Tyranids Available to Pre-Order

warhammer 40000 logoTyranids are once again lumbering into view with a new codex, lots of old models re-boxed and marked up (two Carnifexes/Carnifi for £55) and a couple of new models to spice things up.

TyranidCodexENG01_873x627 copySadly, the two big releases, the Harpy and the Haruspex have really failed to set my mind pin-wheeling which is a first for a while as regardless of price, I’ve really liked the majority of the new models Games Workshop have produced lately. The Harpy looks too small. Too short and fat and lacks the awesomeness of the Harridan or the sleek design of the winged Hive Tyrant.

TyranidHarpy01_873x627

Equally the Haruspex is just a hideous, messy, borderline cartoon sculpt that has no business being in a game that doesn’t contain the words Hero and Clix in it. And the stupid distended jaw kinda remind me of the dog from Despicable Me.

TyranidHaruspex01_873x627But I’m sure there will be some truly badass rules in the new Codex that will make either these models or the alternatives available to build in the kits an absolute essential purchase. Games Workshop aren’t stupid. Wankers, but not stupid.

The new Tyranid range is available to pre-order from Firestorm Games.

 

Firestorm Invading at Last?

Almost a year ago I reviewed a starter set for the Studio Sparta game Firestorm Invasion: Planetfall. I enthused about what had the potential to expand on the Firestorm Armada universe and finally break the company out of their habit of overly abstracted rules, shit writing and horrendous amounts of pointless bold copy.

At the time I had a chat with the people in the know at Spartan and they said that the Directorate and the Sorylians would be hot on the heels of the initial Dindrenzi & Terran Alliance starter sets. Well…they weren’t wrong. Almost a full 12 months later they’re finally releasing those two factions. And the indications are that they’ll be a proper boxset and some proper rules on the way too.

It’s been a hugely frustrating 12 months watching Spartan devolve into an early version of Games Workshop with rising prices, a scattergun release schedule with things like Spartan Scenics popping up despite no 28mm games actually being out yet from Spartan. Which is all part of the longer term plan for Firestorm Invasion. Which is why it’s odd that they’d release all that stuff so early.

I promise this isn’t sour grapes. I just don’t get it. The erratic releases, the supplements that push an abstract game system to its absolute limit and taking a year to roll something out that they’ve outwardly ignored. I have no problem with a company taking time to develop, or raising capitol to develop. Credit where credit’s due, they haven’t done a kickstarter. But I do feel that if Spartan had spent less time and money developing some of the iffy supplements they could have properly developed Firestorm Invasion rather than lose all momentum by taking a year.

Anyway, this is what Spartan had to say about Firestorm Invasion – and there’s some sexy shots of the Terran vehicles. I’ve also included all the stuff about the Sorylians and Directorate.

As I say, I really want this game to be good and successful. And I really want Spartan to regain its focus and get back to doing cool stuff rather than bodging, improvising and generally messing with a mechanic that was too precise to allow for it…

Spartan Games…

It has long been a part of the plans for the FA Galaxy that your space fleets could fight their way to planets and star systems ready to deploy ground forces with which to capture or destroy vital strategic objectives. Having watched our community of 10mm scale gamers grow, and beavered away in the background on new models and enhanced rules, it is a pleasure to tell you that all of the six major races will be coming to a tabletop soon.

Having listened to feedback and read your Wishlists, Firestorm Planetfall has taken shape and will be rolled out to as follows:

• All six major races
• Boxed Sets designed to make army building easy and cost-effective
• Hardback Rulebook
• Alliance Books
• Range of high quality scenery – from bunker complexes to entire cityscapes

For those players who already own Terrans and Dindrenzi we have not left you out. An entire set of new, highly detailed models have been created to complement your existing forces. From brand new tanks and aircraft to gigantic Prime Movers capable of transporting entire units of infantry across the gaming table, we’ve worked on it all.

So to end, please have a look at concept art for some of the new Terran models. Over the next few weeks our web pages will be changed to reflect the enhancements to our spaceships and ground forces, and we’ll keep detailing the new models across the range. Check back soon to see images of the Sorylians, Relthoza, Aquans and Directorate at the ground scale!

Terran Concept Artwork - MBT (Main Battle Tank)

Terran Concept Artwork - Heavy Tank

Terran Concept Artwork - Prime Mover Troop Carrier

Sorylian Collective

Sorylian Collective

What you can see here are concepts for just three of the Sorylian models: the Medium Walker (think Main Battle Tank quantity wise on a tabletop, the FA version of a Sherman), the Heavy Walker and a Small Strike Drone. But there is a myriad other models for this race, from the Small Flyer right up to machines that block the sunlight on a battlefield.

