Wednesday 30 May 2018

Terrain is everything - 40k future container scatter terrain - Big Build To Done!

You know the deal by now - I set a number of tasks and targets for myself and go about sabotaging it by taking on yet more projects but the muse compels me. Having completed 2 of these containers earlier this year I had found the last three Mentos Cube boxes I'd collected - I so wish I'd bought more. I thought I could do the 'reinforcing' in my lunch break at work. So the plastic got sanded for more of a key when it gets painted, my current ones do chip very easilt but it's soft plastic. I used PVA to stick them on, it;s worked in the past. I wasn't hole punching the circles on the corners/middle I bought some small 2mm adhesive jems to make rivets instead.

Now the original plan was for these two to me MSC shipping containers  [yes, I appreciate the tautology]. Having done OOCL I wanted another global container brand and the yellow would stand out, except I changed my mind at the last minute as I already have the two biohazard containers that are yellow and wanted to try something different. So I chose orange instead and luckily there's a container company for that - Hapag-Lloyd. Now I'd undercoated these with grey primer and black primer, I then painted them with black masonry paint mixed with PVA and some fine sand [too much fine sand actually so they're far grittier than I'd planned]. All of this is to try and make them more durable. I then primed Red Oxide and the first orange paint was a Dark Orange craft acrylic which had really poor coverage. I had to stipple it twice to get coverage I was happy with but even then the colour was not the 'papaya' orange of the Happag-Lloyd container.

It would go on, be quite bright and then dry very matt, semi-transparent and much darker than I was after. I picked up another orange craft paint from The Works, it was only a pound and the same make as my lime green I use for toxic stuff. It's amazing because it's very like my Vermilion in that it's relatively thick but still goes on thin and also very glossy. It's hard to tell in the pictures above but the container on the left is pre-glossy orange and again the right one required two coats to get the colour I was after, it's almost a glaze! I took this picture in daylight so you can potentially see the difference.

Anyway, it might be a right palaver to do, four coats of paint to get what I'm after, and that's before washes but I'm finally happy with it. I still have some of the earlier stages to do on the second H-L container and I've changed my mind about the third too. Originally the third container was supposed to be Dark Angel Green but I might go for light grey and make it a Maersk Line container, for yet more giggles. Obligatory B&W art shot.

So I do get a Big Build Big Gamboge Stamp of Approval.

Monday 28 May 2018

Imperial Knight - Warglaives in manufactorum pt.4 Where there's muck, there's brass!

I last covered these in the middle of April but not sure if I shared these two pics, at least they're not in the last post but appear afterwards in my photo album.

Anyway, as I push to try and meet the unknown deadline of the release of the new Knight Codex it's a decent place to remind you where I was at. I then went with some Balthasar Gold on the Warplock Bronze, but as reported had to stop partway through as I physically and mentally couldn't deal with it.

Thankfully, my recent 'girding of loins' finished off the Balthasar highlights, then Retributor Gold the following night and Runelord Brass the night after. Something is up with my Runelord Brass though, it's very gloopy, doesn't drybrush at all well and stippling is rubbish.

Nevermind, they'll all be getting washes next and having done it this way I can sepia wash the entire model, Vermilion too, all at once. I've picked out the chainblades in orange but they'll be yellow and black striped, so yellow next before the sepia for the antique tone and shading. Then I'll be washing Strong Tone in the deeper recess for contrast and definition.

While I thought about the washes I realised there was no reason not to have the foot and thigh plates on. I'd perhaps been debating even adding them, I'm not a fan of the 'spats' but without them the thigh plates look too muscular. So it was all or nothing and I stuck them on so the decision was made.

I might differentiate some of the panels - yellow and black stripes, white or black panels for heraldry and to tie in with my Cerastus. With all the 'actual' painting left to do, and the weathering and battle damage it's an awful lot but these few nights progress have felt really productive, but I'm not about to count my chickens like I did with the Hierophant!

