Tag Archives: Astra Militarum

Display Board “Sophie’s Choice” Rock Concert

My display board in 2018, “Sophie’s Garage” was well-received. I could have kept using it, but I decided I wanted to do something even better this year.

I started this year with the question: “What would a high-level bard be like in the #Warhammer40k universe?”

I figured it would be some sort of grimdark heavy metal band. That idea was galvanized around the special Noise Marine model that Games Workshop released in late 2018. But, I play loyalest, Imperial Forces, not Heretical Chaos corrupted fiends. I didn’t imagine many Codex Astartes compliant Chapters would wield electric guitars on the battlefield. But, then it struck me: The Legion of the Damned! They’re on FIRE already!

As for the rest of the band, I painted up a Sister of Silence as the drummer. It seemed appropriate; she won’t speak, but percussion should be right up her alley. And an old Primaris Psyker of mine with a fire motif is up front on vocals.

Sister of Silence on drums

I called the band “Sophie’s Choice”. The name had several connotations: First of all, we call our infant daughter Sophie. And there’s the book and movie called Sophie’s Choice. And then there is the rather morbid decision ( the eponymous “Sophie’s Choice”) that is in the book and movie centre around.

Early sketch of how I envisioned the “stage”

Then I thought, this band can’t just sit in the corner of a battlefield; a high-level bard in the 40k universe would be riding on a parade-like float. Their “stage” is Mad Max-esque tank with skull icon, built-in speakers, and flame motif. It is a conversion featuring a Chimera and many parts from the Galvanic Magnavent terrain kit.

And they are performing in a packed stadium with spotlights.

But it wasn’t enough for me to just have this vehicle: It needed a whole display. So, I made a display board that would look like a stadium. It would hold an audience!

Sophie’s Choice are performing in a packed stadium. VIP’s are in the stands. The pit is packed with spectators. Spotlights are being carried my sentinel walkers.

I also entered this display as a diorama in the painting competition for Sword and Brush.

The screaming baby face is my infant daughter, who is named Sophie, after all. I wonder what she’ll think about that someday…

My family and I even wore matching shirts for “Sophie’s Choice: Galactic Tour 42019”

I wasn’t able to be there for the judging because I was participating in a concurrent tournament. When I set up the board, it got a lot of buzz. But I was a little disappointed that it didn’t get any awards. There weren’t even any photos of it on the official Sword and Brush photos of the competition.

Another change I made was to have my “Crusader” models act as the stage security. These “counts-as  Crusaders” are actually heavily modified old Adeptus Arbites models carrying riot shields.

I was a bit disappointed. During the tournament, many people remarked on the flickering flame LED’s on my Hellhound tanks. I got the parts from Zinge. Since people liked them, I put them on the “Party Bus” too.

And I also added music! In the video it’s playing “Purging With My Kin” by Linkin Loyalists, a Warhammer 40k inspired band.

I entered the upgraded display board to #armiesonparade at my local Games Workshop at Heartland Town Centre, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

I was surprised and honoured to win “Best Themed Entry” and “2nd place overall”!

I brought the display board to a local tournament in November 2019, and to my surprise I won best painted! I know my models aren’t super-well painted, but I think the concept and flashy lights impressed a lot of people.

How do I top this for next year? I have some plans already… ūüėČ

BatRep: Vs. Eldar 90 Power

This was my 5th game at Astronomi-con 2018. It was against Josh Curtis who hosts The Drunken Dreadnoughts podcast. He even talked about our match during his Episode 54 starting at 34:50 and he called it the best game of his tournament.

Josh Curtis of The Drunken Dreadnoughts was my opponent for the last round

Josh brought a pretty shiny red Eldar force. I don’t remember exactly what he had, but something like:

  • Farseer on a bike
  • 10 Dark Reapers
  • Shining Spears on Jetbikes
  • More Jetbikes
  • 5 Wraithguard in a Wave Serpent
  • 3 D-cannons
  • 3 war walkers
This was a madcap adventure of a scenario!
There is a Mechanicus Character (who I’ll refer to as the Techpriest for the rest of the BatRep) who has valuable information. He is protected by four Kastellan Robots. He’s trying to run from the centre of the table to a corner. The Techpriest can’t be shot, targeted by psychic powers, or suffer mortal wounds. He must be subdued in the fight phase. Once subdued, he can be carried around like The Relic, but if the carrier is slain, he recovers with 1 wound and continues his escape attempt.
I didn’t like the tiny deployment zone. It was only 6″ wide, and most of my tanks are that long. It didn’t give me much ability to “bubble wrap” my tanks.

