Monday, 16 January 2017

091. Battle Report - Ghaz wants his Boy back (Pic Heavy)...

This past Saturday, Ray (Col. Ackland) and I kicked off our first battle of 2017, playing out the final game of our trilogy of linked matches featuring Rays Praetorians, led by the esteemable Sharpe, and my Orks.  In this, the final round, (see HERE for game one and HERE for game two), we stepped up to a full on, 2,000 point bash.  I pulled out the big boy himself, Ghaz, with a bevvy of Boys, attempting to fight back at the last and recover the fallen Warlord from Game One, who had failed to be retaken in the night raid of Game Two.

My force (near 100% painted too!) featured:
- Ghaz as the Warlord he so mightily is, along with 10 Nobs with a mix of Klaws and Big Choppers
- two mobs of Boys (23 each)
- 10 Lootas
- 6 Burnas
- 6 Storm Boys
- 3 Warbikes
- 5 Deff Koptas
- 3 Mek Guns (2 Kannons and a Lobba)

Ray had a mixed Army of the Imperium featuring:
- Sharpe and his band of tooled up Veterans
- 5 Rough Riders (using Death Korp of Krieg Death Rider rules)
- A Demolisher
- A platoon of Praetorians comprised Command heavy with Grenade Launchers, two Squads of 10, and a squad of 6 Specialists with Grenade Launchers
- A Heavy Weapons Team toting Lascannons
- Blood Angel Terminator Captain
- Blood Angel Tactical Squad
- Blood Angel Baal Predator (the Blood Angels were in some kind of Detachment)
- An Ordo Xenos Inquisitor with warband including Priest, Death Cult Assassins, Tech Priest, Acolytes kitted out with all kinds of gear, rolling about in a Chimera
- An Eversor and a Vindicare Assassin
- A Vengeance Weapon Battery toting a Battle Cannon

As an aside, I found a free online army builder that I used to help build the list for this game.  It was easy enough to use and appears up to date with the latest unit entries from the current crop of books.  For anyone interested it is called Warhammer 40,000 List Builder and can be located HERE.

Ray had set up the board long ways with all but his Praetorian Platoon and Lascannons down one short end (his start line); with the Platoon, Lascannons and Vengeance Battery up the other in the notional headquarters base.  He had placed the Eversor midway up the board on one of the mesa's, with the Vindicare on one of the buildings on the start line with a clear line of sight up the game board, perfectly placed to take advantage of the 72" range of his rifle.  The Inquisitor held my Warboss in his Chimera and his aim was to get the convoy down the board to the base.  Holding the Warboss at the end of the game would gain Ray one Victory Point.
Ray's start line - L-R: Sharpe and his Vets, Death Riders, Demolisher, Chimera, Baal Predator, Terminator Captain and Tactical Squad.  On the Fire Base roof is the Vindicare Assassin (looking around the corner) and the Inquisitor and Retinue who are embarked in the Chimera
Ray's destination - the main base - L-R: Lascannons at the rear, Squad with Command behind, Vengeance Battery, Squad with Specialist Squad behind.  various random NPC minis were placed on the battlements to observe the carnage.
I would come on from the two flanks, roughly centre of each long edge, and my goal was to get my Warboss back.  If I held him at the end of the game I got 2 Victory Points.  I also got first turn, and during deployment, when it became obvious all my Boys were not going to fit and I was going to end up bunched up in a pile waiting for blast templates to smash my army to pieces, Ray agreed to allow me to have first turn charges in an attempt to disburse my forces.  I still ended up having to hold one Mob of Boys in reserve for lack of space.

