For the holidays and our annual club Apocalypse game last week, Jason and TJ organized a Secret Servitor among a good number of the PAGE 40k players. Everybody was secretly assigned a random person, and painted a character or other 40k model or accessory for them. I was assigned Jason himself.

At first I wasn’t sure what to put together, as he doesn’t play Imperials anymore, and what few traitor Marines he does field are elaborately built and quite unique, so I didn’t have any good bits to throw at a unique model. Then I remembered I did have a relatively uncommon and distinctive Daemon-appropriate model laying around: Nightmaw, from Forge World. I had gotten him to be basically an NPC and/or objective for the Solypsus 9 campaign but never got around to putting him together, so I’m happy to see the model put into play.

This is the final product, my first model painted for 2016:





The Nightmaw model comes with an infantry character named Sayl the Faithless, and they have an excellent official story (from Forge World):

Sayl is pre-eminent among the Dolgan tribe, and his rise to ascendancy began with his allegiance to Schalkain the Vile, as one of his seven seer-apprentices. Sayl’s honeyed lies turned each acolyte against the others, and fanned the flames of suspicion into murderous strife. Eventually Schalkain was manipulated into conducting a dark rite involving Sayl and three fellow ‘loyal’ apprentices which resulted in Schalkain’s horrific death at the hands of a daemon beholden to Sayl, while the three surviving acolytes were twisted into a terrible beast known as Nightmaw. Hated and feared, Sayl the Faithless and Nightmaw now march alongside Tamurkhan the Maggot Lord.

I mean, honestly, if you’re going to hang out with a guy named Sayl the Faithless, you’re basically begging to be turned into a Gollum-wannabe…


Painting him up I used my airbrush quite a bit, spraying the tan underside, green topside, grey rock, and black base rim, starting from a white primer. The blood paint and wash wound up a bit too thick, so coloring details of the claws and teeth were lost, but he looks super gore-drenched. As Jason exclaimed approvingly “Aw, he’s grooossss!” I debated a long while about how to wash the model, and eventually went with Athonian Camoshade over everything. That turned out to be a good call, it tied everything together nicely versus a black or brown on the rock. A couple layers of it went onto key green sections like along the vertebrae to accentuate those details.

I definitely need to switch out my dull coat as he came out shinier than I would have hoped, just like my Terminators did. I was hoping it was a question of spraying too much on them. Some of the green variations are also a bit too subtle, some of the texture and other bits would show up better in photos if they were more overt. The mud brown base got washed too thickly and caught a bit of overspray while doing the rim, so it’s too black and doesn’t stand out from the rim, especially in photos.

But I’m super happy with how the rock turned out. It’s a chunk of pink foam carved up and then coated in liquid greenstuff to give more texture and protect from the primer spray. The base physically also turned out well. I didn’t want to use the stock base because it’s square, a 40mm base would have been too small for the skull collection, and 60mm looked too big. So I wound up Dremeling the bottom off an empty 50mm vitamin bottle I had laying around, which turned out near perfect. If I did it again I’d try to find something a bit deeper in order to pore some resin water effect in there and make a nice little creepy grotto, but it probably wouldn’t change the general look and feel that much.

Overall I’m pretty happy with this guy, and it was entertaining to paint something besides Marine armor.


Appropriately, in his debut, Nightmaw lurked by some rocks throughout the Apocalypse battle royale and survived to the end. Quite unlike essentially all of the Kingbreakers. Maybe I should consider more deeply the powers of the dark ones???

Tournament of Blood

Sunday we held our monthly 40k event at Redcap’s. Six players came out despite being summer break for the colleges, Sunday, and Father’s Day to boot. Armies featured Space Marines, Blood Angels, Khorne Daemonkin, Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Daemons, and Tyranid. A few more photos than those here are in the gallery. Full results are on the event webpage.

Michael's excellent converted Knight ally stalks the ruins for its Tyranid masters.

Michael’s excellent converted Knight ally stalks the ruins for its Tyranid masters.


This time around the core of the event was a straight competition, rather than the alliances and deliberative pairings we’ve been doing recently. Matchups were all paired individually in pure tournament fashion and the missions straightforward. The one note with them is that I’ve begun experimenting again with players choosing continuous versus final objective marker scoring for their primary objective. It seemed to work well within our overall format, which already gives substantial strategic options via the choice of secondary objectives. An even mix of players chose each primary objective mechanism, a good sign.

