Wolf Claws: Math-Hammer 40K time

I take some time to look at the math behind the upcoming Wolf Claws to help you decide whether to re-roll to-hit or to-wound.

No matter how much I'm looking forward to modeling up and playing a Gears of War themed Guard army, I will always have a soft spot for my Space Wolves. I love their fluff, I love their playstyle and I'm going to love them more once they arrive in October.

Of some interest to me are the Wolf Claws, the Space Wolves version of Lightning Claws. According to several rumor sources, these will allow you to choose whether to re-roll the to-hit roll or the to-wound roll. The question is, which is better? Let's take a look:

Single Dice Rolls and Re-rolls

The image above shows for each dice roll the normal percentage, the additional chance by re-rolling it, and the total change of success. This is the basis for the following table, which compares all of the dice rolls in close combat:

Side-by-Side Comparisons

First, the terminology: when you see 3+r | 2+, that means 3+ to hit with a re-roll, followed by a 2+ to wound. So on the first row, you can see that if your roll is going to be a 3+, then a 2+, it's better for you to re-roll the 3+. Second, you can see that for rows where the requirement is the same (3+ to hit and to wound, for example), it makes no difference. That's simply rules of math: 3 x 2 is the same as 2 x 3.


Obviously, if you look at the chart for just a little while, you'll see a pattern emerging: in all of the comparisons, the re-roll is best utilized when it is used for the roll least likely to succeed. So given the choice between re-rolling a 4+ or a 2+, you want to re-roll the 4+.

Of lesser but still notable importance: how often are Wolf Claws advantageous over Lightning Claws and by how much? If you look at the chart, you'll see that of the 15 roll combinations there are six cases where they make a difference. And where the choice to re-roll to hit instead of to-wound is advantageous, the gain ranges from negligible (about 2.8%) to reasonable (about 13.9%).

Usage and Bottom Line

In gameplay, the Space Wolves player will want to do some quick thinking ahead before the dice are rolled to determine which roll will be more difficult and then declaring the re-roll to be that one. So if you will have to roll a 4+ to hit, then a 2+ to wound, re-roll the hit. But if you're rolling a 4+ to hit, then a 5+ to wound, re-roll the wound.

Wolf Claws are a fun and solid addition to the Space Wolves arsenal of weapons, and the re-roll choice they provide should always be used to re-roll the harder and I look forward to seeing them shred up enemies on the field of battle!

Reinforcements Have Arrived!

I had the day off today, and what should arrive at my door but an order for a Cadian Battleforce and Heavy Weapons Squad. Also, more Lancer details in brief.

Apparently, the vendor couldn't get the Ratlings in without delaying the order further, so they went ahead and shipped what they had. Works for me.

While I'm excited to dive in and start Lego-ing these things together, I think I'm going to take time to photograph the sprues so that I (and any others) have a reference the next time we're looking for particular bits or want to theorize about how bitz might fit together. More on that later.

I had a couple of ideas for the Lancer, one conversion involving a straight-up addition of a chainsword blade to the bottom of the Cadian lasgun. The other involves using two boltguns, a lasgun barrel and power pack and the chainsword. And to be truthful, I think I like the overall shape of the basic one still. Only problem is that the lasgun I used as reference is the loose Cadian lasgun. Now that I see the sprues, I notice little hands already holding the gun's body.

Planning: IG COG Soldier Modeling

Take a first look at how I plan to model the basic COG soldiers, and discuss how I might model their oh-so-recognizable weaponry.

An Apology

So it's been a little too long since I've been able to post. Work's ramped up for me, and I had traveling friends staying at my place (a one-bedroom apartment), and then a family friend passed away... yeah it's been a little hectic. But I digress — I'm here now to talk about where things stand.

The Storm Trooper squad that I wanted to field is partially done: the one test model is completed, and eight others are just past the wash stage. But I've been preoccupied with figuring out how I want to model the run-of-the-mill soldiers.

