Leading from the front

Now, some options in the marine list bug me. As an ultramarine player, uniformity is my thing, and these little glitches annoy me (well, in a gaming sense anyway) . Here are some examples

-squads of 10 marines can be broken in to combat squads of 5 right? So why are centurions, attack bikes and land speeders in squads of 6 or 3? 

-why can take bikes as troops if the captain is on a bike, but assault troops or terminators as troops if he is equipped with a jump pack or terminator armour? 

-Why can’t a terminator captain take a command squad in terminators. 

-why can’t assault marines use more special weapons?

These things will not change, but for my force , I want to make these issues go away. I am starting with the terminator command squad. Just for the look of my army I am making a 1st company command squad in terminator armour. The 5 man squad  will ultimately just be a terminator squad, but look cool while doing it. 

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The plan is simple. Using a whole bunch of bits I will make a chapter champion, apothecary, standard bearer and basic 2 marines. I have picked up a cheap squad on eBay as the core. In unbound lists and friendly fluff based games, I will used them as a command squad with consent from my opponent. 

Here is how I made them 

Chapter champion

Using a left over deathwing command squad terminator chest and head, I will bling up the sgt.
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The dark angles bits have been removed and a skull has been added to the center of the chest. Adding a few bits and I have new champion. 

Apothecary

Easy to sort this one, just used the bits from the

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deathwing command squad apothecary. I will add some big purity seals from the attack Bike sprues. In game he will be a normal squad man with a chain fist. 

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Standard bearer. 

This one took a bit of thought as the standard really throws out the weapons. The standard was made from a grey knight hand holding the ward stave, a short brass rod and the standard from the command squad. But it means no weapon. I have had to add the Stormbolter some how. I found a Unused grey knight stormbolter and decided to try and mount it on the powerfist. This worked for me and I am happy with the look. 

Standard marines

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Easy to build these really, but the options took some thought. I only get 1 special weapon and as I don’t have any cyclone missile systems in the army, it was a obvious choice. The last guy is the most basic, so I just went for a basic one, I need to try and make him pop. So I added some purity seals. 

So there you have it. 1st company command squad, in terminator armour useable from the standard codex. 

Time to get these painted up and then ready lead the 1st company. I now have 55% of the 1st compan and growing slowly. After these, it’s back to the 6th company. 

Till then, see you across battlefield. 


Post christmas blues

So the big day has come and gone, and all that’s left is a mountainous pile of kits to build and paint. I had a great Christmas and my family know me well. So what will I be adding to my ultramarines in the next few months? Well, my main aim was add some bikes and I now have a full squad of 8, a smaller 4 man squad, both with additional attack Bikes, a 3rd attack bike and a full command squad. Add to this the captain and librarian both on a bike and I have the core of a nice bike force. I have also added some vanguard recently and christmas saw me getting a box of sternguard. To round of the new units I also got some scenery.

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The plan
I wanted to get my 6th company up and running for February, but this pushing it even for me, but I will focus on bikes for a while. I have added some nice conversions to the command squad and I am loving my librarian biker.

The company standard was a dilemma, so I have scratch built my own (blog to follow) and the melta guns also caused me to rethink the plan. I have very few melta guns left in the bits box and bikers holding special weapons a quite a pain to do. So I have converted up a new gun arrangement on the front of the bike. The idea was to mount a melta gun centrally, replacing the headlamp. Nestled between the bolter, this triple gun idea was found on the net and looks really good. The apothecary and company champion on bikes were easy to build, with a bit of tinkering to make them look right.

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The sternguard box set was a real treat. I love this kit, but I don’t want more sternguard (just yet). I do however want to add some vanguard on foot, so it was more conversions . Mixing vanguard and sternguard boxes, I went for a new look. Rather than the normal ‘charging headlong ‘ look for an assault squad, I went for a more stoic, static look, almost at rest. The idea was to try and get the whole ‘defenders of humanity ‘ look that you often see in the artwork. Very blinged up and a grim pose.

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As I have said before, weapon layout is key to vanguard (and most other units) You often see people tooling them up to max, thunderhammer and stormsheilds (which is around 250pts for 5 vs 215pts for assault terminator squads with the same layout) but then moaning that they aren’t worth the points. My view is that less is more. I have gone for power weapon/stormsheild on the sgt, a pair of claws on 1, a plasma pistol on one and 2 standard. This is around 170pts for the squad, making them usable in small games. I will add the second 5 at some point in the near future. The ‘gun’ parts (such as the arms and bolters) will find a use soon, but more on that in the future.

