I'm back! and Send them BACK!

I was away for a while visiting family.  But I returned to see a flood of emails and comments about Finecast.  Check this:

I have three words for you all.  SEND THEM BACK.  Last week I posted an article praising GW for getting rid of metal models and the sentiment was very supportive.  Just about all who commented agreed that the ease is using Resin vs Metal is worth the price.  But definitely not if this is the quality we can expect. Look at the air bubbles on the crux on top of the banner. The guy who shared this pic did not include a pic of the other side of the pack, which he says has a ventilator that is so bad from air bubbles that he has to cover it up.  

This is NOT acceptable.  

GW must not be allowed to raise prices while at the same time providing inferior models.  A certain amount of cleaning and trimming can be accepted, but we should not have to greenstuff air bubbles or cover over mars in the models surface with other bits.  I have heard praise and horror stories about these models. 


If we sit complacently with these models, they will have no motivation to improve what they are doing. We will allow them to lower the bar.  We cannot let that happen.  Price increases should at the very least coincide with a product that is the same quality as what came before.  

I suspect GW is releasing this first wave of Finecast having not fine tuned the process.  Who knows. Maybe they are simply using the same molds that they used for pewter, and they don't work for resin.  Maybe they need to recast every model.  Maybe they ran a huge production run of resin, realized that it is crap, but are selling it any way hoping we won't care.  

Car companies do it.  (as do many others) They will realize that a product has a problem and should not go into production, but weigh the immediate loss from stopping the production vs the risk of profit loss due to recall.  If the percentages work as an acceptable risk, they go with it and hope they don't lose then fix the problem for later runs, or not.  I suspect GW pulled one of these.  

So don't let them snow you over that air bubbles in your models are now acceptable.  Don't let them put out a  Catalog article, (white dwarf) demonstrating how to green stuff your models and accept that as the new norm.  

I have never encountered a Forgeworld model so marred by bubble imperfections.  But if i did, I would return it! They have come flimsy and bent, crooked and unusable, but never bubbly. And they always replaced the parts in question immediately.  After all, it is better to do and ask forgiveness than to ask and be told no. The same applies to this business. Forgeworld sometimes knows they ship inferior product. Thats why they replace them so readily. Do you think that they end up replacing every low quality product they ship?  No.  Most guys probably just greenstuff any bubbles and live with any defects because of the time it takes to get a FW order. I once replaced half a squad of Krieg arms and guns with Cadian because the ones that arrived were unusable, but it took 2 months to get them.  I should not have done that. Neither should you.

The cost of replacing models only to those who complain is worth it for the company. You business majors can enlighten us with what this practice is called.  

We need to make it not worth it.  We need to force action by returning each and every model that arrives like this Crowe.  

I love the switch to resin. I love the cancellation of metal. I can deal with the price increase. But I will never be satisfied with air bubbles in my models.  GW is banking that enough of you WILL be satisfied to not have to improve their product.  Don't let them get away with it. 


Heroes of Armageddon, More work in progress!

Pics incoming!

First off, here is a little taste of one of the weekly giveaways over at the Heroes of Armageddon blog!

This beautiful model was donated to be given away as one of the weekly drawings by one of the best painters in the world!  But remember, you have to be in it to win it. So if you have not donated yet, get your donations in!  Your donation will qualify you to win any of the weekly drawings as well as the grand prizes at the end.  So the sooner you get the donation in, the more chances you have to win fantastic prizes like this one!

Sorry for the quality of the rest of my own pics.  I have some update pics on my Heroes of Armageddon Land Raider Crusader and Sanguinary Priest!

First I highlighted the robe figure with pure Blood Red on top of the Dragon Red spray.

Then I started hitting the wings with codex grey. I want blacker 
"Astrowrath" wings. I hit the skulls with Bestial Brown.

Testing the grey, I used Fortress next. I don't recall if I had
it done in this pic, but Snakebite Leather was next for the skulls.

Here are the wings done with Codex and Fortress and the skulls with Bestial and Snakebite
Next comes some 50/50 white and fortress on the wings, mixed with Glaze Medium, and 
50/50 Bleached bone/snakebite on the skulls.

Sanguinary Priest! Base colors are done.

I sprayed him dragon red straight from the can. No primer.

I then started layering on Blood Red, working from the edges towards the meat of the armor plates. 
Then I did a Blazing Orange highlight, and went over it with Blood Red. This time mixing Red Gore 
into the Blood Red. The GK termy box set came out right on time.  The nice little apothecary bits let me not have to cut up a Command Squad apothecary! Oh, this model by the way is the Blood Angels Assault Sergeant blister with an apothecary arm and Death Company box set head.

You can see the red gore effect on the jump pack.

I did the white by painting it black first, then Astronomicon Grey. 
Then I did a 50/50 mix of Astro Grey and White mixed with some Glaze medium.
Then I added more white to the mix and did more edging.  It is all washed out, in the photo, but the 
final result is actually very good.  The Glaze Medium from Valejo helps stop the "Chalky" white look. 

For other details, I did the chest wings like I did the land raider wings. Choose your poison for the scrolls. I did a simple Bestial, Snakebite, Bleached, and will finish with Devlan Mud and a white highlight. 

The hazard lines on the chainblade are Iyanden Darksun for now.  I will layer them up with Sunburst.

This model is about half done.  I need to really push the relationship between the blood red and red gore.  Now that the base is done, I will work the reds with Glaze Medium, trying to get a perfect blend.

And no, I won't be doing weathering.  This guy just had his armor polished and he is going to be as pristine as I can make him, as befits a high ranking member of his order. I will also add a grail attached to his belt that I got from Maximini.  More to come!


Thank you GW for getting rid of metal.

I for one am thrilled to be rid of those damn metal models.  Frankly, I am happy to pay more to be rid of them.

