Sunday, September 06, 2009

Space Hulk - The 3rd Wave
#1. "In the beginning was the Hulk..."

Unparalleled enthusiasm untrammelled?
Andy 'ported in Friday to deliver the preorder perk- two 3rd Edition Space Hulks over which to gloat while the shelves were being filled for Saturday's store launch: my own Hulk the 5th; and another for that friend who's been waiting long enough for his promised set to've had time to abandon all hope at least twice already. Now it's finally a blip on his radar!

Another big box brimful of brilliant bits and bobs!

Confession time
In the- "eh'm, you've only got yourself to blame" department: I must confess that my confidence in my freehand and greenstuff skills was simply overwhelmed at the prospect of a set of Legion of the Damned terminators; the craft required- above left, remains beyond me. I just couldn't face those flames and bones.

I mean to say, I'm not even 'rusty' as such; it's more like I'm 'still in the packing case'. Here right is serving Chapter Master Ezekiel Cromwell ("also known as 'Zeke', but never to his face"). The happy accident that brought the Talons' founding and subsequent tradtions into sharp relief by virtue of that Nemesis Force Halberd- the big blue blade for the uninitiated; Zeke here has therefore been awaiting the finishing touch of crackling tongues of flame- on that red Storm Shield, for more years than I care to remember (this might just be my oldest unfinished mini).

Fortunately then, the revamped Blood Angels from the 1st wave's The Sin of Damnation are rich in detail luxuriant enough to enthuse the most jaded miniaturists to exercise their finest brushes. I've seen the WIP's in my local GW and the production pieces really are as exquisite as the 'Eavy Metal pictures show. The blood red's going to be a nice change of tone; but I'm wondering, naturally enough, what will these masterpieces of the injection moulding process look like under Scorpion Green?

Waxing nostalgic
More than just the heart and soul of my 40K gaming experience, Space Hulk was also the subject of 'Talons of Death', published in GW's old semiprozine The Citadel Journal #36 in March 2000. The article featured a 4-scenario campaign into which I threw as many bells and whistles as I could pull together; and a conversion piece: the terminator Techmarine- a Golden Demon UK 2001 also-ran with his Techguard, from which I took the Tactical Techmarines unique to the Talons both online and at GW events under 3rd and 4th editions of 40K.

The Techmaster and his original Techguard

These models and others featured in a WIP megathread at The Bolter and Chainsword (a good 2 or 3 incarnations ago); so the work I put into 'Talons of Death' proved productive and rewarding to this DIY Chapter Master (notice again the surprising image quality from my old scanner).

The Sin of Damnation @RD/KA!
Old hands familiar with the length and breadth of my enthusiasms for Space Hulk might've been wondering at the downbeat note struck at the top of this post. I was.

So make no mistake about it dear readers: the hype is entirely justified and kudos is due to all involved in putting the project together. The production values show that GW at the top of its form remains peerless; and the comforting familiarity of the game reminds us what the old design studio is capable of when it's not driven by the imperatives of getting ever more miniatures onto the increasingly cramped 6x4 tabletop.

Approximately 1 square metre of debossed cardboard!

It was ultimately in the writing of this that the weight of my past with the game was reflected in the recognition that this is the 3rd edition of Space Hulk to mark my return to GW's corner of the adventure gaming hobby; the geek fanboy in me cherished this so that I could not help but warm to the simple pride and sheer enthusiasm of Jervis and the rest of the crew in this month's White Dwarf coverage of the release; and the irksome in my grognard was comforted by the thought.

I hope to be seeing Space Hulk back on the gaming table soon and regularly; so, dear readers, you can expect in the weeks and months to come:
  • A full review: there're surprisingly many rules changes, and the 2nd edition grognard in me isn't sure what to think of them all.
  • Workbench: WIPs of the Blood Angels and the Stealers.
  • Revamps of some of my own favourite contributions to hulking.
  • Special projects as I work on new material.
Whew! Yes; it's back, it's big, and it's bristling with bogies! ;)

Related @RD/KA!
- Part 1. In the beginning was the hulk
- Part 2. The timer rule and player point-of-view
- Part 3. Tactics, tactics, tactics!
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