One Year of Vlka Fenryka

I post an awful lot on this blog about my Heresy-era Space Wolves Legion.

This blog was was never supposed to be just about my Heresy-era Space Wolves. The site’s banner depicts my former Chaos Space Marines army, the Autumn Walkers, on a battlefield with some dice and what looks to be a copy of 40K Chapter Approved. The ‘About’ page has a collage of miniatures, including my Stormcast Eternals Stardrake, my Autumn Walkers again, my Great Unclean One.. and some Space Wolves. To date, I have made 13 posts, with only 2 featuring something other than said Wolves – and only a single post entirely about something else. Pretty sure my Twitter feed has been entirely Space Wolves too. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m aware of this, and other subjects1 will be covered SoonTM.. but not today.

There’s a couple of reasons for this; the first is one that I tangentially covered in a previous post, and it’s that I took my Space Wolves to their first ever Horus Heresy event and I had a bloody great time with them. I’m not going to retread ground here, but there’s something about getting an army onto the table and bashing out some games that can really make or break your enthusiasm for the minis – and in the case of my Vlka Fenryka, it was very much made. Immediately, holes in the army became very clear, and that sort of created a snowball effect – other things such as Deathsworn, extra character conversions, transports and the like all suddenly became much more interesting to me. It’s not often you find yourself so in love with an armies lore, scheme, and aesthetic that you really just want to paint all the things, but it’s like catching lightning in a bottle when you do. By that same token, various other factors impacted my enthusiasm for other projects – the overwhelming abundance of Iron Warriors at that same event sort of took the wind out of my sails for that project, and the realisation that my Skaven project was actually as boring to play in Age of Sigmar as it’s competitive performance was poor really killed my mojo a little for Age of Sigmar. C’est la vie.

The second reason for my increased hobby pace and downright devotionto the Wolves of Fenris has been the rapidly approaching anniversary of this ridiculous VIth Legion project. That’s right – on the 31st of August 2017, I made the ridiculous and impulsive (and only a little bit alcohol-induced) decision to buy a bunch of 2nd hand 30K Space Wolves off of a Facebook Buy & Sell page at an… alright price, nothing particularly outstanding, but they were in good condition and it seemed like a bargain at the time. I remember more than a couple of times thinking to myself what a stupid decision that was – that I didn’t have time for this, what with my Nurgle stuff and my Chaos Space Marines – and more than a few times thinking the project wouldn’t ever go anywhere.

One year and Over 9000 points later.. well, here we are. Since the last time I took inventory of my legion, I’ve since added 3 HQs (Hvarl, Cataphractii Caster and a Vigilator), 5 more Tartaros Terminators, 2 more Contemptor Dreadnoughts, 10 Deathsworn with Land Raider, 3 Grey Slayers, 3 Plasma Gunners, 4 Seekers, a Primaris Lightning Strike Fighter, a Deredeo, 5 Lascannon Support and the small matter of a Warhound Titan. That’s 3 Dreadnoughts, 30 Infantry, a tank, a flyer and my largest individual model to date – practically an army in and of itself. It’s been a busy 3 months. I’m going to refrain from indulging myself with a premature Family Photo until I finish off the rest of the legion – you see, since I made the decision to expand upon my Space Wolves I’ve had this overarching goal of a crisp 10,000 points in my head, the last of which2 I’m hoping to get polish off sometime before October.

Still, 9000 points in a year is nothing to sniff at – especially with several other major projects in between – and it’s certainly a milestone in and of itself. It seemed like an occasion worth marking and celebrating here in some small way, even if it’s simply to outline my intentions. When I hit that all important 10,000 mark, expect a big feature of sorts – there’s a lot of minis, good and less impressive alike in this army that haven’t been covered here yet, and I’m pretty excited to see what the whole force will end up looking like en masse. I might even do a video, as I suspect the full 10,000 points assembled is going to make my 5000pts progress pic look much like my 2500 one.

Right, that’s enough rambling. Let’s talk actual hobby. The first thing I want to talk about is my MkIIb Land Raider.

 

The venerable MkIIb Land Raider, personal party bus of the Cult of Morkai

 

This thing was a pain in my ass, and the irony was I was really looking forward to putting this thing together. See, way back when I started this army, I bought a bunch of Marines and other various plastic things.. followed immediately by Leman Russ and his entourage of gigantic Fenrisian Wolves. Maybe it was dumb to go from what basically equated to a Prospero box, a Calth Contemptor and a Rhino to the biggest baddest model of the whole army, but who in their right mind could help themself? The existence of Primarchs (and not Saturday Morning Breakfast Cartoon Primarchs like in 40K either) among the most alluring parts of the Heresy segment of this hobby, and I wanted a piece for myself. The problem however is that when you start an army, and you expend your precious time and money on getting a model like that done so early in the army.. you’re sort of boxing yourself into a corner. You need to build 3000pts of the stuff, and you need some sort of transport for them. In 30K, this means you need yourself a Spartan Assault Tank – sure, there’s other alternatives out there, such as a Land Raider or a Kharybdis but with Russ bringing along a pair of Very Bulky wolves along with his Bulky ass, you don’t exactly leave a lot of room for a squad to hide in. You need a Spartan.

