A Ghostly Apparition



Guess who’s started a new army for 40k? It’s not my fault.  Honestly, blame Mat and Phil, they’re the ones who got me feeling all jealous and left out and stuff.  Once Phil followed Mat down the Xenos path it was only a matter of time before I caved and followed suit, which I duly did once I finally settled on an army to collect. In our gaming group Marine players feature heavily, 4 out of 7 to be exact, so when Mat decided to actually get a 40k army to play with (after selling his Tau) he figured collecting another Xenos force would be a good idea to help break up the monopoly – such a good idea in fact, that Phil and then I decided we would start new armies also of the non-good guy persuasion to add a bit of variety and eliminate those sometimes drab Blue on Blue games. Phil has now succumbed to the Green Menace to go alongside his near 10,000 points of Ultramarines, whereas I needed something to offer an alternative to the 3000+ point Marines, Guard and Grey Knights armies I already have – but I wasn’t sure what…

The new army feeling was building as I started to consider all the various races, but I found my choice somewhat more limited than I expected.  There are some I just won’t entertain – like Chaos for example. I know the whole Xenos army idea is supposed to move me out of my comfort zone but Marines with spikes stuck on them has never, ever, worked for me. Daemons lacked the things I like most in 40k – guns and vehicles, which also largely eliminates Tyranids for the same reasons.  Orks didn’t appeal to me and although Necrons may have, both were already taken.  The Tau were still good guys really and I’d already had an army of them in the past before selling them on, so I passed on taking them a second time.  The Dark Eldar were a strong option as there were a number of units/models I really liked but in the end not enough to build an army around, so that left just one non Imperial army to choose from – the Eldar. I’ve thought about collecting an Eldar army in the past, a few times in fact, as they suit my style of play and have some fantastic models, but their unit focus and squishiness always did enough to put me off.  However, the Iyanden Codex has offered me a way around this: a Ghost Warrior army! The new army feeling was well and truly buzzing now.

An all Wraith Ghost Warrior army – 2000 points in 27 models!

‘Wraith’ type units really do have some cool looking models and nothing’s better than an army that can smash faces and look good whilst doing it. To go with that, one thing a Ghost Warrior army can never be accused of being is squishy, seeing as your standard Wraithguard troops have an impressive Toughness of 6! Add in your Wraithlords and Wraithknights with their Toughness 8 and things are looking pretty solid. However, with the sheer abundance of high strength and low AP weaponry floating around nowadays, Toughness 6 is not what it used to be and a 3+ Armour Save only takes you so far.  It was clear this army was not going to be a simple point and kill type outfit despite the tasty stat lines. Support would be essential but with the point costs being so very high it would be a hard balance to strike. Wraithguard are a costly 32 points each for something that’s still only 1 wound – plus another 10 if you want to give it a D-Scythe, meaning the army is going to be tiny. Like crazy tiny.  Like less than 20 models in a 1k army tiny. This is great news on the painting front as even I could get a whole army finished with that few models to paint in it, but it does concern me on the tactical side of things.  Phil recently stuffed almost 70 Orks into a 1k list and against a few handfuls of Wraithguard packing single shot (albeit mega powerful) guns with only a 12” range, getting overwhelmed is not only a possibility, it’s almost a certainty. They are going to need some serious rapid-firing back up, which is achievable, but breaks away a little from the pure Wraith army ideal.

The reasoning behind fielding a Wraith army in the first place is lack of manpower, so using vehicles which are piloted by just one or two Eldar to act as force multipliers makes perfect sense and opens up the tactical potential of the army – whilst still retaining its character. Including Wave Serpents is unavoidable as they’re the only transports Wraithguard can take and Warwalkers suit the aesthetic of the army as well providing the extra firepower so sorely needed – but with the Heavy Support section already looking crowded with the Wraithlords and Wraithknights taking up the slots there’s a strong possibility I’ll have to go unbound to make it work.  It’s disappointing they didn’t do a bit more for the Iyanden Codex, and something as simple as bumping Wraithlords into Elites would have made a true Wraith army more achievable with a choice in each force organisation slot (If you include Forgeworlds Wraithseer HQ – want!) – Marines get to do it with Dread’s so why not Eldar?  I’ll steer clear of everything else in the codex aside from the compulsory Seers – but there are a few things from Forgeworld which are really catching my eye. Wasps and Hornets look like they can provide all the extra firepower I need and both come under Fast Attack which would solve the overcrowded Heavy Support problem – letting me stay bound and qualifying for the all-important ‘Objective Secured’ rule.  The trade of a 5+ invulnerable for jump packs makes the Wasps even more fragile than the Warwalkers, but it’ll be fun bouncing them around the table shooting shit up while they last – especially if there’s a Wraithknight or two doing the same. I’m still worried about get swamped by horde armies, as is always the case with small elite armies, but it’ll be interesting getting the balance of the army right between guns and bodies.

