Salute in Review: Dreadball Fest!

Salute 2014

Salute, salute, salute salute salute. (sung to the tune of Black Adder) I’m sure no one minded me singing Rob’s Salute theme tune on the way home one little bit. In fact it probably made the trip back from London go even quicker [Especially as it took four hours thanks to Mat's atrocious SatNav - Ed.]. So I am sorry to say that it is over for another year and with 365(ish) days to go until the next Salute, I am going to have to go back to buying models in shops or online like the rest of the world. Oh the horror! The whole event was great and there was some awesome stuff to see: so much variety (which is a great sign for the hobby in general), so many great people to meet and I know even though I spent the whole day trying to see everything I probably only got to see half of what Salute had to offer.

The day went pretty much to plan, with no help from Forge World. They had everything a Warhammer 40k player could want…as long as you wanted something from the Horus Heresy. However as an Ork player I was disappointed to find out that they had brought none of their awesome Ork range so I had to order the heavy weapons I needed for my Battle wagon conversion. I hope they turn up soon. Needless to say I have learnt my lesson and next year I will be ordering in advance, still at least I didn’t have to pay the postage and packaging.

Zzappa

But then I wondered over to the Mantic stand…Not only did I got a great look at their Battlezones range (watch this space), but I also got some really exciting information about Dreadball Xtreme and Deadzone and how new rules will work and I am now more excited about both games than ever. I’ll be covering that in more detail soon. Then I bought a lot of stuff for Dreadball including the new supplement Azure Forest. Review to follow. [Damn Neil, you're gonna be busy. -Ed.] We’ve also made it on to Mantic’s reviewer list so we should be able to cover their products much more thoroughly in the future.

I also confirmed that I have definitely fallen in love with Malifaux and saw some amazing figures from Twisted, Black Scorpion, Taban and Mierce miniatures. I checked out some of the great scenery from Amera Plastic Mouldings, where I picked up a great amphitheatre piece and still regret not picking up another Dreadball Stadium, especially as by the end of the show they had them for £25! I was also really interested by a range I had not come across before – Z Clipz by Studio Miniatures.

Amphitheatre

So onto the spoils, and like I said I did buy a lot of Dreadball. I picked up booster squads for both my human and robot teams, as well as two hard-hitting MVPs Buzzcut and DRB7 Firewall and the Azure Forest supplement. Away from Dreadball I got some red dice (because red ones roll higher – it’s science), and a the aforementioned Ork Big Zzappa.

Firewall Buzzcut

Human booster

dice

It wasn’t the biggest haul I know but it was what I wanted and regrettably all I had time to get the rest of my day was meeting some of the #warmongers at the meet up, watching the mild-mannered Mat turn into a model buying machine and the rest of the day was business, meeting some great companies and talking about their new projects and The Shell Case. It should make for some great articles over the next few months.

Imperial Knight – A Review

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It’s been a little while since I’ve reviewed anything for the Grim Dark Future of the 41st Millennium so this article is a bit of a treat as I’m taking a look at the awe-inspiring Imperial Knight kit. I’ve always felt very fortunate to do what I do but some days I really have to pinch myself…

For those that either (A) aren’t old enough or (B) haven’t been in the hobby long enough, Imperial Knights made their debut in Epic, the 5mm game of awesomeness that has sadly fallen by the wayside along with all the other specialist games. The Knights filled an ill-fitting hole in the military offering of the Imperium being neither a Titan, nor a platoon of armour. Instead they were a kind of sucky middle ground that were often used as a distraction for the Mega Gargants that were also included in the Titan Legions boxset. The Knight Paladins looked a little something like this…

Knight_Paladins

Now they look like this…

Knight_Paladins_40kI mean look at it! It’s massive. Whilst I lament the demise of Epic Armageddon as much as any gamer as seasoned as I, or as someone who appreciates an amazing rule set, I have to full conceded that the 40k scale Knight is amazing. I wasn’t sold on the idea originally, although I totally called it when rumour of an Imperial large kit was in the offing all those months ago. I thought it was going to be a glorified Dreadknight. Nothing to really write home about. I rarely enjoy being wrong but on this occasion I briefly considered getting t-shirts made.