And don’t get me wrong – I love my Spartan. I worked hard on that thing. I bought it custom doors, cleaned it up nicely, painstakingly painted it’s interior, glued it all together and worked through the massive, awkward gaps I created in assembly. There’s a lot I love about the mini, such as it’s glorious heft and it’s ridiculous quad lascannon armanents and adorably pointless heavy bolters, as useful as they are prominent. But for however glorious and awesome it’s rules and armaments and sheer resin heft was, it couldn’t fill the hole that remained inside of me; the fact is, until now, I have never built a plastic Land Raider kit.

It’s seems wild to me that in all my years now of wargaming, from playing Space Wolves and World Eaters back in 3rd to Chaos Space Marines in 8th that its taken me a year of collecting Space Wolves in Heresy to get around to my first Land Raider. And as someone who gets super excited about moving parts and interiors, I could not have been more excited to finally get my hands on that simple but beautiful double action assault ramp mechanism3.

But oh man, that mechanism sucked to work on.

The problem unfortunately lay, as these things normally do, with the resin components. Had I been sensible and simply read that the MkIIb Land Raider uses Rhino doors on its side hatches, I might have simply ordered the Space Wolves Rhino doors, but instead I just bunged a set of Land Raider doors in my basket and went on my merry way. This led to later complications and delays as I had to order another set of doors for the side hatches when I realised my mistake, but hey, I needed that front ramp anyway, right?4 Urgh. That ramp caused me no end of frustration. I sort of wish I’d taken some photos of the problems and my solutions to them, but my main issue was that the ForgeWorld front doors L shaped end that connects to the little plastic gear that joins to the front ramps gear and makes the doors open together was a little short, by maybe a couple millimetres. This meant that the fit wasn’t as snug and the gear was pulled tighter against the interior hull, which meant that it was stiff at best, and fragile and prone to breaking (a disaster after the area has been sealed off with the track pieces) at worst. The solution, after much frustration, was to chop the top ramps bar off entirely, and pin the plastic one on instead that would actually reach. It was a massive faff with some visible repercussions, but a small crack on the hinge is a small price to pay for a double action movable assault ramp.

 

Fancy Wolfy doors, at last. Worth it.

 

This too wasn’t quite as simple as I expected, as the mechanism – two cogs with a little hole, and a bar with two pins that connects the pair – wasn’t totally reliable either. Nothing particularly held the bar in place, and I was having nightmarish thoughts about having the bar pop off after the tracks were glued on.. resulting in loose moving doors, and a permanent rattle. I wasn’t for having this, and so cut up a length of sprue to build a tight cage over the mechanism, giving it no vertical space to move up and out of the cogs, but didn’t restrict it’s movement. This wasn’t entirely my idea, but something I found immediately on Google Images when I went to see if I was alone in this issue. Thanks, internet stranger!

 

Oh, but a nice detailed interior like this makes it it’s so worth it aaaall worth the effort.

 

Beyond this initial faff, the kit was all fairly straightforward. Having far less resin in the actual hull itself, it was less of a pain to fully assemble after painting the interior than my Fellblade or Spartan were, which is always nice and the paint job was fairly by the numbers. I don’t have a great much to say about that which hasn’t been covered in my post about my Fellblade already.

So, what else have I done? Well, a couple of things. Here’s my new Caster of Runes, Ranulf Crowmane.

 

 

Ah yes, the ever divisive Space Wolves Praetor miniature. Right off the bat, I’m going to say I liked most of the things about this mini. However much it pales against the just about flawless Thousand Sons Praetor, it remains a cool mini with a lot of merit in my opinion – the armour itself is brilliantly evocative of the armour of his Primarch, the fetishes and talismans look great without being over the top, and I like the head. Sure, it’s got its problems – the pose was a little 90s for my taste, and the optional knife is a little derpy, missing a hilt and just awkwardly posed and yeah, I don’t like having to resculpt fur myself, but it’s not the end of the world. From day one, the major thing that this miniature screamed at me was that it was a great basis for a Caster of Runes – the sword in the air, outstretched combi bolter thing is all well and good for a Wolf Lord, but there’s something about the fetishes and talismans, the windswept hair and raised weapon pose that screamed ‘put a staff in my hand instead’. So, I did. And there he is, pictured this time with his combi bolter instead of the knife.

Those of you who follow my Twitter can probably guess what’s coming next. I have, in fact, been working lately on building, converting or refurbing my Dreadnoughts.

 

The gang’s all here! From left to right: Standard Calth plastic Contemptor with assault cannon and combi-bolter fist, Leviathan Dreadnought with grav-flux bombard and claw, reposed Calth Dreadnought with magnetised twin-Volkite and graviton gun fist, FW Space Wolves Contemptor with twin plasma blastgun fists (one chainfist), Deredeo with twin autocannons and missile pods.

