Friday, 25 November 2016

Genestealer Cult Vs Skitarii - Campaign Battle Report, Game 1 "Gears of Iron"

The campaign started with a bang; namely a custom scenario played using a combination of Zone Mortalis and Kill Team rules. Handily, we had a copy of Space Hulk at hand, which combined with Deathwach Overkill gave us enough board sections to knock up a cool Mortalis complex without all of the effort of having to actually build all the scenery. Anyway, here's the background fiction for the first scenario (written by Ed):

Cult Uprising

The specimen was magnificent. Datasmith Quadro did not usually refer to his frozen quarry in such emotive terms but this was a special case. He allowed himself a moment of enjoyment and carefully measured doses of dopamine and serotonin were dumped into the remaining organics of his brain. He emitted a soft hiss of data code; in a non-augmented human, the sound would have been a sigh. Quadro gazed at the frozen Xenos monster before him, encased as it was in a block of clear ice, it could have no hope of harming him. Still, looking at the enormous scythe claws and wickedly fanged maw was enough to give even the chosen of the Omnissiah a moment of dread.

Designated Corporaptor Avus, the massive alien had been captured alive in a strategically perfect raid on one of the machine world’s slums. The thing had slain an entire platoon of augmented Skitarii before being brought low by taser goads and specialised shock bullets. Even as it spasmed and fell it had still managed to shear the legs from the nearest cybernetic warrior; its razor claws cut through the armoured metal like it was paper. The few Skitarii that hadn’t been destroyed outright were still being repaired in one of the facility’s many workshops.

Suddenly the facility lighting flickered and was quickly replaced with the dull red glow of the emergency lumens coming to life. Quadro glanced at the unmoving figures of the Skitarii stationed around the chamber, with a silent noospheric command; they formed up around him, targeting lenses and omniscopes sweeping the area for targets. At the same time, he called up vid feeds of the facility’s outlying areas on his retinal display. The images all showed the same red hue of the emergency lights brightening the familiar corridors with their unfamiliar glow. One of the security feeds displayed only static; with a hiss of annoyance, Quadro refreshed the feed only to have the same static fuzz return. With another noospheric blurt, he dispatched a demi-platoon of Skitarii to investigate the damaged sector.

Quadro’s retinal display scrolled with warning text as his external sensors detected a slow rise in the temperature of the chamber. He looked back at the specimen as tiny beads of moisture began to appear on the surface of the enormous ice block. Clearly the power failure had shorted out the refrigerant system of the holding chamber. Just as he was about to send a second squad of Skitarii to assess the condition of the sub-station, Quadro noticed a flicker of movement on one of the vid-monitors. After a moment’s pause he issued a command over the facility main vox network.

“Intruders detected in sector five-beta; all Skitarii initiate defensive protocols, all non-combatants proceed to designated holding areas and await further instructions.” He repeated the message as a spurt of binary and as a complex vocalised algorithm used only by his personal bodyguard before closing the vox.

Quadro replayed the small segment of footage that showed a clawed mutant shambling through one of his sacred corridors. Clearly the spawn had come to reclaim their grandfather.

The Scenario

250 points a side, Kill Team style (we settled on small 3-5 man squads) with no limits on taking individual models rather than whole units. The Frozen Patriarch was placed deep in the Skitarii deployment zone and was worth 4 Victory Points. There were 2 Temperature Control Nodes, that were additional objectives each worth 2 points a piece. In addition to the basics, we agreed on 2 stratagems each from Zone Mortalis; the Skitarii had 2 gun turrets and 2 explosive traps, while the Cult had Mining Tunnels (3 reserve entry points) and the ability to bring back on the Neophytes once during the game (limited to only being able to bring them back once 5 had been removed so they'd come back in reasonable units).

The Armies


The Brothers Nero, Genestealer Cult (Tabletop Apocalypse, Blazmo)

Acolyte Hybrid Leader (Grillo) - Bonesword and Lashwhip
11 Neophyte Hybrids - Seismic Cannon, Heavy Stubber, Flamer
8 Acolyte Hybrids
5 Purestrain Genestealers

Quadro's Defence Force, Skitarii (BERSERKERBLADE, Ed)

Cybernetica Datasmith (Quadro) - Power Fist, Gamma Pistol
5 Skitarii Rangers, Arc Rifle, Alpha with Taser Goad
3 Sicarian Ruststalkers - Transonic Blades, Princeps with Dataspike

The Cunning Plan

Well, I had a lot of bodies on the field, so the plan was simple; overwhelm the Skitarii and grab as many objectives as I could. I also held back some powerful units to drop in unexpectedly. These were the Genestealers and small 3 man squad of Acolyte Hybrids which I figured would be enough to deal with the Skitarii in hand to hand. I had a few Neophytes held back too, not to mention the regenerating ones. I was worried about those turrets though - at toughness 6 and 2 wounds with a twin- linked heavy bolted each they'd be rather problematic given the low points cost.


