Ye Olde Landspeeder Assembly

My goodness! It's been just shy of two months since I've had anything to say about 40K. This has been a very busy summer here on the farm, which is great for business and not so great for hobbying.

I've just been picking away at my trio of Landspeeders this whole summer, and am finally ready to start assembling the main bodies after magnetizing everything and painting the pilots and heavy bolter gunners. The multimelta gunners are still a work in progress.

Over the course of building these old, Third Edition speeders I figured out a few tricks that might help someone else that ends up with one. They're pretty common to find on eBay, and the kit is a bear to assemble when compared with the current version of the sprues.

The biggest problem you find with these Speeders is that the top half and the bottom half tend to warp a bit in the front-to-back dimension, meaning the middle rarely closes cleanly. This seems to be the fault of the crew chair assembly. If you look at the picture below, where the chair is not glued in, the gaps are manageable.
But once you add the crew seats, things get all wonky.
Obviously, the seat assembly is a little too large in certain areas. So, break out the files and start filing slightly at each of the locations marked in the images below:
Get the groove above the seats, the top of the dash, and the top of the air intake.
File the sides of the seat back piece and the sides of the seats themselves.
You also want to make sure the seat assembly sits flat in the bottom of the hull. The best place to check is the gap just below where the doors would attach, near that textured diamond plate section.
After all that filing is done, your gaps will be a little more manageable...
 ...until you try to glue it together. You're going to need a lot of clamps!

You'll notice I have one clamp pressing down just behind the angled air intake on the roof (far left Irwin clamp). This one provides top-to-bottom pressure and ensures the back section is glued flush. You can make sure by looking in the back of the chassis and making sure the pieces have no gaps. Sorry, I didn't get a good picture of that part.

The center Irwin clamp is pressing the sides in. If you exert too much pressure on the top-to-bottom clamp, the middle likes to bow outward.

The red and silver clamp on the right holds the nose section together in a top-to-bottom direction.

And finally, there's that pink rubber band pulling from the dash area to the lower nose. This pulls the seam below the dash laterally to close that gap. Because you cant get a band in there normally because of the center cockpit support, you have to pass the band through the cockpit and pull both ends toward the nose. Then put a pen or something (I used that purple sculpting tool) through both ends and twist it to provide torsion or tension or whatever to close up the gap.

You can probably understand why GW had this kit retooled. The modern version is a million times easier to assemble without gaps. My three Speeders didn't come out without any gaps, so I have to get some Liquid Greenstuff to fill them in and file smooth. I might try the "sprue slurry" method as well. It's where you melt some sprue shavings with liquid cement and spread the goop in the gaps, let dry, and then file smooth.

One final tip, that really should have come first is that you want to assemble as LITTLE AS POSSIBLE before gluing the halves together. Don't glue the rear airfoil on the roof, the gun rail, the pilot shield, or even the little mast thing that sticks out of the bottom. I made the mistake of doing so and all of those pieces get in the way of clamps and rubber bands and WILL break if you're not incredibly careful. You only get one of each piece in a kit, so there's no spares if you snap off the gun rail or crush the rear airfoil.

Honestly, I'm probably never going to build another of these old Landspeeders again unless I get an insane deal on one (like five dollars each kinda insane). They don't come with all the available guns (no Typhoon launchers and no nose guns), and take so much additional effort to build that it's probably worth the extra money for the modern kit. But if one crash lands in your lap, now you know how to make the process slightly more bearable.

I hope to have these suckers primed and paintable in the next several days. If I use the sprue slurry method to fill gaps, I'll do my best to document the process.


And we have liftoff!

As everyone is well are, 8th Edition has launched! I stopped by the FLGS for the launch day event and enjoyed a couple small games and some cake.
My thoughts are scattered a bit, so I'm going to try to ramble about the day and the new edition in little sections.

Power Levels

I think everyone and their brother got hold of the leaked images of the various indexes and rulebook and started drafting lists early. I thought about doing that, but the process of totaling up points in 8th is just awful. I get why they jammed everything in the back, and I believe people will come to memorize the values quickly, but the flipping back and forth is atrocious.

I have to say, I'm in LOVE with Power Levels. A few days before the launch, I peeked at the PL values of every unit I have in my Raven Guard collection and jotted them down on paper. I brought that with me on launch day and it made my two games super easy to organize. Agree on the power level, pick some units that fit in the various detachment structures, and get to playing. Even list building for a tourney will take a few minutes instead of a day's worth of calculations and hemming and hawing to squeeze every last drop of efficiency out of your points.