Friday 25 May 2018

'nids part 256 - Biotitan Tyranid Hierophant pt.11 - Bonewhite highlights on the legs

Dear readers, you will recall how well the Bonewhite highlights were progressing and how pleased I was with myself. Now they say 'pride comes before a fall', this might be evidence of that. I estimated I'd be able to get through this big leg in one sitting, I was clearly very wrong. I managed to do most of the edge highlights but when it came to the pinstripes I could only manage the lower third and even then I wasn't overly happy with the result.

This pretty much felt like my momentum was killed dead. I know going forward to approach the other legs in the same way - edge highlight and then fill in. That's why the ribs were so easy to do, each element was conatined, whereas here there's just so much space that I need to section so I can deal with on a smaller basis. Funnily enough the original plan was to paint the legs first, I don't know why I didn't but I'm extremely grateful for deciding to paint the ribs first. Without that under my belt I may well have felt even more disheartened.

With the legs giving me grief I thought I'd flip everything on its head and think smaller again - focussing on the bio- cannon arms.

Despite them being the smallest of it's limbs with the least bone it was a full hour to do all this and a surprising amonut of Skeleton Bone paint that I now worry is running out. 

I used what was left on my palette to do this bit on the right arm. For a variety of reasons [that I'll list below] I'll put this on hold at this point. As the Skeleton Bone is running out I don't expect to replace it until Double Trouble 3, when I can nip into Element Games directly. I've probably got far more than I think but this gives me an opportunity to try and tackle something else in my Big 3.

Despite my utter aversion to the bronze on the Armigers I took the opportunity to force myself to overcome the issue. The Manchester GW is holding an Imperial Knight World Record attempt - the most Knights in a store, and Armigers are included. Unfortunately the event is on 'the day of release of the new Imperial Knight Codex', which I estimate could be between 2-4 weeks maximum. I honestly don't think that's achievable, certainly not the two week deadline. I can but try and even if I miss the deadline I should have progressed sufficiently that I'll feel happy about their state, they may even be good enough to join in unfinished... Regardless, expect Armigers next on the blog.

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Double Trouble 3 and other tournament news

Just a reminder that Double Trouble 3 takes place Saturday June 9th and you have until this Saturday to pick up tickets and send in your 875pt army list. I've gone to the last two Double Trouble events and they've been some of the most fun experiences I've had gaming. Alex's events are always run with FAAC [Fun At All Costs] in mind and if you've been seeing some of the worst attitudes of the tournament scene over the last few weeks and feel put off, then DT3 is the complete antithesis of those. You rock up, meet new people have a shared game and then repeat. It's less like a tournament and more like a hobby reunion. Here's Alex's pitch:

Double Trouble is a Warhammer 40,000 doubles tournament with a difference. Instead of writing an army list together with a partner, each player will write their own 875pt army list from a single faction of their choice which becomes their "Force". Before the first round you will be randomly assigned a doubles partner combining your "Force" with theirs to form a 1750pt "Army". You'll then play against another random pairing and their "Army". There are no restrictions on which factions can be paired with each other, even if the fluff might disagree!
At the start of the next two rounds you will be assigned a new random partner. This means you'll get to play three games with 9 different people and hopefully a good variety of factions.
Tickets are on sale now and cost £17.50 per person with 48 spaces available. Your ticket entitles you to 3 games of 40K, lunch, free entry into the raffle and, a chance to win spot prizes throughout the day.
Event Location
North West Gaming Centre in Stockport.

With tickets going on sale Monday just gone [and selling out by 12:30] we had to decide if the hobby crew were returning to the Official Warhammer 40k GT this/next year and we booked our tickets for GT4 on the 16th and 17th of February 2019. I'm not entirely sure what I'll take, I had planned an Imperial Knight contingent with some Dark Angels but the points reduction to 1750 might mean I could just switch to Knights and 3 Custodes on bikes, because that's what all the cool kids are using. Reducing my model count is key for me to enjoying the games a bit more - less stress, more fun. It does mean I have to buy figures though...

And on the subject of tournaments I would be remiss for not mentioning the recent London GT. I must admit I was horrified when I saw the pictures coming back of the terrain used and then seeing Mike Corr's experience. Like many I couldn't believe such a high profile event was dropping the ball so badly, I mean GW was filming live there this year and 2017. The London GT was held up by GW as maintaining the Grand Tournament format for all those years GW didn't have one. In fact when GW brought their's back this year I actually felt bad for the organisers, as I envisaged all that effort had been 'gazumped' by the 'official' GT.