  There, I said it.

Don't know where I got this. 
It is a nice example of a resin model.

Thank you GW for getting rid of metal models whose paint chips off if you look at them funny.  How many of you have to continually touch up the tips of the swords of your metal sergeants? Enough.

The skulls on my old mephiston's cloak stick really far up in the air and rub against the transport tray.

They are exposed silver.

The paint chipped off my new Emo Vamp mephiston's forhead.  (Vlad Von Karstein)

That is going to take an hour to fix.

Who is sick of having to pin metal models?  Has any one ever assembled High Marshal Helbrecht? Yah, how many of you enjoyed pinning that hand.  Last week I tried to help one of the 12 year olds in my club pin some big Tyranid model. What trash! that thing went together sooo poorly we worked for an hour and a half and only had the body together!  I had to stop because my poor hands were crippled from all the drilling.  That was without a doubt the worst metal model I ever encountered.

I dropped my metal Blood Angels Furioso Dread on the floor.  Not only did it explode like a frag grenade, but the pewter dented where it impacted the floor.

A broken toe waiting to happen?

How many of you have experiences like this? Some guys like metal. Some like the feel, the weight. I think it's difficult to use on a table. Metal models slide down slightly sloped terrain. Metal parts imbalance large models, making them topple over or spin around. (Eldar Prism Tank any one?) Some metal models won't stand no matter what you do with them short of actually putting more metal into the base. (Hello Banshees!)  Who has old metal las cannon devastators? How many times do they fall over per game?

Lol. Try keeping this from falling over during a game.

How about converting metal models?  I tried to convert some metal Chaos Warriors into Space Marines.  I tried filing down all the chaos stars and such. I ended up with a bunch of badly mangled metal models.  Converting my Emo Vamp Mephiston took an hour of drilling, filing and cutting.  If it were resin it would take 3 minutes.  

Buh Bye File!

Metal mold lines are a nightmare.

Look at this crap!

Metal is fragile!  I tried bending the sword of a brand new metal Incubi into shape, and woops... it snapped.

Broken Mandrake? (Thanks BOLS)

Ever try to assemble metal Land Raider Crusader sponsons?

How many of you bought these POS?

Is this not better?


I suppose I could go on, but I think I made the point.  Metal sucks. We all know it.  This was a long time coming and I am thankful for it.  We can look forward to a future of beautifully detailed and easy to work with models. A small price increase to have this luxury is worth it in my opinion.  Any one that has ever assembled the old Baal Predators, Furioso Dreads, Crusader Sponsons and Metal Devastators (or insert your hated metal model of choice here) will instantly agree.  The new models, and their subsequent price increase were well worth it.  The same will be said about the new GW resin.

How many of you have happily shelled out 14 bucks plus shipping 
then waited two months for these?

Of course, I am not happy about a price increase right on the heels of another major price increase.  I just paid 17 dollars for a blister that I paid 8 dollars for in 2006.  Now it will be 20.  The same sculpt!  But such is the price of the game. It will definitely slow down my buying. But I know that I will be buying superior product.  I suppose the trade off is worth it.


Battle for Salvation Tournament Report: Jawaballs goes for the win?

So the Battle for Salvation RTT came this past weekend under fears of heavy rain and apocalyptic ruin.  The world didn't end, but the rain sure came! Oh, and 30 dudes clashed for glory and loot.

Thanks Bitz Box

In a previous post I talked about how the Grey Knights were going to change army lists.  I talked about how any non Grey Knights trying to play AV 11 and 12 were going to be in trouble.  So in preparation for what I would probably face if I went to the third game in a position to win, I dropped my razorbacks and played 4 land raiders.

My list:
My termy death squad with 4 claws and 1 hammer
Reclusiarch with melta pistol
Priest with PW
land raider crusader with mm and extra armor

3x assault sqauds with melta gun, god hammer land raider with MM and EA, one had a HK missile

So on with the games! Sorry I have no pics this time.  Forgot my cam.  I did get some video though.  I will try to put some of that up.

Game One:
KP /DOW vs Mech IG.

Interesting game in that to get full points you had to win Kill Points by 5.  (Earn 5 more KP than your opponent)  This was going to be a a tough one to max out on!

To his credit, my opponent was not playing the "net list".  He had a lot of chimeras with vets and melta/plasma, but instead of all the Vendettas he went with more heavy tanks.

The game was a shootout for two turns since he had no shortage of fire power.  But my Crusader and Mephiston hit his ranks on turn two thanks to a nice LoS blocking terrain piece in the center of the table.  Shortly after that most of his stuff was dead.  Mephiston went tank hunting and ate a psyker battle squad while the terminators had Vet Crunchies and claimed all their melta and plasma guns for the Blood Angels armory.  It was a good harvest. :)

I ended up scoring 12 points out of a possible 13. I did not want to be on the top table in game two so I did not take any of the objectives to score the third bonus point.

Game Two:

Table Quarters/Table Corner deployment (Have more victory points in the quarters at the end of the game to claim them.)

My 12 point plan left me with what appeared at first to be a lopsided matchup in my favor. Foot Templars.  (And it kept me away from Nick Nanavati playing... wait for it... Psy Cannon heavy GKs and Fritz's "Marine Killer" Nid list)  They both scored max points turn one because Nick predictably obliterated a mech list and Fritz gorged himself upon a generic marine list.  Oh and Nick nearly tabled Fritz.  All those psy cannons were to much for the bugs.  Nick's GKs would march to the final round with full points.

Back to my opponent.  Upon closer inspection I saw that his army was much more dangerous than I first thought.  All of his guns had Tank Hunter.  He had 4 or 5 five man crusader squads with Las Cannons and a couple in Rhinos with melta guns.  He had a couple 5 man terminator squads with dual missiles and a 10 man hammernator squad with the Emps Champ and a Chaplain with Retinue attached. About 16 models total.  He had a High Marshal attached to one of his shooty terminator squads.

