Friday, 30 May 2014

Imperial Harpy Class Fighter

Hi!

Just a quick update before I head off to work with a couple of pictures of the first of my 6mm scale fighter craft in the form of an Imperial Harpy class Fighter:


Its one of the em4 miniatures plastic fighters that I have had kicking around for years and actually looks surprisingly good with a quick lick of paint! I've still got to add some squadron markings but its mostly complete and I hope to get a second added before too much longer.

Here's another shot, this time with the Imperial lander, Ajax:


I decided to go for a rather weathered finish to represent a ship thats seen hard duty out on the frontier rather than having rolled off the assembly line. I hope to add some Viridian Corporation ships as well as pirates and Orkish ships when I get the chance!

All the best!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Dread Captain Midas Blackstar

Greetings!

Just a quick update with a picture of the new captain of my Space Pirate crew, Dread Captain Midas Blackstar!


Once a corsair of some repute, Midas has become a bloody handed terror following an unfortunate incident with a boobytrapped treasure chest. The ensuing explosion blasted Midas with molten golden shrapnel and ruined his once proud Eldar looks and crippled his left arm. 

Driven insane by the agony of his wounds and the disgust at the ruin done to his once fine form, Midas vanished from known space. Within the last year, rumours have begun circulating that a new and terrible threat has appeared amongst the trading lanes of the Farpoint sector. Within the course of six months, over twenty ships have been pillaged, their crews slain or captured and their cargo stolen.

It was the last, desperate transmission of the Imperial Merchantman, the Flagstaff that it became clear that Midas had returned. Somehow, despite the crippling injuries, the Dread Pirate Midas Blackstar survived and with his ship, the Hand Of Gold has returned to the Imperium to wreak a bloody revenge. 

Subsequent enquiries by the Inquisition and Imperial Investigators has discovered the terrible fate of those unfortunate to become captives of the Dread Pirate. Blackstar has formed an unholy alliance with the ancient and evil Pharon and has supplemented his income by selling his captives to the Pharon as slaves and sacrifices to their dread god. In return, Blackstar has been given access to arcane weapons and forbidden technology which supports his ruined body and twisted soul.

Of late, the Hand of Gold has been reported cruising near the frontier world of New Viridia and Imperial agents speculate that Midas is looking for something deep in the steaming jungles amongst the savage Orkish sacred lands.

Game wise, Midas Blackstar is an Eldar hero, armed with a las pistol and bionic left arm giving the Midas touch the ability to punch through reinforced ceramite armour and is also adorned with all manner of concealed weaponry and makes a good villain for my Imperial troops to fight against!

Hopefully I will have one or two more pieces to add in the coming days to round out the crew but in the meantime, all the best!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Catachan Patrol!

Hi!

It's my day off work so its time to get some pics up of the Catachans I've been working on!

 Jungle Fighters!

It may not seem like much progress, but I must admit I am rather pleased with how they turned out. I've done a bit of experimenting with skin tones to get a more natural finish and the camo turned out alright as well!

I am hoping to add a few more over the next few days to round the squad out a bit and add some more different skin tones (I could never understand the GW everyone being white thing) Thus far, I have some of my command squad completed in the form of my cigar chomping Lieutenant and three guardsmen (and women!) and have another couple to add to give me a nice little force to get going with.

Speaking of which, I also completed a repaint of one of the old Mechwarrior Mining Mechs which has come out rather nicely too:


Game wise, its going to be a hastily modified lumber droid that has been pressed into military service with a multi-laser and military missile launcher rapidly fastened on to give my Catachans some much needed firepower.

Here's a scale shot showing the droid next to my warrior woman, who is one of the figures I picked up from the show the other week:


Hopefully I will be able to get some skirmishes in soon as my Orks are getting to a playable level too so expect some more bits and bobs over the coming week or two as I try and flesh out both forces to a more suitable level and have a bash at creating some terrain to represent the green hell of New Viridia!

All the best!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Shiver Me Timbers!

Hi!

Well I'm just back from a very busy day of work and am slowly working my way through a Catachan patrol!

Alas no pictures tonight but hopefully I will be able to snap a couple of shots tomorrow of them but this post is more about a terrible, awful mistake I made. That mistake was to start reading a book my brother gave me.


Now I've always been a fan of nautical nonsense and pirates in particular but this book has got me hooked (forgive the pun) on the golden age of piracy and lusting after creating a crew of buccaneers to go a pillaging, at least in miniature format.

I know I had sworn off starting any new projects and indeed buying more stuff that I can ever hope to paint but theres something about the idea of a pirate project that is proving very hard, if not impossible to resist.

Inspired by this I have been re-exploring the rather wonderful Secret of Monkey Island series of games and re-watching one or two of my favorite films too and must admit I do love the imagery used and its a perfect opportunity to combine legendary characters with a bit of fantasy too!


The image of sun-baked towns on exotic islands, packed with all manner of weird and wonderful characters, not to mention a good dose of humour is not to be sniffed at!



Looking at the options, theres plenty of really lovely skirmish rules out there which would quite probably be absolutely brilliant fun games but I am trying to keep myself on a bit of a budget here so I am going to try and resist splurging out on either Cutlass or Freebooter's Fate, which seem to be the most popular out there at present and stick to something a bit more Oldschool.


