Old School Space Marines

Space Marines are celebrating 30 years this week-end. Blimey!

To mark the occasion I dug into the Faith and Steel vaults for the oldest space marines I could find. My own date from the starter set with the Black Templars on the box and dark eldar on in inside, plus a few of the (now out of production) metal figures from the time.

These are fine miniatures but I came across a box of something older. I have on long-term loan from a friend some seriously old marines. A mix of plastic and metal, I would love to hear from anyone who can identify them, because all I know is that they are OLD!

Of course, marines never really retire and these veterans still get the occasional run in Apocalypse games.

What’s hiding in your cupboard?


Strike Force Varus

The Teutoburg System sits just beyond the Ultramare region ruled by the Ultramarines. While not governed by them it is considered part of its sphere of influence, so when tax receipts ceased agents were sent to discover the source of the problem. When the agents also failed to return, Strike Force Varus was despatched to investigate, with orders to crush any heresy, mutant or xenos they find and restore order to the system.

Strike Force Varus is 1,350 points of Ultramarines (almost) ready for Arc40K 2016.


Brother Captain Varus

It consists of a battle demi-company, led by Brother Captain Varus and is accompanied by the Teller-Penn Anomaly, a Librarius Conclave. Varus and part of this team went to the Norris 1,000 and I was pleased with how they worked on the table. I only won one game, but this was really a function of my generalship, I think, not the army. By replacing the scouts with tactical squads I will get to field a demi-company. Along with the Ultramarine chapter tactics this means most squads will be re-rolling at least ones in four of the game turns (in either shooting, assault or both). I think this will provide the edge to the army. It will need it as there are few other toys.

The Librarius Conclave looks fun and I haven’t seen one on the table before.
We shall see how it goes.

Onward, to the Teutoburg System.


See you on the battlefields.

Tyranids Defied

Citizens rejoice! The largest tyranid invasion seen in this sector has been defeated by a combined force of loyalist marines. After being pressed early by successive waves of the bio-engineered monsters, the Astartes were able to launch a counter-attack and purchase a famous and bloody victory.

NovApoc25Go big or go home. We aimed for 10,000 points a side but found we could deploy 12,500. That turns out to be a lot of bugs. The table looked great. I found it hard to take a shot that took in the whole spectacle.


The Hive Mind deployed well. By making an aggressive bid (just 7 minutes), they won the opportunity to deploy and move first. By using a strategic asset that gave most of their troops infiltrate, they not only bought themselves time to deploy they made sure that bugs would be right in marines’ faces from turn 1.


On the Imperial side there were Space Wolves, Dark Angles (including Deathwing), Imperial Fists, Ultramarines and White Scars.  A good mix of shooty, speed and close combat.

On the left flank Dark Angels and Space Wolves agreed to disagree and looked towards the tyranid menace.


Adam’s Space Wolves


Connor’s Dark Angels


Ben’s Deathwing

The right flank was held by the original battle brothers, the Sons of Dorn and Guilliman, supported by some drop-pods full of Space Wolves


Dreadnought from my Imperial Fists


“Remember Macragge” Ultramarines get stuck in

In the centre were White Scars


Cam’s White Scars – no time to shammy the mudguards, we’ve got some ‘nids to sort out

Overall command of the Astartes was taken by Azael from the Dark Angels


Warmaster Azael – Connor’s DA

The aggressive tactics by the Tyranid host worked well early on. The marines, despite setting up well back in their deployment zone, only got in one round of shooting before close combat started right along the table.




But the early waves just could not deal out enough damage and the terminators, deep striking with precision on objectives started to push through the ravening hoard.


Heading into the Imperial Shrine


And out the other side: objective secured

NovApoc23NovApoc02It wasn’t one way traffic, but at by the end of three full turns both sides had run out of reinforcements and we were running out of playing time. At that point the marines had 4 of 6 objectives and more victory points, and while the tyranids might narrow the gap if we played on an Imperial victory seemed clear.

As a player in a such a large game it is hard to get a feel for the ebb and flow across the whole battlefield so I’ve missed out on many heroic and mighty deeds from both sides.


But there is no doubting the mighty spectacle of two themed armies going toe to toe on such a big table. Lovely stuff, and the Hive Mind is already plotting its revenge …


Thanks for all for a fab day.

Apocalypse Soon

Tomorrow is the day. Or it is while I type this. It is probably in the past for you.
But the warp is like that. You only think it is the web.

