Thursday, 24 May 2018

BattleReport: Tau vs. Astra Militarum

First weekend in May 2018 gave me and my good friend Mike our first opportunity in four years(!) to get together for a game of Warhammer 40K.

We both live in very different parts of the country and would meet up at a vaguely central location (Warhammer World in Nottingham) a couple of times each year to catch up and do some gaming. Real life has been a sticking point for the last few years so this has been impossible for us.

However, we're back in the game now.

This was our first opportunity to play the 8th Edition rules, with 7th Ed. having entirely passed us by. We made loads of mistakes, learned a bunch of stuff and had a ball. Here's how it went.

The Forces:

1250 Points Astra Militarum (me):
  • 1 x Lord Commander,
  • 1 x Lord Commissar,
  • 4 x Ogryns (inc. Bonehead)
  • 3 x Infantry squads (inc. Grenade Launchers, voxcasters)
  • 3 x Armoured Sentinels with Plasma Cannons
  • 3 x Armoured Sentinels with Multi Lasers
  • 3 x Scout Sentinels with Heavy Flamers
  • 1 x HellHound with Flamer and Inferno Cannon
  • 1 x Chimera with Multi Laser and Heavy Bolter
  • 1 x Valkyrie with Multi Laser, Rocket Pods and Heavy Bolters
  • 1 x Heavy Support squad with 2 x LasCannons and 1 x AutoCannon

1250 Points Tau (Mike):
  • 1 x O'Shova
  • 1 x Aun'va
  • 1 x XV-104 Riptide with  (with 2 x Plasma Rifles and 1 x thingybob)
  • 3 x XV-8 BattleSuits with Plasma Rifles and Missile Pods
  • 3 x Fire Warrior squads
  • 2 x Devilfish
  • 2 x Drone squadrons (3 x Gun Drones, 1 x Markerlight Drone)
The mission played denoted a short-edge - short-edge deployment style. The Astra Militarum had slightly more scenery of their end of the table than the Tau. This meant that Mike was able to deploy slightly closer to his line than I was. He placed one unit of Fire Warriors atop a scenery piece and deployed the other two in Devilfish.
Aun'va in cover behind building "2", Fire Warriors on top of it.

XV-8 Battlesuits on the right flank, XV-104 on the left.

I deployed a Heavy Weapons team in my Valkyrie, an infantry squad in the Chimera and placed everything else as close to my deployment line as possible, intending to spearhead with the Sentinels and Chimera.

The mission dictated that VPs would be earned for each unit destroyed, the death of the enemy commander, first blood and having a presence in the enemy deployment zone at the end of the game.

Astra Militarum got the first turn.

Turn 1:

The Imperials move up. This is an indicator of the way the game was going to go. It had been such a long time since I'd played, a new ruleset and a chance to field two armies (that I'm proud of creating) that I found all logical thought, planning and control just leaked out of my ears and I basically declared a "Waaaaggghhh!" and moved right in there.

My Commissar and Ogryns used the Dagger of Tu'Sakh to deploy behind enemy lines, the Valkyrie nipped round the back of the Tau Lines too. The Valkyrie opened up with everything it had on the Tau infantry on top of "Building 2" wiping them out to a man. The Commissar and Ogryns fired off a few shots, but barely scratched paint. The Plasma-wielding Sentinels moved up and started what was to be a long-game of bullet-tennis with the Riptide (they would spend the entire game standing and shooting at each other). Imperial Infantry moved up using cover of the buildings.

Mike had the Tau play things more cautiously. His battlesuits on his right flank summarily disposed of the threat of the Ogryns, wiping them out to a man and wounding the Commissar. I'd been foolish to have dropped them in when and where I did, but as I said I was totally gung-ho on the day. If my recollection is correct, the Tau declined any further movement on Turn 1. The Riptide returned fire from the Sentinels, but to little avail. 

The table after turn 1

Turn 2:

The Imperials continued in the same vein: Move up, shoot. The Valkyrie backed off a little ready to deploy a payload of troops in Turn 3. Less harm was done this turn overall.

The Tau started to take the fight to the Imperials, however. The BattleSuits wiped out the Commissar whilst the riptide returned fire on the Armoured Sentinels. Drones advanced and poured fire into the advancing Hellhound, but did no damage (they did, however, provide an obstacle for the advancing tank which is by nature a close-assault vehicle. Therefore they effectively stalled it's advance).

A unit of Fire Warriors is deployed from the Devilfish on the Tau right flank, forming a firing line opposing the advancing Sentinels and Chimera. 

I like Sentinels

I like Sentinels a lot

Look carefully - the guardsman in the centre of the photo is a Beastman!

The Guard and the Commander seek an elevated vantage point

Turn 3:

This was my "dumb turn". I deployed a Heavy Weapons team out of the Valkyrie. The Tau General, O'Shova killed it. For some reason instead of staying back and shooting, I charged the Tau infantry on the Tau right flank with my Sentinels. Sentinels are rubbish in close combat. I think I killed just one Warrior but took a couple of wounds in return. I did manage to get rid of the four Drones that were harassing the HellHound.