Yes, I am going to use Rogue Trader as the basis for a pirate game. It's will probably involve quite a bit of tweaking and reworking but I figure by dropping in some elements of Necromunda and Mordheim along with some of my own tweaks, I should have a workable system.

Moving onto miniatures, one is spoiled for choice but thats for another day! I am going to spend a little while sorting out my setting first (something I secretly enjoy far too much!) but I will be using influences from all over history, movies, novels and computer games to create something which will give me plentiful opportunity to indulge my piratical urges. I may even be tempted to sculpt some of my own miniatures for it in a more cartoony style than current ranges.

Another fun element to the period is the opportunity to really go to town with some creative scenery, as can be seen with these two Freebooters Fate boards which look really lovely  while staying quite playable:


This is not going to keep me from getting on with my current Sci-fi projects though. Theres lots of elements I can cross over and it will give me something to keep me entertained when I begin to get sick of painting all that camouflage for my Catachans!

 All the best!

Friday, 23 May 2014

The Art of Ian Miller

Hi!

Just back from work and thought I would share my find of the day!


I can't believe I didn't notice the book was released in mid April but snagged our stores copy as soon as I could and I must say its worth every penny!


Take a look at the pages I snapped at random:





The book is literally packed with Ians awesome and macabre artworks, many from some of those hallowed volumes of early Warhammer and Rogue Trader and I must admit I think its a far better publication than Ratspike. If you are a fan of the surreal and bizarre art of classic Citadel productions, I would highly recommend taking a punt on the book as it literally oozes class and literally every page is crammed with inspirational stuff for anyone with even a tiny bit of imagination.

Take a look at the space rats, weird titan and all the chaotic scenery and I guarantee it will spark an idea for a force, model, setting or piece of scenery and even scenario!

All the best!

Monday, 19 May 2014

A Guide to the Farpoint Sector: New Viridia

Hi!

As I have today off, I thought I would start laying some groundwork for my Farpoint campaign and also give me some inspiration for my Catachans too so without further ado, heres a brief guide to the lush jungle world of New Viridia:


Situated within one jump of the sectors capital of Farpoint, the lush jungle world of New Viridia is in stark contrast to the desert planet that is the seat of government. Approximately twice the diameter of Terra, New Viridia teems with life, both in its steaming equatorial forests and its mighty oceans. 

With a gravity of 1.1 Earth Standard, it was classed as a high priority planet for colonisation as it is both rich in resources and uninhabited, at least according to the initial survey team which scanned the planet back in the 40th millennium. New Viridia was promptly forgotten about during the great rebuilding of the Imperium but approximately a century ago, the Viridian Corporation successfully petitioned the Emperor Corvax, the current Empresses father, for colonisation rights.

The Viridian Corporation are experts in settling and and exploiting the wealth of heavily forested worlds and even Deathworlds and were seen as the perfect choice to bring this new world into the fold of the Imperium. A Viridia Corp exploration team duly set forth and landed on the new world and found it rich in vegetable and animal life while the outer system had an abundance of mineral wealth in its asteroid field.

Within a decade settlers had built the first solar city, named Arborea. Following Corporation tradition, the mighty pyramid structures that formed Viridian buildings were incorporated into the forest with the minimum of destruction while the huge solar arrays that sheathed them supplied the city with almost all the energy it needed. 


Things seemed rosy for the Viridian Corporation as weath started pouring in from its exports from the planet. The great reptiles that inhabited the jungles provided meat, fisheries situated on vast floating platforms in the oceans reaped vast shoals of fish for the ever hungry Imperium and the dizzying array of plants in the jungles promised new potential for drugs and medicines of all manner.

Then disaster struck. A survey team, exploring the deep hinterlands of the main continent on New Viridia reported finding the remains of a vast spaceship buried in the jungle. Before further information could be reported, all communication was lost with the team. A rescue team was dispatched and were greeted by a very unexpected sight. Upon landing at the last known coordinates of the missing team they were set upon by a tide of green skinned savages and the fate of the missing team was explained. Orks were present on New Viridia. 


The rescue team retreated from the savages and managed to get back to Arborea but it was as if a dam had been broken. Reports began flooding in from logging camps, exploration teams and outlying settlements, they were all under attack from greenskins. 

It has since become clear that the Orks had crash landed a hulk on the planet at some time in the past. Losing all trace of civilisation and technology, the Orks reverted to savagery but held onto the primitive belief that the ruins of their hulk were sacred ground. They had been aware of the humans arrival on New Viridia but had avoided contact until they entered the sacred groves that were taboo.

The ensuing conflict raged for over a month as outlying settlements and camps were over run or hastily abandoned. Not willing to lose such a fertile world, or worse yet seem weak in front of the Empress, the Viridian Corporation fought a desperate struggle with the Orks that finally held them at the very outskirts of Arborea. Thousands died on both sides of the conflict but the turning point came when the board of directors of the Viridian Corporation sent in its trump card, the Catachan Jungle Fighters. 

Born and raised on the Deathworld of Catachan, the inhabitants of this world are experts in survival who have taken all the planet has to throw at them and lived to tell the tale. Catachan is another Viridian Corporation holding and they quickly dispatched two brigades of troops to bolster the defences of their new holding. Having spent billions of Imperial Credits setting up the colony and aware that it could potentially generate trillions more, the Corporation was damned if it was going to let a bunch of indig savages ruin it for them.