Colin also made the point that our Maelstrom missions should always include our Meatgrinder (kill Troops), Assassination (kill characters), or similar secondary objective options, to help counter armies overtuned for that format—namely the updated Space Marines. I had been doing so as part of the overall goal of balancing primary missions oriented toward ground control with several kill points options (alongside a ground control option to double down on that), and vice versa. I had not though thought of that specifically as a way to help neuter those armies a bit, so it was a good observation to keep in mind.

The Tournament of Blood

Keeping with our goal of including narrative components or other side tracks alongside the tournament competition, we did run one small thematic aspect: The Tournament of Blood! Each player got a card of achievements their warlord could work toward throughout the day. At the end of each game they marked off particular accomplishments for their boss, and were scored separately and a prize given purely on those points.

This seemed to work out pretty well. With the players warned in advance, most of the chosen warlords came ready to fight. I do think though that there’s enough diversity among the achievements for factions that don’t have characters suited for direct combat to still score well. Several account for a support oriented or backfield command role, and ultimately those players can just focus on the primary missions anyway.

In the end there was a good distribution of achievements scored. Obviously they mostly tracked with overall success, but some players did focus more or less on the achievements. The second highest player in the general scoring came out last on the achievements, while the second highest warlord came out second to last in the general scoring. The two of them just had different priorities and capabilities, exactly what we’re trying to support. The latter in particular came out specifically for this event because his warlord’s a great character with a whole background story and such that he wanted to have fight the others, so I considered that a success. The one minor presentation tweak I have to make is having a place to scribble the warlord character’s name on the card, for the post-event storytelling.

Warlord achievements in The Tournament of Blood.

Warlord achievements in The Tournament of Blood.


So, with that, we announce the titles for the inaugural Tournament of Blood:

  • The Lord of the Cheese: Alex, Swords of Dorn (12pts)
  • The Young Pup: TJ, Sanguine Hunters (12pts)
  • The Berzerker: Chris, Chaos Space Marines (11pts)
  • The Old Gods’ Faithful: Colin, Daemonkin (9pts)
  • The Slowballer: Brett, Chaos Daemons (4pts)
  • The Lonely Xenos: Michael, Tyranids (3pts)

Again, a few more photos than those here are in the gallery and full results are on the event webpage.

The Swords of Dorn battle Chaos horrors among ravaged forests.

The Swords of Dorn battle Chaos horrors among ravaged forests.

Apocalypse on Solypsus 9


Saturday was the fifth event in our Solypsus 9 campaign: Apocalypse! Their retreat last month having been a feint, the Legions of Discord returned en masse and assaulted the Forces of Order at all the colony’s installations. Battling it out with 16,000 points on the table were:

  • Legions of Discord: Chaos Daemons, Chaos Space Marines, Necrons
  • Forces of Order: Swords of Dorn, Sanguine Hunters, Dark Angels, and Kingbreakers Space Marines

More photos are in the gallery. Results and a few details are on the event webpage.

The Apocalypse underway!

The Apocalypse underway!

Solypsus 9

Months ago a starving Tyranid horde dropped on the small, forgotten, and largely barren Imperial outpost of Solypsus 9. Caught off guard, Imperial forces rushed to defend the colony and safeguarded the major technical installations, reinforcing the Mine, Lab, Comms Tower, and Starport, but leaving the miserable civilian population trapped within the Hab Blocks to be overrun and feasted upon.

All manner of xenos then joined the fight, whether simply to revel in the bloodshed or for darker motivations. The significance of Solypsus 9 then shifted, as the Forces of Order continued reinforcing the planet rather than abandoning the fight or declaring it Exterminatus. Meanwhile the Spoiler Horde made a new, purposeful assault on the Laboratory and knocked the defenders back to the Generator.

Intrigued by this deeper shading on the conflict, the Chaos gods finally sent their minions and champions to the conflict. Intense multi-faceted fighting between all three alliances splintered control for the colony, knocking the Spoilers out of all the major installations and securing a breachpoint on the planet for the Legions of Discord among the Hab Blocks, and Order regaining the Laboratory.