As a quick shout out - here's some shots of Rays awesome terrain that was scattered on the board.  He's got himself a foam cutter and last year set about making a load of rock formation and tableaus.  My favourites are the two stepped ones which allowed us to climb up and around them.  We house rule the terrain so we don't need to roll difficult terrain all the time (the first game we did that I crawled over it one inch at a time); instead, moving the standard 6 inches but deducting the distance travelled vertically as well as horizontally.
Basic rock formation
A formation of a phallic kind
Another nice line of sight blocking piece
My favourite playable piece
One of the more playable pieces - the Eversor lurked in this one
Ray wasn't able to steal the initiative so I started my movement by coming onto the board.  I leapt the Storm Boys over one of the terrain features and lined them up to assault the Tactical Squad.  I whipped the Bikes up around the same terrain piece to follow on the assault.  The Mek Guns were placed on the same flank - Ray had graciously conceded I would be able to shoot them this turn, ignoring the fact they had moved by moving onto the board (we played it as if we had been set up in ambush ready to spring the trap on the convoy - Ghaz's mate Snikrot having done for any Praetorian perimeter guards in the dead of night).  Also turning up on that flank were the Lootas who set up next to the big guns, behind the cover of another rick outcrop, away from the eyes of the Lascannons and Praetorians stationed at the main base.  Some Burna Boys also ran forward and straddled the space infornt of the Mek Guns and Lootas, ready to push onto the convoy and roast some 'Oomies.  Lastly on the flank, the first Mob of Boys ran forward and spread out in the centre of that flank.
Warbikes streak around the rock formations (top left) while the Mek Guns and Lootas form a gun line looking for low value side and rear armour.  Burnas set up in front of the Mek guns in a line and the Boys mill about as a straggling mob in front of the Lootas
On my other flank I pushed on the Kans and Deff Dread, with the Deff Koptas zipping in front of them ready to harass the Cavalry and side armour of any Tank they could hit.  Ghaz also ambled forward with his Nob guard; however, a poor run roll meant, between them and the Kans/Dread, there was no further room to deploy my last Mob of Boys - they'd be held in reserve and come on from the side deemed most in need later on.
Kans and Deff Dread stomp on behind the Deff Koptas and Ghaz and his Nobs complete the flank
Ork shooting is mediocre and with most of the Mobs running when they could, or being out of range, there wasn't much to do.  I did get some shots off at Sharpes squad of vets with my Mek Guns, putting the squad below half strength, and the Lootas and Koptas managed to take down a Death Rider, and strip a wound from another.  I'd only managed to roll a one for the Lootas Deffguns and the rubbish Ork Ballistic Skill meant more shots missed than hit.

First turn charges came next.  I leapt in with glee with my Storm Boys, slamming them home into the Tactical Squad.  In my exuberance, I completely forgot to declare a charge with my Bikes who could have threatened the Chimera or Demolisher with a pesky Power Klaw to the rear armour. I also forgot to charge my Deff Koptas!

The Tactical Squad braced itself after spotting the plumes of smoke belching from the Jump Packs strapped to my Orks and under the steady gaze of their Captain, and gruff commands of their Sergeant, they opened up in Overwatch with their Bolters, Flamer and Heavy Bolter, dropping four of the six Storm Boys.  
The curse of the newly painted strikes again
The Captain then called out a challenge to the Nob (Ray had to explain this to me - I'm so many editions behind and thought challenges only existed in Fantasy! We don't normally use this rule seeing as Rays characters are invariably of the squishy Guard kind, not likely to be interested in going toe to toe with an Ork Nob).  The Captain set about with his Power Sword and stripped the Nob of a Wound.  In return, the Nob crunched the Captain with his Power Klaw and Ray fluffed his Invulnerable save.  First Blood to the Orks and one precious Victory point for me
Combat is joined between the Blood Angel Captain and the Storm Boys Nob (Zagstrukk has been demoted it seems!)
The Tactical Marines then smashed the last Ork.  Orks are awesome on the charge, especially when it's their initiative step.  However, being Initiative 2 means nearly everything goes before them in combat.  With Overwatch thinning most charges out before they hit home, and poor armour saves contributing to more losses, it's so important that Mobs have enough bodies in them to actually have someone left to actually attack with.  In this case, the six Storm Boys were never going to be enough - the Mob needs to grow to something like 15 models I think to be able to be really useful.  In the end, the Tactical Squad won the combat and swept my Nob who failed his Morale Check.  The Marines had struck back for the loss of their Captain (although in my book I was still ahead - that captain cost twice the points of the Storm Boys mob!).

In Rays turn he pushed Sharpe and his Veterans towards the flanking mesa and pulled his Demolisher out of line so it could get a shot off on the Kans.  The Death Riders rode forward to engage the Deff Koptas and the Chimera shot up the centre, the Fast Predator pulling onto its other flank and lining up its turrets on the massed Orks.  Ray completely forgot about his Assassins this turn, as well as the Praetorians at the main base so these units missed out on a turn of moving and shooting!  
So you forget to shoot with me, but do remember to take a photo!  Oh, you're not actually taking a photo of me; you're taking a photo of the cool old skool card terrain!?
His Vengeance Battery got off a round which destroyed one of my Kannons, as well as killing a couple of crew and two Burna boys.  The Demolisher also got a shot off which stripped a hull point of the Deff Dread, as well as stunned one fo the Kans so that it couldn't move and shoot in the following turn.  It also dropped one of the Deff Koptas. The gatt Predator blew away the Warbikers on the other flank.