The Catachans arrived just in time, deploying from their landers at the spaceport and straight into battle and slowly the Orkish incursion was driven back from the city and eventually most of the lost settlements. That was fifty years ago and even now the Orks, or Indigs as they are known locally continue to raid out of their reservations and harass human settlers and it is almost unheard of for any citizen of the planet to be seen unarmed as the Orks have been known to attack Arborea itself.

The Catachan brigades continue to serve the people of New Viridia and the grizzled veterans of the Arborea campaign are now respected citizens of the world they helped save and their children have replaced them and their original force has now grown to full regimental strength.

While the Orkish threat has abated to raiding, rumour of the rise of a new warlord has filtered back from the hinterlands and patrols are being dispatched to fortify forward positions as the military consider it only a matter of time before this new warlord unites enough of the savage tribes to try to once again throw the human settlers off world. To make matters worse, a pack of the super predators known as Growlers has been spotted on several occasions operating alongside the Orks and it is surmised that somehow the Orks have tapped into the beasts packmind which could prove a deadly new threat.

The Imperium doesn't really care about such problems as long as it gets its tribute from the Viridian Corporation but the new Governor General of Farpoint, Laars Van Dorn has dispatched an investigation team to the planet to investigate rumours of lost tech, possibly of Eldar design having been glimpsed in the Orkish territories.

The deposed Governor, Alexandr Vosk also has agents in the system operating in the underworld rackets that thrive in the seedier parts of Arborea and run protection rackets and drugs dens in the slum districts and mining camps that dot the planet. No doubt he will be using these agents to strike at his hated archenemy in hopes of regaining his position.

Hopefully that sets the scene a bit for a skirmish setting in a lush, jungle world! I am going to be making some scenics alongside my Catachans and also need to get some savage Orks to fight against at some point and am currently pondering the possibility of using the GW plastic savage Orks as they have the look I am going for...

All the best!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Project Catachan

Hi!

I've finally finished sorting through my assorted boxes of bits and have discovered my long forgotten Catachan Jungle Fighters!



I must admit I was never too keen on the paintjobs I did on them and finding the rest of the unpainted ones inspired me to give these chaps a much needed dip in dettol and set about repainting them to a more satisfactory finish.

You may remember I gave this chap a test scheme a couple of months ago:


I must admit I far prefer the warmer and brighter colours on him than those I had on the older Catachans so will be settling for this kind of finish for all of them!

Looking at numbers, I currently have enough to field a command section and two understrength squads. Not exactly a huge force, but one that is perfect for a skirmish game of Rogue Trader. About the only thing the squads do need is some heavy weaponry. I currently have a Viridian Commando Chaingunner to act as a heavy bolter proxy as well as a flamer and a plasma gun but am on the lookout for something a bit more portable than the 2nd edition wheeled heavy weapons that the Catachans were released with.

I can't imagine it fits too well with their rapid movement through deathworld jungles for them to have to trundle along a ten foot long las cannon or similar piece of ordinance. Instead I am on the lookout for suitable proxies which actually look suitable for the battlefield of the future. Thats not to say I don't have a use for the heavier weapons though as I am going to be using the one wheeled carriage I have to represent a support gun!

 I am struck between the similarity of the Catachans and Nexus marines from Kryomek so will be using whatever suitable elements I can from there as well, not to mention some Elites such as the famed Blood Berets:

Hopefully I will get one or two bits and bobs painted and who knows, I may even be tempted to construct some suitable scenery for them!

All the best!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Trade!

Hi!

Following from my haul from my recent show visit, I find myself with a few bits and bobs extra that I am wanting to trade away!

Looking at my collection at present, I have rather a lot of fantasy gubbins and assorted 40k stuff that I don't really have any need for. I want to concentrate my efforts to painting up some stuff that I enjoy and even getting some warbands put together.

I hope to sort out a load of pics of what's up for trade but I am after some of the following gubbins:

Void and Metropolis Viridians, Syntha, Junker or Koralon and Kryomek and Nexus troops.

If anyone has any bits and bobs to trade, give us a shout and I shall see what I can do!

All the best

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Mr Snuggles and Musing on Warhammer 40k Rumours

Hi!

Well shock and indeed horror! I actually finished painting something!

It's taken me about a week of converting and painting during short spells of non exhaustion but I've finally completed my pirate bot, Mr Snuggles!

 Mr Snuggles in all his glory

I must admit I had rather a lot of fun painting up this fellow, despite not being too sure of the rust effect on him, I do quite like how he turned out and he will make a valuable addition to my fledgling pirate crew.

 Mr Snuggles loves his heavy bolter 

Discovered on the abandoned Imperial pleasure world of Greenfield, the MkIV autonomous chassis is still operational and with a little bit of reprogramming, the AI has become a solid, if somewhat childlike addition to the crew. Equipped with a heavy bolter, carapace armour and a jetpack, Mr Snuggles is often given the duty of taking out enemy concentrations, or as he is told by his handler, to go and play with them. The simple AI, once used to being a simple playmate and protector of the innocent, cannot understand why his new friends keep falling over and not getting up.

The reprogramming the crew Tech performed is only partially successful in subduing the AI's childlike nature and Mr Snuggles has taken to collecting soft toys and dolls to keep him company as the villainous pirate crew don't care to play nicely with him, instead leaving him locked in the hold when not in action.

