One of the most masquerading Fantasy Characters, that can be found within the Fantasy Realms, of my Warhammer 40,000 Ork army - is no other than my Ork Killer Kan(s):
For in the Heat of Battle, is it all too-easy for me to forget, that an Ork Killer Kan - is no Dreadnought! So if not a Dreadnought, what exactly is an Ork Killer Kan then? Well ... I shall answer in two parts. First: in terms of assembly and painting ... The hardest part for me, was ensuring that the Killer Kan, sat reasonably upright - when glued into it's base. I found achieving this, to be harder than you'd think - as my Killer Kan, is leaning backwards slightly! It also took me a while, to find the ideal pose for the Power Claw - eventually deciding upon, aiming for above head height (aka take that you bigger Dreadnought!). As far as the painting was concerned, I decided to under-coat in Chaos Black, dry-brush in Gun Metal, and work in some contrasting Ork'y colours: Dragon Red (for the Power Claw, Ork Lip/Banner and View Slit), Angel Green (for Power Conduits and Ork Teeth/Bolts), Golden Yellow (for Power Conduits and Ork Teeth/Banner) and Ushabti Bone (for the Horns on the front). I then mixed in a twist, with some Tuskgor Fur, upon various belts and wraps (being dry-brushed in Ushabti Bone), together with a dab or two, of Shining Gold - upon each rivet. This was followed by a dry-brushing everywhere, in Shining Gold (the really old one), to complete the masquerading look, of this particular Ork Killer Kan :) Second: in terms of game-play ... Battle One ... Being a fan of using new models, in smaller Skirmishes at first (so I learn how to use them), I took a single Ork Killer Kan, and included it with 26 Slugga Boyz, and a Gretchin Mobz of 30. Against this, a friend wielded 18 Khorne Berzerkers - both armies totalling around 360 points. Now each army, was itself split into two main flanks - with my Ork Killer Kan, joining 13 Slugga Boyz, and 15 Gretchin fodder (in Da Front!). This was just as well, as I was soon on the receiving end, of 18 Khorne Berzerker Bolt Pistol shots - slaying 12 Gretchin. WWAAUUGGHH! My Orks replied in kind: with 18 Grot Blasta shots, 26 Slugga shots, and six Big Shoota shots from my Ork Killer Kan (split over two turns). The result of all this? Two Khorne Berzerkers fell - to the Kan's Big Shoota :) My Gretchin then bore the brunt again, as they were charged by the Khorne Berzerkers - slaying 18 Gretchin. Unfortunately, my Slugga Boyz had lost their charge advantage (the Khorne Berzerkers having used, their 3 inch consolidation move to engage them). Fortunately, this made little difference - as my remaining 24 Ork Choppas, were soon cutting down Khorne Berzerkers! And in the back? Did my Ork Killer Kan, bring his Power Claw into play - with a charge, and 3 dead Berzerkers (from instant death). The Khorne Berzerkers, were now loosing rapidly: 5 dead, 4 dead, 3 dead, 2 dead - leaving just 1 Khorne Berzerker (as 3 had been lost earlier due to Ork shooting). It felt as though, my Ork Killer Kan, had never really been challenged (which indeed he hadn't!) - though he still grinned at the end, as his Slugga Boyz, dragged down the last remaining Khorne Berzerker :) Battle Two ... Having compared the statistics/profile of an Ork Killer Kan, against a Space Wolves Venerable Dreadnought (Bjorn the Fell-Handed) - did I start to think: their very similar! A battle against Space Wolves, would cause pause-for-thought on this :( Bjorn opened fire with his Assault Cannon, which amazingly bounced off (with some bad shooting) from the Killer Kan's front armour. My Killer Kan then opened fire, with his Big Shoota (which also bounced off - as Bjorn's front armour, is just too thick). My Killer Kan then charged Bjorn - but as he prepared to raise his Power Claw (he missed!), did Bjorn simply smash him, with his Lightning Claw (causing a Crew Stunned result). Having lost his charge advantage (and the ability to move/fight), was my Ork Killer Kan, then ripped to bits (on the next turn). In my Battle Lust, had I made one mistake - I'd forgotten about the points difference, between an Ork Killer Kan, and a Venerable Dreadnought (125 minus 45 equals 80 points less!). But, was it really a disadvantage? A Power Claw for 45 points? A masquerade or not? Battle Three ... Was against Space Wolves again :) Yet this time, did I wield a more sensible unit of Ork Killer Kans - three of them :) It was whilst they were fighting against Bjorn, that I feel that I learned so much more, about the weaknesses, and the advantages of Ork Killer Kans. As this time, it was my friend that was under a masquerade - as he believed that Bjorn had the upper hand. Bjorn opened fire with his Assault Cannon (tearing a Killer Kan to bits), then charged into the second Killer Kan (also tearing this Killer Kan to bits). Unfortunately (for Bjorn), whilst this was going on, did my third Killer Kan, sneak around the back of Bjorn - and tear Bjorn apart, using his Power Claw!! Overall: for some time, did I find myself wondering at the difference, between the Ork Killer Kan's failure in the second battle, and their success in the third battle. After looking at their profiles, comparing against a Space Marine Dreadnought's - did I eventually realise, that they are in-fact very similar (and hence a bargain in terms of points). But the difference lies, in whether you get a chance to bring their Power Claws into play! The more Killer Kans you have, the greater the chance that you can :) Thus, one on one, fairly even - as both the Killer Kan and Bjorn, strike at the same time (Power Claws and Power Fists both strike at Initiative 1). But three on one, confers all sorts of advantages to the Killer Kans (as they have potentially 6 to 9 Power Claw attacks, compared to a Dreadnoughts 2 to 3, or 3 to 4 for a Venerable). WWAAUUGGHH!