In the Combat phase the Death Riders charged my Deff Koptas and killed them all, consolidating back towards the Demolisher.
Ork reinforcements arrive in Turn 2 with the Second Mob of Orks coming on behind Ghaz and his Nobs
With the board looking crammed with Orks rushing in towards the Chimera holding the Warboss, it seemed inevitable that this turn I'd be able to crush the Chimera and the 'Oomies hiding inside and make off with my prize.  With thoughts of murder and mayhem running through his mind, Ghaz bellowed a mighty WAAAGH and the lads lurched forward (while in the background those fickle dice gods laughed at his impudence).
The Orks slowly start to spread out over the battlespace
Once again my run rolls were woeful.  My Burnas made it to the Chimera, but the Boys that were following languished in the midfield.  Ghaz and his Nobs made it a whole 7 inches forward after a run roll of one.  He could still make a charge but it would be a big ask and those dice gods seemed to have deserted him.  The Kans walked around their stricken colleague with the Deff Dread in tow.  In the space opened up by everyone shuffling forward, my second Mob of Boys came onto the table.  I now had nearly 60 Orks on the board clamouring and clashing, and most of them were out fo range at the critical time.
The Burnas are able to run to the Chimera
The Kans were able to smash the Death Riders with their guns and the Mek Guns dropped Sharpes squad down to Sharpe, the Priest accompanying him and two of his Melta Vets.  My shooting elsewhere was rubbish.  The Burnas successfully charged (being able to run and charge in the same turn due to the mighty Waagh call), but everyone else fluffed it.  In Combat the Burnas managed to glance the Chimera stripping a hull point, as well as stunning it so it would not be able to move or shoot next turn.

