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The 31 Year Old Virgin

11/30/2011 2 comments

Well, not quite but bear with me on this one. You see, I have a confession to make.

Until last Saturday I had never experienced a day-long gaming session with multiple games and opponents since coming back into the hobby two years ago after an eleven year hiatus. Since both the games and I have for the most part changed immensely since then it’s very much like starting afresh. Will all this in mind it was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that I drove to Melrose in the Scottish Borders with a good friend and fellow gamer by my side and our 40K armies in the boot.

The rules were simple; you had to bring a legal 1,200 point army containing no special characters to fight randomly generated missions from the main rule book. The lack of complexity and the low points cost meant that it should be possible to fit in at least two games each, maybe more if time permitted.

The point limit presented me with many difficulties; as a guard player I’m used to throwing platoons of troops to their deaths with callous disregard while masses of tanks pound the enemy into submission, this time however I had think very small indeed. After days of indecision I decided to go for the following force:

Army List

The basic plan was simple, the infantry elements of my platoon would advance under the cover of my Exterminator and Scout Sentinels while the Heavy Weapons Squad and Leman Russ would provide ranged support. The Vets would be deployed either in support of the main push or to open up a second front in order to capture any objectives or harry the enemy and my Storm Troopers would be kept in reserve so that they could deep strike wherever they could cause maximum disruption. With my force and tactics in place I was as confident as I could be that I’d be able to acquit myself well no matter what I was to face…

Game 1

Opponent: Necrons

Mission: Annihilation

Deployment: Spearhead

Bloody hell but this was a fun game! I’d never played against the new Necrons before so I was really looking forward to seeing how these undead space dudes now worked and I have to say I was very, very impressed.

The brave men of the 57th Menasan face the Necron menace,

Fortunately I managed to deploy and move first so I wasted no time unleashing bloody hellfire onto the lines of remorseless automata and was heartened to see two squads suffer considerable casualties. I was less than impressed a few minutes later when virtually all of the casualties rose back up and rejoined their units!

Not impressed by their refusal to do the honourable thing and stay dead I decided to advance my infantry squads and Exterminator towards their line, this was my first major mistake since it brought the tank within 12’’ of a Scarab swarm. In the days running up to the battle the excellent Doc Bungle of Miniature Musings of a Bear attempted to impart his wisdom onto me. In particular he stressed that under no circumstances should I let anything, especially armour, within the assault range of Scarabs. You know what, he was bloody right; they proceeded to latch onto my lovely tank and knock four points off its armour value!

Not wishing to repeat my mistake I had my Vets deal with the beasties in the following turn but the damage was done, my Exterminator had less armour than a Dark Eldar skimmer and was too much of a liability to use in a frontal assault. Instead I decided to consolidate and blast at the Necrons with everything I had. This tactic was quite successful, I managed to inflict an increasing amount of permanent casualties while only loosing a single infantry squad in its entirely. However at this point the Lychguard struck.

Unfortunately for my opponent, the Lychguard were just out of assault range so I disembarked my vets nearby and issued them with First Rank Fire… which remarkably destroyed the unit! My weakened Exterminator then turned its full fire power onto the accompanying Necron Lord who was very quickly reduced to a puddle of Necroderm. Just as I was starting my ever-so-sexy victory dance the Lord’s Resurrection Orb kicked in and both it and the entire squad rose to their feet. On the next turn they made short work of the Exterminator before routing the Vets the following turn.

Elsewhere the battle was going more my way. My opponent’s Monolith was forced to roll on the Deep Strike Mishap Table so I elected to deploy it in the far corner of the battlefield which greatly limited its effectiveness. My surviving infantrymen were trading fire with the entrenched Necron Warriors and were steadily reducing their number. Everything was very evenly matched.

The stalwart Imperial Guard dig in and trade fire with the unholy automata.

As turn five drew to a close we both had an objective look at the state of play and decided to call it a glorious draw. We reckoned that both sides had inflicted an equal amount of damage, but more importantly we’d had a bloody fantastic time. All games should end this well.

