Category Archives: Space Marines

Blackshield Decisions

2018-04-22 14.13.56Here are my first two black shield marauders. They’re still in progress – I need to figure out some insignia. I’d rather not have any at all, to really give that treacherous black ops look. But I think they need something. I’m thinking maybe just some kill-markings, and lightning bolts on the shoulder pads of the Terran-born soldiers.

Anyway this is a surprisingly fun project for me: the first space marine force I’ve built since the early 1990s. That means the last time I painted a space marine, Kurt Cobain was alive. And the Heresy-era armour and weapons remind me of an even earlier time, when I played Rogue Trader – probably incorrectly – with a couple of friends who had even less idea of what was going on than I did.

But anyway, enough reminiscing. My problem now is, which unit to get next? I’m building these guys step by step as a small force to fight alongside my hive gang militia. I have two squads of blackshield marauders, one outfitted for assault with shotguns and power swords, the other for tank hunting with lascutters and an autocannon. But I don’t know what to build next. I have room for one more unit in my little list, and since my local community are big fans of Centurion mode that means infantry, speeders, or walkers only. So this is my shortlist:

Seeker squad These guys really fit the black ops feel of my army. They’re expert marks-marines (BS5) with a variety of specialist ammo and preferred enemy against one enemy unit, chosen at the start of the game. Headhunters with bolters are a good fit, especially since no-one else in my army has a bolter. In an astartes force that just… seems wrong.

Tactical support squad with meltaguns Not a very competitive choice, the internet says. Hard to use well, but I can deepstrike them. Basically they’re Eldar Fire Dragons in marine form, and if Eldar players can do it, so can I. But the best reason to take them: twelve year old me heartily approves of a whole squad of meltaguns. It’s something he always wanted to do and was never allowed.

Terminators Come on, everyone loves termies. They’re a classic unit, and if I’m going with marines I may as well field some terminators while I’m at it. Plus the Tartaros amour looks amazing.

Dreadnought You know what else everyone loves? Dreadies. A good centrepiece model might be the way to go, and he can pack some heavier weaponry too.

It’s just a really hard decision. Anyone out there got an opinion?


The True Sons of Terra

I sold some painted models a little while ago – an Inquisitor and retinue. It really made my day when the guy who bought them (who was in the UK) sent me a message on eBay saying he recognised them from Instagram, and liked my work!

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this, but I try to make my hobby and my art self-sustaining. I keep a separate business account (in the case of art) and a piggy bank (in the case of hobby), and only use money from sales to fund further purchases. In the case of the art stuff, professionalism comes first, so I don’t cut any corners with materials and quality. In the case of hobby though, I take it as a sort of personal challenge to be as cheap as possible, sourcing bits from my mate Chris at Bitz Galaxy or from Bitz Box in the UK.

So I used the money from the Inquisitor and his cronies to fund the start of my Blackshields. In case you don’t know, Blackshields are an astartes faction found in Forge World’s Horus Heresy Book VI: Retribution. They’re marines who are victims of the Heresy and have splintered off from their Legion for whatever reason, gathered under a charismatic commander, and become mercenaries, pirates, or guerillas. They’ve obscured their original heraldry and foresworn their former Legion. Some were loyal, some fought for the Warmaster, and some for themselves. The vast majority of them were annihilated during the Heresy, but a few bands eventually fell to Chaos if they weren’t sworn to the Ruinous Powers already, and still kick around as Chaos Space Marine war bands in the 41st millennium. Others may even have evolved into post-Heresy loyalist successor chapters. But yeah, most died like so many others.

I’ve decided my Blackshields are not Chaos worshippers, but reavers and pirates. Their predecessors (and their commander, Captain Chiron) were Terran-born Raven Guard, the last generation of youths from the Xeric tribes of Terra to be inducted before the chapter began recruiting from off-world. Apparently after the Raven Guard were re-united with their Primarch, he didn’t really approve of the the Xeric martial traditions of his Terran legionaries, so he slowly purged them from the Legion. Chiron was a neophyte when he and his majority Terran-born company were assigned to a Rogue Trader on the galactic fringe.

