Tuesday 30 November 2010

Being a pushy Dad...

If you've been reading thus far you may well understand that my addiction has, in part, been renewed by my Son's interest in 40k. Despite my suggestions to go for Space Marines he went with Tyranids, so I let him have his head with it. Somewhere along the line I thought/insisted I was supposed to be painting them. With a horde army the very thought my son would be painting all these miniatures by himself never crossed my mind and certainly not at those prices!

Perhaps you see the fundamental flaw with this scenario. I am actually removing one of the key aspects that make 40k fun, the very aspects that captivated me as a child. That's not to say I haven't encouraged him to paint figures. We've spent a good few sessions sat painting. I would ask for his help with putting on basecoats, he'd put on 80% of the colour and then I'd come along and neaten all the edges and catch any missed bits on the remaining 20%. When you're doing 12 Termagants at a time this can be dull and I understood this so I'd have a selection of High Elves from my old WFB days for him to paint as he saw fit.

I enjoyed this, his efforts really helped speed things along and I know it became tedious after a bit but the spare figures for him to do as he wished, to learn the skills was the perfect solution or not. Because there is still a chasm between his interest in the hobby and mine. My wife has asked how I would have felt if my Dad had painted all my figures as a child. I honestly believe I'd have been happy. I know I'd have loved for him to pass on the skills to paint if he had them but I know that this fails every time with my son. If anyone knows what it is like to try and teach their child to swim, or ride a bike it's much the same. Tears and tantrums, no amount of listening or trust and frustraion all around.

Suffice to say much of the year I've struggled to find out truly what it is that inspires my son about 40k, I still think it is partially down to being competitive with his cousin. I've asked him if me painting the figures is a problem, in which case I'd stop and he could do them, but he said he was fine with it but would like to paint some for himself [which is what I thought we were doing but clearly my judgement has been 'clouded' on this from day 1]. I've tried to get him to generate his own army lists which was like drawing teeth and when asked if he wants to go to GW 'dunno' is the usual response and to game at home has frequently been a flat 'no'!

So I'm now at a stage where I was thinking of asking him what next for his 'nids, let him lead the decision making We've a healthy hive-fleet, anything new is just frosting - a new Brood Lord, some Hive or Tyrant guards maybe those Warriors to do some Shrikes or at the least a few more Termagants just in case the Tervigon gets broody... or whatever random creature floated his boat. Maybe he'd even help me with some terrain...

Now my wife was talking about Christmas and I kind of suggested she ask him if he wanted anything from GW. I nip downstairs to do the dishes and by the time I come back up he's gone to bed and she's had a chat. It seems he would like some GW stuff only he wants to 'discover it all for himself', bottom line he wants to get a few Eldar and paint them up for himself and I'm to keep out of it!

Of course I'm immediately thinking he couldn't have chosen a more difficult force to paint but that's his choice. Where that leaves the 'nids I've no idea but it's clearly an important lesson for all gaming dads.

Sunday 28 November 2010

Dark Angels genesis vol 3.

Old school plastic Space Marine veteran! This was my third foray into Dark Angels colours.This was the figure supplied by my local Toymaster for a painting competition. At the time this was my best blending techniques, still wish the armour was blacker, but I'd be happy if all my figures looked like this. I have to say the dark skintones, from the Deathwing back story was the best I've ever done. These skintones will hopefully crop up when my new Dark Angels are done, with the green tones of my first attempts with the quality of my third.

Incidentally in my age group only three entered so I though I had a good chance [there were 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes up for grabs]. Because there were only 3 entries they dropped third prize! Although they announced there'd be an overall winner so having not placed anywhere in my age group I spent the entire time convinced I'd won... 13 years on it still fraks me off!

Now before I painted the Space Marine I assumed that the competition was completely open and had painted this Bloodthirster of Khorne. I've absolutely no idea where I got him from. I never collected Chaos but somehow I ended up with him. Sadly I don't think the picture does him justice and after all this time he was a bit battered but I certainly felt he was one of my better painted figures in '96/'97. Of course that kind of lined edge highlightinf is currently 'en vogue' for all your Dark Eldar needs. Anyway the wee fella got shipped off to France earlier this year thru ebay. Glad he's getting a new home, I doubt I'll regret that sale down the line.


