Monday, March 31, 2014

Jordaan-Yarr/Lathekin/Narendra System (Cluster 55)

Jordaan-Yarr/Lathekin/Narendra System, Cluster 55

A short background of a system, requested by the NGC and delivered at the last minute by your loyal servant, Maxim Dvořáki.


The debris and asteroid belt that spans the area of space bound by the planets claimed by the Jordaan gang warlords and the House of Yarr, stretching through the Lathekin systems and culminating in the near-impenetrable fields owned by Narendra miners contains over 86 major planetary bodies, and a nearly countless number of asteroid and hulk detritus.  Within this belt (known heretofore as JYLN) there is a single cluster simply designated as System 55 (JYLN-55).  This cluster has been under scrutiny for some time now, and for the past ten years we find it a continually flagged by our analysis protocols as "unusually active."  This letter is to request a survey and continued surveillance of all areas of JYLN-55.  Upon your request, we will depart at once to conduct a full planetary survey and post our recommendations, to be acted upon as you see fit.

It should be noted that the JYLN-55 cluster consists of a single sun and three planetary bodies.  Two of the bodies are considered, yet are lifeless hunks of rock without any significant mining or atmospheric interest.  Therefore, when we refer to JYLN-55, we simply refer to the only planet in the cluster that carries life or any interest (for more details on this please see enclosed file).

The fall of Mercia and subsequent decline of the system.

JYLN-55 was one of the 67 shipping transfer sites that surrounded system Mercia (see ref. 127.x45 sec88) and acted as a third-tier transfer for raw ore industries.  While there were active mines upon the JYLN posts, they paled in comparison to the great hive colonies on Mercia.  You will note that just before the ork invasion of Mercia (see ref. Warboss Gobkrakka, files uploaded upon request) the center of the planet was mined through, the CSMO (Central Services Mining Operator) was compromised and Mercia literally imploded from within post-invasion.  This is the primary source of extra debris that is found in the JYLN belt.  While there always was a good amount of free matter, the detonation of the planet made travel through the belt nearly impossible for several decades as tug crews struggled to keep lanes open.

It is widely assumed by both man and ork that the ork forces of Gobkrakka precipitated the destruction of Mercia.

After the detonation of Mercia, traffic through the JYLN belt was halted and then resumed at an extremely slow pace.  Systems within the belt were cut off from supply, as the trade that they depended upon were being re-routed to other systems, some years away.  The belt that had once protected trading ships from predatory raids was now responsible for keeping those same ships away.  Even the pirates that prowled the region moved on, creating a very quiet system indeed.

On the planets' surface, however, things degraded rapidly.  JYLN-10, -15, and -33 were overrun by insurgent Jordaan nationals, eventually crushing their local governments until they were hastily surrounded and pacified by Imperial troops.  JYLN-55 was no exception, as the tyrant Klaeser was to come to power, oust the Imperial Governors, burn the Ministry Houses and declare war upon the rest of the Sectors. However, house Ecale (for apparently classified reasons) had large interests in the Ministries of 55.  While the Klaeser rebellion surged - a Slaan Cult rose to capture large slums in three of the mining hives - the Imperium held a tight grip upon JYLN-55.  It became a small beacon of light in a range of stars that were slowly dimming into the darkness of chaos and xenos.

While the surrounding systems fell into disorder, all forms of serious rebellion and heresy were roped under control in JYLN-55.  Even as House Lathekin was reduced to a few derelict vessels and Narendra Company was disbanded before being captured by orks, the tyrant Klaeser was hung from the walls of the Tech Ministry on JYLN-55 to signal the end of the heresy.

Part of the reason why JYLN-55 still holds Imperial influence is that recent events have shown the Marines Errant, following their tradition with the Covenant of Ecale, have taken JYLN-55 under their wing. They have placed a contingent of their own marines upon the surface and have begun training idle miners into the ranks of Imperial Guardsmen.  This conscription has been wildly successful, as the majority of the population of the continents of JYLN-55 are not registered as assigned to duty in the imperial databases.  Following a nationalist fervor, the miners have been found to be extremely loyal troops who have served the Errants well.

