model after I converted a highly prized combi-weapon, which wasn't until after all his squad-mates were primed.

Finding the Parts
I had had a lot of fun dredging up parts from multiple kits and a pile of sprues that Bryce gave me almost two years ago. I spent several hours going through the Commander, Tactical Squad, Assault Squad, Command Squad, and Devastator Squad boxes to gather the bits I wanted. Since I was building a squad of experienced Veterans, I wanted them to look the part.

Helmets with the Iron Skull badge were easy to find, and I was able to collect nearly a dozen of them. I got a lot of great Veteran bits from the Commander and Command Squad boxes. At the time, the Commander box was the sole source for a plastic Imperium-style combi-melta and combi-plasma. The two boxes were also my source for several unique or rare shoulder pads. I got a number of power armor-sized Crux Terminatus shoulder pads and several Deathwatch shoulder pads.

Since Veterans often wear older patterns of armor, I gathered together the bits for Mk V and Mk VI armor from various boxes. These included Mk VI Corvus helmets and Mk V/VI studded shoulder pads. Mk V torsos (i.e., the ones with power cabling instead of the Aquila) and Mk VI legs (i.e., the legs with greaves instead of knee pads) were relatively plentiful. I was able to get a prized Mk IV helmet from the bits Bryce gave me.

I was rather pleased with one Marine I pieced together who had Mk VI legs, a Mk V/VI studded shoulder pad, a right shoulder pad with the rim scraped off to match the plain right pad of Mk V and Mk VI armor, a Mk V torso, a Mk VI Corvus helmet, and one of the more ornate Mk VII backpacks.

But my proudest achievement was the construction of seven Sternguard bolters with box magazines:

and a combi-flamer of my own design:

And Then...
Pictures of the new model kits started to leak:

The Vanguard kit alone was very impressive; the helmets and shoulder pads were far more elaborate than any I had found before and were exactly the kind of thing I wanted for my Sternguard. At the same time, the rumors were saying that the Sternguard kit was even better. In fact, it was said that the Sternguard kit built 5 Marines but had 120 components; that's an average of 24 parts per model. The high piece count meant that the Sternguard kit was going to be loaded with extra bits. Many of these bits were supposed to be combi-weapons; the plastic bits that had been so hard to find in the previous edition. Finally we got to see what the new Sternguard looked like:

... and all of a sudden my Sternguard conversions assembled from a hodgepodge of Marine bits looked pretty paltry by comparison. When photos of the new Tactical Squad box leaked, I found that we now had access to two Mk VI torsos and a pair of Mk IV legs; bits that had never been available in plastic before. I had to have these parts for my squad.

What Now?
For starters, the revised points values of the C:SM 6th Edition and the greater availability of plastic combi-weapons changed my plans for the Squad. Originally I was going to build a 10 man squad carrying the few combi-weapons I could scavange or convert; i.e., one combi-melta, a combi-plasma, and a combi-flamer. I was also going to build one Marine with a heavy bolter and one with a plasma gun. All told, I would have 12 models for list-building flexibility. When I heard that the plastic kit would have more combi-weapons, I figured that I would equip nearly all the Veterans with combi-weapons.

40K Radio eventually revealed that the cost of combi-weapons was going to increase from 5 points to 10 points each; a five point change that more than negated the 3 point per-model decrease that Sternguard received in this edition. Additionally, I realized that I get the most out of a Sternguard Squad that's geared towards a generic anti-infantry role, meaning that the one-shot combi-meltas are of little use to me and that combi-gravs are a bit too specialized. I dropped the plasma Marine when I realized how silly it is to add a 15 point weapon to a model that's already paying a premium for special ammunition. Finally, the heavy bolter fell by the wayside when I soured on using heavy weapons in any squad that's supposed to maintain mobility.

Here's the revised plan:
10 Man Sternguard Squad: 230 points
1X Lightning Claw: 15 points
2X Combi-Plasmas: 20 points
3X Combi-Flamers (two from the kit plus my conversion): 30 points
Total Cost: 295 points

The Bits
As much as I love the new Sternguard models, I didn't want to spend an extra $50 to buy two kits. Not only do I want to be able to take advantage of some of my earlier work, but I also feel that bits in this new box are too distinctive to have two copies of each part without drawing attention to that fact.

