Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Black Reach Tacticals to Sternguard (with pics!)

Due to popular demand, here's how I'm doing the Black Reach tacticals to Sternguard conversions, with pictures (admittedly, very crappy pictures, but hey, better than nothing, right?)!

The first thing you'll need to do is find the bolters that don't come with scopes. There are two in the box that come with scopes, s
o you can use them straight away. However, for the others, just pick out 3 more. I prefer the bolters with attached slings (again, there are two of them in the box, so you'll need to use one "plain" bolter for the fifth). File a little bit of the ridge that runs along the top of the bolter away to make it flat with the rest of the bolter body. Leave the little raised bit towards the rear.

Next, dig around in your bits box and find three scopes. Since you've probably never used them before, and you get one with every tactical marine frame, you should have plenty!

Glue that scope onto the bolter, and you're in business! Somehow that plain ol' bolter looks like a more specialized tool with the scope attached, doesn't it?

Next up, file off that "tactical squad" arrow from the shoulder pad of each Black Reach marine model, as the Sternguard are both veterans and elites. This photo was taken while in mid-filing. It's pretty easy to do with a good set of files.

Lastly, attach the bolter to the Black Reach marine, prime and paint. Don't forget to use the color scheme for your chapter that denotes veteran status. In my case, they'll be ultramarine blue with a while helmet and white shoulder pad trim.

Compare and contrast to the still un-released Sternguard set:

...and you'll see that about the only real difference is in the pose (they are definitely more "dramatic"), ammo magazine (I suppose you could use storm bolter magazines if you wanted to duplicate them more closely) and a little bling (purity seals, terminator honors, etc.). I will probably go back and add a bit or two to each model to give them a little more "pop" and make them stand out, but honestly, I don't think it's absolutely necessary. The main thing is these guys all have bolters with scopes and slings (well, except for the combi-melta guy) and that's pretty much what we've got with the conversion. Plus, in the Black Reach set there's a couple of marines with "crusade" helmets (the same kind that comes with the company champion model). I've used both of them for my Sternguard, because it just felt right. :)

Anyway, I know that this is a very basic conversion (but the first I've ever attempted, honestly) and there are probably much better ways to do it. Considering Sternguard are basically veterans with "blinged-up" bolters, I think I've covered the basics pretty well. I know that ultimately what will sell this conversion is using the veteran colors/paint scheme, as that will leave no doubt as to what kind of unit they are. :) And hey, you're getting those marines in the Black Reach set at such a bargain, I somehow enjoy the idea of making Sternguard out of them.

All right...what do you guys think? Have any conversion ideas/plans you'd like to share?

Black Reach to Sternguard

So here's my plan for getting some Sternguard converted up on the cheap.

  1. Take a few of those Assault on Black Reach tactical marines. You know you bought the box, it was simply too good of a deal to pass up, and now you have marines-a-plenty. Pick out five.
  2. Grab your files and get busy grinding off that stupid "tactical squad" arrow. It just doesn't fit on a Sternguard.
  3. Use the two bolters that have scopes attached to them, and then the two bolters that have the slings. Pick a plain one for the fifth.
  4. Look in your bits box and find 3 more scopes. You know you have them. They come with every tactical marine frame.
  5. Attach the scopes to the bolters that don't have them.
  6. Voila! 5-man basic Sternguard squad, ready to go. Prime and paint, not forgetting to use white paint on the helmets and shoulder pad trim (or whatever your chapter color scheme for vets).
What do you guys think? I've already made 4...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Got to Read the New Space Marine Codex

Swung by the FLGS this evening and gave the new Space Marine codex a pretty thorough read-through (at least in terms of the game mechanics stuff, skipped the fluffy bits entirely).

I both love it and hate it.

Boy oh boy as you're reading through the unit descriptions, your mind begins to swirl with all kinds of possibilities and combinations...there's some raw power in there that will make you weep with joy.

Then you get to the actual army list part.

You read the point costs.

And you begin to weep again, this time bitter tears of sadness for the units that will never see the light of day.

Vanguard Vets, for example. They're stupidly overpriced. One of them with a jump pack will costs you...are you ready for this?

You sure?

...waaaait for it!

35 points.

That's right, 35 points.

Marneus Calgar? 250, with the option to take termie armor for a few points more.

Sicarius? 200, but probably worth it for Rites of Battle and his wargear, which is very nice indeed.

And trust me, you don't want to know what an all-las cannon equipped Predator is going to cost you (though the other configurations are actually very reasonable).