I'm not the only one who's considered an Gears-themed army. I've read their ideas, and mulled back and forth over which army I might field them as. Often cited as the picture for inspiration will be the image of Marcus, Dom, Cole and Baird. And while that's a half-decent starting point, let's be real: those are the heroes of the COG. Those would be veterans, not typical dudes. And their armour varies from your typical soldier too. I think the best starting point is actually the Carmines - you can see a shot of our helmeted friend in a previous post. Watch the opening cinematic to Gears 2 and you may agree with me that the COG would feel better as an Imperial Guard army rather than Space Marines. I mean, look at them - they're getting their asses beat!

Guardsmen it is.

So I've picked up a few things to get things started: a Cadian Battleforce, a Heavy Weapons Squad, and a box of Ratlings. Yes, I get that Ratlings have nothing to do with Gears of War, but I liked the models so I might just keep using them. And I want to have them on hand in case I play against a rather snarky opponent who doesn't feel that COG soldiers with snipers can count as Ratlings. Here's what I've come up with so far.


After looking around a fair bit, and getting the OK from the red shirts at the local GW, I've decided on using these Heavy Infantry Visored Heads from Pig Iron Productions. No, I can't field this army in a GT, but I'm not that kind of player. When I worked at GW, we had a pretty strict policy on the use of other ranges (in fact, we weren't even allowed to use LotR bits in our armies), but things have become more friendly since that time. I've seen these heads on Cadian bodies and I think they look great — see further down.


I will use the standard Cadian bodies for my soldiers - I think they look great as is, though I might decide to file off the Imperial Eagle. Typical COG soldiers have a COG skull imprinted on the armour, but I'm not ready to make that conversion 80+ times. And they'll be covered by guns. The alternative I'd considered to Cadian bodies were Space Marine scout bodies, but those are prohibitively expensive — that said, I think making a veterans squad using the scout box is definitely on the table.


Pretty much planning to use standard-issue Cadian arms for all of the COG soldiers. In Cole Train fashion, a few veterans might have Catachan arms, but he's definitely in the minority. The only difference here is that COGs have gloved hands, while the Cadian arms don't. I've considered swapping the hands for, say, Space Marine hands but I'm worried about scale differences and ... well a butt-load of cutting.


Let's be honest: the Cadian skirts are not going to fly well with me. I may have to bite the bullet here and use them anyway out of money concerns. But I have a fair number of Catachans that I'm willing to chop up in order to give my COGs more appropriate legs. Problem is, I don't really like the Catachan boots. This is another case where, if you ask me, the best solution is with the Space Marine scout legs. But I've already talked about why that's going to be a problem. A $6 a model problem. For an army with 80+ models in 1500 points. But they look cool! Consider this image from End Transmission, who uses the Scout legs AND Pig Iron heads to make some wicked looking guard:

The Gun

The legendary Lancer. I've scoured the net for conversion ideas. And while I think there are half-decent conversions based on the Boltgun, I'm not full convinced that it's the weapon I'd want to use. Obviously I'm biased because IG don't carry Boltguns standard, but hear me out! If you've ever used the Lancer in Gears, you'll know as well as I do that the Lancer kills with quantity, not quality. It kills by hitting baddies with a million pillows. The Boltgun shoots friggin' explosive, rocket-propelled bullets. So I look at the Lancer as being more similar to an Autogun / Lasgun than a Bolter in power.

In terms of look, I've found that Boltguns look too short for the Lancer model. The Cadian lasgun, however (not the Catachan one), looks much more in proportion. In fact, one of the best chainsaw bayonet tutorials actually has the boltgun chassis extended. The Cadian lasgun shouldn't need that modification. So in the end, I'm going to try using a Cadian Lasgun as the basis for the chainsaw bayonet conversion. But I won't have any conversion pics up until the Battleforce arrives. The image at the right shows the Lancer model at the bottom. The green lasgun, the bolter and the chainsword were all taken in one picture, while the cadian lasgun was taken and scaled in relation to the Catachan lasgun (using the trigger/handle as reference).

