Sunday 31 July 2011

Terrain is everything - a solution to an age old problem part1

What do we have here?

I've been cogitating like a Mech-Adept fiend for months about this and finally decided to do something about it. When I started back in 40k I made a list of typical terrain:

  • Hills
  • Trees
  • Walls
  • Fences
  • Buildings
  • Ruins
  • Scattered objects
  • Rock formations
  • Bunkers/defences
  • Containers
As you see first on the list was hills, your defacto standard terrain, and I went on to make my modular hill. But what happens if you can't get pink/white/blue/peach [delete as appropriate] insulation foam? Well foam card is a much easier material to source, although maybe a little more expensive in the long term. However, you can get it on ebay, at places like Paperchase and many art supply shops so you can make a hill-like structure that will function in much the same way as a hill. In fact Dawn of War has many such elements of scenery similar to what I propose, although sadly I can't seem to find a reference shot of what I'm on about.

Here's all the individual pieces for my 'simple' hill. Of course, by now you should know it won't be so simple when it's finished.

The concept is partly inspired by my walk to the train station. Below is some shots of a concrete ramp leading up out of Port Street Car Park. This split level 'waste ground' has quite a 40k feel about it and although you don't get quite the 'funneling' effect from these images I've exaggerated in my build because it really is quite a nice effect.

Here's the exact location in google maps [which I love with an unhealthy passion], you can see the ramp just below where it says Port St. Of particualr note is the L shaped building in the bottom right. There's a blue placque on the wall just by the bridge over the canal and it states one of the world's first aircraft builders, A.V. Roe and Company was established at Brownsfield Mill,  by Alliott Verdon Roe and his brother Humphrey Verdon Roe on 1 January 1910. Avro went onto produce the Lancaster and Vulcan bombers and it's a nice little bit of history I get to pass every night.

Friday 29 July 2011

Descent of Angels - a review

Some may recall I got Descent of Angels for my birthday and I've recently finished it and moved on to another couple of 40k books.Obviously the Horus Heresy series has sold 'over a million copies' but there seems to be about half a million titles in the series so that's not quite the grand claim it makes out to be. I obviously wanted DoA for the Dark Angel angle. Getting a bit background story on the first legion is nice, particularly when this particular chapter has changed so much over it's history and particularly since I was on hiatus. Apologies in advance for any spoilers but I'll aim not to give too much away.

Reinventing the Dark Angels around a knightly order and not the Native American theme from Deathwing is really interesting and a theme I can really appreciate. The story initially focusses on the idea that the potential knights on their home world of Caliban only prove their worth when confronting the many monstrous beasts stalking the endless forests. Meanhwhile the future Primarch of the Dark Angels Lion El'Jonson has set about to exterminate all the beasts to free Caliban from their predation. It doesn't take you very long to realise th flaw in this set-up. Unless of course you're the main protagonists. What happens when all the beasts are gone? Thankfully you get 'discovered' by the Imperium and you never have to cross that bridge but for those that were concerned about how that future may have turned out they'd be rueing the day they thought to oppose the Lion and his crusade as the whole enterprise ends up irrelevant.

The book follows Zahariel and Nemiel, two Calibanites as they rise up through 'The Order', the largest of the knightly groups on Caliban, in part because of their tradition defying open-door policy on inititiates, not just the posh folk. So it's an interesting way into the world of the Dark Angels because you can identify with these two cousins. However, there seems to be plenty of gaps in description of that era that as a fan you would love to know about. Heresy era weapons and equipment are fascinating in comparison to the current levels but what if they predated that era and had been manufactured before the dark ages? Well you'll just have to imagine as most of the description of these is 'they're not sealed', 'they're not as big as astartes', 'this bit doesn't work' and 'one guy has a vox com-link'.

Don't get me wrong there are some good bits and it has increased my appreciation for the Dark Angels but because the book is split into a number of 'books', each one detailing a different part of  Zahariel and Nemiel's progress, it essentially works like a set of short stories about the same characters and therefore has no real connection with the bigger picture - the Horus Heresy itself. I was certainly left wanting more, sadly because I'm still starved for more background information. Hopefully I'll get that in the next part Fallen Angels.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Epic Adeptus Titanicus part 9. - Odds and sods

Here's some more left over bits from my Epic collection. Bits that never got painted, used, built or are just plain interesting for their novelty value alone. Below you have another 5 Whirlwinds [which make 8 when you add them to this bunch]. Also there are 3 Mk1 Vindicators and a lead [pb] Rhino and his plastic counterpart.

