Saturday 30 April 2011

WFB - More Empire swordsmen

Here we have another Magnificent 7 Swordsmen again it was the Blood Bowl starting model on 25mm bases. WFB 4th Edition High Elf spear heads glued to the front of the hand and the cone on the back as the pommel of the sword. The left arm was snapped above the elbow and glued twisted downwards. The High Elf shields were then glued on the hand and due to their size and gaps in the snapped arm were hidden from view.

My Heroquest Conan wannabe was their low-level Champion leader. Notice he's got a frost blade while the previous Swordsman leader had a heat blade, Fire & Ice baby! The unit was painted up in the Nordland colours and I think these look a lot better than my first attempt. I was really getting into the comic book highlighting at this stage, a lot of fun that gave quick and decent results. Sure they don't stand scrutiny but I was happy to have found a style that produced gaming ready figures and not lots of WiPs!

Here's a close up of my starting line-up, 'HUT, HUT, HUT!'

And another gratuitous shot of the Elector Count of Nordland - Rainier Wolfcastle ;) Cos we all love the Heroquest, right guys?

Thursday 28 April 2011

Better off Dread - Dark Angel AoBR Dreadnought Update

I've made a bit of progress on the Dreadnought. Keeping specifically to the metals as I'm comfortable with those. It's still the endless debate re: Dark Angels Green - do I want to:
  • go through a few coats to get the green I want,
  • one coat and hope the successive highlights cover the poor opacity [I could get away with that on the Tyranids as they are 'naturally' coloured, but Marine armour is painted so has a man-made finish], or
  • or start with a base coat of Orkhide Foundation paint and find a way to make it the green I want
I'm thinking the latter may be my solution, of course it requires a purchase, and I also need some more Badab Black and Devlan Mud Wash [I've just enough Gryphonne Sepia but not much] and my favourite sounding colour of all time - Macharius Solar Orange Foundation. I only need the orange for one thing, the drop pod is usually painted with hazard stripes down the edges of the doors. I was going to replace that with an orange strip much like the Aston Martin's Le Mans Racing colours. It should still look industrial but also different.

Anyway as you can see the stippled gold effect has also worked well here and instead of shelling out for a back banner I went for one of my Dark Angel elements from the Ravenwing Upgrade sprue which seemed a sensible choice until I heat welded it in place and realised that it has the same silhouette as a Fez! On the one hand I want to rip it off, on the other I think it's amusing and as much as I want to believe that 'Fez's are cool' the Doctor is wrong, they're funny and I want one but they're not cool.

Sand on the base too and more importantly the daylight photography does show up the Dark Angel bits on the shoulder and the right leg.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Terrain is everything - So what's the deal with trees?

If you recall from my post about gaming crews we used to spend most of our time gaming at my friend Chris's house. That meant a lot of our terrain was stored there, from the building and hills I'd made to my collection of model trees. At the time GW did a nice line in lead [pb] trunk and root pieces [pictured below] which you could add to any common or garden model tree to make it look a bit more GW.

Obviously those halcyon days where we had all the terrain we need are gone, and so are my collection of trees. I like vegetation, I used to like it even more when you had anti-plant grenades that you could use to deny soft cover from your opponent. Now of course 'true line of sight' means half a dozen trees interspersed with lichen to represent the borders of a wood doesn't cut it. If you want a proper forest you need a lot of wood ;)

But what's the deal with them being so expensive? I don't recall them costing so much, not specifically at GW but everywhere model trees seem to be like gold dust, even on ebay. I did see a set of model fir trees at my local garden centre [and craft shop] that were quite cool, £15 for a decent amount and all came with snow mound bases. I think they were for setting up Christmas scenes. Of course I foolishly didn't pick them up.

Alternatively there is GW's 3 tree wood for £17, I mean really? That's pathetic I want proper foliage. Or what about 4 sprues of jungle plants of course you'll need to sell a kidney - they cost £25.50 for the set. If you're that way inclined you're much better off scoping out your local pet shop and checking out the aquarium supplies. They usually have nearly exactly the same sort of foliage for cheap, cheap and more of it to boot!

On a side note hedges get a bad rep nowadays because of their lack of real 'purpose' on the battlefield. A nice bag of Lichen always looks impressive on the battlefield, in my opinion. I have a nice yellow set to show up on my red planet, as seen below.

