Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Implications of Re-basing

It seems like the controversy that accompanied GW's introduction of the 32mm bases for the Blood Angel Tactical Marines, Death Company, and Sanguinary Guard has died down a bit. I think most people recognize that nothing is forcing them to re-base and most have decided whether or not they're going to adapt the new base sizes for their army.

The largest schism was between the hobbyists and the competitive players. Although most hobbyists didn't seem eager to re-base existing models, they were generally excited about having the option of using bigger bases. The competitive players, on the other hand, were fretting that other gamers will gripe about their army having non-standard base sizes if they stay with the original 25mm bases (I would have left 40K several years ago if I had to play in such a hostile atmosphere) and complaining about possible advantages that armies on one particular base size will have against armies on another base size. Many of the latter complaints seemed to focus on the effect of size differences on base-to-base contact.

Out of curiosity, I decided to look at the actual affect of playing 25mm versus 32mm bases on close combat:

In the Abstract
If you were to ignore the weapons, limbs, etc. that typically hang off a model's base, a single round base of any given size can only come into base-to-base contact with six identical bases:

So what happens if your new Sanguinary Priest on its 32mm base is surrounded by an opponent's Astartes on their original 25mm bases? It turns out that your model will still come into true base-to-base contact with only six other bases:

Although a seventh 25mm base will obviously be able to participate in the combat, it will never actually contact the larger base in the middle.

What if your Space Marine Captain is still on a 25mm base and you're surrounded by a new Blood Angels Tactical Squad on their 32mm bases? You will end up in base-to-base contact with five Blood Angels:

A sixth model will still be involved in the combat, although it won't be in base contact with the base in the middle.

In short, the only real difference occurs when multiple models on the larger bases are in base-to-base contact with a single model on a smaller base. However, in a game that's as dependent on random dice rolls as 40K, I honestly don't believe that having one less model in direct contact would have a significant effect on the course of a game.

In Reality
Let's be honest; how many assaults actually look like the figures above? When your models look like this:

or this:

or this:

or this:

you're not likely to achieve those hypothetical patterns.

My Concern
Although most gamers' comments on the new base size seemed to focus on assaults, I'm more interested in what the larger bases will do to disembarking squads, especially when a 10 man squad's drop pod drifts near an enemy unit and the space for disembarking is limited. It's just as well that I'm going to keep my Tactical Marines on 25mm bases, but I still intend to field a 10 man Sternguard Squad on 32mm bases.

The Veterans might just find the battlefield to be a little bit crowded.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

7th Edition Blood Angels, or Why Space Marine Players are Still Jealous

As I've mentioned before, my oldest daughter recently started a Blood Angels army. Since babysitting money and allowance don't go very far in this hobby, I've been subsidizing it substantially, going as far as paying the entire cost of the "Shield of Baal: Deathstorm" kit as well as the "Leviathan" and "Exterminatus" book sets. (It's not all selflessness, though. I'll be starting a Tyranid army with the Deathstorm models, Leviathan has some great Tyranid formations, and I love the fluff in the Shield of Baal books.) We were going to hold off on getting the codex until my hobby budget had recovered, but we unexpectedly received a copy as a Christmas gift from a generous friend.

Bear in mind that I haven't played the army, but from what I've seen, the 7th Edition C:BA is a great codex. It has some good wargear, great army-wide benefits, and interesting units. That's why...

I Have Little Sympathy for Angry Blood Angels Players:
"It's lost all its flavor." "Now it's just like the Vanilla codex." "It's worse than the Vanilla codex." "Why didn't we get Centurions or Stormtalons?" "That's the last straw, GW, I quit."

This is the gist of what some very vocal Blood Angels players have been saying from the time the rumors starting flowing until the release of the codex. I'm sorry, but after reading through the new codex and the Shield of Baal datasheets and comparing them to my own codex, I can only say that I just don't feel sorry for those who are disappointed with the revised Blood Angels. Did people really expect 7th Edition Blood Angels to be as overpowered as the 5th Edition Blood Angels were back in the day, especially after seeing the power leveling that happened to the previous 7th Edition codexes?

In my first year of playing 40K, shortly after starting my Ultramarine army, I ran across a message board post where a Blood Angels player said, "why play Vanilla when Blood Angels do everything they do and more?" Since no one in the Cabal played them, I didn't actually see the 5th Edition C:BA until a few months ago. Good grief; no wonder C:SM players were so upset. Not only did 5th Edition Blood Angels end up with nearly every unit that Vanilla Marines had, including newer ones like Vanguard and Sternguard, but they had cheaper Devastators, Assault Marines as Troops, Land Raiders as Dedicated Transports for most squad types, fast Predators, and fast Vindicators. On top of that, they had unique units such as Death Company (a Troop unit with stats and rules that clearly belonged on a Elite choice), Baal Predators, Stormravens, Sanguinary Guard, and Furioso Dreadnoughts. Awesome wargear like hand flamers and Inferno pistols rounded it all out.

Eventually, the downward creep of the points costs in other codexes cut into the Blood Angels' competitiveness. Although many Blood Angels players were hoping to get away with a simple across-the-board points decrease, it became obvious with each 7th Edition codex that GW was deliberately trying to avoid codex creep and was scaling back some of the worst offenders. It should have been obvious that C:BA, like the Grey Knights codex, wasn't going to survive the transition from 5th Edition to 7th Edition with a mere decrease in costs.

Yes, GW has scaled back some of the more outrageous stuff in C:BA. The new codex better reflects the fact that the Blood Angels are supposed to adhere to the Codex Astartes with a few deviations stemming from their susceptibility to the Red Thirst and the Black Rage. Tactical Marines and Scouts are the lone Troops choices (just as they are in Codex-compliant Chapters), Land Raiders as Dedicated Transports are again limited to Terminator Squads (which befits their supposedly limited numbers), Furioso and Death Company Dreadnoughts are no longer infantry blenders, Death Company are Elites (which is appropriate for a squad type that isn't really part of any official Company), and Assault Marines have been moved to the Fast Attack Slot (where every other Chapter keeps them).

This latter change seems to be the biggest point of contention, with quite a few angry posts lamenting that they'll be forced to fill their Troop slots with "worthless" Tactical Marines instead of Assault Marines. The conspiracy-minded declare that GW stripped out all units except Tactical Marines and Scouts from the Troops section to force gamers to buy the new Blood Angels Tactical Squad box. This ignores the fact that nearly every 7th Edition codex has made it practically impossible to move other unit types to the Troops slot, which is effectively what the previous Blood Angels Codex had done with Assault Squads without even needing a special HQ to do it. With GW attempting to better balance the codexes against each other, it was inevitable that Blood Angels would have to deal with a limited number of Troops choices, just like the other Chapters.