Ray remembered all his units this turn.  He pushed Sharpe higher onto the mesa, Sharpe striking a pose against the backlighting of the sun, while his Melta Vet set himself up in position, having a promising view of the Kans and Dread below.  
I've wandered about a bit, but now I thnk I'll settle here and strike a suitably inspiring pose for the lads
Suitably inspiring, backlit Sharpe ahoy
The Eversor started his climb down from his vantage point, his eyes locked onto Ghaz.  The Baal Predator moved forwards again, pushing up against the side of a towering rock formation, the driver easily passing over the difficult terrain, and getting his gunners in prime position to gatt some Orks in the shooting phase.  
Ray crammed 3 tanks and a Tactical Squad into a tight pararde formation called "All the guns"
The tactical Squad pushed up behind the Predator, lining up the four Burnas left out in the open after failing to pop the Chimera.  The Demolisher pivoted on the spot to get a clearer view fo the Orks arrayed in front of it.  Somewhat unexpectedly, Captain Caine behind the barricades at the main base gave the call for his men to leap the barricades and push out into the open, the better to aid the Iniquisitor in his efforts and proved volley fire to the Ork rear.
Someone forgot to tell the lads that Guard don't advance from behind their cover!
The shooting lit off with the Tactical Squad wiping out the Burnas, and more crew and the second Kannon falling to the Predator.  The Vengeance Battery dropped five of the Nobs to a shell from its Battle Cannon.  The Lascannons dropped some more and then the Vindicare got a wound onto Ghaz, punching through his Invulnerable save with a Turbo Penetrator round.  It was now even more imperative that I crack that Chimera open!  
Some interesting driving there by the Baal Predator
The Eversor peppered the Nobs with his Needle gun, and then after reading his actual rules and realising he had a massive potential 18 inch charge range, Ray rolled some dice to see if the Assassin could make it into combat with the big man himself.  Ray needed 12 or more on three dice.  The dice tumbled to a stop, 3-2-6 - not enough.
Sneaky Sneaky - The Eversor that everyone forgot in turn one
He needed 12 on three dice - this is not 12
Oh the frustration
Turn three - I had to get into combat this turn - being out in the open was starting to cost me too many bodies, and as my experience with the Storm Boys had shown in turn one, I need the bodies to succeed in the assault!
Orks, Orks as far as the eye can see
I pushed towards the Chimera with Ghaz and the Boys Mob who had been milling in the centre.  I pushed the newly arrived Boys Mob off towards the Eversor and the squads of praetorians who had come out into the open.  I was hoping to try and gatt the Eversor or at least force him to swing wide around the Boys if he wanted to get into combat with Ghaz, hopefully delaying him further.  I pushed the Kans forward, with the potential open to me to get them into combat with the Chimera and its occupants, or the Demolisher.  The Dredd lumbered towards the Mesa and Sharpe.
Lootas provide support fire - Dakka Dakka Dakka
My shooting remained the mixed bag it always seems to be with Orks - unpredictability married with their poor Ballistic Skill leading to odd outcomes.  The Lobba failed to do anything this turn while the Dread only managed to roast one Veteran with his Scorcha thanks to the Invulnerable saves possessed by Sharpe and the Priest.  Then I rolled the dice for the Lootas and ended up with the maximum of three shots for each Deffgun - with 10 Lootas that meant a massive 30 Strength 7 AP 4 shots.  Knowing most would go astray due to the poor Ballistic Skill of the Orks, I settled my sights on the Chimera and opened up.  The Dice Gods finally showed me some favour and with the last dice I was able to crack the Chimera open and out spilt the Inquisitor and his retinue, including my struggling Warboss!  In my excitement, I forgot to shoot with my Kans.
After being forced from the wrecked Chimera Ray debarks his Inquisitor and retinue
Now the important part - Combat.  Ghaz had his sights set on the Inquisitor.  He needed an 8 to get into combat.  The dice were rolled - 2-3 - again he was short!  Although Ghaz fluffed his charge, the Warband was still able to Overwatch him.  Another two Nobs dropped to the Meltas of the Acolytes.  At this rate Ghaz would be left bereft of bodyguards or dead himself before he even saw combat!
The Warboss is now in play!
Ghaz has his grumpy face on and is itching for a fight - now if only those 'Oomies would co-operate and come closer
In lieu of Ghaz, the Kans charged the Inquisitor and made it in.  Unfortunately, while Kans look imposing, they are still only piloted by Gretchin!  The Warbands mix of power weapons meant that all but one Kan were destroyed, with the last one also losing its Klaw.   The Inquisitor was still locked in combat but it didn't look good for my Orks.
The Kans wade in and are promptly messed up by the Inquisitor and their friends