| Victorian Hawk | Web: Newer Version - UK, US, CA
If there's one Fantasy Character, within the Fantasy Realms of 40K - that is itself akin to the Eye of Terror, as it pulls you into the Swirling Mists of Intense Debate, than there is no finer model to collect, than a Chaos Champion's Juggernaut of Khorne:
I remember once, hearing a fellow gamer's voice - what have you got that for? Well ... It's my Juggernaut, and he's part of my Chaos Army! Needless to say, my friend and I, were soon at loggerheads :) His basic point was, that there is no point to the Juggernaut of Khorne - as it's too expensive a model (in terms of points). Well now ... Did my Chaos Lord decide, that he would be having none of this! As I quite like, the Juggernaut of Khorne :) First: in terms of collecting and painting ... I decided to assemble this model, in two parts - the Juggernaut, and the Chaos Space Marine. With the Juggernaut, I filed the metal pieces, then glued them together (but not onto the base - simply resting his feet, for the correct position). I then under-coated in Chaos Black, flipping the Juggernaut (to paint the underneath), followed by two coats of (brushed) Chaos Black. I then dry-brushed in Weapon Bronze, and glued the Juggernaut onto his base (as I found myself becoming concerned, about paint chips!). The hardest part of the Juggernaut, was painting his raised armoured edges - which I first under-coated in white, then painted in Shining Gold. As for the rivets, did I again make use of my trusty cocktail stick (with a dab of white, Dragon Red and Magenta Ink). It is here that I found it hard, to paint the inside edges of the Juggernaut's feet (as when glued to the base, is it difficult to reach the armour). I then painted the Juggernaut's skulls and teeth (which are ushabti bone with a runny tuskgor fur and gehenna's gold mix-wash applied to the top). It was then that I turned my attention, to the Juggernaut's armoured back plates, and his power conduits. I decided to under-coat both in white, with Dragon Red over the top, and Magenta Ink (to finish). I loved the effect that this created, especially on the power conduits - as it's as though my Juggernaut, has a pulsing Daemon's heart/stomach! Which I feel, is a decent modelling effect, for this part Daemon, part Machine - Juggernaut of Khorne :) As for the Chaos Space Marine rider, I decided to paint his Power Armour plates, in a fifty-fifty fashion: with some in Chaos Black (dry-brushed Weapon Bronze over the top), and other's Dragon Red (with a Magenta Ink finish). I then painted his hair and power conduits in Angel Green (dry-brushed in Mithril Silver). Then was it time, for my eye-catching Plasma Pistol (in Golden Yellow), so the enemy knows, just whose shooting at them! In any case, I glued the Space Marine rider, onto the Juggernaut last :) Second: in terms of gameplay ... Being an Independent Character, I like to attach my Juggernaut of Khorne, to a squad of at least 9, Khorne Berzerkers - that are armed with Bolt Pistols and Khornate Chain Axes (limiting enemy armour saves, to 4 plus). What of my Champion's/Juggernaut's gameplay profile? Well ... There's the Mark of Khorne (must charge closest enemy), a Khornate Chain Axe, and the Rage of Khorne (plus D3 Attacks whilst charging) - giving him Strength 5, Toughness 5 (from the Juggernaut), Wounds 3 and Attacks 5 (up to 8, when charging). In total, it cost me 118 points for my Chaos Champion, and his Juggernaut of Khorne :) In actual gameplay, are there three types of encounter - that I have seen (thus far) ... Battle One: verses 9 Space Wolves Blood Claws (Jump Packs, 4 Power Fists, 1 Power Axe, 1 Power Sword and 1 Plasma Pistol). I know! I know! A very close battle, as the Space Wolves initially benefited from Berserk Charge (plus 2 Attacks). Despite this, on the opening round of combat, did the Blood Claws lose 3 Space Marines (to the Juggernaut's Initiative of 5 with 5 Attacks!). It was then the Initiative 4 Attacks, which saw the Blood Claw's Power Weapons, carve through 2 Khorne Berzerkers - followed by the Khorne Berzerkers attacks, who with some terrible dice roles, only managed to drag down 1 Blood Claw! Unfortunately for the Juggernaut, did the Blood Claws Power Fists, then tear into him (at Initiative 1), and it was left to the