Monday 28 February 2011

Terrain is everything - fences

Here's a 'Birthday treat' from me to you, which is why this post has come a day early. The terrain and tutorials are some of my most viewed articles so I thought I'd bring one of my oft-pondered terrain ideas into the blog.

Back when I was gaming in 6th form my mate Liam, he of the scratch built Warhound and Warlord, used to make a fair bit of terrain too. One of his best ideas were chain link fences. Using aluminium car-body repair mesh and some wooden pegs [which his dad, a pub landlord, used to have loads of from tapping the kegs]. I'm not sure if the wooden pegs even had two grooves in or Liam ran a hack-saw down them but these fences were awesome, cheap and quick to make. I loved them so much when I got to uni and our local purveyor of all things cheap and cool, Trago Mills, had 5 packs of the mesh 'cheap-cheap' I bought some. Now I know that pack is still around somewhere but do I know where? Do-I-eckers-like! And I'll be damned if I buy anymore only to find them, bearing in mind this stuff isn't so 'cheap-cheap' anymore.

Anyway, in it's stead I've loads of Granny Grating. One of my work colleagues had some vouchers for Fred Aldous and I got around five A3 sheets, more than I could possibly find a use for. I thought I'd knock up some fences but I was going to turn the grating 45° so I got me some diagonal chain link fence. However, just the other day I was leaning on the fence at my local train station only to realise that stuff was square, not only that but it was blue, exactly the pale blue Anita's craft acrylic I have. It must be some anti-corrosion coating, although there's plenty of Devlan Mud washed into all the creases. So I got the urge to finally make these beauties, from real life no less, purely as a test.

You'll really only need three things,
  1. a base, here I've daringly chosen some mounting card, I'm playing 'warp roulette' yet again!
  2. Some Granny Grating
  3. Some Rawplugs, wall-plugs, whatever you call them
As you can see below I've cut some 6" strips of grating [handy for movement guessing] some 6" bases, angled at the edges so we can rotate the fences around each other for maximum fence deployment. I've cut a chunk out of the grating as this slides down the centre split of the plug.

These are all PVA'd together and I'll be hot melt gluing them to the base when I next pick this up. They're super quick to do, which is as well because I'd rather be doing 20 of these than the 2 but I just want to ensure the cardboard doesn't warp too much. I have a stock sufficient for this task and I'd rather use it up than cut hardboard for more durability but also more heartache.

Really looking forward to the painting though as the red 'rockcrete' with blued, corroded steel mesh should look quite striking!

Sunday 27 February 2011

Dark Angel Terminators, but not Deathwing!

Here's some original Terminators and these were painted just before the Deathwing supplement came out so were Dark Angel green. There's something about the pure white armour reinforcement that I love. The blending on the green is really nice too. The Captain was going to be THSS armed but clearly I sold them in my ebay frenzy!

This standard marine is also missing a weapon. Maybe the Dark Angel upgrade sprue would achieve that... Fundamental concern is the paint, I like the paint I've done but it's not Deathwing and that'd require stripping. 'Course, I have the pictures but it's not the same. Now that Dark Angels have been brought [slightly] into the 41st Millenium having a Deathwing force may be the easiest option for me. Easy meaning a cop-out over the whole Dark Angel Green issue! "Chicken!" I hear that little voice shout in my ear.

Friday 25 February 2011

eBay sales I may regret

Here we have one of my eBay sales that with hindsight I may regret. These are some of the Close Combat Terminators. As you can see they're a little more bulky than your average Termie because they got into the rough stuff, also a Cyclone Terminator and some figures from the original box set though I note the Assault Cannon isn't present. Back row you have a TH+SS in Deathwing colours. A Cyclone Terminator which I got from a friend, he also has a chainfist at his feet. Next is another TH+SS in Deathwing colours, I think I used a yellow base with a thinned chaos black for these. All these bonwhite colours where mixed on the fly, no ready mix paint and highlights back then for me! Then we have a captain with the original power fist/combi-grenade launcher and lastly the Lightning Claw Terminator [the other pair of lightning claws I got went on the Librarian Terminator I'll be using as Belial and realise now I've never included a shot of him here...]