The FLGS has the first monthly of the new edition scheduled as a Power Level 80 event. At first, I was taken aback by that, as the whole point of competitive points levels is to balance the game, right? My negative side figured people would max out every squad with top end gear, and that points levels would be very lopsided once the armies hit the table. But the other players at the launch and I spent some time talking about Power Levels and perceived potential for abuse. Someone mentioned that the designers had pointed out that Power Levels account for both the maximum unit power and the minimum unit power and assign a Level somewhere in the middle. It's to everyone's benefit to arm up your squads as best you can with the bits and models you have. Since everyone will be striving to get the most out of their Power Levels, it ends up a wash.

The Games

I got two games in over the course of the day. One was a quick 35 PL game, the other a 50PL.

The 35PL was on a 4x4 board (we had so many people playing we ran out of large boards, which hasn't happened in a long, long time). I pulled out a Chaplain, Vanguard with Jump Packs, 10-man Assault Squad with Jump Packs, Scouts with melee weapons, and a Rhino. I faced off against Necrons with some Warrior units, Immortals, a Lord, and the Nightbringer.

I wasn't intending to win, just test drive the new rules. I shoved everything forward and got my ass shot off early. Necrons are rough for power armor now, with the -1AP guns. Reanimation is also a beast since it happens every turn for every dead model. Necrons also hit hard in melee. The Immortals were smacking me around on 3s to hit, which was shocking. Very disconcerting, and I think Necrons will be very good in the new edition. My Rhino was the last model to go down after I tried out charging with it into some Warriors who had a really hard time touching it until the Lord and C'Tan got into the mix. Vehicles are hard as nails now. I can understand why they're so expensive to field.

The second game was against a Khorne Berserker army. A couple huge Zerk squads, Kharn, and a Land Raider. We played The Relic, which was just painful against Khorne. Again, I wanted to see what my stuff could do, so I threw all 15 Assault Marines into the middle and charged a big squad of Zerks. It didn't go well. My 10-man squad barely scratched the unit, and then my opponent used Command Points to interrupt the order before my 5-man unit could swing. It hurt, and then the buggers got to fight AGAIN. Holy shit, Khorne Berserkers are kings of melee now. I did manage to eventually kill the Land Raider by charging it with the Vanguard and some Scouts and beating it to death with a power fist and a relic blade. The relic blade did about three times the damage of the power fist. We laughed and laughed about it, and laughed more when the Land Raider exploded after losing its last wound and annihilating the Vanguard and the Scouts with mortal wounds.

One standout point from the game was my Land Speeder. It now moves 16" a turn and can fire everything, but every weapon available to a Land Speeder is Heavy, and moving means it fires at -1 to hit with all its weapons. That was a very disappointing revelation. Speeders are far more durable now, since bolter shots just bounce off it for the most part, but they no longer shoot very well. I'm not as excited about the three I'm currently building as I once was. My guess is that double heavy flamers are going to be the armament of choice for Land Speeders, as you can move your 16" and auto hit with two heavy flamers. Then weather the return fire until you're dead, since the Speeder has no damage tracks.

The Rules

There are a whopping eight pages of core rules in the new rulebook, and then a handful of other important things like detachment layouts and missions. The shop gave out some Battle Primer sheets, rulers, and other promotional stuff and I almost returned my BRB. If it weren't for the detachment and mission stuff, I may have actually done so. The entire game rules are contained on just the primer sheet, and that's awesome.

Despite that, there were a couple rules misreadings on my part (as well as others'). Someone was adamant that they were able to fire overwatch at every unit that declared a charge against their unit because "you have to declare all the charges at once." You don't, you run through each step in the charge phase for each unit, not each step for all units.

I failed to read the parentheses in the Cover rules and thought you would get a cover bonus to Invulnerable saves, which you do not.

The way statlines work is nice, since you always know exactly what you'll be hitting on in both melee and shooting. No more comparative values or initiative really shakes up close combat. As I said, having Necrons punch my Marines at the same values I was punching them was bonkers. Marine versus Marine melee used to be a slap fight, now there are a ton of hits and plenty of wounds. One of the things that made fighting Khorne Berserkers so tough was the -1 AP from their chain axes. Saving on a 4+ is a foreign concept to me.

It was a little odd getting used to vehicle shooting as well, since firing arcs are now gone. Your vehicles essentially have 360 degree vision and lines of fire now. The Land Raider in our game was able to put four lascannon shots on damn near anything it could draw a line to. Perhaps some clarification is forthcoming from GW regarding that?

I'm very happy so far with 8th Edition. There are some things that are going to need some getting used to, but with the game much simpler the adjustments should be faster to make. I just have to decide if I want to abandon my trio of Land Speeders in favor of some Terminators now, as I have to see how multiwound models will work. No one had to roll for random damage in my games, except against vehicles.