Friday 26 November 2010

Terrain is everything - 'nid reclamation pool or digestion pit.

For my birthday this year I got given some GW vouchers. My good friend 'Big Pete', was the person who introduced me to the games of Games Workshop back in the day, until then I'd only been interested in Citadel Miniatures. He had Blood Bowl, and I wanted Blood Bowl, though I wasn't keen to field the Middenheim Marauders like he did. He got Rogue Trader and eventually so did I.

I think he was even the first person to have the first Epic Space marine game, whilst i'd opted for Adeptus Titanicus. As time went on my 'dealer' dropped out of the gaming, I think I ended up buying a lot of his stuff, Reaver titans, a load of epic Land Raiders. I suppose it's hard when you don't have a support group of other kids locally who do game and Big Pete lived a few miles away which may as well be a galxy in kids terms.

Anyway he got me some vouchers and I'd ummed and ahhed about what to get with them. In the end I got a number of things, some assault jump packs having ebayed some original lead ones way back when, some washes, a space marine biker and the moonscape. Now I'd looked at making my own craters, it seemed pretty straightforward in some tutorials but with all the other terrain I was working on I just wanted something done, so I went with them. Despite having seen GW's original crater pieces from 20 years ago, thin vac-formed objects that were dirt cheap but about as bland and featureless as the latest X-Factor winner.

These were considerably better quality and with a mounting card base and sharp sand applied they look really neat and far more durable than their forefathers. I'd stumbled across a White Dwarf article on how to convert one into a Tyranid reclamation pool so I thought I'd give it a go, my son does have 'nids afterall.

The first bit was tentacles. The tutorial suggested wire, but I wanted a more organic War of the Worlds spreading weed so I sued string, unwound and soaked in PVA wooden stirrers and pins helped separate the strands and thread them through all the handy cracks moulded in the moonscape.

Next up is the pool, a mix of PVA and talc forms the base with an assortment of balls to rpresent bubbles. I had some paper ones, beads from necklaces and christmas decorations but my 'inspired' idea was silver ball cake decorations and 100's and 1000's. Loads for cheap... WRONG! the little bleeders melted in the moisture in the PVA. OKK they left some nice 'popped' bubble impressions but it's not the effect I was after.

Next step was the painting. The usual undercoat of black household and craft paint mixed with PVA glue and a small amount of plaster as an ideal base for the Red Oxide spray paint. Further shading and highlights were added, note my initial plan to go purple on the weed... what was I thinking?

Here's some highlights on the pool itself, not sure if it works convincingly.

Lastly, I was desperate to get a depth to the pool, I looked around for some form of resin that would n't break the bank and came up with the VerniDas varnish which was only a couple of quid from my local art store. It still shrinks when dry so I may have to apply a couple of coats, hopefully it won't react with itself like some do. I also finished all the weed/tentacle highlights.

The conclusion to this story was that my son and I had been going to GW in Southport for a few months and the Online team were visiting to take pictures. I took along the digestion pool and his Tervigon to be photographed and obviously the 'following a White Dwarf tutorial' factor was enough of a draw to mean they used it on the website, woohoo! You can see the final highlights on the weed, some blending on the red planet sand and the glossy VerniDas in their picture.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Terrain is everything - 40k outpost, that got bigger Pt 1 'the outpost'

This was the first piece of terrain I started. I'd just joined TerraGenesis and I saw a guy called BugbaitNZ creating a planetary defence platform for a competition. The tower he was making for the gun emplacement wasn't going to get finishe din time so he made a hexagonal base which is what I decided to copy to just see if I could do it.

And it turned out OK, only the problem was it was much bigger than I expected and totally dominated our small battlefield. I had to do something to make that real estate worth more than the low level cover it was representing. So I started on my modularity complex and hacked at the rear wall in such a way that i could position a 3 storey tower into the out post. This can be detached to form a separate tower if needed or leave the outpost on it's own or joined together.