FW Wasp
Wasp Assault Walker from Forgeworld

Painting wise, I’m undecided about whether to do the army in the yellow and blue of Iyanden as a few other colour schemes have also caught my eye. I was initially quite taken with the grey and orange of Yme Loc and as they have a rep for building titans, I thought this could translate onto my Adeptus Titanicus Eldar force.  But I have since realised the colours look far better on vehicles than they do on infantry, so I’m unsure how it will look on the abundance of long limbed walking units in the army. I could always do my own thing but that might slow things down and I’m promising to get the first 1000 points painted before I go any further.  Aaaahhh decisions. We moan, we wrangle, but we love ‘em really, it’s all part of that new army feeling.  Expect to hear of mighty Wraith constructs stomping on stuff real soon.


Salute in Review: What Happened To All The Spending?

Salute 2014Must…buy…toys…must…buy…toys….  No it’s not Mat, but you’d be forgiven for thinking so. Instead it was me wandering around aimlessly trying to find shizzle to buy at the end of Salute on Saturday. I went in with a good idea of what I wanted but after picking up my hefty (and heavy) Forge World order, purchases were unfortunately few and far between.

The day went largely as expected in accordance with the pre-Salute post – far more business over pleasure and the vast majority of my time was spent engaged in conversations with gaming companies old and new. It was a very productive day on that front with some downright fantastic agreements made with several major companies and numerous encouraging discussions with others, who were also showing signs of following suit.  Despite the dedicated focus we still ran out of time at the end and missed out on several stands we wanted to visit, there just weren’t enough hours in the day in truth.

The walks between the companies we wanted to talk to was where I attempted to find the things I wanted to buy.  Some bits for my Warhammer Empire army were high on the list but there was an absolute dearth of their products available, being limited to just boxes of State Troops and the occasional Greatswords.  I know Games Workshop removed many of the items I needed from the list available to independent stockists but I thought given the scale of the event some would still be available from the three I wanted: Demigryphs, Helblaster, Pistoliers/Outriders. But no.  I did grab an absolute bargain in the form of a brand new metal Marius Leitdorf for just £4 – yes you read that right. Just £4.  A pricing error? Who knows, but I didn’t wait around to ask.  I also bagged a pack of Purple and Gold dice to go with my Emperors Children, very fitting I thought, and a ruined building from Amera Plastic Mouldings (review to follow soon). But that was it. I had still spent a hefty sum on my Forge World order, but I went home with £160 still burning through my pocket and now charring the flesh of my thigh.  So here’s what I got (because most of my stuff came as bags of parts, which aren’t very exciting, I’ve used images from web):


Marius Leitdorf36 PEARL DICE - 6 SIDED & 12mm SIDES - PURPLE !!Z214 - City Block Ruins


I think you’ll agree that if any Imperial Tank could ever be considered sexy, the Sicaran would be it – with it’s sleek profile and…er…armour plates. Backing it up with a pimp set of Phoenix Guard means I should have one good looking army once they hit the table top alongside one of last years Salute purchases, the Emperors Children Contemptor Dreadnought (with twin Kheres and a back up Power Claw, of course).

At the time of writing I have just ordered a variety of the magnets I wanted and now have to further resort to trawling the web to satisfy my hobby cravings and try to find things that can convince me to part with my cash – but it’s not the same.  When your there and it’s in your hands something almost takes over you, and you just start throwing money in peoples faces and running off before someone’s mind changes. Still, at least I’ll get a free Space Marine Captain if I order from Games Workshop direct.

Until next year, the sound of Neil singing the Salute theme tune will remain a memory.


*The Salute theme tune goes as thus: Saying the word Salute repeatedly to the tune of Black Adder (writing credit: Rob Mossop).*

The Shell Case does Salute – Lee

Salute 2014

As the 12th April comes ever closer and the prospect of another day filled with nothing but the sights, sounds and smells of the UK’s best all-round gaming show (and with the recent trend with Games Day, arguably just the outright best) fills our every waking thought (especially Mat’s – it’s his first time and he’s really quite excited), the members of The Shell Case team attending Salute this year (sorry Ashley, next time maybe?) have taken time to reflect on their hopes and expectations for Salute 2014.

