The Saint

I’ve been thinking about how to field Saint Sabbat in a game of Warhammer 40,000.

Saint Sabbat. I can’t seem to find the name of the artist, but official GW art and hence copyright to them.

The obvious place to start is with the only Living Saint that actually has rules – Saint Celestine. I figure Sabbat should have the same statline as Celestine, with the exception of her movement, because while the Beati is undoubtedly awesome, the God Emperor declined to give her wings.

(It would have been highly thematic to give her 9 Wounds, but that’s just short of a Chimera APC, which seems a bit over the top)

MWSBSSTWALdSv
6″2+2+336692+

With stats sorted out the next step is wargear. Celestine wields the Ardent Blade – the handy-dandy, flame-throwing, power sword from hell, man! While very cool, this is a one of a kind weapon, and there is sadly a complete dearth of accounts of Saint Sabbat incinerating people with a sword thrust. So I decided to give her a knockoff Ardent Blade clone without the ranged attack.

Now a Saint cannot live by swords alone, so what else could Sabbat wield? Her description in Sabbat Martyr notes that her left hand is adorned with a gilded glove with eagle claws. This could simply be some Saintly bling, but I decided to do something with it. I have declared that the Eagle’s Talon gives anyone the Saint whacks with it a nice debuff, making it easier for everyone else to get stuck in.

Finally, what’s a Saint without ranged firepower? In Anarch she’s seen to be carrying a fancy golden autopistol, so let’s throw one of those in as an alternative for the Eagle’s Talon.

WEAPONRANGETYPESAPD
Power SwordMeleeMelee+4-32
Eagle’s TalonMeleeMelee+1-2*
* Target is at -1 Toughness until the end of the Battle Round
Master Crafted Autopistol12″Pistol 2301

Now we get to the fun bit, special rules!

I’m thinking that as Saint Celestine is a Saint for the Adepta Sororitas, Saint Sabbat should be a Saint for the Astra Militarum. So we’ll start by giving her the ability to inspire/boss around nearby infantry with Voice of Command. We’ll then nick Aura of Discipline from the great Commissar Yarrick, although we’ll call it Aura of Inspiration instead.

Checking back in with Celestine we’ll borrow The Armour of Saint Katherine, file off the serial numbers and call it Aquilan Aura, to represent that cool, glowing green eagle thing that shows up whenever Sabbat gets pissed off (see pic above).

Celestine also has that nice Shield of Faith ability. The 6+ Invulnerability Save is a bit much, but slapping down enemy Psykers is totally in character, so we’ll chop the save off it and call it No Miracles, Only Men (you know, since that’s a direct quote).

Finally we need something unique, an ability that only Saint Sabbat has access to. I can think of nothing better than giving her an Honour Guard. At the start of the battle a player fielding Saint Sabbat can designate a friendly unit with the INFANTRY and ASTRA MILITARUM keywords. As long as Saint Sabbat remains on the field that unit has +1 Toughness.

With that sorted the only thing left to do is set keywords and costs. Saint Sabbat’s Faction Keywords are IMPERIUM, ASTRA MILITARUM and <REGIMENT>, and her general Keywords are CHARACTER, INFANTRY, OFFICER and SAINT SABBAT. Her POWER level is 8 and points cost 150 – both estimates based on Saint Celestine

So, there we go. Completely untested and probably overpowered, but what the hey!

Saint Sabbat 40k Rules

Shopping

You know those dreams where there’s a really awesome shop, and then you wake up and forget the dream, but halfway through the day you remember the really awesome shop and for a moment you think it’s real and then you remember it was just a dream and there’s no really awesome shop?

I hate those dreams.

But I tell ya, if Games Workshop branches were as amazing as I dream they are, there’d be a lot less whinging in the tabletop community.

(I dream about Games Workshop. It’s hard to put into words just how sad that is).

It’s finally happened, Bart – You’ve lost your mind!

For those not in the know, this weekend was Perth Open House 2012, which is part of an international movement that lets people in to buildings and facilities that are usually off limits to the general public. Ryan and I headed out on Saturday and took in the Perth Concert Hall, Council House, the heritage buildings on the Terrace and the Church of Jesus Christ Scientist.

Of the four, the Concert Hall had the best tour – with access to just about every nook and cranny including backstage and the roof space above the auditorium! – Council House had the best views, the Church had the best architecture, and the heritage buildings…. well that tour was pretty short and didn’t actually let us inside many of them – but as they’re now occupied by a dozen different businesses that’s probably understandable. And it was all free, so no complaints!