On the front row is a standard Terminator but with TH+SS armament. This guy was undercoated in a satin Racing Green Car spray that had really good coverage and was spot on for Dark Angels green but I don't think I ever got passed that undercoat on any of the figures I primed with it, which is a shame. Then we have a standard Terminator with Storm Bolter and no left hand and lastly a set of TH+SS with what looks like one of those tiny Heraldry shields you used to stick on and still come molded to the Black Reach Terminators.

Some of these I do regret, the CC Terminators are really tough looking and would stand with the slightly bigger plastic variety now, in particular the lightning claw one looks awesome. I'm certainly short of a few bits of armament for my remaining lead [pb] Terminators. The painting on the Captain also looks really good [considering I had no bonewhite colour] and I'm sure I'd have been able to bring him into my existing line up. The Cyclone is also something I may play around with in my list.

What can you do though? I'm sure I got a good few quid for them and at the time I got a digital camera with the proceeds so I can't complain, despite it having broken since then. So I debate getting rid of anything 'surplus' at the moment which is tough because I have some figures I'm just not sure I need anymore...

Wednesday 23 February 2011

Terrain is everything - Standard Template Constructs - FREE Terrain Templates

Standard Template Construct (STC) systems were advanced computers created during the Dark Age of Technology, which are said to have contained the sum total of human technological knowledge. An STC system was possessed by every group of human colonists before the Age of Strife, allowing them to build all of the equipment necessary for survival on an untamed colony planet. It enabled the colonists to build efficient shelters, generators and transports without any technical knowledge and using almost any locally available materials. The user simply asked how to build a house or a tractor and the computer supplied all the necessary plans.
One of the primary goals in this blog was to formalise any tutorials and templates that I had, to help other hobbyists. The 'STCs' I've created so far for my buildings have received a lot of hits on the articles, although I'm not sure how many new structures have been built but I'm appreciative of all the good vibes coming my way, thanks. In the 10 years since I first posted this article some of the links have been misplaced. I'm working through editing it to be up-to-date so people can access both the original page and the .pdf of the STC.


Here's the STCs for what I've created so far, if it's BOLD then it should be up-to-date [Oct 2021]. But, if you have any issues or the link doesn't work please comment below, I will always respond even if it takes a while to do so:
'Adeptus Mechanicus unapproved plans' - STC's liberated by the Free Radical Collective that don't contain quite as much detail, instructions or corrections but it's better they're available to you so you can tinker with them. Then one day I may get around to fixing them:
Print and Play STC building templates - a variety of pre-textured simple buildings to quickly populate your battlefield. Just print and stick to foamboard, cut out and stick together [be fair warned these templates are all considerably large filesizes - 40-90MB due to the many textures added to the templates. Please do not download if you are unhappy with this. I prefer to spend my time making FREE templates, not working out why one file is bigger than it should be]:

Monday 21 February 2011

Terrain is everything - 40k Ruins.

I've already shown a ruin off in a previous post. I didn't really need a sketch for these, I'd already got the Illustrator files to retain consistency in the shapes used. As I was hoping to use bits cut out from the extra cereal box reinforcement this would speed things up and keep the aesthetic going, oh it was recycling too, it's nice to be green!

However, my plan did involve creating two panels, joining them in a corner, then 'ruining' it so that I could create another corner piece with the bits cut off. That way doubling up on my terrain and allowing the corner pieces to be stretched to create as large or small a ruins as I wished.

These were my first attempts at battle damage which initially is heartbraking but then quite rewarding, didn't know if I could bring myself to do the same on the hex platforms... but I managed it.

Here's the two corner pieces, so you can see how the ruin could be expannded. no floors as yet

Here's the painted version with floors and base. An undercoat of black household and craft paint mixed with PVA glue and a small amount of plaster is an ideal base for the Red Oxide spray paint. Further shading and highlights still to go.

I've prepared a .pdf template for this in case you want to try one. I've another template to prep for a smaller ruin, I'll get onto that as soon as I can.

Saturday 19 February 2011

Carsharing in a Mycetic Spore, NOT!

