Tuesday, 14 July 2020

The Aurora Knights

   I started writing a post about my home brew space marine chapter just over 4 years ago, but every time I got it to a point it was almost ready to go I had something else to post and it got pushed back. The long term aim was to make a full company of marines that I could shape a history for through various games and, hopefully, the odd campaign, and then 8th edition and Belisarius Crawl came along. . .

The Background

   The Aurora Knights are a 23rd founding chapter (late 37th millennium), founded as part of the Sentinels group of chapters tasked with defending the Eastern fronts of the Imperium from the Ork and Eldar menace.
   The chapter's homeworld is the strategically placed, but lifeless planet of Ciuda'ura. Due to Ciuda'ura's lack of population to recruit from the Aurora Knights were instead given the privilege to recruit from any peoples the chapter deems itself to have 'saved' which has led to tensions between the chapter and other Imperial organisations, in one notable case with an Imperial Navy fleet that the chapter demanded a tithe of officers from after responding to a distress call.

   Broadly Codex compliant.

Recent History
   The Aurora Knight's recent history has been a checkerboard of fortune with multiple victories under their belt and honours being attached to their name, with only their tithing being a blemish to the chapter's reputation, they answered a call requesting aid from the Dalin system. The Dalin World's Liberation has been covered on this blog already (Dalin World's Liberation) but suffice to say it ended badly for the Knights with the loss of their homeworld, nearly half of their marines and most of their gene-stocks.
    The aftermath of the failed campaign was a chapter that was woefully under equipped in terms of men, equipment and even ammunition, with no real way of replenishing the lost men as their gene reserves were so low it could take a millennia to replace the reserves, the chapter felt the best it could do was go out honourably in a bang and not fade into obscurity. With this in mind the Aurora Knights salvaged what they could and headed towards where ever the fighting was heaviest, never throwing away their last men, but knowing that holding back was futile. With extra marines tasked with collecting gene-seed during battles and care taken to recover any lost equipment the chapter hoped to keep itself fighting for as long as possible so that when word reached them of the Lord Commander Guilliman's plans for the space marines they were down to barely 300 fighting full space marines and over 150 neophytes
    In the last hundred years to the present point, the influx of new resources that were supplied to all space marine chapters has seen the chapter rise to nearly 700 men, far closer to their full strength than would have been believed at the start of the century, of which nearly all of the chapter are now of the new Primaris breed. The chapter has chosen not to settle on a new planet but maintains a presence around it's old homeworld on an orbital station named the Tagma.

Back to the paint station
   That's the cut down version of what I was going to post. I'm sure the company that I almost finished will get onto this blog at some point but first lets look at the new stuff and what has changed as I now view them as two separate projects.
   When 8th was released I picked up a copy of the rulebook, got my old armies out and set up a couple of games, and broadly I enjoyed the edition with some caveats.
1. Sorry to any 40k players but the scene at Wayland Games that I saw from the outside was not appealing. There was a guy on the day of release who had bought his copy from GW at midnight and had spent the morning writing a 'broken list' to smash people on the 'get to know 8th' day that the staff at Waylands had organised. Since then I have seen all the lists that are obvious min-max lists with no flavour bar smashing face and this is all something I have no interest in getting involved with.
2. 8th was also the edition that my mates who had played 40k generally got on with other stuff, either due to a dislike of the changes or just because other games had changed the way they played.
3. By the time I really looked to get back into it, the two points above and the sheer amount of supplements needed to catch up put me off and 30k has mostly scratched the warhammer itch anyway.

   So, here we are on the verge of 9th. What has changed? The supplement levels haven't changed, the scene at Waylands is unlikely to change but I do have mates looking at the game again. So, 9th edition has been ordered (just the core rules, we are going to use old points until we decide to invest in the other books needed) and we have set up a learning day where we are all going to bring 500 point armies - big enough to have units to move around, small enough that even players who have sold armies off can put something together.
    What does all this have to do with the Aurora Knights? All the buzz has got me looking at the primaris models I have bought over the last couple of years and I decided that what I was making the older marines do, didn't fit the new style, and ultimately, the chapter has changed. If the bulk of your chapter is made of men who don't share your heritage and training, merely have the same ancestral gene-seed, they are going to bring new ideas and influences, so I decided to embrace this concept and have the chapter be reborn.
    The chapter icon has changed from a gold fist with the company colour in the background to the Imperial Fist icon - due to real life practical reasons - with the fluff being that it ties them back to their ancestral legion more. The red secondary colour has been dropped in place of the company colour being more prominent. The chapter also paints their left knee pad black in memorial of the losses of the Dalin World's Liberation campaign and the dark days that followed it. I have also included a white wing motif on the same leg if the marine has crossed the Rubicon since the induction of Guilliman's primaris marines.