(By the way, I think the new Tactical Squad kit is pretty awesome, but it seems better suited for a Blood Angels Sternguard or Command Squad than a Tactical Squad.)

They seem a bit too fancy to be basic Troops

This isn't just consistent with the options available to other Marine Chapters. From the standpoint of the fluff, Tactical Squads should form the backbone of a Blood Angels Battle Company, just as they do in any other Codex-compliant Chapter.

Why the New C:BA is Still Better than C:SM
I said that GW toned down the army a bit, but 7th Edition C:BA will still make most Vanilla Marine players envious.

Let's start with Tactical Squads, which are actually pretty good in the current edition, especially when entering play via drop pod. Thanks to a larger number of wargear options, Blood Angel Tactical Squads are even better than the Vanilla version. Their Tactical Sergeants have access to all the same wargear as their Vanilla brothers while also having access to Inferno pistols and hand flamers. And the list of heavy weapons they can take includes the heavy flamer (which is technically an assault weapon). Most Vanilla players would be very happy to be able to land a drop pod loaded with a combi-flamer (or a hand flamer), a flamer, and a heavy flamer on their opponent's doorstep. On top of all that, all Blood Angels infantry, bikes, and Dreadnoughts have Furious Charge, which is effectively a Blood Angels "Chapter Tactic". Put a power fist on your Sergeant and he's hitting at Strength 9 on the charge.

Strength 9 thunder hammers are just scary

And how about those Assault Squads that were sent to the Fast Attack section where all other Space Marine Chapters keep them? They're better than their Vanilla counterparts, too. Not only do they have all the same weapons options as Vanilla Assault Squads, but their Sergeants can take an Inferno pistol or a hand flamer, while up to two Assault Marines can take an Inferno pistol, a hand flamer, a meltagun, or a plasma gun. Again, I would gladly take these options over the plasma pistol or flamer that Vanilla Assault Marines can take. The ability to put three melta weapons in a highly mobile squad would make a Blood Angel Assault squad one of the better tank killers in the game.

There was much lamenting when rumors suggested that Blood Angels Vindicators and Predators were no longer going to be Fast. No, it just turns out that the ability to make those tanks Fast is called "overcharged engines" and is an upgrade rather than a built-in rule. Under the previous edition, the Blood Angels' Fast Vindicator was 20 points more expensive than the Vanilla Marines' standard model. Under the new codex, a Blood Angels' Vindicator with overcharged engines is a mere 5 points more expensive than the Vanilla Vindicator.

BA Terminators are priced identically with their Vanilla counterparts, but with Furious Charge they're more potent than my boys in blue. A bunch of thunder hammer Terminators can do some ugly things to the average vehicle when swinging at S9 on their first turn. And Wraithlords, Wraithknights, and Imperial Knights should be very concerned if some of those furiously charging Terminators get the chance to assault them.

But Wait, There's More!
The above is just what's in the codex. Shield of Baal has given Blood Angels an embarrassment of riches. For a mere 25 point increase over a similarly armed Terminator Captain, Shield of Baal's Captain Karlaen gets Master-crafted on this thunder hammer, gains Counter-attack, and has a special Warlord Trait giving him +1 to Seize the Initiative rolls and allowing him to re-roll Reserve rolls (whether they passed or failed). Other than Karlaen's abilities, I didn't find the Deathstorm datasheets to be particularly impressive, but the Exterminatus material is fantastic.

Do you want to field the Blood Angels Veteran Company, the Archangels? Take the Archangels Strike Force detachment, which is composed of a minimum of 1 HQ (in Terminator armor) and 2 Elites and a maximum of 2 HQs (again, in Terminator armor) and 16 Elites. The detachment has some pretty amazing Command Benefits, too. Would you you like to represent the 2nd Company, the Blooded, instead? Take the Blooded Demi-Company (as the name implies, it's essentially half a Codex Astartes Battle Company) and get a boost from the Red Thirst (+1 Initiative on the turn you charge into combat) in addition to your army-wide Furious Charge. Are you disappointed that you have a bunch of Death Company that don't count as Troops anymore? Take the Strike Force Mortalis: 1 Chaplain, 3 Death Company Squads, 2 Death Company Dreadnoughts, and 1 Stormraven. Strike Force Mortalis gains the Crusader and Fury of the Forlorn special rules, the latter giving you +1 attack if a squad is outnumbered.

I would be very surprised if Blood Angels get a supplement anytime soon since Exterminatus probably contains more good stuff than what's found in any other army's supplement. And speaking of supplements, my Ultramarines are still patiently waiting for theirs, GW. And yes, they would also like to be able to field their Veteran Company now that Space Wolves and Blood Angels can. Oh, and it would be pretty cool if you could work the Tyrannic War Veterans into it, too. The previous dataslate was interesting, but it would be nice to see how they fit into the 1st Company.

So 7th Edition C:BA looks pretty strong while supplemental materials make the army look even stronger. If my daughter ever gives up on the hobby, I might just have to adopt her army.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Back to Basics, Part III: Combi-melta Sergeant

It's depressing to think that I haven't finished a model since July. It's not that I haven't been doing anything. In fact, during that time I prepped and primed over a dozen Tactical Marines, a Librarian, an Aegis Defence Line, its gun emplacements, and a comm relay. I even helped to prepare and prime my daughter's Death Company. But it's not encouraging to do so much work and still not have anything new to put on the table.

But this week I finally finished a new model. And I think it'll be a pretty useful one, too:

Melta: the Marine player's best friend for taking out armor

Somehow I've gone all this time with a single painted Tactical Marine Sergeant; i.e., the Black Reach model modified to carry a plasma pistol. Whenever I needed other Sergeants, I simply grabbed an unpainted model with a bolt pistol and a chainsword that Bryce gave me when I started the hobby.

With melta weapons being the surest bet for tank-busting in 7th Edition, I figured I should finally add a combi-melta Sergeant to my army. I built this guy using Mk VI legs with studs, a Mk V torso, a Mk VI helmet, a backpack, and arms from the new Tactical Squad kit. The right shoulder pad with the Ultramarines logo comes from the Commander kit while the studded shoulder pad on his left comes from the old Tactical Squad (although the new kit has a studded pad, too). His backpack decoration is from the Command Squad kit, the parchment/loincloth is from the old Tactical Squad, the melta bomb on his hip is from the Assault Squad kit, and his combi-melta is from the Sternguard kit.