The war then continued to escalate, with ever larger forces drawn into battles over the primary installations. Backed by their sheer numbers, the Spoilers stormed in from the desert and claimed the Mine. Order chased Discord out of the Hab Blocks, but had no idea what was awakening below them…

Disposition of Solypsus 9 after our fourth map event, Apocalypse to come...

Disposition of Solypsus 9 after our fourth map event, Apocalypse to come…


Seven players turned out for the Apocalypse on Solypsus 9. The board was 12’x4′, with lightly themed terrain sections representing the colony’s six installations: The Laboratory, Mine, Hab Blocks, Comms Tower, Starport, and Generator. Primary objectives were placed roughly evenly in fixed locations for each of those. Secondary objectives were then placed by each alliance outside their own deployment zone; these wound up largely along the centerline of the battlefield. Each player designated a warlord as usual and one of these for each alliance was chosen as their overall warmaster.

Battlefield for the Apocalypse on Solypsus 9.

Battlefield for the Apocalypse on Solypsus 9.

Scoring was conducted every game turn, with alliances earning:

  • Primary Objectives: Victory points worth the turn count divided by two (rounding up) per marker;
  • Secondary Objectives: One victory point per marker;
  • Warmaster: Six victory points for eliminating the opposing warmaster;
  • Warlords: Three victory points for each enemy warlord eliminated;
  • Superheavy vehicles, gargantuan creatures, and mighty bulwarks: Two victory points for each such enemy unit destroyed.

We also ran an individual tournament inside the battle. Before the game each player selected an overall mission for their alliance to work toward and be scored on. Throughout the battle they also earned points through personal tactical achievements, such as holding an objective or killing psykers.

Personal missions and achievements amidst the Apocalypse.

Personal missions and achievements amidst the Apocalypse.


With a keen interest in why the Imperium had not simply written off the barren rock, the Legions of Discord once again descended on Solypsus 9. Their onslaught quickly supplanted the Spoiler Horde both physically on the planet, and mentally in the minds of the Forces of Order. With its existential foe now truly engaged, the Imperium had no choice but to commit all of its greatest resources to a final apocalyptic showdown for the planet.

Older minds, however, had other plans. Though their increasing presence throughout the war should have been a sign, all were caught off guard by the eruption of a Necron Citadel below the Hab Blocks, pushing aside and crumbling entire buildings as it rose to the surface. Solypsus 9 was thus revealed as a hidden tomb world, sleeping through the eons until the fighting awoke the martial ranks of the Old Ones. Chaos warriors and daemons quickly adapted, implicitly working in tandem with the automatons against the arrogant Emperor.

Against this combined threat, the Imperium’s finest leapt into battle. The Swords of Dorn and the Sanguine Hunters dropped an entire army onto the Necron Citadel. Squad after squad rushed from Drop Pods and Stormravens in an urgent attempt to preempt the legions of Necrons sleeping within from gaining a foothold on ground level. Kingbreakers dropped on the Starport directly among entire buildings of Nurgle’s pustulent champions in hopes of preserving orbital access from the ground. Dark Angels drove amongst the heavy machinery, cranes, and power silos of the Mine against the Iron Warriors building a fortress in its works.

Kingbreakers Squad Harbinger and Dark Angels Tacticals work to purge the alleyways and rubble surrounding the Hab Blocks.

Kingbreakers Squad Harbinger and Dark Angels Tacticals work to purge the alleyways and rubble surrounding the Hab Blocks.

Necron constructs engage the Swords of Dorn deploying from their Drop Pods.

Necron constructs engage the Swords of Dorn deploying from their Drop Pods.

But even as the alpha assault struck hard and Discord seemed to teeter on the precipice, the opposing forces were simply preparing for the counter-attack, the battle hardly begun.

Fleets of Necron flyers darkened the skies, raining bombs and Gauss blasts on ground forces before discharging Necron Warriors into vital positions. Their soldiers deployed to a myriad of critical locations across the battlefield, they then turned and took up dogfights with the Imperial air forces, harrying them throughout the conflict. Thus supported from the air, their legions quickly struck at the lightly guarded base of the Dark Angels’ charge on the east flank, contesting the Generator. Meanwhile, the first chapter’s forces already in the field were slowly ground to a halt against the impregnable defensive positions the Iron Warriors had already constructed among the Mine’s works. Their assault was finally completely repulsed when a Decimator’s malefic demon spirit rose from its own wreckage to lay Ezekiel low with a furious fusillade of Butcher Cannon fire.