The Ork Menace Arrives

As early as 17 months ago, a serious and vicious attack came from an unexpected sector of the JYLN belt, a Warboss under the powers of Zazdakka had invaded JYLN-55 space and made planet-fall.  The Errants were called to respond, but arrived too late; Zazdakka's minions had placed a sort of "Bio Bomb" upon the third-largest continent, Sector 7 (referred to by the local inhabitants as Sendeez, a colloquialism based upon slang terms used for both the number 7 and Slaan Cults).  Zazdakka's weaponry did JYLN-55's security forces a bit of a favor by eliminating most of the only remaining Slaan Cult factions that had been marauding unabated in abandoned Sector 7 hives.  The hives were demolished and in the wake of the destruction came a secondary invasion of Tyranids.

 It is currently under investigation, but it is believed that Zazdakka's Bio-Bomb (orkoid forms that were captured and interrogated referred to the device as Ur-Schleim, ref 243 J55) was responsible for attracting the small cluster of Tyranids, which landed and caused great havoc before folding in upon themselves and eventually being exterminated by planetary bombardment by the Errant Cruiser Entract.
It should be noted that upon this operation all life upon the continent Sector 7 was extinguished.  Seemingly attracted by the rotting pestilence left behind, an expeditionary force of Nurgle landed but was easily repelled by the Errant Marines waiting for them.

The Enfuego Crusade

The former Rogue Trader Miguel Quasar took part in an expedition deep into Zazdakka's Enfuego Prime to meet with Eldar pirates who supposedly held a key to the puzzle.  It is thought that the Marines Errant were deceived by the Eldar, led into a trap.  Massive numbers of the Guardsmen were lost on Enfuego, and the Errants returned to JYLN-55 battered and certainly lower in numbers.  Miguel Quasar has been accused of crimes against the Imperium.  He is assumed to have sneaked out of the system undetected and his whereabouts are currently unknown.

The orks followed the Marines Errant in their retreat back to the planet, invaded JYLN-55 again, and now occupy great sections of Sector 7, and make regular incursions into new territory.  It takes every human resource upon JYLN-55 to keep this ork force at bay and to fend off reinforcements, and for the past 2 months has been more heated than usual, seeing large numbers of orks invading from submersibles and water-borne aberrations of nature, also a possible side-effect from this Ur-Schleim Bomb. 

Eldar strike craft have been spotted within the belt as well, various reports confirm this.

Present Conditions

This brings us to the present day.  We propose sending a full survey team to the surface to determine the total number of orks left on the surface, and the reason (if there is such a thing in the orkoid mind) why they seem so interested in Sector 7.  Furthermore, it is of interest to the Imperium of the nature of the Nurgle infestation, the biology of any remaining Tyranid lifeforms, and level of control the local government holds over the populace.

With your blessing, of course.

Vital Statistics:

  • Mean radius 6371 km (3981 miles)
  • Average distance from nearest stellar body: 149.6 million km (93 million miles)
  • Rotates on axis in 32 hrs.
  • Diameter: through equator 12756.26 km (7928 miles); through poles 12713.5 km (7899 miles)
  • Surface area: 510 million square km (198 million) square miles, of which about a quarter is land.
  • Mass: 5.97x1024 kg or 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (6x1021) metric tons 
 JYLN-55 is composed mostly of iron (54%), oxygen (30%), silicon (14%), magnesium (0.2%), sulfur (0.3%), nickel (0.2%), calcium (0.1%), and aluminium (0.1%); with any remaining matter consisting of trace amounts of other elements.

Its atmosphere is rated as "Severely Polluted," yet current respirator technology allows up to 24-48 hours exposure with no life-threatening side-effects.

The Oceans are rated as "Toxic" and "Acidic."  Desalination for use of drinking water is prohibited by local Imperial Governors, therefore most water comes from replication/recycling units.

