Friday, February 26, 2010

Inquisitor Character Story

Before there was a Warhammer 40,000 Roleplaying game, we used to sometimes use the Inquisitor rules to do some action heavy roleplaying campaigns. This is the background story I wrote for my character in one of our campaigns.

Cameron Frist was born on the relatively backwater colonial planet Abraxis, located on the outer rim in the Donorian sector. His parents were successful merchants, and his family was relatively well off. Cameron had an older brother named Donovan, and a younger sister Selena. They lived in a rural area outside the city where his parents worked.

From a very early age Cameron showed an interest and curiosity in animals. He loved going into the nearby woods and just watching the animals all day long. He studied their characteristics and their behavior intently. When he was old enough to go to college, Cameron chose to study anatomy and biology. However, since there was no money and no real point in knowing about animals, Cameron's parents insisted he learn something more practical. So Cameron studied human anatomy and went into the medical field, which his parents led him into.

With his natural curiosity and natural aptitude for anatomy and physiology, Cameron learned quickly. He became a very good and very successful surgeon. He was making a good living, and his parents were quite proud of Cameron's successes. But before long, his normal life would change forever.

In the far outskirts of the city, in the very wilderness areas, mutilated bodies began turning up. The bodies appeared to have been torn apart by animals. People generally avoided the areas far from the cities, as they were very dangerous and wild areas that the people knew nothing of. Cameron became curious about what was going on and what creatures lived out in the unexplored wilderness regions.

The bodies continued turning up, and with increasing frequency. Even more alarming, they were turning up closer and closer to the outskirts of the city. The pattern of bodies moved in from the wilderness towards the city. Cameron had seen some of the bodies, and wondered what manner of creature could make the grievous wounds he saw.

Then Dr. Frist got a patient that would change his life. A man had survived an attack by what was believed to be the same creatures that caused all the killings. The man was severely wounded, and barely survived. Some farmers found him as he deliriously fled the creature that had attacked him. The man was brought to the city hospital. The surgeons there were his only hope of surviving. Dr. Frist managed to save the man's life, although he remained on life support machines. In his brief periods of consciousness, he described to the fascinated doctor the encounter he had with the hellish creature that nearly killed him.

Government official, seeing that this was getting out of hand, reported the incident and the other killings to imperial authorities. Before long an imperial commando team showed up, accompanied by Tech Priest Nikolai Tesla. Nikolai was an expert in alien creature and was there to investigate. He went to talk to the man who had survived being attacked. This is where he met Doctor Frist. They got along immediately. Frist was fascinated by Nikolai's knowledge and experiences with all manner of alien creatures.

After taking Nikolai to talk with the injured man, Frist told him everything else he had managed to learn about the attacks. They then talked at great length about their theories of what kind of creature they were dealing with. Nikolai told Dr. Frist that he believed the attacks were being committed by creatures known as clawed fiends of the Donorian sector. Very little was known about them. Only that they are found on many planets throughout the sector, and no one knows how they got there. They normally show up in large groups and seem to act in a highly organized manner, similar to a hive of bees.

Frist was fascinated by this. He offered to help Nikolai, saying that his knowledge of the planet and its animal life and ecosystem could be useful to him. Nikolai was happy to meet a like-minded, inquisitive individual. Very few such people exist in this galaxy. He agreed to work together.

They spent much time going over the pattern of attacks, examining the mutilated bodies, going over the survivor's testimony, and studying all the data they had. Meanwhile, the attacks continued to occur, and with increasing frequency. They didn't seem to be moving closer to the city anymore, but instead spreading out in a ring around it. They still had no pictures or good accounts of what these creatures were or where they were coming from. Cameron Frist suggested that if they could capture a living specimen they would be able to obtain invaluable information from it. Nikolai was against the idea, but eventually agree when it became clear that they weren't getting anywhere with the information they had.

Frist, Nikolai, and the Imperial Guard Commando team (which was 2 squads of 10 men) set out to capture a living specimen. They traveled way outside the city into the unexplored wilderness outside civilization. They went only a little way into this area, being as cautious as possible. When they needed to camp, the perimeter was always guarded by 5 of the men. Frist was given a weapon and taught how to use it by the soldiers, in case he would need to defend himself.