 Backpack Detail

I decided to make Mr Snuggles a bit of a tragic character that is being used for nefarious reasons by the pirates but the loneliness of spending untold centuries by himself and the butchering of his circuitry has left him being decidedly insane. He's quite a chunky model too and is perfect for my re-imagined Imperium where AI units are not uncommon amongst the Imperium and beyond.

Scale Shot

Now onto the 40k rumour mill which seems to be giving some interesting hints of the near future. It has now been confirmed that Games Workshop is releasing a new edition of 40k this summer and by the sounds of it, it may actually be worth a look at as it seems to be harking back to some of the older editions with the likes of a Psychic Phase and a much welcome removal of limited force lists. 

Somewhat unexpectedly, this latter fact seems to have the fanboyz up in arms to the point of lunacy as people are pointing out it encourages you to make beardy armies. What they seem to have missed out on, and is I think, a sign of the rather sad state of the hobby at the moment, is that you are now being encouraged to field whatever you have, play more narrative games and consequently have some fun rather than being forced to choose uber tough units or stuff you don't want to.

In my opinion, many of the so called gamers who are ranting so loudly about it are utterly missing the point of or hobby. A game should be about collecting and painting whatever you like and playing a game to have fun and socialise with your opponents and hopefully have a laugh. It shouldn't be about using the rules to your advantage and creating a frankly boring and undefeatable army of beardiness to destroy your foe utterly.

I personally await the release of the new edition with a certain amount of interest and may even pick up a copy if I like what I see and it does as it sounds like and gives the tired and creaking 40k rules a much needed boot up the bum!
In other news, there is also a rather exciting rumour that GW are planning on bringing back the Specialist Games range but in a new format. From what I gather, it sounds like there will be a stand alone game, much like Dreadfleet or Battle of Five Armies which contains everything you need to play and then the odd box set which contains a new race/army or gang. 

The rumours are also hinting that Epic is going to be the first of these games to be getting a reboot and a new scale too! Instead of the traditional 6mm, the new stuff is supposed to be 10mm which is causing equal outroar from Epic fans who instantly find their existing collection supposedly obsolete. I must admit that I felt a little upset to begin with but the thought of being able to field 10mm forces which will include more detail and bigger stuff is rather tempting. 

In 6mm scale, a Warlord Titan is big but in 10mm, it would be a proper lord of the battlefield which could make for a really interesting spectacle and I personally can't wait to see what they come up with, especially if its all plastic!

Anyhoo! I am off to get some tidying up done but I'd love to hear what other folks thoughts are on the upcoming re-release of 40k and the rumoured Specialist Games re-vamp!
All the best! 

Saturday, 10 May 2014

The Spoils of War!

Hi!

Well I am back from Carronade and must say I've had a rather interesting day! We got to Falkirk at around 11am, just about an hour after the show opened and despite the plentiful parking, it all seemed a little chaotic as there was nobody in charge from the show to direct the increasingly snarled jam in the car park. Similarly when I finally managed to get a space and headed for the entrance along with a herd of like minded geeks, it became clear that the front door was closed and no hint of where to actually get in was visible.

Handily the show itself was rather good once we all found our way in and the bring and buy stalls were the place to be and I found the following old school goodness:


Coming in at between 50p and £2.00 per figure, I picked up some proper old school goodies including some Harlequins (admittedly in need of a little TLC), some of the old Confrontation Tech Gangers, some Arbites, Rogue Trader era Imperial Guard and even a coven of Cultists and a first rendition of a Necron!

I also stumbled over a copy of the Epic 40k rules for a tenner which I was quite chuffed with and if I had more pennies, I could have picked up some old Epic Eldar Knights, Necromunda gangs, one of the classic plastic boxes of Marauder beastmen (it was £4.00 but I was only after 40k stuff) and one chap was selling an unpainted Dwarf slayer army that must have consisted of about a hundred of the stunties for £120!

Interestingly many of the figures up for trade were plastic and tyranid in character but there were some real bargains to be had. I must admit I gave the traders and games on display a bit of a wide berth as it was utterly packed in the halls!

On the way back, we took the scenic route and took in the sights of Fife including a rather nice field of Daisies and some escaped chickens from a free range farm cannibalising one of their own who had been killed by a passing car...

Surprisingly this gives me an idea for a scenario!

All the painted lead will be going into a bath of Dettol and I hope to get some painting done!

All the best!

Off to Carronade!

Huzzah!

Its my day off and I am off to Carronade at Falkirk!

Hopefully I will grab a bargain or two of Rogue Tradery goodness and if anyones lurking out there, keep an eye out for a chubby bearded man wearing a hawaii shirt!

I will post a bit of an update with any finds and my thoughts on the show when I get back this evening but in the meantime, all the best!

Richard

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Enemies of the Imperium Part 1

Hi!

As part of my ongoing series on the State of the Imperium, I thought I should spend a little time fleshing out my ideas for the dastardly foes of the Golden Throne!

The Eldar

Arguably the most technologically advanced race in the galaxy, the Eldar are incredibly ancient but long ago they fell from grace and into debauchery, the following centuries saw the once great race descend into anarchy and eventually the verge of extinction. Realising their doom was upon them, the Eldar split into three factions, the Craftworlders fled in massive arcs beyond the edge of known space, the Exodites abandoned the trappings of technology and retreated to primal, savage worlds to live a more simple existence and the most debauched and evil, removed themselves into the twisted nether-realm of the Webway.


