Thursday, 30 April 2009

111 Swelling the Ranks

Announcement time:

My beautiful wife, Kate, is expecting - huzzah!

Drax Minor is due in November. Cadfael's already jealous...

- Drax

Monday, 27 April 2009

110 First Cut is the Deepest

Okay, so the title sounds negative than I intended.

A couple of you have been kind enough to enquire, so here are my first thoughts about the new Codex: IG and the future of Drax's forces.

1) Guard are weaker...and stronger as a result.

The thing that really hit me with the latest Space Marine codex was that the marines were way harder; more-or-less across the board. Man for man, Guardsmen are now weaker, and this is a Good Thing. Sure, they're cheaper and better equipped (auto-frag! half-price krak!), but they're far less likely to stick around once the bullets start flying than they were up to now with their almost ubiquitous Ld 9.

So I hate the fact that a lot of my guys are likely to have Ld 7 or 8 a lot of the time (yes, I know there are ways round it, but see below) but I absolutely love the fact that they're more likely to run away: they're more like how I want Guardsmen to play! A couple of months ago I had a heavy weapon squad sit through five rounds of being shot at by terminators and a dreadnought: taking cover saves, constantly re-rolling Ld9 and shrugging off the occasional wounds to loaders 'til they were down to only one man. Sure this is still possible, but - importantly - it's slightly less probable, and Guardsmen are cheaper as a result. Rightly so.

2) Officers are not bulletproof.

The mainstays of my last inf-only army were my officers. Now (though folks seem fairly impressed with the new 'orders' and I expect to be too) they can't share their Ld and their radios now have less range than Ursarkar Creed's body odour. This is a shame, but not insurmountable. I shall simply be forced to rely on them less. As with the reduced efficiency (and effective Ld...and survivability...) of my beloved heavy weapons teams, I shall simply have to embrace the fact that despite the loss, they are cheaper and therefore more plentiful and more expendable.

3) Avoiding the hard stuff.

Loads of stuff in the new codex is pretty damned hard. I'm not out to win, so I'll probably avoid that which doesn't really sit well with me. This includes muchos psykers, conscripts and penal troops. Some of the vehicles too (see below).

4) Structural re-organisation.

Over the last couple of years, I've build my forces up as separate forces: light infantry, armoured infantry and a tank company. The new codex really seems to reward a combined-arms approach (and rightly so), so although they're cheaper and not too much more flimsy than before, my light infantry (only) are likely to seem expensive and less effective by comparison to a mixed force.

If you're wondering, here's how I'm currently considering their re-organisation (for fluffiness: power-gaming and too many special characters can go hang, for now):

Two companies, each comprising:
1Pl with 3 inf sections (spec wpn); m/launcher sect; a/cannon sect; mortar sect and (probably) a special weapon (flamers) sect.
2Pl with 3 inf sections (spec wpn); l/cannon sect; h/bolter sect; mortar sect and (probably) a special weapon (flamers) sect.

With my current equipment (voxs for all who can; medics (NOW AT 30 POINTS!) and g/launchers in HQ sects) each platoon costs about 550pts...which seems a lot until you realise that it can hold its own pretty well against most foes (certainly if my old experiences with light infantry are anything to go by) - and is well equipped. Obviously, elements could be removed from platoons for different purposes.

My armoured infantry are likely to remain mostly unchanged - except that I may take Al'rahem, just because I like the compulsion of his 'flanking' special rule. I feel the urge for another griffon.

Max, over at 'Defending Humanity' has been waxing lyrical about the use of triple-melta vet squads in chimeras flying into the enemy's flanks, and this has caught my attention...especially if I get around to making my 'front-loader' chimera! We'll see.

5) The new vehicles are as pricey as they are sweet...but not all to my taste.

I am so hugely happy about chimeras being given a decent price I could weep, but I don't think the talented Mr. Cruddace really thought the vehicles through quite as well as he might have. Noted anomalies include:
++ That the melta-y hellhound (devil dog? - I don't have my codex in front of me) has a main weapon that's potentially less useful than the new hull-mounted multimelta option, which has the same range and no chance of scattering or hitting at a frustrating half strength;

++ The 20-shot 'punisher'. Really?

++ The massive one-shot missile of death that may or may not fire and will have an 8-12" diameter blast. Why on Earth would he include this in a normal Codex?

++ Or the manticore, for that reason? Why not simply keep them for apocalypse?

++ And the acid-firing hellhound contraption seems really really too powerful (it'll kill marines on a 2+).

