Wednesday, March 31, 2010



Intense white-glare of floodlights. Flurry of activity. Showers of sparks amongst brilliant  backlit strobes of plasma welders as framework is broken down and stowed. Metal crates on  pallets pushed via suspensor into bulk lifters to be strapped in place for the out-atmo  journey. Row upon row of crate and box and barrel awaiting transfer. Muddied flakboard  stacked haphazardly. Everywhere there is motion.

The Nephilim are leaving.

The only quiet spot in the manufactured forest clearing. Tall, lithe figures form out of the darkened scrub; not so much coming into view as simply materializing at the clearing’s edge. Raised voices in alarm. Electric whirr of .75 caseless rounds cycling into firing  chambers. Chains on a sword spin at idle. A massive hulk of ebon ceramite pushes through  the perfect double tier pincer which has subconsciously formed. The giant’s lip quivers a  nanosecond faint smile of approval before moving towards the shadowed intruders; eternally  loyal Staff Sergeant Otan steadfastly at his side.

Commander Akkon Sek strolls to within a few meters of the encroachers, apparently unfazed  by the multitude of gracefully aggressive weaponry pointed unwaveringly at his head.

‘You and your kin have become complacent and careless, Witch. How long ago... my life  would be forfeit, and you long gone, before my men knew you were ever here?’

A voice soft and melodic. ‘Not long at all, overconfident Astartes.’

Sek’s eyes widen slightly at the audible click and increasing pitch of shuriken weaponry en masse, activating behind his perfectly formed pincer line. An evilly triumphant smile crosses  the pale, angelic features of the female Eldar. A beat of three, and Sek’s expression morphs as a smile creases his own chiseled face.

‘Bold indeed. And yet, I am not flummoxed. Why is that do you suppose?’

Deeper, more guttural and distinctive hum as a cadre of Spectres step from shadow; a series of compact meltas held at ready and glowing to life. The Witch’s smile fades to a smirk.

‘An impasse, it would seem.’ Surprising humor in her voice.

Sek steps forward a pace, nods respectfully and extends his hand, palm up. ‘You honor us  with your presence, Farseer.’

The Eldar Farseer closes the remaining distance and grasps Sek’s wrist in greeting. ‘The  honor is ours, Sek of Nephilim. Your spark shines true and strong.’

Instantly weapons are lowered and the manufactured tension vanishes. Wrists are grasped, earnest greetings exchanged, and voices are raised in laughter and good-natured ribbing. A moment passes as the two commanders soak in the comradery. Increasingly rare, moments  such as these. As the din abates, the leaders turn towards one another and the Seer’s face  darkens.

‘The Imperial settlement is besieged. My rangers estimate they will hold for no longer than  forty-eight of your Imperial standard hours.’

Anger briefly flashes across Sek’s face. ‘Not my hours, Seer.’

‘Just so. I misspoke. Regardless, the Ruinous Powers have amassed a substantial force. The  settlement is composed of miners, shopkeepers. They are citizens… not soldiers Sek. They  will not survive.’

‘Explain to me in detail how their lack of planning for adequate defense, is an issue of mine Seer? And frankly, why you care even remotely about their fate? I’ll not waste the lives of  my men rescuing sheep who will as soon spit upon us as praise us when our... independence becomes known to them!’

Several tense moments pass. Otan and the Seer’s adjutant stare at the ground.

‘You are leaving.’ A statement. No hint of recrimination.

Sek’s shoulders noticeably sink. For the briefest of moments, his great age is laid bare. ‘A history repeated, Seer. Variations on a tired theme. Cheer as we liberate, and scorn when it becomes apparent we hold their lauded corpse-god in contempt. It is not sustainable for my men. I owe them more than this’

The Farseer nods and speaks with genuine sympathy in her hushed tone. ‘Though it would be a singular honor to fight these dark forces alongside you once again, I understand… my Lost One. I truly do. Your chosen path is a difficult one. You must follow destiny’s call for you and  yours.

Taken aback by the Farseer’s overtly familiar interaction with his commander, Otan glances away uncomfortably. Well aware of the mutual respect the two hold for each other, he  marvels silently. Surely nothing more?

