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Review: Army Painter Colour Primer Matt Black

July 27, 2023

Army Painter Colour Primer Matt Black spraypaint

No human being is so far from the light of God that they should have to use these spray paints.

You may be at the FLGS for paints and you may think, “Hey, this is pretty cheap” or “I have reached the stage in my hobby life where I don’t want to give money to GW” or “Army Painter is the only line with the right color in stock.” The problem is that you will definitely get more value out of simply doing nothing and not spraying your miniatures with Army Painter Colour Primer Matt Black, because then you won’t have to immediately dunk the miniatures in isopropyl alcohol and scrub the shit out of them to remove chalky, uneven paint substitute.

Beginners commonly make the mistakes of using Rustoleum or spraying in high humidity. Army Painter Colour Primer Matt Black will somehow give you a worse result than doing both of those things at the same time. I would show you the worse result here, but I had to immediately dunk the miniatures in isopropyl alcohol and scrub the shit out of them.

Army Painter gets a lot of affection in certain quarters because they’re not GW and because their stuff is cheap. Most of their products are perfectly fine-ish and do the job of being budget hobby supplies. The spray paint is irredeemable. It’s always there on the shelf, and you always think, Surely it can’t fuck up every time. Today it will be different. It is never different. Army Painter Colour Primer Matt Black is a blight on creation.

Instead of a blight on creation, I recommend:

Event Report: Horus Heresy - Adepticon 2023

April 4, 2023

After years of cobbling together an army (and an edition change in between), I played five rounds of narrative 30k at Adepticon 2023, and they were some of my favorite games I’ve ever played at an event.

The Phyrix campaign struck a nice balance of narrative chill and quietly elegant structure. Tables were varied, beautiful, and well thought out—you can get a sense from the pictures. Players formed opposing lines of Loyalists and Traitors and paired off informally. Each table had a mission on it; those missions varied from table to table and round to round. There were Zone Mortalis games, too, though I didn’t play in those.

The Beta-Garmon campaign had an even chiller, late night, beer-and-pretzels sort of feel, with a bunch of different game sizes (including a 12+ player mega-battle). It was totally informal in just about every respect, and it miiiight have been the most fun I’ve had in a single game.

My list:

Legion: XIV - Death Guard
Allegiance: Traitor
Rite of War: The Reaping


Armistos x2
Artificer Armour, Meltabombs, Rad Grenades, Toxin Bombs, Bolt Pistol, Chainsword

Cataphractii Armor, Legion Standard, Power Sword


Apothecarion Detachment (2)
Bolt Pistol, Power Armour, Chainsword


Heavy Support Squad (10)
Lascannon, Artificer Armour, Rad Grenades, Toxin Bombs, Legion Vexilla, Augury Scanner

Heavy Support Squad (10)
Lascannon, Artificer Armour, Rad Grenades, Toxin Bombs, Legion Vexilla, Augury Scanner

Tactical Squad (10)
Artificer Armour, Rad Grenades, Toxin Bombs, Power Scythe, Chain Bayonets (3x), Augury Scanner, Legion Vexilla, Nuncio-vox

Tactical Squad (10)
Artificer Armour, Rad Grenades, Toxin Bombs, Power Scythe, Chain Bayonets (3x), Augury Scanner, Legion Vexilla, Nuncio-vox


Grave Warden Terminator Squad (10)
Assault Grenade Launcher, Power Fist, Rad Grenades, Toxin Bombs

Land Raider Spartan
2x Lascannon Array, Flare Shield, Twin-linked Lascannon, Searchlights

Scorpius Squadon (2)



My Death Guard army

I wanted Typhon rather than Mortarion, because I love his synergy with Grave Wardens, but someone claimed him first. Otherwise, I wanted a pretty smooth-brained list that wouldn’t be exhausting to play over several days; I wanted it to be able to take all comers, and I wanted to lean into The Reaping, which in 2.0 tends to get overlooked in favor of Creeping Death. I get why: the benefits of Creeping Death are more obvious, and the restrictions on The Reaping (no movement-oriented Reactions except Relentless Advance) are genuinely restrictive. But I thought The Reaping could be very strong and very Death Guard-y, since its primary benefit is enabling you to fit in more Heavy Support options than you could ordinarily do—and specifically Heavy Support Squads, which are phenomenal.