It looks gorgeous. Now there’s been some nonsense floating around about how GW ripped off the Cygnar warjack design to which I have this to say: the Knight model was there first. Whilst a dramatic evolution from the old models shown above, the hallmarks are all there. Plus it’s just superior in just about every way possible to a warjack model (no disrespect to Privateer). That’s not me Warmachine bashing. It’s better than most models I can think of beyond boutique resin models that occupy a league of their own.

Absolutely everything about the kit screams careful consideration. Not just how the model goes together, which is very clever and in some aspects resembles more an Airfix kit than toy soldiers, but the look and simple posability. Granted it loses something by the legs not being even slightly posable. This does mean that short of attacking your £80 kit with a saw your Knight is going to look largely like any other. However, the way arms and head all go together means that you can still tell a story or strike a roguish pose. And that’s pretty important.

The other significant detail is how very un-40k it is. Now bear with me on this. The Knights are an STC from the first expansion of man. They are older than just about any other fighting machine, suit or armour or weapon in the Imperium. Some have been painstakingly maintained over 15,000 years and so the design aesthetic and the technology level is different. Not vastly but enough that it’s noticeable. Enough that you look at the Knight and can see it’s an entirely more elegant construct than a Warlord Titan or even a Warhound.

It’s all beautiful curving armour plates and simple (but not crude) manufacture for longevity. And the detail is just the best. Everything about the model is stunning. The face plates, the weaponry, even the handles and grip rails that are totally unnecessary but fit right in. My own two – no really – gripes are the battle cannon is a bit bland. I suspect it was designed to look like a lance and it just looks like a slim-line acme cannon. I don’t hate, but I don’t love it and helped me make the decision to build my Knight as an Errant. The other is that some parts of the build are a bit fussy which could be helped if the instructions didn’t suck out loud. The visuals are poor and the close-ups are blurry versions of the main images and so are pointless.

However, it isn’t the most complicated kit in the world so with a bit of careful thought and trying pieces before gluing them you should be fine. One would hope. With careful gluing you can keep quite a lot of movement in the arms just to make things more fun and with some very careful cuts and the strategic placing of magnets you can quite possibly build it to switch out the weapons.

On the board it’s a beast. Weighing in between 370 & 375 points depending on your weapon of choice, it’s a toughie with armour 13 at the front and 12 at the sides and rear with 3 hull points on top. And if that weren’t enough the Ion Shield affords it an invulnerable save. Throw in some handy special rules and some horrendous weaponry and you’ve got yourself a party.

The weaponry is equally tasty. As I mentioned, the options are either a two shot battle cannon – which is nothing to be sniffed at, or a turbo charged melta weapon with more strength and a large blast. Both have merits and your regular opponents will most likely dictate your choice. I opted for the latter mainly from a design point of view, but as I have plenty of opponents with vehicles or multiple wounds, splatting them with a melta gun of doom followed by the fooking great chainsword of destruction is too good an opportunity to pass up. And speaking of the FGCOD, it’s just madness. It has strength D so will pretty much auto annihilate anything it touches. The interesting scrap would be a Knight verses a Warhound. The Knight weighs in a significantly fewer points and would have to endure the torrent of  Vulcan Mega Bolter shots but providing it got into base to base with the Titan I can see the Knight chopping its leg off and then beating the Titan to death with it.

Failing that, take two.

The Imperial Knight is a superb model. It’s not cheap and it’s not the easiest model to build but I can think of at least 5 kits from Forge World that fall into the same category and they’d cost you more. And this you’ll actually use. It’s an indulgence. A gift to you from you. And it’s absolutely bad ass on the board. Not indestructible by any means and it’s the proverbial bullet magnet but it’ll look ace whilst it gets shot to shit. It’s a triumph for Games Workshop and I don’t say that often. Is it worth the money? Honestly? Yes. I’d happily buy another. And another.

The Imperial Knight is available from Firestorm Games priced £76.50.

FaQs are dead! Long live the FaQs!

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One of the immediate hot topics of conversation (OK hobby rage) after the launch of the new Games Workshop web site was the notable absence of the FaQs section. Any attempt to access them via saved links was met with a pretty clear message:

gw_newwebsite_faqsgone

Well it would appear that all is not lost. People are reporting receiving a common response to their enquiries to Games Workshop customer services about the missing FaQs which looks like this:

Thanks for the email regarding the FAQs on the new website.

Currently the FaQ’s are not available on the website, as the design team are taking this opportunity to fully update all the FAQ and Errata articles. This is only temporary and these FAQ’s will be made available again in the very near future. 

