Getting started with 40K! (Particularly for Orks and Tyranids)

A couple of cracking chaps (@CronosTweets and @Kevuit on twitter) who are new to the 40K gaming side of the hobby asked a fascinating question – how do you get started in the hobby?  How do you learn the rules, and more importantly, have fun?

Well, thats actually a surprisingly difficult question to answer, as 40K has made itself increasingly hard to get started with.   Its not something I’d noticed until I thought about it, but where you used to have starter sets with increasingly complex missions introducing you to the ruleset, now you chucked a bit more in the deep end.  After silly numbers of years playing, that’s great for me, and starter and campaign sets give me updated rules and cheap minis …. but they aren’t so good at teaching you to play.

So how do you get started, particularly if you like an army that isn’t found in a starter set, like Orks and Tyranids in this case.

Well (and many may disagree …), I’d suggest planning a narrative set of games designed around the models you have that separately explore the different phases of the game to get used to the way your core units move.  Here’s a few examples.

AMMO PROBLEMS!

Running low on ammunition and biological proteins, the orks and the tyranids desperately need to avoid combat, pick up supplies, then get back to the lads/spawning pools.  

Each of you dice for table edge (winner picks, other deploys facing him) pick a objective token, and place it for the other somewhere on a 4x4 board with whatever scenery you choose.  No combat is possible (no psychic, shooting or assault, though you can run in the shooting phase), but you have to run to your token, and back off your table edge.  First one off is the first to rearm, and will get to deploy first in the next mission!
TAKE OUT THE BIG UNS

Both Orks and Tyranids are led by biguns, though it has more of an effect on tyranids.  Pick a small force with a few MCs or walkers and some simple troops, with a range of longer range anti tank weaponry.

Ensure roughly the same points value and numbers of MCs and Walkers, and score a vp for each big un taken down!  This can illustrate the effects of the synapse rule for the tyrannies, and is a fun way to test out the shooting phase.
RIP EM UP CLOSE

Go for 500pt horde type close combat forces, and simply Warrrgh or chitter into it!  remember to try to concentrate your forces and defeat the enemy in detail where possible.  Its especially fun if no ones really shooty - get stuck in lads!

I think you get the idea – the narrative makes the simpler game more fun, and each one teaches you the basics of the game, so as you combine the elements, you don’t slow down too much or feel overloaded.

Stick with small points and fairly plain units to start with.  You want to understand the basic abilities of your units before you start modifying them.  Making a unit invisible can be great … but not if you don’t understand how they move or can be positioned.   Introduce new abilities and phases slowly, and take into account not just your learning speed, but your friends – if you speed ahead, they can be discouraged, or you can actually miss some basic understanding that throws you off.

Formations, data slates and codex supplements offer another layer of complexity – I’d steer clear of this to start with until you have the basics hammered in enough to allow you to actually enjoy expanding the rules.  No one, and I suspect even the games designers fall into this too, can keep up with the complete range of rules, expansions, campaigns, codexes, codex supplements, data slates, white dwarf extras and bonus formations in start collecting packs.  Don’t even try – just remember you can always ask to see you opponents list and codex if something seems very odd!  Just add the bits that seem fun – its a not a prescriptive system (with the possible exception of high end competitive tourneys!)

One thing we introduced in my gaming group at the time was a take back system!   If we introduced a new edition or game, we’d have a number of take backs a game as we got used to it.  We’d drop the take backs down as we played until we didn’t need them any more.  Its a great learning tool!  If you moved a unit and then realised in the shooting phase you actually wanted them to stay still because of a heavy weapon, use a take back to move them back!  We restricted it to your own turn, and started with 6.  If you got challenged on a rule and were in the wrong, you could use a takeback.  It didn’t generally upset the game, but made those silly mistakes from a lack of understanding a lot less fatal and the games themselves more fun.

Big games can be fun, but they are slow, and the less familiar with the rules you are, the slower they are!  Start small.  500-1000 points is a great range for a reasonably battle without packing in every rule in the whole codex!  500pts is particularly good for learning phases, and the Combined Arms Detachment – a HQ and 2 troops minimum is a fantastic starting point for balanced encounters.

The key is to play with enthusiasm, lose with grace, win with humility, and generally just enjoy the whole affair.  Don’t get too hung up on getting the rules perfect game one – learn them over time.  In my case, thats generally just as they update to another edition … 😀

With Orks, you probably want to get used to vehicle and walker rules quite early on.  With Tyranids, monstrous creature rules and synapse rules will be quite important, so narrative games focused around those will help you learn quickly.

Both armies play well hurtling forward, but there can be a surprising amount of positional importance for such brutal forces.  Charge genestealers into flamers and they will be toast. Get them into close combat though, and pretty much any force will get torn up!