So, that’s my painting project for the next few weeks. Keep an eye on Twitter for progress. Till then, see you across the battlefield.

Where have all the assault squads gone?

With the release of codex:blood Angels I thought I’d take time to discuss the humble assault squad. As many of you know I am collection the 2nd company of the ultramarines and this means 2 10 man squads of the assault marines. As a son of mcragge, I have dutifully obliged, but they rarely make the cut into my 1500pts list.

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Let’s start with the rules. They come in 2 versions, with and without jump pack. It’s even rarer to see them without and that’s saying something! I will focus on those with jump.

As you’d expect, they come in 5 man squads, with the option to go up to 10 man squads. Up 2 can take either a flamer or a plasma pistol. This really bugs me, but I’ll pick that up later. The sgt can be upgraded to a veteran and has access to the full weapons (melee) list. He also get to change his pistol, take melta bombs and the rather useful combat sheild. If using jump packs, you don’t get any transport options, but can deepstrike.

Ok so let’s looks at the pros.

1-deepstrikers rock in 7th ed. deepstiking units are the new black at the mo. Especially in maelstrom of war missions. Dropping straight onto a scoring objective or into the opponents deployment zone is great for the quick vp’s. Many games can be won this way.
2-fast is good. The sheer speed of jump troops are great on crowded tables. You can bring the hurt from behind builds with ease.
3-sgt multitool. You can build the sgt up to fit many roles. We all love using power fist on them tanks and twin claws are great vs power armoured troops.
4-hammer of wraith. Who can complain about upto 10 st4 auto hits BEFORE even the eldar can strike?

For all the pros however, the cons are still whooping.

1-cost. For a few points more you can get a whole heap more. Consider this. A vanguard with a jump pack is only 5 points more and for that you get +1A and +1ld. That’s not including the options available for the vangurd. Again at an additional 5 points you can take a bike squad that gets +1T, 4+ jink save, twin linked bolters, and the choice of any 2 special weapons. Oh, and you can add a heavy weapon as well. It’s a bit of a no brainer.
2-why only flamers or plasma pistols? No one can answer this question. I know that they say, that’s what comes in the kits. But the tactical kit only comes with missile launcher? The ability to DS a melta would make these a competive choice. How about the Option to add a power fist? The blood Angels can take these and while I am not saying that they should be same, some common scene wouldn’t hurt. Leaves io them as fast attack, they fit here well, just give them better options.
3-The marine codex has a lot of great units. Anything not pulling its weight will get replaced. Sternguard in a drop pod will hold the objective just as well, bikes have the same speed, vanguard are better all round and if points are at a premium, why not take scouts and infiltrate?

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As you can see, it’s hard to choose these. So many better units push them out. It’s rare to see them in marine armies, particularly those that have chapter tactics that don’t support them.

You can use them, and you can win battles with these fast moving troops, but not as assault troops. They are objective takers and area deniers, which is a tragedy. These should be leading from the front with vanguard squads and captains with jump packs tearing a whole for the tactical squads. Sadly, they are a poor mans support option.

I’d love to see a new kit of these. The current on is showing its age and the new tactical squad box set shows what could be done. Change the rules to match the options available to include all special weapons. Then these will return to their true role.

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For my army I have gone for 2 well rounded squads. Squad 1 has twin lighting claws and 2 flamers. Squad 2 has a power weapon power weapon and 2 plasma pistols. They look great and sit well in the battle company, sadly they rarely get to be used.

Anyway, that my opinion. I’d love to here your perspective and am I missing something! Leave a comment if you have a different view. Till then, see you all across the battle table.

Tactical squad 4-advance of the cheap marines!

Just finished my 4th tactical squad (well, 5th, but more on that later) this is my cheapest tactical squad, weighing in at 150pts. It will be my stock unit when I am trying to save the odd point. In this blog i will try to explain my thinking when creating a troop choice, but first I’d like to talk about this great looking unit. (Not bigging it up or anything) I have a large ultramarines army, nearing 10k painted, but I only have 6 tactical squads. (So far) I am to build the full 2nd company. (I am only 5 assault marines to till have all the troops, but around 30 need to be painted)

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Tactical squad 4 is actually the 5th tactical squad I have painted for my 2nd company. I have tried to make this squad stand out, so the whole squad has running legs from either the assault marines or vanguard squad. I have added a holstered pistol on each. This has given a feeling of movement. The squad is also the fist squad that I’m on doing full decals on. The previous squads used the metal ultramairnes shoulder pads. Doing this on every squad was getting pricey. Adding £10 to each squad. That’s more the cost of a spartan for the whole battle company and I know what I want more!