Pictures are slowly going up on my photostream.

You've lost your mind!But that’s not what I came to tell you about – I came to talk about the draft.

No! Wait! I came to talk about how I’ve gone completely mad.

Those who keep up with such things will know that I nominally run a Valhallan army in the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop miniatures game. I say “nominally” because I haven’t played a game in ages – my only semi-regular opponent was Fabes and he’s now got a partner and another kid on the way, both things that make playing with toy soldiers seem rather insignificant 😉 One of these days I’ll get myself together enough to pack my force up, take it down to Games Workshop and play a game there – in the meantime I fool around with converting models and building terrain whenever the mood takes me.

And oh boy, has the mood taken me.

One of the elements of the 40k universe I’ve always liked are the Adeptus Mechanicus – the Machine Cult of Mars. There’s a lot of background for them, but no official tabletop army, which is a shame because if there was I’d probably be collecting that rather than the Imperial Guard (which is not to say there’s anything wrong with the Valhallans). One of the coolest things about the AdMech of course are the Titans – ridiculously oversized and impractical battle robots that constitute the Imperium’s ne plus ultra in regularly available battlefield forces – ranging in size from the merely impressive Warhound Scout Titan to the mind-bogglingly insane Emperor Titan, which could quite happily knock down the Statue of Liberty just for the hell of it.

Fielding a Warhound – or even the next size up Reaver – is quite possible with an Imperial Guard force, thanks to the amazing models available through Forgeworld. However, their sheer power (and points cost) limits them to oversized Apocalypse games, and their investment in terms of cash is not be sneezed at – particularly for a more-or-less casual player such as myself. So adding a Titan to my army is not something that’s really possible. That is unless…

…we consider the Knight.

Knight Titans are somewhat obscure nowdays – you hardly ever hear them mentioned in official sources. However they are part of the 40k universe and provide a much more reasonable option for Titanic tabletop goodness. There are no official models for them, so if you want to field one, you need to hack it together yourself out of existing models and whatever else you can find around the house – it’s quite a project to get on with.

Now what did I say earlier about fooling around with converting models? 😀

Yesterday I dropped a frankly stupid amount of money on eBay to purchase a Nemesis Dreadknight and assorted bits from the Storm Raven and Defiler models, all with the intent of knocking together my very own, homebrew Knight. Unlike most of my conversion projects I have a very clear idea on what I’m going to do with it, which should make matters rather more efficient – but it’s still no excuse for wasting so much money on toy soldiers. But hey, what can you do? 🙂

(At least I can recoup some costs by selling the various bits I won’t use…)

I intend to field the model as an armoured Sentinel. It won’t be anywhere near as powerful as a Knight should be, but I’m more interested in just having a Titan model on the table than I am actually winning with it – which given my general performance with then models I already have is probably a good thing 🙂

So that’s my insane plan. Stay tuned for progress updates when the parts actually arrive…

Warblings of a Diseased Brain

Last week I was sitting at the Morley bus station (as you do), and – not having anything to read while waiting for my bus – my brain was wandering (as it does) down highways and byways of the strange, mysterious and downright stupid.

By far the most stupid of these trackways was speculation on what would happen if Games Workshop signed a promotional deal with A Large, Unnamed Fast Food Company™  (ALUFFC™ for short) and started handing out snap together Space Marine models along with burgers.

Think about the possibilities! All the overweight nerd children who could be lured into the hobby by a single model with some cheap chapter stickers and a collectable Primarch information card! All the burgers that would be bought by fanatical GW fans desperate to get their hands on the exclusive burger-deal-only Space Marine model! The money would just roll in on both sides!

But best of all, ALUFFC™ could launch up to 21 new meal deals based on the Emperor and his Primarchs! For instance…

The Emperor: An oversized burger with the lot – guaranteed to keep you immobile on the “Golden Throne” for what seems like millenia.
The Guilliman: ‘Blue’ beef with extra cheese.
The Fulgrim: Wagyu beef, Italian lettuce, brie and artisanal hand cut fries.
The Angron: Three beef patties, spicy pickles and ‘extreme’ chilli sauce.
The Sanguinius: Rare beef with a side of wings.
The Perturabo: A pretty standard burger, but you have to eat your way through a massive breastwork of fries to get to it.
The Mortarion: Extra onions, limberger cheese, garlic sauce and underdone meat (for the thrillseeker not afraid of intestinal parasites).
The Horus: Flame grilled beef on a wholemeal bun with spicy ‘heresy’ sauce.
The Alpharius: You never know what they’ll serve you, but there’s two of it.

