Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nemesis - Book Review

Nemesis - James Swallow

After the horrors of Istvaan V, Horus declares outright war against the Imperium. In the shadows of the Emperor's Palace, powerful figures convene.Their plan is to send a team of assassins to execute the arch-traitor Horus and end the war for the galaxy of mankind before it's even begun. But what they cannot know is that another assassin is abroad already, with his sights firmly set on killing the Emperor.

Nemesis is the latest in the Black Library Horus Heresy series, this book by James Swallow takes a look at the Horus Heresy from a slightly different and more secretive perspective, and actually explains some of the characters and organisations we know from “modern day” fiction and background. This novel takes a major step back from the front lines, where the legions, fleets and men and women of the Imperial Guard do battle, this novel takes a look at the microscopic level of planning and execution that takes place when the Emperors scalpel is used. The novel concentrates on the Imperium's temples of assassins, each temple is unique with their own styles, methodologies and internal politics. Some are familiar and some not so, but all have been tasked to work together to hunt the most prized of traitors, the Warmaster Horus.

The novel is appears a simple concept but is actually made up of three interwoven stories, which all duck and weave around one another to bring the whole thing together to a point. The main story follows the assassins' as they for their Execution team from their respective temples. It follows the team and their overlords as they plan and organise their team and the task ahead. The second thread is almost a complete novel in itself, it follows local law enforcement as they track a series of evolving murders across their planet and eventually uncover the plans of a chaos bred assassin. The third thread to run through the book is the theme of the heresy and the growing tensions across the galaxy, from the planetary and “local” level, across the forces of the Legions and right up to the chambers of the Imperial Palace.

The Execution Force made up of one assassin from each of the major `clade' or Temples are drawn together and then sent to a system with underlying loyalties to Horus to await their target. Despite their numerous idiosyncrasies and their obtuse attitude the diversity of characters allow for a number of perspectives of the job, and as their plan unfolds the relationships between the assassins develop in surprising and humanising ways. Most importantly though the underlying tenets of the imperial faith start to appear and help in the shaping of the assassins attitudes.

The other chaos bred assassin is a real horror he is a being twisted by Chaos and malice into a perfect killing machine by the darkness of Erebus and he has been set on the road with one purpose, killing the Emperor. Trained in very different and sinister methods, almost spiritual methods, this monster cuts a swathe of carnage over the course of its mission. The climax is where the two sets of assassins meet and play their dance out to the end around the scenes of a Legion at war.

The final thread looks at the simmering under currents of hate, fear and resentment on the planets that are in the path of the battle fleets and of the people that fear what might come next. The fear and ineptitude of some of the establishments in the book are plain to see, but others less so almost until it is too late. It’s also good to see the conflicts of words within the Imperial Palace in this novel, and it features as much as the fighting and really sets the novel apart from some of the previous novels.

The Horus Heresy series is improving in leaps and bounds and the writing style of James Swallow has come on in the same manner too. All the disjointed threads and ideals work together and with his writing style flow in to a nice and cohesive novel that really pulls you in further to the whole Heresy saga. As the novel deals with a different side of the Heresy I think the novel really works and is worthy of a good solid 4.5 stars. A great addition to the series.



Available from:

http://www.blacklibrary.com/
Nemesis - James Swallow
softback, 416pp • ISBN 9781844168682

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hobby News - Imperial Armour 9 - Badab War Sneak Peeks

Good morning all
time for you all to head over to the realms of BOLS for some news on the up coming IA:9 - Badab war, more details here:

http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2010/08/40k-news-ia9-badab-war-pics.html

And heres a sneak peek of the potential front cover:


WOW and Enjoy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Forgeworld Newsflash - Another Marine Sneak Peek

Hi folks
just recieved a Forgeworld newsflash, for most of the world it doesnt mean much as it is mainly about a Q&A session at the Baltimore Gamesday, however it did include information on the ability to preorder Imperial Armour Volume 9 at the event but most importantly to me it also included this little sneak peek:


OOOOOHHH More pimpy marine bits or characters is good, and looking forward to the next book is all I can say :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Forge World Newsletter #245 - More Space Marine Armour Variants

Because this news letter is that amazing the Friday 5 Finds will be postponed until sunday due to the awesomeness below!