Here’s Lee’s thoughts:


This year’s Salute is going to be a little different for me.  With my new role as Deputy Editor and increased responsibilities within The Shell Case, this time round will be significantly more business focused than previously.  Whereas last year I visited each stand and cooed approvingly at their products whilst Phil chatted to his contacts (or attempted to make new ones), this time I must attempt to join in the conversations – whilst cooing approvingly at their products. Hopefully I can pick up a few things and acquaint myself with those who support us. We also have some new companies we are interested in working with, and Salute brings many exciting possibilities.

The most important stop I must make on the day is…the Forgeworld stand (I’m only human, and a wargamer).  I should be taking delivery of a Sicaran Battle Tank and a set of Phoenix Guard Terminators – so I’m very excited (and maybe even a Mannan’s Blades bundle depending on how the day, and the wallet goes). I have a Helblaster shaped hole to fill in my Empire army (Phil will be pleased) and I’m also going to be keeping an eye out for some good quality modelling hardware – a Paint Station, some Micro Magnets and the like.  Aside from that, I’ll just see where my wandering takes me.

I’m also looking forward to meeting up with my fellow writers at The Shell Case (those that can make it) now being more familiar with their work – along with anyone else that wants to say hi.  In all honesty, the 12th can’t come soon enough.

Games Workshop Social Media Blackout

Readers with good memories may remember that I did a guest post here at the Shell Case following last year’s Spots the Space Marine firestorm, in which Games Workshop unceremoniously killed its central Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Sadly, I am here (now as a staff writer) to share similar news. It seems that Forgeworld, Black Library, Digital Editions, and the Warhammer World social media accounts have all up and disappeared. Individual store’s Facebook accounts, however, remain.

First they took away their @VoxCaster account on Twitter, then their Facebook page, but now Forgeworld!? Sirs, you have gone too far. I want to ogle your very lovely plastic crack (especially Horus) and you’ve now taken away two of my three main places to see your new releases.

You must be mad.

I’m a busy woman, I rely heavily on my newsfeeds to give me all my miniature-related news (and, let’s be honest, my “real” news, too). Who’s going to feverishly check your website for updates? Very few people. Word will still spread (across social media!) about new releases, but not as fast or as far as it does when people get it directly from your social media outlets.

I simply refuse to believe that a company as large as Games Workshop, as profit-motivated, doesn’t know how stupid this is. Every company under the sun is trying to leverage social media to reach more people and make more money.

What made Games Workshop choose to disengage from what is essentially free advertising and publicity? There must be some reasoning behind it. Even if it’s as simple as a sad attempt to avoid further ire from the community.

I honestly, naively hope that this is just a temporary move while they reshuffle their website (or websites). But my doe-eyed optimism has been crushed by Games Workshop before. As this was all done without a word or hint of happening, it seems a permanent maneuver to me.

The Horus Heresy Volume I: Betrayal

Another teaser from Forgeworld about the upcoming Horus Heresy codex. It’s mainly a lot Alan Bligh talking about the book and wearing a brown tent, but there’s some juicy details (including special characters lifted from the novels) as well as some utterly stunning artwork and a few model teasers including Space Marine jetbikes. Which look pimp. It tried to tell myself I wasn’t going to get this book. Then I remembered I’m not a moron.

Project Storm Eagle GD Japan 2012

Hugo over at Ichiban Painting has put up a video of his Golden Demon entry, a converted Storm Eagle.

I had the very great pleasure of writing the rules for the conversion which we’ve since dubbed the Storm Falcon Heavy Gunship. Once the project is finished photos and full rules will be going up but in the meantime watch the video and marvel at his mad skills.

MkIV Space Marine Command Set

Forgeworld have done it again! An utterly gorgeous Space Marine command set containing a MkIV armoured captain and company standard-bearer. As one would expect, they look gorgeous, oozing awesome from every post human pore.

But by far the best bit is that the set of two models costs £25. This may seem steep but it works out at £12.50 a model, that’s cheaper than a plastic Space Marine captain. Yes, it’s still, strictly speaking a rip off. And yes, you don’t get all the extra parts. But it’s good for GW and who gives a shit when they look that nice?! Rather conveniently they’re dispatching from the 29th June which is just in time for pay day…and *click*.