The possibilities are endless!

(I’ll shut up now ;))

Dark Fruits of the Mind

Anyone actually singing this in the 41st Millennium would be up before the Inquisition so fast…

The thing about having a creative brain is sometimes it’ll create things you just don’t want it to. And the only way to get rid of things that it’s created against your will is to spit them out into the world – otherwise they’ll lurk in the dark corners of your mind and jump out to torment you when you least expect them to.

As such, I am reluctantly forced to subject you all to this monstrosity. I’m so, so sorry…

My mother was the keeper of the orbital dock,
And she slept with a sanctionite warlock,
Out of this union came children three,
An ogryn and a ratling and the other was me,

Oh now see the Emperor’s light!
Oh for the life of a sanctionite!

One cycle I testing out the ammo feed,
Belting out a verse of the Omnissiah’s Creed,
A voice from behind me said “Hey there!”
I turned to see my father floating in midair,

Oh now see the Emperor’s light!
Oh for the life of a sanctionite!

What has become of my children three?
My father then he asked of me,
One was fed to the Emperor’s throne,
The other was converted to a servitor drone,

Oh now see the Emperor’s light!
Oh for the life of a sanctionite!

The warp fire flashed in his skull white hair,
I looked again and my father wasn’t there,
A voice came echoing from the airlock,
“To the warp with the keeper of the orbital dock!”

Oh now see the Emperor’s light!
Oh for the life of a sanctionite!

For Reference Purposes

Behold the God Machines of the Omnissiah!

The battle against rickettsiae continues. I’m still sick, but not quite as sick as I was yesterday. However I’ve completely run out of tissues so it feels just as bad as yesterday. Sigh.

In any case I’ve spent my time today cancelling reservations and preparing to contact my travel insurance company to beg for money. To calm myself down from this I’ve also just spent a few hours researching 40k Titans and seeing what I could figure out about the vexatious issue of scale. So I can find these easily in future, I thought I’d put them here.

So here is height and scale data for Imperial Titans (as far as I’m concerned :))

Imperial Knight Titan (Rarely mentioned these days)
Tabletop: 15 cm / 5.9 inches
Real Scale: 9m /29.5 feet

Warhound Titan
Tabletop: 25 cm / 9.8 inches
Real Scale: 15m / 49.2 feet

Reaver Titan
Tabletop: 40 cm / 15.75 inches
Real Scale: 24m / 78.7 feet

Warlord Titan
Tabletop: 60 cm / 23.6 inches
Real Scale: 36m / 118 feet

Emperor Titan
Tabletop: 90 cm / 35.4 inches
Real Scale: 54m / 177 feet

It would be nice for the Emperor Titan to be bigger (one of my calculations suggested 180 metres, which would require a tabletop model 3 metres tall!), but around 54 metres seems to be the most reasonable figure.

Hope that helps someone out, if only me 🙂

Inevitable

Oh no, not again...
Oh no, not again...

If you play Warhammer 40k, it’s inevitable that sooner or later Games Workshop will completely screw you over.

In my case this happened a few months back. I’d figured out a strategy that I reckoned would – if not actually defeat Fabes and his Spess Mehreens at least give them a run for their money. I even spent some money purchasing models to do it all proper and official like. Then Games Workshop changed the rules and invalidated the entire thing.

Dang.

(I’m not going to say what the strategy was as I’m sure Fabes would be interested in playing a game using it just to see what would have happened…)

And this month Games Workshop have done it again with the release of the new Necrons Codex.

Of course they haven’t screwed me over games-wise – I’m an IG Treadhead not a Necronphile. They’ve instead completely offended my stylistic sensibilities by changing the Necrons from a ruthless, emotionless killing machine serving the omnicidal agenda of millenia-dead star gods into a bunch of bickering empire builders who no longer want to harvest the galaxy, just rule it with a living-metal fist. The latest White Dwarf even features a conversation between a couple of Necrons. A fething conversation!

And the C’Tan! Now it turns out that the Necrons overthrew the C’Tan and split them into “shards”. Shards? What pantheon are we talking about here?

The Necrons used to represent an important aspect of the grimdarkness of the 40k universe – make deals with things more powerful that yourself and you’ll lose everything. Now you can apparently make deals with things more powerful than yourself, overthrow them, and walk away with cool metal bodies covered in bling. That’s not 40k. That’s not even close to 40k. But I suppose it does mean Games Workshop can sell a bunch more cool looking models, which is the main thing*.

