Sunday, 31 January 2010

Pretty Disappointed with the Horus Heresy

I promised a less picture-intensive blog and here it is.

I've spent the last 3 months or so (among other things) devouring the BL Horus Heresy series and my general sense is one of disappointment. Don't get me wrong, the first four books in the series are great reads with lots of action - especially Galaxy in Flames and Fulgrim - but after Fulgrim I really got the sense that they were dragging the series out (although I appreciate that they are trying to do 'meanwhile at this time' and cover the history of the other Legions). Leaving that to one side, my general gripes with the series are:

1. Two Dimensional Characters (to say the least). I appreciate that the audience for these books isn't going to want pages and pages of existential discussions of the sort that you would find in a Dostoyevsky novel, but some actual character depth would be nice. In the series characters are very much painted as 'good' and 'bad' with little or no shading or exploration of motivations (the nearest that you get to this is the decline of Fulgrim, but this could have been explored a lot more). Arguably the worst sin of the entire series is that you do not get any real exploration of Horus and his motivations for switching sides. The scene where he becomes corrupted by Erebus, falls and then essentially sets the Imperium on a crash-course for implosion is handled in (correct me if I'm wrong) just a one chapter. Even then, the way that it is described is pretty superficial: another blogger described it well when he said it was like he was getting sold a used car rather than betraying all his principles, his father etc.

2. The Covers. I know that this is not a major issue, but why is it that the cover image of each book invariably has nothing to do with the contents of the book itself?

3. Back of a napkin/beer-mat plots. Once you get past the first books in the series, the plots become to feel like they have been sketched out on the back of a beer-mat and then passed on to the author with a request to 'spin this out to 150k words'. Two of the books in the series: Flight of the Eisenstein and Battle for the Abyss are nearly the same story - a chase through the warp. Arguably the worst two books for this, though, are Legion and Mechanicum. Again, I appreciate the respect in which Dan Abnett is held around the 40Kverse, but I defy anyone to not be able to summarise the plot of Legion in one sentence (my attempt would be: through a long and convoluted series of events, a member of an underground Cabal finally manages to tell the Alpha Legion about how the Horus Heresy will unfold). Equally the general narrative of Mechanicum is interesting, but it feels like the author realised that he was about 50k words short and so put the whole plot about the serpent in there for padding. I may ultimately be wrong on this, but I don't think a serpent trapped on Mars will be a defining motif of the series if it ever ends.

4. The Dark Angels Books. I don't think that I am saying anything too controversial when I say that the two Dark Angels books in the series are perhaps its weakest elements. Apart from the desire to draaaaaaaag the story out, I cannot for the life of me think of any reason why Descent of Angels, Fallen Angels and whatever the next book in the Dark Angels series could not have been done as one 400 page book. The first two books could easily have been made into one book and told the same story without the padding (and don't get me started on having a lead character who is called, at least when I speed-read it, Lionel).

5. When will we leave the Istvaan system? I know that the more books BL can sell, the more money they make, but, really, it would be great if they could move the main action from Istvaan back towards Terra (come on, guys, its been almost 6 books now!)

My only hope is that once the series is over, BL publishes a decent (say, 1,000 page) synopsis of the whole story with none of the padding.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Re-done Armoured Sentinel

As I said in the last post, I wasn't 100% happy with the paint-job on the armoured sentinel, not least because it didn't match my 2 Russes. Soooo, I've added a layer of khaki to it and now it looks at least a bit better:

Friday, 29 January 2010

More Guard (and Rolf)

OK, the highlight of my week has to be:

As well as meeting Rolf, I've spent this week working some more through my Guard project. My plan is (still?) to build up a 1k list and then see how i like it and then maybe upgrade to 1.2 and then 1.5k. My initial list (painted items in red) being:

Company Command Squad (4x Meltaguns) 90
Chimera (Multi-laser & heavy flamer) 55
Troops (2)
Platoon Command Squad (4x Meltaguns) 70
Chimera (Multi-laser & heavy flamer) 55
10 Troops (Grenade Launcher, autocannon) 65
10 Troops (Grenade Launcher, autocannon) 65

Platoon Command Squad (4x Meltaguns) 70
Chimera (Multi-laser & heavy flamer) 55
10 Troops (Grenade Launcher, autocannon) 65
10 Troops (Grenade Launcher, autocannon) 65
Fast Attack
Scout Sentinel (autocannon & Smoke Launcher) 45
Heavy Support
Leman Russ 150
Leman Russ 150

Anyway, on with the new pix. First up are the second troop squad:

I equipped this squad with a pile of flamers because I loved the look of the mini. It's not codex-legal, so they will just be proxies for lasguns.

