Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hobby Retrospective - Tzeentch Renegades, Part 2

Seasons greetings everyone! With the holidays approaching I didn't have much time for the hobby, however I have a week's vacation coming and I'm hoping to get a bit of brush time and perhaps a game or two in.

Today however I thought I'd continue the weekend hobby retrospective and take a look at the HQ and Elites choices from the Tzeentch Renegades army. Obviously one has to start with Ahzek Ahriman - I absolutely love this sculpt, it is in my opinion one of the all time greats.

I was enamored of the new Terminator-clad Sorcerer and Chaos Terminator sculpts when they were released, and the models also performed well on the tabletop. Suffice it to say Terminators with the Mark of Tzeentch's enhanced invulnerable save are remarkably resilient!

Rounding out the lords and heroes, a further Chaos Sorcerer would accompany the army's unit of Possessed. This kit was the biggest pleasant surprise for me out of the new range. The options for customization provided on the Possessed sprues are seemingly endless!

Have a great holiday season!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Cabal of the Crimson Woe, Part 5 - The Court of the Crimson King Primed

When it comes to painting the Dark Eldar, I decided that I'd start from the top - the Court of the Crimson King and the King himself. Of course, there aren't any official models for any of the Court of the Archon options so I ended up converting up some of my own!

The Court as it will take to the tabletop consists of 5 Ur-Ghuls (made from fantasy Ghouls and a little greenstuff), two Medusae and a pair of Sslyth Bodyguards for a total of nine models. This allows them to join the Crimson King aboard his personal Raider. The unit is rather frightening, capable of handing out 30+ S5 attacks on the charge!

The Sslyth are made from the bodies and arms from the Warmaster Greater Daemon of Slaanesh, some Kabalite Warrior arms and weapons and a fair bit of trimming and filing. Unfortunately the lower torso comes molded to a large rectangular metal base which needed to be clipped off and several Chaos/Slaanesh icons filed off before I could mount them to the 40mm bases. I plan on painting them a sort of blue-green color so they don't look quite so Slaaneshi as well.

The Medusae are described as floating brains which attach themselves to unwary travelers of the Webway, so I used a couple Tyranid upgrade bits and some guitar wire to fashion them. I tried to give their victims a zombie-like pose, and used the mirrored helmet heads from the Wych set to represent the masks that cover their faces prior to using their Eyeburst attacks.

There is a final option included in the retinue list, the Lhaeamean courtesan/poisoner. Her special ability increases the toxicity of any poisoned weapons the Archon bears, but as his Agonizer isn't a poisoned weapon she's somewhat redundant and will rarely be fielded, I expect. I've actually started painting the unit since the time I took these pictures, so expect to see the finished unit soon!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hobby Retrospective - Tzeentch Renegades, Part 1

Rooting around in my picture folders I found some decent pictures of the last Tzeentch-themed Chaos Marine army I'd done, and thought I'd share 'em. When the 'new' CSM codex came out I thought I'd do an army, and as is usually the case it got out of hand rather quickly. Today I'll focus on the Troops choices:

I really liked the Red Corsairs scheme presented in the codex, the semi-random application of red and black gave the models both a sense of cohesion and individuality. Changing the colors to Tzeentch's blue and yellow worked rather well but I found painting the scheme exhausting, as the heraldry on each marine needed to be as different as possible.

One can't do a Tzeentch themed army without including at least one unit of Thousand Sons, of course - I absolutely love these models. I have been resisting the desire to do a Pre-Heresy army of the Sons, the most recent Horus Heresy novels haven't helped in that regard! This army was also the first time I ever used resin cast bases, and I was surprised at how much character they added to the models.

Rounding out the Troops choices was a unit of Lesser Daemons. I was somewhat disappointed to find that the Daemonic choices in the CSM book was organized the way it was, but I settled on a motley unit of Horrors and Flamers to represent them. I have to say I fancy the design on these Horrors as being far superior to the new plastics. The new sculpts are simply nowhere near as dynamic or chaotic. Of course these older models were a pain in the fundament to assemble!