I recently read a comment on one of the blogs I frequent [I'm not sure which] where someone said that since the Tyranid FAQ came out it had 'nerfed' the use of Tyranid Prime's with a Warrior Brood in a Mycetic Spore. I read this and moved on but it kept niggling away at me and so I checked out the Tyranid FAQ.

And here's the FAQ in particular

Q: If a Tyranid unit takes a Mycetic Spore, can an Independent Character join the brood before deployment (and hence deep strike in with the brood)?
A: No.

I mean REALLY?! What is that? There's just one Tyranid Independent Character - the Tyranid Prime and he's got special rules regarding how he interacts with his standard Warrior bretheren he adds +1 to WS and BS. As an IC the Prime can join this unit and according to the 5th Edition rules an 'IC may begin the game already with a unit, by being deployed in coherency with them' [p48]. So a Prime begins the game with his unit in their pod and it's not like there isn't room, nine Warriors can fit in one pod so if you only take a brood of three there's room for the kids and a couple of DVD players for the trip!

Additionally the rule book covers Dedicated Transports and states 'The only limitation of a dedicated transport is that when it is deployed it can only carry the unit it was selected with (plus any ICs).' So an exception for Independent characters that start attached to a unit, and specifically mentioning that an IC can start with a unit inside a dedicated transport (just not Tyranids).

So why specifically do the Tyranids not like to share their Spore Pods? I even asked the manger at my local GW and he said he'd been shocked when it came out. Lets be realistic though, this isn't the fault of the rules, the Prime or the Warriors this was an FAQ that seemed to answer a question that really didn't need asking with an answer that most would have thought the opposite of all existing rules. I'm sitting here now, wondering who were all these people asking this rule? I mean all the exisiting rules state this wasn't an issue so which idiots went and made the rule Tzars at GW shine a light on something that didn't need fixing only for them to fix it with a bolter round to the cortex!

I can understand the furore over the Doom of Malantai leeching wounds from mounted troops. That's a rule that conflicts with the core rule set to the advantage of the Tyranid player, but this is a rule that is amended to be different to the core rule set to the disadvantage of the Tyranid player. It might have been nice to have had a little clarification for this answer, a simple 'No' just doesn't cut it in my book.

Thursday 17 February 2011

Dark Angels genesis vol 4 (and a bit)

Sadly, my photography isn't too hot on these but I thought I should at least point out my oft mentioned Dark Angels are being attempted, if not with any worthy results.

First up is a plastic Missile Launcher Marine, I think he was free on a White Dwarf years ago. This was my first attempt to get the really dark green I was after and it's nearly there but a bit neon on the edges because it's nearly black everywhere else.

I went to the GW and asked about how to paint Dark Angels and let him show me on one of my Advanced Space Crusade Scout Sergeants [with a back pack he could even be an Assault Marine! I've five of these guys]. His is a bit greener but this was a really quick job and I was quite pleased with the results, the extra green makes him stand out a little more so I'll try to get some more done so I can finally get a feel for how to paint them.

Wednesday 16 February 2011

White Dwarf

Just bought White Dwarf. Not a regular subscriber or purchaser but I do like the Stormraven and if they do open it up to all chapters and I'm in the market to dish out £40+ for a baby drop-ship then it's nice to have the rules. GW take note, new rules made a purchase. Of course recent discussions on BoLS indicated that White Dwarf rules often fall by the wayside which I don't gather because back in the days of Rogue Trader they collected all the White Dwarf rules in the Warhammer 40,000 Compendium, which I still have. Sure it's not as neat as having all your races rules collected together in a single codex but this was an additional sale on top of the White Dwarf you originally got the rules in. Not to mention there was Space Marines, Imperial Guard, Squats, Harlequins, Robots, Dreadnoughts and all manner of other rules so this was a purchase that every 40k player needed not just those sticking to one race.

On a different point I noticed the Battle Report is Blood Angels V's Dark Eldar. Now if you haven't read it and don't want to know the result don't carry on but it's an easy guess. Latest Codex darlings V's latest big buy model. Is there ever a Battle Report where the latest army loses? Do they think we're that fickle we won't go for a new force if they lose in the magazine? How many games must they play to engineer the result they wish to $ell? Of course this battle required them to be both appealing so you can work out the outcome easily...

