Saturday, 3 November 2012

Defining units in 40k

It's very comfortable for us; 40k players find it simple to call a Space Marine Terminator 'heavy' and an Imperial Guardsman 'light'.
Heavy Infantry?
To truly define a unit in 40k, however, we must consider its potential and its roles. While an Assault Terminator definitely has more survival potential than a Tactical Marine, it is noticeable that in an actual game, an Assault terminator will cover more ground and thus, cannot simply be defined as 'Heavy' or "Superheavy".
There are four things that must be considered when defining a unit and its capabilities

In detail:
A model or unit's role refers to it's duty on the battle field, what a the player ('Commander') wants it to do.

A model's mobility is literally defined by the speed at which it normally moves, and how it may move and still be effective.

A models armour is well understood to define its typing. Most  can be content to ignore role and mobility, and simply see "oh this guy has a cool 2+3++ save! He's a Super Heavy Infantry!"

Statlines and quantity/value:

Statline refers to the characteristics of each model inherently.
While usually only its Toughness and wounds are considered, a model’s Leadership, strength, attacks and skills can also play a vital role in deciding a model’s characteristic value.

Producing a definition
With these four terms in mind, it becomes a much less clear and clean-cut definition of ‘heavy’ and ‘light.’

To produce a definition, it is usually the case that a unit’s four emphasis points will be given a ‘weight’. For example, a 2+3++ save is almost always considered superheavy. But, the name superheavy automatically implies that the unit is slow; this is not always the case.
So then we have to look at the other four points of the model with a 2+3++. If you’re thinking like I am, the most prominent example of a 2+3++ would be an Assault Terminator

The 2+3++ dilemma
An Assault Terminator can be defined in four points
  1. It has a 2+3++ save. (Superheavy)
  2. It wants to move very quickly, but can’t. (Medium)
  3. It wants to close into assault with hard-hitting power. (Heavy)
  4. It has a standard T4 W1 statline. (Light)
From this we can already see that in reality, the assault terminator is basically all over the place.

To give this a simple definition, let’s make this a math thing. Apply a number to each weight value:
Ultralight: 1 Light: 2 Medium: 3 Heavy: 4 Superheavy: 5
With these values in mind, we will take the Assault terminator’s values and find the average.
(5+3+4+3)/4 = 3.75 Since 3.75 is closer to 4 than to 3, it is safe to simply call an assault terminator ‘heavy’. However, by virtue of its role, characteristics and mobility, an assault terminator can never truly qualify for a ‘Superheavy’ role.

Yeah, but Lysander.
Another example, this time using Lysander: he can be defined in four similar points (I’m assuming he’s actually being run with assault terminators)

  1. He has a 2+3++ save. (Superheavy)
  2. He wants to move very quickly, but can’t. (Medium)
  3. He wants to close into assault with hard-hitting power. (Heavy)
  4. He has a standard T4 W4 statline with eternal warrior. (Superheavy)
In this case, his values add up to a solid 4.25, meaning he is on the heavier side of heavy; but he still cannot be considered ‘Superheavy’.

Light Infantry, but Static?
Light armour makes for light qualities
A unit like a Guardsman squad with multiple lascannons is a good example of where light armour can become medium or even slightly heavy. Once again, guardsmen are defined in four points
  1. They have a 5+ save (Ultralight)
  2. They do not intend to move, even if it may be the death of them. (Superheavy)
  3. Intending to provide heavy Fire Support. (Heavy)
  4. Has T3 W1 statline (Light)
As you can see, the role and mobility of the average heavy weapons guardsman means that he is as varied as an assault terminator. This ultimately gives him an average value of three, moving them from their role as ‘Light infantry’ to “Medium infantry” in the space of their role.

And Veterans?
It is easy to say with their heightened qualities that a veteran squad is intended to be a medium infantry, but is this the case? Usually, Veterans are run fast and far, with either chimeras or Valkyrie/Vendetta gunships to carry them. As a result, their status as ‘Medium infantry’ in the Guardsman army is under threat.
Once again, Veterans are defined by four points:
  1. A 4+ save (Light)
  2. They tend to attempt to cover a  lot of ground (Light)
  3. They can either be used to attack specific targets or to capture objectives (Medium)
  4. They have T3 and W1. (Light)
By this very admission, Veterans become a lowly 2.25 – putting them at the high end of light infantry.
Understanding the way ‘weight’ of infantry should be discerned may enable armies to be better critiqued and may help with fire options when it comes time for shooting. Hopefully these descriptions have been fairly clear, but questions are always welcome.