On the mesa the Deff Dread bellowed through its warhorn and charged at Sharpe.  Overwatch was ineffective, and Sharpe had to resort to Krak Grenades to be able to damage the Armour 12 Dread.  He and his vets were unable to scratch the Dread, and in return, the Vet and the Priest were killed, but Sharpe was able to hold out for another round.
Sharpe and the Dread go toe-to-toe
Rays turn saw the Praetorians push further up the board towards the Orks, with the Eversor climbing down the cliff face towards the Orks at its base.  The Demolisher edged sideways while the Tactical Squad swept around the back of the Combat between the Inquisitor and the Kan.  The Baal Predator did a fast reverse, giving itself a nice clear field of view to the Ork Mob in the centre.
Those Praetorians are pushing even further up the field of battle - crazy red coats
The Baal starts its delicate ballet - first you advance and gatt, then you advance in tactical reverse and gatt 
Shooting this turn was lackluster with only a few boys falling in each of the Boys Mobs, as well as a few of the Lootas to the Praetorian Grenade Launchers which had now found their range.  The Eversor leapt into combat with the Ork Boys and the Tactical Marines also launched into Combat with the Kan.  While the Eversor managed to kill 5 boys, weight of numbers counted against him when I struck back, and he fell to the Power Klaw of the Nob.  He took a few more Boys down with his Bio-Melt Down attack on his death but I still had a chunk of Boys left to threaten the Praetorians next turn.  The Marines made short work of the Kan and they and the Inquisitors Warband consolidated behind the wrecked Chimera.  Sharpe again failed to make a dent in the Dread and the Dread fluffed its return swipe.
The Marines wade into combqt to lend a hand
The Dreads been knocked down a peg or two but Sharpes still been unable to crack that casing
Turn 4 would prove to be the final turn as the hour was getting late.  Ghaz moved forward - this turn surely he would be able to make it into combat.  The Boys in the central Mob also surged forward, ready to charge into the Inquisitor and his retinue.  After seeing off the Eversor, the other Mob of Boys pushed further around the mesa and lined up for a charge on the Praetorians.  My shooting was mainly a side show to the main combat event, but the Lobba and Lootas were able to take down three Praetorians from the squad in their half of the board.
The old Ork 1-2 pincer move around the wrecked Chimera and into a wall of Overwatching gatt - haven't tried that in a while
Combat came around and the Boys in the centre made a successful charge into the Inquisitor and his retinue, losing only a single Boy to Overwatch.  Ghaz finally made a successful charge roll and ploughed into the Tactical Squad, losing the last Nob to Overwatch,  Between the Nobs and the wounds he had lost to the Vindicares shooting, Ghaz had notionally taken 22 wounds to get him to this point of the game and victory was still not yet assured!  The other Mob of Boys rolled for its charge against the Praetorians and fluffed it, losing two more Boys to Overwatch.
So close, and yet so far according to the dice gods (I only wish that dice pile had been my dice roll!)
Fighting the combats, the Inquisitor and his allies claimed three Ork Boys for four of their own.  The combat remained locked.  Sharpe was unable to damage the Dread, but in return, the Dread was finally able to get past Sharpes invulnerable save and mulch him. 
Waagh combat - finally!
Then the Big Boy stepped up.  Or more correctly he bellowed, inviting the puny armoured red boys to do their best while he waited for his initiative step.  The Marines weren't able to get past his 2+ armour save and when the Power Fist wielding Sergeant stepped forward he baulked at the last and missed.  Ghaz struck back and reduced the squad by five, including the Sergeant.  The Marines were made of stern stuff though and stood their ground.
Ghaz says hello - with a Power Klaw to the face!
In Rays final turn, he used his orders on the Praetorians to First Rank Fire-Second Rank Fire, but dud shooting saw him only knock a few down.  The Baal Predator had pushed forward once again but it was unable to finish off enough of the gun crew to destroy the Lobba.
And once more we advance and gatt
The final combat came around and was anti-climatic.  The Inquisitor saw off more of the Orks and caused them to flee but was unable to catch them so was left loitering behind the wrecked Chimera.  Ghaz killed anther two Marines for no wounds in return.  The Marines broke from combat but Ghaz, being the hefty lad that he is, was unable to pursue them.
Run you pesky 'Oomies!
The game had ended in a stale mate - one victory point to me for first blood, and one to Ray for holding the Warboss.
The lonely Dredd watched over the battlefield, alone with his thoughts...
We notionally played on with just Ghaz and the Inquisitors retinue to see how a final mighty combat would have gone.  With the number of combat attacks the retinue could bring, enough wounds got passed Ghaz's armour to remove his final two wounds before he would have gotten chance to fight back!