The Base

Finally, I think I'll go with an urban or grey base for my models. The COG fought most of its battles in ruined cities, and so I'd want to mimic that. I've also already got an army on dirt and grass, and I could use the change.

So that it for the basic COG soldier: what do you think?

Planning: First IG Army List

Tear apart my first attempt at a 5th edition IG army list, after I offer an explanation of its purpose and intended feel.

The Humble Lasgun

As a historical introduction, I should mention that my first real army was Space Wolves, which I'd consider an elites version of an already elites army. Total model count was thus low, but troop quality was high. But even then, I would field well over 25 models in a 1000 pts. So going into Imperial Guard, I've needed to deal with a full paradigm shift: I believe that ranks of the Guard achieve strength through sheer numbers, yet dissolve in combat — the complete opposite of my furry Space Marines. And that means a vast change in strategy.

I want this army to feel like an army when it's on the tabletop. Nowadays, a Space Marine is worth 2-3 Guardsmen in points, and I wanted my total model count to reflect that. Where my Space Wolves army list (at 1500 pts) currently fields 39 infantry, 3 transports and 1 tank, the massed ranks of my COG force number 87 infantry, 3 walkers, 2 tanks and 1 transport. Yes, that's a paintjob and a half. But that's also a huge number of guys to kill.

The List

Before I go further, I suppose I'll post the list. I've made an image of it, shown below:

But if you're keen on reading it instead of viewing it, here are the details:

  • HQ

    • Command Squad: Vox, Plasma Gun, Chimera with Extra Armour
    • Lord Commissar
  • Elites

    • Storm Troopers Squad: 8 storm troopers
    • Ratling Sniper Squad: 5 ratlings
  • Troops

    • First Infantry Platoon:
      • Command Squad: Commander with Bolt Pistol & Power Fist, Flamer
      • Infantry Squad: Sergeant with Plasma Pistol, Flamer
      • Infantry Squad: Sergeant with Plasma Pistol, Flamer
      • Heavy Weapons Squad: 3 Mortar Teams
    • Second Infantry Platoon:
      • Command Squad: Vox, Autocannon Team
      • Infantry Squad: Vox, Autocannon Team
      • Infantry Squad: Vox, Autocannon Team
      • Heavy Weapons Squad: 3 Lascannon Teams
      • Heavy Weapons Squad: 3 Missile Launcher Teams
  • Fast Attack

    • 3 Scout Sentinels with Heavy Flamers
  • Heavy Support

    • Leman Russ Battle Tank with Hull-mounted Lascannon and Extra Armour
    • Leman Russ Demolisher with Hull-mounted Lascannon and Extra Armour

Shown below is a points breakdown (by percentage) of the army:


Let's not beat around the bush: this is a defensive army. In most circumstances I will want my opponent to have to advance on me. In Annihilation missions, I can take advantage of combined squads to boost my platoon numbers, while in objective missions I have a very large number of scoring units. As Pathfinder has discovered, armies like Tau can be fought with reasonable effectiveness at range by keeping them outside of 30". Assault armies have to weather the gun line or use heavy outflanking or drop pods to bring the fight right to the forefront, both of which rely on some measure of luck to make sure that the force doesn't arrive piecemeal.

Overall Strategy

Given the overall playstyle, it's probably not hard to see how the army's components are meant to be played. I have broadly divided units into two groups: firebase or speedbump.

My speedbump units are infantry squads from the first platoon, the Storm Troopers, the Sentinels and the Leman Russ Demolisher. These units will be the ones "taking it for the team." Storm Troopers will deep strike in, rapid fire their hot lasguns and then die. Infantry squads will hold their ground, use their flamers and rapid fire, and then die. The Demolisher will be a fire magnet (and is intended that way). The Sentinels will support my infantry squads, using their Heavy Flamers to draw out and possibly engage lighter units. I had also considered using them as flank protection.

The firebase consists of the Mortar teams from First Platoon, the Ratlings, all of Second Platoon and the Leman Russ Battle Tank. Ratlings will be focusing on monstrous targets or targets that are reasonably vulnerable to Pinning. Mortars will do the same, Lascannons on big targets, the Missile Launchers will choose targets as necessary with Frag or Krak, and the rest will target infantry units.