Okay, sure. What about a monster?
Trygons are an excellent example.
Their four points:
  1. A 3+ save (Medium)
  2. They tend to cover a lot of ground to get into assault (Medium)
  3. They are going into assault to cause a lot of damage, dangerous for tanks. (Superheavy)
  4. They have T6 and W6 (Superheavy)
Unfortunately for the Trygon, his lack of an invulnerability tends to force him to be slightly weaker; his two medium stats forcing him into the heavy category at 3.75 (actually making him lower than even Lysander.)
Though this makes sense; it takes only 6 lascannon (roughly 14 lascannon shots, guardsmen) wounds to kill him, whereas it takes about 12 lascannon wounds to fell Lysander (28 shots from guardsmen)

While I’ve tried to make this as simplistic as possible, there was a little bit of math behind the way things are defined. While Mobility and Role are not strictly defined, Statline and Armour is.
Armour has used this system to provide rankings:
6-5+: Ultralight
4+: Light
3+: Medium
2+: Heavy
1+: Superheavy
Modifiers were applied for invulnerable saves
6++: -1 to armour save value
5++: -2
4++: -3
3++: -4
2++: -5
FNP: -1
(Invulnerable saves alone were considered to be one point lower and as armour save, if the model had no armour save.)
T1-2: Ultralight
T3-4: Light
T5: Medium
T6-8: Heavy
T9-10: Superheavy


Other Notes:
I've used two images in this, neither of which I own. While I've made my best effort to make them aware/gain permission for their use, I've effectively failed. That said, I'm a bit of a rebel, and I used them anyway.

Obviously, I'm a terrible person. 

Friday, 5 October 2012

Second Storm Raven Arriving

The Second Storm Raven, less weapons
In keeping with the "I started grey knights so I could have Stormravens" I'm onto my second storm raven. 

The model is much like the first, a grey body with red and gold details. The only major differences are blue minor details (missiles and orbs) and a bit of freehand on the one wing. 

The smudge
I had a little bit of trouble with the Windows on this flyer. I had a finger covered in glue and I managed to touch the frame. Now I have a huge smudge on the front - if you know a way to get rid of this, it'd be greatly appreciated!

Details in the wings
And here's the Details, including a free-hand powersword (done with a hand-made stencil) and "Alea Iacta Est". The fitting phrase of Julius Caesar, 'the Die is Cast' 

Like my other raven, this model is modified in many places. There are magnets in the side doors to attach hurricane bolters, magnets on the top hatch to attach different guns and remove the port, smaller magnets to remove the missile pods and a magnet to attach each gun on the nose-mount.

The Engine front also comes off. 

Details in a man
Of course, a Storm Raven wouldn't be complete unless every last thing was painted. With that in mind, the pilot and the secondary gunner are both painted, even though their faces will probably never be seen.

I like the storm raven model, begrudgingly. I wish the wings were bigger and the hurricane bolters wing mounted, but I like it. I like how flyers work and I'm looking forward to adding a few Stormtalons to my Space marines in the near future.

Suffice to say, I'm a convert if there ever was one.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Castellan Crowe

I don't mean to crowe on, but...

This is my Castellan Crowe for my 2k Purifiers.

He's probably going to get no love, no tank and no protection, but that doesn't mean he can't be first blood in style. 

I removed his standard. Not because I'm lazy or I didn't like it, I loved it and was looking forward to painting it, but I felt it would be finneky. In this case, I've just removed it all together. The less 'failcast' to keep together, the better. 

Crowe himself. 
This is his cape.
To be honest, the cape was probably the easiest part. I could stand to have taken more time on it and refine it slightly, but I quite liked the end result.

Crowe is often going to be running on his own. But, he's okay with taking a lascannon to the face - really! I mean, any good leader knows that a cap will stop arrows, so why shouldn't it be able to stave off flashlights and laserpointers?

The sword
 The sword was a fun little bit to do. I basically painted it like a parchment, then covered it in red and blue washes to give it that slaaneshi look.

On the other hand, that sword is like the banner - brittle as all hell. It has a break (you may be able to see it) at the hilt which was really annoying for me to paint.