So! How’d it go?

The Taking of Phyrix - Day 1

Game 1 - Death Guard v. Salamanders

The other guy brought a gorgeous Salamanders army, and this was my first time playing against them. My objective was to get my dudes into his deployment zone, and his was (I think?) to kill my dudes.

My uncertainty about his objective is maybe suggestive of how attentive I was to objectives and how strategically I was rolling here. The defining element of this game was absolutely Phyrix’s “Points of Interest” system. The boards had several pre-defined points with markers that could be uncovered for your choice of effect:

My opponent and I each grabbed points of interest on our first turns. Both of us chose NPCs, and both of us drew hostile robots. An Ambot jumped on one of my Heavy Support Squads, and a Man of Iron popped up on the other guy’s Tactical Squad.

Game-wise, this wasn’t great for me! The Ambot tied up my lascannons for a couple of rounds. But it was definitely one of the most delightful narrative moments. In the end, the Salamanders repelled the Death Guard pretty decisively (Fire Drakes! Ouch!), but it was an excellent time all around.

Game 2 - Death Guard v. Blood Angels

Another beautiful army—I’d taken pictures of it before I knew I’d be playing it, because I loved the take on Dawnbreakers.

I was much more alert to the objectives, this game: there were three placed around the board, one in each of our deployment zones and one in the middle, and they were worth more the longer you held them.

I was also psyched for this one—my opponent was running Blood Angels and Day of Revelation, which is the Loyalist army I’m excitedly working up right now. I hadn’t had a chance to play against it, and Death Guard and Blood Angels contrast nicely in play-style, so I was pumped to see this on the tabletop. Unfortunately, Death Guard were my opponent’s regular nemesis back home, so it wasn’t quite as novel for him.

My opponent set the Day of Revelation marker down roughly in the middle of the board. I sent Mortarion and the Grave Wardens into his backfield in the Spartan, both to seize that objective and to deal with some Contemptors back there. Then I set up my Heavy Support Squads to wait on the Deep Strikers.

The big Day of Revelation drop included Dawnbreakers, Sanguinius, Angel’s Tears, a Contemptor-Incaendius, and several Assault Squads. My Heavy and Tactical squads were kitted up with Augury Scanners all around, so the question was whether they’d make their Leadership checks when the Day of Revelation came down. He placed his Dawnbreakers such that they hit all four augurers with their -1 to Leadership—but all four squads ultimately made their Leadership, a couple by the maximum possible roll.

The Dawnbreaker Deep Strike

So I used Interceptor and poured both lascannon squads into the Dawnbreakers, wiping them before they could act. I get why the SN comp rules want to limit Interceptor Reactions—this is absolutely a feels-bad, and I said as much in the game. But this particular feels-bad would’ve gone the exact same with the SN rules, and I think those particular comps probably unbalance more than they balance; there’s a lot of counter-play to Interceptor already built-in, whether sniping Augury Scanners or turning off Reactions via Librarian or Pinning.

After the drop, the Angel’s Tears seized the middle objective but I held the other two continuously. Sanguinius went ham on my Scorpius Squadron, and the Primarchs remained on opposite sides of the table. My clap-back against the Deep Strike made this game feel one-sided, but once the secondaries were factored in, there was only a point separating us. The other dude was super-gracious even though he’d stumbled into a match-up that he’d played over and over.

The Fate of Beta-Garmon (Day 2)

Mega-battle - Traitors v. Loyalists

My first mega-battle, and holy hell, this was a joy. A real contender for my favorite ever. Multiple tables were connected and arrayed in a U, and the Loyalists were defending the inner semi-circle, with Traitors advancing from the outer edge. We were meant to seize and hold a set of objectives spread across the tables.

At the center, on the Loyalist side, was a Warlord Titan. I was on the right flank, primarily facing an Iron Hands tank line, with a smattering of Imperial Fists and Raven Guard. Nearby on my side were Emperor’s Children and Word Bearers. Pretty much every model at hand was going on the table–I added Typhon and a Contemptor to my list. The Iron Hands player—Ned from the Ineptus Astartes podcast—was unquestionably outgunned (and my lascannons were a pretty tough counter to his tank line) and a total blast the whole game.