Try to avoid very cheap forces, as they’ll bulk out the time of learning games early on.  Hundreds of grots can fit in a 1000pt army.  It won’t be fun moving them all, especially when flicking frantically through rules books.  Keep it small and punchy, and mix it up with different units to get to grips with all of them – that’s when your list building and understanding of how to use units together starts to really get more effective, and formations then start making sense.

Hobby Roundup (Week 6)

Well, unfortunately the joys of real life meant I didn’t get time to update the blog as much as I’d like, so you’ll notice a bit of a jump to week 6! Hopefully I’ll get a chance to pop in a few notes for weeks 4 & 5 retrospectively!  In fairness, though, pretty much no actual hobby except for some vicarious dribbling actually took place, so you didn’t miss much!

I’ve decided I need a bit of an OTT hobby project after being called “sensible” the other day, so I’m currently looking at a fully decked out Deathwatch squad from a range of different chapters.  Mind you, given the rumours of a deathwatch/genestealer cult game coming, I may well hang on.  I am tempted to go sillier though, with an Ork Nobs mob called Wotcha Deff!  Painboy, silvery robot left arms, black armour…. muahahahahaha!

Also considering an Eldar Revenant titan for ludicrous scale silliness!  Knights just aren’t enough!

Currently very into looking at getting Bloodbowl teams sorted out, and Bear has been painting his Armada models which has got me excited to paint up my Armada and X-Wing too.  Time is very difficult at the moment though, with 2 little ones and we’re in birthday season!

I thought the new Space Wolf stuff might get me excited for some old school marine action – my first RT marines were wolves!  The Wulfen pics I’ve seen look like were chicken poses in biker spandex, so not floating my boat …. though in fairness, GW pics are often a bit under par and don’t do models justice.  The new character models are nice though, but I already have Krom from the limited campaign set.

Struggling getting excited for guildhall going through the rules and options, and its the same hangup I have a bit with Malifaux too.  I generally prefer systems like frostgrave or mordheim, where the war band slate is a blank.  Having to pick established characters doesn’t get me into the game quite as much.  Cracking rulesets though.  I was looking at trying to field an all female guildball team, but can’t work out a good way of doing it without losing too many team synergies. 🙁  Mind you, I never win anyway!

Anyways, onwards and upwards!

My 2014 from a gaming perspective!

Well, 2014 is almost at an end, and it hasn’t been terribly successful in terms of actually getting in many games, or actually getting much hobby done!  There were many grand plans for the year … and few of them have come together.  Next year needs to be a touch more realistic, I feel!

I still have plastic mountains of models that need to be assembled and painted!  If anything, the plastic mountain has grown significantly, with Orky enthusiasm.  None of my armies have actually reached the state I wanted to class as finished (with the possible exception of the Ultramarines!)  Though I’ve loved reading about Malifaux and Infinity, I haven’t painted my starting forces or played even a single game.  I do have a complete starter force for Retribution of Scyrah in Warmachine, but not managed to get that going either (though I am loving Warmachine Tactics on the laptop).  My major passion in 40K has been Orks for the last couple of months, and I’ve been gathering and planning an Ork Waargh (though that’s being somewhat derailed by the brilliant Blood Angels models being released right now, and enthusiasm for Silver Skulls!)

What has gone well?  #WAAC 2014 was amazing fun, with events around the country, and I’ve ended up with an brilliant range of gaming gear, from T-shirts, to dice, through to templates.  I painted some models that I think came out really, really well, and won a great book and a pro painting of my Bonesinger by Peter (@minimodelpaint), which is coming on amazingly well!  I’ve tried playing X-Wing, and absolutely loved it.

I’ve loved interacting with (and meeting some of) the #warmongers.  Twitter has been a brilliant hobby outlet for me, and that’s definitely going to continue!

I’ve got some brilliant hobby resources, with brilliant brushes from Gears & Games and Army Painter really making a difference, a full Army Painter set of paints in decent paint racks letting me dip in and out of painting to do little bits here and there around the demands of being a Dad – demands that are going to increase in 2015 with the arrival of another one in May! 🙂

I haven’t played much Xbox 360 for various logistical reasons over the year, but did manage to sneak in some Transformers and Halo, and completed Injustice!  I’m hoping I’ll get more video games in next year, with an Xbox One arriving for Xmas … Halo!  Destiny!  Titanfall!  There’s some amazing games coming out for the PC just now too – Satellite Reign as a long awaited “Syndicate” style game this week.  Elite Dangerous looks amazing, and comes out this week!  As mentioned, Warmachine Tactics is great.

I’d like to have reported much more hobby fun … but its been a cracking year.  I’ll try to follow this with my plans for 2015, and maybe write a summary of what I think the biggest changes have been in the hobby world in general.

Orks! Working out a Waargh!