Of course you can make them, with wire armatures and a lot of flock/lichen but that sort of scratchbuild just doesn't appeal to me. The only other real option is to stop thinking of trees as trees and to start thinking of them as 'alien trees' and the best thing for that is a bag of pot pourri, which I'll discuss when I've actually made some plants with it, so much to do so little time...

Sunday 24 April 2011

Reduce Reuse Recycle

A while back I noticed the large amount of sprue I'd collected after putting together all my son's 'nids and my Black Reach box set. I'd also stumbled across GW's Annual Report that mentioned their increased concerns about being 'green' [well everyone has to be nowadays]. So I suddenly had an idea that GW should set up some recycling boxes to take back unwanted sprue. I was sure it could be regranulated and used again, my Dad used to work for Dunlops making Wellington Boots so the reuse of PVC from bad molds was part of the production process.

So I mocked up a typical recycling box for the Imperium and sent it off to the What's New Today? address on GW's website but never actually got a response. I figured even if it cost GW to return the sprue to their factory the cost was good environmental PR for the company to show at least they're committed to tackling the issue of plastic waste going into landfill. I went on to post the same story on one of the facebook groups for GW fans and some slightly more knowledgeable folks had opinions on the subject and one person said that the plastic could be reused in the formation of poly-cement.

Anyway in preparation for telling my tale and sharing my pic I thought I'd do another search and lo-and-behold I found two interesting threads that said GW already take back sprue, they just don't advertise it so blatantly and there were plenty of other cool ideas for using it in modelling projects, not just as rubble. So check them out I may even try a few myself.

Friday 22 April 2011

Terrain is everything - Honoured Imperium pt5.

Here we are with a little update on the Honoured Imperium, mainly focusing on the Aquila which has had some Bonewhite drybrushing to get the sandstone colours I'm after. Hopefully when I get round to completing my Cathedral Tower which is built of Red Planet rockcrete and rarer sandstone for such an auspicious building

Below you can see it in situ with my son's Tervigon for scale. Still got to paint all the little skulls Bonewhite but I like how the Red Sand scattered on top of the Aquila doesn't look totally faked, just marginally ;)

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Dark Angels - 'Land's Speeder'

Legend has it that the Land Speeder (originally known as Land's Speeder) was rediscovered at the very dawn of the Imperium. It was during Techno-archaeologst Arkhan Land's great expedition into the Libraries Omnis on Mars.

The main aim of Land’s expedition into the labyrinth catacombs of Mars was to find functioning STC databases. In this he failed, but two other discoveries were made which revolutionised technical thinking for millennia to come. The first was a near complete dataslab image of STC information about a heavily armoured battle tank. The second unearthed information on rare anti-gravitic plates, and theories on their uses, which eventually led to the construction of the first ‘Lands Speeder’. Land would later be killed on his second expedition. the victim of a psychic entity. which destroyed his entire party. What secrets of the Dark Ages died with him remain a mystery.

As you can see here's an original Land's Speeder and you'll also note this is before we got caught short on the Ravenwing being black. This speeder was unfinished [obviously] but I'm still happy with the Dark Angels green, plenty of blending of highlights there but I really have to decide if it's going to be repainted. If so I have to debate whether to strip it back or just go straight with an undercoat.

The new plastic Land Speeder is a really nice looking model and I love the Land Speeder Storm despite Scouts being rubbish and Dark Angels not being able to field them. However I still like this stripped down version and the two 'beaky' marines are some of the better examples of the way to sculpt the 'beak'

Red ram-jets because ram-jets are always red. Check out that banner pole too!

The view from a Warlord Titan, aah sweet!

Monday 18 April 2011

WFB - Empire Wizard of Light

Here's one of my Wizards, an Empire Wizard of Light. If I recall he was free on the cover of White Dwarf. Obviously I continued on the Egyptian theme with some Pharoahic type colouring on his head-dress. The Magic rules at the time had the wizard be more powerful if he had a pyramid of acolytes behind him in formation to help channel the mystical energies. I didn't have any appropriate figures but I did have a number of my brothers Ninja's so I painted them up but haven't taken those pictures just yet.

Here's the rear view with the sunburst on his cloak and a massive air pocket in the middle of it!

Saturday 16 April 2011

The sound of gaming - music to kill by*

I talked recently about your 'gaming crew', the people you throw down with that makes this hobby slightly less nerdish because you've surrounded yourself with like-minded individuals that make you think playing with toy soldiers is actually cool! We're deluded, but hey, we're having fun. But 10 years down the line those guys are the aspect of gaming you recall fondest. We hardly remember the three sixes thrown that turned the battle [unless you wrote them down, in which case you really do need help], but we remember the people.