Next up a Barrage missile launcher for one of my Titans, a close-combat wrecking ball and a couple of the banner poles. I really miss the Titan aspect of 40k, maybe I should have tried to play this one day...

A sprue-load of Space Marines and Imperial Guard. At this stage I was painting them on the sprue as it was easiest. According to the rules because Space Marine Scouts weren't true Astartes they suggested IG models were appropriate so I think that's what I was going to do here. And also another 4 Dreadnoughts [to add to my existing squad].

Not sure why I took this shot twice but there might be a reason when you click to zoom in [why doesn't blogger have that function built into the editor?]. Anyway some of the Epic lead [pb] Marines, including a Devastator. That used to be the 'treat' in any Epic blister purchase - the random marine or jetbike that would come with the pack. Takes you back to all those Adeptus Titanicus shots that were only made up of little lead [pb] men

And they also did Eldar in lead [pb]! Here's a las-cannon weapons team. I had another but randomly decided to remove it's circular base. That's a lot of work using only nail clippers! Also three more Titan bases purely for the fact it begs the question 'just how many Titan's did I have?' if there's another 3 empty bases! 

Monday 25 July 2011

ebay sales I don't regret! - YOU DON'T KNOW SQUAT

Another look back at some of my ebay sales. Here's most of my Squats, some still on sprues. Sadly the Squat Hearthguards in Exo Armour are not shown and actually I can't find any pictures of them either, one even had some sort of laser lance although I can't remember how many I actually had, 3, 5, I'm not sure.

These I think were going to be my first army becasue they were as cheap as the plastic Imperial Guard and just a little bit cooler. Most of the flak armour was going to be black, with light blue shirts and orange helmets, shoulder pads, boots and webbing. My ultimate goal was to have them riding hover boards like some weird band of galactic surfer dwarves, cowabunga! I was going to get Magnumm Ice cream sticks and cut them down for the boards. As you can see that never got past the ideas stage. You can also see there's a couple of missing heads that have been replaced with the old Warhammer Armies boxed set. Also of note are the heavy weapons trike and my unique Squat War Walker!

Yep, anything those space elves could do the space dwarves could also manage. The Squat War Walker was made out of my old favourite Chaos Dreadnought from Space Crusade. A simple vertical cut through the top part and some Milliput for a padded reclining control chair and the Squat operator fit perfectly. Sadly the undercoat doesn't show up quite the simple perfection of this modelling but I still think it'd stand up well today. Who knows what the winning bidder did with it? Makes you wonder...

Anyway, this post was inspired by Draxius's blog YOU AIN'T SEEN SQUAT, which is all about the Squats so check it out.

Saturday 23 July 2011

Terrain is everything - Epic terrain

Head's up on some truly Epic Terrain. 8mm terrain is not something we did a lot of with my gaming group. Sure I set about creating the siege items for what would probably become 40k Planetstrike in the future - bunkers made of foamcard and cavalry bases, minefields and razorwire. Nothing got through to painting stage but I'm sure there's at least a dozen bunkers knocking around my parents loft.

Anyway this was a truly unique piece of terrain I made, primarily as an objective. A 40mm base with an oil drilling platform and derrick [is that the correct term?]. Believe it or not these items were the toy from a Kinder Egg! The only thing missing from the actual 'surprise' is a little oil tanker that I was going to use seperately for a 'protect the convoy' style mission objective. It's perfectly to scale as well. Obviously you'll also note my attempt at red-planet basing. A bit too dark and lava world but you can see I was in love with the idea even back then.

This last building is sort of a hangar/warehouse. The main structure is the front nose of a Messerschmitt Bf 109 [if you check the link the 3rd picture down shows the plane this probably came from ;) ] The circular bit on the front is a tank track wheel [probably from another German vehicle. The bit underneath - doorway and window is a tank hatch from another WW2 model kit and there's a cylinder there in the corner to cover any little gaps. Painted to my poor standard of drybrushing but at least I tried to streak it in suc a way that might approximate real weathering, although the greenery stains on the bottom aren't so convincing.

