Sunday 26 February 2023

Second Time Around

I've been enjoying my somewhat unsuccessful forays into the grim darkness of the 41st millennium, although I've found 9th Edition 40k to be a bit inaccessible for the casual player, and of my regular opponents, only Pete has a Horus Heresy army.

However, not only does Matt have a couple of 40k armies, he (and Pete) are on a bit of a nostalgic trip into the past and so I took the opportunity to ask him to introduce me to 2nd Edition 40k and unleash his Tyranid horde onto my stalwart and long suffering Blood Angels.

Given the second hand and out of print nature of most of my Blood Angels, putting together a suitably second edition force was actually remarkably easy. In fact, about half of my Marines are actually metal second edition models.

Admittedly, everything is on the wrong-sized bases (no, I'm not changing them back) and the plastics are mainly from the 5th Edition starter set, but there's nothing too fancy that doesn't fit into the somewhat static nineties aesthetic (ignore what I'm using as a Techmarine). To help matters, I set the table up in a period appropriate style, with a traditional lurid green mat and a random assortment of disconnected (and in some cases homemade) terrain.

I never played 40k before 5th Edition, although I did avidly read battle reports and articles in White Dwarf all the way from Rogue Trader days, and so without any guidance I based my force on half of a 200 points army that featured in White Dwarf #166 from 1993.

  • Techmarine - Terminator Armour, Combi-Melta, Chainfist, Conversion Field, Auto-Launchers
  • Terminator Squad - Heavy Flamer
  • Tactical Squad - Flamer and Missile Launcher
  • Dreadnought - Power Fist and Multi-Melta

Matt's swarm of gribblies was, as far as I remember, as follows:

  • Hive Tyrant
  • 10 Hormagaunts
  • 10 Termagents
  • 7 Genestealers
  • 7 Genestealers
  • Lictor
  • Screamer Killer

We didn't play any missions as I was learning the game and so the goal was imply to kill each other. To offset Matt's numerical advantage, and to give me some flexibility, I split the Tactical Squad into two combat squads.

One of these squads, the one with the flamer, was deployed on the right flank as I assumed that a swarm of gribblies was going to get into template range fairly soon. The Techmarine, Dreadnought and missile launcher squad were positioned in the centre as a fire base, whilst the Terminators held the left flank.

Due to a massive strategy rating difference, Matt actually deployed first, but he was fairly well spread out with Genestealers and Hormagaunts/Termagents on each flank and the Screamer Killer and Hive Tyrant in the centre. However, of particular note was the Lictor which was dangerously close to my left flank and posed a clear and present danger to my elite Terminators. 


In a totally unsurprising turn of events, my Blood Angels took a few steps forwards and opened fire with everything they could. Unfortunately, only a handful of Hormagaunts fell to bolter fire as I learned all about how tough a Screamer Killer is as it shrugged off hits from a multi-melta and missile launcher.

In retrospect, I should probably have stood still and gone onto overwatch, but Matt didn't explain this rule until turn 2, so I didn't.

In an equally predictable turn of events, the Tyranids ran forwards as fast as they could, which for reference is very, very fast. The Termagents went a little slower and took some pot shots but failed to cause any damage.


In a scene somewhat reminiscent of Zulu, my thin red line opened fire again, this time with the benefit of rapid fire (or whatever it's called in this edition). Concentrated fire on the left finished off the Horagaunts and some of the Genestealers. The Dreadnought and missile launcher managed to inflict a single wound on the Screamer Killer, and a few Termegants were felled on the right.

The first wave had been stopped, but the second, and much more dangerous wave was still bearing down on my lines.

The Tyranid turn saw more chittering beasties running forwards. Predictably, the Lictor jumped onto and ripped apart the Terminator with the heavy flamer which had hung back and failed to kill it with fire, disproving numerous memes in the process.

The Screamer Killer, the Ronseal Wood Stain of the Tyranid army, screamed and charged the Dreadnought in an attempt to kill it. Due to a slight misunderstanding of the rules for vehicles on Matt's part, what followed was probably to most boring fight in all of 40k history.

On my rights, the chittering hordes surged forwards.

Whilst on the left, the Terminators found themselves caught between a rock and a sharp place, as Genestealers and the Lictor bore down on them. However, a good round of storm bolter fire should clear out the Genestealers right?



