Sunday, 31 January 2010

Tzeentch Doomwing - Project Change XVII

Another foray with the teeny-tiny aircraft. I think it's because I saw Top Gun recently.

Doom Wing - Daemon Engine of Tzeentch

The Doomwing was one of the three Dave Andrews Tzeentch-specific Daemon Engines released in March 1993 - the other two being the Fire Lord and the Silver Tower. The concept of welding technology and warp creature together was never introduced properly into 40K-scale until a decade later with the plastic Defiler kit in 2003.

The Doom Wing was a small interceptor armed with a Flame Cannon. Quite how it shot down other aircraft using forward-firing gouts of fire puzzles me, but both fire and flight are Tzeentch's trademarks. It also carries over the horse skull vibe from the earlier Tzeentch-aligned 40K and Fantasy models.

The colour scheme was inspired by the cover artwork for Queen Rocks.

Queen Rocks Cover

It would have been perhaps more fitting for the larger Fire Lord model which has more flat surfaces to have fun blending, and also the word "fire" in its name. Oops.

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Posted by Curis at 9:09 pm

Friday, 29 January 2010

Ninjabread 20 - Tournament Painting Accessories

Ninjabread's twentieth strip will be familiar for all tournament-attendees. It's tradition to have something left to do on the Friday night, from simple tasks such writing out copies of your army list to enlisting everyone to pitch in assembling the unit you bought on the way down.

Painting in a hotel room

I really like finishing armies for tournaments, and have an awful habit of starting (and only just finishing) one for every tournament I attend. I feel weird taking the same army to two consecutive tournament, I guess it's a hangover from when I just did one event a year.

Drinking in Nottingham's Speakeasy

Am I alone, or are you one of those people that's entirely unstressed and serene with tournament deadlines, as your army's been finished for months and all you have to do is decide which band tee-shirts to wear?


Posted by Curis at 8:46 am

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Amanda reviews: False Gods

Amanda of Floor to Ceiling Books offers her insights into the second book in the Horus Heresy series. Originally a few brief paragraphs in 1988's Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness about some guy called General Horus falling ill , Graham McNeill continues to expand and embellish the Heresy saga. Here's what Amanda made of this installment.

False Gods by Graham McNeill

The Horus Heresy sequence is extremely interesting in that each book is written by a different author - in the first book Dan Abnett laid out the foundation for the tale that Graham McNeill continues. Part of the fun in reading this book came from seeing how McNeill handled the characters introduced by Abnett, and how his writing style differed.

I would say that McNeill is definitely more utilitarian in his style - at times Abnett became almost poetic in his descriptions, whereas McNeill eschews that for a more militaristic and straightforward approach.

This book is also more introspective. There are less rampant battle scenes (although that is not to say there aren't moments of excitement and tension), and the action moves into a more political arena. Horus reaches the moment of his decision, and we see the actions of all the protagonists as they decide whether to stand with their Warmaster. Of course, anyone who has played the actual game of Warhammer 40K knows the way that this novel has to end, but McNeill does a very good job of keeping me interested on the journey.

There are faults though - and one of them is not of McNeill's making. The edition of this book that I read was riddled with errors and needed another scan by human eyes to pick up all those mistakes e.g. 'their' instead of 'there'; " was poor a vintage" rather than "it was a poor vintage". This might be considered nit-picking, but enough errors will jar you out of a novel. I didn't appreciate McNeill making up words either - 'spanging', I felt, was unnecessary. Bullets ricochet, they do not spang...

An illustration of the concept of SPANG

I also felt that the period in the latter half of the book when Horus is struggling from his wound caused the pacing to go all awry. Up until that point we had been proceeding forward at a brisk pace, but I became mired in the dream sequences and struggled to get through without skim reading. I suspect that Abnett might have handled these in a better fashion.

My favourite characters were Loken and Torgaddon, as in this first book. Their very human reactions - the doubt, the pain, the anger - lend gravity to events. It was an unremittingly dark book, very grim, and even Torgaddon (the joker of the bunch) couldn't come out with much comedy relief to lighten the tone.