Oh well, time to invoke the MST3K mantra….

* Yes, of course selling models is the main thing, it’s always been the main thing, and if Games Workshop wants to alter their IP to sell more models they’re perfectly within their rights to do so. It just hurts to have it shoved so obviously in our faces, that’s all.

CHOGM, Resin Skulls and Stephen Fry

An update

I think I promised a blog update this weekend didn’t I?

It’s kind of difficult to keep up with the blogging at the moment because the old black dog is nipping at my heels again – quite badly as a matter of fact. A lot of the time all I want to do is sleep. I’ve actually tested that out, to see if it makes things better, but it doesn’t really – I just wake up tired and fuzzy headed with my mouth feeling like the bottom of a lion cage, so it’s down to the tried and true methods of eating right, trying to get more exercise and doing my best to get out and be social, despite the fact that I’d rather be unconscious. No doubt I’ll pull out of it sooner or later, but in the meantime it’s not much fun.

In any case for those not in the know this was CHOGM week in Perth, when the heads of the Commonwealth nations descended on the city like a horde of Elder Gods, dragging hordes of vile servitors in their wake, and the Yog Sothoth of this abominable crew, Her Majesty the Queen (and her personal Nyarlathotep, Prince Phillip) also stopped in to say hi and attend a barbecue.

We’ve been preparing for this for months, and in the end it’s all been a bit of an anticlimax. Some roads were shut down, some exclusion zones were set up, some protesters waved placards and some civil liberties were casually abused in the name of security, and then it was all over. Some interesting things were done – the laws of Royal succession were altered to favour the first born child regardless of gender for instance – and some important things argued about and ultimately ignored (such as agreeing to give Commonwealth citizens a few basic human rights) and then it was all over. Ho Hum.

The big event for we peasants was the barbecue on the foreshore yesterday. It was the typical public event thing, everyone milling around for a few hours waiting for the Monarch and Royal Consort to put in an appearance, which they eventually did for a while before leaving without so much as eating a sausage (although Prince Phillip played with some barbecue tongs). On the plus side public transport was free across the entire city all day, which I took advantage of to catch up with Rebecca and Dom and the kids at Siennas in Mount Lawley for lunch. Strangely though, despite the free transport the railway was shut down between Perth Underground and Esplanade. If you asked they’d probably say they were concerned about someone trying to pull a V for Vendetta and blow up the Gleddon Building from below, but I suspect the real reason was that they’d either bailed up the city’s homeless in the tunnel to prevent the sight of them offending the Queen, or the Mole Men were holding their own CHOGM barbecue down there. Maybe both.

But anyway, it’s all over now and CHOGM ephemera is now selling for decent bucks on eBay.

I’ve been playing around with casting this weekend. I needed some large Adeptus Mechanicus symbols for some 40k terrain I’m sporadically working on, and a search of the net indicated that no one makes them anywhere and hence they’re quite hard to come across and rather expensive when you do. So I said, to hell with you, I’ll make my own people! Or rather my own AdMech symbols. I built a master out of plywood, plasticard and the general debris that a natural hoarder such as myself invariably accumulates, made a latex mould from it and have been merrily turning out cogwheels-with-skulls willy nilly all weekend. I’m almost tempted to make some extra ones and sell them on eBay, but I suspect Games Workshop’s lawyers would come down on me like the hammer of Sigmar and I’d never be heard from again. Oh well, I have what I came for 🙂

Last weekend of course it was QI Live at the Burswood theatre. I’d assembled a small group to attend consisting of myself, Katie, Justin and Marika. I met up with Justin and Marika at the Atrium buffet before the show which, despite the fact that it was stupidly expensive and they threw us out at 7:30 (they close for half an hour on Friday and Saturday evenings – no idea why but I suppose it’s not for the likes of me to criticise the behaviour of the wealthy) was fantastic. I was particularly fond of the beef and mushroom ragout, and the desert bar was absolutely sumptuous. We then met up with Katie outside the theatre before proceeding in to our seats.