In return the unit atop the tower in the centre of the table took heavy casualties from fire from Drones and Devilfish.

The Riptide and Sentinels continued trading fire, the Sentinels causing more damage than the Riptide.
    I can see your house from here

    The Tau perspective

    Watch those Sentinels!

    Told you to watch those Sentinels!

    Heavy weapons grav-chute out of the Valkyrie

    The Imperial perspective

    Turn 4:


      Turn 5:


        Turn 6:




            Wednesday, 16 May 2018

            Tau: Aun'Va

            This unit gave me gyp!

            The Aun'Va model hasn't changed much over the years, except that it was originally moulded from metal, rather than the FineCast stuff that's around these days.

            This is one of the metal models.

            I took the same approach that I have with the rest of this army: No Metallic colours and every model should feature some airbrushing. I also wanted it to blend with the rest of the army and as such I decided to vary from the traditional colour scheme for Aun'Va and use the same pale blue recipe I'd cooked the rest of my army in.

            Traditionalists: don't moan at me. I won't be listening.

            The gyp? Simple - I found that handling these models was enough to rub paint off as I was working with them. It got very frustrating very quickly.

            More Tau-related stuff:
            Tau family album:

            Thursday, 10 May 2018

            Tau: Drones (2 of 3)

            Here is the second of my three units of Tau Drones.

            Being a bunch of reconditioned models bought for cheap off eBay, these guys needed a bit of work.

            If you are keen-eyed, you will spot another home-made Markerlight drone and also a drone with a home-made antenna.

            I know many people would find these sorts of hack-jobs aesthetically unsatisfying or just too fussy to actually do, but I've found a few things over my time:

            1. Most people don't notice the hacks unless you point them out,
            2. Doing the hacks is actually quite fun (unless you have hundreds to do),
            3. It saves me a boatload of cash.

            Point 1) occasionally makes me wonder if the amount of work we do on our models from one day to the next is even worth it if nobody's looking closely enough to notice them.

            Of course it is!

            More Tau-related stuff:
            Tau family album:

            Tuesday, 8 May 2018

            Tau: Battlesuits (1 of 2)

            Something else that was sorely missing from my Tau army was Battlesuits. Aside from my XV-104 Riptide I had none (I counted them. Twice). Like most of my armies - I'd done a huge collecting job, consigned them to boxes and then run out of steam/time/interest/money and by the time I needed to paint them something else had my attention.

            But with a game on the horizon, something needed to be done. So I did it!

            Monday, 30 April 2018

            Tau: Drones (1 of 3)

            No Tau army would be complete without some drones tagging along and my army has been drone-free for far too long!

            With a game on the horizon (woohoo!) I needed to do something about that and to that end have painted up a bunch of drones to adorn my vehicles and mix things up a bit with some nasty Manta-strikes!

            I've said it before and I'll say it again - I'm a cheapskate, skinflint, miserly penny-pincher. For that reason you'll find that the majority of my models are reconditioned bits of other people's cast-off junk. You may even notice that - front-and-center in the photo below - is a home-made markerlight drone.

            More Tau-related stuff:

            Tau: O'Shova

            Missed me?

            It's been the best part of a month since my last post went up. I think that's the longest I've ever gone without a post.

            "So what's going on? Where have you been?" I hear you cry. Well, its just been busy. Work, life and all that stuff. That's not to say I've been idle on the modelling front - oh no! This has been a very exciting time for me, in fact.

            "Why?" you ask.

            Because for the first time in a few years I'm actually going to get to play an actual game! I'm off to Warhammer World this coming weekend and have been prepping forces; I'm supplying both of the armies for the game.

            One is ready (my Astra Militarum) and the other wasn't quite there - my Tau.

            Now I did a LOT of of work on the Tau a couple of years back - I got most of the foot done, all of the vehicles and a Riptide. I never got around to painting any battlesuits, drones or HQ models. Obviously, I hadn't got a gaming force without them so it was time to pull my finger out and get back to it.

            This O'Shova model is an old one - from way back when the Tau were first released. As such it's built from metal parts (shield, sword etc.) added to a standard battlesuit of that era. And they were pretty rough - almost no posability at all. I drilled a new hole in the model's groin in order to accept a flying stand (the models back then came with a small hole in the bottom of the "backpack" which meant that they appeared to be hovering in a very "square" way.

            More Tau-related stuff:
            Tau family album:

            Tuesday, 27 March 2018

            Imperial Agents: Sisters of Battle (Part 1 - Rhino)

            I haven't gone totally mad this time. Not totally. In as much as I haven't started a totally new army, that is (I'll leave you to make your own minds up about the cucumber and the claw-hammer).

            No - not a whole army, just a small allied force to occasionally add some colour (well, black, mostly) to my Marine and Astra Militarum forces, from time to time. Aside from this Rhino, there will be one Seraphim squad, one Battle Sisters squad and one Canoness. And that's it.

            Just because.

            Other Imperial Agents stuff:
            Other Sisters of Battle stuff: