Monday, July 30, 2012

The Wardens and the Shriven - an Angels of Absolution Mystery... And a "Ravenwing" Biker.

I'd like to go back in time to February/March 2007, shortly before the 4th Edition Codex: Dark Angels came out. During those cold winter months that were just about to transition into spring there was a leaked version of the Codex. It was a pre-print copy, already organized into its rough layout, leaving empty boxes where the art was supposed to go, but it presented the rules and fluff for the Dark Angels in a state just before finalization. I recall there being something different about Scouts in that version that differed from the final version released, but most importantly, I vividly recall the blurb about the Angels of Absolution had me frothing. You see, it was the same blurb from C:DA page 75 discussing how their take on the rift in the Dark Angels is perceived, and it detailed the same pursuit of the Fallen on Archangel VII, except it named the 1st and 2nd Companies of the Angels of Absolution the Wardens and the Shriven. When the final version of the codex was printed, these references were removed in preference of calling them just the 1st and 2nd Companies. I, sadly, have no proof of this, but I recall it vividly. Does anyone have that pre-release C:DA hidden in their hard drives to confirm this? I remember being so disappointed this reference was removed and that they were not depicted in the hobby guide section of the Codex.

That being said, who knows if those names will mysteriously reappear in the upcoming 6th Edition Codex: Dark Angels. I can only hope.

Assorted biker bitz in process.

Today I present a Ravenwing aka Wardens aka Angels of Absolution bike in progress. Like many of my models this model was started years ago and was never finished. Some of the paint work, glue jobs, and painted over dust have been frustrating to deal with but they also gave me some impetus to just "power through". I know I have to paint my Librarian for the "Pale Olympics" but money permitting I've secured a ride to the next AWC Tournament at the Chicago Battle Bunker in late August and I'd love to throw down some fully painted bikes for the first time.
The "Sword Cross" on shield design is of my own devising to represent the Wardens (or was the Ravenwing the Shriven? I don't know."
I should note that I'm a sort of a stickler and if the 6th Edition Codex comes out and they happen to show the 1st and 2nd Companies of the Angels of Absolution looking some other way, you'll see a prompt "updating" article where I paint over the erroneous bitz because that's how I roll.

It'll be at least another 10 days or so until I drop another blog post. Tomorrow morning I get on a bus to meet my band mates in Seattle for a few shows on the West Coast, and then I come back. Maybe Scott or Eric will have some new hobby goodness in the meantime. Also, follow more of the Pale Olympics here:

The Chi of Terror 
Poke Miniatures


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Pale Olympics, More Angels of Absolution, and Thoughts on the Rumor Mill

A couple of weeks ago a friend of ours issued a hobby challenge. It was put to us that we should commit to painting one or more of our hobby projects by the end of August. Those more ambitious than I committed to painting things like a unit of 48 High Elves, an entire Khador 50 point Warmachine Force (I think that's big for Warmachine, I'm not 100% certain), and some madman committed to 100 models... In a month and a half. I, being either pathetic, or a realist, or both, committed to painting a Librarian for my Angels of Absolution - a model that was already started. Yeah, I'm a real go-getter.

