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Trenchmates – Have you ever absolutely hated painting a miniature?

03/19/2016 Leave a comment

We’ve all been there.  In this article, regular contributor Tim Chant talks about a common problem the hobby presents.

Have you ever absolutely hated painting a miniature? So much so that you’ll only ever get round to finishing it because you absolutely have to for a tournament, and you take the ‘just about tabletop ready’ will do approach?

I have.

I’ve mentioned Wild West Exodus a few times (you may have noticed), and how much I like both the game and the miniatures. I’ve just finished painting the Union Hired Hands (five long range and five close combat) troops I got in the launch Kickstarter, and they’re great models.

I hated painting the buggers, though, and I have no idea why.

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They’re very detailed figures, with a profusion of straps and buckles to hold their armour in place, and well proportioned. Their weapons aren’t OTT in scale or steampunkiness. I think it was the detail that killed them for me – trying to do all of the individuals straps and associated buckles rather than just shrugging and painting over them, plus getting the skin tones and the facial hair right. I think I’ve got them to a reasonable standard to game with (at least when seen from afar) though I was a little disappointed that my attempt to make the tunics and trousers different shades of blue doesn’t seem to have come out. I started with the Vallejo Ultramarine Blue and then drybrushed layers, aiming for slightly lighter blue trousers. I didn’t even try to do the eyes, just shaded the eyesockets with a couple of coats of dark ink and hope no-one notices under the brims of their caps.

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I was a bit stop start with the project, and only really got round to finishing them because I’m going to be showing off the game in the near future and will have a ton more stuff to do before then (a mass of scenery and at least one other faction, possibly one of the news ones I’m waiting on from the second Kickstarter).

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The weird thing is, I’ve found the characters I’ve painted so far pretty (3 Union and one Outlaw) straightforward and an absolute pleasure to paint – I think I did a much better job with them as well. I’m sure a better painter would have handled the Line Troops more effectively than I did. But hey, they’re done and I can get on with other projects…

Thanks again to Tim, I feel my resistance to this game crumbling by the day 😉

Trenchmate contributions are always welcome, for more information just click here.

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New Year, New Creative Intentions, and New Publication

01/07/2016 Leave a comment

Hard Setdown

What’s that?  Could we have a new soon-to-be-everyone’s-favourite sci-fi author guesting on this little blog?  Well, possibly; Trenchmate Tim has published his first short story and I’ve turned the blog over to him to tell us a bit more about it.

Shameless self-promotion time…

Regular visitors to these hallowed pages may have noticed that I’m a reasonably frequent Trenchmates contributor, talking mostly about my Marines and also waxing lyrical about Wild West Exodus. I’m intending to have a more hobby-productive year so hopefully there’ll be some more articles from me (on Project Deathwing and Kitbash Korner to name a couple or major undertakings for 2016).

When I’m not shackled to a cogitator station at work or turning out Trenchmate articles, I also write fiction – mostly the sort of fiction I like to read, so pretty gritty hardboiled science fiction, history and alternate history, and a touch of Fantasy. Oddly enough, most of the wargames and RPGs I enjoy fall into these categories.

I’ve just released my first (self-)published work on Amazon Kindle, Sam Cane: Hard Setdown. It’s a gritty, grimy science fiction novella, a survival mystery with a twist of horror. Sam Cane, reformed con-artist and ex-soldier, is fleeing her past and an enemy so dangerous, the only place she can hide is the other fringes of human settlement. Arriving at a small colony on an arid world to take up a posting as a security officer, she finds herself in a situation that’s no less dangerous. She’s forced to rely on her diverse and unique skillset to survive and work out what’s going on. Sam’s adventures by no means end here and I intend to keep publishing short works telling her story and exploring her world. If that tickles your fancy, you can find it here.

What has this to do with the hobby, I hear you think? In some ways, very little (did you notice the bit about shameless self-promotion above?). I’d love to write for GW or other hobby companies, even just doing fluff pieces for rulebooks (and will be applying to GW), but Sam is my own work and not connected with any existing universe.

What I do think is that wargaming and roleplaying help make me a better writer (and vice versa). There are a number of obvious similarities – running RPGs and writing both involve careful world building, characterisation, and attention to detail. The same applies to wargaming if you’re any kind of fluff player (which I am) – I create backgrounds for all my armies (and named characters and notable squads) and work out how those in any given game system tie together with each other and my opponent’s forces. I like a battle that has a narrative background and enjoy games linked as a story campaign. I think there’s also something in the hobby side as well, the careful attention to detail needed when building and painting a model and the thought that can go into telling a particular figure’s background in how it’s equipped, posed and painted. And I think, above all else, being immersed in something creative that almost entirely under your control helps sharpen the mind and hone the imagination – which is why I have no truck with people who say wargaming is just playing with kids’ toys.

I also can’t pretend that my years in the Grimdark haven’t coloured my writing at least a little bit – but it would be an odd writer or hobbyist who isn’t influenced by others.

So my plan this year is more reading across all my interests (want to get caught up with the HH series for one), more hobby time (including more Trenchmate articles) and more writing.

And if you do take a look at Hard Setdown, I hope you enjoy it and I’d welcome any comments on it.

Thanks for this, Tim.  I’ve just downloaded this for my PC/iPhone and I hope to consume it tomorrow.  Dear readers (all two of you), please, please, please download this, you won’t be disappointed. 

Trenchmates – Wild West Exodus: Painting the Minis by Tim Chant

10/28/2015 Leave a comment

You’ve read it right, Trenchmates is back!  Regular contributor, opponent and partner in crime Tim Chant talks about how he’s getting on painting his WWX Union force.