Khorne Berzerkers - to win the fight! Battle Two: verses the same Space Wolves Blood Claws, but this time, did the Juggernaut and the Berzerkers - charge first :) This made a considerable difference! The Juggernaut's 5 plus D3 Attacks (in this case 8!), added to the Khorne Berzerkers 4 attacks each (on the charge), meant that the Blood Claws were simply - dragged down in a Blood Bath! The Blood Claws Power Fists (at Initiative 1), never got a chance to hit back (which could have made - all the difference). Battle Three: I don't like fighting Orks - and there's a very good reason for this! As verses 26 Slugga Boyz, and 30 Gretchin, did my Juggernaut (and his Khorne Berzerkers) - have mixed results ... I was lured into a false sense of security - as my Juggernaut and Berzerkers, managed to down 4 Gretchin (from Bolt Pistol shooting) and 20 Gretchin (from charging into hand-to-hand). At this point, I started to feel, that my Juggernaut was unstoppable :) As I was rolling 36 Attacks, with 23 hits (for my entire Khorne squad). Unfortunately, then did I realise, one of the draw backs of the Mark of Khorne: as having to charge the closest enemy (the Gretchen had been in range), meant that the Slugga Boyz were initially - unengaged. Thus, when they charged, was my Juggernaut and his Khorne Berzerkers, on the wrong side of the Blood God! The Slugga Boyz, had 63 attacks on their first turn, which with the Ork Choppas (4 plus enemy armour saves), meant that I did not have enough Khorne Berzerkers, to soak up that kind of damage, meaning that my Juggernaut - got dragged down to! Then, to top it all off, did my Berzerkers fail their Leadership test (rolling an 11 on 2D6), and the Orks simply over-ran them - in a Massacre result! Overall: For me, the Juggernaut is a worthwhile addition to your Chaos Army and it's troops, as long as your squad - has enough Chaos Space Marines in it, to soak up the damage :) At 35 points, your Chaos Champion gains Daemonic Strength (plus 1 Strength), Daemonic Essence (plus 1 Wound), Daemonic Mutation (plus 1 Attack) and being classified as a Daemon Steed, does he also gain Daemonic Resilience (plus 1 Toughness). If you added these individually, then this would cost you 65 points - so the 35 points (for a Juggernaut) seems worth it to me! And besides, do you really want your Chaos Champion, just walking into battle? Or do you want him riding a Chaos Beast, of the Blood God himself - who can trample your opponents, under his claws! Unless their Orks of course :)
At first glance, the Space Marine Rhino may appear to be somewhat unimpressive (to most of your 40K opponents). This is hardly surprising, as it's armour is on the lighter side - being considerably more vulnerable, when fired at, by even a slightly more powerful conventional weapon (such as a Chaos Autocannon, a Krak Missile Launcher and a Ork Kustom Mega-Blasta). Whereas the Rhino's intended use is as a troop transporter (within Space Marine armies), it is when the Rhino is combined with the lust of trigger-happy Space Marines, that we see it's first evolution - as a powerful mobile weapons platform (aka Tank). The first such Rhino variant that I have added to my Space Wolves army, is my Predator Annihilator:
Perhaps it was a voice from The Fang, perhaps it was with the foresight of Russ himself, I'm not entirely sure ... Yet it was, that I only ever considered constructing the triple-armed Lascannon version of this tank (two side/sponson mounted Lascannons and one turret mounted twin-linked Lascannon) - ignoring the possibility of two Heavy Bolters (entirely). Upon the first battle, was this decision vindicated: my Predator Annihilator opened fire and destroyed a Space Marine Dreadnought (with three penetrating hits, ripping the armoured sarcophagus apart, immediately slaying an ancient Dark Angels Space Marine). Upon the second battle, was this decision cemented: my Predator Annihilator opened fire and severely wounded a Chaos Daemon Prince (with three direct hits, even Daemonic Stature failed to protect, leaving just one wound, from Daemonic Essence, and pause-for-thought, on behalf of the Chaos commander!). Yet a Space Marine commander should not be so easily convinced! As within, a later battle, did a Blood Angels Dreadnought tear into the armour of my Predator