As you can see the tower was a considerable jump in detail and complexity but I'd been convinced I could do it following the success of the outpost. My only regret is the use of a lever arch file cover for the base. I thought it was the moisture in the PVA that warped card and as the cover was plastic coated it wouldn't warp. WRONG! It's just PVA shrinks. If it's not dimensionally stable your base will warp, FACT, so deal with it.



Plans for the outpost are here. Tower plans to follow...

Monday 22 November 2010

'nids part 1. and 'List maker'

So given my son's choice of 'nids I thought I'd look to some form of army list maker to help, erm, making the lists. Obviously there are some you have to pay for but if you can get one for free even better, and that's what I found. Over at Alice 40k Warhammer club they have plenty of list makers for your specific codex. They're all Excel spreadsheets and they're quite good, a few bugs in places but nothing you can't add to somewhere to get your force down.
With this in mind here's the first list I came up with, using my son's figures and a few more I felt I needed [like the Shrikes for synapse support for the Gargoyles]. It was completely without any background knowledge, the Codex was so new very little advice was available at the time.
  • Tyranid Prime with Pair of Boneswords,Adrenal Glands,Toxin Sacs,Regeneration,,,,,,,,,,,,120
  • 3x Hive Guard(s) with ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,150
  • Tervigon with ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,160
  • 12x Termagaunts with Strangleweb,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,70
  • 12x Genestealers with Adrenal Glands,Toxin Sacs,,,,,,,,,,,,,,240
  • 3x Tyranid Warriors with Barbed Strangler,Deathspitter,,,,,,,,,,,,,,110
  • 3x Ripper Swarms with Tunnel Swarm,,,,,,,,,,,,,,36
  • 10x Gargoyles with ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,60
  • 3x Tyranid Shrikes with Pair of Boneswords,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,135
  • Trygon with Regeneration,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,225
  • 1x Biovore(s) with ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,45
TOTAL 1351
Now a lot of things would change with this mainly due to offers that became available on ebay. So we'll see where we're at once all those purchases got made. Certainly the Shrikes have gone by the wayside, despite finding 3 pairs of wings I could use to convert them... Meanwhile where was that Tervigon coming from?
Next up what I did for my HQ choice, the Tyranid Prime...

Saturday 20 November 2010

Falling off the wagon part 3. The Shadow in the Warp

So for Christmas 2009 I got Assault on Black Reach, but it's one thing to get the game, it's another to play and really the only incentive is if you have someone to play against. I've got 1000's of points of Space Marines but they had absolutely no interest to my eldest son. He was only interested in Tyranids and with his birthday coming up and a new codex due at the same time he had plenty of birthday money to invest.

Now I loved the 'Without Number' rule in the old codex whereby if a gaunt was 8pts or less, for an additional 3pts each if the brood was wiped out they could be brought on again from the Tyranid board edge. What better way to prevent tears and tantrums than a constantly respawning battleforce. Anyway that rule went by the wayside and the Nipper got a box of Termagants, Warriors, Gargoyles and a Trygon to add to the Biovore he'd randomly bought at some point.

It was my job to get the paints and work up a paint scheme. I knew I wanted to do it blue because the Nipper's favourite colour is blue. I also looked at all the new stats in the codex and realised those gargoylse were rapidly going to suffer when they got out of Synapse range so would probably need some Shrikes to go with them. Looking up Winged Tyranid Warrior I saw a nice conversion on a website called Necrotales. Suddenly I had the inspiration for the colour scheme I wanted to do...

So you've already seen my son's Broodlord [in a body warmer] from when I discussed cheap terrain materials. But you can see quite clearly the blue and bone white scheme I developed, we'll get to see more of these beggars over time.

Thursday 18 November 2010

A ruin of a rule

As I stumble through my new experiences with whatever edition 40k is on now occasionally a rule will come up I don't have an answer for, I'm sure we all suffer this. Anyway my son was playing a game with his cousin. He had a Tervigon and 16 Termagants in tow. A squad of terminators were on 3 floors of the ruined building pictured below.