It almost sounds as though I didn't enjoy it, but I did - very much so. I found it more thought-provoking than the first book, especially with the discussion on the nature of Gods and religion. I especially liked the quote from Karkasy: "No, my dear, ignorance and fear create the gods, enthusiasm and deceit adorn them, and human weakness worships them."

All in all, a strong addition to the Horus Heresy books, with a cliff hanger of an ending that guarantees I'll be heading out to get hold of the next!

Thanks missy. Check out her other book reviews and thoughts at Floor to Ceiling Books. She reads books like other people breathe air.

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Posted by Curis at 8:04 pm

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Free downloadable blue fade backdrops

I have a secret weapon in photographing my models - blue fade backgrounds. I've seen many people that laboriously paint these in in Photoshop after they've taken the photograph. (I did in the past.) But, why not just make one in the first place?

Take this here cool retro Ultramarines Terminator. It took all of five seconds to photograph.

Ultramarines Terminator

And here it is from slightly further away.

Ultramarines Terminator on a desk.

(Now, if I were on Warseer doing a project log, this second photograph would be entirely acceptable as the actual photo of the Terminator.)

So, rather than keep this to myself I thought I'd share it with all you lovely people.

Click the one you want below, then right click > save as. Print off on a piece of a4 paper or card, and hey presto! Mugs available from all good hobby stores.

Portrait blue fade

Landscape blue fade

Importantly, they're disposable, as my cats love walking over them when I'm not about and leaving tiny paw prints. The buggers.

Now, for any graphic design nerds out there, they look great as the colour is pure cyan. Your printed contains four inks - cyan, magenta, yellow and black - which it combines to produce any colour you care to print. But, when you mix inks it starts looking muddy. Pure mono-ink colours are fresh and vibrant.


Posted by Curis at 8:46 pm

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Thunderbolt Fighter Squadron

We're faster than evil! We're faster than crime! We're faster than love! We're faster than tiiiiiime! Oops. That was Ring Raiders. I always get flashbacks when I play with Epic aircraft. Especially with those transparent stalks.

Epic Thunderbolt Squadron

So, these Thunderbolts are the 3rd and 4th aircraft from C Squadron from the 1337th Imperial Navy Fighter Wing, in the colours of the 1st Ager Hominis campaign where they famously supported the Grand Master Obtusius of the Dark Angels Chapter (DEFFWING COMPANY).

These guys are glued to the stalks, but the stalks aren't glued to the base so I can swap them between standard flying bases, retro hex flying bases and Aeronautica Imperialis bases. Heck, I should go scour eBay and mount them on actual Ring Raider rings. Though sadly I doubt they'd fit my adult fingers.

I also decided not to base them to match the army (like my Ork Fighta Bomberz) so I could recycle them for other Imperial armies.

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Posted by Curis at 10:45 pm

Friday, 22 January 2010

Maynard Flux, Champion of Tzeentch - Project Change XVI

Presenting Maynard Flux, oldskool Champion of Tzeentch. Warrior, sorcerer, winemaker.

Maynard Flux, Champion of Tzeentch

His marble-effect book I've decided is a spell book, so he gets The Gift of Magic. I quite like the effect, which I needed to break up the undetailed surface of the book. Well, I say undetailed, due to a combination of casting defects, the age of the model and being stripped it's not at all crisp or clean, so it needed a pattern. I'd like to try it on larger models with flat surfaces, like Eldar, or an oldskool Land Raider, or maybe some Retribution Myrmidons.

Maynard also has Featureless Face, and Rune of Tzeentch. The rune happens to be on his featureless face, meaning it isn't so featureless - but this is okay as THIS IS THE CONTRADICTORY NATURE OF TZEENTCH. That, and a wizard did it.

And (like Inconstantine Bowie) he deserves the runes to spell out his name and describe his attributes.

Maynard Flux, Champion of Tzeentch

Painting one of these old Champions of Tzeentch is a welcome break from all the Daemons of late. Though, there are so many more Daemon models aligned to Tzeentch than there ever were Chaos Warriors. I may get round this by collecting five different versions of each champion - one on foot and four on each of the different Discs of Tzeentch.