 

So, what have I been doing with Dreadnoughts? Well, for starters, my two oldest plastic Dreadnoughts – a pair of boring plastic Calth monopose Contemptors – they each received a degree of refurb. The basic Assault Cannon one (far left).. well, there was nothing intrinsically wrong with that one, other than it’s singular yellow shoulder pad with no markings and lack of legion badge on it’s other shoulder, for reasons I can’t fathom other than probably laziness. The other one (far right) had a bit of something going on with the various Storm Shields, Terminator cloaks and what have you, but was still very much a basic-boring monopose Calth Contemptor with, at the time, it’s Assault Cannon converted into a twin-lascannon using bitz from a Razorback. This annoyed the hell out of me though, because while the weapon was reasonbly well sized, it was a touch comically oversized – I also just despised how how stationary Calth pose made him look just like.. well, a polished turd, really. I decided to make a few adjustments – both arms were cut off in favour of magnets, so that I could retrofit him with a pair of matching Twin-Lascannons from ForgeWorld – gone was the awkward, oversized Razorback weapon; he was to be re-born as a Mortis-pattern Contemptor Dreadnought, and suddenly his stationary pose didn’t seem quite so stupid. To celebrate his promotion, I gave him the skull head with bionic arm from the Space Wolves Venerable Dreadnought kit – seemed fitting for a pattern dubbed ‘Mortis’, no?

The Dreadnought refurbs didn’t stop there. I played around with and ultimately failed to do something cool and keltic-knotty for my Leviathan, but in the end I had to cut my losses and stick to giving him a pair of shoulder transfers, much like the image of a Leviathan in Inferno. It’s a minor change, but one I felt his bare white shoulders (by chance, again matching the artwork in Inferno) sorely needed.

Then we’re onto the wholely new. First seen in blister-form in my last Legion Update and most recently on my Twitter feed5 – it’s my awesome ForgeWorld Contemptor. I love this kit. As a legion specific model, there’s just enough cool Space Wolvesy iconography, trophies and fetishes to look unique without being too overbearing, but frankly the sheer virtue of being a resin Contemptor kit from ForgeWorld is what makes this guy so cool to me. Aside from being incredible articulate and easy to pose in whatever fashion you see fit, everything about the design, the edges, the curves and the details just look right compared to the plastic Contemptors. While the plastics have definitely grown on me (especially if you’re willing to repose them), I don’t think I was ever well and truly sold on Contemptors as a cooler looking design than the Castraferrum Boxnaughts until I saw one of those ForgeWorld bad boys up close. I really can’t wait to start running like crazy model across the battlefields, laying down a bunch of plasma blastgun shots and wrecking face and armoured face alike in close combat.

One thing I didn’t like about the Space Wolves Contemptor however was the Wolf Pelt – at least, it’s not so much that I didn’t like the pelt as I thought it was maybe a little too much. Fortunately for me, this wasn’t sculpted on detail, but a rather nifty little shoulder add-on. As I had another spare plastic Contemptor kicking about, I figured This would be a nice way to spice up the basic Plain Jane plastic Contemptor a little and fancy things up a bit, and along with a little repose and some magnetised arms, I’m pretty happy with my third and final plastic Space Wolves plastic Contemptor – which now makes a Talon of 3, plus a Mortis-Contemptor to boot!

 

My semi-fancy Contemptor, with resin weapons and wolf pelt. See also: my grubby wash-stained fingers.

 

So, that’s a quick roundup of my latest VI Legion hobby progress. There’s still a solid chunk of work to chew through from a couple of remaining characters to infantry to transports – but the end is now very much in sight, and a good thing to with my list of to do’s beginning to pile up a little.

As always, thanks for reading and happy wargaming!

 

 

 

 

 

1 Other projects that are about to become super relevant: Blood Bowl! We’re starting up a league soon at my wargaming club and I’d like to start a new Skaven team to mark the occasion. I’d also like to build up my Blood Bowl Orcs if ForgeWorld ever get around to releasing the booster (for some reason, Cheerleaders appear to be the higher priority there.. whatever), but I’ve also got an upcoming Age of Sigmar semi-narrative tournament that I’d like to get a few Maggotkin bits and bobs painted for.. not to mention finishing off the other half of those Iron Warriors (Primus Medicae, 10 Terminators, 10 Iron Havocs, 2x Medusas, a Typhon, 2x Iron Circle robots and finishing off Perturabo to be exact) – and that’s not even considering the Song of Ice and Fire Miniatures Game that just arrived from Kickstarter. Yikes, let’s hope the Space Wolves codex won’t require a butt load of Primaris models to paint…

2 Currently needing done for that last 1000pts includes: another Speaker of the Dead, another Apothecary, 5x more MKII armoured Missile Launchers, 6 Jetbikes, a Kharybdis Assault Claw and another Deimos-pattern Rhino. Not so bad.

3 Particularly after the somewhat disappointing interior and absence of such a mechanism on the Spartan Assault Tank

4 Leaving me with two spare Land Raider doors that I don’t know what to do with.. Hmmm.. oh well, I guess I it would be downright wasteful not to buy a Thunderhawk now, right? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

5 Yeah, I see that thumb print on the leg too, and it drives me nuts that this is the best photo I have of this mini. Rest assured, it has been fixed since.

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