Now they never actually got into combat because the game had to finish, that's the price you pay when your battlefield is the dining table! But afterwards I debated what my son should have done and it raised these questions.

The termagants aren't going to want to assault through the ruin as that'll make their Initiative 1 so what if the Tervigon destroys the building then the Terminators are denied their cover, so I asked the following on the Bell of Lost Souls forum for answers

Tervigon assaults the building- it penetrates roll on vehicle damage table.
Immobilised - does nothing.
Wrecked - terminators disembarks up to 2" away and pinning test [would you put a crater down? would it be difficult terrain? would the termies be allowed within this cover considering they had to disembark].
Explodes! - everyone takes a S4 hit and positioned where the building used to be and pinning test [no crater placed, or would it?].
If the tervigon's termagant spawn then assault any pinned or even unpinned occupants would the occupants get the 'assaulting through cover' bonuses?
What I'm getting at is if models are in a building and you destroy the building which was giving them the 'assaulting through cover' bonuses would they still get them if you destroyed the building?

The responses were mixed but I think I understand what would happen now and there's a fundamental difference between a 'building' and a 'ruin' [or 'ruined building']. Apparently a structurally sound building is like a vehicle, you can assault it and destroy it just like any transport. A ruin though is difficult terrain, you cannot assault it, you cannot destroy it so there is no opportunity for the mighty Tervigon to smash a rickety unstable ruin to pieces.

Which just makes no sense to me.

When you consider most of GW's building kits are 'ruined' I'm surprised this isn't a major issue. Together with the fact even in the rule book they suggest often it is better to assault a building than trying to assault the occupants because of the Initiative modifier. However, as the moving through difficult terrain test suggest that people use micro grenades, cutting tools, or acid to dissolve holes to negotiate the terrain you could easily suggest, in a friendly game, if a Monstrous Creature walks through a ruin and passes the test the ruin is flattened. Although I still prefer the idea a ruined building should be a valid assault target, so that may be our house rules.

Of course even if my option of destroying the ruin was agreed with an opponent and the Terminators were 'dismebarked' outside of the cover the Termagants would not be able to assault because you have to nominate who they're assaulting before any assaults take place. If you nominate the Terminator squad they'd have to be in the building when the Tervigon rampaged through it.

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Epic Space Marines part 1. - Dark Angels

Here's some pics of my small Epic Dark Angels force. I had to have one seeing as I was fielding a Dark Angels 40 chapter but also you got extra choices with the likes of Ravenwing [before they went all Goth coloured]. So there's 3 tactical squads, differentiated by bolter and back pack colours - gold, silver and red. A Ravenwing attack force - Land Speeders and bikes. Three Lands Raiders, a Thunderhawk Gunship and continuing my love affair with Tarantula Sentry Guns - my own scratch builds made out of Imperial Guard las pistols and las rifle handles, enjoy!

Sunday 14 November 2010

Falling off the wagon part 2. Assault on Black Reach

Unbeknownst to me our town centre independent newsagents had been under new management for quite some time. This newsagents had always been quite large and had an art section at the back. Aside from my trek to Liverpool when I first started down this path there was only this shop that stocked Citadel Miniatures. I recall purchases of samurai, ninja and a strange passion for half-orcs? Individual blister packs were 60p, although I do recall paying 50p on occasion.

Anyway, decades later the new owners had reintroduced GW products as an Independent stockist. My wife just casually dropped it into a conversation and I had to return to my roots! Suffice to say it was an odd feeling to go back and see their new stock and even more exciting when I saw Assault on Black Reach for around £45. Cheaper than GW! So I actually said that that was all I wanted for Christmas.

On the day I didn't get it. Santa came and went but in the morning there was no 'game in a box' sized parcel. I really was like a kid let down on Christmas day. Then my Mother-in-Law comes over to drop off the presents Santa left at her house. It seemed I'd been a good little boy afterall and the game was mine. Saying that having trimmed all the figures from their sprues I've never had a game with all the figures provided. It would take part 3. of falling of the wagon to really push me over the edge - The Shadow in the Warp

Thursday 11 November 2010


The first picture I posted was of my Harlequin Jet Bike. Harlequins were probably my first purchase for Rogue Trader. My Godmother lives in Canada and we went on a family holiday to visit. At the time my obsession with GW was absolute and I had my latest White Dwarf with me that I insisted on shoving under the nose of any and all that showed an interest.