However, after my initial shock I did go back and look at some of their terrain vlogs and I'll admit the Herculean task they set themselves - well I wouldn't want to do all that terrain. Cutting, painting, storing and transporting that much 'terrain' for such an event I can't even begin to imagine taking that onboard. Obviously I wasn't there so my opinion is based on what was on the tables, the organisation and facilities are better discussed by the likes of Mike. But the issue of terrain falls back into the same category - planning. As much as I respect the effort they put in and some of the unavoidable problems I'm not sure that excuses the issues that came about. Better organisation, well in advance should have been a priority. How you then store all that terrain is another challenge, but if you've over-extended you need to lower your expectations, particularly when people are handing over significant fees to enter.

The subsequent handling of the invitational final doesn't come across as professional or well considered either. Regardless of the veracity of the claims this should have been handled better - following up with the players involved and then issuing a succint statement that disqualified the player for breaching the rules. The result is a polarised mob of angry gamers who, rightly or wrongly have been incensed, not just by the behaviours that have been pinpointed by the organisers for everyone to see but by the fact it came before any observations regarding how the tournament could have handled been better.

Bottom line I think myself lucky to stick to events that have been well organised and thankfully I'm not a good enough player to ever be on the top table, so winning at all costs isn't an issue. But if you want a fun tournament, I can only repeat - check out Double Trouble 3!

Monday 21 May 2018

'nids part 255 - Biotitan Tyranid Hierophant pt.10 - Bonewhite highlights on the ribs

Having had my 'busman's holiday' with the display base I've returned to the Hierophant. That's not through want of trying to crack on with the other two parts of the 'Big 3'. I tried a of metallics on the Armigers, got as far as Balthasar gold on the carapace, then started on the legs and literally refused to carry on! What is it with my bronze that I now can't even stand painting it? So it was back to the monster.

Army painter Skeleton Bone was my weapon of choice, because it's slightly darker. When I started the nids way back when I'd have considered highlighting the ribs as a single entity. Obviously I now do it with 'pinstripes' to add more texture. Once again it makes the silhouette of the rib busier but I'm going all in on this now. I'm not sure the quality has ramped up but the effort certainly has - no shortcuts here.

Right hand side was session 2 and from a distance my pinstripe striations look pretty cool. I might have liked more variety in them rather than the three stripes per rib but the line and paint thickness isn't particularly uniform, even if the amount is.

Once again I'm not sure it stands up to close scrutiny - the brush strokes are far from tidy but I'm confident further highlights will create more definition that will justify the imperfect nature of the bioform - it'll all make sense in the end.

I think I still managed to retain some of the underlying tones from the bone and washes, maybe not as much as I'd hoped but possibly more than I would normally.

Tail and guns followed by front and back legs - roughly 3 to 4 sessions I'm guessing but it feels like it's progressing really well ☺

Friday 18 May 2018

Yet moar pics from GW Manchester

My train got cancelled the other day and I had to hot foot it across Manchester from Piccadilly Station to Victoria Station for my next train. It did give me chance to go via GW in the Arndale, chew the fat over the Warhammer Fest announcements and take some picture of these treats for your viewing pleasure.

Loved the quality of the blending on these gradients.

Wish I could have got a better picture of these Necromunda guys.

Hope you like them, just thought, did I ever share these too?

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Terrain is everything - New display board - 'bloody marbleous'

I really didn't expect to progress so quickly with my new display board but I had a puncture last week which meant I had to take a day off to get it replaced. This afforded me some time during the day to work on the board. In the hobby for me, some jobs are 'day jobs' and some jobs are 'night jobs'; for instance painting the Heirophant is not something I can do during the day, it requires far too much patience and focus. But my new display board is definitely a day job, something I can fit in if I can snatch a few minutes. Considering my hobby time is supposed to be at night that makes the situation both challenging and rewarding when I get stuff done in the day. Seizing the opportunity I mixed up some black and Vermilion and sponged on the resulting brown to break up the previous Vermilion layer.