Alas, the whole army was sold long ago - It's interesting to go back and take a critical look at past efforts, noting things that I'd do differently today. Of course pondering that sort of thing does tend to set off that little itch to do another army -"Go on, just a small one would okay." Must... Resist...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Cabal of the Crimson Woe, Part 4 - Webway Portal and Raiders Primed

The army build continues apace, and an unseasonably warm day Sunday allowed me to get a fair number of miniatures primered, which was rather nice! I snapped a couple pictures as well - the infantry ended up being essentially uninteresting looking blobs of black, but there the vehicles and suchlike show enough detail to warrant a post...

I wasn't overly excited about GW's webway portal - I was really hoping for an actual scenery piece, rather than a repainted vortex template. That being the case, I banged out a quick version of my own using several remainder raider rudders (say that five times fast!). My intent is to mount a translucent globe of some sort in the middle to represent the portal itself 'hovering' in midair, but as yet I haven't found anything ideal to use... Perhaps a large marble of some kind?

That done, I turned my attentions to the Raiders. I really like the new model and I'm well pleased with the amount of options and extras GW has included. I decided that the relative worth and wealth of the Dark Eldar would be reflected in their transports. The low-born Warriors for example would have a raider almost devoid of decoration:

The Wyches Raider would have a bit more decoration, as well as some WYSIWYG wargear for them - Chainsnares and Grisly Trophies. This also helps remind me to actually use those rules on the tabletop!

The last two Raiders would belong to the pair of Archons in the army - The second-in-command, Duke Harkanet leads a unit of Incubi and I decided that their Raider would have Enhanced Aethersails, and used both of the different sails from the Raider kit to represent it. I was rather pleased with the end result, it gives it just a bit more piratical flair!

Last up is the personal transport of the leader of the Crimson Woe, the Crimson King himself. His Raider needed to be a suitably more ostentatious vessel than even that of Duke Harkanet, and so I dug into the Ravager frames for a Shock Ram, two altogether different paired sails and the thornbar spikes. I also used some bits from the Fantasy Skeletons kit to represent some different Grisly Trophies from those on the previous two Raiders.

I'm quite looking forward to painting these, though I'm debating exactly how. I'm afraid that the techniques I'm trying on the infantry may not scale up to vehicles well, but I guess I'll just have to give it a go and see how it turns out!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Hobby Retrospective - Imperial Assassins

The weekend hobby retrospective returns - this time around, it's the agents of the Officio Assassinorum. In larger games (3000+) I like to include an Inquisitor and an Assassin to my guard force. They all have their uses, but I figure I'd address them in my ascending order of use.

On paper the Eversor is a solid choice as a close combat monster, but when it comes time to actually make the army list I find I prefer the other three options for the special abilities they bring to the table. I don't believe I've ever actually fielded the Eversor, now that I think about it...

The Culexus Assassin is awesome against foes with multiple psykers such as the Eldar, or vs. Psyker Battle Squads in the Guard, but as nearly every opponent I have plays Marines, he rarely takes the field. Love the model though!

Coming in at number 2, the Callidus Assassin is assuredly the most disruptive - forcing enemy unit repositioning and appearing unerringly in the backfield with a Neural Shredder and C'tan Phase Sword, she definitely causes my opponents consternation!

...And my favorite, the Vindicare Assassin. He is my go-to model, the specialist ammo and his ability to pick out ICs have caused tremendous damage over the years. To be fair he rarely survives the encounters - the last time I ran him, my opponent dedicated a Baal Predator to hunting him! The Turbo-Penetrator round let me down that day...

