Tuesday 31 May 2011

WFB - 'Epic' home made Empire Steam Tank

'Blasphemy' may be the word coming to mind right now but at the time this made absolute sense to me. I wanted an Empire Steam Tank but didn't want to 'fess up the moolah'. I had a Capitol Imperialis knocking about that I was never going to use, I think they were just too darn slow, and too expensive for only 4 Void Shields, if I remember correctly. 

So with a new paint job, a couple of pen lids, some Milliput, some bits from an old World War 2 tank model and yes part of a head from my old friend the Blood Bowl human poking out of the 'turret' my 'Epic' home made Empire Steam Tank was born.

Here's a close-up the Blood Bowl human poking out of the 'turret'

Lastly, another shot of that glorious OTT highlighting, this is how you paint Eldar nowadays, or so the tutorials show me. Might be a little more subtle though...

Sunday 29 May 2011

Better off Dread - Dark Angel AoBR Dreadnought Update Update

Brother Cask. I've decided. His name is brother Cask. He wears a fez, like Tommy Cooper and Coopers made casks for ale. Anyway, just a  quick update in that he's had the Okhide Shade foundation put on. I'm liking it but I'm still feeling trepidation about the whole DA green [yes, still!]. I haven't quite fixed my 'painting solution' in my head, just where do I go from here? Badab Black wash, then highlights or highlights and then Badab Black. Do I look to add a green wash to try and fix any poor highlights? As I've said Marines are different to Nids there's more perfection in their man-made armour so poor painting is gonna burn me!

On the positive side I've decided to attempt battle damage on these to cover up any imperfections and I notice on some of the Dawn of War artwork that the Blood Ravens armour has a look of being hand painted [possibly by the marine] so there is room for variations just so long as it looks like it's done by the model and not some giant hand that's painted a miniature, if you follow. Still got to deal with the edges of the casket too, possibly gonna go gold as well on this...

And I'm still in love with the back view, it's like a little 'surprise' when you get behind it as it's all metal, no paintwork.

Friday 27 May 2011

Terrain is everything - Honoured Imperium pt6.

Not sure why these day shots have come out so 'deep' but it's kind of effective. Old Matt Black: Former hero of the Imperium has had his final set of Vedigris highights which at times I though was a step too far but I'm happy in the end.

Additionally there are the bonehite accents on the base that tie it in with all my other red planet basing. On top of that some additional washes to the unrealistic but effective stains from the studs on the shield. 

Last shot and here's Matt's 'moody face'. Not entirely sure if the crack is too dark but again I've reached a point where I can just let go, before I muck it up.

The Aquila too has had another set of highlights and all the bonewhite accents. I'm sure I envisaged this paler with more effort put into the sandstone but again it works as it is so I'm prepared to leave well enough alone.

Here you can see some of the skulls, yeah man, skulls!

Wednesday 25 May 2011

WFB - Empire Mortar

Another quicky, a simple Mortar for WFB. Some more of my OTT highlighting, though I like it on this. Sure there isn't a huge amount of 'depth' in the wood grain but I don't think I'd feel ashamed to have it in my force now, if I was playing WFB now that is. Really I'm not even playing 40k at the moment! Sure we had that game the other weekend in an attempt to stimulate my son's interest. That lasted two turns, but it was a couple of hours of play. Of course it's the hobby aspect that's the draw for me, it's just not having any purpose to it that makes it feel like a waste of time...

Well, we'll see how things go with this blog. I think it's going to make a year of posts - it helps to keep the addiction 'on the boil'. I'll record my progress on the hobby aspects and if in the future there isn't quite the amount of content I can report then I'll scale things back a bit to when I have something worthwhile.

That seems like a bit of a 'bombshell' [or mortar fire] there but as my weekend game illustrated I'm spending all this time and effort on a hobby that ultimately has no purpose. Sadly I'm too obsessive [read - addicted] to let go of any of it and sell some of the bits off. At least then I'd have made a profit on the effort instead of having to accept that at least it kept me off the streets, ha, ha!

Don't worry there's a good few posts left in this blog yet but we'll be taking each day as it comes.