To start the game he began with a discussion about the ruling concerning Righteous Zeal.  The spirit of the rule is that Templars charge forward in the face of enemy firepower. Taking losses only makes them madder and provokes them to either charge forward, or failing leadership, flee the field.  But of course poorly written 3rd edition rules allow for abuse of the rule.  I didn't quite understand what my opponent was saying at the start of the game in how he intended to use the rules.  So I accepted whatever he wanted.  He said it was supported by the INAT FAQ. (Which tends to lean towards Rules as Written over Rules as Intended as far as I know.) Any way.  I figured out what he meant the first time he used the exploit.

It seems that Black Templars can go to ground when they are taking fire for a 3+ cover save, and so long as the squad lost a member, use RZ to get back up. The models move a fraction of a hair and stay put since the rule does not specify how far they must move.  Then they are able to fire on their turn.  By the rule as written, it works.  No huge issue, but still rules abuse none the less.  More RZ shenanigans would happen later as my opponent would try to avoid getting assaulted by my terminators. Using his chaplain to give himself the power to direct his RZ move, normally they must RZ towards the nearest enemy unit or some such, he instead wanted to try to use it to get away from my terminators.  Again, nothing illegal, but definitely defies the spirit of the rule.

The funny part about this was that before the game my buddy Alex Fennel from the Cold Stone Mercs, a New England gaming club told me to "be nice".  I guess my opponent was a nooby?  Well if he was he certainly knew what he was doing.  Being mentored by one of the best players in the world (Alex) doesn't hurt either. :)  I planned to go easy so as not to the noob stomp like my poor buddy Jim the Stout Smurf got at The Colonial. (He left there pretty dejected after getting nearly tabled in all five games.) Any way, the first time he used RZ to go to ground then get back up and shoot had me taking off the gloves. Plus I would need to once I saw that this "noob" was not playing a noob army, and in fact one no doubt designed to slaughter people as created with the help of Alex.

He reserved his rhinos with melta crusaders inside.  I spread out my god hammers and ran my crusader right up the middle.  All of his stuff was in the left corner.  I moved up my crusader and hid it behind a nice big lumpy terrain piece that looked like a demented pound cake.  My god hammers opened up on his las cannon crusader squads, provoking the RZ go to ground trick.

By the way, I want to take nothing away from my opponent here.  To his credit, he used full disclosure to explain what he intended to do before the game began, and gave me the option of declining it.  Or at least dicing it off.  I respect what he did and do not fault him for using the tactic. He was a good sportsman and honest player.  Most guys would not tell you up front and wait until the situation occurred to "spring" it on you.   I did not agree with it, but had my chance to do something about it.  For that, I salute my opponent. Besides, the ambiguous rule did support what he wanted to do as does the INAT.

So I killed a terminator in his big squad with shooting, prepping them for the assault.  I could handle 5 to 8 of them, but that would be pushing it.  10 would be tough indeed.

On his turn he advanced them after I said I had no intentions of holding back. I was going to go up there and assault next turn. He wanted to meet the challenge.  His shooting caused a shaken to one of my god hammers. Poor rolling on his part.

So on my turn I went for the jugular.  I did not need to move my crusader much since he moved up his termies with his RZ move.  I got out and moved and prepared for assault.  But before doing so I needed to whittle down the odds a bit.  I managed to kill two more with shooting. And shot up some of his other boys as well.  He entertained the thought of zealing away from my assault range, but realized that no matter what he would not  escape. My guys were to close. He was committed, and so was I. Time to charge.

Mephiston led the way in, but was unable to get B2B with an IC so he took on the terminators.  My chaplain went after his Champion and my claws locked down his chaplain.  My priest with PW jumped into the fight too. I would need those PW hits.  Meph delivered 6 wounds on the charge.  Two or three would die.  My chaplain killed the Emps Champ on the charge with 4 wounds forcing two failed saves.  And my claws and priest would deliver about 10 more wounds to the hammers and 3 to the chaplain who was already wounded. All would die.  But his chaplain managed to take down 3 of my termies in his death throws.

My boys massacred back to the cover of the Land Raider.

On his turn he brought in his two rhinos on my right side and opened up on my god hammer holding that corner.  He immobilized that, and my crusader and put some wounds on Meph.  Immobilizing the crusader forced my hand.

On my turn I finished off a crusader squad with one of my god hammers after advancing it, and assaulted one of his melta squads on the right with my guys from inside the god hammer.  I needed to slow them down to hopefully reduce the melta shots by half coming at the god hammer and giving it time to take down this transports.  I did not hurt either of the transports, and lost combat with the squad... :(

I also found out something that I had been doing wrong for years.  At Mechanicon two years ago my opponent wanted to assault me. I had one guy out of terrain and the rest of the squad in. He asserted that so long as the first guy did not have to roll difficult terrain to get B2B, the rest of the squad did not have to and could move normally, essentially ignoring terrain.  The judges upheld this and I have been playing it this way since.  The situations where that occurs are rare so it did not come up often.  After consulting a couple people, and then checking the book, it was actually clearly written.  Yes if any member of the squad would have to enter terrain, I must roll.  You learn something new every day!

It had no effect on this game one way or another. It was just one of those interesting "Duh" moments.

From here the game came down to a scramble. How fast could I slaughter all his troops, and how long could he dodge me.  Meph would eventually die to terminator power fists, but I wiped out all the termies. The hero of the day was my priest leaving the Crusader after the rest of my termeis and chaplain died, and assaulting the last member of the squad that killed him... he killed the terminator then got back in the crusader to lend his victory points to claiming the quarter.  I dropped off the infantry in my left god hammer to claim the near left corner, and advanced it into his corner to claim that one. All he had left was a single crusader squad.  My right side god hammer turned around and started shooting at the two rhinos.  He finished off my third god hammer and the troops that were inside.  But my immobile crusader would take that quarter.

