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Trenchmates – The Dark Talon by Tim Chant

10/16/2014 Leave a comment

Can it really be ten months since we heard from Tim?  Not really, I’ve been ultra crap and lost this article in the Inbox From Hell for the better part of two months (sorry, Tim!) so without futher a do, here’s a review of the Dark Angels Dark Talon flyer, AKA Holy Fuck, Run!

Tim has done an amazing job on this model.

Tim has done an amazing job on this model.

If wargaming has an equivalent to a crazy cat lady, it would probably be me – the crazy Space Marine collector. Right from catching the bug in the very late ‘80s I’ve liked the power armoured fist of the Emperor, perhaps because my first introduction was playing as the Imperial side in ‘Space Marine’. Since then and across both 40K and Epic I’ve dallied variously with various styles – Codex, Space Wolves, Blood Angels and Dark Angels as well as a variety of other good(ish) guys. Yes, I even had the Army that shall not be named (but who were quite short and angry).

Right now I’ve only got three Marine forces on the go – my own Codex Chapter, the Reavers Redemptor, Space Wolves, and Dark Angels (plus I’m planning on painting some spare squads as other Chapters just to give myself some variety). I’ve always loved the followers of the Lion – the backstory and the style really appeal to me, and I think the latest Codex has done an excellent job in making them completely different from vanilla ‘Rines, when before they’d felt like a Codex Chapter with a few funky things thrown in. One of the best examples of this evolution is the Dark Talon. The addition of flyers to the 40K tabletop has really added to the dynamic of the game. I feel that both Dark Angel flyers add to the unique flavour of the Chapter, particularly the Gothic look and mysterious technology of the Dark Talon.

To begin with, I think it’s a lovely model. Obviously derived from the Storm Talon STC, it’s gone in a completely different direction in terms of style and effect. The fuselage is essentially the same design, but it’s a fixed wing and the designers have outdone themselves to layer on enough architecture and skulls to make it look like a flying reliquary (with some real teeth – more on that later). This detail was one of the things that made it a joy (and a bit of a fiddle) to paint. I’ve painted a lot of the skulls as being ‘real’ and think of them as either the skulls of slain enemies or the skull of dead serfs given a position of honour in the reliquary. I didn’t attach the side panels of the ornamental section until everything was paint, as they would have been a nightmare to paint. The hardest part, though, was doing the Aquila panels on the wings – I made the classic error of trying to emulate the professional painted style on the miniatures in the book and ended up with a bit of a mess and more layers of paint that the Forth Rail Bridge. The rest of the model was pretty straightforward after that…

I’ve now deployed the Talon twice, once against Chaos Daemons (in 6th ed) and once against John’s Heralds of Desolation Chaos Marines (in 7th). I used it in similar but slightly different ways.

First time out was against a force of mostly Tzeentch with some Khorne thrown in. I was fielding a force of Reavers Redemptor with some Dark Angel friends (mostly because the Reavers are currently undergoing some restructuring and I didn’t have a complete force painted). I played it reasonably cautiously, not having gone toe-to-toe/claw/hoof with Daemons before, and went for a gunline with a whack of air support (Storm Talon and of course the Storm Talon). Things got more than a bit hairy, particularly with a fairly large pack of Bloodletters closing in on my Librarian commander and the Tactical Squad he was leading. My airpower came on in turn 3 or 4 on the opposite flank to that little bundle of fun, and the Storm Talon in particular did some good harm to the Pink Horrors that formed the backbone of the army. The Dark Talon, though, really came into its own on the next turn. I was able to send the Talon hurtling across the battlefield and just had range to deploy the Stasis Bomb in a ‘danger close’ fashion on Khorne’s finest just as they had closed into charge range.