This is a fraction of Aaron's Phoenix Guard. The 48 Sea Guard he intends to paint will be similar to these. 48? Really? Go Aaron!
I actually really like challenges like these because they give us deadlines or push us to get something accomplished in our hobby. Like most miniature wargamers, my collection of models far exceeds my available time to paint all of them. I've slowed down considerably with purchasing models but I still can't seem to catch up. Regardless, my primary source of challenge and inspiration has always been fellow 2ndCityWarzone blogger, Scott. He paints at a similarly slow rate and churns out a fantastic finished product, but after 2 or 3 years of kicking my ass in our yearly painting race, he chose to sit this year out to focus on another one of his hobbies - comic art.
The middle set of panels is awesome. I think Scott captured the  reaction s with both accuracy and humor. Great job Scott!
Anyway, this hobby challenge through the end of August has been dubbed "The Pale Olympics" which would be suitably titled for those endeavoring to paint 50-100 models. Personally, I already have wicked tan lines and not the highest expectations for my hobby time. We'll see. That being said I did make some progress on the model in question. Nothing significant enough on the main body to post, but on his gun arm? Yes, indeed.
Librarian Arm
Pictured above is my Librarian's arm. I wish I had gotten a better picture. The shoulder pad is one of the white metal shoulder pads that you could order as bitz in the early 2000's. I added the horns using green stuff to turn it into the classic Librarian design. The picture unfortunately doesn't show that there are actually washes of Devlan Mud and Thrakka Green to give it a more archaic look.The gold on the shoulder pad and pistol both have multiple washes as well. I kind of want to paint a pattern on the upper portion of the bolt pistol to make it even more of a pistol for a leader but it's so small. I really need to weigh whether the end result will be worth it.

The other day I posted this picture showing the assorted bits for this particular Tactical Marine with Flamer:
As you can see I paint everything a bit at a time. I find it much harder to get at areas when models are completely assembled and I'll get frustrated and break them apart anyway to get at the details I can't reach otherwise.
This is that Tactical Marine today:
Front view. Is it me our are Flamers huge compared to the rest of the model?
Straight on view. As you can see in both pics, the knee pads are currently blank and the shoulder pads have been left off for the moment.

That leads me to discussing the rumor mill surrounding 40K. I remember when I'd troll Warseer endlessly for posts from Brimstone (RIP), Harry, and Hastings for the latest bits and blurbs on what was going on behind the scenes at GW. Eventually BoLS came along and started reposting all the best rumors to their blog without me having to sift through 39 page threads scanning for that distinctive Pie avatar of Harry or the devilish visage that was Brimstone (before he passed away.) Now the entity that is BoLS aren't as immersed as they once were so they have other bloggers in charge of rumor mongering and they hype up the rumors they receive for a couple of days before they drop them with the intent of generating traffic for their blogs. Basically, there's a lot more hoopla and showmanship to rumors than there once was. Brimstone would often save a gem of a rumor for a holiday but otherwise there wasn't a whole lot of knowledge hording. I also didn't feel as though there was as much speculation posted as fact. The rumor mill has been rife with Chaos Space Marine rumors and there was widespread insistence that the Codex was going to drop this month. There were even people in the know saying September and others tried to say this was not the case. But people are so impatient that as soon as someone said it was coming sooner rather than later, GW must have had some sort of problem and suddenly people are mad at GW because they have somehow screwed over their fan base AGAIN. I just want to point out that: 1) They are rumors. Until a New Release schedule or a new WD drops, nothing is delayed. Something that has not been announced cannot be delayed, because as far as you truly know, it does not exist, and thus, no one is screwing you over. 2) The rumors for months have been that Chaos Daemons were going to be released at the end of this summer. Then people tried to shoehorn in new flyers, and then they tried to shoehorn in Codex: Chaos Legions. Normally by now we would have at least had a picture of the codex cover if not a a glimpse of one of the impending models. The rush of rumors on their rules just started to flood in. That usually means we still have another month to go. So why would anyone assume there has been a "delay" when it doesn't hold up to precedent. Wishful thinking does not qualify as a rumor. Its just "wishful thinking."

There are people who have been trying to assert that Codex:Dark Angels will come in October. As much as I would love that to be true, I think the idea is absurd. We don't have any information on rule changes or new units. We really have no information at all other than that we will see them in the new 6th Edition Starter Set, which is awesome. It's about time the 1st Legion get some love.

