Taking and holding trenches in Warhammer 40,000

So now that I’ve finally started work on my modular trench battlefield, I’ve been thinking, how best to take and hold trenches, or more succinctly which armies and units would be best for the task.  My goal with the battlefield is to take Warhammer 40,000 back to its World War One influences, alas I fear no amount of carving foam will stop skimmers, jump infantry, or deep striking.  To that end I think Codex Space Marine and Imperial Guard armies will do the best on this board and the mission that will go along with it.  Those armies are quite versatile and have access to skimmers with transport capeability.

But what about… Eldar and Tau they have skimmer transports?  Eldar in particular with all their specialized troops may do a pretty good job of taking entrenched positions, but holding them?  Eldar are supposedly not geared for a war of attrition.  As for the Tau, even with Kroot I’m not sure they would do a very good job at storming the trenches.  Now Orks and Tyranids, they can send waves of troops at the enemy, but digging in defensively really isn’t their forte.  Deamons are a total wild card and the specialty marine codices, which are getting a lot of love online, mainly bolster the offensive capabilities.  Lots of jump troops may gain you the enemy trenches but holding them plus your own defensive positions?  Space Wolves might do better than Blood Angels at this type of thing due to the awesomeness of Long Fangs and Grey Hunters.

While giving this all some thought I even wrote up a Codex Marine 1500 army list and looked at more obscure chapters, but since I’m trying not to buy any new minis, starting a new army, even Marines is out.  So the question then becomes what can I do with my existing armies and their rule books to make them more effective on the battlefield I’m building?

My trench table is destined for next year’s Astronomi-con Vancouver.  You could say I’m starting early, or you could say I’m starting too late for this year’s Astro…  I currently have two painted armies in my display case, the Diseased Sons and their non-Nurgle allies the Nefarious Fire plus my old, old Ork army.  The orks will see the table top again, but optimizing them for a mission isn’t a priority, just getting the units legal again is the priority.  This year I am running Chaos Space Marine at Astronomi-con Vancouver, but next year I planned to run the Servants of Decay from Imperial Armour 7.

No one seems to be using that list or building an army for it.  The regular Imperial Guard Codex is too good, most people are using it for their traitor guard too.  Not me, I like to be different and I’m not afraid of a challenge.  I made a quirky assault oriented list, knowing full well that WS2 and WS3 troops with questionable leadership doesn’t sound like an elite offensive force.  While thinking how hypothetical armies would do on a hypothetical battlefield in a hypothetical mission set 40,000 years into the future, well I decided maybe I should adjust my proposed army list.

I wrote out another list, selling back some things, adding others, but I continued to avoid the option of taking plaguemarines.  I wanted a pure traitor guard force, even though taking plaguemarines would save me money an painting time.  Plus when I looked at other army list I recognized the need for elite assault troops to gain the trenches, but for my own army I was trying to make due with Rabble and Rebel Militia.  Finally I said enough is enough, lets throw a squad of ten plaguemarines into the mix.  Plaguemarines aren’t cheap pointswise, I had to sell back Rabble and Plague Zombies, as well as eventually removing my Fast Attack and Heavy Support choices over the course of tweaking the list.

Non skimmer Fast Attack I think will just get bogged down in the mud.  Jump Infantry might work, I intend to try it with my Chaos Space Marine army, but they too could die crossing no man’s land.  Getting rid of my lone heavy support choice may seem odd, but if you’ve read the army list, the command HQ can take a pile of heavy weapons teams.  I’d already maxed out on mortars before I even thought about making my list more effective on the battlefield I’m building.  Hopefully I won’t miss one or two extra heavy weapons a turn.

The army list I ended up with has Plaguemarines leading the assault.  They are supported by Rabble and Militia men.  The Plaguemarines might be able to breach the defenses and/or tie up the enemy for a turn or two allowing the Rabble and Militia to advance.  I bought my militia squad an armored personal carrier, figuring it was worth a try.  If it gets stuck, they just get out and walk.  The plague zombies I feel will make better defensive troops.  They are Fearless and harder to kill, but they are slow.  I think they work better occupying space, though they can tar pit the enemy too, if in sufficient numbers.

Before I added in the Plaguemarines, my command squad were my best assault troops having two models with WS 4, whoo hoo! Alas they are few and they aren’t armored.  I bought them an APC too, but they may be better served getting out and hunkering down.  I now forsee using them as a counter assault force.  The leadership they potentially provide to the rest of the troops on defense necessitates them being placed centrally.

I just counted and my proposed 1500 point Servants of Decay army list with the 10 Plaguemarines, has 14 models with WS4 and 18 models with BS4.  My Rabble alone have more models than that, they are WS and BS 2, booyah!