The Terminators opened up and scored, with the benefit of sustained fire dice, nine hits which then converted wound! Not only leaving them about to get cracked open like piƱatas but also, significantly leaving the Genestealers just above half strength. 

Meanwhile, the Tactical Marines had better luck, with the flamer benefitting from the massed ranks of the enemy and both combat squads combining fire to demolish the Termagents and kill several Genestealers. However, onc again this left them just above half strength.

The significance of this would only become apparent to me later.

The tide of carnage washed over my lines and the Terminators were assaulted from all sides. Contrary to more current editions of the game, Terminators seem to not be particularly great in close combat, especially when faced with Genestealers that seem to get about 20 attacks each.

I do remember many of the mechanics of 2nd Edition from Necromunda and high numbers of attacks combined with high weapon skill make for a very dangerous opponents, especially when they have claws that a re somewhat akin to tin openers.

A single Terminator survived the assault, which in the grand scheme of things was a fairly positive result.

On the right, the flamer squad met a similar, grisly fate, although there was less hope involved as they had the equivalent of no armour against the claws. However, I was pleasantly surprised when the sergeant somehow survived. He was less pleased as it was plainly obvious that this state of affairs wouldn't last long.


With Genestealers bearing down on both sides the Techmarine and remaining combat squad pulled back to the hill. Unfortunately there were limited targets available as most of the Genestealers were engaged in ripping apart Marines.

An added complication was that I then had another terrible round of shooting and failed to kill any of the few Genestealers that were viable targets.

However, the Techmarine and missile launcher did have a viable target in the Hive Tyrant and both fired, their combined fire tearing apart the leader of the swarm.

I should probably have shot at it sooner.

In the combat round, the last Terminator was inevitably ripped apart.

As was the Tactical Squad sergeant.

Leaving the last few Marines in a perilous, if somewhat cinematic position.

By the way, there had been several turns of nothing happing in the 'epic' confrontation between the Screamer Killer and the Dreadnought. I kept winning the fights but only got one or two wounds through in total.

The final turn for the Tyranids saw almost everything get charged...and killed. Marines really are no match for Genestealers in combat.

Neither are Dreadnoughts apparently. The combat bonus gained from ganging up saw each Genestealer that attacked the Dreadnought get more dangerous. Matt had clearly planned to build up to the Screamer Killer attacking last to get the biggest benefit.

However, this wasn't necessary as the second Genestealer tore off the Dreadnought's leg and brought it crashing to the ground.

This left only a single Marine standing, but fortunately he knew no fear and passed his morale test. Narratively, this wouldn't save his life, but mechanically it meant that he prevented Matt scoring a victory point.

Annoyingly, leaving both units of Genestealers with four left, also cost me the chance of scoring any points from them and so the final score was:

Blood Angels 3 - Tyranids 9

Despite what appears to be a crushing defeat, I actually thing the game was closer than it looked. If the Terminators hadn't fluffed shooting at the Genestealers in turn three, I think they might have beaten the Lictor on its own, this would also have meant that the final turn mauling wouldn't have been so bad.

More importantly, I really enjoyed this game. Although I was never a 40k player in the 90s, the game does hark back to a different age of gaming. A time where fun was the primary goal and everything being unbalanced and silly was sort of the point.

I don't think this will be my final foray into 2nd Edition, especially as Pete is in the process of building an old style Eldar army, Matt's making plans with a 3d printer and both of them have old armies to get out of storage. Whether I build a specific army for this remains to be seen, however, I am currently painting a number of things red to add to my options in the future.

Also, on the back of this game some purchases have been made. The piece of Mechanicum terrain in the pictures is Matt's and I happened across the same piece with a back issue of Imperium magazine and scooped it up. Additionally, I picked up a Tech-Priest who may end up serving as a Techmarine, and I bought the first issue of Stormbringer magazine because it was cheap.

To offset these purchases I've given Matt the last of my single pose Marines. I don't really want to do another Tactical Squad and Matt was talking about wanting to build up the few Ultramarines he still has up into a functioning force.

