Wednesday, 30 December 2015

I March for Macragge: Part 2. Mustering the Legion

The Ultramarines are finished!

And by finished, I mean I've completed one Squad... finished was a bit of an understatement!
These models were a joy to paint. Ultramarines are an idea I've been toying with for a while, and it was really nice to actually sit down and paint the boys in blue.

I hope you like them too.

I apologise in advance for the picture quality. I'm looking at trying to make a light box at home for taking photos for future blog posts, until then I hope you don't mind the shadows. 

I was going to give a number of step-by-step instructions on how I painted them, but I got too excited and just went for it!

I was a little nervous with the painting, as I wasn't quite sure how I was going to do the colours. Fortunately, I still had my copy of Warhammer Visions Issue 23 (from the Betrayal at Calth release) and it has a "Paint Splatter" article on painting Ultramarines.

Now the painting guide itself suggested a little too  much blue for me, so I followed the guide but also took some inspiration from the Citadel Studio copy of the the Betrayal at Calth boxed game (gold trim on the shoulders the biggest change from the solid blue scheme suggested in Paint Splatter).

The model were all undercoated Black before panting. On the recommendation of a friend, I base all my models using Halfords Black Primer - works just as well for plastic, resin and metal models as it would do for a car door! All paints were from the Citadel Range, and I used Games and Gears Ichiban Series brushes.

The blue armour was painted using a base coat of Macragge Blue, followed by a Nuln Oil wash, reapplied Macragge Blue everywhere bar the recesses and highlighted with Calgar Blue.

The silver details on the jump packs, bolt pistols and chainswords was painted using a base coat of Leadbelcher, Nuln Oil wash followed by a highlight with Ironbreaker.

The black casing for the bolt pistols and chainswords were painted using a base coat of Abaddon Black followed by a quick highlight with Mechanicus Standard Grey

The Gold Trim was painted using a base coat of Retributor Armour, Wash with Reikland Fleshshade then highlight with Liberator Gold.

The Chapter Symbol was painted Celestria Grey, followed by a wash with Nuln Oil, a layer of Ulthuan Grey and a highlight with White Scar.

The eyes were painted Abaddon Black, followed by successive layers Mephiston Red, Troll Slayer Orange and Flash Gitz yellow.

For the base, I used the Agrellan Earth Technical Paint. It was my first attempt using it for the 'cracked earth' texture, and I'm very impressed. It took about 4 hours to dry completely (3 hours more than suggested on the 'how to use' YouTube video), which isn't too bad actually.

All in all, I'm happy with how these have gone, and I'm looking forward to started some new Ultramarines shortly. I think, with Christmas now done, I'll be looking to get a copy of Betrayal at Calth to add to the collection.

To that end, what would people most like to see painted next? The Characters, Terminators, a Legion Tactical Squad or a Veteran Squad? I plan on picking up a copy of Horus Heresy Book V - Tempest too to help inform my decision, but any suggestions would be great!

Just as an update, I'm busy at work on a couple of things at the moment, so hopefully there will be some more finished projects soon!

Thanks all, and Happy New Year!


Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Dropzone Commander, Part 1: Shaltari Starter set - Unboxing and Assembling

Hey Everyone

I'm back again with the start of a new, ongoing project: Dropzone Commander!

Specifically, the Shaltari starter set I showed off in my Christmas swag post. 

I first got into Dropzone about a two years ago - whilst I was demo-ing for Prodos I had the chance to go to Salute 2013, and it was here I first saw Dropzone. The models looked great, very different from the Games Workshop stuff I was playing at the time, but I was too busy with the Horus Heresy to pick up another game.

Fast forward a year and I was back at Salute, this time as a guest. The Horus Heresy was behind me, and I was between games. Remembering Dropzone, I headed straight over to the Hawk stall and picked up a starter set. I've played a few beginner games with the UCM and Scourge and really enjoyed the simplicity of the core rules, and the scale of the game. Having struggled to play big games of 40k/ 30k because of the physical size of the games, the 10mm scale really appealed to me.