I painted him using an approach meant to stretch my supply of Mordian Blue. The first two or three layers are Macragge Blue, which entirely covers the black primer. I follow that up with only one or two coats of Mordian Blue. Although the two colors are noticeably different, they're close enough that it doesn't take too much Mordian to completely cover the Macragge. I then wash the model with Nuln Oil and finish up with a dry brushing of Macragge Blue. The end result is a bit more purple than my first models, which were dry brushed with the old Ultramarines Blue.

This combi-melta Sergeant is part of my plans for deploying "melta trios"; i.e., drop podding 10 man Tactical Squads containing a combi-melta/melta bomb Sergeant, a meltagun, and a multi-melta. With the Ultramarines' Tactical Doctrine allowing re-rolls to hit, in a single turn these squads would have a 40.5% chance of exploding an AV14 vehicle, a 50.1% chance of exploding an AV13 vehicle, and a 57.8% chance of exploding an AV12 vehicle.

Friday, November 28, 2014

To Re-base or Not to Re-base?

Because I carry the geek gene, my oldest daughter has found herself attracted to 40K. Unfortunately, the cost of building an all-metal Sisters of Battle army prevented her from doing her first choice. Her second choice was Blood Angels, with her first model kit being a squad of Death Company. I've been closely following Blood Angels rumors ever since.

The Temptation of Tyranids
I admitted a while ago that the new Tyranid models had tempted me to start a Tyranid army. Not long afterward, I heard about an upcoming "Shield of Baal: Deathstorm" kit. Along with essential Blood Angels models and a paperback rulebook that my daughter could use, it would also come with several basic Tyranid models and a unique Broodlord, all for a great price. The kit was tailor-made to finally convince me to start a Tyranid army. Thanks to Jake, local HobbyTown owner and fellow Cabal member, I was even able to snag a copy of the woefully underproduced Shield of Baal: Leviathan book set.

Deathstorm and Changing Base Sizes
It wasn't long before we started getting leaked images of the Deathstorm kit, one of the first of which being this one:

Some eagle-eyed readers spotted some interesting details in this picture. One of the most obvious was the fact that the Death Company Marines' bases were clearly larger than the Genestealer bases (25mm) but slightly smaller than the Terminators' bases (40mm). Until now, all power armored Marines have been mounted on the same bases as Genestealers. [Update 11/29/14: I've since found that Ahriman and Krom Dragongaze from the Sanctus Reach: Stormclaw kit are on 40mm bases despite wearing power or artificer armor.] However, these Death Company Marines were almost certainly standing on the 32mm bases that were also supposed to become available on the same day gamers could pre-order Deathstorm.

Slightly less obvious was the fact that the Tyranid Warriors were mounted on larger bases than before. More detailed GW photos show that they're mounted on the same 50mm bases as Space Marine Centurions:

Left: Warriors on the old 40mm bases
Right: Deathstorm Warriors on the new bases

Finally, it looked like the Carnifex was mounted on a larger oval base. Again, officially released images show this to be the case:

Left: Carnifex on the old 60mm circular base
Right: Deathstorm Carnifex on the new oval base

Only the Genestealers, the Dreadnought, and
the Terminators are on their original bases

This is a good change in the long run. Jump pack Marines are notoriously unstable on the smaller bases while Warriors and Carnifexes all seem a bit too big for theirs. The latter problem can make "base-to-base contact" an impossible ideal (there are way too many things hanging off some models to ever get up next to their base) and gives some of the more creative hobbyists very little room to play with. Now GW has the option of mounting infantry on 25mm, 32mm, 40mm, and 50mm bases while Monstrous Creatures have 60mm bases and several oval bases to work with.

It's great that GW is starting to provide more appropriately-sized bases for existing models, but the big question is what this means for gamers' existing armies. Rules-wise, it doesn't seem to make too much of a difference. Page 9 of the rulebook says the following:

Models and Base Sizes
The rules in this book assume that models are mounted on the base they are supplied with. Sometimes, a player may have models in his collection on unusually modeled bases. Some models aren't supplied with a base at all. In these cases (which are, in all fairness, relatively few and far between), you should always feel free to mount the model on a base of appropriate size if you wish, using models of a similar type as guidance.

In other words, if you put your Death Company or Warriors or Carnifexes on the 25mm, 40mm, or 60mm bases they originally came with, you are in full compliance with the rules. Presumably, if you have a few Warriors on the older 40mm bases and a few on the new 50mm bases, you're still okay. But heaven help you if you're as obsessed with consistency as I am.

Even after seeing the Deathstorm photos, I was feeling pretty confident that I wouldn't end up re-basing any of my models. I haven't built my Assault Marines yet (I'm assuming the Death Company bases reflect the new base size for jump pack Marines), so it's not a big deal to buy a pack of 32mm bases before I start them. I haven't started building Tyranid models, so I won't feel it necessary to re-base any Warriors or a Carnifex. And my Daughter has yet to base her Death Company, so we can pick up some of the new bases before she gets to that point.

The only thing that would seriously affect me is if they put Tactical Marines on the new bases, and I seriously doubt that GW would ever do that...


Wait a minute. Power armored Space Marines' feet usually hang off the edges of their 25mm bases, right?


But the Blood Angel Tactical Marines shown in that recently leaked photo don't seem to have that problem. And the trend shown in the Deathstorm kit is that of mounting models to more comfortably-sized bases. Could those new Tactical Marines be on 32mm bases?

Plenty of room for an Astartes on these new bases


What Next?
Honestly, those Blood Angel Tactical Marines look great on 32mm bases. Guardsmen and even Space Marine Scouts are fine on the smaller bases, but power armored Marines have always looked a little funny with their toes hanging off. And since Deathstorm has shown that GW isn't opposed to re-basing existing models, I can only assume that the Blood Angels won't be unique and that all power armored Space Marines are eventually going to start getting packaged with 32mm bases.

I don't believe that there is any rule conflict with using Marines on either 25mm or 32mm bases, so I'm left with a choice: do I re-base all my existing power armored Marines, do I keep the finished Marines on their old bases and put all subsequent Marines on 32mm bases, do I continue to mount all power armored Marines on 25mm bases (including Sternguard, Devastators, etc.), or do I put all subsequent Tactical Marines on 25mm bases and decide how to base other types of power armored Marines as appropriate? Really, which choice is less likely to make me crazier?

