echo base

On a remote relay station, battle brothers of the Ultramarines stand ready to defend against desert raiders.

A nostalgia post today, I haven’t played any 40K since early 2019 and not much in the couple years before that. I still like the lore and I think my Ultramarine army are among the best models I have painted over the years. It was a solid force in 5th ed, and worked OK in 6th, but army structure has moved on.

Scouts with Sniper rifles and rocket launcher
Scouts with closer combat weapons and bolt pistols
An Imperial Shrine
A drone’s eye view of Echo Base
Razorback in the sights of the enemy targeting system
A landspeeder scout

I think it is time for these lads to head to a buy swap sell forum or eBay. I am unlikely to lead them into battle in the foreseeable future, maybe someone else will can bring them into the modern game. In the meantime, enjoy the pics.


Arc40K report: part two

Onto day two of Arc40K 2016. Some thoughts on day one can be found here.

The Players Awaken Crusade with Dawn of War deployment. The mission special rule was Traitor: each side nominates in secret one enemy unit as a traitor. The traitor is not revealed until after the game ends and is otherwise unaffected during play. At the end of this game the traitor is revealed and counts as an objective secured unit for your side.

This was a neat idea that meant that wins might turn into a draw, or worse, and added a nice layer to the game.

I played Sean with a rock hard Nurgle Daemon list and copped a 20-5 loss. They don’t come bigger than that. I just couldn’t deal enough damage into regenerating, toughness 6 (and more) beasts to make any headway.

Strike for the Heart. The only mission not from the book, but they kept it pretty simple. Dawn of War deployment and you chose one of two objectives, which was kept secret until the end of the game: kill points or more scoring units within 6″ of centre of table.

With all my units scoring and facing a Deathwing army, I selected to dominate the table centre. Not surprisingly, my opponent Shaun went for kill points.

Despite a cheeky last stand by Brother Captain Varus and his rhino, I lost 20-5. Did I mention that the Deathwing also bought an Imperial Knight. It stomped. A lot.

The final mission was kill points with a hammer and anvil set-up. Modest twist was that the kill points escalated so units destroyed later in the game were worth more than those early.

I faced off against Jessie with a bunch of space wolf terminators in landraiders.

Initially I found it hard to crack open his landraiders, and a poor initial set-up left me finding it hard to concentrate fire. The Librarius Conclave were still telling each other stories about killing Tyranids to do anything useful, but a veteran sergeant did deliver a power fist to Jessie’s captain, so the game wasn’t a complete right-off.

Jessie got his first win for the tournament and I got tabled in a 20-6 loss, for a final tally of 5 losses and a draw to finish 115th!

So back to the Arc drawing board. I have 12 months to sort out an actual game plan.

Photos are starting to surface, check out Arc40K on FaceBook and also this flikr account by dirkpawlik.

Despite the sorry tale on the tabletop, Arcanacon rocked. Congratulations to the winners and thank-you to my opponents – good winners, all of you – and see you next year.

A fez of the heart! An Arc40K report

I enjoy Arc40K. The granddaddy of Melbourne tournaments ran for the 19th time over the weekend with two firsts: the first time in February, and at a new venue The House of War in Ringwood.  Dan and team do a great job running this tournament. They run about dealing with broken software, overheated venue, and round draws, so players can have six fabulous games. A big thumbs up for all your work. (I helped run Arc for a while; it is no easy thing and takes way more than just the weekend itself.)

There are a lot of things I like about tournaments: guaranteed games, painted and often inspirational armies, catching up with friends and meeting new ones. Tournaments can also be hard work. Multiple games over the week-end, negotiating different rule interpretation during the competition. Arcanacon brings all this, plus more, including that special fug that only 120+ sweaty gamers bring on a sunny summer day.

In some ways this was perhaps my worst Arc ever. Having got my army together, managing some last minute (for me) painting, and wrestled with the Community Comp system, I got to the table and discovered that I’m out of step with the current approach to 40K here in Melbourne. Too much beer and forging the narrative on my gaming days have left me exposed like a n00b at the table. I had a couple of close losses and draw on the first day, and on Sunday three comprehensive losses. At least packing up didn’t take long.

Don’t get me wrong. The failure was mine and congratulations to my opponents who stuck to their plans, knew what their army could do and generally out generaled me.
I’m living the 5th edition dream in a 7th edition world.

I took Strike Force Varus. Perhaps there was some karmic backwash from naming my Captain after one of the biggest disasters in Roman military history (and there are some doozies to choose from).

There were lot of nice armies on show. Almost everyone had something of interest: nice highlights, a unique conversion or unusual list combination.

