The Sanguinor: Where did he come from?

08/04/2010

(Image from GW)

As you will already know I bought a copy of Codex Blood Angels and felt a little a little annoyed.  However the fluff is great and the art amazing so the more I look at the pretty pictures the happier I am.

Back to the topic at hand – the Sanguinor.  The model is stunning!  The pose isn’t the most dynamic (I prefer Astorath the Grim’s pose is far more fluid) but it is very ‘angelic’ – it doesn’t take a genius to work out why they did it, but it is a bit annoying as the living saint is in a very similar position.  The scrolls elevate the model off the ground adding height without messing up the ‘scale’ of the model.  And the painting in White Dwarf is amazing – the quality of the NMM is stunning.

The art in the Codex depicting the Sanguinor also are excellent, though in my opinion the detail they give the ‘normal’ marines in the art in the book blow away the special characters.

The stats and rules make the Sanguinor an extremely powerful option, especially in offensive army lists, though he’d be an awesome counter attach unit too.

The fluff – this is the area I really can’t get over, which is why i’ve raised it again.  The Sanguinor is well known for arriving just in time to save the Blood Angels, but he never stays around once the fight is finished.  The Blood Angles claim to not know the origins of the Sanguinor or have a way of contacting him.  Surely this is a massive concern for the Blood Angels (though is not raised as one in the literature).

The Inquisition should be all over this guy – a superhero of amazing abilities fully fitted out in the Blood Angels most revered and rare armour and weapons that can’t be controlled (if not by them then by the Blood Angels).

Now, on to the logical problems – how does he know where he needs to be, how does he arrive there, how does he leave, where does he originate from?  My (logical whilst still keeping with the 40k fluff) suggestions are below:

He doesn’t, he is essentially lost in the warp and arrives when the warp throws him out – this fits in with some of the text in the Codex with regards to the planet taken over by Daemons.  It would be likely he leaves in the same way.  Maybe the Emperor uses his power to keep the Sanguinor in out of the warp just long enough to sway the tide of the battle?  The last question is easier, but also less precise, he MUST be a Blood Angel (or successor chapter but not likely), one of the Sanguinary Guard who was lost in the warp during or some time after the Horus Heresy?  When the possessed Death Guard in ‘the Flight of the Einstein’ were killed their souls zapped back to the warp – could it be that the soul of a Sanguinary Guard was taken by Chaos but not corrupted?  Certain members of the Blood Angels are well known for this – Dante won’t die even though he’s ancient, Mephiston won’t die even though everyone is trying to kill him (thought now there is a seed of doubt about him turning to Chaos – will this lead to something interesting in a future Codex?), and last but not least Lemartes has succumbed to the Black Rage but is resilient enough to be clear in mind enough to lead the Death Company and not get himself killed (the purpose of the Death Company surely?).

Anyone notice the similarities with the Necrons Deceiver?

Anyone got something to add to the above attack on the Blood Angels’ Golden Boy?  Or have I missed something?  Please feel free to add your comments and set me (and any readers) straight!


Book Review: Blood Angels Codex

06/04/2010

Review

Nice background section, some well painted models in the gallery sections, clear unit lists and some amazing artwork.  This is a must for all Blood Angel or successor chapter players.

Moaning

Why oh why do you need a full codex for Blood Angles?  That goes for EVERY chapter with the exception of (maybe) Space Wolves in my books.  Space Wolves have a unique organisation with Wolf Guard units/unit leaders that make it slightly more likely they need a codex to themselves.  Grey Knights don’t count and as they have too few units and should be put in the Daemon Hunters codex.

Why the moaning then?  Furiso Dreadnoughts – aren’t they essentially normal dreadnoughts with an extra CCW and no Multi Melta?  Baal Predators – some ancient technical data was uncovered allowing them to strap an Assault Cannon onto a Predator and now the Mechanicus are annoyed because this technology is not theirs – but they can make Razorbacks with Assault Cannons?

Don’t even get me started on the Storm Raven – a piece of kit used by only a few Chapters, or that they have so many Land Raiders that they are used as common transport vehicles.  Surely (here is the real rub of it for me) the Ultramarines would have pretty much everything – friendly with Mars, adopting new technologies (Razorbacks and Land Raider Redeemers) etc.

The Sanguinor gets his own paragraph here due to him irritating me.  An excellent model, awesome statline and one of the best potential NMM paint jobs i’ve seen are in the plus side.  A character who no one knows, and just appears out of thin air to kick arse and then disappear sounds familiar – oh, thats it, Legion of the Damned – is pushing it too far for me.  The Legion of the Damned can do this due to their unique place in the background of the Hobby, a single character not of the legion sounds a bit silly to me.

Don’t get me wrong the Death Company and Sanguinary Guard are good additions and are Blood Angel only (as they should be) as per the very good background.  The Characters are colourful and interesting (except the Sanquinor who is crazy) and again deserve a space.

Solution

Unless GW really bulk up the background sections of these books I feel that (for Space Marines) the way to go would be to release 1 monster sized codex with loads of background, a force selection chart and an awesome gallery.