2015-10-25 18.21.22

I’m now a decent way through painting my Union force for Wild West Exodus so thought this might be a good time to offer some reflections on the miniatures from a hobby rather than gaming perspective.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I really like the models. I have a few gripes (lack of posability, some problems with resin quality control which I hope will have been fixed for the main run) but overall they don’t diminish my favourable opinion. I’m writing from the perspective of having assembled the miniatures before painting (I suffered from the usual gamer malaise of throwing myself into assembly without really thinking it through), and also from the perspective of being about competent as a painter.

First up was Lucinda Loveless. There are maybe a few issues with how Agent Loveless is presented in terms of pose and style (I’ve seen far worse though), but she was fairly straightforward and fun to paint. I used the excellent Valejo Army Painter blue coloured primer as the bulk of the model was going to be blue and then built up the blue with a wash and then a series of drybrushes of increasingly lighter shade (I use GW paints after the initial colour primer). I’m particularly pleased with the effect of the hem of the dress and also with her armoured bodice (one of my favourite colour combos is a dark bronze drybrushed with brass). I’m less happy about the flesh tones and her eyes – faces is where I really fall down.

2015-10-25 18.21.55

I also used the blue primer for Robert Pinkerton and I think General Grant. I’ve mentioned using the primers before and will reflect more fully on them in another post, but I cannot overstate how much faster they make a paint job. Both were, again, very straightforward models, though Grant was complicated by my pre-assembly as the positioning of his arms meant getting at his armour carapace harder. The unifying colour of the army is blue, but I went for a darker shade for Grant and made his metal work fairly dull to reflect the grim nature of the character. I had a go at giving him a glowing power sword, with mixed results – mercifully he wears a mask so I didn’t have to worry about his face. I cranked this mini out in about three hours while taking part in an on-line RPG, one of my fastest paint jobs.

2015-10-25 18.22.11

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Most recently, I’ve completed Mr Lincoln (there’s backstory here in that he’s faked his death so he can join Grant’s forces and try to keep the general under control). Outlaw have gone full on stove pipe, shovel beard and axe/shotgun combo. The obvious choice would have been to paint everything black (I actually undercoated using Chaos Black for this mini) but in the end I went with a dark blue coat and lighter blue trousers, and a dull iron carapace rather than brass. This makes him fit with the colour theme of the posse and also avoids the cliché. He comes with a choice of poses (holding the axe like a shotgun or over his head, ready to chop lumber or… other things). In the end I think I managed to assemble him somewhere between the two official poses, and was the only mini I painted before finishing assembly. I probably should have used some green stuff to smooth out some joins in the miniatures, but got a little over enthusiastic about getting him finished. His hair and beard was a bit of a struggle, and I gave up try to paint his eyes as they’re mostly shaded by his steampunk stovepipe hat so just shaded the sockets.

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A note on basing. Grant, Loveless and Pinkerton have fairly simple bases – I glued grit to the top of the base and then tried to achieve a sandy look. As Lincoln’s stance means he doesn’t fit onto a standard base, I created a scenic base for him using putty and a Basius mould so I appears he’s standing on a cellar trapdoor.

As these models are resin, I finished the paint job with a coat of varnish (GW Purity Seal) as the paint was rubbing off easily (I had to redo sections more than a few times as my handling while painting took chunks out of the paint).

I think because most of these miniatures are wearing long coats (or in Loveless’ case a dress) they were fairly quick, fun paint jobw. The Line Troops, basically the grunts of the unit, are a whole other issue. These are superbly detailed miniatures, and herein lies the rub. They have a profusion – one might say a plethora – of straps and buckles and details on armour and weapons which has started to do my pan in. I’m too much of a perfectionist just to paint these over, but not yet skilled enough to do a decent job of painting them. These miniatures have gone back into the box for now, though I will dig them out and finish them in due course. With them done and my Locust light support vehicle painted and assembled, I will be up to date with Union forces – hopefully in time for the delivery of the ‘Unfinished Business’ kickstarter which will give me another three factions to paint and a few more bits for the Union to boot…

Currently I’m working on Jesse James for the Outlaw gang. I don’t actually own this gang, my chum and regular opponent [NAME REDACTED BY ORDER OF THE HOLY INQUISITION] does, and I’ve volunteered to paint the gang (because he never will…). I’ve gone with black and brown for this colour scheme, and have upped my game slightly after taking excellent advice from a more experienced miniature painter on edge highlighting on his duster. This chap came apart as I was trying to prize him off his base o I could take a similar approach to Lincoln’s base, which has made the job a lot easier. With him done, I might go back to those blasted Line Troops…

Again, many thanks to Tim for his contribution, it’s getting harder for me not to pick up a small force for this game…

Trenchmate contributions are always welcome, for more information just click here.

Join Me!

03/30/2015 4 comments
Come on, what's the worst that could happen?

Come on, what’s the worst that could happen?

Regular readers (hi, you two!) will know that I beg for encourage contributions to this pokey little blog under the Trenchmates banner.  I’ve been running this scheme for almost three years and I’ve had some pretty great people provide fantastic articles, you can read them all here. But like Hive Fleet Clarkson, I’m never satisfied without some fresh meat.

Therefore I’d like to once again appeal to you, dear readers, to consider writing an article or two for this lovely corner of the internet.  It can be about anything games-related, so far I’ve had reviews, editorial pieces, a Games Day report and people (well, Tim) showing off finished models and I WANT MORE.  Nor do I limit myself to table top wargaming, I’d really to feature some RPG (maybe even LARP) articles but I don’t think I’d do them much justice.