We had an absolute blast playing and nattering on.  The game was a great way to kick off our gaming for 2017 and a fine way for me to see out my last days of my holidays.  As always Ray was a gent when it came to rules queries/disagreements, with the humble D6 arbitrating our dispute at one point over me claiming a cheeky 5+ cover save!

Not sure whats next for this series of games.  Ghaz has given up on retaking his Warboss (he didn't consider it a rescue, more an opportunity to enact some discipline on the Boss who was weak enough to get himself captured in the first place).  Going forward we'll need a new story arc to work through.  I'm sure that wasn't the last of Sharpe though, he has a way of coming back from each fight.

Cheers all,


Saturday, 7 January 2017

090. It's so hot - slow WIP update on Orks...

The weather is not co-operating.  We're back at our third day above 38 degrees (Celcius) which means painting is a challenge for two reasons - the horrible heat, and my evaporative air conditioner just not being up to it after three days, seemingly now only being able to push warm, moist air around the house.  None of that is conducive to painting, particularly with the back room where I hobby being one of the warmest parts of the house.  
WIP Storm Boys - I love the little Gretchin riding on the packs!
Yesterday, while the Dort napped and I perused the blog roll, I decided it wasn't tenable to attempt to compete the Orks in one hot as I had been trying to do.  Mord over at Mordian 7th is renowned for busting out huge armies in next to no time with an efficient batch painting process.  Even he recognised on one of his latest posts that anything above 20 minis is too hard to push through.  I totally agree with that sentiment after trying to move all 50 odd Orks forward together - I just couldn't get through each stage in the same session and ended up coming and going on various parts to progress.  not seeing the group progress put a downer on my painting mojo.   Instead, I've decided to split the horde up and tackle it in sub-groups, larger than I normally attempt (I usually work on no more than 4 at a time), but smaller than 10 in the main.  I settled on six groups in the end, derived mainly by the type of Ork unit each belonged to:
- a group of nine Boys
- a second group of nine Boys
- a group of nine Shootas
- the five Burnas
- the five Lootas
- the five Storm Boys and characters - Zagstrukk, Warboss, dying Nob, Nob and Rokkit and Big Shoota
Boys Group One
Boys Group 2
Burnas and Lootas
In essence, that last group has been split further into Storm Boys and not.  I started on that group last night, working on the leather bomber jackets, fur trim and caps on the Storm Boys, which also crossed over onto the fur trim on the Warboss' back, and laying the base brown down on the straps and such on the not-Storm Boys in the group.
Storm Boys and characters
If I focus on getting each sub-group completed rather than the whole, then I should get more traction in each painting session, as well as consistency within each group, with slight variation across the horde which is always visually interesting.  I'll also be alternating Boys with the more interesting Lootas and Burnas so I don't end up painting 27 Boys on the trot - that way leads to madness and apathy!

I understand the US (or parts of it at least) are copping a snow storm, at the same time we're having our heat wave - I know I'd prefer the cold to the heat.  Here's hoping wherever you're based you are having fun wth the hobby.

Cheers all,


Saturday, 31 December 2016

089. End of 2016, Orks state of play, Overkill and Prospero...

So that's that for another year.  2016, where'd all that time go.  Scrap that...Where's the first half of my leave gone!  For all my best intentions, I haven't maximised my available time over the last few weeks and the Orks are still in a WIP state - although to be honest, I'm still mighty chuffed at how far down the process I managed to push 50 miniatures.  With Christmas, time spent with the family, working on the Titan, building other miniatures, the incessant high heat and humidity we've been having lately (it's been so humid lately some of the washes on my Orks have reactivated making painting a nightmare and leaving the miniatures tacky), painting the main living room/dining/kitchen in the house (so I have done some painting, just a the wrong scale!), and general laxness, I just haven't had the drive to sit at my desk and paint.
Stormboys WIP
So what state do the Orks find themselves.  The skin across the board is all done.  Today, I finalised all the teeth and claws which helps to frame the face and hands on the minis - creating that triangular focal point experts in colour theory and other hobby know whats like to talk about.  The metallics and armour is also all done barring last minute touch ups at the end.  It's more a case of whats left to do!
-Odds and sods - cables, fetishes etc.
Lootas, Burnas and Boys WIP
More Boys WIP
For something different - more Boys WIP!
All in all, I should be well able to get them finished before I go back to work in around a fortnight.  After these are off my plate, choices open up before me as to what to tackle next. Sitting on the shelves of shame are four other armies, already at a state where I don't really need or want much to add to them:

- Ultramarines - I have so many Marines its just not funny (around 200 in total!), built up over many editions of the game, and comprising the majority of the Marine range (excluding goofy things like Centurions and flyers).

- Space Wolves - A nice compact sub 2,000 force (lacking any of the drastically goofy stuff - Wulfen and Murderfang I'm looking at you!).

- Imperial Guard - Another large force (large on body count - its a foot based Infantry Company with attached Battalion heavy weapons and Specialists) built two editions ago and lacking some of the newer kits (and non-the-worse for that!).

- Chaos: Lost and Damned - Plague Marines/Nurgle Daemons/Traitor Guard.

As well as the actual forces I've deliberately collected, built and shaped to a uniform plan established in my head over the years, I have other sub-units like the Titan, my Primarch collection and other odds and ends (the new Codex: Imperial Agents notionally has a whole shelf on the Shelves of Shame comprising random stuff I'd collected for looks alone that would now be fit for purpose according to that book!).  Add in the few additional Ork models I have accumulated over the last month and there is plenty of choice for what to start on next.  With the Fall of Cadia looming, maybe the time is ripe to devote 2017 to my Lost and Damned, although I'm equally drawn to the idea of pushing on with the forces of good and really trying to make a dent in my 'Grand Army of the Imperium' collections.