Another Assault Squad

I've been finding bits of time here and there at night after farm stuff is done to paint more Raven Guard. I, like many others, have gotten a bit of a motivational jolt after seeing how 8th Edition will work.
The squad is just five Marines for now, sergeant with a power sword and two Marines with flamers.

I'd decided on the weaponry before 8th was announced, and thankfully it's still a respectable setup in the new edition.
I had a couple issues with the Raven Guard chapter decals, as I always seem to. On this batch, some of the edges near the ravens' heads flaked off and they were sealed before I noticed it. Oops.
I used the new ASM torsos for all of the models, and the legs for three of them. I really like the legs for the new kit, as they have a nice variety of poses (the old one had two, if I remember right) and the feet have a larger surface area for gluing to bases. The old ones were like trying to glue two pin heads together.
I have the flamer Marines old style standing legs and metal jump packs. The combination allowed me to use up some old bits and keep the models stable while doing so. When I'd used metal jump packs on my Ultramarines on top of running legs, they were prone to breaking and tipping.

The squad will get another five models in the future, one of which will have an eviscerator. 8th makes almost every weapon option worth taking now in one situation or another! ASM as a whole still look like fun in the new edition, which makes me happy. The only thing I'm not happy about is the cost of all the new books I'll need to run all my models (core, Imperium 1, and FW Index Imperium). I had pegged that cash for a Stormraven or some Stormtalons, but now it goes to books. That just means I'll be going back into the hoard to paint models I already have unbuilt and unpainted. 

Here's a little phone picture peek at what's next on the table:

Yeah. three more Landspeeders. Unfortunately, they're the old version with the single piece top. Total pain to assemble, but I figured out some tips (beyond "clamp heavily") that might help anyone who's still sitting on some of these. I'll share those when I've properly documented the processes. I've also got to find a trio of Typhoon Launchers, assault cannons, and heavy flamers at some point, as these old kits didn't have those options.


Raven Guard Chaplain

Well, it certainly has been a while since I've updated the blog. Since my last post, I've completed my Rhino (nothing fancy, just a plain old Rhino), four more pistol/chainsword Assault Marines to round out a squad of ten, attended an invitational 40K friendly tourney, and painted a Chaplain to lead my Bladewing Assault Brotherhood. Oh, and GW also dropped the bomb of 8th Edition on us.

I had intended to put my thoughts on the edition change down in words, but I think this image sums up my experience thus far quite well:

Put your hands in the air!
 Yup, complete roller coaster ride. When the news was first released, I was very up and down on the idea. First mad, then excited, back to mad, then apathetic, up, down, round and round. I've settled on optimistic and enthusiastic after GW started their slow release of actual info on the Warhammer Community page. The news that while my codexes and supplements are recycling bin fodder, my army itself is not was very welcome to me. The fourteen FOC layouts sound promising, as do all of the other rules. I think I'll be able to play my Bladewing Assault Brotherhood without requiring formations, which is awesome!

To that end, I put some energy into painting a Chaplain for my Raven Guard:

Just the basic monopose model from the Reclusiam Command Squad kit. No real reason to try to reinvent the wheel on this one. Well, except for this:

Yes, Thor, I magnetized his backpack! While I don't plan to field him with his standard power pack very often, there was no reason not to make them interchangeable. Just a magnet sunk where the nub on his back was, and a couple in the holes of the packs. I did have to tilt the magnet in the jump pack ever so slightly forward to get it to sit behind the rim on his right shoulder pad.

I'm excited to field this guy this weekend at what may be the last tourney I play in 7th Edition. I've got another five-man Assault Squad with a pair of flamers and a power sword on the painting rig right now. I need to order some more Assault Marine torsos and legs to bump the squad to ten eventually.
The news that pistols will have extra utility in close combat in Eighth was welcome to me, as I've had the parts for a five man Vanguard Squad with a bunch of plasma pistols and power weapons lined up for ages now.


Raven Guard Rhino, Progress Report Two

Solid progress on my Raven Guard Rhino. I've got the gunner, hatches, ad doors mostly done, the dozer half done, ad a base coat on the main chassis.

Pretty boring stuff. It'll get some decals, maybe some freehand lettering, and I have to bust out the airbrush to paint a squad symbol on the top hatch. Nothing fancy, just a masked off section for a tactical arrow.
I'd pledged this thing for a motivational challenge in the Raven Guard subforum at the Bolter and Chainsword. It might help my crappy Tactical Squad on the table.
After this is done, I have to paint like mad to complete four Assault Marines before the 8th, when I'm attending an invitational event. I'm working down the long road of fielding a Bladewing Assault Brotherhood. It'll be 20 Assault Marines (I have six done), 5 Vanguard (completely different loadout to my current five), and a Chaplain.


