Read: Dante by Guy Haley

bldantecontent

The Blood Angels have long been my favorite Space Marine Legion/Chapter. Not for the fact that they are VAMPIRES IN SPACE! or that they have some of the most gorgeous models in the game  – rather, I am drawn to them because of their character. Adversity, as the saying goes, teaches us who we are. What more praise could be said of the Blood Angels, who face adversity from within and without on a daily basis, and yet still manage to retain the inherent humanity and optimism that so many other Space Marines have lost or perhaps never had?

I recently dove into Dante by Guy Haley, part of Black Library’s new series of books focusing on iconic members of the Adeptus Astartes. It is a well-written, thoughtful and surprisingly emotional work on the leader of my favorite Chapter.

Haley’s tale interweaves the story of Dante’s recruitment into the Chapter with more current events, specifically the Blood Angels’ defense of their home planet from the Tyranids. Both timelines are engrossing; I am as equally invested in the young Dante’s recruitment and indoctrination into the Chapter as I am with the current day Dante’s defense of Baal. The chapters flow smoothly into each other to depict Dante’s growth and maturity – one chapter he is leading a dozen initiates into a trial, the next he is leading thousands of marines and guardsmen in the defense of a planetary system.

Haley does an excellent job of capturing the very heart of what makes Dante who he is. Every Blood Angel must struggle with the inner Flaw that is the genetic hallmark of their Chapter, but Dante has the added burden of command and the responsibility for the lives of those under his leadership. Added to this is the fact that Dante is old and weary, and must struggle daily with fighting a war he knows humanity cannot ever hope to win. Yet it speaks to his character – and indeed, that of his Chapter – that he continues to do so, simply because it is the right thing to do. Dante wants to walk away from it all, to hang up his axe and pistol and simply let go; but he knows he cannot, because others are looking to him for leadership, guidance, and perhaps most importantly, hope. Haley does an excellent job of capturing this most heavy of Dante’s burdens in the character’s inner thoughts throughout the entirety of the story.

The novel does end rather abruptly, and the chapters detailing his rise in the Chapter ranks once he reaches full brother status are rather quick and lack the thoughtfulness of the first two thirds of the book. The book also leaves out a certain event involving his rank that I had hoped would form the climax of his story, which was somewhat disappointing.

Despite these minor flaws, it speaks to the quality of Haley’s writing that I found myself immediately re-reading certain chapters and passages simply to experience them again – one of the chapters depicting Dante removing his armor and finally finding a fleeting moment of peace is perhaps the best in the book. One of the last chapters involving Dante’s relationship with his personal servant is another highlight. Haley’s Dante is heroic and powerful, but also flawed, jaded, and occasionally even full of doubt – however, like his chapter, he fights on despite the flaws of his flesh and the weapons of his enemies. Not because he desires it, but because others need him to.

Painted: Ezekyle “Abigail” Abaddon

File_004 (8)

When starting up my Sons of Horus, I knew I wanted a large contingent of Justaerin in it. The 10-man terminator-armored deathstar seems to be a pretty big thing in Heresy armies, and what unit screams “deathstar” more than 2+/4+ 2W terminators? The only thing was, Heresy terminators can’t teleport into combat like their more modern counterparts can, and my termies certainly weren’t going to hoof it on foot like peasants. My choices were A) buy some expensive resin from Forge World or B) slog it across the board on foot whilst the rest of my mechanized army sped forward in Rhinos and left my big expensive 500 point unit behind.

…or secret option C) – take the pre-armless version of 40k’s Despoiler and teleport my termies in for free! Plus I could easily convert an Abaddon using bits I already had, once again eliminating the need for expensive resin! Huzzah!

More pics of my conversion after the break.

Continue reading “Painted: Ezekyle “Abigail” Abaddon”

Painted: Sons of Horus Praetor

File_000 (24).jpeg

The past couple of months have been quite busy with life-related events (got married!), but I’ve still found time here and there for some hobbying. My 30k Sons of Horus and 30k/40k Crimson Fists remain my primary focus, with the above Praetor conversion being my latest addition to my 30k Traitors.

More pics and details after the break.

Continue reading “Painted: Sons of Horus Praetor”

February 1st GW Game Day – Cometh the Red Angel

File_000 (23).jpeg
Loyalist deployment, clockwise from top: Loken + Justaerin, Vindicator, Marksmen Veteran Squad, Sicaran, Marksmen Veteran Squad, Weapon Masters Veteran Squad, plus Seekers in the Bastion in the middle.

Matt, Harry and I are in the midst of an ongoing Horus Heresy campaign – today’s mission was the Phase I Legendary Battle of the Istvaan series. This mission gave me 2000 points of Loyalists (represented by my Sons of Horus w/ some borrowed armored elements from my Ultramarines and some Seekers from Matt’s Emperor’s Children) and a fortified position, facing off against 3000 points of Traitors (represented here by my Luna Wolves standing in as World Eaters and Harry’s Night Lords)… led by Matt’s converted Angron (more pics and details on that later!).