Annihilator: it's front armour failed to hold up to a Power Fist! Then again, within a later battle, did the (same) Chaos Daemon Prince, exact his revenge: 2D6 plus strength (6) and a Dark Blade (plus 2), proved too much for the side armour! Thus did I (the Space Wolves commander) learn some important lessons: a Predator Annihilator is most effective when it's kept out of hand-to-hand combat, is orientated to face the enemy (so any hits are taken on the thickest front armour), which in-turn, allows you to bring all three Lascannons to bear, on a single target - take that Dreadnought! Now, this is the first Space Wolves heavy-tank that I ever painted: it's an older Predator Annihilator (fifteen years or so), yet it still looks great on the battlefield! When constructing: I assembled and glued the main plastic parts (i.e. the chassis), then (when dry), super-glued the metal tank top into place (excluding the turret) and super-glued the side sponsons bottom plus inner-side to the chassis (excluding the Lascannons and side sponsons top/front). This greatly simplified painting - as I could treat this main-part as a simple (all be it heavier) Rhino chassis: under-coating in Chaos Black (spray paint), tank brushing in The Fang, and dry-brushing with Elf Grey. I was then able to use a Fine Detail Brush (with Chaos Black) to paint the tracks, grills, funnels and view-slits. I also made use of a cocktail stick when I painted the (Chaos Black) rivets - by dabbing the end in Chaos Black, and then dabbing onto the rivet. A dry-brush in bolt-gun was then sufficient to complete the core painting of my Predator Annihilator. I then decided to show the lineage/connection to a Space Marine Rhino: I included the same Grey Hunter and Blood Claw Pack Markings (that I have on my Rhino), even though a Predator Annihilator, is unable to transport troops of any kind! I then assembled the three Lascannons, and worked on them separately (with the same approach as the main tank chassis). I then used a modelling file, to file-off a small amount of paint, so that I could glue the remaining parts of the side sponsons on - touching up, where necessary, after the glue had dried. I found the glueing of the turret, into the turret base, extremely challenging! I had to use my rotary kit, to remove both paint and metal, from the inside edge, of the turret base (so that it would fit on). I was eventually successful (none-the-less), and the final results speak for themselves! Overall: the Predator Annihilator is a Space Marine tank that shall add tremendous fire-power to your army. It's capable of destroying vehicles (such as Dreadnoughts and Chaos Defilers). It's also capable of wounding/slaying special characters (such as the Eldar Avatar and a Chaos Daemon Prince). Being equipped with three Lascannons, it's probably not worth shooting at normal squads (unless there's nothing else to shoot at, or you wish to destroy a Devastator Squad). Despite being powerful, it's not a Space Marine Land Raider (nor is it as forgiving): if you expose it's armour to hand-to-hand combat weapons (such as Power Fists, Lightning Claws and Daemon Princes), you are likely to regret it! As such, it's a vehicle that I like to keep away from the enemy (sometimes, even reversing, so that I can increase the distance, between the enemy and my tank/army). Such a tactic may not work though - especially if your up against Imperial Guard or Chaos Iron Warriors (as their big guns shall leave you vulnerable). On the plus side, the Predator Annihilator, costs less than a Land Raider (in terms of points) - which means you may be able to wield two or three (of them) - giving you six to nine Lascannons to fire! I also enjoyed being able to customise my Predator Annihilator - as I decided to opt for a Dozer Blade (great for difficult terrain tests) and Extra Armour (which I feel, is modelled appropriately by the kits metal top/turret base). Perhaps my ultimate customisation is the fact that I glued the rear ramp on upside down (for consistency with my Rhino) - which means (in theory) that your troops may get shot in the ankles! In Conclusion: I found this an enjoyable kit to make, especially as it took me several weeks painting (mostly in the evenings at weekends) - and I am extremely pleased with the finished model!