The other way to elicit such memories and truly lock in all these good times is by stimulating your senses. Good times roll with good people, good food, good smells and good sounds. I mentioned previously my mate Chris's obsession with incense and I've fond memories of dunking bread in piping hot gravy as a 'snack' round at Liam's [he of the scratch built Warhound and Warlord fame, that never gets old] but it was possibly the sounds that provoke more memories for me.

At that age I didn't like music. I was spending all my money on figures, computer games and occasionally Fantasy books. Music was a drain on my pocket money I couldn't afford and quite frankly I didn't like anything that I heard. Of course below you can see what happens when your main passion steps out of its boundaries, though I'm pretty sure this wasn't the first Bolt Thrower record that dealt with the 40k Universe.

My Mate Chris would play all sorts of tunes when we gamed. An eclectic mix for sure but predominantly heavy metal, and why not! 40k and heavy metal go together like, erm, bread and piping hot gravy! Amongst the many acts that defined our existence were the likes of Nocturnus, Deicide, Faith No More, The Doors, The Who, Pitch Shifter and Nirvana. I can't say I was particularly fond of some of them but in time I did grow to appreciate music but in some respects music was my gaming downfall.  


In particular, on one occasion we'd spent all day preparing an Epic battle, 1000's of points worth of figures were arrayed in the morning and I'd come back after tea for the the largest battle we've ever played. Just as we were about to begin Liam and James turn up and ask us if we wanted to go to Southport for a Rock Night at the Floral Hall. We'd never been and in fact I'd avoided it a number of times my Brother had asked me to go, but you show two 15 year olds an opportunity to go to a venue with girls, beer, loud music and a 2am licence then the plastic men don't sparkle so much anymore. Performing a 3 tier human pyramid to Slayer is another memory of that night I'll never forget!

And suddenly those artists, particularly Nirvana had a whole new meaning. They still evoke many happy memories of dice rolling, the soundtrack to our 40k universe, but they now offer so much more as well. Still, it's worthwhile having some music going on. I can't listen to James Horner's awesome score for Aliens without recalling the Golden Demon I attended at Birmingham NEC where it was on continuous loop for about six hours!


* please note that despite accusing Ozzy Osbourne, Judas Priest, Slayer, Metallica and numerous other heavy metal bands of inspiring people to kill or commit suicide they were never found guilty. Music doesn't kill people, Space Marines, Tyranids, Oks, Eldar, Dark Eldar and Tau do!

Thursday 14 April 2011

Tin Bitz

I don't know if you noticed but back in the day I was a fiend for metallic paint, insomuch as I always liked to contrast silver with gold and as evidenced with my Epic Ultramarines would differentiate units by metallics. Aside from silver and gold I had a shockingly bad copper that never mixed right and subsequently abandoned all usage thereof. Fast forward to today and I've the typical Vallejo Starter Game Colour Paint Set which affords me a Chainmail, Silver and polished Gold equivalent. With the additions of washes any set of Metallics can now be enhanced beyond all my schoolboy dreams, with shadows, stains or grime.

Saying all that I've a need for more metal! I'm in the market for a copper and a bronze but equally I needed to do it on a budget. Most of the art acrylics go up in price to GW equivalent as soon as you say the word 'metallic'. You do get about 3 times the amount of paint though so it isn't that bad. They have an awesome copper and bronze but I thought I'd go for Tin Bitz, just because. I'd been doing a pretty good approximation by mixing Mechrite Red and Chainmail but that's not sustainable when I need the red for basing.

With the Drop Pod in progress I decided the interior needed more variety than Chainmail and Gold. I'd also tried the Gold on the back of my Dreadnought with shocking results and needed a way to rescue this. In the mean time I'd seen this story on GW's website. Michal Gmitrasiuk had painted some awesome Blood Angels and I wondered if I could use the same battered gold/bronze effect on my Drop Pod...

So with Tin Bitz in hand I wondered what I could do? A simple dilution with water and as a wash it's awesome. Suddenly everything looks like it's coated with a stained oil. I'm not sure how well it shows up in this shot of my DropPod ramp but it's a nice effect that could be enhanced with more washes. As a dilution of paint you'll certainly get more coverage than using a wash to get the same effect though so it's a neat little option.

