What a month it has been. When the idea first gestated to start this project in November, I had absolutely no idea I would actually manage to paint over three thousand points of Epic in just over five weeks. That was roughly three times what I optimistically estimated when I first sketched out the plan.
Part of the success I think has been in setting realistic, but flexible goals and painting ‘rewards’ throughout. Each stage creating the impetus to push on that little bit further, or as I like to think of it, the “just one more unit/detachment” phenomena. Tea has also helped. Lots of cups of tea.
Picking up from where I left off last update, I had some Jetbikes to base and paint. Heresy era Jetbikes are currently the latest ’30K’ fashion trend from Forgeworld apparently, so I was confident these old Epic ones would fit in just fine. In gaming terms I just treat them exactly the same as an upgraded bike detachment, so no messing around with fiddly house rules. To make them stand out a bit more I loaded the bases with a bit more terrain to emphasise the impact of them being skimmers. Along with the Predators, these were miniatures I really enjoyed painting which is all good stuff for keeping the motivation going. There is something quite satisfying about hanging onto a miniature for so long and it finally finding a deserved place in the collection alongside more current production models. To represent the Attack Bike upgrades I simply swapped out two bike stands for a couple of first edition Land Speeders.
I wanted the formation to remain simple colour palette wise, but make the white a little more prominent on the bikes as a nod towards the age and heritage. The shoulder pads were also picked out in white to represent the likelihood only veteran Astartes would merit the honour of riding such precious relics into battle. At this stage, they are still not quite finished as I feel the detail is too bland, the riders in particular are blending too much into the mount. I am going to make another highlight pass and possibly pick out a few more details to help pull out the riders a little. Likewise for the speeders, I think I need to contrast the seats to help delineate the various parts of the vehicle. As I had promised to show them before the year was out, I have included them as is as they are more than game ready anyway. Expect to see me revisit them in the new year however for an update.
As it required a bit of effort to get over the 3000 point line, I called in some big guns from Legio Ignatum for the first time. If you have been following the earlier posts and in particular the Twitter feed you will be aware that parallel to the Ultramarines I have been steadily filling out a Titan Battlegroup inspired by the original Adeptus Titanicus colours for the “Fire Wasps”. Similar to the Ultramarines this has been all about blending together miniatures and palettes across several generations of design. Some of these have been seen before, such as the Warhound and Reaver re-paint. The Warlord however is a new addition and was purposefully picked to be a little specialised. Forsaking the regular primary weapons in favour of a pair of Corvus Assault Pods, this War Engine is designed to be a siege-breaker. In an effort to capture some of this character, I loaded the base up with as much building as I dared; the Titan quite literally striding waist deep through a building in order to deposit its deadly Astartes cargo. A fully fledged Battle Titan, it adds a whopping 850 points to the total, which when added to the 200 points from the Jetbikes easily moves me past the next stretch target and a great point to end the year on.
Of course, the sharp math readers will no doubt have worked out that a Warlord is in excess of a quarter of my current points total and as I can only legitimately spend up to 25% of my points on Legio or Navy support I would have to downsize to a Reaver or pair of Warhounds if I were to be taking these to a tournament or points match style event. Fortunately, here are some Legio Ignatum made available just in case.
Having started this as a ‘winter long’ project, I can now reveal the closing total at the end of the first five weeks to be…
Enough I think to bring my “Ultramarine Winter Challenge” project to a satisfying close and move onto something else. As promised here is the army in its entirety as I draw a line under it.
Only, I’m not going to. I’m actually enjoying my re-discovered Epic mojo enough that I think I’ll continue into next year and strike out for a few more detachments, as there is a whole lot more I can add. I haven’t even scratched the surface of Assault units, Scouts, Navy or Dreadnoughts yet.
Therefore the first stretch for 2013 will be to push the Ultramarines over the 4500 points marker.
The rest of the year in review
Other than getting back into Epic, the rest of 2012 has been more about transformation in the hobby for me. At the heart of it I think is the realisation that Warhammer 40,000 just doesn’t appeal to me anymore in the way it used to. There has been a steady move to push bigger and bigger battles and I just don’t have the appetite or space to set up 6’ x 4’ gaming tables anymore, or store vast numbers of 28mm tanks and flyers. I can count on one hand the number of times in the last three years I have ever managed to get a 6’ x 4’ gaming table set up. No questioning the enthusiasm is there, just not the space. The reality is the biggest game I am realistically likely to stage is generally 3 – 4’ max these days, and that just doesn’t lend itself to a decent tourney size rumble of 40K.
That has made me reconsider my gaming ambitions and adjust them to games more appropriate to the field of play. Smaller scale games like Epic and Flames of War for example. Both of these are likely to dominate my painting interests throughout 2013. As is the skirmish nature of Lord of the Rings/Hobbit Strategy Battle. All of these are great on a big table, but equally can play nicely on something more manageable and modest.
There was also the Kickstarter phenomena. I certainly made it no secret that I strongly supported two projects in particular, those being Studio McVey’s “Sedition Wars – Battle for Alabaster” and Mantic’s “Dreadball”. I also backed both of them with a significant amount of this years hobby budget, funding that would normally have been injected into the 40K re-launch or on Forgeworld goodies. Both of these games are due to deliver on their product in multiple drops between now and throughout the first two quarters of 2013, in fact the first ‘Striker’ package of Dreadball quite literally landed on my doorstep several days ago. With Sedition Wars estimated to be shipping locally early in the New Year now, both of these games are clearly going to be at the heart of my painting and gaming plans going forward.
Finally, I also have come to accept that having almost certainly retired from the Warhammer and 40K gaming arena, I have more armies than I really need and certainly more armies than I have space for. Throughout next year I will be looking at these with a mind to offload them. I still love painting 40K and there are some projects/armies I will keep going purely for the pleasure of painting them. The Ultramarines, Death Guard and Titans specifically come to mind.
So, if I was to look back at 2012 and summarise it in only three statements, those would be.
- The year Strategy Battle became my sole remaining current GW game
- The year Epic was re-born for me.
- The year I discovered Kickstarter.
On the back of that, 2013 is sure going to be ‘different’ hobby year and one I am really quite looking forward to. I can feel the winds of change blowing, and it isn’t Tzeentch this time. Or sprouts for that matter.
On that note I would like to wish everyone a happy and safe year end, wherever you are and whoever you are sharing it with. Here is to more painting, more gaming and above all more fun!