20th Jun, 2012

Some of you may know that I've been helping out Ed over on Troll Forged Miniatures. Ed has been busy these last couple of years developing a new spin-castable plastic, that is hard (75D), heat resistant, and easy to work with. This new material is called Trollcast, and the first box set of miniatures has been released: Andrew May's Armoured Halberdier Goblins.

Andrew May's Armoured Halberdier Goblins

Andrew May's Armoured Halberdier Goblins

These Goblins remind me of the the 80's classic film Labyrinth (staring David Bowie), with the wonderful custom and puppet designs by Brian Froud (and Ellis Flyte). They have quite a nostalgic feel to them, and at $10 for 10 the price take me back as well!

18th Jan, 2012

Seems quite a few internet sites are going 'black' for the day in protest of the SOPA and the PROTECT IP Act (or the internet 'blacklist' bills, hence the 'black'). I thought I would put up a post to encourage my American cousins across the pond to protest against these acts. Once again the internet makes this nice and easy; simply find one of the many protest forms on the net, many with the blurb filled in. Here is the one that popped up with firefox this morning (but anyone can use it). An here is wikipedia's one.

Server change
5th Oct, 2011

My sites are transferring over to a new server, so they will be down for a moment, but it should be back up in no time. This is being done as there were a lot of 503 errors, and when it did load it took an ages. The new server is more powerful; so it should deal with the load better...

Update: Now that's over, I can get back to writing up those game rules!

Technology line
7th Jul, 2011

This is how I see the order of technology advancement  in 40K (and Sciror). Each level of tech building on the last, with speculative breakthroughs, and incorporating the flavour of the setting.  It's how all the technologies link together, of all the species of 40K, and how that technology integrates with a setting that includes extra-science (the warp) and the knock on phenomena of psi-powers.

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Me-can-icus, or Me-can't-icus
10th Jun, 2011

This post is about the Adeptus Mechanicus, their perceived level of technical ability as portrayed in background, and two opposing points of view commonly encountered on 40K forums. In the background of 40K the Adeptus Mechanicus seem to be pig ignorant of the technology they control, while atmospheric of the stetting, it seems at odds with common sense notion of the technical ability needed to maintain high end systems. Such high end systems would need a thorough understanding of how they work in order to repair them. Rote learning, an often used phrase to explain the ignorant building advanced systems, will only get you so far.  I thought I'd chip in my ideas on this whole 'Adeptus Me-can-icus, or Me-can't-icus' debate.

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Org Concepts
13th Apr, 2011

I have been messing about with the Org concepts some more. I came up with one I liked in a doodle while on the telephone. Funny how inspiration strikes when you are not really trying! I scanned the scrap of paper into Photoshop and worked it up. The Orgs are the Sciror version of Orcs, but I wanted them to be even meaner looking (if that's possible), a mix between 40K's Orks, rage zombies (from 28 days), and a dash of crocodile. Notable differences are the lack of lips (I may play up the shark teeth angle a bit more in later versions), the skeletal nose, and rounded ears.

Space Marine - Modus Operandi
11th Feb, 2011

This post follows on from the previous post: 'Space Marine Capabilities'. The concept is to extrapolate the battlefield role of Space Marines using the capabilities defined in that post, and drawing in other concepts and definitions defined in 'Philverse'. Where possible I will add a link to any concepts referenced. Now we have an idea of what a marine can endure, it clarifies what their role on the battlefield really is – or what it should be.


Now we have an understanding of what a Space Marine's Power Armour can physically resist, it seems glaring obvious that they are vulnerable to fixed weapons and heavy weapons. Space Marines may be small in comparison to an APC or IFV, but they are not going to want to be caught out in the open. This means they will have to use cover like everyone else. However using cover is not really 'shock troop' enough for Space Marines, we need a way to get them into combat far quicker, yet with the element of surprise (the whole idea of shock!). One of the fluff heresies I introduced was the idea of active camouflage.

Active Camouflage

This means the outer ablative layer is going to get an application of active camouflage material (rather than a Predator like cloaking field  - which would be great but a bit too high-tech). This material will mimic the surrounding terrain and materials. In combination with this active camouflage surfacing, the armour also needs a way to manage it's heat signature. This can be done with a thermoelectric layer to recover heat energy and convert it to electricity for storage. Therefore the armour would emit very little heat and this would counter vision enhancement gear that scans for IR (infrared) and T-rays (Terahertz radiation).

This means it is quite hard to detect a stationary Space Marine while their active camouflage is on. This would depend on surroundings. While in soft cover they would be very hard to make out even when directly looking at them, but they would be much easier to see in desolate terrain like a desert (for some missions they may need an active camo cloak to breakup their outline). In the dark they would be virtually impossible to see (even if lookouts are equipped with IR gear, and other advanced scanners).

Colour of fear?

The use of active camouflage does require some justification. There is a famous quote in 40K that camouflage is the 'colour of cowardice'.

It is also true that the Marines primary aim is to kill the enemy. If camouflage allows them to circumvent heavy weapons, avoid looses, allowing more marine to survive to kill the enemy behind those heavy weapons - the Marine may accept this as necessary. In effect their camouflage allows them to get to enemies 'hiding' behind heavy weapons.

It may be that camouflage is frowned upon only in certain situations. Standing up and getting your head blow off with a heavy weapons is worse than sneaking about. Camo is the lesser of the two; sneaking about trumps having no head. A Marine may not like sneaking about, but they console themselves that any dishonour they feel will be taken out on the enemy – 'How dare you force me to sneak about!'.