For anyone not familiar with it, the Stasis Bomb has an alright profile in terms of the numbers (Str 3 large blast with no AP one shot) which in its own right means it can cause casualties in low toughness horde armies, though in this case I don’t think I caused any casualties. It’s real strength is to knock 3 off both Weapon Skill and Toughness. This was decisive – I was able to follow up the bombing with a charge with the Librarian and his Tactical Marines which wiped out the Daemon pack, something I would never have considered if the Bloodletters were at full strength. It was still a tough fight, and I took casualties, but I don’t think I would have won it without that intervention. That and the judicious use of Chapter Tactics to deal with a Screamer infiltration stabilised my left flank and turned the battle (just) in my favour. As an interesting side note, the manoeuvring required for the bombing run meant the Dark Talon had no shooting targets that turn and would almost certain ended up going off the table the next turn if the game hadn’t ended there, but I still considered it a worthwhile move.

It’s second deployment was against John’s traitor scum. I’d gone for a more aggressive force this time, again mostly Reavers with some Dark Angel support. My plan was to anchor my right flank with Tacticals and Devastators and then hammer through John’s right with Captain Tann Hauser and his entourage on bikes accompanied by a six-strong Bike Squad. I put them through the city streets, a move expedited by the White Scar Chapter Tactic. I again deployed a Storm Talon and Dark Talon (they’re two of the paint jobs I’m most proud of so why not?) and this time used the Dark Talon to pave the way for an assault rather than stabilise a defence.

The heretics were coming against my left flank with a twenty-strong squad of Marines led by a Sorcerer, while their vile Cultists camped on an objective. First turn out the Sorcerer in particular handed out some punishment, but the Dark Talon’s arrival was perfectly timed. The Talon was able to go straight over this slightly terrifying behemoth squad (I like to visualise it tearing down the street below telephone wire level like a 2nd World War Mosquito) and plant the Stasis Bomb square on the Traitors before going on to give a light (but less than impressive) peppering to the dug in Cultists with its forward firing weapons. Again, the bomb run was danger close – I have a bad history with scatter rolls and my bikes were close enough that they might have been caught, but this time the dice were on my side. I hit the Chaos Marines with both bike squads and it was, to be frank, a bit of a massacre. Captain Hauser and battle brothers are unsurprisingly close combat oriented. Hauser challenged the Sorcerer and took him apart while the rest of the Blacktoppers (the Reaver’s name for their Third Company bikers) savaged the enemy footsloggers, breaking and overrunning them in a turn.

Dark Talon 01

There was a twenty man squad of Chaos Marines here a second ago, stupid Dark Angels!

Now that was a fight my bikers would probably have won anyway. Standard Chaos Marines are better in close combat than Tacticals by dint of their two hand weapons and the Sorcerer, while not the tastiest in a fight, is still pretty flavoursome. Assault-optimised bike Veterans (with T5) and a Bike Squad to beef up the numbers would still have done the business. A straight pile in, though, would probably have lasted at least another turn and degraded both squads (as it was I don’t think I took any casualties). What the Dark Talon did was make it a walkover (sorry John) which meant on the next turn my Command Squad was able to burn, blast and hack the Cultists off the Objective they were holding before continuing on to roll up the Traitor’s right flank. That allowed my infantry, Vindicator and Storm Talon to focus on the slightly scary combination of Kharn and friends, a Chaos Terminator Squad and a second Chaos Marine squad that had become bogged down after I immobilised both the enemy Rhinos. (Kharn was the last foul follower of the Dark Gods on the field and fell in a hail of gunfire having wiped out my flanking Scouts and ripped up a Vindicator).

My initial assessment of the Dark Talon, then? Standing on its own merits it’s handy – the forward firepower of the Rift Canon (Str 5, Ap-, blast, Blind) and two sets of Hurricane Bolters will be pretty good against low toughness, low armour but numerous enemies (the humble bolter is not to be sniffed at) though in both times I’ve fielded it I’ve not used the guns a lot. For a longer battle or if you manage to bring it on early I imagine they’ll be good for harassing fire after you’ve used the Stasis Bomb.

