Ian Watson’s “Space Marine” Review

372px-spacemarinewatson2-jpg

2010 cover

Hi guys,

So as you probably guessed from my review of the Inquisition Wars Trilogy a little while ago, I am currently on a bit of a retro GW fluff reading spree and have been reading a fair few of the older Black Library books I can get my hands on. This includes my most recent read, Ian Watson’s “Space Marine” which was released originally in 1993 and then released in 2010 with a snazzy new cover.

Space Marine is an interesting book, following the recruitment and battles of three initiates from Necromunda (yes, the same Necromunda as the game…) as they are recruited into the Imperial Fists. The book gives a great feel for the early Necromunda / Confrontation fluff in the first few chapters, detailing the rivalries between the noble Brat gangs, the techgangs of the middle levels, and the underhive scummers that later became the foundation of the full Necromunda game. It is a pretty interesting look at the way that the broader Imperium interacts with the planetary government too, and just how remote things like the Imperial Guard are for the vast majority of Imperial citizens.

initiation_rite_by_justaman78

After the recuritment of the three main characters, Yeremi Valence, Biff Tundrish and Lexandro D’Arquebus, the book does a great job at involving you in the process by which teenagers are turned into marines. This is where most of the fluff regarding Marine implants  and genehancement comes from, with quite a lot of rather gory surgical description. It also gives a really interesting look into the psychological changes the Scouts undergo and the way that they are inducted in the way of thinking adopted by the Imperial Fists. I am going to have to admit that prior to reading the book, the Imprial Fists were probably my least favourite Legion (closely followed by the Salamanders), but their whole approach to pain and sacrifice gives them a little more interest.

1531183-_uy475_ss475_

1993 cover

After the implantation of organs etc is complete, the three characters graduate to being scout marines then full marines and are involved in three main battles. The first is a rather cool assault on a renegade human empire which declared it’s independance from the Imperium and needs to be retaken because it is a vital source of material for the production of power armour. This is the source of the classic story of space marine scouts piloting an Emperor Titan, which although often mocked, actually kind of works in the storyline. The second follows on quite closely from this battle as the Marines hunt down the commander of the renegade planet on it’s moon, fight against a pretty cool comglomeration of Squats and Ambulls, and eventually defeat a daemon of Tzeentch. This experience is a hell of a lot more scary for the Marines in the old fluff than it seems to have become in the new, with it having a lasting impact on the formation of the characters.

bes_ambull

Ambull

The third and last fight introduces the Tyranids and, while the fluff for them has changed significantly since this time, they are still recognisably the same. I shan’t spoiler things, but the fight is rather interesting and provdes a great sense of the Marines encountering something completely foreign to them. Lexandro, of course, goes on to appear in the Inquisition Wars Trilogy himself too…

Overall the book is a bit iffy though, particularly the writing style. Plot-wise and content-wise things are great, but the actual writing is rather repetitive and wanders all over the place. Every wound is described in the same way, with the blood always hardening “like cinnabar”, every opening is described as in some way the same as a sphincter, and the author has a seriously obsessive issue about bodily fluids and faecal matter, with its use recurring again and again and again throughout the book without much real reason. It all gets a bit too much and detracts from the quality of the book.

imperialfistsastartessketch

Basically, if you want a great description of Marine formation, training, and interaction then the book is for you. Enjoy the fight scenes (espcially the titan one!) and skip past all the slightly odd description. 

I would say 6/10, compared to the  Inquisition War’s 8/10.

Tagged , , ,

EPIC Dark Angels – Land Raiders

Hi guys,

So I put some whole army pictures of my Dark Angels up last week, and they seemed to go down pretty well. I also have some more detailed pictures of the various formations that make up the army so they will be going up here too along with a little bit of tactical exposition for each formation.

This post is the turn of the mighty Land Raiders. You get four in a formation for the totally unbargain basement price of 400pts (350pts in EpicUK and still no one takes them…)

They each have two twinlinked Lascannons (45cm AT4+) and a heavy bolter. The Lascannons can be pretty useful for ranged AT shots in a Marine army, but they are pretty mediocre for the points. The other good point in Land Raider’s favour is the 4+ Reinforced Armour which makes them pretty damn difficult to shift, especially when combined with And They Shall Know No Fear. You can either take them as a seperate formation, or add them as transports to eithr Devastator formations or Terminator formations. I can kind of see the benefit of adding two to a Devastator formation (adds AT shots, gives them protective transports) thought it makes them 450pts minimum, but adding them to Terminators just does not make any sense. There is no benefit to armour save, no synergy with their weapons, and the total price comes to a truly eye watering 725pts…

img_5045

In the Dark Angels chapter, most of the Land Raiders are used as transports by the Deathwing, the veteran first company of the chapter. They have a pretty distincitve colour scheme of bone white and this is something I have carried through into their Land Raiders. A nice wash brings out the detail and the red gives a good strong contrast colour.