I'm finding it interesting to go back and look at these models again to see which of my painting methods have changed. For example, you'll undoubtedly note they are all pretty shiny. For the longest time I resisted the use of a matte varnish. I'm thinking I'll touch them up a bit and re-seal them with the new varnish, if only it wasn't 20F out at the moment!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Kabal of the Crimson Woe, Part 3 - Venom and Trueborn

I decided that I wanted to include a small unit of Kabalite Trueborn to the army, and rather than building yet another Raider, I thought I'd take a crack at kitbashing a Venom for them. I was inspired by the recent Venom build challenge on BoLS/Spikybits and particularly impressed with the Venom Conversion guide on TooMuchMetal here. I dug out the appropriate bits and got stuck in:

So far it's just the basic structure, as it's going to be the transport for the more noble Kabalite Trueborn I'm planning on adding a fair bit of decorative bits - spikes and chains, banners, etc.

The whole thing went together surprisingly quickly and I'm thinking I might go ahead and make another one!

Of course, I need some Trueborn to go in the Venom, and a nasty little unit it would be - A Dracon with the ever-popular Blast Pistol/Agonizer combo and 4 Trueborn with Blasters. In order to differentiate them from the standard Kabalite Warriors, I went with the mirrored helmets from the Reavers. I think it gives them a rather distinct look.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hobby Retrospective - Vostroyan Firstborn

Seeing as I've not had much time to put towards new modeling or painting, and rather than let my blog gather dust between current projects, I thought I'd at least try to do a once-a-week post looking back at some of the hobby work I've done prior to when I started this whole blog thing...

Today, the Vostroyan Firstborn:

I've dabbled in other guard regiments other than the Mordian 7th, and when GW first unveiled the Vostroyan line I picked up a mess of infantry, planning on having them serve double-duty as Skitarii for the Ad-Mech.

Obviously the urban basing technique on these were carried across into the 7th, I just love the idea of making little dioramas on the 60mm bases.

I only made a few minor conversions, the bog-standard melta-from-a-flamer, and the addition of a Bolter to the Company Commander. The sniper on the right is hands-down the best sculpt in the range in my opinion, I absolutely love that model.

I was rather pleased with how the units turned out, though by the end of the process I was pretty tired of red and brass - I'd assembly-line painted all 50 models in the two infantry platoons. Boring and agonizing to do, but it does ensure all the models are uniform.

Alas, these models have long ago been sold, and is one of my greatest moments of sellers remorse. In retrospect these are probably my favorite guard models. Don't get me wrong, the Cadians are fantastic for my current purposes, but the Vostroyans just have so much more interesting models.

God-Emperor save me if they ever did Valhallan/Vostroyan plastics. Save my bank account, at least - I'd be doomed. Doomed, I say!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Kabal of the Crimson Woe, Part 2

I picked up the first batch of new miniatures for the Dark Eldar over the weekend, and sat down to figure out exactly what I wanted to build before I went about attacking the pile of boxes.

I have a common problem with my 40k armies, I tend to go all out and build thousands of points worth of models and then get discouraged when it comes time to paint "that huge pile of miniatures". To help alleviate this and to practice a little self-discipline I'm going to restrict myself to only building a few units, and then only build new units once I've managed to paint all the existing built units first. Of course, since I want to playtest the army I'll need to start off by building the compulsory HQ and two Troops choices, plus a smattering of other units to make a reasonable 1000-1500 point army. The remaining 2000+ points will remain in the boxes until I get that first batch done. That being the case I got out the ol' painting chart and made some decisions on how I'd start off.

A warrior squad, a squad of Wyches, a handful of Incubi and Reavers, and the various HQ models I'd picked up should give me a nice rounded starter army with which to run some test games. I took a little time to paint up a test model to get a feel for the color scheme I'd chosen and was reasonably pleased with the results. Not the best picture in the world, nor was it the best first test model I've ever done, but with a little refinement it should work out pretty well, I think!