My deployment. Getting only 6 inches from the edge sucks since my tanks are about 6″ long…


Josh’s deployment

Eldar Turn 1
Josh got first turn, and immediately did some trickery to get his shining spears into close combat range with 4 of my tanks. They have a long move, then Josh used a psychic power that let them move AGAIN! He skewered my wyvern, took 10 wounds off of Pask, and consolidated into a hellhound. I hate the way people can consolidate without overwatch….
This put me on my heels, and gave me flashbacks to many first turn tablings had before. He got his war walkers into close combat with the Kastellan Robots and tried tying up the Techpriest target.

Josh’s Eldar movement


Guard Turn 1
My turn to strike back. I dropped my “Bullgryn bomb” into the fray in the centre with the Kastellan Robots, Techpriest, and War Walkers. I drove a wounded hellhound towards his wave serpent, as a sort of suicide run; I was counting on in exploding and causing some havoc.
The rest of my troops skewered the Shining Spears that were embedded in my deployment zone.

Turn 1 movement

The bullgryns managed to beat down the War Walkers and Subdue the Techpriest.

All hell breaks loose around the target: War Walkers vs. Kastellan Robots vs. Bullgryns

Eldar Turn 2
We were both excitedly invested in the game now. Josh was also double-fisting beers at this time, which I think made him more excited.
He threw almost everything he had at the fray in the middle. He blew my Valkyrie out of the sky, but somehow, one of my Bullgryns survived with 1 wound!
Josh deployed the Wraithguard from his Wave Serpent and shot at the wounded Hellhound. As expected, it exploded and took some of the Wraithguard with it!
Guard Turn 2
This turn is a scene that I think would make an epic movie. My last remaining bullgryn made a run out of the middle dragging the Objective with him. I covered his escape with two hellhounds and a taurox.

Bullgryn tries to get away with the subdued target. Tanks come in to guard his getaway

I really wanted the last Kastellan Robot to kill my Ministorum Priest in Close Combat so I’d get another narrative objective, but, regrettably, the 4++ save saved him.
With my shooting, I managed to finish off Josh’s wraithguard.
Eldar Turn 3
This is a continuation of that epic scene. Josh used the same psychic trickery to get some jetbikes in front of my retreating bullgryn. Somehow, he still survived! I picture about 20 shurikens embedded in the Bullgryn’s slabshield.
Josh used some psychic powers to debuff my Hellhounds, then destroyed them with the dark reapers and D-cannons. The ensuing explosions finished off the jetbikes, Priest, last Kastellan Robot, and the last bullgryn. Very explosive!
However, that means that Techpriest gets back up with 1 wound!

The flurry in the middle of the match. The Bullgryn trying to escape with the subdued Techpriest. The bodyguard kastellan robot chasing “master!!” and Eldar hot in pursuit!

Guard Turn 3
Both Josh and I were desperate NOT to let the Techpriest get away because we would BOTH lose.  This is where things got desperate.
I had an infantry squad heading to get a Narrative Objective by waiting in the escape corner. Instead, I charged them into combat with the Techpriest, and surprisingly, their bayonets subdued the target and I reclaimed the objective.
I also started sprinting my Company Commander and last remaining Infantry squad towards to objective from the corner. I got some very favourable advance rolls with the “move, move, move” order.

Desperation: Guardsmen enter close combat, and re-capture the target

Eldar Turn 4
Josh brought whatever he had left to the Techpriest, including his farseer on jetbike, and a couple of characters. He managed to kill off my infantry squad, so the Techpriest was free, again!

Even more desperation: Company Commander and last squad of infantry try to chase down the target who has awoken again!

Guard Turn 4
My guardsmen and company commander were able to charge the techpriest, but unfortunately could not subdue him. The 2+ save was pretty good against my AP0 attacks. Should have given the Company Commander a better weapon than a chainsword.
Eldar Turn 5
Josh swept in and removed my infantry, and claimed the objective. That was about it for the game since I had no infantry left to try to claim the objective.
I can imagine the scenario as the Eldar explain what happened to their superiors. Something about the Mon-keigh interfering and trying to take their target, but ultimately they succeeded.
I could have conceded the Relic earlier and tried getting more narrative objectives. But, shooting for the moon made it more exciting.
Looking forward to our next game Josh!

Astra Militarum Stratagems

I mused about making a post like this after my experience at Astronomi-Con.¬† Between this and three other tournaments, I’ve had a chance to try out most Stratagems available to Astra Militarum. Command Points (CP) are increasingly rare, so using them wisely is important. Some Stratagems some are awful, and some are great, especially in combination. I’m going to try to categorize and collect them. They are presented in what I think is best to worst.

Keep in mind that in an FAQ, you can only use each stratagem once per phase. This is especially tough on the Command Re-roll and Vengeance For Cadia!