After choosing to hold back a few units, I deployed near the edge of my zone; ready to get up in Ed's grill fast. It was at this point, or maybe a little later that I realised just how far away the Patriarch was - I'd need to do some serious motoring to get all the way over there (probably should've hired a Cult Limo or something!).

Ed laid down his traps; one right in my path and one out the back protecting the Patriarch. He then put down the gun turrets, one in each of the major entrances to his side of the complex. Interestingly, as I didn't have a turret model per-se we ended up using a couple of converted field-guns I had built for a 40k Skaven project that never really got off the ground. It's surprising what you have about the place after years of hobbying!

Ed won the roll-off for first turn, but it wouldn't make that much difference given that there was no way either of us would be able to engage the other round all the corners we'd built into the map. Quadro was deployed right at the back guarding the frozen Patriarch.

Skitarii Turn 1

Ed shuffled forward menacingly.

Cult Turn 1

My turn started with the inevitable shuffle forward. My Neophytes stormed through the doors; ready to sacrifice their lives for their alien overlords. This was even more evident when the first unit took up a position in the line of fire and bravely tried to take down a Sentry Gun with only 4 autoguns. Surprisingly it wasn't entirely futile and they blasted out a hearty 6 hits; resulting in one wound on the comparatively monolithic weapon. The second squad ran proudly town the corridor to the first objective; before setting off Ed's trap. Luckily I'd strung them out a bit and the 2 hits it generated only resulted in one casualty. The Acolytes moved up in support as I prepared to press the attack over the next few turns. I was hoping to land the bulk of the reinforcements at the same time and crush the Skitarii in a deadly pincer manoeuvre ... or something.

Skitarii Turn 2

Ed moved his Ruststalkers a bit, while his Rangers rushed forwards. The Sentry Gun opened up on the first squad of auto-gun toting Neophytes and to my horror, despite being BS2 he rolled 3 hits; deftly cutting the unit down to a man in a second to resounding cries of "Clean-up in aisle 3", mostly from myself. It didn't matter too much, as they were regenerating troops, so I'd get them back at some point.

On the other side of the field, he was hatching an equally cunning plot. Using his Rangers (specifically the Arc Rifle which has Haywire). He cracked the door open that was separating him from my second unit of Neophytes. He then used the other sentry gun to open fire on them; resulting in only one casualty thanks to the intervening scenery. The pressure was beginning to mount.

Cult Turn 2

My turn started with a shocker; my reinforcements arrived (that never happens to me!). I got the unit of Purestrain Genestealers and one small squad of 3 Acolyte Hybrids. I placed the Purestrains in the middle of the field; ready to do as much damage as possible.

I then put the squad of Acolytes right up in Ed's grill. I wasn't sure it would be a good idea, but I had to press the attack and I was banking on the Genestealers doing most of the work for me.

The first unit of Neophytes had 1 remaining man, who dutifully ran screaming from the sentry gun and down an adjoining corridor. He took a pop at the Infiltrators, but we can only assume the last few turns had been too much for him and he blazed away at the ceiling judging by his hit roll. With him out of the way I moved my Acolytes and Grillo forward and charged the sentry gun. I lost one on overwatch, but a plethora of rending attacks destroyed the gun.

The second unit of Neophytes returned fire, scoring a mighty 4 hits with the Seismic Cannon. To my dismay, a combination of cover-saves and feel no pain stopped me from getting any wounds. I also fired the 3 autopistols on my ambushing Acolytes, but once again failed to do anything. An unfortunate pattern was beginning to emerge...

Skitarii Turn 3

It was a veritable clash of the titans this turn. Sensing the danger posed by the Purestrains, Ed pulled his Ruststalkers back and to my surprise charged them. He also moved his Rangers backwards and blasted the 3 Acolytes off the field with ease.