I need to work on getting thinner lines around the edging, but that's mostly down to picking up some new finer-tipped brushes, and a steady hand. For the main armor plates I started off with a Dark Flesh liner, with a Red Gore and Blood Red highlight on the upper edges. After that I hit all the armor with a Baal Red wash which toned down the highlights and gave the black sections of the armor a slight reddish tint which worked out quite well (though it's a bit blown out with the while background). The flayed skin is Vomit Brown with an Ogryn Flesh wash, then highlighted back up a bit with more Vomit Brown, and the various weapons and details were picked out in Shining Gold and Boltgun Metal, then given a wash to knock down the shine a little. I also finally replaced the aeons-old bottle of MicroSol that I had and picked up a bottle of MicroSet while I was at it and used one of the transfers from the Raider kit on his back banner. I'm going to go back and re-do the stone on the base a little, I'm not 100% pleased with how it turned out. Other than adding a little static grass however, it's pretty much complete.

I think the Dark Eldar are going to be interesting to paint, as the style and methods I'll be using vary quite a bit from how I do my Guard (or the Orks for that matter). It's always good to try new things, and I'm eagerly trying to apply some of the lessons that Ron is providing over at FTW!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A whole mess o' yellow...

Knowing that I'm going to have one too many armies in short order (once I get the DE built), so I've decided that the Orks are going to be going up on the auction block. Of course, before I can do that I have to finish painting them! My plan is to finish up the Bad Moons side of my Orks first, as it's essentially a self-contained 2000 point army. That means it was time to break out the tank brush and the yellow paint!

The vast majority of it ended up on the Battlewagon. A quick drybrush of Boltgun Metal to pick out the edges and the standard yellow-over-orange method and it's pretty much a matter of picking out the details, at this point.

The Bad Moons army is built around the idea of a Big Mek's Dreddmob, and his cronies. I'd finished of the Deff Dredd a while back, so I turned my attention to the trio of Killa Kans, and got the base colors on them as well.

Of course, if you're going to have a Dreddmob, you gotta have a Mega Dredd! I really like this model, both for the model itself as well as how it performs on the table. I have never, EVER, hit anything with the Killkannon, but the way I see it the Orks are more interested in the sound and the fury than they are in the accuracy of the targeting systems, so it all works out in the end... Heh.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Kabal of the Crimson Woe, Part 1

As promised, some initial build shots of the inevitable Dark Eldar army. I've long been a fan of the Dark Eldar as a concept, but the previous renditions of the models just didn't inspire me. I'd built a handful of the old warriors and a Haemonculous for use with my Rogue Trader campaign, but that was the extent of it. Suffice it to say I've been rather looking forward to the new release based on the pictures that have been floating around the net, and now that I've had a chance to actually put some of them together I have to say they do not disappoint!

A few weeks back I'd placed an order to Dragon Forge for a fair number of their 'Ancient Ruins' bases, as the ruined Eldar theme seemed appropriate. Once those were washed and cleaned up, I started the army build with the box of Reavers, hands down my favorite of the new kits. The bits that make up the bike were pretty fiddly in places and I had to be extra careful trimming them from the sprues but I managed without any major casualties. The handlebars were the worst part, a couple of them came very near to breaking - eek. I used the power weapon from the Warriors kit to help distinguish the arena champion from the others. I've decided that I'm going to use the mirror-helmeted heads on all of the Reavers with the exception of the Champion - I'm rather pleased at how many variant heads and other bits they give you on the DE sprues!

After the Reavers were put together I took a crack at the Warriors kit. I'd sat down ant figured out how I was going to arm the various Warrior and Trueborn squads beforehand, so it was a simple matter to clip and build. They are about as fiddly as Eldar Guardians to put together, but overall they all went together smooth and easy. Again there were a couple bits that were attached to the sprue in what I thought were bad positions as far as being able to cut them free without marring the detail, but nothing too egregious.

The Raider went together surprisingly smoothly, on this kit I was expecting trouble but I have to doff my cap to the designers. My intention is to have a half dozen raiders in the army, in various levels of decoration and extravagance to show the increasing importance and wealth of the transported models. The Warrior's Raiders are more or less bereft of decoration other than a few spikes and spines. The Wych's Raider will have chains and skulls, the Trueborn's Raider will be much more baroque with spiky bits and chains and skulls, and the Incubi and Archon's Raiders will be dripping with decorations. I've left the central sail section, the gunner and pilot loose for painting purposes, at the moment they're just slotted in place for the picture. Once I get a couple more boxes of Warrior and Wyches I'll start assembling the hangers-on as well. There's a fair bit of customization available in the kit, but I really want each of them to be unique.

Finally I started working on the Court of the Crimson King in the form of the 5 Ur-Ghuls that will be part of the retinue. Pretty straightforward - Ghoul models, a bit of greenstuff over the eyes and forehead, poke a series of holes for scent-pits, and they're pretty much good to go.

Now that I've got this first batch put together I'm really itching to get my hands on the other kits!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Time flies whether you're having fun or not...

Hello again, after an extended absence! I can't believe that it's been several months since my last update - I would like to say "during the time away I haven't been idle", but as far as 40k-related hobby work goes that would be a fabrication. Other than a couple models I've put together and painted for the Rogue Trader campaign I've been running, I've not managed to do much on the hobby front. Real Life(tm) has been rearing its ugly head, with long hours at work during the day and the band eating up a lot more of my hobby time.

However, those dirty underhanded folks over at GW have managed to reinvigorate the Dark Eldar line in a rather impressive fashion, with gorgeous models and a rather interesting new codex. As such I got that old familiar itch to make a new army - because obviously the three other half-done armies in the Closet of Doom aren't enough. You'd think I'd learn my lesson! I've sold off a few models to help fund the new project, and my FLGS owner allowed me to purchase the codex and a few boxes of models early as I placed a substantial order from him. After reading through the codex a few times, I decided that I'd go with a predominantly "Warriors and Wyches" army, and leave the Haemonculus Cult aspect aside for the time being.

The intention is to be able to use these models as antagonists in my Rogue Trader game as well, so I decided I'd paint them up as "The Cabal of the Crimson Woe", the Dark Eldar pirates that ply the void in the Koronus Expanse. Coupled with the fact that I was listening to some old prog rock at the time, the Archon and his retinue ended up being called "The Court of the Crimson King". Har! I decided that I'd pick up a pair of Archon models so I could arm them differently - The Crimson King will be carrying a Blast Pistol and Agonizer, coupled with the Lhamaean in the retinue means in HtH he'll be dealing out 6-7 power weapon attacks that wound on a 2+, using his WS of 7. Terrifying! The retinue will all have to be custom made as there aren't currently models for the various options. The Lhamaean will be represented by a (what else?) Lhamaean vampire from the fantasy range, with a little GS work to Dark Eldar her up a bit. Some pointy-er ears, and a splinter pistol should do the trick.

The Ur-Ghuls will be made from Ghouls (also not much of a shock), with a little GS work to cover their eyes and add a number of new nostrils. The Medusae will be made from a spare DE warrior, one of the visor-ed helmets from the Reaver sprues, and a couple of the brain-looking bio-morphs from the Tyranid upgrade sprue. Finally, the Sslyth warriors will be based on the Greater Daemon of Slaanesh model from the Warmaster line - I'll be replacing the arms and adding some armor to the torso, but the head and snake body seem just about perfect as-is!

The second Archon, Duke Harkanet will be armed with the standard Soultrap and Huskblade provided in the blister, and will be accompanied by the 9-strong Incubi unit. Other than that, it's going to be a fairly straightforward mass of Raider-embarked Kabalite Trueborn, Kabalite Warriors and Wyches, several 6-man units of Reavers, a big block of Hellions, and a pair of Ravagers. I was surprised at how expensive points wise the army is - the above list clocks in at over 3500 points, given a fairly generous set of wargear choices. I'll likely trim that down a bit once I get a couple games under my belt and figure out what works for me.

I've assembled the few models I was able to pre-purchase over the weekend, and have done a test paint scheme on the Sybarite for the Warrior squad - more pictures to follow!

...And I'm talking about in the next day or so, as opposed to next month. Hah!