Tuesday 15 February 2011


Don't be frightened, you are still at Confessions of a 40k addict [I still can't believe I got] but things are going to get slightly more fantasy around here as I showcase some of my old Warhammer Fantasy Battle figures. To ease you in gently [as a lot of people were to Games Workshop] here's the Heroes from Heroquest the much loved, by some, boardgame GW did with MB Games. 

I don't know how I ended up with them but I did paint them up to be used with my Empire army [I forget which city state this Conan Wannabe with a floppy sword is from - ahh Nordland, just found my Empire book] but I also painted a few of the baddies so I know we were actually playing the game at the time, although not quite as seriously as when it first came out.
BTW that flesh colour is a Matt Humbrol Acrylic, another super opaque colour I loved. Sure it looks straight out of a cartoon but flesh paints had always been a nightmare for me right back to the Humbrol Enamel Flesh colour tin that opened while I shook it covering a brand new black jumper which never saw the light of day again for fear my mother hit the roof!

Next up an Ice Wizard! Ice magic was cool, I'll scan the magic card from my Empire book and revisit this guy and his Kislevite comrades. I still like this guy, there's some subtle techniques [I think] that still work. Epic IG decals on the legs and cloak, lightning bolts but they look sufficiently frost like. Some light frosting on his fingers, an attempt to make his Wizards staff like an icicle and semi-transparent [I think I nearly pull it off too] and some 5 o'clock shadow! Sure the cloaks highlights are too extreme but I love this guy. 

The Dwarf, not much to say about this fella but these highlighting techniques, exaggerated though they are were all preparing me for the Empire Army to come, something I was happy with, garish and cartoony but painted and tabletop ready. You'll also note the model railway ballast I've been harping on about. Sure it's not awesome but it isn't bad either, it's quick and it's natural and if you can't base figures I think it's a solution.

Here's the elf but I went another way with him. I'm not sure but I think in Dungeons and Dragons this would be a Drow, their equivalent of a Dark Elf. To be honest, despite it's prevalence I never played D&D, watched the cartoon series of course but the first time I ever saw a Drow it was at the Gathering, the largest live role-playing event in the UK and that was well into, if not coming to the end of my gaming history [until last year]. Anyway, it was a fun bit of painting and even though wildly different to the other three fits in well.

Yes, it does fit in well doesn't it as you can see below - The Heroes of Heroquest.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Terrain is everything - Vent Tower pt 1.

Back when I was having  a number of doubts about keeping up with this blog, they're still there by the way and my Son's ambivalence isn't easing this but you guys are, I previewed what I initially refered to as my 'Vent Tower'. This structure looks like some kind of power station vent and it's original idea came from this sketch:

As you can see above the tower came together quite well I managed to get the door arch done through four layers of foam card but the reinforced detailing at the base was problematic. At this stage I was reluctant to put it on as I knew the joins at the corners need to be neat and to achieve this the templates all had a 2mm overlap that I could trim down as needed to join up after dry-fitting. The biggest problem however is the roof. I really like the Gothic spires in the sketch but somewhere my measurments went askew and the roof is only just big enough for four miniatures. This means if I put any elements onto the current profile I won't be able to fit figures on the roof.

Also I really like the lines of the building as they are, so finding a way to add height but retain the roofspace is becoming a real challenge. I have looked at adding the spires to the corners, asymmetrically. It also makes a bit of sense as the spiral staircase in one corner would have some cover as people exited. On top of that I was looking at putting a Heavy Bolter into the protruding corners. Unfortunately though these additions screw up the lines of the main structure. Having asymetrical spires just don't work with the front arched doorway. So I've been looking at abutments on each side, this would require three heavy bolters for all round fire [I only want to spare two] or corner abutments on the back wall which would look a little odd.

Anyway, here's where I'm at so far, it doesn't look like there's been a huge amount of progress but the structure has been glued and the arch has been covered for a cleaner finish. All the reinforced detailing has been added and now I just have to deal with the roof...