Prepared Positions – 2CP
This new one appeared in BIG FAQ 2 and I’m a big fan. It means if you go second, your whole army (except Titanic units) still in your deployment zone get the benefit of cover. I have been decimated SO many times from having the second turn, and this helps protect the second turn’s army a bit. Can still be combined with¬†Take Cover¬†for 1CP to add +1 to your saving throw.¬† Guardsmen or Conscripts are now wearing power armour for their first turn!

Command Re-Roll – 1CP
This gem from the Base Rule Book means you can re-roll any single dice for 1 CP. It still is life-saving (or life-taking depending on the circumstance). Use it to:

  • save a model from a bad grav-chute drop
  • re-roll a charge distance
  • protect against perils in the psychic phase
  • re-roll a critical armour or invulnerable save
  • get that hit or wound you desperately need

An FAQ limited this to once per phase, so need to be vigilant of when to use it each phase. I often use it to re-roll explodes for Hellhounds (if I want it to explode).

Defensive Gunners – 1CP
Your vehicle can hit on overwatch on 5’s or 6’s instead of just 6’s. Very handy to protect your tanks. In some cases, heavy weapons were hitting on 5’s anyways during your shooting phase. So, here’s a chance to shoot just as well but in your opponents turn!

Vengeance For Cadia!- 1CP
Against Chaos, all day long, every shooting phase and overwatch. You get to re-roll to hit AND WOUND against Chaos models until the end of the phase with that unit. Pairs well with Defensive Gunners for vehicles for another 1 CP.

Imperial¬†Commander’s Armoury- 1CP/3CP
For 1CP you get an extra relic, which is always handy. Better spend points on this to get the Laurel’s of Command rather than spending 1CP per turn for¬†Inspired Tactics. for two additional relics it costs an additional 3CP, which may not be so great.

Take Cover! Р1CP
I like this one. Any unit gets +1 to their saving throws in the opponent’s shooting phase. Vehicle get a 2+ save. Guardsmen get 4+, or 3+ if they are already in cover. It may not save a unit that’s in the line of fire, but it will force your opponent to invest more fire into that finishing that unit off.

Superior Intelligence – 1CP
Miltarium Tempestus exclusive stratagem. If an opponent sets up a unit from reinforcements within 12″ of a Militarum Tempestus infantry unit, you get an out-of-turn shooting round on that unit with -1 to hit.
I like this, but I don’t know how often you’ll be able to use it. It’s one of those you need to make sure you remember you have. You’d be out of rapid-ire range for hot-shot lasguns, but rapid-fire plasma, melta, hot-shot volley, and plasma pistols are all getting in their extra shots. Infantry only, so the Taurox prime just sits there.


Insane Bravery 2CP
From the base rule book. Automatically pass a single Morale test. 2CP is rather steep, but if it means a unit doesn’t run off an objective, it may be worth it.

Fight to the death1CP
A little like Insane Bravery above, but not auto-pass for Morale. Instead, you roll a D3 instead of D6. So, if your guardsman squad lost 4 or less guys, this does result in an auto-pass.

Inspired Tactics 1CP
An Officer can make an additional order or tank order. Was great when you could CP farm back so many of these. Now, it may be wise to use sparingly.

Overlapping Fields of Fire 2CP
Cadian exclusive stratagem that adds +1 to hit a unit after it has suffered an unsaved wound. It’s for that unit you’ve nicked and really want to finish off. I like that it can negate -1 to hit shenanigans that many lists have. And it stacks with re-roll stratagems like¬†Aerial Spotter and¬†Vengeance¬†for Cadia. But 2CP can be high to use more than once in a game.

Viscous Traps 1CP
Catachan exclusive stratagem. If an enemy successfully finish a charge to a Catachan unit (which could be a vehicle) wholly on or within a terrain feature, on a 4+ that unit receives D3 mortal wounds. D3 isn’t that many, but might be a nasty surprise for that Demon Prince that just charged you. Only works on one unit, so it doesn’t have then area of effect that¬†Fire On My Position does.

Counter-Offensive – 2CP
From the base rule book. Lets you “interrupt” the flow of the fight phase and have your model fight after an enemy that charged has fought. Situational, but handy if you know you’re going to get smacked and need to hit the other unit first.

The epitome of “Drive Me Closer. I want to hit them with my sword”

Officio Prefectus Command Tank Р1CP
A Leman Russ and all units within 6″ get Leadership 9. More valuable since the nerf to Commissar’s Summary Execution. Handy if you have a Leman Russ already which you plan to wade into the fray surrounded by guardsmen. But 1CP for an auxiliary detachment and an Inquisitor gives you Leadership 10 (and probably a psyker).

Crush Them! 1CP
Astra-Militarum vehicles usually have impressive strength (S6-S7) a WS 6+ and at best 3 attacks with no AP. This stratagem lets them hit on a 2+. Beautiful on a Baneblade; kind of lackluster on anything else unless you really want to Crush something.