If you’re interested, and why wouldn’t you be, please feel free to contact me either via the blog, my Facebook Page, my Twitter Account or by emailing ramblingsfromthetrenches@virginmedia.com.

I hope to hear from some of you soon 🙂

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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.

Trenchmates – Wild West Exodus – A Review by Tim Chant

01/13/2014 1 comment

A new year and a new Trenchmates article by the ever-reliable Tim Chant.  Here Tim discusses his recent foray into Outlaw Miniatures’ Wild West Exodus.

WWEWild West Exodus Review

Crowdsourcing is a wonderful and dangerous thing. I can get all sorts of interesting, offbeat things (games, miniatures, scenery) offered up at often significant discounts. I can also spend a lot of money without really realising it, and then have to wait for a year or more for my investment to come in (not to mention getting in the bad books of work’s mailroom staff).

I feel confident in stating that Wild West Exodus, the 35mm SF/Steampunk/Western semi-skirmish game by Outlaw Miniatures, was worth the wait.

Wild West Exodus (which I’ll abbreviate to WWE) is set in the Wild West not long after the end of the American Civil War, but in a history that has been radically altered by the discovery (by the dreaded Dr Carpathian – more on him later) of a new energy source – RJ-1027. Without wanting to go into too much detail about the set up and spoiling the prodigious amount of excellent background in the rulebook, a number of factions now vie for dominance in the West using weaponry powered by this new element or other weird and wonderful things, while dark and ancient forces move in the background and the Great Spirit had reawakened to combat evil. There’s a little bit of all sorts of things in there (as a Veteran of the Weird West I couldn’t help but draw some comparison with Deadlands), but a lot of really good original stuff and a good use of twisted history.

Four of us backed a Kickstarter for this last year, picking up the rules, four of the factions and some bits and pieces of scenery. I plumped for the forces of the Union, led by the horribly scarred and driven General Grant and the late President Lincoln, to be pitted against the Outlaws (imagine if the James-Younger Gang got together with Billy the Kid and every other famous outlaw and then got their hands on ray guns…), Dr Carpathian’s wicked Enlightened and the Warrior Nation, which brings together the great Native American heroes with a distinctly spiritual edge. The other faction released so far is the Lawmen (the usual suspects including the Earps), and I gather that a number of good and bad factions are planned.

I’m going to talk about the physical product first, then the game play.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

The Miniatures

These chaps are 35mm, so stand a bit taller than a Space Marine miniature (I had considered dual-purposing them as Imperial Guard but the scale wouldn’t quite work). I’ll focus on the Union as they’re on the mantelpiece next to me.

The design blends classic styles of the period with steampunk/SF edges in the weapons and equipment – the Hired Hands (squaddies) are in the classic 19th Century uniform but with blaster rifles, rocket launchers, hip-fired Gatling guns and hoverbikes instead of horses. General Grant glares out from behind a metal mask while menacing enemy with a hand cannon and energy sabre, and Abe Lincoln swings an axe with a street howitzer built into the handle.

The miniatures look fantastic – I’m really looking forward to painting them and hope I do them justice. They’re single-pose designs, but the poses are dynamic and varied.

Most of the models came in a very familiar plastic and usually came in seven or eight main parts – torso to the knees and shoulder/elbow, head with collar, arms, weapons, and legs. The plastics are nice and clean, and although they took a little while to get used to once I’d worked out to put the heads on the right way round they came together well.

Most of the characters (as well as Grant and Lincoln I got Robert Pinkerton and Agent Lucinda Loveless as well as the Kickstarter exclusive Union Lady of the West) and the heavy support choice I added came in resin. Again, the designs are good and dynamic – Grant and the devastating Agent Loveless in particular. Abe has two potential poses – getting ready to split someone’s head like a log, or pointing the axe like a shotgun to use the… built in shotgun. I personally think that they were let down a little by the production – there was a lot of excess resin to be trimmed off, one or two weren’t easy to cut from the sprue without damaging them, and there are some joins which will need some modelling putty to smooth out. The Locust heavy support vehicle had so much extra resin I broke a nice blade trying to get it off, and will need to make with the putty to even out the attachment points for the skids. One of the other chaps reckons they’re as good if not better than Finecast, so I may just have been unlucky with mine. With all that said, though, they looked great after hours of gluing and cursing – I just hope Outlaw moves over to using plastic for everything.

Buying from new, the models aren’t particularly cheap nor are they exorbitant – a character model will clock in around £10 and a set of ten Hired Hands around £28. A faction starter box (three characters, plenty of Hired hands, light support and one heavy support vehicle) will set you back around £150. These are rough estimates based on current exchange rates. So far I haven’t been able to identify anywhere in the UK that sells them (Outlaw is based in Texas) so there’ll be postage to factor in. As an almost lifelong GW player, though, I’ve come to accept that ours is not a budget hobby and I think the miniatures are worth it, and it definitely helps that you don’t need a lot of models to have a fast, fun, well-balanced game – my first tester I put five models on the table.

The Scenery

We also got some scenery in the pledge – the inevitable mine carts, stacks of barrels etc – these were in resin, but much cleaner and in single pieces so no issues there. The buildings are definitely worth mentioning. These are laser cut HDF kits by Micro Art studios – we picked up the set of houses, the sheriff’s office (obviously) and saloon/hotel kit and have so far assembled the houses (including an outdoor convenience). Again, they took a little working out, but came together very logically, are solid builds and look great. We may be getting them ‘tarted up’ a bit, including turning the saloon into The Gem.