Otherwise, He's actually a slightly darker shade to the rest of the army. I wanted the impression that he was really a loner, so I wanted him to stand out a bit - The cape helps him do this, but less immediately, he looks like a more reserved and dark character as a result of his armours slight mis-colouration.

The front - notice the book's painting and the cape stylings
 At this stage, I was still hoping to do the eyes. I've gotta finish them!

Crowe is my first real attempt working with a resin model. Although he truly isn't the best piece of work out there, I'm happy with the end result. I think, although there's still a bit of work to do on him, he really gives an understanding of what a Purifier is meant to be (as a model, not a paintjob) and this is expressed in that cape.

Really, this model wouldn't be half what he is if he didn't have a striking red cape following him in flow. It really says 'shoot me'

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Howto: Grey knights Part 1 (Purity seals)


The other day, I played a game of 40k. My opponent said that if I were to lose, I had to show him how I painted my GK so quickly.
Suffice to say, I lost. 

Hence, I will be doing a six part tutorial on my painting process.
The tutorial episodes will be:
1. Purity seals
2. base coating, model decisions. 
3. basic details, how to pick out details
4. Painting parts, putting the model together and picking out final details.
5. Painting the blade and basing
5a. materials. 
6. weathering the model

In addition, following the fifth tutorial, I will include a list of all the used materials during this process
Without further adieu, my process for painting purity seals. (with focus on the wax.) 
Please, I'm still using old citadel, if you are making the switch, plan accordingly. 

Colours needed: 

Blood red 
Blazing orange
Golden Yellow
Dheneb stone
Gryphonne Sepia

Brushes required:

Fine detail brush
Detail brush
Wash Brush



Skills needed:

Basic brushwork

Stage 1. Picking places

Find areas that will be the paper of the purity seals (note the book on the knight's shoulder - it is done in this same method.) Paint them Dheneb stone. 
Once this has dried, wash the colour with Gryphonne sepia. 

Outcome of Stage 1.

Stage 2: Picking Places: Reds

After the sepia has dried, paint over the grey seals with blood red. This will probably require two watered down coats of paint. Since you will have to wait for the paint to dry, it is acceptable to do all purity seals red layer at the same time. (the same can be said of every stage, in fact.)

 Stage 3: Painting orange

Luckily for you, the orange is going over red. that means there shouldn't be a need for more than two layers over red.  paint the edges of the seal in orange. if there is a skull, brush over it with the paintbrush a few times to get an appealing effect. At this time, you may want to consider painting 'writing' onto the seal if you see fit.

Stage 4: Painting yellow

This is the same as the last stage. It does require more finesse, however. If you plan to paint the skull on the seal, only go over it once. more than that and it will all become yellow. 

paint very lightly around the edges as well

Please, feel free to contact me if you have any further questions regarding the series, or any requests.
My e-mail is or you may reach me at under the persona Scipio Africanus. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Grey knights updated. The Storm Raven

In my last post I did an Expose on my grey knights army. In that time, a lot of progress has been made. While fundamentally the list hasn't changed, the painting scheme has been finalised and I'm ready to produce more models as I need to. 

What I realised with this 32 model + 7 tank army is that there aren't very many models to be built, that means every model has to be well done. As such, every model - including tanks - will be highlighted and every model - including infantry - will have some form of weathering done to it. 

Finally, I will give every model an authentic name. Every model and every pilot will have a part of a daemon's name in it - My first purifier squad will have three models - Magna, Imunde and Unum (If someone can give me the correct grammar for this phrase, I'd appreciate it.) - roughly, the 'Great Unclean one' 

Since this really should've been four or five posts, I'll go in order. 

Profile of the Storm Raven

Magnetized door. 

The storm Raven is fairly basic. The side doors remain and the guns will be magnetized. I left the front part of the thrusters and the missiles unglued so they could be removed when used/immobilised. In addition, the front hatch is unglued, magnetized instead. This can represent an immobilisation or just to aid in removing the front gun. 

The model has since been painted and weathered. The grey is just a spray paint of tamya german grey. Worked wonders, by the way. 

The right thruster. 

The left Thruster

The carbonisation on the vent exhausts and the front left
thruster. The thruster is detatchable.

Central intake exhaust dust

The gun is boltgin metal that has been painted in brown oil.
I then reduced the paint away until it remained in the recesses,
like a wash. 

Front view. Both open cockpits are fully painted. 

The multi-meltas are done in the same way as the assault-

The thrusters after they have dried.

