40K · book review

Review: The Ahriman Series

Some of you may have noticed that I have a little* bit of a soft spot for Ahriman so, I thought it would be a good idea to actually give the books by John French a read. I looked up his blog for the reading order, loaded up the kindle and off I went. I will try and do this without too many spoilers, but the books have been out for a while and I think most of us know the outcome by now anyway.

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One day, I too hope to shoot lightning out my hands…

I enjoyed All is Dust – a short story from the perspective of a Rubric Marine. What is that you say? They’re just dust floating about in armour! This one seemed to be able to recall his name and some basic emotion when roused to battle but rapidly forgot it when he returned to the inert state. I liked this because it offered insight into what are basically suits of armour that are pushed about by sorcerers.

In the series, there are three novels and a collection of other short stories told from the Point of View of a sorcerer known as Ctesias. These are told in first person narrative and I am going to admit that Ctesias did my head in. His insights into what was going on was irritating, though I think that was the character rather than the tales he was telling, which were good. I do enjoy it when a character grates on my nerves. Not all characters are written to be liked after all and Ctesias certainly got a reaction. The outcome of one particular story was rather satisfying for me as a reader, if not Ctesias himself.

So, the story of Ahriman then. Well, he sulks a great deal. The start of the series is after the rubric and he is hiding away from what he did. The three books follow his journey to ‘power’ and ends with the (and this is the HUGE spoiler here) failure of the second rubric. The books are easy to read, well constructed and even the characters that I don’t like are engaging. There is a range of different personalities within the three novels but none of them dominate. They all get a good amount of ‘screen time’ as well. The plots are well constructed, elaborate and engaging. I know for a fact that I will read these again and not just because I am fan of the Thousand Sons.

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Just a regular day in the warp.

The one thing that these tales confirmed for me, again, is that Magnus is a giant, selfish jerk who really needs to get his head out his butt and think of someone other than himself once in a while. There was rage… I do like it when characters and books make me actually feel something! It is a real treat!

The next book I am reading is Primogenitor by Josh Reynolds. Friends have been on at me for months to read it and I managed to grab a copy at the weekend.

 

*It’s not that little really, my adoration of the Persian Space Wizard is well known and unashamed.

40K · fun · hobby · miniatures. · warhammer · Warhammer 40000 · Warhammer 40k · Wh40K

January Open Day

The trek to Warhammer World is never a hard one, or that far. It’s a couple of hours away at most. We bought our tickets for the Open Day at the Vigilus day and off we went yesterday for another day of exciting reveals and fun. I met up with some lovely people from the Internet and actually played a game!

I am unsure where to start, so let’s begin with that game. Myself and Dave teamed up to play against Chris’ Necrons. I have never played against Necrons before; not hard, I’ve not played all that much. It was a fun game however.

Ahriman, his friend and some demons squared up against some necrons. It started off well, destroyers got destroyed and the battle progressed. However, Death Hex, a much needed spell, was failed by Ahriman and the tides of battle turned.

Before everything had a chance to go horribly wrong however, the Legion of Dave and Fondlechew dropped in. They soon realised they were in the wrong place (era) and hastily departed.

To cut the tale short, Ahriman decided to try and be a hero and went after the warlord. His glory was cut short when the warp said ‘No’ – Perils of the Warp is a huge hinderance to his escapades, though he did float up to the tall part of the board and look mildly cool. The best part of the game was when the Changeling warp bolted one of the Necron Lords and turned it into a Chaos Spawn. Hilarity ensued when the Chaos Spawn started attacking the remaining necrons… It wasn’t enough though. We lost the game in the end. It was a lot of fun though and that is what counts.

The other fun news was the released and the amazing atmosphere that was going on. There is always a buzz at these events and from the moment I met up with friends, new and old to the moment we left, it was fun. I painted Larry, a chaos warrior, in half an hour and he looked decent; pictures to follow.

I also got to meet Josh Reynolds and David Guymer, who signed a book for a good friend of mine in Canada. Both of them were very nice fellows and approachable, reminding me that the authors of the books I love are also people. I have nothing to fear from them and running away is just silly.

Last thing I am going to leave you with is this image of one of the released. The Dark Apostle is exceptionally exciting because Black Legion but… and I am sure you will have seen this on the internet already, this is the really exciting thing. I have circled it just to make sure you all see why I am so excited.

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I do hope the Boss is going to turn up…

 

40K · hobby · painting · Wh40K

A year in review – 2018

So, I have spent a great deal of this year not updating this blog. Between being back at work full time and other distractions it has fallen by the way a little. I am going to take some time now to have a look at what I’ve achieved hobby wise this year and see where I can go from there.