I never really picked up Dropzone last year as I was still trying to settle on a game, but that's all changed thanks to the Dropfleet Commander kickstarter. A lot of people in my new club have backed it, including me, and so I needed to get a Dropzone army to compliment that.

I love the style of the Shaltari, and so jumped straight to them as an army! As the first post in my Shaltari Series I'm going to do an Unboxing Review of the Shaltari Starter Set
So lets jump in!

First Impressions:

Like most of the starter sets within the Dropzone Commander range, the Shaltari starter comes with three flying transports, three anti-aircraft tanks, three standard tanks, two transports and some infantry bases. Fairly standard fare, and a great starter army - everything you need to play!

Opening the box

Straight out of the box, everything is exceptionally well packaged. All the components come sealed within a plastic bag to make sure nothing is lost during transit.

The box contains three main elements: Three sprues, assembly instructions and quick-start stat sheet, and the bases.

The three sprues are all identical, containing one of each tank, the flying transport, the land transport, and six infantry models to place on two bases. Theoretically you can get two bonus infantry bases and a bonus transport off the three sprues, making the set great value. The sprues are all plastic, and the quality is just as good as something like GW. No flash, great detail, sturdy and easy to clip and trim.

The inclusion of assembly instructions is great, and something that I've sorely missed over the last year building mostly Infinity models. Whilst most of the models in the kit are easy to assemble, it's still a very welcome addition to the box.
The inclusion of the rule reference sheet is amazing. You get the same sheet in the two player set, one for Scourge and one for UCM, and the fact you get it in a stand alone Starter is brilliant for the new player (like myself!). It also means that you don't need to buy a rule book to start playing straight away - a great and player-friendly addition!

The bases are standard fair - three clear plastic flying bases (with Hawk-widget) and four infantry bases. Unfortunately there are ONLY four bases, as it makes 6 of the Infantry models from one of the Sprues redundant. Shame, but you still get one free transport in the set!

Building the kits

Tomahawk Grav-tank

The Tomahawk is the main battle tank of the Shltari army, and the main ground-to-ground combat tank in the kit. The models themselves require one tiny piece of assembly, as can be seen in the image below

The tank is provided in two pieces; anti-grav chassis and gauss cannon turret. The turret simple fits into the socket provided, and can be glued in if needed. I've chosen to leave mine unglued for ease of painting, and to allow me to rotate the turrets in-game. The image above also shows off the great quality of the Dropzone models - the models are covered in amazing details.

Kukri Anti-Air Grav-tanks

The Kukri AA Grav-tanks are the standard AA tanks within the Shaltari set. Unlike the Tomahawk, they require slightly more assembly.

The Kukri shares a chassis with the Tomahawk, and comes with a two-part turret. For the more skilled modellers, the guns could probably be pinned to allow free vertical rotation within the turret housing. I've chosen to glue my guns at a 45-degree angle to make it look like they're shooting into the sky. Once the guns are glued to the turret, the turret simply slots into the chassis - easy!


Shaltari braves are the standard Infantry in the force. Four bases of three infantry each are included in the set, and they're as easy to build as the Tomahawks. Simply glue the single-piece infantry into the base - job done!

Haven Terragates

The Haven Terragate are the standard Shaltari 'Transport' - albeit using the Shaltari teleportation rules.

The Haven Terragates were the most challenging of the models to build. The model comes in seven parts; a nose, tail, two arch's that form the power matrix, the two anti-grav fins and teleportation cystal (shown on the left model).
To build the model I first glued the two arches to the nose, forming the power matrix. I then glued the tail to the end of the arches, completed the power ring (shown on the central model). 
Finally, I glued anti-grav fins under the nose and the crystal support to the underside of the tail (shown on the right model).
All three models took around 5 mins each to build - still nice and easy.

Eden Medium Gate

The Eden Gates are the medium sized flying gates, capable of teleporting all the vehicles provided within the starter set.

