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Monday 10 August 2015

Imperial Armour 8: Raid on Kastorel-Novem

Back around the beginning of the year, Forge World put up a notice that they were running low on copies of IA8. Given that it's the book with the Ork units in, I figured I would grab a copy before they all vanished. Tight-fisted as I am though, I thought I'd take a look elsewhere to see if I could pick it up cheaper than direct from Forge World. It didn't take too long to find a seller on Amazon with an “as new” copy that was only £27.50. Now that I finally get round to writing about the book, it's no longer available on the Forge World site, but can still be found on Amazon for £30. Given that many of the other Imperial Armour books have gone on to a second edition, I expect there will be a new version available from Forge World at some point, but I suspect that they may well be focussing on the Horus Heresy for the near future.

The book itself weighs in at 226 pages and comes with a double sided poster with a Mek Boss on one side and an assortment of Ork units on the other. Sadly the poster is too big to have found a home on any of my walls so far, but it's still a nice addition. The story of the book is a combined Raven Guard and Elysian Drop Troop attack on an Ork held planet, and it contains units for all 3 armies, and full army lists for the Elysians and Ork Dread Mobs. I enjoyed reading through the book, which gives a lot of detail on what could be considered a relatively minor action by the standards of battles in the 41st millennium. I have only read the book once though, I haven't been captured by the urge to pore over it relentlessly. I'm unlikely to get much use out of the missions given to play out the campaign, as I don't have access to Raven Guard or Elysian armies. I'm sure I could manage something if I were desperate to play them, but it's not really a high priority.

I was pleased with the selection of Ork units in the book. There are several vehicles I think could fit nicely into a Speed Freeks army, particularly as Zhadsnark Da Rippa lets you take Warbikers as Troops choices. I like the extra detail on various units, even if it does seem to contradict itself in places, and I really wish Forge World made the variant Warbuggies shown in the illustrations, as the existing model is looking very dated. There's a fair amount of material on Dreads and Kans, which is understandable given that the book is home to the Dread Mob list, but I doubt I'll get much use out of it myself.

One thing that occurred to me after reading IA8 was that it invites comparison with the Waaagh! Ghazghkull supplement. Weighing the two up against each other really shows Waaagh! Ghazghkull in a poor light. Both of them have background material and 8 missions, although IA8's missions are more tightly linked and include a few more innovative features than Waaagh! Ghazghkull. IA8 is nearly three times as long, contains new units for three different armies, and includes two whole army lists, where Waaagh! Ghazghkull has seven formations and one detachment, so no new units, just different ways to arrange the existing ones. Given that I bought the Ghazghkull book in hardback (£30), IA8 was cheaper too. Once I'd looked at it in those terms, I was significantly less pleased with the Ghazghkull supplement. Given the lack of supplements accompanying the more recent codex releases, I suspect I'm not the only one questioning the value of those books.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Review: How to Paint Citadel Miniatures

I spent a long time avoiding this book, telling myself that I knew the basics of painting well enough already and that I could doubtless find everything in various web articles if I looked for it. The problem with that line of reasoning is that I'm really not that confident about my painting and I've never made the time to go searching for a decent set of tutorials online. Given that I've been trying to improve my painting, it occurred to me that maybe a more structured approach than “try to paint better” would be a good idea. Paying £30 for a new copy of the book seemed a bit much though, so it was off to eBay where second-hand copies tend to go for around £20. I don't think twice about spending that sort of money on models, so I figured it seemed reasonable to buy the book and give it a try. After all, I could always put it back up for auction :)

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Wednesday 27 August 2014

Review: The Damnation of Pythos

I'll try to keep the part of this post on the main page spoiler free, click through for the full post but be warned.

Overall, I was not hugely impressed with this book. I have to admit the main reason I bought it is that it's part of the Horus Heresy series and I'm pretty heavily committed to them at this point. It felt like they wanted to make sure the Pandorax campaign was fully embedded in the background, so decided they would tie it in to the Heresy. As a result, I was left with the feeling that it was a bit of a cheap cash-in. The story itself isn't bad, but it isn't stellar either. If you're particularly into the Horus Heresy series (or Pandorax campaign I suppose), then this book has a place in your collection. Otherwise I wouldn't recommend it.

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Monday 21 July 2014

Sanctus Reach: Stormclaw review

 My copy of Sanctus Reach: Stormclaw arrived today. Well, I say my copy, but I'm splitting it with my girlfriend (hi to anyone visiting from her blog). I did the ordering though, so I get the first look :) I've opened it up and gone through the contents, it all looks good. My first thought on opening the box was that there's a lot of plastic in there. I'm planning to hold off assembling any of it for the moment, I'm trying to make sure I spend my hobby time painting, rather than increasing the size of the assembled but not painted pile. That might go out of the window if we decide to play the campaign any time soon though.  The mini-rulebook is exactly what I expected and indeed wanted, just a smaller, more convenient copy of the main rulebook. The campaign booklet is only 32 pages, and contains: some introduction to the Sanctus Reach setting; 2 pages of story for each of the 3 missions; 1 page of painting schemes for each army; a 1 page mission description for each mission; datasheets for each unit in the box, as well as a formation for each force; an armoury and reference section. The missions look relatively quick and fun, only the last one uses all the models in the box, and I imagine experienced players could get through all three in a day's play. I would have liked to have seen more made out of the tellyporta array being fought over in the final battle however. It's an important part of the back story, but doesn't seem to get a look in as part of the mission. The pictures in the book also don't make anything of it, and I think it could be a cool piece of scenery. There could even have been a terrain datasheet for it.

Overall, I'm happy with the box, although I think the Space Wolves get a slightly better deal, as their sprues let you make Blood Claws or Grey Hunters where Orks only get Gretchin. I'd say Dark Vengeance is a better starter set, as you get more models cheaper (even if they are snap fit), but obviously for someone planning on Space Wolves or Orks this is the right choice. For people already in the hobby, the use of the standard model sprues means you get a lot more customisation than in Dark Vengeance which, given that I'm currently fighting my way through painting a lot of rather similar Assault on Black Reach boyz, I think is a plus. I like the idea of the campaign box to bridge the release of the two codexes and I hope we see more of them in the future. If you're thinking about Stormclaw though, you should decide soon as GW says stocks are running low. I've already seen a copy on Ebay asking twice the original price.