The thruster once it had dried. 

This is further work on them, the grey meant to be the metal
coming through because the heat burns away the debris.

It's hard to do this part justice - what is it meant to look like?
I just tried an oiled look, like the thing had a filmy coat of a
brown oil over it, in the hope that it would be enough. 

In the next post, I'll show my first grey knights. They have been weathered so they look a little beaten up, but mostly just with mud on their legs.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Grey knight Purifiers + list

So, I've fallen victim to this. I have finally decided to fork out the money and build myself a cheesy list. 

So, this is my 2,000 point Purifier list. 

Grey Knights Grand Master
- Rad Grenades- Psychotroke grenades- Master crafted Force Sword- 195 points

Ordo Xenos Inquisitor- Psychotroke Grenades- Rad Grenades- servo skull- 58 points


Purifier Squad- 10 man- 4x psycannons- 5x halberds- 1x Daemon hammer (carried by Knight of the Flame)- 295 points

Purifier Squad- 10 man- 4x psycannons- 5x halberds- 1x Daemon hammer (carried by Knight of the Flame)- 295 points


Strike Squad- 5 man- Psycannon- Daemonhammer- 120 points

Razorback- Psybolt Ammunition- 50 points

Strike Squad- 5 man- Psycannon- Daemonhammer- 120 points

Razorback- Psybolt Ammunition- 50 points

Fast Attack

Storm Raven- Multi-Melta- 205 points

Storm Raven- Multi-Melta- 205 points

Heavy Support

Dreadnought- Twin-linked Autocannon- Twin-linked Autocannon- Psybolt Ammunition- 135

Dreadnought- 115

Dreadnought- Twin-linked Autocannon- Twin-linked Autocannon- Psybolt Ammunition- 135
1998 points

These are the starts of my purifiers. I've painted 4 - I have 28 infantry models left to paint!

The design is very simple. The body is grey, light highlighting (they will be weathered later.) The boltguns I have intentionally left unhighlighted because the colour looks better (in my opinion) how they are now.

The helmets are silver because I preferred it to white. (I can paint white fairly well, but I don't like conforming as you can tell... sorta.) 

I'm trying the crackling energy thing on all the halberds and swords, don't know how well it'll turn out, though that one there's the best I've ever done.

So I'll finish this unit of 5 purifiers (5 more coming in later, I had to strip them for some ungodly reason.) Then I'll do that storm raven.

I'll finish the other five marines and buy either a terminator box or a brother-captain stern to use as the grand master.

Then, who knows? Maybe I'll scrounge up the money to buy contemptor dreads to use as the psifleman dreadnoughts (it's actually cheaper for me to buy 3 of them than to buy 3 normal dreads and autocannon arms.)

Ultimate MEq Killer: Mathhammering

What kills a T4, W1 Sv 3+ model? 

Well, anything can, really. 

What? 1 lasgun shot won't kill squat?

Well, be it as it may, The game is dice. 

If something hits on a 4+, wounds on a 5+ and then 3+ cancels it, what does that mean in averages?

Did you know, that that there shot has a 50% chance of hitting?
or that it has a 33.33% chance of wounding?
And only a 66.66% chance of being cancelled out? 

In math, that's a 3/6 chance, a 2/6 chance and a 4/6 chance. 

Overall, that's a 1/6 chance to wound, and a 1/9 chance of actually causing a wound. 

Welcome to math hammer. 
What was the chance of that?
Probabilities: Expressed as fractions. 
Some simple pointers for conversion of /6 into percentages:

6+: 16.67%
5+: 33.33%
4+: 50.00%
3+: 66.66%
2+: 83.33% 
1+: 100.0% 

A model with BS3 shooting a gun with S3 AP- at a target with T4 W1 Sv3+ 

So, BS3 S3 AP- V. T4 W1 Sv3+

There's a:
3/6 chance of hitting
2/6 chance of wounding
4/6 chance of saving

All up, that's a 24/216 chance of fatally wounding, or 1/9. So, for every 9 lasgun shots you should kill one marine. 

A boltgun? BS4 S4 AP5 V T4 W1 Sv3+ 
4/6 chance of hitting 
3/6 chance of wounding
4/6 chance of saving

all up that's 46/216 chance of fatally wounding, almost a 2/9 chance of wounding.