Some of the bits in the Sternguard kit actually seem a little too ornate for mere Veterans. For example, the robed torso looks like it belongs on a Captain rather than a Sergeant. And the enormous Aquila found on the left shin of one of the pairs of legs is more commonly found on the armor of a Commander (e.g., Calgar's artificer armor). Thus, I'll be repurposing the robed torso and the legs with the large Aquila for a model of Captain Agemman in artificer armor. Since there's an extra torso in the kit, this leaves me with five Sternguard torsos and four pairs of legs.

This guy is dressed more like a
Captain than a Veteran Sergeant
I'll be able to get several pairs of Veterans' legs by raiding the Vanguard kit. While I felt compelled to buy the kit upon its release, I knew that I would never use it to build an actual Vanguard Squad since they now take up an Elite slot. The squad is justifiable in a Raven Guard army with the Winged Deliverance rule, but it just doesn't work for an Ultramarine army that already has too many Elite choices as it is. However, the Vanguard kit is a great source of parts, including running legs that look great on any kind of model. I'll be saving the most ornate pair of Vanguard legs for an Assault Squad's Veteran Sergeant, but the other four will go into my Sternguard Squad.

The Vanguard kit will also supply the lightning claw for my Sternguard Sergeant, as well as several helmets. I'm particularly fond of the helmets with the molded laurels. And given how much I love the look of a Marine firing a bolter one-handed, I'll be using some of the Vanguard's straight arms as well.

This leaves me with five Sternguard torsos, four pairs of Sternguard legs, and four pairs of Vanguard legs. I'll take one of the Mk VI torsos from the new Tactical box, along with the torso with the laurels in place of the wings. The three remaining torsos will come from the models I've already primed. The final two pairs of legs will probably be the Mk IV legs and the Mk VI legs with the studs from the new Tactical Squad kit.

This mixture of parts will produce a pretty varied squad of Veterans. Four will be more ornate than the others, particularly with the full-length loincloths (for obvious reasons, I won't be putting combi-flamers on any of these guys). The four pairs of running legs will be a bit fancier than the two pairs taken from the Tactical Squad, although the latter have the advantage of being from older Marks of armor.

As much as my obsessive-compulsive personality would have liked to make the Veterans a bit more uniform, it seems reasonable that there could be a lot of variety among the members of a Squad. Among the Ultramarines, you would find experienced Marines who were promoted to the 1st Company shortly after the Battle of Macragge completely annihilated the Veteran Company. Others may have been Veteran Sergeants who had been seconded to other Companies and returned to the 1st to help rebuild it. These Marines may have been Veterans for many years by this point and would probably wear armor that's picked up any number of awards, trophies, or decorations over their years of service. Some Squad members may have achieved Veteran status through subsequent wars with the Tyranids, their simpler armor indicating the recent promotion from one of the Battle Companies. Others may have been made Veterans through unique experiences, such as serving in the Deathwatch. At least one of my 10 Sternguard will be wearing a Deathwatch pad as proof of his service on the Vigil.

As for the Rest of the Converted Models...
The latest plans for the Sternguard Squad don't make use of most of my primed models or the converted Sternguard bolters I put so much effort into. However, I've been inspired to try something new by the recently released Apocalypse: War Zone Damnos. Included in the book is a Deathwatch formation that consists of 2+ Sternguard and/or Vanguard Squads and a Space Marine Captain. These Deathwatch Kill-teams have the Preferred Enemy special rule against a single Xenos codex chosen while determining their Warlord Traits. Additionally, Kill-team members with bolters or combi-bolters are able to take a type of anti-Necron round in addition to their usual special ammunition.

Although I obviously won't be able to give them the Preferred Enemy special rule or anti-Necron rounds in a normal game of 40K, I've decided to paint my extra models as a five man Deathwatch Kill-team, complete with a Watch Captain. I'll build the Kill-team as a simple (and relatively cheap) Sternguard Squad with a heavy flamer while the Watch Captain will give me an excuse to model the Teeth of Terra relic. I like the Deathwatch fluff quite a bit and this gives me a chance to add some variety to my army. Even better, although they're effectively Veterans, the members of the Deatwatch wear relatively inornate armor, meaning that my original Sternguard conversions won't look out of place.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

What's 6th Edition C:SM Done To Your Lists?