I destroyed one of his Rhinos and reduced a squad below half. Giving me the edge in all four quarters and that is how the game would end.  A blood bath!  As should be expected with Templars vs Blood Angels.  I got max points.  It was a fun game and a whole lot harder than I expected at the start.

That set me up for the showdown I expected. I was going to be playing against Nick and his AV11/12 psy cannon heavy GKs.

I don't know exactly what he had but it was something like:

Inquisitor Coteaz
3 squads of 3 henchmen in Chimeras with meltas.
3 squads of 5 Purifiers in Rhinos with 2x psi cans
3 squads of 5 strike GKs in HB Razors with master crafted hammers and max psi cannons.
3 Psyfleman dreads

Lots and lots of psycannon shots.

Based on the amount of punishment my land raiders took this game, I can say without a doubt that I would have been tabled had I played my razor list.

Objectives was the mission, and 12" deployment. He won the roll and surprisingly gave me the first turn.

My plan? Demech him and assault all of his knights at once.  Or at least as many as I could line up.

Turn One:
He clustered his guys, forming a line with his three dreads shoulder to shoulder on his deployment line, and the line extended by two razorbacks with their sides facing me. Every thing else was grabbing cover behind them. Seeing an opportunity to stall him in his deployment, I decided to go for his psy dreads.  I knocked the guns off one and immobilized the other two. I thought I had him boxed when I stunned both of the lead rhinos.  (The dice gods failed me big time in this game, rarely rolling over a 2 to damage vehicles.)  In hind sight, I should have focused all of my fire on stopping his transports. It turns out the damned Purifiers were the biggest threat in his army.  STR 7 rending is way better than STR 8 Auto Cannons vs Land Raiders. With all the shots going at his transports, getting no cover saves, I should have definitely killed at least three of them. Plus taking the guns off that one dread would come back to haunt me in the end, big time.

On his turn he moved up and popped smoke with some of his transports, creating a nice cover wall, and opened fire at me.  He lit me up with Psy cannon shots, shaking one of my hammers and immobilizing the other.

On my turn two I adjusted. I actually pulled back a bit, wishing to get a good chance at demeching him in the middle of the table and clustering him for a devastating assault.  I only killed one of his transports with all of my shots...  Crap.  On his turn two fire, he rended and destroyed my crusader, forcing my hand.  He moved up his razors again creating a wall. But he left a lane of assault to the demeched squad for Meph to get in.

Turn Three:
I had to explode two razorbacks that had already popped smoke the previous turn.  I had 4 twin linked las cannons, 2 multi meltas, a melta pistol, 6 heavy bolter shots  and a plasma pistol with which to do it.  I wrecked one, and failed to damage the other.  Epic fail. I needed to explode the transports and assault the guys inside. The GKs from the wreck of course disembarked on the other side of the wreck, out of my assault range.  I was forced to assault a single immobile razorback with my entire termy squad. I killed it and the GKs disembarked on the other side. Meph got in on three knights and wiped them out and massacred back over the wrecked razor.  Not good at all.

On his turn three, the game ended.  He assaulted my termies with his gunless dread.  Crap.  They were tied up the rest of the game. He assaulted Meph with 3 squads of knights.  I tried my best to make sure he made as many difficult/dangerous terrain tests as possible going through those recked razorbacks... but it would not save me.  He got in on me with two master crafted hammers, and dealt a wound.  Made his psy test and I failed to block with the hood.  Dead Meph.  Locked down termies. Game over.  I would make a battle out of it by taking out some of his other transports and assaulting Purifiers with my naked squads out of desperate measures, but we both knew it was over at the bottom of three.

Grey Knights victory, maximum point tournament win.

Sure, he needed an epic fail on my part to do it, but he did it.  :)

Some one posted on my recent article talking about GKs ending AV11.  He stated that an AV11 GK list won and space wolves and IG got 2nd and 3rd. (He was contending that my opinion was wrong or something.)  I think that his comment proved my point!  First of all, I referred to the fact that GKs would still be able to get away with their AV11 and 12 so the fact that they won using them does not matter. But more importantly, 2nd and 3rd might seem close on paper, but neither of them were close to Nicks result.  Getting Maximum points in this tournament was nigh impossible.  He did it with relative ease.  Claiming that those SW and IG armies disproved my article because they got 2nd and 3rd in this tournament is like bragging that Oprah and Jerry from SubWay got 2nd and 3rd in a three man 100 meter race vs Usain Bolt.  (Google him)

The results are irrelevant. They got there because they managed to avoid Nick.  And Nick was the only GK army tooled up as such.  I think there was one other but not optimized like Nick's, and not played by one of the bets GT players on the east coast.

Soon there will be a dozen in every GT.  I'm gonna go ahead and call it right now.

Nova Open Top 16: At least half will be GKs.  I am banking on 10.  You heard it here first!

So there you have it folks!  GKs are legit.  My list, designed to beat his, barely made a game of it. (Granted chance went the wrong way and if we played again it would have been different, but still.) Even Land Raiders need to fear them.  He destroyed two of them, and immobilized the others and I was getting cover saves off at least half of the shots due to terrain! The sheer volume of fire nearly tabled Fritz's big bug list that routinely spawns 120 Furious Charging, Poisoned gaunts and is designed to devour normal marine armies like Nick's. Fritz had high hopes for a surprising Nid win. I don't know but I think Nick tabled his first opponent.  

It was a day of complete and total GK domination with only one real GK army in the tournament. And frankly, I'm happy to see it. One thing for certain is that they will definitely shake up the power lists. Plus I have lots of Razorback Turret Assault Cannons, Terminator Psy Cannons and Dread Auto Cannons for both sides! Email me if you want some.