Even with their toes hanging off, those bases don't look too bad

Most of my power armored Marines are still on plain gray bases, so I wouldn't be losing a whole lot of work if I re-based them, but my newest models have texture and static grass. I've even brought several of my older models up to the same standard. Although I've put some work into the newer models' bases, at least they would be relatively easy to dismount since they're only held in place by a small amount of glue on each foot. Unfortunately, 15 of my 19 finished Tactical Marines are from the old paint set or the Black Reach starter set. These models were designed to fit into slotted bases and I used plenty of glue in those slots to keep them in place. It would take some serious manhandling to dismount those Marines.

Eventually, I want to be able to run up to four 10 man Tactical Squads. Right now I have about half that number and I don't really want to change their bases, especially if it could mean damaging some of them. Thus, for the sake of consistency, I think I'll continue mounting my Tactical Marines on 25mm bases.

However, I still have plenty of other power armored units to build that could benefit from the new bases. I have bits set aside for a 10 man Assault Marine Squad and a jump pack Captain that could use larger bases for the stability. For a long time I've wanted to make my Sternguard something special; larger bases would go a long way toward setting them apart. And using larger bases for Devastator Marines with their comically large weaponry makes a lot of sense.

Now that I think about it, I'm kind of excited about the new base sizes and the options they present. I bet some of the Ultramarines characters like Chief Librarian Tigurius, Chaplain Cassius, or Captain Sicarius would look pretty good on 32mm bases instead of the tiny 25mm bases they came with.

The Master of Sanctity demands a bigger base!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Even More Tyranid Models!?

Dear Valued Tyranid-playing Customer:

We're sorry that you weren't happy with your last codex. As compensation, we're going to give you some awesome new models. You've already seen the Maleceptor and the Toxicrene, but we don't feel that those are enough. Remember the missing Mycetic spore that had you so upset? Well, please accept our apology in the form of the Tyrannocyte; a combination drop pod and gunship. Oh, and we might have thrown in a couple more things, too.

Games Workshop

Or at least that's what I imagine GW is saying with the wave of new Tyranid models. Not a day after I suggested that GW might eventually give Tyranid players a Mycetic spore, we get leaked White Dwarf images of a replacement unit called the Tyrannocyte (source here). It has the same transport capacity as the old Mycetic spore and it won't mishap by drifting onto impassible terrain or another model. However, the Tyrannocyte also comes with five deathspitters (which can be upgraded to barbed stranglers or venom cannons) and it can move after the unit inside has disembarked.

The Tyrannocyte model can also be built as a Sporocyst (source here). This thing, which has the same armament as the Tyrannocyte, is an immobile pod with the Infiltrate special rule. Once per turn it can produce a Spore Mine Cluster or, once per battle, it can produce a single Mucolid Spore instead (this is essentially a giant spore mine).

To top it all off, the White Dwarf that introduces these new models says that the following week will bring "Psychic Horror". While writing my previous blog post, I noticed that the Venomthrope was missing from GW's web store. Now I've noticed that the Zoanthrope is missing, too. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that they'll be releasing a joint Zoanthrope/Venomthrope kit in the next couple weeks.

It must be an exciting time to be a Tyranid player.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

New Tyranid Models

In one of the most unexpected moves since the introduction of the Imperial Knights, GW has just released the Toxicrene/Maleceptor kit for Tyranids. Both are monstrous creatures, with the first being a highly toxic Cthulhu-like critter while the other is a psyker with a potent witchfire ability.

Fluff and Rules
According to the fluff, Tyranid bioforms such as Warriors, Hormagaunts, Termagants, and Gargoyles are essentially more advanced and/or specialized forms of Rippers. The Hive Mind can further enhance these forms to monstrous proportions: e.g., Trygons are essentially enormous Raveners (which are themselves a variation of Warriors), Harpies are big Gargoyles, etc. The new models are no exception. According to the recent White Dwarf, the Maleceptor is an "adaptation of the Zoanthrope", while the Toxicrene is an "expression of the 'family tree' begun with the creation of the Venomthrope".

Imagine these guys, but big enough to actually need limbs

Both have the standard Tyranid WS and BS, as well as the same toughness as most monstrous creatures. The Maleceptor's strength is one point higher than the Toxicrene's, while both have five Wounds. The Maleceptor, being a Synapse Creature, has a higher Leadership. Sadly, both have a 4+ save, meaning that they won't get armor saves against the majority of weapons suited for monster hunting. A 5++ on the Maleceptor and Shrouded on the Toxicrene improve their survivability, though.

The Maleceptor is essentially a psychic assassin with a pretty mean focussed witchfire attack. This power, and the big bug's mediocre close combat ability, mean that it's designed to stand back and pick off high value targets. The cost of the unit seems too high for what it does, although I don't have a whole lot of experience with 7th Edition Tyranids. Regardless of its abilities, I find the model to be pretty boring.

The Maleceptor

It's the Toxicrene that really interests me. This bug has a very short range Poisoned (2+) large blast attack that can actually damage a vehicle that has lost one or more hull points. Where it really excels, though, is in close combat. The Toxicrene has six Poisoned (2+) attacks that strike at I6 thanks to its lash whips. Being a monstrous creature, all of its close combat attacks are AP2. On top of that, it has the Hypertoxic rule, which means that To Wound rolls of 6 have the Instant Death special rule. GW threw in Toxic Miasma and Acid Blood for kicks and giggles.

Although the Toxicrene model shares most of the same parts as the Maleceptor, the model is a lot more interesting to me. The lash whips and the tentacles around the mouth make an enormous difference.

The Toxicrene

Although I appreciate that GW is continuing to develop new models and rules, this release is downright odd. Tyranids got their most recent codex in January 2014, making theirs the second to last full codex of 6th Edition. (I don't count Legion of the Damned or Imperial Knights given that they aren't really meant to work as stand-alone armies.) Now, a mere nine months after getting a new codex, Tyranids have two entirely new units.

In recent years, the only new units added to an army outside of a codex release were the Stormtalon and the Ork flyer variants. The reason for this was obvious; when 40K 6th Edition introduced Flyers, the new models ensured that Space Marines and Orks would have Flyers along with those armies that had models grandfathered into the Flyer category (i.e., the Stormraven, the Razorwing, the Doom Scythe/Night Scythe, and the Valkyrie).