Monday 23 May 2011

Terrain is everything - Vent Tower pt 4. EXTENSION!

Here's an update on the 'Vent Tower', I really should think of a better name for it than that as it no longer looks 'venty', suggestions welcome. Again, night time shots P-shopped so excuse their garishness. Obviously when I get round to creating an STC for this these step-by-step pictures will be considerably more useful but bare with it for now. This is the top of the tower extension, from the inside. Unlike the base of the tower which was four separate panels this is a continuous strip - not great for efficiency savings on your foamcard but it does increase quality control. As you can see the template was spray mounted on and firepoints have been cut out. Then 45° cuts were made at each corner and junction.

The flipside - the outside and another 45° bevelled cut was made. This will transition smoothly into the extension and because this adds additional width at the top it will in fact be the exact size as the top of the vent tower base, allowing the rooftop to be used on the extension as well as the base. Now that's MODULAR baby!

Here's the inside of the extension, again you can see the template. Of course this helps on the outside because you can see where to put the cereal box card detailing but those 45° bevelled cuts are really important so we're working from the inside out. You should be able to work out where the above top of the tower will align with the base of the black line a third of the way down. You should also be able to make out I also cut in a 5mm rebate in the foam at the top to accommodate the 'plug' on the rooftop but even the card had to be removed in construction, else the plug wouldn't fit.

So you fold up these nets, here's where I rediscovered the awesomeness of masking tape to keep your constructions in shape whilst the PVA dries. The Extension top was glued around with the joins opposite each other so the extension couldn't split down the open edge. As you can see the rebate did it's job to gauge the height of the 'plug socket' then the card was stripped out.

And we're left with a new and improved extension to the Vent Tower. Next stop - cereal box detailing.

Saturday 21 May 2011

Gaming, sort of - Dawn of War

You may recall that one of the preventative measures I used to stop getting back into 40k was to sart playing Dawn of War. I've always liked computer games, who doesn't? and I realised you could easily get a similar 'fix' without the time thieving painting.modelling aspects, cost, need of another human being to play against, space constraints and a whole host of other limitations to actual physical 40k gaming. Of course some of these I've since learned to embrace again, predominantly the painting and modelling but as I've mentioned that passion is ultimately fruitless when you don't get to then do something with your efforts.

Anyway, Dawn of War has started to come back to the fore, particularly because I got Dawn of War 2 for my birthday, not the latest DoW2: Retribution, just the first installment and Chaos Rising. I also found out that my PC couldn't run it. Despite knowing better when I ordered my PC about 18 months ago I decided not get a graphics card installed. I figured the Dell option was too expensive and I wouldn't really need it for a while. Fast forward to today and I managed to get an Nvidia 7200gs [or 7300gt or mix of the two, I'm not sure] off ebay for £20, postage included. Installed it no problems and finally got DoW2 to run... vvvvveeeerrrryyyy sssslllloooowwwwllllyyyy! I ran a test and the card is a third the way between minimum and recommended. Sure if I turn the settings right down I can play but it's not as much fun as it should be.
The annoying thing is that the Mother-In-Law upgraded her PC just before me and got a  slightly lower specced PC, without the option of upgrading to Windows 7, but she did get a graphics card and even thought it's bot awesome it says it would run DoW2 well above optimal spec! I so wish I had the brass balls to swap hers for mine seeing as it'd make no difference to her web browsing. Aah, well I'll get an upgrade sometime down the line, meanwhile I'll just carry on regardless.
As to the game, I'd had a warning from my friend Pete, the one who started me off on Blood Bowl and Rogue Trader, that he was deeply disappointed in the evolution from DoW to DoW2. He missed the mass ranks of troops, the variety and the resource building. Having now experienced it I can see his point, but I am enjoying the RPG element of upgrading your character and sometimes it's nice to just have a few troops. I do think the linear nature of wandering round the map from one encounter to the next slightly less appealing than DoW, but then DoW was equally repetitive sometimes with how you build your base, sally forth, expand and assault. With the occasional counter offensive putting you on the back foot and spoiling your relentless mayhem.