Like the Haven Terragate, the Eden Gate comes in seven pieces. Four of these pieces are two-pronged anti-grav platforms, used for the front four 'wings' of the Eden. Two more are three-pronged wings, used for the rear wings, with the final piece making the main Eden body. The body contains three recesses on each side for the wings to slide in to, making it very easy to assemble. The two rear wings have slightly wider guide pegs, making it impossible to slot them into the wrong part of the model. As with all the previous models, these little touches make the set very simple for the novice modeler. 

The Finished Set

All in all, it took about 35mins to put the whole thing together, including clipping all the models off the sprue. The assembly was easy enough (when required), the quality is fantastic and the detailing exceptional. 

Very, very impressed, and I cannot recommend enough.

I thoroughly look forward to painting these models up! All I need now is for the weather to calm down enough to get outside to undercoat the models!

I plan on using the Apache colour scheme for the force -  a nice forest green with gold. Should be fun to paint, and very different from the rest of the projects I have ongoing (Ultramarines, Blood Angels Death Company, Yu Jing and PanOceania and Bushido).

I'll get the finished models up when they're all painted, hopefully within the next few weeks, and then I'll ask for some advice on what to buy next! As always, any suggestions/ comments are always welcome.

Thanks again for reading, and remember to like/ follow/ share to those that you think might want to read.


Saturday, 26 December 2015

Blood Angels: The Black Rage: Part 1

Hey all!

Carrying on from my "Christmas Swag" post, I'm beginning a new series on the Blood Angels. It's been a good 3-4 years since I've done any 40k properly. For those of you that have read my "Story so far" post, you'll know that I used to really like the Blood Angels (well, as much as a Chaos-loving 20-year old can), so it's a genuinely exciting prospect to be doing some 40k again!

My decision to do Blood Angels was inspired by this:

A good friend of mine (Neil - who also has a blog and a painting/ modelling facebook page, look for Neilrh89 if you're interested) bought me this for Christmas. Two weeks ago I was actually complaining that it was a beautiful model, but too expensive to justify ever buying... so thanks for getting me out of that loop hole Neil!

About a year ago I tried to get back into 40k, with limited success. During that time I ended up buying the Blood Angels Codex, and Deathstorm; a pretty good bundle deal if ever there was one!
Whilst I'd already sold the Tyranids on, still had the Death Company sprue left over sitting in my bits box! Success!!

I love it when a plan comes together! (or... when luck pervades!)

So, armed with a new character and a set of troops to go with it, I embarked on a Christmas day building spree!!
After consulting the codex, I build the Death Company as you can see below. 

No frills or spills - I went for something generic for these guys. Bolt Pistols and Chainswords were the order of the day. Future versions, when I expand the squad, may see extra CC weapons, but for the time being I felt like going for simple was best. That being said, I did decide to equip the squad with Jump Packs to allow them to keep pace with the Chaplain.

It was an absolute joy to work with multi-part plastic miniatures again after spending so long using just metal miniatures (Infinity). I played around like a few poses before finishing of these. I'm pretty happy them!

Moving on to the Character, I couldn't resist doing a minor conversion here. My year of infinity made me itch for kit-bashing and converting, so I used a subtle one here.

A minor trim and reposition of the left arm see's my Chaplain soaring overhead his pistol into his enemies. The pistol was taken from the Death Company box; a clip at the wrist of both the original arm and the arm with the pistol means my chaplain gets to keep his ornate armor too! I imagine I'll use the pistol as the Relic weapon 'Fury of Baal'; a special plasma pistol that never overheats (excellent....)

So that makes six models with exceptionally detailed armor ready to paint!

Let the post Christmas fun begin!!

Hope you're all having an equally as exciting hobby-inspired christmas, have fun.


Friday, 25 December 2015

I March for Macragge! Part 1

Let me tell you... that's a little weird for me to say!

