Sunday, April 27, 2014

Astra Militarum: Armored Company Rides Again!

One of the coolest things about the new Imperial Guard codex is the Tank Commander HQ choice. Well, at least for me it's one of the coolest things (yes, me tread head). Essentially, you get to field a Tank Commander to lead an armored company in 40k games. While you still need to take compulsory Troops choices, it's no big deal for me as my armored company always has a couple of grizzled veteran panzergrenadier squads to provide infantry support.

The current list for my 4th Company is:

Tank Commander in a Leman Russ Vanquisher, with another Vanquisher and an Exterminator in his Command Squadron

Two Veteran Squads in Chimerae

An Assault Tank Squadron with a Leman Russ Executioner, a Demolisher and a Punisher
A Tank Squadron with 3 plain Jane Leman Russ
A Flak Battery of 1 Hydra

One of the guys (Joe of DOOOOOOM) suggested I put in 1 Vendetta for air support, and I do have a list that has that, but I really want 9 Leman Russes in an 1850pt list. I'm guessing the armored company would probably suffer against AirCav, FMC or other massive flyer lists, but overall it should be fun.

I've had 2 games with this army so far. The first was against Aiman's Chaos FMC list. I barely won that one, but I discovered later that I was playing it wrong (the current Hydra does not ignore jink saves anymore), so I probably would have lost that one horribly. The second was against Dann's Deldar. That was a pretty close game, and the only reason why I won was because the game ended just as my infantry occupied both objectives.

Anyways, armored company is fun, and the low model count makes for less headache (more on that below) when playing multiple games in a row. At any rate, it also made me realize that my Leman Russ and IG armor collection is in need of some love. Some of the models have been in action since 2000, and there are lots of paint chips, broken bits, missing bits, etc. Also, the last few Leman Russes have had less than standard numbering on them. I've decided to stick to 4th Company and have already ordered new decals for the tanks. So hopefully the armored company will get a much-needed facelift in the next month or so.

I also used my updated standard infantry IG list last Friday. Throughout playing IG since 2000, I've kind of maintained a core "standard" list for my footsloggers. It's based on a couple of principles - lots of infantry (at least 100), highly mobile (only 1 static unit, the lascannon platoon), assault-oriented and no ab-humans.

But this new codex has actually changed the standard more than any of the previous editions. For the first time I'm using psykers (divination for IG is way too tempting), as well as conscripts (needed to maintain the 100-body count somehow - attrition has finally made a mark on the Brandenbergers I guess).

So it is that 105 Guardsmen, 2 psykers, 3 priests, 4 Leman Russ and 2 Vendetta took to the field. It is simply awesome! With a sea of fearless troopers barreling forward, supported by huge amounts of firepower spitting death over their heads into the enemy lines, while overhead heavily-armed gunships provide close air support.

Of course, the classic drawback of the list is also the very same reason why I like it - lots of infantry! I tried playing a second game with it right after finishing one game, but after a couple of turns it got a bit tiring (yes 'ead 'urts). Anyways, I'll be using this list more often in the future and I'm going to build on that stamina to put in multiple games in a row, like in a tournament. Three games in a row sounds daunting. Then again, I can just deploy, move, shoot, and charge. Don't think too much!

Keep them dice rolling dudes!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The New Hydra is a SWEET Model

Once in awhile I get excited over a new GW model. There were the Harlequins (sweet), Shadowsword (oyez), Manticore (awesome), the Crimson Hunter (beautiful), among others. And then there's this - the awesome new Imperial Guard Hydra.

This quick update had to be done after I got done assembling it and doing some basecoats. As usual, it assembles really well. And an amazing surprise came when I was putting together the gun barrels. It's simply brilliant! One of those things that make grown men do rapid-firing autocannon sounds with their lips. Pity the rules for the tank got a bit downgraded (I noticed this pattern - awesome models, with not so awesome rules - like that awesome new Commissar, which are now often replaced by Priests ... o well).

Anyways, I'm painting this up in standard Brandenberger colors. I had to go out and get a new box of stowage bits - both for this flak tank, and for the rest of my tank company. I'll be going back to the panzers for some much-needed refurbishement and repairs. After more than 13 years of action, there's quite a lot to be done - tank markings, new set of tank numbering (they will be transferred to 2nd Company from the current 4th), stowage for some of the tanks that don't have enough, a couple of new tank commanders, replacements of smoke launchers on tanks that have lost them, paint touch ups, guitar wire antenna, etc.

I'll put up the completed Hydra when it's done. Hopefully next week!

In the meantime, keep them dice rolling!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Astra Militarum for my Catachans and Brandenbergers!

After the excruciating wait, the spanking new Astra Militarum codex is finally upon us! It's been a while since I've so eagerly awaited a new codex release. And I must say I'm real happy it's finally out - more for the comfort of knowing what's current, if nothing else.