@NationOfLee’s Astral Claws

Lee Parry, aka @NationOfLee has painted himself up a rather splendid Astral Claws army and as he doesn’t have a blog (yet!) I said that I’d show them off for him. But, rather than just bunging up a whole load of pictures I invited Lee to write a bit of a guest post about them to go with the snaps. So, without further a do I give you Lee and his miraculous and marvellous Astral Claws:

Hello readers of The Shell Case and fellow #warmongers. First off I’d like to thank Phil (now known as Forgefather) [I don’t know who calls me that but I like it! – TSC], for allowing me to post on his site.

Like a certain Chapter Master, Lufgt Huron, I’m feeling fairly pleased with myself at the moment; this week I finally finished painting up 2,300 points of Astral Claws Space Marines for Warhammer 40,000.

A couple of weeks ago I was at Warhammer Worl and got into a conversation with Jes Goodwin (Awesome right?!), and he asked me why I’d picked Astral Claws. Without climbing too far up his anus, the reason was that I’d had a few choice Bitz Box pieces knocking around for a while (all his designs) and really wanted to build a Marine force. After reading the first few Horus Heresy novels too I was utterly sold on the Astartes. But, having been involved in one way or another with 40k since Rogue Trader, the pre & post Heresy Chapters…well…I really kind of knew it all. I wanted something new…and something that no-one else had! I really like the way that I can use my Astral Claws both as a Loyalist and Secessionist force, sometimes even both!

The first five pics here show the force all assembled – I ideally use them organised from everything from 600 point Schools league Battles ( I run my schools team – Did I mention we are champions of Cambridge?), to 1k Doubles, typical 1,500 point for Gaming Nights and the occasional 2k ding-dong. The ‘host’ before you is organised in a number of ways that way.

The whole project has taken 9 months from reading Imperial Armour 9 to this very week (I need to add a few transfers and decals…) and so far the battle Honours read: 10 Wins, 1 Draw, 4 Loss.

Things that go vroom!

Pictured here is the Land Raider “Relentless” and a Drop Pod. Is the Land Raider an obvious choice? Does it attract stupid levels of enemy fire? Yes on both counts – but it is AWESOME! Both the ‘Raider and the ‘Pod are integral to the tactics I use – A “spearhead’ Assault. I tend to deliver my Assault squads directly into the heart of the foe, while also trying to take out enemy heavy support, Both of these vehicles help me achieve that!

The Land Raider is covered in oaths – in my fluff, these are the remains of the petition presented to the Council of Terra by the Tiger Claws Chapter…This is 2nd Company after all…

The Drop Pod was a pain to paint: but i really like the effect of the Fantasy lion head from the Elven Chariot – worked well. Both vehicles were hand painted and I can only imagine that from this point onwards I’ll ALWAYS spray vehicles…

Next, it’s the “Wardens of The Maelstrom”. All the pics here are of my Troop Choices: 1 full tactical Squad, 1 Combat Squad, 1 Scout Squad. It’s too easy to take only the very minimum of regular Marines in your list, because it’s so easy to forget how amazing in game Marines really are! One of these Squads has literally won every game for me so far, either by capturing an objective or unleashing the Emperors’ justice (Bolters at rapid fire).

While the Tactical squad is direct from Assault On Black Reach (but with a helmet conversion – just a hint of the impending Chaos), Both the Retaliator Squad and Scout Squad contain some of my favourite models designed, one of he reasons I wanted to build a force in the place!

The Combat Squad: painted as a 1st Company Retaliator Squad – The “Tyrant’s Legion”, the Mark 8 ‘Errant’ Armour is my favourite and has been since ’92! The shoulder pads from ForgeWorld. ( also a few arm swaps with Chaos marines here…) The Sergeant has odd coloured eyes right? Kinda like it.

The Scout Squad was an old Arbites force I used for Necromunda, waaaaaay back in the 90’s, I cleaned ’em up and repainted – in a few of my lists they appear as Marines, either to bulk out the Devastators or to when I use the Tyrant’s Legion list (20 marines a squad anyone?!?)