Our flank of the mega-battle table

Since there were ~14 players, we didn’t use Reactions to simplify the Loyalist/Traitor turn progression, and that was pretty clearly the right call—Reactions are a fantastic mechanic, but I’d take this approach for any game above three or four players (maybe even with more than two).

So I had two primary goals: seize and hold the nearby objective, and clear out Iron Hands threats/priority targets for the Emperor’s Children Fellblade on my flank, which we wanted to be hurling fire down the table at the Warlord Titan.

I sent Mortarion and the Grave Wardens out toward the objective. Between the Emperor’s Children forces and my Heavy Support Squads, we blew the shit out of the Iron Hands and Imperial Fists tank lines on Turn 1. This could have been a feels-bad, and it might make one question Armored Spearheads, but happily the Iron Hands Turn 2 included a delightful Outflank (including a Mastodon), delivering Morlocks and Gorgons into our backlines.

Holding out against the Iron Hands Outflank

The EC Fellblade went down to the Iron Hands Outflank, but Mortarion held his objective against a bunch of Dreadnoughts. Ultimately, the Traitors were victorious. It was stupid-fun just to have a loose, big-ass game with Titans on the table, but there was something crunchily satisfying about contributing to a larger effort, thinking and talking through what my army can do to help other elements perform their roles. This will definitely make me seek out similar mega-games in the future.

The Taking of Phyrix - Day 3

I hadn’t been able to get into this one at registration, but I’d had such a good time with narrative events so far that I decided to show up and see if there were any drops. Either there were a bunch, or the organizers opened up some slots—at least a dozen folks showed up like me, and we all got to play. Once everyone got rolling, the tables looked full.

Game 4 - Death Guard v. Salamanders

The only time all weekend I had a repeat legion on the other side of the table. Another super-nice opponent, a longtime Heresy player named Ben. This was a particularly fun mission — three artifacts on the table that a model would pick up, awarding one point if held at the end of the game and four if carried off the edge.

I was feeling more fluent with my army at this point, and had a better feel for Salamanders. This was a cool, catwalk-strewn board that made positioning important. I was able to use my Relentless Advance Advanced Reaction to move up, grab an artifact, and then hurry back toward the board edge with a Tactical Squad, but they were under fire from a Kratos with multiple dreadnoughts in pursuit. One of my Heavy Support Squads found a piece of Archaeotech that gave them a short-range warp jump, so they teleported across the board to block the dreads and help the Tacticals get away.

Meanwhile, Mortarion and the Grave Wardens grabbed an artifact and then weathered attacks from Terminators and flamethrowers and a Leviathan, until finally Mortarion was alone—but he finished off the Leviathan and then was able to teleport toward the board edge for a solid Traitor victory. Great opponent and great game.

Game 5 - Death Guard v. Emperor’s Children

Last game, against a friendly dude on a gorgeous board built around a 3D-printed Imperial shipwreck.

The other guy was playing Loyalist Emperor’s Children led by Saul Tarvitz—very cool to see on the table—and had apparently won every game he’d played at the event. I said, “Prepare to win another, because I’m going to be playing pretty loose.” This was entirely accurate.

There were three objectives in the long crashed ship down the center of the board, with the middle granting points for control every turn, and the far two granting points at the end of the game. I marched up to the objective on my left and managed to hold it with a Tactical Squad the whole time, with the sergeant making an absurd number of saves on his artificer armor.

The rest of the board didn’t go so well: I misplaced a Heavy Support Squad on the right flank such that they couldn’t get line of sight on much and didn’t really do anything all game. In the center of the table, Mortarion got tar-pitted by a bunch of Emperor’s Children with Chosen Warrior, so he didn’t do much either.

It was a great game against a lovely army and a nice dude, and it made 5 for 5 on fun, positive games.


Heresy really scratches all the right hobby itches. Narrative is where it’s at. Mega-battles are amazing. Two lascannon squads is probably too many (except against Custodes, in which case fire everything). I came back brimming with hobby enthusiasm and ready to jump into my Blood Angels project. And now I’m looking forward to NOVA.