By the time the Heresy blew everything apart, Chiron was one of the last surviving children of Terra in his company, and a Captain of the Legion. He abandoned the Rogue Trader and united his remaining comrades, leading them slowly home towards Terra. His ultimate plan when he reached his destination was unknown, but his band, who called themselves The True Sons of Terra, grew with other renegade and orphan astartes.

The True Sons were not afraid to use prohibited and xenos weaponry they had captured on the galactic fringe, and their tactics were unorthodox, more akin to a band of raiders than a space marine legion. Their small fleet was further bolstered by the remnants of the hive-gang militia regiment the Uruq Immortals, orphaned during the Baylonian Insurrection, who were willing participants in Chiron’s various plots and sabotages. Although Chiron’s loyalties (probably) lay with the Emperor, and the True Sons often fought bravely for the loyalist cause, the fact that they wore no recognisable badge and fought in such a deceptive manner resulted in more than one tragic case of mistaken identity ending in fellow loyalist blood being shed.

The True Sons of Terra are not to be confused with the Chaos warband The True Sons. Chiron and his army apparently vanished during the Age of Darkness, never reaching their destination. The latter are a band of Chaos Space Marines, formerly Sons of Horus, and still exist in the 41st millennium.

So that’s the background for these guys. This is a sketch I did of Captain Chiron, just for some preliminary inspiration. I’m imagining him as sort of Conan-esque, only a Space Marine:

2018-04-12 16.38.24

King Chiron, leader of the True Sons of Terra

Games Workshop Claims Rights to the Term ‘Space Marine’

…world slaps forehead.


Some of you might have heard this already, but here’s a link to an article sticking up for a science fiction writer who has had her book removed from Amazon in response to a request from Games Workshop.  Because it has the words ‘Space Marine’ in the title.

That’s right, good old GW have decided to expand their muscle tactics beyond the small world of hobby games and miniatures and have started telling sci-fi writers that they can’t use those two famous words.  I’ll be interested to see how this pans out – bullying garage miniature sculptors is one thing, telling authors (many of whom presumably have publishers much bigger than GW) that they can’t say ‘space marine’ is a whole other kettle of fish.

As one of my mates said: “why don’t those asshats just fucking trademark ‘war’ and ‘future’ while they’re at it?”

Another internet commentator pointed out that in the US, the Unites States Marine Corps owns the rights to the term ‘marine’, and that they do in fact have actual, real-life marines trained for space.  So good luck prosecuting that one GW, you monumental basket case of blundering, flailing evilness.

You know, really nothing they do surprises me any more.  I don’t know why I bother even paying attention.   It’s fascinating, I guess…?

Two Hobby Victories and a Thought

So the last month or so of my life has been a total blur.  As well as baby-wrangling I’ve been battling against house-unpacking and marking people’s assignments (which takes WAY longer than I anticipated) to try to get just a little bit of game stuff done.  Now the house is pretty much habitable and I’ve managed to steal some tiny hobby victories:

Victory One: My regular opponent Cap’n Stoogey and I are going in a 1200 point doubles 40k tourney in a couple of weeks, 600 points each.  For the first time his Ultramarines and my Guard will be fighting side by side.  600 points is not much and we aren’t aiming for the top tables so we just decided to choose a few must-have units that we really wanted to field.  I’ve mustered a rag-tag band of misfits – two squads of penal legionnaires, my ogryns, and my demolisher Anathema led by a Primaris Psyker.  In fact this little army has really captured my imagination, and got me thinking about a full-sized force of penals, abhumans and psykers, supported by assault battle tanks.  I think an army like that would be fun to play and really capture the weird undertone of the Imperial Guard fluff that lurks underneath the “normal army dudes” surface.

Victory Two: After unsuccessfully scouring every art, hardware and car store in town (and the internet) for matt finish spray paint for my Night Goblins I noticed a street art and graffiti shop hiding up some pokey little stairs in the city centre.  They had 200 colours imported from Germany for ten bucks each, and the guy even threw in a smaller nozzle for free for detail work.  It was just an amazing lucky break.  Anyone who’s been to Canberra knows that shops like that don’t exactly grow on trees here so I hope they stay open.  The owners were super-cool and there was all this loud hip-hop and mad pieces on the walls yo, and I felt like a total dork buying graffiti paint for my Night Goblins.  I just kind of pretended I was an aerosol artist (despite having no real idea how an aerosol artist looks or acts).  It was awesome.