One thing I am certai of, is that I go into 2017 without any plans to buy much in the way of minis unless GW really pulls a blinder and unleashes something truly epic on us all.  Off the top of my head, the only thing I think that would make me reach for my wallet to buy (as opposed to releases that make me drool but not hit the 'must buy now' part of my brain), would be a model of the Emperor, or a really well done, multi-part plastic Necromunda box set re-release.  

While 2017 is looking god for the wallet, the final months of 2016 was decidedly not!  In addition to the Ork deals I've previously posted about, I also found myself spending on some more dregs for the Lost and the Damned, as well as picking up a copy of the Burning of Prospero.
Oooh so shiny - Burning of Prospero - an eBay steal!
The Dort continues her education (under my direct supervision) getting in on the 'cutting' of the Prospero sprues (or at least the empty sprues).  She informs me this piece of sprue is in fact a Motor Bike which she wants to paint next time I let her near the 'Dad paints'! 
After finishing up the superb master of Mankind by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, the lure of a squad of the Legio Custodes was too great to ignore.  The Burning of Prospero box contains a smorgasbord of minis, and once I did the calculations on it, I convinced myself that it was cheaper in the long run to buy the whole box and part out what I didn't want, than try to find a competitively priced squad of Custodes on eBay or the buy/swap/sell pages.  I managed to find a lovely lass from my home town of Middlesbrough selling the box on eBay, which including shipping, set me back only $150.  This compares to the retail in Australia of $265. When I onsold two of the Mk3 sets to Ray, it brought my actual buy price down to $90 - a total steal, or so I told the missus!

That $90 spend got me my squad of Custodes, a squad of Sisters, a squad of Tartaros for my boys in blue, and a squad of Mk3 which I plan to kitbash with the FW Deathguard upgrade set to make a unit of Plague Marines for my Lost and Damned, as well as 'Not Bjorn' who'll do nicely as a Wolf Lord for my Wolves, and Ahriman who'll sit well with my random assortment of 30K goodies.  Not a bad result at all, particularly when considering that going by other recent releases, GW is likely to charge around $100+ for the Custodes alone (Cataphractii from the previous Calth box cost $115 a squad here!).
Beautiful, beautiful minis - I've built based on the rule of cool - apparently you can't take a Halberd and Shield in game - pfft to that!
'Not Bjorn' and Ahriman - fantastic sculpts and cleverly cut on the sprue.  The cherub is a bits box build I did on the side while organising my bits collection.
The miniatures themselves are astoundingly beautiful, although terribly fiddly and fragile. The Sisters are the worst culprits of this, with one part (the splayed hand) having fingers around 0.5mm thick and 1mm long just asking to be snapped off - the Dort has been warned not to touch those!  The Custodes and Sisters are also designed to go together in very specific configurations, with arms in particular being cut to match only certain shoulder pads/forearms/hands/torsos etc.  
Another non-viable squad build - these girls are oh so delicate - they'll snap parts simply looking at them funny
You can ever have too many Terminators of varying flavours!  Again, built on rule of cool and maximising bits use - In game they'll count as wielding Storm Bolters ad Fists, but I'll be damned if I wasn't going to pimp out these guys with all the bits of cool on the frame
My other recent purchase has been a small order to see off the last of my planned build of the Lost and the Damned - the Deathguard upgrade sprue to make Plague Marines and a FW Plague Hulk, as well as some Daemon Plague Drones.  When that order arrives, I will have everything I desire for the forces in my collection (leaving each built force matching the planned forces I've designed in my head), leaving me, as I say above, with options for 2017 and beyond (the pile of built - surely the best part of the hobby in my opinion - and as yet unpainted miniatures having finally crested - much to the delight of the missus).

Talking with Ray about the beauty of the Prospero box made him drop a line about having a copy of Death Watch: Overkill; something he had completely failed to mention in any of our other hobby chats. That led to an impromptu catch up where we (that is to say I) ogled the beauty that is the Genestealer Cult models Ray has been accruing (including some from his impenetrable closet/shed of shame hearkening all the way back to the early 90's) and the equally fantastic Death Watch character models, before sitting down to run through the first mission of Overkill.
Rays shed of doom throws out a copy of Death Watch: Overkill for us to have crack at - its a really fun little game.
The mission calls for any four Death Watch Marines to be pitted against an unrelenting wave of Cultists (spawning at random using a shuffled deck of cards), victory coming to the Death Watch should they kill 25 Cultists, or the Cult if they could down two of the four Marines.  Ray hadn't built the Marines so I went to my (now renamed Imperial Agents shelf) to blag four older metal/plastic hybrid Death Watch I'd built years ago corresponding to the Blood Angel, Dark Angel, Space Wolf and Chaplain cards from the game.  the tiles were laid out according to the guide, and the dice rolls began.
Chaplain Cassius - I love Chaplains so he was always going to be one of my four
I had painted Dark Angel and Space Wolf Death Watch Marines in my collection already so these guys were no brainers
And the plucky Blood Angel - again, I had a Blood Angel in my collection so this made sense.  This was him off the board after being wounded, and subsequently succumbing to his wounds
Like Space Hulk (which we both own - Ray multiple copies!), this game does not follow the normal rules for 40K, instead each character having a set of stats corresponding to their weapon load outs which give them certain range bands within which they can do things, as well as special abilities unique to each character.  All actions are resolved with a D6 dice roll trying to beat a set number.  For example, say my Chaplain Cassius was within the 'Assault' range (using a flexi range finder that comes with the game - not a tape measure) of some Cult troops, I could choose to either wade in with my Bolt Pistol and Crozius, rolling three dice and wounding the targeted cultists on a 3+, or fire one round ( a single dice roll) from my bolt pistol, wounding on a 5+.  If I caused a wound, the opposing model could attempt to save (6+ for a Cultist) unless the attack had the Cleave special rule which ignores armour.
Cassius and the Angel starting to get surrounded - the Angel would fall to that cannon wielding cultist to left of shot.
Tactical choices were necessary based on where you placed your figure within the rectangular deck sections, and how many targets were in front of you.  For example, rolling three dice seems preferable to one, but a) you needed to be within the right range band to get that attack (the three dice one) off, and canny placement of figures by your opponent could see your target outside that range, and b) the weapon special rules may grant a better advantage.  For example the Blast rule on the one shot Bolt Pistol allows you to roll to wound any figure in the same target section you are shooting into - so when Ray packed seven guys into one section, it made more sense to shoot the Bolt Pistol than to try for a close combat attack (seven chances to wound v three)!
Cassius fighting on alone after the Angels fall, as more Cultists rush onto the board
In the end I hit the magic number (25) in the third round.  I'd read previously the early missions favour the Death Watch, and that proved true here.  The game turns favour the fluff driven mechanics of the Marine player - that is in the course of a turn, the Marine player moves first, then the Cult player moves, then the Marine player uses actions (ie attacking), then the Cult player uses their actions, and then the Marine player gets another action sequence!  Plus Marines still had a 3+ armour save (2+ for Cassius), and notionally had two wounds to the cultists one, and could use either if their action phases to heal themselves.
The Wolf and the Dark Angel hunting for targets down empty corridors - although they won't stay empty for long.  i'd split my four Marines into two sub units, with each sub unit having a close combat focused chap (Cassius in one and the Wolf the other) and a support person (the Angel for Cassius and the Dark Angel for the Wolf).
Cassius and Drenn (the Wolf) were monsters in all phases, with Drenns Berserker ability (allowing me to run and attack in a single action phase) coupled with his three attacks with Rend ability really catching Ray out.  Cassius claimed seven kills and Drenn nine helping me win the game; although Ray did manage to take down the Blood Angel with a Mining Laser shot (ignores armour saves).  We played on after the third turn to see how far the Marines could go.  Drenn lasted another two turns, taking six more Cultists with him before falling to a Seismic Cannon, while the Dark Angel accounted for another three cultists (on top of his earlier three) before being mobbed and falling to five shotguns at close range. Cassius survived until we had to stop so I could go pick up the Dort from Childcare; the Chaplain taking another five Cultists down. Ray also killed two of his own Cultists with a Blasting Charge trap which had accounted for one of Drenns wounds.  So in total, over five rounds I got 39 kills to Rays three - not too shabby.

So 2016 ends with a bit of a bang, and not a whimper.  I may not have gamed anywhere near as much as I'd have liked, but there's always next year for that!  I've painted a huge amount of Orks (even if they aren't all finished), and amassed a wealth of additional minis to languish into future years on the shelves of shame.  I've had a laugh with the lads, and enjoyed immensely following along to the broad range of blogs I frequent.  Thanks to all who have dropped a line here, the community wouldn't be what it is without that kind of discourse between hobbyists the world over.

Cheers all and happy hobby going into 2017,