I'm an engineer by profession, which means I'm a planner. (I'm a much better planner than a doer, unfortunately.) Shortly after I got into the 40K hobby in the summer of 2011, I planned out multiple 2000 point lists to help me determine what models I should buy and in what order I should build them. Of course, the release of the 6th Edition Space Marine Codex has significantly changed those lists. Fortunately, I'm stupid with money and have bought enough Marines to accommodate those changes.

Playing to your Army's New Strengths
I'm sure there are plenty of C:SM players with collections large enough to take advantage of their Chapter's newly acquired Tactics. Unfortunately, while my Ultramarines definitely benefited from the Tactical Doctrine in their first game with the new codex, the other two Doctrines were effectively wasted since the units that most benefit from them have been relatively low on my list of priorities. Between the so-so capabilities of Assault Marines and the outrageous cost of Devastators in 5th Edition, these two units have sat unbuilt on my shelves for quite some time. With Longstrike exploding my tanks left and right, 6th Edition Devastators have definitely moved up on my list of squads to complete.

The biggest change is in my Tactical Squads. Not only does the Ultramarines' Tactical Doctrine encourage the fielding of more of them, but the revised costs and rules for Tactical Squads has caused me to seriously rethink how I use them.

Tactical Squads In 5th Edition
Bryce has been playing the game since 2nd or 3rd Edition. Before I started playing and we formed the Cabal, Bryce hadn't played Space Marines regularly since C:SM's 4th Edition. He was shocked by 5th Edition's Tactical Squads and railed at the requirement that a Squad number ten Marines before it could take a special weapon. Additionally, 5th Edition effectively required you to pay for upgrades, whether you wanted them or not. The Sergeant's Veteran status wasn't actually free, nor was a flamer or a missile launcher. The cost of all these things had been incorporated into the base cost of the Squad.

Bryce has long preached the concept of complementary units; i.e., units that do one or two things well and avoid being a wasteful Jack of all trades. The 5th Edition Tactical Squad was diametrically opposed to this philosophy. First of all, you were forced to pay for the Veteran Sergeant whose primary strength was an extra attack and higher leadership. This gave you a melee-oriented character in a Squad designed for mid-range shooting. Being forced to pay (at least partially) for the special weapon wasn't a bad thing given that it often complemented the majority of the Tactical Squad's other weapons. It was the heavy weapon, though, that was the biggest offender.

Since you had already paid for (or subsidized) the heavy weapon, you felt obligated to bring it. However, in most cases there is a significant disparity between the strength, range, and capability of a heavy weapon versus a bolter. This meant that nine Marines (or four, if you had broken them into Combat Squads) were often left without a target while one guy shot at something that was either too far away or too tough to handle with the other Marines' weapons. Alternatively, the heavy weapon's shot was wasted on lighter units that were more effectively handled with bolters. Even worse, a heavy weapon was only useable (under the 5th Edition of 40K) or reliable (under the 6th Edition of 40K) when holding still, meaning that the rest of the Tactical Squad was stuck in place while one weapon took its shot. If the Squad remained mobile, as a Tactical Squad should be, the heavy weapon became useless, or very nearly so.

Before the release of the C:SM 6th Edition, I had 15 fully painted Tactical Marines: a modified Black Reach Squad (I had converted the Sergeant to carry a plasma pistol) and five additional Marines from the starter paint kit. I had recently primed a Sergeant with a power fist, two Marines with bolters, and a number of Marines with heavy and special weapons. These new models, combined with the five from the starter paint kit, would allow me to field a second 10 man Squad while also providing plenty of list-building flexibility with regards to special and heavy weapons. I had also pieced together several additional Sergeants, each geared towards melee combat. I made sure that I had enough Marine bits to be able to build a third 10 man Tactical Squad. Although I recognized that these generic Squads were inefficient, that was simply how Tactical Squads were organized in 5th Edition.

The 5th Edition Tactical Squad: Jack of all trades, master of none

Tactical Squads In 6th Edition
With 6th Edition everything old is new again and the five man Tactical Squad is back. Although individual Marines are all 2 points cheaper than before, the fact that special and heavy weapons are no longer subsidized and that the cost of a Sergeant's Veterancy is no longer incorporated into that of the Squad means that upgrading it into a 10 man, 5th Edition-style Tactical Squad won't save you any points. However, the ability to forgo the extras combined with the option to field a five man Squad with a single heavy or special weapon give you the flexibility to field cost-efficient specialized units.