Once again the newsletter is that good I'm posting it in full (and starting to work out what organs I am able to sell without doing too much harm!):


Hi There,

We have even more fantastic Space Marine kits for you in this Newsletter, including variant armour sets and some fantastically detailed Chapter-specific Transfer sheets and Etched Brass sets. We also have an update about what we’ll be showing you at Games Day Baltimore on August 21st.
Thanks,
Ead Brown


Phobos Pattern Bolter Pack


The Phobos Pattern Bolter Pack is closely associated with Mk II ‘Crusade’ Armour and is perhaps the most venerable design of the sacred Bolter used by the Astartes. Both were hand-crafted by the Fabricators of Mars at the very birth of the Imperium, to ensure that every Marine had the finest wargear with which to reunite the scattered elements of Humanity.

Designed by Phil Stutcinskas and Will Hayes, the Phobos Pattern Bolter pack contains 10 finely detailed, resin weapons, with optional combat blade attachments, and can be pre-ordered here for despatch in the week commencing August 23rd. Like the other Forge World Weapon Sets currently available to pre-order, the Phobos pattern Bolters can be combined with the full range of plastic Games Workshop and resin Forge World Space Marine sets.

Space Marine Infantry Upgrade Sets Available to Pre-Order Now:
We have even more Space Marine armour variants available for you to pre-order this week. Designed by Will Hayes and Phil Stutcinskas, all of these detailed resin kits contain enough parts to build 5 Space Marines - each set includes two different poses of legs, as well as separate torsos, helmets, backpacks, shoulder pads and arms.


MkII ‘Crusade’ Armour Set


The first of our Space Marine armour sets is this fantastic Mk II ‘Crusade’ Armour Set sculpted by Will Hayes and Phil Stutcinskas. Mk II Armour represented a significant technological step forward compared to the original Thunder Armour, and was supplied by the Adeptus Mechanicus, who hand-crafted each component to the highest specification. The few surviving examples of this pattern are still maintained by some of the oldest Space Marine Chapters, venerated as sacred relics.


MkV ‘Heresy’ Armour Set
The iconic Mk V ‘Heresy’ Armour Set is an archaic pattern of Power Armour, first created during the dark and shadowed days of the Great Betrayal, which saw several layers of inferior-quality materials bonded with adamantium studs. As some Forge Worlds sided with Horus and some remained loyal to the Emperor, the supply lines from the Forge Worlds that manufactured arms and armour for the Legions were heavily disrupted, forcing the Legions to develop the MkV pattern.


MkVI ‘Corvus’ Armour Set
Perhaps the most recognisable of all marks of power armour, the Mk VI ‘Corvus’ Armour Set is most associated with the Raven Guard Chapter, but also sees service in many other Chapters. Designed as a successor to the advanced Mk IV ‘Maximus’ armour that was derailed by the Horus Heresy, Mk VI ‘Corvus’ Armour is distinctive for its’ relatively clean appearance and elongated, conical nose – designed to house additional systems including advanced Autosenses. The studded left shoulder pad, taken from the previous Mk V pattern, commemorates the glory of those heroes who stood at the Eternity Gate alongside the Emperor himself.


You can see all of these sets here; along with a gallery of photos showing examples of how these brilliant parts can be combined with plastic Space Marine kits, as well as other Forge World resin accessories such as our Bolter sets and Special Weapons packs. All of these kits are available to pre-order now for despatch in the week commencing August 23rd, and while this is the last batch of Space Marine kits we will be unveiling for now, keep an eye on Forge World Newsletters over September for news of a few top secret models that we are hoping to release at UK Games Day…


Raven Guard and Flesh Tearers Etched Brass


The first in the expansion to our range of Chapter-specific etched brass accessories are these detailed sets of Raven Guard Etched Brass and Flesh Tearers Etched Brass from the talented hands of Forge World graphic artist Kenton Mills. These detailed frames provide a range of Chapter insignia that can be applied to both infantry and vehicles as you can see here and these symbols are perfect for adding detail and variety to your Raven Guard and Flesh Tearers squads. Both frames will be shipped from August 23rd.


Iron Hands and Imperial Fists Transfer Sheets


Not content to rest on his Etched Brass laurels, Kenton has also put together a new range of Chapter-specific A4 decal sheets, the first of which are Iron Hands Transfers and Imperial Fists Transfers.

These A4 sheets are packed with over 500 individual Chapter badges, squad markings and numbers, as well as vehicle markings and Clan-Company badges in the case of the Iron Hands – all perfect for adding additional detail to your Imperial Fists and Iron Hands units.


Both of these fantastic transfer sheets are available to pre-order now for despatch in the week commencing August 23rd.

