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.

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Return of the vanguard

Every on loves sternguard. Well, every Space marine player. Their enemies, not so much. The special ammunition is very flexible, 2 special or heavy weapons per squad and all the combi weapons go a long way to win games. The old ‘sternguard in a droppod ‘ caper is the opening move of many gamers. (Me included!)

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But what about the poor assault cousin, the vanguard? These are about as rare on current lists as the assault squad? Only a few diehards take them in competitive lists. Kids love em because you take a whole squad of thunder hammers or lightning claws. They never work as well as they think they will, but I’d like to make the case for them. Let’s look and the negatives first.

1- assault armies don’t work. In current 40k shooting is king. Not a lot to say about this, it is. The old khorne player in me is sad at this, but, then I do have 2 full sternguard squads so the ultramarine player is ok with it.
2-assaults take planning and a lot players get it too easy to develop descent plans with assault troops. They just stick with tried and tested shooting units. I am looking at you tau players here.
3-young players are easily swayed. They build big deathstars that get blown away on turn 1. The loss of a thunder hammer vanguard will put you 50+ points down, not a good move.
4-assault terminators are a cheaper, more durable solution. At 225 you get the same stats, 2+ save and a squad of thunderhammers.
5-has anyone ever used heroic intervention? Really?
6- tables at the moment tend to light on Los blocking terrain. This really hurts assault troops. It’s all trees and low walls.

As you can see it’s easy to pull these veterans apart, but I think people over look a few key points.

1- you don’t have to take jump packs. 10 vanguard on foot charging out of a stormraven will get 40 attacks. That would make a dent in most units!
2-you can tailor your vanguard. The options available allow you to make the right squad for the right task. Basic vanguard with just chainswords are great vs guard, Orks, nids, eldar or tau. Facing chaos? Drop the whole 2 claws on every trooper thing, and just take power weapons (saves you 75pts)
3-deep strike is the new black. I have said it befor, but deep striking is on the rise. Being able to counter this is very useful. Your own deepstriking vetrans can take tactical objectives, score vp or contest strategic points.
4-vanguard can be a great shooting unit if your brave. 10 plasma pistols anyone? Or 10 Grav pistols deepstriking into a tank squad! The brutally possible is very under estimated, but cost less than thunderhammers all round.
5-they are better than assault marine for only 5pts more. For those few points you get ld+1 and A+1, plus more options. Not bad for so little points.
6-why take thunder hammers at all? Ok, this is contentious. What is the value of a thunderhammer over a power Fist. The concussive rule is great, but you normally kill your target at s8 ap2 anyway. A power fist is the same stats (without concussive) for 5 pts less? Over a 5 man squad, that’s a saving of 25 pts? And vs tanks, your better with melta bombs. (Saving a further whooping 100pts!)

So they have options, but you don’t have to take them. Low cost vanguard units can play a vital role in your plans. I run a 5 man squad with jump packs costing 190. Not really Cheap and cheerful yes, but with enough of a bite to really hurt. I am planning on adding 5 more, again keeping the cost down and using my stormeagle as a delivery system. Around 40 attacks plus upto 10 hammer of wraith attacks! That will make a hole! Around 10 of these attacks will be power weapons.

On foot I have just started assembling 5 more. Armed with a mix of weapons, again, keeping the cost down, I think these will be good unit. Possibly in a pod.

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Here are the units.

5 Vanguard Veterans (190)

WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A2·Ld9·Sv3+
3× bolt pistol; storm shield; lightning claw; 3× chainsword; lightning claw; power fist; jump packs; power armour; frag grenades; krak grenades
And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics (ultramarines) Heroic Intervention

• Space Marine Sergeant

WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A2·Ld9·Sv3+
bolt pistol; power weapon; power armour; frag grenades; krak grenades
And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics-ultramarines

5 Vanguard Veterans (170)

WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A2·Ld9·Sv3+
3× bolt pistol; plasma pistol; lightning claw; 4× chainsword; lightning claw; on foot ; power armour; frag grenades; krak grenades
And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics (ultramarines) Heroic Intervention

• Space Marine Sergeant

WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A2·Ld9·Sv3+
storm shield; power Axe; power armour; frag grenades; krak grenades
And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics-ultramarines

So, that’s my case for vanguard. My key points are these-don’t over equip, always have a few basic guys at the front to bubble wrap. Plan your use, don’t just hope the best, know you enemy and hit’em were it hurts. And consider the not with jump packs options!