Another areas where active camouflage really shines in counter guerilla warfare.  Guerilla fighters will flee from marines, often with the aim to leading the Marines into a heavy weapon kill zone, so the marines have to sneak up on them. In this instance 'camouflage' allows the Marines to engage enemies who will flee. In this instance it's a  lot like hunting. Though for this role I imagine the Scouts would cut their teeth.


The idea is for the marine to get across open ground and behind enemy lines without detection. Once behind enemy lines they are clear of most fixed weapons and can resort to shock tactics. The first is changing the active camouflage layer to their chapter colours, which makes then highly visible (most marines have very bright chapter colours). For an enemy to suddenly be confronted with massive 7-8' Space Marines, encased in small arms resistant armour, in and amongst their number is going to be quite a shock and the resulting combat is going to be chaotic (this is a big reason for my notes in the bolter, as having Power Armour be bolter resistant would greatly reduce the casualties of friendly fire: so the Marines can really let rip). The enemy are probably armed with small arms and this is not going to affect the Marines. This means the enemy is likely to rout as the marines can mow them down with impunity.

More shock

Another way to get into the enemy complex would be via drop pod. Using the ideas I put forward in my drop pod article, they marines can smash into the enemy complex at high speed, creating a huge blast crater on impact, and deploy. They could use the edges of the crater for cover and many bunkers would be damaged.

Battlefield Role

Taking all this into account a Marine would remain hidden for the most part until they are behind enemy lines. Once behind enemy lines they would change back to their chapter colours and let rip. This would be extremely shocking to the enemy, and disrupt enemy lines. Being attacked by Marines from behind, while all your heavy weapons are facing the other direction, is going to cause chaos.

Table top game

I suppose if you translated this into the table top game, the marines can be 'teleported' in. This 'teleport' is not a real teleport, it merely accounts for their stealth abilities. Such an attack would force psychology tests and most likely make many opponents flee (or at least move away to regroup).

Looking at this type of attack, it would seem appropriate to allow the IG to deploy Marine allies in this manner as a surprise attack.

In the open Marines would be harder to target, and modifiers would apply. Renegade humans would be very vulnerable to Marines, but aliens may be far more capable.

I suspect the Eldar could track them (through psionics), so could the Nids and Necrons, maybe even the Orks have an idea where the Marines are by instinct. In these instances perhaps the Marine player could use 'blips' from Space Hulk to disguise the true nature of his units.

Small arms would be less effective: so uprate their armour value in some way. There would also be a few special rules – like weaker values when facing power weapons. I'm not too keen on the Armour mechanics, perhaps simply added the value to the T score? Another debate for another time.

Perception of the 1,000 Chapter Project
15th Jan, 2011

It seems a few fans are suspicious of the 1,000 chapter project, or rather the intent behind the project. It seems a common misconception that the project is attempting to set everything is stone. If this were the case it would indeed stifle creativity in the long run, and deny many fans a name of their choice because it is already in the list. This is not the case. Below is a reply to a post made on Warseer (it references the Warseer threads relating to the 1,000 chapter project).

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Space Marine Capabilities
26th Dec, 2010

This is an overview of what a Space Marine can do according to the 'Philverse' explanations of 40K technology. The aim is to provide a framework that re-enforces the heroic image of the 40K Space Marine. As 40K matures and pushes more and more into new media like computer games and movies, it seems the capabilities of the Marine changes to match the new medium. I know the Black Library's position is to take 40K and make it 'real', and therefore bring 40K to life, and that approach yields very different Marine compared to the table top game. The same holds true for computer games like Dawn of War. None of these various media versions of Marines seem very compatible with each other, and often each new expansion seems to drift towards Marine mediocrity.

This can lead to Marines being portrayed in a way that does not seem to match what they are. Often they seem to acting like trigger happy 'mooks' or 'cannon fodder', and end up being killed off in droves. This popular image jars with supposed tactical prowess, robustness, and fire-power of the Angels of Death. It makes even less sense when we consider their rarity, and the difficulty of the conversion process of man into marine.

Either they are the 'elite of the elite' (and should act like it) or they are not (and should not be purported as such). It would be nice to have an overview of what a Marine can actually do, and how they act. To define their abilities and character in a '40K cheat sheet'. This could help to avoid the Marines ending up in roles that make little sense for a Marine - often nothing more than new clothes to wrap up the same old mooks.

The idea of this post is simple enough: work out how marines can function on the battle field if they really are as good and smart as they are said to be. To close the discrepancies between what they, and their gear, is said to be able to do - and how it ends up being portrayed. I'll start with my ideas on Power Armour, and how effective I think weapons should be against it. When I get the chance I'll follow up with some more ideas. Remember this is 'Philverse' version of 40K, and while I'll try and match 40K canon as I see it, I may diverge in my musings...

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Ultramarines movie
24th Dec, 2010

I had the pleasure of watching the Ultramarines movie thanks to a friend. To cut to the chase I did enjoy it, but overall it did not hang together as a Space Marine movie. I had to use a bit of mental gymnastics to deal with the 'logic bomb' at the heart of it (that may be a bit strong, I've only just watched it, and I may mellow in the days to come 😛 ).

Please do not read this if you have not seen the movie as what follows may spoil your enjoyment. I have tried to stay away from the actual story and concentrate on the underlying premises. This is very nerdy, and only really applies to fans who take 40K far too seriously to be healthy. Most will not care one jot about what bugged me. If you can forgive the taint of nerd rage, please read on;

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