All these new releases are available to pre-order along with the Caestus Assault Ram, Umbra Pattern Bolter Pack, MkIII ‘Iron Armour’, Special Weapons Pack, MkIV ‘Maximus’ Armour and the Umbra Ferrox Bolter Pack – you can find all these kits here:

http://www.forgeworld.co.uk/New_Stuff

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Daenyathos - Book Review

Daenyathos - Ben Counter

Exclusive prequel novella to the Soul Drinkers series by Ben Counter.

Held prisoner by the Imperial Fists and on the brink of being condemned by their fellow Astartes, the once proud Soul Drinkers are a pale shadow of what they once were. Daenyathos is the story of how, over millennia, the seeds of their damnation were sown and how a single corrupt librarian became a canker at the very heart of a Space Marine chapter.

WARNING THIS REALLY DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS!
 
If like me your were lucky enough to get hold of a copy of Daenyathos or were foolish enough to splash out that much on a small book, depending on your point of view, you’ll know there is something different about the way this book is put together. Just like the Iron Warriors book before it this limited edition book is smaller in foot print then a normal Black Library hard back book and is a lot thinner. That been said it really doesn’t take away from the content of the book! The book was a limited run of 1000 and was signed by Ben Counter so I’m happy own it in that respect as I always get a bit excited about signed items!
 
The book charts the rise of Daenyathos from the roll of Battle Brother to the spiritual father of the Soul Drinkers chapter. Despite being only 6 chapters and 126 pages long the book crams a lot in and follows his swift path through the ranks. The book opens with a letter to what I can only assume is a serving member of the Imperial Fists or an Inquisitor explaining that the novel is evidence in the trial of the remaining Soul Drinkers.

The first chapter deals with the assault on the Ecclesiarchal Palace during the reign of Vandire and the part Daenyathos plays in it. The opening chapter sets much of the scene and introduces most of the main initial players as well as some characters that appear again. My favourite part is the appearance of the Brides of the Emperor, it’s nice to see them get the pre Sisters of Battle history brought out in to the open. This chapter deal with how Daenyathos and his squad interact and how “initially” they were righteous and were on the right path.

The second chapter concentrates on the chapters dealings with an Inquisitor, his prey and the exterminatus of a planet. This chapter is the most important when it comes to reoccurring characters and starts to deal with the slow fall Daenyathos starts upon. It is at this point that Daenyathos begins to question the part humanity is playing in its own downfall and his place, and that of his chapter, within that scenario. This chapter basically signals the beginning of the end, at least in the eyes of the imperium, for Daenyathos and the Soul Drinkers.

The third chapter is where Daenyathos takes these thoughts to heart and decides to become a Chaplain within the ranks of the Soul Drinkers. The novel primarily deals with the trials and rituals that are used by the Drinkers to induct their chaplains and to ensure their purity, though the way in which they do it seems intrinsically flawed and hence why it seems Daenyathos passes and moves on to become a chaplain. This is where he also decides to codify his beliefs in what goes on as we all know from the Soul Drinkers novels the founding tenants of his chapter.

In the fourth chapter Daenyathos is a fully fledged chaplain and on a mission with the Reclusiarch the threads begin to unravel and it seems that the manner in which he rose to power is more than just a little stained with the blood of the innocent. It is in this chapter that he takes the first step of no return on the path to downfall. Initially during the mission the teachings of his book is questioned and its wide spread acceptance amongst the Soul Drinkers is also raised. Daenyathos uses this as a chance to appear humble but also to trick those who might unravel the plan in to a suicidal attack which when it doesn’t quite work he then completes the task of their eradication himself. This leave him free to take up the mantle of Reclusiarch himself and ultimately damns the chapter!

The fifth chapter concludes the pursuit of a heretic by Daenyathos and his eventual torture at the heretics hands. This is one of the overall story arcs of the book and helps tie the whole novel together. It is here whilst at his weakest and strongest that the whole corruption of his ideals is revealed and is ultimately committed to being enacted. We also see him reduced to a shell of a marine but in this he still proves he is stronger and better than most humans, and this alone seems to cement his beliefs.

The sixth and final chapter sees Daenyathos reduced to the living core of a Dreadnought, although as far as the chapter is concerned he is dead, and his three prodigies being entrusted with his legacy. We also learn more of his plans as he reveals them to one of the heroes of the imperium and also how he intends to enact these plans from his sarcophagus. This chapter is the most important chapter in the future of the Soul Drinkers and goes a long way to explain just how they could become so misguided and ultimately corrupted. The final part deals with him leaving the chapter to its dark future.