But the Toxicrene and Maleceptor aren't new unit types at all, they're just monstrous creatures with new abilities. So why were they released less than a year after their army's latest codex?

Third Party Paranoia
We're all aware of GW's newfound phobia of third party model makers and the crusade to eliminate any pre-existing units that don't have a model or to avoid introducing rules for a new unit unless they're accompanied by a kit. It's possible that GW wanted to release the Toxicrene and the Maleceptor earlier this year, but didn't want to introduce even more models at the time of the Tyranids' 6th Edition update. Or perhaps their manufacturing capability wasn't sufficient to simultaneously produce another large kit. Rather than risk creating new units for 6th Edition and allowing third parties to produce models of them, they simply decided to release the rules only after the models were ready.

Appealing to the Hobbyists
It seems to me that a lot of people who are attracted to Tyranids enjoy them as much, if not more so, for the modeling aspects. It's very possible that the Toxicrene and Maleceptor were thought up after the codex release as a way of interesting Tyranid players into buying even more large models. Modern CAD/CAM drastically shortens design and manufacture times, meaning that even large models could be devised and produced within less than year.

Big models seem to be the thing right now, with Imperial Knights, Wraithknights, and the new giant Fantasy models selling pretty well. Maybe GW believes that there's a critical mass of large models that will get hobbyists interested in starting a new army that can be filled with them. Two and a half years ago, I was strongly tempted to start a Tyranid army dominated with monstrous creatures. I have to admit that these new models may have re-sparked my interest.

Filling a Gap
The Tyranid codex may have been one of the most disappointing codexes of 6th Edition. After their mediocre 5th Edition codex, Tyranid players were hoping for a competitive boost. The new codex wasn't exactly what they were looking for. (Although some players believe the Rising Leviathan dataslates released afterward significantly improved the army.)

While the new units look interesting, opinion on their rules has been mixed. No one seems to be able to figure out how they're supposed to improve the army or what gap they're supposed to be filling. If GW believes that these new models fill a niche in the army, I have yet to see any guesses on what it could be.

The fact that GW is releasing models outside of the codex is a good sign, though, since it suggests that they may become more flexible in addressing armies' weaknesses in between codex releases. Maybe they'll finally release a model for the Mycetic spore along with a re-release (or an improved version) of its rules.

Preparation for a New Codex?
Not long ago, I suggested that GW would update the 6th Edition codexes to match the style and power levels of the 7th Edition codexes. I guessed that this would happen within three years of the last update of a codex. With these new models, I wonder if GW is testing the Forge World method: release a new model with experimental rules, allow the gaming community to play test it for you, adjust the rules as necessary, and publish the rules in an updated book.

Come to think of it, it's strange that GW hasn't been doing that all along.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Predicting the Future of 40K

Curse my lack of Prescience
About two years ago I started posing my multi-part C:SM 6th Edition Codex Wishlist (see here, here, and here). Granted, these were more wants than predictions, but when the codex finally came out, it was obvious that I wasn't particularly good at forecasting the kinds of changes that we did see (here and here). Despite that, it's still fun to try to predict the direction of 40K.

The Current State
As is becoming apparent, GW is likely to bring all of its codexes up to 6th/7th Edition standards within the next year. The Dark Eldar codex is expected to be released later this month, leaving only Necrons, Blood Angels, and Sisters of Battle without a hardcover 6th/7th Edition codex (I don't count Inquisition since it's not one of the classic, established armies). I would guess that new codexes and the associated models are GW's primary source of income, meaning that they'll have to keep producing something to stay in business.

The 'rule set that was here to stay', 6th Edition, was replaced within two years. But 7th Edition was essentially a slightly revised and expanded version of 6th Edition, which suggests to me that GW saw some things they didn't like with 6th and decided that they wanted a more polished rule set to be 'the one to stay'. Seventh Edition also left the door wide open for army builds (e.g., Lords of War, Super-heavies, Formations and non-traditional Detachments, non-traditional allies), giving GW little reason to revise the rulebook anytime soon and all the reason in the world to encourage gamers to build enormous armies with an unprecedented amount of variety.

Models, Models, Models
This is a safe bet. There are still a lot of resin and metal models out there, some of which are for popular units; e.g., the Space Marine Thunderfire Cannon, the Zoanthrope, all Sisters of Battle). Even the fancy Inquisition and Assassin units that GW is pushing are predominately in Finecast or pewter.

I would buy this model in a heartbeat if it were made of plastic

In most circles, Finecast still has a bad reputation, with many gamers like myself simply refusing to buy the stuff. Thus, I expect GW to keep pushing out kits to replace as many Finecast/pewter models as possible. I also expect them to continue producing mono-pose HQs and/or named characters (complete with dataslates, where necessary). As much as I hate the price tags on these models (the Librarian I just bought has a retail price of $30), they look great. I would be even more willing to buy a jump pack Chaplain or a Librarian in Terminator armor for the same cost. I'd probably pay even more for a plastic Master of the Forge.

Oh, and I want a plastic Thunderhawk.

I would easily spend $200 for that

Contrary to my expectations, 7th Edition codexes ended up being different from the 6th Edition codexes. The biggest changes include reduced opportunities for shifting units from one Force Organization slot to another (this is most notable for Grey Knights), alternate Force Organization charts (probably intended to compensate for the first change), and the movement of major HQ choices into the Lord of War slot.

Where's your Draigo-wing now?
That leaves several 6th Edition codexes with a few less restrictions than the newer ones (e.g., Deathwing Terminators, Wraithguard, and Space Marine bikes can still be made troops with the right HQs while beasts like Marneus Calgar are still HQs) but a bit less flexibility (the older codexes are still restricted to the traditional Force Organization chart).

I would guess that GW will start revising the 6th Edition codexes, possibly aiming for a release within three years after the last update (e.g., a new Codex: Chaos Space Marines before October 2015). The bulk of the changes would simply bring them in line with the 7th Edition codexes by eliminating the shifting of certain units from one Force Organization slot to another, adding new and fluffy alternate Force Organizations, and moving characters like Calgar into the Lord of War slot.

This would also be the perfect opportunity to fix the problems that have become apparent in certain codexes. The consensus seems to be that Chaos Space Marines and Dark Angels could use a few strategic points adjustments or some boosts (I'm no fan of the Ruinous Powers, but Chaos Space Marines should not run away if they lose combat) while Eldar could be toned down a bit.