That leaves my Command Squad in the Chimera, which I'm likely to use as a mobile Orders platform. The Lord Commissar can play one of two roles: his aura of discipline can boost my speedbump squads or be used to grant my heavy weapons teams excellent leadership for taking orders.


The biggest weakness I have is that the army isn't playtested, nor have I played much 5th edition. Most of my ideas are at best theory. And that's where I need your help! What weaknesses do you see in this army list? How might you solve them?

Painting Guide: Storm Trooper

Today I was able to take the afternoon to paint up a test Storm Trooper using the previously mentioned paint scheme as my guide. In the end I was reasonably satisfied with the result, although I admit that I'm a little rough around the edges: this is the first model I've painted in about 6 years. This article is a step-by-step guide to how I painted this model.

Step 1: Undercoat

The first step was of course to make sure that everything started off from the black undercoat. I had primed the model with Chaos Black spray yesterday and today I started off by taking a slightly watered down Chaos Black to the areas I missed with the primer. Once dry, I'm ready to apply the base colours.

Step 2: Base Colours

Now it's time to apply the base colours for the model. I used Tallarn Flesh, one of the new-ish foundation paints to the face, Chainmail to the metallic parts (in retrospect I probably should have used Boltgun Metal), Fenris Grey (another foundation paint) to the armour, and Scorched Brown to the leather parts. Obviously, the model looks like ass at this stage.

Step 3: Armour

This was a small step, but what I did here was paint over the Fenris Grey areas in my 1:1 mix of Enchanted Blue and Chainmail. It looks quite bright from the picture. Again, in retrospect, I don't think I need the Fenris Grey foundation. The cloth areas were painted a 2:1 mix of Chaos Black and Codex Grey.

Step 4: Washing

Now to apply the washes. The entire model, except the face, is washed with Badab Black. Once dry, I applied a wash of Ogryn Flesh to the face. What you see in the picture below is the result after drying.

Step 5: Face Details

At this point, I decided to focus on the facial details. I applied Tallarn Flesh the raised areas of the face (nose, cheeks, chin), and metal over the optics on the left eye. For the eye, what I do is paint a black oval on the raised part of the eye (helped by the wash if you see the Step 4 picture), and then paint two white dots on the right and left side of the black oval. I tried to the same kind of thing to the mouth and teeth, but garbled it (my bad. After I took the pictures I fixed it up).

Step 6: Armour, Lenses, and Leather

I admit that after the face I went nutso on the paint job without taking any pictures, so I've combined the following items into one step (which is obviously isn't). Both the armour and leather were brought back to their base colour, avoiding recessed areas made darker by the wash. The lenses were painted Enchanted Blue, then Ice blue in the lower right part, followed by a white dot or streak in the top left. On the leather pouches you can also see highlighting in the form of Calthan Brown (in retrospect I should have probably gone with Bestial Brown, which I don't have).

Step 7: Armour Highlighting

This step was a bit of a gongshow. I thought I tested this properly when I hit up the GW and mixed the paints on a palette but on the model, my 1:1 mix of Enchanted Blue and Mithril Silver just didn't really differentiate enough from the base colour. I ended up going with a 1:1 mix of Ice Blue and Mithril Silver, but I think it may be a little too extreme of a highlight. The armour, because of its metal component, naturally sheens, doing some of the highlight work for me. Still not quite finalized on it though.

Step 8: Basing

At this point, I'm more or less finished with painting the model. I don't have my usual base colour with me (Graveyard Earth), so all I was able to do was base it with sand. But if you look at my Space Wolves, you can see how the base looks when completed. From the sand, I wash it with ... well it used to be Brown Ink, but now you could use Ogryn Flesh. Then I drybrush Bubonic Brown on top, followed by a drybrush of Bleached Bone. Finally, I rim the base with Graveyard Earth and static grass it. And I'd finish it with a coat of Purity Seal.

