Thursday 29 December 2016

Terrain is everything - 'Tis the season to pick up your trees

A few years ago I picked up a bag of model trees from Dobbies, our local garden centre [and craft shop]. They only have them in the run up to Christmas as they're for making your own Christmas scene with miniature revellers and holiday nik-naks. I'd noticed other online garden centres stocked them also and as I wasn't getting to go to Dobbies I did a search and they were 50% off on one store but I was out shopping and decided to buy it when I got home only for the last set to be sold...

I couldn't stand to have lost out and found them again on sale at Dawson's Department Store again at just £6.50 with £3.95 postage, so I ordered 2 set just for best value. It says there are more than 10 left in stock and at that price I thought I'd share so everyone can get a chance at a bargain. The set I got was 21 pieces from a company called Lemax. Clearly there's at least two that are just a bit too big, they're the same size as my 40k outpost that got bigger! but great line of sight blockers for a Trygon!

Of course they weren't going to fit with my table so I decided to paint them - undercoating them all in Red Oxide primer and then repainting them in shades of yellow.

And here's the finished result:

Sunday 25 December 2016


Merry X-Mas from Professor Egon Seuss and the rest of the Magos on Ferron Proxima. Additional felicitations from the guys and gals at the Vulcan Institute of Techno-Archaeology. May all your X-mas wishes be plastic [or resin, but not Finecast].

In case you're not X-mas orientated please accept the following good wishes:

Friday 23 December 2016

Deathwatch - another grand plan!

Someone posted a picture of a Black Dragon Space Marine on facebook the other day and I was reminded of how cool I thought they were, what with their mutated genome, general distrust by the rest of the Imperium and whatnot. With plenty of Tyranid talons I always though they were a chapter I could do something with but starting another army? Nah, that ain't happening.

However, I do have my second Deathwatch Overkill box which I have every intention of kitbashing so all the models are different in some way to their original standard counterparts. With that in mind I decided to look at some of the other chapters I might like to represent. First up was any other chapter that was part of the cursed 21st Founding. I love the irony of having these cursed and distrusted chapters being brought into the Deathwatch, where better to keep an eye on potentially heretical astartes than from within the force that might have to prosecute them!

So that gave me the Minotaurs, another chapter I love, well they're bronze aren't they! Some of the other chapters became excomunicate traitoris so I won't be including them but maybe a Fire Hawk and a Lamenter? A Son of Anteus could be made out of an Age of Sigmar Retributor, y'know cos they're that truescale size everyone's been banging on about and the Sons are 'big boned' afterall. He obviously won't be made from the Overkill box so I filled out some of the other chapters with Dark Angels and Space Wolves [cos I've got loads of bits] but also some other chpaters I like - Excoriators for their battered armour and visage. Carcharadons and Red Scorpions because they're pretty brutal - any loyal chapter that has a reputation for being potentially too violent or hard line to be trusted. Just fill the Deathwatch full of borderline loyalist heretics ;)

I even went so far as to think about the Soul Drinkers, because I love the fluff behind Sarpedon, but they're renegades so probably a bit too heretical to get in the Deathwatch. Although I'm pretty sure you could fluff-excuse any chapter in the fact they remained loyal while their brothers turned, much like Garviel Loken did. I'll also use the White Scar bike to make my Ravenwing Chaplain with some spare bits. He can cross represent both factions then - see, thinkings!

So this was the plan, I may well get round to it at some point, need to buy some bits and actually look at the Codex so they can at least be kitted out legally, if not competitively. Of course this grand plan could just join all those other grand plans like my scratchbuilt Caestus Assault Ram but at least there is a plan and should I find time, bits and the motivation to act on it, then here it is.

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Dark Angels - Drop Pod[s]

Progress is very difficult to showcase at the moment, n top of that I’ve been preoccupied with the seasonal madness, the prospective new job interview [no word yet on how it went down] and just general fatigue from being anxious about what a new job could mean and then nervous for a week about getting the interview. Anyway, it’s all done now and after it I ‘crashed’ [metaphorically] with fatigue and a tension headache. I’ll either get it or I won’t, there’s nothing I can do now.