Dataslates and Formations
That GW will keep producing dataslates seems obvious. They're cheap and easy to produce and distribute. To GW's benefit, they encourage gamers to buy models they wouldn't have bought otherwise or to buy them in previously unthinkable quantities. An otherwise undesirable model might get special rules that make it worth taking or a dataslate might allow a player to bring more HQ, Elite, Fast Attack, or Heavy Support units than would normally be allowed (and therefore purchased).

So many Terminators...
For example, until he got Dataslate: Helbrutes, the 40K Cabal's Chaos Space Marine player was very unhappy with his underperforming multi-melta Helbrute (any C:SM player will tell you that a multi-melta Dreadnought without a drop pod is pretty useless). Now the other members of the Cabal have to worry about a trio of Deep Striking Helbrutes showing up in their rear lines.

As for me, with five Terminators, eight Assault Terminators, and a Terminator Captain, I figured I was done buying Terminator models. Now, thanks to the Strike Force Ultra dataslate (20 Terminators plus a Terminator Captain), I've found myself buying even more of them.

While being a cash cow for GW, I think dataslates also benefit the gamers by keeping existing codexes fresh and allowing the development of new strategies and an endless variety of builds.

I'll take an Ultramarines 1st
Company Supplement, please
I'll finish with the dataslate's big brother. I had thought that GW gave up on these when the rumored Raven Guard and White Scars supplements failed to turn up and GW started cranking out dataslates. Now that the two existing 7th Edition codexes have supplements (Waaagh! Ghazkull and Champions of Fenris, respectively) and the Dark Eldar codex is rumored to have at least one supplement, it looks like GW may be dedicated to producing them after all.

These are also no-brainers. Like dataslates they keep a codex fresh and encourage gamers to buy more models, but with their expanded scope, they inspire fluff-minded gamers to build entire armies around the Supplement rather than just one or two smaller detachments.

I suspect that a 7th Edition Space Marine codex would be more generic in its builds while Supplements would allow more specialization than was previously available; e.g., Mounted Assault would be removed from the parent codex and a similar rule or a Force Organization that promotes the use of bikes would be provided in a White Scars Supplement. A Raven Guard Supplement, on the other hand, could allow the use of more jump pack units.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Grey Knights, Rumors, Warhammer Fantasy, and New Armies in the Cabal

Recently I've spent a lot of time preparing models for my traditional pre-winter priming, meaning that this blog and my general interest blog have been thoroughly neglected. Fortunately, there's nothing like a post of miscellanea for keeping the blog current:

Grey Knights
GW's release of the Grey Knights codex certainly took the community by surprise. After months of whispering about Dark Eldar, Space Wolves, etc., the rumormongers somehow completely missed that Codex: Grey Knights was to be the next release.

It was also a bit surprising that the Grey Knights received no new models or units. I supposed it made some sense; Grey Knights already had a lot of beautiful plastic models from 5th Edition whereas many of the new models that other armies got with their 6th or 7th Edition codexes were actually just plastic replacements for Finecast or pewter models rather than new units. Still, I half expected Grey Knights to get a pre-existing kit like the Stalker.

I still haven't played against Carl's Grey Knights under the new codex, so I don't know how much of a challenge they'll be. From what I've seen of the rules, though, I'd hate to play Daemons against them.

And speaking of unexpected releases, it seems like the accuracy of rumors has become extremely poor in recent months. With Space Marines, we knew the entirety of the Space Marine codex a month in advance. The rumors nailed several details of the Tau and Eldar codexes early on. And the general idea of Imperial Knights was circulating almost a year before their release. Several rumors even predicted that we'd see a 7th Edition well before it was expected, and they even got some of the details right. However, certain rumors about 7th were aggressively wrong. Remember when a "reliable source" insisted that 7th Edition was moving towards a percentage-based force organization with "sideboards" catering to the tournament crowd? Fortunately, it didn't take long for White Dwarf leaks to show us that the truth was the exact opposite and we were going to get a ruleset that gave us extremely permissive "Battle-forged" armies and even more permissive "Unbound" armies.

I'd seen plenty of inaccurate rumors in the past, but it seems like they've been particularly bad recently. Rumormongers have been completely missing huge releases while giving us outrageously incorrect information and downright fantasies.

Where's my plastic Thunderhawk? Oh, right, GW
is still trying to get it to fit on six sprues.

How often did we hear that Guard would finally get those artillery kits that were previously available only from Forge World? It was only on the eve of the codex's release that we heard that, instead of new models, those artillery units had simply been removed from the codex. In their place, Guard ended up with the Wyvern. The Tyranid release was similar; units that were rumored to be getting models instead disappeared from the codex.

Were any of the long-standing Ork rumors true? (Grot-based armies? Choppas that had an AP value on the charge?) Did any rumors predict the Gorkanaut or the drastic changes to Mob Rule before the White Dwarf leaks? How often did we hear of a Dark Eldar/Blood Angels starter set before the Ork/Space Wolves collection and the Sanctus Reach Campaign took us by surprise?

Until the White Dwarf images leaked, how many rumors anticipated Logan Grimnar's chariot or the Stormwolf? Even while GW was rolling out new Space Wolves products, rumors incorrectly predicted that certain HQs would be getting plastic models.

And then Codex: Grey Knights, enormous Warhammer Fantasy kits, and the Nagash book simply dropped out of the sky while those with "inside information" were yammering about Dark Eldar, Necrons, Blood Angels, and Brettonians.

I've reached the point where, unless a rumor is  accompanied by photos, I simply don't believe it.

And Speaking of Fantasy...
The models of Nagash and his Mortarchs are absolutely amazing. I love my Space Marines' model line, but the Fantasy players seem to get some of the best toys. If I weren't already overwhelmed with piles of unfinished Ultramarines, these new releases (and earlier releases like the Vampire Lord on Zombie Dragon or the Coven Throne) would almost certainly convince me to start an Undead army.

They almost tempt me to play Fantasy

Several of the Cabal members are seriously considering starting Fantasy armies. Interestingly, as was the case with 40K, none of us are interested in the same armies. Bryce would do a Goblin-dominated Orcs & Goblins army, Jon would do Dwarves, Jake would field Lizardmen, and (if I were a faster modeler) I would want a Vampire Counts army led by Nagash.

Army Changes In the 40K Cabal
In the right column of this blog is a brief introduction to the members of our gaming group and the armies they play. After staying nearly constant for a while, I've had to update it recently (and learned this week that I'm going to have to revise it again) due to shuffling in some of our members' armies.