Guys will be forced to adjust to the GK reality or go home crying.  Lucky for me BA at least have a sort of answer.  Now I know what I am bringing to Nova!  Ridiculous looking "twice as tall as the tank" banner poles and overly done hand painting and all.

More to come...


Too Sweet! Space Marine is available for Preorder.

I just noticed that Space Marine is now available on Amazon for preorder! It is still a bit far out, but I just purchased my preorder.  Go get it!  


Rediscovering Angels Part 9: Sternguard?

Hey there folks!  After a rather extended absence, it's me again, Xaereth from Delusions of Grandeur!  If you're new to Jawa's blog or have just now become interested in what I have to say, I've been a contributor here since sometime in the winter.  Here's a link to the other 'Rediscovering Angels' articles I've written, if you're interested!  Today I'm going to talk about Sternguard, and how they can interact with a Blood Angels army.

Well, as per usual, let's get the real obvious stuff out of the way.  The first is that Sternguard aren't at all a 'traditional' choice for Blood Angels armies.  They can shoot, but don't have armor (like Predators do).  They can close combat, but don't have two combat weapons (like assault squads do).  They're kind of like Grey Hunters in that they're a swiss-army-knife style unit, but they don't score.  Generally speaking, people would like them in a list, but usually run out of room before they can include them.

So, let's do a little more 'in depth' obviousness, so we're all on the same page.  First, their good qualities:
  • Ammunition that wounds anything on a 2+
  • Ability for every model to take a combi-weapon
  • Ability for two models to take a special or heavy weapon
  • 2 base attacks
  • Can still combine with Sanguinary Priest for FNP/FC
  • Can sit in a rhino with Independent Characters without the 'you can't take an extra meltagun' tax that happens with Assault Squads
  • Much better squad for min/maxxing
Alright, some bad things now:
  • Still die just the same as regular marines
  • Can't take close combat weapons, so the 'same' amount of attacks as regular assault squad
  • Pricy (points-wise AND dollar-wise)
  • Don't score
Well, seems like they aren't too bad, right?  Only four things wrong with them, and way more good things.  Why doesn't everyone take them?  Well, I suppose we can do a comparison in points-costs to a Tactical Marine, since they're of a similar style.

Tactical Marine Point Cost in Blood Angel Codex:  16 (assuming the 'upgrade' to sergeant is 10)
Sternguard Point Cost:  25
Points difference:  Nine points, for a model that dies just as easily

In return for those points, Sternguard get the following considerations as their base characteristics:

  • +1 Attack
  • Ammo that hurts dudes on a 2+
  • 'Hot' S4 AP3 Ammo
  • Slightly better ranged ammo that also ignores cover saves?
Is that by itself worth 9 points per model?  The correct answer is:  no, it's not.  Why would anyone take them then?  Where's the 'hidden' efficiency?

The 'hidden' efficiency is the weapon options.  As stated before, you can min/max this unit like crazy.  It can be exactly what you want it to be, if you're willing to pay the points.  If you aren't taking the 2 special/heavy weapons or combi-weapons, these guys aren't going to be worth it.  They're going to be overpriced.

Random Uses for Sternguard:

Plasma 'Deathstar':

9x Sternguard w/ 9x Combi-plasmas, Priest, Rhino- 370 points

Yep, it's super expensive, but in a single turn of fire, you'll cause what... 10 AP2 wounds to a squad?  They'll single-handedly wipe out another marine squad, provided they don't get cover (which granted, isn't super likely).  Conversely, you can still charge in there with 31 S5 I5 Attacks- not terrible in a pinch, though you can be more efficient.  As a sidenote, I don't think they're actually a deathstar.  They do pack a punch though.  And they aren't exactly a glass cannon either, with FNP.

As another sidenote, this is probably the weakest choice for Sternguard that can actually be 'viable'.

Missile Bunker:

5x Sternguard w/ 2x Missile Launchers, optional rhino-  135/185

These guys don't seem super practical, do they?  I mean, you can get devastators w/ 4x missile launchers for the same price!  You're right, it just doesn't seem very efficient, unless you really want an AV13 spam army, which takes up all the Dev. slots.  On the surface not too practical, but look at this shooty list you can make (abbreviated to save space/time):


5x Assault Marines w/ Melta, Las/Plas Razor
5x Assault Marines w/ Melta, Las/Plas Razor
5x Assault Marines w/ Melta, Las/Plas Razor
5x Assault Marines w/ Melta, Las/Plas Razor
5x Assault Marines w/ Melta, Las/Plas Razor

Sanguinary Priest
5x Sternguard w/ 2x Missiles
5x Sternguard w/ 2x Missiles

Baal Pred
Baal Pred
Baal Pred

Auto/Las Pred
Auto/Las Pred
Auto/Las Pred

Lol, it almost maxes the FOC.  Maybe not the most awesome of awesome, but in a list that you want more long-range shooty, Sternguard can fill in nicely.  They won't even be looked at- people will be shooting the 11 tanks first, since the missiles are hidden in a squad of 5, with FNP.  Which means they'll live to shoot their shots every turn, unlike cheaper/more efficient squads like Devs. Stronger choice in that context, don't you think?

Suicide Melta:

5x Sternguard w/ 2x Meltaguns, 3x Combi-melta, Rhino- 200

They're expensive no doubt, but it's actually cheaper than their counterpart:

10x Assault Marines w/ 2x Meltaguns, Rhino- 225

Sure, that squad can do the same(ish) thing, and has more bodies.  But the assault marines are a) in need of a fist and b) only have 2 meltaguns.  200 points to almost guarantee the death of the tank you need dead, is generally going to be worth it.  If nothing else, they can soak fire.  Note that Sternguard used in the same way but in a Drop Pod aren't very dependable- short range melta in drop pods for the fail.