Overall Impressions

There are still a couple of really small details that I'll continue to pound out, but for the most part I'm pleased with the paint scheme. On its own, that one storm trooper looks ... well, out of place. But once the other 14 or so look just like him, I think I'll really have a good sense of how this theme is panning out. I do actually think it stays true to the intended scheme, and I'm excited about painting up standard Guardsmen this way.

What do you think? Any feedback is much appreciated.

Planning: the Paint Scheme

So my first project will be to paint a large group of Storm Troopers — the old school ones I should say, though I much prefer the Kasrkins much better (they look much close to COG Gears than mine do). That said, this is about testing my paint scheme.

It Had to Start Somewhere

For me, it started with an image. And that image is this one:

I loved the metallic blue armour of run-of-the-mill COG Gears and thought they would be a great theme for the army. But I'd have to dig a bit deeper for more details:

  • the fabric under the armour is a black-grey;
  • leather straps and (based on other images) ammo pouches are dark brown;
  • boots are a dirty metal, with metallic blue accents;
  • gloves were also black-grey;
  • the helmet had plain metal and black-grey base, with blue accents; and
  • lenses and lights are glowing blue

From there, it was off to the trusty Games Workshop website to have a gander at their paint collection. I saved images of the paint spots (which, at best, were approximations of the actual paints) and use Adobe Photoshop to test them against colour samples from the image.

The List (and a small challenge!)

Most of the colours were going to work translate reasonably well:

  • Black-grey areas could be Chaos Black, possibly mixed with Codex Grey;
  • Leather bits could be Scorched Brown
  • Lenses and lights would be Enchanted Blue working up to Ice Blue
  • The armour would be ... now that was more difficult

See, I needed a metallic blue. And in theory that could be accomplished in a few ways:

  1. paint the armour metal and wash it blue?
  2. mix metal with wash and apply?
  3. mix metal with paint and apply?

The truth was, I'd have to see each of the options and compare with the picture to really know.

To the Workshop!

So I took a trip down to the local workshop, sat down at the paint station and busted out a few paints. I tried all three options with varying levels of metal, paints and wash and found what I thought was a great, workable mix. And so, my final list of paints that I took home were as follows:

The end result was that a 1:1 mix of Enchanted Blue and Chainmail came out to a blue-grey with a dulled metallic sheen to it, which matched quite well with the COG Gear armour. To deepen it, I plan to use a black wash, and then use a 1:1 Enchanted Blue and Mithril Silver Mix as the highlight. On the shop palettes, these two mixes looked great. I'll see how they look on the models in the next few days.

Overall, I'm very excited to see how these Storm Troopers turn out, despite the fact that I think I have a decent idea of how they'll turn out: awesome!

No Turning Back

Well, it's too late now. I just placed an order for a Cadian Battleforce, a Heavy Weapons squad and a box of Ratlings. I actually have a fair amount of guardsmen from about 8-9 years ago - Catachans, some Storm Troopers, a few heavy weapons, a Basalisk, a Leman Russ Battle Tank and Demolisher, a Chimera and a few Sentinels. But the truth was, I chose the Catachans back then because they were the most economical choice, not because I actually wanted to field them. Sure, they remind me of Predator. But they won't really cut it for my Gears themed army.

So I'm building out a 1500 point list that uses a fair number of my existing (horribly painted) collection as well as pretty much all of the models I just ordered. Then I'll slowly replace my old IG units with Cadians.

I still need to finalize my pain scheme, although I'm in the process of stripping and repainting my Storm Troopers as kind of the prototype paint scheme for my army. Should be interesting.

This one Time ...

Just before I stopped working at GW, I had this moment where I was fed up with being a melee army. I desperately wanted to shoot things again. But I wasn't ready to buy a whole Imperial Guard army. I wanted the elite feel and power of bolters, but without having to just buy more marines. For a moment I considered buying more space marines and just adding heavy weapons to my squads and play them as vanilla space marines. But they were a bit furry for that.