I'd actually like to take a moment to wish list what I'm hoping to see with the new Codex: Dark Angels. Note, these are not rumors, these are my hopes, dreams, and theories: 1) I'd like to see synergy between the Ravenwing/Deathwing and Scouts much like the synergy between the Deathwing and Ravenwing. At the very least give Scouts Teleport Homers. The 'Purging of Kadillus' by Gav Thorpe really highlighted how these companies work together. I doubt they'll make this connection, but I'd love to see it happen. 2) I'm hoping that Scouts are moved back to the Troops slot, or that at the very least, a Special Character like Vet Sergeant Naaman unlocks them as Troops. 3) The Deathwing Dreadnought should be its own option with its own special rules. Everyone loves the idea of the Deathwing Dreadnought and the Mortis Dreadnought from FW, so one, the other, or both should make an appearance. 4) Considering none of the Space Marine flyers can be taken by Dark Angels, I can only assume that they will be getting their own cool flyer. I've been thinking about this a lot today and what would make a flyer completely unique to Dark Angels and necessitate its own kit. My theory is that it will be able to transport bikes. Crazy, I know, but the Ravenwing need to get to the ground somehow, and giving them a flyer, perhaps with an Assault Ramp would be mega cool and probably not overpowered when compared to Deep Striking Landraiders and the like. 5) I hope they bring back the Watcher's in the Dark concept or at least add some cool Chapter Serfs like in a lot of the art. They are seriously one of my favorite parts of the Dark Angels. 6) A lot of people are hoping for a squad on jet bikes. Though it would make sense for the 1st Legion to have such ancient technology, and it would give them something utterly unique, I'm not holding my breath on this one, no matter how cool.

Okay, enough blather. I need to ship out some Ebay stuff and get back to painting.


PS. Check out:Xenite's Little Green Monsters
King Crow Comics

Sunday, July 22, 2012

So Many Voices - What Should I Really Be Painting For 6th Edition Dark Angels?

This mini has been in my case for a while. I actually head swapped a Rogue Trader era Librarian head with Psychic Hood and put it on a normal Tactical Marine body. The Angel on the chest is a 2nd Edition banner pole angel from either one of the Special Characters or the Dark Angels Dreadnought. Regardless it was filed flat and glued to his chest with the Aquila acting perfectly as his wings.  
In my last post I mentioned that I was going to work on a Librarian because maybe with the new powers Librarians might be effective in 6th Edition? Well, the internet is telling me they aren't. Or at least they aren't in comparison to the Librarian options of other armies.
You'll notice he isn't the traditional Ultramarine blue. He actually is being painted a plethora of oop Citadel colors: Deadly Nightshade, Festering Blue, and Hideous Blue. Hopefully when he's done he'll look clearly like a Librarian.

Everywhere I look Deathwing are getting nods for having 2+/5+(+FNP if you throw an Apothecary in there). The huge drawback here is they take forever to paint. I'd love to get a squad completed though. This one is barely even started.
Here's the AoBR Terminator that's on my desk right now. No conversion work on this guy thus far, just a couple extra purity seals. Who know's what will come when I get to adding his arms and chest though?
There are tiny bits of damage scraped into the greaves.  
I was just reading an article about how good Bikes have become, but the article mentioned every SM chapter bike option EXCEPT Ravenwing. (What's with the anti-DA prejudice?) So I wandered over to Bolter And Chainsword to see what people were talking about and indeed people seem to be digging Ravenwing in 6th Edition. The verdict is still out for sure, but they definitely have some perks. I was thinking about it and I think I might actually be able to finish a Ravenwing Squad before I ever got a Terminator squad on the table. Maybe I should work on them next?
I dragged out this bike and started working on it again. Based on the Bubonic Brown on the rider, I started this model a decade ago. He's one of at least 3 that were started.
Another model that's been on the table and I can't seem to stop myself from working on is this baldy pictured on the right. I had started working on him a few months ago and realized that I needed to pop his head off to really get the detail that I wanted. I already have more than enough Tactical Marines but he's so close to completion its hard to ignore him at this stage.
This was what he looked like in May. He had been roughly in the same state since the early 2000's.
First I went in and completed his body which is fully painted and highlighted waiting for his right knee to get its company marking and that's it. The head is all painted and highlighted as well. Finally, I added a sidearm to the model since he will hold a Special Weapon. 
Here are all the pieces of the model. Most of the model is done. If I don't get distracted I should finish him this week.
Finally, there are other partially completed models in my collection that are getting some chatter in 6th are Techmarines and Landspeeders. So many options to try!