But there are definitely some bright spots...some very bright spots indeed.

Sternguard. 25 points. They are, to me, hands down the best thing in the whole book.

Scout bikes. They're like a Swiss army knife. If only that WS and BS had remained at 4...

Regular bikes are cheaper.

And yes, you can field a captain and attached command squad, all on bikes and including an apothecary (granting the unit FNP), giving you a sort of poor man's nob biker squad.

Other bits of joy:

Cheaper assault marines.

Dirt cheap las cannons for tac squads.

Legion of the Damned.

Ironclad Dreadnought (guess what I'm going to do with the Black Reach dreadnought? Yep, you guessed it...)

Dirt cheap Razorbacks. They're practically giving them away in the TLHB load-out.

It is possible -- though probably not very practical -- to field 5 Land Raiders. That's right, you heard me: 5 Land Raiders.

And oh yes, Scout Sergeant Telion. He's like Christmas morning. One of his special abilities makes him like a Vindicare assassin. He's awesome, and a bargain points-wise.

I'm ashamed to admit it, but I had a serious bitch-fest in the FLGS about the stupid, stupid stuff that's in there:

Chaplains? Nerfed. BS 4, W2, I4 A2. Lame. No upgrades available.

Librarians? Same stat line as Chaplains, and the psychic hood has that craptacular 24" range. Inquisitor lord, here I come. (Have I told you lately how much I hate that damned Doom/Guide/Fortune faucet? Shutting it off truly makes me smile.) At least they're still Ld 10...

GW no longer loves you if you love assault cannons. In fact, looking at it's point cost, I'm pretty sure they want you to forget it ever existed.

I'm sure I sounded like a little bitch while I was venting at the FLGS...but man, some of the nerfings and point costs don't make much sense.


There are definitely no Eldar- or Ork-style win buttons in this book (which -- I'm ashamed to admit -- I kind of wish there were at least one).

Overall first impression? While I have some issues with a few bits, all things considered, it's a great book. The good definitely outweighs the bad. I'm looking forward to using it. Release date can't come fast enough for me!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Things that Seem to be Mocking Me Lately

In my ongoing effort to make this blog suck less, I broke out a crap-tacular digital camera I've had hiding in a file cabinet in my home office and thought I'd see if it would work for getting a few simple pictures. You guys are lucky! I'm sharing the results of my experiments with you!

As I've mentioned, a seri
es of RLEs (Real Life Events) has kept me from doing any modeling or gaming lately. I've forgotten what the inside of my FLGS looks like. My fingers itch to hold a handful of dice in them.

The problem is -- and this is a strictly personal problem I'll admit -- I feel like when you take such a hiatus from your gaming community, when you come back, you should come back hard, with a large completed hobby project that blows everyone away, as if to say, "See, I wasn't slacking! Look! This is what consumed all my time and kept me away from the game tables!" Which is all well and good if you've actually done some impressive project, but if you're like me, and you haven't, but feel like you should have...see what I mean?

Anyway, here's a few
of the things that have been vexing me lately. Things I have at least started working on, but due to the afore-mentioned RLEs, have languished...

Ah, yes, first off is my VERY WIP terminator librarian. As you can see, not much progress. So many little details on this mini! I'm pretty happy with the face, though.

Next up on the ol' Hit Parade of Shame is a trio of the "snap-fit" space marines from the little $8.00 box they're selling now. If you're like me, and you suffer from COMBS (Compulsive-Obsessive Model Buying Syndrome) you really hate to leave a FLGS without buying something. Last trip I made to the FLGS, these were by the cash register. They're all ready to be primed and painted. Oh, this picture has some shame bonus point content, too. In the plastic container these guys are standing on is a complete 5-man tactical squad, also with all mold lines removed and ready for the ol' prime-and-paint.

Ah, yes, these guys. All sitting in their box, still on the frame. *sigh* I was going to build them all with lightning claws. Looks like that's going to change with the improved storm shield in the new codex. With that in mind, I guess you could say not getting these guys done sooner has worked out in my favor.

Last -- but certainly not least -- this is something that will actually help my whole modeling situation. Yep, that's a new desk/workspace. It's still in the box (sound familiar?) but for a good reason. I'm moving to a new, more spacious apartment in October. Since I really don't have the space for it in the current place I thought I'd just leave it in the box for easier moving and then assemble it after settling in. Finally! I'll have a dedicated space to work on my hobby stuff! I can't wait!

So...what's been vexing you lately?