Oh yeah, I was listening to the D6 Generation’s 100th episode the other day and all three of the hosts (who are crazy hard-core gamers compared with me) were saying that they were past the point where they could ever see themselves buying an army for an army scale miniatures system ever again.  Not just GW, but any army sized system (I think they specifically mentioned PP, Battlefront and something else as well as GW).

I know how they feel (uh… despite what I just wrote above!)  It made me think about this post where I suggested that all these miniature games companies have really jumped the shark if you’re an adult gamer with grown-up responsibilities.  And by responsibilities I’m not just talking kids either, I’m talking real jobs and other games to play.  All of these things make the demands of games like 40k and HoMachine seem ri-godamn-diculous.

I’m genuinely curious about how the demographic will change in the future.  Are we stepping boldly into a world where Little Lord Fauntleroys with weatlhy absent parents play vast games of Warhammer against each other, while the rest of us whip out our phones or throw down a quick skirmish game?  Who knows?

Till next time.  Hopefully I’ll have pictures from the tournament 😀

After Action Report: The Invasion of St. Arkham, part IX


At the close of the invasion, several small skirmishes took place as the defending troops fell back toward the Governor’s fortress.  Lt. Col. Khazak of the Cadian 121st set a series of booby traps to the west of St. Arkham Cathedral to catch the Ultramarines off-guard and draw them into the open, but a breakdown in communications led to some elements of battlegroup Wyvern blundering into the area and mistaking the trapped ordnance for valuable salvage.  The Ultramarines took advantage of the confusion to rout the misdirected Imperial Guard.  Lord Felix Bock, ranking commissariat officer of battlegroup Wyvern, was severely wounded in the engagement by the famous Ultramarine marksman Telion.

– Extract from the “Official History of the Invasion of St. Arkham, 896M41” 



  • Brother-Captain Gaius – Space Marine Captain, digital weapons, artificer armour, jump pack, power weapon, bolt pistol, melta bombs
  • Squad Lucianus – Assault squad (5), melta bombs, power weapon
  • Aquiline – Land Speeder Storm, multi-melta
  • Eamhair – Land Speeder Storm, heavy flamer
  • Squad Ulixes – Tactical Squad (10), flamer, missile launcher, plasma pistol, power weapon, drop pod
  • Squad Castiel – Scout Squad (5), power weapon, melta bombs
  • Squad Peregrinus – Scout Squad (5), power weapon, melta bombs
  • Squad Telion – Scout Squad (5), Sgt. Telion, 4 sniper rifles
  • Brother Constantinus – Venerable Dreadnought, heavy flamer, drop pod
  • Brother Thaddaeus – Dreadnought, 2 hunter-killer missiles, heavy flamer, Lucius pattern drop pod
  • Eugenius – whirlwind
  • Fidelis – whirlwind
  • Leontius – Predator, heavy bolters


  • Lord Commissar Felix Bock – bolter, power fist
  • Gloominwald Ogryn Auxilia – Bone Ead, 3 Ogryns
  • 8th Kasrkin – 5 Stormtroopers, bolter, power weapon, 2 melta guns
  • Nemesis Coven, Psykana Auxilia – Psyker Battle Squad, 5 Sanctioned Psykers, overseer
  • Cadian 129th – Veteran squad, power fist, 3 plasma guns, chimera with multi-laser and heavy flamer, Grenadiers
  • 44th St. Arkham sharpshooters – Veteran squad, Bastonne, two snipers, Forward Sentries
  • Lt. Blake, 44th St. Arkham – Platoon command squad, bolter, heavy bolter
  • Squad Boxer – Infantry squad, grenade launcher, power weapon, melta bombs
  • Squad Coleridge – Infantry squad, grenade launcher, power weapon, melta bombs
  • Platoon fire support – 3 mortar teams
  • Platoon fire support – 3 autocannon teams
  • Hell’s Breath, St. Arkham 1st Armoured – Banewolf, hull multi-melta
  • Anathema, St. Arkham 1st Armoured – Leman Russ Demolisher, multi-melta sponsons, heavy flamer
  • Storm Giant, St. Arkham 1st Armoured – Leman Russ Battle Tank, heavy flamer, pintle heavy stubber


It’s getting towards the end of the campaign.  In fact, the war is all but over and all that remains is the huge Apocalypse bang that every good campaign needs to go out with.  As you can see Jay and I both took unusual lists, to reflect the fact that this was a skirmish involving forward elements.  There were certainly a lot of Ultramarine scouts staring me down.  I really liked the look of this mission, as I love random brutality that ruins careful planning and makes you have to think on your feet.  Unfortunately, I got what I wished for with this one!

We decided to alter the mission so that both attacker and defender could trigger the explosions.  As luck would have it, most of the objectives I grabbed either exploded or were false objectives, and Jay managed, by the end of the game, to seize all the real ones and avoid getting blown up, all the while playing with a points penalty from last game.  Basically I got totally smashed.  It was one of those games where luck was against me all the way, I just couldn’t roll to save my guy’s lives.  Sort of like what happened to Jay way back in Part IV, so it all evened out over time at least . . .

The main horror I remember was my Lord Commissar and Ogryns charging a squad of scouts and being killed without causing a single casualty.  The best thing that happened for me was my sharpshooter lascannon team exploded one of the Ultramarine whirlwinds on the first shot of the game.  It was all downhill from there.  Jay played a tight game and just sort of swept my guys away, taking the objectives as he went.  After a bit of back and forth, the marines now have a clear lead on campaign points.

Things have been really busy in real life lately (I’m starting to wonder if they’ll ever not be), so it might be a little while until the final battle.  Stay tuned though . . . there’ll be at least one Titan, and some special rules my opponent cooked up. I’ll make sure to break it into a few parts for easier reading.

Result: Space Marine major victory.  Ultramarines 20 points, battlegroup Wyvern 12 points.


++Last remaining resistance gathering at capital —- Xenos Orks sighted and confirmed: Blood Axe mercenary clan —- In seeking to save his own life Governor has only compounded his crimes —- Justice must be swift and unrelenting++

– Intercepted Astartes Ultramarines Astropathic transmission, St. Arkham system, 896M41


THQ Makes Me a Chump

Or, How I Paid a Hundred Bucks for a Game and Didn’t Get What I Wanted . . .

Original box art from the Rogue Trader era marines

So picked up Space Marine on Friday night, as my girlfriend and I were looking after her ten-year old brother again – the guy I played Kill Team with.  The next day I had a chance to sit down and play it properly myself, so I thought I’d put down my first impressions.  This is not going to be a technical review.  I haven’t won the game yet or anything, and there are plenty of other good traditional game reviews about, for example here and here.  I’ll just mention the things about the game that I personally found striking or disappointing on first play.

Basically I can sum the experience for me so far up like this: Great visuals and tone, poor organization.  The Campaign is great fun. The marine feels like a marine in every way, from the way he runs to the way the Guardsmen fall to their knees when he talks to them.  The combat is brutal and really fun, and the Orks are even true to the setting.  They take a lot of putting down, and really come across as tough, furious, fearless opponents.

Unfortunately there is no option for split screen play, which is how I normally like to play these games.  I don’t have the longest attention span when it comes to games, and I don’t care about finding secrets and unlocking achievements – I play games when there’s nothing better to do.  This means for me to even finish a video game I normally need to be playing with someone else, to spur me on.  I played the Halo Reach campaign with my girlfriend and Borderlands with my dad, and enjoyed them both a lot.  I can’t play Space Marine with anyone.  It’s just plain anti-social I tell you. Continue reading