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Each squad is different and has its own mission. Below is a list of each squad, sgt armament, special weapon, heavy weapon and role. Squad 4 is my cheap squad and I hope you see where it fits together.

Squad 1-power axe, flamer, missile. A general squad, great vs fast troop, particularly those of the eldar persuasion.

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Squad 2- power fist, melta gun, heavy bolter. A great squad vs imperial guard, often used with a drop pod.

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Squad 3- combi Flamer, Grav gun, missile-my all rounder, great for infiltration mission, the grav is great at short range. Currently this is my favourite squad, making most lists.

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Squad 4-chainsword/bolt pistol, flamer, heavy bolter. The cheapest squad, tooled up for hordes, but mainly as a way to save points.

Squad 5-power weapon, flamer, multi melta. The perfect foil for squad 3. The 2 squads work well together. Great for those pesky traitors.

Squad 6-(still unpainted) power weapon, flamer, Lascannon. My last squad was designed to help with heavy armour.

When I write a list, I pick 2 squads as my compulsory squads, and as I play fluffy lists, I always run 10man squads. So each list would say squads 3 and 4, with the rest of the points spent on my exciting toys, such are flyers or 1st company. Because I have a solid base, that I know well, I can fall on these to take up the strain. Allowing me to worry about the more risky elements of my army and helping score valuable vp’s.

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The poor old tactical squads always seem to be the ‘and I also took’ parts of most marine lists. I hope this missive help redress this a small part. They are the back bone of my force and have won me many games.

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Sunday update 26/10/14

So it’s Sunday again and here’s another sporadic Sunday update. Having finished my 2 land raiders I am back to painting some basic marines. I do sometimes struggle to motivate my self with troop choices, but I will get these done!

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This week I have been focusing my painting on the 4th tactical squad from the 2nd company (numerical 4th squad, but the 5th to be added to the army) These are my ‘budget squad’ the Sgt is basic with no upgrades. They have Flamer and a heavy Bolter and weigh in at 150pts. I will use them when I a need to save points for something big. They are geared up for hordes and I think they will do ok as a basic troop choice in supporting other more expensive units. Also I am getting ready to add some fortifications to the army, some having a cheap unit to man the weapon systems is always use full.

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Made from mixing a space marine tactical and assault squads with a few left over parts from both sternguard and vanguaurd kits. All have running legs, making the whole squad look like they are advancing to tack an objective.

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I love the movement of this squad, but they are taking a while to get through. 7 are finished with the last few done next week if all goes well.

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After the marines I am going to try to focus on my 2nd assault squad. The 4 basic marines needing a coat of paint! I struggle to find a way to get the best out of assault marines. I still can’t fathom why the can only take flamers and plasma pistols. Why not grav, meltas and plasma guns? These options would make them very useful and give the marines a great anti tank unit.

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If I can keep the whole troop painting thing going then the 6th tactual squad will be after this. But let’s not count them till they are on the painting table.

The best of the best of the best- 1st squad, 1st company.

I have been slowly building my ultramarine force of late,  I have been focusing on the 1st and 6th companies.  The bikes of the 6th will be the subject of a different post, so for now I want to talk about the glorious 1st.

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Sgt for 2nd Squad.

Now my over ambitious plan is to eventually have the complete 1st company.  Currently I have 10 terms (basic) and 10 sternguard painted. So, around 20%. Unpainted I have 10 assault terminators and 5 more stern guard. Next on the list will be 10 vanguard w/jump pack, 10 without (made by combining sternguard and vanguard kits.) And 5 more sternguard (using regular marines and the bits left over from the sternguard kits) I did have some of the older metal sternguard, but they were sold to add some tanks.

That’s 60% of the company right there.  Add 5 man count as command squad in term armour (just because they will look so cool) and that’s a big force! But as with most of grand plans the Ideas often outstrips my ability to afford the parts. And forgeworld keeps releasing knights!

So where am I now?

Well, I am working on the glorious 1st squad, 1st company. I wanted something that really stood out. Something that said we are something special,  even for the ultramarines.  So I planned to make them really pop. My reason for this is simple. In the meritocracy of the ultramarines, who are always striving to be the best, someone has to be the best squad. I have always thought that the 1st squad each battle company would be the top units. So, the 1st squad , 1st company must be something pretty special? The sgt must have some honorific role, being the 1 st Sgt?

The unit started life as 2 boxes of deathwing knights and a box of assault terminators. My plan was to add 5 terms to the then 5 man aobr terminator squad. And 10 assault terminators.  Using a mix of the robed bodies and regular terminators.