That's when I got the idea to try Sisters of Battle. And I mean, pure Sisters. I loved their lore, their fanaticism, and their codex. I loved the idea of having bad-ass women shooting the crap out of things. So just before I left I bought 1000 pts worth of metal Sisters and vehicles. I painted just one Sister — the Canoness — before my enjoyment of the hobby dissipated.

I'd chosen a rich palette of black armour with a gold accent, and purple for cloth with bleached bone as its accent. I had made a sort of background for them; all of them would be bleached blonde sisters, like an army of Sixes.

Playing the Sisters of Battle in Dawn of War only propelled me more to want to flesh out my Sisters army. I never got around to playing a single battle with them, but from watching them, I found out that they weren't actually as shooty as I had expected. With a few exceptions, they were actually a short- or medium-ranged army, which I was a bit skeptical about. One day I'll return to them, I'm sure. A couple more pictures after the break.

PS: Oh, and I should mention that I realized after I'd finished the model that fire should actually be painted the opposite way — bright on the inside, dark on the outside. D'oh!

Looking Back: Vehicles

I wouldn't claim to be the best Space Wolves player by any means. In fact, I was pretty mediocre as far as strategy was concerned. But I always preferred mobility for my wolves over any sort of static gunline. My troops were usually mounted, and my tanks usually did all of my long-range fighting. In my full collection, I have five tanks, two being Predators, two being Rhinos and one being a Razorback or third Rhino. When I played and collected Space Wolves, I wasn't exactly flush with cash. And really, when you play this game, not many people are. So I had to be flexible:

On the Prowl

Anything 1500 points or below only ever saw one Predator in the field. And the reason for this was that I loved my troops too much to sink points into something that I knew would get one-shotted.

My Predators, one of which has lascannon sponsons and the other with heavy bolter sponsons, generally played the role of bullet magnet. I wanted my opponents to shoot at this tank so that my Rhinos would last the extra turn. Lascannons scared most kiddies that I played against, so I'd field the TL LC with the HB sponsons or the AC with the LC sponsons. That way, there was always that “threat” of a lascannon running around on the field, drawing attention.

On the Warpath

My Rhinos were critical machines, even with transports being certain death to occupants in 3rd and to some degree 4th edition. But with the 5th edition has come a vast improvement to transports, so these babies are even more critical than ever before.

The Razorback collar and gun see little, if any, action. I keep the top hatch of the Rhinos separate so that if I want to field a 3rd Rhino I just swap out the top bits. But I like the model.

The Lone Wolf

I only have one of these, and it pretty much serves a singular, suicidal purchase. I basically just choose one tank at the beginning of the game and have my Landspeeder tank-hunt it. After that, I don't care what happens to it. It's a 65 point homing missile, and more often than not gets maybe one shot off before it goes down. I actually bought an Attack Bike but never assembled it to replace my Landspeeder but never got around to it.

This last shot reveals a slightly interesting truth — I was and probably will continue to be a sprue painter. For as long as I can remember, I painted most of my plastics while they were in the sprue, and then assembled them afterwards. It has its advantages and disadvantages, but overall I prefer it over pretending that I can reach into the dark recesses of various models and paint them perfectly.

Looking Back: Venerable Dreadnought

The venerable dreadnought has the honour of being the only piece I've ordered from Forge World. And I bought it despite the fact that it was entirely not feral, fanged, crazed or otherwise Space Wolfy. It was just too good a model.

I chose the plasma cannon as its weapon, but I'm not quite sure why. It's deathly expensive, and I'd probably say that the new rules for Plasma Cannons are actually worse off when you have BS 5. Maybe I just chose it for the look — it's undisputeably one of the most bestial plasma cannons out there. And it absolutely dwarfs the plasma cannons on the sponsons of the Leman Russ Demolisher to the point where it makes me weep a bit to think that in game terms, they spit out the same stuff. In fact, it's probably big enough to compete with the Executioner plasma cannon in the new IG codex. Too bad mine's not Heavy 3.