Game 2

Opponent: Grey Knights

Mission: Seize Ground

Deployment: Spearhead

As with the Necrons, I hadn’t faced the new-rules Grey Knights but frankly the thought terrified me. I was playing against another friend who’d made the trip down from Edinburgh and while he’s an accomplished Warhammer Fantasy Battle general this was his first 40K game in a very long time. Just as in the previous game I was able to deploy and go first and again I left my Storm Troopers in reserve.

The brave men of Menasa face, for some reason, the Grey Knights,

Now, I knew that Grey Knights were expensive but the fact that his army consisted of only seventeen models surprised the hell out of me! My force was up against a Terminator Librarian with five Paladins, a five man Terminator squad, a six strong Purifier squad and a Venerable Dreadnought. Also, against the advice of everyone (including me) he elected to deploy all his units on the table, leaving nothing to Deep Strike. In his defence, I’d probably do the same were it my first game since at least he’d have the experience of using all the units, nevertheless this was his downfall.

Likewise the Grey Knights face off against loyal servants of the Imperium.

I knew that all I had to do was knock out seventeen models so on the first turn I didn’t advance as one would normally given the mission. Nevertheless it left me in a position to start pounding his army with unrelenting fire power and since he had to advance through this to my objective he was at a distinct disadvantage.

To cut a short story shorter I eliminated his Paladins and Librarian thanks to the combined fire of my Exterminator (love the multimeltas) and my Heavy Weapons Team by the end of the third turn. On the fourth turn my Vet squad finished off his normal Terminators without leaving their Chimera.

At this stage all he had left was his Dreadnought and the Purifiers, not nearly enough to stop my force from over-running his objective. After the fourth turn my honourable opponent conceded, it was a well fought game and the only thing which limited him was his lack of experience; I’ve known this gentleman for years and I’m certain that with a few more games under his belt he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

In conclusion this was a Saturday well spent. I met some fantastic new people who I hope to game with soon and I played my first games against two new armies which taught me a lot. If only all weekends could be this productive!

Also, and this goes out to everyone, do not underestimate the wisdom of Doc Bungle; had I listened to him I may well have won my fight against the Necrons. The next round of toast is on me, dear Bear!

Imperial Guard – 1200 Points – 11-26-11

11/30/2011 1 comment

57th Menasa Armoured Infantry (1196pts)

HQ (115pts)

  • Draake’s General Staff – Company Command Squad (115pts)Medi Pack (30pts), Meltagun (10pts), 4x Veteran, Vox Caster (5pts)
    • Colonel Hieronymus Draake – Company Commander (20pts)Senior OfficerPlasma Pistol (10pts), Power Weapon (10pts)

Elites (105pts)

  • Menasa’s Foundlings – Storm Trooper Squad (105pts)Meltagun (10pts)
    • Storm Trooper (16pts)Deep Strike, Special OperationsClose-combat weapon, Frag grenades, Hot-shot Lasgun, Hot-shot Laspistol, Krak grenades
    • Storm Trooper (16pts)Deep Strike, Special OperationsClose-combat weapon, Frag grenades, Hot-shot Lasgun, Hot-shot Laspistol, Krak grenades
    • Storm Trooper (16pts)Deep Strike, Special OperationsClose-combat weapon, Frag grenades, Hot-shot Lasgun, Hot-shot Laspistol, Krak grenades
    • Storm Trooper (16pts)Deep Strike, Special OperationsClose-combat weapon, Frag grenades, Hot-shot Lasgun, Hot-shot Laspistol, Krak grenades
    • Sergeant Wellard – Storm Trooper Sergeant (31pts)Bolt Gun, Plasma Pistol (10pts)

Troops (516pts)