When it comes to the armour of the Space Marines, it is Power Armour that the Emperor entrusted. Being akin to the standard Boltgun, it is Power Armour that's widespread, within the Legions of the Space Marines. Power Armour has earned a reputation (upon the battlefield) for being somewhat formidable: easily able to defeat the conventional weapons of the Enemies of Mankind (such as Traitor Legion Boltguns, Eldar Shuriken Catapults and the rampaging Ork Slugga). Yet, when it comes to the Vehicles of the Space Marines, there is one vehicle that is just as abundant (upon the battlefield) - the standard Space Marine Rhino:
There was a time, many years ago, when I saw little point in equipping my Space Wolves (Space Marines) with vehicles of any kind, save for my Dreadnought (Bjorn the Fell-Handed). I trusted to the Space Marines Power Armour, to fully save the day. However, with the events of one 40K battle, I changed my mind! I shall now explain why ... It was a 12000 point battle (6000 points each side). I wielded a combined Space Wolves and Eldar army - with it's main features being Power Armour upon Power Armour, and Phoenix Lord upon Phoenix Lord! My foes: a combined Dark Angels (Space Marines) and Imperial Guard army. The first turn: My Cyclone Missile Launcher Terminator opened fire - wiping out an entire Dark Angels Assault Squad (because in rules version two, each missile fired, increased the blast radius!). Great I thought! But then, on my opponents first turn: the Imperial Guard opened fire with their artillery! Not so great! Then did I realise the length of the table (ten feet or so). I needed to close the distance - but my troops just got shot to pieces (as the distance closed). By the time they were in range (for hand-to-hand), I had few Phoenix Lords left. Fortunately I had Karandras (the Shadow Hunter), who carved a bloody path through the Dark Angels. I still had my Eldar Avatar, but even with an argument over whether a Heavy Flamer could wound him (under rules version two), I couldn't hide one simple fact: I had too few troops left, having lost most of them to the Imperial Guard artillery (as my troops moved forward). My lesson had been learned: I now use vehicles with my Space Wolves army. Specifically: I equip my Grey Hunters and Blood Claws with Rhinos (whenever possible). Now, this is the first Space Wolves Tank I ever painted - and it's taken me twenty years or so to finish it! When painting: I under-coated in Chaos Black (spray paint), then used my tank brush over the entire model (with The Fang) and dry-brushed (with Elf Grey). I then painted the tank tracks, funnels and window slits with Chaos Black (and dry-brushed with bolt-gun). I decided to add Pack Markings for both Grey Hunters and Blood Claws. I wonder - do I have to declare to my opponent which squads/troops are in which Rhinos? (Would it be classed as rules bending - if I did not?). This is another model where I assembled the entire kit, before painting. This caused few issues - other than with the tank tracks, as it took a while to paint these (correctly) especially on the underside of the Rhino chassis (where I wanted the The Fang/Elf Grey to show through). It's also (for me) a model assembled with a minor mistake, that has caused much laughter: I have actually installed the rear ramp upside down - which means the view slit is at the bottom (which means in theory, that my Space Marines could shoot your models in the ankles!). When it comes to vehicle upgrades, I like to equip my Rhinos with both Dozer Blades and Smoke Launchers. I like the Dozer Blade because of its advantage with the difficult terrain test (allowing a re-roll). I like the Smoke Launchers because it allows me to close the range on the enemy, risking perhaps one turn for some extra movement (with just glancing hits possible). When playing with my Space Wolves army, plus Rhinos, I have noticed one immediate affect: your opponent (at least) has something to distract him from shooting directly at your troops. The Rhinos armour is not on the same levels as a Space Marine Land Raiders, but it still serves its purpose: to offer squads a level of protection whilst seeking to engage the enemy at a closer range. Overall: A kit that's simple to assemble, which will start to cause some pause-for-thought within your opponent, and does not cost too much (in terms of points). The Rhino will also move where you want it to, as opposed to risking the scatter dice, that's so often associated with Jump Packs. The inclusion of a Storm Bolter, also allows you to get a few shots off, as you move!