I’ve had a look at the Emperor’s Tarot and we will have 12,500 points a side: Tyranids versus Space Marines. Six for Hive Mind and seven loyal defenders of humanity.

Only one gargantuan creature and no super heavies. I’ve packed every terminator I own as a prophylactic. You do not want Tyranid herpes.

While all ‘nids look the same to me, we will have five different chapters represented. In descending order of points there will be: Space Wolves, Dark Angels (including a Deathwing attachment), Imperial Fists, Ultramarines, and White Scars. By this time tomorrow we will know if it is enough to stop the tyranid invasion.

No pictures yet, but I’ve packed my camera.

I will be handing out these cards:


We always forget the finest hour rule. Always. Tomorrow I expect to see our warlords acting in suitably heroic and dramatic fashions.

To war!

Love at the end of the world

One of the great parts of wargaming is its ability to stimulate your imagination. Lots of things can achieve this, but there is something wonderfully cinematic about two well painted armies on a table laden with terrain that few other games manage. For me this is one of the reasons I like to play a couple of apocalypse games each year: the sight of two 10,000 point armies going toe-to-toe is ace.


Lots of mens = lots of carnage

Another nice feature of planning and running a game of this size is that it is a group activity. This means that instead of two or three of your friends getting together, it is 8 or 10! Apoc is a party with added dice.

Expect the wacky; and carnage

Expect the wacky; and carnage

Creating a memorable apoc takes a bit of effort, but the pay-off is worth it. Our gaming group is working towards an apoc game in a couple of weeks. From my teasers you may have guessed that it will be Tyranids versus Space Marines. I’ve done the teaser posts because I’m looking forward to the game and want to help a little to build the excitement. (I’ve not used any ‘nid photos for the simple reason I don’t have any, hence my more cryptic approach.)

Fluid situations will arise

Fluid situations will arise

The current Apocalypse rule book has some good tips on getting a game together. We don’t use them all (and discovered some for ourselves years ago), but they are worth a look early in your process.

And you'll get to find out who wins in Bloodthirster v. Baneblade

Plenty of room for the big toys

To help ensure a memorable day (for the right reasons) I suggest that you do at least the following:

  1. Get it on the calendar well in advance. Coordinating the lives of ten gamers can be daunting
  2. Plan food and beer as well as gaming. It is going to be a long day.
  3. Theme. It’s tempting to get all your toys out, but two themed armies is a wonderful sight
  4. Painted. Truly, don’t field it if it doesn’t have paint.
  5. Don’t sweat the detail too much. At 10,000 points a side it’s more the vibe. Related to this is go WYSIWYG. There is too much on the table and way too many people to have substitutes or fuss with melta-bombs you can’t see

And finally, chill. It can be a long day and while the fate of an entire planet hands the balance you’re there for fun.

And you'll get to find out who wins in Bloodthirster v. Baneblade

And you’ll get to find out who wins in Bloodthirster v. Baneblade


Codex Review

Just before Easter I picked up a copy of the new codex for Imperial Guard, so of course that means I finally got around to opening my copy of the new Codex Space Marines, picked up on its release weekend late last year.  You see, I find it hard to get worked up about codexes (codices?). Mostly I treat them as a necessary evil, part of the cost of putting an army on the table.  I’m not one to pore over a tome thinking about nifty combinations. Unkind folk may point out that this shows in my win-loss record, but we need not go there. However, I do occasionally open a codex up and have a look at the pictures, read a bit of background or even – gasp! – consider the rules of units I don’t have.

Mostly when I choose an army I start with the models I have, in turn chosen by what I think looks cool. I then go to the relevant codex to find out its cost (and eventually, how it works …) and so find out what the army is worth. As my available stock has grown I have found I have been able to tailor a list a bit for a given mission or points value. I suspect that more people use this approach than online or convention discussions allude to. There, the secret is out.

I’m wearing yellow. And I’m angry. So ask yourself, “Am I feeling lucky?”, punk

That is certainly how I started my first army, Imperial Fists using the 1998 codex (which I think coincided with 3rd edition). I chose a bunch of models I liked the look of, went home together with a codex and tried to sort it all out. Heady days.



I don’t care that chaplains wear black – eat hot bolter!

Fourth edition arrives, along with a new codex. To be honest, I don’t remember this one very much at all. Lysander got a promotion (“Well done, that man”); fourth ed is when I went across to the ruinous powers and formed my Word Bearers. I did add to my Imperial Fists:



I aimed for a grungier, more battle hardened look over my shiny parade ground marines from earlier.