 Additionally it made a perfect base on the 5 uprights of the drop pod. Then a 50/50 mix with gold and there was a pretty decent bronze that when stippled in place was starting to approximate Michal's effect. With a rough 30/30/30/10 of Tin Bitz, gold, chainmail and silver the next set of stippling was even more effective. The end result isn't quite as good as Michal's [but then have you seen is painting?!] but his tutorial on CoolMiniOrNot [that I found after this] has a few more process involved and a lot more washes [which I wasn't about to shill out for].

Overall I really rate Tin Bitz as a versatile paint choice that can really broaden the options of what you can do with just a pot of chainmail and gold.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Terrain is everything - Honoured Imperium pt4.

Back to our Space Marine Statue of Matt Black: Former hero of the Imperium, noted for his valiant efforts against the Orks on Taurshaln (I don't know any of the actual worlds where Orks invaded). Eventually succumbed to spore poisoning, and is now believed to be known as Dok Graftbitz. Thanks C'nor (Outermost_Toe) for that history lesson.

So, having finished off his Red Planet based plinth I used my new found friend Tin Bitz as a metallic basecoat. Whatever level of verdigris I'm going to put on there will be some level of transparency which will show through this metallic colour.

Now I may have missed a few steps here [you don't say] but I think I did quite a thin mix of my Anita's Acrylic Turquoise and some black then some light overbrushing with the Turquoise and then mixing a bit of white into it for a second set of streaks. This paint has a very matt finish, it tends to have good opacity but if 'worked' a little bit with the brush can have areas of transparency and areas of opacity. It's why it worked so well on the 'nids in that you are never going to get areas of 'flat' colour in the natural patination of the 'nids.

The verdigris is also natural in that it weathers over time so this mix of transparency levels works and the great thing is that as it naturally streaks you can get away with all sorts of levels of brushwork. Once I added in some stain streaks using Devlan Mud it started to really come alive. The whole model is incredibly matt and dry to the touch, not sure if that has anything to do with the black poster paint basecoat but it really has the feel of some of the heavily corroded verdigris I've had the chance to observe recently.

All that's left now is to paint the skull on the plinth, add some more highlights to Matt Black and touch up the Devlan Mud stains but I'm really pleased with it. It may not be perfect and it may not quite follow the tutorial that I used as reference but I reached a point I'm happy with using the skills I have to do something different but not a million miles away from my what I usually do.

Sunday 10 April 2011

Belial and the Deathwing

I mentioned a while back that I'd noticed I'd forgotten to showcase my option for Belial. This is an original Librarian model and when I looked in my Codex I was going to run him as such and suggest his 'force weapons' just looked like Lightning Claws. Then I read that Belial didn't have a model and could have LCs so I thought I gad the solutions. There's still some work to go but this is how he was left, incomplete, many moons ago. You'll notice the Humbrol Acrylic Gloss that was wet blended into the orange

Below you can see how I naïvely wanted to accentuate the reinforced with green. Too much Bilious Green I think.

Another shot of his pose, the bledning looks a little better on the claws [if a bit chipped] can't decide whether to paint over it completely or use it as a base and do any highlights from this point. One other missing element is his base, Yep, he's on a base but it's the 'old-school' size. I have a new one but because the old terminators are slightly smaller I need to add in a sheet of slate to make Belial that little bit taller than the rest of the squad. He'll look great when he's done. Ideally a banner on his back would be good but I don't think I'd be able to secure it properly without snapping off constantly. 

Below are my AoBR Terminators in their Bonewhite first coat. Sadly I don't have a comparrison short with my Belial model so you can see the slightly larger scale. These guys will follow the Tyranid Bonewhite painting scheme I've adopted so next up will be some Gryphonne Sepia...

Friday 8 April 2011

More from my mate Liam - Flyers

My mate Liam, he of the scratch built Warhound and Warlord fame has kindly sent through a number of new photographs to share with you all. Here's 4 scratch built landspeeder hibreed (fully inclosed). Now I'm going to have a chat with him about if he has plans for these so we can all get our own pseudo-Ravenwings up and running on the cheap-cheap

Coming up next is his scratch built thunderbolt fighter

And lastly 3 scratch built lightnings

Hope you enjoy, I've got another beast of a shot of his Warlord and I'll ask him for some WiPs so you can see his moddeling mastery in all it's raw detail. Please leave any comments so I can pass on what you think. Stay frosty!