After a few days, they came upon a cave and went inside to explore. They moved slowly and quietly. Deep in the cave, they came upon an area that looked like many cambers had been dug out of the rock. They saw in one of the chambers what appeared to be a nest, with a creature sleeping in it. It was the size of a young bear, with enormous claws. The soldiers got into position aiming at the creature and waited for the Nikolai to make his move. Nikolai fired a device that was built into his bionic arm. It fired off a massive electric discharge, which struck the creature. The creature leaped up, then it's body immediately seized up and it collapsed to the ground, smoking slightly. Nikolai checked the creature and founded it to still be alive. He instructed two of the solders to carry it. They tied it up and began to carry it.

Suddenly, one of the soldiers yelled out "we've got live signals all around us. They're everywhere." Nikolai shouted back, "It's a trap! Get out of here!" That's all the time they had before the creatures were upon them. They sprang out of all the surrounding chambers with a speed that was incredible for their immense size. From every direction, the massive creatures poured out of their chambers and attacked. The soldiers began firing off in all directions. Frist was stunned and terrified as the hellish firefight erupted. Through the carnage, Nikolai yelled to the soldiers with the captured fiend to follow him. Several of the soldiers had already been attacked and ripped to shreds by the monsters. Blood and guts covered the floor and walls of the chamber.

Once he had begun to recover his wits, Frist began to fire away randomly at the beasts. One of them leapt down from the ceiling at Frist, and with one brutal swing the creature severed Frist's arm with it's claws. Frist screamed in pain as his right arm, still clinging to his weapon, fell to the ground. The creature then back-handed the doctor, who flew across the chamber into the far wall. Many of his ribs were crushed and pierced his internal organs. Frist landed on the ground, unconscious. Nikolai, blasting away at the creatures, saw Cameron fly across the room. He looked over to see his friend and student lying on the ground. He yelled "FRIST!" One of the creatures leapt onto Frist and began devouring his legs. Nikolai ran towards Frist, blowing the creature's head off with his autopistol. Nikolai pushed the creature off his friend. He discovered that Frist was still alive. Nikolai picked Cameron up on one arm, turning around to gun down another of the creatures with the autopisol in his other.

"We've got to get out of here," Nikolai shouted to the troops. "There's too many of them!" The captain of the team shouted that they'd hold the creatures off. He instructed Nikolai to take a few men and get out of there with the specimen. The two soldiers carrying the fiend and two other soldiers went with Nikolai. Five stayed behind to hold off the creatures. The others were already dead.

The five brave men who stayed behind sold their lives courageously, and managed to buy enough time for the others to get out. Most of the creatures were held up by these five men for the precious couple of minutes it took for the creatures to overwhelm and slaughter them. But it was enough. The others blasted their way out past the creatures that had surrounded them and ran for their lives. Another of the soldiers was killed when a wounded fiend, lying on the ground, lashed its claws out at him as he ran. The rest made it out of the cave. The remaining solder not carrying the captured specimen dropped all his grenades at the cave entrance as they ran out. The resulting explosion killed several creatures and collapsed enough of the cave entrance to stall the pursuit.

As soon as they had a chance, Nikolai set Frist down to check on him. At his point, Nikolai was coated in his friend's blood, but amazingly Frist was still alive. Nikolai set to work sewing up Frist's terrible wounds so that he would survive the trip back to civilization. Nikolai managed to stop his bleeding and stabilize him. They then wasted no time getting back to the city as quickly as possible.

A few days later, Cameron Frist regained consciousness. Nikolai had saved his life by repairing him with bionic parts. Utilizing his skills as a tech priest, Nikolai gave Frist a bionic right arm, bionic legs, and some bionic organs. Once Frist recovered, he could function normally with his new bionic parts. After explaining this to Frist, Nikolai moved on to some more disturbing news.

After having spread out in order to encircle the city, the clawed fiends had finally made their move. In one swift, coordinated attack, they all swarmed forward out of the wilderness. Everyone was fleeing in terror towards the city in the face of this massive onslaught. The sheer distance the beasts had to cover meant that there was still time before the horde reached the city. The suburbs and rural areas would surely be lost, but the planetary defense forces were mobilizing to set up a defensive perimeter around the city itself. It may still be possible, Nikolai explained, to defend the city from them.

Frist was stunned at the news. Everything was falling apart. Could those nightmarish creatures be stopped before they overran the city? Or would everyone be slaughtered? Frist became determined, more than ever before, to find a way to stop them. Frist and Nikolai set to work studying the living specimen they had, keeping it alive but performing all manner of medical and scientific tests on it. They worked frantically against the clock as the tide of clawed fiends flowed toward the city.

