Where as a Chaos Lord desires to keep something of their former selves, there are those within the Traitor Legions who have no need for such concerns! These are the Aspiring Champions of the Chaos Space Marines - who willingly allow the Greater Daemons (of Chaos) to possess their bodies ... Upon the battlefield, such Aspiring Champions, often appear, as a standard Chaos Space Marine - who has (perhaps) just fallen foul of a Boltgun round, or been run-through by a Power Sword. Yet, in the Aspiring Champions dying throws, do the Powers of the Warp take over, his body revealing its true purpose - that of a Daemonhost, a Bloodthirster of Khorne:
The first time I encountered such a Daemon, was when my Space Wolves were battling against my 40k opponents Black Legion (Chaos Space Marines army). To say Ragnar Blackmane was shocked, was something of an understatement! Regaining his composure, Ragnar quickly gathered his remaining Wolf Guard Terminators, and charged the Bloodthirster! What followed next, can still cause me nightmares - each turn my Wolf Guard dwindled, and each turn the Bloodthirster racked up the kills (under rules version two). Fortunately (for me), after three to four turns of hand-to-hand, the Emperor intervened - I suddenly remembered that we were playing Take and Hold (so destroying the Bloodthirster was not a primary objective!). Indeed, the Black Legion Commander had forgotten this point himself - and whilst he was intent on utterly destroying Ragnar (together with his Wolf Guard bodyguard), my Space Wolves Iron Priest made a Fleet of Foot dash for the Imperial Primarch Statue (that we'd selected as the primary Take and Hold objective). Hence, at the end of the game, my Space Wolves were victorious - the Black Legion were not! Even so, the Bloodthirster had left its mark on me - as I knew that it was a model, that I just had to have (even though my Iron Warriors are incapable of wielding it directly). Whilst much of the model was easy to assemble - I had considerable trouble with the Daemonic Wings (as they refused to glue on). Eventually, I decided to make use of a modelling file, and (in effect) file my own pins from the attachment points (which worked like a treat). Whilst I originally painted this model several years back - I decided recently, that it was time for a repaint ... I regard the Bloodthirster as a dry-brush paint model (meaning that I primarily dry-brush various colours over a Chaos black undercoat, plus base). I enhanced the (existing) shining gold brass armour, with some dry-brushed burnished gold (which helped to refine it's colour). I then dry-brushed magenta ink over the (existing) dry-brushed blood red daemon skin. I then (totally) overhauled the close combat Axe to feature a decent contrast between dry-brushed bolt-gun (over Chaos black), and dry-brushed burnished gold (over Chaos black). The Axe's Chaos Icons were (of course) repainted in burnished gold. The bony areas (such as tusks, teeth and finger nails) were enhanced by a runny tuskgor fur, gehenna's gold and snakebite leather mix-wash applied to the top (i.e. over ushabti bone). I then dry-brushed some burnished gold over the new bony areas (to help finish them off). As you can see, the results speak for themselves! What about the performance of my Bloodthirster in recent 40k encounters? Well, I shall consider a memorable three ... First: Bloodthirster verses Bjorn The Fell-Handed (Space Wolves Venerable Dreadnought). The Bloodthirster won easily! By the time several strength 8 plus 2d6 armour penetration tests had ravaged Bjorn, there just wasn't enough left ... Second: Bloodthirster verses Logan Grimnar and his seven Wolf Guard Terminators bodyguard (equipped for hand-to-hand with two Power Fists, two Chainfists, one Thunder Hammer, one Power Sword and one regular strength - as a Cyclone Missile Launcher). After ten Storm Bolter shots had bounced off, and an Assault Cannon had caused one wound - it was down to hand-to-hand ... The Wolf Guard sergeant (with a Power Sword) attacked at the same time as the Bloodthirster. Yet, the dice were on the Chaos side, and the Bloodthirster killed three Wolf Guards. It was then onto the remaining Wolf Guards (plus Logan), who all struck last (as Power Fists, Chainfists and Thunder Hammers all strike at Initiative 1). This was much more like it - with four attacks each (as the Wolf Guard charged), the Bloodthirster had plenty of invulnerable saves to make! Third: Bloodthirster verses two Legion of the Damned Space Marine Dreadnoughts (one Venerable - both armed with Power Fists for close combat). Eight Assault Cannon shots, and two wounds later (against the Bloodthirster), it was again into hand-to-hand. Unfortunately, the two Legion of the Damned Dreadnoughts were soon in bits - as the Bloodthirster's strength 8 plus 2d6 armour penetration tests again reigned supreme! It was these three memorable encounters that helped me devise a strategy for dealing with Bloodthirster's (and other Greater Daemons): shoot it (e.g. with powerful Lascannons from afar), and if that doesn't work (or you don't get the opportunity), engage such Daemons in hand-to-hand with so many Power Fists (or equivalent), that you should have enough models left (after the Bloodthirster's first attack), that you can force it, to have to take, a considerable amount of invulnerable saves! What happens if you don't have any Power Fists (or equivalent) left on the battlefield? Well, you could always run away (although would a Space Marine really do that?), or perhaps the Emperor shall intervene for you to (and remind you of your mission objectives!). Of course, if the objective of your 40k game is to kill as many of the enemy as possible, then why not run straight at the Greater Daemon? Imagine the satisfaction from slaying it in hand-to-hand, or at least, returning it to the Warp! Overall: This is one of the best stand out 40k models that I have collected (to date) - especially in terms of it's painting, character profile and game play. I like the fact that the Bloodthirster's character profile is easy to understand (it's pure strength 8, toughness 6, wounds 4), leaving little room for confusion over Instant Death. One drawback ... You have to test for Daemonic Instability on 3d6 (at the end of each Chaos turn) - which if you fail, may just constrain your Chaos Lords ambitions somewhat!
| Victorian Hawk