This leaves the current scores on the doors at:

Acquired: -7

Painted: 60

Lead Mountain: 520 (this number is a mystery to me, mainly because I think I counted my Marines incorrectly when in the first place - not sure I counted the ones without guns that I've given to Matt which I've provided 30k bolters for)

Sunday 19 February 2023

The Old Guard

In a startling display of efficiency, I 've finished almost all of the models that I bought at Vapnartak a couple of weeks ago. That just leaves a single second hand dreadnought to do.

This time it's eight Home Guard I purchased from Wargames Foundry to fill the ranks of my ad hoc VBCW/Operation Sea Lion Bolt Action force, turn my Dad's Army miniatures into a couple of useable units and fill out the extras needed for the Vlad's Army 7TV feature pack scenarios.

The models are metal, as would be expected from Wargames Foundry, and were all single piece castings except for the chap on the left of the above picture, whose hand holding the rifle was separate. This was a bit of a swine to position as the connection was not very clean or well lined up.

Sadly, this was a bit of a recurring theme, as there was an awful lot of flash to clean up and some of the models are a bit messy in places. The chap in the centre with the Molotov cocktail below has an ugly mould line running down the left side of his face. 

I'm not sure whether this is because this sculpts, and therefore their moulds are old, or I've just come to expect a higher standard from dealing with newer miniatures and different materials recently. However, based on these and the police, I will probably pause for thought before buying more from Wargames Foundry.

Having said that, the sculpts are characterful. The rifles are a bit stunted (and in one case slightly warped), but the faces are, for the most part, older men. Receding hairlines, glasses and overgrown moustaches abound to really make they miniatures fit the role they are meant to play.

A couple of the group are clearly meant to represent characters from Dad's Army, specifically Walker and Pike, and so I took care to make sure that they are recognisably different from the Warlord versions, giving the not-Walker grey hair, and ensuring that not-Pike's scarf is more generic.

Although I was a little bit critical of the casting of the Warlord models, based on a direct comparison I recommend them over Foundry if you are keen on picking up the Warmington-On-Sea militia.

In terms of painting, they were all done very simply in the same way as the Warlord models and they do go together really well. They now have a date with some supernatural agents of the Third Reich in the first episode of Vlad's Army, just as soon as I rebase a load of bats...again.

I'm pleased to be making such quick progress, as I was worried I'd undone my hard work at the start of the year. I've also started to sweat less about being exactly right with the Lead Mountain totals as I keep finding new miniatures or getting rid of things I won't use . the figure is roughly right and is going down, so it's all good.

Acquired: -4
Painted: 60
Lead Mountain: 521

Sunday 12 February 2023

Entering the Sunken District

Before actually starting to play proper games of Carnevale where you get yo choose your forces, I wanted to get the two small intro scenarios from the Escape from San Canciano box played.

Fortunately, with a spare evening, Matt obliged to once again take control of the nefarious Guild, whilst I offered my allegiance to Dagon and the Rashaar.

Whilst the main starter box has a 6 part tutorial campaign, the Escape from San Canciano box's two-parter offers more narrative and background for the individuals in the box.

The Guild forces have been tasked with mounting an expedition into the sunken quarter of Venice known as San Canciano, home to the mysterious servants of Dagon. Leading the party is Thomasina the Fisherwoman, and she is ably supported by Agustin the Arbalest, Laura the Gondolier and a Pilferer known only as 'the kid'.

Meanwhile, tasked with repulsing this incursion are a small group of hunters comprising the faceless and nameless Cult Enforcer, Sister K'lei a Cult Officiant, a fearsome Lesser Rhyll and a wretched Hybrid.

Scenario 1: Breakthrough

Deployment & Turn 1

Realising that their mission had been discovered, Tomasina split her party to give them more of a chance of getting out of San Canciano alive. She and Laura would distract the inhabitants of the ruined quarter, whilst Agustin and the kid slipped past their defences.

Unfortunately for Agustin and the kid, the Rashaar had also split up in the hunt for the Guild members and Sister K'lei and a Hybrid now stood between them and safety.

The aim of this scenario was to make it to the opposite corner of the map. Each character that escapes would score 1 VP, so slowing down or stopping was not really an option, and it was debateable that anybody would be able to land enough damage to kill an opponent.