Noting Otan’s discomfort, the Farseer resumes her regal demeanor. ‘My exarch thirst for the blood of this ruinous throng. I must appease their spirits.’ Several rapid hand gestures and her escorts melt back into the shadowed foliage. She herself turns to depart. Prior to being swallowed by the shadows, she pauses. Her graceful profile illuminated by the camp’s  floodlights.

‘Commander? The path you choose should be your own, and would that I not dare attempt to manipulate that crossing. You do not seek to justify yourself in the eyes of those  who turn their back on you, this I know. But the Way inquires… if you yourself do not show  them the truth, how will they ever know?’

And with this, she is gone.

Sek inclines his head slightly and exhales. Otan silently watches his commander. An eternity of seconds passes. Centuries, Otan has known his commander. The intent is clear. Without a word from his senior, Otan spins on his heels to face the warriors who have resumed takedown of the encampment.

‘Desist and attend! Spectres! I require eyes-on topographical auspex and tactical analysis of  the settlement by 0300. Transport! Give me ingress route by same, complete prep of our rides no later than 0345 for mount-up at 0430. Tac! Full weapon inspect and readiness drill  by 0400… I expect a status report prior to mount-up! Move your collective asses, you sons  of whores! Edge and in-line! And Raptors?! You hot-charge those turbines again, and it is my  oath to you that I will pulp your skull with that same jump pack! Now, move!

Immediately, activity in the encampment becomes frenetic. Weapons are oiled and cycled. Crates of ammunition and medical supplies are hefted into Rhinos, whose grumbling engines sympathetically throb with anticipation. Armorers dote on miniscule adjustments to power  feeds and neural interfaces. Helmet comms are activated and tested. Movement is constant  and determined. The Spectres set out on foot to reconnoiter the settlement. Fluid and silent,  they vanish into the night.

With a slight nod of approval to his second, Sek turns and walks with purpose along the flakboard walkways towards his quarters. A singular motion, he draws his sidearm, checks  the load and reholsters. Before he passes from sight, Otan sees him make a gesture of an outstretched and closed fist to one of the younger Tac initiates in a show of encouragement.  The Marine returns the gesture and moves off with notably increased vigor in his step.

Otan nods, and smiles grimly. A good day to die.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Infinite Possibilities...


Two little-known facts:

1) Eons ago, after hearing some friends speak enthusiastically about a tabletop war game set in the distant future wherein genetically-altered space troopers battle against space elves, space zombies and space orks... I rushed down to the closest brick-and-mortar and excitedly purchased my first two squad boxes in giddy anticipation of my first game.

One box of Tau Fire Warriors. One box of Necron Warriors.

Imagine my utter dismay when my companions literally laughed themselves out of their chairs as I proclaimed proudly I was "ready". They pointed at me too. While laughing. Pictures of me with a mullet are certainly more embarrassing... but not by much.

2) Upon hearing that I would likely need several more 30.00 - 40.00 boxes just to qualify for entry-level games, and the the strength of the models was directly proportionate to the amount of money spent on each, I swore on every shred of my existence on this material plane that I would NEVER even CONSIDER participating in a game so obviously designed to bilk money from consumers! I demand freedom! Military-Industrial Complex be damned! No sheep, this guy! They could take their overly-expensive game and shove it! 

Yeah... okay. So much for scruples.

So what does this have to do with the price of wheat in China? Here's the thing... my recent (re)interest in slightly more micromanaged squad-based combat, and consequently the Kill Teams/Necromunda/Death Squads rule-sets, got me to thinking: while I can (and, will) use Games Workshop models in these smaller scale confrontations... I don't have to. I'm not strictly playing 40K any more, so the obsessive-compulsive inside me doesn't need to be bothered on a very basic level if every one of the models that hits the table doesn't have some GW basis under the conversion. As epiphanies go, its not a doozy... I know. Not always the sharpest spoon in the drawer, me. But coming to this realization ramped my (re)enthusiasm up by eleventy and opened up a world (wide web) of possibilities.