Till then, look to the sky’s and while your doing that, I’ll sneak my scouts into you deployment zone. See you across the battlefield.

Old school sternguard

It’s fair to say I hate painting White. Getting a smooth coat takes for ever and don’t get me started on the shading! So why is it I keep painting veterans with white helmets and trim? The best answer I can find is because sternguard are cool. My current 1st company squads are 10 terminators, 10 assault terminators and 10 sternguard. I have recently added, but not yet painted 5 vanguaurd and my current project is a full squad of 10 more sternguard.

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To me, sternguard at the best unit in the codex. They are flexible enough to fit most lists and the new kit are very good. The special ammunition rule gives them most of this flexibility but the fact that they can take 2 special or heavy weapons and then fill the squad with combi weapons as well gives them even more tactical value.

In all my lists I tend to under equip squads and save points for more fliers. My current sternguard squad is the exception to this. They have 2 combi flamer, 2 combi melta and heavy Flamer. The Sgt is armed with a power weapon. This makes for an expensive squad that is ideally suited to the drop pod assault. They rarely survive a game, but usually kill more that their points cost. This heavy hitter squad usually get me first blood. I wanted the second squad to be a bit cheaper, but also to fill out different role. My army is lacking in its ability to kill tanks and a good old fashioned melta squad would help me with this. So 2 melta guns and a combi-melta was the order of the day. As their core target was armour, I chose to arm the sgt with melta bombs and save points on the obligatory power weapon.

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With the armament chosen I need to build the squad up. I will admit, I was somewhat bored one day when I first had the idea to add a 2nd sternguard squad and I just let the creative process flow, which is the fancy way to say I raided the bits box!

I am a strong believer that most people miss the point with ultramarines. Everyone thinks that they are all the same and many armies are just assembled kits and them paint blue. Personally I think they are far more subtle than that. Each squad will have a deep history, every sgt can have a personality. I always try to put a theme in somewhere. For tactical squad, this can be hard, but vetrans, you can really go to town.

So what’s the idea for this squad? I recently painted squad 1, 1st company and bling overboard. I decided that this squad would be squad 10, 1st company. These guys have only just been promoted and haven’t had time to earn all the plaudits of a veteran squad. So they are closer to a tactical squad in apperance, while still be sternguard. For this I went old school in the design and paint scheme. I used legs, bodies and (for the most part) normal shoulder pads. The weapons and head were sternguard. The sgt got a left over banner and I added an armoured neck guard. Some shoulder pads will have some bling, but nothing like the other sternguard.

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Painting wise I went for an old school look. White trim and helm, with the weapons in red to match the other sternguard. I have finished the off with decals, notably the crux terminus from the forgeworld ultramarine decal sheet. This is yet another throwback to old sternguard before the awesome plastic kit.

My recipe for painting white is as follows

1- as I spray them in blue, I need to paint all areas that will be white in black.
2-using the cemerit white base coat thinned with thinning medium, I layer the White paint to a solid level. Thinned to the consistency of milk, it will take 4/5 layers and the first layer will be truly awefull.
3-once I have a smooth, solid base I shade with thinned ‘the fang’ . The mix should be around 4:1 thinner to paint. It takes 2/3 layers to get it right. I only paint this directly in the deepest parts of the White.
4- using the same mix ratio as step 2, build the White back up, leaving just deepest parts shaded. That this stage slowly as this is where it can get all lumpy.
5-for the shoulder trim, I paint a thin line of drakenof night shade along the blue edging where it meets the White. This will neaten the White and really make it pop.
6-avoid, at all cost, getting any paint on the white, as it’s the Devils own task to get it fixed.

So, that’s the new squad. I hope you like them. All I need to do now is blood them in to clear the curse of a new model and they will be done. Next up will be some vanguard.

Till next time, see you across the battle field.

Meeting the great deavourer-first game vs the new nid codex

This weeks club game will be against a young tyranid player. I am using my ultramarines and I hope to learn something about the new codex while teaching the new guy about the game.

When planning a new list, I usually start with a plan of what I want to do. I then build this up to a full list. For this game, however, it’s just about taking new stuff. So here is my new list.