Quick backstory for those that don't know me/ haven't read my "Story so far" blog post:

I played in, and helped organise and write rules for, a Horus Heresy campaign that lasted three years (starting before the Forge World books were released, and finishing afterwards). During that time my Heresy army grew from a 1000pts Space Marine army, to a 7500pts Horus Heresy army with Daemon Allies...
It was big, flashy, and ultimately drove me over the edge Hobby-wise.

It was also a Word Bearers army (hence why I feel a little uneasy praising Macragge).
I've included a few photo's below just to show what the army was like, and how big it became:

That army has since been sold off to fund other projects, mostly because I couldn't stand the idea of playing Horus Heresy anymore. The release of Betrayal at Calth has changed that. For the first time in a number of years I'm seeing 30k as an affordable hobby to start, and with all the new resin upgrade parts and a host of new kits available from Forge World it's now a good time to restart the hobby.

But what Legion? That's a big question, even though there are only 18 possible answers (17 at the time of writing, since there's no Space Puppies resin upgrades out yet!)

I sat down and had a good think, and eventually settled on the Ultramarines. Why? Well... they're cool. Visually they look heroic and strong, without the darker/ gothic imagery that some of the other Legions have. They're also loyalist, meaning my army is compatible with 30k and 40k (aesthetically speaking, along with rules). They're also a really nice blue... which is a weird thing to say I guess, but given my other recent painting projects (Yu Jing = Yellow/ Orange/ White, Nomads = Red/ Black and PanO = Sky/ Blue) I just fancied a change of colour, and the deep, regal blue of Ultramar is a perfect choice for a pallet change.

My first squad choice is an Assault Squad, show below.

Why an Assault Squad? Laziness/ cheapness basically! I still had a MkIV Assault pack laying around from two Christmases ago when I was really into HH. One cheap order to Forge World for the Ultramarines resin shoulders and these guys were complete.
As you can see from the photo's they've all been fitted with standard Bolt Pistols and Chainswords. The main reason was because I don't know what I want to give the squad yet, especially given the diversity of equipment in the Legions rule books. I also chose not to include a Sergeant model, as I want all the Sergeants in the force to have full 'Ultramarines' armor (including head, torso and shoulder from the resin upgrade kit) and those will have to be ordered later on.

Since these photo's have been taken they've been base coated, and I'll be sure to upload completed pictures displaying the finished models, alongside a discussion on what's coming next.

Of course, if you guys have any suggestions about what I can add to the force I'd appreciate them, and I may even take your advice. Not Guilliman though... need some practice at blue first!

Thanks for all the support, and I'll post again soon!


Christmas Swag: What's coming up!

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope the holiday season is treating you all well, and that Santa has bought you all the plastic/ metal/ resin things you hoped for!

I had a very luck Christmas, courtesy of my wonderful girlfriend, her family and some friends, and so I'll have a number of new projects starting soon!

Dropzone Commander, Bushido, Infinity, Guildball and Warhammer 40k. Just some of the projects coming in 2016!

Just a quick Christmas post! I'm off to cook and build!

Merry Christmas! And have a great day!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Infinite possibilities; Part 1

Hello everyone, and welcome to my first article on Infinity, the Sci-Fi Skirmish game by Corvus Belli.

I plan on writing a series of articles on Infinity to track my progress as I assemble an army, learn to play, pick up/ drop models and steadily progress from a casual player into something more well rounded.

To start off with though, I'll do a quick summary on what Infinity is, the Infinity Universe, the great aspects of the game, and how I started playing Infinity, a selection of the models I own, finishing up with what I plan to do in the future.

So let's dive in!

What is Infinity?

Infinity is a 28mm skirmish game set in a fantasy future approximately 200 years ahead of our own. The game recreates the high-stakes black operations fought between the different powers as they look to steal or destroy resources and technology, or secure territories, that would see one faction assume dominance. Games are typically played using 10-20 models per side, and uses a fast, deep and dynamic D20 system. The model design and art style of Infinity is very anime-themed, leading to a clean and sharp futuristic style to the world.