However, the chimeras are smashing, as is the 'lumbering behemoth' rule (very clever) and so are the nice little rules for griffons (re-rolls are great, and I love that they can't fire direct now). The sentinels march on, and I like the improvements to the exterminator's autocannon (though they seemed a little unnecessary they're certainly welcome).

Due to current lack of funds, valkyries will not be appearing soon, sadly. I'm determined to paint up my old FW baneblade first!

6) And finally, characters.

The lack of tactical options available to Guard now does sadden me a little - I thought the 'doctrines' system was a great idea for Guard, albeit flawed; and it's a shame that one now has to take special characters for 50, 70 or 90 pts a pop just so that one unit can outflank. I love some of them, but they're just too specific: I don't want to be held down to heroes for tactical flexibility in a 1000pt game!

And I know I'm not alone.

So. Thoughts continue. It'll be an age beofre I get to try many of my ideas out, so all ripostes gratefully received.


- Drax.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

109 Mail Call


New Codex IG and the latest UK White Dork have arrived.


Initial thoughts about New World Order to follow.

That is all.

- Drax.

[image from GW:]

Thursday, 23 April 2009

108 Rookie Reinforcements


Having bought scarcely anything in the last year other than an ebayed techpriest and the bits for my wyvern conversion (and thanks, by the way, to those of you sharing your great versions of this vehicle), I thought I caved the other day whilst killing time waiting for a bus.

I've very little spare cash after the honeymoon, and the toyshop in town has a very limited selection, so I thought I'd try the pack o' five cadians, to allow the tiny expansion I'm considering to my infantry:
It cost £5, and it's exactly what I expected...though it was a frustration to realise there was no transfer sheet. I should've expected that, I guess.

Well, I know it's not much when everyone and his dog appears to have both new models AND the new codex, but work's melted my brain this week, so I just wanted to 'say' something 40K-related.

I'm exctited about all this 'new codex' gumpf - I really am!

- Drax.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

107 Premature Deliberation

This is a long post with no pictures. Just so you know! A glossary and links for reference may be found on the right for your convenience.

Hullo, mes amis;

Like almost every other Guardsman and his dog out there, I've been tying myself in knots thinking about the new codex. I know some have had the power to resist and wait for the release, but I have the breaking strain of a Kit-Kat, so my poor old mind's been awhirl.

NB: My entire force as it currently stands, can be explored here.

My conundra are as follows:
  1. No 'more Light Infantry' doctrine;
  2. No more widespread use of Ld 9 from a vox-network/'Leadership' rule combination;
  3. No more discreet heavy weapons platoons.
Now I've thought a lot about this so far, and mapped out umpteen different OrBats, and what follows are my main initial ideas, based around the fact that I've really enjoyed the fluffiness (and successes) of my all-infantry 'Light Infantry' force:


1Pl (tactical):
3 Inf Sections w. spec wpn
Missile Launcher Section
Autocannon Section
Heavy Bolter Section

2Pl (tactical):
3 Inf Sections w. spec wpn
Missile Launcher Section
Autocannon Section
Heavy Bolter Section

3Pl (support):
3 Inf Sections w. spec wpn
Lascannon Section
Mortar Section
Mortar Section

4Pl (support):
3 Inf Sections w. spec wpn
Lascannon Section

Mortar Section
Mortar Section

This is the core of my force, and upto now has made up one full rifle company and one full fire support company: a set-up I'd grown to like a lot. It contained a full vox-net, 6 Pl officers and 2 Coy officers - I'd grown to rely on my vox and officers to keep my lads together.

Now I could happily (and readily) divide the list above into 2 companies - not least because Coy HQs seem both cheaper and better than they were. This would give me 6 officers in total for this lot - which should be enough. Hopefully. We'll see.

The idea is that rather than being flexible at company level, the regiment is now far more flexible at platoon level. A single platoon is now a more viable force - albeit more pricey, pointswise - and the support platoons are there for back-up or more specialised weaponry. It may even be that the companies are themselves structurally flexible, though I'm less sure about this. It's likely that I'll put one 'tactical' and one 'support' platoon into each company. That'd make sense.

Obviously, heavy weapons sections can be omitted as required to save points...


My main alternative to the OrBat above is the inclusion of two 'flamer' (spec wpn) sections - maybe one for each of the 'tactical' platoons. I've loved the use of these little bugbears, and they could be even more effective now...tee-hee!

I've also considered rearranging 3 and 4 pl into a 'lascannon' platoon and a 'mortar' platoon (I'm a big fan of mortar platoons) but these would be less flexible, and I like the idea of the companies being the same.

OTHER UNITS (assorted FOC):

Hardened Veteran Platoon (AKA "X" Platoon):
- 3 sections, probably equipped for a range of different roles. I love converting veterans!

