Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Warhammer armies.

Well I got back into warhammer slightly after the boxed set Assault on Black Reach was released. I wasn't entirely sure which army/armies I wanted to collect but since the boxed set was such a good deal, and my wife had raised her eyebrow at the price of the hobby, I decided that it would be a good place to start. By the time I painted my way through the models from the box I decided that orks might not be for me. Painting one mob of 20 boyz was hard enough that I wasn't sure I could face doing another 40-50 to fill out the army. Space marines it was then. This actually fitted in well with my imperium-centric 40k fiction and I was taken by the idea of playing with a small elite force. Plus, being few in number, they were relatively cheap.

After a year or so of collecting my army is as follows:
- Captain
- 6 Terminators
- 5 Sternguard (converted from plastic tactical marines)
- Dreadnought
- 30 Tactical marines
- 5 Scouts
- 10 Grey Knights (an online order mistake gave me two boxes and I loved the models so much I decided to keep them)
- 5 Assault marines
- Land Raider Redeemer
- 16 Devastators (well I had to make the most of all the heavy weapons)

I've played with this army at various points levels as I gradually increased the size of my collection though mostly it's been at the 1000 or 1500 pts level. Recently I moved from England to Maryland and have tweaked a list that I play with at 1850 points since that seems to be the main game size over here. Overall I guess I have about 2500 pts but I haven't really fielded it all in one game (yet).

This chapter (The Sons of Anteus) is my own creation and has a deep red and gold colour scheme. In several places I've used a white circle with a golden ankh design to mark special units. The sternguard are a good example of this.

That's not the best image but gives a good idea of my general colour scheme. When I get time I'll put up a background to 'The Sons of Anteus'

After about six months of playing marines I found myself getting more interested in a second army. Partly I wanted a change of tactics and partly I was just a bit tired of painting red and gold. With a little time looking through the background and model ranges (and playing Dawn of War) I ticked off the races one by one.

- Special Chapter marines (eg. Blood Angels etc.) didn't appeal to me since I prefer to play with my own background pluse I wanted a change from power armour.
- Chaos Daemons. I love the background in the codex but the models didn't appeal too much, plus they are largely metal and so expensive.
- Daemonhunters. Very tempting but since they are so expensive I thought I'd just use them as allies (love those rules).
- Witch Hunters. Same as daemonhunters. I'll probably get a squad or two of battle sisters at some point.
- Dark Eldar. Tactically interesting but I don't like the models.
- Eldar. Same as Dark Eldar.
- Imperial Guard. Too many models and not my style.
- Necrons. No thanks.
- Tyranids. A little tempting but I'm not sure I could paint a horde.
- Orks. More tempting than Nids as I love the crazy ramshackle nature of them. Perhaps in the future when I have more time to paint large numbers of models.
- Chaos marines. These nearly had me for a while. I'm an absolute sucker for Nurgle in the background and I figured out how easy it was to paint just by adding lots of layers of drybrushed green, brown and washes. If I could get plastic plague marines I might have gone this way but having to shell out for Forge world torsos was too much.

So that left just one army who really grabbed me with their modern style of combat (rather than semi-medieval) and sleek lines. Tau were the way forward. Luckily a friend of mine at the university wargaming club had a pretty sizeable Tau army and that gave me a chance to try them out. We swapped armies and played a really close game that ended with my marines pinned down as I enjoyed the Jump-Shoot-Jump tricks with his crisis suits but also had my Tau forces nearly wiped out as I played them as if they were marines.

I started out my purchase with a Tau Battleforce. This is definitely one of the better deals out there as every unit is useful and you also get a balanced selection in the box (unlike some other battleforces). I also picked up a Skyray missile gunship. The reason for the latter was twofold. First, I like the idea of the Skyray itself and second, it comes with the sprues to make a Hammerhead gunship. With very little tweaking I now had myself a Skyray and Hammerhead from one boxed set (and the Devilfish from the battleforce). I later picked up a Piranha from my local store and a player there bought me a Crisis suit in exchange for one of my old Warhammer Fantasy models. Fortunately, in some ways, my Piranha moulding was really bad so I called up GW customer service about getting a hull that actually fit together. They sent me a whole new kits as a replacement, thumbs up there. Needless to say, with the incentive of making a squadron I managed to force the warped hull into place for long enough that the glue could set.

