Salute 2020/21

Salute was a bitter sweet event this year. My main motivation for attending has always been to be impressed and inspired by the gaming and display tables, with shopping opportunities as a bonus. This year I had a shopping list, consisting largely of new rules systems (Oathmark, Stargrave, Gaslands Refuelled), a box of Fireforge peasant zombies for my necromancer to summon into his Warhammer 8th edition army, plus the obligatory new KR case to carry the latest forces I managed to paint.

All that purchasing luckily distracted from the lack of photo opportunities. For some years now the number of jaw dropping displays has been steadily declining, and this year they fell off a cliff. My respect goes out to anyone who manages to build and bring a table full of terrain and opposing forces to a wargaming show, especially as a club effort without any related rules or miniatures to sell. Still, the amount of empty floor space due to missing traders, and worse, tables that had been set up but remained vacant on the day, didn’t inspire my photo journalistic fervour of previous years. Therefore I only took some snapshots of two displays in attendance.

The first was created by the Loughton Strike Force, who are consistently bringing amazing looking games to Salute. Their ‘Stalingrad – Fire on the Volga’ was played using the new ‘O’ Group set of battalion level WWII rules. You can see many more photos of it on their website.

The second display that stood out to me featured World of Twilight. The creators have been attending Salute for many years, and I always enjoy looking at their unique miniatures and terrain. I believe this year was the first time they brought a ‘full size’ table, with lots of buildings and little vignettes.

I guess next year, with the show scheduled to be back in its regular April slot, will tell what the new normal for Salute is going to be.

Doubling Up

The second mob of 35 Night Goblin spearmen is complete and joining the fray. As before, I have added netters and a Fanatic to the ranks for maximum mayhem.

Large regiment of goblins in black hoods
A thicket of spears greets any attackers

I have more Fanatics to paint up that are not included in my starter army list. In battle, each mob will be lead by a Big Boss, turning it into a respectable fighting formation. A standard, full rank bonus, five extra spear attacks, a 5 in 6 chance of the attackers losing a point of strength – as long as they don’t have to take a leadership test, these guys are doing alright.

Night Goblin wielding a massive iron ball on a chain
You don’t want to play catch with this ball
Night Goblin spearmen arranged in a wide formation
The battle line is drawn

Bad Moon Rising

It takes a lot of Night Goblins to make an army – 132 to be precise, according to my army list. There are three large blocks of infantry in the horde, two with spears and shields, the other with short bows. The whole army has base colours on already and the command groups are finished, but that still leaves a lot of rank and file to be completed.

I managed to get through the first mob, five figures at a time. The plan is to keep this up, while also working on other projects for variety. We’ll see how that goes.

Large block of goblin infantry in black robes, carrying spears and shields
A mob of Night Goblins marching to war

The fun (and most of the effectiveness) of a horde of Night Goblins lies in the whacky special weapons they can bring along. I’ve added netters to the regiment, which reduce the strength of attackers (if all goes well and they don’t entangle their own side).

Small group of goblins carrying either nets or spears
The old snare and stab trick

In addition, there is a Fanatic hidden among their ranks, drugged up on mushroom brew and wielding a massive ball and chain, who will be shoved in the path of a charging enemy at the right moment.

A Night Goblin wielding a massive ball and chain
Now he just needs to keep going the right way…

This is about a third of the army completed, leaving two more regiments and an assortment of squigs. I could also do with some more mountainous terrain, so I might give building foam hills a try.

Unit of Night Goblins with a banner depicting a grinning half moon face
The Bad Moon banner flying high

Rude Awakening

When I expanded my Necron army with some larger constructs, a couple of commenters asked for an updated picture of them all together. With other projects out of the way, I therefore cleared the table and brought out my collected Necron forces, 1,500 points in total (for a full size image, open it in a new tab).

View from above on a force of dozens of robotic metal warriors and war machines in jungle terrain
The Necrons march in force

Unfortunately, the recently assembled Catachan patrol was still in the area as the Necrons emerged. Woefully under strength against such opponents, the Imperial guardsmen dug in as best they could, hoping to hold out until reinforcements could arrive.

Battle scene between Necrons and Catachan Jungle Fighters
The Overlord orders his troops to attack
Battle scene between Necrons and Catachan Jungle Fighters
Destroyers swoop in with withering fire
Battle scene between Necrons and Catachan Jungle Fighters
Necron Warriors advance, supported by heavy weapons platforms
Battle scene between Necrons and Catachan Jungle Fighters
Necron Immortals are all but unstoppable

With their communications scrambled and the merciless machines moving in, the Catachans poured fire into their enemies before fixing bayonets for the final assault. No trace of the platoon was ever found and a report of its mysterious disappearance was filed by Regimental HQ.

Battle scene between Necrons and Catachan Jungle Fighters
A firefight erupts at close quarters
Battle scene between Necrons and Catachan Jungle Fighters
The Catachan line is getting flanked
Battle scene between Necrons and Catachan Jungle Fighters
Wraiths materialise behind the Catachan defences
Battle scene between Necrons and Catachan Jungle Fighters
In the final volley of fire, every shot must count

Warhammer 40k Detachments – Catachan Jungle Fighters

Not all the forces I am working on are intended to become solid core armies. Some factions lend themselves to be detachments for skirmishes, specific scenarios or reinforcements for other armies.

The first of these detachments I have just completed is a 500 points strong infantry platoon of the Catachan Jungle Fighters for Warhammer 40k 7th Edition. Often called upon to fight in the dense jungles of tropical death worlds, it is fitting for them to operate without vehicle support.

Multiple squads of soldiers in green fatigues among jungle plants
A Catachan platoon sets out into the depth of the hostile jungle

The commander uses the Lord Commissar rules, but is represented by a Captain. In the Catachan background, Commissars have a tendency to meet unfortunate accidents, and it is therefore likely that leaders from within their ranks fulfil the role of instilling discipline with an iron fist, and through their own heroics.

A muscular warrior with a buzz cut holding his power fist in the air
The Captain’s leadership style is unconventional but effective

The troops consist of a Platoon HQ with missile launcher and plasma gun plus two squads equipped with flamers and krak grenades.

A squad of soldiers including a team with missile launcher
The Platoon Command Squad packs extra punch
Soldiers with laser rifle aiming and charging
The troopers fearlessly engage the enemy
A unit of troopers lead by a sergeant wielding a chainsword
The jungle itself has to be fought back

Providing fire support are three weapons teams with heavy bolters and an autocannon to take down larger targets. A squad of Ogryns adds close combat capabilities to the platoon.

Three teams equipped with heavy guns on tripods
Heavy streams of bulls cut through the undergrowth
Three oversized humanoids carrying bulky rifles
The Ogryns muscle their way into action

If I want to expand this force , I’ll probably go for an air mobile squad of veterans in a Valkyrie and a special weapons squad with flamers. A sniper and a trooper with a heavy flamer would also come in handy, so I can change the load out of some squads.

Fantasy, sci-fi and historical miniature gaming