Stormtrooper Platoon (AKA "Flash" Platoon):
- 3 sections of old 'beret' strormtroopers - probably equipped for anti-tank/anti-MEQ roles.

NB: I plan to build three valkyries (and a vendetta) to transport one of the above platoons. It's worth noting that it would seem a basic Vets squad mounted in a valkyrie should cost about the same as one of my current Armoured Fist squads!

Non-ratling snipers:
I have ten snipers - they'll probably operate in a single section, though that may change for Apoc. missions.

Ogryns and Rough Riders:
Meh. I have a unit of both of these, but I don't know if they'll see the field this side of apocalypse.

New/special characters:
I'm going to have to see the complete details for these. That bastard Creed's going to have to make an appearance just because his rules are so great, but I'm not a great fan of the model. There's likely to be an astropath (sanctioned psyker model), and the master of ordnance would be a great boon to an infantry force (my self-build model). Anyone know what happens if you have two astropaths?


I'm a little disappointed that tanks have become more expensive, but it's great to see the chimera has got a decent price at last.

My light vehicles (of 1st Bn) will remain almost exactly the same:
HQ salamander
A/F Platoon in 4 chimera transports
2 hellhounds (I may add one to make three!)
2 S-P artillery units (likely to remain my griffons; but again I may add one!)
4 sentinels - we'll see about their role/equipment.

As for my Leman Russes, I'm in no rush to change them. The MBTs are still solid; the exterminators are now even more kick-ass; and the annihilators still aren't in the codex. I like the new rules: less so the new prices.

In the future, I'll probably invest in some new variants; or at least some new turrets.


I don't think Drax'll be seeing much of these:
  1. Squads of pskers (great idea; very powerful, but just not very 'Cadian 24th'. I don't really do psykers);
  2. Conscripts and...
  3. Penal troops. The Glorious 24th are a professional force.

Well, that gives me four standard platoons, a veteran platoon, a stormtrooper platoon, an armoured fist platoon, assorted specialists, all my light vehicles and some kick-ass tanks. And hopefully some close air support! To make it work, I think I'll need to buy another twenty infantry models. And some valks, given time and money enough. No rush, eh?

I'll still be fielding a shooty army; it'll still be mostly inf-only (although I appreciate the new codex makes for better mixed lists) and I'll be able to field more men for fewer points.

On the downside, my beloved vox network will be more-or-less redundant, and I can't see how I can ever get my lads back to their halcyon days of infiltration.

Thanks for your patience, Any thoughts, perchance?

- Drax

Sunday, 5 April 2009

106 Camoflage Theory

I'm off on honeymoon tomorrow (only 18 months late!) to Bemuda, but before I go I thought I'd share this link with you. It's from the BBC News website; a very short presentation on varieties of camouflage in the natural world by Professor Innes Cuthill from the University of Bristol:

The accompanying music's predictably dodgy, but I found the presentation interesting.

I leave midday tomorrow. If anyone wants to propose any cool or tricky Imperial Guard-related conundrums for me to chew through and ponder en route, do please comment in the usual way. I'll have my notebook with me for the journey, but fresh ideas to mull over are always welcome. all suggestions gratefully received!

- Drax.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

105 New Wyvern Pics

Evening, All.

I managed to get away from work early today, and (as it was a beautiful afternoon and Mrs. Drax was out) I decided to use the time to take some decent daylight photos of my wyvern conversion. I'm going to sit tight on my rules for it until the new Codex release, but see here for my initial thoughts. [For conversion details, track back through this.] Here's the main variant:
Here's the enclosed variant scout salamander:
...And here's the entirely useful wyvern annihilator variant (non troop-carrying):
You'll note the magnetised interchangeable hull/dorsal weapons - more details on these can be be found here. This last one's a photo of all the constituent parts:
Hope you enjoyed these better quality pics: more posts soon,

- Drax

104 Rude Mechanicus


Update 21/12/10: Mr. Enginseer now has a servitor to accompany him.

My first purchase of 2009 was made this week: for a little over £3 on eBay (incl. p&p) I got this beauty - a techpriest engineseer:
A lovely old-school model and one I've not owned since 2nd edition. This one is very nicely painted (better than I could do!) and although I suspect I won't ever use him in anything this side of Apocalypse, I'm looking forward to him strolling alongside my tanks. I'd like to think he's responsible for my 'wyvern' conversions.

Thanks to the chap who painted and sold him. The Techie's come to a loving home!

I'll try to remember to re-base him as I base the sample model for the second part of my 'Painting by Numbers' guide.

I'll amend those painting points soon. Now, if only I could have afforded to buy him on eBay...

- Drax.