So my tau force is:
- 2 XV8 Crisis Suits
- 3 XV 25 Stealth Suits
- 12 Fire Warriors
- 12 Kroot Carnivores
- 2 Piranhas
- 6 Gun Drones
- Skyray Missile Gunship
- Hammerhead Gunship

I decided to go for an arid landscape camouflage for my units. I figured that a modern army like the Tau would definitely use any means they could to keep their troops concealed and protected. Having painted a stack of models now I'm wavering on this because it takes a lot of green stripes (~30 per Fire Warrior, ~50 per XV8 and >100 for a vehicle) to make the camo effect. On the other hand, once they're completed, they do look cool so I'll just suck it up.

The huge spider tank thing there is a model from the small (but perfectly formed) Ramshackle Games ( company. I picked it up just for the joy of such a cool steampunk model and it will hopefully make a fun ally for the Tau in a future game. In fact my new gaming buddy, Old Shatter Hands ( has already expressed and interest in playing with/against it.

Well that's about all for now. I'll post up thoughts on each of my armies as I spend more time with them.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

So what am I writing about?

Well to start with, I'm a sucker for science fiction and fantasy stories and always have been. I guess it comes from having an active imagination that is best played out in worlds where you can break through all of the limitations of our own. I read lots of different works throughout my teenage years and am always open to new stories and imaginative writers.

My writing started shortly after I picked up Grey Knights by Ben Counter. It's a great story set in the Warhammer 40000 universe and I loved it so much I wanted to emulate it. I started writing on the Black Library publishing forums and got a lot of help and advice on what needed work from the people there. After a long stint of writing in the Black Library settings (and nearly getting a short story published) I started to get more interested in creating my own worlds rather than being tied into the warhammer setting.

Currently I have one novel in the works which is about 80-85% finished. It's a fantasy steampunk-ish sort of setting, though I don't like to label genres too much. I've also got two strong ideas for other stories that I will get to work on once I finish the first. The loose summaries are below:

'Wind and Steel' (working title) - While traveling to their new home in Brunswich, a horrendous accident tears apart the Stentleton family. The son, David, is killed and the youngest daughter, Janie, is believed to be dead. The story follows the older daughter, Catherine, as she struggles to become a female engineer in a society that does not tolerate women in men's roles and Janie's tale to become part of the desert-dwelling tribe who rescued her from her fate after the accident. Unfortunately for both sisters, their two different cultures are set on a collision course and they will play key roles in the conflict.

Ghost Stars - An alien-human conflict that grew out of a misunderstanding has boiled over into a war that threatens the fledging human expansion into space. The alien's superior technology is too strong of a factor to defeat until a spy mission determines that it is an automated spacebound forge, a remnant of an older civilisation, that is making the advanced ships for the aliens. The Stiletto, a converted deep space scientific vessel, is the only vessel with the range to reach the isolated Ghost stars where the forge is. Deep in the Eagle Nebula, the crew know they will have nobody else to rely on in their quest to destroy or disable the forge. But when a traitor in their midst kills two key members of the command team, Lieutenant Galdamez must take command of a frightened and stressed team and guide them through the cold reaches of space or there will be no hope for humanity in the war.

Untitled - In the not too distant future a global war, allegedly over alien technology, has shattered the world as we know it. The remnants of the United States have fallen under control of the totalitarian Vocare Dei (VD) Christian party. Their manifesto tolerates no deviance from the word of the lord and certainly no mention of aliens existing. The war was punishment for a lack of faith and to deviate from the strict VD line will bring about another apocalypse. Unfortunately for Dana Swyler, a cleaner at the VD headquarters in the former Capitol, when she takes a wrong turn in the inner sanctum of the headquarters she finds solid evidence of alien technology on earth. Now, as a person wanted both by the government and by the resistance (to whom she the only witness to proof of alien influence on Earth), she is put on the run, questioning who she can trust. Will her knowledge help the resistance to finally bring down the oppressive government or will Dana shy away from the harsh methods that the the resistance will employ?

Welcome to Ghost Nebula

Hey there,

So today is the first day of my blog Ghost Nebula. I'll be talking about various things but generally will focus on my love of writing and my experiences playing the Warhammer 40000 (40k for short) tabletop wargame.

All comments and spirited debate are very welcome on all topics.

All the best,