I used to play Warhammer 40,000 when it was in that fancy hardback book called Rogue Trader. Back in the days of yore when all that was required was a few models for skirmish battles. Then I found beer and girls and stuff and the book went into the cupboard and didn't come out again for gaming purposes. That was then...
Fast forward to 2008. Southport, United Kingdom. I'm walking down the street, thinking about buying a book to take on the plane travelling back to Surrey, BC in Canada where I live now. I walked past a Games Workshop and thought "I know, I'll go see what these novels they publish are like". I went in and bought a copy of Horus Rising. Oh dear. By the time I was finished I was scouring Craigslist looking for a used army. Bought a couple of thousand points of averagely painted Dark Angels and started stripping and repainting them. What have I got now... maybe 6,000 that's painted? Thereabouts.
So, as the fluff goes, Lion El'Jonson being the Primarch of the Dark Angels gave me an idea for a nick that paid homage to the leader of the army I play. Hence you'll see on Bell Of Lost Souls the occasional comment from one names Limey El' Jonson. Yeah. Guilty.
I won't say that my painting skills are legendary, Golden Demon winning handiwork that causes maidens to swoon at the very sight but I like it. I think it's getting better. It's getting better at a rate faster than the rate at which my gaming skills is improving, that's for sure. Some would say I have the strategic acumen of a russet potato. I would agree from time to time. Other times I'll blame the dice.
I love my Dark Angels, I really do. Not in the way that the Dark Angels are jokingly supposed to love each other, but I'm just really... it's a bromance. Yep. A bromance.
Sometimes I wish they were more like the other chapters, and had all the cool stuff like DROP POD ASSAULT. Man, I hate having to wait until turn two to bring em in. Initially, when they were first released I was gung ho for them. I even bought one. Then I looked in the codex and it was a case of "Hey! Everyone's got Drop Pod Assault and can take deathstorm missiles and can carry twelve, but I only get 10 guys and a storm bolter and have to reserve. No fair!". So I took it back in a huff and bought a Razorback instead.
Then I played against a Tau player a few times who was a terrible opponent in that he would just gunline you to death. If I took Terminators I didn't stand a chance because he'd pack everything into one corner so you couldn't get into combat - everything would be in shooting range as soon as you came in. The fat kids would be stood in their huddle frantically rolling 2+ armour saves or 5+ invulnerable saves (another gripe of mine about DW vs SM Codex terminators) while getting shot to pieces in one turn. So I bought four drop pods. Next time I play that guy LOOK OUT! I'm going to do some damage anyway.
Took me a long time to do each one because I paint them before fully assembling them. Doors go together, top half of the bottom with the centre pillar on it, each of the harnesses goes together. Little jets go on the bottom and the main engine/storm bolter pintle gets assembled. Then I paint everything and away we go.
What I've found is that if you don't get the wings dead straight then when you try to close the doors they hit the wings and that's how you get the blooming flower effect. Bloomin' flowers...
The way that they're manufactured is a little hokey, but looking at the way the parts are engineered, I can't see any other way of doing it without making pieces heavy and solid. If those doors weren't in two halves, they'd be too heavy and would never stay closed, for instance. I just wish it wasn't so awkward to get them right. I know chaps who've forgone the wings and jet engine and just done the base and the doors. Kind of ruins the line of sight thing really though. They're really useful for getting in the way like that - drop one in front of a devastator squad or something similar, and your opponent will hate you for it. But if there's no full assembly then it doesn't really work.
The other major problem I had was the wings. I bought four kits. Three from Bitkingdom and one from the local GW. They all had the same manufacturing problem - a bad mould or something anyway. One each of the sprues that had two wings, one of the wings would be warped. A definite visual kink which would prevent easy assembly of them without warming the part up in hot salt to bend it or something. So that was eight bad wings for four kits. I called GW Direct Services and explained the problem. Gave them the batch number. They were happy to send me two complete kits for my trouble, to get the parts that I needed. Awesome! When they arrived I was most happy. I opened the boxes and found that these kits had the same problem! So I had six kits, and with all the good wings I could make three complete drop pods. So I marched down to the local GW with the replacement kits and explained my story. They tore open two kits and gave me the pieces I needed to get the job done so I could have four complete kits with straight wings. Happy now.
So that's the story of the four drop pods. Under my bench in the shed are two complete drop pod kits. Each of these kits has five bad wings. There's no freakin way I can assemble these. So maybe I'll just do the doors and bases and use them as interesting scenery. Who knows.
I'm still going to have to buy another one. Why? I bought a Battlefoam tray for five drop pods. The saga continues...