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Posted by Curis at 11:09 pm

Ninjabread 19 - Overblown Analogy

Ninjabread's nineteenth strip is up and live. Analogies are like similes, which are similar to metaphors.

Today a broadband engineer came to dig up the internet tubes that connect me to the online world, and as such I am having an evening of piggy-backing onto the neighbourhood's unstable unsecured networks. It's like Ghostbusters, where my iPod Touch is in fact a spectre-detector and I am Bill Murray's character (whose name I'd research if I had an internet connection, or my 1987 Ghostbusters Annual).

Posted by Curis at 10:22 pm

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Amanda reviews: Horus Rising

Amanda of Floor to Ceiling Books recently embarked on the Horus Heresy series. Being well-versed in sci-fi of the non-Black Library variety she offers a more rounded perspective on the book than the nerdy fanboy dissection I'd craft. Take it away missy...

Horus Rising

Amanda: To give a little background, I am a fringe 40K gamer, and so have some familiarity with the terms that Abnett employs (such as drop pods and bolters). But, up until now, I have not been interested enough to delve into the game's rich background - so I knew little to nothing about the events this novel covers.

In my opinion, this is probably the worst possible placement for a reader! If you try this book with zero knowledge of the 40K universe, you can enjoy it as a commendable sci-fi novel in its own right. If you are already acquainted with the background, then this becomes a wonderful extension of what you already know. But I found myself being just au fait enough to have moments where I was jarred out of the story: "Huh, Abaddon is a good guy?! Is Luna Wolves just another name for Space Wolves then?" Readers in my position need to bear in mind that this novel is set ten thousand years before the events dealt with in the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop game.

Abaddon the Despoiler, Warmaster of Chaos - destined to be a bad guy with a name like that

Illustration from Chaos comes to Quahog, courtesy of MrChaos.

I'll deal briefly with the parts of the novel I was not fond of (that way, we can finish the review on a high).

Personally I found the pacing of the novel to be a little 'off'. Every time I just got settled into the (usually explosive) events, the battle would end or the viewpoint switch, and it would then take a small amount of effort to immerse myself fully again. A particular example of this is when we follow Karkasy (the poet remembrancer) out onto the surface of Sixty-Three Nineteen for what seems a redundant chapter or so.

Speaking of Karkasy I became deeply confused by the fact that he seemed to die when set upon in the bar, but then we find him dealing with Loken later in the novel - this could have done with more clarity, especially since the sentence "...Ignace Karkasy was no longer pontificating. Or breathing" seems very final. Unless Abnett particularly wrote in Karkasy's character for a future novel, I'm unsure what he brings to the narrative and I think he could easily have been left out with no real loss to the overall story.

My last flaw concerns the presence of too many characters. At four hundred pages or so, it is a slimmer novel to those I am used to but it still required a Dramatis Personae so that I could keep track. Some of the characters suffered greatly from a lack of 'screen time' and were written in a very two-dimensional fashion. Many minor characters were completely interchangeable because they had been so under-developed - I put forward Qruze, Marr and Kibre as examples. I like to think that, because this is the first in a long running series, these guys will feature more prominently later.

While addressing characters, let's move on to the positive elements of Horus Rising. The main characters Loken, Abaddon, Sindermann were well-written, fully developed and felt real in their dialogue, motivations and actions. Which is a damn good job by Abnett considering most of his characters are superhuman soldiers developed so as not to suffer emotions or know fear! They were very human, for want of a better word, especially Loken who embodies the doubt and frustration of a weapon that has started to think about what he does. I confess to feeling a bit of a fangirl thrill when I saw names that are familiar from my gaming.

I enjoyed the way that Abnett described the clear differences and the burgeoning politics between the Space Marine Legions, sowing the first seeds of dissension - I though he handled the characteristics in a concise manner that helped to developed the story (Imperial Fists being exceptional at defence; Emperor's Children being overly proud and haughty), rather than dumping in all the information in an artificial manner.

Dan Abnett - an author so awesome even his shopping list bristles with cinematic cool.