A few months ago, Bryce sold his Tau army to Jake, who is now trying to sell his Dark Angels to fund the Greater Good. Jake had really wanted to field a Ravenwing bike army but found that the Dark Angels' 2nd Company isn't particularly competitive on its own. When he played one or two games with Bryce's Tau and finally got to look through their codex (where he realized that he loved the fluff), Jake knew that the army was for him. It's always sad to see a friend fall into heresy.

In the meantime, always eager to try a new army, Bryce has since started a Raven Guard Space Marine army led by Shadow Captain Shrike. Although he hasn't actively played Space Marines in years, Bryce has loved the Raven Guard's fluff for quite some time. After playing Tau and Imperial Guard for so long, it's entertaining to watch him try to get used to an assault-oriented army again.

I've considered starting a second army for at least a couple years, but I've finally conceded that I'm rather fond of my Ultramarines and that I should actually put a dent in my pile of unfinished models before I start a new army. However, I do have a couple of unbuilt Imperial Knight models, which are eager to join the Ultramarines as an Imperial Knight Detachment.

Finally, to the great surprise of the rest of the Cabal, our Ork player bought the last Stormclaw box from Jake's HobbyTown this week. No, it wasn't for the Ork models (except for Face-rippa, he wasn't really impressed with the selection of greenskin units); it was for the Space Wolves. He even picked up the Space Wolves codex while he was there. That's right, one of our most diehard Xenos players will be bringing another loyalist Space Marine army to our tables, conveniently replacing the soon-to-be departed Dark Angels.

Although Jon claims it could be a year before he actually plays them, he's so excited about his new models that I predict that we'll be seeing Space Wolves a lot earlier than that.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Space Wolf Flyers and Advanced Astartes Weapons

When I first started getting into the hobby, I briefly looked at Space Wolves. Unfortunately, the unruly (and often ridiculous) hair on many of the models drove me back to Vanilla Marines.

Although I've long since realized that I haven't the time or the energy to focus on anything but my Ultramarines, it's still fun to look at what other armies are getting. Ever since the first photos leaked, I've been inexplicably interested in the new Stormwolf transport and the Stormfang Gunship variant.

Aesthetics and Aerodynamics
At first glance, the flyer struck me as being immensely ugly. It looks like someone threw a cockpit and a bunch of engines on a cargo container. Within a couple of days, though, I started to think about it the same way I think about Space Marine Centurions; it's big, it's ugly, it's a Space Marine vehicle. That's just how they are. If you want elegance, the Eldar have it in spades.

It seems that a lot of gamers passionately decry GW's lack of aerodynamic sense. Honestly, I care a lot more about design consistency with the rest of the army. For example, my one complaint about Forge World's Storm Eagle flyer is that it seems a little too sleek. The Stormtalon, Stormraven, Stormwolf, and Thunderhawk all look like they decided to use oversized engines and a healthy dose of sci-fi technology to defy all aerodynamic theory. It's as if they said, with a defiant sneer, "I will hurl this slab of metal as fast as I want and nothing as insubstantial as a mere gas will stop me." If anything says "Space Marines" to me, it's that attitude.

Besides, the game is supposed to take place in the bizarre universe of the 41st Millennium; between various technological advances and the apparent effectiveness of placing one's faith in a vehicle's Machine Spirit, I wouldn't expect many flyers in the 40K universe to be particularly dependent on classic aerodynamics.

In my mind, the Stormwolf's most apparent sin against modern aerodynamics is how much weight is located in front of the main wings. To maintain a level attitude, the wings of a modern airplane are generally located at or near (in the case of aircraft with a fly-by-wire system) the craft's center of gravity. A design like the Stormwolf's would constantly try to fly directly into the ground. The tiny control surfaces near its nose wouldn't be able to compensate for how far back the wings are, especially at low speeds.

However, the model's designer seems to have understood how unbalanced a real-world Stormwolf would be and threw in a few features to compensate. In the White Dwarf that introduced the flyer, the designer says that the Space Wolves prefer to stay close to a planet's surface and that the flyer is designed to accommodate that preference. The Stormwolf incorporates larger versions of the Land Speeder's gravitic plates along the nose to repel the flyer from the ground, which would solve the balance issue at low altitudes. However, gravitic plates are supposed to be less effective at higher altitudes. Although he doesn't state it explicitly, the designer must have considered that too; a group of four thrusters located underneath the nose could aid in keeping the flyer level when the gravitic plates aren't fully effective.

New Weapons and New Fluff
With the Space Wolves about halfway through their release, it's starting look like they'll be sticking with the new helfrost weapons instead getting of grav-weapons, the Stormwolf and Stormfang will be their only flyers, and they won't be fielding Centurions. This is good news; I would be tremendously annoyed if a non-Codex Chapter got their own special units and weapons as well as the Vanilla Marines' new goodies.

Although I wasn't in the hobby when the 5th Edition Blood Angels Codex was released, I can understand the frustration that Vanilla Marine players experienced when C:BA, which had plenty of its own special units, also got Sternguard and Vanguard. To add insult to injury, they also got cheaper Devastators (so much for being a close combat oriented Chapter). Back in 2011, I remember seeing at least one player post, "why play Vanilla when Blood Angels do everything they do and more?"

I've found helfrost weaponry to be one of the more interesting additions to Space Wolves. According to White Dwarf, helfrost weapons instantaneously chill a target to absolute zero, which causes even extremely durable materials to shatter. The weapons are supposedly powered by "glimmerfrost crystals", which are only found under Allfather Peak on the Space Wolves' homeworld of Fenris. Although the Adeptus Mechanicus is unable to explain how the crystals work, the Space Wolves are content to accept them as a gift from the All Father and believe that they started to grow when the Emperor discovered Leman Russ.

TL helfrost cannon (far left) and helfrost destructor (middle and far right)

For me, one of the most entertaining aspects to the 40K universe is the mysticism that surrounds the technology. Like so many other things in the 41st Millennium, the question of whether helfrost weapons are in fact mystical (i.e., psychic-based), or simply so advanced that the technology is indistinguishable from magic, will probably be left unanswered.

A Possible Origin for Advanced Astartes Weapons
Not long after I first saw the conical emitters and glowing components of the helfrost weapons, I was reminded of the grav-weapons of the Codex-compliant Space Marine Chapters:

One one hand we have a hyper-advanced weapon that can instantly drop an object's temperature to absolute zero and, on the other, we have one that can suddenly increase the local gravitational field. From the similarity in appearance, I suspect that the technologies behind helfrost weaponry and grav-weaponry are meant to be related. Although mankind saw a brief renaissance during the Emperor's rule, the heyday of human technology ended thousands of years before the Imperium's founding. The fluff makes it unlikely that a device that could make use of glimmerfrost crystals could have been developed after the crystals' discovery.