The tale of the Eldar could have ended here, if it was not for the enigmatic Laughing God and his followers, the troupes of Harlequins. This strange being eventually re-united his erstwhile people and in the ensuing millennia, the Eldar race has slowly regained its footing and has quietly been re-arming out in the depths of unknown space beyond the borders of the Imperium. Now the time has come and the Eldar march to war.

Long envious of the power of the Imperium whose grubby humans have settled so many of the abandoned of their abandoned worlds, the Eldar have launched a series of blistering raids and assaults from both beyond the borders and well within Imperial space. Utilising the power of the Webway, the Eldar have struck suddenly and ruthlessly against dozens of Imperial worlds and begun wresting back their empire from those who they believe stole it.

The Imperial response has thus far been uncoordinated as their armies often find themselves arriving at the sight of raids to discover their foes mysteriously vanished or suddenly set upon by a savage alien foe. The Eldar are well aware that they cannot match the Imperial army or navy in sheer numbers but have thus far chosen their battles wisely and rely on the pre-cog abilities of their Farseers and superior technology to swing the tide of battle in their favour. This advantage may not last however, as the Imperium unleashes a new era of Battle Espers and warships.

The Pharon


Recent Imperial activity on a classified frontier world has unleashed an ancient evil that predates even the Eldar. The exploration team found a world of black sands and a vast cyclopean city. Seemingly uninhabited, the Imperial archaeologists set about excavating their way into the largest of the pyramids which dotted the surface of the world and were struck by the similarities of the hieroglyphics and architecture on this dark, dead world with that of ancient Egypt. 

Deep under the surface, they discovered a vast vault, filled with untold wealth surrounding a black basalt Sarcophagus. Inquisitive Imperials opened the tomb and discovered the first of the Pharon. Obviously long dead but perfectly preserved they beheld a finely formed humanoid, roughly 8 feet tall and to their horror, the creature opened its eyes and spoke. The words it spoke are unknown but it later became clear it was a spell of great power and all over the planet, long buried tombs shed hordes of the dead shuffled forth and tore the humans apart.

Within the next decade, two dozen worlds along the border fell silent, one after another, their last communications babbling about armies of the dead overwhelming all defences wielding weapons of dreadful power. Inquisition investigations have been dispatched and a large fleet, including the Diman Dreadnaught, the Shiva and a full legion of Space Marines are mobilising to take the fight to the Pharon.

The Kryomek

From the dark places beyond the galaxy, a new and deadly threat has arrived on the borders of the Imperium. The Kryomek first stuck at the Imperial world of Tyran. Descending like a plague of locusts, they stripped the planet bare of all life, leaving a once diverse ecosystem a cold and dead rock. 


The Kryomek are a hive mind, ruled absolutely by some as yet unseen but malignant intelligence and in battle they are single minded and overwhelm their foes with a tide of flashing teeth and claws. More insidiously, they have developed a symbiotic biotechnology that has even extended to using the Kryomeks highly acidic blood as part of their weaponry and recent vid captures of the swarm shows the terrifying fate of those creatures who fall into the hands of what has become known as the Devourer. The Kryomek have incorporated the genetic material of prisoners and even dead into new and terrible forms and unleashed them upon the galaxy. 

All the races recognise the threat these abominations, who seem to retain some memories of their life before the terrible transformation wrought upon them pose to all life and the  Kryomek juggernaut was finally stopped by a combined fleet of Eldar, Ork and Imperial ships during a cataclysmic battle in the Ragnarok system. The alliance, formed in a moment of crisis soon fractured but it shows that these vile beings can be stopped if the assorted beings of this galaxy can work together.

Whee!

Hopefully that will keep folks entertained until I get chance to post some more gubbins and shock horror, maybe even some painted miniatures!

All the best!

Monday, 5 May 2014

A Grand Day Out?

Hi!

Well I am just back from a day out in Aberdeen! We decided to head up on a whim on my day off and I thought I would use the opportunity to scope out the hobby shops while we were up there.

As it turns out, this was a bit of a mistake as the shop we found, which will remain nameless, was without doubt the dirtiest and most unpleasant store I have set foot in in over twenty years as a gamer. The floor was stained and filthy (possibly due to a small dog seeming to use it as a toilet) and even the books and miniatures had a clammy, musty feel to them that put me right off.

Our impression of the shop...

After only a few minutes we escaped but left feeling like we needed a good wash after entering such a pit. It's such a shame that that is the lasting impression many folks who may be interested in miniatures would get from visiting and it never ceases to amaze me that so many miniatures shops tend to be grubby and smelly with staff that either ignore you or seem to resent your presence as it disturbs their chat with their chums!

No wonder so many shops close down and folks are moving to online sources as the bricks and mortar shops are increasingly out of touch with what a modern shop should be like!

The trip wasn't a total waste though as I picked up the Art of Titanfall from Waterstones instead (shameless plug but its got quite an excellent range!)


Now I can't be bothered with computer games themselves but the artbooks are a different prospect as they are usually packed with fantastic artwork like this:


This artwork tends to give me ideas for gangs, forces, locations, campaigns, scenarios, individuals, monsters and vehicles to incorporate into my games and background and the Art of Titanfall is no exception!

Still I do have the weekend off and Carronade is on at Falkirk so I will be heading down with some hard earned pennies to see if I can't find some suitable stuff for my Rogue Trader redux!

If anyone else is planning on attending, give us a shout and we can meet up for a chat about beardiness and old school gaming if you fancy!