Rulebook and Accessories

The rulebook is a glossy, hardback affair which includes everything you need to know to play the game. The bulk of the book is world building done as a series of short stories/vignettes which introduce the world and why history diverged from our own, as well as giving some background on the factions and key characters. As a fluff/plot driven player I really like the fact that a lot of time and words were spent on the background. My only criticism would be that it needed a better proof read and maybe an index. If you’re not interested in the fluff you’re utterly soulless there are mini books with just the rules

The main book doesn’t include a lot about the individual factions. The miniatures come with cards that have everything you need to play them in a game – stats, weapons and special rules (I believe this is becoming quite common with indie games). A top tip that one of the chaps came up with is to laminate the cards – so far replacement cards haven’t been produced so it’s worth it to protect them from spillage/pets as well as helping with the game play (more on that later).

Personally, I’d like to see a bit more background on the characters. A nice touch, though is that Outlaw have started producing fairly short comics to accompany the game (the pledge came with the first three) that focus on the different characters and include extra scenarios, so I imagine they’ll continue the world building that way as well as through the novels.

Aside from that there’s a nifty multitemplate (different blast and flamer templates in one) and a set of counters, although we shifted to using poker chips for the Influence counters as there weren’t enough in the set.

THE GAME

To the guts of the matter. Three of us got together to test the system out (Union, Enlightened, Outlaws) – we fought Outlaw against Enlightened, Union against Outlaw and then a three-person scrap. I’ll reflect first on the composition of the forces.

Factions and Posses

Each side fields a posse/gang etc to an agreed cost. The game is set up to allow everything from a shoot-out with a handful of miniatures to a full-on war with vehicles and dozens of miniatures aside. Each posse is built around a Boss – you have to take one and can’t take more. Bosses can be backed by limited numbers of Underbosses and Sidekicks, any number of Hired Hands (ranged or close combat), and a handful or light and heavy support units.

By way of an example, for my first $500 game I fielded:

Boss – General Grant ($205)

Underboss – none

Sidekick – Lucinda Loveless ($100)

Hired Hands – Four long-range troops ($35/each)

Heavy Support – Gatling Gun ($50)

As you can see, it’s not a large force. The Union seem to be quite capable in the long-ranged department. The Hired Hands are good and the characters offer some good buffs. Grant, Lincoln and Loveless are good at short range and Grant in particular is devastating in hand to hand.

The different factions offer different styles of play. The Enlightened Hired Hands are essentially Frankenstein’s Monsters but with no free will and heaps of guns. They’re cheap, offer a high volume fire but low accuracy – most entertainingly, they explode if shot or if detonated by Dr Carpathian (and if you knock them over in hand to hand he can still chose to blow them up – so knock ’em down and move on in a hurry). The Sidekicks and Underbosses seem to be larger constructs with an array of heavy weapons. Carpathian himself buffs the constructs, is well-armoured against ranged attacks carried some devastating firepower. We’ve not seen it yet but Gustav Eiffel in his mechanical spider seems quite intimidating.

The Outlaws, to me, offer a more individualist style of play. The characters can do some serious harm in shooting (Billy the Kid in particular can turn into a whirlwind of cascading death, earning actions for each kill he makes while Jesse James can do some serious harm at range), wile their Hired Hands are particularly capable in close combat. I’m going to be interested to see how the Warrior Nation stacks up – they mix shapechangers and mystic power with salvaged weapons.

I like the set up of what you can and can’t take, but one thing I’d like to talk with my gaming group about and playtest would be to adjust the list depending on the size of battle – for instance not having to take a Boss for smaller battles but taking an Underboss instead, and alternatively upping the numbers for the largest battles.

A nice little extra is the selection of mercenaries who can take up slots as Underbosses and Sidekicks, bringing something a bit different to what your faction usually has (although some mercs won’t fight for certain factions). Outlaw do a nice range of mercs based on the crew of a certain sadly short-lived SF Western series.

Several of the characters can be taken by different Factions – one of the Earps, for instance, can be either Union or Lawmen.

The System

Hold on to your hats here – this is a d10 system (luckily, as White Wolf games get played here we have a bucket). We agreed that the game itself was a real pleasure to play – the system is simple, quick once we got the hang of it, and both players are involved all the way through. Without wanting to go into exhaustive detail, every model has a series of stats to test against (Marksmanship for shooting, Physical Ability for close combat and resistance etc) – some you aim to roll under, some over. Marksmanship in particular can be modified (range, cover etc).

Actions are defined by Action Points. Most models with have two, some three or even four. Every action has an associated cost, usually one, so the number of action points will determine how much any model can do (move and shoot, shoot twice, move shoot move if you have enough APs). The game is played by each player taking it in turns to activate a group of 1-3 models (in most circumstances), doing all of their actions and then passing to the other player. I found this particularly satisfying as I’m used to playing Marine against Guard and therefore spending a large amount of time being subjected to mass firepower resolved one after the other. This is a particularly good mechanic for multi-player battles.

The other particularly nice mechanic is Influence. Each posse will have an Influence pool which is generated by the particular characters. Influence is committed by a particular roll (multiple points can be spent) and is then used to get re-rolls if you’re not satisfied with the result. As committed Influence that isn’t spent is lost, it’s a bit of a gamble which adds an element of calculation to the game. As characters are killed off, their Influence contribution is lost to the pool. It can be a real battle changer, but you can also find yourself desperately short at critical moments.