The Infinity Universe

The Infinity universe is set in a world very different to our own. Euro-American capitalism failed, plunging the world into economic turmoil. A number of new powers have arisen to fill the vacuum, and mankind has taken to the stars to begin colonising a number of star systems and establishing what is collectively known as the Human Sphere.
There are 5 main human powers within the Human Sphere; PanOceania, Yu Jing, Haqqislam, Ariadna and Nomads. In addition to these five human factions there are also the ALEPH, the Tohaa and the Combined Army.

PanOceania are the largest and most prosperous of humanities nations. The hyperpower was born from the union of Australia, New Zealand, India, the Phillipines, Chilie and Brazil. Culturally, PanOceania contains elements of all the nations and this comes through in their military organisation, and by extension their model design. PanOceania is also the home of the Catholic Church, which plays a far more dominant role in military organisation than it does today. Many of the Knightly Orders have been bought to life within PanOceania, leading to some fantastic knightly models!
Taken from, a terrific example of a knight-themed Infinity Army.

PanOceania also boast the most advanced Tactical Armoured Gear (TAG) technology, the technology used to make the amazing battlefield walkers seen in the Infinity universe. This allows them access to some amazing walkers, like the Seraph pictured above (a TAG that's also a Knight... YES!).

Their biggest rivals withing the Human Sphere are Yu Jing (pronounced Yu Cheng). Yu Jing represents the Pan-East Asian faction within Infinity; a hyperpower built from China, North and South Korea, Japan, Tailand, Mongolia, Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Taiwan. Yu Jing politically and culturally strive to achieve a perfect balance between tradition and advancement. In order to unify their nation and solidify their cultural heritage the Yu Jing reinstated the Old Emperor, giving him universal control over the judiciary and the courts, whilst the politicians remain in control of the internal, foreign and economic policies. Yu Jing aesthetics favour that of historical China - their ornate armor stylised to look more draconic/ leonin. Within Yu Jing the Japanese are the most resistant to joining the Empire, and still retain much of their cultural heritage and aesthetics. Which, of course, means space Samurai...
Space Samurai... nuff said really!

The Yu Jing pride themselves on their Heavy Armour manufacture and technology, and so boast the highest number of heavy infantry within the game. Expensive units in terms of points, but hardy and well trained; an elite army if ever there was one!

Haqqislam is the third of the larger powers within the Human Sphere. Haqqislam, or New Islam, was developed by a single man with a single vision; an Islamic nation where western prosperity and wealth could be achieved without compromising his religious tenants. Haqqislamic society focuses on two main tenants; Science and Philosophy. The universal access to knowledge is a central pillar within Haqqislamic society, and it ensures their people continue to grow and develop. As a result, Haqqislam boast the strongest medical research facilities within the Human Sphere, and their skills and schools are highly sought after. Their military, whilst not as technologically advanced as the rest of the human sphere, is the largest of all the nations, focusing on large numbers of highly trained light infantry. As a result, players of Haqqislam typically have access to more models on the table than many other factions, should they chose to build the army this way. Haqqislam also gain access to the best field medics in the game, so their models will keep getting up unless you put them down hard.
Taken from At a recent tournament a Haqqislam army won with a phenomenal 20 models in the force... I've struggled to build a functioning Yu Jing army with more than 12... strength in numbers! 

