The Dark Fortress

Angels of Vengeance 'Deathwing' strikeforce by Dawson

It's amazing what you find when you're tidying up! Take this AoV DW army. It first appeared on Games Workshop's site back in early 2005 and I'd kept the images for reference, then subsequently lost them, only to be rediscovered very recently.

Built with the metal Deathwing Terminator models of the day it now looks surprisingly static. The Chaplain is pretty animated yet even he has been superseded by a newer version. There's something quite heavy and bulldog-like about these old models — you can almost feel the weight of the armour. Solid and purposeful yes and a bit sinister I think. The termies are all mounted on 40mm bases not 25mm. This make me think that the newer plastic versions were either already just released or were just about to be, as many gamers used to remount their older models onto the larger bases in order to make them function better using 4th Edition game rules. However that would mean this force was very quickly built and painted in 2005. Much more likely Dawson took his cue from the GK Terminators' base size thinking quite rightly that that would be the way forwards. Actually they just looked better on 40mm bases as their feet were off the edges of the smaller ones which always looked odd.

In its composition it pretty much summed up how many of these types of armies were built using our 3rd Edition DA Codex (with FAQ v4.1) and 4th Edition games rules. The composition of the squads, the inclusion of a proper Command squad, the lone HQ Chaplain, the three fire support Dreadnoughts, it's a classic footslogging line up prior to the current Deathwing-Assaulting-Belial era. Interesting too the preference for the cyclone missile launcher — an excellent weapon with Tank Hunters USR. Notice that the cyclone-toting termies models still have the targeter in their left hands instead of powerfists, a real hangover from earlier editions!

At the time the look force was a massive influence on my then growing DW collection as it pretty much swung the balance that mine would be of black (pre-Plains World) battle plate. The style of painting is crisp and clean. It seems strange to think how many new materials have come along in the intervening years to help us develop the 'look' of our models: proper GW ink washes and foundation paints, Army Painer's Quickshade etc, and how the straight off the Battle Barge look has been usurped by the battle-worn 40K grim dark style.

As I said this army appeared on GWs site sometime back in 2005 judging by the file creation dates of 3rd February 2005, in a feature on a GW games event somewhere in the US. The images (I presume are copyright to GW and appear here without their permission) are gifs which is odd as they can only contain 256 colours but were probably smaller then similarly sized jpegs — critical at a time when bandwidth and server space was expensive. Unfortunately apart from the Chaplain, they don't get very close in to show unit/model details that well.

I'd love to know a bit more about the owner of this force and its subsequent history — as Dawson's influence has a lot to answer for.


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