As you can see below the corner spires just seem a bit odd. The first one is not too bad but it just doesn't work when you view it from the side and even worse when it's twin is sat above the arched doorway.. I'm thinking just a flat roof will be the solution, which is a shame as the sketch really works. Lots to think about, any suggestions, it may help or I may solve this regardless. For instance if I bite the bullet and install 3 Heavy Bolters then I only need the two spaces on the roof to account for a 5 man squad, which means I can install the assymetric spires following the same line as the tower...

P.S. don't worry about the alien planet terrain mat... it's not real

Friday 11 February 2011

Drop poding

I write this blog in a weird way [I think], prepping many stories in advance because I had a years worth of experiences to get off my chest and a shedload of old miniatures to photograph. I hope the shattering of any illusions hasn't put anyone off the blog, it still leaves me with opportunities to move stories up or down the running order and interrupt my 'one day on one day off schedule' when there's big news. It doesn't really matter anyway because if I was writing articles on a bi-daily basis there'd be no stories at all, so that's the way it is, anyway...

However some stories do get missed or outdated, in particular I forgot to mention my good friend Pete got me a Drop Pod for Christmas. Now, bizarrely I didn't take any photographs of the construction process, it's almost as if I forgot I wrote a 40k blog. I'd read one decent review of the model and assembly and kind of felt another would be unnecessary. What I didn't do was try and find that review because I know it highlighted a number of issues with the model and perhaps a bit of understanding beforehand would have saved some frustration!

Anyway the Drop Pod currently is in bits. I have the passenger area and the five ramps in place with the 5 fins and the turbine separate. I think it'd be really difficulty to paint this fully constructed, this way may be easier but it's also a bit fiddly. Everything has been undercoated and boltgun metal applied where appropriate. I need to get some other metallic colours, copper, bronze etc. to make it suitably archaic inside.  There isn't much to see because the undercoat removes a lot of detail but here ya go.

Overall though it's a nice model and although some bits fit nicely together the center console that the harnesses attach to tilts at a funny angle. There's a special harness with a skull on and that's supposed to fit at a specific point on the console. Of course when you realise that you've already glued the plain one in that spot! I think there was reference to that in the review I read but, as I say, I forgot where that was. It doesn't seem to have done any harm which begs the question why have it?

Pete was extremely kind to get it for me, he wasn't sure if I wanted one but pointed out that it could be scenery as well, a really decent objective to capture so I think it'll be a valuable edition. Of course drop pods are 15pts more for Dark Angels and only have the option of a storm bolter but there's definitely going to be something satisfying about putting one on the battlefield and unfurl the ramps after making 'explosive bolt' noises and having a squad of marines barrel out.

Here we go - here's the tutorial I should have re-read by teamsnakeeyes. For instance getting the boltgun metal onto the centre console before I glued the harnesses on would have been 'advantageous', shall we say.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

'nids part 16. Tyranid Prime Tutorial, part2

So here's the Prime with his Deathspitter in place. G.O.D. that was a nightmare. Like many my workspace is a little, how should we put it? Like a Landfill! Trying to find that Deathspitter was like a needle in a haystack. Actually the weapon was fine it was the left arm attachment which was missing. Looked high and low, tried Termagant arms in replacement - too small and even considered buying one on ebay. In the end I found it because it was no longer what I was looking for, insomuch as I had already cut the forearm off just leaving the bicep and the pipe. The forearm was being used in my Doom of Malantai conversion, as it's neck! More on that another time.

Getting back to the missing forearm, I ended up using that Termagant Fleshborer arm, chopped down and glued to the stump and pipe. The advantage is it was now double-jointed, 2 elbows and gave plenty of clearance round the chest plate [something the Termgant arm alone couldn't do and looked puny] now it's better than if it was the Warrior arm alone.

You can also see I've added a tongue [it's snapped off once already and yet our current Prime remains undamaged, touch wood!] Lash Whip was added, more PVA coated string to add musculature to the whip and a Trygon spine was heat-welded to the paper clip. The Bonesword was added without hassle.