However, I did crack on a bit with my current projects, applied some Warplock Bronze to the Assault squad and more importantly advance the second drop pod with it’s first set of highlights and bronze effects. You can see there's a subtle difference in the bronze effect but nothing I can’t live with. Also noticeable is the pod 1 fin that’s been ‘glazed’ with the Valejo Dark Green I have. It’s certainly more vibrant but it seems to have left an uneven effect so I’m a little disheartened by the result. I’ll be looking to get the green Citadel glaze to see if that gives a better result.

Funny thing is I think pod 2 looks OK without the Waargh Flesh Highlights of pod 1. Hopefully that Waywatcher Green will even things out when I get it, fingers crossed. Otherwise I'll be adding far more re-entry/battle damage than I'd originally planned.

While I was in limbo I thought I might as well crack on with central console radar dome [thingy]. Obviously painting a perfect circle can be quite hard, but not if you use a tube to stamp it on [this was a Calpol syringe plunger, the perfect size]. Now this was a fab first attempt, just far too sharp for what needed to be a diffuse glow.

Obviously my subsequent attempts to blend the effect wouldn’t be nearly as good, but it all came out alright in the end. I'll probably still Tamiya Clear Orange X-26 it which will blend things a bit further.

So stuff is happening, just difficult to share because it doesn't seem like much. Anyway, don't forget the Birthday Bash, I know Christmas is still hectic but should you get any Crimbo funds, set aside some of it to join us in Feb, we've already seen quite an interest :)

Wednesday 14 December 2016

The Great Build part 2 - TO DONE! Dark Angel Assault Squad

As is my want after the first Great Build success I was compelled to take the next step in the diversionary task from the drop pods and 'prime' the models. When I say prime that includes painting the bases too, obviously! Of course that has meant these are more special to me now and I kind of want to continue painting them but I must resist the urge. I undercoated them all black, applied a zenithal Angel Green Army Painter spray and then roughly masked the miniature with a sheet of card so I could hit the base with Red Oxide primer. I then did my usual Red Planet BASE recipe.

Just a couple of extra notes not covered in the previous build posts. Construction for these was about seven or eight hours, spread out over a few nights and a day I had off. That's the price for trying to make something unique out of disparate parts. You may also have noted they're on 32mm bases. Given the new way Marines are going and also the wobbly model proclivities of Assault Marines it made sense. I have concluded I may resize my Dark Angels at some point, I've only done about 25 afterall. I'll be looking at getting some base adapters down the line and upgrading them when I can but going forward they'll be 32mm.

Whilst I was at it I thought  I may as well get the Patriarch and Terminators primed and base them. A little bit different here as 2/3of them needed some Bonewhite primer and the Librarian was good just being black as his terminator armour will be blue, although thinking as I write I suppose I could have done him Bonewhite to still be Deathwing and in a nod to the blue of Librarians done his tribal Markings blue... I can't unthinkable that now... Will it prevail? Who knows.

For the most part these can be parked. No doubt I'll probably throw on some base colours when I want to avoid the drop pods. For the Marines it'll be bronze effects next which I'll also apply to my Deathwatch, although there's will be untarnished bronze as they'll be less concerned with the blessings of the rains of Caliban as my Dark Angels are. In the mean time I get to award myself the first Big Purple and White Stamp of Approval. 

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Birthday Bash 2.0 - Tickets are live

I know it's been a few weeks since I first mentioned the Birthday Bash but we've been getting all our ducks in a row, by ducks I obviously mean proto-human genetic super beings clad in impact resistant powered battle armour! Well the ducks are most definitely in a row and you should be able to book tickets from

I'll put some more information up later but was just desperate to finally get this information out

Sunday 11 December 2016

The Great Build part 1 - TO DONE! Dark Angel Assault Squad

Another unexpected beneficiary of the 'drop pod doldrums' was that I'd been contemplating my lack of progress on 'The Great Build' - my hobby season pledge to get more figures built, based, primed and the bases painted. With the pods proving difficult I looked to the bits of figures I had and what I could build and chose the Assault squad that had been sat in a little round turquoise box for over a year. I'd sourced some Sanguinary guard legs on ebay last year. The seller had loads of bits including some Blood Angel chainswords. I loved the slightly ornate nature of the legs, especially the quartered knee pads because they were perfect for my 5th company heraldry.

I wanted a diverse mix of torsos and helmets, a unique unit of dynamic looking characters. Assault marines aren't great by any stretch so I felt it was very important to just make them look cool so their innate awesomeness was reason alone to pick them

I also made the bold choice of giving them two Flamers. It's a cheap upgrade and I had the Forgeworld ones from when I got the MK1 missile launchers for my Devastator squad. I'm not sure anyone else would use them but for 10 points for the two they might put a dint in some low armoured horde army and the 2D3 overwatch shots are handy in a pinch.

This is the Sergeant, which I've swapped his Bolt Pistol for a second Chainsword, bonkers I know. I've effectively removed his overwatch and ranged capabilities but I was desperate to have a figure wielding two weapons. The plan was to do it 'nito style' with a smaller combat blade 'shielding' in the left hand low down with the Chainsword raised up high. Sadly I couldn't manage the pose but this did OK and I was happy with the bare Ravenwing command head too. I also added some Dark Angel veteran upgrade bits to hide Blood Angel elements that were cut off. I've since also added some grenades to his right hip. I preferred the silhouette of the model without but felt it would make a helpful reminder he can at least throw some grenades in overwatch, he's not totally ranged free [or free ranged?].

Another decision I may live to regret is that the Sergeant, this model and the next were not pinned to the slate rock, just super glued... still, I was pretty chuffed with this pose, twisting at the waist to give it more dynamism. The Dark Angel upgrade head was particularly cool with it's tall arched mouthpiece.

Slightly less convinced about this pose, the drum feed bolt pistol is pretty cool alongside the Ravewning upgrade beaky helmet but the pose is a bit more 'falling down' than 'strike from upon high'. I tried to attach a little Dark Angel toke on the end of the chainsword but it pinged off in the shed - forever lost. I did put some elements on his right hip to hide some Blood Angel motif that was removed.

The flamer was really quite difficult to pose, I had a load of second edition arms but it was still a struggle to get it to look right. Luckily that purity seal helps cover up how weedy the right arm is. The left arm is a Space Wolf arm PeteB gave me ages ago in an effort to empty his bits box. I thought it'd luck cool, but more importantly it'd reach the flamer handle. I used some flower arranging wire to lift the model up I could have used clear acrylic rod but with the painting I thought I'd still get it messed up and a simple black rod can be just as effective. 

I suddenly realised with this guy it's the Bolt Pistol that's replace not the Chainsword. It was too late to add one to the previous model but I had to ensure this one carried both hopefully to remind me they all have the melee weapons. Pretty happy with the pose, all the squad have the DA upgrade shoulder pad with a sword blade on the right shoulder. Not really chapter approved but for some reason it had to be that side, I'll justify it with fluff somehow ;)

Whilst I was basing the squad I decided to base these two Terminators from Space Hulk that I was lucky enough to have thrown into the copy I got off ebay that wasn't supposed to have any of the Terminators included. The standard sharp sand mix I use was supplemented by some grit that I won as part of my 2nd place Best Army winnings. It's just smaller than my main pieces and bigger than the fine sand. Hopefully it should be more interesting now.

Lastly I based the Genestealer Patriarch too.

Lots more elements from my rubble mix with bits of sprue, larger stones, card off cuts and bits of plastic so they fit my slightly more urban resin bases.

After all that I get a Big Purple Great Build Stamp of Approval for the Assault Squad...

and another two for the Patriarch and Terminators.

Friday 9 December 2016


I have form with helping my kids with their homework... In the midst of my trying to motivate myself to do the Drop Pods I helped my youngest with his half term project. In the past I've made a model of a Neon atom and helped with the trees from a Savannah biome, each time I've probably done more than I should so why should making a Glyphis Shark be any different? So we start with a fabric softener bottle.