The fourth big player with the Human Sphere are the Nomads. The Nomads are the people that have openly rejected 'normal' civilisation, choosing instead to pursue another more esoteric or unsavoury lifestyle. The Nomads are split across three massive ships that sail the stars selling their skills and resources to whoever can pay; Tunguska, Corregidor and Bakunin. Tunguska specialises in info-war and cyber-security. It boasts the best AI programmers, and hackers, within the Human Sphere. It's members are often employed to encrypt information and transport it across the Human Sphere, normally for illicit purposes. Corregidor specialises in manpower. Having spent their entire lives within the vacuum of space, it's citizens are adept are working within zero-G environments, and are often contracted out by other nations to help in zero-G construction. In order to protect its citizens, Corregidor sends a highly trained security detail with any worker force. These soldiers are some of the paid mercenaries within the Human Sphere, are are often contracted to perform jobs by non-Nomad groups. Bakunin, the ship, is made up of dozens upon dozens of different hab-pods, each one home to a different group of fanatics. There is one rule on Bakunin - keep it to you pod. As long as the citizens keep whatever esoteric beliefs or practices they follow to themselves the ship will continue to allow it. Within Bakunin you can find any number of disgraced scientists willing to push the boundries of medical science, or religious fanatics willing to fight and die for their cause.
The diversity of the Nomad nation leads to a massively diverse play style and model range, making them one of the most appealing armies to collect.
Taken from the Corvus Belli webstore: The Nomad starter set contains a mix of models from the three factions, illustrating the diversity in the models.

Ariadna are the fifth and final human faction within the Human Sphere. The Ariadna was the first space ship to leave earth to discover distant planets - the combined effort of a America and Europe during the final days of their power. Interstellar travel in Infinity is achieved via stable wormholes, and the Ariadna was the first of it's kind to traverse one of these wormholes. Whilst the mission was a success, the wormhole collapsed behind the Ariadna (without their knowledge), leaving the crew stranded on their new homeworld. The descendants of the Ariadna have recently been rediscovered, and they have been tentatively welcomed back into the Human Sphere. Technologically primitive compared to the other nations, the Ariadna are the most "modern" looking army (by our standards) and have access to lots of cheap, well trained infantry, as well as some awesome looking 'werewolves'! Ariadna can be divided into four camps; French, Kosak, Scottish and America, and their model range represents this, allowing for some amazing models. The recently released USAriadna set is a perfect starting army for those that want to play, giving you a decent sized army in one purchase.
Taken form the Corvus Belli Webstore. The USAriadna set comes with a little bit of everything Infinity has to offer - Dog Soldiers, Bikers, Light and Heavy Infantry... what more do you need!

The Ariadna home world, Hope, is the scene for many conflicts within the Infinity Universe, allowing the human nations to fight against one another on a 'neutral' territory away from the jurisdiction of the courts and intergalactic community.

The main antagonist of the Infinity universe are the Combined Army (CA), controlled by an insidious AI known as the Evolved Intelligence (EI). The combined army are a plague, spreading across the stars looking to bring more and more races under the control of their AI masters, and humanity are next! There are two main races within the Combined Army range; the Morats and the Shasvastii. The Morats are hulking brutes that thrive of warfare, and form the spearhead of Combined Army Assaults. The Shasvastii are a chameleonic race able to rapidly change their size and shape, making for the perfect infiltration units. The Combined Army also make use of a number of other races equally as dangerous as these two to persecute their wars against humanity. The combined army model range are vastly different to the human models, being distinctly alien and exceptionally technologically advanced.

Taken form the Corvus Belli Webstore. The Combined Army starter set looks visually distinct form all the human factions, and contained two alien races and a number of cyborg drones made from less war-like species... 

The EI have established a small beachhead within the Human Sphere on the planet of Paradiso, and most of the fighting against the EI happens across that world. Humanity has two distinct, non-human allies to help in the fight against the EI - the Aleph and the Tohaa.

PanOceania, Yu Jing and Haqqislam society is intrinsically linked together by an AI system known as ALEPH; it regulates and controls the massive amount of data shared between the three powers, including the media, the internet, stock exchange and banking records, police reports, cultural exports (like books, songs, films, etc), as well as the vast amount of information needed for interstellar movement and trade between the nations. In order to safeguard it's assets, ALEPH has created a small security force for itself, made primarily of remote drones controlled by the AI itself. In the light of the EI invasion of the Human Sphere, ALEPH has taken a more active role within the defense of Humanity. Using advanced Haqqislam medical technologies, ALEPH has created a number of artificial human bodies and installed heroic personalities within them to help persecute the war. Known as the Steel Phallanx, these soldiers look human, despite their artificial origins, and take the fight directly to the EI across Paradiso. ALEPH models have a very distinct aesthetic compared to the rest of the Human Sphere armies; sleek, stylish and very sci-fi.