Meanwhile, the defense of the city was being organized by Donovan Frist, who had become a Captain in the Planetary Defense Force. They hadn't had much time, but did the best they could to set up makeshift defenses and try to defend the border of the entire city while letting through the thousands of fleeing refugees. Camps were set up within the borders to house the fleeing citizens, but it wasn't enough to prevent complete chaos from breaking out in the crowded streets.

Then, sooner than anyone had hoped, the creatures were upon them. The loyal defenders were able to take out many of them at long range, but it didn't seem to matter. There were overwhelming numbers if the monsters, and they just kept coming in a massive, unstoppable swarm. The defenders held at their posts as long as they could. Eventually they had to fall back. Donovan ordered that defensive fire be kept up while they moved the defensive lines further into the city.

As this was happening, Frist and Nikolai were making their breakthrough. Combining their knowledge of alien life forms animal physiology, they managed to come up with a way to kill the creatures. They had created a poison that was relatively harmless to humans, but would kill the clawed fiends. They came up with this by realizing that they clawed fiends, being not from this planet, had a completely different physiology from the life of this planet. So they were able to some up with a chemical mixture that the life on this planet had adapted to but that would, in the proper mixture, kill the clawed fiends.

They were very confident they had the perfect weapon to use against the monsters, so they tested their chemical on their living specimen. Sure enough, it killed the creature almost immediately upon inhaling the substance. Unfortunately, they didn't have the materials or the facilities to mass-produce the gas in the city. They would have to go somewhere else, make enough of it to wipe the creatures out, and come back with it. Frist and Nikolai took the instructions on making the chemical and a sample and set out of the spaceport.

When they went outside, they were greeted with complete chaos. The creatures had just broken through the military's defensive line. The Planetary Defense Forces were now fighting running battles with the monsters in the streets of the city. All hell was breaking loose. Clawed Fiends were running rampant in the streets while people screaming and fled in terror. Gunshots were heard everywhere in every direction. Just then, Cameron's brother Captain Donovan Frist showed up at the lab.

Donovan asked Frist if he knew where their parents and sister were at, and if they had managed to escape. Frist, having spent the past week in the lab, had no idea what had become of his family. "You've got to get out of here, Cameron," Donovan said. “They've broken through. We can’t hold them off any longer.” Cameron quickly explained to his brother that they had discovered a poison that could kill all the clawed fiends. They needed only to make it to the spaceport so they could escape with the formula and return with enough poison to rid the planet of the beasts. Donovan understood the importance of preserving this discovery.

Unfortunately, the defense of the area around the spaceport had been devastated. The entire area was completely unsecured and likely overrun with the clawed fiends. Donovan still held out hope. He ordered all the troops he could round up in the area to escort Frist and Nikolai to the spaceport. Donovan led the mission personally.

Gathering up the last of their ammo, the beleaguered troops set out on their most desperate mission. Donovan led them in an insane charge of deadly fire and blood and death through the streets of the city. Many of the soldiers were killed as they charged through the hordes of creatures permeating the doomed city. But none of them broke. They continued to run through the city, screaming madly and gunning down dozens of fiends in a running battle.

Donovan himself, leading the charge, was brutally slaughtered by one of the beasts. But Frist had no time to even mourn his brother’s death. The men continued sprinting and firing until they had finally reached the spaceport. The few remaining soldiers, perhaps some of the last in the entire city, set up a perimeter. Frist and Nikolai made it to their ship. Luckily, the remaining three Imperial Guard Commandos managed to protect the ship from being stolen by rioting mobs. It was one of the only ships left in the city. The periodic evacuation ships had stopped coming once the city’s defenses failed. Everyone else was now trapped. Those who had come here hoping to catch one of the last transports out all lay dead in a heap outside the spaceport.

But there was no time to think about the devastation that had been wrought. Frist and Nikolai escaped in the ship. They made their way as quickly as possible to the nearest Imperial world…

A few weeks later, Cameron Frist and Nikolai Tesla returned to Abraxis at the head of a small Imperial fleet. By this time, the city where Frist had spent most of his life was gone. His family was dead, and everything he knew was gone. His home was completely overrun with clawed fiends who had begun digging caves and tunnel complexes where the devastated city used to be. They had consolidated and started regrouping, perhaps in preparation of spreading out to attack another city. Frist noticed that they fought in a highly organized and coordinated manner for such primitive beasts.