In the first turn both sides moved up. Sister K'lei took the bridge whilst the Hybrid took to the water. Agustin and the kid made for different sides of the building that stood between them and their opponents.

Guild 0 - Rashaar 0

Turn 2

Hearing running from up ahead, Agustin cautiously took a step around the corner and spotted a robed figure on the bridge ahead. He took aim and hi bolt grazed Sister K'lei on the arm. First blood to the Guild.

Wincing with pain, K'lei realised that the distance to the Arbalest was too great and he would shoot again before she got there. However, emerging around the other side of the building, K'lei saw a small child that had been with the invaders.

Opting for discretion over valour, K'lei charged towards the child and out of sight of the man with the crossbow. Her superiord in the Church of Dagon wanted guild blood, they hadn't specified whose.

Her jagged dagger flashed green in the rent-light but somehow went wide as the slippery little girl twisted sideway and darted towards the bridge.

Almost home free, the kid ran across the bridge only to be immediately confronted by a gruesome Hybrid emerging from the canal. Another blade lashed towards her, but again the experienced Pilferer managed to dodge the lethal blow.

Guild 0 - Rashaar 0

Turn 3

The kid sidestepped the mystified Hybrid and disappeared into the darkness to find a place to hide and see if Agustin was able to follow. If he took too long, she'd leave fore the rendezvous without him.

Agustin knew he had to get moving, and eschewing the opportunity of another shot, ran headlong in the direction in which the kid had disappeared.

Meanwhile, not wanting to risk being shot in the face, K'lei and the Hybrid decided to head back to their masters to inform them of where the Guild were heading. Perhaps there would be another change for an ambush.

Guild 1 - Rashaar 0

Turn 4

Still nursing her injured arm, K'lei led the way and dived into the water to avoid any more shots that might come whistling through the dark. She knew the Hybrid was already in the water and so she's be the only target.

Unbeknownst to her, Agustin was not planning to shoot anybody. All too aware that he was in danger of being left isolated in enemy territory, he ran hell for leather after the kid.

Agustin knew that diverting towards the bridge would cost him even more time, and so he steeled himself for a jump across the canal, not knowing what horrors might lurk in there waiting for him should he fall short.

He leapt...propelled himself off the side of the bridge and...

...landed safely on the other side.

He would be quick enough to follow the kid and meet up with Thomasina.

Guild 1 - Rashaar 0

Turn 5

Agustin ran off into the dark, and was shortly joined by a shorter figure wearing a smug expression.

Sister K'lei and the Hybrid swam through the canal to report what they had seen.

Guild 2 - Rashaar 2

Unless somebody delays or is very unlucky, I can't see very many situations where this scenario wouldn't end up as a draw. However, Matt did cut it fine with Agustin after stopping to shoot on turn 2.

Scenario 2: Fight to Survive


Struggling to shake their pursuers, Agustin and the kid met up with Thomasina and Laura. The Fisherwoman made the decision that if stealth would not see them safely out of San Canciano, they would have to force their way back to safety.

However, the Cult pursuers had once again gotten ahead of the Guild, probably due to greater familiarity with routes through the sunken quarter.

They were also determined to stop the intruders at all costs.

In this scenario, victory points would be scored for each enemy killed, and one for each of the two agendas we had both drawn randomly. Finally there was abonus point if the Rashaar killed someone by drowning or if the Guild killed someone using the 'death from above' rule.

Turn 1

Seeing their opponents and determined to to ake them pay a dear price, both groups moved directly towards each other.

The Guild made for the bridge, with Laura the Gondolier rowing straight underneath it so that Agustin could jump abourd.

The Rashaar, on the other hand, dropped into the water and moved through the water like sharks heading for prey.

Guild 0 - Rashaar 0

Turn 2

Sensing an opportunity, the Enforcer bellowed and ran headlong into the Guild clustered on the bridge. His aim was to throw Thomasina into the water and stun Agustin with a mighty swing of his mace and knock the Arbalest into the water. 

Fortunately for the Guild, Thomasina slipped away from his meaty arms and Agustin managed to stay in the boat.

The Guild now swarmed the Enforcer, jabbing and stabbing at him. Laura narrowly avoided being dragged into the canal by the grasping hands of something abominable that appeared behind the boat and jumped ashore to hit the Enforcer in the back with her bladed oar.