 Strike Force Lieutenant (HQ)

  Two units of regular Intercessors (Troops)

 Unit of Hellblasters (Heavy)

primaris impulsor transport painted
 An Impulsor transport tank.

Normal service will resume but I'm enjoying this minor detour via 40k. I'll report back with my feelings on the new edition.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Back to gaming

   I don't normally post about my normal gaming, unless the board is particularly pretty, but I think being back out gaming is worth a post.
   Sunday saw me with two invites to go out gaming. The first was from my mate Neil to play Napoleonics using Rebels and Patriots round his house with our normal crowd, which I thought about for a while before turning down. In my head 4 guys in a front room just felt too risky at this point.
   The second invite came fairly last minute and was for 30k in a backgarden and that felt much more in line with where I felt the risk level lay. So I packed up my stuff (after a lot of searching for gaming bits put away for the previous couple of months) and set off for a game.

   Anyone in the UK will be able to tell you that Sunday was a little bit windy (hence how little terrain we had on the table - stuff kept blowing away) and the gazebo we put up to keep the sun off us kept collapsing in new and interesting ways as we played, but it was brilliant to be out seeing mates and rolling dice again.


   Yesterday we even played a couple of board games in my garden after work to test whether that would work or not, so it looks like I should be gaming again in one way or another even if it's not the same sort of gaming we had before the pandemic.
   The long and the short is there will be gamers reading this who can't see why it took me this long to get out gaming again, or gamers who can't believe I'm out gaming already but it's all going to come down to how risky you feel it is and what you are willing to do. For me gaming outside is absolutely fine at the sec, while gaming inside is something I will look at the other factors involved, e.g. how many other players.
   It will get back to normal, it's just a matter of when. And sorry Neil - hopefully next time?

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Women's Fascist Axillary

   A quick post out of my planned group of projects and back to my VBCW B.U.F. I've mentioned before that I've started keeping an eye on Pen and Sword's website for their monthly sales and any spot sales they do, and I noticed a forthcoming book on Fascist elements in the Suffragette movement, which looks like an interesting book to pick up in the future, but that book was in my mind about the same time that my kickstarter order from Bad Squiddo turned up.
   I'd placed an order for what I planned to be a squad and a bit of differently armed women to add to my Albertine VBCW army and make the Women's Institute it's own platoon, but as I was building the rifle squad I started to have ideas. The fact the women's land army figures were wearing a uniform didn't worry me when I ordered the figures as I planned a few head swaps and some different coloured shirts to hide the uniforms, but on closer inspection I realised they looked like they were fit into a B.U.F army with a different colour scheme. I'd been planning one last squad for my B.U.F and this would solve that nicely, so the Women's Fascist Axillary was born (Sorry Annie).

Thanks for reading

Saturday, 20 June 2020

It's Cold and the Huns Keep Coming

   Following on from the last WW2 German Post I did, the obvious project to get moving with would have been the 15mm DAK infantry as I only had the command squad to go, so obviously what I have been working on instead is the rest of my 28mm Winter Germans. Like I said, obviously.
   I've finished off the last two infantry squads along with a Leutant and adjutant so that I have a fully equipped platoon, then I have added a MMG and a medium mortar with spotter to make the force a bit more useful.
   There is more I plan to add to this army in the future (K├╝belwagen for the Leutant, tank or two, a squad of the metal winter Germans to mix the look up and maybe some artillery etc) but the basic platoon is now done so can be put away safely.