Speaking of info-dumping, I found this was kept to an admirable minimum. Despite the sci-fi terms scattered through the text, Abnett never stops to explain. Instead he uses his characters for this purpose - and not in a "Let me sit you down, son, and tell you all about lasguns and the battle formations of Space Marines" manner either. He utilises Mersadie (the remembrancer attached to Loken) very effectively, since she encourages Loken to talk about his experiences which puts across a lot of what the reader needs to know in a very natural manner.

I don't think Dan Abnett will be offended by the fact that I found his writing very much "David Gemmell-esque in space", especially his battle sequences which were simply awesome and very cleanly-written. They definitely brought to life some of the gaming events I am familiar with - like Terminators striding unscathed across the field of battle, and massed bolter fire taking down hordes of enemy xenos.

On a serious note I do feel as though Abnett records some fine thoughts on the nature of war and its never-ending cycle, with sentences such as: "We will spend our lives fighting to secure this Imperium, and then I fear we will spend the rest of our days fighting to keep it intact" describing the utter futility of war.

And more comical touches? He may not have intended it so, but I found Abnett's use of the 40K game tagline amusing: "In the far future, there will be only war". Was this just popped in as a nod to the fans?

Abnett also has a soldier's sense of humour - and it would not surprise me to learn he had served in the forces. This line in particular prior to Loken's initiation into the Mournival made me chortle: "He began to wade out towards the islet, hoping that his feet wouldn't suddenly encounter some unexpected depth of submerged crater and so lend comedy to this solemn moment".

We are dropped right into the action from the first page and it takes a little while for the coherent, linear storyline to emerge. The first thirty pages or so are a breathless and, at times, bumpy ride while new characters and ranks are thrown in. I would urge everyone to muscle through this because the reward for your effort is massive. It deserves to be read by all gamers as a superb complement to the background already available - but it should also be picked up by those who haven't even heard of Warhammer 40K. It is a superior slice of pulpy sci-fi - never less than deeply enjoyable.

Thanks Amanda. More of her reviews at Floor to Ceiling Books.

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Posted by Curis at 5:39 pm

Monday, 18 January 2010

Ork Genestealer Hybridz - Deff Dredd

Ork Dreadnoughts have four arms. Genestealers have four arms. So, my Ork/Genstealer Hybrid army must include one with four gribbly klawz.

Greenstealer Dredd

This involved buying lots of klawz, and as Genestealers have three claws on their hand I bought lots of extra blades so each klaw has three blades too. This means in real life they wouldn't be that effective (there's nothing for the top blade to shear against, and it stops things getting between the other two klawz, but IT LOOKS AWESOME so nothing else matters). Each klaw is removable and attached with rare earth magnets for ease of transport and to stop them breaking off. It also means I can detach them for vehicle damaged results, and wave them around in my more childish moments while making robo-wibbly noises.

The pilot is taken straight from the goofy 2nd edition Ork Dreadnought. I love the way he's sticking out his tongue. And, I really want to see Dredd pilots, it gives a sense of scale. I wonder if the upcoming Deff Dredd kit includes one. The Dredd model has a solid closed hatch that took an age to drill and dremel out, and then find a replacement hatch from my bits box the right size to replace it. But it looks fantastic.

Greenstealer Dredd

The big chompy skull is from the Chaos Dwarf Hellcannon. I wanted the Dredd to look like a giant bug, and attempts at doing this with plasticard and gubbinz looked silly rather than scary (in a goofy kind of way). I added a classic oldskool Squig in the mouth because he's awesome and I want a whole army of them. I miss stupid smiling models.

In terms of upgrades, this also has Grot Riggers, which is the dude on the base, being the Direct-only Oiler Runt. He needed no conversion work (I figures he's a third or fourth generation Gretchin/Genestealer hybrid and therefore quite Gretchiny apart from the purplish skin hue).

There's also some fairly major reposing in the legs, to give the impression the Dredd's powering forwards on its stubby legs. This was incredibly difficult - and all the weight goes through it left leg and required some heavy-duty brass pinning. What's annoying about this is soon everyone will be able to achieve similarly awesome and dynamic poses with a minimum of work as the new kit will be plastic. Bums.