The Enforcer was finally felled by a fierce jab from Thomasina's spear, but the danger was far from over.

Guild 1 - Rashaar 0

Turn 3

In the wake of the Enforcer's death there was brief silence that was immediately broken by the sound of the Hybrid performing a high dive (agenda) into the canal.

Battle recommenced with wild abandon. Sister K'lei stabbed Laura but was immediately set upon by Thomasina, whilst the Lesser Rhylly managed to grapple a squirming Agustin into the water and set him up perfectly for drowning.

Guild 1 - Rashaar 1

Turn 4

As his head emerged above water, Agustin panicked. He knew he was out of his element and that hideous monster would be intent on dragging him to a watery grave. He splashed and scrabbled his way to the edge of the canal and managed to haul himself out before he could be set upon again.

Despite fighitng valiantly and alomost killing the Gondolier, Sister K'lei was outnumbers and ultimately felled by the rampaging Thomasina.

Guild 2 - Rashaar 1

Turn 5

With the battle turning against them, the Lesser Rhyll and the Hybrid knew that the only way to salvage the situation was to make an offering to Dagon and drag someone down and let the tide take them.

However, somehow, Laura evaded their clutches and was able to stay aboard the gondola. 

Realising that getting drawn into further fighting would get one of her team, Thomasina decided they should hold ground (agenda) and look to guarding against any further attacks whilst making their escape from San Canciano.

Guild 3 - Rashaar 1


Ultimately this game was decided by three factors:
  • If the battle stays primarily on the land, the Guild win. It did.
  • The Lesser Rhyll is notably less good at grappling that a Lesser Ugdru.
  • Matt kept the Guild together, I attacked piecemeal.
Still, they were a really good couple of games and we're enjoying Carnevale. Matt isn't totally convinced by the randomness of the agendas (especially the parkour ones), and I have to say that getting water based agendas with the Rashaar feels a bit too easy at times.

I still need t work on my Patrician gang, but with Guild, Rashaar, fake Strigoi and a couple of Vatican done, you can expect something a bit different next time.

Saturday 11 February 2023

The Old Bill

As mentioned in a previous post, after painting up the four police officers I already had, I took the opportunity to grab five more from Wargames Foundry to make a workable unit for my VBCW/Operation Sea Lion force in  Bolt Action.

As they paint up rather quickly, I've painted them up rather quickly.

The five models are quite simple sculpts and as they are also quite old, the did require a fair bit of flash cleaning off them. There were some notable mould lines to file down too, but broadly I've managed to clean them up fairly well. My only real gripe across the models I've painted is that many of them have buttons missing for some reason.

In terms of painting the uniforms are just Kantor Blue with a wash of Nuln Oil. I've done nothing special with the rest of the models an I've not even bothered with eyes. Partly this is because they are all wearing helmets low over their eyes, but partly this is also because I tend not to bother with eyes on models intended for larger scale games like Bolt Action

Technically these are Victorian policemen (hence the large amount of facial hair on display), but really, there's not much to distinguish them from police uniforms in the inter-war period. However, one model was notably holding an lamp and waving a rattle.

I've kept the lamp, as it appears to be somewhat akin to a signal lamps that were in use during the war and a signal lamp seems totally appropriate for a wartime police patrol.

The rattle, however, had to go and has been replaced with a truncheon. As he looks a little different to the rest, I'll make this model the unit leader and not giving him one of the prized firearms at least makes it possible that he won't be a sniper's first target.

And so that's the unit done. In game terms they will function as a Veteran Urban Militia patrol in the LDV. I'll probably pair them up with the civilian versions of Dad's Army to make a small platoon supporting the Coastal Defence Platoon which will feature the Navy and some Home Guard.

Keeping track of the Lead Mountain remains awkward with lots of coming and goings, but I think I'm just about staying on top of it. I've painted the 5 policemen, and given a piece of Mantic terrain to Craig as I had a duplicate, however, Matt has printed me some tentacles (actually ninetacles) to use for the Watcher in the Water and I miscounted my Home Guard models whilst they were still in the pack last week. Therefore, I've technically gone backwards again.

Acquired: -4
Painted: 52
Lead Mountain: 529