Wednesday 6 April 2011

'nids part 18 - Hive Tyrant

It's been a while since I showed off some my son's tyranids. I've actually got quite a lot of group shots to showcase the whole hive but thought I'd just fill you in on some of the individuals. This here hive tyrant was another impulse purchase on ebay last year. Itt was another bargain, I won it for £10 with £3 p&p which is less than half price! He originally came with Mechrite Red Chitin and the body was a much darker base than I would usually start with for my bonewhite but I persevered. Armament wise this setup may be a mistake. Lash Whip and Bonesword yes, but a Heavy Venom Cannon. I've read some bad reports [see below] on it and given the -1 to the vehicle penetration chart it isn't quite the anti-mech we need but we really have very few options anyway so we'll take what we can get.

There's still a bit more painting to do on the Lash Whip and Bonesword and Heavy Venom Cannon. Some extra highlights need to be in place. Of course if I were to follow Ghoulios advice at legiominimus
"The Venom Cannon is the worst gun in the game period. In 14 games with this book I have stunned a very small handful of tanks and on the 14 game I did my first bit of damage to a vehicle and that was blow off the battle cannon from a defiler. The worst part about it is you think you MIGHT be able to do something with it instead of running the big man up to get into combat where he will actually do something. Right after my last game I actually pulled both venom cannon arms off both tyrants right there."
I may well reconsider his armament, here I see the advantage of magnetizing...

A view of his back armour plate sand more spots and stripes.

The other side view.

Monday 4 April 2011

Better off Dread - Dark Angel AoBR Dreadnought

Once again my evening photos leave a lot to be desired but waiting for daylight is the difference between having content or not. Anyhoo, here's my AoBR Dreadnought. So far it's an undercoat, Boltgun Silver and a Badab Black wash but I also did a little kit-bashing which you should just be able to make out. The Multi-Melta has been bored out, and not with one of those namby-pamby 1mm drill bits, this thing looks meaty now, which is how it should, in my book! I also used some of that plastic strip you get loads of in kids toys, usually attached to wire that holds the toy to the packaging. Here it's a girder which should look cool poking out of the re planet dust.

You should also be able to make out the Dark Angel chapter badge on his right leg. This is from the Ravenwing set. I got a really good deal on a complete set of upgrade parts for the two bikers I'd got. Although I needed a third bike to complete the squad and was able to get a set of four on ebay for the same price as a brand new one from GW so now I need a new Ravenwing upgrade sprue! Anyway, the wings were bent a bit and it was glued in place a little too much glue but at least there's no gaps.

As I am still suffering the fear of Dark Angels green I thought I'd go mainly metallic on the back, with only the front armour green. Still not sure, can't decide if I should make the exhaust manifolds also green or gold. Lastly I put another Dark Angel chapter badge on the corner of his left arm. I split the wing so it wraps round. It'd have been nicer to have the sword actually wrap the corner but nye on impossible so this is a decent compromise.

Think he may need a banner though so I may invest in the Dark Angels Chapter Upgrade Frame now it's gone up in price, which would actually allow me to make use of the two metal Terminators I have that are short of a few weapons...

Saturday 2 April 2011

Terrain is everything - Honoured Imperium pt3.

Back to the old Honoured Imperium terrain. I'd be remiss if I didn't point out I actually got to this stage in around 24-48 hours, I'm not sure. I pretty much got carried away with it, really enjoying the process, again, because I knew what I was doing. This was because it's all just Red Planet basing up to here, click on the link if you want the full details.

As you can see the Aquila has also benefited from a Leather Brown base coat which I'm going to build up to Bonewhite.

The ruin is pretty much done, I'm not sure whether I want to pick out too much detail. I like the GW buildings but most of my buildings are scratch built and I don't want this to draw attention to the fact it's clearly not of the same design aesthetic. So long as I just stick to the same colours I should be able to let it blend in seamlessly with my other building/ruins.

Oh Lordy, that Red Planet effect is 'sweeeeet'! It's come out so well I can't believe it. Additionally I've added a thin coat of Black poster paint to the Statute. The Matt Black was a bit too smooth and I wanted to add a bit of texture for the verdigris to cling too. I think I also glued him together at this stage. Everything is looking rosey.

Meanwhile today is the day of the Kendo Seminar I've organised and tomorrow is the day of the British Kendo Association Kyu Grade [beginners] competition [although I'm too experienced to enter, I'll be refereeing]. So I'm gonna have sore feet and a sore throat and probably all sorts of other sore things!