Mobile Command Vehicle Р1CP
The rules for transports in 8th edition nerfed them pretty hard. If a unit is in a transport, they are technically off the battlefield, and none of their special rules or auras can apply. This lets your Officer in a Chimera (not Taurox) issue orders from within the safety of a Chimera, which is nice, and boost the range of their order as if they were near a vox-caster (the target unit needs a vox-caster too). If you are spending points on Chimera’s at all, this may be used a little.

Jury Rigging – 1CP
Vehicle heals 1 wound, even without a techpriest! But can’t move, charge, or pile in (guard vehicles don’t do that often anyways). Nice for getting up a line in the damage chart if it improves your ballistic skill. Would have been nicer if it was D3 wounds.

Go! Recon!¬†–1CP
Scout Sentinels move 2D6″ in the shooting phase, but then can’t shoot or charge. Can use it even if the sentinel advanced in the movement phase. So a sentinel could theoretically go 9+3D6″ in a turn averaging around 22″. That’s a pretty fantastic move if you want to grab an objective or something.

Aerial Spotter 2CP
A Wyvern or Basilisk can re-roll failed hit rolls in this phase. Nice effect, but a bit of a steep price for one model getting the re-rolls.


Grenadiers – 1CP
Your whole infantry unit can use grenades during shooting or overwatch. I’ve used this on overwatch a few times and it’s really disappointing. Each model gets D6 shots, that still only hit on 6’s. And it’s equal in punch to a lasgun. Might as well save your CP and take 2 shots per model with the lasgun.
Similarly, on offence, you’ll average about 3 shots per model. Rank Fire at that range gives you 4! Save your CP for something else.

Fire On My Position Р3CP
If a slain unit had a vox-caster, on a 4+ you can rain down D6 mortal wounds for each unit 3″ away. Unless there’s a cluster of 4 ore more units within 3″ your unit which died, you won’t get much out of this. And 3CP is asking a lot!

Preliminary Bombardment – 2CP
I have found this one very underwhelming. Statistically, I should get a wound once on every 6 units… doesn’t usually work out that way. I’m lucky to get even 1-2 mortal wounds from this whole Stratagem.

Consolidate Squads 1CP
I feel like this is a trap. Consolidating squads is nice for orders to go further, but it also means that “battleshock” in the morale phase will be more painful. The meta right now is for multiple small units, and this goes the opposite direction.


Vortex Missile Р3CP
I don’t have any Deathstrikes, and so have never used this. But 3CP seems pretty steep.

What did you think of this list? Should some be higher? Lower?

Tournament List (1500 Points) Astra Militarum

The tournament I mentioned several weeks ago is coming up this weekend. And I think I’ve FINALLY got my whole army together for this adventure.

I posted a preliminary army list in a previous post.

I don’t have a lot of experience in tournaments, or playing 7th Edition 40k in generals, so I read up a lot of battle reports. In particular, I went through a lot of Oakenhawk’s battle reports. He even noticed that someone went through his reports and mentioned it in a blog post. Oakenhawk was nice enough to critique my list, and make constructive¬†suggestions.

Here’s the list he suggested which he nicknamed Oakenlist LOLFIRE

  • CCS: Carapace Armour, 4x Plasmaguns
  • Chimera, Hull Heavy Flamer
  • CCS: 4x Meltaguns
  • Chimera, Hull Heavy Flamer
  • Vet 1: 2x Flamer, Heavy Flamer, Camo Gear & Trip Mines
  • Chimera, Hull Heavy Flamer
  • Vet 2: 2x Flamer, Heavy Flamer, Camo Gear & Trip Mines
  • Chimera, Hull Heavy Flamer
  • Vet 3: 2x Flamer, Heavy Flamer
  • Chimera, Hull Heavy Flamer
  • Infantry Platoon:
  • Platoon Command Squad, 3x Flamers, Heavy Flamer
  • Squad 1 (totally naked)
  • Squad 2 (also, totally naked)
  • Vendetta
  • Basilisk
  • Wyvern
  • Leman Russ Demolisher

I never thought of using so many flamers and heavy flamers. But, it makes sense for a few reasons. First, they’re kinda cheap, especially flamers at only 5 points. Many guardsmen only shoot at BS3, so they only hit 50% of the time. But template weapons like flamers auto-hit! And template weapons ignore cover, and that should help flush out units camped behind cover.