I then shaded all the cracks between panels. I did plan to paint Bonewhite mortar down the centre, I was amused by the concept that the Imperium would be collecting the Wraithbone shards across Ferron Proxima, grinding it up and then using it just as 'glue' to stick stone slabs together. The utter arrogance and ignorance for the revered Aeldari substance tickled me no end.

However, I wasn't sure it would look right, so for the time being I stuck with the shadow. Unfortunately my pics don't quite do justice to the gamut of colours applied so far.

Even so there was another set of highlights here, possibly Vermilion again, just to knock back the brown a bit. Towards the end of this project I may well have wished I'd stopped here but I went on with my next step regardless.

I then did my Red Planet BASE! effect on the Ferron sand bits, although I admit it looks more Orange Planet BASE! than red, but that had to happen to make it stand out against the Rockcrete. I also applied extra orange highlights to the slabs for yet more texture/depth.

If you hadn't guessed already here's where my intent is revealed. I'm going all out and recreating my Dark Angel Jetfighter/Dark Talon red marble. Now I'm not certain this was the original plan but as I progressed I thought why the hell not? However, at this stage I was thinking I'd made quite the mistake as the bonewhite veins had been supplemented with a dragging sponge across in places for fine scuffs and bone scratches. I mean it's not unpleasant but it was über busy, much lighter overall  and I was seriously regretting doing it. I then tried to mitigate the starkness of the veins by another light sponging with Vermilion but the decider would be the shading step, which was up next.

Resulting in this... now I'm, a lot happier with that finish. It's still ridiculously OTT, even more so than the previous step, but it does look considerably better - more deliberate, controlled and better executed. The big question is - should a display base overshadow the figures you but on it? I'm not sure there is a correct answer either way. I think I was similarly worried with the amount of bonewhite spots I did on my Realm of Battle and AoP boards but observed once you put your army on it covers up 75% of the boards anyway. So hopefully adding my figures, that will match up with the Red Planet BASE! effect on the Ferron sand bits, will break up the marble even more.

But everyone comments on my Dark Talon's wings and this is just as good an execution. In actual fact it has a life beyond Double Trouble 3 and will form the base for my Armies on Parade board at Southport this year. the plan for that display does not require anything bigger than this board so it will be perfect.

From the first picture above to the last this was done in one day, including the metal debris. I varnished it last night so it is fundamentally finished but I will obviously have to do a TO DONE! photoshoot. I may just add some yellow flock inbetween some of the slabs - pernicious weeds always find a way. Other than that I've ticked it off my list - the AoP board, even if it was not the complete 2'x2' board I had originally planned for that task, but the concept is still in the bank. Now I just need to do a backdrop [not neccessarily for DT3] and if I can eventually get the Sanctum Imperialis done that would be even cooler! What do you think, should I have stopped before the veins or did I do right to go all whistles and bells on it?

Tuesday 15 May 2018

Warhammer Fest and GT Final

Just a quick congratulations to my mate Liam from Blue Warp Studios. He'd got through to the 40k GT finals at Warhammer Fest, following GT3 in February. He only went and walked away with Best Painted Vehicle, Best Painted Character AND Best Painted Army!

I know how much the latter means to him, even when he won three of the categories at Throne of Skulls the year I took home Best Painted Army it was cold comfort for the accolade he really wanted. He's now achieved that goal and I couldn't be happier for him. At my insistence he also entered the Golden Demon but did not make the cut, which is nothing to be ashamed of - he now knows what is required and I fully expect him to look at this for his next challenge. He'll enter in earnest no doubt and not display something already painted. I've no doubt he'll do really well.

Obviously lots of announcements over the weekend, I'm particularly looking forward to Adeptus Titanicus. The GT itself seems some attention though, by all accounts the terrain was not great and out of the 120 GT Heat invitations only 64 competed on the day. I was even told that some that lost on the Friday didn't bother coming back on the Saturday. I really hope the events team look into a reserve list - once you have your invite you have a time limit to book your ticket otherwise those that didn't quite make the cut get a chance to take part. I still probably would have been out of the running but far better to sell out your tournament than have it half empty [or half full ;) ]

Lastly, big up to Morgan Cole who won the 40k GT. I played Morgan in the Warhammer TV live Twitch feed and it was an amazing experience. It's been rather sad to see that some have subsequently felt he 'slow-played' during the final, using game turns as an indicator and also referencing our GT3 heat as yet more evidence. Having played against him I know that wouldn't be the case, we both played hordes, we both played as efficiently and economically as possible. In fact I was amazed at his tactical acumen under such time constraints.

Folk also seem to ignore that half the Chapter Approved missions score on continuously holding objectives each turn, so not having too many turns could put you in a disadvantage. Planning to just play 3 turns a game and getting all those objectives early enough so your opponent can't do the same would be more difficult than just playing the game. Regardless, Morgan had contacted me on Facebook on the Thursday night asking if I was going, he was far from confident of his army's chances - he certainly did not sound like a man who had meticulously planned to 'game the system'.

I know how difficult this criticism will feel for him, for those that played him and now feel aggrieved they should have raised their concerns at the time - the situation could have been resolved either way. The sad result is an online witch hunt with all sorts of folk chiming in without any first hand knowledge or experience. This isn't the LVO, there was no $5000 prize money at stake and there was no evidence of gamesmanship. My first hand experience tells me that's not how Morgan plays, that's not how he'd want to win, fingers crossed he won't let it get to him too much.

Monday 14 May 2018

Terrain is everything - New display board

I started this display board the other week. This patterned sheet of hardboard was left at my Aunt's house when we cleared it after she passed away. It has a glossy finish to look like tiles and I hoped the slightly embossed pattern might still be visible when it was painted. The original plan was for one of these to be a platform in last year's Armies on Parade board but I didn't have the time or space. However, this one on its own will make a decent display for Double Trouble 3: Double harder [tickets still available]. With only 875pts to display, a 40cm square board will look far less empty than my 60cm square AoP board. So I added some Valejo Red Oxid paste and some sharp sand so the rockrete slabs weren't completely featureless.

I primed the board with grey and then Red Oxide Primer, trying to retain some of the grey underneath for variety. I also added a few toy packaging bits to look like metal debris, these are the things that usually have tie-wraps attached to brand new kids toys to keep them in place - keep your eyes peeled for them as they're really useful for debris.

I then followed the undercoat, stippling on Vermilion.

It's here where it came apparent the embossed pattern wasn't going to show but it's not too much of a problem.

With Double Trouble 3 on the 9th of June this was the perfect interval project. I have a deadline to do it and the quicker I finish it the sooner I get back to the Heirophant.

Friday 11 May 2018

'nids part 254 - Biotitan Tyranid Hierophant pt.9 - First chitin highlights complete

I finally got all the spots done, so thought it was worth a 'built' shot. I'm glad I did as it's helped reconcile the busyness of the spots, although it's also highlighted the discrepancy between the turquoise denisty on the big body plates versus the leg plates.

With the leg plates being much smaller you are seeing proportionally more turquoise on a plate than the big plates, but that's always been the case so I'm not sure what my point is exactly.

This is a nice little 'save point' though. Having pushed myself through the repetitiveness and not gone mad I don't want to tempt fate by jumping into more of the same.

Granted I'll be doing bonewhite highlights next, so it will feel different I'll take the opportunity to potter on with some other things.

Although I do hope I retain some more of this bone colour created so far. Usually I cover up quite a lot of it, which is a shame as the Valejo Sepia wash has come out really rich and I want to retain some of that.

Now I have actually done a little video of me picking it up and placing it down again so you can see how it settles and the support of the legs, but I haven't uploaded it yet.

It's really coming together though so as much as I'm trying some other projects at the moment I actually can't wait to crack on with it.

Don't worry, this will be back on the painting table very soon. I'm not putting it on the back burner forever, just need to do somehting else for a few nights. Anyway, some more pics...

And my painting log so far, again most sessions are one hour, 90 minutes max with a few 'half sessions' but 30 hours as a rough estimate of painting to date.

Right, now what have I been doing in the interval...?