I hope you all approve!

Tagged , , ,

EPIC Dark Angels – Army Pics

img_5141

3rd & 5th Companies of the Dark Angels Chapter, with Deathwing and Ravenwing support

Hey guys,

As some of you may know I have been painting up my Epic Dark Angels off and on for ages now. I painted a fair amount (mostly infantry) about two years ago, then slid away and stopped for ages. I recently picked them up again and painted some more for the Into the Breach tournament I went to, and that gave me the impetus to finally get them finished (3.5 years after I bought them…).

So, I am rather proud to present the fully painted army for you all. That’s 7,500pts of Dark  Angels, made up of the full 3rd and 5th Tactical Companies with support from the 1st Company Deathwing, the 2nd Company Ravenwing, and various tanks from the chapter Ironwing. It has pretty much got everything a Marine army can have, only missing a Thunderhawk Transporter from the available formations (hard to get hold of, not such a nice model imho, and I’m tactically unsure about it), and gives me the option to run a variety of different 3k or 4k lists.

img_5144

3rd Company in Drop Pods, with Deathwing and Ironwing support

I have really tried to go to town with this army, trying to do justice to the beautiful forumware models and sticking to the background of the Dark Angels. This does partly explain why the army has taken me so long to complete, but also it gives me an army whose paintjob I am reallly quite proud of. Adding the little grass tufts was the last step and  really sets off the darker palette of the bases and models, while I quite like the brighter tone of red that I used on them.

img_5143

5th Company in Rhinos, with support from the Ravenwing and the 10th Company Scouts

I think the time and attention has really paid off, and works well with the elite feel of Marine armies in EPIC. Just look at how few models make up 7,500pts, compared to say Orks or Imperial Guard, or even armies like Eldar. This highlights one of the reasons I love EPIC – the armies play and look like how they should do in the fluff. Marine armies are TINY in comparison to most other races, but still manage to throw their weight around!

A couple of things to add though – normally when playing Marines, you need some form of AA cover, provided by Thunderbolts. I already have a fair few painted Thunderbolts so these will sub in from my Imperial Guard army for now, though I would maybe consider trying to find some good Storm Talon or Xiphon Interceptor stand ins just to keep the Marine look. Another aspect is that most effective Marine army lists run with at least two Warhound Titans (they need the speed, firepower, and engagement triggering effectiveness of the the titans), and while I get kinda grumbly over this, I do eventually want to pick up two of the Forgeworld Warhound Titans to go with this army. Probably painted in a nice light gray and yellow Legio Gryphonicus scheme for contrast with the dark green and red marines.

I’ll be putting up some more posts in the near future showing some closer in pictures of the various formations, but if you click on these pics they do get bigger so go have a look. Otherwise I feel the army is done – all it needs now are a few more games to prove itself!

Tagged ,

The Inquisition War Trilogy

a9d97d67bcbf4e4384b011f6bb021120

Hi guys,

Just a quick post this time. I have just recently finished reading the book series ‘The Inquisition War’, a very early series of books from Black Library, and wanted to seriously recommend them to anyone who is interested in the older, and more esoteric, background of the 40k universe.

In the kind of spirit of the more well known Eisennhorn and Ravenor book series, but pre-dating them by quite a bit, the Inquisition War series follows he exploits of the Inquisitor Jaq Draco as he and his companions investigate heresy and fight across the galaxy. In keeping with the early date of the book, the fluff is very much of the time period, being somewhat more adult in nature, and exceptionally crazy compared to the more modern writing coming out of Black Library.

jaq_draco-harq_obispal__the_harlequin_man

This attitude is nothing but good however, harking back to the days of Rogue Trader. This includes a pretty central role for Squats, interesting differences in the inner workings of the Inquisition especially regarding the Ordo Malleus, and a very interesting and humanising take on an Imperial Fist Space Marine. Also, the figure of the Emperor plays a very critical role in the storyline, but is presented in a pretty shocking and intriguing way. I won’t spoil things, but it is probably not the way you have thought about the Emperor, and adds a whole new dimension to him.