Chris added: “Their fundamental characteristics were to be resilient legged tanks that would lumber across the battlefield with less haste and more of a juggernaut archetype. With this in mind I started to think of the silhouette and sense of the weight of these mighty mechanical mechs piloted by a lizard-like race. Their centre of gravity would be extremely low to help them feel sturdy and immovable and I drew reference from the body language of various reptiles and similar creatures to create a leg setup that was appropriate. Having arrived at these wonderfully mechanical dinosaurs of war I am very pleased with the outcome. They feel technologically advanced yet prehistoric in their physical presence.”

The fighting vehicles of the Sorylian Collective are primarily comprised of bulky, resilient walkers. Slow and ponderous, but very well protected from all forms of incoming ordnance, these stoic vehicles shrug off enemy attacks whilst their return fire punctures hulls with ease.

Sorylian Collective

Sorylian Collective

Sorylian Collective

Filling the sky around these walkers are swarms of much smaller aircraft. Incredibly agile, they dart around the larger vehicles, knocking out enemy aircraft attempting to strike at the walkers from above, or driving off light vehicles trying to outflank their charges. In this way the Sorylian ‘Sphere’ formations grind across the battlefield, maintaining their defensive stance whilst they roll over objectives and crush enemy wrecks beneath their giant metal feet.

In the next blog we’ll delve into the ideas behind the Directorate ground forces. Sleek, fast, deadly – I know it sounds clichéd, but it’s the ideal way to sum this force up.

As the most technologically advanced race in the known galaxy (in their own minds at least!), we felt that the Directorate in Planetfall needed to capture that sleek Hi-Tech sci-fi look, whilst still feeling like working military vehicles that can take a beating and dish out some brutality in return.

After an exciting design meeting with lots of reference pictures (and sci-fi gun noises) an eager Chris Peacey set about bringing to life the Directorate ground forces, and the units he came out with are some of the most stunning Planetfall models yet.

Chris Peacey explains: “The Directorate have the best gear, the best resources and the most advanced technology of all the races in the Storm Zone, so it was only fitting for their ground and air vehicles to have an air of elitism about them. Superior offensive and defensive technologies manifest themselves in the form of plasma weapons and ablative armour, cyber-attack capabilities and intimidating air support. Ground units are swift and employ first-strike tactics. It is rare that a Directorate force is ever cornered or taken by surprise. In this unlikely event, air support is devastating for the opposing forces as large and impressively armoured gunships can promptly deliver a barrage of suppressive fire.”

The Directorate

Pictured above are three concepts for Directorate vehicles: a particularly mean looking Battle Tank with reinforced armour cladding and a giant plasma weapon, an aggressive Gunship that perfectly hits the balance between functional military and sophisticated design and my personal favourite – a sleek cyberwarfare vehicle that screams speed, stealth and advanced tech.

Chris Peacey explains: “The Cyber Warfare tank is the personification of the Directorate’s slick approach to conflict. Its smooth lines and hexagonal cladding give an appropriate feel to a vehicle that changes what is necessary to secure victory over enemy forces. You can expect future Directorate units to share this striking aesthetic. In contrast, the main battle vehicle and heavy gunship have a contemporary science fiction feel; armed to the teeth and equally armoured. These vehicles built for pure offence are the true fist of the Directorate military.

I hope that Directorate players of Firestorm Armada are looking forward to seeing these vehicles realised as 10mm scale miniatures as much as I am!!”

The Directorate - Battle Tank

The Directorate - Gunship

The Directorate - Cyber Warfare Tank

On the battlefield, the ground forces of the Directorate take a ‘right tool for the job’ approach. VTOL craft of varying sizes provide manoeuvrability and heavy firepower, Tank Destroyers and automated gun platforms deadly fire support and Battle Tanks occupy the enemy’s attention, shrugging off their shots with high-tech armour systems.

Meanwhile elite infantry and powerful augmented mechs perform a crucial “special forces” role, supporting the larger vehicles, clearing ground and seizing objectives. Across the board, the Directorate supplement their arms and armour with unmatched cyber-tech. Capitalising on their supremacy in this arena, they shut down defences, overload systems and sow havoc and discord throughout their inferior enemy.

Ryushi Previews for Firestorm Armada

I don’t know. I say nothing about Spartan Games for months and now they’re practically all I talk about. Well, not really but still.

