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Wednesday, June 30th, 2010
11:41 AM
Part 1: Troops
We hear it and see it everywhere: "Mech is king."  And why not?  Transports are cheap, easy to use and add considerably to the survivability of your troops.  They also aid in their reliability - making sure those troops get where you need them to be.  It's hardly surprising this is where the meta-game is leaning these days (though recent armies like the Blood Angels, Tyranids, and yes - Space Wolves are moving away from that trend.)

So when I unpack my 1850 pts list at my FLGS every Thursday, it's understandable that my opponent says something akin to, "huh, no transports, eh? ... well, good luck."  After all, troops outside of transports must be easy pickings, right?  Well, not so with the Space Wolves, and here are the reasons why:

The myth of transports as cure-alls:
Let's take a look at some of the conventional wisdom of mech and how it applies (or doesn't) specifically to the Space Wolves.

Purchasing a transport is not a huge points investment and does offer some means of protection for the squad.  After all you have to kill the rhino before you can kill the squad.  But a rhino is really not that hard to kill, sure you might get cover or pop your smoke screen, but it won't take much to make that AV11 crumple.  In my experience usually 2 or 3 turns.  Then, once your troops are out of their rhino, they've either made it to their destination (yay!) or been forced to dive out of it - probably out in the open as well (boo).

If they've been forced to disembark - that's very bad, as it means they're either in a lot of danger (perhaps the enemy planned to pop your rhino and now has a lot of AP3 guns to send your way) or they are now equal to footslogging troops (except minus the points used for the rhino).

If they made it to their target intact, then they must either disembark to assault or fire at full strength or they can sit in their tin can until such time as they have to run from it because it's been reduced to molten scrap.

So basically, you pay some points for a chance to have a footslogging squad deploy outside of your zone after 2 or 3 turns of the game.  But why did you need to do this?  If it's objectives then your troops should be holding your own while more sacrificial units make the charge against an enemy's objectives.  And if it's kill points, well, you've just given them a rhino and a squad on a silver platter.  This leads me to something I've noticed about 40k in general:

Most armies (or players) will come at you.

There are few armies that will simply sit back and not even try to move at you (obviously, IG and Tau will, but we'll get to them later).  So instead of trying to throw squads at targets in their rhinos, what happens when we let our targets come to us?

First, we can stop paying for rhinos and thus free up  enough points for some nice goodies elsewhere in the list.  Secondly, we can start getting the most out of the awesome basic troop we have in the form of the grey-hunter.  They have a 3+ save (like any marine) but also counter-attack, uber-grit (close-combat weapon, pistol and bolter), the ability to take two special weapons and the ability to have a sergeant attached to them (raising their squad numbers to 11 if you're not confined to a rhino's 10 transport capacity).  This set-up is a unique mix in troops that people simply don't anticipate.  Consider the following squad:

10 Grey Hunters, 2 plasma guns, 1 wolf standard
with attached Wolfguard, terminator armor, combi-plasma, wolf-claw
213pts (only 8pts more than comparable squad with rhino and no wolfguard)

They deploy in cover (preferably in ruins) near a home objective.  Because they're stationary they can fire out to their full 24" (getting the most out of their plasma's extra range over a melta or flamer).  To get assaulted, the attackers must make their difficult terrain rolls, and weather a turn or two of plasma and bolter fire and when they get there they face 33 attacks going at initiative 4 (possibly first if the assaulters lack frag grenades).  If needed, the squad can also pop it's standard and re-roll any 1's that phase.  This set up is certainly a far cry from the vulnerable disembarked troops sitting in the middle of the field.

Now, it's important to note that I'm not saying all transports are worthless.  IG vet squads would be nearly helpless without their chimeras, and specialized transports like land raiders, wave serpents and falcons can be key to an army's strategy.  I suppose my larger point is this: next time you go to reach for that rhino, ask yourself, "Do I really need this?"



Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010
12:38 AM
After I finished building Logan I set about the slightly daunting task of painting him.  Then I realized I had to fix him.

You see, because I salvaged the terminator legs and chest from previously assembled models, the torso and arms were already magnetized.  I decided to leave things like this, simply because it would take more work to undue it (the arm from the Grey Knight was also already magnetized).  However, in my impetuousness, I decided it would be fine to play around with the arms, trying different poses and what not.