Having said all that, the storyline is excellent and deals with some of the more interesting aspects of the 40k universe, and with some convincing plot lines. Split across three books, Draco, Harlequin, and Chaos Child, the story visits a great number of places, including Terra (and the Emperor’s throne room), the webway and the Black Library, and a very trippy account of a Daemon world in the Eye of Terror. The series is also the source for much of the old Illuminati / Sensei Knight / children of the Emperor fluff, which I find wonderful.

inquisitor_jaq_draco

Basically, what I am trying to say, is if you have a liking for early 40k fluff go and read the series. It was a great read for me and totally unexpected as I had never heard of it before. It is available on Amazon as a trilogy, from Black Library as three seperate digital books, or there are .epubs floating around on the internet (but shush….). There is more info on Lexicanum here too. A definite 8/10 😀

Now go read!

Tagged , , , , ,

BFG – Scratchbuild Ad-Mech Fleet 4

explorator_fleet_kx-557-vHi guys,

I’m back with the last post (for now) in this Adeptus Mechanicus fleet series, this time with the Lunar Class Cruiser, Scientia.

img_1032

Super easy conversion work this time, remember the fleet was just a little side project to use up some badly paint caked cruisers and to complete my BFG fleet selection. Leaving one of the lance batteries off gave me space to add some spars and miscellaneous mechanical bits and pieces, plus adding some extra aerials, makes this one of the simpler models in the fleet.

img_1034

The other side has been left alone, and the whole ship has been roughly painted in the same scheme as the rest. in the Ad-mech fleet you can upgrade all 30cm weapons batteries, so in the fleet list this ship takes that upgrade, but otherwise remains plain. Nothing fancy here!

All that is left for this fleet is the addition of a battleship, which I have decided will be an Oberon class. Three reasons for this: I think the varied weaponary (lances, batteries, and launch bays) kind of suits the Ad-Mech, having some more launch bays in  this fleet will be useful as I only have the single Dictator class, and the Oberon is a battleship class I don’t have in any of my other Imperial fleet lists. To this  end, I bought an Ad-Mech battleship from a certain place on the internet, and have assembled and undercoated it ready for painting. I think I will probably put more effort into painting it reasonably than I have with these ships, so it should eventually make an appearance up here.

Thanks for following along all!

Tagged , ,

Into the Breach! – EPIC Tournament

dark_angels_tacticals_redux_by_dforrest-d7efqtx

Hi guys,

So as you might be aware I have not really been playing much of anything lately, having packed up my stuff a while ago and since moved to London. Since then I have been pretty busy trying to find a job and with some writing, but recently I found out that there was going to be an EPIC tournament called “Into the Breach” at Dark Sphere Gaming in London yesterday. I figured it was a good excuse to a) play some games b) meet new people and c) find out where I could continue to get games in London in the future. I just didn’t want to finish last…

IMG_4988

 

Well I went yesterday, and I have to say it satisfied on all three counts! I played three games against a variety of lovely people, met even more nice people, and have found out where my best chances for getting some specialist gaming in the future are. I took my Dark Angles, playing them just as Codex Marines, with a full Battle Company and no Thunderhawk or Warhounds… So not exactly stellar, but fun to play.

IMG_4991

My first game was against a lovely chap playing Steel Legion – four(?) Mech Infantry Companies on his side and two Warhounds drove me to a very convincing loss. I just couldn’t shift any of the infantry out of cover and mucked up a couple of decisions early on, but some last minute maneuvering maade it 3-0 rather than 5-0.

My second game was against a guy called Charles, playing Ulthwe Eldar with some Revenant titans and a lot of Guardians. His was a very nice army, that promptly steam-rollered one of my flanks, the Revenants basically deleting a Marine formation with every activation. My Terminators bounced off them in an engage and theere wasn’t much more I could do. Luckily I was able to push up on the other flank and hold it to a 2-1 loss. I was getting better!

IMG_4985

My third game was against another army I had never faced – Knights! Played by the lovely Alun, they proved a really interesting list to face with plenty of firepower and resilience. I played much more aggressively in this game, slammming my Landspeeders and Scouts up into the Knight’s faces, which seemed to pay off as a number of formations were broken. I quickly learnt to try and knock them off while broken as they are not fearless and came incredibly close to killing off the BTS. Sadly, I kind of mistook the end of turn 2 for the end of turn three and was a little careless in going after things, which came back to bite me as we ended in a score draw.

Still, I had managed to avoid the ignominy of finishing last or losing all three games (just!) and had a total blast of a day. Sorry I didn’t manage to get any in game pics, next time I will. Otherwise hopefully some of the newly painted Dark Angels will do for now. Now all I need to do is crack on with painting up th last bits and pieces of my Dark Angels (Land Raiders, Predators, Vindicators, Thunderhawks, Bikes)!