I hit the internet and started my searches with coolness as the the determining factor. Two of Merc's Minis Kemvar line (featured in an earlier post) were the first purchases. They got here yesterday and man, they are pretty damn incredible... if a bit of a pain in the keester to assemble. Then I recalled stumbling across the Infinity line some time back and how impressed in general I was with the sculpts. But... darn it all, I couldn't use them because they're not official models.

I have five on the way...

These won't be used with the Infinity rule-set, as the last thing I need at the moment is to drop 50.00 on a rulebook for yet another game system. The miniatures I chose are generic enough that I will have little problem customizing them and combining with the Merc's Kemvar to so as to appear as one coherent unit.

I'm psyched. Been ages since I was this hyped about tabletop.  

Freedom. Accept no substitute.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

On The Bench: 03.17.10

Making a reappearance for the first time in many moons... Factory Unit A:

Not much (if anything) has changed since she last saw the light of day. An issue I intend to remedy in very short order. She's close now... just some attention to detailing required. Will keep you posted.

Below... shades of what can and will be. Tank Farm, Refinery with huge smoke stack, Generator Building (sporting huge smoke stack no.2) and a yet-unallocated structure which will likely end up being some manner of vehicle repair center.

Not shown are of course Hab Block One & Hab Block Two, who are both receiving their own special treatment currently and neither are feeling very photogenic at the moment. They too will receive updated pictures quite soon.

On the upside I'm fairly convinced I will be able to empty out the vast majority of the pointy bits, sprue chunks, and flostam which appear to multiply in the darkness of my miscellaneous bits boxes as flair and accouterments are added to these dingy industrial city streets. Less clutter is almost always good.

Definitely going to need to pick up grey spay paint in bulk... and some large brushes. Lots of large brushes.


Signs, Signs... Everywhere a Sign


As I ramp up my interests in squad-based mayhem, completing the multiple pieces of industrial terrain I have in-progress has garnered renewed focus. While this post isn't specifically about those pieces (that's coming soon), it dawned on me that I have a metric crap-ton of WW-I and WW-II era propaganda posters I've collected from all corners of teh interwebz over the years. 

I know from experience how difficult it can be sometimes to locate quality bits and bobbles to add flair to terrain cityscapes, so I figured I'd give back to the community a bit and offer up some of these pix. The Communist and Fascist basis of the originals are undeniable. But when resized to 40K-scale the writing is mostly illegible anyway and it becomes all about the dark, paranoid imagery. Tailor made for our favorite dismal future. All can be easily modified with additional text or more appropriate Imperial imagery to taste.

Thus, my good deed for the day is fulfilled. Enjoy.

(Don't forget to click on each the images for full-sizes. Higher resolutions increase reduction qualities when printing propaganda for your favorite street corner)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Heading Underhive


When you are through changing, you are through.  ~Bruce Barton.

Why Necromunda? Months of anticipation awaiting the release of Battle Missions, followed by somewhat of a letdown from the rather generic Kill Team rules included in same, has renewed what was only a causal/passing interest in Necromunda from way-back-when. The new Battle Missions Kill Team rules are acceptable in the context of quick-n-dirty for the 40K player who wants small scale squad-on-squad once in awhile. I’m more interested in some depth from the individual units as I won’t have to worry about three dozen of them at a time. I’m also keen on the possibilities for character/model advancement in a campaign setting, with the corresponding options to tailor skills, allow for originality, and permit customization. To “be different”, so to speak.

And anyone who has had the misfortune to see my cheesy CSM/Kroot army build knows I am all about different.

In my furious searches for rapidly dwindling Necromunda resources on the internet, I stumbled across the fan-based project Death Squads. These folks (who obviously are all independently wealthy and have little to no need for sleep, or are robots) have compiled a marvelous work which builds on the original Necromunda rules and incorporates many of the cooler aspects of its more modern cousin, Mordheim. Through this massive undertaking they have managed (in my opinion) to remain true to the original Necromunda, and anyone who is familiar with those rules will note the enhanced similarity immediately. I have not gone through both sets of rules and picked out the differences… and likely won’t. On cursory comparison it seems the Death Squads rules exist as a natural progression of Necromunda if the latter had been supported at the same level of 40K through the years. As opinions vary, I encourage you to take a look for yourself.