Within the armies of the Space Marines, there are those that stand-out on the field of battle: daring Commanders that lead their brethren, both into the strongest battle lines, and into the deepest territories of the enemies (of Mankind). Yet even they may be struck down, their bodies broken, their minds intact. One such Commander, was Bjorn, of the Space Wolves Chapter of Space Marines - saved from death, by his internment within the life-preserving fluids of a Dreadnought sarcophagus:
Whilst a Space Marine can live for several hundred years, a Dreadnought can live for several thousand. Bjorn is the Oldest of the Old, having lived for over ten thousand years. Preserved by the Iron Priests (of the Space Wolves), he's armoured form has brought the wrath of the Emperor (of Mankind) to the enemies of humanity, in over a thousand battles. It is perhaps fitting then, that this is the first Dreadnought model that I ever made, and as such, is also the oldest Dreadnought model that I have (of all my armies for 40K). At this time (twenty or so years ago) I decided to construct the kit by: painting each individual part, and then glueing together. I felt that this approach had an advantage - as it allowed easy access to the Chaos black plus bolt-gun dry-brushed areas (near to where the arms attach, and at the bottom of the sarcophagus - where those two sensors protrude). In a saga that's worthy of the Space Wolves, I have repainted Bjorn several times (over the years), and it is only recently that I have achieved the results that I was after (all along). With each re-paint, I was glad that I had got his base colours (Chaos black and Space Wolves Grey) correct from the start - as this has greatly simplified his modernisations. What modernisations I hear you say? The first: it took a long time to equip him with a Dreadnought base (that I liked). For years I'd glued him to a block of wood - that was so large, that fellow 40k opponents used to laugh when I moved him (as he took half my army with him!). This was eventually fixed by using the Dreadnought scenic base (although that decision took several years). The second: for years I'd leaned across my gaming table, and for years a recurring event always occurred - I'd have to straighten his banner pole both during, and at the end, of a game of 40k! This was eventually fixed when I decided to completely remove the banner pole - which I believe actually improved the look of Bjorn. The third: as my painting skills have grown, I just knew that the (original) skulls were not up-to-scratch. These were easily fixed with my new technique (for painting skulls/bone): undercoat in white, cover with ushabti bone (aka bleached bone), then for highlights - mix tuskgor fur (aka terracotta) and gehenna's gold (aka shining gold) with water (until the paint is really quite runny), then soak a small brush in the mix, dragging across paper slightly, then running the watery-paint onto the model/skull (the water helps the paint take its own path, for example, into the cracks). I like to vary the amount of tuskgor fur/gehenna's gold that I use, as it gives different results from model to model (which I feel reflects the different ages of the skulls/bone). Bjorn is my favourite Dreadnought to wield on the battlefield: as I just love the combination of an Assault Cannon with Lightning Claw plus Heavy Flamer (on the underside of the Lightning Claw). As far as battles go, Bjorn is always at the fore-front, with two of my favourite opponents being: Orks (having slain the Warlord Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka many times) and Chaos (in one particular battle, he was in the middle of a squad of Chaos Daemons, who themselves were surrounded by my Space Wolves Wolf Guard Terminators - with so many expectations about the up coming hand-to-hand, that we forget all about the shooting phase of other troops!). Overall: This is a model that holds pride-of-place within my Space Wolves army. I like the fact that this model has made me feel like an Iron Priest: maintaining between battles, with numerous re-paints (somehow avoiding over-painting), and some tweaks to finish off (several years later). I also like the fact that he seems to have a fearsome presence on the battlefield. Whether just lucky dice? Whether just some memories of an older rules version? (When he truly was a force to be reckoned with). Whichever it is - I shall let you decide, when you next face Bjorn!
This is the first computer game that I have played, which allows me to take control of the (totally-alien) Necrons, from the Warhammer 40,000 universe:
Necrons - the word that strikes fear into many a Space Marine Commander ... I like the fact that this game is massive - both in terms of its armies (Blood Ravens Space Marines, Word Bearer Chaos Space Marines, Eldar, Imperial Guard, Orks and Tau) and in terms of its maps (Just one more hour! Just one more hour!). Necrons - their green energies ripple across the battlefield, corrupting, distorting ... I think the graphics are stunning - explosions in green, with lightening of death, and rain from above, grinding the enemy, into the ground! Necrons - the Great Sleep is over, emerge, emerge, from the Crypts of Time. I like the fact that I don't have to wait: an alien race without requisition (power instead) and a fully-featured campaign manager (where I can choose which provinces to attack, defend and/or reinforce). I love the fact that this game has two continuity features - (both of which) allow me to hit-the-floor running, when attacking/defending provinces. The first: I can earn/win units that make up an Honour Guard. These accompany my commander from mission to mission, allowing me to grab a quick foot-hold (on an enemy territory). The second: I can upgrade my commander (by equipping them with war-gear), which helps to improve their fighting capabilities. For example, in the case of the Necron Lord, he may be equipped with items (such as, but not limited