There many abandoned cities, hive spires and space ports that cause a great security risk amongst the local population.

There is no sustainable agriculture upon the surface.  99% of food intake is from trade or from replication/recycling units handled by Central Services.

There are seven major continents, each named a Sector number.  The world government lies upon one of the medium continents, Sector 1, but referred to locally as Yule.

At any given time there is one company of Marines Errant upon the surface, and the cruiser Entract lies in orbit with an undisclosed number on board.  While the Marines Errant tend to carry heavy weapons into battle, the conscripted security forces of the Imperial Guard they have trained are geared toward riot-suppression, carrying lighter more mobile weapons.  They are gaining a reputation for surrounding their enemies and ambushing them in brutal city warfare.  These tactics were initially used by the tyrant Klaeser and adopted into the routines of generals who have redeemed themselves in service to the Emperor.

Notable contacts of JYLN-55

Marines Errant:  Chapter Master Aldous Bruin, Master of the Forge Breiss, Librarian Lidicker

Imperial Guard: Company Commander D. Nodler,  Senior Sergeant Lawrence.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Orks and Nostalgia Don't Mix, Part 3

The Big Mek

 I always liked taking a new model fresh off the press and merging him with something really ancient.  This Big Mek came out after the new codex was released.  I mounted the oldest Shokk-Attack-Gun I could find on his shoulders.  I have no idea how many years apart the gun and the model are, but I could probably be safe to say that there may be 15 years between them.  A simple conversion, but I always liked him because of this.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Orks and Nostalgia Don't Mix, Part 2

Ah, my only ork Dreadnaught.  This guy has seen some action over the years.  Can't say he ever did much, but I was really happy the conversion has lasted all these years.  The Klaws are from the "old" metal dread that's out of print.  In the '98 ork codex there was a piece of wargear called a "stikkbomm chukka," that allowed a vehicle that couldn't normally tank shock to do so.  So what I modeled was a sack full of stikkbommz on the front, with a grot ready to cut them loose.  Since stikkbommz are probably Strength 4, they couldn't possibly hurt the dread's front armor.  The dread would walk over the stikkbombz that were rolling like bowling pins all around him, causing explosive shrapnel to fly everywhere.

It only worked once.  Back-in-the-day, if you charged a unit that was falling back it needed to make a leadership or be instantly wiped off the board.  This dread actually tank-shocked a unit of guardsmen.  The humans broke, and ran only about 4".  In the assault phase I charged, and wiped out the squad entirely.  I'm glad it worked once, despite fielding this guy in probably over 100 battles (and that's not exaggerating).  Also, grots used to be Ballistic Skill 2, so at one time it was more than proper to have grots actually firing the weapons for this guy.  Always two rokkits.

A better shot of the leg in the air, and the grot behind giving pistol fire-support.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Orks and Nostalgia Don't Mix, Part 4

The Skullhamma.
One day my friend Brad gave me a Baneblade.  I forget if it was for free, or if I did something in trade or painted his basement or whatever.  Either way, he handed it to me with no strings attached and said, "Just do something awesome with it."

I think this is my best model.  I can't say that I would enter anything else into a competition, but I could try to bring myself to it with this one.  It sports a wide range of bits, found objects, all kinds of stuff is on there, and I tried really hard while painting it.

 The treads were replaced by wrapping bike chain around the wheels, then I added carpet stripping.  This stuff was difficult to cut accurately, and I remember bleeding all over the table when doing this part.  To this day, if this model was dragged backwards across the average game table it would take chunks out of the surface.  I've quietly noticed it damage styrofoam terrain, leaving small bright pink divets in its wake.  There's fiberglass screening, and extra armor plates made from old credit cards and the like.

The Gun is made from some washers and faucet parts... the cannon on the hull is made more orky and bigger by the simple addition of a sanding column from a rotary tool.