More of my Greenstealer army soon. If you missed the thirty-strong Shoota Boyz mob - take a look at it here.

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Posted by Curis at 9:32 pm

Friday, 15 January 2010

Dark Angel Delight - New Comic

The Dark Angels have a dark secret. They're absolute chumps for product placement.

I always feel Bugman's Bar misses a trick not theming its food to the game universes. Well, they used to have a "Space Marine Sandwich" and I think a "Waywatcher Salad". But no! That was just taking names and putting them in front of foodstuffs. What do Space Marines have to do with sandwiches? We could have a Lemon Russ, and Epic Parmageddon.

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Posted by Curis at 8:12 am

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

First G1 Pink Horror- Project Change XV

This little fella's called Screamer. But he's not a Screamer, which is also one of Tzeentch's daemons (unbound Discs of Tzeentch), but rather a Horror called Screamer. Most the G1 minor daemons had individual names, and this is Screamer. Confused?

Pink Horror of Tzeentch - Screamer.

I feel this guy needs to be modelled as part of a diorama with a little plaque that reads, "It was this long".

As most my G1 Blue Horrors follow the scheme of blue with pink arms, I thought I'd try reversing it for the Pinks. I also feel that that the arms should change colour again at the knuckles. I, however, do not feel that the fingers should have bits of static grass stuck on them as the photo above has. Oops.

There are three variations on Screamer (and indeed all the Pink Horrors of Tzeentch) as there were three sets of legs each of the twelve bodies could be plonked atop. This means there are 36 variations on the original Pink Horrors which will mean years of trawling eBay and pestering people for close ups of their legs.

And now, here's all three generations of Pink Horror alongside each other.

All three generations of Pink Horror of Tzeentch - Screamer.

Notice how the first two iterations are broadly similar and could be mixed together in the same regiment, and how the third is a complete and very wibbly departure. (And notice how the G2 Horror in the middle needs to be modelled as part of a diorama with a little plaque that reads, "It was about this tall".)

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Posted by Curis at 9:09 am

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Ork Genestealer Hybridz - Shoota Boyz

Ork and Genestealers melded together into grotesque hybrids, thirty times over.

Ork Genestealer Hybridz

The core mob in my Ork/Genestealer Hybrid army, forming the centre of the battleline. There's subtle variations on the head conversion throughout. Lots of three-armed monstrosities ready to taste manflesh.

Ork Genestealer Hybridz

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Posted by Curis at 7:52 am

Monday, 11 January 2010

Alternative Blood Bowl Hobgoblins

New Year, and I'll be tentatively revisiting a classic system - Blood Bowl.

Blood Bowl Hobgoblins

The Chaos Dwarf himself was done back in November, and I decided it was best to crack on with the least exciting and most numerous models in the team - the Hobgoblins. Now they're out the way I can enjoy the three remaining Chaos Dwarves, and the centerpiece - the Bull Centaur. I do need to revisit these guys and number them, but I'm unsure if they'd be the low numbers or the high numbers. Any Blood Bowlers out there that can tell me how teams are numbered? Post a comment, or email me at the address right at the bottom of the page please!

The local gaming club took a break over Christmas, releasing that everyone spends Christmas with their families and other non-gaming personages. And when New Year rocks around everyone's gone cold turkey with their gaming and is desperate to get back. But the heavy snow has frozen us in, and cancelled club night. Just look at the icicles outside my office window.

Now that I'm frozen like a crystal ice age

And bleeding hell, does it feel good to paint rims in the classic Goblin Green.

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Posted by Curis at 8:07 am

Monday, 4 January 2010

G2 Flamer of Tzeentch - Project Change XIV

Hailing from the depths of 1995 comes this Marauder Miniatures Flamer of Tzeentch. This one in an experimental pale chalky scheme that's an attempt to copy the studio scheme from the 1997 Realm of Chaos.