So, I tweaked the list as follows:


Tournament Oakenfire (1499 pts)


  • Company Command Squad: Boltgun, 2x Plasma Guns, Carapace, Medic (110 points)
    Chimera “Eaton”: Multi Laser, Hull Heavy Flamer (65 points)
  • Company Command Squad: Boltgun, 3x Melta Guns, (91 points)
    Chimera “Repressor”: Multi Laser, Hull Heavy Flamer (65 points)


  • Veteran Squad: Boltgun, 2x flamer, heavy flamer, Carapace (96 points)
    Chimera “Mako”: Multi Laser, Hull Heavy Flamer, Dozer Blade (70 points)
  • Veteran Squad: Boltgun, 2x flamer, heavy flamer, Carapace (96 points)
    Chimera “Dauntless”: Multi Laser, Hull Heavy Flamer (65 points)
  • Platoon Command Squad: Boltgun, 2x flamers, heavy flamer (51 points)
  • Infantry Squad: Autocannon (60 points)
  • Infantry Squad: Autocannon (60 points)
  • Infantry Squad: Flamer (55 points)
    Taurox “Lechon” (50 points)


  • Vendetta “313-PHAN T” (170 points)


  • Leman Russ Demolisher “Cyclops”: Hull Heavy Bolter (170 points)
  • Leman Russ Exterminator “Tsunami”: Hull Lascannon, Heavy Bolter Sponsors (160 points)
  • Wyvern “Hound” (65 points)

Yup, 8 tanks and a flyer, along with 65 infantry! Go Guard! That’s quantity! I imagine for the first few turns my opponents will be unsure of what to shoot at. And yes, of course all the vehicles have names.

I had to build a lot of infantry, another Chimera, and modify a Leman Russ, but I’m happy it’s all together.

Oakenhawn was a big fan of the Company Command Squads (CCS) and I can see why: The Senior Officer Orders can buff their own unit to allow for Tank Hunter or Ignore Cover. The 3 melta CCS is a going to be a heavy hitter.

Few players online are fans of the medic for the CCS. He grants 5+ Feel No Pain, which gives a little more survivability to my warlord‚Äôs squad, especially if those plasma guns have some ‚Äúgets hot‚ÄĚ shenanigans. But, I wonder how useful or valuable the medic really is‚Ķ maybe I should have just gone with another plasma gun?

I plan to have the Platoon Command Squad start off in the Vendetta. They’ll make a great objective grabbing surprise later in the game. And the Vendetta’s 3 (!!!) twin-linked lascannons should do some serious damage.

The vets in Chimeras are meant to grab the objectives, and have campfires, be it clearing out enemies, or protecting themselves from close combat.

The Heavy Support options are pretty self-explanatory: Leman Russ Demolisher terrifies anything within 24 inches with its S10 AP2 large blast! The Leman Russ Exterminator is a kind of ‚Äújack-of-all trades‚ÄĚ to pepper infantry and medium-vehicles alike. And the I‚Äôll hide the Wyvern out of sight¬†and shred far-off infantry in cover.

Deployment will be interesting with 8 tanks on the battlefield. Only two infantry squads won‚Äôt be in transports. I‚Äôll ‚Äúblob‚ÄĚ them together into a combined squad and place them nicely in cover, preferably on a backfield objective.

The Taurox is my ace in the hole. I don‚Äôt expect it to be a target for the enemy, and I‚Äôll try to keep it hidden in cover taking nice pot-shots with its TL autocannon. Late in the game it can make an impressive 18‚ÄĚ dash for objectives.

I kind of wish I had a second Taurox. I could trade out one of the other infantry squads and get a MOBILE autocannon.

As my first tournament, I’m not sure what to expect. But, I’ll go in, try to remember the rules, play with good sportsmanship, and try to have fun. That’s a nice low baseline.


I’ll be sure to share Battle Reports after

Chimera “Mako”

I had a lot of fun building this Chimera. ¬†I had fun building the Chimera “Dauntless” and updating the Chimera “Eaton,” but this one was more fun because I got to give it more personality and electronics like this Basilisk.

Like most of my models, I got this model through eBay. Actually, I think this was part of a Armoured Fist set that also included 10 guardsmen.

I’ll start this post with a photo of a toy truck. I know that must seem really strange, but this toy truck is really important. I got it at a garage sale over a year ago for $2. The buttons on top made noises so I decided to use the electronics inside to make a special tank.


Toy truck which the circuity was removed-from for Chimera "Mako"
Toy truck which the circuity was removed-from for Chimera “Mako”


Despite being such a big toy, when I stripped out the electronics I was left with very small¬†parts. Most of this very large toy was hollow.¬†The sound generation and buttons were on a single small circuit board. It was powered by three really small “button” battery cells. Rather than re-wiring AA batteries to match, I decided to just cut out the battery holster too and put it in the tank.

Circuit board and battery holster scavenged from the toy truck






IMG_20141211_110001 IMG_20141211_124926 IMG_20141211_124931

Chimera “Mako” posing with a Leman Russ Exterminator and Leman Russ Punisher


I plan on running this tank with a veteran squad I’ve called the “Irregulars”. I got most of Colonel Schaffer’s Last Chancer’s from eBay and decided they make a rather interesting composite squad. I imagine them as the¬†remnants¬†of a much larger company that has whittled down over the years, and they’re the remaining hardy, grizzled veterans. And I imagine their ride would be similarly non-uniform.