After Action Report: The Invasion of St. Arkham, part VIII


  • Brother-Captain Gaius – Space Marine Captain, digital weapons, artificer armour, jump pack, power weapon, bolt pistol, melta bombs
  • Squad Lucianus – Assault squad (5), power weapon, melta bombs
  • Sternguard Squad Severinus – Sternguard (5), 5 combi-melta guns, power fist, drop pod
  • Aquiline – Land Speeder Storm, multi-melta
  • Squad Ulixes – Tactical Squad (10), flamer, missile launcher, melta bombs, plasma pistol, power weapon
  • Squad Vorenus – Tactical Squad (10), meltagun, missile launcher, combi-melta gun, power fist, drop pod
  • Squad Gabriel – Tactical Squad (10), flamer, missile launcher, melta bombs, power weapon, drop pod
  • Squad Artorius – Tactical Squad (5), storm bolter, power fist
  • Llamrei – Razorback (lascannon, twin-linked plasma gun
  • Squad Castiel – Scout Squad (5), power weapon, melta bombs
  • Squad Telion – Scout Squad (5), Sgt. Telion, 4 sniper rifles
  • Brother Constantinus – Venerable Dreadnought, heavy flamer, Lucius pattern drop pod (IA)
  • Terminator Squad Lotharius – Assault Terminators (5), 4 lightning claws, thunder hammer and storm shield
  • Diomedes – Land Raider Prometheus (IA), extra armour, multi-melta
  • Invictus – Land Raider Crusader, extra armour, multi-melta
  • Leontius – Predator, 2 lascannons
  • Eugenius – Whirlwind


  • Lord General Drake, commander-in-chief of Battlegroup Wyvern – Company Command Squad, Straken, medic, standard bearer, bodyguard, two flamers, chimera with heavy flamer and multi-laser
  • Paxila IX, canoness commander of the Order of the Revenant Maiden’s St. Arkham convent – Saint Celestine (Codex: Witch Hunters)
  • Enginseer Rodan – Techpriest Enginseer, 3 servitors
  • Confessor Bastable, 44th St. Arkham – Priest, eviscerator
  • Borgez’s Inquisitorial Agent – Guardsman Marbo
  • Nemesis Coven, Psykana Auxilia – Psyker Battle Squad, 5 Sanctioned Psykers, overseer
  • 8th Kasrkin – 6 Stormtroopers, bolter, power weapon, 2 melta guns
  • Gloominwald Ogryn Auxilia – Ogryn Squad, 3 ogryns and BONE Head
  • Cadian 129th Grenadiers– Veteran squad, power fist, 3 plasma guns, Grenadiers
  • 44th St. Arkham sharpshooters – Veteran squad, lascannon, two snipers, Forward Sentries
  • Order of the Revenant Maiden, St. Arkham convent –  Battle Sisters (10), melta gun, flamer, frag and krak grenades, veteran superior (Book of St. Lucius, power weapon)
  • Lt. Blake, 44th St. Arkham – Platoon command squad, bolter, heavy bolter
  • Squad Boxer – Infantry squad, autocannon, grenade launcher, power weapon, commissar with power weapon
  • Squad Coleridge – Infantry squad, autocannon, grenade launcher, power weapon
  • Platoon fire support – 3 mortar teams
  • Platoon fire support – 3 autocannon teams
  • 861st Krieg Lancers – 6 Death Riders (IA), power weapon
  • Hell’s Breath, St. Arkham 1st Armoured – Banewolf, hull multi-melta
  • Arrow Squadron – Leman Russ Squadron, Anathema, St. Arkham 1st Armoured (Leman Russ Demolisher, multi-melta sponsons, heavy flamer), Storm Giant, St. Arkham 1st Armoured (Leman Russ Battle Tank, heavy flamer, pintle heavy stubber), Cadian 8th desig. unknown (Leman Russ Battle Tank, lascannon, heavy bolter sponsons)
  • St. Arkham PDF AA – Hydra battery, Hydra with camo netting


At last, battle eight of the Invasion of St. Arkham – a 2750 point game.  I had trouble getting my list together this time because I ran out of models and points at 2,680 to make up a legal Force Organization Chart.

We thought of a few possibilities: allow me an Apocalypse stratagem, maybe use my new Rangers as sneaky xenos with their own agenda, but eventually we agreed I could just take an extra Elite slot.  After all, the invasion is almost accomplished, so the Arkhamites would be bringing out their last ditch guns.  I filled the slot with a small squad of psykers.

This report may be a little longer than usual because the game was pretty huge (look at my list! It’s as long as my arm).  I’ve tried my best not to waffle on though, and the game was very exciting . . .  Continue reading

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