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1st squad, 1st Company Built!

The robed bodies have an arched ‘hood’ but the robes also have a lot of dark angels icons. These were easy to remove.  I made the decision to leave the knives and scrolling where needed as they look quite gothic,  but by swapping the heads to regular terminator heads, I avoided the whole masonic look. They now look different from the standard terminators but don’t look like dark angles!  A word of warning.  One of the head is moulded to the body and this took some time to remove.

The next task was to add the regular arms and shoulder pads. I opted for forge world  shoulder pads for 2 reason. 1 – extra blig. 2 – it actually worked out cheaper than buying standard terminator pads off eBay. The Dark angles one in the set are to dark angles to clean up.

Squad weapons options were easy. I had 5 thunderhammer and storm shields with 5 pairs of claws in the assault terminator box.  As i had 10 terminators this was easy. It also allows me to run 2 5 man squads mixed or same weapons. But also to run my stormeagle with all 10. The hammernators can protect the claws as they charge in. The idea of this really appeal to my views of them sweeping out of a storm eagle, a solid wall of shields charging in, then bursting open to revels the claw wielding behemoths.

I have decided that even the paint scheme should make them pop. So I have reversed the shoulder pads. These are now white, with the ultramarine icon in gold, again, a nod to their special place in the chapter. This meant they really stand out. I enjoyed this switch and it works, so the command squad will now have gold shoulders.

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WIP of the HAMMERNATORS

I took the opportunity to add as much gold as I gold, but the heavy cloth look of the robes helps to keep them grounded. They don’t look over the top, but they really pop. I need to add a squad of regular assault terminators to show the difference, but that can wait.

Finished 1st Sgt

Finished 1st Sgt

 

So, the hammer wielding combat squad is done. I am taking a short break to add some tanks, then the claw squad gets done. I hope you get my reasoning for the squad and I look forward to adding the 2nd half. Look out the combat squad in a battle rep soon. They have

Combat Squad done!

Combat Squad done!

to kill!

 

Till then, see you across the battle field.

It’s war, a civil war!

It’s our clubs group stage in the annual league and I get my first group game this week. As I finished in the top 3 I am the ‘seeded’ player in the 3 rd group. The winner of each of the 3 groups and a wild card player all fight in the quarter finals in November. The top 2 get to fight it out for the much converted trophy.

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So what can can I expect from this week? My opponent is Ben, a younger spacemarine player. His ecleptic force is challenge to plan for and this can make a coherent plan difficult. It’s also easy to think its easy as he’s young, however as it’s a league match, I can be complacent.

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So what my plan? I am sticking with my core, Cato sicarius and 2 tactical squads. My additional force will be my airborne task force. A single raven, armed with assault cannons and a typhoon missile pod. It will carry a full sternguard squad a fed an ironclad dreadnought. This will enable some fire power to kill power armour and any landraider that I know he loves.
Added to this is my gun totting fireraptor. The fearsome avenger cannon is the bane of all power armoured forces. I just love it. The 2 twin auto cannons will deal with his beloved land speeders.

Finished Fireraptor

Finished Fireraptor

The plan is to dissect his force. Eliminating his treats one at a time. I have a range of weapons to meet his varied threats and I have a coherent strategy in my head to eliminate his forces. 

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Well, that’s the plan anyway! lets see what happens, 

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watch twitter @ozrax for a batrep! 

till next time, see you all across the Battlefield!

 

Sunday review 270414, way late again!

Had another great week in wargaming. A few bits got painted and had a stunning game at club. Also got to play an intro game to 2 people new to this hobby.

Painting
As you may know my painting stack is oversized for me and I am working hard to reduce it! This weeks project has been to finish the sternguard squad and finally have a full 10 man squad. After they are done, it’s going to be tactical 4. Tac4 is a cool looking squad, all converted with a leg swap, the are all running. (I used a mix of assault legs and vanguard legs. They are armed to be a relatively cheap tac squad, but I changed my mind on the special weapon and gave them a grav gun.

The sternguard that need to be done are a mix of combi weapons and a bolter. I am still not 100% happy with the white, but this is we’ll known for being a pain! I want to prefect this before I paint my next term squad, The converted/kit bashed assault terms. I aim to finish these sternguard be Tuesday and move on to the project. I really want to clear the painting Stack as I don’t want to buy any more models till I have halved the current stock pile.

Gaming
Wow, what a league game on Thursday! I was taking on a black Templar army, 1500 pts, using my ultramarines. The game was played dawn of war for the relic.