Death Squads most recent “Living Rulebook” at v0.44, and it is well worth the 30sec it will take to register at their forums and download. I see it as high quality stuff… and I’m a picky bastard. If interested, find all the information you desire @

While I am currently building Necromunda gangs and getting my feet wet on the tabletop (what an odd statement) with those rules, I have no doubt that very shortly I will migrate to the Death Squads venue as it allows for additional races, options, weapons, skills, etc. which simply don’t exist in the original Specialist Game’s offering. In anticipation of requiring some unique character models, I’ve been digging through my various dusty crates (more on those later), and have purchased these phenomenal figures…

I’m hyped about the concept overall, and I’ll keep you posted on the lot of it. I think this is just the sort of spark I needed to reignite a dwindling interest in the hobby.

That, combined with avoiding the ridiculous, angsty, argumentative 40K forum threads on the interwebz like the plague… and I might actually start enjoying the game again.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Ork in Progress: Killa Kans

Quickie tonight. Just a single shot of Killa Kan #2 (with Kustom Mega Blasta) in-progress.

Perhaps I'm looking in all the wrong places, but I haven't been able to find many examples of Mega Blastas on Kans... so I winged it and kitbashed this one. While the majority of it turned out well, not 100% certain I'm satisfied with the barrel just yet. 

I'll sleep on it and take give it the once-over again tomorrow.


Tried using a Tau Fusion thingee as a basis. I like the square-ish symmetry a little better than version one... but I'm still undecided.

Update #2:

Final version.

And... done.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

"Generic" Bikers

These guys definitely weren't on my to-do list. Had the misfortune of a flu-relapse over the weekend (how the hell does THAT happen?!) and I just couldn't drudge up the energy to hang out at the workbench for any length of time. So I grabbed a Marine Biker set the misses gave me last Xmas, an X-acto, some glue... and started to tinker. The below is the resultant product of a (literally) fevered mind. They're all very WIP, as illustrated by the plastic chunks, rough edges and dust. But, far enough along to show I think.

First up, the ubiquitous Sergeant/Champion with Power Fist:

I've attempted to keep these as generic as possible so they can be used with either vanilla Marines or Renegades. Of course, they'll likely end up as part of my angsty cheese CSM force. Of note is the fact that the plasma pistol on his hip would not be WYSIWYG if standard Marines. Not an option. Sure as hell doesn't justify the fact that CSM bikers are 40+ points more expensive comparatively. Good thing I'm not bitter...

You may have noted the bolter positioning. Haven't seen it anywhere else (though I'm certain I'm not the first to think of it). Turned out quite well on all three. Definite cool factor to it as well. 

Bike #2 has his bolter-combo to one side to facilitate melta mounting. Bike #3 is getting a mounted flamer... somewhere. Haven't decided exact positioning and configuration as of yet. Currently I'm thinking top of front wheel-well. 

Updates as progress dictates.

Industrial Terrain: Hab Block One & Two

Considerable progress on the Hab Blocks. Not too much which requires explanation.

Both units looks almost identical, so just the one picture. Nice, cement-ish grey base, couple different lighter shades of subtle light grey and white highlighting completed. Semi-gloss (to simulate metal) maroon-ish doors scuffed/lightly sanded appropriately near the latches and kick plates. Both units need additional weathering and a good, dark wash to fill in the recesses. After that, all that's left is the addition of "windows" (small clear plastic sheets) and permanent mounting to 1/4" MDF. That's when the fun begins.

The MDF mounts (already cut) are approximately double-size of the models. Sidewalks, some different shades of lawn, bushes... maybe a rusty swing set and merry-go-round to make it look more pedestrian. The benefit of mounting the pieces is that I'll have ready made to-scale "curbs" so I can just plop the pieces down on the table and create an instant street between them. Really looking forward to detailing these pieces.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Random Bragging

Ok... I lied about the previous being the last update for tonight. It happens.

One more. A series of random pictures (99% my own stuff) I just never got around to posting on RD&C.

No rhyme or reason... just self-indulgence.

Finally... my friend's Necrons (which have whooped my ass more times than I care to count):