Tag Archives: Strategy

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!

 

GOOD

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! – 1CP
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.

FOR SELECT SITUATIONS

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 – 1CP
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 – 1CP
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.

BAD and UGLY

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 – 3CP
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.

NEVER USED, PROBABLY NEVER WILL

Vortex Missile – 3CP
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:

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Tournament Oakenfire (1499 pts)

HQ

  • 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)

TROOPS

  • 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)

FAST ATTACK

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

HEAVY SUPPORT

  • 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’s squad, especially if those plasma guns have some “gets hot” shenanigans. But, I wonder how useful or valuable the medic really is… 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 “jack-of-all trades” to pepper infantry and medium-vehicles alike. And the I’ll 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’t be in transports. I’ll “blob” 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’t expect it to be a target for the enemy, and I’ll 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” 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.

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I’ll be sure to share Battle Reports after

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]

HQ

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]

 

Troops

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.

image

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

Astra Militarum Infantry Platoon

I recently finished my set of Astra Militarum Infantry models. I’m really proud of how they came out. These Cadian models turned out really well with my custom colour palette. It looks like an imposing force. In a battle, I expect they’ll be slaughtered, but they look really cool as a mob right now!

My Astra Militarum Infantry Models
My Astra Militarum Infantry Models (click on the image for higher resolution)

 

At the moment, it’s a fully fieldable army with an HQ and two Troops selections. This army consists of a command squad and two infantry squads. I went rather heavy on the special weapons, so there are only a couple of different ways I can field them:

Current Arrangement:

Company Command Squad (96 points)
-Officer carries a boltgun
-Vox-Caster
-Regimental Standard
-Medi-Pack

Veteran Squad 1 (81 points)
-Sergeant carries a boltgun
-Vox-Caster
-3 Grenade launchers

Veteran Squad 2 (76 points)
-Sergeant with laspistol and close combat weapon
-Vox-Caster
-2 Flamers

I like this arrangement. Veterans have a higher Ballistic Skill which can come in really handy. I imagine Veteran Squad 2 would go in first because of their flamers, and the the other two squads would support from behind. I have a Chimera and I’m finishing a Taurox, so I hope these can help me move the move the squads around quickly. With the transports, this works out to only 373 points

I parts to make 15 more Cadian infantry models from an eBay purchase so I’m thinking about how to add them to this army. I was considering making a close combat oriented command squad, but I think I’ll save those chainswords for my Inquisitorial henchmen. There are two directions I could go: Add another veteran squad, or re-arrange into an infantry platoon.

Option 1: More Veterans 
Pros:
-Keep up to 3 special weapons per squad
-Keeps Ballistic skill of 4
-Options for special doctrines (grenadiers, forward sentries, demolitions)

Cons:
-Slightly more points
-No additional officer
-Limited to 6 in force organization chart (FOC)
-Unable to combine squads
-More of the same

Company Command Squad (96 points), Veteran Squad 1 (81 points), and Veteran Squad 2 (76 points), Chimera (70 points) and Taurox (50 points) remain the same.

Veteran Squad 3 (81 points)
-Sergeant carries a boltgun
-Vox-Caster
-3 Special Weapons

New total: 449 points, 35 models

 

Option 2: Infantry platoon
Pros:
-Additional command squad that can issue orders
-Flexibility to create heavy weapon, special weapon, and conscript squads

Cons:
-Ballistic skill reduced to 3 because infantry squads are no longer veterans
-Limited to 1 special weapon per squad

Company Command Squad (96 points), Chimera (70 points), and Taurox (50 points) remain the same.

Platoon Command Squad (66 points
-Officer carries a bolt pistol and power sword
-Vox-Caster
3 grenade launchers

Infantry Squad 1 (61 points)
-Sergeant carries a boltgun
-Vox-Caster
-Flamer

Infantry Squad 2 (60 points)
-Sergeant with laspistol and close combat weapon
-Vox-Caster
-Flamer

Infantry Squad 3 (61 points)
-Sergeant with bolt pistol and close combat weapon
-Vox-Caster
-Flamer

New total: 464 points, 40 models

So, for 15 additional points, I get 5 more models, but the group isn’t quite as strong. In fact, I see those 15 points are the same as the power sword on the platoon commander. Hmmm..

I could combine a couple of these squads into a Combined Squad for serious fun. If I got a couple more lasguns I could separate the flamers into their own special weapon squad too.

I guess one of the nice things is that I can easily switch between the two arrangements by leaving out a couple lasguns. 