I then cut two arches out of cardboard and taped them onto the bottle.

Two dorsal fins, with L shaped supprts either side to make them stand tall.

The pelvic and anal [yes, that's right, anal] fins were added alongside and extension for the tail. I also added some more card inside the mouth so it wasn't flat but bulked out.

Pectoral fins were added and the caudal fin [the tail]. I attached two crescent shapes onto the caudal fin so it would be more rigid, add more dimension too it and help the tail structure hold together better. Teeth were added and lots more brown tap just to hold everything in place.

Papier mache - the wife took this as I helped cover the entire shark with kitchen roll soaked in PVA and water. The interesting thing was the paper towel had a spotty embosed texture that transferred perfectly, representing the rough sandstone texture of a shark.

And here's the youngest once it was painted - grey primer, white primer, black poster paint for the gills and some googly eyes.

A bit of red oxide primer in the mouth,

OK, I'm a bad Dad in just how much of a hand I had in this construction, but he did put half the papier mache on, painted the gills and helped with the spraying. I felt really guilty about it but I can;t help myself, he was clearly chuffed with the results though, I just hope he enjoyed making it together. Anyway, thoguht I;d share what you can make over a few hours with just a little bit of effort and a lot of brown sticky tape.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Dark Angels - Drop Pod[s]

NOTE: For reasons I cannot fathom, all the pics have been deleted from Google photos and a recent image purge on my phone [maybe thats the connection] has resulted in their removal. I've found some lo-res cached copeis but I'll try and find the hi res versions, in the mean time I appreciate this doesn't look good and sorry for the cock up. 
UPDATE: Found I'd set an automated sync to a cloud storage site I'd forgotten about and managed to reupload the hires versions...

I'm not sure if I was otherwise affected by Rory Priest's last comment on the drop pods:
"I do think they should really be approached in ones from what I have heard/read."
But as it was I did stall for a while on this, it's odd really as the process is highly predictable and although I can't say I feel the need to gnaw my own face off as I would a dozen Genestealers there is something emotionally null about it. I don't dread it or fear it but it just fills me with no pleasure whatsoever as I finish shading the inner parts of the fins.

The other sides have also been done but I now need to find a way to blend the colours, the highlight is too olive looking. Usually I use my Dark Angel green Valejo paint, if it's not shaken it has a semi-opaque glaze quality that will help blend the stippled highlights and enrich the darker greens. I'm a little hesitant though as I fear it may obscure the black shading, part of me wants to get the Citadel Green Glaze to achieve the same result and be more consistent so I'm waiting for my next opportunity to get some.

In the mean time I went on to highlight the doors. The stippling is not looking great at this stage. From experience I would have applied the £1 craft acrylic to simulate a rougher cast surface that would have meant my stippling would pick up the extra detail and not need to be so perfect, like my Imperial Knights.

Unfortunately this had already progressed so far I didn't want to go back to such an early stage and with the knights they had another coat of spray over the top to try to seal the art paint onto the model. Now I had to decide about the black shading on the doors and how to apply it. Then I'll be at the same crossroads as the fins for blending the greens.

Therefore with decisions to be made I moved onto pod number 2. Hopefully while I focus elsewhere a decision can percolate in the back of my mind while my efforts are more productive elsewhere. So I move onto the bronze, can I recreate the success of the original?

I manage to get the Gehenna Gold and Brass Scorpion on. The stippling is a bit more chunky than pod 1, less realistic but I don't think it's any worse for it. I've some sepia washes to do next to deepen the tones and then I can work on the greens and sync pod 1 and 2 together in the process.

This was a long slog to get here but I did flip between a number of projects, projects that I don;t want to be working on as the pods are the primary goal; but they're all on the list I just don't want to get sidetracked from the next thing I have planned after the pods. I fear I may get too attached to the things I'm doing to keep my mojo up and not get back to the next big thing I'm hoping to do. That said I'll still be sharing the supplementary efforts over the next few days, lots of exciting things after a period of seeming inactivity.