The Ryushi are on their way and my goodness me they look a little bit lovely. They’re a Kurak Alliance fleet so most likely what you see is all you’ll get but they’ll make an extremely pretty addition to most fleets. Like mine…

FAAT17-2

Ryushi Fleet set – £45
FAAT18-2

Battle Carrier Set – £30

The prices of Spartan’s stuff is starting to creep up a bit. To get both sets it’ll set you back £75 which isn’t cheap. Off puttingly so I’d say. But either way, they’re released on August 21st and below is some fluff from the site.

Ryushi military doctrine focuses on large, durable craft; combining unequalled defensive technology with powerful weapons systems. Huge versatility is offered by their heavily armed Onnisha Carriers, whose Flights can swiftly be tailored to offensive or defensive situations and kept operating at full capacity by highly trained deck crews. Torpedoes and enemy craft are swatted aside by matchless point defence systems, whilst the Carrier’s heavy-grade primary weapons and guided torpedoes tackle the toughest of long-range targets. The Ryushi are one of the more prominent members of the Kurak Alliance.

New Godslayer Previews

GodslayerTitle copy

I love Megalith. I love them because they created Godslayer and I love them because they’re releasing some truly awesome stuff…

First up – Sons of War. They’re by all accounts warriors without peer, which I’m kinda getting the impression of from the render below. I think it’s safe to assume they’re going to exhibit Spartan levels of badassery. That’s the ancient Spartans, not the ones from Halo.

SonsOfWar_Render

Then there’s the Banebrood Cyclops which is big, ugly and looks like he’s robbed Granny’s favourite ornament…

Cyclops_Render

And finally here’s some videos of the Mortan’s Cataclysm Catapult. In a word…WANT!

 

 

New Firestorm Armada Fleets

It’s been a long time since I had anything to say about Spartan Games. I almost put fingers to keyboard when I saw them releasing a range of HDF scenery for 28mm sci-fi games when they don’t have a 28mm sci-fi game. It’s yet another knee-jerk, ‘hey wouldn’t it be cool if’ idea from a company that is becoming increasingly scattergun and increasingly expensive. That’s not to say it isn’t cool, but sets for Dystopian Legions is perhaps a more logical way to go, I would have thought.

But moving on to something more positive. Coming out at the end of July are two new factions for Firestorm Armada. The Hawker Industries fleet and Works Raptor fleet. Both say Alliance on them but I’m not sure whether that means Terran Alliance, Alliance of Kurak or the Zenian League, although Hawker Industries definitely fall into one of the first two. But I tell you what; I don’t care because they look amazing. It’s the first time since I got my Terran Alliance fleet at Christmas that I’ve really felt drawn to anything from Spartan. The £45 price tag is a little steep mind considering 18 months ago starter fleets were £33. Although, providing they don’t go up any more, I’ll not rant too much about it.

Anyway, feast your eyes on these…

Hawker Industries Alliance Fleet

FAAT16-2

As conflict in the Storm Zone intensifies, Hawker Industries readies its famously reliable vessels for front-line service once again. From the mighty Excelsior to the hardy Endeavour, these tenacious hulls are now outfitted with new shielding technology, state-of-the-art sensor arrays and devastating weapons systems. Emerging from space-docks across the galaxy, they stand ready to remind the Zenian foe that Hawker is still a name to be feared.

Works Raptor Alliance Fleet

FAZR16-2The name Works Raptor has long been synonymous with arms design and manufacture. Single-minded in their pursuit of the science of war, the vessels of the Works Raptor fleet are uncompromisingly lethal. Utilising unmatched stealth systems and powerful drive engines the Attrition Class Assault Carrier will always deliver its payload of Space Craft Wings, deadly torpedoes and elite, genetically engineered boarding marines into the enemy’s heart. In turn the Interdictor Cruisers and Tyranny Corvettes sow chaos through their fleet, dissecting their prey whilst evading retaliation with ease.

Godslayer Greens

Over on the Megalith Games website they’re previewing some of the Godslayer gorgeousness but I thought I’d share it here too…

First up a WIP of a big scary Dwarf bloke for the Nordgaard…

EinherjerWIP

And next up is a warlord model for the Wyldfolk…

Sculpt_FiannorFarfarer

And here’s what Megalith had to say about him…

This is the Fiannor Farfarer, who he is the warlord of the Fiannor subfaction, scheduled for release in around 4-8 weeks, immediately following the Scabhta Hunters. 

The Farfarer is the best archer in the game so far and he has tactics to enhance shooty units, enabling them to shoot more frequently and with greater accuracy. 