Which direction should I go?

My Inquisitor: Tactics

I introduced my Inquisitor Model in this post. Not only does he look awesome, but I look forward to using him in a game eventually. 

InquisitionCover

After reviewing the Codex, I think I’m going to field him when/if I ever play. His value as a special, stubborn independent character with 3 wounds is awesome:

Ordo Malleus Inquisitor: 

WS BS S T W I A Ld Sv
Inquisitor 4 4 3 3 3 4 3 10 4+


Base cost: 
25 points

Wargear: Carapace armour, bolt pistol, chainsword, frag grenades, krak grenades, psky-out grenades

Special Rules: Independent Character, Stubborn

Replace bolt pistol with combi-melta – 10 points

Replace chainsword with Daemonblade – 15 points

Take up to three servo-skulls – 3 points each

Upgrade to Psyker (Mastery Level 1) and a single roll on Divination, Pyromancy, Telekinesis or Telepathy disciplines – 30 points

Total: 83 points (with one servo skull)

The single roll on  Divination will be really awesome. Each game I’ll pick up a good blessing power, and because of Psychic Focus I’ll always get the Primaris Power of Prescience which allows a unit to re-roll failed “To Hit” rolls.

The Daemonblade itself is rather crazy-awesome, but random:

Every Daemonblade has two daemonic powers randomly generated from the following list before the army is deployed. If the same result is rolled twice, you can choose the Daemonblade’s second daemonic power.
2D6 – Daemonic Power
2-3 – Warpflame:  Attacks made with the Daemonblade are resolved at +3 Strength.
4 – Unholy Speed: The wielder has +3 Attacks.
5 – Etherblade: The Daemonblade has an AP of 2.
6 – Vampyre:  When the Daemonblade inflicts an unsaved wound, its wielder immediately gains +1 Wound (to a maximum of 10).
7 – Daemonic Feud: Close combat attacks from this sword always wound Daemons on a roll of 2+. Furthermore, Daemons must re-roll any successful invulnerable saves against any wounds caused by this Daemonblade.
8 – Deathlust: The wielder of the Daemonblade has the Furious Charge and Rage special rules.
9 – Dark Resurrection: The wielder of the Daemonblade has the Feel No Pain and Eternal Warrior special rules.
10 – Daemon Venom: The Daemonblade has the Poisoned (2+) special rule.
11+ – Familiar: The wielder generates one additional Warp Charge point in each of his turns. In addition, the Daemonblade gains the Force special rule.

 

If I’m playing against a Chaos or Daemon-based army, I might use him as my Primary Detachment so I can use his Warlord Traits:

ORDO MALLEUS TRAITS
1. Unquestionable Wisdom: The Warlord and his unit can choose to pass or fail any Morale checks they are called upon to make.
2. Reader of the Tarot: Whilst the Warlord is alive, you can roll two dice and choose the result you want when rolling for Reserves, Outflank, mysterious terrain or mysterious objectives.
3. Burner of Worlds: Once per game, your Warlord can call down an orbital attack in his Shooting phase. This counts as firing a ranged weapon with the profile below. This does not prevent the Warlord and his unit from declaring a charge against the target unit that turn.

Range S AP Type
Infinite 10 1 Ordnance 1,
Barrage,
Large Blast,
Orbital

Orbital: If an arrow is rolled on the scatter dice, an orbital bombardment always scatters the full 2D6” – the Warlord’s Ballistic Skill makes no difference.
4. Daemonhunter: The Warlord and his unit have the Preferred Enemy (Daemons) special rule.
5. Incorruptible: All units with the Daemon special rule within 12″ of the Warlord suffer a -1 penalty to their invulnerable save (to a minimum of 6+). This is cumulative with any other modifiers.
6. Forbidden Lore: If the Warlord is a Psyker, he generates one additional Warp Charge point in each of his turns. If the Warlord is not a Psyker, he has the Adamantium Will special rule.

 

One last really cool things about Inquisitors is their ability to field Servo-Skulls. They don’t do much on their own, but they look really cool, and can do some interesting support things. For example, the

SERVO-SKULLS

  • Servo-skulls are treated as counters, rather than units, for all intents  and purposes. They are placed on the battlefield after deployment areas have been determined, but before any forces are deployed.

  • Each Servo-skull can be placed anywhere on the battlefield outside the enemy’s deployment zone. Once deployed, Servo-skulls do not move.