On the positive side it has convinced me to look at both DoW Soulstorm and Dark Crusade to add to my DoW and Winter Assault. If I want more of the same action there's supplements available and they're cheap and my PC can run those no probs with the graphics card I currently have. Of course all this video gaming is having an impact on my hobby activities but I'm getting more reward for killing pixels at the momment than painting plastic men, c'est la vie.

I also find it odd that Tarantula Sentry guns have quite a pivotal roll in DoW2 and yet retain their fringe use in Imperial Armour but not the main Space Marine rules - shame.


On a side note I'm off on holiday this week to Wales, not that you'll notice any difference in the blog, it's all set up to keep you entertained while I'm away. This time last year I took a load of figures and a few paints and my son and I basecoated and washed a load of them. Not so sure we'll be doing that this year but I may take the Prime just to get him done...

Thursday 19 May 2011

The price of pain

Well it seems as though there's really only one topic stretching across the Astronomicon at the moment - MONEY! and our favorite hobby suppliers desire for more. There's not a whole lot I can add to the debate but I'd be remiss not to acknowledge it at least. There seems to be three parts to GW's business shift:
  1. The introduction of Finecast - stopping metal miniatures because the price is too high and making saving by this new resin, although apparently the raw materials will be cheaper and were hinted at bringing the costs of those figures down when in fact in most cases the costs have gone up.
  2. A new raft of prices, a lot of them UP, the majority staying the same and a very few going down. "Who wants a Pyrovore? Anyone? Even if we drop the price? Damn!"
  3. The change in terms and Condistions stopping discount resellers from selling to the Rest of the World. Of course they can't get away with this malarkey in Europe, there are trade rules preventing this from happening but for those in the New World and the colonies, well they're screwed, Royally, and not the new face of the monarchy one of those old school "off with their heads Royals" with gout and an eye for conquest.
The Back40k has an interesting open letter that covers a lot of what can be said of which there's little to disagree with from most hobbyists views. For me personally I knew this was an expensive past time in 1997 when I finally gave up the hobby because I could see the greed involved. Fast forward to today and I'm still aware of the costs and this prompted most of my purchases to be via ebay. There's a considerable amount of satisfaction to gain from getting a bargain, but even more so when you know how expensive they are direct from their source.

Unless it's through vouchers, or paint [which hasn't gone up in price] there's little chance I'll be shopping direct at GW. I also had thought hard about offloading some old miniature but actually feel that the cost of replacing anything would be too much and so it's best to keep what I've got.

In GW's defence though they have practically a monopoly on what they do, like Apple they can push that envelope of customer loyalty and price. Maybe Nintendo might be a better comparison as they make a proprietary system and games can cost up to £40, not too far from what a starter box can cost, but they also have cheaper games and this is one thing GW doesn't do very well - cheaper options. I talked in the past about the Skeleton box sets and the original plastic Imperial Guard. You used to get a lot in those days and as you can see above there used to be vouchers to make savings on all sorts of purchases, not just at store openings but summer sales and other events.

Sadly with the lack of blister packs available you can't get a figure for a 'quid' anymore. Even the snapfit Tyranids are over a fiver [current price, and I think subject to change], that's just beyond what I'd call pocket-money priced but at least you get 5, whereas you get only 3 marines for the similar set and 4 Eldar or Orks.

On the plus side it's great for a British company, if increasing prices and stopping sellers selling abroad increases profits. Not sure how much of a silver lining that is though, what with all the ill-feeling engendered.

UPDATE: and if you want some real good advice check out A Year of Frugal Gaming it may help you decide your own future in the hobby.

Tuesday 17 May 2011

40K Resin bike bases

daemonscape1 resin bike bases
Over the course of a few receipts of GW Gift Vouchers last year I picked up a couple of bikes. They're quite cheap and with the Ravenwing being a big part of the Dark Angels I thought I had to entertain the idea of having some even if they were bobbins.

So I had the two bikes and needed one more for the squad. In another post I'll show you what I got but suffice to say by the time I'd finished I needed some extra bike bases.