In both cases, the science behind these weapons is either hopelessly lost or shrouded in mysticism. Assuming the two are related, both would have originated during the Dark Age of Technology; a period of ten millennia during which mankind made fantastic scientific advancements and began to colonize the stars in earnest.

During that era, humanity undoubtedly would have come across examples of alien technology from races long thought to be extinct. Although the backwards society of the 41st Millennium don't even understand how most of their own weapons work, what if humans from the golden age of humanity had the know-how to reverse engineer advanced alien devices?

As soon as I saw the general shape and green glow of 6th Edition Space Marines' grav-weapons, I was immediately reminded of the weapons of another faction; one that was entirely dormant during the Age of Technology and that may have left examples of their scientific prowess lying around:

Grav-weapons bear a surprising
resemblance to Tesla Destructors

The Doomsday Cannon and the Helfrost Destructor aren't too dissimilar

I admit that it's entirely possible that the GW model designers just don't have a lot of imagination when it comes to designing advanced directed energy weapons. However, it seems odd that some of the Astartes' most powerful and mysterious weapons deviate so significantly from anything else the Imperium of Man has. And it's suspicious that these weapons just happen to resemble the weapons built by a mysterious, absurdly ancient race that was taking a nap while mankind was at the peak of its technology capabilities.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Back to Basics, Part II: Completed Tactical Marines

It's been just over a month since I started my "Back to Basics" campaign. On average, I've finished one Tactical Marine a week, which is downright speedy compared to my usual pace. I tried to work on two Marines at a time, but I ended up taking two weeks to finish both, so I've gone back to working on one model at a time.

I think the one model at a time approach may have finally beaten my real problem; i.e., modelling burnout. Excluding the month I lost thanks to a tonsillectomy and the resulting complications, eight Close Combat Terminators took me nearly four months to complete. A lot of that time was spent wanting to paint or planning to paint instead of actually painting. I just couldn't face painting another pair of legs or another set of arms. When I work on one model at a time, I lose the efficiency that comes with mass production, but I actually enjoy painting and look forward to it as a pastime and not a chore.

Only a few months ago, I wondered if I really needed
meltaguns in my Tactical Squads, then 7th Edition came along...

I've finished four models thus far. Although I have several more primed, they're all equipped with special or heavy weapons. Since I need bolter Marines to fill out my Tactical Squads, I've spent the past week or so preparing to prime about a dozen more.

Sadly enough, these four completed models were primed long before the release of the 6th Edition of C:SM, so their bits are almost entirely from the old Tactical Squad kit. The major exception is the cluster of missiles carried by one of the Marines; this bit comes from the new Tactical box and includes a flakk missile alongside the classic frag and krak missiles:

I didn't really need another Marine with a missile
launcher. I just wanted to build one in a kneeling pose.

For variety, each of these four models uses bits that aren't included in the Black Reach or starter paint set. Specifically, one is kneeling, two of them have Mk VII torsos decorated with a lone skull rather than the Imperial aquila, one has a Mk V torso, and two of them have a studded left shoulder pad.

I can't believe I ever hand painted those logos

I continue to be impressed by Micro-Set and Micro-Sol, which have saved me a huge amount of time on each model. Now that I can confidently apply decals that will fully contour to the surface and completely blend in with the paint job, I'm constantly looking for opportunities to use them.

And as can be seen in the photos, I finally got rid of the old piece of cardboard that I've been covering my hobby table with for nearly three years. I've since replaced it with a nice Fiskars cutting mat my family gave me for Father's Day.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Refitting the Ironclad

I finished my Ironclad Dreadnought almost exactly one year ago. At the time, I built the Ironclad with dual heavy flamers because of the types of armies I was playing against. However, with the rapid growth of the Cabal and the increased variety of armies that I might play against on any given game night, I found myself frequently wishing that my Ironclad had a ranged anti-tank capability.

With the advent of 7th Edition's revised Vehicle Damage Table, it became obvious that AP1 and 2 are vital if you want to remove tanks from the table. One of the most obvious responses was to modify my Ironclad by removing the heavy flamer from the seismic hammer and replacing it with the meltagun that I had saved in my bits box.

It took me a while to finally go ahead with it. I was worried that the heavy flamer would be difficult to remove, that I would damage the model, that I would offend the Ironclad's machine spirit, etc. I tried to convince myself that I could easily field melta weapons on other units and leave the Ironclad alone. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the dual heavy flamers have always driven me to use the Walker as an anti-infantry vehicle. Usually it disembarks from a Drop Pod and immediately hits a high value squad with two S5, AP4 templates. An Ironclad Dreadnought tends to attract a lot of attention, so my opponent would spend the following turn hammering away at it before it had a chance to assault, often hitting the rear armor and very often putting the Dreadnought out of commission. Although I tried to focus on higher value infantry units, the instances in which the Ironclad earned its points were few and far between.

Ironclad Dreadnought with its original wargear in June 2013

This weekend, I finally sat down to figure out how I was going to remove the heavy flamer. I was worried about freeing the weapon's hose from the seismic hammer without breaking something and figured I could pry it out with a knife or a small screw driver. Then, on a whim I simply gave the heavy flamer a gentle twist and the whole thing came loose without any problems.

Now that the heavy flamer was free, I notice that one leg had come loose at some point. With only a small amount of force, I separated the Dreadnought entirely from its feet and base. Not only did this allow me to re-glue the legs, but it gave me better access for installing the meltagun.

Within a few hours I had the meltagun entirely painted and weathered to match the heavy flamer on the power fist. Soon the meltagun was in place and the Ironclad was reattached to its feet. I also took advantage of the time to clean up the paint job in a few spots, particularly in those joints where drying glue had left a white residue.

Ironclad Dreadnought with its new meltagun

I'm sure it seems silly, but to modify a completed model with anything more than a touch-up to the paint is unprecedented for me. Once it's done, I hate to go back. But I've found myself in too many situations where I really needed a ranged anti-tank weapon on a durable forward-based unit. And now that 7th Edition has made melta weapons even more valuable than they were in 6th, it would be ridiculous to pass up the opportunity.

The preferred weapon of any well-equipped Ironclad in 7th Edition
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