My mortars will go in my trenches or behind them.  Massed mortar fire isn’t popular in 40K, but I’m still going to try it.  It is historically accurate and with a little luck could pin the enemy in their trenches allowing my Rabble and Militia men to advance across the battlefield.  Also to be used in a defensive role are the best troops available to a Rebel Militia commander, the Disciples of Xaphan.  These are basically veterans with superior moral and access to a wide variety of guns and equipment.  They have BS 4 unless they take a heavy weapon in which case their ability to aim magically decreases.  This is an odd quirk of the list, it is impossible to get heavy weapons with BS 4.  I think regular guard can do this, or through orders or special characters or something can improve their aim.  Regardless, even with the addition of the plaguemarines, I’m still treating my Disciples as an elite unit.  They are basically my sharp shooters.  They’ll be deployed with the best field of fire and will pick off advancing enemy infantry.

That’s about the gist of it.  Assault force of plaguemarines supported by Rabble and a few Militia men.  Doesn’t sound too intimidating, most armies should either be able to out shoot my army or out class it in close quarters fighting.  That’s the lot of traitor scum I guess.  Even sending out almost 50 models into no man’s land I’m not too confident I can take the enemy’s position.  Sending that many models to attack which is both likely necessary and historically accurate leaves my sharp shooters, my mortar, and my command HQ defending my lines, plus of course zombies.

“Using zombies to bolster your line” by Muskie McKay coming to Osprey soon.

I gave a go at making a Chaos Space Marine army list that might excel at trench warfare, but I’m going to experiment some more with it.  Astronomi-con allows the use of Imperial Armour rules so that makes things a little more interesting.  I still think Marines and Guard will be best for this mission, any one else have an opinion?

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One More Colour

Well I’m back.  Today has been a bit strange.  I did a little biking, found out quickly how fat and out of shape I am.  I also had a totally flat tire, so I got a new tube.  I also visited the art supply store, the local game store, and this weird craft store on Main Street.  I invested about another $25 into this project.  That is starting to seem like a lot of money seeing as I’m unemployed and have not received a cent in government assistance in almost three months of waiting now…

Enough of that, I still don’t sleep, at least not at night.  I worked on the terrain tile in the wee hours.  It should be done today.  The one thing I haven’t done that will take a bit of time is to go through my bitz boxes and various battlefield accesory kits I’ve acquired in the last three years while scheming up this project.  I have too much hobby stuff, I’d like to have a little less hobby stuff and a little more money right about now.

Colour Samples

Anyway I also bought a lot more paint, mostly browns, trying to better match the GW browns I use to do my basing on the Diseased Sons and the Nefarious Fire.  I generally do Scorched Earth, Snakebite Leather, and Bubonic Brown, all dry brushes, all the newest versions of those colors.  From my previous terrain and display base projects I learned that the cheap craft paint I bought didn’t match very well. I ended up using some of the GW paint, basically you can use two or three craft browns, but if you do the last drybrush of Bubonic Brown it looks alright.  I think I did better at matching the GW colors this time, thanks to the swatch I made.

Old Craft Paint

I also bought some browns that contrasted with the GW browns, generally some tan, beige type colours.  These will be for the trench lining.  I’ll use some GW browns for some things, especially detail work.  I think I’ll stick with a trifecta of Gretchin Green, Camo Green, and Rotting Flesh for the sandbags, likely with some Devlan Mud or Gryphon Sepia washes.

Everything should go quick and easy now that I got a good coat of black.  Waiting for the thick coats of black and the glue to dry is inefficient working on 12″ square tiles.  I’m going to work more on scatter terrain and models in the down time.  I have lots of stuff to paint.  I plan to build a few models soon.

New Craft Paint

One last tip, to coat the really rough grit, it is best to get a gob of paint on the tip of your brush and jab or dab it on the grit.  Trying to paint normal brush strokes doesn’t work so well and ends up knocking off some of the grit.  You can paint the really fine grain sand normally.  After the drybrush fest we’ll see if I’m full of shit or not.

Did anyone get the Rheostatics reference?

Three Layers of Grit

All Black Tile?

My Top 10 old hobby posts

Although I decided to start a dedicated hobby blog, I also decided not to import all my older hobby related postings from my personal blog into WordPress.com, instead I give you this top 10 list for the benefit of anyone stumbling upon my work for the first time.  Greatest hits particularly in the top ten format are popular with websurfers so read on McDuff:

10: Painted Goblin Command

9: Night Goblin Command

8: Painted Nurgle Miniatures

7: Four More Finished Models

6: Still Painting Test Models

5: Fresh Recruits

4: Blogging, Painting, Slacking

3: Phantom of the Rock Opera

2: Painted Nurgle Forgeworld Dreadnought

1: Top 10 Diseased Sons Chaos Space Marines

Second Test Post

It seemed to me that before the posts were appearing in reverse chronological order.  I’ve never seen that before, WordPress is always adding new features which is another reason I have a WordPress.com blog to expirement with, but also a self hosted blog that I can test things out on.