There was a set by dark-arts-miniatures on ebay that looked really cool with a fair bit of detail but they were too varied as a group. Here's what they were like:

and I was really looking for some as cheap as chips, although these weren't too bad at £5.45 for the 5. So in the end I ended up with these resin bases by daemonscape1 £2.99 for 5 is a bargain and they're spot on.

The real article in all it's nudity.
It's the first resin stuff I've bought but I was aware the could be a bit 'wiffy' and boy do they stink. I've given them a quick wash in soapy water and when the bikes are ready I'll show you how I get on with basing up with them.
Anyways, thought I'd give everyone a heads up to the ebay page.

Sunday 15 May 2011

WFB - Odd knights

More of my Marauder Miniatures Heroes of the Empire. The Morrisons clearly liked tall Heroes, this Halberdier is massive. I used gold and silver, with some white/silver mix highlights. His Helmet was randomly 'enamled' in red with my red to white highlights picked up also on his gloves [what was I thinking?]

This Hero was my favorite of the three but originally he had a really feeble looking Warhammer so I chopped it off. I had quite a nice Greatsword, impressive looking if a little lacking in detail that fit perfectly but sadly the superglue did not last and I'm sure it's knocking around in a bits box somewhere waiting to be reunited with it's wielder.

Lastly our old friend the low level champion from a small squad of Swordsmen. This fella's using some magical flame sword. Altogether these were fantastic miniature, the Morrisons really could lay down some fantastic sculpts.

Friday 13 May 2011

WFB - Empire Knights Panther

Given the choice of the Empire Knightly Orders, Knights of the White Wolf were my favorites but I didn't like how they played on the battlefield. Actualy I should say how they would play because I'm still not sure if I ever got to play a WFB game with my Empire army. So next up on my list were Knights Panther. In particular the knight with the 'portcullis' helm, with Panther pelt on top. Below is the painted unit of five, in actual fat I had eight and at some point I'll do a full shot of them.

As you can see my exagerated highlights were put to good use, I think they work well from a distance. I also struggled with the idea behind the Panthers crest so simplified it with the slashing claw motif on the shield.

A close-up of their Panther claw slashed shields.

From the back you can see the Panther markings on their ceremonial pelts.

And a close-up of their ceremonial pelts.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

WFB - Homemade Hellblaster volley gun

Another one of my home made Empire artillery pieces, a Hellblaster Volley gun. All that was needed was some copper tubing, some Milliput and some balsa wood. The copper tube was cut into nine equal pieces. The pieces were glued to a balsa triangle and Milliput was wrapped around the end and the middle to hold the pipes together.

A box was constructed for the breach [I think that's the correct term] and a Milliput cog was made. Although not in this picture this had a sprue crosspiece from between four slotta bases as a handle and a skull was positioned in the centre.

One of the plans for this was that GW ran some rules in White Dwarf to mount a Hellblaster Volley Gun on the back of a wagon and with my success creating the Empire War Wagon I thought I'd have a go at that, though ultimately never got round to it. If I ever find the rules to it I'll pop them online.

Monday 9 May 2011

Drop poding (again) - Drop pod update

Just a little update on my Dark Angels drop pod. As previously mentioned in my post on the fabulous Tin Bitz I'd tried to approximate Michal Gmitrasiuk's tutorial on CoolMiniOrNot [that I found after this] on battered metals. Pretty much doing so without reading the tutorial, I just went with a lot of stippling. Here we have the cleaned up version of the pod, I've set up using Black on all the bits that will eventually be Dark Angel Green.

Here you can see the nice effect of the stippling, both under flash and slightly shadowed.

Another shot of the interior under different lighting conditions.

Next up is the green [oh G.O.D. not green again?!] and I've got myself some Orkhide Shade, the Dark Angel debate and painting genesis has reached a new stage and Orkhide Shade is my new starting point.

Saturday 7 May 2011

++ Dark Angel insertion ++ Purge xenos ++ End ++

And that is it folks. I thought we would get in a full game but Tyler is bored now and the wife has just got back from work. Don't think I could have saved the Imperium today but there were some good moments and although the blogging slowed things down at least we played, if only for a little bit. It was Capture and Control so it was a technical win for me but I don't think I would have survived.

Here's how it stood.