Tagged , , , , ,

BFG – Scratchbuild Ad-Mech Fleet 3

Hi guys,

Back again, with another of my converted Adeptus Mechanicus ships. This time is the turn of the Deus Inimicus, a Gothic class cruiser.

IMG_1031

Deus Inimicus 1

Again, scrappy painting with some simple additions to try and sell th ad-mech nature of this ships. This time I used some brass wire and a few of the EPIC rhino dozer blades to tart up the ship hoping to give the suggestion of the Adeptus Mechanicus gift of “Advanced Shields. This gift means that weapons using the gunnery table suffer a right column shift when firing on a vessel equipped with Advanced Shielding and Lance weaponry firing on this vessel only score a hit on a roll of a 5+, which is a pretty deceent bump in survivability for a ship like the Gothic that wants to be within 30cm to fire its lances.

IMG_1030

Deus Inimicus 2

In the context of the list, this ship packs a fair punch with five lances at 30cm, and is still firing 3 of them when crippled or on some of the special orders. I also plan on equipping this ship with special torpedoes for some variety and because I think they fit with the wacky nature of the Ad-Mech.

Just another simple post!

Tagged , ,

BFg – Scratchbuild Ad-Mech Fleet 2

Hi guys,

Another delyed post I am afraid, but this time I am back with my converted Ad-mech fleet, built out of some horrible painted Imperial Cruisers I had laying around.

IMG_1029

Sanguinem, Tyrant Class Cruiser

This time is the turn of the Saguineem, the Tyrant Class Cruiser in the fleet list. With the weapon battery upgrade available to the Adeptus Mechanicus, this ship, while expensive, does throw out  fair amount of firepower. Of course, it also has its free dorsal lance as well.

IMG_1027

Sanguinem, Tyrant Class Cruiser

As you can see, the paint scheme is exactly the same as the previous ship, sticking to the black, dark gray, and dark red. The convrsion on this ship is pretty simple, using some of the old Titan arm connectors to build a bridge or docking arm from one section of the ship.

There are a couple more ships to come, but I still neeed to paint  up the battleship – hopefully soon!

Tagged , ,

BFG – Scratchbuild Ad-Mech Fleet 1

Hi guys,

See I told you I wasn’t dead! >.<

More seriously, I am moving to London so all of my models and books etc are in storage and my hobby time has slowed down somewhat.

I did, however, have a couple of spare Imperial cruisers lying around and decided with a little bit of work they could make up a rough and ready Adeptus Mecahnicus fleet. They weren’t in great condition though, coated very thickly in paint and lacking some small bits and pieces. This meant I was quite limited in what I could achieve but given I wasnt terribly interested in the Adeptus Mechanicus and these cruisers were spares, I am not too fussed with the rough and ready outcome.

IMG_1025

Ferrum Dei

The fleet is just going to be a little 1,500pt list, with a single battleship and a varied selection of cruisers.

Veneratus 9         100 RR                   50
Oberon BB w/ Augmented Weapons Relay    370

FERRUM DEI Dictator           255 Nova                20

SCIENTIA Lunar              215  W/B                10

SANGUINEM  Tyrant             220 W/B                10

DEUS INIMICIS Gothic             215 Special Torps       20
1485

Just a nice straight forward and well rounded list that uses my four spare Imperial cruisers and an Ad-Mech Battleship I previously bought.

IMG_1024

Ferrum Dei

As you can see, the Imperial Cruiser has been left relatively unscathed as I couldn’t do much with the thick paint covering. I added some “Ad-mech” style things (on the side fin, on the prow, the crane thing) and added on a Nova Cannon. Having both launch bays and the Nova means when I Reload Ornance both should be ready to go. I also added the extra lance turret on the dorsal spine – all Ad-Mech cruisers get a FP 1 60cm lance as part of their cost.

A rough drybrush with gray, then some dark red and silver as contrast colours. I chose to add some bright yellow (and orange on some ships) to highlight their more “industrial” look.

It is amazing what you can make out of some really rather rough cruisers!

Tagged , ,

I’m not dead…

I’m not dead, I promise…

I have been stupendously busy recently and haven’t played a game of anything in months. Partly it is getting ready to move to London, and partly it is dropping out my local games club as people moved on to different games.

I have been painting a little and I am still reading lots of GW books (currently going back through the Gotrek & Felix omnibusses!) but most of my stuff is currently packed up and will be for the next month or so.

I will try and pick up posting again though and have been looking into a games club in London.

Thanks all!