Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Thousand Sons review

I got A Thousand Sons and read it the other night (as in read the whole thing after I got home from work) - I would say calling it the best Horus Heresy book thus far isn't too much of a stretch. I honestly wasn't too sure about this as McNiell's Ultramarines, while good, weren't great (tending towards either bland or cartoonish characterisation [replace your mental picture of the Dark Eldar dude in Nightbringer with Skeletor, it won't matter much]), and I had reservations about the fall of Magnus being portrayed as simplistically as Horus'.

But all that was pushed aside and we got some great, well fleshed out characters, a plot that made the character's actions make sense and a lot of subtle hints.

Some of the thing's I noticed (some minor spoilers):

Magnus calling Russ' barbarian personality a mask.

The portrayal of Russ as a frothing madman has always bothered me. In the Rogue Trader books there were all these little Sun Tzu like quotes attributed to Russ, so having him running around crazy didn't really go with that. I like the idea that he puts on the wolfman persona as that's what is expected of him.

How much does the Emperor know of what's going to happen?

Magnus and Ahriman both hint at the Emperor seeing the future (mentioned in the Legion's name discussion amongst others), so why doesn't he act on it?
Perhaps the plan is to turn the galaxy into the "modern" 40k 'verse (meaning the vision the daemon showed Horus was the truth of the Emperor's plan). By that I mean the Emperor saw that humanity's only chance of survival was for him to supress every other religion, then set up a hash, brutal dictatorship worshiping a tangible 'god' to ensure the mistakes of the Dark Age weren't repeated (ie ripping off Dune again).

Maybe he saw the Heresy, but thought he could defeat/turn Horus back, and deal the Chaos powers a major blow by robbing them of the champion they invested so heavily in - but when he had to confront him in the flesh he lost his nerve (bringing some much needed humanity to the Emperor's character)?
This of course contradicts the existing account where the Emperor only destroys Horus when he sees how truly evil he's become, but it could be worked in.

But regardless, the book is top notch - the dialogue is well done, the characters aren't annoying, Magnus is a fool - but not an idiot (like Horus), Ahriman tries to do something when he can see rot setting in (unlike Loken), the battles are fast paced and some of the best in the series, and lastly - the remebramancers aren't annoying and whiny (and they tell people about the improtant information only they know in a timely fashion!).

The only letdowns are that I spotted a few typos, and the very last section felt a little rushed and could have done with another page or two.


Monday, March 08, 2010

Galadhrim go to war!

I finished off my Galadhrim Knights, which is good as they took the field in a battle today:

Basically the same scheme as the warriors, but with bows done in Vermin Brown.
The horses are a mix of Bestial Brown, Skull White and Scorched Brown. Manes are done in Vomit Brown and Charadon Granite.

As mentioned, today I played two games with my Galdhrim, winning two Major Victories - huzzah!

My list was:

2 x Knights with Bow
2 x Knights with Blade and Shield
6 x Warriors with Blade
6 x Warriors with Spear and Shield
4 x Warriors with Bow

My opponent had Legolas and an all foot force composed of Numenorians and High Elves with blade and bow.

The first game was Sieze the Prize - get to the centre objective, dig it up and escape off of the board. Basically I used my cavalry to speed up, get the objective first and race off. Game over in 4 turns.

The knights speed towards the objective (the red dice in the centre) - the enemy forces can bee seen in the distance.

We replayed and rolled up Domination - 1 objective in each table quarter. In the end it was 3-1 in my favour, partly due to some lucky rolls for priority and one swordsman fending off eight enemy warriors! Unfortunatley, I forgot to get a picture.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Galadhrim and an essay on elvish hair colour

Finished painting up some Galadhrim infantry for my Lord of the Rings force. I'm personally a bigger fan of LotR over WotR - the skirmish system suits the material much better to me.

I started with a white undercoat, getting a very even finish - luckily the can held out just long enough to get them all done.

Cloaks are Regal Blue drybrushed white with a blue wash.
Their tabbards are Space Wolf Grey washed black then heavily drybrushed white.
Straps and boots are Snakebite Leather, the sword haft Bestial Brown.
Silver armour/blades are simply Mithril Silver washed black. The edge of the blade got a white drybrush to accentuate it.
The gold armour was first done in Shining Gold, washed black, drybrushed Burnished gold and then drybrushed Mithril Silver. It was then washed in Ogryn Flesh.
The silver drybrush really accentuates the edges, but the wash tinges it a slightly reddish colour so it blends better.

The bases are by Iron Halo, from their Wylde Wood line. They had very little flash on them and only a couple of minor bubbles in one or two rocks (this is out of the thirty odd I've used so far). They also have a nice weight to them so the models are very balanced.

The bases were painted with a Khemri Brown base, leaves in Gretchin Green, roots in Astronomican Grey and rocks in Charadon Granite.
The whole lot was washed with Devlan Mud, then the rocks drybrushed Fortress Grey then White.
The plain textured areas had a few dabbing drybrushes of Macharius Orange and an Ogryn Flesh wash to add some tone to them, though it doesn't really show in the photos unfortunately.

It may seem a bit odd to some to have forest dweling guys on brownis-orange bases, but given Middle Earth is prettymuch the English countryside I've modeled it on them being inside a forest:

It's something I remember quite vividly from my trips to the UK as it is very different to the Australian bush. Also any of the TV adaptations of Robin Hood provide good inspiration (especially that acid trip one from the 80s where Robin hangs out with Herne the Hunter).

But anyways, that's what the deal is with them.

Also none of my Galadhrim will be blonde as the inhabitants of Lothlorien are predominantly Silvan elves, who are an offshoot of the Nandor, who are in turn descended from the Teleri.
Telerian elves are predominantly black haired, save the silver hair of their royal house (including Elu Thingol and Celeborn).
The other main heratige of the Galadhrim would be Noldorian refugees from the War of Wrath (including Galadriel, but more on her below). They have predominantly black hair also, but browns and red were not uncommon.

Golden hair is introduced from the Vanyar, who all stayed in Aman, via Indis marrying Finwe the king of the Noldor (and possibly other Vanyar marrying Noldor who were later exiled). This is why Galadriel's golden hair is such an unusual thing in a Middle Earthen elf, it coming from her grandmother.

So basically blonde elves are a great rarity outside the realm of the Valar, Galadriel and Glorfindel being prettymuch the only ones of note. Legolas' hair colour is never definitavely described but being Sindarin he would either have black hair or possibly, due to being royal, silver.

So, yeah.

This is 300pts of Galadhrim, plus a banner bearer as I'd already based him. With any luck I'll be taking them on Sunday (with even more luck, painted) to get some games in.