I liked the codex for the fifth edition and started working (in secret, behind suitable warding sigils so the dark gods didn’t notice) on an Ultramarines force.




My first finecast model – which I broke in half getting out of its blister. Otherwise a nice model though

This has become my standard “on the road” army, as it fits into a single case. As a result I’ve got to know this list reasonably well and in some ways have the most success with.

So, I finally opened the 6th edition codex space marines.

I’m pretty impressed. The art work is nice, there are plenty of nice looking minis and the bit of background I have read is not too long or laboured. All pluses for me.

There are some interesting new units – centurions, in particular, while the points values will force the need for a few tweaks in my list. Standard tactical marine squads of 10 appear a bit more expensive by the time weapons are added but captains and other characters appear cheaper. As do scouts – which is ace, I love scouts. A bit shit in a fire fight, but that’s not why they are there.  I haven’t done the maths, but I think that both Imperial Fists and Ultramarines will field about the same number of boys, leavened with an extra character or two – probably a librarian for the smurfs and another captain for the fists. We’ll see.

Expect to see more marines in Faith and Steel.


The battle continues

As promised loyal citizens, here are some more photos of the Exorcist assault on the Marcharius Canal.

On the Word Bearers’ left flank things got rather interesting when a coven of Grey Knight terminators and an Inquisitor teleported in to deal with the Daemonettes that had manifested there:


“Would you mind stepping this way ladies?”


However it wasn’t to be, as Slaanesh’s finest sliced through the Knights. Although the Inquisitor did banish a Herald of Slaanesh before being kebabed himself.                 Faith and Steel salute his sacrifice.

Seeing the trouble being caused by the daemons, an Exorcist Librarian used his psychic powers to teleport himself and terminator squad across the canal. kwai10 It was a bloody battle, with all of the terminators being killed before the Librarian stood his ground and killed enough of the daemons to cause reality to blink, sending the foul creatures back to the warp.


Are you looking at me? Yeah! Take that!

In the centre the two Lords kept their eye on the main objective: take and hold the bridge. They punched on as two mighty warriors should, neither being able to land a blow. kwai14Some tac marines who had apparently missed the lecture on the danger of charging power fist wielding terminators decided to help out. They died, forcing a leadership check on the Exorcist Chapter Master and giving the Word Bearer lord a chance to fall back onto the bridge itself.kwai13


He proved very hard to dislodge, leaving the Word Bearers in control of the crossing.


Running out of resources themselves and their chapter master falling to the dark magic of the Black Mace, the Exorcists called it quits to consolidate their lines on along the canal.

This campaign is far from over, with both sides digging in along a new front, it is now a race to replenish material to see who can launch an offensive first. And, never fear, our Faith and Steel reporters will in the battle space to make sure you see the latest dispatches from our loyal defenders of humanity.


Daemonettes have their revenge on the Inquisitor


Some sort of veteran dudes force a crossing and route the cultists


Kombi of death does it stuff – bye bye vindicator

Bridge on the river (K)wai- not!

Citizens, after fierce fighting across the Northcote plain the Imperial offensive has apparently been checked. The forward momentum of our brave warriors stopped by ruinous powers on the banks of the fast flowing and now reportedly toxic Macharius Canal.

A strike force of Exorcist space marines came within minutes of seizing an intact bridge but have been stymied after desperate fighting by traitor marines of the Word Bearers.

Faith and Steel have secured pict images of this titanic struggle, including unconfirmed reports of a daemon incursion. (Well, the Inquisition was involved, who as we know make no comments about planet side operational matters).

Jim and I had a ripper of a game – 2,000-ish points each, with my Word Bearers defending and his Exorcists assaulting. The goal was to capture the bridge. To mix things up a bit, the Exorcists had to start off the table, deploying using the dawn of war rule from 5th ed (units moving onto the board in turn one, with reserves as normal). The Word Bearers had to leave at least half their units off the table, but started rolling for reserves from turn one. In addition there was an opening bombardment, but the prepared positions saw no casualties.
The river is toxic sludge, making it both difficult and dangerous to cross. kwai01The Exorcists emerge from the morning mist: kwai02

Fighting erupted quickly, with Chaos loosing their Landraider in the opening salvo forcing the enclosed Noise Marines to quickly exit the burning wreck:


Hey! Where did our landraider go? There is nothing but a big crater where I left it!

More tomorrow loyal citizens – it is curfew here in the Republic.