Well, my Ork enthusiasm has left me with what looks like a plethora of Green goodness … so I’ll need to work out some sort of list to put together with it all!

I have had several sets of Orks from Assault on Black Reach lurking in my garage for the day when the Waargh took me (3 sets, I believe!) – that’s 60 Orks, 9 Deffkoptas, 15 Nobs and 3 Warbosses.

I also have a chunk of Rogue Trader Orks from my first foray in the hobby back in the 80’s and early 90’s.  I’m going to deal with the Rogue Trader stuff separately though – I think I’ll do them and the RTB01 marines I have lurking as a joint project to match the Rogue Trader cover 🙂

Recently, the campaign box for Sanctus Reach may have fallen into my grubby little paws, leaving me with some brand new orky goodness too!  That’s a Warboss (Grukk Face-Rippa), a unit of 10 grots and caretaker, 5 nobz, and 3 kills kanz.

Jay (@SoulJacker1974) has provided with a veritable horde of 2nd hand Orks in various states of assembly.  A fair chunk are pretty old school and will go in with  my Rogue Trader era stuff (like the original Ghazghkull Thraka and Banner Bearer!), but there’s a lot of current ones too!  A Bommer, Ghazghkull Thraka, Weirdboy, big mek with shokk attack gun, 15 Nobz, 20 Boyz, 6 Ork Kommandos, 3 deffkoptas, 5 lootaz, a battlewagon, a trukk, 3 warbikes, 8 stormboyz,2 deff dreadz, and 3 killa kanz – plus innumerable grotz and other individual Orks to be sorted.

And now my mate Leonidas in Crete is sending me further reinforcements! That’s a battle force (20 Ork Boyz, a trukk and 3 warbikes), another trukk, a unit of grots and caretaker, 2 boxes of burnaz/lootaz, an Ork Mek with Shokk Attack gun, 3 killa kanz, a deff dread, a flash git with targeting squig, and another AoBR set (another 20 boyz, 3 deffkoptas, 5 nobz and a warboss).

Sooo … I need to whittle that horde down to a more practical first pass at a 2000pt army!  Any ideas for a fun Orky vibe?  Although I can put together the numbers, I don’t think a horde of infantry is a feasible first target – just too much to paint!  I’m thinking of going pretty HQ and vehicle heavy.  My first thought was something like:

Lords of War (225pts)

Grazghkull Thraka – 225pts

HQ (159pts)

Wierdboy (level 2 psyker) – 70pts

Big Mek with Heavy Armour and Shokk Attack Gun – 89pts

Elites (683pts)

Kommandos – Boss Nob with boss pole and klaw, 4 Kommandos, 1 Kommando with Big Shoota – 105pts

Nobz – Boss Nob, 2 Nobs, Warbikes.

Nobz – Boss Nob with boss pole, twin linked shoota, power klaw, 9  Nobz, Heavy Armour, Battlewagon ( 2 big shootaz, 2 Rokkit Launchaz, Kannon, Deff Rolla, Extra Armour, Red Paint Job, Grot Riggers, Boarding Plank) – 443pts

Troops (305pts)

Boyz – 8 Boyz, Boy with Big Shoota, Boss Nob with Power Klaw and Boss Pole,  Trukk – 135pts

Boyz – 17 Boyz, 2 Boyz with Big Shoota, Boss Nob with Power Klaw and Boss Pole,  170pts

Fast Attack (445pts)

5 DeffKoptas with Rokkit Launchas 150pts

5 DeffKoptas with Rokkit Launchas 150pts

Dakkajet – flyboss, extra twin linked super shoota – 145pts

Heavy Support (183pts)

Deff Dread with Power Klaw and Skorcha – 85pts

7 Lootaz – 98 pts

 

 

 

Attack of #HobbyADD – Infinity, Malifaux and 40k in between…

Well, as always, I am suffering from #HobbyADD, but at the moment I think its a particularly advanced case! I’ve almost completed my #WAACPainting entry – the models are done – I just need some decent photos for an entry.  I’m looking a knocking up a quick display board to take the photos on. So, current projects (in no particular order)!

1)  Infinity Nomads!  I’m very excited about Infinity!  It looks like an amazing system, and the skirmish nature means I don’t need to assemble and paint huge numbers.  Plus nuns with guns – my battle sisters can stride onto a new battlefield.  I think I can hold off until Ice Storm though!

2)  Malifaux I have a Lady Justice crew half assembled (I still need to put the Death Marshalls together.  Interesting system with the card deck, and fascinating fluff and gorgeous models.  Only problem is that I keep eying up Viktoria’s crew and Gremlins….. Hopefully I can stick to my guns (of justice!)

3) 40K – Sisters of Battle I need to paint about 2 models to “finish” my Order of the Argent Shroud, and about 6 models to “finish” my Order of the Verdant Garden.  So close….