With Devastator Centurions and cheap Devastator Squads available, there's little reason for any Tactical Marine to bring a heavy weapon. You can save a full 15 points by simply leaving that nearly useless missile launcher at home. And since you're not required to pay for the Sergeant's Veterancy and his extra attack, you can trade them for an equally priced combi-weapon that complements the Squad's special weapon. The end result is relatively inexpensive unit that excels at mid-range shooting, which is especially effective for the Ultramarines and their successors.

Although not a necessity, the melee-oriented Veteran Sergeant will still show up occasionally in my Squads; a forward deployed Tactical Squad can easily get tarpitted by a small but tough unit unless they have a model that's properly armed to break the impasse. I'll also continue to field at least one or two 10 man squads, although they won't be carrying heavy weapons. I see these larger squads and their Veteran Sergeants entering play via drop pods in turn one, breaking into Combat Squads upon disembarking, and using the Tactical Doctrine to do as much damage as possible early on. The Combat Squad with the Veteran Sergeant and the assault weapon, if included, would try to make a charge in turn two while the shooty Combat Squad fires at targets of opportunity.

In the meantime, the 10 man Squad(s) would be supplemented by two or three inexpensive five man Tactical Squads, each with a special weapon, a combi-weapon on a non-Veteran sergeant, and a Razorback. Each squad would be somewhat specialized: an anti-horde squad could have a flamer, a combi-flamer, and a standard Razorback with the twin-linked heavy bolter; an anti-Terminator/monstrous creature squad would carry a grav gun, a combi-grav, and a Razorback with a twin-linked lascannon; and a less specialized squad could have a combi-plasma, a plasma gun, and a Razorback variant.

The 6th Edition Tactical Squad: small, efficient, and focused

When the 6th Edition of 40K was released and the rules for rapid fire weapons were revised, I had the impression that Tactical Squads could become a much more important part of my army. With the release of the 6th Edition of C:SM, Tactical Marines saw a general reductions in points, increased flexibility in organization, and (for the Ultramarines) the introduction of the Tactical Doctrine. Now I'm actually excited about the increased potential and effectiveness of my army's basic Troop choice.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

6th Edition Space Marine Codex, Part II: What I Didn't Ask For (But Will Take Anyway)

Last time I covered whether or not the new C:SM fulfilled the items on my three part wishlist. I only got a few of the things I wanted, but as is often the case, sometimes you don't know what you want until you get it. Here are several things that the 6th Edition C:SM gave us that I didn't even know I wanted.

Who would have guessed that the Astartes would get Broadsides? I didn't ask for them, but I'll be taking at least three of them anyway. The assault versions seriously step on the toes of Assault Terminators and lack the invulnerable save that is a virtual necessity for such expensive units operating in that role (a Warboss with a power klaw could wipe out the entire squad in a single round of combat). The Devastator versions make a lot more sense, although their role also seems to overlap that of other heavy weapons platforms. To be honest, I mostly want them because I love their neo-Roman look, which just screams "Ultramarines" to me.

While the heavy weapons models are designated as "Devastator Centurions", it seems like they're competing with Predators rather than with Devastators themselves. In fact, along with the Riptide and the Wraithknight, Centurions seem like an attempt to compensate for the damage 6th Edition did to vehicles in general. As long as Gauss and haywire weapons can destroy the heaviest vehicle with relative ease by stripping off hull points and AP1 weapons can explode a vehicle on a 4+, there will be a need for units that are tougher than basic troops carrying heavy weapons while also being difficult to destroy with a single shot.

"Astartes smash!"
(yes, I've used this joke before)

While I think Centurions will work well against most armies, I worry about using them against Tau. With cover save-denying marker lights and plenty of armor penetrating weapons, the Tau can annihilate a Centurion Squad in one turn of shooting, Aegis Defence Line or not. If the Astartes get the first turn, they may be able to reduce the number of threats. But if the Space Marines go second, the Centurions better be in reserve, in a Land Raider, behind line of sight blocking terrain, or on a Skyshield Landing Pad. Fortunately they have Slow and Purposeful, so they won't be limited to snap firing if they come out of a Land Raider or from behind a wall to make a shot.