HQ
Space Marine Captain (140) WS6·BS5·S4·T4·W3·I5·A3·Ld10·Sv3+
Iron Halo; artificer armour; frag grenades; krak grenades; melee/ranged weapons (power weapon; storm sheild); special issue equipment. And They Shall Know No Fear; Chapter Tactics (ultramarines); Independent Character.

Elites
3 Centurion Assault Squad (200) WS4·BS4·S5·T5·W2·I4·A1·Ld8·Sv2+
two siege drills; 3× hurricane bolters; 3× Twin Linked flamers. Relentless, Chapter Tactics (ultramarines), And They Shall Know No Fear, Move Through Cover.
centurion sergeant WS4·BS4·S5·T5·W2·I4·A1·Ld8·Sv2+
omniscope.

5 Sternguard Veterans (145) WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A2·Ld9·Sv3+
power armour; boltgun; bolt pistol; special issue ammunition; frag grenades; krak grenades. And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics (ultramarines).
Space Marine Sergeant WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A2·Ld9·Sv3+
power armour; special issue ammunition; frag grenades; krak grenades; power fist; boltgun. And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Combat Tactics.

6 Sternguard Veterans (169) WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A2·Ld9·Sv3+
combi-melta; power armour; boltgun; bolt pistol; special issue ammunition; frag grenades; krak grenades; special/ heavy weapons list (Heavy flamer). And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics (ultramarines).
Space Marine Sergeant WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A2·Ld9·Sv3+
power armour; special issue ammunition; frag grenades; krak grenades; power weapon; boltgun. And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Combat Tactics.
• Drop Pod Mk 2 (35) BS4·FA12·SA12·RA12·HP3
storm bolter. Vehicle (open-topped); Transport Capacity: 12 models or 1 Dreadnought or 1 Thunderfire Cannon; Inertial Guidance System; Immobile; Drop Pod Assault.

Troops
10 Tactical Marines (185) WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A1·Ld8·Sv3+
power armour; boltguns; bolt pistols; frag grenades; krak grenades; Missile launcher; Flamer. And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics (ultramarines).
Veteran space marine sergeant WS4·BS4·S4·T4·I4·W1·A2·ld9·Sv3+
power weapon; bolt pistol.

10 Tactical Marines (170) WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A1·Ld8·Sv3+
power armour; boltguns; bolt pistols; frag grenades; krak grenades; multi melta; Flamer. And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics (ultramarines).
Space Marine Sergeant WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A1.Ld9·Sv3+
bolt pistol; power weapon; power armour; frag grenades; krak grenades. And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Combat Tactics.

Fast Attack 250
Stormtalon Gunship (125) BS4·FA11·SA11·RA11·HP2
twin-linked assault cannon; Skyhammer missile launcher; ceramite plating. Vehicle (flyer); Aerial Assault; Escort Craft; Hover Strike; Supersonic.

Stormtalon Gunship (125) BS4·FA11·SA11·RA11·HP2
twin-linked assault cannon; Skyhammer missile launcher; ceramite plating. Vehicle (flyer); Aerial Assault; Escort Craft; Hover Strike; Supersonic.

Heavy Support
10 Devastators (205) WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A1·Ld8·Sv3+
power armour; boltguns; bolt pistols; frag grenades; krak grenades; heavy weapons list (2× heavy bolter; 2× las cannon). And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics (ultramarines).
Space Marine Sergeant WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A1.Ld9·Sv3+
storm bolter; chainsword; power armour; frag grenades; krak grenades. And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Combat Tactics.

The big thing for this game are the centurions. I have not yet used these and it hard to find a positive blog about the assault variant. The Gav/amp lay out is popular, but I loved the look of the siege drills. As they are walking, I am not expecting much. The plan for these in the full list is to deploy them in a raven with an ironclad dread. The assault variant of these is a short ranged beast and foot slogging into a tyranid horde is not going to be fun. The sternguard will be an effective couple of units, again this is just to try them out. My big hitters in the list is are the 2 flyers. I love the storm talons, no only they are a great unit, but nids suffer from a chronic lack of AA. I hope they will continue their winning ways and I am sure they will take out any flying tyrant. The big uncertainty for me is the deavastator squad. I have never had much luck with these. I hope they can bag themselves a big beastly! The mixed layout of 2 lc and 2 HB gives me a clear devise for the combat squading. One will go for the big stuff, the squad will go for horde elements. With the deavastator doctrine I look forward to moving and firing! I never used this doctrine yet, so let’s see how it goes.