to): Reinforced Body (making him harder to kill) and Skinning Blades (making him stronger during attack). Unfortunately (or is that fortunately?), delusions of grandeur are not far off: as I often like to move my Necron Lord around the battlefield, by himself, as he's powerful enough to be off having fun, by himself! My favourite tactic (when attacking with Necrons) is: to build as many Necron Warriors (including Flayed Ones) as possible, teleport my (mobile) Necron Monolith directly into the heart of an enemy city, then summon my Necron Warriors/Flayed Ones to the Monolith, then sit-back and watch the carnage be unleashed! I have found this tactic to work (pretty-much) all of the time on easy (level of difficulty), and about fifty percent of the time on normal (level of difficulty). Don't be fooled though: there's good variation of game-play/tactics (even within the campaign mode). For example: try teleporting your Monolith when your attacking the Imperial Guard Stronghold - there's only one relic (which is required for a teleporting Monolith), and its right in the heart of the Imperial Guard City (which is not going to be easy to get to!). When playing as Necrons, it's possible to exceed the squad limit (that other armies have to adhere to). You do this by using the Resurrection Orb, and grinning at the same time! I have found it hard to return to playing as Space Marines (after having played as Necrons) - because other races have to (basically) walk between locations (as opposed to the Necron Warriors/Flayed Ones, who can be summoned, to another, Necron structure). Even so, I still feel a state of panic ensuing when I encounter both a Chaos Daemon Prince and a Chaos Bloodthirster (Greater Daemon of Khorne) - as both of these units are well known for their hand-to-hand combat abilities! I admit that I have only completed the campaign on easy - which I feel was time-consuming enough (in a good way), and I can only imagine how long it would take on normal (let alone hard!). My favourite unit (for looks) within the entire game has to be to the Imperial Guard Baneblade: a massive armoured tank that (I believe) should be wielded by the Space Marines as well! Overall: This is a game that will take forever to complete (especially if you wish to complete it for all seven armies on a normal/hard difficulty setting). The game plays right into the desires of those that enjoy/lust to conquer and there's only one way to do that (in my opinion): capture every strategic point/relic on the map! This may take longer, but it will allow you to better defend your provinces, if some enemy (such as Chaos), decides to attack it (how dare they!). A very enjoyable game, that could see you disappearing for an evening/weekend (especially when it's cold and dark outside).
Within the armies of the Space Marines, there shall be those who prefer to fight from afar (e.g. with Missile Launchers and Heavy Bolters), rather than fight hand-to-hand (e.g. with Power Swords and Power Fists). When mortally wounded, such Fallen brethren, may be saved from death, by their interment within the armoured form of a Hellfire Dreadnought:
Locked within his/her armoured sarcophagus, the trigger-happy Space Marine shall continue to serve the Emperor (of Mankind), but with one major advantage: being free to roam the battlefield, picking their targets wisely, whilst incoming fire, bounces harmlessly off their adamantium armour. I enjoyed constructing this model, as it features a good amount of detail, and followed some different steps (during construction) to what I would usually do: being made of plastic, I glued the entire model together (first), then under-coated with Chaos black (spray paint). The model seems suited to this construction method, as the various parts, did not hinder at all, when painting the fine details: such as the flames - that indicate its allegiance (to Legion of the Damned). Having prepared the model with two to three coats of Chaos black (using a Tank brush), I then set about using a large dry-brush (with bolt-gun) to bring out the finer plastic details. Once painted, I then dry-brushed (once more), with gold, to create an amazing sheen (over the entire model). I feel that the plastic model aided both construction and painting (as its lighter and easier to hold), yet oddly enough, I prefer the weight of a metal Dreadnought (when I'm playing 40K). I like the fact that a Hellfire Dreadnought has several weapon options: a Missile Launcher (effective against both infantry and tanks), a twin-linked Lascannon (effective against tanks), a Multi-Melta (effective against tanks and bunkers) and an Assault Cannon (effective against infantry, plus with some luck, against vehicles). When constructing my Dreadnought, I decided to opt for a Missile Launcher (for ranged attacks) and an Assault Cannon (for powerful defence against infantry, whilst retaining the flexibility of being able to target vehicles). Even so, I keep forgetting that this is a Hellfire Dreadnought, and when playing 40K, I often try to use him/her as if they had a close combat weapon! I must remember to keep the Dreadnought towards the rear of my army/deployment zone, so that they avoid getting into hand-to-hand combat (as much as possible). I can only image what this Dreadnought would be like, if it could be equipped, with a Cyclone Missile Launcher (as that really would be Hellfire!). Overall: This is a decent model that shall add value to your army - whether your a collector, or an avid 40K gamer. The model is highly-suited to unusual paint schemes (such as my Legion of the Damned) as the sarcophagus features several large/flat areas (with room for your creative talents). The model also provides some contrast in your painting skills: as the front can be highly detailed, whilst the back can be very simple (in my case, just dry-brushed bolt-gun/gold, with a bone-coloured skull!). Even in death, this Dreadnought, shall continue to serve you, and your painting skills!