Chapter Tactics
Honestly, the primary reason I'm in this game is because I love the story. I enjoy the modelling and like the game, but if there wasn't a great sci-fi story behind it all I wouldn't even bother with it. Up until the release of the new codex, standard Space Marines had no variety despite the fact that numerous codexes, novels, etc. state that each Founding Chapter and their successors have certain specialties or characteristics. Sure, you could change up a few things if you took a special character, but the changes were usually minor and the character was expensive. (I was particularly disappointed by the weak and flavorless bonuses that extraordinarily expensive Ultramarine characters gave to the army.) The new Chapter Tactics make each founding Chapter unique while encouraging army lists that reflect the characteristics of the Chapter.

For example, despite the points reduction, I'm still reluctant to take Vanguard. They now take up an Elite slot that I'd rather fill with Terminators or Sternguard. The Raven Guard, on the other hand, are supposed to be a stealthy, fast striking army that uses an unusual amount of jump infantry. Thus, Raven Guard squads with jump packs have the Winged Deliverance Chapter Tactic that greatly increases their usefulness. With Winged Deliverance allowing them to use jump packs during both the movement and the assault phases, their jump troops can be in close combat very quickly. Thus, it only makes sense for Raven Guard players to take as many Assault Squads and Vanguard Squads as possible. In fact, if I were to play Raven Guard, I think I might eschew Terminators altogether in favor of Vanguard Squads.

The most effective combination, and one that I think Bryce will be slaughtering us with in a few months, would be a Vanguard Squad led by Captain Shrike. Winged Deliverance, combined with Shrikes' Stealth and Infiltrate rules, would make the squad a nightmare to face.

The Ultramarine Chapter Tactics, on the other hand, give one turn-only boosts to different types of squads. In one turn you can declare the Tactical Doctrine to effectively twin link your Tactical Squads while allowing other squads to re-roll ones. During a different turn you can declare the Assault Doctrine to allow assaulting units to re-roll charge distances while giving Assault Squads and bikes the Fleet special rule. And during another turn you can declare the Devastator Doctrine to give your Devastator Squads the Relentless special rule while other squads can re-roll snap shots and overwatch.

When 40K Radio first leaked the Ultramarines Combat Doctrines, they neglected to mention that you don't get to choose a single doctrine and use it throughout the game. At first I was disappointed when I found out that I wasn't going to have perpetually twin-linked Tactical Squads. Then I realized that being able to continuously use a single doctrine would be contrary to the Ultramarines' practices. The Ultramarines are supposed to be the ultimate generalists; pretty good at just about everything but the best at almost nothing. The brilliance of GW's approach is that it encourages Ultramarine players to diversify their army lists in order to take advantage of each Combat Doctrine. In other words, their armies will reflect the Ultramarines' generalist philosophy.

Chapter Relics
This is another brilliant addition that has annoyed quite a few non-C:SM players while exciting us Astartes fans.

With the new codex, GW has finally given each Founding Chapter and their successors unique rules to give them their own flavor. In exchange, you can no longer use a special character that has a different set of Chapter Tactics than the rest of the army (there goes my counts-as Lysander). This means that several Chapters are entirely unable to take special characters (e.g., Iron Hands) while others have a single character. With Chapter Relics, any Astartes player can create his own character complete with wargear befitting of a Chapter Master or 1st Company Captain. I've also noticed that they take some of the sting out of losing a beloved counts-as character. My Captain Agemman may not be able to use Lysander's rules anymore, but with the Shield Eternal I can give him the Eternal Warrior rule that was the reason I wanted a Lysander stand-in in the first place. Now I'm even happier that I decided to model my recently completed Terminator Sergeant with a standard Terminator-issue storm shield while only Agemman has the larger, fancier shield. Allowing only one character to carry the larger shield makes it easier to pass off as a relic.