Jack-of-all-trades Squad:

8x Sternguard w/ 2x Meltaguns, 3x Combi- Melta, 3x Combi-flamer, Rhino- 260

These guys can take whatever independent characters they want in their ride, while also providing some anti-troop and great anti-tank.  They even throw a handful of close combat attacks, if needed.  And the best thing?  You don't depend on them to score, so you can use them more aggressively.  lol

How they fit into a Blood Angels army:

Hm, I think the options above offered as good an insight as any, but I'll give a little more, since I know you love the sound of my voice (the look of my text? heh).  Sternguard are basically the hole-filling slot (which granted, sounds dirty).  Need some extra (really dependable) melta?  Take Sternguard.  Need more shooty?  Take Sternguard.  Want an implausible/stupid expensive squad that can do lots of damage before inevitably dying?  Take Sternguard.
Wrap up:

In an army full of melta, good anti-horde units, and long-range firepower, Sternguard are often easily forgotten.  They're expensive, and without a specific role to play in an army, they are incapable of doing a whole lot.  Still, they can play an important role in your army, if you choose to use them in the correct manner.  Hope this article was helpful. :)

Your thoughts on Sternguard? 

Your thoughts on my googled 'Stern' pictures?

Thanks for your great articles Xaereth. You add something truly special to my blog.  JB

Dear Grey Knights, I hate you. Signed: AV11 Cosigned: Guys on foot.

Every new codex comes with it's share of apocalyptic posts about how each particular book would spell the end of the world.  Well, Tyranids were dead on arrival. Furious Charging Blood Angels with Feel No Pain and an insane Mephiston did not take away the top spot in the competitive codex rankings from IG.  Missile Spam and Jaws of the Wolf Lord are trying hard, but I still relent that IG remained hard fast.

The Grey Knight codex was preceded by none of those doom callers.  Sure there were rumblings about army wide force weapons and Optimus Prime walkers of craziness. But no one was screaming about how GKs were going to change the game as we knew it.

Well, I think it is officially time to start.

It is time to put your Rhinos and Razorbacks on the shelf.  The marine stalwarts made a huge comback with 5th edition, spurred on in part by fast Blood Angels vehicles and the turn five tactics that I wrote about a couple years ago that turned me into a tournament threat.  The AV11 transport enjoyed a brief window of elite efficiency. "Razorspam" became the new in thing.  In addition to the aforementioned reasons, this also happened because competitors were tooling up their armies to deal with AV13 and 14.  Land Raiders were running rampant!  You were seeing armies with 15+ melta guns.  Land Raiders disappeared and since it did not matter, you started seeing armies with 6 to 10 Razorbacks/rhinos.  "Let your melta gun blast my transport, I have half a dozen more, and once the marines are on the table it will only kill one marine!"

Guard one-uped this by fielding a flood of AV12.  Chimeras became the new unstoppable wave of armor that  to this day still strikes fear/revulsion in the hearts of most tournament players.  "Oh god... another IG chimera/vet/vendetta army."

We can kiss AV11 goodbye.  AV12 you are not far behind.  STR7 Assault Cannons, STR6 Heavy Bolters and STR8 Autocannons are indeed how DOOM will be spelled.

Grey Knights, with psyblt ammo, are going to very simply obliterate any mech spam army they encounter.  6 Dreads with two STR 8 auto cannons each...  Ummm that is 24 Twin Linked Missile shots divided up between six different targets.  Top that Wolves!  And lets forget assault cannons for a second.  The mundane Heavy Bolter takes a leap from annoying into dangerous!  Dark Eldar can begin cringing. Oh, and lets not forget the PsyCannon.  Even high armor vehicles will be scrambling for cover against them.

But none of us are stupid. We all can read the numbers and do the math.  The question is, how do we deal?

I pride myself on being ahead of the trends in tournament play.  I don't always win, but I am always in contention to win.  Over the last three years my army has had a complete make over every 3-6 months. Now, I am not talking about simply swapping Melta for Plasma on some of my Vet squads in Chimeras, playing a Manticore, or changing the wargear of my wolf riders to make sure I can get maximum benefit from wound alocation.  I am talking about a complete and total revamp of my army.  I earned my first Vegas ticket using 3 Furioso Dreads in drop pods.  I won Mechanicon using no characters, razorspam and predator tanks.  I was a bad and stupid mistake away from playing for it all at The Colonial using a Land Raider and Storm Raven with Mephiston!

What do I do? I take note of what trends I am seeing at the tournaments, and what net lists are spreading around, and I play lists to beat them.

Recently we have seen a huge increase in auto cannons.  Rifleman dreads, heavy weapon teams in Chimeras, you name it.  This was to combat the torrent of Rhinobacks zooming around.  What was given up? Melta.  At The Conflict I think I encountered 7 melta guns total!  A far cry from the dozens I was seeing per game eight months earlier.  Taking note of the trend, I invested points into my Land Raider Crusader.  Aside from the lucky las cannon shot once in a while, that thing is a work horse for me. It rarely dies.  Except to Tau and Melta Vets. (Once it has delivered it's contents).

One thing I can count on, 40k players are slow to change. Not because they are not smart, but because they invest so much time and money into building their army that they simply cannot create a new one every six months.

How do I intend to deal with Grey Knights?

First of all, Grey Knights are not going to change the game. They are going to change the lists that we play. For every rock, there is a piece of paper. The more adjustable codexs are going to remain at the top.  As we see more and more GKs appearing at tournaments, we are going to see less Space Wolves.  I don't think they have the tools to evolve.  Guard will need to dig beyond what made them initially strong.  Dark Eldar will be forced to pay the points to make sure they go first.