4) 40K – Imperial Fists This is my current “Churn em out army”.  I do like the Sons of Dorn, and these will probably be my standard go to 40k army for a while.  Assault terminators and forge world pads on the way to bolster a Lysander charge 🙂

5) 40K – Pirate Orks Pirate orks.   What more can I say?  I have a fair few Orks from Assault on Black Reach, and Stormclaw may be lurking for an upcoming birthday.  I’ve also got RTB02 ready to be repainted and take the field.  Add some Flash Gitz, and Cap’n Kipp’s Freebootaz could be ready to go!  Its a heck of a lot of models though, so I may end up holding off here.

6) 40K – Dark Craftworld Dark Eldar I have a reasonably DE force in need of some TLC.  I’m really tempted to reorganise it as a fallen craft world and paint it in aspect colours – Striking Scorpion green for Incubi, blaster wielding kabalites as fire dragons, kabalites as Dire Avenger blues, Wyches in howling banshee bone and so on.

7) Ax Faction minis for fun I’m looking at using some of these as Inquisition forces too, so not purely just for fun.  Cracking sculpts on these.

8) 40K – Fallen Angels This army has been lurking for ages and been bolstered by the DV set.  Totally unpainted for over 7 years….. I really should at least prime them!!!

9) 40K – RTB01 Crimson Fists Army Ah, my beloved Crimson Fists!  Painstakingly gathered from eBay to replace an army that got lost on a train years ago.  The plan is to recreate the classic Rogue Trader front cover.  Navy primer is ready to go!

10) 40K – Ultramarines More marines!  I actually have a fairly decent collection of ultramarines, some primed, some badly painted.  I’m just missing a HQ force here really!  Ironclad dreadnoughts and bikers recently added to the increasing forces.   I now have a complete enough force not to worry about these!  Counting Ultramarines as done!

11) 40K – Crimson Slaughter I have a reasonably solid force of CSMs in red and gold, perfect for the role of Crimson Slaughter.  With the addition of the Crimson Slaughter specific models from the DV set, this would be a great little force (possibly in need of a bastion or helturkey for anti air).  Just the CSMs from DV to paint here, though a fair few khorne beserkers need some finishing too.

12)  X-Wing Not started here, but a good guy locally loves it, and wants to play.  I love Star Wars, so I suspect mistakes will be made here 😉

13)  Armada If I like Star Wars star fighters, running a fleet as an admiral????  Yeah, this is happening.

14) DnD 5e Absolutely love everything I’ve seen for this so far!  Just wish digital versions of the core books were coming out as space is an issue.

15) 40K – Space Wolves My first 40K force back in the 80s!  The storm claw set has sucked me back in.  I’m not a huge fan of a lot of the recent vehicles, but the current character modelling is amazing.  Definitely to be painted in grey instead of the rubbish modern light blue though.  Will probably just be an allies force rather than a full blown 1850pts army.

16)  40K – Blood Angels Really struggling for enthusiasm here!  I have some really quite nice chapter leaders painted up, and some gorgeous terminators from Space Hulk to paint.  I have primed basic troops, and unbuilt death company and sanguinary guard.  Just not feeling too enthused, particularly without a current codex.

17) 40K – Silver Skulls Loads of unbuilt models for this, and they fit with my long term plans of having a range of silver armies sharing some vehicles with magnetised logos with my Order of the Argent Shroud and Grey Knights.  Need to work out the skulls for the shoulders and a quick effective paint scheme here!

18)  40K – Eldar Loads of unpainted Eldar, and loads of painted ones! Recently bolsters by  Eldrad, a new Avatar and some warlocks.  I need to sort out some effective fighting forces here – I think painting the remaining ones is quite low down the list.  Really tempted to add more wraith warriors at all levels though ….

19)  40K – Tau My Tau are pretty much done with a reasonable force.  There are a couple of options half painted that I’d like to finish off, and perhaps add some broadsides and riptides, but generally these are pretty low on the list as they have a fully painted force!  Ticking these off the list as have a sorted out painted playable army matching all my main criteria.  Not ideal, as could do with slightly different options, but cool.

20)  40K – Grey Knights! New codex due out, decent force already, and only a couple of things needed to be finished or assembled to finish them off!  Also awesome with the new psychic phase.  These guys may well be seeing the table again soon.  Dreadknight is tempting me!

21) 40K – Imperial Guard Valhallans Pretty much sorted out and ready to go!  Not great paint jobs, but OK enough to get by.  some basing of heavy weapons needed here.

22) 40K – Imperial Guard Cadians Ouch.  Loads of men, not much paint, and pretty much every heavy weapons squad needs to be rebased.  Lots and lots of work, not much enthusiasm at present 🙁

23) 40K – Legion of the Damned I have 15 Legion to be painted to use as an allied force to other Imperial types.  Struggling to get enthused though.