Thursday 21 July 2011

Epic Adeptus Titanicus part 8. - Knights

Here are my last remaining 40k Epic Knight, a Warden and some Eldar 'one'. I sold most of th eothers on ebay, I'll dig the photo of them out at some point. These two must have slipped the net though. I'm particularly fond of this 'green bee' though which might be why I kept it. The blending was really quite nice for me, back in the day, perhaps it should give me hope for the future and my Dark Angels...?

Just in case you never saw an Epic Knight alongside the might of a Warlord Titan here's a shot for scale.

Lastly, an unpainted Eldar knight in high heels. No real desire to keep this, maybe I'll see what they're going for on ebay...

Tuesday 19 July 2011

ebay sales YOU won't regret! Rarities, Daemons, Scratchbuilt Knights, SQUATS

You may recall I have mentioned my mate Liam, he of the scratch built Warhound and Warlord fame, a few times. His painting and modelling skills are awesome he admits he's a 40k geek, he scratchbuilt a Warlord for G.O.D.sake but he stops short of a blog so I asked him if he ever had anything he wanted to share on my blog he could.

He's been in touch and is having another clear out of old figures on ebay NOW! Starting price 99p on everything. Here's a taster of the painted highlights - I give you his magnificently painted Warhammer & 40k An'ggrath / Anggrath Bloodthirster Lord.

There's also a couple of Daemon Princes


5 Screamers of Tzeentch

Warhammer Bretonnia original King Louen Leoncouer


2 Warhammer 40k Chaos Daemons Soul Grinders


And the 'piece de resistance' 2 Scratchbuilt Warhammer 40k Apocalypse knight Paladins

And there's a whole slew of other equally exciting and old-skool miniatures of the unpainted variety, so check out bluewarpstudios on ebay, a little over 5 days left to go!

Sunday 17 July 2011

Epic Adeptus Titanicus part 7. - War Griffons Warhound

You may recall this little fella's brother and as you can see below this one follows the more traditional War Griffons colouring. I'd wanted to attempt some opposite colours, red and green, yellow and blue and somehow the more standard colours didn't get completed.

Although Looking at his twin and the original War Griffons spec sheet below maybe both of them bare little relation to what is 'Codex approved'.

Moving on here's the arm mounted Corvus assault pod. I wasn't stuck on the top mount and it never said this couldn't be mountd on a Warhound so I chopped down a Warlord power fist mount and attached it to the opposite side of the pod, as you can just make out in the last picture. Not sure what other weapon would have gone with this, either a demolition ball or a Vulcan mega bolter...

Friday 15 July 2011

Epic Adeptus Titanicus part 6. - The G.O.D. Machines

I'm not totally trying to spin out all these Titans for as long as I can, honest. Here's a couple more War Griffons. This is just a random load out of the painted weapons that I found in my bits box, however I had chopped the bottom mounting pegs off a habit I did on a lot of these so I clearly knew what I was going to do with them. With hindsight that's a mistake, for the sake of coolness I was abandonning flexibility? Sure at the time I had enough titans to never need any kind of flexibility - I could set them up however I wanted and just run them like that for ever...

Anyway, of note is the 'chaos' head with added Imperial Guard Sentinel feet... it's a close-combat head! Isn't that obvious? Well I clearly had a couple of pairs of leg spare from the carapace laser conversion seen previously. This was a cheap way to convert this into something a little bit more naff interesting [nah I'm not wholly convinced either].

From my earliest Adeptus Titanicus days I think this was my favorite load. My memory may be cloudy but they were 'gattling blasters' on the arms and Defence Lasers on the carapace. This had a phenomenal rate of fire for taking down void shields at a decent distance and then the lasers punched through the exposed armour to cause maximum damage. Also there's the Command head. I loved this replacement head however in the left picture you can see there's a door for the crew to get out and walk round the jaw 'battlements'. I never liked that so I acutally filled in the gaps with Milliput, which is why they go all the way up to the head. It looks cooler, but again with hindsight I'm not so sure I've taken just a little bit of common sense from the design?