A Soul Grinder exhorts Iron Warriors and Flesh Hounds on through the alleyways toward the Dark Angels' advance.

A Soul Grinder exhorts Iron Warriors and Flesh Hounds on through the alleyways toward the Dark Angels’ advance.

To the west, Kingbreakers and Nurgle daemons swept back and forth in mortal combat. Far extended into enemy territory and hotly embattled, the tide shifted for the Imperials when burning warriors of the Legion of the Damned materialized among their midst, blasting away the plague-ridden enemy hosts with eldritch fire. Such were the numbers of the horrors however that even this was not enough, and final control of the Starport came down to the lone Sergeant Titus holding his ground against a chittering insect daemon, locking the monstrous creature in close combat long enough for the facility to be secured.

At the beating heart of the battle, the Swords of Dorn and Sanguine Hunters together fought wave after wave of Necrons emerging from their risen Citadel. Harried by daemons prowling the edges, they carried the fight to the very entrances of the underlying tombs, eventually overcoming the defenders and stemming the tide of living metal gushing forth.

The Swords of Dorn fight to the very doorstep of the tombs.

The Swords of Dorn fight to the very doorstep of the tombs.

Nurgle is beset on all sides by the Legion of the Damned.

Nurgle is beset on all sides by the Legion of the Damned.

From the mounting piles of dead though lumbered the most horrible monstrosities. Towering above them all loomed The Lord of the Blighted Pit himself, Scabeiathrax. Called through The Warp by the rampant suffering, disease, and death wrought by the campaign, The Maggotspore coalesced into being already shuffling inevitably toward Order’s defensive line around the Laboratory. From mighty Knight Errants to foolhardy Tactical Marines, any that dared oppose its path were absentmindedly swept away by its foul claws. Soon it came to stand over the burning carcass of the Laboratory complex, unchallenged by all the Imperium’s might.

Scabeiathrax and the Knight Errant Greenheart face off among the Laboratory.

Scabeiathrax and the Knight Errant Greenheart face off among the Laboratory.


After six turns, The Forces of Order emerged triumphant with 61 points to The Legion of Discord’s 51. At the final moment, Order held the Hab Blocks, Comms Tower, and Starport, while Discord claimed the Laboratory and Mine, and the Generator remained contested.

Jason and Alex won the individual honors for Discord and Order respectively with their daemons and Swords of Dorn, as well as claiming all the painting votes. TJ’s Sanguine Hunters claimed the prize for best general.

Mortalis Solypsus

This was the last stage for now of the battle for overall control of the colony. Later this summer though the combatants will descend into the wreckage of the Laboratory and Mine in search of the secrets buried deep therein. Stay tuned for yet more fighting in the campaign for Solypsus 9!

kingbreakers-iconEven on one knee in his mountainous power armor, Titus had to jam his chainsword into a rent piece of deck plate to keep from sliding back. His free hand instinctively tried to hold together his shattered torso, but of course could do nothing through the bloodied remnants of his armor. The furious windstorm beat by the daemon’s insectile wings was near overpowering. More than twice as tall as he, it was even more imposing nonchalantly hovering a few feet off the ground. Dismembered parts of his squadmates rolled past Titus in the gale and off the edge of the landing pad the monster had turned into its personal arena. As the wind shifted aside for a moment, Titus’ head lolled heavily, utterly exhausted. He saw what had caught the monster’s attention, a technical team moving into the nearby control buildings to attempt to activate any of the remaining bulk lifters. The beast gave another of its piercing shrieks, ratcheting up the pitch and volume so high it somehow blew out all the circuitry in his helmet. Vox traffic, sensor signals, the constant noise of a roiling battlefield, it all cut away instantly. In the sudden silent clarity that followed, Titus understood. He was going to die here, or worse. But if he could keep the daemon engaged and away from the control building, he would die doing his duty to the last. Shakily he stood up and freed his chainsword. With not a moment to spare, he charged forward and drove its revving blade up to the hilt in the side of the beast’s chest. It screamed at an even higher pitch and turned back toward Titus. Now he had its full attention.

Titus battles the daemon fly to keep it from the control building.

Titus battles the daemon fly to keep it from the control building.