24) 40K – Deathwatch I have a 10 man squad with custom pads (both DW and a range of chapters), heads, guns, all ready to be assembled!  Must get around to building and painting these.  Very excited with my Inquistions types.

25) 40K – Inquisition I have a load of models from a range of manufacturers to put together as my Inquistion force.  Female paladins as crusaders, floating psykers, daemonhosts, the lot!  Very cool and good allies for almost all the other Imperial forces.  Quite excited, but as I haven’t started they are quite low down the list.

26)  40K – Tyranids I’d love to get this army finished to at least 1850 points!  They look gorgeous, and are easy to do.  I’m struggling motivation wise here as I basically need to buy a fresh army to make them playable with tervigons, more termagants and flying MCs.  I have genestealers aplenty to paint.  Hmm.

27) 40K – Necrons I have a fully painted army of these bad boys – rubbish in the current game, but fully painted and ready to go.  w00t!!!!  Could do with some newer models, but not loving the new fluff anyway. Counting these as done for now!  I have a complete playable and painted army all sorted out.  Not great, but done!

28) 40K – Militarum Tempestus I have a reasonable number of Karskrin Stormtrooper squads here.  No new stormtroopers, but enough to work well with inquisition or guard voices quite effectively!  None really painted, boo hiss!

29)  Scenary! I have a huge amount of scenery to assemble and/or paint.  From an Imperial City to Altars of Chaos, it’d look amazing on my battle board.  As it doesn’t affect my actual games too much though, difficult to find the time!

Sooo, 29 reasonably sized projects, and possibly a few more kickstarter bits to go too.  Ouch!  #HobbyADD indeed!

Warhammer 40K model options … Without going to Games Workshop

Let me start by saying I love Warhammer 40K.  I love the universe, the Black Library books and authors are fantastic, and the game is generally fun, interesting, and has evolved in interesting ways (even if there are enough quibbles with the rule set to start a fresh Horus Heresy!)

However, I’m not as keen on GW as a company these days.  I’ve personally found some of the employees of GW to be pushy, unpleasant, and of an aggressive opinion that GW can do no wrong.  Everyone makes mistakes, so that tends to wind me up!  Suing authors for using  the term “space marine”, a term that predates GW by a significant margin is not exactly great work, for example.

With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at alternatives to GW models for various forces in the 40K universe.  These are just my opinions as to what you could use the models for, rather than what they are being sold as – you may disagree, or feel they’d be better as something else.

Chaos Space Marines

I’ve never found much in the way of alternative Chaos Space Marines.  It’s a very iconic look, which doesn’t lend itself to alternatives terribly well!

However, Evilcraft do a fantastic set of Chaos looking troops in power armour with bolt pistols and bolter style weaponry.  Very cool, and ornate enough to be used as chosen if you just wanted some specialist models.

Puppets War do quite a good range of conversion bits, much of which is suitably spiky for the forces of Chaos.  In terms of straight models, they have a great squad that work work as a Raptor Squad.

They also have a reasonable number of troops that are probably better guard proxies, but would make OK cultists.  They also have some cracking zombies, for Nurgle plague zombies.

On the zombie front, Hasslefree Minis do a great, and cheap, set of zombie plastics.

 

And finally on the zombie/cultist front, Mantic Games do a great range of plague zombie marines:

Raging Heroes have a cracking model that could be could as a Nurgle general.

Zealot Miniatures do a model I think would work well as a chaos spawn.

Scibor do a small range of Chaos terminator types, which could be could for chaos lords.

Chaos Demons

Raging Heroes do some amazing Preying Mantis models, which would make fantastic Daemonettes.

They also do a great demon option for a Daemon Prince or Greater Daemon of Khorne.  You could probably get away with the smaller version as a Chaos Lord in a CSM force.

Puppets War do some good demons too. I love the thought of fielding Plague Bears instead of Plague bearers!

Avatars of War do fantasy models, but that isn’t a problem for Daemons!  They do a couple of cracking models that would make amazing Heralds of Khorne and Nurgle.

Maxmini do a fantastic line of Nurgle style demons, from Greater Demons:

Through smaller plague bringers, which would make a good herald:

Zealot Miniatures do an interesting Greater Demon of Khorne style model:

Imperial Guard

Imperial Guard are the closest thing in the 40K universe to standard human soldiers, and so are probably the easiest army to find decent alternative models for – for the infantry, anyway!

Mantic Games have their Corporation Army range, which are perfect guard replacements on the whole.

Interestingly, I’ve seen their Veer-myn line os space rats used for very effective chaos guard!