  • Draake’s Own – Infantry Platoon (311pts)
    • Heavy Weapons Squad (75pts)Close Combat Weapon, Frag grenades, Lasgun
      • Heavy Weapons Team (5pts)Autocannon (5pts)
      • Heavy Weapons Team (5pts)Autocannon (5pts)
      • Heavy Weapons Team (5pts)Autocannon (5pts)
    • Infantry Squad (62pts)Frag grenades, Heavy Weapons Team – Heavy Bolter (10pts)
      • 7x Guardsmen7x Lasgun
      • Sergeant (2pts)Bolt Pistol (2pts), Close Combat Weapon
    • Infantry Squad (127pts)Frag grenades, Heavy Weapons Team – Heavy Bolter (10pts)
      • Chimera (65pts)Heavy Bolter, Multi-laser, Pintle Heavy Stubber (10pts), Searchlight, Smoke Launchers
      • 7x Guardsmen7x Lasgun
      • Sergeant (2pts)Bolt Pistol (2pts), Close Combat Weapon
    • Platoon Command Squad (47pts)Close Combat Weapon, Frag grenades, 4x Guardsmen, Meltagun (10pts), Vox Caster (5pts)
      • Platoon Commander (2pts)Junior OfficerBolt Pistol (2pts), Close Combat Weapon
  • Veteran Squad (205pts)Heavy Flamer (20pts), 6x Lasgun, Meltagun (10pts), Plasma Gun (15pts)
    • Chimera (65pts)Heavy Bolter, Multi-laser, Pintle Heavy Stubber (10pts), Searchlight, Smoke Launchers
    • Sebastianus Hektaar – Veteran Sergeant (25pts)Plasma Pistol (10pts), Power Fist (15pts)

Fast Attack (90pts)

  • Scout Sentinel Squadron (45pts)
    • Autocannon (5pts), Smoke Launchers (5pts)
  • Scout Sentinel Squadron (45pts)
    • Autocannon (5pts), Smoke Launchers (5pts)

Heavy Support (370pts)

  • Leman Russ Squadron (190pts)
    • Heretics’ End – Leman Russ Exterminator (190pts)Exterminator autocannon, Hull mount Heavy Bolter, Pintle Heavy Stubber (10pts), Sponson Multi-meltas (30pts)
  • Leman Russ Squadron (180pts)
    • Righteous Thunder – Leman Russ (180pts)Battle Cannon, Hull mount Heavy Bolter, Pintle Heavy Stubber (10pts), Sponson Heavy Bolters (20pts)

Heretics’ End

11/28/2011 Leave a comment

For those of you who read my last post, here’s the completed tank which was mostly painted in my car during my lunch break last week.

Named Heretics’ End, this Leman Russ Exterminator saw a lot of action over the weekend where it faced off against a despicable Necron horde and a misguided (and very short lived) Grey Knight force. Both battles I’ll be writing about later this week, but for now some pictures!

The tank was given a black undercoat before being sprayed with Catachan Green.  Next I used Bleached Bone to pick out the skulls, Mechrite Red for the rear laurel and Calthan Brown for the luggage.  I then glazed with a triple coat of watered down Devlan Mud.

The hull and sponson weapons were not glued in place so I can adapt the tank for future battles, the Heavy Bolter / Multimelta combination was used on Saturday to great effect.  Indeed, I think that at 190 points this is possibly the most effective combination you can have.

The Hobby and the Grownup Gamer

11/21/2011 1 comment

Despite my best efforts over the past thirteen or so years there’s no escaping the fact that I’m officially a grownup. I’m married to an intelligent, beautiful and very understanding lady; I have a decent job, a car and an ever-receding hairline. With all these things (well, except the hair) come responsibilities and obligations be they turning up for work on time, remembering to get the car serviced or massaging my beloved’s feet after a particularly stressful day. Now, the last time I checked there are still only twenty four hours in the day and all these duties mean that my hobby time is not what it once was.

The problem is that time management has never really been my forte and as a result my various projects have been falling behind. The Baneblade I bought in June was only assembled in August and it’s still not fully painted, my Chaos Dread conversion is still missing its funky new converted chain claw and the less said about my Dark Eldar the better!

This all came to a head last week since I was unexpectedly invited to a 40K gaming weekend in Melrose this Saturday coming. I foolishly decided that I would take my newly built Leman Russ Exterminator since I’m a massive Autocannon whore and I really wanted to see how this baby works against a variety of opponents. My plan was to paint it over the weekend but after doing the recycling, cleaning the flat, doing the weekly shop, picking up my new contact lenses and a million other things I was only able to get the damn thing sprayed with a most basic of base coat.

Now I really hate playing with an unpainted or underpainted army so this tank has to be finished by Friday, needless to say I was worried that something (or ten) would get in the way. Then this morning in the shower I had a flash of inspiration! Before I trundled out the door of the flat I quickly threw into a carrier bag some enough stuff to enable me to paint some of the tank during my lunch break. So as 14:00 rolled around I repaired to my car and began work.