Eventually we found an independent stockist of Citadel miniatures and I came out of a place more likely to sell scented candles than figures. I have to say there were some strange looks on the airport security staff when that box of figures went through the X-Ray!

Below are the figures I bought, painted in varying degrees. Eventually they were sold on ebay and although there are some I now regret this was not one of them. I still like the figures and the premise, although now I understand they're part of the new Dark Eldar codex, but I thought they deserved a more loving home.

The completed part of my Harlequin troupe.

The full ebay lot, including unpainted miniatures and a free Swooping Hawk [which I loved].

Death Jester inspired Eldar dreadnought.

The joker on his jetbike - batdance!

Some of the better painted 'quins.

Death Jesters, I love 'em. tried to be clever with a 'milky' wash on the shuriken cannons.

Average quality 'quins, some of my first attempts. The Riddler is on the left and the middle pose is awesome thanks to the Milliput 'hillock'.

These were unfinished at the time of sale.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Falling off the wagon part 1. Blood Bowl

I officially fell off the wagon in December 2009. Although I had been dabbling 'recreationally' for part of that year. My wife had always pushed me into GW's ever since my son had started to show interest in the figures as they spun round. I REALLY did not want to get back into gaming. I knew how much of a money pit it could be and a total time thief what with painting, modelling and gaming. The last thing I needed was another distraction. I also knew this could be a fad with my son so I thought if there's anything I could do it would be Blood Bowl. All I need to do is paint 32 men, the board is self contained and the games cana be over quite quick.

There was a catch though, I had to have the 2nd edition Astrogranite™ pitch. I had two thirds of my pitch knocking around, both Star Players and the Companion books and plenty of figures, enough for about 4 teams actually. But I needed a complete pitch. In the end I got one and although I'd planned to cover it in sand I thought it'd eventually scratch the figures, and I'd never liked flocking. So I used normal household tester paint pots and ended up with this...


In the end I think we've only ever had two games, once the 40k is 'out of the way I'll start back on the figures. BTW the two custom endzones are for the Mongrel Horde and my 'Good' equivalent featuring Elves Dwarves, Treeman and a Halfling the reformed Haffenheim Hornets [back when you could have mixed race teams that is!]

Monday 8 November 2010

Dark Angels genesis vol 2.

Although I liked the darkness of my original attempt at Dark Angel power armour I was never fully happy with the quality and it felt like I was cheating. Essentially the paint was only applied at the edges, something most paint guides advocate now but back then it was shadows, midtone highlight [work your way up].

My mate James's Ultramarines were a 'duck egg blue'. They looked cool so I thought the same principle would work on DA's green. They've ended up far too pale but I still like them in a way and can't bring myself to strip them, not yet anyway.

Old school Space Marine devastator squad! Like I say not recognisable as true Dark Angels. Wow, folks that's a Conversion Beamer, when you didn't have to be a forge master to get one and they converted mass to energy, the bigger you are the bigger the bang! NOT the further away you are the bigger the bang, that makes no sense?! Spot the Advanced Space Crusade scout heavy bolter, I have the lead standard ones, I just wanted the massive ugly plastic one instead.

Circa 1992.

Old school Space Marine Chaplain, on a bike! Brother Infernus to the rescue. This was before the 'Ravenwing is all black' info came out, hence the green bike. This guy was supposed to zoom around the battle field dropping Vortex grenades like the easter bunny.

Old school Dark Angel mole mortar! Now no longer available to Space Marines [just Death Korps of Krieg] although the Thunderfire cannon has similar rules to those of the Rogue Trader days [although they're not in the DA codex!]

Old School Tarantula sentry gun from Advance Space Crusade. I've 3 of these babies and was gutted there was no rules for them until I saw Imperial Armour 2. 15pts each for twin linked heavy bolter. BS2, but 3 of them stacked together, you can do some damage on a gaunt swarm!