As Frist and Nikolai watched, the entire city and its outskirts and massive areas of wilderness were saturated with chemical weapons from the orbiting fleet. The poison they used was not fatal to humans, but would prove devastating to the environment and very harmful to the population. But it had the intended effect of killing hundreds of thousands of clawed fiends.

For Frist, it was a bittersweet victory. He had already lost everything. And deep down, he knew that many of the fiends had likely survived the attack, hiding deep within their cave labyrinths. And from the behavior of the clawed fiends, Frist strongly suspected that somewhere on this planet was a queen that was controlling their behavior in their coordinated attacks on the city. They would be back. He knew it. If not on this planet, then certainly on others. His work was just beginning.

In the aftermath of this incident, Frist chose to stay with Nikolai. He had nothing to go back to on Abraxis. Nikolai was so impressed with both the courage and intelligence of the doctor that he offered Frist a position as a tech priest. He would have the same job that Nikolai did: to study and collect data on alien races in order to identify their weaknesses so they could be purged from the galaxy. Frist gladly accepted, and has had this position ever since, performing it quite successfully.

Dr. Cameron Frist had already seen much turmoil and violence, but he would soon discover that his adventures were just beginning…

Monday, February 22, 2010

Painting Tyranid Rippers

I recently painted a bunch of Tyranid Rippers, and I thought I'd share my painting process. As I've mentioned before, with my Tyranid hive fleet I want to give the impression that the Tyranid organisms get darker in color as they age, going from white to pink to red to purple. I imagine Rippers to have a very short life span. They are small, so probably don't take long to grow. Once birthed, they just devour as much as they can, and are immediately re-absorbed. So I wanted their skin to be light in color.

First off, you'll noticed that I already had my Rippers glued to their bases when painting them. I wouldn't recommend this. It would be easier to glue them spaced apart on some Popsicle sticks to paint them, and base them when you are done painting. Basing them first made some of the highlights hard to paint when trying to get a brush in between two of them.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Battle of Prescott's Mill - Aftermath: Part 2

If you haven't already, you can read Part 1 of this battle report here. After the first four turns, the Union and Confederate Cavalry were engaging near the large forest on the flank. In the center, the Union Infantry brigade was slowly advancing towards the Confederate defenses.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Battle of Prescott's Mill - Aftermath: Part 1

I recently had a chance to play my first game of Warlord Games BLACK POWDER: Battles with Model Soldiers in the Age of the Musket. If you're interested in learning more about the rules, you can read my Review of Black Powder, which is pretty extensive. I'll also include comments on the rules in the following battle report. I will put rules comments in italics to separate them from descriptions of the battle.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tyranid Termagants with Fleshborers

Continuing my gradual return to painting my Tyranid army, I recently finished up a few of the Termagants that came with the Battle for Macragge boxed set for 4th Edition Warhammer 40K. If anyone else is just now getting around to assembling these guys, I have a warning. It looks like all of them are identical, so it doesn't matter which set of arms you put on which body. But it actually does matter. It matters a lot. They are numbered on the sprue so that you know which set of arms goes with which body, but I thought they were all interchangeable so I cut off all the parts and then cleaned and assembled them, so I didn't have the number to look at. And that was a mistake, because it's hard to tell by looking at them which go together, but there are slight differences.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Perry Miniatures Plastic War of the Roses Infantry review and using them in Warhammer Fantasy

I've already done a couple of previous posts reviewing miniatures from companies other than Games Workshop with a focus on how suitable they would be for use in Warhammer Fantasy. My post on the Wargames Factory Vikings can be found here, and my post on the Avatars of War Lord of Chaos model can be found here. Both of those proved to be quite popular posts, so I decided to continue the series.

This time, I'm taking a look at the Perry Miniatures War of the Roses plastic infantry set. First off, here are pictures of the two types of sprue. The box includes three of the first type, and two of the second. The first sprue has 12 bodies in various armor, 12 heads some with helmets, 10 sets of bow arms, and 6 sets of pole-arm arms. The second sprue is for making command figures and has two armored bodies, another 10 heads mostly helmeted, pairs of arms for making a trumpeter, standard bearer, and champion with poleaxe, and some extras like bundles of arrows and sheathed swords.
Perry Plastic War of the Roses
Perry Plastic War of the Roses

The box also comes with a sprue of flat plastic bases in various sizes, and a pamphlet. The pamphlet has some introductory information about the War of the Roses, a brief guide on assembling the figures, some drawings of historical uniform color schemes, and some sample flags. All of this is completely useless for someone intending to use these figures as Warhammer substitutes, but I suppose they might be nice for people that are buying them for their intended purpose.