The bomb is a force multiplier for your units on the ground and needs careful timing and placement. I think the temptation, as the Dark Talon may not be made of tissue paper but is not super tough either, is to drop the bomb as soon as you have a target and hope it causes some casualties. I think it’s well worth holding on to until you have the right target, even if that means risking a blue-on-blue strike. It can make a next to impossible assault proposition something worth attempting (like tactical Marines taking on a screaming mass of assault daemons). It can make a nut that would be tough but not impossible to crack an easy proposition, allowing your own assault units to clean the gore off their chainswords and charge on after a quick round of combat. While I’ve not tested it yet, I’m guessing it will make the really scary stuff something you can at least think about charging. I don’t think I’d bother with it against Guard (though they can stand their ground in an assault, that’s more to do with Commissars than any combat capability), but I reckon against an assault optimised Eldar force (either flavour) or against Nids it will be more than useful.

Marines, for me, are all about synergies (people who say Marines are the boring army have completely missed the point imo) and the Dark Talon expresses this very well. I’m certainly looking forward to getting a squad of Ravenwing Knights on the table to see how the combination of rad shells and stasis anomalies works out.

I also need to bear in mind that I can’t rely on the same things over and over again – in our next battle in the Eternal War, John demonstrated that he’s really hitting his stride with his Chaos Marines and future battles are going to require different stratagems.

I’ve toyed with what to name the Dark Talon and have now settled on Tacet Ultionis – not that I’m going to be able to paint that on, of course.

Flattery will get you everywhere sir 🙂  Thanks again to Tim for a fantastic article, if you’d like to contrtibute you can find all the information you need here.

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The New Citadel Colour Sprays – Second Impressions

10/03/2013 1 comment

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A short while ago I blogged about my initial impressions of the new GE colour sprays. Tonight I decided to try out their Caliban Green spray and as well as the jumping gentleman above, I also did these.

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After undercoating with black spray I applied a single coat of Caliban Green spray and I really think it’s enough. The coverage is superb and very smooth and identical to the original colour. Suffice to say, I’m very pleased with the results and I can see this range becoming a valuable part of my hobby arsenal.

The new Citadel Colour Sprays – First Impressions

09/08/2013 6 comments

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This weekend I picked up a can of the new Macragge Blue spray paint. Since GW revamped their range of paints eighteen or so months ago, this colour has been the base colour for my Chaos Marines and since I loathe using an airbrush I was looking forward to this product’s arrival.

As you can no doubt tell, the Forgefiend above has been sprayed with the new paint. It took maybe three minutes to apply the coat and did not require a second.

So far as I can tell, it appears to be a perfect match to the existing colour and even if there is a slight variance it’ll not be apparent after I’m done painting the model.

Right now I can’t give any estimates as to a can’s longevity and value for money but as I’ll be using a significant amount of it (and Caliban Green…) over the next few months I’ll report back once I’ve formed an opinion.

In all, this seems to be a good, reasonably priced, product. It’s going to make my painting life a whole lot easier.

Trenchmates – Games Day Germany by Wouter Lute

08/18/2012 Leave a comment

Welcome to the second Trenchmates article. Here, Wouter Lute reports from last week’s German Games Day. Take it away, Wouter!

 

As always with a Games Day you have to leave very early! We were on the way at seven am! Sleepy in the car we listened to a 40K audio book, still no clue to which one it was.

I’ve been a couple of time to GDUK and knew these were big events, so my hopes for this one were same! After a two hour drive and some coffee later we arrived at Köln in Germany. The Games Day event was only a five minute walk from the garage and we saw a some geeky people waiting at the event hall (which was some sort of Gothic opera house). We had so called “Mega Tickets” which allowed us to walk straight in without having to wait in a queue. The “Mega Tickets” gave us also access to a GD model and a GD T-shirt.

The entrance hall was filled with dressed-up people that looked like guardsmen and inquisitors, and were doing some kind of role-playing (goofy Germans!). We decided to go directly to the Forge-world stand, because it’s always busy over there! The FW line was big!!!! so we had a changed our mind to have a look around first! Saw great stuff in main lobby, especially the three Ultramarine companies in main entrance hall!