All the best!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

The State of the Imperium Part 3

Hi!

Here's the third part of my State of the Imperium musings, this time focusing on the role of the Church and its various organisations within the modern Imperium.

The Church

In the past, worship of the Emperor as a living god was overseen by the Adeptus Ministorum whose task it was to whip up its vast congregation into a righteous fury and drive them into a xenophobic rage against anything new or different. The past was the key to the future and the alien, the mutant, the wytch were all to be feared and put to the sword.


This changed with the culmination of the Horus Heresy and the original Emperors death. Although his line continued, the Ministorum found itself bereft of its central figure and soon rival factions within the church began battling it out for supremacy. Blood flowed in the streets as zealots from both sides brought terror to almost every world of the Imperium. 

New cults sprang up, ranging from the merely eccentric, such as the Stellar Pudding movement of Necromunda to more dangerous ones worshipping nameless and forbidden gods. Seeing the danger the Emperor Renwick VII, a deeply religious man, called a great convocation of the church and to ensure attendance he put all who refused under an instant death sentence. This great meeting became known as the rebirth for the church as Emperor laid down the tenets of the Imperial Creed, a code that all should strive towards.

The Creed underwent many translations and revisions but essentially states that Humanity should strive to bring order and civilisation to those without, be they human or Xenos. Thus armed with new purpose, the Ministorum, or Brotherhood as they became known unleashed a new wave of preachers, missionaries and teams out into the vastness of the Imperium to spread word of hope rather than doom.

The spread of this new religion ran into trouble in the form of the old guard amongst the more vitriolic of the old Ministorum and pogroms against these holdouts continue to this day. 

Although the Imperial Creed preaches a message of peace and decency, it also states that in order to ensure law, the righteous may need to take up arms. Turning the cheek is all fine and well but the galaxy doesn't always allow for such pacifism. As such the Church maintains a large standing army consisting of several branches dedicated to protecting the missions, eradicating the more dangerous cults and fighting the good fight against the followers of Chaos, the true foe of Humanity.

Instead of cursing and treating the Abhuman, mutant and Psyker as outcasts, several sects within the Brotherhood has even begun sending out missionaries to redeem these lost souls and accepting them back into society and allowing them to regain their common Humanity, no matter how different they may look.



Similarly, Xenos races are no longer seen as lesser beings to be enslaved or exterminated. If they can be civilised and live within Imperial tenants, then they have as much right to live as anyone else. The Imperial Creed also states that local customs and Xenos belief systems should be honoured unless they fall under the worship of Chaos. The various alien species have received this newfound understanding with various levels of success. The Tau have embraced the Creed as part of the Greater Good and are fully enmeshed within the Brotherhood and Imperial society but the warlike Orks tend not to have much time for organised religion, other than the odd shrine to a particularly worthy foe or beloved warlord. Even the Eldar have a begrudging respect for how far Humanity has come in such a short period of time.

Although pan-human society has, on a whole, accepted the Creed, old prejudices die hard and it is not uncommon for Xenos species to be treated with suspicion and mutants to be seen as a second class of citizen on many worlds. Hopefully as time passes, even these prejudices will pass and the Imperium will become stronger with its diversity rather than shatter under the stress.

The Inquisition

Historically formed to deal with the wiles of Chaos, the Inquisition has fought a secret war for untold centuries against the blasphemous powers of the warp. With the development of new forms of travel and advancements of technology, the terrors of the warp and the powers of chaos have waned but the Inquisition still stands firm and ready to deal with any threat those who would undermine the Imperium can deal.


The modern Inquisition is split into two branches, each with different responsibilities. These are the Investigators and the Exorcists. Both departments train their members to the utmost of their powers to be the pinnacle of Humanity and be utterly fearless, despite the horrors they may face but each specialises in different potential threats to the Imperial Creed.

The Investigator is typically embedded in the military, be it Imperial Guard or more rarely Space Marines and it is their job to investigate and deal with any threat, be it Xenos or human related. Utterly staunch in their belief in the Creed, the Investigator will face down even the most deadly enemies and is trained to think like their foes, to predict their actions and motivations and weaknesses. The Investigators are respected and feared by the public and even the soldiers they lead as they appear almost as alien as the species they face. 

Every time a new planet is discovered or a new race encountered, it is an Investigator who is despatched as part of any military expedition to determine if any threat is there and what action is required. Legendary for being incorruptible, the Investigator carries the full authority of the Imperium act in the name of the Empress and have of late been used with some success against the rebellion that seems to be spreading amongst the disaffected out on the rim.
  

The Exorcist deals with the terrors of the Warp and as such is usually a Psyker. They monitor the flows of psychic energy that flows throughout space for any potential incursion by the denizens of the warp and plan on how to counter them. These are the bloodhounds of the Inquisition that ferret out the forbidden cults, dangerous psykers and demagogues who would bring the Imperium to ruin.

The Exorcists mind has been tested for purity and fortitude and trained through many hours of rigorous mental exercise to withstand the terrors of the warp and use their own powers to combat it in all its forms. These select individuals do battle with the warped and mutated fiends from another age and fight to defeat them utterly and throw them back to the depths from which they came, forever barred from our reality.

There is a fierce competition between the two wings of the service and it is not unheard of for Investigators and Exorcists to come into conflict with each other but the higher ranks of the Inquisition has become adept in dealing with the fallout and hushing up any unfortunate incidents.