The assembly guide is extremely brief and with good reason. The figures are very easy to assemble. They had very slight mold lines that were easy to clean, and putting them together so they look good is pretty simple. To me, this can be both a good and a bad thing. If you just want them together quickly and don't like assembling or converting figures, it's great. But if you like plastic figures because of their potential to convert and customize, there isn't as much opportunity for that with these as with some other plastic figures. For example, the Wargames Factory Viking figures, which I reviewed here, were a lot more fun to put together. This is because they are much easier to assemble in different poses and really make unique. The Perry War of the Roses figures seem designed with very limited and specific poses in mind, especially with the two-arm halberd pieces. Even the bow arms come in pretty specific pairs with a clearly intended position. So if you really like assembling and converting plastic figures, this set might not be for you. If you hate putting them together and just want nice looking figures that are done quickly, it's perfect.

They do look very nice, with very crisp detail and good proportions. Definitely very good figures. And the plastic set does allow some degree of variety, though not as much as you might think. Just like many of the arms go in clear pairs to be used together, also many of the arms are somewhat limited in the bodies you can put them on and still have it look right. Like chainmail arms with armored bodies, and that sort of thing. Not a huge issue, but it does mean that you can't combine any set of arms with any body and get a result that looks good, so the possible combinations are limited in that way. And the poses are somewhat limited, as I said. There are several extra heads, so you can definitely add variety that way so that even with many boxes you can make it so that no two figures share all the exact same parts. And this is probably enough variety for most people.

So, will they work as Warhammer Fantasy Empire stand-ins? Well, here is a picture comparing the size of some of the Perry War of the Roses plastic pieces with some old Empire Halberdier bits. The Perry pieces are the darker plastic. As you can see, the Perry pieces are much more correctly proportioned, in particular the size of the hands, heads, and weapons is much bigger on the Warhammer Empire figures. Aside from that, they are pretty close in size, but this is also an older, and relatively less bulky, figure in the Empire line. I didn't bother trying to make a figure by combining Games Workshop parts and Perry parts, since it obviously would have looked pretty bad having such huge arms on such a thin body.
Perry Plastic War of the Roses vs Warhammer Fantasy

And here are some pictures of a couple of assembled Perry plastic War of the Roses figures, one archer and one Halberdier, next to some Warhammer Empire figures, a plastic Handgunner and multi-part plastic Free Company. From a size comparison standpoint, I think it's borderline whether these fit in. I think it would be up to individual taste and judgment. The height is about the same, except that the perry figures are all moved higher by their built-in base. And the Perry figures are a lot more slender than the Games Workshop ones, even more so than the Wargames Factory Vikings, whose bodies are at least a little closer in bulk. And the extra height added to the Perry figures by their base makes them look even more lanky in comparison. If you only had the old Empire state troops which aren't as bulky, they might look better together. I don't have any of the newest multi-part plastic state troops, so I'm not sure how those compare.
Perry Plastic War of the Roses vs Warhammer Fantasy
Perry Plastic War of the Roses vs Warhammer Fantasy
Perry Plastic War of the Roses vs Warhammer Fantasy
Perry Plastic War of the Roses vs Warhammer Fantasy

There are also other problems with using these in an Empire army, mostly having to do with the composition of the sprues. There aren't enough halberds/bills or bows to arm all the figures with the same type of weapon, so you'll be making a mixture of Empire Halberdiers and Bowmen - up to 18 halberdiers or up to 30 bowmen per box of 40, since there are more arms than bodies. However, Halberdiers are supposed to have light armor, and archers no armor. Looking at the bodies in the Perry set, they have all kinds of different armor on in a spectrum from nothing to fully armored. So if you want your Bowmen and Halberdiers to look like the have the right kind of armor, it might be difficult to make the distinction. Maybe the best thing would be to use all the bodies that look like they have no armor or with it under their clothes make into bowmen, everybody else except the four fully armored figures would then be Halberdiers, but I'm not sure there are enough halberds to do that. Even if there are, it removes any option for how many of each kind to make, and you still have those four fully armored figures that you'll have to find some other use for, as they'd really stick out in a unit that is supposed to have just light armor.