This great sculpt captures his lethal accuracy and “scouty” nature.

 

Dreadball Season 2

471e27f330bd96c059203afdab82dfef_large

With my review done and a rare blossom of excitement for a new game swelling in my chest I thought I’d take a look at some of the Season 2 concepts that are floating around the interwebs and it’s all looking rather groovy. Although Mantic are brave to rip off Transformers. Hasbro tend to sue people more readily than GW…

The Robots can…ahem…transform to take on different roles. The Zzor are bred to play in their position, which is a neat idea. The Judwan are…grey and the Sirens have boobs.

db-robotsRobots

Zzor_team2Zzor

db_judwan_strkr_fJudwan

0--aCorporation Sirens

Corporation-GoalieCorporation Goalie

And as an added bonus stuff that’s allegedly being lined up for season 3…

MVP_Asterian_FemAsterians

00BlaineMVPConvicts

 

White Dwarf Dark Angel Pages Leaked

Another month, another hacked off employee taking snaps on their mobile of the upcoming White Dwarf. Specifically the Dark Angel releases.

I’ve got to say, my feelings are mixed. The new Deathwing Terminators look pretty cool and have lots of conversion potential for other Chapters. The Ravenwing ‘Black Knights’ are a reboxing of the standard Ravenwing bikers with a few more baubles. And yes they all have plasma weapons. The air superiority flyer rumours were clearly true. And it looks pretty cool. The landspeeders on the other hand… They’re certainly bigger and meaner than they use to be but they have all the aerodynamics of a brick.

Enjoy.

DeathWingBelialDeathwing-KnightsDeathwing-CommandRavenwing+Black+KnightsRavenwing+BikerRavenwing+BannerRavenwing+LandspeederLandspeeder-AlternativeRavenWing+FlyerChaplain+Dark+Angels

Dystopian Legions News

Yes, that’s right, another DL preview post. But in my defence there’s a lot going on in Spartan towers at the moment.

For a start  the quickplay rules are now available to download. Click here to get them.

In other news there’s some more Kingdom of Britannia previews…

“It was a bit of a sticky wicket. The Suns had us on the ropes. If we broke, the road to Burma was open. But then we heard the bugles. The men of the 15th dropped into the enemy ranks behind a great sheet of flame and steam and scattered the Suns like wheat chaff in a gale. I knew then that we were saved.”

Sergeant Roger Coker, 6th Cumberland, describing the intervention of the 15th Hussars at the Second Battle of Taiping

Horse-mounted cavalry has all but vanished from the Britannian army’s order of battle since the flood of technology from the Covenant of Antarctica began to change the world in the late 1850s.

The cavalry regiments, however, did not disappear but instead radically altered their training regimes and equipment. Like the more heavily-armed garrison troops of the Land, Air and Naval Armadas, they are equipped with the sturdy Sturgicite-fuelled Brunel-Fosdyke Rocket Assisted Transit personal flying machine – nicknamed the ‘Ratpack’.

Britannia’s Hussar Regiments retain their role as daring, fast-moving assault troops. Many a hard-pressed regular platoon has had reason to thank a timely intervention by a Sky Hussar squadron at the key moment.

They are nicknamed ‘Flaming Angels’ by the Britannian press, thanks to their main armament – Ricardo MkII Flamebelchers, pistol-sized weapons capable of spewing great sheets of fire over opponents and sending them scrambling away in blind panic. These weapons are relatively new, being issued alongside more conventional arms and giving the Sky Hussars an exceptional edge in the shock assaults they favour.

The Sky Hussars have a much more glamorous reputation than the line infantry, second only to the pilots of the Air Armada’s fighter squadrons. Much of this stems from the risks that they are required to take in the execution of their duties. Their battlefield role is that much more rigorous, often involving fighting at perilously close quarters.

Hussar specialists, like the regular infantry, carry Ricardo flamethrowers to give them the edge over superior numbers of enemy troops. The combination of these weapons and the standard Flamebelchers make Hussar assaults even more terrifying for those on the receiving end of them, as well as acting as a great morale boost for other Britannian soldiers.

The Hussar squadrons prefer not to get involved in grinding combats of attrition if they can avoid it, specialising in fast and hard strikes at key points in the enemy line, before jetting back out of reach of retaliation and regrouping for their next assault.

Tactical Use:
The Sky Hussars can be a little tricky to use right, but once you know how to get the most from them they are a game-winning asset for any Britannian Commander.