Hopefully folks haven't minded perusing my thoughts on a different Imperium thus far, despite some sweeping changes and a suspicious lack of miniatures!

On a related note, GRACCUS, can you get in touch if you want me to sculpt up a Dreadnaught or similar machine of destruction as you won the competition!

All the best!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

And the Winner is...!

Huzzah!

The 100 follower competition has run for a week now and I have used a proper old school D100 chart to select the winner so without further ado can GRACCUS please step forward!

Give us a shout with what you want built, any special features or weaponry and I will crack on with construction!

Thanks for all the entries and I will run a similar competition when the blog reaches its next landmark which only needs another 92 followers so better luck next time folks!

I will post some sneaky peeks of the design and construction process here over the next week or so and hope to get some more Rogue Trader goodness added over the coming days and weeks as well so stay tuned!

All the best!

Friday, 2 May 2014

State of the Imperium Part 2

Hi!

Apologies for the delay in getting this update put together but I've been a tad busy over the last day or two so without further ado, here's the second part of my State of the Imperium ponderings, this time concentrating on the military.

Space Marines

Gone are the days of warrior monks, chemically neutered and trained to be righteous killing machines. The modern Space Marine is a professional warrior, not a homicidal berserker.

The Space Marine Chapters, once the domain of genetically engineered super humans have been abolished and the Legion has been re-established. Instead of being trained from their youth, the new Space Marine Legionnaire recruits the best and the brightest from amongst the military and the most promising physically and mentally tough volunteers from countless worlds. 


Given the absolute best training the Imperial military can provide and weapons and equipment that the regular Guard can only dream of, the new Space Marine Legions are special ops troopers, more often used as infiltration, reconnaissance and other specialised tasks than the mindless assault troops they once were. It is a common phrase amongst the drill sergeants of the Marines that you should make the other guy die for his world. Marines are there to make sure he does.


With the expense of training and equipping such excellent warriors, the Imperium cannot afford to create large standing armies of them, instead making them a rapid deployment force, capable of moving great distances quickly, more often than not stationing them aboard the great Dimen Dreadnaughts that make up the Imperial Fleet.

Guard duty and main line engagements are left to the untold millions of the Imperial Guard. If its vital a hill be taken, an enemy general neutralised or a piece of valuable tech captured, its time for the marines.


At present there are over a hundred Legions operating in Imperial space and beyond. Each numbers in the thousands but it is very rare to see more than a platoon or so operating in any one place. As such the Space Marine has a mystique to them, appearing almost like some sort of legendary superman, clad in Plasteel power armour and armed with only the best weaponry and facing the worst the universe can throw at them. 


Due to their scarcity, the Imperial Techs of the Mechanicus have been experimenting with genetic tinkering to produce a super soldier by both technological or biological means and several of the newer Legions are formed of cyborgs, post human mutants or even clones.

Needless to say that some have operated more effectively than others but this is a glimpse of the future and the Legions are evolving with the times to constantly improve themselves to produce ever more effective troops. 

The Imperial Guard

By far the most common sight in Imperial armies are the countless members of the Imperial Guard. These hardy individuals hale from all corners of the Imperium and sport a bewildering assortment of weapons, equipment and armour but all fight for the Empress and to keep order in a wild and dangerous galaxy.


Unlike the Marines who are all volunteers, the Guard is largely composed of conscripts, with several notable exceptions such as the Catachans. Similarly each Guard Regiments training relies on its home world and while some are trained to elite status, others are barely more than militia but when the call is made, the Guard will do its duty and most of the regiments are fiercely proud of their home worlds and regimental history.


Unlike in times past when the most a Guardsman could rely on was his trusty lasgun, flak jacket and native cunning, the Imperium has begun a vast modernisation programme at great expense to bring the standard of Guards weapons, equipment and training up to modern standards. The increased survivability of a Guardsman, it has been reasoned results in a better army, more experienced and capable of reacting to rapidly changing situations. 



The days of sending massed formations of infantry into a firestorm and hoping to choke the guns with their bodies have more or less passed but there are still some throwbacks, usually from more backward worlds or amongst the more brutal officers of the Penal Legion.


While the Space Marines take objectives, the Guard holds them and the modern guard has access to all manner of armoured vehicles, ranging from rapid deployment skimmers to lumbering battletanks and even combat walkers.

The increased access to technology amongst the Guard has also improved everything from communications to logistics resulting in a far more lean and effective fighting force than in years past and is reflected in the appearance of fully AI units on the battlefield for several thousand years. The alliance of the Imperium with the Tau has accelerated this as Mechanicus and Tau Earth Caste have begun a wholescale exchange of technology for the greater good. 

Imperial Navy

In the past, the Imperium relied on vast lumbering gothic ships with a crew of tens of thousands with only the sketchiest idea on what made them run. Nowadays, the development of the Tannhauser Gate network and Grav-shunting has consigned these relics to the scrapyard and a new, sleeker and more advanced series of warships have begun appearing. 


Ranging from nimble corvettes to huge battlewagons, this new fleet is capable of more effectively patrolling the shipping lanes as well as transporting armies to and from warzones. The pride of the fleet are the new Diman Dreadnaughts, massive capitol ships armed with the most powerful weapons in the Imperiums arsenal and with their own complement of Space Marines, these technological masterpieces have taken years to develop and construct and represent the pinnacle of Imperial armed might. 