Blood Angels?  They may have it.  Certainly not in assault.  The one thing that has made BA shine is the Sanguinary Priest granting FNP and FC.  Well that won't matter squat assaulting a squad of GK terminators with Halbreds.  (They go at I6)  Goatboy wrote that GKs are not an assault army. Well, I disagree.  Five GK terminators with a Librarian might not be able to deliver the 20+ Power Weapon wounds on Initiative 5 that my Terminators can, but that does not matter when they can deal 10+ Force Weapon wounds at Initiative 6.

No they won't be able to overwhelm Orks on the charge... Who can?  But most of the elite assault squads in the current tournament meta are now outclassed, Charge or Charged, GKs have the ability to stand strong.  Not army wide though!  At least not while fielding more than 15 models.

Any way, my answer to the impending doom of the GK razor spam lists? (Yes, I know this article is about the end of AV11 and here I am saying that GKs will have razor spam.)  They will be the only ones able to pull it off and still very suspect to getting blasted themselves.  My answer is the Land Raider. Welcome back!  The Blood Angels can perhaps do it best because they can field them as dedicated transports at a huge discount.

So my friends, yes the Gks are going to blast your rhinos off the table.  Then they are going to obliterate your MSU squads in a hail of STR 6+ shots.  Expect it, and plan for it.  You won't face them every time, but odds are that over the summer GT season, and leading up to The Nova, we will see more and more.  And they will be making people cry.

It is time to dust off your Land raiders. Blast those GK razorbacks off the table from inside your God Hammers, and avoid the huge Paladin squads. There is no little need to deal with them at all.  Just kill the rest of the army.  What about IG with their 6 Chimeras full of melta vets and Vendettas? Don't worry about them. The GKs will thin their ranks.  Plus Las Cannons hurt them too. Wolves? Gone. Dark Eldar? Unless they take  the guy who gives them Steal the Initiative tricks, they are a 50/50 threat at best.  Lance Weapons still need a 5+ to be a real threat.

I will post my new list this weekend after I play it at The Battle for Salvation RTT.  I am hoping to face some GK. We shall see.


The Heroes of Armageddon: Meet the Blood Angels Build Team!

Here they are! The Blood Angels Build Team:

Jawaballs (Chris Dubuque) Team Leader

I have been into 40k since late fall of 2006.  I painted my first "good" model, and I use that term loosely, about a year later.  Since then I have worked hard and constantly pushed myself to improve.  I started this blog before the boom in 40k blogging, and so the Jawaballs machine took off and I became known as "The Blood Angels Guy".  That lead to some notoriety and infamy, but most importantly, got me invited participate in last years Storm Warden project.  For that project I painted a 10 man tactical squad with Rhino and the Chapter Champion for the Command Squad.  

That lead me to being included with the planning for this years project, and naturally being invited to participate as team leader for The Blood Angels army.  If you are reading this blog, you know plenty about me and my ego. No need to pad it more!  But here is a list of my accomplishments:

Many "Best Painted Armies" at various Rogue Trader Tournaments
The Conflict GT Best Army 2009
Many Grand Tournament Best Army or Best Presentation or Players Choice Runner Up awards. More than I care to count. ;) (Screw you and your skittle marines Joe Johnson)
Many individual model painting awards such as "Best Painted Tank" Bolscon 2009 for the infamous "Feather Tank"
Golden Demon Finalist for Best Painted Squad at Gamesday 2009. Some have said the rightful winner of the Bronze!  
Best Banner Gamesday 2009 and 2010 ( Full Sized Hand painted Blood Angels Banners)

I will be painting Tycho's Personal Land Raider, a Terminator Assault Squad, Corbulo, and a Sanguinary Priest with Jump Pack.

Here are some WIP pics of my Land raider!

Working some magic with Army Painter Dragon Red! 
I spray at angles to intentionally create shadows. :)

Jawa work station. Note another raider in the background. 
That is actually the first tank I ever painted, it was ultramarine blue. I am
breathing new life into it for an upcoming tournament. 

Mike Cho
I have known Mike and Black Matt since I started painting and both have served as inspiration for me.  Mike is possibly the best painter I know. Period. He is an anomaly in the 40k world. He paints, but does not play. In fact, I don't think he even has a painted army! But if you went to his house, I'm sure you would be assaulted by a parade of spectacular models.  He has been a golden demon finalist many times over, and won a bronze at Gamesday 2008 for an Eldar Vyper he painted in a VERY competitive category.  Mike serves as the club Paint Judge for Battle for Salvation tournaments and does not play in tournaments so I can't list off the pile of "Best painted" that I have no doubt he would have won.  But here is a hefty list of Golden Demon accomplishments!

2006 40K Single finalist
2006 40K Vehicle finalist
2006 Fantasy Single finalist
2008 40K Honorable mention
2008 40K Vehicle Golden Demon Bronze
2008 Fantasy Single finalist
2009 40K Single finalist
2009 40K Vehicle finalist
2009 Fantasy Single finalist
2010 40K Single finalist
2010 40K Squad finalist

Here are some images of Mike Cho's work:

Golden Demon Finalist

Recent Golden Demon Finalist

Heroes of Armageddon Work in Progress! This is just the
Storm Raven Pilot. Imagine what the rest of his work will look like!

His Work Space

Here is as jump pack conversion with a third thruster he made for the project.

Visit Mike Cho's Blog HERE.

For The Heroes of Armageddon project, mike is painting:

5 assault marines with Jump Pack
1 Storm Raven
1 Furioso Dread

Old Shatter Hands (Tim Williamson)  from his blog The Tau of War.

I don't recall where I first met Tim, but we became acquainted through the blogosphere.  I believe he showed up at the Jawaballs and Fritz Gamesday table when we first did it at Baltimore and started shaking hands like we were old friends.  He is without a doubt one of the nicest guys I know. 