For one, my AirCav boys  have changed a bit - for the better, in my opinion. It works out really nicely that the new Vendetta has been given a points increase and a transport capacity decrease. Especially because Bodyguards are gone, which greatly reduces Col Straken's (my warlord) HQ size. So now it's just him, the medic, 3 plasma gunners (because Straken's Relentless Determination, the squad can rapid fire and charge!), and a priest in a Vendetta. Straken is supported by 2 veteran squads flying in aboard the 2 Valkyries I have.

I've taken an additional new HQ, designated as Major Winters, 2iC. This unit is the key ground element, directing the squads already on ground, holding on to objectives and securing the LZ for Straken's airborne elements. The 2iC is barebones, save for the Regimental Standard and 2 advisors - Officer of the Fleet (who now does what the old Astropath used to do - in my opinion, more fitting actually), and Master of Ordnance (who is a cheap replacement - somewhat - of the Basilisk in the old list). There are 3 veteran squads on the ground, each with a missile launcher and some special weapons. So, at minimum, I'll just need to paint up 9 more models to bring the old list up to the new one. I'll be trying this out over the next couple of weeks, so we'll see how it works out.

What I did try was 2 games with my Brandenbergers. The first one uses an update of my classic Schutzen list, which has built a little tradition for itself since its inception in 2000. It's called the classic list because it's made up of a core assault infantry-heavy element (no heavy weapons), supported by a balanced list of equipment and weaponry, and updated each time a new codex comes out, new "standard" points sizes are set for games in the local community, or some cool new model is released.

So the current 1850pts classic 6th Schutzen which I tried out has a Company Command with Regimental Standard, 2 Commissars, 2 "Assault" Platoons (no heavy weapons) of 30 + 5 men each, 1 anti-tank platoon with 3 lascannons and 20 + 5 men, 2 Vendettas, an Assault Tank squadron (Executioner and Punisher, both with plasma sponsons) and a regular Tank Squadron (2 plain jane Russes). That's 102 men, 4 tanks and 2 flyers.

This army totally demolished an Eldar army, and quite efficiently too. Some of the nice things I noticed are definitely the orders. Fire on my Target makes it so much easier for my lascannons to take down Wave Serpents and Wraithknights trying to skulk behind cover. The cheaper "assault" tanks are definitely awesome, with the Executioner and Punisher living up to their namesakes in rather brutal style. And really, the points bump that the Vendetta got is really not painful at all - it is still the best air support in 40k in my book.

I also had to try out the new Tank Commander HQ choice - just so that I can field my 7th Panzer tank company, and the lovely new Hydra model. So I had the Tank Commander in a Vanquisher, plus another Vanquisher and a standard Russ in his squadron. I had an Assault Tank squadron of 2 Demolishers and an Executioner, a Tank Squadron of 3 standard Russes and a Hydra with camo netting for AA duty. I had 2 bare veteran squads for Troops (I need to find the points to give them Chimera - a bit more fluffy that way).

This army looked impressive, and with a lucky Seize the Initiative roll, demolished almost all of my opponent's Chaos Space Marine army in 2 turns. But his surviving Be'lakor and Tzeentch Daemon Prince almost destroyed my entire tank force. But I lucked out and a lone Leman Russ and infantryman survived the onslought, leaving the Tzeetch Prince wounded but still alive at the end of the game. After the game I noticed that we played this wrong - the new Hydra does not have its auto-targeting rules anymore! O well, we'll try again next time.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to try out other stuff with the new book - like Armored Sentinels, Engineseers, Ratlings ... a whole bunch of stuff.

Keep rolling them dice!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Heldrake is Ready for Battle!

Well, at least the model is. I still need to finish the base. This one took me a lot longer than I thought. I did say that this will be a b**ch to paint, and I was right! Of course, it didn't help that I didn't break it down into neat little subassemblies - I just assembled the whole thing, then started painting. Kids, don't try that at home ...

Having said that, I'm quite pleased with it. A deep blue base, light gold fringes, blue-grey fleshy bits, leadbelcher metal bits. Then good old brown ink wash and agrax wash. Then went back to touch up and highlight gold up to silver. Pretty standard approach, except this was a beast ..

I've undercoated the base. There's a huge chunk of a Valkyrie's port side hull on the ground, with various other debris. Should be able to finish it next session.

So once this is done, I'll go back and finish up the 10 Horrors - which should be quick enough. Then we go back to the AirCav - the new Astra Militarum update changed the army slightly, and I'll be painting a few more models for it. Yes, Ravenwing reinforcements got delayed again! Talk about pure undistracted focus!

Next update I'll give a first impression of the new Astra Militarum.

Keep rolling them dice!