Taken from the Corvus Belli webstore. The 'hero's of humanity, the Steel Phalanx take the fight to the EI on Paradiso. These models are hard as nails, and utterly unforgiving in a firefight.

Last, but by no means least, are the Tohaa. The Tohaa are an advanced, space-faring civilisation that came to humanity to offer assistance in fighting against the EI. The Tohaa have been at war with the EI for many years after half their race fell to the nefarious AI. The Tohaa are masters of Biotechnology, and use all manner of biological and viral weapons to persecute their wars. As such, they look very different to all the other races within the Human Sphere, partly thanks to the vibrant colour palette they tend to be painted in.

Visually distinct to the rest of the Infinity, the Tohaa are one of the newest factions to infinity and so have a number of interesting rules to make them fun and challenging to play. 

Why play Infinity?

Infinity is the best tabletop game I have ever played. Now, a good friend of mine once quoted a younger version of me saying the exact same thing about Warhammer 40,000, so I'm going to elaborate on that a bit!

Infinity has a great universe - A lot of games out there use gothic sci-fi, steam-punk, diesel-punk, modern, fantasy, etc settings as their 'universe' of choice, many of which represent dystopian pasts/ futures/ presents/ alternate worlds, etc. The Human Sphere is a very bright, vibrant and successful future - mankind stands at the height of it's technology and power. It is also, relatively, peaceful, with most citizens living in comfort and working fulfilling lives to enhance the successes of their society. That being said, it is not a boring universe. Violence is everywhere, it's just isolated to hotspots within the Human Sphere. Hope and Paradiso are two of the major hot-spots between the factions of Infinity, but black operations happen at any number of facilities within the universe that happen off the official record, and it's these conflicts that you recreate throughout the game.  

Infinity has great rules - As a predominantly sci-fi game, Infinity is mostly about shooting (and I have read other blogs which compare it to playing a multiplayer first-person shooter) but the way you go about it is radically different to many other games. Infinity is based around a D20 system, and every dice roll you make needs to fall below a certain number (between 1-20) in order to succeed. The exact number you need to roll is usually modified by special rules, equipment, range and cover, making certain shots harder/ easier depending on the scenario. What sets Infinity apart from other games is that the non-active player (the player who does not have the active turn) is able to react to every action their opponent makes. You want to shoot me? Fine - but I'll be shooting back simultaneously. Where two dice rolls interact with each other (i.e. you shoot me, I shoot back) the dice roll become a dice-off. The game tactics revolve around ensuring that, even on reactive dice rolls, you maximize you positive modifiers whilst forcing you opponent to roll dice with negative modifiers. Add into that a diverse array of actions and equipment that would put most RPG's to shame and you end up with an incredibly diverse and tactical game.
Oh, and best of all? They're free online!

Infinity has a great support network - I see Infinity as a kind of 'Magic: The Gathering' for tabletop gaming. Corvus Belli have a thorough tournament pack, known as the ITS (or Infinity Tournament System) that allows you to very easily run tournaments from anywhere. If you follow the rules you can even enter the tournament results into their ITS database to keep track of your Infinity world rankings. To ensure that the Infinity scene is constantly up to date, Corvus Belli also make use of a free online army builder app that is kept pretty up to date with model equipment and points costs, which has recently been hyperlinked to allow you to instantly interrogate their Wikipedia page for rules queries.... Amazing!

Infinity has great models - The Infinity models are amazing. Maybe I'm biased because they're very anime-inspired, but I think they're some of the best models around. They're not perfect... especially some of the older designs, but the updated versions of the newer models speak for themselves! The Image below shows that - the old Guija (a TAG for the Yu Jing) with it's modern equivalent... a stunning transformation.
Now that's what I call a makeover!!