Dreamforge Games have a great range of stormtroopers that work well for Tempestus Scions, or maybe as veterans.

Statuesque Miniatures do some really cool female resistance fighters that would work really well as cultists or irregular guard.  As well as squaddies, they do a few special weapons, heavy weapons, snipers and commissars

Raging Heroes don’t currently produce many models. but are launching three full female guard army lines, loosely matching Steel Legion, Valhallan and Penal Legion Imperial guard lines.  At the moment, they do a small number of female officers which are great as commissars or custom commanders.

Victoria miniatures do a tremendous range of guard alternatives, as well as bits for customising any GW troops you may get.  If you want a custom regiment, or decent female troops, this is the place to go.  Their Arcadian rifles look absolutely cracking models.

Puppets War do a few squad options, but I’m not amazing taken by them, to be honest.  What I love, though, are their rough rider options, on motorbikes with lances.  Its something that has come up in the novels a few times, so it’d be good to see on the table.

Scotia Grendel do some interesting lines from the old VASA and Urban Mammoth games, which could easily be adopted for Imperial Guard.  Here’s one of their VASA squads, for example.

Maxmini do some great catachan alternatives, female alternatives, and a few space ogres for some Ogryn fun.

Mad Robot Miniatures have some brilliant conversion parts, but you can get complete guard squads in various looks.  Decent Valhallans are always a bonus these days, especially if you have most of an army already!

Space Marines

Mantic Games have a line of Enforcers.  While quite a different look from the traditional space marines found in GW, the equipment ties up quite nicely.

Puppets War have an interesting range of heavy armoured troops that would also do quite nicely, including strike (power) armours, and terminator armour in a range of configurations – even bikes and vehicles.

Scibor do some amazing marine style models.  Most of them match to more extreme versions of the various Space Marine Legions inspirations – Spartan for the Imperial Fists, Roman for the Ultramarines, Celtic for the Space Wolves, and so on, though there are some more unique ones, like egyptian options too.

Hitech Miniatures do some really interesting models, and again, break into groups that match the SM legion inspirations – more extreme than the very similar GW ones.

Kabuki Models do a great line of possible Primarch alternatives.  Less appealing now Forgeworld are producing official models, they are still gorgeous pieces in their own right.  Here is the Castellan Knight.

Eldar

I’ve never really found any good third party Eldar like models in army like levels.   That may change when Mantic Games get around to releasing their Asterian line of Space Elves!

Chapter House Studios do some great commanders on jet bikes, and also do a unique aspect warrior squad – Warp Stalkers – that looks like it’d run as howling banshees.

Dark Eldar

Raging Heroes are the current queens of the non GW Dark Eldar!  Not only do they have a really lovely female archon, succubus, and squads of “blood vestals” which are perfect for Wyches, it looks like they’ll be expanding their line in the future too!

Orks

Orks are tricky.  There aren’t generally huge numbers of space ork alternative models out there, though there are fairly large numbers of passable alternative vehicles.

Mantic Games do offer a large line of Marauders which would work well for Orks, both infantry and light vehicles.

Raging Heroes do a fabulous sci-fi ork warmaster, which would be amazing as your army warlord!

Puppets War do a fantastic range of Orky vehicles and planes, like this:

Adepta Sororitas

Well, I’ve never found any great models here for ladies in power armour.  Heck, its almost impossible to even get them from GW!

Having said that, it looks like Raging Heroes are planning on producing some nuns with guns options in the future – look here!

There are a couple of options that can be adapted from Privateer Press – Protectorate of Menoth.  I really like the Daughters of the Flame as Death Cult assassins as part of an Ecclesiarchy Battle Conclave.  Picture from Firestorm Games.

In addition, I think the Harbinger would make a brilliant alternative to Saint Celestine:

Imperial Knights

There’s only one real alternative to Imperial Knights out there – and that’s DreamForge Games Leviathan!

Necrons

There aren’t huge amounts of Necron alternatives out there either, unfortunately.  The best selection I’ve seen is from Puppets War. which has a reasonable range of things, like an enormous cyber spider (scarab) swarm.

There’s a C’Tan alternative too

And a couple of vehicle and canoptek spider options.  No basic troops at the moment though.

Squats

Well, there are a few options for the die-hard squats fan still.

The first is Mantic Games, whose Forgefather range is pretty extensive, and just the sort of thing you want from your Space Dwarves!

The second option I’ve come across is Hasslefree Miniatures range of Grymm.  You can’t beat some of these models for character:

Tau & Tyranids

Unfortunately, I’ve never come across anything that really works well for these!  There are a lot of Mycetic spores for Tyranids out there – but GW axed them from the codex.  Tau is a very unique look – there are some female Tau kits from Zealot Miniatures, but no full squads I’ve come across.  Some people have used Robotech type models in place of the crisis and riptide suits, but thats a step further away from the Tau models than I’d go normally.