So, a little on the paint scheme here. Armour: Boltgun metal, washed with undiluted Badab Black [How apt – TSC], drybrushed with Chainmail, then Mithril Silver. Pads etc: Ultramarine blue, highlight enchanted blue (wet blend) – washed with Asurmen Blue 3:1 water. Gold: Dwarf Bronze, wash of undiluted Ogryn Flesh, highlight Shinig Gold, highlight 2 – 4:1 Shining Gold & Chainmail. Point highlights Mithril Silver, Final wash of Ogryn Flesh. Apparently all of that is now achievable with Ghenna’s Gold – arsebiscuits… All of my Veterans and Sergeants have gold helmets and detailing. Bases: Calthan Brown, Tau Sept Ochre Drybrush, Bleached Bone highlight – I have it in my head that the surface of Badab Prime is desert…dunno why really! You might notice that some of my favourite minis/characters have very spiky bases – from the Chaos Rhino kit – this is meant to represent the “Palace of Thorns” – the Chapters fortress-monastery.

I really think the overall effect of the paint scheme works – yes there’s a uniform look, but by being non-codex, the occasional flash of blue and gold works really well.

It was Huron that said Big Guns Never Tire. And who am I to argue? Every Marine force needs a Devastator Squad, I was particularly happy with how the Sergeant turned out, a little bit of Bitz Build there!

The Dreadnought come direct from the Assault ono Black Reach box, plus a Heavy Flamer I added. The game function for both of these units is fairly straightforward…Shoot ’em in the FACE!

As for the Thunderfire Cannon – well, what a cunt to put together…Finecast this please GW! But I think it’s turned out well, the Techmarine is a total winner in-game it has to be said, the Servo-Harness makes him anything but an easy target. As for why I got it, well… it’s a big gun and I had 2 old 90’s servitors I wanted to use!

What 40K army would be complete without some mental unit that costs a lot and only tends to work half the time?

Terminators. Assault on BLack Reach again – a Space Wolf Heavy Flamer a bunch of Badab war trophies and what I think is a mean-ass looking’ Sergeant! The Sergeant’s head is the Empire General’s head from Fantasy (Tiger Claw again!) and the Lightning Claw I added for a little theme fluff there’s a number of Red Scorpion, Mantis Warrior and Nova Marine trophies on each of the bases.

Sternguard. ALL Marines should be like this. All of them. ALL THE TIME. [Word – TSC]

Vanguard Vets. So, this unit comes in at 260 points….yeah. 260 points. 5 Marines, lightning Claws and Storm Shields. [Who cares, they look fucking cool! – TSC]

But when I put ’em with my HQ…

Heh. If there’s one thing that Forgeworld do best it’s create a mental, balls out, do or die HQ that usually makes your opponent look like he’s trying to squeeze out a square poo!

However, for smaller games I do use my Bitz Build of Chaplain Cassius from the Space Marine Codex. At Toughness 6, Combi-Flamer and all the usual Chaplain rules he does well. I’ve painted the ruff on his cloak in Tiger fur detail (wonder what Chapter he’s from then…) [Not to be a damp squib, but he’s an Ultramarine – TSC]

Armennus Valthex – The Alchemancer. I was disappointed with this model. Not really ‘special’ enough but depending on my mood he really is fun to field! A Conversion Beamer, plus making one infantry Squad have poisoned Bolters? When I use the Tyrant’s Legion rules you can have 40 Bolter shots (Rapid fire range) hitting on 3+ and wounding on a 2+! C’tan? I shit on C’tan. Swarmlord? Say hello to my little friend! Abaddon? Yeah..let’s not talk about Abaddon….

Captain Corien Sumatris – The Tyrants Champion. This is my guy, I love the character and I’m still fairly happy with the Bitz Build. Sumatris is Tiger Claw, ‘hidden’ within the Astral Claws – as Captain of the 2nd Company, I Think it’s fairly easy to assume that a number of my troops are also Tiger Claws. His base has the head of the last Champion and a Red Scorpion helmet trophy! In Game he is simply awesome…

WS 7. I 5. Furious Charge and TWO attacks for charging. He gives any unit he joins Furious Charge and +1 to their WS. Then I put the Chaplain in the unit. Then the Vanguard Vets. Then I stick them in the Land Raider. They get to charge 20″. Theres’ 24 attacks, majority needing 3+ to hit, re-rolling any misses when charging, at strength 5 with 16 of those hitting attacks getting to re-roll to wound. All wounds caused are with power weapons. The unit has a 3+ invulnerable save and is fearless. [But as I discussed today, they’ll still die just as easily as a 16 point Space Marine when a battle cannon shell lands on their heads… – TSC]

Well That’s My Astral Claws – I’ve painted them for so long now, it seems weird that I’m done. Or maybe I’m done…a couple more Drop Pods couldn’t hurt could it? I’ve always liked those Venerable Dreadnoughts and Bikes quads are really cool too…and didn’t I buy a Forgeworld Huron lately?