Blood Bowl Orcs: Three Down!

The first three models in my Blood Bowl team are finally complete. A thrower, blocker, and lineman.

To be honest, I lost my enthusiasm for the models and sort of phoned it in on the paint job near the end. They're better than primer or bare plastic though, so I'll take it.
I added white stripes for the player numbers, as plain white numbers didn't look right. The Orc-style font I tried ends up looking a little off, but good enough to mark them out on the board.
My base ring colors are sloppy. I got tired of chasing colors back and forth with the black. Again, good enough for the board.
You might notice that the lineman is missing a finger on his left hand. I dropped these models on the floor more than once, and the lineman suffered an amputation, while all three lost the tips of spikes here and there. Oops.
The bases are just small rocks and sand glued down, painted brown, and some pale green flock added. I got it years ago in a pack from Secret Weapon, and can't for the life of me find the rest of the bag, I just have a tiny bit left in a sandwich bag. I may have lost the rest I the house move. I chose it over the bright green stuff because I figure plants on an Orc pitch would be in less than ideal health.

Now that these are done, I'm working on some Raven Guard models (a Rhino ad a few more Assault Marines) before I try my hand at some Harlequins. I'll randomly select three more Orcs to paint ad add them into the queue.


Raven Guard Rhino, Progress Report One

The next model I'm adding to my Raven Guard army is a Rhino. I discovered that one of the massive weaknesses of my current list is protection and mobility for my Tactical Squad and/or Sternguard Squad. So, a Rhino was in order. It doesn't hurt that it was also a model I had in my piles of unbuilt stuff that I want to get painted this year.

I spent a good while carefully assembling the model, and then magnetizing the doors and dozer blade. The dozer is from an Astra Militarum tank, either a Chimera or a Russ if I remember right. I prefer these to the silly spike rams that come with Marine tanks. I sank three 1/8" magnets into the mounting bar and matched them with equally sized magnets sunk into the underside of the Rhino body. I used quarter inch magnets for the doors, which allows this model to be a Predator in the future by attaching magnets to the inside of the sponsons.
The gunner also got some extra attention. I used old, metal arms on him and attached hands from the current Devastator Squad. I'm trying to make the gunners/crew of my Raven Guard tanks look a little more interesting than just the two-hands-on-gun pose. Plus, I'm saving all those gun arms for my magnetized Landspeeder gunners.
It will be a little while before this sucker gets primed, as the current string of blizzards here are impeding my ability to prime models. It's just too cold in the garage for spraying, and I've fallen out of love with my old brush-on primer method.
Despite the fact that I haven't been painting much, I have been drafting up a bunch of Raven Guard army lists. I'm trying to find a list that is both effective and fun to play. To that end, I came up with the following 1750 list:
Bladewing Assault Brotherhood (gives some fun deployment and redeployment options)
  • Chaplain with jump pack
  • 10-man Assault Squad with jump packs, two flamers, and a lightning claw sergeant
  • 10-man Assault Squad with jump packs, two flamers, and a lightning claw sergeant
  • 5-man Vanguard Veteran Squad with jump packs and a mix of power weapons and shields
Speartip Strike (gives some interesting rules for "suppressing and harassing" enemy units, plus a ton of speeders)
  • Three separate squadrons of two Landspeeders, each with a multimelta and Typhoon missiles
  • Two separate squads of three naked Scout Bikes
Ravenhawk Assault Group (deepstriking Stormraven with some Sternguard and a Dreadnought, all of which reroll to wound against a selected enemy unit for the game)
  • Stormraven with lascannon, multimelta, and a searchlight
  • Dreadnought with a multimelta and powerfist
  • 5-man Sternguard Squad with combiplasmas
Altogether, twenty-six jump infantry, six bikes, five infantry, a walker, a flyer, and six Landspeeders. Fast, flexible, and with lots of options. The only part I'm not really sold on is the Ravenhawk formation. It's intended to pick a hard unit or monster and nuke it on arrival. But I'm not really sure about keeping up to 461 points in mandatory reserves. I've had reserve rolls seriously hamper my armies of late. I'd love to finally field a Stormraven, but am not sure this is the right formation for me. I'm thinking maybe I'll switch to a Storm Wing (two Stormtalons and a Stormraven, all arrive with a single roll, Raven gets Strafing Run) or a Raptor Wing (two Stormtalons and a unit of Landspeeders, speeders spot enemy units for the flyers to get rerolls to wound or Armor Penetration, flyers automatically arrive Turn Two). The Storm Wing suffers the same heavy points investment in Reserve, but has some stronger shooting. I can't decide, but that's ok. I am going to start with the Brotherhood and work downwards.
Well, I'm off to wire some junction boxes. Wish me luck and non-electrocution!