Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Of Changes, Playtesting, Army Choices, and Much Length; Part the Second

Ok, are you still with me after the last epistle? Yeah? Good! No real ado at all for this post, just picking up where I left off. If these two posts were a hashtag, they'd be #FullForceFriday...

The 986th currently counts two formidable Contemptor Dreadnoughts amongst its strength - Zhukar the Unyielding, entombed within Ferrus Pertinax, and Malbeus the Harrower, entombed within Perditus Magnificat:

Zhukar was the first Iron Warrior I painted

Brother Zhukhar stood alongside Centurion-Marshall Uborevich in the Emperor’s name, purging heinous agri-cults in the Nordafrik Conclaves and debased data-warlock tribes in the ravaged cities of the Francks, earning a reputation for unerring marksmanship, cold strategy and merciless humours.

When the Wars of Unification became the Great Crusade, the CMLXXXVI Grand Company voyaged far from Terra and their Legion brothers alike, reclaiming world after world from the clutches of Old Night. They fought xenos predators and tainted petty-fiefdoms alike, and always did Zhukhar form the tip of the Iron Warrior’s spear, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Tauromanch; matching his commander’s hammer blows with brutal firepower. Upon the benighted world of 15-986-22, the Iron Warriors stood against a nameless xeno-kind, strange creatures that took the forms of others to disguise their own, armed with beam weapons of an unknown design. The fighting was cruel and constant, and casualties were high, forcing the Iron Warriors to construct long chains of redoubts and fortifications to house their supplies and for their Apothecaries to minister to the wounded.

The largest of these was ringed with many-layered defences; bunkers and trenches in an impenetrable pattern, and it was here that Zhukhar’s command came under an attack in unprecedented strength. The xenos-breed seemingly ignored the defence lines, attacking directly into the central keep and seeking out wounded Space Marines with blasphemous vigour. Zhukhar ordered his brothers to withdraw, personally forming the rearguard and pacing steadily backwards. His rotor cannon burned red-hot with his ceaseless fire, and the alien beam-weapons inflicted terrible wounds upon him. Zhukhar cared not, and despite his torn flesh managed to overload the great antomantic arc-reactor that powered the keep, outnumbered hundreds of times over. The resulting blast engulfed the majority of the xenos force, and Uborevich the Tauromanch was able to isolate and destroy the remainder with ease. Zhukhar’s remains, blind and horribly rent, were recovered in the midst of the shattered keep and by some fluke chance life still burned in him.

The Contemptor-pattern dreadnought Ferrus Pertinax had recently been delivered to the 986th by the Mechanicum Forge-Barque that accompanied the fleet, and Zhukhar – already being called The Unyielding for his stubborn and uncaring defence – was entombed within it. The weapon he so often fielding in life was replaced with an early-pattern Kheres assault cannon, and restored, Zhukhar yet stands alongside his Centurion-Master in war undending.

Brother Malbeus was once a Centurion-Moritat of the 986th Grand Company, a dedicated and implacable killer who cared only for victory at any cost. Considered ill-omened by some, the rank of Centurion-Moritat was unknown among Ieronim Mitras’ troops throughout the Unification Wars until, in the ancient land of Franckia, a coven of heinous data-warlock tribes renounced the Emperor’s just rule and rose up in bloody rebellion.

Furious at this betrayal, Mitras was granted sanction to use weapons otherwise forbidden, and the first of the 986th’s Destroyer cadres was formed by then-Captain Malbeus from amongst his own company. At his order, the proscribed horrors of rad-weaponry were brought forth to mar the ailing soil of Terra once more; the data-warlocks’ own forbidden lore scant defence against the steady tread of Malbeus and his Destroyers. Attacking unlooked-for in support of the main advance of the 986th, the ominous chitter of rad-counters and the terrible blight of chemical fog were Malbeus’ banner and herald, and before long the last remnants of the data-cult were besieged in an ancient and crumbling librarium, deep in the heart of a long-dead and nameless city.

The oldest and most powerful data-warlocks gathered in a deep and hidden vault, hundreds of their slaves being sacrificed to the Iron Warriors’ guns while they took forth their most ancient and powerful of digital sorceries. Into this vile gathering, Malbeus plunged like a thunderbolt, plasma pistols burning hot and the hideous blasts of his rad-grenades sloughing flesh from bone all about him. When the main assault forces of the 986th broke through the chaff of the data-warlocks, they found a charnel house at the centre of the complex – the high priests of the cults, ravaged and deformed by the terrible weaponry of Malbeus, lay dead or dying, their forbidden magics and malign yet it was a hollow triumph to the fell warriors of the hand-picked cadre of Destroyers. They bore the ragged corpse of their commander solemnly out of the shattered vault complex, and delivered him to Warsmith-General Mitras and his Apothecarion.