As you can see it’s not the most ideal painting station you’ll come across but it was certainly enough. I managed to get the tracks, engine covers, exhausts, weapon mounts and smoke launchers all painted black to enable drybrushing and I managed to detail the flying skull motif on the front of the hull. True, I could have got more done in the same time if the lighting had been better and had I not been sitting in the passenger seat of a six year old Mazda 2 but it’s still progress. The most remarkable side effect is that when I returned to the office I felt more energised and positive that I had felt in a long time at work so it’s helping my professional life as well.

In conclusion I think that this is the way forward for those gamers of a certain age who find it hard to fit their hobby around their increasingly busy lives. It’s certainly working for me. Also, if anyone has any other tips to help those in our situation please feel free to add your comments below, all help and insight is greatly appreciated.

A History of Menasa

11/18/2011 2 comments

Towards the western edge of the Calixis sector, near the Halo Stars lies the planet of Menasa. Once a world of staggering beauty, the past ten millennia have literally torn this planet in two as the Imperium of man seeks to exploit one of the galaxy’s most valuable resources.

Colonisation and the Dark Age of Technology

Unlike most planets in the Imperium, much is believed to be known about the pre-imperial history of Menasa. It is thought that it was settled sometime in early M15 by the colony ship Astraprogenus under the command of Captain Simeon Drakus. Whether this is true or not it is beyond dispute that these settlers found a virgin world, temperate, teeming with life and – being twice the size of Terra – perfect for large-scale expansion.

Over the next eight thousand years the citizens achieved what their Terran ancestors had failed to, they preserved Menasa’s ecosystem and natural resources while at the same time building a highly advanced society built on a foundation of learning, equality and fairness. The planet was ruled by an elected quorum of citizens, each accomplished intellectuals, progressive in their outlook and wholly committed to the peaceful advancement of humankind. In many ways Menasa was the utopia all Terran colonists dreamed of finding.

All this came to an end in early M23 when warp storms heralded the beginning of the Old Night.

A new life underground

While the indigenous life on the planet remained almost entirely unaffected, over the first century of the Age of Strife curious afflictions began to affect the human population. Increased reports of madness, criminal behaviour, mutation and diseases long-eradicated began to manifest. After decades of painstaking research, it was determined that the warp energy was reacting with elements unique to the planet’s atmosphere and without protection the whole population was doomed.

By this time much of the planet had descended into anarchy, the rule of reason was gone and in its place grew a brutal, suppressive martial law. Individual city states gradually developed, wholly enclosing themselves in ever-thicker layers of armour in an attempt to keep out both the warp radiation and the increasing numbers of lawless bandits who roamed the wastes.

Even so the protection of these cities wasn’t enough and the radiation still found a way to breach the metres-thick walls, it was almost as if the warp itself knew of their desperate efforts and was determined to wipe all human life from the face of the planet. It took a man of singular vision to find a way to save the people from mutation, madness and death, that man was Antonigus Draake.

An alleged descendant of Simeon Drakus, Draake was a gifted scientist and superb orator. In a relatively short career he had risen high in both academic and political circles of Farhaven, the largest city and de facto capital of Menasa. As he commanded the respect of the scientific, civilian and military factions alike he was confident his radical solution would be heeded.

Draake postulated that the bedrock of the planet would shield the warp radiation far better than even the toughest substance they could produce. Every city would start digging tunnels and shafts deep towards the core of the planet, huge chambers would then be constructed hundreds of kilometres underground, capable of housing the entire population until the warp storms subsided. Faced with little alternative the population began the massive task of creating a new life for themselves underground.

When the warp storms subsided 6,000 years later a very different society emerged from their underground chambers. While they were still very advanced technologically, such knowledge was held by the descendants of the military and scientific leaders of before. This empowered elite quickly staked claim to the surface paradise of Menasa while the lower orders were consigned to the massive underground cities to toil in the massive hydroponic food farms and manufacturing caverns.

A rigid social order was maintained using both the Menasans’ instinctive respect for knowledge and the memory of the terror caused by the Age of Strife. When this was insufficient then the elite Menasan Guard could be relied on to swiftly silence any insurrection.