The novel is extremely well written and deals with and explains well all the things that caused the great Soul Drinkers Heresy. The prose is flowing and most importantly doesn’t get confused between past and present even when it does need to refer to past events in the present. The descriptions although at some points truncated really do make the book work, that in itself is one of the joys of Black Library novels in how they have a wealth of imagery and background to draw from. The thing however that makes this book stand out from its Iron Warriors counterpart and from all other Black Library novels are the notes and sketches interspersed throughout the book. Ben Counter has gone to great pains to make it look as though the recipient or sender of the evidence has gone to great pains to annotate the book and contradict/correct comments. The sketches of marines, books, weapons and forces make the whole book pop and virtually every few pages there has been something included to make you look at the sketch and think how it might fit in to the “legend” of the Soul Drinkers. I have included some of the sketches from the novel that are available on the Black Library website below this review. A great novel and great filler piece to explain how and why the chapter fell, if one crops up on eBay or anywhere all I can say is get it!

An excellent bit of historical novel writing from the 40,000 point of view and well deserving of 5 out of 5 stars.



Available from:
http://www.blacklibrary.com/
Daenyathos - Ben Counter
128page hardback, numbered, with marker ribbon, custom artwork and hand signed by the author • ISBN 9781849700085

Friday, August 06, 2010

Friday 5 Finds - 06.08.10


This weeks FFF has a distinct Space Marine flavour to it, with a slight hint of guard in one of the tutorials, so here are my top picks from the past week:
  1. An AMAZING Renaissance Marine force, that is now up for sale (get in there you might get lukcy) over on Hogs of War - unable to credit a name - but this force is amazing the level of detail that has been put in to it!
  2. Some simple but sweet Angels Sanguine conversions from Mr Black over on Mr Black's Conversion and Painting blog. A very sweet librarian conversion that may find its way in to one of my forces some how!
  3. A rather impressive True Scale Space Marine Scout squad by Lamenter(?) over on Master of the Forge. Also shows some of his other True Scale work. if your a TS fan this is the place to be.
  4. A well painted and subtle Lamartes - nothing flash which makes it work - from Steve over at E's Painted Minis
  5. A tutorial on casting your own bases from Drathmere over on the 40k Hobby Blog
Hope your as interested as I have been.

Forge World Newsletter #244 - Another Awesome Space Marine Issue!!!

Again the news letter is that good its been recreated as fully as possible:

Hi There,

In this Newsletter we have even more Space Marine releases for you, hot on the heels of those proudly unveiled in our last Newsletter. We’ve also got an FAQ on our recent Renegades and Heretics army list update, and finally we have an exclusive titbit of news about what we’ll be showing off at Games Day Baltimore on August 21st.
Read on to find out more!
Thanks,
Ead Brown


Space Marine Infantry Upgrade Sets Available to Pre-Order Now:

MkIV ‘Maximus’ Armour Set


Leading this weeks’ batch of Space Marine releases is the impressive MkIV ‘Maximus’ Armour Set, available to pre-order now. This intricately sculpted full resin kit, designed by Will Hayes and Phil Stutcinskas, provides enough parts to build 5 Space Marines in MkIV ‘Maximus’ Armour, including two different sets of legs, shoulder pads, arms, torsos and helmets.


This pattern of power armour was developed towards the end of the Great Crusade, using advanced technologies recovered by Astartes forces from scattered Forge Worlds across the Imperium. Despite being intended as the pinnacle of power armour technology, and containing many advanced systems, MkIV armour remains a valued rarity among most Chapters.

You can see the components of this resin kit here, along with a photo gallery showing examples of how these brilliant parts can be combined with other Forge World resin accessories such as our Bolter sets and Special Weapon packs.


The MkIV ‘Maximus’ Armour can be pre-ordered now for despatch in the week commencing August 23rd.


Umbra Ferrox Pattern Bolter Pack


Like the Umbra Pattern Bolter Pack, the Umbra Ferrox bolter variant was mass-produced by Chapter Techmarines in order to ensure a continuous supply of arms and munitions during the dark days of the Horus Heresy. The Ferrox-pattern weapon exchanges the sickle clip for a box magazine, allowing for a greater ammunition capacity. The weapon features an inbuilt long-range gun-sight, incorporating additional Target Reciprocator Systems that mesh with the Autosenses of power armour.


These detailed weapons are perfect for converting Sternguard Veteran Squads, their larger magazines representing the capacity to choose between the various special ammunition types detailed in Codex: Space Marines.