First of all: commissions. I managed to do a grand total of two this year. I did a Blood Angel Sanguinary Priest and Erebus and Kor Phaeron.

The first featured a patterned cloak, which was a lot of fun.

These two jerks were a lot of fun. I learned that painting for other people is a lot of fun and also tends to make me work a lot quicker as well. There is a sense of urgency when working for someone else that isn’t present when doing your own miniatures.

I have improved a great deal over the year; let’s have a look and compare the first and last ones – or as close as I can get at least.

I had to use Ahriman as an example as I have painted that miniature, and it’s 40K counterpart, a lot this year. Between the diorama, practicing for different techniques and actually collecting Thousand Sons, I have painted him a total of 8, soon to be 9, times now. The galaxy cloaks have come a long way since I did the first one and I am more than pleased with how far I have come with them.

My edge highlighting has become far more precise than I have ever been before, as can be seen on Cypher (below). I never thought I would be able to do anything as sharp as this and am thoroughly chuffed with that.

Then there is the Golden Demon entry. Never did I ever dream I would enter such a contest. I may not have won but the finalist pin and commended entry card was just the icing on the cake for me. People laughed about the creation and I am so proud of it. It is on the mantelpiece still and it’s still sinking in that I was able to create something like that.

The there was the mini swap that I took part in over Christmas. It is not the last mini I will paint this year but it comes close. I am proud of Krom and how well he turned out. His new owner was pleased too and that is what matters. The snow effect paint looked particularly effective in my humble opinion and I will certainly be using it again.

Last of all, I want to mention the tartan I attempted to paint the other day. It is not perfect, it could be improved certainly but that is something to work on. I have never painted tartan before and this was the result. I never once thought that I would be able to do something this intricate.

It has been a good year. I have come a long way this year and although there is a long way to go – I doubt I will ever be happy completely – I can be proud of my achievements thus far.

40K · miniatures. · Wh40K

Cato Sicarius, the Lieutenant and a couple of Heroes.

I thought that I would write a quick post about where I am up to with the hobby ‘queue’ seeing how I finished Krom at the weekend – there will be a separate post about him after he has been given to his new owner and they are pleased with him.

Above we have the four minis I will be working on next. First will be Cato Sicarius, who was won by @PerfectFulgrim on twitter. An interesting case as he was fine cast. It took a while to get him looking half decent. I popped him on a huge tall base as he did not want to be smaller than the Primaris Lieutenant who is next to him looking bemused.

The Primaris Lieutenant is the one from the Conquest magazine and I think I will sort out a give away for him. I have a few Ultramarine Primaris in the house but I don’t play or use them much so he would just sit about looking pretty, which is a role no Space Marine should ever play.

The last two are going to go to author Graham McNeill after a conversation had on twitter. After watching The Outlaw King, he wanted to write a High Fantasy Novel with warring factions. I said it was a good idea. He agreed so long as I painted the minis for it. I am not painting a full on book amount of minis but I think a wizard and a warrior should do nicely… now, how do you paint tartan again?

What I do want to do is branch out from painting just space marines. I love them, they are my favourite for many reasons, however I need to now branch out and explore other areas. Let’s watch this space and see what happens!

After these are finished, I will be opening commission slots. I am unsure how that will go but I can only try and see. Of course, I am open to discussion any time for those who are interested!

40K · Golden Demon · painting · Warhammer 40000 · Warhammer 40k

A Kind of Magic

As some of you know, I have spent the last few weeks working on a diorama of silly proportions for Golden Demon. All my good creations start off as a silly conversation with someone else – in this case, it was with Chris Frosin. We discussed how silly it would be to have a bunch of Ahriman dancing about pretending to be in a boy band. One flippant comment later and I am entering the idea into Golden Demon.

It was not a small undertaking.

I had to acquire three 30K Ahriman models, for the Ahrimen and one 40K version for the centre piece. Then I had to figure out how to paint them. I already knew I was going to do galaxy capes on them, they are psykers after all but I had to decide on a paint scheme and colours. It took a bit but I eventually settled on this:

The next challenge was the 40K version. He was going to be the centre piece of the diorama so he needed to be perfect. Deciding to paint the Eye of Terror on his cloak was perhaps one of the crazier ideas I have had but I had to give it a go. It took an hour and a half but I managed to surprise myself with how well it turned out.

After completing Ahriman and his Ahrimen, I then had to turn my thoughts to the stage. Originally, I intended to build it from a range of different kits that we had kicking about but as some of them were not made by Games Workshop, we abandoned this and went for a different idea. I purchased one of the forge scenery kits and some crates that Games Workshop do and, with the assistance of Dave, we built the stage.

The hardest part of the stage was getting it to light up and make music happen. we went for A kind of Magic and Another One Bites the Dust… Fortunately, Dave knows enough about programming to be able to make it do as I wanted it to. While I worked on painting the stage, he played and fiddled about with an Arduino board and its related pieces. Magic happened. Lights were then attached to the stage and the two songs programmed in. A control was attached to his phone and we were ready for the next phase.

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The final part was attaching Ahriman and the Ahrimen to the stage. Before we knew it, we were placing the diorama in the hands of the staff at Golden Demon and there was nothing more we could do… except sit close by and have the entry light up and pay music as unsuspecting people walked passed. The looks on people’s faces was amazing and made creating this piece worth it. The enthusiasm of the staff who saw it was a pleasure as well. I did this for the laughs and I certainly got a lot of those. Even better, was the commended entry tab and the finalist pin I came home with. I know I am not the best painter in the world but to be able to go through with this to completion and to make people smile was a real joy. I am glad they got as much of a laugh out of it as I did.

All that is left to do now, it to work out what I am going to do next year…

40K · book review · Uncategorized · Warhammer 40000 · Warhammer 40k · Wh40K

Review: Black Legion – Aaron Dembski-Bowden

BLPROCESSED-Black-Legion-coverThis book is so awesome I am going to leave the picture huge. I was fortunate enough not to wait long for the second installment of the Black Legion series, which was a relief seeing as I loved the first one.

The story picked up a ‘few’ years on from where the last one left off, once again being told through the eyes of Iskandur Khayon, former Thousand Son Legionary. He has become Abaddon’s assassin and seems to be struggling with the role. I won’t go into details because spoilers but I will say when he overcomes these inhibitions, awesomeness ensues.

The narrative of the novel is in the first person once again, something I found well crafted before and was not let down this time. The voice of Khayon comes through clearly throughout; you can definitely tell that he was a member of the Thousand Sons before his change of allegiance. When he is explaining things to you, he does so from the stance of a scholar – it is a little like being in a lecture. Instead of detracting from the pace of the novel, it explains things about the Eye of Terror that the reader doesn’t know. Khayon never gives up the opportunity to enlighten the reader about the trials and tribulations he and his brethren face on a daily basis!

Although the book deals with the serious, and often deadly, threats that face the newly established Black Legion, there is no shortage of funny aspects either. Each character is well established with one another and there is no shortage of bickering and sniping a one another, which provides the novel with some much needed comic moments. We all know and understand that life in the grim dark future is just that but these interactions remind the reader that there is humour too.

Also: Abaddon fights Sigismund… Well paced, perfectly written and oh my word what a page turning ending to the novel! Just amazing! The rest of the fight scenes are amazing – highlighting the brutality needed to win and the lengths of the character’s ambitions too. There is also a wicked space battle that had me turning the pages quicker than I thought possible.

It is a perfect follow-up to an epic start, I just hope the next installment isn’t too far in the future!

book review · Wh40K

Review: A Thousand Sons – Graham McNeill

Thousand Sons I had the distinct pleasure of reading this novel on the decks of the Thompson Majesty while on my honeymoon – often with a cocktail or two; it would be rude not to after all.

What a real pleasure it was to read too! I’ll start off by celebrating all of the rich description within this novel. During parts of the novel, I could easily picture the setting, to the point where I felt as though I was actually walking down some of the Tizcan streets with the characters as they spoke. Maybe that could be attributed to the warm climates I was in too but it was a real pleasure. The choice of words used paints a truly wonderful picture, one that I devoured gladly and you should too! It was as though I could smell what was being made in the markets, hear the traders calling and feel the heat of the sun too.

Characters in the novel are spectacularly well written; the leading cast are well rounded and layered. McNeill carefully ensures that the Space Marine characters are not carbon copies of each other and that they are different from the contingencies of remembrancers (humans) too. Not all the characters are likeable, they’re not meant to be, but they are well written. I found it very difficult to be sympathetic to the Primarch of the Thousand Sons; he came across as an aloof, arrogant being without a trace of thought for those he used – he was meant to. I could find solace in the fact he was well written and that his sons were far more likeable than he was.

The pace of the novel was perfect too, there were no points where the story lulled or seemed to drag on either. Each twist and turn of the novel is woven carefully together and the differences of opinion of the characters are artfully displayed.

I cannot stress enough how I enjoyed the novel and really look forward to reading a lot more about the Thousands Sons legion. I hear there are some pretty devastating turns in store for Ahriman and his friends.

40K · miniatures. · Warhammer 40k · Wh40K

Sergeant Flowers

As some of you will know, I am getting married tomorrow. The past few days have been a bit of a whirlwind, trying to organise various things; decorations, relatives, cakes and other assorted bits and bobs. I’ve had a lot less time for painting and playing and even less for writing. Fear not, the story is still growing just at a much slower rate than before.