Gameplay

On the whole, we found the rules really straightforward and once we learned them they made for a fast game. Pretty sure that when we’re fully comfortable with the rules a $500 battle could be done in a couple of hours, which would make a good afternoon game. There are a few rules that caused some confusion – the hand to hand system is a little more complex (they usually are) and the cover rules took us a little while to get right (I think we’ve got it right anyway!).

Having each model’s rules on a card in front saved a lot of time that would have been spent leafing through army books. The cards are also used to keep track of damage to each model (the ‘lifeblood’ track), and this is where the laminated cards came in handy as we are were to mark the dots of lifeblood off, confident of being able to clean the cards afterwards.

We gamed on a four-by four table which was just right for a smaller game and allowed us to close the range fast – given that a model could e moving up to 18 inches in an activation you can really get to grips quickly, and the way to put down character seems to be to get into hand to hand with them. I think a six by four will be necessary for larger fights and those using vehicles (we didn’t use vehicles or the optional rules for buildings in the book, to keep things simple).

WEE1

WEE2

Conclusion

I have to say, I enjoyed this game enormously. There’s humour in some of the special rules and the situations we got into, and the simple rules meant there was limited frustration. Personally, I think the Factions are reasonably well balanced – my opponents seemed to find Agent Loveless quite terrifying, particularly for her cost, whereas I thought Carpathian was more than somewhat terrifying!

I think there are a few tweaks to be made to the system that we might consider for house rules, and I’m keen to see how this would work as a campaign using a Necromunda-style gang advancement. I shall look forward to future comics for updates, scenarios and backgrounds.

I’m certainly happy with the investment and will continue to build my Union force and keep an eye on what else is released with a view to a second faction to keep things interesting.

Thanks again to Tim for taking the time to write up this great sounding game.  For more information, head over to Outlaw Minatures’ website and remember, if you’d like to contribute an article you can find all the information you need here.

Trenchmates – Canticles of Redemption – A Background by Tim Chant

10/25/2012 10 comments

Today we hear from a good friend and regular opponent of mine. Tim’s been working on the background to his marine chapter for a very long time and as you will see, it most definitely shows! As well as detailing his chapter’s history Tim has also provided a gallery of his boys in action as well as a piece where he discusses his inspiration and aspirations for the future of his army.

The Reavers Redemptor

Founding

The Reavers Redemptor came about as a result of an series of administrative errors and misunderstandings in M40, when as part of a small Founding the newly created Emperor’s Reavers were given a homeworld in the far Galactic North, on the border between the Segmenta Obscurus and Ultima. None realised, when the Chapter Fortress was raised upon the world of Nagol’s End to watch East into the Ghoul Stars and defend the Forgeworlds and agrarian colonies of region, that they were trespassing in the protectorate of a much older Chapter – the Crusaders Redemptor.

The name of the official responsible is lost to history, but it is thought to be the same clerk who became known as the Great Disruptor, whose almost heretical incompetence only came to an end when he was demoted to a Filing Servitor.

Little is known of the history of the Crusaders. Their own legends maintain a provenance in the Second Founding, of Ultramarine genestock. A Chapter noted for little more than its perhaps overly strict adherence to the Codex Astartes, it had quietly and competently maintained its watch in the area from its homeworld of Knassos V, with such little incident that Terra had forgotten its very existence.

The Knassos and Nagol systems are scant lightyears apart, so it did not take long for the Crusaders Redemptor to discover the trespassers (as they saw them) in their sector. Not only that, but the Emperor’s Reavers had already begun requiring the fealty of local systems to augment their stocks of munitions, vehicles and ships.

Relations between the two Chapters were cool but cordial to begin with. Excursions of nameless horrors from the Ghoul Stars, an incursion of Dark Eldar pirates and a marauding World Eater war band kept the two busy for a few centuries. Indeed, Crusader and Reaver Companies occasionally fought side-by-side to great effect.

This changed in mid-M41 with the accession of Mordecai Klaass to the position of Chapter Master of the Emperor’s Reavers. Young (a mere century and a half), Klaass had been Captain of the 5th Company and an unlikely candidate for Chapter Master – he rose to the position by dint of being the first to the side of the previous Master as he died, his body racked by a Dark Eldar neurotoxin. His feat in rescuing his predecessors body, armour and weapons from the vile Xenos propelled him into the position.

Unfortunately, it rapidly became apparent that he was not ready to command an entire Chapter. Impatient and reckless, he had become frustrated by the Crusaders’ cautious, methodical approach to warfare. Maintaining personal command of his company despite his weightier responsibilities, he came into conflict with the Crusaders when working with Captain Nuremberg of their 2nd Company. Believing them to be missing an opportunity to crush the same Dark Eldar raiders who had killed his beloved mentor, he rushed the Raiders along with his acolyte Sergeant Tann Hauser and the bike squads for which 3rd Company was famous. He ran straight into and wrecked the careful ambush the Crusaders had set, using a unit of the 57th Menasan Armoured Infantry as bait. In the ensuing firefight, the Xenos slipped away, the Guard suffered horrendous casualties and, at the height of the fighting, the Crusaders and Reavers began exchanging fire.

Tensions over the resources in the area and the differing doctrines of the two Chapters came to a head after this unfortunate incident. A conclave between Chapter Masters on the Forgeworld of Kadesh ended in violence, from which Nuremberg barely escaped with his life thanks to Hauser’s intervention.