In the force selection chart there would be a few page for each Chapter (+ successors).  The 1st page would include all rule changes and alterations to the force organisation chart, followed by Characters and Units – maybe 10 pages for Ultramarines, Blood Angels, Space Wolves, Dark Angels, Black Templars and 5 for White Scars, Imperial Fists, Crimson Fists, Salamanders etc.

This would allow each Chapter to get Special Characters, Units and Rules, but ‘typical’ units and vehicles would be available to all and would be updated across the board all in one hit.

Example 1 – Blood Angels Fast Vehicles – +?? points per vehicle

Example 2 – Blood Angels – Instead of Combat Tactics all units have Red Thirst

GW are doing a great job with their Special Characters altering the armies – why not allow the armies to do it in their own section of the space marine codex?

I’d love to hear all your opinions – however please don’t comment on the Money GW are making by having the Codex separate – everyone understands that it is a way of a) constantly updating armies, b) making people buy the latest army and c) making people buy multiple Codex.


Book Review – Grey Knights by Ben Counter (The Grey Knights Omnibus)

22/01/2010

I’m working my way through the Grey Knights Omnibus by Ben Counter.  Grey Knights is also the name of the first book in the series and refers to the name of the Space Marine Chapter that feature.

For those not in the know Grey Knights are considered as the elite of the elite, they are Space Marines with warding tattoos all over their bodies, all have a level of psychic ability, and better armour and weapons.  Whilst they are a Chapter in their own right (Chapter 666) they were created to act as Daemon hunters and act as the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Malleus (Inquisition).

The story starts with a description of an ancient battle between the Grey Knights and a very powerful Daemon Prince, who is bannished back into the warp – killing the Grey Knights Hero.  Skip forward a few thousand years and rumour is that said Daemon Prince is making a comeback and the Inquisition wish to stop it.

There are a number of excellent characters in the book which are noted below:

  • Justicar Alaric – A free thinking Grey Knight marked for greatness
  • Justicar Tancred – Terminator Armour wearing warrior supremo – only ever beaten by Brother Captain Stern
  • Inquisitor Briseis Ligeia – Female Inquisitor with an amazing psychic ability with a bodyguard of assassins
  • Inquisitor Gholic Ren-Sar Valinov – Rogue Inquisitor
  • The Prince of a Thousand Faces – Daemon Prince, very, very powerful

As with Space Marine novels lately there are far more characters but to be honest they’re not anywhere near as important as the above so I’ll ignore them.

The story takes you from Titus (home-moon of the Grey Knights) to the Trail of St Evisser and back again (a few times).  The action is fast and hard hitting, the story has a number of (obvious) plot twists and the Character interaction is a bit stale.  But that’s not really the point of this book in my mind.  Fast paced action, additional information on the (relatively quiet and unheard of) Grey Knights and the flowing story more than make up for the Character interaction.

The story goes down hill for me in the last couple of chapters when our hero’s enter a tomb.  I know that this is Sci-fi, I know that the book is about Daemons – the last bit seems a little silly to me.

Don’t get me wrong, the Characters interact fine, it’s just that Grey Knights are relatively boring as they are so straight-laced.  I enjoyed the pace and the story line.  I would (and am) recommending others to read this book.  I just feel that the temple guardian was below par when compared to the rest of the characters.

If you’re interested in Space Marines start with Salamander.  If you want a great trilogy go with Ultramarines or Space Wolves.  If you want an epic or some Chaos (and you have a very long time) dive into the Horus Heresy Series.  If you’re interested in the Grey Knights read this book.  I’ll be continuing my reviews on books as I’ve read about 15 Space Marine books (and I’m still not bored).

What do you guys think about this book, am I being a tad harsh?


Book Review – Salamander by Nick Kyme (Tome of Fire Trilogy)

14/01/2010

Salamander is the first book in the Tome of Fire trilogy and is the second book written by Nick Kyme for the Black Library.

As the title suggests it is a book following some of the exploits of one of the first founding chapters – the Salamanders.  What I did not expect was the depth of plot or the well-defined Characters.

The story focusses on the 3rd Company who, in the first few pages, lose their Captain.  The rest of the story builds on the internal politics of the Sergeants and a number of military actions including the boarding of an abandoned space ship and a number of skirmishes and battles with a range of adversaries.

The storyline is intelligent and the writing is well-paced with plenty of action dispersed with some excellent character interaction.  Nick Kyme’s Characters are what make this book stand out with about a dozen named Characters all playing important parts and interacting with each other. Dak-ir and Tu-Shan’s rivalry as Brother Sergeants also provides both humour, tension and a solid thread of storytelling from start to finish.

Personally my favourite bits taken from the book are the descriptions of the Marines Malevolent (another group of Space Marines in the book) which has made me want to add a squad as allies to my Ultramarines.  Salamanders however will not be in my allies list for the forseeable future.

This book is an easy read with a good storyline and made better by the Character interaction.  I would recommend this as a first book to read from the Black Library as it’s pace will make you want to finish it and the descriptions will fill your head with epic images that you want to re-create with your miniatures.  The background of the Salamanders has been greatly enriched by this book and I can only hope that the following books in the trilogy continue to build on this very enjoyable foundation.