So there you have it, I'll probably do some painting shots for kicks, it's content for the blog at least. This is a really easy conversion to do, the hardest part was probably the Lash Whip but nothing anyone wouldn't be able to achieve. It can be done in a couple of hours really. I actually thought of getting another Original Warrior to do a Prime to sell on ebay, hopefully funding another box of Warriors which I'd have to decide on bulking up the existing squad or finally tackling the Shrikes...

Meanwhile this full-frontal shot shows you why the gun's up top - to shoot over any intervening terrain/models and the combat weapons are at Human height, where it needs to be.

Monday 7 February 2011

Epic Space Marines part 9. - Ultramarines part 5. Odds and Sods

Nearly at the end of my Smurfs coverage and these are a little interesting because of the odd lead (PB in the Periodic Table) Epic miniatures. First up my Ultramarine Terminators. They look so cool in squads of 5 but I was missing one so co-opted a lead Space Marine with Power Fist, he's nearly the same size and actually looks like some form of Terminator Captain.

Mole Mortars, another useful little cheap artillery unit. In this case the lead figures are massive, surely the largest Space Marines in existence! Look at the size of the fella compared to the standard plastic marine.

Here's an unfinished Devastator squad. Again I used accent colours on backpacks and weapons to differentiate the units. These were obviously the red label [gold and silver being the alternates] I really dig the white missile launchers. Humbrol Matt Whit Acrylic had gorgeous flat opacity and it was really easy to apply. I also had quite a few technical drawing pens at the time so you can see the yellow shoulder pads have all been outlined in Black, something I'd try more often for different things in the future.

Thanks for sticking with this 'Epic' Ultramarine memory lane, there's one more post with some group shots of everything to come and then I'll pick up on my remaining unfinished Titans and that'll probably be the end of my Epic journey.

Saturday 5 February 2011

'nids part 15. Tyranid Prime Tutorial, part1

Here's your basic common or garden Advance Space Crusade Tyranid Warrior last seen on ebay with an upside down 'old-skool' Deathspitter and two rending claws. As you can see they've been removed, along with the top of his head. It's a painless procedure if you wedge it in a piece of blue-tac and shave pits off. Well painless until you absent-mindedly stab your thumb [but I mentioned that already].

Then you need a current Tyranid Warrior head, which is cool because each Tyranid Warrior box-set comes with two heads per body. Now I sliced the lower part of the head off but I've since seen another tutorial that slices the front of the old warriors face off and uses the New Warrior parts instead. Anyway this bit's tricky because it's harder to balance the head in the blue-tac without causing damage to yourself, so be careful!

First picture below is the side on view of the head glued in place. Then next up is some new bits added on. A couple of Monstrous Creature spines [although there's one of these, without the nicks in the chitin, on the Warrior Sprue. Also an Adrenal Gland on his front, bulks him out a little on the mid-riff. 

Toxin Sacs were added to his head. The one on the left is a double MC one but they're all the same on the sprue so would have been upside down on the right side of the head, so I used two Termagant Toxin Sacs. On my first Prime I used only one Termagant Toxin Sac on each side. Game play you can run them as the toxin, or say they are Enhanced Synapse to raise your Warriors BS and WS. Really they're only there to mask the join between old and new head! You can also see a Termagant spike attached to the back of the head, this is also to mask the join.

Last shot is going to be the Lash Whip. This Prime is going to be armed with a Deathspitter [up top] and Lash Whip and Bonesword down below. Our current Prime is always footslogging with the other Warriors and having all out combat is useless. Having a Deathspitter will add an extra 3 shots, which have been quite effective to date, more so than his assault results. Alternatively a Devourer could have been an option to help lower Leadership but I'd rather go with firepower over the chance of a morale check...

Anyway, a donor Devourer had it's muzzle cut off and a paper clip was bent for the Whip. Don't worry about mounting it, drilling a hole isn't necessary, hold the wire over a candle with some pliers for a bit and it can be pushed straight into the handle. A bit of care and common sense with naked flames and scalding metal but it bonds real quick.

Next step, adding the arms and armaments...