Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Deathwatch: Overkill Part I: Deathwatch!

At long last, the entirely of my Deathwatch set has been completed, and by "at long last", I mean I've had them done for about a month now, and just not bothered to photograph anything. Life gets in the way. You understand. 

As with the offerings from their last board game, the Deathwatch sprues don't disappoint, nor are they entirely without questionable decisions on GW's part. Not on these three, however. These fellows are great. It's nice to see Ortan Cassius with a face on, and now I can field him without having to go looking for that other model. 

They made sure to put in a lot of extra detail like the backpack shrines, reliquaries, and whatnot that add character to each individual model, which I'm in favor of. Adding personality to Marines is a good thing, and these could very well have been nice metal special character models 20 years ago. Anyone remember when they put out a zillion different officers and librarians? Ah the good old days. 

While I applaud adding variety and neat details, I didn't at all approve of a little psyber-birdie that hung precariously atop the already breakable antenna on the White Scar's bike. What dumbass thought that was a good idea? It'd never survive a year of use intact. 

And for the (rather phoned in) 40k rules, where's our Storm Shield for the biker? Ah well, I suppose that's just nitpicking. 

A Terminator with a heavy flamer AND a built-in meltagun? Now you're talking! Why don't they get these as an option in addition to the usual? Too useful? That shot cannon is a sexy bit of kit too. Does this mean we're getting a new Imperial Fists codex where they carry these instead of those wimpy heavy bolters?

Yes, I painted the servo skull. Yes, the psyber eagle is STILL sitting on my painting desk with a base coloring of reddish brown feathers, just waiting for detailing. He's not separate in-game, though, so he may continue waiting. 

You can tell these were the last of the bunch to be designed, and that they pretty much ran out of steam when they got to the Iron Hand, who is rather boringly reloading his gun. Why didn't they at least make a him a Techmarine with a servo arm, or better yet, a servo harness? And that Ultramarine is what, just a regular Sternguard? Jeez, guys, is it that hard to come up with something swanky for him too? Maybe he's a sniper or something? Ah well, at least that Space Wolf is interesting. 

Yes, I'm aware the line is based on books. No, I haven't read them yet. Maybe I'll get to them.... eventually. 

Friday, May 27, 2016

Ornstein and Smough or A Tale of Two Superheavy Tanks

"Hello, Forgeguard Activated First Armored. "
"Tanks department, please."
"Do you have anything that can flatten an infantry company by itself?"
"Sure do. How many do you want?"
"Uh, one?
"Just one? Are you sure?"
"No. Send me something to blow up other super heavies, too."
"So, which is it?"
"Better send one of each."
"Hold please."

With the sad closing of my local game store, they were liquidating all of their stock, so I was able to nab a some superheavy kit cheap. I remembered what folks like Joel over at Mordian 7th had done with their super heavies and some custom parts from Machinator's store on eBay, and decided to order up a set. Machinator even subbed out some tracks for dynamo generators, which was terribly nice of him.

Fighting them both at once is a terrible bitch. I mean, LOOK at them. 
Anyway, as soon as they arrived, I set to work on Dragon Slayer Ornstein and Executioner Smough. In case you're not in the know, these are two characters from the From Software video game Dark Souls, one armed with a lance and the other with an enormous hammer. They attack you together and the fight is a tremendous pain in the ass. While painting both tanks gold to reflect the characters was a bridge too far, I decided to reflect them in spirit with matching gold nameplates on both tanks, not mention their armaments.

FYI, I used the old shelf paper instead of the new mini-lightbox, as these tanks were too darn big for the lightbox.
Smough, the Machinator-pattern Stormhammer, boasts two turrets, each with a pair of twin-linked battle cannons, and a brace of four anti-tank lascannon mounts and five twin-linked heavy blotters for sticking it to any infantry that survive his initial barrage.

I had enough leftover parts to have two long barrels for Destroyer Tank Hunters and two Demolisher barrels for Thunderers or Vinidicators. These tanks are breeding tanks. crazy, I know. 
Mounting the sexy turret sculpts was no mean feat. The top deck had to be trimmed and remounted every so slightly to allow for the forward turret to be able to traverse, and even so, its firing arc is partly limited by one of the sponson turrets. I suppose it'd be better to drop the forward lascannons and add targeters a la the Shadowsword (and pre-Heresy Stormhammer) but oh well. Everything's twin-linked anyway. I was tempted to add pintle mounts to it, but when I did the mockup it just looked silly, so I left them off.

Every other M-type Stormhammer I've seen out there sports multi-meltas in the lower sponsons instead of the upper ones, which I generally regard as a tremendous mistake. MM's are short-ranged, and the Stormhammer is a barrage vehicle, not an assault tank. This way Smough can keep tanks at bay while pulverizing infantry.

I had actually painted Smough second, and was running out of metallics by this time.
Machinator's armored fuel tanks make more sense than the stock Baneblade barrels, and help the tank stay more true to its epic-scale origins. The tiny shrine took some elbow grease to cut free of the old back panel, but it fit the little sleeve in the custom backplate like a glove.

I kept the grill and engine hatch loose as well so I could display them open. It's the little things.

Ornstein was something else entirely.

He has two configurations (well, more if you count the barrel length variants, which to me are unnecessary) Shadowsword and Stormlord, and is switchable to everything in between.

I was tempted to get extra sponsons, but then the gunners wouldn't have had any field of view.
There's even enough space inside the model to contain its spare parts, which is nice. Note the two bits of L-bar. That's really all you need to do in order to make the hull switchable.

The little top panels are magnetized, while the side panels are long pins. In retrospect, I could've made the interior guns swappable with flamers, too, but honestly, where's it all end? The sponsons are switchable as well, although I left the middle panels static. I realized my mistake only after everything was dry, because now if you stick a pair of rear sponsons on in Stormlord config, they obscure the rear stubber mounts. No big deal, as stubbers are kind of crap, but it's the principle of the thing. I suppose I could halfway ruin the thing and pry the plates off with a screwdriver, but ehhhh.

The (underpowered) Stormlord main gun is magnetized to go into the turret. Everything else relies on gravity and friction.

I subbed in two surplus Valkyrie door gunners and painted them in Forgeguard Activated First Armored colors. I was tempted to do servitors, but with all the AdMech stuff out now, I wanted to make a differentiation between human auxiliaries and pure Mechanicum forces, which my army now seems to be splitting into.With their metallic bits, they do look slightly servitor-y anyway.

It's kind of frightening that according to the rules you can load the thing with Skitarii or Kataphron heavy servitors and drive it straight into the heart of the enemy with all cannons ablaze. Twenty infantry models from the top deck is a lot, even with that number reduced for model size you're talking about a blistering amount of firepower. Plus, if you use Kataphrons (why didn't they call them Praetorians? It sounds so much better) you'll have tiny tanks riding inside an enormous mama tank, which is both silly and horrifying at the same time. Let me know if you try it.