Inspired by the really nice comments that I've had about my previous Guard paintjobs, I really pulled out the stops for my mortar squads, trying to have each one tell a story in a way. They wont be included in my 1k list, but hopefully I should be able to work a few into the 1.2k list:

And finally a scout sentinel (again proxying an armoured one for a basic scout):

TBH I'm not 100% sure about this one. The colour-scheme is a bit dark and I'm sure I could do a better job. I'll either hawk it on the bay of e and build the one that came in the second battleforce or try and redo the paintjob somehow.

EDIT: Since the first version of this entry, I've now finished the 2 Russes:

And finally a couple of shots of the lead tank:

The plan for this week is to paint either a Chimera or the PCS - or maybe redo the Sentinel.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Imperial Guard Project: 65pts in

Painted first 10 of my IG this week (65pts), with 10 more about 80% done

My aim is to have my first platoon finished by this time next week.
I have some more to keep me going lol

Friday, 15 January 2010

The Guard Project Begins!!

One of the simple, albeit not cheap. pleasures in life has to be opening a 40K battleforce box.
I came home from work yesterday to find the first of two that I have bought from Maelstrom Games had arrived, officially signalling the beginning of the Guard Project.
My plan is to try and paint up 500, then 750 and then finally 1.2k points over the next few months, using them as an opportunity to work on faces/skin, lighter colours and new basing techniques.

The only downside to the project so far is that, as occurred with the CSM project, the Guard project has also been cursed with bad ebay purchases. I bought 2 Leman Russ tanks before Xmas and they also arrived this week. However, one of them is missing half its treads and some other bits and bobs, meaning that I have enough bits to make 1.5 at the most. I'm currently haggling with the seller over a refund or more treads.

On a related note, I've completed an initial draft of the W40K fanfiction project article. More about that, though, next week...

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Daemon Prince of Nurgle Completed

Finished it in about a week of tinkering. The can on his back was a REAL pain to stick on and in the end I had to pin it in 2 places to get it to stick. Overall, I'm giving this a 6.5 - 7/10 for the paintjob. I'm pretty sure that I will revisit it down the line and redo it:

Friday, 8 January 2010

Finishing Off Chaos

This week has been a fairly productive one. I've finished my Chaos Spawn (proxies for Fiends) and my Apostate Preachers of Nurgle, almost finished my Daemon Prince of Nurgle, and written almost 2,000 words of my W40K fanfiction article (which, for me, is a lot of words to produce in a week).
All things being equal, I'm hoping to finish off my DP next week along with my last squad of Plague Marines, by which time my Cadian boxset should have arrived.

Time for pix:

First up, the Apostate Preachers. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out, although it was touch and go at several points - Calthan Brown is a strange colour. I'll probably run them as a second HQ choice in my Nurgle CSM army - Chaos Sorcerer with familiar and Warp Time and Nurgle's Rot

Two squads of Spawn/Fiends ready to go, and some detail-shots of my favourite ones:

Pinkie Brown - evil all the way to his core



Friday, 1 January 2010

New Year, New Decade, New Army: The Guard

Well, after mocking them, Ive finally been tempted over to try some Guard this year. My plan is to work up 500pts for skirmish games, and then up to 750pts. I can't see myself going over 1k with them, but who knows.

I'm just working out colour-schemes: Khaki or camo?

My initial list is going to be essentially the Cadian Battleforce plus a tank:

Platoon Command Squad (Power Weapon & Heavy Flamer) 60

Troops (1 Platoon)
10x Guard 50
10x Guard (Missile Launcher & Plasma Gun) 80
1x Heavy Weapons Team (Autocannon) 65
Fast Attack
Scout Sentinel (Lascannon) 50
Heavy Support
Leman Russ (Lascannon, Sponson Heavy Bolter & Stubber) 195