The codex suggests that the Burning Blade
may have belonged to the Emperor himself
Other relics aren't much better than already existing weapons but are immensely characterful. For example, the Teeth of Terra is only a little better than a Relic Blade, but who wouldn't want to model a S6, AP3, obsidian-toothed chainsword? I love the Burning Blade with its plasma weapon-like stats (complete with a vicious form of Gets Hot) and would have liked to pair it with the Shield Eternal. Unfortunately, the wording of the codex seems to indicate that only one relic weapon can be taken per character. I know there's a lot of debate over this, with some believing that "replace one weapon with one of the following" means only that it's a one-for-one exchange. However, until GW says otherwise, I read it to mean that only one weapon can be exchanged for a relic. The combination of the two is so ridiculously powerful that I can't imagine that GW meant for a single character to be able to carry both.

I love the relic idea so much that I'm considering modelling an artificer-armored Captain Agemman (Calgar has two sets of armor, why not the Veteran Company's Captain?) who will carry a different relic. Some of the bits in the new Sternguard kit are almost too ornate for simple Veterans, but would work great for a 1st Company Captain in artificer armor. This Agemman would carry the relic blade and storm shield bits from the new Vanguard kit (which is a great source for melee weapons). I'm hoping to figure out a suitable fiery effect to represent the Burning Blade.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

6th Edition Space Marine Codex, Part I: Did I Get What I Wanted?

Almost a year ago I posted my 6th Edition C:SM wishlist. A month later I posted part II of the wishlist. And this May I posted part III. These are among my most popular 40K posts ever, with almost 9,000 pageviews between them.

Now the Codex is upon us and even those Astartes fans that don't have their codex yet already know almost everything in it thanks to a constant stream of leaked information from 40K Radio. Several posters on BoLS who received their books early have confirmed that 40K Radio did indeed have an accurate copy of the 6th Edition C:SM.

My copy is still in the mail, but we've gotten enough information to see how much of my wishlist I got.

From Part I
Agemman and the Ultramarines 1st Company: Not Granted
It doesn't look like we Ultramarine players will be getting an Agemman model, nor will we be taking Sternguard as troops. I didn't have my heart set on this, though, so I'm not particularly disappointed. I can still hope that an Ultramarines Supplement might give us something along these lines, possibly by labeling the Sternguard as Tyrannic War Veterans.

GW gave us an amazing kit with the Sternguard

The High Cost of Relic Blades: Partially Granted
I loved relic blades in 5th Edition, but their effectual downgrade to AP3 made their 30 point cost unreasonable. I suggested that HQ relic blades be priced closer to 20 points. Apparently relic blades for HQs will now be 25 points. However, the Teeth of Terra relic (a chainsword with relic blade stats plus Rampage and Strikedown) and the Burning Blade relic (a power sword with the Blind rule and plasma weapon stats, complete with a nasty version of Gets Hot) are actually a lot more tempting. That and both weapons sound like a blast to model.

More Tanks, Please: Not Quite Granted
I would have liked a mid-sized Space Marine tank. While Forge World has since made one for the Horus Heresy, GW will only be giving us the anti-flyer Hunter and Stalker tanks. While I expect these tanks to be the bane of flyers everywhere, our Cabal makes little use of flyers right now. I'll pass on this tank until our micro-meta catches up.

Not quite what I wanted

Give Me a Reason to Take a Whirlwind: Not Granted
Stronger weapons, multiple blasts, anti-air capability; something to justify the presence of this tank in my army. Sorry, a 20 point deduction isn't enough to encourage me to fill a Heavy Support Slot with one. If I could have a squadron of three it would be a very different story.

I'd Like to take a Thunderfire Cannon, But...: Not Granted
My original wishlist didn't take into account the improved durability of 6th Edition artillery, leading me to suggest that a Thunderfire version of the Vindicator be produced. I'd still love to see a Thunderfire Vindicator, but the current Thunderfire Cannon is a lot better than it had been under the previous artillery rules. Apparently it also gained barrage in this edition. At the same time, I refuse to buy a $56 resin model of the cannon. I'll buy it the day it comes out in plastic, though.

From Part II
Reasonably Priced Devastators: Granted
Vanilla Devastators have been lacking from many gaming tables due to their absurd price. In addition to the two point per model price drop that Tactical Marines and Scouts will also receive, Devastator weapons are now supposed to cost about as much as Dark Angels Devastator weapons. The Dark Angels' weapons are reasonably priced, which makes this C:SM player very happy.