For the next two centuries, the two Chapters fought whenever they came into contact. At first it was minor skirmishes, almost honour bouts that did not interfere with their normal duties, but as the divisions deepened the violence became lethal until the Chapters were embroiled in full scale warfare that consumed their entire attention. The focus of the fighting was Kadesh, both chapters seeing the resources and manufactorums as being their right and the key to victory. It became so intense that much of the world was devastated in the full-scale battles between the full strength of the Chapters.

It was the resultant drop off in productivity from Kadesh that brought a resolution of sorts. Noticing the reduction in war materiel from the planet flowing to the arsenals of the Guard, the enigmatic and extremely reclusive Inquisitor Cliranda Montague journeyed to the sector with her entourage. Expecting Xenos interference, sedition or the influence of the Ruinous Powers, what she found disturbed her deeply – brother Marines who had been at war with each other so long they had forgotten their duty to the God Emperor. Indeed, the violence had been so extreme and the war so long that each Chapter could muster barely five hundred warriors apiece.

Montague knew this could be tolerated no longer. While her extensive entourage worked on assessing the extent of the war and infiltrating the alliances each Chapter had built up with planetary governors and even some Guard Regiments, Montague and her closest followers travelled to Maccrage to enlist the aid of Marneus Calgar and the Ultramarines.

The Lord of the Ultramarines took some persuading. Despite having access to some of the most extensive records in the Imperium, his sages could find little record of the Crusaders and certainly no record of them being Primogenitors of his own Chapter. The intensity of Montague’s representation, and the fact that she took the unprecedented step of meeting with him in person rather than through proxies, eventually piqued Calgar’s interest and he travelled with his 2nd Company to the Kadesh system.

Within days of his arrival in the sector, he had brought peace between the two Chapters. His towering rage, force of personality and the backing of some of the finest warriors in the Imperium soon brought the warring brothers to the table. Once again in conclave on the ravished planet of Kadesh, Chapter Masters Klaass and Hieronimo Trent of the Crusaders were offered a stark choice – put aside their differences, or face censure and destruction at the hands of the Ultramarines and other chapters. To ensure the situation never occurred again, Calgar and Montague made a simple decree – the two understrength Chapters were to become on. The Crusaders Redemptor and Emperor’s Reavers would become the Reavers Redemptor. Montague’s investigations had thrown up the surprising fact that the Crusaders’ genestock was actually that of the White Scars, as was that of the Reavers. The two Chapters were fully compatible.

Wearied by an internecine war he had never sought, Trent agreed to the proposals, although many in the Chapter reacted in anger, not least at the suggestion that their long-held belief in their provenance was indeed false. Only Trent’s wisdom and the loyalty he had earned brought the remnant of his Chapter into line.

Klaass reacted with anger and predictable violence. While Calgar was absent, he attempted to bring the war to a conclusion that suited him better by striking at both Trent and the assembled Reavers as they gathered for the final ceremonies of the peace treaty.

Only the intercession of Tann Hauser, now Captain of the Reavers’ 3rd Company, prevented this vile stroke from falling. Realising the folly of Klaass’ actions and that, rather than accepting the presented victory, Calgar would destroy the Reavers, Hauser informed Trent of the attack. Recognising in Hauser an honest Marine as wearied by the war as he was, Trent acknowledged the warning and personally intercepted Klaass and his Honour Guard. Deep in the Great Ash Basin of Kadesh, the two Chapter Masters met and fought for the last time. Despite the fact that by then both men were several centuries old, the struggle was epic, lasting almost seven days and changing the very terrain they fought on. On the third day, Calgar arrived and, recognising the necessity of his grudge being settled, chose to adjudicate rather than interfere.

At the start of the seventh day, Klaass finally made a rash error, letting his guard down briefly and allowing Trent to strike a might blow with his power sword, mortally wounding his opponent.

Trent decreed an end to the fighting and acknowledged the wisdom of Calgar’s plan. Himself wounded beyond recovery, his made each and every one of his four hundred and ninety one surviving Battle Brothers swear that no rancour would remain in their hearts towards their new Brothers. Calgar himself took the personal oaths of the surviving Reavers, beginning with Hauser. The war was over, and out of the crucible of fire and bloodshed the Reavers Redemptor were forged.

Homeworld

The new Chapter was allowed to retain the Fortress Monasteries on both Nagol’s End and Knassos V, but purely as recruiting centres.

Nagol’s End is a wild world of high mountains and broad, windswept planes. The semi-barbarous people exist amongst the ruins of the early colony, which collapsed into anarchy during Old Night. Even millennia later, the inhabitants are able to salvage workable technology from the fallen cities, as well as artefacts they trade with offworlders for what they require. The largest import to the planet are vehicles, bikes in particular, and munitions, for the people of Nagol’s End are either at war with each other or preparing for war. The world revolves around a few permanent Holdings, governed by those who are strong and ruthless enough to maintain their position, built to take advantage of the vast road network of the old colony. These long, broad avenues were laid with a material that remains a mystery to Techmarine and savant alike, and has not decayed despite not being maintained since before Old Night. A nomadic culture exists upon the network, one that survives on warfare and trade and favours those who are able to move and fight at speed. Those who form this culture are known as Blacktoppers, and are particularly favoured by the Astartes recruiters.