Using the new technologies, space travel is considerably quicker and less risky and there has been a fresh push from the inner systems and sectors out into previously lost and forgotten regions of space allowing the Imperium to once again begin expanding following ten millennia of stagnation. Rumour has it that the new Diman Dreadnaughts have successfully ported out of our own galaxy into another but the Imperial Navy has been surprisingly tight lipped about the whole thing.

One element from the past that hasn't changed, is the strict limitation on starships for the army. The Imperium still has a nagging fear that the Army may one day rise up in a new heresy that could undo all the progress that has been so hard fought for. Consequently, the Imperial Guard still relies on the Navy to transport it from system to system.

The Titan Legions and Knight Houses

The explosion of new technology left the Titan Legions and the Knight Houses largely obsolete but several high ranking and visionary members of their number saw an opportunity to bring what were once the undisputed kings of the battlefield out of the dark ages and give them a new lease of life. 


What followed was a century long process which saw the Titan and Knights re-designed from the ground up. With new advanced technology, a renaissance in walker design allowed the lumbering monstrosities which had dominated the last ten millennia to to become faster, more agile and better armed and able to match some of the more technologically advanced races. These new machines come in a bewildering array of styles, sizes and weapon loadouts but are typically smaller and more able to move rapidly and effectively in tandem with other branches of the Imperial military or independently as part of raiding parties.

Corporate and Noble Armies

The many Noble and Corporate armed forces that defend the various business interests and family holdings are too numerous to mention and generally consist of two parts, the first is more or less ceremonial, troops armed and equipped well but more suited to guard duty than exchanging fire with a determined foe. The second part of the Noble and Corporate forces are their much feared special forces. Often recruited from ex Marines and elite Imperial Guard regiments, these grizzled veterans are more than capable of running all manner of underhand black ops against other Noble houses or organisations.


Unlike the Imperial Guard, the armed forces of the Nobility do have access to some fleet assets but have to operate under strict limitations placed upon them by Imperial edict. Subsequently, most Noble or Corporate ships are limited to armed merchantmen or escorts no bigger than a destroyer. This, the Empress reasons is enough to protect their assets without being a threat and if more forceful action is required, then that's what the Imperial navy is for.

Freelancers and Mercenaries

The new Imperium is a place of opportunity and the armed forces are no exception. Freelance and Mercenary outfits are numerous and range from small elite teams of operators to full armoured regiments, Titan lances or even a few scruffy hicks with guns.

The Imperium requires all Mercenary and Freelance forces to register and contracts are rigorously employed as standard. Any mercenary outfit that reneges on its contract is blackballed and may even face a visit from the Guard to disband it. Contracts vary from job to job and can be anything from garrison duty to full scale wars and a mercenary force can find itself fighting for an assortment of corporate interests, planetary governors putting down rebellions or even the Imperium itself if it finds itself in need of special talents.


It is a foolhardy company that raises its hand against the Imperium itself though and thus far no reputable mercenary outfit has signed on with the Rebellion. As things stand mercenaries tend to operate on the fringes of Imperial space in the newly explored regions and outlands where Imperial forces are spread thin and unable to enforce the rule of law as forcefully as the Imperium would like.

Xenos Askari Regiments

A relatively recent addition to the Imperial armed forces, the Askari regiments were originally formed when the Ork Bloodaxe tribe was incorporated into the Imperium. The Greenskins had long had some engagement with Imperial society but when their Clanboss Rufnek Dredax sued for Imperial Citizenship, the Emperor at the time found himself with several million new subjects who were all prone to warlike behavior. Following consultation with the military and noble council, he came up with a novel solution. The Imperium would make use of the Orkish battlelust and recruited the whole tribe into the army.

Forming the first Askari Regiment, the Orks found themselves in the thick of the action (possibly a subtle way of bumping them all off) but much to the surprise of their advisors, the Orks revelled in the rough and tumble of it all and have since found themselves sent from warzone to warzone in one glorious Imperial WAAAGH that saw Rufnek elevated to the nobility and many more Orks rushing to his banner. 

Following centuries saw the Askari regiments expanded and for the most part both races have found the alliance advantageous. The Imperium got itself a load of boisterous but surprisingly effective assault troops and the Orks got to indulge in their more primitive nature facing properly impressive foes.


The Orkish Askari's have more recently been joined by the Tau who joined the Imperium en mass and now contribute several hundred cadres of experienced troops both to the Imperial Guard and as Askaris (or Janissaries as they prefer to be known) 

Following some rather unfortunate early joint operations between human and Xenos forces, each has come to respect, and even admire each other and more recent operations featuring a diverse array of cultures and species have begun showing very promising signs of success.

As the Imperium continues to expand, there are dozens of other races who have offered their services to the Empress for profit and for simple survival and following tours as Askari, some are even joining the ranks of the Imperial Guard and Nobility as the Imperium moves from a wholly Human civilisation to a Pan-galactic one.

The changes are often painful and sometimes bloody but the influx of fresh blood and ideas has re-invigorated the Imperium like never before and it is without a doubt that this galactic empire is much stronger now than ever before, despite its often diverse citizenship.

Whee!

That was a bit of an epic write up! Hopefully that gives a bit of an overview of the military situation in my Imperium and in the next part I will cover some more of the organisations as well as the changes that have been wrought on everyday life for the Imperial citizens!

All the best!