Monday, July 16, 2012

A New Day Dawns - My Angels of Absolution in 6th Edition

My recently added 2nd Squad of the 5th Company. Three of the models pictured were actually painted roughly 10 years ago and have had their squad markings or arms changed multiple times over the years.
I've been playing the same main 40K force since 2nd Edition. I had chosen Codex: Angels of Death because I thought the monastic look and the secretive background was cool, but also because I was an Undead player already, and the bone color scheme of the Angels of Absolution was something I already knew how to do. Over the years I've never been able to keep up to date with the latest edition because I paint so slowly - but maybe things have finally come full circle?

Some of my completed models. Some, like the Interrogator-Chaplain and the Rhino in the back left were painted more than a decade ago.
I've been working on the Angels of Absolution for 17 or 18 years. They began their life with 2 Tactical Squads, a Razorback, a Rhino, and an Assault Squad. That has been my backbone ever since. As time went on, the Ravenwing and Deathwing got better, and things like Vindicators and Drop Pods got added to the army books, but I'm still trudging away on the basics like it's still 2nd Edition. Now I have 6 Tactical Squads to work with, 3 Rhinos, a Devastator Combat Squad, 2 Dreadnoughts, a Whirlwind, and an Assault Squad. Anything that would have given me a competitive edge in 3rd, 4th, or 5th Edition has been conspicuously absent.

I played my first game of 6th Edition and I did remarkably well. I always loved the image of my Tactical Marines piling out their Rhinos and just pouring obscene amounts of fire power into the enemy while my Assault Squad leap in led by Interrogator-Chaplain Vitus and spread terror into an already shattered force.
I was so excited to recreate this little snapshot of Space Marine tactics from IA2.
To say I succeeded in recreating that would be an exaggeration, but in my head it came damn close. You can break a Tactical Squad into two Combat Squads before the game and deploy both halves in a Rhino. I couldn't tell you how excited I was to do this. My opponent came in like gang busters into my deployment area on turn 2 and I brought on a Rhino with two Combat Squads in it and piled out like I was carrying out Astartes training as depicted in Imperial Armour 2. My Squads disembarked and rapid fired the crap out of a foul Daemon Prince while my Devastator Squad lit him up and my Assault Squad and Chaplain jumped in to give support and hopefully mop up, not realizing I couldn't charge him while he was swooping or whatever. So we failed to hurt him or ground him, but it felt "right" somehow. Had things gone differently, Hammer of Wrath may have actually made my normally useless Assault Marines useful for the first time in two editions. Being able to fire 24" and being able to Snap Fire my heavy weapons on the move has made my Tactical Squads feel more flexible than ever before - and marine like! Maybe I'll actually win a game against someone other than Scott. ;) Most importantly, at least for a brief instant, I didn't feel like I was just going through the motions playing the game even though I didn't have any of the "competitive" options from my army book. Of course, I wasn't play against someone who spends all day contemplating game breaking combos either.

All of that being said, what's next on the painting table in light of the 6th Edition changes? Well, I've had a Librarian in progress for a while and I want to try out the new Psycher rules, so I'm going to try and finish him up in August and try him out on the table. I've always loved the idea that the Interrogator-Chaplains and Librarians work in unison to undermine the psyche of the enemy, so it'll be cool to drop them both on the table. I had tried it a couple of times right when Codex: Dark Angels came out in 4th Edition, but the Dark Angel Psychic Powers just weren't worth the points. Maybe the new powers will be? Also, I cracked out my Caestus Assault Ram that I bought last year. It'll probably take me another year to complete but I'd like to try out flyers now too. Finally I have a Tactical Marine and a Terminator on my desk because, "why not?" Completing my first squad of Terminators is one of my goals for this year I believe anyhow.
Will this Terminator see action in this edition? No one knows.