Rediscovery, The Great Crusade and The Horus Heresy

Life continued in such a way until early in M30 the 1st Legion of the Adeptus Astartes made planet fall near Farhaven, now a huge hive complex. Recognising the Space Marines as true sons of Terra, the Menasans joyously welcomed them and their inclusion into the burgeoning Imperium of Mankind. A great regiment of the Imperial Army was founded from the best of the Menasan Guard and with their illustrious commander, General Antonigus Draake IX; they joined the Dark Angels Crusade force and headed off into the galaxy in The Emperor’s name.

Menasa meanwhile became a source of fascination for many of the scientific adepts of the Imperium. Fascinated to learn how the people of Menasa could survive so well underground, armies of scientists and engineers enthusiastically probed the cities beneath the planet’s surface. Using the knowledge they had amassed from studying the Immaterium and its affects on the physical universe they discovered that it was in fact a particular metal element, unique in such quantities to Menasa, which caused the especially severe warp storms to manifest around the planet. This metal, called Ferrus Imperator, was particularly sensitive to warp energy and as such had the potential to be used in the construction of materials which could either channel or repel this force.

The Adeptus Terra, desperate for such resources, ordered the mass extraction of this material from within Menasa. Using the Menasans’ unique understanding of the mining process it was possible to create an extraction process on an unprecedented scale without greatly disrupting the idyllic surface of the world. Thus the exploitation of the planet began in earnest, legions of colonists were brought in to supplement the already large native population, within a generation there were close to one hundred billion souls toiling under the surface of Menasa while a relatively few elite dwelled in the palatial hives above.

The status quo was maintained until the greatest of The Emperor’s sons, Horus, rebelled as the Great Crusade was coming to an end. Without hesitation the planet declared its unswerving allegiance to The Emperor and a further three hundred Imperial Army regiments were conscripted for use in the war effort. Millions of Menasans found themselves fighting and dying across the whole of the Imperium, many laid down their lives defending the Imperial Palace on Holy Terra during the desperate final hours of the Heresy.

Less well known is the role that the 57th Regiment played during this time. Seconded to the Dark Angels Legion they found themselves helping put down a rebellion on the Legion’s home world of Caliban. Not much is know about what occurred during this time, however in thanks for their efforts the regiment was gifted with a set of priceless ornate weapons which their most exalted leaders use to this day.

Reconstruction

While Menasa was spared the attentions of the vile traitors who fought under Horus’s banner, its relative proximity to the Eye of Terror coupled with it’s recently discovered mineral wealth made it an incredibly tempting target for the raider fleets converging on the area. Huge orbital star forts were quickly constructed along with the doubling of the size of the Menasan PDF, a substantial part of the sub-sector’s battle fleet was permanently stationed around the planet and other more secretive Imperial organisations sent emissaries as well.

As a further measure, the extraction of the planet’s metal increased in pace; gargantuan orbital refineries and star ports were built with space lifts constantly ferrying a steady supply of ore from deep within the planet’s surface. To the casual observer it seemed that this operation would quickly exhaust Menasa of all its bounty yet for millennia the planet gave up a seemingly unending supply of its most precious resource.

The Cataclysm

429.639.M37 is a date etched into the psyche of every Menasan, it was on this day that their planet died. Shortly after daybreak over Farhaven tremors were felt across the planet. As a result of the mining process such incidents were far from uncommon, most people went about their business and waited for the shaking to subside. After several hours the tremors had not abated and in the equatorial regions they were getting worse by the minute.

A general evacuation was ordered in the worst affected areas but by then it was too late. Massive gouts of flame, tens of kilometres high erupted from the ground all around the equator, the seas began to boil and the land cracked. Then with a sound so awful no mortal should ever have to hear, the planet broke in two.

No one knows for certain why this happened, over-mining has been blamed as the most likely cause yet some still claim that something happened to the seams of Ferrus Imperator closest to the equator. They claim that almost instantly the metal changed, it became hot to the touch and started expanding through the area’s mine-works. Such speculation is rigorously discouraged by the planet’s administration, and even if it were true, there was no one left alive to bear witness to the truth.