Check out Arc40K on FaceBook for photos from other gamers. I always seem to promptly forget my resolution to take more photos at these events.

The missions were good. Each one was basically straight from the book with one special rule added. Not much to remember, which is a plus, but often enough to deliver a twist.

Get Your Fix was Big Guns Never Tire, using Hammer and Anvil deployment. The special rule replaced mysterious objectives with new table and a twist where the function might move from turn to turn.

I was competitive until turn 3, but just couldn’t hang on and my hopes of draw faded as a daemon prince gorged on my command unit leaving the centre of the table to the enemy. Jeremy got a 5-19 win to start the tournament with his nice looking Khorne Daemonkin.

Lessons for me: read the special abilities for your formations more than 5 minutes before the game starts and read the mission sheet!

We could be heroes was a Crusade with Vanguard Strike. Mission special rules was some random rules added to our generals. Neither of us rolled rules that were relevant to our list and did not affect the game.


I faced a drop pod heavy Salamander list run by Lachlan. With just three objectives the game became crowded very quickly.  I got to the objectives in numbers but twin-linked flamers and a grav heavy vet squad took their toll on my army. The game ended with two objectives held by the Salamanders, and just one from me. A 6-16 loss, but I did get the satisfaction of seeing Vulcan go down under a hail of bolter shells.

The Touch Emperor’s Will with Vanguard Strike. The special rule was that we had to nominate just three units to be objective secured. So much for the formation bonus for my army 😦

Pav fielded Tyranids and we duked it out to a 12-11 draw. This was my best result for the tournament, and the difference was totally down to my Librarius Conclave. This was their moment: taking out the hive tyrant and a hive crone, both in the psychic phase.

So ended day one. I’ll save day two for another post, if anyone can be bothered to continue with this tale of woe.


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.

Apocalypse Planning

It looks like there will be six space marine captains for our upcoming Tyranid versus Astartes apocalypse bash.  Munitorium scribes tell me that simple division (but is anything really simple?) is around 1,650 points per attachment.

Assuming the Hive Mind plays its usual shenanigans, I’m planning on 2,000 points. I can always leave stuff out on the day, but adding stuff when the chapter home world is a couple of parsecs (well, suburbs) away is a challenge.

I think a solid start will be a 1,000 points of terminators, led by a terminator chaplain.



I’m going to use the chaplain for three reasons: terminator armour, I don’t use him very often, and I like the model.

What’s better than 1,000 points of ultramarine terminators?

One thousand points of Imperial Fist terminators:


Led by the Fridge, of course.


Rubbish photos, but these were smuggled out of the secret assembly planet at great risk to our F&S journalist on his iPhone.


Captain Varus: Imperial Hero

miyaki_headFaith and Steel’s ace reporter Princess Miyaki is proud to have had a chance to speak with Captain Varus of the Ultramarines and very pleased that the transcript is back from the Inquisition and ready to share with you.
Well, we expect the go ahead to come back any day now, and we’re sure it will be fine.

Princess Miyaki-
Captain Varus, thank-you for taking the time to share some of your thoughts with our Faith and Steel readers

Captain Varus- I’m pleased to be here; it’s an absolute pleasure to take some time out from defending the Imperium to be with you. What would you like to discuss?

PM- I’m sure that the readers of Faith and Steel would love to hear about your approach to battle. Now you’re from the Ultramarines Chapter?

CV- That’s right Princess, and so we play it straight from the astartes playbook. My company is built around a core of tactical marines, who along with my devastators, form a firebase. They can of course push forward as needed to take objectives or crush the foe as required by the tactical situation.


PM- So the tac squads don’t normally form the assualt teams. Is that role taken by your fast assault marines?

CV- Not necessarily. Guilliman’s teaching is much more subtle. The fast assault are generally held as a mobile reserve, ready to support the firebase or exploit a gap. I generally push forward with my Scouts. Riding in a Landspeeder Storm they can get in amongst things quick and start dishing out damage.

PM- Scouts!

CV- It is part of their training. Generally there is enough of them left to sew back together and there is no better training for life as a marine. They don’t do it all alone of course. I’m generally close behind, in my Razorback, along with a crack squad of veterans.

PM- Speaking of yourself, you didn’t always have the lightening claws did you?

CV- Your intelligence is correct. When I first took command I used a power sword and bolter, but the reality is that I rarely used my bolter so I retrained and retooled to the claws. It is very sweet to turn the enemies of our Blessed Emporer into sushi.

PM- Captain, your company is currently deployed. Can you tell us a bit about that?

CV- I will not speak about operational matters. This interview is ended.