So, there are definitely some hurdles to get past if you want to make some Warhammer Fantasy Empire units out of these. Since I really dislike the current Empire range of miniatures from Games Workshop, I think I can live with these instead. In short, if you are getting these to use for their intended purpose as War of the Roses miniatures, they are an excellent set of figures. If you want them to use in your Warhammer Fantasy Empire army, they are less than ideal.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tyranid Spore Mines

With the recent release of the new Tyranid codex, I've lately started working on getting more of my Tyranid army painted. Since I haven't painted any Tyranids in a long time, I figured I should start small and work up to the bigger things after I'd gotten my color scheme and technique down. I also didn't want to assemble or paint anything that had a lot of options before the codex came out, since I wasn't sure what options I'd want to have until I got a chance to read the codex.

So with that in mind, I started out with some simple Spore Mines. I had some metal Spore Mines from some old Biovores, plus some plastic ones that came with the Battle for Macragge boxed set for 4th edition Warhammer 40k. So while I was waiting for the book to come out to decide what else I would paint and what it would be armed with, I painted up the Spore Mines.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Grismeire Valley Campaign Turn 1 - Vampire Counts vs High Elves Challenge Game

For our Warhammer Fantasy campaign, we decided that if two opposing players weren't fighting any battles specifically as part of the campaign that turn, they could fight a "challenge game". These games would have no impact on the outcome of the campaign, but would be used to add to the story. During the first turn, while the Bretonnian player battled the Beastman player, the Vampire Counts and High Elves players fought a challenge game.

As their main forces advanced through the Grismeire valley, the scouting parties of the Vampire Counts and High Elf forces came into contact near a long abandoned farmhouse in the countryside. Both forces were small, but as it was their first contact with the enemy, both sides were eager to fight, and battle was joined.

The Vampire Counts scouting party was accompanied by Byron Manfred's former master in the Amethyst order, now an insubstantial Wraith. The Wraith and his retinue hovered around the abandoned farmhouse, which seemed to hold a strange attraction for them. The shimmering magical weapons of a unit of Swordmasters banished all of the spectres, but the rest of the Vampire Counts force completely outmaneuvered and utterly crushed the High Elves. It was a massacre, and none of the High Elf scouts would be returning to report on their enemy's movements.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Avatars of War Lord of Chaos review

My post about using Wargames Factory plastic Viking miniatures in Warhammer Fantasy proved to be very popular, so I've decided to do more articles about using alternative miniatures in games of Warhammer. This time I'll be reviewing the Avatars of War Lord of Chaos figure.

Avatars of War makes a bunch of models that seem designed to be used as characters in games of Warhammer Fantasy. So, not surprisingly, they scale and style of them match up really well with the existing Warhammer range, and the Lord of Chaos comes with the appropriate 25mm square base. When ordering, you have some options when it comes to how you want the model armed. The right hand can have either a sword or a hammer, and the left hand either an axe or a shield. I thought the sword and the shield both looked pretty awful, so I went with the hammer and axe. All varieties come with two head options, so you can pick one and have a spare to use for something else.

The model in general is pretty cool looking, and it is similar enough in style to the Games Workshop Warriors of Chaos range to fit in really well, but different enough to be unique and interesting. It's a decent option if you don't really like the existing Games Workshop Chaos Lord options, or you want something that will stand out from other Chaos Characters you already have.

There are some downsides, however. First of all, it doesn't seem like it saves you any money over buying the Games Workshop models. Usually one of the benefits to finding alternative models for Warhammer is that they are less expensive, but not in this case. So it's only worth it if you actually like the miniature much more than the available Games Workshop ones, or really want something different.

The model itself doesn't fit together particularly well. The surfaces that need to be glued together aren't flat and don't sit flush together, so it is difficult to assemble the model. I had to pin the right hand to get it to stay on, and I will probably regret not pinning the head on. Also, some of the details on the model, in particular the chain mail parts, are shallow and not well defined. Aside from that the sculpting is pretty good, except that the entire back of the model (which you can see in the pictures below) is really boring. The front looks cool, but the back is completely covered with a huge cape that has the same texture all over.

Speaking of which, that cape sticks out pretty far to the side, which will make it difficult to rank this figure up in a unit. This might not have been so bad if I had put this guy on a Games Workshop base with the slot running horizontally, instead of the base Avatars of War supplied for the figure, which had a diagonal slot. The Avatars of War website seems to show them ignoring the slot, clipping off the tab below the model's feet, and gluing the feet directly to the base. This might prove difficult, however, as the feet don't seem to lay completely flat on the same plane as each other.