Of a lascannon, plasma rifle or meltagun? 
Since its a 1 wound model and all have an AP better than 3, they're all equally effective! 
Assume: BS4, 2+ to wound V. 1W no save
4/6 chance of hitting 
5/6 chance of wounding
0/6 chance of saving

20/36 chance of wounding (don't count the 0/6 chance, or else it'd be 0/216!) or 5/9 chance of wounding 

1/3 chance of fatally wounding

Never thought of a flamer as an anti-marine weapon, did you? the numbers don't lie.

What about a flamestorm cannon? the weapon specifically built to kill entrenched marines? 
5/6 chance of killing him. 

When you look at all these vaules, you decide on the three best: 

The last three. 

but, you don't stop to consider which of those is actually the most effective. 

the lascannon is likely to kill one marine. but there are, on average, nine more you need to deal with. The plasmagun can get rid of two as well, but there are still 7 more to kill.

Leave it to the boltguns. 

So, one boltgun shot at 12" will kill .33 of a marine. that's 5.28 points! 
You coulda killed .44% of a guardsman instead. and that's only 2.2 points. 

Leaving it to the boltguns, you have at least 17 boltgun shots usually [sergeant may have a bolt pistol, which he does for this example.] 
that's 5.6 marines dead. did you know that? 

That's 89.6 points worth of dead marine. 

The moral of the story: 

Quantity is a quality all of its own: never expect to win anything shooting only the hard hitting weapons. 

In that case, this is my advice:

There's no point getting caught up in having the most high strength, high powered and over powered weaponry if they don't put out enough firepower to stop your enemy. No-one shoots a lascannon at a unit of termagants, though it has almost an 100% chance of killing it in reality. No, you use it on the tervigon behind it, who you have 0% chance of killing outright with one lascannon, but is potentially more of a threat.

When you buy dedicated transports, do you give them lascannons automatically? This is a good thing against mech, you're right, but sometimes 3 S5 AP4 shots would really help you out!

Don't forget your heavy bolters. Don't forget your normal bolters, don't forget to use what you have at your disposal. Use everything to its maximum effect each and every turn, and you stand a far better chance in any game. Don't be afraid to roll 6 lasgun shots, don't be afraid to roll 1 boltgun. it only takes 1 lasgun shot to perform the killing blow on a daemon, however unlikely that may be. You need to think like this and then you will succeed. Don't think in terms of mathammer - think in terms of 'there's a chance' because 'there's a chance' always applies, whereas mathhammer ends when you put the pen and paper down and play a game.

Consider Heavy Bolters. Don't shy away from them. You don't need many, but 4 twin-linked Heavy bolters is potentially 12 dead marines. Don't just go for the biggest and best, remember your staple and don't forget about anti-light infantry and you'll do fine. 
Sometimes, these babies are all you could hope for.

Monday, 9 January 2012

Update 9/1: Superdetailed Wreck Rhino

This is the first time I've ever painted a Rhino's interior. 
 So, on the Twenty-second of last month, I left you with an image of a half-painted rhino, which had obviously seen some heavy punishment. This is an update on that tale.

The wreck so far
The wrecks of Rhino's are found on all battlefields where the imperium can be found. Yet there is no model for a wrecked rhino, there is noone producing wrecks as models. I thought I'd pretend to be original, and make a wrecked Rhino of my own.

This will be a game piece, but it will also be part of a diorama, depicting Space marines of a tactical squad running out of the vehicle,
smoke billowing from the top hatches as they leave.

As you can see here, I have since painted the top and the front of the vehicle. You can [barely albeit] see the damage and penetration marks alongthe front, and there are golden parts in the front and right side of the tank - bullet holes.

There will be another follow up sometime, but I am putting this project to the side for a while, so I can focus on my new Space marine Biker's army.

An aerial I added myself. Just a piece of brass and a scope, but the effect is pleasing. you can see my bikes in the background here. 

Some of the fallen Space marines, From your perspective, Left to right:
Injured soldier, supplying missile launcher
marine firing pistol past side of rhino
marine reloading bolter. The clip has a small piece of brass on the tip to make it look like it is full.
A missile launcher marine, the last missile only just having been shot [it's on a flying stand, jetting out of the missile launcher]
Wounded marine clawing at the ground. 
This is the sergeant. He is the expample of the paintjob I was going for with these guys. He is injecting a stimulant into  his leg, presumably through a chink in his knee's armour for that very purpose.