The turret is built from two hulls of a rhino, aluminum plate, shingles made from mat-board.  Note the unexploded "dud" hunter killer missile still lodged in the side armor.

In battle, the best thing this has done is draw fire.  It moves forward, and usually disgorges its passengers by blowing up.  Great for carrying ten Mega-Nobz around in.

Orks and Nostalgia Don't Mix

After soaking deep into the well of the yearly 40k mud bath we call the Big Game I came home, hungover to a degree, and loaded my totes full of models into the basement and didn't look twice at them as I turned to head upstairs.

I played orks for years, from 1989 to sometime in the early 90's, then lost my interest in 40k, sold (no, wait, just left them at someone's house) all my models and then started over again in 1998.  That 1998 codex I played with until the new one came out.  When the "new" one came out I almost immediately started losing interest in the Orks, the decade or more of losing over and over again with the old codex had taken their toll.  I was in love with those old underdogs.  Nob Spam was the new black, grots were suddenly useless, and Painbosses had lost all their flavor.

Enough bitching.  Its over.  Still, I had a ton of fun making ork models, and they'll probably always be my most favorite army to model and paint, just because the process I use is much more akin to assemblage sculpture than modelling, skirting the line somewhere between mosaics and modelling.

I'll be posting a few pics just for the nostalgia of it all, a few photos to remember these models by while they're packed in totes filled with styrene peanuts and lofted into the attic.

I guess the big deal here is: they're for sale.  I'm not going to put them on Ebay, nor am I going to set any prices.  But if someone, anyone out there really wants one of these guys, give me a holler and we'll work something out.

First: one of my favorite models.  Warboss Gobkrakka.

 This guy has been a Warboss for me since 1990.   He got mounted onto a bike once that was more viable in the newer codex when he could accompany Nob bikers into combat and gain the benefit of the doc in there.  His trike comes equipped with a Stikkbomm Chukka, steering wheel, and foot-activated Dakkaguns.  

I always fielded this guy with close combat weapons that struck on initiative.  In the previous codex he had a shoota/skorcha with a bionic arm (those were cool).  For this version I gave him the 'Uge Choppa, since he's actually got Initiative 4.  The only guy in the ork army that goes that high- I always wondered why people put a powerfist on their warbosses.  It made no sense to me at all- you'd lose an attack and go at the same speed as a Nob with the same loadout.  So instead I gave him the 'Uge Choppa, which allows him to swoop into combat to just clobber someone with his Initiative 4, Strength 8 (on the charge), 6 attacks.  He worked great against either swarms, usually instakilling bases, groups of pleebs (he did really well against s3 opponents that would need a 6 to wound him back), vehicles and dreadnaughts.  With the invention of hitting rear armor on tanks, 6 attacks at Str8 was just as good at glancing a vehicle to death as a Strength 10 powerklaw.  His attack squig is from the old squig catapult squig, mounted onto a chain on his choppa.

Detail of the front of the bike.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Some photos of friends and family

I've got a crappy phone.  So if you send me a picture of something you're working on, I've gotta download it to my laptop if I am to get a good look at it.  I thought I should post a few things I've been sent from friends and family.  Anonymity is granted, but speak up about your figs if you wish.  I'll continue to feature them here, as long as you keep me updated.  Thanks.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Big Game 2014

Ten years ago D-Company started holding a yearly event called "The Big Game."  I've been to every one since.  This past weekend was the most recent one.  I broke out some old orks for this battle, unfortunately my camera's battery failed half-way through the game, and I just decided that someone else would take some photos for me.

The ork army pictured here is a combination of mine,  and my buddys Dale and Ben.  Together we fielded 18,000 points of orks not counting the super-heavy vehicles.

Let me stress that a bit more.  This is 18,000 points of orks, probably well over 20,000 if you count the numerous superheavies.  It was a beachhead assault, a really great game hosted by this guy:

Anyways, on with the pictures.

Deployment... about 33% of it.

One flank...

And the other.

The Stompa formations.

Some of Peter's new guys...