And, their ride has a loud horn, and plays rock music. Seemed appropriate.




Tactically, as an objective secured troops unit, they’re going to be prettymuch auto-take for me in every game. In the pictures above I have have 3 meltaguns in the squad, which seems to be heavily preferred in the 7th edition meta.










Name Origin

The name for this tank, “Mako,” has several inspirations:

The first and most obvious is thata Mako is a shark, and the Orky, teethy dozer blade is definitely shark-inspired.

Another part of the inspiration is the tank from the first Mass Effect Game is the M-35 Mako. It’s a jalopy of a tank that gets constantly beat up, but incredibly important in the gameplay.

One of my favourite recent TV shows is The Legend of Korra. A major character in that series was a firebender named Mako . In addition to the practicality, the fact that this tank has a heavy flamer is supposed to be a reflection of that character.

And the last reference was largely unintentional. One of my favouite recent movies was “Pacific Rim.” This isn’t a giant monster-fighting robot, but Mako Mori is a powerful character in the film and so I suppose this tank is also something of a homage to her.

With all the homages in the name of this tank, it will certainly see a lot of deployment in games I play.

Early Draft List for Upcoming Tournament

I mentioned last week that I’m registered to participate in a tournament on August 20. Time is ticking down and I’ve been pondering list building quite a bit.

The most interesting part of building this list is the rule that only troops are scoring. To that end, I am putting WAY more troops than usual.

Astra Militarum is not known for being very mobile, or durable, so I’m hoping the dedicated transports help buff my “squishy” infantry squads.

I have only two Psykers in this army. I worry I may be a little lean in this department. Though, part of me wonders if I’d be better off losing the Primaris and taking another infantry squad.

But, with only troops scoring and no allies, I don’t have to worry about super-heavies.

Section of my Astra Militarum Army
Section of my Astra Militarum Army. Not exactly as will be fielded.

Combined Arms Detachment: Astra Militarum [1500 Points]


Company Command Squad, Company Commander, two Veterans with Plasma Guns, Medic, Astropath, Master of Ordanance, Officer of the Fleet, Chimera with Dozer Blade and Heavy Stubber [246]

Primaris Psyker [50]

Techpriest Engiseer with two Servitors [60]

Ministorum Priest [25]

Ministorum Priest [25]

Commissar [25]



Veteran Squad, Veteran Sergeant with Boltgun, two Veterans with Meltagun, Chimera with Dozer Blade and Heavy Flamer [138]

Infantry Platoon [453]

-Platoon Command Squad, Platoon Commander with Boltgun and Melta Bombs, Melta, Heavy Flamer

-Infantry Squad, Sergeant with Boltgun and Melta Bombs, Autocannon, Chimera

-Infantry Squad, Sergeant with Boltgun, Flamer, Autocannon, Taurox

-Conscript Squad (50 models)


Fast Attack

Vendetta [170]


Heavy Support

Leman Russ Exterminator with Lascannon and Heavy Bolter Sponsors [160]

Wyvern [65]

Hydra [70]


There are 7 tanks and a flyer on this list, which I think is pretty mighty.

Everything on this list is already built except the two autocannons, one ministorum priest, and the 50 (!!) conscripts. That could be a long and tedious process, but any conscripts I don’t finish can probably be replaced with some other units I have left behind.

And, regrettably, I’m leaving ¬†a lot of units behind. No Temptestus Scions / Stormtroopers, 2 Leman Russes, 2 Hellhounds, 2 Sentinels, bullgryns, ratlings, rough riders, Basilisk, several techpriests and servitors, and special characters Creed and Nork Deddog.

I’m considering switching the Commissar for a Lord Commissar to give the conscripts squad some heft.


Let’s see how many models I get done in time and then I’ll re-evaluate this list.

Escher Juve with Flamer

I got this model from eBay quite a while ago. She’s from the¬†Necromunda game, specifically the Escher all-female gang. She was labelled on the tab as “juve” which I assumed meant¬†juvenile¬†or young person.

Image of painted Escher Juve model from Lexicanum
Image of painted Escher Juve model from Lexicanum

I have very few female models in my army, so I felt compelled to add more.

Her original model has her holding some sort of autopistol. I decided I wanted to make her as useful and flexible as possible, so I wanted her armed so that she could be used as an Inquisitional Acolyte or a guards(wo)man. So that end, I decided to replace her autopistol with a flamer. I borrowed the flamer from a¬†commissar¬†model I haven’t finsihed yet, and Commissar’s can’t use flamer’s anyways, so this worked out nicely.