  • Enemy infiltrators cannot set up within 12″ of a Servo-skull. Similarly, enemy scouts cannot use their pre-game move to approach to within 12″ of a Servo-skull.

  • A friendly unit arriving by Deep Strike rolls one D6 less for scatter if it aims to arrive within 12″ of a Servo-skull.

  • Likewise, friendly blast templates placed within 12″ of a Servo-skull roll one D6 less for scatter.

  • Servo-skulls are considered too small and agile to be attacked and cannot be harmed in any way. However, should an enemy unit move within 6″ of a Servo-skull, then the Servo skull will self-destruct or flee the battlefield – remove it from play.

I can see this being really handy for 3 things:

  • Quickly deep striking units into an objective far from the deployment area
  • Less scatter of blasts near the servo skull
  • Prevent pesky scouts and infiltrators from getting too close to my deployment zone
Inquisitor with some of my Astra Militarum Models
Inquisitor with some of my Astra Militarum Models

I have plans on making a really cool retinue or acolyte henchmen warband to accompany my Inquisitor. More on that to come!

Welcome to Keptain Kayak!

Welcome to my Warhammer 40k Sub-Blog! I imagined this was a better solution than cluttering up my main Running Blog with non-Running stuff! 

Well, anyways, as I mentioned in this post, I’ve become quite interested in the Warhammer 40k Hobby again. It’s a tabletop game where you collect models, build and paint them, then play them against other models. The gameplay is an offspring of old-school Dungeons & Dragons involving dice, tables and measuring tapes. I started around age 12, took a break for about 15 years.

I started again by buying a (now replaced) Citadel Hobby Starter set that came with a variety of paints, glue, cutters, and a paintbrush.

Hobby Starter Kit
Hobby Starter Kit

 

I also found some old models and paint brushes. I have since built and painted a few and I’ll detail them in posts to come. 

image
Completed tactical squad of Imperial Fists Space Marines. My first painted Warhammer 40k models in over 15 years!

There are several things I really like about the hobby: in particular the painting, the lore (or fluff as the fandom calls it), and the planning/strategy.

 

Art Hobby

I don’t consider myself an artist, but I find I’m quite enjoying the creative element of the hobby. Sitting quietly and painting these little models is surprisingly calming. I suppose that’s how a hobby should feel. I don’t consider myself an artist or ‘artsy‘ type, and I’m definitely not very talented, but it’s nice to think “I painted that.”

 

Backstory and “fluff”

I find the fictional environment of the game is pretty interesting. It’s set in a dystopian science-fiction future where humanity is a sprawling stagnant empire facing destruction from hostile aliens and internal traitors. It’s science-fiction, but much darker than Star Trek and other typical sci-fi environments. The lore describes the backstory of each race, faction, and why they all want to kill each other. It’s told in novels, magazines, movies, video games, and sidebars in other publications.

I could go on and on about the fictional environment. In such a dark environment, heroes seem to shine even brighter. I’ve read a few stories featuring Ciaphas Cain, a cowardly human officer with an uncanny stroke of luck in horrible situations. Surprisingly, all his stories are comedies. And there are stories about families, brothers, friends, heroes, villains and traitors. Some of them are compelling and even motivating.

 

Strategy

I really like the strategy and planning element of it too. Each unit has certain abilities, and cost in game. They also have cost to buy, but that’s a different strategy. At the moment I’m trying to put together a 1000 point army that meets all the requirements. I haven’t played a single game yet, but I just enjoy daydreaming about it. I suspect I’ll lose horribly, but maybe that’s part of the experience too.

I mentioned that buying in itself is a strategy. It’s incredibly true because units that have high points cost may not have high dollar cost (and vice-versa). In general, Games Workshop models are pretty pricey. There are jokes that their license on the products essentially allows them to print money and that their products are so expensive that crack is cheaper.

But, there is another element of the hobby altogether. I recently discovered buying off of eBay. I lose most auctions, but I’ve found a couple bargains so far.

 

Keptain Kayak

Why the name Keptain Kayak? Most 40k bloggers I’ve been reading have hobby “nicknames”. Keptain Kayak was my ICQ handle from a long time ago. I thought the “captain” reference worked well in a wargames kind of way but was also lovingly self-deprecating.

 

 

Where do I get the time an money to do this? Well, I’m single, employed, and feeling rather introverted this summer. Seems to be a good mix. I’m trying to dedicate Sunday afternoons to painting since I’ll be worn out from my long runs and won’t feel guilty taking a ‘break’.

I hope you enjoy the blog! Comments and suggestions are always welcome!