Within the forty-first millennium, devastating weapons exist, that can punch a hole through the Power Armour, of even a god-like Space Marine. Such Fallen brethren, may be saved from death, by their interment within the sarcophagus of a Dreadnought:
Within this armoured hide, the Honoured brethren shall continue to live, and bring his/her wrath to the enemies of the Emperor (of Mankind). Only the greatest/oldest warriors shall be deemed worthy of Venerable status: as they have the most knowledge (often dating back thousands of years) and have earned their right on the battlefield (often by destroying a mighty foe and/or standing against overwhelming numbers). I like the fact that this model has been crafted to a high-standard, and I especially like the amount of Purity Seals present upon the armour (which help to designate it's Venerable status). When painting this model, I wanted to aim for something different: thus it was that I decided upon Legion of the Damned! As black is my favourite colour, I under-coated in Chaos black (spray paint), then built up the layers (with Chaos black and a Tank brush), dry-brushed in bolt-gun, then carefully painted the flames (white base, yellow over the white, red over most of the yellow - with some added fun on raised edges!). I then dry-brushed gold over the entire model, including the flames (although a lesser coverage here). The biggest problem I faced (whilst painting), was with the weight of the (metal) model - as I remember that it became awkward to hold, and I had a growing fear, that something, could fall off! I forget (with my memory), whether the kit was supplied with more than one weapons choice (or not), although I would have opted for the Power Fist and Assault Cannon configuration anyway: as I feel that a Venerable Dreadnought should be both capable of attack from afar, and be able to get in into the thick-of-it (during hand-to-hand), which is exactly what my Dreadnought does! I find it ironic that the model has an exposed head (to represent the Space Marine), as I believe that actually makes him/her more vulnerable (although I suppose its possible that there's a force screen/shield across there). When it comes to playing 40K, I like the fact that my Venerable Dreadnought is (generally) much harder to kill: as it allows you to request your opponent to re-roll on the Vehicle Damage tables. This can cause some dilemma though - can you live without your Power Fist or risk loosing your Dreadnought entirely? At the very least, you may get a chance to save your Dreadnought, from exploding, (by requesting the re-roll of a high dice roll - which I have done before). Overall: I enjoyed painting this model (deciding to mark a Birthday by collecting it!) and know that it is pride-of-place within my Legion of the Damned Space Marines army. I feel that the model is especially suited to the Dreadnought scenic base (because of the link between the skulls on the model, and the skull on the ground). I also know just how imposing this model can feel on the battlefield - as it towers above the height of a standard Space Marine, and often attracts much fire-power (as your opponent will be grinning to destroy it!).
This is the first computer game that I have played, which features both Space Marines, and alien races (such as Orks and Chaos), from the Warhammer 40,000 universe:
The above intro/video sequence has to be one of the best that I ever seen! My favourite part is when the Blood Ravens Dreadnought engages the Orks - as the footage easily conveys the power (and vulnerability) of such military units. I like the fact that this is a (real time) strategy game, which sees you having to manage both troops and resources (such as requisition and power). At times, this management can seem overwhelming (e.g. when you have to fix-up an existing Space Marine city - as you may find yourself wondering what to upgrade first), yet for the most part, you shall soon fall into city building that works: stronghold, chapel-barracks, armoury and plasma generators (that generate power), whilst building up your army! The campaigns first chapter (Planet Fall) sees the Space Marines Commander offering advice (in a non-annoying fashion), which will help you get up to speed (although there's also a tutorial - which I never actually watched). The games controls seem to be supportive of battle, and I like the fact that I can group my combat units based upon number (e.g. ctrl plus 1, 2, 3, etc. allows me to quickly organise my forces). My favourite forces layout has to be: all of my Space Marine infantry in group one (with as many missile launchers as possible), with all of my heavy support in group two (such as two Land Raiders and five Dreadnoughts). I find that this combination works well in the heat of battle - especially when you have (approximately) thirty-two missile launchers backing up your Dreadnoughts (although the game has defeated this tactic in the past, especially on a hard difficulty setting!). Even though I prefer such a simple forces layout - it still makes sense to leave a squad behind (to guard your city, just in-case the enemy sneaks through). The game relies upon your ability to capture strategic points and relics (as these affect your requisition rate, which in-turn, affect the speed at which you can build/train). Once a point has been captured, I love to upgrade it to a heavily fortified position, and have been known to build nine bolter turrets around it! The Campaign is intermixed with video, which had me wondering about the Librarian from day one: he seems a little too keen to draw battle (for my liking). I like the fact that the game illustrates how god-like the Space Marines are - especially when compared to the (expendable) Imperial Guard (who form the core of the Imperium's armies). Overall: I find this game to be very addictive, and the amount of times I have said - just one more level, is (almost) beyond count! I think that the graphics are stunning, especially with the variety of explosions that appear (e.g. when the enemy is under extreme missile fire). I also think that the maps are suitably sized, and are also suitably detailed (e.g. with the remnants of Leman Russ battle tanks, within the ruins). This game has been known to keep me up, to all hours! Only one thing remains to be said: Walk softly and carry a big gun!