My Loyalists held the line in a fantastic game – more details after the break.

Continue reading “February 1st GW Game Day – Cometh the Red Angel”

Read: A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeill

6465063

(Editor’s note: I’ve been doing a lot of reading in the 30k universe lately, and figured that I may as well throw my thoughts out there regarding some of the books I’ve read. I don’t really read them in any particular order; my book selection process consists of walking into the FLGS, browsing their collection and thinking “hey, I haven’t read this one yet and I’ve always wanted to learn more about X Legion”. The “Read” series will be a quick (spoilerless) review of each novel.)

A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeill is my most recent read, and I must say I quite enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I knew next to nothing about the Thousand Sons prior to the book, knowing little more than the fact that it was Magnus’ attempt to warn the Emperor of Horus’ betrayal that resulted in the Space Wolves being sent to bring him in. I must admit that I was a little more hesitant that I usually am when starting this book, as the Thousand Sons didn’t really interest me in the way that more dynamic Legions such as the Blood Angels or Sons of Horus do.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a well-crafted story that asked some interesting questions. Namely, do the ends justify the means? Do the intentions of the actor justify the means by which he reaches his goals? In the context of A Thousand Sons, is loyalty strong enough justification to use evil means to achieve noble goals?

I must admit that GW’s trailer for the Burning of Prospero box, as narrated by Ahriman, did a wonderful job of capturing of what made the Burning of Prospero so tragic – and McNeill captures the injustice of Prospero quite well in this book. Did the citizens of Tizca really deserve the destruction of their homeworld? Did the otherwise loyal Thousand Sons need to be broken for the well-intentioned decisions of their Primarch, especially considering Magnus’ significant regret over what he had done?

You may think it nobler to suffer your fate, but I will take arms against it.
Ahriman

I was further pleasantly surprised to find myself rooting for the Thousand Sons, despite all we now know about their descent into Chaos and their present state in the 40k universe. They are the scholars and intellects who have built a glittering, wondrous city focused on learning and the arts – the Space Wolves are the savages at the door, and yet the Wolves are supposed to be the “good” guys. An interesting contrast from the traditional tropes, and I look forward to reading Prospero Burns to get their side of the story.

The book is a little long (one of the longer Heresy books I’ve read) and could have benefited from a little tighter editing, particularly in the first half of the book as it’s not until the Council of Nikea occurs that the action really picks up (and it was awesome to finally read an account of what happened there). And aside from Ahriman, the other Thousand Sons captains are relatively one-dimensional. But all these flaws are made up for by a well-written story of a Legion’s unwilling descent into heresy; proof that the road to Hell really is paved with good intentions.

WIP: Crimson Fists 30k Seeker/40k Sternguard Sergeant

File_000 (22).jpeg
Ignore the white spot on his forehead, that’s just the reflection of my lamp 🙂

Happy 2017! A very busy holiday season meant less time for posting, although the hobbying time didn’t decrease; in fact, more time at home and not at work meant I got a good chunk of my Crimson Fists painted. More pics to come. Also received some wonderful hobbying presents that will keep me busy for the foreseeable future, including a giant box of Marines from my wonderful fiance 🙂

Anyway, above is my work-in-progress 30k Seeker/40k Sternguard sergeant. He’s about 90% complete, and requires just some edge highlighting on the black and chapter/company markings, along with some weathering. He’s built using a mish-mash of Mark 3 and Mark 7 parts, along with the bare head from the Ultramarines upgrade sprue. I normally shy away from painting bare heads, preferring the realism/aesthetics of Marine helmets, but lately I’ve been experimenting with using more of them and the results have worked out great.

The trick, I’ve found, is to keep things simple. The above results were made using a Cadian Fleshtone base, an all-over wash of Reikland Fleshshade, then highlights using Cadian Fleshtone again. I tended to overdo highlights on fleshtones in the past, so I deliberately kept them to a minimum with this mini.

The sergeant also illustrates something I’ve been doing to all my Crimson Fists sergeants – giving them personalized heraldry via a backpack icon, then repeating that heraldry on their chestpiece and on the shoulder roundel. For this particular model, I found enough bits to add scrollwork heraldry on his backpack icon and chestpiece – I’ll be freehanding some scrollwork around the skull on the roundel to finish off the model. I find it does a nice job of adding some character and history to the model, because we all know that lets them roll better on the table 🙂

Painted: Crimson Fists Pedro Kantor Conversion

File_004 (5).jpeg

My fledgling Crimson Fists army needed an HQ choice, and it was obvious right from the second I decided upon the Crimson Fists that Pedro Kantor would be that HQ choice – not only is he the only Crimson Fists named special character, but he’s also closely tied to the Chapter’s recent history, considering his role in the events of Rynn’s World. Taking Pedro would also allow me to theme an army around Sternguard, and we all know how awesome they are.

I’m not overly impressed by the existing GW Pedro Kantor model, so as is often the case with special characters, I decided to convert my own.

More pics and details after the break.

Continue reading “Painted: Crimson Fists Pedro Kantor Conversion”