Well, the torque from constantly pulling the arms off had pretty much destroyed the bond between the legs and torso (great job, Dave!). 

So this time, I took the time to do what I should have done in the first place, and pinned the torso and legs together.  I also used the repairs as a chance to bulk Logan out a little and add a little height with some green stuff.

Logan grew a few millimeters during repairs.

Painting took me about 4 nights, one for each arm, one for his body, and one for his base and touch ups.  I pretty much used my standard formula for the blue armor: 50/50 mix of Fenris Grey and Space Wolves Grey, a wash of Asurmen Blue, highlights with Space Wolves Grey.  Though this time I went back and did a little extra shading with the 50/50 mix.

I got the inspiration for how to paint the axe Morkai from the 2009 Space Wolves codex (which features a differently painted Logan from the previous GW version).  Basically, it was base coated black and worked up mixing Chaos Black and Scab Red, then highlighted with Blood Red and Fiery Orange.  I used the same method for Logan's cape.

Probably the most blending I've done on any one model so far.

The last detail I tackled was Logan's company symbol shoulder pad.  Traditionally, the Great Wolf adopts the symbol of a white wolf on a black background with a yellow star.  However, as fate would have it, I had only 1 right shoulder pad for terminator armor and that happened to be a wolf howling at a full moon.  This was actually Logan's personal heraldry before he became the chapter master of the Space Wolves.

Luck and bits; key ingredients in conversions.

The star on the shoulder shield was added to provide some link to Logan's more traditional symbols.

After all this, he was pretty much done.  Though I had to do some minor touch ups with gloss finish when my normal matte clear coat went a little haywire.


Uncle Sam's got nothing on him.

Over all, I'm pretty pleased with how he came out.  I would have been happier if I didn't run into the issue with the clear coats (which I think lessened some of the effect of the washes on him) and if I could have fit the traditional white wolf on the shoulder shield.  I learned a lot about blending colors, especially about how to limit the range of colors you blend between.  I am definitely looking forward to fielding this guy on the table.



Monday, June 21st, 2010
2:27 PM
So a few weeks ago, almost on a whim, I decided to build a list featuring Logan Grimnar.  This immediately got me excited for a few reasons.

First, I love how character centric the Space Wolves are as an army, and there are few characters grander than the Great Wolf.  Secondly, Logan would really change the way my army plays - game-wise, he's oddly as powerful a supporting character as he is a close combat beast.  Finally, it would be chance to add a new centerpiece to my constantly growing Space Wolves collection.



Games Workshop's Logan Grimnar

Now if I weren't so creatively inclined, I could have just bought GW's model and painted that up.  But that would cost me $20, while I have a relatively large stockpile of unused terminator bits laying around.  Also, while the sculpt certainly isn't the worst GW sells, I jump at any chance to add something unique to my army.  So I sat down at the hobby table, surrounded myself with bits and jumped into it.

This was what I came up with:


Logan Grimnar 1.0


Sorry for the lack of step by step photos.  As you can see, the torso, legs, right arm, shoulder pads, and cape are straight from the Wolf Guard Terminator set.  The left arm comes from a Grey-Knight terminator captain.

For Logan's head and distinctive hair, I used a head from the older Space Wolves accesory sprue, braids from a Chaos Marauder horseman, and some greenstuff.


I wonder who braids his hair?

Assembling Logan's body only took me an hour or so.  His iconic axe, Morkai, took me many times that.

I used the following to kitbash together Morkai:
2x old school space wolf power axes
2x new space wolf double-handed power axes
2x space wolf wolf-claws
1x space wolf terminator thunder hammer
1x chaos warrior weapon


Ridiculously complicated weapon? check

Lower haft / arm: space wolf terminator thunder hammer
Middle haft: old power axe (cable removed)
Axe heads: two double-handed power axe heads (blades removed)
Axe blades: old power axes (again)
Gemstone: cut from the wolf-claw
Tip of axe shaft: bottom cap to old power axe
Axe head supports: taken from a chaos rider weapon (split in half, one on each side)

With Morkai done I whipped up a quick lava / obsidian base for Logan to stand on, and the construction was done (or so I thought).  All told, it took me about 5 hours total to get Logan to this point (a fair use of a Sunday, if I do say so myself).

Coming soon... Logan's Afoot (Part 2): The Paintening

 
 
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