That should have been the end of Menasa. Billions died all over the planet and the explosion of debris accounted for 80% of the orbital complexes, hundreds of space craft nearby were also unable to escape the torrent of rock blasting out into space. Yet, The Emperor had other plans for Menasa, His will would not let the planet slip into the annals of history and slowly the destructive chain reaction abated.

Weeks went by and the first relief ships arrived. They were expecting to find a scene of utter desolation but found instead a planet reborn. Through the grace of The Emperor the two hemispheres of Menasa remained in place, although separated by a gulf two thousand kilometres wide they retained a shared atmosphere and, most miraculously of all, the surface and most of the internal chambers where still habitable!

When the first shuttles landed they found that the rebuilding had already begun under the guidance of Planetary Govenor Tiresias G’Laanor and Supreme General of the Menasan Guard Davidius Draake. Power had been restored to most of the planet and some of the mining operations were slowly recommencing. The climate had dropped by several degrees since to planet’s core had been wiped out, however heat was still being generated where the gravatic energies from the two halves of the planet met and interacted with the Ferrus Imperator, irradiating it enough to provide the warmth the planet required.

An Uncertain Future

By the end of M37 Menasa had rebuilt much of what was lost. The capital hive city of Farhaven, situated on what became known as Menasa Primaris now oversees a population of well over 200 billion, the vast majority of whom either toil in the subterranean mines or serve in the Menasan Guard. While Menasa Primaris is the administrative heart of the planet, Menasa Secundis is home to the vast military might of the planet. At any one time fully ten regiments of Menasan Imperial Guard remain on the planet to support the Menasan PDF to repel the frequent attacks by Chaos and other raiders intent on plundering the planet’s rare and valuable resource.

However as the forty first millennium draws to a close questions are again being asked about the planet’s precarious hold onto life. Rumours abound that scientists have concluded that the energies holding the halves of the planet together are beginning to fluctuate and sooner or later the hemispheres will most likely crush each other, dooming all on the planet to a fiery death. Such talk is quickly suppressed by the authorities but this is just one of many potential threats.

The neighbouring Eye of Terror is increasingly active. While The Despoiler’s thirteenth Black Crusade has more or less petered out there is no doubt that Abaddon will be back. Even if he is not, there are always equally vicious monstrosities spewing out of The Eye and many of them converge on Menasa seeking its bounty.

Likewise Rogue Traders are increasingly bringing tales of strange, esoteric encounters in the space near Menasa. Huge spaceships, apparently organic in nature have allegedly been seen around the eastern boundary of the Halo Stars. More troubling than that, several extra-planetary mining expeditions sent out to ascertain if Ferris Imperator is also present in nearby systems have vanished with the occasional garbled astropathic transmission regarding ‘metal warriors’ being the only trace found.

Whatever the future may hold for Menasa two things are indeed certain. The Emperor’s light will always shine on them so long as they maintain their faith in His divine will and when the dark legions come the might of the Menasan Imperial Guard will be there, ready and waiting.

Background is key

11/09/2011 Leave a comment

I’m not a competitive gamer, given my win to loss ratio I couldn’t be even if I wanted to. What attracts me to a game is the wealth of background material and how I as a fan relate to it. It is for this reason I’ve stuck mainly with GW games and 40K in particular.

To this end I base my purchases, conversions and painting on a theme or background I’ve already established for my chosen army. Last weekend I put the finishing touches to my new Imperial Guard Colonel. I’d taken longer than usual to decide on how to convert the model and longer still to paint it. As I was photographing it for this week’s Twitter Miniature Monday I realised that he didn’t even have a name and, more importantly, I hadn’t really given much thought to the intricacies of the 57th Menasans as a regiment in their own right.

On Monday night I sat down and sketched out a brief history of both Menasa and its most illustrious regiment covering the planet’s colonisation by (allegedly) Captain Simeon Drakus before the Age of Strife, right up to the 57th’s involvement in the 13th Black Crusade as well as their various incidents with the Reavers Redemptor Astartes.

To this end I’m going to be publishing a series of articles detailing the history and characters of my guard army and, if successful, I hope to move on to my other two forces.

Hope you enjoy them.

A Quick Question

11/05/2011 Leave a comment

Since it’s been more or less confirmed that we’ll be seeing the sixth edition of 40K at some point in the first half of next year I was just wondering…