I dug up another photo which probably hasn’t been widely seen, instead of an Ork Nob it contains three OOP (Out of Print) Chaos Terminators.  I’ve got a lot of painted terminators that I never use, I plan to rebase them.  I have some of the Forgeworld Nurgle ones on my table which I’ll get to in a couple months, they seem to always get put off, as mainly they are just for fun figs.  Nurgle terminators are too expensive pointswise to use regularly in small scale Warhammer 40,000 games.

Out of Print Chaos Terminators

I painted them quite a while ago, I’m not even sure they’ve all hit the gaming table, but they probably have by now.

Looking Good

So as I mused, I’ve started a dedicated miniature painting blog for my various hobby projects.  Hopefully I’ll get off my ass in the next few days and paint something fresh for the masses.  I still need a job, so look at my resume!

I’m not going to move content over here from my personal blog, I’d rather spend my time creating new content and painting new miniatures rather than just import old text and pictures.  Plus I don’t like broken links, I remember when people cared about broken links, now people just trust in Google.

So what will be here? Everything I do hobby related basically.  Nurgle.muschamp.ca isn’t going anywhere, but it is a huge hand coded site, to an army that I’m going to use less as I paint some new stuff, I’ve ran just about every Plaguemarine squad possible.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve matured and I stay out of online pissing matches when I can, I still contribute to the odd forum, mostly the Bolter and Chainsword but occasionally the Waaagh or elsewhere.  I’ve been at this a long time, I have WIP threads that are years old, but I’m not sure if my efforts get viewed by that many people, so hopefully Google will find this stuff and it turns out to be of use to someone.

One thing I have imported by hand into WordPress.com is links.  I’ve been collecting links since 1994 or 1995, my biggest collection is pretty out of date, but more recent useful finds, were added to the sidebar for the benefit of all.

What you will also find here is some well painted miniatures and occasionally tutorials and advice on how to improve your painting.  Back when I was employed I bought a lot of paint and models, so I try stuff out, rather than stick to just GW paints and models.  That said most models I paint are for Warhammer 40,000 or 40K as it is known online.  One of the more famous things I’ve put online is the Diseased Sons homepage, so additions to that army along with the Nefarious Fire and new incarnations of Waaagh Musk will appear here.

I’ll continue using Flickr for finished models in higher res, but I’ll probably put most of my Work In Progress or WIP photos on WordPress.com, previously I used Muschamp.ca and I still may use it for somethings.  I pay for the bandwidth on Muschamp.ca about 10 bucks a month, I get about as much free from WordPress.com maybe, but they throw the odd ad around my text and pictures.  I’m happy with the theme I picked, it is new and gritty, and called Greyzed.  Thanks to the Forge Web Creations for that, apparently they are from South Africa, small world nowadays, especially online.

We’ll have to see if a more focused blog on WordPress.com rather than self hosted leads to an increase in popularity, as measured say by number of comments.  I always got traffic from the search engines, often from very strange keyword referrals, but I’d like a more social and interactive site, though that said it is just a hobby blog, if I get busy with my new job it will languish for a while.

As you may have noticed, I have a tendency to ramble, which is why Muskblog is an unfocused mess after being updated very regularly for years.  This blog will be focused on miniature painting and the hobby, if I want to rant against bad service at a restaurant it won’t appear here, neither will pictures of my sister’s dog, or any baby photos, or any thing else that will pollute the purity of Musk’s Miniatures.

I own a lot of miniatures, a lot of them are painted, but a lot of them aren’t.  Even if I never buy another model, I’ll probably never get them all done.  I’m going to have to have a liquidation sale someday.  I own a lot of older GW miniatures that I either bought back in the day, traded for, or got on say eBay.  I don’t have any immediate plans to sell anything, but at some point it is a good idea.  I’m building something of a dream table for wargaming, but it has gone slowly.  I got hundreds of dollars tied up in resin and other stuff like foam, plasticard, and balsa wood.  I kinda wish I had some of that money back right about now seeing as how I’ve been unemployed for over two months and I’ll always be paying for my MBA.

I promise this is the least focused and most off topic post that will appear here.  I need some text to test the theme further and make sure tags and categories are working well.  There are links to a lot of photos of my miniatures on the sidebar, but lets see if I can’t dig something interesting out of iTunes to see how the theme handles images.Assault on Black Reach Ork Nob

I don’t currently have access to a good digital camera, remember I’m unemployed.  I do have an iPhone 3GS which takes surprisingly good pictures of miniatures in my lightbox setup.  I also know a number of pro and semi-pro photographers, maybe I’ll con one of them into using their 1000s of dollars worth of equipment to take photos of my minis.

I also might submit this hobby blog to various specialized blog networks, that seem to be all the rage in online hobby circles.  I’m not sure how much more traffic they’ll add, but now with a focused blog and hopefully a month or two of good original content I’ll be eligible to join one or two.  In the mean time we’ll have to wait and see who’ll be the first to link to this blog and leave a comment besides me.