There isn't much to say about the claw, except that it was a bit of a pain to put together and position. It also has a paint chip just off the edge of the photo. Standard fare though.

To make things easier (and more fun!) I've kept the Venny in four pieces: you can see the legs with the torso mount and pin for rotating around — there may be arguable game advantages to have a torso that can actually spin around (ie. when the poor bugger's immobilized). I also never glued his arms in place, so they could be pulled off for Weapon Destroyed! results or exchanged for other arms (which I definitely don't have).

Looking Back: Wolf Scouts

Space Wolves, like many armies, had a few aces up their sleeves. And my beloved Wolf Scouts were definitely one of them. They were the first scouts to get a game-changing version of infiltration. And unlike vanilla Space Marine scouts, these ones were armed to the teeth.

Playing against Wolf Scouts was like ... losing a Slap Bet. And it often played out in one of two ways. You see, some players had no idea what it really meant to “Operate Behind Enemy Lines.” I'd tell them about it, leave the scouts on the side of the table, but when they came on, what followed was something like this:

The second scenario was that they knew it was coming — perhaps they had seen it coming before — and they would over-prepare for it. But their knowledge of what the scouts could do didn't lessen the blow:

To the Teeth!

What made them sting so much was their armaments. The squad could take an assortment of power weapons and plasma pistols to destroy devestator squads, or they could field a meltagun and equip meltabombs to dispatch tanks pounding away at my Grey Hunters or Blood Claws. Just awesome.

Yet another vicious kick to the squad was the ability to field a Wolf Guard Pack Leader to lead them. The Space Wolves armoury allowed them to field a punishing variety of equipment ... or just a power fist. And that was often enough.

Finally, I'd painted up a couple that had snipers, but I never used them. The way that Space Wolves utilize scouts just wasn't jiving with snipers. But perhaps the 5th edition codex will change that.

Looking Back: Battle Leaders

I should take a moment to explain something. I have the models for the Space Wolves' special characters, but they're all lying in my bitz box, unpainted. Back in the day, when I played 40K (hey, that rhymes!) special characters were one of those things that was ... discouraged. You could see it in each codex, where said special dudes were jammed into the back of the book after the entire army list. They were realistically fluff with stats, as opposed to actual gaming pieces.

So when I peaked into the 5th edition codex for Space Marines - and soon after Imperial Guard - I have to admit that I was shocked. They were right there next to the rest of the army list entries! Blasphemy! The bottom line is that right now, I just don't have any HQ models that are beyond a pimped out plastic dude.

Take for example this guy:

We're talking about a mini made from a combination of bitz I had lying around. Legs from an assault marine, the helmet strapped to his waist (we'll say that he thinks people who wear helmets are wimps) is from a Chaos space marines box, most of the accessories are from the Space Wolves sprue ... the list goes on.

For weapons, he's got a bolt pistol and frost blade. 90 percent of the time, he's a Wolf Guard Battle Leader with those and frag grenades. He weighs in at just 88 points, and gets me six S5 power weapon attacks on the charge. If he dies? So what, he's 88 points.

The other battle leader I have a bit of a mystery to me. If I could go back five, maybe six years, I'd ask my former self, “what on earth is this guy???” Let's be real here: he's a Space Wolf with an inquisitorial shoulderpad (I concede that I liked the gold shiny bit on the top). Because feral, fanged, ass-backwards deviant space marines aren't suspect to the Inquisition ... Moving along, I find his weapon load out to be ... intriguing. A combi-melta and a lightning claw? Most intriguing.

Looking ahead to 5th edition, I asked the manager at the local GW (the one I used to work at) how many players these days use special characters. “A fair number,” said he. Given that I'm the kind of player who hated gooby play, I suppose I'll need to adjust my game strategy to suit this evolution. I admit that even looking at my own army list, I could upgrade these sub-100 pt Battle Leaders into 125+ point monsters (15 pts for the extra wound is probably worth it, compared to taking one more space marine).

And I'd be lying if I said that I didn't like the 5th edition Storm Shields. Extra pictures after the break.