Our seats were in the very back row of the ground floor and, surprisingly, turned out to be excellent. Sure, we were about as far from the stage as it was possible to get, but our view was completely unobstructed. We could also listen in to the chatter of the stage-management guys just across the aisle, which was most amusing when one of the guests’ microphones failed and they had to improvise a solution. We also heard the final scores a few second before everyone else, for what it was worth 🙂

The show was excellent. Entertaining and informative in equal measure. It was a bit shambolic, what with being the very first QI Live ever, but that was part of the fun. Stephen Fry regaled us with tales of his first visit to Perth (the phrase “eastern states or overseas” will never sound the same again) and Alan Davies hammed it up for the crowd, despite being seriously ill (or at least claiming that he was seriously ill, there was a lot of mention of ‘slurry’). The guests were Colin Lane, Denise Scott and some guy who I’ve never heard of, but who did a decent enough job despite being the victim of the aforementioned microphone failure.

If there was one problem it was that it did drag on a bit. The show didn’t finish until just before 11:00, and Justin even fell asleep in his sear despite the regular klaxon whenever Alan Davies tried to answer a question (he had been up since 4:00 though so it’s quite understandable). I imagine they’ll get the hang of balancing amusing blather with keeping things moving in future performances, but it was a small price to pay for the privilege of being there for the show’s first outing.

Once it was all over we dumped our plan of going somewhere for drinks (Justin was just about dead on his feet and I wasn’t far behind) and Katie and I wandered around what seemed like all of Burswood looking for a taxi before stumbling over one who’s driver was just as lost looking for the taxi rank as we were.

So, a good night was had by all, despite being informed that the first European to discover Australia recommended that it be named “New Zealand” 😉

Hmmm, that’s all I’ve got to say. There’s cleaning I have to do, and after that I’m tempted to see if that sleep thing might finally work 🙂

Strip!

Simple Green and Simple Green! What is Simple Green?!

Among the models that I’ve been buying off eBay for my Valhallans was a rather interesting plastic one that came as part of a job lot. I can’t tell exactly what it’s meant to be, but it looks like a bald guy with cables coming out the back of his head, wielding what appears to be a plasma gun. There’s a large aquilla on his chest and he’s carrying some kind of ammo or power box.

Any further attempt at identification has been hampered by a bad repainting job – rather than strip off the previous paint a new coat of black primer has been sprayed over the top, rendering all detail lumpy and indistinct. There’s no way I was going to let this stand, so I did some research into paint stripping on plastic models.

Stripping paint off metal models is no problem – I’ve been using nail polish remover (acetone) for that with great success. Plastics are another matter entirely however, as any chemical strong enough to melt paint will usually melt plastics as well, so one needs to be very careful and run some tests. Or go to the internet which is of course what I did.

Searching for stripping info online was (as is normally the case) both enlightening and frustrating in equal parts. It appears that the gold standard for stripping plastics is a mysterious product called “simple green”. Americans seem to swear by it, and then refuse to listen when people point out that they don’t live in the States and therefore can’t obtain it…

Non-American: What can I use to strip plastics?
American: Use Simple Green! It’s awesome!
Non-American: What the hell is Simple Green?
American: It’s the best thing ever! Use Simple Green!
Non-American: I can’t get Simple Green where I live, what else can I use?
American: Simple Green! You can get it at your local Walmart!
Non-American: I live in [Country], is there something else I can use?
American: I don’t understand why you don’t just use Simple Green!
Non-American: I can’t get Simple Green!!
America: Simple Green!

…and so on.

Second rank suggestions include a variety of unpleasant substances such as turpentine, methylated spirits, oven cleaner and acne cream – all with provisos that they might melt the plastic anyway, so you should just be sensible and use Simple Green. But there was one suggestion that caught my eye – Dettol. I have some Dettol, so I thought I’d give it a crack.

Two days of soaking bits of sprue in Dettol resulted in no melting or other damage, so it passed the first hurdle. That tested I felt confident enough to dump the model in the stuff, so left it in overnight.

So the results – Dettol does in fact melt paint without damaging the underlying plastic. Hooray!

The downside – Dettol turns the paint into a highly adhesive, sticky mush, kind of like what you’d get if you mixed shoe polish and superglue. It sticks like crazy to the model, and to your hands, and to anything else you touch while frantically trying to get if off said hands. My bathroom taps now look like I’ve been enthusiastically smearing them with Kiwi, and my fingernails look like Marilyn Manson’s. It seems that the only way to shift this shoggoth-like material is with more Dettol, so my bathroom and hands now smell like the intensive care ward down at the hospital. But at least the paint is coming off!

I’ve left the model in to soak again while I’m at work. Maybe tonight I’ll be able to finish the job without ending up looking like a Hey Hey it’s Saturday sketch.