In contrast, Knassos V is a world that has maintained a more civilised aspect. Founded during the Great Crusade, it is a pre-eminent centre of art and learning whose burgeoning population relies on the surrounding worlds for food and industrial output. Governorship, though invested in the Reavers Redemptor, is maintained though consensus with the city-states that make up the society. The Marines drawn from its gleaming spires and sprawling suburbs tend to be Knassans who, at an early age, have demonstrated both intellectual excellence and rigour in the pursuit of the classic sports of wrestling, pugilism and athletics.

Calgar and Montague, however, declared that the new Chapter’s Homeworld would be Kadesh, and the semi-derelict Great Port in orbit over the planet was given to them as their new Fortress Monastery. As the war between the Marines had ravished Kadesh, so would the joining between them rebuild it. The Reavers have thrown themselves into their newfound duties, restoring the great hives of the night-bound world, rebuilding the transport network and re-engaging the ancient Manufactora. Like Nagol’s End, Kadesh was founded before the Age of Strife and managed to maintain order and a structured society in the intervening period. Like many Forgeworlds, Kadesh’s environment has long since been poisoned by the effluent of human industry, and the sky has been so burnt that no natural light penetrates the cloud cover. It is never anything more than twilight on Kadesh. Its people are stoic, accustomed to suffering even before the War Between the Chapters, and hardened by their environment. Despite the bitterness left behind by the conflict, the Reavers have begun recruiting on Kadesh. Some Kadeshians take pride in becoming Reavers Redemptor, going from a reborn world to a reborn Chapter, and are often greatly valued as potential Techmarines and tank crew.

Combat Doctrine

In combat, the Reavers Redemptor have combined the studious, Codex-based approach of the former Crusaders with the wild, fluid warfare of the Emperor’s Reavers to great effect. The Crusaders were the masters of careful ambush, surgical orbital strike and well thought-out defensive lines. The Emperor’s Reavers specialised in raiding deep behind enemy lines, often relying on Bikes, Razorbacks and Rhinos, and lightning strikes to decapitate enemy forces. With the added element of the Kadeshian’s native affinity for heavy armour, the Reavers Redemptor have formulated a devastating style of warfare involving targeted Drop Pod and teleport assaults to form redoubts that are then linked up by armoured columns spearheaded and covered by the waves of Blacktoppher bikers. Few can stand against such a devastating combination. In defence, the Reavers utilise heavy firepower in gunlines to break up enemy formations, which are then shattered by Bike countercharges and Drop Pod deployments in the enemy’s rear areas.

This doctrine is enunciated in The Canticles of Redemption. Begun by Chapter Master Trent and continued by his successor Elizias Cutter, formerly Captain of the Crusaders Redemptor’s 1st Company, it contains reflections on combat doctrines to be employed against a variety of foes. Most recently, and tragically, this has included contemplation on the suppression of rebellious Imperial Guard Regiments, as well as countering the raiding of the Xenos filth known as the ‘Dark’ Eldar.

Force Organisation

The Reavers Redemptor. Despite its odd lineage, maintains a reasonably close adherence to the Codex Astartes. Still commanded by Elizias Cutter, it maintains a standard ten-company structure. Few companies are drawn exclusively from a single word, a deliberate tactic to ensure full integration, although recruits from a particular world will tend to gravitate towards the company that best expresses their personal ethos.

The soul deviations from this rule, in terms of organisation, are the 2nd and 3rd Companies. 2nd Company (Captain Rikkard Nuremberg), although commanded by a Knossan, contains a great many Marines of Kadeshian origin and tends to employ a greater number of heavy vehicles than the other companies. At the other end of the scale, 3rd Company is still commanded by Captain Tann Hauser and contains a great many Blacktoppers. Of all of the battle companies, the 3rd is pre-eminent in its use of mounted assault. Despite their differing backgrounds and the fact they often fought against each other, Hauser and Nuremberg are now fast friends and often co-operate to great effect.

The Chapter’s heraldry does reflect its unusual heritage. The Crusaders wore a universally dark green armour and the Emperor’s Reavers’ a dark rust-red. The two colour schemes were combined, with a standard scheme of a red torso and upper legs and green lower legs and torso, company colour on the trim of the shoulder pads and squad designator on the knee pads. The Veterans were allowed the honour of deciding whether to maintain the heraldry of their original chapters, with veterancy denoted by a silver helmet or laurels. Captain Hauser maintained the right for his troops to wear the company colour, a deep burnished gold, in their helmets as well as shoulder pads, maintaining the tradition of the tribe of Blacktoppers he was recruited from.

The Reavers are also one of a handful of chapters to have the dubious honour of having a single squad of Ultramarine veterans attached to them on a rotating basis. Currently Sternguard Squad Apothes has been assigned to the Chapter.

Beliefs

The Reavers Redemptor have found a new devotion to the Imperial Creed, in particular those elements that focus on redemption through struggle and suffering. They have extended their enforcement of a particularly militant interpretation of the Creed to other elements of the Imperial apparatus in their ever-increasing sphere of operations. This has led them into conflict with at least two Imperial Guard Regiments they regard as being rebellious, if not heretical. They have skirmished with elements of the 57th Menasan Armoured Infantry to the Galactic West of their operational zone and fought two full-scale wars with the Genovasian 4th Equatorial, from the Dasop Sector not far from the Reavers’ sphere of influence. The first of these conflicts was precipitated by a Radical Inquisitor, something the Reavers find to be anathema. The second is on-going at the end of M41, triggered by Ecclesiarchal interference with a world recently brought into the Reavers’ domain. To the Reavers, this is tantamount to Heresy, leading some to question whether the entire organ of the Ecclesiarchy has become corrupted.