We are not having a huge formal wedding, we’re not those kind of people. We wanted to do something that reflected our quirks and would be enjoyable for everyone, not one of those huge formal affairs were everyone appears tense. I always knew I wanted something in my bouquet; I just wasn’t sure what…

That’s where this guy comes in.

This is Sergeant Flowers. The history I with painting miniatures began when I was around 14 years old and is a story too long for the telling on this post. My recent ‘obsession’ is with 40K and Space Marines so it seemed like a fitting idea to have a guy with a jump pack hidden in the flowers.

A little bit about Flowers then – his first name is Iris (which is painted on the banner in the centre of the black hand). He is the sergeant of the fourth squad in second company and is known for being mean. With a name like Iris Flowers, one worthy of The Emperor’s Children, he has to be. He has served for over 200 years so far and is a dab hand with the lightning claw.

After the day,  intend to take him out of the bouquet, fix him to a base and field him alongside the rest of his assault squad. I will leave you with the shot of him all ready for the big day tomorrow.

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There will be no problems with heretics or xenos on the big day!
book review · Uncategorized · Wh40K

Review: The Talon of Horus – Aaron Dembski-Bowen

 

Talon of HorusWell, I read this one a bit quickly! The Talon of Horus had been on the shelf for a little while now and I fancied reading something that wasn’t in the Horus Heresy saga. Those of you who know me well will also be aware that I have a bit of fascination regarding Abaddon and so this book seemed like it would be an interesting read.

The fact that I managed to read it in less than three days whereas the last book took more than a month says a great deal about how amazing this read was. I was a little wary of the first person narrative to begin with. I’ve read a few books written in this style and they have been absolute rubbish. Not the case here. The narrator has a very clear voice and it never loses focus through the novel. The reader is never left with a sense of disembodiment and the point of view is clear and maintained throughout the tale.

There are plenty of moments in the novel that made me laugh out loud too, I don’t want to spoil any of the details but there are a few well thrown punches and dry quips that are golden. The World Eater character can be relied upon to act according to his nature in moments that are utterly brilliant.  One of the things that really resonated me with this novel was how the narrator highlighted how inhuman he was and yet in other parts would act in very human ways. He is very aware of the differences and is very keen to remind the reader of them yet his actions, at times, show the opposite

The pace of the novel is perfect. The blend of action and narrative is just right and it kept me turning the pages late into the evening and well into the day when I should have been doing other things. The action within the novel is well written, engaging and never seems to drag on as it has in some other stories I have read.

Within the pages of this novel there are some tastefully used metaphors, something I don’t normally pick up on. I am not known for subtlety after all… The part when the main characters are walking through acid rain and the colours of their former legion is washed off is just too poetic not to mention. Especially as the novel deals with the birth of the Black Legion! Hats off to you Aaran Demnski-Bowden

All in all, this was a devastatingly amazing read. You should go and read it right now. You’ll want to join the Black Legion afterwards, but that’s alright; what’s a little heresy between friends?

 

40K · book review · horus heresy · Warhammer 40k · Wh40K

Review: Fallen Angels – Mike Lee

Fallen AngelsIt seems to have taken me forever to read this book. Being busy at work has certainly not helped matters but I have finally managed to finish it! Not that the summer holidays have had anything to do with that, no sir!

I’ll start by saying that I wasn’t a huge fan of the first Dark Angels book – Descent of Angels by Mitchel Scanlon. I found the pacing a bit off and compared to the rest of the series, it was a bit of a bad egg. It wasn’t awful, it just wasn’t as good as some of its predecessors.

Fortunately, this one is better. The pacing at the start of the novel is slow, I will concede that point and it took a while to get going. When it did get going however, it turned into the ‘cannot put down’ page turner that I expect from a Horus Heresy novel.

The story picks up the two separate tales of cousins Nemiel and Zahariel; the two protagonists from the first novel and continues their saga. I’m not going to say overly much about what happens, I want you to go and read the novel for yourself and find out but I will say that it is exciting.

The plot of the two stories don’t really entwine with one another. Nemiel’s is based on the planet of Diamat, where the Dark Angel’s, along with their Primarch have to thwart the rebel’s attempts at securing the planet. Zahariel’s is set on Caliban along with Luther and the other ‘banished’ Dark Angels. The two plots are both engaging, when they find their momentum, and there are some astonishingly well written battle scenes to boot. There are some pretty hefty twists towards the end of the book too which were interesting, again, I’m not going to discuss them in detail but believe me, you’ll roll your eyes!

Give the book a read, it is well worth it despite the slow start!