Some vestige of life still burned within Malbeus’ body, and he was duly implanted into the first Contemptor-pattern Dreadnought chassis to be supplied to the 986th, dubbed Perditus Magnificat. Although his new form precludes Malbeus – now called the Harrower for his brutal campaign against the data-warlocks of Franckia – from utilising the rad-weaponry he so preferred in flesh-life, he wields the scorched multi-melta of his chassis with the same skill and cold fury, often acting in support of the Destroyer cadre he originally created.

The Elites section of the 986th is currently rounded out by Digamma-Omicron-Zero-Mu Rapier Battery (yeah that's right, D-O-0-M) and the dreaded veterans of Bessonov Tyrant Squad:
D-O-0-M Alpha

D-O-0-M Beta
D-O-0-M Gamma
(once the subject of feverish speculation about new Forge World kits)
Always seeking to ensure every possible tactical advantage, the Rapier armoured carriers of Digamma-Omicron-Zero-Mu Battery were first manufactured for the IV/986 Secondary Expeditionary Fleet aboard the great Forge-Barque Isomorphic Paradox as the fleet left the Sol system and set course for the trackless void. The grim crewmen of these workhorses of the 986th perhaps epitomise the philosophy of the IV Legion as a whole, stoically accepting any duty no matter how gruelling, and taking a certain malign pleasure in carefully positioning their weapons in optimal firing positions to corral and channel an enemy force with overlapping graviton blasts; the laser destroyer of Unit Beta acting much as an infantry sniper would to deliver the killing blow to a trapped and ailing mechanised or heavily-armoured target.

Originally built to playtest the rules for these bad boys, they proved their worth against Alan Bligh's Iron Hands in one of the best games I've ever played

The massive armoured form of Tyrant Siege Terminator armour is a relatively new sight amongst the ranks of the IV/986th, introduced in the closing stages of the destruction of the Nozhetarushi Technomancers.

As the worlds dominated by this fell civilisation were slowly taken by the forces of the IV/986 Fleet, ever-larger and more powerful machine constructs were deployed by the Technomancers in their desperation. Konstantin Bagramyan, senior sergeant of the 986th’s Terminator elite, identified the potential benefit of adapted Cataphractii armour mounting significant heavy weapons to target and destroy the dreadful engines of the Technomancers. After various experimental designs and combinations of armament being tested by the magii of the Isomorphic Paradox, the addition of a Cyclone missile launcher was deemed the most tactically flexible.

The first battlefield deployment of the Tyrant armour was during the Incident at Khalkhin-Gol, a massed counter-attack by the Nozhetarushi with the intention of crushing and eliminating the greater part of the 986th’s strength and its command and control elements. Teleporting directly into the path of the rampaging speartip of Technomancer war engines, the five veterans of Bessonov Terminator Squad immediately came under punishing fire. Trusting in their armour, and striding forth into the fray, however, they stood unbowed in the storm of munitions, Sergeant Bagramyan’s enhanced targeting systems identifying optimal firing solutions for each of the estimated six hundred enemy war machines. The horror of the Technomancer armies was in their use of abominable intelligences – fighting machines that did not require a human element in their construction and deployment, unlike the glorious battle-servitors and war-robots of Blessed Mars – and unfettered by any mortal concerns, the slaughter wreaked during the Kalkhin-Gol engagement was great indeed.

Bessonov stood unyielding, however – the very fabric of their Cataphractii armour beginning to fray and fail under the hellish bombardment. Just as it seemed they would surely fall, Sergeant Bagramyan’s targeting data was fed to each of his brothers, and the counter-bombardment began in a hail of Cyclone missiles. The Technomancer war-engines were systematically bracketed and destroyed in volley after volley of co-ordinated strikes, and within a matter of minutes, hundreds of the infernal devices were burning wrecks. The tide was turned by Bessonov, and since that day the use of Tyrant Siege Terminator armour has been enshrined in the tactical doctrine of Warsmith-General Mitras.

I can feel myself getting the itch to paint! To avoid bombarding you (see what I did there) with too much text at once, dear reader, I'm going to make this at least a 3-part post. Next time, Troops! And for now, I leave you with some shots of the army as a whole on the field of battle, fighting against Carl Tuttle's Word Bearers.

Talk about a refused flank!

The Iron Curtain shuffles forwards...

That Spartan fills me with concern... Lorgar Himself is in it (clue: I lost this game)

You can probably guess my plan - the Predators are about to commence a 'danger close' fire mission...


  1. You don't post often, but when you do we get our monies worth!
    Great stuff keep it coming!

    1. Cheers Herr Grune. How's things?

  2. I'd have to agree with Mr. Green, epic postage Ead!