Sky Hussars can put out a great deal of damage at close range, going to close quarters and burning the enemy down at point blank range. If it is totally essential, they can draw their sabres and go in with the old cold steel.

However, this comes at a cost in terms of protection. Sky Hussars go into battle in nothing more than their perfectly tailored uniforms and a pair of good riding boots. They most definitely cannot take as much punishment as they can dish out!

But to compensate, the Sky Hussars have their ‘Ratpacks‘, gifting them with the power to move like lightning across the table. Their skill makes them difficult to hit with gunfire at range.

When paired up with a Line Infantry Section, Sky Hussars excel. Let the Line Infantry whittle the enemy down as they move forward, then let loose the Hussars to send whatever remains of them to oblivion.

Alternatively, they can advance with the line and play their Special Game CardFirestorm, at the opportune moment. This will flush the enemy out of hiding just in time for the entire line to open up on them. This tactic can make for a fearsome outflanking gambit against a defended position.

“Fall back now? No, no, no! Look at them…on the verge of shattering like glass, I tell you! To me, lads! Let’s show ‘em how Britannians fight! Hurrah!”

Although the bulk of Britannia’s aerial strength falls under the remit of the Aerial Armada and the Navy’s Fleet Air Arm, the Kingdom’s regular army retains its own small integral aerial force, known as the Royal Flying Corps. Although they only operate conventional aeroplanes, as opposed to the great Sturginium Age flying engines of the Air Armada, the RFC is proud of its traditions.

These date back to Wellington’s great victory over the Prussians at Waterloo, when Royal Flying Corps’ pilots, manning perilously fragile Masaulle V biplanes contributed to the defeat of Emperor Heinrich Otto’s armies.

RFC officers are often attached to Britannian infantry formations. As well as being pilots and liaising with local air support, they are also fully-trained infantry officers in their own right.

Captain Gilbert ‘Bertie’ Smethington II, Distinguished Flying Cross, is undoubtedly the most famous of the RFC’s officer class. The scion of a noted aristocratic family – his father, Lieutenant-General Baronet Gilbert Smethington I, served with the army in southern Africa – Bertie saw action in the Far East before being transferred back to Britannia to take part in the Kingdom’s offensive operations against the Prussian Empire.

Brash, loud and flamboyant, Smethington’s presence is always welcomed by infantry units on the ground, despite – or sometimes because of – his propensity to rub regular infantry officers up the wrong way. His mere presence can inspire ordinary troops to great feats of courage in battle no matter the odds. Apart from his undoubted charisma, the Captain is also noted for having a lucky streak that often seems to land him, and those he leads, on their feet.

Captain Smethington favours a customised automatic pistol as his personal arm, a piece of extraordinary quality and effectiveness made by the prestigious Egg gunmaking house in London. However, ‘Bertie’s Blazer’ as it has become known to troops serving alongside him, has far more significance to Gilbert than just its effectiveness as a weapon.

Bertie acquired the pistol from Captain Ian ‘Spinner’ Spencer, a long time friend and colleague of his from their days of service in India. Spinner lost his life during the first Blazing Sun attack on Burma, when the scout aircraft that he and Bertie were flying was shot down by enemy fighter aeroplanes.

Both men survived the landing, deep behind enemy lines, but despite hauling the badly wounded Spinner more than ten miles along with him, Bertie was unable to save his old friend’s life. Spinner’s last act was to bequeath his pistol to Gilbert, who eventually found his way back to the Britannian stronghold at Georgetown after a gruelling two-week hike. Bertie privately believes the weapon to be the source of his good luck, and has carried it into battle in honour of Spinner ever since.

Tactical Use:
Captain ‘Bertie’ Smethington the Second DFC may not be the best shot or a boxing champ, but somehow he always appears to end up on top. Though he has fairly average stats for an officer of his rank, he is incredibly Lucky!

Smethington has a finite Pool of Luck Points that must last him the entire game. These can be spent at any time to re-roll dice – every commander’s dream come true when it comes to passing a vital Command Test, pulling off a key Ranged Attack or winning a Duel!

Although this makes the Captain very effective, remember that even Bertie’s good fortune has its limits – good management of your Luck Points is essential. Captain Smethington II is also a very competent leader. He provides plenty of Command Points to the Force’s Pool, and can be relied upon to keep your force in line with his unique Britannian Bulldog Command Ability, using his natural charisma to anchor the forces around him.

Finally, Bertie has his Special Game Card – Come on Chaps!”. This card allows any Sections near to ‘Smeth’ to make a special additional move at any time, perfect for escaping a dastardly Prussian charge!