That’s the plan. It’s a low pressure game with a young gamer. I hope to impart to him a sense of what a good game of 40k is like, but I really don’t know what he will bring, what his style or game knowledge is like. So, I can’t say how this one will go!

I am sure ill blog out the game result and what I learn, but until then, see you across the battle table.

Sunday update 15/12/13

Sternguard squadWork has kept me very busy this week and next week is not looking so hot either. How ever I did get some of the work done. My target was to get the blue done on the 5 basic terms and the 5 sternguard. I did manage to get the base coat airbrushed on an started to layer up the first of the sternguard.

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For the loin cloth I decide to keep them black, rather than the normal white or cream for to reasons, the first is this was an idea that they mourn the deaths they are about to bring and the other, more practical one, was I can use the forgeworld transfers on them to avoid having to paint the icons. This turned out ok and add a nice level of detail.

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This turned out really well and I got so into the paint job I didn’t stop there. By Tuesday the first sternguard was done and the stared. Forward wind to today and 4 are done, inc the sgt!

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I had planned to blog about the sternguard kit at a later date, but long and short of it is

This kit is awesome!

You get so much stuff! To make 5 warriors, You get 6 chest fronts, 5 bolters, 8 combi, 2 stormbolters, 1 each of every special weapon, 2 heavy weapons, loads of heads, plasma, bolt and grav pistols, awesome power fist, the uber cool power weapon arm and 15 really nice shoulder pads. I will be using these bits for years to come, just from these 2 kits alone! The main thing missing was a decent back banner, but hey, you can’t have every thing you want.

Cost wise I was really impresses with sheer volume of stuff you get for your money. and It is some of best sculpting I have seen for a while.

Last week I said I would build them all with a bolter of some form. Game wise this is best for me, but I can’t help but love the heavy flamer in the kit, so when I build the next box, I may have to go off plan.

Next week the plan is just to finish the first 5 sternguard and base them and last weeks scouts up. I am going away for 3 days at the end of week so this will be a challenge to get them done. As Christmas is coming it going to be difficult to get it all done, but hey, christmas is coming and that usually means new shiney and the odd gw voucher!

I also managed to sort the #warmongersecretsanta out that I accidentally sent to France. I love the idea of the warmonger secret Santa and a massive thanks to phil at the the shell case forum for his great work. Its people like him and dr Bungle that make the warmongers on twitter such a great group. (And the many other great war gamers. It would take me ages to mention them all. )

Till next week, I see will you across the battle table.

The best possible defence

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My playing style is fairly aggressive when it comes to Warhammer 40,000. I play an assertive game and the sternguard units fit my playing style. And that’s what this post is about. Currently I have the 5 sternguard from the old metal box set. Armed with 5 bolters, one of which is a combi-melta. The sgt has a power fist, that is less than useful.

Now, the emperors finest should never be considered as disposable, that’s how I currently use my 5 sternguard. I drop them behind the enemy lines in a drop pod turn 1 and kill any AA unit. They usually die by turn 3, but in that time my opponents will have turned his lines. In the meantime, my main event, the flyers, arrive to kill the opposition. By the time the sternguard fall, it’s to late and the game is mine. Now, that’s how I use a combat squad, but now I have 10 of new plastic SG, I have to find a new use. I think I will start off with using them the same way and see how it goes.

This leads me to the armaments. Now, you have so many options and the new kits have most of them included. Now I have a simple plan . The ‘main event’ of the stern guard is the special ammo. Anything that takes them away is a waste of points. I don’t use any special or heavy weapons, but I do like my combi weapons. I keep them to a minimum as, like I said earlier, are disposable, so I have to keep the points low. I am going to build them with 4 combi options. 2 with flamers, 2 with melta. This adds 20 pts to the total. The sgt for the same reason only get a power weapon.

So here is my list.

SternGuard List (Ultramarines) 285 points

10 Sternguard Veterans (250)
WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A2·Ld9·Sv3+
2× combi-flamer; 2× combi-melta; power armour; boltgun; bolt pistol; special issue ammunition; frag grenades; krak grenades. And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Chapter Tactics (ultramarines).

Space Marine Sergeant
WS4·BS4·S4·T4·W1·I4·A2·Ld9·Sv3+
power armour; special issue ammunition; frag grenades; krak grenades; power weapon; boltgun. And They Shall Know No Fear; Combat Squads; Combat Tactics.