Anyway, you can see for yourselves. Here are some pictures of the Avatars of War Lord of Chaos between two Games Workshop Chaos character models I already owned.
Avatars of War Lord of Chaos
Avatars of War Lord of Chaos
Avatars of War Lord of Chaos

You may be asking yourself: if I already had at least two Chaos Lords with two hand weapons, why did I feel the need to buy yet another one armed the same way? That I shall leave as an exercise for the reader.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Warhammer 40,000 Battle Report: The Battle of Zagstruk's Head - Part 2

This is Part 2 of a Warhammer 40,000 battle report between Orks and Chaos Space Marines. You can read Part 1 of the battle report here. After the first two turns, the Orks had solid control of the Chaos objective with their unit of Mega-Armored Nobz. The Chaos Marines had suffered a lot of casualties, and now they could only hope to capture the Ork objective and pull out a draw. So all of their remaining forces were surging towards the Ork held graveyard to capture the Head of Zagstruk.

Chaos Marine Turn 3
The Khorne Berzerker unit on the far left flank of the Chaos Marine army was down to one remaining member. And he was mad. After the rest of his unit had been burned to death by the Burna Boyz, he decided it was time for revenge. He charged the five Burna Boyz, screaming in rage, and instantly cut down half of them. The rest of the terrified Orks fled in panic and were shot in the back as they ran. Nearby, the unit of Boyz fighting the remaining Obliterator did a single wound, and the Obliterator killed a couple of them in return.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

Back in the middle of the battlefield, the Chaos Marines got more reinforcements. Another unit unit of Obliterators, this one three strong, teleported down right next to the graveyard. They were exactly on target thanks to the nearby Icon of Khorne. With the Obliterators to deal with the Orks in the graveyard, the unit of Crusaders marines and the last remaining unit of Berzerkers were free to come to the aid of their commander, who was surrounded by over 20 Ork Boyz.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

The Obliterators opened up on the Boyz in the graveyard with twin-linked flamers, killing every single one and adding many new charred bodies to the carnage.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

The Crusaders and the Berzerkers assaulted the unit of Boyz, slaughtering almost all of them as they fought their way in toward their beleaguered Chaos Lord. It was not enough, however. A single remaining Nob with a power claw managed to sneak up on the Lord and bash him apart with a single blow. But with most of his unit gone and now surrounded himself, the Nob tried to flee and was cut down in the sweeping advance.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

Orks Turn 3
Seeing an inviting target, the Ork Battlewagan floored it and rammed the nearest Rhino in the side at full speed, but did no damage. The Tankbustas were one again ineffective. The Orks also got some reinforcements, as three DeffKoptas came on from the Ork left, but coming from so far away their weapons were not yet in range.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

The Looted vehicle once again managed to miss with its Battle Cannon. The Warboss with his bodyguard advanced on the Crusaders and opened fire. With some uncanny shooting, they managed to gun down both of the Flamer-armed marines before they ever had a chance to fire their brutal weapons. The Stormboyz charged the full unit of eight Khorne Berzerkers, who were just hitting their stride and easily slaughtered all the charging Stormboyz before they could even attack. The Warboss's unit charged the Crusaders, but only a few were able to reach them, so there were few casualties and both sides piled in. The combat with the Obliterator continued, as the Orks couldn't manage to finish him off, and he killed another couple of them.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

Chaos Marine Turn 4
The still unscathed unit of Khorne Berzerkers moved up to come to the aid of the three remaining marines of the Crusaders chapter, who were outnumbered in combat more than 5 to 1 and facing the Ork Warboss. The full unit of three Obliterators moved around the cemetery wall to get clear shots at the largely ineffective looted tank. Their well-aimed Multi-Melta blasts caused the vehicle to explode in spectacular fashion, ending the looming threat of the battle cannon.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

The Berzerkers charged into the combat with the Warboss and his retinue, killing most of the Orks. Between the remaining Orks and the Warboss, they only managed to kill a single Crusader. The furious charge of the Berzerkers must have had them thinking more about escaping than attacking. They knew they couldn't win this fight and tried to escape, but were cut down in the sweeping advance. Elsewhere, the last remaining, and largely intact, unit of Ork Boyz finally finished off the Obliterator they had been fighting. (We kept track of the total number of attacks it took these Orks to take out the two Obliterators. I don't remember the exact figure, but I think it was somewhere around 200. They took out the first one with their first 71 attacks, so it took around another 125 attacks to finish that second Obliterator) After the combats, the Ork Boyz and the Chaos Marines all consolidated toward the cemetery that lay between them.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