Hobbying after a munchkin!

Well, the arrival of a small bundle of joy (or wee,spew and poo, depending on how much sleep I got), has had a pretty major impact on my hobby time, but I do want to keep up to date with the dabbling in the gaming hobby that I’m managing!

First, I’m reviewing all my existing models and armies.  I’m going through and trying to put the following basic points values together for each force:

1000pts core force

This is the main army list for each force.  These models will form the core of any army based around the force.  I am building this force to have no more than 1 HQ, 2 Elites, 2 Fast Attack, 2 Heavy Support and 4 troops.

1500pts expanded force

This is the 1000pt list expanded to 1500pts, sharing the same base models.  You might find some extra upgrades like melta bombs or a few extra troops in an existing unit as well as completely new troops.  Again, I’m trying to limit this force to 1 HQ, 2 Elites, 2 Fast Attack, 2 Heavy Support and 4 troops.

500pts allies force

This is a totally separate 500pt allies detachment, using up to 1 HQ, 1 Elite, 1 Fast Attack, 1 Heavy Support, and 2 troops.  These are separate models from those used in the other lists.

Hopefully the artificial force org limits on the other armies now make sense – if I add the “allies” list to the main force from the same codex, I still have a valid force org, and it gives me the following options:

1000pt forces ready to go!

1500pt forces ready to go!

1000pt force + 500pt “allies” force from the same codex ready to go = 1500pt force ready to go!

1000pt force + 500pts of actual allies from a different codex ready to go = 1500pt force ready to go!

1500pt force + 500pt “allies” force from the same codex ready to go = 2000pt force ready to go!

1500pt force + 500pts of actual allies from a different codex ready to go= 2000pt force ready to go!

1000pt force + 500pt “allies” force from the same codex ready to go  + 500pts of actual allies from a different codex ready to go = 2000pt force ready to go!

While there’s a lot of games played at 1750 or 1850pts, the majority of the games I play tend to be at the 1500 or 2000pt marks.

The other interesting thing I can do with this is have a self contained “allies” force for various small forces I’ve collected, would like to collect or want to reduce.  I have some Imperial Fists that look reasonably good, but at the moment I’m not that interested in collecting a full Imperial fists army, for example.  I’m going to set up a 500pt allies list of Codex: Space Marines for them, so I can either field them with other marine forces as part of the main force org, or actually as allies with Imperial Guard.  It means I can get use of some of the painted models I have without needing to collect a full army!

There will probably be some limitations too – Sisters of Battle tend to be very expensive models in terms of price, but quite low in points, so you need to use more force org slots for them!  I probably have to stick to just 1000pt and 1500pt options for them, and use the complete force org.

On my first pass through organising my armies and models, I’m using only existing, prebuilt models where possible (I do have a small plastic mountain, particularly for marines, but don’t have time to sort them out at the moment!).  Where I can’t build a legal army (I suspect this will be true of my 3rd edition necrons, for example), I will work out the minimum number of models to get a valid list.  Not necessarily a good list, but valid lists, and actually assemble the models ready to play in preset KR multicases.

That also gives me fixed lists to paint and sort out, in achievable numbers.  Again, I’m not going to be looking for Heavy Metal type painting – just rough and ready tabletop.

Once I’ve finished my first pass through the armies, I’ll look at how to expand out the lists to make more fun lists, not just valid ones – I suspect some of them will be absolutely terrible to play! 🙂

My next post will list the rough armies I need to sort out!

Kipper’s Hobby Plans!

Well, I thought I’d try and motivate myself to get started by listing the enormous number of projects and armies I’m looking at doing at present!

1) Finish the Battleboard!

2) Finish my Tau army!

The Tau are pretty close to finished already! I have one more unit of Firewarriors to ink and detail, a hammerhead tank to ink and detail, and I think I also have a couple of drones to do. I do have a few ethereals, but as I use Commander Farsight and can’t field them, they aren’t on my must do list (and to be honest, I don’t find the models nice enough to make it onto my fun list either!)

I already have 3 12 man firewarrior squads, a full 8 man pathfinder squad, a 5 man Stealth suit squad, 18 gun drones, two devilfish, two 3 man crisis teams, a broadside and commander farsight done, so a Tau army can take the field right now!

Bonus extra – I do have an additional box of firewarriors – if I can find sufficiently tau looking wings, I may convert them as tau commandos to proxy as vespids.

3) Finish my Fallen Angel army

The complete army is assembled and ready to go. This should be a straightforward army to paint – after the black undercoat, I just need to edge highlight with DA green (so it is the original black heresy colours with a nod to the current scheme), though the stone symbols and robes on many of the models will take longer. The army went on the very first gaming trip to crete, so its time to actually get it done!