  Thanks for reading

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Almost a Fleet

  This is by far one of the weirdest projects I think I have ever done, it's given me the most frustration that a relaxing hobby has ever managed but the most satisfaction with a finished model, it's going to be a slow project but I'd quite like to get it finished before we are allowed out to play again (assuming July at some point?), but we are making progress towards that goal.
   This post is for the two 68 gun ships in the fleet and the last two of the first order I placed all those years ago. Again, the models are from Langton and these are the two ships that had suffered the most in the years of moving between shelves and boxes with multiple broken masts.

langton miniatures dutch 1:1200 rigged 68
Admiraal de Ruijter*

Admiraal Piet Hein

*I'd appreciate it if you could ignore the upside down pennant . . .

   The Two ships from the last Dutch navy post have both been given their ensigns, pennants and names too, which means I am free to start on my next batch of ships.

Thanks for reading

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Multiple Germans

   This post is where my confessions go into overdrive. During the lockdown I have noticed that I am reading a lot more and painting a fair bit less, the 2 or 3 hours painting in front of the tv every night has turned into 2 or 3 hours of sitting quietly with a book, add to that all the lockdown ebook deals I've been stumbling across and my reading backlog is looking less manageable than my lead mountain*. This has led to a few book related projects getting a head start in either being bought or getting painted; Mercy Thompson, Dutch fleet, Tanith and the projects below.
*What a happy place to be
   Pen and Sword Publishing, do a monthly selection of cheap ebooks that I've been downloading on mass on the 1st of every month and quite a lot of them are WW2 related as you might expect. I've mostly ended up reading a lot of late 1944-fall of Berlin Eastern front books, including books about women in Nazi Germany and a few SS related books. This all gave me a serious itch to revive my WW2 projects, but with the lockdown it had to be modelling rather than gaming to scratch the itch.
   This is where I need to start the justifications. With all the winter war reading, I fancied a German army in Great Coats and as I already own a winter themed Soviet army, it would be nice to give them a home opponent. That's basically all the excuses I have for this one.

The first unit in the platoon - I even used the decals on them for the first time.

   If you are happy to believe why I needed a new German army for a period I already own but for a different front, then the figures below should be an even easier sell. In 2017 I went to a wargaming show with one of my mates (I want to say Broadside but I'm not sure) and we ended up being given a demo of the new Flames of War edition using the new 2 player starter box and it was really good. While we didn't finish painting the tanks, we did play a few more games before the tanks got lost in our respective homes and forgotten about.
   Back to this year's lockdown. Before I decided that the winter German project was a good idea (undermining a few of my justifications for the project at the top of the page here) I got it into my head that if I was going to do another WW2 German army it should be completely different and I have wanted to try Bolt Action in 15mm for a few years now, so I decided to do the desert war in 15mm. We could use the tanks we already owned, Wayland Games has 15mm desert scenery too, so it was just a case of buying figures. I ended up placing an order for a DAK platoon and a 8th army platoon from Forged In Battle which arrived the same day as my much later ordered Winter Germans.
   Below are the 3 infantry units for the German platoon, with just the tanks and command to be painted before I start on the British and think about ordering more bits.

Thanks for reading

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Dark Age Irish

   After claiming the Moorish army wasn't a new project, this one definitely is*. Ever since the single unit of Norse-Gaels in my Viking army became a project in their own right, I've had my eye on a home bred opponent for them, pricing up a metal Gripping Beast Irish army more than a few times, but with the Wargames Atlantic Dark Age Irish kit, I knew I needed to pick up a box to have a look.
   This isn't the first box of their plastics I have tried, I already have a box of their Ancient Greek Skeletons, and I stand by what I said in that review. I'm not a fan of the plastic they use, but it goes together well and the casts are crisp, they just feel too much like the old bendy plastic toys.

*And some more confessions for later

   As per normal, I'm building the army to Lion Rampant unit sizes as this will allow the units to be broken down to suit smaller unit games like Saga if needed. The bulk of the army will be made up of Yeomen stated troops with javelins which should give a very different game dynamic to the normal dark ages shield walls we play.
   I've got another box of these on order, which will give me enough troops for 4 units of regular Irish and 2 units of wolfhounds which I will use as Ferocious Foot (although I only plan to use a single unit per game), then a unit of Foot Sgt stated fighters will round the army off with a more elite household bodyguard for the army's lord.

Thanks for reading