Escher Juve from Necromunda below, and a Commissar's flamer arm I will graft onto her
Escher Juve from Necromunda below, and a Commissar’s flamer arm I will graft onto her

I wanted to give her a paintjob similar to the rest of my guardsmen so she’d fit in. To that end, she has a black shirt (flakk jacket?), administratum grey pants, and her knee-high boots are black.


Finished model with flamer
Model with flamer almost finished


Female Guardsman or Inquisition Acolyte with flamer
Female Guardsman or Inquisition Acolyte with flamer


Female Guardsman or Inquisition Acolyte with flamer (back)
Female Guardsman or Inquisition Acolyte with flamer (back)

She’s also really tiny. Most guardsmen look similar in size to Space Marines, but they totally dwarf her.

Considering that guardsmen (and guardswomen) and Inquisitorial Acolytes have a ballistic skill of only 3, the auto-hit nature of template weapons is very appealing.

I’ll probably make sure to include her in my army for the upcoming tournament.

Tournament August 20!

I was musing in a recent post about my massive backlog of models to paint. I was a little unfocused and unmotivated considering I had SO many models for potentially 3 different armies. Well, signing up for a tournament will certainly focus somebody really quickly!

Banner for the Lords of War 40k "Classic" Tournament
Banner for the Lords of War 40k “Classic” Tournament

I keep abreast of recent Warhammer 40k news mostly through Facebook groups. Someone was nice enough to share this event on Facebook about an event close to home! I’m excited that I’ll be joining this Lords Of War Tournament, the 40k Classic¬†on August 20.

I haven’t played much 7th edition Warhammer 40k at all, so I’m a little intimidated by the gaming scene in general. I like that the rules for this tournament are “classic” style, with limitations to one Codex only, no formations, no special rules, and troops scoring only. There is much less chance of funny shenanigans and loads of ridiculous stacking special rules.

I’ll be participating in the 1500 points, singles, single codex event on Saturday. It looks like I’ll have four six-turn games.

Because it’s single codex, no special¬†characters, and only troop scoring, running an Inqusition Army is regrettably out of the question. ¬†So, all my Inquisition painting goes on the backburner for now.

I would have liked to field my Space Marines, but I have a lot left to paint. Regrettably, I don’t have the latest Codex, I’m working off of 6th edition, so that would be an additional cost too. And the rules against formations and detachments make them seem less appealing.

Which leaves me with my good old Imperial Guard Astra Militarum! And I’m quite okay with that. I have more than enough points to field 1500 points. Perhaps too many points. ¬†That points limit gets hit pretty quickly. And I don’t have much experience playing so I’m not sure what are the most effective points investments.¬†I’d love to run all tanks, but I need to conserve points for troops for scoring units. I’m tempted to try to build a lot of infantry models before the tournament to flood the field.

There are some absolutes I really want to field, like my recently finished Vendetta gunship, and all four of my dedicated transports. And a recently-built Wyvern. And certainly a company command squad with my Regimental advisers.

I have about two months to get my army ready. Onwards!

My Astra Militarum on display, preparing for deployment
My Astra Militarum on display, preparing for deployment

Custom Dwarf Techpriest and more!

Much of my Astra Militarum (Imperial Guard) army is mechanized, and that’s the way I like it. But keeping with the theme and fluff, having such a vehicle-heavy army, they would need quite a crew to maintain it. In come the Techpriest Engiseers! I mused openly about my lone techpriest in this post, but I thought it was time he had some support.

I considered buying the new Techpriest model, but I wasn’t too excited about it. I wanted something unique.

So, I got this¬†¬†model from eBay of a Dwarf¬†Runesmith. It’s for Warhammer Fantasy Battles, but the eyepiece makes him look rather steampunk already.

eBay image of Dwarf Runesmith I purchased
eBay image of Dwarf Runesmith I purchased

Dwarves in general are an interesting topic in Warhammer 40k. The Eldar are obvious proxies for fantasy elves (and by extension Dark Elves –> Dark Eldar). In earlier editions of Warhammer 40k there were references to Squats, the future equivalent of fantasy dwarves. But they weren’t well-received¬†and aren’t supported in current literature. But, they technically do exist in the universe, and it would make sense that a Squat could go to Mars and become a vested tech-priest!


The image below shows a mechanized White Dwarf which I used as my inspiration.

Example White Dwarf Techpriest (image source)
Example White Dwarf Techpriest (image source)


Converting this model was part of the fun. I took a few servo-arms off of a Master of The Forge techmarine model I had, and another servo-arm off of a servitor I converted to hold a plasma cannon. I used all of those bits and a Vox-Caster backpack (and A LOT of super glue) to create a servo arm.