4) Rebase my Necron army

I have two Necron armies which have been painted differently – both look good, so I don’t intend to redo any of them, but I do intend to rebase them all to match my battleboard – sand painted brown, highlighted in ochre, then scorched grass in patches.

5) Return of the beakies (crimson Fists)!

I lost a complete Rogue Trader ultramarine army on the train several years ago now, but still have a slew of other figures from that era, and picked up a few from ebay. These will be prepared as Crimson Fists matching the original Rogue trader cover. I’ll need a certain amount of conversion work – old school jump packs will be needed with chain weapons for an assault squad, and the original series dreadnought will have its unusual heavy weapons arm replaced by a pair of classic twin-linked lascannons. I still think the Corvus Mk6 armour and the classic missile launcher is a much more iconic look than the newer marines. This is the project I’m most excited about at the moment, so it is likely to jump to the top of the list!

I’m looking at scratch building mk1 rhinos and mk1 land raiders for the force too! Old school!

6) The Blood Angels

Between Space Hulk terminators, sanguinary guard and death company, and some lovely chapter leaders, I really should get my blood angels battle ready! I struggle getting excited about them generally, though – I never got on with James Swallows Blood Angel novels.

7) The Deathwatch

I’m really excited about this, so again, they will probably jump up the list more than a bit! I want to do some classic deathwatch conversions, and have full shoulderpads for 10 chapters to go on the right shoulders as well! It should look great! In addition, I intend to do a unit of terminators in Deathwatch colours, with a rhino and land raider to act as transports, and a dreadnaught and captain as well.

I can then use the deathwatch to bulk out any of my other marine forces, which will be very useful!

8) Legion of the Damned

Just like the Deathwatch, the Legion of the Damned can appear to save my marines in general, making them very tempting models. I have the boxset, but would like to bulk that out to a full squad with specialist and heavy weapons.

9) Tyrian Eagles

I’m currently painting my own chapter of Tyrian Eagles, using mostly troops from the Assault on Black Reach set. They are coming together really nicely, and will tie in with the Deathwatch to flesh out the numbers.

10) Tyrian Eagle traitors

These are coming together slowly as well, with a rogue librarian leading the lost third company of marines to treacherous victory!

11) Imperial Fists

I have some lovely imperial fists models – a gorgeous command squad and scouts, with an OK dreadnaught, but I need to get enough basic troops cleaned up to bulk out the force.

12) Orks!

I have loads of Orksies! About three loads of the AoBR set, in fact! With loads of boyz and coptors, its a really orky waargh of a charge. I have the greenskin primer from army painter, but need to assemble and prime everything, before painting them up. Evil Sunz? Goffs? its all to be decided!

13) Grey Knights!

My grey knights are a completed army … for the Daemonhunters codex. The new Grey Knights codex leads to all sorts of new delights – paladins, purifiers, librarians, dreadknights….. its all so tempting!

14) Ultramarines

I have loads of random marines that need to be brought together and sorted out. Although generally not great models, its tempting to just have loads of Ultramarines as a standard mob of marines.

15) Other random thoughts

I’d love to have a Dark Eldar army, painted as if craftworld eldar for a dark craftworld. Wyches in Howling Banshee colours, Kabalites as Dire Avengers, Mandrakes as Striking Scorpions, Scourges as Swooping Hawks.

I’d also love to do Sisters of Battle as a traitor force, dedicated to Tzeentch. I’d need plastics first, and I have high hopes when they officially release a new codex they’ll renew the model line.

16) Terrain!

After the battleboard, I’ve been getting very excited about terrain. I want to build a weathertop as per the LoTR guidelines, and I want to build some portal scenary with the Storm of Magic vortex templates – an eldar webway portal and a dark altar would be great, as would a Necron portal.

I’ve also got to build witchfate tor and paint to match the battleboard, and I may be getting a temple of skulls for my birthday! Huzzah!

Hope you find that intriguing – I’ll update with photos as they various bits come together!

Interactive Army Painters

I thought I’d update my post from ages ago about interactive army painters.

Bolter & Chainsword has an amazing set of interactive army painters available, letting you plan out a general look and feel for models before you try them. Its no substitute for trying a model or two, but does let you think about your colour choices!

The best painter is for Space Marines, unsurprisingly

There is another one for Terminators.

and for the Sisters of Battle.

You also have Chaos Marines.

The Tau – Fire Warriors.

and Orks.

There is a painter program that handles both tau and eldar – its simple to use, but not as flexible as the Bolter and Chainsword options here.

Although its a little over complex and fluffy, there is a great Tyranid painter program here

Haven’t been able to find any for Imperial Guard, Dark Eldar, or Necrons though. One suggestion is to use the Dawn of War army designer, and take a screenshot of the outcome.