I bought several boxes over the past couple
years hoping they would come down in price

Venerable Dreadnoughts: Granted In a Different Way
I would have loved the ability to regenerate hull points on Venerable Dreadnoughts. However, I was willing to settle on a points reduction; I'm simply not going to pay a 60 point premium under 6th Edition's hull point rules. Now it's supposed to be a 25 point upgrade to make a standard Dreadnought (which will get a 5 point reduction) into a Venerable. BS5, WS5, and the ability to force a re-roll on the damage table is definitely worth 25 points in my opinion.

Sniper Scout Ballistic Skill: Not Granted
Apparently Scouts will be getting a 2 point per model reduction. Sniper rifles will be a 1 point upgrade but camo cloaks (which I almost always put on Snipers) will be 1 point cheaper. Other than that, Scouts haven't seen any changes.

From Part III
More Dakka: Granted (depending on Chapter)
I asked for more firepower and it looks like I got it in the form of the Ultramarine Combat Doctrines. During the turn in which the Tactical Doctrine is applied, Tactical Marines re-roll fails to hit while other units re-roll ones. The Devastator Doctrine gives Devastator Squads one turn of Relentless while allowing other units to re-roll snapshots and overwatch. Imperial Fist players get it in the form of the army-wide Bolter Drill; allowing them to re-roll ones with bolter-type weapons.

Sternguard Heavy Bolters: Not Granted
It doesn't sound like there are any changes to Sternguard heavy bolters. Or to heavy bolters in general. If GW was indeed play testing new rules for heavy bolters, they decided against using them. That's a shame; I would have liked to have more mobile heavy bolters.

Supporting Fire: Not Granted
Other than some points modifications and a few tweaks along the lines of C:DA, Tactical Marines haven't gained any new abilities.

Shooty Terminators: Not Granted
Shooty Terminators' assault cannons and cyclone missile launchers will be getting a much needed 10 point cost reduction. Other than this, there is no change. And with the exception of a 5 point increase for models equipped with thunder hammers and storm shields, Assault Terminators didn't see any changes either. As cool as it would be, there won't be any way to mix Shooty and Assault Terminators.

As a side note, I'm not exactly happy that thunder hammers and storm shields had a points increase, but I had accepted long ago that it would probably happen. The change in wound allocation rules made storm shields so useful that it only made sense to increase their cost.

Next time I'll cover things I didn't even think to ask for but am happy to have anyway.

Monday, September 2, 2013

How Big are Space Marine Centurions?

The debate on how big Space Marine Centurions are began almost immediately after the first photos were leaked. They looked rather large, so many assumed they were on 60mm bases. However, Photoshop comparisons suggested that 60mm was much too big. The logical alternative, the 40mm base, seemed too small, though. Although we have only a few days left before we find out, I've already ordered my Centurion kit from the WarStore and I wanted to figure out what my money had actually bought me.

There have been very few images that show Centurions alongside other models with known base sizes. In fact, the only one I've been able to find is this image of the Lastrati Crusade collection:

One of the few pictures that allow a comparison

Notice that the Centurions are taller than the nearby Assault Marines (one upraised arm is approximately level with the top of a nearby Marine's jump pack) but their bases are smaller than those of the Dreadnoughts behind them. With a little help from Photoshop, I was able to compare the Assault Marines' 25mm bases to a Centurion base:

Centurion bases turn out to be two 25mm bases wide

All of a sudden, the cause of the early confusion becomes clear. Centurions aren't on 60mm or 40mm bases; they're on 50mm bases.

Since there aren't any 40mm bases in the images above with which to make a comparison, I did some additional analysis to confirm that Centurions aren't on Terminator-size bases. Using Photoshop's grid feature and calculating the appropriate ratios, I was able to make a comparison with an Assault Marine:

50mm Centurion on the far left, 40mm Centurion on the far right

The Centurion on the left is scaled as if it has a 50mm base. The Centurion on the right is scaled as if it has a 40mm base. While the 50mm Centurion is noticeably taller than the Assault Marine (the upraised arm is nearly level with the jump pack, just as it is in the Lastrati Crusade image), the 40mm centurion is approximately the same height. Since we know that Centurions are taller than Assault Marines based on the Lastrati image, the larger of the two base sizes must be correct.

Knowing that the Centurion is on a 50mm base, I was able to compare the sizes of several common Astartes models:

Although slightly smaller than a Dreadnought, Centurions are still relatively large models.
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