One of the more interesting elements of the ITS system is that, where possible, an official Corvus Belli miniature must be used to represent the model in question. Since the models are all white metal, it means you're kind of restricted in using the Corvus Belli model only, and it makes conversions relatively challenging. That being said, if you like the models (like me) it's only a problem when you're trying to field a unit that doesn't yet have a model option.

Infinity has a low model count - this one probably cuts both ways - if you like having BIG armies then Infinity probably isn't your thing. For ITS level games, 10 models is a recommended minimum, with 12-16 more normal from what I've seen. Obviously it depends on your army, but low model counts make the game cheaper to start, cheaper to collect, and much less time consuming to paint up (for those of us that sometimes find it difficult to find time to hobby in). That being said, it's not like the armies are small...

Infinity has a huge range of models - despite my previous point, Infinity does have an insane range of models at it's disposal, which means you can have a huge collection and only draw on small elements of it for your games. When you build your army you can chose, for most factions, to either field a Vanilla list and have access to everything, or play a sectorial list and get certain benefits at the expense of limited unit choice. This means that there's a can be some redundancy in rules between models within a faction (i.e. two medics with very similar rules/ points costs) as they're open to different types of sectorial within the same faction. This also opens up the game from only 8 factions to about 15 including sectorials, which will play differently to their vanilla counterparts. 

It's not about your list - this is probably the main reason I love Infinity. Every blog I've read, forum post I've seen and person I've spoken to has said that it's not the list you write, but HOW you play it. Infinity is a game that revolves around objectives, and if you build a list that isn't suited to the mission objectives you will probably lose (and this is even accounted for within the ITS system by allowing players two army lists, within the same army, at tournaments). Learning the game, the rules, the strengths and weaknesses of your units and then putting that into practice on the board is the most important part, not taking broken unit X or Y. There are, of course, optimised lists designed by the best players around, but there doesn't seem to be 1 army list per faction that you must play. Find a style that suits you a roll with it!

How did I start playing?

As I've said in a previous blog post, 2014 and 2015 were kind of absent years for me in terms of gaming. I was doing a lot of writing, either for Prodos or Wordforge, and had fallen into a kind of post-40k Limbo. My local gaming community were playing a lot of MTG, and I ended up buying a lot of different games.
I can't remember what it was that turned me on to Infinity, but I remember being stuck by the beauty, and brilliant price, of the Operation: Icestorm set.

Operation: Icestorm - two armies, rules, templates, tokens, a battle mat and scenery all for £70... just just my money!

I ordered the set direct from Corvus Belli, and set about reading the rules online. A little later on I ended up picking up the full rules and fluff from Wayland Games at Salute 2014, along with some more Nomads to enhance my collection (despite not having a regular gaming partner at this point!).
At the time, just painting them was enough - and I was particularly enamored with the Iguana (a nomad TAG).
I dabbled a little in the game, but it never saw a big uptake in my old club.

After moving to Cambridge, things changed. An old friend of mine from University was living in Cambridge, and Infinity was his main game. He introduced me to one or two players from one of the local clubs, which made me think about getting into it. Then I went to my new local club and started talking to a few guys that had just looked into the game.
One of the guys had just bought the USAriadna starter, and was waiting on delivery. The other two each had just bought Nomads and PanOceania, and were looking at learning the game. My old uni friend played Haqqislam, and me (being me) wanted to play something no-one else played... so began my time as a member of the Jade Empire! I've been playing the game now for 6 months and still love it as much as day one!

Medge's Yu Jing - a small slice of the Jade Empire

My Yu Jing army currently stands at a few hundred points. I started off with the Yu Jing Sectorial Starter set for the Imperial Service, any my army has kind of expanded from there, as you can see below.
My small slice of the Jade Empire!

What's coming next?
Over the coming months I'll write up a few posts talking about why I've bought each model, and how I see it performing for my army, as well as review what I've found it can do. I'll also do the same for my PanOceania and Nomads that I got from the Icestorm set. I'll also talk a little about how I've painted them, and any basing and modelling choices I've made.

But that's it for me for now. So until next time, happy hobby!