Orks Turn 4
The Ork army didn't have many units left, but they did have a completely intact Battlewagon. The large unit of Boyz that had just finished off the Obliterator moved forward, and the Battlewagon drove over towards them ready to pick them up next turn if they wanted a ride. The determined Tankbustas advanced towards the two Chaos Rhinos, but before they could do anything the Mega-Armored Nobz fired their rockets at the immobilized Rhino. Firing at a big, stationary target, they easily hit some vital locations and destroyed the vehicle. The Tankbustas opened fire on the remaining Rhino, but couldn't manage to hit it.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

The Tankbustas then continued forward to assault the remaining Rhino. Barely reaching the vehicle as it tried to evade them, a lucky grenade detonation penetrated the ammunition storage and caused the tank to explode, killing all of the Tankbustas. But at least they died doing what they loved. Elsewhere, the DeffKoptas fired their rockets at the three remaining Crusaders, but only one was killed as the other shots exploded against the nearby brick wall.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

Chaos Marines Turn 5
Things were moving at a furious pace now. The two remaining Crusaders and the full unit of eight Berzerkers ran at full speed through the graveyard. Struggling over mounds of charred and dismembered bodies, the still managed to reach and surround the crypt containing Zagstruk's head. Or so they assumed, as with all the body parts strewn about, it would be hard to locate Zagstruk's head, assuming they could even discern it from the head of any other Ork. But no matter. The lone remaining Khorne Berzerker from the other squad, still in a rage, charged at the large unit of nearby Boyz, but they proved too numerous for him and he only manged to kill one or two before they dragged him down.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

The three Obliterators advanced towards the annoying DeffKoptas and exploded all three of them with well-aimed shots of lethal radiation from the Multi-Meltas.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

Orks Turn 5
Seeing that their force had been almost completely annihilated, the Ork Boyz sensed that time was running short and opted for a desperate maneuver to try to save Zagstruk's head from being captured. The mounted up in the Battlewagon and yelled for the driver to plow full-speed through the brick wall and into the cemetery to stop directly over Zagstruk's grave. The Chaos Marines were forced to back off in the face of the insane maneuver and could now not reach Zagstruk's head, so the desperate move had paid off.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

(At the end of Turn 5, we rolled for random game length. Had the battle ended then, it would have been an Ork victory, since with the Battlewagon blocking the Ork objective, none of the Chaos Marines were within three inches of it. We rolled, and the result was another turn, giving the Chaos Marines another chance to pull out a draw.)

Chaos Marines Turn 6
Things were getting desperate now, and all could sense that time was running short. The three Obliterators managed to make their way to the edge of the graveyard to get clear shots at the Battlewagon, and fired again with their trusty Multi-Meltas. The Battlewagon exploded violently, killing a few of the Boyz inside. The Crusaders and Berzerkers fired their Bolt Pistols at the remaining Boyz, killing several more. The few that remained weren't going to stick around to be assaulted, and scrambled out of the wreckage to flee away from the battlefield. The Crusaders and Berzerkers had recaptured the objective, though Zagstruk's head was now covered by even more Ork bodies, as well as the flaming wreckage of the Battlewagon.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

Orks Turn 6
The only remaining Orks on the battlefield, the Mega-Armored Nobz, called their Truck over to shield them from fire as they collected their spoils. The battle came to an end, with both sides having captured their opponent's objective, resulting in a draw.
Warhammer 40k Orks vs Chaos Marines battle report

This turned out to be an incredibly fun battle, with an extreme amount of carnage on both sides. Out of the two 2000 point armies, all that remained at the end were 4 Mega-Armored Ork Boyz with their truck, 7 Khorne Berzerkers, 2 regular Chaos Space Marines, and 3 Obliterators. The shredded bodies of 16 Chaos Marines are strewn about the Chaos Icon next to the Book of Sorcery, and there are somewhere around 120 bloody or burned corpses in or around the cemetery. The battle also went right down to the wire, and ended in a draw. You can't ask for a better result than that. And considering that it ended in a draw, and that the Chaos Marines need to get their book back, and the Orks (for whatever reason) don't want them to have Zagstruk's head, I hope sometime to do a sequel to this battle.