Inquisitor Montague, through her followers, has maintained close links with the Chapter, both to monitor them and to harness their newfound fervous when her investigations require the most extreme and direct sanction.

Significant/Defining Moment

The fight between Trent and Klaass is seen by many as the pivotal moment in the Chapter’s unhappy history. Indeed, many of the current Reavers lived through the war and the reconciliation. To remind the next generations of the dangers of quarrelling with their brothers, the gruelling Ritual of Dust that new initiates undergo in the arid Dust Plains of Kadesh is focused on the Valley of the Masters. Here the titanic battle actually carved a new topography into the surface of the planet which now stands as mute testament to their struggle.

This moment also gave birth to the Chapter’s darkest secret and greatest shame. Not all of the Battle Brothers of either founding chapter swore the oaths either to Trent or Calgar, and some who did recanted them. These apostates fled the fold of the new Chapter. Some renounced their oaths of loyalty to the Emperor entirely, becoming renegade and Traitor. Ironically, renegade Crusaders and Reavers have found themselves forced to form war bands together to survive. Others, either as individuals or squads, maintain that they are loyal to the Emperor but refuse to accept the authority of the new Chapter. Although most still fight on, as they can, against the enemies of the Imperium, their isolation has driven them all increasingly towards a precipice they cannot return from. Hauser and Nuremberg, between them, have sworn a solemn oath to bring the renegades to justice and attempt to redeem the recidivists.

Battle Cry

‘Imperator Redentor!’ – Emperor the redeemer. Few Chapters feel as much need to seek redemption for past misdeeds and errings.

Geneseed

White Scar stock. The Crusaders Redemptor, although an ancient chapter, are not of the Second Founding or indeed a Primogenitor of the Ultramarines. Their geneseed was drawn from a Primogenitor of the White Scars in the Third Founding. Through the beneficence of the God Emperor, the Emperors’ Reavers geneseed was drawn from the same Chapter, albeit eight thousand years later. There is some debate as to how the geneseed of a wild chapter like the White Scars could have given rise to the strictly doctrinal Crusaders Redemptor. Some even whisper that the original geneseed of the Crusaders had been interfered with in an attempt to abate the wild streak. A few daring or mad souls even suggest that the Crusaders were in fact drawn from Ultramarine stock, and that the Inquisitor Montague lied to all and committed the heresy of combining the geneseed of different lines. Some say it was for pragmatic reasons, others that her motivations were entirely more… radical.

There is little doubt that the combination of the genestocks has led to the Chapter returning to the character of its roots, albeit tempered by the clinical nature of the old Crusaders.

Gallery

Above and below: Captain Tann Hauser leads his bike command squad in pursuit of fleeing Genovasian Imperial Guardsmen during the Bugham’s World Incident.

Brother Reddick supports Terminator Squad Antigor in clearing mysterious ruins on Cribdis, on the outer edge of the Ghoul Stars Cluster.

Tactical Squad Kollan, 2nd Company, deploy from their drop pod into the ruins of the Ork-infested City of Emperor’s Grace during the Purging of Kallandros.

Reavers Redemptor – Writing the fluff and designing the livery

Believe it or not, the original plan for the Reavers Redemptor was to have them in a very light blue and plum red colour scheme (something which horrified my flatmate [Elizabeth Corbett of Sexism in The Warhammer Worlds fame, who does accept commissions if anyone’s interested], who was doomed to paint them). Luckily, I took a trip to the Highlands in autumn and was deeply struck by the combinations of red and green as the trees lost their leaves. A chat with a member of staff in my local GW store and further discussions with the aforementioned flatmate led to the colour scheme, which is built up by (in old money):

  • White undercoat
  • Base of Mechrite Red on torso, upper legs and arms; base of Orkhide Shade on shoulder pads, gloves and shins/boots
  • Washes of Baal Red and Thrakka Green
  • Dry brush of Tin Bitz over the red.

Because I like a bit of variety and Elizabeth didn’t want to get bored painting, there are variations on the theme. Vehicles alternate the blocks of colours, and elite units are either entirely red or entirely green. I haven’t got round to working out how to do the scheme with the new paints. Thankfully, the bulk of the army (entire 2nd Battle Company plus 1st and 3rd Company elements) have already been painted by Elizabeth. Including the mention of Ultramarines will allow me to field the squad of Tyranid Hunters my partner’s brother kindly gave to me, and I’m very tempted to throw in the occasional squad of other Codex Chapters (alongside the small Dark Angel and Space Wolf armies I’m putting together).

Next up I have a few Dreads, a couple of Land Raiders, more Bikes….

As to the background, I have such a large selection at my disposal I like to vary my force composition and tactics (to keep my opponents guessing). I also wanted to give the Chapter a bit of the feel of being right on the edge and being drawn back into the fold – and, let’s face it, I enjoy writing and wanted to come up with something quite interesting. The background I’ve created gives a story to the different styles of play I enjoy. The relationship between the Reavers and Inquisitor Montague, and the situation with the renegades, is also something I’m looking forward to developing through my own writing and the games of Dark Heresy I run.

Many thanks to Tim for this fantastic insight into one of the False Emperor’s armies of lapdogs. Sorry, I came over all Chaosy. However on that subject I’d like to add that Tim and I have tied the backstory of the Reavers to those of my Imperial Guard (The 57th Menasan Armoured Infantry), Dark Eldar (Kabal of The Sundered Heart) and Chaos Space Marine (The Heralds of Desolation) of which more will be detailed very soon.

If you’d like to contribute an article all the information you need can be found here.