Saturday, May 14, 2016

Index Astartes Apocrypha

Hooray for winning!

Today I got word from the fine fellows at Between the Bolter and Me that I have won their Twitter contest for a free copy of the Index Astartes: Apocrypha book, celebrating almost 30 years of the evolution of the Space Marine.

Seriously, what a joy.

This is an amazing looking book that for some reason I passed up on the day it was released, and I'm overjoyed to have a second chance at owning it thanks to the insane generosity of the Brothers Wier. You'd be hard-pressed to find nicer guys in the Inq community, and that's saying a lot because the Inq community is full of nothing but upstanding hobbyists who truly care about the art and function of both modelling and gaming in this weird corner of the 40K universe we all create in.

I've been playing GW games for almost 30 years, and through all of the White Dwarfs, rule books, and supplements I've collected over the years, I already have the vast majority of what's included in the Apocrypha, but even though my GW library is substantial, there are pages and artwork I've seen in previews of the book that are completely new to me - and that's incredibly exciting. I can't wait to get my hands on this book!

Many thanks to the Wiers, and Between the Bolter and Me, and if you haven't already you should follow their Twitter account to get some great sneak peeks and insight into what they're doing, and what inspiration fuels their work.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Imperial Space Marine 2016 - Rogue Trader

I remember when I first saw the Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader rulebook.

The year was 1988, and a few friends and I had already been playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd Edition, when one of the group pulled out his brother's copy of the Rogue Trader rulebook.

At that point, I didn't have a strong grasp of what the sci-fi genre offered beyond spacemen and aliens, and of course, Star Wars. At the time, I was firmly in the grips of the sword-and-board combat of Warhammer Fantasy, and I remember being offended when my friend said that his single terminator could take out all of our fantasy armies in battle at once. I mean really, who the hell did he think he was?

It only took a quick look through the book, and a sample battle at his house for me to put aside my undead army, and start collecting Space Marines.

The Rogue Trader rulebook was a revelation. It was dirty and mean; a science fiction where there were no heroes, only hard-scrabble adventurers whose existence depended on killing the other guy first. It was the wild-west in space, where anything was possible, including a mystical leader whose body was kept alive by machines and the sacrifice of thousands on a daily basis. It was nothing I had ever seen before. And the artwork? Blew my mind.

While the Space Marines became my bread and butter army-wise, it was the concept of the Rogue Trader that really captured my imagination. A no-holds barred space adventurer, the Rogue Trader was a true pioneer that lived and died by his own rules and cunning ways, eking out a living on the very edges of spacebound civilization. If there had been a good way to represent them on the tabletop, I would have run an RT force all the way, but sadly, to an 11 year old me, if it wasn't on the shelves at the game shop, the idea of creating that force myself just wasn't in my head as a possibility.

Over the years, with the release of Slaves to Darkness, I got a relative taste of what it was like to play with an independent force, although in the form of a chaos warband, and in Lost and the Damned, I got the closest to it with the Sensei warband, which I really wish had caught on stronger with players - so much untapped potential there.

How do you not love those kneepads?

I never had the original Imperial Marine figure, but when I saw the 30th Anniversary Imperial Marine, the retro Rogue Trader throwback styling of the figure rekindled a lot of those early feelings I had with the 40K RT rulebook, and I knew that I was going to buy it. I knew two other things: I was going to finally get the Rogue Trader figure of my dreams, and I was going to chop the hell out this thing.

The Brothers Wier over at Between the Bolter and Me, have done a wonderful job reviewing the figure, as well as making an unboxing video, so if you really want the lowdown in the figure itself, I encourage you to go check out their material on it.

As for my figure, I  began scouring my bits box and the entire range of GW products for inspiration on how to build my own adventurer, spurred on by my favorite piece of artwork related to the Rogue Trader archetype:


With a few bits in hand, a story began to take shape. I wanted a ramshackle, scrappy adventurer, that looked like he had been through the wringer on his travels, but had come out the other side with fists full of treasure. I wanted a legend - an individual, but a true representation of the archetype. A science fiction rogue with a dubious past, and ability without compare. Flash Gordon meets Elric of Melnibone.

A few more scrounged pieces, and some special order bits and I had my Rogue Trader. And...he got kind of weird.

Lost to the shifting timespace of the Warp for countless lifetimes, he reemerged into realspace carrying with him the trinkets, treasures, and trophies from centuries of adventures.

Okay, not exactly the typical Rogue Trader, but he's mine, and I love how insane he got at the end.

My favorite thing about him is the power armor itself. Not only are there some amazing details in the sculpt, but it's also man-sized. When I think of Space Marines now, I think artscale, so this model worked perfectly for the common man's powered armor, and has that look of some arcane pattern of armor made for personal use.

A few more details and some backstory, and I can call him done. Except for paint...I need to get back to painting...