G2 Flamer of Tzeentch

Marauder Miniatures?! They're not Games Workshop. Well, back in the days Marauder was brand that Warhammer miniatures sculpted by Ali and Trish Morrison were distributed under. They were gradually subsumed back into Citadel in 1993 (according to Source of Legends), though these models are tabbed Marauder and 1995. Who knows. Actually, I'm fascinated to learn the reasons behind the split and subsequent reabsorption.

I recently discovered thanks to the Collecting Citadel Miniatures Group that Marauder also produced a pair of Greater Daemons - one for Khorne and one for Tzeentch. I'm rather excited, as there have been several Lords of Change knocking around eBay that I've dismissed as knock-offs. But no! They are official Games Workshop models. And ones I go rabid for as they're obscure and retro. If anyone out there's got a photo of the Khorne one, I'd love to see it.

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Posted by Curis at 9:09 pm

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Curis' Hobby Year in Review

And now, like those cheap clip-episodes used to bulk those long seasons of Scrubs, here's the highlights of what I achieved in 2009 hobby-wise.

1. Epic Orks
May 2009 saw 3000 points of gaudy-bright Epic Bad Moonz win Best Army at the WPS Club Challenge (but no games). Read about it here.

Ring Raiders!

2. Project Change
September 9th saw me kick-off Project Change - one Tzeentch model every nine days. There have been thirteen models this year spanning over twenty years of Citadel history. Read about it here.

Let's go kick Gandalf's butt

3. Golden Demon
Finalist at the UK Golden Demons in the 40K Single with my retro Blood Angels Captain based on the classic John Blanche box artwork. Read all about it here.

Golden Demon Blood Angel

4. Epic Dark Angels
My second Epic tournament army of the year, and a second best-painted trophy. And also, not last place at the tournament. Read about it here.

Dark Angels

Well, what's in the pipeline for 2010?

Firstly, as Ninjabread's new design proudly boasts, there will be new strips every Friday. This is partly due to me delegating art duties to my cat.

Girlcat can do done drawing

Project Change will continue with more Tzeentch models. With the current rate of one every nine days I'll crank out another forty before the year's over. That's a significant dent in the estimated three-hundred Tzeentch models Games Workshop have put out.

The Epic UK Imperial Guard Codex is out, I think 3000 points of Imperial Guard for the tournament circuit are in order.

And also, there's variously:

  • Red Era Blood Angels Devastators

  • Rogue Trader Zoat Terror Squad

  • Mystery Golden Demon 2010 entries (already underway - ssshhh)

  • Blood Bowl Chaos Dwarves

And perhaps other various half-finished bits and bobs from 2009. Here's a photo of my miniatures mat to give you some idea.

My contained miniature kibble

See if you can spot the following: Fire Giant, Zoat with Fleshborer, Kaptin Badrukk, Blood Bowl Chaos Dwarves, Dark Angels Captain, Ambull, Heroquest Skellington, 80s Lord of the Rings Barrow Wight, lots of Tzeentch bits.

Posted by Curis at 11:35 pm

Friday, 1 January 2010

Site Updates - Happy New Year

Just having seen the Tenth Doctor regenerate in the concluding part of the festive Doctor Who special it seems entirely appropriate Ninjabread itself undergoes an amazing physical transformation. Ninjabread's old design dates back to 18th October 2007, and so in the spirit of change I'm rolling out a new improved three-column design. Yes, that's 50% more column for your browsing pleasure.

Let me also slip in a few mentions of important things that have slipped past. First, Ninjabread is running exclusive fortnightly strips over at the excellent Bell of Lost Souls. Rather awesome, so head on over there.

Secondly, thanks to HeelanHammer for the recent plug on their excellent podcast. Sadly, it was to - a domain that for years was owned by some enlightened soul selling Cafe Press merchandise of a loaf holding a katana. So in despair at the misdirected publicity I went to to tut at their tat only to discover the registration had just lapsed and was there for the taking. So now, and are one and the same place. And well, thanks to HeelanHammer for opening up that opportunity.

Happy New Year all.


Posted by Curis at 8:28 pm

Battle Barge
Gone to Ground
Dork Tower
Servants of the Imperium
Turn Signals

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Miniature Mentor

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Drop Pod
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Pink Tyranids