So, really it’s a case of “good news everyone!” as it would appear that not only are the FaQs not dead, they aren’t even just sleeping, they are getting a full refresh! Hopefully that’ll see some of the more glaring issues with some of the newer codices and army books dealt with (Lizardmen, I’m looking at you with your skink characters on terradons not being able to join units) and a nice fresh set of random rules (undead crumbling randomness, you know what you did) for us all to pore over.

 

Calas Typhon Unboxing

I’m back from my adventure to Adepticon, and I brought home lots of goodies! One of my favorite pieces came from Forge World, the fearsome Calas Typhon [So much want - Ed]. I’ve unboxed him so you can get a decent look at him.

I haven’t been too keen on a few of the Horus Heresy character models that Forge World has released, but Calas really strikes me. He may move to the top of my painting queue. He’ll certainly be assembled this weekend.

Also in that queue are several other Horus Heresy characters including Angron, Fulgrim, and Abaddon and Loken. I eventually plan to have the whole set of HH characters, which is getting harder to do as they release them at a faster pace. Originally, I had just planned on getting the Primarchs, but the other characters have been such interesting models that I decided to go for them all.

My wallet weeps.

I hope you enjoyed getting to see Calas Typhon!

New Games Workshop Website Live!

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After the mysterious activities on the Games Workshop website yesterday, presumably just to build tension (given that these days there is no technical reason to take a site offline for a whole day to launch a web site!) it’s back, it’s new and, er, well is same but different.

It’s still just Games Workshop

No clever attempt at an integration of the Forge World and Black Library sites (as expected really, given that at no point yesterday did these sites disappear), it’s just the Games Workshop website, with some differences (see below). This is a good thing in my view, Forge World and Black Library have great individual identities and if they had been subsumed into a new ‘pure eCommerce’ site like this one then the community would have lost a significant amount of the flavour that they bring to our hobby.

The new design

Isn’t a million miles away from the old one. It’s still image-driven but now it’s even clearer that this is a retail store. Pretty much all of the ‘hobby’ content, bar the “What’s new” and “White Dwarf” sections, has gone and the menu layout and options are definitely geared towards purchasing, with options to select by price range and force organisation/ army composition rather than just driving you through the standard ‘army’ channels.

There are some good tweaks here, specifically to make the site more generally accessible across more devices, and as a result the hover menus have died a necessary death. It’s slightly annoying that you have to click on check boxes, not words as that gives you a smaller target area to aim at (especially on a mobile device), but I definitely prefer it over the last front end, much cleaner and easier to read and the new ‘list’ of products view is nicer.

One potentially useful new feature is the ability to select multiple categories at once from the side bar, very much a standard eCommerce feature but I’m not sure how necessary it is for this site. Unless of course you really need to look at Beastmen and Dwarves in one product list…

gw_newwebsite_newsitelayout

Mobile/ tablet friendly

Probably the biggest change folks are talking about (on Twitter, where Games Workshop notably still are not) is the introduction of a ‘proper’ mobile site. My feeling on this is, yup it’s nice, but really if there had been a site relaunch without some response design to accommodate mobile users then that would have been a serious negative point against it. It’s good to have, but should be auto-include for a retail web site these days.

FAQ off!

This is probably the ‘biggy’ in this revamp, Games Workshop have completely stripped out the FAQs section.

gw_newwebsite_faqsgone

This isn’t totally unforeseen, after all the FAQs haven’t been updated in a long while, and Games Workshop’s general shift towards digital content might suggest that they’ll simply shift them into automatic codex/army/rule book updates plus possibly a return to the old days of ‘official’ update books? I think that latter option is unlikely, Games Workshop have put considerable effort into their digital offerings of late and I suspect they want us all to just buy iPads and receive over the air updates so that we’re all using the version of rules they consider to be ‘the right ones’. Not that that’s much help if you don’t have a fruit-based tablet, of course…

We will have to wait and see what impact this has on the tournament and general hobby scene. After all if Games Workshop have taken them down, does this mean they won’t allow them at Warhammer World events? Most tournaments, I suspect, will still count them as valid (after all, they’re still an official Games Workshop offering), but how will new players get hold of them if not from the Games Workshop web site?

Your account is dead, long live your (new) account!

Part of the revamp involved a new platform and I guess rather than attempt (and therefore pay for) a migration of existing accounts, Games Workshop have scrapped all existing accounts and wish/gift lists. Not a massive issue really and certainly not worth holding up a new site for, but something to be aware of nonetheless!

Final thoughts

So all-in-all not a bad revamp, but clearly another step towards Games Workshop’s online presence being about two things, retail sales and retail sales. Oh wait, that’s the same thing twice. I do think they’re trying, with the White Dwarf revamp, the weekly release schedule and the hiving off of all social content to the stores to explicitly split off our relationship with Games Workshop HQ as a retail body from our relationship to the stores, hence retaining the store Facebook pages. It’s an interesting move on their part and I guess time will tell how successful a strategy it is, but with their one-man store policy and a clear desire to drive footfall back into stores as hobby centres you can see a picture developing where we go back to the days of our primary relationship to the Games Workshop part of the hobby being bricks and mortar centric. At least I suspect that’s what Games Workshop are trying to achieve.

New Games Workshop Website Incoming!

gw_newwebsite_placeholder So, not long after the launch of the new Warhammer World website, the main GW site is currently down for maintenance as the covers are being removed on the brand new site! See that bit on the right? That’s a sprue, which seems to be an awesome looking model available to anyone ordering over a certain amount once the new site is up and running: gw_newwebsite_sprue   And the offer itself with a pic of the finished model (which looks rather tasty I have to say): gw_newwebsite_modeloffer Look to the skies!

The Shell Case does Salute – Lee

Salute 2014

As the 12th April comes ever closer and the prospect of another day filled with nothing but the sights, sounds and smells of the UK’s best all-round gaming show (and with the recent trend with Games Day, arguably just the outright best) fills our every waking thought (especially Mat’s – it’s his first time and he’s really quite excited), the members of The Shell Case team attending Salute this year (sorry Ashley, next time maybe?) have taken time to reflect on their hopes and expectations for Salute 2014.

Here’s Lee’s thoughts:

Lee

This year’s Salute is going to be a little different for me.  With my new role as Deputy Editor and increased responsibilities within The Shell Case, this time round will be significantly more business focused than previously.  Whereas last year I visited each stand and cooed approvingly at their products whilst Phil chatted to his contacts (or attempted to make new ones), this time I must attempt to join in the conversations – whilst cooing approvingly at their products. Hopefully I can pick up a few things and acquaint myself with those who support us. We also have some new companies we are interested in working with, and Salute brings many exciting possibilities.

The most important stop I must make on the day is…the Forgeworld stand (I’m only human, and a wargamer).  I should be taking delivery of a Sicaran Battle Tank and a set of Phoenix Guard Terminators – so I’m very excited (and maybe even a Mannan’s Blades bundle depending on how the day, and the wallet goes). I have a Helblaster shaped hole to fill in my Empire army (Phil will be pleased) and I’m also going to be keeping an eye out for some good quality modelling hardware – a Paint Station, some Micro Magnets and the like.  Aside from that, I’ll just see where my wandering takes me.

I’m also looking forward to meeting up with my fellow writers at The Shell Case (those that can make it) now being more familiar with their work – along with anyone else that wants to say hi.  In all honesty, the 12th can’t come soon enough.

Short Daemon Tactica: Bloodcrushers of Khorne

warhammer 40000 logo

Bloodcrushers of Khorne are pretty deadly, even though they have been somewhat downgraded since last edition, and are still a prime assault unit of any Daemon force.  There are even a few ways to overcome the units’ new problem with 2+ armour saves. Plus, it also gives me an excuse to break out a  MegaDeth song.

Ok, lets start from the beginning, because it colours a lot of people’s perceptions about the usability of Bloodcrushers. It will also explain why, depending on where you play, Daemon players are likely to throttle you if you try to bring up the unit in a conversation.

Bloodcrushers useful

A typical reaction to “I still think Bloodcrushers are useful”

Now, last edition the unit were god level good. They had a one point higher toughness, a 3+ save and power weapons still ignored all saves completely instead of just being AP3 Hellblades like they are now – so naturally every Daemon force had a unit or two.  But instead of screaming ‘Worst.Unit. Ever!’ like some parts of the internet, I’ll be explaining how to use them best, despite their diminished status. Call it an act of spite for having to wade through a year of forum after forum saying Phil Kelly is the worst human alive [I thought it was The Cruddace? - Ed]

For a start, Bloodcrushers are now Cavalry, making them able to cross the board by Turn 2 instead of being late game challengers as they were in the past. This increased speed somewhat makes up for a diminished survivability and means that the unit is now able to do flanking attacks or surprise a unit or two (not to mention they can pick and choose their targets more readily to avoid those pesky 2+ saves). Combine this with the ability to strip a unit of cover from the Bloodcannon and they can still kick a lot of arse.

Bloodcrusher model by Games Workshop

Bloodcrusher model by Games Workshop

Now, whilst their use is mostly limited to killing 3+ save units (of which there are many), the addition of a unit champion or Heralds gives you access to AP2 weaponry. The Axe of Khorne is one of the few god specific weapons I would consider trading the humble Etherblade for, as it has the same stats and swaps Master-Crafted for Instant Death on a 6 to
wound. What your play style is will determine which upgrade you choose I think.

One big change to Bloodcrushers is that I would now consider Deep Striking them, or at the very least hugging cover. That increased vulnerability, paired with their reputation from the last codex, means they will attract a lot of firepower – especially in Space Marine or Necron armies where AP3 close combat weapons are a scary prospect.

All in all, Bloodcrushers aren’t the strongest of units you can have in a mono Khorne force. But use them well as they will still eat a few units before their demise and draw a lot of firepower. For that, and the awesome models, they are worth trying.

So what are you waiting for? Its time to crush ‘em!

Bloodcrushers are available from Firestorm Games, priced £30.15.

The Shell Case does Salute – Mat

Salute 2014

As the 12th April comes ever closer and the prospect of another day filled with nothing but the sights, sounds and smells of the UK’s best all-round gaming show (and with the recent trend with Games Day, arguably just the outright best) fills our every waking thought (especially Mat’s – it’s his first time and he’s really quite excited), the members of The Shell Case team attending Salute this year (sorry Ashley, next time maybe?) have taken time to reflect on their hopes and expectations for Salute 2014.

Here’s what Mat had to say:

Mat

MAT BUY TOYS! Sorry that was slightly involuntary and besides Rob did warn you [Yes I did, but perhaps not well enough if people are actually reading this. -Rob].

So yes this is my first Salute. It’s not my first event however: I have attended Games Day in bygone years but then I had bugger all disposable income. And it was a pure Games Workshop event and I’m reliably informed that Salute is nothing like. Other than it involves toy soldiers. And as some of you may realise, I’m really hot for other companies’ miniatures and games anyway right now so, bring it:

  1. I will be partly attending this year to perform my duties as an ambassador for The Shell Case and chatting with some awesome peeps, who do know I’m coming. As well as taking photos for The Shell Case. MAT BUY TOYS! Ahem. Sorry.
  2. I will definitely be heading over to see Andy from Heresy Miniatures we’ve been getting a bit of a Necromunda itch here, and he does some brilliant miniatures for a Delaque gang. MAT BUY TOYS! I’m so sorry, I don’t know why that keeps happening.
  3. After reading Ashley’s article about Saga I’m thinking of checking that out, along with Maulifaux which I have developed a warm squishy place for. And Godslayer. And Dreadball. Honestly my list is endless. I don’t know if I’ll part with my cash on these… Yeah, whatever.
  4. I do have a few other bits on my list that I definitely want to purchase…MAT BU- Sorry! Sorry! X-Wing toys for my growing Imperial fleet are a must. Some bits for my Tau force providing I can find a bargain, and I’ll be hitting up Forge World for a tasty Battlesuit. I also want to find some models for my Beastmen Mordheim Warband. I don’t want to have to use the standard models.
  5. #warmongers meet is going to be pretty cool and I’m looking forward to putting some faces to names.
  6. I’m just really looking forward to hanging out with The Shell Case crew and spending a day looking at all the shiny. MAT BUY TOYS! ARRRGH!

[The Shell Case would like to apologise for Mat. Really we would. His mother also got in touch and extends her sincerest apologies also.]

Leaked White Dwarf Astra Militarum Images

As the new Codex rumbles towards release as unstoppable as the Leman Russ battle tank it’ll no doubt over power, here’s the inevitable last-minute leaked images from the upcoming White Dwarf of the new shit for the freshly renamed Astra Militarum including the Wyvern. The badass twin brother of the equally badass Hydra. I make no bones: I want an army just for this kit. And the Valkyries.

WDCover OrderCards Regiments Wyvern2 Wyverndetail Hydradetail wyvern