• Drop Pod (35) BS4·FA12·SA12·RA12·HP3
storm bolter. Vehicle (open-topped); Transport Capacity: 10 models or 1 Dreadnought or 1 Thunderfire Cannon; Inertial Guidance System; Immobile; Drop Pod Assault.

So thats the Plan, I like to keep it simple and cheap. there are other places to sink the Points, usaly, from Forgeworld!

 

I let you know how they get on.

till later, see yo across the battle table.

The big build up.

Ok, I will admit it. I may have a problem. They do say that admitting it is a start, right? In the last few months I have spent some serious money on my ultramarines. I now have a massive task ahead and it’s actually starting to stress me out. I have a simple rule for gaming. “If it’s not painted, it’s not used” I am not a ‘painting nazi’ (a phrase I hate btw) I don’t mind my opponent using unpainted or proxies, it is just I don’t like using unpainted stuff. I play wysiwyg every time and this drives my painting.

Now my problem is such a first world problem. I have over bought and now my painting stack is huge! I need to organise this lot and get some games in. I am expanding the ultramarines and working on my table/scenery as well. i am not a rich man and my local government paycheck does not allow for major purchases on a regular basis, I have been busy on eBay. I have sold lots and I have inherited a bit and my wife let me buy some bits with this as well. Using http://www.giftsforgeeks.co.uk I saved some cash that I re invested. Suddenly I had loads built up to build and paint. Of late I have added a fireraptor and some wall of martyrs bits. So here is the list and the reasoning.

Wall of martyrs-trenches.
I have 2 bunkers and the encampment already. So I have added the trenches and the will also fit into my christmas list. I have the family for more scenery and the BIG macro cannon kit.

Terminators
My force already has 6 ‘regular’ terminators. So I have added 15 more. 15 you say I hear you say? Yep, 15. I have bought 10 deathwing knights (2 boxes) and a box of assault terminators. The plan is to add 10 assault terminators, made in the robed bodies of the DW knights. 5 of each weapons option. The stormbolters from the kit also included will be used to make 4 terminators to round off the original squad to 10. The last set of bits will be a terminator librarian.

Sternguard
I love the new sternguard kit so I had to add a full squad. Armed with bolters and the odd combi, but no heavies. The sgt will be armed with a gladius and a mk4 helm, he will scream ultramarine veteran.

Scouts and land speeder storm.
I have added a battle force and this comes with 5 scouts. I have made these with shotguns and added a ls storm to the mix as well.

Tactical squad 4.
I have sold my old tactical squad 4 that were the old AOBR tacticals. A great intro kit but I wanted more. The new squad, from the battle force box will use strenguard bits and I will get some running legs as well to give the different look. The test pieces look great. Armament wise I think heavy bolter and grav gun will work and compliment the current squads well. The sgt will be a vet and have a chainsword. This will give me a cheap sgt to add when facing hordes.

Assault squad/devastator squad.
The 5 man squad will firm the start for the 2nd assault squad for my battle company. I need to arm these with plasma pistols and the sgt will get a power weapon. The last 5 marines in the battle force will be the bubble wrap for my 2nd devastator squad.

Stormraven
I love fliers. They suit my style and they look great. They added the raven to full list this time round and I had to add on. This will be armed with las cannons and it will add some anti armour to my force. Of course all good transports need a cargo.

Centurions
I have a box of 3 centurions. I know the current trend is for the grav build, but I want assault cents. The hurricane bolters and flamers will make a mess of hordes and the siege drills will kill any tank. If only I had some form of taxi for these slow moving beasts.

Thunderhawk
I did say I have sold a lot. A few weeks ago I visited Warhammer world and while looking in the hall of miniatures I looked at the 2 monster flyers in the cabinet. That night I made the decision to sell my whole ork force to get one. It’s with great personal pleasure that I have one in the ‘stack’ ready to go. This is a monster kit. The mould is over 10 years old and it has a reputation for being a bugger. But what a challenge! I will not start this until next year. But I will do a daily blog once I start.

So that’s the list. As I said I know I have a problem. I have spent a lot of money. I have a lot of work and at the end of whole project, I will have one hell of a force. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, doing something about it is the second.

I will endeavour to post as I go. First up, the scouts. I have already started these and 2 are done. Full photo blog soon.