After half an hour we found enough courage to go join FW line behind some very goofy German GW fans. So ninety minutes of slow stumbling we arrived at the FW stand. On the FW website I saw a Aquilla lander for my Inquisitorial allies that I wanted, so after ten minutes of searching by the FW clerk he came with the answer that it’s no longer made! [my theory is that there will be a plastic version soon -John] So I opted to go for my second option a Macharius Fulcan! At the FW stand was a dressed-up ogre! (actually one big dude with not enough clothes on)

After FW it was lunchtime already and we found this nice little Mexican joint. We had a big-ass burito chilli and a beer for lunch.

When lunch was over it was time for Games Day part two. We made our round passing the Golden Daemon entries. There where definitely some nice ones, but also some that my three year old could do better.

The Armies on Parade was an other item that we wanted to see. Some of the army boards were great, but then the armies on weren’t. only a handful were pretty awesome and a combination of board and models on it!

We visited the Black Library stand and had a chat with some of the authors and also with some designers from FW which were present at the GD.

The local German gaming clubs were present with their own gaming tables, some of the were actually top notch . the was a trench table which really liked, gave me some ideas to make one of my own. There was also a strike cruiser table, it was not really in scale, but then again pretty cool.

There were also presentations by GW about the production process and some Black Library lectures. Only the microphone wasn’t working and the BL lectures were in German, so we couldn’t follow it all (of course we were Dutch and it was Games Day Germany for Germans 😉 )

Of course there was a big GW stand with all the usual stuff, but we skipped it and called this Games Day to an end for us!

 

Not only did Wouter take the time to write this, he also sent in some pretty spectacular pictures from the event, enjoy!

 

The Imperial Fists First Company displays their subtle approach to warfare that made them so famous.

 

Smurftastic!

 

My wallet hurts just looking at that!

 

Every time I see well done versions of this model I want to start collecting Blood Angels again.

 

Abandoning his disguise, Sir Bruce Forsyth rides out into the night.

 

I’m not entirely certain that’s a legal army 😉

 

I love the effect on the force weapon’s blade

 

Just a typical night out in Cologne…

 

Bloody Space Hippies!

 

Right, where’s Bugman’s?

 

Taking the concept of the all you can eat buffet to extreme lengths…

 

Many thanks Wouter for a brilliant report about what sounds like an awesome day. I haven’t been to a Games Day since 1997 and my lasting memory of that was Adrian Wood getting a grilling by a fifteen year old girl about fixed battle reports! Unfortunately I can’t attend this or any other big event this year as Real Life has got in the way but roll on 2013.

If like Wouter you’ve been to an event, operate a gaming club or shop or if you just fancy showing off your painting skills or fancy having a rant about whatever you like please feel free to contribute, click here for more info.

Bitz & Pieces: Silent Spectre Studios

01/24/2012 Leave a comment

Today I received a lovely package from Silent Spectre Studios.  On Friday evening I ordered the Bounty Hunter mini from their Sci-Fi range and this morning it arrived with a little friend…

Along with the minis came a note from Stuart, the man behind the company who explained that there was a slight imperfection in the Bounty Hunter’s right leg which he’d repaired with Milliput since he had no replacements in stock.  As such he sent along a free minuture, Monique ‘Candy’ Cane from their Pulp range.  Now, first of all he didn’t have to do this, the ‘imperfection’ is so slight that I doubt I’d have even noticed but Stuart’s dedication to customer service puts many of his bigger rivals to shame.

Now, onto the models.

They’re made from a white metal alloy of tin and lead which I have to say appeals to the old school gamer in me.  They both have a good weight to them, even Ms Cane’s arms are robust which will help her survive the inevitable mid-painting  over-caffeinated drop I’m sure she’ll suffer in the very near future.  The detail on both is superb and the proportions just right.  Both have only microscopic amounts of flash, these models have been superbly moulded.  I will definitely be buying from this company again!

The Bear Speaks!

01/13/2012 Leave a comment

Isn’t technology wonderful? This morning the ever-innovative Doc Bungle has posted his first video review of some scenic bases by Evil Mushroom Games, you can view this here.

Even if these bases aren’t your thing I strongly urge you to check out EMG’s website, some of their scenery and terrain is simply awesome. I’ll certainly be picking up some of the industrial buildings for my 40K and Necromunda games in the very near future.