Tim has a beautiful and unique painting style that I first noticed at The Nova Open in 2010.  I had not realized just how good he was until I saw his tau army on display, and it outclassed my Blood Angels in every way.  

A recent work from his blog demonstrating his unique style.

More stylized Old Shatter hands touch.

Sweet Long fang!

Flesh is not easy.

My personal favorites... 

One of Tim's previous Sanguinary Guard

Here is a small list of some of his accomplishments:

Best Painted Single Miniature at NOVA Open 2010
Best Conversion, SGI Tournament 2009 (pre-cursor to NOVA Open)
Best Painted Army at Blobs Park in 2010 
Best Painted Army at Inner Circle's Holiday Beatdown 2009
Painter's Choice at Inner Circle's First Bunker Tournament 2009

For the Heroes of Armageddon, Tim is painting:

5 Scouts with Shotguns
1 Storm Raven
5 Sanguinary Guard.

Matt McClannahan from Black Matt's Black Legion Blog
Of all painters who have contributed to my work, Matt ranks at the top.  He and I have shared a friendly rivalry within Battle for Salvation ever since I arrived on the scene and stole my first Best Painted away from him.  We have fed off each others work for years and always used each other for inspiration. The yellow I use for my assault helmets is entirely inspired by Black Matt's Imperial Fist army.  I claim responsibility for forcing Matt to step up his game on his Black Legion Rhinos which he did in spectacular fashion.  

Matt's Accomplishments:
Among many honors, perhaps his top accomplishment was Player's Choice at the 2009 Baltimore GW Grand Tournament for his truly inspirational Imperial Fist army.  He has many Golden Demon Finalist awards under his belt plus a slew of Best Painteds.  

Here are some pictures of Matt's work:


This terrible pic does not do this model justice. Go check it out on his blog!

Fantastic chaplain for his Imperial Fist army

The Fist Advance!

And here is his first Work in Progress picture for the Heroes project!

Sadly Matt had to step back from most of what he had planned for the Heroes project due to personal reasons. He will only be painting a Death Company Dread. But we are happy and honored to have whatever he will do for us.  

Joe Johnson. 

When I asked for bio info, Joe wrote up this:

I began playing 40K around 2003 in Atlanta.  Back then I was nothing short of a hardcore win at all cost gamer.  The guys at the local GW store were great at convincing me to get more into the hobby aspect and planted my painting seed.  Now I am less concerned about the win/loss record and enjoy talking about my army conversions and paint as much as I like playing the game!!  Heck I rarely mention that I won overall in the GT in Charlotte several years ago…I like the paint trophies better!!
In the Mid 2000 I began entering my models into the Golden Demon competition and over 3 years manages 3 silver and 3 or 4 bronzes.  As an outrider I typically got to compete against guys like Dave Taylor and Dirty Steve…God bless em both heh.  I have not been to a games day in years so I don’t compete in the GD competition as I enjoy the entire aspect of this hobby.  This means I like to paint ENTIRE army’s to high quality rather than just one or two models.  This has led me to win more best painted trophies than I can count including Players Choice at Atlanta’s GT in 2007 with my Grey Knights, Best Army in Chicago’s GT in 2008 with my Kroot Mercenary list, Best Painted at 2009 Adepticon Invitationals, and best painted at just about every RTT I have played in for the last 3 or 4 years.  Most Recently I took best painted at DaBoyz GT in Rochester 2010 and Best Painted at the recent Conflict GT.  I also tied for Best Painted at the St. Valentines Massacre in Philly this year.  All 3 of these were with my “Salmonanders” or “Skittle Marines” as they have been called by friends and competitors alike.  Currently I run my Eldar and Salamanders list at most events but am working on my Grey Knights as well as my heavily converted Dark Eldar army.  From what I hear Jawaballs has his sites set on me this year now that I have moved into the North Eastern US!!  This means I am going to have to work hard to keep the heat on!!

What else can I say?  Joe is not only a fantastic painter, but a funny guy. He is also not afraid to bust balls, (or Jawaballs) throwing shots at me from across the room at The Conflict GT having never even spoken a word to me.  I have finished right behind his Skittles with my Blood Angels at every GT we have both played in.  

Here are some pics of Joe's work. He does not have a blog.

Joe hams it up at Da Boyz, claiming his Best Painted prize

Joe is known for his "glazing" method of layering paint

One of his award winning Salamander (Skittle) marines

Absolutely beautiful.  

Joe will be painting:
10 Death Company
Death Company Tycho

Can't wait to see what he does!  I was happy to have him working with us.  

Finally we have Ron Saikowski, creator of From the Warp.

Ron's accomplishments in the community are monumental and From the Warp is one of the most loved blogs in the realm.  A cloud of respect follows him around wherever he goes and you can't help but like him when you meet him.  Last year he painted the Storm Wardens chapter banner.  So I thought it only natural that he do one for me!  He is painting up Dante's personal banner to be carried by one of Tim's Guard.  He is also painting a terminator that will be carrying the blood angels chapter banner that he is creating unique for the Armageddon campaign!  How very cool.  I will flush out Ron's contributions with the next post.

What else?  

John and Mike from Santa Cruz are both painting parts of the army. You can feel free to browse their blog for examples of their work.  John is painting a Death Co. Dread and a Baal Predator and Mike is painting the Death Co. Storm Raven.  

Finally, we have THE Hero of Armageddon!  We brought in a special painter to paint Dante.  He will be the subject of my next post, but for a teaser he has won over a dozen Golden Demons of different variety.  More on him next time.

So if you want a shot at winning these Blood Angels, or just feel like contributing to a great cause, click on the link to the top right and use your paypal to donate!  Doctor's Without Borders is the ultimate winner. Check out the Heroes of Armageddon Blog for more info.