My list was written to include 2 newish units that I wanted to try out, the knight (errant) and the Lascannon toting stormraven. My basic list

Captian in artificer armour with a power sword
6 sternguard
2 tactical ( 10 man squads, both with missile launchers w/flakk, 1 with a flamer, 1 grav)
2 talons with sky hammer
Raven w/Lascannon and melta
Knight errant

The Templar list from memory
Captain on bike with thunder hammer and storm shield,
5 sternguard in a pod. 2 melta combi, grav combi, in a drop pod.
4 5 man tactical with plasma guns
Raven w/Lascannon, melta and hurricane bolters
5 bikes
Stalker
Techmarine and thunderfire cannon

The game was a relaxed, fun game with lots new stuff getting it’s first airing. The thunderfire was new to dan, my opponent and we got a bit turned around on the rules to start with. However, it was fun to see this model getting used, long and short of this is that yes, I want 1! It proved quite useful. Dan also used a deathwind launcher on the pod and again this proved very useful. The s5 large blast dis whittle a combat squad down.

The big star of the game should have been the knight and to be fair, it stomped across the table, on the right hand flank, leaving broken bodies from the enemy strewn all over the place, but it was the raven/talon mix that won it for me. The delivery of the sternguard and captain on to the relic, killing 2 tactical squads in the process claimed the vp’s to win the game.

We had 2 great moments in this fun game. 1st up was the brave techmarine surviving 2 turns if combat with the knight, tying it up for one of my movement turns. And the death of his badly mauled raven. Thought the game he dodged about 7 penetrating hits, passing his jink saves, by the end of turn 3 it had taken 2 glancing blows, one from a grav (thus locking it’s vector). In turn 4 the multi melta from the raven finally took it out, immobilising it yet again, this took off the last hull point and the stricken transport plummeted to earth. see rolled for distance and direction and the resultant impact just caught the wounded black Templar captain, who promptly failled his 3++ save, killing him! the raven and the 5 marines still stuck inside the flyer! Not bad for a single melta shot? The game ended in a 5-0 victory for the ultramarines and I only lost a fair few tactical marines. The fliers and knight all survived virtually un scratched, the knight having lost a single hull point.

I was asked to give a demo game to 2 potential new club members and it was great fun to share this hobby that I love so much with new people. It took me back to the days when I worked at gw leamington and my role As a red shirt, playing intro games. I used really enjoy this part of the job and we didn’t have the pressures that they seem to heap on the staff these days.

Well, that’s me for the week. Next week should see some new tactical marines getting some paint. I am not at club, so no games but I might get plenty of painting done. Let’s see if I can get a whole combat squad done!

Project Gladius blog 9 armed to the teeth

Next on this long list of tasks was the supporting weapons.

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Forward heavy bolters.
These were fairly simple, just clean and assemble. I have decided to attach the mounting kits, but not the weapons or the cowling. The allows for some easier painting. The main ‘spindle’ of the guns was a critical part. You need to cut the core to fit, so be carefull, you make it shorter but not longer!

These guns will be able to pivot and the top scanner in free to move.

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Rear heavy bolters
Again these are simple case of clean and assemble. I have not glued them to spindle, so the can be raised or lowered. The assembled units will be attached to wings once painted.

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Hellfire missiles
These presented a small challenge. The moulding process leaves the excess resin tag running from the 4 jets. These leaves you with square block on the back of the jets. I have used my multi tool to round up the jets and put a small ‘dimple’ in the centre. This was done on all 6 missiles and I luckily had the right sized bit for process. The end result looks so much better.

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The mounting of these is quite clever and they don’t need any magnets or glue to hold them in place. This allows be the chance to remove each missile in game to remind me of how many I have left.

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The weapon systems took me a while to clean and assemble, but it’s fairly simple stuff.

 

Project Gladius blog 8 hull assembly and gap filling

This is short blog for a painfully long task!

The process of assailing the hull should be easy as I have spent a long time mocking up the hull and shaping it where needed. I used the thick gamesworkshop superglue to assemble the main hull. While expensive, I know from past projects that it’s good gluing heavy resin parts.

Once assembled the main hull, tail and wings all had gaps that needed to be filled. For the larger gaps, mainly on the wings and were the nose meets the fuselage, I used green stuff. I have packed out the gaps to fill them and the the top layer is done with liquid green as the is easier to smooth over. For the rest, I just used the liquid green, mainly where the tail meets the fuselage. This has been a painstaking Process but it’s worth committing the time to get it right.

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