Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The New Mechanicus - A review (part 2)

Ok, here we go with part two of the review. 

I think that a few people might have been a little disappointed by my lack of rabid enthusiasm for the Skitarii Vanguard/Ranger models in the first part of this review. Well, prepare to feel the enthusiasm flow for the second release for the new Mechanicus - The Ironstrider Ballistarius/Sydonian Dragoon.

This is some classic John Blanche madness right here. When we might have expected a tracked platform for a heavy weapon, we've been given this beautiful, ostrich-legged monster. I love the organic lines of this model. I love the design elements that are echoes of other models in the Imperial ranges (like the "bones" of the legs that echo the leg shapes of the Imperial Knight). I love servitor slaved into the machine and the wonderful backstory about the machine itself, a perpetual motion machine that must keep moving, even when the servitor "burns out" and must be replaced while the strider keeps striding. Throw a Skitarii pilot on top and given him some twin-linked weapons and you have a winner!

But what could be better than the Ironstrider? The Sydonian Dragoon, of course. Not only does it have all the wonders of the Ballistarius-variant, but it replaces the big guns with a taser lance. It's a wonderful blend of "bringing a knife to a gunfight", the Polish cavalry of WW2, and the goblin knights from the movie Labyrinth.

All three of the models I've bought will become Sydonian Dragoons.

One of the things I'm enjoying about the Mechanicum (Forgeworld) and Adeptus Mechanicus (from GW) releases is that with each release I'm getting the chance to slide a model or unit of models that I built for fun into a set of rules. I built that crazy floating Techpriest thing for fun, and then FW released the rules for an abbeyant, a perfect way to bring that model to the tabletop. The new Codex allows me to field the walking lascannons you see above (inspired many years ago by a conversion by Graham Davey) as Ironstriders. They're a little bit smaller, but there's a general feeling of a similar bulk.

Of course, this model can now also be used as an Ironstrider. Slightly shorter and much bulkier, but still ready to pursue the enemies of the Omnissiah relentlessly. 

Here's the first of my new models, assembled and ready for priming.

So many lovely shapes in this kit. I might have to do one up as a display piece : )

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The New Mechanicus - A review (part 1)

Like a bolt from a transuranic arquebus, the Adepts Mechanicus have finally landed on gaming tables the world over. As someone who has had a long-term interface with the Cult of the Machine God, I've been asked by a few folks what my thoughts are abut these recent GW releases. I figured it might be fun to put together a series of quick review articles that covered my thoughts and feelings on each product released. 

First up, I'll cover my thoughts on the AdMech Skitarii boxed set - makes either Rangers or Vanguard.

For a long time, hobbyists with an interest in conversions have been converting the foot soldiers of the AdMech, the Skitarii. Although descriptions have varied through various background sources and pieces of official artwork, these hobbyists (myself included) haven't strayed far from the look of red-robed warriors with bionic legs (easiest limbs to remove/replace) and hoods with cog trim. Companies that specialize in conversion bits have stuck pretty close to that look as well in their creations of Steel or Iron Brotherhoods.

I figured that the reluctance of GW to explore their iconic (and mostly unique to GW) imagery of the AdMech was because they hadn't yet decided the best way to portray these foot soldiers. Descriptions in more recent Horus Heresy novels have them looking very feral, with a lot of beast/beetle descriptors. I was looking forward to seeing those vague descriptions being rendered in hard plastic.

Obviously, however, I was wrong. GW decided that hooded guys in red robes with bionic legs was the way to go. I'm a little disappointed they weren't something else.

Having said all that I must point out that I am quite happy with what they are (hey, I converted a bunch of guys that look similar, so there's obviously an appreciation of the look). My 20 or so models are armed with a variety of weaponry, almost all of it fairly short, almost carbine-sized rifles, so I think they'll become my first two Vanguard units.

This means I'll be able to turn the three boxes of Skitarii I bought into Ranger units. Once I've seen the Skitarii and Cult Mechanicus codexes, I'll know if I should do all three, or if I could save one box to start turning into a new rifle section for my Vostroyan-based Solar Auxila army.

Ever the converter, I think that it'd be pretty straightforward to replace the lower legs with boots from plastic Cadians, cult and cast up a number of heads with furry hats, shave off the cog from the breastplate and equip them with the galvanic rifles (which look great!) Sure, it's a bit of work, but that's how I like to roll. Of course, you could simply use them with the Vanguard heads, galvanic rifles, and paint them a color other than red to represent a cool Solar Auxilia regiment. The heads from Empire Pistoliers would also work really well for a fancy look. Also, if you get enough sets (or trade for the weapons) the plasma calivers would be great as volkite chargers for a Veletaris Storm Section.

Speaking of 30K, these Skitarii would also work well as Tech Thralls in a Mechanicum list. Ten thrall from FW currently runs about $60 in the US, 10 plastic Skitarii are $40.

So, not a bad start to the Adeptus Mechanicus release into the world. The Skitarii are certainly lovely, not quite what I was hoping for, but lovely none the less. I'll rate them at 7 cogs out of 10.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Solar Auxilia - Charonite Ogryns Complete!

In amongst the hustle and bustle of work and family life, I crowbarred in some time to work on these excellent minis, completing them this morning. I know the open face mask is a polarizing piece, but I must point out that the kit comes with the option to use the open mask or a closed mask, so don't let my selection put you off picking up a set.

As I mentioned last time, it was Drew AridMonk Sturrock's version of these beasts that I saw on the Solar Auxilia Facebook page that inspired me. I loved his red so much that I had to add this squad to my army. For the second and third Ogryn, I had the opportunity to use a coupe of the Vallejo Model Air silvers (Gun Metal and Aluminium). I'll give you my thoughts on these at a later date.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these guys : )

This should give you an idea of the size and bulk of these models. They are mounted on 50mm rounds, rather than 40mm rounds for the standard Ogryn.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Solar Auxilia - WIP Charonite Ogryn

Managed to get a little paint on this guy over the weekend. The color scheme is inspired by some great Ogryn I spotted on the Solar Auxilia Facebook page.

Work continues : )


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Let's return to The Horus Heresy!

This year, on my trip to AdeptiCon, I didn't play any games. That's the first time since 2005 that I haven't. It felt a bit odd. I was still incredibly busy, and didn't have time in my schedule for gaming, but there was plenty there to be had. Of particular interest were the 30K events run by my friends Ty, Marc, John, and Robin. I'm planning on playing in at least one of their cool events next year.

Anyway, after finishing up my PowerPoint presentation for my metallics class, I was inspired to finish up the first on my Vorax Automata. These models are a reimagining of the old Crusader robots (I think) and their bug eyes are just magnificent.

At the show I also purchased my first squad of Charonite Ogryn for my Solar Auxilia army. I've already assembled them, and they now have primer on them. I think I may be back in the swing of things for my own painting! : )