Next, I stole a power-axe from a techpriest to replace the dwarf’s axe.

Finally, there was a wrench hanging out of a backpack of a Chaos cultists in the Dark¬†Vengeance¬†set. So I carefully modelled that so it looks like he’s holding the wrench in a zealous mechanic kind of way.



Partially converted Dwarf Techpriest
Partially converted Dwarf Techpriest

In the end, with the white beard and red robes, he actually wound up looking a lot like Santa Claus.

Nearly final product Squat Techpriest Engiseer!
Nearly final product Squat Techpriest Engiseer!


Squat Techpriest Engiseer
Squat Techpriest Engiseer


Dwarf Techpriest Engiseer (back)
Dwarf Techpriest Engiseer (back)



But, he isn’t alone. I converted a Chaos Cultist from the Dark¬†Vengeance¬†set to another techpriest.

The process was very similar: I used a vox-caster for the backpack, the searchlight is off of a vehicle kit, and the servo-arm is a combination of a lot of bits.


Chaos Cultists converted to Techpriest Engiseer
Chaos Cultists converted to Techpriest Engiseer


Chaos Cultists converted to Techpriest Engiseer (side)
Chaos Cultists converted to Techpriest Engiseer (side)


Chaos Cultists converted to Techpriest Engiseer (other side)
Chaos Cultists converted to Techpriest Engiseer (other side)

He actually bears a striking resemblance to the Games Workshop Techpriest.

Chaos Cultists converted to techpriest (left), and stock Techpriest from Games Workshop (right)
Chaos Cultists converted to techpriest (left), and stock Techpriest from Games Workshop (right)


And, to round out their team, I finally finished the servitors.




Servitors (back)
Servitors (back)

Now, with a few servitors, they’re one big family:


Techpriests and servitors
Techpriests and servitors


Techpriests and servitors with the tanks they support
Techpriests and servitors with the tanks they support


I expect to use this unit quite happily in games. But, they also look really cool together just for display. The red really stands out against the grey of my army.


Bullgryns are an interesting new addition to the Astra Militarum Codex. They are effectively abhuman Ogryns that have have traded some offensive bite for serious defensive gain.

However, I didn’t really like the look of the new Bullgryn/Ogryn models. And I’m partial to pewter models too. So, I cobbled together bits from a number of purchases to create my own custom Bullgryns. In the end, they probably cost more than buying 3 new ones in a kit, but they’re uniquely mine.

Bullgryn Slab Shields from eBay
Bullgryn Slab Shields from eBay

Old Ogryn models from eBay
Old Ogryn models from eBay


I got 3 Ogryn models through various eBay purchases. They weren’t quite complete. I had to order bases seperately. One was missing a head, but an Ork head made a surprisingly appropriate replacement.

Various pieces of Ogryns and Bullgryn bits ready to be assembled
Various pieces of Ogryns and Bullgryn bits ready to be assembled

I also had to purchase the slabshields and grenade gauntlets separately on eBay as bits. Two of the Ogryns were missing their left hands that would have held their ripper guns, so I substituted ork hands.

The model that would be the Bone ‘ead was the most difficult to modify. His left arm was way up in the air and not appropriate for holding the shield. I had to break his pewter arm and had a hard time getting it re-attached in an appropriate position.


Astra Militarum Bullgryns
Astra Militarum Bullgryns

I’m quite happy with the final result. They look imposing, ugly, and very tough. They don’t look like they’re wearing carapace armour, but I can say all the chains they’re wearing help to protect them.


Bullgryns taking cover behind their slabshields
Bullgryns taking cover behind their slabshields


Tactically speaking, I think they will be a very interesting addition to my army. When two or more of them are in base contact with each other, they improve the cover save of all models behind them by +1. Any models behind them will already receive a 5+ cover save because they are obscured. This would even apply to tanks behind them! With the +1, all models behind them could receive a 4+ cover save.  If the models behind them have camo cloaks or stealth in some other way they have a 3+ cover save!!

They’re a pretty tough unit in general too. With 3 wounds each and T5, they will be hard to disgorge, especially with the 3+ armour save they get from linking slabshields. The leadership 6 (7 with the Bone ‘ead) is a little worrying though. They’ll need something to keep them from running away. I’ll probably stick a ministorum priest with them to keep them from running away. And, in a codex sorely lacking CC options, the one-two punch of Bullgryns with a priest may help with this unit tango at close range.

At 145 points for 3 models, they certainly aren’t cheap! I’m curious to see how they’ll play on the tabletop, but they do look cool in my display case!


Better view of my Astra Millitarum Bullgryns
Better view of my Astra Millitarum Bullgryns. From left to right “Otis, Deathlok, and Enzo.”


Astra MIlitarum Bullgryns (read view)
Astra MIlitarum Bullgryns (read view)