PM- Thank-you Captain Varus.

Seven Thoughts on Seventh Edition

Or how I learned to stop worrying and keep loving the game

I’m shocked people. It turns out that internet rage is not based on fact or experience. Surely a fairy dies every time a troll posts something?

Seventh edition is on the streets and people are starting to get some games in. It looks like that in the grim dark future war will continue. And this is a good thing(tm).

So, I’ve finally looked at the new rules and played a game. With this in mind, here are my 7 thoughts on 7th ed:


7th ed game one: Steef’s Khorne with Tzeentch allies takes on my Ultramarines (now with added Libby)

1. The aim of the game remains unaltered. Getting together with friends to drink beer and play with war dollies. In fact, the new levels of wackiness are going to make this more not less fun. The opportunities to “forge da narrative” with unbound and the new dimensions opened up by the objective cards both support this direction.


Maulerfiend taking a surprising long time to clean up some devastators and the attached Librarian

2. I think unbound rocks. My design philosophy has always been “I like that mode; I’m going to use it”. The possibilities for creating cool themes just got busted wide open. People who write hard lists will continue to smash those of us with a less dedicated approach to list building. I’m not going to loose any sleep over that. I play for fun and who knows, maybe I’ll learn the rules this time around?

3. The new rule looks real purty and is well laid out. I’m a big fan of the white space. It really makes the rule book easy to read and fast to refer to. The index and order also seem OK. Did I mention that it looks nice?

4. More of an unthought. I haven’t opened either of the other two volumes. They are probably beautiful. I wouldn’t know. I’m holding out buying a set until I see what other options become available before I make a choice as to what to purchase.

5. I’m not yet convinced that he new shooting casualty rules are sensible. I guess resolving one weapon-type at a time introduces a new tension. Mostly I think it will slow the game down. I’m deferring judgement until I’ve played some more games.

6. I like the psychic phase. Tooled up psykers used to give me grief anyway (f-u elder shenanigans) and I like the resource planning aspect of the warp pool. My modest discovery is even a level one psyker can mess with your opponent’s plans for not much points.  Dr Faust has left his library and joined my Ultramarines.

7. I don’t have a seventh thought; I just liked the alliteration of the title.


Chaplain gets worked up and charges a bloodthirster summoned by naughty daemonic summoning type things. It didn’t end well.

40K is still fun. The toys are still cool. The beer is still cold.

Come on in, the gaming is fine.


(The game was a cracker. Steef’s nefarious Tzeentch-Khorne combo won the day, building up tactical objectives faster than I could hose down berserkers. Thanks to Mark for the pictures, table and beer.)

Farewell 6th ed – I hardly knew you

So 6th edition of 40K was with us for just two years.  This was the version that I got to play the most and yet I still felt I was just getting to scratch the surface of its possibilities.

All is not lost though, the first weekend of 7th edition and the world is still standing and WATT reconnaissance elements give the new version a thumbs up! Sig-int (OK, the wargamerau forum) is also mostly positive so far.

It sounds like things to look forward to include the narrative possibilities of the unbound force org (which goes with the WATT-vibe nicely) and the mission objectives. I think I’ll miss exploding tanks a little – krak may still get the job done, glancing things to death and I guess there is still plenty of las and melta goodness to dish out those 7+ damage rolls.

The jury is still out on psychic powers and the new phase, but I can hear my Dark Apostle revving up the Word Bearers already. Daemons are back, me thinks (not that they ever really dematerialised).

Next step is save up the pennies for what looks like a very nicely presented set of rule books.

We did get some farewell games in when the doors of the Grand Duchy were thrown open for a fine day’s gaming. Thanks to the Duke and Duchess. With a nice sort of symmetry we had 7 players play 6 games over the day.

Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my camera and the one on my phone just isn’t the same. I was also too busy with my own games to capture any others. F&S is after a new cub-reporter.

I took my Ultramarines. The first game was against the Duke’s Eldar. A spokes-marine says there is nothing to the rumour that the Ultramarine force was tabled by the faster moving xenos.


Fast attack! This is how you do fast attack. Eldar materialise behind the soon to be dead assault marines.


I saw the xenos scum right over there. Er, hang on, what’s that noise behind us …


Vroom, vroom. Nicely painted stuff goes faster.


One of my few high points – a war walker and bike squadron shortly before being dealt with by my devastators

After lunch it was time to face Papa Nurgle


Morphius rips open the centre (along with a few marines)

We tried out several missions from the Alter of War compilation. Some of the missions were very fine indeed.

I’m sure they will fit right in to the new 7th ed world.


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.