Click here to see the parts and accessories supplied in this pack. The Umbra Ferrox Bolter Pack, designed by Will Hayes and Phil Stutcinskas, contains 10 detailed weapons and optional combat blades, and can be pre-ordered now for despatch in the week commencing August 23rd.


All these fantastic new releases, in addition to the Caestus Assault Ram, MkIII ‘I Armourron’, Umbra Pattern Bolters and Special Weapons, are available to pre-order now for despatch in the week commencing August 23rd.



Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Path of the Warrior - Book Review

Path of the Warrior - Gav Thorpe

The ancient eldar are a mysterious race, each devoting their life to a chosen path which will guide their actions and decide their fate. Korlandril abandons peace for the Path of the Warrior. He becomes a Striking Scorpion, a deadly fighter skilled in the art of close-quarter combat. But the further Korlandril travels down this path, the closer he gets to losing his identity and becoming an avatar of war.

WARNING CONTAINS SPOILERS!!
The latest Warhammer 40,000 from the Black Library deals with the ascension from lowly elder to warrior and beyond of one member of the Craftworld Alaitoc. Now before I begin I must point out that I am an Imperialist through and through, whilst this meant I approached the book from a different point of view from an Eldar fan I still think it would be an interesting read for all to give a view in to the mind of the Eldar.

The Novel deals with the life of Korlandril as he move along the various paths each member of the elder race must travel as they develop and grow. The novel begins as Korlandril the Sculptor treads his path creating beautiful and masterful artworks. Korlandrils personal life soon begins to unravel and it casts him down in to a dark and dangerous place. The speed and way this is handled in the novel despite trying to be aloof and above petty mindedness just ends up making the “young” Eldar look like petulant teenagers and for the most part makes them seem more Human than Eldar, however this pretence is soon dropped once the next path is chosen.

Once of the most impressive parts of the first part of the novel and the initial parts of his move on to the path of the warrior is the way the image of the craftworld is painted. It is shown in a way to show its vastness and it also ends up developing a character of its own. This part of the Eldar way comes to life towards the end of the novel when the craftworld begins to react to invaders but it really helps you understand why each individual craftworld and its residents have their own character.

Once on the path of the warrior things seem to move quickly, though I judge by the writing that it is meant to be months that pass however I don’t think that is conveyed too well, and before long Korlandril has mastered the ways of the Striking Scorpion and is deemed ready for battle. On joining battle things don’t go well or last for long however this unexpected outcome of the battle leads to yet another dark turn and almost too quickly (as even noted by other characters in the book) Korlandril takes a turn on to the part of the Exarch. The move to Exarch again is swift and shocking and again uses the size and Varity of the craftworld to present a completely different view of an aspect Shrine. Finally Korlandril joins the battle for altioc as an Exarch and goes on to join with the Phoenix lord and continue his existence there as an eternal part of the lord.

The novel was well written and gives an interesting overview of the Eldar, their way of life and most importantly their belief system. Each chapter was prefixed with a short “Extract” of the Eldar myths and legends, whilst written in a pseudo Lord of the Rings style and reminiscent of some of the myths and theology of the Indian subcontinent. When reading these insights it does help set up the novel and make you realise why things are as ritualised and as ordered as they seem to be for the eldar. The whole novel is sprinkled with references to the fall and these legends and these mixed with the constant changing of characters names (and unfortunately the tense in which they are talked about) do slightly confuse the past with the present, it seems when Korlandril became an Exarch he was no longer Korlandril and in places it became confusing but for the most part the novel worked and flowed well.

The ending of the novel was interesting and brought all the characters, be they Eldar or the Craftworld together. The ending also in my mind answered many questions on the nature of the Phoenix lords, and most importantly gave the Black Library chance to get Space Marines in to the novel (and a mention of what I can only assume was the new Caestus Assault Ram from Forge World).

My only major issues with the novel as a whole, despite its smaller failings, was the speed in which it developed. The novel moved too quickly through the path of the warrior and ended too soon. The characters and their interactions could have been further developed and could have revealed more about the Eldar and their beliefs but I guess it was just one novel not a series.

Overall due to the brief nature of the novel I think it have earned its three and a half stars and that’s from someone who isn’t an Eldar fan so for all those Pointy eared types out there this would be a great novel to pick up.

 
 

Availible from:

http://www.blacklibrary.com/
Path of the Warrior - Gav Thorpe
softback, 416pp • ISBN 9781844168743
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