We took a special photo as this was clearly the most important combat in the whole game. Lets just say that my bad luck wasn't over yet. Despite all of their massive stats, and a colossal hit roll, after all of the dice were rolled my Genestealers only managed 2 wounds, one of which was saved on the Skitarii's armour (the other was a rend). The entire squad of Genestealers were then butchered in good measure! with not a single survivor to be seen!

It actually reminded me of a battle where a single squad of my Imperial Guard Veterans fought off a swarm of Genestealers in hand to hand. Sometimes the dice just do what they want and you have to live with it...

To add insult to injury his remaining Sentry Gun opened fire again and killed another Neophyte; meaning my two original units were reduced to 1 man a piece.


Cult Turn 3

After a real turning point in the game (ie my terrible performance in Ed's turn), I needed to really get going if I wanted to cause Ed to even break a sweat. Handily, after all of those Neophyte casualties I had a fresh unit ready to be placed. I chose a corridor behind Ed's Ruststalkers in an attempt to kill some of them (even at T3, with a 4+ save, 2 wounds and "feel no pain" they were just shrugging off everything I could throw at them in the small points cost game). I also moved Grillo forward with his one remaining Acolyte buddy to see if they could take out the Ruststalkers. It was going to be close. At the other end of the map, I ducked my Seismic Cannon behind a corner so he could hang on to the objective as long as possible and to get him out of the sight of the Sentry Gun.

In the shooting phase I opened up with the fresh squad of Neophytes; this time managing to take one of the Ruststalkers out. I had a pop at them with the 2 autopistols on the Acolytes too , but without effect.

I then assaulted them with Grillo's unit; hoping to achieve what the Genestealers couldn't. Ed quickly declared a challenge with the Ruststalker leader, which I gladly accepted. With 5 Bonesword attacks I figured it'd be an easy win. Of course he had a cunning plan to assassinate Grillo with his data spike (the horror! - it hits at I10, and stat wise he is as resilient as an ordinary guardsman!). Luckily he missed. I grabbed a fistful of 5 dice; mentally prepared for victory. I rolled them and didn't get a single hit! my luck just wasn't there today. Grillo died rather spectacularly to Ed's attacks and so did the other acolyte. This was quickly becoming one of "those" games for me. I still had the last of the Acolytes in-between the Ruststalkers and the objective, but considering how things were shaping up I wasn't very hopeful.

Skitarii Turn 4

Despite my lack of combat prowess all battle, I was actually winning as far as objectives were concerned. I still had both of the secondary objectives (worth 2 VP each) while at this stage in the game Ed only had Slay the Warlord from my dismal combat antics last turn. Realising that the game was in it's 4th turn and could end on the 5th, Quadro made a break to secure the Patriarch (worth 4VP, which would win the game for Ed). His Rangers moved forward and the remaining 2 Ruststalkers charged my last 3 Acolytes. To my surprise they fought back for once and actually killed one of the Stalkers; reducing their number down to just one. The Acolytes were still wiped out though, but at least there was a glimmer of hope. The remaining Rust Stalker regrouped a few more inches forward after the combat ... and his intention for the next turn was laughably clear.

Cult Turn 4

"Disengage Opeartion Lightning Bolt!!" anyone still reading get this reference?

Anyway, things seemed to be going pretty bad and all I could do was try and make the loss a bit more marginal. Handily, my final unit of reserves turned up in time to give that Ruststalker something to think about, although I doubted 2 men and a snap-firing heavy stubber would give him too much pause. I also had that other squad of 5 Neophytes left and I moved them into the corridor in an attempt to kill some of the Rangers, they did have a flamer, so I was hopeful that they might stand a chance (one thing I learned in this game is that Skitarii guns go through Neophytes like last week's Chilli on Friday). They popped up round the corner and ready to blaze away.

The shooting phase bore some fruit. The big squad of Neophytes cut 2 of the Skitarii Rangers down and the combined force of autoguns and snapping Heavy Stubber put a wound on that last Ruststalker (at this point I was starting to think they really were like the Terminator or something! y'know they "absolutely will not stop until you are dead").

Skitarii Turn 5/ Cult Turn 5

The Ruststalker charged the unit of Neophytes with the Heavy Stubber; perhaps fearing for his life under the almost withering fire. The combat went pretty much as expected and I suffered 2 casualties; leaving the stubber to fend for himself. The shooting phase had brought fresh horrors and Ed's Rangers gunned down the squad of Neophytes with ease. His Sentry Gun took out the Seismic Cannon (which I had foolishly moved last turn to snap at Ed's Rangers thinking they'd still be there to take the hits. It didn't help that Quadro had claimed the Patriarch; making Ed's win even more solid.

On my turn I did nothing as I only had 2 men left, one of which was still engaged by the last Ruststalker. Needless to say he perished nobly in one-on-one hand to hand combat.


Skitari 5 Victory Points
Cult 2 Victory Points

Skitarii Win


It was surprisingly hard fought and when the Genestealers arrived I thought I had it in the bag. I think I underestimated just how good the Skitarii guns would be against my forces, but what really hurt me (other than those damn Sentry Guns) was my terrible hand to hand combat rolls. Time and again I failed to get a single wound despite mostly reasonable hit rolls. Writing it up, the game seemed a lot more one-sided than it felt, as although I was taking losses I still had 2 objectives for most of the game and I was very much pressing the attack. I kept expecting "the next unit" to do better and break the back of Ed's force and it just never came.

The first game ended with the Cult being repulsed, but they already had a plan for revenge. The next game would see them attacking the facility's power supply; seeking to free the Patriarch with a less direct attack. One thing was sure, I wanted revenge!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Slaanesh Daemon Prince WIP

As a side to the masses of battle reports I'm trying to write up, I thought it would be a good moment to share a work in progress Daemon Prince I started some months ago for my Emperor's Children.

You might wonder where this post is coming from given all of the Genestealer Cult stuff I've been working on. Well, I have to admit that I recently ordered 2 units of old metal Daemonettes. I couldn't resist, given that they're made-to order for one week only. I already have a unit of 10 that I painted some time ago (4 still outstanding so not finished) and I always wanted enough to do a proper contingent of Slaanesh Daemons. It was those thoughts that made me remember the half-finished Daemon in the cupboard. The Horror!

Conversion wise, I did an adjustment to the arm positions to give him a more intimidating pose. Other than that I used a mask from a Talos Pain Engine and combined it with a nest of tentacles/hair made from greenstuff. I also added a few details to the base to make it look more hell-ish, but as I haven't painted them yet, they don't really stand out.

I guess I can add him to the ever growing pile of "cool stuff I haven't finished yet". Here's hoping Santa puts some inspiration/hobby drive in my Christmas stocking again this year!

Monday, 21 November 2016

20,000 Hits!

Well, the blog has continued to grow over the last few months. It seems that the more posts I create, the more a steady flow of traffic is beginning to form and so far things are looking good. I recently hit the benchmark of 20,000 hits (although I'm already at a few thousand more), which seems like a milestone that reflects a modicum of success for this place. I'm at 300 over comments too, so keep 'em coming.

I think it's no secret that I don't particularly go out of my way to advertise this blog; mostly because I simply don't have the time or inclination to do so, and it takes as much time as I have just to keep it ticking over. I think probably because of that I'm indebted more than others to the community of bloggers who help support this site as well as my faithful followers, so I'd like to give a big thank you to anyone who's a regular reader, commenter, or fellow blogger.

In other good news, I played the first games in my new Genestealer Cult Vs Skitarii campaign over the weekend and I've started the somewhat painstaking task of writing them up. It was a really good time though, so I think they'll be nice little reports when they're done (hopefully some time later this week).

As if that wasn't enough good news, I'm looking forward to that new "Traitor Legions" codex. Here's hoping Chaos will suck a bit less in the near future! My Emperor's Children hunger for better rules!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Neophyte Hybrids Converted Leader

Someone que the theme tune from Rocky as this painting business is starting to feel like an uphill struggle. On the upside I've finished the next 5 men from the second Neophyte unit, which makes a total of 30 infantry models (excluding HQ) finished. The conversion from the Chaos Cultist came out really well in the end and it didn't take a lot of time - always a winning combination.

This time, all of the Neophyte models are from the Overkill box - now that I've painted them I really can't see the difference in terms of quality. Another victory for GWs big boxes!

I've alluded to a campaign starting soon and the first games are booked for this weekend, so stay tuned for some live fire exercises coming your way by early next week. We're planning a few Kill Team style games to kick things off using some Zone Mortalis rules to really evoke the background. After that we're scaling up the points, but the whole thing needs a little more polish before I can go into more detail.

A picture or two of the whole force getting ready for battle - now I just need to work out what to put in the first 250point conflict...

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Genestealer Cult Sentinel

Another productive weekend. I've finished my Sentinel in record time (about 3 hours of painting time in total!). I tried to make the scheme as fast as possible and optimise it, but things are really coming together at the moment and miniatures seem to be soaring off of the production line at a good pace. I also did the basecoats and bases on the 9 remaining Neophytes, so I should get some of them done this week too.

Painting wise, I'm not sure if I'm overdoing the weathering a bit on the vehicles, but they do look great mixed in with the troops. I have some kind of image in my mind of them being secretly stored in mining tunnels and under dusty Manufactorums accumulating dust for years before the revolution starts! It's a bit fanciful, but for some reason the imagery is quite strong in my mind and I've gone with it.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Bungo the Barbarian, Chapter 15 - Harbour-Master Disaster

The Harbour-Master’s office was a tiny hovel of a room, punctuated by a large desk and sprawling sea charts. Getting Bungo’s burly frame into the diminutive space had been quite the conundrum, and his customary spread-legged power stance meant that he had actually wedged one foot against each wall in an attempt to get comfortable.

The ageing Harbour Master eyed him suspiciously over a steaming tankard of bunk-swill; a local beverage that combined a caffeinated seaweed-grog with moonshine in a potently pungent cocktail.

“Marbo?” he mused; pondering the barbarian’s intended destination. Like most of his utterances it was lost almost entirely to slurred unintelligibility.

“I need a suitable vessel, seaworthy…” The barbarian hooked his thumbs into his massive belt for a moment.

“And, full of just adventurers!” He punctuated the booming declaration by making a wide sweeping motion with one hand that neatly beheaded an antique wooden statuette and sent a spray of eclectic paraphernalia crashing to the ground in pieces.

Luckily the Harbour master was in too much of a bunk-swill induced stupor to notice the raucous nuisance that had invaded his office.  He eyed a dusty chart slowly; taking time to process the information it contained.

“Sea’s Bounty is goin’ to Marbo; ‘tis a fine ship.” He offered a manifesto to the barbarian, who glared at it incredulously.

“Sea’s Bounty?” The barbarian roared in annoyance. “Do I look like I’m going fishing!” With the final statement he snatched a list of currently docked ships from the desk.

“The Briney…. no that won’t do” Bungo’s manly features furrowed in consternation as he considered the list of potential vessels. The Harbour master was mumbling something about manners and young folk nowadays when suddenly Bungo gasped loudly and the room fell into complete silence.

“The….” He gulped re-reading the word several times excitedly to make sure.

“The…” There was a brief pause as he took a huge breath.

“The EXCELSIOR!!!!!!” Bungo threw a handful of coins on the table and rushed from the Harbour-Master’s office; narrowly avoiding demolishing an entire wall as he stampeded out of the room.

“No son, not that ship! it’s a place of ill repute … and I ain’t talkin’ about her seaworthiness neither!” The Harbour Master’s muttered warning fell on deaf ears as Bungo raced towards the pier.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Genestealer Cult Work in Progress Units

A few pictures hot off the press. This time I've been working on the remaining Neophyte Hybrids for my planned 1000 points. I'm particularly happy with the leader I converted from a spare Chaos Cultist champion. It isn't exactly the most extreme conversion ever, but the high collar on the coat really has an old school Genestealer Cult look to it.

I've also stripped the paint off of an ancient eBay purchase; namely a battered Leman Russ. It's gonna need quite a lot of refurbishment, but it'll be unrecognisable when I'm done with it. I've just started converting the turret into an Exterminator Autocannon - not just for the anti-tank, but also for the retro appeal. Needless to say it need s a heavy stubber too!

These are actually all Hybrids from the Deathwatch Overkill box in this picture. I have to say that the quality is excellent, you really can't tell the difference with the proper kit, other than the lack of choice in pose, but as they are quite well posed anyway it doesn't matter.

I know it looks absolutely horrible now, but so would you if you were soaked in Dettol for a week. On the upside it's ready for a new coat of paint, but it'll be a bit of a project getting it back in working order. One of the sponsons came off when I was cleaning it, but it'll probably make it easier to switch the weapons. This tank has had 3 lives that I know of. When I got it, it had been covered with a fresh layer of undercoat, but you could tell some Orks had been looting it. I did my best with it at the time, but it was always a bit grimy and I didn't have the skills to overhaul it from the start. This time I'm doing it right and rebuilding it from the ground up.